US 3536570 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 27, 1970 J. H. HOLSTEIN LABEL PICKUP AND TRANSFER APPARATUS 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed 001:. e, 1967 JOHN H. HOLSTE/N L) k wvmro/e Oct. 27, 1970 J. H. HOLSTEIN 3,536,570
LABEL PICKUP AND TRANSFER APPARATUS Filed Oct. 9. 1967 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 LAix LEW/2 3 km LT] JOHN H. HOLSTE/N INVENTOR M ffifuf A77DRNEKS' Oct. 27., 1970 J, HQLSTEIN 3,536,570
LABEL PICKUP AND TRANSFER APPARATUS Filed Oct. 9, 1967 4 Shets-Sheet a r "42,40,94 361 wwu' l I 3R We Fl 6. 8. JOHN h. HOLSTE/N INVENTOR A TTORNEVS Oct. 27, 1970 J. H. HOLSTEIN 3,535,570
LABEL PICKUP AND' TRANSFER APPARATUS Filed Oct "9, 1967 I 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 A TTURNEVS JOHN H. HOLS TE IN United States Patent US. Cl. 156566 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Apparatus for use with label adhibition machines wherein containers are transported and labels are applied thereto during such transport, the apparatus including a pickup head having suction means for removing individual labels from one or more supply stacks of labels and transferring the same to a movable label applying head which is also provided with suction means, the activation of which is coordinated with the control of suction to the label pickup head for effecting the transfer of the label from the pickup head to the label applying head during relative movement between the label applying head and the stack of labels.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION The present invention relates to adhibition machines for applying labels to containers being moved along on a continuous conveyor and more particularly to an apparatus for picking up and transferring a label from a stationary stack of labels to the label applying head of a machine. Heretofore, a stack of labels has been arranged so as to move in synchronism with containers moving along on a conveyor and to have associated therewith mechanisms adapted for transfer and labels from the moving stack and agglutination thereof to the containers moving along on the conveyors. The construction and operation of such movable label applying machines has not been entirely satisfactory under all conditions and has involved complicated mechanisms for movement of the label holding stack relative to conveyor movement with attendant mechanical problems.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an improved label pickup and transfer apparatus which transfers a label from a stack of labels to the label applying head of a label adhibition machine, the label applying head and the stack of labels moving relative to each other.
Another object is to provide such a label transfer apparatus which is simple in construction and operates in a facile and reliable manner.
A further object is to provide a label pickup and transfer apparatus which eliminates the necessity for angular movement of a label holding stack, permits a vertical and stationary positioning of label stacks for easy loadmg.
The aforementioned and other objects are achieved by an apparatus which provides a label pickup head having suction means for removing a single label from the underside of a stack, which label is subsequently transferred to a label applying head having suction means for receiving and holding the removed label, the suction means of the pickup head and of the label applying head being coordinated to effect transfer of the label in a facile and reliable manner for eventual agglutination to a container moving along on a conveyor, thereby overcoming many of the difiiculties and mechanical problems previously encountered in label transfer and applying machines. Although designed to handle labels, the ap- "ice paratus is not restricted to such use but could be adapted to handle tax stamps and other articles as well.
An apparatus embodying the principles of the present invention is described herein in connection with a label applying machine of the type disclosed in my US. Pat. No. 3,306,803, in which structure and mechanism are shown and described for adhibiting labels to containers from movable stacks of labels. The present invention incorporates substantial improvements and includes a specifically different label stacking magazines and a label pickup and transfer apparatus which has proven to be highly effective in use and is simpler in construction and operation, with resultant improved operation and reduction of mechanical problems.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a schematic plan view of a label applying machine to which the label pickup and transfer apparatus of the present invention is applied.
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side elevation looking in the direction of the arrows 22 of FIG. 1 and showing the label pickup and transfer apparatus in greater detail on a larger scale.
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view somewhat similar to FIG. 2. but with parts omitted in order to show more clearly parts of the mechanism for accomplishing the transitional and rotational movement of the label pickup and transfer apparatus.
FIG. 4 is a vertical section taken generally along line 4-4 of FIG. 2, with parts omitted, showing in greater detail the operating mechanism of the label pickup and transfer apparatus and illustrating the disposition of the parts in a first position of the label pickup head.
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary vertical section illustrating a second position of the label pickup head.
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary section similar to FIG. 5 but showing the label pickup head in its final position for transfer of a label to the label applying head.
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary vertical section, taken generally along line 77 of FIG. 3, showing on a larger scale some of the mechanism shown in FIG. 4 with the label pickup head in final operational position.
FIG. 8 is a side elevational of the label pickup vacuum control mechanism.
FIG. 9 is a side elevation of the valve for venting a vacuum control valve associated with each label applying head.
DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENT Referring more specifically to the drawings, there is schematically illustrated in FIG. 1 a label applying machine designated generally by the letter M to which an apparatus embodying the principles of the present invention is shown applied. The machine includes, the essence, a conveyor C adapted to be continuously moved by suitable drive means D for conveying containers B which are properly positioned thereon by a screw feed spacing mechanism S in accordance with the spacing of label applying heads A movable past a glue applying device G and mounted for movement about a continuous path of travel dcfined by a track assembly T and cooperating with reac tion members R supported on an opposing track assembly T, the conveyor C, spacer S and track assemblies T and T' all being driven in timed synchronism so that a label applying head A bearing a label is disposed opposite a container B on the conveyor and a reaction member R disposed on the other side of the container B cooperates to hold the container while the head A is applying a label thereto, the container and the associated label applying head and reaction member all traveling linearly at the same speed throughout label application, substantially as shown and described in greater detail in my aforementioned patent. A label pickup and transfer apparatus embodying the principles of the present invention is designated generally by reference numeral and includes one or more label stack magazines 12 supported in stationary position on a platform or beam 14 fixed to a stationary support frame 16.
Turning to FIGS. 2 and 4, each of the label magazines 12 is an open bottom storage device defined by an aperture 18 adjacent to which a plurality of upstanding rods 20 and 22 are secured to the beam 14, the rods 22 having depending portions with inwardly directed fingers 24 which extend under and support a column or stack of labels 26, printed side up, upon which pressure is maintained by any suitable weight 28. The magazines serve to support the labels whereby a label pickup and transfer vacuum head 30, hereinafter described in greater detail, by means of suction cups 32 thereon, removes one label from the bottom of each of the stacks and holds them for transfer to a like number of the label applying heads A. As will be noted, the magazines are preferably positioned parallel to the longitudinal axis of the machine and in fixed relationship therewith for holding labels in vertically disposed stationary stacks.
Vacuum head is of elongated construction and connected thereto are spaced pairs of positioning bars 34 encompassing a guide rod or shaft 36 and suitably secured to spacing connectors 38 and to pivot blocks 40 through which latter a pivot shaft 42 extends, as shown in FIGS. 2, 4 and 6. Guide shaft 36 has its ends fixed to the frame 16 and the pivot shaft 42 is secured in the outer ends of a pair of swingable arms 44 which are formed integrally with or fixed to a sleeve 46 keyed to a splined shaft 48 and slidable thereon, shaft 48 being journalled in bearing mounts 50 secured to the supporting frame 16. Thus, with the arms 44 positioned substantially horizontally, as shown in full lines in FIG. 4 and in phantom in FIG. 7, the vacuum head 30 is in a position where the suction cups 32 thereof are in engagement with the lowermost labels of the label magazines 12. Upon swinging of the arms 44 downwardly, the head 30 moves away from the magazines and, through the intermediary of the positioning bars 34 and the guide shaft 36, is positioned with the suction cups 32 vertically disposed, as shown in FIG. 6, when the arms 44 are disposed substantially vertically; FIG. 5 illustrating an intermediate position in the disposition of the parts. The head 30 is thereby moved from a position in which the suction cups 32 thereof are disposed substantially horizontally and facing upwardly under the stacks of labels, for receiving and holding the lowermost or bottom label, and in the final position are disposed in a substantially vertical plane for transfer of the label to one of the label applying heads, as will later appear.
Viewing FIGS. 2 and 4, sleeve 46 is provided with a grooved collar 52 into which oppositely disposed studs 54 project from a bifurcated lever member 56 pivoted intermediate its length to the frame 16, as at 58, and having a cam follower or roller 60 secured to its other end. Cam follower 60 projects into an elliptical camway or groove 62 formed in the side of a rotor or rotating cam plate 64 mounted for rotation on the frame 16 by bearing mounts 66 and adapted to be driven by a gear shaft arrangement 68. Formed in the opposite side of the rotor 64 is another camway or groove 70 into which a cam follower or roller 72 projects, the cam follower 72 being mounted on a lever 74 pivotally connected at one end thereof to the frame 16, as at 76, the other end of the lever being pivoted at 78 to one end of an elongated link 80 the other end of which is pivoted to a rock arm 82 secured to the end of splined shaft 48. Accordingly, when rotor 64 is revolved, the action of the camway 70 on the cam follower 72 results in pivoting of the lever 74 and the rocking of the arm 82 and the shaft 48 to which it is secured, whereas the action of the camway 62 on its associated cam follower 60 is to cause lever 56 to pivot and slide the sleeve 46 to and fro on the shaft 48. Rocking of the shaft 48 swings arms 44 4 to bring about the hereinbefore described movement of the vacuum head 30.
As will be noted in FIG. 2, camway 70 is generally triangular, whereas camway 62 is elliptical, but each has arcuate portions which are substantially concentric with the axis of rotation of the cam plate 64 to provide dwell portions during which there is substantially no motion imparted to the shaft 48or the sleeve 46, the dwell portions being so related to each other that in the first or pickup position of the head 30 the sleeve 46 is at one end of its to and fro travel, FIGS. 2 and 4, and in the final position of the head 30 the sleeve 46 is at the other end of its to-andfro travel, FIGS. 3 and 6. Summarizing briefly, with the sleeve 46 and lever 56 positioned as shown in FIG. 2 the head 30 is disposed with the suction cups 32 thereof in position to remove labels from the bottoms of the stacks of labels of the magazines 12, the cam follower 72 of the lever 74 being in a dwell portion of the cam groove 70 during which the lever is briefly stationary, the dwell portion providing a sufiicient length of time to permit removal of the labels, after which the lever 74 is pivoted downwardly and rocks arm 82 and shaft 48 to withdraw the head 30 from the magazines, the suction cups 32 thereof carrying away a label from each of the stacks in the magazines 12, the combined action of the positioning bars 34 and the guide shaft 36 serving to dispose the head 30 so that the labels carried thereby are disposed in a substantially vertical plane opposite the label applying heads A, the swinging of the lever 56 causing the sleeve 46 to move at the same speed as the speed of movement of the label applying heads so that transfer of the labels may be made from the head 30 to the label applying heads A during the time of travel of the sleeve, that is, during the time that the sleeve travels from the position shown in full lines in FIG. 2 to the position shown in phantom in the same figure and in full lines in FIG. 3.
As hereinbefore mentioned, the labels are held by suction cups 32, which are in communication with a hollow portion of the head 30 to which is connected an elastic pipe or tube 84, FIG. 4, the other end of the pipe being connected to a vacuum control valve 86, FIG. 8, which is connected to a source of suction or vacuum, not shown. The actuation of control valve 86 is brought about by means of a pivoted lever 88 having a cam follower 90 which rides on the periphery of a rotary cam 92 having an adjustable peripheral portion 94 to regulate the timing of inititaing the vacuum to the pickup head 30, the rotary cam being mounted on gear shaft 68 and rotatable in unison with the cam plate 64. The action of the periph eral cam portion 94 is so related to the action of camways 62 and 70 that the suction through the pickup head 30 is initiated when the suction cups 32 have been brought into contact with the bottom labels of the label magazine stacks and is maintained until transfer has been effected to the label applying heads A on the track assembly T, after which the cam follower 90 rides off the peripheral portion 94 and the suction to the head 30 is cut off.
However, in the meantime, vacuum or suction is applied to the label applying heads A to which the labels carried by the head 30 are to be transferred, this being accomplished by providing each label applying head A with a control valve 96 (which may be of the type disclosed in my aforementioned patent) having a depressible tip or button 98, three of which are adapted to be depressed simultaneously by means of an actuating bar 100, FIG. 7, for connecting the label applying heads A to a source of vacuum, the vacuum also being effective to maintain the buttons 98 in depressed condition after the actuating bar 100 has been withdrawn. Bar 100 is adjustably connected to the ends of a pair of angular support elements 102, the other ends of the support elements being pivotally connected, as at 104, to the arms 44, respectively, and linked to the pickup head 30 by means of arcuate links 106 and pivot connections 108 and 110.
For effecting cutoff of vacuum to the applying heads A and a return of the valves 96 and control buttons 98 to the normal extended or closed position, each head A is provided with a flipper type valve 112, FIG. 9, which includes a fixed conduit 114, in communication with the interior of the valve, and a spring-pressed pivoted closure 116 which, when tipped, serves to vent the vacuum to ambient atmosphere and permits the valve parts to return to normal closed position. A cam 118, FIG. 1, is properly positioned to tip the closure 116 and effect return of the associated valve 96 to normal at the time the label carried by the label applying head A has been applied to a container B. Of course, any other means for destroying the vacuum to return the valve parts to normal at the proper time could serve as well.
It will be appreciated that, if desired, the reaction members R could be replaced with label applying heads A and an additional label pickup and transfer apparatus in accordance with the present invention be associated therewith for the simultaneous application of labels to both sides of the containers B.
OPERATION The operation of the apparatus of the present invention is believed to be clearly apparent and is briefly summarized at this point. Referring to FIG. 1, containers B received by the conveyor C are properly spaced thereon by spacer S and are conveyed with such proper spacing between the track assemblies T and T which are driven in synchronism with the conveyor and spacer so that the label applying heads A and the reaction members R cooperate to engage the opposite sides of the containers B for the application of labels thereto. The label pickup and transfer apparatus of the present invention, under the influence of the cam plate 64, FIG. 2, has the pickup head 30 thereof placed under the stacks of labels with the suction cups 32 thereof in engagement with the bottom label of each of the stacks, FIGS. 2 and 4, and vacuum control valve 86 is actuated by cam portion 94, FIG. 8, to cause the suction cups to draw the engaged labels thereto, further rotation of the cam plate 64 causing the splined shaft 48 to be rocked and arms 44 to be swung downwardly, the suction of the cups 32 being sufficient to pull the bottom label of each of the stacks from the holding fingers 24. With downward movement of the head 30 resulting from the swinging of the arms 44, which swinging continues until the arms 44 are disposed generally vertically, FIGS. 3 and 7, and through the combined action of the positioning bars 34 and the guide shaft 36, the head 30 is disposed so that the three labels carried thereby are generally in a vertical plane adjacent three of the label applying heads A, whereupon the sleeve 46 carrying the arms 44 is caused to slide along the shaft 48 as a result of pivoting of lever 56 by rotation of cam plate 64, the speed of movement of sleeve 46 being the same as that of the label applying heads A. The valve control buttons 98 associated with the three heads A adjacent which the labels are disposed are actuated by the bar 100, thereby connecting the three heads to a source of vacuum which draws the adjacent labels to the heads, the action of the cam portion 94 being coordinated therewith so as to cut off vacuum to the head 30 for release and transfer of the labels to the label applying heads A. The transfer being completed, shaft 48 is rocked to swing the arms 44 and the pickup head 30 away from the three heads A for return to the initial pickup position under the stacks of labels, sleeve 46 being slid back during such return to place the suction cups 32 of the pickup head 30 in proper relation to the bottom label of the stacks for a repeat of the procedure to pick up and transfer labels to the next set of three label applying heads A, which in the meantime will have moved around the track assembly. The label applying heads A to which labels have been transferred move around the track assembly T and have glue or other adhesive applied thereto by the glue applying device G, and continue on to be disposed opposite containers B on the conveyor C for application of the labels thereto, the reaction members R cooperating therewith.
There has thus been provided a label pickup and transfer apparatus which operates to transfer labels from stationary stacks to moving label applying heads in a facile and reliable manner and permits the addition of labels to the stacks even during operation.
Although the invention has been herein shown and described in what is conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention, which is not to be limited to the details disclosed herein but is to be accorded the full scope of the claims so as to embrace any and all equivalent devices and apparatus. For example, while the apparatus has been described in connection with the transfer of three labels at a time, it could be arranged for a different number of labels.
Having described my invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
1. A label applying machine comprising label applying means movable along a path of travel; a stationary label holding means; and means for removing an individual label from said label holding means and transferring it to said label applying means during movement thereof, said last-named means including label receiving means mounted for arcuate movement between said label holding means and said first-named means and for linear movement along a portion of the path of travel of said firstnamed means.
2. The machine of claim 1 wherein:
said arcuate and linear movement of said label receiving means is controlled by rotary cam means.
3. The machine of claim 1 wherein:
said label receiving means includes suction means selectively activated and deactivated, and said label applying means includes suction means activated during the first portion of said linear movement of said label receiving means.
4. A pickup and transfer apparatus adapted to apply articles to article receiving members traveling in a rectilinear path past the apparatus comprising a swingable arm; rockable means mounting said arm for swinging movement; article storage means; article holding means pivotally mounted on said arm; positioning means connected to said article holding means; guide means slidably engaging said positioning means during swinging movement of said arm for disposing said holding means in an article receiving position adjacent to said storage means and an article discharging position angularly related to said article receiving position; and means for effecting transfer of an article from said holding means to said article receiving members, said rockable means including a sleeve keyed to a splined rockshaft and slidable therealong in corresponding relation to the movement of said article receiving members therepast, and said guide means comprises a fixed shaft.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,681,413 8/1928 Kronqvist 271-29 2,764,408 9/1956 Weiler 27129 X 3,191,746 6/1965 McBride 2141 X 3,157,555 ll/1964 Newman l56-572 FOREIGN PATENTS 946,253 1/ 1964 Great Britain.
BENJAMIN A. BORCHELT, Primary Examiner J. M. HANLEY, Assistant Examiner US. Cl X.R. 156-572; 27129