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Publication numberUS3499555 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 10, 1970
Filing dateApr 10, 1968
Priority dateApr 19, 1967
Also published asDE1586087A1
Publication numberUS 3499555 A, US 3499555A, US-A-3499555, US3499555 A, US3499555A
InventorsWahle Gunter
Original AssigneeHauni Werke Koerber & Co Kg
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for transporting and storing cigarette packs or the like
US 3499555 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 10, 1970 gum-ER WAHL 3,499,555

APPARATUS FOR TRANSPORTING AND STORING CIGARETTE PACKS OR THE LIKE Filed April 10, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 March 10, 1970 GUNTER WAHLE APPARATUS FOR TRANSPORTING AND STORING OR THE LIKE 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 CIGARETTE PACKS Filed April 10, 1968 March 10, 1970 GUNTER WAHLE 3,499,555

APPARATUS FOR TRANSPORTING AND STORING CIGARETTE PACKS OR THE vLIKE Filed April 10, 1968 r 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 R3 im 09 mm 9% mm a b M United States Patent Q ABSTRACT OF DISCLOSURE Apparatus for transporting cigarette packs from a first 15 Claims 1 p 3,499,555 Patented Mar. 10, 1970 carried out in automatic response to changes in the rate 3 of commodity travel from the first to'the second station.

The improved apparatus is utilized to transport and store cigarette packs or analogous (preferably boxshaped) commodities between a first station which can accommodate one or more producing machines and a second station which can accommodate one or more con suming machines. The apparatus comprises first conveyor means operative to transport commodities from the first station, preferably in such a Way that the commodities to a second packing machine comprises a belt which transports a row of packs along a horizontal path, a magazine having an endless conveyor provided' with a series of narrow elongated compartments which are movable into registry with the packs on the belt by a reversible form a single elongated row of equidistant commodities, a magazine comprising preferably endless second conveyor means' adjacent to the first conveyor means and having a plurality of compartments each dimensioned to accommodate a group of commodities, preferably a group Y which forms a single horizontal file or row of commodidrive for the conveyor, and a transfer mechanism which can shift groups of packs from the belt into the compartments or vice versa, depending upon whether the'output of the first packing machine eXceeds the'requirements of the second packing machine or vice versa.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present inventionrelates to apparatus for trans; porting and storing cigarette packs or other types of commodities. More particularly, the invention relates to improvements in apparatus for transporting'cigarette packs or the like from a first station which can accommodate one or 'more producing machines to a second station which can accommodate one or more consuming machines and for temporarily storing all such packs which cannot be accepted at the second station, for example, because a consuming machine is arrested or breaks down;

US. Patent No. 3,342,350 discloses an apparatus wherein a conveyor transports cigarette packs alonga magazine: which is provided with several .rowsof vertical-compart-- ments each adapted to accommodate a stack of packs which can be introduced at the top and removedsat the bottom or vice versa. A serious drawback of such. appa;. ratus is that the packs which are located at the bottom of a stack are compressed and deformed by theremaining packs of the stack. Such deformation is especially pro-,1

"ties, reversible drive means for the second conveyor means, such'drivemeans preferably including an indexing mechanism capable of moving the second conveyor means stepwise so as to place successive compartments into registry with commodities on the first conveyor means,

" and transfer means for moving groups of commodities from the first conveyor means into selected compartments of theisecond conveyor means and for removing groups of commodities from the compartments for delivery to the second station.

*The first conveyor means preferably comprises a por tion which extends along an elongated straight substantially horizontal path which is parallelwith the longitudinal directions of campartments in the second con veyor means, and the second conveyor means comprises "elongated partitions which separate the compartments from eaeh'other and prevent a group of commodities in one' compartment from resting upon and transmitting 5 deforming pressure to commodities in the compartment therebelow.

1 meansfor monitoring the rate of commodity travel from of. compartments wit nounced if the magazine accommodates so-calledzsoft station 'in'such a way that the thusl'stored packsate not-" subjected to any appreciable deforming'stressesf U Another object of 'the-ginventio'n' is to providej-a'n apjparatus which cantemporarily store cigarette packs or like box-shaped commodities at a rate at whielrsuchcomiriodi from the firstf conveyormeansa the first station, and means for terminating the delivery of commodities to the first conveyor means at the first station in respons to fillingof a -predeterminednumber groups of commodities removed The, novel f :atures .which are considered as -,eharac-; teri sti "of the'finvention. are set forth in particular in the, app; elaims,{The improved-transporting apparatus}; itself, however,both,as,to.its, construction and its mode operation, together withadditional features and advan-- tage's' thereo'f ,,wil1,be hestinnderstoodfuponperusal of ;the following detaile'dvdes'crip'tion of certain specificembodie:

ments with 'refererice .to the accompanying drawing;

PBRIEF R-IPI O i QFCTHE' DIFAWWG ties issue from a modern high-speed 'producingmachine,

high-speedconsuming machinesat the second station.

A further object-of the invention. is to;-proyide-;the,;.- apparatus with a novelmagazine of surplus commodities. An additional objectofythe invention is tofiprovide for ,temporary-.;stor:age 4:

an apparatus ofthe above outlined character wherein the 7 storage ofsurplus commodities in the evacuation of stored commodities-from the magazine e an;. be initiatedqand 3:

FIG; 1; is a perspectiveflview {of a 'transporting apparatus with ,twotran'sfer units which embodies one form of. I myrinvention; v Y? FI G 2, is an enlarged fragmentary perspective viewof a detailtin the',eonveyor -means of the magazine in the apparatus'of FIG. k e y ;EIG,-;f3 is a similar fragmentary perspective view of: a detailjnzi modified-conveyor;.iineans'Iwhich can be .ntiIized gin-the magazine: of "the apparatus? shown --in' :FIG.;I .4 is a diagrammaticlview of the programming systemifor the apparatus of FIG.--'-1:; t FIG; 5; illustrates the details'of- 'an' electronic control v circuitjimthe programming" systeiir=.'of*FI'G.-* 4; and i 'FIG. 6 is a fragmentary perspective view of a second transporting apparatus with a single transfer unit.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The apparatus of FIG. 1 is employed to transport cigarette packs 3 from a first station which accommodates a producing machine 1 to a second station accommodating a receiving or consuming machine 2. For example, the machine 1 may constitute a single cigarette packing machine or a battery of packing machines wherein arrays of twenty cigarettes each are provided with singleply or multiple-ply envelopes consisting of paper, cardboard, metallic foil or like wrapping material, and the machine 2 may constitute a single packing machine or a battery of packing machines adapted to provide packs 3 with outer wrappers of transparent or translucent plastic material. Such transparent or translucent wrappers may embody customary tear strips.

The apparatus comprises an intermittently or continuously travelling transporting conveyor having an endless conveyor belt 4 which advances a single row of preferably equidistant packs 3 along an elongated straight horizontal path in a direction from the machine 1 to the machine 2. This belt 4 advances the packs along a magazine -6 which comprises a frame including a pair of spaced upright frame members or walls 7, 8 supporting two horizontal shafts 9, 11 which respectively carry sprocket wheels 12, 13 and 14, 16. One or more crossheads may be provided to connect the walls 7, 8 to each other. Endless chains 17, 18 are respectively trained over the sprocket wheels 12, 14 and 13, 16, and these chains carry a plurality of equidistant horizontal partitions or shelves 19 which define a series of narrow elongated horizontal compartments 21. The parts 9-19 together form an endless second conveyor which i adjacent to the path along which the packs travel. with the belt 4. Arcuate shields 22, 23 are respectively mounted between the upper and lower sprocket wheels 12, 13 and 14, 16; these shields are afiixed to the walls 7, 8 and respectively constitute inner and outer boundaries of compartments 21 which happen to be located at the upper and lower ends of the magazine 6. That compartment 21 which is adjacent to the row of packs 3 on the belt 4 is open at two sides, namely, at'the side which is adjacent to the belt and at the side which faces away from the belt.

As shown in FIG. 2, the partitions 19 can be secured to supporting brackets 26 which are carried by the pins 24 of the chains 17, 18. The numeral 27 denotes rivets which secure the partitions to the brackets 26. Alternatively, and as shown in FIG. 3, the partitions 19 can be riveted at 27 to brackets 28 which are rigid with the links of the chains 17, 18. In the first instance, the partitions 19 are outwardly adjacent to the chains 17, 18 (see FIGS. 1 and 2). In the second instance, the partitions 19 extend into the spaces between the chains 17, 18 as shown in FIG. 3. Upwardly bent stop portions 19a of partitions 19 limit the extent of displacement of packs 3 in a direction away from the belt 4. These stop portions 19a are shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.

The drive for the chains 17, 18 comprises an indexing mechanism which can advance the chains in a counterclockwise or in a clockwise direction. This drive includes a reversible electric motor 29 mounted on a platform 31 which is secured to the outer side of the wall 7, an electromagnetic clutch 32 on the output shaft of the motor 29, a driver shaft 34 which is mounted in a bearing 33 secured to the platform 31 and receives torque from the driven element of the clutch 32, a sprocket wheel 36 on the shaft 34, a worm shaft 42 mounted in bearings 41 carried by an upper platform 3901 the wall 7, a sprocket wheel 38 on the worm shaft 42, a chain 37 trained over sprocket wheels 36, 38, a worm 43 on the shaft 42, and a worm wheel 44 on the shaft 9. A detent '4 wheel 46 on the shaft 9 has equidistant peripheral notches -47 adapted to receive the tip of a detent pin 48 which constitutes the armature of an electromagnet 49 mounted on the wall 7.

The apparatus further comprises a transfer mechanism composed of two transfer units having elongated transfer members or plungers 51, 52 (see FIGS. 1 and 4) which respectively serve to transfer surplus packs 3 from the belt 4 into compartments 21 and to transfer packs from such compartments back onto the belt 4. The length of plungers 51, 52 corresponds to the length of a compartment 21 and these plungers are reciprocable in planes which are located slightly above the plane of the belt 4. The lower stretch of the belt 4 is not shown in the drawing. The plunger 51 is located at the outer side of the belt 4 and the plunger 52 is mounted in the interior of the magazine 6, namely, in the space between the chains 17, 18. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, the plunger 51 has a piston rod 53 extending into the cylinder 58 of a pneumatic motor 54 and is secured to a piston 56 which is biased by a spring 57 tending to move the plunger 51 to retracted position. The other plunger 52 has a piston rod '63 (FIG. 4) extending into the cylinder 68 of a pneumatic motor 64 and secured to a piston 66 which is biased to retracted position by a helical spring 67. The cylinder 58 is connected with a spring-biased solenoid valve 61 by a conduit 59 and the valve 61 is connected with a blower 77 by conduits 73, 76. A solenoid for the valve 61 is shown at '62. The cylinder 68 is connected with a second spring-biased solenoid valve 71 by a conduit 69 and the valve 71 is connected with the conduit 76 (and hence with the blower 77) by a further conduit 74. A solenoid for the valve 71 is shown at 72.

The programming system which regulates the operation of the drive for chains 17, 18 and the operation of motors 54, 64 comprises two photoelectric detectors 78, 79 and limit switches 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, all shown in FIG. 4. The limit switch 81 and detectors 78, 79 are also shown in FIG. 1. The programming system further comprises a signal generator 87, relays 88, 89, 91, 92, an electronic control circuit 93 (shown in detail in FIG. 5) and a control switch 94. All of these parts are shown in FIG. 4 and some thereof are also shown in FIG. 1. FIG. 1 shows that the detector 78 is mounted on one arm of a lever which is screwed or bolted to the platform 31. The detector 79 is mounted on an arm 96 which is rigidly secured to the wall 8. The limit switch 81 is mounted on the other arm of the lever 95 at a level above the belt 4 upstream of the plunger 51. The limit switches 82, 83, 86 are adjacent to the belt 4 at such a level that their movable contacts extend into that compartment 21 which registers with the plunger 51. As shown in FIG. 4, the limit switches 82, 83, 86 are installed in the space between the belt 4 and the plunger 52 (in retracted position of this plunger). The partitions 19 are provided with suitable slots (not shown) for the movable contacts of limit switches 82, 83, 86. The limit switch 84 is fixedly mounted at a level slightly below the limit switches 82, 83, 86 so that its movable contact extends into the compartment 21 directly below that which registers with the plunger 51. The relay 92 serves to reverse the direction of rotation of the motor 29.

The signal generator 87 comprises a pawl 97 which constitutes a leaf spring and is mounted on the plunger 51, a ratchet wheel 101 which cooperates with the pawl 97 and is rotatable on a shaft 99, an annulus of equidistant contacts 98 on the ratchet wheel 101, and a fixed contact arm 102 secured to the shaft 99 and adapted to engage successive contacts 98 in response to angular displacement of the ratchet wheel 101. The arm 102 does not engage a contact 98 when the ratchet wheel 101 is at rest. The control switch 94 opens or closes in dependency on the operating condition of the consuming machine 2. For example, the switch 94 may constitute a conventional centrifugal switch which closes when the speed of its movable contact decreases below a predetermined value indicating a certain operating condition of the consuming machine 2.

As shown in FIG. 5, the electronic control circuit 93 comprises two pulse shapers 103, 104, an OR-gate 106 and two AND-gates 107, 108. The input of the pulse shaper 103 is connected with the photoelectric detector 78 by a conductor 109 and the input of the pulse shaper 104 is connected with the detector 79 by a second conductor 111. The OR-gate 106 has two plus inputs one of which is connected with the output of the pulse shaper 103 by a conductor 112. A conductor 113 connects the other plus input of the OR-gate 106 with the output of the pulse shaper 104. A minus output of the OR-gate 106 is connected with first plus inputs of AND-gates 107, 108 by conductors 114, 116, 117. A conductor 118 connects a second plus input of the AND-gate 107 with the conductor 111, and a furtherv conductor 119 connects the third plus input of the AND-gate 107 with theconductor 109. The AND-gate 108 comprises two minus inputs one of which is connected with the conductor 109 by way of a conductor 121 and the other of which is connected with the conductor 111 by way of a conductor 122.,The plus'output of the AND-gate 107 is connected with one fixed contact of the limit switch 82 by a conductor 123, and the plus output of the AND-gate 108 connected with a conductor 126 (see FIG. 4) by way of a conductor 124.

The source of electrical energy. for the motor 29 comprises three power. leads 127, 128, 129 (FIG. 4) and a zero lead 131. A master switch 132 is connected in leads 127-129 to shut otf the supply of energy to the apparatus when necessary. This motor 29 is connected with internal conductors 137, 138, 139 of the relay 92 by conductors 133, 134, 136. The internal conductors 137, 138, 139 respectively connect fixed contacts of relay switches 146, 147, 148 with fixed contacts of relay switches 141, 142, 143 in the relay 92. The other contacts of switches 141, 142, 143 and 146, 147, 148 are respectively connected with power leads 127, 128, 129 by conductors 151, 152, 153 and 154, 156, 157. The fixed contacts of a further relay switch 144 in the relay 92 are connected with one winding 159 of this relay by a conductor 158 andv with one fixed contact of a relay switch 162 in the relay 88 by a further conductor 161. The fixed contacts of a further relay switch 149 in the relay 92 are connected with another winding 166 of this relay by a conductor 164 and with a fixed contact of the relay. switch 168 in the relay 89 by way of a conductor 167. The relay 89 has a second switch 169 having two fixed contacts one of which is connected with the power lead 127 by conductors 172, 173. A further conductor 174 connects the other contact of relay switch 169 with a clutch (not shown) in thedrivefor the producing ma: chine 1. A third relay switch 171 of the relay.89 has two fixed contacts one of'which is connected with the.

a conductor 179 which connects a fixed contact" of the control switch 94 withrthev windingof the relay.89. The winding-of relay 89 is further connected with a conductor 182 (by way of a conductor 181) and the conductor 182 connects the zero lead 131 with the winding of the solenoid 62 for the valve 61. A conductor 1 83connects the conductor 182 with a conductor 184 which connectsthe windings 159, 166 of the relay 92. The other'fixed contact of the limit switch 86 is connected with one fixed contact of a second relay switch 163 in the relay 88 by. a conductor 186; the other fixed contact of the switch 163 is connected with the power lead 127 by a conductor 187. A conductor 188 which branches from the conductor 186 6. is connected to a conductor 100, the'latter serving to connect the contacts 98 on the ratchet wheel 101. Another branch conductor 189 connects the conductor 186 with the other fixed contact of the control switch 94. The contact arm 102 of the signal generator 87 is connected with the winding of the relay 91 by way of the aforementioned conductor 126. The winding of the relay 91 is further connected with the conductor 182 by way of a conductor 192. One fixed contact of the relay switch 193 in relay 91 is connected with the electromagnet 49 by a conductor 194 and the other fixed contact of switch 193 is connected with a rectifier 197 by way of a further conductor 196. The rectifier 197 receives voltage by way of conductors 198, 199 which are respectively connected to leads 127, 131. A conductor 201 connects the electromagnetic clutch 32 with the rectifier 197, and the conductor 201 is connected with the electromagnet 49 by way of conductor 203. The detent pin 48 carries the movable contacts of two switches 204, 206. The fixed contacts of the switch 204 are connected with conductors 207, 208 which are respectively connected with clutch 32 and conductor 196. The fixed contacts of the switch 206 are connected with conductors 209, 211 which are respectively connected to power lead 127 and conductor 161.

The fixed contacts of the limit switch 81 are connected with conductors 212, 213 which are respectively connected with the conductor 176 and with the winding of the relay 88. The winding of the relay 88 is also connected with the zero lead 131 by way of a conductor 214.

The other fixed contact of the limit switch 82 is connected with the solenoid 62 by way of a conductor 216. One fixed contact of the limit switch 83 is connected with the solenoid 72 by a conductor 218; the other fixed contact of the limit switch 83 is connected with the conductor 176 by a conductor 217. A further conductor 219 connects the solenoid 72 with the conductor 182. The fixed con-- tacts of the limit switch 84 are connected with conductors 221, 222 which are respectively connected to the conductor 174 and conductor 173.

The operation is as follows:

The conveyor 9-19 of the magazine 6 is idle when. the continuously moving belt 4 transports cigarette packs 3 at a normal frequency. The belt 4 then transports cigarette packs 3 at identical intervals and such packs enter into and are processed in the consuming machine 2 when the. latters requirements match the output of the producing machine 1. The control switch 94 is open because the consuming machine 2 operates at normal speed and the detectors 78, 79 produce a series of discrete signals at the rate at which the packs 3 travel therealong. The limit switch 81 is open because its movable contact is liftedeby the packs 3. It will be noted that the runner 814 on the movable contact of the limit switch 81 is long enough to be simultaneously engaged and held in raised position by two successive packs 3. The detectors 78, 79 transmit 32 is also deenergized. Relays 88 and 89 aredeenergized because the control switch94 is open and because the limit switch 81 is also open. The circuit of the motor 29 is 'open.

The magazine the requirements of the consuming machine 2 'b'ecause the width of gaps between the packs on the belt 4 then decreases so-that each of the detectors 78, 79 sends'acontinuous signal instead of a sequence of discrete signals. Each .detector comprises a photosensitive receiver and a- '6 receives cigarette packs 3 from the belt 4 when'the output of the producing machine exceeds its runner 81a rests on the adjacent pack or packs 3. The

photocurrents transmitted by the receivers of detectors 78, 79 cause the control circuit 93 to send a voltage signal by way of the conductor 123, limit switch 82 (which is closed as shown in FIG. 4), and conductor 216 to energize the solenoid 62 for the valve 61. The limit switch 82 is closed when the compartment 21 which is adjacent to the plunger 51 is not filled with cigarette packs 3. The valve 61 admits compressed air from the blower 77 into the cylinder 58 of the motor 54 (by way of conduits 76, 73) and the piston 56 moves the plunger 51 by way of tht piston rod 53 so that the plunger 51 performs a working stroke and transfers a group or file of cigarette packs 3 into the adjoining compartment 21 of the magazine 6. In the embodiment which is shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, the plunger 51 can transfer eight cigarette packs at a time provided, of course, that such packs are sufiiciently close to each other. The thus admitted file or group of packs 3 actuates the limit switches 82, '83 and 86, i.e., the limit switch 82 opens and the limit switches 83 and 86 close. The limit switch 82 then opens the circuit of the solenoid 62 for the valve 61 whereby the spring in the valve 61 causes the latter to seal the conduit 59 from the conduits 73, 76 and blower 77. The valve 61 then connects the conduit 59 with the atmosphere so that the spring 57 in the cylinder 58 of the motor 54 can expand in order to return the plunger 51 to the retracted position shown in FIG. 4. The returning plunger 51 causes the pawl 97 to index the ratchet wheel 101 of the signal generator 87 in a clockwise direction. The fixed contact arm 102 comes in temporary contact with one of the contacts 98 on the ratchet wheel 101 and causes short-lasting energization of the relay 91 which closes its switch 193. This completes the circuit of electromagnet 49 which withdraws the detent pin 48 from the adjoining notch 47 of the indexing wheel 46 so that the drive for the chains 17, 18 is unblocked. As the detent pin 48 moves away from the axis of the shaft 9, it closes the switches 204, 206 whereby the switch 204 completes the circuit of the clutch 32 so that the clutch connects the output shaft of the motor 29 with the sprocket wheel 36 on the shaft 34. The motor 29 is started in automatic response to closing of the control switch 94 (i.e., as soon as the consuming machine 2 breaks down or is intentionally arrested by the operator) and is free to advance the chains 17, 18 when the clutch 32 is energized in response to closing of the switch 204 by the detent pin 48. The chains 17, 18 are driven in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 1, i.e., that stretch of the conveyor including the chains 17, 18 and partitions 19 which is adjacent to the belt 4 is caused to move upwardly.

The relay 91 is deenergized ahnost immediatly, i.e., its switch 193 opens again as soon as a contact 98- on the ratchet wheel 101 advances beyond the fixed contact arm 102 of the signal generator 87. However, the circuit of the clutch 32 remains closed because the tip of the detent pin 48 slides along the peripheral surface of the detent wheel 46 and maintains the switches 204, 206 in closed positions. However, the pin 48 automatically enters the next-following notch 47 of the wheel 46 and thus opens the switches 204, 206 to deenergize the clutch 32. The distances between the notches 47 of the wheel 46 are selected in such a way that the chains 17, 18 place an empty compartment 21 into registry with the plunger 51 before the conveyor including these chains comes 8 to a halt. The limit switches 82 and 84 are then free to close and the limit-switch 86 is free to open.

If the consuming machine 2 continues to remain at a standstill, the belt 4 again accumulates an uninterrupted succession of packs 3 below the detectors 78, 79. These detectors then transmit continuous signals to the control circuit 93 and the latter causes the plunger 51 to perform a fresh working stroke in a manner as described above. The same procedure can be repeated as often as necessary so that the magazine 6 can collect the output of the producing machine 1 while the consuming machine 2 is at a standstill. However, if the machine 2 remains at a standstill for an exceptionally long period of time, the magazine 6 is practically filled and it is then necessary to arrest the producing machine 1 in order to avoid deformation or uncontrollable pileup of cigarette packs 3. This is achieved in the following way: When only a single empty compartment 21 remains, i.e., when such single empty compartment 21 registers with the plunger 51 so that the compartment which is directly below the single empty compartment is filled, the packs in the filled compartment directly below the plunger 51 open the limit switch 84 (which is mounted at a level below the limit switches 82, 83, 86) which deenergizes the clutch in the drive of the producing machine 1 (refer to the conductor 174 of FIG. 4). The producing machine 1 is arrested and the belt 4 comes to a standstill. In this way, the programming system automatically prevents deformation of cigarette packs 3 on the belt 4.

Cigarette packs 3 are being evacuated from the magazine 6 (onto the belt 4) when the belt 4 does not accommodate any cigarette packs in the zone between the walls 7, 8 of the frame for the magazine 6. The receivers of the detectors 78, 79 then receive no light and cannot send impulses to the control circuit 93. Such situation can arise if the producing machine 1 is arrested or breaks down. The limit switch 81 then closes because its runner 81a can descend toward the belt 4. The control switch 94 is open because the consuming machine 2 operates properly. The relay 89 is deenergized because the control switch 94 is open, i.e.,the relay switches 169, 171 of the relay 89 are closed and the relay switch 168 of this relay is open. The relay 88 is energized and closes its switch 162 by simultaneously opening its switch 163.

The detectors 78, 79 transmit no signals to the pulse shapers 103, 104 (conductors 109, 111). Due to the aforedescribed design of the circuit 93, the conductor 124 then sends a voltage pulse to the conductor 126 which energizes the relay 91 so that the latter closes its switch 193 for a short period of time This energizes the clutch 132 in a manner as described above. The circuit of the motor 29 is completed on closing of the limit switch 81 by way of the switch 162 in the relay 88 and by way of the relay 92. The latter reverses the direction of rotation of the motor 29 so that the chains 17, 18 travel in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 1, always by a distance corresponding to that between two adjoining compartments 21. This is due to the spacing between the notches 47 of the detent wheel 46. When the chains 17, 18 come to a halt, a filled compartment 21 is adjacent to the plunger 52 of the second transfer unit whereas the plunger 51 of the first transfer unit remains in retracted position. One pack in such filled compartment 21 closes the limit switch 83 and the latter completes the circuit of the solenoid 72 for the valve 71. This valve then connects the conduit 74 (and hence the conduit 76 and blower 77) with the conduit 69 so that the latter admits compressed air into the cylinder 68 and causes the piston 66 to move the piston rod 63 downwardly, as viewed in FIG. 4, i.e., the plunger 52 performs a working stroke and transfers a group or file of eight cigarette packs 3 from the filled compartment 21 onto the adjoining portion of the belt 4. The limit switch 83 opens in automatic response to expulsion of cigarette packs 3 from the previously filled compartment 21 and deenergizes the solenoid 72. The spring of thevalve 71 then causes the latter to connect the conduit 69 with the atmosphere whereby the spring 67 returns the'plunger 52"to' the retracted position shown in FIG. 4. The belt 4 advances the freshly received file or group, ofci'garette packs 3 into the consuming machine 2. The detectors 78, 79 cease to transmit signals as soon as the packs advance beyond .the magazine 6 and the procedure is then repeated in the just described manner, i.e., the chains 17, 18 are advanced bya step (in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 1) and the plunger 52 again performs a working stroke to expel a fresh group or file of cigarette packs from the adjoining filled compartment 21 and to return such'packs onto the belt 4. The intermittent evacuation of magazine 6 is completed when the machine 1' is restarted and begins to discharge cigarette packs at thefrequency which corresponds to the requirements of the consuming machine 2. If the producing machine 1 happens to be outof commission for an extended period of time, the magazine 6 is completely evacuated and 'a suitable control element (not shown) in the machine 2 then arrests the drive for thismachine and also arrests the magazine; j

FIG. 6 illustrates a portion of a' modified apparatus which comprises a single transporting unit having. a single transfer member or plunger 251 receiving'motion' from a fluid-operated motor 254. The construction of the magazine 6 is similar or identical to that of the magazine shown in FIG. 1. The plunger 251 constitutes a suction'head and one of its faces is provided with one' or'more rows of suction ports 260. As shown, the plunger 251 is rigid with a piston rod 253 which is connected to a piston in acylinder 258 forming part of the aforementioned motor 254. The cylinder 258 is secured to a stationary frame member 263 by bolts, screws or analogous fasteners 264 ,The piston rod 253 is biased by a spring (not shown) in the cylinder 258 whichtends to move the plunger'251 to' ex tended position. The manner in which a solenoid valve (not shown) in the supply conduit 259 for thecylinder 258 connects this cylinder with or seals it from a blower is the same as described in connection with FIG. '4. e

The plunger 251 is made of sheet metal and is provided with an internal suction chamber which can draw air by way of ports 260. A nipple 2.61 which is connected with the plunger 251'is located at the intake end of a flexible suction conduit 262 connected to .a suitable suction fan or the like, not shown. 'A' solenoid valve (not shown) is provided in the conduit 262. For example, the conduit 262 may be connected to the suction side of the blower which delivers compressed air to the; supply conduit 259.

The manner in which the apparatus of FIG. 6 transfers groups or files of cigarette packs 3 from the belt 4 intothe compartments 21 of the magazine 6 is the same as describedin connection with FIGS. 1 to 5.. If it becomes necessary to withdrawpacks. from the compartments 2 1, the plunger 25 1 is movedto its extended position (across the belt 4) so that its ports260-are adjacent to agroupof packs 3 in the adjoining filled compartment 21. The aforementioned valvein the conduit 262;then.opens so that the chamber in the plunger 251 is connected with the suction generating device' and the plunger attracts and holds a group of packs 3. The plunger-251'is thereupon returned to retracted position (admission of compressed air into cylinder 258 via conduit 259) and the valve in the conduit 262 connects the ports 260 with the atmosphere so that the freshly withdrawn group of packs 3 comes to rest on the belt 4. The thus released packs may drop a short distance before they reach the belt 4. The plunger 251 is thereupon returned to extended position and the conveyor of the magazine 6 is indexed by a step to move a fresh group of packs 3 into the range of ports 260. The same procedure is repeated as often as necessary, i.e., as long as the producing machine fails to deliver packs at the rate required by the consuming machine.

An important advantage of our apparatus is that the magazine 6 can accommodate a very large number of surplus packsand that the packs which are stored inthe compartments 21 cannot be deformed by packs which are stored in the compartments 21 cannot be deformed by packs which are stored thereabove. The capacity of the magazine 6 does not depend on hte number of packs which can be stored therein but solely on the availability of space in the zone between the stations which accommodate the machines 1 and 2. Furthermore, the magazine can be filled and evacuated at a high rate of speed because the transfer units of FIG. 4 or the transfer unit of FIG. 6 can transfer a whole group or file of packs 3 at a time. Therefore, the magazine can accept the entire output of the machine 1 when the machine 2 is idle and the magazine can also meet the requirements of the machine 2 when the latter is operated at full speed while the machine 1 is idle. It is further clear that the improved apparatus is equally useful for transportation and temporary storage of other'types of commodities and that such commodities need not be transported between two packing machines. For example, the apparatus can be used to transport cigarette packs from a packing machine which provides cigarette packs with transparent wrappers to a binding machine, to a carton filling machine or to another destination. The magazine 6 can comprise a conveyor of finite length. Also the belt 4 can be replaced by a different con veyor which can transport low stacks of packs, for example, stacks comprising two or three packs each. The uppermost pack of such a small stack cannot cause undue deformation of the lowermost pack. The compartments 21 of the conveyor 9-19 are then dimensioned to receive single files of stacked cigarette packs.

The belt is preferably driven by a separate drive which is started in response to starting of the apparatus and continues to drive the belt 4 until the apparatus is stopped.

In the embodiments which are shown in the drawing, the belt 4 forms part of a conveyor which. transports cigarette packs 3 all the way from the producing machine 1 to the' consuming machine. However, it is equally within the purview of my invention to employ a conveyor sys tern which comprises a first conveyor for transport of packs 3 from the machine 1 to the magazine 6 and a second 'conveyor which can transport packs from the maga zine 6 'to the machine 2. v

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.

' What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters 'Patent is set forth in the appended claims:

H 1.11 m an. apparatus for temporary storage of cigarette, packs or analogousdeformable products which are trans:

ported between a product-dischargingfirst station and a product-receiving second station, a combination comprising endless conveyor means having a plurality of) erative to move products from said first: station to said c'on've'yorjmeans, to move products from said conveyor means to said second 'station, to transfer products'int'o' empty compartments, and to transfer products from filled compartments; and control means for regulating the operation of said drive means and said transporting means as a function of the rate of discharge and reception of products at said first and second stations so that said drive means is idle when the rate of discharge equals the rate of reception, that said drive means advances empty compartments into position for reception of products from said transporting means when the rate of discharge exceeds the rate of reception, and that said drive means advances filled compartments into position for transfer of products to said transporting means when the rate of reception exceeds the rate of discharge.

2. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said transporting means comprises a conveyor arranged to transport products in a predetermined direction and wherein said compartments extend in parallelism with such direction, each of said compartments having a height substantially corresponding to the height of a product and at least one open side.

3. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said conveyor means comprises frame means, guide means mounted in said frame means, travelling endess flexible elements supported by said guide means, and partitions secured to said flexible elements and extending between said compartments.

4. A combination as defined in claim 3, wherein said partitions are outwardly adjacent to said flexible elements.

5. A combination as'defined in claim 3, wherein said partitions extend between said flexible elements.

6. A combination as defined in claim 3, wherein said guide means comprises a pair of vertically spaced substantially horizontal shafts and sprocket wheels secured to said shaft, said flexible elements comprising chains trained over said sprocket wheels and said drive means comprising means for rotating at least one of said shafts, said partitions being equidistant from each other and said compartments extending in parallelism with said shafts and forming an annulus of compartments extending along the full length of said chains.

7. A combination as defined in claim 6, wherein said chains are arranged to rotate the sprocket wheels on the other shaft.

8. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said drive means comprises a reversible indexing mechanism.

9. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said transporting means comprises conveyor means for transporting group of products.

10. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said transporting means comprises transfer means having a length corresponding to the length of a compartment.

11. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said conveyor means is arranged to move said compartments along an endless path having at least one arcuate portion and wherein said conveyor means comprises means for retaining products in compartments located at the arcuate portion of said path.

12. Apparatus for transporting and storing cigarette packs or analogous commodities between a first and a second station, comprising first conveyor means operative to transport commodities from the first station; a magazine comprising endless second conveyor means adjacent to said first conveyor means and having a plurality of compartments each dimension to accommodate a group of commodities; drive means for said second conveyor means; and transfer means for moving groups of commodities from said first conveyor means into the compartments of said second conveyor means and for removing groups of commodities from said compartment for delivery to the second station, said transfer means comprising a transfer member and means for moving said transfer member to a first position transversely of said second conveyor means whereby the transfer member moves a group of commodities from said first conveyor means into one of said compartments and to a second position whereby the transfer member removes a group of commodities from one of said compartments.

13. Apparatus as defined in claim 12, wherein said transfer member comprises means for pushing a group of commodities during movement to said first position and means for drawing commodities by suction during movement to said second position.

14. In an apparatus for temporary storage of cigarette packs or analogous deformable products which are transported between a product-discharging first station and a product-receiving second station, a combination comprising endless conveyor means having a plurality of compartments each arranged to accommodate a group of products; drive means operative to move said conveyor means in at least one direction; transporting means for transporting products from said first station to said conveyor means and from said conveyor means to said second station; transfer means operative to move products into empty compartments and from filled compartments; and control means for regulating the operation of said drive means and said transfer means as a function of the rate of discharge and reception of products at said first and second stations so that said drive means and said transfer means are idle when the rate of discharge equals the rate of reception, that said drive means advances empty compartments into the range of said transfer means when the rate of discharge exceeds the rate of reception, and that said drive means advances filled compartments into the range of said transfer means when the rate of reception exceeds the rate of discharge.

15. In an apparatus for temporary storage of cigarette packs or analogous block-shaped commodities which are transported between a first and a second station, a combination comprising a magazine including endless conveyor means having a plurality of compartments each arranged to accommodate a group of commodities; drive means operative to move said conveyor means in at least one direction; transporting means for transporting commodities from said first station to said magazine and from said magazine to said second station; and transfer means including a single transfer device operative to move commodities from said transporting means into the compartments of said conveyor means during movement in a first direction and to move commodities from compartments of said conveyor means to said transporting means during movement in a second direction.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,141,123 7/1964 Olson 198-154 X 2,014,458 9/1935 Winkley 198-24 X 2,931,483 4/1960 Gibbons 214-l6.4 X 3,340,992 9/ 1967 Seragnoli 198-24 3,342,350 9/1967 Seragnoli 214-16 ROBERT G. SHERIDAN, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 198-24, 110, 154

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Classifications
U.S. Classification198/347.3, 198/429
International ClassificationB65B35/50, B65B35/52, B65B35/04, B65B35/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65B35/52, B65B35/04
European ClassificationB65B35/52, B65B35/04