US 3098552 A
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C. M. SCHULZ CAN DIVIDER July 23, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Aug. 5, 1959 M &w of. M 6 mm mm H M w E M C United States Patent w 3,693,552 CAN DIVEDER Charles Matthew Schulz, Dumont, N.J., assignor to American Can Company, New York, N.Y., a corporation of New Jersey Filed Aug. 5, 1959, Ser. No. 831,824 Claims. (Cl. 198-31) The present invention relates to can dividers and has. particular reference to a rotary magnetic divider wheel which is provided with shallow and deep can receiving pockets disposed around its periphery to facilitate the stripping of the cans from the wheel into a plurality of can receiving runways.
There are instances wherein it is desirable to divide a single lane of metal cans into a plurality of lanes, as for example, in a can cartoninlg machine wherein the incoming can-s must be distributed to a number of parallel runways preparatory to insertion into cartons. Numerous devices for performing this dividing operation are presently available on the market, but most of these dividers are so complicated in construction and utilize so many moving parts that they are unduly expensive and are diiiicult to keep in operating condition.
The present invention contemplates a can divider which is extremely simple in construction and utilizes a minimum number of movable parts. In essence, the divider comprises a pair of star wheels or rotors mounted on parallel axes in substantially tangential relationship. Each wheel is formed with magnetic pockets which receive the cans from a single feed-in chute and distribute them to a plurality of discharge runways which lead into the loading station of the can cartoning machine. Some of these magnetic pockets are quite shallow and preferably extend only about one half of a can diameter into the periphery of the star wheel. The remaining magnetic pockets are much deeper and extend radially into the star wheel to a depth of slightly more than one can diameter beyond the shallow pockets.
The cans are firmly held in the pockets by magnets and are positively stripped from the pockets by stationary stripping devices and guided into the can discharge runways, the difference in depth between the deep and shal low pockets permitting the stripping of cans from both without interference. The can divider is preferably provided with devices for positively inserting the cans into the deep pockets to insure that they are fully seated and to thus obviate the possibility of the cans in these deep pockets from contacting and being damaged by the stripping devices which strip the cans from the shallow pockets.
As a result, the present invention provides a can divider which is extremely smooth and positive in operation, and utilizes a minimum number of moving parts.
An object of the invention is the provision of a rotary can divider which is provided with both shallow and deep pockets for distributing the cans to a plurality of discharge runways.
Another object of the invention is the provision of such a divider wherein all cans are magnetically held in the divider pockets and are positively stripped easily and gently from the pockets into the discharge runways by stationary stripper devices.
A further object of the invention is the provision in such a divider of means to positively insert the cans into the deep pockets in order to prevent them from being damaged by the stripper devices which strip the cans from the shallow pockets.
A still further object is the provision of a four lane divider which can be easily converted into a two or three lane divider by blocking oii certain of the can-receiving pockets.
Edi-98,552 ?atenteci July 23, 1963 Numerous other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent as it is better understood from the following description, which, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, discloses a preferred embodiment thereof.
Referring to the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a plan view of a divider made according to the principles of the instant invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation taken along the line 22 in FIG. 1;
FIGS. 3 and 4 are sectional views taken substantially along the lines 3-3 and 44 respectively of FIG 2;
FIGS. 5 and 6 are vertical longitudinal sections taken centrally through the divider wheels and illustrating how the cans are positively seated in the deep can pockets, parts being broken away; and
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary view of a portion of the mechanism shown in FIG. 5 but showing the deep pockets of one of the rotors blocked off so that the incoming cans are fed into only three discharge runways.
As a preferred embodiment of the instant invention, the drawings disclose a can dividing machine wherein cans C, shown here as comprising tubular cylindrical can bodies B pro-vided with flanges F at one end and having end members E seamed to the other end, are received in vertical alignment from a vertical gravity chute or runway 10 and are distributed by a pair of star wheels or rotors 12, 14 to four parallel discharge runways 16, 18, 2t 24 which feed them into a subsequent machine or other suitable place of deposit. Each rotor 12, 14 is made from a monrnagnetizable material such as aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, etc. and comprises a pair of laterally spaced disks 25 and .a hub 28. The hub 28 of the rotor 12 is keyed to a short horizontal shaft 30 and the hub 28 of the rotor 14 is keyed to a slightly longer shaft 32 which is mounted parallel to the shaft 30.
The shafts 30, 32 are journalled in bearings 34 which are bolted to outwardly extending flanges 36 formed at the upper ends of a pair of vertical rectangular guide plates 38 which are laterally spaced apart a distance slightly in excess of the length of the cans C. The rotors 12 and 14 are substantially tangent to each other and are coupled together for rotation at the same speed in opposite directions by a pair of large spur gears 40, 42 which are respectively keyed to the shafts 30, 32. Although the weight of the cans C in the feed-in runway 10 may be utilized to rotate the rotors 12, 14, the rotors are preferably positively driven by a conventional air motor 44 (see FIG. 1) which is keyed to the shaft 32 and is driven by compressed air which is fed into it through a supply pipe 46 and is vented from it through a vent pipe 48. As the cans C drop down the chute 10, they pass into the bight of the rotors 12, 14- and are received in shallow magnetic pockets 50 and deep magnetic pockets 52 which are formed by transversely paired radial indentations formed in the spaced disks 26 of the rotors 12, 14 at arcu-ately spaced intervals. In the form shown in the instant drawings, each rotor 12, 14 is provided with three shallow pockets 5!} and three deep pockets 52, all of the magnetic pockets of one rotor being staggered with respect to those of the other rotor so that they do not come into opposition to each other when centered at the point of tangency of the rotors.
The shallow magnetic pockets 50 preferably extend into the rotors 12, 14 to a depth of approximately one half of the diameter of the cans C, and each such pocket St} is provided adjacent its bottom with a permanent magnet 54 which is mounted on a transverse bar 55 which spans the disks 26 and is secured therein by screws 56 (see FIG. 4). The deep pockets 52 extend into the rotors 12, 14 to a depth which is slightly more than one can diameter beyond the depth of the shallow pockets 50 for a purpose which shall be hereinafter explained, and are similarly provided adjacent their bottoms with permanent magnets 57 which are screwed into flats formed on the hubs 28.
In order to permit the cans C to enter the shallow magnetic pockets 50 in each rotor without being crushed by the opposing rotor, those portions of the opposing rotor which are disposed in opposition to the shallow pockets 56 are cut away to form pairs of transversely aligned nonmagnetic recesses 58 which are substantially similar in shape and depth to the shallow magnetic pockets 50 and snugly engage against the cans C when centered on the codiametral plane of the rotors in opposition to the shallow pockets 50.
As seen in FIG. 2, as the shallow pockets 50 move into position beneath the chute 10, the cans C move downwardly in a straight line under the influence of gravity and enter these pockets 56 without interference, the recesses 58 insuring that the cans C are fully seated in the pockets St). The magnetic attraction of the magnets maintains the cans C in the pockets 50 and carries them around with the rotors until they are positively stripped from the pockets '50. This stripping operation is effected by pairs of stripper bars 60, 62 which engage the opposite ends of the can bodies C and force them radially out of the shallow pockets 56. The bars 69, 62 are secured in the side plates 38 and form extensions of the discharge runways 16 and 20, respectively. The forward free ends of the bars 60, 62 are substantially tangential to the rounded bottoms of the pockets 56 and extend inwardly beyond the pockets towards the hubs 28 of the rotors 12, 14 a distance at least equal to their thickness. The cans C that are stripped from the shallow pockets 50* of the rotor 12 by the bars 60 are forced out of the pockets and drop onto guide bars 63-, and roll along the bars 63 and into the discharge runway 18, while those stripped from the rotor 14 by the bars 62 roll around curved portions 64 of the bars 62 and then along straight portions 65 of the bars 62 and into the discharge runway 20.
In order to insure that the cans C which enter the deep pockets 52 are fully inserted therein, the rotors 12 and 14 are provided with pairs of radially projecting can inserting fingers 66 which are screwed into rotor side plates 26 in opposed relationship to the deep pockets 52. As seen clearly in FIGS. 5 and 6, the inserting fingers 66 move the cans C transversely into the deep pockets 52 and positively engage them until they are fully seated in the pockets 52 and are held in the pockets 52 by the magnets 57. The fingers 66 are preferably ofiset laterally lfl'OII]. the plates 26 on which they are mounted (see FIGS. 1 and 3) in order to prevent possible interference with the plates 26 of the opposing rotor.
After the cans have been thus fully inserted into the deep pockets 52 of the rotors 12, 14 they are held by the magnets 57 and carried past the stripper bars 60, 62, respectively. In order to prevent the cans C from striking the bars 60, 62, the pockets '52 must be at least one can diameter plus the thickness of a bar 66 or 62 deeper than the shallow pockets 56 (FIG. 3). After passing the free ends of the bars 66, 62, the cans C in the deep pockets 52 are stripped therefrom by stripper bars 67, 68, the tips of which start in substantial tangential relationship to the rounded bottoms of the deep pockets 52 so that the cans are gently stripped radially of the pockets 52 and away from the magnets 57.
The stripper bar 67 strips the cans C from the deep pockets 52 of the rotor 12 and stripped cans fall onto and roll along the top surfaces of the stripper bars 69 and are guided into the discharge runway 16.
The stripper bars 68 which strip the cans from the deep pockets 52 of the rotor 14 are formed with curved portions 69 in order to bring the bar 68 into alignment with the discharge runway 24. Because of this curvature, the cans remain in contact with the bars 68 and roll along them until they enter the runway 24. Since the rotors 12, 14 have equal numbers of shallow pockets 56 and deep pockets 52, the cans C are equally distributed to the discharge runways 16, 13, 26, 24'. In order to insure this equal distribution, it is necessary that the feed-in runway 1% always have some cans in it. To accomplish this, a conventional no-can detector switch (not shown), preferably of the type disclosed in United States Patent 1,916,255, issued July 4, 1933, is inserted in the runway 10 at a point ahead of the rotors 1-2 and 14, as disclosed in this patent. This detector switch is wired to control an electromagnetic shut-elf valve 70 which controls the flow of air in the compressed air line 46. Thus, in the event the fiow of cans into the runway 10 is for some reason halted and the supply of cans in the runway 18 runs low, the detector switch is actuated and closes the valve 70, thus halting the flow of compressed air to the air motor 44- and bringing the air motor 44 and the rotors 12, 14 to a rapid stop. When the flow of cans in the feed-in runway 10 is once again resumed, the detector switch reopens the valve 70, thus starting up the air motor 44 to again bring the rotors 12, 14 into rotation.
As shown in the drawings, the rotors 12, 14 are normally used to divide the cans into four discharge runways. It will be apparent that either the shallow magnetic pockets 5!) or the deep magnetic pockets 52, or both, of one or the other of the rotors 12, .14 can be blocked oil in order to divide the cans into either two or three discharge runways in the event such division were required, as it would be if a smaller carton requiring fewer rows were also to be filled by the can cartoning machine.
FIGURE 7 illustrates the can divider with the deep pockets 52 of the rotor 12 blocked off by arcuate shields 72 which are secured to the inside surfaces of the rotor disks 26. In such case, cans will not be fed into the runway 16. When the deep pockets 52 are thus blocked off, it is necessary to remove the inserting fingers 66 (see FIG. 7) which correspond to the blocked off pockets in order to prevent crushing of the cans against the arcuate shields 72.
In the event it is desired to block off the shallow pockets 59, shields similar to the shields 72 can be used to cover such pockets and their opposing recesses 58.
It is thought that the invention and many of its attendant advantages will be understood from the foregoing description, and it will be apparent that various changes may be made in the form, construction and arrangement of the parts without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention or sacrificing all of its material advantages, the form hereinbefore described being merely a preferred embodiment thereof.
1. A mechanism for dividing a single line of cans into four lines of cans, comprising a pair of oppositely rotatable rotors disposed in substantially tangential relationship on spaced parallel axes, means for feeding a single line of cans into the bight of said rotors, a plurality of shallow pockets formed at spaced intervals around the periphery of each of said rotors and extending radially inwardly into said rotors for receiving cans from said feeding means, can holding means associated with each of said shallow pockets for holding the cans in said shallow pockets while the rotors carry them through divergent arcuate paths of travel, a first stationary stripper mounted adjacent each of said rotors and extending inwardly relative to said rotor to a point adjacent the innermost portions of said shallow pockets to intercept the cans therein and to force them outwardly from said shallow pockets against the holding action of the can holding means associated with said shallow pockets, a plurality of deep pockets formed at spaced intervals around the periphery of said rotors for also receiving cans from said feeding means, can holding means associated with each of said deep pockets for holding the cans in said deep pockets while the rotors carry them through divergent arcuate paths of travel which are disposed inwardly of and concentric with the paths of travel through which the cans in the shallow pockets are carried, said deep pockets being arcuately offset relative to said shallow pockets and extending radially inwardly into said rotors beyond the innermost portions of said first strippers whereby the cans which are held in said deep pockets by the can holding means associated therewith are carried past the said first strippers, and a second stationary stripper mounted adjacent each of said rotors and extending radilally inwardly relative thereto to a point adjacent the innermost portions of said deep pockets to intercept the cans therein and to force them outwardly from said deep pockets against the holding action of the can holding means associated with said deep pockets.
2. The mechanism of claim 1 wherein all of said can holding means are magnetic.
3. The mechanism of claim 1 wherein each rotor contains equal numbers of shallow and deep pockets, and
6 wherein each rotor contains the same total number of pockets, whereby the single line of cans fed into the rotor by the feeding means is equally divided into four lines by the mechanism.
4. The mechanism of claim 3 wherein means are carried on each rotor for fully inserting the cans into the deep pockets of the opposing rotor.
5. The mechanism of claim 4 wherein the can holding means comprise magnets, and wherein the rotors are disposed on horizontal axes and the cans are fed to the rotors in a substantially vertical downward direction.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,273,509 Braren Feb. 17, 1942 2,630,903 Currivan Mar. 10, 1953 2,743,001 Nordquist Apr. 24, 1956 2,835,375 McGihon May 20, 1958