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Publication numberUS3587677 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 28, 1971
Filing dateMar 28, 1969
Priority dateMar 28, 1969
Publication numberUS 3587677 A, US 3587677A, US-A-3587677, US3587677 A, US3587677A
InventorsKing Percy
Original AssigneeHaskon Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Feeding mechanism for a machine for filling containers of different sizes
US 3587677 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 3,465,494 9/1969 Garrettetah 53/168 Primary Examiner- Laverne D. Geiger Assistant Examiner- Edward .I. Earls Altomey- Edwin H. Dafter, Jr.

ABSTRACT: A feeding mechanism for a machine for filling and closing containers of different types and sizes such as the various paper and plastic containers used for packaging milk, comprising a feed bar movable endwise through a four-stroke feed cycle wherein the means for pivotally moving the feed bar is adjustably coupled to the feed bar to vary the stroke of the pivotal movement by varying the clearing position without varying the feeding position, whereby there is a minimum pivotal stroke for each size container. The feeding elements comprise blades movable into and outof feeding position upon pivotal movement of the feed bar, the blades having a plurality of fingers that engage the containers during the advance stroke and provide for adjustment of the container support to different vertical positions relative to the feeding elements to accommodate different sizes of containers and for pivotal movement of the blades into and out of feeding positron.

PATENTEDJuuz 8 m:

SHEET 3 BF 4 INVENTOR WC/J PERCY KING ATTORNEY FEEDING MECHANISM FOR A MACHINE FOR FILLING CONTAINERS OF DIFFERENT SIZES This invention relates to a filling and closing machine such as the machine forming the subject matter of US. Pat. No. 3,383,829, which machine is adapted to fill and close different types and sizes of containers such as the different sizes of paper cartons and plastic bottles or jugs commonly used for packaging milk. More particularly, the present invention relates to the feeding mechanism for feeding or advancing the containers in such a machine.

Milk is normally packaged for retail sale in containers which, by way of example, may include half-pint, pint, quart and half-gallon paper cartons, and gallon and six-quart plastic bottles or jugs. In an operation such as a small dairy, there is insufficient volume of any size and type of container to justify the expense ofa machine specifically designed or set up to fill and close each size and type of container. For example, a dairy may have a daily requirement for milk in paper quart containers that would require the operation ofa filling and closing machine for only a limited period of time. At the same time, that particular dairy may have a total requirement for milk in all sizes and types of containers normally used by that particular dairy that would not be sufficient to require the continuous operation of one filling and closing machine, or may otherwise have a machine that is not used to its capacity. Under such and similar circumstances, it is desirable ,to have a machine that can be quickly and conveniently converted for operation with different sizes and types of containers. From the standpoint of the machine manufacturer, it is also advantageous to manufacture and supply a minimum number of different machines and parts.

In a filling machine such as the forming the subject matter of copending Pat. application Ser. No. 636,!82, filed May 4, 1967 now US. Pat. No. 3,465,494 the containers are advanced to successive operative positions at which they are filled and closed. The filling mechanism may for example comprise a so-called time-fill such as that forming the subject matter of the Mojonnier Pat., Reissue No. 23,830, May 18, 1954, wherein a filling valve is opened for a precisely timed interval so that, with a constant levelor head at the supply, a precisely measured quantity of material is delivered into the container at the filling position. Inasmuch as a relatively long time is required to deliver a relatively large quantity ofa liquid such as milk through a single valve into a container without excessive splashing or foaming, the cycle time of the machine, which is preferably as short as possible, is usually limited by the filling time. In order to reduce the filling time, the machine may be provided with a plurality of filling valves, each of which defines a filling position, and the containers are partially filled in equal increments at each of the several filling positions by a fraction of its volume corresponding to the number of filling positions, for example, the machine may have three filling positions, and one-third of the total volume of the container is introduced into the container at each position.

In addition to the successive filling positions, the machine may also have a plurality of heating positions and a sealing and a capping position. At the heating positions, the top flaps of a paper carton are heated to soften the plastic coating and thereby adapt the'carton for sealing by the sealing head. The number of heating positions provided is determined by the time required to heat the top flaps of the carton properly without employing excessively high temperatures, or in other words, with the cycle time of the machine determined by the time required to effect filling, the number of heating positions required is determined by the number of machine cycles required to provide enough time for a selected heater temperature to heat the carton flaps to their sealing temperature, which may for example be three cycles ofthe machine.

At the sealing position there is provided a sealing head for closing the top flaps of paper cartons and at the capping position there is provided a capping head for applying the usual paper, metal or plastic closures to plastic jugs or bottles. The

time required for these operations is relatively short so that they can be completed during the filling operation. If necessary for small containers where the filling time of the machine is very short, a second sealing position may be provided to provide sufficient time to effect sealing.

In the cycling of the machine as herein contemplated, the feeding mechanism for advancing the containers through the machine operates through a four-stroke feeding cycle which includes an advance or feeding stroke, an avoidance or clearing motion where the feeding elements are moved laterally of the machine to a position clear of the containers, a return stroke, and a drive-establishing motion where the feeding elements are moved back into feeding or pushing relation relative to the containers. In order to minimize the cycle time of the machine, the clearing motion, the return stroke and the driveestablishing stroke are preferably completed during the filling time so that the only portion of the feeding cycle that figures into the cycle time of the machine is the advance stroke. Thus, the cycle of the machine begins with the advance stroke of the feeding mechanism, at the end of which the filling cycle is automatically initiated while the feeding cycle continues until the feeding mechanism returns to and stops at the beginning of the next advance stroke. The feed mechanism remains at rest at the beginning of the advance stroke until the filling mechanism completes the filling cycle and automatically initiates another cycle of the machine beginning with the advance stroke of the feed mechanism.

As noted above, the operation of the feeding mechanism does not figure into the cycle time of the machine except for the advance stroke. However, in filling relatively small containers, the filling time is relatively short and the filling operation is completed before the feeding mechanism is returned to the beginning of the advance stroke. This may be true even when only a single filling position is used and the additional filling positions, if any, are rendered inoperative or idle. The cycle time of the machine under these circumstances is determined by the feeding mechanism so that the cycle time of the machine can be reduced, and the productivity of the machine correspondingly increased, by reducing the cycle time of the feeding mechanism.

In accordance with this invention, there is provided a fourstroke feeding mechanism having a feed bar that is mounted for pivotal and for endwise movement, with the feed bar having a plurality of feeding elements spaced along the same at a spacing that is equal to the spacing of the operative positions of the machine. The feed bar is moved through a four-stroke cycle wherein it moves endwise through its advance and return strokes and is moved pivotally into its clearing and feeding positions relative to the containers. The containers are supported relative to the operative positions of the machine by a slide along which they are moved by the feeding mechanism,

with a separate and readily replaceable slide being providedfor each of the different cross sections of the containers for which the machine is designed, that is, there is a single slide provided for the half-pint, pint and quart paper cartons, all of which have the same cross section and which vary in height to provide the different volumes, and there are different slides provided for example for the half-gallon paper carton and for the gallon and the six-quart plastic jugs, all of which have different cross sections.

The spacing of the operative positions along the machine is determined by the length, that is, the dimension endwise of the machine, of the largest container for which the machine is designed, which may be for example, the gallon and six-quart plastic containers which have the same length and height but differ in width, that is, their dimension transversely of the machine, to provide the different volumes. The slide is verti cally adjustable to accommodate variations in the height of the different containers. The starting position of each feeding cycle is adjustable to vary the position of the feed bar endwise of the machine and thus to locate the different sizes and types of containers in the proper position relative to the filling and closing mechanism.

In the present machine, the feeding elements are designed to cooperate in an effective feeding or pushing relation with the different containers. For this purpose. the feeding elements are provided with a plurality of container-engaging fingers that are positioned vertically of the elements in position to overhang the container-supporting slide and to engage the containers at vertically spaced points so that they will be moved along the slide without upsetting. At least one of the fingers engaging each size of paper carton will be advanced square relative to the slide. At the same time, the fingers are arranged so that they can accommodate the different vertical positions of the slide for the different containers. To provide clearance relative to the machine parts such as the slide while also providing a pushing element that is sufficiently long to span the width of the carton, the upper extremities of the fingers are shaped arcuately about the pivot axis of the feed bar.

To minimize the cycle time of the feeding mechanism in the present machine, the pivotal movement of the feed bar between its clearing and feeding positions is minimized. In the feeding position, the feeding elements are disposed substantially vertically at the side of the container-supporting slide with the fingers extending over the slide into pushing relation relative to the containers on the slide. In the clearing position, the feeding elements are pivoted away from the slide until the feeding elements are clear of the containers so that the feeding elements can be moved endwise of the machine relative to the containers through the return stroke. Since the containers are centered along the axis of the machine, which is defined by the centerline of the filling valves and the heating, sealing and capping mechanisms, the clearing motion of the feeding elements is therefore determined essentially by the widest container for which the machine is designed.

Considering for example the two common cross sections for paper milk cartons, that is, the quart-size cross section, which is also used for the half-pint and pint cartons, and the half-gallon cross section, the difference in the widths of the cartons is only about 1 inch, that is, the difference between the 2-'%-inch width of the quart carton and the 3%-inch width of the halfgallon carton. Thus a single set of feeding elements or pusher assembly can be used with each of these cross sections. The gallon and six-quart plastic jugs can also be advanced by a single set of feeding elements since they are sufficiently close in design, that is, their widths together with the heights of the sidewalls and the slope at their top walls, and since the finger need not span the entire width of the jug because the jugsare easier to feed and do not have the tendency to warp as do paper cartons. However, the difference in the widths between the half-gallon paper carton on the one hand and the six-quart plastic jug on the other hand is quite large so that feeding elements long enough for feeding the six-quart plastic jugs and have a pivotal motion of sufficient arc to clear the same, in longer than required to span the half-gallon carton and has an excessive clearing motion. The excessive movement prolongs the cycle time of the machine, or conversely, to maintain the same cycle time for both the quart and half-gallon sizes on the one hand and the plastic jugs on the other hand, greater forces would be required for the greater motion and this, in turn, requires a heavier and more expensive machine and also produces more vibration and noise in operation.

In accordance with this invention, means is provided in the feeding mechanism of the machine for conveniently substituting one set of feeding elements for another and for adjusting the pivotal movement of the feed bar so that only a minimum pivotal movement is provided relative to both sets of feeding elements. More particularly, the feeding mechanism is such that the same drive members are used for both sets of feeding elements while the adjustment is effected only at the clearing position without adjustment of the feeding position. To provide this adjustment, the clearing motion which is provided by the pivotal movement of the feed bar, is provided by a crank mechanism having an adjustable connection to a drive mechanism having a fixed throw. Therefore, by adjusting the connection between the crank and drive mechanism, the angular movement of the feed bar and its position at. the feeding and clearing positions can be quickly and easily adjusted. The drive mechanism is simple and inexpensive, and no additional parts are required to effect the adjustment.

The present invention is hereinafter described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. I is an elevational view partly broken away and in section ofa filling machine embodying the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view in perspective of a portion of the machine of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view taken substantially on the line 3-3 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a detail sectional view taken substantially on the line 4-4 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary elevational view of the feeding mechanism of the machine of FIG. 1, the illustrated portion being at the right of FIG. I and looking from the rear thereof.

FIG. 6 is a detail view taken substantially on the line 6-6 of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary sectional view transversely of the machine of FIG. 1 substantially on the line 7-7.

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary sectional view similar to FIG. 7 with a different set of pusher elements mounted on the machine.

With reference to the drawings, the present invention is illustrated as embodied in a filling machine I that is adapted to fill and to close various sizes and types of paper and plastic containers with a flowable material and particularly a liquid such as milk.

The machine 1 comprises a base 2 having a top 3. Overhanging the top 3 is a supporting structure comprising a pair of spaced parallel rods 4 disposed endwise of the machine in a plane parallel to the top 3 and supported by vertical supporting bars 5 upstanding from the top 3. The rods 4 in turn support a filling and closing apparatus including a filling tank 6, a heater 7, a sealing head 8 and a capping head 9. In addition to the filling tank 6, the filling apparatus includes a plurality of filling valves 10 which may be of the type forming the subject matter of the Austin et al. U.S. Pat. No. 3,411,745, Nov. 19, I968, and which comprise a spout ll, FIG. 7, depending from the tank 6 and having a valve 11a internally thereof that is adapted to be opened and closed by a solenoid 12, FIG. 1, mounted above the tank 6. In the illustrated embodiment of the invention, there are three of the filling valves 10 and they are actuated by suitable time control mechanism in a control panel 13 mounted on a support in the form of a supporting plate 14.

The heater 7 is adapted to heat the top flaps or panels of the usual paper milk carton to soften the plastic coating thereon and thus render the same sealable by the sealing head 8. The capping head 9 is adapted to apply a conventional paper, metal or plastic closure or cap to the spout of a plastic container. When paper cartons are being filled and closed, the capping head 9 is preferably moved from the machine, and

when plastic containers are being filled and closed, the heater 7 and sealing head 8 are either removed from the machine or tilted back about the rear one of the rods 4 to an inoperative position.

As illustrated in application Ser. No. 636,182, the containers to be filled and closed are fed to the filling machine at the input end thereof alternatively by a carton-forming machine (not shown) or by a conveyor mechanism (not shown). The forming machine may be of the type disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,364,826, which is adapted to erect paper cartons from flat carton blanks. The conveyor mechanism is adapted to receive plastic bottles or jugs which may, for example, be loaded thereon manually and to advance them to the filling machine 1.

The filling machine 1 receives the containers to be filled on a container-supporting member in the form ofa slide 15 that is arranged endwise of the machine and is supported on the upper ends of a plurality of posts 16 mounted vertically in the top 3 for endwise sliding. The slide 15 has upstanding lips l7, FIG. 3, along the edges thereof to confine the base of the container to movement endwise of the slide 15.

In order to accommodate containers having different widths, a plurality of the slides are provided, each of which is dimensioned relative to a particular container or series of containers having the same width, that is, containers such as the pint and quart paper milk cartons. To provide for com venient substitution of one slide for another, the slide 15 is releasably secured to a bar 18 mounted on the top of the posts 16. The means for fastening the slide 15 to the bar 18 may comprise for example a stud 19, FIG. 4, depending from the slide and extending through a slot in the bar 18. The stud 19 may have a threaded bore extending upwardly into the same from the lower end and adapted to receive, for example, a wing-type bolt (not shown) for securing the slide 15 to the bar 18 and thus hold the same against warping such as may occur when the slide 15 is positioned close to the heater 7 when supporting small cartons. There are preferably at least two of the internally threaded studs 19 spaced along the slide 15 as well as one or more solid studs which extend into slots similar to the slot 20 to the position the slide 15 on the bar 18.

The posts I6 are adapted to be adjusted endwise to raise and lower the slide 15 relative to the tank 6 and the other mechanisms carried by the rods 4, and thereby effect an adjustment to compensate for the differences in the heights of the different containers whereby the containers will be supported in operative position relative to the filling valves 10 and the heating and sealing and capping mechanisms despite dif ferences in their height. Each of the posts 16 is thus mounted for endwise sliding in bushings 22 in the top 3 and has the lower end thereof connected endwise to a rack 23 that meshes with a pinion 24 on a shaft 25 journaled longitudinally of the base 2 in generally U-shaped brackets 26 which also serve to guide the racks 23 vertically. The brackets 26 are carried by an angle member 260 extending endwise of the machine between the sidewalls of the base 2. The shaft 25 is adjusted angularly to raise and lower the rods 16 by a jack shaft 27, FIG. 3, journaled in a bracket 26b that is also carried by the angle member 26a, the jack shaft 27 having a worm 28 meshing with a worm wheel 29 on the shaft 25 and extending through the front wall of the base 2 to receive a hand wheel or crank 30.

The means for moving or indexing the containers along the slide 15 comprises a feed means 31 which includes a feed bar 32 mounted in bearing blocks 33 on the top 3 for pivotal movement and for axial sliding in a direction endwise of the machine, that is, in a direction parallel to the slide 15. The feed bar 32 carries a supporting bar 34 mounted thereon by means of a plurality of supporting collars 35 (FIG. 2) secured to the feed bar 32 and to which supporting arms 36 are secured by hand nuts 360, the arms 36 being in turn secured to and extending rearwardly from the bar 34.

A plurality of feeding elements in the form of blades 37 are secured in a uniformly spaced relation along the supporting bar 34. The pushing or containerengaging portions of the blades are substantially planar and are disposed substantially normal to the axis of the feed bar 32. The spacing ofthe blades 37 along the feed bar 32 is made to accommodate the largest container for which the machine is designed, that is, the container having the largest dimension endwise of the machine, plus sufficient clearance between adjacent containers to permit insertion of the blades 37 between them into feeding positions. The location of the filling valves 10 as well as the sealing head 8 and capping head 9 are comparably spaced endwise of the machine so that the containers are disposed in successive operative positions upon successive feeding cycles.

The feed bar 32 is designed to be operated through a fourstroke feeding cycle including l an advance or feeding stroke in which the feed bar 32 is moved axially or endwise of the machine with the blades 37 in feeding or pushing relation relative to the containers on the slide 15, (2) a clearing or container-avoiding motion in which the feed bar is moved pivotally to move the blades 37 from the feeding or operative position illustrated in full lines in FIG. 7 to the clearing or inoperative position illustrated in dotted lines in FIG. 7 and in which they will not engage the containers upon endwise movement of the feed bar, (3) a return stroke in which the feed bar '32 is moved endwise to its starting position, and (4) a container-engaging motion in which the feed bar is moved pivotally to move the blades 37 from their clearing to their feeding position relative to the containers in preparation for the next advance stroke.

The means for moving the feed bar 32 endwise during the advance and return strokes comprises a rotary hydraulic motor 38 that is secured to and depends from the underside of the top 3. The motor 38 has an output shaft 39 with a crank arm 40 secured thereon. The arm 40 is pivotally connected by a crankpin 41 to one end of a connecting rod 42 pivotally connected at its other end through a joint 43 to a push rod 44 mounted for endwise sliding movement in a bushing 45 secured to the wall of the base 2. At its other end, the push rod 44 is secured to a connecting member 46 having a bore 47 (FIG. 5) that receives the feed bar 32 for pivotal movement relative thereto. The connecting member 46 is locked to the feed bar 32 for movement endwise therewith by a pair of collars as illustrated by the nuts 48.

'Adjustment of the connecting member 46 endwise of the push rod 44 is effected by a hand wheel 49 secured to a socket member 50 rotatable in and held against endwise movement relative to the connecting member 46 by a flange 51. The socket 50 has an internally threaded bore 52 that receives the threaded end of the push rod 44 whereby, when the hand wheel 49 is turned, the connecting member 46 is moved endwise of the push rod 44. Thus, the end positions of the feed bar 32 at the beginning and end of the advance stroke are adjusted for aligning the various sizes of containers in the operative positions.

The means for moving the feed bar 32 pivotally between its feeding and clearing positions comprises a hydraulic cylinder carried by a bracket in the form of two spaced supporting plates 61 secured to the underside of the top 3. The cylinder 60 is pivotally secured at its lower end to the plates 61 by a pair of spaced pivot arms 62 carried by the plates 61 between which a tongue 63 on the cylinder 60 is pivotally secured by a pivot pin 64. A piston rod 65 extends from the opposite end of the cylinder 60 upwardly through a slot 66 in the top 3. At its upper end, the piston rod 65 is secured to a connecting block 67 that is loosely mounted for pivotal and sliding movement on an elongated coupling pin 68. The pin 68 is mounted at its ends in bores 69 in a pair of cranks 70 secured to the feed bar 32. The cranks 70 also help to support the supporting bar 34 and are spaced along the feed bar 32 on opposite sides of the block 67 a distance sufficient to provide for the endwise motion of the feed bar 32 relative to the block 67 during the advance and return stroke of the feed bar 32, during which motion the coupling pin 68 slides endwise relative to the block 67.

The coupling pin 68 is held against endwise movement in the bores 69 of the cranks 70 by means which, as illustrated in FIG. 6, may comprise a locking pin 71 having a shank 72 and a head 74. The shank 72 of the pin 71 is inserted into a bore 75 in one of the cranks 70. The shank 72 of the locking pin 71 intersects the periphery of and is seated in a circumferential groove 76 in the coupling pin 68 to lock the coupling pin 68 against endwise movement relative to the crank 70. With the locking pin 71 removed, the coupling pin 68 can be withdrawn endwise from the bores 69, which may be facilitated by a knob 77 (FIG. 5) secured to the one end of the coupling pin 68.

The block 67 is held against movement with the coupling pin 68 by a retaining block 78 which has a first pair of cars 79 that straddle one of the bearing blocks 33 and have bores 80 that receive the feed bar 32 for endwise sliding and for turning relative thereto. The retaining block 78 has a second pair of cars 81 that straddle the connecting block 67 and have bores 82 that receive the coupling pin 68 for endwise sliding and for turning relative thereto. The retaining block 78 is thus held captive by the bearing block'33 for endwise sliding of the feed bar 32 relative thereto and in turn functions to hold the connecting block 67 captive for endwise sliding of the coupling pin 68 relative thereto.

In the construction described above, the endwise movement of the feed bar 32 is provided by the arcuate throw of the hydraulic motor 38. The angular stroke of the motor 38 is controlled by a pair of switches 83 and 84 having switch arms adapted to be engaged by a trip surface on the crank arm 40 or connecting rod 42.'The switch 83 is actuated by the trip surface at the end of the advance stroke to stop the forward drive of the motor 38 and to actuate the cylinder 60 to pivot the feed bar 32 to its clearing position. At the same time, the drive of the motor 38 is reversed so that when it is again actuated, such as by a switch (not shown) that is tripped by the mechanism for pivotally moving the feed bar 32, the feed bar 32 is driven through its return stroke. The switch 84 is actuated at the end of the return stroke of the motor 38 to stop the return stroke, reverse the drive therefor and actuate the cylinder 60 to pivot the feed bar 32 to its feeding position. Upon completion of the pivotal movement to the feeding position, the pivotal movement is for example automatically stopped. The next feeding cycle may be started automatically upon completion of the one feeding cycle or upon completion of the filling cycle, whichever is longer.

In operation, the containers that are delivered to the machine 1 may comprise either paper cartons discharged from a carton forming machine onto the slide to the right of the first blade 37 at the right of the machine in FIG. 1, or plastic bottles or jugs advanced such as by a conveyor mechanism into the space between the second and third blades 37. In either case, the container is deposited onto the slide 15 at the input end of the machine 1. As the feed mechanism moves through its advance stroke, the container, which may for example be a conventional one-half gallon paper milk carton such as the container C illustrated in phantom in FIG. 1, is engaged by a pushing surface on the connecting member 46 and advanced one position along the slide 15. On subsequent cycles of the feeding mechanism, the carton C is advanced to three successive filling positions where the carton C is advanced to three successive filling positions where the carton is in position to receive liquid or other flowable material dispensed from the spouts 11 with the carton receiving onethird of its designed volume at each position. On the next four cycles of the feeding mechanism, the carton C is advanced past the heater 7 to heat the top flaps or panels thereof to a sealing temperature at which the plastic coating is softened. The container is then advanced on subsequent cycles into operative position relative to the sealing head 8, and to an idle position before being advanced into operative position relative to the capping head 9 and to the discharge of the machine. With paper cartons, the capping head 9 is not used and the cartons, after being sealed by the sealing head 8, are advanced to two idle positions to the discharge of the machine. With plastic containers, the heater and sealing hear are not used so that the containers are advanced through six idle positions to the capping head 9 and from it to the discharge from the machine.

As mentioned above, the container feeding elements of the machine comprise the blades 37 that are secured to the supporting bar 34 which, in turn, carried by the feed bar 32. The blades 37 are preferably formed from sheet material and each comprises a supporting portion 85 and a container-engaging portion 86 having three fingers, namely, an upper finger 87, an intermediate finger 88, and a lower finger 89. In the feeding position of the blade 37, which is as illustrated in full lines in FIG. 7, the supporting portion 85 of each blade 37 is arranged in a substantially vertical plane parallel and adjacent to the rear edge of the slide 15. The container-engaging portion 86 of the blade 37 is bent normal to the supporting portion 85 so that the fingers 87, 88 and 89 are in a plane normal to and overhanging the slide 15.

The container-engaging portions 86 of the blades 37 are designed to provide for feeding a number of different sizes of containers having similar cross sections but different sizes of containers having similar cross sections but different heights, for example, the half-gallon paper cartons as well as the quart, pint and half-pint paper cartons. In FIG. 7, the slide 15 for the half-gallon paper carton is illustrated in full lines while the slide 15a for the quart, pint and half-pint paper cartons, which is the same slide in different positions of vertical adjustment, is illustrated in phantom at positions Pa, P2 and P3 respectively. The portions 86 of the blades 37 are designed to accommodate the slide 15 or 15a in the different vertical positions such as the positions P1, P2 and P3, and also to engage each of the different cartons at vertically spaced points, or more particularly, adjacent to both the top and the bottom of each carton, so that the advancing force or push is applied uniformly to the carton without a tendency to upset them. With the taller cartons, that is, the quart and half-gallon cartons, all three of the fingers 87, 88 and 89 engage the carton with the finger 87 at the top of the carton and the lower finger 89 at the bottom of the carton. ln feeding the intermediate size carton, which for example may be a pint carton, the slide 15a is in the intermediate position P2 and the carton is engaged adjacent to the top by the upper finger 87 and at the bottom by the intermediate finger 88, while the lower finger 89 is disposed beneath the slide 15 and is thus inoperative. The lower finger 89 is also relatively short to avoid interference with the bar 18. The small size carton, which is for example the half-pint carton, is engaged only by the upper finger 87, which has a height whereby a major portion of the vertical dimension of the carton face is engaged by the finger. The intermediate finger 88 at this time also passes under the slide 15a and, like the lower finger 89, is relatively short to avoid interference with the bar 18.

The fingers 87, 88 and 89 are also formed so that they will prevent warping of the carton, or in other words, causing the cross section to move out of square to a diamond shape. For this purpose, the upper finger 87 is made sufficiently long to span the width of the carton and thereby engage the same in pushing relation at both of the trailing corners, that is, the corners at the edges of the face opposed to the finger 87. With the bottom of the carton sealed, the bottom portion thereof is locked square by the bottom wall. The top of the carton is also to some extent h'eld square by the spreader plate 90 and drip guard 91. However, because of the memory from the flat blank from which it was formed, there is an inherent tendency for the carton to warp with the carton wall at the front of the machine, which is the wall whose trailing corner is engaged by the free end of the finger 87, to trail the rear wall. Thus, the engagement of the upper finger 87 at the front trailing corner of the carton tends to force the carton into square. The lower and intermediate fingers 89 and 88, which engage the cartons adjacent to the closed and thus squared bottom wall, are used only to advance the bottom of the carton with the top and thus need be long enough only to engage the adjacent corner of the carton, which is the rear trailing corner. The fingers 88 and 89 are thus relatively short.

It will be noted that the upper finger 87, which is the long finger that serves to square the upper portion of the carton as well as to advance the same, is operative in feeding all of the cartons. This feature is also advantageous in providing for movement of the blade 37 into and out of its feeding position. With the pivot axis of the pusher assembly, that is, the blades 37 together with the supporting bar 34 and arms 36, located as illustrated in FIG. 7, the location of the upper finger 87 radially of the axis of the feed bar 32 is greater than that of the intermediate and lower fingers 88 and 89 so that the upper finger, which is the longest, also has the greatest motion for any given pivotal movement of the feed bar 32. Thus, a minimum pivotal movement is required to move the blades 37 to their clearing position. At the same time, the length of the intermediate and lower fingers must be relatively short in order to clear the slide 15 or 15a when the feeding elements are swunginto and out of the feeding position and the slide 15 or 15a is in the position P2 and P3. The length of the intermediate and lower fingers 88 and 89 is also determined by the fact that they must be long enough to engage the cartons with the quart cross section while clearing the half-gallon carton, and must be short enough to avoid interference with the bar 18 when the feeding elements are in their feeding position and the slide is in the positions P2 and P3.

Clearance relative to the slide 15 in the positions P2 and P3 as well as relative to the machine elements such as the drip guard 91 is enhanced by forming the upper edge 92 of the finger 87, the upper and lower edges 93 and 94 of the intermediate finger 88, and the upper edge 95 of the lower finger 89 generally on arcs about the pivot axis of the feed bar 32. The fingers 88 and 89 can thus be made long enough for use with cartons having the width of the half-gallon as well as the quart cartons, and at the same time can be moved into and out of feeding position without interfering with the slides 15 or 15a in positions P2 and P3 or in positions adjacent to them such as the position for cartons of other sizes such as one-third quarts, squat quarts which are cartons ofone quart capacity with the cross section of the half-gallon carton. Other sizes such as metric and Imperial can also be accommodated.

The pusher assembly for the plastic jugs is illustrated in FIG. 8 wherein a six-quart plastic jug is shown in phantom at J l and a gallon plastic jug at J2. As illustrated, the pusher assembly is basically the same as that hereinabove described with respect to the paper cartons, but differs in that the blades 37a are dimensioned larger than the blades 37 and the supporting bar 34a is mounted directly on the cranks 70 and collars 35 rather than through an arm 36. The spacing of the feed bar 32 rearwardly of the slide 15b is determined essentially by the width of the slide required for supporting the largest container for which the machine is designed, that is, the slide 1512 for the sixquart plastic jug.

The feed bar 32 is located sufficiently to the rear of the slide 15b so that, the supporting bar 340 will be disposed in its feeding position when it is mounted directly on the collars 35 and cranks 70. The supporting bar 34 for the blades 37 is then mounted on the collars 35 and cranks 70 through the arms 36 which are made long enough to position them at the rear edge of the slide 15. To facilitate removal of the pusher assembly and thus to provide for substituting one pusher assembly for the other, the bolts 360 that secure the arms 36 and the bar 34a to the collars 35 and cranks 70 have enlarged and knurled heads to provide for gripping the same by hand.

The blades 370 are significantly longer than the blades 37 and a greater motion is required to pivot them from their feeding position to their clearing position. There is therefore provided second sets of aligned bores 98 and 99 similar to the bores 69 and 82 in the cranks 70 and retaining block 78. The bores 98 and 99 are spaced radially closer to the axis of the feed bar 32 so that, with a given throw of the piston rod 65, a greater arcuate movement is imparted to the feed bar 32. At the same time, the bores 98 and 99 are located such that, with the piston rod 65 fully extended, the blades 370 are in their feeding position, that is, in the illustrated embodiment, with the supporting portions thereof vertical. Thus, the entire adjustment of the arc is effected at the clearing position and the radius relative to the axis of the feed bar 32 is selected such that, in view of the fixed throw of the piston rod, the blades 37a are clear of the plastic jugs.

The bore 75 in the one crank 70 is located intersect the respective bore 98 in the same manner as the bore 69 so that when the pin 71 is inserted, it will also be seated in the groove 76 in the coupling pin 68 when it is located in the bore 98. The coupling pin 68 can thus be locked in the selected one of the bores 69 and 98.

lclaim:

1. ln a filling machine for containers,

filling means for introducing a volume of material into a container at a filling position,

a slide for supporting containers relative to the filling means in the filling position and along which the containers are advanced to and from the filling position,

a feed bar and means for mounting said feed bar for endwise movement through advance and return strokes in a direction parallel to the lengthwise direction of said slide and for pivotal movement between a feeding and a clearing position relative to said slide,

a plurality of feeding elements mounted on said feed bar and arranged along the same in a uniformly spaced arrangement, said feeding elements moving into pushing relation relative to containers on said slide upon pivotal movement of said feed bar into feeding position and moving clear of containers on said slide for endwise movement thereof relative to the containers upon pivotal movement of said feed bar into clearing position,

endwise driving means for moving said feed bar endwise through an advance and a return stroke, and

pivotal drive means for imparting pivotal movement to said feed bar between the feeding and clearing positions, said pivotal drive means including crank means on said feed bar, actuating means having a substantially endwise motion and a predetermined throw, and coupling means for selectively coupling said actuating means to said crank means for imparting pivotal movement to said feed bar between the feeding position and a first clearing position and between said feeding position and a second clearing position.

2. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 1 wherein said coupling means comprises a coupling pin and bores in said crank means radially displaced relative to the axis of said feed bore, said bores being adapted to receive said coupling pin selectively.

3. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 2 wherein said actuating means comprises a fluid cylinder having a piston rod adapted to be extended and retracted endwise and said coupling means operates to couple said piston rod to said crank means.

4. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 1 wherein said crank means comprises a pair of crank arms secured in spaced relation on said feed bar, a retaining member mounted on said feed bar for endwise sliding of said feed bar relative thereto, and means for confining said retaining member against movement endwise of said feed bar; and said coupling means comprises a coupling pin extending lengthwise on an axis parallel to the axis of said feed bar and cooperating with said crank arm and said retaining member, said coupling pin being secured to said crank for endwise movement therewith and being slidable endwise relative to said retaining member, and a coupling member mounted on said coupling pin for endwise sliding of said coupling pin relative thereto and cooperating with said retaining member for confining the same against endwise movement with said coupling pin, said coupling member being connected to said actuating means.

5. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 4 wherein said crank arms and retaining member are provided with two sets of bores for receiving said coupling pin, said sets of bores being displaced radially relative to the axis of said feed bar.

6. ln a filling machine in accordance with claim 5 wherein said actuating means comprises a fluid cylinder pivotally mounted at one end and having an endwise movable piston rod extending from the opposite end thereof and connected to said coupling member, said two sets of bores being located on an arc about the pivot axis of said fluid cylinder and having a radius equal to the spacing between the pivot axis of the fluid cylinder and the connection of said piston rod to said coupling member when said feed bar is pivotally in its feeding position.

7. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 1 wherein said feeding elements are mounted on a supporting bar that is mounted on said feed bar with the means for mounting said supporting bar on said feed bar being releasable for substituting one supporting bar with one set of feeding elements for another supporting bar with a different set of feeding elements.

8. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 1 wherein each of said feeding elements comprises a substantially planar container-engaging portion disposed substantially normal to the axis of said feed bar, said container-engaging portion of said feeding elements having a plurality of fingers extending into container-engaging relation relative to said slide.

9. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 8 wherein each of said fingers includes an upper finger and a lower finger, said upper finger overhanging said slide and spaced therefrom in the feeding position of said feed bar for engaging a container adjacent to the top thereof and having a length to extend substantially across said slide and thereby engage a container at both comers of the opposed face of the container, and said lower finger overhanging said slide in the feeding position of said feed bar for engaging a container adjacent to the bottom of the opposed face thereof.

10. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 9 wherein said lower finger has a length to extend over a portion only of said slide in the feeding position of the feed bar for engaging a container only at the adjacent corner of the opposed face and to be disposed outwardly ofa vertical plane along the adjacent edge of said slide in the clearing position of the feed bar.

11. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 9 having means for adjusting said slide vertically for accommodating containers of different height said fingers including an intermediate finger for overhanging said slide in the feeding position of said feed bar, said intermediate finger being spaced vertically from said lower finger for receiving the slide between the same when said slide is adjusted vertically for supporting intermediate size containers and from said upper finger for receiving the slide between the same when said slide is adjusted vertically for supporting small containers.

12. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 11 wherein said crank means comprises a pair of crank arms secured in spaced relation on said feed bar, a retaining member mounted on said feed bar for endwise sliding of said feed bar relative thereto, and means for confining said retaining member against movement endwise of said feed bar; and said coupling means comprises a coupling pin extending lengthwise on an axis parallel to the axis of said feed bar and cooperating with said crank arm and said retaining member, said coupling pin being secured to said crank for endwise movement therewith and being slidable endwise relative to said retaining member, and a coupling member mounted on said coupling pin for endwise sliding of said coupling pin relative thereto and cooperating with said coupling pin relative thereto and cooperating with said retaining member for confining the same against endwise movement with said coupling pin, said coupling member being connected to said actuating means.

13. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 12 wherein said crank arms and retaining member are provided with two sets of bores for receiving said coupling pin, said sets of bores being displaced radially relative to the axis of said feed bar.

14. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 13 wherein said actuating means comprises a fluid cylinder pivotally mounted at one end and having an endwise movable piston rod extending from the opposite end thereof and connected to said coupling member, said two sets of bores being located on an are about the pivot axis of said fluid cylinder and having a radius equal to the spacing between the pivot axis of the fluid cylinder and the connection of said piston rod to said coupling member when said feed bar is pivotally in its feeding position.

15. In a filling machine for containers, 7

filling means for introducing a volume of material into a container at a filling position,

a slide for supporting containers relative to the filling means in the filling position and along which the containers are advanced to and from the filling position,

a feed bar and means for mounting said feed bar for movement through a feeding cycle including an advance stroke wherein the feed bar is moved endwise in a direction substantially parallel to the lengthwise direction of said slide,

a plurality of feeding element means mounted on said feed bar and arranged along the same in a uniformly spaced relation, for engaging containers on said slide in a pushing relation during the advance stroke of said feed bar to advance the containers along said slide, each of said feeding element means comprising a substantially planar container-engaging portion disposed substantially normal to the axis of said feed bar, said container-engaging portion having a plurality of fingers including an upper finger and a lower finger, said upper finger overhanging said slide and spaced therefrom during the advance stroke for engaging a container on said slide adjacent to the top of the face of the container opposed to said finger and having a length to extend substantially across said slide and thereby engage the opposed face of the container at both corners, and said lower finger overhanging said slide and spaced therefrom during the advance stroke for engaging a container adjacent to the bottom of the opposed face thereof, and

pivotal drive means for imparting pivotal movement to said feed bar between feeding and clearing positions, said pivotal drive means including crank means on said feed bar, actuating means having a substantially endwise motion and a predetermined throw, and coupling means for selectively coupling said actuating means to said crank means for imparting pivotal movement to said feed bar between the feeding position and a first clearing position and between said feeding position and a second clearing position.

16. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 15 wherein said lower finger has a length to extend across a portion only of said slide during the advance stroke for engaging a container only of said slide during the advance stroke for engaging a container only at the adjacent corner of the face opposed to said lower finger.

17. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 15 having means for adjusting said slide vertically for accommodating containers of at least three different heights including a small, an intermediate and a large size container, said fingers including an intermediate finger for overhanging said slide during the advance stroke, said intermediate finger being spaced vertically from said lower finger for receiving the slide between the same when said slide is adjusted vertically for supporting intermediate size containers and from said upper finger for receiving the slide between the same when said slide is adjusted vertically for supporting small size containers.

18. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 15 wherein said feeding cycle includes a return stroke in which said feed bar moves endwise in the opposite direction to said advance stroke and also includes pivotal movement between a feeding position during the advance stroke and a clearing position during the return stroke.

19. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 18 wherein said lower finger has a length to extend across a portion only of said slide during the advance stroke for engaging a container only at the adjacent corner of the face thereof opposed to said lower finger.

20. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 19 having means for adjusting said slide vertically for accommodating containers of at least three different heights including a small, an intermediate and a large size container, said fingers including an intermediate finger for overhanging said slide when said feed bar is in said feeding position, said intermediate finger being spaced vertically from said lower finger for receiving said slide between the same when said slide is adjusted vertically for supporting said intermediate size containers and from said upper finger for receiving the slide between the same when said slide is adjusted vertically for supporting small size containers.

21. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 20 wherein the upper and lower edge of said intermediate finger are arcuate and are formed on a radius about the axis of said feed bar, whereby upon pivotal movement of said feed bar, said finger is adapted to move under said slide when said slide is adjusted vertically for supporting small size containers and to move over said slide when said slide is adjusted vertically for supporting intermediate size containers.

22. In a filling machine in accordance with claim 21 wherein the upper and lower fingers have an upper edge the extremities of which are arcuate and formed on a radius about the axis of the feed bar.

PC4050 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTiFICATE ()F CORRECTION Patent No. U. S P. 3 587 677 Dated June 28 1971 Inventor) Percy King Case 1) It is certified that errcv" appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent hereby corrected as shown below:

Col. 3, Lines 9 & 10 of p.p. Page 6, Lines 18 & 19 of spec.

"is also long enough to span the width of the carton so that the carton" was deleted Col. 3, Line 53 of p.p. Page 7, Line 3) of spec.

"same, in" should read "same, is"

Col. 7, Line 37 of p.p. Page 16, Line 10 of spec.

"Carton C is" should read "carton is" Col 7, Line 72 of p.p. Page 17, Lines 9 & 10 of spec.

"containers having similar cross sections but different sizes of" should be deleted Col. 8 Line 4 of p.p. Page 17, Line 16 of spec.

"Pa" should read "Pl" Column 7, lines 37 and 38, cancel "advanced to three successive filling positions where the carton 1s".

Signed and sealed this 30th day of November 1971.

(SEAL) Attest:

LEDWARD M.FLETCHER,JE. ROBERT GOTTSGF A LK Attesting Officer Acting Commissioner of Patents

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3796300 *Jul 17, 1972Mar 12, 1974Olinkraft IncMultiple finger pushers
US5105859 *May 7, 1990Apr 21, 1992National Instrument CompanyTime flow volumetric liquid filling machine
US5168905 *Sep 20, 1990Dec 8, 1992Oden CorporationPrecision filling machine
US6038833 *Aug 17, 1998Mar 21, 2000Beringer; BernieBottle guide and fill seal structure for bottle filling machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification141/167, 141/177, 53/281, 198/747
International ClassificationB65B43/42, B65B43/48, B65B59/00, B65B59/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65B43/48, B65B59/02
European ClassificationB65B43/48, B65B59/02