US 3380225 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 30; 1968 c. s. OCHS ET AL 3,380,225
CAP APPLICATOR Filed Oct. 12, 1965 3 Sheets-Sheet l 1823 SA HHIHP HHII I [U u HIHI.
INVENTORS By M461? 1). lYwysesscq April 30, 1968 'c. 5, oc s ET AL CAP APPLICATOR 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Oct. 12, 1965 INVENTORS Cfiaews 6. OCHS BY Musuq ,4. lYwymser-z 71 m Md AT I'O/QNFY April 30, 1968 s OCH ET AL CAP APPLICATOR 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Oct. 12, 1965 IHHI. HHHII' United States Patent 3,380,225 CAP APPLICATOR Charles S. Ochs and Wilbur A. Nungesser. Lancaster, Ohio, assignors to Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation, Lancaster, Ohio, a corporation of Delaware Filed Oct. 12, 1965, Ser. No. 495,038 9 Claims. (Cl. 53-110) The present invention relates to the sealing art and to a means for feeding and applying closure caps to containers and more particularly to a vacuum-type cap applicator where vacuum forces are used to support caps during their application to containers.
While the great majority of closure caps are presently made of thin steel plate or tinplate so that magnets may be used in cap handling apparatus including cap applicators for supporting or directing the caps, an increasing number of such caps are made of non-magnetic materials and in particular of aluminum. Such caps are not satisfactorily handled on the present types of cap applicators where magnetic forces are relied on and the present invention provides a cap applicator for non-magnetic caps using vacuum forces.
Closure caps are conventionally applied to containers by sealing machinery in which the caps are fed and applied automatically at high speeds. The caps may be of the press-on variety Where a seal is obtained by pressing the caps directly downwardly on the container rim, however, a large portion of the closure caps now in use are of the screw-on variety where the caps are applied using some form of threads or lugs on their rims to engage cooperating members on the rims of the glass or metal containers. The vacuum applicator of the present invention may be used for both types but is particularly adapted for use in the more diificult operation of feeding and lightly applying caps of the screw-on variety to containers.
This cap applying operation includes the feeding of the caps to the container tops and for screw-type caps includes a subsequent light rotation or coaxing of each of the caps onto the container threads which is performed in such a manner that the caps are correctly started onto the cap engaging threads or lugs on the container without cocking or jamming. In most sealing operations, a subsequent final sealing operation is performed on the applied caps to finally tighten each cap on its container to assure a tight seal and in many instances to provide an extremely tight or vacuum seal on the containers.
Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved cap applicator for use with both magnetic and non-magnetic closure caps.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved cap applicator of the vacuum type.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved cap applicator for applying screw-on type caps employing a cap supporting vacuum means.
Other and further objects of the invention will be obvious upon an understanding of the illustrative embodiment about to be described or will be indicated in the appended claims, and various advantages not referred to herein will occur to one skilled in the art upon employment of the invention in practice.
A preferred embodiment of the invention has been chosen for purposes of illustration and description and is shown in the accompanying drawings, forming a part of the specification, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a cap applicator in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a horizontal sectional view of the cap applicator of FIG. 1 taken along line 2-2 on FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a vertical sectional view of the cap applicator of FIG. 1 taken along line 3-3 on FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged vertical sectional view of the cap applicator of FIG. 1 taken along line 44 on FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view partially cut away of another embodiment of the cap applicator in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 6 is a top plan view partially cut away of the cap applicator on FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a vertical sectional view of the leveling member of FIG. 6 taken along line 7-7 on FIG. 6;
FIGS. 8 and 9 are vertical sectional views taken along lines 88 and 9-9 respectively on FIG. 6; and
FIG. 10 is a vertical sectional view similar to FIG. 9 illustrating another embodiment of the applicator.
FIG. 1 shows an applicator in accordance with the present invention mounted on a straight line sealing machine 1 in which filled containers 2 are carried beneath the applicator 3 and thence to a final sealing means (not shown) by a horizontal straight line conveyor belt 4. Side belts 5 for gripping and moving the filled containers 2 beneath the applicator 3 and subsequently under a final sealing head are driven at the conveyor speed.
The applicator 3 in accordance with the present invention may be used on a variety of sealing machines. .One such sealing machine is illustrated in United States Patent No. 3,054,234 where the applicator maybe used in place of the cap applicator illustrated therein. In such sealing machines, the containers 2 are passed into a hollow steam chamber or hood 6 which contains a steam atmosphere which replaces the air atmosphere within the headspaces of the containers 2. This replacement of the air in the container headspaces occurs prior to and during the application of the caps 7 to the containers 2 so that the atmosphere in the headspaces in the sealed containers consists of steam. When the sealed package cools, the steam condenses creating a vacuum within the containers and thus increasing the life of the sealed packages by removing air and thus preventing oxidation of the package contents.
The steam system which supplies the steam for the above described chamber 6 provides a convenient source of vacuum for use with the cap applicator to be described wherein the preferred embodiment described utilizes a steam operated jet pump or vacuum creating device for creating a vacuum at the applicator. It is clear, however, that Where there is no steam being used that the source of vacuum for the cap applicator may be an air pump or other suitable vacuum source.
FIG. 1 shows a means 8 for feeding the closure caps successively to the containers 2 moving towards the applicator 3 on the conveyor 4. This cap feeding means may conveniently include an inclined cap chute 9 of the type described in the patent referred to above which feeds a continuous line of the caps 7 in a single file so that the lowermost cap remains in an inclined position with its forward edge 10 below the level of the rims 11 of the moving containers 2. Each container 2 engages a cap 7 and draws it from the chute 9 so that it is loosely positioned above and in telescoping relationship with the container rim 11. The chute 9 forms no part of the present invention and any cap feed may be used in which a cap is placed onto a container rim prior to the position indicated and where the forward cap guiding surface 12 of the cap positioning member 13 is located adjacent the cap top to guide the cap onto the lower surface of the cap positioning member 13'.
The applicator 3 includes a mounting frame 14 connected at the lower end of the cap feed chute by suitable bolts 15'. The frame 14 includes spaced side bars 15 which support the elongated cap positioning plate or member 13 therebetween for providing the cap positioning or leveling action to be described below. The positioning member 13 is attached to the frame by spaced mounting pins 16 and 17 which hold the member 13 in a normally pre-set cap guiding position. The height of the applicator 3 above the conveyor 4 is adjusted simultaneously with height adjustments of the chute 9 and where the chute 9 is mounted on the hood 6 by adjustments of the hood height.
Each container 2 engages a cap 7 in the lower end of the chute 9 and moves it forward onto the inclined surface 12 of the cap positioning member 13 and then onto the vacuum supporting area 18 of the member 13 adjacent the apertures 19 provided below the hollow interior 20 of the cap positioning member 13. The cap 7 is first held generally level above the container threads 21 and then is moved downwardly against the threads and rotated into light engagement with the threads 21 by the member 13 and a cap rotating means which in the preferred embodiment comprises a pair of counter-rotating belts 22. The belts 22 engage each cap as it leaves the vacuum supporting area 18 and turn the cap 7 into light engagement with the container threads 21. Other cap rotating means may also be used including a single belt engaging one side of the cap preferably with a low friction elongated guide rail engaging the opposite side of the cap.
In the embodiment of the cap applicator 3 as illustrated in FIG. 1, the interior vacuum cavity 20 communicates with a plurality of apertures 19 spaced in the bottom of the cap positioning member 13. As best illustrated in FIG. 3, the apertures 19 act as air entry points to provide the vacuum holding force on each cap 7 as it slides along the lower surface 23 of the cap positioning member 13. The vacuum holding apertures 19 are seen to extend only partially along the length of the cap positioning member 13. In the apertured portion, the leveling action occurs in which each cap 7 is held level and with its skirt in telescoping relation to the container rim and above the container threads 21. Thereafter the cap rotating belts 22 engage each cap and the cap positioning member 13 and the belts 22 cooperate to commence the simultaneous downward and rotary movement of each cap 7. The unapertured or end portion of the cap positioning member 13 acts to initially guide and to release each cap 7 in a level position under the control of the cap rotating means. Since the containers 2 pass under the cap applicator 3 with their threads in ditferent positions, the caps 7 necessarily engage the container threads at different distances along the cap positioning member 13 and the memher is therefore made sufiiciently long to insure a level and uncooked attitude for each cap regardless of the particular position of each container 2 on the container conveyor 4.
As indicated above, FIG. 1 illustrates a typical sealing machine utilizing a cloud of steam around the cap applicator 3. The interior cavity 20 of the cap positioning member 13 in this embodiment is connected by flexible hose 24 to a venturi action or jet pump 25. This pump uses venturi action to draw air through the line 24 as steam passes between the entrance 26 and the outlet 27 of the pump which is conveniently mounted in the steam supply line 28 coupled to the steam hood 6 at inlet 29. Such jet pumps are commercially available.
The side belts 22 are conveniently driven by take-off means from the regular power system for the sealing machine including a drive belt 30 and a drive system including a vertical drive shaft 31 and gear 32 adapted to drive suitable gears at the tops of :belt drive shafts 33 (FIG. 2).
FIGS. 5 through 9 illustrate another embodiment of a cap applicator 34- in accordance with the present invention wherein the cap support action is provided by a generally similar cap positioning shoe or member 35 wherein the vacuum support is provided by a pair of centrally positioned and spaced air inlets 36. In this embodiment, the vacuum forces at the two inlets 36 are made independent of one another by separate air inlet lines 37 each connected to its own jet pump 38. In this embodiment the steam source for the individual air pumps 33 is also conveniently provided from the same steam inlet line 39 which is used to create the steam atmosphere within the sealing hood or chamber provided around the cap applicator 34. A separate steam outlet 48 within the hood is provided for each of the jet pumps 38. In this embodiment, the vacuum force on the caps is made more constant as the presence of a cap at one aperture or inlet 36 does not interfere with the vacuum holding force at the other air inlet.
The vacuum support and positioning member in FIGS. 5 through 8 may be used with the belts 22 illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 4. Either of the cap positioning members 13 or 35 described herein may also be used with the cap rotating means illustrated in section in FIG. 9 where a moving belt 41 is provided on one side of the cap 7 and a low friction side rail 42 is provided at the opposite side of the cap 7.
FIG. 10 illustrates another embodiment of a cap rotating means which may be used with a vacuum support member of the invention and which comprises a friction track member such as an elongated rubber or friction insert 44. In this embodiment a cooperating low friction guide rail 45 may be provided to facilitate cap rotation and to maintain each cap level during the coaxing operation. The cap positioning member 46 is preferably resiliently mounted to permit it to raise from its lowermost cap guiding position against the force of a spring means 47 It will be seen that an improved cap applicator has been provided which applies caps formed of non-magnetic material and where a vacuum force is employed in a novel manner to level and position the caps above the cap threads prior to the initial cap thread engaging rotation or coaxing operation. The application of the invention is readily applied to existing container sealing machines and may be used in place of magnetic or other applicators when the sealing machines are used with caps formed of aluminum or other non-magnetic materials or where the machines are being used interchangeably with magnetic and non-magnetic caps as the cap applicator provides a constant cap applying action independently of the cap material.
The improved applicator also is conveniently operated with the regular steam source presently available on most sealing machines used in applying closure caps. For this reason, no independent or new source of vacuum is normally required for the cap applicator.
As various changes may be made in the form, construction and arrangement of the parts herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and without sacrificing any of its advantages, it is to be understood that all matter herein is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Having thus described our invention, we claim:
1. A cap applicator for applying screw-type caps to containers carried through a container sealing machine on a moving container support comprising the combination of means for feeding caps to the tops of moving containers, a cap positioning member including a vacuum cap support means mounted beyond said cap feeding means for engaging and positioning caps at the rims of containers passing therebelow on the support, and cap rotating means mounted adjacent to said cap positioning member for turning caps onto the containers.
2. The cap applicator as claimed in claim 1 in which said cap rotating means comprises a driven belt means.
3. The cap applicator as claimed in claim 1 in which said cap rotating means comprises a pair of belts positioned for engaging opposite sides of the caps.
4. The cap applicator as claimed in claim 1 in which said cap rotating means comprises a drag means positioned to engage oft-center portions of the caps.
5. A cap applicator for applying screw-type caps to containers carried through a container scaling machine on a moving container support comprising the combination of a cap chute for presenting caps to the tops of moving containers, an elongated cap positioning plate member positioned at the bottom of said chute, vacuum cap support means including an apertured lower surface on said plate member for engaging and positioning caps at the rims of containers passing therebelow on the support, and cap rotating means mounted adjacent to said plate member for turning caps onto the containers.
6. A cap applicator for a container sealing machine for applying caps to containers carried through the sealing machine on a moving container support comprising the combination of a cap feed means, a cap positioning member mounted beyond said cap feeding means having a lower surface for engaging and positioning caps at the rims of containers passing therebelow on the support, said cap engaging surface having a plurality of apertures, and means for coupling a first source of vacuum to certain of said apertures, and means for coupling a second source of vacuum to other of said apertures.
7. A cap applicator for a container sealing machine for applying screw-type caps to containers carried through the sealing machine on a moving container support comprising the combination of a cap feed means, a cap positioning member mounted beyond said cap feeding means having a lower surface for engaging and positioning caps at the rims of containers passing therebelow on the support, said cap engaging surface being apertured, means 6 for coupling a source of vacuum to said apertures, and cap rotating means positioned adjacent to said positioning member.
8. The cap applicator as claimed in claim 7 which further comprises a steam chamber partially enclosing said applicator, means for feeding steam into said chamber, and said vacuum source comprises a steam operated air pump positioned in said steam feeding means.
9. A cap applicator for a container sealing machine for applying caps to containers carried through the sealing machine on a moving container support comprising the combination of a cap feeding means, a cap positioning member mounted beyond said cap feeding means having a lower surface for engaging and positioning caps at the rims of containers passing therebelow on the support, a plurality of apertures in said cap engaging surface, a steam chamber partially surrounding the applicator, means for supplying steam to said chamber, a plurality of steam operated air pumps in said steam supply means, each of said air pumps being connected to different ones of said apertures.
References Cited TRAVIS S. MCGEHEE, Primary Examiner. E. F. DESMOND, Examiner.