US 3757799 A
Tobacco is reclaimed from cigarettes by a method which includes first radially compressing the tobacco in the cigarette wrapper and subsequently blowing the compressed tobacco out of the wrapper.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Di Ianni et a1.
[ 1 Sept. 11, 1973 TOBACCO RECLAIMING METHOD AND APPARATUS Inventors: Daniel Di Ianni, Toronto,
Ontario; Warren A. Brackmann, Cooksville, Ontario, both of Canada Assignee: Rothmans 0f Pall Mall Canada Limited, Ontario, Canada Filed: Jan. 26, 1972 Appl. No.: 220,969
US. Cl. 131/96 Int. Cl. A24c 05/36 Field of Search 131/96 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Perrin 131/96 12/1930 Lorentz 131/136 9/1963 Di lanni 131/96 Primary Examiner-Robert W. Michell Assistant Examiner-John F. Pitrelli Attarney-Peter W. McBurney  ABSTRACT Tobacco is reclaimed from cigarettes by a method which includes first radially compressing the tobacco in the cigarette wrapper and subsequently blowing the compressed tobacco out of the wrapper.
11 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures TOBACCO RECLAIMING METHOD AND APPARATUS This invention relates to the reclaiming of tobacco from cigarettes.
In the manufacture of cigarettes, it is extremely desirable from a consumer acceptance point of view to market only cigarettes containing quantities of tobacco between narrow limits. Due to inconsistencies in quantities of tobacco in the stream from which the cigarettes are manufactured, some cigarettes are produced which contain less or more tobacco than the desired amount, and hence are not acceptable as a consumer product. These cigarettes are rejected and only those cigarettes containing the standard amount are packaged for sale to the consumer.
The rejected cigarettes contain valuable quantities of tobacco which in the interests of economy should be reclaimed. The present invention is concerned with a process for the reclaiming of tobacco from the rejected cigarettes and to apparatus for practising such method.
There have been several prior art proposals to recover tobacco from such cigarettes. Generally, such prior art systems have'involved shredding of the cigarettes and subsequently recovering the tobacco from the shreds. This process suffers. from the disadvantage that the tobacco is broken up thereby damaging its filling power on subsequent recycle. It is, of course, possible to recover tobacco manually from cigarettes carefully so that little or no damage is done to the tobacco. However, in the modern cigarette manufacturing plant it is necessary to accomplish this operation with speed.
In the present invention tobacco is recovered from cigarettes by initially subjecting the cigarette to radial compression along substantially the length of the wrapper and subsequently ejecting tobacco from the wrapper using air under pressure. By initially compressing the tobacco in the wrapper, removal of tobacco from the cigarettes without impairing the filling power of the tobacco may be readily achieved.
The invention is described further by way of illustration with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a front elevation of an apparatus for use in the present invention,
FIG. 2 is a section on line 2-2 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
A tobacco reclaiming apparatus includes a first fluted cylindrical wheel 12 and a second fluted cylindrical wheel 14 both mounted for rotation in substantially the same vertical plane.
The flutes 16 on the first wheel 12 of generally semicircular cross-section, extend transversely the face 18 of the wheel 12. The face 18, and hence flutes 16, generally has a length which is that of a cigarette. The flutes 16 are shaped to receive therewithin a single cigarette with approximately half of the diameter of the cigarette extending above the face 18. Cigarettes are fed to the wheel 12 in any convenient manner typically by the use of a hopper 20.
The flutes 22 on the second wheel 14 extend transverse the face 24 of the wheel 12 and as illustrated include two parts. The first part 26, of semicircular shape, is located adjacent one end of the flutes 22 and the second part 28 constitutes the remainder of the flute 22.
The wheels 12 and 14 are driven in opposite directions as indicated by the arrows. The wheels may be driven in any convenient manner, such as by a single motor or by separate motors as desired. The peripheries of the wheels 12 and 14 have a. point of nearest approach 30 at which point the flutes l6 and 22 cooperate to define a recess 32. At one end of the recess 32 is located a source of air pressure 34, typically an air stream directed at opening 36 and an air feed pipe 38. Any other convenient source of air pressure may be employed.
At the opposite end of the recess 32 is located a tobacco receiving pipe 40, which receives reclaimed tobacco and the tobacco may be recycled in any convenient manner to manufacture cigarettes.
Cigarettes from which tobacco is desired to be reclaimed are fed to the hopper 20 and upon rotation of the wheel 12 the cigarettes are individually captured by the flutes 16 and conveyed towards the point 30.
Between the hopper 20 and the point of nearest approach 30 is located a star wheel 42 which has teeth 44 of substantially the length of the cigarette wrapper. The star wheel 42 is rotated in any convenient manner so that the wrapper of each successive cigarette in the flutes 16 is subjected to radial compression by one of the teeth 44 substantially along the length thereof.
The present invention is particuzarly directed to the reclaiming of tobacco from filter-tipped cigarettes. Usually the teeth 44 engage and compress only the wrapped portion of the cigarette and do not engage the filter portion. Generally, for maximum efficiency, the teeth 44 subject substantially the complete longitudinal length of the wrapped portion of the cigarette to radial compression. However, in certain instances the radial compression may be applied over only a portion of the length of the cigarette.
The radial compression may be applied at any other desired location or in any other desiree manner. Tobacco is compressable but has a long recovery time and the radial compression applied by the process of the invention has the effect of detaching tobacco from the inner wall of the wrapper, which assumes its original shape upon release of the compression. The tobacco, however, does not regain its normal shape for a period of time, which is greater than 1 minute. Further, the filling power of the tobacco in the cigarette is not impaired upon recovery.
The cigarettes after radial compression, such as by the star wheel 42, are conveyed in the flutes until they successively reach the point 30. At this point, the individual cigarette 46 (FIG. 2) is enclosed within the recess 32. The filter portion of the cigarette, positioned adjacent the end of the recess 32 opposite the source of air pressure 34, is gripped between the flute 16 and the first part 26 of the flute 22 to hold the cigarette against longitudinal movement.
' The arrangement within the recess 32, as illustrated, represents only one way in which the cigarette 46 may be held against longitudinal movement within the recess 32. The arrangement illustrated, however, has the advantage that the cigarette tubes are readily discharged upon further rotation of the wheels 12 and 14.
At the point 30 air is blown against the filter end of the cigarette 46 discharging substantially all of the tobacco from within the wrapper of the cigarette into the receiving pipe 40. Upon continued rotation of the wheel 12 and 14 the empty tube upon release of the grip upon the filter falls onto a moving conveyor 48 which transportsthe empty tube to any desired collection area.
It has been found that by pre-compression of the tobacco within the cigarette wrapper tobacco may be recovered in reusable form with a minimum loss of filling power from both underweight and overweight cigarettes, as well as cigarettes with other limited faults.
Due to the excess quantity of tobacco in overweight cigarettes there is a tendency for the wrapper of these cigarettes to burst upon application of the air pressure, with consequent damage to tobacco and the possibility of contamination by paper debris. To inhibit this tendency in these and other cigarettes the recess 32 extends the length of the cigarette. However, it is possible to proceed satisfactorily without such a complete enclosure. The process may be practised with the flutes on the wheel 14 consisting solely of the illustrated parts 26, so that such parts cooperate with the flutes 16 to grip the filter end of the cigarette, with the remainder of the cigarette not enclosed.
Alternatively, the flutes 22 may be constricted so that in the recess 32 substantially the whole length of the cigarette may be contacted during blowing.
While the present invention is applicable mainly to filter-tipped cigarettes which are overweight or underweight, but otherwise functionally sound, the invention also may be employed to recover reusable tobacco from functionally unsound cigarettes, typically those having air leaks, although in this case the success rate may be less than 100 percent, depending on the nature and extent of the deficiencies. Further, the present invention may be used to recover tobacco from untipped cigarettes.
The pressure applied to the filter end of cigarette 46 may very over a wide range. The pressure and quantity of the air should be at least sufficient to expel substantially the whole of the tobacco from the wrapper through the open end. Typically, a value of 40 psi is satisfactory.
The speed of operation of the apparatus described above may vary. The maximum speed of operation is that above which at the chosen pressure of air all of the tobacco is not expelled from the wrapper before the cigarette is transported out of the path of the air jet.
The empty tubes recovered by the conveyor 48 may be discarded or sold to consumers who wish to fill their own filter cigarettes.
The present invention therefore provides a process wherein tobacco is reclaimed from cigarettes without detriment to the filling power of the tobacco and the process may be carried out at speed.
Modifications are possible within the scope of the invention.
1. A method of removing tobacco from the tubular open-ended wrapper of a cigarette, which comprises the steps of subjecting tobacco in waid wrapper to a radially compressive force, to provide radially compressed tobacco within said wrapper, releasing the radially compressive force, and directing air under pressure axially against the radially compressed tobacco within said wrapper while said tobacco remains radially compressed and while holding the wrapper against lengthwise movement, the air being directed in sufficient quantity and under sufficient pressure toward an open end of the wrapper to expel substantially the whole of the tobacco from the wrapper through said open end.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein said cigarette is filter-tipped and including gripping the filter tip to hold said wrapper against lengthwise movement.
3. The method of claim 2 including gripping said filter tip by cooperating faces engaging the outer surface of the filter tip.
4. The method of claim 1 including directing said air under pressure at one end of said cigarette so that said radially compressed tobacco is expelled from the opposite end of said cigarette.
5. The method of claim 2 including directing said air under pressure longitudinally through said filter tip against the tobacco within the wrapper.
6. The method of claim 1 including enclosing said cigarette within a chamber during the directing of said air.
7. An apparatus for removing tobacco from the tubular open-ended wrapper of a cigarette, which comprises compressing means to subject tobacco within individual cigarettes to radial compression for a predetermined period of time, a source of air under pressure, holding means separate from said compressing means for holding individual cigarettes in the path of an axial stream of air from said source wherein air under pressure is directed axially against the radially compressed tobacco in the wrapper after the termination of said predetermined period of time while the wrapper is held against lengthwise movement, collecting means to receive tobacco ejected from said cigarette and conveying means to convey said cigarette first to said compressing means and subsequently to said holding means.
8. An apparatus for removing and recovering tobacco from the tubular open-ended wrapper of a cigarette comprising a hopper containing a plurality of cigarettes from which tobacco is to be recovered, a first wheel rotatable about a substantially horizontal axis having a fluted periphery whereby individual cigarettes may be received from said hopper in flutes and conveyed thereby, compressing means located adjacent said first wheel and arranged to subject tobacco, in each cigarette while positioned in a flute to radial compression substantially along the longitudinal length of the cigarette for a predetermined period of time, a source of air pressure, air stream forming means in communication with said source of air pressure and located adjacent the periphery of the wheel at a position arcuately removed from said hopper and said compressing means, holding means associated successively with each flute for holding each cigarette successively in the path of said air stream whereby said radially compressed tobacco is expelled substantially completely from said wrapper through said open-end of said cigarette and said wrapper is held against longitudinal movement during said expelling, and collecting means to collect tobacco expelled from each cigarette.
9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said holding means includes a second wheel rotatable about a substantially horizontal axis and having a fluted periphery, the flutes of the periphery of said second wheel cooperating at the point of nearest approach of the peripheries of the two wheels with the flutes of the periphery of said first wheel to provide a recess holding the cigarette at one end while tobacco is expelled from the other.
10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said recess extends the length of the cigarette.
11. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said compressthe first wheel whereby individual cigarettes are coming means comprises a rotor having a plurality of radial pressed between a cooperating pair of spokes and spokes of lateral dimension substantially the length of flutes.
a cigarette to cooperate with flutes in the periphery of