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Publication numberUS3089732 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 14, 1963
Filing dateJul 31, 1959
Priority dateSep 9, 1958
Publication numberUS 3089732 A, US 3089732A, US-A-3089732, US3089732 A, US3089732A
InventorsGoffredo Gamberini
Original AssigneeAmerican Mach & Foundry
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for handling articles
US 3089732 A
Images(3)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

3 Sheets-Sheet 1 F l G. I

May 14, 1963 G. GAMBERINI METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING ARTICLES Filed July 31, 1959 V INVENTOR I" II' P Ill 11% v GOFFREDO GAMBERINI HIE IVA-III- NAIvNAI HA- Illlnlllll.

l m hll Y MNHH ATTORNEY y 4, 1963 G. GAMBERINI 3,089,732

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING ARTICLES Filed July 31, 1959 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 4o 42 FIG.3

INVENTOR GOFFREDO GAMBERINI ATTORNEY May 14, 1963 G. GAMBERINI 3,089,732

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING ARTICLES Filed July 31, 1959 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 FIG.6

105 4 1 J03 Ma 148 United States Patent 3,089,732 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLlNG ARTICLES Gofiredo Gamberini, Bologna, Italy, assignor to American Machine & Foundry Company, a corporation of New Jersey Filed July 31, 1959, Ser. No. 830,924 Claims priority, application Italy Sept. 9, 1958 6 Claims. (Cl. 302-2) The present invention relates to improvements in apparatus for conveying cigarette packs or the like, and in particular from a processing machine to a subsequent one such as a packaging machine.

According to the invention, the cigarette packs are conveyed pneumatically from the starting station to the arrival station, being blown, or preferably sucked, directly through a tubing of rectangular cross-section. In the suction systems, the end section of the tubing in the arrival station is made descending, vertical or inclined, and the intake is connected to the upper part of said section, whose lower outlet opens freely into the atmosphere to permit the discharge of the arriving packs. To make this installation function, there is formed in the descending end section-of the conveyor tubing, in the arrival station and below the mouth or the intake, a column of packs which closes the outlet of the tubing and constitutes a counterweight of the suction force which also manifests itself in said end section. In way, the column of packs permits the suction to manifest itself entirely between the intake and the inlet of the tubing in the starting station, so that the direction of movement of the packs cannot be inverted or the flow thereof become irregular.

In the practical operation of the above pneumatic installation, the conveyor tubing should present a slightly wider cross-section than that of the packs, so that they can be entrained by the suction airstream. Until now this wider cross-section of the conveyor tubing was maintained also over the entire descending end section of the tubing. Therefore, the column of packs in said descending end section was unable to close this section completely, and to prevent a certain suction of air through its outlet. This caused some uncertainty in the proper functioning of the installation, with intermittent and uncontrolled interruptions of the flow of packs.

The present invention aims to eliminate the above drawback and consists in the first place in the fact that the descending end section of the conveyor tubing in the arrival station presents below its connection to the intake at least a length of reduced cross-section, through which the packs pass with slight constriction, adhering on all four walls of the tubing. In addition, there are provided drive means, disposed upstream of said length of reduced cross-section of the tubing, which push the packs through said length, thus insuring their descent despite their con striction in the tubing and the friction on the Walls thereof.

Said drive means may be formed in a variety of ways. For example, they may consist of two rotating rolls, of rubber or the like, mounted on opposite sides of the conveyor tubing above the length of reduced crosssection of the descending end section, and penetrate into this tubing through suitable opposite lateral apertures thereof. The rolls take hold of the individual packs between them and push them downward through the underlying length of reduced cnoss-section of the tubing, preferably at a hate substantially equal to the rate of fall of the packs in the descending end section of the tubing.

In this way, and owing to the contact of the packs "ice on all four walls of the tubing at its length of reduced cross-section, the column of packs in the arrival station guarantees a perfect closing of the descending end section of the tubing and hence prevents the suction of air through the outlet of the section, thus insuring the regular flow of the packs from the starting station to the arrival station and the continuous proper functioning of the pneurnatic conveyor installation.

Naturally, the length of reduced cross-section of the tubing may be located in any position along the descending end section thereof, always below the mouth connecting with the intake, but either above or below the devices sensitive to the height of the column of packs in the descending end section of the tubing.

Another improvement according to the present invention refers tothe means sensitive to the height of the column of packs in the descending end section of the conveyor tubing in the arrival station and to the devices which are controlled by these sensitive means and which automatically control the pneumatic conveyor installation.

Heretofore in an apparatus of this type, the means sensitive to the height of the column of packs consisted of one or more electric contacts, simple or multiple, disposed along the descending end section of the tubing, and actuated mechanically by the packs present in the tubing at these contacts. This construction required an alteration or" the cross-section of the tubing at the points in which the contacts were applied. Moreover, it was necessary to dispose inside the tubing mechanical controls, subject to wear, and to repair which it was necessary to open the tubing.

The invention is further characterized by the provision of photoelectric devices, consisting for example, of a lamp and a photoelectric cell each, which are disposed facing each other at a certain height of the descending end section of the tubing at two simple lateral opposite apertures of the tubing and which are preferably lodged in suitable boxes externally applied to the tubing.

In devices known heretofore, when the column of packs in the descending end section of the conveyor tubing falls below a certain minimum level, the means sensitive to the height of the column cause the stopping of the machine in the arrival station. This machine can, however, consist of a collecting and arranging machine, at which there merge and are connected several conveyor tubings coming from various processing machines, and which orders the packs received and sends them to a subsequent processing machine, for example, a wrapping machine, independently of the number of pneumatic tubings in operation. In this case, the entire group of machines in the arrival station, including the collecting and pack arranging machine and the annexed wrapping machine, would be unnecessarily stopped when the column of packs in the descending end section of a single one of the pneumatic conveyor tubings falls below the given minimum level.

To obviate this drawback, the present invention provides means of any kind suitable for preventing the discharge of the packs from the descending end section of the conveyor tubing in the arrival station, for example, by closing completely or partly the outlet of this section, which means intercept the discharge of the packs when the column of packs falls below the given minimum level. In this way, the installation for the pneumatic conveyance of the packs becomes an operating uni-t independent of the machine fed by it and for example by the collecting and arranging machine mounted in the arrival station. This machine, therefore, continues to operate in all its parts and for example with its device which withdraws the packs from the pneumatic conveyor tubing, when the column of packs in the descending end section of a tubing falls below the given minimum level, it being then fed by the other pneumatic tubings con nected to it and operating regularly.

The improvements according to the invention and the advantages deriving therefrom will be evident from the following description of a preferred embodiment illustrated by way of non-limitative example in the annexed drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 illustrates in elevation with parts in section an installation for the pneumatic conveyance of packs, improved according to the invention.

FIGURES 2 and 3 are transverse sections along lines IIII and III-III of FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 4 illustrates in side elevation, with parts in section, the descending end section of the conveyor tubing in the arrival station.

FIGURE 5 illustrates in side view and on a larger scale the lower end of the descending end section of the conveyor tubing in the arrival station.

FIGURE 6 schematically illustrates a modified embodiment wherein the delivery of packs to the conveyor tubing is controlled by photoelectiic means.

With reference to the drawings, A and B denote the two stations, between which must occur the pneumatic conveyance of the cigarette packs, and more exactly A denotes the starting station and B the arrival station. Of the two machines located in said two stations which must be connected together by means of the pneumatic pack conveyor, there are illustrated only the outlet channel 1, for the packs from the machine mounted in the starting station A and the feed plane 2, for the packs to the machine disposed in the arrival station B.

The machine mounted in the starting station A may be any processing machine and is, for example, a cigarette pack make-up machine, while the machine disposed in the arrival station B is, for example, a wrapping machine or preferably a collecting and pack arranging machine of the type described in other patents of the same applicant. To this collecting machine are connected in the arrival station B in parallel several single pneumatic conveyors coming from various pack-making machines. The collecting machine orders and arranges the packs received from the various conveyors and conveys them to a subsequent wrapping machine, entirely independently of the number of pneumatic conveyors which are in operation.

Each installation for the pneumatic conveyance of the packs P consists of a conduit or tubing 3 which connects the two stations A and B and which presents a rectangular cross-section slightly wider than that of the packs. In the starting station A, the tubing 3 presents a preferably substantially vertical ascending section 403, whose inlet 103 opens perpendicularly above the pack feeding channel 1 at a distance from the bottom of this channel slightly greater than the height of the packs P. The end section 303 of the tubing 3 in the arrival station B is made descendent and preferably substantially vertical and opens with its outlet 203 perpendicularly above the discharge plane 2 at a distance from the latter also slightly greater than the height of the packs P. To this descending end section 303 of the tubing 3 in the arrival station B is connected at the top at 4 the suction pipe 105 of an air intake (not illustrated). For the rest, the tubing 3 may extend over any course, being generally conducted upwardly at a suflicient height from the floor so as not to hinder the traffic in the machine room.

The packs P made up by the packaging machine at starting station A are pushed one after the other in a row through channel 1 for example, by the same ejecting devices as in the packaging machine, and are sucked one after the other into the inlet 103 of tubing 3, traversing the latter to the arrival station B driven by the airstream, In the descending end section 303 of the tubing 3, a column of packs CP is allowed to form, whose height does not normally exceed the intake mouth 4.

The single packs P are withdrawn one at a time from the base of the column of packs CP and are pushed stepwise onto the plane 2 by means of a piston 6 which is urged in alternating movement and which passes below the outlet 203 of the tubing 3. This piston 6 feeds the machine mounted in the arrival station B and constitutes in the example under examination one of the feed pistons of the collecting and pack arranging machine. The subsequent packs P which pass through the conveyor tubing 3, deposit on the column of packs CP of the arrival station B in the same rhythm in which they are withdrawn from the base of the column, which therefore does not normally change its height.

The column of packs CP in the descending end section 303 of the tubing 3 has the purpose of closing the outlet 203 of this end section 303, thus automatically guaranteeing that the suction manifests itself entirely between the intake mouth 4 and the inlet 103 of the tubing 3 in the starting station A. To insure this closure, the descending end section 303 of the tubing 3 presents according to the invention, at any point below the intake mouth 4 and for example at its outlet 203, a length 503 of reduced cross-section, through which the packs P can pass only with slight constriction adhering on all four walls of the tubing 3. To obtain nevertheless the continuous descent of the packs P in the descending end section 303, there are provided upstream of its length 503 of reduced cross-section two opposite rolls 40, made of or covered with rubber or slightly toothed or knurled, which penetrate into the tubing 3 through corresponding opposite lateral apertures therein. These rolls 40 hold between them the single packs P and are positively actuated in reverse directions so as to force the packs P downwardly, pushing them through the underlying length 503 of reduced cross-section of tubing 3 preferably at a rate substantially equal to the rate of fall of the packs in the descending end section 303 of tubing 3. In the example illustrated, said feed rolls 40 are actuated by a chain 41 passed over two pinions 42 fast with the rolls 40 as well as over a tensioning pinion 43 and over a control pinion 44 driven in any manner.

The discharge of the packs P from the outlet 203 of the tubing 3 in the arrival station B can be intercepted by means of a square lever 45 which is mounted oscillating on the fulcrum and which moves in a longitudinal upper groove 106 of piston 6. A spring 46 normally maintains the oscillating lever 45 in a position in which its lower end is withdrawn from the outlet 203 of the tubing 3, thus permitting the free escape of the packs (see position illustrated in solid lines in FIGURE 4). The lever 45 is moreover connected to an electromagnet 47, which when energized, displaces the lever 45 in the position illustrated in chain-dotted lines in FIGURE 4, in which position the lower end of said lever partly protrudes into the outlet 203 of tubing 3, intercepting and obstructing the escape of the packs.

At a certain height of the descending end section 303 of tubing 3 in the arrival station B, below the intake mouth 4 and at two opposite lateral apertures 50 of tubing 3, there are disposed in front of each other a lamp 48 and a photoelectric cell 49, enclosed in boxes 51 which are externally applied on the tubing 3. The photoelectric cell 49 forms part of any electric circuit (not illustrated) which controls the electromagnet 47 and which operates as follows: During the normal operation of the installation, the height of the column of packs CP in the descending end section 303 of the tubing 3 exceeds the level of the photoelectric cell 49, intercepting the light of the lamp 48. The electromagnet 47 is de-energizied and the spring 46 maintains the lever 45 in its position withdrawn from the outlet 203 of tubing 3. Electromagnet 47 is operated when for any reason, for example, follow ing the stoppage of the packaging machine in the starting station A, or following the stoppage or improper functioning of the pneumatic conveyor installation, the column of packs CP falls below the photoelectric cell 49. Then the latter is struck by the light of the lamp 48 and energizes the electromagnet 47, which displaces the lever 45 so as to intercept the further discharge of the packs P from the outlet 203 of tubing 3 in the arrival station B. In this manner, While interrupting the withdrawal of packs from the conveyor tubing 3 which ceases to function, the collecting and arranging machine mounted in the arrival station B is not stopped but continues to function, although at a slower rate on the basis of the other pneumatic conveyor tubings connected to it which still remain in operation. When the pneumatic conveyance of the packs in the tubing in question is restored, and as soon as the height of the column of packs CP again reaches and exceeds the photoelectric cell 49 intercepting the light of the lamp 48, then the electromagnet 47 is de-energized and the spring 46 withdraws the lever 45 from the outlet 203 of the tubing 3 so as to permit the discharge of the packs.

The above described device sensitive to the height of the column of packs CP reacts to a lower limit, that is, to a predetermined minimum height of said column representing an accumulation of less than a predetermined number of packs. In a similar manner, referring to FIGURE 6, by means of another photoelectric cell 149 disposed at an upper level and facing another lamp 148, there can he provided a device which reacts to an upper limit, that is, to a predetermined maximum height of said column of packs CP representing an accumulation of more than a predetermined number of packs. When following failure of withdrawal of packs from tubing 3 in the arrival station B, forexample due to stoppage of the feed device 40 and of the withdrawal piston 6, the height of the column of packs CP exceeds said upper photoelectric cell, then the latter causes the stoppage of the pneumatic conveyor installation or it actuates a device in the starting station A which prevents the admission of packs in the inlet 103 of tubing 3. The latter device may be made, for example, as described heretofore in an apparatus of this type, while in the illustrated example it is designed with a flap 52, oscillating on the fulcrum 152 and controlled for example by an electromagnet (not illustrated). When, as is normally the case, the height of the column of packs CP remains below the level of the photoelectric cell sensitive to the predetermined maximum height, the flap 52 closes the head of the pack feeding channel 1, as illustrated in solid lines in the right hand part of FIGURE 1. When, however, the column of packs CP exceeds the said maximum limit, then the flap 52 oscillates upwardly as illustrated in broken lines in FIGURE 1, and opens the head of channel 1, preferably simultaneously with the stopping of the suction in tubing 3, so that the packs P are not sucked into the inlet 103 and continue in the prolongation of channel 1, all without having to stop the processing machine mounted in the starting station A.

Naturally the invention is not limited to the embodiment just described and illustrated, but can be widely varied and modified, especially with respect to the structural design for example of the feed device which pushes the packs through the length of reduced cross-section of the descending end section of the tubing or respectively the device which intercepts the discharge of the packs from the outlet of said tubing, all without leaving the informative principle set forth above and claimed in the following.

What is claimed is:

1. In an article conveying system, a starting station, an arrival station remote from said starting station, a conduit extending from said starting station to said arrival station and providing for said articles a path of travel therebetween, means connected to said conduit for including a flow of air therein from said starting station to said arrival station, thereby to carry the articles through said conduit, and means responsive to the number of articles accumulated at the discharge end of said conduit for controlling the delivery of articles to said arrival station, the last-mentioned means including means providing lighting at an interior portion of the conduit and photoelectric means sensitive to variable lighting effects thereat caused by the movement of articles in the conduit.

2. The invention as defined in claim 1, wherein said responsive means comprises a photoelectric cell, a source of light, means mounting said light source and photoelectric cell on opposite sides of and adjacent openings in said conduit at a location upstream of said discharge end, whereby light can pass to said photoelectric cell through said openings, said photoelectric cell being responsive to the absence of accumulated articles interrupting said light to initiate interruption of the delivery of articles to said arrival station.

3. In an article conveying system, a starting station, an arrival station remote from said starting station, a conduit extending from said starting station to said arrival station and providing for said articles a path of travel therebetween, means connected to said conduit for inducing a flow of air therein from said starting station to said arrival station, thereby to carry the articles through said conduit, means associated with the discharge end of the conduit at said arrival station and operable to obstruct the delivery of articles to said arrival station, and means responsive to the number of articles accumulated at said discharge end for controlling the operation of the last-mentioned means, said responsive means including means providing lighting at the interior of the conduit and photoelectric means sensitive to variable lighting effects thereat caused by the movement of articles in the conduit.

4. The invention as defined in claim 3, wherein said photoelectric means is responsive to the accumulation of less than a predetermined number of articles to elfect temporary operation of said means for obstructing the delivery of articles until said predetermined number is restored.

5. In an article conveying system, a starting station, an arrival station remote from said starting station, a conduit extending from said starting station to said arrival station and providing for said articles a path of travel therebetween, means connected to said conduit for inducing a flow of air therein from said starting station to said arrival station, thereby to carry the articles through said conduit, a gate, means operable to move said gate across the path of travel defined by said conduit at the discharge end thereof to block the delivery of articles to said arrival station, and means responsive to the number of articles accumulated at said discharge end for operating the last-mentioned means and comprising: a photoelectric cell, a source of light, means mounting said light source and photoelectric cell on opposite sides of and adjacent openings in said conduit at a location upstream of said discharge end, whereby light can pass to said photoelectric cell through said openings in the absence of articles present in the light path, said photoelectric cell being responsive to the absence of accumulated articles interrupting said light path to effect the movement of said gate across said path of travel.

6. The invention as defined in claim 5, including means for feeding articles to be conveyed from said starting station into said conduit, and second means responsive to the number of articles accumulated at said discharge end for controlling the operation of said feeding means, said second means being mounted along said conduit upstream of the first-mentioned responsive means and comprising, a second photoelectric cell, a second source of light, means mounting said second light source and second photoelectric cell on opposite sides of and adjacent second openings in said conduit whereby a second light path is directed toward said second photoelectric cell through said second openings in the absence of articles present in the second light path, said second photoelectric cell being responsive to the interruption of said second light path by an accumulation of articles to interrupt the operation of said article feeding means.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Gent Feb. 9, 1943 Hurley Dec. 30, 1947 McFall May 29, 1951 Bearer Dec. 20, 1955 Smith Feb. 12, 1957

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2310417 *Jan 28, 1942Feb 9, 1943Bell Telephone Labor IncPneumatic ticket sending and receiving valve
US2433560 *Oct 30, 1944Dec 30, 1947Hurley Jr Samuel CHopper controller for uniformly feeding unit articles
US2554583 *Sep 9, 1946May 29, 1951Us Plywood CorpMaterial flow control mechanism
US2727792 *Jan 2, 1952Dec 20, 1955Phillips Petroleum CoPebble gas lift
US2781232 *Jan 5, 1953Feb 12, 1957W F And John Barnes CompanyCan dispatching apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3191771 *Jul 25, 1963Jun 29, 1965Western Electric CoSorting apparatus
US3222110 *Mar 11, 1964Dec 7, 1965American Tobacco CoCigarette transfer apparatus
US3260527 *Mar 19, 1962Jul 12, 1966Marilyn Younce SpenceTarget device with jet ball return
US3336085 *Sep 20, 1965Aug 15, 1967Rembrandt Tobacco Corp OverseaPneumatic conveyance of goods
US3365239 *Apr 18, 1967Jan 23, 1968Molins Organisation LtdApparatus for feeding stubs
US3397922 *Aug 4, 1966Aug 20, 1968American Mach & FoundryCigarette packaging machinery
US3485338 *Jun 7, 1967Dec 23, 1969Pneumatic Scale CorpClosure handling and orienting apparatus
US3614166 *Dec 20, 1968Oct 19, 1971Tobacco Res & DevArticle-feeding system
US3890011 *Jul 10, 1972Jun 17, 1975Futer Rudolph ESupplying objects from an air-film conveyor rapidly and intermittently to a machine
US4340654 *Jun 18, 1981Jul 20, 1982Campi James GDefect-free photomask
US5647697 *Jul 26, 1995Jul 15, 1997G.D S.P.A.Method and device for feeding packets of cigarettes pneumatically
DE1281950B *Sep 28, 1965Oct 31, 1968Tobacco Res And Dev I LtdEntnahmevorrichtung einer Druckluftfoerderleitung fuer stabfoermige Gegenstaende
DE2847467A1 *Nov 2, 1978May 17, 1979Arenco AbVorrichtung zum inspizieren und puffern, insbesondere fuer zuendholzmaschinen- strassen
EP0697353A1 *Jul 7, 1995Feb 21, 1996G.D Societa' Per AzioniMethod and device for feeding packets of cigarettes pneumatically
Classifications
U.S. Classification406/33, 406/70
International ClassificationB65B35/28, B65G51/02, B65B35/00, B65G51/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65G51/02, B65B35/28
European ClassificationB65G51/02, B65B35/28