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Publication numberUS3512680 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 19, 1970
Filing dateApr 29, 1968
Priority dateApr 29, 1968
Publication numberUS 3512680 A, US 3512680A, US-A-3512680, US3512680 A, US3512680A
InventorsKrolopp Otto C
Original AssigneeBlaw Knox Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Solid material flow divider
US 3512680 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

spective radial ejector arms 60 and article recesses 26 are in identical angular positions and the arms are positioned for movement through the respective slots 55 in the bottom 54 of the article chute, and the slots 38' in the transparent window panel 38.

It is desirable to provide each dispensing element 22 with means for adjusting the depth of its article recess 26 for use with articles of varying sizes or thicknesses.

To this end, the article recesses 26 extend for the entire axial extent of each dispensing element segment 22A and 22B and open through the axial ends thereof. The circumferentially opposed sidewalls of each such recess are provided with pairs of relatively opposed slots 72 in different radial locations to receive the opposite edges of a false bottom or spacer plate 74, which may be inserted into and removed from the slots through the opposite axial ends thereof.

As earlier indicated, the several dispensing units U of each magazine D are constructed in similar manner, though they may differ in the proportions of certain of their parts. For instance, the length of the chutes 24 of the respective units may be varied in the manner shown in the drawings in order to best adapt them for reception within the predetermined interior space available within the dispensing compartment. Normally, the larger or thicker articles will be stored in and dispensed from the lower chutes, whereas the somewhat smaller articles will be dispensed from the uppermost chutes.

In the preferred embodiment, the uppermost unit is adapted for the dispensing of quite small articles or packages, such as packages of chewing gum, mints, lozenges, or the like, of small size. Consequently, the dispensing element 22 thereof and its associated dispening opening 56 through the opaque panel 30 may be of somewhat decreased axial extent relative to the other dispensing elements and their associated openings. However, aside from such differences in proportions, the several units are preferably similar in their construction and made of operation.

From a quite broad standpoint, it is not essential that the articles be fed through the chutes by gravity means, as in the preferred embodiment, since obviously the use of spring loaded followers or the like is by no means precluded for feeding the articles lengthwise of the respective chutes and into engagement with the abutments 54 at their respective ends. However, where the chutes are inclined or of sloping disposition to rely upon gravity for the articles feeding function, it has been found that the degree of the chute tilt or inclination is critical, if the optimum results are to be attained. In particular, it has been found that the optimum degree of tilt is 51 from the vertical and that if this is varied appreciably, for instance, if it is changed to 45, malfunctioning will become more fre quent. Thus, generally speaking, the critical range for optimum operation is from 45 to 55 tilt from the vertical. If the chute is tilted further from the vertical so as to more nearly approach a horizontal position, then the gravity feeding action will not be as positive or as reliable upnder all circumstances. It has been found necessary to support product weight partially by the magazine chute back wall to prevent the product stored in the chute from compressing and thereby damaging the articles held for dispensing. On the other hand, if the chute is placed in a more nearly vertical position, the pressure of the stack of articles upon the lowermost article about to be dispensed, will have an undue retarding or frictional restraining effect Which is more likely to produce malfunctioning than would otherwise be the case.

As has been described earlier, in each magazine a plurality of dispensing units U are carried by the mounting plate 44, which is supported for sliding movement outwardly through the open front of the cabinet to make the several dispensing units U thus available for reloading and servicing as desired. It is undesirable to withdraw more than a single suc'h magazine at a time, due to the risk of displacing the center of gravity of the machine sufliciently that it may tip over, and also due to the fact that the several withdrawn magazines will so obstruct each other as to interfere with the reloading and servicing of at least one of them.

For the purpose of permitting the withdrawal of but a single magazine at a time, there is provided a suitable slide bar 51 (FIGS. 7, 8 and 9) which extends transversely and is slidable in a trasverse direction across the front of the cabinet. This bar 51 is provided with a series of notches 51' spaced apart at distances different than the spacing between relatively adjoining mounting plates 44. The portion of the bar 51 in which these notches are formed normally extends in front of the ends of the upper slides 46 of each mounting plate 44, all as is shown in some detail in FIGS. 7, 8 and 9. Thus, unless one of the notches 51' is positioned in alignment with the slide of a given magazine, that magazine is barred from withdrawal. Because the spacings between the notches are different than the spacings between the slides 46, only one notch at a time may be aligned with a given slide 46.

In the embodiment here illustrated, the upper track 47 on which the slide 46 is supported for movement, is suspended in spaced relation below the transverse upper frame member 55 of the cabinet 10 by means of relatively spaced pins or connectors 55a. The slide bar 51 which is of Z shape in cross-section, has its lower horizontal flange or web slotted as at 55b (see FIGURE 7) to permit transverse sliding movement of the bar 51 as required to position only one of the notches 51 in alignment with the slide 46 of a selective magazine.

OPERATION OF THE MACHINE In the operation of the dispensing machins as above described, the chute 24 for each unit is initially filled or loaded with a supply of articles P as for instance, candy bars, cigarettes, chewing gum or any of various articles of merchandise to be dispensed. Normally, the articles will be placed in individual containers, though this will not be essential in all cases. In initially loading the machine, an article corresponding to those in the chute of any dispens ing unit can be manually placed in the display recess of the dispensing element or that selection can be operated to position the first articles, in display and dispensing position. With the respective units fully loaded and operative, and with the front door 12 of the dispensing compartment closed and locked, the machine is in readiness for operation.

A customer by inspection of the articles on display through the various windows 38 in the front opaque panels 30, determines the particular articles to be purchased. He then inserts coinst in the necessary amount through the slots 42 in the front of the cabinet 10 and actuates the particular selector switch 28 corresponding in designation to the particular dispensing unit and article selected by him.

The insertion of the coins through the slots 42 into the coin control mechanism M will have energized the master circuit in conventional manner, and subsequent actuation of the particular selector button or switch 28 will have energized the motor 20 for the selected dis pensing unit to cause same to drive the dispensing element of said unit through a complete operative cycle. In the initial portion of such cycle, the article displayed in the article recess of said wheel is delivered by gravity or other means therefrom on to the subjacent deflector plate 34 and thence through the dispensing opening 56 and the dispensing pasage 36 into the delivery receptacle B, where it may be retrived by the purchaser through the receptacle door 16.

It is important that in the specific arrangement of the article chute 24 and its associated dispensing element 22 as above described, the entire weight of the article stack within the chute is supported jointly by the bottom and the back wall of the chute in a manner such that United States Patent 3,512,680 SOLID MATERIAL FLOW DIVIDER Otto C. Krolopp, Villa Park, Ill., assignor to Blaw-Knox Company, Pittsburgh, Pa., a corporation of Delaware Filed Apr. 29, 1968, Ser. No. 725,062 Int. Cl. G01f 11/00 US. Cl. 2221 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A solid material flow divider and method for dividing a flow of solid particles into a plurality of separate streams. The flow divider effects its separation by centrifugal delivery, by a rotated free-edged disc or the like, toward predetermined arcs of the circumference of the disc. The disc or flow receiving member is rotated about a generally upright axis and may have associated with it, if desired, for unitary movement with it, a hopper or other means for directing a flow of particles to the axial area of the upper side of the disc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a solid material flow divider structure and method in which a stream of solid particles is delivered to a dividing structure or into a dividing zone, and is there split centrifugally into a plurality of flows or streams or bodies. A primary purpose is to divide a flow or stream of solid particles into a plurality of streams which may, if desired, be delivered to different conveyors or to different storage areas or to separate containers, or to different points of use.

Another purpose is to provide a solid stream divider or stream splitter mechanism and method in which a preferably circular table member or disc is rotated about an upright axis, with the flow of particles to be divided being directed adjacent the axial area of the disc top for centrifugal delivery over the free edge of the disc.

Another purpose is to provide an improved centrifugal feed member or disc with associated material guiding means.

Another purpose is to provide a flow dividing or splitting method and apparatus of maximum simplicity of structure and of operation.

Another purpose is to provide a solid stream or flow divider and dividing method in which an erratic or nonconcentric flow of material to the divider or dividing zone is adequately handled, and in which the divider or dividing zone will accept a flooded feed condition and still maintain a high degree of uniformity in separation.

Other purposes will appear from time to time in the course of the following specification, claims and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention is illustrated more or less diagrammatically in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic plan view, with invisibleparts dotted in; and

FIG. 2 is a more or less schematic section on the line 2-2 of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings, I provide a centrifugal disc or rotatable free-edged delivery or feed splitting member, generally indicated at 1. It may be suitably mounted to be rotated by and in unison with a suitable shaft 2 which may rotate in any suitably supported bearings 3 and 4, the shaft 2, and thus the axis of the delivery Patented May 19, 1970 member or disc 1, being generally upright, the disc having a clear upper surface. Adjacent the upper end of the shaft is a disc supporting plate 5 upon which rests the delivery member or disc 1. This delivery member or disc 1 may be held downwardly against the plate 5 for unitary movement with the shaft 2, for example, by a washer 6 and nut or screw-head 7, the details of the attachment being not of themselves critical, provided that the disc 1 is held for suitable rotation in unison with the shaft 2.

A centering cone 8, which may, for example, be of cast aluminum, is mounted upon and rotates with the disc or feed splitting member 1, and may be held in position by screws or other suitable means in the axial location in which it is illustrated in FIG. 2, upon the upper surface of the disc 1. Guiding the stream of material to be split downwardly toward the axial area of the rotating assembly above described is a centering hopper or cone 15 which is shown as mounted on and rotating with the disc 1. It may be adjustably supported, for example, on mounting rods 16 extending upwardly from the plate 1, the upper ends of which may be screwthreaded, as at 17, adjustably to receive the hopper 15. The details of adjustment are not critical. For example, adjusting nuts may be mounted on the screwthreaded portions of the rods 16, which support suitable lugs 18 extending outwardly from the upper outer edge of the centering cone or hopper 15.

As will be clear from FIG. 2, the centering hopper or cone 15 preferably completely underlies the entire cross-section of delivery of the below described guide wall or tube 34, where it can receive erratic or eccentric flow from above. The hopper or cone 15 may have a substantial clearance, at its upper end, as shown in FIG. 2, to permit overflow, and may also have a substantial clearance from the centering cone 8, as also shown in FIG. 2, to accept maximum feed.

The above described structure may be supported in any suitable way, the details of which are not critical. For example, a motor and lower bearing mounting bracket, generally indicated as 20, may be used, which has outer upright end portions 21 connected by a generally horizontal bottom transverse member 22. The top flange 21a extends outwardly from each of the upright or end members 21. Secured to one of the members 21 is illustrated a drive assembly which may include a motor 23 and a drive unit 23a, which is efliective to drive a pulley 24, connected, for example, by a belt 25, to a driven pulley 26 mounted to rotate with and to drive the centrifugal delivery member shaft 2. The lower bearing 4 may rest on any suitable support 4a on the upper surface of the transverse bracket member 22, the bracket member being apertured to permit the lower end of the shaft 2 to extend downwardly therethrough.

No specific structure is herein shown for supporting the motor and lower bearing mounting bracket, since the details of such supporting structure are not of themselves critical. It will be understood that any suitable frame or base or support may be employed, not herein shown.

Positioned about and above the centrifugal delivery member or disc 1 is a splitter chamber structure, generally indicated at 30. It includes a generally cylindrical upright side wall 31, a top wall 32, having an axial aperture 33 therein, and any suitable guide wall or tube, or the like, 34, to and through which the stream of particles to be separated or split may be delivered by any suitable means. Any suitable delivery conveyor or chute may be positioned or provided to feed a stream of particles downwardly through the aperture 33 and into the rotating centering cone or hopper 15, for delivery to the axial area of therewith and for abutting engagement by said radial dispensing arms of the dispensing element to arrest rotation of said dispensing element before it completes its single revolution.

15. In an article dispensing machine of the class wherein the articles are stacked in a chute for successive delivery into an article receiving recess in the periphery of a dispensing element disposed beneath said chute, the dispensing element normally being at rest in a predetermined display position wherein said article recess in its periphery is directed forwardly just in front of the chute for display of an article contained in said recess, selectively operable automatic indexing means, including an electric motor connected to said dispensing element for rotating said dispensing element in a direction to move its recess downwardly away from the chute to discharge the article therefrom, thence past the said chute to pick up a fresh article in said recess and to support said article in said display position when the dispensing element is brought to rest; the combination with said article dispensing machine of an interference block disposed on top of the uppermost article of said stack for movement downwardly through the chute, the interference block being of substantially greater vertical dimensions than said articles to abut against said chute and thereby to arrest the rotation of the dispensing element before it reaches its said display position.

16. A dispensing machine as defined in claim 15, which further includes a circuit breaker connected to said electrical motor to deenergize the motor in response to the overload thereon resulting from the arrest of its rotation.

17. In an article dispensing machine of the type in which a dispensing element is disposed for rotation beneath a chute containing a stack of articles to be dispensed, and is provided with a peripheral recess proportioned to remove an article each time the recess passes beneath said chute, said dispensing element normally being angularly located in a stationary display position wherein said recess with an article therein is persented forwardly just in front of said chute, the combination with said dispensing element of an article retainer positioned to extend across and adjacent the mouth of said recess in the display position of said dispensing element to retain an article in said recess against removal by jarring of the machine.

18. A dispensing unit comprising a generally vertical article delivery chute having a bottom for supporting a stack of similarly dimensioned articles within the chute; said chute being formed with a forwardly directed article dispensing opening above its bottom proportioned to permit forward passage therethrough of but a single article at a time from the bottom of said stack of articles; a dispensing element supported for rotation about a horizontal axis beneath said bottom, said bottom being formed with a slot opening through its forward edge transversely to the rotational axis of said dispensing element; said element being formed with a plurality of relatively angularly spaced radially outwardly directed recesses each proportioned for reception of but a single said article, said dispensing element normally being at rest in a predetermined display position in which one said recess is located adjacent but forwardly of the said chute, and another relatively adjoining recess is located rearwardly of said chute; automatic indexing means connected to said dispensing element for rotating it in a given direction through a predetermined angular movement equal to the angular spacing between the centers of said recesses and wherein said one recess first moves forwardly and downwardly to discharge an article therefrom, while said other recess moves upwardly and beneath the bottom of said chute and then is brought to rest automatically in its said predetermined display position; an ejector arm projecting radially from said dispensing element adjacent the rear edge of each article recess to engage and eject the lowermost article from said stack through said dispensing opening for reception in said article recess.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,253,027 8/1941 Hall 221-253 2,348,400 5/ 1944 Manspeaker 221-224 2,571,668 10/1951 Booth et al. 221-231 X 2,743,842 5/1956 Fry 221- X 3,334,784 8/1967 Morrison 221-277 X SAMUEL F. COLEMAN, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

central cone 8 of the disc 1, and, of course, of the upper surface of the disc 1. The user, therefore, can decide how many split streams he wishes, and what volumes he wishes to divide out by the arrangement he makes of the fixed circumferential hoppers 37. In the particular drawings herein four such hoppers are shown, and each receives the centrifugal delivery over a 90-degree arc of the edge of the disc 1. It will be understood that the number of the hoppers or receiving means may be varied, and, also, that they need not necessarily all receive the discharge from a uniform arc of the free edge of the disc 1. However, a natural and useful use of the device is to split the parent stream into a multiple of smaller streams, these smaller streams being, as in the structure shown, of generally like volume.

The structure is embodied in a compact frame or subframe, which may be mounted on any suitable supports, in any desired relation to whatever conveying or feed means are employed to deliver the initial stream to the aperture 33. The rotating disc and the fixed receiving hoppers are directly associated, and a confining splitter chamber 31 prevents unintended spillage. While I have described the members 37 as individual hoppers, it will be understood that they may be combined in a single structure as, in fact, they are shown in the drawings, which may be described as a four-way hopper for delivering the four streams which result from the use of the structure herein shown.

I claim:

1. The method of dividing a stream of particles which includes delivering the stream to a centering zone, and therein centering the stream by rotating and inwardly directing the particles in a circular path about the central fixed vertical axis of the centering zone, and then delivering the centered stream to a zone of outward feed from said axis, and therein imparting centrifugal movement to the particles of said stream for free outward discharge into a plurality of circumferentially arranged zones of reception, and directing the particles from each such zone of reception to a predetermined separate zone of disposal.

2. The method of claim 1 and including the step of discharging overflow particles from the centering zone by centrifugal force outwardly into said zones of reception.

3. The method of claim 1 characterized in that the zones of reception are substantially equally spaced from the upright axis.

4. The method of claim 1 characterized in that the outward centrifugal discharge of the particles is unimpeded.

'5. In a divider for dividing a stream of particles, a centrifugal feed distributor including a rotary table having an upper, generally horizontal surface and a free circumferential edge, means for rotating the table about an upright, generally centrally located fixed axis at a speed effective to impart a centrifugal movement of the particles outwardly over its free edge, stream centering means positioned above the rotary table and mounted for movement therewith about said fixed axis and adapted axially to center the stream of particles delivered downwardly toward the rotary table by combined centrifugal and gravitational forces, and means for receiving and segregating the particles which escape over predetermined arcs of said free table edge.

6. The structure of claim 5 characterized by the inclusion of a downspout generally axially aligned with the rotary table, and a centering hopper positioned below and underlying said downspout, said hopper being formed and adapted to direct particles inwardly and downwardly toward the axis of the rotating table.

7. The structure of claim 5 characterized by the inclusion of a downspout generally axially aligned with the rotary table, and a centering hopper positioned below and underlying the entire area of said downspout and mounted for rotation with said table, said hopper being formed and adapted to direct particles inwardly and downwardly toward the axis of the rotating table, the upper edge of said centering hopper being spaced downwardly from the lower end of the downspout, whereby to permit spillage in the event of overfeed, the upper edge of the hopper being positioned substantially within the periphery of the table and being substantially coaxial with the axis of the table, whereby such spillage may be received upon the upper surface of the table for centrifugal delivery over the edge thereof.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,953,928 4/1964 Colver 222-410 X 2,703,648 3/ 1955 Stucheli 222330 X 3,399,771 9/ 1968 -I-Iryniowski 222330 X ROBERT B. REEVES, Primary Examiner N. -L. STACK, JR., Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1953928 *Apr 23, 1930Apr 10, 1934Triangle Package Machinery CoFeeding mechanism for carton filling machines
US2703648 *May 14, 1953Mar 8, 1955Buehler Ag GebDistributor
US3399771 *Jul 26, 1966Sep 3, 1968Bohdan D. HryniowskiDistributors of material
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3616973 *Sep 12, 1969Nov 2, 1971Fisons LtdGranule distributor
US4345842 *Nov 30, 1979Aug 24, 1982Peschl Ivan A S ZUniversal blending method for blending the material contents of a silo
US4398612 *Mar 19, 1981Aug 16, 1983Kabushiki Kaisha Ishida Koki SeisakushoAutomatic weighing apparatus
US4913320 *Aug 25, 1987Apr 3, 1990Stazhevsky Stanislav BApparatus for metering bulk materials
US5257691 *Apr 29, 1991Nov 2, 1993Fertigbausystem Holter & Co. GmbhArrangement for transferring castable material without pipes from a feeding means to a destination
US5305912 *Nov 12, 1992Apr 26, 1994Johnston Robert EGranular material flow divider
US5667099 *Jun 5, 1995Sep 16, 1997Kao CorporationMethod and apparatus for powder distribution
U.S. Classification222/1, 222/330, 198/562, 222/410, 198/642
International ClassificationB65G47/72
Cooperative ClassificationB65G47/72
European ClassificationB65G47/72
Legal Events
Mar 13, 1986AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Effective date: 19851017
Mar 13, 1986ASAssignment
Effective date: 19851017
Aug 24, 1981ASAssignment
Effective date: 19781221