US 3142141 A
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J. H- WALTER GUIDE FINGERS FOR BOTTLE PACKING MACHINE July 28, 1964 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 15, 1962 INVENTOR.
JOSEPH H. WALTER BY ATTORNEYS July 28, 1964 J. H. WALTER cums FINGERS FOR BOTTLE PACKING MACHINE 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 15, 1962 INVENTOR.
JOSEPH H. WALTER ATTORNEYS July 28, 1964 .17 H. WALTER 3,142,1fl1 GUIDE FINGERS FOR BOTTLE PACKING MACHINE Filed March 15, 1962 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTOR.
B JOSEPH H WALTER ATTORNEYS July 28, 1964 J.IH. WALTER 3,142,141
cum: FINGERS FOR BOTTLE PACKING MACHINE Filed March 15, 1962 4 Sheets-Sheet '4 Fig. /0
JOSEPH H.. WALTER BY ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,142,141 GUIDE FINGERS FOR BOTTLE PACKING MACHINE Joseph H. Walter, Wakely Hill Road, Haddam, Conn. Filed Mar. 15, 1962, Ser. No. 179,871 6 Ciaims. (Cl. 53-448) This invention relates to guide fingers for a continuous motion machine for packing bottles, jars, cans and the like, and constitutes a continuation-in-part of my copending application Serial No. 143,951, filed October 9, 1961, entitled Bottle Packing Machine.
The primary object of the invention is to provide in a bottle packing machine in which predetermined groups of bottles are positively fed onto a shiftable mechanism at a bottle dropping station above a vertically movable case-lift, resilient plastic fingers for guiding each of the bottles into the case compartments of suflicient thinness to allow for clearance between the bottle and the partitions without sacrificing the resilient bottle guiding function of the fingers.
Another object is to provide flexible bottle guide fingers for a bottle packing machine as above described which are pre-shaped or spring-urged to point inwardly of each bottle case compartment thereby effecting positive guiding contact with each bottle while at the same time allowing the fingers to be withdrawn from the compartments without damage to them and also allowing the fingers to return to their predetermined shape.
Another object is to provide flexible plastic bottle guide fingers for a bottle packing machine as above described which will not injure a persons hand when clearing out bottles during a jamming of the apparatus, whose wear life is increased due to their resiliency and which do not become brittle and break after a short period of use and, in the event they do break, they do not leave ragged edges to damage the labels of the bottles.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide a bottle packing machine whose parts are relatively simple in construction, easily repaired or replaced, and which can be maintained and adjusted with a minimum of skill and manipulation.
These and other objects of the invention will become more apparent as the following description proceeds in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a top plan view of the machine;
FIGURE 2 is an exploded perspective view of the bottle dropping station;
FIGURE 3 is an exploded perspective view of the guide finger supporting frame of the bottle dropping station;
FIGURE 4 is a perspective view showing the back side of an inside cell bar of the guide finger supporting frame;
FIGURE 5 is a perspective view showing the back side of an outside cell bar;
FIGURE 6 is a perspective view showing the front side of a cell bar;
FIGURE 7 is a horizontal sectional view showing the assembly of the guide fingers on an inside longitudinal supporting member;
FIGURE 8 is a sectional view similar to FIGURE 7 showing the assembly of the guide fingers on an outside longitudinal supporting member;
FIGURE 9 is a perspective view of a transverse guide finger mounted on a cell bar;
FIGURE 10 is a perspective view of a modification of the guide finger.
Specific reference is now made to the drawings wherein similar reference characters are used for corresponding elements throughout.
It will be understood that while the drawings and deice scription herein refer to a bottle packing machine, the same can also be used for packing jars, cans and other containers as well in the cases.
Referring first to FIGURE 1, it will be seen that the overall machine comprises an elongated substantially rectangular frame 10 mounting a conveyor belt 12 to convey bottles therealong to a bottle dropping station, generally 14, which is above a case conveyor 16 disposed crosswise of the bottle conveyor frame 10. The details of the construction of the frame 10, conveyor belt 12 and case conveyor 16, and the operation thereof is shown and described in my copending application Serial No. 143,951.
The bottles are transported to the conveyor belt 12 by any conventional conveyor 18. The frame 10 mounts longitudinal partitions 20 above the conveyor belt 12 which serve to divide the flow of bottles in lanes each confining two rows of bottles, and further longitudinal partitions 22 which serve to divide the flow of 'bottles into lanes each confining a single row of bottles.
As the bottles are advanced by the conveyor belt 12 towards the bottle dropping station 14, they are confronted by a gate mechanism or metering device, generally designated as 24, disposed across the lanes formed by the partitions 22. The details of the construction and the operation of the gate mechanism 24 are shown and described in my copending application Serial No. 143,951. However, the gate mechanism 24 operates to permit the passage of the bottles in groups suitable for packing in an empty case at the packing station. The intermittent action of the opening and closing of the gate mechanism 24 is synchronized with a mechanism, described in my said copending application, for pushing the grouped bottles onto the bottle dropping station 14.
Coming now to the bottle dropping station 14, which is the subject of the present invention, the same includes a fixed member with through holes for the bottles to pass through, and a movable means to cover and uncover the holes synchronous with the up and down movement of a case table therebeneath. Referring to FIGURE 2, the fixed unit includes an auxiliary frame 26 which is secured by any suitable means to the front of the frame 16. Auxiliary frame 26 includes dividers 28 in alignment with the partitions 22 but shorter in height. The frame 26 is secured upon the upper horizontal flanges 30 of side angle members 32. The vertical legs 34 of the side angle members 32 mount a pair of spaced upper rollers 36 which extend through the legs 34 and are horizontally rotatable, and a further pair of spaced rollers 38 on the inside thereof which are vertically rotatable. The vertical legs 34 are secured to the side plates 40 of a guide finger supporting frame. The upper edges of the side plates 40 include notches 42 to receive the inner vertical rollers 38. The side plates 40 are secured together in spaced parallel relation by a pair of end plates 44 which are seated on and secured to the horizontal flanges 46 of the side plates.
Secured between the side plates 40 of the finger supporting frame are a plurality of spaced, parallel elongated finger supporting members 48. Two of the finger supporting members 48, hereinafter referred to as the outside supporting members, are mounted against the end plates 44. The other supporting members, hereinafter referred to as the inside supporting members, are uniformally spaced apart between the outside supporting members. As shown in FIGURE 3, each of the finger supporting members 48 is substantially U-shaped having a pair of substantially vertical arms 50 extending from a bend along the top edge of the supporting member. The arms 50 are provided with horizontally aligned notches 52 extending longitudinally from the ends of the arms. The notches 52 receive therein the horizontal flange 46 of the side plates 40 so that the members 48 are supported on the side plates 40. Each of the arms 58 is further provided With a plurality of pairs of rectangular holes 54 therethrough, each pair of the holes in one of the arms being in direct alignment with a pair of the holes in the other of the arms of the same member. The member 48 has a pair of the holes 54 adjacent each end thereof, with the other pairs of the holes being uniformly spaced between the end pairs. The holes 54a and 54b of each pair of the holes 54 are spaced apart a distance less than the spacing between the pairs of holes. Each of the inside members 48 supports a plurality of guide fingers, each generally designated as 56, by means of inside cell bars, generally designated as 58. The two outside supporting members 48 support a plurality of the guide fingers 56 by means of outside cell bars, generally designated as 60.
Referring to FIGURES 4 and 6, each of the inside cell bars 58 comprises a substantially rectangular bar of a length substantially equal to the vertical height of the supporting member 48. The back side 62 of the cell bar 58 is provided with a rectangular groove 64, and a rectangular projection 66 (see FIGURE 4). The groove 64 and projection 66 extend vertically along the cell bar, and are in spaced, parallel relation. The groove 64 and projection 66 are of the same size as the holes 54 in the supporting member 48, and are spaced apart the same distance as the spacing between the holes 54a and 54b of each pair of holes. The front side 68 of the cell bar 58 is provided with a channel 70 extending vertically along the entire length of the cell bar (see FIG- URE 6). At the top end of the cell bar 58 a notch 72 is provided in the bottom of the channel 70 to provide a ledge 74 spaced from the top end of the cell bar. The sides 76 of the cell bar 58 taper towards each other from the back side 62 to the front side 68 of the cell bar. The outside cell bar 68 (see FIGURE is identical to the inside cell bar 58 except that the outside cell bar is provided on its back side with a pair of spaced, parallel rectangular projections 78 instead of the rectangular groove and projection.
Referring to FIGURE 3, the guide finger 56 comprises a flexible strip 80 of a tough plastic, such as nylon or Teflon whose vertical sides taper towards each other. The wider upper end of the plastic strip 80 is secured to a mounting plate 82. Mounting plate 82 has a pair of ears 84 at the top edge thereof extending from its sides, and a spring finger 86 extending downwardly along the plastic strip 80. The spring finger 86 is shorter than the plastic strip 80, and is curved so as to arch the plastic strip. The plastic strip must be of sufficient thinness to allow for clearance between the bottle and the partitions of each compartment without sacrificing the guiding function of the finger as well as its recovery to its original shape. If the strip is too thick, there is insufficient clearance and a high frequency of bottle jamming. On the other hand, if it is too thin it will hang limply and not perform its proper bottle guide function. However, with a backing spring finger, such as 86, or with pre-shaping to a desired arched condition, fairly thin plastic strips, generally not exceeding .040, can be used effectively.
On each of the inside supporting members 48, a pair of the guide fingers 56 are mounted between each pair of the holes 54. As shown in FIGURE 3, the pair of guide fingers 56 are placed in back-to-back relation with the plastic strips 80 extending away from each other. The pair of the guide fingers 56 are inserted between the vertical arms 50 of the inside supporting member 48 with the guide fingers extending between two pairs of the holes 54, and until the ears 84 of the mounting plates 82 are above the holes 54. A pair of the inside cell bars 58 are then mounted on opposite sides of the supporting member 48 at each pair of the holes 54. As shown in FIGURE 7, one inside cell bar 58a is mounted against one arm 50 with its projection 66a extending through the hole 54a and its groove 64a being in alignment with the other hole 54b. A second inside cell bar 581) is mounted against the other arm 50 of the same supporting member 48 with its projection 66b extending through the hole 54b and projecting into the groove 64a of the cell bar 58a. The groove 64b in the cell bar 5812 is in horizontal alignment with the holes 54a in the arms 50, and receives the projection 54a of the cell bar 58a. The ears 84 of the guide finger plates 82 extend over the cell bar projection 66 extending through the holes 54 on each side of the guide fingers. Thus, the ears 84 of one plastic finger rest on the projections 66 of adjacent cell bars to thereby support the guide fingers 56 on the supporting members 48.
Referring to FIGURE 8, each of the outside supporting members 48 supports a single guide finger 56 between each pair of holes 54. Each of the outside guide fingers is inserted between the arms 50 of the outside supporting member 48 with the plastic strip projecting away from the adjacent end plate 44. A T-shaped spacer 88 is inserted between the arms 50 behind each of the guide fingers to take up the extra space between the arms. An outside cell bar 60 is mounted against the exposed arm of the outside supporting plate at each pair of the holes 54 with the projection 78 thereof extending through the aligned holes 54 in the arms of the supporting member. The ears 84 of the guide finger mounting plates and the spacers 88 extend over and rest on the projections 78 of adjacent cell bars to support the guide fingers thereon.
A plurality of the guide fingers 56 are mounted transversely between each pair of the supporting members 48 by means of U-shaped supporting clips 90 (see FIG- URES 3 and 9). Each of the arms 92 of the supporting clip 90 has a separate locking tab 94 at each end of its lower edge. The locking tabs 94 are bent to project angularly away from the arms 92. The vertical length of the arms 92 from the top edge of the clip to the top edges of the locking tabs 94 is equal to the vertical length of the cell bars 58 and 60.
At the ends of the supporting member 48, a single guide finger 56 and a T-shaped spacer 88 are included between the arms 92 of the supporting clip 90 with the ears 84 of the guide finger mounting plate 82 projecting from the end of the supporting clip 90. As shown in FIGURE 9, the ends of the supporting clip 90 are inserted into the channels 70 in the front side of the cell bars with the ears 84 of the guide fingers extending into the notches 72 of the cell bar and resting on the ledge 74 at the bottom of the notches. Thus, the guide finger and supporting clip are supported vertically on and between two opposing cell bars. The locking tabs 94 of the supporting clip 90 extend under the bottom ends of the cell bars, and lock the supporting clip from being lifted vertically upwardly. At each of the other cell bars along the supporting members 48, a pair of guide fingers 56 are mounted traversely between adjacent supporting members by means of a supporting clip 90. The two guide fingers are placed in back-to-back relation between the arms 82 of the supporting clip 90 with the plastic strips extending away from each other. The supporting clip and the pair of guide fingers are mounted on and between a pair of opposed cell bars in the same manner as previously described.
Thus, as shown in FIGURE 2, the supporting members 48 and supporting clips divide the guide finger supporting frame into individual bottle compartments or through holes. At each side of each of the individual bottle compartments is a guide finger 56 with the plastic strip 80 depending below the supporting frame. Thus, there are four guide fingers positioned around each of the individual bottle compartments, the flexible plastic strips of which are bent so as to extend towards each other at their lower tapered ends and thereby restrict the passage of a bottle through the bottle compartment. The resiliency of the spring finger 86 permits the plastic strip to flex back as a bottle passes the guide finger in a manner which will be explained later, but returns the plastic strip to its arched condition after the bottle passes.
A modification of the guide finger, generally designated as 56', is shown in FIGURE 10. Guide finger 56' comprises a mounting plate 82 having a pair of cars 84' projecting from its sides at the upper edge thereof. A tapered plastic strip 80 is secured at its upper edge to the mounting plate 82' adjacent the upper edge thereof. The plastic strip 80 extends downwardly from the mounting plate 82' and is arched so as to extend away from the mounting plate. The plastic strip 80 is molded in its arched shape. However, the inherent resiliency of the plastic material of the strip permits the strip to flex as a bottle contacts the guide finger 56', and returns the strip to its arched condition after the bottle passes. The guide finger 56' may be used in the packing machine of the present invention in place of the guide finger 56.
As shown in FIGURE 2, the movable means to cover and uncover the bottle compartment comprises a grid member 96. Grid member 96 consists of side angle members 98 which secure partitions 100 between them spaced apart conformably with the spacing between the supporting clips 90 of the guide finger supporting frame. Also, there is secured between each pair of partitions 100 divider blocks 102 in alignment with the supporting members 48. The bottom flanges of the side angle members 98 rest slidably on the inner vertical rollers 38 while the horizontal rollers 36 press against the side flanges of said members. One of the side members 98 includes a lateral pin 104 which mounts one end of a spring 106, the other hook end of which engages a pin 108 which extends laterally inwardly of one of the members 34, the bias of the spring being such as to urge the grid to a closure position where the partitions 100 thereof cross the bottle compartment of the guide finger supporting frame. As shown and described in my copending application Serial No. 143,951, a means is provided to intermittently shift the grid member 96 against the spring bias to an open position, the same being timed with the rise and fall of a case table (not shown) mounted beneath the guide finger supporting frame.
As described in detail in my said copending application, the case conveyor 16 includes a conveyor 110 for carrying empty cases to the case-lift table mounted beneath dropping station 14. Another conveyor 112 is provided to carry the filled cases from the bottle dropping station 14.
In the operation of the bottle packaging machine, the bottles are carried by the conveyor belt 12 to the metering gate 24. The gate 24 operates to pass the bottles in groups containing a number of bottles suitable for packing in an empty case. The groups of bottles are then carried to the bottle dropping station 14 where they pass into the auxiliary frame 26 over the movable grid member 96. When the grid member 96 is moved to its open position the bottles drop through the compartment in the guide finger frame.
When the bottles are dropped through the dropping station 14, a compartmented packing case is lifted upwardly toward the guide finger supporting frame. The guide fingers 80 around each of the bottle compartments of the supporting frame extend into a separate compartment of the packing case. Since the ends of the flexible strips of each group of guide fingers extend toward each other, the guide fingers easily extend into the bottle receiving compartments of the packing case. As a bottle passes through each of the compartments of the guide finger supporting frame, the bottle forces the ends of the guide fingers apart to permit the bottle to pass into the compartment of the packing case because in their relaxed condition their free ends of the fingers form an opening less than the diameter of the bottle. Thus, the guide fingers guide the bottles into their proper position in the packing case. Also, since the bottles must spread apart the ends of the guide fingers, the guide fingers slidably engage the bottles to control the speed of the dropping of the bottle into the packing case to prevent breakage of the bottles. After the bottles have passed through the guide fingers, the resiliency of the guide fingers moves the free ends of the flexible strips back toward each other so that the guide fingers can be easily removed from the packing case.
While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been shown and described herein, it will be understood that a skilled artisan may make minor variations in the combination and arrangement of parts without departing from the spirit of the invention and the scope of the appended claims.
1. In a bottle packing machine including a frame, a bottle dropping station at one end of said frame including a unit secured to said frame and having longitudinal and transverse partitions dividing the same into bottle receiving holes, each longitudinal partition including spaced vertically extending arms with spaced pairs of apertures provided therein, vertically extending resilient plastic bottle guide fingers, bars having projections extending into said apertures and a plate mounting each guide finger positioned between said spaced arms and having ears bearing on said projections, each bar including a groove in addition to and spaced from said projections, the projection of one of said bars extending through the aperture in one arm and into the groove of another of said bars whose projection extends through the aperture in the other arm and into the groove of said one bar.
2. The combination of claim 1 wherein each of said transverse partitions includes a U-shaped clip, each bar including a vertical channel and a ledge therein, the plate mounting a guide finger extending between the arms of said clip and bearing on the ledges of adjacent bars, the vertical edges of the arms of said clip extending into the channels of said adjacent bars and including resilient tabs lockingly engaging said bars.
3. In a bottle packing machine having a frame, a bottle dropping station at one end thereof including a unit secured to said frame having longitudinal and transverse partitions dividing said frame into bottle receiving holes, and a relatively thin, flexible plastic bottle guide finger depending from each partition around each hole, the fingers depending from said longitudinal partitions extending longitudinally between said transverse partitions and the fingers depending from said transverse partitions extending transversely between said longitudinal partitions forming each hole, said guide fingers being arched so that their lower free ends normally extend toward each other inwardly of said partitions to resiliently restrict each hole opening, said unit comprising a pair of side plates secured together in spaced parallel relation by a pair of end plates, an outside supporting member extending between and mounted on the side plates against each of said end plates, a plurality of inside supporting members extending between and mounted on said side plates, said inside supporting members being uniformally spaced apart and parallel to said outside supporting members, an outside supporting clip secured between each pair of supporting members adjacent each end plate, a plurality of inside supporting clips secured between each pair of supporting members, the inside supporting clips being uniformally spaced apart between the outside supporting members, said supporting members and supporting clips constituting said longitudinal and transverse partitions, said guide fingers being carried by said supporting members and supporting clips, each of the supporting members and each of the supporting clips being substantially U-shaped, having a pair of arms extending downwardly from a bend along the top edge thereof, said guide fingers being mounted on the supporting members and supporting clips betweeen the arms thereof.
4. The combination of claim 3 wherein each of the outside supporting members mounts a single guide finger between each pair of supporting clips, and each of the inside supporting members mounts a pair of guide fingers in back-to-back relation between each pair of supporting clips.
5. The combination of claim 4 including a plurality of cell bars mounted along the arm of each outside supporting member, and a plurality of cell bars mounted along each arm of each inside supporting member, said cell bars supporting said guide fingers and said supporting clips.
6. The combination of claim 5 wherein each cell bar on the outside supporting member has a pair of projections extending through openings inthe arms of its respective outside supporting member, each cell bar on 15 n J said inside supporting member has one projection extending through openings in the arms of its respective inside supporting member, said mounting plate including end ears bearing on the projections of adjacent cell bars 5 to support said guide fingers.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,219,827 Kimball 6t al 06. 29, 1940 2,656,081 Davis 06. 20, 1953 3,031,820 Schulze et a1. May 71, 1962 FOREIGN PATENTS 382,376 Great Britain 06:. 27, 1932