US 3743118 A
A stacking device for uniformly shaped, flat articles, such as biscuits, is provided with a plurality of horizontal and parallel arranged channels, each of which is supplied with a group of articles to be stacked. Each channel is provided with means to combine the articles in the same to form a longitudinal stack. At least one transverse stacking unit is provided which stacks the longitudinal stacks to form a transverse stack.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Fluck 1 July 3, 1973 STACKING DEVICE FOR REGULARLY  References Clted SHAPED, FLAT ARTICLES, FOR EXAMPLES UNlTED STATES PATENTS BISCUITS 0R COOKIES 2,925,926 2/l960 Packman et al. 214/7 inventor: Rene Fluck, Neuhausen, Switzerland Assignee: Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft, Neuhausen am Rhinefall, Switzerland Filed: July 29, 1971 Appl. No.: 167,403
Foreign Application Priority Data Aug. 3, 1970 Switzerland 11672/70 US. Cl. 214/7, 214/6 C, 214/6 F Int. Cl. B65g 57/00 Field of Search 198/32, 35; 214/6 C,
214/6 M, 6 F, 6 N, 6 S, 7, l R, 1 BE, 10.5 R, 10.5 S, 16.4 R
Primary Examiner-Even C. Blunk Assistant Exa njner- -Hadd Lane Attorney-Hill, Sherman, Meroni, Gross & Simpson 5 7 ABSTRACT A stacking device for uniformly shaped, flat articles, such as biscuits, is provided with a plurality of horizontal and parallel arranged channels, each of which is supplied with a group of articles to be stacked; Each channel is provided with means to combine the articles in the same to form a longitudinal stack. At least one transverse stacking unit is provided which stacks the longitudinal stacks to form a transverse stack.
8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUL 3 I973 37431 18 SHEET 2 BF 3 STACKING DEVICE FOR REGULARLY SHAPED, FLAT ARTICLES, FOR EXAMPLES BISCUITS OR COOKIES The invention relates to a stacking device for regularly shaped, flat articles, for example biscuits. This stacking device is distinguished by a plurality of channels arranged parallel to one another and which during each stacking cycle receive in common a group of articles to be stacked, whereby each channel is provided with means for combining the articles of the group received by it into a longitudinal or partial stack, and that at least one a stacking means extending transverse to the channels is provided, which means stacks the partial or longitudinal stacks together into a combined or transverse stack.
The group of articles to be stacked is conveyed to the stacking device, preferably by means of a counting device.
The drawings illustrate diagrammatically a few embodiments of the device of the invention by way of example.
IN THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side view of a first embodiment of the stack device according to the invention.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the device shown in FIG. 1, whereby the two arrows II of FIG. 1 indicate the direction in which the parts of the device lying therebelow are viewed.
FIG. 3 is a section according to line III-III of FIG. 1, on a larger scale.
FIG. 4 is a side view of a second embodiment.
FIG. 5 shows a section according to line V-V of FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is a partial plan view of FIG. 4 viewed in the direction of the arrow VI, and
FIG. 7 is a side view of a third embodiment.
The stacking device illustrated in the FIGS. 1 to 3 comprises five parallel upwardly open inlet channels 1, which are limited by low side or intermediary walls 2 or 3, respectively, omitted in FIG. 1. The inlet of the stacking device is indicated by a dash-dotted line 4, and coincides with the outlet of a counting device which is described in the previously mentioned Swiss patent. The bottom of each channel 1 at its inlet end is formed by a stationary slideway 5 whose width is less than that of the channel 1, that is, less than the mutual spacing of the walls 2, 3 or 3, 3, respectively. This permits two actuator rods 6, which are provided on an actuator 7, to engage from the rear on both sides of the slideway 5 a round biscuit 8 lying on the same and to push it along this path in the direction of the arrow 9. A series of equidistant actuators 7 is arranged on an endless chain 10, which is guided over two chain wheels, of which in FIG. I only the chain wheel 11 on the outlet end is shown, while the chain wheel on the inlet end is located above the counting channels of the mentioned counting device merging in the channels 1.
Below the slideways 5 is arranged a horizontal plate 12 on the upper end of a rod 13 which rod is movable up and down, and is provided with five pairs of parallel cheek walls or members 14, which are located a very small distance away from the walls 2 or 3, respectively, and form above four slightly inclined saw teeth 15. The members 14 in each channel 1 form part of a first stacking means for combining the article 8 in the channel into a partial stack 17. When the support formed by the parts 12 and 14 is located in its lower position 12., 14, indicated in dash-dotted lines in FIG. 1, the biscuits 8 coming from the counting channels of the counting device are pushed forward by the respective actuators 7 on the slideways 5, whereby for example, a group of thirteen biscuits 8 counted off, as shown in FIG. 2, may be distributed in the five channels. When the actuator rods 6 have reached the position shown in FIG. 2, the support 12, 14 is moved into its upper position, whereby the biscuits 8 are lifted in the area of the ends of their diameter directed transversely to the channels 1 by the saw teeth 15' of the slideway 5.
FIG. 1 illustrates three biscuits 8', 8" and 8" in section, which are supported by a pair of saw teeth 15. By a further movement of the actuator 7 on the inlet end in direction of the arrow 9, first the biscuit 8' is pushed on top of the biscuit 8 and then the stack of biscuits 8", 8' so formed is pushed on top of the biscuit 8. The stack 8", 8", 8' is not pushed on top of the empty pair of saw teeth 15 lying in front of the same and comes then to lie on two narrow slideways 16, which are provided directly adjacent to the end section of the walls 2 and 3. On the slideways 16 are advanced further the longitudinal stacks or partial stacks 17 formed by means of the side walls of the saw teeth 14, until they reach the teeth 18 of two parallel cheeks l9 alined transversely to the channels 1. The result of the longitudinal or partial stack operation will for the sake of simplicity also then be designated as longitudinal stack or partial stacks when only one single biscuit 2 is located in a channel 1 or indeed none at all. The checks 19 form the longitudinal sides of a narrow rectangular frame, whose short transverse sides 20 are fixedly connected each with a chain link 21 of two endless chains 22. Each of the two chains 22 is guided over two chain wheels 23, of which one is driven intermittently. In the frames 19, 20 are provided two rods 24 disposed parallel to their saw tooth cheeks 19, on which a slidable carriage 25 is mounted (see particularly FIG. 3), which carries two rods 26 and 27 somewhat perpendicularly to the long flanks of the slightly inclined saw teeth 18.
The under side of the sliding carriage 25 is provided with a short actuator pin 28, which is guided between two guide rails 29, 30, fixed to the frame and form two closed loops extending parallel with one another, whose lower parts are indicated in FIG. 2 each by a single dash line 29', 30'.
The two chains 22 carry a plurality of equidistant transversely extending stacking units or transverse stack units 18-28, which are indicated as a whole by 31, and guide paths fixed to the frame, but not shown, extend along these chains 22, so that the weight of'the units 18-28 does not deflect the chains out of their intended path. The units 18-28, and the chains 22, form part of a second stacking means.
In accordance with FIG. 2, the sliding carriage 25 of the transverse stack unit 31 on the side walls of whose saw teeth 19 the longitudinal stacks" or partial stacks" have reached, is located on the lower end of the frame 19, 20, in this FIG. 2. Upon the now following step of the chains 22, this unit reaches the position of the unit 31 during shifting of the sliding carriage 25 by means of the actuator pins 28, so that the first longitudinal stack 17 is engaged by the rods 26 and 27 and is pushed on top of the next longitudinal stack 17. At the unit 31 by means of the further movement of the chains 22, already all longitudinal stacks 17 have been stacked together into one single transverse stack or total stack 32. It is also pointed out that the chains 22 are inclined downwardly to the left, and that both chains 22 do not lie at the same level, so that the transverse stack units 31 are inclined transversely to the chains 22which, however, is indicated only in FIG. 2 by the showing of the longitudinal stacks 17 of the unit 31 and the transverse stack 32 of the unit 31 The rod 26 prevents a downward sliding of the biscuits from the stacks engaged in each case in the direction of the chain inclination, while the rod 27 prevents a downward sliding in the direction transversely thereto and serves for the shifting of the stack.
When the unit 31 comes into its position indicated by 31 in which the height dimension of the entire stack 32 is horizontal, this stack 32 is pushed by means of a horizontally slidable slide-member 33 of a discharge means in direction of'the arrow 34, that is, in direction of the long flank of the saw teeth 18 away from the rods 26, 27 and onto a horizontal plate 35 fixed to the frame. The plate 35 is connected with a discharge slide 36, which supplies to a subsequent packing machine with stacks of biscuits 32, each having an equal number of biscuits. In the transverse stack units 31, located on the lower stretch of the chains 22, in FIG. 1 the rods 26 and 27 are omitted for the sake of simplicity, so that also a holding strip 19' is better visible, which extends adjacent to one of the side cheeks 19, in order to secure the longitudinal stack 17 on the unit 31,. In FIG. 2, the longitudinal stacks 17 are not as yet completely moved by the actuator rods 6 against the holding strip 19'.
While in this embodiment, described by way of example, a plurality of transverse stack units 31 is provided which are fixed to endless chains 22, which are disposed in planes parallel to the longitudinal direction of the channels 1, the other embodiment, according to FIGS. 4-6, provides second stacking means of a single transversely extending stacking unit or transverse stack unit 37, which has an endless conveyor 38 constructed according to a type of chain saw, which however moves in the opposite direction to a chain-saw. The endless conveyor 38 has saw tooth members 39 of U-shaped profile, which have two saw tooth shaped cheeks 40, which are seated on two transverse shafts 41. The transverse shafts 41 form at the same time the pivot pins of two endless chains 42, which are trained each over two chain wheels 43, and are stepwise driven by one of the same in the direction of the arrow shown in FIG. 4. The chains 42 lie in two planes perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the channels 1. The lon gitudinal or partial stacking takes place in the channels 1 in a manner similar to that in the FIGS. 1 to 3, for which reason most of the parts required for this purpose are not illustrated in the drawings. FIG. illustrates solely the chain wheel 11 with a part of the chain and an actuator 7, whose actuator rods 6 have just pushed a longitudinal stack 17 of four biscuits 8 onto the saw tooth member 39, whereby a stationary holding strip 44 has held this stack 17 on the member 39.
When an actuator 7 has reached the position shown in FIG. 5, it is necessary to pivot its actuator rods 6 about pivots 45 by which they are connected with the chain 10, not shown in FIG. 4. The actuator rods 6 are connected above the pivots 45 by means of a transverse rod 46, from whose center extends a control arm 47, whose end is pivoted to a shaft 48, which extends transversely over all channels 1 and serves for the linking of the control arms 47 of all actuators 7 lying in the same transverse plane. The ends of the shaft 48 are formed by two pins 49, which are guided in two endless grooves or slots 50 of two side cheeks 51 fixed to the frame and indicated solely in FIG. 5. The groove 50 has a straight section 52, which extends at the same height as the lower run of the chain 10 and is connected with a rising, slightly curved section 53. When the actuators 7 have carried out the longitudinal stacking operation, the pins 49 are located at the transition point 54 of the two sections 52 and 53. Upon a further movement of the actuators 7 by the chains 10, the section 53 of the groove or of the slot 50 now takes over the guidance of the pins 49, which has as a result a pivoting of the actuator rods 6 about the pivot 45 in the counterclockwise direction of FIG. 5, as is indicated in dash-dotted lines at 6', 7. By this pivotal movement a striking of the actuator rods 6 against the longitudinal stack 17 is prevented.
The groove or slot section 53 merges above into a section, not shown, which is parallel to the upper stretch of the chain 10, said section in turn being connected in the area of the other chain wheel of the chain 10, not shown in FIG. 5, by a further section with the lower section 52. The location of the actuator rods 6 along the section, not shown, of the endless groove or of the endless slot 50, respectively, is of secondary importance, in that solely at the beginning of the lower stretch of the chain 10, the actuator rods 6 must again be directed downwardly.
It is also pointed out that the actuators 7 provided in the device of FIGS. 1 to 3 are exactly so constructed and guided, as has just been described with reference to the FIGS. 4-6 shown on a larger scale.
The transverse stack unit 37 has in addition to the previously described parts also two stationary holding members or rods 55, shown in FIGS. 4 and 6, as well as a discharge path 56 extending perpendicularly to the plane of the chains 42, and a slide member 57, with which a transverse stack 58 formed in front of the holding rods may be pushed into the discharge path 56, in which it is conveyed further by its own weight or by means of not illustrated conveyor means. The transverse stacking of longitudinal stack 17 pushed upon a standstill of the chains 42 on top of the sawtooth members 39 disposed opposite the channels 1, takes place in such a manner, that the holding rods 55 hold back the biscuits 8 on the sawtooth member 39 which in each case is located directly in front of these rods 55. The longitudinal stack 17 located on the following sawtooth member 39 belongs to the still preceding group of biscuits 8, which are in each case to be stacked, comes during the next step of the chains 42 under the still incomplete transverse stack 58' and in- .creases the same to the theoretical number of transverse stacks (or total stack) 58 having biscuits. During the mentioned step corresponding to a stack cycle, of the chains 42, all of the sawtooth members 39 lying opposite the channels 1 at the beginning, are pushed so far to the right, that the last of these members comes into the position of the member 39 and has formed on the second to last member a new, incomplete stack 58' of biscuits.
It is clear, that the slide member 57 is actuated in the direction of the arrow 59' of FIG. 6, when the complete total or transverse stack 58 has been formed, whereupon a stoppage of the chains 42 is not necessary; the cycle step of the chains 42 could, however, be interrupted for a short time also for performing a sliding away of the transverse stack 58. The holding rods 55 are arranged substantially perpendicular to the direction of the long flanks of the sawtooth members 39. It should be noted that the sawtooth members 39 do not have to have an absolutely U-shaped profile; they may also consist solely of two sawtooth-shaped cheeks 40 connected by a back portion, said cheeks being mounted on the transverse axes 41.
When the longitudianl stack 17 is pushed under the transverse stack 58, an appreciable friction may result on the oppositely disposed surfaces 59 and 60 of this stack, which is undesirable when certain tender, for example, glazed biscuits are to be handled. For the prevention of this friction, there are provided in the embodiment of the device according to FIG. 7, which otherwise corresponds to that according to FIGS. 4 to 6, sawtooth members 61 having a special construction.
Referring to FIG. 7 the sawtooth member 61 again has a U-shaped profile with two sawtooth-shaped cheeks 62, which have each two holes 63 and 65 of different diameters. The foremost holes 63 in the two cheeks 62 lying opposite one another in the direction of movement of the upper stretch of the chain 42, have the smallest diameter corresponding to the size of the pivot pins 41. The diameter of the rear holes 65 is somewhat larger. Two shafts 41 of the same diameter pass through the mentioned holes 63, 65 and are pivotally attached to the chains 42. It is apparent that the member 61 is swingable in a smaller area about that shaft 41 which passes through the foremost holes 63 in the two cheeks 62.
In order to hold sawtooth members 61 disposed opposite the channels 1 (see FIGS. 1, 2 and 5) in a horizontal position, there is provided between the chains 42 a stationary horizontal guide 67 for these members 61. Each member 61 has a back portion 68 connecting the cheeks 62 with one another and two parallel wings 69 projecting toward the rear, and which lie in the prolongation of the upper edges of the cheeks 62 and have a sufficient distance from one another, in order to pass the lower ends of the holding rods 55. The members 61 61 and 61 located in front of the stationary guide and not supported by the same are pivoted so far that their wings 69,, 69 and 69 are supported by the preceding longitudinal stacks 17 17 and 17. During the transverse stacking, the surfaces 59 and 60 of the stacks 17 and 58' no longer rub on one another, but solely on the surfaces of the wings 69, which are in contact with them. The wings 69 are preferably produced of an anti-friction synthetic material, for example, of a synthetic material known under the trade-mark Tef- Ion". Suitably the sawtooth members 61 consist each of a single piece of synthetic material.
It may happen that the transverse or total stacks produced by means of the described stacking devices are not all of the same height, even though they all were built up of the same number of regularly shaped flat articles; the unequal heights may be the result of the relatively great thickness tolerances of the articles. In such cases, the stacking device may be provided with an adjusting means, with which after formation of a stack containing all articles of the numbered group determine its height and upon determining a deviation from its desired height, causes a corresponding low number of articles to be added or removed.
In the event that in a packing machine connected with the stacking device a disturbance occurs, so that the entire stack no longer is received by the packing machine, while the feed of the articles to a counting device connected with the stacking device, for technical reasons should not be interrupted, a storage device may be provided which is connected parallel to the counting device. The storage device then receives the articles during the disturbance in the packing machine. After overcoming the disturbance, the stored articles are then successively added by means of an adjusting device provided in the stacking device to the transverse stacks formed in the same. If the entire stacks should, for example have 20 biscuits, then the counting device is adjusted to seventeen biscuits, and to each transverse stack of seventeen biscuits by means of the adjusting device, three biscuits are taken from the storage device and are added to the stack of 17 biscuits until the storage device is empty and the counting device is again set at 20 biscuits.
Of course, the stacking device may also be supplied manually with biscuits by counting of the groups of articles supplied to it.
What I claim is:
1. A stacking device for uniformly shaped, flat articles, for example biscuits, comprising a plurality of channels arranged parallel to one another, means for supplying each of said channels during each stacking cycle with a group of articles to be stacked, first stacking means for combining the articles of the group in each channel into a partial stack, and second stacking means having an elongated stacking unit extending transversely to the channel for receiving the partial stacks therefrom and combining the partial stacks into a single total stack.
2. A stacking device according to claim 1, wherein said first stacking means includes a pair of parallel cheek members disposed in each channel, said cheek members having an upper surface with a sawtooth configuration, means for moving said cheek members between an up position and a down position with respect to the channels, and an actuator for each channel, and wherein each channel includes a stationary slide way between the pair of cheek members for supporting the articles moved by the actuator when the cheek members are in the down position so that when the cheek members are in the up position, the articles are supported on the saw-teeth of the cheek members and the actuator as it moves along the cheek members moves the article from one saw-tooth set to the next set to form the partial stack.
3. A stacking device according to claim 2, wherein said second stacking means includes a plurality of stacking units arranged at equal spacing on a pair of endless chains which chains are disposed in planes extending parallel to a longitudinal direction of said channels, each of said stacking units comprising two cheek members having a saw-tooth configuration on their upper edge for receiving the partial stacks, said cheek members being arranged parallel to one another and perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the channel, a slidable carriage movable along the cheek members, said carrier being provided with actuating members for engaging the partial stacks, and means for moving the carriage along the cheek members to cause 7 combination of the partial stacks into the'single total stack.
4. A stacking device according to claim 3, wherein the second stacking means includes a stationary guide member and the means for moving the slidable carriage includes a member received in the stationary guide member to impart reciprocal movement to the carriage as the endless chains carry the stacking unit away from the channels.
5. A stacking device according to claim 3, including discharge means disposed adjacent to the stacking means for removing the total stack therefrom, said discharge means including a slide member movable in a direction parallel to the cheek member for sliding the total stack from the stacking unit.
6. A stacking device according to claim 2, wherein said second stacking means includes a single stacking unit comprising an endless conveyor, a stationary holding member disposed at one end of the conveyor, and means for stepwise driving the conveyor in a direction towards the holding member, said endless conveyor having a plurality of wedge-shaped members having an inclined upper surface with the direction of the incline extending away from said stationary holding member, whereby during the standstill of the endless conveyor, the partial stacks are transferred from the channels onto the inclined surfaces of the wedge-shaped members and the total stack is formed by movement of the wedge-shaped members towards the stationary holding member with the articles arrangedat-the holding memher being lifted by the movement of the wedge-shaped members therebeneath to enable insertion of a partial stack under a stack at the holding member to complete the formation of the total stack.
7. A stackig device according to claim 6, wherein each of the wedge-shaped members is mounted for pivotal movment on the endless conveyor to enable the changing of the amount of inclination of the upper surface, each of the wedge-shaped members having two parallel wings extending therefrom to overhang the following adjacent wedge-shaped member and said stacking means including means enabling pivoting of the wedge-shaped member adjacent the holding member so that the wings of the wedge-shaped member rest on a partial stack carried by the following wedgeshaped member to be interposed between a stack at the holding member and the next partial stack during combination the partial stacks into the total stack.
8. A stacking device according to claim 2, wherein the acutator of the first stacking means for each channel is mounted for pivotal movement on an endless chain, said actuator having a control arm with a follower disposed on a guide surface to control pivotal movement of the actuator and to positively pivot the actuator into a retracted position as a partial stack is transferred onto the second stacking means to prevent contact of the actuator with the partial stack of articles on the second stacking means.