US 3390509 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 2, 1968 E. A. KAMP 3,390,509
APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING MATTRESSES AND THE LIKE 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 E. A. KAMP APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING MATTRESSES AND THE LIKE July 2, 1968 Filed Oct. 21, 1965 APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING MATTRESSES AND THE LIKE Filed OCt- 21, 1965 E. A. KAMP July 2, 1968 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 E. A. KAMP July 2, 1968 APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING MATTRESSES AND THE LIKE Filed 001,- 21, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 as J55 J68 Jg 29: 014W, s JMQg E. A. KAMP 3,390,
APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING MATTRESSES AND THE LIKE July 2, 1968 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Oct. 21, 1965 EMU m@ W. mm
United States Patent 3,390,509 APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING MATTRESSES AND THE LIKE Ewald A. Kamp, Chicago, Ill., assignor to The Englander Company, Inc., a corporation of New York Filed Oct. 21, 1965, Ser. No. 499,325 15 Claims. (Cl. 53-261) The present invention relates to a novel apparatus for packaging articles, and more specifically to a novel apparatus for inserting articles into containers such as bags, cartons and the like. While it will become apparent that certain features of the present invention may be adapted for packaging various types of articles, the apparatus disclosed herein is especially suitable for inserting articles such as mattresses and the like into bags or cartons. As is known, mattresses are produced in a great variety of widths and thicknesses and it is desirable that the bags or cartons into which the mattresses are to be inserted for packaging should be approximately the same size as the article or mattress to be received therein.
It is an important object of the present invention to provide a novel apparatus for efficiently inserting articles such as mattresses and the like into suitable containers, bags or cartons, which apparatus is readily adapted for handling articles and containers of different sizes.
A further important object of the present invention is to provide a novel apparatus for inserting articles such as mattresses into containers, which apparatus is constructed so as to be actuated by the article being packaged for adjusting the apparatus to the size of the article.
Articles such as mattresses and the like are frequently inserted into bags or cartons which are closed and sealed except for an open mouth through which the article may pass. Movement of the article into the bag or carton is resisted by frictional engagement of the snugly fitting bag or carton and also by compression of the air trapped within the container. In the event the article or mattress is advanced too rapidly into the container, the air pressure may cause the bag or container to be ejected from the mattress.
A further important object of the present invention is to provide a novel apparatus for inserting articles such as mattresses and the like into containers in a controlled manner for preventing an undue buildup of back pressure within the container.
A more specific object of the present invention is to provide a novel apparatus for inserting articles into open mouths of otherwise closed containers in a manner so that the rate of insertion varies in response to variations in any back pressure created within the container for preventing an undue buildup of such pressure while at the same time minimizing the length of time required for inserting the article into the container.
Still another specific object of the present invention is to provide a novel apparatus of the above described type which is of relatively simple, economical and rugged construction.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view showing an apparatus incorporating features of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view showing the manner in which a bag or container is supported by the apparatus and the manner in which an article such as a mattress is inserted into the bag;
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary side elevational view 3,390,509 Patented July 2, 1968 ice showing a part of the apparatus in FIG. 4 in greater detail;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken generally along line 6-6 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary perspective view showing a portion of a mechanism for advancing an article or mattress along the apparatus of the present invention; and
FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 are similar simplified sectional views taken generally along line 88 in FIG. 2 and showing portions of the article or mattress advancing mechanism in successive operating positions.
Referring now more specifically to the drawings wherein like parts are designated by the same numerals throughout the various figures, apparatus 20 incorporating features of the present invention is shown generally in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4'. As previously indicated, the apparatus may be used for packaging various articles, but in the embodiment shown for the purpose of illustrating the present invention the apparatus is especially suitable for inserting mattresses 22 in containers 24 such as bags or cartons. The containers may be of various known constructions and have an open mouth 26 of substantially the same size and shape as the mattresses to be packaged. In addition the bags or cartons are usually formed so that the sides thereof and the end opposite from the open mouth are closed and substantially sealed prior to the insertion of the mattress. However the apparatus may be used with other types of containers, if desired.
The apparatus 20 comprises an elongated frame struc ture 28 adapted to be mounted between means for delivering or conveying successive mattresses 22 and means for receiving a packaged article or mattress. For example, FIG. 4 shows a fragmentary end portion of a belt conveyor 30 of known construction which may be utilized for delivering successive mattresses to the apparatus 20 and while the conveying means 30 is arranged for delivering the mattresses longitudinally to the apparatus 20, it is to be understood that in certain installations, the conveying means could be arranged for delivering the mattresses transversely to the apparatus. One suitable means 32 for receiving the packaged mattresses is indicated in broken lines in FIG. 1 and comprises a roller table of known construction.
The apparatus 20 comprises a first conveying and article positioning mechanism 34 mounted on the frame 28 for receiving successive articles or mattresses from the conveying means 30, and delivering such articles to a second conveying or feeding mechanism 36. The feeding or conveying mechanism 36 which is described in detail below is adapted to advance successive mattresses along a predetermined path of travel through a work station 38 adjacent one end of the frame 28 at which a mechanism 40 is located, Which mechanism is adapted to receive and adjustably support the open mouth 26 of a bag or container 24 in which a mattress is to be inserted.
The conveying and positioning means 34 comprises an endless belt 42 which encircles rollers 44 and 46 respectively mounted on rotatable shafts 48 and 50. The axes of the shafts 48 and 50 are disposed in a common plane. An idler roller 52 is mounted for rotation about an axis above the aforementioned plane and generally midway between the rollers 44 and 46. An upper course of the endless belt 42 passes over the idler roller 52 so that successive mattresses are directed upwardly and then downwardly toward the conveying or feeding mechanism 36 for a purpose described below. A spring biased roller 54 is suitably mounted for engaging the endless belt 42 and maintaining the desired tension therein.
A combined motor and clutch unit 56 is mounted adjacent the frame 28 as shown in FIG. 2 for driving the conveying mechanism 34. More specifically, an output shaft 58 of the motor and clutch unit carries a pulley 60 which drives an endless belt 62 encircling a pulley 64 on an input shaft 66 of a speed reducer unit 68. An output shaft 70 of the speed reducer unit carries a sprocket 72 which drives an endless chain 74 encircling a sprocket 76 fixed on the roller shaft 48.
The conveying or feeding mechanism 36 comprises means for supporting and guiding successive mattresses or articles. In the embodiment shown, this means comprises a substantially horizontally disposed tabletop structure 78 located adjacent to and beneath a lower end 80 f the downwardly extending upper course section 82 of the endless conveyor belt 42. Preferably the vertical spacing between the tabletop structure 78 and the end 80 of the conveyor belt is greater than the thickness of the largest article or mattress to be handled by the apparatus so as to avoid interference between a mattress of the conveyor belt section 82 and a preceding mattress on the tabletop structure of the feeding mechanism 36 as will be described more in detail below.
In the embodiment shown, the tabletop structure or guide and support means 78 comprises a plurality of coplanar parallel and spaced apart rails 82, 84, 86 and 88 defining flaps 90, 92 and 94 therebetween. In addition a panel member 96 is disposed adjacent the guide rails for increasing the width of the tabletop structure.
In order to advance or feed a mattress or article along the tabletop structure 78, the mechanism 36 is provided with reciprocable and retractable pusher means 98. The pusher means comprises finger elements 100, 102 and 104 adapted to project upwardly through the aforementioned slots 90, 92 and 94 as shown in FIG. 1 and carrying pads 106, 108 and 110 at outer free ends thereof for engaging a rear edge of an article or mattress during a feeding stroke of the pusher means. As shown in the drawings and particularly FIG. 7, the pusher fingers 100, 102 and 104 have inner ends thereof fixed to and carried by a rock shaft 112 pivotally mounted between opposite side members 114 and 116 of a carriage 118. The opposite side members of the carriage are connected by transverse fixed frame members 120 and 122.
The carriage 118 is adapted to be reciprocated along track members 124 and 126 in the manner described below, which track members are secured to the frame 28 beneath the guide and support rails 82 through 88. The carriage 118 is provided with rollers for cooperative engagement with the track members 124 and 126. More specifically rollers 128 and 130 are mounted on a common axis 132 with the rock shaft 112 adjacent a forward end of the carriage and additional rollers 134 and 136 are mounted on an axle or axis 138 adjacent a rear end of the carriage and in alignment with a transverse member 140 extending between the side members 114 and 116. As shown best in FIGS. 6 through 10, the track members 124 and 126 are in the form of oppositely facing channel members respectively presenting inturned upper and lower flanges 142-144 and 146-148 and the rollers of the carriage are disposed between the flanges of the channel shaped track members.
The pusher finger elements 100, 102 and 104 are adapted to be shifted between the raised or extended position shown in FIGS. 1 and 9 for engagement with a mattress and a lowered or retraced position shown in FIGS. 7, 8 and for avoiding interference with a mattress. In order to accomplish this movement the pusher fingers are, as previously indicated, secured to and carried by the rock shaft 112. Tension springs 150, 152 and 154 extend between the pusher fingers and anchor members 156, 158 and 160 secured to the fixed transverse frame member 120 of the carriage so that the pusher fingers are normally yieldably biased toward the raised or extended position. In order to lower the pusher fingers, rollers or cam followers 162-164 and 166-168 are positioned at opposite sides of and are connected with the pusher fingers and are disposed for engagement with the track members 124 and 126 or cam elements disposed therealong in a manner described below. In the embodiments shown, the rollers 162 and 164 are disposed at opposite ends of a transverse member extending between intermediate portions of the pusher fingers and these rollers are similar in size to the carriage rollers. The cam followers or rollers 166 and 168 are disposed beneath the rollers 162 and 164 and are carried by triangular braces and 182 secured to and carried by the rock shaft 112 and the transverse member 170.
The carriage 118 is adapted to be reciprocated in the manner described below between a fully retracted position shown in FIGS. 2, 4, 5 and 8 and a fully forward or advanced position 192 shown in broken lines in FIGS. 5 and 9. The carriage track or guide rails 124 and 126 are provided with first notches or slots 194 and 196 in the upper flanges 142 and 146 thereof adjacent to and slightly forward of the reanmost or retracted position 190 of the carriage as shown in FIGS. 2 and 7 through 10. In addition, the upper flanges of the carriage guide rails or tracks are provided with notches or cutouts 198 and 200 adjacent the forward or fully advanced position 192 of the carriage. All of these notches have dimensions suflicient to permit the rollers 162 and 164 to pass therethrough in the manner described below.
As shown in FIGS. 7 through 10, a cam member 202 is pivoted as at 204 to the inner side of the track member 124 in a manner such that the ca m 202 normally extends downwardly through the notch or slot 194 and from the upper flange 142 of the track member to the lower flange 144. The arrangement of the cam plate 202 is such that when the carriage 118 is initially advanced from the fully retracted position, the roller 162 rides up the cam member and both rollers 162 and 164 move upwardly through the slots 194 and 196 and onto the upper surfaces of the upper track flanges 142 and 146. This action causes the pusher fingers to be raised to the elevated position for engage ment with an article or mattress as shown for example in FIG. 9.
Of course as 'long as the rollers or cam followers 162 and 164 are riding on top of the track flanges 142 and 146, the push fingers will be maintained in the elevated article or imattress engagement position. It is to 'be noted that, during movement of the carriage to the fully extended position, it is necessary for the rollers 162 and 164 to cross the notches 198 and 200 which are adjacent to but spaced inwardly from the forward ends of the track flanges 142 and 146. In order to support the pusher fingers in the elevated position while the rollers 162 and 164 cross the notches during the pushing stroke of the carriage, a cam member 208 is pivoted at 210 beneath the track member 124 and in general alignment with the notch 198 as shown in FIGS. 6 and 8 through 10.
A spring 214 is connected with the cam member 208 for normally biasing the cam member to a position such that a forward or upper end 216 thereof projects to the vicinity of the track member 124 while a rearward or lower end 218 thereof projects beneath the path of travel of the cam follower or roller 166 when the pusher fingers are in the elevated position as shown, for example, in FIG. 9. The arrangement is such that during forward movement of the carriage, the roller or cam follower 166 engages the upwardly facing surface of the cam 208 while the rollers 162 and 164 are traversing the notches 198 and 200. While this action depresses the cam plate to a generally horizontal position, downward movement of the cam plate :may be limited by a suitable means such as a stop pin 220 whereby the pusher fingers are positively supported in the desired elevated positions.
While the cam plate 208 is depressed during the forward movement of the carriage, it is returned to its normal position after the rollers 162 and 164 pass over the notches and onto the forward end portions of the upper track flanges and, of course, the roller or cam follower 166 passes beyond the forward or upper end of the cam plate as shown in broken lines in FIG. 9. Upon return movement of the carriage, the roller or cam follower 166 engages the lower or downwardly facing surface of the cam plates 208 so that when the rollers 1'62 and 164 move into alignment with the notches 198 and 200 they are pulled downwardly therethrough and the pusher fingers are shifted downwardly to the retracted position shown in FIG. 10. Further rearward movement of the carriage causes the rollers 162 and 164 to move beneath the upper track flanges 142 and 144 so that the pusher fingers are retained in the retracted or lowered position.
The pivoted arrangement of the cam plate 200 enables the rollers of the carriage structure including the roller 162 to pass therebeneath as the carriage moves to the fully retracted position. It may also be observed that it is necessary to pivot the cam plate 202 to an elevated or generally horizontal position shown in full lines in FIG. 9 during the advancing movement of the carriage and after the pusher fingers have been raised in order to prevent the main rollers 128 and 134 of the carriage from riding up on the cam plate. In order to accomplish this, the pivot point 204 of the cam plate 202 is located intermediate ends of the cam plate. With this arrangement, the cam plate 202 is pivoted from the inclined position shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 to the horizontal position shown in FIG. 9 when the roller 162 rides up the cam plate and over the pivot point thereof during forward movement of the carriage as shown in FIG. 9. The roller 162 retains the cam plate 202 in the elevated position for a sufficient interval to enable the carriage roller 128 to pass therebeneath as indicated in FIG. 9, and a cam member 222 is secured to the side 114 of the carriage for engaging and raising the cam plate 202 in order to permit the carriage roller 134 to pass therebeneath.
In order to actuate the pusher carriage, a double acting pneumatic cylinder 224 is mounted on the frame 28 beneath the carriage guide rail tracks. As shown in FIG. 5, a piston 226 is slidably mounted within the cylinder 224 and has its opposite ends connected with a cable 228. The cable extends from the opposite ends of the piston through opposite ends of the cylinder and around pulleys 230 and 232 suitably mounted for rotation on axles 234 and 236. An arm 238 is fixed to and depends from the carriage and is secured by fitting 240 to the cable at a point between the pulleys. Thus movement of the piston 226 within the cylinder 224 is imparted to the pusher carriage.
The pneumatic cylinder is connected by a conduit 242 to a suitable source of air under pressure. A pressure regulator 244 is connected in the conduit or line 242 for supplying air at a substantially constant predetermined pressure to the cylinder. The conduit is connected by means of a solenoid actuated two-position valve 246 of known construction and the branch conduits 248 and 250 to opposite end ports of the cylinder 224. The arrangement is such that when the valve is in one position air under pressure is directed to the branch conduit 248 so that the piston 226 and thus the carriage are moved forwardly or through an article pushing or feeding stroke. When the valve 246 is shifted to the second position, the conduit 248 is vented to the atmosphere and air under pressure is delivered to the conduit 258 for actuating the piston 226 and the pusher carriage through the return stroke.
In order to operate the solenoid actuated valve 246 and reverse the carriage at the end of a pushing stroke, a switch 252 is mounted adjacent the forward end of the carriage guide rails or tracks as shown in FIGS. 8-10. A switch actuating plate 254 is pivotally mounted as at 256 for engaging an operating plunger of the switch. The switch plunger 258 is mounted in a raised position and the switch is normally opened as indicated in FIGS. 8 and 10. Suitable electrical circuitry connects the switch 252 with the solenoid of the valve unit 246. For example wires 260 extend from the switch 252 to the relay 262 which is connected with the solenoid by wires 264. As
indicated in FIG. 9, the switch actuating plate 254 is adapted to be engaged by the roller or cam roller 168 when the carriage reaches the end of its forward or working stroke for closing the switch 252. The electrical circuitry is such that when the switch 252 is closed at the end of the carriage working stroke, the relay 262 is energized for actuating the solenoid valve 246 for directing air under pressure to the forward end of the cylinder 224 and thereby actuate the carriage toward its retracted position. A limit switch 266 is suitably mounted on the frame structure 28 for engagement by the carriage when the carriage reaches its fully retracted position as indicated in FIGS. 4 and 8 through 10. Switch 266 is connected by wires 268 with the relay 262 so as to actuate the relay for operating or resetting the solenoid valve unit 246 for directing air under pressure to the lefthand end of the cylinder 224 as viewed in FIG. 5. At the same time a normally spring closed solenoid operated shutoff valve unit 268 connected in the airline 242 and connected by wires 270 to relay or control panel 262 is deenergized so that the valve 268 is closed for stopping the carriage. A manually operated start switch 272 indicated in FIG. 5 is connected between a power source, not shown, and the relay or control panel 262 by wires 274 so that an operator may start the carriage for pushing a mattress or article forwardly when a bag or container is properly positioned for filling as described more fully below.
The mechanism 40 at the work or packaging station 38 is adapted to receive and support the open mouth of a bag or container and to adjust or stretch the mouth of the bag in accordance with the size of a particular article or mattress being advanced by the pusher carriage. The mechanism 40 comprises a first fixed upright support member 276 suitably secured to the frame 28 and extending upwardly therefrom at one forward corner of the tabletop structure 78. A fixed upstanding guide wall or panel 278 is also secured to the frame 28 in alignment with the upstanding member 276. The wall 278 provides a stop and guide for the articles or mattresses so that the articles are directed along the inner side surface of the upstanding support member 276. Vertically spaced bag or container support elements 280, 282, 284 and 286 are secured to and project generally horizontally forwardly from the upstanding support member 276 for selectively engaging and supporting a bag or container as will be described below. A shelf 288 is secured to and projects from the forward end of the tabletop structure and is positioned so that one end thereof joins a lower margin of the lowermost support element 280.
The mechanism 40 is provided with another upstanding support member 290 similar to the upstanding support member or post 276 and disposed adjacent a forward corner portion of the tabletop structure 78 oppositely from the upstanding post 276. The upstanding support member or post 290 also carries container or bag receiving and supporting elements 292, 294, 296 and 298 respectively corresponding to and paired with the previously mentioned elements 280 through 286. A forwardly projecting shelf member 300 similar to the shelf 288 is also provided in association with the upstanding post 290, and the shelf member 300* joins a lower margin of the support element 292.
In order to accommodate articles and containers of different widths, the support member 290 and the container or bag engaging elements connected thereto are mounted on a slide 302 which is reciprocable on a bar 304 toward and away from the fixed upstanding support or post 276. The guide bar or rod 304 is mounted by brackets 306 and 308 above a frame member 310 which is secured to and extends laterally from the main frame structure 28. In order to stabilize the slide member 302 .on the rod 304, rollers 312 and 314 are connected to lower ends of blocks 316 and 318 secured to opposite sides of the slide member 302. The rollers 312 and 314 are 7 adapted to engage opposite sides of the frame member 311.
The bag support and retaining mechanism 40 is provided with means for adjusting the upstanding post 290 relative to the fixed upstanding post 276 in accordance with the width of an article or mattress to the package. More specifically, an arm 320 is pivotally connected as at 322 to the upstanding post 290. An end of the arm opposite the upstanding post is pivotally connected by a pin 324 to one end of a link 326. An opposite end of the link is connected to a fixed pivot pin 328. The arm 320 and the upstanding post 290 carry a flaring guide and cam plate 330 which is engageable by an article or mattress being advanced along the tabletop structure 78 during a packaging operation for urging the post 299 away from the post 276 and thereby stretching or tensioning the mouth of a container or bag.
When packaging a mattress or article with the apparatus described herein, a container or bag is first positioned as indicated in FIGS. 1-3, 5, 8 and 9 so that a lower margin of the bags mouth 26 extends beneath the shelf members 228 and 300 and another margin of the bag extends over a selected pair of the forwardly projecting support elements or fingers. In order to facilitate the positioning of the open month over the support means, the slide member 302 and the upstanding support post 298 thereon are preferably adjusted or moved toward the upstanding post 276. This adjustment may be accomplished manually or, if desired, means such as a pneumatic or hydraulic cylinder may be provided or a spring 332 may be provided for urging the carriage member inwardly or toward the post 276.
After a bag or other suitable container has been positioned on the support elements or fingers, an operator initiates the feeding movement of a mattress or article by actuating the start switch 272 which may be conveniently located adjacent the carriage member 302 as indicated in FIG. 1. Then as the pusher carriage moves through the feeding strokes, a leading end portion of the mattress or article initially engages the arm 320 and more particularly the guide or cam member 330 thereon for forcing the cam member and thus the upstanding post 230 outwardly away from the post 276. This action assures that the mouth of the bag or container will be opened sufiiciently to permit entry of the mattress since, of course, the position of the support member or post 290 and the elements thereon is determined by the width of the mattress. Furthermore, it will be observed that the support elements on posts 276 and 290- are positioned so that their outer surfaces are at least slightly laterally offset outwardly from the inner surfaces of the posts and thus from the edges of the mattress being packaged. The arrangement is such that, not only is the mouth of the bag or container opened sufliciently to receive the mattress, but the container is also placed under substantial tension whereby the container frictionally engages or is gripped by the support elements with a suflicient force to prevent the container from being slipped therefrom too easily.
As previously indicated, the dimensions of the bag or container 24 are such that it snugly fits or receives a mattress to be packaged. As a result, during insertion of the mattress into the bag, the air trapped within the closed end of the bag tends to be compressed and this pressure is relieved progressively as the air relatively slowly escapes around the margins of the mattress. If the mattress is forced into the bag rapidly, the venting of the air trapped within the bag is insutficient and the air pressure will be increased to such an extent that the bag will be pulled from the support elements of the mechanism 40 before the mattress is fully inserted. Thus the means for actuating the pusher carriage and more particularly the pneumatic cylinder 224 and the air pressure regulating valve 244 are constructed and adjusted for advancing the pusher carriage at a rate which is slow enough to prevent an undue buildup of pressure within the bag or container. In this connection it is to be noted that during the initial phases of insertion of the mattress into the bag, there is a relatively large volume of air compressed within the bag so that the volume of air escaping around the edges of the mattress is sufiicient for only relatively gradually relieving the pressure. As the mattress progressively moves into the bag, the volume of the trapped and pressurized air continues to be reduced so that the rate at which the air escapes around the edges of the mattress becomes increasingly effective for reducing the pressure within the bag. This action has the effect of progressively reducing the resistance to the movement of the mattress into the bag so that the rate of advancement of the mattress can be increased without causing the back pressure in the bag to be increased to a level which will result in the pulling of the bag from the support fingers. The previously described pneumatic means for actuating the pusher carriage is adapted to increase the rate of speed or advancement of the mattress as the mattress progressively moves into the bag so as to minimize the total time required for the packaging operation. More specifically, the back pressure within a container or bag resists the forward movement of the mattress and the carriage and thus resists movement of the piston 226 and tends to retain the air within the cylinder 224 under compression. However, as the back pressure in the bag decreases, the resistance to the movement of the carriage and the piston 226 decreases and the compressed air within the cylinder 224 expands in response to the decreased back pressure and thereby increases the rate of movement of the piston and the carriage and ultimately of the mattress into the bag.
When packaging a plurality of articles or mattresses with the apparatus described herein, successive mattresses 22 are supplied from the conveyor 30' to the hump conveyor 34 and, as indicated in FIG. 2 said mattresses may be of different widths and they may also be of different thicknesses. The conveyor 34 is driven by the motor and clutch unit 56 in the manner described below until the mattress is deposited onto the tabletop structure 78. Then the conveyor 34 is stopped so as to prevent the delivery of subsequent mattresses until the previously deposited mattress has been fed forwardly into a bag or container. Stopping and starting of the conveyor 34 is controlled by a light sensitive switch 332 which is positioned at one side of the tabletop structure 78 opposite from a light source 334 at the other side of the tabletop structure. The electric eye device or switch 332 is suitably electrically connected with the electrically operated clutch portion of the motor and clutch unit 56 so that when the light beam is broken, the clutch is deenergized and the conveyor 34 is stopped. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, the electric eye device 332 is positioned at the end of the tabletop structure 78 adjacent and beneath the conveyor 34 so that the path of travel of a mattress advancing from the conveyor 34 onto the tabletop structure 78 is above and avoids interference with the light beams projected from the source 334. Thus the conveyor 34 continues to operate until the mattress has been completely discharged therefrom onto the tabletop 78. When this occurs the trailing end of the mattress drops down onto the tabletop and breaks the light beam for stopping the conveyor 34. Then when an operator actuates the pusher carriage for feeding the mattress into a bag or container in the manner described above, the electric eye device will again be energized and the conveyor 34 will be actuated to advance the next mattress. It will be appreciated that as delivery of one mattress from the conveyor 34 to the tabletop structure 78 is completed, there will be a short time delay before the conveyor 34 stops so that the next mattress may be slightly projected over the tabletop structure 78 as indicated in FIG. 4. However, the arrangement of the upper course of the conveyor belt substantially above the tabletop 78 presents interference between the adjacent mattresses. Furthermore, the downward inclination of the portion 82 of the conveyor belt and thus the downward inclination of the path of travel of the mattress facilitates sliding movement of the forward end of the mattress over the tabletop structure 78 as it is being discharged from the conveyor belt so that proper positioning of the mattress is assured.
While a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described herein, it is obvious that many structural details may be changed without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
The invention is claimed as follows:
1. An apparatus for inserting articles such as mattresses into containers such as bags having an open mouth, comprising means for receiving and spreading a mouth of a container, means for advancing an article along a path of travel and into an open mouth of a container on said first mentioned means, and means adjacent said conveying means and engageable by and responsive to an article moving along the path of travel for actuating said container receiving and spreading means in accordance with the size of said article.
2. An apparatus, as defined in claim 1, wherein said conveying means comprises means responsive to variations in any resistance to the passage of said article into a container for varying the rate of advancement of the article in accordance with said resistance.
3. An apparatus, as defined in claim 2, wherein said last named means comprises pneumatic cylinder and piston means.
4. An apparatus, as defined in claim 3, which includes means connected to said pneumatic cylinder and piston means for supplying an actuating gas under substantially constant pressure thereto.
5. An apparatus, as defined in claim 1, wherein said conveying means includes guide means extending along said path of travel for engaging and guiding the articles, a carriage mounted for reciprocable movement through advancing and retracting strokes beneath said guide means, an article pusher element mounted on said carriage for movement between a raised article engaging position and a lowered position, and means for raising the pusher element during the advancing stroke of the carriage and for lowering the pusher element during the retracting stroke of the carriage.
6. An apparatus, as defined in claim 1, wherein said receiving and spreading means comprises spaced apart elements disposed at opposite sides of said path of travel for engaging opposite margins of said container mouth, means mounting certain of said elements at one side of said path of travel for movement toward and away from the other of said elements, and said means for actuating said spreading means comprises a cam member connected with said movable elements and extending therefrom generally along said path of travel for engagement with the article.
7. An apparatus, as defined in claim 6, wherein said cam means comprises an arm having one end pivotally connected with respect to said movable elements, a link having one end pivotally connected to an opposite end of said arm, and means pivotally supporting an opposite end of said link at a point adjacent said path of travel and substantially rearwardly thereof from said container receiving and spreading means.
8. An apparatus, as defined in claim 6, which includes a plurality of said elements at said opposite sides of said path of travel and at vertically spaced locations, said elements being selectively engageable with the mouth of a container in accordance with the size of the container.
9. An apparatus, as defined in claim 1, wherein said conveying means comprises guide means for supporting the article and extending along said path of travel, a pusher element movable along said guide means and engageable with the article, and means for delivering the article to and at an angle with respect to said guide means and for depositing the article on said guide means in position for engagement by the pusher element.
10. An apparatus, as defined in claim 9, wherein said means for delivering the article to said guide means comprises an endless belt conveyor having a discharge end portion thereof disposed above and inclined downwardly with respect to said guide means.
11. An apparatus for inserting articles such as mattresses into containers comprising means at a work station for receiving and retaining a container, a guide structure for supporting an article and directing the article to said work station and having a length substantially greater than the length of the article, means operable along said guide structure and engageable with an article thereon for feeding the article to said work station, and means disposed adjacent said guide structure for depositing successive articles in substantially predetermined position on said guide structure, said last named means comprising a conveyor having a discharge end portion disposed above and inclined downwardly with respect to said guide structure for directing one article along a downward inclined path of travel onto the guide structure so that a leading end of said one article initially engages and moves over the guide structure behind a preceding article while trailing portions of said one article are supported thereabove until a trailing end of said one article is discharged from the conveying means.
12. An apparatus for inserting articles such as mattresses into containers comprising means at a work station for receiving and retaining a container, a guide structure for supporting an article and directing the article to said Work station, means operable along said guide structure and engageable with an article thereon for feeding the article to said work station, means disposed adjacent said guide structure for depositing successive articles in substantially predetermined position on said guide structure, said last named means comprising a conveyor having a discharge end portion disposed above and inclined downwardly with respect to said guide structure for directing an article onto the guide structure so that a leading end of the article initially engages and moves over the guide structure while trailing portions of the article are supported thereabove until a trailing end of the article is discharged from the conveying means, and means actuated by said article when the article is initially positioned on said guide structure for stopping said conveying means until said article is further advanced along said guide structure toward said work station.
13. An apparatus for inserting articles such as mattresses into containers comprising means at a work station for receiving and retaining a container, a guide structure for supporting an article and directing the article to said work station, means operable along said guide structure and engageable with an article thereon for feeding the article to said work station, means disposed adjacent said guide structure for depositing successive articles in substantially predetermined position on said guide structure, said last named means comprising a conveyor having a discharge end portion disposed above and inclined downwardly with respect to said guide structure for directing an article onto the guide structure so that a leading end of the article initially engages and moves over the guide structure while trailing portions of the article are supported thereabove until a trailing end of the article is discharged from the conveying means, said means for engaging and advancing the article along said guide structure comprising a carriage, track means for said carriage disposed beneath and extending along said guide structure, means for advancing said carriage through a feeding stroke and returning the carriage to a retracted position, and means for actuating said pusher element to the raised position during the feeding stroke of the carriage 1 1 and for actuating the pusher element to the lowered position during the return stroke of the carriage.
14. An apparatus, as defined in claim 13, wherein said carriage track includes an upper inturned longitudinally extending flange, first slot means in said flange adjacent a forward end thereof, second slot means in said flange adjacent the retracted position of said carriage, said means for actuating said pusher element to the raised and lowered positions comprising a cam follower connected with the pusher element and movable along said flange, a pivoted cam member mounted for extending between under and upper sides of said flange and through said second slot means for directing said cam follower to the upper side of said flange and raising the pusher element during the feeding stroke of the carriage, said cam follower being adapted to pass downwardly through first slot means during the return stroke of the carriage and lowering of the pusher element.
15. An apparatus, as defined in claim 14, wherein said means for actuating said pusher element between the raised and lowered positions further includes a second cam follower interconnected with said pusher element, and a second pivoted cam member disposed beneath said first slot means and engaging said second cam follower for supporting the pusher element in the raised position during the feeding stroke of the carriage and while the first mentioned cam follower passes over said first slot means and for subsequently deflecting said second cam follower and the pusher element downwardly during the return stroke of the carriage as the first mentioned cam follower passes into registration with said first mentioned slot means.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,628,803 5/1927 Pinter 53261 X 2,742,748 4/1956 Kohl 53-261 2,864,218 12/1958 Wilson et a1. 53-258 X 2,946,166 7/1960 Baxter 53258 X 3,252,267 5/1966 Myles et al. 53201 X TRAVIS S. MCGEHEE, Primary Examiner.