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Publication numberUS3624773 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 30, 1971
Filing dateJun 17, 1970
Priority dateJun 17, 1970
Also published asCA948142A1, DE2129606A1
Publication numberUS 3624773 A, US 3624773A, US-A-3624773, US3624773 A, US3624773A
InventorsKrooss Robert J
Original AssigneePace Packaging Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Continuously moving apparatus for uprighting bottles
US 3624773 A
Abstract  available in
Images(10)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Robert J. Krooss I [72] inventor Mountain Lakes, NJ.

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ABSTRACT: Bottles in a hopper are picked by a flight bar conveyor and delivered between a pair of conveyor belts [54] CONTINUOUSLY MOVING APPARATUS FOR spaced apart to grip the bottles and convey them past orient- UPRIGHTING BOTTLES 21 Claims, 25 Drawing Figs.

ing fixtures which erect the bottles while held between the belts. The flight bars are cantilevered and pass laterally between the conveyor belts to deliver bottles in a generally horizontal position, and the tops of the belts are spaced apart to form a V-shaped opening of decreasing size where the flight bars pass between the belts.

FIG. 3

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sum on HF 10 INVENTOR Robert J. Krooss ATTORNEYS PATENTEB 30 SHEET near 10 FIG. 17

INVENTOR Robert J. Krooss 4.... daz-ta filq ATTORNEYS PATENTEDNBV 30 SHEET lUUF 1O INVENTOR Robert J. Krooss a. fw 'nk ATTORNEYS CONTINUOUSLY MOVING APPARATUS FOR UPRIGHTING BOTTLES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Plastic bottles are now in widespread use and commonly require some means for erecting the bottles with their necks up and conveying them to a filling position. The shape of the bottles may vary widely, and consequently it is desirable to employ apparatus which can be readily adapted to handle different shapes.

The present invention is directed to apparatus capable of receiving bottles in a hopper with random orientation. and delivering them in a neck-up condition to an output conveyor, in a reliable manner. Orienting fixtures are employed which can readily be changed to suit bottles and the like of diflerent size and shapes.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the invention, a pair of conveyor belts are spaced apart to grip and convey bottles delivered therebetween, and conveyor means is provided for delivering bottles laterally between the belts with their longitudinal axes extending generally in the direction of travel of the belts but with the necks thereof indiscriminately leading or trailing. An inclined guide is provided between the belts downstream of the region of delivery of the bottles for guiding the bottles laterally of the belts to approximately the same lateral level. Fixtures are positioned between the belts downstream of the inclined guide for orienting the bottles while gripped by the belts so that the necks of the bottles extend in the same general direction relative to the belts.

In the apparatus specifically described hereinafter, the conveyor belts move generally horizontally in side-by-side, generally vertical, planes. The conveyor includes an endless chain of flight bars supported near one end thereof to form cantilevered flight bars. The conveyor has an upward flight positioned to receive bottles from a hopper and carry them upwards between successive flight bars, and a downward flight passing between the conveyor belts in a direction transversely thereof. As the flight bars pass between the conveyor belts, the bottles are gripped by the belts and carried past the open ends of the bars. Advantageously the tops of the conveyor belts are spread apart to form a V-shaped opening at the flight bars which gradually decreases in the direction of travel of the belts. This insures that there will be some spacing of the bottles along the conveyor belts, even though several bottles may lie between a given pair of flight bars and even though the necks may overlap.

As the bottles are conveyed away from the flight bars, an inclined guide moves all bottles, whether neck-leading or neck-trailing, to approximately the same lateral level of the belt, preferably either at the top of the belts or at the bottom thereof. The orienting fixtures are positioned between the belts downstream of the inclined guide. As specifically disclosed, the fixtures first orient the bottles so that all bottles are neck-trailing, regardless of their initial orientation, and then the bottles are turned to an upright position. In order to prevent interference between bottles during the reorientation, an escapement wheel is positioned in the path of travel of the bottles from the inclined guide arid has a peripheral speed substantially lower than that of the conveyor belts. AFter the bottles have been properly oriented with their necks up, they are transferred to a lower speed conveyor for subsequent filling, etc.

Particular orienting fixtures are provided which are suitable for a wide variety of bottle shapes and sizes.

Throughout the operation the bottles are positively supported, and during the reorientation they are held firmly between the conveyor belts. Both the conveyor belts and the initial flight bar conveyor can move continuously, thereby avoiding timing and other problems associated with intermittent motions.

LII

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a general view of apparatus in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross section of the hopper and flight conveyor;

FIG. 3 is a detail of the flight bar mounting arrangement;

FIG. 4 is a detail showing the flight bar oscillating arrangement;

FIG. 5 shows the outlet portion of the flight conveyor with cover removed, and the inlet portion of the orienting section;

FIG. 6 is a detail of the outlet portion of the flight conveyor, with cover removed;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of the inlet portion of the orienting section. with top removed;

FIG. 8 is an elevation of the inlet portion of the orienting section with a portion of the belt broken away;

FIGS. 9, l0 and 11 are cross sections taken along the lines 9-9, 10 10 and 11-11 of FIG. 7;

FIGS. 12-17 are views of the orienting section with one side removed, illustrating one type of orienting fixtures and their operation with neck-leading and neck-trailing bottles;

FIGS. 18 and 19 show a difierent arrangement of orienting fixtures and their operation with neck-leading and neck-trailing bottles;

FIGS. 20 and 21 are elevation and sectional views of a portion of the orienting fixtures of FIGS. 18 and 19, FIG. 21 being taken along the line 21-21 of FIG. 20; and

FIGS. 22 and 23a-23c show a modification of the fixtures of FIGS. 20 and 21.

Referring to FIGS. l6, a supply of bottles is dumped into hopper 10 with random orientations. Although the apparatus can be adapted to handle bottles of many different shapes, the bottles here shown have an oval body and round neck, with the smaller dimension of the oval at the bottom slightly greater than the maximum diameter at the top.

Hopper 10 is open at the bottom and back to a flight conveyor having flight bars 11. The flight bars are mounted in a cantilever manner on conveyor chains 12, 12 (FIG. 4) which pass over a pair of sprockets 13 at the top, a pair of driving sprockets 14 at the bottom, and a pair of sprockets 15. Only one sprocket of each pair appears in the drawings. Driving sprockets 14 are driven by a motor, generally indicated as 16. Behind the flight bars 11 is an endless chain of slats 17 carried by a pair of sprockets 18 at the top, and a pair of sprockets 19 at the bottom (only one shown). The two pairs of sprockets 13 and 18 at the top are affixed to axle 20 so that the endless chains of flight bars 11 and of slots 17 move at the same speed.

As shown in FIG. 3, each flight bar 11 has a bracket extension 21 which is rotatably mounted on a bracket 22. Bracket 22 is attached to the links of chains 12, 12' by angle members 23, 23'. To allow convenient mounting and demounting of the flight bars, bracket extension 21 is pivoted to bracket 22 by a long-threaded rod 24 and a short rod 25. The short rod 25 is attached to the end of spring 26. Pairs of locknuts 27 and 28 maintain spring 26 in compression. To remove the flight bar, pin 25 is pushed inwards until it clears the hole in extension 21 in which it seats.

The flight bars 11, and the slats 17 behind the openings between the flight bars, form elongated pockets to receive bottles from hopper 10. As the flight bars move upward, bottles lodge therebetween and are carried upwards. The flight bars may be provided with bent tongues 11, to aid in holding bottles in the pockets. Some bottles will lodge flatwise against the slats 17. as indicated at 31a. Others, such as indicated at 31b, are not properly lodged, and fall off as the flight bars ascend on their upward flight. Inasmuch as slats 17 move with the flight bars, any abrasion of the bottles as they travel upwards is avoided.

To further insure that the oval bottles will lie properly in the spaces between flight bars 11, the flight bars are oscillated as they near the top of their upward flight, so as to shake off bottles which are not securely seated and held in place by the tongues 11'. FIG. 4 shows the oscillating means. Near the top of the upward travel of the flight bar chain 12 is a cam bar 33 having one or more indentations 33. Each flight bar extension 21 has a projecting rod 34 attached thereto which rides on the cam bar 33. As the flight bars travel upwards, when rods 34 reach indentations 33, the extensions 21 and associated flight bars are titled by the force of gravity so that they shake off any improperly seated bottles. If desired, the cam bar 33 may be replaced by a slotted bar in which pins 34 travel, so as to provide a positive oscillation rather than relying upon an offset center of gravity.

After the flight bars and bottles pass over the top of sprockets 18 the downward flight of the assemblage travels vertically to the orienting section. Inner and outer guide plates 35 and 35' hold the bottles between the flight bars during their downward travel. With oval bottles the separation of guide plates 35, 35' is only slightly greater than the smaller oval dimension of the bottles. The endless chain of slats l7 separates from the flight bars on the downward flight and returns directly to sprocket 19 so as not to interfere with removal of the bottles in the orienting section.

In FIGS. and 6, the front guide plate 35' has been removed, and it will be seen that bottles 31 travel downwards with their longitudinal axes extending generally horizontally. The number of bottles between adjacent flight bars 11 may vary, and some spaces may be empty. Also, the bottles may have their necks toward the left or toward the right.

As the flight bars and bottles travel downwards, they pass between a pair of conveyor belts 41, 41' which travel generally horizontally in side-by-side, generally vertical, planes, and are spaced apart to grip and convey bottles delivered therebetween. The belts and their mounting and driving members are supported on frame structures 40 and 40'. The latter can be moved outwards to change the separation between conveyor belts 41 and 41' so as to accommodate bottles of different sizes, and also to facilitate changing the orienting fixtures as mentioned hereafter. In FIG. 5 the frame structure 40 has been moved outward from its operating position to facilitate illustration.

Belts 41, 41' travel on rollers 42, 42' (FIG. 7) and similar pairs of rollers at the other end, one of which is shown at 42" in FIG. 16. The rollers are driven simultaneously in opposite directions, so that belts 41, 41' move simultaneously as indicated by the arrows 50 in FIG. 7. The belts may be driven by motor 16 (FIG. 2) through suitable gears, shafts, belts, etc. which may follow conventional practices, and hence are not shown in detail. Or, a separate motor (not shown) may be employed to drive the belts.

In order to separate the bottles longitudinally of belts 41, 41', particularly if their necks overlap as they travel downwards on the flight bars, the upper portions of the belts are arranged to provide a V-shaped opening of decreasing size from inlet to outlet portions thereof in the region of the flight bars. Referring to FIGS. 7-11, a pair of fixed guide plates 43, 43' are positioned to extend longitudinally approximately the length of the flight bars. The separation of the plates is such as to establish a belt separation slightly less than the width of the bottles so as to grip the bottles as they are brought therebetween. The top edges 44, 44' of the guideplates are inclined upwards in the direction of travel of the belts The spacing of the rollers 42, 42 is greater than that of plates 43, 43'. Consequently, as the belts reach the inlet ends of plates 43, as shown by the cross section in FIG. 9, the upper portions of the belts incline outwards to form a V-shaped section. A bottle delivered by the flight conveyor in this region will travel downwards until, its center reaches approximately the upper edges 44, 44' of plates 43, 43' before it is gripped by the belts, as indicated by bottle 31-1. Near the center of plates 43, as illustrated in FIG. 10, the V is shallower so that a bottle 31-2 will be gripped by the belts at a higher level than in FIG. 9. Similarly, near the outlet end the plates 43, 43' are the full height of the belt, as illustrated in FIG. 1,, and the bottle 31-3 will be gripped as it reaches the upper edges of the belts.

Overall, bottles traveling downwards on the flight conveyor near the free ends of the cantilevered flight bars 11 will be gripped by side belts 41, 41 more quickly than bottles travelling downwards near the center or rearward portions of the flight bars. This will then establish a horizontal separation between the bottles, even though they may initially somewhat overlap. As bottles 31-1 and 31-2 travel toward the free ends of flight bars 11, they will be forced downward by the flight bars above the bottles. It will therefore be understood that bottles passing by the free ends of the flight bars may be positioned variously from the top of the belts down toward the bottom of belts. The relative speeds of the flight bar conveyor and the belts 41, 41 are selected so that bottles issue from the free ends before they are forced below the belts.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 12, a ramp fixture 51 is positioned between belts 41, 41 and is inclined upwards from below the belts so that all bottles removed from the flight bars will be forced upwards to the top of the ramp, indicated at 52, and will be at approximately the same level for subsequent reorienting. As indicated in FIG. 12, under certain circumstances the bottles may be quite close to each other. For example, the space between two adjacent flight bars 11 may be filled with bottles, and the V-opening may not provide adequate separation. In order to facilitate reorientation, it is desirable to have a sufficient interval between bottles so they will not interfere with each other. Accordingly, an escapement wheel 53 is provided whose peripheral velocity is substantially less than the velocity of the side belts. The separation of the escapement wheel from the opposite wall (removed in FIG. 12) is slightly less than the width of the bottle. Therefore each bottle is pinched between the wheel and the wall so that it passes by the wheel at a lower speed than that of the side belts. Consequently a leading bottle as indicated by 31c, after passing by escapement wheel 53, will be carried a substantial distance horizontally by the side belts before a subsequent bottle indicated by 31d passes the escapement wheel. To reduce the pinching force required to be exerted on the bottle by the escapement wheel to overcome the gripping force of the belts, the top 52 of the ramp may be high enough so that the bottles ride on the edges of the belt as they reach the wheel 53, or are only weakly gripped by the belts. Guide 54 provides a top constraint for the bottles.

The peripheral velocity of the escapement wheel 53 is sufficiently high, with respect to the vertical speed of the flight bars 11, so that all bottles delivered by a given pair of flight bars are fed past the escapement wheel by the time the next group of bottles are delivered thereto.

As a bottle passes by the escapement wheel, it is forced downward between the belts by the downwardly curved portion 54 of guide 54, so that it is again gripped between the belts while it is being reoriented.

Suitable orienting fixtures are positioned between the side belts in the path of travel of the bottles so as eventually to orient them in the same direction, that is, with all neck-leading or all neck-trailing, and then turn them upright. In the embodiment here described, orienting fixtures are selected so that the necks trail before uprighting them. It will be understood that the orienting fixtures will depend on the shape of the bottles, and may depart from the particular arrangement shown.

Referring to FIG. 13, a neck-leading bottle 31e has its neck forced downwards by slanting guide 55 and further forced downwards by slanting guide 56 so that the neck extends laterally of the belts and the bottle slides along the guide, as indicated at 31f, and travels past guide 56 generally as indicated at 31g. The bottle specifically shown is thickest at the bottom,

thereby allowing the turning as depicted. As will be noted,

guides 55 and 56 are inclined at obtuse angles to the direction of belt travel.

FIGS. 14 and 15 show the effect of guides 55 and 56 on a bottom-leading bottle, and it will be observed that the general orientation after passing guide 56 is similar to that shown in FIG. 13, as indicated likewise by 31g. the exact effect of the guides depends on the orientation and height of the bottles as they reach guide 55. In some instances they pivot about the bottom of guide 55 through a sufficient angle so that they reach guide 56 somewhat sideways in much the same manner as shown in FIG. 13, and they slide down guide 56 as depicted in FIG. 14. In other instances they may not be rotated through as large an angle by guide 55, and reach guide 56 bottom foremost and then slide down the guide as depicted in FIG. 15. In such case they will pivot about the bottom of guide 56. In some cases it may be feasible to omit guide 55.

The final orientation is much the same in FIGS. 13-15, namely, a bottle carried along by the belts with its longitudinal axis more or less vertical and its neck down. Throughout this reorientation the bottles are gripped between the belts 41, 41. It will be understood that the several positions shown in FIGS. 13-15 are illustrative only, and that variations occur in practice. For successful operation it suffices that the bottles hang generally neck downwards as they reach the next fixture.

Referring to FIG. 16, the neck-downward bottles are carried along by the belts until they reach a ramp guide 57 which engages the bottle below the point at which it is gripped by the belts. Consequently, the bottle is pulled onto and along the ramp to the position shown at 3111. At the end of ramp 57 is a vertical abutment 58 which arrests movement of the lower edge of the bottom of the bottle. Abutment 58 is positioned below the point at which the belts grip the bottle, so that the bottle fulcrums about abutment 58 in a direction shown by arrow 59. Consequently, the bottle will assume a generally upright position as it passes abutment 58.

For many applications it is desirable to deliver the reoriented bottles to a conveyor moving at a substantially lower speed than the side belts 41, 41'. Referring to FIG. 16, a series of narrow intermediate belts 61 are provided which move at the same speed as belts 41, 41 Interleaved with belts 61 is a series of relatively slowly moving belts 62. A bottom conveyor belt 63, traveling at the same speed as belts 62, slopes upwardly until it reaches a desired level as indicated at 63' in FIG. 17. Belts 61 grip the upright bottles as they reach the end of belts 41, 41' and, since they are interleaved with belts 62 which likewise grip the sides of the bottle, the bottles very quickly slow to the speed of belts 62.

Inasmuch as the top halves of the bottles have a somewhat smaller width than the bottoms, the top halves are not gripped as firmly and there is a tendency for the bottles to pitch forward as they are suddenly slowed by belts 62. Accordingly, a guide 64 is positioned so that it touches the top of a bottle passing thereby and tilts the bottle slightly backward as indicated at 31 As the bottles reach the horizontal portion 63' of the conveyor they are traveling sufficiently slowly so that the side belts are no longer necessary. The conveyor 63 is ex tended as desired for filling the bottles and subsequent packaging.

FIGS. 18 and 19 show a different set of orienting fixtures. Here the bottle is generally similar to the preceding ones, but differs in that the smaller oval dimension is greatest at about the middle of the body portion, and slightly greater than at the bottom. A ramp fixture 71 has an opposite inclination to ramp 51 in FIG. 12, and forces all bottles down toward the lower edge of belts 41, 41' to a common level which leaves the bottles gripped by the belts.

The bottles then slide up ramp 72 to a generally horizontal section 72'. At the end of section 72 is a fixture 73 shown in more detail in FIGS. and 21. The fixture has two sides 74, 74 spaced apart sufficiently to accommodate the threaded neck of bottle 70, but to obstruct the flared neck section or shoulder 70 of the bottle. A pin 75 is positioned downstream of the leading edges of sides 74, 74' and spaced intermediate of the sides so as to engage the neck of a neck-leading bottle. The height of the fixture is such that at least a portion of the bottle is gripped above the fixture so as to produce a turning force therearound. Also, for neck-leading bottles it is desirable to keep the neck down on section 72' of the ramp. They may be accomplished by using a friction surface on section 72.

As seen in FIG. 18, as a neck-leading bottle a reaches fixture 73, it fulcrums around the fixture, the pin entering the neck of the bottle as it swings so that the bottom of the bottle is considerably forward of the neck when it has passed the fixture, as shown at 70b, the bottle turning through an angle substantially greater than say about Thus, when the bottle reaches the downwardly sloping ramp 76, its bottom slides down the ramp until it reaches ramp 77, whereupon it will be drawn up the ramp to the position shown at 70c. The leading edge 77 of ramp 77 is outside the path of travel of the bases of the bottles but engages laterally extending bottles toward the necks thereof so that such bottles will travel forward with their bases leading.

For a bottom-leading bottle as shown in FIG. 19, when it reaches fixture 73 it slides upward and reaches a generally upright position shown at 70d, the bottle turning through a smaller angle than a neck-leading bottle, say about 90. When it reaches ramp 76, the ramp engages the side of the bottle and forces it downwards until it reaches ramp 77, whereupon it is drawn up the ramp to reach position 70c, the same as in FIG. 18. An abutment 78 causes the bottles to pivot until they are upright, as indicated at 70e, and they then pass to belts 61, 62 and 63 as in FIG. 16.

FIG. 22 shows a modification of the fixture 73 of FIGS. 18-21. Here a U-shaped fixture 80 has side portions 81, 81' functioning like side portions 74, 74' of fixture 73. Instead of a pin, fixture 80 has a downstream portion 82 spaced intermediate of the side portions. As shown in FIGS. 23a-23c, as a neck-leading bottle reaches the fixture, the shoulder of the bottle engages the leading edges of the side portions and the bottle starts rotating. The neck of the bottle enters the space between the side portions and, upon further travel, abuts against the downstream portion 82 so that further rotation occurs. For neck-trailing bottles, the action is similar to that of fixture 73.

The orienting fixtures of FIGS. 13-15 have been found very satisfactory for oval bottles which are thicker at or near the base than near the neck, so that the center of grip by the belts is near the base. They may also be useful for bottles having a small region near the neck of approximately the same thickness as near the base, since the greater gripping area near the base will predominate. That is, the center of major grip is still near the base.

The orienting fixtures of FIGS. 18-23 may also be used with bottles in which the center of major grip is near the base and where the bottles have an adequately defined shoulder with a neck extending therefrom. However, the fixtures occupy a greater length of belt travel. They may also be useful for bottles where the center of major grip is farther from the base, and for generally cylindrical bottles.

If desired, the ramp 57 in FIG. 16 may be extended to the right and downward, like ramp 77 in FIG. 18, to assure that bottles passing the lower edge of ramp 56 will be drawn forward with their bases leading.

As will be evident from the foregoing description, only continuous motion mechanisms are involved in initially removing bottles from the hopper 10 and eventually delivering them upright to the output conveyor 63, ready for filling, labelling, etc.

To take care of bottles of different size and shape, the flight bars 11 can readily be removed and replaced by the proper size bars to suit the particular bottle being handled. The outer frame 40' may be adjusted to suit the thickness of the bottle so that it is properly gripped and carried along. The orienting fixtures may be adapted to the particular size and shape of the bottle. To facilitate changing the fixtures, upper and lower sideplates of the frame 40 may be perforated and the fixtures arranged to be bolted thereto in the desired positions. Inasmuch as the orienting section is open at the bottom, adequate room is provided for reorienting different size bottles without major structural changes.

The invention has been described in connection with specific embodiments thereof. It will be understood that modifications may be made to suit the particular application,

and that some features may be employed and other omitted as meets the judgement of the designer, within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the claims.

lclaim:

1. Apparatus for handling bottles and the like comprising a. a pair of conveyor belts spaced apart to grip and convey bottles delivered therebetween.

b. conveyor means for delivering bottles laterally between said belts with their longitudinal axes extending generally in the direction of travel of said belts but with the necks thereof indiscriminately leading or trailing,

c. an inclined guide between said belts downstream of the region of delivery of said bottles for guiding bottles laterally of the belts to approximately the same lateral level,

d. and fixtures positioned between said belts downstream of said inclined guide for orienting said bottles while gripped by said belts so that the necks thereof extend in the same general direction relative to the belts.

2. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 in which said conveyor means includes an endless chain of flight bars supported near one end thereof to form cantilevered flight bars, said cantilevered flight bars passing between said conveyor belts in a direction transverse to the direction of travel of the belts, the direction of travel of said conveyor belts being toward the open ends of said cantilevered flight bars whereby bottles between adjacent flight bars are gripped by the conveyor belts and carried past the open ends of the cantilevered bars.

3. Apparatus in accordance with claim 2 including means for producing a generally V-shaped opening of the sides of said conveyor belts which receive the bottles from said flight bars, said V-shaped opening decreasing in size toward the open ends of said flight bars.

4. Apparatus for handling bottles and the like comprising a. a pair of conveyor belts moving generally horizontally in side-by-side generally vertical planes and spaced apart to grip and convey bottles delivered therebetween,

a hopper for receiving bottles,

. a conveyor including an endless chain of flight bars sup ported near one end thereof to form cantilevered flight bars,

d. said conveyor having an upward flight positioned to receive bottles in said hopper and carry them upwards between successive flight bars and having a downward flight passing between said conveyor belts in a direction transversely thereof, the direction of travel of said belts being toward the open ends of said cantilevered flight bars whereby bottles between the flight bars are gripped by the belts and carried past the open ends of the flight bars with their longitudinal axes extending generally horizontally but with the necks thereof indiscriminately leading or trailing,

f. an inclined guide between said belts downstream of said conveyor for guiding bottles laterally of the belts to approximately the same lateral level,

g. and orienting fixtures positioned between said belts downstream of said inclined guide for orienting said bottles while gripped by said belts so that the necks thereof extend in the same general direction relative to the belts.

5. Apparatus in accordance with claim 4 including means for oscillating said flight bars during the upward flight thereof to shake off bottles which are insecurely lodged between the flight bars.

6. Apparatus in accordance with claim 4 including stationary inner and outer guides between which the flight bars pass during said downward flight for guiding bottles toward said belts.

7. Apparatus in accordance with claim 6 including an endless chain of slats mounted behind the openings between successive flight bars during said upward flight and moving therewith to provide elongated pockets for receiving bottles, the path of travel of said chain of slats separating from the path of travel of the flight bars above said conveyor belts on said downward flight. v

8. Apparatus in accordance with claim 4 including means for advancing said conveyor belts toward said flight bars with a spacing substantially greater than the spacing required to grip said bottles, and a pair of guide plates positioned outside the active stretches of said belts at said flight bars and spaced apart to establisha gripping engagement of said belts with said bottles, said guide plates having top edges inclined upwards in the direction of travel of the belts to thereby form a V-shaped opening of the tops of the belts which decreases in the direction of travel of the belts.

9. Apparatus in accordance with claim 4 including an escapement wheel mounted in the path of travel of bottles downstream of said inclined guide and having a peripheral speed substantially less than the speed of said conveyor belts, said escapement wheel being positioned and adapted to grip bottles with a force. greater than the gripping force exerted thereon by said belts, whereby bottles are conveyed to said orienting fixtures with at least a minimum spacing therebetween.

10. Apparatus in accordance with claim 9 including means for advancing said conveyor belts toward said flight bars with a spacing substantially greater than the spacing required to grip said bottles, and a pair of guide plates positioned outside the active stretches of said belts at said flight bars and spaced apart to establish a gripping engagement of said belts with said bottles, said guide plates having top edges inclined upwards in the direction of travel of the belts to thereby form a V-shaped opening of the tops of the belts which decreases in the direction of travel of the belts.

11. Apparatus in accordance with claim 4 in which said orienting fixtures orient said bottles in generally erect neck-up positions at the output and of the conveyor belts, and including a first pair of multiple strand side belts positioned to receive and grip erect bottles from said conveyor belts and moving at substantially the same speed, a second pair of multiple strand side belts interlaced with said first pair of multiple strand belts and moving at a substantially lower speed, a bottom conveyor belt rising from a position below bottles gripped between said first pair of multiple strand side belts to a position supporting bottles conveyed between the second pair of multiple strand belts and moving at said lower speed, and means for engaging the tops of bottles on the rising portion of said bottom belt to tilt the bottles slightly backward.

I2. Apparatus in accordance with claim 9 including an endless chain of slats mounted behind the openings between successive flight bars during said upward flight and moving therewith to provide elongated pockets for receiving bottles, means for oscillating said flight bars during the upward flight thereof to shake off bottles which are insecurely lodged in said elongated pockets, and stationary inner and outer guides between which the flight bars pass during said downward flight for guiding bottles toward said belts, the path of travel of said chain of slats separating from the path of travel of the flight bars above said conveyor belts on said downward flight.

13. Apparatus in accordance with claim 12 in which said orienting fixtures orient said bottles in generally erect neck-up positions at the output end of the conveyor belts, and including a first pair of multiple strand side belts positioned to receive and grip erect bottles from said conveyor belts and moving at substantially the same speed, a second pair of multiple strand side belts interlaced with said first pair of multiple strand belts and moving at a substantially lower speed, a bottom conveyor belt rising from a position below bottles gripped between said first pair of multiple strand side belts to a position supporting bottles conveyed between the second pair of multiple strand belts and moving at said lower speed, and means for engaging the tops of bottles on the rising portion of said bottom belt to tilt the bottles slightly backward.

14. Apparatus in accordance with claim 8 for handling bottles and the like having a shape such that, when gripped between said belts, the center of major grip is near the base thereof, said orienting fixtures including a. guide means in the path of travel of bottles passing said inclined guide and extending partially across said belts,

b. said guide means having at least one guide inclined at an obtuse angle to the direction of belt travel,

c. said guide means being adapted to engage the necks of neck-leading bottles and turn the bottles so that the necks thereof extend laterally of the belts and the bottles slide along the guide means until they pass thereby and to engage the bases of neck-trailing bottles and pivot the bottles so that the necks thereof extend laterally of the belts as the bottles pass thereby,

d. and further guide means downstream of the first-mentioned guide means having a leading edge positioned to engage bottles toward the neck end of the center of major grip thereon and cause the bottles to travel forward with their bases leading,

e. said further guide means including means for directing the bottles neck upward.

15. Apparatus for handling bottles and the like having a shape such that, when gripped between parallel belts, the center of major grip is near the base thereof, said apparatus comprising a. a pair of conveyor belts spaced apart in parallel face-toface relationship to grip and convey bottles delivered therebetween,

b. means for delivering bottles between said belts in generally longitudinal orientation in the direction of belt travel but with the necks thereof indiscriminately leading or trailing,

guide means in the path of travel of bottles gripped between said belts and extending partially across the belts,

d. said guide means having at least one guide inclined at an obtuse angle to the direction of belt travel,

e. said guide means being adapted to engage the necks of neck-leading bottles and turn the bottles so that the necks thereof extend laterally of the belts and the bottles slide along the guide means until they pass thereby and to engage the bases of neck-trailing bottles and pivot the bottles so that the necks thereof extend laterally of the belts as the bottles pass thereby.

16. Apparatus in accordance with claim in which said conveyor belts move generally horizontally in generally vertical planes, and including a. further guide means downstream of the first-mentioned guide means having a leading edge positioned to engage bottles toward the neck end of the center of major grip thereon and cause the bottles to travel forward with their bases leading,

b. said further guide means including means for erecting the bottles neck upward.

17. Apparatus in accordance with claim 16 in which the firstmcntioned guide means is inclined forward from the tops of said belts toward the bottoms thereof, whereby bottles passing thereby are oriented neck downward.

18. Apparatus in accordance with claim 8 for handling bottles and the like having a neck extending from a shoulder thereof, said orienting fixtures including a fixture in the path of travel of bottles passing said inclined guide having side portions spaced apart more than the width of the neck of the bottle but less than the shoulder thereof and a downstream portion spaced intermediate of said side portions,

b. said fixture being dimensioned so that the necks of neckleading bottles engage said downstream portion and such bottles are rotated through an angle greater than as they pass by the fixture whereas the bases of neck-trailing bottles engage said side portions and such bottles are rotated through a smaller angle than neck-leading bottles, a guide in the path of travel of bottles passing by said fixture extending partially across said belts and inclined at an obtuse angle to the direction of belt travel so that bottles slide therealong with their bases leading,

d. and further guide means having a leading edge outside the path of travel of the bases of bottles passing by the first-mentioned guide for engaging the necks of aterally travel but with the necks thereof indiscriminately leading or trailing,

c. a fixture positioned in the path of travel of bottles gripped between said belts having side portions spaced apart more than the width of the neck of the bottle but less than the shoulder thereof and a downstream portion spaced intermediate of said side portions,

d. said fixture being dimensioned so that the necks of neckleading bottles engage said downstream portion and such bottles are rotated through an angle greater than 90 as they pass by the fixture whereas the bases of neck-trailing bottles engage said side portions and such bottles are rotated through a smaller angle than neck-leading bottles,

e. a guide in the path of travel of bottles passing by said fixture extending partially across said belts and inclined at an obtuse angle to the direction of belt travel so that bottles slide therealong with their bases leading,

f. and further guide means having a leading edge outside the path of travel of the bases of bottles passing by the firstmentioned guide for engaging laterally extending bottles toward the necks thereof and cause such bottles to travel forward with their bases leading.

20. Apparatus in accordance with claim 19 in which said downstream portion of said fixture is a pin positioned to enter into the neck of neck-leading bottles as such bottles rotate therearound.

21. Apparatus in accordance with claim 19 in which said conveyor belts move generally horizontally in generally vertical planes, said fixture being located toward the bottom of the belts and said guide being inclined forward from the top of the belts toward the bottom thereof, and said further guide means includes means for erecting the bottles neck upward.

Patent No.

Invcntor(s/) It is certified that error a and that said LctLcrs P Column 1,

Column Column Column...

Column Column Column nntcd November 30,

Robert J. Krooss line line

line

line

line

line line titled" .TRACT, line 1, after "picked" ppczlrs in the above-identified pa atcnL are hereby corrcc ted as shown below:

insert up should read sizes "AFter should read After slots FIG. lu

Column 5,

Column 8,

Column 9,

Column 10,

should read:

Signed (SEAL) line line

line ould should should should read "guide 64" should read fin aft-er "3lj with belt 63 traveling at the same speed as belts 6 he horizontal component of belt 63 less and the backward tilt will be tilted read 11 gar 64 FIG.

insert the 73, "They" should read This 58 (claim 18, lines 3 and 4),

read

line 10,

at Les t:

and

"and" (first occurrence should read "including a including a fixture..

(claim 18, line 9 from end) "a guide As to sting Officera guide in the oath sealed this 33m day of May 1972.

ROBERT GO'I'TSCHALK Commissionerof Patents Lcnt followinq sentence:

and

fixture.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3100562 *Oct 26, 1960Aug 13, 1963Pneumatic Scale CorpContainer handling apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4082177 *Oct 21, 1976Apr 4, 1978Aidlin Samuel SContainer conveying apparatus
US4271954 *Apr 3, 1979Jun 9, 1981New England Machinery, Inc.Bottle orienting apparatus
US4457421 *Apr 24, 1981Jul 3, 1984Krooss Robert JBottle orientation apparatus
US4463846 *Apr 23, 1979Aug 7, 1984New England Machinery, Inc.Bottle orienting apparatus
US4651864 *Apr 10, 1985Mar 24, 1987Azionaria Costruzioni Macchine Automatiche (A.C.M.A.)Apparatus for arranging containers horizontally and in sequence
US4679685 *Nov 30, 1983Jul 14, 1987Ab Tetra PakAccumulating commodity conveyor
US4789290 *Jan 4, 1988Dec 6, 1988Carson/Burger/Weekly, Inc.Machine for orienting and stacking receptacles
US4844233 *Nov 16, 1987Jul 4, 1989Aidlin Stephen HBottle orientation apparatus and method
US4934510 *Apr 22, 1985Jun 19, 1990Thomassen & Drijver-Verblifa N.V.Device for spacing bottles
US5460271 *Jan 18, 1995Oct 24, 1995Magnetic Separation Systems, Inc.System and method for singulating inhomogeneous materials
US5810150 *Mar 29, 1996Sep 22, 1998F. R. Drake CompanyCollator for a food product packaging machine, and method of use thereof
US6257393Oct 29, 1999Jul 10, 2001Planet Products CorporationProduct collator
US6378691May 9, 2001Apr 30, 2002Planet Products CorporationProduct collator
US6401906Jan 22, 2001Jun 11, 2002Timothy G. FranzS-shaped board unscrambler
US7117987Nov 2, 2004Oct 10, 2006John R. Nalbach Engineering Co., Inc.Article orientating apparatus
US7565959Sep 18, 2007Jul 28, 2009John R. Nalbach Engineering Co, Inc.Article orientating apparatus
US7743904 *Feb 24, 2009Jun 29, 2010Marchesini Group S.P.A.Device for individual conveying of elongate articles
US7819234 *Nov 6, 2008Oct 26, 2010Herzog Kenneth JBottle orienting device
US20130167974 *Mar 9, 2011Jul 4, 2013Cesare RonchiBottle Feeding and Processing System
EP1652801A1 *Sep 21, 2005May 3, 2006John R. Nalbach Engineering Co., Inc.Article orienting apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification198/397.1, 198/400, 198/382
International ClassificationB65G47/14, B65G15/14, B65G15/10
Cooperative ClassificationB65G2201/02, B65G15/14, B65G47/1471, B65G2201/0244, B65G2207/14
European ClassificationB65G15/14, B65G47/14B4F