US 3575278 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
its titties tat Inventors Wolfgang ll-lloffrnann Beaconsfield; Cesar Eduard Purlchardt, Ville De Laval,
lDnrvenay, Quebec, Canada Appl. No. 722,589
Filed Apr. 19, 1968 Patented Apr. 20, 19711 Assignee Canadian litter-national Paper Company Montreal, Quebec, Qanada Priority Feb. 29., 1966 Canada 13,690
APPARATUS lFfiR SELEQTWELY RECEIVKNG' AND 1411161 111 16 PACKAGES 4 "Claims, 7 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl 198/34, I 198/164,198/172 lint. til ..L ..1B65g 417/26, 865g 19/26 Field of Search 198/34, 160, 162, 165
[56} References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,352,403 1 1/1967 Blake 198/34 3,016,665 1/1962 Barrett 198/34 3,106,279 10/1963 Cross 198/34 3,424,293 1/1969 Deutschlander 198/34 Primary Examiner-Even C. Blunk Assistant Examiner-Roger S. Gaither Attorney-Alan Swabey 41111611111111: An apparatus and method of selectively feeding and presenting individual packages, processed by a previous packaging operation in alignment for a subsequent wrapping operation. The apparatus includes two different control systems where one or more packages are taken under control of the first control system and presented to a second control system which feeds the packages to the subsequent wrapping operation. The two control systems are driven at different speeds so that a uniform feeding of the aligned packages is presented to the wrapping operation.
PATENTED APR 20 l97| SHEET 1 BF 4 INVENTORS WOL FGA/VG A oFFMAA/A/ CESAR 0U/IED PUPK AARDT ATTORNEY PATENTEUAPMOIQYI 3575278 I SHEET 2 OF 4 INVENTORS WOLFGANG HUFFMAN/V (ES/JP EDI/4P0 PUP/(M4207 PATENTEU men |sm sum 3UF 4 INVENTORS WOL FGA N6 HOFFMAN/V (ES/1R EDUAED PORK/164 07 ATTORNEY APPARATUS IFUIR SIEILIECTIIVIEILY RECEIVING AND AMGNIING IPACI'IAG IES This invention relates to an apparatus and method.
More particularly, this invention relates to an apparatus and method for selectively feeding and aligning packages and presenting them to a wrapping apparatus where two or more of the packages are bundled together to form a wrapped article.
In the production and wrapping of a commodity in individual packages, for example, individual portions of foodstuffs, and manufacturer and processor of the commodity processes the commodity in an individual package using equipment and methods known in this art, and then, or subsequently, wraps several packages together to form a bundle for shipment to a retailer or similar. The bundle of packages is usually formed at the same site where the individual packages are manufactured.
Very frequently the operation of assembling two or more individual packages to form an array or bundle for feeding to a wrapping machine is accomplished manually. This manual operation results in relatively high labor costs and a much slower overall operation than if such a step would be accomplished automatically. Moreover, such a manual operation cannot normally keep up with the wrapping speed or capacity of a wrapping machine, whereby the overall operation is operating at less than full capacity.
Applicants have now developed a wrapping apparatus and method whereby individual packages are selectively fed and aligned, as the packages are produced and received from a prior operation (e.g. a package filling operation), and presented to a wrapping machine. The apparatus and method of this invention thereby overcomes the disadvantages of manual methods, and in addition, allows a completely automated operation from the time the individual packages are formed to the time they are wrapped in a bundle for shipment. In addition, and most importantly, the apparatus and method of this invention permits continuous inline feeding and alignment of one or more individual packages, thus ensuring proper feeding to a wrapping apparatus even though the packages are initially indeterminately fed; and consequently permitting a high-volume wrapping operation.
More particularly, the apparatus of this invention comprises a package-supporting surface having a package discharge and receiving end, the surface being adapted to support the packages between both ends, first package control means above the surface for receiving, controlling and advancing a package through an initial portion of the apparatus and which first control means comprises means for engaging the forward or leading end of a package presented to the apparatus, and cooperating second package-engaging means for presenting the package to a second control means. The apparatus also includes driving means for driving first and second control means of the first package-engaging means in operative relationship whereby the leading edge of a package fed to the apparatus is taken under control means and permitted to advance within the apparatus a predetermined distance, followed by the second cooperating control means presenting the package to a second package-engaging means.
The apparatus also includes second package-engaging means beneath the supporting surface for advancing and controlling the package through the balance of the apparatus. This second package control means also comprises packageengaging means for receiving and advancing a package to be presented between second package-engaging means of the first control means. Driving means for advancing the second package-engaging means are also provided, these driving means operating to drive the second package-engaging means at a rate faster than the driving means of the first package control means, whereby indeterminately and/or intermittently I fed packages from a previous packaging operation are selectively taken under control by the first package control means, placed in control of the second package-engaging means and subsequently discharged at a constant rate from the apparatus.
According to a preferred embodiment of this invention, the package control system comprises package-engaging means mounted on endless belts or equivalent structures. To this end, the upper package control means comprises a pair of endless belts mounting first and second control means, the first control means being spaced apart from the second control means a predetermined distance. A preferred embodiment is where the first and second control means comprises flight bars mounted on the endless chains with a packageengaging surface. In a still further embodiment, each control means of the upper control system is the same with the control means serving two functions-Le. to initially engage the leading end of a package and subsequently to present the package to the second control system of the apparatus.
The second control system of the apparatus is preferably constructed in a manner similar to that just described in the first control system. To this end, there may be provided spaced-apart endless belts-cg. chain belts, mounting flight bars adapted to engage a package upon presentation from the second control means of the first package-engaging system.
The means for driving the first and second package control systems are preferably taken from a single source for reasons of simplicity. To this end, a common drive source may be provided and through appropriate gear reduction systems, drive the upper and lower control system. If desired, the same common motor source used to drive the first systems of the apparatus may also be connected to components not related to this apparatus-cg. a conveyor for supplying packages to the inlet end of the apparatus and/or to a wrapping mechanism of a wrapping station.
As previously mentioned, the lower control system is driven at a rate faster than that of the upper control system. For this reason, the leading end of a package will engage the first package control means of the first control system and upon the second cooperating package-engaging means of a first control system taking over, will present the package to the second package-engaging means. For this reason, it is preferred to have a construction whereby the second package control means of the first engaging system causes the package to be lowered into operative relationship for engagement by the second system. This may be accomplished by providing a supporting spring-loaded surface with a lever of the second type whereby the second cooperating package-engaging means can displace the package downwardly into engaging position.
The spacing of the various package-engaging means of the first and second control systems, will depend on the commodity being packaged and the number of packages to be fed and aligned to a wrapping station of a wrapping apparatus. Thus, as used in the specification and claims, it is to be understood that when reference is made to a package, that one or a plurality of packages can be processed according to one of the objects of the present invention. Thus, the packageengaging means of the first control system will be spaced apart a distance sufficient to accommodate the desired number of packages, and when the desired number of packages are under the control of the first package control means, the second control means of the first system will replace the last in the series of packages into package-engaging position for the second system, whereby the second system will feed the desired number of packages to the wrapping station.
Having thus generally described the invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, illustrating preferred embodiments, and in which;
FIG. I is a perspective view of an apparatus according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the apparatus of FIG. ll;
FIG. 3 is a section taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. A is a view similar to FIG. 3, but with certain parts removed;
FIG. 5 is a section taken along the line 5-5 of FIG. 2;
FIG. s is a section taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 7 is a simplified top plan view of the apparatus showing the commodity control means, and the driving scheme.
With reference to the drawings, the apparatus of this invention is indicated generally by reference numeral 10, operating in conjunction with a package-receiving station 12 of a wrapping apparatus.
The apparatus includes frame 14, mounting a housing 16 having inlet and outlet or discharge ends 18 and 20 respectively. A conveyor 22, rotating about wheel 24, terminates short of inlet end 18, and is adapted to feed articles from a prior operation. Wheel 24 is rotatably journaled by shaft 26 mounted in bushing 28 on frame 14. The shaft 26 is rotated by drive wheel 32, as will be hereinafter described.
Connected to frame 14 are longitudinal guide members 36 and 360, each comprised of a vertical arm 38 and a horizontal arm 40. Arm 38 extends from near the inlet end 18 to beyond the discharge end 20, serving to guide packages in a straight line. Arm 40 is relatively short, and extends inwardly from discharge end 20 only a short distancesee FIG. 4. It functions to support packages as they are advanced from the discharge end 2'0 to a stacker of a wrapping apparatus 12.
A pivoted plate 42 forms a support bed for packages during passage through the apparatus 10. Plate 42 is secured to frame 44 journaled on shaft 46, which in turn is mounted on frame 14, and held in place with bolts 48. In this manner, plate 42 is free to move upwardly and downwardly, as it is essentially a second class lever. Adjustable spring 50 secured to frame 44 may be tensioned by eyebolts 52 to create the desired degree of tension on plate 42.
The tension created by spring 50 normally maintains the end 42a of plate 42 in a raised level, thus presenting a surface at the same level as the conveyor 22 for receiving a package. In the embodiment shown, the apparatus includes an optional intermediate surface 43 between the terminal end of the conveyor 22 and the plate end 42a.
The first package-engaging means includes a pair of spacedapart endless chain belts 74, rotating about sprockets 76 journaled on shafts 78. Shafts 78 are mounted in bushings 80 located on frame 14. One of the shafts, 78', is connected to drive means, described hereinafter.
Spaced-apart pairs of flight bars 82 are mounted on belts 74. Each flight bar of both control systems, as will be seen, includes a flat face adapted to abut a package end.
The upper package control means includes a tensioning drive to loosen or tighten the belts 74, and comprises adjustable bolts 63, and a tightening nut 70, mounted on a frame 72'. Supporting surface 86 mounted on shafts 88 retains the belts in the desired plane so that the flight bars 82 will be at the desired level for controlling the package. Thus, these bars 82 are also pushing packages downwards on springloaded plate 42 and placing packages into a position when bars 66 are taking the packages away.
Referring now to the second package-engaging means beneath the supporting surface defined by the plate 42, in the embodiment shown, this includes a pair of spaced-apart endless chain belts 54, joumaled about four pairs of sprockets 56, each of which are mounted on shafts 58 rotatably mounted on -frame 14 by bushings 60. One of the shafts, 58', is connected to a drive sprocket 64, described hereinafter, thus rotating chain belts 54. A support surface 55, connected through rods 57 to frame 14, retains the chain belts in a longitudinal plane when passing beneath plate 42. I
Mounted in opposed alignment, through connecting means 63 on belts 54, are flight bars 66 constituting packaging, engaging and control means. Flight bars 66 on each belt 54 are spaced a predetermined distance apart and extend on either side of plate 42 as well as projecting above the plate for the purpose previously explained. Connected to one of the shafts 58 is a chain belt tensioning device comprising an adjustable bolt 68 and tightening nut 70 mounted on frame 72 whereby the Mlt tension may be loosened or tightened as required.
In the embodiment shown, means for driving both packaging control systems are taken from a common motor source (not shown), as well as providing, from the same source, drive means for operating the conveyor.
The power from the motor source is transmitted to a drive shaft to a gear box 92, where an appropriate reduction is made; see FIG. 7. Drive shaft 94 connected to the gearbox mounts a first gearwheel 96, rotating a drive belt 34 connected to a gearwheel 32. This latter gear rotates gear 35 journaled on shaft 37, which mounts the conveyor wheel 24, thus rotating the conveyor 22; see FIG. 3.
The upper and lower package control systems are driven as follows: drive shaft 24 also mounts a further gear 98 driving belt 100 connected to drive sprocket64 mounted on shaft 58. This rotates a complete lower package control system previously described.
Mounted in the apparatus adjacent shaft 58 is a rotatable shaft 104 journaled in bushings I06. Shaft 104 mounts a sprocket 108 (FIG. 2). Joumaled on shaft 58' in a further sprocket I10, and belt 112 connects sprocket 108 and whereby the rotation of shaft 58' will cause rotation of shaft 104. At the opposite end of sprocket 108 on shaft 104 is a further sprocket 114, mounting drive belt 116 connected to a sprocket I18 journaled on shaft 78 of the upper control system. Thus, rotation of shaft 104 will cause rotation of shaft 78 driving the upper control system in a predetermined relationship to the movement of the lower package control system.
In the apparatus above described, and as previously mentioned, the lower package control system rotates at a speed faster than that of the upper package control system. This is accomplished by appropriate gear ratio wherein one gear has a larger ratio than another; and with a different gearreversing rotation of the shaft 78.
The packages thus under the control of a lower package control system are fed from the discharge end of the apparatus 10 to a suitable wrapping apparatus. With reference to FIG. 1, a portion of such an apparatus is disclosed and consisting of an elevator platfomt 120, end member 122 being adapted to prevent the packages from being displaced off platform 120, and packaging-engaging means 124 adapted to retain a plurality of packages on the elevator. In this case, the elevator is shown as an upwardly movable elevator whereupon packages P placed on the elevator are moved upwardly for processing according to a further wrapping operation. Thus, in the embodiments shown in the drawings, where it is desired to provide two packages P on the elevator, at the same time, the apparatus 10 is so arranged to selectively advance, align and feed two packages at a given time by providing a distance between flight bars 82 and 66 on the upper and lower control systems sufficient for two packages to be processed.
1. Apparatus for successively aligning and conveying packages one-by-one while under positive control, comprising in combination: a support frame (14) including an inlet (18) and an outlet (20); horizontal support means (42) on said support frame and extending generally between said inlet and outlet and defining a path of travel for packages therebetween;
said horizontal support means comprises a plate member pivotally mounted on said support frame on a forward, transverse pivot axis, and spring means (50) connected to said plate member and normally urging said plate upwardly at its end adjacent said inlet;
first power-operated, package-engaging means on said support frame and overlying said horizontal support means and extending therealong;
said first package-engaging means including traveling abutments (82) moveable in a path overlying and depending toward said support means from said inlet to outlet for engagement with the leading end of a package fed onto said support means;
second power-operated, package-engaging means on said support frame and underlying said horizontal support means and extending therealong;
said second package-engaging means including traveling abutments (66) flanking said horizontal support means for movement therealong and engaging the trailing end of a package fed onto said support means; and
means operatively connected to said first and second package-engam'ng means for driving them along said horizontal support means at different speed.
2. The structure as claimed in claim l in which said first and second package-engaging means comprise endless conveyors respectively having lower and upper runs disposed in substantially fixed paths of travel relative to said plate member, said abutments having an abutment face substantially normal to the respective paths of travel.
3. The structure as claimed in claim?! in which said endless conveyors comprise spaced pairs of link belts disposed in flanking relation with respect to said path of travel, said drive means being common to each of the respective packageengaging means and including endless belt force-transmitting elements.
d. The structure as claimed in claim 1 in which said plate member includes an elongated plate element having a forward depending lever, said lever being intermediately pivoted on said transverse pivot axis, said spring means being connected to a lower portion of said lever and extending rearwardly beneath said plate element.