US 3598025 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 3.021054 3/1962 Clemensetal. 3,103,666 9/1963 Bone Primary ExaminerTheron E. Condon Assistant Examiner-E. F. Desmond AMomey-Amster & Rothstein ABSTRACT: Hang-tags are frequently attached to cloth garments by means of a hand-operated bar-lock-dispensing assembly which deposits a bar-lock attachment intermediate the cloth and the tag. Apparatus automating this process comprises a traditional bar-lock-dispensing assembly supported for movement through a reciprocal power stroke and a reciprocating tag feed assembly including a tag storage bin. The bar-lock dispenser and the tag feed assembly are powered by a combined power and timing system which positions a tag beneath the dispensing assembly prior to the insertion of a bar-lock.
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INVENTOR ABE COTTON ATTORN EYS TAGGING MACHINE This invention relates generally to apparatus for attaching hang-tags and more specifically to automated apparatus for attaching a hang-tag to a section of material by means of a barlock tag attachment.
Bar-lock attachments of the type herein discussed are well known in the garment industry; U.S. Pat. No. 3,I03,666issued' Sept. 17, I963 to A.R. Bone discloses atypical bar-lock attachment and a traditional hand-operated device for inserting the bar-lock attachment ina section of fabric. Hand-operated devices such as that disclosed in the Bone patent have been found inadequate in a commercial environment where thousands of tags must be attachedby a'single operator daily since hand-powered use of this device quickly leads to operator fatigue. Additionally, hand-poweredapplication of hangtags requires the tag to be printed in a separate operation. There is thus a need for automatic apparatus for applying barlock attachments, and for apparatus which is capable ofperforming several functions.
It is thus a primary object'ofthe present inventionto expeditiously attach hang-tags to-fabrics by means of bar-lock attachments, thus making application of such tags faster, easier and less costly. A further object of the invention is to provide a bar-lock tagging machine which is fast and insures operator safety during the tagging process. A related=objectof the invention is the provision of means for automatically delivering a tag from storage to an appropriate location-adjacenta barlock-attaching assembly in propertime sequence for bar-lock attachment to a section of fabric. It is also an object ofthe invention to combine bar-lock attachment'of hang-tags with printing or other preparation of-hang-tags in a single opera tron.
A tagging machine demonstrating'the objects and features of the present invention comprises apparatus for attaching a tag to a section of material and a reciprocating tag feed assembly, including a tag storage bin, for delivering individual tags from the storage bin. to aposition in the path of said attaching apparatus. The tagging machine includes power and timing means interconnecting the attaching apparatus and the reciprocating tag feed assembly-for regulating the motion of the attaching apparatus and the tag feed assembly so that a tag is positioned in the path of the attaching apparatus prior to attachment.
The above brief description aswell as furtherobjects, fea-: tures and advantages of the present invention, will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment in accordance with the present invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a tagging machine constructed in accordance with the present invention; I
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view takenalong line 2-2'in FIG. I and showing the tag feed assembly and the bar-lock dispensing assembly in their rest positions;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view'taken along line 3-3 inFlG.
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectionalview similar to FIG. 2, but'showing the tag feed assembly in its withdrawn-position'and' the bar-lock dispensing assembly in its insertedposition;
FIG. 5 is a front elevation of the taggingmachine, partially broken away;
FIG. 6 is a schematic representation of the pneumatic power and control system;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a bar-lock being inserted by a slotted needle;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view ofa bar-lock attachment in final position.
Referring now to the drawing; there is generally shown a tagging machine 10 means of a bar-lock attachmcntof the type shown in FIGS; 7 and 8. Such bar-lock attachments have been widely used for which applies hang-tags to material-by displaying pric'eor other merchandise indicia in conjunction with cloth garments or other cloth goods. Such attachments haveb'een found to be convenient and inexpensive to use.
The bar-lock attachment itself, as best seen in FIG. 8, comprises a plastic filament I4 having an enlarged plastic button I6 at one end thereof and a transverse locking bar I8 at the other end thereof. This attachment is preferably an integral structure formed of flexible material such as nylon, with the filament being made as thin as possible consistent with the strength of the material used. Filament I4 is adapted to be inserted' through a hang-tag 20 and a section of cloth goods 22, with the button- I6 and the locking bar 18 effectively precluding separation of the tag from goods. Such bar-lock attachments and hand-operating dispensing apparatus for inserting th'em'in position are disclosed in the Bone patent referred to above.
A bar-lock dispensing assembly 26, similar to that disclosed in the abovereferred-to Bone patent, is shown in FIGS. 2 and 4 andforms one element'of the tagging machine described and claimed herein. The dispensing apparatus will not be described hcre in detail except to indicate, generally, that this dispensing assembly was originally designed to be hand held for manualinscrtion'of bar-lock attachments and comprises a slotted needle 24 and first and second driving arms, 28 and 30, operatively arranged to ejecta bar-lock attachment when the arms are compressed together against the action of return spring 32. It will be understood from'FlG. 7 that the bar-lock attachments are dispensed through slotted needle 24 which internally'carries the bar I8and filament 14 of the bar-lock attachment compressed in parallel position. The needle is adaptedto be inserted through a tag 20 and goods 22 and the bar-lock is forcedfrom' the needle by a ram internal to dispensingassembly 26, thereby depositing the bar-lock attachmentin position as the needle is withdrawn.
Broadly, tagging machine 10 comprises a chassis 34 having a work surface 36 at the forward end of its upper surface, and a dispensing assembly 26 carried by support arm 38 through a reciprocal vertical power stroke with respect to work surface 36 from a lower rest position to an upper inserted position. The tagging machine is additionally provided with a reciprocating tag feed assembly generally designated 40, best seen in FIGS. Zand 4, adapted to deliver a tag from a tag storage bin '42 to a position on work surface 36 in the path of needle 24. It is to be understood thatcloth goods are positione'djby an operator above work surface 36, as seen in FIG. I; and that the operator then activates the tagging machine by depressing trigger valves 44, raising dispensing assembly 26 ,and insertingthe slotted needle 24 in the tag and the goods. As
thedispensing assembly descends to its rest position, tag feed assembly40 delivers a new tagso that the apparatus is in ready positi'onto receive another garment and repeat the process.
Ref'rringnow in detail to the construction and operation of the tagging machine, the bar-lock-dispensing assembly 26 is secured by a 'clamp 46' to transverse reciprocating support arm 38'. Arm38is guided for vertical reciprocal movement by a vertical draw-slide 50 including a U-shaped outer casing 50a and a slideably mounted inner slide-bar 50b. Vertical drawslide 50is similar to horizontal draw-slide 66, shown in cross sectionin FIG. 3,'whichis described hereinafter in connection withthe operation of tag feed assembly 40. Both draw-slides are constructed in a manner well known in the art.
Support arm 38 is rigidly secured to inner slide-bar 50b at points 48 and arm 38'and bar 50 b' are driven by a principal pneumatic driving cylinder 58." Pneumatic cylinder 58 is of wellknown construction and includes a pneumatic casing 580 having input and output ports 58c and 58d and an internal pistonsecured to 'an'extending drive-rod 58b. Rod 58!) is fastened at point 62 to arm 38 and drives arm 38 through its vertical power stroke.
During'tlie upward phase of the power stroke of arm 38, needle 24 is inserted into tag-20 and goods 22. At the same time, the driving arms 28 and 30 ofdispensing assembly 26 are compressed together by curved plate 64 so that a bar-lock attachmcnt is dispensed while needle 24 is inserted in the tag and cloth goods The operation of curved plate 64 will be appreciated by comparison of FIGS 2 and 4. showing the dispensing assembly in its lowermost and uppermost positions respectively. It will be understood that as arm 38 ascends, curved plate 64 bears against the finger loop on arm 28 forc ing arm 28 toward arm 30 against the force of return springs 32. The position and angle of curved plate 64 is selected so that the proper dispensing position is achieved while the slotted needle 24 is within the tag and goods located at work surface 36.
For operator safety, the tagging machine is provided with a needle guard 76 supported by arm 78 (both shown partially broken away) which is bolted to the upper surface of chassis 34 adjacent work surface 36. Guard 76 comprises a cylindrical tube adapted to receive needle 24 as it protrudes upward through goods 22. Guard 76 is located sufficiently above work surface 36 to permit easy insertion of the goods but close enough to work surface 36 to prevent an operator from inadvertently positioning his hand in the path of needle 24. Guard 76 also serves to indicate the position at which the operator can expect needle 24 to emerge from the goods and hence the position at which the bar-lock will be attached.
The apparatus in accordance with the invention is further provided with a reciprocating tag feed assembly 40, best seen in operative relation to reciprocating support arm 38 in FIGS. 2 and 4. The reciprocating tag feed assembly is adapted to deliver a single tag from tag storage bin 42 to a position on work surface 36 in the path of slotted needle 24. In accordance with a presently preferred embodiment of the invention, tag feed assembly 40 delivers a tag to the work su rfacc as needle 24 withdraws from goods 22 and tag at the end of the dispensing assemblys power stroke, thus preparing the equipment for the next tag attachment.
The reciprocating tag feed assembly 40 generally comprises a horizontal draw-slide 66 mounted beneath the upper surface of chassis 34 below an elongated slot 80. Horizontal drawslide 66 includes a U-shaped outer casing 660 and an inner slide bar 66!) mounted on ball bearings 66c for sliding movement between a withdrawn position shown in FIG. 4 and in dotted lines in FIG. 2 and an advanced position shown in solid lines in FIG. 2. Bar- 66d mounted on slide 6612 carries upward opening suction nozzle 74 which travels beneath the slotted cutout 80 from a withdrawn position beneath tag storage bin 42 to an advanced position adjacent work surface 36. Suction nozzle 74 is an upward opening rubber cone and is connected at its lower end through hollow conduit 82 to a vacuum tube 84 which in turn connects to a vacuum source (not shown). Slide bar 660' is driven between its forward and withdrawn positions by a horizontal pneumatic cylinder 86 which is secured at one end to support brace 88 by bolt 90. Cylinder 86, like cylinder 58, includes an internal piston with an extending piston shaft 86b, and input and output pneumatic ducts 86c and d. Shaft 86b is in turn secured by member 92 to slide bar 66b of draw-slide 66.
When slide bar 66d and hence suction nozzle 74 is in its withdrawn position beneath tag storage bin 42, suction through nozzle 74 engages the lowermost tag in bin 42. As slide 66b advances, nozzle 74 carries the lowermost tag from its storage position in bin 42 to a position on work surface 36 in the path of needle 24. FIG. 4 shows suction nozzle 74 in its withdrawn position engaging the lowermost tag in bin 42, and FIG. 2 shows nozzle 74 in its advanced position with tag 20 in its rest position in the path of needle 24.
To insure that only one tag at a time is removed from bin 42, the forward end of the bin is provided with an adjustable retaining rod 94 which protrudes downward through a support brace 96 adjacent the forward lower lip of bin 42. The height of retaining rod 94 may be adjusted by setscrew 100 which is threaded in brace I02 and is preferably adjusted so as to leave clearance for only a single tag intermediate nozzle 74 and the lower edge of rod 94.
In order to adapt bin 42 to receive tags of different dimensions, the bin is provided with adjustable side and rear alignment walls "Ma and I04li respectively. To permit the alignment walls to be adjusted. the fixed forward and sidewalls I080 and I08!) respectively of bin 42, which are secured to the upper surface of chassis 36 by braces III), include slotted cu touts H24: and II2h. The adjustable retaining walls each include guide members H411 and I I4!) which overlay the upper edge of fixed walls 108a and I08!) and which include setscrews [16a and I16!) adapted to secure the alignment walls in any selected position along cutouts "Zn and II2b. Thus, tags 22 are deposited in bin 42 with their forward edges adjacent forward wall 108a and their side edges adjacent wall l08b. Walls 104a and 104!) are then moved into position adjacent the rear and side edges of tags 20 and are secured in position, thus retaining tags 20 in proper alignment. This adjustable feature permits tags of different sizes to be used in the tagging machine.
It is to be understood that both the main reciprocating sup port arm 38, carrying inserting assembly 26, and the horizontal slide bar 66, carrying suction cup 74, are powered by a single pneumatic system described in greater detail hereafter, which is operatively arranged to establish proper timing for delivery of a tag to a position on work surface 36 in the path of needle 24 prior to the completion of each power stroke. The pneumatic system, shown schematically in FIG, 6, is operatively arranged to drive both the tag feed assembly and the reciprocating support arm and comprises a single air inlet path I I8 which divides into three separate branches, I20, I24, and I26.
'lhc uppermost branch I20 directs air under pressure to drive the reciprocating tag feed assembly 40 by means of tag feed cylinder 86. Air pressure is applied to cylinder 86 through a reversing valve 122, seen in actual position in FIGS. 2 and 4. Valve I22 comprises a pneumatic cylinder I22a having input port I22b, first and second output ports I22c and I22d, and a pair of vent ports I22e and 122], Valve I22 further includes a protruding pin 122g which extends downwardly over support arm 38, When valve I22 is in its normal or rest position, shown in FIG. 6, air pressure applied to input port I221; is directed through output port 1220 to input port 860 of cylinder 86, thus driving the piston internal to cylinder 86 and slide-bar 66b to their forward or rest position. Excess pressure in cylinder 86 vents through output port 8611, through port 122d in valve 122, and out vent port I22f When depending pin 122 is forced upward by the upward movement of arm 38, the direction of flow of air in valve 122 is reversed, and air from input port I22b flows to port 122d, and into cylinder 86 through port 86d, driving arm 66b to its withdrawn position. In this configuration, excess pressure in cylinder 86 vents through port 86c into port 1226 and out vent port l22e.
In operation, slide bar 66b is normally maintained in its extended forward position shown in solid lines in FIG. 2. In this position, suction nozzle 74 maintains an attached tag adjacent work surface 36, with the tag extending over the edge of chassis 34 and into the path of needle 24. When support arm 38 rises, carrying the bar-lock-inserting device into its upper position, needle 24 is inserted into the tag. As arm 38 continues to rise, plate 380 strikes head 122] on the downwardly projecting pin 122g reversing the flow of air through valve 122 and withdrawing slide bar 66b from its forward position to a position beneath tag storage bin 42 where nozzle 74 engages a tag. As support arm 38 descends in the second phase of its power stroke, plate 380 releases pin 122g and the flow of air through ,valve I22 is again reversed, driving slide bar 66b back to its valve 122 in that pin 128g, which reverses the direction of flow of air in the valve, is pneumatically operated by cylinder 130 so that when air is applied to input port 130a, valve 128 drives arm 38 to its upper position in the same manner as described in connection with valve-1'22. When no pressure is applied to port 1300, valve l28-is--in its normal position as shown and arm 38 is maintained in its-lower or rest position.
ln order to insure safe operation of the'tagging machine, air is applied to port 130a of cylinder 130 via two trigger valves 44 connected together in series with regard to the third branch 126 of the pneumatic system. Valves 44 each include an input port 44a and an output port 44b and are adapted to conduct air from 44a to 44b when pin 440 is depressed. The location of trigger valves 44 is best seen in FIGS. 1 and 5. in the operation of this portion of the pneumatic system, air is constantly applied to a first of the trigger valves 44. Because trigger valves 44 are connected together in series, both valves must be depressed simultaneously before air pressure will flow into cylinder 130. Arm 38 thus will not begin its power stroke until both trigger valves are depressed. As seen in FIG. 1, trigger valves 44 are positioned apart so that the operator requires both hands to maintain both valves depressed. This insures operator's safety in that it requires the operator to have one hand on each trigger valve and thus out of the path of needle 24 for the power stroke to be initiated.
The operation of valves 122, 128, 44, and 134a and b has" not been described in detail since pneumatic valves serving the functions described are well known in the art.
it should be apparent from the above that both the support arm 38 and reciprocating tag feed slide bar 66b are driven from a single pneumatic source. In order to adjust the respective timing of these two reciprocating systems, the two principal branches, 120 and 124, of the pneumatic system are provided with adjustable valves, 134a and 1341) respectively, which may be gradually opened and closed andmaintained at any desired intermediate condition. These valves are employed because the air pressure in these branches is directly related to the speed with which each of the elements of the system moves. Thus if valve [34b is opened to its fullest, the principal support arm38 will be driven very rapidly upward when trigger valves 44 are both depressed. Conversely, if valve l34b is partially closed, the speed with which arm 38 ascends will be reduced. The same control is effective in connection with the operation of reciprocating tag feed slide-bar 66b. Hence, by adjusting the relative settings of valves l34a and 134b, the relative speeds of the support arm 38 and slide bar 66b can be controlled, for example, to insure that a tag is not delivered to work surface 36 before needle 24 has descended sufficiently to be clear of that location.
From time to time it may be desirable to operate the reciprocal tag feed assembly manually without initiating a power stroke of the bar-lockdispensing assembly 26. To ac complish this, the apparatus is provided with a manual tag feed lever [36 pivotally secured to a sidewall of chassis 34. The interior end of lever 136 is positioned to engage depending pin 122g of reversing valve 122 so that downward pressure applied to the external portion of lever 136 forces pin 122g upward and activates reversing valve 122. By depressing arm 136, an additional tag can be automatically delivered from the tag storage bin 42 to the work surface 36. This feature s useful if the apparatus should malfunction or if a tag is manually removed from the machine for any reason.
In addition to automating the bar-lock attachment of hangtags, the present invention provides several important new capabilities in connection with the attachment of hang-tags to garments. For example, a preferred embodiment of the present apparatus includes an automatic printer 96, best seen in FIG. 5, powered by support arm 38 for imprinting price or other product information on the hang-tag simultaneous with the attachment of the hang-tag to the goods.
As seen in H6. 5, the printer comprises a self-inking stamp pad 140, ofa type well known in the art, supported on rod I44 and retained by wing nut [46 on an inverted L-shapcd support I pin 150 on support arm I54. Arm 142 is linked at the-righthand end of pivotal bar 148, and the left-hand end of bar "148 is secured to support arm 38. Thus, as arm 38 rises in the initial phase of its power stroke, pivotal bar 148 pivots clockwise, drawing arm 142 downward and bringing stamp in contact with a tag at work surface 36. As arm 38 descends in the second phase of its power stroke, printing arm I42 rises into ready position. This feature of applicant's invention provides a very substantial saving of time and effort in connection with the attachment of price and other indicia to garments. It is to be understood that the tagging machine may conveniently be mounted on an appropriate cart or rolling frame and may be moved to the goods, rather than having the goods moved to the apparatus. When the printer is included in the apparatus, this permits printing and attachment of price of other product indicia in a single operation at the normal location of the goods and thus provides a significant saving in time and handling.
It is to be understood that the above-described arrangements are merely examples of the application of the principals of the present invention. Other embodiments may be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the present invention. For example, it is to be understood that other attaching methods such as sewing, stapling or gluing could be employed in place of the bar-lock described herein and that more than one tag feed assembly may be employed to automate the attachment of two tags simultaneously.
What I claim is:
1. Apparatus for affixing a hang-tag to a section of material by means of a bar-lock attachment, said apparatus comprising a dispensing assembly having a slotted needle adapted to pierce said tag and said section of material to deposit said barlock attachment in position interconnecting said tag and said section of material, support means carrying said dispensing assembly through an operative power stroke for insertion of said slotted needle in said tag and said material, means for ejecting a bar-lock attachment when said slotted needle is inserted within said tag and material, at least one reciprocating tag feed assembly including a tag storage bin for delivering individual tags from said storage bin to a position in the path of said slotted needle for receiving said bar-lock attachment, and power and timing means interconnecting said support means and said reciprocating tag feed assembly for regulating motion of said support means and said tag feed assembly so that a tag is positioned in the path of said needle prior to insertion of said needle.
2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said reciprocating tag feed assembly comprises a longitudinal guide track extending from beneath said tag storage bin to a rest position in the path of said slotted needle and a reciprocating feed bar adapted to travel'within said guide track between said storage bin and said rest position, said feed bar including means for engaging one of said tags in said tag storage bin so that the longitudinal movement of said feed bar within said guide transports one of said tags from said storage bin to said rest position.
3. Apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein said means for engaging said tag comprises a vacuum source and a vacuum channel extending from said vacuum source to a suction aperture associated with said feed bar.
4. Apparatus as defined in claim 3 wherein said tag storage bin includes adjustable retaining means adapted to engage all but one of said tags in said tag storage bin to retain said tags in said storage bin against the action of said reciprocating feed bar.
5. Apparatus as defined in claim I wherein said power and timing system comprises a pneumatic tag feed cylinder for driving said feed bar through a reciprocal feed stroke, a
reversing valve associated with said tag feed cylinder for reversing the direction of said feed bar in response to the assage of said support arm through a preselected portion of said power stroke so that said feed bar is driven to a retracted position as said slotted needle approaches said tag rest posilion.
6. Apparatus as defined in claim wherein said power-time ing system further includes a pneumatic drive cylinder engaging said support means for driving said support means through said power stroke, control means, and a reversing valve associated with said drive cylinder and adapted to reverse the