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Publication numberUS3342016 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 19, 1967
Filing dateMay 3, 1963
Priority dateMay 3, 1963
Publication numberUS 3342016 A, US 3342016A, US-A-3342016, US3342016 A, US3342016A
InventorsAllan Bambra, Bunker Richard D
Original AssigneeNat Gypsum Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Loading and packaging apparatus
US 3342016 A
Abstract  available in
Images(7)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 19, 1967 A. BAMBRA ETAL 3,342,036

LOADING AND PACKAGING APPARATUS Filed May 5, 1963 '7 Sheets-Sheet l dw/vzegd Sept. 19, 1967 A. BAMBRA ETAL LOADING AND PACKAGING APPARATUS '7 Sheets-Sheet Filed May 3, 1965 F I I I 1| Sept. 19, 1%?

A. BAMBRA ETAL LOADING AND PACKAGING APPARATUS 7 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed 'May 5, 1963 MW Q K5; km m .1 j .m %&w x3 Q% QM W MNN N%N km E? NE 5:? m I T. bur um p 19, 1967 A. BAMBRA ETAL 3,342,016

LOADING AND PACKAGING APPARATUS Filed May 5, 1963 7 Sheets-Sheet 4 zwyw W p 19%? A. BAMBRA ETAL 3,342,016

LOADING AND PACKAGING APPARATUS Filed May 5, 1963 7 Sheets-Sheet 6 I "1 mm M y-w l/\ i p 1967 A. BAMBRA ETAL 3,342,016

LOADING AND PACKAGING APPARATUS Filed May 3, 1963 7 Sheets-Sheet 7 Mmes re tates The present invention relates to apparatus for packaging articles, particularly those types which are subject to damage in shipment or handling, such as tiles, in cartons or containers for shipment.

In the packaging of fragile articles, and in this respect tiles formed from mineral-fibrous frangible or similar products which are to be used particularly for the installation of sound-treated ceiling structures will be considered as illustrative, it is important that the packaging be such that the tiles are very tightly and closely packed and held within the shipping carton. If any movement of the articles should be permitted following packaging, the mere loose packing permits one tile to rub against the tile adjacent to it. This permits also the tile edges to move into and away from contact with the wall of the shipping carton. The tiles being particularly fragile and frangible products, this movement subjects them to breakage and loss if any substantial shifting is permitted within the packaging cartons. Even if tiles are packaged according to very rigid standards by manual operation, it has been found that the forcing of the tiles into the containers often results in damage ever prior to shipment. This damage comes about both from careless operators and by reason of the fact that to obtain a tight fit within the shipping container it is often necssary to exert such a substantial effort and pressure on the tile that a great tendency to break is present. This force applied in packaging (unless used under extremely careful planning) may be suficient either to bend or to break the tiles completely or to cause damage at their corners. If this occurs in loading, it is apparent that substantial time loss will be involved to remove a tight-fitting tile from a partially loaded carton and to replace it.

One of the primary objectives of this invention is to provide packaging and loading mechanisms for feeding stacked tile components from a stacking position into shipping cartons by purely automatic operations. At the stacking position, the tiles are preferably stacked manually by carefully placing a plurality of tile elements within a hopper or trough, usually formed as a part of a transporter device, in such fashion that the tiles rest against each other only by the force of gravity and the weight of the tile stack. Alignment of the tiles relative to each other is provided only by bringing them in the positioning and stacking operation into abutment with an appropriate guiding and aligning surface. The tiles are transported to the stacking station in any desired fashion. This is usually provided by means of a conveyor belt arranged to convey the tile from a forming and shaping unit, which forms no part of the present invention, to the stacking station.

At the stacking station the tiles are customarily stacked in a pair of companion troughs or hoppers which are supported upon an arbor of a suitable transporting device suitably indexed to move the stacked tiles as a group to a loading station. The hoppers or troughs for holding the tiles are upon on two sides. The remaining two sides meet at approximately right angles. A suitable wrapping strip is placed along one surface of the stacking trough prior to stacking and, upon loading the tiles into the trough, the tiles rest edge-on upon the strip. Adjacent tile stacks are separated from each other by a manually positioned divider strip and a spreader blade which serves as an aligning member for the adjacent stacks. The divider guide or separator blade, which forms the aligning member for the 3,342,l Patented Sept. 19, 1%6? tile stacks, is held between the adjacent stacks only during the stacking operation. It is removed prior to the transfer of the stacked tiles to the loading station at which they are packed into cartons or containers for shipment.

The arbor and transporter mechanism provides for shifting the stacked tiles from the stacking station position to the loading station at suitable indexed times. When the tile stacks are shifted from the stacking to the loading station, they are then wrapped over their exposed edges with a protective wrapping sheet. Following this, they are forced inwardly of a receiving carton or container as a group. Normally, the container adapted to receive and hold the tiles is of a cross-sectional size similar to that of the stacks of tile to be loaded. It is very slightly smaller than the combined dimensions of the tile stacks so that a tight fit is insured.

The tile stacks are loaded into the container or carton by pressure exerted by a ram. They are then forced into the carton under pressure exerted uniformly over the entire tile area. At the loading or packing station the ram forces the tile stacks as a group across the troughs (the divider guide or separator blade having been removed at the stacking location prior to the time the arbor moves to the carton loading position). As the stacks are moved into the container, they tend to compress very slightly the edge wrapping sheet placed thereabout and at the same time wedge the tile group and the wrapping sheet within the carton. The loading operation thus stretches very slightly the receiving carton so that, with assembly of the stacks into the carton, movement of the tiles relative to each other and to the carton is completely precluded.

Following the loading of the tile stacks into the cartons, the cartons are transferred by suitable mechanism through a carton closing and fastening station. They are then loaded upon a distributing conveyor or transferred to storage or utilization areas.

The operational sequence of the apparatus herein to be described is such that the tiles are stacked, transferred and transported from the stacking position to a loading position, tightly loaded at the loading position into cartons, transferred following loading to a carton closing operation, and finally automatically removed from the stacking, loading and packaging regions of the controlled apparatus. The operation of the machine herein to be set forth is preferably interlocked in such fashion that the timing and advance of the stacked tiles from one operational step to another is so controlled that it may or may not be uniform, depending upon any one of the operational steps of the unit.

The transporter device is adapted for rotary movement. It has a plurality of generally V-shaped article re ceiving troughs. All troughs are located a like radial distance from the center of rotation of the transporter device so that all rotate about a common axis. The number of troughs on the device may be selected at will but each must be spaced an equal arcuate distance from the trough next adjacent. The spacing is thus 360/'n, where n is the number of troughs selected for the transporter device.

The described apparatus provides a greatly speeded-uploading operation; it reduces the manpower requirements for loading and particularly provides for packing to a degree of tightness not readily obtainable under manually controlled conditions.

The operation is preferably controlled electrically and interlocked as will later be described.

Various mechanisms may be employed to practice the invention. For purposes of readily understanding the nature of the device, one form thereof which has proved satisfactory in which two troughs spaced 180 apart and which is illustrative of the principle involved will herein be described. In this form reference may now be made to the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a generally diagrammatic plan view of the packaging mechanism and show particularly the flow and movement paths of the various components of which the invention is comprised;

FIG. 2 is also a plan view but showing in more detail the various components of the operating arrangement of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an elevation view of a portion of the loading apparatus of FIG. 2 looking generally from the bottom to the top of the sheet as FIG. 2 is placed on the sheet of drawing and FIG. 3 shows in particular the divider mechanism to separate groupings of stacked components during the loading operation, the divider being shown in its lowered position and in phantom representation in its raised position;

FIG. 4 is an elevational view taken on the line 44 of FIG. 2 to show particularly the trasporter or carrier rotating mechanisms and the drive adapted to maintain the goods-holding hoppers in goods-retaining position;

FIG. 5 is a showing of the goods transfer table after being rotated through 90;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on the line 6-6 of FIG. 3 looking in the direction of the arrows to show the goods transfer mechanism movement;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken on the line 77 of FIG. 3 to show the drive mechanism;

FIG. 8 is a view of the glue rod for gluing cartons;

FIG. 9 is a chematic circuit diagram of the electrical circuit and relays serving to control the operation and movement of the various mechanisms as illustrated by FIG. 2 operated under the influence of the control buttons there shown;

FIG. 10 is a sectional view taken on the line 10-10 of FIG. 2 looking in the direction of the arrows to show particularly the loaded components held in the loading cradle prior to movement to an unloading position;

FIG. 11 is a sectional view taken on the line 1111 of FIG. 2 and looking in the direction of the arrows to show the loaded components transferred from the loading cradle to the interior of the carton;

FIG. 12 represents the changed position of the loaded carton from the cradle to the turntable;

FIGS. 13 through 16 represent in schematic form successive stages in the loading operation, FIG. 13 showing the stacked components immediately prior to wrapping, FIG. 14 showing the wrapped components adapted to be positioned within the receiving carton, FIG. 15 showing the components loaded within the carton and the carton flaps ready for final closure and in the gluing process, and FIG. 16 showing the finally loaded carton in a position to be moved along a conveyor to a utilization point;

FIG. 17 is a schematic diagram showing the liner adapted to be wrapped about the stacked components;

FIG. 18 shows in schematic fashion the forcing or loading operation wherein the stacked components, after having been wrapped with the liner of FIG. 17, are forced within the carton as shown by FIG. 14;

FIG. 19 shows a typical component adapted to be loaded into the carton; and

FIG. 20 shows a stack of material for loading into the carton.

Reference may now be made to the accompanying drawings, as above designated, for a further understanding of the nature and working of a machine of the type above outlined.

Referring first to FIG. 1 of the drawings, the tiles 11 (or any other object adapted for stacking as here explained), after having been suitably manufactured, are usually supplied to a loading platform 13 by way of a conveyor belt 15 arranged to move in any desired fashion, as in the direction shown by the arrow. The tiles are collected on the loading platform where they are manually transferred into one of a pair of 90 V-shaped troughs or hoppers 17 whose sides are positioned at approximately 45 to the horizontal, which would be the support base or floor for the machine. The troughs are supported in arbor or frame members 43 and 44, later to be described, of the transporter mechanism.

Immediately prior to the transfer of tiles into an empty trough or hopper 17, a wrapper 19 is manually positioned to rest on one wall 21 of the V-shaped trough or hopper. The tiles are then loaded in the trough in such fashion that one edge surface is rested against the wrapper and the flat surface 24 of the tile rests upon the second trough wall 25. The tiles are stacked in two columns, each having one outer edge 26 inside the edge 27 of the trough and preferably against opposite sides of a divider blade 29 so that it is possible vertically to stack the tiles with a minimum of effort and judgment on the part of the operator.

The tiles (illustratively) may be about nine to ten inches square and have about a half-inch thickness. For this size it is usually most economical to stack a group and to ship them with divider sheets between adjacent columns and the number of columns best suited to the packaging used. For this purpose, and in order that the tile stacks may be separated from each other prior to the final placement into the cartons, the machine operator normally places a separator sheet 28 on one side of the blade 29 so that it is between adjacent tile stacks in the final packaging. The sheet 28 is placed and held in the V-shaped loading trough or hopper 17 by positioning it against one surface of a removable separating or dividing blade 29 (see particularly FIGS. 2 and 3) against which the tiles are stacked.

As will be explained particularly in connection with FIGS. 2 and 3, the separator blade 29 is removable prior to shifting the position of the trough or hopper 17 on its arbor and transporting device from the stacking position to a carton-loading position. Suffice it at the moment to state the the tiles are stacked, in the preferred embodiment of the invention, in two adjacent stackings until the uppermost tile of each stack reaches a limiting position within the trough, which is determined by the stop member 30 at the outer end of the wall 21 (see FIG. 10).

The troughs or hoppers 17 are supported upon shafts 31 which extend through the side members 43 and 44 to form also the closure elements of the arbor or transporter mechanism. Each trough or hopper is locked in any appropriate fashion to the shaft in such position that the trough walls are always maintained at an angle of 45 to the plane of support for the machine as a whole (see FIG. 10, for instance). Such support plane 32 is usually the floor of the area on which the machine is mounted. The mechanism for maintaining this relationship during the turning of the arbor or transporter mechanism will later be described. Suffice it for the moment to state that the relationship is so maintained that the tiles are held in a fashion to preclude their falling out.

There is a second trough member 33 adjacent to each tile-stacking trough. The second trough'members 33 play no part in the initial tile-stacking operation. Their use is to form a trough into which the carton or container to be loaded is positioned to receive the tiles at the packing or loading station. The second trough members 33 also have a forward wall or surface edge 35 which is maintained in coplanar relationship to the wall 21 of each trough 17. The second side of each trough 33 is formed by an arm or frame member 37 which is appropriately held to maintain a 90 relationship with the forward wall 35. Each second trough 33 also has a second side member or arm 38 which is held generally adjacent to the trough 17.

Roller members 40 are held between the arms 37 and 38 and so mounted as to be capable of turning, with the arms constituting bearing members for reduced size ends or shafts 41 to support the rollers. The support and mounting of the second troughs 33 will be discussed more particularly in connection with the description of the apparatus which will be set out in the discussion of FIGS. 3 and 5 in particular and, therefore, need not be mentioned in further detail at this point. Sui-lice it to say at this point, however, that the trough sections 33 also are normally held in a position with their sides 45 to the vertical, but they are so held as to be capable of being turned about the supporting shaft to unload filled cartons or containers to permit a transfer of such cartons or containers from the loading apparatus to suitable conveying mechanism.

The ends of the support shafts 31, which carry the troughs 17 and 33, are held in the support frame or arbor members 43 and 44. The arbor thus constitutes the bearing surfaces for the trough supports. The frame formed by the members 43 and 44 as its side members is formed into a generally rectangular shape of the transporter mechanism by way of the supported shafts 31 on which the troughs are held. A hollow drive shaft 45 extends through the central portion of the transporter frame. The shaft terminates in bearings carried upon outer frame side members 46 and 47 which connect in any desired fashion with end members 48 and 49. The shaft 45 thus provides a common axis about which the arbor and its supported troughs rotate.

The frame drive will be discussed more particularly in FIG. 2, but suffice it for the moment to state that in the manner in which FIG. 1 is viewed on the sheet the shaft 45 can be assumed to be driven to rotate in a counterclockwise direction. This drive direction provides that the transporter means holdin the troughs or hopper members 17 turns to swing the loaded troughs beneath the frame from the tile stacking or loading position, generally designated A, at which the tiles 11 are placed in the troughs or hoppers to a position where these loaded troughs or hoppers are then moved upwardly to the tile unloading and carton packing position, generally designated B. The movement is assisted in its initial state by the effect of gravity and tends to speed the article transfer.

In connection with the generalized description made in FIG. 1, details of the control mechanism are not set forth at this point, but suffice it to say here that the shaft rotation of the transporter frame to carry the loaded hoppers or troughs to an unloading position operates in such a fashion that the transfer motion as initiated is rather slow and then accelerated, after which more or less rapid deceleration occurs as the goods are transferred to the unloading position. Various methods and apparatus for achieving this type of motion are known, but one suitable form of device is that which is known as the Ferguson transmission drive, although it is to be understood that other types of drives, such as Geneva movements, cams or the like, may be used with facility.

In the transfer operation of the loaded tiles from the loading or stacking station to the unloading station consideration of FIGS. 2 and 3 will set out in further detail the manner in which the separating blade 29 is removed from the trough or hopper prior to movement thereof into the unloading position. For the purpose of the generalized description this will not here be discussed but will be referred to at a later point.

When the hopper or trough is removed from the loading position to the unloading position with a 180 turn of the supporting cradle or frame constituting the transporter means which turns with the hollow shaft 45, the carefully stacked tiles are ready for unloading and packaging into a suitable container 50. At the time a loaded hopper or trough is moved from the stacking position to an unloading position, an emptied hopper or trough is simultaneously moved into a stacking position. In this way stacking at one station and unloading at a second station can be carried on concurrently.

When a loaded transporter device reaches the unloading station B, a carton or container 50 which is to contain the tiles for shipment is placed in the second trough or hopper section 33 by the machine operator. The container is supported with its end flaps 51 and 52 opened so that the flaps hang over the spacing between the troughs 33 and 17. The container is positioned to rest in such location that two adjacent panels are held in planes substantially 45 to the plane of the base line of the machine and in such a position that the diagonal between its lowermost and .uppermost corners extends in a path at substantially right angles to the base of the machine. This, it will be seen, corresponds to the position in which tiles 11 are stacked in the V-shaped troughs or hoppers 17 at the loading station.

The machine operator, who is located at the unloading position B, has, as a part of his duties, that of wrapping the wrapper 19 about the end walls 53, 54 and 55 which constitute the tile edges which have been free of the wrapper at the loading position. It will be borne in mind that at the loading position the tiles were stacked so that one edge was rested upon the wrapper 19.

The portion of the tile which had not been originally wrapped is carefully wrapped at the unloading station B because the edges of the tile are the most sensitive to breakage. The original state at which the tiles arrive at the unloading station is indicated by FIG. 13. The righthand portion of FIG. 14 indicates the positioning of the Wrapper about the tiles just prior to loading into the carton on conveyor 50 by the action of the ram 57.

With thearrival of the tiles and the trough or hopper 17 at the unloading station E, the machine operator controls the operation of the loading ram 57 to force the tiles laterally across the trough and into the container. The end of the ram is of a generally plate-like form. It has a shape similar to and approximating that of the tile 11, although very slightly larger. The ram plate 57 is held on the outer end of a piston rod 58 which is fitted within a cylinder 59. When the controlling operator causes fluid (illustratively air) under pressure to enter into the cylinder 59 by way of the inlet 60, the piston (not shown) within the cylinder is moved forward (looking at FIG. 1). Piston movement forces the flat plate end 57 of the ram to come into abutment with the now-wrapped tiles in the trough or hopper 17 (see also FIG. 14). With continued piston and ram movement the group of tiles is transferred by a pushing or sliding movement from the trough or hopper 17 into the adjacently positioned carton 0: container 50.

The carton or container 50, when ready to receive tiles, is rested and positioned adjacent to the end wall 37 of the second trough 33 so as to provide a firm bearing rest for the carton and so position the carton that movement of the ram plate causes a transfer of the tiles and forces them into the carton or container.

At this point it may be desirable to set out that, as shown by FIG. 18, the wrapped tiles with the wrapping 19 thereabout are very slightly larger than the opening into the container. Under the circumstances, movement of the group of tiles into the container 50 under the force of the ram plate 57 slightly stretches or compresses the container wall as the tiles are guided past the end flaps 52 within the container. Simultaneously, the wrapping 19 is very slightly compressed. The size difference between the container cross-section and the tile and wrapping is not sufficiently different to preclude the entry of the tiles into the container or carton, but it is sufiicient that the tiles, when forced within the container, are held in an extremely tight position.

After the container has been loaded with the tiles the operator at the unloading station grasps the outer end 61 of the frame arm 37 to swing or turn the section of the trough or hopper in which the carton was loaded through approximately a 45 angle (clockwise, looking at FIG. 11). The movement is provided against the force of a tension spring 62 which has one end held in fixed position in a bracket 63 on the end of the shaft 31. The other spring end is in a support 64 to the second trough or hopper 33. When so turned (see FIG. 12) the side member 37 of the trough or hopper 33 and its rollers 40 are carried to substantially a horizontal position.

Transfer of the loaded carton 50 from the rollers 40 of the trough member 37 to the turntable 65 after the frame arm 37 is turned about the shaft 31 (in a direction clockwise to the shaft, looking at FIG. 3) into a position such that the frame 37 and its rollers 40 are brought substantially adjacent to the turntable frame 65 is readily accomplished. The carton 50, which has previ-- ously been contained in the frame section 37, at this point is rolled over rollers 40 (bridging the slight gap, as shown by FIG. 3, between the frame 37 and the turntable 65) and is rolled upon the rollers 67 of the turntable until the carton comes into abutment with a suitably positioned stop 68 on the turntable frame.

As can be seen particularly from FIG. 3, the turntable frame 65 is supported on a trunnion bearing 69 which is. held in the upper portion of a frame support 71. The frame support consists of a plurality of generally flat plate members which are secured at their ends to a pair of elongated angle bracket members 72 and 73. The upper ends of the angle bracket members are turned inwardly and the cross members 71 of the frame are secured thereto in any desired fashion. The lower end of the angle bracket members is turned in the opposite direction, as is particularly apparent from the showing of FIG. 3, for reasons which will later be explained. The cross members 71 at the ends of the angle bracket members are appropriately spaced and held so as to support axles 76 and 77 internally of the bracket members.

Collars 81 are secured and adapted to provide a bearing in which the axles 76 may turn. The axles extend. outwardly beyond the bearings (not shown) provided in the angle brackets with spacing determined by the collars 81. Rollers or wheels 83 are mounted at the outer ends of the shafts 76. The turntable member as a whole is adapted to be rolled back and forth in the directions.

shown by the arrows particularly on FIG. 2. The central strip 71 is connected to approximately a midpoint of the extended angle brackets 72 and 73 and supports the trunnion bearing for the turntable.

There is appropriately supported on the base member 85 of the machine as a whole a plurality of brackets 88 which have rail members 89 secured thereto. The rollers supporting the frame and turntable are rested upon the rails and the turntable carriage is adapted to be moved along the tracks or rails in controlled fashion. The rollers 83 are flanged, with the flange on the inner side. The outwardly turned portions of the brackets 72 and '73, as can be seen, extend more or less to wrap under the lower portion of the rails 89. While there is usually no contact between the lower rail section and the outwardly turned bracket portion, nonetheless the extension precludes the possibility of tilting the turntable above its central support trunnion when loads are applied.

Following load transfer, the turntable and the supported carton are turned about the trunnion bearing 69 from the position generally represented by FIGS. 1 and 3 to that shown by FIG. 2. In the latter position the carton or container on the turntable could be rolled in a path which is at 90 to the transfer path.

As can be seen more particularly from FIGS. 1, 2 and 5, the frame support member 71 attaches to a piston rod 91 which terminates at a piston (not shown) contained within the cylinder 93 into which fluid is adapted to be supplied in two directions by tubes 175 and 175'. When fluid is supplied by inlet 175 the turntable is pulled from the position shown particularly in FIGS. 1 and 2 into a position in which it and the carton or container 50 carried thereby is moved on the rails 89 to a position relative to the ram 95, can be moved off the turntable and onto an output conveyor conventionally represented at 97, as will later be explained.

At this point the movement of the transporter mechanism from a loading position at region A to an unloading position at region B has generally been set forth. Also, mention has been made of the control exerted by the ram 57 to push the tiles from the V-shaped troughs 17 into the carton or container 50. Mention has also been briefly made of the transfer process whereby the carton or container is moved and transferred from the rollers 40, against which it rests at the time of loading to the turntable and the control effected by a rotation of the turntable to place the carton in a position for movement and transfer to an output conveyor.

Reference may now be made more particularly to the transporter mechanism and the drive by which the transporter mechanism moves loaded tiles from a loading position to another position from which they are packaged.

Making reference particularly now to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the drive for controlling the movement of the transporter unit provided by the cradle frames 43 and 44 is derived from a source of any desired type conventionally represented at 101. As above mentioned, in one particular form of the device, a well-known type of Ferguson drive may be effectively utilized. Suitable motor drives can be used with substantially equal facility. In this operation, the motor which controls the Ferguson drive is usually continuously driven as long as the machine is in operation. The motor drives the Ferguson transmission through a suitable clutch which is energized as the machine cycles. At times of de-energization of the clutch (as can be determined from the description of FIG. 9) the brake mechanism suitably of known character, prevents drive. With clutch energization, the brake is released. It is reapplied upon clutch de-energization.

Alternatively, motors driving through appropriate gearings, clutches or cam control devices may also be used.

As conventionally represented in the drawings and as herein described, the particular drive shown may consist of a motor 111 driving through a suitable clutch (not shown) and drive belt or chain 112 into a shaft 113 which connects through a gear box 114 leading into the drive unit 101 of the aforementioned type. The showing here is purely conventional and other forms of drive mechanism may be substituted if desired, as long as the functioning is within the teachings herein outlined. The driving form illustrated is one which has been found suitable and which can readily be controlled by interlock and indexing switch control devices 116 and 117 later to be discussed.

In the control of the movement of the arbor carrying the hoppers or troughs (considering, illustratively, an arrangement whereby the arbor carries two sets of troughs or hoppers spaced 180 from each other) the indexing of the machine to the two opposite 180 positions is achieved by virtue of the Ferguson transmission. As is known in the art, the Ferguson transmission is essentially a cam-drive type of arrangement. It is started into operation by the combined operation of the indexing buttons or switches 116 and 117, and it is arranged to make one revolution and then stop. The mechanism is restarted following the closure of the switches or control buttons 116 and 117 in any desired order or simultaneously. The ratio of the sprockets and 107 in the operation herein to be described is set at 2:1 so that with the start of the Ferguson drive the machine is caused to index one-half revolution, after which it stops. There is no need to provide a physical stop or abutment to hold the arbor in either of its rest positions.

The power source 101 is arranged to turn a shaft 103 upon which a sprocket gear 105 is appropriately supported and keyed. A drive chain 106 wraps around the driving sprocket 105 and a driven sprocket 107 which is keyed to drive the hollow shaft 45 within which a central shaft 109 is supported. The sprocket member is also secured to the side members 43 and 44 of the transporter device by pins or the like 110 so that with the sprocket tutrnciing the transporter mechanism is also similarly roa e With drive being provided through the chain 106, it is apparent that drive from the motor 111 will cause the transporter mechanism to rotate. Any rotation of the 9 transporter mechanism without an appropriate positioning of the V-shaped troughs would obviously be such that the troughs, if upright in one position, would be upsidedown in a 180 position and the stacked articles would immediately be discharged. For the purpose of holding the troughs always in the same relative position so that the trough sides are maintained at all times at approximately a 45 angle relative to the machine base or support (see FIG. a suitable gearing is provided by the drive from the shaft 109 within the hollow shaft 45. The shaft 109 terminates in a bearing 121 supported on the side member 46.

Noting now particularly FIGS. 4 and 7 in conjunction with FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the shaft 109 terminates in a bearing 121 on the frame 46. In this arrangement it becomes particularly clear from FIG. 7 that the sprocket 107 is adapted to drive and turn the rotatable hollow shaft 45 while the shaft 109 extending therethrough is fixed and held in a fixed position by the set screw 123 in the bearing 121 attached to the frame 46. Under circumstances when the sprocket 107 rotates to turn the side members 43 and 44 of the transporter mechanism, this turning occurs about and relative to the fixed shaft 109, with the bearing members 124 and 125 providing a support for the fixed shaft.

The support shafts 31 upon which the V-shaped cradles are carried and which extend through the side members 43 and 44 of the transporter mechanism have a sprocket gear 129 keyed thereto at 133. Likewise, sprocket gears 135 and 136 are also appropriately keyed on the fixed shaft 109, as by the set screw 137. A drive chain 141 extends from the sprocket 129 around the inner sprocket 135. A similar drive chain 142 extends around the sprocket 129 at the opposite end of the transporter frame about the outer sprocket 136.

With the V-shaped troughs held on support shafts 31 and secured thereto so as to turn with the support shaft, and the sprocket gears 129 also being secured to the shafts 31, it is apparent that the sprocket 105 which drives the sprocket 107 through the chain 106 operates to turn the outer hollow rotatable shaft 45 and therefore to rotate the transporter mechanism. The sprocket gears 129 tend to orbit, as it were, around the sprocket gears 135 and 136, but with the shaft 109 being fixed and precluding rotation the effect is to roll the drive chains 141 and 142 about the sprockets 135 and 136. Consequently, the chains turn also about the sprockets 129 so that the rotary motion of the transporter frame is compensated, insofar as the turning of the V-shaped support troughs is concerned, in such a fashion as to hold the troughs always in an upright position, thereby to preclude outward movement of the articles (in this instance tiles) carried thereby. With the rotation of the transporter frame being in a counterclockwise direction (looking at FIGS. 3 and 4 for instance), it will be apparent that the V-shaped troughs are appropriately turned to hold them in an erect position.

It was previously mentioned that the sections of the V-shaped trough members 17 were separated by a divider blade 29 which was movable inwardly and outwardly relative thereto. Reference to the control of movement of the divider blade may now be had by a further consideration of the showing of FIGS. 2 and 3 in particular. At each side of the frame and generally toward the unloading end thereof, a pair of upright support members 151 (one shown in FIG. 3) extend upwardly and are tied together by a cross beam 152 at their upper and outer ends. A rotatable arm 155 is pivoted to this cross beam 152 at 153.

'The separator blade 29 is adapted to slide in and out of the arm 155 as a track and to be retractable from the lower position (shown by FIG. 3) to the phantom position shown in the same figure.

One support point for the arm 155 is provided by its hinged connecting point 153 to the cross member 162. A second point of support is provided by the attachment of one end 156 of a cylinder 157 thereto, as at 158. A piston rod member 160 is supported within the cylinder 157. The outer end 161 of the piston rod is pivotably secured to an overhanging bracket 163 attached in any suitable manner to the cross member 152 and the frame carrying the uprights 151.

The separator blade 29 is secured at its inner edge 165 to one end of a piston rod 166 which is adapted to move in and out of a cylinder 167 within which it terminates in a suitable piston (not shown). The movement is guided by a guide rod 168 attached at one end to the blade and extending through the guide bracket 189 secured to the arm 155.

Each of the cylinders 157 and 167 is of the fluid actuated variety and is provided with a connection to permit fluid ingress and egress at each side of the piston carried therein. The arrangement is such that fluid entering into the cylinder 167 through the entrance port 171 will force the piston contained therein in a direction from left to right (looking at FIG. 3) and force fluid outward through the outlet 172. This action withdraws the separator blade 29 from its position as a divider member between the two stacks of tiles 11 placed within the V-shaped troughs 17. At the time this withdrawal action is occurring fluid is also forced within the entrance port connection 173' into the cylinder 157. Fluid is then forced out through the outlet connection 174 of this cylinder so that the cylinder 157 as a whole is being drawn over the piston rod 160 by reason of the piston (not shown) within the cylinder 157 being forced downwardly. This tends to raise the arm 155 about the point 158 as a pivot and lift both the retracted blade 29 and its support arm away from the V- shaped troughs. The retraction of the blade moves it out of the path of the. rotatable transporter mechanism, because it will be apparent that as the loaded V-shaped troughs 17 move from the loading position shown to the left of FIG. 3 to the unloading position shown to the right of FIG. 3. The unloaded trough moves above the framework to return to the loading position at station A. Because of the arc of 'carry, it is desirable that the arm carrying the divider blade be moved out of the way of the transporter mechanism as it rotates. It is also desirable that for the protection of workmen the blade should be both retracted and lifted from the position it occupies in the loaded position.

The rotation of the transporter frame through to shift the loaded troughs beneath the framework to the unloaded position and to simultaneously shift the unloaded troughs above the framework back to the loading position should be coordinated with the shift operation so that the operators at each of the loading and unloading positions shall always coordinate the operational steps encountered.

This interlock and indexing is provided by control circuits of the character shown and described in connection with FIG. 9 which will later be described. Suflice it for the moment to mentionthat the operator at the loading station A, upon completing the loading of the V-shaped trough 17, actuates the switch conventionally represented at 116. The operator at the unloading or packing station B at which the articles are packed within the cartons or containers 50, upon completing the packing operation and shifting the loaded carton or container onto the turntable 65, releases his hold on the frame 61 on the spring biased section of the V-shaped troughs so that under the influence of the spring 62 the unloaded section is returned to registry with the section to be filled with tile. This having been accomplished, the operator then actuates the switch control mechanism conventionally represented at 117. With both switch control mechanisms 116 and 117 actuated, driving power is provided again to rotate the transporter mechanism through 180.

It is immaterial which of the control switches 116 and 117 is first actuated, for the interlock is such (note description of FIG. 9) that only combined actuation of the two devices will permit a shift and rotation of the transporter device. The control provided with the movement of the transporter device also simultaneously actuates the valve mechanisms in any desired fashion to provide fluid supply in the appropriate direction into the cylinders 157 and 167 which control the blade elevation and blade projection in the fashion described.

It has already been mentioned that when the tiles in the V-shaped troughs reach the unloading position B they are to be slidably removed and forced into the carton or container. This operation and the control of the position of the ram 57 by virtue of actuation of piston contained within the cylinder 59 is interlocked so that it can only take place under the control of an operator during a nonmoving period of the transporter mechanism. This will become apparent from the description of the circuitry of FIG. 9 and further discussion thereof will not be made at this point.

For transfer operations following a transfer of the cartons to the turntable, a drive control switch for carrying the table mechanism toward the final output conveyor is provided by actuation of the switch control mechanism conventionally represented at 173, thereby to actuate and initiate the operation of the turnable movement. Control of fluid into the cylinder 92 by way of the inlet connection 175 causes the piston to be moved downwardly (looking at FIG. 2) and thereby to move the turntable mechanism.

As will be apparent from the showing of FIG. 15, the cartons into which the components have been loaded are still open at their ends following the transfer from the V-shaped troughs to the turntable. To close the cartons a gluing operation is provided concurrently with the movement of the shifted turntable along the tracks 89. The glue (or other adhesive) is sprayed by nozzles 181 positioned adjacent to the tracks and directed toward the moving cartons. The duration of spray is controlled under the movement of the turntable mechanism.

In FIG. 8 the drawings show a control rod 183 adjacent to which a follower roller 1S4 linked to a. spray control cylinder switch member 185 is adapted to be moved. As can be seen more particularly from FIG. 8, the rod 183 is attached to the turntable support and is adapted to move in and out of the housing or guide tube 187. The rod is capable of being turned controllably and secured into different positions so that various length timing slots 188 and 189 may be brought into engaging position relative to the guide and follower roller 184. With the rod moving in and out of the guide tube 187 at the time of movement of the turntable the follower 184 remains in one of the slots for different periods of time, depending upon the slot length. Under the circumstances, control of a glue spraying operation is determined in accordance with the carton size utilized. With the rod moving to the position such that the guide roller 184 moves without one of the slots 189, a control is effected to shut off the glue spray.

With spraying operations occurring, the glue or other adhesive is sprayed from the nozzles or jets 181 onto the carton flaps 190 and 191 (see FIGS. 5 and 15) and the flaps (not shown) at the opposite end. As the turntable moves and is brought over the rails 89 to a position in alignment with the ram 95, the operator manually controls the inlet of fluid into the cylinder member 201 in which the support rod 202 of ram 95 is held. Control is achieved by a switch mechanism conventionally shown at 203 so that fluid is permitted to enter into the cylinder 201 at the connection 205 and to be removed by way of the connection 206, thereby to move the piston (not shown) within cylinder 201 from left to right. This occurring, the carton is pushed from the turntable 65 toward the conveyor 97. The pressure of the ram 95, which has a large surface substantially corresponding to that of the end of the carton, forces the unsecured flaps to close. Similarly, forcing the carton from the turntable to the conveyor presses the heretofore unclosed flaps at the opposite end of the container against a carton or container previously loaded. Consequently, the flaps are pressed together and caused to adhere to each other to provide closure. With the transfer of the loaded container to the conveyor 97, the operative steps between supply and final packaging have been completed.

In the control of the machine, as provided by the electrical circuitry diagrammatically shown by FIG. 9, it may be well, prior to a description of the various circuit components, to outline very briefly the operational sequence and interlocks. During the tile-stacking operation at the loading position and the transfer of stacked tiles into cartons at the unloading or packing station the motor 111 can be assumed to keep running. The braking mechanism of the Fergusion drive is normally energized and the clutch is de-energized so that the machine as a whole is stopped. When machine cycling is desired, the operators at the stacking or loading station A and at the packing or unloading station IB depress the indexing buttons 116 and 117 (thereby to close the electrical drive-control circuit) in any desired order. At this time the operation functions so that the divider blade 29 is immediately retracted and raised from the trough or hopper '17. At the same time the brake mechanism (not shown) in the Ferguson drive is released and the clutch is energized to cause the arbor and transporter frame carrying the troughs or hoppers to rotate through a 180 are due to the turning of the hollow shaft 45. At the completion of the 180 rotation the brake of the Fergusion drive is re-energized and the clutch is tie-energized or released to hold the machine in the lastestablished position.

Promptly with the stopping of the cradle movement the support for the divider blade or plate 29 is lowered. At this time the divider blade 29 is caused to move into the trough or hopper 17 to separate it into two sections. The repositioning of the divider blade readies the machine for the stacking and loading of tiles against it as an aligning surface. The loaders at station A then commence to load the troughs or hoppers and the operator at the unloading station B places the carton or container 50, which is to receive the tiles, into the trough section 33' (see FIG. 11, for instance). At this time the operator at the unloading station closes a circuit to energize the carton loading ram 57 which moves forward to transfer the tiles from the troughs or hoppers 17, 21 into the carton 50 (the start of this operation is diagrammed illustratively in FIG. 18). Reelase of the ram movement control button causes the ram to return to its starting position, as will be explained further in the circuit operation.

At this point in the operation the operator rotates the carton-holding trough (usually manually) against the force of spring 62 in a clockwise direction (looking at FIGS. ll and 12 of the drawing) to a position from that in which it was initially loaded (as in FIG. 11) to a position for transfer to the turntable (as in FIG. 12). This movement also serves to control the retraction of a compression ram which will later be described and which will feed loaded cartons to an output conveyor and compression table.

Following the transfer of the loaded cartons to the turntable 55 as in FIG. 12) the operator rotates the turntable through At this point an electrical circuit may be closed by means of a switch 173. The switch starts the turntable moving along the guide rails 89 to carry the carton through the gluing cycle, already explained. With forward movement of the turntable toward a limit switch, which is actuated by the gluing rod, the spray of the spray guns 181 is controlled. After a selected length of spray, as determined by the position of the follower roller 184 in the slots 188 or 189 of the glue rod 183, it is possible to control the length of time of gluing spray. The turntable continues to travel past the glue spraying areas until it moves into the region of the compression table and output conveyor and the ram there located. The operator at the unloading and carton packing station closes a further ram-control electrical circuit by control of the switch.

The compression ram 95 is then caused to move forward and to push the carton in its loaded state off the turntable and onto the compression table or conveyor 97. This then presses the glued flaps into a closed position for final sealing. With the completion of the compression stroke, the compression ram activates a limit switch which controls an electrical circuit to cause the turntable to return to its original position, after which it will be in a state to move further cartons along to the compression table and output conveyor.

The operation on the interlocks is such that the loadin ram 57 will not activate while the transporter and arbor carrying the troughs or hoppers from a loading to an unloading position is cycling. Likewise, the machine will not cycle while the ram is moving. The turntable 65 cannot enter into a gluing operation unless the compression ram 95 is completely retracted. The compression ram will not activate unless the turntable is completely at one end or the other of its movement. Lastly, the machine will not cycle unless the divider blade 29 is both retracted and raised from the troughs or hoppers in which the tiles are stacked.

The foregoing is intended to illustrate the general nature of the interlock and sequence of operation between all of the components here described. The particular circuitry by which the foregoing operations may be achieved can be varied to some considerable extent. However, by P16. 9 of the drawings, there has been schematically shown one form of control circuit by which the cycling operation already described can be achieved. Reference may now be made to this portion of the drawings for a further understanding of the invention.

The control circuitry by which the operation hereinabove described is achieved is set forth in diagrammatic form by FIG. 9. In making reference to FIG. 9, it may be assumed illustratively that the motor 111 is maintained in an operating and running state. The brake and clutch mechanism (conventionally illustrated as contained in the gear box 114) is energized or controlled in order to supply a braking force or drive power to the Ferguson drive schematically represented at 101.

As is well known, the Ferguson drive includes as a part thereof a cam element, such as that indicated illustratively at 212, which usually has one flat face which is adapted through a suitable follower to control the opening and closing of a switch element 215.

The drive and cycling of the machine, as was above explained, is controlled from the loading position A and the unloading or packing position B. FIG. 9 schematically shows this essentially as an eccentric element extending out from the drive 101. For the drive control to function, it is necessary that both switches 116 at the loading position and switch 117 at the unloading or packing position be closed. The closure, as above stated, can be concurrent or the switches may be closed in sequence. The significant factor is that for the operation to be initiated, it is necessary that both switches be closed regardless of the order.

Considering now the control circuitry, it can be assumed that the motor 117 is energized in any desired fashion from the power supply lines 221, 222. Illustratively, the motor is connected by conductors 223 and 224 to the power line through a switch 225 included in the line 224. The switch is closed during all periods of machine operation. It may be manually set to an open or closed position. Other controls may be utilized where desired.

Assuming that the motor 111 is activated and operating, the operators at the loading and unloading positions A and B close the cycle start buttons 116, 117 at times when the stacking of the tiles in the troughs is completed at the loading station and operation of the packing ram 57 controlled by cylinder is completed at the unloading or packing station.

Assuming for illustrative purposes that the ram plate 57 is returned to its retracted position so that the piston is drawn fully within the cylinder 59 by inflow of fluid through retractor tube 60', the retraction of the ram plate 57 will be found to close a switch element 231 which connects through a timer unit 233 to permit operation. The closure of the cycle start switch 117, for instance, closes a circuit from line conductor 221 through the conductor 234, the switch 117, conductor 235, relay winding 236 and the connection through conductor 237 to the other side of the power supply line 222. Energization of the relay winding 236 closes the contacts 239 thereby partially to complete a circuit from the line 221 through conductor 241), switch 239 and conductor 241 leading to one terminal 242 of switch 243 controlled by relay 244.

It can be seen that in the unenergized state, relay 244 is so set that the switch 243 remains open. Closure of the cycle start button 117 produces no effects beyond those stated. If now, however, cycle start button 116 is closed, it can be seen that a circuit is completed from the line 221 through conductor 245, the start button 116, conductor 246 through a relay coil 248 and conductor 249 to relay winding 244 and thence back to the line 222 by way of conductor 251. Current flowing through this connection controls a suitable control valve (not shown) to supply fluid from a suitable source (not shown) through the inlet tube 171 to the ram 167 thereby to move the piston 166 and the divider plate 29 out from the trough and withdraw it. At the same time, energization of the relay winding 244 closes the armature of the switch 243 against the contact point 242 which, in turn, completes a circuit from one side 2 21 of the power supply line through conductor 241}, switch 239, conductor 241, switch 243 and contact 242, the armature of switch 243, conductor 257 and the relay winding 258 and conductor 259 back through the switch 215 and conductor 261 to the line 222.

In the rest position, this circuit is closed, because the cam 212 of the Ferguson drive is so positioned that switch 215 is closed. Energization of the relay winding 258 serves to close the switch armature 263 against its indicated contact. This, then, permits current to flow through the timer 233 from the line 221, the connection 264 to the switch armature 263 and the conductor 264 leading back to the line 222 through the timer 233. Current flowing through the timer serves to close armature 265 on the contact point 266 so that at this time the timer is short circuited and a current path exists from the conductor 221 through conductor 264, the relay armature 263 and its contacts, the contact point 266 and the armature 265 through conductor 271 and switch 231 and thence conductor 273 through relay winding 275 and conductor 276 back to the line 222. The closure of this last-named circuit serves to energize the clutch (not shown) and release the brake (not shown) controlling the drive through the Ferguson unit 101 by way of the indicated belt drive.

It can be seen, however, that from the foregoing the ram 57 must be retracted to permit the closure of this last-defined circuit. Also, it is apparent that unless the clutch is operated by energization of winding 275 the brake is energized. Energization of winding 275 releases the brake and energizes the clutch to start the Ferguson drive.

None of the circuits so far described can function unless the divider plate is raised and unless the ram 57 is retracted. The gear is such that as already explained in connection with FIGS. 2 and 3 in particular, energization of the Ferguson drive permits the arbor or transporter to rotate through With energization of the relay winding 258, the switch armature 263 closes, but at the same time the arm atures 281 and 282 are opened from the indicated position as shown in FIG. 9. Under these circumstances, it will be appreciated that no current can flow through the winding 285 to open a valve (not shown) to supply fluid through the inlet tube 60 to move the piston 1 5 within the cylinder 59 to advance the ram 57 from the position shown.

On the other hand, at this time it will be observed that a circuit is permanently maintained from the conductor 221 through conductor 287, switch armature 288 and its indicated contact points and conductor 289 through the winding 290 and back to the opposite side 222 of the supply line by way of conductor 291. This circuit closure opens a supply valve (not shown) acting to supply fluid through the connection 60' to move the piston within the cylinder 59 to a position to retract the ram 57. This, thus, precludes movement of the ram during cycling of the machine as a whole. Likewise, because the switch 231 is in an open position, unless the ram 57 is retracted, the machine will not cycle with the ram extended.

As soon as the cycling operation is completed, and the arbor or transporter mechanism has carried around so that one of the troughs changes from a loading to an unloading position, and the other of the troughs changes from an unloading to a loading position, the control circuitry is changed over to an extent such that operation will continue, but the various ram elements and the like which have been withdrawn can now function. At this point it will be noted that no reference has as yet been made to the control of the rams to provide movement of the turntable or the compressor ram, nor yet the mechanism to control the gluing operation, nor yet the functioning of the ram to move the cartons in a loaded state to an output conveyor, such as shown at 97. These will be discussed separately and related to the preceding operation as is necessary.

Following the rotation of the arbor or transporter mechansim through 180, as the device has been illustrated, the clutch is de-energized and the brake operation is controlled by the interruption of current flowing through the relay winding 275 associated with the motor drive. This condition obtains as soon as the cam rotates to change the current status of flow through the relay winding 258. This change in condition opens the armature 263 and thus breaks the circuit through the relay winding 275. At the same time that this is occurring, the switch 281 returns to its indicated position. In this state, current can now flow, for instance, from the supply line conductor 221 through conductor 295, the switch 281 (under the last assumed conditions closed) the conductor 296, the relay winding 297 and conductor 298 back to the supply line conductor 222. When this condition obtains, the winding 297 activates a suitable valve (not shown) to force fluid through the conduit 172 into the cylinder 167 and thereby move the piston therein contained to the left (looking at FIG. 9) and move with it the piston rod and the divider plate 29 within one of the troughs. Further than this, it will be appreciated at this point that by reason of the breaking of the circuit through the switch 215 controlled by the cam 212, the current flows through the winding 248 which would otherwise control the flow of fluid into the conduit or inlet 171 has been interrupted so that the winding 297 is controlling.

At the same time that the foregoing operations are occurring, it may be noted also that the ram 57 is now in a condition to function, because the switch 282 will have been closed concurrently with the closure of the switch 281 and the opening or" the switch 263. At this time, there is a circuit set up which will be closed with energization of the carton-loading ram button control 301 which will then close the circuit from conductor 221 from the supply line to conductor 287, switch arm 304, conductor 302, now-closed switch 282, conductor 303, winding 285 :and conductor 305 back to the other side 222 of the supply line.

With this occurring, it can be seen that the heretofore established circuit through the winding 290 of the ram control is interrupted by opening of the switch 288. Consequently, energization of the loading ram control button 301 to close the switch 304 and open switch 288 16 permits fluid to be supplied through inlet conduit 60 into cylinder 59 to move the piston therein contained downwardly (looking at FIG. 9) and the ram plate 57 in a similar direction. This movement, as can be seen, opens the switch 231 and thereby precludes energization of the motor clutch through de-energination of the winding 275. The carton loading-control button 301 is preferably spring biased normally to hold switch 288 closed and switch 304 open. Consequently, as soon as the operator presses button 301 to close switch 304 and thereby open switch 288, the ram plate 57 moves forward to force articles held in one of the troughs 17 (see FIG. 1, for instance) into cartons 50 held in a trough 37. Release of the button 301 causes contact 288 immediately to close and switch 304 to open which then permits current flow through the circuit heretofore described through the winding 290 thereby to retract the ram plate 57.

It will be recalled from the discussion of FIGS. 11 and 12 that the trough 37 is rotated about the axis 31 from the position shown in FIG. 11 to the position shown in FIG. 12 whereat it is possible to transfer cartons 50 from the trough 37 to the turntable 65. At this time in the operation, the rotation of the trough 37 is such that the tongue 311 on the trough is adapted to close switch 313. At this time a circuit is then provided from conductor 221 of the supply line through conductor 314 and switch 313 and conductor 315 to energize winding 316 and to close the circuit through conductor 317 back to the opposite side 222 of the supply line. This enerigization of the winding 316 is such as to change the position of a control valve (not shown) to cause fluid to be supplied through the conduit 206 into the ram cylinder 201 thereby to retract the ram plate from the position shown in FIG. 9. This closure permits cartons now placed upon the turntable 65 to be advanced toward the gluing position and the position for transfer to the output trough or conveyor 97. With this operation having occurred, the operator at the unloading and packing position closes the switch 173 whereby operating current is supplied to a control winding 321 to control the supply of operating fluid through the supply conduit 175 into the cylinder 93 to draw the turntable 65 along the tracks 89 toward a gluing and final transfer position.

As the turntable 65 is drawn along the tracks 89 with the winding 321 energized to feed fluid into the cylinder 93 through the inlet conduit 175, the turntable glue rod 183 with which the follower 184 of limiting switch 185 is associated closes a circuit through winding 337 that, in turn, causes the glue sprayer 181 to function. This lastnamed circuit is closed from the line 221 via conductor 339, switch 185, relay winding 337 and conductor 341 back to conductor 222 on the opposite side of the line.

As can be seen from FIG. 2, for instance, usually two spraying units are provided, but for convenience sake only one is shown in FIG. 9. Units similar to 337 may be connected in parallel and caused to function similarly. The period of closure of the switch 185 is set as described 'by FIG. 8.

Further movement of the turntable 65 to a position at the end of the stroke closes the limiting switch 345 thereby setting up a circuit which may the closed under the control of the operator closing switch 347 at a desired time to move the compression ram within the cylinder 201 so that loaded and sealed cartons are moved for the turntable 65 when the latter is at the end of its stroke. This circuit is from the conductor 221 of the supply line through conductor 348, the operator-controlled switch 347 and conductor 351 to winding 352 and thence to conductor 353 to the opposite conductor 222 of the supply line. Energization of the coil 352 serves to control the supply of fluid into the conduit 205. to move the piston 202 to the right (looking at FIG. 9) and with it the plate member 95.

This operation pushes loaded and sealed cartons to the conveyor 97, as the compression ram moves forward and moves the packed cartons from the turntable onto the conveyor 97. The loaded cartons all push against each other thus to maintain the flaps in a folded state in which the glue will harden. Final movement closes a limit switch 365 at the end of the forward stroke. The limit switch, in turn, completes a circuit from the line 221 by way of conductor 366, winding 367, conductor 368, the switch 365 and conductor 369 back to the second supply conductor 222. At this time, the energization of the winding 367 opens a suitable control valve (not shown) to supply fluid through the conduit 175 into the ram cylinder 93 thereby to reverse the direction of the turntable and to carry it back to its starting position opposite that position at which the trough member 37 transfers loaded cartons to the turntable. The operational stage at this point is such that the winding 321 which had been energized by the closure of the turntable switch 173 is deenergized under the control of the limiting switch 370 which is opened as the compression ram moves forward thereby permitting the ram cylinder 93 to move the turntable in the reverse direction.

For convenience of illustration and simplicity of showing in FIG. 9, control cylinder 157 for elevating the divider 29 and its support is not depicted. However, it may be said that the control windings 248 and 297 which control the movement of the piston 166 within the ram cylinder 167 may also provide a control of the movement of the piston within the cylinder 157. The two controls essentially can be connected in parallel. The elevation of the blade 29 is then achieved in the manner already set out.

From the foregoing, it will be apparent that the circuitry above described functions in such a way that the unloading ram will not be activated while the machine is in cycle. Likewise, the machine will not cycle while the ram is loading. The turntable is so set up that it cannot enter into the foregoing operation unless the compression ram 95 is completely retracted within the cylinder 201. Likewise, the compression ram cannot be activated unless the turntable is at one end or the other of its movement. Lastly, the machine will not cycle as a whole unless the divider plate 29 is withdrawn.

No details of any specific flap-folding apparatus are either described or claimed in this application. It is generally possible to incorporate any known type of flatfolding operation into the described device, so long as the folding is achieved concurrently with the transport of the glued cartons beyond the gluing station.

Essentially, the cartons in which the articles are stacked are placed in the trough with the flaps at one end open to receive goods transferred from the trough or hopper 17 by forward movement of the loading ram, as is fully described. These flaps preferably had previously been creased so that they are ready to be folded inwardly about the folded line after loading. The flaps at the other end of the carton are folded inwardly by the loading operator to substantially a closed position, and (see FIG. 14) in this position rest against the trough edge 37.

With the loading of the carton by the loading ram completed, the operator normally folds the flap members inwardly as the carton is being transferred to the turntable 65 and as the turntable is being rotated. This action then places all flaps in a general position to receive glue or other adhesive as the turntabe is advanced along the tracks 89. Suitable flap-closure elements or bars are adapted to rest against the partially sprayed flaps following the spraying operation. Such elements then tend to close the outer carton flaps over and upon the inner flaps. The final closure of the flaps for permanent adhesion is brought about when the loading ram transfers the loaded cartons from the turntable to the final output conveyor or table 97. With such movement, the heavily loaded cartons are pressed tightly against each other and the flaps are thus pressed tightly to a closed state.

Various modifications of the invention may of course,

18 be made without departing from the spirit and scope of what is here shown, and, therefore, the circuit as exemplified and the components as illustrated may be regarded as illustrative. Modifications will occur to those skilled in the art, and no unnecessary limitations are to be understood.

The claims are considered to be interpreted as broadly as possible consistent with the scope of the existing art.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for packaging a plurality of articles within a container comprising a transporter means having a plurality of arcuately spaced generally V-shaped receiving troughs mounted for rotation about a common axis and adapted in one position to receive the articles and maintain the articles in aligned and stacked relationship relative to each other and supported at each wall of the V-shaped trough, means for shifting the transporter and the V-shaped trough for supported articles between articlereceiving and article-unloading position, means for maintaining the loaded V-shaped trough in an upwardly open position during shifting between the loading and unloading positions, a container support means adapted to hold an article-receiving container at the unloading position, and means at the unloading position for removing the plurality of aligned and stacked articles from the V-shaped troughs as a group and for forcing the group into an article-receiving container.

2. Apparatus for packaging a plurality of articles within a container comprising a transporter means having a plurality of generally V-shaped article-receiving troughs mounted for rotation about a common axis and adapted in one position to receive the articles for packaging, means continuously to maintain the troughs in an upwardly open position with the supported articles in aligned and stacked relationship relative to each other, means for shifting the transporter means and supported articles in the V-shaped trough about the said common axis from the article-receiving position to an article-unloading position and simultaneously shift another V-shaped trough to an articlereceiving position while retaining substantially the same upright position of the V-shaped trough, a container support means adapted to locate an article-receiving container at the unloading position, ram means at the unloading position for removing a plurality of aligned articles from the V-shaped trough at the unloading position as a group and forcing the group into the article-receiving container.

3. Apparatus for packaging articles within a receiving container comprising transporter means having a plurality of spaced V-shaped article supports spaced from each other by equal angular distances, a common rotational axis and drive shaft means for moving the transporter means between limiting positions whereat the transporter means is adapted to receive articles in aligned arrangement for packaging and whereat such received articles in like aligned relationship are adapted to be unloaded to a receiving container, means for maintaining the loaded article supports in an upwardly open position during shifting between the receiving and unloading positions, means at the unloading position of the transporter means for removing the articles as a group therefrom along a path of movement transverse to that at which the articles are transported to the unloading position, and means at the unloading position for supporting the receiving container in aligned relationship to the path of movement of the articles, said article-removing means being adapted to force the articles as a group into the receiving container.

4. An article-packaging device comprising a rotary transporter means, a plurality of substantially V-shaped receiving troughs supported by said rotary transporter means, means to support the V-shaped troughs at equal radial distances from the rotational axis of the rotary means and at equal arcuate separations, means for rotating the transporter means in step fashion with each rotational step being for an arcuate distance corresponding to a whole multiple of the arcuate separation distance between the article-receiving troughs, means to maintain the V-shaped trough in like relative position at all times with the open portion of the V upward and the V apex downward thereby to provide holding surfaces angularly spaced from a normal through the V apex which will hold articles, means located at an arcuate separation from the loading position also equal to the arcuate separation between troughs multiplied by a selected whole number for laterally displacing articles from the path of movement of the transporter to a carton loading position, means for supporting an article-receiving carton at the unloading position in alignment with the path of movement of unloading of the articles so that articles are forced from the transporter means into the cartons, and means for removing the loaded cartons following loading.

5. The apparatus claimed in claim 4 comprising, in addition, means to control the movement of the transporter means in step fashion between the article-loading and unloading positions and means to interlock the time of movement whereby movement steps are restricted to periods following discharge of articles at the discharge point and to selection of article loading at the loading point.

6. An article-packaging device comprising a rotary transporter means having a support axis about which the rotation is adapted to occur, a plurality of substantially V-shaped receiving troughs supported by said rotary transporter means, means to position the V-shaped troughs at equal radial distances from the rotational axis of the rotary means and at equal arcuate separations, means for rotating the transporter means in step fashion with each rotational step being for an an arcuate distance corresponding to a whole multiple of the arcuate separation distance between the article-receiving troughs, means for maintaining the V-shaped troughs in an upright articleholding position during movement between all stepped positions so that supported articles are precluded from falling out of the troughs, means located at an arcuate separation from the loading position also equal to the arcuate separation between troughs multiplied by a selected whole number for laterally displaced articles from the path of movement of the transporter to a carton-loading position, means for supporting an article-receiving carton at the unloading position in alignment with the path of movement of unloading of the articles so that articles are forced from the transporter means into the cartons, and means for removing the loaded cartons following loading.

7. The apparatus claimed in claim 6 comprising, in addition, means to control the movement of the transporter means in step fashion between the article-loading and unloading positions and means to interlock the time of movement whereby movement steps are restricted to periods following discharge of articles at the discharge point and to selection of article loading at the loading point.

8. Article handling and packaging apparatus comprising a rotary article-transporter frame means, a V-shaped article-receiving trough at each opposite end of the frame and each located at an equal radial distance from the axis of rotation of the transporter means to support articles in aligned and stacked relationship, means for moving the transporter frame selectively in 180 stepped movements with the troughs alternately stopping at loading and unloading positions, means at the loading position for guiding and aligning a plurality of articles in stacked relationship symmetrically positioned relative to each other in the troughs, means for holding the V-shaped troughs in an upright position at all times so that the walls of the V-shaped troughs are mainained at approximately 45 to a support plane, means at the unloading station for laterally displacing the plurality of articles from the V-shaped troughs, and means aligned with the displacing means for supporting an article-receiving container to receive the articles as displaced.

9. Article-handling and packaging apparatus comprising a rotary article-transporter means, a pair of V-shaped troughs to support articles in aligned and stacked relationship, the troughs being spaced at equal radial distances from the axis of rotation of the transporter means and at arcuate spacings of in the rotational path, means at the loading position for guiding and aligning a plurality of articles within the troughs in stacked relationship symmetrically positioned relative to each other, means to rotate the transporter means to move the said troughs between the loading position and a selected unloading position arcuately spaced by 180 from the loading position, means to hold the V-shaped troughs at the loading, unloading and all intermediate positions therebetween with each side of the V-shaped opening forming a substantially equal angle relative to a normal to a support plane, means at the unloading station for laterally displacing the plurality of articles from the V-shaped troughs, and means aligned with the displacing means for supporting an article-receiving container to receive the articles as displaced.

ll). Article-handling and packaging apparatus comprising a rotary article-transporter means, a plurality of V-shaped troughs to support articles in aligned and stacked relationship, the troughs being spaced to equal radial distances from the axis of rotation of the transporter means and being spaced at equal arcuate distances in the rotational path, means to position the troughs in at each of the loading and unloading locations with the trough walls located at an angle of approximately 45 relative to a support plane, means at the loading position for guiding and aligning a plurality of articles within the troughs in stacked relationship symmetrically positioned relative to each other, means to rotate the transporter means to move the said troughs in step fashion between the loading position and a selected unloading position arcuately spaced from the loading position by the angle of separation of the troughs multiplied by a whole number, means for maintaining the angle of the trough walls to the support plane substantially constant during rotation of the transporter means, means at the unloading station for laterally displacing the plurality of articles from the V-shaped troughs, and means aligned with the displacing means for supporting an article-receiving container to receive the articles as displaced.

11. Article-handling and packaging apparatus comprising a rotatable article-transporter means, a plurality of V-shaped troughs adapted to support articles in aligned and stacked relationship, the troughs being spaced at equal radial distances from the axis of rotation of the transporter rnean's and spaced at equal arcuate distances in the rotational path, means for selectively rotating the transporter means to move the troughs between a loading station and an unloading station, a retractable blade means at the loading position within the V-shaped trough for guiding and establishing the alignment of a plurality of articles in stacked relationship symmetrically positioned relative to each other, means to withdraw the aligning blade from the V-shaped trough, means for simultaneously initiating a movement of the troughs in step fashion with the load trough moving from the loading position toward a selected unloading position arcuately spaced from the loading position by an angular separation corresponding to that of the V-shaped troughs and the trough previously unloaded moving from the unloaded position toward the loading position, means to hold the V-shaped troughs in all positions with each side of the V-shape-d opening forming substantially an equal angle relative to a support plane for the apparatus during loading, unloading and transporting between the loading and unloading positions, means to reposition the blade following a trough rotation from an unloading to a loading position to repeat the operation, means at the unloading station for laterally displacing the plurality of stacked and aligned articles from the V-shaped trough, and means aligned with the displacing means for supporting an article-receiving container to receive the articles as displaced.

12. Article-handling and packaging apparatus comprising a rotatable article-transporter means adapted to be rotated upon a supported axis to move between a loading position and an unloading position, a plurality of V-shaped troughs to support articles in aligned and stacked relationship, the troughs being spaced at equal radial distances from the axis of rotation of the transporter means and at equal arcuate separations in the rotational path, means at the loading position for supporting a carton liner for wrapping articles, a retractable blade means adapted to be positioned within the V-shaped trough at the loading position for guiding and aligning a plurality of articles in stacked relationship symmetrically positioned relative to each other and to the blade and liner at edge positions, indexing means for retracting the blade and initiating a drive operation to rotate the transporter means to move the said V-shaped trough in step fashion between the load. ing position and a selected unloading position arcuately spaced from the loading position by the angle of separation of the troughs multiplied by a whole number, means to support the V-shaped troughs at the loading position with each side of the V-shaped opening forming a substantially equal angle relative to a normal to a support plane, means controlled from the driving means for the transporter for maintaining the relative trough position during the rotation thereof in such fashion that the trough sides are retained at all times without substantial angular positional shift, means at the unloading station for laterally displacing the plurality of articles from the V-shaped troughs, and means aligned with the displacing means for supporting an article-receiving container to receive the articles as displaced.

13. The apparatus claimed in claim 12 comprising, in addition, means to transfer the loaded containers from the load-receiving position to a discharge position.

14. The apparatus claimed in claim 13 wherein the means to receive the transferred loaded containers is a turntable, and means to rotate the turntable to discharge the stacked containers to a distributing conveyor.

15. The apparatus claimed in claim 14 comprising, in addition, means adjacent to the discharge path for the loaded containers for closing and sealing the containers.

16. Apparatus for packaging a plurality of articles within a container as claimed in claim 2 comprising, in addition, means to interlock the transporter and ram means to prevent operation of the ram means during operating periods of the transporter means and to prevent operation of the transporter means during operative periods of the ram means, i

17. Article handling and packaging apparatus comprising a rotary article transporter means, a drive shaft for selectively rotating the said transporter means, a pair of V-shaped troughs to support articles in aligned stacked relationship, the troughs being spaced on the transporter means at angles of and each at substantially equal distances from the drive means, means at a loading position for guiding and aligning a plurality of articles within one of the troughs in stacked relationship symmetrically positioned relative to each other, means provided by the support means for rotating the transporter means to move the said troughs between the loading and unloading positions, which positions are spaced 180 from each other, means to maintain the V-shaped troughs at all of the loading, unloading and intermediate positions with the V-shaped opening extending upwardly and each side of the V-shaped troughs forming a substantially equal angle relative to a line extending normal to the apparatus support plane, means at the unloading station for laterally displacing the plurality of loaded articles from the V-shaped troughs, means aligned with the displacing means for supporting article-receiving means to receive the articles as displaced, an interlocking means to prevent a rotation of the transporter means during periods within which articles are being removed from the V-shaped troughs at the unloading position and during which articles are being loaded into the V-shaped troughs at the loading position.

18. The apparatus claimed in claim 17 comprising an additional means at substantially the apex of each V-shaped trough for supporting the trough on the transporter means, and means connecting each of the trough support means at the trough apex with the rotary drive means to rotate the trough support means through an angle corresponding to that at which the transporter means is rotating so that the upright position of the V-shaped troughs is maintained and the troughs essentially orbit the transporter drive means while moving in each direction between the loading and unloading positions.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,526,724 2/1925 Thompson 198137 X 1,870,533 8/1932 Scott et al. 53252 X 2,631,767 3/1953 Banks 53-881 X 2,698,692 1/1955 Jones et al 2146 ROBERT C. RIORDON, Primary Examiner. FRANK E. BAILEY, Examiner. R, J, ALVEY, P. H. POHL, Assistant Examiners,

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Referenced by
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US4093064 *Nov 17, 1976Jun 6, 1978Sparton CorporationConveyor packing station
US5873449 *Nov 26, 1996Feb 23, 1999Ast Research, Inc.Shift table for use in a product conveyor system having workstations
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/249, 198/586, 198/539, 53/540, 53/542
International ClassificationB65B23/20, B65B23/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65B23/20
European ClassificationB65B23/20