US 3710753 A
Cylindrical cans each with one closed and one open end are metered one-by-one between a rotating driving wheel and a guide concentric thereto, each having a resilient rim that grasps each can by the closed end and rotates it in contact with a rotating printing wheel so as to imprint a band of ink completely around the can; and the can is then discharged downwardly onto a ramp guide on which it rolls in the direction of spin, away from and out of the apparatus. The ramp guide includes levers activated by the can to inhibit metering of the cans into the apparatus if there is a stoppage and backing up of the can flow; and to meter a predetermined amount of ink to the printing wheel on passage of each can, so that just the right amount of ink is printed on, regardless of the rate of flow of the cans.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Birchall et al.
1 Jan. 16,1973
 PROCESSING APPARATUS FOR OBJECTS  Assignee: Mandi-e1 Industries, Inc., Houston,
 Filed: Jan. 19, 1970  App1.No.: 3,612
 US. Cl. ..118/2, 118/6, 118/230, 118/232, 118/262  Int. Cl ..B05c l/02, BOSc 11/10, B05c11/14  Field of Search ..118/230, 232, 246, 233, 319, 118/320, 410, 2, 218, 6, 219, 8, 262
2,935,963 5/1960 Aamot ..1 18/246 X 2,388,911 11/1945 Fink ..118/232 3,111,897 ll/1963 VanBuskirk ....1 18/410 UX 3,452,709 7/1969 Hartmeister et a1. ..1 18/319 X Primary Examiner-John P. McIntosh Attorney-Robert G. Clay [57} ABSTRACT Cylindrical cans each with one closed and one open end are metered one-by-one between a rotating driving wheel and a guide concentric thereto, each having a resilient rim that grasps each can by the closed end and rotates it in contact with a rotating printing wheel so as to imprint a band of ink completely around the can; and the can is then discharged downwardly onto a ramp guide on which it rolls in the direction of spin, away from and out of the apparatus. The ramp guide includes levers activated by the can to inhibit metering of the cans into the apparatus if there is a stoppage and backing up of the can flow; and to meter a predetermined amount of ink to the printing wheel on passage of each can, so that just the right amount of ink is printed on, regardless of the rate of flow of the cans.
12 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PAIENTEDJMISIQH 3.710.753
i Tll3 l INVENTORS THOMAS D. BIRCHALL JOHNNIE L. POWELL ATTORNEY PATENTEDJAH 16 I975 3.710.753
sum 2 or 3 THOM 'D. BiRCHALL JOHN L. POWELL ATTORNEY PATENIEDJAHIB I975 3.710.753
sum 3 BF 3 TIE :EI
INVENTORS THOMAS Dv BIRCHALL JOHNNIE L4 POWELL ATTORNEY PROCESSING APPARATUS FOR OBJECTS FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to processing means for objects, and particularly to apparatus for printing marks upon cans.
Previously in the art, printing wheels for openended cans have been arranged to drive the cans as well as to make the printed marks thereon, and engage the cans remote from their closed ends, so that the cans are often deformed by the printing operation, and the mark is not well made. Also the metering of the cans into and out of the apparatus has not been well provided for; and the ink has usually been supplied to the printing wheel in a steady metered drip, so that variations in the rate of flow of cans cause either too little or too much ink to be imprinted.
An apparatus eliminating most of these defects was disclosed in our co-pending application Ser. No. 770,509, filed Oct. 25, I968, now US. Pat. No. 3,565,034, but this apparatus employs two differentially rotating driving wheels in addition to an inking wheel and a backup wheel and is in this and other ways also capable of being structurally simplified and improved.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a structurally simpler can marking apparatus that drives the cans in such a way as to avoid deforming the cans in passage.
It is another object of the invention to provide a structurally simpler can marking apparatus that meters the cans in accordance with their rate of flow.
It is further an object of the invention to provide a can marking apparatus as described above and that meters the ink to the cans in accordance with the rate of flow of the cans.
These and other objects are achieved in the present invention by means of an arrangement in which cylindrical cans each with one closed and one open end are metered one-by-one between a rotating driving wheel and a guide concentric thereto, each having a resilient rim that grasps each can by the closed end and rotates it in contact with a rotating printing wheel so as to imprint a band of ink completely around the can; and the can is then discharged downwardly onto a ramp guide on which it rolls in the direction of spin, away from and out of the apparatus. The ramp guide includes levers activated by the can to inhibit metering of the cans into the apparatus if there is a stoppage and backup of the can flow; and to meter a pre-determined amount of ink to the printing wheel on passage of each can, so that just the right amount of ink is printed on, regardless of the rate of flow of the cans.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. I is a broken-away front elevational view of the apparatus of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a back elevational view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view taken along the plane oflines 3-3 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along the plane of lines 4-4 of FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the drawings and particularly to FIG. 1 thereof, there is shown a can marking device including a vertical base 11, a face plate 12 mounted in parallel spaced relation thereto, and a pair of guide tracks 13 for guiding a series of cans 14 vertically down into the apparatus between the base 11 and face plate 12. A star wheel 15 is mounted at the entrance to stop the incoming cans and meter them one by one into the apparatus. Whenever the starwheel 15 rotates onefourth of a turn, one of the cans is metered into the machine and drops directly down between a drive wheel 16 and a guide 17 concentric therewith, which quickly spins the can through at least one full revolution about its own axis, while another portion of the can is being marked by an inked printing wheel 18, and then drops the can onto a set of guides 21 and 22 for discharge from the machine. The guide 22 is movable downwardly in response to the weight of the can and when in the down position, through suitable linkages, causes blocking of ingress of other cans; but as the can leaves the machine between a pair of discharge guides 23 and 24, the lower guide 22 rises to permit the star wheel 15 to meter in another can. The guide 21 is also movable in response to the passage of the can, as the can is driven downwardly by the drive wheel 16, and is used to operate an ink pumping apparatus 26, to be described in greater detail hereinafter.
Referring now to FIG. 4, one of the major advantages of the present invention is illustrated which is that the cans 14 which are open at the top 31, but have closed bottoms 32 and beaded bottom rims 33, are seized and driven by the drive wheel 16 and guide 17 by the structurally stiff and rigid beaded rim portion 33 thereof, so that the can is not distorted during the driving operation, nor does distortion or out-of-roundness of the can near the open end thereof have any direct effect on the driving operation. The drive wheel 16 has a chamfered outer circumferential portion 34 and radially inward flat land portions 36, for solidly engaging the bottoms of the cans; and the wheel 16 and guide 17 each have a rim portion 37, 37a mounted respectively thereon and made of hard rubber or suitable plastic material for engaging the beaded portion of the can. The inking wheel 18 is mounted on the same driving axle 41 as the driving wheel 16 and both are keyed for rotation with the axle, with the ink wheel 18 spaced for any desired distance axially from the driving wheel so as to cause an ink mark or band 42 to be imprinted on the can as it spins. By changing the axial position of the wheel 18, the mark 42 can be imprinted on any desired portion of the can; and two or more wheels 18 may be used to print a number of marks 42, either in the same or in different colors, simultaneously on the can. The wheel 18 is composed of a central web disc 43, on the flanged circumference of which is moulded a rubber printing tire 44 having a radially extending rubber printing flange 46 of just the right axial thickness to make the mark 42 of the width desired. The reason for having an overall thickness for the tire 44 that is greater than the axial thickness of the printing portion 46 is to provide the printing element with sufficient stiffness and support to prevent axial flopping or bending of the printing element when it is brought into pressurized engagement with the can. The rubber printing element 44 is also provided with a plurality of axially perforating slots 47, (FIG. 1) the slots lying in a chordal plane (i.e., a plane'defining a chord) of the printing wheel so as to provide the printing element with a suitable degree of radial flexibility to accommodate the wheel to irregularities of roundness of the can without losing the pressure necessary for printing or, on the other hand, applying too much pressure and deforming the can, and accordingly, the portion 46 has a slightly greater diameter than the drive wheel 16 at the point of tangency of the drive wheel and the can. Rubber tires embodying such slots are already known in the lapidary art.
To provide a degree of backup pressure and alignment support for the printing operation, there is also mounted on the face plate 12 a second guide 48 mounting a resilient rim portion 37b engaging the slightly flared open end 31 of the can 14.
The manner in which the drive wheel 16 and guide 17 are mounted and operated for the purpose of rotating the can through at least one full revolution while holding it in a suitable printing position, is illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. The base 11 consists of two spaced plates 61 and 62, which include between them in a guarding fashion a drive sprocket 63, and a sprocket wheel 64; the sprocket 63 being driven by a motor 66 operating through a worm gear and slipping clutch device 67 of standard commercial manufacture. The motor causes the driving wheel 16 to rotate in a clockwise direction as shown by the arrow in FIG. 1 and the can 14 is rotated in a counter-clockwise direction while being driven slowly through the printing position. The counter-clockwise rotating direction of the can corresponds with the natural direction of roll that it will take up when it falls onto the guides 21, 22 and 24.
Returning to FIGS. 2 and 3, the metering operation is illustrated. Movable guide arm 22 is fixed on a shaft 71, which is mounted in a bearing to protrude through the two base plates 61 and 62, to the back side of the apparatus; and on the rearwardly extending end of the shaft 71 is fixedly mounted an arm 72 bearing a counterweight 73 of mass such that the arm 22 is normally urged upwardly so that an extending portion 74 thereof engages a stop 76; however, when the arm 22 receives the weight of a can 14, the arm pivots downwardly to come into engagement from above against the stop 76. This action causes the arm 72 to pivot through a range 77 so as to bring a notched extension 78 thereof into the path of an arm 79, at the upper limit 80 of the range of clockwise movement. The arm 79 is mounted for pivoting motion on a shaft 81, through a range 82, for restraining or permitting rotation of second star wheel 83, which is fixedly mounted on the same shaft 84 as the star wheel 15. The arm 79 has mounted thereon a ball bearing race 86, which is engaged by a cam 87, which in turn is fixedly mounted on the shaft 41 so that at least once on each revolution of printing wheel 18, the arm 79 is permitted to pivot in such a way that it releases the star wheel 83. As here shown, the cam 87 has two flat and two extended portions, so that the star wheel 83 is released every 180 in the rotation of the printing wheel. The arm 79 is is urged toward the releasing position by means of a tension spring 88, and
the natural timing of the release operation dictated by the cam 87 is such that two cans 14 are metered into the apparatus on each revolution of the drive wheel. This timing is such that the cans are processed very rapidly, but quite separately through the apparatus. The only time when the metering operation needs to be suspended is when the cans in the discharge portion 23, 24 of the apparatus are backed up to the degree that the last can is resting on the arm 22 and holding it in its downward position. At such a time, the notched extension 78 engages a flange 89 on the arm 79 and blocks the movement of arm 79 and prevents it from releasing the star wheels and admitting more cans. As a feature to prevent jamming of the star wheel apparatus, the arm 79 is provided with a subsidiary arm 91, which is mounted for pivoting motion as by means of a pin 92 on the upper end of the arm 79. The arm 91 has a flange 93 which is the portion that actually engages the star wheel 83 and the lower portion of the arm 91 has an extension 94 which is urged into normally close engagement with the pivot pin 81 as by means of a tension spring 96 stretched by the flange 94 and a pin 97 on the arm 79.
One of the important features of the invention is the ink pumping apparatus 26, which meters ink onto the printing wheel at a rate that is controlled by the rate of movement of the cans through the apparatus. It is quite normal in the canning plant to operate steadily for a time and then to have to stop the flow of cans for an indefinite period because of traffic control problems farther down the line. Stoppages and movements of the cans are extremely irregular. One of the disadvantages of prior can marking devices was that ink was fed to the inking wheel at a steady rate, so that when the cans were stopped, the inking wheels got too much ink on them. Conversely, if the rate of ink application were adjusted to an average rate of can flow, then inevitably 'when the cans moved fast and steadily for a long period, the inking device would not get enough ink and the marks would be too faint. In the present invention, the inking wheels are given a charge of ink each time a can passes through the apparatus, and if no cans pass, the ink feeding is suspended. Referring to FIGS. 1-3, when a can 14 is driven down from between the drive wheel 16 and guide 17 it first strikes the lever 21 which is mounted for free pivoting motion on the shaft 71, and is normally held in a counter-clockwise position against a stop pin 98, by a spring 99, as illustrated in the FIG. 1. When a can is driven over the lever 21, the lever moves slightly clockwise as indicated by the arrow, and acting through a bell crank 101 and link member 102, it causes a lever 103 to operate a small commercially available one-way clutch 104 in the clutching direction, and therefore to operate a small rotary pump 105 through which a compressible resilient ink feeding line 106 is passed. The ink feeding line 106 extends from an ink holding receptacle 107 to the pump 105, which includes an anvil member 108 formed with a right-circular cylindrical cavity 109 within which the line 106 is coiled in at least one 360 loop 110. Inside the loop 110 is aligned a rotating pinching element 111 driven incrementally by the clutch 104 and mounting an eccentric pinch wheel 1 12. In any position, the pinch wheel 112 completely pinches off the resilient tube 106 and ensures a positive forward drive of the ink longitudinally in the tube 106. The tendency of tube 106 to creep through the pump is countered by anchoring the line 106 in any suitable way, and by coating it with lubricants of any suitable type not destructive to the tubing. The metered ink passes upwardly through the tube 106 to a spiggot 117 which spreads the ink upon a felt intermediate inking wheel 118, that is also engaged by inking rim 46 of inking wheel 18. The intermittant ink wheel 118 is of standard design and comprises a felt disc slightly wider than the rim 46, mounted between a pair of circular side plates 119, the entire wheel being mounted for free rotation at the end of an arm 121, which is in turn mounted on a shaft 122. Of course, it will be understood that for each inking wheel 18 that is used, a separate intermediate wheel 118, spiggot 117, pumping tube 106, and reservoir container 107 must be employed although only one link member 102, and pump 105 need be employed.
It will also be understood that, under some circumstances, one-by-one metering of the cans into the apparatus can be dispensed with and the cans allowed to flow freely in immediate succession to one another; also that the automatic flow stopping mechanism may be replaced by other means or operated by hand, without departing form the invention as described in the appended claims. What is claimed is: l. A processing apparatus for objects, such as cans each having at least one closed end presenting an exterior beaded rim, comprising:
' a processing station including an inked printing wheel for printing a circumferential marking band upon each object, and means for feeding said objects to said processing station; means including a wheel and a fixed guide concentric thereto for non-slip driving of each of said objects in spinning rotation past said processing station so as to prevent more than one portion of each object to said processing station; said driving wheel and guide being mounted on the same axis with said printing wheel but axially displaced therefrom so as to engage opposite sides of each object and rotate each object for at least one full rotation in contact with said printing wheel while driving said object past said printing wheel;
said feeding means including a plurality of guide members arranged to guide said cans to and between said driving wheel and guide with said beaded rim portion in the plane thereof, so that said cans are not substantially deformed when engaged by said driving wheel and guide;
said driving wheel and guide being each provided with a resilient frictional rim portion so as to grippingly engage and drive said beaded rim portion of each can therebetween; and
means for receiving said objects from said driving means for removal from said processing station.
2. A processing apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein a second resilient-rimmed guide is mounted on the same axis with said driving wheel but in a plane adjacent the end of said can opposite said beaded closed end thereof.
3. A processing apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein:
said driving wheel is also provided with a bevelled flange portion extending radially beyond said resilient rim portion thereof and axially adjacent thereto so as to receive and guide a closed end of 5 each can with said beaded rim portion thereof in the plane of said driving wheel. 4. A processing apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein:
at least said printing wheel is provided with a resilient 10 printing rim portion having elongated axial slots formed therein, each slot lying in a chordal plane of said printing wheel.
5. A processing apparatus as recited in claim 4, wherein:
said resilient printing rim portion of said printing wheel is formed with a body portion and a circumferential printing flange of predetermined axial thickness corresponding with the width of printing mark desired, said body portion containing said slots and being of substantially greater axial thickness than said printing flange so as to inhibit axial deflection of said printing rim under pressure.
6. A processing apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein said objects are right-circular-cylindrical cans, and wherein:
said apparatus is arranged with the axis of said drive wheel in a horizontal plane and with said feeding means disposed to feed said cans to said drive wheel from above, while said receiving means is disposed below said drive wheel to receive said cans as they pass downwardly from said drive wheel; and
said receiving means includes ramp guide means for conducting said cans in axially rolling motion downwardly and laterally beneath said drive wheel and out of said apparatus;
the lateral direction of said ramp guide means being selected so that the natural direction of roll of said cans thereon is the same as the direction of spin that is imparted to said cans by said drive wheel.
7. A processing apparatus as recited in claim 6, wherein:
said feeding means is provided with metering means coupled to said printing wheel drive shaft for metering one can to said drive wheel upon each revolution of said printing wheel through a predetermined angle.
8. A processing apparatus as recited in claim 7, wherein:
said ramp guide means includes a pivoting guide member eounterweighted toward an upper position and responsive to the weight of a can thereon to pivot toward a lower position;
said pivoting guide member being coupled to said metering means to inhibit the operation of said metering means when said pivoting guide member is in said lower position thereof;
whereby upon a stoppage and accumulation of cans moving out of said apparatus, at least one of said cans eventually comes to rest on said pivoting guide member and stops the flow of cans into said apparatus from said feeding means.
9. A processing apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein said objects are right-circular-cylindrical cans, and wherein said apparatus also includes:
ink supply means for said inked printing wheel; and
means responsive to the passage of each can through said apparatus to meter a predetermined amount of ink from said ink supply means to said printing wheel;
whereby the mark is printed on each can with just the right amount of ink, regardless of the rate of flow of said cans.
10. A processing apparatus as recited in claim 9,
said ink metering means includes a pivoting lever mounted for engagement by each can as said can is driven between and from said drive wheel and guide; and
said ink supply means includes an ink reservoir and a pump means coupled to said lever for pumping actuation thereby to pump said predetermined amount of ink to said printing wheel upon the passage of each can.
11 A. processing apparatus as recited in claim wherein said pump means includes:
a conduit extending in an upstream to downstream direction from near the bottom of said ink reservoir and towardtsaid printing wheel, a section of said conduit being formed of compressible resilient tubing;
a hollow right-circular-cylindrical anvil member positioned adjacent said resilient section of said conduit, with said resilient section coiled in at least one 360 loop therein; and
a rotating pinching element coupled to said lever through a one-way clutch for pinching said resilient section solidly against said anvil element and for incremental rotation upon each actuation of said lever so as to squeeze the ink therein in said upstream to downstream direction.
12. A processing apparatus as recited in claim 1 1 and also including:
a felt ink wheel positioned in tangential engagement with said printing wheel and at the downstream end of said conduit, for receiving ink therefrom and smoothly applying it to said printing wheel.