US 3329550 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 4, 1967 L. KUCHECK 3,329,550
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR APPLYING LABELS- Filed Dec. 9, 1963 '2 Sheets-Sheet 1 NH; 55 a W15 91 July 4, 1967 KUCHECK METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR APPLYING LABELS Filed Dec.
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United States Patent 3,329,550 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR APPLYING LABELS Leo Kucheck, Chicago, Ill., assignor to Kleen-Stik Products Inc., Chicago, 11]., a corporation of Delaware Filed Dec. 9, 1963, Ser. No. 329,016 8 Claims. (Cl. 156285) This invention relates to a method for applying labels, such as pressure sensitive adhesive coated labels, to a label-receiving surface of articles which can be located a distance from a label holding station and to apparatus for carrying out the method. The invention represents an improvement over the method and apparatus disclosed in US. Patent No. 3,093,528, where labels are applied from a preferably stationary label applying head to an article by application of air pressure to the head which drives the labels from the head to a label-receiving surface which is moved to a position contiguous to but spaced from the head.
There are many instances where it is inconvenient .to bring the label-receiving surface near the label applying head. One such application is where the label-receiving surface is the bottom of a wastepaper basket carried upright on a conveyor moving below a stationary label applying head. To accomplish this it has heretofore been necessary to either apply the label manually or to utilize a movable label applying head which moves again-st or in close proximity to the article-receiving surface involved which greatly reduces the speed and efficiency of the label applying operation. The use of label applying heads which must be positioned contiguous to the labelreceiving surfaces have the further disadvantage that the heads cannot be'readily used to apply labels to articles of varying size which causes the distance between the label applying head and the label applying surfaces of the articles in question to vary widely.
The application of labels by air pressure to label-re ceiving surfaces spaced, for example, from 6 to 12 inches and more from the label applying head poses many problems due to the difliculty of keeping the labels in the same plane perpendicular to the direction of movement thereof over such a distance. Any significant tilting of the labels will cause the labels to strike the label-receiving surface of the article at an angle where they will not stick to the article.
It is an object of the'present invention to provide a label applying method and apparatus which overcomes the disadvantages of prior methods and apparatus in applying labels to remotely positioned label-receiving surfaces. A related object of the invention is to provide a method and apparatus for driving a label or the like by air pressure over an appreciable distance where the position of the labels remain stable in a plane at right angles to the direction of movement of the label to ensure proper sticking of the label to the article involved.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a label applying head which applies air pressure to a lable thereon in such a way that the forces applied to the label are balanced to minimize or prevent tilting of the labels when applied to remotely located label-receiving surfaces.
The most advantageous form of label applying apparatus of the present invention utilizes a label applying head which has a label-receiving plate having a plurality of selectively arranged and distributed holes communicating with a chamber in the head, one wall of which is formed by the plate. The wall of the chamber opposite to the plate is adjustable and has an opening therein which can be centrally located with relation to the selectively arranged and distributed holes in the label-receiving plate.
The opening in the adjustable wall of the chamber of the label applying head is connected to a conduit which has two branches located at points above its nexus with the opening in the adjustable wall of the head. One branch of the conduit is connected preferably to a continuously acting vacuum source and the other branch is connected to a source of pressurized gas through a valve which, when open, delivers a blast of gas suflicient in intensity to override the effect of the vacuum produced by the continuously acting vacuum source.
The adjustability of the wall of the label applying head opposite to the label-receiving plate enables the inlet conduit connected to the opening in the wall to be centrally positioned with respect to the holes of the plate. This serves to distribute symmetrically any pressure reductions from the conduit along the label-receiving plate to prevent unbalancing of the forces acting on the label. This balanced distribution of pressure through the distributed holes of the label-receiving plate is important in stabilizing the position of a label as it is driven into adhering relation against a remotely located label-receiving surface of an article.
The holes in the label-receiving plate of the head are distributed about a central area having no holes and it is with this area of the plate that the inlet conduit is aligned preparatory to applying labels to articles. The holes of the plate are arranged to discharge columns or streams of pressurized gas against a label at a number of points thereon in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the label, and around and outside of the periphery of the label. The columns or streams of pressurized gas on the outside of the label periphery due to the arrangement of the holes in the plate, stabilize the position of the label as it is driven toward the label-receiving surface of an article. The label-receiving plate advantageously is removably carried on the label applying head to permit interchange of plates to accommodate labels of various shapes and sizes.
While the present invention can be practiced with labels of irregular configuration, where the labels are driven over substantial distances they preferably have two orthogonal axes of symmetry to prevent the development of label rotating forces due to unequal or unbalanced air resistance reactions on the labels. The label applying head of the present invention, While preferably being stationary, achieves the application of a label to a labelreceiving surface of an article remote therefrom in an automatic, rapid action manner at rates comparable to the fastest acting automatic label applying apparatus used with articles presenting no problem such as those with which the present invention is concerned.
These as well as other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a view in side elevation illustrating schematically an embodiment of the present invention mounted in position in a label applying position above a conveyor system upon which are placed a plurality of articles such as wastepaper baskets, to the inside of the bottom of which labels are being applied;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary view in side elevation of an embodiment of the label applying head and associated apparatus of the device of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view in perspective of a label applying operation showing the label-receiving plate in a partly removed position, and further showing the position of microswitches in the conveyor system;
FIG. 4 is a vertical sectional view taken substantially along lines 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of a plate of the label applying head of the present invention showing the distribution of the pressurized gas openings or holes therein and their relationship with respect to a circular label;
FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of another form of a plate showing the distribution of the openings or holes therein to accommodate a circular label of smaller dimensions than that shown in FIG.
FIG. 7 is a bottom plan view of a plate showing the distribution of the holes therein and their relationship with respect to an elliptically shaped label to be applied to an article in accordance with the practice of this invention; and
FIG. 8 is a schematic wiring diagram showing the electrical control for the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.
Referring now in particular to FIG. 1 of the drawing, there is illustrated an embodiment of the label applying device of the present invention. The device essentially comprises a housing 10 having a supply reel 12 mounted thereon for rotation about a shaft 14. A backing strip 16 with a plurality of labels 18 evenly spaced thereon is rolled upon the reel 12. The backing strip 16 advantageously is formed of an extremely flexible material and is provided on its upper, label carrying surface with a release coating to enable the labels 18 to be more easily removed therefrom. The backing strip 16 extends from the rear of the supply reel 12 in a downward direction where it passes around a guide roller 20 and under a tension clamp 22. The tension clamp 22 is positioned above a stripping bar 24 around the forward end of which the backing strip 16 passes to cause the strip to undergo an abrupt change in direction. At this point a label 18 separates from the back ing strip. When a label has completely left the backing strip it presses against a microswitch 26 on a label applying head 30. The backing strip 16 passes under the strip ping bar 24 and around the rear of a drive roller 32 up wardly under a movable depressor roller 34 which in the lower position thereof causes the strip 16 to be moved by the roller 32. The strip then passes to the rear of a take-up reel 36 which is mounted for rotation about a shaft 38.
In operation, the device illustrated in FIG. 1 is completely automatic and may be controlled by means known in the art. When a label is not in position against the microswitch 26 on the label applying head 30, the depressor roller 34 is in contact with the drive roller 32 which moves the strip 16 upon the take-up reel 36. As the label 18 is stripped from the backing strip 16, it moves forward and strikes the microswitch 26. This de-energizes a drive solenoid 42 (FIG. 8) causing the depressor roller 34 to move away from the drive roller 32 which stops movement of the backing strip.
The label 18 is held on the bottom surface of the label applying head by a vacuum, and the microswitch 26 is adjustably oriented with relation to the bottom surface of the head 30 to enable labels to be held in the proper posi* tion thereon.
As an article, such as a wastepaper basket 50, is moved by a conveyor 52 into position under the label applying head 30, the forward edge of the portion of the article in contact with the conveyor operates a normally open microswitch 54 positioned centrally of a slitted conveyor belt 56. Operation of the microswitch 54 energizes a solenoid 58 (FIG. 8) associated with a pressurized gas controlled valve 60. The valve 60 is connected to a suitable source of pressurized gas which, when the valve 60 is opened, delivers a quick blast of pressureized gas to the label applying head 30 and against the label 18 held on the bottom surface thereof. This blast of air overrides the effect of the vacuum on the label and acts to drive the label into contact with the label-receiving surface of the article in a unique manner hereinafter to be described in detail. The article continues to move on the conveyor while the label is being applied to it and as it moves it is brought into contact with and operates a normally closed microswitch 62 located contiguous to the microswitch 54. Operation of the microswitch 62 interrupts the energizing circuit of the solenoid 58 and thereby closes the valve 60. The backing strip 16 is driven each time drive solenoid 42 is de-energized. When this occurs, depressor roller 34 moves downwardly forcing the strip 16 against the drive roller 32. The drive roller 32 is continuously rotated by a gear motor 64 which acts also to drive the take-up reel 36.
In achieving the objectives of the present invention, the label applying head 30 most desirably comprises a body portion having a chamber 72 therein. The upper wall of the chamber advantageously is formed by an ad justable slide 74 while the bottom wall is formed by a removable perforated plate 76. The longitudinal margins 7878 of the slide 74 desirably are inclined and are received in correspondingly inclined channels 80-80 of the body portion 70. The slide 74 has an adjusting screw 82 in threaded engagement with an internally threaded opening in the rear wall thereof by means of which the slide 74 can be selectively moved forwardly or rearwardly in the channels 8080 for the full length of the channels, as indicated. The slide 74 is fixedly held in a selected position with channel screws 84.
The slide 74 has an opening 88 communicating with the chamber 72 for receiving in threadable engagement an open ended conduit 90. A flexible vacuum line 92 joins the conduit at a point above the point of connection of the conduit 90 with the slide 74. A continuously acting source of vacuum (not shown) is connected to the line 92. At its upper end the conduit 90 is joined to a flexible line 94 which is connected to a source of air pressure through the valve 60.
The perforated plate 76 forming the lower wall of the chamber 72 of the head 30 advantageously is removably positioned and held on rails or guides 9696 in the body portion 70 by means of bolts or screws 98. The plate 76 has a plurality of distributed openings or holes 100 therethrough communicating with the chamber 72 the purpose and function of which will be described in greater detail hereinafter. The groove 99 is provided in the plate 76 to receive an arm or spring of the microswitch 26 which carries a label contacting nipple or projection 26'. When a label is not in position on the plate 76, the projection 26' protrudes a short distance outwardly of the lower surface of the plates 76. As a label is fed from the backing strip 16 onto the label-receiving surface of the plate 76, a portion of the plate-contacting surface of the label rides over the projection 26' and depresses it inwardly into the groove 99. In this position, the projection 26 will not interfere with the movement of the label as it is driven from the plate 76 by a blast of pressurized air. The microswitch 26 advantageously is adjustable with relation to the head 30 to enable the projection 26' to be moved in the groove of label-receiving plates used for accommodating labels of different sizes.
Referring now to FIGS. 5 through 7 of the drawings, there are illustrated different embodiments of labelreceiving plates having utility in connection with variously sized and shaped labels which, as above indicated, preferably have two orthogonal axes of symmetry, such labels being exemplified by elliptically shaped labels, circular labels or square or rectangular shaped labels. The plate 102 illustrated in FIG. 5 has openings or holes 104 therein which are arranged about a non-perforated central area 106 thereof so as to provide columns or streams of gas both around the periphery and within the confines of a circular label 108 such that when the label is driven from the plate 102 by air pressure directed through the holes 104 of the plate, the label will be driven for an appreciable distance from the plate to a surface to which the label is to be applied with the plane of the label remaining perpendicular to the direction of movement thereof toward said surface. The holes 104 are distributed in a number of directions so the holes are distributed both behind and around the periphery of the labels supported on the labelreceiving plate. The position of the label shown in FIG. 5 (and FIGS. 6 and 7) is the position thereof just as it has been completely stopped from the backing strip 16. Since the label 108 has two orthogonal axes of symmetry, the air resistance encountered by the label will not create any unbalancing force on the label.
Referring now in particular to FIG. 6 of the drawings, there is illustrated another embodiment of the labelreceiving plate. The plate 110 there shown has the openings or holes 112 thereof distributed thereon and arranged about a central non-perforated area 114 in the manner to accommodate labels 116 of circular configuration, but smaller than the labels 108. Here, as with the label 108, the holes 112 are located at areas within the confines of the label and within and without the periphery thereof such that columns or streams of air will strike the circular label and pass around the outside of the label at various points so that the label traverses the distance between the plate and the label-receiving surface of an article without deviating from its direct path and without any tendency of the label to rotate about its axes as it is propelled toward the label-receiving surface of the article involved. Thus, as in the case of the label 108, the circular label 116 will be directed toward the label-receiving surface of an article in a manner such that substantially all points on the label will remain in a plane transverse to the path of its movement from the time that the label leaves the plate 110 to the time it is stuck to the article.
Referring in particular to FIG. 7 of the drawings, there is shown a plate 120 having utility in connection with the application of an elliptically shaped label 122 to an article. It will be noted that the holes 124 are arranged about a non-perforated area 126 in a manner such that again the desired stabilization of the label will be achieved so that there will be no rotation of the label about either of its orthogonal axes of symmetry as it is propelled toward the label-receiving surface of an article.
In FIG. 8 there is shown in, schematic form a wiring diagram for the apparatus of the present invention. The normally open microswitch 54 and the normally closed microswitch 62 are serially connected to the air solenoid 58 and a source of voltage. When the microswitch 54 is closed by an article moving on the conveyor the solenoid 58 is energized to operate the valve 60 in the conduit 94 and deliver a blast of air under pressure to the head 30. A pressure pump 130 is continuously connected to the voltage source for delivering the pressurized air blast to the head 30 through the valve 60. As the article continues to move on the conveyor 52 it comes into contact and opens normally closed microswitch 62, thereby -de-ene-rgizing the solenoid 58 and closing the valve 60. With the valve 60 closed, another label is delivered to the labelreceiving plate 76. A vacuum pump 140 is continuously connected across the circuit and the voltage source to provide a vacuum at the plate 76 to hold a label thereon. When the label engages the plate 76, the label opens the normally closed microswitch 26 which is serially connected to the drive solenoid 42 and to the volt-age source. When the microswitch 26 is opened the solenoid 42 is de-energized causing the depressor roller 34 to move upwardly away from the drive roller 32 and stopping movement of the backing strip 16. The drive roller 32 continues to rotate during this interval due to the action of the gear motor 64 which is continuously connected to the voltage source. The energization and -de-energization of the entire circuit is controlled by an on-off switch 150. A power indicating light 160 provides means for detecting when power is connected to the circuit.
From the description given, it will be seen that a relatively simple and effective method and apparatus are provided for automatically applying pressure sensitive adhesive labels individually onto selected, remote portions of advancing articles.
It is to be understood that the above-described arrangements are simply illustrative of the application .of the principles of this invention. Thus, for example, a light beam source (-not shown) may be mounted on the top of the label applying head 30 which directs a light beam at a small angle to the article through an opening in the top wall of the head and through an opening in the plate 76 located at the same place as the nipple 26' of the microswitch 26. The presence of a label in proper position on the head will reflect the light at an angle upwardly. A photocell detector may be positioned on the head to intercept this reflected light beam and energize a relay which opens a set of normally closed contacts which replace the microswitch contacts 26 in FIG. 8. As the label is subsequently driven from the head, the absence of a reflecting surface for the light beam will result in deenergization of the photocell and an associated relay and the reclosing of the normally closed contacts. Numerous other arrangements may be readily devised by those skilled in the art which will embody the principles of the present invention and will fall within the spirit and scope of the invention.
1. A method of applying labels to articles having a label-receiving surface at a distance from a label applying station, the steps comprising: providing a horizontally disposed label holding surface having a plurality of distributed openings therein, holding a label on said surface so that said openings are within the periphery of the label and outside adjacent to and around the periphery of the label, and then directing streams of pressurized gas through said holes perpendicularly to the plane of said label both within the confines of the label and around and on the outside of the periphery of the label to stabilize the position of the label and to enable the label to traverse the distance from said holding surface to the label-receiving surface of an article in a plane at right angles to its direction of movement until it is adhered to said surface of the article.
2. A method of applying labels to articles having a label-receiving surface at a distance from a supply of labels on a backing strip on which a plurality of said labels'are rem'ovably supported, the steps comprising: advancing said labels one at a time to a label applying station, removing the labels from said backing strip at said station and placing them into contact with a label holding surface having a plurality of distributed openings being both within and without the periphery of each label and distributed over an area greater than that of each label, holding each label by suction against said surface, and then directing streams of pressurized gas through said openings both within the confines of the label and around and on the outside of the periphery of the label to stabilize the position of the label in a plane at right angles to its direction of movement.
3. A method of applying labels to articles having a label-receiving surface at a distance from a point of support of said labels, the steps comprising supporting a label in spaced relation from said label-receiving surface, and then directing streams of pressurized gas at the back of the label perpendicularly to the plane of said label, the pressurized gas being directed both within the confines of the label and outside adjacent to and around the periphery of the label to provide balanced forces on the label to keep it in a plane at right angles to its direction of movement.
4. A label applying device comprising a label applying head including an inner and an outer wall between which is located a chamber, a conduit communicating with said chamber, said outer wall having an apertured label-receiving surface, said surface having a plurality of distributed openings therein communicating with said chamber and arranged to extend within and around the periphery of a label to be applied, means for delivering and positioning a label. to said label applying head so the openings in said outer wall thereof extend within and around the periphery of the label to provide balanced forces thereagainst when perssure is applied to said chamber, and means for connecting a source of pressure momentarily to said conduit when an article to be labeled is opposite said head to drive a label held on said head into contact with an article.
5. The label applying device of claim 4 wherein there is provided a branch line connected to said conduit, and air drawing means coupled to said branch line for creating a negative pressure at said apertured label-receiving surface only in the absence of the application of said source of pressure to said conduit, wherein only high pressure is present at said apertu-red label-receiving surface when said source of pressure is applied thereto.
6. The label applying device of claim 4 wherein said openings in said label-receiving surface are relatively small holes distributed in a number of different directions.
7. The label applying device of claim 6 wherein said conduit is connected to said inner wall and communicates with said chamber through an opening therein, the holes in said label-receiving surface of said outer wall passing straight through said outer wall and encompassing an area greater than the area of said opening, and means for progressively moving at least one of said inner and outer walls with respect to the other of same and parallel thereto for progressively varying the relative position of said opening with respect to the holes in said outer wall to provide balanced forces on variously shaped and sized labels to be applied by the pressurized gas.
8. In a label applying device where labels are applied by the force of gas pressure, a label applying head having a chamber therein, said head having an inner wall forming one wall of said chamber, an air pressure applying conduit connected to said first wall and communicating with said chamber through an opening therein for delivering pressurized gas to said chamber, said head further having a label-receiving plate forming an outer wall of said chamber which is parallel to and opposite said inner wall, said plate having a plurality of distributed holes passing therethrough encompassing an area substantially greater than the area of said opening, and means for manually progressively adjusting the position of at least one of said inner wall and said label-receiving plate with respect to the other of same in a plane parallel thereto and over a distance much greater than the spacing between the holes for adjusting the relative position between said opening and said holes in said plate to provide balance-d forces on variously shaped and sized labels to be applied by the pressurized gas.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3/1959 Mitchell 156-566 X 6/1963 Reich l56285