US 3751321 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
US- 7, 1973 G. M. HAGEMANN ETAL 3,751,321
AUTOMATIC LABELING MACHINE WITH "No LABEL" AUTOMATIC STOP med April 2e, 1971 @JMMM/M United States Patent O U.S. Cl. 156-352 6 Claims ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE A device for interrupting movement of packages and stopping operation of an automatic labeling machine includes a vacuum sensing switch in communication with the vacuum actuated label carrying nozzle which carries printed labels in the course of their transfer from the label printer toward the package. The vacuum sensing switch is electrically connected to a circuit which is coupled to the motor which actuates a package conveyor to advance the packages to a label applying station. If because of some malfunctions of the label supply or printer, etc., a label is not present on the label transfer nozzle, and its suction port is thus exposed to atmosphere, instead of being closed olf by the label, the machine motor is deenergized.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to automatic labeling apparatus of the type typified in U.S. Pat. 3,264,161. These machines weight the package and transmit the weight information to a label printer which prints the weight and the appropriate price on the label. The printed label is then automatically transferred by a vacuum nozzle for application to the package. It sometimes happens that the operator of the machine will feed packages to the apparatus unaware of thefact that the labelprinter has ceased to issue labels. Occasionally, the label magazine runs out of labels. Sometimes a label jams inside the printing mechanism. Other causes of a label failure inclue the operators failure to reset the tare after a price change. A failure to note the absence of labels being applied to the packages can result in an accumulation of unlabeled packages which must be reprocessed through the machine.
SUMMARY on 4INVENTION To automatically stop the operation of the machine in the event of label failure, the invention provides a vacuum sensor to sense the absence of alabel on the vacuum transfer nozzle andv stop machine operation and continued advancement of packages to the label application station. Optionally a signal buzzer sounds to alert the operator.
In a preferred embodiment the device includes a package sensor such as a mechanical switch or a photosensitive device located in the path of travel of the packages. The package sensor is actuated by a package as it moves to the label applicationl station and the package sensor energizes a relay which conditions the circuit for subsequent operation. If a label is not transferred by the vacuum nozzle, the vacuum sensor switch remains closed and the relay stays energized until a cam driven by the machine motor completes one revolution and actuates a limit switch associated with the cam to interrupt current llow to the conveyor motor. If a label is transferred, the increase in suction or lack of pressure in the vacuum line connected to the vacuum nozzle causes the vacuum sensor switch to open and interrupt current llow to the coil of the relay. The movable contacts in the relay then return to the normally closed position and maintain a circuit 3,751,321 Patented Aug. 7, 1973 to the conveyor motor which continues to run even when the cam switch is actuated as the cam completes one cycle.
Further objects, advantages, and features of the invention will become apparent from the following disclosure.
DRAWINGS FIG. l is a fragmentary side elevational view of labeling apparatus embodying the invention.
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view of the pneumatic apparatus for control of vacuum in the label transfer nozzle and showing the vacuum sensing switch employed in the invention.
FIG. 3 is a schematic circuit diagram of a practical embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 4 is a side view of the cam switch shown in FIG. 3 and the cam which actuates it.
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary side view of a modified embodiment.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Although the disclosure hereof is detailed and exact to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, the physical embodiments herein disclosed merely eX- emplify the invention which may be embodied in other specific structure. The scope of the invention is defined in the claims appended hereto.
In one embodiment the labeling 'apparatus 10 includes a package weighing scale 15 to which wrapped packages are conveyed by a sweeparm assembly 17 which includes one or more sweep arms 18 which push the packages in the direction of arrow 19 across the scale platform 20. The weight of the package is measured by the scale 15 and the information obtained is supplied to a computer which energizes a label issuing machine or printer 21 which issues a label which has printed thereon the weight and price information appropriate for the package. The label is picked up from the printer by a vacuum transfer nozzle 26 carried by a stem or conduit 28 which swings in a horizontal plane. The vacuum nozzle 26 also swings about the axis of stem 28 to enable transfer of the label to the pressure platen 32 of an `applicator nozzle which transfers the label to the package. The apparatus thus far described is similar to that disclosed in Pat. 3,264,161.
The present invention provides apparatus for stopping machine operation because of a label failure associated with the printer or label issuing machine 21. In one embodiment the invention includes a circuit 35 with a package sensing switch 36 (FIGS. 1 and 3), a vacuum sensing switch 38 (FIG. 2) and a switch 40 operated by a cam 42 (FIG. 4). The package sensing switch 36 is located near the upstream end 37 of the platform 39 over which conveyor belts 43 convey the packages toward the label applicator station beneath pressure platen 32. Switch '36 has a package engaging actuator 4'1.
The vacuum sensor switch 38 is connected by a conduit 33 to the vacuum nozzle 26 to sense a lower pressure in the conduit 33 caused by the presence of a label which blocks the port in nozzle 26. The conduit 33 is connected to a pneumatic valve 30* which is connected to a motor and compressor unit 31 by conduits 34.
The cam operated switch 40 is a single pole double throw switch as shown in the schematic drawing of FIG. 3 and is operated by the cam 42 which can be located on any appropriate shaft such as shaft 44 which is driven by the rnotor 45.
The circuit 35 also includes a relay 46 with xed contacts or terminals 51, 53, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, and and movable contacts 63 and 65.
The circuit 35 also includes a buzzer 70 which is energized when a label failure occurs as presently described. The circuit 35 is connected to a motor control 71 which is connected to the motor 45. The motor control 71 contains terminals 72, 73 and 74 and line terminals 69 for connection to line voltage.
In the operation of the device, the circuit 35 is conditioned to operate in co-ordination with the vacuum switch 38 by movement of a package 16 into engagement with the actuator 41 of the package sensing switch 36. 'Ihe actuator 41 momentarily closes the normally open switch 36 which energizes the relay 46 by completing the circuit from lead 78 through the lead 77 to switch 36 and to relay terminal 59 which is connected to one side of the relay coil 75. The other side of the coil 75 is connected to terminal 57 which is connected to terminal 72 in motor control 71 by a lead 80. Thus the sensing of a package times subsequent operations of the circuit.
When the package switch 36 is thus contacted and energizes the relay 46, the movable contacts 63 and 65 move from the normally closed position in contact with terminals 51 and 53 into contact with relay terminals or contacts 54 and 56. With the movable contacts 63, 65 engaging relay contacts 54, 56, a holding circuit is established by which the relay coil remains energized after the package has passed and released the switch 36 which returns to its normally closed position. The circuit to the relay coil 75 is maintained through the relay terminal 58 which is connected to movable contact 63 by a lead 79 and from contact 63 to contact 54 and through lead 82 to normally closed vacuum sensor switch 38 and from the vacuum sensor switch 38 to terminal 59 through lead 84.
`When a label is picked up by the vacuum nozzle 26, the increase in suction or decrease in pressure in the nozzle 26 is sensed by the vacuum sensor switch 38 which opens to interrupt current iiow through lead 84 to the coil and thus de-energize the relay 46. Movable contacts 63, 65 thus return to their normally closed positions shown in FIG. 3. Accordingly, when a label is picked up and the relay 46 is thus de-energized, a motor circuit path is completed between terminals 74 and 73 by the movable contact 63 engaging contact 51. This circuit bypasses the circuit through cam switch 40 and hence the motor 46 is not de-energized when the cam switch 40 operates as presently described for a no-label condition.
Subject to periodic interruption by actions of cam 42, motor control terminals 73, 74 are normally connected through contact 93 of switch 40 in the normally closed position shown in FIG. 3 in which contact 93 engages terminal 95 of line 96 which connects through line 97 to terminal 73. However, in every cycle of package advance when cam follower 90 falls into recess 91 on cam 42, contact 93 disengages terminal 95 and engages terminal 94.
If the vacuum nozzle 26 does not pick up a label, the vacuum sensor switch 38 remains closed and the relay 46 stays energized after the package sensor switch 36 opens after the package releases the switch actuator 41. When the relay is energized, contacts 63, 65 remain engaged with iixed contacts 54, 56 and there is no connection between terminals 51 and 58 of the relay. Accordingly, when the cam follower 90 on switch 40 moves into the cam recess 91 of cam 42 and the switch contact member 93 of switch 40 moves to switch terminal 94 (FIG. 3), current ilow through line 78, contact 95 and lines 96 and 97 from terminal 74 to terminal 73 on the motor control 71 is interrupted and the motor 46 is de-energized. In the no-label condition, when the switch contact member 93 contacts terminal 94, the circuit to the buzzer 70 is completed through the leads 101, 103 and contacts 456 and 60 in the relay 46. If package sensing switch 36 is not initially actuated, the relay 46 will not be actuated and cam actuated switch 40 will have no effect on continued operations of the motor 45 and continued running of the conveyor, because the motor circuit is completed through line 79 and normally closed contact 63.
The circuit 35 is provided with a re-set switch 104 to bypass the vacuum sensor switch 38 and to restart the machine after machine operation has been interrupted.
In another embodiment of the invention a photosensitive device or switch 106 (FIG. 5) can be employed instead of the mechanically actuated package switch 36, and an aperture or window 108 located in the package platform 39 proximate the label application station beneath the pressure platen 32. When the package 16 as moved by a belt or an arm 18 covers the window 108, the decrease in ambient light on the photocell 106 completes the circuit to the terminal 59 for the coil 75. Locating the photosensitive device 106 close to the pressure platen 32 reduces the time lag between actuation of the package sensor and arrival of the package of the label applicator station. By this time transfer of the label from the printer to th'e applicator platen 32 has almost been completed. Accordingly, any loss of the label prior to this time will be sensed by the apparatus.
What is claimed is:
1. In labeling apparatus including a label issuer, a label applicator station, a vacuum nozzle for transferring the label from the issuer toward a package at the station and a conveyor for advancing the packages toward said station, the improvement comprising a vacuum sensor in communication with said vacuum nozzle and means responsive to said vacuum sensor to stop the conveyor upon failure of said vacuum nozzle to transfer a label, wherein said conveyor has an electric drive motor and an electric motor control circuit including a relay, a package sensor switch in said circuit and located in the path of travel of the packages to energize said relay when a package moves past said sensor, said vacuum sensor comprising a switch in said circuit operable to de-energize said relay when a label is transferred by said vacuum nozzle, and a cam actuated switch electrically connected to said circuit and a cam operated by said motor, said cam switch being operative to interrupt current ow to said motor when said cam completes a cycle and said relay is energized because of the failure of said nozzle to transfer a label.
2. The improvement of claim 1 in combination with an audible signal which sounds in response to said vacuum sensor.
3. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said package sensor comprises a switch having a switch member in the path of package travel.
4. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said package sensor comprises a photosensitive device in registry with the path of packages toward said label applicator station.
5. The improvement of claim 4 in which said apparatus includes a platform over which the packages travel enroute to the label applicator station, said platform having an aperture aligned with the photosensitive device.
6. In labeling apparatus including a label imuer, a label applicator station, a vacuum transfer nozzle for transferring the label from the issuer toward the label applicator station and a motor for advancing the packages toward the label applicator station, the improvement comprising a vacuum sensor switch in communication with said vacuum nozzle,
a package switch,
a cam switch,
a cam operated by said motor,
a relay having a coil and a plurality of contacts, and
a circuit connecting said switches to said relay and to said motor to provide a first operational mode caused by the failure of the vacuum nozzle to transfer a label and in which actuation of said package switch causes energization of said relay coil to interrupt one circuit path to said motor and close relay contacts to maintain current flow to said relay coil when said package switch is released, and said cam switch inter- 5 6 rupting a second current path to said motor when said 2,725,156 11/ 1955 Manas 156-566 relay is energized and upon the completion of One 2,878,953 3 /1959 Mitchell 156 565 cycle of the cam, and said circuit providing a sec- 2 952 376 9/1960 Orloi 156 365 ond operational mode in which a label is transferred by said vacuum nozzle to actuate said vacuum sensor 5 3284265 11/1966 Carroll et al' 156-572 switch and de-energize said relay to complete the rst 3,310,449 3/ 1967 Carter 156-365 circuit path to said motor so that said motor continues to run when said cam completes a cycle. DOUGLAS J. DRUMMOND, Primary Examiner References Cited 10 U.S. C1. X.R. UNITED STATES PATENTS l56-363, 368, 572
3,488,241 1/1970 FaltOt 156--365