US 3543909 A
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United States Patent  Inventor [21 Appl. No.  Filed  Patented  Assignee J apan,
a corporation of Japan  Priority May 4, 1968  Japan  No. 43/29979  MACHINE TO ALIGN BOTTLES SO THAT A FLUID  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,628,708 2/1953 Wahl et al.... 198/212 2,915,165 12/1959 Bell l98/33(.l) 3,165,194 l/l965 Madden 198/33(Rl) 3,338,373 8/1967 Aidlin et a1. 198/3-3(Rl) Primary Examiner-Albert J. Makay Attorney-George B. Oujevolk ABSTRACT: This is a machine to receive empty bottles and to orient and feed these bottles onto a bottle-filling station so that the mouth portion of the bottle is disposed for receiving a liquid. The machine has outer fixed and inner rotating coaxial cylinders. Bottle positions are defined on the outside, towards the upper part of the inner cylinder with a floor and limits. These bottle positions rotate within the outer cylinder. There is a floor on said inner cylinder, and delivery means to drop bottles on this floor; guide means in said inner cylinder to guide the bottles to a location over said positions; engaging and clearing means at said location to engage the bottom of bottles and clear the neck of bottles so as to drop the bottles into the positions bottomside down.
Patented Dec. 1, 1970 I 3,543,909
Sheet of 4 Patented Dec. 1, 1970 Sheet ,2 M4
MACHINE T ALIGN BOTTLES SO THAT A FLUID CAN BE POURED THEREIN The present invention relates to a machine for receiving empty bottles and then feeding these bottles out in a row so that the bottle mouth may be disposed for receiving a liquid.
At present, the operation for filling bottles, especially those made of synthetic resin, with a liquid, particularly with milk or acidophilus beverage is carried out automatically, and prior to the bottle filling operation a large number of empty bottles have to be arranged in a row with the bottle mouth directed upward. The machine for performing such operation is disposed between a bottle storage tank and a bottle filling apparatus.
One of the machines of the prior art for carrying out the above operation includes a limit switch for detecting the position of the mouths of the bottles which are sent forward in a row with mouthside up or down at random. Then, the bottles are divided into two groups and delivered onto two conveyor lines, one group of those with mouthside up and the other group of those with mouthside down, the latter thereafter being arranged in right position. However, these bottles made of a synthetic resin are so light that the limit switch for detecting the direction of the mouth has to be highly sensitive, and consequently, it is required that a weak spring be provided as a lever returning spring. On the other hand, unless the returning spring is strong enough, it is impossible to return the lever and therefore to effect the detecting operation in case a number of bottles are fed in succession. Because of such limit to the capacity, the conventional apparatus is not only inefficient but also defective in that the detecting operation is not always satisfactory or the limit switch serves only for a short period.
An object of the present invention is to overcome the defects of the prior art and to provide a machine whereby, without the use of a limit switch, bottles can be sent out in a row with the mouth thereof positioned in the right direction.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a machine which is capable of automatically performing the above operation with high efficiency and which is less susceptible to difficulties.
Another object of the present invention is to place bottles with mouthside up into an upright position by utilizing the weight of the bottles and without causing damage to the bottles which takes place in case they are forced to change the position.
Still another object of the present invention is to increase the operating capacity.
These and other objects of the present invention have been accomplished by the embodiment herein described and which comprises a fixed housing having an inner cylindrical wall, a bottle delivery means to drop bottles within the housing from the top thereof, and an inner cylinder coaxial with the inner cylindrical wall having a conical floor disposed so as to receive bottles from the delivery means, a rotating means for driving the inner cylinder within the inner cylindrical wall along a circular path of travel, guide means to receive said bottles thereon extending from the floor to the upper portion of said inner cylinder so as to guide said bottles to said upper portion, the bottles being then disposed at right angles to the diameter of the cylinder, vertical bottle positions defined on them outside of said inner cylinder towards the upper portion thereof between said inner cylinder outer side and the inner cylindrical wall of said housing including a position floor, position limits, said guide means leading to the top of said positions, a guide end member to push bottles which are on guide means over said defined positions; clearing means and engaging means to engage either the bottle neck or rear portion and drop the bottle into said defined positions bottom first; and, an exit station with exit means along said path of travel to discharge said bottles individually as they reach the exit station.
Other characteristics, objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the embodiment below with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. I is a plan view partly broken away and showing a machine embodying the present invention, the cover of an outer cylinder being shown with a portion broken away;
FIG. 2 is a view in section taken along the line 2-2 in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a view in section showing the lower portion of th machine and taken along the line 3-3 in the embodiment in H6. 1;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary enlarged view in horizontal section showing the portion where bottles are transferred from the inside of the inner cylinder to the outside thereof;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary front development of the portion corresponding to that shown in FIG. 4 with the outer cylinder ommitted, the bottle being shown as it is guided with the bottle mouth directed toward the direction of the travel;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary front development similar to FIG. 5 in which the bottle is shown as it is guided with the mouth thereof directed toward a direction opposite to that of the travel; and,
FIG. 7 is a view in section taken along the line 7-7 in the embodiment in FIG. 5.
The machine shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, is a preferred embodiment of the present invention, and comprises an outer fixed cylinder 1 and an inner rotary cylinder 10 coaxial with the outer cylinder 1 and slightly smaller in diameter. The outer cylinder 1 which has an inner cylindrical wall is provided at the upper end opening, with a removable cover 2 which has a bottle delivery chute 4 disposed at a position slightly away from the top of the cover and extending obliquely downwardly into the inner cylinder 10. A bottom frame 5 fixed to the inner side in a lower portion of the outer cylinder 1 is provided with a radial members 5a having ribs, and a vertical shaft 7 is fixedly mounted on a boss 6 disposed in the center. To the under surface of the bottom frame 5 of the outer cylinder are attached legs 8 which are telescopically adjustable.
As seen in FIGS. 2 and 3 the inner cylinder 10 includes a bottom frame II having radial members lla provided with ribs and a conical floor 9. The bottom frame 11 is fixed to the inner surface in the lower portion of the inner cylinder 10, a boss 12 disposed in the center being fitted onto the vertical shaft 7 with a bearing 13 interposed therebetween. The conical floor 9 is fastened in place with the central top portion secured to the upper end of the vertical shaft 7 by means or a nut. The conical floor 9 is downwardly inclined toward its periphery as it extends in an umbrella form so as to allow the bottles fed through the delivery chute 4 to be driven while being rolled toward the peripheral edge. Serving as a receiver for a sterilizing liquid is a first trough 23 L-shaped in cross section which is welded to the upper surface along the outer periphery of the bottom frame 11 of the inner cylinder 10. Disposed above the trough is the peripheral edge of the conical floor 9 provided in the inner cylinder 10. The sterilizing liquid received in the first trough 23 flows through a hole 25 formed in the inner cylinder into a second trough 24 which is provided with a substantially L-shaped cross section similar to the first trough as shown in FIG. 2. In an intermediate portion between the inner cylinder 10 and the bottom frame 5 of the outer cylinder 1, the trough 24 is welded to the inner surface of the outer cylinder I and the lower end of the inner cylinder 10 is positioned above the trough. The second trough 24 is provided, at a portion thereof, with a drain 26 which extends downward.
Welded to the inner surface of the lower end of the inner cylinder 10 is a ring 15 whose inner peripheral surface is resiliently in contact with a friction roller 14 for rotating the inner cylinder 10. A supporting member 16 of the friction roller 14 is fixed to the bottom frame 5 of the outer cylinder 1 and in a position away from these members is mounted a motor 17 on an adjustable support 18. A worm reduction means 1% fixed to the under surface of the bottom frame 5 has a gear 21 projecting above the bottom frame 5 and meshes with a driven gear 22 mounted on the lower end of the shaft of the friction roller 14. Accordingly, the rotation of the motor 17 is delivered by a chain 20 to the worm reduction means 19, and through a transmitting means including the gears 21 and 22 and friction roller 14 the inner cylinder 10 is brought into slow but powerful counterclockwise rotation.
As is apparent in the drawings, particularly in FIGS. 1, 4 and 7, to the inner circumferential surface of the inner cylinder 10 are welded a plurality of inner radial projections 27 which are spaced apart from each other with a distance slightly larger than the length of the bottle. Asdescribed below, these inner projections 27 serve to guide the bottles delivered onto the conical floor 9 of the inner cylinder 10 to the upper portion of the inner cylinder 10. The projection has a width approximately corresponding to the radius of the bottle B and the upper end thereof projects slightly above the upper end of the inner cylinder 10 with the lower end disposed approximately at the same level as the outer peripheral edge of the conical floor 9. The projecting portion 270 at the upper end of the inner projection 27 is disposed on the upper end of the inner cylinder 10 and positioned at such low level that the projecting portion may engage the bottom of a bottle which is sent forward in lateral position at a right angle to the diameter of the inner cylinder 10 but the portion may be free of contact with the bottle mouth.
A bottle guide means includes a guide rail 28 for guiding bottles from the conical floor 9 to the upper portion. The guide rail 28 is disposed along the inner periphery of the row of inner projections 27 and is circular in cross section and has more than a semicircular length as seen in plan view, the lower end thereof extending upwardly and spirally from the lower end of the conical floor 9 to terminate at the upper end which is positioned slightly above the upper end of the inner cylinder 10. The lower end 28a of them guide rail 28, pressed to a flat form, is riveted to the upper surface of the floor 9 proximate to its outer peripheral edge. It will readily be understood that the inner projections 27 are adapted to engage the mouth or bottom portions of the bottles disposed along the peripheral edge of the conical floor 9 and to guide the bottles upward along the guide rail 28. More than one hanger 29 on which the guide rail 28 is hung is secured to the upper edge portion of the outer cylinder 1. Further as shown in FIG. 7, the bottle guide means is provided with a guide end member 31 which is obliquely outwardly projecting from the upper end portion 28b of the guide rail 28. The guide end member 31, fixed in position by means of one of the hangers 29, serves to push bottles from inside of the inner cylinder 10 to the outside over the upper edge thereof while the bottles are moved along the upper end portion 28b of the guide rail 28.
On the outer circumferential surface of the inner cylinder 10 in a position slightly backward as viewed with respect to the direction of rotation of the inner cylinder 10, from the position corresponding to that of the inner radial projection 27 is disposed more projection 32 which has a width approximately half the distance between the inner cylinder 10, and outer cylinder 1. The upper end of the projection is positioned slightly below the upper end of the inner cylinder 10, the lower end being substantially above the level of the middle portion of the inner cylinder 10. The inner portion of the outer projection 32 is provided with a fixing portion 320 formed by bending an extending portion at a right angle and welded to the outer surface of the inner cylinder 10 by spot welding. n the other hand, the outer edge of the outer projection 32 is provided with a guide 34 which is formed by bending an extending portion in direction opposite to that of the fixing portion 32a and which extends downwardly below the outer projection 32, one side edge thereof slanting backward with respect to the direction of rotation of th inner cylinder 10. To the upper end of each of the outer projections 32 is welded a horizontal clearing member 33 which is important in understanding the present invention. The clearing member 33 has on opposite ends a front upright portion 33a and a rear upright portion 33b which upwardly project slightly above the level of the upper end of the inner cylinder and which are adapted to permit the neck portion of the bottle to move beyond these portions when it is carried forward while lying outside the inner cylinder 10 (see F168. 5 to 8). That is, the clearing member 33 is formed in low U-shape as seen from the front.
Below the outer projections 32 in an upper portion between the inner cylinder 10 and an outer cylinder 1 is disposed a bottle position floor 35 which is welded to the outer circumferential surface of the inner cylinder 10 at a level slightly below the middle portion of the height. The outer cylinder 1 is formed with a bottle exit 36 which is associated with the bottle position floor and to which is connected a bottle discharge guide 37 extending outwardly of the outer cylinder 1 and further connected to a belt conveyor (not shown). A discharge guide 38 for guiding the bottle on the bottle position floor 35 to the exit 36 is located under the guide 34 so as to be disposed above the position floor 35. The bottles to be handled by the machine of the embodiment is indicated at B in the drawings.
The operation of the machine of the embodiment is carried out as follows. A number of bottles B fed through the bottle delivery chute 4 are first dropped'into the conical floor 9 formed in the inner cylinder 10 and while being rolled on the sloping surface, they are driven to the peripheral edge portion thereof, where there is provided the inner wall of the inner cylinder 10 which is constantly rotated at a low speed by means of the motor 17, reduction and transmitting means 19, 20, 21, 22, and 14. Accordingly, the bottles B are respectively forced into spaces between respective inner projections 27 while lying on the floor, and the bottom or mouth portions of the bottles being engaged by the lower end portions of the inner projections 27, the bottles are pushed forward horizontally and counterclockwise to be sent to the lower end portion 280 of the guide rail 28.
Since the guide rail 28 is provided along the row of the inner projections 27 in a slanting manner and as the inner projections 27 have a height approximately equal to the vertical distance of the guide rail 28, the projections, in addition being rotated, the bottles B are pushed by theinner projections upwardly along the sloping guide rail 28 while being positioned at a right angle with the diameter of the inner cylinder 10 and reach the upper end portion 28b where the bottles B guided by the guide end member 31, are forced beyond the upper end of the inner cylinder 10 to be dropped outside, as apparent in FIG. 7. At this time, those bottles B whose mouths are directed toward the direction of the travel, namely toward the direction of the rotation of the inner cylinder 10 are sent upward along the guide rail 28 with the bottle bottoms kept in contact with the inner projections 27. When the bottle is to be moved beyond the upper end of the inner cylinder 10 along the projecting portions 270, the neck portion including the mouth of the bottle B, as shown in FIG. 5 moves beyond the rear upright portion 33b of the preceding clearing member 33 disposed in outside of the inner cylinder 10 and the shoulder of the bottle is brought into contact therewith, so that the bottle B is tipped with the bottom side down and dropped onto the position floor 35 in normal position. 0n the other hand, in case the mouth of a bottle B is positioned toward a direction opposite to that of the travel, namely toward a direction opposite to that of rotation of the inner cylinder 10, the bottle is moved upward along the guide rail 28 with the mouth kept in contact with the inner projection 27. When the bottle 8 finally reaches the projecting portion 27:: at the upper end of the inner projection 27, the bottle mouth, being smaller than the main portion of they bottle in diameter, does not engage but clears the projecting portion 27a and moves beyond the upper edge of the inner cylinder 10. However, since the inner cylinder 10 goes on rotating while the slanting guide rail 28 guiding the bottle B is fixed in place, the bottle 8 is substantially moved backward at the upper end 2812 of the guide rail 28, with the result that the shoulder of the bottle B strikes the front upright portion 33a of the clearing member 33 which is positioned behind the bottle. Just as in the above-mentioned case, the bottle 5 is consequently dropped with the bottom side down and placed in normal upright position on the bottom position floor 35.
In this manner, the bottles B pushed forward by the inner projections 27 and sent upward along the slanting guide rail 28 are one after another delivered from the inside of the inner cylinder to the outside thereof and placed in normal upright position on the bottle position floor 35 when dropped thereon. Due to the rotation of the bottle position floor 35 effected by the rotation of the inner cylinder 10, the bottles B on the floor 35 are moved counterclockwise. At a position more than half of a revolution ahead of the position from where the bottles are dropped onto the outside of the inner cylinder 10, the bottles strike the discharge guide 38, and through exit 36 formed in the outer cylinder 1, and discharge guide 37, they are delivered in a row onto a belt conveyor (not shown).
From the above description, it will be understood that a plurality of bottles B which are fed into the machine without being arranged in a predetermined position are, automatically brought into an upright position due to their own weight with mouthside up and are then discharged in a row. Furthermore without using a limit switch by which the normal position of the bottles may be detected, the operation can be achieved with high efficiency.
Although the drawings show an embodiment which comprises a number of inner radial projections 27 disposed in the inside of the inner cylinder 10, the advantage of the present invention can of course be effected so long as at least one inner radial projection is provided.
1. A machine to receive empty bottles and then feed these bottles out in a row so that the bottle mouth is disposed for receiving a liquid, comprising in combination:
a. A fixed housing 1 having an inner cylindrical wall;
I). a bottle delivery means 4 to drop bottles within said housing from the top thereof;
c. an inner cylinder 10 coaxial with said inner cylindrical wall having a conical floor 9 disposed so as to receive bottles from said delivery means 4;
d. rotating means l7, 19, 20, 21, 22 for rotating said inner cylinder 10 within said inner cylinder wall along a circular path of travel;
e. guide means 28 to receive said bottles thereon extending "'m. from the floor 9 to the upper portion of said inner cylinder 10 so as to guide said bottles to said upper portion.
vertical bottle positions defined on the outside of said inner cylinder towards the upper portion thereof between said inner cylinder outer side and the inner cylindrical wall of said housing 1 including a position floor 35, position limits 32, 33, said guide means 28 leading to the top of said positions.
g. a guide end member 31 to push bottles which are on guide means 28 over said defined positions; h. clearing means 33, 33a, 33b and engaging means 270 to engage the bottle and drop the bottle into said defined positions bottom first; and i. an exit station with exit means 36 along said path of travel to discharge said bottles individually as they reach the exit station. 2. A machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein said bottle delivery means 4 are a chute.
3. A machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein said guide means 28 are spiral guide means.
4. A machine as claimed in claim 3 wherein there is at least 1 one inner radial projection disposed within said inner cylinder 10 to engage said bottles and force them onto said spiral guide means.
5. A machine as claimed in claim 4 wherein said clearing means 33, 33an 33b and engaging means 270 include U- shaped members which will permit only a bottle neck portion to clear the top thereof so as to then tip the bottle onto said defined position bottomside down and projections extending over saidposition disposed to engage onl the bottom of a bottle again 0 tip the bottle into sat efine position bottomside down.
6. In a machine to receive empty bottles and to feed these bottles onto a bottle-filling station so that the mouth portion of the bottle is disposed for receiving a liquid, comprising in combination; outer fixed and inner rotating coaxial cylinders; bottle orienting means defined on the outside of and at the upper part of said inner cylinder including a floor and spaced limits, said orienting means rotating within said outer cylinder; a flooring on said inner cylinder for receiving said bottles; delivery means to drop bottles on said flooring stationery guide means in said inner cylinder to guide the bottle on their side to a location at the upper part of said cylinder cylinder to the orienting means where the necks of the bottles clear the spaced limits but the bottoms are engaged thereby so as to drop said bottles onto said floor bottomside down.
7. A machine as claimed in claim 6 wherein said inner cylinder floor is conical.
8. A machine as claimed in claim 7 wherein there is at least one projection within said inner cylinder to engage said bottles and force them on said guide means.
9. A machine as claimed in claim 8 wherein said guide means comprises a spiral ramp extending from said flooring to said location and having a guide end member to push bottles which are on the guide means over said orienting means. 10. A machine as claimed in claim 9 wherein said orienting means include U-shaped members which will permit only a bottle neck portion to clear the top thereof so as to then tip the bottle onto said floor bottomside down and projections disposed to engage only the bottom of a bottle again to tip the bottle onto said floor bottomside down.