US 3503329 A
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ROSS! FEEDING AND DELIVERY MEANS FOR BOTTLES March 31, 1970 AND THE LIKE IN DECORATING MACHINES 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Aug. 2, 1967 ATTORNEYj March 31 1970 A. T. ROSS! 3,503,329
FEEDING AND DELIVERY MEANS FOR BOTTLES AND THE LIX? IN DECCRATINC- MACHINES 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Aug. 2, 1967 r" W I E F/GJ'A I INVENTOR l A/vr/m/vr 77 2055/ ATTORNEY;
March 31, 1970 A. T. Rossl 3,503,329
FEEDING AND DELIVERY MEANS FOR BOTTLES AND THE LIKE IN DECORATING MACHINES Filed Aug. 2, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet s INVENTOR A V/H0/V) 7 Q0557 ATTORNEYS March 31, 1970 I A T. ROSSI 3,503,329
FEEDING AND DELIIVERY MEANS FOR BOTTLES AND THE LIKE IN DECORATING MACHINES 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Aug. 2, 1967 FIG. 4
INVENTOR ANT/VON) 77 2053/ ATTORNEY} March 31, 1970 A. T. ROSS! 3,503,329
FEEDING AND DELIVERY MEANS FORBOTTLES AND THE LIKE IN DECORATING MACHINES Filed Aug. 2, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR fl/VTHO V) 77' 2015/ ATTORNEY.
United States Patent Office Patented Mar. 31, 1970 US. Cl. 101-40 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A machine for applying decoration to the outer surfaces of objects such as cans or bottles; the objects to 'be decorated are received within holders therefor which are continuously moved past a decorating station having decoration-producing means extending therealong, the objects being rotated as they move past the docoration-producing means so that appropriate decoration are applied to the entire surface of the object; a plurality of decorating stations may be provided, in which case the rotation of the bottles as they move from one station to the other is continued, thereby to ensure proper registration between the decorations applied at the two stations; the rotation of the objects within their holders, as they move along one or the other of the decorating stations or between a pair of separated decorating stations, is preferably accomplished by urging the bottles, while within their holders, against an elongated element over which they roll as they are translated through the machine.
The present invention relates to a machine for ap lying decoration to a series of objects such as cans or bottles, and of doing so in a continuous fashion, thereby to improve productivity and simplify machine construction.
Machines have been known in the past which are capable of applying decorations to bottles, can or the like. One such machine is that shown in my prior Patent 3,269,305 of Aug. 30, 1966, entitled Machine for Printing Upon Bottles and Similar Bodies. One major drawback of the machines of the type previously used, including the machine of my aforementioned prior patent, is that the operation of the machine is intermittent. The objects to be decorated are moved to a decorating station, their travel through the machine is interrupted while the decoration is being applied to them, and then they are moved out from the decorating station. This gives rise to appreciable machine complexity, produces excessive internal stresses in the machines, thus requiring the use of structures which are excessively heavy so as to be capable of withstanding those stresses, and greatly limits productivity. Also, in machines of the prior art type it is relatively difiicult to obtain proper registration between decorations applied to the bottles at two different stations, yet such registration is necessary if, for example, decorations of different colors relating to different parts of the same unitary object to be illustrated are involved.
It is the prime object of the present invention to devise a decorating machine capable of operating upon cans, bottles or the like in continuous fashion. It is a further prime object of the present invention to devise such a machine which will not only be functionally effective but which also is simple and inexpensive to manufacture, maintain and repair. It is a further prime object of the present invention to devise a machine which can be readily incorporated into existing production lines, and which can be used with bottles or cans of specifically different sizes. It is a further prime object of the present invention to devise such a machine in which different types and characters of decoration can be applied merely by making minimal modifications to the machine, and without disturbing its essential character.
The machine of the present invention is particularly well adapted for use in conjunction with decoration of the silk screen printing type, but it is not limited thereto. As has been indicated, it may be used to decorate objects of varied types; it is here specifically illustrated as producing decoration on the outer surfaces of bottles, and the objects to be decorated will, for purposes of simplicity, hereinafter termed bottles," but it will be understood that that term is here used generically to include other types of objects as well.
To the accomplishment of the above, the decorating stations at which decoration producing means are provided extend in a given direction. The bottles are adapted to be brought into operative association with the decoration-producing means while they are held so as to be rotatable about an axis such as to progressively present different areas of their outer surfaces to the decoration-producing means as they move therealong. Preferably, and as here specifically disclosed, each bottle is carried to and along the decorating station by means of a holder in which the bottle is mounted for free rotation about the aforementioned axis, the bottle-moving means imparting rotation to the bottles as they are translated by rolling the bottles along an element which extends the length of the decoration-producing means. In this way the rotation of the bottle, and the presentation of new areas of the decoration-receiving surface thereof to the decoration-producing means, is synchronized with the movement of the bottle along the decoration-producing means. When the decoration is to be applied to the bottle by a silk screen or analogous process, the decoration-producing means comprises a materialex-pressing means which is moved in synchronism and registration with the bottle as the latter passes along the decoration-producing means, thereby to ensure that the ink, paint or the like is properly expressed through the silk screen as the bottle moves and rolls thereover. When a plurality of decorating operations are to be performed, the individual decorating stations are spaced from one another and the rotation of the bottles is continued as the bottles move from one station to the other, thereby ensuring proper registration of the decoration produced by the second decorating station with the decoration produced at the first decorating station.
Bottles may be presented to the machine in a vertical orientation, as is common in production lines. The particular embodiment of the machine here disclosed shifts those bottles to a horizonal position and feeds them sequentially into a series of holders mounted on a continuous belt or the like. The bottles in the holders are then moved to the decorating station where the bottles, still horizontally oriented, are translated and rotated so that decoration is applied to their outer or decoration-receiving surfaces. Thereafter the bottles and their holders are shifted once again to a vertical position, and any suitable means may be provided for then removing the bottles from the holders and carrying them along the production line in vertical orientation.
To the accomplishment of the above, and to such other objects as may hereinafter appear, the present invention relates to the construction and arrangement of a decorating machine as defined in the appended claims and as 3 described in this specification, taken together with the ac companying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an idealized side elevational view, with supporting structure and many details either omitted or shown fragmentarily, of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an idealized top plan view thereof;
FIG. 3A is a side elevational view, on an enlarged scale, of the left hand or entry portion of the machine where the bottles are received, shifted to a horizontal position, and placed within the holders therefor;
FIG. 3B is a side elevational view of that portion of the machine comprising a decorating station and associated parts;
FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view on an enlarged scale taken along the line 44 of FIG. 3B; and
FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 are cross sectional views taken along the lines 55; 66 and 77 respectively of FIG. 2.
The machine comprises a framework generally designated A on which the various operative parts are mounted. The details of that framework form no special part of the present invention, and hence are here shown only in a fragmentary fashion. The machine is adapted to be driven in any appropriate manner, as by means of the motor B. The machine may generally be considered as consisting of a plurality of sections, to wit, the infeed section generally designated C which takes bottles and places them within the bottle holders generally designated D, the decorating station generally designated E (two such stations' are here shown, the second being designated E) where decoration is applied to the outer surface of the bottles, and an output section F where the bottles are shifted, while still in their holders B, from the horizontal position where they are decorated back to a vertical position in which they are adapted to be removed from the apparatus.
The details of the infeed section C may best be seen in FIG. 3A. The bottles 2 may be fed to the machine in any appropriate manner, as on the conveyor 4 (which forms no part of the present invention but may be any suitable conveyor available in the plant in which the machine of the present invention is to be used), with the bottles in their customary upright position. The conveyor 4 feeds the bottles into a helical rotated feed screw 6 on the machine, the pitch of the screw 6 being such that a bottle 2 is received between each pair of opposed screw portions. Thus the feed screw 6 moves the bottles from left to right (as viewed in the drawings) while maintaining them spaced from one another in desired fashion. Alongside the feed screw 6 are a series of guides or swords 8, 10, 12 and 14, the sword 8 engaging the bottom of the bottle 2, the sword 14 engaging its top, and the swords 10 and 12 engaging its sides. The swords 8-14 are so shaped that as the bottles 2 move along the helical feed screw 6 they are shifted from a vertical position to a horizontal position, all as clearly shown in FIG. 3A.
A separate holder D is provided for each bottle 2. Those holders are mounted in properly spaced relation on a continuous belt or link chain 16 which rotates over end sprocket wheels 18 and 20 and which is appropriately guided in its travel, by any suitable structural means, in order to ensure that it travels in the desired path and with the proper orientation. Each holder D comprises an open topped cup-shaped member 22 of a size and shape such as to receive a bottle 2 therein. The member 22 is provided with openings through which rollers 24 extend, those rollers being rotatably mounted on the outside of the elements 2 so as to be freely rotatable about axes 26. Those portions of the rollers 24 which extend into the inner cup of the elements 22 are adapted to engage the side surfaces of the bottle 2 when the latter is received within the holder D, thus holding the bottle 2 within the holder D in a fashion such that it is readily rotatable about its vertical axis, that is to say, about an axis parallel to the bottom of the cup-shaped portion of the element 22.
As may be seen in FIG. 3A, as a given holder D picks up a bottle 2 at the end of-the swords 10 and 12 it is in a horizontal position, with the bottle received therein similarly being held horizontally. As may be seen from FIGS. 1 and 3B, the path of the. endless belt or chain 16 as it leaves the sprocket wheel 18 is at first slightly upwardly inclined. When the belt 16 reaches the decorating station E its path becomes horizontal, a fixed guiding structure 23 being provided to ensure that orientation (see FIG. 4), with the holders D and the bottles 2 received therein remaining horizontal. After the belt 16 leaves the decorating station E (or the last decorating station E in the event that a plurality of such stations are provided) its orientation is shifted until it is vertical and the holders D bars (see FIGS. 5-7) 28, 30, 32 and 34 being provided to retain the bottles 2 within their holders D until they reach the right hand end of the machine, where the sprocket wheel 20 is horizontal and the belt 16 is vertical. As the bottles 2 are thus presented at the right hand end of the machine (as viewed in the drawings) they are removed from their respective holders D in any appropriate fashion and conveyed away from the machine, as by an output conveyor similar to the input conveyor 4.
Each decorating station E, as here specifically disclosed, is in the form of a silk screen device. As may perhaps best be seen from FIG. 4, the decorating station comprises a trough or container 36 defined by side and end walls 38 and a bottom wall 40 comprising an appropriately designed silk screen, a mass of paint or ink being adapted to be received within the container 36. Rails 42 are provided outside each of the container side walls 38, and those rails 42 carry depending resilient elements 44, the rails 42 and elements 44 extending the entire length of the containers 36. When a plurality of decorating stations are provided, such as the stations E and '15. here illustrated, the rails 42 and depending resilient elements 44 extend between the stations E and E as Well as along I the length of those stations respectively.
As may perhaps best be seen from FIG. 3B, the framework A at the decorating station E comprises a pair of upright standards 46 connected by upper bar-s 48, with the container 36 and the rails 42 with their resilient depending members 44 being mounted on and suspended from the bars 48 by means of slidable bolts 50, the suspension preferably being resilient, as determined by the springs 52 which surround the bolts 50 and engage the upper edges of the rails 42 and the lower edges of the bars 48.
Mounted between the bars 48 are a pair of shafts 54 and 56 on which are mounted sprocket wheels 58 and 60 respectively. An endless belt or link chain 62 extends around the sprocket wheels 58 and 60 and is adapted to be driven thereby, that chain 62 carrying, along its length, a plurality of material-expressing elements such as the squeegees 64. The spacing along the chain 62 of the material-expressing elements 64 corresponds to the spacing on the belt 16 of the holders D so that, as may be seen in 'FIG. 3B, as each holder D with its bottle 2 moves along beneath the container 36 a material-expressing element 64 moves through the container 36 with its tip close to or pressing against the silk screen bottom wall 40, substantially in synchronism and registration with the bottle 2 and its holder D. Guides 65 adjustably rigidly mounted on the bars 48 by plates 67 engage the chain 62 when the elements 64 are performing their material-expressing function, thereby to press the elements 64 down against the silk screen 40 in predetermined fashion.
As the belt 16 moves along its upwardly inclined reach immediately above and to the right of the sprocket wheel '18 the holders D with the bottles 2 therein are moved up toward the containers '36 until, as may be seen in FIG. 3B, the bottle 2 is pressed up against the elongated resilient elements 44. Thereafter the path of the belt 16 becomes horizontal and the bottle 2, in frictional engagement with the resilient members 44, as it is translated from left to right is caused to roll along those resilient members 44, the bottle rotating within the holder D, as is permitted by the rollers 24 on which the bottle 2 rest-s. Hence as each bottle 2 moves along the underside of the container 36 at the decorating station E, ink, paint or the like will be expressed through the silk screen 40 onto the then vertically exposed area of the outer surface of that bottle (this being accomplished by the action of the materialexpressing member 64), and the bottle will rotate as it moves the length of the decorating station E, thus continuously presenting new areas of its outer surface to the decoration-producing means so that the appropriate decoration can be applied thereto. The operative length of the silk screen 40 is so correlated to the circumference of the bottle 2 that decoration is applied to all or any desired portion of the outer surface of the bottle.
When a plurality of decorating stations, such as the stations E and E, are provided, it is essential that the decoration produced by the second station E properly register with the decoration previously produced by the first station E. With the machine of the present invention this is readily accomplished by keeping the bottle 2 in engagement with the resilient members 44 which depend from the rails 42 as the bottle move from the first decorating station E to the second decorating station E. The spacing between those stations, correlated with the circumference of the bottles 2, will thus produce a predetermined and known degree of rotation of a bottle 2 from the time it leaves the first decorating station E to the time it enters the second decorating station E, and knowing this fact the specific designing of the silk screen bottom wall 40 for the second decorating station E can readily ensure that the decoration produced thereby will properly register with the decoration previously deposited on that bottle 2 by the preceding station E.
It is desirable, although not essential, that after the bottles have been decorated they be once again vertically oriented so that they may be conveyed away from the machine in conventional fashion. To this end, and as may be best seen in FIGS. *5-7, the belt 16 carrying the individual holders D with their bottles 2 is caused to pass over a fixed guiding and supporting means generally designated 66 which, at the point indicated by the line 55 in FIG. 2 immediately after the latter decorating station E, is horizontal and which gradually changes its orientation, as indicated in FIGS. 6 and 7, taken respectively along the lines 66 and 77 of FIG. 2, until, at the exit end of the apparatus, the structure 66 is vertical, with the belt 16 also being vertical as it passes on opposite sides thereof, and with the bottles 2 consequently being similarly oriented. A bottom plate 68 may be provided at this point in order to support the bottles 2, and at the very end of the machine, or at any appropriate location adjacent the end, the side supporting swords 32 and 34 terminate, thus permitting the individual bottles, now decorated, to be removed one by one from their holders D as the latter are presented at the end of the machine, the bottles then being conveyed away from the machine in any appropriate fashion.
The driving mechanism for the machine may take any of a wide variety of forms. As here disclosed the motor B drives a belt 70 which in turn, through a gear reducer 72, drives a belt or sprocket chain 74 which rotates Wheel 76 on drive shaft 78. The left hand end of the drive shaft 78, through gearing 80, drives vertical shaft 82 which in turn, through gearing 84, shaft 85 and gearing 87, rotates the helical screw 6. The right hand end of shaft 78, through gearing 86, drives shaft 88, which in turn, through gearing 90, rotates shaft 54 and sprocket wheel 58 in order to move the link chain 62 which carries the material-expressing means 64 at each of the decorating station E and E. The right hand end of shaft 78, through gearing 92, shaft 94, and gearing 96 drives shaft 98 on which the sprocket wheel is mounted, that sprocket wheel in turn moving the chain 16 and the bottle holders B. 'Ihus synchronism of the various parts of the machine is positively ensured.
With the machine of the present invention decoration of virtually any desired type may be applied continuously to bottles, cans or the like, the machine being equally as effective for producing multicolor or complex decoration as single color or simple decorations. Bottles may be fed thereto or removed therefrom in vertical position if desired, this rendering the apparatus very adaptable for use in con unction with existing plant conveyor lines. Because the apparatus functions in a continuous fashion its rate of productivity is very high, and its efficacy in applying the desired decorations and particularly in ensuring registration between decorations produced at different decorating stations is likewise greatly facilitated. The apparatus is simple, all of the operating parts are readily accessible, proper synchronization of the various parts is achieved in a virtually foolproof manner, and the machine may readily be adapted to operate on many different kinds of objects and on many different sizes of objects and to produce decorations of virtually any desired character.
While but a single embodiment of the present invention has been here specifically disclosed, it will be apparent that many variations may be made therein, all within the scope of the instant invention as defined in the following claims.
1. A decorating machine comprising a decorating station having decoration-producing means extending therealong in a given direction, means for holding objects with their decoration-receiving surfaces facing said station and for permitting said objects to rotate about an axis substantially parallel to said surface and substantially perpendicular to said given direction, means moving said holding means with said objects therein in said given direction past said station, and means for causing said objects to rotate in their respective holding means about said axis in synchronism with their passage past said station and for causing said decoration-producing means to produce decorations on said decoration-receiving surfaces of said objects as they move along said station, said holding means comprising open-sided members having concavities extending longitudinally in a direction substationally perpendicular to said given direction, in which concavities said objects are adapted to be received with their axes extending substantially along the length of said concavities and with their decoration-receiving surfaces extending out from said concavities through said open sides, said objects being freely rotatable about their axes in said members.
2. The decorating machine of claim 1, in which said object-holding means comprises a plurality of object holders, said object-moving means comprising endless conveyor means on which said holders are mounted and effective to carry said objects past said station with their said axes substantially horizontal and then to turn said objects so that their said axes are substantially vertical.
3. In the decorating machine of claim 1, a second similar decorating station spaced in said given direction from said first mentioned station, said moving means beng effective to move said holding means past said stations in sequence, and said rotation-causing means being effective to cause said objects to rotate in their respective holding means about said axis in synchronism with their passage from one station to another as well as their passage past each of said stations, thereby to permit accurate registration on said objects of the decorations produced by said stations respectively.
4. The decorating machine of claim 1, in which said members comprise rollers extending into said concavities on which said objects are adapted to rest and over which said objects freely roll.
5. The decorating machine of claim 4, in which said moving means for said holding means is effective to cause said holding means to be substantially horizontal, open side up, at said decorating station and to be sub- 7 stantially vertical at a point past said decorating station.
6. The decorating machine of claim 1, in which said moving means for said holding means is effective to cause said holding means to be substantially horizontal, open side up, at said decorating station and to be substantially vertical at a point past said decorating station.
7. A decorating machine comprising a decorating station having decoration-producing means extending therealong in a given direction, means for holding objects with their decoration-receiving surfaces facing said station and for permitting said objects to rotate about an axis substantially parallel to said surface and substantially perpendicular to said given direction, means moving said holding means with said objects therein in said given direction past said station, and means for causing said objects to rotate in their respective holding means about said axis in synchronism with their passage past said station and for causing said decoration-producing means to produce decorations on said decoration-receiving surfaces of said objects as they move along said station, said object-holding means comprising a plurality of object holders, said object-moving means comprising endless conveyor means on which said holders are mounted and effective to carry said objects past said station with their said axes substantially horizontal and then to turn said objects so that their said axes are substantially vertical.
8. A decorating machine comprising a decorating station having decoration-producing means extending therealong in a given direction, means for holding objects with their decoration-receiving surfaces facing said station and for permitting said objects to rotate about an axis substantially parallel to said surface and substantially perpendicular to said given direction, means moving said holding means with said objects therein in said given direction past said station, and means for causing said objects to rotate in their respective holding means about said axis in synchronism with their passage past said station and for causing said decoration-producing means to produce decorations on said decoration-receiving surfaces of said objects as they move along said station, said object-holding means being eflYective to permit said objects to rotate freely therein about said axis, and said rotation-causing means comprises an element at and extending along said station and means for placing said objects in frictional engagement with said element and rolling them thereover as said moving means moves them in said given direction past said station, thereby to cause said objects to rotate Within their respective holding means as they are thus rolled, and a second similar decorating station spaced in said given direction from said first mentioned station, said moving means being effective to move said holding means past said stations in sequence, said element extending along and between said stations and said rotation-causing means being effective to retain said objects in frictional engagement with said element as they are moved past and between said stations, thereby to permit accurate registration on said objects of the decorations produced by said stations respectively.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,027,102 1/1936 Homrnel et a1 101123 2,085,126 6/1937 Shurley et a1. 101-124 2,121,491 6/1938 Soubier 101123 2,132,818 10/1938 Cone 101-115 2,767,647 10/1956 Hakogi 10140X 2,881,699 4/1959 Hakogi 101126 3,220,344 11/1965 Hagerman 101126 3,237,555 3/1966 Jones et a1. 101124 X 3,251,298 5/1966 Rudolph et a1. 1014O 3,269,305 8/1966 Rossi 10135 3,309,986 3/1967 Worth 10l39 3,362,520 1/1968 Rudolph et a1. 10l--39 X WILLIAM B. PENN, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 101-123