US 3550546 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 72] Inventor Franklin C. Eickenhorst Mason, Ohio  Appl.No. 719,615
 Filed Apr. 8,1968
 Patented Dec. 29,1970
 Assignee Erma] C. Fraze Dayton, Ohio by mesne assignments  APPARATUS FOR MAKING EASY-OPENING CAN Primary Examiner-Charles W. Lanham Assistant Examiner-Michael J. Keenan Anorney-Smyth, Roston and Pavitt ABSTRACT: This disclosure describes a machine which is ENDS particularly adapted for converting can ends into easy-open 3 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs can ends. In the embodiment of the invention illustrated, the
machine includes a main dial plate which rotates intermit-  US. Cl 113/1, [Emily to can)! can ends F by step through a series f work 1 13/1 1 13/121 stations at which work stations the can ends are converted into  Int. Cl B2ld easy open can ends The main dial pnate is rotated intermib  Field ofSearch 13/1F, l1, temly by an intermitter which is positioned entirely beneath 121A 121C 1200 83/423 278 the dial plate so that the dial plate can be of minimum diameter and mass. Tabs for the easy-opening can ends are made in  References cued a tab die which is operated by the ram of the press of the UNITED STATES PATENTS machine. The tabs are fed in a strip to a staking station where 3,196,817 5/1970 Fraze 113/1 .1 thetabs are affixed to the can ends.
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frdmfia/l g 47 i 13 Pum:1$ l/o/ler 5 27v 1 lb fee/er 41 2 5 T I L l i I I I Jn/ern/fir BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION As is well known, easy-open containers include a tab connected by a hollow rivet, which is formed integrally with the can end, to a removable tear portion. By lifting or otherwise appropriately manipulating the tab, the tear portion is severed from the can end leaving an opening therein through which access to the contents of the container may be had. The present invention relates to a machine for producing easyopening can ends and in particular to a machine for converting can ends into easy-open can ends.
Numerous processes have been developed for fabricating easy-opening can ends and the present invention is not restricted to use with any one of these processes, but rather has applicability to a large number of such processes. A typical process for fabricating easy-opening can ends includes the formation of a hollow rivet in the can end, which is integral with the material of the can end itself, and then scoring around the rivet to form a removable tear portion. Finally an apertured tab is positioned over the rivet and the rivet is staked to secure the tab to the tear strip. Several useful methodshave been developed for formation of the integral rivet and for staking the rivet, and the machine of the present invention can be used to carry out any or all of the various methods.
Easy-opening can ends vary in size over a wide range which presently extends from 202's through 6IOs. Furthermore, easy-opening can ends have different shapes such as circular, oval, pear-shaped, and the sardine end. In addition, the trend in the industries is to apply easy-opening can ends to an everincreasing range of can sizes and configurations. The use of easy-opening can ends of various sizes and shapes has given rise to a very significant problem in the industry, namely, the conversion of the prior art easy-opening can end machines to accommodate such wide ranges of sizes and shapes.
My copending application, Ser. No. 680,570, new Pat. No. 3,470,837, describes a machine which overcomes the problems of converting easy-opening can end machines to run can ends of widely varying sizes and shapes and the present in vention is an improvement on this machine. Although the machine described in my earlier application operates very satisfactorily, it has been found desirable to increase the speed of operation thereof.
The machine described in the copending application includes a relatively large intermittently rotatable dial plate for advancing the can ends step by step through a plurality of work stations. Suitable tooling is located at each of work stations for converting the can ends carried by the dial plate into easy-opening can end. The dial plate surrounds an intermitter which is necessary for imparting intermittent rotary movement to the dial plate. Can end carrying means or nests are positioned radially outwardly of the intermitte r. One difficulty with this construction is that the dial plate must be of relatively large diameter and therefore relatively high mass so that the intermittent rotary speed thereof must be correspondingly low and this reduces the rate at which easy-opening can ends can be produced.
In the machine described in the copending application, the tabs are made on a separate tab making machine and manually transferred to the easy-open can end machine. The tabs are fed individually to a staking station adjacent the dial plate at which station, the tabs are secured to the can ends. Although this system has some advantages, the use of a separate tab making machine requires the presence of an additional operator and necessitates construction of a separate machine and the manual transporting of the tabs between the machines. In addition, feeding of the tabs individually to the staking station increases the possiblity of malfunction of the machine due to the relatively thin sheet metal tabs becoming cocked or jammed in the tab feeding apparatus.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present inventionsignificantly increases the speed of operation of easy-open can end machines without sacrificing any of the significant advantages of the machine described in the copending application. The present invention teaches that the large size of dial plate was necessitated by the fact that, heretofore the dial plat'e surrounded the intermitter. The present invention teaches that the diameter of the dial plate can be reduced if the intermitter is positioned beneath the dial plate so that the dial plate need not surround the intermitter. A suitable drive shaft interconnects the intermitter and the dial plate so that the intermitter can impart intermittent rotary motion to the dial plate. With this construction, the nest or can end holding means can be moved radially inwardly closer to the axis of rotation and the diameter and mass of the dial plate is correspondingly reduced. By reducing the mass of the dial plate, the intermittent rotary speed thereof can be correspondingly increased to thereby increase the number of easy-opening can ends which can be produced in a given time interval.
With the present invention the speed and efficiency of operation are further increased in that the tabs are made on the can end machine, and therefore, the need for sa separate tab making machine, an operator for the tab making machine, and for manual transfer of the tabs between the two machines is eliminated. The present invention teaches that the tabs can advantageously be made in a tab die which is a part of the easy-opening can end making machine and which is directly driven by the ram of the press of the. can end machine. Another advantage of this construction is that the tabs can be made in a strip in which each of the individual tabs are integrally joined to the strip of sheet material by one or more narrow webs of the sheet material. The tabs are then fed in the strip to the staking station adjacent the main dial plate. At the staking station, the tabs are automatically cut from the strip and directly and precisely positioned on the can end. As the tabs are strip-fed to the staking station, they are held captive so that cocking thereof and consequent jamming or malfunction of the machine due to tab misalignment is eliminated. In addition, the tabs can be automatically fed from the tab die to the staking station with a relatively simple tab feed mechanism which can advantageously be powered by the motor of the can end machine.
Another significant advantage of the present invention is that all of the above-noted advantages are obtained without sacrificing any of the advantages of the prior art machine. Thus, a device constructed in accordance with the teachings of this invention requires only a single dial plate, can be easily converted to run can ends of widely varying sizes and shapes and generally possesses'all of the desirable features of my earlier machine.
The invention, both as to its organization and method of operation together with further features and advantages thereof may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying illustrative drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a front-elevational view of a can end making machine constructed in accordance with the teachings of this invention with several of the components of the machine being illustrated diagrammatically.
FIG. 2 is a top plan view partially in section taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1 and illustrating the dial plate, the tab feeder and the tab die.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view through a preferred form of tab die.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary plan view of a preferred form of tab feed mechanism and portions of the staking station.
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary rear elevational view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 4 and illustrating a portion of the tab feed mechanism.
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken through the staking station.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings and in particular to FIG. 1 thereof, reference numeral 11 designates a machine for converting can ends into easy-opening can ends. Generally, the machine 11 includes a frame 13 supporting a motor 15 for driving a dial plate 17 through an intermitter 19. The intermitter 19 causes the dial plate 17 to rotate intermittently through a plurality of work stations designated I-XII (FIG. 2) including a staking station VII. Suitable tooling 21 is positioned at selected ones of the work stations for performing work operations on can ends moved thereto by the dial plate 17.
The machine 11 also includes a tab die 23 and a tab feeder or feed mechanism 25 for feeding the tabs from the tab die to the staking station. The tabs are attached to can ends by the tooling located at station VII and illustrated in FIG. 6.
More particularly, the machine 11 includes upright frame members 27 which support a press bed 29 and a main die shoe 31. The dial plate 17 is mounted for rotation in a horizontal plane about a vertical axis by a drive shaft 33 which is suitably mounted for rotation on the bed 29 by bearings 35.
The motor 15 drives the dial plate 17 through a shaft 37, a reducer 39, a shaft 41, gear box 43, a shaft 45, a gear box 46, and intermitter l9 and the drive shaft 33. An important feature is that the intermitter 19 is positioned entirely beneath the dial plate 17 and is drivingly connected thereto by the shaft 33. Thus, the dial plate 17 need not be enlarged radially to accommodate or to surround the intermitter 19. Rather, the dial plate 17 is firmly and strongly supported by a support bracket which includes radially extending webs 47 and a circumferentially extending flange 49.
The intermitter 19 may be of conventional design and imparts intermittent rotary motion to the dial plate 17. This causes the dial plate 17 to rotate step by step through each of the work stations I-XII (FIG. 2). Various kinds of work operations may be performed at the several work stations as shown by the legend adjacent FIG. 2.
The dial 17 is preferably circular in plan and includes 12 nests 51 (FIG. 2) each of which is adapted to retain a can end. Each of the nests 51 may be of conventional structure and adapted to hold the can end with the outer face or public side thereof facing downwardly. The nest may be of the type shown in my copending application identified above with the parts thereof appropriately reversed to retain the can end in a facedown position. In the embodiment illustrated, l2 of the nests 51 are provided, one for each of the stations I-XII. The intermitter 19 intermittently rotates the dial plate 17 to stop each of the nest 51 sequentially at each of the stations I-XII.
Various tooling is positioned at least at some of the stations I-XII to perform various work operations on the can ends. For example, in the embodiment illustrated and according to the legend shown adjacent FIG. 2, a suitable can end loading mechanism, which may be of the type illustrated in the copending patent application referred to above, is provided to individually load single can ends into each of the nests 51 at station [I as such nest is brought to station II. Stations III, VIII and XI are idle stations at which no work operations are performed on the can ends at such stations. These stations are provided so that additional work operations may be added, if desired.
Tooling such as the tooling 21 (FIG. 1) is located at station IV and forms a bubble in the can end and at station V the bubble is converted into a button or hollow rivet by suitable tooling. The can end is scored at station VI and at station VII a tab is applied to the can end and the rivet is staked to clamp the tab to the can end. A panel is formed in the can end at station IX and at station X suitable detecting equipment is located for the purpose of detecting the presence or absence of a tab on the can end. At station XII, can ends not having tabs thereon are automatically rejected by suitable automatic equipment and at station I an unloading apparatus such as the unloading apparatus shown in my copending application is provided to remove the completed easy-opening can end from the dial plate 17.
The machine 11 includes a ram 53 mounted for vertical reciprocating movement. The ram 53 is driven by a motor 15 and includes a punch holder 55 (FIG. 1) to which some of the tooling is mounted. Other of the tooling 21 is suitably conventionally mounted on the die shoe 31.
A portion of the tab die 23 is shown in FIG. 3. Basically, the tab die 23 includes a series of punches and dies with FIG. 3 illustrating only a punch 57 attached to the punch holder 55 and a die 59 attached to the die shoe 31. A thin strip 61 of sheet metal tab stock is advanced by suitable means in step by step fashion to the various punches and dies which perform work operations thereon to produce a tab 63 (FIG. 4) which may be of the configuration shown in FIG. 4 or any other desired tab form. Although the tab 63 may be formed in a single hit, thereby necessitating'only a single punch and die, in the usual instance, several punches and dies are required for carrying out the several work operations necessary for forming of the tab. Movement of the punch 57 relative to the die 59 is guided by a guide pin 65 which rides in a guide sleeve 67.
The tab feed mechanism 25 receives its power from the gear box 46, another gear box 69 and an intermitter 71 (FIG. 1). As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the tab feed mechanism 25 and the intermitter 71 are mounted on a platform 73 which is suitably mounted on the bed 29 of the press. The tab feed mechanism 25 includes a drive shaft 75 which is driven by the intermitter 71 and an indexing wheel 77 mounted on the drive shaft 75 by a pin 78 and retained between a nut 79 and a collar 81 mounted on the drive shaft 75. The drive shaft 75 is suitably supported by bearings 83.
The indexing wheel 77 includes a wheel member 85 having two rows of indexing pins 87 mounted thereon and projecting radially outwardly of the wheel member 85 to expose an end portion of the pins. As shown in FIG. 5, the pins 87 of each row are spaced circumferentially an equal amount around the wheel member 85 and as shown in FIG. 4, the pins of one row are spaced axially along the shaft 75 from the pins of the adjacent row.
The tab die 23 forms the tab 63 in the strip 61 with the tab 63 being integrally joined to the strip 61 by narrow webs 89. The strip 61 is also formed with two parallel rows of spaced apertures 91.
In operation of the tab feed mechanism 25, the intermitter 71 imparts intermittent rotary motion to the indexing wheel 77. The holes 91 are positioned so as to receive the indexing pins 87 to permit the indexing pins to drive the strip 61 containing the tabs 63 linearly toward the staking station VII. The movement of the strip 61 is intermittent and suitably timed with the intermittent movement of the dial plate 17 and with the apparatus of the staking station VII so that one tab 63 is supplied to the staking station for each can end that is brought by the dial plate 17 to the staking station.
For the purpose of cutting the tabs 63 from the strip 61, placing the tabs on a can end, and attaching the tab to the can end, the tooling 93 may be employed (FIG. 6). A nest 51 shown diagrammatically in FIG. 6 supports a can end 95 in the main dial plate 17 at the staking station, with the public side of the can end facing downwardly. The can end 95 has a rivet 97 formed integrally therewith and projecting downwardly.
As best shown in FIG. 4, each of the tabs 63 is a ring tab having a rivet receiving aperture 99 therein for receiving the rivet 97. The function of the tooling 93 is to sever the tab 63 from the strip 61 by cutting the webs 89, moving the tab upwardly to the can end as shown in FIG. 6 and positioning the tab with the rivet 97 projecting through the aperture 99. The tooling 93 then stakes the rivet 97 to clamp the tab 63 to the can end 95.
The tooling 93 includes a die set 101 suitably affixed to the ram 53 at station VII. A punch supporting block 103 is mounted for vertical movement between a spacer 105 and a retainer 107 and is biased downwardly by a spring 109. The retainer 107 is suitably connected to the member thereabove by bolts 111. The die set 101 has a stake punch 113 which extends completely therethrough and is adapted to engage the can end 95. The stake punch 113 preferably has a protrusion or anvil (not shown) which is adapted to fit within the hollow rivet 97 to support the walls thereof in conventional fashion during the staking operation. A lower member 115 is suitably affixed to the support block 103 and is also adapted to engage the can end 95.
The tooling 93 also includes a support block 117 mounted on the die shoe 31. A platform 119 is supported on legs 121 which are suitably affixed to the support block 117. Upper and lower tab strip guide members 123 and 125 are suitably mounted on the platform 19 for the purpose of guiding the strip 61 and the tabs 63 therein through the tooling 93.
A cam plunger 127 is mounted for vertical reciprocatory movement by a bearing block 129 which is retained on a spacer 131 by a retaining ring 133 which is affixed to the sup port block 117 by bolts 135. The cam plunger 127 is reciprocated by a conventional cam unit 137 which is driven by the intermitter 19 and a gear box 139 (FIG. 1). The upward movement of the cam plunger 127 is timed to occur after the tab feed mechanism has positioned a tab 63 immediately thereabove.
Mounted at the upper end of the cam plunger 127 is a tool holder 141 having a lower stake punch 143 mounted therein and a plunger 145. The upper end of the tool holder 141 is shaped to fit within the ring of the tab 63 to thereby permit the tool holder 141 to retain and position the tab 63 on the can end 95.
In operation of the tooling 93, the cam unit 137 forces the cam plunger 127 and the tool holder 141 upwardly at the proper instant so that it engages a tab 63 immediately thereabove. The tool holder 141 nips the tab 63 from the strip 61 by severing the webs 89 and lifts the tab upwardly to position it against the can end 95 with the rivet 97 projecting through the aperture 99 of the tab. During the same time, the ram 53 is moving downwardly to cause the stake punch 113 and the member 115 to engage the can end 95 and form a rigid support therefor. The upward movement of the tool holder 141 is sufficient to permit the stake punch 143 to move upwardly a sufficient distance to stake the rivet 97 to clamp the tab 63 to the can end 95. The ram 53 and the cam plunger 127 then retract and the dial plate 17 is indexed toward the next position, while the strip 61 of the tabs is moved by the tab feed mechanism 25 to bring a new tab 63 over the cam plunger 127. The can end 95 which has just had the tab 63 placed thereon then moves sequentially through stations VIII I and at this latter station is automatically unloaded from the dial plate 17.
Although exemplary embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, many changes, modifications and substitutions may be made by one having ordinary skill in the art without necessarily departing from the spirit and scope of this invention.
1. In a machine for converting can ends into easy-opening can ends, the combination of:
a supporting structure;
a single rotatable dial plate mounted for rotary movement on said supporting structure about a generally vertical axis, said dial plate having a plurality of spaced can end receiving areas thereon;
means at each of said can end receiving areas for supporting a can end;
a plurality of work stations located around said dial plate including a load station, an unload station and a staking station;
intermitter means located entirely beneath said rotatable dial plate for imparting intermittent rotary motion to said dial plate about said axis with said dial plate stopping intermittently with said can end receiving areas at said stations, respectively;
means at said load station for automatically sequentially supplying a single can end to each of said can end receiving areas as such can end receiving area stops at said load station; a ram positioned above said rotatable dial plate and movable generally vertically toward and away from said rotatable dial plate;
a motor for driving said ram;
tooling means driven by said ram at one of said work stations for forming a hollow rivet in each of the can ends moved therethrough by said dial plate;
a tab die mounted on said supporting structure and driven by said ram for forming tabs of the type usable on easyopening container with each of the tabs being joined to a connecting strip and having a connecting aperture therein;
tab feed means for sequentially feeding the tab and the strip to the staking station with each talb sequentially entering said staking station;
means at said staking station driven by said motor for cutting the tab at the staking station from the strip and positioning it on the can end with the rivet projecting through the aperture in the tab, said last mentioned means including means for staking the rivet to clamp the tab to the can end; and
means at said unload station for removing the can ends having tabs affixed thereto from the rotatable dial plate.
2. A combination as defined in claim 1 wherein said tab feed means is driven by said motor means.
3. A combination as defined in claim 1 wherein the connecting strip has apertures therein and said tab feed means includes a rotatable indexing wheel having radial projections drivingly receivable in the apertures of the strip to move the strip and means for imparting intermittent rotary motion to the indexing wheel.