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Publication numberUS3757555 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 11, 1973
Filing dateJan 14, 1972
Priority dateJan 14, 1972
Publication numberUS 3757555 A, US 3757555A, US-A-3757555, US3757555 A, US3757555A
InventorsJ Blutt, A Harvey
Original AssigneeVermont Marble Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Can body expanding and flanging apparatus
US 3757555 A
Abstract
Apparatus for flanging and expanding a can body, which may be provided in a multi-station machine, including an axial core upon which are mounted three boot members. Two of the boot members, which are relatively short in length, may be pressurized simultaneously to form a flange at either or both ends of the can body by forcing the can body against the wall of a die. The third boot, situated between the flanging boots, may be similarly expanded by hydraulic pressure to reshape the central portion of the can body between necks thus formed intermediate the flanges and the central portion.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Blutt et al.

CAN BODY EXPANDING AND FLANGING APPARATUS Inventors: John Robert Blutt, Melrose; Andrew Cecil Harvey, Boston, both of Mass.

Assignee: Vermont Marble Company, Proctor,

Filed: Jan. 14, 1972 Appl. No.: 217,874

10/1966 Parilla 72/63 12/1965 Brejcha et al- 72/63 3,051,112 8/1962 Van Leer et al 72/63 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,014,007 12/1965 Great Britain 72/63 Primary Examine r-Richard J. Herbst Att0mey--George Fred Smyth et al.

[57] ABSTRACT Apparatus for flanging and expanding a can body, which may be provided in a multi-station machine, including an axial core upon which are mounted three boot members. Two of the boot members, which are relatively short in length, may be pressurized simultaneously to form a flange at either or both ends of the can body by forcing the can body against the wall of a die. The third boot, situated between the flanging boots, may be similarly expanded by hydraulic pressure to reshape the central portion of the can body between necks thus formed intermediate the flanges and the central portion.

18 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures Patented Sept. 11, 1973 p 3,757,555

4 Sheets-Sheet 2 ///J 51 H 49 4 i Patented Sept. 11, 1973 4 Sheets-Sheet NH. 5 ///////////////////////////////7 vz R NV J m U WEN v7ha?////////%///////%/////////////////// Mm mm CAN BODY EXPANDING AND FLANGING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a device for flanging and expanding can bodies in a single operation.

In the field of can body making, a constant effort is being exerted to develop can bodies utilizing a minimum amount of material per can capacity. In a marketplace in which many billions of cans are manufactured and sold each year, the reduction of material utilized in each can, even by a very small amount, can yield substantial savings. Consequently, a wide variety of measures have been introduced in order to accomplish such results.

Since the goal in can body making is to reduce the amount of material used, can body manufacturers would prefer to form body blanks from sheets which are as thin as possible. However, it has not been feasible to use sheets which are too thin because such sheets are difficult to handle and are subject to pinhole defects, the can bodies made from them are relatively flexible and difficult to transport, fill, etc.

One measure proposed for reducing can body material has been the concept of expanding a can body of one size in order to form a can body of a larger size. Thus, the larger sized can body can be produced using less material than if expansion were not accomplished. A number of different methods have been developed for accomplishing such expansion including hydraulic and explosive forming.

In the present manufacture of can bodies, a flange is formed at each end of the can in order to. receive a can end so that the contained volume may be sealed off until the can is opened by the consumer. At present, the end-receiving flanges are formed as one step of the can forming process.

In U. S. application Ser. No. 884,299 of Brawner et al., filed Dec. ll, 1969 and entitled CAN BODIES AND METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MANU- FACTURE THEREOF, now US. Pat. No. 3,698,337, a process and apparatus has been disclosed which may be utilized to expand and flange a can body in a single operation. With such a device and process, a can body can be manufactured utilizing a smaller quantity of material for a given sized product but only a single stage or operation is required for both flanging and expansion. Further, that invention results in a larger can body using only that material normally required for a smaller body, while allowing the same size can ends normally used with the smaller body to be used with the larger one. Thus, a second savings is available since the material in the can end used with the larger body is reduced."

Testing has shown that the Brawner et al. mandrel must be well lubricated to consistently produce satisfactorily flanged and expanded can bodies. This requirement results from the fact that the mandrel and can body move axially relative to one another in frictional contact during the axial compression of the mandrel. However, since some of the lubricant will remain on the body wall, the expanded bodies must be subjected to an otherwise unnecessary step of washing in order to remove it so that it will not contaminate the cans contents.

On the other hand, if the mandrel is not lubricated, the axially squeezed mandrel may drag the can body along with it, producing wrinkled can bodies and torn or substandard flanges. Additionally, the use of the axially squeezed mandrel often results in axial shrinkage of the can body as the expansion thereof occurs from one end of the body toward the other. Quite obviously, this can reduce the amount of savings which can be obtained by means of such mandrels.

Further, axial compression of the mandrel generates internal shearing strains which may reduce the cyclic life of the mandrel, thereby increasing replacement costs thereof.

Therefore, it has become desirable, in order to achieve the results desired by the industry, to develop a new apparatus for expanding and flanging can bodies in a single operation which can be utilized so as to expand the can bodies coming from the body maker at a rate which is substantially equal to that at which cans are manufactured by the body maker.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a device which may be utilized to expand and flange can bodies in a single operation. More specifically, the invention relates to a mandrel which may be inserted into a can body which, in turn, is positioned within a die.

The device may be utilized with either a can open at both ends or one which is closed at one end, such as those cans formed by a drawing process. In either case, the die is provided with a flange-receiving recess adjacent the can end or ends to be flanged. A neck-forming structure is located adjacent each recess so as to be in relatively close contact with the can body. In the usual case, the can body will be in contact with the neckforming structure so that expansion or change in size of the can body is prevented in that area, thereby forming a neck adjacent each flange. The portion of the can body which is centrally located between the necks may be expanded to enlarge the contained volume, i.e., forming an enlarged can body.

Although the mandrel may be formed in a variety of ways, it has been found that one preferred embodiment comprises a metal axial core upon which are mounted a plurality of ring-like elastomeric boots which extend about the periphery of the core and may be expanded against the inner wall of the can body. One such boot may be located adjacent each end of a can body which is to be flanged and is properly positioned relative thereto to accomplish such flanging without otherwise altering the body configuration. A relatively longer boot may be aligned with the central portion of the can body which is to be expanded. The core of the mandrel may be provided with a plurality of hydraulic passages so that pressurization of the boots mounted on the core can be selectively accomplished.

As stated previously, an important goal in the formation of can bodies is the utilization of a minimum amount of material for a can having a given capacity. In order to accomplish this result with the present invention, testing has shown that expansion of the can body prior to the formation of the flanges thereon may cause a reduction in the length of the can body greater than that which will occur if the flange or flanges are formed before the can body is expanded. Thus, in utilizing the present invention, the boots which are located opposite the flange-forming sections of the die may be actuated before the boot which expands the central portion of the can body, if desired. As a result,

greater stretching of the can body can occur intermediate the necks formed adjacent the flanges. This results because the flanging boots will tend to hold the ends of the can in place and substantially reduce the possibility of axial shrinkage of the can when the central portion is expanded.

Testing and analysis have revealed that the use of the present invention will allow significant reductions in the amount of material which must be utilized in the formation of a can body. Although the percentage reduction will vary in accordance with the size of the particular finished product, it has been found that one commonly available can size may be produced with a material savings of approximately percent in the body alone. Thus even more savings are available due to the smaller can ends which may be used with the enlarged cans.

In accordance with the present invention, the various boots mounted on the mandrel may be radially expanded by any suitable force which may be exerted on the internal surface thereof and transmitted through the boots so as to act on the wall of a can body fitted over the mandrel and within the die. In the illustrated, exemplary embodiment, the central core of the mandrel is provided with a plurality of passages which transmit a fluid under pressure against the internal surfaces of the boots for radial expansion thereof. Although any fluid, including gases, can be utilized for this purpose, in many instances the use of an incompressible hydraulic fluid will be preferable since pressure can be transmitted therethrough without requiring a great deal of fluid flow.

Since the boots may be radially expanded, rather than axially compressed, only a small percentage of stretch of the boots is required Further, there is little or no friction between the boots and the inner surface of the can body wall. Thus, no lubrication of the mandrel is required and the can body need not be subjected to an extra washing after the expansion is completed. Of course, the boots which produce the flanging at the ends of the can body are subjected to some distortion and localized friction as they turn the ends of the can body radially outward to form the flanges. However, the distortion and friction may be so localized as to be relatively minimal and have little or no effect on mandrel cyclic life.

The flange-forming boots may be provided with grooves or recesses, in the manner taught by the above cited Brawner et al. patent, so that the deformation thereof may be accomplished in such a fashion that no structural damage to the boots will occur as a result of the flanging operation. Further, selection of a suitable clastomeric substance from which the boots are manufacturcd will allow the mandrel to be reconditioned by melting away the elastomer. The latter may then be replaced by a newly formed boot or set of boots, thereby greatly reducing the cost of mandrel maintenance. Thus, the present invention results in a device for expanding can bodies and flanging them in a single step or operation which produces significant advantages in cost savings in the can body materials utilized and thus, in the manner described in the above cited Brawner et al. application, in the shipping and storage of such cans.

The full extent of the concepts of the present invention, as well as further objects and advantages thereof, will become more clearly apparent to those skilled in the art upon perusal of the following detailed description which refers to the accompanying drawings. That description and the drawings illustrate one embodiment in the present invention which, it is believed, comprises the best mode contemplated for carrying out the invention. It will also be realized by those skilled in the art, of course, that a wide variety of distinctive embodiments may also be devised within the scope of the present invention; thus, the latter should not be considered to be limited to the specific details of the illustrated embodiment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I comprises a side view, partly in section, of an apparatus which may be utilized to carry out the expansion and flanging of a can body in a single operation;

FIG. 2 comprises an end view of the device shown in FIG. I, as seen from the left end thereof, with certain parts broken away for clarity;

FIG. 3 comprises a partial, sectional illustration of one embodiment of a mandrel which may be utilized in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 comprises a sectional illustration of one embodiment of a die structure which may be utilized with a flanging and expansion mandrel such as that illustrated in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a partial view of the die shown in FIG. 4, as

' seen at a circular section V thereof, showing the position of various portions of the mandrel shown in FIGv 3 relative thereto prior to the step of flanging and expanding the can;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5, illustrating the position of the various structural elements after the flange has been formed; and

FIG. 7 illustrates a multi-station machine which may be utilized in accordance with the present invention to flange and expand can bodies at a relatively high rate of production.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now more specifically to FIG. 1, there is generally illustrated at 11 a machine which may be utilized to flange and expand can bodies in a single operation in accordance with the present invention. The illustrated embodiment is presently considered to be the best mode for accomplishing the invention, but it will be realized that a wide variety of different modes could also be utilized. As illustrated, the machine 11 comprises a plurality of structural frame members including a front wall 13 and a rear wall 15 which may be suitably connected to one another in a rigid fashion by elements such as those illustrated at 17 and 19. As seen from the front of the machine in FIG. 2, a plurality of generally cylindrical can bodies may be fed into the machine by any suitable means such as a chute 21. At the bottom of the chute, a device may be provided to hold the cans back against the force of gravity, such as a collapsibie detent 23.

At the opposite side of the machine, a second chute 25 may be provided for the removal of the flanged and expanded can bodies. In other words, suitable structure is provided for the delivery and removal of the workpiece and product, respectively, from the machine.

Any suitable apparatus may be provided to transfer the can bodies from the delivery device to the expanding and flanging structure and from the latter to the removal device. In the illustrated embodiment, this feed mechanism may include a carrier 27 upon which are fixedly mounted two conveyor pins 29 and 31 (FIG. 2). The conveyor pins may be oriented so as to be substantially parallel to the axes of the can bodies in the chutes 21 and 25.

As shown in FIG. 1, suitable means may be provided for moving the pins 29 and 31 into and out of the machine 11. For example, as shown, the carrier 27 may be suspended from a suitable support structure 33 suspended from the front wall 13. In turn, the carrier 27 may be used to support a suitable hydraulic cylinder 35 having a piston rod 37 which, via a link 39, axially motivates a shaft 41 upon which the conveyor pin 29 is mounted. Axial movement of the shaft 41 may be controlled by a pair of bearings 43 fixedly mounted on the carrier 27.

The link 39 may similarly control the movement of a shaft 45 (FIG. 2) upon which the conveyor pin 31 is mounted so that the conveyor pins will move axially simultaneously.

In the exemplary embodiment, in order to allow the conveyor pins 29 and 31 to also be moved in a direction perpendicular to their axes, the carrier 27 may be mounted on the support 33 by means of a pair of parallel rods 47 and 49 which extend through bearings 51 fixedly attached to the carrier. A hydraulic pistoncylinder system 53 (FIG. 1) similar to 35, 37-may be provided to act between the structure 33 and the carrier 27 to move the carrier and the conveyor pins toward and away from the viewer, as seen in FIG. 1, i.e., to the right and left as seen in FIG. 2.

A first relatively thin, semicircular die section 57 may be fixedly mounted on the inside of the front frame wall 13 and a complementary semicircular die section 59 may be vertically movably mounted on the frame wall 13 by any suitable structure such as a piston-cylinder system 61. In other words, one of the die elements may be substantially fixed in position and the opposite die element may be selectively moved thereagainst in proper alignment so as to form a complete die having a sectional configuration such as that illustrated at 63 in FIG. 1. Of course, either or both of the die sections may be moved as long as the can bodies may be completely seated therebetween.

Although any system can be utilized to accomplish the following described relative motion, in the illustrated embodiment a sub-frame member 65, suitably mounted on the frame element 19 in sliding relationship relative thereto, may be moved to the left and right as seen in FIG. 1 by any suitable device such as a piston-cylinder system 67. Thus, when the die elements 57 and 59 are closed, a die restraining tube 69 may be moved from the position illustrated in FIG. 1 toward the left so as to completely capture the closed die elements therein. A mandrel 71, mounted in concentric relationship with the die restraining tube 69 and with the closed die elements 57 and 59, may also be moved with the sub-frame 65.

The mandrel may be actuated for radial expansion of portions thereof by the imposition of hydraulic pressure through lines 73 and 75 by any desired means (not shown) to accomplish fianging and expansion of a can body in a manner to be described.

Realizing that any desired feed and product removal system could be utilized to accomplish the desired results, the illustrated structure may be operated as follows, referring to FIGS. 1 and 2 together. When cans are inserted into the chute 21, the axial movement cylinder is actuated to draw the conveyor pins 29 and 31 away from the position illustrated in FIG. 1, i.e., toward the outside of the from frame wall 13. The transverse movement cylinder 53 may then be actuated to drive the carrier 27 toward the right as seen in FIG. 2 until the pin 29 is aligned with the can A in the chute 21. Axial cylinder 35 may then be actuated in the opposite direction and thus drive the conveyor pin 29 into the can A; transverse cylinder 53 may then be operated in the opposite direction to return the carrier 27 to the position of FIG. 2, can A thus being pulled past the removable or depressible detent 23 and can B then falling against the detent.

When this has been accomplished, die closing cylinder 61 may then be actuated to drive the die section 59 into abutment with the die section 57 or, in other words, to close the die about the can body. The provision of a suitable abutment structure 77 on the conveyor pin 29 will ensure that the can body A is properly aligned with the ends of the internal die configuration 63.

As shown in FIG. 1, as the die section 59 is raised, it will lift the can body off of the conveyor pin 29 and force it up into the upper die section 57. When that operation has been completed, the axial cylinder 35 may again be actuated to withdraw the conveyor pins from between the frame walls 13 and 15 and the transverse cylinder 53 may subsequently be actuated to drive the carrier toward the right, as seen in FIG. 2, thereby placing pins 31 and 29 in the proper locations to pick up the reformed can A and next can B, respectively, later. Substantially simultaneously with these last two steps, the upper cylinder 67 may be actuated to drive the die retaining tube 69 and mandrel 71 toward the left, as seen in FIG. 1, so that the ab'utted die sections 57 and 59 are captured within the tube and the mandrel 71 is positioned within the can body A. The mandrel may then be actuated, in a manner to be described, causing the can body A to be provided with flanges on the ends thereof and an expanded central portion.

When the expansion and fianging have been completed, the upper cylinder 67 may be actuated in the opposite direction to withdraw the mandrel and die retaining tube to the positions illustrated in FIG. 1. Then the axial cylinder 35 may be'actuated to drive the conveyor pins into the machine. Conveyor pin 29 will thus be driven into the can B which has fallen against the detent-23 and conveyor pin 31 will be driven into the reformed can body A. The cylinder 61 may then be actuated to withdraw the movable die element 59 to the illustrated position and, as it is withdrawn, the reformed can body will be deposited on the conveyor pin 31.

When the transverse cylinder 53 is then actuated, as previously described, to move the carrier 27 to the position illustrated in FIG. 2, can B will thus be located between the open die sections and the newly reformed can A will be positioned at the opening of the chute 25. As the cylinder 35 is again actuated to withdraw the conveyor pins from the machine as described above, the reformed can A will contact a suitable stripper abutment 79 which will cause the can to be removed from the pin 31 and deposited within the chute 25.

Thus, one suitable system has been illustrated for conveying can bodies having a tubular configuration to a reforming structure and then removing the reformed can bodies. The structure heretofore described is considered to be illustrative only and it will be realized by those skilled in the art that a nearly infinite variety of such feed and removal systems could be utilized without in any way altering the desired results.

It will also be noted by those skilled in the art that, since in many cases newly manufactured can bodies have an oval configuration in diametral cross section, as they are captured between the die elements they will be forced into a substantially cylindrical configuration and the flanging and expansion of the can body, resulting in necks formed between the flanges and the expanded portion, will provide a strength to the can body which will thereafter prevent its returning to a noncylindrical configuration. Thus, even as the present invention is reducing the thickness of the can body wall due to expansion, as will be described hereafter, it is also providing the can body with a strengthened structure which is not found in presently available cans.

Referring now to FIG. 3, one embodiment of a mandrel 71 which may be utilized in accordance with the present invention has been illustrated in partial cross section. This exemplary mandrel is shown to comprise a central or axial core 81 which may be formed of a relatively strong and inflexible material such as stainless steel, etc. A peripheral recess 83 may be formed adjacent either or both ends of the core and a centrally located recess 85, which may, if desired, be substantially larger than either of the recesses 83, may be formed at an intermediate section of the core. The recesses 83 and 85 are separated by rings or collars 87 which, if desired, may be formed integral with the core 81.

In each of the recesses 83, a plurality of fluidreceiving grooves 89 may be formed in communication with one or more fluid passages 91 extending through the core 81 parallel to the axis thereof via one or more radial passages 93. Thus, when fluid is passed through the hose or tubev73, it .will flow through the passage 91 to the radial passages 93 and from there into the peripheral grooves 89. An elastomeric ring or boot 95 may be molded into each of the recesses 83 and bonded to the surfaces thereof in any well-known manner to prevent fluid leakage. Thus, when fluid pressure is exerted against the inner peripheries of the boots 95, the elastomeric material will expand radially in a manner to be described.

Similarly, the inner periphery of the recess 85 may be provided with a plurality of fluid-receiving grooves 96 which are in communication with one or more fluid passages 97 via one or more radial passages 99. A similar elastomeric boot 101 may be molded into the recess 85 so as to be bonded to the surfaces thereof. Thus, when fluid pressure is exerted in the line 75, it is transmitted through the passages 97 and 99 to the inner periphery of the boot 101, causing radial expansion thereof for a purpose to be described.

As shown in FIG. 4, the die sections 57 and 59 may be suitably shaped so as to provide a contiguous inner configuration 63. Such a configuration may include a flange-receiving section 103, a neck forming structure 105 at either or both ends thereof, and a somewhat centrally located expansion section 107.

As shown in FIG. 5, when a can body A is installed within the closed die sections and the mandrel 71 is positioned within the can body, the body may be in abutment with a shoulder 109 in the flange-receiving recess I03 in the sections 57 and 59. At the same time, a recess III in the boot 95 may be in substantial alignment with the shoulder, as shown. The adjacent collar 87 may be located substantially in opposed relationship to the neck forming structure 105 and the boot 101 will be in opposed relationship to the central expansion section 107.

Pressure exerted through the fluid in line 73, passages 91 and 93, and recesses 89 against the inner surface of the boot will cause the latter to expand radially from the position shown in FIG. 5 to that shown in FIG. 6, thereby forming the flange 113 on the end of the can body A in the flange-receiving recess 103 of the die. Similarly, the exertion of pressure through the fluid in line 75, passages 97 and 99, and grooves 96 will cause the central boot 101 to expand and force the can body A against the expansion recess 107 of the die. It is important to note that the provision of distinct boots for the formation of the flanges and the central body portion, and the distinct fluid pressurization systems therefor, allow different pressures to be exerted on the flanging boots 95 and the central expansion boots 101. In other words, in some cases, it will be necessary to exert a greater force on the flanging boots than on the central expansion boot, and vice versa. The provision of the distinct fluid systems will allow this to be accomplished, if desired.

Although the steps involved in expanding the boots 95 and 101 may occur nearly simultaneously, it has been found that in many instances it is preferable to expand the flange-forming boots 95 first and maintain them in the expanded condition when the central boot 101 is being expanded. This sequence will allow the flanges to be formed at the ends of the can and then held in position as the central portion is expanded between the necks; the can body may thus be reformed with a lesser amount of shortening thereof than might occur if the central portion were expanded simultaneously with or before the formation of the flanging.

It should also be noted that the provision of the recesses 111 and the flange-forming boots 95 allow the flanges to be formed in such a way that the boot does not become worn through contact with the shoulder 109. On the other hand, a variety of other devices, such as an easily replaceable elastomeric band, could be used in place of recesses 11] to absorb any wear imparted during use. Several other expedients will no doubt be evident to those skilled in the art. In any event, it may be preferable that the boot not get behind the end of the can body as it is turned and thus become torn thereon as it forces the end of the can wall into the flange-receiving recess 103.

It is also noted that the location of the collars 87 relative to the neek-forming structure may be significant in some cases in that the boots 95 serve to hold a portion of the can body against the neck-forming structure and maintain it in position thereagainst to prevent slipping between the structure 105 and the can body.

Referring to FIGS. 3, 5, and 7, it can be seen that the rings or collars 87 may be provided with a triangular cross section so that they are wider near the inner portion of the recess than they are at the periphery of the mandrel. This configuration allows the boots 101 and 95 to be very close to one another at the periphery of the mandrel, permitting different boots to act against very closely adjacent portions of the cyiinder to be reformed, as illustrated in FIG. 5. Thus, it becomes very simple to reshape the cylinder A from the position of FIG. 5 to that of FIG. 6 since a different pressure can be exerted on each boot without requiring the movement of large quantities of fluid. As a result, the pressure exerted on the boots can be impulse-like in speed, thereby allowing more cylinders to be reformed within a given time.

Further, since the boot 101 may be bonded to the collars 87, there is no possibility that the fluid which expands the boot will leak between the boot and the collar and contaminate the interior of the can. In this manner, relatively long boots may be positioned on the mandrel without requiring complex hardware to fasten it thereto. Of course, the boots 95 may be similarly bonded at either end thereof for the same purpose, i.e., prevention of can body contamination by the hydraulic fluid.

As is now known, the recess 107 of the die configura tion 63 may also be provided with internal protrusions or external recesses in order to provide suitable embossing on the can body as they are expanded by the boot 101.

In any event, it is desired that the can body be expanded by an elastomeric or otherwise expandable device which is subjected only to substantially radially directed forces rather than axial compression. Such a force limitation will substantially eliminate any friction brought about by relative axial movement between the boots and the can body, thereby eliminating the need for lubrication of the mandrel. As stated previously, if the mandrel does not have to be lubricated, the requirement for an extra washing of the can body after expansion is eliminated since no contaminants will be deposited upon the inner surface thereof. Further, the radial expansion of the boots will significantly reduce the possibility of internal shear strain generation within the boots which could significantly reduce the life of the mandrel.

Although any suitable material may be selected for construction of the expandable boots or rings, it may be preferable to construct them from a material which may easily be bonded to the core 81 and may also easily be removed therefrom by a suitable process, such as melting through heating. Construction of the boots in this manner will allow the mandrel to be repaired and refurbished through a relatively inexpensive process, allowing the core 81 to be used over an indefinite length of time.

Referring again to the collars 87, it will be realized by those skilled in the art that such collars or flanges can be of any desired cross sectional configuration but have been illustrated as shown so as to provide a very narrow band, as seen at FIG. 6, of the can body which is not actually reformed, i.e., that area adjacent the neckforming structure 105. It will also be realized that if it is desired to impart a distinct configuration to a portion of the central part of the can body, the portion 107 of the die may be formed with a different configuration, additional collars such as 87 may be formed on the core 81, additional boots could be utilized to replace a portion of the boot 101 and a distinctive boot pressurization system could be provided within the mandrel core. in other words, a portion of the boot 101 could be replaced by a distinctive boot, segregated by collars which perform a function similar to that performed by the collars 87, thereby allowing, for example, a part of the central body portion to be formed with some other configuration, such as a tapered or frusto-conical shape. Consequently, the utilization of the present invention will allow the can body designer to use his imagination in designing a product which will finally be marketed.

Thus, a mandrel and die have been illustrated which may be used to accomplish the results desired. It should be pointed out that the described structures may be altered quite radically without in any way avoiding the scope of the invention. For example, a flange might be formed at one end of the can or structure could be provided to produce an inwardly rather than outwardly directed flange, etc.

In many instances, it will be desired to provide a multi-station machine for accomplishing the expansion and flanging of can bodies, so that the can bodies can be reformed at a rate which is substantially identical to that at which they are manufactured by a body maker. As shown in FIG. 7, newly manufactured can bodies A may be driven down a chute 201 by any suitable means such as by gravity or by a convoluted strip' 203 which may be rotated about its axis by any suitable means (not shown). As the can bodies reach a machine 205 they are captured by a pair of rotatably aligned conveyor wheels 207 which may be driven'by any suitable means (not shown) mounted within a housing 209.

Aseach can body is rotated by the conveyor wheels 207, it is lifted to a position B at which it may be captured between relatively movable sections 257 and 259 of a die structure. A plurality of such die structures are mounted so as to move toward and away from one another between a pair of rotating wheels 261 and 263. Suitable structure may also be provided to drive the engaged die sections into axially aligned die retaining tubes 269, in each of which a mandrel (not shown), perhaps of the type previously described, may be mounted. As the wheels 261 and 263 are rotated, each I mandrel may be actuated in the manner previously described, after which each pair of die elements may be withdrawn from its respective tube 269 and be separated, thereby allowing the can to be delivered to a removal chute 225. In other words, with structure of this type, a plurality of cans can be acted upon simultaneously, each at a slightly different stage of the operation at any given moment, thereby greatly increasing the speed at which they may be reformed, as compared to the machine illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2.

Although the above-described devices have been illustrated and described as being utilized for the provision of a flange on both ends of a can, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the structure could also be utilized, if desired, to provide a flange on only one end ofa can body as, for example, the case of a can formed with an integral bottom through a drawing process.

Thus the applicants have disclosed apparatus for reforming can bodies so as to provide a flange, neck, and centrally expanded portion by means of substantially radially directed forces. As a result, such can bodies can be economically produced in such a way as to result in substantial savings in the manufacture and handling of cans. Although a single embodiment of a mandrel which may be utilized to accomplish the desired result has been illustrated and described, it will be realized by those skilled in the art that many other such devices, which are within the scope of the invention as defined only by the following claims, can be constructed and used.

Therefore, whatis claimed as the invention is:

1. Apparatus for reforming a substantially cylindrical body comprising a mandrel having a plurality of recesses formed about the periphery thereof, each provided with a plurality of fluid pressure transmission grooves on the internal surface thereof, means for axially separating adjacent recesses of said plurality of recesses from one another having a first, relatively narrow dimension adjacent the outer periphery thereof, a second, relatively larger dimension adjacent the internal surfaces of said recesses, and substantially straight-line surfaces extending from the outer periphery of said separating means to the internal surface of said recesses, an elastomeric-like boot located in each such recess and bonded to the end surfaces thereof, and means for communicating said fluid pressure transmission grooves with a source of fluid pressure. 2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein one of said recesses extends along a major portion of the axial dimension of said mandrel and said communicating means comprises first means for communicating fluid pressure to said grooves in said one recess and second means for communicating fluid pressure to said grooves in the others of said recesses. 3. The apparatus of claim 1 including die means for receiving said mandrel with the cylindrical body in coaxial and intermediate relation to said die means and said mandrel, and including distinct configurations on the internal surface thereof against which distinct portions of the cylindrical body may be actuated and thus reformed by said relatively flexible expandable members when the latter are actuated by their respective actuating forces. 4. The apparatus of claim 1 including die means for receiving said mandrel with the cylindrical body in coaxial and intermediate relation to said die means and said mandrel, means for delivering a cylindrical body into said die means so as to be reformed therein, and means for inserting said mandrel within the cylindrical body in coaxial relationship with said die means. 5. The apparatus of claim 4 including means for removing the cylindrical body from said die means after it has been reformed therein by actuation of said relatively flexible expandable member. 6. The apparatus of claim 4 including a plurality of such mandrels and dies and means for conveying cylindrical bodies to said plurality of mandrels and dies in such a manner as to reform a plurality of cylindrical bodies simultaneously. 7. Apparatus for reforming cylindrical bodies comprising a mandrel having a plurality of distinct recesses formed about the periphery thereof, an elastomeric-like boot mounted in each such recess,

means separating said recesses from one another so as to form a relatively narrow band on the periphery of said mandrel between at least two of the adjacent boots, and

means for exerting a radial expansion force on each of said boots to cause said boots to expand radially beyond the normal periphery of said mandrel,

a plurality of cooperating die members in which said mandrel is positioned in coaxial relationship with a cylindrical body installed therein and having an internal configuration formed by positioning said die members in cooperating relationship, and

tubular means operatively associated with said mandrel and said plurality of die members which receives said die members in coaxial relationship rel ative thereto to limit relative radial movement thereof during radial expansion of said boots.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein said force exerting means comprises at least two separate force transmission means,

each acting to transmit force to at least one of said boots, whereby said boots may be radially expanded in a predetermined sequence and by predetermined forces.

9. The apparatus of claim 7 including die means in which said mandrei is positioned in coaxial relationship with a cylindrical body installed therein,

means for properly positioning the cylindrical body relative to said mandrel and said die means,

said die means having a flange-receiving portion located therein adjacent at least one end of a cylindrical body properly positioned therein,

a neck-forming portion located therein adjacent said at least one flange-receiving portion, and at least one central body expansion portion therein extending from said neck-forming portion toward the opposite end of said die.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said mandrel includes a first one of said boots located thereon so that,

upon expansion thereof, it forces at least one end of the cylindrical body into said flange-receiving portion.

11. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein said first one of said boots is so located thereon that, upon expansion thereof, it forces that portion of the cylindrical body adjacent the flange thus formed into contact with said neck-forming portion.

12. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said mandrel includes at least one of said boots located thereon so that,

upon expansion thereof, it forces at least one section of the cylindrical body against at least a part of said at least one central body expansion portion.

13. The apparatus of claim 12 wherein said at least one of said boots is so located thereon that, upon expansion thereof, it forces at least a part of the cylindrical body against at least a part of said neck-forming portion.

14. Apparatus for reforming a substantially cylindrical body comprising a mandrel having a plurality of recesses formed about the periphery thereof, an expandable boot having its axial ends bonded into each such recess, and means to which said boots are bonded for separating adjacent recesses, one of said boots extending along a major axial dimension of said mandrel, and means for providing fluid pressure on the internal portion of said boots for radial expansion thereof intermediate the ends thereof. 15. The apparatus of claim 14 including a plurality of cooperating die members in which said mandrel is positioned in coaxial relationship with a cylindrical body installed therein and having an internal configuration formed by positioning said die members in cooperating relationship, and tubular means operatively associated with said mandrel and said plurality of die members which receives said die members in coaxial relationship relative thereto to limit relative radial movement thereof during radial expansion of said boots. 16. A machine for reforming a substantially cylindrical body comprising a base frame, a pair of opposed die members mounted on said frame for movement relative to one another, means for producing relative movement between said die members means for locating a body to be reformed between said die members, an expandable mandrel insertable between said die members, tubular means surrounding said mandrel and fixed relative thereto, into which said die members are relatively insertable, for prohibiting relative movement between said die members as said mandrel is being expanded, and means for axially moving said die members relative to said mandrel and said tubular means to locate said mandrel within said die members and to locate said die members within said tubular means. 17. The machine of claim 16 wherein said die members include mating internal surfaces having a neck-forming means adjacent one end thereof, a flange-forming means intermediate said neck forming means and the said one end and immediately adjacent said neck-forming means, and a central expansion forming means immediately adjacent said neck-forming means and on the opposite side thereof from said neck-forming means. 18. The machine of claim 17 wherein said mandrel includes a first expandable boot thereon for forcing a body located between said die members and said mandrel into said flange-forming means and against said neck-forming means and a second expandable boot, closely adjacent said first expandable boot at the periphery of said mandrel, for forcing the body into said central expansion forming means and against said neckforming means.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification72/63, 413/69
International ClassificationB21D22/12, B21D51/26
Cooperative ClassificationB21D51/263, B21D22/12, B21D51/26, B21D51/2615
European ClassificationB21D51/26B3, B21D51/26, B21D51/26B, B21D22/12