US 3563170 A
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United States Patent  Inventors Daniel S. Cvacho;
Field 1. Robertson, Jr., Chesterfield County, Va.  Appl. No. 721,787  Filed Apr. 16, 1968 [4S] Patented Feb. 16, 1971  Assignee Reynolds Metals Company Richmond, Va. Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 601,135, Dec. 12, 1966, now Patent No. 3,496,863
 MACHINE FOR MARKING THE EXTERIOR CYLINDRICAL SURFACES 0F CANS IN A CONTINUOUS NONINDEXING MANNER 19 Claims, 28 Drawing Figs.
 U.S. Cl 101/40, 198/22,198/25, 214/1, 118/230  Int. Cl B411 17/22, B65g 47/52  Field ofSearch 101/38- 40, 35; 118/46, 230, 500; 198/22, 25,179, 210; 214/1B1,1BS;193/3234  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,649,267 11/1927 Tevander 198/22 2,756,862 7/1956 Creed 198/25X 2,770,347 11/1956 Portertield 198/25 2,843,264 7/1958 Pfister 198/25X Primary ExaminerRobert E. Pulfrey Assistant Examiner-Clifford D. Crowder Atrorney-Glenn, Palmer, Lyne, Gibbs & Thompson ABSTRACT: A machine for continuously marking the exterior surfaces of cylindrical containers having a continuously rotatable nonindexing cradle-supporting wheel which carries a plurality of cradles about its outer periphery with each of the cradles adapted to receive an associated container from a precision infeed device. The infeed device uses a star wheel to assure rapid and positive placement of each container on an associated cradle in a stable manner. The machine also has a simple pickoft" apparatus comprised of a fixed track which supports a plurality of vacuum devices for movement thereon and the vacuum devices operate to move the cans away from the machine after they have been printed without decreasing the operating speed of the machine.
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BY v- THEIR ATTORNEYS pmimmr sm 3563170 SHEET 15 [1F 16 BY M w gw THEIR ATTORNEYS MACHINE FOR MARKING TIIE EXTERIOR CYLINDRICAL SURFACES OF CANS IN A CONTINUOUS NONINDEXING MANNER CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application is a continuation in part of application Ser. No. 601,135, filed Dec. 12, l966 which is now issued as US. Pat. No. 3,496,863.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Various machines have been proposed in the past, including in the above referenced application, for continuously printing the outer cylindrical surfaces of can bodies. Although it has been shown that such cylindrical surfaces can be printed at high speeds, each of the present machines is deficient in its capability to infeed cans to be printed in a positive and high speed manner and further each of the present machines is deficient in its capability to rapidly and efficiently move the printed cans away from the machine.
SUMMARY This invention provides an improved machine for marking, as by printing, cylindrical containers which has an infeed which introduces such containers to the machine in a high speed and positive manner and which has a pickoff apparatus for moving the containers away' from the machine in an efficient and rapid manner.
Other details, uses and advantages of this invention will become apparent as the following description of the embodiments thereof presented in the accompanying drawings proceeds.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The accompanying drawings show present preferred embodiments of this invention, in which:
FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate an exemplary can printing machine having the improved can infeed and pickoff apparatus of this invention upon aligning FIGS. 1A and 18 along their respective break lines lA-l-A and lB-B;
FIGS. 2A and 2B illustrate a plan view of the can printing machine of FIGS. 1A and 18 upon aligning FIGS. 2A and 2B along their respective break lines 2A-2A and 2B-2B;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged, fragmentary cross-sectional view taken on the line 3-3 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken on the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary, cross-sectional view taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 3;
FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate a view taken on line 6A 8L B-6A & B of FIG. 3 upon aligning FIGS. 6A and 68 along their respective break lines 6A-6A and 6B-6B;
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken on line 7-7 of FIG. 6A;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken on line 8-8 of FIG. 6A;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary view illustrating the cam of FIG. 6A in another operating position;
FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view taken on line 10-10 of FIG. 9 and illustrates the cam in a manner similar to the illustration of FIG. 7;
FIG. 11 is a view with a parts in section and parts broken away taken substantially on the line 11-11 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 12 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken 'on line 12-12 ofFlG. 1A;
FIG. 13 is a schematic view in elevation particularly illustrating the machine of FIGS. 1A and 13 together with its infeed and pickoff apparatus;
FIG. 14 is a schematic view looking normally downwardly toward the machine and its associated infeed and pickoff apparatus as illustrated in FIG. 13;
FIG. 15 is an enlarged view with parts in section and parts broken away particularly illustrating the relative position of a screw conveyor and infeed starwheel comprising the improved infeed of this invention;
FIG. 16 is a view with parts in section and parts broken away essentially on the line 16-16 of FIG. 15',
FIG. 17 is a view with parts in section and parts broken away essentially on the line 17-17 of FIG. 15;
FIG. 18 is a view with parts in section and parts broken away essentially on the line 18-18 of FIG. 15;
FIG. 19 is a fragmentary view particularly illustrating a pair of cradles carried on the cradle-supporting wheel moving into position to receive cans from the infeed;
FIG. 20 is a fragmentary view essentially on the line 20-20 of FIG. 19;
FIG. 21 is a view with parts in section and parts broken away on the line 21-21 of FIG. 12;
FIG. 22 is a view essentially on the line 22-22 of FIG. 12;
FIG. 23 is a fragmentary view with parts in section and parts broken away essentially on the line 23-23 of FIG. 12;
FIG. 24 is a greatly enlarged view with parts in section and parts broken away particularly illustrating the manner in which each vacuum device comprising the pickoff apparatus of this invention moves along an associated track immediately adjacent cans being carried on mandrels carried on the man- I drel-supporting wheel of the machine of FIGS. 1A and 1B and particularly illustrating one of the vacuum devices at three successive positions along its track to highlight the manner in which an associated can is removed from its mandrel; and
FIG. 25 is a view similar to FIG. 24 and illustrates a vacuum device at three successive positions and highlighting the manner in which each vacuum device positively deposits its can on an associated can supporting pin to move the can away from the machine.
DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENT Reference is now made to FIGS. 1A and 1B and FIGS. 2A and 2B of the drawings wherein an exemplary machine designated generally by the reference numeral 30, is illustrated and is adapted to apply marking means in a predetermined pattern on the exterior surface of containers, such as cylindrical cans, for example. The machine 30 is capable of applying marking means such as an ink coating on selected surface portions of each can, or on the entire cylindrical surface of each at speeds in excess of650 cans per minute and has both an improved can infeed and a can pickoff apparatus which are capable of moving the cans to and away from the machine to assure marking at this high rate of speed.
The use of the term marking means" or the term marking" used in this specification includes within its scope the application of any suitable material against an associated container means or can including the application of ink, paint, an a protective coating, a separate label such as paper, and the like. Further, the term marking means also includes within its scope the embossing or other similar surface treatment of a can which may be accomplished in a high speed operation similar to the exemplary ink printing operation which is described in this specification.
The machine 30 has a main supporting frame 31 a portion of which supports an improved infeed which is designated generally by the reference numeral 32 and which will be described in detail later in this specification. The infeed 32 carries and serially places a plurality of containers such as metal cans on associated substantially semicylindrical cradles 35 which are carried about the periphery of a rotatable wheel 36 comprising the machine 30. Each cradle 35 receives an associated can 33 from the infeed 32 and carries such can in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIGS. IA and 18 so that it may be aligned with a particular mandrel 37 being orbited behind the wheel 36.
Each can 33 is transferred from its associated car cradle 35 and telescoped over a cooperating mandrel 37 which is orbited adjacent thereto in a clockwise direction. As the particular can carrying mandrel 37 is moving in a clockwise direction, an ink applicator 38 carried by the frame 31 applies printing ink directly on the outer cylindrical surface of the can 33 during simultaneous movement of both the can carrying mandrel 37 and ink applicator 38 to permit a high speed operation without smearing or distortion of the ink being applied on the can 33. I
Each can carrying mandrel 37 is orbited away from the ink applicator 38 in a clockwise direction and each can 33 may have additional means such as a protective coating, for example, applied thereon by another applicator which will be designated generally by the reference numeral 38A. At a circumferential position which is downstream of the applicator 38A, each can 33 is removed by one exemplary embodiment of a can pickoff apparatus of this invention which is designated generally by the reference numeral 40 and such .pickoff apparatus will be described in detail later in this specification. The pickoff, apparatus 40 deposits each printed can on an associated conveyor which carries the cans away for further processing such as ink drying, product filling, storing, shipping or other operations as desired.
The exemplary open ended metal cans 33 may be of any suitable known construction and in this disclosure are shown us being made in one piece (see FIGS. 24 and 25) having an integral bottom wall 33A, a seamless right circular cylindrical side wall surface 338, and an open end 33C which may be flanged outwardly and is adapted to be subsequently closed by fastening an end closure thereon in a known manner. The machine 30 is capable of printing the cylindrical surface 338 of each can at speeds in excess of 650 cans 33 per minute, as previously mentioned, without noticeable distortion in the printed media and with the ink applicator 38 printing one or more colors.
The description will now proceed by first completely describing in general terms the operation of the machine 30 after the cans 33 are received from the improved infeed 32 of this invention and the manner in which ink is applied to each can. With an understanding of this portion of the machine the need to provide a high speed and reliable can infeed as well as a high speed and efficient can pickoff apparatus will be readily apparent whereupon the detailed description of the improved infeed 32 of this invention will be made followed by a detailed description of the can pickoff apparatus 40 of this invention.
THE CRADLES 35 AND ASSOCIATED SUPPORTING STRUCTURE As illustrated in 1A and 1B of and FIGS. 3 and 11, the wheel 36 is directly connected to a mandrel-carrying wheel 41 by interconnecting hub 42, and the wheel 41 is driven by a shaft 43 so that upon rotating shaft 43 the wheels 41 and 36 rotate in unison.
The wheel 36 is also rotatably supported about a central shaft 44 which is rotatably mounted on antifriction roller bearings 45 carried by an associated portion 46 of the "machine frame 31 and it will be seen from FIG. 3 that the wheel 36 rotates about the axis of the shaft 44. Each cradle 35 has a concave substantially semicylindrical recess 47 which holds and supports the cylindrical side wall 338 of its associated can 33. Each cradle 35 is carried on a cylindrical rod 48 supported for radial telescoping movement in a pair of spaced apart axially aligned sleeve bearings 49A and 4913 to enable radial inward and outward movement of each rod 48 and its associated cradle 35 relative to the supporting wheel 36 while still being orbited by the wheel 36 in a manner to be described hereinafter.
Each rod 48 which supports each cradle 35 has a cam follower 50 fastened transverse thereto which is received in a annular cam groove 51 formed in an outwardly directed section 52 of the frame portion 46 and the cam groove 51 is eccentrically arranged relative to the longitudinal axis of the shaft 44. As the wheel 36 is rotating about the axis of its shaft 44 by rotation of the wheel 41, each cradle 35 has its radial position precisely controlled by the configuration of the camgroove 51. As a particular cradle 35 approaches the discharge end of the can infeed 32 an associated can 33 is deposited thereon and as seen in FIG. 11 will support and carry such can 33 in a clockwise direction with the cam groove 51 properly positioning the cradle 35 so that its associated can 33 will be properly axially aligned with an associated mandrel 37 whereupon the can will be axially moved from its cradle35 and telescoped over its associated mandrel 37 as will be described hereinafter.
Immediately after a particular can 33 has been transferred onto its mandrel 37, the cam b groove 51 causes the associatedcradle 35 to be moved radially inwardly out of alignment with the associated-mandrel 37 as seen in FIG. 11. Thus, should the can 33 not be fully telescoped on its mandrel, a high pressure air jet is used to blow the can 33 away from wheel 41 and the blowoff of such can is not impeded by the cradle 35 on which the can 33 was previously carried.
From the above description it is seen that the cradles 35 are continuously rotated in position so that each cradle 35 receives a can 33 from the infeed 32. The cradles 35 then move the cans 33in position for transfer onto associated mandrels 37 and as will now be described.
THE MANDREL'S 31 As illustrated particularly in FIGS. 3-5, 6A, and 613, each mandrel 37 has a cylindricalouter surface 54 over which an associated can 33 has its open end telescoped until the flanged end 33C of the can 33 abuts a shoulder 55 of a an associated mandrel 37 to properly position the can 33. The terminal outer end 56 of each mandrel'37 is open and is adapted to be interconnected to a vacuum source so that once a mandrel 37 is properly aligned with a particular cradle 35, the open end 56 of the mandrel 37 is interconnected to the vacuum source and to pull the can 33 from the position shown by dotted lines in FIG. 3 until such can is telescoped over its associated mandrel 37 as shown by solid lines.
Each mandrel 37 is pivotally mounted to the wheel 41 by a link 57 having one end 58 pivotally mounted to the mandrel 37 and the other end 59 pivotally mounted to a stationary and radially extending part 60 of the wheel 41, see FIGS. 4 and 5.
Each mandrel 37 is normally pivoted radially outwardly by an I associated actuator 61. Each'actuator 61 includes a piston 62 slidably disposed in a radial bore 63 provided in the wheel 41 and the piston'62 is urged radially outwardly by a compression spring 64. Each piston member 62 carries a piston rod 65 pivotally fastened by a pin 67 to a flange 66 of its associated mandrel 37.
The compression spring 64 of each actuator 61 urges its associated mandrel 37 radially outwardly relative to its supporting wheel 41. In addition, fluid under pressure may also be introduced in the cylinder bore 63 below the piston 62 to aid the spring 64 and more accurately control the force tending to move each mandrel 37 outwardly.
Each mandrel 37 carries a cam follower 68 at the rear end thereof which is adapted to roll against a cam surface-69 formed on a stationary member 70 which rotatably supports the previously described drive shaft 43 on a suitable bearing 71. Each actuator 61 urges its mandrel 37 radially outwardly tending to maintain its cam follower 68 against the cam surface 69 of the stationary member 70 during the entire orbiting movement of the mandrel 37 by rotating the wheel 41.
Each mandrel 37 has a hollow interior fluidly interconnected to a flexible conduit 72 which is in turn placed in fluid communication with an integral passage 73 formedthrough the wheel 41, see FIG. 3, and passage 73 interrupting a rear face valve surface 74 provided on wheel 41. The face valve surface 74 of the wheel 41 rotatably slides against a cooperating flat face valve surface 75 of the stationary member 70 and the valve surface 75 is interrupted by a plurality of elongated slots 76 which are serially placed into fluid communication with each passage 73 in the wheel 41 as the wheel 41 is rotated.
The various slots 76 in the stationary member 70 can be supplied or fluidly interconnected with a suitable fluid pressure source or vacuum source by a conduit 77, or the like, and as illustrated in FIGS. 3, 6A, and6B.
As a particular passage 73 of an associated mandrel means 37 is aligned with a slot 76 in the stationary member 70 and the associated mandrel 37 is properly aligned with a cradle 35, the vacuum source can be interconnected to the mandrel 37 to draw the can 33 carried by the cradle 35 onto the mandrel means 37 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 3. t
The machine 30 has suitable can detection means, such as a pair of stationary detection electrodes or members 78 and 79, see FIG. 3, which may be carried by the stationary member 70 and positioned relative to a mandrel 37 to contact and associated metal can 33 telescoped thereon to complete an electrical circuit from one member 78 through the metallic container body 33 to the other member 79. Each mandrel 37 is made from an electrical insulating material having a low coefficient of friction to readily permit a can 33 to be telescoped thereon and removed therefrom. If the forward open end 33C of the can 33 is not fully telescoped onto its mandrel 37 an electrical circuit cannot be completed between the members 78 and 79 whereby such circuit will indicate either that a particular can 33 has been jammed on the mandrel 37 so as not to be properly positioned or that the mandrel 37 did not receive a can 33 from its associated cradle 35, whereupon the detection members 78 and 79 will actuate associated equipment to automatically cause fluid underpressure to be blown through the hollow mandrel 37 to blow off any jammed can 33 and prevent it from being carried to the ink applicator 38.
The detection members 78 and 79 will also operate the cam track 69 to prevent the ink applicator 38 and applicator 38A from applying ink or, other material on a mandrel 37 which does not have a can 33 thereon or which has an improperly supported can 33 which has not been previously blown off.
As illustrated in FIGS. 6A, 6B, and 7-9 the cam track 69 of the stationary member 70 defines a substantially circular path for the cam roller 68 of each mandrel 37 except that such circular path includes inwardly disposed convex arcuate sections 80, 81 and 82 so constructed and arranged that as each roller 68 is being orbited in a clockwise direction each roller 68 will be smoothly and progressively moved radially inwardly by each arcuate section in opposition to the force of its actuator 61 and thereafter move smoothly and progressively radially outwardly back to the normal circular orbiting path of the cam surface 69 to thereby prevent the applicators 38 and 38A from applying their associated substances on an empty mandrel 37 or a mandrel 37 having a jammed can.
Thus, it is seen that the cam roller 68 of an associated mandrel 37 will follow the orbiting path determined by the cam track 69 and its arcuate portions 80, 81 and 82 for a purpose hereinafter described, the arcuate cam portions 80 and 81 being so constructed and arranged to cause the outer cylindrical surface 338 of a particular can33 to trace part of the arcuate paths of the ink applicator 38 and other applying device 38A while the arcuate portion 82 facilitates the transfer of a particular can 33 to the pickoff apparatus 40.
As previously stated, the arcuate portions 80 and 81 of the cam track 69 are adapted to prevent a particular mandrel 37 from tracing the desired arcuate paths of the ink applicator 38 and the applicator 38A when the previously described detection members 78 and 79 determine that either a can 33 has not been telescoped over its associated mandrel 37.
A cam 83 is pivotally mounted to the stationary member 70 by a pivot pin 84 and is pivotally interconnected by a pivot pin 85 to a piston rod 86 of fluid actuator 87 carried by the stationary member 70. The cam 83 has a cam surface 88 which is constructed and arranged so that when the actuator 87 is in a deactuated position the cam surface 88 permits each cam roller 68 to trace the arcuate stationary part 80 of the cam track 69, see FIGS. 6A and 6B. However, when the actuator 87 is actuated by the detectors 78 and 79 the piston rod 86 is extended until a stop flange 89 on the cam 83 abuts a stationary stop 90 on the member 70 in the manner illustrated in FIG.
' 9 whereby the cam 83 is pivoted in a clockwise direction about the pivot pin 84 by the actuator 87 so that the cam surface 88 thereof will now control the path of movement of each cam roller 68 in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10 while still permitting smooth and progressive radial inward movement of the orbiting cam roller 68 and its associated mandrel 37 and, thereafter, smooth and progressive radial outward movement of the cam roller 68 and its; associated mandrel 37 back to the circular path defined by the cam track 69.
With the cam 83 pivoted to the position illustrated in FIG. 9, the particular mandrel 37 being controlled by the cam 83 follows a path relative to the ink applicator 38 such that the ink applicator 38 will not apply its ink to either the empty mandrel 37 or to ajammed can 33 being carried thereby.
In this exemplary machine 30 the cam 83 and actuator 87 for the arcuate portion of the cam track 69 have been described in detail; however, similar components are provided for the arcuate part 81 of the cam track 69 to prevent the other applicator 38A from applying its associated material to an empty mandrel 37 or a jammed can 33 carried thereon.
As illustrated in FIG. 3, each cylindrical bore 63 of each actuator 61 is in direct fluid communication with a chamber 91 formed between the wheel 41 and the hub 42 and the chamber 91 may be suitably interconnected to a source of fluid under pressure. The fluid in chamber 91 provides THE accurately controlled force-which cooperates with the force of the compression springs 64 and tends tomaintain the cam followers 68 in engagement with the cam track 69 with a constant force during the entire orbiting movement thereof for a purpose hereinafter described. In addition, each mandrel 37 has central support shaft 93 provided with an axial opening 92 extending therethrough and the cylindrical surface portion 54 of mandrel 37 is supported by bearings 94 on the shaft 93 whereby during orbiting movement of the mandrel 37 its outer portion 54 is also free to rotate.
THE INK APPLICATOR 38 As illustrated in FIGS. 18, 2B and 5 the ink applicator 38 includes a rotatable cylindrical drum 95 carrying a plurality of flexible ink transferring blankets 96 about its outer periphery. Four of such blankets 96 are illustrated in the drawings and are normally made of a rubberlike material which is approximately one-eighth of an inch thick. The drum 95 is rotated by a shaft 97 which is rotatably mounted on the frame 31 and is driven by a suitable gear train 98 in a synchronous manner with the rotation of the wheels 41 and 36 previously described. The wheels 41 and 36, drum 95, and all driven components of machine 30 are driven by drive belts 99 through suitable gear trains and associated driving mechanisms.
Suitable supports 100 of the frame '31 support a plurality of sets 101 of rolls 102, 103 and 104 of ink applicators which transfer, in a conventional manner, suitable colored inks from reservoirs thereof in suitable doctored and metered amounts to the rollers 104 of the sets 101 thereof with the roller 104 having raised surfaces thereon formed in a predetermined pattern so that the inks transferred by the rolls 103 to the raised surfaces of the rolls 104 will be applied onto the respective blanket 96 in the predetermined pattern of the raised portions of the rollers 104 to form at least part of the marking or informational means for a particular can 33.
By having a plurality of sets 101 of rolls, a multicolored marking or ink pattern may be applied to approximately the last half of each blanket 96 as the same is rotated in a circular path by its supporting drum 95 in a clockwise direction.
As each blanket 96 transfers its ink pattern to the outer cylindrical side wall 33B of a particular can 33 to form the marking means thereon, that particular blanket 96 is orbited past the sets 101 of rollers to have more ink applied thereto for subsequent application to another can 33.
From the above detailed description it will be apparent that a particular can 33 is transferred from its cradle 35 to an as-