US 3280534 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 25, 1966 F. v. HILDEBRANDT ETAL 3,280,534
CLOSURE CAP APPLICA'I'OR Filed Jan. 4, 1985 5 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR5 fismsQ/zw 1/ 1944 55194007- BY H 4 7 E. Sr'ovEQ Oct. 25, 1966 F. v. I-QIILDEBRANDTY ETAL 3,280,534
CLOSURE CAP APPLICATOR Filed Jan. 4., 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 M g 5 s 9 m I NVEN TORS F Eoc /w ll H/Losaemvm Hnygy E. Sroven A TTOPIYE) 1966 F. v. HILDEBIIQANDT ETAL 3,280,534
CLOSURE CAP APPLIGATOR 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Jan. 4., 1965 Q I i U? I l] z INVENTORS fksoaelcx I/ Hlwsaemwr BY HAQ Y E. Srovce Ari WHEY Oct. 25, 1966 Filed Jan. 4., 1963 F. V. HILDEBRANDT ETAL CLOSURE CAP APPLI CATOR 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 Fkeos /cK 1 Mme-51 mm- Hnelzy E. Sr-ovse United States Patent Cfifice 3,280,534 CLOSURE CAP APPLICATOR Frederick V. Hildehrandt and Harry E. Stover, Lancaster, @hio, assignors to Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation, Lancaster, Ohio, a corporation of Delaware Filed Jan. 4, i963, Ser. No. 249,404 4 Claims. (Ci. 53-315) T he present invention relates to container sealing machines and more particularly to an improved cap appiicator for sealing machines which applies caps to moving containers.
An important operation in a sealing machine is the application of each closure cap to the container with the cap properly aligned on the container finish. Correct initial positioning is extremely important .to permit the cap to be properly moved into its final sealed position. The failure of a cap to be properly positioned may result in an imperfect final seal including damage to both the cap and the container.
Continuing improvements permitting increases in the operating speeds of the final sealing portions of sealing machines has resulted in the need for an accompanying improvement in the cap applicator sections to permit caps to be applied at a sufficiently high rate to take full advantage of the improved capabilities of the sealing por-, tion. Cap application is a relatively delicate operation requiring precise cap handling and positioning and for this reason trouble has been encountered with present applicators in increasing the speed of cap application to the desired feed rates for high speed automatic sealing. This is particularly true for caps having continuous threads which may extend one or more full turns around the cap skirt. Properly matching such threads to the container threads requires precision in the cap handling particularly where the cap skirts are relatively deep so that the caps have a tendency to tilt as they are applied to the container tops.
The cap applicator of the present invention is useful for all closure caps including press-on, threaded and lug caps, however, it is particularly well suited for use in applying continuous thread caps with both shallow and deep skirts and is capable of applying such caps with high speeds. The improved belt arrangement for engaging the cap skirts and rotating the caps engaging position.
Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved cap applicator for threaded or lugtype caps.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved cap applicator particularly adapted for continuous thread caps.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved cap applicator adapted for high speed operation.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a cap applicator for applying caps with relatively deep skirts.
Other and further objects of the invention will 'be obvious upon an understanding of the illustrative embodiment about to be described, or will be indicated in the appended claims, and various advantages not referred to herein will occur to one skilled in the art upon employment of the invention in practice.
A preferred embodiment of the invention has been chosen for purposes of illustration and description and cap rotating belts of the applicator.
As illustrated in FIG. 1, containers 1 are carried beneath the applicator 2 on a conveyor in a predetermined or a randomly spaced relationship moving from left to right. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, a cap 3 is fed to each container 1 from an inclined cap chute end The lowermost cap 3 in the chute end 4 is presented to the moving container 1 at an angle so that the forward edge 5 of the container rim engages the forward edge 6 of the cap skirt thereby drawing the cap 1 out of the chute past the opposed spring loaded detent blocks 7 which are forced apart to permit the cap 3 to pass between them and onto the container 1 in telescoping relationship. While an inclined chute is illustrated in the preferred embodiment, other means for applying the caps to the container tops in telescoping relationship may also be used.
A preferred cap chute end 4 is illustrated in the preferred embodiment. This chute end 4 is formed separately from the remaining upper portion 8 of the cap chute and it is attached to the applicator for removal therewith. The preferred cap chute end 4 is adjustable so that it handles a range of cap sizes. This eliminates the necessity for changing the cap chute end 4 when the cap size is changed. As will be discussed more fully below, the attached applicator also operates with a corresponding range of cap sizes.
The cap entrance 9 of the cap chute end 4 lower end of the cap chute 8. The cap chute 8 preferably has adjustable side rails to permit its width to be adjusted for the same range of cap sizes as the cap chute end 4. The cap guiding rails and bottom on the cap chute 8 are aligned with the rails of the cap chute end 4 to permit a smooth passage of the caps into the cap chute end 4.
As best illustrated in FIG. 1 and sectional FIGS. 3-6, the cap chute end 4 comprises an upper frame 11 for adjustably supporting a pair of spaced cap supporting side rails 12. The frame 11 is attached by bolts 21 to the applicator frame 14 (FIG. 5). The side rails 12 are adjustably supported within the frame '11 by a first support rod 15 and a second threaded spacing rod 16. These rods 15 and 16 are mounted on the frame 11 in suitable abuts the tioned on the rods 15 and 16 under the control of the spacing rod 16 which is threadedly connected at 20 to each of the two side rails 12. In order to adjust the spacing of the side rails 12 to accommodate a given cap size, the set screw 13 is backed off to release the spacing rod 16 and the rod 16 is turned the necessary amount in the proper direction to simultaneously adjust the position of the threadedly connected side rails 12.
As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 6, the detent blocks 7 are mounted on spring arms 22 which are bolted on :the side rails 12 so that their operation is independent of the sasasst Patented Oct. 25, 1366 magnetic plate particular. side rail spacing being used. The cap guide finger 18 has a roundednose portion 23 to facilitate the passage of the caps out of the chute end 4 and past the blocks 7 and onto the containers 1. The blocks 7 may be formed of friction material or may be magnetic to lightly engage and hold each cap until it is engaged by a movingcon-tainer 1. Where magnetic blocks 7 are used, they assist in the movement of the lowermost cap into its container engaging position by attracting it downwardly into the bottom of the cap chute end 4 and against the blocks 7.
As each cap 3 is drawn from the chute end 4 and past the detent blocks 7, it is carried beneath a magnetic plate 25 which engages the metallic caps and thereby aligns each cap with respect to the jar tops in position to enter between the cap rotating belts 26. This position preferably is with the cap held level and in telescoping relationship with the container top and with the cap threads slightly above the corresponding container threads. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 7, a block of rubber or other friction material 28 is inserted'at the entrance end of the 25 in position to engage an off-center portion of each cap 3. This cap drag rotates each cap 3 in a reverse direction to insure that the cap 3 is disengaged from the container threads and thus is not unintentionally locked under a container thread and locked thereby during its passage past the detent blocks 7 and into the belts 26. This reverse rotation thus frees each cap from the container threads for the above described positioning by the magnetic plate 25.
As best illustrated in FIG. 1, the magnetic plate 25 has a floating type mounting. The opposite ends are pivotally attached at 29 and 30 to a pair of slidable rods 31 and 32 whose lowermost position is set by the adjusting nuts 33 and 34. These rods 31 and 32 permit either or both ends of the magnetic plate 25 to rise if necessary from its normal cap holding position should they be forced upwardly by a cap against the force of a compressed holdd-own spring 35 whose. tension is adpusted by the tension screw 36. A pair of elongated bar magnets 37 and 38 (FIG. 7) are positioned lengthwise of the magnetic plate 25 preferably on opposite sides as illustrated in FIG. 7. The friction insert 28 may be conveniently inserted in magnet 37.
As illustrated in FIGS. 1 of the cap rotating belts 26 engage the skirt of each cap 3 as the cap 3 reaches the exit end of the magnetic plate 25. As the cap 3 now passes from the magnetic plate 25 to the guide plate 41, the cap 3 is rotated onto a container 1 by the combined action of the belts 26 and the guiding action of the lower surface of the guide plate 41.
As each cap 3 passes between the inner runs 40 of the belts 26, the opposed inner runs 40 act both to rotate the cap 3 and to hold the cap in the proper thread engaging position as will be more fullyldescribedvbelow. In most cases, both the positioning and the rotation of the cap will be completely controlled by the belts 26 as the cap is turned onto the container threads to finger tightness. The guide plate 41, however, is provided to insure a generally level position of the cap and to also insure a downward movement of the cap into engagement with the container threads during this operation. In order to facilitate the rotation of the cap, the guide plate 41 is preferably provided with a non-friction surface by a Teflon insert 42 (FIG. 8). The guide plate 41 has a slight downward inclination in the direction .of container travel to conform to the downward movement of the cap top as it is turned onto the container threads.
The guide plate 41 is yieldably mounted on the applicator frame 14 by a pair of spaced projections 43 engaging the exit end 44 of the magnetic plate 25 and by a slidable support rod 45 pivotally attached thereto and adjustably connected to the frame 14 by nut 46. The spaced projections 43 normally maintain the adjacent the bottom opening 39 f the and 2, the inner runs 40.
lower surfaces of the magnetic plate 25 and the guide plate 41 on the same level to facilitate movement of the cap tops between these plates while permitting upward movement of the guideplate 41 independently of the magnetic plate 25. The exit end 47 of the guide plate 41 is adjustably positioned bythe adjusting nut 46 which is threadedly connected to the upper end of the support rod 45. A compressed coil spring 48 resiliently urges the guide plate 41 downwardly to its normal downward position and the force of. the coil spring 48 is set by a set screw 49 threadedly connected to the center portion of the applicator frame 14.
Each of the cap rotating belts 26 is mounted on a pair of end pulleys 51 and 52. The end pulleys 51 at the entrance end of the belts 26 are each rotatably mounted on a vertical shaft 53 in suitable bearings 54 (FIG. 7) in the applicator frame 14. The pulleys 51 are driven by a power take-off from the sealing machine drive system. In the preferred embodiment as illustrated in FIG; 7, this take-off includes a sprocket 55 coupled to the machine drive by a suitable chain 56 '(FIG. 1). The sprocket 55 is coupledto termediation of a horizontal drive shaft 57, a pair of bevel gears 58 and 59 and the vertical coupling shaft 60 attached by pins 61 to a pinion 64 on the upper end of the mounting shaft 65. Pinion 64 engages pinions 62'on the mounting shafts 53 for pulleys 51. The drive pulleys 51 are rotated in synchronism but at differing speeds. The speeds of the two belts 26 are set by choosing the desired ratios of the pinions62 and 64.
The belt mounting pulleys 52 at the exit end of the applicator are adjustably positioned for adjusting belt tension and for permitting the belt spacing to be adjusted as described below for varying cap sizes. This adjustable mounting comprises a pair of mounting arms 67, as bestillustrated in FIG. 2, whichare pivotally attached by a bolt 68 to the applicator frame 14 and which are locked in their adjusted position by the lock screws 69 accommodated in elongated slots 7%. Each of thepulleys 52 are rotatably mounted on suitable bearings 71 on vertical mounting shafts 72 fastened to the adjustable arms 67.
The inner runs 40 of each of the cap rotating belts 26 are held in position by a pair of side guides, 73 best illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 8. Eachof the side guides 73 is pivotally mounted for rotation about a generally horizontal axis on a mounting pin 75 and the lower portion of each side guide has its position adjustably set by a pair of'adjusting screws or turnbuckles 76. The ends 77 of each turnbuckle 76 slidablyengage suitable slots 78 in the side guides 73 and the side guides 73 are urged against the turnbuckles 76 and the belt-s 26 by compressed coil springs 79 whose force is controlled by adjusting screws 80 in the applicator frame 14. As best seen in FIG. 8, the side guides 73 normally hold each of the inner runs 40 of the cap rotating belts 26 with a predetermined spacing engage and rotate each cap. The coil springs 79 and the position of the side guides '73 determine the pressure exerted by the belts v26 the inner runs 40 of the belts 26 to spread apart when necessary to accommodate slight variations in cap circumference or to accommodate misplaced or faulty caps without damage to the cap applicator. The pressure of the side belts is preferably set to permit slippage between the caps and the belts when the caps reach about finger tightness on the container threads.
The applicator 2, including the chute end 4, are preferably detachably mounted on a rigid adjacent portion of the sealing machine as a unit by a mounting arm 81.
The speeds of the two belts 26 are adjusted in accordance with the following general principles. In order to rotate the caps in a direction to apply them to the containers, the belts are preferably rotated in opposite directions as shown in FIG. 2. Since the conveyor is also the pulleys 51 through the in-' so that the belts 26 frictionally against the cap skirt and permit moving the containers continuously forward, the same result may also be obtained by moving both belts in the direction of the conveyor with one moving fastener and one slower than the conveyor. In addition, the belts are driven so that there is no tendency to tip the container on the moving conveyor. This is preferably done by moving the inner belt which is the upper belt in FIG. 2 faster than the conveyor by the same speed differential by which the conveyor speed exceeds the speed of the outer belt. For example, if the conveyor belt moves 5 feet per second and the outer belt moves 5 feet per second in the opposite direction, the inner belt would be moved faster than the conveyor by feet per second or at a total speed of feet per second. In addition to this difference in belt speed, it has also been found that best results are obtained by causing the belts to provide a definite number of turns for each cap style as the cap moves the length of the inner runs of the belt. This is done by causing the inner belt, for example, while in contact with the cap to move faster than the conveyor so that it travels further than the conveyor by a distance equal to the circumference of the cap skirt multiplied by the number of turns desired. The outer belt is moved slower than the conveyor by the some amount with the difference in direction taken into consideration. It has been found, for example, that with a cap of about 40 mm. diameter best results are obtained by having the belts set to provide four turns of the cap as it passes through the applicator. Unexpectedly, an 89 mm. diameter cap with continuous threads appears to be best applied to a finger tight relation where the belts are set for two complete turns as the container moves through the belts. The best ratio of belt speeds for a particular cap may be determined by test. Certain caps including those pressedon are best guided by belts moving in the same direction and at the same speed.
The operation of the cap applicator 2 will now be summarized. Closure caps 3 are presented to the top of each container 1 of a moving line of containers which are moving beneath the applicator on a suitable conveyor. In the preferred embodiment, the caps 3 are fed downwardly by an inclined cap chute 8 into a cap chute end 4. The lowermost cap in the cap chute end 4 is releasably held in an inclined position in the path of moving containers by a pair of spaced detent blocks 7. The containers are supported by suitable side belts and spacers (not shown) so that each moving container 1 engages the forward edge of such an inclined cap 3 and draws the cap past the detent blocks 7 and beneath a magnetic plate 25. The magnetic plate 25 has a generally horizontal lower surface positioned at a height which magnetically supports each cap 3 in telescoping relationship with the container top and with the cap threads spaced above the container threads. As the cap 3 is moved along the lower surface of the plate 25 by the moving container 1, the cap top is engaged by a friction element 28 positioned to retard an off-center portion of the cap top and to rotate the cap in a reverse direction to insure the disengagement of the cap and container threads in the event that they may have been engaged inadvertently while the cap was being drawn out of the chute end 4.
As each cap 3 is moved onto the exit end of the magnetic plate 25, it is drawn between the inner runs 46 of a pair of cap rotating belts 26. The belts 26 engage opposite portions of the cap skirt and rotate the cap 3 downwardly onto the container threads as the container continues to advance between the belts 26 on the container conveyor. The engagement of the belts 26 with the cap skirt tends to retain the cap in the generally level position in which it passed from the magnetic plate 25. However, a supplemental guide plate 41 is positioned between the belts 26 above the cap top to insure the retention of the cap in the desired generally horizontal position and to insure the downward movement of the cap during the threading action of the belts.
In order to provide for the cap rotation by the belts without any tendency to tilt the moving jars, the inner cap belt 26 is preferably driven faster than the conveyor by the same speed differential that the conveyor speed exceeds the speed of the outer cap belt 26. Where the inner runs 40 of the belts 26 are moved in the same direction to carry press-on caps without rotation, pinions 62 of the belt drive system are turned in opposite directions such as by interposing an additional gear between the lower pinion 62 (FIG. 2) and pinion 64.
It will be seen that the present invention provides a cap applicator useful in applying all types of caps including press-on and threaded and lug-type caps. The cap applicator of the present invention is particularly adapted for applying lug-type caps and threaded caps including those having threads running one or more turns around the cap skirt which are known as continuous thread caps. Threaded and lug-type caps are designated herein as screw-type caps. The improved cap applicator herein applies screw-type caps to containers and turns the caps into fingertight engagement with the container threads so that the containers may be thereafter fed to the final sealing apparatus wherein the caps are further tightened into sealing engagement using considerably greater forces. The improved cap applicator performs the delicate cap applying operation with great precision and at high speed.
As various changes may be made in the form, construction and arrangement of the parts herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and without sacrificing any of its advantages, it is to be understood that all matter herein is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Having thus described our invention, we claim:
1. A device for applying and rotating skirted closure caps having thread engaging means thereon into light engagement with the threads of moving containers comprising the combination of means for placing caps in telescoping relationship with the tops of the moving containers, cap support means including a plate for holding the caps level and in telescoping relationship with the moving container tops and with the cap thread engaging means spaced above the container threads, an elongated cap guide plate beyond said cap supporting means having its lower surface positioned on the path of the moving cap tops, a pair of endless belts positioned adjacent both said cap support means and said cap guide plate and cooperating therewith, said endless belts having elongated inner runs positioned to engage the cap skirt as the caps move on said cap support means and on said guide plate, and means for moving the inner run of one belt faster and in the same direction as the containers and for moving the inner run of the other belt in the opposite direction with respect to the container movement to turn the caps onto the threads of the containers.
2. The device as claimed in claim 1 in which said cap support means comprises cap supporting magnets.
3. A device for applying and rotating skirted closure caps having thread engaging means thereon into light engagement with the threads of moving containers comprising the combination of means for placing caps in telescoping relationship with the tops of the moving containers, cap support means including a magnetic plate for holding the caps level and in telescoping relationship with the moving container tops and with the cap thread engaging means spaced above the container threads, a friction member at said magnetic plate positioned for engaging an off-center portion of the moving caps for turning them in a thread disengaging direction, an elongated cap guide plate beyond said cap support means having its lower surface positioned on the path of the moving cap tops, a pair of endless belts positioned adjacent both said cap support means and said cap guide plate and cooperating therewith, said endless belts having elongated inner runs positioned to engage the cap skirts as the caps move beyond said friction member on said magnetic plate and on said guide plate, and means for moving the inner run of one belt faster and in the same direction as the containers and .for moving the inner run of the belt in the opposite direction with respect to the container movement to turn the caps onto the threads of the containers.
4. The device as claimed in claim 3 in which thesupport for each endless belt comprises a pair of mounting pulleys, drive means coupled to the pulleys at the entrance end of the belts, and adjustable supports for the pulleys at the exit end for changing the spacing between the inner runs of the pair of belts.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS FOREIGN PATENTS 6/1955 Great Britain.
MCGEHEE, Primary Examiner.
A. E. FOURNIER, Assistant Examiner.