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Publication numberUS3633470 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 11, 1972
Filing dateJan 28, 1970
Priority dateFeb 12, 1969
Publication numberUS 3633470 A, US 3633470A, US-A-3633470, US3633470 A, US3633470A
InventorsLaurence W Bingham
Original AssigneePitters Proprietary Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Package feeder apparatus
US 3633470 A
Abstract
Package feeder apparatus including a carrier for a stack of package blanks, and a rotary device for engaging and removing blanks singly from the carrier during rotation of that device. The blanks are stacked in a flattened condition and are adapted to form open ended tubular packages when expanded. Control means is provided to move the carrier with the rotary device after that device arrives at a package blank-engaging position relative to the carrier, and to stop such movement of the carrier when the device is firmly attached to a package blank and commences, or is about to commence final withdrawal of that blank from the carrier. Mechanism for actuating the rotary device is such that brief collision occurs between an engaged package blank and the carrier, when stationary, so as to effect a desired degree of expansion of the package blank during the withdrawal operation.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventor Laurence W. Bingham Brighton, Victoria, Australia [21] Appl. No. 6,344 [22] Filed Jan. 28, 1970 [45] Patented Jan. 11, 1972 [73] Assignee Pitters Proprietary Limited Victoria, Australia [32] Priority Feb. 12, 1969 [3 3] Australia [3 l 50354/69 [54] PACKAGE FEEDER APPARATUS 22 Claims, 14 Drawing Figs.

[5 2] US. Cl

[5 i Int. Cl [50] Field of Search [5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,864,288 12/1958 Engleson et a] 93/53 R, 53/186 B31b 1/76 93/53; 53/186 3,300,946 H1967 Martin ABSTRACT: Package feeder apparatus including a carrier for a stack of package blanks, and a rotary device for engaging and removing blanks singly from the carrier during rotation of that device. The blanks are stacked in a flattened condition and are adapted to form open ended tubular packages when expanded. Control means is provided to move the carrier with the rotary device after that device arrives at a package blankengaging position relative to the carrier, and to stop such movement of the carrier when the device is firmly attached to a package blank and commences, or is about to commence final withdrawal of that blank from the carrier. Mechanism for actuating the rotary device is such that brief collision occurs between an engaged package blank and the carrier, when stationary, so as to effect a desired degree of expansion of the package blank during the withdrawal operation.

PATENIEnJm 1 1272 3533470 sum 1 0F 5 PATENTEU JAN? 1 IQYZ SHEET 3 [IF 5 PATENTEI] JAN: 1 m

SHEET 5 OF 5 PACKAGE FEEDER APPARATUS This invention relates to package feeder apparatus of the kind adapted to feed package blanks from a supply source preparatory to the location of an article or articles in such package blanks. The invention is particularly although not exclusively, concerned with the feeding of open ended tubular packages, and consequently it will be convenient to hereinafter describe the invention in relation to that particular application.

Package feeding apparatus of the kind referred to, is generally required to deposit the packages in turn upon a conveyor which passes through an article receiving station. The apparatus must perform two basic movements:

1. It must withdraw a package blank from the supply source,

and

2. move the removed blank toward a deposition zone (usually formed by part of the conveyor).

The problem confronting manufacturers of such apparatus is to provide a relatively simple construction which can perform the above steps rapidly and effectively. Apparatus is commonly available in forms in which package blank pickup means is capable of removing a blank from the supply source during or before deposition of a previously removed blank on the conveyor, but it is nevertheless usually necessary for movement of the pickup means towards the deposition zone to be halted during each such removal operation. In short, both of the above basic movements are not performed simultaneously and the time between removal and deposition is thereby extended.

It is generally convenient to arrange a reservoir of package blanks in a stack extending transverse to the direction of movement of the pickup means towards the deposition zone, so that blanks are removed singly from one end of that stack and transported to the aforementioned zone by the pickup means. If the pickup means engages a blank during its travel towards the deposition zone, it has been found that misalignment of the blank on the pickup means often results thereby preventing, or at least upsetting, subsequent deposition of that blank on the conveyor. Thus, in the absence of relatively simple and inexpensive pickup means that can instantaneously and firmly grip a package blank during movement past the carrier, manufacturers have generally adopted the aforementioned procedure of halting movement of the pickup means towards the deposition zone during the package blank withdrawal operation.

In view of the foregoing, prior apparatus of the kind indicated is generally slower in operation than might be otherwise possible with both movements performed simultaneously. Furthermore, such prior apparatus is generally of relatively complex construction.

It is a principal object of the present invention to provide apparatus of the kind indicated which is of relatively simple and effective construction and which does not include the aforementioned disadvantages of prior apparatus.

According to the present invention, there is provided package feeder apparatus including; a carrier for releasably retaining a plurality of package blanks in stacked relationship and being movable between a pickup position and a discharge position; pickup means operable to engage a blank held by the carrier when the carrier is in said pickup position and to withdraw said engaged blank from the carrier; drive means operable to move the pickup means towards a blank receiving station during said withdrawal, in a direction transverse to the direction of said withdrawal; and control means operable to move the carrier toward its discharge position when said pickup means is correctly positioned relative to the carrier for engagement with said blank, in the same general direction as said pickup means is moved by the drive means.

The following description refers in more detail to these essential features and further optional features of the invention. To facilitate an understanding of the invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings where these features are illustrated in preferred form. It is to be understood however,

that the essential and optional features of the invention are not limited to the specific forms of these features as shown in the drawings.

In the drawings FIG. I is a plan view of a typical package blank in flattened form for use in apparatus according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the package blank shown in FIG. 1 when expanded;

FIG. 3 is a semidiagrammatic side elevational view of example apparatus according to the invention, parts being omitted for convenience of illustration;

FIG. 4 is a part-sectional view taken along line lV-IV of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 shows the relative positions of the pickup means and carrier at the moment of initial engagement between the pickup means and a blank held by the carrier;

FIG. 6 shows the pickup means firmly attached to a blank and the carrier and pickup means moving together in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 7 shows the pickup means effecting initial withdrawal of a package blank from the carrier;

FIG. 8 shows the package blank being removed from the carrier;

FIG. 9 shows the package blank completely withdrawn from the carrier;

FIG. 10 shows the blank broken down to a desired partially expanded condition after complete removal and transported away from the carrier;

FIG. 11 is a view similar to FIG. 3 but on a reduced scale, showing a package blank about to be positioned on a receiving conveyor; and

FIG. 12 shows final location of a package blank within a receptacle of the conveyor.

Apparatus according to the invention and as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, includes a carrier 2 for supporting a stack 3 of package blanks, and pickup means 4 for removing blanks singly from the carrier. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the blanks are initially in the form of flattened tubes 5 (see FIG. I), which are shaped and folded so that when opened out or expanded each defines an open ended'tubular package of substantially rectangular cross-sectional shape as shown in FIG. 2. Each package 5 preferably includes upper and lower panels 6 and 7 respectively, relatively narrow side panels or walls 8, and suitable end flaps 9 and 1] provided at each end of the package.

The carrier 2 may include a frame 12 having a base member 13, the frame comprising a plurality of rods upstandingfrom the base member 13 and defining therebetween an elongated passage having a transverse cross-sectional shape substantially complementary to the peripheral shape of a flattened package blank as shown in FIG. I. An aperture 14 (see FIG. 4) is formed through the base member 13 and is preferably of predetermined size so that a blank supporting ledge is defined on each of two opposite sides thereof. In one form, the ledge at the leading side of the carrier base 13 relative to the direction of movement thereof, is formed by a plate element 15 adjustably secured to the base 13 by screws 16 so as to allow variation of the effective width of that ledge. The other ledge may be defined by a front sloping face 17 of one or more blocks 18, which are also adjustably mounted on the base 13 by respective screws 19. A stack 3 of blanks 5 may be located in the frame passage so that the lowermost blank is located within the aperture 14 and rests on the supporting ledges l5 and I7. The aperture size however, as modified by the ledges 15 and I7, is such that a blank 5 can be drawn therethrough when partially expanded so that the upper and lower panels 6 and 7 are spaced apart as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, and the lateral width of the blank 5 is consequently reduced from that existing when the blank is completely flattened as shown in FIG. 1. Also as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the blanks 5 are located in the frame 12 so that a sidewall 8 is lowermost at the leading side of the blank relative to the direction of travel of the carrier 2 with the pickup means 4. Such location facilitates expansion of each blank during the withdrawal operation.

The blanks comprising stack 3 may be normally urged towards the base 13 by means of a bar 21 slidably mounted on at least two of the rods forming frame 12 (see FIGS. 3 and 4). Preferably, the bar 21 extends beyond one end of the frame 12 as at 22 so as to be positioned to actuate a microswitch 23 (FIG. 4) when the stack 3 is reduced to a predetermined level. Actuation of the microswitch 23 may operate a visual and/or audible signal to warn the operator that further package blanks are required, or it may completely stop operation of the apparatus to allow the stack 3 to be replenished.

Preferably, the carrier 2 is mounted on a drive shaft 24 for oscillatory movement about the axis of that shaft. The shaft axis may extend substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the carrier frame passage. The carrier mounting may include a sleeve 25 rotatably mounted on the shaft 24 as shown in FIG. 4, and a supporting post 26 having opposite end portions respectively secured to the base member 13 and the sleeve 25. It is preferred that the supporting post 26 is secured to the base member 13 to one side of the aperture 14 for a reason hereinafter made clear.

. Means for controlling movement of the carrier 2 is shown in FIG. 3, and preferably includes an arm 27 extending laterally from the mounting sleeve 25 and having a cam follower such as a roller 28 attached to the end portion remote from that sleeve. The cam follower 28 may engage the cam surface 29 of a rotatable cam 31 which is operatively connected to suitable drive means (not shown). A spring 32 or other means may influence the lateral arm 27 to maintain the cam follower 28 in engagement with the cam surface 29.

Alternative to a cam and cam follower, the control means may include a rotatable crank or eccentric operatively connected to the end portion of the lateral arm remote from the sleeve. Any other means appropriate for achieving the desired oscillatory movement may be used.

The pickup means preferably includes a wheel member 33 (FIGS. 3 and 4) which is secured to the drive shaft 24 for rotation therewith, and carries a plurality of sucker assemblies 34 in substantially equally spaced relationship about the periphery thereof. Each sucker assembly 34 is mounted on the wheel 33 for radial movement relative thereto, and may take any suitable form. In one form however, as shown in the drawings, each assembly 34 includes a head piece 35 having a mounting stem 36 extending from one side, and at least one flexible sucker element or pad 37 secured to its opposite side. Preferably, there are two disclike sucker elements or suction cups or pads 37 of known construction attached to the head piece 35 and spaced apart in the axial direction of the drive shaft 24. It is further preferred that the axis of each pad 37 is substantially parallel to the axis of the mounting stem 36.

A vacuum pump or other pressure reducing means (not shown) may be operatively connected to the concave or upper article engaging face of each pad 37. Preferably, a respective suction line 38 connects with a passage 39 formed in each head piece 35 and communicating with the associated pads 37 through bores 41 (see FIG. 4), and extends from the respective head piece 35 to a suitable valve assembly 42 which controls the application of suction to the sucker assemblies 34. In

one form, the valve assembly 42 includes ports 43 formed through a valve plate or body 44 located over section of the drive shaft 24 and each being communicatable with a respective axial passage 45 formed in that shaft, according to the rotational position of the shaft 24. Each line 38 connects with a respective one of the passages 45 as shown in FIG. 3. The lateral openings 46 of passages 45 (see FIG. 4) are so positioned, and the ports 43 are of such a size, that a definite relationship is established between rotation of the shaft 24 and respective activation of the various sucker assemblies 34.

Each sucker assembly 34 is preferably mounted on the wheel 33 by having its mounting seam 36 slid-ably located within a respective radial bore 47 of the wheel 33 as shown in FIG. 4. Actuating mechanism for the sucker assemblies 34 may include a stationary cam plate 48, preferably mounted on the drive shaft 24 but secured against. rotation therewith, and a roller 49 or other cam follower attached to each sucker assembly 34 and being engageable with a cam surface 51 of the cam plate 48. Biasing means such as a spring 52 may urge each roller 49 into engagement with the cam surface 51.

As shown in FIG. 3, the cam surface 51 preferably includes three lobes 53, 54 and 55. The lobes 53 and 54 control engagement of each sucker assembly 34 with a blank 5 held by the carrier 2, and subsequent withdrawal of that blank from the carrier. The lobe 55 controls deposition of an expanded blank or package 5 within a tray 56 of a conveyor 57 (see FIGS. 11 and 12) as hereinafter described.

Having now briefly described the principal component parts of a preferred practical embodiment of the invention, the operation thereof is as follows.

Preferably, the apparatus is used with a packaging machine of the kind having a continuously movable conveyor 57 arranged to transport packages as described through various stations at which loading and other operations are performed ac cording to requirements. One such machine is described in Australian patent application Ser. No. 37104/68. The apparatus may be mounted adjacent the feed end of the carton conveyor 57 so that the drive shaft 24 extends transverse to and above that conveyor as shown in FIGS. 11 and 12. Package retainers forming part of the machine conveyor 57 are preferably in the form of open top channel members or trays 56 extending transverse to the direction of movement of the conveyor 57.

The conveyor 57 and the feeding apparatus may be coupled in a known manner (not shown) so as to be operated simultaneously, and the direction of rotation of the wheel 33 is such that each sucker assembly 34 moves in the same general direction as the conveyor 57 as it is located adjacent that conveyor. Also, the speed of wheel 33 is preferably regulated according to the speed of the conveyor 57 such that one of the sucker assemblies 34 arrives at a deposition zone or package receiving station as each tray 56 arrives at that zone or station. It is nonnal for the speed of the wheel 33 to be greater than that of the conveyor 57 for a reason hereinafter made clear.

As the drive shaft 24 is rotated continuously, so does the wheel 33 rotate continuously. The carrier 2 however, simply oscillates through a predetermined arc of movement as a result of its particular mounting and drive connection as previously described, and that are of movement may be adjustable in any suitable manner. Preferably, both the drive shaft 24 and the cam 31 are driven by the same drive means.

The cam plate 48 is arranged so that a sucker assembly 34 approaching the carrier 2 strikes the principal lobe S3 of the cam surface 51 and is thereby moved radially outwards. As a result, the pads 37 of that assembly 34 are moved into the aperture 14 so as to engage the panel 7 of the lowermost package blank 5 as shown in FIG. 5. At this moment, the valve assembly 42 is operative to apply suction to the raised pads 37 thereby drawing the lowermost blank 5 towards the drive shaft 24. It is generally preferred that the lobe 53 lifts the cooperating sucker assembly 34 through a small distance after initial engagement between the pads 37 and blank 5, so as to ensure firm attachment of the pads 37 to the blank 5 (see FIG. 6).

When the pads 37 first engage the blank 5 as shown in FIG. 5, the carrier 2 is preferably substantially stationary, having just previously reached the extent of its movement in the direction of movement of the conveyor 57, hereinafter called the rearward direction of the carrier. After the carrier 2 reaches the extent of its rearward movement, the roller 28 tracks on section 58 of the cam surface 29, which section is coaxial with the axis of rotation of cam 31 and consequently does not cause movement of the arm 27. At the moment of engagement between the pads 37 and a blank 5 however, the roller 28 engages and moves up riser section 59 of the surface 29 thereby causing the carrier 2 to commence its forward movement with the wheel 33. As a result, the wheel 33 and carrier 2 are retained in the relative position required to cause attachment of the pads 37 at the correct position on the blank 5.

As the wheel 33 and carrier 2 move together, the roller 49 moves down face 61 of the lobe 53 (see FIG. 7) thereby influencing the pads 37 to draw the engaged blank 5 out of the carrier 2. Because of the plate and faces 17 however, the top wall 6 of the blank 5 is retained within the aperture 14 whilst the lower wall 7 engaged by the pads 37 is drawn downwards, thereby expanding the carton blank 5. When the roller 49 reaches the extent of its movement down face 61, the top wall 6 is still within the aperture 14 and the plate 15 engages the adjacent sidewall 8 slightly below the top wall 6. Also, in this position of the roller 49, the carton blank 5 is almost fully expanded. At this time the carrier 2 ceases its forward movement and starts to return to its initial position under the influence of cam 29.

The resultant relative movement between the carrier 3 and the wheel 33 causes the plate 15 to push the package 5 into and beyond the fully expanded condition. As only a small part of the package 5 is located within the aperture 14, little rearward movement of the sidewalls 8 beyond the fully expanded condition is required before the package 5 springs clear and is released from the aperture 14.

Continued rotation of wheel 33 in the forward direction causes the roller 49 to engage and move up the secondary lobe 54, thereby forcing the package 5 into engagement with a guide plate or bars 63 attached to and travelling with the carrier 3, The package 5 is thereby retained in the overexpanded condition until movement of the carrier 2 and wheel 33 progress to a stage such that the package 5 is cleared of the influence of the guide bars 63. At that time, the natural resilience of the package 5 causes it to return substantially to the position held when the roller 49 first arrived at the bottom of the cam face 61. It has been found that packages 5 as described tend to return to the flattened condition if not broken open beyond the fully expanded condition, and the foregoing arrangement satisfies that requirement.

After the package has been freed from the influence of guide 63, it may be engaged by a striker ram 64 of a pistoncylinder assembly 65 (FIG. 3) so as to knock the .package down to a desired state of partial expansion as shown in FIG. 10. In that state, the package 5 is ideally arranged for subsequent location in a tray 56, and the assembly 65 may be operated in timed sequence with the wheel 33 in any known manner. At about this time, a succeeding sucker assembly 34 may be engaged with the now lowermost blank 5 in the carrier 2 for subsequent withdrawal of that blank from the carrier.

The first removed carton 5 is carried beyond the striker ram 64 towards the conveyor 57. An air nozzle (not shown) may be arranged intermediate the striker ram 64 and the conveyor 57 to direct a jet of air against the package 5 to ensure that it remains in the desired partially collapsed state before engaging within a tray 56.

It is advantageous thatthe package 5 is only partially expanded when arriving at the tray 56, because in that condition a leading edge 66 (see FIG. 11) is formed by the junction of a sidewall 8 and the panel 6 of the package 5. As the package 5 arrives at the tray 56, the panel 6 is lowermost, and the leading edge 66 of the package 5 is located inside one of the trays 56 and against the lower edge portion of a sidewall 67 thereof. The lobe 55 of cam surface 51 facilitates correct location of the package 5 within the tray 56 so that it is finally positioned as shown in FIG. 12, and subsequently causes withdrawal of the sucker assembly 34 away from the conveyor 57 to minimize the possibility of fouling.

Since the wheel 33 is travelling at a speed faster than that of the conveyor tray 56, the package 5 is progressively expanded after it engages the tray sidewall 67. The valve assembly 42 may be arranged to disconnect the vacuum pump from the sucker assembly 34 so as to release the package 5 after it is fully expanded and properly located within the tray 56. Preferably, that full expansion and proper location occur substantially simultaneously.

In an alternative embodiment not shown in the drawings, each package blank is initially located within a respective tray 56 as that tray is arriving at the upper level of the conveyor 57. That is, the trailing side of the tray 56 is lower than the leading sidewall 67 when first arriving at the deposition zone, thereby facilitating initial insertion of the package 5. As the package 5 is expanded as described above, the trailing side of the tray 56 is progressively lifted to be substantially level with the leading side thereof. With this embodiment the lobe 55 may not be required on cam surface 51.

lt will be understood that operation of the apparatus described may be continuous so that a plurality of package blanks are at various stages of transfer at any one time. lt will be further understood that the present invention provides an extremely simple and effective apparatus of the kind indicated in which package blanks are capable of being withdrawn from a supply source simultaneously with being moved towards a deposition zone.

' Having now described my invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:

1. Package feeder apparatus including; a carrier for releasably retaining a plurality of package blanks in stacked relationship and being movable between a pickup position and a discharge position; pickup means operable to engage a blank held by the carrier when the carrier is in said pickup position and to withdraw said engaged blank from the carrier; drive means operable to move the pickup means towards a blank receiving station during said withdrawal, in a direction transverse to the direction of said withdrawal; and control means operable to move the carrier toward its discharge position when said pickup means is correctly positioned relative to the carrier for engagement with said blank, in the same general direction as said pickup means is moved by the drive means.

2. Package feeder apparatus including; a carrier for releasably retaining a plurality of package blanks in stacked relationship and being movably mounted on a support; pickup means for removing blanks singly from said carrier and being movable to carry each blank to a receiving station spaced from the carrier for discharge at that station; drive means operable to move the pickup means to the receiving station; actuating mechanism operable to cause the pickup means to engage a blank held by the carrier when the carrier and the pickup means are in blank engaging relationship. and to withdraw said engaged blank from the carrier during movement of the pickup means towards the receiving station, said withdrawal being in a direction transverse to that of said movement of the pickup means; and control means operable to move the carrier with said pickup means to maintain said blank engaging relationship for part of said movement of the pickup means.

3. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said carrier includes a frame having an apertured base member through which a blank may be engaged by the pickup means and withdrawn from the carrier frame, each said blank being an open ended tubular package of substantially rectangular cross-sectional shape, the carrier frame being arranged to locate each said blank therein in flattened form with its longitudinal axis extending transverse to both the direction of movement of the carrier and the direction of said withdrawal, and the aperture of said base member is dimensioned to cause some expansion of a said blank as it is withdrawn therethrough.

4. Apparatus according to claim 3, wherein said control means is arranged so that movement of the carrier with the pickup means is terminated whilst a blank engaged by the pickup means remains partially located within the carrier, whereby the said blank is caused to expand during the last part of the withdrawal operation because of engagement of a sidewall thereof with the carrier base member and the movement of the pickup means relative to the carrier.

5. Package feeder apparatus including; a carrier for releasably retaining a plurality of package blanks in stacked relationship and being secured to one end portion of a support post having its opposite end portion mounted for oscillatory movement, whereby said carrier is movable between a pickup position and a discharge position; pickup means operable to engage a blank held by the carrier when the carrier is in said pickup position and to withdraw said engaged blank from the carrier; drive means operable to move the pickup means towards a blank receiving station during said withdrawal, in a direction transverse to the direction of said withdrawal; and control means operable to move the carrier toward its discharge position when said pickup means is correctly positioned relative to the carrier for engagement with said blank, in the same general direction as said pickup means is moved by the drive means.

6. Apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the axis of said oscillation extends transverse to the direction of said withdrawal.

7. Apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said oscillatory movement of the supporting post and carrier is effected through an arm extending laterally from the supporting post and having one end secured thereto, and the opposite end portion of the arm coacts with a rotatable cam member shaped to cause the desired oscillatory movement of the carrier.

8. Apparatus according to claim wherein said pickup means includes a wheel member and a plurality of sucker assemblies secured to the wheel member so as to be substantially equally spaced about the periphery thereof, said wheel members being secured to a shaft for rotation therewith, which shaft is operatively connected to said drive means, and each said sucker assembly being operative to engage a respective blank and remove it from the carrier during rotation of said wheel member.

9. Apparatus according to claim 8, wherein said shaft is substantially coaxial with the axis of oscillation of said carrier.

10. Apparatus according to claim 8, wherein each said sucker assembly includes a head piece carrying at least one resilient pad which is engageable with and releasably attachable to a said blank, and a mounting stem projecting laterally from said head piece and slidably mounted on said wheel for radial movement relative thereto.

11. Apparatus according to claim 8, wherein pressure reducing means is operatively connected to each said sucker assembly so as to cause attachment of an engaged blank to the respective assembly; said operative connection including a plurality of suction lines each of which is connected to said shaft and a respective said sucker assembly, and a valve assembly associated with said shaft and held against rotation therewith; said valve assembly having a plurality of ports each of which is adapted to form a communication between a respective said suction line and said pressure reducing means for a predetermined period of time during rotation of said shaft; whereby each said sucker is connected in turn with the pressure reducing means during rotation of said shaft.

12. Apparatus according to claim 8, wherein a stationary cam plate is mounted adjacent the wheel member and has a peripheral cam surface engageable by a respective cam follower secured to each sucker assembly, said cam surface being arranged to move each sucker assembly sequentially in one direction into engagement with a said blank held by the carrier and to subsequently allow movement of the respective sucker assembly in the opposite direction to withdraw the engaged blank from said carrier.

13. Apparatus according to claim 12, wherein biasing means is connected to each sucker assembly to urge it in said opposite direction.

' 14. Apparatus according to claim 12, wherein said cam surface is shaped to cause substantially complete withdrawal of a said blank from the carrier while the carrier and pickup means are moving together, and to urge that package into engagement with guide means so as to retain the package in is beyond fully expanded condition for a period of time after the carrier ceases to move in the same direction as the pickup means.

15. Package feeder apparatus including; a carrier for releasably retaining a plurality of package blanks in stacked relationship and being movable between a pickup position and a discharge position; pickup means movable between a blank engaging position at which it is operable to engage a blank held by the carrier when the carrier is in its pickup position, and a release position at which it deposits said blank at a receiving station, said pickup means being operable to withdraw said engaged blank from the carrier during movement towards said release position; and means operable to simultaneously move said carrier and pickup means from their pickup and blank engaging positions respectively, in a direction toward said receiving station; whereby said pickup means and a blank engaged thereby travel with the carrier for at least part of the carrier's movement toward the discharge position.

16. Apparatus according to claim 15, wherein said receiving station includes a continuously movable conveyor having open-topped elongated trays secured along the length thereof, each said tray having its longitudinal axis extending transverse to the direction of movement of the pickup means and being adapted to receive a respective blank from said pickup means.

17. Apparatus according to claim 16, wherein said pickup means includes a wheel member and a plurality of sucker assemblies secured to the wheel member so as to be substantially equally spaced about the periphery thereof, said wheel members being secured to a shaft for rotation therewith, which shaft is operatively connected to said drive means, and each said sucker assembly being operative to engage a respective blank and remove it from the carrier during rotation of said wheel member.

18. Apparatus according to claim 17, wherein a stationary cam plate is mounted adjacent the wheel member and has a peripheral cam surface engageable by a respective cam follower secured to each sucker assembly, said cam surface being arranged to move each sucker assembly sequentially in one direction into engagement with a said blank held by the carrier and to subsequently allow movement of the respective sucker assembly in the opposite direction to withdraw the engaged blank from said carrier.

19. Apparatus according to claim 18, wherein said cam surface is shaped to cause each said sucker assembly to move a said blank held thereby into a respective said tray of the conveyor as the pickup means moves thereby, and to subsequently cause withdrawal of the respective sucker assembly away from that tray and the blank deposited therein.

20. Apparatus according to claim 16, wherein said pickup means moves generally in the direction of said conveyor in the region at which deposit of blanks into respective conveyor trays is effected, and the speed of said pickup means through said region is greater than that of the conveyor through that region so that deposition of a blank is at least assisted by engagement of that blank with the leading sidewall of a said tray located in said region.

21. Apparatus according to claim 15, wherein a device is located adjacent the carrier and is operative to engage an expanded blank removed from the carrier and being transported away therefrom by the pickup means, whereby said blank is urged into a predetermined condition of partial expansion to facilitate subsequent deposition thereof by the pickup means.

22. Apparatus according to claim 21, wherein said device is a piston-cylinder assembly arranged to operate in timed sequence with the pickup means.

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Referenced by
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US3937131 *Jul 19, 1974Feb 10, 1976Ex-Cell-O CorporationCarton feeding apparatus
US3956976 *Oct 4, 1974May 18, 1976Crompton & Knowles CorporationApparatus for expanding and transferring a carton
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WO1995008434A1 *Sep 19, 1994Mar 30, 1995Mead CorpMachine for erecting sleeve type cartons for loading
WO2011136725A1 *Apr 26, 2011Nov 3, 2011Norden Machinery AbCarton feeder device and method for feeding a carton to a conveyor track.
WO2011136726A1 *Apr 26, 2011Nov 3, 2011Norden Machinery AbCarton feeder system and method for simultaneously feeding a plurality of cartons to a conveyor track using a plurality of pick-up heads
Classifications
U.S. Classification493/310, 493/315, 493/319, 53/566
International ClassificationB65B43/18, B31B5/80, B31B5/78
Cooperative ClassificationB31B2203/003, B65B43/185, B31B2201/281, B31B2201/289, B31B1/78
European ClassificationB31B1/78, B65B43/18C