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Publication numberUS3250213 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 10, 1966
Filing dateDec 16, 1964
Priority dateDec 16, 1964
Publication numberUS 3250213 A, US 3250213A, US-A-3250213, US3250213 A, US3250213A
InventorsBrigham Ward E, Eckert Robert L
Original AssigneeSun Chemical Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
High speed tube decorating machines
US 3250213 A
Abstract  available in
Images(9)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

May 10, 1966 w. E. BRIGHAM ET A1. 3,250,213

HIGH SPEED TUBE DECORATING MACHINES Filed Dec. 16, 1964 9 Sheets-Sheet l liii INVENTORS Ward 5 Brigham Rober/ L. Ec/rerf ATTORNEY y 10, 1966 w. E. BRIGHAM ET AL 3,250,213

HIGH SPEED TUBE DECORATING MACHINES Filed Dec. 16, 1964 v 9 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS Ward E. Br/gham Robert L. Ec/rer/ BY m aw ATTORNEY y 1966 w. E. BRIGHAM ET AL 3,250,213

HIGH SPEED TUBE DECORATING MACHINES Filed Dec. 16, 1964 9 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTORS Ward E. Brigham Haber) L. Ec/rer/ ATTORNEY y 10, 1966 w. E. BRIGHAM ET AL 3,250,213

HIGH SPEED TUBE DECORATING MACHINES Filed Dec. 16, 1964 9 Sheets-Sheet 4 Fig. 6 2/ 22 23 24 2 izii LQ INVENTORS Ward 5 Br/gham R006 L. Ecker/ ATTORNEY y 1966 w. E. BRIGHAM ET AL 3,250,213

HIGH SPEED TUBE DECORATING MACHINES Filed Dec. 16, 1964 9 Sheets-Sheet 5 Man/fold INVENTORS Ward E. Brig/70m Roberf L. Ec/rer/ ATTORNEY Fig. /0

y 1966 w. E. BRIGHAM ET AL 3,250,213

HIGH SPEED TUBE DECORATING MACHINES Filed Dec. 16, 1964 9 Sheets-Sheet 6 Fig.

INVENTORS Ward E. Brigham Robe/1 L. Ec/rer/ ATTORNEY May 10, 1966 W. E. BRIGHAM ET AL HIGH SPEED TUBE DECORATING MACHINES Filed Dec. 16, 1964 Fig. /2

9 Sheets-Sheet 7 ATTORNEY y 1966 w. E. BRIGHAM ET AL 3,250,213

HIGH SPEED TUBE DECORATING MACHINES Filed Dec. 16, 1964 9 Sheets-Sheet 8 Fig. /4 /5 INVENTORS Ward E. Brig/1am Haber, L. Ec/ren BY wry a ATTORNEY May 10, 1966 w. BRIGHAM ET AL 3,

HIGH SPEED TUBE DECORATING MACHINES Filed Dec. 16, 1964 9 Sheets-Sheet 9 Q ,5, Ward E. Brig/70m 2 INVENTORS Raber/ L. Ec/rerf ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,250,213 HIGH SPEED TUBE DECORATING MACHINES Ward E. Brigham and Robert L. Eckert, Rutherford, N.J., assignors to Sun Chemical Corporation, New York, N.Y., a corporation of Delaware Filed Dec. 16, 1964, Ser. No. 418,618 19 Claims. (Cl. 101-40) This invention relates to machines for decorating tubes, and more particularly, to machines for coating and printing collapsible tubes.

Heretofore, various types of machines have been proposed for coating and printing metal or plastic collapsible tubes of the character comprising a cylindrical body portion havingan open end for insertion of the contents, the opposite end of the tube having a reduced neck portion adapted to be capped to form a closure. Prior to filing, closing the open end, and capping the tube, it is coated or printed by sliding the open end over a spindle which is then advanced to a coating device, where a coating of enamel, lacquer, varnish, or other suitable material, is applied to the body portion of the tube; or alternatively, the spindle and associated tube are advanced to a printing station where selected, desired printing is applied to the body portion of the tube. After the tube has been coated or printed, it is removed from the spindle and transferred to a conveyor for passage through a suitable oven wherein the coating or printing applied to the tube is dried.

While tube coating and printing machines hitherto employed have been satisfactory for their intended purpose, they have been open to certain objection-s, in that, they are limited by the relatively slow rate at which tubes can be printed or coated. This limitation in the coating or printing rate is primarily due to the time required in placing the tube on the spindle, and in transferring the coated or printed tube from the spindle to the oven conveyor. Because of the relatively slow rate of coating or printing, with resultant decrease in production per unit of time, the decorating cost per tube is increased.

After considerable research and experimentation, the machine of the present invention has been devised to overcome the objections experienced with hitherto employed machines, and comprises, essentially, rotatable drum means adapted to receive a plurality of tubes from a source of supply and sequentially transfer a tube to one of the spindles of an intermittently rotatable turret, whereby the tubes are successively advanced to a coating device or to a printing mechanism to .be decorated thereby. A transfer disc assembly is employed for removing the decorated tube from the spindle and transferring it to a chain conveyor for conveying the tubes through a drying oven, the transfer disc being operatively associated with the spindle turret and the oven conveyor in such fashion, that when one decorated tube is being removed from the spindle turret another decorated tube is simultaneously transferred to the oven conveyor. The machine of the present invention also includes means for rendering the coating device or printing mechanism inoperative, in the event that a tube is missing from a turret spindle as the spindle approaches the coater or printer, whereby to prevent application of the printing or coating material to the spindle, with resultant transfer of such material from the spindle to the interior surface of the tube subsequently positioned thereon.

By means of the construction and arrangement of the rotatable drum, the spindle turret, the printing and coating mechanisms, the transfer disc assembly, and the oven conveyor, an improved tube decorating machine is provided whereby tubes can be decorated at relatively high speeds. In accordance with the present invention, tubes can be coated or printed at a rate of one hundred twenty per minute, and more, which is substantially higher than the rate attainable by the known, hitherto employed, tube decorating machines.

An object of the invention is to provide an improved machine for decorating collapsible tubes at relatively high speeds.

Another object of the invention is to provide a machine for decorating collapsible tubes having an improved tube feeding assembly incorporating an intermittently rotatable, pocketed drum for sequentially receiving a plurality of collapsible tubes from a source of supply and transferring the tubes to the spindles of an intermittently rotatable turret.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide an improved machine for printing and coating collapsible tubes wherein means are provided for rendering the coating or printing mechanism inoperative when a tube is absent from a spindle of the intrmittently rotatable turret, to thereby prevent application of theprinting or coating maerial to the spindle.

Still another object of the invention is to provide an improved machine for decorating collapsible tubes having means for conveying the decorated tubes through a drying zone, and a transfer disc assembly for simultaneously removing a decorated tube from a spindle of the intermittently rotatable turret while placing another decorated tube on a spindle carried by the conveyor means.

A further object of the invention is to provide an improved stop-start conveying means constructed and arranged whereby a portion thereof moves intermittently while the remaining portion of the conveying means continuously moves without change of tension.

A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved machine for decorating collapsible tubes wherein an endless chain conveyor is provided for conveying the decorated tubes through an oven or other suitable drying zone, the conveyor being constructed and arranged whereby movement of the portion of the conveyor in the vicinity of the station where a tube is transferred thereto, is momentarily interrupted, while the remaining portion of the conveyor moves continuously through the oven or dry-ing zone without loss of tension.

Yet a further object of the invention is to provide an improved tube decorating machine wherein the transfer disc assembly employed to transfer coated or printed tubes from the intermittently rotatable turret to the con veyor incorporates means for gripping the neck portion of a tube and removing it from the turret, while simul-' taneously placing another tube on the conveyor.

With these and other objects in view, which may be incident to our improvements, the invention consists in the parts and combinations to be hereinafter set forth and claimed, with the understanding that the several necessary elements, comprising our invention, may be varied in construction, proportions and arrangement, without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

In order to make our invention more clearly understood, we have shown in the accompanying drawings means for carrying the same into practical effect, without limiting the improvements in their useful applications to the particular constructions which, for the purpose ofexplanation, have been made the subject .of illustration.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of the tube deco- FIGURE is an enlarged side elevational view of the rotatable drum means of the tube feeding assembly;

FIGURES 6 and 7 are fragmentary perspective views of the tube feeding mechanism;

FIGURES is a fragmentary view showing the operative relationship between the spindle turret, feeler or sensor member, and the coating device or printing mechanism;

FIGURE 9 is a fragmentary perspective view showing the operational relationship between the spindle turret, transfer disc and the oven conveyor;

FIGURE 10 is a diagrammatic view of the pneumatic system employed with the main components of the machine;

FIGURE 11 is an enlarged top plan view showing the operative relationship between the feeding assembly, spindle turret, transfer disc, and the oven conveyor;

FIGURE 12 is a vertical sectional view of the printing cylinder;

FIGURE 13 is a sectional view on line 12-12 of FIG- URE 11;

FIGURE 14 is a side elevational view of the transfer disc;

FIGURE 15 is a fragmentary sectional view of the transfer disc, showing the tube gripping means;

FIGURE 16 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of a modified spindle having a floating nose portion;

FIGURE 17 is a sectional view on line 1717 of FIG- URE 16;

FIGURE 18 is a fragmentary sectional view of the modified spindle of FIGURE 16, showing the nose portion in extended position;

FIGURE. 19 is a side elevational view of the oven conveyor stop-start mechanism;

FIGURE 20 is an end view, partially in section, of the stop-start mechanism shown in FIGURE 19; .and

FIGURE 21 is .a side elevational view of the cam employed .with the stop-start mechanism.

Referring to the drawings and more particularly to FIGURES 1 and 3, the decorating machine of the present invention comprises, essentially, an endless belt 1 adapted to sequentially deliver a plurality of tubes 2, to an intermittently rotatable drum means 3, which in turn, transfers each tube to arespective spindle carried by an intermittently rotatable turret 4, whereby the tubes are successively advanced to a printing mechanism 5 or to a coating device 6 (FIGURE 4) to be decorated thereby. The machine also includes a sensing mechanism 7 which renders the coating device or printing mechanism inoperative in the event that a tube is missing from a spindle as it approaches the coater or printer, and a transfer disc assembly 8 for removing the decorated tube from the spindle, and transferring it to a chain conveyor 9 adapted to convey the tubes through a drying oven 10.

As will be seen in FIGURES 2, 3 and 5, the intermittently rotatable drum means 3 comprises, a cylindrical shaped body portion 11 having a plurality of peripherally spaced tube receiving pockets or slots 12, the longitudinal axes thereof being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the body portion. The drum member 3 is rotatably driven in an intermittent fashion by means of a drive shaft 13 having one end keyed to the body portion 11 as at 14, the opposite end of the shaft being rotatably mounted within a transmission assembly 15 (FIGURE 2). A pair of endless belts 16 (FIGURE 11) are wound around a plurality of idler puleys 17 carried by shafts 18 journaled at their opposite ends in mounting plates 19' and 20. A portion of each belt engages the peripheral surface of the pocketed drum to retain the tubes in the pockets, prior to their transfer to the spindle turret 4 by means of a fluid motor 21 carried by the mounting plate 19. As will be more clearly seen in FIGURE 6, the fluid motor 21 comprises a cylindrical housing 22, having a piston (not shown) slidably mounted therein, said piston having one end of a piston rod 23 secured thereto, the opposite end of the Q piston rod extending outwardly from the housing and terminating in an enlarged head member 24 adapted to engage the closure end 2a of a tube 2 and force the tube outwardly of its pocket, when the fluid motor 21 is actuated to move the piston rod in the direction of the drum, as will be described more fully hereinafter.

The spindle turret assembly 4, comprises an intermittently rotatable disc 25 having a plurality of spindles 26, secured thereto in proximity to the periphery thereof, as shown in FIGURE 3. Each of the spindle is provided with an axial bore extending therethrough, said axial bore being in communication with a vacuum pump 27 (FIG- URE 10) through a line 28 and head 29, when the respective spindle is indexed to the position illustrated in FIG- URE 6. As will be seen in FIGURES 1, 3, 7 and 10, a second fluid motor 30, similar in construction to fluid motor 21 and actuated simultaneously therewith, is carried by the mounting plate 19, said second fluid motor being positioned downstream from the. motor 21, to thereby insure that the tube is properly seated on the spindle prior to its arrival at the decorating station.

By means of the construction and arrangement of conveyor belt 1, drum means 3, fluid motors 21 and 30, and the spindle turret 4, as above described, a tube to be decorated is first carried by the conveyor belt into the drum pocket 12 adjacent the belt; the drum is then intermittently rotated in a clockwise direction to align the open end of the tube with a spindle 26 on the turret. When the open end of the tube is in alignment with a spindle, the fluid motor 21 is actuated to push the tube out of the pocket onto the end portion of the spindle, and the suction created by the vacuum pump 27 draws the tube the remaining distance onto the spindle; the spindle turret 4 is then rotated in a counter-clockwise direction to move the spindle and associated tube toward the coating or printing device. In the event that a tube is not completely seated on the spindle, the second fluid motor 30 will push the tube home at the followingstation. With reference to the operational sequence of the above described elements, it will be understood that their respective movements are synchronized, and that the operation is entirely automatic.

Difliculty has been experienced in the past with regard to the proper seating of relatively pliable tubes on the spindles, particularly plastic tubes, which have a tendency to assume an elliptical shape in cross-section. This distortion of the tube is usually caused by the fact that the tubes remain in storage in stacked relationship for an extended period of time prior to being decorated. In order to insure proper seating of these tubes on the spindles, the ends of the spindles are modified as illustrated in FIG- URES 16-18, wherein the spindle 31 is'provided with an axial bore 32 which communicates with the pneumatic system of the machine. The nose portion of the spindle is provided with a counterbore 33 having a floating plunger 34 slidably mounted therein, said plunger also being provided with a bore 3-5 which is coaxial with the bore 32 of the spindle. A pair of oppositely disposed stop members 36 are provided on the spindle, which members engage an annular shoulder 34a formed on the plunger to limit the outward movement of the plunger with respect to the spindle. It will be observed (FIGURE 16) that the end portion 34b of the floating plunger and the end portion 31w of the spindle form a frustumof a cone when the floating plunger is in the retracted position, and accordingly, the conical shaped end portion of the plunger, which is of less diameter than the spindle, is readily moved into a tube through the distorted open end thereof.

By means of the above described construction and arrangement, air under pressure enters'the bore 32 of the spindle 31 and forces plunger 34 to its extended position, as shown in FIGURE 18. As the plunger moves to extended position, the open end of a distorted tube, not shown, slides over the plunger to thereby expand the wall of the tube, and as the tube continues to move towards the spindle, the plunger moves to its retracted position illustrated in FIGURE 18, to thereby allow the expanded wall of the tube to slide over the peripheral surface of the spindle.

After a tube to be decorated has been properly placed on a spindle the spindle turret continues its intermittent rotational movement in a counter-clockwise direction to thereby bring the tube adjacent to the printing mechanism 5 (FIGURE 3) or to the coating device 6 (FIGURE 4). The printing mechanism and coating device are of a known type having fountain units for supplying ink to a blanket cylinder 37, in the case of the printing mechanism, or forsupplying enamel, lacquer, varnish, or other suitable material to an applicator roller 38, in the case of the coating device.

One of the important features of the present invention is the provision of means for rendering the blanket cylinder or applicator roller inoperative in the event that a tube is missing from the turret spindle as the spindle approaches the printer or coater. As will be seen in FIG- URES l2 and 13, the blanket cylinder includes a shoe 39 having a blanket 40 superimposed thereon and suitably tensioned by ratchet means 41, associated with the mounting means at the ends of the blanket, and carried by the shoe. Each end of the shoe is provided with a pair of arms 42 having their ends 43 pivotally mounted on bearing means 44 carried by a shaft 45 rotatably mounted in cover plates 46 secured to opposite sides of blanket cylinder 37. Each shaft 45 is provided with an eccentric portion 45a to which one end of respective arms 47 and 48 is keyed as at 49. One end of a connecting rod 50 is pivotally connected to the arm 48 as at 51, the opposite end of the rod being pivotally connected to the arm 47, as at 52. A fluid motor 53 of the reciprocating piston type is mounted within the blanket cylinder, and is pivotally connected to the blanket cylinder as at 54, the fluid motor piston rod 55 being pivotally connected to the end of the arm 47, as at 56. By means of this arrangement of the fluid motor 53, arms 47 and 48, eccentric shafts 45 and the blanket shoe arms 42, it will be seen that when the fluid motor is actuated to move the piston rod to its extended position, the shoe and associated blanket are caused to move in a direction away from the blanket cylinder, and when the piston rod is moved to the retracted position the shoe is caused to move in the direction of the blanket cylinder.

In order to cushion the movement of shoe 39 in the direction of the blanket cylinder 37, a compression spring 57 is mounted between the arms 47 ,and a block 58, one end of the spring being seated in a recessed portion 58 of the block, the opposite end of the spring being in bearing engagement with the ratchet mechanism. The block 58 is carried by a spider 59 formed integral with the hub 60 of the blanket cylinder, and adjustable screw means 61, threadably secured to the block 58 is provided, whereby the compressive force of the spring may be varied. A drive shaft 62 is secured to the hub portion of the blanket cylinder to impart continuous rotary movement to the printing mechanism, the opposite end of the drive shaft being connected to a gear assembly 63 (FIGURE 2) which, in turn, is connected to a source of power such as an electric motor 64 through pulleys 65 and 66 and drive belts 67.

Control of the actuation of the fluid motor 53 for moving the shoe 39 and associated blanket 40 relative to the blanket cylinder is accomplished by positioning the sensing mechanism 7 (FIGURE 3) between the turret spindle and printing mechanism in such manner that the end 2a of the tube on the spindle will engage a feeler 68 of a is a tube on each spindle, the time-delay-relay R is repeatedly reset at equal intervals by the microswitch and accordingly, the solenoid-operated valve SV remains closed. However, when a tube is missing from a spindle, the time-delay-switch will energize the solenoid to open the valve and cause the fluid motor to be actuated, whereby the shoe and associated blanket are retracted so as to prevent application of the printing or coating material to the spindle, which material would then be transferred to the interior surface of a tube subsequently applied to the spindle.

'A' similar arrangement is employed for rendering the applicator roller 38 of the coating machine inoperative when a tube is missing from the spindle. As will be seen in FIGURE 4, a linkage arrangement 69 is operatively connected between the sensing mechanism 7 and the roller 38, whereby when a tube is missing from the spindle the linkage 69 is actuated to move the entire roller away from the path of the spindle turret to thereby prevent application of the coating material to the spindle. If there is a tube on the succeeding spindle, the sensing mechanism is energized to cause movement of the roller in the direction of the spindleturret, to thereby coat the tube-when it reaches the coating station.

After the tube has been printed, as shown in FIGURE 3, or coated as shown in FIGURE 4, it is carried by the spindle turret approximately 180 from the decorating station to the transfer disc assembly 8 where it is removed from the spindle turret. Details of the transfer disc assembly are illustrated in FIGURES 1, 9, 11, 14 and 15, wherein a disc member 70 is secured to a rotatable shaft 71 journaled within a support member 72 (FIGURE 11) carried by a mounting plate 73. The end of the shaft is provided with a flanged collar 74 which is connected to the bifurcations 75 of an arm 76 having its end pivotally connected to the mounting plate 73 as at 74 (FIG- URE 1). By this construction and arrangement, the disc member is adapted for rotational and reciprocatory movement by means of the shaft 71 and bifurcated arm 76, respectively. As will be seen in FIGURE 2, the reciprocatory movement of the disc assembly is effected by means of a rod 77 connected between the bifurcated arm 76 and a cam 78 rotatably driven by means of a shaft 79, connected through a belt and pulley assembly 80 to a gear assembly 81, which in turn is driven by the source of power 64 through gear assembly 63, pulleys 65, 66, and belts 67.

Reference being had to FIGURES 14 and 15, the transfer disc 70 is provided with four cavities 82, each cavity having a floating piston 83 slidably mounted therein, said piston carrying a pin 84 adapted to extend through an aperture 85 of a disc or gasket 86, formed from rubber or other resilient material, mounted within the cavity at one end thereof. The disc or gasket is retained in the cavity by means of plate member 87 secured to the transfer disc 70, said plate member having a conical shaped opening 87b adapted to receive the reduced neck portion of a tube when the tube is removed from the turret spindle, as will be described more fully hereinafter. An annular member 83 is mounted on the peripheral surface of the transfer disc 70, said annular member being formed with passages 88a and 88b, adapted to be placed in fluid communication with the cavity at opposite ends of the floating piston 83 through ports 70a and 70b, respectively, when the'transfer disc is rotated to the position at which a tube is transfer-red to the conveyor, the opposite ends of passages 88a and 88b being connected to a source of air pressure through lines 89 and 90. In addition to line 89, the annular member 88 is also provided with lines 91 (FIGURE 10) for supplying air pressure to the cavities, through ports 70a, to urge the respective pistons in the direction of the resilient gasket 86, for holding the tube on the transfer disc assembly after the tube is rethe disc may be rotated relative to the annular member but when the disc is reciprocated by oscillation of the bifurcated arm 76, as described hereinabove, the annular member is carried with the disc.

When transferring a decorated tube from a spindle of the spindle turret to the disc assembly 8, the disc assembly is moved inwardly towards the spindle turret as shown in dotted lines in FIGURE 9, and the spindle is simultaneously indexed to a position in alignment with a noz- Zle 92, which supplies air pressure to the interior of the spindle, whereby the decorated tube is blown off the spin dle into the conical opening 87b, formed in the plate 87. Air pressure is simultaneously supplied to the cavity '82 in the transfer disc 70 through lines 91 and ports 70a, causing the floating piston 83 to move in the direction of the gasket 86, whereby the pin 84 carried bythe piston passes thruogh the aperture 85 in the gasket, and into the tube neck portion 2a, to thereby guide portion 87a of the tube into seated position in the conical shaped opening 87b in the plate 87. As the piston moves toward the resilient gasket, the volume of the cavity between the end of the piston and the gasket diminishes, thereby creating an increase in pressure which causes deformation of the gasket, and since it is confined within the cavity 82, the deformation due to the compressive force is radially inwards. Accordingly, the neck portion 2a of the tube seated in the aperture 85, is securely gripped.

With the tube gripped, as above described, the disc assembly is then moved in the opposite direction by means of the bifurcated arm 76 as shown in full lines in FIGURE 9, and is then intermittently rotated 180 to align the open end of the tube with a pin 93 carried by the chain conveyor 9. The disc assembly is then moved inwardly again toward the pin 93, as shown in dotted lines in FIGURE 9, such that the open end of the tube extends'over the pin, and air pressure is supplied to the portion of the cavity between the end of the piston and the gasket 86 through line 90 (FIGURE 15), whereby the piston 83 is moved in the opposite direction to retract the pin from the neck of the tube. As the piston and associated pin move to the retracted position, the compressive force on the gasket is relieved, thereby releasing the gripping force on the neck portion 2a of the tube.

from the disc assembly 8 to the pins 93 of the conveyor 9,

as described hereinabove, it is necessary to momentarily stop the conveyor; however, it is important that the decorated tubes which have already been placed on the conveyor continue their travel through thedrying oven so that they will not be damaged by prolonged heating. After considerable research and experimentation, a startstop mechanism has been devised for the conveyor of the present invention, wherein the conveyor chain is motmentarily stopped at the station where a decorated tube is transferred to the chain pin, while the remaining portion of the chain moves continuously through the oven without change in tension in the chain. In this connection, maintenance of desired tension is an important feature in high speed operation for the reason that any change in tension will cause the chain to vibrate or bounce, and displace the tubes carried thereon. Referring to FIGURES 1, 19 and 2O, the conveyor and associated stop-start mechanism of the present invention comprises a base member 94, positioned adjacent the base of the transfer disc assembly 8, said 'base member being provided with a vertical frame 95 having a plurality of idler sprockets 96a, 96b, 96c, 96d and 96s rotatably mounted thereon. A- driven sprocket97 is keyed or otherwise secured to one end portion of a drive shaft 98 having its opposite end connected to a transmission assembly 99 (FIGURE 2). The drive shaft is also provided with a pulley 100 having a belt 101 for driving a rotatable shaft 102 journaled at one end in the frame 95 as at 103, and at the opposite end in a support 104 as at 105. A cam disc 106 secured to the shaft 102 is provided with an eccentric annular groove 107 (FIGURE 21) adapted to receive a roller 108, the annular groove forming a trackway for the roller. The roller 108 is carried by a shaft 108', adapted to seat in a tubular extension 109 formed integral with a plate member 110, the roller shaft being secured to the extension 109 by means of a pin or set screw 109'. The plate member 110 is slidably mounted on the frame 95 by means of flanged members 111 secured there-to, whereby the flanged members form a track for the plate member.

By means of the construction and arrangement of the cam disc 106 and plate member 110, it will be readily apparent that rotational movement of the cam disc will impart reciprocatory movement to the plate member. Each end of the plate member 110 is provided with a roller 112 adapted to travel Within a respective elongated slot 113 formed in the frame 95, thereby providing limit stops for the reciprocatory movement of the plate member. A pair of idler sprockets 114a and 11417 are rotatably mounted on the plate member 110, the shafts of the sprockets being accommodated within the frame 95 by means of elongated slots 115 formed therein, whereby the selected reciprocatory movement of the plate member is permitted. To complete the assembly, an endless chain 116 having the transversely extending pins 93 (FIGURE 3) secured thereto is wound on the idler sprockets 114a and 11412 and on the drive sprocket 97, it being understood that additional idler sprockets are provided for supporting the chain in its travel through the drying oven.

In the operation of the chain conveyor and associated stop-start mechanism, the drive sprocket 97 drives the chain 116 in the direction of the arrows as shown in FIGURE 19, rotation of the drive sprocket being accompanied by continuous rotation of the cam disc 106 to impart reciprocatory movement to the plate member 110 and the associated idler sprockets, as described hereinabove. Thus, as the plate 110 moves upwardly the amount of chain being fed around the drive sprocket 97 is being taken up by the upward movement of the idler sprockets 114a and 114b; therefore, the portion of the chain around the sprockets 96c, 96d and 966 remains stationary. During this time interval, a tube is transferred from the disc assembly onto a respective pin carried by the chain. The plate 110 then moves downwardly, thereby decreasing the amount of chain between the drive sprocket 97 and the idler sprocket 114b, thus causing the portion of the chain wound on the idler sprockets 96c, 96d and 96e to advance in the direction of the arrows until the next pin on the chain is in position to receive a tube from the transfer disc assembly, whereupon the chain is again stopped, as above described. While the portion of the chain wound on sprockets 96c,

96d and 96a is intermittently stopped, the portion of thein above, this system comprises a conventional compressor 117 (FIGURE 10), connected to a suitable manifold 118 through a main supply line 119, a regulator and gauge 120, and a filter 121, the manifold having a pressure relief line 122 connected to a pressure safety switch, designated generally by numeral 123.

The main air supply to the manifold is fed therefrom into a plurality of secondary systems I-VI, inclusive, for

actuating the tube grip in the transfer disc assembly 8, the tube hold in the transfer disc, the tube blow-off from the transfer disc to the conveyor chain 9, the tube blow-ofi from spindle turret 25 to the transfer disc, the blanket or coating cylinder trip mechanism, and the fluid motors 21 and 30 for pushing a tube onto a spindle of the spindle turret. It will be observed that each of the secondary air supply systems incorporates a regulator and gauge 124, and that each of said systems, with the exception of system II, includes a solenoid operated valve 125. System 1V supplies air through line 92' and nozzle 92 to blow a decorated tube off the spindle turret onto the transfer disc; system V supplies air to fluid motor 53 through lines 53a, 53b to actuate the blanket cylinder trip mechanism, and system VI supplies air through lines 21' and 30 to simultaneously actuate the fluid motors 21 and 30 employed to transfer tubes to be decorated from the pocketed drum 3 to the spindle turret.

It will thus be seen that the secondary system I supplies air pressure through the line 91 and a port 70a of a cavity 82 to urge the piston 83 in the direction of the gasket 86 (FIGURE whereby to grip the neck portion 2a of the tube blown onto the transfer disc from the spindle turret. As the transfer disc is intermittently rotated to bring the open end of the tube into alignment with a pin 93 of the conveyor, and subsequently moved slightly over the end portion of the pin, the tube is held in the gripped position by air supplied by system II through line 91 and associated branch lines 91a, and by line 89 of system III. When the tube reaches the position for transfer to the oven conveyor, the air supplied to line 89 is cut-off by the solenoid actuated valve means 125, and line 90 of system III is simultaneously opened to supply air pressure to the cavity 82 between the end of the cavity and the gasket 86, thereby releasing the gripping action of the. gasket on the neck of the tube, whereby the air pressure through line 90 blows the tube onto the conveyor pin.

It is to be understood that the above-described components of the main and secondary air supply systems are of conventional type, and that the solenoids of the solenoid operated valves are connected through suitable circuits, including switch means, to an electrical source, not shown, said switch means being operatively associated with a series of timing cams.

The automatic high speed tube printing machine of the present invention is designed to print cylindrical tubes of A to 1%" in diameter, and of length up to 7". In order to decorate tubes at relatively high speeds of the order of 120 per minute, and more, all of the main components and their individual elements have been specifically designed to withstand the forces generated by such high speed operation, and accordingly, many unique features have been combined to provide a tube decorating machine characterized by built-in strength, convenient operation, dependability, and versatility. The in-feed belt 1 is a mechanically driven, continuous motion, rubber covered leather belt, the linear velocity of which varies in relation to the machine speed. The tubes are deposited onto the in-feed conveyor belt with the open end of the tube facing the machine, the location at which tubes are deposited onto the belt being established by the user to fit his needs, and timed accordingly. The in-feed pocketed drum is preferably made of laminated cherrywood, or the like, covered with a protective sealer to prevent size variation due to temperature and humidity changes, the body of drum being of split design for simple and quick changeover. The leading end of each of the tubes on the conveyor belt should clear the outboard side of 1 the in-feed drum by approximately 4" just as the drum comes into a dwell.

The push-on air cylinders 21 and 30, FIGURE 3, must be actuated the instant the in-feed drum comes into dwell, and they must be actuated just long enough to complete their full outward stroke and return, before the in-feed drum begins to index. The tube should blow-off the spindle of the spindle turret to the transfer disc just as the transfer disc reaches the full in position, and the blow-off air should remain on until the open end portion of the tube covers approximately only /s" of the spindle body. The tube must have suflicient time to blowoff the spindle and be lodged in the opening of the resilient gasket carried by the transfer disc assembly before the gripping mechanism is actuated; and the air supply to the gripping station must continue until the tube passes the first hold-on supply opening, and stop before the following tube is blown-01f the spindle. It will be further appreciated that the various components incorporate adjusting means, whereby to accommodate tubes of different diameters and length within the limits for which the machine of the present invention is de signed. With respect to timing, there are many variables which may effect the operation of the machine, and accordingly, it is impossible to establish a perfect timing formula which will be consistent for each machine and the operating environment. The machine is of strong and rugged construction, timed to consistently and successfully handle a specified tube size, and under normal, prescribed conditions of use, no adjustment should be required even after long and continued use.

While we have shown and described the preferred embodiment of our invention, we wish it to be understood that we do not confine ourselves to the precise details of construction herein set forth by way of illustration, as it is apparent that many changes and variations may be made therein, by those skilled in the art, without departing from'the spirit of the invention or exceeding the scope of the appended claims.

We claim:

1. A tube decorating machine of the character described comprising an intermittently rotatable turret, spindles on said turret for supporting tubes to be deco rated, decorating means positioned in proximity to said turret, rotatable drum means positioned in proximity to said turret and adapted to receive a plurality of tubes from a source of supply and sequentially transfer a tube to one of the spindles of the intermittently rotatable turret, means for intermittently rotating said turret to carry the spindles and associated tubes to the decorating means, transfer disc assembly means positioned adjacent the turret for receiving and supporting the decorated tubes from the spindles, and conveyor means positioned adjacent the transfer disc assembly adapted to receive a decorated tube from the transfer disc assembly for conveying the decorated tube through a drying zone.

2. A tube decorating machine according to claim 1 wherein means are operatively connected between the spindle-turret and the decorating means for rendering the decorating means inoperative in the event that a tube is missing from the spindle-turret as the spindle approaches the decorating means.

3. A tube decorating machine according to claim 1 wherein the rotatable drum means comprises a cylindrical member, a plurality of peripherally spaced tube-receiving pockets formed in said cylindrical member, the longitudinal axes of said pockets being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the cylindrical member, means for intermittently rotating said cylindrical member to successively align a tube-receiving pocket with a spindle on the turret, belt means engaging the peripheral surface of said cylindrical member to retain the tubes in said pockets prior to their transfer to the spindle-turret, and fluid motor means operatively connected to said cylindrical memher for pushing a tube out of the pocket onto the end portion of the spindle on the turret.

4. A tube decorating machine according to claim 3 wherein vacuum means are operatively connected to the spindle aligned with the pocket in the cylindrical member, a bore formed in the spindle for establishing communication between said vacuum means and said pocket, whereby a tube to be decorated is drawnfrom the pocket onto the spindle.

5. A tube decorating machine of the character described for decorating tubes of the type having a cylindrical body portion provided with an open end for the insertion of the contents and a reduced neck portion on the opposite end adapted to be capped; said machine comprising an intermittently rotatable turret, spindles on said turret for supporting tubes to be decorated, decorating means positioned in proximity to said turret, rotatable drum means positioned in proximity to said turret and adapted to receive a plurality of tubes from a source of supply and sequentially transfer a tube to one of the spindles of the intermittently rotatable turret, means for intermittently rotating said turret to carry the spindles and associated tubes to the decorating means, transfer. disc assembly means positioned adjacent the turret for receiving and supporting the decorated tubes from the spindles,

said transfer disc assembly means comprising, a disc member, a plurality of cavities formed in said disc member, a floating piston slidably mounted in each cavity, a resilient disc having a centrally disposed aperture mounted within the cavity at one end thereof and spaced from one end of the piston, means for intermittently rotating said disc member to successively align a resilient disc aperture with a spindle on the turret, pneumatic means connected to said disc member and communicating with each cavity for moving the piston relative to the resilient disc, whereby when a tube is removed from the spindle the neck portion of the tube is inserted within the aperture of the resilient disc and is gripped therein by means of the compressive force of the pneumatic means urging the piston toward the resilient disc thereby creating radial deformation thereof, and conveyor means positioned adjacent the transfer disc assembly adapted to receive a decorated tube from the transfer disc assembly for conveying the decorated tube through a drying zone.

6. A tube decorating machine according to claim 5' wherein air pressure means are operatively connected to the spindle aligned with the aperture in the resilient disc, a bore formed in the spindle communicating with the air pressure means, whereby a decorated tube is adapted to be blown from the spindle onto the transfer disc assembly.

7. A tube decorating machine according to claim 5 wherein means are operatively connected to the transfer disc assembly for reciprocating the disc member in a transverse direction relative to the spindle turret.

8. A tube decorating machine according to claim 1 wherein the conveyor means comprises an endless chain, a plurality of sprockets supporting said chain, a plurality of pins secured. to said chain and extending transversely therefrom, and a stop-start means operatively connected to said endless chain whereby a portion of the conveyor chain is momentarily stopped at the station Where a decorated tube is removed from the transfer disc assembly and placed on a conveyor pin, while the remaining portion of the chain moves continuously through the drying Zone without loss of tension in the chain.

9. A tube decorating machine according to claim 8, wherein the stop-start means comprises, a frame member, a plurality of idler sprockets rotatably mounted on said frame member, a plate member slidably mounted on said frame member, a plurality of idler sprockets rotatably mounted on said plate member, the chain being wound around said sprockets, cam means operatively connected to said plate member for reciprocating said plate member relative to the frame member, and drive-meansoperatively connected to said cam means and to said chain, whereby as the plate member is reciprocated the portion of the chain wound around the idler sprockets is intermittently stopped to receive a decorated tube from the transfer disc assembly.

10. A tube decorating machine according to claim 1,

wherein means are operatively connected to the decorating means for rendering the decorating means inoperative when a tube is absent from a spindle of the intermittently rotatable turret, to thereby prevent application of the decorating material to the spindle.

11. A tube decorating machine according to claim 1, wherein the decorating means comprises a printing mechanism including a blanket cylinder, means operatively connected to said blanket cylinder for rotating the blanket cylinder, a shoe operatively connected to said blanket cylinder and adapted to move relative thereto, a blanket superimposed on said shoe, and means operatively connected to the blanket cylinder and shoe for moving the shoe in a direction toward the cylinder and away from the spindle-turret.

12. A tube decorating machine according to claim 1, wherein the decorating means comprises a coating machine including an applicator roller, and means operatively connected to said applicator roller for moving the roller in a direction away from the spindle-turret.

13. A method of decorating tubes consisting of the steps of:

(a) sequentially delivering a plurality of tubes to an intermittently rotatable drum means;

(b) transferring each tube from the drum means to a respective spindle carried by an intermittently rotatable turret;

(c) successively advancing each spindle and associated tube to a station whereupon the tube is decorated;

(d) successively advancing each spindle and associated decorated tube to a disc assembly;

(e) transferring the decorated tube from the spindle to the disc assembly;

(f) successively advancing the disc assembly and associated decorated tube to a conveyor;

(g) transferring the tube from the disc assembly to the conveyor;

(h) advancing the conveyor through a drying zone to thereby dry the decorated tube.

=14. The method according to claim 13 including the step of removing a tube from the spindle while simultaneously placing another tube on the conveyor.

15. In a tube decorating machine of the character described, including an intermittently rotatable spindle-turret adapted to advance tubes to be decorated to a decorating station, the improvement consisting of, rotatable drum means adapted to receive a plurality of tubes from a source of supply and sequentially transfer a tube to one of the spindles of the rotatable turret, the rotatable drum means comprising a cylindrical member, a plurality of peripherally spaced tube-receiving pockets formed in said cylyindrical member, the longitudinal axes of said pockets being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the cylindrical member, means for intermittently rotating said cylindrical member to successively align a tube-receiving pocket with a spindle on the turret, belt means engaging the peripheral surface of said cylindrical member to re tain the tubes in said pockets prior to their transfer to the spindle-turret, and fluid motor means operatively connected to said cylindrical member for pushing a tube out of the pocket onto the end portion of the spindle on the turret.

16. In a tube decorating machine of the character described for decorating tubes of the type having a cylindrical body portion provided with an open end for insertion of the contents and a reduced neck portion on the opposite end adapted to be capped, said machine including an intermittently rotatable spindle-turret adapted to advance tubes to be decorated to a decorating station,

the improvement consisting of transfer disc assembly means for removing the decorated tubes from the spindles,

the transfer disc assembly means comprising, a disc member, a plurality of cavities formed in said disc member, a floating piston slidably mounted in each cavity, a resilient disc having a centrally disposed aperture mounted Within the cavity at one end thereof and spaced from one end of the piston, means for intermittently rotating said disc member to successively align a resilient disc aperture with a spindle on the turret, pneumatic means connected to said disc member and communicating with each cavity for moving the piston relative to the resilient disc, whereby when a tube is removed from the spindle the neck portion of the tube is inserted within the aperture of the resilient disc and is gripped therein by means of the compressive force of the pneumatic means urging the piston toward the resilient disc thereby creating radial deformation thereof.

17. In a tube decorating machine of the character described, including an intermittently rotatable spindle-turret adapted to advance tubes to be decorated to a decorating station, wherein the decorating station comprises, a printing mechanism including a blanket cylinder, means operatively connected to said blanket cylinder for rotating the blanket cylinder, a shoe operatively connected to said blanket cylinder and adapted to move relative thereto, a blanket superimposed on said shoe, and means operatively connected to the blanket cylinder and shoe for moving the shoe in a direction toward the cylinder and away from the spindle-turret.

18. In a tube decorating machine according to claim 17, wherein the ends of a pair of arms are connected to each end of the shoe, a pair of shafts pivotally mounted within the blanket cylinder, the opposite ends of each of the arms being connected to a respective shaft, a pair of arms, the ends of each arm being connected to a respective shaft, a connecting rod interconnecting the secondmentioned pair of arms, and fluid motor means connected to one of the arms, whereby when the fluid motor means is actuated in one direction the shoe is caused to move in a direction away from the blanket cylinder, and when the fluid motor means is actuated in the opposite direction the shoe is caused to move in a direction toward the blanket cylinder.

19. A conveyor of the character described comprising endless chain means, a plurality of sprockets supporting said endless chain means, and a stop-start mechanism operatively connected to the chain means, said stop-start mechanism comprising a frame, a plurality of idler sprockets rotatably mounted thereon, a plate member slidably mounted on the frame, a plurality of idler sprockets rotatably mounted on the plate, the endless chain means being reeved on the sprockets, cam means operatively connected to the plate for reciprocating said plate relative to the frame, and drive means operatively connected to the cam means and to the chain, whereby as the plate member is reciprocated, movement of the portion of the chain reeved on the idler sprockets is intermittently, momentarily stopped, while the remaining portion of the chain moves continuously without loss of tension therein.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,309,696 2/1943 Friden 101-38 2,885,957 5/1959 Hansen 1011l5 X 3,097,593 7/1963 Makowski et al 101-38 ROBERT E. PULFREY, Primary Examiner.

WILLIAM MCCARTHY, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
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US2885957 *Nov 23, 1954May 12, 1959Owens Illinois Glass CoSurface decorating apparatus
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3323448 *Jan 3, 1966Jun 6, 1967Gilbert Dubuit LouisMachine for feeding and printing cans
US3521554 *May 24, 1967Jul 21, 1970Cities Service CoApparatus for continuous can printing
US3613571 *Feb 27, 1968Oct 19, 1971Brown Machine Co Of MichiganContainer printing machine and method of printing
US3712265 *Sep 3, 1970Jan 23, 1973Smithe Machine Co Inc F LRetractable gummer die for envelope machines
US3834522 *Feb 16, 1973Sep 10, 1974Chromax LtdTake off and stacker for container printing machine
US4158405 *Nov 8, 1977Jun 19, 1979Cleamax LimitedHigh speed can feed mechanism
US4176598 *Oct 14, 1977Dec 4, 1979Dubuit Jean LouisPrinting machines and transfer devices therefor
US4441426 *Mar 10, 1982Apr 10, 1984Lajovic Dusan SavaPrinting apparatus
US4445431 *Feb 7, 1983May 1, 1984Adolph Coors CompanyDisk transfer system
US4502381 *May 24, 1983Mar 5, 1985National Pen CorporationRotational register system
US4580390 *Feb 27, 1984Apr 8, 1986Carter-Wallace, Inc.Packaging assembly
US4658566 *Jan 13, 1986Apr 21, 1987Sanfilippo John EApparatus and method for sealing containers in controlled environments
US4884504 *Jan 11, 1988Dec 5, 1989Ian SillarsMethod for printing of quasi random number tables on cylindrical objects
US4905454 *Apr 21, 1988Mar 6, 1990Sanfilippo John EMethod for providing containers with a controlled environment
US5001878 *Apr 21, 1988Mar 26, 1991Sanfilippo John EApparatus for providing containers with a controlled environment
US5069020 *Jul 13, 1990Dec 3, 1991Sanfilippo John EApparatus for providing containers with a controlled environment
US5228269 *Jun 22, 1992Jul 20, 1993Sanfilippo John EApparatus and method for removing oxygen from food containers
US20090014280 *Jun 23, 2008Jan 15, 2009Jeter James MBlow-off sprocket
DE2817825A1 *Apr 24, 1978Oct 31, 1979Cleamax LtdOpen-mouthed cans feeding method - includes synchronising movement of cans, supported on conveyor, with rotational speed of turret for transferring cans into turret
WO2009002473A1 *Jun 23, 2008Dec 31, 2008Jeter James MBlow-off-sprocket
Classifications
U.S. Classification101/40, 198/341.8, 101/488, 101/407.1, 101/232
International ClassificationB41F17/08, B41F17/22
Cooperative ClassificationB41F17/22
European ClassificationB41F17/22