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Publication numberUS3715858 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 13, 1973
Filing dateSep 1, 1971
Priority dateSep 1, 1971
Publication numberUS 3715858 A, US 3715858A, US-A-3715858, US3715858 A, US3715858A
InventorsBall D, Durant W
Original AssigneeCherry Burrell Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Valve bag placer
US 3715858 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Durant et al.

[ VALVE BAG PLACER [75] Inventors Will G. Durant; David C. Ball, both of Ontario, Calif.

[73] Assignee: Cherry-Burrell Corporation,

Chicago, Ill.

[22] Filed: Sept. 1, 1971 [211 App]. No.: 176,867

[52] US. Cl. ..53/l90, 53/64, 53/386, 141/68 [5 1] Int. Cl. ..B65b 43/26 [58] Field of Search ..53/l88,190, 386; 141/68 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Frost 1 ..53/l90 Miller ..53/l88 14 1 Feb. 13, 1973 Primary Examiner--Travis S. McGehee Attorney-William B. Anderson et ai.

[57] ABSTRACT Apparatus for removing valve bags from a magazine and placing the bags onto a horizontal filler spout'for filling with flowable material. Handling means having a pair of grippers picks the forwardmost bag from the magazine and then pulls the bag valve open using an associated opening element. The bag valve is positively held open while the handling unit travels to the filler where the valve is inserted over the aligned spout. The apparatus is adapted to serve a pair of sideby-side fillers from a single magazine because lateral shifting of the handling means can be effected during its travel to align it with either filler spout. The operation is fully automatic and embodies a pneumatic control system which regulates each step of the bag-placing operation.

10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures VALVE BAG PLACER The present invention relates to apparatus for placing bags in position to be automatically filled by a suitable filler or packer. More particularly, the invention relates to apparatus for placing valve-equipped bags upon filling apparatus having a pair of horizontal spouts through which the bags are then filled with flowable, particulate material.

Valve-bags are a type of container widely used for the transport of flowable or particulate material, such as flour, cement, grain, fertilizer, granular plastics, pigments and the like. The valve provides a conveniently closable opening through which the bag can be filled, usually by automatic filling apparatus. The valve typically is in the form of a collapsible elongated sleeve providing an aperture adjacent one otherwise closed end of the sleeve which is adapted to receive the filling spout. The valve can be of the internal type that closes automatically upon removal from the spout or of the external type that is manually or automatically folded inward for closure.

Valve-equipped bags are sometimes manually positioned upon such filling spouts; however, apparatus has been developed, such as that shown in U. S. Pat. No. 3,466,837, issued Sept. 16, 1969 to Thomas B. Sturges, for automating the positioning of valve bags. Such apparatus generally removes the bags one-by-one from a stack supported within a magazine, opens the valve of bag upon removal from the stack and swings the bag so as to insert the open valve onto the filling spout of the filler or packer.

Depending upon the materials with which the bags are being filled, it is often desirable to allow a filled bag to remain in position on the spout of the filling apparatus for a short time period after the flow of material has been cut off, to allow air and dust to be released into a dust manifold incorporated within the filling apparatus. This procedure results in both cleaner bags and in a cleaner working environment; however, the delay necessarily increases the length of the filling cycle, thereby decreasing overall machine output which is sometimes unacceptable.

Improvements in automatic valve-bag placers are desired.

Accordingly, an 'object of the present invention is to provide improved apparatus for placing valve-bags onto spouts for subsequent filling with particulate material.

Another object of the invention is to provide improved apparatus for opening valve-bags and positively holding them in open condition until placing them upon the appropriate filling spout of a filling apparatus.

Still another object is to provide improved apparatus for removing valve-bags from a single magazine and placing them either upon one or the other of a pair of side-by-side horizontal filling spouts.

These and other objects of the invention will become apparent with reference to the following detailed description and accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of apparatus embodying various features of the invention for placing valve-equipped bags on the spouts of a filling apparatus, showing, in broken lines, the position during placement ofa bag upon a spout;

7 FIG. 2 is an enlarged elevational view of a handling unit portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1, illustrated after it has removed a bag from the magazine and is moving toward the filling apparatus, the bag being shown in broken lines for clarity;

FIG. 3 is a side sectional view taken generally along line 3-3 of FIG. 2 but showing the handling unit after a bag has been removed from the magazine and pivoting to the horizontal position has occurred; and

FIG. 4 is a side sectional view taken along line 44 of FIG. 2, looking at the handling unit from the opposite direction from FIG. 3 after it has completed its travel to the filler, and showing, in broken lines, the position of the handling unit after it has been laterally shifted to alignment with the foreground filler unit.

Very generally, there is illustrated apparatus 10, often referred to as a bag-placer, for individually placing valve bags 11 onto a filling apparatus 12. The bagplacer 10 includes a magazine 14 in which a stack of valve-bags 11 are contained and handling unit 16 for removing the bags seriatim from the magazine and transporting them to the filling apparatus 12. The handling unit includes a picker unit 18 that is mounted for pivotal movement of about In solid lines in FIG. 1, the picker 18 is depicted in the vertical position with a pair of gripper heads 20a and 20b which it carries extended and in contact with the forwardmost bag 11 in the magazine stack. In dotted outline, the handling unit 16 is shown after it has traveled to a location adjacent the filling apparatus 12 with the gripper heads 20 in retracted positions and with the picker unit 18 pivoted to its horizontal position.

Each gripper head 20 includes a pair of vacuum cups 22 which engage the bag 1 l in the magazine 14 and pull the bag therefrom upon retraction of the gripper heads. For reference purposes, the gripper head 20a is referred to as the first gripper which carries vacuum cups 22a. The second gripper 20b carries vacuum cups 22b. Disposed between the gripper heads 20 is an opening bar 24 which retards the movement of the bag causing the valve 11a to be pulled open during the retraction of the gripper heads 20. No further relative movement occurs between the gripper heads 20 and bar 24, so the valve is positively held in the open position.

Filling apparatus 12 includes a pair of filler units 26 of identical construction disposed side-by-side each other, as seen in FIG. 4. Because both of the fillers 26 are identical, the construction of only one of them is described. For purposes of identification, the filler 26' is hereinafter referred to as the foreground filler and the filler 26" is hereinafter referred to as the background filler, reference being made to FIG. 1

wherein only one filler 26 is shown. Each of the fillers 26 has a horizontal spout 28 proportioned to fit into the open valve 11a of a valve bag 11. The fillers 26 themselves are conventional in construction and form no part of the present invention. For illustrative purposes, reference is made to 'U. S. Pat. No. 3,576,312, issued Apr. 27, 1971 in the name of Thomas B. Sturges.

Upon removal of the bag 11 from the magazine 14 and pivoting of the picker unit 18 to its horizontal position, the open valve 11a of the bag will be in direct horizontal alignment with the spout 28" of the background filler 26" so that, upon travel of the handling unit 16 linearally to the filling apparatus, the bag will be automatically fit overthe spout 28 (as exemplified in broken outline in FIG. 1). However, the handling unit 16 can be laterally swung from the rear position as shown in full lines in FIG. 4 to the foreground dotted line position. In the foreground position, the handling unit 16 and particularly the first gripper head 20a are aligned with the filling spout 28 of the foreground filler, and upon travel to the filling apparatus 12, the valve-bag 11 is inserted over the filling spout of the foreground filler.

Accordingly, the bag placer is able to automatically serve as a pair of fillers 26 from a single bag magazine 14. This proves to be quite an efficient arrangement because, as a bag 11 on one of the fillers is being filled, the handling unit 16 can be withdrawing another bag from the magazine 14 and placing it onto the spout of the other filler.

Referring now to the bag placer 10 in more detail, a structural supporting frame 30 is provided which includes an upper subframe 32 made up of several longitudinal parallel beams 34 interconnected by a plurality of cross beams 36. The upper subframe 32 is supported by six upstanding columns 38 designed to rest on the floor of the building. Suitable bracing members are included throughout. The magazine 14 is supported upon an intermediate subframe 40 affixed to four of the .columns 38, and space is provided for supporting a pneumatic control box 42 below the magazine. The control box 42 includes a depending connector 44 for attachment to a source of high pressure air.

The magazine 14 may be of conventional construction to hold a horizontally extending stack of valve bags 11 each of which, in its folded flat condition, generally occupies a vertical plane. As best seen in FIG. 3, the bags 11 are arranged in the magazine 14 with their principal axes horizontal. In the illustrated embodiment, the bags 11 have righthand valves and in the magazine 14, the valve is pointed downward and is at the righthand side (as viewed in FIG. 3). The magazine mechanism is designed to press the bags to the end adjacent the filling apparatus 12, and a bag retainer assembly 46 is provided to locate the forwardmost bag at the desired position. In the illustrated embodiment, the retainer assembly 46 includes a horizontal rod 48 which is suitably supported near the upper end of the magazine and which carries a pair of rollers 50 that position the bags in place but permit the forwardmost bag to be pulled thereunder by the action of the gripper heads 20. A leaf spring 52 is preferably provided adjacent the lower edge of the magazine 14 to appropriately locate the lower side edge of the forwardmost bag. The magazine construction allows the forwardmost bag 11 to be pulled therefrom by the gripper heads and thereafter locates the next bag in line in its place adjacent the retainer assembly.

The handling unit 16 includes a frame assembly 54 that supports a pair of depending brackets 56. The picker unit 18 includes a plate or frame 58 having a pair of upstanding lugs 60. A pair of pins 62 affixed in apertures in the lugs 60 and in bearings (not shown) in the depending brackets 56 pivotally-connect the picker frame 58 to the underside of the handling unit frame 54. As viewed in FIG. 2, a clevis 64 is suitably affixed to the lefthand side of the picker frame 58 and a pair of pivot brackets 66 are carried at the lefthand edge of the overlying handling unit frame 54. A pair of pivot pins 68 mount the lower end of an air cylinder 70 between the pivot brackets 66. The rod 71 of the air cylinder 70 carries an eye 72 at its bottom which is connected by a pivot pin to the clevis 64. In FIG. 2, the air cylinder rod 71 is shown in its extended position which causes the picker frame 58 to be oriented horizontally. In its retracted position as shown in FIG. 1, the air cylinder 70 has pivoted the frame 58 from the horizontal orientation to a substantially vertical orientation.

The two gripper heads 20 of the picker unit 18 each include a bar 74 which in FIG. 2 is seen directly underlying the picker frame 58. Each bar 74 is suitably connected at its center to the end of a rod 77 of an air cylinder 76 that is fixedly mounted to the upper surface of the picker frame 60. All four of the vacuum cups 22 which the gripper heads 20 include are mounted on the lower ends of four parallel pipes 78 which extend downward through suitable bushings in the picker frame 60 and also through apertures provided near the ends of the two bars 74. Suitable collars 80 disposed about each of the pipes 78 are located between the underside of the frame 60 and the upper surface of the bars 74. The position of the collars 80 on the pipes 78 determines the vertical level at which the vacuum cups 22 will be located in the retracted position as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Disposed about the lower ends of each of the pipes 78 between the bar 74 and the individual vacuum cups 22 are compression springs 82 which yieldably force the vacuum cups against the bags 11 in the magazine 14.

When the frame 58 has been pivoted to the vertical orientation as shown in FIG. 1 and the handling unit 16 is in position at the lefthand side of the apparatus adjacent the magazine 14, the air cylinders 76 carried by the picker 58 may be actuated. Extension of the cylinder rods 77 drives the bar 74 to the left, applying force to the four compression springs 82 which in turn press the vacuum cups 22 on the ends of the pipes 78 against the forwardmost bag 11 in the magazine stack, as shown in FIG. 1. Each of the four pipes 78 is connected at its opposite end to a flexible vacuum line 84 which leads to a manifold 86 which is mounted on the same side of the picker frame 58 as the air cylinders 76. When the air cylinder rods 77 are fully extended so that the four vacuum cups 20 are in contact with the forwardmost bag 11 in the magazine, the control mechanism 42 connects the manifold 86 to a vacuum pump 88 causing the four vacuum cups 20 to securely grip the forwardmost bag.

At the end of a preset number of seconds, the air being supplied to the air cylinders 76 is removed by the control mechanism 42 causing retraction of the cylinder rods 77 and return of the gripper bars 74 to the position adjacent the frame 58. The opening bar 24 is held by a pair of threaded rods 90 which at one end are threaded into tapped holes in the picker frame 58. The other ends of the rods 90 carry threaded holders 91 which adjustably interconnect the opening bar 24 to the supporting rods. As best seen in FIG. 2, the righthand rod 90 is longer than the lefthand rod so as to space the lower end of the opening bar 24 farther from the picker frame 58 than the upper end, with reference to the picker being in the vertical orientation. This arrangernent assures that the valve 11a of the bag 11 is consistently opened without unduly distending the remaining portion of the bag. Furthermore, as seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the collars 80 on the pipes 78 are located closer to the first or rear pair of vacuum cups 22a than to the front pair 22b. These rear two vacuum cups 220 engage the upper surface of the valve bag 11, and the differential in relative movement accommodates the unfolding which occurs as the valve 11a is pulled open.

Upon retraction of the cylinder rods 77, the bag 11 which is being gripped by the four vacuum cups 22 is pulled out from the magazine, passing under the pair of locating rollers 50. As retraction continues, the opening bar 24 which, as seen in FIG. 3, is located midway between the front and rear pairs of suction cups 22 engages the sidewall of the bag. Engagement first occurs near the bottom because of the longer length of the lower rod 90. As earlier indicated, the valve bags 1 1 are loaded into the magazine 14 with the valve pointing downward. In the illustrated version, the bag 11 depicted is known in the trade as righthand valve bag (because of the location of the valve relative to the front face of the bag), and accordingly the bags are loaded into the magazine with the valves at the rear side of the magazine 14 (see FIG. 3).

As the retraction of the bars 74 and the vacuum cups 22 continues, the upper portion of the bag 1 1 is first unfolded from its flattened position in contact with the sidewall. Then as a result of the difference in length of the supporting rods 90, the engagement between the lower end of the opening bar 24 and the sidewall of the bag causes the valve 11a to be pulled open, as illustrated in FIG. 3. In this position, as shown in FIG. 4, the rear pair of suction cups a are in alignment with and just slightly above the filling spout 28" of the background filler 26". Thus, when the handling unit 16 is driven to the other end of the apparatus 10, the filling spout 28 enters the valve 11a which is being positively held open. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the opening bar 24 remains in contact with the sidewall of the bag throughout travel from the magazine 14 to the filler 12, thus positively assuring that inadvertent closure of the valve 11a cannot occur during this time interval. This positive action contributes to the overall reliability of the bag placer 10.

The picker unit 18 also includes a bag-present detector in the form of a wire, the free end of which is located between the suction cups 22a and the opening bar 24. The detector wire 92 is supported on the picker frame 58, and the other end of the wire closes a valve or switch (not shown) when the wire is displaced by the presence of a bag 11. If a bag is not present, the control mechanism 42 causes the picking cycle to be repeated. When retraction of the piston rods 77 of the air cylinder 76 is complete and the detector wire 92 indicates the presence of a bag, the pneumatic control mechanism 42 actuates the doubleacting air cylinder 70 tocause the cylinder rod 71 to be extended. Extension of the cylinder rod 71 pivots the picker unit 18 from the vertical position as shown in FIG. 1 to the horizontal position as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. As soon as the extension of the air cylinder 70 is complete and a signal is received from one of the fillers 26 that it is ready to receive a bag, the control system 42 causes the handling unit 16 to be transported toward the filling apparatus 12.

The handling unit 16 is supported by four parallel links 94 in swinging relation beneath an overhead carriage 96. The carriage 96 slides on a pair of parallel rails 98 of circular cross section which are mounted on the cross beams 36 which extend between the longitudinal beams 34 of the upper subframe 32. As best seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, the rails 98 are appropriately secured to underlying supports 99, which in the illustrated embodimentare of heavy angle iron construction, that are bolted or otherwise affixed to the upper surface of the cross beams 36. The carriage rails 98 are of circular cross section and extend for the major portion of the distance between the righthand pair of columns 38 illustrated in FIG. 1, thus permitting the handling unit 16 to be transported from the magazine 14 to the filling apparatus 12. The carriage 96 includes a frame made up of a pair of laterally extending parallel channels 100 (FIG. 2) which are appropriately interconnected by an underlying longitudinally extending plate and brace substructure 102. Affixed to the undersides of the two lateral channels 100 at each end thereof are four bearing housings 104 which hold bearings that generally surround the upper portions of the rails 98.

The carriage 96 is moved longitudinally along the track provided by the two parallel rails 98 by means of a long pneumatic cylinder 106 which is mounted atop the upper subframe at a location generally above the magazine 14. As seen in FIG. 2, a piston rod 107 extends from the righthand end of the cylinder 106 and is suitably attached to a coupling 108 carried by the carriage and disposed generally below the lefthand lateral channel 100. In FIG. 2, the cylinder rod 107 is shown as it is beginning its travel from the magazine, and complete extension of the cylinder rod 107 drives the carriage 96 to the far end of the track, to the location depicted in broken lines in FIG. 1.

Depending generally centrally from the carriage beams 100 at a location between the bearing housings 104 are a pair of laterally extending support plates 108. Suitably journaled in the support plates 108 and extending longitudinally of the apparatus are a pair of parallel shafts 110 upon which sleeves 112 affixed to the upper ends of the links 94 are disposed. A similar pair of parallel shafts 114 are journaled in the handling unit frame 54, and sleeves 116 affixed to the lower end of the links 94 are disposed upon the shafts 114. A plurality of spacers 118 are also disposed on the shafts 110 and 114 to maintain the desired separation of the sleeves 116 and 118. The sleeves at the upper and lower ends of the links 94 desirably carry bushings to permit the free rotation thereof about the shafts 110 and 114.

To locate the handling unit 16 in the two desired lateral positions and to accomplished the shafting therebetween, a generally horizontally disposed air cylinder 120 is mounted atop the carriage 96 extending laterally generally midway between the parallel lateral beams 100. The blind end of the cylinder 120 is pivotally mounted via a pair of pins 122 to appropriate brackets 124. The free end of the cylinder rod 121 has a clevis 126 threaded thereto which is connected by a pivot pin to an adjustable coupling 128. An operating link 130 has an upper sleeve 132a and a lower sleeve l32b which are respectively disposed about the lefthand pair 'of upper and lower shafts 110, 114 as viewed in FIG. 3. Affixed to the upper sleeve 132a is an upper extension 134 which has a threaded upper end that receives the adjustable coupling 128. Thus, when the double-acting air cylinder 120 is in its extended position, the handling unit 16 is located in the rear position wherein the pair of suction cups 22a are aligned with the filling spout 28' on the background filler 26'. This arrangement is illustrated in FIG. 4 wherein the foreground filler 26" is shown having a valve bag 11 on the spout that is in the process of being filled. However, to illustrate the lateral shifting movement, a broken line illustration is provided that is representative of the retraction of the double-acting air cylinder which shows the shifted alignment of the handling unit 16 that now places the suction cups 22a in alignment with the filling spout 28" on the foreground. filler unit. If desired, an auxiliary cam rod may be suitably attached to the clevis 126 at the end of the double-acting cylinder rod 121, and the cam carried by such a rod may be used to actuate a pair of limit switches (not shown). These limit switches may be employed to provide a signal to the pneumatic control mechanism 42 to positively identify in which lateral position the handling unit 16 is located.

The overall control of the apparatus is via a timing bar 136 that is mounted adjacent the foreground upper rail 98. The timing bar 136 is parallel to the foreground rail upon which the carriage slides and carries five pneumatic switches or valves 140, 142, 144, 146 and 148. All of these switches have upwardly extending roller arms, and they are suitably clamped to the bar 136 in a manner to permit minor adjustment along the length of the bar to achieve the precision of operation desired. The switches are actuated by a laterally extending finger 150 which is mounted to the side of the carriage and which projects over the timing bar 136 to a location where it will engage the rollers. These five switches, in combination with the main pneumatic control mechanism 42, control the complete operation of the apparatus 10.

The far righthand switch 148 (as viewed in FIG. 1) when actuated by the finger 150 on the carriage instigates the control sequence set forth hereinafter. Initially, the air being supplied to the elongated cylinder 106 which drives the carriage 96 is terminated, thereby stopping the carriage with the valve bag 11 in the desired location over the filler spout 28. A small pneu- 1 matic clamping cylinder 152 mounted on the filler 26 is actuated to clamp the bag to the spout. The supply of vacuum to the manifold 86 on the handling unit 16 is also terminated causing the four vacuum clips 22 to lose their grip on the bag, thereby causing the bag to fall to hang vertically from the spout with its lower end disposed atop a tiltable plateform 154 that is a part of the filling apparatus 12. In most fillers of this type, the tiltable pl ateform 154 also incorporates a scale mechanism that is employed to assure the precise amount of material desired is packed into each bag. When the filling of a bag is complete, a short delay occurs while the particulate material is allowed to settle, and the filler may incorporate a device for exhausting some of the dust from the very top of the bag. At the end of this short delay, the platform 154 is tilted rearward and the filled valve bag automatically falls onto a traveling belt conveyor 156 or the like.

As soon as a valve-bag 11 has been placed onto a spout 28, the clamping cylinder 152 is actuated, and the source of vacuum is cut off from the vacuum cups, the carriage is driven back to the magazine. The control system 42 immediately actuates the elongated double-acting cylinder 106 causing the cylinder rod 107 to retract and thereby pull the carriage to the left along the track, as shown in FIG. 1. The switches 142, 144 and 146 are constructed so that they only operate when the roller arm is displaced in a predetermined direction, i.e., either clockwise or counter clockwise. Only the switch 146 is operable upon the return travel of the carriage.

As the carriage 96 begins to travel back toward the magazine, the projecting finger 150 first engages the switch 146 which supplies air to the cylinder causing it to retract and thereby pivot the picker unit 18 of the handling unit 16 to its vertical orientation. Air is also supplied to the ram end of the lateral cylinder however no movement occurs if it is already in its extended condition. If the cylinder 120 should be in its retracted position, as a result of having placed a bag on the foreground filler, it is extended. The central switch 144 and the next switch 142 are only actuated when the roller arms are moved clockwise and thus do not function during the return of the carriage to the magazine.

When the projecting finger 150 engages the rearwardmost switch 140, the supply of high pressure air to the main drive cylinder is terminated thus stopping movement of the carriage, and a shock absorber 158 is used to cushion the stop. The switch also begins the sequence for with-drawing the next bag from the magazine. With the cylinder 70 in its fully retracted position, high pressure air is fed to the twin air cylinders 76 causing their extension and the ultimate pressing of the four suction cups 22 against the forwardmost bag in the magazine. As soon as the cylinder rods 77 are fully extended, so that the vacuum cups 22 are in engagement with the bag 11, the vacuum pump 88 is connected to the vacuum manifold 86 on the picker unit 18 so that all four vacuum cups firmly grip the engaged surfaces of the bag. The high pressure air is removed from the twin air cylinders 76 to retract the pair of bars 74 thus withdrawing the vacuum cups 22 from the front of the-magazine. Withdrawal causes the forwardmost bag 11 to slip under the upper retaining rollers 50 and out from the lower leaf spring 52, thus freeing it from the magazine. As previously indicated, as a result of the location of the opening bar 24, the valve 11a is pulled open and points vertically downward. Inasmuch as there is no further relative movement between the vacuum cups 22 and the opening bar 24 until the valve-bag has been inserted over the spout 28, there is positive insurance that the valve 1 1a will be fully open at the end of the carriage travel at which time the placing of the bag 11 occurs. The bag detector 92 will be moved by the presence of a bag on the picker unit 18, and if for some reason a bag was not picked up, the picking cycle is repeated until a bag 11 is in position for placing.

After the retraction of the twin air cylinders 76 is complete, the handling unit 16 dwells in this position until a signal is received that one of the filler units 26 is ready for a bag. The signal is communicated to the pneumatic control unit 42 from the clamping cylinder 152 of the filler unit. The pneumatic control mechanism 42 begins the forward or placing sequence of the handling unit 16 by supplying high pressure air to the piston end of the main drive cylinder 106 causing the carriage 96 to begin to travel down the track toward the filling-apparatus 12. The projecting finger 150 first engages and rotates counterclockwise the roller arm on the switch 142 which causes high pressure air to be supplied through to the piston end of the air cylinder 70 causing its extension. Extension of the cylinder rod 71 causes the picker unit 18 of the handling unit 16 to pivot 90 to its horizontal orientation. It the signal received by the control unit 42 was from the filling spout 28" of the rearground filler 26" then no lateral shifting of the handling unit 16 is needed. However, if the signal was received from the clamping cylinder 152 of the foreground filler 26', the control circuit is such that (when the projecting finger of the carriage hits the second switch 142) air is supplied to the rod end of the lateral cylinder 120 to retract the rod 121 and laterally shift the handling unit 16 forward to align the bag valve 11a with the spout 28' of the foreground filler 26.

Clockwise movement of the roller arm on the center switch 144 is utilized as a safety feature. If the cylinder 120 is either fully extended or fully retracted, the switch 144 has no effect. However, if the cylinder rod 121 is being retracted and retraction has not been completed for some reason, the supply of air to the main cylinder 106 is discontinued temporarily to halt further travel of the carriage 96 until retraction is complete and the bag valve 11a aligned with the spout 28'.

The next switch 146 is ineffective. At the end of the carriage travel with the valve 11a inserted over the filling spout 28, actuation by the projecting finger 150 of the final switch 148 ends the extension of the main cylinder 106 and thus the movement of the carriage 96 toward the filling apparatus. As previously indicated, the small clamping cylinder 150 on the filler 26' is actuated to clamp the bag 11 to the spout 28' and the source of vacuum is cut off at the manifold 86 thereby disengaging all four vacuum cups 22 from the bag.

The timing is such that the bag placer 10 can effectively return to the magazine 14, withdraw another bag 11 and place it upon one filler while the other filler is completing the filling of the bag disposed thereupon. Thus, as the filled bag, after a short delay for settling, is discharged to the belt conveyor 156, the bag placer 10 has withdrawn another bag from the magazine and is waiting for a signal to place it upon that filling spout. Accordingly, as a result of the design of the bag placer 10, and particularly the positive opening of the valve 110 which is held throughout the carriage travel, the movement can be made rapid enough for the bag placer 10 effectively service a pair of fillers 26.

As previously indicated, the positive opening of the bag is assured by the relative placement of the opening bar 26 between the first and second gripper heads 20. The placement of the vacuum cups on the bag is also important to insure consistent performance. The first gripper 20a engages the upper portion of the bag 11 while the second gripper 20b should engage the sidewall of the bag at the location between about 25 and 50 percent of the distance below the top of the bag to assure that consistent opening of the valve 11a results.

While the application discloses and illustrates the best mode presently contemplated by the inventors, it should be apparent that various modifications such as would be obvious to one having the ordinary skill in the art may be made without departing from the scope of the invention that is set forth in the appended claims. For example, in order to adapt the bag placer 10 for operation with bags having a lefthand valve (which would be loaded into the magazine 14 with the valves adjacent the lefthand side as seen in FIG. 3) several controls are simply reversed so as to have the laterally disposed air cylinder 120 in its retracted condition when the handling unit 16 returns to the magazine. The position of the collars on the pipes 78 that hold the vacuum cups 22 are also reversed so that the suction cups 22a would depend below the suction cups 22b. With such an arrangement, it can be seen that the opening of the bag will be just the same as shown in FIG. 3 except that the bag orientation will be reversed with the lefthand suction cups 22b gripping the upper surface of the bag.

Various features of the invention are set forth in the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for placing bags having a valve at one corner thereof onto a horizontal filler spout for filling with flowable material, which apparatus comprises a magazine for holding a generally horizontal stack of aligned bags with the valve of each bag pointing downward, handling means for removing the bags seriatim from said magazine, said handling means including first gripping means for engaging the forwardmost bag along a vertical edge thereof which constitutes the upper portion of the bag and overlies the valve and second gripping means for engaging the sidewall of the bag, opening means mounted upon said handling means at a location between said first and second gripping means, means for moving said first and second gripping means between extended and retracted positions whereby movement to said retracted position results in engagement between the sidewall of the gripped bag causing the valve to be pulled open and held in the open position, means for pivoting said handling means about from a substantially vertical orientation at which it engages the forwardmost bag in said magazine to a substantially horizontal orientation so that the valve of the engaged bag is pointed horizontally, means for transporting said handling means from a position adjacent said magazine to a position adjacent the filling spout, said first gripping means being located so the spout enters the open valve of the bag during the final travel of said handling means toward the spout, and means for disengaging said first and second gripping means from the bag upon completion of travel toward the filling spout.

2. Apparatus in accordance with claim I wherein said handling means includes a member which supports said first and second gripping means for movement between said extended and retracted positions, which movement occurs in directions normal to said support member, and wherein said opening means includes a bar that is mounted obliquely to said support member with the lower end thereof being spaced farther from said support member.

3. Apparatus in accordance with claim 2 wherein said opening bar lies in a vertical plane.

4. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said first and second gripping means move in parallel directions, and wherein said first gripping means is spaced from said second gripping means a distance equal to between about 25 and 50 percent of the height of the bags.

5. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 for placing bags upon a pair of generally side-by-side filling spouts wherein said handling means is aligned with one of said spouts at the time it removes a bag from the magazine and wherein means is provided for selectively laterally shifting said handling means to align it with the other filling spout.

6. Apparatus in accordance with claim 5 wherein said transporting means includes a carriage, wherein said lateral shifting means includes a plurality of links having horizontal pivot points and extending between said carriage and said handling means, which links support said handling means in depending relation from said carriage and wherein means is provided on said carriage for moving said links over-center between two positions wherein said handling means is at the same vertical level.

7. Apparatus in accordance with claim 6 wherein a fluid-powered cylinder is mounted laterally of said carriage and attached to one of said links whereby movement of said cylinder between extended and retracted positions aligns said first gripping means with a different filling spout.

8. Apparatus for placing valve-equipped bags onto a filler having two horizontally projecting filling spouts, which apparatus comprises a magazine for holding a plurality of valve bags, handling means for gripping the forwardmost bag in said magazine to remove the bags seriatim therefrom, opening means mounted upon said handling means for engaging a gripped bag to open the valve thereof and to hold same open until the bag is disposed upon one of the filling spouts, means for transporting said handling means from a position adjacent said magazine to a position adjacent the filler, and means for laterally shifting said handling means between a first and a second position, said handling means in said first position being aligned both with the bags in said magazine and with one of the filling spouts and in said second position being aligned with the other of the filling spouts, whereby incident to transportation of said handling means the bag carried by said handling means is placed onto the aligned spout at the end of its travel to the filler.

9. Apparatus in accordance with claim 8 wherein said transporting means comprises a carriage movable along a straight track extending generally between said magazine and the tiller and a plurality of pivotable links supporting said handling means in depending relation from said carriage, and wherein said lateral shifting means includes reciprocating means movable between an extended and a retracted position for pivoting one of said links to thereby shift said handling means between said first and second positions.

10. Apparatus in accordance with claim 9 wherein means is provided for halting movement of said carriage toward the filler at a predetermined location along said track if, at that time, said handling means is not in either said first position or said second position.

UNITED STATES PATENT ()FFECE CERTEFECATE 0i fiQRECTiN Patent No. 3,715,858 Dated February 13, 1973 1 Will G. Durant and David C, Ball It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 6, line 55, cancel "accomplished the shafting" and insert -accomplishjthe shafting-.

3 Column 7, lines 56 and 58, correct the spelling of platform".

Column 9, line 58, insert --to before "effectivelyfi,

Column 10, line 45, after "b ag", insert and said opening means-.

Signed and sealed this 5th day of February 1974.

(SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD M.FLETCHER,JR. RENE D. TEGTMEYER Attesting Officer Acting Commissioner of Patents FORM PC3-1050 (112 591) USCOMM-DC we're-P69 I Q LLS. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE I959 0-368-334.

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/573, 53/386.1, 53/64, 141/68
International ClassificationB65B43/26
Cooperative ClassificationB65B43/262
European ClassificationB65B43/26B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 4, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: STONE CONTAINER CORPORATION
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:STONE BROWN PAPERS, INC., A DE CORP., (MERGED INTO);REEL/FRAME:004893/0167
Effective date: 19861222
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNORS:STONE CONTAINER CORPORATION, A CORP. OF IL, (MERGED INTO);S.C.C. MERGER CORPORATION, A CORP. OF DE, (CHANGED TO);REEL/FRAME:004893/0153
Effective date: 19870515
Oct 28, 1986ASAssignment
Owner name: CHAMPION INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:ST. REGIS CORPORATION 1/28/85;REEL/FRAME:004679/0807
Effective date: 19850128
Owner name: STONE BROWN PAPER, INC., A CORP. OF DE.
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:CHAMPION INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, A CORP.OF N.Y.;REEL/FRAME:004680/0410
Effective date: 19860707