US 3594257 A
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July 20, 1971 G. w. VON HOFE APPARATUS FOR APPLYING LABELS TO ARTICLES Filed June 22, 1967 2 Sheets-6210i 1 lNVENTOR GEORGE W VON HOFE ATTORNEY July 20, 1971 G, W. VON HOFE APPARATUS FOR APPLYING LABELS TO ARTICLES Filed June 22. 1967 2 Sheets-Shoot 2 N at //v VENTOR. GEORGE W vouHOFE BY i ATTORNEY 3,594,257 APPARATUS FOR APPLYING LABELS T ARTICLES George W. von Hofe, Miilington, N.J., assignor to New Jersey Machine Corporation, Hoboken, NJ. Filed June 22, 1967, Ser. No. 648,101 Int. Cl. B65c 9/04 U.S. Cl. 156-455 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to an improved apparatus and method of labeling articles, such as bottles, and is particularly concerned with the application of labels from a continuous web of the same.
Articles are usually fed in spaced relation to a place of label application with the speed of feed of the labels being applied equaling the velocity of the bottles at such place. In machines constructed to apply labels from a continuous web thereof the entire web is usually advanced at a speed which is comparable to that of the articles along their path of feed to and past the place of label application. Accordingly, the present models of such labeling machines have been constructed so that the article velocity is fixed relatively to the velocity of the continuously feeding labels. They have also been constructed to feed a given label size which is fixed relative to the spacing between, or more correctly, the pitch of the articles being fed. Such construction restricts the flexibleness of use of this type of machine and this is an important consideration in todays market where the demand is for a machine of such universality that it is readily adapted to the running of different sized articles and labels on a given production line.
It is one of the objects of the present invention to provide an improved machine for applying labels to articles from a continuous Web that is universal in usage and can be readily utilized to take care of a wide range of variations in article and label sizes.
A further object of the invention is to provide an improved labeling machine capable of feeding labels which materially vary in size from the pitch of the articles being fed to the place of label application.
A still further object of this invention is to provide an improved labeling machine in which the terminal labels are burst from the web as they are advanced through the final step of their travel to the place for application thereof to the articles.
Other objects of the invention, as well as the advantages and novel features of construction thereof will appear from the following description when read in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which FIG. 1 is a schematic plan view showing an example of a labeling machine embodying the invention; and
FIG. 2 is a schematic side view of the parts shown in FIG. 1.
In the drawings, the numeral '10- indicates generally a roll of label web which is composed of a strip 11 of any suitable material having provided on one side thereof a series of labels 12. The other side of the web may be United States Patent 0 "Ice provided with a layer of a suitable heat activatable thermoplastic adhesive material, or it may not have any adhesive material provided thereon, as illustrated. Between the labels are provided elongated, centrally located, closed openings 13, which are used to control the feed of the web, as will hereinafter appear more clearly. EX- tending across the web in alignment with the centerlines of the elongated openings 13 are transverse lines of perforations 15. Thus at the junctures of the labels, the web is weakened by the openings 13- and the lines of perforations 15, the remaining web material connecting the labels together along such lines being sutficient to maintain the web in strip form during the feed thereof through the machine, but insufficient to withstand substantial longitudinal stretch forces. The openings 13 and lines of perforations *15 may be provided on the web in the labeling machine in known manner, but it is preferred that these elements be incorporated in the web prior to its use in the labeling machine. The roll 10 is carried by a rotatably mounted support 14 in the usual manner.
Spaced in advance of the roll 10 are means for initially feeding the labels from such roll and into a free loop 16 at a velocity equal to one label length for each cycle of operation of the labeling machine. As illustrated, such means may comprise an idler roll 17 and a constantly driven feed roll 18 mounted 011 the upper end of a rotatable shaft 20 provided with a chain gear 21. A drive chain 22 drivingly connects gear 21 with a gear 23 mounted on a shaft 24 provided with a variable pitch pulley 25. A speed adjusting device 26 of known construction is associated with the variable pitch pulley 25 to enable the operator to set accurately the speed of the rolls 17, 18 so that they will draw precisely from the roll 10 only one label length per cycle of operation of the labeling machine. The pulley 25 is drivingly connected by belt 27 and pulley 28 to the drive shaft 29 of a constantly rotating electric motor 30 of suitable size and construction.
It will be observed from the foregoing that the labels are continuously drawn from the roll 10 and fed into the free loop 16 so that their passage from such roll into the loop is conducted in a smooth manner without the creation of any jerks that might tend to snap the web at the perforated lines 15 therein. The loop 16 provides a section of free label web from which labels may be drawn by a pair of rolls 35, 36 in an intermittent fashion and at a rate of speed different from that at which such labels are fed into such loop by the feed rolls 17, 1-8. The loop 16 is maintained by a light blast of air from a pipe 34 connected to a suitable source of air under such pressure as to enable the rolls 35, 36 to feed the web intermittently without strain on the perforated or bursting lines 15, yet sufficient tomaintain a slight reverse tension on the web sufficient to effect the stoppage of the feed of the web by such rolls 35, 36 in a manner which will hereinafter become more clear. In their removal from the loop 16, the labels pass over an idler roll 37 and through a device 38 for preventing backward movement of the web when the rolls 35, 36' are not in driving engagement with the web. As shown in the drawings such device may comprise an elongated plate 40 fixedly supported on the frame of the machine and provided with a pair of guide rods 41 for a floating plate 42. The rods 41 are threaded and provided with nuts 43 for adjustably retaining on such rods are springs 44 that bias the plate 42 against plate 44 The springs 44 are relatively light so that the device is able to hold the web in position when therolls 35, 36 are not drivingly connected thereto without offering material resistance to the feed of the web by such rolls 35, 36.
The rolls 35, 36 are mounted so that their transverse line of bight on the web 11 may be adjusted relative to the axis of rotation of a label feeding member shown in the form of a roll 45 to take care of different lengths of labels. As shown in the drawings, the rolls 35, 36 may be mounted on a supporting arm 48 mounted for pivotal movement on a shaft 49 and maintained in adjusted position by a bolt 50 engaging the guide slot 51. The roll 36 is a continuously driven roll and is rotatably mounted on a shaft 52 provided at the free end of such arm 48. Also provided on shaft 52 is a chain gear 53 which is connected in driven relation by a chain 54 to a chain gear 55 secured to a rotatably mounted shaft 56. Also secured to shaft 56 is a chain gear 57 which is connected to the motor shaft 29 through a chain 58 and a gear 59.
The roll 35 is an idler roll that coacts with the peripheral driving surface of roll 36, but may be withdrawn from the latter to render such rolls inoperative to feed the web. This is accomplished by forming the shaft portion 63 for rotatably supporting the roll 35 as an eccentric extension of a shaft 64 rotatably mounted on the arm 48. Secured to shaft 64 is an arm 65 that is connected at its outer end to the armature of a normally deenergized solenoid 66 which is carried by the arm 48 and which is connected by electric wiring 67 to a switch 68 controlled by a bottle contacting member 69. It will be understood that so long as bottles 70 are present in properly spaced relation on the conveyor 71 which feeds them to the labeling station 72, the bottle contacting member 69 will maintain the switch 68 conditioned to maintain the solenoid 66 deenergized. When however, a bottle fails to move into properly timed engagement with the contacting member 69, the latter will move to actuate switch 68 to energize the feed roll solenoid 66 and thereby pivot the arm 65 attached to shaft 64 outwardly to disru t the web feeding relation of rolls 35, 36. On such disengagement of the rolls 35, 36, the device 38 will immediately come into action to prevent the web being drawn back into the loop 16 by the air pressure coming from the pipe 34. When another bottle 70 engages the bottle contacting member 69, switch 68 will be actuated to deenergize the solenoid 66 which through the arm 65 returns the roll 35 into cooperative engagement with the roll 36 with the aid of a spring 75 connected to the solenoid armature and a pin 76 mounted on the arm 48.
The rolls 35 and 36 are constructed in the manner disclosed in the Von Hofe Patent 3,253,544 dated May 31, 1966 to cooperate with the openings or control elements 13 on the web to intermittently advance the web even though such rolls are continuously rotated. As disclosed in the aforesaid patent the upper feed roll 35 has a plain uninterrupted surface that preferably has a circumferential length equal to the maximum length of label which the machine is constructed to handle to enable it to be employed in handling all labels within the range of the machine. The lower feed roll 36 like that of the driven feed roll in said 'Pat. 3,253,544 has at least one circumferential portion 80 which is continuous throughout 360 and which is located on that portion of the roll over which will travel the cutous 13. The roll 3 is also provided with a transverse bar-like portion 81 which extends into the edge portions of the web in which are located the perforated lines 15. The peripheral surfaces of these roll portions 80 and 81 coact with the peripheral surface of roll 35 to effect the desired intermittent feeding action of the web. The remainder of the peripheral surface portions of roll 36 have radii less than those of the surfaces of portions 80 and 81 thereof and therefore cannot coact with roll 35.
It will be understood from the foregoing that the uninterrupted peripheral or working surface of the portion 80 of roll 36 will coact with roll 35 to advance the web 11 one label length even though such label length is of the maximum length of which the machine can handle. As soon as the leading transverse edge of an opening 13 moves in between the rolls 35, 36 and passes the bight of the portion 80 of roll 36 and roll 35 the feed of the web will stop. Since these rolls are running continuously their rotating movement does not stop even though the web has stopped. This condition will attain until the transverse portions 81 advance to provide a bight between the latter and the side edge portions of the surface of roll 35, whereupon the web will again be advanced. The width of the surfaces of transverse portions 81 are suflicient to provide a supplementary feed of the web until the trailing transverse edge of the opening 13 passes into the bight between the working surface of portion of roll 36 and that of roll 35, whereupon such portion 80 will again advance the web one label length.
As the web is advanced by the rolls 35, 36, the terminal label 85 on the web will advance inbetween the feed roll 45 and a coacting roll 86 mounted on the vertical shaft 89 which is continuously driven by motor 30 through gears 57 and 59 and chain 58. Also mounted on shaft 89 is a driving gear 87 which meshes with a driven gear 88 secured to the shaft 89 carrying roll 45. Provided in spaced relation on the periphery of roll 45 are a plurality of label carrying segments each having a plurality of holes 91 which are connected to a source of vacuum in any suitable manner known to this art. As is known the vacuum ,in the holes or ports 91 will adhere the label to the segment so that it may be carried by the latter past the bight between the rolls 45 and 86 and toward the labeling station 72 to an article 70 which is moving through such station at the time that the leading end portion of a terminal label 85 carried by one of such segments is advanced to such station. As the terminal label is carried by a segment 90 toward the labeling station, glue is applied thereto by the glue roll 93 of a suitable glue activating unit 95 known to the art. As shown, the gearing in the glue roll base 94, may be driven by chain 54 through a chain gear 96 associated with such gearing. If the rear side of the label is provided with an adhesive thermoplastic material, the glue activating unit may be constituted of means for delivering a timed blast of hot air against such thermoplastic adhesive coating to activate the same. However the label is adhesively activated, the adhesive material will enable the label to be flagged onto a bottle 70 at the label applying station. The conveyor 71 will carry the arti cle 70 with a label 85 adhered thereto in flagged-on condition to a pressure station which comprises a belt 99 and a plate 100. As the labeled article passes between these elements, the label is pressed or ironed on the article as the latter is rotated by such elements during its forward movement on the conveyor 71.
It will be understood from the foregoing description of the feed rolls 35, 36 and 45, 86 that when a feeding action of the web 11 has been initiated by the transverse portions 81 of roll 36, as indicated by the dotted line position of such portions in FIG. 2 of the drawings, such feeding action will be continued by the longitudinal portion 80 of such roll until the leading transverse edge of the slot 13 at the trailing end of the label being fed passes through the bight of rolls 35, 36 to terminate such feeding action. When this occurs, the slight reverse tension exerted on the web loop 16 by the blast of air from the pipe 34 tends to hold the leading edge of the slot 13 adjacent to the bight of the rolls 35, 36, thus preventing such bight being restored by engagement of such rolls with the following transverse edge of such slot, until the feed of the web is again initiated by the transverse portions 81 of roll 36. The rolls 35, 36 have a peripheral speed greater than the maximum label length, which we may assume to be 5% inches, but less than the peripheral speed of the labels on the roll or drum 45. While the peripheral speed of the rolls 35, 36 is greater than the maximum label length, due to the coaction of the slots 13 with the longitudinal portion 80 of roll 36, the rolls 35, 36 will feed only one label out of the loop 16 during each interval between the arrival of successive articles at the label applying station regardless of the actual length of the labels being applied to such articles. This article interval is dependent on the pitch of the articles which is indicated in FIG. 1 by the dimension designated 103, and on the velocity of feed of such articles by the conveyor 71 to bring the articles successively to the applying station 72 during the cycling operations of the machine. Thus, if we assume that the articles 70 are spaced 7 /2 inches from centerline to centerline, they will move 7 /2 inches per cycle of the machine.
At the termination of such feed of a terminal label 85 by the rolls 35, 36, the leading end of such terminal label will be in position between the rolls 45, 86 ready to pass into the bight between roll 86 and the entry or advanced end of one of the label carrying segments 90 of roll 45. It is to be here noted that for a particular length of label that is being applied to the articles and which will always be less than the pitch 103 of such articles, the rolls 35, 36 will be adjusted relative to the rolls 45, 86 so that the distance between the bight of rolls 35, 36 and the bight of rolls 45, 86, as represented by the line designated 105, will be equal to such particular length of label. When the transverse portions 81 of roll 36 again initiate the feed of the web and the longitudinal portion 80 of such roll again engages the web, the leading end of the terminal label 85 will be gripped in the bight between roll 86 and said one segment 90'. As previously indicated, the roll 45 is rotated so that when such bight takes place the label engaging surface of such segment 90 is moving at a velocity greater than the velocity at which the second label 85 gripped by the rolls 35, 36, is being fed by such rolls. This increase in velocity imparted to the terminal label bursts the perforated line 15 between it and the second label 85' and separates the terminal label from the web 11 while it is gripped firmly in the bight of roll 86 and the said segment 90. The rotative velocity of roll 45 is such that each segment 90 thereof advances a terminal label 85 in one cycle of operation of the labeling machine. In other words, in each such cycle the rotative velocity of each segment 90 is such that it bursts a label from the web and advances it into adhering attachment to an article at the applying station 72, as indicated in FIG. 1 by the label 85" and article 70'. It will be observed that roll 45 is dimensioned to carry a plurality of segments 90 having a distance from the front edge of one segment to the front edge of a following segment equal to the pitch of the articles being fed. Thus, if we assume that the pitch 103 of the bottles 70 is 7 /2 inches, the roll 45 is dimensioned so that the front edge of each segment 90 is 7 /2 inches from the front edge of a following segment. The length of each segment however, is dependent on the size of the label being applied, being slightly less in length than the length of the label as indicated in FIG. 1 of the drawings. Thus, in the application of labels having the maximum length of say inches, the segments will be spaced approximately 2 inches apart, while for shorter labels such spacings will be correspondingly greater. The segments 90 are removably attached to the drum 45 in any suitable manner known to the art and may be readily exchanged for segments adapted to feed a different sized label below the maximum length for which the drum 45 was constructed to handle.
-It will accordingly be seen that the apparatus of this invention successively separates the terminal labels from a continuous web of labels and registers them with the articles at a different velocity than that at which the web is fed. Thus, the apparatus establishes a new pitch relationship between the terminal labels 85 and the next succeeding or second labels 85' and applies the terminal labels 85 to articles moving at a pitch different from the original pitch in the web. It will also be apparent from the foregoing description that the apparatus is able to take care of a wide range of label sizes with only minor adjustments. Further, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the particular apparatus illustrated by way of example may be modified in many respects. For example, a rotatable sector-shaped member carrying but a single segment 90 may be substituted for the drum 45,
such sector-shaped member cooperating with and being driven through roll 86 in the same manner as drum 45. Also the roll 36 may have eliminated therefrom the transverse feed starting portions 81, and dependence placed on the initiation of the bight of the rolls 45, 86 to advance the web between the rolls 35, 36 a distance equal to the width of the slot 13 to enable such rolls 35, 36 to grip the following transverse edge of such slot. Other modifications of the described apparatus to adapt it to particular conditions of use will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art. Hence it is intended to cover all forms of the invention coming within the scope of the appended claims.
1. Apparatus for labeling articles comprising means for feeding a series of articles in spaced relation and in a continuous stream along a path toward and past a place for label application, and means for successively applying labels to the articles arriving at such place of application including means for feeding toward said place an extended strip of label web weakened transversely between the labels thereon and at a speed depending upon the pitch of the labels constituting the web, a first means adjacent to said place for successively initially gripping the terminal labels attached to the web while they are in spaced relation to said path and then advancing terminal labels that have been separated from the web towards said place at a higher speed depending upon the pitch of the articles in the stream, and for applying them to articles moving past said place, said feeding means including second means located adjacently to said first means and hindering the labels adjacent to such terminal labels from partaking of the advancing movement of the latter so that the terminal labels are successively separated from said adjacent labels by the force applied thereto while being initially gripped by said first means, said first means being constructed to maintain a grip on a separated terminal label as it is being advanced thereby to said place of label application.
2. Apparatus for labeling articles as defined in claim 1, in which said first means comprises a pair of rotatable feed members constructed and arranged to intermittently exert a biting grip on the terminal labels in the web and to exert a holding grip on each terminal label during and subsequent to the application of such biting grip thereon, and in which said second means comprises a pair of feed rolls for feeding the web to bring the advancing end of the terminal label thereof into holding gripping relation by said first means.
3. Apparatus for labeling articles as defined in claim 2, in which said feed rolls of said second means are constructed and arranged to intermittently feed the web to said first means and to start such feed thereto during the intervals between the biting grip periods of the latter.
4. Apparatus for labeling articles comprising means for feeding a series of articles in spaced relation at a pitch between the spaced centers thereof greater than the pitch of the labels to be applied thereto and along a path toward and past a place for label application, means for feeding a label web weakened transversely between the labels thereon toward said place, and including one means for feeding the label web at a velocity dependent on the pitch of the labels in such web, and another means located adjacently to said place for feeding the labels at increased velocity dependent on the pitch between the centers of the articles being fed, and for successively applying to each successive terminal label attached to the web of labels a force sufficient to destroy the weakened connection between it and the adjacent label in the web, and then advancing each successive separated terminal label towards said place of application and applying the separated terminal labels to the articles at said place of application while said separated labels are moving at said increased velocity, said other feeding means including a first means for gripping a terminal label attached to the web and for advancing the separated terminal label at said increased velocity while maintaining its grip thereon to said place of application, and a second means for intermittently feeding the web to bring the advancing end of an attached terminal label into gripped relation by said first means, but to hinder the advancement of such terminal label by said first means as to destroy its connection to the web, and means associated with said second means for holding the web during the periods of dwell in the intermittent movements thereof.
5. Apparatus for labeling articles comprising means for feeding a series of articles along a path toward and past a place for label application, means for feeding a label web weakened transversely between the labels thereon toward said place, and including a first pair of feed rolls removed from the advancing end of the web for continuously feeding the label web from a source of supply thereof, a second pair of feed rolls engageable with the labels adjacent to the successive terminal labels in the web for successively feeding the labels in the web intermittently toward said place at a given rate, and a third pair of rotatable web feeding members for successively advancing the successive terminal labels in the web relative to said adjacent labels with a force sufiicient to destroy the weakened connection of such terminal labels with said adjacent labels while said second pair of feed rolls are advancing said adjacent labels at said given rate, said third pair of rotatable web feeding means being constructed and arranged to exert a biting grip on the terminal labels in the web to effect the destruction of such weakened connections and to exert a holding grip on the separated terminal labels as they are advanced thereby toward said place for label application.
6. Apparatus for labeling articles as defined in claim 5, in which said first pair of feed rolls is constructed and arranged to feed the web at a velocity equal to the length of one label per cycle of the machine into a free loop, in which said second pair of feed rolls is constructed and arranged to feed the web intermittently from such free 'loop at a velocity greater than that of said first set of 'rolls to register the labels thereon with the articles arriving at said place of label application; and in which said third pair of members is constructed and arranged to feed the web at a velocity greater than that imparted thereto by said second pair of rolls and equalling the speed of travel of the articles past said place of label application, and including between said first and second pair of feed rolls, means for exerting a backward pressure on the labels being removed from said free loop, and means for holding the web in the periods of dwell in the feed thereof by said second pair of feed rolls.
7 7. Apparatus for labeling articles as defined in claim 5, including means movably supporting said second pair of feed rolls and operable to shift said second pair of feed rolls relative to said third pair of members.
8. Apparatus for labeling articles as defined in claim 5, including means operable to render said second pair of feed rolls inoperative to feed the web, and means controlled by the articles for controlling the operation of said operable means, said controlled means being operative when an article is missing from the series thereof to operate said operable means.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,122,332 2/1964 Hughes, Ir 226-118 3,180,547 4/1965 Gruczelak et a1 226116 2,062,280 12/1936 Aanesen et al 156270 2,525,741 10/1950 Von Hofe et al l56--455 2,920,780 1/1960 Hanschild et a1. 15636l 3,108,032 10/1963 Carlson 156361 BENJAMIN A. BORCHELT, Primary Examiner R. E. HART, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 156-270, 361