US 3231448 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 25, 1966 c. A. FLQQD 392319448 APPARATUS FOR APPLYING HEAT-TBANSFER LABELS TO ARTICLES Filed Dec. 20, 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Jan. 25, 1966 c. A. FLOOD 3,231,443
APPARATUS FOR APPLYING HEAT-TRANSFER LABELS TO ARTICLES Filed Dec. 20, 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Jan. 25, 1966 c. A. FLOOD 3,231,448
APPARATUS FOR APPLYING HEAT-TRANSFER LABELS TO ARTICLES Filed Dec. 20, 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Jan. 25, 1966 c. A. FLOOD 3,231,448
APPARATUS FOR APPLYING HEAT-TRANSFER LABELS TO ARTICLES Filed Dec. 20, 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 j I I H 1/ I I I: i ji Liz lm l l I 4/1 l Iii! I tn I HI" 1,41? 1 H I i? l lu'lh V 1 l i ILL;
Jan. 25, 1966 c, FLQOD 3,231,448
APPARATUS FOR APPLYING HEAT-TRANSFER LABELS TO ARTICLES Filed Dec. 20, 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 United States Patent APPARATUS FOR APPLYING HEAT-TRANSFER LABELS T0 ARTICLES Carl A. Flood, Framingham, Mass., assignor to Dennison Manufacturing Company, Framingham, Mass., a corporation of Nevada Filed Dec. 20, 1962, Ser. No. 246,066 8 Claims. (Cl. 156-542) This invention relates to heat-transfer labels and more particularly to heat-transfer labels mounted on a backing strip in a row extending lengthwise of the strip. While any heat-transfer label strip may be employed, the strip is preferably made as disclosed in Patent 2,862,832 of Ridgley G. Shepherd, Ir. dated December 2, 1958, where the label strip comprises a paper backing having a marginal row of sprocket holes, the backing being coated with oxidized wax adhesively to hold the labels printed on the wax coating with ink which is heatactivatable so that when a label is pressed against a bottle or other article by means of a hot iron engaging the back of the strip the label is transferred from the strip to the article.
Objects of the invention are to increase the rate of transfer of the labels from the aforesaid strip to articles such as bottles or vials, to increase the adhesion of the labels to the articles, and generally to improve the art of applying heat-transfer labels to articles.
In one aspect the present invention involves apparatus comprising means for feeding a label-carrier strip at a predetermined speed along a predetermined path past a label-applying station, means for recurrently presenting articles to said station on one side of said path, means at said station on the other side of said path for pressing said strip against an article, said last means including an ironer for pressing a label on the strip against the article, means for heating the ironer, means to move the surface of an article past said station at said predetermined speed, said ironer being movable back and forth toward and from said path between operative and inoperative positions, and an actuator to move the ironer to inoperative position while each article is brought to said station. Preferably the apparatus comprises a spring for moving the ironer from inoperative to operative position and then yieldingly compressing the strip between the article and ironer. While the ironer may be nonmovably mounted on the actuator, preferably it comprises a roller which is freely rotatable by frictional contact with said strip.
The preferred embodiment comprises a heater movable back and forth with the roller for heating the roller, the heater being mounted on the actuator outside the roller so as to apply heat to the periphery of the roller. Preferably the heater has a cylindrical radiating surface approximately parallel to the aforesaid periphery. The heater may have a surface bearing on the aforesaid strip immediately in advance of the label-applying station while the roller is in said operative position. Preferably the aforesaid roller and surface disengage the strip when in inoperative position. In the preferred embodiment the apparatus comprises means for heating the labels before they reach the aforesaid heater. Preferably the aforesaid heating means has an elongate surface extending along the aforesaid path, the surface having longitudinal convexity so as to maintain contact with the strip throughout the length of the surface and the convexity being slight so as to minimize friction. The heating means may comprise a second elongate surface extending along the aforesaid path in advance of the first elongate surface and also having longitudinal convexity, the two surfaces being disposed at an angle to each other, and a roller be- 3,231,448 Patented Jan. 25, 1966 tween the two surfaces for guiding the strip from one surface to the other with a minimum of friction.
For the purpose of illustration a typical embodiment of the invention is shown in the accompanying drawings in which FIG. 1 is a plan view of the apparatus;
FIG. 1a is a plan view of a label strip;
FIG. 2 is a section on line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is-a section on line 3-3 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic plan view of parts of the apparatus;
FIG. 5 is a section on line 5--5 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the parts shown in FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged plan view of a part of the apparatus;
FIG. 8 is a section on line 8-8 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a section on line 99 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 10 is a section on line 10--10 of FIG. 9.
The particular embodiment of the invention chosen for the purpose of illustration comprises a feed reel 1, a take-up reel 2 and a sprocket wheel 3 for feeding the label strip S from the feed reel to the take-up reel over rollers 4, 5, 6, 7, 3, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 14, the strip 8 having sprocket holes H and carrying labels L. Between the rollers 11 and 12 is an applicator roll 16 which is mounted on a bracket 17 pivoted on shaft 18. The roll 16 is preferably covered with a resilient layer to accommodate irregularities in the surface of the article to be labeled. For example the roll may be covered with a layer of soft silicone rubber thick. The applicator roll is moved back and forth between operative and inoperative positions by means of a cam 19 driven by sprocket 19 (FIG. 2) and a cam follower 21 on the arm 22 fast to the shaft 18, the cam follower 21 being held against the cam 19 by means of a spring 23 (FIG. 7). Bridging the two arms of the U-shaped bracket 17 is a rod 17' (FIG. 2) and fast to the shaft 18 is a U-shaped actuator 18 which straddles the rod 17 (FIGS. 1, 6 and 7) with adjusting screws 20 to adjust the location of the applicataor roll 16 in its advanced and retracted positions. The applicator roll 16 is surrounded throughout most of its periphery by a heater 24 containing a heating coil which heats the periphery of the applicator roll by radiation. In traveling from roll 11 to the applicator roll 16 the strip bears against a surface 15 on the heater 24 thereby to apply more heat to each label just before it is applied. To heat the strip to a predetermined temperature, the longer the surface 15 lengthwise of said path the lower the temperature of the surface. Preferably the temperature of heater 24 is higher than that of plates 58 and 59, for example 450 F. When the roll 16 and heater 24 are retracted to inoperative position they disengage the strip S. Inasmuch as the surface 15 and roll 16 engage the strip S only momentarily while a label is being applied, they may be heated to a temperature high enough to damage the label strip if they contacted the strip while the strip is decelerated between applications of successive labels as hereinafter described. The applicator roll 16 is rotated by frictional engagement with the strip S.
Opposite the applicator roll 16 is a turret 26 carrying a row of upstanding pins 27 around its periphery. The vials V (FIG. 9), to which the labels are to be transferred from the strip S, are placed over the pins 27. The turret 26 is rotated step by step in the direction of the arrow in FIG. 1 by means of a rack 28 actuated by -reciprocating slide 29 as disclosed in my copending application Ser. No. 141,476 filed September 28, 1961. As shown in FIGS. 9 and 10 the rack actuates the turret through a gear 31 rotatable on the turret (FIG. 9), a pawl 32 and ratchet wheel 33, the pawl being pivotally mounted on the gear 31 by a pin 34 (FIG. 10) and the 3 ratchet wheel being fast to the turret. Fast to the ratchet wheel is a brake wheel 36 rubbing on a brake 37 to prevent the turret from overthrowing as it is stepped around. The turret 26, gear 31, ratchet wheel 33 and brake 36 are rotatable together on shaft 38 journaled in table 39. The shaft 38 is driven by a sprocket wheel 41 and fast to the shaft within the hollow turret is a gear 42 meshing with pinions 43 on the pins 27 (FIG. 9) continuously to rotate the pins.
At each of the three stations between the loading station 27' and the applicator roll 16 (FIG. 1) is a gasflame device 44 for heating the vials as they approach the applicator station in well known manner. Another such device 45 may be located between the applicator station and the unloading station 27" to set the adhesive holding the labels on the vials. By preheating the vials the labels adhere quicker and better. At the applicator station a plunger 46 operated by an air cyclinder 47 presses the vial against the base rotated by pinion 43 to cause the vial to rotate at the speed of the pinion.
The strip-guide rollers 7 and 13 are mounted on a carriage 51 which is reciprocated back and forth by slide 52 (FIG. 1). While a label is being applied 'by applicator 16 the carriage reciprocates to the left to propel the strip S past the label-applying station at the same speed as the peripheral velocity of the rotating vial so that a label is transferred to the vial by the applicator roll 16. After the label is applied and while the next vial is being brought up to the applicator station, the carriage reciprocates to the right so that the strip is not advanced past the applicator station much if any. In this way the labels L on the strip S may be placed close together as shown in FIG. 1a, the portion of the strip between rolls 7 and 13 pausing between applications of successive labels to successive vials.
The reciprocation of the slides 29 and 52 is controlled by cams 53 and 54 actuating cam rollers 56 and 57 on the two slides respectively as fully described in my Patent 2,981,432 granted April 25, 1961.
Between rollers 8 and 9 is an electrically heated plate 58 and between rollers 9 and 11 is another such plate 59, these plates serving to warm the labels L on strip S before they reach the label-applying roller 16, thereby to facilitate the transfer of the labels to the vials. By making these plates slightly concave lengthwise of the strip path the strip is caused to maintain close contact with the plates as it passes thereover and by providing a roller at each end of each plate the drag on the strip is minimized. By making the plates elongate heat may be applied to the label strip throughout a considerable portion of the length of its path without contacting the exposed surfaces of the labels while heated. The labels may be heated to 160-180 F. for an indefinite time without damage. Preheating the label strip not only facilitates adhesion to the vials but also prevents wrinkling of the strip between labels by the heated applicator roll.
As shown in FIGS. 1 to 4 the means for equalizing the tension in the strip S on opposite sides of the sprocket wheel 3, thereby to avoid tearing the sprocket holes, comprises the following mechanism. Bearing on the feed reel 1 is a brake 61 pivotally mounted on a shaft 62. The brake is pressed against the reel by a spring 63 acting on the brake through an arm 64 and anadjustable screw 66, the arm being pivotally mounted at 67. The spring is mounted on a link 68 which extends loosely into the upper end of arm 64 and bears against an adjusting nut 69. The other end of the link is pivotally connected to a pin 71 fast to a rocker arm 72 which is fast to a shaft 73. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4 the axes of the pin 71 and shaft 73 are offset so that brake pressure is increased when the arm 72 rocks clockwise and i decreased when it rocks counterclockwise. A pin 74 extending through a slot 75 in the rocker arm limits the movement of the arm. The aforesaid roller is mounted on one end of the rocker arm and the other end of the arm is pivotally 4. connected to a piston rod 76 by a pin 77. The rod 76 is connected to a piston 78 in a cylinder 79 which is supplied with fluid under pressure through a conduit 81 and regulator R.
As shown in FIG. 3 the take-up reel 2 is driven by a sprocket wheel 82 through a friction clutch comprising a driving part 33 and driven part 84 mounted on the take-up shaft 86 which is journaled in a bearing 87. The driven part 84 of the clutch is pinned to the shaft at 88 and the driving part 83 is freely rotatable on the shaft. Part 83 is pressed against part 84 by an arm 89 pivotally mounted at 90. Arm 89 is actuated by one end of a bell-crank 91 pivotally mounted at 92. The other end of the bell-crank is actuated by a spring 93 on a rod 94 which is reciprocated lengthwise by a pin 96 eccentrically fast to shaft 97 which is journaled in bearing 98 (FIGS. 1, 3 and 4). An arm 99 is mounted on the end of shaft 97 and is pinned thereto as shown in FIG. 3. The strip guide 12 is mounted on one end of the arm 99 and the other end of the arm is connected with the cylinder 79 at 102. The end of roller 14 extends through a slot 103 in arm 99 to limit the movement of the arm.
As the tension in the feed portion of the strip S between feed reel 1 and sprocket wheel 3 starts to increase for any reason, the arm 72 is rotated counterclockwise (FIGS. 1 and 4) thereby moving piston 78 to the right. This further compresses the air in cylinder 79, thereby increasing the tension in the take-up portion of the strip to balance the increase in the feed portion so as to avoid tearing the sprocket holes in the strip. Conversely if the tension in the take-up portion of the strip tends to increase, the tension in the feed portion is increased through the yielding interconnection of the piston and cylinder. Likewise if the tension in either portion starts to decrease, the tension in the other portion is automatically decreased.
In addition to this counterbalancing of tension, the arms 72 and 99 are kept floating by brake 61 and friction clutch 83-84 so that the stops 14 and 74 do not engage either end of their slots respectively (FIGS. 1 and 4). For example, when the arm 72 moves counterclockwise in response to momentary increase of tension in the feed portion, the lower end of slot moves toward the stop 74, but this counterclockwise movement of the arm relieves the brake 61 to prevent the end of the slot from engaging the stop, thereby keeping the arm floating. Likewise when the arm moves clockwise in response to momentary decrease of tension the braking effect is in creased to keep the upper end of the slot from engaging the stop. In the same manner movement of arm 99 varies the friction in clutch 83-84 to prevent the ends of slot 103 from engaging the stop 14, thereby keeping the arm floating.
The tension of the label strip between the sprocket wheel 3 and the feed reel 1 is determined by the amount of air pressure in the cylinder 79 providing the arm 72 is not against the stop 74. Initially the arm 72 is adjusted to midposition by adjusting the spring 63 so that when the arm 72 is moved clockwise to the stop position the braking action is heavier than will ever be required and when the arm is moved counterclockwise to the other stop position the braking action is lighter than will ever be required. Likewise the arm 99 is adjusted to midposition by adjusting spring 93. When the feed reel 1 is full the arm 72 swings to the exact position that will cause the brake to counterbalance the strip tension as determined by the air cylinder. As the feed reel is reduced in size the roll 5 moves counterclockwise to reduce the braking action accordingly. The same is true of the take-up reel. By adjusting the distances x and y (FIG. 4) relatively to each other for initial balance in tension on opposite sides of sprocket 3, the balance is automatically maintained notwithstanding variations in friction or other factors tending to unbalance the tension.
From the foregoing it will be evident that the labels are warmed by the plates 58 and 59 and by the surface 15 of the heater 24 (FIGS. 6 and 7) and as the vials approach the label-applying station they are warmed by the gas-flame devices 44. As above explained the portion of the strip S between rollers 7 and 13 is caused to travel at the same linear velocity as that of the rotating vial at the applicator station while the label is being applied, and then to pause while the next vial is stepped up to the labelapplying station. When a vial reaches the applicator station the applicator roll 16 presses the strip S against the rotating vial and while another vial is being stepped up to the applicator station the applicator roll and heater surface are retracted by the cam 19 out of contact with the strip S. The moving parts are interconnected to operate in synchronism as described in the aforesaid patent and when the machine stops the roll 16 should be in retracted position so as not to overheat the strip S and the Vials V should be between stations so as not to be overheated by the gas-flame devices.
It should be understood that the present disclosure is for the purpose of illustration only and that this invention includes all modifications and equivalents which fall within the scope of the appended claims.
1. In the art of heat-transfer labels printed on a backing strip with ink which is heat-activatable, apparatus comprising means to pull a strip along a predetermined path during recurrent intervals, an ironer engageable with the back of a strip at one location along said path to press labels against articles during said intervals respectively, a heater engageable with the back of the strip in advance of said location for rendering the labels adhesive as they approach the ironer, and means to move the heater into contact with the strip only during said intervals.
2. In the art of heat-transfer labels printed on a backing strip with ink which is heat-activatable, apparatus comprising means to pull a strip along a predetermined path during recurrent intervals, an ironer engageable with the back of a strip at one location along said path to press labels against articles during said intervals respectively, a heater engageable with the back of the strip in advance of said location for rendering the heat-transfer labels adhesive as they approach the ironer, and means to move the ironer and heater into contact with the strip only during said intervals.
3. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said heater is in heat transfer relation to the ironer so that it also heats the ironer.
4. Apparatus according to claim 3 further characterized by means in advance of said heater for warming the labels and means engageable only with the back of the strip for guiding the strip past said warming means, heater and ironer so that the labels contact nothing after being warmed.
5. Apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said guiding means comprises an elongate stationary surface extending lengthwise of said path, the surface being convex lengthwise of the path so that the strip is held in contact with the surface by tension in the strip produced by said pulling means.
6. Apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said guiding means comprises two elongate stationary surfaces extending lengthwise of said path with juxtaposed ends meeting at an angle, and a roller between said ends for guiding the strip from one surface to the other, each surface being convex lengthwise of the path so that the strip is held in contact with the surfaces by tension in the strip produced by said pulling means.
7. In the art of heat-transfer labels printed on a backing strip with ink which is heat-activatable, apparatus comprising means to pull a strip along a predetermined path during recurrent intervals, an ironer engageable with the back of a strip at one location along said path to press labels against articles during said intervals respectively, means in advance of said ironer for warming the labels, means engageable only with the back of the strip for guiding the strip past the warming means and ironer so that the labels contact nothing after being warmed, the guiding means comprising an elongate stationary surface extending lengthwise of said path, the surface being convex lengthwise of the path so that the strip is held in contact with the surface by tension in the strip produced by said pulling means.
8. Apparatus according to claim 7 further characterized in that the guiding means comprises a second elongate stationary surface extending lengthwise of said path with juxtaposed ends of the two surfaces meeting at an angle, and a roller between the said ends for guiding the strip from one surface to the other, the second surface also being convex lengthwise of the path so that the strip is held in contact with the surfaces by tension in the strip produced by said pulling means.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,538,520 1/1951 Holt et al 156-82 2,981,432 4/1961 Flood 156542 XR 3,054,715 9/1962 White 156-540 XR ALEXANDER WYMAN, Primary Examiner.
HAROLD ANSHER, EARL M. BERGERT, Examiners.