US 3722663 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Nalbach 1 Mar. 27, 1973 STABILIZING APPARATUS FOR LIGHTWEIGHT CONTAINERS John C. Nalbach, La Grange Park, Ill.
John R.' Nalbach Engineering Company, Inc., Chicago, Ill.
Filed: June 14, 1971 Appl. No.: 152,672
U.S. Cl ..l98/l60, 198/189 Int. Cl. U. ..B65g 15/58, 865g 17/06 Field of Search ..198/19, 29, 160, 189, 227
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Cope Clark ..l98/29 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 244,995 12/1962 Australia ..l98/l60 Primary ExaminerEdward A. Sroka Att0rney-Lettvin & Gerstman  ABSTRACT An aerosol container filling line for use with lightweight aluminum aerosol containers. The line includes an intermittently and linearly movable conveyor having pairs of upstanding pins located thereon for engaging a lower portion of the container and moving it along the line to and past various operating stations. A
pair of longitudinally extending brushes are mounted to the production line on both sides of the conveyor and are adapted and arranged to engage the sides ofv the container at a position between the conveyor surface and the top of the pins so as to prevent the container from toppling rearwardly as the line begins to move from its stopped position.
4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEDHAR271975 3 5 INVENTOR 54 JOH/V c. NALBACH BY 50 42 MM A6422 ATORNEYS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION a linear conveyor which moves the empty containers progressively through a series of stations at which various operations such as purging of the container, filling the container with liquid, crimping, gas charging, and pressure checking is performed. The conveyor moves the container to a position aligned with a station at which point the conveyor is stopped so that the operation may be performed. The conveyor is then restarted to move or index the container to the next station for the performance of the next operation, and so on.
In existing apparatus, the empty containers are fed onto the conveyor belt by means of an infeed timing screw. which controls the feeding and spacing of the containers onto the conveyor. These conveyors have been designed to provide a high-speed operation when using steel containers by having the containers, as they are fed onto the conveyor, engaged by a pair of transversly aligned pins which move the container with the conveyor. These pusher pins are of a height adapted to stabilize the container when the conveyor is indexed.
Recent product developments have demanded lightweight packages and as a result aluminum containers (known in the trade as Peerless tubes) have become popular. It has been shown to be desirable to use these aluminum tubes in production lines substantially the same as have been used with these steel containers; however, it has been found that when these tubes are used with existing conveyors the forces acting upon the aluminum container when the conveyor is indexed are sufficient to cause the container to totter or even to topple. One suggestion for increasing stability has been to use very long pins which would engage a substantial length of the container. However, if this were done it would require a substantial space between containers on the conveyor, since the increased length of the pins would interfere with the timing of the entry of the containers onto the conveyor. This increased spacing would decrease the efficiency of the line and hence increase the cost of manufacture.
A second suggestion has been to reduce the speed of the conveyor so as to reduce the forces and thereby increase the containers stability. This approach has the samedisadvantage in that the cost of producing the container would be significantly increased.
The present solution has been to utilize a conveyor having an annularly shaped ring (known in the trade as ever, the cost of this labor is a significant factor in the production ofthe aerosol products.
Thus the problem as to providing an aerosol packaging production line having a conveyor which can accommodate a light-weight container with little if any increase in production costs had yet to be provided.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION There is provided by means of the invention described and claimed herein, a production line having a conveyor capable of operating at high speed for'moving light-weight aerosol containers which does not require the manual insertion and removal of the containers from the conveyor; moreover, by virtue of this invention existing lines may be readily modified so as to accommodate the light-weight containers.
The concept embodied in this invention is to provide a means for applying a force to the lower portion of the container in a direction opposite to the forces applied thereto when the conveyor begins to move. These reaction forces can be applied in one embodiment by means of a pair of brushes which extend in a direction parallel to the direction of movement of the conveyor with the bristles extending and engaging the sides of the container. The interaction of the brushes with the container provides a force sufficient to prevent the container from tottering or toppling due to the forces applied to the container during the initial start-up movement of the conveyor. In other words, the brushes yieldably urge the container against the pusher pins so as to permit the container to move down the length of the production line and be retained against the pins during the first movements of the conveyor.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a diagramatic plan view of theaerosol packaging line;
FIG. 2 is a broken away diagramatic perspective view, showing a container held in position by means of a pair of pusher pins and the brushes;
' FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along and in the direction of line 3-3 in the direction andas shown in FIG. 2, depicting the mounting of the brushes to the production line; and 7 FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternative conveyor arrangement.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring first to FIG. 1, there is shown an aerosol packaging production line 10, generally. In viewing both Figures it will be seen that the empty containers are fed from the infeed transfer disc 12 into an infeed timing screw 14. As the empty containers exit the timing screw 14 the containers are disposed upon a conveyor 16, generally, which moves them through-a series of stations, described hereinafter, to an exit position 18. The conveyor moves the empty container to a purging or cleaning station 20, at which point the conveyor stops so as to permit the cleaning and purging of the empty container. The conveyor then moves the cleaned container to aliquid filling station 22, at which point the liquid to be dispensed from the container is charged into the empty container.
The conveyor is then restarted andthe filled container is 'moved to a crimping station 24, at which point the valve stem and cup are fitted to the open-topped container; the closed container is then moved from the crimping station to the propellant charging station 26, where the closed container is charged with the appropriate propellant and from there the container is moved to a pressure checking station 28.
Referring now to FIG. 2, one container 30 is shown in position on a conveyor and moving down the conveyor line in the direction shown by the arrow. From this Figure it can be seen that the empty containers are laterally restrained by means of a set of guiderails 34, 36, 38 and 40, and are supported on the plate like conveyor 42. From this view only one pair of pusher pins 44 and 46 can be seen. The pusher pins 44 and 46 are shown mounted to a conveyor plate member 48. The
movement along the line and restrains its lateral movement.
A pair of longitudinally extending strip brushes 60 general practice it is easier to manufacture the machine and 62, are mounted to the underside of the lower I I guiderails 36 and 40. The bristles of the brushes extend inwardly toward one another so as to engage the lower portion of the container 30. In the preferred embodiment the brushes 60 and 62 contact the container at a position below the top of the guide pins 44 and 46, but above the conveyor surface. It will be appreciated from this'view, that without the strip brushes engaging the container; the forces applied during indexing to the lower portion of the container 30 would cause the lower portion to move forwardly with respect to the upper portion of the container and cause it to topple backwardly over the pins 44 and 46, totter, or perhaps fall forwardly with respect to the pins 44 and 46. However, the action of the brushes 60 and 62 on the lower portion of the container stabilizes the container and maintains it'in an'upright position notwithstanding the initial movement of the lower portionof the container.
Withregard to the brushes themselves, the only limitations that have been found are that the brushes not be so stiff as to mar or scratch the surface finish of the container nor so soft or flexible as not to exert the stabilizing force on the container.
The brushes 60 and 62 are shown mounted to the lower'guide-rail 36 and 40 in FIG. 3. The guiderail 36 is in turn mounted to a laterally adjustable support rod 64. The upright support 66 carries the rails 34 and 36 as described while the upright 68 carries the rails 38 and 40. A simple gripping device 70 which comprises the container 30. Mirror image brush gripping means I are provided on the opposite side of the conveyor.
The brushes 60 and 62 extend the full length of the conveyor for ease of manufacture and to permit the operation or cycling of the production line with empty containers. It will be appreciated that the brushes need only extend for the length of the line during which the container is empty. Since once the container is filled,
the reaction forces exhibited b the brushes may no longer be necessary. Thus, asi e from-the matter of convenience the brushes need not extend past perhaps the liquid filling station 22. However, as a matter of and to utilize it in empty runs with the brushes extending the full length of the line. I
Referring to the brushes themselves, it will be appreciated that this invention is not limited to brushes, but is intended to cover any yieldable method of applying force-against the lower portion of the container tube so as to present a reactive force against the sides of the container sufficient to retain the container against the pusher pins.
The conveyor as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 is a plurality of table-type links 48 to which the pins 44 and 46 are threadably engaged. The invention herein contem plates the use of many different types of conveyor arrangements. FIG. 4 depicts an open-top link type conveyor in which the pins 76 and 78 are formed integral with the links 80 and 82respectively, and may be a unitary stamping.
Although this specification discloses the use of this invention in conjunction with an aerosol container filling production line it isunderstood that it is useful in any production line where lightweight containers (for example, plastic bottles) are moved .on an indexing and substantially linear conveyor.
It will be appreciated that numerous changes and modifications can be made to the embodiment disclosed herein without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention.
What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. A production line which includes an indexing and substantially linearly movable conveyor which supports and arranged to engage opposite sides of said container.
2. A production line as in claim 1 wherein said container engaging means includes a plurality of pairs of upstanding pusher pins.
3. A production line as in claim 2 wherein said means are mounted to said production line between the plane defined conveyor surface and the plane defined by the tops ofthe pusher pins. I
4. A production line as in claim 1 wherein said brush means comprise longitudinally extending strip brushes.