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Publication numberUS3575276 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 20, 1971
Filing dateApr 26, 1968
Priority dateMay 26, 1967
Also published asDE1756395A1
Publication numberUS 3575276 A, US 3575276A, US-A-3575276, US3575276 A, US3575276A
InventorsRupert John P
Original AssigneeTobacco Res & Dev
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Direction changing in conveyance systems
US 3575276 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Inventor Appl. No. Filed Patented Assignee Priority DIRECTION CHANGING IN CONVEYANCE SYSTEMS 7 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.

[52] U.S.Cl

198/25, 198/103 Int. Cl 565g 42/00 Field of Search 198/25, 210,167,211, 179; 198/33(R4),22, 131;

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,2 l9,l70 l 1/1965 Schneebeli Primary Examiner-Ev0n C. Blunk Assistant Examiner-H. S. Lane Attorney-Young and Thompson ABSTRACT: A device for transferring rodlike articles such as cigarettes from one moving conveyor to another, that operates satisfactorily whether or not the articles are spaced at regular intervals on the delivering conveyor. The device is an endless element moving in a path between the conveyors, the element having resiliently defonnable walls defining a continuous slot in which the end of an article overhanging the edge of the delivering conveyor is gripped. The article is released on to the second conveyor with its end overhanging the edge of that conveyor too. Cams or the like are used to deform the slot walls to cause gripping and release at the correct points.

1 DlRECTlON CHANGING IN CONVEYANCE SYSTEMS This invention relates to means for changing the direction of rodlike articles that are entrained in conveyance systems.

Where an article such as the output of a machine is delivered on to a conveyor moving in a fixed path, it is often necessary to change the direction of conveyance, e.g. to get the article to another machine. If the articles are rodsh aped, such as cigarettes or cigarette filter lengths, and are delivered and conveyed with their axes substantially parallel to each other and transverse to the direction of movement and are required at the delivery end of the conveyance system in substantially the same orientation, the problem of effecting a' change of direction is accentuated.

In a more restricted context, devices have been proposed for cigarette factories to cope with the problem of uniformly orientating filter-tipped cigarettes as they come from the making machine. The cigarettes leave the machine in pairs that are aligned substantially alongside each other with the tipped ends facing each other. One of the cigarettes of each pair must be turned through l80 and transferred to a row in which the other of the pair is moving so that the entire output will be uniformly orientated on a conveyor which leads to a packing machine.

One proposal has been to pass one row of cigarettes (which moves transversely to the axes of the cigarettes as they lie parallel to each other on a conveyor) on to a track defined by two bodies that move through an arc of l80 about a common center, the bodies moving in paths defined by two radii of different length. The body of lesser radius is a wheel which has a raised, serrated rim to locate one end of the cigarettes. The other body is a chain driven in the required path, the other end of the cigarette resting on the'chain. One of the disadvantages of the machine is that the ends of the cigarettes move at different linear speeds, and centrifugal force tends to cause the cigarettes to slide off the track. In doing so they may be damaged or give rise to a blockage in the installation. A relatively complicated release mechanism is moreover necessary to transfer the cigarettes from the track on to a conveyor after their turn.

In another proposal, the cigarettes are entrained between endless bands which are arranged in paths such that the cigarettes of one row are gripped between belts moving in the same direction and swung through [80 to drop down a chute feeding a conveyor belt on which the other row of cigarettes is deposited in its original orientation. Incorrect tension in one of the belts will disrupt the device, and with the belts moving in three-dimensional paths, it is complicated in construction and operation.

Another device has been proposed for a different problem, that of gripping each cigarette as it leaves the machine and forcefully drawing it away to ensure proper release from the machine. The device proposed consists of a rotating wheel with six radial arms at the end of each of which is a gripper. The cigarette is moving tangentially to the wheel as it leaves the machine and is seized by a gripper and moved through an arc to be released on to a chute feeding a conveyor. The grippers are actuated by bellcranks, spring-biased to open the grippers, and running in rollers on cams to cause closing for and at the required periods. This device must be very accurately synchronized with the making machine since premature or belated gripping or an irregular output in the machine would be fatal to its working. Another drawback is that the cigarettes, being tangentially gripped on the wheel, occupy a relatively large are on its periphery. The number of cigarettes which can be gripped simultaneously is therefore restricted. Moreover, the momentum of the cigarettes as they leave the grippers is such that they will tend to slide off the conveyor belt on to which the chute deposits them. It is also doubtful if the problem for which the device caters exists in modern cigarette factories.

The object of the invention is to provide a novel device for transferring rodlike articles from one moving conveyor to another, the surfaces being more or less coplanar and moving at substantially equal speeds but in different directions.

Another object is to provide a devicewhich can, at least in some embodiments, perform this function without the need for a chute or the like to remove the articles from the first conveyor or to deposit them on the second.

A further object is to provide a device which will operate successfully "whether or not the articles are regularly spaced on the first conveyor.

According to the invention, in a device for transferring rodlike articles from one moving conveyor to another, the device comprising a slotted gripping element movable in a path between the conveyors, means to move the element in this path, and means to actuate the gripping element so that it grips an article on the first conveyor and transfers the article along the path and deposits it on the second conveyor, there is provided the improvement that the gripping element is endless and the slot therein is continuous, the slot having walls that are resiliently deformable to grip an end of an article projecting into it, the element being so arranged relatively to the conveyors that it will grip the end of an article overhanging the first conveyor and deposit it on the second conveyor with the end of the article overhanging that conveyor.

Further according to the invention, the gripping element is a wheel arranged to be driven about its axis, an annular slot in the periphery of the wheel being so located relatively to the conveyors that the overhanging articles move tangentially to the slot as they are gripped in it and released from it. In this way, with correct synchronization of the speeds of the conveyor and the wheel, the transfer will take place smoothly,

with no tendency for the articles to slip in the slot or on the second conveyor.

The walls of the slot are preferably formed from a series of adjacent resilient fingers, closely spaced so that the slot defined by them is substantially uninterrupted. The fingers may be lined with a cushioning material such as a foamed elastomeric material.

The invention further provides that the walls be deformed by cam faces located between the conveyors, with inclined lead-in and lead-off faces.

The conveyors will in practice usually be conveyor belts.

The invention is further discussed with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a direction-changing installation according to the invention,

FIG. 2 is a view in the direction of the arrow 2 of part of FIG. 1 on an enlarged scale, and

FIG. 3 is an enlarged section along the line 3-3 in FIG. 1.

In the illustrated installation rod-shaped articles 4, say filter rods or cigarettes, are delivered on to endless conveyor belt 5 with the ends 6 of the rods projecting over the edge 7 of the belt 5. The direction of movement of the articles 4 is in the direction of the arrow 8 and as shown the rods lie parallel to one another and transverse to the direction of the arrow.

The purpose of the installation is to transfer the rods 4 on to a conveyor belt 9 running in the direction of the arrow 10 at the same speed as the belt 5 while keeping their parallel orientation and keeping their axes transverse to the direction of the arrow 10.

The switch is effected by means of a wheel generally indicated as 111 in FIG. l.

The wheel 11 is composed of a disc-shaped core 12 secured to a shaft 13 which is rotated by means not shown. At the periphery of the disc a series of spring steel fingers l4 are provided to either side of the disc. The fingers are held in position by clamping rings 15 and project radially outwardly from the disc 112.

it will be seen that the fingers 14 define an annular slot 16 around the periphery of the wheel 11. On the side facing the slot 16 each finger 14 is lined with a pad 20 made of foam rubber. Conveniently each pad has a coarse texture towards the inside of the slot to enhance its gripping power and a smooth outside texture to facilitate bonding to a finger.

The wheel 11 is mounted for rotation in a position where the edge 7 of the belt 5 and an edge 17 of the belt 9 are tangential to the wheel periphery. The rotational speed of the wheel is so regulated that the periphery of the wheel has the same linear speed as the belts.

Thus as rods 4 pass along the belt 5 they enter the slot 16. If they are gripped in the slot they will travel round and be deposited on the belt 9. At the points of gripping and release, the position, speed and direction of movement of the center of the slot coincide with the position, speed and direction of movement of the ends of the rods as carried on the bands 5 and 9.

Gripping is effected by pressing the fingers 14 towards the interior of the slot 16. This is done automatically by cam strips 18 and 19 mounted above and below the wheel 11 between the points where the belt edges 7 and 17 are tangents to the wheel periphery. The strips 18 extend beyond the latter points and are inclined over those extents to provide a smooth leadin and release for the fingers as they pass by and bend in response to the cams.

As the fingers bend they lift the articles to a slight extent off the belt 5 and as they relax they drop them to a slight extent on the belt 9.

An important advantage is that the articles need not be regularly spaced apart on the conveyor belts for the apparatus to deal with them.

As illustrated, the direction of the arrow is at right angles to the direction of the arrow 8. Of course the arrow 10 could be at almost any angle to the arrow 8. All that is required is that the strips 18 and 19 extend between the right points.

When mechanizing any factory, the problem of adaptability or flexibility of apparatus often arises. The apparatus explained above is very adaptable in that it can be utilized to release the articles in any position or direction by increasing or decreasing the length of the arc of the cams. Additional cam lengths could, for instance, be switched in by two solenoids and thus carry the articles over the first outgoing transporting belt to a second one which could supply a work station lying in its direction.

l claim:

1. A conveyance system for uniformly rod-shaped articles moving in single file with their axes substantially parallel and transverse to the direction of conveyance, comprising two endless conveyors with their conveying surfaces substantially horizontal and coplanar, the first conveyor conveying articles in one direction towards a fixed point of intersection and the second conveyor conveying articles away from the fixed point in a direction that diverges from the first direction, an endless resilient gripping element movable between the conveyors and having endless segmental upper and lower jaws that mouth adjacent and towards the edge of the first conveyor and that are resiliently biased to open wider than the thickness of an article with the lower jaw lower than the edge of the first conveyor, and means acting on the jaws for causing the jaws to close at a predetermined point along the edge of the first conveyor to grip articles that overhang the edge of the first conveyor and that may have entered the jaws, to remain closed as they move towards the second conveyor and to open when they reach a predetermined position along an edge of the second conveyor to free articles that may be in the jaws.

2. The system claimed in claim 1, in which the gripping element is a wheel that runs tangentially to edges of the conveyors and jaws that mouth on its periphery.

3. The system claimed in claim 1, in which each jaw is composed of a series of adjacent resilient fingers closely spaced so that the jaw surface is substantially uninterrupted.

4. The system claimed in claim 2, in which each jaw is composed of a series of adjacent radial and resilient fingers closely spaced so that the jaw surface is substantially uninterrupted.

S. The system claimed in claim 1, in which the means for acting on the jaws comprises cam faces bearing on the jaws, the cams having inclined lead-in and lead-off faces.

6. The system claimed in claim 1, in which the gripping element is a wheel that terminates short of the edges of the conveyors in a horizontal direction,

7. conveyance system for umforrnly rod-shaped articles moving in single file with their axes substantially parallel and transverse to the direction of conveyance, comprising two endless conveyors with their conveying surfaces substantially horizontal and coplanar, the first conveyor conveying articles in one direction towards a point of intersection and the second conveyor conveying articles away from the point in a direction that diverges from the first direction, a transfer wheel that runs tangentially to an edge of the first conveyor and to an edge of the second conveyor, on the periphery of the transfer wheel segmental upper and lower jaws each composed of a series of adjacent radial and resilient fingers closely spaced so that the jaw surfaces are substantially uninterrupted, the jaws mouthing adjacent and towards the edge of the first conveyor and being biased to open wider than the thickness of an article with the lower jaw lower than the edge of the first conveyor, and a pair of cam faces bearing on the fingers and having inclined lead-in and lead-off faces, the lead-in face being so positioned that the jaws close at a predetermined position along the edge of the first conveyor to grip articles that overhang the edge of the first conveyor and that may have entered the jaws, and the lead-ofi' faces being so positioned as to allow the jaws to open when they reach a predetermined position along an edge of the second conveyor to free articles that may be in thejaws.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2939572 *Sep 29, 1958Jun 7, 1960Wurgaft Robert LHand-off device
US2988199 *Dec 1, 1958Jun 13, 1961American Mach & FoundryCigarete turn around device
US3059756 *Apr 5, 1960Oct 23, 1962Universal Machine Co IncArticle transfer device
US3219170 *Mar 13, 1964Nov 23, 1965Fmc CorpInverting apparatus
CH448853A * Title not available
DD25941A * Title not available
GB1082085A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4452443 *Sep 2, 1981Jun 5, 1984Windmoller & HolscherApparatus for distributing continuously supplied tube sections to three production lines for making sacks
US4496110 *Mar 15, 1984Jan 29, 1985W. Schlafhorst & Co.Double-sided textile machine
US4591046 *Feb 8, 1985May 27, 1986R. R. Donnelley & Sons CompanyTurntable transfer mechanism for conveyors
US5097941 *Jul 6, 1990Mar 24, 1992Molins PlcConveying rod-like articles
US6874615Jun 6, 2003Apr 5, 2005David M FallasConveyor chute
US7644558Oct 26, 2006Jan 12, 2010Fallas David MRobotic case packing system
US8061502Aug 15, 2007Nov 22, 2011Sidel Participations S.A.SDevice and method for discharging elongate, coarse bulk products and for their further transport
US8327999Oct 18, 2011Dec 11, 2012Sidel Participations S.A.S.Device and method for discharging elongate, coarse bulk products and for their further transport
US8760508 *Jan 13, 2010Jun 24, 2014R.J. Reynolds Tobacco CompanyFiltered smoking article inspection system, and associated method
US8831764Oct 17, 2011Sep 9, 2014R. J. Reynolds Tobacco CompanyCigarette package coding system and associated method
US8997438Sep 18, 2012Apr 7, 2015David M. FallasCase packing system having robotic pick and place mechanism and dual dump bins
US20040245070 *Jun 6, 2003Dec 9, 2004Fallas David M.Conveyor chute
US20100006588 *Aug 15, 2007Jan 14, 2010A20 AgDevice and method for discharging elongate, coarse bulk products and for their further transport
US20100059074 *Sep 5, 2008Mar 11, 2010R. J. Reynolds Tobacco CompanyInspection System for a Smoking Article Having an Object Inserted Therein, and Associated Method
US20110169942 *Jul 14, 2011R.J.Reynolds Tobacco CompanyFiltered smoking article inspection system, and associated method
WO2008019836A2 *Aug 15, 2007Feb 21, 2008A20 AgDevice and method for discharging elongate, coarse bulk products and for their further transport
Classifications
U.S. Classification198/457.1, 198/457.7, 198/470.1, 198/803.9
International ClassificationB65G17/32, A24C5/32, B65B19/00, B65B19/04, B65G47/86
Cooperative ClassificationB65G2811/0647, B65G47/847, B65B19/04, B65G17/32, B65G17/326, A24C5/322
European ClassificationB65G17/32C, B65B19/04, A24C5/32T, B65G17/32, B65G47/84B2