US 3326096 A
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June 20, 1967 G. T. MENDOZA CONTAINER FOLDING APPARATUS 2 Sheets-Sheet Filed Dec. 7, 1964 INVENTOR.
T. IVE/V0024 4 TTOF/YEYS' June 1967 G. T. MENDOZA CONTAINER FOLDING APPARATUS 2 Sheets-$heet 2 Filed Dec. 7, 1964 IN VENTOR. GABRIEL 7. MENDOZA United States Patent 3,326,096 CONTAINER FOLDING APPARATUS Gabriel T. Mendoza, Oakland, Calif., assignor to Weyerhaeuser Company, Tacoma, Wash., a corporation of Washington Filed Dec. 7, 1964, Ser. No. 416,420 '8 Claims. (Cl. 93-36 This invention relates to an apparatus for folding containers into a flat condition without impairing the strength 'of the end walls. More specifically, this invention relates to an apparatus that folds a set-up container into a fiat condition in a fast, eflicient manner without damaging the strength of the end walls.
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of the container folding apparatus.
FIGURE 2 is a side elevation of the container folding apparatus with parts broken away to show internal details.
FIGURE 3 is a side elevation of the container folding apparatus similar to FIGURE 2 but illustrating another operative position of the apparatus.
FIGURE 4 is a view illustrating the manner in which the container is expanded along score lines.
FIGURES 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are perspective views illustrating the manner in which the container is folded into a fiat condition.
Referring to FIGURE 1, the container folding machine is generally indicated at 1. Thre folding machine is provided with a frame structure 2 having a pair of spaced apart horizontal beams 3 and a pair ofspaced-apart vertical beams 4. The spaced-apart vertical beams 4 areinterconnected by lower crossbeam 5, upper crossbeam 6 and intermediate crossbeam 7. In order to provide adequate support, brace arms 8 and 9 are provided which extend from the left end of the beams 3 to the upright beams 4.
A conveyor belt 10 is mounted intermediate the-upright beams 4 which carries the carton 56 through the folding machine 1. The conveyor belt 10 extends around a pulley member 11 mounted between the beams 3 and around another pulley, not shown, in an endless manner. In order to insure adequate supportfor the upper portion of the conveyor belt10, rollers 12' are mounted between the members 3 in suitable bearings, not shown.
. A crushing conveyor belt,13 is mounted above the conveyor be'lt"10' at its terminal end which extends around a pair of pulleys 14 and 15 mounted on the brace arms 8 and 9.It is noted that the crusher conveyor 13 extends at an angle with res'pectto the conveyor belt 10. At the terminal end of the conveyor belt 10 stacking conveyor 18 is mounted on pulleys 19 and 20. The pulleys 19 and 20 are mounted on shafts 21 and 22 which are in turn mounted on a pair of spaced-apart horizontal support beams 23. As can be seen from FIGURE 2, the horizontal axes of the pulleys 19 and 20 are slightly above the horizontal axis of the pulley 11 of the main conveyor belt 10 for a reason which will hereinafter be set forth. A stop bar 24 is mounted across the terminal end of the conveyor 18.
Positioned adjacent the upright vertical beams 4 is a photoelectric mechanism 25 designed to actuate the expander mechanism 30. The photoelectric mechanism 25 is provided with a photoelectric eye 26 mounted on one of the frame members 3 and is braced to the vertical beam 4 by a rod 29. Directly across the conveyor belt 10 is positioned a light source 27 mounted on the other horizontal beam 3 adjacent the other post 4 and braced thereto by an arm 28.
The expander mechanism 30 is provided with a hydraulic motor mechanism including a cylinder 31 mounted between the upper crossbeam 6 and the intermediate crossbeam 7. The cylinder 31 is provided with a piston therein, not shown, with a piston rod 32 extending out the lower 3,326,096 Patented June 20, 1967 end of the cylinder 31. The piston rod 32 is connected to arms 33 and 34 by pin 35. The outer ends of the arms 33 and 34 carry expander wheels 36 pivotally mounted thereon. As can be seen from FIGURE 4, the outer extremity of the wheels 36 is slightly larger than the width of the container to be folded. In this manner, the wheels 36 break the box along the score lines 59, 60 and 61 as illustrated in FIGURE 4. Also connected to the arms 33 and 34 is an actuating rod 37 by pin 38. Positioned directly above the upper end of the actuating rod 37 is a switch mechanism 39 mounted on the crossbeam 6. The switch mechanism 39 is designed to actuate a kicker mechanism 40.
The kicker mechanism 40 is mounted on a shaft 41. The shaft 41 is supported on a pair of spaced-apart sup port arms 42 and 43. The shaft 41 is journaled on the arms 42 and 43 in a well-known manner so that the same may rotate. Mounted on the shaft 41 is a kicker arm 44 by means of an enlargement 46 rigidly attached to one end of the kicker arm 44 which in turn is'rigidly mounted on the shaft 41 through the aperture 47 within the enlargementl46. The outer end of the kicker arm 44 is provided with a shoe which engages the end wall 57 of the container as illustrated in FIGURE 3.
One end of the shaft 41 is provided with a gear wheel 48 provided with teeth thereon which meshes with teeth 50 011 a bar 49 connected to a cylinder 51. The cylinder '51 is'provided with a piston therein with a piston rod extending out one end thereof which in turn is connected to the bar 49. Accordingly, when the cylinder 51 is pro- T vided with a pressure fluid, the bar 49 is ejected and rotates the wheel 48 and of course shaft 41. Mounted directly above the kicker arm 44 is a bumper pad 52 formed of rubber or rubber-like material. The bumper pad 52 is connected to a piston rod 53 which is connected to a piston within an air bumper cylinder 54. The cylinder 54 is properly braced on the intermediate cross beam 7 by a connecting arm 55.
As illustrated in FIGURE 5, the carton 56 is designed in such a manner so that the side walls of the carton will readily fold outwardly so that the carton can be folded in a fiat condition. As shown, the carton 56 is provided 'with end walls 57 separated from the end wall closure flaps 63 by horizontal score line 64. The carton 56 is provided with side walls 58 separated from the side wall closureflap 62 by a horizontal score'line 65. Also, the side wall 58 is provided with a pair of diagonal score lines 59 and- 60 which intersect each other intermediate the ends of the side wall 58 and extend upwardly and inwardly from thelower corners thereof. At the juncture of the score lines 59 and 60, a vertical score line 61 extends across the side wall closure fiap 62. It should be noted that the diagonal score lines 59 and 60 extend upwardly and inwardly at an angle of about 45 with respect to the horizontal lower end. Accordingly, the juncture of the diagonal score lines 59 and 60 may very well be above or below the horizontal score line 65 depending upon the length of the side wall 58 and of course the size of the over-all container. Therefore, if the container 56 were longer, the juncture of the diagonal score lines 59 and 60 would be above score line 65. Then, an additional horizontal score line above score line 65 would be pro vided to facilitate folding of the carton.
In operation, a power source, not shown, is turned on to facilitate movement of the conveyor belt 10 in the direction of the arrow 66 and the crusher conveyor 13 is rotated in the direction of the arrow 67. Also, the stacker conveyor 18 is rotated in the direction as shown by arrow 68. Accordingly, a container 56 as shown in FIGURE 5 is placed onto the conveyor belt 10 usually from a cartonsealing machine which closes and seals the lower end thereof. Accordingly, as the box 56 advances toward the folding machine, it will interrupt the light source 27. This will actuate the hydraulic expander system 30 and will eject the expander wheels 36 into the carton as shown in FIGURE 2. As the wheels enter the inside of the container 56, the end walls are creased or broken along score line 61 and along score lines 59 and 60 as illustrated in FIGURES 4 and 6. It should be noted that the speed of the conveyor is synchronized with the speed of the hydraulic expander system 30 so that the wheels 36 will enter the carton at its mid-point along the score lines 61. Accordingly, the conveyor belt 10 will merely slide along the bottom of the container 56 while the wheels are within the container 56. In this regard, it should be pointed out that the expander mechanism 30 is reversible so that the wheels 36 can be moved upwardly out of the container after it has been injected therein. As the piston rod 32 moves the wheels 36 upwardly, it will carry the actuator bar 37 therewith. At its upper extreme end the actuator bar will actuate switch 39 that actuates air cylinder 51. Accordingly, a pressure fluid is injected intothe cylinder 51 and it moves bar 49 outwardly to rotate the wheel 48 which rotates the shaft 41 in a clockwise direction. In this manner, the shoe 45 will strike the end wall 57 in the manner as shown in FIGURE 3 and move the container 56 into the crusher conveyor 13. The container 56 then moves through the crusher conveyor and is folded down in sequence as shown in FIGURES 7, 8, and 9. Referring to FIGURES 2 and 3, as the container 56 goes under pulley 14, the leading edge thereof will be below the trailing edge of the container which is resting upon the stacking conveyor 18. Accordingly, the container just folded will slide under the next lowest container on conveyor 18 and be stopped by the stop bar 24. When a predetermined number of folded containers are resting upon the conveyor 18, they can be removed and tied in bundles for further use.
While specific details of preferred embodiments have been set forth above, it will be apparent that many changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention. It will therefore be understood that what has been described herein is intended to be illustrative only, and is not intended to limit the scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for folding a set-up container into a fiat condition, comprising: a frame; a horizontal conveyor mounted on said frame; a crushing conveyor mounted on said frame above said horizontal conveyor and extending at an angle with respect thereto; an expander means mounted on said frame above said horizontal conveyor; an actuating means for said expander means; and a kicker means for moving said container between the crushing conveyor and said horizontal conveyor.
2. An apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said expander means includes a cylinder mounted on said frame with a piston rod extending out the lower end thereof with means mounted on'the lower end of said piston rod that is extendible into the interior of the container to expand the side walls thereof,
3. An apparatus as set forth in claim 2 wherein said means mounted on the lower end of said piston rod is wheels.
4. An apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said actuating means is a photoelectric means.
5. An apparatus for folding a set-up container into a flat condition, comprising: a frame; a horizontal conveyor mounted on said frame; a crushing conveyor mounted on said frame above said horizontal conveyor and extending at an angle with respect thereto; an expander means mounted on said frame above said horizontal conveyor including a cylinder having a piston rod extending out the lower end thereof with wheel means mounted on said piston rod extendible into the container to expand the side walls thereof; a photoelectric actuating means for said expander means; and a kicker means for moving the container between the crushing conveyor and said horizontal conveyor.
6. An apparatus for folding a set-up container into a fiat condition, comprising: a frame; a horizontal conveyor mounted on said frame; a crushing conveyor mounted on said frame above said horizontal conveyor and extending at an angle with respect thereto; an expander means mounted on said frame above said horizontal conveyor; an actuating means for said expander means; a kicker means for moving the container between the crushing conveyor and horizontal conveyor; and an actuating means for said kicker mechanism.
7. An apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said kicker means includes a kicker arm mounted on a shaft rotatable by power means connected thereto whereby said kicker means moves said container between the crushing conveyor and horizontal conveyor upon the actuation of said power means.
8. The combination as set forth in claim 1 with the addition of a stacking conveyor positioned at the terminal end of said horizontal conveyor and mounted on a horizontal plane slightly above the horizontal plane of said horizontal conveyor.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,249,859 7/1941 Shearer 9353 2,279,534 4/ 1942 Sidebotham et al 9349 2,704,966 3/1955 Gross et al. 9353 2,971,443 2/1961 Striplin 9336 BERNARD STICKNEY, Primary Examiner.