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Publication numberUS3696924 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 10, 1972
Filing dateJan 25, 1971
Priority dateJan 25, 1971
Publication numberUS 3696924 A, US 3696924A, US-A-3696924, US3696924 A, US3696924A
InventorsSterling Walter S
Original AssigneePneumatic Scale Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cap feeding apparatus
US 3696924 A
Abstract
Apparatus comprising a hopper containing a sorting table supported in an inclined position so that a mixed mass of caps deposited in the hopper at the lower edge of the table are carried upwardly by rotation of the table to the level of the upper edge where there is a discharge passageway to which the caps are adapted to be led in single file for transportation to a capping machine and peripherally distributed pockets, guide rails and jets arranged to capture certain of the caps and orient them for entrance into the discharge passage while discarding others.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [151 3,696,924 Sterling [451 Oct. 10, 1972 [54] CAP FEEDING APPARATUS 3,599,829 8/1971 Aidlin ..221/160 [72] Inventor: Walter S. Sterling, Quincy, Mass.

Pnmary Examiner-Richard A: Schacher [73] Assrgnee: Pneumatic Scale Corporation, Qum- Assistant Examiner (}ene church Mass- Attorney-Roberts, Cushman & Grover [22] Filed: Jan. 25, 1971 57 ABSTRACT 21 Appl.No.: 109,126 1 Apparatus comprising a hopper containing a sorting table supported in an inclinedposition so that a mixed (g1 "mi/73 5 2: 21/3; mass of caps deposited in the hopper at the lower edge a I e 1 e e q a n s a e I e e e e a e s a s n e n n th t l 58 Field of Search ..221/124, 167, 160-162; of e abe are camed upwardly by of the table to the level of the upper edge where there is a 198/33 AA; 209/74 95 discharge passageway to which the caps are adapted to be led in sin e file for transportation to a ca in [56] References Clted machine and pi ripherally distributed pockets, 23m UNITED STATES PATENTS rails and jets arranged to capture certain of the caps and orient them for entrance into the discharge 3,407,964 10/ 1968 Wysockl et a1. ..221/ 167 passage while discarding Othem 1,456,546 5/1923 Gleason ..221/124 3,012,651 12/1961 Hawkes 198/33 AA 53 Claims, 21 Drawing Figures PATENTEDHBI 10 I872 SHEET 1 BF 9 INVENTO/P By Wa/fer 5. Sfer/ing m fi A TTORWEY PATENTEDucr 10 m2 3.6 96, 9 24 sum 2 or 9 PATENTED I973 3.696.924

saw u 0F 9 malt/9'6 INVENTOR Wa/fer 5. Star/177g PATENTEDum 10 m2 3.696, 924

sum 5 er 9 ATTORNEY PATENTEDHBI 10 I972 SHEET 6 BF 9 uvvmron By Wa/fer 5. Sfer/ing PATENTEDHBI 10 I972 sum 8 BF 9 lNVE/V TOR Wa/fer 5. S/er/ing A TTORNE' Y PATENTEDIJBI 10 m2 SHEET 8 OF 9 I/VVE/VTOR Wa/fer 5. Sterling M494 ATTORNEY 1 CAP FEEDING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Apparatus for sorting articles from a mixed mass of articles and arranging them in single file for use and especially apparatus of the kind employing a hopper containing an inclined rotating sorting table is not new. In particular, the Wysocki US. Pat. Nos. 3,141,278, 3,352,455 and 3,407,964 show apparatus for sorting aerosol valves for which the present apparatus is designed. US. Pat. Nos. 3,352,455 and 3,407,964 each use a table having pockets distributed peripherally thereof for trapping certain of the caps and carrying them to a place of discharge and means for discarding caps which are not trapped. Hawkes U.S. Pat. No. 3,012,65 1 shows apparatus of this kind in which air jets are employed to discard caps which have not been trapped; Rokse US. Pat. No. 2,955,113 shows a pocketed wheel for orienting articles and carrying them to a delivery chute for discharge in single file; and Gleason US. Pat. No. 1,456,546, Schmidt U.S. Pat. No. 1,739,422 and Hutchinson et al. US. Pat. No. 1,893,839 show a pocket wheel provided with cam actuated means for lifting articles out of the pockets at a place of discharge. The apparatus, herein disclosed, embodies in combination a novel organization of parts, some of which have been employed heretofore as disclosed in the aforesaid patents, to effect a much improved sorting and distribution of aerosol caps.

SUMMARY As herein illustrated, the apparatus comprises a rotatably mounted structure having an inclined surface upon which a mass of unsorted aerosol caps are adapted to be deposited, discharge means at the upper side of the inclined surface for receiving and dischargin g the caps in a predetermined position of orientation, and means intermediate the place of deposit and the place of discharge for selecting caps from the mass and discarding others, said means comprising, in combination with the inclined surface, a fixed peripheral wall concentric with the rotatable structure within which the structure rotates, a plurality of cap-receiving, circularly arranged, regularly spaced pockets in the surface close to its edge, each pocket being of a depth to trap one of the caps from the mass deposited on the surface at the lower side and carry it upwardly in the direction of rotation toward the place of discharge, means situated along the path of the upwardly moving pockets for clearing caps carried along by entanglement with the trapped caps therefrom, and means for simultaneously progressively lifting the trapped caps upwardly in the pockets, orienting means situated along the path of movement of the pockets to urge the caps into said predetermined position of orientation, and means near the place of discharge which lies close to the surface operable by intercepting each cap as a pocket sweeps by to lift the cap clear of its pocket while maintaining it in the aforesaid oriented position for entrance into the discharge means. The caps have nubs at one broad side and stems at the other broad side and the discharge means comprises a channel having lower and upper tracks between which the caps are moved in single file. There are longitudinally extending spaces between the lower and upper tracks along which the nubs at the tops of the caps and the stems at the bottom of the caps are permitted to travel as the caps are propelled along the channel. Jets are provided at the entrance to the channel to push the caps into the mouth of the channel and other jets are employed to push the caps along the channel. At one point there are gaps in the lower rails of the channels through which caps without stems are discarded.

The invention will now be described in greater detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is an elevation, partly in section, of the apparatus;

FIG. 2 is a plan view taken in the direction of the arrow 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view of the lower lefthand quarter of the hopper and sorting table;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view of the upper lefthand quarter of the hopper and sorting table;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view of the upper righthand quarter of the hopper and sorting table showing the discharge channel in plan view;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary section taken on the line 6-6 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary section taken on the line 7-7 of FIG. 2; I

FIG. 8 is an enlarged fragmentary section taken on the line 8-8 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged fragmentary section taken on the line 9-9 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 10 is an enlarged fragmentary section taken on the line 10-10 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 11 is a front view of the discharge channel, to larger scale, showing a fragmentary portion of the sorting table in section;

FIG. 12 is a rear view ofFIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a fragmentary section on the line 13-13 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 13a is an elevation longitudinally of the discharge channel taken in a plane midway between its inner and outer sides;

FIG. 13b is a fragmentary elevation at the mouth of the discharge channel showing a jet for blowing a stream of air against the peripheral edge of a cap;

FIG. 13c is a fragmentary elevation at the entrance to the discharge channel showing a jet for blowing a stream of air against the nub of the cap;

FIG. 13d is a fragmentary elevation at the mouth of the discharge channel showing a jet for blowing a stream of air against the stem of the cap;

FIG. 14 is a view taken transversely of the discharge channel on the line 14-14 of FIG. 11, partly in elevation and partly in section;

FIG. 14a is a fragmentary elevation as seen from the right side of FIG. 14;

FIG. 15 is a rear elevational view of a portion of the discharge channel including means for rotating the caps from a horizontal position to a vertical position; and

FIG. 16 is an enlarged fragmentary view partly in elevation and partly in section at the mouth of the discharge channel showing one of the jets at the entrance to the discharge channel.

The apparatus, as herein illustrated, comprises essentially a base 10, a hopper 12 supported thereby for vertical movement to adjust its heightwise position relative to the floor and a sorting table 14 mounted within and at the bottom of the hopper.

The base comprises a pedestal 16 provided with laterally spread supporting legs 18, of which there are three, the extremities of which contain holes 20 by means of which the base may be bolted to the floor. The upper part of the pedestal 16 contains a vertically disposed hole 22 which comprises a vertical bearing in which is slidably mounted for vertical movement a post 24, the upper end of which projects upwardly beyond the upper end of the post and is provided with a shoulder 26 which is adapted to support a casting 27 which, in turn, supports the hopper 12. The post 24 has at one side rack teeth 28 and the pedestal has at the same side an opening 29 over which is bolted a housing 30 containing a gear 32 which meshes with the rack teeth 28. The gear 32, supported in the housing 30, also meshes with a worm 34 fixed to a shaft 36, a portion of which extends from the housing through a hub 38 and which has fixed to it a hand wheel 40 by means of which it may be rotated. Rotation of the hand wheel 40 rotates the worm which, in turn, rotates the wheel, and so enables raising and lowering the post 24 and hence the hopper.

The casting 27 supporting the hopper comprises at its underside a hub 42 containing an opening 44 for receiving the upper end of the post 24 and at its upper side a part 46 to which is adapted to be bolted the lower side of the hopper.

The casting 27 has peripherally of its upper flat surface a circular bearing 50 and the hopper is provided at its underside with a downwardly projecting, angularly disposed flange 52 for engagement with the bearing surface to support the hopper in a position inclined to the axis of the post.

The hopper 12 is circular in configuration and comprises a shallow circular bottom wall 56 having at its center an inwardly extending hollow hub 58 and at its peripheral edge an annular rim 60 which supports peripherally of the bottom wall and in concentric relation to the hub 58 a circular wall 62. To provide suitable seating for the wall 62 the rim 60 is recessed to provide a vertical surface 66 and a horizontal surface 68 over which the lower edge of the wall 62 is telescopically fitted and against which the lower edge rests. A circular housing 70 is attached to the lower side of the bottom wall 56 in concentric relation to the hub 58 so as to be in communication with the interior of the hub. A shaft 74 is supported at one end by a bearing 76 in the housing 70 and at its other end by a bearing 78 in the inwardly extending portion of the hub 58,this shaft projecting beyond the inner end of the hub and providing support for rotatably supporting the sorting table 14. A worm gear 79 is mounted in the housing on the portion of the shaft within the housing and is keyed thereto and this gear meshes with a worm 80 also located in the housing and secured to a shaft 82 by means of which it may be rotated. A sheave 83 fixed to the shaft 82 and belt 85 entrained at one end about the sheave 83 and at its other end about a sheave 87 fixed to the shaft of a motor M provides means for rotating the table.

The sorting table 14 comprises a circular structure 89 complementary in shape to the bottom of the hopper which is provided at its center with a hub 84 containing a central opening 86 by means of which it is mounted on the upper end of the shaft 74 for rotation therewith and a peripheral rim 88 of lesser radius than the hopper to which is bolted an annular plate 90. To provide for removably securing the annular plate 90, the rim 88 has an upwardly extending flange 92 and a horizontal flange 94, which, respectively, telescopically receive and seat the inner edge of the annular plate 90. A flat annular plate 96 is mounted on the upper side of the structure 89 and comprises the major portion of the center of the sorting table, which, for the most part, remains unchanged. The annular plate 90, which comprises the outer part of the sorting table and extends substantially to the inner side of the wall 62, is removably mounted to enable replacement for sorting items of different kind without having to substantially alter the machine as thus far described.

A cap 98 is mounted at the center of the table over the upper end of the hub 84.

In accordance with the invention the annular plate has a thickened rim 100, the upper surface of which embodies a downwardly and inwardly inclined portion 102, a horizontal portion 104 which extends radially inwardly therefrom and a downwardly and inwardly inclined surface 107 which extends from the horizontal portion down to approximately the horizontal surface of the annular plate 96. In the outer part of the rim 100, within the portion 102, there are a plurality of peripherally spaced, vertically disposed pockets 108. These pockets are of circular cross-section and correspond to approximately the diameter of the heads of the caps which are to be processed. A block 110 of circular cross-section is slidably mounted in each of the pockets 108 and is supported therein on the upper edge of a cam ring 112. The cam ring 112 is fixed in an upright position to the rim 60 of the bottom wall 56 on a shoulder 114 provided for this purpose. The lower ends of the blocks 110 are tapered to provide relatively narrow surfaces 118 for engagement with the upper edge of the cam ring. The top 120 of each block 110 is substantially flat and to prevent accidental displacement from the upper end of the pocket a ring 101 is secured to the inner side of the wall 62 with its lower edge overlapping the outer sides of the pockets 108 a small amount.

The cam ring 112 is so contoured as to raise the blocks 110 in the pockets 108 through a distance represented by the lines aa and b-b, the line aa representing the lower level and the line b-b representing the higher level of movement. Movement of the blocks from the lower level aa to the higher level b-b takes place during the movement of each pocket through approximately the third and fourth quarters of rotation in the direction of rotation which, as herein shown, is clockwise. During the first and second quarters of rotation the blocks are at their lower position.

The variable depth pockets thus provided are designed to receive the heads of the caps which are being sorted when caps are dumped onto the surface of the table in such fashion that the caps drop into the pockets head down to a sufficient depth so that the stems project upwardly from the surface of the table away from the heads and the stems of the caps which fail to be pocketed, thus making disentanglement of the unpocketed caps from the pocketed caps easier.

With the aid of means which will now be described, as the table rotates the caps contained in the pockets are raised therefrom and set on edge preparatory to discharge, and the unpocketed caps are disengaged from the pocketed caps and returned to the lower edge of the table.

Referring to FIGS. 2, 3 and 6, there is a first air jet 124 located in the third quarter of rotation with respect to the direction of rotation. This air jet is connected by a tube 126 (FIGS. 6) to a source of air pressure 123 and has a nozzle 128 projecting through openings in the wall 62 and ring 101 at an angle inclined upwardly relative to the table 14 of approximately 17. The inner end of the nozzle is situated just outside the circle of the pockets and projects a jet of air across the pockets in an upwardly inclined direction so as to strike caps piled high at the edge to push the caps not trapped within the pockets but caught between the pockets away from the pockets toward the center of the table so that they will slide down the inclined surface toward the bottom or be caught between the radial ribs at the center of the table and carried around to the other side. Beyond the air jet 124 in the direction of rotation there is a first guide rail 130 (FIGS. 2, 3 and 4) which sets on edge. The lower end of the guide rail 130 is located adjacent the jet 124 outside the pockets and the upper end just beyond the nine clock position in the fourth quarter approximately on the line of centers of the pockets. The rail 130 is arcuate, having a somewhat smaller radius of curvature than the wall and diverges uniformly away from the wall from its lower end to its upper end to push loose caps which are close to the wall away from the wall toward the center.

Near the upper end of the guide rail 130 there are two jets 132, 134 (FIGS. 2, 4 and 7). These jets are connected to the aforesaid source of air pressure 123 and comprise a nozzle 138 projecting through openings in the wall 62 and ring 101 and a nozzle 140 situated inwardly of the wall. The nozzle 138 is situated outside the pockets and slopes downwardly and inwardly at an angle of approximately 30 to the surface of the table so as to eject a jet across the pockets to drive caps which have been pushed away from the wall by the aforesaid guide rail 130 farther toward the center and to cause stems of pocketed caps, which lie crosswise rather than radially, to be displaced inwardly to radial positions. At this position the heads of the caps have been raised in the pockets so that in combination with the downwardly directed jet the caps are lifted onto edge. The nozzle 140 is connected to the tube 123 by a flexible tube 142 and is supported by an inwardly extending arm 144 (FIG. 7) in a position substantially parallel to the top of the table for pushing loose caps driven partway toward the center by the jets 124 and 132 farther toward the center. In the fourth quarter just beyond the jets 132, 134, there is a guide rail 146 which sets on edge substantially perpendicular to the table and which has angularly disposed portions 148 and 150. The portion 148 diverges inwardly from the wall 62 and operates by engagement with the outer sides of the caps which, as related above, have been turned up on edge, to push the caps toward the inner sides of the pockets and to depress the stems toward and into engagement with the surface of the table. The portion 150 relieves the pressure momentarily to allow the caps to move into a tunnel 152 just beyond it. The tunnel comprises (FIGS. 2, 4 and 9) a top wall 154 parallel to the table and a side wall 156 perpendicular thereto, the lower edge of which is spaced from the surface of the table so that the stems of the caps are permitted to move under the lower edge. Any unpocketed caps which may have reached this position will be prevented from continuing farther so that at this position there can be no more than one cap in each pocket. The top wall 154 is close to and parallel to the top of the table and a transversely flat, longitudinally arcuate resilient blade 158 comprised of spring metal is fastened at one end to the top wall 154 with its convex side yieldably bearing against the surface of the table at the inner sides of the pockets and operates as the caps emerge from beneath the top wall 154 to press the stems of the caps firmly down against the portion 104 of the table and by pressing the stems against this surface to lift the heads of the caps upwardly in the pockets into positions such that their outer sides become engaged and supported by a vertically disposed guide rail 159 supported partly behind the blade 158 and partly beyond it. The blade 159 diverges inwardly from the wall 62 (FIGS. 2, 4 and 5) and crowds the vertically disposed heads of the caps against the inner sides of the pockets and leads the vertically disposed caps into the near end of a guide rail 160 (FIG. 5) which is also perpendicular to the table. The guide rail 160 comprises a lead-in for guiding the caps into the open end of the means 162 for receiving and discharging the caps from the table and holds the caps on edge at the inner sides of the pockets in sub stantially perpendicular positions with respect to the table top during movement toward said open end. The lower edge of the guide rail 160, as shown in FIG. 10, is high enough to permit the nubs at the centers of the outer sides of the caps to slide along beneath it. A jet 164 (FIGS. 5 and 10) having a nonle 166 is supported inwardly of the wall 62 in substantially parallel relation to the top surface of the table by an arm 168. The nozzle is connected to a source of air pressure by a tube 169 and projects a jet of air in a direction substantially parallel to the top of the table and toward the downgoing side of the table so as to drive loose caps which may have reached this position downwardly away from the discharge means 162.

The discharge means 162 comprises an elongate channel, one end of which is supported closely adjacent the surface of the table (FIGS. 11 through 15) and the other end of which extends laterally therefrom for the purpose of receiving caps, one from each pocket, and carrying them away from the table to a device for applying caps, one at a time, to the tops of containers. As illustrated, there are upper and lower tracks 170 and 172 mounted in vertically spaced, parallel relation to each other by means of a plurality of longitudinally spaced blocks 174 secured to a bracket plate 176, the latter being mounted on the structure outside the peripheral wall of the hopper. The upper track 170 (FIG. 14) comprises outer and inner rails 178 and 180 held in spaced parallel relation by a spacer 182 and the lower track 172 comprises outer and inner rails 184 and 186 held in spaced parallel relation by a bottom spacer member 188. The distance between the outer and inner rails of the top and bottom tracks correspond to the thickness of the caps. The lower and upper edges of the outer rails 178 and 184 are spaced apart to permit the nubs at the tops of the caps to project through and the lower and upper edges of the inner rails 180 and 186 are spaced apart to permit the stems of the caps to project through. As illustrated, the blocks 174 are provided with recesses 190 to allow the nubs to move through them and the lower inner rail 186 is provided with a horizontally disposed shelf 192 to support the stems as they move along the channel. At the entrance end of the channel the bottom spacer 188 (FIGS. 5, 11 and 13) is tapered at its underside at 194 so that its upper surface 196 substantially intersects the surface of the table just above the circle of pockets at the inner sides (FIGS. 11 and 12). The lower rails at the inner and outer sides also taper and extend beyond the spacer, meeting the surface of the table rearwardly with respect to the spacer (FIGS. 11 and 13a) and at opposite sides thereof, so thatthey pick the cap off the table and lift the edge of the cap onto the spacer between the tracks. The tapered inner and outer lower tracks 184, 186 effect doffing of the caps by intercepting the stem on the one side and the nub on the other.

There are three jets mounted adjacent the entrance to the discharge channel 198, 198a and 19817 (FIGS. 13b, 13c and 13d). The jet 198 is supported by a bracket 203' and comprises a jet pipe 205 extending downwardly from the upper track 170 which has an inclined face mounting a jet nozzle 207. The jet nozzle 207 directs the stream of air against the peripheral edge of the cap, as shown in FIG. 13b. The jet 1980 (FIG. 130) is supported by a bracket 209 and comprises a jet pipe 211 disposed transversely of the track. The jet pipe mounts a jet nozzle 213 which projects a stream of air against the nub at the top of the cap. The jet l98b (FIG. 13d) is also mounted on the bracket 209 and comprises an orifice through which a stream of air is ejected against the stem of the cap. The combined jets 198, 198a and 198b operate to hold the cap on edge in equilibrium and to propel it forwardly into the open end of the channel.

In order to keep the caps moving along the channel other air jets are provided by an air jet pipe 204 (FIGS. 12 and 14) mounted above and parallel to the channel in the spacer blocks 174. The air jet pipe 204 contains longitudinally spaced orifices through which jets of air are directed through the openings between the rails 178 and 184 to propel the heads of the caps along the channel.

At times, there are accidentally included in the mass of caps a cap without a stem or a cap may become destemmed during the sorting process and it is desirable to remove such caps before they are delivered to the machine for applying them to containers. This is provided for by an inclined section 208 (FIGS. 11 and 15) in the channel which contains at its lower side, that is, in the lower track 172, a downwardly sloping gap 210. A jet 212 is mounted at the top of the channel just ahead of the gap in the direction of movement to apply a downward pressure to the caps. If a cap at this point is minus a stem it will drop through the gap 210 since there will be nothing to support it as it moves from one side of the gap to the other, there being, as illustrated in FIG. 15, gaps 210a, 2l0b in the spacer 188 and the rail 184 to permit the head of the cap to fall through. To make sure that a cap with a stern does not fall through the gaps 210a, 210b and also to prevent tilting which might cause binding as a cap moves across the gap,

there is provided a spring blade 214 which is supported at the upper side of the channel and which has a downwardly inclined portion 216 terminating in a convexly bent end 216a which yieldingly bears on the upper sides of the stems so as to hold the latter against the shelf 192.

Beyond the inclined portion 208 of the channel in the direction of movement of the cap, as related above, there is a section 218 (FIG. 15) containing a passage corresponding to that in the portion just described, so that caps are led into it by the preceding section, but in which the passage twists helically through so as to turn the heads of the caps from vertical to horizontal positions and the stems from horizontal to vertical positions so that now the caps are disposed in positions suitable for supply to the machine for applying them to the containers.

Intermediate the first portion of the channel, that is, between the table and the inclined portion 208, there is a photoelectric unit 220 (FIG. 12) arranged so that the source of light and the sensitive cell are disposed on a line intersecting the movement of the caps in the channel. The photoelectric cell assembly 220 is so arranged that if the caps move through the line of sight at regular intervals it will remain inactive, but if for some reason the line of caps becomes stalled by jamming, for example, so that the line of sight is blocked for a longer interval, the assembly activates a circuit which will shut off the machine to enable the operator to clear the channel.

To prevent loading too many caps into the hopper there is provided at the lower side thereof, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, a lever arm 224 supported in a slightly inwardly divergent position relative to the side wall 62 to pivot with respect to its lower end. An excessive number of caps deposited in the hopper will by their composite weight push the arm against the wall. At the lower end the arm has on it a limb 226 which projects through an opening in the wall and is operably connected to appropriate means for stopping the means for delivering caps to the hopper. A spring 228 connected at its ends, respectively, to the outer side of the wall and to the distal end of the limb 226 urges the arm to its divergent position so that as soon as enough caps are discharged to remove the weight, the arm will return to its initial position and the cap-feeding means will be restarted to supply additional caps to the hopper.

There are, as related above, radial ribs secured to the face of the plate 96 around the cap 98 which extend from the cap radially outward to the inner side of the sloping portion 106. These ribs operate to catch caps pushed away from the wall 62 at the left side, as seen in FIG. 2, and carry them over to the right side where they fall back to the bottom the purpose of which is to prevent the caps from sliding back on the left side onto the caps moving upwardly at the left side.

It should be understood that the present disclosure is for the purpose of illustration only and that this invention includes all modifications and equivalents which fall within the scope of the appended claims.

I claim:

1. Apparatus for sorting a mixed mass of caps comprising a rotatably mounted structure having an inclined circular, surface containing peripherally thereof a plurality of regularly spaced pockets of a size such that each will receive a cap and carry it in the direction of rotation, means situated near the top of the rotating surface in tangential relation to the surface at the line of centers of the pockets for accepting caps delivered thereto in a predetermined position of orientation to effect discharge of the caps from the apparatus, a lifter situated in each pocket movable upwardly therewith, and means operable progressively to raise the lifters in the pockets as the pockets travel toward said discharge means to raise said caps therein to said predetermined position of orientation.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the lifters are movable upwardly in the pockets as they travel toward the discharge means and downwardly in the pockets as they move away from the discharge means, and there is a cam rail situated below the pockets operable to efiect such upward and downward movement of the lifters.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1, comprising means situated along the path of movement of the pockets as they travel toward the discharge means for discarding loose caps.

4. Apparatus according to claim 1, comprising mechanical and pneumatic means situated along the path of movement of the pockets as they travel toward the discharge means for disengaging unpocketed loose caps from the stems of the pocketed caps.

5. Apparatus according to claim 1, comprising a doffer associated with the discharge means for intercepting a properly oriented cap and lifting it from the surface into said discharge means, and pneumatic means operable in conjunction with said doffer to propel the cap in the direction of discharge.

6. Apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the doffer is inclined upwardly from the surface and wherein the pneumatic means comprise jets arranged to eject streams of air against the cap in directions to hold them against the doffer and propel them forwardly along the doffer.

7. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the pockets are of circular cross-section and of such depth as to hold the caps below the upper surface with the stems projecting from the surface, and wherein the lifters correspond in cross-section to the pockets and are supported therein for movement from the lower ends of the pockets to the upper ends thereof as the pockets move from the lowermost point of their travel upwardly to the discharge means.

8. Apparatus for sorting a mixed mass of caps having stems projecting from one broad side comprising a rotatably mounted structure having an inclined circular surface containing peripherally thereof a plurality of regularly spaced pockets of a size and depth such that each is adapted to receive a cap with the head below the surface and the stem extending upwardly from the surface and carry it in the direction of rotation, means situated near the top of the rotating surface in tangential relation to the surface and at the line of centers of the pockets for accepting caps delivered thereto in a predetermined position of orientation to effect discharge, a lifter situated in each pocket movable upwardly therein, and means operable progressively to raise the lifters in the pockets as they travel toward said discharge means to raise the caps therein to positions such that the weight of the stems tip the caps to said predetermined positions of orientation for acceptance by said discharge means.

9. Apparatus according to claim 8, comprising means situated along the path of travel of the pockets operable as the caps are lifted in the pockets to assist in tipping said caps to said predetermined positions of orientation.

10. Apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the discharge means contains a channel corresponding in configuration to the caps disposed in a predetermined position with respect to the surface and the lifters raise the caps in the pockets to positions corresponding to thedisposition of the channel.

11. Apparatus according to claim 10, comprising means situated along the path of movement of the pockets operable as the caps are lifted in the pockets to assist in disposing said caps in said predetermined positions of orientation.

12. Apparatus for sorting a mixed mass of items and discharging them one by one in a predetermined position of orientation, comprising a rotatably mounted structure having an inclined surface, means for depositing unsorted items of the mixed mass at the lower edge of the inclined surface, discharge means situated upwardly of the lower edge of said inclined surface and at the downwardly moving side relative to the direction of rotation for receiving and discharging the items sorted in said predetermined position of orientation, and means intermediate the place of deposit and the place of discharge for selecting items from the mixed mass, said latter means comprising in combination with said inclined surface a fixed peripheral wall concentric with the rotatable structure within which the structure rotates, a plurality of cap-receiving, circularly arranged, regularly spaced pockets in the surface close to its edge, each pocket being of a depth to trap one of the items from the mass deposited on the surface at the lower edge and carry it upwardly in the direction of rotation toward the place of discharge, means situated along the path of the upwardly moving pockets for clearing items carried along by entanglement with the trapped items therefrom, for simultaneously progressively lifting the trapped items upwardly in said pockets, and for orienting items in said predetermined position of orientation, and means near the place of discharge which lies close to the surface operable by intercepting each item as a pocket sweeps by to lift an item clear from the pocket while maintaining said predetermined oriented position for entrance into said discharge means.

13. Apparatus for sorting aerosol caps having stems projecting from one broad side thereof comprising a rotatably mounted structure having an inclined surface, means for depositing unsorted caps of a mixed mass of caps at the lower edge of the inclined surface, discharge means situated upwardly of the lower edge of the inclined surface and at the downwardly moving side relative to the direction of rotation for receiving and discharging the caps sorted in a predetermined position of orientation, and means intermediate the place of deposit and the place of discharge for selecting caps from the mixed mass, said latter means comprising in combination with said inclined surface a fixed peripheral wall concentric with the rotatable structure within which the structure rotates, a plurality of capreceiving, circularly arranged, regularly spaced pockets in the surface close to its edge, each pocket being of a depth to trap one of the caps from the mass deposited on the surface at the lower edge and carry it upwardly in the direction of rotation toward the place of discharge, means situated along the path of the upwardly moving pocket for clearing caps carried along by entanglement with the trapped caps therefrom, comprising a jet supported outwardly of the circle of pockets in the third quarter relative to the direction of rotation of the table, said jet comprising a nozzle situated outwardly of the pockets adapted to eject a jet of air across the pockets in a radial direction with respect to the center of rotation of the support and upwardly relative to the surface of the support at a relatively low angle, means for progressively lifting the trapped caps upwardly in said pockets and setting them on edge in said pocket with their stems extending substantially radially inwardly with respect to the center of rotation, and means near the place of discharge which lies close to the surface operable by intercepting the stems of each cap as a pocket sweeps by to lift a cap from the pocket for entrance into said discharge means.

14. Apparatus according to claim 13, wherein there is a guide rail supported in the hopper in the third quarter with reference to the direction of rotation with one end adjacent the wall and the other end spaced therefrom, said guide rail being of a shorter radius of curvature than the wall and being supported with one end at the outer side of the circle of pockets at the other end substantially on the line of centers of the pockets.

15. Apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the rotatable structure has an annular rim, the upper surface of which is inclined inwardly and downwardly with respect to a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the structure and said pockets are situated in said rim.

16. Apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the rotatably mounted structure has a flat annular surface concentric with the axis of rotation and perpendicular thereto inwardly of the pockets and an annular surface outwardly of said flat surface in which the pockets are located which slopes downwardly from the outer edge to said flat surface.

17. Apparatus according to claim 16, wherein the structure inwardly of the flat annular surface is depressed below said surface.

18. Apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the pockets are of such initial depth as to dispose the caps with their stems upraised from the surface.

19. Apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the pockets are of circular configuration and of a depth to support the circular caps therein with their stems projecting upwardly from the surface of the structure.

20. Apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the means for progressively lifting the caps upwardly in said pockets comprise elements centered within said pockets which are supported for movement upwardly and downwardly therein to vary the depth of the pockets and a cam supported in a position to impart upward movement to the elements as they travel from the loweredge of the structure to the upper edge in the direction of rotation.

21. Apparatus according to claim 20, wherein the cam is supported beneath the structure in a position to have engagement with the lower ends of the elements situated in the pockets, said cam being continuous so that the lower ends of the elements slide along it as the pockets travel upwardly in the direction of rotation and of a contour such that the elements are raised from the bottoms of the pockets toward the tops at the upgoing side of the structure and lowered from the tops to the bottoms at the downgoing side of the structure.

22. Apparatus for sorting aerosol caps having stems projecting from one broad side thereof comprising a rotatably mounted structure having an inclined surface, means for depositing unsorted caps of a mixed mass at the lower edge of the inclined surface and at the downwardly moving side relative to the direction of rotation for receiving and discharging the caps sorted and in said predetermined position of orientation, and means intermediate the place of deposit and the place of discharge for selecting caps from the mixed mass, said latter means comprising in combination with said inclined surface a fixed peripheral wall concentric with the rotatable structure within which the structure rotates, a plurality of cap-receiving, circularly arranged, regularly spaced pockets in the surface close to its edge, each pocket being of a depth to trap one of the caps from the mass deposited on the surface at the lower edge and carry it upwardly in the direction of rotation toward the place of discharge, means situated along the path of the upwardly moving pocket for clearing the caps carried along by entanglement with the trapped caps therefrom, said means comprising a pair of jets supported at substantially the nine oclock position relative to the direction of rotation of the support, one of which is situated outwardly of the circle of pockets and comprises a nozzle adapted to direct a jet of air across the line of pockets toward the center of rotation, and the other a nozzle supported inwardly of the line of pockets for ejecting a jet of air toward the center of rotation, means for simultaneously progressively lifting the trapped caps upwardly in said pockets and setting the caps on edge in said pockets with the stems disposed substantially radially inwardly with respect to the center of rotation, and means near the place of discharge which lies close to the surface operable by intercepting the stems of each cap as a pocket sweeps by to lift the cap clear from the pocket for entrance into said discharge means.

23. Apparatus according to claim 22, wherein the rotatably mounted structure has a flat annular surface concentric with the axis of rotation and perpendicular thereto situated inwardly of the pockets, and an inclined annular surface situated outwardly of said flat surface in which the pockets are located which slopes downwardly from the outer edge to said flat surface, and wherein the one nozzle is situated at an angle such as to eject a jet of air substantially parallel to the inclined annular surface containing the pockets and the other of which is situated at an angle so as to eject a jet of air substantially parallel to the plane of said flat annular surface.

24. Apparatus for sorting aerosol caps having stems projecting from one broad side thereof comprising a rotatably mounted structure having an inclined surface, means for depositing unsorted caps of a mixed mass at the lower edge of the inclined surface, discharge means upwardly of the lower edge of the inclined surface and at the downgoing side relative to the direction of rota tion for receiving and discharging the caps sorted and in said predetermined position of orientation, and means intermediate the place of deposit and the place of discharge for selecting caps from the mixed mass, said latter means comprising in combination with said inclined surface a fixed peripheral wall concentric with the rotatable structure within which the structure rotates, a plurality of cap-receiving, circularly arranged, regularly spaced pockets in the surface close to its edge, each pocket being of a depth to trap one of the caps from the mass deposited on the surface at the lower edge and carry it upwardly in the direction of rotation toward the place of discharge, means situated along the path of the upwardly moving pocket for clearing caps carried along by entanglement with trapped caps therefrom, said means comprising a jet supported in the fourth quarter of rotation with respect to the direction of rotation of the structure comprising a nozzle mounted inwardly of the line of pockets for ejecting a jet of air substantially parallel to the inclined surface of the structure and in a direction toward the downwardly moving side thereof, means for simultaneously progressively lifting the trapped caps upwardly in said pockets and setting them on edge as they move upwardly, and means near the place of discharge which lies close to the surface operable by intercepting the stem of each cap as a pocket sweeps by to lift a cap clear from the pocket for entrance into said discharge means.

25. Apparatus for sorting aerosol caps having stems projecting from one broad side comprising a rotatably mounted structure having an inclined surface, means for depositing unsorted caps of a mixed mass at the lower edge of the inclined surface, discharge means situated upwardly of the lower edge of the inclined surface at the downwardly moving side relative to the direction of rotation for receiving and discharging the caps sorted and in said predetermined position of orientation, and means intermediate the place of deposit and the place of discharge for selecting caps from the mixed mass, said latter means comprising in combination with said inclined surface a fixed peripheral wall concentric with the rotatable structure within which the structure rotates, a plurality of itemreceiving, circularly arranged, regularly spaced pockets in the surface close to its edge, each pocket being of a depth to trap one of the caps from the mass deposited on the surface at the lower edge and carry it upwardly in the direction of rotation toward the place of discharge, means situated along the path of the upwardly moving pocket for clearing caps carried along by entanglement with the trapped caps therefrom, said means comprising a first jet supported outside the circle of pockets in the third quarter of rotation with respect to the direction of rotation comprising a nozzle adapted to direct a jet across the line of pockets toward the center of rotation and incline upwardly with respect to the surface at a low angle, second and third jets supported substantially at the nine oclock position, one of which is supported outside the circle of pockets and comprises a nozzle adapted to direct a jet across the line of pockets toward the center at an angle inclined downwardly toward the surface and the other of which is situated inwardly of the line of pockets and comprises a nozzle for projecting a jet substantially parallel to the inclined surface toward the center, a fourth jet supported in the fourth quarter of rotation comprising a nozzle situated inwardly of the line of pockets for ejecting a jet of air substantially parallel to said inclined surface in a direction toward the downwardly moving edge of the structure, means for progressively lifting the trapped caps upwardly in said pockets while moving through said third and fourth quarters of rotation and for setting the caps on edge with their stems radially with respect to the center of rotation, and means near the place of discharge which lies close to the surface operable to intercept the stem of each cap as a pocket sweeps by to lift the cap clear from the pocket for entrance into said discharge means.

26. Apparatus for sorting aerosol caps having stems projecting from one broad side thereof comprising a rotatably mounted structure having an inclined surface, means for depositing unsorted caps of a mixed mass of caps at the lower edge of the inclined surface, discharge means upwardly of the lower edge of the inclined surface at the downwardly moving side relative to the direction of rotation for receiving and discharging the caps sorted and in said predetermined position of orientation, and means intermediate the place of deposit and place of discharge for selecting items from the mixed mass, said latter means comprising in combination with said inclined surface a fixed peripheral wall concentric with the rotatable structure within which the structure rotates, a plurality of cap-receivin g, circularly arranged, regularly spaced pockets in the surface close to its edge, each pocket being of a depth to trap one of the caps from the mass deposited on the surface at the lower edge and carry it upwardly in the direction of rotation toward the place of discharge, jet means situated along the path of the upwardly moving pockets for clearing caps carried along by entanglement with the trapped caps therefrom, means for progressively lifting the trapped caps upwardly in said pockets, and orienting means comprising a guide rail situated in the fourth quarter of rotation with respect to the direction of rotation embodying an inwardly divergent portion extending from the wall across the line of pockets to approximately the line of centers of the pockets for pushing the stems of the caps toward the inner sides of the pockets so as to tilt the caps on edge, and means near the place of discharge which lies close to the surface operable by intercepting the stem of each cap as a pocket sweeps by to lift the cap clear from the pocket while maintaining said predetermined oriented position for entrance into said discharge means.

27. Apparatus for sorting aerosol caps having stems projecting from one broad side thereof comprising a rotatably mounted structure having an inclined surface, means for depositing unsorted caps of a mixed mass of caps at the lower edge of the inclined surface, discharge means upwardly of the lower edge of the inclined surface and at the downwardly moving side relative to the direction of rotation for receiving and discharging the caps sorted and in said predetermined position of orientation, and means intermediate the place of deposit and place of discharge for selecting items from the mixed mass, said latter means comprising in combination with said inclined surface a fixed peripheral wall concentric with the rotatable structure within which the structure rotates, a plurality of capreceiving, circularly arranged, regularly spaced pockets in the surface close to its edge, each pocket being of a depth to trap one of the caps from the mass deposited on the surface at the lower edge and carry it upwardly in the direction of rotation toward the place of discharge, jet means situated along the path of the up wardly moving pocket for claring the caps carried along by the entanglement with trapped caps therefrom, means for progressively lifting the trapped caps upwardly in said pockets, and orienting means comprising a selector adapted to confine the heads of caps situated in pockets to the exclusion of loose caps resting on the inclined surface, said selector means having a top wall above the pockets and a side wall situated inwardly of the pockets, said selector operating to fend off loose caps and said side wall having a lower edge space from the surface of the structure a distance such as to permit the stems of the caps to move along therebelow and operating to hold the stems against the surface of the structure inwardly of the pockets, and means near the place of discharge which lies close to the surface operable by intercepting the stem of each cap as a pocket sweeps by to lift the cap clear from the pocket while maintaining said predetermined oriented position for entrance into said discharge means.

28. Apparatus according to claim 27, wherein the rotatably mounted structure has a flat annular surface concentric with the axis of rotation and perpendicular thereto situated inwardly of the pockets, and an annular surface outwardly of said flat surface in which the pockets are located, said surface containing the pockets sloping downwardly from the outer edge to said flat surface, and wherein the lower edge of said side wall is spaced from said flat annular surface and holds the stems against said annular surface.

29. Apparatus for sorting aerosol caps having stems projecting from one broad side thereof comprising a rotatably mounted structure having an inclined surface, means for depositing unsorted caps of a mixed mass of caps at the lower edge of the inclined surface, discharge means situated upwardly of the lower edge of the inclined surface and at the downwardly moving side relative to the direction of rotation for receiving and discharging the caps sorted and in said predetermined position of orientation, and means intermediate the place of deposit and place of discharge for selecting caps from said mixed mass, said latter means comprising in combination with said inclined surface a peripheral wall concentric with the rotatable structure within which the structure rotates, a plurality of capreceiving, circularly arranged, regularly spaced pockets in the surface close to its edge, each pocket being of a depth to trap one of the caps from the mass deposited on the surface at the lower edge and carry it upwardly in the direction of rotation of the place of discharge, jet means situated along the path of the upwardly moving pockets for clearing caps carried along by entanglement with the trapped caps therefrom, means for progressively lifting the trapped caps upwardly in said pockets, and orienting means comprising a yieldably mounted blade supported in engagement with said inclined surface inwardly of the pockets, said blade being adapted to press the stems against said surface inwardly of the pocket to in turn lift the heads of the caps upwardly in said pockets, and a guide member mounted outwardly of the pockets with which the upwardly lifted heads of the caps are adapted to be disposed by said blade to support and guide said heads with their broad sides substantially perpendicular to the surface to the entrance to the discharge means, and means near the place of discharge which lies close to the surface operable by intercepting the stem of each cap as a pocket sweeps by to lift the cap clear of the pocket while maintaining said predetermined oriented position for entrance into said discharge means.

30. Apparatus according to claim 29, wherein the rotatably mounted structure has a flat annular surface concentric with the axis of rotation and perpendicular thereto situated inwardly of the pockets and an annular surface outwardly of said flat surface in which the pockets are located, said surface containing the pockets sloping downwardly from the outer edge to said flat surface, and said blade being supported in engagement with said flat annular surface inwardly of the pockets.

31. Apparatus for sorting aerosol caps having stems projecting from one broad side and nubs from the other, comprising a rotatably mounted table having an inclined surface containing peripherally thereof a plurality of regularly spaced pockets, a circumscribing wall within which the table is rotatably mounted, means for rotating the table to cause the pockets to travel upwardly at one side and downwardly at the other side and by such rotation to lift caps from a mass of caps deposited at the lower edge upwardly in the direction of rotation, a discharge passage located near the upper edge of the table at the downgoing side, means situated along the wall at the upgoing side of the table for setting the caps trapped in the pockets on edge with their stems disposed inwardly toward the center and for discarding loose caps and returning them to the lower edge so that caps arriving at said discharge passages are freed of entangling caps and oriented for discharge, said discharge passage comprising a track supported with one end adjacent the surface of the table in a position overlying the path along which the pockets travel and embodying at either side a sloping doffing finger adapted to intercept the stem and nub to raise the cap from the pocket, and means for propelling the caps as they are lifted from the pockets toward the entrance to said track.

32. Apparatus according to claim 31, comprising a jet nozzle and means supporting the jet nozzle in a position to eject a stream of air toward the entrance to the discharge passage so as to impinge upon the peripheral edge of the cap.

33. Apparatus according to claim 31, comprising a jet nozzle and means supporting the jet nozzle in a position to eject a stream of air toward the entrance to the discharge passage so as to impinge upon the nub of the cap.

34. Apparatus according to claim 31, comprising a jet nozzle and means supporting the jet nozzle in a position to eject a stream of air toward the entrance to the discharge passage so as to impinge upon the stern of the cap.

35. Apparatus according to claim 31, comprising three nozzles supported and arranged to eject streams of air in directions toward the entrance to the discharge passage, respectively, against the periphery of the cap, the nub and the stem.

36. Apparatus according to claim 31, comprising a ramp situated beyond the doffing fingers in the direction of movement of the caps adapted by engagement with the rims of the caps to guide the caps into said track.

37. Apparatus for sorting aerosol caps having stems projecting from one broad side and nubs from the other comprising a rotatably mounted table having an inclined surface containing peripherally thereof a plurality of regularly spaced pockets, a circumscribing wall within which the table is supported for rotation, means for rotating the table to cause the pockets to travel upwardly at one side and downwardly at the other and by such rotary movement to lift caps from a mass of caps deposited at the lower edge upwardly in the direction of rotation, a discharge passage located near the upper edge of the table at the downgoing side thereof, means situated along the wall at the upgoing side of the table for setting the caps trapped in the pockets on edge with the stems disposed inwardly toward the center and for discarding loose caps so that the caps arrive at said discharge passage, are freed of entrained caps and oriented for discharge, said discharge passage comprising lower and upper spaced parallel channel-shaped members providing a passage therebetween for the caps, the spacing between said channel-shaped members being such as to slidably receive the stems at the one side and the nubs at the other, and said lower channel comprising at opposite sides tapering doffing fingers supported close to the surface of the table at either side of the path of movement of the pockets such as to intercept the undersides of the stems and the nubs, and a ramp situated between the doffing fingers beyond said ends in the direction of movement of the caps adapted by engagement with the rims of the caps to guide the caps into the passage between the channels.

38. Apparatus according to claim 37, wherein the passage supports the caps on edge with the stems extending laterally therefrom and there is a ledge situated outwardly of the lower channel for slidably supporting said laterally extending stem.

39. Apparatus according to claim 37, wherein there are a plurality of jets situated at spaced intervals along the passage through which air is ejected in a direction to propel the caps along the passage.

40. Apparatus according to claim 37, wherein the lower channel contains a gap through which a destemmed cap is permitted to drop, and means for supporting a normal cap at the gap so that it travels over the gap.

41. Apparatus for sorting aerosol caps having stems projecting from one broad side and nubs from the other comprising a rotatably mounted table having an inclined surface containing peripherally thereof a plurality of regularly spaced pockets, a circumscribing wall, means for rotating the table within said wall to cause the pockets to travel upwardly at one side and downwardly at the other and by such rotary movement to lift caps from a mass of caps disposed at the lower edge upwardly in the direction of rotation, a discharge passage located near the upper edge of the table at the downgoing side thereof, means situated along the wall at the upgoing side of the table for setting the caps trapped in the pockets on edge with the stems disposed inwardly toward the center and for discarding loose caps so that caps arriving at said discharge passage are freed of entangling caps and oriented for discharge, said discharge passage comprising spaced parallel upper and lower channel-shaped track members between which the caps move on edge, each track comprising parallel rails, the spacing between rails at one side being adapted to slidably receive the nubs and that at the other side the stems, supports intermediate the rails for receiving the heads of the caps and gaps in the rails and intermediate support of the lower track through which de-stemmed caps are permitted to drop.

42. Apparatus according to claim 41, wherein there is a ledge extending continously along the lower track at the side from which the stems project for supporting normal caps for movement across said gap.

43. Apparatus according to claim 41, wherein there is means at the gap for directing a jet of air against the upper side of a cap as it moves over the gap to impel a de-stemmed cap through the gap.

44. Apparatus according to claim 41, comprising resilient means located at the gap disposed to press the stems of caps against the ledge as they travel over the gap to prevent the caps from falling through the gap.

45. Apparatus according to claim 41, comprising means situated in the track for rotating the caps from a vertical position to a horizontal position in which the stems are substantially perpendicular.

46. Apparatus according to claim 41, comprising means situated along the track for discarding destemmed caps and retaining normal caps and means for thereafter rotating the normal caps from vertical positions to horizontal positions with the stems depending therefrom in substantially vertical positions.

47. Apparatus according to claim 37, comprising means for delivering caps to the table at its lower edge, a member pivotally supported at one end to the wall and extending from its pivoted end along the wall in spaced relation thereto such that it will be moved by an excessive weight of caps moving upwardly in the direction of rotation toward the wall, and means operable by the pivotal movement of said member to disable said means for delivering caps until the weight of caps diminishes to an extent to allow said arm to move away from said wall.

48. Apparatus according to claim 47, comprising means yieldably holding the member away from the wall.

49. Apparatus according to claim 37, comprising sensing means supported adjacent the tracks, said sensing means being operable by movement of the caps along the track to maintain rotation of the table and in the absence of such movement to stop rotation of the table.

50. Apparatus according to claim 47, comprising a photoelectric assembly comprising a light source and a light sensing cell located at opposite sides of the track along which the caps travel, operable as long as caps move in succession along the track to intermittently cut off the light beam from the cell, to maintain continuous rotation of the table but in the event that the light is interrupted for longer than a predetermined time to stop rotation of the table.

51. The method of separating caps of the kind having a stem projecting from one broad side from a mixed mass of said caps comprising moving an inclined supporting surface containing a plurality of spaced pockets beneath a loose mixed mass of said caps, gravitationally retained at the lower end of the surface, in an upwardly moving direction such that the upwardly moving pockets trap caps in the mass and move them away from the mass, dislodging entangled loose caps carried along by the trapped caps from the trapped caps by pushing the loose caps away from the trapped caps while the latter are lodged in the pockets so that they gravitate back to the mass, progressively raising the trapped caps from the pockets as they travel upwardly away from the mass and from the entangled caps which have been dislodged therefrom until at a predetermined place they become freely suspended by their heads in the pockets with their stems depending therefrom and then doffing the caps.

52. A method according to claim 51, comprising providing a discharge passage along which the caps are moved in succession, detecting the movement of the caps along said passage and employing said detecting means to stop further movement of the inclined supporting surface in the event that the movement of the caps along said passage is stopped.

53. Apparatus for sorting a mixed mass of caps comprising a rotatably mounted structure having an inclined surface containing peripherally thereof a plurality of regularly spaced pockets of a size such that each will receive a cap and carry it in the direction of rotation, means situated near the top of the rotating

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4884678 *Sep 28, 1987Dec 5, 1989Graham S NealOrbital cap selecting and feeding mechanism
US4921106 *Feb 13, 1989May 1, 1990G.D. Societa Per AzioniSelection device for sweet confections
US6227345 *Mar 17, 1999May 8, 2001Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd.Transfer apparatus of chip components
US7669707Jun 29, 2006Mar 2, 2010Dunkley International, Inc.Material handling apparatus with integrated part sorter
Classifications
U.S. Classification209/543, 209/606, 209/658, 221/167
International ClassificationB65G47/14
Cooperative ClassificationB65G47/1457
European ClassificationB65G47/14B4D