US 3640190 A
A machine for automatically unfolding pairs of carton blanks and telescoping them together to form a single composite carton. The machine comprises a pair of magazines adapted, respectively, to contain stacks of unfolded inner and outer carton blanks, a transfer and unfolder mechanism associated with each of the magazines to effect the one-at-a-time removal of carton blanks therefrom and the erection of the blanks upon removal, a plungerlike assembly mechanism to telescope the carton blanks together after their erection, and an extraction and delivery mechanism adapted to remove the erected and telescoped blanks from the area of the assembly mechanism.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
o mted States Patent 1151 3,040,10 Fuller et al. Feb. 8, 11972  CARTON-HANDLING METHOD  References Cited  Inventors: Ralph A. Fuller, Exeter; Earl D. UNITED STATES PATENTS Lmdsay both 1,690,003 10/1928 Foerch ..29/419 [731 Assignees: Herrick Waterman; Ralph A. Fuller; Earl 2,343,389 3/1944 X D0 Snodgms, Exeter m 2,810,249 10/1957 wySOCklm. 29/208 B 3,373,478 3/1968 S1mmonds..... .29/455 X  Filed: Sept. 15, 1969 Primary Examiner-Wayne A. Morse, Jr.  1 App! 237L149 Attorney Naylor & Neal and John K. Uilkema D Related U S Application ata I ABSTRACT  gig 3 2 gl' fi 19 3 2 2? A machine for automatically unfolding pairs of carton blanks J i i d 0 and telescoping them together to fonn a single composite carune a an one ton. The machine comprises a pair of magazines adapted, respectively, to contain stacks of unfolded inner and outer  US. Cl ..93/94 PS, 29/455, 29/469, canon blanks, a transfer and unfolds. mechanism associated 93/39'1 93/53 93/77 CL with each of the magazines to effect the one-at-a-time removal  Int. CL .-B3lb 1 b l b of canon therefrom and the erection of the blanks  Field of Search ..93/36 C, 39459.1 upon removal, 3 plunger-like assembly mechanism to telescope 93/53, 77 CL, 94; 53/27, 169; 29/208 B, 419, 455, the carton blanks together after their erection, and an extrac- 469 tion and delivery mechanism adapted to remove the erected and telescoped blanks from the area of the assembly mechanism.
SHEET 2 OF 6 PATENTEU FBI 8 8?? I INVENTORS mm/ 4 mm? mm 0. SNOME/JSS ATTOk/VEVS PATENTED rm smz 3,840,190
SHEET '4 BF 6 FIE- INVENTORS mm/ 4. FULLER By 5424 0. smog/M55 A TTOANE V5 PATENTED FEB 8 I972 SHEET 5 BF 6 INVENTORS RALPH A. FULL 1? By EARL D. 5/V0D617455 ATTLJRNE V5 PATENTEH FEB 8 m2 SHEU 6 BF 6 NH P UHHH ATTUIQNEVS CARTON-HANDLING METHOD This is a division of application Ser. No. 764,049, filed Oct. 24, 1968, now US. Pat. No. 3,467,023, which is a continuation of Ser. No. 558,731, filed June 20, 1966, now abandoned.
The present invention relates to a machine for unfolding and assembling folded carton blanks and, more particularly, is directed to such a machine for the handling of cartons comprised of telescoping sections. The invention is especially concerned with a machine for the handling of cartons of the type used in the packing of fruit, such as oranges.
In the fruit packing art, it is common to pack fruit subject to shrinkage during transit and storage, such as oranges, in cartons comprised of telescoping upper and lower sections. When employing such cartons, the lower section is typically packed to a height slightly above its upper edge and the upper section is closed over the lower section so as to rest on the fruit extending thereabove. Through this arrangement, when the fruit in the lower section shrinks, the upper carton 'will move downwardly on the lower carton, thus maintaining contact with the fruit contained in the lower carton. As a result, the fruit in the lower carton is maintained in a compacted state. This characteristic has the advantage that fruit is less likely to be damaged or spoiled while in the carton. Furthermore, even after shrinkage of fruit in such a carton, upon opening of the carton it appears to be full to the brim.
Presently used telescoping cartons of the aforementioned kind are assembled from pairs of folded blanks which, upon erection, are telescoped together to form the composite carton. These blanks each comprise juxtaposed top and bottom plies defining scored connected end and side forming panels having end flaps along the edges at one side thereof. Assembly of these blanks is typically carried out through a hand operation where the side and end forming panels are first raised to erect condition and then the blanks are telescoped together. During this operation, it is also general practice to pull the end flaps on the lower blank to the closed position while maintaining the end flaps on the upper blank in the open position. Thus, upon assembly of the blank, a composite carton having a closed bottom and open top is presented. It is through this open top that the fruit is packed. Upon completion of the packing, the end flaps of the upper blank are closed and sealed.
It is common practice in the fruit packing industry to effect the aforedescribed hand assembly operation through the employment of two workers located at the upstream end of a packing assembly line. In the assembly of each carton, these workers first individually erect the respective upper and lower carton blanks and then, together, telescope the blanks into assembled condition. It can be appreciated that, in a. large packing plant, the employment of carton assembly workers in this manner considerably adds to the total work force and resultant expense of packing. This is particularly true where packing is automated as, for example, through the employment of automated machinery of the type disclosed in our copending application, Ser. No. 504,858, filed Aug. 24, I965.
Although automated carton assembly machinery is known in the prior art, this machinery has not provided for the effective assembly of telescoping cartons of the aforedescribed type. As a result, even in food packing plants which are highly automated, hand assembly of cartons is prevalent.
It is, accordingly, a principal object of the present invention to provide for the automatic assembly of telescoping cartons of the type employed in the fruit packing industry.
Another and more specific object of the invention is to provide for the automatic unfolding, assembling and delivery of telescoping cartons.
In its broad aspects, the present invention is directed to an automated carton handling machine comprising a pickup and unfold stage; an assembly stage; and, an extraction and delivery stage. The pickup and unfold stage comprises a pair of magazines adapted, respectively, to contain a plurality of inner and outer carton blanks in stacked folded condition and an unfolder operatively associated with each ofsaid magazines to effect the individual extraction and erection of carton blanks therefrom. In its more specific aspects, the unfolder associated with the inner carton blank includes a flap folding mechanism adapted to effect the inward folding of the end flaps on the carton upon the erection thereof. The assembly stage comprises a mechanism adapted to automatically effect the telescoping of an inner and outer pair of carton sections together upon the erection thereof by the unfolder. The extraction and delivery stage comprises a transfer and support mechanism cooperating with the assembly stage to effect the removal of composite'cartons therefrom upon assembly.
The foregoing and other objects and the detailed construction of the invention will become more apparent when viewed in the light of the following description and accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a plan view illustrating the machine of the present invention in its entirety;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view diagrammatically illustrating a pair of carton blanks in the process of being assembled by the machine of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken on the plane designated by line 33 of FIG. I;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on the plane designated by line 4-4 in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken on the plane designated by line 5-5 in FIG. 4;
FIGS. 6, 7, 8 and 9 are sectional side elevational views, similar to FIG. 3, sequentially illustrating the pickup and unfold stage in the process of erecting a carton blank;
FIG. 10 is a sectional view taken on the plane designated by line l010 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 1 1 is a sectional view taken on the plane designated by the line 1l-l l in FIG. 10; and,
FIG. 12 is a plan view, with parts thereof broken away, illustrating, in detail, the flap folder cooperating with the inner carton pickup in unfold stage of the inventive machine.
As noted above, the machine of the present invention may be defined as comprising three stages, namely: pickup and unfold; assembly; and extraction and delivery. The pickup and unfold stage in comprised of two substantially identical sections, each of which sections comprises a magazine and unfolder. These sections are provided, respectively, for the handling of inner and outer carton blanks to be assembled into composite telescoping cartons by the machine. For the sake of simplicity, the detailed description herein will be directed primarily to the pickup and unfold stage for outer carton blanks. It is to be understood that the pickup and unfold stage for inner carton blanks corresponds, with the exception of the differences hereinafter noted, to the pickup and unfold stage for outer cartons.
For the sake of clarity, the following detailed description of the machine construction will be divided into segments corresponding to the machine stages. This description will be integrated with and followed by a description of the overall machine operation.
PICKUP AND UNFOLD STAGE This stage, as noted above, is comprised of two substantially identical sections provided, respectively, for the handling of inner and outer carton blanks. These sectionsv are designated in their entirety, respectively, by the numerals l0 and 12. Each of the sections 10 and 12 is comprised, generally, of a magazine 14 and unfolder 16. Since the magazine and unfolder for each section correspond substantially in structure and operation, like numerals will be used to designate corresponding elements therein and the following description will be directed primarily to the outer blank pickup and unfold section 12, as illustrated in FIGS. 3-9. I. MAGAZINE The magazines 14 each comprise a verticallyextensive receptacle of rectangular plan configuration defined by sidewalls l8 and 20 interconnected by end walls 22 and 24. The side and end walls forming the magazine of the section 12 are rigidly supported on longitudinally extending frame members 26 and 28. Although not illustrated in detail, the side and end walls forming the magazine of the section are similarly supported on longitudinally extending frame members 30 and 32 (See: FIG. 12). The longitudinally extending frame members 26 to 32 are rigidly interconnected by transversely extending frame members 34 and 36. The basic framework thus provided is supported, in part, by legs 31, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48 and 50; and has fixed thereto and supported thereof a plurality of upwardly disposed frame members. It is to be understood that support legs in addition to those illustrated are provided where necessary. For example, support legs are provided at the extremities of the section 10. These legs are of conventional form corresponding closely to those illustrated. The upwardly disposed frame members supported on the basic framework and the various elements cooperating therewith will be developed in the subsequent discussion.
The side and end walls of the magazines 14 comprise an upwardly disposed tubular guide adapted to contain folded carton blanks therein in horizontally disposed attached orientation (See: FIG. 3). When stacked in this orientation, the respective inner and outer carton blanks are also deliberately positioned as illustrated in FIG. 1. This positioning is effected by the operator when stacking the carton blanks in the magazines. Specifically, the inner and outer carton blanks are stacked, respectively, with the end flaps thereof directed inwardly of the machine.
For convenient reference, the inner and outer carton blanks illustrated in the drawings will hereinafter be referred to by the numerals 52 and 54. These blanks differ from each other primarily in the dimensional characteristics thereof which facilitate telescoping of the inner blank into the outer blank upon erection of the blanks to carton forming condition. In the folded condition, each blank comprises a pair of juxtaposed plies. The plies each comprise carton end and side forming panels having end flaps attached to and extending from one side thereof. Attachment of the end flaps to the panels is also provided by scored connections. In the drawings, as can best be seen from FIG. 2, the side and end forming panels of the carton 52 are designated, respectively, by the numerals 56 and 58. The end flaps attached to the side and end panels of the blank 52 are designated, respectively, by the numerals 60 and 62. The blank 54 is similarly comprised of side panels 66; and panels 68; and end flaps 70 and 72.
The magazines 14 are provided with outwardly flared open upper ends 74 through which cartons are loaded into the stacked condition illustrated in FIG. 3. In the stacked condition, the cartons are supported through support of the lowermost thereof on rollers 76. The rollers 76 are mounted beneath and extend longitudinally across the magazines thereabove.
ll. UNFOLDER The magazines in the respective sections 10 and 12 each have cooperating therewith unfolder structure adapted to effect the individual removal and direction of carton blanks therefrom. To the extent that the components of the respective unfolder structures correspond, like numerals are employcd herein and reference is only made to the unfolder structure cooperating with the magazine of section 12.
As a basic component, the unfolder structures each comprise a transfer mechanism, including as a part thereof the rollers 76. The transfer mechanisms also comprise: a pair of secondary longitudinally extending frame members 78 fixedly secured to the primary framework and having supported thereon the rollers 76; a pair of secondary transversely extending frame members 80 and 82 fixed to and depending downwardly from the opposed ends of the members 78; three longitudinally extending guide rods 84 fixed to and extending between the members 80 and 82; a carriage 86 slidably received on the rods 84 for rectilinear movement thereon beneath the magazine 14; a shoe 88 fixedly supported on the carriage 86 for abutting engagement with the trailing edge of a lowermost carton contained in the magazine 14 upon movement of the carriage beneath the magazine; a lift tab 90 pivotally secured to the carriage 86 by a hinge 92 for pivotal movement relative to the carriage about the transverse axis defined by the hinge; a beam 94 fixed to and extending across the tab 90 to one side of the hinge 92; a pair of rollers 96 secured to the ends of the beam 94 for rolling engagement with the secondary frame members 78; and a pair of cam surfaces 98 formed on the members 78 to one side of the magazine 14 thereabove in the path of the rollers 96. Selective movement of the carriages 96 associated, respectively, with the sections 10 and 12 is provided by pneumatic cylinders 100 and 102. These cylinders are identical in structure and mode of operation and are each of the double-acting type comprised ofa cylinder 104 and a cylinder rod 106. The rods 106 are extensible and retractable from the cylinder sections in conventional manner and are connected at their free ends to the carriages 86.
Through selective operation of the cylinders 100 and 102, the carriages 86 may be moved longitudinally back and forth beneath the magazines thereabove. Upon retraction of the cylinders from the position illustrated in FIG. 3, the shoe 88 supported on the carriage engages the lowermost carton blank contained in the magazine 14 thereabove and moves this blank out of the magazine in a planar path as can be seen in FIG. 6. Shortly after reaching the position illustrated in FIG. 6, continued movement of the carriage functions to force the rollers 96 onto the cam surfaces 98. On the latter occurrence, the lift tab 90 is raised to the position illustrated in FIG. 7, thus lifting the blank supported thereabove upwardly.
It is here noted that the end walls 22 and 24 of the magazines 14 are raised above the support surface provided by the rollers 76 by a distance slightly greater than the thickness of a folded carton blank. As a result of this characteristic, only the lowermost carton blank contained in each of the magazines 14 is removed therefrom upon movement of the shoe 88 therebeneath responsive to retraction of the cylinders 100 and 102. Upon extension of the cylinders 100 and 102 to return the carriages 86 to the position illustrated in FIG. 3, the tapered profile of the shoes 88, together with the lower extremity of the magazine walls 22, assures that the shoes will pass beneath the carton blanks in the magazines thereabove.
Referring now specifically to the right-hand portion of FIG. 3 and to FIGS. 6 to 9, therein is illustrated the receiver to which the transfer mechanism of the section 12 directs carton blanks from the magazine 14 thereof. This receiver functions in cooperation with the aforedescribed transfer mechanism and, in part, includes the carriage 86 and lift tab 90 of the mechanism. The illustrated receiver forming part of the section 12 further comprises: a surface 108 supported on the machine framework in a position substantially coplanar with the support surface provided by the rollers 76; a rectangular subframe supported above the surface 108 to define, in part, a surface 110 spaced from the surface 108 by a distance substantially equal to the width of the end panel of an outer carton blank (i.e., the width of the panel 68) to be handled by the section 12; interconnected horizontally disposed members 112, 114, 116 and 118 defining the upper portion of the subframework; vertically disposed members, comprising in part, the members 40 and 46 (the remainder of these members are not illustrated), connected to the intersecting corner portions of the members 112 to 118 to effect the support thereof; a gate mechanism 120; and, an unfold mechanism 122. It is here noted that the vertically disposed members of the receiver subframework, comprising in part the legs or members 40 and 46, are spaced apart transversely by a distance sufiicient to permit the unrestricted passage of a folded blank 54 therebetween in the direction indicated by the lower left arrow line in FIG. 2. These members are spaced apart longitudinally by a distance sufficient to permit the unrestricted passage therebetween of an erected inner carton blank in the direction indicated by the straight line leading from the erected carton blank 52 illustrated in the midportion of FIG. 2.
The gate mechanism 120, as can best be seen from 10, is supported by rigidly interconnected frame members 124, 126 and 128 fixed to and supported above the member 118. The mechanism comprises: a plurality of guide tubes 130 fixed between and opening through the frame members 118 and 128; a carriage 132 movably disposed above the member 128 and having fixed thereto a plurality of elongated rods 134 extending slidably through the guide tubes 130; a double acting pneumatic cylinder 136 having its body fixedly mounted on the member 118 and the piston rod 138 thereof secured to the carriage 132; upper and lower limit switches 140 and 142, respectively, mounted on the frame member 126', and, an abutment 134 fixed to the carriage 132 for triggering engagement with the switches 140 and 142 upon movement of the carriage 132 to its upper and lower extremities as indicated by phantom and solid line representations thereof in FIG. 10.
In operation, as can be seen from FIGS. 6-9, the gate mechanism is in the downwardly disposed position during the unfolding of carton blanks. In this position, the rods 134 function, together with the surface 110, as an abutment for the leading edge of a carton directed into the receiver. Upon the complete unfolding of an outer carton blank against the rods 134 and the telescoping of an inner blank thereinto, the cylinder 136 is activated to raise the rods to a position permitting passage of the assembled carton therebeneath. The latter operation, together with the associated functions of the switches 140 and 142, will be developed in detail in the subsequent description of the overall machine operation.
The unfolder mechanism for the receiver of the section 12 comprises, as its basic elements, simultaneously operable levers 146 and 148 having flap engaging bumpers 150 and 152, respectively, on the free ends thereof. These bumpers, as can be appreciated from observation of FIG. 2 and FIGS. 6-9, are adapted to engage the end flaps 72 of a folded carton blank to force the plies of the blank apart and toward the extended condition. This operation is facilitated by the fact that the bumpers 150 and 152 move in a path where they engage only the outwardly disposed end portions of the flap 72. The lever 146 comprises: first and second arm sections 154 and 156, respectively, pivotally secured together for movement about the axis of a pin 158 fixed to and extending outwardly from one of the frame members 78 (See: FIG. 5); a stop 169 fixed to the section 156 adjacent the connection thereof to the section 154 to limit movement of said sections toward each other; and, a tension spring 162 connection between the sections 154 and 156 to normally bias these sections toward each other about the axis of the pin 158. The section 156 is disposed in the path of a trip finger 164 fixed to'the carriage 86. Through this interrelationship, when the cylinder 102 is retracted to the position illustrated in FIG. 8, the lever 146 is raised. Upon retraction of the cylinder beyond this position, as illustrated in FIG. 9 the finger 164 passes out of engagement with the section 156, thus permitting the lever 164 to return to the retracted position. Upon extension of the cylinder 102, the hinged connection between the sections 154 and 156 permits the substantially unrestricted movement of the finger 164 beneath the section 156.
The lever 148 is pivotally secured to the member 112 about a pin connection 166 therewith and is joined, through linkage structure, to the lever 146 for simultaneous movement therewith. This linkage structure comprises: a crank 168 pivotally supported above the member 112 on a pedistal 170; a first link 172 pivotally secured between the section 154 and one end of the crank 168; and, a second link 174 pivotally secured between the other end of the crank 168 and the lever 148.
in operation, upon retraction of the cylinder 102, the levers 146 and 148 function through the sequence illustrated in FIGS. 7, 8 and 9 to assist in the unfolding of a carton blank. The assistance thus provided is supplemental to the carton unfolding force imparted by the shoe 88 as it forces the carton being unfolded against the abutment defined by the intersection of the surface 110 and the rods 134. Upon unfolding of a carton to the fully extended condition illustrated in FIG. 9, further movement of the carton is limited by abutment of the lower leading edge thereof with the lower ends of the rods 134. In the fully extended condition, the unfolded carton also functions to trigger a limit switch 176 supported on the frame member 116. The function of the switch 176 will be developed in the subsequent description of overall machine operation.
It is here noted that the lift tab functions to direct a folded carton blank toward the abutment defined by the intersection of the surface and rods 134 immediately prior to the operation of the unfolder arms 154 and 156. This operation is best illustrated in FIG. 7. From this figure, it can be seen that a flap hold down tab 178 and rolier 180 are provided to assure that the folded carton blank being handled is maintained in contact with the tab 90 during lifting thereby. The tab 178 is connected directly 'to one side of the magazine sidewall 24 adjacent thereto. The roller 180 is supported on the wall 24 connected to the tab 178 through mansof an arm 182. The arm 182 is pivotally secured at one end to the wall 24 and at the other end to the roller 180 and has connected to the intermediate portion thereof a tension coil spring 184 extending into connection with the wall 24. Through this arrangement, the coil spring 184 functions to resiliently urge the roller 180 downwardly and against a carton which may be disposed therebeneath on the tab 90. Downward movement of the roller 180 may be selectively limited by an adjustable stop 186 disposed beneath the arm 182 for abutment therewith.
The structure and mode of operation of the aforedescribed unfolder receiver forming part of the section 12 is substantially duplicated in the receiver of the section 10. Accordingly, for the sake of simplicity, the unfolder receiver of the section 10 is only herein illustrated and described in detail to the extent that it distinguishes from the receiver of the section 12. Illustrated elements of the section 10 receiver corresponding identically to those of section 12 are designated in the accompanying drawings by like numerals.
The section 1.0 receiver differs from that of section 12 primarily in that: it includes a flap folding mechanism 188', and, the end wall thereof is formed by a fixed surface 189, rather than by movable rods 134. The receiver of the section 10 also distinguishes from that of the section 12 in that the switch 190 thereof corresponding to the switch 116 performs a slightly different function than the switch 116. This difference in function will be developed in the subsequent description of overall machine operation.
The flap folding mechanism 188 is best illustrated in FIGS. 10,11 and 12. From these figures, it can be seen that the mechanism includes opposed end flap folders 192 and 194 and opposed side flap folders I96 and 198. These end and side flap folders are disposed, respectively, to swing inwardly into engagement with the end and side flaps of a blank 52 upon the assumption thereby of erect condition in the receiver of the section 10. Swinging movement of the folder 192 is facilitated by an opening 200 therefor in the surface 189. Unrestricted swinging movement of the end flap folder 194 is provided by the open side of the receiver adjacent thereto. Walls 202 and 204, respectively, define the upper and lower surfaces of the section 10 receiver and are provided with openings 206 and 208 therethrough to facilitate swinging of the folders 196 and 198. The upper surface defined by the wall 204 corresponds substantially to the surface 108 of the section 12. The intersection of the surface 189 and the interior surface of the wall 202 defines an abutment corresponding in function to the abutment provided by the intersection of the surface 110 and rods 134 in section 12.
The end flap folders 192 and 198 are fixedly secured to vertically disposed shafts 210 and 212, respectively, which shafts are supported for rotation about the longitudinal axes thereof. The sideflap folders 196 and 198 are fixedly secured to shafts 214 and 216, respectively, which shafts are supported for rotation about the longitudinal axes thereof. Selective simultaneous rotation is imparted to the end flap folders 192 and 194 through operation of a double-ac ing pneumatic cylinder 218 and a linkage mechanism operatively connected thereto. The cylinder 218, as can be seen from FIG. 12, is pivotally supported on a fixed support member 219. The linkage mechanism operatively connected to the cylinder 118 comprises: an arm 220 pivotally secured at one end to the piston rod of the cylinder 218 and fixedly secured at the other end to the shaft 210, an arm 222 fixedly secured to and extending from the shaft 210; an arm 224 fixedly secured to and extending from the shaft 212', and, a link 226 secured between the arms 222 and 224 by pivotal connections to the free end portions of said arms. The link 226 comprises, in part, a turnbuckle 228 to provide for adjustment of its length.
Selective simultaneous rotation is imparted to the side flap folders 196 and 198 through means of double acting pneumatic cylinders 230 and 232, respectively, fixedly mounted on the support member 219. The cylinder 230 is drivingly connected with the folders 196 through means of an arm 234 pivotally connected at one end to the piston rod of the cylinder and fixedly secured at the other end to the shaft 214. An arm 236 in similarly connected between the piston rod of the cylinder 232 and the shaft 216 to effect driving connection to the folders 190.
ASSEMBLY STAGE This stage cooperates with the receivers of the aforedescribed sections 10 and 12 to effect the telescoping assembly of erected inner and outer carton blanks. The operation of this stage in the assembling or carton blanks is diagrammatically illustrated in the midportion of FIG 2. From this figure, it can be seen that, upon erection in the receivers of sections 10 and 12, the blanks 52 and 54 assume an aligned condition with the flap portions thereof in substantially opposed relationship. In this condition, immediately prior to operation of the assembly stage, the end flap folders 192 and 194 and the side flap folders 196 and 198 are activated to turn the flaps of the blank 52 inwardly as indicated by the curved arrow lines in FIG. 2. The latter operation is preferably perfected in timed sequence with the activation of the end flap folders 192 and 194 preceding the activation of the side flap folders 196 and 198 by a time interval sufficient to prevent interfouling of the flaps engaged thereby. It is after activation of the flap folders that the assembly stage operates to effect telescoping of erected blanks 52 and 54.
The assembly stage comprises as its prime component a plunger 238 mounted for rectilinear movement transversely of the machine and through the receiver cavity defined by the surface 189 in the interior surfaces of the walls 202 and 204. The face of the plunger 238 is provided with upper and lower edges 240 and 242, respectively, disposed so as to pass in close proximity to the interior surfaces of the walls 202 and 204. It is through abutment of these edges with the side panel edges ofa blank 52 received in the receiver of the section 10 that movement of the plunger is imparted to the blank. It is this movement that effects telescoping of an inner carton blank 92 into an outer carton blank 54in the manner diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 2. During this movement, the outer carton blank is held against movement transversely of the machine by abutment with a wall 244. The wall 244, as can be seen from FIG. 10, is of outwardly bowed configuration to accommodate the flaps of the inner blank 52.
The plunger 238 has fixed thereto an extending rearwardly therefrom a carriage 246 mounted for rectilinear movement therewith. The carriage 246 comprises: elongated members 248 fixed to and extending rearwardly from the plunger 238 in the direction of travel thereof; a first member 250 interconnecting the members 248 immediately adjacent to the plunger 238; and, a second member 252 interconnecting the members 249 rearwardly of the member 250. The member 252 carries a limit switch 254 adapted to be activated upon the passage thereof over an opening 256 formed in the wall 204.
The plunger 238 and carriage 246 are mounted for rectilinear movement between a plurality of transversely extending frame members 258, 260, 262 and 264. The member 258 has supported thereon a limit switch 266 disposed to be activated by the member 252 upon retraction of the plunger 238. A double-acting pneumatic cylinder 268 is mounted between the frame members 258, 260, 262 and 264 by a fixed connection (not illustrated) therewith. The cylinder 268 has a piston rod 270 fixedly connected to the member 250 of the carriage 246. Through the latter arrangement, extension and retraction of the piston rod 270 functions to traverse the plunger 238 back and forth through the receiver of the section 10. Although not illustrated, it is to be understood that the carriage 246 may be provided with additional guide means to assure its smooth movement throughout the stroke of the rod 270.
EXTRACTION AND DELIVERY STAGE This stage is provided to effect the removal of a composite assembled carton from the receiver of the section 12. The operation of this stage is diagrammatically illustrated by the arrow line leading to the composite carton shown in the lower right hand portion of FIG. 2. From the movement indicated by this arrow line, it will be appreciated that the operation of the extraction and delivery stage depends, in part, on the structure and mode of operation of the receiver in the section 12. Specifically, before movement of a composite assembled earton can be effected by the extraction and delivery stage, the gate mechanism must be actuated to raise the rods 134.
The structure of the extraction and delivery stage also includes as a part thereof the surface 108 of the section 10 receiver. This surface effects support of a composite assembled carton during its initial movement by the stage and has formed therethrough longitudinally extending slots 272 through which dogs 274 forming the carton gripping elements of the extraction and delivery stage are adapted to extend. During initial movement of the composite carton by the extraction and delivery stage, the canon is laterally guided by the wall 244 and a plurality of rods 276. The rods 276, as can be seen from FIGS. 4 and 10, are fixed to the frame member 126 and extend therefrom in substantially parallel relationship to the wall 244.
The dogs 274 are supported for movement longitudinally through the slots 272 on a pair of chains 278 mounted beneath the surface 1.8. The chains 278 are each supported at the opposite ends thereof by sprockets 260 and 262. The sprockets 280 are mounted for idling rotation about stub axles 284 secured to the frame members 78. The sprockets 282 are fixedly mounted on a driven axle 286 rotatably supported on the machine framework. Selective rotation of the axle 286 is effected through a drive train comprising: a magnetic clutch 288 fixed on one side thereof to the axle 286 and on the other side thereof to a driven sprocket 290; an electric motor and gear reducer unit 292 mounted on the machine framework to one side of the clutch 288; a sprocket 294 drivingly connected to the unit 292; and, a chain 296 trained around the sprockets 290 and 294. In operation of this drive train, the unit 292 is continuously driven and rotation is selectively imparted to the shaft 286 through activation of the clutch 288.
In operation of the extraction and delivery stage, each time the clutch 288 is activated, the dogs 280 traverse across the surface 108 from left to right, as viewed in the drawings. Upon thus traversing the surface 108, the dogs engage the trailing edge of a composite carton disposed in the receiver of the section 12 and effect movement of this carton as diagrammatically illustrated in the lower left hand portion of FIG. 2. Carton movement terminates at the point where the dogs travel around the sprockets 282. As the cartons are moved across the surface 108, a limit switch 298 disposed in the path of carton movement is triggered. A limit switch 300 is triggered by the outermost dog 274 upon movement thereof around the sprocket 280. The function of the switches 298 and 300 will be developed in the following discussion of overall machine operation.
OVERALL MACHINE OPERATlON The operation of the aforedescribed machine is effected in sequential fashion through selective activation of the various double acting pneumatic cylinders. Although not illustrated, it is to be understood that air is supplied to and vented from these cylinders through valve structure of conventional nature. This valve structure is controlled through relays activated in response to limit switches which are triggered at various points in the machine operation. These limit switches are all illustrated in H6. 1. From this figure, it can be seen that, in addition to the limit switches hereinbefore described, the machine includes limit switches 302 and 304 disposed in the path of the carriage 86 in section and limit switches 306 and 308 disposed in the path of the carriage 86 in section 12. The limit switches 302 and 306 are triggered, respectively, upon retraction of the cylinders 100 and 102 to the position where the lift tabs 90 are raised. The limit switches 304 and 308, respectively, are triggered upon extension of the cylinders 100 and 102 to the position illustrated in FIG. 1 wherein the shoes 88 are removed to one side of the magazines associated therewith.
At the outset of machine operation, the magazines 14 are filled with carton blanks as illustrated in FIG. 1 and the gate mechanism 120 is in the lower position illustrated in FIG. 3. With the machine so conditioned, operation is initiated by simultaneous retraction of the cylinders 100 and 102 to effect movement of the lowermost carton blanks contained in the magazines 14 through the sequence iilustrated in FIGS. 69. Upon assumption of the sequence illustrated in FIG. 7, the limit switches 302 and 306 are triggered to activate, respectively, exhaust port restriction means (not illustrated) for the cylinders 100 and 102. The latter function operates to slow down retraction of the cylinders during the sequence of FIGS. 7, 8 and 9 and, thus alleviates problems which may result from the creation of a vacuum between the plies of a blank being unfolded.
Upon complete retraction of the cylinders 100 and 102, the inner and outer carton blanks being unfolded assume the erect condition represented in FIG. 9. In this condition, the inner carton blank triggers the switch 190 and the outer carton blank triggers the switch 176. Triggering of the switch 190 effects activation of the operating cylinders for the end and side flap folders. As noted in the foregoing discussion, those fol ders operate in timed sequence. Triggering of the switch 176 operates, together with the triggering of the switch 190, to activate the cylinder 268 for extension. The switch 190 provides that the latter extension will not occur prior to complete operation of the flap folders.
Extension of the cylinder 268 functions to telescope the inner and outer blanks being handled into composite carton forming condition. Completion of this function is indicated by triggering of the switch 254 by the opening 256. Upon its triggering, the switch 254 effects activation of the cylinder 268 to retract the plunger 238 to the position illustrated in FIG. 10. Return of the plunger 238 to the retracted position functions, in turn, to trigger the switch 266. Triggering of the switch 266 activates the cylinder 126 to raise the gate rods 134.
Upon complete raising of the gate mechanism, the switch 140 is triggered by the abutment 144. Triggering of the switch 140 effects engaging activation of the clutch 208. Thus, traversal of the dogs 274 across the surface 109 and the resultant removal of an assembled composite carton is ef' fected. It is here noted that the clutch 208 is set to slip when a carton engaged by the dogs 274 meets excessive resistance, such as may occur when several completed cartons have accumulated at the delivery end of the machine. As a result of this characteristic, upon over production by the machine, movement of the dogs 274 is automatically arrested. Upon the latter occurrence, as will become more apparent subsequently, the sequential operation of the machine is interrupted to prevent the unfolding and assembly of further cartons.
As a carton engaged by the dogs 274 approaches the end of its path, it triggers the limit switch 298. Triggerin of this switch functions to activate the cylinders and 1 2 to full extension, thus returning the carriages 86 and shoes 88 secured thereto to the positions illustrated in FIG. 1. Upon the latter occurrence the switches 304 and 308 are triggered to effect preparation of the machine for the further unfolding of carton blanks by retraction of the cylinders 100 and 102. The switches 304 and 308 are so wired, however, that they cannot effect retracting activation of the cylinders 100 and 102 until the switch 142 is closed by lowering of the gate mechanism. Lowering of the gate mechanism is effected upon triggering of the switch 300 bythe outermost dog 274. Triggering of the switch 300 functions both to activate the cylinder 136 for lowering of the gate mechanism and to deactivate the clutch 288.
Through the foregoing arrangement and operation of the various limit switches, the machine effects the continuous and automatic unfolding and assembly of carton blanks. The slipping characteristic of the clutch 208 provides for the automatic interruption of this operation in the event of over production. Thus, the machine is capable of operating without the necessity of a human attendant, even under conditions of varying demand.
It is to be understood that the invention is not intended to be limited to the specific embodiment herein illustrated and described, but rather is defined by the following claims.
1. In the assembly of cartons from components comprising:
a. an outer tubular blank of rectangular cross section made up of wall forming panels attached together by scored connections, said blank having oppositely disposed open ends, one of which is bounded by substantially coplanar edges on said panels and the other of which is bounded, at least in part, by closure flaps flexibly secured to and extending from said panels;
b. an inner tubular blank of rectangular cross section made up of wall forming panels attached together by scored connections, said blank having oppositely disposed open ends, one of which is bounded by substantially coplanar edges on said panels and the other of which is bounded at least in part, by closure flaps flexibly secured to and extending from said panels;
and wherein said blanks are adapted to be telescoped together to define a composite carton wherein the closure flaps on the respective blanks are disposed at the opposite ends of said carton to provide for the closure thereof;
a method for telescoping a pair of said inner and outer carton blanks into composite carton forming condition, said method comprising:
A. supporting the outer blank in an erect condition with the closure flaps thereof in an extended open condition",
B. supporting the inner blank in an erect condition axially aligned with the outer blank with the end thereof bounded by the closure flaps thereof facing the end of the outer blank bounded by the closure flaps thereof; and,
C. axially translating the inner blank in a flap-first direction into the open end of the outer blank bounded by the closure flaps while restraining the outer blank against axial movement away from the inner blank.
2. A method according to claim 1 wherein:
A. the inner blank is translated by imparting thrust to at least one of the coplanar boundary defining edges thereof; and,
B. the outer blank is restrained by abutting at least one of the coplanar boundary defining edges thereof.