US 3116920 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
APPARATUS FOR MANUFACTURE OF CELLULSIC PRODUCTS Filed Aug. 21, 1961 Jan. 7, 1964 H. G. GEER' ETAL 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 A ...cl
3,11 6,920 APPARATUS FOR MANUFACTURE 0F cELLULosIc PRODUCTS Jam 7, 1964 H. G. GEER ETAL 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Aug. 21. 1961 APPARATUS FOR MANUFACTURE OF CELLULOSIC PRODUCTS Filed Aug. 21. 1961 Jan. 7, 1964 H. G. GEER ETAL 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 w11 Mhf M 1 mw M muuu M mm M /4 or U 7 IQ.; 1| @L mi. LL
MT@ ll l 1 UVL Jan. 7, 1964 H. G. GEER ETAL 3,116,920
APPARATUS FOR MANUFACTURE OF CELLULOSIC PRODUCTS Filed Aug. 21, 1961 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 United States Patent O This invention relates to improved apparatus for the continuous folding of articles, with particular reference to the folding of such articles as sanitary napkins, medical bandages and the like.
A primary object of the invention resides in the provision of a folding mechanism adapted continuously to involutely fold spaced articles fed thereto by a production line conveyor or the like.
A further object is to provide an improved folding mechanism operative at a speed at least equal to the output production speeds of currently employed mechanisms for the automatic production of sanitary napkins.
Another object is to provide a continuously operative folding mechanism adapted to receive elongate bandages such as sanitary napkins from the output conveyor of automatic production equipment and to fold and deposit such bandages in involute configuration into a transfer mechanism in a manner to facilitate wrapping of the article thus folded by continuous production techniques.
Other objects and advantages will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon examination of the drawings and t.e description, as will various modifications thereof, without departure from the inventive principles as defined in the appended claims.
in the drawings, in which like parts are identified by the same reference numeral,
FlG. l is a plan view, partly sectionalized, of folding mechanism employing the present concepts; FlG. 1a illustrating in plan an extension of the conveyor in FIG. 1 at the left end of the mechanism.
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view, partially in broken section, of the device of FiG. 1; FIG. 2a illustrating in side elevational view the conveyor extension of FlG. la.
FlG. 3 illustrates in enlarged fragmentary plan the folding mechanism of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
PEG. 4 illustrates in enlarged fragmentary side elevation the folding mechanism shown in FlG. 2.
FlG. 5 is an enlarged side elevational view of the article transfer mechanism shown at the right side of FIG. 2.
FG. 6 is an end elevation taken along lines 6 6 of FIG. 5, with portions of the mechanism broken away to illustrate constructional details.
FIGS. 7, 8 and 9` are partial transverse vertical sections through one of the conveyor-driven article supports shown in PEG. 2n in successive positions during movement through the folding mechanisms of FEGS. 3 and 4.
PEG. l() illustrates an article having one end downfolded by a horizontal folding blade; FIG. 11 showing the one downfolded portion constrained within a passageway while the opposte end lportion is downfolded by a second horizontal folding blade.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a conveyor fed folding mechanism, generically designated 1t), includes an elongate frame structure l2 positioned horizontally above a floor surface, as by legs 1d and including a track portion i6 over which a double chain conveyor 1S continuously moves from left to right to return along a lower path during continuous movement between idler sprockets 20 at the left end of the conveyor, as shown, and driven sprockets 22. at the right end of the conveyor. Sprockets 22 are keyed to a drive shaft 24, `coupled at 2.6 to a source of power 2S, with shaft 2d journaled at 3ft and coupled Patented dan. 7, 1964i to a gear reduction device 32 which supplies driving power to a control shaft 3dr. Shaft 3d, journaled at 36 and 3S, is coupled to a second gear reduction device itl` from which additional power couplings extend to drive two pairs of folding blades below described. Control shaft 34, synchronously connected through reduction mechanism 32 with drive shaft 2d, thus insures timing control between the various driven elements. The left end of conveyor 18 may be operatively associated with the output conveyor, not shown, of an automatic mechanism for the production of sanitary napkins, fed therefrom at regularly spaced intervals and sequentially transferred onto spaced article supports 'ft2 fixed to extend transversely of conveyor chains 1S for continuous movement throughout the conveyor path. Supports 42; include a table-like support area da and a trailing shoulder portion 46 preferably of a greater height than the thickness of an article such as a sanitary napkin dfi as positioned on support @i2 in the symmetrical manner shown. To insure proper synchronization between a conveyor, not shown, and conveyor .t8 both are preferably driven from the power source 28, the spacing between supports d2 and the speed of conveyor 18 being selected to insure sequential transfer of articles to the supports.
As sanitary napkin d is conveyed at a continuous speed from left to right as viewed in FGS. 1 and 2, it moves under a pair of spaced rod-like constraining elements Sti and 52, left end portions 54 of which are swept arcuately upward to provide a feed throat for the central portion of napkin 48 as it moves thereunder rmly to be held along transverse lines which marginally define a central portion of napkin 4S, which portion is maintained pressed by elements Sti, 52 against table area d@ of each article support d2. ln this manner napkin 48 first moves into the operative paths of a pair of folding blades 5:6 and 58 mounted for like rotation toward the direction of conveyor travel about axes spaced longitudinally of the path of conveyor 18. Blades 56 and 5S are mounted on opposite sides of conveyor 18 as shown in HG. l for rotation in vertical planes spaced laterally of each constraining element Si? and 52 approximately the thickness of the article to be folded.
As best shown in Fifi. 4, blade 55 is mounted on a riven shaft 6@ extending from gear box 4t), FIG. l, blade 58 being mounted on shaft 62 driven by gear box 66 coupled at d to a gear box 7@ which is chain driven from shaft 3d, FlG. 1, by sprocket 72. As napkin 48 approaches the path of blade 56, the outermost portion of that blade, moving clockwise as viewed in FlGS. 2 and 4, moves upwardly as shown in FIG. 7, to the PIG. 8 position, raising vertically the lateral portion of napkin 43 which previously extended outwardly of constraining rod 52. The configuration of blade 56 is such as to maintain the raised portion vertically positioned during continued movement of napkin d3 into the path of movement of the opposite downstream blade S8 which shortly thereafter moves upwardly from the FIG. 8 position to the FG. 9 position to raise upwardly in a like lmanner the opposite end portion of the napkin to complete an upwardly open U configuration.
The pair of vertically rotatable blades 5d and 53, driven to rotate in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FGS. 2 and 4, are synchronously meshed with a pair of horizontally rotatable spaced blades 7d and '76, also driven by shaft 3ft. As shown in FGS. 1 and 3 blade 74 is mounted on a vertical shaft 7d, suitably journaled to gear box 30, and blade 76 is mounted on a vertical shaft 82, which is driven from gear box '79. Spaced blades '74 and 7c continuously rotate in a common horizontal plane above thc path of article supports ft2, both pairs of blades being synchronously locked to the speed ICC of shaft 34 which is driven from the common source of power which also drives conveyor 18.
As a sanitary napkin 48 moves downstream of the positions in which blades 56 and S3 have shaped napkin .43 into upwardly open U configuration, the napkin first moves into the path of movement of horizontally rotating blade '74 which has rotated counter-clockwise from the position shown in FIG. 3 to a position of Contact between a linear blade edge portion 84 and the vertically positioned napkin portion 36, FIG. 3. Further rotative movement of blade '74 downfolds article portion 86 against a central napkin portion, blade 74 passing thereover to retain that portion depressed. As napkin 43 moves further downstream, the opposite end portion which has previously been raised to a vertical position as shown at 8S, FIG. 3, by blade 58, is engaged by linear portion 99 of blade 76. Further rotation of blade 76 in a clockwise direction results in the downfolding of napkin portion S8. Napkin 43, with both ends thus downfolded against the central portion thereof then moves under a restraining guard member 92, arcuately relieved at 94 for close clearance of blade 74, and relieved at 96 for similar clearance of blade 76.
As best shown in FIG. 3, the spaced folding rods Si) and 52, about which the lateral portions of napkin 48 are rst folded into vertical position by blades 56 and Se and about which the vertically positioned portions are thereafter downfolded by horizontal blades 74 and 76, extend under guard 92 and terminate at about the nonrelieved portion thereof, as shown at 9S, FIG. 4, the folded napkin thereafter moving beyond rods 50, 52 toward a transfer mechanism 16%), while being retained in folded configuration by guard 92.
Since it is desired involutely to fold napkin 4S, lateral portions of which have first been elevated and then downfolded into a generally C configuration as above described, a chute-like passageway is defined by guard 92 above the path of movement of article supports 42 upon which the C-folded napkin rests, and extending in a downstream direction past a transfer mechanism 161i which functions to remove each C-folded napkin from its conveyor-driven support, and thereafter through a linear path to a position of registry with a folding and ejection chute 102, FIG. 5. Rotatably mounted tucker fingers 1114 then force the napkin downwardly through chute 1112 and into a well 106 of an indexing turret 108 to be individually wrapped during sequential turret movement into a plurality of turret stations as described in applicants' co-pending applications Serial No. 132,918, (now U.S. Patent No. 3,045,239) and Serial No. 132,947 filed concurrently herewith.
As napkins 48 are individually fed from a supply conveyor, not shown, onto article supports 42, a substantial central portion thereof is supported on the tablelike portion 44 of each support and thereafter constrained by folding rods Sti and 52 while the lateral portions thereof extend unsupported beyond each side of the table area 44. The articles to be folded, such as sanitary napkins, are sutiiciently form-sustaining to require no additional support for those laterally extending portions during conveyor movement past the two pairs of folding blades and underneath guard 92. After downfolding of the upstanding and initially laterally extending unsupported portions the resulting C-folded napkin is fully supported by table area 44. However, since the function of transfer mechanism 1h13 is to remove each C-folded napkin 43 from its article support for further conveyance through linear path beyond the conveyor, a trough forming element 110 is provided to extend in the horizontal plane of the article support tables 44 to provide bottom support for the C-folded napkins 4S after removal from article supports 42 and conveyance to a position of registry with feed chute 162. Element 110 is suitably positioned to allow clearance of supports 42 past the upstream end thereof while receiving the C-folded napkins during outward movement therefrom by transfer mechanism lili).
As best shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, transfer mechanism i) comprises a vertical framework 112 for the support of a gear box 114 elevated above the conveyor path. Shaft 116 is iournaled to extend horizontally from gear box 114 to be rotatably driven from shaft 34 by chain 118 and engaged sprockets 121i and 122. A link-type pawl mechanism, reciprocally driven by shaft 116, includes a radial arm 124, fixed thereto, a connecting rod 12e of adjustable length journaled at 128 to the free end of arm 124, and a pair of spaced pawls slidably mounted by a track mechanism 132 to the free end of rod 126 for reciprocating movement above the trough formed by element 111i and guard 92 with lower pawl portions extending into the trough through lateral channels 133 defined by marginally relieved portions of guard 92.
As shown in FIG. 6, mechanism 132 includes a track formed by a pair of channel bars 134 and 136. Shaft 13S is mounted on guide bearings 146 to slide along the track, rod 126 being journaled to shaft 138 at 142. Pawls 13d, spaced inwardly of bearings 146, are biased to the position shown in FIG. 5 by a pair of helical springs 144, anchored in fixtures carried on shaft 138. Rotation of shaft 11n moves the pawl mechanism from the heavy to the dotted line position shown in FIG. 5 and upon subsequent retraction to the heavy line position, pawls 136 move in a linear path adjacent the relieved margins of guard 92 with the lower ends thereof in con tact with the bottom wall 110 of the transfer trough.- Pawls 130 are retractable in a direction counter to their normal spring biased position to allow their passage over' a successively fed napkin. As shown in FIG. ld,- the` trailing shoulder 46 extending upwardly of the table 44 of each article support 42 is confined to a central area of the table, thus permitting spaced pawls 130 to move past opposite sides thereof during movement of the transfer mechanism from the heavy to the dotted line position of FIG. 5, during which folded napkin 48 is pushed through the transfer trough from the FIG. 5 position to a position of registry with ejection trough 102, its article support 42 having passed downwardly over sprocket 22 to enter its return path.
The present invention is directed to the concepts inherent in the above described mechanism for C-folding of sanitary napkins or the like and subsequent transfer thereto to a position of registry with an ejector chute. The relation of tucker blades 104 in respect to the chute for the involute folding and transfer of the napkin to a wrapping turret is illustrated in FIG, 6, although theV tucker mechanism is not a part of the present invention and is disclosed in detail and claimed in applicants above mentioned co-pending application Serial No. 132,947 as part of the wrapper turret mechanism.
A plurality of circumferentially spaced tucker fingers 104, FIG. 6, are positioned radially outwardly of a driven shaft 148 to rotate clockwise through a circular path. Fingers 104 engage a central portion of napkin 48 when in registry with chute 1192 to force the napkin downwardly through the chute and into turret well 106 which moves into registry with chute 162 as the turret rotates counter-clockwise. The napkin is thus involutely folded as deposited in well 106, and a suitable mechanism thereafter axially retracts tucker linger 104. The turret thereafter moves the folded napkin by step-by-step motion into various work stations ultimately to complete a wrapping operation in accordance with concepts taught in said co-pendin-g applications.
1. In folding apparatus, the combination with a plu-- rality of article supports and a conveyor for the linear movement of said supports in mutually spaced relation in a horizontal plane, of a pair of spaced folding ele-- ments positioned on opposite sides of the pathV of saidl supports and mounted for like rotation in vertical planes about axes spaced in the direction of conveyor movement, a second pair of spaced folding elements mounted for counter rotation in a horizontal plane spaced above the path of said article supports, the element of said last mentioned pair being mounted for rotation about axes spaced longitudinally of said path, the path of said first pair of elements intersecting the path of said second pair of elements, means synchronously driving said first and second pair of elements to prevent interference therebetween, and means continuously driving said conveyor and said two pairs of rotatable elements.
2. ln folding apparatus, the combination with a plurality of spaced article supports and a conveyor for linear movement of said supports in a horizontal plane, of a pair of spaced folding elements closely positioned on opposite sides of the path of said supports and mounted for like rotation in vertical planes about axes spaced longitudinally of said path, a second pair of spaced folding elements mounted for counter rotation in a horizontal plane above the path of said article supports and intersecting the paths of said first mentioned folding eleient, means synchronously driving said conveyor and said two rotatable elements to prevent interference between said elements and an elongate member in parallel spaced relation to and above the path of said article supports and extending through the positions of said two pairs of folding elements.
3. ln folding apparatus, the combination with a plurality of spaced article supports and a conveyor for the movement of said supports in a linear path, of a pair of spaced folding blades closely positioned on opposite sides of the path of said supports and mounted for like rotation in vertical planes about axes one of which leads the other in the direction of conveyor movement, a second pair of spaced folding blades mounted for counter rotation in a horizontal plane above the path of said article supports about axes spaced in the direction of conveyor movement, the trailing axis of said second pair being positioned downstream of the leading axis of said rs't pair, the paths of said first and second pairs of blades having portions of mutual intersection, means synchronizing said blade pairs to prevent interference therebetween and an article constraining member positioned above the path of said article supports and extending from a position upstream of said lirst pair of folding blades to a position downstream of said second pair of folding blades.
4. ln folding apparatus, the combination with a plurality of spaced article supports and a conveyor for the movement of said supports in a linear path, of a pair of spaced folding blades closely positioned on opposite sides of the path of said supports and mounted for like rotation in vertical planes about axes one of which leads the other in the direction of conveyor movement, a second pair of spaced folding blades mounted for counter rotation in a horizontal plane above the path of said article supports about axes spaced in the direction of conveyor movement, the trailing axis of said second pair being positioned downstream of the leading axis of said. rst pair, the paths of said first and second blade pairsl having intersecting portions, means synchronously driving said blades to prevent interference therebetween, means for constraining the central portions of said articles on said supports during movement past said two pairs of folding blades, and an article constraining member positioned above the path of said article supports and extending from a position adjacent the downstream blade of said second pair of folding blades to a position further downstream to constrain the folded portions of the supported articles against upward displacement during conveyance away from said blades, whereby said first mentioned blades sequentially raise vertically lateral portions of articles carried by said supports, and said horizontally rotatable blades thereafter sequentially fold inwardly said vertically positionedY article portions against the central portion thereof.
5. ln a device for folding bandages and the like, a stationary frame, a conveyor mounted in said frame, spaced supports mounted on said conveyor for the movement of articles through a linear path, means for sequentially feeding articles to be folded onto said supports, a pair of vertically rotatable blades positioned laterally and spaced longitudinally of the path of said supports, a pair of spaced horizontally rotatable blades positioned in a common plane above the path of said supports and mounted on axes spaced from the axes of said first mentioned blades in the direction of conveyor movement, the paths of said blade pairs having overlapping portions, and means synchronously driving said blades to prevent interference between said blades, and means for the continuous movement of said conveyor and the continuous relation of said blades, whereby a foldable article, positioned on one of said support with portions extending laterally thereof is sequentially folded into an upwardly open U configuration by said first mentioned blades and-thereafter those portions forming the legs of the U are downfolded by said second mentioned blades against the central portion of the article.
6. ln a device of the character described, means for conveying a horizontally positioned foldable article through a linear path, means for constraining a central portion of said article during said conveyance with lateral portions thereof non-constrained, a pair of folding blades spaced in the direction of conveyor movement rnounted for vertical rotation on opposite sides of said conveyor path, means for driving said blades in like rotation, said non-constrained article portions being conveyed into the path of said folding blades to be raised vertically thereby, and a pair of spaced folding blades driven in counter-rotation about axes spaced longitudinally of said paths and disposed in a horizontal plane spaced above the path of said article and partially overlapping the path of said first mentioned blades, and within the path of said upwardly raised portions of said articles to effect down-folding thereof against the constrained central portion of said article, said pairs of blades having relieved portions, and means synchronously driving said blades to prevent interference therebetween.
7. The device of claim 6 including means for transferring the folded articles from said constraining means and means for thereafter center folding the article into involute conguration.
8. Apparatus for the folding of articles comprising in combination, means for the conveyance of spaced articles along a linear path while positioned transverse to the direction of movement, means for the support of the central portion of said articles durinfI conveyance along said path, means fixed to extend along and above said path to constrain the central portions of said articles against upward displacement during movement thereunder, a pair of folding blades spaced laterally of said constraining means and driven in like rotation toward the direction of conveyor movement through paths vertically of the path of said articles, said folding blades being mounted on axes spaced longitudinally of said path of article conveyance, and a second pair of folding blades mounted for counter rotation in a common plane spaced horizontally above said path of article conveyance, the paths of said first blade pair partially overlapping the paths of said second blade pair, and means synchronously driving said blades to prevent interference therebetween, whereby conveyance of a supported and centrally constrained article through the paths of first one and then the other of said vertically mounted folding blades results in first one and then t le other of the non-constrained lateral portions thereof being folded vertically about said constraining means into an upwardly open U conguration, and further conveyance of the article as thus folded into the path of movement of said horizontally rotating folding blades results in irst one and then the other of said upwardly folded portions being downfolded against the constrained portion of said article.
9. In a device for the folding of bandages or the like, a continuous conveyor provided with equally spaced article supports for the conveyance of bandages through a linear path with central portions thereof resting on said supports and end portions extending laterally therefrom, means spaced above and extending along the path of article conveyance in constraining engagement with the supported central portions of said bandages, a pair of folding blades closely spaced on opposite sides of said path, said blades being mounted for rotation in vertical planes spaced in the direction of conveyor movement and driven in like rotation to fold upwardly the lateral unsupported portions of said bandages about fold lines defined marginally of said restraining means, a pair of folding blades positioned downstream of said iirst blades and mounted on vertical axes spaced longitudinally of said path for counter-rotation in a horizontal plane through paths that intersect the paths of said first mentioned blades and spaced closely above the path of said bandages to C-fold said upwardly positioned portions against the central bandage portion thereof, means synchronously driving said first and second blade pairs to prevent interference therebetween, means maintaining said bandage folded while continuing linear movement away from said folding blades, said last mentioned means comprising a guide element extending along said path and positioned thereahove for engagement by the upper surfaces of said C-folded bandages, and means associated with the downstream end of the conveyor for removing said bandages from the conveyor supports and continuing further movement thereof in a linear path While constrained in folded configuration.
10. rPhe device of claim 9, wherein said folding elements are of blade configuration.
11. The device of claim 9 wherein said folding elements are of blade configuration with all portions thereof lying in a common plane.
References Cited in the tile of this patent UNlTED STATES PATENTS 1,847,998 Bergstein Mar. 1, 1932 2,125,147 Bergstein July 26, 1938 2,726,584 Griswold Dec. 13, 1955 2,751,730 Gentry June 26, 1956