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Publication numberUS3334784 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 8, 1967
Filing dateJun 6, 1966
Priority dateJun 6, 1966
Publication numberUS 3334784 A, US 3334784A, US-A-3334784, US3334784 A, US3334784A
InventorsHenry Morrison Robert
Original AssigneeBaker Perkins Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Rotary article dispenser with predetermined count control
US 3334784 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

g- 3, 1967 R. H. MORRISON 3,334,784

ROTARY ARTICLE DISPENSER WITH PREDETBRMINED COUNT CONTROL 3 swam-Sheet 1 Filed June 6, 1966 Inventor {M7 Mame) maze/6am A llorney By I l'za'zman, fuzz-man 5 dmcf flc Aug. 8, 1967 R. H. MORRISON ROTARY ARTICLE DISPENSER WITH PREDETERMINED COUNT CONTROL 3 Sheets-Sheet Filed June 6, 1966 Inventor 47 fizz/EV Wane/501v Aug. 8, 1967 R. H. MORRISON ROTARY ARTICLE DISPENSER WITH PREDETERMINEI! COUNT CONTROL 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed June 6, 1966 Inventor 5527 x/imer Mae/sou A (torney United States Patent 3,334,784 ROTARY ARTICLE DISPENSER WITH PREDETERMINED COUNT CONTROL Robert Henry Morrison, Twyford, England, assignor to Baker Perkins Limited, Peterborough, Northamptonshire, England, a British company Filed June 6, 1966, Ser. No. 555,391 12 Claims. (Cl. 221-7) In the packaging of biscuits it is important that the weight of the batch to be Wrapped should not be below a specified minimum value. On the other hand it is obviously uneconomic for the weight to be appreciably in excess of this value. The bisciuts to be wrapped are usually taken fiom a horizontal column stacked on edge and the immediate criterion is that the length of the batch should fit the Width of the pocket of the wrapping machine within acceptable limits. Under optimum conditions this length will correspond to the required weight of packet but it is impossible to maintain these optimum conditions for any length of time. Due to a combination of a variety of factors such as the temperature of the oven, the consistency of the dough and so forth the density of the biscuits can fluctuate so that for a given weight of batch the length will vary.

It is usual to bake a given number of biscuits to the half-pound, but because of density variations, a fixed length of batch (as produced by manual or length metering) will contain varying numbers of biscuits and therefore varying weights. If the biscuits are metered by count then a change in density can at least be accepted Within the length tolerance of the wrapping machine without changing the count. Thus, if biscuits tend to reduce in thickness, the same count and therefore weight can be held. If the batch was metered by length, there would be unnecessary additional biscuits in the batch. This is very wasteful when considered over a period of time.

According to the present invention apparatus for feeding biscuits in counted batches has a magazine for a substantially vertical stack of biscuits which is constructed so that the bottom biscuit in the stack is capable of removal in a generally horizontal direction and this magazine is mounted above mechanism for driving a set of conveyor flights round a closed path at a uniform spacing. Means for adjusting the separation between each successive flight and the bottom biscuit in the magazine from an operative value in which each flight engages the bottom biscuit of the magazine to an inoperative value is controlled in such a way that when a pre-determined number of biscuits has been removed from the magazine the separation is altered to its inoperative value so that no further biscuits are removed from the magazine. Accordingly the apparatus operates to feed a pre-determined count of biscuits to the wrapping machine. If it is found that thecount is either too high or too low it is merely necessary to adjust the means for altering the separation between the conveyor flights and the bottom biscuit in the magazine so that the count of biscuits is either increased or decreased and this can be done without any interruption to the production line as a whole. The ability to avoid stopping the machinery is particularly important in automatic biscuit handling since once started the oven must continue to bake the biscuits already in the oven so that if there is an interruption in the handling, the biscuits which are being produced have to be removed from the line, stored, and then returned later to the line after the stoppage has been rectified. Since the alteration of the separation between conveyor flights and the bottom biscuit in the magazine at the end of a count occurs while the conveyor flights are in motion the adjustment of the count without stopping the machine presents no additional problem.

Basically the separation between the flights and the bottom biscuit in the magazine may be altered either by lowering the flights or by raising the biscuits. If the flights are to be lowered each may be mounted on the driving mechanism in such a way as to be capable of movement between two positions in relation to the driving mechanism corresponding respectively to the operative and inoperative values of the said separation. The means for adjusting the separation then serves to move each flight from one position to the other. Most simply the conveyor flights are each pivoted to a rotary member and each has a cam follower cooperating with a stationary cam track which is shaped to hold each flight in its operative position as it passes the magazine. In addition a diverter is situated in advance of the magazine so as to divert the followers to an alternative track in which the flights are held in their inoperative positions after the removal of the predetermined number of biscuits. Accordingly the number of biscuits in a batch is determined by the instant of operation of the diverter V and this can be regulated without difllculty during the operation of the machine. For example, the diverter may be pivotally mounted and may be controlled by a solenoid which is operated at the proper instant. By operating the solenoid slightly earlier the count is reduced and by operating it slightly later the count is increased.

If the alteration of the separation between the bottom biscuit in the magazine and each successive conveyor flight results from movement of the biscuits this is preferably achieved by raising the stack of biscuits within the magazine, although it is also possible to raise both the magazine and the biscuits.

For this purpose, a support for the biscuits constituting the bottom of the magazine may be mounted for vertical movement between two positions, preferably independently of the remainder of the magazine. This movement may be produced by a lever arm which is rocked so as to raise and lower the support and thus to move it between its two positions. This lever arm may be controlled by a solenoid in a manner similar to the diverter used for controlling the position of the conveyor flights as just described. Whether the solenoid controls the position of the conveyor flights or of the biscuits it is important that the instant of operation should be determined with accuracy. Preferably, therefore, there are a number of cam controlled switches each operated by a separate cam at an instant corresponding to a specific count and the appropriate switch is connected in circuit according to the count required.

Alternative forms of apparatus in accordance with the present invention will now be described in more detail by way of example wtih reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is an elevation partly in section of a form of apparatus having stationary magazine and adjustable conveyor flights;

FIGURE 2 is a detailed view corresponding to part of FIGURE 1 illustrating the alteration of the position of one of the conveyor flights;

FIGURE 3 is a detailed view similar to FIGURE 2 but showing a construction having fixed conveyor flights and an adjustable support for the biscuits;

FIGURE 4 is a detailed view showing an alternative construction for the removal of biscuits after counting and FIGURE 5 is a circuit diagram.

Turning first to FIGURE 1 the apparatus comprises essentially a stationary magazine 1 for a substantially vertical stack of biscuits 2 constructed so that the bottom biscuit 3 in the stack can be removed in a generally horizontal direction. There is also a rotary member 4 carrying a number of conveyor flights 5, each of which neath the the conveyor flight'and the bottom biscuit '3 is-s ufiiflight to pass freely beciently great for the conveyor biscuit 3. The basic principle of operation is that successive conveyor flights are maintained in their operative positions until a pre-determined number of biscuits has been removed from the magazine afterwhich succeeding flights are moved, to their'inoperative positions; As illustrated the magazine 1 is constructed so that the support for the bottom biscuit 3 is constituted by V a narrow blade 8. The action of each flight 5 is to slide the biscuit along this blade and then onto a conveyor 9 which carries the biscuit away to the right as seen in Y FIGURE 1. Provision of this narrow blade leaves free space either side which allows any broken pieces of biscult to fall clear without jamming the mechanism.

Each conveyor flight 5 is mounted on one arm 11 of a bell crank lever pivoted to the member 4 by way of a stud 12 as best seen in FIGURE 2. The second arm 13 of the'bell crank lever carries a cam follower 14 which controls the position of the flight 5. The stud 12 also carries a third arm 15 which forms one half of a toggle, being pivoted at 16 to a link 17 constituting the other half of the toggle. The link 17 in its turn is pivoted to'the member 4 at 18 and is formed in two halves which are spring loaded by a spring 19.

As seen in FIGURE 1, successive cam followers 14 R are controlled by a cam track 22 so that as each successive flight 5 passes beneath the magazine 1 the flight is in its operative position to remove the biscuit 3. As

7 will be seen from this figure the mid-point lfi of the toggle is slightly to the left of its dead-centre position so that the effect of the spring loading is to tend to turn the stud '12 in a clockwise direction thus pressing the cam follower 14 against its track 22. The shaping of the track 22 is such that as each flight 5 passes beneath the magazine 1 it. follows a substantially horizontal path. Beyond this the track 22 resumes a substantially circular configuration as shown at 23 and for the remainder of the circuit each flight maintains a constant position in relation to the member 4;

Just before each cam follower 14 reaches a position below the magazine 1 it passes a diverter constituted by a bell crank 25 of which one arm is curved as shown at 26. In the position of FIGURE 1 the curvature of the arm 26 approximately matches that of the track 22 so that the followers pass smoothly along it. The diverter is controlled by a solenoid shown as 28, the plunger 29 of which bears against one arm of the bell crank. When the solenoid is operated it rocks the diverter 25 in a clockwise direction against the eflfect of a control spring 31 to the position shown'in FIGURE 2. In this position the curved portion'26 projects considerably beyond the track 2 2 and as a consequence each cam follower 14 is diverted beneath the track 22 and into engagement with a second track 30. This rocks the arm 13 and hence the stud 12 in an anticlockwise direction thus moving the midpoint 16 of the toggle to the right through its dead: .centre position. The spring loading of the toggle then presses the stud 12 in an anticlockwise direction and tends to press the cam follower 14 against the alternative track 30. The anticlockwise movement of the stud also moves the conveyor flight 5 downwardly so that it travels beneath the lowermost biscuit 3 with the result that no further biscuits'are fed to the conveyor 9.

The cam follower 14 then continues in engagement 'with the alternative track 30 to. a point 31 where it re joins the track 22. As the cam follower 14 is returned to the track 22 the stud 12 is rocked back in a clockwise direction until the spring loaded toggle resumes the position of FIGURE 1 in which the cam follower is pressed outwardly against the circular portion 23 of the track- 22. In operation successive flights 5 remove biscuits from the bottom of the magazine 1 and transfer them to the conveyor 9. When a pre-determined number of biscuits have been passed to the conveyor the diverter 25 is moved to the position of FIGURE 2 and no" further biscuits are removed from the magazine untilthe sole-.

noid 28 is de-energised to return the diverter 25 once again to the position of FIGURE 1.

In order that the apparatus should be able to count biscuits continuously a continuous supply of biscuits must be fed to the magazine 1. For this purpose .a column of biscuits in a so-called penny stacked configproaches the magazine the angle ofthe biscuitsis adjusted correspondingly. If the biscuits are being' supplied at a faster rate than they are being'taken-up by the magazine the point at which the angular position of the biscuits changes will move back along the conveyor and vice versa. If biscuits are being taken up by the magazine at a greater rate than they are being supplied there is a danger and that an undersized batch may be supplied by the counting apparatus due to the shortage of biscuits. To avoid this difliculty a detector is arranged to. act on the stack of biscuits so as to be operated as soon as the transition point between the penny-stacked position and the verticalposition of the biscuits approaches the magazine. It will be appreciated that the height of the pennystacked column is less than the transverse dimension of a biscuit so that when the transition point reaches the detector the latter drops. This detector is shown in the circuit diagram of FIGURE 5 as 40. The remainder of :7 the circuit diagram illustrates 'the operation of the camswitches for controlling the count of biscuits and; this will now be described. The cam switches are shown as CS1, CS2, CS3, CS4 and CS5, and'are operated by cams mounted on'a cam shaft geared directly to the shaft of the rotary member 4. In a particular numerical example the cam shaft is caused to make one revolution for five. revolutions of the member 4. As will be seen the member 4 carries ten flights 5 so that five revolutions of the member 4 should give a maximum count of fifty. In

practice a count in the region of forty is required and thefive cam switches just described correspond to' counts of forty to forty-four inclusive. With a count of forty the member 4 makes four complete revolutions during which biscuits are removed from the magazine 1 and there is then a gap of ten before'it completes its fifth. revolution and the cycle starts again. When the operation is controlled by the cam switch CS2 there .is'a count of forty-one and a gap of nine before the next cycle starts. The cam switches are connected in series with corresponding manually operated selector switches SS1 to SS5. These switches are interlocked so that only one 7 can operate at a time and these selector switches select the required count. Thus if the selector switch SS1 is closed this places the cam switch CS1 in circuit, the re: maining cam switches being open circuit'ed by the respective selector switches. I

When the cam shaft reaches a point inits revolution corresponding to four revolutions of the member 4 and a count of forty biscuits the cam switch CS1 is closed to complete a circuit from one pole of the supply atj 50' through the cam switch CS1, the selector switch SS1, the coil of a relay 52 and thence back to the other pole that the magazine will be emptied of the supply at 53. The relay 52 is thus operated and closes two pairs of contacts the first of which 54 completes a holding circuit for the relay which is thus held operated after the cam switch CS1 is opened. The second contact 55 completes a circuit to the solenoid 28 controlling the diverter 25, which thus stops the count at this point. A gap equivalent to ten biscuits then follows after which the cycle is restarted.

For this purpose a contact 56 in the holding circuit of the relay 52 is opened by a further cam on the cam shaft which determines the beginning of a counting cycle. Opening of the contact 56 releases the relay 52 which in its turn de-energises the solenoid 28 allowing the diverter 25 to return to the position of FIGURE 1 so that the count is resumed again until interrupted by the cam switch CS1 as already described.

The operation just described continues cycle by cycle as long as the supply of biscuits to the magazine 1 is maintained. If the supply of biscuits begins to run low as mentioned above the detector switch 40 is closed and thus completes the circuit to the coil of a second relay 60 as soon as a further switch 59 is also operated at the end of the cycle by a further cam on the cam shaft. The relay 60 is thus operated at the end of the cycle. This relay has two contacts one of which, 61, completes a holding circuit to the relay and the other of which, 62, completes an alternative circuit via a conductor 63 to the coil of the relay 52. The relay 52 is thus operated irrespective of the operation of the cam switches CS1 and CS5 and the solenoid 28 is thus also operated to move the diverter 25 and thus move all the conveyor flights 5 to their inoperative positions and stop counting as long as the relay 60 remains operated. Since no further biscuits will be removed from the bottom of the magazine 1 biscuits will start to accumulate and the detector switch 40 will be opened once again. This will not immediately release the relay 60, however, since this is held by its holding circuit including its contact 61. This operation is important since otherwise counting might be resumed in the middle of a cycle. The holding circuit also includes a further cam-operated switch 65 which is controlled by a further cam on the cam shaft which opens this switch momentarily just before the opening of the contacts 56 in the holding circuit of the relay 52. In this way operation restarts at the beginning of a fresh cycle and the danger of incomplete batches is thus avoided.

As mentioned originally the apparatus can operate as a result of vertical movement of the stack of biscuits instead of movement of the conveyor flights 5 and this alternative mode of operation is illustrated in FIGURE 3. As shown in this figure the flights 5 are rigidly secured to the member 4 but the bladeS is mounted for vertical movement under the control of a bell crank 70 pivoted at a fixed point 71 and pivoted to the blade at 72. This bell crank is operated by the solenoid 28 whose plunger 29 acts directly on the arm of the bell crank. The solenoid is controlled by the same circuit as already described with reference to FIGURE 5 with the result that at the end of a counted batch the blade 8 is lifted sufliciently far to raise the lowermost biscuit 3 clear of the flights 5 and thus to prevent further biscuits being removed. The blade 8 may be fixed to the magazine 1, in which case the action of the solenoid 28 is to lift the magazine as a whole, together with the biscuit. With either modification the overall operation of the apparatus is the same as already described with reference to FIG- URE 1.

No conveyor is illustrated for receiving the biscuits removed from the bottom of the magazine but in practice a conveyor similar to that shown as 9 in FIGURE 1 may be included. With such a conveyor the biscuits are left in the horizontal position and before the batch can be wrapped it needs to be converted into a stacked column. Alternatively, however, a stacked column may be 7 so as to rest on the surface of the 6 formed directly without the need for the conveyor 9 and this is illustrated in FIGURE 4.

In this construction the magazine 1 is stationary and the position of the flights 5 during the removal of biscuits from the magazine 1 is controlled as illustrated in FIGURE 1. For simplicity details of this control are omitted from the figure and only one flight 5 together with its supporting stud 12 is illustrated. Instead of the conveyor 9 the rotary member 4 has its surface formed with a number of steps 75 approximately level with the pivot point of each conveyor flight. Accordingly when the bottom biscuit 3 in the magazine is removed it first slides along the blade 8 and then downwardly oif this member 4 against the step 75. As the member 4 rotates the biscuit is first transferred to the position shown as 3A after which it is added to a stacked column of biscuits 76 supported by a pair of rails 77.

These rails are spaced apart so that the steps 75 can pass freely between them and the 'shaping of the surface of the member 4 between adjacent steps 75 is such as to exert a wedging action on the column'76 thus moving it to the right a distance equivalent to the thickness of a single biscuit so as to leave room for the addition of each successive biscuit as its associated step 75 passes between the rails 77. In addition the shape of the track 23 is modified as shown at 78, so that the tip of each conveyor flight follows a path shown by the dotted line 79 so as to clear the end of a conveyor 80 having flights 81 which transfer each batch as it is completed from the rails 77. Each batch then moves off on the conveyor 80 as shown at 82.

As previously mentioned one of the important advantages of the different forms of apparatus so far described is that there is no difliculty in adjusting the count without interrupting operation in any way. As previously described this is achieved by means of the selector switches SS1 to SS5 which are interlocked and thus render the selected one of the cam switches CS1 to CS5 elfective. In operation the wrapped packets are check-weighed and as soon as any appreciable departure from the standard weight is observed the count of biscuits is adjusted accordingly, providing this can be done within the wrapping machine batch length limits'without the need for stopping the production line or for interrupting the operation in any way. In this way, it is possible to avoid going below the minimum weight while at the same time avoiding the inclusion in a packet of an excess number of biscuits. Again, if there is any appreciable departure from the acceptable batch length, then the count of biscuits is adjusted accordingly, within the acceptable weight tolerance.

I claim:

1. Apparatus for feeding biscuits in counted batches, comprising: a magazine for a substantially vertical stack of biscuits, constructed so that the bottom biscuit in the stack is capable of removal in a generally horizontal direction, -a set of conveyor flights, mechanism for driving said set of conveyor flights at uniform spacing round a closed path passing beneath said magazine, means for altering the separation between each successive flight and the bottom biscuit in said magazine from an operative value in which each flight engages the bottom biscuit in the magazine to an inoperative value, and control means operating in timed relationship such that when a predetermined number of biscuits has been removed from said magazine the separation is altered to its inoperative value so that no further biscuits are removed from said magazine.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1, comprising: means mounting each conveyor flight on the driving mechanism in such a way as to be capable of movement between two positions in relation to said driving mechanism, corresponding respectively to the inoperative and inoperative t .6. Apparatus for feeding erative values of the said separation,

and means for moving ,alternativetra-ck in which said flights are held in their inoperative positions, and a diverter situated inadvance of said magazine so as to divert said followers to said alternative track. p t

4. Apparatus according to claim 3, and'including a plurality of spring-loaded toggles having dead-centre positions each said toggle being connected to a respective conveyor flight, whereby said toggle is transferred from one side to the other of its dead-centre position when said flightris moved from one position to the other, thus holding said cam follower in engagement with the respective track.

5.,Apparatus acording to claim 4, and including a diverter.

biscuits in counted batches, comprising: a magazine for a substantially vertical stack of biscuits, constructed so that the bottom biscuit in the stack is capable of removal in a generally horizontal direction, a set of conveyor flights, mechanism for driving said set of conveyor flights at uniform spacing round a closed. .path passing beneath'said magazine, means for altering the separation the bottom biscuit in said magazine from an operative value in which each flight engages the bottom biscuit in the magazine to an inoperative value, said means comprising a support for the biscuits constituting the bottom of said magazine, said support being mounted for substantially vertical movement between two positions corresponding respectively to the solenoidfor controlling said said support between operating in timed relationship such that, when a predetermined number of biscuits has been removed from said magazine, said support is moved ,to its inoperative position so that no further biscuits are removed from said magazine.

between each successive flight and operative and inop-. meanstfor moving its two positions, and control means the required count pf biscuits 7. Apparatus according to claim 6-, and including a lever arm for moving said support independently of said 7 magazine. 3

8. Apparatus according to claim 6, having a solenoid for controlling said lever a a r 9. Apparatus for feeding biscuits in counted batches, comprising: a magazine for a substantially vertical stack of biscuits, constructed so that the :bottom' biscuit in the stack is capable of removalin a generally horizontal direction, a set'of conveyor flights, mechanism fortdriv ing said setof conveyor flights at uniform spacing round a closed path passing beneath said magazine, means for altering the separation between each successive flight and the bottom biscuit in said magazine from an operative j value in which each flight engages the bottom :biscuit in the magazine to an inoperative value, and control means comprising a switch and a cam for operating said switch so as to adjust said separation at an instant when has been'removed from said magazine. r i V 10. Apparatus according to claim 9 and including: a plurality of switches, each operated by a separate cam at intervals corresponding to in the count, and corresponding selector switches for selectively connecting said cam-controlled switches in circuit, V V j V '11. Apparatus'aocording to claim 10, and including a relay operated by said cam-controlled switches and a cam for releasing said 12. Apparatus according to claim 11 and including a detector switch operated by, a shortage in the supply of biscuits to said magazine and serving to adjust said separation independently of said cam-controlled switches.

SAMUEL F. COLEMAN, Primary Examiner.

aditierence of one biscuit 3 relay at the start of each cycle.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3420387 *Jan 5, 1967Jan 7, 1969Koppers Co IncBlank handling apparatus
US3512679 *Jun 5, 1968May 19, 1970Stoltz James PMulti-selection dispensing machine
US3563410 *Jun 25, 1968Feb 16, 1971Jerome G MurrayMedication-dispensing device and method
US3590833 *Aug 8, 1968Jul 6, 1971Swd Machines IncCoin-handling apparatus
US3977150 *Jul 21, 1975Aug 31, 1976The Mead CorporationMachine and method for supplying article carriers for application to groups of articles
US4001072 *Sep 13, 1972Jan 4, 1977Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing CompanyApplicator for pressure-sensitive adhesive fasteners
US5490610 *Apr 13, 1995Feb 13, 1996Pearson; Walter G.Semi-automated medication dispenser
US5562232 *Feb 12, 1996Oct 8, 1996Pearson; Walter G.Semi-automated medication dispenser
US6336568Mar 15, 2000Jan 8, 2002Terence TuckerCutlery utensil dispenser
US8070013Jan 6, 2009Dec 6, 2011Dixie Consumer Products LlcCutlery utensil dispensing apparatus and method
US8152004May 2, 2006Apr 10, 2012Dixie Consumer Products LlcDispenser for disposable cutlery and components therefor
US8210364Nov 6, 2006Jul 3, 2012Dixie Consumer Products LlcDispenser for disposable cutlery and components therefor
US8297473Nov 7, 2007Oct 30, 2012Dixie Consumer Products LlcCutlery dispenser and method of dispensing cutlery
US8360273Oct 8, 2008Jan 29, 2013Dixie Consumer Products LlcCutlery utensil dispenser
US8701932Apr 7, 2011Apr 22, 2014Dixie Consumer Products LlcCutlery dispenser trays
USRE35743 *Mar 1, 1996Mar 17, 1998Pearson Ventures, L.L.C.Patient medication dispensing and associated record keeping system
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/7, 453/31, 221/277, 221/13
International ClassificationB65B23/14, B65B23/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65B23/14
European ClassificationB65B23/14