US 3706368 A
Apparatus particularly adapted for handling oblong closures having printing thereon wherein the closures are first aligned end to end in a row regardless of whether or not the printing on adjacent closures reads in the same direction, and thereafter the closures are oriented and realigned with the printing on all of the closures oriented to read in the same direction.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Sterling 1 Dec. 19,1972
CLOSURE HANDLING AND ORIENTING APPARATUS Walter S. Sterling, Quincy, Mass.
Pneumatic Scale Corporation, Quincy, Mass.
Filed: Nov. 30, 1970 Appl. No.: 93,554
11.8. C1. ..198/33 AA, 209/11 1.7 Int. Cl.., ..B65g 47/24 Field 01 Search 209/1 11.7; 198/33 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Kittess ..221/158 X Peterson ..209/1l 1.7
3,352,455 11/1967 Wysocki et a1. ..198/33 AA 971,999 10/1910 Hodge ..l98/33 AA 1,886,896 11/1932 Nelson ..l98/33 AA 3,556,282 1/1971 Moeltzner ..198/33 AA 3,282,464 11/1966 Kohl et al. ..198/33 AA 2,930,475 3/1960 Muhlenbruch 198/32 Primary Examiner-Even C. Blunk Assistant Examiner-Douglas D. Watts Attorney-Robert R. Churchill  ABSTRACT Apparatus particularly adapted for handling oblong closures having printing thereon wherein the closures are first aligned end to end in a'row regardless of whether or not the printing on adjacent closures reads in the same direction, and thereafter the closures are oriented and realigned with the printing on all of the closures oriented to read in the same direction.
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ATTORNEY PATENTED nu: 19 I872 sum 08 [1F 16 l/VVE/VTOR Wa/fer 5. S/er/ing ATTORNEY P'A'TENTED DEC 19 I972 SHEET OSUF 16 l/VVE/VTOR Wa/fer S. Star/mg W MQM ATTORNEY PATENTED 19 I97? 3. 706,368
SHEET 1n 0F 16 INVE/VT'OR Waller S. Star/mg BYFMMQM ATTORNEY PATENTED DEB 19 m2 SHEET lSUF 16 lNVEA/TOR By Wa/fer 5. Sterling WPLMQM ATTORNEY CLOSURE HANDLING AND ORIENTING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The apparatus of the type herein illustrated is principally employed in the bottle filling industry wherein the filled bottles are provided with closures. The closure handling apparatus is adapted to sort and align randomly arranged closures which are deposited into a feed chute in an oriented condition, successive closures being withdrawn from the feed chute for application to the filled bottles.
2. Description of the Prior Art Prior closure handling and orienting apparatus adapted to handle randomly arranged closures is illustrated and described in US. Pat. No. 2,715,978 assigned to the present assignee. Such prior apparatus is arranged to handle cylindrical closures wherein the randomly arranged closures are guided onto an orienting disk adapted to support those closures assuming a predetermined oriented position thereon, and to deposit such closures into a supply chute from which successive closures are withdrawn to be applied to bottles. Any closures assuming a position other than such predetermined oriented position are rejected from the orienting disk. Such prior closure handling apparatus is not adapted to handle elongated rectangular or oblong closures nor does it contemplate arrangement of the closures to permit reading in the same direction of any printed matter thereon.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In general, the present invention contemplates novel closure handling apparatus particularly adapted for handling elongated, substantially rectangular or oblong closures having printing or other characters thereon and in which provision is made for first aligning the closures longitudinally end to end and with their open ends up without regard for the direction of the printing and for thereafter sorting and realigning the closures to cause the printing on successive closures to read in the same direction.
The novel handling apparatus is adapted to first align and orient randomly arranged rectangular closures so that they all face with their open ends up, the closures being then deposited into a vertical chute. Successive closures then pass a sorting mechanism which is provided with means for detecting the direction of the printing thereon. Those with the printing reading in one direction are released onto one track and those reading in the opposite direction are released onto a second track. Provision is then made for changing the direction of the closures with the printing reading in the opposite direction so that all of the closures will read in the same direction. The closures which have been caused to change their direction are received on a track parallel to the first track, and provision is then made for realigning the oriented closures in both lines into a single line for delivery to the closure applying machine.
Provision is also made for controlling the operation of the apparatus whereby to maintain a supply of closures commensurate with the demand therefor, and to discontinue the supply of closures when a surplus thereof is detected.
Accordingly, the present invention has for an object to provide novel and improved closure handling apparatus adapted to align and orient randomly arranged elongated rectangular or oblong closures with their open ends all facing in the same direction in a superior and efficient manner.
The invention has for another object to provide novel and improved closure handling apparatus of the character specified adapted to handle oblong closures having printing thereon and wherein provision is made for orienting and aligning the closures in a manner such as to have the printing thereon read in the same direction in a novel and superior manner.
A further object of the invention is to provide novel and improved closure handling apparatus of the character specified wherein novel provision is made for controlling the operation of the apparatus to discontinue the feed of closure when the supply thereof exceeds the demand therefor.
With these general objects in view and such others as may hereinafter appear, the invention consists in the closure handling and orienting apparatus and in the various structures, arrangements and combinations of parts hereinafter described and particularly defined in the claims at the end of this specification.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings illustrating the preferred embodiment of the invention:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of closure handling apparatus embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation thereof;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a closure adapted to be handled in the present apparatus;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the driving mechanism to the rotary disk;
FIG. 5 is a side elevation thereof shown partly in cross section;
FIG. 6 is a detail view in cross section as taken on the line 6-6 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a side elevation of means for controlling the feed of closures onto the rotary disk;
FIG. 8 is a cross sectional detail view of a portion of the control means shown in FIG. 7;
FIG. 8A is a plan view detail of the control means shown in FIG. 8;
FIG. 9 is a cross sectional detail view of the transfer mechanism as seen from the line 9-9 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 9A is a plan view detail of the transfer mechanism shown in FIG. 9;
FIG. 10 is a cross sectional view of the chute as seen from the line 10-10 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 11 is a plan view of the driving mechanism to the cam shaft associated with the sorting and orienting mechanism;
FIG. 12 is a front elevation of the sorting and orienting mechanism showing portions of the drives;
FIG. 13 is a detail view in side elevation of the sorting and orienting mechanism showing the cam shaft and the cam operated valves associated therewith;
FIG. 13A is a detail view of a curved portion of the chute leading to the switching mechanism;
FIG. 14 is a side elevation of the switching mechanism;
FIG. 15 is a rear view of the switching mechanism;
FIG. 16 is a plan view of the tracks forming a part of the orienting mechanism;
FIG. 17 is a side elevation of the tracks shown in FIG.
16, portions thereof being shown in cross section; FIG. 18 is a detail view in side elevation and partly in cross section of the closure stop and release mechanism for releasing the closures alternately from two tracks to form one line thereof;
FIG. 18A is a detail view showing the parts in a different position of operation;
FIG. 19 is an elementary diagram of the electrical and pneumatic controls embodied in the present apparatus; and
FIG. 20 is an electrical diagram embodying the controls to be described.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings and particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, the container handling apparatus therein shown comprises in general: a guide chute through which randomly arranged elongated rectangular or oblong closures 14 having printing thereon are delivered; a rotary carrier disk 12 which is mounted to rotate in a horizontal plane and which is arranged to receive and sort the randomly arranged closures 14; a transfer chute 16 through which successive closures released from the rotary disk pass to enter an elongated chute 18 having a horizontal portion l7 and a vertical portion 19, the closures entering the chute longitudinally end to end without regard for the direction in which the printing can be read; detecting, sorting and orienting means indicated generally at 20 wherein closures reading in different directions are deposited into different lines or tracks 22, 24; turn around or recoil mechanism 26 for redirecting and thus orienting the closures in one track to read in the same direction as the other track; and means indicated generally at 27 for releasing the closures alternately from two parallel lines or tracks 28, 30 into a single line or track 32, the latter comprising an upwardly inclined chute, only one end of which is shown for delivering the closures to a supply chute, not shown, and from which successive closures are withdrawn for application to containers.
In the illustrated embodiment of the invention, the randomly arranged printed oblong closures 14 are delivered to the apparatus in controlled amounts by an upright convyer 36 which is provided with a plurality of equally spaced flights 38. The outer run of the conveyer is arranged to cooperate with a bulk supply hopper associated therewith to pick up the closures on the flights 38 as the outer run passes through the bulk supply hopper. In operation, when the closures are carried over the upper end of the conveyer, they fall off the flights 38 and are guided by the chute 10 onto the rotary carrier disk 12. The driving mechanism for the upright conveyer includes a normally engaged clutch 40 diagrammatically indicated in FIG. 19 which is arranged to be pneumatically disengaged by control mechanism, indicated generally at 42, to be hereinafter more fully described. The upright elevating conveyer 36 may comprise the conveyer illustrated and described in the U.S. Pat. to Sterling, No. 3,079,042, to which reference may be made for a more detailed description thereof.
As illustrated herein, the rotary carrier disk 12 is supported for rotation about a central stationary post 44 suitably supported in the machine frame. The depending hub 48 of the disk 12 is provided with a sleeve 50 secured to the hub by bolts 52. The sleeve is provided with ball bearings 54, 56, the lower bearing 56 resting on a shouldered portion of the central post 44. A lock washer 58 and nut 60 threadedly carried by the post 44 engage the upper ball bearings 54 as shown.
The carrier disk 12 is arranged to be rotated through connections from a motor 62 belted to one end of a drive shaft 64 having a normally engaged clutch 66 associated therewith. The shaft 64 is joumaled in a bracket 68, and the other end of the clutch shaft is belted to the input shaft 70 of a speed reducing unit 72. The output shaft 74 of the speed reducing unit is provided with a pinion 76 which is in mesh with a gear 78 connected to the lower end of the sleeve 50 by the bolts 52. The motor 62, bracket 68 and speed reducing unit 72 are attached to the underside of a mounting plate 80 supported on the post 44 by a flanged hub 82. A casing 84 mounted on top of the plate 80 encloses the gearing.
In operation, the disk 12 is arranged to be rotated in a counterclockwise direction at a relatively slow speed arranged to be varied as required. The mounting plate 80 is further provided with an extension comprising longitudinally extended side bars 86, 88 secured to two opposite sides of the plate, and a cross bar 90 connecting the outer ends of the side bars.
As herein shown, the carrier disk is surrounded by a circular guard or upright supporting wall 92. The wall 92 is supported from the mounting plate 80 by four equally spaced, radially extending struts 94 secured to upright spacing members 95 bolted to the plate 80. Each strut 94 carries an upright bar 96 at the outer end thereof to which the circular wall 92 is secured.
As illustrated in FIG. 3, the specific closure 14 being handled in the present apparatus comprises an oblong closure having curved side walls and straight end walls and is designed to be pressed onto a container. The open end of the closure is provided with a rolled edge 98 so that the width of the closure is greater across the rolled edges than the width of the body portion. This feature is taken advantage of to sort those closures assuming an oriented position, that is, with their open ends up, from those closures assuming a position with their open ends down. In practice, the randomly arranged closures are guided longitudinally end to end into a single line as they are carried around on the rotary disk, the closures being guided outwardly into engagement with an annular groove 100 in the marginal edge of the disk 12. The groove 100 is made of a width such as to accept in a fully seated position the width of the body portion of those closures having their open ends up while those closures having their open ends down are not able to seat themselves in the grooves because of the increased width across the rolled edges 98. In practice, the randomly arranged elongated closures deposited on the disk 12 may fall with their open ends up or down, a majority of the closures falling naturally under the influence of gravity with their open ends up.
As illustrated in FIG. 1, the closures are guided into the groove to extend longitudinally end to end therein by a curved leaf spring 102 carried by a curved plate l060ll 0090 104 attached to a clamp collar 105 secured to the upper end of the central supporting post 44. As best shown in FIG. 6, the annular groove 100 is defined on one side by the peripheral edge of a circular sheet metal member 106 attached concentrically to the upper face of the rotary disk 12, the other side of the groove being defined by a raised rim 108 integral with the disk 12. In practice, the closures with their open ends up will seat themselves fully in the groove 100 while those closures guided toward the groove with their open ends down will not be permitted to seat themselves in the groove because of the rolled edge 98 and will assume an angular position therein. Provision is made for removing such non-oriented closures from the groove, and as herein shown, see FIG. 6, a plurality of spaced air jets 110 are mounted to direct streams of air radially inwardly of the rotary disk against the angularly disposed closures to effect return of such closures toward the center of the disk. Such air jets are also arranged to remove any closures which are not fully seated in the groove, some of the closures thus removed being overturned to assume an open end up position so as to enter the groove the next time such closures are guided therein by the curved leaf spring 102. As herein shown, see FIG. 6, the air jets 110 are supported by brackets 112 secured to and depending from the lower edge of the circular wall 92. The lower end of each bracket is horizontally extended and has an opening to receive the threaded end of its air jet, the latter being vertically adjustable in its bracket and held in its adjusted position by lock nuts 114. The closures are also urged outwardly on the disk by centrifugal action to enter the annular groove. As diagrammatically shown in FIG. 19, each of the air jets 110 is connected to a manifold 111 which in turn is connected by a pipe 113 to a regulated source of compressed air indicated at 1 15.
Provision is made for preventing entrance into the annular groove 100 of nested closures or closures arranged one above the other. As herein illustrated, a curved top rail 116 is disposed above the groove 100 concentric with the rotary disk. The rail 116 is supported from the circular wall 92 by spaced rods 120 extending radially inwardly therefrom and a short distance inwardly from the outer marginal edge of the groove 100. A second rail 118 which occurs for a short distance only at the exit portion of the guideway defined by the groove is supported from the inner rail 116 by spacing collars 122 and bolts 124 and is disposed immediately above the outer marginal edge of the groove 100. The lower edge of each rail is spaced a short distance above the height of a closure fully seated in the groove, the rails being vertically adjustable by bolts 126 extending through clearance openings in the rail 116 and threadedly engaged with the rods 120. Thus, the inner rail 1 16 serves as a shield to prevent entrance of more than one closure at a time into the groove so that nested or overlapping closures which cannot enter the groove assume a raised position to be returned onto the center of the disk by the air jets 110. Likewise, those closures with their open ends down which cannot be fully seated in the groove are removed therefrom by the air jets. It will be noted that once an oriented closure is fully seated in its groove, the top rail 116 serves to retain the closures therein so that they cannot be removed by the air jets.
From the description thus far it will be seen that the randomly arranged closures are guided into end-to-end alignment with their major axes arranged longitudinally in the annular groove with their open ends up, and as herein shown, see FIG. 9, successive closures in the line are removed from the groove by the transfer chute 16 which is arranged tangentially with respect to the groove. The transfer chute 16 is arranged to guide the closures with their open ends up into the horizontal leg 17 of the chute l8 and is supported above the disk 12. The chute 16 extends through an opening 128 in the circular supporting wall 92.
As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the closures with their open ends up are guided upwardly out of the groove 100 by a pivotally mounted ramp 130, the lower end of which rests in the groove and up which successive closures are guided to an upper level on a base plate 132. The ramp 130 is pivoted at 134 to the base plate 132 and is maintained in resilient contact with the bottom of the groove 100 by a coil spring 136 connected between the underside of the ramp and the base plate as shown.
The base plate 132 is supported by an upright bracket 138 fastened at its lower end to the side bar 88 which latter extends from the mounting plate 80. The transfer chute 16 includes side rails 140, 142 and a top rail 144. The side rail 142 is bolted to the base plate 132, and the side rail 140 is attached to angle brackets 141 which are mounted for lateral adjustment on the base plate. The top rail 144 is supported for vertical adjustment by angle brackets 145 attached to the side rail 142. In operation, the closures carried along in the groove 1% engage the ramp 130 and the back pressure of succeeding closures urges the leading closures up the ramp. The closures are assisted up the ramp by a stream of air from an air jet 146 supported in the circular wall 92, the air stream being directed through an opening in the top rail 144. Additional air jets 148 supported in brackets 150 fastened to the side rail 142 are likewise provided to advance the closures along the upper level of the transfer chute and into the horizontal leg 17 of the chute 18. The area of the disk 12 over which the receiving end of the transfer chute is disposed is protected from interference by the closures on the disk by guard members including a member 152 secured to the inner rail 116 and a second member 154 secured at one end to the circular wall 92 as shown in FIG. 1. The member 154 is further supported by an angle piece 156 secured to the base plate 132. The free end of the member 152 is arranged to overlap the free end of the member 154 as shown.
As herein illustrated, the chute 18 leading to the detecting and sorting means 20 is secured at one end to the bracket 138 in alignment with the transfer chute 16. The chute 18 comprises a pair of spaced bottom rails 158, 160 which are bolted at the receiving end to the bracket 138. Fastened to the bottom rails are a plurality of guide rail supporting units indicated generally at 162, each supporting unit including a cross bar 164, side rail holders 166, 168 secured to the cross bars and which carry the side rails 170, 172, and a pivotally mounted top rail support 174 in which the stems 176 of the top rail 178 are supported for vertical adjustment. Each rail support 174 is pivotally carried by a bifurcated upright bar 180 attached to one end of its cross bar. It will be observed that each top rail support 174 is