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Publication numberUS3389811 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 25, 1968
Filing dateApr 15, 1966
Priority dateJun 29, 1965
Publication numberUS 3389811 A, US 3389811A, US-A-3389811, US3389811 A, US3389811A
InventorsAlan I W Frank
Original AssigneeFrank Corp Alan I W
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Mechanism for handling and testing containers
US 3389811 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 25, 1968 A. I. w. FRANK MECHANISM FOR HANDLING AND TESTING CONTAINERS 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Original Ffled June 29, 1965 INVENTOR Alan I W Frank 4 J find jaw A June 25, 1968 A. l. w. FRANK 3,389,811

MECHANTSM FOR HANDLING AND TESTING CONTAINERS Original Filed June 29, 1965 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR Alan I W Frank June 25, 1968 A. l. W. FRANK MECHANISM FOR HANDLING AND TESTING CONTAINERS Original Filed June 29, 1965 Fig. 3.

4 Sheets-Sheet 3 TI 76 -5;; 760 l 74 v r a I 700 a i 70 a I r "I "PIA INVENTOR g Alan IW Frank June 25, 1968 A I. w. FRANK MECHANISM FOR HANDLING AND TESTING CONTAINERS Original Filed June 29, 1965 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 1 V m Q INVENTOR gAlan IW Frank United States Patent 3,389,811 MECHANISM FOR HANDLING AND TESTING CONTAINERS Alan I. W. Frank, Pittsburgh, Pa., assignor to The Alan I. W. Frank Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pa., :1 corporation of Pennsylvania Original application June 29, 1965, Ser. No. 468,005, now Patent No. 3,351,388, dated Nov. 7, 1967. Divided and this application Apr. 15, 1966, Ser. No. 558,526

1 Claim. (Cl. 2146.5)

ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Mechanism for handling and testing containers comprising testing means for separating containers free from leaks from those having leaks and delivering the containers free from leaks to a discharge station, fluid pressure means at the discharge station for discharging such containers one by one from the testing means and means receiving the discharged containers in relative arrangement for packaging in groups, including means for dividing the discharged containers into groups each including a predetermined number of the discharged containers.

This application is a division of my copending application Ser. No. 468,005, filed June 29, 1965, now Patent No. 3,351,388.

This invention relates to mechanism for handling and testing containers. It involves mechanism for orienting, stacking and testing containers, including separating containers free from leaks from those having leaks, and delivering the containers free from leaks in relative arrangement for packaging in groups.

While in certain of its aspects the invention has wide application I have found it to have especially utility in the handling and testing of light weight containers such as those molded out of plastic material such as polystyrene. The invention is of course equally adapted for handling and testing paper containers or those made out of other materials.

Portions of the mechanism are especially adapted for handling containers having a greater external transverse dimension at one end than at the opposite end which are open at the larger end and closed at the smaller end. An example is a tapered container such as a drinking cup or packaging container, although containers of non-tapered form with an external bead or flange at the open end may be handled.

For purposes of explanation and illustration I shall describe my mechanism as adapted for the handling and testing of tapered cups molded out of expandable polystyrene beads. Such beads are molded into tapered cups rene. The invention is of course equally adapted for handiunder heat and pressure as known to those skilled in the art. The molding is accomplished in molds having separable parts and at the conclusion of each molding cycle the parts are separated and the molded cups ejected. The cups may be ejected in various ways, as, for example, by air blast.

A stack of cups is used for feeding testing mechanism. The stack may be advanced toward the testing mechanism and cups fed one by one from the stack to the testing mechanism as the stack advances.

Each cup is carried for testing by a receiving member which may be a mandrel over which the cup is positioned, or the member may have a cavity within which the cup is received. In either case space is provided between the receiving member and the cup and I provide for exhausting air from the space first to firmly seat the cup and second to test the cup for leaks. The receiv- 3,389,811 Patented June 25, 1968 ing member carrying the cup preferably moves to a position in which the cup tends to drop away from the receiving member but if the cup is free from leaks it is held to the receiving member by the vacuum. A cup having a leak is not held by vacuum to the receiving member since the vacuum is dissipated through the leak so the cup tends to drop from the receiving member. To avoid a cup sticking to the receiving member even after dissipation of the vacuum through a leak in the cup I preferably provide means acting on the cup urging it to drop from the receiving member but with a force less than the vacuum force tending to hold a cup free from leaks to the receiving member. Thus a cup which is free from leaks remains on the releiving member while one which has a leak is separated from the receiving member. The cups having leaks are delivered to scrap.

The cups which are free from leaks are delivered to a receiving station where they are nested. Means including a counter are employed to separate the cups into groups of predetermined number for packaging.

Other details, objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent as the following description of a present preferred embodiment thereof proceeds.

In the accompanying drawings I have shown a present preferred embodiment of the invention in which:

FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary side elevational view of a portion of my mechanism in which the cups are stacked, delivered from the stack one by one to a testing station, tested to separate the cups free from leaks from those having leaks and the cups free from leaks delivered, counted, nested and discharged in groups each containing a predetermined number of cups;

FIGURE 2 is a plan view partly in horizontal cross section and with portions omitted for clarity of the structure shown in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary vertical cross-sectional view showing a cup on a mandrel at the testing station, the cup being shown as applied to the mandrel;

FIGURE 4 is a view partly in elevation and partly in vertical cross section showing a cup on a mandrel in position to drop off of the mandrel if the cup contains a leak and illustrating a weight bearing against the rim of the cup to obviate sticking on the mandrel of a cup containing a leak;

FIGURE 5 is .an exploded isometric view of the mechanism for connecting the respective mandrels with a source of vacuum;

FIGURE 6 is a face view of the left hand circular element of FIGURE 5 as viewed from the right in FIG- URE 5;

FIGURE 7 is an axial cross-sectional view through the mechanism shown in FIGURE 5 when such mechanism is collapsed with the parts in their normal cooperative relationship;

FIGURE 8 is a fragmentary elevational view with portions cut away of the mechanism for receiving from the testing mechanism the cups which are freefrom leaks and delivering those cups in nested arrangement with a predetermined number of cups in each group;

FIGURE 9 is a fragmentary plan view with portions cut away of part of the structure shown in FIGURE 8 taken on the line IX-IX of FIGURE 8; and

FIGURE 10 is a vertical cross-sectional view taken on the line XX of FIGURE 8.

Referring now more particularly to the drawings,

Cups 11 are advanced downwardly one after another in a tube 28 with the larger open ends of the cups disposed downwardly. The cups enter a magazine 37 where they are stacked or nested. The stack of inverted cups moves downwardly to a feeder 38 forming no part of the present invention which feeds the cups one by one from the stack to testing mechanism shown in FIGURE 1.

Mounted for rotation in the supporting structure is a shaft 54 having a sprocket 55 fixed thereto at one end and a sprocket 56 fixed thereto at-the opposite end. An electric motor 57 acting through reduction gearing 58 and a driving sprocket 59 drives the shaft 54 through the sprocket 55 by a sprocket chain 60. Another sprocket chain. 61 meshes with the sprocket 56 and with a sprocket 62 for driving the feeder 38. Keyed to the shaft 54 is a disc 68 carrying at its periphery a circumferential series of laterally projecting arms 69. Each arm 69 has a bore 69a receiving a hollow stem 70 fixed in place by a set screw 70a, the hollow stem 70 extending radially outwardlyin relation to the axis of the shaft 54 and having a bore 71 therethrough and a flange 72 at its outer end. A mandrel designated generally by reference numeral 73 is carried by each stem 70, each mandrel 73 having a bore 73a receiving the hollow stem 70 and being maintained in place by being pressed against the flange 72 by a nut 74 threaded onto the stern. Each mandrel 73 has a wooden portion 75 and a portion 76 of Teflon. The surface of the portion 75 and the surface of part of the portion 7 6 are continuously conical as shown in FIGURE 3 while the extreme part of the portion 76 atthe larger end of the mandrel is angularly offset to provide an outwardly facing annular conical surface 76a for sealing within one of the cups 11. A weight 77 of brass or other heavy material is slidably applied to each stem 70 and has a diameter somewhat greater than the diameter of the lip of thecup 11. As the shaft 54 carrying the disc 68, which in turn carries the mandrels 73, rotates the mandrels successively move into position to receive cups fed thereto one by one by the feeder 38, the parts being timed so that a cup is fed to each mandrel as the mandrel moves into position below the feeder to receive the cup.

Fixedly mounted upon a bracket 78 is a disc 79 through which the shaft 54 passes as shown in FIGURES and 7. A bushing 80 is interposed between the disc 79 and the shaft 54. At one face of the disc 79 (the face which is directly viewed in FIGURE 6 and which is toward the right and obscured from view in FIGURE 5 is an arcuate slot 81 with a bore 82 conununicating with the arcuate slot and extending through the disc to the opposite .face of the disc. Also extending through the disc 79 are two other bores 83 and 84 respectively. Separate suction lines 85 and 85a from a suitable vacuum pump extend to the bores 82 and 83 respectively. A pressure line 86 from a suitable air compressor extends to the bore 84.

Keyed to the shaft 54 is a circular member 87 having in the face thereof which is disposed toward the disc 79 an annular channel 88. Bores 89 arranged in a circle about the axis of the circular member 87 and equally spaced are formed through the member 87 and intersect the annular channel 88. An intermediate annular member 91 is dis posed between the disc 79 and the member 87 as shown in FIGURE 7. The intermediate member 91 has an annular series of projections 92 each having a bore 92a therethrough, each projection 92 extending through one of the bores 89 of the member '87 as shown in FIGURE 7. A flexible conduit 90 extends from each bore 92a to one of the hollow stems 70, twenty such hollow stems each with a mandrel 73 thereon being shown.

Compression coil springs 93 are seated sockets 94 in the member 87 and in sockets 95 in the intermediate member 91 and press the intermediate member 91 toward the disc 79. The engaging faces 96 of the disc 79 and 97 of the intermediate member 91 are machined smooth so that the bores 92a are closed by the disc 79 except when they are opposite either the arcuate slot 811 or the bore 83 or the bore 84. When for example the arcuate slot 81 is opposite bores 92a in the intermediate member 91 suction is drawn from the spaces between the mandrels in communicating with the arcuate slot 81 through conduits 90 and the cups 11 thereon. As shown in FIGURES 3 and 4 the mandrels are designed to provide substantial space 98 between each mandrel and the cup thereon. The arcuate slot 81 causes suction to be drawn through three .rnandrels simultaneously to seat the cups firmly on the mandrels. Thereafter the suction is momentarily broken and then suction for testing is drawn through each mandrel individually. A screen 99 is provided over the outlet of the bore 71 of each stem to inhibit drawing therethrough any unformed beads which may be present. 'When a bore 92a is opposite thebore 84 a blast of air under pressure is delivered through the corresp'onding'mandrel to eject the cup therefrom. H

As each cup is fed by. the feeder or loader'38' onto a mandrel 73 suction is drawn through the mandrel to firmly seat the cup on the mandrel. By reason of the provision of the arcuate slot 81 seating suction is applied through each mandrel throughout an are such that cups are being seated on three mandrels simultaneously thereby. Seating of the cups on the mandrels is assisted by an arm 140 of Teflon hinged to the base member 42 and hearing by gravity on the bottoms of the inverted cups. Thereafter, as above mentioned, the suction is momentarily shut off and testing suction is applied through the bore 83. That suction is maintained as the disc 68 rotates. The suction is maintained through the fact that the bores 92a after passing the bore 83 are sealed by the face 96 of the disc 79. The mandrels successively move about the axis of the shaft 54 gradually changing orientation to a position in which the cups are below the mandrels and tend to fall off by gravity. A cup which is free from leaks will remain on its mandrel because the suction will be maintained. The suction willbe destroyed in a cup having a leak. That cup should drop off of the mandrel by gravity. However, if there is a tendency for a cup having a leak to stick on its mandrel the cup will be separated from the mandrel by the weight 77. As shown in FIGURE 1, as the axes-of the mandrels pass horizontal position the weights 77 slide toward the cups and bear on the lips of the cups. The weights are designed to exert on the cups a pressure somewhat less than the suction which holds cups free from leaks on the mandrels. Thus a cup which is free from leaks'will remain on its mandrel with the weight 77 bearing against its lip but a cup having a leak in which the suction has been broken will be forced off of the mandrel by the weight 77. Cups having leaks fall as rejects into a chute 100 and move down through the chute onto a scrap conveyor 101 whence they are delivered to scrap.

Cups which are free from leaks remain on their mandrels until each thereof is in position with its axis substantially horizontal at the right hand side of the disc 68 viewing FIGURE 1. At that time the bore 92a corresponding to a cup whose axis is substantially horizontal comes into line with the bore 84 and the-cup is blown off of the mandrel toward the right viewing FIGURE 1.

The cups free from leaks which are blown off of the mandrels toward the right viewing FIGURE 1 are received within a tube 102. At the mouth of the tube 102, i.e., the left hand and viewingFIGURE 9, nozzles 103 direct air blasts into the tube to supplement the air blast ejecting the cup from the mandrel and insuring movement of the cup toward the right in the tube 102. The cups pass through the tube 102, the first cup being halted by aretractable stop 104. Succeeding cups'nest with the cup against the stop 104. The cups are counted by a counter 105, and when a predetermined number of cups have passed the counter 105 the counter actuates means for segregating or separating the predetermined number of cups for delivery as a group in relative arrangement for packaging.

A generally L-shaped lever 106 is pivoted at 107 to a bracket 108 carried by a band 109 disposed about the tube 102. The lever 106 in turn carries a bracket 110 carrying an adjustable counterweight 111. The

bracket 110 has a downwardly projecting heell'lZ and the lever 106 has a downwardly projecting stop member 113. Mounted on the band 109 is a cylinder 114 in which operates a piston 115 whose piston rod 116 bears against the heel 112 of the bracket 110 which is to all intents and purposes integral with the lever 106. Normally the piston 115 is at the right hand end of the cylinder 114 viewing FIGURE 8 which raises the lever 106 to inoperative position as shown in solid lines in that figure. When the counter 105 has counted a predetermined number of cups the counter operates means causing the piston 115 to be moved to the left hand end of the cylinder 114 viewing FIGURE 8 and the lever 106 moves by gravity down to its operative position as shown in chain lines in FIGURE 8. The down-turned end portion 106a of the lever 106 enters the tube 102 through a slot 117 so that it is interposed in the path of cups moving from left to right in the tube. Thus any cups reaching the portion 106a of the lever 106 extending down into the tube 102 are stopped thereby.

Meanwhile the predetermined number of cups counte by the counter 105 are nested and disposed against the stop 104. At approximately the same time as the lever 106 moves down to operative position a piston 118 in a cylinder 119 carried by a bracket 120 mounted on the end of the tube 102 is moved upwardly in the cylinder 119, the piston rod 121 through its pivotal connection 122 with the retractable stop 104 raising that stop to retracted or inoperative position and thus opening the end of the tube 102. Air under pressure is admitted to a bore 10Gb in the downwardly extending portion 106a of the lever 106 through a conduit 123, the compressed air emerging as a blast through the outlet 124. When the end of the tube 102 has been opened by raising of the retractable stop 104 the air blast through the outlet 124 blows the counted group of nested cups out of the end of the tube 102 to fall upon a conveyor 125 or be otherwise handled for packaging and shipping.

As soon as the counted group of nested cups has been ejected from the end of the tube 102 the stop 104 is returned to operative position and the lever 106 is raised to its inoperative position and whatever cups were seated against the portion 106a of lever 106 while that lever was in operative position are released and are blown to the right by the blasts from the nozzles 103 until they lodge against the stop 104. Cups continue to be nested with the cups lodged against the stop 104 until the predetermined number of cups has passed the counter 105 when the cycle as above described is repeated.

Thus I have provided mechanism for handling and testing containers which is fully automatic and accomplishes the handling and testing of the containers at high speed and with great efficiency. Containers having leaks are elfectively eliminated and containers free from leaks are assembled or nested in groups of predetermined number ready for packaging and shipping.

While I have shown and described a present preferred embodiment of the invention it is to be distinctly understood that the invention is not limited thereto but may be otherwise variously embodied within the scope of the following claim.

I claim:

1. Mechanism for handling and testing containers having one open end comprising a succession of mandrel means dimensioned respectively to enter the open end of the containers for supporting the containers during test,

means for moving the mandrel means through a pathincluding in succession a container loading station, a container reject station for leaky containers, and a container discharge station for containers free from leaks, said mandrel moving means including means to dispose containers mounted on said mandrel means in an inverted position at said loading station and in an upright position at said reject station so the container may drop from said mandrel means by gravity while passing through said reject station, a source of suction valve means eifective at the loading station for momentarily applying suction from said source through said mandrel means to the interior of containers thereon {or drawing the containers snugly onto the mandrel means, said valve means including means for maintaining suction within leak-free containers on the mandrel means while they are passing through said reject station while containers on said mandrel means having leaks are free, because of the leakage effect being greater than the suction effect, to drop by gravity oil of the mandrel means when the mandrel means are moved through said reject station, a weight member slidably mounted on the mandrel means and disposed thereon in spaced relation to containers carried by said mandrel means when said containers are in said inverted position but operable under the force of gravity to move on the mandrel means into engagement with said containers when the latter move to an upright position in passing through said reject station, said discharge station being positioned beside said path of movement of the mandrel means at a point beyond said reject station in the direction of movement of said mandrel means and at a point where the moving mandrels pass through a substantially horizontal position, the means for maintaining said suction within said leak-free containers being effective to hold said leak-free containers on said mandrel means substantially to said discharge station, fluid pressure means, and means efiective at said discharge station for connecting the fluid pressure means successively with the mandrel means as the latter assume a substantially horizontal position to eject the containers that are free from leaks horizontally and successively from the mandrel means at the discharge station so that the leak-free containers may be received at the discharge station in arrangement for packaging in groups, means for receiving the containers at the discharge station including a substantially horizontally disposed tube with which the mandrels are successively aligned for receiving the ejected containers that are free from leaks, and means operatively associated with said tube for dividing said ejected containers into groups each including a predetermined number of ejected containers.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,278,804 4/1942 Stuart 73-453 2,785,610 3/1957 Meyer 214-1 ROBERT G. SHERIDAN, Primary Examiner.


G. F. ABRAHAM, Assistant Examiner.

Patent No. 3,389,811

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION June 25, 1968 Alan I W. Frank It is certified that error appears in the above identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below: y In the heading to the printed specification, lines 4 and 5,

"assignor to The Alan 1. W. Frank Corporation" should read assignor to The Alan I W Frank Corporation Column 1, line 37, "especially" should read especial line 55, cancel "rene. The invention is of course equally adapted for handi-. Column 2, line 14,- "releiving" should read receiving line 20, "number" should read numbers line 25, after "which" cancel the colon; line 66, "Cups" should read cups and should not be indented. Column 6, line 8, "container" should read containers line 10, after "suction" insert a comma.

Signed and sealed this 25th day of November 1969.

(SEAL) Attest:


Commissioner of Patents Edward M. Fletcher, Jr.

Attesting Officer

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3598043 *Jun 20, 1969Aug 10, 1971Dart Ind IncPrinting machine for conical cups
US3773457 *Jun 19, 1972Nov 20, 1973Badoux DApparatus for extracting, stacking and discharging moulded cups, jars and similar from moulding apparatus
US3824840 *Mar 16, 1973Jul 23, 1974Owens Illinois IncApparatus for testing and sorting cups
US3869042 *Aug 25, 1972Mar 4, 1975Wallace C FloydInspecting and stacking machine for containers
US3907095 *Sep 19, 1973Sep 23, 1975Dam Machine Corp Of America VaArticle transfer apparatus
US4066174 *Jan 21, 1977Jan 3, 1978Owens-Illinois, Inc.Transfer device for nestable container bodies
US4118972 *Aug 31, 1977Oct 10, 1978Container Corporation Of AmericaApparatus for detecting leaks in composite packages
US4643027 *Jun 25, 1985Feb 17, 1987Hauni-Werke Korber & Co. Kg.Apparatus for testing cigarette packs and the like
US5342278 *Feb 4, 1993Aug 30, 1994System Kurandt GmbhApparatus for the on-line control of folding box blanks
US5438861 *Jul 19, 1994Aug 8, 1995Carter-Wallace, Inc.Apparatus and method for testing for holes in a prophylactic device
US5517849 *Dec 15, 1994May 21, 1996Carter-Wallace, Inc.Apparatus and method including porous liner for testing for holes in prophylactic devices
US5571949 *Jul 14, 1995Nov 5, 1996Packaging Resources IncorporatedLeak detection device and components therefor
US5614661 *Jan 23, 1996Mar 25, 1997Sweetheart Cup Company Inc.Apparatus and method for testing containers
US5649410 *May 1, 1995Jul 22, 1997Johnson & Johnson Vision Products, Inc.Post-hydration method and apparatus for transporting, inspecting and packaging contact lenses
US5814134 *Feb 15, 1996Sep 29, 1998Johnson & Johnson Vision Products, Inc.Apparatus and method for degassing deionized water for inspection and packaging
US6164122 *Apr 21, 1999Dec 26, 2000Carter-Wallace, Inc.System and method including multiple test chambers for automated testing for holes in prophylactic device
US7431556 *May 23, 2005Oct 7, 2008O.M.S.O. S.P.A.Stacking device for hollow stackable objects on exit from a rotating high-speed production machine
US7780378 *Jul 19, 2007Aug 24, 2010Michael Hoerauf Maschinenfabrik Gmbh U. Co. KgDevice and process for transporting a sleeve
US8021099 *Oct 21, 2007Sep 20, 2011Polytype America CorporationReversed venturi system for separating and feeding nested foam cups
US20050263952 *May 23, 2005Dec 1, 2005O.M.S.O. S.P.A.Stacking device for hollow stackable objects on exit from a rotating high-speed production machine
US20080023297 *Jul 19, 2007Jan 31, 2008Adam SchneiderDevice and process for transporting a sleeve
US20160223425 *Jan 20, 2016Aug 4, 2016Citic Dicastal Co., LtdAir tightness detection device for aluminum alloy wheel hub and method for detecting air tightness of wheel hub
DE19503039A1 *Feb 1, 1995Aug 8, 1996Tetra Laval Holdings & FinanceVorrichtung zur Herstellung eines Stapels von ineinandergesteckten, becherförmigen Gefäßen
DE19503039B4 *Feb 1, 1995Apr 29, 2004Tetra Laval Holdings & Finance S.A.Vorrichtung zur Herstellung eines Stapels von ineinandergesteckten, becherförmigen Gefäßen
DE102005007472A1 *Feb 18, 2005Aug 24, 2006Christian BeerOperating process for vacuum conveyor has individual suction blocks controlled in direction facing goods to be received
DE102005007472B4 *Feb 18, 2005Jun 6, 2007Christian BeerVorrichtung zum Betrieb eines Vakuumförderers
DE102006028858A1 *Jun 23, 2006Feb 21, 2008Norditec Antriebstechnik GmbhConveyor device for processing of goods in transit during transport on toothed belt disc, has fixed supply device, which is connected with commutator device
DE102006035569B4 *Jul 26, 2006Jun 8, 2017Michael Hörauf Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KGEinrichtung und Verfahren zum Transport einer Hülse
U.S. Classification73/45.3, 53/54, 101/40, 493/28, 53/500, 414/934, 493/37, 414/798.5, 414/798.4, 493/16, 53/64, 414/901, 209/591
International ClassificationG01M3/32, B07C5/34
Cooperative ClassificationG01M3/3218, Y10S414/115, B07C5/3404, Y10S414/113
European ClassificationG01M3/32B, B07C5/34A