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Publication numberUS3593488 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 20, 1971
Filing dateAug 2, 1968
Priority dateAug 2, 1968
Publication numberUS 3593488 A, US 3593488A, US-A-3593488, US3593488 A, US3593488A
InventorsGutowski Chester L, Merkner Albert H
Original AssigneeHeinz Co H J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container-loading apparatus
US 3593488 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventors Albert ".Merkner Pittsburgh; Chester L. Gutowski, Castle Shannon, both of, Pa. 2| Appl. No. 749,813 [22] Filed Aug. 2, 1968 [45] Patented July 20, 1971 [73] Assignee HJ. Heinz Company Pittsburgh, Pa.

[54] CONTAINER-LOADING APPARATUS 2/1969 Hageline 3,452,508 7/1969 Dzenis ABSTRACT: Apparatus for loading metallic containers into a container receiver. A magnetic container-loading head adapted to receive containers from first conveyor means and transfer the containers to the container receiver. Second conveyor means for supplying containers to the first conveyor means. Control means intermittently terminating the supply of said containers from the second conveyor means to the first conveyor means. Third conveyor means for transporting container receivers to a loading position under the magnetic c0ntainer-loading head and subsequently away from the underlying position. Positioning means for establishing relative vertical movement between the magnetic container-loading head and the container receiver. Release means responsive to .the relative vertical positioning of the magnetic container-loading head and the container receiver to release the containers from the former and transfer them to the latter. The first conveyor means may have a stationary container-receiving table and a reciprocating walking beam assembly with pusher means to move the containers received on the stationary table from he second conveyor means to the walking beam. Pattem-forming means operating responsive to movement of said pusher means to produce lateral nesting movement of the containers and means for raising and lowering the walking beam assembly.

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sum 5 OF 5 INVENTORS ALBERT/1'. MFR/(IVER 8 CHESTER L. GUTOWS/(l W 4 4, MM,

Attorneys CONTAINER-LOADING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1 Field of the Invention This invention relates to apparatus for transferring containers from a conveyor to a container receiver. More specifically, this invention relates to loading equipment which establishes staggered nested rows of containers in sequential groups of unifonn number and sequentially transfers the groups to container receivers.

2. Description of the Prior Art Apparatus for transporting containers such as bottles, cans and the like from a conveyor receiving them from manufacturing, filling or sealing equipment or other processing equipment, to a packing station and placing the containers into cartons or bags has long been known.

In U.S. Pat. No. 2,842,912, apparatus for the packing of several layers of cans into a box is disclosed. In this apparatus the cans are moved to a position overlying a box or receptacle which is positioned on an elevator. In moving toward the pockets through which the cans are downwardly discharged, the cans pass in a straight line between fixed guide members. In operation, the elevator with a box on it is raised, the cans are then transferred into the box, the elevator is then lowered and the filled box is removed. U.S. Pat. No. 2,656,081 also shows apparatus having a case underlying the bottle-receiving pockets with means for establishing relative movement between the pockets and case.

A belt conveyor for transporting an empty container to an elevator and removing the same therefrom by a gravity slide is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 2,252,127.

Apparatus which employs a pusher plate to feed bottles in groups of a given number to a position from which gravity feeding to an underlying carton may be effected is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 2,682,361.

Fixed means for imparting lateral movement to containers in order to create a staggered nested relationship between adjacent rows of cans is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 2,535,880. In the apparatus of the invention, guideways separate moving rows of cans and the guideways are deformed angularly inwardly adjacent their discharge end. In U.S. Pat. No. 2,013,555 conveying paths created by fixed guideways produce nonstaggered nested relationship of the containers.

These known systems are lacking means for positively fortning groups of containers into staggered nested relationship and transporting the group so formed to a loading head by moving at least a portion of the support upon which the group is positioned. Also, reliance is placed upon mechanical obstruction or frictional restraint to prevent discharge of containers from the loading head. Known machines are also lacking in ready adjustability for various-size containers. Finally, optimum coordinated horizontal and vertical movement of the container receiver with respect to the operation of the loading feed and supply-conveyors are lacking.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The problems discussed above have been eliminated by the apparatus of this invention. In the apparatus of this invention, first conveyor means supply groups of nested containers to a magnetic loading head which overlies a container receiver. Positioning means establish relative vertical movement between the magnetic loading head and the container receiver. The containers are then transferred from the loading head to the receiver. The loaded container receiver is then withdrawn from the loading position and an empty receiver is moved to the loading position. Suitable stop mechanisms operated by control means efi'ect controlled movement of the container receivers.

In a preferred form of the invention, second conveyor means supplies containers to fit conveyor means on an intermittent basis to establish sequential groups of predetermined numbers of containers. The first conveyor means has an initial stationary table portion and a walking beam portion. The walking beam portion receives containers from the stationary table portion and transports them to a position underlying the magnetic loading head where transfer to the magnetic head is effected. Pusher means moves the containers received on the table portion to the walking beam portion. Pattern-forming means operate responsive to movement of the pusher means to impart lateral movement to the containers in order to establish staggered nested relationships between adjacent contamer rows.

Means are provided for uniformly adjusting the elevation of the walking beam to facilitate passage of the loaded walking beam under the magnetic loading head and effect transfer of containers thereto.

It is an object of this invention to provideapparatus for container loading adapted to provide automatic and positive separation of containers into nested groups of a fixed number and subsequently transfer the groups to a magnetic loading head.

It is another object of this invention to provide apparatus for providing an unloaded container receiver in underlying position with respect to the magnetic loading head in timed coordinated relationship with the supply of container groups to the magnetic head.

It is another object of this invention to provide loading apparatus which is adjustable to facilitate the handling of various sizes of containers.

It is another object of this invention to provide means for intermittently terminating the supply of containers to the loading machine in order to permit establishment and movement of a nested group of containers.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide for segmented relative vertical movement between the magnetic loading head and the container receiver in order to permit loading of the receiver with several tiers or layers of contamers.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will be understood from the following description of the invention and reference to the illustrations appended hereto.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. l is a front elevation, partially schematic of a form of container-loading apparatus of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary detail of the nesting apparatus;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective of a portion of the container walking beam structure;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary detail view of a portion of the walking beam structure;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary detail view of the walking beam elevating means;

FIG. 7 is a detail view of a stop member employed to stop movement of the container receiver prior to placement in loading position;

FIG. 8 is a detail view of a stop member employed to retain the container receiver in loading position;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary sectional view taken through 9-9 of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary elevational view of a portion of the container-nesting apparatus.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the drawings in greater detail, with specific reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a magnetic loading head 2 is positioned in overlying relationship with respect to a container receiver 4. First conveyor means 6, which will be described in greater detail below, transports containers supplied by second conveyor means 8 to a position underlying magnetic head 2 and effects the transfer of the containers thereto.

After a group of containers has been transferred to magnetic head 2 relative vertical movement between magnetic head 2 and containerreceiver 4 is effected in order to place receiver 4 in a position to receive transfer of the containers from magnetic head 2. The containers are then transferred to receiver 4. After transfer of the group has been effected, relative vertical movement between head 2 and receiver 4 is effected in order to place the receiver 4 in position for either receipt of a second tier of containers or for removal of the container receiver 4 from the loading position. In either event, ultimately the receiver 4 will have received the desired load of containers and be removed from the loading position to permit positioning of the next receiver 4 to be loaded.

CONTAINER SUPPLY APPARATUS Considering now the container supply apparatus which transfers containers to magnetic loading head 2, reference is made to FIGS. 1 through 3. In the form illustrated, containers 10 are moved away from manufacturing, filling, sealing or other operations to a position on conveyor 12 which has opposed guide rails l4, l6. Counting means 18, which in the form shown is a photoelectric eye, counts the number of passing containers 10 and after a desired number or group has passed, conveyor 12 is stopped for a period of time and then restarted with the count also recommencing. The operation of conveyor 12 will therefore, be intermittent with stoppage occuring after a desired number of cans have passed counting means 18.

As is shown in. FIGS. 2 and 3, the containers 10 discharged from conveyor 12 will be received on stationary table 26 in front of pusher means 28. Pusher means 28 upon stoppage of container supply from conveyor 12, moves the containers 10 along table 26 and transfers them to walking beam 30 (see FIGS. 4 and The table 26 and walking beam 30 together are part of the first conveyor means 6. Before discussing the structure and functioning of the first conveyor means 6 in detail, the pusher means 28 will be considered.

As. is shown in FIG. 3, pusher means 28 has a forwardly disposed pusher plate 40 which is adapted to be reciprocated by cylinder 42, which may be conveniently of the pneumatic or hydraulic type. The cylinder 42 is supported upon rearwardly disposed extension 44 of table 26. The outer end of piston rod 46 of cylinder 42 is secured to the rear face of pusher plate 40.

Longitudinal frame member 48 is connected to and separated from overlying cam-activating rod 50 by means of connector member 52 and spacer 54, respectively. Transverse yoke member 60 is secured to the rear portion of longitudinal frame member 48 by connector 62 and stiffener 64.

Guide rods 66 are secured to opposed ends of yoke member 60, extend forwardly therefrom, pass through bores 68 in stationary guides 70, and are secured to the rear face of pusher plate 40. These guide rods serve to stabilize the pusher plate 40 and create uniform movement thereof.

it will be appreciated that by coordinating operation of the conveyor 12 with cylinder 42, the containers will be supplied to the table 26 at the desired rate and moved along table 26 by pusher means 28.

In the form shown, conveyor 12 will supply containers 10 in linear fashion from a direction transverse to the direction of movement along first conveyor means 6. The pusher means 28 imparts movement in a longitudinal direction along the table 26 toward walking beam 30. It is desirable to obtain effective control of the containers l0 and position them in the desired nested relationship with respect to each other. Whether this nested relationship be staggered or uniform, the lateral positioning of the containers 10 should be controlled. For this purpose, the apparatus of this invention provides rotatably mounted alignment brackets 80 which impart lateral movement to the containers l0 and establish the desired nested relationship.

The operation of brackets 80 is coordinated with the operation of the pusher means 28. Each alignment bracket is rotatably secured to a vertically disposed support member 82 by a hinge 84. in the form illustrated, brackets have a lower bearing element 90, an upper bearing element 92 and a tie member 94 connecting the outer extremities thereof. The lower portion of hinge 84 is connected to lower bearing element 90. Secured to the rear face of upper bearing element 92 are a pair-0f spaced apertured members 96. Transversely disposed operating bar 98 has an opening adjacent each end which overlies the apertures in members 96. A pin having a head 141 2 extends downwardly through each opening in operating bar 93 and apertures in members 96. As the operating bar 98 is longitudinally reciprocated in a manner to be described below, responsive rotational movement of bracket 80 about hinge 84 is produced by reciprocating movement of pin 100 which imparts movement to members 96. As members 96 are moved laterally inwardly toward the container 10 on conveyor 12, the tie member 94 also moves laterally in the same direction and hinge plate 104 moves toward the dotted position 104' shown in FIG. 3. As members 96 are moved laterally away from containers 10 on conveyor 12, the tie member 94 moves laterally in the same direction, and bearing elements 90, 92 containers 124.

Reciprocation of operating bar .98 is coordinated with reciprocation of pusher means 28. Referring to FIG. 3 and 10, coordinating means for effecting responsive movement of the operating bar 98 has a cam wheel provided with a cam groove 114, rotatably mounted within bracket 112 which in turn is supported on pedestal 108. A ratchet wheel 116 is secured to spindle 118 which is also secured to cam wheel 110. Thus, rotation of ratchet wheel 116 will cause spindle 118 and cam wheel 110 to rotate in the same direction and with the same angular velocity. Cam-activating rod 50 has an upstanding dog 120 which engages ratchet wheel 116. Linear movement of cam-activating rod 50 in one direction will produce rotation of ratchet wheel 116 and resultant rotation of the cam wheel 110. An upwardly directed pin 122 is secured to operating bar 98 and has its free end engaged within the cam groove 114 of cam wheel 110. As the cam wheel 110 is rotated, the pin 122 along with operating bar 98 to which it is secured is reciprocated in a longitudinal direction with respect to the bar 98.

As dog 120 is positioned at the forward end of cam-activating rod 50, alignment brackets 80 will subject the containers 124 to relative lateral comprehensive movement prior to contact between pusher plate 40 and containers 124. This enables the accomplishment of the desired positioning of the containers 124 on stationary table 26 by brackets 80 which rotate about hinge-84, prior to longitudinal movement of the containers 124 by pusher plate 40. As has been indicated above, the pusher plates 40 will deliver the group of containers from stationary table 26 to walking beam 30.

WALKING BEAM ASSEMBLY The structure of the walking beam 30 is shown in FIGS. 4, 5, and 6. The walking beam 30 has a multiplicity of elongated spaced beam elements which are secured to underlying support members 132. On opposite sides of the beam elements 130, secured to the support members 132 are upstanding roller supports 134, each of which rotatably houses at least one roller 136. It will thus be appreciated that the walking beam 30 has a plurality of spaced substantially parallel beams elements 130 supported by and secured to transversely disposed support members 132 which in turn support rollers 136 on roller supports 134. This structure is reciprocated with respect to magnetic loading head 2 in a manner to be described below.

A pair of opposed channel-shaped track members 14d are disposed on opposite sides of the walking beam 30. The track members 140 are oriented with their respective openings facing each other and the rollers 136 are received in the track members 140. in the form of walking beam 30 illustrated, a roller 136 is provided at each comer of the walking beam 30. The walking beam 30 is, therefore, adapted to reciprocate within a path defined by the opposed tracks 140.

The walking beam 30 is moved by means of cylinder 142, which may be air, hydraulic or any other type. The cylinder 142 has a piston rod 144 secured to one of the support members 132. The cylinder 142 is supported on channels 146 and angles 148. By the operation of cylinder controls (not shown) the walking beam 30 may be reciprocated within the path defined by tracks 140, between the stationary table 26 and magnetic loading head 2.

As is shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the forward end 190 of the beam elements 130 is substantially flush with support member 132, while the rearward end 192 of beam elements 130 is cantilevered rearwardly from support member 132. As is illustrated in FIG. 5, stationary table 26 has a multiplicity of spaced table elements 200 provided with a facing surface 202. The support structure (shown in part) consists of a pair of vertical posts 204 and a cross support member 206 supported between the two posts 204. A tie rod 208 supported on cross supports 206 passes through a recess in each table element.

The spacing between and position of the table elements 200 is such that cantilevered rearward ends 192 of beam element 130 are received in the spaces between the table elements 200. After the containers 124 have been received on stationary table 26 and are arranged into the desired group, the fluid cylinder .142 is activated and moves the walking beam 30 forwardly to a position underlying the magnetic loading head 2.

In addition to effectively controlling the path of reciprocation of the walking beam 30, the apparatus of this invention provides means for uniformly adjusting and controlling the elevation of the walking beam 30. Referring to FIGS. 4 and 6, it is seen that tracks 140 are supported on eccentric rotating cams 150. In the form shown, three cams 150 provided under each track 140. As is shown in FIG. 6, each cam 150 is rotatably secured in a journal 152 which is secured to a suitable support structure 154. Rotation of eccentric cams 150 produced a charge in elevation of the tracks 140 which they support.

As shown in FIGS. 4, 6 and 9, the cams 150 are mechanically linked to each other to provide synchronized rotation thereof. For each cam 150, a connecting link 170 is secured at one end to shaft 156 and at the other to a second connector l72.Connecting rods I74 joins the second connectors 172 of adjacent cams 150. Linear longitudinal movement of connecting rods I74 produces rotary movement of cams 150 about shafts 156. As is shown in FIG. 6, connecting rods 174 coordinate rotational movement of the cams I50 adjacent each track 140. Coordination of rotation of the cams 150 on adjacent track 140 with the cams 150 adjacent the other track 140 is effected through shaft 178 which connects one cam 150 adjacent one track with one cam I50 adjacent the other track 140.

The power means employed to rotate the six cams 150 in a coordinated fashion is a fluid cylinder 180, which may be operated by air, hydraulic fluid or other appropriate means (FIG. 9). The cylinder 180 is supported on pedestal 182. As is shown 'in FIG. 9, as cylinder 180 is operated, piston rod 184 rotates pivot arm 186 which is pivotally connected to rod 184 at point 188. The opposite end of pivot arm 186 is secured to shaft 178 which is fixed to cam 150. Thus operation of cylinder 180, reciprocates piston rod 184 which produces rotational movement of arm 186 which rotates shaft 178. Connecting link 170 rotates with shaft 178 and produces reciprocation of connecting rods 174 which establishes rotation of cams 150 underlying the track 140 disposed adjacent the cylinder 180. The earn 150 (not shown) at the opposite end of shaft 178 is rotated thereby and coordinated rotation of the other cams adjacent the opposed track is effected through connecting rods 174 (partially shown in FIG. 6). Thus, by operation of cylinder 180 coordinated rotation of all cams 150 iseffected to uniformly alter the elevation of the tracks 140 and walking beam 30.

In sequence of operation, the walking beam 30 first receivers a group of containers 124 from the stationary table 26. At this point the fluid cylinder 180 is so positioned that the walking beam 30 is in a raised position with the upper surfaces of beam elements 130, substantially coplanar with facing surfaces 202. Cylinder 142 is then operated to move the beam 30 to a position where the containers 124 underlie magnetic loading head 2. The magnetic loading head 2 is then lowered, by means to be described below, to a position where it engages and retains the containers 124. Cylinder 180 is then operated to rotate cams and lower walking beam 30. Cylinder 142 is then operated to move beam 30 rearwardly to a position for receipt of the next group of containers 124. Cylinder raises the tracks 140 and beam 30 prior to receipt of the next group ofcontainers 124.

MAGNETIC LOADING HEAD As is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the magnetic loading head 2 is positioned in overlying relationship with respect to container receiver 4. After the walking beam 30 has moved a group of containers to a position underlying the magnetic loading head 2, the head 2 is lowered by means of fluid cylinder 220 until the lower surface 222 magnetically engages the upper portion of the containers. The walking beam 30 is then lowered by operation of fluid cylinder 180. Relative vertical movement between the magnetic loading head 2 and container receiver 4 may then be established by means to be described below. The magnetic loading head 2 then releases the containers to the container receiver s and cylinder 220 raises the head 2 to a position permitting movement of the walking beam 30 thereunder.

It will be appreciated that while a preferred form of this invention provides for vertical movement of both the walking beam 30 and magnetic loading head 2, effective transfer could be obtained with vertical movement of only one of the two elements. For example, a walking beam 30 of fixed elevation could move under a magnetic head 2 which would be lowered for engagement with the containers and raised afterward to permit withdrawal of the walking beam 30. On the other hand, a magnetic head 2 of fixed elevation might be employed in connection with a walking beam 30 of adjustable elevation. The walking beam 30 could be positioned for underlying relationship with respect to the head 2, raised to effect transfer of the containers and then lowered to permit withdrawal of the walking beam 30 from the underlying position.

CONTAINER RECEIVER AND THIRD CONVEYOR MEANS Considering now the container receiver 4, reference will be made to FIGS. 1 and 2. In general, container receivers 4 will sequentially be introduced from the right-hand side of FIG. I, stop in underlying position with respect to the magnetic loading head 2, receive containers therefrom and subsequently be transported off of the apparatus to the left-hand side of FIG. 1. All horizontal movement of the container receiver is effected by the third conveyor means 230 and the related equipment. When the container receiver is stopped in underlying position with respect to the magnetic loading head 2, there will be relative vertical movement therebetween.

The container receiver 4, in the form shown, has a generally rectangular cross section in plan. One each of the opposed upstanding sidewalls 232 are mounted a pair of rotatably secured rollers 234. The first section 236 of third conveyor means 230 consists of a rigid support frame 238 to which is secured a pair of spaced tracks 240 which are inclined downwardly toward the transfer position 242 underlying the magnetic loading head. The rollers 234 on opposite sidewalls 232 fit into tracks 240 and pennit gravitational feeding of the receivers 4 through the first section 236 of third conveyor means 230.

In order to prevent premature introduction of a second container receiver 4 into the transfer position 242, a first stop member 250 is provided. As is shown in FIGS. 2 and 7, the first stop member 250, has a body portion 252 rotatably secured to support plate 254 by pin fastener 256. A containercontacting roller 258 is rotatably secured to body portion 252 by pin fastener 260. Fluid cylinder 262 which may be pneumatic, hydraulic or other conventional type is supported by support plate 264. Both support plates 254, 264 are secured to post 266. The outermost end of piston rod 268 is rotatably secured to stop member 250 by pin fastener 270. As the piston rod 268 moves linearly out of the cylinder 262, first stop member 250 is rotated into position to obstruct movement of a container receiver 4 moving along tracks 240. When it is desired to release the receiver 4 to transfer it from first section 236 to transfer position 242, piston rod 268 is retracted into cylinder 262 and first stop member 250 rotates out of obstructing position. The receiver 4 then rolls by influence of gravity into transfer position 242. The first stop member is then moved to obstructing position prior to introduction of the next receiver into the first sections 236.

As the container receiver 4 enters the transfer position 242, endiess conveyor 280 is activated and transports the receiver 4 to a position underlying magnetic loading head 2. The endless conveyor 280 is deactivated when the desired position has been reached. In this position, the container receiver 4 is supported in a position overlying elevator 282 (to be described in greater detail below).

In order to prevent premature movement of the container receiver from the loading position on the elevator 282, a second stop member 290 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 8 is employed. The second stop member 290 has a shaft 292 journaled in bearings 294. Bearings 294 are provided with bearing housings 300 which are supported at the proper elevation by elements 302. Stop elements 296, which are rigidly secured to shaft 292 for rotation therewith, have rotatably mounted roller members 298, which are adapted to contact the container receiver 4. The second stop member 290 is rotated on shaft 292 by cylinder 304. Piston rod 306 is secured to connector element 308 and reciprocates therewith. Slotted crank arm 310, is secured to shaft 292 and adapted to rotate therewith. Connector element 308 has a transversely disposed spindle 312 which has a head portion 314 at its outer extremity. As a result of this connection between connector element 308 and slotted crank arm 310, linear reciprocating movement of the piston rod 306 produces rotary movement of shaft 292 and thereby moves roller members 298 between the obstructing and nonobstructing positions.

While the container receiver is positioned on elevator 282, transfer of containers from magnetic loading head 2 to container receiver 4 will be effected. In order to effect this transfer, relative vertical movement is established between magnetic head 2 and container receiver 4. This may be accomplished in numerous fashions. All that is required is that the containers be so positioned with respect to the receiver 4 that release of the containers by magnetic head 2 produces smooth transfer to the receiver 4.

In the apparatus illustrated, vertical movement of both the magnetic head 2 and the receiver 4 may be independently effected. Vertical movement of magnetic head 2 may be effected through cylinder 220. Vertical movement of receiver 4 is effected by elevator 282, the operation of which will now be described.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 8, it is seen that elevator 282 has a headplate 320 which is adapted to contact the bottom of receiver 4. Connected to the bottom of headplate 320 is a collapsible or scissor support 322. A cylinder 324, preferably pneumatic or hydraulic, provides power to raise and lower the headplate 320 and the receiver 4 supported thereby. In the form illustrated, as is shown in FIGS. 1 and 8, the conveyor 280 is of the roller chain variety and one such chain is disposed on each side of elevator headplate 320. There is sufficient spacing between the endless roller chains to permit raising and lowering of the elevator 282 without interference.

In the form of receiver 4 illustrated, the bottom wall may be raised by elevator 282 independently of the remainder of the receiver 4. This apparatus is, however, equally applicable to receivers which may be raised as a unit. Reference herein to raising, lowering, or moving the receiver 4" in a vertical direction of movement shall refer to movement of all or part of a receiver structure.

In the form of apparatus illustrated inv FIG. 1, after transfer of a group of containers to magnetic head 2, the walking beam 30 is removed. The bottom wall of the receiver 4 is then raised by elevator headplate 320 to a position where it receives transfer of containers frommagnetic loading head 2. This positioning of the receiver 4 may be accomplished with or without movement of the magnetic loading head 2. After receipt of the containers, the elevator is lowered and the second stop member 290 is moved to a nonobstructing position, thereby permitting roller chain conveyor 280 to transport the receiver to the discharge section 330 of third conveyor means 230.

It will frequently be advantageous to provide for intermediate stopping of the container receiver 4 between an upper position and a lower position in order to permit sequential loading of two more layers of containers into a single container receiver 4. After transfer of the first group of containers to the receiver 4, the receiver 4 may be lowered to a second level and the head 2 raised to permit positioning of the walking beam 30 thereunder. After transfer of the containers to head 2, the head 2 is raised, the walking beams 30 withdrawn and the head 2 lowered to permit transfer of the second layer of containers to the receiver 4. This cycle may be followed until the desired number of layers of containers have been transferred from the magnetic head 2 to the receiver 4. The capacity of the receiver 4 will be determined both by the size of the receiver 4 and the size of the containers. If desired, protective sheets may be inserted between successive layers of containers in the receiver 4.

After the receiver 4 is provided with the desired number of containers, the receiver 4 is lowered until it is nesting on the conveyor 280. Second stop member 290 is lowered by cylinder 304 and the receiver 4 is transported by conveyor 280 to discharge section 330 which has a support frame 340'. Mounted on opposed sides of frame 340 are tracks or rails 342 which are sloped toward the discharge end of discharge section 330. The rollers 234 on opposed sides of receiver 4 will engage tracks 342 and receiver 4 will move gravitationally off of the discharge end of section 330.

OPERATION OF THE APPARATUS In operation of the apparatus, containers 10 are introduced onto stationary table 26 by means of conveyor 12. When a predetermined number of containers 10 have passed counting means 18, this conveyor 12 is stopped and the operation of pusher means 28 is initiated by cylinder 42. At this point the walking beam 30 is in its raised rearward position. The alignment brackets operate to laterally compress the containers into the desired grouping as the pusher plate 40 moves forward. The pusher plate 40 contacts the grouped containers and moves them forwardly. After the pusher plate 40 has terminated its movement of the containers, the movement of the walking beam 30 with the grouped containers thereon by cylinder 142 is initiated. The beam 30 moves forward suffi-- ciently to position the containers in underlying relationship with respect to the magnetic loading head 2. After movement of the walking beam 30 has terminated, the magnetic loading head 2 is lowered by means of cylinder 220 until the magnetic head 2 engages the containers. Cylinder 180 is then operated to rotate cam 150 to lower tracks and walking beam 30. The walking beam 30 is then moved rearwardly by cylinder 142. At this point, relative vertical movement is established between the magnetic head 2 and a container receiver 4 which is positionedon elevator 282 in underlying relationship with respect to the magnetic head 2. The group of containers is then released by the magnetic head 2 and transferred to the container receiver 4. The container receiver 4 is lowered after receipt of the group of containers. It may be lowered to a level for receipt of a second group of containers and subsequently be lowered in stepped fashion to receive additional groups of containers. If desired, the container receiver 4 may be lowered directly to the receiver removal position. Vertical movement of the receiver in the transfer position is effected by elevator 282. Ultimately, the receiver 4 will be lowered to a level from which third conveyor means 230 may effect removal of the receiver 4. I

. The horizontal movement of the container receivers 4 is effected by third conveyor means 230. The receiver is initially .permitted to move by gravity through first section 236 and engage stop member 250. Upon release of stop member 250, the receiver 4 is moved to transfer position 242 by conveyor 280. Further forward movement is prevented by second stop member 290. Relative vertical movement is then established between the magnetic head 2 and receiver 4 in order to effect loading of the latter. After loading has been completed, second stop member 290 is lowered and the loaded receiver is transported to discharge section 330.- The loaded receiver 4 is transported across discharge section 330 by gravity.

it will, therefore, be appreciated that the apparatus of this invention provides an effective means for efficient, automatic grouping, transporting and loading of containers into a container receiver. The containers may be introduced into the apparatus by conventional conveyor means. The supply is periodically terminated and the containers nested by positive means and moved along a stationary table onto a walking beam by a pusher mechanism. The walking beam transports the group of containers to a loading head which in turn transfers them to a container receiver. The container receivers are automatically supplied in time coordinated fashion with respect to the container supply apparatus. The containers are placed in the receivers and then removed from the apparatus. All movements of the apparatus are simply effected and may be coordinated by automatic control means. The apparatus is adapted to handle various sizes and types of containers with only minor adjustments being required to effect such change. The power for operating a number of the elements of the apparatus may be obtained from conventional fluid cylinders.

While throughout the description where specific illustration has been deemed desirable, reference has been made to con tainers which are metallic cans, it will be appreciated that the apparatus is not so limited and that the apparatus may be employed with forms of containers whether filled or unfilled.

Whereas particular embodiments of the invention have been described above for purposes of illustration, it will be evident to those skilled in the art that numerous variations of the details may be made without department from the invention as defined in the appended claims.

We claim:

1. Apparatus for loading metallic containers into a container receiver, comprising a magnetic container loading head adapted to receive said containers and subsequently transfer them to said container receiver,

first conveyor means for supplying said containers to said magnetic container loading head,

second conveyor means for supplying said containers to said first conveyor means, 7

said first conveyor means has a stationary container-receiving table and an adjacent reciprocating walking beam,

said walking beam has outwardly disposed rollers rotatably secured thereto,

track means disposed on opposite side of said walking beam having guide ways receiving said roller of said walking beam,

power means for reciprocating said walking beam between a first position at said container-receiving table and a second position at least partially underlying said magnetic container loading head,

supply control means for intermittently terminating the supply of containers from said second conveyor means to said first conveyor means after a group of containers has been supplied to said first conveyor means,

third conveyor means for transporting said container receivers to a position underlying said magnetic container-loading head prior to loading and away from said underlying position after loading,

positioning means for establishing relative vertical movement between said magnetic container loading head and said container receiver, and release means for releasing said containers from said magnetic container-loading head and transfer them to said container receiver.

2. The loading apparatus of claim 1 including beam-positioning means for raising and lowering said walking beam,

said means adapted to raise said walking beam prior to transfer of said containers to said walking beam and lower said walking beam subsequent to transfer of containers from said walking beam to said magnetic head.

3. The loading apparatus of claim 2 including, said beampositioning means has interconnected rotary cam members adapted to raise and lower said track means and thereby raise and lower said walking beam, and

means for rotating said cams.

4. The loading apparatus of claim 3 including,

fluid cylinder means for rotating said rotary cam members,

said fluid cylinder means operatively connected with a driven rotary cam at one of said tracks and adapted to establish rotation thereof,

first linkage means operatively interconnecting the remaining rotary cams at said track with said driven rotary cam to provide coordinated rotation thereof responsive to rotation of said driven cam,

means connecting said driven cam with an opposed cam at the other track, and

second linkage means operatively connecting all of said cams at said other track, whereby operation of said fluid cylinder means produces uniform responsive vertical movement of said track means.

5. Apparatus for loading metallic containers into a container receiver, comprising a magnetic container-loading head adapted to receive said containers and subsequently transfer them to said container receiver,

first conveyor means for supplying containers to said magnetic container-loading head,

said first conveyor means having a stationary containerreceiving table,

second conveyor means for supplying said containerto said first conveyor means,

said second conveyor means adapted to supply said containers to said stationary receiving table of said first conveyor means,

pusher means adapted to move a group of said containers across said stationary table,

pattern forming means operatively responsive to movement of said pusher means to produce lateral nesting movement of said containers on said first conveyor means, said pattern forming means having a sliding bar disposed transversely with respect to said first conveyor means,

coordinating means adapted to reciprocate said sliding bar longitudinally responsive to movement of said pusher means,

rotatably mounted container alignment brackets operatively connected to opposed ends of said sliding bar and adapted to rotate responsive to reciprocation of said sliding bars and thereby urge said containers laterally inwardly to establish a compact nested group of said containers,

supply control means for intermittently terminating supply of said containers from said second conveyor means to said first conveyor means after a group of containers has been supplied to said first conveyor means,

third conveyor means for transporting said container receivers to a position underlying said magnetic container loading head prior to loading and away from said underlying position after loading,

positioning means for establishing relative vertical movement between said magnetic container-loading head and said container receiver, and

release means for releasiTg said containers from said magnetic container loading head and transfer them to said container receiver.

6. The loading apparatus of claim 5, including said coordinating means for reciprocating said sliding bar has a cam wheel with a cam groove and rotary means connected to said cam wheel adapted to rotate said cam wheel responsive to rotation of said rotary means,

engaging means on said pusher means adapted to engage and rotate said rotary means responsive to translation of said pusher means, and

said sliding bar reciprocating means has a cam follower secured to said sliding bar and engaged within the cam groove of said carn wheel whereby reciprocation of said pusher means establishes rotation of said cam wheel and response reciprocation of said sliding bar.

7. The loading apparatus of claim 6 including said rotary means has a ratchet wheel rigidly secured to a shaft to which said cam wheel is rigidly secured, and

said engaging means has at least one pin secured to said pusher means adapted to engage and rotate said ratchet wheel as said pusher means is translated.

8. Apparatus for loading magnetic containers into a container receiver, comprising a magnetic container-loading head adapted to receive said containers and subsequently transfer them to said container receiver,

first conveyor means for supplying said containers to said magnetic container-loading head, 7

said first conveyor means has a stationary container receiving table and an adjacent reciprocating walking beam,

said walking beams has outwardly disposed rollers rotatably secured thereto,

track means disposed on opposite sides of said walking beam having guideways receiving said rollers of said walking beam power means for reciprocating said walking beam between a first position at said container-receiving table and a second position at least partially underlying said magnetic container-loading head,

pusher means adapted to move said containers across said stationary container-receiving table and onto said walking beams,v

pattem-forming means operatively responsive to movement of said pusher means to produce lateral nesting movement of said containers on said first conveyor means,

said pattern forming means having a sliding bar disposed transversely with respect to said first conveyor means and adapted to reciprocate longitudinally responsive movement of said pusher means,

rotatably mounted container alignment brackets operative connected to opposed ends of said sliding bar adapted to rotate responsive to reciprocation of said sliding bar and thereby urge said containers laterally inwardly to establish a compact nested group of said containers,

second conveyor means for supplying containers to said first conveyor means,

supply control means for intermittently terminating the supply of said containers from said second conveyor means to said first conveyor means after a group of containers has been supplied to said first conveyor means,

third conveyor means for transporting said container receivers to a position underlying said magnetic loading head prior to lading and away from said underlying positions after loading,

positioning means for establishing relative vertical movement between said magnetic container-loading head and said container receiver,

said positioning means has a elevator adapted underlie said container receiver, disposed in space underlying relation ship with respect to said magnetic container-loading sai til dlevator adapted to raise and lower said container receiver when said receiver is in loading position underlying said magnetic container-loading head,

said elevator adapted to raise said container receiver to a first level at which said receiver receives a first group of containers from said magnetic container-loading head,

said elevator adapted to subsequently lower said receiver to at least one additional lower level at which said receiver receives another group of containers,

said elevator adapted to subsequently lower said receiver to said third conveyor means, and

release means for releasing said containers from said magnetic container-loading head and transfer them to said container receiver.

9. Container-handling apparatus, comprising a container delivery surface defining a path of movement of containers,

a pair of rotatable pattern-forming members disposed on opposite sides of said surface,

each said pattern-forming member rotatable about a substantially vertical axis and adapted to rotate inwardly with respect to said delivery surface to create a lateral nesting movement of said containers,

an elongated operating bar operatively connected to said pattern-forming members,

means for establishing longitudinal reciprocation of said operating bar, whereby longitudinal reciprocation of said bar establishes rotation of said pattern forming members,

supply means for intermittently introducing a number of containers onto said container delivery surface,

reciprocating pusher means for moving said containers across said container delivery surface,

said pusher means having a pusher plate and fluid cylinder operatively secured thereto and transmission means for establishing reciprocation of said elongated operating bar responsive to movement of said pusher plate.

10. The container-handling apparatus of claim 9, including,

said transmission means has a cam wheel having a cam groove secured to a spindle,

a ratchet wheel secured to said spindle,

a pin secured to said operating bar and extending into said cam groove,

a dog secured to said pusher means adapted to engage and rotate said ratchet wheel upon translation of said pusher plate is at least one linear direction, whereby translation of said pusher plate in said direction produces rotation of said ratchet wheel and cam wheel thereby establishing reciprocation of said operating rod.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4041674 *Jan 26, 1976Aug 16, 1977Anderson Bros. Mfg. Co.Apparatus for packing articles, such as bottles
US5447007 *Nov 22, 1991Sep 5, 1995Tetra Laval Holdings & Finance S.A.Device for filling and closing packs for liquids
US6164045 *May 17, 1999Dec 26, 2000Focke & Co. (Gmbh & Co.)Device for packaging groups of (Individual) packages
EP0959002A1 *May 17, 1999Nov 24, 1999Focke & Co. (GmbH & Co.)Device for packaging groups of (single-)packages
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/51, 53/245, 198/434, 198/429, 53/537, 53/247, 53/535
International ClassificationB65B5/06
Cooperative ClassificationB65B5/06
European ClassificationB65B5/06