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Publication numberUS3427214 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 11, 1969
Filing dateSep 13, 1965
Priority dateSep 13, 1965
Publication numberUS 3427214 A, US 3427214A, US-A-3427214, US3427214 A, US3427214A
InventorsVoigt Wilhelm
Original AssigneeMeto Ges Oscar Kind Kg
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Labelling apparatus
US 3427214 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 11, 1969 w. VOIGT LABELLING APPARATUS Sheet Filed Sept. 13, 1965 IN VEN TOP. W/LHELM VO/GT his ATTORNEY Feb. 11,1969 w. VOIGT LABELLING APPARATUS Sheet Filed Sept. 15, 1965 INVENTOR. W/LHELM VOIGT Feb. 11, 1969 w. VOIGT 3,427,214

I LABELLING APPARATUS Filed Sept. 13, 1965 Sheet 3 of 5 INVENTOR. WILHELM VO/GT Feb. 11, 1969 w. vcle'r' LABELLING APPARATUS Sheet Filed Sept.

/N VE N TOR.

mmw QvN W/LHELM VO/GT Sheet 5 W. VOIGT LABELLING APPARATUS RN bv mew Feb. 11, 1969 Filed Sept. 13, 196

United States Patent 3,427,214 LABELLING APPARATUS Wilhelm Voigt, Zwingenberg, Baden, Germany, assignor t0 Meto-Gesellschaft Oscar Kind K.G., Hirschhorn (Neekar), Germany Filed Sept. 13, 1965, Ser. No. 486,824

US. Cl. 156-361 18 Claims Int. Cl. B65c 9/42 ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An apparatus for applying labels to moving articles includes a conveyor for advancing the articles. A dispenser is arranged at a labelling station adjacent the conveyor and feeds labels seriatim from a supply to a partly dispensed position in which the respective label is partly unsupported. A movable applicator overlies the respectively unsupported portion and is actuated by a drive means, which latter is controlled by an actuating means governed by the advancing articles, so as to move the label into contact with a respective article.

The present invention relates to labelling apparatus in general, and more particularly to an automatic labelling apparatus which may be utilized to apply adhesive-coated labels to boxes, crates, packages and other types of articles while such articles advance along a predetermined path.

In a copending application Ser. No. 440,585 of Oscar Kind et al., filed on Mar. 17, 1965, now US. Patent No. 3,265,553, there is disclosed a portable label dispensing apparatus which may be utilized to apply labels to oddly or regularly shaped articles and which is provided with a printing device adapted to automatically provide the labels with one or more rows of symbols or imprints indieating the price of an article, the trademark of the manufacturer or distributor, instructions to use the articles, or other printed matter. The labels are stored on a flexible carrier strip which is guided in such a way that each consecutive label is automatically peeled off the strip and is placed into a partly dispensed position in which it can be readily transferred onto an article by means of a preferably roller-shaped applicator which overlies the unsupported portion of the partly dispensed label. Such apparatus are very practical for use in supermarkets, in other types of retail stores and in similar establishments where the labels must be applied to differently configurated and/or dimensioned articles. The printing device may be readily adjusted so that it can apply all kinds of printed matter, for example, to apply the price to different types of articles.

The present invention aims to provide a labelling apparatus which may be used for automatic application of labels to a series of travelling articles, particularly to a series of articles having substantially the same size and/ or shape, and which is capable of applying each label in an accurately determined position, i.e., to the same spot on each of a series of advancing articles.

Another object of the invention is to provide a labelling apparatus of the. just outlined characteristics Which may be constructed and assembled in such a Way that a portion thereof can be detached and is then capable of being used as a self-supporting label dispensing and imprinting apparatus for application of labels to differently configurated and, or dimensioned articles.

A further object of the invention is to provide a labelling apparatus wherein the labels are applied in a fully automatic way and wherein the application of labels is triggered or initiated by the moving articles so that the labels cannot be wasted because the apparatus can apply a label only at the time when it receives an impulse from a moving article.

An additional object of the instant invention is to provide a novel carrier structure which forms part of the improved labelling apparatus and which can support a portable labelling and imprinting device in such a way that the latter automatically applies labels to a series of consecutive articles which travel along the labelling station of the apparatus.

A concomitant object of the invention is to provide a labelling apparatus of the above outlined characteristics wherein not only the feed of labels but also the actuation of the printing device and the application of imprinted labels to consecutive articles may be efilfected by a single drive which carries out the above operations in a desired sequence and at a speed which is required for application of labels to a series of rapidly moving articles in a massproducing or mass-processing plant.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a labelling apparatus which is constructed and assembled in such a way that it can compensate for eventual diiferences in the dimensions and/or configuration of consecutive articles, particularly for such differences which are due to inaccuracies in wrapping or machining of articles, without danger of damage to the articles and/or to the component parts of the labelling apparatus.

A further object of the invention is to provide a very simple but highly reliable and rugged actuating device which may be used in the improved labelling apparatus for detecting consecutive articles and for initiating the application of labels thereto.

Another object of my invention is to provide a novel method of imprinting, dispensing and applying labels to rapidly travelling articles which may constitute loaves of bread, boxes containing articles of footwear or other goods, canned foodstuifs, large crates containing substantial quantities of goods, or any other articles which can be transported by an endless belt or by another suitable conveying device.

An ancillary object of the invention is to provide a labelling apparatus which can be manipulated by semiskilled persons, which requires little attention once it is set up for automatic operation, which can be operated by a hydraulic, pneumatic, electric or magnetic control system, which occupies little room, and which can be readily adjusted in a number of ways so that it may be used for labeling of large, small, medium-sized, polygonal, cylindrical, short, long or otherwise configurated and/01 dimension articles and goods.

Briefly stated, my present invention resides in the provision of an apparatus which may be utilized for automatic application of adhesive-coated labels to boxes, crates, packages and similar articles. In one of its preferred forms, the apparatus comprises a belt or a similar conveyor for advancing a series of articles along a predetermined path and past a labelling station, a detachable dispenser provided at the labelling station and comprising a feed for advancing the labels seriatim from a source of supply to a partly dispensed position in which a portion of the label remains unsupported, an applicator preferably comprising an elastic roller mounted at a labelling station so as to overlie the unsupported portion of that label which is held in partly dispensed position, drive means for moving the applicator toward and away from the path of articles on the conveyor, and actuating means for operating the drive means. The actuating means comprises one or more sensing elements or detectors yieldably extending into the path of articles on the conveyor and arranged to bring about movement of the applicator toward the path in response to detection of an article so that the label which has been moved to partl dispensed position is applied to the thus detected article or to another article on the conveyor.

The drive means may comprise resilient means for normally biasing the applicator to an end position in which the latter is slightly spaced from the path for the articles, and an electromagnet which will be energized in response to detection of an article by the sensing element or elements and then overcomes the bias of such resilient means to move the applicator toward the path defined by the conveyor. The drive means may also comprise a cam, a pneumatic cylinder, a hydraulic cylinder or another suitable prime mover which can overcome the bias of the resilient means in response to impulses received from the actuating device on engagement of the detector by a traveling article.

The novel features which are considered as characteristic of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The improved labelling apparatus itself, however, both as to its construction and its mode of operation, together with additional features and advantages thereof, will be best understood upon perusal of the following detailed description of certain specific embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of labelling apparatus which is constructed and assembled in accordance with a first embodiment of my invention and wherein the drive for moving the applicator toward and away from the path for the moving articles comprises a rotary cam;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary front elevational view of a modified labelling apparatus wherein the drive for the applicator comprises a fluid-operated cylinder, the dispenser being shown in vertical section;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary front elevational view of a third labelling apparatus wherein the applicator is movable by means of an electromagnet;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary front elevational view of a fourth labelling apparatus wherein the applicator is again movable by means of an electromagnet, the dispenser and a portion of its carrier being shown in vertical section; and

FIG. 5 is a horizontal section substantially as seen in the direction of arrows from the line VV of FIG. 4.

Referring first to FIG. 1, there is shown a labelling apparatus which comprises a stationary supporting frame 1 for a conveyor which includes an endless article transporting belt 2 trained around rollers 2a, 2b. The articles 3 are advanced seriatim by the upper stringer 2c of the belt 2 in such a way that they travel in a direction to the left as indicated by arrows 2d. The belt 2 may be provided with transversely extending motion transmitting projections or lugs 2e which engage the rear faces of the articles 3 and insure that the articles are equidistant from each other as well as that each article assumes a predetermined position with reference to the belt. In the illustrated embodiment, the upper stringer 2c defines an elongated horizontal or nearly horizontal path along which the articles 3 advance seriatim past a labelling station LS located substantially midway between the rollers 2a, 2b and at a level above the upper stringer 2c. The articles 3 may be fed by hand or by means of a supply conveyor of known design, not shown. Such articles may constitute loaves of bread, cigar boxes, cans containing foodstuffs, cardboard boxes containing articles of footwear, or any other articles to which the labels should be applied in a fully automatic way and at a high rate of speed such as is required in a mass-producing or mass-processing plant.

The frame 1 comprises an upwardly extending platelike carrier 4 which extends to a level above the upper stringer 2c and supports a horizontal pivot or fulcrum 6 for a portable self-contained dispenser 5 of the general type disclosed in the aforementioned copending application Ser. No. 440,585 of Oscar Kind et al. The exact construction of this dispenser 5 will be described in somewhat greater detail in connection with FIG. 2.

It suffices to say here that the dispenser 5 comprises a supply of labels (not shown in FIG. 1), a feed which moves the labels seriatim to a partly dispensed position in which the leading portion '14 of the foremost label 13 remains unsupported while the remainder (i.e., the trailing portion) of the label continues to adhere to a carrier strip or directly to a portion of the dispenser 5, and an elastic roller-shaped applicator 7 which overlies the unsupported portion 14 of the foremost label '13. The dispenser 5 is rockable or swingable about the axis of the pivot 6, and such rocking movements are utilized to move the applicator 7 toward and away from the path along which the articles 3 advance with the upper stringer 2c and past the labelling station LS. When it moves downwardly, as viewed in FIG. 1, the applicator 7 presses the unsupported portion 14 of the label 13 against the adjacent article 3 whereby the label is automatically separated from the dispenser 5 and from the applicator 7 because the article continues to advance in a direction as indicated by the arrows 2d. In its raised or idle position, the applicator 7 is rather closely adjacent to the path for the articles 3 but is sufficiently distant from the upper stringer 2c to allow for unimpeded advance of articles past the foremost label 13. lIhe undersides of the labels are coated with a suitable adhesive so that each thereof automatically adheres to the top face of that article which happens to pass therebelow. The applicator 7 rolls along the upper side of the freshly applied label and insures that the entire label adheres to the respective article. This applicator may consist of natural or synthetic rubber, and its elasticity will depend on the nature of articles 3, on the nature of wrappers which are applied around the articles, on the type of adhesive which coats the undersides of the labels, and on certain other factors. For example, if the articles are brittle, the applicator 7 may consist of sponge rubber or a similar highly elastic material to avoid breakage or other damage. This applicator is freely rotatable in bearings provided therefor in or on the side Walls of the housing forming part of the dispenser 5.

The drive which causes the dispenser 5 to rock about the axis of its pivot 6 comprises a relatively strong helical return spring 8 which operates between the housing of the dispenser and a stationary spring retainer or stop 9 provided on the carrier 4. This spring 8 permanently biases the dispenser 5 to the position shown in FIG. 1 in which the applicator 7 is located at a level slightly above the top faces of the travelling articles 3. The drive further comprises a rotary cam 10' which is mounted on a cam shaft 10a and is located in a zone between the pivot 6 and applicator 7. The lobe 10b of the cam 10 will cause the dispenser 5 to rock in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 1, so that, in response to a revolution performed by the cam shaft 10a, the applicator 7 is compelled to leave its idle or retracted position and to apply the foremost label 13 to the nearest article 3. The periphery of the cam 10 is tracked by a follower 12 which resembles a plunger and is reciprocably supported by the housing of the dispenser 5. A spring 11 operates between the dispenser 5 and the curved head of the follower 12 to maintain the latter in contact with the periphery of the cam 10. The spring 1 1 also insures that the follower 12 can compensate for eventual dilferences between the height of consecutive articles 3, i.e., the dispenser 5 can yield if one of the articles happens to be somewhat higher than an average article which travels with the upper stringer 2c. The drive including the cam 11) and follower 12 also serves to operate the feed of the dispenser 5 by advancing a fresh label to the partly dispensed position in response to movement of the follower with reference to the dispenser. In other words, the drive automatically places a fresh label in partly dispensed position before the applicator 7 performs a downward stroke to make sure that each article receives a label. In order to insure that the feed of the dispenser is operated in response to downward movement of the follower 12, the latters downward stroke exceeds such stroke as is needed to merely apply the label 13 to an article 3, i.e., when the lobe b comes in contact with the follower 12, the latter is compelled to rock the dispenser 5 and, once the applicator 7 presses the label 13 against the upper face of the adjoining article, the follower 12 continues to move downwardly to insure that the feed of the dispenser is operated in the aforedescribed manner and places a fresh label in partly dispensed position subsequent to disengagement of the applicator 7 from the previously applied label but prior to the next downward stroke of this applicator.

The dispenser 5 is also provided with a printing device which imprints the upper side of each consecutive label 13 before such label reaches the partly dispensed position shown in FIG. 1. Certain parts of the printing device will be described in connection with FIG. 2, and a full description and illustration of this printing device will be found in the aforementioned application of Kind et al. The printing device is also operated in response to movement of the follower 12 with reference to the dispenser 5. The spring 8 opposes the rocking of the dispenser in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 1, and this spring immediately returns the dispenser to the position of FIG. 1 as soon as the lobe 10b of the cam 10 begins to move past the head of the follower 12. Thus, in a way, the return spring 8 as sists the spring 11 in maintaining the head of the follower 12 in contact with the periphery of the cam v10.

The actuating means for operating the drive for the dispenser 5 includes a sensing element or detector 16 which consists of yieldable material or is yieldably mounted on the carrier 4 and extends into the path for the articles 3 on the upper stringer 2c of the belt 2. The detector 16 is located downstream of the applicator 7 and constitutes a trip for an electric signalor impulse-generating switch which starts the drive for the cam shaft 10a. This drive may include a pneumatic, hydraulic, electric or magnetic prime mover which will rotate the cam 10 through a required angle as soon as the switch 15 sends an impulse which indicates that an article 3 is in proper position with reference to the foremost label 13 and applicator 7. As stated before, the cam 10 also initiates the imprinting of a label 13 and operates the feed for advancing the labels seriatim to partly dispensed positions. The switch 15 is adjustable in the longitudinal direction of the upper stringer 2c and is mounted on the carrier 4 in such a way that it may be shifted along a guide slot 17. In addition, the switch 15 is preferably adjustable up and down (as indicated by the double-headed arrow 17a) so that it may place the detector 16 at an optimum distance from the path of the articles 3.

The carrier 4 preferably comprises two relatively movable sections or plates 4a, 4b the former of which is rigid with the remainder of the frame 1. The upper section 4b is adjustably connected to the section 4a by means of clamping bolts 19 or similar fasteners which pass through vertical guide slots 18. The pivot 6, the return spring 8, the cam shaft 10a and the switch 15 are mounted on the upper section 4b so that they may be moved nearer to or further away from the upper stringer 2c.

The underside of the upper stringer 2c is propped by a series of resilient leaf springs 20 or the like which insure that the upper stringer cannot sag and also that the articles 3 are advanced along an accurately defined path. The numeral 20a denotes a tensioning device for the belt 2. This belt may be driven by a suitable electric motor or the like, not shown.

FIG. 2 illustrates a portion of a modified labelling apparatus whose frame comprises a one-piece carrier 104 serving to support a detachable dispenser 105 similar to the dispenser 5 of FIG. 1. The articles 3 are advanced by a conveyor (not shown) which may be constructed in the same way as the conveyor of the labelling apparatus shown in FIG. 1. The carrier 104 is provided with a horizontal slot 117 for an adjustable actuating device which includes an electric switch 115 and a detector 116, the latter extending into the path for the articles 3.

The dispenser 105 comprises a U-shaped metallic or plastic housing 21 which supports a manually operable operating member here shown as a lever 22 pivotable about a horizontal shaft 24. A return spring 23 tends to maintain the lever 22 in the solid-line idle position of FIG. 2. The housing 21 is detachably secured to a pair of supporting brackets 28, 28' which are mounted on a vertically reciprocable carriage or slide 29 guided by vertical ways 1040! provided on the carrier 104.

The housing 21 further supports a bracket 21a which carries a reel or spool 21b constituting a source of supply of labels 13. The labels form a single file and are supported by a carrier strip 27 which is led around a deflecting edge 21c adjacent to the applicator 107 and is thereupon guided between a pair of cooperating feed rolls or drums 26. During deflection of the carrier strip 27 around the edge 21c, the foremost label 13 is partly separated from the strip 27 so that its leading end 14 extends below the applicator 107 and is ready to be attached to the nearest article 3.

The housing 21 also accommodates a printing device 25 which is constructed and assembled in the same way as described in the aforementioned copending application of Kind et al. The feed rolls 26 are rotated in response to movement of the lever 22 under the bias of the spring 23, and the printing device 25 is actuated in response to movement of the lever 22 to the phantom-line position 22' of FIG. 2. The extent of angular movement of the feed rolls 26 is such that the carrier strip 27 is advanced substantially by the length of the label 13 so that a fresh label moves to partly dispensed position whenever the spring 23 is free to return the lever 22 to the solid-line position of FIG. 2. The printing device 25 may apply to the uncoated sides of the labels one or more numerals indicating the price of the merchandise which is contained in the wrappers of the articles 3, the trademark or trademarks of the manufacturer or distributor, instructions to use the contents of the articles 3, or any other printed matter which is considered necessary on such labels. The printing device 25 may be rendered inactive, for example, by removing its ink pad 25a, so that the dispenser 105 will discharge blank labels which may be inscribed by the retailer.

The slide 29 is reciprocable by a hydraulic or pneumatic cylinder 30 which is mounted on the carrier 104 and includes a piston 30b biased by a return spring 30a. The rod 31 of the piston 30b is attached to a traverse 31a which serves as a means for transmitting motion to the slide 29 and is biased by two or more helical compensating springs 32. The chamber at the upper end of the cylinder 30 may receive hydraulic or pneumatic fluid through a conduit 300 which contains a solenoid valve 30d. The phantom line 30:: denotes an operative connection between the switch of the actuating means and the valve 30a. The cylinder 30 replaces the drive cam 10 of FIG. 1 and cooperates with a resilient stop 33 which is mounted on the carrier 104 in the path of the lever 22. When the cylinder 30 causes its piston 30b to perform a downward stroke, the traverse 31a transmits motion to the slide 29 through the intermediary of the compensating springs 32 whereby the slide 29 shifts the housing 21 of the dispenser 105 and the applicator 107 attaches the foremost label 13 to the nearest article 3. At the same time, the lever 22 bears against the stop 33 and is caused to pivot about the shaft 24 (in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 2) Where by the printing device 25 imprints the nearest label 13 before such label reaches the partly dispensed position. When the valve 30d is thereupon adjusted to permit escape of fluid from the cylinder chamber at the upper end of the piston 30b, the spring 30a expands and causes the slide 29 to move upwardly so that the spring 23 is free to return the lever 22 to the solidline position of FIG. 2. During such movement from the phantom-line position 22' to the solid-line position, the lever 22 causes the feed rolls 26 to advance the next (imprinted) label 13 to the partly dispensed position.

The elasticity of the stop 33 is selected in such a way that it is less than the elasticity of the return spring 23 but exceeds the elasticity of the compensating springs 32. The purpose of the springs 32 is to compensate for differences in the height of articles 3 by allowing the piston rod 31 and the traverse 31a to move with reference to the slide 29 whenever necessary, i.e., when the applicator 107 is to descend to a level below the average level of the top faces on the articles 3.

The entire dispenser 105 may be readily detached from the brackets 28, 28' and is then used as a portable labelling and imprinting device in a manner as described in the application of Kind et al.

In the apparatus of FIG. 3, the articles 3 are conveyed by the upper stringer to advance past a labelling station which accommodates the dispenser 105 of FIG. 2. This dispenser is rockable on a horizontal pivot 106 which is carried by the upper section 38 of a carrier forming part of the apparatus frame. The lower section 4a of the carrier is fixed and supports a transverse horizontal shaft around which the secction 38 may be rocked upon loosening of a locking or clamping bolt 45. The stem of this clamping bolt extends through a vertical slot b of the stationary section 4a and through a horizontal or nearly horizontal slot 45a of the section 38 which crosses the slot 45b.

The drive for moving the applicator 107 toward and away from the path of the articles 3 comprises a helical return spring 36 which operates between the housing 21 of the dispenser 105 and a stop 37 on the upper carrier section 38. The housing 21 is removably inserted into a clamping device 35 which is rockable about the pivot 106 and serves as an abutment for the lowermost convolution of the return spring 36. The drive further comprises a bell crank lever 39 which is pivotable about the shaft 40 and one arm of which carries an elastic motion transmitting member here shown as a rubber roller 41 which bears against the underside of the lever 22. The other arm of the lever 39 is coupled to the armature 42a of an electromagnet 42 mounted on the upper carrier section 38 and connected in circuit with the switch 115 of the actuating means, not shown in FIG. 3. The detector 116 of the switch 115 is mounted in the same way as shown in FIG. 2 and causes the electromagnet 42 to withdraw the armature 42a in a direction to the right, as viewed in FIG. 3, to thereby rock the lever 39 in a clockwise direction and to perform the following functions: In the first stage of its movement, the roller 41 depresses the lever 22 into the housing 21 to actuate the printing device 25 (not shown in FIG. 3) which applies printed'matter to a label on the carrier strip 27. In the next stage of its upward movement, the roller 41 rocks the housing 21 about the axis of the pivot 106 so that the applicator 107 is moved to the operative position 107' and moves the foremost label to the position 13 in which the label comes in contact with and is automatically attached to the top face of the adjacent article 3. Such rocking of the housing 21 is effected against the bias of the return spring 36 which can compensate for eventual differences in the height of consecutive articles 3.

When the electromagnet 42 is deenergized, the spring 36 is free to expand and returns the housing 21 to the position shown in FIG. 3. The spring 23 (see FIG. 2) is also free to expand and causes the feed rolls 26 to advance the backing strip 27 by a step so as to place a fresh label 13 into partly dispensed position. The backing strip 27 (with adhesive-coated labels thereon) is stored on the reel 21b which is carried by the bracket 21a forming part of or secured to the housing 21 of the dispenser 105.

The pivot 106 is located in a zone between the applicator 107 and the roller 41.

A difference between the labelling apparatus of FIGS. 2 and 3 is seen to reside in that the roller 41 of FIG. 3 brings about angular movement of the lever 22 with reference to the housing 21 and angular movement of the housing 21 with reference to the carrier section 38. In FIG. 2, the lever 22 does not move at all, i.e., only the housing 21 moves with reference to the lever 22 and with reference to the carrier 104. Also, and while the housing of the dispenser 5 (FIG. 1) or (FIG. 2) is engaged by the drive from above, that part of the drive (namely, the bell crank lever 39) which moves the follower 107 of FIG. 3 to the position 107' engages the dispenser 105 from below in such a way that the housing 21 is rocked through the intermediary of the lever 22.

Referring finally to FIGS. 4 and 5, there is shown a further labelling apparatus which comprises a dispenser 205 having a housing 221 and a lever 222 rockable about a shaft 224 which is carried by the housing 221. The housing 221 is detachably mounted in a clamping or retaining device 46 which is rockable about the axis of a pivot 206 mounted in a fixed carrier 48. The lever 222 is provided with a roller 48a which extends into an open slot 51 provided in a lever 239 which is rockable with a shaft 240 mounted in the carrier 48. A return spring 47 operates between the housing 221 and the carrier 48 to normally maintain the dispenser 205 in the position shown in FIG. 4. The lever 239 is biased by a second spring 49 which is also attached to the carrier 48 and tends to maintain the lever 239 in the angular position of FIG. 4. An electromagnet 50 (see FIG. 5 is energizable by the switch (see FIG. 2) to rock the shaft 240 and the lever 239 against the bias of the spring 49 whereby the lever 239 acts upon the roller 48a and causes the lever 222 to operate the printing device 25 (not shown in FIGS. 4 and 5). On further rocking of the lever 239, the dispenser 205 is rocked about the pivot 206 (in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 4) to move the applicator downwardly and to apply the foremost label to the nearest article. When the electromagnet 50 is deenergized, the springs 47 and 49 contract to move the levers 222, 239 and the housing 221 back to the positions shown in FIG. 4.

The spring 47 may be omitted if the spring 49 is strong enough to return the housing 221 to the position of FIG. 4. In such modified labelling apparatus, energization of the electromagnet 50 first results in rocking of the housing 221 about the pivot 206 to lower the applicator to its operative position, and the lever 222 is rocked with reference to the housing 221 in the next-following stage of angular movement of the lever 239. Such depression of the lever 222 causes the printing device to apply printed matter to a label which is still located in the dispenser 205. When the electromagnet is deenergized and the lever 222 returns to the position shown in FIG. 4, it actuates the feed rolls which then advance a fresh label into the partly dispensed position. In the next and final stage of its contraction, the spring 49 returns the housing 221 to the position shown in FIG. 4.

The slot 51 in the lever 239 is bounded in part by a reciprocable element or plunger 52 which is biased by adjustable compensating springs 52a. The purpose of the springs 52a is the same as that of the springs 32 shown in FIG. 2.

Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features which fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic and specific aspects of my contribution to the art and, therefore, such adaptations should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the following claims.

What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is:

1. An apparatus for applying labels to moving articles, comprising a conveyor for advancing a series of articles along a predetermined path past a labelling station; a supporting frame provided at said station; a dispenser detachably mounted on said frame, said dispenser comprising a supply of labels, a feed for advancing the labels seriatim from said supply to a partly dispensed position in which a portion of the label remains unsupported, and a movable applicator positioned to overlie the unsupported portion of that label which has been advanced to such partly dispensed position; drive means including a device for moving said applicator toward and away from said path, said drive means further comprising means for ac tuating said feed between consecutive movements of said applicator toward said path; resilient compensating means provided between said moving device and said dispenser; and actuating means for operating said drive means, comprising detector means yieldably extending into said path and arranged to effect movement of said applicator toward said path in response to detection of an article so that a label which has been moved to partly dispensed position is applied to an article which is advanced by said conveyor.

2. An apparatus for applying labels to moving articles, comprising a conveyor for advancing a series of articles along a predetermined path past a labelling station; a supporting frame provided at said station; a slide reciprocably mounted on said frame and movable toward and away from said path; a dispenser detachably secured to said slide, said dispenser comprising a supply of labels, a feed for advancing the labels seriatim from said supply to a partly dispensed position in which a portion of the label remains unsupported, and an applicator comprising a roller positioned to overlie the unsupported portion of that label which has been advanced to partly dispensed position; drive means for moving said slide and said dispenser so as to move said roller toward and away from said path, said drive means comprising means for operating said feed in response to movement of said slide with reference to said frame; and actuating means for operating said drive means, comprising detector means yieldably extending into said path and arranged to effect movement of said slide toward said path in response to detection of an article so that a label which has been moved to partly dispensed position is applied to an article which is advanced by said conveyor and the roller rolls along such label as the label advances with the respective article along said path.

3. An apparatus as set forth in claim 2, wherein said dispenser comprises a housing detachably secured to said slide, an operating lever pivotably secured to said housing and arranged to operate said feed in response to movement from a first end position to a second end position, and a return spring (for biasing said lever to one of said end positions, said drive means comprising a stop located in the path of and arranged to move said lever to the other end position on movement of said slide toward said path.

4. An apparatus as set forth in claim 3, wherein said drive comprises a device for moving said slide toward said path and elastic compensating means interposed between said device and said slide, said stop means comprising an elastically deformable member whose elasticity is less than the elasticity of said return spring but exceeds the elasticity of said compensating means.

5. An apparatus for applying labels to moving articles, comprising a conveyor for advancing a series of articles along a predetermined path past a labelling station; a supporting frame provided at said station; a pivot mounted on said frame and extending transversely of said path; a dispenser rockably mounted on said pivot, said dispenser comprising a supply of labels, a feed for advancing the labels seriatim from said supply to a partly dispensed position in which a portion of the label remains unsupported, and an applicator comprising a roller positioned to overlie the unsupported portion of that label which has been advanced to partly dispensed position; drive means for rocking said dispenser so as to move said roller toward and away from said path, said drive means comprising means for operating said feed; and actuating means for operating said drive means, comprising detector means yieldably extending into said path and arranged to eifect rocking of said roller toward said path in response to detection of an article so that a label which has been moved to partly dispensed position is applied to an article which is advanced by said conveyor and the roller rolls along such label as the label advances with the respective article along said path.

6. An apparatus as set forth in claim 5, wherein said dispenser further comprises a printing device operative to apply printed matter to consecutive labels, a movable operating member for operating said feed and said printing device, and a housing movably supporting said operating member and being rockable thereby about said pivot, said drive means being arranged to rock said housing through said operating member and to move said operating member with reference to said housing, said roller being supported by said housing.

7. An apparatus as set forth in claim 5, wherein said dispenser comprises a housing supporting said roller and said drive means comprises a return spring for biasing said housing to a first position in which said roller is moved away from said path and means for rocking said housing to a second position in which said roller is nearer to said path.

8. An apparatus as set forth in claim 7, wherein said drive means comprises a rotary cam and a spring-biased follower arranged to track said cam and to move the housing to said second position.

9. An apparatus as set forth in claim 5, wherein said drive means further comprises resilient means for moving said roller away from said path.

10. An apparatus as set forth in claim 9, wherein said drive means comprises a lever mounted on said frame and pivotable about a fixed axis extending transversely of said path, said dispenser further comprising a housing and an operating member for said feed, said operating member being pivotably mounted in said housing and being pivotable by said lever.

11. An apparatus as set forth in claim 10, wherein said lever and said operating member are pivotable about parallel axes.

12. An apparatus as set forth in claim 10, wherein said drive means further comprises electromagnet means for pivoting said lever.

13. An apparatus as set forth in claim 10, further comprising a clamping device mounted on said pivot and detachably supporting said dispenser.

14. An apparatus as set forth in claim 10, wherein said frame comprises a fixed section and a second section secured to said fixed section and pivotable about said fixed axis, said pivot being mounted on said second section.-

15. An apparatus as set forth in claim 10, wherein said lever is provided with an elongated slot and said operating member comprises a portion extending into said slot.

16. An apparatus as set forth in claim 15, wherein said lever comprises a spring-biased member bounding a portion of said slot.

17. An apparatus for applying adhesive-coated labels to moving articles, comprising a conveyor for advancing a series of articles along a predetermined path and past a labelling station; a dispenser provided at said station, said dispenser comprising a supply of labels and a feed for advancing the labels seriatim from said supply and to a partly dispensed position in which a portion of the label remains unsupported; an applicator provided at said station and arranged to overlie the unsupported portion of that label which has been advanced to such partly dispensed position; drive means for moving said applicator toward and away from the path of articles on said conveyor, said drive means comprising means for permanently biasing said applicator to an idle position in which the applicator is closely adjacent to said path and the articles advancing with said conveyor means are free to bypass a label in partly dispensed position; and actuating means for operating said drive means, comprising detector means extending into the path of articles and arranged to effect movement of said applicator toward said path in response to detection of an article so that the label which has been moved to dispensing position may be applied to the nearest article.

18. An apparatus for applying adhesive-coated labels to moving articles, comprising a conveyor for advancing a series of articles along a predetermined path and past a labelling station; a dispenser provided at said station, said dispenser comprising a supply of labels and a feed for advancing the labels seriatim from said supply and to a partly dispensed position in which a portion of the label remains unsupported; an applicator provided at said station and arranged to overlie the unsupported portion of that label which has been advanced to such partly dispensed position; drive means for moving said applicator toward and away from the path of articles on said conveyor, said drive means comprising electromagnet means 12 arranged to move said applicator toward said path in response to a change in the condition of energization thereof; and actuating means for operating said drive means, comprising detector means extending into the path of articles and arranged to change the condition of said electromagnet means and to thereby effect movement of said applicator toward said path in response to detection of an article so that the label which has been moved to dispensing position may be applied to the nearest article.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Re. 25,056 10/1961 Fritzinger 156-523 2,920,780 1/ 1960 Hauschild et al. 2169 3,238,080 3/1966 Schluter 156351 3,265,553 8/1966 Kind et al. 156384 3,231,446 1/1966 Satas 156-384 3,342,662 9/1967 Grasmann 156-384 EARL M. BERGERT, Primary Examiner.

D. J. FRITSCH, Assistant Examiner.

US. Cl. X.R. 156363, 384, 542

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3717540 *Apr 16, 1970Feb 20, 1973E HencTear tape applicator
US3975226 *May 12, 1975Aug 17, 1976Automatic Industrial Machines, Inc.Apparatus for dry printing on contoured workpieces
US3988193 *Aug 29, 1974Oct 26, 1976Arens Cornelis GTaping attachment or device
US4118264 *Jan 31, 1977Oct 3, 1978Automatic Industrial Machines, Inc.Method for dry printing on contoured workpieces
US4518450 *Dec 8, 1983May 21, 1985Warmann Bruno DLabel dispensing apparatus
US5232539 *Feb 22, 1991Aug 3, 1993Grand Rapids Label CompanyObject labeling machine
US5342461 *Apr 14, 1992Aug 30, 1994Imtec, Inc.High speed continuous conveyor printer/applicator
US5624525 *Jul 29, 1994Apr 29, 1997Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaSheet sticking apparatus
US5843252 *Aug 13, 1996Dec 1, 1998Imtec, Inc.High speed continuous conveyor printer/applicator
WO1996015942A1 *Nov 21, 1995May 30, 1996Condor Beteiligungs-AktiengesellschaftMethod and device for affixing adhesive labels
Classifications
U.S. Classification156/361, 156/384, 156/542, 156/363
International ClassificationB65C9/00, B65C1/00, B65C9/42, B65C1/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65C9/42, B65C1/025
European ClassificationB65C9/42, B65C1/02D