Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3097983 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 16, 1963
Filing dateFeb 9, 1961
Priority dateFeb 9, 1961
Also published asDE1297530B
Publication numberUS 3097983 A, US 3097983A, US-A-3097983, US3097983 A, US3097983A
InventorsCaulford Donald A, Phin James R
Original AssigneeUniversal Labelling Machines L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic labelling apparatus
US 3097983 A
Abstract  available in
Images(8)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 16, 1963 D. A. cAuLFoRD ETAL 3,097,983

AUTOMATIC LABELLING APPARATUS 8 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 9, 1961 Inventors JAMES R. PHIN DONALD A. CAULFORD Atlorn e y y 1963 D. A. CAULFORD ETAL 3,09

AUTOMATIC LABELLING APPARATUS 8 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Feb. 9, 1961 Y Inventor:

JAMES R. PHIN DONALD A. CAULFORD by: a, W

Alforne y July 16, 1963 D. A. CAULFORD ETAL 3,097,

AUTOMATIC LABELLING APPARATUS Filed Feb. 9, 1961 Inventor: JAMES R. PH/N DONALD A. CAULFORD W Attorne y July 16, 1963 D. A. CAULFORD ETAL AUTOMATIC LABELLING APPARATUS Filed Feb. 9, 1961 FIG. 8

8 Sheets-Sheet 5 Inventor: JAMES R. PHIN DONALD A. CAULFORD Attorney y 1963 D. A. CAULFORD ETAL 3, 8

AUTOMATIC LABELLING APPARATUS 8 Sheets-Sheet 6 Filed Feb. 9, 1961 Inventors JAMES R. PH/N DONALD A. CAULFORD Attorney July 16, 1963 D. A. CA UVLFORD ETAL AUTOMATIC LABELLING APPARATUS 8 Sheets-Sheet 7 Filed Feb. 9, 1961 Q MIR A Q2 QPm lnventom- JAMES R. PHI N DONALD A. CAULFORD A Horn 2 y y 1963 D. A. CAULFORD ETAL 3,097,983

AUTOMATIC LABELLING APPARATUS 8 Sheets-Sheet 8 Filed Feb. 9, 1961 Inventors JAMES R. PHIN DONALD A. CAULFORD by: I,

Attorney United States Patent Filed Feb. 9, 1961, Ser. No. 88,209 54 Claims. (Cl. 156-364) This invention relates to improvements in apparatus for labelling bottles or containers automatically and in contmnous sequence.

The principal object of this invention is to provide improved automatic labelling apparatus which can handle in continuous sequence greater number of containers than those heretofore and in which greater control of the disposition of the labels on the containers is exerted to improve the durability of the applied labels and the appearance of the labelled containers generally.

More particularly, it is an object of this invention to provide apparatus in which the position of the label on a contamer is controlled to produce uniformly-labelled containers which will comply with governmental regula tions and which will be pleasing in appearance.

Still another object is to provide an improved mechamsm for sequentially selecting, preparing and applying labels to containers at an increased rate as compared with known machines.

Another important object is to provide an improved mechanism for conforming and applying pressure to labels to be afiixed to the surfaces of containers to eliminate creases which under handling and abrasion may result in tearing of such labels and which will ensure that the labels are firmly adhered to the surfaces of the containers even though such surfaces might be angled or have different curvatures over the extent of the label.

Another object is to simplify automatic labelling apparatus for more economical manufacture, less costly nramtenance, and to improve control and operation of the various stages in the labelling of a container, consistem: with the aforementioned objects.

The apparatus of this invention includes a main conveyor which is mounted and driven to transport upright containers having at least a base portion which is generally circular in cross-section, horizontally and continuously and at spaced intervals, the containers experiencing in sequence, while being transported, a turning movement about their upright axes to orient their positions, which when complete is followed by the application of labels to a selected surface of each container and subsequently, the application of pressure over the extent of the label to conform it into intimate contact with the container surfaces to insure full "adhesion therewith.

The apparatus of this invention is preferably to be used in conjunction with the infeed conveyor mechanism which forms the subject matter of United States Patent No. 2,910,167, granted October 27, 1959. This infeed conveyor mechanism is operable to deliver bottles or containers in timed sequence onto the main conveyor of the machine.

More particularly, the container-orienting mechanism includes a surface of abutment located at one side of the centre line of the main conveyor to present a continuous line of contact to an upright passing container, the abutment surface being suitably frictioned to inhibit the free passage of a container therealong, and an element which is adapted to engage with the container on the opposite side of the centre line of the main conveyor to the aforementioned abutment surface, the element being mounted in synchronism with the main conveyor to proceed in the same direction as the travel of the main conveyor and to urge the container against the abutment surface, the resultant force imparted to the container by contact with the abutice men-t surface causing the container to turn about its vertical axis, the container simultaneously being prevented from being displaced in a direction opposite to the travel of the main conveyor by a stop mounted behind the container upon the main conveyor.

Another feature of the orienting mechanism is found in providing a projection or stop which is mounted to travel in synchronism with and in the same direction and at the same velocity as the main conveyor, and located on one side of the centre line of the main conveyor, the container being provided with a complementary projection or stop which upon turning movement imparted by the abutment surface, is brought into contact with the first-mentioned projection or stop, preventing the container from being turned further and urging the surface of the container out of contact with the abutment surface.

Another feature resides in providing an inclined magazine for labels which feeds labels to a reciprooable vacuum bar under gravity, the vacuum bar being actuated by a trip mechanism contacted by a container approaching the labelling station, to seize a label from the magazine and present it to a label-gripping, -orienting and -applying mechanism.

Another feature resides in providing a label-gripping, -orienting and applying mechanism in the form of a drum or hub element which is mounted to turn on a horizontal axis, the hub being provided with a plurality of label-gripping members at its periphery and spaced uniformly circumferentially therearound, whereby for each revolution of the hub element, a number of labels are being gripped, oriented and applied to containers passing the labelling station.

Still another feature resides in providing an overhead,

pressure-applying mechanism in which a plurality of pressure-applying devices for applied labels are carried on an endless belt formation which moves in a vertical plane and present a lower path of engagement over and parallel to the main conveyor, this structure taking up less space than those hitherto used, and being able to accommodate the greater numbers of labelled containers without appreciably increasing the extent of the endless belt.

These and other objects and features will be found upon reading the following specification in conjunction with the sheets of drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of an automatic labelling apparatus for applying labels to containers, the apparatus embodying all of the features of this invention;

tamer-orienting mechanism of the apparatus of FIG- URE 1;

FIGURE 4 is a vertical mid-sectional view of the mechanism of FIGURE 3 taken along the line 4-4 of FIG- URE 3;

FIGURE 5 is a perspective view partly broken away, of the label magazine, the label-gripping, -orienting and -applying device, the gluing device and label-Wetting device, all of which are mounted on the support framework overlying the main conveyor;

FIGURE 6 is "a side elevational View broken away, of the label-gripping, -orienting and applying device of FIGURE 5 FIGURE 6a is a side elevational view of a guide formation for positioning a label immediately prior to its application to a container;

FIGURE 6b is a view in section taken along the lines 6b-6b of FIGURE 6a;

FIGURE 7 is a partial view of the label-gripping, orienting and applying device of FIGURE 6, showing its relationship to the gluing device;

FIGURE 8 is a vertical mid-sectional view broken away, of the mechanism for conforming and applying pressure to labels which have been applied to the containers by the device of FIGURE 6;

FIGURE 8a is an elevational view of the apparatus for applying conforming pressure to labels apart from the endless belt formation, and showing the apparatus in full registration with the cap and neck portion of container;

FIGURE 9 is a perspective view of the apparatus for withdrawing a label from the label magazine;

FIGURE 10 is an elevational view partly broken away of the cam mechanism controlling the operation of the label-withdrawing apparatus;

FIGURE 11 is an enlarged vertical mid-sectional view taken along the lines 11-11 of FIGURE 5 of the lower end of the label magazine and the suction bar device of the label-withdrawing apparatus with the latter device in the inoperative position;

FIGURE 12 is an enlarged side-elevational view of the lower end of a label magazine and a portion of the suction bar device in cross-section with the latter device moved into an operative position;

FIGURES 13a, 13b and 13c are views of the components carried by the label-selecting mechanism illustrating in sequence, respectively, the relative positions of the components to withdraw a label from the suction bar device;

FIGURE 14 is a perspective view broken away of the movable finger formation of the label-selecting mechaDISIl'l;

FIGURE 15 is a plan view of an alternative structure of a frictioned surface of abutment to apply torque to containers in the orienting mechanism;

FIGURE 16 is a front-elevational view of the adjustable gear formation through which the label-gripping, -orienting and -applying mechanism is driven; and,

FIGURE 17 is a vertical mid-sectional view taken along the lines 1717 of FIGURE 16 to illustrate the relationship between the gear components.

In FIGURE 1 an automatic labelling apparatus constructed in accordance with the invention is indicated at 10, the apparatus consisting of a base enclosure 11, which houses a motor and other suitable driving components for operating the various mechanisms of the apparatus, the base enclosure being surmounted by a flat rigid table structure 12 overlying which is a support framework 13 mounted upon pairs of spaced upstanding posts 14.

An infeed conveyor structure 15 is located at the left end of the machine as viewed in FIGURE 1. This structure forms the basis of United States Patent No. 2,910,167. Essentially, the infeed conveyor mechanism 15 consists of an endless chain belt conveyor 16 which is mounted on and driven by means of suitable sprocket wheels and driving connections from the main motor. The links of the chain belt conveyor 16 support platform elements 17, certain of which are articulated, as illustrated at '18. Articulated platform elements 18 are elevated in conjunction with the operation of a star or pocket wheel mechanism 19 and a camming and guide bar 19a to deliver onto the main conveyor 20 of machine 10, containers 21 at selected predetermined intervals. To accomplish this transfer it is seen that main conveyor 20 overlaps the inner end 22 of infeed conveyor 16.

Main conveyor 20 includes an endless chain belt 23, each link of which is provided with a platform element 24 to form a generally fiat table-like surface for transporting containers 21 to be labelled.

Main conveyor 20 is located within a longitudinallyextending slot 25 in the plate member 26 of table structure 12, and is mounted on suitable sprockets (not shown) which in turn are driven through suitable connections by the main motor.

The main conveyor 20 delivers the containers 21 at the right hand end onto a short discharge conveyor 27 after the labelling operation has been completed.

Mounted upon platform elements 24a are upstanding container-locating devices or stops 28 consisting of a block 22 fastened by suitable fasteners to the platform element. Block 29 is provided with a horizontal recess 31 at its forward end in which a wheel element 32 is mounted for rotation on a vertical locating pin 33. In FIGURE 2 it is seen that wheel element 32 projects beyond the forward leading surface of block 29 to provide point contact between the container 21 and the locating device. It is to be observed that container 21 has a lower portion 35 of a generally cylindrical configuration surmounted by a neck portion 36 of lesser diameter.

In FIGURE 3 it is seen that each container 21 is provided with a nipple or projection 37 which is an integral part resulting from its manufacture. In instances where containers would not have this projection, a similar projection attachment could be provided, the purpose of which will be understood from the following description.

Container-orienting Mechanism Containers 21 are delivered in sequence by the main conveyor 20* to the entrance 39 of the container-orienting mechanism 38.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIGURE 3 the entrance is defined by a pair of upstanding, horizontallydisposed endless chain belt mechanisms 40 and 41, respectively, one on either side of the centre line of the main conveyor 20.

An elongated bar 42 is mounted below chain belt mechanism 41 and extends longitudinally of the main conveyor 20. Bar 42 is located above the horizontal plane of main conveyor 20 and is supported on suitable members 43 upstanding from table structure 12. Bar 42 extends inwardly of members 43 and from the entrance 39 to a point intermediately of its extent it is provided with a frictioned surface which is constituted, preferably, by a strip of tanned leather 44 suitably fastened thereto. Bar 42 at the entrance is fiaired as at 45 to ease the entry of a container 21 into the apparatus, should the container be off centre.

It is to be understood that both the chain belt mechanisms 40 and 41 and the bar 42 are adjustable horizontally towards and away from the main conveyor 20, and also vertically to accommodate containers of difierent sizes on suitable adjusting devices not illustrated.

Chain belt mechanism 40 includes a double endless chain belt 46 mounted on spaced horizontal sprocket formations 47 consisting of upper and lower sprocket wheels 47a and 47b, mounted in turn on spaced vertical shafts 47c, and are adapted to be driven by the main motor of the machine through suitable connections, not described, in synchronism with the main conveyor 20.

The inner reach 48 of the double chain belt 46 extends parallel to the main conveyor. Further, a horizontal guide member 49' slotted as at 49a is mounted upon spaced upright standards 50 to support and guide the inner reach 48 of chain belt 46 along its path of travel parallel to the mam conveyor.

Dependent from certain links of chain belt 46 at selected spaced intervals are freely rotatable wheel elements 51, each of which consists of a rigid hub element 52 supported centrally by a vertical pin 53, which in turn is suit- Iablly fastened to the supporting links of the double chain The periphery of the hub 52 is grooved as at 54 to receive an annular resilient yieldable contact member or rim 55 of preferably sponge rubber or similar material which extends beyond the hub periphery. Rim 55 has a broad peripheral face 56 to positively engage the surface of a container 21, as seen in FIGURE 3.

It is to be understood that the rotation of sprocket 47 is in a direction to cause the inner reach 48 of the chain belt 46 to travel in the same direction as the main conveyor 20, and at the same velocity, the position of the wheel elements 51 being synchronized with the main conveyor.

Chain belt mechanism 41 consists of a single chain belt 57 and spaced horizontal sprockets 58 which are mounted so that the inner reach 59 extends substantially parallel to the main conveyor The sprockets 58 are rotated on Vertical shafts 58a through suitable connections from the main motor, in a direction to cause the inner reach 59 to travel in the'same direction as the main conveyor 20, and in addition, the velocity is controlled and is of the same order as the velocity of, and is synchronized with, the main conveyor 20.

Mounted at spaced intervals on certain of the links of chain element 57 are members 60 which project outwardly from the inner surface 61 of the inner reach 59 to define a stop or abutment surface 62 against which projection 37 of a container 21 is adapted to register. This projection fixes the position of the container 21 as it is transported through the orienting mechanism to reach a position at which a label is to be applied and in registration with nipple 37 urges the surface of the container out of contact with abutment surface 44. Observe also that the inner surface 62a of member 60 is coincident with inner abutment surface of bar 42 and does not impede any imparted rotational movement to the container 21 prior to registration with the nipple 37.

Operation of Container-orienting Mechanism From the infeed conveyor mechanism 15, container 21 is placed upon main conveyor 20 in advance of the stop 28. The main conveyor then transports the container 21 to the entrance 39 of the orienting mechanism.

With reference particularly to FIGURES 2, 3 and 4, container 21 upon entering, contacts the abutment surface 44 of bar 42 and because of synchronization with the main conveyor 20, container 21 is also engaged by the rim 55 of wheel element '51 in the position shown.

Firstly because of the contact between the container 21 and wheel element 51, container 21 is urged into abutment with the leather strip 44, resulting in the application of torque to the container, causing it to turn about its upright axis as indicated by the arrow in FIGURE 3.

-It will be appreciated that the wheel element 32 of the stop 28, because it maintains only point contact with the container, affords the least amount of friction to the turning movement imparted.

As the container 21 progresses through the orienting mechanism, turning movement is imparted until nipple 37 registers with projection 60.

Because projection 66 is travelling at the same velocity as the main conveyor, and because the position of the projection 60' is initially co-ordinated or synchronized with the main conveyor 20, the projection 37 cannot pass and accordingly container 21 cannot be displaced any further. Contact of the projection 37 with projection 60 urges the surface of the container 21 out of contact with the strip 44, which substantially eliminates imparted torque to the container.

In FIGURE 15 an alternative to the bar 42 and the abutment surface 44 is illustrated. An endless belt 280 of rubber or other suitable material is mounted upon spaced sprocket wheels 281, 282 and 283, sprocket wheel 283 being driven through suitable connections from the main motor. The inner reach 284 presents an abutment surface extending parallel to the main conveyor 20, the belt being driven so that the inner reach travels in a direction opposite to the direction of the main conveyor. It is seen that to maintain tension in the belt 280, one reach 285 bears against an abutment surface 286 of the shaft 58a of the endless belt formation 41. Also, it is seen that the inner surface of the belt is provided with lugs 287 meshing with the lugs of the sprockets.

With this alternative apparatus positive torque can be applied to the container 21.

It will be appreciated that the turning movement imparted to container 21 is preferably accomplished when the container reaches the mid-point of its travel through the orienting mechanism, so that during the latter part of its journey it is stationary relative to the main conveyor and in position to receive a label from the label-gripping, -orienting and -applying device 63 from above.

It is also to be understood that control of the position of the container can be exerted until a label has been applied and even until the container is delivered to the pressure conforming and applying apparatus, should it be desirable.

I he Label-Gripping, -Orienting and -Applying Apparatus The label-gripping, -orienting and -applying apparatus 63 is located in the support framework 13 above the table structure 12. There is associated with the apparatus a label magazine 64, a label wetting device 65, where desired, and a gluing device 66 (see FIGURE 5).

Mounted forwardly in support framework 13 is apparatus 67a for applying conforming and squeezing pressure to labels which have been adhered to containers 21.

' Support structure 13 includes a platform 67 supported from one end of a surrounding upstanding rigid frame 68, which is provided with offset lug formations or sleeves 69 to slidably receive upstanding pairs of spaced posts 14. It is intended that the support structure \13 is adjustable above the table and can be suitably anchored in adjusted positions by an adjustable mechanism (not illustrated) which is operable to move the posts 114 uniformly upwardly and downwardly over a range of adjustment to correctly position the apparatus 63 and 67a over the containers to be labelled.

Label magazine 64 consists of a plate member 71 which is supported above the platform 67 and inclined at an angle of approximately 45 to the horizontal. Mounted to extend down plate 71 are spaced fiat strips or shims 70 which are provided with upstanding projections 70a at their lower ends to engage the lowermost edge of the stacked labels in the magazine as illustrated in FIGURES 1'1 and 12.

Overlying and also mounted to extend down the plate '71 are a pair of spaced bars 72 pivoted in adjustable brackets 73 at their upper ends and are adapted to be raised and lowered over the plate. The lower ends of bars 72 support a cross-bar 74 pivoted as at 74a at the side of plate 71, which in turn carries spaced adjustable brackets 75 intermediately of its length.

With reference to FIGURES l1 and 12, especially, it is seen that brackets 75 each comprise an apertured portion 225 whose bore 226 is configured to slidably receive the cross-bar 74 and each is anchored thereto by suitable clamping nuts 227. The forward extension 228 is provided with threaded openings 229 and 230 therethrough and the lower surface carrying a leaf spring element 231 secured rearwardly as at 232 and extending forwardly and downwardly to bear against the upper edges of the labels 233 stacked on the inclined plate member 71.

The rearward threaded opening 229* has a spring loaded threaded pin 234 therein whose tip is arranged to bear against the leaf spring element 231, displacing it downwardly against the upper edges of labels 233 to hold them in stacked relation against withdrawal.

A second spring loaded pin 235 is threadedly engaged in the forward threaded opening 230, the lower tip 236 having the form of a blunt nose which engages the outer surface of the lowermost label 238, holding it against dislodgement.

The thread-ed posts 234', 235 are adjustable for different sizes of labels and because of the helical springs 239, 240

to accommodate the dimensions of particular labels and contain them.

A vacuum bar 76 is mounted for reciprocable movement at the lowermost edge of the label magazine 64, and consists of an elongated bar which is provided with a central bore 77 and an upper fiat label-contacting face 78, and a plurality of apertures 79 to provide communication between central bore 77 and the flat, label-contacting face 78. Bar 76 is reciprocable to swing from a position in which the flat face 78 lies up against the lowermost label 79 in the magazine to a position in which the flat face is uppermost in a substantially horizontal plate (see FIG- URES 11 and 12).

The bar 76 is adapted to be reciprocated under the actuation of a suitable trip mechanism 300 (see FIGURE 3) which is contacted by a passing container, whereby the lowermost label in the magazine is caused to cling to the flat surface 78 and upon movement of the bar 76, the label is withdrawn from the magazine and presented to the label-gripping, -orienting and -a-pplying device 63. It is to be noted that the bar 76 does not extend the full length of the label 238 but leaves the end nearest the grippers 80 of the apparatus 63 unsupported such that it enters between the grippers 80 (see FIGURES 13a, 13b and 130).

The vacuum bar 76 is supported on a pair of spaced lugs 241 mounted below magazine 64 through which a reciprocable shaft 242 extends, shaft 242 being anchored in the bore of support portion 243 of bar 76 which is integral with the bar 76.

One end of the shaft 242 is provided with a bevel gear 244 which is meshed with a second bevel gear 245 mounted for reciprocation on shaft 246 which is located in spaced bearing brackets 247 suitably mounted on frame 68 at the side of magazine 64. The other end of shaft 246 is provided with a crank element 248 which is pivotally connected to a crank arm 249.

Crank arm 249 is connected at its opposite end to the arm 250 of a bell crank lever 251 which is pivoted on pin 252 mounted on the frame 68. The bell crank lever 251 is urged by spring 253 to maintain vacuum bar 76 in the inoperative or inclined position as shown in FIGURE 12.

The other arm 254' of bell crank lever 251 carries a cam roller 255 which engages the periphery of a generally square cam member 256 having enlarged curved corner camming portions 256:: which are adapted to reciprocate bell crank lever 251 under rotation thereof. Spring 253 at the same time urges the roller 255 into engagement with the peripheral surface of cam 256.

The perimetral configuration of the cam 256 is such that the bell crank is displaced in a direction against the spring 253, to bring the vacuum bar 256 from the position of FIGURE 11 to the inclined position of FIGURE 12 which is adapted to occur upon the approach of the grippers 80 of the apparatus 63- to seize a label from the bar 76 and release the bell crank 251 immediately prior to the arrival of the grippers 80, whereupon spring element 253 returns vacuum bar 76 to its initial position with the lowermost label 238 clinging to surface 78 for presentation to the grippers 80.

In FIGURE 9 it is seen that a second lever 257 is pivoted on a suitable pivot 258 in juxtaposition to the square cam member 256 and carrying at its lower end a roller cam 259 which also bears against the peripheral camming surface 256a. Lever 257 is urged by a spring 260 to maintain contact with cam 256.

Lever 257 operates a switch 261 to open and close a valve in the vacuum system to place the vacuum bar 76 by means of a conduit connection 262 in communication with a source of vacuum and to break the communication when it is no longer required.

A second cam 263 having a periphery of generally cruciform configuration is mounted coaxially with square cam 256, cam 263 upon rotation being adapted to actuate a switch 264 through a reciprocable roller cam formation 265 which contacts the cam 263. Switch 264 is adapted to bring an orifice member 275 into communication with a source of pressure air (see FIGURE 13b) which is used to remove a label being withdrawn from the surface 78 of vacuum bar 76 so that the vacuum bar 76 will be clear to receive the next lowermost label in the magazine. This adaptation is utilized where labels have an extended length and are not fully withdrawn from the surface of vacuum bar 76 at a time when the next label must be removed from the magazine.

In FIGURE 10 a latch mechanism 266 is illustrated and consists of a lever 267 pivoted at 268 centrally, one end of the lever 267 being connected to a solenoid switch 269 and the other end being connected to an extension spring element 269a. A notch formation 270 is formed at the upper end of lever 267 to engage a projection 271 formed on the arm 254 of the bell crank lever 251. The solenoid switch 269 is operated through a suitable conductor by trip mechanism 300 located in the path of a passing container (see FIGURE 3) to move the lever in the direction of the arrow, releasing the bell crank lever from the position shown which brings the cam roller 255 into engagement with the peripheral surface of square cam 256. With the solenoid switch 269 inoperative the spring 269a urges the lever 267 towards the bell crank 251, and registration of the projection 271 with notch 270 is accomplished when the roller reaches the mid point of the curved camming portions 256a.

It will be readily appreciated that where a container is missing from the sequence of containers being conveyed upon main conveyor 20, the trip mechanism 308 will not be actuated and therefore a spring element 269a will hold the lever 267 in the position of FIGURE 10 and a label will not be withdrawn from the magazine.

The label-gripping, -orienting and -applying apparatus 63 consists of a drum or hub element 81 mounted upon a horizontal shaft 82. for rotation counterclockwise, as viewed in FIGURES 5 and 6. Here it is pointed out that square cam 256 and cruciform cam 263 are mounted at the rearward end of shaft 82 for rotation and are positioned in relation to the position of the grippers 80 to accomplish withdrawal of the labels as previously described.

The platform 67 of support framework 13 is slotted to register with the lowermost portion of hub 81 and allow it to extend therebelow to contact passing containers 21. The shaft 82 is supported at each end in suitable journal members 83 (only one shown), the end 84 extending through its journal 83 and being provided with a sprocket Wheel 85a. Sprocket wheel 85a is connected by a suitable chain belt 85 to the sprocket wheel 86 mounted on a second horizontal shaft 87, which itself is driven through suitable sprocket and chain connections from the main motor.

Plate 81 is rigidly mounted on the shaft 82 and carries at its periphery a plurality of grippers 8t} spaced uniformly circumferentially therearound. Grippers 88 consist of a fixed finger 88 having a generally L-shaped configuration, one arm portion 89 of the L being anchored to the hub element as at 90, and the other arm portion 91 extending generally radially of the plate 81. The outer tip of arm portion 91 has a curvate biased edge 92 which coincides with the circumference of a circle having its center on the axis of rotation of the plate 81. Surface 92 intersects a chamfered surface 93 at an obtuse angle. Surface 93 defines a clamping surface upon which the end of a label 79 is to be placed when it is transferred from the suction bar 76.

Mounted on plate 81 to co-operate with the fixed finger 88 is a movable finger formation 94 consisting of a plate element 95 having a projecting chamfered end 96 which is adapted to swing from a position in registration with the aforementioned clamping surface 93 to a position inwardly thereof. Plate 95 is mounted upon a pair of spaced bars 97 and 98 which are supported on a connecting pivot 99 extending through an aperture in plate 81 which is provided with a suitable bushing. Bar 97 has a rigid exten- 9 sion 100 which is biased by means of an extension spring element 101 anchored between the outer end and the plate element 81. This connection insures that the movable finger 94 is at all times biased toward engagement with the fixed finger.

The other bar 98 is provided with a rigid extension 102 which at its outer end carries a roller element 103 which is adapted to co-operate with a fixed cam 104, having a peripheral camming surface 105. The peripheral camming surface 105 is contoured so that the pivotal arms 97, 98 are displaced to swing the movable finger 94 out of clamping relation with the fixed finger 88 at the point of application of a label to a container 21, thereby releasing the label from the mechanism. The movable finger 94 is maintained by contact of roller element 103 with cam 104 out of registration with the fixed finger 88 until a point is reached where a label 238 from the magazine 64 is presented by vacuum bar 76 to the fixed finger 88. At this point instantly the movable finger 94 is released and is caused to move by the spring element 101 into clamping relation with the fixed finger 88 to grip the label.

Mounted behind each fixed finger 88 moving clockwise from its position on plate 81 is a container-centering structure 106 consisting of radially-extending plates 107 which together with the periphery of the hub element 8 1 defines a channel formation opening to the periphery thereof. The outer edges of the channel structure are curvate and lie on the circumference of a circle having its center coincident with the axis of rotation. Mounted centrally within the channel formation and spaced uniformly from the curvate outer edges 108 and inwardly of the plates 107 is a resilient pad 109 of preferably sponge rubber, which defines a central, upstanding, part-circumferentially extending surface against which a gripped label is adapted to lie.

Immediately prior to the actuation of the movable fin ger 94to grip a label, the surface of the pad 109 is contacted by a freely rotatable roller element 110 mounted to extend within a water-filled receptacle 111 which in turn is connectedto a reservoir 111a, the roller element 110 upon being contacted by the passing surface of pad 109 rotating to dispense water from the receptacle to the surface of the pad. This arrangement may be preferred, although it must be appreciated that other methods may be suitable for example, by supplying water in the form of a spray. As a label will normally possess inherent stiffness, it may be desirable to render it moldable. Also by the application of Water to the pad 109, the softened label will receive adhesive more readily.

As mentioned above, since a label will possess inherent stiffness, a roller may be provided immediately above the point where a label 238 is gripped by grippers 80, causing the label to move into contact with the wetted surface of the aforementioned pad 109, which by reason of the surface tension of the liquid, causes the label to cling. The label so-positioncd, is then ready to receive adhesive from the glue-dispensing device 66.

Here it is pointed out that the operation of the labelgripping, -orienting and -applying apparatus is controllable through a gear mechanism 139 to advance or set back the position of the grippers 80' in order to properly position the label upon a container 21.

Referring to FIGURES 16 and 17, it is seen that gearing mechanism 139 consists of a gear 140 mounted upon and adapted to be positively driven by shaft 87. The second driven gear formation or pinion 141 consists of a larger pinion portion 141a meshing With drive gear 140 and a smaller pinion portion 141k axially aligned therewith, and mounted upon a common shaft 142 for rotation. The shaft 142 is displaceable by means of an adjustable journal formation 143 supported from shaft 87 and displaced through a rack and pinion connection 144 by an adjustable control handle 145 to locate the pinion 141 at adjusted circumferential positions on the driving gear 140.

The smaller pinion portion 1 41b meshes with a third 10 gear 146 mounted for rotation on shaft 87 and integnally connected to the sprocket wheel 86 which through the endless chain 85 drives the label-gripping, -orienting and -applying apparatus 63.

It will be appreciated that by changing the position of displaceable gear formation 141, the position of the plate element 81 and hence the grippers are either advanced or set back to correct the position of application of a label to a container 21.

Adjustable tensioning sprockets 14 are provided to control the slackness of the chain belt 85 when the gear formation 139 is adjusted.

The glue dispensing device 66 consists of a receptacle or reservoir 114 for a suitable adhesive, and an overlying plate 115 slotted centrally as at 116, the central slot 1 16 receiving the lower portion of a driven or doctor roll 117 mounted upon a horizontal shaft 118, which is adapted to extend into the reservoir (see FIGURES 5 and -6) Mounted upon a driven shaft 119 to contact the peripheral surface of roll 117 is a glue-applying roll 120 which is adapted to be driven counterclockwise as indicated by the arrow in FIGURE 6, by means of a gear connection 121 which in turn is driven through a sprocket wheel 122 and chain 123 carried by shaft 32. The roll 120 is positioned so that it is in tangential contact with the surface of a label 238a being drawn past the roll by the label-gripping, -orienting and -applying mechanism 63.

. The shaft 118 of the doctor roll 117 is driven in a clockwise direction through suitable gear oonnections 124 between shaft 118 and shaft 119.

Mounted above the label-gripping, -orienting and -applying mechanism 63 is a device 125 for lifting the label from the surface of the pad 109 to bring it into contact positively with the surface of the glue-applying roll 120 and consists of two spaced members 126 rigidly connected at their upper ends by a sleeve member 127, the sleeve member being mounted on a fixed pivot 127a extending horizontally from a support structure 128 upstanding from the platform 68. The lower edges 129 of the parallel members 126 are configured first to contact the side portions of the bottom Wall 130 of channel formation 107 as it is drawn past and then to elevate the forward lower ends 131 of members 126 by virtue of a camrning action provided by the configuration of and contact with the aforementioned surfaces.

The forward lower ends 131 of each of the parallel members 126 are provided with projections 132 extending inwardly of a size and configuration to engage beneath the surface of the label 238a being drawn therepast which, under the camming action aforementioned, lifts a label from the surface of the pad 109 and causes it to move into positive contact with the peripheral surface of roll 120 as seen in FIGURE 7.

Mounted on the outer wall of each of the channel formations 107 is a device which is adapted to extract the end of a label from the gripping fingers 88, 94 just as the label is being applied to the container 21, the device consisting of an L-shaped member 133 pivoted at the intersection of the two arm portions of the L as at 133a, and being provided with a projection 134 at one end. The element 133 is provided with a spring to urge it in a clockwise direction to locate the pin 134 within slot 134a between the fixed fingers 8 8 and the channel formations 107 but during the lowermost travel of the label-selecting device "63 the arm portion 1330 is contacted by a fixed projection 1331) depending below and carried by frame 68, causing it to move and engage behind the surface of a gripped labelas indicated in FIG- URE 6, to move the gripped end from between the gripping fingers and secondly urging the label to separate from the surface of the pad 109 at the point where the label is brought into pressure contact With the cap of a container 21. Member 133, under the action of the spring, then assumes its initial position. Supported be low platform '67 are a pair of triangular plates 301 having a part-circular edge portion 302. Edges 302 have a curvature corresponding to the curvature of the periphery of hub element 81 and are adapted to project into the recesses 303 on either side of the pad element 109, as best seen in FIGURES 6a and 6b.

It is seen in FIGURE 6b that a label 23811 has a Width dimension exceeding the transverse dimension of the pad 109. The blades or plates 301 are mounted below platform 67 on adjustable supports 304 in spaced parallel relation, the blades being located to contact the opposite edges of label 238b to align the label with the pad immediately prior to its application to the cap of a container to insure uniformity in the labelled containers.

Coupled with this alignment is the action of the plates or blades 107 to orient the bottle cap 175 whereby a label is centered on the cap, for it will be appreciated that the necks of the containers 21 will frequently be out of line.

Operation It will be appreciated from the foregoing description that upon delivery of containers 21 onto main conveyor 20, which containers subsequently experience a turning movement imparted by the container-orienting mechanism 15, the containers are delivered to the exit of the container-orienting mechanism, whereupon they are adapted to be met by a descending gripped label located in the channel formation 107 of the mechanism 63 with adhesive applied and ready to be placed upon the appropriate surface of the container.

The step of wetting the pad 109, selecting labels from the magazine, and the step of applying adhesive to the surfaces of the labels occur in sequence continuously.

The label-gripping, -orienting and -applying device 63 is controlled by the gear formations 139 aforementioned; in other words, to advance or set back the point of application of a label to a container and so enable the operator to control the position. This is to be considered in conjunction with the orienting of the container 21 by the orienting mechanism 15 whereby a label can be applied in exactly the position desired.

It will be appreciated that the rate of travel of the container on the main conveyor is regulated in conjunction with the positions of the gripping fingers 88 and 94. As the container reaches the exit of the orienting mechanism, the label is drawn between blades 301 and the channel formation constituted by members 107 lines up the cap 175 of a passing container 21, registers with the cap 175, and the pad 109 with the label adhered thereto is pressed firmly down upon the cap, the label experiencing a release from the pad 109 by reason of the adhesion between the label and the surface of the cap, and also by reason of the action of the L-shaped member 133. It will be appreciated that the support frame 13 can be raised or lowered on the posts 14 to establish the required degree of pressure to be applied by the pressure pad 109 against the container cap :175.

A label 238k is thus disposed upon the cap 175 of the container and extends substantially in a horizontal plane longitudinally as at 189 and in position to co-act with pres sure-applying apparatus 67a for applying squeezing and conforming pressure to the label.

At this stage of the labelling operation the container 21 has been oriented into a position to receive the label and the label has been applied to extend in relation to the container in a specific direction, in this instance extending parallel to the direction of travel of the container upon conveyor 20.

Pressure-A p ply i ng Apparatus The apparatus 67a for applying pressure to labels comprises an endless belt formation 135 carrying a plurality of container-contacting and pressure-applying devices 136 mounted over main conveyor 20 upon the support structure 13. The endless belt formation 135 consists of a pair of endless chain belts 137 and 138, as best seen in 12 FIGURES 5 and 8, and are mounted in a vertical plane in spaced parallel relation on pairs of spaced sprocket wheels 147a and 14-8.

Sprocket wheels 147a are mounted in spaced relation upon shaft 87 which is driven through suitable connections by the main motor, shaft 87 also driving [gear mechanism 139.

Sprocket wheels 148 are mounted for rotation on a second horizontal shaft 149 suitably journalled on frame 68.

The upper and lower reaches 150 and 151, respectively, of chain belts 137 and 138 are supported in horizontal guideways 152 and 153, respectively, defined by spaced bars 154 and 155, and 156 and 157, respectively, which are mounted on a framework 158 upstanding from frame 68. Horizontal guideways 152 and 153 maintain the reaches of the chain belts against displacement under the weight and action of the container-contacting devices 136.

Each container-contacting device 136 consists of a plate or carriage 158a which extends between and is anchored to corresponding links of endless chain belts 137 and 138 by suitable pins at spaced points. Plate 158a has central spaced apertures 159 and 160 therethrough aligned with the direction of travel of the belts 137 and 138. Reoiprocably mounted within apertures 159 and 160 are elongated rods 161 and 162, connected by a cross-bar 163 at their inner ends and supporting a container-contacting and pressure-applying formation 164 at their outer ends. Rods 161 and 162 are biased by a spring element 165 located centrally therebetween and extending into engagement with plate 158a and cross-bar 163 to urge cross-bar 163 to its innermost position and to bring the container-contacting formation up against the plate 158a.

The container-contacting and pressure-applying formation 164 consists of a plate member 166 rigidly connected to the lower ends of the rods 161 and 162, plate element 166 having flanges 167 at opposite sides of the chain belts 137 and 138, and supporting aligned roller elements 168.

Forwardly and rearwardly of the plate 166 are pivot support extensions 169.

Mounted to extend below the plate 166 is a reciprocable container-engaging socket formation 171 (see FIGURE 8a) which is grooved to form an inner seat 174 for a cap 175 of container 21, socket formation 171 being supported from the plate 166 on a spring loaded reciprocable shaft 176, the spring 177 yielding under contact with the cap 175 of the container and the socket formation being displaced inwardly toward the plate 166.

Depending from the plate 166 inwardly of the flanges 167 are a pair of rigid guide members 178 located on opposite sides of the socket formation 171. At the lower end of the guide members 178 are inwardly extending C-shaped members 179 whose ends extend transversely of the socket 171 and define a guideway in which it slides.

Connected to socket formation 171 at opposite sides are pressure pads 180, each of which consists of a rigid backing plate 181 having a resilient compressible pad element 182 attached thereto, pad element 182 being suitably contoured as at 183 on its label-contacting face.

Pivotally connecting pressure pads to socket formation 171 is a toggle connection consisting of an element 184 which in turn is pivotally connected to the pivot support extensions 169 by links 185.

Mounted above the upper guideways 152 upon the framework 158 are spaced horizontal bars 186 whose upper surfaces 187 are adapted to support rollers 168 on plate 166 during the upper horizontal travel of the endless belt formation 135. At each end of bars 186 guide plates 188 and 189, respectively, are mounted, guide plates 188 having a generally circular boundary 190 to guide the movement of the devices 136 around the ends.

Member 189 is slotted as at 191 to control the descent of the device 136 as it moves around the sprocket wheel 147a, and into the container-engaging position.

Lowermost and supported upon adjustable threaded post formations 192 in spaced parallel relation to main conveyor is a second pair of spaced parallel guide bar formations 193 whose lower surfaces define camming surfaces against which the roller elements 168 bear, the inclined portion 195 controlling the descent of the device 136, which is brought into contact with a container. The lowermost surface 196 controls the position of the device 136 when it is fully engaged with a container, while at the opposite end the inclined surfaces 197 guide the device 136 when it is released from the container 21.

Operation Through the operation of the main motor to drive shaft 87, the endless belt formation 135 and the container-contacting devices 136 travel in their endless path, the contact of the Wheels 168 with surface 195 of the guideway formation 193 causing the container-contacting device 136 to descend to bring the socket formation 171 into registration with cap 175 of container 21. By reason of the setting of the threaded posts 192 to locate the bars 193 at a selected height above main conveyor 20, pressure is applied to the socket formation 171 by contact with the cap 175, causing it to be displaced inwardly against the action of the spring 177. As a result, the element 184 is displaced upwardly, which displacement swings the pressure pads 180 towards one another into parallelism to bring a label 238b into engagement with the surfaces of the cap 175 and the neck 36 of the container. This sequence of steps is readily discerned from FIGURE 8.

Since the label has been aflixed to the bottle in a specific direction, namely substantially parallel with the main conveyor 20, and since the pressure pads 180 and label are in alignment, the label is forced against the opposed surfaces of the neck 36 of the container 21 and upon application of pressure the adhesive coated surface of the label grips the surface of the container and will not separate therefrom. Continued contact of the mechanism 136 with the label and container over the length of the cam surface 196 insures that the label will adhere.

The container 21 is released by exactly the reverse action. As the container 21 is moved by the conveyor, so the socket formation 171 of mechanism 136 is released by virtue of the inclined guideway surface 197 and its contact therewith by rollers 168 and the action of spring element 165, whereupon the pressure pads 180 are forced to move outwardly under the action of the spring 177 to urge socket formation 171 downwardly. I The mechanism 136 is then moved around sprocket 148' until contact is made between the roller members 168 and the surfaces 190 of the end guide members 188. By virtue of the configuration of the guide members 188, again the assembly 164 is displaced progressively outwardly to its full extent to clear the intermediate support structure of the framework 158 (not shown) in its travel along the surfaces 187 of the upper bars 186. This arrangement also insures that the mechanisms 136 are adequately supported, which guards against any damage occurring.

It is to be understood that the driving connections of the mechanisms of the invention to the main motor have not been described or illustrated and that it would be well known in this field how such connections could be made to achieve the results of the operating parts.

It is to be understood that adjustments or regulations of any or all the mechanisms is to be undertaken through suitable devices well known to co-ordinate and synchronize the velocity of the main conveyor 20 and the velocity of the chain belts 40 and 41 of the orienting mechanism 15, the rotation of the label-gripping, -orienting and -applying device 63 through the gear mechanism 139, and as well, the operation of the pressure-applying apparatus 67a. Such co-ordination is necessary to accomplish all of the steps which have been described and illustrated.

It also will be readily appreciated that only the preferred embodiments of the invention have been described and 14 illustrated, whereas persons skilled in the art may undertake to provide variations or modifications of the structure without departing from the scope of the depending claims.

What we claim is:

1. In automatic labelling apparatus, an elongated base structure, endless conveyor means mounted upon said base structure to extend longitudinally thereof, the upper reach of said endless conveyor means presenting a generally horizontal support surface extending in -a straight line path for transporting containers to be labelled to a labelling station and to a label-conforming station continuously and at spaced intervals, means for moving said conveyor at -a constant velocity, a support formation mounted on said base structure to overlie said conveyor means and vertically spaced therefrom, means carried by said support formation for depositing an adhesive-carrying label on a container being transported on said conveyor means, an endless belt formation mounted on said support formation beyond said label-depositing means with reference to the direction of travel of said conveyor means, means supporting said endless belt formation for movement in a vertical plane, the lower reach of said endless belt formation being arranged to overlie said endless conveyor means and to extend in substantially parallel relation thereto, means for moving said endless belt formation at the same velocity as said endless conveyor means, support means carried by said endless belt formation for travel therewith in its endless path, reciprocable means mounted on said support means to extend beyond same in a direction away from said endless belt formation, said reciprocable means having a socket formation at the end thereof furthest away from said endless belt formation and having a configuration to register With a selected surface of a container transported on said endless conveyor means upon which a label has been deposited, pressure pad means mounted on said support means at opposite sides of said reciprocable means and means operable upon displacement of said reciprocable means in a direction to move said socket formation towards said support means under registration of said socket formation with such selected surface of a container to move said pressure pad means into substantial parallelism on opposite sides of said reciprocable means and depending below said socket formation, said pressure pad means having a spacing therebetween when in substantial parallelism to apply conforming pressure to a label to be applied against opposed selected surfaces of a container in conjunction with the application of conforming pressure by said socket formation to the first-mentioned selected surface of a container and means for controlling the position of a container transported on said conveyor means to present the aforementioned selected surfaces thereof to be labelled to said label-depositing means and to said socket formation and pressure pad means.

2. Automatic labelling apparatus according to claim 1 in which said end-less belt formation comprises a pair of spaced aligned endless chain belts one on either side of the center line of said endless conveyor means, said support means being supported on corresponding portions of said endless chain belts to extend therebetween.

3. Automatic labelling apparatus according to claim 2 in which said pair of endless chain belts are provided with a plurality of support means, reciprocable means and pressure pad means, each spaced from one another throughout the extent of said endless chain belts in accordance with the spacing of containers transported on said endless conveyor means.

4. Automatic labelling apparatus according to claim 3 in which each of said support means comprises a first support member secured to said spaced chain belts on corresponding portions thereof and a second plate member carrying said reciprocable means and said pressure pad means, said second plate member being supported from said first plate member for displacement in a direction away from said endless chain belts, means normally urging said second plate member towards said first plate member, adjustable cam means mounted to depend from said support formation presenting spaced parallel camming surfaces on opposite sides of the center line of said endless conveyor means and depending below the lower reach of said chain belts, cam follower means carried by said second plate member on opposite sides thereof and engageable with said camming surfaces while travelling along said aforementioned lower reach to displace said second plate member downwardly into overlying relation to a container transported upon said conveyor means to bring said socket formation of said reciprocable means into registration with a selected surface of a container, resulting in upward displacement of said reciprocable means and the movement of said pressure pad means into substantial parallelism, and to maintain such registration over a determined distance of travel of a container on said conveyor means.

5. Apparatus according to claim 4 in which said reciprocable means is constituted by a rod member slidably supported for reciprocation in said second plate member and spring means carried by said rod member normally urging said rod member in a direction to move said socket formation towards said second plate member.

6. Automatic labelling apparatus according to claim 5 in which each of said pressure pad means comprises a rigid backing plate having a resilient surface portion for contacting the selected surface of a container, the rigid backing plate member being pivotally connected at one end to said reciprocable rod member and connected by a link member intermediately of its extent to said second plate member whereby under reciprocation of said rod member said rigid backing plate is swung from a position extending outwardly on one side of said socket formation to a position approaching parallelism with the other of said backing plates and extending below the said socket formation, and reversely.

7. In automatic labelling apparatus, a lower base structure, endless conveyor means mounted on said lower base structure and being adapted to transport containers in a straight line horizontal path, means for driving said endless conveyor means at a determined velocity, an upper support structure mounted to overlie said lower base structure and vertically spaced therefrom, a shaft supported for rotation on said upper support structure about a horizontal axis arranged at right angles to the direction of travel of said endless conveyor means, a hub element mounted on said shaft to extend vertically and in alignment with the center line of said endless conveyor means, releasable label-gripping means carried by said hub element including a fixed gripping surface portion located at the periphery of said hub element, and a movable gripping finger formation mounted on said hub element to swing into and out of gripping relation with said fixed gripping surface portion, resilient means carried by said hub element normally urging said gripping finger formation into gripping relation with said fixed gripping surface portion and means operable upon rotation of said hub element to swing said gripping finger formation out of gripping relation during a part of each cycle of said hub element, an endless belt formation carried by said upper support structure, said endless belt formation having a portion of its path of travel arranged in overlying spaced parallel relation to said endless conveyor means with said aforementioned portion located beyond said hub element with reference to the direction of travel of containers on said endless conveyor means, support means mounted on said endless belt formation for travel therewith, reciprocable means carried by said support means to extend below and into the path of travel of containers transported upon said endless conveyor means, said reciprocable means being arranged in vertical alignment with the center line of said endless conveyor means and having a container-engaging formation at its lowermost end which is adapted to register with a selected portion of the surface of a container, pressure pad means pivotally mounted on said support means at opposite sides of said reciprocable means and arranged to register with selected surface portions of a container on opposite sides of said first-mentioned selected surface portion, and means operable upon displacement of said reciprocable means upwardly for swinging said pressure pad means toward one another and into engagement with said second-mentioned selected surface portions of a container, means for simultaneously driving said hub element to provide a peripheral velocity of the order of the determined velocity of said endless conveyor means and in a direction whereby at the point of application of a label to a container, the label and container are travelling in the same direction and at the same velocity and for driving said endless belt formation at a velocity of the order of the velocity of said endless conveyor means, and means for controlling the position of a container on said endless conveyor means whereby said selected surface portions of a container are presented to said hub element and releasable gripping means for the application of a label thereto and to said container-engaging formation and said pressure pad means for the conforming of a label thereon.

8. In automatic labelling apparatus, a lower base structure, endless conveyor means mounted on said lower base structure for transporting containers in a straight line horizontal path, means for driving said endless conveyor means at a determined velocity, an upper support structure mounted to overlie said lower base structure and adjustable vertically to alter the distance between same and said endless conveyor means, rotary means mounted on said support structure for sequentially gripping a label presented thereto and depositing such gripped label onto a container transported by said endless conveyor means comprising, a shaft supported for rotation about a horizontal axis and at right angles to the direction of travel of said endless conveyor means, a hub element mounted on said shaft and arranged to extend vertically and in substantial alignment with the center line of said endless conveyor means, a plurality of releasable label gripping means carried by said 'hub element and spaced uniformly circumferentially therearound, each including a fixed gripping surface portion located at the periphery of said hub element and a movable gripping finger formation mounted upon said hub element to swing into and out of gripping relation with said fixed surface portion, resilient means connected between said hub element and each of said gripping finger formations normally urging said gripping finger formation into gripping relation with said fixed gripping surface portion, and co-operating cam means including a stationary cam mounted on said support structure and at one side of said hub element and cam follower means carried by each of said gripping finger formations operable under rotation of said hub element to swing said gripping finger formations out of gripping relation and maintain same out of gripping relation during a part of each cycle of said hub element, means for conforming labels to lie against selected adjacent and discontinuous surfaces of a container transported upon said endless conveyor means, mounted upon said upper support structure and beyond said hub element with reference to the direction of travel of a container transported upon said endless conveyor means, said means for conforming labels comprising an endless belt formation, means carried by said upper support structure supporting said endless belt formation for movement in a vertical plane, the lower reach of said endless belt formation being arranged to overlie said endless conveyor means, and to extend in substantially parallel relation thereto, a plurality of spaced support means carried by said endless belt formation for travel therewith in its endless path, reciprocable means mounted on each of said support means to extend beyond same in a direction away from said endless belt formation, each of said reciprocable means being arranged in substantial vertical alignment with the center line of said conveyor means and having a socket formation at the end thereof furthest away from said endless belt formation for registration with a selected surface portion of a container transported on said endless conveyor means, pressure pad means mounted on each of said support means at opposite sides of said reciprocable means and means operable upon displacement of said reciprocable means in a direction to move said socket formation towards said support means for moving said pressure pad means towards one another and to register with surface portions of a container on opposite sides of said first-mentioned selected surface portion, means for simultaneously driving said hub element to provide a peripheral velocity of the order of the determined velocity of said endless conveyor means and in a direction whereby at the point of application of a label to a container, the label and container are traveling in the same direction and at the same velocity and for driving said endless belt formation at a velocity of the order of the velocity of said endless conveyor means, and means for controlling the position of a container on said endless conveyor means whereby said selected surface portions of a container are presented to said hub element and releasable gripping means for the application of a label thereto and to said container-engaging formation and said pressure pad means for the conforming of a label thereon.

9. In automatic labelling apparatus for labelling containers having an upright disposition and a lower portion of generally circular configuration in horizontal crosssection, an elongated base structure, endless conveyor means mounted upon said base structure to extend longitudinally thereof, for transporting upright containers to be labelled in a straight line horizontal path, means for driving said endless conveyor means at a determined velocity, means located in next adjacent relation to said conveyor means to contact the lower portion of each passing container to impart rotational movement thereto to turn each container about its vertical axis to a determined position for the subsequent application of a label thereto, a support structure mounted on said base structure to overlie said endless conveyor means and vertically spaced therefrom, means carried by said support formation for depositing an adhesive-carrying label onto a cont-ainer being transported on said conveyor means, said label-depositing means being located at a point along said conveyor means, at which a container has been turned to said aforementioned determined position, an endless belt formation mounted on said support formation beyond said label-depositing means with the reference to the direction of travel of containers transported upon said conveyor means, means supporting said endless belt formation for travel in a vertical plane, the lower reach of said endless belt formation being arranged to overlie said endless conveyor means and to extend in substantially parallel relation thereto, means for moving said endless belt formation at the same velocity as said endless conveyor means, and means carried by said endless belt formation for applying conforming pressure to a label against selected surfaces of an upright container being transported upon said endless conveyor means, and means for controlling the position of a container transported on said conveyor means to present the aforementioned selected surfaces thereof to be labelled, to said label-depositing means and to said label-conforming means.

10. In automatic labelling apparatus for labelling containers having an upright disposition and a lower portion of generally circular configuration in horizontal crosssection, a lower base structure, endless conveyor means mounted on said lower base structure and being adapted to transport upright containers in a straight line horizontal path, means for driving said endless conveyor means at a determined velocity, means for fixing the position of each container against displacement along the conveyor means but leaving the container free for rotational movement thereon, means for turning an upright container to a determined position comprising abutment surface means arranged at one side of the center line of said conveyor means and extending parallel thereto and arranged to slidably cont-act the lower portion of each container conveyed upon said conveyor means, means arranged to travel on the side of the center line of said conveyor means opposite to said abutment surface means for continuously urging the lower portion of each container into abutment with said abutment surface means to impart rotational movement thereto, means limiting the rotational move ment of each container imparted by said latter means, means for driving said means for urging the containers into abutment with said abutment surface means and means for driving said means iimiting the rotational movement of each container, both in the same direction of and at velocities equal to the determined velocity of, said endless conveyor means, an upper support structure mounted to overlie said lower base structure and vertically spaced therefrom, means for depositing a label on containers transported upon said endless conveyor means comprising a shaft supported for rotation on said upper support structure about a horizontal axis arranged at right angles to the direction of travel of said endless conveyor means, a hub element mounted on said shaft to extend vertically and in alignment with the center line of said endless conveyor means, said shaft and hub element being arranged on said support structure at a point along the endless conveyor means at which a container has turned to said determined position, releasable labelgripping means carried by said hub element including a fixed gripping surface portion located at the periphery of said hub element and a movable gripping finger formation mounted on said hub element to swing into and out of gripping relation with said fixed gripping surface portion, resilient means carried by said hub element normally urging said gripping finger formation into gripping relation with said fixed gripping surface portion, and means operable upon rotation of said hub element to swing said gripping finger formation out of gripping relation during a part of each cycle of said hub element whereby a label is gripped and subsequently deposited upon a container transported on said endless conveyor means, an endless belt formation carried by said upper support structure, said endless belt formation having a portion of its path of travel arranged in overlying, spaced parallel relation to said endless conveyor means with said aforementioned portion located beyond said hub element with reference to the direction of travel of containers on said endless conveyor means, support means mounted on said endless belt formation for travel therewith, reciprocable means carried by said support means to extend below and into the path of travel of containers transported upon said endless conveyor means, said reciprocable means being arranged in vertical alignment with the center line of said endless conveyor means and having a container-engaging formation at its lowermost end which is adapted to register with a. selected portion of the surface of a container to be labelled, pressure pad means pivotally mounted on said support means at opposite sides of said reciprocable means and arranged to register with selected surface portions of a container to be labelled on opposite sides of said first-mentioned selected surface portion, and means operable upon displacement of said reciprocable means upwardly for swinging said pressure pad means toward one another and into engagement with said second-mentioned selected surface portions of a container, means for, simultaneously, driving said hub element to provide a peripheral velocity of the order of the determined velocity of said endless conveyor means and in a direction whereby at the point of application of a label to a container, the label and container are travelling in the same direction and at the same velocity and for driving said endless belt formation at a velocity of the order of the velocity of said endless conveyor means, and means for controlling the position of said hub element and said releasable gripping means with reference to the position of a container on said endless conveyor means, whereby said selected surface portions of a container are presented to said hub element and releasable gripping means for the application of a label thereto and to said containerengaging formation and said pressure pad means for the conforming of a label thereon.

11. In automatic labelling apparatus for labelling containers having an upright disposition and a lower portion of generally circular configuration in horizontal crosssection, a lower base structure, endless conveyor means mounted on said lower base structure and being adapted to transport upright containers in a straight line horizontal path, means for driving s aid endless conveyor means at a determined velocity, means for fixed the position of each container against displacement along the conveyor means but leaving the container free for rotational movement thereon, abutment surface means arranged at one side of the center line of said conveyor means and extending parallel thereto and arranged to slidably contact the lower portion of each container as it is conveyed upon said conveyor means, means arranged to travel on the side of the center line of said conveyor means opposite to said abut-ment surface for continuously urging the lower portion of each container into abutment with said abutment surface means to impart rotational movement thereto, means limiting the rotational movement of each container imparted by said latter means, and means for driving both said means for urging the containers into abutment with said abutment surface means and said means limiting the rotational movement of each container in the direction of and at a velocity equal to the determined velocity of said endless conveyor means, an upper support structure mounted to overlie said lower base structure and adjustable vertically to alter the distance between same and said endless conveyor means, rotary means mounted on said support structure for sequentially gripping a label presented thereto and depositing such gripped label onto a container transported by said endless conveyor means comprising, a shaft supported for rotation about a horizontal axis and at right angles to the direction of travel of said endless conveyor means, a hub element mounted on said shaft and arranged to extend vertically and in alignment with the center line of said endless conveyor means, said shaft and hub element being arranged on said support structure at a point along the endless conveyor means at which a container has had imparted to it rotational movement and such rotational movement has been limited, a plurality of releasable label-gripping means carried by said hub element and spaced uniformly circumferentially therearound, each including a fixed gripping surface portion located at the periphery of said hub element and .a movable gripping finger formation mounted upon said hub element to swing into and out of gripping relation with said fixed surface portion, resilient means connected between said hub element and each of said gripping finger formations normally urging said gripping finger formation into gripping relation with said fixed gripping surface portion, and cooperating cam means including a stationary cam mounted on said support structure and at one side of said hub element and cam follower means carried by each of said gripping finger formations operable under rotation of said hub element to swing said gripping finger formations out of gripping relation and maintain same out of gripping relation during a part of each cycle of said hub element, means for conforming labels to lie against selected adjacent and discontinuous surfaces of a container transported upon said endless conveyor means, mounted upon said upper support structure and beyond said hub element with reference to the direction of travel of a container transported upon said endless conveyor means, said means for conforming labels comprising an endless belt formation, means carried by said upper support structure supporting said endless belt formation for movement in a vertical plane, the lower reach of said endless belt formation being arranged to overlie said endless conveyor means, and to extend in substantially parallel relation thereto, a plurality of spaced support means carried by said endless belt formation for travel therewith in its endless path, reciprocable means mounted on each of said support means to extend beyond same in a direction away from said endless belt formation, each of said reciprocable means being arranged in vertical alignment with the center line of said conveyor means and having a socket formation at the end thereof furthest away from said endless belt formation for registration with a selected surface portion of a container transported on said endless conveyor means, pressure pad means mounted on each of said support means at opposite sides of said reciprocable means and means operable upon displacement of said reciprocable means in a direction to move said socket formation towards said support means for moving said pressure pad means towards one another and to register with surface portions of a container on opposite sides of said first-mentioned selected surface portion, means for driving said hub element to provide a peripheral velocity of the order of the determined velocity of said endless conveyor means and in a direction whereby at the point of application of a label to a container, the label and container are travelling in the same direction and at the same velocity and means for driving said endless belt formation at a velocity of the order of the velocity of said endless conveyor means, and means for controlling the position of said hub element and said releasable gripping means with reference to the position of a container on said endless conveyor means, whereby said selected surface portions of a container are presented to said hub element and releasable gripping means for the application of a label thereto and to said containerengaging formation and said pressure pad means for the conforming of a label thereon.

12. Automatic labelling apparatus for labelling containers having an upright disposition and a lower portion of generally circular configuration in horizontal cross-section, the lower portion being surmounted by a central upstanding neck portion provided with a closure member at the upper end, a base, a table structure mounted on said base, means mounted on said table structure for conveying upright containers continuously and at spaced intervals in a straight line horizontal path, means mounted on said table structure and located in next adjacent relation to said conveying means to contact the lower portion of each passing container to impart rotational movement thereto to turn each container about its upright axis and means for limiting imparted rotational movement to each upright passing container to position same prior to the application of a label thereto, a support structure overlying said table structure, a label magazine mounted on said overlying support structure, means for withdrawing a label from said magazine, rotary means mounted on said overlying support structure and arranged to overlie a container transported on said conveying means, said rotary means having releasable gripping means for seizing a label from said withdrawing means and delivering same to a container transported on said conveying means, adhesive-dispensing means mounted on said overlying support structure adjacent to the path described by said label-gripping means upon rotation being imparted to said rotary means, said adhesive-dispensing means being spaced peripherally between the point of gripping and the point of delivery and release of the label by said label-gripping means, said adhesive-dispensing means being adapted to dispense adhesive onto a selected surface of a passing label and means carried by said rotary means controlling the position of a gripped label to present such selected surface to said adhesive-dispensing means and to the closure member of a container to be labelled, an endless belt formation mounted 21 in said overlying support structure and beyond said rotary means, said endless belt formation being supported for translation in a vertical plane and having a lower path of travel overlying and extending parallel to said conveying means, a carriage mounted upon said belt formation, reciprocable plunger means mounted on said carriage, said plunger means being supported to extend beyond said carriage in a direction away from said endless belt formation and into the path of travel of a container, said plunger means presenting a socket formation at the end thereof furthest away from said endless belt formation which is adapted to register with a closure member of a container, resilient yieldable means urging said plunger means in a direction away from said endless belt formation, and a pressure pad means pivotally mounted on said carriage at opposite sides of said plunger means and means operable upon displacement of said plunger means in a direction toward the endless belt formation under registration of said socket formation with a closure member of a container to swing said pressure pad means into substantial parallelism on opposite sides of said plunger means and therebelow, said pressure pad means each having resilient yieldable surface portions facing inwardly in opposition,

and having a spacing therebetween when in substantial parallelism, to apply conforming and squeezing pressure to the opposite ends of a label against the opposite surfaces of a neck portion of a container in conjunction with the application of conforming and squeezing pressure by said socket portion to the central portion of a label against the closure member of a container, means for driving said rotary means to provide a peripheral velocity of the order of the determined velocity of said endless conveyor means and in a direction whereby at the point of application of a label to a container, the label and container are travelling in the same direction and at the same velocity, and means for driving said endless belt formation at a velocity of the order of the velocity of said endless conveyor means, and means for controlling the position of said rotary means with reference to the position of a container on said endless conveyor means whereby a label is centered upon the cap of a container and the ends of said label extend uniformly down the neck portion of a container on opposite sides.

13. In automatic labelling apparatus for labelling containers having an upright disposition and a lower portion of generally circular configuration in horizontal cross-section, means for conveying containers in upright disposition continuously and in sequence to a labelling station and means located in next adjacent relation to said conveying means and in advance of said labelling station to contact the lower portion of each passing container to impart rotational movement thereto to turn each container about its vertical axis to a determined position for the subsequent application of a label thereto.

14. In automatic labelling apparatus for labelling containers having an upright disposition and a lower portion ofgenerally circular configuration in horizontal cross-section, means for conveying containers in upright disposition continuously and sequentially to a labelling station, means located in next adjacent relation to said conveying means and in advance of said labelling station to contact the lower portion to impart rotational movement to turn each upright passing container about its vertical axis while it is being conveyed and means for limiting imparted rotational movement to each upright passing container to position same for the application of a label thereto.

15. In automatic labelling apparatus for labelling containers having an upright disposition and a lower portion of generally circular configuration in horizontal cross-section, means for conveying upright containers continuously and at spaced intervals to a labelling station, means mounted upon said conveyor means maintaining the container against relative movement in a direction opposite to the direction of travel of said conveying means, and means located in next adjacent relation to said conveying means in advance of said labelling station and arranged to contact the lower portion of each passing upright container to impart rotational movement thereto about its vertical axis to turn same to a determined position for the application of a label thereto.

16. In automatic labelling apparatus for labelling containers having an upright disposition and a lower portion of generally circular configuration in horizontal cross-section, means for conveying upright containers continuously and at spaced intervals to a labelling station, means mounted upon said conveying means maintaining the container against relative displacement in a direction opposite to the direction of travel of said conveying means, means located in next adjacent relation to said conveying means in advance of said labelling station and arranged to contact the lower portion of each passing upright container to impart rotational movement to turn said container about its vertical axis and means limiting imparted rotational movement to position each container for the application of a label thereto.

17. In automatic labelling apparatus for labelling containers having an upright disposition and a lower portion of generally circular configuration in horizontal cross-section, means for conveying upright containers continuously in a straight line horizontal path and at spaced intervals to a labelling station, means mounted upon said convey ing means maintaining each container against relative displacement in a direction opposite to the direction of travel of said conveying means, means located in next adjacent relation to said conveying means in advance of said labelling station and arranged to contact the lower p ortion of each passing upright container to impart rotational movement thereto about its vertical axis and means limiting imparted rotational movement to each container to position same for the application of a label thereto.

18. In automatic labelling apparatus for labelling oontainers having an upright disposition and a lower portion of generally circular configuration in horizontal crosssection, conveyor means for conveying containers in upright disposition, means for fixing the position of each container against displacement along the conveyor means but leaving the container {free for rotational movement thereon, abutment surface means arranged at one side of the center line of said conveyor means and extending parallel thereto and arranged to slidably contact the lower portion of each container as it is conveyed upon said conveyor means, and means arranged at the side of the center line of said conveyor means opposite to said abutment surface means for urging the lower portion of each container into abutment with said abutment surface means to impart rotational movement thereto.

19. In automatic labelling apparatus for labelling containers having an upright disposition and a lower portion of generally circular configuration in horizontal crosssection, conveyor means for conveying containers in upright disposition, means for fixing the position of each container against displacement along the conveyor means but leaving the container free for rotational movement thereon, abutment surface means arranged at one side of the center line of said conveyor means and extending parallel thereto and arranged to slidably contact the lower portion of each container as it is conveyed upon said conveyor means, means arranged at the side of the center line of said conveyor means opposite to said abutment surface means for urging the lower portion of each container into abutment with said abutment surface means to impart rotational movement thereto, and means limit ing the rotational rnovement of each container imparted by said latter means.

20. Apparatus according to claim 19 in which said means for fixing the position of a container upon said conveyor means comprises a member upstanding centrally of the container-supporting surface of the conveyor means, said member having a wheel member rotatable about an upright axis, said wheel extending forwardly of said up- 23 standing member to provide point contact with a container upon said conveyor means.

21. Apparatus according to claim 19 in which said abutment surface means comprises a rigid bar formation extending parallel to and throughout a portion of the extent of said conveyor means at one side of the center line thereof, and located above the container-supporting surface of said conveyor means, said bar having a frictioned surface of contact throughout a portion of its extent against which the lower portion of a container is adapted to abut in sliding contact therewith.

22. Apparatus according to claim 21 in Which said frictioned surface of contact is constituted by a piece of tanned leather.

23. Apparatus according to claim 19 in which said abutment surface means comprises an endless belt formation mounted to present an extended surface of contact substantially parallel to said conveyor means and above the container-supporting surface thereof, said surface of contact being frictioned to positively engage the surface of the lower portion of a passing container to impart turning movement thereto, and means for driving said endless belt to move said surface of contact parallel to said conveyor means in :a direction opposite to the direction of travel of said conveyor means.

24. Apparatus according to claim 23 in which said endless belt formation comprises an endless rubber band mounted upon spaced sprocket wheels and lug means carried by the surface of said belt engaging said sprocket wheels for positive drive of said rubber band by said sprocket wheels.

25. Apparatus according to claim 19 in which said means for urging the lower portion of said container into abutment with said abutment surface means comprises an endless belt having a portion of its path of travel arranged in substantial parallel relation to said conveyor means and on the side of the center line of said conveyor means opposite to said abutment surface means, said endless belt carrying at least one wheel element freely rotatable about an upright axis and extending into the path of a passing container on said conveyor means, and means for driving said endless belt to move said wheel element in its path of travel parallel to said conveyor means in the same direction and at the same velocity as said conveyor means, the position of said wheel element being synchronized with said conveyor means to positively engage a container conveyed thereon to urge same against said abutment surface means.

26. Apparatus according to claim 25 in which said Wheel element comprises a central rigid hub formation having a resilient annular rim element, the rim element having a surface characteristic for frictionally engaging the surface of a container to urge same against said abutment surface means.

27. Apparatus according to claim 26 in which said endless belt is provided with a plurality of wheel elements, spaced upon the belt in accordance with the selected spacing of containers deposited on said conveyor means.

28. Apparatus according to claim 19 in which said means limiting rotational movement imparted to a container comprises an endless belt assembly mounted on the same side :of the center line of the conveyor means as said abutment surface means, the belt carrying projection means being adapted to project into the path of and engage a passing container, to which rotational movement has been imparted to constrain same against further rotational movement, that portion of said endless belt carrying said projection means and which is arranged to project into the path of and engage 'a passing container being arranged to travel in the same direction and at the same velocity as said conveyor means, and being synchronized with said conveyor means.

29. In automatic labelling apparatus for labelling containers having an upright disposition and a lower portion of generally circular configuration in horizontal crosssection, horizontal conveyor means for transporting upright containers in a straight line path to a labelling station, upstanding stop means mounted upon said conveyor means at spaced intervals to locate each container deposited thereon against backward sliding movement, abutment surface means extending parallel to and throughout a portion of the extent of and on one side of the center line of said conveyor means in advance of the labelling station, and located above the container-supporting surface of said conveyor means, said abutment surface means having a frictioned surface against which the surface of the lower portion of a passing container is adapted to abut in sliding contact therewith, an endless belt having at least a portion of its path of travel arranged in parallel relation to said conveyor means and on the side of the center line of said conveyor means opposite to said abutment surface means, said belt carrying freely rotatable wheel elements mounted for rotation about a substantially vertical axis, said wheel elements being arranged to extend above the container-supporting surface of said conveyor means and having a surface of engagement extending into the path of travel of a passing container to positively contact same to urge same into abutment with said abutment surface means, said belt in its path parallel to said conveyor means and along which contact is made between said wheel elements and containers being driven to travel in the same direction as the direction of travel of said conveyor means, a second endless belt assembly mounted on the same side of the center line of said conveyor means as said abutment surface means and thereabove, said second endless belt carrying a plurality of projection means adapted to project into the path of and engage passing containers, to which rotational movement has been imparted to constrain same against further rotational movement, that portion of said endless belt carrying said projection means which is arranged to project into the path of and engage passing containers being driven to travel in the same direction and at the same speed as said conveyor means, means for driving said conveyor means, means for driving said first endless belt, and means for driving said second endless belt, and means for synchronizing said conveyor means and said first and second endless belts, whereby passing containers have imparted thereto rotational movement to turn same about their vertical axes to bring said second projection means into registration with said projection means to selectively position same for the application of a label thereto.

30. Apparatus according to claim 29 in which said abutment surface means comprises a rigid bar formation extending parallel to and throughout a portion of the extent of said conveyor means at one side of the center line thereof, and located above the container-supporting surface of said conveyor means, said bar having a frictioned surface of contact throughout a portion of its extent against which the lower portion of a container is adapted to abut in sliding contact therewith.

31. Apparatus according to claim 29 in which said abutment surface means comprises \an endless belt formation mounted to present an extended surface of contact substantially parallel to said conveyor means and above the container-supporting surface thereof, said surface of contact being frictioned to positively engage the surface of the lower portion of a passing container to impart turning movement thereto, and means for driving said endless belt to move said surface of contact parallel to said conveyor means in a direction opposite to the direction of travel of said conveyor means.

32. In automatic labelling apparatus wherein containers to be labelled are adapted to be delivered to a labelling station continuously and in sequence, rotary means for sequentially gripping a label presented to said rotary means and depositing such gripped label on a container during each cycle thereof, comprising a hub element having a central axis of rotation, means supporting said hub element for rotation, releasable label-gripping means car-

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1995306 *Nov 12, 1932Mar 26, 1935Hanover Machine CorpLabeling machine
US2528944 *Jan 25, 1949Nov 7, 1950Economic Machinery CoPicker control for label-applying machines
US2626075 *May 5, 1950Jan 20, 1953Chisholm Ryder Company Of PennCan labeling machine
US2683549 *Oct 31, 1951Jul 13, 1954Phin Sales CompanyStamping or labeling machine
US2910167 *Sep 22, 1958Oct 27, 1959Universal Labelling Machines LInfeed mechanism
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3206348 *Jan 21, 1963Sep 14, 1965Holstein John HStrip stamp applying mechanism
US3450586 *Oct 4, 1965Jun 17, 1969Canadian Stackpole LtdAutomatic labelling apparatus
US3663336 *Nov 6, 1970May 16, 1972Alkalay JorgeApparatus for attaching strip labels to top and neck of a container
US7017820Feb 8, 2001Mar 28, 2006James BrunnerMachine and process for manufacturing a label with a security element
DE1511889B1 *Jul 8, 1966Oct 8, 1970James Robert PhinSicherheitsvorrichtung zur Verhinderung von Fehlbeleimungen an Etikettiermaschinen
Classifications
U.S. Classification156/364, 156/DIG.150, 156/492, 156/493
International ClassificationB65C9/36, B65C3/20, B65C3/00, B65C9/00, B65C9/04, B65C9/26
Cooperative ClassificationB65C9/36, B65C3/20, B65C9/04
European ClassificationB65C9/36, B65C3/20, B65C9/04