US 3543911 A
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United States Patent  Inventor Thomas B. Brickson Santa Barbara, California  Appl. No. 771,441  Filed Oct. 29, 1968  Patented Dec. 1,1970  Assignee Kliklok Corporation New York, New York a corporation of Delaware  DEVICE FOR THE SEPARATING AND TIMED RELEASlNG OF FOLDING BOXES 3 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.
 U.S. Cl 198/34  Int. Cl 1. 865g 47/26 [501 Field of Search 198/34 l '77 ill. iii; 5 Mia.
Assistant Examiner-,-Alfred N. Goodman Alt0rney Howard G. Russell ABSTRACT: Boxes and similar-shaped articles arriving on a transport track in end-to-end contact propelled by a continuously operating friet'iontype transport device are positively separated from one another and released at timed intervals by a lateral flag stop which is first projected into the path of the boxes, thereby arresting the foremost box by engagement with its front wall. The flag stop is then withdrawn to release the box and is immediately reprojected to hit the box at its side, causing it to pivot before the box has moved a distance equal to half of its length. The pivoted box is carried by the transport device around the projected flag stop which then arrests the next box, whereafter the procedure is repeated.
Patented Dec. 1, 1970 Sheet 1 of 6 w mww IN VILN'IUR. 7/20/7708 5. Erickson ATTORNEY Patented Dec. 1, 1970 Sheet Fig. 5
INVENTOR. Thomas 15. Erickson (L A TTOR/VEY DEVICE FOR THE SEPARATING AND TIMED RELEASING OF FOLDING BOXES For the purpose of separating and releasing, at timed intervals, folding boxes and the like arriving on a transport track and propelled by a continuously operating transport device, so-called flag stops are used which are projectable into and retractable from the path of the boxes. The flag stop arrests the foremost box by engagement with its front wall and then releases the box by withdrawal of the stop in a known manner in order to permit the box to be carried farther by the transport device.
Difficulties arise when the boxes arrive in a continuous row, end abutting end. In such a case it is theoretically necessary to reproject the flag stop at precisely the moment the released box has moved past the stop in order to move the stop into arresting position for the next box.
This is difficult to accomplish as the flag stop must practically be thrust,.like a knife, between the first and the second box which abuts the trailing wall of the first box. If the timing is not very precise, one oftwo things is likely to occur.
If the flag stop is operated with considerable force it crushes the side of the trailing portion of the first box or the side of the leading portion of the second box.
If the flag stop is operated with a lesser force, it will not move between the two boxes to pry them apart with the result that the second box slips past the flag stop.
The present invention employs a flag stop, but in a different manner. The stop arrests the first box in the known fashion, then releases it, whereafter it is immediately reprojected so as to strike the box at its side a short distance behind the leading wall. This causes the box to pivot about a vertical axis, the box track being appropriately recessed to permit the trailing portion of the struck box to swing towards the side of which the flag stop is located. Pivoting of the box is facilitated by a projecting element on the opposite track side, about midway of the box, considering the moment the box is struck by the projected flag stop.
The pivoted box is then carried around the projected flag stop, the track width being sufficient for this purpose at this point, and the next box is positively arrested by the flag stop which reached its projected position considerably before the next box arrives at it, still traveling in a straight line.
A device for separating and releasing, in timed sequence, folding boxes andsimilarly shaped articles, the device comprising a track defined by lateral guide means, the track comprising an entrance portion and a timing portion, the entrance portion being of a certain width of the order of the width of the boxes to keep arriving boxes in line, a periodically projected flag stop, and transport means for moving boxes from the entrance portion through the timing portion by frictional engagement with the box bottom is improved according to the present invention by the timing portion comprising, on one side at its entrance end, a lateral recess and on the same side at its exit end, the flag stop laterally movable into and out of the track, and comprising on the opposite side a projecting pivot element intermediate said entrance and exit ends, the flag stop being positioned at a distance from the recess of the order ofa box length and such that (a) the projected flag stop intercepts and arrests a box proceeding in a straight line from the entrance portion by engagement with the leading box wall and such that (b) after retraction and subsequent projection the flag stop impinges against the side surface of the box rearwardly of the front wall to cause the box to pivot about a vertical axis at said pivot element, thereby swinging the trailing box portion into said recess, the. width of the passage between the projected flag stop and the opposite guide means of the timing portion being sufficient to permit the box to pass therebetween.
Suitably the track comprises an exit portion downstream of the flag element, the exit portion being of progressively decreasing width and adapted substantially to realine boxes within the exit portion with the orientation of the boxes within Suitably the transport device is a frictionally transporting conveyor belt extending through both the entrance and timing portion. By contrast, conventional flag stop type separators require two conveyors including a faster moving carryout conveyor moving the boxes away at a rate faster than the arrival rate.
Advantageously a single conveyor belt may extend through the entrance, the timing and the exit portions of the track, resulting in simplification of the conveyor arrangement.
Boxes of different length may be handled on the same device by an adjustable arrangement of the recess by means of an element adjustable toward, and away from, the flag stop, respectively.
Advantageously the flag stop is retracted in periods equal to the advance of the transport means by more than one box length and less than two box lengths.
Suitably the flag stop after retraction is reprojected within a period equal to the advance of the previously arrested box by less than one-third of the box length.
The objects, features and advantages of this invention will appear more fully from the detailed description which follows accompanied by drawings showing, for the purpose of illustration, a preferred embodiment of the invention. The invention also resides in certain new and original features of construction and combination of elements hereinafter set forth and claimed.
Although the characteristic features of this invention which are believed to be novel will be particularly pointed out in the claims appended hereto, the invention itself, its objects and advantages, and the manner in which it may be carried out may be better understood by referring to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings forming a part of the disclosure in which:
FIGS. 1 and 2 are perspective views, from above, of a device incorporating the present invention; and
FIGS. 3 to 6 are perspective views, similar to FIG. 2, of the device at sequential phases of its operation.
In the following description and in the claims various details will be identified by specific names for convenience. The names, however, are intended to be generic in their application. Corresponding reference characters refer to corresponding parts in the several FIGS. ofthe drawings.
The drawings accompanying, and forming part of, this specification disclose certain specific details of construction for the purpose of explanation of broader aspects of the invention, but it should be understood that structural details may be modified in various respects without departure from the principles of the invention and that the inventionmay be incorporated in other structural forms than shown.
MECHANISM Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a track for folding boxes is defined by the edges 11 and 12 of lateral guide plates 13, 14 and the edge 15 of an adjustable plate 16 whose terminal edge 17 represents the rearward end of recess 18.
A single conveyor belt 19 extends at a horizontal level below the edges l1, l2 and 15 and moves in the direction of the arrow 20.
Comparing FIGS. 1 and 2, it is seen that FIG. 1 represents a downstream view, whereas FIG. 2 is an upstream view.
The spacing of the edges 12 and 15 with respect to edge 11 is slightly more than the width W of a box B which is about to disappear from view in FIG. 1.
The portion of the track extending from the right in FIG. 2 to the edge 17 may be termed an entrance portion E. There follows a timing portion T extending from the recess 18 to its downstream end at a movable flag stop 21 movable in a slot 22 into and out of the path of boxes carried by the conveyor.
The timing portion T is characterized, at one side, by the lateral recess 18 at its entrance end and the flag stop 21 at the exit end.
On the opposite side a pivot element is provided, suitably a roller 23, at a location intermediate the edge 17 and the flag stop 21.
The length of the timing portion T may be varied, in accordance with the length of boxes to be handled, by moving the edge 17 closer towards, or farther away from, the flag stop. For this purpose the plate 16 comprises elongated holes 24 through which clamping bolts 25 extend.
The periphery of the roller 23 is substantially in line with the edge 11 of plate13 (FIG. 1), but the width of thetiming portion T of the track is greater than the width of the entrance portion E by reason of a' receding edge portion 111 beyond which the roller 23 projects on one side and the recess 18 on the opposite side. This permits boxes within the timing portion to pivot about a vertical axis, as will later be seen.
'The exit or discharge portion D begins at the flag stop and is bordered on the far side (FIG. 2) by the edge 26 of a plate 27, substantially in line with the edge 12, and on the near side by the edge 38 of a plate 39. Edge 38 extends at an angle, in plan view, to edge 26 and serves to funnel pivoted boxes into the discharge track D which, at a point slightly beyond the limits of FIG. 2, is of substantially the same width as, and alined with, the entrance portion E.
It will be noted that the position of the roller 23 is also adjustable as the pivot bolt 28 of the roller may be installed in any of a plurality of mounting holes 29 in the plate 13.
The width of the box track is adjustable by moving plate 13 closer toward, or farther away from, plate 14. For this purpose plate 13 is slotted as at 30 and clamped in place by bolts, one of which is shown at 31.
Means are provided for moving the flag stop 21 into and out of the path of boxes traveling through the timing portion. For this purpose a pivot arm 32 is provided operated by a cam mechanism (not shown) of conventional construction in dependence on the motion of the belt 19. The drive mechanism comprises a shaft carrying the cam, one bearing of the shaft being visible at 33.
OPERATION Turning now to the operation of the device as illustrated in FIGS. 3 to 6, a series of filled open boxes are shown arriving from the right in FIG. 3. The advance of the boxes is barred by the projected flag stop 21 arresting thc'boxes while conveyor 19 continues to move to the left and slips relatively to the stationary boxes B and B.
The flag'stop 21 is then retracted permitting box B, to advance. But immediately after the passage of the leading wall of the box B, the flag stop is reprojected, thereby striking box 8, at its side. As the flag stop 21 is forward of the roller 23, the box B, pivots about a vertical axis and its trailing end swings into the recess 18 (not visible in FIG. 4, but compare FIG. 2).
The timing portion T is wide enough to permit the pivoted box to continue its downstream travel around the projected flag stop under its frictional engagement with the conveyor belt and under the force of the following boxes 8,, 8,, which push it along.
Box 8, next strikes the edge 38 of plate 39 to realine the boxes within the exit track D with the boxes in the entrance track E. The trailing portion of box B, remains offset with respect to the front wall of box B as box B, continues to be pushed toward the observer by the projected flag stop (not visible in FIG. whereas box 8 remains oriented with respect to the entrance track on the right.
As soon as the leading wall of box B strikes the flag stop, box B, and all the boxes behind come to a stop while box B, continues to advance at the rate of the conveyor motion. FIG. 6 shows box B, spaced from box 8, which is arrested by the flag stop 21.
Shortly after the moment illustrated in FIG. 6, the flag stop 21 is withdrawn and immediately reprojected, at which moment box B is in the position of box B, in FIG. 4. This starts the next cycle.
It is readily seen that the arrest of the boxes is positive, without a need for inserting a flag stop precisely between the trailing wall of a leading box and a leading wall of the followhe illustrated mechanism 18 designed to handle relatively tall boxes and is provided for this reason (FIGS. 2 and 3) with lateral stabilizing rods 34, 35, an overhead rod 36, and an overhead roller 37 beyond the end of the rod 36.
The timing of the flag stop motion is preferably so chosen that the flag 21 is reprojected within the period of advance of the released box by less than one-third of the box length.
In order to time each and every box and to space the boxes from one another in the exit portion D, the flag element is retracted at periods equal to the advance of the conveyor 19 by an amount more than one box length, but preferably by less than two box lengths.
As is seen from the FIGS. only one belt conveyor 19 is required for feeding the boxes to the timing device and for carrying them away in spaced relationship. Conventional devices usually require two conveyors, a slower one to feed the boxes and a faster one to carry them away in spaced relationship.
l. A device for separating, and releasing, in timed sequence, folding boxes and similarly shaped articles, the device comprising a track defined by lateral guide means, said track comprising an entrance portion and a timing portion, the entrance portion being of a certain width of the order of the width of the boxes to keep arriving boxes in line, the timing portion comprising, on one side at its entrance end a lateral recess and, on the same side at its exit end a flag element laterally movable into and out of the track, said timing portion extending from said recess to said flag element and comprising, on the opposite side, a projecting pivot element intermediate said recess and said flag element, the flag element being positioned at a distance from the recess of the order of a box length, and such that (a) the projected flag element intercepts and arrests a box proceeding in a straight line from the entrance portion by engagement with the leading box wall, and such that (b) after retraction and subsequent projection the flag element impinges against the side surface of the box rearwardly of the front wall to cause the box to pivot about a vertical axis at said pivot element to effect movement of the trailing box portion into said recess, the width of the passage between the projected flag element and the opposite guide means of the timing portion being sufficient to permit the pivoted box to pass therebetween', transport means for moving boxes from said entrance portion through said timing portion and past said flat element by frictional engagement with the box bottom; and power means operable in timed relationship to the transport means for periodically retracting and reprojecting said flag element.
2. A device as defined in claim 1 in which said power means is so timed as to reproject said flag element after retraction before said transport means advances a distance equal to onethird of a box length.
3. A device as defined in claim 1 in which the timing portion of the track comprises an enlarged-width portion substantially opposite to, and in advance of, said flag element, and in which said pivot element is a roller projecting into said enlargedwidth portion sufficiently far that the roller periphery substantially contacts an imaginary straight line continuation of the guide means, on the roller side, of said entrance portion.