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 numberUS3107794 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 22, 1963
Filing dateJul 24, 1959
Priority dateJul 24, 1959
Publication numberUS 3107794 A, US 3107794A, US-A-3107794, US3107794 A, US3107794A
InventorsRudolph F Bechtold, John N Vincent
Original AssigneeContinental Can Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Unloader for palletized bulk can package
US 3107794 A
Abstract  available in
Images(12)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 22, 1963 R. F. BECHTOLD ETAL 3,107,794

UNLOADER FOR PALLETIZED BULK CAN PACKAGE Filed July 24, 1959 12 Sheets-Sheet 2 "a a a Q Q Q RUDOLPH FBEcHrow Jo w N l/nvcmr ATTORNEYS N INVENTORS Oct. 22, 1963 R. F. BECHTOLD ETAL 3,107,794

UNLOADER FOR PALLETIZED BULK CAN PACKAGE Filed July 24, 1959 12 Sheets-Sheet 3 R n a 3 M A p! 01,53 ATTORNEYS ln l H H l l l l H 4 lllllll llI Oct. 22, 1963 R. F. BECHTOLD ETAL 7,

UNLOADER FOR PALLETIZED BULK CAN PACKAGE Filed July 24, 1959 12 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTORS F/G 4 RUDOLPH FBEcHmLD JoH/v /V. VINCE/VT 7/1214, My fi m ATTORNEYS R. F. BECHTOLD ETAL UNLOADER FOR PALLETIZED BULK CAN PACKAGE 12 Sheets-Sheet 7 Oct. 22, 1963 Filed July 24, 1959 ii 2/ i 222 240 232 I g In A 7 [E 222* 27:222

INVENTORS Ruoomu FBEcHMLD 0/-//v IV. VINCENT 'fywh a i Oct. 22, 1963 R. F. BECHTOLD ETAL 7,

UNLOADER FOR PALLETIZED BULK CAN PACKAGE Filed July 24, 1959 12 Sheets-Sheet 9 INVENTORS RUDOLPH FBECHTOLD c/OH/V N V/NcE/vr TOR/VEYS Oct. 22, 1963 R. F. BECHTOLD ETAL 3,107,794

UNLOADER FOR PALLETIZED BULK CAN PACKAGE Filed July 24, 1959 12 Sheets-Sheet l0 INVENTORS RUDOLPH F BECHTOLD J0H/v /V. l nvca/vr BY m, M J} Oct. 22, 1963 R. F. BECHTOLD ETAL ,7

UNLOADER FOR PALLETIZED BULK CAN PACKAGE Filed July 24. 1959 12 Sheets-Sheet l2 United States Patent 3,167,794 UNLOADER FOR PALLETIZED BULK CAN PACKAGE Rudolph F. Bechtoid, Elmwood Park, Ill., and John N.

Vincent, West Hempstead, N.Y., assignors to Continental Can Company, Inn, New York, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed July 24, 1959, Ser. No.- 829,240 16 Claims. (Cl. 214-85) The invention relates in general to new and useful improvements in the art of handling cans, and more particularly seeks to provide a novel apparatus for unloading palletized bulk can packages.

The handling of cans has continuously presented a problem to the can making industry. The problem is of such a nature that in the instance of large canneries, under certain conditions, it has been feasible to build a can forming plant next door to the cannery. In other large installations, the cans are shipped in freight cars, the cans being delivered to the freight car by endless conveyors from the can making plant and being delivered from the freight car to the cannery by other conveyors. Even this mode of transportation of cans is relatively expensive due to the fact that the cans must be manually transferred from the conveyor to the railroad car at the can making plant, and from the railroad car to the conveyor at the cannery.

Other attempts to ship cans including the packaging of cans in boxes and bags have been made. Once again, this requires the manual handling of the cans at both ends.

In recent years, it has been found that palletized articles may be readily handled and shipped at a reduction in cost. This will apply equally as well to cans, if the cans can be automatically mechanically stacked and unloaded.

The present invention relates to an improved unloader for palletized cans and primarily seeks to provide a machine which is readily adaptable to all types of installations, and which will efficiently unload the cans arranged in tiers and stacked on a pallet, with the cans being unloaded a tier at a time.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved unloader for palletized cans wherein the cans are stacked in tiers, the unloader including a hoist which will receive a palletized load of cans and will automatically elevate the cans, tier by tier, so that each tier is sequentially aligned with can takeaway means, after which a pusher member automatically pushes all of the cans of a tier off of the package and onto the can takeaway means.

Still another object of the invention is to provide an improved unloader for palletized cans, the unloader being of such a construction that a pallet loaded with cans stacked in tiers may be placed upon a conveyor, after which the pallet and the cans are moved by the conveyor to a hoist, the pallet and the cans are then automatically elevated until the uppermost tier of cans is aligned with a can take-away means, which includes a waterfall over which the cans fall and a can blender to unscramble the cans so they leave the unloader in a single line, the machine being of such a nature that it will automatically continue the unloading of the palletized cans, tier by tier, until the pallet is empty, after which the pallet will be automatically discharged from the hoist and another palletized load of cans will be delivered to the hoist.

Another object of the invention is to provide a novel apparatus for unloading cans stacked in tiers on a pallet with the individual tiers of cans being separated by tier separator sheets, the machine being of such a construction that the pallet and the cans stacked thereon are automatically sequentially elevated so that the uppermost tier of cans is disposed generally in alignment with can takeaway means, after which the tier of cans is automatically pushed from the stack, the tier separator sheet underlying the tiered cans being held during the unloading operation to prevent movement of thetier separator sheet with the cans and the tilting of the stack of cans on the pallet.

A further object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for unloading cans which are palletized in tiers, and wherein the individual tiers of cans are separated by tier separator sheets, the apparatus including means for holding the tier separator sheets during a tier unloading operation, and other means for removing the tier separatorsheets and storing the tier separator sheets so that they may be salvaged.

Still another object of this invention is to provide an apparatus for removing tier separator sheets from a palletized bulk can package wherein the cans are stacked in tiers with the tiers separated by a tier separator sheet, and wherein the indivdual tiers of cans are removed therefrom by a pusher assembly, the pusher assembly also including suction means for engaging and lifting a tier separator sheet, and a bin remote from the palletized package into which the tier separator sheet may be dropped.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide an improved bin for stacking tier separator sheets and the like, the bin being in the form of a generally rectangular cage having an open top, one wall or side of the cage being pivotally connected to the remainder of the cage and being swingable from a generally vertical position to a generally horizontal position within the confines of the cage at the top part thereof, whereby tier separator sheets may be continued to be stacked in the bin while other tier separator sheets are being removed therefrom.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a novel bin for receiving sheets, such as tier separator sheets, the bin including a pair of guides for aligning tier separator sheets dropped into the bin, the guides being pivotally mounted and being swingable apart to facilitate the removal of a stack of tier separator sheets from therebetween.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a novel conveyor system for automatically conveying palletized products to a hoist upon demand, and for receiving the empty pallets from the hoist after the articles have been unloaded therefrom, and automatically removing the empty pallet from the area of the hoist, the conveyor system including an in-feed conveyor, an out-feed conveyor, and an intermediate conveyor, at least the in-feed conveyor and the intermediate conveyors being separately driven.

With the above, and other objects in view that will hereinafter appear, the nature of the invention will be more clearly understood by reference to the following detailed description, the appended claims, and the several views illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a plan view of the unloader, and shows the general arrangement of the various components thereof, an intermediate portion of the in-feed conveyor being broken away.

FIGURES 2 and 2-A when connected along section line A--A present an end view of the unloader of FIG- URE 1, looking into the unloader from an end thereof remote from the discharge end and generally normal to the conveyor system axis.

FIGURES is an enlarged fragmentary side elevational view of the unloader, looking into the unloader from the in-feed conveyor side thereof, the in-feed conveyor being omitted for purposes of clarity.

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged transverse vertical sectional 1% view taken substantially upon the plane indicated by the section line 4-4 of FIGURE 3, and shows the specific details of the interior construction of the unloader.

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged fragmentary transverse sectional view taken along the section line 5-5 of FIGURE 3, and shows the specific details of the drive for the takeaway means.

FIGURE 6 is an enlarged fragmentary end view of the unloader taken from the can discharge end thereof, and shows the general arrangement of the take-away means including the waterfall, can blender, and the cus tomers take-away conveyor.

FIGURE 7 is an enlarged fragmentary transverse sectional View taken along the section line 77 of FIGURE 6, and shows the specific details of the blender.

FIGURE 8 is a fnagmentary plan view of a palletized stack of cans, the upper tier of cans and the upper tier separator sheet being shown, the part of the tier separator sheet engaged by gripping means to prevent the movement of the tier separator sheet during the transfer of cans being shown by dotted lines.

FIGURE 9 is a perspective view of a typical pallet to be used in conjunction with the invention.

FIGURE 10 is an enlarged elevational view of the bin for receiving tier separator sheets.

FIGURE 11 is an enlarged end view of the bin of FIGURE 10 and shows further the details thereof.

FIGURE 12 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of an upper part of one of the guides of the bin, and shows the specific details of the upper part of the guide and a fitting for holding the guide in position for guiding tier separator sheets into the bin.

FIGURE 13 is an enlarged plan view of the intermediate conveyor with a portion thereof broken away and shown in section in order to illustrate the details of the drive thereof.

FIGURE 14 is a side elevational view of the intermediate conveyor and shows the relationship of the swing switch with respect thereto.

FIGURE 15 is an enlarged end view of the intermediate conveyor and shows further the details of the drive therefor.

FIGURE 16 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along the section line 16-46 of FIGURE 13, and shows the specific details of the mounting of one of the conveyor chains of the intermediate conveyor.

FIGURE 17 is an enlarged elevational view of the swing switch, and shows the specific details of the individual switches and operating mechanism thereof.

FIGURE 18 is an enlarged side elevational view of the swing switch, and shows further the details thereof.

FIGURE 19 is an enlarged fragmentary transverse vertical sectional View taken along the section line 19'19 of FIGURE 2, and shows the specific details of the infeed conveyor.

FIGURE 20 is an enlarged (fragmentary horizontal sectional view taken along the section line 202ii of FIG- URE l9, and shows further the details of the drive of the in-cfeed conveyor.

FIGURE 21 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view showing one side of the bin for the tier separator sheets swung upwardly from its normal vertical position to a horizontal position for receiving tier separator sheets while other tier separator sheets are being removed from the bin.

FIGURE 22 is an enlarged elevational view of a gripper mechanism for gripping the tier separator sheets to prevent movement thereof at the time 2. tier of cans is being pushed therefirom.

FIGURE 23 is a diagrammatic view showing the details of a control valve for the suction cup assemblies which are used in the removal of the tier separator sheets.

FIGURE 24 is a diagrammatic view showing the control valve for the extensible fluid motor of the hoist.

FIGURE 25 is a diagrammatic view showing the details of the control valve for the extensible fluid motor which operates the pusher member.

FIGURE 26 is a diagrammatic view showing the details of the control valve for the extensible fluid motor of the gripper assembly.

FIGURE 27 is an enlarged perspective view of the switch which is engaged by the cams of the uppermost tier of cans to discontinue the upward movement of the. hoist and thus position the uppermost tier of cans at the required elevation for unloading.

FIGURE 28 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical sectional view taken along the section line 28-28 of FIG- URE 3, and shows the details of the unloader in the area of the hoist.

FIGURE 29 is an enlarged fragmentary horizontal sectional view taken along the section line 29-29 of FIGURE 28, and shows the manner in which the hoist is guided for vertical movement.

FIGURE 30 is an enlarged fragmentary longitudinal vertical sectional viewshowing the cans in the process of having been pushed onto the dead plate with one of the cans moving onto the take-away conveyor.

FIGURE 31 is a wiring diagram showing the various controls of the unloader and their electrical circuits.

FIGURE 32 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taxen through one of the suction cup assemblies, and

shows the specific details thereof.

The embodiment of the invention illustrated in the drawings is primarily intended for unloading cans which are stacked in tiers on a pallet and transferring such cans to a single line conveyor. The cans are stacked on a conventional pallet, such as the pallet 5 illustrated in FIG- URE 9. The pallet 5 is of the type which maybe readily engaged by a fork lift truck to facilitate movement of the palletized bundle of cans. The cans will be stacked in tiers on the pallet 5 with each tier of cans being separated by a tier separator sheet s. The tier separator sheet 6 is preferably in the form of a relatively stiff paper product which may be salvaged and reused. It is to be noted that the cans, which are referred to by the numeral 7, are disposed in staggered rows on the tier separator sheet 5 so as to occupy a minimum of space. It is also to be noted that a corner of the tier separator sheet 6, as at 8, is vacant, thus facilitating the gripping thereof in a manner to be described hereinafter.

The general lay-out of the de-palletiziug machine is illustrated in FIGURE 1. The de-palletizing machine includes a hopper 9 into which a can package is moved as an initial step in the de-palletizing of the cans 7. This is accomplished through an in-feed conveyor, generally referred to by the numeral 19, which is aligned With an open side of the hopper 9. An intermediate conveyor, which is generally referred to by the numeral 11, is disposed in the bottom part'of the hopper 9 for receiving a palletizedpacket of cans from the in-feed conveyor 10 and positioning such palletizcd stack of cans within the hopper 9. An out-feed conveyor 12 is aligned with the in-feed conveyor 10 and the intermediate conveyor 11 for receiving empty pallets 5 which are delivered to a suitable plat-form area 13.

A hoist assembly, generally referred to by the numeral 14, is positioned within the hopper 9 for receiving a palletized can package. The hoist assembly 14 is provided for the purpose of elevating a palletized can package so that the individual tiers of cans may be progressively disposed at an unloading level. i

The hopper 9 is generally defined by a frame structure, generally referred to by the numeral 15. The frame structure 15 also supports many of the other components of the de-palletizing machine, including the hoist '14. The de-pa-lletizing machine also includes a dead plate 16 which is supported by the frame 15 at the unloading elevation. The hoist 14 will elevate an uppermost tier of cans 7 until the bottoms of the cans 7 are disposed slightly above the elevation of the dead plate 16. A pusher assembly,

generally referred to by the numeral 17, is mounted on the frame above the main part of the de-palletizing machine and in overlying relation to the hopper 9. The pusher assembly will engage the cans 7 of an uppermost tier of cans and move them off of the uppermost tier separator sheet onto the dead plate 16.

A can take-away conveyor 18 is supported by the frame 15 with one end thereof underlying the dead plate 16 for receiving cans 7 from the dead plate 16. The other end of the take-away conveyor 18 terminates in a waterfall, generally referred to by the numeral 19, where the cans 7 are turned from an upstanding position to a generally' horizontal position. A blender, generally referred to by the numeral 29, is associated with the waterfall 19 for delivering cans 7 in a single line side by side into the customers single line take-away conveyor, generally referred to by the numeral 20a.

A bin, generally referred to by the numeral 21, for receiving tier separator sheets 6 is disposed along one side of the hopper 9 remote from the dead plate 16. After each tier of cans 7 has been removed from the palletized package of cans, the tier separator sheet 6 which is then uppermost, is removed. This is accomplished by a tier separator sheet removing mechanism, generally referred to by the numeral 22. The tier separator sheet removing mechanism 22 is supported by the pusher assembly 17 and operated in conjunction therewith. The tier separator sheet removing mechanism 22 picks up the exposed uppermost tier separator sheet 6 and transfers it to the bin 21. Incidentally, a gripping mechanism, generally referred to by the numeral 23, is provided for gripping a tier separator sheet during the period when an uppermost tier of cans 7 is being pushed off of the uppermost tier separator sheet 6.

Suitable platforms 24 and 25 are disposed alongside the take-away conveyor 18, the hopper 9 and the bin 21. The platforms 24 and 25 are for the purpose of supporting the operator of the de-palletizing machine in positions where he can readily inspect the operation thereof.

The in-feed conveyor It) is that part of the depalletizing machine which is first engaged by a palletized can package. Accordingly, the details of the in-feed conveyor ill will be set forth first.

The in-feed conveyor 10 includes a suitable frame 26 to which a pair of side panels 27 and 28 are secured. The side panel 27 terminates at its upper end in a guide 29 which is horizontally disposed and which has connected thereto a resilient rub rail 39. In this manner, a pallet, such as the pallet 5, is properly aligned on the infeed conveyor It).

The in-feed conveyor 16 also includes a plurality of feed rollers 31 which extend between the side panels 27 and 28. The feed rollers 31 are spaced apart and suitable supporting plate portions 32 extend there'between. The feed rollers 31 do, however, project slightly above the plates 32 to facilitate the movement of a pallet or the like along the feed rollers 31.

An electric motor 33 drives the in-feed conveyor 10. The electric motor 33 is mounted in a lower part of frame 26 within the general confines thereof. A chain drive 34 between the electric motor and one of the feed rollers 31 is provided. Other chain drives 35 are provided between adjacent feed rollers 31. The chain drives 35 are disposed in offset staggered relation, as is best shown in FIGURE 20.

A palletized package of cans 7 is delivered to the intermediate conveyor 11 from the in-feed conveyor 10. Accordingly, the details of the intermediate conveyor 11 Will be set forth next.

The intermediate conveyor 11 includes a suitable rectangular frame 36. The frame 36 has a cover plate 37 secured to the upper surface thereof. A pair of endless conveyor chain assemblies 38 are supported by the frame 3-5 along opposite sides thereof.

The two conveyor chain assemblies 33 operate in unison and include a common drive shaft 39 and a common idler shaft 46. The drive shaft 39 is secured to the frame 36 for rotation through a pair of pillow blocks 41 which are secured to upright members of the frame 36. Other pillow blocks 42 are secured to upright frame members of the frame 36 remote from the pillow blocks 41 and the idler shaft 40 is. rotatably journaled in the pillow blocks 42. A pair of drive sprockets 43 is secured to the outer ends of the drive shaft 39. A pair of idler sprockets 44, which are similar to the drive sprockets 43, are secured to the outer ends of the idler shaft 40. Conveyor chains 45 are entrained over the pairs of sprockets 43 and 44.

A speed reducer 46 is mounted on the frame 36 Within the confines thereof in the manner best illustrated in FlGURE 15. The speed reducer 46 is driven by an electric motor 47. The speed reducer 46 includes an output shaft 48 on which a drive sprocket 49 is mounted. The drive sprocket 45 is aligned with a sprocket 50 secured to the drive shaft 39' for rotation therewith. A drive chain 51 is entrained over the sprockets 49' and 59.

The conveyor chains 4-5 support the weight of a palletized can package. Accordingly, it is necessary that the upper runs of the conveyor chains 45 be provided with suitable supports. A typical support assembly is illustrated in FTGURE 16. The support assembly includes an elongated support member 52 which is secured to an upper frame member of the frame 36 and projects outwardly therefrom. A guide track 53 is secured to the support member 52 and projects upwardly therefrom in alignment with an associated one of the conveyor chains 45. The upper run of the conveyor chain 45 rides on the guide track 53 and is supported thereby.

The general details of the frame 15 are best illustrated in FIGURES 3 and '4. The frame 15 includes a first pair of standards 54, disposed at the left end thereof, as viewed in FIGURE 3, and a second pair of standards 55 disposed at the right end thereof, the standards 55 to be described in more detail hereinafter. A pair of lower frame members 56 extend between the pairs of standards 54 and 55. Intermediate frame members 5'7 and 58 are disposed above the frame members 56. Top frame members 60' connect together upper ends of the standards 54 and 55 at each side of the frame 15. Vertical frame members 61 connect together intermediate portions of the frame members 57, 58 and 6d. The frame 15 includes a plurality of transverse frame members which will be described in detail as the description of the components of the de-palletizing machine continues.

The specific details of the hoist '14 are best illustrated in FIGURES 4, 28 and 29. The hoist 14 includes a lift ing mechanism, generally referred to by the numeral 62, and a platform, generally referred to by the numeral 63.

The lifting mechanism 62 includes an extensible fluid motor, generally referred to by the numeral 64. The fluid motor 64 is of the conventional type, and includes an upstanding cylinder 65 and a piston rod 66, which projects from the upper end of the cylinder 65. The frame 15 includes a transverse frame member 67 which extends between the longitudinal frame members 57 immediately adjacent the standards 55. A similar transverse frame member 65 extends between the longitudinal frame members 58 immediately adjacent the standards 55. Suitable clamps 69 and 70 are connected to the transverse frame members 67 and 68, respectively, and secure the cylinder 65 in place with respect to the frame 15. At this time, it is pointed out that the frame 15 also includes a lower transverse frame member 71, which extends between the longitudinal frame members 56, and an upper transverse frame member 72, which extends between the longitudinal frame members 60, the frame members 71 and 72 lying in a common plane with the frame members 67 and 68.

The lift mechanism 62 also includes a cross-head 73 which is secured to the upper end of the piston rod 66 and which extends transversely of the frame 15. pair of stub shafts 74 project outwardly from opposite ends of the cross-head 73. Sprockets "75 are freely rtatably journaled on the stub shafts 74. A lifting chain 76 is entrained over each of the sprockets and has one end thereof terminally connected to the transverse frame member 67. The opposite end of each of the lifting chains 76 is connected to the platform 63.

The platform 63 includes a transverse frame member 77 and a pair of forwardly extending arms 73 which are secured to one side of the transverse frame member 77. The arms 78 are spaced apart a relatively great distance and when the arms 78 are in their lowered positions, they will be disposed at opposite ends of the intermediate conveyor 11. The intermediate conveyor 11 is of a "length less than the length of a pallet 5, and the arms 78 are spaced apart a distance also less than the length of a pallet. lowered positions, a pallet may be positioned on the intermediate conveyor 11, after which the arms 78 may be elevated to move a pallet off of the intermediate conveyor 11.

The elements of the platform 63 are guided in their vertical movement by a guide assembly, which is generally referred to by the numeral. 79, there being one guide assembly 79 disposed at each end of the transverse frame member 77. One of the guide assemblies 79 is best illustrated in FIGURE 29.

Each guide assembly 79 includes an upstanding support member 80' which is secured to a respective end of the transverse member 77 on the side thereof remote from the arms 78. The support member 80 projects upwardly above the transverse support member 77 and has upper and lower sets of guide wheels and rollers fixed thereon. Each :set includese a guide wheel 81 which is mounted on a horizontal, transversely disposed axle 82, and a guide roller 83 which is mounted on the horizontal longitudinally extending axle 84. Each of the standards 55 is in the form of a guide and includes a vertical guideway 85 in which the guide wheels 81 are received, and an inner guide surface 36 against which the guide rollers 83 bear. In this manner, the platform 63 is mounted for vertical movement.

A pair of fittings 87 is secured to the face of the transverse support member 77 remote from the arms 78. The fittings 87 are utilized to secure the chains 76 to the platform 63. Since the opposite ends of the chains 76 are terminally fixed to the transverse frame member 67, when the cross-head 73 is moved upwardly, the platform 63 will move upwardly at twice the rate of movement of the cross-head 73. In this manner, a relatively short stroke of the fluid motor 6'4 may be converted into a relatively great movement of the platform 63 and the platform 63 may be disposed generally coplanar with the cross-head 73 at the upper end of the stroke of the fluid motor 64.

Another transverse frame member 8-8 extends transversely between the longitudinal frame members '58 to the left of the transverse frame member 68. This is best shown in FIGURE 3. A suitable platform 89, which is shown in FIGURE 4, extends between the transverse frame members 68 and 88 and is supported thereby. A hydraulic pump assembly 90 is mounted on the platform 89. I

The hydraulic pump assembly 90 includes a hydraulic fluid reservoir 91 which is seated directly on the platform 89. A hydraulic pump 92 is seated on the reservoir 91 in alignment with an electric motor 93. The electric motor 93 has an armature shaft 94 which is aligned with a drive shaft 95 of the pump 92 and is connected thereto through a coupling 95. The hydraulic pump 92 is connected to the reservoir 91 by a hydraulic line 97. A hydraulic line 98 extends from the pump 92 to a con- Thus, when the arms 7 8 are in trol valve 99 which is mounted on a side of the'reser-voir 91 and is communicated with the fluid reservoir 91 through a hydraulic line 100. A hydraulic line 101 extends from the control valve 99 to the bottom of the cylinder '65 to facilitate the operation of the extensible fluid motor 64. The details of the control valve 99 will be described hereinafter.

Reference is now made to FIGURE 30 in particular, wherein the details of the dead plate 16 are illustrated. A transverse frame member 102 extends between the standards 55 and to the right of the transverse frame member 72, as viewed in FIGURE 30. Straps 103 and 104 overlie the transverse frame members 72 and 102, respectively. The dead plate 16 is seated on the straps 103 and 104, and extends to the left of the transverse frame member 72 and terminates in overlying relation to the take-away conveyor 18.

Referring now to FIGURE 3 in particular, it will be seen that a plate 105 is disposed to the left of each of the standards 55 and extends between the longitudinal frame members 58 and 60. A similar plate 106 is disposed to the right of each of the standards 54 and extends vertically between the frame members 58 and 60.

The take-away conveyor 18 includes a drive roller 107 and an idler roller 108. The drive roller 107 includes a shaft 109 which extends through the plates 106 and has the ends thereof rotatably journaled in bearing members 110 secured to the plates 106'. The idler roller 108 includes a shaft 111 which extends through the plates 105 A and which has its ends rotatably journaled in bearing members 112 secured to the plates 105. The bearing members 112 are adjustably secured to the plates 105 to vary the tension of a conveyor belt 113 which is entrained over the rollers 107 and 108. Incidentally, while the conveyor belt 113 may be of any type, it is preferably of the mesh type.

The upper run of the conveyor belt 113 is supported by a plurality of transverse frame members 114 which extend between the longitudinal frame members 60 and direotly underlie the upper run of the conveyor belt 113. An intermediate part of the lower run of the conveyor belt 113 is supported by a transverse roller 115. The roller 115 extends between and is supported by upper portions of the upright 61.

Reference is now had to FIGURES 3 and 5, wherein further details of the frame 15 are shown. At the left end of the frame 15, a plurality of transverse frame members are provided. These transverse frame members include a transverse frame member 116 which is aligned with the longitudinal frame members 58. Other transverse frame members 117 and 118 are disposed above the transverse frame member 116. Also, a transverse frame member 119 extends between the longitudinal frame members 53 to the right of the transverse frame member 116. A platform 120 extends between the transverse frame members 116 and 119 within the frame 15 and adjacent one of the longitudinal frame members '53. A drive assembl generally referred to by the numeral 121, is mounted on the platform 1.20.

The drive assembly 121 includes an electric motor 122 which is mounted on the platform 120. If desired, the electric motor 122 may be in the form of a combined electric motor and reduction gear drive unit. A pair of uprights 123 are disposed to the left of the electric motor 122 and are longitudinally aligned. A longitudinal shaft 124 extends through the uprights 1 23 and is rotatably journaled relative thereto. A large diameter drive wheel 125 is secured to the shaft 124 for rotation therewith and is coupled to the electric motor 122 by means of a drive belt 126.

A right angle reduction gear drive unit 127 is mounted on the platform 120 adjacent the left edge thereof, as viewed in FIGURE 5. The drive unit 127 includes an input shaft 128 which is disposed parallel to the shaft 124-. The input shaft 128 carries a sprocket 129 which is aligned with a sprocket 130 on the shaft 124. A drive chain 131 is entrained over the sprockets 129 and 130 to drivingly connect the drive unit 127 to the shaft 124.

The drive unit 127 also includes an output shaft 132 which is disposed parallel to the drive shaft 169 of the drive roller 107. The output shaft 132 has a sprocket 133 secured thereto, which is aligned with a sprocket 134 on the shaft 109. A drive chain 135 is entrained over the sprockets 133 and 134 to drivin-gly connect together the shafts 109 and 132. Incidentally, when the conveyor belt 113 is of the mesh type, the drive roller 107 may have a rubber coating of a waffle pattern to match the mesh of the conveyor belt 113 and thus facilitate the positive driving thereof.

The pusher assembly 17 includes a pair of U-shaped supports 14!) and 141 which extend upwardly from the frame 15. The U-shaped support 141 is secured to the longitudinal frame members 64} adjacent the standards 55. On the other hand, the inverted U-shaped support 140 is disposed to the left of the support 141 and is relatively long. The U-shaped support 141} is secured to the longitudinal frame members 58 and 60.

A set of guides, generally referred to by the numeral 142, extends upwardly from the horizontal portion of each of the supports 140 and 141 on opposite sides of the center line of the frame 15. Each pair of sets of guides 142 is disposed in opposed relation, as is best shown in FIGURE 4.

Each set of guides 142 includes an upstanding mounting member 143, which is secured to the horizontal portion of the respective one of the supports 14d and 141. The mounting member is generally T-shaped in crosssection and upper and lower mounting plates 144, 145 are secured thereto. Each of the mounting plates 14 i, 145 carries a guide roller 146. The guide rollers 146 of each pair are in vertically aligned relation and are of the stepped type so as to limit the movement of a frame disposed therebetween both vertically and horizontally. The horizontally opposed guide rollers 146 have common shafts 146.

The pusher assembly 17 also includes an elongated frame generally referred to by the numeral 147. The frame 147 is formed of a pair of elongated frame rails 143 which are of a channel section and are disposed between the guide rollers 146. The left end of the frame 147 includes an open, generally vertically disposed frame 149 into which the ends of the frame rails 143 terminate. A generally V-shaped in plan extension 1511 is secured to the frame 149 and the frame rails 14%. A transverse frame member 151 extends across the right ends of the frame rails 148, as viewed in FIGURE 3.

Since the frame rails 148 of the frame 147 are disposed between the guide rollers 146, it will be apparent that the frame 147 is mounted for longitudinal sliding movement only. The frame 147 is reciprocated by means of an extensible fluid motor, generally referred to by the numeral 152. The fluid motor 152, as is best shown in FllGURE 1, includes a cylinder 153 and a piston rod 154. The cylinder 153 is secured to an angle member 155 which rests on top of the horizontal portions of the supports 14% and 141, and extends longitudinally there between. The piston rod 154 is secured to the extension as at 156.

The operation of the extensible fluid motor 152 is controlled by a control valve, generally referred to by the numeral 157. The extensible fluid motor 152 is of the double-acting type and has fluid lines 158 and 15% connected to opposite ends thereof. The fluid lines 158 and 15? are connected to the control valve 157. The control valve 157 is conected to the pump 92 by the fluid line 98 and is communicated with the reservoir 91 by line 379. The operation of the control valve 157 will be described in detail hereinafter.

A pair of hangers 16% extend down from the right hand ends of the frame rails 148 (FIGURE 3). A transverse strap 161 extends between the hangers 1611. A pusher plate 162 is supported from the strap 161. This is accomplished through a pair of vertically adjustable hangers 163 which are secured to the strap 161. The lower ends of the hangers 163 are connected to a reinforcing member 164 secured to the right hand surface of the pusher plate 162, as viewed in FIGURE 3. The left hand face of the pusher plate 162 is preferably covered with a rubber composition or the like, which is referred to by the numeral 165.

After the cans 7 which form the uppermost tier of the palletized can package are pushed onto the dead plate 16 by the pusher assembly 17, the movement of additional cans 7 onto the dead plate 16 results in the movement of the first cans onto the top run of the conveyor belt 113. As was stated above, the top run of the conveyor belt 113 is supported by a plurality of transverse frame members 114. A support plate 162 rests upon the transverse frame members 114 and underlies the top run of the conveyor belt 113. It is to be noted that the support plate 152 is of a greater width than the endless belt 113. A pair of longitudinally extending angle members 163 are supported on the transverse frame members 114 alongside the edges of the support plate v162. The angle members 163, in turn, support upstanding guides 164 for cans which may be disposed upon the endless conveyor belt 113, the guides 164 being disposed slightly above the endless conveyor belt 113 upper run and slightly inwardly of the edges thereof.

The cans 7 deposited on the endless conveyor belt 113 are moved to the left end of the take-away conveyor 18 and are deposited in the waterfall 19. As is best shown in FIGURES 3, 5 and 6, the waterfall 19 includes a pair of angle members 165 and 166 which are secured to the plates 1136. A transverse angle member 167 is secured to and extends between the angle members 165. A second transverse angle member 163 is secured to and extends between the angle members 166. A first verti cal guide plate 1&9 is secured to the left end of the frame 15 and is attached to the standards 54 and the transverse frame members 116, 117 and 113. A second vertical guide plate 176 extends transversely of the frame 15 in spaced parallel relation to the guide plate 169. The guide plate 171 is secured to the angle members 167 and 168 and is reinforced adjacent its ends by vertical angle members 171 and 172.

It is to be noted that the surface of the guide plate 161? which is the inner surface thereof is disposed substantially coplanar with the extremity of the endless conveyor belt 113. Thus, the endless conveyor belt 113, as it moves about the drive roller 1197, forms a lower half of the upper guide part of the waterfall 19. The waterfall 19 also includes a flexible curved guide 173. The guide 173 is formed of sheet material and has its lower end secured to the upper part of the guide plate 176. The guide member 173 is of a lesser width than the guide plates 1&9 and 170, as is clearly shown in FIG- URE 6.

A support structure is provided for opposite upper corners of the guide member 173, each support structure being generally referred to by the numeral 174. Each support structure 174 includes a pair of angle members 175 and 176 which are secured to respective ones of the guides 164 for the top run of the conveyor belt 113. A plate 177 extends between the angle members 175 and 17%. The plate 177 is provided with longitudinally extending slots 173 which adjustably receive fasteners which, in turn, secure brackets 179 to the plates 177. The brackets 179 are slotted so as to be vertically adjustable, and are connected to a transverse support bar 179' to which the upper edge of the guide member 173 is attached.

It is to be understood that the waterfall 19 is to accommodate cans of various heights. Accordingly, it is necessary that the spacing between the guides thereof be variable. The spacing between the guide plates 161 and 17 is accomplished by adjusting the position ofthe guide plate 176. The brackets 179, being adjustable with respect to the plate 177, permit the necessary adjustment of the guide members 173. Cans 7, as they move to the end of the endless conveyor belt 113, ride over the curved portion of the endless conveyor belt 113 about the roller 1G7 and within the confines of the guide member 173. The cans 7 are then deposited in horizontal positions between the guide plates 169 and 176.

A conveyor belt assembly, generally referred to by the numeral 189, is positioned in the lower part of the waterfall 19 between the guide plates 16? and 179. The conveyor belt assembly 186 includes a drive shaft 131 which extends through the guide plates 169 and 171i and is rotatably journaled in suitable bearing members 132 carried by the guide plates 169 and 17%. An idler shaft 183 also extends throughthe guide plates 159 and 17b and is rotatably journaled in bearing assemblies 184cmried by the guide plates 169 and 170.

A pair of transversely spaced guide pulleys 185 are adjustably carried by the drive shaft #131 within the confines of the guide plates 16? and 179. A pair of idler pulleys 186 are adjustably secured to the idler shaft 133 in alignment with the drive pulleys 185. A pair of spaced apart conveyor belts 187 are entrained over the pulleys 185' and 186. it is to be noted that the top runs of the endless conveyor belts 187 slope downwardly and to the right, as viewed in FIGURE 5.

Reference is now had to FIGURE 6 in particular, wherein it is shown that each of the conveyor belts 187 also passes over a slack take-up pulley 188'. Each slack take-up pulley 33 is individually supported by a bracket 189 which is secured to a respective one of the guide plates 16% and 174i.

Normally, the cans 7 will fall onto the top runs of the conveyor belts 187 in horizontal positions. In order to assure that the cans do not twist as they pass downwardly between the conveyor belt 113 and the guide 173, the spacing between the two is maintained at substantially the height of the can distance. Movement of the cans 7 out of the near end of the Waterfall 19, as viewed in FIGURE 3, is prevented by means of a stop member 190 which is relatively narrow and is secured to an end portion of an associated one of the guides 164. The stop member 191) is disposed in alignment with the space between the guide plates 169 and 176. A similar stop member i120 depends from the other of the guides. 1:64 into the other end of the water-fall 19, as is best shown in FIGURE 6. When the blender 29 is not being used, the stop member 196' will terminate above the conveyor belts 187 a distance slightly greater than the diameter of one of the cans so that only one can at a time may pass therefrom. On the other hand, when the blender 29 is used, the stop member 198 will terminate sufiiciently above the conveyor belt 187 to permit several rows of cans to pass out of the waterfall 19 into the blender 20.

The blender 2% includes a pair of side plates 191 and 122 which are coplanar with the guide plates 16% and 179, respectively. An angle bracket 193 is connected to the right edge of the side plate 191, as viewed in FIGURE 6, and secures the side plate 121 to the guide plate 170, the angle bracket 193 being secured to the angle member 172. An angle member 1% is secured to the right end of the side plate 192, as viewed in FIGURE 6, and is secured to a corrseplonding one of the standards 54, the angle bracket 194 being sho tvn in iiGURE 7. The side plates .191 and 192 are retained in spaced parallel relation by a plurality of spacer bolt assemblies 195. Each of the spacer bolt assemblies 1515 includes an clongated bolt 1% having threaded portions 197 and 198 at opposite ends thereof. A pair of nuts 199 and 200 are threaded on the threaded portions 197 on opposite sides of the side plate 159. A pair of nuts 2111 and 282 are threaded onto the threaded portion 1% on opposite sides of the plate 1711. The threaded portion 198 is of an plates 191 and 192 and is rotatably jo-urnaled in bearing assemblies 2134 carried by the plates 191 and 192. The shaft 263 carries a pulley 204 which is located generally centrally between the side plates 191 and 152. The pul-. ley 294 is aligned with a pulley 235 carried by the idler shaft 183. A single conveyor belt is entrained over the pulleys 2124 and 2&5, the conveyor belt being referred to by the numeral 2%. A combination conveyor belt support and can support 207 is secured to the innerface of the side plate 191 and. underlies the upper run of the conveyor belt 206. In this manner, a single conveyor belt can support and move a plurality of cans 7 through the blender 26).

It is intended that the blender 20 be adaptable to a customers existing single line conveyor 20a for delivering the cans 7 in a single line thereto. The blender will deliver the cans 7 to a single line conveyor in a single row. Of course, the blender 20 may be varied in construction to be coupled to the customers single line conveyor, as is required. The customers conveyor will be provided with a can operated switch 459 which will be explained later.

The details of the bin 21 for receiving tier separator sheets 6 are best illustrated in FIGURES 10, 11 and 12. The bin 21 includes two pairs of standards 208 and 209. Each of the standards 2128, 26*? is provided with a suitable base 210. The standards 299 are disposed adjacent the frame 15, whereas the standards 208 are. disposed remote from the frame 15.

The upper ends of the standards 209 are connected together by a transverse frame member 211. A lower transverse frame member 212 extends between the standards 239 a considerable distance above the bases 210 thereof. A third transverse frame member 213 extends between the standards 209 above the transverse frame member 212.

The standards 208 are connected together by an upper transverse frame member 214, a lower transverse frame member 215, and an intermediate transverse frame member 216 which correspond to the transverse frame members 211, 212 and 213, respectively. However, the transverse frame member 214 is pivotally connected to the standards 298 through a pair of aligned pivot pins 217 carried by the upper ends of the standards 208 in order that the top transverse frame member 214 may be pivoted for a reason to be described hereinafter.

A longitudinal frame member 218 extends between the A upper ends of adjacent ones of the standards 298 and 269 at each side of the bin 21. -Also, a pair of longitudinal frame members 219 extend between the transverse frame members 213 and 216 inwardly of the standards 208 and 269.

A pair of guides 22%, 221 are mounted within the bin 21. The guides 22! and 221 are identical, except for being complemental, and each of the guides 220 and 221 includes a pair of uprights 222. uprights 222 are connected together by a frame member 223. A second frame member 224- extends between intermediate portions of the uprights 222. Vertical bars.

225 extend up between the frame members 223 and 224. One of the uprights of each of the guides 221), 221is pivotally connected to the frame member 215 by a pivot pin 226. A similar pivot pin 227 pivotailly connects the other of the uprights 222 of each of the guides 2'20, 221 to the transverse frame member 212. It is to be noted that the location or" the pivot pins 226 and 227 is such that the frame members 224 are disposed in the same plane as the frame members 219.

A link 228 extends diagonally between and is pivotally connected to the uprights 222 adjacent the transverse frame member 215. A similar link 229, which extends diagonally in cross relation to the link 228, extends between and is pivotally connected to the uprights 222 ad- The upper ends of the.

jacent the transverse frame member 212. Through the function of the links 228 and 229, any pivotal movement of one of the guides 220 results in a like and opposite pivotal movement of the other of the guides.

The frame members 219 are intended to support a pallet for receiving tier separator sheets 6. The pallet may be similar to the pallet 5. When the guides 22%), 221 are in place, they will abut the frame members 219. The guides 229, 221 are held in the positions illustrated in FIGURE by a latch which is generally referred to by the numeral 230, and which is best illustrated in FIG- URE 12. The latch 2313 includes a pair of mounting brackets 231 which are in opposed spaced relation and are secured to the frame member 223 of the guide 220. A latch element 232 is pivotally connected to the mounting brackets 231 by a pivot pin 233. The latch element 232 is notched, as at 234, to present a shoulder 235 which will engage an adjacent one of the frame members 218. A handle 236 is secured to the latch element 232 to facilitate the manipulation thereof.

It is also pointed out that each of the guides 22%, 221 is provided at the upper end thereof with a guide plate 237. The guide plates 237 diverge upwardly to facilitate the alignment of a tier separator sheet 6 with the space between the guides 22%, 221.

It is to be understood that when a pallet loaded with tier separator sheets 6 is to be removed from the bin 21, the guides 220, 221 will be moved apart so as to release the pallet and the stack of tier separator sheets 6 carried thereby. Further, in order to permit removal of the pallet and the stack of tier separator sheets, the transverse frame member 214 is pivotally mounted, as was described above. A pair of stop members 238 is secured to the transverse frame member 214 for engaging the frame members 218 and limit the swinging thereof to a 90 angle of rotation. A filler bar assembly 238 is carried by the transverse frame member 214. The filler bar assembly 238 includes a pair of rods 239 which pass through the transverse frame member 214 and are slidable relative thereto. The rods 239 are connected together by transverse rods 240.

Reference is now made to FIGURE 21 wherein the transverse frame member 214 is illustrated in its rotated position. The transverse frame member 24%, upon being rotated, swings the filler bar assembly 238 from a vertical position to a horizontal position with the rods or bars 239 disposed generally within the confines of the bin 21. The rods 239 will receive tier separator sheets 6 which are deposited in the bin 21 while the pallet loaded with tier separator sheets 6 is being removed therefrom. In this manner, there is no interruption of the can unloading operation.

The hopper 9 is defined by a sheet metal panel 241 which is secured to the standards 209 of the bin 21. Also, angle members 242 extend between the upper parts of the standards 55 and the upper part of the sheet metal panel 241 and terminate just short of the panel 241. The end of the hopper 9 facing the in-feed conveyor 1% is open. On the other hand, the sheet metal panel 244 partially closes the end of the hopper 9 facing the out-feed conveyor 12. The panel 244-, as is best shown in FIG- URE 28, is secured to the angle member 242 and depends therefrom. The panel 244 also extends generally between one of the standards 55 and one of the standards 2G9 and is additionally secured to a lower angle member 24-2 similar to angle member 242. The lower edge of the panel 244 terminates in an outwardly directed flange 245 which is disposed above the level of a pallet passing out of the hopper 9 onto the out-feed conveyor 12. The flange 245 functions as a guide to prevent damage to a palletized package of cans within the hopper 9 as the package is raised.

A guide plate 246 is adjustably secured to the angle member 242 overlying the entrance into the hopper 9 by means of suitable fittings 247. The guide plate 246 terminates at its lower edge in an outwardly directed flange 248 to facilitate the guiding of cans up into the upper part of the hopper 9. A portion of a sheet metal guide panel 249 has been illustrated in FIGURES 3 and 28 separating the hopper 9 from the general area defined by the frame 15. However, this sheet metal panel 249 has been omitted from the remainder of the views of the drawings. Panel 249 is provided with vertical slots 249 for receiving the fittings 87 and the support members 89, since the chains 76 Will be disposed to the left of the panel 249 and the platform 63 will be disposed to the right thereof. An adjustable connection 243 is provided between the sheet metal panel 241 and the panel 244 and also between the guide plate 246 and panel 241.

When the cans 7 are bing pushed off of the uppermost tier separator sheet 6 by the pusher member 162, there is a tendency for the tier separator sheet to slide with the cans. In order to overcome this, there is provided a tier separator sheet gripper, which has been previously referred to by the reference numeral 23, and is best shown in FIGURES l, 22 and 26. The gripper mechanism 23 includes a mounting plate 25d on which a double-acting extensible fluid motor 251 is mounted. The double-acting fluid motor 251 includes a cylinder 252 having cylinder heads 253 and 254 at opposite ends thereof. A piston rod 255 extends through the cylinder head 25-3.

A control valve, generally referred to by the numeral 256, is mounted on the mounting plate 250 below the extensible fluid motor 25-1. A fluid line 257 extends between the control valve 256 and the cylinder head 253.

A similar fluid line 258 extends between the control valve 256 and the cylinder head 25 A suitable compressed air line 259 and an exhaust line 262 are also connected to the valve 256. The compressed air line 259 may be connected to any convenient supply of compressed air.

A pair of gripper fingers 261, 262 are mounted on generally V-shaped levers 263, 264. The levers 263, 264 are pivotally mounted on a pivot pin 265 carried by the mounting plate 25% in alignment with the piston rod 255.

A bar 266 is secured to the end portion of the piston rod 255 by a nut 267. Links 268, 269' are pivotally connected to the bar 267, as at 271 The forward ends of the links 268, 269 are pivotally connected to the levers 263, 264 as at 271.

In FIGURE 22, the gripper fingers 261, 262 are shown in solid lines in their gripping positions. Normally, the piston rod 255 is retracted and the gripper fingers 261, 262 are separated, as is shown in their dotted line positions.

Normally, a housing encloses the mechanism of the gripper mechanism 23. The housing, which is referred to by the numeral 273, is shown in FIGURE 1, but is omitted from FIGURE 22. The housing 273 is suitably secured to the mounting .plate 250* by fastening means, including a spacer 274 projecting from the mounting plate 250.

The gripper mechanism 23 is mounted on the panel 244 exteriorly of the hopper 9. An opening 275 is formed in the upper right hand corner of the panel 244, as viewed in FIGURE 3, and the gripper fingers 261, 262 project therethrough and into the hopper 9 for engaging a corner of a tier separator sheet 6. When in separated position, the gripper fingers 261, 262 do not project into the hopper and thus will not interfere with a can package being elevated in the hopper.

After the top tier of cans 7 has been pushed off of the uppermost tier separator sheet 6, it is necessary that the tier separator sheet 6 be removed before the next tier of cans may be removed from the palletized can package. The tier separator sheet removing mechanism 22 has been provided for this purpose. The mechanism 22 includes a pair of diverging support arms 276 which are secured to the right ends of the frame rails 148 and extend to the right therefrom. The support arms 276 are braced by diagonal braces 277 which extend from the central part of the frame member 151 to central portions of the support arms 276. A hanger 278 is disposed in depending relation at the forward end of each of the support arms 276. Each of the hangers 273 supports a suction cup assembly, generally referred to by the numeral 279.

Reference is now had to FIGURE 32, wherein the details of the suction cup assembly 279 are illustrated. The suction cup assembly 273 includes a cylinder 281' having a pair of end walls 281 and 232. The cylinder 28% also has a reduced internal portion 283 adjacent the end wall 23!; forming a shoulder 284.

A piston 235 is slidably positioned within the cylinder 289 and is sealed relative thereto by means of a sealing ring 286. A piston rod 237 is secured to the piston 285 for movement therewith, the piston rod 287 passing out through a bore 288 in the end wall 282. The end wall 282 carries a sealing ring 289' extending about the bore 283 and forming a seal with the piston rod 237. A coil spring 296 is positioned in the lower part of the cylinder 286' and bears against both the piston 235' and the end Wall 2552 to normally retain the piston 235 in its in-stroke position.

A conventional type of suction cup 2-91 is secured to the lower end of the piston rod 237. A vacuum passage 292 extends through the suction cup 291, the piston rod 237 and the piston 235 so as to open into the upper part of the cylinder 286' above the piston 285.

The piston 2.35 divides the cylinder 289 into two chambers 293 and 294 at all times. A passage 2% is formed in the cylinder 28% and opens into the compartments 293 and 294. A vacuum line 2% is secured to the cylinder 280' and is communicated with the passage 295.

Normally, the piston 235 is in the retracted position illustrated in FIGURE 32. When a vacuum is applied to the passage 295 through the vacuum line 2%, a vacuum is formed in the chamber 29 There is a tendency for a vacuum to be formed in the chamber 293. However, this chamber is vented through the passage 292. When the vacuum is first app-lied to the suction cup assembly 27?, the vacuum in the lower chamber 294, as opposed to the absence of a vacuum in the upper chamber 293-, will result in the downward movement of the piston 285 against the compression of the spring 299. As the piston 235 moves downwardly, the piston rod 287 and the suction cup 291 move downwardly therewith until the suction cup 291 engages the surface of a tier separator sheet 6. At this time, a seal is formed between the suction cup 291 and the tier separator sheet 6, and a vacuum is pulled within the suction cup 231 through the passage 2 32, When this seal and vacuum is formed, the chamber 293 will also be placed under a vacuum, with the result that the spring 299 will now have sufiicient force to return the piston 285 to its original position. In this manner, the tier separator sheets e are elevated.

The tier separator sheet removing mechanism 22 is supported by the pusher assembly 17. The tier separator sheet 6 is engaged immediately after the pusher assembly 17 has pushed a tier of cans 7 off of the tier separator sheet. Then as the pusher assembly 17 moves back into its initial position, the tier separator sheet removing mechanism 22 moves therewith so that the tier separator sheet 6 carried thereby will be in overlying relation to the bin 21. At this time, the tier separator sheet 6 is released and drops into the bin 21.

Reference is now had to FIGURE 23 in particular, wherein there is illustrated a control valve, generally referred to by the numeral 297, which controls the operation of the two suction cup assemblies 279. The two suction cup assemblies 279 have their vacuum lines 2% connected to a Y-fitting 298 which, in turn, is connected to a vacuum line 299, the opposite end of which is connected to the control valve 297. The control valve 297 also has a vacuum line 380 "and an inlet line 301 connected thereto.

A second platform 302 extends between the transverse frame members 68 and 88. An electric motor 3% and a vacuum pump 304 are mounted on the platform 3%. The electric motor 3tl3 is connected to the vacuum pump 304 for driving the same. The vacuum line 3% is connected to the vacuum pump 304. This is best illustrated in FIGURE 4. Also, it is shown that the control valve 297 is mounted on the upper horizontal portion of the inverted U-shaped support 140 The operation of the pallet unloader is automatic, and accordingly, a plurality of control switches is provided. Most of these control switches are of conventional type and need not be described in detail. However, several of the control switches are or a special construction, and the specific details of these will be set forth here.

The first of these special switch assemblies is a swing switch assembly, generally referred to by the reference numeral 3%. The swing switch assembly 365 is mounted on a support 3% which projects outwardly from the frame 36 of the intermediate conveyor ll, as is best shown in FEGURES l3 and 14.

Reference is now had to FIGURES 17 and 18, wherein the specific details of the swing switch assembly 335 are illustnated. The swing switch assembly 30-5 includes a generally U-shaped support, which is referred to by the numeral 307, seated upon the support 3%. The support 357 includes a base 368 and a pair of parallel upstanding legs 36%. A pair of angle brackets 31% are secured to, the base 39-8 in opposed relation. A frame, generally referred to by the numeral 311, extends upwardly from the angle bracket 310 and is pivotally connected thereto by pivot assemblies 312.

The frame 311 includes a pair of upstanding legs 313 which are connected together at their upper ends by straps 31 there being a stnap 314 on each-side of the legs 313. A pair of horizontal ears 315 is secured to the outer surface of each of thelegs 313. The horizontal ears 315 are vertically spaced and are connected together by a vertical member 316-. A plate 317 is secured to an adjacent leg 369, the plate 317 terminating at its upper end in a projection 3 18 which is aligned with a similar projection 319 on the upper end of the vertical member 3-16. A coil spring 320 extends between the projections 318 and 319 to return the frame 311 to its upright position.

An angle member 321 is secured to the support 306 immediately adjacent the support 367. The angle memher 321 is engaged by the legs 313 so as to cooperate with the springs 32% to retain the frame 311 in its upright position.

A shaft 322 extends vertically through each pair of horizontal ears 315 for vertical sliding movement. A U-shaped support 323 is secured to the upper ends of the shafts 322 and extends therebetween. The U-shaped support 323, in turn, carries a horizontally disposed shaft 324 on which a roller 32-5 is mounted. As is best shown in FIGURE 14, the roller 325 projects above the plane of the upper sunface of the upper run of the conveyor chains 45. Thus, the roller 325 will be struck by a pallet moving onto the intermediate conveyor 11 either horizontally or vertically.

The support 32-3 and the roller 325 are retained in elevated positions by coil springs 326 which are positioned on the shafts 322 above the uppermost horizontal car 312. The coil springs 326 permit the resilient downward movement of the support 323. A collar 327 is secured on the lower part of each of the shafts 322 and engages the lowermost one of each pair of ears 315 to limit the upw-ard movement of the support 323 due to the urging of the spring 326.

A pair of fingers 323 extends outwardly from the support 323. The finger-s 328 are cn-g-algeable in notches 329 formed in the upper ends of the legs 309, as is best shown in FIGURE 18. This engagement prevents the swinging of the frame 311 as a pallet 5 passes over the roller 325 on its Way to the out-feed conveyor 12. p

The swing switch assembly 305 also includes a pair of electrical switches. The first of these switches is thesecured to the angle member 321. The switch 330 in-

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1720449 *Dec 8, 1927Jul 9, 1929Seligman Milton BNewspaper baler
US1935478 *Jun 30, 1933Nov 14, 1933James MasonPacking machinery
US2338048 *Nov 29, 1940Dec 28, 1943Continental Can CoCan bag unloader and can unscrambling apparatus
US2521126 *May 20, 1948Sep 5, 1950Price David DStorage rack for papers
US2656060 *Jan 20, 1945Oct 20, 1953Emhart Mfg CoShipping case unloading apparatus
US2679678 *Jan 23, 1951Jun 1, 1954New Britain Machine CoHorizontal boring, drilling, and milling machine
US2686233 *Aug 9, 1952Aug 10, 1954Guardian Electric Mfg CoMultiple position switch
US2729344 *Dec 27, 1949Jan 3, 1956G W Hume CompanyMachine for dismounting stacks of cans
US2774489 *Dec 17, 1954Dec 18, 1956Hawaiian Pineapple Co LtdStacking and unstacking machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3180499 *Apr 12, 1962Apr 27, 1965Emhart CorpApparatus for removing articles from pallets
US3187909 *Jun 28, 1962Jun 8, 1965Nat Can CorpCan depalletizing machine
US3195741 *Nov 28, 1962Jul 20, 1965Mathews Conveyer CoArticle unstacking apparatus
US3200969 *Jul 24, 1963Aug 17, 1965Homer W MaddenContainer palletizing and depalletizing machine
US3215289 *May 16, 1962Nov 2, 1965American Home ProdApparatus for automatically depalletizing ferrous metal cans
US3682338 *Nov 4, 1969Aug 8, 1972George E Von Gal JrCombination depalletizer and palletizer
US3724686 *Aug 23, 1971Apr 3, 1973Gerber ProdGlass jar handling system
US3776396 *Aug 13, 1971Dec 4, 1973Conveyor SystemsApparatus for depalletizing articles and stacking empty pallets
US3785516 *Nov 13, 1972Jan 15, 1974Gerber ProdGlass jar handling system
US5059088 *Jun 23, 1988Oct 22, 1991Manfred KleinSuction lifter for a material handling device
US5193776 *Oct 3, 1991Mar 16, 1993Smc Kabushiki KaishaMechanism for locking angular movement of suction pad
US7222901 *Sep 12, 2002May 29, 2007Festo Ag & Co.Vacuum handling device having a suction nozzle and a gripper part contained within a single housing
US20050258657 *Sep 12, 2002Nov 24, 2005Gunter GebauerVacuum handling device having a suction nozzle and gripper part contained within a single housing
USRE30742 *Apr 17, 1978Sep 15, 1981Wyard Industries, Inc.Container depalletizing apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification414/796.8, 414/416.5, 414/929, 414/797
International ClassificationB65G59/02
Cooperative ClassificationY10S414/108, B65G59/026
European ClassificationB65G59/02S