US 3599389 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent inventor Curtis Arnold Hartman Elmira, N.Y.
Appl. No. 831,578
Filed June 9. 1969 Patented Aug. 17, 1971 Assignee Dart Industries, Inc.
Los Angeles, Calif.
TUBE-FILLING MACHINE WITH TUBE- POSITIONING MECHANISM 3 Claims, 5 Drawing Figs.
11.8. CI 53/51, 53/266, 250/71 Int. Cl B651) 57/00 FieldotSear-ch 53/14.51, 266, 371, 373; 198/33 R; 250/71 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,824,432 9/1931 Hendry 53/51 X 2,929,931 3/1960 Richter et a1. .t 250/71 3,059,! 12 10/1962 Rogal l 250/71 3,105,908 10/ 1963 Burkhardt et a1 250/71 X 3,492,478 1/1970 Smith 250/71 Primary Examiner-Theron E. Condon Assistant Examiner- Robert L. Spruill ArromeysLeigh B. Taylor, Paul R. Wylie and Harold R.
ABSTRACT: A process and apparatus for positioning a tube on a filling machine by printing a fluorescent area on the tube. The tube is then irradiated with ultraviolet light from an ultraviolet light source causing the fluorescent area to emit visible light. The tube is then rotated until the flowing fluorescent area is detected by a visible light detector and rotation is then stopped.
TUBE-FILLING MACHINE WITH TUBE-POSITIONING MECHANISM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l. Field of Invention This invention concerns a process and mechanism for positioning a printed tube prior to sealing. The positioning is necessary so the printed matter will appear in the most readable position after the tube is sealed.
2. Description of the Prior Art As seen in the prior art F IGS. 1 and 2, squeeze tubes such as those used for tooth paste, cosmetics, hair conditioners and adhesives, have a relatively flat seal 40 at one end. The result of the flat seal is that the tube changes from a circular cross section at the end near tip 41 to a substantially linear cross section at the end having the flat seal. In order to be legible, printing on the tube must appear on tube face 58 as shown in FIG. 1. When thesealed tube is viewed from edge 57, as seen in FIG. 2 it has a shape tapering from a circular cross section near tip 41 of the tube to a point at flat seal 40. Printing which appears on edge 47 of the tube is difficult to read. It is therefore necessary to orient the tube before sealing so that the printing will appear on face 58 of the tube. In the prior art it has been customary to print a large colored spotter bar 56 on the tube which can be easily detected by a conventional photo electric cell. In the prior art orientation of the tube was done by a device which was usually installed on the inlet of the filling machine. The device consisted of a light source to direct a beam of light onto the outer circumference of the tube adjacent the'open end of the tube. The light reflected back from the surface of the tube was detected by the photo cell. The signal from the photo cell was amplified to operate a relay which controlled a clutch brake assembly which in turn'controlled the rotation of the tube. When a tube entered the positioning station the tube was rotated until the spotter bar intercepted the reflected light. The spotter bar absorbed most of the incident light which greatly reduced the reflected light falling upon the photo cell detector. The resulting reduced signal was used to control the clutch brake assembly which stopped the tube in the proper position for sealing.
In most cases the spotter bar consisted of a dark mark on a light field. In some instances this was reversed to produce a dark background and a light spotter bar. It was essential that a large amount of contrast be maintained between the spotter bar and the surface of the tube. When metal tubes were sealed the black spotter bar was hidden because the section of the metal tube having the spotter bar was rolled into a flat seal characteristic of metal squeeze tubes. Plastic tubes are usually heat sealed and are not folded and as a result the spotter bar appears on the tube. In our modern age of packaging any visible markings which do not blend harmoniously into the design are thought to detract from the asthetic qualities of the package. It is therefore very important that the visible spotter bar be eliminated from the surface of the plastic squeeze tube.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a process and apparatus for positioning a tube. A normally 'transparent fluorescent area is placed on the tube preferably by printing. The tube is then rotated about its central axis while it is irradiated with ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light causes the fluorescent area to glow. The glowing fluorescent area is detected when the tube has rotated to a predetermined position and the rotation is then stopped by a braking means such as a clutch brake. The invention mechanism includes an ultraviolet light which directs a beam upon the tube to be positioned which causes visible light to be emitted from a normally transparent fluorescent area on the tube. A visible light detector which is directed at the tube, a motor for rotating the tube and a braking means such as a clutch brake or motor-stepping device for stopping the rotation of the tube and a relay between the visible light detector and the brake for engaging the brake when the fluorescent area on the tube is in a position where the visible light emitted from the fluorescent area can be detected.
An object of this invention is to provide a novel process for positioning tubes on a filling machine without the use of nor mally visible spotter bars.
Another object of this invention is to position a tube on a filling machine using a fluorescent spotter bar.
Another object of this invention is to provide a novel process for positioning a tube. 1
Another object of this invention is to provide a novel mechanism for positioning a tube.
Other objects of this invention will become apparent throughout the following text and examples.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a front view ofa prior art tube;
FIG. 2 is a side view of a prior art tube;
FIG. 3 is an elevational view of a tube filling line;
FIG. 4 is a top view of the filling and positioning mechanisms as seen on line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a plan view of the positioning mechanism.
PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In accordance with this invention a tube is positioned for sealing so the sealed tube will display printing on the tube in the most readable position. At least one normally transparent fluorescent area is placed on the tube. The tube is then rotated about its central axis and the fluorescent area is irradiated by ultraviolet light. The glowing area is detected when it reaches a predetermined location and the rotation of the tube is then stopped. Any means for placing a fluorescent area on a tube may be used. Printing with a solution which dries to a clear film is, however, the preferred method. The printing solution may comprise any fluorescent material in a suitable vehicle, and in'the preferred embodiment comprises zinc silicate in a clear varnish vehicle. 1
Referring now;to the drawings, as best seen in FIGS. 3; 4 and 5 plastic tube 10 is inserted with tube tip 41 down into tube holder 13. Tube holder 13 rests on conveyor 22 which has two separated. equal speed parallel conveyor belts 44 forming slit 38 between. them. Slit 38 is wide enough to pass hollow lift rod 17 which is attached by its upper end to the center of the base of tube holder 13. Parallel conveyor belts 44 are close enough to frictionally engage the base of tube holder 13 which rests upon the conveyor.
The tube holder has a base 45 a top end 46 and an opening 47 to accept tube tip 41. Tube holder 13 also has a centrally located hole 48 from base 45 to opening 47.
I-Iollow lift rod 17 has a centrally located hole 49 passing from upper end 50 to lower end 51. Lift rod 17 is attached by its upper end 50 to the center of base 45 of tube holder 13 so central hole 49 at the upper end 50 of lift rod 17 meets hole 48 in the base 45 of ttibe holder 13. Lower end 51 oflift rod 17 is secured to the center of upper clutch plate 19 so the hole 52 in clutch plate 19 meets central hole 49 at lower end 51 of lift rod 17. Conveyor 22 frictionally moves tube carrier 53 which is the combination of tube holder 13, lift rod 17 and upper clutch plate 19, until clutch plate 19 is positioned directly above lower lift plate 20 on lift 21 which is preferably solenoid actuated. When upper clutch plate 19 reaches a position directly above lift plate 20, solenoid 21 is actuated and tube carrier 53 is raised so that base 45 of tube holder 13 is no longer in frictional contact with conveyor 22 and so that open end 42 of plastic tube 10 is placed over filler head 14. Tube carrier 53 is stabilized by guides 12. Material to be loaded into When upper clutch plate 19 is positioned directly above lower clutch plate 28 of the tube-positioning mechanism, lift 31 is actuated raising lift plate 55 which holds motor 29. Motor shaft rotates lower clutch plate 28 which rotates tube carrier 53 through upper clutch plate 19. Tube carrier 53 is stabilized in the raised position by bearing plates 30. Ultraviolet light source 24 directs a beam of ultraviolet light upon tube 10 which causes visible light to be emitted from fluorescent area 11 which was printed on tube 10 prior to loading tube 10 into tube carrier 53. Fiber optic 25 is directed at the band portion of the surface of plastic tube 10 which contains fluorescent area 11. When plastic tube 10 has rotated so that fiber optic 25 can pick up the visible light emitted from fluorescent area 11 the light is transmitted through fiber optic 25 to filter 23 which passes only wave lengths emitted by fluorescent area 11. photomultiplier tube 39 utilizes the light which passes through filter 23 to obtain and amplify an electron emission. The electric signal is then transmitted through signal cable 43 to relay and power supply 27. Lift 31, which is preferably a solenoid, is lowered by the signal which is relayed from power supply and relay 27 to lift '31 through relay cable 32. When the lift is lowered, base 45 frictionally engages conveyor 22 which stops the rotation of the tube and tube carrier in the proper position. Other means for stopping rotation could be used such as stopping a stepping motor or employing other known forms of braking mechanisms. The conveyor then transports the tube and tube carrier in the proper position to heat sealer 33 which seals open end 42 of tube 10. The conveyor then transports the tube and tube carrier from heat sealer 33 to cooler 34 which cools the newly formed seal 40.
Conveyor 22 then transports tube carrier 53 and tube 10 to air supply 35.'When upper clutch plate 19 is directly above plate 36 an air stream 37 passes from air supply 35 through hole 52 in clutch plate 19 up through central hole 49 in lift rod 17 to hole 48 in base 45 of tube holder 13. The air then passes into open end 42 in tube holder 13 and tube 10 is blown out of open end 42.
What I claim is:
l. A filling machine for tubes comprising:
a carrier for said tube,
a conveyor for transporting said carrier,
means for introducing said tube into said carrier proximate said conveyor,
means for filling said tube proximate said conveyor and downstream from said introducing means,
a mechanism for positioning said tube proximate said conveyor and downstream from said filling means comprismg: an ultraviolet light which directs a beam upon said tube which causes visible light to be emitted from a normally transparent fluorescent area on said tube,
a visible light detector directed at said tube,
a means for rotating said tube,
a braking means for stopping the rotation ofsaid tube,
a relay between said visible light detector and said braking means for engaging said braking means when said fluorescent area on said tube is in a position where visible light emitted from said fluorescent area can be detected by said visible light detector,
a means for sealing the open end of said tube proximate said conveyor and downstream from said positioning mechanism and,
a means for removing the tube from the tube holder, proximate said conveyor and downstream from said sealing means.
2. A filling machine for plastic tubes comprising:
a. a tube carrier having:
a tube holder having a base end, a top end having an opening to accept the tip of said tube, a centrally located hole from said base end to said opening;
a lift rod having a'centra lly located hole, an upper and lower end attached by the upper end to the center of said base end of said tube holder so the hole at the upper end of the lift rod meets the hole in the base end of the tube holder and an upper clutch plate having a hole through the center, said upper clutch plate being secured to the lower end of said lift rod so the hole in said clutch plate meets the hole at the lower end of said lift rod;
b. a conveyor for transporting said tube carrier through said filling machine said conveyor having equal speed parallel conveyor belts separated by a distance sufficient to freely pass the lift rod of said tube carrier and close enough to frictionally engage the base of said tube holder,
c. means for loading the tube into said tube carrier proximate said conveyor,
d. a filling mechanism proximate said conveyor and downstream from said loading means having:
a reservoir for holding material for filling said tubes,
a fill meter connected to said reservoir for controlling the quantity of material entering said tube,
a filler head connected to said fill meter for passing material from said fill meter into said tube,
a means for lifting said tube onto said filler head and,
means for lowering said tube when filling is completed;
e. a positioning mechanism proximate said conveyor and downstream from said filling mechanism comprising: an ultraviolet light which directs a beam upon said tube which causes visible light to be emitted from a fluorescent area on said tube, 1
a visible light detector directed at a band portion of the surface area of said tube, said band containing said fluorescent area,
a lower clutch plate,
a motor having a drive shaft centrally secured to said lower clutch plate,
a means for engaging said upper and lower clutch plates for transmitting the rotational energy of said motor to said tube,
a relay between said detecting means and said engaging means for activating said engaging means when the tube reaches the proper position,
a braking means for stopping the rotation of said tube and a relay between said visible light-detector and said braking means for engaging said braking means when said area on said tube is in a position where the visible light emitted from the fluorescent area can be detected by said visible light detector,
f. a sealing means for sealing the open end of the tube proximate said conveyor and downstream from said positioning mechanism and,
g. a means for removing the tube from the tube holder proximate said conveyor and downstream from said positioning mechanism.
3. A filling machine for tubes comprising in combination:
means for filling said tube,
a mechanism for positioning a tube comprising:
an ultraviolet light which directs a beam upon said tube which causes visible light to be emitted from a normally transparent fluorescent area on said tube,
a visible light detector directed at said tube,
a means for rotating said tube,
a braking means for stopping the rotation of said tube and,
a relay between said visible light detector and said braking means for engaging said braking means'when said fluorescent area on said tube is in a position where the visible light emitted from the fluorescent area can be detected by said visible light detector, and
means for sealing the-open end of said'tube after said tub is filled.