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Publication numberUS3713949 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 30, 1973
Filing dateMay 13, 1970
Priority dateMay 13, 1970
Publication numberUS 3713949 A, US 3713949A, US-A-3713949, US3713949 A, US3713949A
InventorsDinter H
Original AssigneeDinter H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of and machine for applying adhesive labels to packages
US 3713949 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 30, 1973 DWTER 3,?135949 METHOD OF AND MACHINE FOR APPLYING ADHESIVE LABELS TO PACKAGES Filed May 15, 1970 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 /N VEA/TOR HERBERT ADM/75R H. DINTER Jan. 30, 1973 METHOD OF AND MACHINE FOR APPLYING ADHESIVE LABELS TO PACKAGES Filed May 13, 1970 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOQ HERBERT D/A/TER A Tram/Ev Jam. 30, 1973 H. DINTER METHOD OF AND MACHINE FOR APPLYING ADHESIVE LABELS T0 PACKAGES Filed May 13. 1970 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 FIG. 4.

/44a M4 K A L M/l EA/TOR 40 /42 HERBERT D/A/TER A TTOR/VEV United States Patent US. Cl. 156-463 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A method of and a machine for applying adhesive labels to packages by transporting the packages in succession on a conveyor along a prescribed path to labeling position at a labeling station along the path, supporting a label over each package in labeling position with the adhesive side of the label exposed and facing the package, elevating each package in labeling position from the conveyor into bonding contact with the adhesive side of the label to adhere the label to the package, and finally lowering the labeled package back to the conveyor for outfeed movement from the machine. A primary feature of the ma chine resides in adjustability to accommodate packages of different size and to apply labels to diiferent surfaces of a package.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention.This invention relates generally to the art of labeling packages, particularly prewrapped and weighed packages of a sliced food product such as meat. The invention relates more particularly to a novel labeling method and machine for applying adhesive labels to packages.

Prior art.As will appear from the ensuing description, the present labeling method and machine may be utilized to apply various types of adhesive labels to various types of packages. However, the invention is concerned primarily with and will be disclosed in relation to the application of adhesive labels to prewrapped and weighed packages containing a sliced food product, such as meat.

Sliced luncheon meats and other sliced food products are often marketed in a package consisting of a cardboard backing member and a transparent plastic cover sheet which is sealed to the backing member. In many cases, one end of the backing member extends a distance beyond the packaged slices to provide a wide marginal portion or lip. After each package has been sealed, it is labeled by applying a label to either or both the projecting backing lip and the transparent cover sheet over the packaged slices. The label contains selected identifying information, such as a description of the packaged product and its weight and the name of the packer or the market in which the package is to be sold.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a labeling method and machine for applying adhesive labels to packages of the character described. The labeling method and machine involve transporting the packages to be labeled in succession on a conveyor along a prescribed path from an infeed station to labeling position at a labeling station, supporting an adhesive label over each package in labeling position with the adhesive side of the label exposed and facing the package, elevating each package in labeling position from the conveyor into bonding contact with the adhesive side of the label to adhere the label to the package, and finally lowering the labeled package to the conveyor for outfeed movement from the labeling station to an outfeed station.

A novel feature of the labeling machine resides in its adjustability to accommodate packages of different size 3.,7l3.,94 9 Patented Jan. 30, 1973 ICE and to effect placement of the label on different selected surfaces of the package. The disclosed labeling machine, for example, is designed for applying adhesive labels to packages of the kind described earlier containing a sliced food product, such as meat. This disclosed machine is adjustable to accommodate packages containing different numbers of slices and hence having different eifective thickness dimensions. The machine is also adjustable to permit application of an adhesive label to either the extending lip portion of the package backing member or to the transparent cover sheet over the mound of packaged slices.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of a present labeling machine;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the machine;

FIG. 2a is a perspective view of a package and label;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged section taken on line 3-3 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a section taken on line 4-4 in FIG. 3; and

FIG. 5 is a diagram of an electrical circuit embodied in the machine.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The drawings illustrate a labeling machine 10 according to the invention for applying adhesive labels 12 to packages 14. Each illustrated package contains a packaged commodity 16 which, in this instance, is assumed to be a sliced food product, such as meat. The package has a cardboard backing member 18 on which the packaged slices are placed, and a transparent cover sheet 20 which is sealed tot he backing member and overlies the packaged slices. One end of the backing member 1 8 extends beyond the packaged slices 16 to form a projecting marginal portion or lip 22. As will appear presently, the labeling machine 10 is adjustable to permit application of a label 12 to either the backing lip 22 or to the transparent cover sheet 20 over the packaged slices 16.

The labeling machine 10 has two essentially identical machines 10a, 10b arranged side by side on a common frame 24. Each labeling machine has its infeed end at the left end of the frame in FIG. 1 and its outfeed end at the right end of the frame. Since the labeling machines 10a, 1% are essentially identical, a description of one will sufiice for both. Machine 10b will be described.

Labeling machine 10b has a conveyor 26 including a pair of endless conveyor belts 28 trained about pulleys 30 at opposite ends of the machine frame 24. The two conveyor belts are arranged side by side with an intervening spacing and have upper runs 32 exposed above the ma chine frame. The pulleys 30 at the right end of the machine are fixed on a shaft 34 rotatably supported at its ends in bearings 36 mounted on the machine frame 24. The pulleys at the left end of the machine are fixed on a shaft 38 rotatably supported in bearings 44} on the frame. The right hand shaft 34 is driven from a motor 42 through a belt drive 44 in a direction to drive the upper runs 32 of the conveyor belts 28 in the right hand direction of travel in FIG. 1.

Conveyor belts 28 are spaced to support the packages 14 with the lengthwise direction of each package extending normal to the direction of belt travel and the backing lip 22 of each package adjacent the near side of the ma chine frame 24, i.e., the lower side in FIG. 1. Conveyor belts 28 transport the packages 14 in succession along a prescribed path P from an infeed station 8, at the left end of the machine in FIG. 1, through a central labeling station 5,, to an outfeed station S at the right end of the machine. The upper conveyor belt runs 32 are guided and vertically supported by channels 46 mounted on the upper side of the machine frame 24. These channels effectively carry the weight of the packages 14 and the conveyor belts 28, which slide in the channels, merely serve to move or feed the packages along the path P.

Mounted on the frame 24 in the region from the infeed station S to the labeling station S are guide rails 48, 50. These guide rails are spaced to receive the packages 14 between the rails with just a slight clearance, such that packages are retained in proper position on the conveyor belts 28 as the packages travel from the infeed station to the labeling station. The outer guide rails 50 turns outwardly to facilitate entrance of the packages between the rails.

Labeling machine b also has a labeling mechanism 52. This labeling mechanism includes a label support 54 slidably mounted on a rod 56 fixed on the machine frame 24. Rod 56 is located above and extends crosswise of the path P of package movement. Accordingly, the label support 54 is positioned over and adjustable crosswise of the path P. Label support 54 comprises a hollow housing 58 closed on all sides except the bottom. The bottom side of the housing has an opening containing an apertured grid 60. Label support housing 58 is connected, through a large duct 62, to a suction pump or exhaust blower 64 for sucking air from the housing. This produces in the housing a partial vacuum which, as will appear presently, is utilized to hold labels against the lower label support grid 60.

During operation of the labeling machine 10, labels 12 are fed in succession to a position directly below the label support grid 60', with the adhesive side of the label facing downwardly away from the grid and toward the path P of movement of the packages 14 through the machine. The partial vacuum or suction in the label support housing 58 causes the label to adhere to the grid until the label is applied to a package in the manner to be explained presently. The labels 12 are fed in succession, adhesive side down, to the label support grid 60 from a large drum 68 containing a roll 70 of labels in strip form. In this disclosure, it is assumed that the labels are removed from the roll 70 and placed on the label support grid 60 by hand. However, it will be understood that a label feed mechanism may be provided for performing this function automatically in response to the later described cyclic operation of the machine.

Conveyor 26 transports the packages 14 in succession from the infeed station S to a labeling position at the labeling station S and then from this position to the outfeed station S When in labeling position, a selected surface portion of the package is located directly below the label support grid 60 on the label support 54, as shown in FIG. 3. As will be explained presently, a label 12 on the grid 60 is applied to the package 14 in labeling position by elevating the package to press its selected surface portion against the adhesive under surface of the label, thereby causing the label to adhere to the package.

In this regard, it is significant to recall that an important feature of the labeling machine resides in its adjustability to accommodate placement of labels on different selected surfaces of a package. The particular labeling machine illustrated is adjustable to apply a label to either the transparent cover of each package 14, over its mound of packaged slices 16, or to the projecting lip of the package backing member 18. This adjustment involves adjustment of the label support 54 along its mounting rod 56 to position the label support grid 60 over the lip or transparent cover of the package 14 in labeling position at the labeling station S The illustrated machine is adjusted to apply labels to the package backing lips 22. However, the broken lines in FIG. 3 illustrate an alternative adjustment of the label support 54 wherein the support is positioned to apply labels to the transparent package covers.

In connection with this latter adjustment of the label support 54, it will be observed that the surface of the transparent package cover 20 to which the label is applied is substantially higher than the upper label receiving surface of the package backing lip 22. Accordingly, when adjusting the label support 54 between its full line backing lip labeling position and its broken line cover labeling position of FIG. 3, it is necessary also to adjust the height of the label support. To this end, the label support rod 56 is mounted on a vertical slide 72 movable in a vertical guide 74 on the machine frame 24. The slide is fixed in adjusted position by a clamp screw 76. This latter height adjustment of the label support 54 also permits the labeling machine to operate on packages of different effective thickness.

As noted earlier, the labeling machine operates to apply the labels 12 to the packages 14 by elevating each package in labeling position into contact with the adhesive underside of a label held by suction to the underside of the label support grid 60'. To this end, the machine is equipped With stop means 78 for arresting each package in labeling position, and elevator means 80 for elevating the package from the conveyor 26 into contact with the label and then lowering the labeled package to the conveyor for continued movement of the package to the outfeed station S The package stop means 78 comprises a pair of aligned stop arms 82 fixed to a sleeve 84 rotatable on a shaft 86. One end of shaft 86 is rigidly joined to one arm 88 of a bell crank 90 pivotally supported at 92 on a mounting plate 94. Mounting plate 94 is attached by bolt and slot connections 96 to the machine frame 24 for adjustment in the direction of the path P of movement of packages 14 through the machine. Also mounted on the plate 94 is a solenoid 98 whose plunger 100 is pivotally attached to the arm 102 of bell crank 90. A spring 104 connected between the stop arms 82 and the bell crank arm 88 urges the stop arm to the position of FIG. 4, wherein the stop arm rests against a stop 106. A spring 108 connected between the bell crank arm 102 and mounting plate 94 urges the bell crank 90 in the counterclockwise direction on its pivot 92 to the limiting position of the solenoid 98, shown in FIG. 4. In this position, the stop arms 82 project above the upper runs 32 of the conveyor belts 30 for engagement by each package 14 arriving in labeling position.

During operation of the labeling machine, the leading edge of each package 14 arriving in labeling position on the conveyor 26 engages the stop arms 82 and rotates these arms clockwise in FIG. 4 on thier pivot shaft 86 to a position in which the arm nearest the mounting plate 94 engages an electrical contact 110. As will appear presently, this engagement of the arm with the contact actuates the package elevator 80 for elevating the package into contact with the label currently held by suction on the label support grid 60. It is significant to note in this regard that when the stop arms 82 are retracted by a package 14 against spring action to the limiting position of engagement of one arm with the contact 110, the package is located in labeling position.

The package elevator 80 comprises a parallel linkage support 112 including a pair of support arms 114 pivoted at 116 on the machine frame 24. The opposite ends of the arms are pivotally attached at 118 to a vertically movable carriage 120. Rigid on the upper end of carriage 120 is a crosshead 122. A pair of posts 124 are rigidly secured to and rise from the opposite ends of the crosshead. On the upper end of each post 124 is a resilient pressure pad 126. As may be best observed in FIG. 3, one pressure pad 126 is located to underlie the lip 22 of a package 14 in labeling position. The other pressure pad is located to underlie the package backing member 18 approximately in line with the center of the packaged slices. The upper package engaging surfaces of the pads 126 are located substantially in a common plane.

On the lower end of carriage 120 is a cam follower 128 which rides on a cam 130 fixed to a sleeve 132 rotatable on a shaft 134. Shaft 134 is rotatably mounted on the machine frame 24 and is driven from the motor 42 through a sprocket chain 136. At one end of sleeve 132 is a one revolution clutch 138 which may be selectively energized to connect the sleeve 132 to the shaft 134 for a single revolution with the shaft. Each revolution of the sleeve 132 rotates the cam 130 through a single revolution to move the carriage 120 from its lower limiting position to its upper limited position and back to its lower position. This movement of the carriage constitutes its labeling stroke and is effective to first elevate the carriage pads 126 into contact with a package 14 in labeling position, then elevate the package from the conveyor 26 into contact with the label currently held by suction on the label support 60 to adhere the label to the package, and finally return the labeled package to the conveyor.

Mounted on the machine frame 24 below the upper elevator carriage support arm 114 in FIG. 4 are a pair of switches 140, 142. Switch 140 is a normally closed switch which is opened by the arm 114 upon arrival of the latter in its lower limiting position. In this lower position, the elevator carriage pads 126 are disposed a distance below the upper runs 32 of the conveyor belts 28. Switch 142 is a normally open switch which closes upon elevation of the carriage 120 to a position wherein its pads 126 are disposed a distance above the upper runs of the conveyor belts.

Referring to FIG. 5, it will be seen that switches 140, 142 are connected in circuit with a relay 144 having normally open contacts 144a in series with a solenoid 98, such that energizing of the relay energizes the solenoid. Switches 140, 142 are arranged in a manner such that closure of the switch 142 during the upward stroke of the elevator carriage 120 energizes the relay, and hence the solenoid 98. The relay is locked in its energized state to retain the solenoid energized through the normally closed switch 140 and a set of relay holding contacts 144b. Subsequent arrival of the carriage 120 in its lower position opens the switch 140 to deenergize the relay 144 and hence the solenoid 98.

Energizing of the solenoid 98 in the manner just explained retracts the solenoid plunger 100 to rotate the bell crank clockwise in FIG. 4 on its pivot 92. This rotation of the bell crank occurs against the action of the bell crank spring 108 and retracts the stop arms 82 below the level of the path P of the packages 14 through the machine. When the solenoid is deenergized, the spring 108 returns the bell crank to its position of FIG. 4, wherein the stop arms 82 project across the path P.

During operation of the labeling machine b, the unlabeled packages 14 are fed into the infeed station S of the labeling machine and are transported in succession on the conveyor 26 to the labeling station 8;. As each package enters the labeling station, its leading edge engages the stop arms 82 and rotates these arms clockwise in FIG. 4 to engage the contact 110. This action activates the clutch 138 to effect one revolution of the cam 130 with the continuously rotating cam shaft 134. The resulting single revolution of the cam imparts a single labeling stroke to the elevator carriage 120. During the upward travel of the carriage, the package 14 currently in labeling position is elevated off the conveyor 26 into contact with the label 12 currently held by suction on the underside of the label support grid 60 to adhere the label to the package. As the elevator carriage departs its lower position, the relay holding switch 140 closes. Thereafter, as the carriage travels upwardly to elevate the package 14 in labeling position off the conveyor 26, the relay switch 142 closes to energize the relay 144 and solenoid 98 which then are locked in energized condition through the holding switch 140 and the relay holding contacts 144b. Under these conditions, the package stop arms 82 are retracted below the conveyor 26.

After the elevator carriage reaches the upper end of its labeling stroke to aflix the label 12 to the package 14 currently in labeling position, the carriage and labeled package commence their downward return travel. Shortly before the carriage reaches the lower end of its stroke, the package contacts the conveyor 26 and is then transported by the conveyor from the labeling station S over the currently retracted stop arms 82, to the outfeed station S Subsequent arrival of the carriage 120 at its lower position reopens the relay holding switch to deenergize the relay 144 and hence solenoid 98. The stop arms 82 are then returned by spring 108 to their extended position of FIG. 4 in readiness to arrest the next unlabeled package 14 arriving on the conveyor 26. As noted earlier, the label support 54 is adjustable to apply a label to the cover 20 or lip 22 of each package. In the particular label support setting illustrated, labels are applied to the package lips.

It will be recalled that the illustrated labeling machine structure 10 has two labeling machines 10a, 10b disposed side by side. The above description of labeling machine 10b applies with equal force to labeling machine 10a.

What is claimed as new in support of Letters Patent is:

1. The method of applying an adhesive label to a package, comprising the steps of:

transporting said package on a conveyor along a prescribed path of movement into contact with a stop to arrest said package in an initial labeling position over a package elevating means located at a labeling station along said path to locate said package in an initial labeling position,

supporting a label over said package when in labeling position with the adhesive side of the label facing the package,

sensing engagement of said package with said stop,

actuting said elevating means in response to engagement of said package with said stop to elevate said package from said conveyor into contact with said label to atfix the latter to said package and then return the package to said conveyor, and

retracting said stop from said path during return of said package to said conveyor to release said package for movement from said station by said conveyor and thereafter extending said stop into said path following departure of the package from the station.

2. A machine for applying adhesive labels to packages comprising:

a frame having infeed, labeling, and outfeed stations spaced along the frame,

a conveyor on said frame for transporting said packages in succession along a prescribed path from said infeed station, through said labeling station, to said outfeed station,

stop means on said frame at said labeling station for arresting each package to initial labeling position at said labeling station,

a label support on said frame at said labeling station for supporting a label over each package in labeling position with the adhesive side of the label facing the package,

elevator means on said frame at said labeling station for elevating each package arriving in labeling position from said conveyor into contact with the overlying label to aflix the label to the package and then returning the labeled package to said conveyor,

means for sensing engagement of each package with said stop means and actuating said elevator means to raise the package from and then return the package to the conveyor in response to engagement of the package with said stop means, and

means for retracting said stop means from said path and extending said stop means into said path in timed relation to vertical movement of said elevator means in a manner such that said stop means is retracted during downward return movement of said elevator means to its lower position to release each labeled package for movement from said labeling station on said conveyor and said stop means is extended to arrest the following package upon arrival of said elevator means at its lower position.

3. A labeling machine according to claim 2 wherein:

said label support is adjustable to affix a label to different selected portions of each package.

4. A labeling machine according to claim 2 wherein:

said label support is vertically adjustable to accommw date packages of different thickness.

5. A labeling machine according to claim 2 wherein:

said label support is adjustable vertically and laterally of said path to apply labels to different selected portions of said packages and to accommodate packages of different thickness.

6. A machine for applying adhesive labels to packages, comprising:

a frame having infeed, labeling, and outfeed stations spaced along the frame,

a conveyor on said frame for transporting said packages in succession along a prescribed path from said infeed station, through said labeling station, to said outfeed station,

means responsive to pivotal movement of said stop arm means from normal to limiting position for actuating said elevator carriage drive means for driving said carriage through one labeling stroke, and

means responsive to each labeling stroke of said elevator carriage for operating said solenoid means to retract said stop arm means during upward travel of said carriage and extend said stop arm means upon return of said carriage to its lower limiting position.

7. A labeling machine according to claim 6 wherein: said label support is a suction device which is adjustable to accommodate packages of difiere'nt thickness and to apply labels to different selected portions of each package.

stop means on said frame for arresting each package in an initial labeling position at said labeling station, said stop means comprising stop arm means, means supporting said stop arm means for extension into and References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS retraction from said path and for pivotal movement 3,264,161 8/1966 stlfimke 6-3 X in the direction of said path when extended, said stop 2,107,311 2/1938 stflcklel 56566 X arm means when extended being disposed for rota- 3,194,710 7/ 1965 Stremke 6t 1 3 tion on its pivot axis from a normal position to a 2,606,681 8/1952 Ridenour 156-521 X limiting position by a package entering said labeling 3,155,244 11/1964 Rogers et al 27147 X station, and solenoid means for extending and retracting said stop arm means,

a label support on said frame for supporting a label over each package in labeling position with the adhesive side of the label facing the package,

elevator means on said frame for elevating each package arriving in labeling position from said conveyor 40 BENJAMIN A. BORCHELT, Primary Examiner J. M. HANLEY, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 156-566

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3904466 *May 22, 1973Sep 9, 1975Decca LtdLabelling machines
US4101366 *Mar 4, 1976Jul 18, 1978Teraoka Seikosho Co., Ltd.Electronic digital display scale with label printer
Classifications
U.S. Classification156/363, 156/566
International ClassificationB65C1/00, B65C1/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65C1/021
European ClassificationB65C1/02B