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Publication numberUS3532387 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 6, 1970
Filing dateMar 18, 1968
Priority dateMar 21, 1967
Also published asDE1761019A1, DE1761019B2, DE1761019C3
Publication numberUS 3532387 A, US 3532387A, US-A-3532387, US3532387 A, US3532387A
InventorsStancari Franco
Original AssigneeAmerican Mach & Foundry
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and means for automatically feeding a parcelling machine through an automatically loaded and unloaded package magazine
US 3532387 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 6, 1970 F. STANCARI 3,532,387

METHOD AND MEANS FOR AUTOMATICALLY FEEDING A PARCELLING mcumn mmouen AN mzrommcanm LOADED AND UnLoADEn PAQKAGE mums Filed March 18, 1968 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR FRANCO STANCARI BY ag W ATTORNEY 197 F. STANCARI METHOD AND MEANS FOR AUTOMATICALLY FEEDING A PARCELLING MACHINE THAOUGH AN AUTOMATICALLY LOADED AND UNLOADED PACKAGE MAGAZINE 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 18. 1968 FRANCO STANCARI ORNEY Oct. 6, 1970 F. STANCARI A 3,532,387

METHOD AND MEANS FOR AUTOMATICALLY FEEDING A PARCELLING MACHINE THROUGH AN AUTOMATICALLY LOADED AND UNLOADED PACKAGE MAGAZINE Filed March 18, 1968 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR FRANCO STANCARI 'ITORNEY Oct. 6, 1970 F. STANCARI 3,532,387

METHOD AND MEANS FOR AUTOMATICALLY FEEDING A PARCELLING MACHINE 'raaousn AN AUTOMATICALLY LOADED AND UNLOADED PACKAGE MAGAZINE FRANCO STANCARI F. STANCARI Oct. 6, 1970 METHOD AND MEANS FOR AUTOMATICALLY FEEDING A PARCELLING MACHINE THROUGH AN AUTOMATICALLY LOADED AND UNLOADED PACKAGE MAGAZINE 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed March 18, 1968 INVENT OR FRANCO STANCARI United States Patent 3,532,387 METHOD AND MEANS FOR AUTOMATICALLY FEEDING A PARCELLIN G MACHINE THROUGH AN AUTOMATICALLY LOADED AND UN- LOADED PACKAGE MAGAZINE Franco Staucari, Bologna, Italy, assignor to American Machine & Foundry Company, a corporation of New Jersey Filed Mar. 18, 1968, Ser. No. 713,827 Claims priority, application Italy, Mar. 21, 1967, 6,880/ 67, Patent 789,195 Int. Cl. B65g 53/04 US. Cl. 302-2 13 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A system for feeding a parcelling machine from a plurality of cigarette packing machines comprising, a storage unit means connecting each of said packaging machines to said storage unit, means connecting said storage unit to said parcelling machine and means for selectively controlling the flow of packages from each of said packaging machines to said storage unit and from said storage unit to said parcelling machine.

The present invention relates to plants, in which a plurality of automatic packer machines, in particular for cigarettes, feed in parallel, each of them by means of a pneumatic conveyor tube, a single automatic package parcelling machine.

The invention has the object of providing a considerable flexibility as to the connection between the packer machines and the parceller machine, and in particular of enabling the packer machines to keep operating in the case of short stops of the parceller machine, without having to remove or reject the packages formed by the packer machines during the packer machines stopping intervals.

The invention substantially resides in the feature that each packer machine is associated to a magazine for the packages and that the delivery of each parceller machine can be alternately connected with the inlet of the respective magazine and with a tube for the pneumatic conveyance of the packages to the parceller machine (pneumatic feed tube), while the outlet of the magazine is connected to the parceller machine by means of a further tube for the pneumatic conveyance of the packages (pneumatic recovery tube), a control system being provided, which, any time the parceller machine is temporarily stopped, establishes the loading of the packages from the packer machine to the magazine associated to the same, while when the parceller machine resumes its operation, promotes the discharge of the packages from the said magazine to the respective pneumatic recovery tube, and therefore the feeding of the parceller machine with the stored packages, simultaneously and in parallel to those produced by the packer machine and fed directly to the parceller machine.

The magazine associated to each packer machine, the device for the alternate connection of the packer machine to the magazine onto the parceller machine, the devices for loading and unloading the magazine and the control system can be realized in any suitable manner whatsoever.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the package magazine associated to each packer machine is constituted by an endless pocket conveyor, for example of the chain or drum type, moving stepwise in either direction, so as to carry the pockets, one after the other, while in the magazine filling cycle (stopping stage of the packer machine) into a loading station, in which the packages coming from the packer machine are introduced into the boxes up to the filling up of the same, and during the emptying cycle (parceller machine operating stage) into an unloading station, in which the stored packages are ejected out of the boxes and fed to the pneumatic recovery tube.

These and other characteristic features of the invention and the advantages arising from it will be made apparent from the following specification of a preferred embodiment, diagrammatically shown by way of nonlimiting example in the accompanying drawings, wherein.

FIG. 1 shows the lay-out of a plant according to the invention.

FIG. 2 shows, in front elevation, the package magazine asociated to a packer machine, with the devices for connecting such magazine with the outlet of the respective packer machine and with the pneumatic tube for the recovery of the stored packages.

FIG. 3 is a view in side elevation of the magazine.

FIG. 4 shows in plan view the package magazine with the devices for the loading and unloading of the same.

FIG. 5 shows in perspective a part of the control mechanism of the magazine.

FIG. 6 shows in plan view a part of the control mechanism of the devices for the magazine loading and unloading.

Referring to the figures of the drawing, the plant according to the invention comprises a plurality of automatic cigarette packer machines 1 which feed a single automatic parceller machine 2 for parcelling the cigarette packages. The delivery of each packer machine 1 is connected to the parcellermachine 2 by means of a suitable tube 3 of a pneumatic suction conveyor 4 for the cigarette packages. The packages 11 (FIG. 2) formed by each packer machine 1, are fed, by means of tubes 3, of the pneumatic conveyor 4, to a piling and grouping device 5 (FIG. 1), which forms piles with these pack-ages and feeds such piles one after the other, or in groups, to the subsequent parceller machine 2.'The parceller 2 forms the parcels, each comprising a certain number of piled-up packages. The output of the parceller machine 2 is greater than the maximum overall output of all the packer machines associated to same. The parceller machine 2 automatically starts its operation cycles for making the parcel any time it is fed with a sufiicient number of piles for the making up of the parcel. Consequently, there is no need of a simultaneous operation of the parceller machine 2 and of the respective feeding plant comprising the pa-cker machines 1, the pneumatic conveyor 4, and the piling and grouping device 5, the speed rate of the parceller machine 2 being as much higher as the number of the piles which reach the same is higher. Such kind of plants, as well as the machines and the devices which compose the same are known, and therefore a detailed description of same is omitted.

According to the invention, each packer machine 1 is associated to a magazine 6, that, in the case of a temporaneous short stopping of the parceller machine 2, receives the packages 11 produced and supplied by the respective packer machine 1, thus preventing the stopping of the said packer machine 1 or the rejection of the packages produced by same. When the parceller machine 2 resumes its operation, the cigarette packages stored within the said magazine 6 are withdrawn and fed to the parceller machine 2 at the same time as those coming directly from the packer machine 1.

The magazine 6 is constituted by two adjoining and parallel endless chains 7, meshing on two pairs of sprocket wheels 8 and 9, mounted on substantially horizontal shafts 108, 109. To the chains 7 horizontal pocket containers 10 are fastened, which are open at their front end and also to both sides and present, in cross section, a U- shape. Each pocket 10 can contain a row formed from a predetermined number of packages 11. The chain pair 7 and the pocket containers 10 are enclosed in a casing 12 which serves as guide and as holding means for the packages 11 contained in the pockets 10, especially in the lower part of the magazine 6, where the pockets 10 come to be upsized with their outer open end turned downwards.

Along the chain pair '7 there are provided, in distinct positions, a station A for loading the packages 11 onto the magazine 6 and a station B for unloading the packages 11 from the said magazine 6. Preferably, both these stations A, B, are located in correspondence of the same vertical run of the chain pair 7, a small distance one above the other. The chain pair 7 can be driven stepwise alter nately in either direction, as it will be better seen hereafter, and in such a way as to convey the pocket containers 10, one after the other, either to the loading station A, respectively or to the unloading station B, as

the case may be.

In the loading station A, the lower side of each pocket 10 is aligned with the channel delivery 13 of packages 11 from the respective packer machine 1 (FIG. 2). The packages 11 formed by the packer machine 1 are caused to move stepwise successively into the delivery channel 13, by the motion of the packer machine ejecting device, diagrammatically indicated by the piston 14 actuated by cam 15. In the delivery channel 13, the packages 11 are arranged in an upright position and are thereafter laterally turned over on a side by means of a known turningover device 16. Subsequently, the so turned packages 11 are moved into a channel 17 and come one after the other to the inlet of the pneumatic (package) conveyor tubes 3, into which they are sucked in order to be fed to the parceller machine 2.

The channel 17 is connected to the loading station A of the magazine 6 by means of an endless conveyor belt 18, which is substantially horizontal and coplanar both to the bottom of the said channel 17 and to the lower side of the pocket 10 which comes to be at the said loading stat-ion A. In correspondence of this conveyor belt 18, in the casing 12 of the magazine 6, an opening 19 is provided for the infeeding of packages 11. In correspondence of the said opening 19, externally to the casing 12 of the magazine 6, and above the conveyor belt 18, an en training roller 20 is provided, which coacts with the respective end section of the conveyor belt 18, preferably with the return roller 118 of same. The entraining roller 20 is driven at the same peripheral speed and in the same direction as the conveyor belt 18.

At the end of the channel 17 there are provided movable abutment members 21 adapted to alternately assume an active or stopping position, in which they stop the packages 11 in front of the inlet of the pneumatic (package) conveyor tube 3 (as shown by dash lines in FIG. 2), and an inactive or retracted position, in which they are withdrawn from the path of the packages 11, thus enabling these packages to be pushed outside of channel 17 onto the subsequent conveyor belt 18 (as shown by full lines in FIG. 2). Furthermore, the inlet of the pneumatic (package) conveyor tube 3 can be provided with a valve (not shown) which can alternately assume an opening position, in which it enables the suction and the infeeding of the packages 11 into the said tube 3, and a closure position, in which it intercepts the suction and stops the inlet of the packages 11 into the said tube 3. The movable abutment members 21 and, possibly, the inlet valve of tube 3 are so actuated and/ or coupled with one another, that the valve is Opened whenever the retaining members 21 are moved to their stopping position of the packages 11, while the same is closed as soon as the retaining members assume their retracted position, in which they allow the packages 11 to pass. The movable abutment members 21. and the inlet valve of the pneumatic (package) conveyor tube 3 under suction are preferably actuated by means of an electromagnet 59.

In correspondence of the starting section of the conveyor belt 18, after the channel 17, some known means (not shown) are provided which are suitable for turning the cigarette packages 11 over, so as to lay them down onto the same belt 18, as it is apparent from FIG. 2.

In the unloading station B, the magazine housing 12 presents some openings in correspondence of both opened head ends of the pocket 10. Once of these openings (outlet opening) is connected, by means of a horizontal unloading channel 23 (F'IG. 2, FIG. 1) to the inlet of a pneumatic conveyor tube '24. This tube 24 is connected to a pneumatic conveyor collecting tube 25, which constitutes a part of the suction pneumatic conveyor 4 and is connected to the parceller machine 2 by means of the piling and grouping device 5, in like manner as the pneumatic conveyor tubes 3, and in parallel thereto. In the end section of the pneumatic collecting tube 25, past the connecting tube 24 of the last packer machine 1, a defecting device 60 is provided, which senses the packages which pass through said tube 25 and which is adapted to emit an electric pulse at the passage of each single package. The said detector 60 may be constituted by a photoelectric cell or by an electric contact which can be actuated by the packages in transit and which is connected to an electronic counter (not shown).

In the unloading station B (FIG. 4) a device is furthermore provided, which ejects the cigarette packages 11 out of the pocket 10 of the magazine 6 and introduces same into the unloading channel 23 which is aligned with the said pocket. This ejecting device is constituted by an endless chain 26, passed upon sprocket wheels 27 in a (vertical) plane parallel to the shafts 108 and 109 of the two pairs of gearwheels 8 and 9 of the magazine 6 and therefore parallel to the vertical section of the pair of chains 7, in correspondence of which the loading station A and the unloading station B are provided. This ejecting chain 26 is provided with one or more spaced horizontal paddles 28, which project sidewise out of the said chain, and are so dimensioned as to be capable of inserting themselves into the pockets 10 of the magazine and of sliding therethrough. One of the sections, generally the lower one of the ejecting chain 26 is horizontal and parallel to the pocket 10 which comes to be at the unloading station B. By causing the chain 26 to move in the direction of the arrows as shown in FIG. 2, the, or one, of the side paddles 28 of said chain 26 penetrates into the casing 12 of the magazine 6 through the opening opposite to the unloading channel 23 and penetrates into the pocket 10 through the open head end of the said pocket 10. Subsequently, the paddle slides through the said pocket 10 and pushes ahead the packages 11 which fill the pocket 10. These packages 11 are thus ejected, through the opposite open head end, out of the pocket 10 and into the unloading channel 23, and pushed thereinto up to the inlet of the pneumatic conveyor tube 24, into which they are sucked one after the other.

After coming out of the casing 12 of the magazine 6 and little before the inlet of the tube 24, the paddle 28 of the ejecting chain 26, which follows the path of the said chain, is turned upwardly and therefore drawn out of the unloading channel 23. The return section of the ejecting chain 26 is arranged at such a height that the paddle or paddles 28 do not interfere with the casing 12 of the magazine *6 and pass outside of the same, as it is apparent from FIG. 3. In the rest position of the ejecting chain 26 of paddle or paddles 28 of the same comes to be outside of the casing 12 of the magazine 6, or at least outside of the pocket 10 which comes to be at the unloading station B, thus enabling the free movement of the chain pair 7 and pockets 10.

The chain pair 7 provided with pockets 10 is driven by an electric motor 29 (FIG. 5) which drives the shaft 30 by means of a belt drive 31 and of an electromagnetic clutch 32. The shaft 30 drives stepwise a countershaft 33, by means of a unit comprising a crank 34, a connecting rod 35, and a ratchet gear 36, 37, whose ratchetwheel 36 is fastened to the countershaft 33, while the pair-carrying arm is rockingly mounted onto shaft 33 and is joined to the connecting rod 35. The countershaft 33 is provided with an electromagnetic brake 38 and with two gear wheels 39 and 40. The gearwheel 39 is coupled, by means of an intermediate gear 41, to a gearwheel 42, which is mounted onto the shaft 109 of the two sprocket wheels 9 of the chain pair 7, and can be connected to the said shaft 189 by means of an electromagnetic clutch 43. The other wheel 40 meshes directly with a wheel 44 mounted ,onto the shaft 109 and which may be coupled thereto by means of an electromagnetic clutch 45. In this way, by alternately engaging either one of the two electromagnetic clutches 43, 44, the shaft 109 is driven by the countershaft 33 alternately in either direction, by means of gears 39, 41, 42, or by means of the gear pair 40, 44, thus causing the chain pair 7 provided with pockets 10 to alternately move in one direction or in the other.

The devices for loading and unloading the magazine 6, arranged at the stations A and B are driven by an additional electric motor 46 (FIG. 6) which, by means of chain drive 47, drives a countershaft 48 which can be coupled, by means of an electromagnetic clutch 49 to one of the sprocket wheels 27 of the ejecting chain 26. The countershaft 48 can be also coupled to the drive rollers 118 of the conveyor belt 18 by means of a toothed gearing 50 and of an additional electromagnetic clutch 51.

The above-illustrated plant is provided with an electric control system which comprises a microswitch 122, actuated by a sensing device 22', for example of the piston type, which is arranged in correspondence of the loading station -A, on the side opposite to the conveyor belt 18 in correspondence of an opening in the casing 12 of the magazine 6, in front of the respective open head end of the pocket 10 which is located in correspondence of the same loading station A. Such a sensing device 22 establishes whether the pocket 10 which is at the loading station A is filled with packages 11 or not and accordingly actuates the microswitch 122.

Another similar sensing device 54, for example of the piston type, is provided at the loading station B, on the side opposite to the unloading channel 23, in correspondence of an opening in the casing 12 of the magazine 6 in front of the respective open head end of the pocket 10 which comes to be at the said unloading station B. Such a sensing device 54 establishes whether the pocket 10 which is in correspondence of the unloading station A is filled up or not with packages 11 and accordingly actuates a microswitch 154 inserted in the electric control circuit.

The control circuit also comprises a cyclic control switch 52 (FIG. actuated by a cam 53 fastened onto the countershaft 30 in the mechanism for actuating the magazine 6. Such switch 52 is designed to stop the chain pair 7 in positions in which the pockets are exactly aligned with the conveyor belt 18 at the loading station A and with the ejecting chain 26 at the unloading station B.

Another microswitch 55 (FIG. 2), inserted in the electric control circuit, co-acts with the ejecting chain 26 at the unloading station B, or with the paddle or paddles of said chain.

A sensing device 56 (FIG. 3) is arranged near the loading station A, little ahead of the said station, referring to the direction of travel of the chain pair 7, during the filling cycle of the magazine 6. The said sensing device 56 determines whether the pockets 10, which are desgined to be carried to the loading station A, are filled or not with packages 11, and accordingly actuates a microswitch 156 inserted in the control circuit.

The ejecting device of the packer machine 1 comprises a microswitch'57 (FIG. 2) cyclically actuated by a cam 58 integral, for example, with the control cam 15 of the said ejector 14. This microswitch 57 controls the position of the packages 11 with respect to the inlet of the pneumatic conveyor tube 3 and provides for the proper operation of the movable abutment members 21 and/ or of the inlet valve of tube 3, actuated by the electromagnet 59.

During the normal operation of the parceller machine 2, the magazine 6, the conveyor belt 18 at the loading station A and the ejecting chain 26 at the unloading station B are stopped. The movable abutment members 21 are in their stopped position, While the inlet valve, if any, of the pneumatic conveyor tube 3 is opened, so that the packages 11 coming from the packer machine 1 are stopped in front of the inlet of tube 3 and are sucked one after the other into the same, in order to be thus fed directly to the piling and grouping device 5 and to the subsequent parceller machine 2.

When the parceller machine 2 is stopped, the movable abutment members 21 are automatically brought into their withdrawn position, in which they permit the passage of packages 11. At the same time also the closure of the inlet valve, if any, of the pneumatic conveyor tube 3 is effected. At the same time, the control circuit sets the chain pair 7 in motion in the direction of arrow F1, as shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 5. This movement is permitted by the sensing device 56, 156 which permits the driving of chains 7 only when it feels that the pocket container 10 upstream of the loading station A is empty. The movement of the chain pair 7, in the direction of arrow F1, during the filling cycle, is obtained by engaging either of the electromagnetic clutches 43, 45, for example clutch 45, and disengaging the other clutch 43. The chain pair 7 therefore is driven stepwise by the effect of the ratchet gear 36, 37, and in the direction of the arrow F1, thus carrying the pockets 10 one after the other into the loading station A. Such intermittent movement is controlled by the cyclic switch 52 actuated by cam 53. When an empty pocket 10 is carried into the loading station A in alignment with the conveyor belt 18, the cyclic switch 52 disengages the electromagnetic clutch 32 and at the same time engages the electromagnetic brake 38, thus stopping the chain pair 7 in the correct position. Simultaneously, the cyclic switch 52 sets the conveyor belt 18 in motion, by engaging the electromagnetic clutch 51, while the electromagnetic clutch 49 of the ejection chain 26 remains disengaged.

Under these conditions, the packages 11 which come from the packer machine 1 and which proceed within the channel 17, instead of being sucked by the tube 3 and being fed to the parceller machine 2, are pushed outside of the said channel 17 onto the subsequent conveyor belt 18. This belt 18 and the entraining roller 20 introduce the packages 11 one after the other into the pocket 10 stopped at the loading station A. When this pocket is filled up, the row of packages 10 contained in the same depresses the sensing device 22, which actuates the respective microswitch 122. This latter promotes the stopping of the conveyor belt 18 by disengaging the electromagnetic clutch 51. The same microswitch 122 releases the brake 38 and engages the electromagnetic clutch 32, thus setting again the chain pair "7 in motion, in the direction of the arrow F1. The chain pair 7 is stopped again, by the action of the cyclic switch 52 when the subsequent empty pocket 10 is carried into the loading station A, in alignment with the conveyor belt 18. The above-specified loading cycle is thus repeated.

In this way, by causing the chain pair 7 to move, by steps corresponding to the pitch of pockets 10, in the direction of arrow F1, the subsequent pockets 10 of the magazine 6 are filled up one after the other with the packages 11 being produced and coming from the packer machine 1. If the stopping of the parceller machine 2 con tinues for a longer time than the time required for completely filling the magazine 6 (for example about 3-5 minutes) the chain pair 7 stops permanently as soon as the first-filled pocket 10 comes to be in correspondence with the sensing device 56 which, for safety reasons, is provided a few steps before the loading station A. When this sensing device 56 feels that the pocket being in correspondence of same is full, its microswitch 156 no more gives its consent to the insertion of the electromagnetic clutch 32, so that the chain pair 7 remains disengaged from its respective driving motor 29. The same microswitch 156 determines also the stopping of the packer machine 1 associated to the magazine 6 as soon as the sensing device 56 establishes that the said magazine 6 is completely filled up.

The chain pair 7 is stopped, by the action of the control circuit combined with means controlled by the parceller machine 2, when the latter resumes its operation before the complete filling of the magazine 6.

In both cases, that is, with the magazine 6 either completely or partially filled, when the parceller machine 2 resumes its operation, the abutment members 21 are automatically brought again into their position in which they stop the packages 11 while, if there is an inlet valve on the pneumatic conveyor tube 3, this is opened. The packages 11 made and coming from the packer machine 1 are thereafter sucked again into the said tube 3 and fed to the parceller machine. At the same time the packages 11 stored in the magazine 6 are progressively unloaded and also fed to the parceller machine 2 by means of the pneumatic suction conveyor tube 24 and of the collecting main connected thereto. To this purpose, during this emptying step of the magazine 6, and automatically by the starting of the parceller machine 2, the direction of motion of the chain pair 7 is reversed by disengaging the electromagnetic clutch and by clutching the clutch 43, so that the motor 29 now drives the chain pair 7 in the direction of the arrow F2, as shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 5. The

chain pair 7 is driven stepwise in this direction F2 until the first full pocket 10 comes to be at the unloading station B. When the sensing device 54 detects that in the unloading station B there is a full pocket 10, its microswitch 154 promotes the stopping of the chain pair 7, by disengaging the electromagnetic clutch 32 and by inserting the electromagnetic brake 38, in combination with the cylic switch 52, which establishes the exact position of the pocket 10 at the unloading station B, in alignment with the channel 23. The same microswitch 154 clutches the electromagnetic clutch 49 and thus sets the ejecting chain 26 in motion, while the electromagnetic clutch 51 of the loading conveyor belt 18 remains disengaged. The ejecting chain 26 therefore pushes the row of packages 11 from the pocket 10 into the adjoining unloading channel 23, by means of a paddle 28, and as previously specified. The packages 11 thus expelled from the pocket 10 at the unloading station B are therefore sucked one at a time by the pneumatic conveyor tube 24 and are fed by means of the collecting tube 25 to the piling and grouping unit 5 and to the subsequent parceller machine 2, simultaneously and in parallel with the packages formed by the packer machine and fed directly to the same parceller 2. The ejecting chain 26 continues its movement until its paddle 28 or a subsequent paddle 28 passes upon the microswitch and actuates same. This microswitch 55 disengages the electromagnetic clutch 49 and thus stops the ejecting chain 26 in such a position that the paddle 28 and the subsequent paddle 28 of the said chain stops outside of the magazine 6, little before the open front end of the pocket 10, on the side opposite to the unloading channel 23. In this way, the said paddle 28 is ready to pass through the subsequent pocket container 10 which will come to be at the unloading station B.

At the same time, after the ejection of the packages 11 from the pocket 10 and as soon as the sensing device 54 detects that the said pocket 10 is empty, the microswitch 154 enables the cyclic switch 52 to release the brake 38 and to engage the clutch 32, so that the chain pair 7 is moved by a further step in the direction of the arrow F2, thus bringing the subsequent filled pocket to the unload- 8 ing station B. When the sensing device 54 detects that the said pocket .10 is filled up, its microswitch 154- is able to start a new unloading cycle, in the afore-specified manner.

Each unloading cycle of each of the magazines 6 associated to the various packer machines 1, that is the emptying of each pocket 10 to the unloading station of each of the magazines 6, is however conditioned by the electronic counter coupled to the detecting device of the packages which pass through the pneumatic conveyor collecting tube 25. This electronic counter controls the unloading of the packages from all the magazines 6 associated to the various packer machines 1 coupled to the parceller machine 2. In particular, the electronic counter enables the unloading of the packages 11 from only one at a time of the magazines 6 and provides for a uniform emptying of all the said magazines 6. To this purpose, the electronic counter is so programmed as to determine the unloading of one pocket 10 of each magazine 6 at a time, methodically according to a preestablished succession of the magazines 6, then cyclically repeating the said succession for the subsequent pockets 10 of each magazine 6, generally up to the complete emptying of all the said magazines 6. More precisely, assuming the number of the packer machines 1 connected to the parceller machine to be m and the number of packages 11 contained within a filled pocket 10 to be n, the electronic counter permits the starting of unloading the cycle from the subsequent pocket 10 to be repeated only after having detected the transit, through the collecting tube 25 of a number m.n of packages.

If the parceller machine 2 is again stopped before the complete emptying of the magazine 6, the chain pair 7 reverses the direction of its movement and moves a certain number of steps in the direction of the arrow F1, until in the loading station A there is an empty pocket 10 and the sensing device 22 promotes the starting of a loading cycle, as afore-specified. During the lapse of time, in which the chain pair 7 moves in the direction of the arrow F1 for bringing an empty pocket to the loading station A, the conveyor belt 18 is stopped and the packages 11 supplied by the packer machine 1 continue to be sucked by the pneumatic conveyor tube 3 and to be fed to the piling and grouping device 5 of the parceller machine 2. With other words, when the parceller machine is stopped, the packages 11 coming from the various packer machines 1 are not straightaway directed towards the magazines associated to the same, but continue for a certain time to flow to the piling and grouping unit 5 of the parceller machine 2. This however does not give rise to any inconvenience, since the lapse of time up to the starting of the magazines 6 is very short and since between the outlets of the tubes 3 in the delivery station and the piling and grouping device 5 there is a conveyor 61 Whose length is sutficient for accommodating the said packages 11.

From the foregoing it is apparent that the invention may be characterized by the provision in an operating unit consisting of a plurality of packers, pneumatic package conveyors, grouper and parceller, of a package magazine.

To sum up, the functions of the various device are to provide a system or operating unit for feeding a parcelling machine from a plurality of cigarette-packing machines 1, in which the so-called package magazine 6 has a compensating function in the aforesaid operating unit, so that when the parceller 2 stops, the packages produced by each packer 1 move into the magazine 6 which is connected with it while the fiow of packages through said pneumatic conveyor stops; when the parceller 2 starts running again, the packages from the various packers I arrive at the parceller through the corresponding package conveyors 3 and at the same time the magazines 6 begin unloading the packages which, through an auxiliary pneumatic line 24, 25, arrive at an additional track provided in the package grouper preceding the parceller. The unloading of the various magazines is regulated by an electronic counter 60 coupled to a package transition indicator inserted in the said auxiliary pneumatic line.

Of course, the invention is not limited to the embodiment as afore specified and illustrated, but can be amply varied and modified, above all in construction, and can be applied to similar plants for the formation and the parcelling of packages or boxes of any other product different from the cigarettes, while the packer or boxing machines 1 can be substituted with cellophane-wrapping machines or the like, the whole without departing from the loading principle as above specified and hereinafter claimed.

I claim:

1. In a device for feeding a parcelling machine from a cigarette-packing machine comprising, a compartmented storage magazine, a horizontal belt conveyor interposed between said compartmented storage magazine and said cigarette packing machine, a roller located at the end of the belt conveyor contiguous to the compartmented storage magazine, a chain for driving said belt and said roller at the same speed and means for selectively controlling the flow of packages from said cigarette-packing machine to said compartmented storage magazine and from said compartmented storage magazine to said parcelling machine.

2. In a device for feeding a parcelling machine from a cigarette-packing machine according to claim 1 wherein said compartmented storage magazine comprises pockets composed of a U-section folded metal sheet arranged horizontally and fastened to two side chains moving in a vertical direction; and a metal sheet casing enclosing said pocket conveyor so as to act as package guide preventing slipping out of packages particularly in the lower conveyor section.

3. In a device for feeding a parcelling machine from a plurality of cigarette-packing machines, according to claim 1 wherein said compartmented storage magazine comprises a package-unloading device comprising a chain conveyor coupled to intercept the compartments of said compartmented storage magazine, a number of paddles fastened to said chain conveyor and adapted to insinuate themselves into each compartment and to push sidewise packages contained therein and a side channel coupled to receive the packages pushed out of said compartments.

4. The combination of claim 2 wherein the means for controlling the flow of packages comprises a first detector which senses whether a magazine pocket in loading position is full; a second detector adapted to be preset for stopping the pockets in loading and unloading positions; a third detector which senses when the magazine is full; a fourth detector which senses the presence of packages in the pocket at the unloading station, conveyor paddles coupled to move packages out of said pockets, and a fifth detector which checks the position of the conveyor paddle.

5. The combination of claim 4 wherein the magazine for the packages includes an endless conveyor provided with pocket containers, means to intermittently drive said conveyor in either direction so as to bring, during the magazine filling cycle the pockets one after the other into a loading station, in which the packages are introduced into the pockets up to the filling up of the same and, during the emptying cycle of the magazine in an unloading station in which the packages are turned out of the pockets, and pneumatic recovery tube coupled to receive the package from said pockets and feed said packages to the parcelling machine.

6. The combination of claim 5 wherein the endless pocket conveyor comprises a pair of endless chains, two pairs of gearwheels coupled to drive said chains while the pockets are fastened onto chains wherein said pockets present a U-shaped profile with the open side turned outwardly, said pockets being opened at both their head ends.

7. The combination of claim 5, comprising a roller and a counter-roller at the end of the loading conveyor belt at the inlet of the magazine which co-acts with the loading conveyor belt.

8. The combination of claim 7 comprising a movable abutment coupled to the inlet of the pneumatic tube to alternately assume a stopping position of the packages coming from the packer machine and a withdrawn position to allow these packages to proceed to a subsequent loading conveyor belt.

9. The combination of claim 8, comprising a valve coupled to the inlet of the pneumatic tube which feeds packages to the parceller machine, said valve in its closure position intercepts the suction exerted through the inlet to prevent the inflow of the packages into the same, and in its opening position to enable the suction of the packages into said pneumatic tube.

10. The combination of claim 9 comprising an ejecting device coupled to turn the packages out of the pockets and to push them one after the other towards the inlet of the pneumatic recovery tube.

11. The combination of claim 10 wherein said ejecting device comprises an endless chain positioned to run parallel to the pocket in front of the outer open side of the same, and a paddle coupled to said chain adapted to be insinuated into the pocket and to slide Within the same in a longitudinal direction, from the one to the other of its opened head ends.

12. The combination of claim 5 wherein said endless conveyor is driven by a motor, an electromagnetic clutch interposed between said motor and said conveyor, and, a ratchet gear interposed between said cltuch and said endless conveyor to provide a step type of motion.

13. The combination of claim 12 including a reversing mechanism comprising a first series of gears even in number, a first clutch to couple said endless conveyor to said first series of gears a second series of gearwheels uneven in number a second clutch to couple said endless conveyor to said second series of gearwheels; said clutches being alternately engageable and disengageable.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,040,870 6/1962 Carter. 3,340,992 9/1967 Seragnoli 198-31 X TRAVIS S. MCGEHEE, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 21416

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3040870 *Aug 12, 1959Jun 26, 1962Meyer Geo J Mfg CoApparatus for advancing articles from a supply to a receiver
US3340992 *Sep 20, 1965Sep 12, 1967Ariosto SeragnoliArticle transfer apparatus having automatic storage magazine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3680280 *Apr 27, 1970Aug 1, 1972Amf IncCigarette packaging apparatus
US3888167 *Sep 5, 1973Jun 10, 1975Apv Co LtdHeat treatment of particulate solid materials in continuous flow
US4502587 *Apr 18, 1983Mar 5, 1985R. J. Reynolds Tobacco CompanyAutomatic accumulator for rectangular articles
US4560057 *Nov 20, 1981Dec 24, 1985Molins LimitedPacket handling apparatus
US4714152 *Mar 19, 1987Dec 22, 1987Pneumatic Scale CorporationFor transporting articles
US6047526 *Apr 27, 1998Apr 11, 2000G. D Societa' Per AzioniMethod of balancing the output of two lines of a packing system
DE2640867A1 *Sep 10, 1976Mar 24, 1977Molins LtdVorrichtung zur handhabung von packungen
Classifications
U.S. Classification406/31, 198/347.1, 53/493, 406/81, 198/801
International ClassificationB65B35/54, B65B35/30
Cooperative ClassificationB65B35/54
European ClassificationB65B35/54