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Publication numberUS3665933 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 30, 1972
Filing dateFeb 10, 1970
Priority dateFeb 14, 1969
Also published asDE2006090A1, DE2006090B2, DE2006090C3
Publication numberUS 3665933 A, US 3665933A, US-A-3665933, US3665933 A, US3665933A
InventorsMccomble Alan Keith, Molins Desmond Walter
Original AssigneeMolins Machine Co Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Conveyor systems
US 3665933 A
Abstract
This invention concerns a cigarette making and packing complex comprising a number of cigarette making machines, a number of cigarette packing machines and a conveyor system comprising a number of delivery conveyors each of which is permanently associated at one end with one particular maker or packer and can be selectively connected at its other end to any one of a number of packers or makers as the case may be.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Molins et al.

[451 May 30,1972

[54] CONVEYOR SYSTEMS [72] Inventors: Desmond Waiter Molins; Alan Keith Mc- Combie, both of London, England [73] Assignee: Molins Machine Company Limited, London, England 22 Filed: Feb. 10,1970

21 Appl.No.: 10,214

[30] Foreign Application Priority Data Feb. 14, 1969 Great Britain ..8,3l4/69 [52] US. Cl ..l3l/25, 198/42, 198/75 [5 I Int. Cl ..A24c 05/35 [58] Field ofSearch ..l98/75,42; 53/148; 131/25;

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,297,138 1/1967 McCombie ..l98 /I39X 2,745,410 5/1956 Molins ..l3l/25X 3,100,040 8/1963 Kleist ..l98/38 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 205,406 5/1956 Great Britain 198/78 Primary Examiner-Aldrich F. Medbery Assistant Examiner-J. F. Pitrelli Att0rney-Markva & Smith [57] ABSTRACT This invention concerns a cigarette making and packing complex comprising a number of cigarette making machines, a number of cigarette packing machines and a conveyor system comprising a number of delivery conveyors each of which is permanently associated at one end with one particular maker or packer and can be selectively connected at its other end to any one of a number of packers or makers as the case may be.

15 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures CONVEYOR SYSTEMS This invention is concerned with systems for making and packing cigarettes and particularly with a system using a new conveyor system for delivering cigarettes from a number of cigarette-making machines to a number of cigarette packing machines.

A system according to this invention comprises a number of cigarette making machines, a number of cigarette packing machines and a conveyor system comprising a number of delivery conveyors each of which is permanently associated at one end with one particular maker or packer and can be selectively connected at its other end to any one of a number of packers or makers as the case may be.

Systems according to this invention are versatile in that they enable difierent brands of cigarettes to be made by different making machines and to be supplied selectively along the appropriate separate delivery conveyors to different packing machines. The proportions of machines on different brands can be varied as necessary.

In a preferred arrangement each of the cigarette-making machines delivers cigarettes upwards, preferably in a single row, into a junction with a horizontal overhead stack of cigarettes. The overhead stack extends horizontally in one direction from the junction on a conveyor which delivers the cigarettes to a packing machines, and the stack also extends in the opposite direction from the junction into a reservoir which preferably comprises a band which carries the cigarettes away from the junction when the upward delivery exceeds the demand of the associated packing machine, and delivers the cigarettes back past the junction when the demand of the packing machine exceeds the upward delivery of cigarettes from the making machine. The reservoir and the delivery of cigarettes to the junction may be as described in British application No. 45034/68, filed Nov. I4, 1969 corresponding to U. S. application Ser. No. 875,402 filed Nov. 2, 1969, by Me- Combie et al.

An example of a conveyor system according to this invention is shown in the accompanying drawings.

IN THESE DRAWINGS:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic plan view of the conveyor system;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary end view in the direction of the arrow 11 in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is a view from the left of FIG. 2, in the direction of the arrow Ill.

As shown in FIG. 1, the system includes five cigarette making machines, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, and five packing machines 7, 8, 9, l and l l. Cigarettes are delivered from the making machines to the packing machines by live parallel overhead delivery conveyors 12, 13, 14, 1 and 16. These conveyors are shown each connected permanently to one packing machine; for example, each conveyor may deliver cigarettes to a chute extending down to the packing machine. A choice in the linkup between the making and packing machines is exercised at the making machine ends of the conveyors l2 and 16 by virtue of the fact that any making machine can be arranged to deliver to any one of the delivery conveyors.

Each of the conveyors 12 to 16 may be laterally flexible so as to be capable of moving along a bent path such as that shown; one suitable form of laterally flexible conveyor for this purpose is described and illustrated in the above-mentioned patent application.

The delivery of cigarettes from each making machine to one of the delivery conveyors is via a transverse overhead conveyor 17, 18, 19, or 21 extending horizontally at a level above the conveyors 12 to 16. The left-hand end of each of the conveyors 17 to 21 (as seen in FIG. 1) is connected to a reservoir 22, as already mentioned; the reservoirs and transverse conveyors 17 to 21 are similar for all the making machines.

FIG. 1 shows the making machine 2 connected via its transverse conveyor 17 to the delivery conveyor 13 leading to the packing machine 8, while the making machines 3 to 6 are respectively connected via their transverse conveyors 18 to 21 to the delivery conveyors 12, 14, 15 and 16 leading to the packing machines 8 to 11 in the manner shown. This arrangement may be readily changed. In other words, any given transverse conveyor associated with any given making machine can be arranged to deliver to any one of the delivery conveyors. FIG. 2 illustrates how this is achieved.

As shown in FIG. 2, the transverse overhead conveyor 17 receives an upward delivery of a single row of cigarettes 23 from the making machine 2. At the junction with the singlerow upward delivery, there is a sensor 24 which controls the speed of a conveyor 25 forming part of a cigarette reservoir as already described. The reservoir may, for example, be completed by a laterally flexible conveyor which extends upwards in a helical path, as described in the above patent application.

At the left hand end of its run, as viewed in FIG. 2, the conveyor 17 passes round a pulley 26 which forms part of a horizontally movable assembly which can be moved into different positions, depending upon which delivery conveyor is to receive the cigarettes from the making machine 2. Horizontal movement of the pulley 26 is accompanied by the appropriate letting out or taking in of the conveyor. This is achieved by means of a variable-capacity conveyor reservoir 27 consisting of a number of fixed pulleys 28 and a number of staggered vertically movable pulleys 29 which are preferably all mounted on a common vertically movable carrier. It will be appreciated that the pulleys 29 move upwards in order to let out more conveyor material to enable the conveyor pulley 26 to be moved to the left, while movement of the pulley 26 to the right allows the pulleys 29 to move downwards (for example under their own weight) to absorb more of the conveyor material into the reservoir 27. As an alternative there may for example be just two pulleys 28 (or possibly even only one) and one pulley 29 which rests in the hanging loop of conveyor material and is slightly weighted so as to maintain a constant tension in the conveyor and automatically let out and take in the appropriate amount of conveyor material.

Part of the horizontally movable assembly comprises a chute 30 down which the stack of cigarettes is delivered to the delivery conveyor 13. The assembly also includes an upper wall member 31 which confines the upper surface of the horizontal stack of cigarettes as it approaches the bend, and a sensor 32 which moves up and down to control the speed of the conveyor 17 as described in the above patent application.

The chute 30 twists through 90 so as to deliver the stack of cigarettes in the appropriate lateral orientation with respect to the delivery conveyor 13, as shown in FIG. 3. At the bottom of the chute there is a pivoted flap 34 which drops to the position shown in FIG. 3 in order to guide cigarettes from the chute 30 onto the conveyor 13, and is raised to the position shown in dotted outline in FIG. 3 in order to be clear of a side plate 35 which extends along and supports the conveyor 13. The height of the stack of cigarettes 33 delivered to the conveyor 13 is substantially the same as the height of the stack on the conveyor 17, which is between 7 and I1 centimeters. There may be provision for replacing any chute with a chute twisting in the opposite direction in the event of any packing machine being required to be fed with cigarettes with say the filters facing in the opposite direction.

The delivery conveyors 12 to 16 are preferably close together and at the same height. Alternatively, if they are of a laterally flexible construction enabling them to move along a laterally curved path, and especially if the making machines are some distance from the packing machines, the delivery conveyors may be one above the other for part of the way.

As an alternative to the general layout shown in FIG. 1, each of the delivery conveyors 12 to 16 may be arranged to receive cigarettes permanently from one of the making machines, and the packing machine ends of the delivery con- 7 veyors may be adjustable in position in the manner of the conveyors leading respectively to the difierent packing machines.

FIG. 1 shows five packing machines and five making machines but there may alternatively be more or fewer of each machine. Moreover, there need not be equal numbers of making and packing machines; there may for example be more making machines than there are packing machines, and one or more of the transverse conveyors 17 to 21 associated with the making machines may have more than one downward delivery chute, with variable-speed conveyors leading to the chutes to enable the rates of delivery to the chutes to be independently controlled, as described in British Pat. No. 1,175,201. With this arrangement the bottom ends of all these chutes, with the exception of the chute attached to the conveyor 17, may be so arranged that a stack of cigarettes from any given chute can be laid on top of a stack supplied upstream by another chute. By this means, and with provision for varying the speeds of the delivery conveyors, any given delivery conveyor may receive more than the output of a single making machine, for example by receiving say three-quarters of the output of each of two making machines, which would be a possible arrangement for example in the event of N packing machines being able to cope with the output of 1% N making machines.

The pulley 26 and conveyor 17 of each horizontally movable assembly may be supported in the manner of the pulley 45 and conveyor 44 in British Pat. No. 995,663, that is to say with a fixed frame slidably carrying the conveyor and other parts (e.g., the chute), and including spring mounted supports 62 to carry the conveyor.

We claim:

1. A cigarette making system comprising a number of cigarette making machines, a number of cigarette packing machines and a conveyor system comprising a number of delivery conveyors each of which is arranged to permanently deliver cigarettes to one of said packing machines from any of said making machines, each making machine being arranged to deliver cigarettes upwards into a stack carried by a horizontal overhead conveyor which conveys the cigarettes to a horizontally movable assembly including a chute down which the cigarettes can be delivered onto any one of the delivery conveyors, depending upon the position of the assembly, the delivery conveyors being horizontally spaced apart.

2. A cigarette making system comprising a number of cigarette making machines, a similar number of cigarette packing machines and a similar number of parallel horizontally spaced delivery conveyors, each delivery conveyor being arranged to deliver cigarettes permanently to one packer, and each maker having a conveyor for delivering cigarettes upwards into a horizontal stack carried by a horizontal overhead conveyor which extends transversely in relation to the delivery conveyors and terminates in a horizontally movable assembly including a chute down which the cigarettes can be delivered on to any one of the delivery conveyors, depending upon the position of the movable assembly, each chute having a twist so that the cigarettes lie across the delivery conveyor, having lain previously across the horizontal overhead conveyor.

3. A system according to claim 1 in which the horizontal overhead conveyor comprising a band of which the return run passes through a band reservoir comprises pulleys which cause the band to move along a zig-zag path of variable length.

4. A cigarette making system comprising a. a plurality of cigarette making machines and a plurality of cigarette packing machines,

b. a first set of a plurality of conveyors having input and output ends,.the input ends of the conveyors of said first set being connected to said cigarette making machines and each of said conveyors of said first set being arranged for feeding cigarettes along a separate one of a first set of paths,

c. a second set of a plurality of conveyors having input and output ends, the output ends of the conveyors of said second set being connected to said cigarette packing machines and each of said conveyors of said second set being arranged for feeding cigarettes along a separate one of a second set of paths, and

(1. means associated with each conveyor in one of said sets for selectively moving and connecting one of said ends of each of the conveyors of said one set with any one of said conveyors of the other set,

e. whereby cigarettes may be fed selectively from any one of the conveyors of said first set to any one of the conveyors of said second set.

5. A cigarette making system as defined in claim 4 wherein said first and second sets of paths are transverse to each other.

6. A cigarette making system as defined in claim 4 wherein said connecting means associated with each conveyor of said one set comprises means for extending or shortening the length of each of the conveyors of said one set, whereby one end of each of the conveyors of said one set may be moved and brought into association with any one of the conveyors of said second set.

7. A cigarette making system as defined in claim 6 in which each conveyor of said one set comprises a continuous band.

8. A cigarette making system as defined in claim 7 in which said continuous band in each conveyor of said one set has a feed run and a return run, said conveyor further comprising a band reservoir through which said return run passes, said band reservoir comprising pulleys arranged to cause the return run to move along a zig-zag path, at least some of said pulleys being movable transversely of said band, whereby the length of said zig-zag path may be varied.

9. A cigarette making system as defined in claim 4 wherein said connecting means is associated with each conveyor of said first set for selectively moving and connecting the output end of any one of the conveyors of said first set with any one of the conveyors of said second set.

10. A cigarette making system as defined in claim 9 wherein each conveyor of said first set comprises an overhead horizontal conveyor and means for conveying cigarettes upwardly from said cigarette making machines to said horizontal overhead conveyor, said connecting means comprising a movable chute adapted for positioning over any one of said conveyors of the other set for receiving cigarettes from said horizontal overhead conveyor and delivering said cigarettes onto a selected conveyor of the other set.

11. In a cigarette making system a plurality of cigarette making machines and a plurality of cigarette packing machines, two sets of conveyors for feeding cigarettes, each of the conveyors of both sets having input and output ends, said cigarette making machines being connected to the input ends of one set of conveyors and said cigarette packing machines being connected to the output ends of the other set of conveyors, each of the conveyors of said one set being adapted to convey cigarettes from a cigarette making machine along a first set of paths and each of the conveyors of said other set being adapted to convey cigarettes along a second set of paths to a cigarette packing machine, said first and second sets of paths being transverse to each other, and means associated with each conveyor of said one set for selectively moving and connecting one of said ends of each conveyor of said one set with any one of the conveyors of said second set, whereby cigarettes may be fed selectively from any one of the conveyors of said first set to any one of the conveyors of said second set.

12. A cigarette making system as defined in claim 11 wherein said connecting means associated with each conveyor of said one set comprises means for extending or shortening the length of each of the conveyors of said one set, whereby one end of each of the conveyors of said one set may be moved and brought into association with any one of the conveyors of said second set.

13. A cigarette making conveyor system as defined in claim 12 in which each conveyor of said one set comprises a continuous band.

14. A cigarette making conveyor system as defined in claim 13 in which said continuous band in each conveyor of said one 6 set has a feed run and a return run, said conveyor further coma. feeding said cigarettes on a conveyor along one of said prising a band reservoir through which said return run passes, paths of id fi set towards h output d f d said band reservoir comprising pulleys arranged to cause the veyor,

return run to move along a zig-zag path, atleast some of said pulleys being movable transversely of said band, whereby the length of said zigzag path may be varied.

15. A method of making and packing cigarettes comprising the steps of manufacturing cigarettes, selectively feeding ci arettes alon an one of a pluralit of aths com risin a fir st set to any fine if a plurality of paz hs c mprising Z seco nd 10 conveying i transferred cigarettes on another conset, and packing said conveyed cigarettes, said feeding step veyor along Sald Second path comprising b. selectively moving the output end of said conveyor to connect said one end with any selected one of said paths comprising said second set,

c. transferring said cigarettes from said one path of said first set to said selected path of said second set, and

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2745410 *Nov 2, 1953May 15, 1956Molins Machine Co LtdDelivery of cigarettes to a cigarettepacking machine
US3100040 *Dec 27, 1960Aug 6, 1963Gen Precision IncConveyor sorting
US3297138 *Apr 11, 1966Jan 10, 1967Molins Organisation LtdApparatus for feeding cigarettes from cigarette-making machines to packing machines
GB205406A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3923146 *Jul 25, 1974Dec 2, 1975Liggett & Myers IncCigarette transfer assembly for transferring cigarettes from a cigarette making machine to a cigarette packaging machine
US4280611 *Dec 28, 1977Jul 28, 1981Molins LimitedCigarette conveyor systems
US4373624 *Mar 18, 1981Feb 15, 1983Molins LimitedCigarette conveyor systems
US4813527 *Oct 24, 1985Mar 21, 1989Molins PlcConveyor system for rod-like articles
US4903713 *Jun 29, 1989Feb 27, 1990Molins PlcConveyor system for rod-like articles
US5617701 *Jan 17, 1996Apr 8, 1997G.D. Societa' Per AzioniSystem for producing and packing tobacco items, particularly cigarettes
US5628162 *Feb 13, 1995May 13, 1997British-American Tobacco (Germany) GmbhPlant for making and packaging cigarettes
US6047526 *Apr 27, 1998Apr 11, 2000G. D Societa' Per AzioniMethod of balancing the output of two lines of a packing system
DE4432450C2 *Sep 12, 1994Apr 24, 2003Gd SpaSystem zum Herstellen und Verpacken von Tabakartikeln, insbesondere von Zigaretten
Classifications
U.S. Classification131/283, 198/524, 198/348, 198/347.3
International ClassificationA24C5/00, A24C5/35, B65G43/00
Cooperative ClassificationA24C5/35
European ClassificationA24C5/35