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Publication numberUS3662516 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 16, 1972
Filing dateMar 17, 1970
Priority dateMar 17, 1970
Publication numberUS 3662516 A, US 3662516A, US-A-3662516, US3662516 A, US3662516A
InventorsWiseman John A
Original AssigneeShuttleworth Machinery Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Box flap opener
US 3662516 A
Abstract
A flap opener for a box including suction cups mounted on levers each arranged to pivot around the axis of the score line of the flap which is to be lifted by the respective lever and the respective suction cup. One alternative form of flap opener uses a parallelogram linkage to mount the lever so that the lever swings about the flap score line while at the same time being radially positioned relative to the box. The other alternative form of flap opener includes a lever which is positioned on one side of the box and, after the flap is opened, the box is pushed away from the lever by a hydraulic cylinder. Both alternative forms include means for holding the flap open after it has been opened.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Wiseman 51 May 16, 1972 BOX FLAP OPENER [72] Inventor: John A. Wiseman, Anderson, Ind.

Primary Examiner-Travis S. McGehee Attorney-Woodard, Weikart, Emhardt & Naughton [5 7] ABSTRACT A flap opener for a box including suction cups mounted on levers each arranged to pivot around the axis of the score line of the flap which is to be lifted by the respective lever and the respective suction cup. One alternative form of flap opener uses a parallelogram linkage to mount the lever so that the lever swings about the flap score line while at the same time being radially positioned relative to the box. The other alternative form of flap opener includes a lever which is positioned on one side of the box and, after the flap is opened, the box is pushed away from the lever by a hydraulic cylinder. Both alternative forms include means for holding the flap open after it has been opened.

10 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEDMAY 1 s 1912 5621516 SHEET 1 OF 3 INVENTOR. JOHN A. W/SEMHN BY mama, fl/M,MM m

ATTORNEY5 PATENTEUMAY 16 I972 sum 2 [1F 3 INVENTOR. JOHN A. WLSEMHN PATENTEDMY 16 I972 SHEET 3 [1F 3 Fig.5

O H. O INVENTOR. JOHN A. WISE/WAN BY [Wanda/1410mm;

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ATTORNEYS BOX FLAP OPENER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the Invention This invention relates to a box flap opener.

Description of the Prior Art Various devices are available in the prior art for opening the flaps of boxes and include suction cups as shown for example in U.S. Pat. No. 3,224, I 66 to Johns et al. and kickers as shown for example, in US. Pat. No. 3,448,560 to Shuttleworth. One feature which is lacking in these devices but which is desirable is means for engaging or grasping the flap and swinging it about the score line of the flap. Without such an arrangement there is a tendency for a suction cup, for example, to become detached too quickly from the flap which it is designed to open. It is also desirable that improved means be provided for maintaining the flap open after it has been initially opened by the device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION One embodiment of this invention might include a flap opener for a box comprising a support for said box, said box having a flap which is hinged to the box for pivoting about an axis, means for attachment to a box, a mounting member for said means, said mounting member being pivotal about said axis, and means for pivoting said mounting member to move said attachment means against said flap to attach to said flap and for pivoting said mounting member to move said attachment means to pull said flap open.

Objects of the invention are to provide improved flap opening apparatus, to provide flap opening apparatus which maintains its connection to the flap for a longer period of time during opening thereof, to provide flap opening apparatus which maintains the flap open after initial opening, and to provide flap opening apparatus which is more consistantly successful in the opening ofbox flaps.

Related objects and advantages will become evident as the description proceeds.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the flap opener apparatus.

FIG. 2 is a top plan enlarged fragmentary view similar to F Ig. 1 of a portion of the apparatus.

FIG. 3 is a side elevation partially in section of the structure illustrated in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3 but showing the apparatus in a different operating position.

FIG. 5 is a top plan enlarged fragmentary view similar to FIG. 1 of a different portion of the apparatus.

FIG. 6 is a side elevation of the structure illustrated in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6 but showing the apparatus in a different operating position.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now more particularly to the drawings, there is illustrated a conveyor 10 which is arranged to move boxes horizontally by means of an endless belt 11 which is driven continuously to move the boxes 12 in the direction of the arrow 15. The boxes are moved between a pair of side flap openers l6 and 17 which are substantially identical. Consequently, only representative opener 16 will be described. The conveyor 10 includes box side guides 20 which are fixed to the frame 21 of the conveyor. Mounted on the respective side guides are limit switches 23 both of which must be actuated to operate the openers 16 and 17. The openers 16 and 17 are adjustably mounted on respective support members 22 and 25 and can be adjusted in the direction of the travel of the boxes. Preferably the openers 16 and 17 are positioned opposite to one another but in such a position that their parts do not interfere during operation.

FIGS. 2-4 show the opener 16 as including a base 26 and a hydraulic cylinder motor 27 pivoted to the base 26 by the projections 30 and pin 31 extending through said projections. The piston 32 of the motor 27 has mounted on its distal end a slotted clevis 35. The bifurcations 36 of the clevis straddle a lever 37 which is pivoted at 40 to a bracket 41 fixed to the base 26. The lever 37 has fixed thereto a pin 42 which rides in a pair of slots 45 in the clevis 35. When the piston 32 is fully extended as in FIG. 3, the lever 37 can travel to the position illustrated in FIG. 3 under the action of a tension spring 46 which is secured at one end to a bracket 47 fixed to the base 26 and is secured at its other end to the lower end 50 of the lever 37. The retracted position of the piston 32 is shown in FIG. 4.

A pair of sprockets 51 and 52 and a chain 55 on the sprockets are used to keep the link'56 always in a position which is parallel to its initial position. In other words, the position of the link 56 in FIG. 3 is parallel to the position of the link 56 in FIG. 4. This relationship is maintained by fixing the sprocket 51 to the bracket 41 by the pin 57 which provides the pivot location 40. The sprocket 52 is fixed to the link 56 and has the same number of teeth as the sprocket 51. Consequently, the chain 55 always maintains the sprocket 52 oriented in the same position (i.e. with its topmost tooth upward and its bottomost tooth downward) even though the lever 37 moves the sprocket 52.

The link 56 along with a link 60 equal in length to the link 56, a cup mounting member 61 and a lever 37 form a para]- lelogram. In other words, the pins 62 which connect these four members together have their axes arranged in a parallelogram configuration. Of course, the members 56, 60, 61 and 37 are connected pivotally so that the parallelogram configuration can change from that of FIG. 3 to that of FIG. 4 and vice versa. The length of the link 56 is equal to the length of the link 60 as to distance between the axes of the pins 62. This length is also equal to the distance from the fixed pivot point or axis 40 to the score line or axis 65 of pivoting of the flap 66 on the box 65.

It can be appreciated therefore that the cup mounting member 61 pivots around the score line 65 in moving to the positions of FIGS. 3 and 4 and to other positions. A suction cup 67 is fixed to the cup mounting member 61. When the cup 67 is moved to the position of FIG. 3 it comes down upon the flap 66 and is thereby attached by suction to the flap. Because the cup mounting member pivots about the score line 65, the cup 67 is not pulled loose from the flap and instead maintains its orientation and connection as the cup pivots the flap and both move together from the position of FIG. 3 to the position of FIG. 4.

The cup 67 can only hold the flap 66 for a short period of time because the box is moving on the conveyor 10. Therefore additional means are provided for maintaining the flaps open after they have been initially opened by the suction cups 67. This additional means is the arm 70 which is fixed to the top of the link 60. When the flap is down as shown in FIG. 3, the arm 70 is in the position shown in FIG. 3. When the flap moves to the position of FIG. 4, the arm 70 keeps its same attitude or orientation but the arm first moves up and then down again to the position of FIG. 4. Of course, the arm 70 is at its highest position when the lever 37 is vertical. When the arm 70 is in the position of FIG. 4, the flap 66 is held open by the arm 70 when the cup 67 becomes detached from the flap 66.

Referring now to FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, a further flap opener is illustrated which is arranged to open the front and rear flaps of the box. In practically all cases the box is not square and instead is longer in the front to rear direction with the two flaps and 101 being spaced from one another when closed by a spacing of at least 1 inch. This spacing is used to permit placing the rods 102 and 105 behind the flaps 100 and 101 to hold them open as the box moves against a plow (not shown) such as is shown, for example, in the US. Shuttleworth Pat. No. 3,448,560. The flaps are opened in the first instance by vacuum cups 106 and 107 and the rods hold the flaps open as the box 110 moves away from the viewer of FIG. 6 and 7.

After the flap openers 16 and 17 operate on the box, it is moved by the conveyor 10 in the direction of the arrow 111 (FIG. The flaps are held open by the guide means 114 mounted on the frame 21 of the conveyor. The conveyor moves the box until the box engages the stop 1 12 and the limit switch 115 whereupon the flaps 100 and 101 are opened and the box is pushed by the pusher bar 116 away from the viewer of FIGS. 6 and 7 in the direction of the arrow 117 (FIG. 5). As mentioned suitable flap plow structure (not shown) is provided to maintain the flaps open once they have been opened by the vacuum cups and rods. Also suitable box guide rails 118 are mounted on the frame 21 for guiding the box in the direction of the arrow 1 17 as it is pushed by pusher bar 1 16.

The apparatus of FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 operates by the same concept as the apparatus of FIGS. 1 4; that is, the pivoting action is about a score line. Each of the vacuum cups 106 and 107 is mounted on and operated by a respective opener assembly 120 and 121, respectively. The opener assembly 120 includes a hydraulic cylinder motor 122 having a piston 125. The motor 122 is pivoted at 126 to the conveyor frame 21 and the piston 125 is pivoted to a lever 127. The lever 127 is pivoted to the frame 21 for pivoting about the axis of the pin 130 which extends through the post 131. A further lever 132 is fixed to the pin 130. The further lever 132 has mounted thereon a suction cup mounting rod 135 to which the suction cup 106 is secured. It can be appreciated therefore that the suction cup 106 is pivoted about the score line of the flap 100.

Also mounted on the lever 132 is a rod mounting member 140. The rod mounting member 140 is pivotally secured by pin 141 to the lever 132 and is normally held by gravity in the position of FIG. 7, that is, against a stop 142 fixed to the lever 132. When the member 140 is so positioned by gravity, it can hold the flap 100 open in the position illustrated in FIG. 7, by means of the rod 102 which is secured to the member 140. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, however, the flap is not so held and instead is closed. When the lever 132 is pivoted to the position illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, the suction cup 106 is in engagement with the flap 100 and is attached thereto ready to lift the flap and swing it to the position of FIG. 7. The rod 102, however, rests on top of the box 110 and, because the lever 140 is thereby pivoted on the lever 132, the rod 102 moves out to the illustrated position of FIG. 5, that is, beyond the edge of the flap 100.

When the flap is lifted or swung by the vacuum cup 106, the lever 140 pivots on the lever 132 until the rod 102 drops behind the flap 100. Then when the box is caused to detach from the suction cups by the operation of the pusher bar 116, the flap 100 is still held open by the rod 102. It can be appreciated therefore that the hydraulic cylinder 122 should be timed or set up to operate so that the piston 125 is projected, the suction cup 106 attached and the piston substantially retracted before the pusher bar 116 moves any appreciable distance to push the box in the direction of the arrow 117. The starting of operation of the cylinder 122 as well as the cylinder 140 forming a part of the assembly 121 is caused by the limit switch 115 which is engaged by the box 110 when the conveyor l0 forces the box against the limit switch 1 15. After the flap 100 is opened the push off bar cylinder is actuated by the limit switch 119 the actuating arm of which is engaged by the opened flap 100.

The construction and operation of the opener assembly 121 is substantially the same as the opener assembly 120. Similarly to the assembly 120, the assembly 121 includes suction cup 107, cup mounting rod 150, lever 151, pin 152, lever 155, hydraulic cylinder 140 and piston 156. Both the opener assembly 120 and 121 operate through their cycles simultaneously so that both the flaps 100 and 101 are opened generally simultaneously prior to push off by the bar 116. The piston 160 is for the push out cylinder which moves the bar 1 16.

While the invention has been disclosed and described in some detail in the drawings and foregoing description, they are to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, as other'modifications may readily suggest themselves to persons skilled in this art.

I claim:

1. A flap opener for a box comprising a support for said box, said box having a flap which is hinged to the box for pivoting about an axis, first means for attachment to a flap, a mounting member for said means, said mounting member being pivotal about said axis, and second means connected to said first means by said mounting member and operable to move said first means against said flap to attach to said flap and to move said first means pivotally about said axis while restrained against movement toward and away from said axis to pull said flap open.

2. The flap opener of claim 1 wherein said means for attachment comprises a suction cup.

3. A flap opener for a box comprising a support for said box, said box having a flap which is hinged to the box for pivoting about an axis, means for attachment to a box, a mounting member for said means, said mounting member being pivotal about said axis, and means for pivoting said mounting member to move said attachment means against said flap to attach to said flap and for pivoting said mounting member to move said attachment means to pull said flap open, and wherein said means for attachment comprises a suction cup, said means for pivoting said mounting member comprises a base fixed in relation to said support; a lever pivoted to said base; means connected between said lever and said base for pivoting said lever; a pair of parallel links connecting said suction cup mounting member to said lever; a sprocket and chain coupling between one of said links and said base and including a pair of sprockets of equal number of teeth one fixed to said base and one fixed to said one lever with a chain coupling said sprockets; said lever, links and suction cup mounting member being connected together in the shape of a parallelogram with the connections being pivotal and with said links forming two parallel sides and said lever and cup mounting member forming two parallel sides.

4. The flap opener of claim 3 additionally comprising a rigid arm fixed to one of said links; said rigid arm having an inverted U-shape configuration, said arm having a distal end portion which is positioned to block closure of said flap after said flap has been opened by said suction cup.

5. The flap opener of claim 3 wherein said means connected between said lever and said base for pivoting said lever comprises a fluid cylinder motor and a spring, said spring being connected between said lever and said base, said fluid cylinder motor having a piston, a slotted clevis mounted on said piston, and a pin secured .to said lever and extending through the slot in said slotted clevis.

6. The flap opener of claim 2 wherein said second means comprises a base fixed in relation to said support; a first lever pivoted to said base; means connected between said lever and said base for pivoting said lever; an elongate bar connecting said suction cup mounting member to said lever; said lever being pivotal about said axis and positioned on one side of said box, and means for pushing said box away from said lever.

7. A flap opener for a box comprising a support for said box, said box having a flap which is hinged to the box for pivoting about an axis, means for attachment to a box, a mounting member for said means, said mounting member being pivotal about said axis, and means for pivoting said mounting member to move said attachment means against said flap to attach to said flap and for pivoting said mounting member to move said attachment means to pull said flap open, and wherein said means for attachment comprises a suction cup, said means for pivoting said mounting member comprises a base fixed in relation to said support; a first lever pivoted to said base; means connected between said lever and said base for pivoting said lever; an elongate bar connecting said suction cup mounting member to said lever; said lever being pivotal about said axis and positioned on one side of said box, and means for pushing said box away from said lever, and additionally comprising conveyor means adapted to move said box in a direction on said support, a stop fixed with relation to said support and arranged to stop the box against further movement in said direction on said support, said means for pushing said box being arranged to push said box perpendicularly of the direction of movement of said box on said support.

8. The flap opener of claim 7 additionally comprising a first limit switch fixed relative to said support and arranged to sense a box stopped by said stop, said first limit switch being arranged to operate said means for pivoting said lever, a second limit switch fixed relative to said support and arranged to sense when a flap has been opened, said second limit switch being arranged to operate said means for pushing said box.

9. The flap opener of claim 6 additionally comprising an elongate rod extending parallel to said elongate bar, a second lever pivoted to said first lever and having said rod secured thereto, stop means fixed to said first lever and limiting downward swinging of said second lever relative to said first lever, said rod being positioned to be cammed by said box beyond the edge of said flap when said cup engages said flap whereby said rod will pivot behind said flap under action of gravity when said flap is opened.

10. A flap opener for a box comprising a support for said box, said box having a flap which is hinged to the box for pivoting about an axis, first means for attachment to a flap, a mounting member for said means, said mounting member being pivotal about said axis from completely on one side of said axis to completely on another side of said axis, and second means for pivoting said mounting member to move said first means against said flap to attach to said flap and for pivoting said mounting member to move said first means to pull said flap open.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2997833 *Dec 18, 1959Aug 29, 1961Nigrelli Biagio JCover opener for cases
US3075332 *Apr 21, 1960Jan 29, 1963Gerber ProdAngular feed carton flap opening machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3861115 *Jan 23, 1974Jan 21, 1975Press Electronic Machines IncBox flapper
US4514956 *Mar 5, 1982May 7, 1985E. I. Du Pont De Nemours And CompanyVacuum transfer apparatus for packing layers of articles in a container
US4567712 *Sep 26, 1984Feb 4, 1986E. I. Du Pont De Nemours And CompanyVacuum transfer apparatus for packing layers of articles in a container
US4612752 *Sep 30, 1985Sep 23, 1986R. J. Reynolds Tobacco CompanyCarton flap folding assembly for cigarette cartons
US4702061 *Mar 17, 1986Oct 27, 1987Ex-Cell-O CorporationAutomatic basket bail opening machine
US4811546 *Mar 10, 1988Mar 14, 1989Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.Film cassette opener for unloading a film from a film cassette and for loading a film in the film cassette
US4835941 *Jan 12, 1988Jun 6, 1989Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.Mechanism for opening the cover of an image recording medium cassette
US5067303 *Oct 19, 1990Nov 26, 1991Philip Morris IncorporatedAutomated box blank handling system
US5283945 *Jul 21, 1992Feb 8, 1994Eastman Kodak CompanyCassette opening system
US6202391 *Dec 2, 1997Mar 20, 2001K-Ter Imagineering, Inc.Siding sorting and packing arrangement
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/76, 53/382.3
International ClassificationB65B43/38, B65B43/39
Cooperative ClassificationB65B43/39
European ClassificationB65B43/39