US 3538675 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 10, 1970 H. SCHMITZ APPARATUS FOR WRAPPING CANDIES OR THE LIKE 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 7, 1969 III lllfl/llllllllllnp IN VENTOR. HE INZ SCHM/ T Z BY 07mm 1'. f/ v ff his ATTORNFV Nov. 10, 1970 H. SCHMITZ APPARATUS FOR WRAPPING CANDIES OR THE LIKE Filed March 7, 1969 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 IN VEN TOR HE /NZ 5 C HM/ 72 BY 0&1/45/ ff u- (A NOV. 10, 1970 sc T 3,538,675
APPARATUS FOR WRAPPING CANDIES OR THE LIKE Filed March 7, 1969 s Sheets-Sheet :5
HE INZ SCHM/TZ 3,538,675 APPARATUS FOR WRAPPING CANDIES OR THE LIKE Heinz Schmitz, Elfern Kreis Cologne, Germany, assignor to Franz Theegarten, Cologne-Mungersdorf, Germany Filed Mar. 7, 1969, Ser. No. 805,224 Claims priority, application Germany, Mar. 14, 1968, 1,611,895 Int. Cl. B65b 9/12 US. Cl. 53-180 16 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Apparatus wherein candies are enclosed in an elongated tubular envelope comprises a rotary turntable provided with peripheral pockets for candies, a pair of overlapping endless chains travelling around a pair of coaxial sprocket wheels which are located below a portion of the circular path for the pockets, vertically movable pushers which are coupled to the chains and travel along an endless path an arcuate portion of which is inwardly adjacent to the teeth of sprackets and a straight portion of which is adjacent to two overlapping straight stretches of the chains. The chains are driven in synchronism with the turntable so that the pushers expel candies from adjoining pockets while they travel close to each other and at a reduced speed along the arcuate portion of their path and that the pushers thereupon move at a higher speed and at a greater distance from each other during travel along the straight portion of their path to deliver candies at predetermined intervals into a partially formed envelope which is transported along the straight portion of the endless path.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to apparatus for manipulating candies or like discrete commodities, and more particularly to improvements in apparatus for wrapping candies into a continuous web of paper, plastic, metallic foil or the like. Still more particularly, the invention relates to improvements in mechanisms for delivering candies or other discrete commodities at predetermined intervals to the warpping station of a wrapping or packing apparatus.
The output of a candy wrapping apparatus depends mainly on the rate of feed of candies to the warpping station. In most instances, the mechanism which supplies candies to the wrapping station of such apparatus comprises a rotary platform whose peripheral portion is provided with pockets for individual candies and which receives candies from a suitable magazine or the like. The pockets are preferably immediately adjacent to each other and are enclosed at all sides or they open into the peripheral surface of the platform. In the latter instance, the candies can be readily evacuated substantially radially outwardly to be admitted to the wrapping unit of the apparatus.
A drawback of presently known transfer conveyors which withdraw or expel candies from the pockets of the platform in a conventional candy wrapping apparatus, especially those apparatus wherein candies are wrapped into an elongated tube, is that it is diflicult to expel candies without subjecting them to undesirable impacts. This s due to the fact that the speed of expelling members on the transfer conveyor differs from the speed of candies and pockets in the revolving platform. As a rule, the distance between the expelling members on the transfer conveyor extends considerably the distance betwen cadies in the pockets of the platform because the candies must be supplied to the wrapping station at predetermined intervals and must be separated from each other United States Patent O 3,538,675 Patented Nov. 10, 1970 ice by distances exceeding the distances between candies in the pockets of the platform. Such greater distancing between candies is desirable because the finished wrapper is thereupon severed midway between successive candies and the thus obtained ends are closed to insure proper sealing of candies from the atmospere.
The impacts which the expelling members of the transfer conveyor transmit are likely to damage or deform the candies. In addition, candies which are forcibly expelled from their pockets cannot be properly controlled during travel toward the wrapping station. The manufactures de sire to maintain the candies at a predetermined distance from each other, preferably by continuously controlling their speed and direction of movement so that the candies in the wrapper are located at a predetermined and readily reproducible distance from each other, namely, in the central portion of the corresponding wrapper section. Braking of candies which are propelled from their pockets is diflicult because the braking action depends on many factors including the configuration of candies, the weight of candies, the moisture of surrounding air, the quality of wrapping material, and others.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the invention is to provide a wrapping apparatus for candies or like discrete commodities with a novel mechanism for supplying candies to the wrapping station at accurately determined intervals, in desired orientation and at predetermined speeds.
Another object of the invention is to provide a candy wrapping apparatus with a novel transfer conveyor which can transfer candies from the pockets of a rapidly revolving platform into the wrapping unit.
A further object of the invention is to provide a mechanism which can deliver candies to the wrapping station in such a way that the speed of candies is controlled all the way from the moment they leave the respective pockets and to the moment when the candies are taken over and manipulated by component parts of the wrapping unit.
An additional object of the invention is to provide a mechanism which can convert a row of candies or analogous commodities travelling along an arcuate path into a row of commodities which travel along a straight path in such a way that the change in direction of travel takes place simultaneously with changes in speed and spacing between successive commodities.
The invention is embodied in an apparatus for manipulating discrete commodities, particularly for wrapping candies in an elongated tubular envelope. The apparatus comprises a rotary supply conveyor having receptacles for discrete commodities which travel along a circular path and have open sides facing away from the axis of the supply conveyor, a transfer conveyor including at least one endless flexible element having an arcuate (preferably semicircular) stretch and a straight stretch located past the arcuate stretch as considered in the direction of travel of the flexible element, and motion transmitting members connected with the flexible element for travel along an endless second path having an arcuate portion which is surrounded by the arcuate stretch of the flexible element and is adjacent to a portion of the circular path and a straight portion which is parallel to the straight stretch of the flexible element, and drive means for moving the flexible element at a predetermined speed whereby the motion transmitting members move at a first speed and at a first distance from each other during travel along the arcuate portion of the second path to remove commodities from adjoining receptacles which travel at or close to the first speed. The motion transmitting members are accelerated during movement away from the arcuate portion of the second path and move at a higher second speed and at a greater second distance from each other during travel along the straight portion of the second path to thereby advance commodities away from the supply conveyor and to a Wrapping unit which is adjacent to the straight portion of the second path.
The novel features which are considered as characteristic of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The improved wrapping apparatus itself, however, both as to its construction and its mode of operation, together with additional features and advantages thereof, will be best understood upon perusal of the following detailed description of certain specific embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a fragmentary side elevational view of a candy wrapping apparatus which embodies the invention, with certain parts shown in vertical section;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the structure shown in FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of a detail in the structure shown in FIG. 2.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The wrapping apparatus which is shown in FIGS. 1 to 3 comprises a supply conveyor here shown as a continuously driven rotary disk-shaped platform or turntable 10 which rotates in a horizontal plane and is provided with closely adjacent peripheral receptacles or pockets 12 for candies 13. Each pocket 12 has an open side facing away from the axis of the platform 10. The pockets 12 travel along a circular path past a receiving station A where they receive candies from the chute 11a of a feed hopper or magazine 11 and thereupon past a transfer station B (in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 2) where some or all of the candies are withdrawn from the pockets 12 by the motion transmitting members or pushers of a transfer conveyor including two overlapping endless flexible elements 14 located in parallel horizontal planes at a level below the plane of the platform 10. The pushers 15 are vertical studs which are reciprocable with reference to the flexible elements 14 in parallelism with the axis of the platform 10 and are caused to rise at the transfer station B so as to engage the trailing or inner ends of adjoining candies 13 (as considered in the radial direction of the platform 10) and to expel such candies from their pockets 12 by simultaneous acceleration during travel toward a wrapping station C. The flexible elements 14 are link chains which are trained around two pairs of coaxial sprocket wheels 32. The pushers 15 are mounted in T-shaped carriers 17 and each of these carriers has a centrally located arm 16 whose free end supports the respective pusher and which extends inward- 1y, i.e., into the space surrounded by the chains 14. One of these carriers is indicated by hatching in FIG. 3 for the sake of clarity; it further comprises a second arm 18 which resembles a chain link and whose length is a multiple of a link 14c of one of the chains 14. The outer end of each arm 16 is rigid with the median portion of the corresponding arm 18. One end of each arm 18 is articulately connected to a pin 19 which connects two adjoining links 140 of the respective chain and the other end of each arm 18 has a longitudinally extending open slot 20 which receives another pin 19. Such mounting enables the carriers 17 to travel along the two arcuate stretches or end turns 23 of the chains 14 (sprocket wheels 32). The transfer conveyor comprises two sets of carriers 17, one set for each chain 14, and each pusher 15 is mounted in two carriers, namely, in a lower carrier which is coupled to the lower chain 14 and a carrier which registers with such lower carrier and is articulately connected with the upper chain. The means for moving the pushers 15 axially during travel along certain portions of their endless path 22 comprises a fixed cam 21 which is indicated by phantom lines. FIG. 1 shows that the top face of the cam 21 has an upwardly sloping portion, as at 21a, where the pushers 15 are caused to move upwardly toward engagement with candies 13 in the adjoining pockets 12. A downwardly sloping portion 21b of the cam 21 permits the pushers to descend by gravity.
The path 22 for the pushers .15 is indicated in FIG. 3 by phantom lines. This path comprises two straight parallel portions 22a, 22b which are inwardly adjacent to the corresponding straight stretches or stringers 14a, 14b of the chains 14 and two arcuate portions 24 one of which is shown in FIG. 3 as being located at a level below the adjoining marginal portion of the platform 10. Each arcuate portion 24 is surrounded by an arcuate stretch 23. As clearly shown in FIG. 3, the distance between the pushers 15 which travel along the straight portions 22a, 22b is greater than the distance between pushers which travel along the arcuate portion 24. This is due to the fact that the arms 16 of carriers 17 extend inwardly from the chains 14. When two adjoining pushers 15 travel along the portion 22a or 22b, the distance between their axes equals the distance between the central portions of corresponding carrier arms .18. When a pair of vertically aligned carriers 17 begins to leave the straight upper stretches 14a of the chains 14, as viewed in FIG. 3, the respective arms 16 begin to change their inclination with reference to the portions 22a, 22b and thereupon extend substantially radially of the adjoining sprocket wheels 32. The corresponding pusher 15 then travels along the arcuate portion 24 of the path 22. It will be seen that the arms 16 whose pushers 15 travel along the arcuate portion 24 extend radially inwardly from the arcuate stretch 23. A pusher 15 begins to move along the arcuate portion 24 when the trailing ends (slots 20) of the corresponding pair of arms 18 reach the adjoining sprocket wheels 32. FIG. 3 shows clearly that the arms 16 are rather long so that the distance between the pushers 15 which travel along the arcuate portion 24 is substantially less than the distance between pushers -15 which travel along the straight portion 22a or 22b of the path 22. The curvature of the arcuate portion 24 is the same as that of the stretch 23. Since the pushers 15 travelling along the arcuate portion 24 are nearer to each other, their speed is substantially less than the speed of pushers which move along the portion 22a or 22b.
The speed of pushers 15 which travel along the arcuate portion 24 is indicated in FIG. 3 by arrow 25. Such speed preferably corresponds exactly to the speed of candies 13 in the pockets 12 of the platform 10. The overlap between the sprocket wheels 32 of FIG. 3 and the platform 10 is selected in such a way that a pusher 15. which moves along the arcuate portion 24 and is lifted by the part 21a of cam 21 automatically engages the trailing or inner end of the adjoining candy 13 while its speed equals or closely approximates the speed of the platform 10. Furthermore, the direction of movement of the thus lifted pusher 15 is the same as the direction of movernent of adjoining candy 13 so that the latter can be engaged without risking deformation or other damage. The pusher 15 engages the inner end of the candy 13 without any appreciable impact. Such pusher thereupon remains in engagement with the adjoining candy 13 and travels along the downstream section of the arcuate portion 24 while the corresponding pocket 12 moves along the circular path whose center is located on the axis of the platform 10. This results in automatic removal of the candy 13 from its pocket in a manner as shown in FIG. 3 whereby the thus removed candy enters a channel between fixed guide rails 26 and is transported by its pusher 15 toward the wrapping station C. Of course, the speed of the pusher 15 increases as soon as it reaches the straight portion 22b of the path 22 whereby the pusher accelerates the candy 13 and remains in continuous engagement with its trailing end to insure that the distance between successive candies in the channel between the guide rails 26 corresponds to the maximum distance between a pair of adjoining pushers 15. The speed of the pusher begins to increase as soon as the leading ends of the corresponding arms 18 leave the arcuate stretch 23 and begin to move with the lower straight stretches 14b of the chains 14, as viewed in FIG. 3. The acceleration of pushers 15 and candies 13 is gradual and their speed remains constant once the pushers begin to travel along the straight portion 22b. The acceleration is terminated when the trailing ends (slots of the corresponding arms 18 leave the stretch 23. FIG. 2 shows that the distance between candies 13 in the channel between the guide rails 26 is the same for each pair of adjoining candies. Since the pushers 15 moving along the portion 22b travel at a constant speed, they remain in continuous engagement with candies all the way to the wrapping station C. The maximum distance between the pushers 15 corresponds to preferred distance between successive candies at the wrapping station C. This station receives a partially deformed tape or web 29 of paper, synthetic plastic foil or other suitable wrapping material which is drawn from a reel or bobbin 28 and is guided along and between rolls 28a. Suitable wrapping elements at the station C deform the web 29 into a substantially U-shaped body 27 (see FIG. 1) which receives candies 13 travelling in front of their pushers 15. The wrapping elements thereupon complete conversion of the body 27 into a tube or envelope which is severed behind each candy 13 or behind each group of two or more successive candies. The tube can be twisted between successive candies or it may be heat-sealed between candies so that when the resulting envelope is severad between two candies it furnishes two sealed ends. The pushers 15 travelling along the straight portion 22b remain in raised positions during introduction of corresponding candies 13 into the body 27 and the portion 21b of the cam 21 thereupon permits such pushers to move downwardly and to leave the interior of the body 27 before the latter forms a circumferentially complete tubular envelope. The wrapping station C further accommodates two endless belts 30 which flank the path of the body 27 and engage the latter to hold the candies 13 therein against movement toward or away from each other. The belts 30 are driven so that they advance at the exact speed of the body 27.
It is clear that the reciprocable pushers .15 constitute an optional feature of my apparatus. For example, these pushers can be replaced by pushers in the form of upwardly extending projections provided at the inner ends of arms 16 which travel with the upper chain 14. The cam 21 is then replaced by a different cam or is modified so that it can pivot the arms 16 during travel at the station B and also during travel toward the station C so that the projections of the arms 16 can engage and push candies in the channel between the guide rails 26.
The drive for the platform 10 and chains 14 is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. This drive comprises a main drive shaft 31 which is rotated by an electric motor or another suitable prime mover (not shown) and rotates one pair of coaxial sprocket wheels 32 by way of a first power train including two bevel gears 33. The shaft 31 further carries a radially extending arm 39 provided with a radial guide groove 38 for the pin 37 of a crank arm 35. The latter rotates a worm 36 which drives a worm wheel 36a on the shaft 34 of the platform 10. The speed of the platform 10 can :be influenced by moving the entire worm drive 36, 36a and the portion 40 of the crank arm in the axial direction of the shaft 34. Such adjustability of the worm drive is indicated in FIG. 1 by arrow 42. The arm 39 is detachably secured to the hub 41 of the shaft 31 and can be mounted thereon in any one of several angular positions. The pin 37 is preferably a roller which is mounted on an antifriction bearing supported by portion of the crank arm 35. The parts 34-41 constitute a second power train which drives the platform 10 in synchronism with the chain 14. The crank arm 35 causes the worm 36 to rotate at a varying speed which fluctuates as a function of eccentricity of the Worm 36 with reference to the main drive shaft 31. Such eccentricity can be changed by moving the parts 36, 36a in the directions indicated by arrow 42. The portion 40 of the crank arm 35 can form an integral part of the worm 36.
The feature that the second power train 3441 can rotate the platform 10 at a varying speed is desirable to insure that the pockets 12 rotate at a lesser speed when a candy is in the process of being removed from the respective pocket by a raised pusher 15 and that the rotational speed of the platform thereupon increases in order to advance a next-following pusher 15. Another advantage of such varying rotational speed of the platform 10 is that the feeding unit including the hopper 11 can introduce candies into a pocket 12 while the pocket rotates at a reduced speed. The second power train often requires adjustment when the apparatus is to be converted for wrapping of different types of candies; however, the improved drive insures that the pushers 15 always travel in synchronism with the pockets 12. The feature that the arm 39 is adjustable angularly with reference to the axis of the main drive shaft 31 contributes to versatility of the drive and of the wrapping apparatus.
Regardless of the adjustment of drive for the chains 14 and platform 10, the pushers 15 remain in enegagement with candies 13 all he way from the portion 21a to the portion 21b of the cam 21, i.e., independently of the speed of chains 14. Thus, the candies reach the wrap ping station at predetermined intervals when the chains 14 move slowly, at a medium speed, or at a high speed.
Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features which fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic and specific aspects of my contribution to the art.
What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims:
1. In an apparatus for manipulating discrete commodities, particularly for wrapping candies in an elongated tubular envelope, a combination comprising a rotary supply conveyor having receptacles for discrete commodities, said receptacles travelling along a circular path and having open sides facing away from the axis of said conveyor; a transfer conveyor including at least one endless flexible element having an arcuate stretch and a straight stretch located past said acruate stretch as considered in the direction of travel of said element, and motion transmitting members connected with said flexible element for travel along a second path having an arcuate portion surrounded by said arcuate stretch and adjacent to a portion of said circular path and a straight portion extending in parallelism with said straight stretch; and drive means for moving said flexible element at a predetermined speed whereby said members move at a first speed and a first distance from each other during travel along said arcuate portion to remove commodities from adjoining receptacles, said members moving at a higher second speed and at a greater second distance from each other during travel along said straight portion to thereby advance commodities away from said supply conveyor.
2. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said supply conveyor includes a disk-shaped platform and wherein said receptacles are pockets provided in the marginal portion of said platform.
3. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said flexible element is a chain and said motion transmitting members are pushers, said transfer conveyor further comprising carrier means articulately connecting said pushers to said chain.
4. A combination as defined in claim 1, further comprising wrapping means adjacent to the straight portion of said second path.
5. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said flexible element is a chain having links and pins coupling said links to each other, said transfer conveyor further comprising carriers connecting said motion transmitting members to said chain, each of said carriers comprising a first arm supporting the respective member and a second arm whose length is a multiple of the length of one of said links, said second arms being mounted on the pins of said chain.
6. A combination as defined in claim 5, wherein said carriers are T-shaped and wherein each of said first arms has a first end which is rigid with the median portion of the respective second arm and a second end supporting the respective motion transmitting member.
7. A combination as defined in claim 6, wherein each of said second arms has a first end turnably mounted on one of said pins and a second end having an open slot receiving another of said pins.
-8. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein each of said motion transmitting members comprises an elongated stud which is reciprocable with reference to said flexible element in parallelism with the axis of said supply conveyor, and further comprising means for moving said studs relative to said flexible element While such studs travel along predetermined parts of said second path.
9. A combination as defined in claim 8, wherein the means for moving said studs relative to said flexible element comprises a fixed cam and wherein said transfer conveyor further comprises carriers each articulately connected with said flexible element and each reciprocably supporting one of said studs.
10. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said transfer conveyor comprises two endless flexible elements located in adjacent parallel planes making a right angle with the axis of said supply conveyor, and carrier means for connecting said motion transmitting members to each of said flexible elements.
11. A combination as defined in claim 10, wherein said carrier means comprises pairs of registering carriers, each carrier of a pair being connected to a'diflerent flex ible element and each pair of carriers supporting one of said motion transmitting members.
12. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said drive means comprises a main drive member, a first power train receiving motion from said main drive member and arranged to move said flexible element, and a second power train receiving motion from said main drive member and arranged to rotate said supply conveyor.
13. A combination as defined in claim 12, wherein said second power train comprises a rotary crank arm which is adjustable with reference to said main drive member.
14. A combination as defined in claim 12, wherein said main drive member comprises a shaft and said second power train comprises a rotary crank arm which is angularly adjustable with reference to the axis of said shaft.
15. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said transfer conveyor further comprises carriers articulately connected with said flexible element and each comprising a portion constituting one of said-motion transmitting members.
16. A combination as defined in claim 15, further comprising means for moving said portions of said carriers upwardly during removal of commodities from said receptacles.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,859,855 11/1958 Grafingholt 1981O3 X 3,011,678 12/1961 McClosky et al. 53-180 X 3,135,373 6/1969 Scarf 198103 X THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner E. F. DESMOND, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 198-5 3, 103