US 3566774 A
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United States Patent  Inventor Samuel A. Mencacci Wilrijk, Antwerp, Belgium ] Appl. No. 775,675  Filed Nov. 14, 1968  Patented Mar. 2, 1971  Assignee International Machinery Corporation, S. A.
St. Niklaas-Waas, Belgium  CONTAINER TRANSFER MECHANISM 9 Claims, 11 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl. 99/361  Int.Cl .7 A231 3/02  Field ot'Search 198/25, 228, 22; 99/359-361, 357, 356, 355,443; 53/266, 272, 276, 278, 279, 251, 127; 165/65, 120
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,152,107 3/1939 Thompson 198/25 2,171,193 8/1939 Ruau 198/25 2,176.818 10/1939 Jones 99/361 2,207,179 7/1940 Schreiber 3,267,636 8/1966 Sternberg ABSTRACT: A mechanism for transferring containers between axially aligned reel and spiral cookers and coolers which mechanism includes a pair of turrets having containerholding pockets in their peripheries, each turret axis being mounted in a common plane at a 45 angle with the longitudinal axes of the cooker and cooler, the turrets being rotatable so that the pockets of one turret will confront the outlet of the cooker to receive a container and upon rotation will move the container into confronting relation with a pocket of the second turret, the pockets of said second turret being rotatable from a position confronting a pocket of said first turret into confronting relation with the inlet of the cooler so that a container may be transferred from the cooker to the cooler. The turret pockets may be'constructed in the form of a rotary pressure valve.
Patented March 2, 1971 3,566,774
5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Y IO F1|3 1 1s p. P2 44- 1o 2 Y 1e 4e 2 INVENTOR. SAMUEL A. MENCACOI ATTORNEYS Patentd March 2, 1971 5 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR. SAMUEL A. MENCACGI K; W W
ATTORNE Y5 Patented March 2, 1971 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 F I E- E1 INVENTOR. SAMUEL A. MENGAOOI ATTORNEYS INVENTOR. SAMUEL A. MENCACCI f/a M ATTORNEYS Patented March 2, 1971 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 IE B Patented March 2, 1971 3,566,774
5 Sheets-Sheet 5 ATTORNEYS i con'rrm TRANSFER MECHANISM BACKGROUND OF TI-IEINVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention pertains to the artof transferconveyors and more specifically to conveyors for transferring containers between axially aligned food processingdevices.
2. Description of the Prior Art 1 Normally reel and spiral-type cookers and-coolers are not connected in axial'alignment but are arranged side-by-side or in staggered arrangements as indicated in wilb ur U.S. Pat. No. 2,536,115 so that the rotary pressure discharge valve of one heat treatment apparatus will serve as the inlet ;valve for the next apparatus. 7 v
However, certainaxial aligned cookers and coolers are known in the art. In general, these prior art mechanism that are used for transferring containers between axial aligned cookers and c'oolers'have takenthe'form of a reel and spiral, as exemplified by the Thompson US. Pat. No. 1,241,168 or as chutes as exemplified by the Thompson US. Pat. No. 1,694,996. Turret-type transfer mechanisms which rely on a 45 turret are known but have in the'past beenlimited to 90 transfer as shown in the Jefferies et al. 'U.S. Pat. No. 1,015,319.
Some prior art devices are not adapted to transfer containers between a cooker and cooler that are maintained at different pressures but will operate only when both the cooker and cooler are at the same pressure unless separate pressure valves are provided.
SUMMARY'OF'THEINVENTION I BRIEF DESCRIPTION or T'I-IE'DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is afragmentaryelevation of a'cooker and cooler interconnected by a first embodiment of the article transfer mechanism of the present invention, certain parts being shown in vertical central section.
FIG. 2 is a horizontal sectiontaken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1. v
FIG. 3 is an end elevation withparts broken away illustrating a reel and spiral-type cooker.
FIG. 10 is an enlarged section taken along lines 10-10 of FIG. 9 illustrating the structure for transferring the containers from the receiving turret to the delivering turret.
DESCRIPTION'OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The container transfer mechanism 10 (FIGS. 1 to 6) of the present invention is associated with a reel and spiral-type heat treatment apparatus such-'as a cooker'12 and a cooler 14 that are disposed in axial alignment.
The cooker and cooler each includesa cylindrical housing l6, 16 (FIGS. 1, 3 and 4) having end walls 18, 18' in which aligned shafts 20, 20 are joumaled and are connected together by a flexible coupling 22. Each shaft 20, 20' supports a reel 24, 24' which has a plurality of angle bars or carriers 26, 26 on their peripheries that extend substantially the full length of the associated housing 16, 16'. A generally spiral track 28, 28 of T-shaped cross section is rigidly secured to the associated cooker andcooler housings and each spiral track extends substantially the full length of its associated housing. The reels 24, 24 are continuously driven in the direction indicated by the arrows A by a motor M (FIG. 4) which drives a pinion 32 that meshes with a bull gear 34keyed tothe cooler shaft 20'.
Containers C to be processed are directedv into the cooker 12 by a driven rotary pressure feed valve 36 (FIGS. 3 and4) of standard well-knowndesign. Each container is received in one of the elongated carries 26 and is advanced thereby into registration with the stationary cooker spiral track 28 which advances the containers spirally within the cooker to the transfer mechanism 10 of the present invention. The mechanism 10 receives the containers from the discharge opening 37 of the cooker l2 and moves them through theinlet opening 38 and into the carriers 26' of the cooler 14. The spiral track 28' of the cooler 14 then advances the containers spirally therethrough for acceptance by aro'tary pressure discharge valve 40, (FIG.-4) also of standard well-known design. The valve 40 discharges the cooked and cooled containers from the system in the usual manner.
The rotary pressure feed valve 36 and discharge valve 40 are of conventional design and include pocketed rotors 41 I (FIG. 3) which are driven in timed relation with the-two reels FIG. 4 is a schematic elevation illustrating the drive arrangement employed with the transfer mechanism shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical section taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 4illustrating a transfer star wheel.-
FIG. 6 is a vertical central section-taken alongjlines-6-6 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 6A is a section taken along lines 6A-6A- of FIG. 2 illustrating the manner in-which the guide'track supports the containers at the transfer station. v
FIG. 7 is a verticalcentralsection taken along'lines 7-7 of FIG. 8 through a second embodiment-of the. container transfer mechanism of the present invention, which mechanism is adapted to act as a rotary pressure valve.
FIG. 8 is a plan of the mechanism of FIG. 7, certain parts being broken away.
FIG. 9 is an enlarged vertical section showing'the transfer station of the transfer turrets.
24,-24 by drive means-to be described hereinafter. If a more detailed description of the pressurefeed and discharge valves,
or the construction of the cooker and cooler is desired,
reference maybe had to the aforementioned Wilbur patent.
The container transfer mechanism 10 FIGS. 1 and'2)comprises a receiving turret 44 associatedwiththe'cooker l2 and delivery turret 4.6 associatedwith the cooler. The turrets 44 and 46 are keyed to shafts 48 and 50, respectively, which lie in a common plane, are disposed at'90 to each other, and are disposed at 45 to the axes of the reel shafts 20,20 which also lie in said common plane. As indicate in the drawings, the common plane of the several shafts is a vertical plane, however, it will be understood that,.if desired, acommon plane Y The pockets Pl register with similardelivery pockets P2 of the delivery turret 46 at the uppermost portion of their travel at which time the longitudinal axes of the pockets P1 and P2 are parallel and perpendicular to the shaft 20. Thelon'gitudin'al axes of the pockets P2 are parallel the reel shaft 20 when the pocketsP2 are aligned with the inlet opening 38 of the cooler 14.
As best illustrated in FIGS. 1" and 5, a star wheel lifter 46 is disposed at the discharge end of thecooker and is joumaled for free rotation on a shafi 57 in one end wall of the cooker in alignment with the discharge opening 37. The star wheel lifter 56 includes teeth 58 which project upwardly between adjacent angle bars 26 of the reel 24 immediately below the cooker discharge opening. As is well known in the art, the nonradial flange of each angle bar 26 is relieved at 60 (FIG. to permit the star wheel teeth 58 to project therethrough, and a stationary ring segment 62 ispositioned below the relieved portions of angle bars 26 to support the containers until they are moved onto the star wheel 56. The star wheel 56 is driven by the angle bars 26 and lifts the containers from the angle bars and deposits them into the pockets P1 of thereceiving turret 44.
In order to hold the containers C in the pockets P1 and P2, and to guide the containers from the receiving turret 44 to the delivery turret 46, a guide track 66 is provided. The guide track 66 is best illustrated in FIGS. 1,2 and 6 and includes an inner guide rail 68 and that is generally S-sh'aped in plan and a similarly shaped outer guide rail 70 that is likewise generally S-shaped in plan. The rails are in the form of angle bars in cross section through a major portion of their length, and are disposed immediately adjacent approximately one-half of the periphery of each transfer turret. As indicated in FIGS. 1 and 5, the inlet ends of the guide rails 68 and 70 are bent downwardly into the cooker discharge opening so as to receive the containers therefrom. The rails 68 and 70 are also spaced a sufficient distance apart to permit the teeth of the star wheel lifter 56 to move therebetween. Similarly, the discharge ends of the guide rail 68 and 70 project into the inlet opening 38 of the cooker 14 thereby directing the containers into the cooler. If desired, a letdown star wheel (not shown) that is similar to the star wheel lifter 56 may be positioned below the inlet opening 38 to aid in gently lowering the containers into the cooler reel 24'.
At the uppermost point of the guide track 66, the containers are shifted from the pockets P1 of the receiving turret 44 to the pockets P2 of the delivery turret 46. In order to effect such transfer, the vertical flange of the inner guide rail 68 FIGS. 2 and 6A) is removed leaving a transfer plate 72 FIGS. 6 and 6A) which supports the containers. Similarly, the upper or outer guide rail 70 has its vertical flange removed leaving transfer plate 73 thereby permitting the containers to pass therebelow. Stripper bars 74 are formed by outwardly flared extensions on the inlet ends of the portions of the rails 68 and 70 that are associated with the turret 46'as indicated in FIGS. 2 and 6 so as to project into the path of movement of the containers when the containers are in receiving pockets P1 thereby stripping the containers from pockets P1 and guiding them into delivery pockets P2.
As indicated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the guide rails 68 and 70 are connected together and to the cooker and cooler by a plurality of straps 76. The entire transfer mechanism is preferably disposed within a protective housing 78 that is secured to the cooker and cooler.
As diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 4, the cooker and cooler reels 24, 24', the rotor 41 (FIG. 3) of the pressure feed valve 36, the rotor of the pressure discharge valve 40, and the transfer turrets 44 and 46 are driven by a drive system that receives its power from motor M. The motor M drives the pinion 32 that meshes with the bull gear 34 that is keyed to the cooler shaft Since the cooker and cooler shafts 20, 20 are interconnected by the coupling 22, the reels 24, 24 of the cooker and cooler are driven at the same speed. The rotor of feed valve 36 is connected the cooker shaft 20 by a chain drive 92, and the rotor of the discharge valve 40 is connected to the cooler shaft 20' by a chain drive 94. The transfer turrets 44 and 46 are driven by a chain drive 96 which connects the cooker shaft 20 to, an idler shaft 98 having bevel gears 100 and 102 thereon which mesh with bevel gears 104 and 106 keyed to the transfer turret shafts 48 and 50 thus driving the two transfer turrets at the same speed and in opposite directions. It will be understood that the gear ratios and sprocket ratios are such as to cause the containers to be transferred one at a time between the reels and the associated pockets of the transfer turrets and feed and discharge rotors.
The second embodiment of the container transfer mechanism 10a FIGS. 7-10) is capable of providing a pressure seal between the cooker 12a and cooler 140. Since the parts of the second embodiment of the invention are quite similar to those of the first embodiment of the invention, parts of the mechanism 10a that are similar to those of the mechanism 10 will be assigned the same numerals followed by the letter a". Also because of the similarity, only parts of the mechanism 10a that are different from the mechanism 10 will be described in detail.
The transfer mechanism 10a is mounted on the cooker 12a and cooler 14a and includes a receiving turret 44a and a delivery turret 46a disposed ta to each other. The turret pockets Pla and P2a are of sufficient depth to confine the entire container therein, and each pocket includes sidewall 110. As shown in FIGS. 8 and 10 the webs 112 between pockets Pla and P2a are slotted to receive sealing bars 114 which are urged radially outward by left springs 116.
The turrets 44a and 46a are disposed within pressure housing 118 and 120, respectively, that are sealed in pressure tight relation to each other and to the cooker and cooler housings, respectively. Each housing 118 and 120 includes an outer wall 122 and an inner wall 124 connected together by a conical frustum or floor 126. The floor 126 of the housing 118 has an inlet opening 128 (FIG. 7) which registers with the discharge opening of the cooker 12a, and a transfer opening 130 which registers with a similar transfer opening in the frustoconical floor that is associated with the pressure housing 120. The floor of the housing 120 also includes a discharge opening 133 which communicates with the inlet opening of the cooler 14a. Pressure sealing rings 134 and 136 are urged against the sidewalls 110 of the turret 44a by a plurality of springs 138 disposed within caps 140 screwed into the walls of the housing 118 only four caps being shown in FIG. 7. Similarly, sealing rings 144 and 146 are urged against the sidewalls of the turret 46a by a plurality of springs 148 disposed within caps 150 screwed into the walls of the housing 120. It will be apparent that the transverse sealing bars 114 ride against the associated frustoconical floors 126 and cooperate with the associated sealing rings to provide individual pressure seals for each pocket Pla and P20.
In order to transfer the containers Ca and from the pockets Pla to the pockets PM when aligned with the transfer opening 130, a pusher 152 is pivotally mounted in each pocket Pla by a pivot pin 154. A cam follower 156 is journaled on an arm 158 secured to each pusher 152 and rides in a cam track 160 formed in the upper outer wall 122 of the housing 118. The cam track 160 normally holds the pushers 152 in retracted position against the wall of the associated pocket Pla as illustrated by pusher 152x (FIG. 10) but includes a lobe 162 which moves the pushers to the position illustrated by the pusher 152y thereby transferring the containers from pockets Pla to pockets P2a. 7
From the foregoing description will be apparent that both embodiments of the transfer mechanism of the present invention transfer containers between a first and a second heat treatment apparatus disposed in axial alignment without loss of control of the containers and without injury to the containers. Also, the second embodiment of the transfer mechanism acts as a rotary pressure valve thus permitting different pressures to be maintained in the two axially aligned heat treatment apparatus.
While two embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be understood that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spir of the invention or the scope of the appended claims.
1. A transfer mechanism for transferring containers between two container-handling apparatus comprising identical receiving and delivery turrets having container accommodating pockets in their peripheries, said turrets being substantially tangent at an upper transfer station and being 'for driving the turrets in timed relation so that pockets in said turrets register when at said transfer station, feed means for directing a container into a receiving pocket in said receiving turret, transfer means at-said transfer station for moving the container out of said receiving pocket 'and into a delivery pocket in said delivery turret, and guide means for retaining the container in said receiving pocket while moving from said feed means to said transfer station and for retaining the container in said delivery pocket while moving from said transfer station to a discharge station, said guide means being effective to support the container during transfer at said upper transfer station from said receiving to said delivery turret.
2. A transfer mechanism for conveying containers between axially aligned food-processing apparatus, each apparatus having an inlet and an outlet and} movable container carriers therein, comprising receiving and delivery rotatable turrets, means on said turrets for engaging a container, said containerengaging means on said receiving turret-being positionable upon rotation from confronting relation with the outlet of a first of said food-processing apparatus into confronting relation with the container engaging means of said delivery turret, the container-engaging means of said delivery turret being positionable upon rotation from confronting relation with the container-engaging means of said receiving turret into confronting relation with the inlet of a second of said foodprocessing apparatus, means for guiding the containers into said container-engaging means, and means for moving said turrets in timed relation with the movement of said container carriers for moving the containers from the outlet of the first food-processing apparatus to the'inlet of the second foodprocessing apparatus.
3. A transfer mechanism for transferring containers between two container-handling apparatus comprising receiving and delivery turrets having container-accommodating pockets in their peripheries, said turrets being substantially tangent at a transfer station and being mounted for rotation about axes angled relative to each other, means for driving the turrets in timed relation so that pockets in said turrets register when at said transfer station, feed means for directing a container into a receiving pocket in said receiving turret, transfer means at said transfer station for moving the container out of of said receiving pocket and into a delivery pocket in said delivery turret, and guide means for retaining the container in said receiving pocket while moving from said'feed means to said transfer station and for retaining the container in said delivery pocket while moving from said transfer station to a discharge station, said two container-handling apparatus having longitudinal axes that are in axial alignment and said turret axes being disposed at 45 to the axes of the container handling apparatus and at to each other.
4. A transfer mechanism for transferring containers between two container-handling apparatus comprising receiving an delivery turrets having container-accommodating pockets in their peripheries, said turrets being substantially tangent at a transfer station and being mounted for rotation about axes angled relative to each other, means for driving the turrets in timed relation so that pockets in said turrets register when at said transfer station, feed means-for directing a container into a receiving pocket in said receiving turret, transfer means at said transfer station for moving the container out of said receiving pocket and into a delivery pocket in said delivery turret, and guide means for retaining the container in said receiving pocket while moving from said feed means to said transfer station and for retaining the container in said delivery pocket while moving from said transfer station to a discharge station, said container-handling apparatus being heat treatment apparatus, said guide means-defining a pressure housing secured in fluidtight-engagcment to said two heat treatment apparatus, and said receiving pocket being sealed in pressuretight relationship to said housing for a portion of its travel.
5. An apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said delivery pocket is sealed in pressuretight relationship to said housing for a portion of its travel.
6. An apparatus according to claim 4 wherein a plurality of receiving pockets are disposed at equal intervals around the periphery of said receiving turret, and an equal number of said delivery pockets are disposed around the outer periphery of said delivery turret.
7. An apparatus according to claim 6 wherein said transfer means includes a pusher pivotally mounted in said receiving pocket and normally disposed in a retracted position, and wherein cam means are provided for moving said pusher from a retracted to an extended position at said transfer station thereby transferring the container from a receiving pocket to a delivery pocket.
8. An apparatus according to claim 7. wherein said delivery pockets are sealed in pressuretight relationship to said housing for a portion of their travel.
, 9. An apparatus according to claim 4 wherein one of said heat treatment apparatus is a reel and spiral cooker maintained at superatmospheric pressure, and wherein said other heat treatment apparatus is a reel and spiral cooler maintained at a different pressure.
$33 3 UNlTED S'IA'LES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CGRRECTION Patent No. 3,55 4 Dated Marc-h z, 1 Q71 I SAMUEL A. MENCACCI It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
vCol. 1, line 5, before Field' delete "1. line 9, before- "Description delete "2. Col. 2, line 54, delete "indicate" and substitute v indicate Col. 4, line 8, after "only" insert those line 18, afi
"by" change "left" to leaf line 56, after "description" insert it Col. 6 line 7, after "ing" change "an to and Signed and sealed this 7th day of March 1972.
EDWARD M.FLETCHER JR. ROBERT GOTTSCH'ALK Atte sting Officer Commissioner of Patents