US 3675665 A
A washing machine for washing reuseable cases, containers and the like includes loading platform for automatically receiving the containers and transferring the containers into an enclosed washing area which includes jets for washing the containers. The machine also includes a rinsing area which is seperated from the washing area by a partition and a reversing platform for transferring the containers from the washing area to a rinsing area so the containers may there be rinsed. The machine further includes a conveyor to automatically remove the washed and rinsed containers from the rinsing area and from the washing machine itself.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Sadwith [451 July 11, 1972  CASE WASHING MACHINE  Inventor: Howard M. Sadwlth, Plainfield. NJ.
 Assignee: Industrial Washing Machine Corporation,
 Filed: Jan. 15. 1965  Appl.N0.: 425,701
 [1.8. CI ..l34/46. [34/48. 134/49. 134/62. 134/68. 134/70. 134/134. 134/152.
[51 Int. Cl. ..B08b 3/02, B08b 9/08  Field 01 Search 134/46. 48-49,
134/58. 62. 68. 70-71. 82-83. 125. 134. 152. 165-166. 169-170. 23,66-67. 77-80. 131. 133; 198/131. 171.181; l5/56;2l4/1 R  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1.280.950 lO/l918 Bernheim ..l34/l25 UX 1.571.536 2/1926 Wilson 1 1 11 198/171 1.620.360 3/1927 Kragen et al 1 34/133 X 1.707.159 3/1929 Burnham 1 34/80 2.328.504 B/l943 Smith ....134/131 UX 2.580.054 12/ 1951 Vincent ..198/181 2,734,213 2/1956 Ashford.... v...l34/48 X 3.111.215 ll/1963 Tellefson 198/181 X 1,540,820 6/1925 Valerius et a1.. ...2 1 4/1 UX 2,953,233 9/1960 Zurheide ..214/1 UX FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 214.245 7/1956 Australia 134/134 966,695 10/ 1 950 France "134/82 264.741 9/1913 Germany .1 134/62 817.849 8/1959 Great Britain 134/66 Primary EmminerRobert L. Bleutge Armrney-Kenyon 8: Kenyon Reilly C arr & Chopin  ABSTRACT A washing machine for washing reuseable cases. containers and the like includes loading platform for automatically receiving the containers and transferring the containers into an enclosed washing area which includes jets for washing the containers. The machine also includes a rinsing area which is seperated from the washing area by a partition and a reversing platfon'n for transferring the containers from the washing area to a rinsing area so the containers may there be rinsed. The machine further includes a conveyor to automatically remove the washed and rinsed containers from the rinsing area and from the washing machine itself.
8 Chin's. 11 Drawing Figures P'A'TENTEDJUL 1 1 m2 SHEET 10F 6 I NVEN TOR. Haw/2 90 MSHDW/TH CASE WASHING MACHINE This invention relates to an automatic case and carton washing system and, in particular, to a system and the parts thereof which are capable of receiving dirty cases or cartons from a storage or conveyer source, selecting them one at a time, orienting them for efficient scouring by washing and rinsing fluids and then performing the washing and rinsing operations, and delivering the cleaned cases one at a time for receipt by a storage or a removal system, all under a simplified and trouble-free automatic control system, that does not require an operator's attendance or supervision.
Soft drinks, beers and mixers are bulky and heavy. The economics of providing more and more of these drinks for home consumption has prompted intense competition to find more efficient means for packing them for this distribution. As these drinks are frequently sold in bottles, the problem has been to provide containers for their safe and convenient handling that will also facilitate their merchandising by having attractive appearance.
The use of cartons which can be thrown away after one use is not only expensive but for economic reasons these disposable structures cannot be made very sturdy nor can there be a really first-class finish or design.
Making cartons or cases of permanent materials, and for example, molded plastic, makes possible a much more attractive package and it also facilitates and encourages the return of bottles with consequent economies. But it has never been very practical to wash the permanent cartons and cases after each use as must be done if they are to remain clean and attractive for reuse. Indeed, the use of permanent cases in the past has been notoriously unattractive and even unsanitary.
The invention of an automatic washing system for handling such permanently constructed case and carton containers and for efficiently and cheaply cleaning them makes feasible their use in merchandising the bottled beverages.
The objects of the present invention include the provision of an automated washing system to meet this need and the provision of a number of the specific features and innovations to provide for an integrated washing and rinsing of a large quantity of cartons and cases with considerable tolerance for variations in size and proportion; to provide for an automatic but simple control of the system and the duration of the washing, and spacing of the containers; to provide for an orientation of the containers for the most efficient washing action; to effectively separate washing and rinsing areas in a small space without a partition that must be indexed as containers pass from the washing area to the rinsing area and which is effective to separate the areas even while a container is being transported from one area to the next; to have a high capacity but to occupy little floor space; to fit in and replace a section of a straight case or carton conveyer and to be easily incorporated into the existing plants and operations.
Further objects will be apparent with reference to the following drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a machine embodying the present invention.
FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the machine of FIG. I.
FIG. 3 is a detailed view of the pusher elements which form a part of the machine.
FIG. 4 is a front elevation of the machine of FIG. 1.
FIG. 5 is a detailed view of the orientation and insertion system of the machine.
FIG. 6 is a plan and partial sectional view of the machine.
FIG. 7 is a front sectional elevation of the machine.
FIG. 8 is a detailed view of a machine having alternative and adjustable guide rails.
FIG. 9 is a detailed sectional plan view of the reversing platform portion of the machine.
FIG. 10 is a detailed elevation of the reversing platofrm portion of the machine.
FIG. 11 is a detailed perspective view of one guide rail construction.
In brief summary, cases or cartons are delivered from storage or otherwise by conveyer to the machine.
The cartons or cases are received and oriented on one edge for insertion in the machine. This positions the cases in what has been found to be the best orientation for a scouring wash, particularly in the inside, difficult-to-reach portion of the cases. To get thorough cleaning within reasonable time limits, wash water must be supplied to the containers through jet nozzles in large quantities in the order of gallons per minute. So that the scouring action of jets is not impaired, it must not be interrupted by the draining of wash fluid that has just been supplied. It turns out that placing the cases on edge minimizes interference with the washing action and that draining may take place through the hand-hold openings always provided in the ends of the cartons regardless of variations in other portions of their construction. Moreover, placing the cases on edge permits the machine to handle a variety of cases having approximately the same depth although they may vary considerably in other dimensions.
The containers are then inserted into the machine or received by a flexible-finger transport system which moves the containers into the machine. The fingers are just resistant enough to move the containers on skids of guides and flexible enough to give or yield if they contact a raised or closed portion of the case. It is a feature of this insertion system that containers may be supplied and received regardless of the position of the flexible fingers and without any interlocked or fixed relationship between container and fingers.
High volumes of wash fluid are supplied to the properly oriented cases in the wash area through jets. The cases are moved through this portion of the machine by special pusher arms.
The containers are then moved onto a reversing platform which acts together with the flexible fingers to move the containers around a fixed partition along one side of the wash compartment and into the rinse area.
The initial portion of the reversing platform separates the adjacent sides of containers being transported next to one another as the leading case begins its turn and as the larger effective transport radius of the reversing platform speeds it away from the case that has not yet reached the platform. The side edges thus exposed may be scoured by appropriately placed washing fluid jets.
The reversing platform and partition construction generally provide spray separation between wash and rinse areas even when a container is passing between them and dispense with partitions that must be moved out of the way to permit passage of the container to be washed. This reversing platform construction permits the machine to handle cartons and cases of various dimensions and with considerable tolerance of dimensions without jamming and permits the use of more flexible fingers. This tolerance is sufficient so that six-pack cartons, as distinct from the cases, may be washed upright with cases on their edges.
The containers are then transported through a rinse spray area that is back to back with the washing area on the other side of the partition. This feature has the advantage of making possible a highly compact machine with minimum heat loss. Moreover, it not only conserves space but permits delivery of the cleaned container adjacent to the place where they are received so that it can be inserted into an existing conveyor which, for example, might previously have been used to feed new cartons or cases to the bottle loading stage of the manufacturing operation. In such installation, the machine replaces about a 4-foot length of conveyer. That is, the cases may be delivered along the same conveyer as before but now they may be dirty cases which will be cleaned and delivered on that same conveyer about 4 feet further down for reuse.
More particularly, the mechanical and related structure may be constructed as follows.
Cases or cartons l are delivered to the washing system machine along a conveyer assembly 2. The containers have various constructions, with open and closed bottoms, and with various divider means to separate the bottles and prevent breaking during handling. It is an advantage of the present invention that it may be used with a variety of conveyer systems including those using belts or rolls, those using power or gravity feed and in addition, the conveyers may be of various widths and nominal operating speeds. For use with an automatic timer control by which the washing system times its own cycle of operation, however, the conveyer must not positively feed cases with cogs or the like but rather must be adapted to allow the containers to be stopped or lined up against the receiving end of the orientation mechanism.
The receiving and orientation mechanism 3 of the washing machine receives the cases or cartons which are traditionally and conveniently delivered flat and on their bottom portions by the conveyor system and stands them on end.
The orientation mechanism assembly 3 includes a flat table 4 attached to a shaft 5 at its rear edge which is journaled in bearings 6 which are attached to the frame 7 of the washing machine.
This table 4 is dimensioned in the direction of case delivery (which is perpendicular to the shaft) to provide adequate support surface for lifting and rotating the case. lts tolerance for variation in length is such that it will accept cases which range in length from about as long as to almost twice as long as the table itself. Preferably, the tables leading edge stopsjust short of the corresponding edge of a container that has been delivered onto it.
A receiving tray and back-stop assembly is provided to receive and funnel the case end into position for insertion into the machine. This assembly consists of a generally horizontal slide piece 9, a more or less vertical back-stop and guide 10 for guiding the lower end of the case and a companion backstop guide 11 for receiving and guiding the upper end of the case.
A shield 8 is provided at even radius from the shaft 5 and extends downward from the lower forward end of the platform 4 through an arc of approximately 90". This shield 8 is adapted to block the further supply of cases while the platform is being rotated.
The operation of the shelf is controlled by a power fluid cylinder 12 that may be conveniently attached to the frame 7 through a pivot assembly 13 and that may operate the shaft 5 to rotate the platform 4 through a lever arm 14 attached to the shaft 5.
A control system has been devised to automatically program the operation of the platfonn and thereby the insertion of the properly oriented cases into the washing areaseparated from one another along a flexible-finger transport by any preselected and desired distance. According to the invention, the control system includes a simple timer which is connected by conventional design to cause the table 4 to rotate and hold in a vertical position at preselected and adjustable time intervals. This timer and table operate in conjunction and combination with the flexible-finger transport system described infra that receives containers delivered by the table 4 at the front of the machine although the table is not keyed or indexed to the position of the transports flexible fingers. Yet the transport picks up and positively propels the containers with at most only a short time lag. The timer, table and transport also operate in combination with other constructions such as a spray separation between wash and rinse areas that is effective independent of the position of the cases along the finger conveyer. According to the invention, this control system eliminates the need for the position-sensing limit switches, relays and mechanical interconnection to provide an interlock control between the orientation table and the finger conveyer or to provide positive spacing control between containers. If the control were to require limit switches it could operate only with containers having a standard control area to be sensed by the switch. The present system imposes no such restriction. The interval for operation of the table may be adjusted for any particular case width and for any particular transport system speed to stagger and space the cases along the transport system at desired intervals.
In order to halt operation of the table during periods when no containers are being supplied, a pressure switch 16 may be used to sense the weight of a container on the table 4.
The washing and rinsing machine portion is supported by frame 7 which comprises external housing 17 which may be insulated if desired. The housing is provided with vents l5 which are generally above the openings 19 and 20 which provide for the insertion of cases and cartons into the machine and for their delivery from the machine, respectively. Since, as will become apparent, the washing and rinsing operations require no attention, the openings 19 and 20 may be dimensioned to be only a little larger than the cases and cartons, and since the cases and cartons partially close even these openings while they are passing through them, the cleaning operation is conducted in a relatively closed and confined interior of the machine and is suitable for use in the sanitary and frequently controlled environment of the bottling plant.
The housing 17 provides an internal baffle or partition I8 that extends generally from top to bottom along the approxi mate center line of the machine and from the front end of the machine, at which the cases are inserted and removed, to the rear portion of the machine. The partition does not extend all the way to the rear wall, but stops short to allow space for a reversing platform assembly that will be described below.
The left hand portion of the machine forms a rinsing compartment, the bottom portion being formed into a drain board 19a and a drain 20a. Fresh water is supplied through conduit 23 to jet spray nozzles 24 which are positioned along the top. bottom and sides of the rinsing compartment to thoroughly subject the cases to a rinsing solution. If desired, a connection may be provided so that a portion of the rinse water from drain 200 may be used to make up fluid loss from the tank 25.
The right hand portion of the machine forms a washing compartment. Underlying the compartment is an open wash tank 25 which is tilled through inlet 26 and valve 27 and which may be drained through outlet 28, valve 29 and drain 30 which connects with overflow outlet 31. The tank opening and surrounding drain board collect water from under the perforated reversing platform, described infra, as well as from under the wash compartment.
The wash water may be maintained at the desired temperature with steam supplied through line 32, valve 33, and heating coils (not shown); the condensate is drained through line 34.
Wash water is supplied from the tank through a suction screen (not shown), intake line 35, centrifugal pump 36, driven by motor 37, and high pressure line 38 and conduit 40 to vertically arranged sets of jet nozzles 41. The jet nozzles are positioned along the sides of the wash compartment. Preferably, the last two vertical sets of nozzles are positioned to scour the side edges of the containers as their edges are separated at the initial position of the reversing platform as explained infra. The wash water is returned through a screen 42 into the tank 25. The screen 42 is removable through door 43 provided in an extension of the water tank portion of the housing [7. This screen may be made in the shape of a drawer to catch and hold solid material such as paper and bottle caps. This system is designed to circulate large quantities of water in the order of gallons a minute through the scouring jet nozzles 41.
The transport system includes slide rails 44. Preferably at least the slide portions 44b of these rails which may be held in metal channels 44c are made of a slippery smooth plastic to facilitate the containers sliding without being scratched. These rails are positioned to guide the case ends through the wash and rinse sections of the machine. Outside guide rails 45 are located in general along the outer portion of the wash and rinse areas. Inner slide guides 50 are positioned generally opposite the outer slide guides 45.
It has been discovered that if the bottom guides are provided with a slight incline toward the drive chain, the cases will lean against the pusher fingers and this increases the machines tolerance for cases of various dimensions. Together with the reversing platform for turning the cases around, this gives the machine a capability for handling cases and canons in various specific sizes and constructions without need for adjusting the side rails.
An alternative construction, shown in FIG. 8, provides for side guide adjustment on adjustable slide guide assemblies 46as may be preferred and as is especially suited to machines provided with flat bottom guides 440. These assemblies 46 consist simply of a tubing 47 fastened to (and if desired through) the housing wall 17. A rod 48 is attached at one end to the guide 45a, slidably mounted through the tubing, and shaped into a handle formation outside that can be conveniently grasped. A jam nut or similar device 49 is used to lock the rod into the correct position. In operation, any adjustment in the width of the container guiding system is made by the adjustment of the rods 48 which can be conveniently made from outside the machine.
Placing the washing and rinsing compartments back to back according to the invention has many advantages. This makes possible the separation of the washing and rinsing compartments by their being in l80 relation to each other and without the need for compartment separators. As a part of the interrelated washing system, this eliminates the indexing of separators between cases and this makes possible the use of the simple timer control without the complicity of a positive-spacing and indexing control system. This arrangement also makes it possible for the machine to be inserted into an existing conveyor system since the cases are delivered adjacent to where they are received.
It is a part of the invention to provide for a reversing platform at the back end of the machine coacting with the flexible-finger transport. This platform 53 is built of perforated material, to permit drainage, around a shaft 54 that is journaled in bearings 55 behind the center partition 18 within the machine housing. The platform 53 is rigidly affixed to the shaft 54 and its upper surface is positioned on the same level as the inner bottom slide bar 44. This shaft 54 is driven at its upper end through sprocket 57, chain 58 and sprocket 59 from a motor and gear reduction unit 60 which may be provided with a torque limiting clutch.
The reversing platform 53 provides positive rotating support to turn the case or carton 1 about the rearward end of partition 18. This effective radius of this transport support to the cases is greater than the radius of the sprocket 67 that drives the transport link chain 65 and therefore the speed of the containers on the platform is greater than their speed through the washing and rinsing areas where they are driven through the chain. This provides a transport so that, at the initial part of the platform, the adjacent the side edges of the containers are moved apart. This assures that jet sprays positioned at this location will reach into the space between the containers and scour their side portions.
End slide guides 61 are mounted about the outer portion of the turn table platform to help turn the case or carton. As an alternative construction, these end guides may be made adjustable as the side guides are shown in FIG. 8, by being positioned on rods which in turn pass through tubes that are fixed to and through the housing, and which have jam means for fixing the rods and thereby the end guides in position.
The cases are moved through the washing and rinsing areas and to and from the reversing platform 53 by a flexible-finger drive. This drive forms a part of the invention by providing for the positive movement of containers through the machine, by having great tolerance for various sizes and shapes of containers and by providing quick pickup of containers regardless of the timing by which they are delivered to the flexible-finger system. The flexible fingers 56 are driven by a link chain 65 supported on sprockets 66 and 67 located at the forward and rearward ends of the machine, respectively. Sprocket 66 is mounted on shaft 62 which is journaled in bearing 68 mounted on bracket 69 that is slidably attached as shown at 63 by slots and bolts 64 to a portion of the frame 7. This slidable adjustment is controlled by screw and nut assembly 70 which is accessible to the front of the machine and which moves the sprocket 66 to and from the sprocket 67 to conveniently adjust the tension in the chain 65.
The sprocket 67 is attached to the shaft 54 and rotates with it and is thereby powered by the motor and gear reduction assembly 60.
The chain 65 is provided with a large number of flexiblefinger pushers 56 which are attached to links of the chain through a generally vertical arm 72 and small bracket pieces 73. The chain 65 is generally self-supporting along its length, but it may gain additional support if one of the flexible pushers is adapted to ride along on top of one of the inner slide guides 50 which relieves the weight of the pushers from the chain. Alternatively, U-brackets may be provided on the back or inner side of the chain 65 and a bar provided on the machine behind the chain sprays between the sprockets. The U-brackets ride along the bar and the chain is thus supported from sagging or twisting.
The flexible-finger pusher of the transport system also moves the cases from the rinsing compartment and out through opening 20 in the front of the machine. The cases may simply be delivered onto a conventional conveyor 76 as shown in FIG. 4. The cases will tend to fall over on their bottom portions as they are picked up by the conveyor 72 and a bar or a table orientation system like the orientation system 3 shown for orienting and inserting the containers for delivering into the machine can be incorporated to receive the clean containers and deliver them flat onto the conveyor 76.
The flexible-finger pushers 56 are conveniently made of spring material, coiled for greater flexibility, and attached to the arms 72 by a simple screw bolt 74.
The arms have just sufficient resistance to propel the cases and cartons through the machine against the small sliding resistance of the slide guides 44, 45 and 50. Indeed, they may partially yield on a turn as is shown in FIG. 9. Thus, according to the invention, they are sufficiently flexible to bend out of the way should the tilting table platform 4 move a partition wall of surface of the case against them in the process of orienting the case for insertion into the machine and putting it up against the flexible fingers. This contributes to and is in sense a part of the control system since it makes it possible to supply cases to the machine regardless of the position of the transport fingers and without an interlock system between the orientation table 4 and the fingers. If the fingers are in the way," they will bend to allow delivery of the case. The fingers are placed efficiently close together so that there will be an almost immediate take-up on the case as some lug comes up against some part of its construction. If the case is placed on top of the lug, the lug simply yields out of the way and the case may ride through the machine with the lug bent out of the way as shown, for example, in FIG. 8.
The control system provided as a part of the washing system and the method for controlling the washing of the cases, include the combination of a timer which operates a power cylinder 12 at regular intervals to move the cartons or cases on to the slide piece 9 adjacent the yielding flexible-finger transport system. It is desirable to include a switch 16 provided on the platform 4 which may be incorporated to halt the operation of the control when no cases or cartons are being delivered and until one is delivered. The timer relays electrical power for the motors and fluid power system. The power cylinder 12 may be conventionally constructed and is therefore not here described in detail. The timer and electrical circuit may be conveniently mounted as shown at 71 or otherwise.
As is apparent from the above, there need be no control between the operation of the flexible fingers 56 and the operation of the platform 4. One advantage is that by simple adjustment of the timer the operator can space the cartons any desired distance apart. Another advantage is that this spacing can be easily regulated even though it may be desired to change the speed of the container transport, for example, in order to provide for a longer wash cycle. Moreover, it is of practical importance that this flexibility is achieved without interlock controls that add to cost and are potential trouble spots. The system is particularly suited for use with cartons and cases of widely varying sizes because, since the control depends only on time and the mere presence of a container or the table 4, there are no limit switches to be triggered that would depend on the physical dimensions of the container being washed and which would there impose restraints on the variations of containers that could be accepted.
As one optional modification in the above washing system, the outside guide rails 45 may be carried by support members that are resilient in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the outside guide rails. Such resiliency may be provided by constructing a support of flexible material or by carrying the outside guide rails on arms that are urged inwardly by springs, preferably against a stop in order to define the innermost position of the outside guide rails. By such construction, cases and cartons of various dimensions may be surely guided through the washing and rinsing areas and between said areas on the reversing platform since they will cause the outside guide rails to move it outward against the urging of a flexible material or spring to no more than is needed for their passage.
As another optional modification, the transport system sprocket 66 at the forward end of the machine can be moved inside the machine. This removes an obstruction to by-passing containers past the machine, without cleaning, as may be desirable from time to time, and it eliminates the chance that small amounts of rinsing fluid could drip from the chain and pusher onto the floor outside the machine. In such a modification, other pickup means would have to be provided to move the container from the slide piece 9 into the machine. An air cylinder operating from in front of the opening 19 and outboard of the slide piece 9 could be operated after the table 4 reached its vertical position to shove the container into the machine. As before, they would not need to be any interlock between this insertion system and the interior transport system since the air cylinder could deliver the containers anywhere along the transport chain, the flexible finger yielding upon interference with the container.
I. In a system for washing bottle cases and cartons, a substantially closed washing area, means in said washing area for applying scouring jets of wash fluid to a center portion thereof; a substantially closed rinsing area, means for directing a rinse spray toward a central portion thereof, means for transporting bottle cases and cartons and such containers into said washing area and through said central portion thereof that include moving fingers operating in conjunction with slide guides, said slide guides supporting the containers during passage of the containers through the washing system while said moving fingers move the containers through said system, means for transporting said containers from said washing area to said rinsing area that include a rotatable reversing platform operating in conjunction with said moving fingers by which containers are transported from said washing area to said rinsing area, and means for transporting said containers through said rinsing area that include slide guides operating in conjunction with said moving fingers.
2. In a washing machine for washing and rinsing bottle containers, cases, cartons and the like, a washing area, said washing area being substantially enclosed from the outside at mosphere, a rinsing area, said rinsing area being substantially enclosed from the outside atmosphere, said washing and rinsing areas being in a back-to-back position and on opposite sides of a rigid and immovable partition member, a transport means for moving said containers through and between said washing and rinsing areas that comprises a series of guide slides, said guide slides defining a passageway having a vertical cross-section of generally U-shape with the bottom portion of said U-shape being flat and with said U-shape cross-section being inclined toward said partition, transport means operating in conjunction with said guide slides for propelling said containers therealong, said transport means including flexible moving fingers protruding through said U-shaped passageway along the side thereof adjacent to said partition and means for powering said movable fingers to move containers through said machine, and means for supplying jets of washing fluid to containers located in said washing area and for supplying rinsing spray to the containers located in said rinsing area.
3. A washing system for washing and rinsing rigid and reusable bottle cases, containers and the like that includes a washing area, means within said washing area for supplying jets of scouring washing fluid to containers passing therethrough, a rinsing area, means within said rinsing area for applying a rinse spray to containers passing therethrough, said washing and rinsing areas spaced on opposite sides of a rigid solid partition member, a movable finger transport means having movable fingers adapted for flexibly contacting said containers, said fingers moving in a path through and between said washing and rinsing areas, a plurality of slide guides arranged and spaced in relationship to one another to define a passageway through said washing area having a generally U-shaped verti cal cross-section, a similar series of slide guides similarly arranged extending through said rinse area, a reversing platform located at one end of said partition member and extending at the outer circumference thereof from the washing area to the rinsing area, said platform positioned to receive containers from the washing area and to deliver them to the rinsing area,
4. The washing system of claim 3 which includes a table loading and transport for receiving containers as from a conveyor and for rotating and transporting them to adjacent a portion of said flexible-finger transport system, said flexible fingers of said transport system being flexible so as to yield upon interference with a divider or other portion of said container.
5. The washing system of claim 4, supra, which includes an automatic control system that comprises a timer, means interconnecting said timer and a power operation means for said table orientation and transport, a switch located on said table to sense the presence of a container, so that said table orientation and transport member will be caused to operate at regular intervals so long as containers are supplied thereto as from a conveyor.
6. In a washing system for bottle cases and cartons, a central rigid and solid partition, washing area on one side of said partition, a plurality of jet nozzles spaced from one another within said washing area, conduit and supply means for supplying washing fluid to said nozzles so as to cause scouring jets of washing fluid to be directed to a central portion of said wash ing area, a rinsing area on the other side of said partition, a plurality of spray nozzles spaced from one another within said rinsing area, conduit and rinse supply means for supplying rinsing fluid to said nozzles so as to cause a supply of rinse spray to be directed to a central portion of said rinse area, transport means for moving cases and cartons sequentially through said washing and rinsing areas within a guide channel, said guide channel having a generally flat bottomed U-shape in vertical section and extending through said washing area, between said washing area and said rinsing area, and through said rinsing area, said guide channel being defined in said washing and rinsing areas by a plurality of laterally spaced slide rods, the slide rods on at least one vertical side portion of the U-shaped guide channel being carried by support members being adjustable in direction perpendicular to said side of the guide channel so as to permit adjustment in the width of said guide channel and said guide channel being defined in the area between said washing and rinsing areas on a bottom portion thereof by a reversing platform that extends and rotates between the bottom portions of the guide channel in the washing and rinsing areas and along one vertical side portion thereof by a plurality of interspaced slide rods carried by support members adjustable in a direction perpendicular to a plane tangent to the guide channel, and means for powering said reversing platform to cause said rotation.
7. The washing system of claim 6, supra, in which said slide rod support members are resilient and yieldable in a direction perpendicular to a side of said U-shaped guide and channel.
8. ln a washing system for bottle containers such as cases and cartons, a generally cenn'al partition, a washing area on one side of said partition, a plurality of jet nozzles spaced from one another within said washing area, conduit and supply means for supplying washing fluid to said nozzles so as to cause scouring jets of washing fluid to be directed to an area extending generally through the center portion of said washing area, a rinsing area on the other side of said partition, a plurality of spray nozzles spaced from one another within said rinsing area, conduit and rinse supply means for supplying rinsing fluid to said nozzles so as to cause a supply of rinse spray to be directed to an area extending through a generally central portion of said rinse area, transport means for moving cases and cartons sequentially through said washing and rinsing areas within a guide channel, said guide channel having a generally flat bottom U-shape in vertical section and extending through said washing area, between said washing area and said rinsing area, and through said rinsing area, said slide channel being defined in the area between said washing and rinsing areas along a bottom portion thereof by a reversing platform that extends and rotates between the bottom portions of the guide channel in the washing and rinsing areas, said reversing platform having an average linear speed throughout the said bottom portion of the U-shaped guide channel in excess of the linear speed of the said transport means for moving containers through the washing and rinsing areas so as to provide separation between the containers on the reversing platform.
1 1F i i