Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3395509 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 6, 1968
Filing dateDec 13, 1965
Priority dateDec 13, 1965
Publication numberUS 3395509 A, US 3395509A, US-A-3395509, US3395509 A, US3395509A
InventorsGerald Erickson
Original AssigneeGerald Erickson
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for packaging containers in container carrier
US 3395509 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

6, 1968 G. ERICKSON 3,395,509




Filed Dec. 13, 1965 WW :5 v vuul w M 7 f MVUM m wad 0 4 45 L WW I a .Ill z n J a a INVENTOR. GERALD ERICKSO'N his ATTORNEYS.

United States Patent ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An apparatus for packaging containers having chimes at both ends between connected channeled elements which engage the chimes of the containers in which the corners of the channeled elements are engaged and bent away from the ends of a container to be packaged to facilitate the introduction of the container between the channeled elements.

This invention relates to an apparatus for packaging containers in a container carrier and also to a novel container carrier.

The packaging apparatus of the present invention is particularly applicable to packaging chimed cans or con tainers in one-piece container carriers which include upper and lower multi-cornered channel elements joined by connecting means integrally formed with both channel elements and maintaining them at a predetermined maximum distance from each other and in which the channel elements include channel-defining formations near but spaced apart from corners of the channel elements. One-piece container carriers of this type carry a plurality of chimed containers in side-by-side nested relationship and are described in the copending application of Richard W. Erickson, Ser. No. 139,262, filed Sept. 19, 1961, now Patent No. 3,344,950.

The novel packaging apparatus of the present invention includes means for holding the upper and lower channel elements in spaced-apart relationship at a distance permitted by the connecting means and means engageable with the corners of at least one of the channel elements to bend the said corners away from the path of the container pushed between the upper and lower channel elements and to facilitate the introduction of the chimed ends of the container into the respective channels.

Although the packaging apparatus is applicable to container carriers of the type described above, it is also applicable to a novel container carrier described herein which is especially adapted for use with the apparatus to enable the respective corners to be bent away from the containers by corner-bending means of the apparatus without causing the corner-bending means to interfere with a container introduced between the channel elements for packaging therebetween.

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, reference may be had to the detailed description which follows, and to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a top plan view of a container carrier in accordance with the invention and shown disposed in an outstretched position;

FIGURE 2 is an end view of the container carrier shown in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a cross-sectional plan view of the container carrier shown in FIGURES l and 2, disposed in a carrying position, in the process of receiving chimed containers; and

FIGURE 4 is an elevational view taken along the line 4-4 of FIGURE 3.

A representative container carrier C, preferably formed 3,395,509 Patented Aug. 6, 1968 by injection molding of a high-strength, durable, flexible, and inexpensive plastic material, is shown in the drawings to comprise two upper channeled elements 10 and two lower channeled elements 11. In its carrying position shown most clearly in FIGURE 4, each upper channeled element 10 is disposed in a spaced face-to-face relation with its corresponding lower channeled element 11, thus defining two pairs of cooperating channeled elements.

Viewing FIGURE 1, the upper channeled elements 10 are connected to each other by means of a strip 12, whereas the lower channeled elements 11 are connected to each other by means of a strip 13. Both the upper channeled elements 10 are in turn connected to the lower channeled elements 11 by means of four parallel connecting strips 14, the extreme ends of which are each provided with grooves 15 extending across one side thereof so as in effect to provide hinges which permit the upper channeled elements 10 to be pivoted upwardly to the carrying position. In the carrying position, the connecting strips 14 are preferably placed in tension and thereby maintain the spaced relation between the upper and lower channeled elements 10 and 11 after containers 'have been packaged in the carrier C.

Each channeled element is substantially identical in construction and so only the lower left-hand element 11 of FIGURE 1 will be described. This lower channeled element 11 includes a centrally located gripping and reinforcing ring member 16 and a pair of parallel spacedapart upstanding formations 17 and 18 disposed near each corner of the element 11, the formation 18 having a substantially horizontal top surface 20. The top surface 20 of the formation 18 extends inwardly from the corner edges of the element and terminates with a curved inner surface which in conjunction with a circular surface of the inner formation 17, spaced from the inner surface of the outer formation 18, forms a recessed chimereceiving channel 19 of arcuate configuration. The outer formation 18 provides maximum strength and helps to prevent a container from being jarred loose during handling of the carrier C. It is especially to be noted that the linear distance between opposing surfaces 18 of corresponding channeled elements 10 and 11 is somewhat less than the linear dimension between the extremities of the upper and lower chimes of a packaged container.

Formed in each outer formation 18% is a rectangular slot 21, which extends from an edge of the element inwardly to a position adjacent but spaced from its corresponding chime-receiving channel 19. Each slot 21 is adapted to receive an articulating lever member of the packaging apparatus as will be described in detail later.

Some other details of the carrier C will now be briefly set forth. The lower channeled elements 11 each have two pairs of laterally projecting arms 22 which extend from opposite edges thereof, namely, the edges closest and most remote from the upper channeled elements 10. Each pair of arms 22 terminates in a flat disc 22' which, as will be appreciated from FIGURE 4, supports packaged containers by engaging their lower chimes of sideby-side containers at approximately their line of tangency.

The upper channeled elements 10 have a carrying handle 23 connected thereto at hinges 24. When the carrier C is in an outstretched position as shown in FIG- URE 2, the handle 23 is disposed in a plane defined by the connecting strips 14. The handle 23 is provided with three flat portions 25 which engage and rest on the upper chimes of sideby-side containers at approximately their line of tangency (see FIGURE 3) to support another package thereon. In use, the handle 23 would be raised upwardly from its position shown in FIGURE 3. The edge of each upper element 10 disposed adjacent the ele- O ment 11, as shown in FIGURE 1, carries projecting arms 26 which are similar to the arms 22 and adapted to perform an identical supporting function.

The container carrier described above illustrates a preferred but certainly not the only possible embodiment thereof.

The apparatus for setting up the container carrier C and packaging a cluster of containers is shown in FIG- URES 3 and 4 and comprises, inter alia, an upper engaging mechanism 30, a lower engaging mechanism 31, and a pusher mechanism 32 which is depicted to move containers from some assembly area into their corresponding receiving channels 19.

One required function of the upper engaging mechanism 30 is to engage the upper channeled elements when they are disposed in their outstretched position shown in FIGURES 1 and 2 and swing them upwardly to the carrying or upstanding position shown in FIG- URE 4. Before this move, the lower engaging mechanism 31 will have seized the lower channeled elements 11 holding them in a fixed position against a support platform 36.

The upper mechanism inclues a support bracket member 33 which is movable, by any conventional arrangement, from a position wherein the mechanism 30 will grasp the upper elements 10 to the overhead position shown in FIGURE 4. The bracket 33 has fixed thereto an actuator solenoid 34 and a cross member 35.

More particularly, the cross member 35 provides the mounting means for a plurality of identical articulating levers 37, one for each slot 21, which are adapted to be moved into and out of engagement with their corresponding slots 21. Only the left-hand lever shown in FIGURE 4 need, therefore, be described. This lever 37 is V-shaped or of wishbone configuration with two extending arms 37a and b. The arm 37a at its extreme end-carries a fixed pin or shaft 39 which is slidably received within a slot 41 formed in a portion of the cross member 35. The arm 37]; is as shown adapted to be received by its corresponding slot 21. As will be noted from FIGURE 3, each pin 39 actually services two levers 37, and thus for the upper mechanism 30, there are four such pins 39. Rotatably mounted upon the pin 39 is a link 42 which in turn is rotatably mounted on an elongated cross bar 44 carried by a drive rod 45 (see FIGURE 3).

A tension spring 47 is fixed at its one end to the cross member 35 and at its other end to the midpoint of the bar 44 and thereby urges the rod 45 and the links 42 downwardly. When the solenoid 34 is energized, it moves the rod 45 away from the cross member 35, which action transmits an inward motion to the lever 37. To insure substantial rectilinear motion, the lever 37 is in slidable engagement with the top surface of a guide plate 51 fixed to the cross member 35, and moreover the top surface of the arm 37a is engaged by the free end of a lea-f spring 52 which is fixed to the cross member 35 by screws 53. In the instance when the solenoid 34 is de-energized, the spring member 47 will move the rod 45 downwardly causing the lever 37 to translate outwardly to a relaxed position. During this move, the leaf spring 52 presses the lever 37 against the plate 51.

The bottom surface 55 of the arm 37b, when inserted in its corresponding slot 21 as shown in FIGURE 4, is in effect a camming surface which is engageable by an upper chime of a container during packaging. The surface 55 slopes inwardly and downwardly providing a transition up to the horizontal surface 20 of the outer formation 18, and preferably it should not extend any lower than the horizontal surface 20 of the outer formation 18.

In operation, before the upper mechanism 30 engages the upper channeled elements 10 of an outstretched carrier C, the solenoid 34 is in a tie-energized condition and the levers 37 will each be in their relaxed positions.

The bracket member 33 then is positioned adjacent to the upper channeled elements 10 with the arms 37b of the levers 37 aligned adjacent to their corresponding slots 21. The solenoid 34 is now energized, retracting the rod 45 which moves all of the levers 37 simultaneously inwardly until their arms 37]) are fully seated within the receiving slots 21. After the rod 45 is fully retracted and the upper mechanism 34 firmly grasps the upper channeled elements 10, the channeled elements 10 are swung to their upstanding position shown in FIGURE 4.

Some time before the upper channeled elements 10 are engaged by the mechanism 39, the lower mechanism 31 will have grasped the lower channeled elements 11 fixing their position against the support plate 36. Towards this end, the lower mechanism 31 includes two separate operative devices for the channeled elements 11, both being identical in construction and operation.

The lower left hand device of FIGURE 4 includes two articulating levers 62 (see FIGURE 3). Each lever 62 includes a free end portion which is insertable into its corresponding slot 21 of the formation 18 and is rotatably mounted upon a pin or shaft 64. The pin 64 is slidably received at both its ends in slots 6-6 disposed within two spaced mounting members 67 (only one being shown). A coil spring member 6 9 is also mounted upon the pin 64 and engages and resiliently urges each lever 62 to a position whereby a follower roller 71 rotatably mounted at an extreme end of each of the levers 62 normally engages a camming surface 72, having a high dwell 72a, low dwell 72b, and intermediate dwell 720. A block member 74 forms the camming surface 72 and is secured to and held in a fixed position by :means of an L-shaped bracket 75.

A link member 78 is rotatably mounted on the pin 64 intermediate between the levers 62 and carries at its opposite end a pin 79 which is in slida ble engagement with a slot 80 formed in a lever 81 pivotably mounted at its opposite end. The lever 81 is urged by a tension spring 83 fixed to it and the bracket 75 so that its appended foll-ower roller 84 engages the periphery of an eccentrically mounted circular plate 86. *Upon rotation of a shaft 88 keyed to the plate 86, the lever 81 will reciprocate and transmit linear motion to the link 78.

Upon movement of the link 78, the articulating levers 62 will execute both linear and rotary movements. For example, when a lever 62 is to be moved into its slot 21, the link 78 is translated inwardly, and the lever 62 responds by moving inwardly and upwardly as its follower 71 moves from engagement with the high dwell 72a into the low dwell 72b. Finally, when the follower 71 moves up into engagement with the intermediate dwell 72c, the lever 62 will while moving inwardly pivot downwardly into an engaging relation with its slot 21. In this engaging position, the top cammin'g surface 90 of the lever 62 provides a transition up to the horizontal surface 20 of the outer formation 18 and preferably should not extend upwardly beyond this point.

Two container pusher members 32 :have been illustrated in FIGURE 4 and are adapted to move a plurality of chimed containers inwardly towards their corresponding channels 19. The pusher members 32 may take any number of forms. However, in this embodiment, they are simultaneously controlled by hydraulic actuators, and each is adapted to engage three containers with an extended wall 95. In the move of a container towards its corresponding receiving channels 19 in the upper and lower elements 10 and 11, it first engages the ca-mming surfaces 55 and 90 formed on the levers 37 and 62 respectively. Viewing FIGURE 4 with particular attention to the left hand container, during its move towards a packaged position, the upper chime 60 engages the camming surface 55 of the lever 37 and pivots it about the pin 39 as it rides along the surface 55, moving the Outer formation 18 upwardly, for as it will be remembered,

the carrier C is formed from a resilient material. As a final result of this action, the upper chime 60 will be snapped into its receiving channel 19. At the same time, the lower chime 60 riding along the camming surface 90 of the lever 62 moves it and the outer formation 18 downwardly until the lower chime 60 disengages from the surface 90 and moves across the surface 20 into its channel 19.

After all of the containers have been packaged, both the upper and lower mechanisms 30' and 31 are disengaged from the carrier C. Just before disengagement, the lower levers 37 and 62 are of course spaced below the bottom surface of their corresponding containers and may readily be removed from their receiving slots 21.

In a packaging position, the dimensions of the carrier C are such that the spacing between each pair of upper and lower elements and 11 will be maintained by the connecting strips 14, which are under tension, securing the packaging containers in a nested side-by-side relation. As will be appreciated by the drawings, the middle container of each side of this pack will engage two pairs of upper and lower channeled elements 10- and 11 while the outer two containers will engage only a single pair of upper and lower channeled elements 10 and 11. To reduce production costs, the container carriers can be molded (in series of container carriers) in relatively long strips. In such an instance, just prior to the packaging of containers in the carrier, a severing operation should preferably be made at positions between the particular lower channeled element and the following upper channeled element.

The invention has been shown in the preferred forms and by way of example only, and various modifications and variations may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the arrangement shown embodied by the lower mechanism 31 could also 'be applied for use in place of the upper mechanism 30. Further, the containers may be packaged into the container carrier C by inclining the containers and directly inserting the upper chimes into their corresponding receiving channels. Thereafter, of course, the lower chimes of the containers would have to be inserted into their receiving channels and a mechanism such as 31 would have to be employed. With such an arrangement, the upper channeled elements need not be provided with any receiving slots, and therefore, the mechanism for holding such an element need not have slot-engaging levers. Such a mechanism could, for example, be embodied by a mechanism which could be moved into and out of a secured engagement with the interior surface of the ring 16 of the upper channeled element 10. The invention is therefore not to be limited to any particular form or embodiment except insofar as set forth in the appended claims.

1 claim:

1. An apparatus for packaging a plurality of containers having chimes at both ends in a container carrier which includes upper and lower multi-corner channel elements facing each other and joined by connecting means integrally formed with both channel elements and maintaining them at a predetermined maximum distance, the channel elements including channel formations near but spaced apart from corners of the upper and lower channel elements, comprising means holding the lower channel element in container-receiving position, means holding the upper channel element in position above the lower channel element by a distance: permitted by the connecting means, means pushing the containers to be packaged between the upper and lower channel elements so held, and means engageable with corners of at least one of the channel elements to bend. the-m away from the path of a container to be packaged and facilitate the introduction of the container between the upper and lower channel elements and the chimes into the respective channels.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein at least one slot is formed in one of the raised formations of a channeled element, at least one of the engaging mechanisms including an articulating lever adapted to be moved into and out of the slot, and having means being engaged by the chime of a moving container after the lever is inserted into its slot for moving the lever to a position which increases the distance between the opposing surfaces of the raised formations.

3. An apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the lever is rotatably mounted and is formed with a camming surface which extends from a position where it is first engaged by a chime of a container being moved by the pusher means towards its corresponding channel to an inserted position in its slot adjacent the surface of the raised formation.

4. An apparatus according to claim 3 wherein the upper channeled engaging mechanism includes means for grasping the upper channeled element when the container carrier is disposed in an outstretched position and moving the upper channeled element to its carrying position.

5. An apparatus according to claim 3 wherein both the upper and lower channeled elements include at least one articulating finger having a chime engaging camming surface and being movable into and out of a slot formed in the raised formation of its corresponding channeled element.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,192,682 7/1965 Bernat 5348 X WILLIAM W. DYER, ]R., Primary Examiner. N. ABRAMS, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3192682 *May 10, 1962Jul 6, 1965Snapomatic IncMethod of packing cylindrical containers
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3492777 *Jan 3, 1966Feb 3, 1970Erickson GeraldPackaging machine
US6684602 *Feb 26, 2001Feb 3, 2004Sig Hamba Filltech Gmbh & Co. KgCompact bottling machine
U.S. Classification53/48.5, 206/159
International ClassificationB65B17/00, B65B17/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65B17/025
European ClassificationB65B17/02C