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Publication numberUS3732966 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 15, 1973
Filing dateOct 19, 1970
Priority dateOct 19, 1970
Also published asCA944780A, CA944780A1, DE2151424A1
Publication numberUS 3732966 A, US 3732966A, US-A-3732966, US3732966 A, US3732966A
InventorsTreiber F
Original AssigneeHobart Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Packaging apparatus
US 3732966 A
Abstract
Packaging apparatus for conveying freshly wrapped packages to a weighing scale, computing the price of the weighed package, printing a label with the computed price and applying the printed label to the weighed package. The main carriage for moving the packages through the apparatus is actuated by a cam and linkage mechanism which imparts a translational movement to the carriage so that indexing through the machine is accomplished by a series of lifting, carrying and depositing movements. The conveyor which loads the packages into the apparatus has a series of package actuated limit switches associated therewith which act in conjunction with a limit switch associated with the drive shaft of the indexing carriage so that the loading conveyor is actuated only when a package is present on the conveyor and the carriage is in position to receive the package from the conveyor. Another limit switch controlled by the drive shaft delays the transfer of information from the computer associated with the system to the printing mechanism until the package to be labelled is in the proper position for labelling. A main cam mounted on the drive shaft not only provides vertical and horizontal indexing movement to the carriage but also lifts and lowers the labelling head, operates a bellows for alternately applying suction and an air blast to a label carried by the labelling head and operates a pressure roller positioned downstream of the labelling head to apply pressure to the freshly applied label. Normally, all of the three main sections of the apparatus are enclosed in a guard tunnel, including the weighing section, and in this regard the guard tunnel for the weighing section is attached directly to the scale platform so that if an article too large to be conveyed through the tunnel is to be weighed and labelled it may be placed on top of the tunnel and the labelling accomplished semi-automatically. In order to provide positive control of a printed label as it is conveyed from the printer to the labelling head a series of endless belts are provided which not only positively engage the labels and convey them to the labelling head but impart a series of corrugations in a label to stiffen it and facilitate its insertion into the labelling head.
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United States Patent [191 Treiber [54] PACKAGING APPARATUS [75] Inventor: Fritz F. Treiber, Centerville, Ohio [73] Assignee: The Hobart Manufacturing Company, Troy, Ohio [22] Filed: Oct. 19, 1970 [21] Appl. No.: 81,716

Primary Examiner-Richard E. Aegerter A tro r z ey Marechal, Biebel, French and Bugg 57] ABSTRACT Packaging apparatus for conveying freshly wrapped packages to a weighing scale, computing the price of the weighed package, printing a label with the computed price and applying the printed label to the weighed package. The main carriage for moving the packages through the apparatus is actuated by a cam and linkage mechanism which imparts a translational movement to the carriage so that indexing through the machine is accomplished by a series of lifting, carrying 36 34 o 38 42 so 52 [451 May 15, 1973 and depositing movements. The conveyor which loads the packages into the apparatus has a series of package actuated limit switches associated therewith which act in conjunction with a limit switch associated with the drive shaft of the indexing carriage so that the loading conveyor is actuated only when a package is present on the conveyor and the carriage is in position to receive the package from the conveyor. Another limit switch controlled by the drive shaft delays the transfer of information from the computer associated with the system to the printing mechanism until the package to be labelled is in the proper position for labellingv A main cam mounted on the drive shaft not only provides vertical and horizontal indexing movement to the carriage but also lifts and lowers the labelling head, operates a bellows for alternately applying suction and an air blast to a label carried by the labelling head and operates a pressure roller positioned downstream of the labelling head to apply pressure to the freshly applied label. Normally, all of the three main sections of the apparatus are enclosed in a guard tunnel, including the weighing section, and in this regard the guard tunnel for the weighing section is attached directly to the scale platform so that if an article too large to be conveyed through the tunnel is to V be weighed and labelled it may be placed on top of the tunnel and the labelling accomplished semi-automati' cally. in order to provide positive control of a printed label as it is conveyed from the printer to the labelling head a series of endless belts are provided which not only positivel ergage the labels and convey them to the labelling ea but impart a series of corrugations in a label to stiffen it and facilitate its insertion into the labelling head.

11 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PATEMEU rm 1 51m SHEET 1 [IF 7 INVENTOR FRITZ F. TREIBER A TTORNEYS tat/32966 PATENTED MAY] 5l973 SHEET 2 [IF 7 PAIENTE MAY 1 51975 SHEET U [1F 7 FIG-6 PATENTEDHAYII 5197s SHEET 8 [IF I OOZP-OCOJ PACKAGING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In the packaging of items such as meat, produce and other super market items it is conventional to provide equipment which conveys a freshly wrapped package to a weighing scale, computes the price of the item in accordance with its measured weight, prints a label with the computed price and then applies the printed label to the weighed package. For example, US. Pat. Nos. 3,323,634; 3,339,706; 3,353,653; and 3,394,792 all disclose apparatus of this general type.

In most prior art packaging apparatus, however, the package is usually conveyed by either sliding it or rolling it through the machine with all of the various drive and indexing mechanism powered by a variety of cams, switches, and the like. The fact that the packages are usually slid upon the weighing station will to some extent decrease the possible speed obtainable with apparatus of this type. Thus, the sliding of the package onto the scale will tend to set up vibrations which must be allowed to dampen out before an accurate weight measurement can be taken. Additionally, particularly with heavier items, it is difficult to control accurately the force necessary to slide the packages through the machine so that the packages often over-shoot their mark or require additional stop mechanism.

It will also be noted that a continuing source of difficulty in machines of this type is the proper feeding of the articles to be labelled through the machine one item at a time and the need to maintain the articles properly spaced and accurately positioned at each of the stations through the machine. Thus, despite intensive development efforts in this area it will be seen that a need still exists for high speed apparatus for expeditously conveying and indexing packages through packaging apparatus of this type.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention the main carrier for transferring packages through the apparatus comprises a series of elongated bars which are mounted for translational movement so that each individual package is picked up at the loading end of the machine and indexed in a series of intermittent steps from a loading end to a scale, from the scale to a positioning station and thence past a label application station. A computor associated with the scale and a printer computes a price for the article in accordance with its measured weight and transmits the information to the printer. Upon receipt of a triggering signal the printer prints the computed price on a label and conveying mechanism conveys the label to a labelling head. A series of positioning rollers then position the article to be labelled so that when it is indexed to the labelling station it is properly positioned with respect to the labelling head.

Since the packages are positively lifted and carried from station to station there is no necessity of attempting to slide the packages through the system, thereby permitting much faster operating speeds since, in depositing the package on the scale of the weighing station, the time necessary to allow vibrations to dampen is appreciably shorned. It will also be apparent that there is no danger in packages overshooting their mark while they are being carried through the machine by the indexing carriage.

In accordance with a further feature of the invention the loading conveyor is controlled by a series of limit switches mounted on the conveyor and a second limit switch actuated by the main drive shaft. A package moving onto the loading conveyor trips the limit switches and, if the indexing carriage is in the proper position to receive a package, the loading conveyor is activated and loads a package onto a fast moving conveyor which acts to space the packages from each other and deposit the packages onto the indexing carriage. At this point the packages are picked up and moved through the machine in a series of intermittent steps as described above.

A third limit switch actuated by the main drive shaft controls the release of information from the computer to the printing head so that the transfer of this information is delayed until the package weighed is indexed to a position downstream of the weighing station. Immediately downstream of the weighing station the positioning rollers drive a package received from the weighing station against a stop to positively position it so that when the indexing carriage moves the package to the label applying station it is correctly positioned with respect to the labelling head.

To provide the accuracy necessary with a high speed machine of this type a series of endless belts are provided which positively engage a printed label and convey it from the printing head to the labelling head. As the label is so conveyed the endless belts cooperate with grooves formed in a guide chute to form a series of corrugations in the label to stiffen it and facilitate its insertion into the labelling head. Positioned downstream of the labelling head is a pressure roller which contacts the freshly applied label and presses it securely onto the package.

It should also be noted that the pressure roller, the labelling head, the endless belts for conveying the label from the printer to the labelling head, the drive for the positioning rollers, the drive for the indexing carriage, and the drive for the spacing and loading conveyors are all taken from a common main drive shaft. In this way, not only are the various actuating mechanism simpli fied but they may be automatically synchronized with respect to each other for synchronous movement of a package through the machine.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 of the drawings is a front elevational view of packaging apparatus in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view thereof;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged elevational view of a portion of the structure of FIG. 1 with parts broken away for clar- FIG. 10 is a partial elevational view showing a modified form of the invention; and

FIG. 11 is another partial elevational view showing another modification.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS With reference initially to FIG. I of the drawings, it will be seen that packaging apparatus in accordance with the present invention comprises, essentially, a loading and spacing station 10, a weighing station 12 and a label printing and applying station 14. Feeding and removing conveyors l6 and 18, respectively, of conventional construction may also be provided for delivering packages to the apparatus of the present invention and removing them therefrom. Each of the three stations is provided with a tunnel like cover as at 20, 22 and 24, and packages delivered by the feed conveyor 16 are properly positioned and spaced in the loading station 10, weighed at the weighing station 12, and then carried to the printing and labelling station 14. A computer 26 computes the price of the article being weighed, based upon its weight and some predetermined price per unit of weight, and stores this information for future use. Thereafter, this information is transferred to the printer 28 which prints the computed price and usually the weight and price per unit of weight on the label. A conveyor 30 then conveys the printed label from the printer 28 to a labelling head for application to the weighed package. The labelled package is then ejected from the printing and labelling station to the receiving conveyor 18 for movement to some desired location.

Turning now to FIGS. 3, 4, and of the drawings, it will be seen that the loading station includes a pair of spaced, parallel rollers 32 and 34, suitably grooved to receive a plurality of endless belts 36, with the upper and lower horizontal reaches of the belts 36 extending in substantially coplaner, spaced, parallel relationship to each other to provide, collectively, a loading conveyor. Immediately downstream of the loading conveyor a spacing conveyor is defined by a plurality of endless belts 38 received in complimentary grooves formed in a drive roller 40 and a plurality of pulleys 42 with the upper and lower horizontal reaches of the belts 38 positioned in substantially coplaner, spaced, parallel relationship to each other. A pair of support rods 44 and 46 carry a plurality of spaced parallel gusset plates 48 each of which journal the pulleys 42 and a series of idler rollers 50, while at their downstream ends the plates 48 mount a series of spaced parallel package receiving bars 52.

The weighing station 12, in addition to appropriate measuring equipment which may be of conventional construction, includes a weight responsive platform 54 bearing a plurality of spaced parallel upstanding ribs 56. The ribs 56 are thus in a position in which they can receive a package on the discontinuous surface formed by their upper portions and transmit the weight of the package to the weighing platform 54.

Immediately downstream of the weighing station 12 a positioning conveyor is defined by a series of spaced parallel rollers 58 positioned in substantial alignment with the upstanding ribs 56 and provided adjacent their upstream ends with a plurality of pulleys 60. Supporting plates 62 of inverted L-shape, as seen in FIG. 3, are mounted at the station 14 by means of spaced supporting rods 64 and 66 passing through the distal ends of the supporting plates 62. Each of the plates 62 carries, adjacent the upstream ends thereof, a pair of bearing brackets 68 in which the rollers 58 are journalled. The rollers 58 are driven, by means to be described below, in a direction such as to convey an article placed thereon toward the rail 70 which thus forms a positioning stop.

From the above it will be seen that the downstream ends of the endless belts 38, the rollers 50, bars 52, upstanding ribs 56, rollers 58 and supports bars 62 therefor, together defined a series of parallel, uniformly spaced slots extending from adjacent the upstream end of the apparatus to the downstream end thereof. In these slots so defined are positioned a series of spaced, parallel, elongated bars 72, each carrying a plurality of upstanding package engaging fingers 74 mounted at regular intervals thereon and in substantial alignment with each other. The bars '72 collectively define an indexing carriage for transfering packages through the packaging apparatus of the present invention in a series of intermittent steps to be described in detail below.

The outermost bars 72 of the indexing carriage are each provided with a pair of downwardly depending bracket plates 76. Each of the plates 76, as best seen in FIGS. 3 and 7 of the drawings, journal a pair of rollers 78 and 80 with the rollers 80 being flanged, as at 82, to confine an elongated bar 84 therebetween, while the corresponding bar 86 on the opposite side of the apparatus is merely restrained against movement in directions perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the roller 78. Elongated connecting bars 88 extend through all of the bars 72 and, together with spacers 90, maintain the spaced relationship between each of the bars 72.

A pair of links 92 and 94 are pivotally attached to each of the bars 84 and the lower ends of the links 92 are also attached to freely turning stub shafts 96 journalled in opposite sides of the apparatus. The lower ends of the links 94 are fixed to a through shaft 98 and this shaft is also fixed to an actuating arm I00 rotatably mounting a cam follower 102. Cam follower N92 rides on the surface of the cam 104, which is in turn fixed to the drive shaft 106 for rotation therewith.

As best seen in FIG. 3 of the drawings, a motor 108 is mounted in the vicinity of the weighing station and through a variable speed pulley arrangement I It) drives a gear box 112 having a power take-off shaft 114 associated therewith. Shaft 114 carries a doubel sprocket about which are trained the drive chains M6 and 118. Chain 1 16, as also seen in FIG. 6 of the drawings, is also trained about a drive sprocket 120 which is fixed to the shaft 106. Chain 116 is also contacted intermediate its length by a tensioning sprocket 122.

It will thus be seen that power from the motor 108 is transmitted to the main drive shaft 106 which in turn rotates the cam I04 causing the cam follower 102 and the actuating arm to which it is attached to pivot upwardly and downwardly about the pivot shaft 98. Since the links 94 are fixed to the shaft 98 this same rocking pivotal motion is transferred to the links 94, causing the bars 86 to move upwardly and to the left, as seen in FIG. 3 of the drawings, and downwardly and to the right. Since the bars 86 are maintained in parallel relationship to the bars 72 of the indexing carriage, movement of the bars 86 in a manner described above will cause the bars 72 to move upwardly and downwardly as the vertical components of the pivotal movement of the links 92 and 94 are transmitted thereto.

It will also be seen in FIGS. 3, 6 and 7 of the drawings, that a shaft 124 is journalled adjacent the downstream end of the apparatus and has fixed thereto an arm member 126 which, together with a rod 128 pivotally attached thereto and to the cam 104, form an interconnecting linkage between the cam 104 and the shaft 124. Also fixed to the shaft 124 is arm 130 carrying a roller 132 received in a slot 134 formed in a bracket 136 attached to and depending downwardly from the approximate center of the indexing carriage. With this arrangement it will be seen that rotation of the drive shaft 106 and thus, the cam 104, is transmitted via the interconnecting linkage 126-128 to the shaft 124 to impart an oscillating pivotal motion thereto.

This motion is in turn transferred to the arm 130 which, through the roller 132 mounted thereon and the slot 134 formed in the bracket 136, transfers the horizontal component of this motion to the indexing carriage to cause it to move in an upstream and downstream direction as indicated by the arrows 138 in FIG. 3 of the drawings. The combination of these two motions, of course, result in the indexing carriage moving upward in a vertical direction as it moves upstream toward the loading station of the apparatus thence, downwardly in a vertical direction as the carriage returns towards the downstream end of the apparatus.

As noted above, information computed by the computer 26 is transmitted to the printer 78 which prints a label with the computed price and delivers the printed label to the conveying mechanism 30, see FIG. 3 of the drawings. At this point the label is engaged between a series of endless belts 140 trained about a series of pulleys 142 and the bottom surface of a chute 144. The bottom surface of the chute 144 is provided with a series of grooves therein corresponding in number to the belts 140 and in which the belts 140 are received. A second series of endless belts 146 are trained, together with the belts 140 about a drive pulley 148 so that as a label leaves the lower end of the chute 144 it is gripped between opposing reaches of the endless belts 140 and 146. A labelling head 151, which may be of conventional construction, is positioned to receive the printed labels from the opposed reaches of the belts 140 and 146 and, in a manner to be described, apply the label to a package positioned therebeneath.

With continued reference to FIG. 3 of the drawings, it will be seen that the drive pulley 148 is mounted on a shaft 150 which also carries a sprocket 152 about which is trained a chain 154. Chain 154 extends from the sprocket 152 about asecond sprocket 156 mounted on the main drive shaft 106 and a turning roller 158. Thus, the drive for the pulley l48 is also derived from the main drive shaft 106. Cli ain 154 is also trained about a sprocket 160 mounted on a through shaft 162. Shaft 162 is suitably grooved to receive a series of endless belts 164, each of which is given a half turn and slipped over the pulleys 60 driving the rollers 58. In this manner, the main drive shaft 106 is also utilized to turn the rollers 58 for positioning packages in the printing and labelling station of the apparatus.

A pair of brackets 166 are mounted on the rear wall of the apparatus of the present invention and form a slideway for a lifting bar 170. Bar 170 has a roller 172 journalled intermediate its ends and in contact with the actuating arm 100 so that the pivotal rocking movement of the arm 100, as described above, is also transmitted to the labelling head 151 to cause it to raise and lower into contact with a package positioned therebeneath. Suitable interlock structure is also provided, as shown at 174, for insuring that the labelling head does not contact a package unless it has received a label from the printer 28. This structure, however, does not form part of the present invention.

Immediately downstream of the labelling head 150 a pressure roller 176 is rotatably mounted on an arm 178 pivoted adjacent one end thereof, as at 180, to a side wall of the printing and labelling station and having pivotally attached thereto intermediate its ends a depending link 182. Link 182 is slotted, as at 184, and receives a continuation of the shaft 186 interconnecting members 126 and 128. Thus, it will be seen that rotation of the cam 104 is transmitted to the pressure roller 176 to cause it to contact a label and press it firmly against the package to which it is applied in synchronism with the actuation of the labelling head 150.

While of conventional construction, it may be noted that a bellows 190 may be provided, actuated by a bellows arm 192 attached to the cross shaft 124 and in fluid communication with the labelling head 150. Thus, rocking movement of the shaft 124 will cause alternating suction and air blast to be directed through the labelling head to first cause a label to be adhered thereto and then blown away from the labelling head into contact with the package being labelled.

As noted above, the shaft 114 of the gear box 112 also has trained thereabout a chain 118. This chain is directed toward the upstream end of the packaging apparatus and, after passing about suitable turning and tensioning rollers 194 and 196, respectively, is trained about a drive sprocket 198 fixed to the shaft 200. Shaft 200, as best seen in FIGS. 3 and 5 of the drawings, also carries sprockets 202 and 204. Sprocket 202 has trained thereabout a chain 206 which is also trained about a sprocket 208 fixed to the shaft 210 upon which the grooved roller 40 is mounted-to impart rotational movement thereto. Sprocket 204 may be selectively energized by means of the clutch 212 so that rotation of the shaft 200 may be selectively transmitted to the sprocket 204, the chain 214 trained thereabout, and a sprocket 216 mounted on the same shaft 218 as the roller 34.

A series of detectors 220, as best seen in FIGS. 3 through 5 of the drawings, are positioned, one intermediate each adjacent pair of endless belts 36. The detector means, through appropriate linkage, serve to actuate a limit switch 222 so that the presence or absence of a package on the loading conveyor formed by the belts 36 is detected by the detector 220. As seen in FIG. 7 of the drawings, a second detector in the form of a limit switch 224, is positioned opposite the main drive shaft 106 and in a position to be contacted by a member 226 projecting outwardly from the shaft 106 upon each revolution thereof. Switches 222 and 224 are interlocked through suitable circuitry, as shown somewhat schematically in FIG. 9 of the drawings, to provide selective operation of the clutch 212, and hence, the loading conveyor formed by the endless belts 36.

Thus, the upwardly projecting member 226 is positioned on the drive shaft 106 such that switch 224 is contacted just as the indexing carriage moves into posi tion to receive a package from the loading station of the machine. It will also be noted from FIG. 7 of the drawings, that a second limit switch 228 is also mounted opposite the drive shaft 106 and in a position to be contacted by the upwardly projecting member 230 mounted thereon. This switch, through suitable circuitry, causes the information stored in the computer 26 to be retained therein until a package being conveyed through the apparatus has been placed at a preselected position by the indexing carriage and at that time, the information, through the operation of the switch 228, is transferred to the printer which then prints the label for application to the package.

In operation, a wrapped package is delivered to the loading station 10 of the apparatus by the feed conveyor 16, which may be of the gravity operated type. As the package P moves onto the loading conveyor formed by the upper horizontal reaches of the endless belts 36 it contacts a plurality of the interconnected, upstanding detectors 220, depressing them and actuating the limit switch 222. If the indexing carriage is in position to receive the package P on its upstream end the limit switch 224 will be engaged by the projection 226 mounted on the main drive shaft 106. Thus, if both conditions are met, that is, a package is present on a loading conveyor and the indexing carriage is in position to receive the package, the clutch 212 will be energized, causing power to be transmitted to the roller 34.

This will carry the package to the constantly running spacing conveyor formed by the endless belts 38. Belts 38 are running at a higher rate of speed than the belts 36 and this has the effect of spacing the packages as they move from the lading station toward the weighing station. Packages ejected from the upper reaches of the endless belts 38 will pass over the idler rollers 50 and stop on the upstanding bars 52. The indexing carriage at this point is positioned with its upstream end interleaved between the bars 52 beneath a package positioned thereon.

Movement of the indexing carriage from this position will lift a package from the bars 52, carry it downstream and deposit it on the upstanding ribs 56 of the weighing station. The weight of the package is fed to the computer 26 which, based upon some predetermined price per unit of weight, computes the total price of the package and stores this information for delayed transmittal to the belt 28. In the meantime the indexing carriage has moved downwardly and in a downstream direction and thence upwardly and in an upstream direction, at which point it lifts another package from the bars 52, if one has been loaded thereon, transfers this new package to the upstanding ribs 56, and simultaneously transfers the package just weighed to the positioning conveyor formed by the continuously rotating rollers 58.

Rollers 58 direct the package placed thereon into contact with the upstanding rail 70, which constitutes a stop member for this section of the apparatus. As the weighed package is transferred to the positioning conveyor the limit switch 228 is actuated by the projection 230 mounted on the main drive shaft 106, triggering the computer 26 to transfer the information stored therein to the printer 228. Printer 228 then prints the computed price upon a label and ejects it into the upper end of the chute 144.

The continuously running belts 140 positively engage the upper surface of the printed label and convey it downwardly towards the pulley 148. The chute 144, as

noted above, is provided with grooves, which become deeper toward its downstream end, and in which the belts ride. This causes the label to be provided with corrugations, so that as it is thereafter transported by the opposing reaches of the belts 146 and 140 and directed toward the labeling head 150, it will have been stiffened by the corrugations to facilitate insertion into the labeling head.

During this operation the indexing carriage has once again moved downwardly in a downstream direction and thence upwardly in an upstream direction to lift yet another package from the bars 52. Again, this package is transferred to the upstanding ribs 56 while the package that was on ribs 56 is transferred to the rollers 58 and the package which had previously occupied this position is moved downstream beneath the labeling head 15]. Simultaneously with the movement of the indexing carriage, the cam 104, through the actuating arm 100, has allowed the labeling head to descend and apply a printed label to the appropriate package.

From this point further cyclical movement of the indexing carriage, as shown in FIG. 8, will cause the upstanding fingers 74 on the downstream ends of the bars 72 to contact the package, push it along the bars 62 beneath the pressure roller 176 and onto the receiving conveyor 18. As this occurs, the arm 178 carrying the pressure roller 176 is pivoted about point 180 by means of the arm 182 causing the pressure roller to descend and press the freshly applied label securely into contact with the appropriate package.

Thus, it will be seen that movement of a package through the present apparatus is accomplished in a series of lifting, conveying and depositing steps to move the package incrementally through the machine without appreciable sliding motion. Additionally, it will be seen that all of the driven components of the apparatus are driven from a common main drive shaft and that the cam 104 serves, not only to impart translational movement to the indexing carriage, but also, through appropriate linkage and lever mechanism, to actuate both the labeling head and the pressure roller.

With reference now to FIG. 10 of the drawings a modified embodiment of the invention will be described. As seen in FIG. 10, modified plates 48' are positioned intermediate the spacing conveyor formed by the endless belts 38 and the upstanding ribs 56 of the weighing station. Whereas, in the embodiment described above a plurality of spaced parallel bars 52 are utilized to support packages delivered from the loading station, in the present embodiment the bars 52 are replaced with a like number of hook-like members 250 pivoted intermediate the ends, as at 252 and bearing on upwardly projecting portion 254 lying in the path of an article moving from the loading station toward the weighting station. A spring 256 is attached at one end to the modified plate 48 and at its opposite end to one end of the member 250.

In the position shown in FIG. 10 of the drawings, the projections 254 will arrest movement of a package delivered by the spacing conveyor. However, the upstream ends of the bars 72 and 72' in the modified construction are provided with camming members 258 which project outwardly from the sides of the bars 72 and 72' and are engaged by cam followers 260 rotatably mounted on the hook-like members 250 adjacent the projections 254. With the above construction, as the indexing carriage moves downstream the lower surfaces of the cams 258engage the cam followers 260 and, overcoming the tension of the springs 256, depress members 250 and the projections 254 out of the path of an oncoming package and allow it to be unloaded from the loading station.

Turning now to FIG. 11 of the drawings another modification of the present invention will be described. As noted above, an air bellows may be advantageously utilized to provide an alternative suction and air blast to the label applying head to first cause a printed label to be adhered thereto and then blown away therefrom as the label is brought into contact with a package. It will also be noted that in the embodiment described above horizontal movement of the indexing carriage is accomplished through the movement of a roller 132 riding in a slot 134 in a bracket 136 depending from the indexing carriage.

In the present embodiment bracket 136 is replaced by a bracket 270, also attached to the indexing carriage adjacent the center thereof and depending downwardly therefrom. An arm 272 is fixed to the shaft 124 and a rigid link 274 is pivotally attached to the arm 272 and to the bracket 270. In this way, oscillation of the shaft 124 is transmitted through the arm 272 and the link 274 to the indexing carriage to provide horizontal movement thereof.

A second arm 276 is also pivoted, as at 278, in overlying relationship to the arm 272 and has formed adjacent the lower end thereof an arcuately shaped slot 280 receiving a pin 282 mounted on the arm 272. A rigid link 284 is pivotally attached to the lower end of the arm 276 and to an actuating plate 286 fixed to one surface of a bellows 288. The opposite surface of the bellows 288 is attached in any convenient manner to a supporting structure 290 and a conduit 292 leads from the interior of the bellows to the label applying head.

With this construction it will be apparent that the pivotal movement of the shaft 124 will be transmitted to the apparatus 288 to cause it to expand and contract and, through the conduit 292, alternately apply negative and positive pressure through the labeling head. For timing purposes it will often be desirable to provide a slight lag between the actuation of the labeling head and the imposition of either a negative or positive pressure to a label carried thereby. This is conveniently accomplished by means of the lost motion connection defined by the pin 282 riding in the slot 280.

From the above it will be apparent that the present invention provides means for efficiently and expeditiously indexing wrapped packages through a weighing, printing and labeling apparatus with positive indexing and a minimum of complicated drives and related mechanism.

While the forms of apparatus herein described constitute preferred embodiments of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to these precise forms of apparatus, and that changes may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention which is defined in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus of the type described comprising:

a. a loading conveyor,

b. means for driving said loading conveyor,

c. reciprocating carriage means for transmitting an article from a point adjacent said loading conveyor to a point downstream thereof,

(1. means for driving said transferring means upwardly and in an upstream direction and then downwardly and in a downstream direction,

e. first means for detecting the presence of an article on said loading conveyor,

f. first means for detecting a predetermined position of said transferring means during transferring movement thereof,.and

g. means responsive to said first and second detecting means for energizing said loading conveyor drive means when an article is detected on said lading conveyor and said transferring means is in said predetermined position.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein:

a. said means for driving said carriage means includes means for lifting said carriage, moving said carriage downstream away from said loading conveyor, and lowering said carriage.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising:

a. a spacing conveyor positioned adjacent to said loading conveyor in a downstream direction therefrom, and

b. means for driving said spacing conveyor substantially continuously at an appreciably higher speed than the speed of said loading conveyor.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein:

a. said first detection means includes means for detecting the passage of the leading and trailing edges of an article thereby.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein:

a. said first detection means comprises switch means energizable by the passage of an article thereover.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said means for detecting a predetermined position of said transferring means comprises:

a. a rotating drive shaft comprising a portion of said driving means for said transf ering means,

b. a limit switch positioned adjacent to said drive shaft, and

c. means mounted on the drive shaft for periodically actuating said limit switch upon rotation of said drive shaft.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising:

a. stop means positioned downstream of said loading conveyor, and

b. means mounted on said transferring means for periodically deactivating said stop means.

8. Apparatus of the type described comprising:

a. a loading conveyor;

b. means for driving said loading conveyor;

c. means for transferring an article from a point adjacent said loading conveyor to a point downstream thereof;

d. means for driving said transferring means,

e. means for detecting the presence of an article on said loading conveyor,

f. means for detecting a predetermined position of said transferring means during transferring movement thereof,

g. means responsive to said first and second detecting means for energizing said drive means when an article is detected on said loading conveyor and said transferring means is in said predetermined position,

h. stop means positioned downstream of said loading conveyor,

. said stop means comprising a plurality of pivoted,

upwardly projecting hook-like members,

j. means for resiliently urging said hooklike members into the path of an article moving from said loading conveyor,

k. cam followers mounted on each of said hook-like members and projecting outwardly therefrom, and

l. cam means carried by said transferring means and engageable with said hook-like member cam followers for depressing said hook-like members out of the path of an article leaving said loading conveyor.

9. Apparatus of the type described comprising:

a. a loading conveyor,

b. means for driving said loading conveyor,

0. a reciprocating carriage for transferring an article from a point adjacent said loading conveyor to a point downstream thereof,

d. said carriage comprising a plurality of elongated bars extending in spaced parallel relationship to each other in the direction of article movement through said apparatus and a plurality of upstanding package engaging fingers mounted on each of said bars in uniformly spaced relationship therealong;

e. means for lifting said carriage, moving said carriage downstream away from said loading conveyor, and lowering said carriage,

f. first means for detecting the presence of an article on said loading conveyor,

g. second means for detecting a predetermined position of said transferring means during transferring movement thereof, and

h. means responsive to said first and second detecting means for energizing said drive means when an article is detected on said loading conveyor and said transferring means is in said predetermined position.

10. Apparatus of the type described comprising:

a. a first plurality of endless belts extending in spaced relationship to each other and having upper coplanar reaches defining a loading conveyor,

b. means for driving said first belts at a first speed,

c. a second plurality of endless belts extending in spaced parallel relationship to each other with their upper reaches substantially coplanar with said loading conveyor and defining a spacing conveyor,

d. means for driving said second plurality belts at a surface speed greater than said speed of said first plurality of endless belts,

e. a plurality of spaced, parallel package receiving bars aligned with said belts of said loading and spacing conveyors and having upper surfaces substantially coplanar with said loading conveyor,

f. a plurality of spaced, upstanding ribs aligned with said belts and said bars and having upper surfaces substantially coplanar with said upper surfaces of said receiving bars,

g. a plurality of elongated rollers extending in spaced parallel relationship to each other with the longitudinal axes thereof substantially aligned with said belts, said receiving bars and said ribs,

h. means for rotating said plurality of rollers,

i. a stop rail extending adjacent to an outermost one of said rollers,

j. a plurality of spaced, parallel, elongated bars aligned with the spaces between said belts, said receiving bars, said ribs and said rollers and defining a indexing carriage, and

k. means for driving said carriage in an upstream direction toward said loading conveyor and in downstream direction toward said rollers and upwardly between said second plurality of belts, said receiving bars and said ribs as said carriage moves in said upstream direction and downwardly between said receiving bars, said ribs and said rollers as said carriage moves in said downstream direction.

11. The apparatus of claim 10 further comprising:

a. first means for detecting the presence of an article on said loading conveyor b. second means for detecting a predetermined position of said carriage during movement thereof, and

c. means responsive to said first and second detecting means for energizing said driving means for said first plurality of belts when an article is detected on said loading conveyor and said transferring means is in said predetermined position.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4390390 *Apr 30, 1981Jun 28, 1983Hobart CorporationLabel applicator device
US4458470 *Mar 19, 1981Jul 10, 1984Weldotron CorporationIntegrated stretch-wrap packaging system
US4460428 *Mar 30, 1983Jul 17, 1984Teraoka Seiko Co. Ltd.Scaling and labeling apparatus
US4515025 *Sep 9, 1982May 7, 1985Girogioni Di A. Giorgioni & C. S.A.S.Apparatus for driving take-up elements for palletizable load units
US4548024 *Apr 16, 1984Oct 22, 1985Weldotron CorporationIntegrated stretch-wrap packaging system
US4578926 *Feb 27, 1984Apr 1, 1986Kabushiki Kaisha Ishida Koki SeisakushoApparatus for packaging, weighing and labeling merchandise
US5388384 *Nov 2, 1993Feb 14, 1995Purkey; Todd M.Automatic code date application device
US6766948 *Sep 12, 2002Jul 27, 2004Arthur Dale BurnsProduce packaging device and method of use thereof
US7017734Feb 7, 2002Mar 28, 2006Tetra Laval Holdings & Finance S.A.Apparatus and a method for marshalling out individual objects from a row of objects
US20040206604 *Feb 7, 2002Oct 21, 2004Mats BergstromApparatus and a method for marshalling out individual objects from a row of objects
CN104649002A *Feb 16, 2015May 27, 2015吴中经济技术开发区越溪斯特拉机械厂Water heater package clamping transfer machine
WO2002064431A1 *Feb 7, 2002Aug 22, 2002Tetra Laval Holdings & Finance SaAn apparatus and a method for marshalling out individual objects from a row of objects
Classifications
U.S. Classification198/464.3, 53/131.2, 53/136.1, 156/360
International ClassificationG01G19/00, B65B35/00, G01G13/00, B65C9/46, B65B35/20
Cooperative ClassificationG01G13/003, G01G19/00, B65B35/20, B65C9/46
European ClassificationG01G13/00B, B65B35/20, B65C9/46, G01G19/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 24, 1985ASAssignment
Owner name: HOBART CORPORATION A CORP OF DE.
Free format text: ASSIGNS AS OF JANUARY 22, 1985 THE ENTIRE INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HOBART CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004420/0490
Effective date: 19850524
Jun 21, 1982ASAssignment
Owner name: HOBART CORPORATION, WORLD HEADQUARTERS BUILDING, T
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:HOBART INTERNATIONAL INC., A CORP. OF OHIO;REEL/FRAME:004080/0758
Effective date: 19820528