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Publication numberUS3540971 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 17, 1970
Filing dateDec 14, 1967
Priority dateDec 14, 1967
Also published asDE1812543A1
Publication numberUS 3540971 A, US 3540971A, US-A-3540971, US3540971 A, US3540971A
InventorsJames G Johanski Jr
Original AssigneeSafeway Stores
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Packaging machine having an in line automated multistation weighing and labeling apparatus
US 3540971 A
Abstract  available in
Images(7)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 17, 1970 JOHANSKI, JR 3,540,971

PACKAGING MACHINE HAVING AN IN LINE AUTOMATED MULTISTATION WEIGHING AND LABELING APPARATUS Filed Dec. 14, 1967 7 Sheets-Sheet 1 &

STATION 2 N U g: \a m I q w 5 Mi a 0 7 D g Y 5 DE? g mg E E U E i? S SE .1 f

N T- @1 1 k 1 Q; HEEII h nfiia EB E Y INVENTOR James 066027.26,

o O BY ATTOR YS NE HAVING AN IN LINE AUTOMATE EIGHING AND LABELING APPARATUS 7 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Dec. 14, 1967 NGC ATTORNEYS NVE N TO R James 6' Mafia/73,47,141

Nov. 17, 1970 J. a. JOHANSKI. JR

PACKAGING MACHI NE HAVING AN IN LINE AUTOMATE MULTISTATION WEIGHING AND LABELING APPARATUS Filed D80. 14, 1967 7 Sheets-Sheet 8 INVENTOR (/dmes 6 Mafia/7s 'c/z' ATTORNEYS I Fzhtl II I 1 r I L I J Nov. 17, 1970 J. G. JOHANSKI. JR 3,540,971

PACKAGING MACHINE HAVING AN IN LINE AUTOMATED MULTISTATION WEIGHING AND LABELING APPARATUS Filed Dec. 14, 1967 7 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR Mamas 6. Mafia/15h, d:

M AT TORNEYS Nov. 17, 1970 J. G. JOHANSKI. JR 3,540,971

PACKAGING MACHINE HAVING AN IN LINE AUTOMATED MULTISTATION WEIGHING AND LABELING APPARATUS Filed Dec. 14, 1967 7 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIGIO FIG! I INVENTOR z/ames 'z/ofianskm/l.

ATTO RNEYS Nov. 17, 1970 J. JOHANSKI. JR 3,540,971

7 PACKAGING MACHINE HAVING AN IN LINE AUTOMATED MULTISTATION WEIGHING AND LABELING APPARATUS .7 Sheets-Sheet 6 Filed Dec. 14, 1967 INVENTOR' t/ames 6f Mafia/75h, d:

BY ATTORNEYS 7 Sheets-Sheet 7 NE HAVING AN IN LINE AUTOMAT EIGHING AND LABELING APPARATUS J. G. JOHANSKI. JR

PACKAGING MACHI MULTISTATION W Nov. 17, 1970 Filed Dec. 14, 1967 INVENTOR 1/0/7166 6. dofia/mgdl:

m ATTORNEYS qZa United States Patent U.S. Cl. 156-566 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A method and apparatus for the continuous wrapping, weighing and labeling of articles. There is included conveying means for transporting a plurality of spaced apart articles along a continuous path whereupon the articles are sensed by a pulser switch device. The pulser switch device selectively actuates a diverting mechanism to divert selective ones of the articles to an alternate path where the articles are weighed and labeled with a label carrying indicia indicative of the weight of the article. Means is provided for diverting the labeled articles from the alternate path to the continuous path where the articles are directed towards an accumulator.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention This invention relates generally to a method and apparatus for transporting a plurality of spaced apart articles along a continuous path and diverting the articles from the continous path to an alternate path to perform an operation on the articles after which the articles are then diverted back to a continuous path of conveyance. Specifically, the present invention is directed to a method and apparatus for transporting articles, such as block cheese, and weighing the articles with means which automatically prints a label with indicia indicative of weight, and/or price of the article and applying the label to the article.

Description of the prior art Heretofore, articles such as block cheese were packaged and weighed individually, by hand, and a label printed and attached to the article to indicate the weight and price of each article.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Briefly, the apparatus of the present invention includes a conveyer for conveying spaced apart articles, such as cheese, through a wrapping station to wrap each article and thereafter deliver the article to a next conveyer whereupon the articles activate a pulser-switch device. A feature of the present invention includes an ejector for receiving the articles from the wrapper to impose a force on the article to assist the article along the next conveyer. The articles activate the pulser switch device to control a diverting mechanism which diverts certain ones of the articles along an alternate path. Specifically, the pulser switch device is controlled by the cycle of the labeler and diverts articles along the alternate path. The remaining articles continue along the conveying path to actuate a second pulser switch which operates in the same manner as previously described. Therefore, the pulser switch activates a second diverting mechanism which diverts articles from the main stream of the conveying path to a second alternate path. The remaining articles on the conveyer actuate a third pulser switch mechanism. The third pulser switch mechanism operates an associated diverting mechanism to deflect articles passing this point to a third alternate path. Finally, a fourth pulser switch device operates an associated fourth diverting mechanism to divert articles passing this point to a fourth alternate path. Each of the alternate paths include conveying means for conveying the articles moving along the path to a weighing device and a labeling device and the articles are weighed and labeled. Each of the articles so weighed and labeled are then directed to a conveying path and therefrom to an accumulator. The apparatus of the present invention may include a reject chute downstream of the fourth deflector so as to reject any articles which have not been weighed and labeled. Therefore, one of the primary objects of the present invention is to provide a method and apparatus for automatically transporting, weighing and labeling of a plurality of articles moving along a conveying path.

Another object of the present invention is to provide means for providing a plurality of operating stations whereat a plurality of articles can be handled simultaneous y.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a conveying apparatus which includes means for diverting selected ones of a plurality of articles moving along the conveying apparatus to alternate conveying paths whereupon the articles are processed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Other objects, features and advantages will be more fully realized and understood from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numerals throughout the various views of the drawings are intended to designate similar elements or components, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is an elevational schematic representation of a conveying apparatus constructed in accordance with the principles of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a portion of the conveying apparatus showing one of the alternate paths for articles moving along the conveyer and further indicating a scale and labeling mechanism associated therewith;

FIG. 3 is a detailed top plan view showing the diverting mechanism of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational View of the diverting mechanism of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view of the top conveyer and cross conveyer drive motor of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is an elevational end view of a sweeping mechanism for transferring articles from station to station along an alternate path of the conveying apparatus;

' FIG. 7 is a detailed side elevational view of a cam and link mechanism used to actuate the sweeping device of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of a cam and link used to actuate a label pressing device of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of a cam and link mechanism used to apply labels to articles;

FIG. 10 is a top plan view of an accumulator used to accumulate articles conveyed along the apparatus of the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of the accumulator of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a side elevational view of a film packaging device which delivers packages to an ejector which transports and spaces the packages along an uphill conveyer;

FIG. 13 is a top plan view of the ejector of FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 is a side elevational sectional view of the ejector of FIG. 12; and

FIG. 15 is a wiring diagram illustrating the operational switching devices to control the various modes of the conveying apparatus.

3 DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS the article must be weighed to determine its relative cost. The article 11 is transported to a wrapping station which includes a continuous feed of plastic film 14. The article 11 is placed upon the film 14 and is fed through a longitudinal sealer 16 where the fiat sheet of film is wrapped about the article and sealed in the longitudinal direction. The wrapped article is then fed to a transverse sealer 17 which may be part of a continuous rotatable drum 18. Also associated with the transverse sealer 17 is a cutter which severs the film between articles to separate the individually wrapped articles.

The articles from the sealer and cutter 17 pass through a chute indicated generally by reference numeral 19 and are directed toward ejector 20. The ejector 20 is a reciprocating device which imparts a force on each of the articles to assist and space the articles along an inclined conveyor 21. Although the articles 11 are caused to change direction from the chute 19 to the conveyor 21, it will be understood that means may be provided to eliminate the change of direction of the articles by extending the overall dimension of the conveying apparatus. Therefore, the term continuous feed or continuous transporting of the articles includes the changing of direction of the articles from the chute 19 to conveyor 21.

Each of the articles traveling along the inclined conveyor 21 actuates a pulser switch deflector 22 which develops a pulse signal responsive to each article passing this point. By way of example, the pulse switch 22 may be a multiple count device which produces a control signal after counting the articles passing this point.

When the articles reach the top of conveyor 21 they are transferred to a substantially horizontal conveyor 23. The initial portion of conveyor 23 includes a deflector 24 which deflects certain of the articles from the conveyor 23 to an alternate path. The articles traveling along the alternate path engage a guiding wall and switch means 25. The deflector 24 is operated by an air cylinder 26 which, in turn, is controlled in response to the pulser switch 22. For example, the first article actuating pulser switch 22 is delivered to conveyor 23 and to conveyor 83. However, the first article actuating the pulser switch 22 causes the air cylinder 26 to actuate the deflector 24 to cause the first article to be diverted from the conveyor 23 to an alternate path whenever switch 227 is closed dependent upon labeler cycle.

Associated with the alternate path initiated by deflector 24 is a scale 27 which weighs the article 11 and produces an electrical impulse indicative of the weight to control the operation of a printer and labeling device 28. The label printer 28 prints a label and delivers it to an applied position indicated by reference numeral 29 and the label is applied to the top of article 11. The article 11 then moves along the alternate path to a position and the label is pressed firmly to the article by a label hold-down device 30. The labeled article is then delivered to a chute 31 which delivers the labeled article to a conveyor 32.

It will be understood that the labeled article may be directed back to the conveyor 23 and means provided to sense that the article has been labeled. Furthermore, by using a second conveyor 32 parallel to the conveyor 23 the overall dimension of the conveyor apparatus is decreased. Therefore, the path of the article entering the alternate path to the first weighing and labeling sta- 75 tion and therefrom to the second conveyor 32 is intended to be a continuous path.

The articles transported along conveyor 23 which are not diverted to the first weighing and labeling station engage a second pulser switch device 33. The second pulser switch device 33 develops a control signal in response to sensing articles passing this point whenever switch 227 is closed dependent upon labeler cycle. Actuation of the pulser switch device 33 actuates a diverter 34 to divert the third article from conveyor 23 to an alternate path including a directing wall 35. The diverter 34 is controlled by an air cylinder 36 in response to the control signal developed by the pulser switch 33.

The articles directed along the second alternate path are delivered to a scale 37 which weighs the article and produces a control signal to operate a printer and labeler 38. The printer and labeler 38 prints a label indicative of the weight and price of the article and delivers the label to an applicator indicated by reference numeral 39. The label is then applied to the article and the article is transported to a position where the label is pressed to the article by a hold-down device 40. The labeled article is then delivered to a second chute 41 and therefrom to the conveyor 32.

The articles remaining on the conveyor 23 engage a third pulser switch 42 which produces a control signal in response to sensing other articles. Pulsers from the pulser switch 42 cause a diverter 43 to divert every other article along a third alternate path whenever switch 227 is closed dependent on the labeler cycle. The diverter 43 is operated by an air cylinder 44 which, in turn, is actuated in response to pulses developed by the pulser switch 42. The third alternate path includes a directing wall 45 for directing the articles to a scale 46. The scale 46 weighs the article and produces an electronic signal indicative of the weight to operate a printer and labeler 47. The printed label is delivered to an applicator indicated by reference numeral 48 and applied to the article. The labeled article is then transported to a position where a hold-down device applies pressure to the label to insure that the label is fixedly secured to the article. The labeled article is then transported to a chute 50 and therefrom to the conveyor 32.

The articles remaining on the conveyor 23 engages a pulser switch device 51 which produces a control signal upon sensing articles passing this point. The pulse switch device 51 controls a deflector 52 which, in turn, is operated by an air cylinder 53. The articles diverted to the fourth alternate path engage a directing wall 54 in route to a scale 55. The scale 55 produces a control signal indicative of the weight of the article to operate a printer and labeler 56. The printer labeler 56 prints a label and delivers the printed label to an applicator indicated by reference numeral 57 and the printed label is applied to the article. The article is then transported to a holddown position where a hold-down device 58 applies pressure to the label, thereby insuring that the label is fixedly secured to the article. The labeled article is then delivered to a chute 59 and therefrom to the end of conveyor 32.

Should the pulser switch devices 22, 33, 42 and 51 be set to divert articles in positions other than the first, second, third and fourth positions, a reject chute 60 is provided to receive the excess articles. Furthermore, articles too small to actuate the pulser switches are delivered to the reject chute 60.

The end of conveyor 32 is wrapped about a plurality of rollers 61, 62 and 63 which provides means for changing the direction of the continuous conveyor belt. Therefore, rollers 61, 62 and 63 provide means for delivering the articles up an inclined path 64 and therefrom to an accumulator indicated generally by reference numeral 65.

The accumulator 65 includes a drive motor mechanism 66 and arotatable shaft 67 for rotating the accumulator table. A guard rail 68 is positioned about the periphery of the accumulator table to prevent articles thereon from falling off the table. A packing station, indicated generally by reference numeral 69 includes a carton 70 for receiving a predetermined number of articles which are placed in the carton for shipment. Also associated with the accumulator 65 is a sensing device 71 which senses a relative number of articles collected on the accumulator and may include switch means to deactuate the conveying system thereby preventing further articles which would utlimately spil over the accumulator, from being delivered to the accumulator.

Therefore, the overall scheme of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1 provides means for directing a plurality of spaced apart articles along a continuous path while diverting certain ones of the articles along a plurality of alternate paths to perform an operation on the articles, such as weighing and labeling, and then directing the articles back to a continuous path and therefrom to an accumulator.

For a better understanding of the operation of diverting articles along an alternate path, reference is now made to FIG. 2 which is a detailed elevational plan view of the first weighing and labeling station of FIG. 1. The pulser switch 22 includes a plate 73 which is pivotably secured to a stationary member 74 by a hinge 76. Positioned on the plate 73 is a switching device 77, which may be a mercury switch which closes its contacts upon sensing the change in position of plate 73. The switch 77 may include a counting device for producing a control signal upon counting a predetermined number of deflections of plate 73, or the control signal may be produced by other means connected between the switch 77 and the air cylinder 26.

The deflector 2-4 inclueds an extended wall segment 78 which substantially extends across the entire width of conveyer 23 to insure that the article transported along the conveyer will be diverted to the alternate path. The diverter 24 and the air cylinder 26 is supported by a stationary member 79 which has one end thereof secured to the outboard portion of the conveyer and extends over the conveyer. The air cylinder 26 has a piston 80 which extends in the direction of movement of the articles along the conveyer thereby actuating a link 81 to rotate the deflector 24 about the pivot point 82. It will be understood that the deflector 24 is secured to the stationary member 79 and supported thereby.

The article is then diverted from the conveyer 23 to a transverse conveyer 83 which transports the article toward the angularly disposed deflecting wall 25. The deflecting wall 25 may be a guide bar which has an overall height of dimension substantially less than the height of the article. As the article is transported along conveyer 83, it contacts a flexible lever 84 which, in turn, actuates a switching device 86. The switching device 86 deactuates the air cylinder 26 to position the diverter 24in the neutral position, and energizes the control circuit of the labeler 28 thereby allowing articles to be transported past the deflector along the conveyor 23.

When the articles 11 reach the end of the guide bar 25 a sweeper arm device 87 engages the article and moves the article in a direction parallel to conveyer 23 onto the scale 27. The sweeper arm device 87 includes a plurality of extended arms 88, 89 and 90 which advance the position of the articles from one station to the next and then into the chute 31. The article 11 moves angularly along the guide bar 25 to a stop plate 91 where the article is then picked up by the sweeper arm 88. The sweeper arm moves in a direction indicated by the arrows thereby cost of the article. The article is then moved to a position in front of the labeling device 29. The label is then applied to the article and the sweeper arm assembly 87 shifts the article to the next position where the holddown device 30 applies pressure to the article. The holddown device 30 pivots around a collar 93 and is connected thereto by a shaft 94. The collar 93 and the shaft 94 may include passages to receive water to apply moisture to a sponge associated with the hold-down device which, in turn, moistens the label to activate a glue substance associated therewith.

After the label has been applied to the article, the article is then delivered to a gravity chute which, in turn, delivers the article to the second parallel conveyer 32.

It will be understood that weighing and labeling the stations 2 and 3 are constructed in substantially the same manner as weighing station 1 as shown in FIG. 2. However, the fourth weighing station as seen in FIG. 1 may include a reject chute for receiving articles which have not been diverted to one of the weighing stations.

A more detailed showing of the diverter 24 and the air cylinder 26 are shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. Also, shown in FIG. 4, is a slide tray 96 which is positioned adjacent the transverse conveyer 83 and the scale 27 to provide a smooth surface for the articles to slide across when engaged by the wiper arm 88. The diverter 24 is secured by a pair of fasteners 97 and 98 to an extended arm 99 which pivots about the pin 82. The diverting device 24 and the cylinder 26 are supported by a bracket 100 which is secured to an outboard supporting rail -101 of the conveyer. Connected to the bracket 100 is an extended arm 102 which supports a platform 103 which, in turn, supports the air cylinder 26. The diverter 24 and air cylinder 26 are so arranged as not to impede the movement of the conveyer belt 23. The diverter 24 includes a top flange portion 24a, which is secured to the arm 99, and an extended downward wall portion 24b. The top portion 24a provides means for securing the diverter to an actuating device while the extended downward wall provides an impinging surface for articles.

Seen in FIG. 4 is the arrangement of the parallel conveyers 23 and 32 together with the drive mechanism for the cross conveyer 83. The cross conveyer includes a drive motor 106 which is connected to the end drive roller 107 of the cross conveyer 83. A pulley or chain 108 may connect the output shaft of the drive motor 106 and the drive wheel -107. The transverse conveyer 83 is supported by a bracket 109 which, in turn, is connected to a supporting frame 110 of the longitudinal conveyer 23.

Seen in FIG. 6 is the detailed construction of the sweeper arm assembly 87. The sweeper arm 87 includes a cross support member 111 which supports the arms, 88, 89 and 90. Connected to the cross support 111 is a cylindrical sleeve housing 112 which is secured sleeve housing 113. The sleeve housing 112 and 113 reciprocate on corresponding shafts 114 and 1 15 thereby providing back and forth motion of the sweeper arms as indicated by the double ended arrowhead line 116.

The sleeve housing 113 is connected to a pivotable lever 117 which, in turn, pivots about a point 118. Connected to the reciprocating lever 117 is a spring 119 which biases the sweeper arm assembly 87 in a given direction.

A sweeper arm drive assembly including a motor housing 120 and a pair of output shafts 121 and 122 drive the sweeper arm as well as provide timing signals to control the operation of the printer labeler. The output shaft 121 is connected to the pivotable member 117 by means of a rotatable crank 123 which, in turn, is connected to the pivotable member 117 via a connecting rod 124. The output shaft 122 includes a plurality of cams 126, 127 and 128 for controlling the various functions of the printer labeler. For example, the cam 126 actuates a switching device 129, which, in turn, activates the printer to print a label with indicia of weight and cost. The cam 127 acti vates a switch 130. Similarly, the cam 122 may activate a vacuum line 131 to control the label applicator 29 of FIGS. 1 and 2. Associated with the output shaft 122 is a second group of cams 132, 133 and 134. The cam 132 engages a roller and arm assembly 136 which controls the operation of the label applicator 29 to apply a printer label to the surface of the article. Cam 133 includes a roller and arm assembly 137 which, in turn, controls the labeled hold-down device 30. Cam 134 engages a roller 138 which, in turn, is connected to shaft 115 via a control arm 139 to cause the shaft 115 as well as the sweeper arm assembly 87 to rotate about shaft 114. This action causes raising of the sweeper arms by pivotable rotation about the shaft 115 thereby allowing the sweeper arms to move back and pick up articles to advance the articles along the alternate path.

For a better understanding of the operation of raising the sweeper arm assembly 87, reference is now made to FIG. 6 which shows the cam 134 engaging the roller 138. The lever 139 pivots about a point 140 and is biased by a pair of springs 141 and 142. The lever 139 is connected to the end of shaft 115 via a link 143. Therefore, the raised lobe portion of the cam 134 urges the lever 139 in a direction indicated by the arrow 144 thereby pulling the shaft 115 in the direction of arrow 144 and raising the sweeper arms, as indicated by the broken line. When the roller 138 engages the lower diameter portion of cam 134, the springs 141 and 142 urge the lever 139 in a direction to cause the sweeper arm assembly 87 to lower the arms.

Seen in FIG. 8 is the detailed construction of the mechanism to control the operation of the hold-down device 30. The cam 133 engages the roller 137 to rotate an arm 146 about a pivot point 147. The end of the arm 146 is connected to a flexible member 148 which wraps an idler pulley 149 and a roller 150 associated with a lever arm 151. The end of the resilient member 148 is connected to a spring 152 which applies tension thereto. Rotation of cam 133 to the major diameter portion thereof causes the flexible member 148 to apply downward pressure to the roller 150 and the lever 151 to cause the hold-down device to move in a direction indicated by the double ended arrow line 53.

As seen in FIG. 9, the cam 132 engages the roller 136 which, in turn, is connected to a lever 156 which pivots about a point 157. Connected to the end of lever 156 is a flexible member 158 which wraps an idler pulley 159 and is connected to a spring 160. Also wrapped about idler pulley 159 is a belt, or the like, 161 which engages a pulley 162 associated with the label applicator 29. A label is applied to the surface 29a and held in position by vacuum, and the cam 133 actuates the applicator 29 to the position indicated by the broken line. In this position, the vacuum is released to discharge the label on the surface of the article. It will be understood that a positive pressure may be used to insure that the label leaves the surface 29a of the applicator 29.

Seen in FIGS. and 11 is the detailed construction of the accumulator 65. The accumulator 65 includes a platform 166 which is supported by a plurality of standards 167 and 168. A support bearing 169 is positioned on the platform 166 to journal the shaft 67. A bearing 170 also journals the shaft 67 and is positioned on a upper platform 171. The guide rail 68 includes support means 172, 173 and 174 secured to the platform 171 and to the platform 69. The guide rail 68 has an opening near the end of conveyor 64 to receive the articles from the conveyer and has an opening in proximity with the platform 69 and carton 70 to facilitate removal'of the articles to be placed in the carton.

The platform 69 includes a support member 176 con nected between the platform 69 and the standard 168. A drive motor 177 is connected to a gear reduction drive 178 by a coupling 179. The output shaft of the gear reduction drive 178 includes a sprocket or pulley 180 which is coupled to a sprocket 181 of the end drive roller of the conveyer 64.

The drive motor 66 includes a sprocket or pulley 182 which is coupled to a sprocket 183 positioned about the shaft 67 for rotatably driving the accumulator table 65.

A deflector arm 186 is positioned above the surface of the accumulator table to cause the articles rotating thereon to be shifted radially inwardly to follow a circular path of smaller radius. The deflector arm 186 may be yieldable upon sensing a given amount of pressure subjected thereto by a plurality of articles thereby actuating a switch device 187 to stop the conveyer and prevent over accumulation of articles.

Seen in FIG. 12 is the deltailed construction of the transverse sealing and cutting mechanism 17 associated with the drum 18. The sealing and cutting device includes a plurality of transverse heat elements 190-, 191, 192, 193 and 194. Associated with each of the heating elements is a pressure applying device, for example, 196 associated with heating element 194, to sever the foil packaging between successive articles. A defiector 197 directs the separated article toward the chute 19 and therefrom to the ejector 20.

As best seen in FIG. 13, the ejector 20 includes a bottom plate 198 which extends over the leading edge of the inclined conveyer 21. A pneumatic cylinder 199 is secured to the plate 189. Associated with the pneumatic cylinder 199 is a drive piston 200 and a bracket 201. The cylinder 199 is fixedly secured to the plate 198 and the bracket 201 is secured to a bracket 202 via a spring 203. The spring 203 retracts the drive piston 200 each time the piston is urged forward to propel and space the articles of the inclined conveyer 21 thereby assisting the movement of the articles in an upward direction.

As seen in FIG. 14, the ejector may include a protective shroud or covering 204 to act as somewhat of a guide for the articles. Furthermore, the drive piston 200 may include a recessed portion 206 to receive the tablike portion of the wrapping of the article 11.

Seen in FIG. 15 is a wiring diagram illustrating the relays and switching devices necessary to control the operation of the conveying apparatus of FIG. 1. The control circuit is indicated generally by reference numeral 210 and includes a pair of lines 211 and 212 for applying power to various components of the control circuit. Connected to lines 211 and 212 is a pair of lines 213 and 214 which, in turn, includes a main control switch 216. A motor speed control 217 is connected in series with a drive motor 218 which is operated when the main switch 216 is in the closed position. The speed control 217 and drive motor 218 control the movement of the conveyers 21, 23 and 32.

The line 214 also applies power to a selector switch 219, a fuse 220 and a pulser switch 221. The pulser switch 221 corresponds to the pulser device 22, shown in FIG. 1. Connected in series with the pulser switch 221 is a control switch 222 which is associated with diverter and the labeler printer '28. A relay coil 223 is connected in series with the switches 222 and 227 and is energized when the pulser switch 221 is closed and the selector switch 219, the control switch 222 and switch 227 are closed. The relay coil '223- has associated therewith a pair of contactors 2 24 and 225 for controlling the energization of a solenoid device 226 which, in turn, controls the operation of the air cylinder 26 of FIG. 1, to actuate the diverter 24. Switch 227 also is a momentary start contact to operate the labeler.

Also connected in series with the relay coil 223 is a switch 227 which is operated by the extended wand 84 of FIG. 2.

Also connected to lines 211 and 212 is a pair of lines 228 and 229 respectively which apply power to a labeler motor 230. Connected in parallel with lines 228 and 229 is a drive motor 231 which is controlled by a running switch 232. The drive motor 231 controls the operation of the transverse conveyer 83, shown in FIG. 2. An indicator lamp 233 has one end thereof connected to fuse 220 and therefrom to the line 214 and the other end thereof connected to the line 213. The indicator lamp 233 indicates that power is applied to the control devices of the first weighing and labeling station.

Also connected to lines 213 and 214 is a selector switch 236 connected in series with a fuse 237. The fuse 237 is connected to a pulser switch 23-8 and to an indicator lamp 234. The pulser switch 238 is connected in series with a control switch 239 and a switch 244 which are associated with the labeler printer 38. Connected in series with the control switch 239 is a relay coil 240 which controls a pair of contactors 241 and 242. The solenoid operated device 243 is controlled by contactors 241 and 244 to control the operation of the air cylinder 36, of FIG. 1. Switch 2144 also is a momentary start contact to operate the labeler.

Connected to lines 211 and 212 is a pair of lines 246 and 247 which apply power to a labeler motor 248 associated with the printer labeler 38. Connected in parallel with the labeler motor 248 is a drive motor 249- which is controlled by a starter switch 250. The drive motor 249 controls the operation of the transverse conveyor associated with the second weighing and labeling station.

Lines 213 and 214 also apply power to the control devices of station 3. Line 213 is connected to a selector switch 251 which, in turn, is connected in series with a fuse 25 2. The fuse 252 is connected to a pulser switch 253 and to an indicating lamp 254. The pulser switch 253 is connected in series with a control switch 256 and switch 261 and together therewith control the operation of a series connected relay coil 257. Associated with the relay coil 257 is a pair of contactors 258 and 259 which are used to control the energization of a solenoid 260 which, in turn, actuates the air cylinder 44, of FIG. 1. A switch 261 is connected in series with the relay coil 257 and is associated with the extended wand sensor of the transverse conveyer of the third weighing station. Switch 261 also is a momentary contact to operate the labeler.

A pair of lines 262 and 263 are connected to lines 211 and 212 respectively to apply power to a labeler motor 264. Connected in parallel to the labeler motor 264 is a drive motor 266 which is controlled by a start switch 267 to control the operation of the transverse conveyer associated with the third station.

Lines 213 and 214 also apply power to the components of the fourth station which includes a selector switch 270 connected in series with a fuse 271. The fuse 271 is connected to a pulser switch 272 and to an indicator lamp 273. Connected in series with the pulser switch 272 is a control switch 274 and a switch 279 which, in turn, are connected in series with a relay coil 275. Associated with the relay coil 275 is a pair of contactors 27 6 and 277 which control the operation of a solenoid actuated device 278 which, in turn, controls the air cylinder 53, of FIG. 1. The switch 279 is actuated by the wand sensor associated with the fourth station. Switch 279 also is a momentary contact to operate the labeler.

Connected to lines 211 and 21-2 is a pair of lines 280 and 281 to apply power to a motor 282 which is associated with the printer labeler 56, of FIG. 1. Connected in parallel with the motor 282 is a drive motor 283 which is controlled by a start switch 284.

The drive motor 66 used to rotate the accumulator table 65, of FIG. 11 is connected to lines 211 and 212 via a pair of lines 286 and 287 and a control switch 288. The power lines 211 and 212 are extended so as to apply power to other control devices.

Also according to the present invention a sensing device 300 is associated with the drum 18 to sense that a wrapped package has dropped into the underlying inclined area in position to be propelled up the inclined plane by the ejector 20. Also according to the present invention the deflector 197 and chute 19, as seen in FIG. 12 provide means for insuring that the package leaving the drum 1-8 falls in position against the ejector 20 without tumbling. This insures that the longitudinal seam formed by the packaging device 16, of FIG. 1, is at the bottom of the package as the package is conveyed along the conveying path. It will be understood that by proper spacing and geometry of the drum 18 with respect to the underlying inclined area just preceding the ejector 20 the deflector 197 and chute 19 may be eliminated.

The present invention has disclosed a method and appar'atus of transporting spaced apart articles along a continuous moving path and diverting certain of the articles along alternate paths to perform the operation of weighing, printing a label and applying the label to the article. The labeled article is then directed to a continuous moving path where the articles are accumulated for packaging. Accordingly, it will be understood that variations and modifications may be effected without departing from the spirit and scope of the novel concepts of this invention.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. Apparatus for continuous weighing and labeling of articles comprising: means for conveying a plurality of spaced-apart articles along a continuous path; a plurality of first article detecting means spaced-apart along said continuous path in an interference relationship with respect to articles traversing said continuous path and operated by said articles to generate diversion signals; a plurality of first diversion means each associated with a separate one of said detector means and spaced-apart along said continuous path downstream of their associated detector means and operated in response to the signals generated by their associated detector means to divert articles from said continuous path to a corresponding plurality of alternate paths, each of said first diversion means including a deflector pivotally mounted over said means for conveying articles and extending in the direction of travel thereof, and means for pivoting said deflector from alignment with the path of travel along said continuous path to a path of travel along the corresponding alternate path; means in each of said alternate paths for weighing the articles moving therealong; means in each of said alternate paths connected to said weighing means of the same alternate path for printing labels with indicia indicative of the weight of said articles; a plurality of means each of which is disposed adjacent a separate alternate path for applying labels so printed to the corresponding articles; a plurality of inhibiting means, each of said inhibiting means being disposed at a location in separate ones of said alternate paths and operated by articles passing said locations to inhibit operation of the article diversion means correspondingto said alternate paths to prevent the receipt of more than one article at a time at the corresponding weighing means; and a plurality of second article diversion means each of which is associated with a separate one of said alternate paths for diverting labeled articles from said alternate paths back to said continuous path.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein each of said first article detecting means includes pulser switch means operated by articles passing thereby to generate said diversion signals.

3. The apparatus for continuous weighing and labeling of articles according to claim 1 wherein each of said detector means includes a pivotally mounted deflector plate positioned in an interference relationship with respect to the travel of said articles to be deflected by said articles, and switch contacts operated by the movement of said deflector plate to generate said signals.

4. Apparatus for continuous weighing and labeling of articles according to claim 1 wherein each of said inhibiting means includes transfer-type switch means connected to the associated diversion means and the asso- 1 1 ciated printing means for inhibiting the operation of the associated diversion means and enabling the operation of the associated printing means in response to the operation of said inhibiting means by a passing article.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,319,908 5/1943 Walter 177-57 2,697,580 12/1954 Howard 1773 1 2 2,886,164 5/1959 Solecki 19819 3,194,710 7/ 1965 Stremke et a1 156--56'6 X 3,219,132 11/196'5 Nowak 177-57 X 5 THERON E. CON-DON, Primary Examiner N. ABRAMS, Assistant Examiner U.St Cl. X.R.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3650773 *Feb 9, 1970Mar 21, 1972Schreiber Cheese Co L DWeighing and labeling system
US4018029 *Oct 7, 1975Apr 19, 1977Hayssen Manufacturing Co.Packaging apparatus
US4415048 *Feb 23, 1981Nov 15, 1983Kazuharu TeraokaWeight measuring, price computing and packing apparatus
US4458470 *Mar 19, 1981Jul 10, 1984Weldotron CorporationIntegrated stretch-wrap packaging system
US4548024 *Apr 16, 1984Oct 22, 1985Weldotron CorporationIntegrated stretch-wrap packaging system
US4817366 *Dec 17, 1986Apr 4, 1989International Paper CompanyHigh capacity package seal, sever, and brick apparatus and method
US4825625 *Dec 17, 1986May 2, 1989International Paper CompanySealing method and apparatus for high capacity aseptic form, fill, and seal machines
US4881360 *Nov 23, 1988Nov 21, 1989International Paper CompanyHigh capacity package seal, sever, and brick apparatus and method
US5684275 *Jan 17, 1995Nov 4, 1997Ossid CorporationComputer controlled weighing and labelling apparatus
US6889485Aug 7, 2003May 10, 2005Meadwestvaco Packaging Systems, LlcArticle grouping mechanism
US20040112714 *Aug 7, 2003Jun 17, 2004Emmanuel DavaillonArticle grouping mechanism
USRE33467 *Jan 23, 1989Dec 4, 1990International Paper CompanyInduction sealing of paperboard
Classifications
U.S. Classification156/566, 53/136.1, 198/442, 177/57, 53/131.2, 177/3
International ClassificationG01G19/40, G01G13/00, B65C9/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65C9/02, G01G13/00, G01G19/40
European ClassificationG01G13/00, G01G19/40, B65C9/02