US 3596761 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventor John Campbell Kyabram, Victoria, Australia [21 I Appl. No. 883.067  Filed Dec. 8. 1969  Patented Aug. 3, 1971 [7 3 Assignee Filper Corporation San Ramon, Cali].  Priority Dec. 13, 1968  Australia l 1 47764 54] METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING CANS OF DIFFERENT DIAMETERS 24 Chins, 29 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl 209/71, 209/74, 198/31. 198/32, 193/43  lat. Cl B07c 5/36  Field 01 Search 209/71, 72, 73, 74; 193/43 D; 198/32, 35. 31 A  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1.527.337 2/1925 Wilcox 198/32 3.102.628 9/1963 Neer 198/31 A1 3,178,006 4/1965 Nigrellietal. 3,469,673 9/1969 Gentry Primary Examiner-Allen N. Knowles Attorney-Boyken, Mohler. Foster & Regan ABSTRACT: A method and apparatus for handling empty, cylindrical cans of different diameters, the method including the steps of supplying corresponding cans from different sources; telescopically combining cans of larger diameter with cans of smaller diameter; storing the cans so combined in the space required for only the larger diameter cans; separating the combined cans; conducting the separated cans to separate fillers, and the apparatus includes a can combiner and a can separator, the combiner comprising a pair of straight tracks on which the cans of different diameters are rollable at high speed toward the convergent ends of the tracks past a rotary aligner that axially aligns each can of larger diameter with a can of smaller diameter as the tracks join to move them to fully telescoped relation, and the can separator comprises endless belts extending along divergent paths respectively engaging the cans at the convergent ends of the belts to carry the larger diameter cans along one path from said convergent ends and the smaller diameter cans along a difi'erent path, for movement of the cans to separate fillersv METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING CANS OF DIFFERENT DIAMETERS SUMMARY Heretofore it has been customary in the canning industry to maintain, separately, in storage, supplies of empty cans. This practice is quite costly from the standpoint of storage space, and as one of the ends of each can is open when in storage, dust and other impuritiesmay enter thestored cans before they are delivered to the can supply lines for filling.
Empty cylindrical conventional :metal cans, that are to be filled, are each closed at one end by a circular disc secured to one end of the cylindrical body of the can by crimping, resulting in an annular radially outwardly projecting head around said one end that may also form a slight flange projecting axially beyond the main portion of the disc. The annularmarginal to the above-mentioned flared, annular marginal portion of the cylindrical sidewalls,'hermetically sealing the can closed. Injury to thesaid flared end portion, which is susceptible to injury in handling, could result in a faulty sealing and spoilage of the contents.
One of the objects of the present invention is the provision of an improved method of handling empty cylindrical cans of different diameters from the making of such cans, to and through storage thereof, and to the can supporting lines for filling or other processing prior to filling.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a method of telescopically combining empty cylindricalcans of different diameters, each having one end fully closed and the opposite end open, both conserve storage space and to fully close the open ends of the smaller diameter cans against ingress of dust and foreign material and to substantially close the open ends of the larger diameter cans against ingress of dust and foreign material during storage of the cans.
An added object of the invention is the provision of apparatus for telescopically combining cylindrical cans of different diameters at a very high rate of speed without injury to the cans, and which apparatus is quite economical to make, operate and to maintain.
A further object of the invention is the provision of apparatus, in the system, for telescopically combining empty, cylindrical cans of different diameters, each open at one end, and which apparatus is simple, economical to make, and in which the cans are combined, in pairs, at a rate in excess of 600 to 700 per minute without injury to the cans.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a method of separating telescopically combined cans at a very high rate of speed without injury to the cans, and. which apparatus is relatively economical .to make, operate and. to maintain.
A still further object of the invention is the provision of apparatus separating telescopically combined cylindrical cans that may vary slightlyin their cylindrical cross-sectional contours.
An added object is the provision of apparatus for separating telescopically combin'ed cans at a high rate of speed substantially in excess of 600 per minute, and which apparatus includes-safety means for stopping the apparatus in the event there is an indication of an incompleteseparation without jamming'the apparatus or injury to the cans, and which apparatus is constructed so that cans therein areclearly visible to an operator at all times and are readily accessible to such operator.
Other objects and advantages will appear in the description and drawings.
DESCRIPTION or DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic top plan view of the system for handling empty, cylindrical cans of different sizes from'the supply of cans to the filling thereof.
FIG. 2 is a side-elevational view of the system shown in FIG.
FIG. 23 is an elevational view of a pair of combined cans, with the inner can indicated in dotted lines and the outer can partly broken away and in cross section.
FIG. 4 is an' enlarged, fragmentary, part elevational and part sectional view of the lowermost ends of the cans shown in FIG.
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the can combiner.
FIG. 6 is a view similar to that of FIG. 5, partly in cross section, showing the positions of the cans during movement through the combiner.
FIG. 7 is a side-elevational view of the combiner.
FIG. 8 is an enlarged, fragmentary view of a portion of FIG. 7 taken along line 8-8 of FIG. 5.
FIGS. 9, 10, 11, I2 and 13 are enlarged, cross-sectional views at lines 9-9, 10-10, 11-11, 12-12, and 13-13 in FIG. 7, each view showinga pair of cans in position at each line.
FIG. 14is a top plan view of the can separator.
FIG. 15 is a side-elevational view of the separator of FIG. 14 with certain parts broken away to show structure.
FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional view along line 16-16 of FIG. 14, showing the cans during separation.
FIG. 17 is an enlarged, cross-sectional view taken along line 17-17 of FIG. 16.
FIG. 18 is an enlarged end view of the separator at line 18-18 of FIG. 16.
FIG. 19 is an enlarged, fragmentary, cross-sectional view at line 19-19 of FIG. 16.
FIG. 20 is an enlarged, cross-sectional view at line 20-20 of FIG. 16. 7
FIG. 21 is a simplified schematic view of the photocell circuit adjacent the outlet end of the separator.
FIG. 22 is a side-elevational view of a modified form of the invention disclosed in FIGS. l4, 15.
FIG. 23 is a top plan view of the separator of FIG. 22.
FIG. 24 is a sectional view at line 24-24 of FIG. 23.
FIG. '25 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along lines 25-25 of FIG. 23.
FIG. 26 is a top plan view of another modification of the separator shown in FIGS. 14 and 23 in which .a number of pairs of cans are shown at different positions along the length of the separator.
FIG. 27 is a side-elevational view of the separator shown in FIG. 26.
FIG. 28 is an enlarged, cross-sectional view at line 28-28 of FIG. 27.
FIG. 29 is an enlarged cross-sectional view at line 29-29 of FIG. 27.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION In the drawings, movement of the cans is from right to left.
Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 the numerals 1, 2 generally designate sources of cans of different sizes. For example, one size may bethe conventional 301 size, while the other size may be the 401 size, which figures are standard, designating two popular sizes. Source 1, which may be a can maker or other source, supplies the smaller diameter cans -3, while source 2 may be a can maker, or other source, for supplying the larger diameter cans 4. These cans are formed of ferrous or magnetic sheet material, which normally have an inner coating of lacquer, plastic or tin, for containing food products.
Ordinary empty cans of the above type come from the can makers with a circular head 5 (FIGS. 3, 4)closing one end of each can, the head and sides 6 being crimped together at said one end to form a radially and axially projecting chime 7. The cylindrical sides 5 of each can are flared outwardly as at 8, for later crimping with a closure corresponding to head 5, after the can is filled.
The head 5 of the cans are formed with concentric, spaced, shallow lands and grooves, one such groove is indicated at 9 in FIG. 4, in the lower end of the larger can 4 of a combined pair of cans, and it is seen that the flared end 8 of a smaller diameter can 3 is substantially received in said groove when the pair of cans are vertical with the smaller can inverted within the larger can. This is the position in which combined pairs of cans are normally transported to and from a storage station, and the inevitable jostling of the cans while in transit results in the inner can spacing itself within the outer can, and furthermore were the cans to roll on their sides, there is no detrimental cutting of the lacquer or plastic lining by the open edge of the smaller can. Were the cans combinedwith their closed ends adjacent to each other, the lacquer around the flared end of the larger diameter can would, in many instances be abraded to the metal or cut through, rendering the damaged can unsuitable for filling.
- In addition to the above desired result, the combining of the cans as shown in FIG. 3 results in substantially closing the open ends of both cans, thereby precluding contamination of the inside of the cans during transit or when in storage.
, Between sources 1, 2 and the inlet end of the can combiner, which is generally designated 10, the cans 3, 4 move along separate paths l3, l4, and roll on their sides, by gravity, into the inlet end'of the can combinenThis movement is at a relatively high rate of speed, and the movement through the can combiner, I is at a high rate of speed, being along straight lines that converge to a single path at the exit end of the combiner.
Within the combiner, a can aligner hereinafter described in detail, aligns a smaller diameter can with a larger diameter can, although up to the aligner the cans in each path are normally in adjoining relation with no attempt at alignment.
The cans 3, 4 in paths I3, 14, and in path 15, are supported and guided for movement within parallel sets of bars or rods that extend longitudinally of said paths. These sets of bars are conventional in can handling equipment, and for purpose of convenience may be called tracks.
The track 15 has 90 twist therein at 16 for turning the cans upright with the closed ends of cans 4 lowermost, and from track or path 15 the cans may be delivered to a conventional palletizer 17 for forming the sets of combined cans into layers of uniform size, and for stacking the layers on a pallet for transfer to storage. I
From the palletizer the combined cans in superposed layers on pallets may be moved by fork lift trucks l9 or any other suitable conveyor or conveyance to storage 20 where the combined cans are stored until required.
When required, the combined cans are moved along the single path 21 by any suitable vehicle or conveyor 22 to a depalletizer 23 where they are depalletized and moved upright in single file along a path 24 in a track similar to track I5, having a 180 twist 25 therein for delivery of the sets of combined cans to the inlet end of a can separator 26, with the open ends of the larger diameter cans directed downwardly.
The can separator separates the smaller diameter cans from the larger diameter cans, (FIG. 2) and cans 3, 4 again move along separate paths or tracks 27, 28. The track 27 has a l80 twist 29 therein for inverting the smaller diameter cans so both the larger and smaller diameter cans will have their open ends facing downwardly to drop therefrom any loose solids that may be therein and for sterilization of the insides of the cans upon passing through a conventional sterilizer 30.
From the sterilizer the cans continue along separate paths 3!, 32 having I80 twists 33, 34 therein,'.to the separate fillers 35, 36 where the cans enter the fillers with their open ends directed upwardly.
l-Ieretofore, empty cans of different sizes from separate sources have been separately palletized. and separately transported to one or more storage places where they have been separately stored, and thereafter they have been transported separately to the fillers for filling.
From the foregoing description it is seen that by the present method of handling at least two difierent sized cans, the cost of valuable storage space and the cost of labor and equipment in handling the cans is approximately halved, and the cans when taken from storage are cleaner than heretofore.
As will hereinafter appear, by maintaining the movement of the cans in one direction through the can combiner and separator along straight paths, accurate control of the cans through these steps at rates of 600 per minute and upward is maintained.
Each can combiner itself comprises a horizontally elongated frame, generally designated 40 (FIG. 5), having parallel, horizontally spaced upper side frame members 41 extending longitudinally of the frame and a similar pair of horizontally extending parallel lower side frame members 42 (FIG. 6) respectively spaced below members 41, and parallel with frame members 40.
Vertically extending frame members 43 (FIG. 7) adjacent to the receiving and discharge ends of the mainframe 40 of the combiner extend between and connect the ends of the upper and lower side frame members 41, 42 at one side of the combiner, while corresponding frame members 44 (FIG. 5) connect and extend between the ends of the frame members 41, 42 at the other side of the combiner. Horizontally extending upper cross frame members 45 at the receiving and discharge ends of the combiner extend between and connect the ends of the upper frame members 41, while lower horizontally extending cross frame members 46 extend between and connect the ends of the lower frame members 14 (FIG. 6).
Supported within the confines of frame 40 are a pair of separate tracks generally designated 47, 48 (FIG. 5) that support the cans 3, 4, respectively, for rolling on their sides, through the combiner from the receiving end (right end in FIGS. 1, 2) to and out of the discharge end (left end). The frame and the tracks supported thereby are inclined downwardly from the receiving end to the discharge end so that the cans roll rapidly through the combiner under the influence of gravity.
Track 47 is for the larger diameter cans. The tracks 47, 48 are inclined downwardly from their receiving end, and the degree of such inclination may be accomplished by tilting the combiner frame, inasmuch as the tracks are rigidly supported on the latter, and any suitable support may be provided for the frame.
Each of the tracks 47, 48 comprises a plurality of horizontally spaced rods extending longitudinally of the can combiner.
Track 47 includes a pair of lower horizontally spaced cansupporting rods 49, 50 (FIGS. 7, 9) on which cans 3 are supported horizontally for rolling by gravity from the receiving end of the combiner past and below the can aligner, which is generally designated 51 (FIG. 7).
Track 48 includes a pair of lower horizontally spaced rods 52, 53 (FIG. 9) on which cans 4 are supported horizontally for rolling, by gravity, from the receiving end below and past the can aligner to the discharge end of the combiner.
Rods 49, 50 are parallel with each other, and rods 52, 53 are parallel with each other, the pair of rods 49, 50 are horizontally spaced from and in side-by-side relation to the pair of rods 52, 53, but with the rods 49, 50 in a plane slightly higher than the plane in which rods 52, 53 are positioned from the inlet or right-hand end of the combiner to slightly beyond the central portion of the aligner. The inclination of the rods relative to horizontal is the same as the inclination of frame 40, and the spacing between the pair of rods of each set is substantially less than the lengths of the cans supported thereon. Thus the chimes 7 and the flared ends 8 are spaced outwardly of the rods supporting the cans.
Spaced between the receiving end of the combiner and the aligner 51 are parallel upper and lower cross frame members 57. 58 (FIGS. 5, 7) that are respectively secured at their ends to the upper side frame members 4! and to lower side frame members 42.
Disposed between upper and lower cross frame members 45, 46 at the receiving end of the combiner, is a rod-supporting frame generally designated 59 (FIGS. 7, 9) that is disposed perpendicular to the longitudinal frame members 41, 42, and which frame 59 is horizontally elongated in a direction transversely of the length of the combiner. Said rod-supporting frame 59 has generally vertically extending endv frame pieces 60, 61 (FIG. 9), respectively, adjacent to the main frame members 43, 44.
Spaced between end frame pieces 60, 61 is a-generally vertically extending intermediate frame piece 62 that is parallel with the frame pieces 60, 61 (FIG. 9).
A base or lower horizontal frame piece 63 and an upper horizontal frame piece 64 extend between and are respectively rigidly connected at their ends with the lower and upper ends of the vertical frame pieces 60, 62, (FIG. 9), and a similar base or lower horizontal frame piece 65 and an upper horizontal frame piece 61 extend between and are rigidly connected at their ends with the lower and upper ends of the vertical frame pieces 61, 62.
The base and upper frame pieces 65, 66, respectively, are equally offset below and above the levels of the base and upper frame pieces 63, 64, thus the rod-supporting frame 59 is virtually a pair of rigidly connected rectangular collars alongside each other having the vertical frame piece 62 common to both collars. The vertical spacing between the lower and upper frame pieces 63, 64 and the horizontal spacing between the end frame piece 60 and the intermediate frame piece 62 are slightly less than the spacing between frame pieces 65, 66 and 31, 32, inasmuch as the larger cans 4 will pass through the larger collar and the smaller cans 3 will pass through the smaller one.
The lower frame piece 65 of the frame 59 is bolted directly to the lower cross frame member 46 of the main frame, and lower frame piece 63 of frame 59 is also bolted to said cross frame member 46 with spacers 67 (FIG. 9) on the bolts disposed between the frame piece 63 and cross frame member 45. 1
The cansupporting rods 49, 50 at the receiving end of the combiner extend into frame 59 and are supported on and welded to the elevated lower frame piece 63, while the cansupporting rods 52, 53 at said receiving end also extend into frame 59 and are supported on and welded to the lower frame piece 65. The level at which rods 49, 50 and.52, 53 are supported is such that the horizontally extending axes of cans 3, 4, supported for rolling on said rods, will be the same, the cans 3 being on rods 49, 50 and the cans 4 being on rods 52, 53.
The rods 49, 52 are the outermost of the plurality of rods 49, 50, 52, 53, being respectively adjacent to, but spaced from the vertical end frame pieces 43, 44 that are at the ends of frame 59, (FIG. 9).
Side rods 71, 72, 73, and 74 are parallel with rods 49, 50, 52, 53, and extend into frame 59. Said side rods are respectively welded at one of their ends to vertical end frame piece 71, intermediate frame piece 72, and vertical end frame piece 61, the rods 72, 73 being against said intermediate frame piece 62 at opposite sides of the latter. All of the rods 71'74 are at the same level, which is approximately the same level as the axes of the cans 3, 4 when said cans are supported on rods 49, 50, 52, 53, hence, rods 71, 72 define the opposite sides of track 47 for cans 3, while rods 73 74 defin'e'f 'oppos' track 48 for cans 4. e
Overhead rods 75, 76 are directly above can-supporting rods 49,50 and extend into frame 59 and are parallel with rods 49, 50. Said rods 75, 76 are welded at their ends to the lower side of the upper frame piece 64 of the rod-supporting frame 59, while similar overhead rods 77, 78 are respectively directly above rods 52, 53 and are welded to the lower side of upper frame piece 66 of frame 59.
All of the rods 49-7 7 extend from frame 59 toward aligner By the above structure, rods 75, 76 define the upper side of track 47, while rods 77, 78 define the upper side of track 48.
The spacing between the lateral and upper sides of each track is such that cans 3, 4 freely roll downwardly on can-supporting rods 49, 50, and 52,53, while the rods defining the lateral and upper sides of the respective tracks merely function as guides to retain in the-desired paths of travel to the aligner.
A rod-supporting frame 79, corresponding to the rod-supporting frame 59, is spaced between the latter, (FIGS. 5, 6) and the rods defining tracks 47, 48 extend parallel from the frame 59 into frame 79 and are welded to the frame pieces of frame 79 that correspond to those of frame 59.
At-the rod-supporting frame 79 the rods that define the four sides of track 47, and that are at one side of a vertical plane coincidental with the dividing frame piece 62 of frame 59 continue parallel with each other but commence to converge toward said plane (FIG. 5) and the same is true of rods defining the four sides of track 48. At a point intermediate aligner 51 and frame 79 relatively close to the aligner, and adjacent to the main cross frame members 57, 58, the rods 72, 73 join to form a single rod 80. This rod 80 continues in the vertical plane that is coincidental with the frame piece 62 of frame 59 for a predetermined distance, as will later be explained.
A rod-supporting frame, generally designated 83, (FIGS. 4, 5, 10) is disposed between the upper and lower cross frame members 57, 58 of the main frame. Frame 83 is similar to rodsupporting frames 59, 79 except that there is no intermediate vertical frame piece such as shown at 62 in frame 59, and the spacing between the vertical end pieces 84, 85 (that correspond to end pieces 60, 61 of frame 59) are closer together than the end pieces 60, 61 for welding of the converging rods 71, 74 thereto and the other rods of tracks 47, 48, except 72, 73 extend through frame 83 and are welded to the frame pieces thereof that substantially. correspond to the frame pieces of frames 59, 79. The single rod extension 80 of rods 72, 73 also extends through frame 83, but is not secured thereto.
Said rod-supporting frame 83 is secured to and is supported between the main cross frame members 57,58 in the same manner as frame59 is secured to and supported between the cross frame members 45, 46 of the main frame 40.
The rods of track 47 and those of track 48 extend convergentlycommencing at the rod-supporting frame 79, and cans 3, 4 will move along convergent paths corresponding to the convergence of said tracks under the influence of the rods 71,
74 that will engage the ends of the cans adjacent thereto.
At the rod-supporting frame 83, the set of rods of track 47 at one side of the central single rod 50 and the set of rods of track 48 at the opposite side of said single rod 80 will extend parallel with said extension, and will define portions 47a, 48a (FIG. 5) of tracks 47, 48 that are in extension of the convergent track portions extending between rod-supporting frames 79, 83, but are again straight and parallel with the portions of said tracks at the receiving end of the combiner.
Along portions 47a, 48a of tracks 47, 48, the cans 3, 4 will have their adjacent ends relatively close together.
Any suitable conventional means (not shown) such as rods that are in outward extension of rods defining tracks 47, 48 at the receiving end of the combiner, may define paths to feed cans 3, 4 to the tracks 47, 48 at the receiving end of the combiner with their open ends facing each other. Accordingly, when the cans 3, 4 reach and move along parallel portions 47a, 48a, of tracks 47, 48, the open ends of cans 3 will be adjacent to the open ends of cans 4, although the cans 3 of track 47 will not be in axial alignment with the cans of track 48. However, the axes of the cans 3, 4 will be in a common plane from the receiving end of the combiner to beyond the central point of aligner.
The parallel, straight portions 47a, 48a, of tracks 47, 48 extend to a central point below the aligner, but before the cans in said tracks reach said central point, the central rod 80 terminates so there will be no obstacle to the cans 3, 4 being moved axially toward each other after they pass the terminating end of rod 80.Also, it is to be noted that the rods 71, 74
, engage the crimped ends of the cans 3, 4 and not the flared Shaft 84 is rotatably supported at its ends in bearings 85 (FIG. mounted on the frame members 41. Secured on said shaft are two pairs of said discs or wheels, the discs or wheels ofone pair being designated 86, and the discs of the other pair being designated 87 (FIG. 10).
The shaft 84 is spaced above the tracks 47, 48 at approxi mately the terminal lower ends of the parallel portions 47a, 48a of tracks 47, 48. Thus the straight portions 47a, 48a extend to a generally vertical plane that is perpendicular to the length of main frame 40 and in which plane shaft 84 is positioned.
Shaft 84 carries a sprocket wheel or pulley 88 that is drivably connected by a chain or belt with an electric motor 89, (FIG. 5), which motor is supported on a platform 90. Flatform 90 is rigidly secured on the upper side frame members 41 of the main frame at the discharge end of the combiner, hence contributes to the rigidity of the main frame.
In order that the discs 86, 87 may be quickly adjusted, it is preferable that each pair be adjustably mounted on shaft 84 as a unit. Accordingly, each pair of discs is releasably secured to a separate drive hub 91 (FIG. 10) by any suitable means, such as bolts 92 that connect a flange on each hub with discs of each pair, and which bolts extend through spacers 93 between the discs of each pair for spacing said discs. The hubs 91 may each be removably secured on shaft 84 by a setscrew 94, or a key, or any other suitable means.
Discs 86 are over portion 47a of track 47 and are identical, each being scalloped around its outer periphery to form an annular row of concavely arcuate, radially outwardly opening recesses or pockets 97. Each recess 97 conforms in outline to the convex, circular outer outline of the cylindrical sides of cans 3.
Discs 87 are over portion 48a of track 48, and these are also scalloped around their outer peripheries to form an annular row of concavely arcuate, radially outwardly opening recesses or pockets 98, each conforming in outline to the arcuate outline of each cylindrical can 4.
The discs as viewed in FIGS. 7, 8, are rotated clockwise, as
the movement of cans 3, 4 is from right to left. The formation of the recesses 97 in discs 86 provide teeth 99 between adjacent pairs of said recesses.
Each tooth 99 has a concavely arcuate leading face 100 (FIG. 8) that is part of the recess 97 ahead of each tooth relative to its direction of movement. This leading face extends substantially radially of the disc.
The trailing face 101 of each tooth 99 extends gently rearwardly and radially inwardly from the radially outermost tip of each tooth along line 76, which line extends more nearly circumferentially of the disc than radially until it reaches the recess 97 adjacent thereto, where it joins said recess.
Discs 86, 87 are positioned relative to each other on shaft 84 so that the recesses 97, 98 in discs 86, 87 are in alignment axially of the discs, and in this position the concavely, arcuately extending edges of the aligned recesses 97, 98 will follow circular concentric lines that are coaxial with a pair of axially aligned cans 3, 4 on track portions 470, 48a of tracks 47, 48, directly below the aligner.
Teeth I02 are between adjacent pairs of recesses 98 in discs 87.
The circular paths of the outer tips of teeth 99, 102, are ap proximately tangential to the straight paths of movement of the axes of cans 3, 4 that are supported on rods 49, 50 and 52, 53 for movement past the aligner, said rods support the cans 3, 4 so their outer peripheral surfaces are closely adjacent to the concavely arcuate surfaces of the recesses 97, 98. By this arrangement, the cans 3, 4 on tracks 47, 48, including the portions 47a, 48a, may move to the aligner under the influence of gravity in adjoining relation, and as the discs rotate clockwise at the same rate of speed, pairs of cans 3, 4 at the aligner will be substantially axially aligned by the discs upon each pair of cans reaching a position centrally below the discs. The cans may be fed to the aligner at the same rate of revolution of teeth 99, 102, or slower or faster. In any event, the rate of rotation of the aligner will determine the rate of movement of the cans through the aligner.
The overhead pairs of rods 75, 76, 77 and 78 that extend from the receiving end of the combiner may terminate at the rod-supporting frame 83 (FIG. 7), or just beyond said, frame, so as not to interfere with discs 86, 87, as said discs are substantially in line with said rods, and the gap between the discs and the tips of teeth 99, 102 is relatively slight. Therefore, the aligner discs will engage the cans almost as soon as they pass from below the rods 75-78.
Rods 49, 71 of track 47 at one side of a vertical plane extending longitudinally of the combiner between tracks 48, and the rods 52, 53, 74 at the other side of said plane extend convergently toward each other from points approximately centrally below the axis of rotation of aligner 51 (FIG. 6), whereby portions 47a, 48a of tracks 47, 48 will be convergent from said points toward the discharge end of the combiner and the side rods 71, 74 will commence to move the aligned cans 3, 4 toward each other. At the same time the axes of the cans will move toward positions in which the axis of can 4 is at a right angle to the convergently extending rod 74 and the axis of can 3 will move toward a position in which it is at a right angle to the convergent rod 71, and the cans will move toward each other. The rods 3, 49, 71 remain parallel with each other, as viewed from above (FIG. 5), and rods 52, 53, 74, 46, will remain parallel with each other, but rod 50 continues straight.
The degree of convergence of the rods 71, 74 is such that the cans of each aligned pair, while under control of the aligner, will commence telescopic movement of the cans 3, 4 relative to each other.
InFIG. 6, a pair of cans 3, 4 are shown in full line in axially aligned position below the aligner, and an adjacent pair of cans in positions 3', 4' is shown after having passed the central point of the aligner.
In movin to the osition 3', 4', the foremost ed e of the circular closed ends of the cans 3, 4 engage the convergently extending rods 71', 74 and the cans will automatically commence turning so their horizontal axes will be perpendicular to rods 71, 74, respectively.
The flared end 8 of can 3 will have partially entered the adjacent flared end of a can 4, at the positions 3, 4', while the axes of the cans are at the same level supported on the convergently extending rods 49, 52, 53 and on rod 50 of tracks 47, 48 (FIG. 7). Before the cans are entirely independent of the aligner 51, and when said cans reach positions 3, 4', (FIG. 6) the foremost point on the leading circular edge of can 3 at its flared open end will be within the open end of can 4 that is adjacent thereto.
When cans 3, 4 reach approximately the positions 3, 4', the rods 49, 50 supporting cans 3 will commence to slope downwardly from points 103 (FIG. 7) and will continue to so slope to points 104 when rods 49, 50 will be at the same level as rods 52, 53.
Another rod-supporting frame 105, (FIGS. 7, 11), that is similar to frame 83, except for dimensions, is spaced beyond frame 83 and beyond aligner 51 in the direction of the movement of the cans. Frame 105 is disposed between an upper main cross frame member 106 and a lower main cross frame member 107 (FIG. 7) that are respectively welded at their ends to the upper and lower longitudinally extending main side frame members 41, 42. Frame member .105 is secured between cross frame members 106, 107 in the same manner as frame 83 is secured between main cross frame members 57, 58.
Rods 49, 50, 52, 53 and rods 71, 74 extend through frame 105 and are secured to the frame pieces of frame 105 that correspond to those of frame 83 to which said rods are secured. The rod 49 terminates a predetermined distance beyond frame 105 and by the time cans 3, 4 reach positions 3", 4", (FIG. 6), which is a substantial distance beyond frame 105, the can 3 will be well into can 4. v
A rod-supporting frame 108 (FIGS. 57, 12) of the same type as frame 105 extends around rods 49, 52, 53, and 71, 74,
secured to the frame 108 in the same manner as they are secured to frame 105.
A single overhead rod 107 (FIGS. 5, 7, 12) extends through and between the rod-supporting frames 105, 108 and is secured adjacent its ends to the upper horizontal frame pieces of said frames 105, 108, in a position over cans 3 as the latter are moved into cans 4. This rod is inclined slightly downwardly from the end thereof that is at the'rod-supporting frame 105, (FIG. 7), the spacing between the upper end of rod 107 and the rods 49, 50, that support the cans being such that the spacing between the lower end of said rod 107 and the rods 49, 50 therebelow will be at the same level as rods 49, 50 at the point 104.
A pair of overhead rods 109, 110 also extend through rodsupporting frames 105, 108, and are secured to the horizontal upper frame pieces of said frames in the same manner as rods 77, 78 are secured to frame 59. Rods 109, l are over cans 4, and commence at frame 105 the same as rod 107 but rods 109, 110 continue parallel with each other and with the cansupporting rods 52, 53 therebelow, there being no downward inclination of the latter between the frames 105, 108. The rod 107 terminates at a point between the discharge end of the combiner and frame 108 (FIG. 5) as soon as the major length of can 3 is within the can 4 at the terminal end of rod 107.
A rectangular rod-supporting frame 111 is supported at the discharge end of the main frame 40 between the horizontal upper and lower cross frame members 45, 46 of the main frame, (FIGS. 5, 7, 13), the horizontal bottom frame piece 112 of said frame 111 being supported directly on the lower main frame member 46 and the upper horizontal frame piece 113 (FIG. 13) being secured by bolts 114, extending through spacers 115 to the main upper cross frame member 45.
Can-supporting rods 52, 53 extend into and are welded to the horizontal lower frame piece of frame 111 as are the ends of the bars 71, 74.
Rods corresponding to rods 49, 50, 52, 53, 71-78 at the receiving end, as hereinbefore stated, may extend to the sources 1, 2,.to provide tracks 47, 48 with cans at a sufficient rate of speed to enable the combiner to operate at its capacity. This rate may vary according to the degree of inclination-of the combiner and the head of cans in the lines extending to the aligner and the rate of rotation of the aligner, but in actual practice, approximately 5 to 7 hundred cans'per minute may pass the aligner and be combined and discharged from the discharge end of the latter according to the length of the tracks and where the inclination of the combiner is approximately from l0 to relative to horizontal.
' This rate of rotation of the aligner is preferably regulated to align the successive cans on tracks 47, 48, at the maximum rate at which it is practical to conduct the cans to the aligner, and the cans in the rows extending to the aligner are normally in adjoining relation. The teeth on the aligner discs are shaped to preclude injury to the cans of either size, irrespective of when they reach the aligner, and when the cans in the two rows are in adjoining relation, at the combiner, a complete combining of a pair of cans will occur with passage of each set of aligned recesses in the aligner discs past the leading pair of cans at the aligner. Under no condition will a can pass the aligner discs without entering one of the recesses in the discs.
At the discharge end of the combiner, a set of rods 116 (FIG. 7) are in continuation of rods 52, 53, 71, 74, 109, 110, and support the combined sets of cans 3, 4 for movement to a palletizer 17 (FIGS. 1, 2) and said set of rods 116 may make a conventional quarter turn or twist at 16 between the palletizer and the combiner to discharge the combined cans onto the palletizer in an upright position with the closed ends of the cans 4 lowermost. At the palletizer it'is customary to insert a sheet of paper or the like between superposed layers of cans as thelayers are stacked, which stabilizes the palletized cans of the stack.
The can separator 26 comprises a horizontally elongated, stationary frame generally designated 119, having upper, horizontally spaced side frame members 120 in parallel, sideby-side relation, and similar lower frame members 121 spaced below and parallel with frame members 120.
Vertical frame members 122 (FIGS. 15, 16) connect the frame members 120, 121 at each side offrame 119 and support the latter. Cross frame members 123', 124 respectively, at the inlet'and discharge ends of the separator, connect the opposite ends of the upper frame members 120. The feed, inlet orreceiving end of the separator is the right-hand end as viewed in FIGS. 14-16 and 19, while the opposite end is the discharge end.
A can spacing and holdback device, generally designated 125 may be provided at the inlet end of the separator. This device comprises a pair of horizontally elongated, horizontally extending endless V-belts 126 in a horizontalplane (FIGS. 14, 19) which belts are in side-by-side relation.
Belts 126 are respectively supported at their ends on pulleys 127 (FIG. 19) with the adjacent longitudinally extending runs 128 of the belts in parallel relation backed by sets of rollers 129, which runs 128 frictionally engage the opposite sides of cans 4'that are fed between said runs on rods 121. Said belts may be similar to timing belts, having resilient rubber or rubberlike teeth 130 (FIG. 19) on their outer sides for yieldably engaging the sides of cans 4, and rollers 129 may be adjustably supported by frame members 131 that, in turn, are secured to frame 119.
Upper and lower cross frame members 132 also rigid with thestationary frame 119, support the bearings for vertical shafts 134 that carry pulleys 127, (FIGS. 14, 19).
Adjacent to the discharge end of belts 126, or the left end as viewed in FIGS. 14-16 and 19, is the intake or right-hand end of a pair of horizontally elongated, horizontally spaced endless belts generally designated 138, 139 (FIGS. 14, 19). The adjacent runs 140 of these belts are in side-by-side, spaced, opposed relation extending longitudinally of the frame 119, and disposed in a horizontal plane for engaging opposite sides of the vertical cans 4 fed thereto from the V-belts 126.
The V-belts 126 are relatively narrow, and the sets of combined cans 3, 4 are supported on rods as they are moved by said belts to the receiving ends of belts 138, 139. The cans are normally fed to the 'V-belt by conventional power driven endless wire rope carriers (not shown) associated with a set of can-supporting rods and on which rope the cans are supported by gravity or both gravity and such carriers, whichever is most suitable. In any event, the cans are fed to the belts 126 of the separator on rods 135 below corresponding overhead rods. and between rods 136, in adjoining relation at a high rate of speed from approximately 600 to 700 per minute.
Belts 138, 139 are of a vertical width approximately equal to the vertical height of cans 4 between the chimes and flared lower ends, so the chimes are above the upper edges of the belts and the flared lower ends of the cans are below the lower edges (FIG. 18).
Belts 138, 139, respectively, extend around pulleys 142 at the receiving ends of the belts, as viewed in FIGS. 14, 19, and the opposite ends of said belts extend around similar pulleys 143, said pulleys being centrally crowned to center the belts thereon. Vertical shafts 144 support pulleys 142, which shafts are rotatably supported and carried at their upper ends in bearings on horizontally inwardly projecting frame members 145. Said frame members terminate at their adjacent ends at, or short of the runs of said belts.
Vertical shafts 147 (FIG. 18) adjacent the discharge end of the separator support pulleys 143. andsaid shafts are rotatably supported in upper frame members 148 (FIGS. l4, 18) that correspond to frame members 145, while said shafts are supported below pulleys 143 at said discharge end in bearings on lower frame members 149 (FIGS. 18) that substantially correspond to frame members 148.
A bevel gear 150 (FIG. 18) is secured on each shaft 147 below the lower frame members 149, which gears mesh with bevel gears 151 secured on a horizontal shaft 152. 4
Shaft 152 is supported for rotation in bearings on the vertical frame members 122 that are at the discharge end of the main frame 119, and a sprocket wheel 153 is secured on one end of said shaft outwardly of one of the members 122.
Sprocket wheel 153 is connected by a chain 154 (FIG. 15)
with a sprocket wheel 155 which wheel, in turn, is driven by a motor 156 supported on a platform 157 (FIG. 15) that is rigid with the lower frame members 121 and below the cancarrying belts.
Corresponding sprocket wheels 160 are secured on the upper ends of the shafts 144 on which pulleys 142 are secured (FIG. 14, 19) and larger sized sprocket wheels 161 of uniform size, are respectively secured on the upper ends of the shafts.
134 of the V-belt pulleys 127 that are nearest thereto, so that the adjacent runs 128 of the V-belts will move in the same direction as the adjacent runs 140 of belts 138, 139, and simultaneously therewith, when motor 156 is actuated.
The diameters of the sprocket wheels 160, 161 are such that, upon actuation of the motor 156, the surface speed of the opposed runs 128 of the V-belts will be slightly slower than the surface speed of the adjacent runs 140 of the belts 138, 139, whereby the adjoining cans between the V-belts will be spaced apart a small fraction of an inch between the belts 138, 139, for a purpose later explained in detail.
An upper and a lower row of longitudinally spaced leaf springs 163 are positioned between the longitudinally extending runs of belt 138 and an upper and lower row of corresponding leaf springs 164 are positioned between the longitudinally extending runs of belt 139 (FIG. 14).
Springs 163, 164 are elongated and have outer ends that are secured to stationary strips 165 that are adjacent to the runs of belts 138, 139 that are opposite to their adjacent runs 140. Said springs extend angularly from strips 165 in the direction of movement of the runs 140 and their outer ends are curved at 166 to provide convexly curved surfaces in wiping or frictional engagement with the runs 340 for yielding urging the opposed runs 140 toward each other.
Mounting brackets 167 support the strips 165 from the the upper side frame members 120 in positions in which the springs 163, 164 of the upper rows thereof engage the upper portions of the backs of runs 140 of belts 138, 139 while the springs 163, 164 of the lower rows engage the upper portions of said backs. This insures the belts 138, 139 frictionally engaging opposite sides of cans adjacent their upper and lower sides even if some of the cans 4 may be distorted to be more or less oval in cross-sectional contour adjacent their open ends. The belts 138, 139 preferably extend horizontally and carry cans 4 along a horizontal path, and in view of the rate of speed at which the cans are moved, it is important that the cans 4 should not pivot about horizontal axes when between runs 140, but should be firmly held whether perfectly cylindrical or slightly misshapen in order to insure against undesirable slowing of the rate of downward movement of cans 3 out of cans 4, or the failure of cans 3 to fully separate from cans 4 by the time the cans reach the discharge end of the machine.
The springs 163 are in staggered relation to springs 164 (FIG. 14) with the result that, upon cans 4 being carried through the separator between runs 140, the cans will have a slight transverse movement as well as longitudinal movement, relative to the length of the separator as a can passes the curved ends of the alternate springs at opposite sides of the path of travel of the cans. This is indicated to an exaggerated degree in FIG. 19, and the transverse movement has the effect of shaking the sets of cans to loosen the inner cans should they tend to be held within the outer cans.
A horizontally extending endless conveyor belt generally designated 169 (FIG. 15) is positioned below the space between runs 140 of belts 138, 139, which belt extends atone end over a horizontally disposed pulley'l70 that is axially in the same vertical plane as pulleys 142. The opposite end of belt 169 is axially in the same vertical plane as pulleys 143 and extends over a pulley 171 that is secured on power-driven shaft 152.
Pulley 170 is secured on shaft 172, which shaft is supported at its ends in bearings on the vertical frame members 122 at the receiving end of the separator.
Pulley is positioned higher than the pulley 171 and said pulley 170 supports the upper can-supporting run 173 at the receiving end of the separator in a position in which the lateral edges of the upper run 173 are adjacent the lower edges of the runs 140 of belts 138, 139 (FIG. 20).
The pulley 171 supports the discharge end of the belt 169 in a position in which the upper run 173 is spaced below the discharge ends of belts 138, 139 a distance greater than the height of cans 3 (FIG. 16).
Conventional magnetic rails 177 (FIGS. 16, 17) below the upper run 173 of belt 169 extend longitudinally thereof and are supported against the lower side of said upper run by members 178 (FIG. l5) rigid with frame 119. A relatively thin war plate of nonmagnetic material may be rigid with rails 177 and against the run 169 of the belt, the latter itself being of nonmagnetic material. Permanent magnets 180 are rigid with rails 177 providing a magnetic field above said run.
A horizontal plate 181 (FIG. 19) bridges the gap between the upper end of the upper run of belt 169 and the rods 135 that support the cans that are between the V-belts 126. The upper sides of the rods 135 are cut away to support plate 181 with the upper surfaces of the rods and plate flush so that the cans will readily slide across the plate.
In operation, the sets of combined cans 3, 4 are fed on rods 135 to between the adjacent runs 128 of the V-belts at a high rate of speed in adjoining relation and immediately upon engagement between the cans 4 and said adjacent runs the cans are moved by the runs 128 at the same rate of speed as that of the runs 128, which is slightly slower than that of belts 138, 139. The cans as discharged from the discharge end of the V- belts are immediately engaged between the adjacent runs 140 of belts 138, 139 and are slightly drawn away from the cans between the V-belts so as to slightly space the cans between said runs 140.
The cans 4 will be carried horizontally between the belts 138, 139 toward the discharge end of the separator, while the cans 3 will be carried downwardly on the upper run 173 of belt 169 and will be progressively moved out of the cans 4. The magnetic rails 177 positively hold cans 3 against said upper run 173 and the magnetic rails, gravity and the lateral movements of cans 4 imparted by springs 163, 164 all cooperate to assure separation of cans 3 from cans 4 before the cans reach the discharge end of the conveyor.
In the rare instance in which, through some defect or abnormality in either or both of the cans of as set, the inner can should partially separate from the outer can by the time the cans reach the discharge end, the motor 156 is in an electrical circuit 182 (FIG. 21) with a photocell 183 (FIGS. 16, 21). Upon closing switch 184 in circuit 182, holding relay 185 will be energized and the motor will be actuated, and continue to be actuated as long as there is no interruption in the beam to the photocell, which beam will be interrupted by a can 3 that fails to clear can 4 at the discharge end of the separator. Said interruption will immediately break the circuit to the holding relay and the motor 156 and belts 138, 139, 126, and 169 will stop before a jam has occurred and cans and equipment are injured. The defective can or cans can readily be reached manually for removal as the space above the cans 4 is free from any overhead obstruction throughout the distance between the ends of the belts 138, 139. The circuit shown in F 1G. 21 is highly simplified for purpose of illustration.
While the tautness of the adjacent runs 140 of belts 138, 139 under the influence of the springs 163, 164 when no cans are between the runs 140, or when the number of cans between said runs may be irregularly spaced due to variations in the feed of cans thereto will vary, when the runs are spread by the presence of the cans, there may be slack in the belts 138, 139 if no provision were made to maintain the belts relatively taut under all conditions.
Tautness of the belts under all conditions is maintained by a belt tightener 186 associated with each belt, and as the slack in the belts may be substantial, it is desirable that the tightener be fairly compact and maintain the belts taut over a considerable range.
Each tightener 186 comprises a pair of vertical rollers 187 (FIG. 19) between which the longitudinal run 140' of each belt that is opposite to run 140 extends. The shafts rotatably supporting said rollers are connected at their upper endsby a strip 188 (FIG. 19) and by a similar strip 189 at their lower ends (FIGS. 19, 20). A vertical stub shaft 190 (FIG. 19) is secured to strips 188, 189 centrally between the ends of rollers 187, and the upper ends of shafts 190 are rotatably supported in bearings respectively secured to brackets 191(FIG. 17)
secured to upper side frame member 120. A torsion spring 192 around each shaft 190 rotates rollers 197 in a direction to maintain the belts 138, 139 taut at all times. counterclockwise movement of the upper belt tightener as seenin FIG. 14 and clockwise movement of the lower belt tightener will maintain the belts .taut.
ltis pertinent to note that one of the springs 164(FIG. 14) at the end of one of the rows thereof at the discharge end of the separator is opposite to the springs 164 at the same end of the other row. This centers the cans 4 for accurate delivery into the track defined by the upper set of rods 193. A-lower similar track defined by a lower set of rods 194 receives the cans 3 from the lower belt.
FIGS. 22-24 show a modification of the can separator hereinabove described, which comprises a stationary frame 200 similar to frame 119, having upper side frame members 201 (FIG. 23) and lower side frame members 202, with vertical supports 203 (FIG. 24) connecting the frame members at each side of the frame and cross frame members 204 (FIG. 23) connect the ends of the upper side frame members.
A pair of endless, horizontally extending endless belts 205, 206 (FIG. 23) in horizontally spaced, parallel, side-by-side relation extend at the receiving end of the separator, a righthand end as viewed in FIGS. 2325 around vertically disposed pulleys 207 and at their opposite ends around corresponding pulleys 208. The opposed adjacent runs 209 of the bolts receive the cans 4 between them. Vertical shafts 210 supported in bearings carried by cross frame member 204 have pulleys 207 connected therewith and vertical shifts 211 have pulleys 208 thereon.
Shafts 211 are driven by the same arrangement as shafts 147 in FIG. 18. Driving shaft 212 (FIG. 22) which corresponds to shaft 152 (FIG. 18) has a sprocket wheel 213 on one end thereof, which wheel is connected by a chain 214 (FIG. 22)v with a sprocket wheel 215 that, in turn, is driven by a motor 216 supported on a table 217. Table 217 is secured on the upper side frame members 201. The motor and table are not shown in FIGS. 23, 24.
A pair of overhead crosspieces 220 (FIG. 23) secured to the side frame members 201 extend across the separator adjacent to its receiving and discharge ends, and depending brackets 221 support a rigid, horizontally elongated backing strip 222 against the inner surface of run 209 of belt 205.
Brackets 223 similar to brackets 221 support a rigid,
horizontally elongated strip 224 between the horizontal runs k of belt 206 parallel with run 209 of the latter belt but spaced from said run a substantial distance.
A row of relatively wide single leaf springs 225 are carried by strip 224, which springs, in top plan view (FIG. 23) correspond to the shape of springs 163 shown in FIG. 14, the springs having convexly curved outer end surfaces slidably engaging the rear side of run 209 of belt 206.
Sets of rods 226 at the receiving end of the separator deliver the sets of combined cans to between to adjacent runs 209 of belts 205, 206 in upright position with the open ends .of the cans 4 directed downwardly, and overhead rods 227 of said set continue longitudinally of the separator from the receiving to the discharge end of the latter over the space between the runs 209.
Cams 4, entering the receiving end, are frictionally held between the runs 209, under the tension applied by springs 225, the chimes of the cans extending over the upper edge of the runs 209 and below rods 227.
Below the space between runs 209 is an endless belt 228 (FIG. 24) that extends over horizontal pulleys 229, 230at its ends, the pulley 230 being on shaft 212 and pulley 229 being on horizontal shaft 231, which shafts are supported at their ends in:bearings on vertical end posts 203. I f
Magnetic rails 234 below the upper run 235 of belt 228 having a nonmagnetic wear strip 236 (FIG. 25) between the rails and belt are supported against the lower side of said run 235 bysupporting brackets 237 (FIG. 24) that correspond to supporting brackets 178 of FIG. 5, and permanent magnets 238 secured to rails 234 correspond to magnets 180.
In the modification of FIGS. 22-24, the cans 4 are retained at one side against the unyielding run 209 of belts 205, 206
that is against the rigid backing strip 222, hence there is no variation in the straight line of travel of the cans 4'during separation.
Obviously the photoelectric safety control system employed in the invention shown in FIGS. 15, 16 may be employed.
In the modification shown in FIGS. 26-29, the separation of: the cans is horizontally instead of vertically. A pair of horizontally extending endless belts 240, 241 extend divergently relative to each otherfrom the receiving or right-hand end, and said belts extend around vertical pulleys 242 at said receiving end and around vertical pulleys 243 at their divergent-ends. upperand lower cross-frame members 244 have bearings supporting the shafts 245 of pulleys 242, and similar upper cross-frame members 246 at the discharge end have bearings rotatably supporting shafts 247 of pulleys 243.
A horizontal driven shaft 248 at the discharge end of the separator (FIG. 29) has bevel gears 249 therein that mesh with bevel gears 250 secured on the lower ends of shafts 247 for driving the belts in a direction for movement of their adjacent runs 251 in a direction from their adjacent to their divergent ends.
The sets of combined cans 3, 4 are rolled on their sides on tracks 252-defining a single track to between the adjacent runs 251 of belts 251.
Magnetic rails 253 (FIGS. 26, 28) that correspond in structure to the magnetic rails 234 of FIG. 25 are supported by frame members 254 against the oppositely outwardly facing sides of the adjacent runs 251 of belts 240, 241. Wear strips of nonmagnetic material may be between the rails 253 and the nonmagnetic belts, and permanent magnets 255 on the rails provide the magnetic fields for holding the cans 3 to one ofthe runs 251 while cans 4'are held to the other run 251.
Runs 251 move at the same rate of speed, and as the cans are magnetically held thereto, with the cans 4 against one belt and cans 3 against the other, the cams will be separated, and at the discharge end of the cans 3, 4 will leave the influence of the rails 253 and will be separately delivered into the receiving tracks 256 for further delivery as has been generally disclosed.
As cans 3, 4 are rolling in free space when attracted into engagement with the runs 251 there is a tendency of the cans in each set to become substantially coaxial. At least, the tendency is such as to produce a space between the outer cylindrical surface of can 3 and the inner cylindrical surface of can 4. The magnets are preferably disposed to assist in reaching such spacing,'the center of their magnetic fields being at substantially the level of the axes of the cans.
In short, the cans are rolling and live at the time they enter the receiving end of the magnetic field, and they move toward the center of the field before their rolling inertia is dissipated. Thus the cans are spaced a sufficient distance to avoid scraping of the inner surface of can 4 by can 3 during the separation operation, thus avoiding injury to the lining of can Iclaim:
I. The method of handling empty, cylindrical cans of two different diameters that are open at one of their ends and closed at their opposite ends, between separate sources of supply and separate filling stations, including the steps of:
a. moving the smaller diameter cans and the larger diameter cans on their sides along separate paths from said sources to an aligning and combining station with said paths in adjacent sidegby-side relation and the open ends of the larger diameter cans facing the smaller diameter cans at said aligning and combining station,
each of the combined pairs of cans along single paths to said storage station and from said storage station to said can-separating means, and for supporting and conducting the cans of different diameters along separate paths from b. continuing said movement through said station along said can-separating means to said separate filling stations horizontally extending, substantially straight paths and for filling. axially aligning pairs of cans during movement thereof 5. in the can handling system as defined in claim 4; through said station at a point at said station along said d. said can combining means and said can-separating means latter paths and at the same time progressively moving at each including portions of said conducting means for supleast one of the cans so aligned axially thereof toward the porting said cans for continuous movement through and other until the smaller diameter can is within the larger past said can combining and said can-separating means, diameter can to provide a combined pair of cans moving and in a single path with the closed ends of the smaller diamee. said can conducting means including means between said ter cans extending acrossasubstantial portion of the open 1 5 can combining means and said storage station for posiends of the larger diameter cans, and thereafter tioning said combined pairs of cans upright with the open c. moving said combined pairs of cans to a storage station ends of said larger diameter cans directed upwardly and and during said movement to said storage station, turning for supporting said combined pairs of cans in said lastsaid combined pairs of cans upright to positions with the mentioned position 'for movement to and for support at open ends of the lager diameters cans facing the same said storage station in said last-mentioned position, direction and collecting the upright cans of said comf. said can conducting means further including means bined pairs in adjoining relation in horizontal layers of between said can separating means and said fillers for predetermined uniform outline, and storing said layers in positioning and supporting said cans upright along said superposed relation in a ack at i torag a ion, separate paths to said fillers with their open ends directed d. withdrawing said combined pairs of cans from said stack upwardly for filling by said fillers.
and thereafter moving them in a single row longitudinally 6. In a can-handling system as defined in claim 4; of said row along a single path to a can-separating station, d. said can combining means an said can separating means e. continuing movement of said cans through said separateach comprising substantially straight, horizontally eloning station along separate straight horizontally extending gated tracks for supporting said cans for movement paths extending divergently from said single path with the therethrough at a high rate of speed, and larger diameter cans in one path and said smaller diamee. said can combining means including a rotary power ter cans in the other path until the cans of each combined driven aligner for axially aligning a pair of cans of difpair are separated, and thereafter moving the cans so ferent diameters conducted thereto and for moving each separated along separate paths to separate filling stations pair of cans so aligned past said aligner at approximately for filling. 5 the same rate of speed as the rate of delivery to said 2. In the method as defined in claim 1; aligner.
f. said smaller diameter and said larger diameter cans being 7. In a can-handling system for handling empty cylindrical in adjoining relation in said separate paths during movecans of two different diameters open at one of their ends and ment to said point in said aligning and combining station, closed at their opposite ends, a can combiner comprising: and 40 a. a pair of horizontally elongated, relatively straight, guide g. said movement at said station to said point therein being tracks in side-by-side relation similarly inclined relative to under the influence of gravity. horizontal for supporting the cans of one diameter on one 3. in the method as defined in claim 2; of said tracks and the cans of the other diameter on the h. said cans being supported on their sides at points spac d other of said tracks for rolling of said cans on their sides between their ends for rolling at said aligning an combinunder the influence of gravity and in adjoining relation on ing station to said point with the axes of the smaller a each of said tracks from the elevated ends thereof toward larger diameter cans being at th a l l, a their lower ends with the open ends of the cans in said i. during movement of the cans of said combined pairs to ai of tracks facing each other.
said separating station. positioning the cans of sa d pairs b. rotary can aligning means intermediate the ends of said vertically with the open ends of said larger diameter cans tracks for engaging successive can on said tracks and for facing downwardly whereby the cans of smaller diameter axially aligning the cans so engaged during movement of will be under the influence of gravity for separating from said cans therepast, the cans of larger diameter, and c. the tracks of said pair thereof including can-engaging and j. magnetically holding said cans of smaller diameter against moving means for engaging the cans on said tracks upon lateral movement relative to the cans of larger diameter alignment by said aligning means and for axially moving during movement of said cans along said divergent paths. at lea t one an of the pair aligned by said aligning means a can handling System that includes P of sepal'ate into the other to form a fully combined pair of cans dursources of empty, open-top cans of different diameters, a ing movement of the cans to the lower ends of said tracks. storage station for said cans, and a pair of separate filling sta- 6o 8. in a can combiner as defined in claim 7; tions for respectively filling the cans of each diameter: d. said can engaging and moving means being stationary a. can combining means between said sources and said relative to said cans and engageable with the cans at their storage station for positioning one of the cans of Small r closed ends upon movement of said cans on said tracks to diameter in each can of larger diameter to provide comsaid lower ends of the latter. bined pairs of empty cans for storing at said storing sta- 9. In a can combiner as defined in claim 8; tion, e. said tracks each including horizontally elongated canb. can-separating means between said storage station and supporting rods supporting said cans at points spaced said filling stations for separating the cans of said combetween and from their opposite ends for said rolling on bined pairs for movement of the cans of one diameter to said tracks, and one filling station and the cans of the other diameter to f. said can-engaging means comprising a pair of horizontally the other filling station for filling said cans, elongated rods extending longitudinally of said tracks and c. can-conducting means for respectively supporting and convergently relative to each other from said aligner to conduction the cans of smaller diameter and the cans of the lower ends of said tracks and supported at a level for larger diameter along separate paths from said sources to 'so engaging the cans of their closed ends. said combining means, and for supporting and conducting 10. In a can combiner as defined in claim 6;