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Publication numberUS3729636 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 24, 1973
Filing dateSep 3, 1971
Priority dateSep 3, 1971
Also published asDE2236218A1
Publication numberUS 3729636 A, US 3729636A, US-A-3729636, US3729636 A, US3729636A
InventorsS Merker
Original AssigneeBrown & Williamson Tobacco
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System for detecting loose tobacco at cigarette ends
US 3729636 A
Abstract
A system is provided for detecting loose ends of cigarettes either at the discharge end of a cigarette maker or filter tip attachment machine or at the entrance of a cigarette packaging machine. This system includes a probe in the form of a split fiber optics bundle located adjacent a conveyor or other transport means for cigarettes which travel along the conveyor with their axes substantially normal to the direction of travel of the conveyor. The fibers of the bundle are divided randomly and one branch extends to a light source and the other to a detector. In this fashion, light will be directed from the probe towards the tobacco end of the traveling cigarettes. The reflected light is transmitted through the other branch to the detector which is coupled with a bridge circuit for measuring the level of intensity of the reflected light. This circuit will not respond to the higher intensity light level of an acceptable firmly packed cigarette end. However, the reflected light will be substantially reduced if the tobacco in the cigarette end is loose or cavitated. When a loose cigarette end is detected, either a memory circuit or wheel is actuated in order that the cigarette having the detected loose end will be eventually rejected by an ejection mechanism.
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United States atent 1 Merker SYSTEM FOR DETECTING LOOSE TOBACCO AT CIGARETTE ENDS [75] Inventor: Steve L. Merker, Louisville, Ky.

[73] Assignee: Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, Louisville, Ky.

[22] Filed: Sept. 3, 1971 [21] Appl.No.: 177,627

[52] U.S. Cl ..250/223 R, 250/219 DF, 209/1 11.7, 131/21 R [51] Int. Cl. ..G0ln 15/08 [58] Field of Search ..250/22 1 222, 223, 250/223 R, 227, 219 DF; 131/21 R; 209/1 1 1.7

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,473,037 10/1969 Schmermund ..250/222 X 3,305,689 2/1967 Leavy, Jr. et 211.. .....250/227 2,524,929 10/1950 Razek ..25()/223 B 3,192,389 6/1965 Schmermund. v250/222 R 2,410,104 10/1946 Rainey ..250/227 Primary Examiner-Walter Stolwein Att0rney-David S. Kane et a1.

[4 1 Apr. 24,1973

[57] ABSTRACT A system is provided for detecting loose ends of cigarettes either at the discharge end of a cigarette maker or filter tip attachment machine or at the entrance of a cigarette packaging machine. This system includes a probe in the form of a split fiber optics bundle located adjacent a conveyor or other transport means for cigarettes which travel along the conveyor with their axes substantially normal to the direction of travel of the conveyor. The fibers of the bundle are di vided randomly and one branch extends to a light source and the other to a detector. In this fashion, light will be directed from the probe towards the tobacco end of the traveling cigarettes. The reflected light is transmitted through the other branch to the de tector which is coupled with a bridge circuit for measuring the level of intensity of the reflected light. This circuit will not respond to the higher intensity light level of an acceptable firmly packed cigarette end. However, the reflected light will be substantially reduced if the tobacco in the cigarette end is loose or cavitated. When a loose cigarette end is detected, either a memory circuit or wheel is actuated in order that the cigarette having the detected loose end will be eventually rejected by an ejection mechanism.

6 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures Bil/VD]. E

Patented April 24, 1973 3,729,636

2 Sheets-Sheet 2 F/GZ E/VD

(YEA/PETE RECORDER INVENTOR. 5751/; 1. men/15;?

ATTORNEYS SYSTEM FOR DETECTING LOOSE TOBACCO AT CIGARETTE ENDS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Loose tobacco or cavitation at the ends of cigarettes are a continuous problem in cigarette manufacturing. The presence of such cigarettes obviously results in an inferior product. In addition, the presence of such cigarettes contribute greatly to waste in that present SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention proposes to optically examine a cigarette end. Light is directed towards the cigarette end and reflected therefrom towards a detector. The intensity of the light reflected is a function of the quality of the cigarette end. Thus, the intensity of light reflected is measured on each cigarette before packing and the defective cigarettes are individually rejected.

Thus, a principal object of the present invention is to optically examine a cigarette end without mechanical contact and ifa defective cigarette is detected, it will be individually rejected.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic and fragmentary plane view of cigarettes being transported on a conveyor either at the discharge end of a cigarette making machine or a filter tip attachment machine or the entrance end of a cigarette packaging machine or at any location therebetween with a detection system shown associated with the cigarette transport for optically measuring the intensity of light reflected from the individual cigarette ends in order that a defective cigarette may be detected and individually ejected before packaging;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged diagrammatic view showing the reflection of light from an acceptable firm cigarette end;

FIG. 3 is a similar diagrammatic view showing the reflective light from a loose or cavitated cigarette end; and

FIG. 4 is a circuit diagram of an exemplary bridge circuit which responds to the intensity of the reflected light for actuating a reject mechanism for ejecting a detected defective cigarette.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS In the drawings, an optical detection system 10 is shown associated with a conveyor 12 or other suitable cigarette transport means. This transport means 12 may be located at the discharge end ofa cigarette making machine 14 or filter tip attachment machine or at the entrance end of a cigarette packaging machine 16 or at any suitable location therebetween. For that matter, the transport means may be part of the maker 14 or packer 16. The individual cigarettes 18 travel on the conveyor 12 substantially as shown with their longitudinal axis being disposed substantially normal to the path of travel of the conveyor. It will be assumed, for purposes of the present discussion, that the cigarettes 18 are of the filter tip variety with their tobacco ends being disposed adjacent the detection system 10. However, it should be understood that should non-filter tip cigarettes be transported for packing by the packer 16, another detection system may be utilized for detecting the condition of the other end of the traveling cigarettes.

The detection system 10 includes a probe 20 mounted alongside the conveyor 12 and adjacent the tobacco ends of the cigarettes 18. This probe comprises a fiber optics bundle which is split randomly into branches 22and-24. A suitable light source or lamp 26 is located at the end of branch 22 and is electrically coupled with a suitable and selected power source 28.

The end of the branch 24 is adjacent a detector 30 of the type well known in the art. This detector is electrically coupled with bridge circuitry 32 which may be a typical Wheatstone circuit shown in FIG. 4. This circuit responds to the intensity of light sensed by detector 30 which may initiate any one of several actions should a defective cigarette be detected. In this connection, the presence of the defective cigarette may be recorded on the strip chart recorder 34 and/or a reject mechanism 36 may be actuated to eject the defective cigarette from the conveyor 12. This reject mechanism 36 may be of any known type which may either mechanically remove the defective cigarette from the conveyor 12 or remove it by an air blast. The operation of the reject mechanism 36 may be synchronized with the travel of the cigarettes 18 on the conveyor 12 and the location of the probe 20 by any one of many known timing mechanisms or circuitry. For example, a timing wheel well known to the tobacco industry art may be employed.

A cigarette with a firm end would return a high level of light (see FIG. 2) while a loose end would return a somewhat lower level of light (see FIG. 3). This lower level was caused by the increase in distance between the probe and the tobacco and the increase in scattering caused by a more porous and uneven surface. The bridge circuit 32 which is initially placed in a balanced condition produces a measurable signal when a defective cigarette is detected. This signal is, of course, employed to trigger the reject mechanism 36. These rejection signals are generated on the basis of variations from a standard sine wave. For this reason, dark spaces between cigarettes are not critical in that the ejection mechanism will simply be operating on a blank space. It should be kept in mind that a timing mechanism or position sensor could be used to instruct the apparatus when to sample.

In a successful embodiment of the invention, the fiber optics bundle possessed a diameter approximately equal to that of the traveling cigarettes. Of course, this may be varied, particularly decreased if need be and the cross-section of the bundle may assume a configuration other than circular. Similarly, while a Y-form of split fiber optics bundle is disclosed, it is not necessarily required and other probe forms may be employed. The Y-form probe offers the advantage of permitting both signal and detection with a single fiber bundle.

The system disclosed herein has equal applicability to detecting missing filters of filter tip cigarettes or other defects at this end.

Although several preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed and described in detail herein, it should be understood that this invention is in no sense limited thereby and its scope is to be determined by that of the appended claims.

I claim:

1. A system for detecting defective ends of cigarettes comprising:

conveyor means having an axis for conveying cigarettes in a direction substantially normal to the longitudinal axis of the cigarettes thereon;

a probe in the form ofa split fiber optics bundle having one consolidated end adjacent the conveying means and cigarettes thereon and at which the fibers are divided randomly and its other end split into a pair of divergent branches, the probe consolidated end having an approximate cross sectional size in order of that of a cigarette;

means for mounting the probe consolidated end adjacent the ends of the cigarettes traveling on the conveyor so that the fibers of the probe consolidated end are substantially parallel to the iongitudinal axis of such cigarettes and normal to the axis of the conveying means;

a light source adjacent the end of one of the fiber optics branches;

means for connecting the light source to an electrical power supply;

a detector adjacent the end of the other fiber optics branch; and

response means for responding to the light intensity detected by the detector, whereby light from the light source is transmitted through the one branch to the consolidated end and is'directed against the adjacent ends of the traveling cigarettes, light reflected from the ends of the traveling cigarettes is transmitted from the consolidated end to the other branch and is directed to the detector, the intensity of the light reflected and sensed by the detector causes the response means to respond thereto in such a manner that defective ends of the traveling cigarettes will be distinguished from acceptable ends of such cigarettes.

2. The invention in accordance with claim 1 wherein the conveyor is at the discharge end of a cigarette maker.

3. The invention in accordance with claim 1 wherein the conveyor is at the discharge end ofa cigarette filter tip attachment machine.

4. The invention in accordance with claim 1 wherein the conveyor is at the entrance end of a cigarette packaging machine.

5. The invention in accordance with claim I wherein the response means includes a bridge circuit for responding to the level of intensity of the reflected light sensed by the detector.

6. The invention in accordance with claim 1 wherein the response means includes a cigarette rejection mechanism for ejecting cigarettes having defective ends.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2410104 *Aug 27, 1942Oct 29, 1946Fed Telephone & Radio CorpLight directing device
US2524929 *Feb 21, 1946Oct 10, 1950Wm S Scull CompanyPhotoelectric method and apparatus for testing vacuum conditions in containers
US3192389 *Mar 1, 1962Jun 29, 1965Alfred SchmermundPhotoelectric feeler alignment device for checking packs of elongated articles
US3305689 *Jun 26, 1963Feb 21, 1967Sanders Associates IncElectro-optical signal converter system
US3473037 *Mar 8, 1966Oct 14, 1969Alfred SchmermundApparatus for checking blocks of cigarettes by optically imaging their ends upon a matrix of photocells which conforms to a normal image
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3818223 *Mar 8, 1973Jun 18, 1974Liggett & Myers IncDevice for detecting carbon on cigarette filter tips
US3980567 *Mar 18, 1975Sep 14, 1976Amf IncorporatedOptical cigarette end inspection method and device
US4011950 *Sep 19, 1975Mar 15, 1977Gallaher LimitedCigarette monitoring apparatus
US4208578 *Jan 18, 1978Jun 17, 1980Gallaher LimitedOptical inspection apparatus
US4267444 *Mar 14, 1979May 12, 1981Maschinenfabrik Alfred Schmermund Gmbh & Co.Device for examining the degree of filling of a cigarette
US4307963 *Nov 24, 1976Dec 29, 1981Molins LimitedCigarette end testing
US4376484 *Mar 20, 1981Mar 15, 1983G.D. Societa Per AzioniDevice for checking the soundness of the cigarettes in a packeting machine
US4445520 *Feb 8, 1982May 1, 1984Philip Morris IncorporatedCigarette detection and rejection device
US4486098 *Feb 23, 1982Dec 4, 1984Hauni-Werke Korber & Co. KgMethod and apparatus for testing the ends of cigarettes or the like
US4496055 *Sep 28, 1982Jan 29, 1985Molins PlcApparatus for forming groups of cigarettes
US4644152 *Dec 3, 1984Feb 17, 1987Sasib S.P.A.Checking device for cigarette groups
US4707652 *Oct 31, 1985Nov 17, 1987Philip Morris IncorporatedImpurity detector measuring parallel polarized scattered electromagnetic radiation
US5009322 *Apr 5, 1988Apr 23, 1991Focke & Co. (Gmbh & Co.)Process and apparatus for checking/separating out cigarettes
US5235649 *Jun 13, 1991Aug 10, 1993Videk CorporationCigarette inspection method
US5406376 *Jan 26, 1993Apr 11, 1995Korber AgApparatus for testing end portions of rod-shaped articles of the tobacco processing industry
US5419441 *Oct 8, 1993May 30, 1995United States Surgical CorporationNeedle blank sorting apparatus
US6407807 *May 10, 2000Jun 18, 2002Focke & Co. (Gmbh & Co.)Method and apparatus for testing cigarette heads
US7793664Jun 28, 2006Sep 14, 2010Tews Elektronik Dipl.-Ing. Manfred TewsApparatus and method for detection and segregation of faulty cigarettes
US20070000503 *Jun 28, 2006Jan 4, 2007Rainer HerrmannApparatus and method for detection and segregation of faulty cigarettes
US20140104603 *Oct 14, 2013Apr 17, 2014Seagate Technology LlcFeature detection with light transmitting medium
CN102431668A *Sep 29, 2010May 2, 2012中国科学院沈阳自动化研究所On-line detection and rejection device for cigarette packaging machine to reject cigarette
CN102431668BSep 29, 2010Dec 25, 2013中国科学院沈阳自动化研究所On-line detection and rejection device for cigarette packaging machine to reject cigarette
DE3110927A1 *Mar 20, 1981Dec 24, 1981Gd SpaVorrichtung zur kontrolle der unversehrtheit von zigaretten in einer verpackungsmaschine
Classifications
U.S. Classification250/223.00R, 209/536, 131/908, 131/283
International ClassificationG01N21/94, A24C5/34
Cooperative ClassificationG01N21/94, A24C5/3412, G01N21/952, Y10S131/908
European ClassificationG01N21/94, A24C5/34B