US 3277998 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 11,1966 1. MEDOFF 3,277,998
' SHANK BUTTON HOPPER Filed Aug. 25, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR IRVING MEDOFF BY Z/MKM ATTORNEY Oct. 11, 1966 1. MEDOFF SHANK BUTTON HOPPER 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Aug. 25, 1965 INVENTOR IRVING MEDUF'F BY fi/MW ATTORNEY Oct. 11, 1966 MEDOFF SHANK BUTTON HOPPER 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Aug. 25, 1965 INVENTOR IRVING MEDOFF BY WW ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,277,998 SHANK BUTTON HOPPER Irving Medoff, Flushing, N.Y., assignor to Emsig Manufacturing Co., New York, N.Y., a partnership Filed Aug. 25, 1965, Ser. No. 482,398 8 Claims. (Cl. 19833) This invention relates to a hopper device, and more particularly to a shank button hopper device for orienting and feeding shank buttons serially to a button chute leading to a sewing machine head or the like.
Still more particularly, this invention relates to an orienting hopper for feeding so-called shank buttons to a chute in position to be sewn or otherwise processed.
This invention further relates to a durable and simple and jam resistant hopper of the type described, which may be easily adjusted to accommodate buttons of different sizes.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a hopper for a button sewing machine or the like which will orient and deliver to a button supply chute, shank buttons properly positioned to traverse said chute.
Still a further object of this invention is the provision of a hopper device for feeding shank buttons to a guideway of the type which comprises a back portion and spaced-apart guide strips defining a raceway, said buttons being fed in a manner that the heads are disposed against the back portion and the shaped shanks project outwardly through the spaced-apart strips.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a hopper of the type described which may be readily adjusted to handle buttons of a wide variety of head thicknesses.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a hopper of the type described which may, in the event that the same becomes jammed, be readily cleared and placed in condition for continued operation.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a hopper device of the class described having novel tumbler means for agitating, guiding and aligning the buttons to assure a continuous supply of oriented buttons, the agitator being capable of clearing any jam which may occasionally result from mis-positioned buttons disposed in the throat of the machine without damage to the contents of the hopper or to the mechanism thereof, and without the necessity for interrupting the operation of the device.
To attain these objects and such further objects as may appear herein or be hereinafter pointed out, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, forming a part hereof, in which;
FIGURE 1 is a perspective View of a hopper and button sewing machine in accordance with the invention;
FIGURE 2 is a plan view of the hopper portion, taken in the direction of the arrows 2-2 of FIGURE 1, parts of the hopper cover being broken away to show details of construction;
FIGURE 3 is a section taken on the line 3-3 of FIG- URE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a section taken on the line 44 of FIG- URE 2;
FIGURE 5 is a vertical section taken on the line 5-5 of FIGURE 2.
In accordance with the invention, there is shown a button sewing machine of any typecapable of handling shank buttons. Optionally but preferably, the machine may embody the principles of the Troll U.S. Patent 2,597,- 912. A guide or raceway 11 leads from the presser foot foot 12 of the button sewing machine upwardly to a bulk storage hopper 13. The hopper 13 is preferably mounted on a standard or frame 14.
3,277,998 Patented Oct. 11, 1966 ice tion 15, the body portion being inclined at an angle so that the throat 16 is preferably at the low point of the hopper proper. The hopper includes a base 17 which is fixed to the standard 14, the base being provided with an axial bore 18 through which extends a drive shaft 19. Suitable bearings 20, 20 support the shaft 19 within the base 17 of the hopper. The shaft 19 is rotated by pulley 21 driven by belt 22. Drive motor 23, operating through a suitable speed reducer 24, rotates drive pulley 25 on which the belt 22 is seated. The shaft 19 is driven preferably in the area of 25 to 50 rpm.
The motor 23 is fixed to the hopper base 17 by right angle bracket 26, bolted both to the motor base and the frame.
The hopper is provided with an intern-a1 floor 27 supported within the cylindrical portion, the floor being circular and optionally but preferably made of transparent plastic material, such as an acrylic.
The upper end of the shaft 19 is threaded as at 28. A boss 29 is sleeved over the shaft, the boss being keyed to the shaft by a spline (not shown) and being retained on the shaft by retainer nut 30 threaded over the portion 28. As best seen in FIGURES 2 and 3, the boss 29 is provided with generally vertically extended radial cutouts or slots 31, 32. Within these slots are mounted agitator paddles 33, 34. The paddles 33, 34 include support arms 35, 36, the transverse dimension of which is less than the width of the .slots 31, 32, to provide freedom of pivotal movement of the inner portions of the arms within the slots. The arms 35, 36 have inner transverse apertures 37, 38, the arms being pivotally maintained within the slots by cross pins 39, 40, respectively, which are an chored in the boss 29 and which pass through the apertures of the arms.
To the arms 35, 36 there are fixed, by bolts 11 or otherwise, a pair of wiper portions 41, 42. The wiper portions, which are preferably made of rubber or the like, include downwardly directed foot portions 43, 44 which wipe against the floor 27 of the hopper and radially projecting portions 45, 46 which extend adjacent the side walls of the hopper. In view of the pivotal connection between the padles 33, 34 and the boss or hub, it will be evident that the paddles are permitted to shift upwardly in the event that the buttons in the hopper become jammed or compacted into a mass. As will be evident, the rotating paddles 33, 34 tend to tumble and circulate the buttons in a counter-clockwise direction in the illustrated embodiment.
There is provided a button orienting mechanism which is positioned adjacent the throat 16 of the hopper leading to the chute section 11. The orienting mechanism includes an arcute segment 50', the outer periphery of which closely corresponds with the radius of curvature of the inner wall of the hopper. The segment 50 is supported within the hopper in spaced relation to the hopper floor 27 by knurled adjustment bolts 51a, 51b, 510. The bolts aforesaid are threaded into complemental tapped apertures 52 formed in the segment 50. The shank portions 53 of the bolts are passed through vertically disposed slots 54 formed in the wall of the hopper, the slots being of a width slightly in excess of the diameter of the shanks 53.
From the foregoing it will be readily recognized that for adjustment purposes, as more fully explained hereinafter, the spacing of the segment 50 from the floor 27 may be varied by loosening the bolts 51a, 51b, 51c and raising or lowering the segment of the desired degree.
The segment 50 is provided with an inwardly beveled surface 55 which is inclined toward the floor of the hopper, this surface acting to tumble mispositioned buttons and thereby to increase the possibility of their being inverted or rotated from a shank down position, which position militates against their entering into and passing through the button throat, to a head down position. For a similar purpose, the leading and trailing ends 56, 57, respectively, are similarly inclined toward the floor of the hopper.
The under surface of the segment 50 is provided with a transversely extending groove 61, see FIGURES 3 and 4, which groove is aligned with the throat portion 16, a continuation of which is formed by the guide chute 11. As best seen in FIGURE 2, the guide chute includes a bottom plate 58, against which the head of the button may ride and, spaced from the chute, a pair of shank guides 59, 60, through which the shank of the button may project. The button shanks of the type contemplated for use with the present hopper are elongated .and noncircular in cross-section, the usual sewing hole extending transversely through the longer dimension of the shank of the button B, as seen in FIGURE 3.
The chute functions to guide the buttons to the presser foot of the sewing machine, the plates 59, 60 being so spaced as to prevent the buttons in the chute from turning, thereby to assure that the buttons will come to the presser foot with the sewing hole disposed in a desired predetermined orientation.
The slot 61 is so dimensioned as to permit passage of a button shank only when the narrow dimension of the shank is aligned with the longitudinal axis of the slot.
To facilitate and assure a continuous supply of buttons, the area 62 of the inner periphery of the segment 50 adjacent the transverse slot 61 is notched or cut out to define a gradually inclined leading portion 63 and an abrupt trailing portion 64. As more fully explained hereinafter, by this construction, buttons which are shifted along the upper periphery 65 of the segment 50 have a greater likelihood of becoming aligned with the transverse slot and traversing the same.
The device is operated by charging the hopper with a supply of shank buttons of the desired size. Optionally but preferably, a pivoted transparent cover plate 66 is disposed over about one half of the hopper portion and covers the throat area, to deflect back into the hopper buttons which may be projected or flipped upwardly in the course of rotation of the paddles.
The height of spacing of the segment 50 from the floor 27 of the hopper is initially set by loosening the bolts 51a, 51b, 51c and moving the segment upwardly or downwardly within the slots 54 to a position whereat the under surface of the buttons, when the heads thereof rest against the floor 27, just clear the under surface 67 of the segment 50. This adjustment may be conveniently effected by placing three or more buttons, head down, against the floor, lowering the segment against the under surface of the buttons, and thereafter raising the segment very slightly to provide the desired clearance. It is preferred that the amount of clearance be restricted so that there is no possibility that a button having a portion of its head disposed under the segment may be inclined or canted to any significant degree and thus become jammed beneath the segment.
Once the hopper is loaded and the segment adjusted, the motor 23 is energized, causing the belt 22 to rotate the shaft 19 carrying the paddles 33, 34. The paddles agitate the mass of the buttons, tumbling them over the segment 50. At least some of the buttons will become oriented with their heads partially underlapping the segment 50 in the area between the leading beveled edge 56 of the segment and the orienting area 62. A button in this position is clearly shown in FIGURE 5. The longer dimension of the button shank of a button whose head is partially disposed beneath the segment 50 may be disposed angularly with respect to the inner periphery 65 of the segment in any of a variety of orientations, two typical orientations being shown in FIGURE 2. Howeve as the buttons are advanced over the periphery 65,
there is a tendency for the buttons to reach or attain the more stable position whereat the longer dimension of the button shank lies against the arcuate edge 65.
It will be readily recognized that the continuing advancing movement provided by the rotating paddles will cause the buttons lying against the periphery 65 to be swept into the orienting area 62, button shanks initially following the contour of the leading inclined portion 63 of this area. In some instances, the buttons following the inclined portion will immediately proceed into the transverse slot portion 61 formed in the under surface of the segment, the height of the slot being suflicient to provide clearance for the end of the button shank. Buttons thus oriented will, under the influence of gravity, immediately traverse the slot and fall, oriented, into the inclined chute 11. In some instances, the abrupt trailing portion 64 will deflect a button whose shank is across the transverse slot so that the same falls through the slot.
In essence, the area 62 acts as a leading, funnel-like entrance way for the transverse slot, thereby to facilitate the discharge of buttons to the chute, the gradual and abrupt surfaces of the funnel being most effective in assuring a continuous button supply.
In the event of a jam-up in the throat area, the resilient wiper portions 41, 42 of the paddle arms will flex rearwardly, assuming a curved conformation, the leading surfaces of these arms being thus formed to a cam-like configuration. The curved, cam-like configuration will then engage the upwardly directed jammed buttons, the vertical clearance slots 31, 32 permitting the paddles to pass over the jam while, at the same time, applying a wiping pressure which tends automatically to clear the jam. It has been found that nearly any type of jam may be cleared by the novel paddle structures aforesaid.
The hopper device herein described is simple to manu-,
facture, durable and extremely efficient in providing a continuous stream of oriented buttons to the buttons chute. The ready adjustability of the orienting segment enables the hopper quickly to be converted for use with buttons of any desired size.
In the event that a serious jam should develop, such as might be occasioned by a broken-off button shank or some foreign body, it will be observed that the jam may be cleared by simply inserting upwardly through the slot defined between the spaced plates 59 and 60 and into the transverse slot 61, any elongated object, which may act as a probe.
In view of the yieldability of the paddles, it will be observed that the operation of the hopper apparatus need not be interrupted during such jam releasing process since, if the resilient wipers engage the probe end, no damage will result. The provision of a curvature or angle of the raceway or guide in the area immediately below the throat facilitates insertion of the probe.
Having thus described the invention and illustrated its use, what is claimed as new and is desired tobe secured by Letters Patent is:
1. A hopper for feeding shank buttons from a bulk supply to a guide chute comprising a generally cylindrical container, frame means for supporting said cylinder in an inclined position, a floor portion in said container disposed normal to the axis of said cylinder, an exit aperture formed in a side wall of said cylinder at a lowermost inclined portion thereof, an arcuate button alignment segment in said cylinder, said segment having an outer surface conforming to the inner wall of said container and having an under surface disposed in parallel spaced relation to said floor portion, adjustment means interposed between said segment and said container for enabling variable spacing of said segment from said floor, an alignment notch formed on the inner surface of said segment, and a button shank passage formed on the under surface of said segment and extending between said notch and said exit aperture.
2. A hopper in accordance with claim 1 and including radially extending wiper arms mounted for rotation within said container adjacent said floor, said arms being formed with downwardly directed notches adjacent the outer ends thereof, said notches providing clearance for said segment.
3. A hopper in accordance with claim 2 wherein said arms are mounted for pivotal movement in a direction normal to the plane of said floor, and are normally maintained in sweeping engagement with said floor under the influence of gravity.
4. A hopper in accordance with claim 3 wherein said segment includes a cam portion in leading position on the upper surface thereof, said cam portion being oriented upwardly to deflect said arms as said arms traverse said segment.
5. In a button hopper for feeding shank buttons oriented to a chute including cylindrical container means having an inclined floor portion and button alignment means for aligning randomly disposed buttons in oriented position at an exit aperture in said chute, the improvement comprising an agitator assembly including a shaft rotating about an axis normal to the plane of said floor portion, wiper arms pivotally mounted to said shaft for movement toward and away from said floor, said arms including sweep portions slidably urged against said floor, and cam means on said button alignment means positioned to engage and up wardly cam said arms as they traverse said alignment means.
6. A hopper assembly for feeding shank buttons to a chute comprising an inclined, generally cylindrical container, a circular floor portion forming a bottom of said container, an exit aperture formed in a side wall of said container adjacent said floor portion, an arcuate alignment segment mounted within said container including an outer peripheral surface conforming to the inner wall of said container adjacent the lowermost inclined portion thereof, the under surface of said segment lying in parallel relation to said floor portion, and spaced therefrom a distance slightly greater than the height of a button head, an orienting not-ch formed on the inner surface of said segment including a lead portion gradually inclined toward a side wall of said container, and an abrupt trailing surface extending at a steep angle toward said container wall, and a downwardly open shank passage formed on the under surface of said segment and communicated between said exit aperture and said orientin-g position, the cross section of said passage approximating the profile of said button shank, and an agitator member mounted in said container for rotation in the direction from said leading toward said trailing surface of said notch, said agitator member including yieldable wiper arms having lower parts gravitationally maintained in engagement with said floor adjacent the said inner surface of said segment, said arms including sweep portions overlying the upper surface of said segment.
7. A hopper for feeding shank buttons from a bulk supply to a guide chute comprising a generally cylindrical container, frame means for supporting said cylinder in an inclined position, a floor portion in said container disposed normal to the axis of said cylinder, an exit aperture formed in a side wall of said cylinder at a lowermost inclined portion thereof, an arcuate button alignment segment in said cylinder, said segment having an outer surface conforming to the inner Wall of said container and having an under surface disposed in parallel spaced relation to said floor portion, adjustment means interposed between said segment and said container for enabling variable spacing of said segment from said floor, an alignment notch formed on the inner surface of said segment, resilient wiper arms rotatably mounted within said hopper, a button shank passage formed on the under surface of said segment and extending between said notch and said exit aperture, a guideway having an upper end connected to said hopper to receive buttons discharged through said aperture, said guideway including spaced guide plates defining therebetween an open button shank guide slot in direct comunica-tion and aligned with said shank passage, whereby a probe may be inserted through said open button shank guide slot through said exit aperture and passage and into said hopper, thereby to clear a jam in the interior of said hopper without the necessity for interrupting the operation of the device.
8. A hopper device in accordance with claim 7 wherein portions of said guideway immediately adjacent said upper end are offset from said upper end, thereby to facilitate insertion of said pro-be through said guideway into said hopper.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 252,117 1/1882 Matheson 112-113 X 1,160,487 11/1915 Barker 112-113 1,179,916 4/1916 Havener 221163 3,089,448 5/1963 Asnes 221-168 X EVON C. BLUNK, Primary Examiner.
M. L. AJEMAN, Assistant Examiner.