US 3570642 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unite States Patent  Inventor JamesLShenoha Oak Lawn, Ill.  Appl. No. 781,146  Filed Dec. 4, 1968  Patented  Assignee Mar. 16, 1971 Continental Can Company, Inc. New York, NY.
 CAP CONVEYING CHUTE WITH SORTING MEANS 11 Claims, 10 Drawing Figs.
Primary ExaminerAndres H. Nielsen Attorney-Greist, Lockwood, Greenawalt and Dewey ABSTRACT: A chute for feeding closure caps for jars, or similar containers, to cap applying apparatus, or the like, which has an inverted L-shaped upper end disposed in downwardly inclined relation for receiving caps in a line from the upper side of a supply hopper and for advancing the caps by gravity and the pressure of oncoming caps along a generally horizontal top portion and then down a vertical portion leading to the cap applying apparatus, the top portion of the chute having an opening in the lowermost side through which caps may be discharged into a chute leading back to the hopper and a cap selector mechanism at the opening which is operative to automatically hold for advance past the discharge opening the caps which are positioned with the open side thereof uppermost while freeing caps which are positioned with the open side down so that they may be forced through the discharge opening and returned to the supply hopper, the upside down caps continuing into the vertical portion of the chute which is constructed to turn each successive cap to a right side up position for application to the top of a container in a processing line.
PAIENTEMR 1 s |97| sum 1 or 4 INVENTOR JAMES LSHENOHA WKMJ PATENTED my 6 1911 Y sum 2 (IF 4 INVENTOR JA MESLSHENOHA J ATTYS PATENTEDMARI 6197i 3570.642
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- saw u 0F 4 *rkigm INVENTOR JAMES [.SHENOHA ATT Apparatus has heretofore been developed for feeding and arranging or positioning container closure caps so as to maintain a supply thereof in a guideway or chute leading to a sealing machine, or the like, with successive caps presented in a predetermined order or position for application to the jars or other containers to be capped. Generally, such apparatus has comprised a supply hopper with associated mechanism for arranging the caps in a common plane and feeding them in a single line into a delivery chute where they are sorted, with the caps which face in the proper direction for application to the container being allowed to advance while improperly oriented caps are diverted to a turning device which orients them to he proper position and returns them to the feed chute for advance along with the'properly oriented caps. In another form of this type apparatus the caps are fed from the supply hopper in random position, that is, some with the right side up and others in an upside down position, with the upside down caps being separated from the properly oriented caps and returned to the supply hopper where they are mixed with other caps and again delivered to he feed chute. In still another form of the apparatus, the caps are sorted before they leave the hopper and only caps which are right side up, so that they are in proper position for application to the containers, are delivered through a discharge passageway into the feed chute while those which are upside down are diverted into an inverting device incorportated in the hopper which rotates the caps about a diametrical axis and returns them to the discharge passageway in proper position for delivery to the feed chute. Since automatic sealing or capping machines require that the caps be delivered at a rate determined by the capping machine, the device for supplying the caps must be capable of performance rates corresponding to or exceeding the performance rate of the capping machine and, therefore, the rate at which caps in proper position can be handled by the feed chute is important. Generally, the prior designs have included a hopper into which the caps are delivered in random arrangement together with associated apparatus which arranges the caps in a common plane and selects caps positioned right side up for delivery from the hopper into the feed chute leading to the capping machine. Cap turning devices have been developed for association with such apparatus to reorient improperly positioned caps which the selector devices rejects and return the same to the selector device so that these may be fed to the capping machine in the proper position for application to the jars. While these previously developed machines have been generally satisfactory, in some cases it has been found that they do not provide a constant flow of caps at a rate sufficient to supply the high speed canning lines which have been'developed. In the development of this type machine it has been assumed that caps delivered from a hopper, of the type in general use, into which they have been dumped in random arrangement, will be presented to the turnover station about equally divided between right side up and wrong side up so that by passing the right side up caps and orienting only the upside down caps, which were assumed to constitute approximately half of the caps, all of the caps would be delivered in the proper position for application to the containers. Consequently, in previously developed equipment a selector or sorter device has been designed to pass right side up caps while diverting the wrong side up caps for recirculation through the hopper or for passage through a turnover device. It has now been found that when handling caps which are relatively deep in proportion to diameter, the assumption that they will be delivered from a hopper with approximately half their number right side up is erroneous. When passed through a tumbler wheel equipped hopper it has been determined that such caps, due to their weight distribution, will arrive in the discharge passageway with a high percentage in the wrong side up position. In view of this it is possible to speed up delivery of caps through the feed chute by providing for the selection of upside down caps only for delivery through the feed chute and rejecting the caps which are right'side up and which constitute the smaller number. It is an object of this invention, therefore, to provide an apparatus for incorporation in cap handling equipment which will select upside down caps coming from a tumbler-type hopper for advance through a feed chute and which will reject right side up caps and return the same to th tumbler for recycling.
It is a more specific object of the invention to provide a feed chute arrangement for receiving caps from a hopper or other supply source which are in random arrangement in a single line and for sorting the caps so that those which are in upside down position will be held in the feed chute for advance therein while those which are in right side up position will be diverted for return to the hopper for recirculation.
A further object of the invention is to provide a delivery chute for receiving closure caps from a hopper or other supply source and associated selector mechanism disposed adjacent a discharge opening in the chute and operative to select the caps which are in upside down position and advance the same in the chute while discharging the right side up caps through the opening and into a retuni chute leading to the hopper.
A still more specific object of the invention is to provide a cap handling chute adapted to be disposed in an inclined plane and having a generally horizontal top portion for receiving caps in a single line and in random arrangement from a hopper or other supply source wherein the caps are advanced to a selector station where a pinwheel operates to hold, against the force of a strike arm, caps which are in upside down condition or position while they are advanced past a discharge opening in the lowermost side of the chute and which allows caps in a right side up condition to be projected by the striker arm through the discharge opening for return to the supply source whereby only caps in the upside down condition are advanced through the top portion of the chute and into a downwardly directed chute portion in which the caps may all be turned while they are advancing to a capping station or the like.
These and other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from a consideration of the cap feeding chute which is shown by way of illustration in the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a top portion of a cap feeding chute which incorporates therein the principal features of the invention, the cap feeding chute being shown attached to a cap supply hopper and disposed in a downwardly inclined position;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary elevational view, to an enlarged scale and with portions broken away, showing part of the apparatus shown in F IG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a cross section taken on the line 33 of FIG. I, to an enlarged scale;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary elevational view taken on the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary plan view illustrating a modified form of the striker bar device;
FIG. 6 is a schematic plan view illustrating the advance of a wrong side up cap post the striker bar and ejector slot or discharge opening under the control of the pinwheel selector;
FIG. 7 is a schematic plan view showing two successive upside down caps moving past the striker bar and the ejector slot under the control of the pinwheel selector, the chute being adjusted for handling a smaller diameter cap;
FIG. 8 is a schematic plan view similar to FIG. 7, the ejection of a right side up cap which is not held in line by the pinwheel;
FlG. ii is a schematic elevational view illustrating the position of the pinwheel when successive caps in upside down position are passing beneath the same as in FlG. 7;
FIG. 10 is a schematic elevational view illustrating the position of the pinwheel when a cap with the right side up advances beneath the same as in FIG. 8.
Referring to FIGS. 1 to 4 of the drawings, there is illustrated the upper end portion of a cap feed chute which embodies the principal features of the invention and which is attached to or supported on a tumbler-type cap supply hopper 11. The hopper 11, which may be the type described in (1.8. Pat. No. 3,269,514, dated Aug. 30, 1966, is adapted to receive a supply of closure caps C, in miscellaneous array, and is equipped with a cap supporting plate or ring and associated mechanism for arranging the caps in a common plane thereon and for discharging the same in a single line through a discharge opening at 12. The opening 12 is in communication with a passageway 14 disposed in a generally horizontal position at the top of the feed chute it). The caps C which are of the type having a top panel and a depending skirt portion, are discharged from the hopper 11 into the horizontally disposed top section of the chute Mi with some of the caps right side up and others the wrong side up. The apparatus is particularly adapted for handling caps having a substantial depth relative to their diameter which it has been found results in the caps being discharged from the hopper with a substantial majority in a wrong side up position or condition, that is, with the open bottom side facing uppermost. The caps are advanced in the guideway 14 to a selector mechanism at 15 which operates on the caps to hold those which are wrong side up in the passageway 14 for delivery down the vertical portion 16 of the chute 10 and for discharging through an opening 17 in the lowermost side of the guideway 14 and into a return chute 18 those caps which are right side up, the chute 13 leading back to the hopper 11 where the caps are mixed with others for resorting or recycling. The vertical section 16 of the chute 10 which leads to a capping line, or the like, may have a section with a 180 twist for turning the caps to a right side up position for application to the containers or the chute may be curved so as to bring the upside down caps into a right side up position for application to the containers.
The top portion of the chute 10 which is illustrated in FIG. 1 is of generally L-shape configuration and disposed in a plane which is downwardly inclined relative to the vertical, corresponding generally to the inclination of the cap supporting plate in the hopper 11. The chute 10 is attached to the housing 20 of the hopper 11 by means of a bracket structure indicated at 21 (FIGS. 1 and 2). The passageway 14 is formed by a bottom or. base plate 22 (FIG. 3) and the upper and lower guide plates or bars 23 and 24. The guideway 14 is extended beyond the selector mechanism 15 and the discharge opening 17 by upper and lower guide members 25 and 26 which are curved to guide the caps into the downwardly directed or vertical chute section or portion 16. A top guide plate 27 extends from the hopper discharge opening 12 to an anchoring or attaching point 28 at the top of the vertical chute portion 16 and forms a top or front wall of the guideway 14 in which the caps are advanced.
The selector mechanism at 15 (FIGS. 1 to 4) comprises a pinwheel 30, mounted on a shaft 31, which is carried on the end of an arm 32. The arm 32 is pivoted at 33 on a bracket 34 upstanding on the top guide plate 27.,The pinwheel 30 comprises a hub portion 35 and a plurality of radially extending pins 36 which are adapted to travel in a path extending through an opening or a slot 37 in the guide plate 27 and into the passageway 14. The pinwheel supporting arm has a slot 38 through which the pin 40 extends. The lower end of pin 40 is anchored in the supporting bracket 34 and has a compression spring 41 mounted thereon between the top of the arm 32 and a head forming nut assembly 42 on the upper end of the pin 40, the spring 41 tending to urge the arm 32 in a downward direction so as to normally hold the pinwheel 30 with the pins 36 extending beneath the plate 27 and into the path of the caps C which are received in the guideway 14. A bolt 43 is adjustably threaded in the arm 32 with its bottom end adapted to engage the upper face of the bracket 34 and to form an adjustable limit stop for the movement of the arm 32 and the pinwheel 30. A small stop plate 44 is pivotally attached on the end of the shaft 31 by means of a clamping nut 44 which stop plate 44 is normally locked in a nonoperative position so that it extends along the side of the pinwheel supporting arm 32. When it is desired to take the pinwheel 30 out of operation, the stop plate 44 may be swung to the position indicated in phantom line in FIG. 4 where it engages the top of the guide plate 27 and holds the pinwheel 30 in an elevated, nonoperative position.
A kicker bar or striker plate member 45 (FIG. 2) is mounted to extend into the passageway 14 for cooperation with the pinwheel 30 at the selector station 15. The elongate bar or arm member 45 has a pivot formation 46 on its one end which is seated in a pivot socket 47 at the outer end of a V shaped slot or recess 48 cut in the innermost edge of the upper guide member 23. A pin 50 is slidably mounted in a bore 51 in the guide member 23 and urged by compression spring 52 against the outer or top face of the bar member 45 so as to normally hold the free end of bar member 45 in the path of the caps C as they move along the opening 17 in the guide member 24 for engaging the cap skirts and urging them toward the opening 17.
A device for adjusting the size of the discharge opening or ejector slot 17 is indicated at 55 in an area covered by a top guide plate 56 which is preferably of Plexiglass" or similar transparent plate material so that the mechanism beneath the same is visible. The top guide plate 56, which extends over the portion of chute 18 which is outside the hopper frame 20 and forms a top guide for the same, is secured at 57 on the end of the lowermost guide plate 24 and extends across the discharge opening or ejector slot 17 was to form a top guide for the opening 17. The device 55 for adjusting the width of the opening 17 is constructed so that it may be positioned to close the opening 17. It comprises (FIGS. 2 and 3) a bracketlike member 58 which has a U-shaped vertical cross section, as viewed in FIG. 3, with one end thereof closed at 60 and with an elongate slot 61 in the bottom or base for mounting on a pivot bolt 62 which extends through a bore 63 in the top plate 55 and a bore 64 in the base plate 22 and which has a compression spring 65 mountedthereon for urging the plate 55 upwardly to enable the bracket 58 to slide on the bolt 62 for adjustment or repositioning. In the position shown in FIG. 2, the opening 17 between the end wall 60 of the bracket 58 and the end wall 66 of the lowermost guide member 24 may be adjusted by sliding the bracket 58 on the clamping bolt 62. The comer of bracket 58 is beveled at 68 to prevent jamming at this point. The bracket 58 has a taillike extension 70 which is adapted to form a closure for the opening 17 by repositioning the bracket 58, that is, by swinging the bracket 58 in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 2, about the bolt 62 so as to bring the tail 70 into the position indicated in phantom line in FIG. 2 where it blocks the opening 17. The plate 55 is provided with four socket forming bores or holes, grouped as shown at 71 and 72 in FIG. 2, which are adapted to receive a small upstanding, lug forming projection 73 on the top face of the bracket 58 so as to hold the bracket 58 in three positions of adjustment of the width of the slot 17 and in the position for closing the slot 17.
The chute 18 for returning rejected caps to the hopper 11 is formed by an inclined bar member 75 seated on the base plate 22 and extending through an opening 76 in the hopper housing 20 and extending to a tumbling ramp 77 secured within the hopper over which the rejected caps pass to insure that they will tumble onto the cap supporting plate or ring.
A modified striker bar assembly is shown in FIG. 5 which comprises the striker bar member 45 having pivot formation 46' rotatably confined in socket 47' at the end of slot 48' cut in the innermost edge of the guide bar 23. The kicker plate or striker bar 45 is urged in a direction to bring the free end thereof into the passageway 14 and into the path of the caps C by a pin 80 slidably mounted in a bore 81 and urged in an inward direction by a leaf spring 82 mounted at 83 on the outside or uppermost edge of the guide bar 23 with a position limiting or adjusting stop member 84. The free end of the leaf spring 82 engages the end 85 of the pin 80 which projects from the face of the guide member 23 and the spring pressure may be adjusted to vary the pressure exerted by the striker bar 45' on the caps.
Referring to FIGS. 6 to 10, the control of the caps as they advance in the passageway 14 is illustrated. In FIG. 6, two caps which are in upside down position are shown at the sorting station, the leading end having been restrained by pin 36 on the pinwheel 3i against movement out of the line of advancing caps until it is past the striker bar 45 and the latter is no longer urging the leading cap in the direction of the ejection slot 17. As the trailing cap C approaches the striker bar 44 the pins 36 in the pinwheel move into engagement with the inside face of the leading portionof the skirt and resist movement of the cap C out of line while the striker bar 45 slides along theskirt. In FIGS. 7 and 19, the action is illustrated with the leading cap C being held by one of the pins 36 against movement into the ejection slot 17 and the trailing cap being picked up by the pins 36 so as to restrain the same against lateral movement as the cap advances opposite the ejection slot 17 and the striker bar 45 engages the skirt. In FIGS. 8 to 10 the caps are advancing in the passageway 14 with the right side up and the pins 36 on the pinwheel 30 resiliently engage the uppermost or top surface of the top panel of the cap as it approaches the striker 45 but the pressure exerted by the striker 45 on the cap skirt is sufficient to slide the cap from beneath the pinwheel and eject the same through the slot 17 and into return chute 18. The striker 45 extends diagonally across the cap passageway 14 at an angle and is positioned relative to the ejection slot 17 so as to exert on each cap a force having reversal and lateral components, the result of which, in combination with forward cap velocity, is to bias the cap directly toward the ejection slot 17. The pinwheel 30 is positioned relative to the ejection slot 17 and the side of the passageway 14 so that a pin 36 projects into a wrong side up cap near the leading portion of the cap approaching the ejection slot 17 while that pin is in a downward arc, while the striker bar 45 bears on the skirt somewhat behind the pin. The resultant forces on such upside down caps then tends to roll, or roll and slide, the cap around the pin contiguous to the skirt, in a direction toward the ejection slot 17 but the pin continues its lateral restraint sufficiently long to clear the skirt of the cap only after the forward cap motion has carried it beyond the ejection slot 17 and beyond the end of the striker d5, rolling, or rolling and sliding, off the latter and continuing in the passageway 14 to the vertical section 16 of the chute. So long as the restraint exercised by the pins on the pinwheel is not released prematurely, the pinwheel will retain control of the cap-while the cap is still subject to the force of the striker urging the cap toward the ejection slot, whereby a wrong side up cap will not be ejected. The proper setting of the pinwheel and striker results in all caps of a line weaving toward the ejection slot i7'as they pass the same, the wrong side up caps returning to the line in the chute it) while right side up caps continue through the ejection slot 17 and down the return chute 18. The rejected right side up caps move onto the rotating hopper table at a point just in advance of the ramp member 77 which extends angularly across the peripheral annulus of the table so that the recirculated caps are immediately tumbled by being thrown up over the ramp 77.
The present device is particularly adapted for handling caps which are relatively deep in comparison to the diameter since such caps number delivered from the tumbler hopper with a very high percentage in the upside down position and a properly adjusted selector pinwheel will permit rapid flow of the upside down caps past the selector station without ejection and return to the hopper only a relatively small mumber of right side up caps for recirculation resulting in minimum slowdown and maximum high speed delivery of caps all in the same unifonnly arranged condition.
1. Apparatus for handling closure caps for containers comprising a generally horizontal chute section disposed so that the receiving end thereof will accept a line of caps advancing from a supply source in a common plane and in random disposition, said chute section extending to a generally vertical chute section down which the caps are adapted to pass by gravity, said horizontal chute section being inclined so that the caps will normally be held by gravity in edgewise engagement with the lowermost chute wall as they are advanced by pressure of oncoming caps, said lowermost chute wall having a discharge opening of a size sufficient to pass the caps one-byone which discharge opening forms the entrance to a return chute leading back to said supply source, and a cap selector means disposed at said discharge opening which includes means for normally urging the caps in a direction to pass through said opening and a restraining means engaging within caps having their open side uppermost to hold said caps against movement through said discharge opening.
2. Apparatus for handling closure caps for containers comprising a generally horizontal chute section having one end thereof positioned to receive a line of caps advancing from a supply source in a common plane and in random disposition,
said horizontal chute section being disposed in an inclinedplane so that the caps will normally advarice in edgewise engagement with the lowermost chute wall, said lowermost chute wall having a discharge opening of a size sufficient to pass caps one-by-one, said discharge opening leading to'a chute for returning caps to the supply source, and a cap selector device disposed at said discharge opening which includes means for normally urging the caps in a direction to pass through said opening and a restraining means mounted for resilient downward engagement with said caps which is operative to hold caps which are in predetermined disposition against movement through said discharge opening and to enable caps so held to be advanced in said horizontal chute section.
3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2, and said selector device comprising resilient means mounted opposite said discharge opening and urging each successive cap toward said discharge opening.
4. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2, and said selector device comprising a striker bar mounted with a free end thereof extending into the path of the caps and operative to urge each successive cap toward said discharge opening.
5. Apparatus as set forth in claim 4, and said striker bar being set in a recess in the uppermost chute wall which is opposite said discharge opening.
6. Apparatus as set forth in claim 4, and said striker bar being spring backed so as to yield when a cap is held by said restraining means against movement toward said discharge opening.
7. Apparatus as set forth in claim 5, and said striker bar being pivotally mounted in said recess and spring urged toward said discharge opening and into the path of said caps.
8. Apparatus as set forth in claim 5, and said striker bar being swingably mounted in said recess and adjustable leaf spring means urging the free end of said striker bar into the path of said caps.
9. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2, and said restraining means being operative to engage with and hold caps, which are disposed with the open side uppermost as they reach the cap selector device, against movement through said discharge opening.
10. Apparatus for handling closure caps for containers comprising a generally horizontal chute section having one endthereof positioned to receive a line of caps advancing from a supply source in a common plane and in random disposition, said horizontal chute section being disposed in an inclined plane so that the caps will normally advance in edgewise engagement with the lowermost chute wall, said lowermost chute wall having a discharge opening of a size sufficient to pass caps one-by-one, said discharge opening leading to a chute for returning caps to the supply source, and a cap selector device disposed at said discharge opening which includes means for normally urging the caps in a direction to pass through said opening and a restraining means operative to hold caps which are in predetermined disposition against against movement through said discharge opening. movement FQ E sflld dlschal'ge p 531d Fstrammg 11. Apparatus as set forth in claim 10, and said pinwhee] means comprismg a pmwheel.moumed 9 free roiatlon above being mounted on an arm which is pivoted and resiliently held i the path of Said caps and havmg a plurality of radially extend so as to enable the pins to resiliently engage the top side of a mg pins spaced about its periphery and traveling in a path exp which is right side p tending into the caps which have their open side uppermost so as to engage the inside of the cap skirt and hold the caps i i l I