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Publication numberUS3583545 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 8, 1971
Filing dateJan 31, 1969
Priority dateJan 31, 1969
Publication numberUS 3583545 A, US 3583545A, US-A-3583545, US3583545 A, US3583545A
InventorsHovekamp John C
Original AssigneeWood Industries Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article transfer means
US 3583545 A
Images(6)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Inventor John C. Hoveltnmp Elyrla, Olilo Appl. No. 195,557 Filed Jan. 31, I969 Patented June 8, 1971 Assignee Wood Industries, Inc.

Plninfleld, NJ.

ARTICLE TRANSFER MEANS ll Claims, 13 Drawing Figs.

US. Cl. lnt. Field at Search References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,224,549 12/1965 Cella et al.

Primary ExaminerRichard E. Aegerter Attorney-Jennie, Edmonds, Morton, Taylor & Adams ABSTRACT: An article transfer apparatus and method of transferring articles from one device for operating or acting on the articles to another, having chutes for receiving a plurality of streams of nested articles being vertically oriented from the first operating device, means for separating the streams into horizontally oriented stacks or batches of a predetermined number of articles in each stack and means for narrowing the plurality of streams into two separate delivery paths so that the stacks or batches of nested articles may be separately delivered to or deposited on two receiving stations of the second operating device. The speed of the delivery paths are timed to feed the second operating device at a speed which will supply the articles to the second device which facilitates continuous operation thereof.

PATENTED JUN s 1971 mm 2 [1F 6 I EEz T PATENTEU JUN 8 I971 SHEET 3 BF 6 PATENTEU JUN 8197! 3583545 sum 5 [IF 6 ARTICLE TRANSFER MEANS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to article handling and transferring means and more particularly to a device for separating continuous streams of vertically oriented formed and nested articles, such as open egg cartons, into stacks or batches with the articles horizontally oriented to be fed to a denester of aprinting unit so that the articles can be imprinted.

In order to perform a printing operation on irregularly shaped articles it is usually necessary to supply those articles to the printing unit individually on a conveyor platform or table and properly spaced so as to be in timed relation with the rotation of the printing cylinder. The irregularly shaped arti cles, such as eg cartons, are formed as by casting and are delivered from the former in a continuous stream and in a nested relationship. It is therefore necessary to first denest the articles so that they may be individually deposited onto a conveyor platform for delivery to the printer unit to be imprinted. It has been found impractical to directly feed the denesting equipment from the output of the forming apparatus as the speed of the printer can not adequately be synchronously timed to the speed of the forming apparatus as the operation of the latter is not uniform.'A manual feeding operation is also impractical as it lacks the speed and efficiency of an automatic feed system.

It is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide a means for transferring the articles to be imprinted, from the forming equipment to the denesting device of a printer unit, which is completely automatic and which is capable of feeding stacked articles to the denester at predetermined sequential relationship so that the speed of the printer is independent from the speed of the former.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a device for receiving nested articles as they stream from a forming device in a vertical orientation, to separate the stream into batches or stacks of a predetermined number of articles and to reorient the batches so that they are delivered to the denester with the articles horizontally oriented.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a device for feeding irregularly shaped articles to a printer unit which receives the articles from the forming equipment in four continuous streams and which will deliver those articles to two receiving stations of the printer unit in separate stacks or batches.

Other objects advantages and features of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:

FIG. I is a plan view of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view along the lines 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along lines 44 of FIG. 1;

FIG. Sis a sectional view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is an alternative embodiment of the view shown in FIG. 5;

FIGS. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 are schematic plan views of the present invention showing the progressive steps in the operation of the present invention; and

FIG. 13 is a schematic electrical diagram of the circuit controlling the movement of the stacks of articles.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring now in detail to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 in plan view the apparatus for transferring the irregularly shaped articles, such as open egg cartons, from the delivery of the forming device 11 to the receiving stations or denesting sections of the printing unit 12. The transfer device is generally composed of three main sections, the receiving and tumbling section, designated generally as numeral 13; the

orienting table or section, designated generally as numeral 14; and the delivery table or section, designated generally as numeral 15.

The general operation of this invention, as can be seen in FIGS. 7 through 12 and as will be discussed in more detail in subsequent portions of this specification, is to receive four separate streams of nested articles, vertically arranged, from the former 11, by the receiving section 13 which then separates the streams into stacks or batches of nested articles and tumbles them or reorients them into stacks, wherein the articles are horizontally arranged in nested batches, and to transfer the batches of each stream onto the orienting table 14. The orienting table then operates on the stacks so as to advance them toward the delivery table 15 and to orient the stacks into only two paths so that the stacks are successively transferred onto the delivery table. From the delivery table they are advanced toward the denester of the printer apparatus l2 and delivered thereto as needed for continuous operation of the printing unit.

The receiving section is divided into four receiving channels or chutes A,B,C and D. Each chute has a pair of platforms or rails 16 and 17 for receiving the streams of nested articles and upon which those streams are carried or otherwise transported toward the orienting table. The streams are moved forward by the delivery from the former. The channels or chutes are separated from one another and otherwise defined by upright panels or walls 18 which also serve as means for guiding the streams in the proper channel.

As the streams move forward into the chutes, the forward section of each stream will be separated therefrom by a pin 19, travelling beneath and inbetween the platforms 16, 17. The pin 19 will be caused to rise above the level of the platforms on which the streams are travelling so as to penetrate the stream by the mechanism now to be described. The pins have a conical configuration so that when its apex has fully penetrated the stream, the forward portion thereof will have been clearly and completely separated from the rest of the stream. The pins 19 are all carried on a bar 20. Bar 20 is carried between two chains 21 and 22. It is pivotally attached to the chains by pin 23 as shown more fully in FIGS. 2 and 3. Chain 21, as seen in FIG. 2, is carried on sprocket wheels 26, 27, 28, and 29, which are mounted on side frame 24, by shafts 30, 31, 32, and 33 respectively, and is driven in the direction of the arrows by sprocket wheel 26, which is the only wheel carrying chain 21 that is driven. Chain 22, as seen in FIG. 3, is carried on sprocket wheels 34, 35, 36, and 37 which are mounted on side frame 25 by shafts 38, 39, 40, and 41 respectively, and is driven in the direction of the arrows by sprocket wheel 34, which is the only wheel carrying chain 22 that is driven. Sprocket wheels 26 and 34 are synchronously driven at the same speed so that bar 20 is not skewed as it follows the path of the chains. The speed at which chains 21 and 22 are caused to operate is constant and has been so timed that each time the bar 20 is carried around sprocket wheels 28 and 36, the pins 19 carried thereon will intercept the streams of articles so as to separate a stack of approximately 25 articles. The delivery speed of the former is not constant while the speed of the chains is and therefore oftentimes the separated stacks will not be of equal size. This, however, is of no serious consequence and the variations are small enough to be neglected in the further operation of the present invention.

Bar 20 also carries a plurality of arms 42 which extend horizontally in the direction of travel of the chains. The bar 20 is provided with four sets of arms 42, as seen in FIG. 1, each set travelling inbetween a pair of rails 16, 17 of each chute and forward of pin 19. Attached to bar 20 adjacent side frame 24 is a forward cam follower 43 with roller 44, and a rear cam follower 45 with roller 46. Attached to the frame of the device is a channel or cam 47 defined by channel walls 48, 49, and 50, for guiding the forward cam follower 43 in the path necessary for causing arms 42 to become vertically oriented so as to tumble or reorient a separated stack. A more detailed discussion of this operation will follow in subsequent portions of this specification.

Also attached to frame 24 is a cam 51 and channel wall 52 which define another channel 53 in which forward cam follower 43 is guided during the nonoperative portion of the cycle (as shown in phantom lines). A further cam 54 is also attached to the frame 24, having an inside crescent-shaped riding surface so that when cam roller 46, carried on rear cam follower 45, engages said surface it encounters a certain amount of resistance to its travel about sprocket wheel 28, permitting the forward cam follower to pivot about pin 23. As the pin 23 (the point at which bar is carried on the chain 21) travels around sprocket wheel 28 and roller 46 engages the surface of cam 54, the cam roller 44 will be at the end of its travel on cam 51. Forward cam 43 will then be forced to pivot about pin 23 causing roller 44 to travel upward into channel 47, being guided into the channel by the receiving portion 48 of channel wall 48.

Another bar 55 is also carried between chains 21 and 22 being pivotally attached thereto by pins 56 and 57 respectively. Attached to the bar 55 are four stacker pushers 58, each one mounted on the bar 55 so as to be spaced inbetween a set of platforms 16, 17, i.e. so as to travel in the path of a stream, for pushing the rear of the stack after it has been separated from the stream by the penetration of pins 19. Also attached to bar 55 is cam follower and roller 59. As the pusher 58 travels about the path of the chain it will be in a normally prone position with respect to the chain but will become erected when cam follower 59 rides onto cam 60 mounted on frame 25, so as to push the rear of the stack which is separated from the stream by the penetration of pin 19. As the pins 19 on bar 20 travel in the path defined by the chains, and as the arms 42 are pivoted about bar 20 so as to become vertically aligned, the stack which has been separated by pin 19 will be tumbled or flipped about its rearward edge so as to be rotated 90 about its transverse axis in a direction opposite to that in which it is travelling. At the same time, this stack is being advanced toward the orienting table by pushers 58 and ultimately delivered thereto after having been tumbled so that when it is delivered to table 14 the articles are horizontally nested.

Turning now to the construction of the orienting section or table 14, there is provided a flat surface which is generally divided into a first receiving station 61, an advanced or second station 62, and a discharge station 63. Traversing the table are two separate channels 64 and 65. Mounted between brackets attached to side frames 66 and 69 are rails or rods 70 and 71, and mounted between brackets attached to side frames 68 and 69 are rails or rods 72 and 73, Mounted on rails 70 and 71 are blocks 74 and 75 respectively for riding thereon and for carrying a mover plate 80 which is attached to the blocks by bolts 90 and which is normally located adjacent frame 66. Also mounted on rails 70 and 71 are blocks 76 and 77 for supporting mover plate 81 normally located adjacent frame 69. Mover plate 81 is slideably mounted between rails 70 and 71 for travelling across the table toward side frame 66 for moving a stack or batch at station 61, and mover plate 80 is arranged for travelling across the table in the opposite direction. Mounted on rails 72 and 73 are moveable blocks 78 and 79 respectively for slideably supporting mover plate 82 by bolts 90 so that plate 82 can be moved across the table toward side frame 69 so as to push an advanced stack from station 62 onto discharge table 63 for removal of the stack if necessary. Attached to side frame 69 is a pneumatically operated valve 83 carrying plunger 84 which is attached at its far end to mover plate 80. Attached to side frame 66 is another pneumatically operated valve 85 with its plunger 86 attached at its end to mover plate 81. And attached to side frame 69 is a third valve 87 with its plunger 88 attached at its far end to mover plate 82. The valves are maintained in their actuated positions so that the plungers are normally in their fully extended positions. Mover plate 80 is therefore normally adjacent side frame 66, mover plate 81 is normally adjacent side frame 69 and mover plate 82 is normally adjacent side frame 68. Consequently, the mover plates are caused to travel across the table only when their respective valves are deactuated at predetermined timed intervals.

The mechanism for advancing the stacks from station 61 (after being deposited thereon from the chutes) to station 62 and then onto the delivery table 15 is shown in FIG. 4. Travelling beneath the orienting table 14 and the delivery table 15, aligned with channels 64 and 65 are chains 91 and 92. Carried on the chains are pushers designated generally as numeral 93 comprised of a finger 94 and cam follower and roller 95. The pusher is pivotally mounted on the chains at pin 96. The chains are carried on sprocket wheels 97, 98, and 99 being driven in the direction of the arrows. Also mounted beneath the orienting table are long cams 100 and 101. As the pushers travel toward wheel 99 their fingers 94 are in the prone position. As the pushers 93 travel around sprocket wheel 99, cam follower and roller 95 will ride onto cam causing finger 94 to be pivoted about pin 96 so as to assume an erect position extending through channels 64 or 65 so as to extend above the surface of table 14. Sprocket wheel 99 is located under the table at the end adjacent the receiving section 13, so that when pusher finger 94 travels about wheel 99 and extends above the table surface it will be located behind any stack which may have been advanced onto station 61. As the pusher travels forward in the direction of the arrows it will engage the rear of the stack and advance it along the channel over which it is located to station62, at which point roller 95 will slide off cam 100. Located between long cams 100 and 101 is a short cam 106, moveably supported by plunger 112 of air cylinder 111. When the air cylinder 111 is actuated its plunger will be extended and cam 106 will be in its position shown in FIG. 4, between long cam 100 and 101, so that roller 95 will travel over cam 106 maintaining the extended position of finger 94. Pusher 93 will then travel onto long cam 101 (underneath station 62) so that the stack will continue to be pushed onto the first station of the delivery table, referred to as numeral 125. Cylinder 111 will be actuated only when station 125 is unoccupied as indicated by limit switch 121, the contacts of which are in the normally closed position. When this switch is closed it will close a circuit to the coil of a solenoid valve 111' which will be energized to actuate the air cylinder 111.

From FIG. 1 it is seen that only those stacks occupying positions over the channel 64 and 65 will be advanced by the pushers carried on the chains 91 or 92 travelling in the channels. Accordingly there is a duplicate set of cams as described above for each chain so that two separate paths of stacks will travel independently of each other. Since the cam arrangement is identical only one such set is being described.

The stacks or batches of horizontally disposed articles which have been advanced onto stations 61 from chutes A and D will not be advanced onto stations 62 as no chains carrying pushers are located thereunder. The stacks from chutes B and C will however be advanced by chains 91 and 92. Pneumatic valves 83 and 85 are so timed that after the pushers 93 have advanced the stacks from chutes B and C to stations 62, they will be actuated so that mover plates 80 and 81 will push the stacks from chutes A and D to a position at station 61 over channels 64 and 65 so that they too can be advanced to stations 62 and then onto delivery table 15 as will be described later.

Delivery table 15 is divided by guide walls or panels 129, 130, 131, and 132 into two guide paths for the two separately travelling paths of stacked articles advanced by pushers 93 carried on chains 91 and 92 coming from the orienting table. Each path is comprised of four stations or positions 125, 125; 126, 126'; 127, 127' and 128, 128'. The channels 64 and 65 continue across table 15, and chains 91 and 92 continue to travel beneath the table as seen in FIG. 5. Underneath each path and adjacent each chain is a set of stationary long cams 102, 103, 104, and 105. Between each long cam is located a moveable short cam 107, 108, 109, and 110. Each short cam is supported on a plunger 114, 116, 118, and respectively of an air cylinder 113, 115, 117, and 119 respectively. Mounted on each of guide panels 129 and 132 are four limit switches 121, 122, 123, 124, and 121', 122, 123, 124',

respectively for each station to indicate whether or not it is occupied. The contacts of each limit switch are in the normally closed position and control the operation of the air cylinders by energizing or deenergizing solenoid valves 113', 115, I17, and 119 which operate the air cylinders respectively (FIG, 13). If a stack of articles is occupying one of the positions of the delivery table the arm of its respective limit switch will be depressed and its contacts will open. The solenoid valve coil which is connected in series with that limit switch will accordingly be deenergized thereby deactivating its respective air cylinder. The plunger of that air cylinder will then be retracted so that the short cam which it supports is moved out of position between two of the long cams. A pusher travelling between two stations will therefore have its roller drop below the long cam and its finger 94 will drop below the surface of the table so as not to advance the stack onto the next station. For example, FIG. 5 shows a stack occupying the second station 126. Accordingly the contacts of limit switch 122 will be opened. Solenoid 113' will therefore be deenergized and cylinder 113 will be deactivated so that the pusher, approaching long cam 102, will pivot about pin 96 and finger 94 will drop to the prone position and will not push any stack which may be located at station 125 onto station 126. On the other hand, the figure shows the third and fourth positions as unoccupied. Switches 123 and 124 will therefore have their contacts closed and solenoids 115' and 117 will be energized so that plungers 116 and 118 of cylinders 115 and 117 are in the extended position supporting short cams 108 and 109 in the position between their adjacent long cams. Pusher 93 will therefore travel continuously across the surface of cam 108, 103, 109, and 104 so that the stack is ultimately advanced to the fourth and final station 128 on the delivery table, there poised for delivery to the denester of the printing unit 12. Energization of solenoid valve 119 for actuation of air cylinder 119 is controlled by a switch 133 on the denester of the printing unit and will be energized only if that switch is closed to thereby indicate that the denester is ready to receive a new stack of articles. If it is, solenoid 119 will be energized so as to actuate cylinder 119 and a pusher will travel across the surface of cam 110 onto cam 105 thereby advancing the stack off the delivery table and onto the denester.

An alternative means of causing short cams 106, 107, 108, 109, and 110 to be moved into operative position between a pair of long cams is to orient the air cylinders so that their plunges travel in a horizontal plane (perpendicular to the plane of the drawing) thereby causing the short cams to move in and out, rather than up and down, as is shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 6 shows an alternative means of causing erection of the pusher fingers for advancing the stacks. As can be seen, the short cams are eliminated and the long cams are made moveably supported by the plungers of the solenoids. The electrical connections between the limit switches and the valve coils remain the same. So for example, with the second station occupied valve 113 will be deenergized and cam 102 will be lowered so that the pusher travelling over it will not have its finger extended and will not push any stack from station 125 to station 126. On the other hand station 127 (the third station) is unoccupied and the contacts of limit switch 123 will be in their normally closed position so that valve 115 will be energized. Its plunger will therefore be extended and cam 103 will be in the raised position so that the pusher travelling over it will have its roller 95 on the surface of the cam so that the pusher is pivoted about pin 96 and its finger will be extended through the channel under which it is travelling and will therefore engage the rear end of a stack of articles and advance it to the next or third station as it is pulled along by chain 92.

OPERATION Having described the construction of the mechanism for accomplishing the operation of the invention, that operation will now be described with particular reference to FIGS. 7 through 12.

FIG. 7 shows four streams of nested articles vertically arranged being delivered from the delivery of the former 11 into the chutes A, B, C, and D of the receiving table 13. Four stacks A, B, C, and D have been separated from their respective streams and are shown as having been tumbled so that the articles are now horizontally oriented and as being ready for delivery onto stations 61 of the orienting table 14. Turning to the operation of the tumbler mechanism as discussed above with reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, the pin 19 will have separated a stack by penetrating the stream. Pin 19 is therefore located at the rear of the stack, with respect to the direction of travel and is pushing the stack forward as bar 20 is carried along by chains 21, 22. Arms 42 are now located directly beneath the stack and as forward cam follower and roller 43, 44 is guided into the inclined portion of channel 47 it will cause bar 20 to pivot about pin 23 so that arms 42 also pivot about bar 20 to engage the bottom of the stack and start tilting it about its lower rear edge. As roller 44 continues to travel into the vertical section of channel 47, arms 42 will continue to rotate about bar 20 and will therefore continue to push the stack supported thereon about its rear edge until arms 42 are completely vertically disposed so that the stack has been flipped onto its back. The last article in the stack, or the one which was in contact with pin 19 on the forward side as the pin penetrated the stream, is now located at the bottom of the stack resting on rails 16, 17. As roller 44 continues to travel upward in the vertical section of channel 47 after the stack has been tumbled, bar 20 will continue to travel forward until it begins to travel about sprocket wheels 29 and 37. In the meantime one of the pushers 58 has become erected by its roller 59 riding onto cam 60 and will engage the rear of the tumbled stack and will continue to advance the stack until it is pushed onto the orienting table. Bar 20 will now travel down with the chains toward sprocket wheels 26 and 34 carrying cam follower 43 and arms 42 down with it until roller 44 is caught by cam 51 so that it now rides along in channel 53 as bar 20 travels toward sprocket wheels 28 and 36. Roller 44 and forward cam 43 will, at the end of cam 52, then be flipped up into channel 47 as rear cam 45 and roller 46 travel over cam 54 to impart the whiplash effect discussed above. Pins 19 will then penetrate the streams as bar 20 travels around wheels 28 and 36, and new stacks of articles will be separated from the streams, the cycle being repeated.

As stacks A, B, C and D are deposited onto the orienting table at stations 61, pneumatically operated valve 87 is deactivated so that mover plate 82 sweeps across the table at station 62 so as to push any remaining stacks onto table 63 for removal so that the entire orienting table is clear for proper operation of a complete cycle. The valve 87 is then activated once again so that plate 82 returns to its normal position.

The stacks will remain at stations 61, as shown in FIG. 8, until a pusher 93 carried by chains 91 and 92 travels around sprocket wheel 99, as seen in FIG. 4 so that roller 95 rides onto cam and finger 94 becomes erect to engage the rear end of the stack. The timing is such that this occurs almost immediately after the stacks have been delivered to stations 61. Stacks B and C will therefore be immediately carried forward to station 62. At this point, as seen in FIG. 9, mover plate 81 is caused to push stack D from its initial position at station 61 to the position previously occupied by stack B so that it too may be advanced by the pushers carried on chain 91. At this point the pins 19 have again penetrated streams A, B, C, and D so that new stacks A", B", C", and D are being formed. Mover 81 will be pushed back to its normal position adjacent frame 69, stacks B and C will continue to be advanced onto the first station of the delivery table and stack D will follow behind B to station 62 as shown in FIG. 10. Stack A will then be pushed over to the position previously occupied by stack C by the mover 80. Stack A will then be advanced along channel 65 by the pushers on chain 92. In the meantime stacks A", B", C", and D" are being tumbled to form stacks of horizontally oriented articles as shown in FIG. 11. As stacks B, C and D continue to be advanced along the delivery table, A having been advanced to the first station of the delivery table and new stacks A, B", C", and D" advanced onto stations 61 of the orienting table, mover plate 82 will again sweep across station 62 so as to clear it for another full operating cycle which will be repeated.

As discussed above with regard to the construction of the delivery table mechanism, a stack will be advanced only when the next station is unoccupied. 1f the printer unit should for some reason not be operating at full speed or should it become jammed up so that it fails to operate entirely, all four stations will eventually become occupied. The switch at the denester 12 will remain open so that solenoid 119 is deenergized and air cylinder 119 deactivated so that short cam 100 (or long cam 105 of FIG. 6) will remain in the lowered position. Since the fourth station is occupied cam 109 will also be lowered, as will cams 108, 107, and 106. With short cam 106 also in the lowered position, pusher roller 94 will not ride onto long cam 101 and the stack at station 62 will not be advanced onto the delivery table, but will rather remain at station 62. At the end of the cycle, mover plate 82 will again sweep across station 62 and push the stacks onto table 63. if the jam up at the printer continues, the mover 82 will continue to push any stacks that are advanced to station 62 onto table 63 from whence they can be removed. In this manner it can be understood that the former 11 can continue to produce the articles and advance them in streams into the receiving chutes of the receiving table 13 even though the printer unit might not be operating at all or operating at reduced speeds. Once the trouble at the printer is cleared up, the stack at the last station on the delivery table will be delivered to the denester and the stack at the third station 127, will be advanced to the now unoccupied fourth station 128, etc., etc., until ultimately all stacks are being continuously advanced.

it can accordingly be understood from the foregoing description that a completely automatic device for transferring articles from a forming device to a printing device, which enables the former to operate at speeds completely independent from the speed of the printer, has been provided which is capable of receiving streams of vertically oriented nested articles from the forming apparatus and delivering them to the denester of the printer in separate stacks of horizontally oriented articles.

While the invention has been described and illustrated with respect to a certain preferred embodiment which gives satisfactory results, it will be understood by those skilled in the art, after understanding the purpose of the invention that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

1. Apparatus for transferring articles from a first device for operating thereon to a receiving station of a second device for operating on the articles, said apparatus comprising a receiving and tumbling section having receiving means for receiving a plurality of streams of articles in a vertically oriented nested relationship from said first device, separating means for separating said streams into stacks of predetermined number of articles, and a tumbling means for tumbling said separated stacks so that said articles are nested in horizontally oriented stacks; an orienting table adjacent at one end thereof to said receiving and tumbling section comprising means for narrowing said plurality of streams into two separate delivery paths, advancement means for advancing said separated stacks of articles from said receiving and tumbling section onto said orienting table; and a delivery table adjacent the other end of said orienting table comprising a supporting surface for said stacks with a plurality of stations for each path of stacked articles, means for advancing said separated stacks from one station to the next toward the receiving station of said second device, sensing means mounted on said delivery table for detecting the relative positions of said stacks on said surface, means responsive to said sensing means for causing advancement of said stacks towards said second device when the next forward station is unoccupied, means for transferring said stacks from said orienting table to said delivery table when the first station is unoccupied, and means for delivering said stacks of horizontally oriented nested articles from said delivery table to the said receiving station of said second device.

2. Apparatus for transferring articles from a first device for operating thereon to a receiving station of a second device for operating on the articles, said apparatus comprising a receiving and tumbling section having a receiving means for receiving a plurality of streams of articles in a vertically oriented nested relationship from said first device, separating means for separating said streams into stacks of predetermined number of articles, and a tumbling means for tumbling said separated stacks so that said articles are nested in horizontally oriented stacks; an orienting table adjacent at one end thereof to said receiving and tumbling section comprising means for narrowing said plurality of streams into two separate delivery paths, advancement means for advancing said separated stacks of articles from said receiving and tumbling section onto said orienting table; and a delivery table adjacent the other end of said orienting table comprising a supporting surface for said stacks with a plurality of stations for each path of stacked articles, means for advancing said separated stacks from one station to the next toward the receiving station of said second device, sensing means mounted on said delivery table for detecting the relative positions of said stacks on said surface, means responsive to said sensing means for causing advancement of said stacks towards said second device when the next forward station is unoccupied, means for transferring said stacks from said orienting table to said delivery table when the first station is unoccupied, and means for delivering said stacks of horizontally oriented nested articles from said delivery table to the said receiving station of said second device, wherein said receiving means comprises in addition a plurality of defined paths for receiving said plurality of streams and a platform within each of said defined paths for supporting said streams of articles on their edges, wherein said separating means comprises pins carried on a first transverse bar beneath said platform for penetrating said streams and separating stacks therefrom, wherein said tumbling means are attached to said first transverse bar for pivoting each stack about its lower rear edge so that each stack is tumbled onto its rear article, and where said advancement means comprises a pusher mechanism travelling beneath said platform carried on a second transverse bar for engaging the rear of each stack and advancing it onto said orienting table.

3. The apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said first transverse bar carrying said pins is caused to travel about an endless path so that said pins are caused to penetrate said streams at predetermined intervals for separating therefrom said stacks.

4. The apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said pusher mechanism is caused to engage the rear of said stack after said stack is tumbled for advancing said stack onto said orienting table.

5. The apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said means for pivoting said stacks comprises a pair of arms attached to said first bar and extending away therefrom in the direction of its travel for supporting said stack.

6. The apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said first transverse bar is pivotally carried between a pair of endless chains and is caused to pivot about its transverse axis so that said arms also pivot about said axis for tumbling said stacks, and guide means for causing said first bar and said arms to pivot about said axis.

7. Apparatus for transferring articles from a first device for operating thereon to a receiving station of a second device for operating on the articles, said apparatus comprising a receiving and tumbling section having a receiving means for receiving a plurality of streams of articles in a vertically oriented nested relationship from said first device, separating means for separating said streams into stacks of predetermined number of articles, and a tumbling means for tumbling said separated stacks so that said articles are nested in horizontally oriented stacks; an orienting table adjacent at one end thereof to said receiving and tumbling section comprising means for narrowing said plurality of streams into two separate delivery paths, advancement means for advancing said separated stacks of articles from said receiving and tumbling section onto said orienting table; and a delivery table adjacent the other end of said orienting table comprising a supporting surface for said stacks with a plurality of stations for each path of stacked articles, means for advancing said separated stacks from one station to the next toward the receiving station of said second device, sensing means mounted on said delivery table for detecting the relative positions of said stacks on said surface, means responsive to said sensing means for causing advancement of said stacks towards said second device when the next forward station is unoccupied, means for transferring said stacks from said orienting table to said delivery table when the first station is unoccupied, and means for delivering said stacks of horizontally oriented nested articles from said delivery table to the said receiving station of said second device, and wherein said orienting table further comprises a first station, a second station and a discharge station, means for advancing said stacks from said first station to said second station, pusher means for advancing said stacks from said second station of said orienting table onto said delivery table when said delivery table has unoccupied spaces thereon, means for causing said pusher means to be inactive when said delivery table is fully occupied so that no stacks are advanced from said second station to said delivery table, means for pushing the nonadvanced stacks at said first station into a path behind said advanced stacks so that the nonadvanced stacks may be advanced toward said second station and towards said delivery table, and means for clearing said second station of nonadvanced stacks onto said discharge station when said delivery table has no unoccupied spaces so that said second station is always free to receive stacks being advanced from said first station.

8 The apparatus according to claim 7 wherein said means for advancing said stacks comprises a plurality of pushers pivotally mounted on a chain carried beneath said table for engaging the rear of said stacks and carrying said stacks forward as said chain is advanced.

9. The apparatus according to claim 8 wherein said means for pushing said nonadvanced stacks at said first station into a path behind the advanced stacks comprises a pair of pusher plates mounted on a pair of transversely extended rails for riding thereon and a pair of air cylinders mounted on the side frames of said orienting table having their plungers attached to said mover plates so that when said air cylinders are deactuated said plates will move towards said cylinder and push said stacks into the path.

10. The apparatus according to claim 9 wherein said means for moving said stacks from said second station to said discharge station comprises a pusher plate mounted on a pair of transversely extended rails for riding thereon and an air cylinder having its plunger attached to said mover plate for causing movement thereof.

1 1. Apparatus for transferring articles from a first device for operating thereon to a receiving station of a second device for operating on the articles, said apparatus comprising a receiving and tumbling section having a receiving means for receiving a plurality of streams of articles in a vertically oriented nested relationship from said first device, separating means for separating said streams into stacks of predetermined number of articles, and a tumbling means for tumbling said separated stacks so that said articles are nested in horizontally oriented stacks; an orienting table adjacent at one end thereof to said receiving and tumbling section comprising means for narrowing said plurality of streams into two separate delivery paths, advancement means for advancing said separated stacks of articles from said receiving and tumbling section onto said orienting table; and a delivery table adjacent the other end of said orienting table comprising a supporting surface for said stacks havin a pair of channels therein with a plurality of statlons for eac path of stacked articles, means travelling within said channels for carrying a plurality of pusher mechanisms for advancing said separated stacks from one station to the next toward the receiving station of said second device, means mounted beneath said supporting surface for causing said pusher mechanisms to become erect so as to advance said stacks along said table towards said second operating device, a plurality of sensing means for determining the relative position of said stacks on said delivery table, means responsive to said sensing means for causing actuation of a mechanism for causing said pushers to become activated when the next forward station is unoccupied, means for causing said pusher mechanism carrying means to travel in a forward direction, means for transferring said stacks from said orienting table to said delivery table when the first station is unoccupied, and means for delivering said stacks of horizontally oriented nested articles from said delivery table to the said receiving station of said second device.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification414/795.6, 198/444, 198/434, 198/411, 414/796, 198/718, 198/448
International ClassificationB65G47/68, B65G47/71
Cooperative ClassificationB65G47/71, B65G47/681
European ClassificationB65G47/68B, B65G47/71