US 3479787 A
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Nov. 25. 1 6 D. BARDENHAGEN ETAL 3,479,787
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKING BLOCKS OF CIGARETTES AND THE LIKE 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Sept. 13, 1967 WWQQ.
ATTORNEY D. BARDENHAGEN ETAL 3,479,787 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKING BLOCKS Nov. 25, 1969 t e e .n a S +u e e h S Po E K I L FD H T D N A S F u T T B R A G I C F O 7 6 9 l 3 l p e s d e l l as lNVENTOES ATTORNEY Nov- 25. 9 D. BARDENHAGEN ETAL 3,
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKING BLOCKS OF CIGARETTES AND THE LIKE Filed Sept. 13, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet .3
Nov. 25, 1969 D. BARDENHAGEN ETAL 3,479,787
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKING BLOCKS OF CIGARETTES AND THE LIKE Filed Sept. 13. 1967 5 Sheets-5i1eet 4 .//v VENTORS;
ATTORNEY United States Patent 0 3,479,787 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKING BLOCKS 0F CIGARETTES AND THE LIKE Dietrich Bardenhagen and Bernhard Schubert, Hamburg- Lohbrugge, Germany, assignors to Hauni Werke Korber & Co. KG., Hamhurg-Bergedorf, Germany Filed Sept. 13, 1967, Ser. No. 668,296 Claims priority, application Great Britain, Sept. 19, 1966, 41,636/ 66 Int. Cl. B651) 19/12, 19/32; B65c 3/10 US. Cl. 5314 41 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Blocks of arrayed cigarettes or like commodities are packed in groups so that n commodities advance simultaneously through and simultaneously reach the discharging ends of n packing tracks wherein they are provided with envelopes which are closed prior to removal from the respective discharging ends and prior to transfer onto a takeoff conveyor located downstream of the packing tracks. The commodities are fed in a single file in an arcuate or straight path by means of an endless supply conveyor and are removed from the supply conveyor by a transfer conveyor which delivers them to the receiving ends of the respective packing tracks with simultaneous reorientation. During travel from the supply conveyor to the receiving ends of the packing tracks, the commodities may be moved apart to provide more room for the component parts of the devices which effect the application folding and tucking of envelopes during travel of commodities along the respective tracks.
Background of the invention The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for packing blocks of cigarettes or the like. More particularly, the invention relates to a method and to an apparatus for introducing blocks of arrayed cigarettes or like rod-shaped commodities into envelopes or wrappers to form block-shaped packs.
In certain presently known packing machines for cigarettes or the like (commonly known as packers), individual blocks of cigarettes move in a straight path and are wrapped seriatim, i.e., one after the other. Certain other packers employ turrets whereon the wrapping of blocks of cigarettes is carried out while the blocks travel in an arcuate path. The blocks are moved stepwise and the packer completes one pack at a time. The angular speed of the turret is rather low because the length of intervals between successive stepwise advances must be selected with a view to allow for completion of that wrapping step which requires the longest period of time, i.e., each interval must be long enough to insure completion of the longest step which is being carried out in the course of providing a block with a complete envelope. The step which consumes most time is normally that step which involves placing a blank into requisite position and draping it around the block preparatory to formation of various folds, tucks and seams. Furthermore, the moving parts of the packer are subjected to excessive wear if the operation is carried out at a relatively high speed.
Summary of the invention It is an important object of our invention to provide a novel and improved method of providing blocks of cigarettes or like commodities with envelopes or receptacles in a time-saving operation.
Another object of the invention is to provide a method according to which the conversion of block-shaped com- 3,479,787 Patented Nov. 25, 1969 ice modities into packs can be carried out at a higher speed than in accordance with presently known methods and according to which the manipulation of envelopes during the formation of packs can be carried out with greater care than heretofore without reducing the output.
A further object of the invention is to provide a method of the above outlined character which also involves testing of commodities and segregation of defective commodities without influencing the speed at which the commodities and envelopes are converted into finished packs.
An additional object of our invention is to provide a novel and improved apparatus or packer which can be employed in the practice of the above outlined method.
Another object of the invention is to provide the packer with a novel system of conveyors which insure rapid, accurate and gentle treatment of commodities, envelopes and packs in a small area.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a packer which can turn out several packs in a simultaneous operation and which can provide block-shaped commodities with envelopes which are shaped and closed with greater accuracy than in heretofore known packers.
An additional object of the invention is to provide the improved apparatus with simple, rugged, compact and long-lasting components which undergo little wear and can turn out a larger number of packs per unit of time than conventional packers.
An ancillary object of the invention is to provide a packer which can employ blanks or prefabricated envelopes, which can provide block-shaped commodities with one or more envelopes, which can properly seal and label the packs, and which can automatically segregate packs with defective contents from satisfactory packs.
A concomitant object of the present invention is to provide a packer whose operation is fully automatic, which can process the output of several makers, and which can discharge finished packs at a desired level for convenient transport to storage or to another destination.
A further object of the invention is to provide a packer which can be used with equal advantage for wrapping of smaller, larger and/or differently configurated commodities, which can be adjusted to turn out a desired number of packs per unit of time, and which can turn out a desired number of packs in each of a series of successive steps.
Another object of the invention is to provide a novel testing device for use in a packer of the above outlined type.
A further object of the invention is to provide novel wrapper-manipulating and block-transporting mechanisms for use in the improved packer.
The method of our invention comprises the steps of advancing successive groups containing predetermined numbers of arrayed cigarettes or other block-shaped commodities along a Preferably arcuate supply path, simul taneously transferring the commodities of successive group from the supply path to the receiving ends of separate packing tracks, simultaneously transporting the commodities toward the discharging ends of the respective tracks, applying envelopes around the commodities during transport toward the discharging ends, simultaneously transferring the commodities with the envelopes applied thereto from the discharging end of the respective tracks into a preferably arcuate takeoff path, and advancing successive groups of commodities in a single file along the takeoff path. During travel along the supply path, the commodities are preferably advanced stepwise and successive groups are preferably subjected to a testing action to determine the integrity of their commodities. Envelopes containing defective commodities are segregated downstream of the discharging ends of packing tracks.
The first transfer step preferably includes moving the commodities of successive groups at right angles to the plane of the supply track and of moving the commodities apart with simultaneous turning or analogous reorientation of commodities to place them in an optimum position for entry into the respective packing tracks. Furthermore, the first transfer step preferably includes compacting the commodities so that they can be readily introduced into the open ends of envelopes. The applying step preferably includes moving the commodities against the closed bottoms of envelopes which are placed into the packing tracks so that the commodities entrain the envelopes toward the discharging ends of the respective tracks. Closing of the envelopes can be completed during travel along the packing tracks, during transfer from packing tracks, or during travel along the takeoff path.
Each closed envelope can be provided with a tax label which is applied thereto during transfer from the respective packing track or during travel along the takeoff path.
The novel features which are considered as characteristic of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The improved 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 cetrain specific embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing.
Brief description of the drawing FIG. 1 is a fragmentary front elevational view of a packing apparatus which embodies one form of our invention, certain parts of the apparatus being shown in section or being partly broken away;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational View as seen from the lefthand side of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 illustrates a portion of a conveyor in the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 4 is a partly elevational and partly sectional view of a portion of the folding and tucking means for envelopes in the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view of a turret in the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the manner in which the blocks, envelopes and finished packs travel in the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 7 is a similar diagram showing the manner in which the blocks, envelopes and finished packs travel in a modified packing apparatus; and
FIG. 8 is a sectional view of a portion of the modified packing apparatus.
Description of the preferred embodiments The packing apparatus of FIGS. 1 to 5 comprises a first conveyor which includes a supply conveyor 2 and a transfer conveyor or delivery conveyor 5. The supply conveyor 2 comprises one or more endless chains carrying a series of open-ended cells 3 each of which can accommodate a block 1 of twenty arrayed cigarettes or like rodshaped commodities. The cells 3 are closely adjacent to each other and are articulately coupled to the chain or chains of the supply conveyor 2 or directly to each other. The blocks 1 are received in the respective cells 3 in such a way that the cigarettes travel sideways. The drive for the supply conveyor 2 operates intermittently so that the cells 3 move stepwise, always by such distances that the supply conveyor 2 is indexed by the combined length of six cells 3. This drive comprises a sprocket 7 which advances the cells 3 past a stationary testing device 4 provided with means for testing six blocks 1 in a simultaneous operation. The cigarettes of the blocks 1 are tested for the presence of defects and also whether or not each block 1 contain a requisite number of properly arrayed cigarettes. As shown in FIG. 2, the testing device 4 comprises two synchronized parallel motions 30 and 30a actuated by a reciprocable rod 31. The parallel motions 30, 30a! respectively comprise six sets of testing or sensing pins 32 and 33 which can move into engagement with the adjoining ends of cigarettes in the respective cells 3.
The aforementioned delivery or transfer conveyor 5 is located immediately downstream of the testing device 4 and serves to receive blocks 1 which are removed from cells 3 in the region of the right-hand end turn of the supply conveyor 2, as viewed in FIG. 1. This transfer conveyor 5 comprises six transfer members in the form of two-armed levers 6 located in a plane behind the plane of the sprocket wheel 7. The pivot pin 27 of the transfer members 6 are mounted on a stationary frame member 8 and their shorter arms are articulately connected to a motion transmitting rail 9 by pins 9a. The rail 9 is coupled with a rod 10 which is articulately connected with a second rod 11 carrying a roller follower 12 which tracks the face of a rotary disk cam 14 under the bias of a spring 13. The upper end of the rod 11 is pivotally secured to a stationary part of the frame. When the cam 14 rotates in the direction indicated by an arrow, the rod 10 causes the transfer members 6 to move the free ends of their longer arms back and forth in arcuate paths 15 indicated by phantom lines.
The free ends of the longer arms of transfer members 6 are provided with combined transferring and compacting devices 16 which serve as a means for transporting blocks 1 into registry with the receiving or intake ends of six packing tracks wherein the blocks 1 are provided with open-ended envelopes. One of these combined transferring and compacting devices 16 is shown in greater detail in FIG. 3. It comprises a fixed part or jaw 16a which is rigid with the respective transfer member 6 and a movable part or jaw 17 which can approach and move away from the fixed jaw 16a. The movable jaw 17 is hinged to the transfer member 6 by leaf springs 18, 19 and carries a pin 20 extending into a slot 21 provided in a bell crank lever 22 turnable on a pivot pin 23 carried by an extension of the transfer member 6. The slot 21 is provided in one arm of the lever 22 and the other arm of this lever is articulately connected to a push rod 24 which carries a roller follower 25 tracking the face of a cam 26 provided on the stationary frame member 8 adjacent to the respective pivot pin 27. The arcuate face of the cam 26 is eccentric with reference to the axis of the pivot pin 27 so that, when the transfer member 6 turns on the pin 27, the push rod 24 moves lengthwise and turns the bell crank lever 22 on the pivot pin 23. When the transfer member 6 turns in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 3, the distance between the pivot pin 27 and roller follower 25 decreases thereby the push rod 24 moves upwardly and rocks the bell crank lever 22 in a clockwise direction to move the jaw 17 of the compacting device 16 nearer to the fixed jaw 16a. A block 1 of twenty cigarettes which has been placed between the jaws 16a, 17 then undergoes compression and its volume is reduced sufficiently for proper insertion into a hollow envelope-supporting mandrel 42. When the transfer member 6 of FIG. 3 turns in a counterclockwise direction, i.e., back toward the illustrated position, the leaf springs 18, 19 maintain the roller follower 25 in engagement with the face of the cam 26 whereby the jaw 17 moves away from the jaw 16a and permits convenient introduction of a fresh block 1.
The packing apparatus further comprises six reciprocable expelling members or pushers 29 which are mounted on a stationary frame member 28 and are movable in directions indicated by a double-headed arrow 34 (see FIG. 2) whereby the pushers 29 can transfer blocks 1 into the adjoining compacting devices 16. The distribution of pushers 29 is such that they can simul taneously transfer six blocks 1 from the adjoining cells 3 of the supply conveyor 2 into the registering compacting devices 16 of the transfer members 6.
The frame member 28 supports a second set of six pushers 35 which are reciprocable in directions indicated by a double-headed arrow 36 and serve to transfer compacted blocks 1 from the devices 16 into the adjoining mandrels 42 of a rotary turret-shaped wrapping conveyor 40 (hereinafter called turret) serving to transport groups of six compacted blocks 1 each from the receiving ends and through portions of six separate packing tracks in which the blocks 1 are provided with envelopes 43. The pushers are mounted along an arc and the turret is indexed in synchronism with operation of the transfer members 6 to place six empty mandrels 43 into registry with six loaded compacting devices 16 before the pushers 35 perform a working stroke. The pushers 29, 35 can be considered a part of the transfer conveyor 5. The mandrels 42 are disposed at the periphery of the turret 40 and their number is a whole multiple of the number of compacting devices 16. In the illustrated embodiment, the turret 40 carries twenty-four equidistant hollow mandrels 42. The envelopes 43 are applied to and are pr0perly supported by mandrels 42 before they move into registry with the compacting devices 16 so that each empty mandrel 42 carries an envelope before it receives a compacted block 1 from a device 16. Each envelope 43 comprises an inner wrapper and an outer wrapper. When the turret 40 is indexed again and removes six loaded mandrels 42 from registry with the pushers 35, the envelopes 43 on such mandrels can undergo certain treatment before the next set of six mandrels 42 receives compacted blocks 1 from the devices 16 of the transfer members 6.
The frame member 28 carries six tamping rams 44 which are distributed at equal intervals along an are located in the region of the lower part of the turret 40. The rams 44 are reciprocable in directions indicated in FIG. 2 by a double-headed arrow 51. Stationary back supports or anvil 45 are located at the other side of the turret 40 in registry with the rams 44 and cooperate therewith to apply pressure against the bottoms of six envelopes 43 at a time. These parts 44 and 45 constitute the elements of six pressing units which cooperate with the turret 40 to treat the envelopes 43 while such envelopes and the blocks 1 therein travel toward the discharging ends of the respective packing tracks.
The turret 40 advances the blocks 1 and envelopes 43 into the range of a second transfer or delivery conveyor 46 which is similar to the conveyor 6 and removes the blocks from the discharging ends of the packing tracks. This second transfer conveyor 46 again comprises six two-armed transfer members or levers 47 which are turnable on pivot pins 48 mounted on a stationary frame member 49. The shorter arms of transfer members 47 are connected to a motion transmitting rail 50 by means of pivot pins 50a, and the rail 50 is coupled to a rod 52 which is articulately connected to a further rod 53 carrying a roller follower 54 which tracks the face of a disk cam 56. A spring 55 biases the follower 54 against the cam 56 and the righthand end of the rod 53 is pivotally connected to a stationary part of the frame. When the cam 56 rotates in the direction indicated by the arrow, the rods 52, 53 cause the rail 50 to move back and forth and to rock the transfer members 47 so that the free ends of the longer arms of these transfer members travel nearer to and further away from the periphery of the sprocket 7. In order to make sure that motion transmitted by the transfer members 47 is converted into a movement exactly radially of the driver shaft 41 for the sprocket 7, the free ends of the longer arms of transfer members 47 are connected to links 57 each of which is connected to a pocket 58 serving to accommodate a partially completed wrapper 43 with a block 1 of cigarettes therein. The pockets 53 are reciprocable along guide rods 59 which extend radially of the driver shaft 41. The directions in which the pockets 58 reciprocate are indicated by a double-headed arrow 60.
FIG. 2 shows additional elements of the aforementioned packing units. These additional elements include stationary folding members 62 which are disposed between the mandrels 42 on the turret 40 and the plane of the transfer members 47. Movable tucking members 64 are located opposite folding members 62 and their movements are indicated by a double-headed arrow 63. The members 62, 64 effect folding and tucking of flaps and tucks at the open ends or tops of the envelopes 43. Such folding and tucking takes place subsequent to transfer of envelopes 43 into the pockets 58 and while the pockets advance along the respective guide rods 59. As shown in FIG. 4, the apparatus comprises six movable tucking members 64 which are distributed along an arc and are guided in slots 100 extending radially of a segment-shaped carrier 104. The slots 100 communicate with inclined slots 102 and the outer ends of tucking members 64 carry roller followers 101 which are received in the inclined slots 102. The carrier 104 is rockable on a fixed shaft 103 and the means for rocking it comprises a link 105 which is articulately connected thereto by a pin 105a. The link 105 receives motion from a one-armed lever 106 which carries a roller follower 107 tracking a disk cam 109. The lever 106 is biased by a spring 108 which urges the follower 107 against the cam 109. The latter is rotatable in a clockwise direction (arrow 110 in FIG. 4) to impart to the carrier 104 a rocking movement about the axis of the shaft 103 and to effect radially inward and outward movements of the tucking members 64.
Each of the stationary folding members 62 comprises an upper folding portion 37, a lower folding portion 38 and a median folding portion 39 located between the respective upper and lower folding portions. Six pushers 65 are disposed radially inwardly of the stationary folding members 62 to expel six complete envelopes 43 from the pockets 58 of the transfer conveyor 46 into an intermediate conveyor 67 resembling a turret with twenty-four pivotable receptacles 68. One of the receptacles 68 is illustrated in detail in FIG. 5. This receptacle is secured to a shaft 69 which is fixed to an eccentric disk 70 having a pin which is connected with a link 71. The latter is articulately connected with a link 78 which is guided in ways 72 and carries at its lower end a roller follower 73 extending into the groove 74 of a cam 75. The means for intermittently driving the turret 67 with reference to the cam 75 comprises a shaft 77 (FIG. 2) whereby the links 71, 78 cause the receptacles 68 to turn on the shafts 69 in directions indicated in FIG. 5 by the arrow 76. The receptacles 68 accommodate cigarette packs 85 each of which comprises a block 1 of twenty cigarettes and a completely closed envelope 43 applied around such block. The position which the receptacle 68 of FIG. 5 assumes when the links 71, 78 reach their lower end positions is indicated by phantom lines.
The turret 67 cooperates with a labelling drum 80 which is driven by a shaft 82. The labels are shown at 81 and these labels are preferably applied across the closed tops of the envelopes 43. The labels 81 are held against the periphery of the drum 80 by suction in a manner well known from the art of filter cigarette machines. The drum I 80 is driven continuously in the direction indicated by arrow 84 (FIG. 1) and cooperates with an applicator cam 86 which moves successive plungers 87 radially outwardly to thereby transfer labels 81 onto the adjoining packs 85. The plungers 87 are mounted on the drum 80 and are biased inwardly. The cam 86 is adjacent to that portion of the drum 80 which is nearest to the turret 67. The latter then maintains that receptacle 68 which approaches the cam 86 in an angular position which is best suited for application of an adhesive-coated label 81 across the top of the respective pack 85.
The turret 67 further cooperates with six ejectors in the form of pushers or plungers 89 best shown in FIG. 2. The angular distance between the ejectors 89 is the same as that between the receptacles 68 of the turret 67 Each ejector 89 has a bore 88 which constitutes the discharge orifice of a supply conduit forming part of or associated with the testing device 4 in such a way that the orifice 88 discharges a relatively strong blast of air or another gas when the pack registering with the corresponding ejector 89 contains a block 1 which has been found to be defective during travel past the testing device 4. Packs 85 with defective blocks 1 are ejected in the direction indicated by arrow 91 to enter a collecting trough 90 or another suitable container. Satisfactory packs 85 are ejected by weaker blasts of air and travel in the directions indicated in FIG. 2 by an arrow 92 to come to rest on the upper stringer of an endless takeoff conveyor 93.
The apparatus of FIGS. 1 to preferably employs prefabricated envelopes 43 of the type having a fiat bottom, at least four flat side walls and an open top. The material of envelopes can be paper, cardboard, plastic, metallic foil or a combination thereof. Furthermore, the folding and tucking members 62, 64 can be omitted if each envelope 43 is to be closed by a cap of the type that is simply slipped over the open top of the envelope. Such envelopes and caps are presently in use for storage of certain brands of cigarettes. In other words, a pack 85 can include an envelope 43 which is obtained by deformation of one or more sheet-like blanks and is closed by deformation of its material, or an envelope which includes an open-ended main portion and a cap separably fitted over or into the main portion. Moreover, the envelope may consist of a single layer, two layers or even more than two layers of sheet material.
The operation of the apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 to 5 will be described with reference to FIG. 6.
When the apparatus is in use, the supply conveyor 2 travels intermittently and places successive groups of six cells 3 into registry with the testing device 4. Such groups travel in an arcuate supply path which is indicated by an arrow 120 and is located in a first plane 121, i.e., in the plane of the sprocket wheel 7. During travel into registry with the testing device 4, the cells 3 move in the direction indicated by arrow 122. The preceding group of six cells 3 is moved beyond the testing device 4 and each thereof registers with one of the pushers 29 when the supply conveyor 2 comes to a halt. The pushers 29 then simultaneously perform a working stroke to expel blocks 1 from the respective cells 3 and into the adjoining compacting devices 16 of the transfer members 6. Movements of blocks 1 under the action of pushers 29 are indicated in FIG. 6 by arrows 123, and it will be seen that the direction of such movement is normal to the plane 121 of the supply conveyor 2. The transfer members 6 then turn on respective pivot pins 27 and move the blocks 1 substantially radially of and away from the perpihery of the sprocket 7 (paths 15 shown in FIG. 1 and arrows 125 in FIG. 6). The plane of the transfer conveyor 5 is shown in FIG. 6 at 124. FIG. 6 shows quite clearly that, during travel in the directions indicated by arrows 125, the blocks 1 undergo a certain reorientation by turning through approximately 90 degrees so that their planes ultimately extend substantially radially of the axis of the sprocket 7. Furthermore, the blocks 1 are moved apart because the distance between the compacting members 16 increases When the transfer members 6 travel toward the solid-line positions shown in FIG. 1. When the compacting devices 16 assume their outer end positions, the respective blocks 1 are properly compacted and each thereof registers with the receiving end of the respective packing track. Spreading or separation of blocks 1 during travel with the compacting devices 16 is desirable because this provides more room for the various elements of the six packing units which are adjacent to the path of movement of blocks 1 along the respective packing tracks.
In the next stage of an operating cycle, the pushers 35 simultaneously perform a working stroke and expel the blocks 1 from, the respective compacting devices 16 whereby such blocks move longitudinally of their cigarettes and enter the mandrels 42 of the turret 40. Such movement of blocks 1 is indicated in FIG. 6 by arrows 127. The plane of the mandrels 42 is indicated by the numeral 126, and each of these mandrels is surrounded by a prefabricated envelope 43 one end of which is open and faces the respective pusher 35. The strokes of pushers 35 are long enough to effect movement of blocks 1 through and beyond the registering mandrels 42 so that the blocks strip the envelopes 43 off the mandrels and each thereof enters one of the pockets 58 in the transfer conveyor 46. The common plane of the pockets 58 is indicated in FIG. 6 by the numeral 128 and the directions in which the blocks 1 and envelopes 43 move with the pockets 58 radially inwardly along the corresponding guide rods 59 are indicated by arrows 129. The means for applying envelopes 43 to mandrels 42 which approach the space where they register with the pushers 35 are known in the art of cigarette packing machines and by themselves form no part of the present invention. It is also possible to form open-ended envelopes 43 directly on the mandrels 42 by repeatedly draping, folding, tucking and sealing blanks of cardboard, foil, paper or like material in a manner well known from the art. It is preferred to employ prefabricated envelopes 43 which are closed at their bottom ends so that the packing operation merely involves closing of the tops of envelopes and the application of labels 81. The tops of envelopes 43 are closed during travel along the respective guide rods 59 (arrows 129 in FIG. 6) and such closing is effected by folding members 62 and tucking members 64. When the pockets 58 reach the inner ends of the respective guide rods 59, the formation of packs 85 is completed and these packs are rather closely adjacent to each other so that each thereof registers with one of the pushers 65. These pushers then transfer the packs 85 into the registering receptacles 68 of the turret 67 (arrows 130 in FIG. 6). The plane of the turret 67 is shown at 132 and the arrow 133 indicates how the packs 85 are reoriented during travel with the receptacles 68 (refer to the description of FIG. 5) to have their tops facing the labelling drum 80. Once the drum applies a label 81 to the adjoining pack 85, the corresponding receptacle 68 pivots again in the direction indicated by arrow 134 and moves into registry with one of the six ejectors 89. The direction in which a blast of air issuing from an orifice 88 ejects a satisfactory pack is indicated in FIG. 6 by arrow 135, and such pack lands on the takeoff conveyor 93 which moves it in a common takeoff path indicated by arrow 136. Thus, satisfactory packs 85 form a single file.
If the labelling drum 80 is not needed, the discharging ends of the six packing tracks are located in the plane 128 and the satisfactory packs 85 are then ejected from the plane 128 directly onto the takeoff conveyor 93. Since the closing of envelopes 43 takes place in groups and is completed before the packs 85 begin to move in directions indicated by arrows 130, each complete cycle will result in the production of six packs 85. If the apparatus is to produce four hundred packs 85 per minute, the total number of indexing movements equals only 66 /3. This is a very small number and can be raised without any danger of affecting the quality of finished envelopes and/or of damaging the blocks 1.
The receiving ends of the aforementioned packing tracks are located in the plane 126 of FIG. 6, i.e., where the blocks or commodities of successive groups of six blocks each come in contact with the envelopes 43. The discharging ends of the packing tracks are located in the plane 128 of FIG. 6 where the pushers 65 transfer the blocks 1 and their envelopes 43 from the pockets 58, i.e., Where the transfer of packs 85 into the takeoff path (conveyor 93) begins. During travel from the plane 126 into the plane 128 of FIG. 6, the leading end of each block 1 bears against the closed bottom of the respective envelope 43 and causes the envelope to participate in the movement of the block into the registering pocket 58.
FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate a second packing apparatus which is also designed to turn out groups of six packs at a time. The blocks of twenty cigarettes each are shown at 201, and such blocks are assembled in the cells of an endless supply conveyor 203 which receives cigarettes from a suitable feed including a magazine 202. Finished cigarette packs 204 are delivered to an endless takeoff conveyor 205 subsequent to travel with a rotary indexible turret-shaped wrapping conveyor (hereinafter called turret) 206 which is disposed between the planes of the conveyors 203, 205. The supply conveyor 203 is trained around two sprocket wheels 207, 208 the latter of which is driven intermittently. The takeoff conveyor 205 is trained around sprocket wheels 209, 211 the latter of which is driven at regular intervals. The sprocket wheels 208, 211 are mounted on a common drive shaft 212 and the hub of the sprocket wheel 208 has projections extending through slits 213 provided in a hollow shaft 214 which surrounds the shaft 212. The shaft 214 is coaxial with the drive shaft 212 and carries the turret 206. The shaft 212 is journalled in the hollow shaft 214 and in the frame 215 of the apparatus. Both ends of the shaft 214 are mounted in the frame 215. The drives for the shafts 212, 214 respectively comprise Geneva transmissions 216, 217, and each of these transmissions receives motion from the main motor of the apparatus, for example, from a suitable electric motor which is not shown in the drawings. The transmission 217 comprises a spur gear 218, a second spur gear (not shown) in mesh with the spur gear 218, a disk 219 which carries rollers 221 and a disk-shaped cam (not shown). The transmission 216 comprises a spur gear 222, a second spur gear (not shown), a disk 223 with rollers 224, and a disk-shaped cam (not shown). The nature of the drive is such that the sprocket wheels 208, 211 (and hence the endless conveyors 203, 205) and the turret 206 advance in stepwise fashion, always by distances which equal the combined length of six cells on the conveyor 203 or 205. The chains of the conveyors 203, 205 are driven in synchronism but the movements of turret 206 are out of phase, i.e., the turret 206 lags behind or travels ahead of the conveyors 203, 205.
The turret 206 is flanked by two transfer conveyors 225, 226 each of which comprises a system of six transfer members or levers 227, 228, respectively. Each lever 227 is turnably mounted on a separate pivot pin 229 which also carries one of the levers 228. The pins 229 are mounted in a frame member 231 which can form part of the aforementioned frame 215. The levers 227 and the associated levers 228 are connected to each other by systems of coupling rods or bars 232 each of which receives motion from a separate rod 233 which receives motion from a suitable cam drive or the like, not shown. Each rod 233 is particulately connected with the respective system of bars 232. Each lever 227 shares all movements of the associated lever 228 which is in contrast to the operation of apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 to 6 wherein the transfer members 6 need not move in synchronism with transfer members 47.
The free ends of the levers 227 are provided with combined transferring and compacting devices 234 which are analogous to the devices 16, and the levers 228 are provided with pockets 236 each of which has an elongated slot 235. Six pushers 237 serve as a means for shifting six blocks 201 at a time so that such blocks leave the cells of the endless supply conveyor 203 and enter the adjoining compacting devices 234 of the levers 227. The pushers 237 are disposed along an arc and their mutual spacing is the same as that between the cells of the conveyor 203. The means for expelling compacted blocks 201 from the devices 234 into the hollow mandrels 210 of the turret 206 and for moving such compacted blocks through and beyond the mandrels 210 and into the pockets 236 comprises six additional pushers 241 mounted on a carriage 239. Of course, the pushers 241 also remove envelopes 238 which are placed onto the mandrels 210 before they move into registry with the compacting devices 234. The pushers 241 are disposed along an arc and their distance from each other is the same as that between the mandrels 210. The carriage 239 is movable along guide rods 243 which are mounted on a holder 242, the latter being rigid with the frame 215. The carriage 239 receives motion from a rod 244 which is articulately connected thereto and carries a crank arm 245 shown in the lefthand portion of FIG. 8. The crank arm 245 is rigid with a shaft 246 which forms part of a Geneva transmission 247 which latter further includes a second shaft 248, a first gear (not shown), a second gear 249, a disk 251, rollers 252 on the disk 251, a cam 253, a disk 254, rollers 255 on the disk 254, and a cam 256. The transmission 247 receives motion from the aforementioned main motor through a suitable gear transmission of conventional design (not shown). The aforementioned unillustrated gear constitutes the input member of the transmission 247 and meshes with the gear 249.
The means for delivering blocks 201 with envelopes 238 applied thereto from the pockets 236 of the transfer conveyor 226 into the cells of the takeoff conveyor 205 comprises six pushers 257 which are adjacent to the sprocket wheel 211 and are spaced apart the same distance as the cells of the takeoff conveyor 205. The pushers 257 are mounted on a carriage 258 which is reciprocable in ways 259 provided on the frame 215. The carriage 258 is coupled to the upper arm of a two-armed motion trnasmitting lever 261 which is turnable on a pivot pin 262 carried by the frame 215. The lower arm of the lever 261 is coupled to a link 263 which receives motion from a two-armed lever 264 having a roller follower 265 and a counterroller 266. The lever 264 is turnable on a fixed pivot pin 267 and the follower 265 tracks a disk-shaped cam 269 which is mounted on a camshaft 268. The counterroller 266 tracks a second earn 271 which is also mounted on the camshaft 268. The latter receives motion from the main motor through the intermediary of a suitable transmission (not shown in FIG. 8) and drives the cams 269, 271 in synchronism with other driven parts of the packing apparatus.
The camshaft 268 further transmits motion to six ejectors or pushers 273 which are mounted on a carriage 272 and serve to expel finished packs 204 from the cells of the endless takeoff conveyor 205 onto a second takeoff conveyor 274 in the form of an endless belt. To this end, the camshaft 268 carries a further disk-shaped cam 275 and a second cam 276. These cams respectively cooperate with a roller follower 278 and a counterroller 279 both mounted on one arm of a two-armed lever 277 which is coupled to the carriage 272 by a link 281. The carriage 272 is guided by rods 282 mounted on a subfrarne 283 which also supports the pivot pin 267.
The camshaft 268 further transmits motion to six back supports or anvils 284 which are disposed along an arc and are mounted on a holder 286 supported by leaf springs 285. The distance between the back supports 284 is the same as that between the mandrels 210 on the turret 206. The holder 286 is articulately connected with an eccentric 287 on the camshaft 268. Each back support 284 is aligned with tamping ram 288 and each of these rams is yieldably mounted on a carriage 291 by means of a helical spring 289. The carriage 291 is movable along guide rods 292 which are mounted in the frame 215 and it receives motion from the shaft 246 of the Geneva transmission 247 through the intermediary of a rod 293 and a crank arm 294. The rams 288 and the back supports 284 cooperate to shape the bottoms of envelopes 238 on the mandrels 210 of the turret 206.
The folding and tucking members of the apparatus shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 which serve to close the tops of envelopes 238 include a composite folding member 295 which is similar to the one disclosed in German Utility Model No. 1,934,936 and comprises three individual folding portions, and a movable tucking member 296 located upstream of the folding member 295 and driven in synchronism with the endless takeoff conveyor 205. The members 295, 296 are followed by six labelling devices 297 which apply labels 298 to the closed tops of six envelpoes 238 in a single step.
FIG. 7 further shows a magazine 299 with six ducts 301 for defective cigarette packs 204. The magazine 299 receives such defective packs from the takeoff conveyor 205 in response to impulses transmitted by a testing device 302 adjacent to the sprocket wheel 208. The second takeoff conveyor 274 cooperates with a further conveyor 303 which is disposed in a vertical plane and serves to receive packs 204 from the takeoff conveyor 274 and to move them to a level which is best suited for evacuation of packs 204 from the apparatus.
The operation of the apparatus shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 is basically the same as that of the previously described apparatus. Groups of six blocks 201 each are advanced stepwise from the magazine 202 and travel in the cells of the supply conveyor 203 around the sprocket wheel 207 toward the testing device 302. This device 302 is adjacent to the driven sprocket wheel 208 and it tests six blocks 201 at a time, always during an interval between successive advances of the supply conveyor 203. The first transfer conveyor 225 reecives six blocks 201 at a time while the blocks move with the supply conveyor 203 whereby the compacting devices 234 compact the blocks 201 prior to transfer into the hollow mandrels 210, i.e., into six open-ended envelopes 238. The tops of the envelopes 238 are closed during travel past the composite folding member 295 and movable tucking member 296. The envelopes 238 are prefabricated and are applied to the mandrels 210 upstream of the region where the mandrels receive blocks 201 from the compacting devices 234.
The members 296, 295 provide the tops of envelopes with two small tucks and with two large flaps which overlie the tucks in a manner well known from popular cigarette packs. Such tucking and folding takes place during travel of envelopes 238 in the cells of the takeoff conveyor 205. Furthermore, the labelling devices 297 apply six labels 298 in a simultaneous operation while the conveyor 205 is at a standstill.
Higher output of our improved packing apparatus is attributed to the fact that the envelopes are not closed and/or sealed one after the other but are closed in groups during such stages of successive operating cycles which are relatively long, and also to the fact that the packing apparatus preferably employs prefabricated envelopes each of which is closed at the bottom so that the completion of packs merely requires closing of the tops of envelopes and, if necessary, the application of tax labels. Moreover, and since the envelopes are preferably prefabricated, there is more time for careful closing of their tops and for the application of labels so that the output of our apparatus is higher than that of conventional apparatus even though the closing of tops of envelopes need not require less time than heretofore. As a matter of fact, such closing and the application of labels-can take longer than in conventional packing apparatus but the output is still considerably higher. This protects the blocks against damage or deformation and insures the formation of eyepleasing and properly closed envelopes. Still further, the wear on moving parts is less than in conventional apparatus because the output is increased due to simultaneous packing of groups of blocks and due to use of prefabricated envelopes, not because the moving parts of the improved apparatus travel at a very high speed.
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 our contribution to the art and, therefore, such adaptations should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the claims.
What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims.
1. A method of packing arrays of cigarettes or like block-shaped commodities according to which a commodity is provided with an envelope while travelling between the receiving and discharging ends of a packing track, comprising the steps of advancing successive groups containing predetermined numbers of commodities along a supply path; simultaneously transferring the commodities of a plurality of successive groups from said supply path to the receiving ends of separate packing tracks; simultaneously transporting the commodities toward the discharging ends of the respective tracks; applying envelopes around the commodities during transport toward the respective discharging ends; simultaneously transferring the commodities from the discharging ends of said tracks into a takeoff path; and advancing successive groups of commodities along said takeoff path.
2. A method as defined in claim 1, wherein said groups are advanced stepwise along at least one of said paths.
3. A method as defined in claim 1, wherein the commodities of said groups form a single file in at least one of said paths.
4. A method as defined in claim 1, wherein said transporting step comprises moving said commodities simultaneously away from the respective receiving ends and transporting all of the commodities at the same speed along the respective packing tracks.
5. A method as defined in claim 1, wherein said first transferring step comprises moving the commodities of successive groups substantially at right angles to the direction in which the commodities advance along said supply path.
6. A method as defined in claim 5, wherein the groups advancing in said supply path are located in a common plane.
7. A method as defined in claim 5, wherein said first transferring step comprises pushing the commodities of successive groups from said common plane.
8. A method as defined in claim 1, wherein at least a portion of said supply path is of arcuate shape.
9. A method as defined in claim 1, wherein at least a portion of said takeoff path is of arcuate shape.
10. A method as defined in claim 1, further comprising the step of testing the integrity of commodities in successive groups along said supply path.
11. A method as defined in claim 1, further comprising the step of compacting the commodities during transfer of said groups from the supply path to the receiving ends of said tracks.
12. A method as defined in claim 1, wherein said envelopes have closed bottoms and open tops and wherein said applying step comprises placing an envelope into each of said tracks, introducing the commodities through the open tops of the respective envelopes, and moving the thus introduced commodities against the bottoms of the respective envelopes so that the envelopes thereupon share the movement of commodities toward the respective discharging ends.
13. A method as defined in claim 1, further comprising the step of changing the orientation of commodities during transfer of said groups from said supply path.
14. A method as defined in claim 13, wherein said last mentioned step comprises turning the commodities.
15. A method as defined in claim 1, further comprising the step of closing the envelopes during transfer of commodities into said takeoff path.
16. A method as defined in claim 1, further comprising the step of closing the envelopes during transport of commodities along the respective tracks.
17. A method as defined in claim 1, further comprising the step of closing the envelopes subsequent to transfer of commodities into said takeoff path.
18. A method as defined in claim 1, further comprising the steps of closing the envelopes not later than in said takeoff path and applying a label to each closed envelope.
19. A method as defined in claim 1, further comprising the step of testing the integrity of commodities in said supply path, and segregating envelopes containing defective commodities downstream of said discharging ends.
20. Apparatus for packing arrays of cigarettes or like block-shaped commodities in envelopes, comprising supply conveyor means for advancing successive groups of commodities along a supply path; Wrapping conveyor means provided with supporting means for supporting envelopes; first transfer conveyor means for simultaneously delivering a plurality of successive groups of commodities from said supply conveyor means into the envelopes on said wrapping conveyor means; second transfer conveyor means for removing successive groups of wrapped commodities from said wrapping conveyor means; and takeoff conveyor means for receiving groups of wrapped commodities from said second transfer conveyor means.
21. Apparatus as defined in claim 20, further comprising drive means for advancing said supply conveyor means stepwise.
22. Apparatus as defined in claim 20, further comprising means for closing the envelopes while such envelopes travel with one of said takeoff and second transfer conveyor means.
23. Apparatus as defined in claim 20, wherein all of said conveyor means are disposed in separate planes.
24. Apparatus as defined in claim 23, wherein the plane of said wrapping conveyor means is located between the planes of said first and second conveyor means and the planes of said first and second transfer conveyor means are located between the planes of said supply and takeoff conveyor means.
25. Apparatus as defined in claim 20, wherein each of said supply and takeoff conveyor means comprises an endless conveyor and each of said transfer conveyor means comprises a plurality of transfer members movable with reference to each other and each having a transferring device for receiving one commodity at a time. t
26. Apparatus as defined in claim 20, further comprising coupling means connecting said first and second transfer conveyor means.
27. Apparatus as defined in claim 20, further comprising testing means adjacent to said supply path and comprising means for simultaneously testing the integrity of commodities in successive groups.
28. Apparatus as defined in claim 20, wherein said first transfer conveyor means comprises a set of transferring devices each adapted to accommodate one commodity of a group and means for simultaneously moving said transferring devices between receiving and delivery positions in synchronism with movements of said supply conveyor means.
29. Apparatus as defined in claim 28, wherein said first transfer conveyor means further comprises expelling means for simultaneously removing the commodities of a group from said supply conveyor means into said transferring devices.
30. Apparatus as defined in claim 29, wherein said expelling means comprises a plurality of pushers.
31. Apparatus as defined in claim 28, wherein said transferring devices comprise means for compacting the commodities prior to delivery to said wrapping conveyor means.
32. Apparatus as defined in claim 28, wherein the means for moving said transferring devices comprises levers each connected with one of said devices and each turnable about a fixed pivot axis, and means for turning said levers to move said devices simultaneously and in synchronism with movements of said supply conveyor means.
33. Apparatus as defined in claim 20, wherein said wrapping conveyor means comprises a turret rotatable about a fixed axis and said supporting means comprises a plurality of equidistant hollow mandrels on said turret.
34. Apparatus as defined in claim 33, wherein said turret comprises in times It mandrels wherein m is a whole number and n is the number of commodities in a group.
35. Apparatus as defined in claim 34, wherein said first transfer conveyor means further comprises pusher means for simultaneously expelling the commodities of a group into the mandrels of said turret.
36. Apparatus as defined in claim 35, wherein said first transfer conveyor means further comprises 11 compacting devices receiving the commodities of successive groups from said supply conveyor means and movable into registry with said pusher means.
37. Apparatus as defined in claim 20, further comprising labelling means for applying labels to envelopes subsequent to removal of such envelopes from said wrapping conveyor means.
38. Apparatus as defined in claim 37, further comprising intermediate conveyor means cooperating with said labelling means and disposed between said second transfer conveyor means and said takeoff conveyor means.
39. Apparatus as defined in claim 20, further comprising means for closing the envelopes on said takeoff conveyor means.
40. Apparatus as defined in claim 20, further comprising testing means for testing the integrity of commodities on said supply conveyor means and ejector means coopcrating with said testing means and arranged to segregate envelopes containing defective commodities.
41. Apparatus as defined in claim 20, wherein each said supply and takeoff conveyor means comprises an endless cell conveyor and further comprising common drive means for said endless conveyors.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,870,533 8/1932 Scott et al 5337 X 3,057,126 10/1962 Chambers et a]. 5324 3,058,275 10/1962 Horgan 53192 X FOREIGN PATENTS 768,525 2/1957 Great Britain.
THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner R. L. SPRUILL, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.