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Publication numberUS3759303 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 18, 1973
Filing dateJun 9, 1971
Priority dateJun 9, 1971
Also published asCA944328A, CA944328A1
Publication numberUS 3759303 A, US 3759303A, US-A-3759303, US3759303 A, US3759303A
InventorsDjuren G, Henrichs B
Original AssigneeCompact Ind
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cup handling apparatus
US 3759303 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States atent 91 Henrichs et a1.

[ Sept. 18, 1973 1 1 CUP HANDLING APPARATUS [75] Inventors: Benjamin D. Henrichs, Lake Mills;

Gordon A. Djuren, Kensett, both of Iowa [73] Assignee: Compact Industries, Inc.,

Northbrook, Ill.

[22] Filed: June 9, 1971 211 App]. No.: 151,271

[52] US. Cl 141/1, 141/174, 141/282,

198/35, 214/6 BA, 221/105, 221/176 [51] Int. Cl B651) 43/44 [58] Field of Search 53/159, 163, 245,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,618,642 11/1971 Beaulieu 141/176 X 1,561,939 11/1925 Lowe ..141/173 X 3,289,385 12/1966 Syverson et a1..... 53/30 3,389,811 6/1968 Frank 2l4/6.5 3,622,017 11/1971 Meuller et a1. 214/6 BA Primary Examiner-Houston S. Bell, Jr. Att0rneyFitch, Even, Tabin and Luedeka [57] ABSTRACT An apparatus for individually feeding, filling, and stacking a supply of cups includes a conveyor adapted to reeive and support the cups individually and carry them from a cup feeding station to a filling station, where the cups individually are moved toward and away from the filling mechanism, and then carry the cups to a stacking station.

13 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEB 3359.303

sum 1 0r 4 78d BIOd INVENTORS JAMIN .HENDRICKS DON A. UREN PAIENIEDSEPIBW 3,759,303

SHEET 2 BF 4 3 1 NVENTORS BENJAMIN o. HENDRICKS GORDON A. DJUREN ATTYS.

PMENTEU 8375 saw 3 or 4 INVENTORS BENJAMIN HENDRICKS GORDON A. DJUREN ATTYS.

1 our HANDLING APPARATUS This invention relates generally to cup handling devices and more particularly concerns an apparatus for and a method of filling and stacking cups to be packaged for subsequent use in beverage dispensing machines. The method of packaging the stacked cups is in accordance with U. S. Pat. No. 3,289,385 wherein beverage material and standard cups are packaged together in a novel manner to simplify dispensing and to avoid deterioration of the material due to moisture during storage before water is added to form a beverage. The method is especially adapted for packaging hygroscopic or deliquescent materials, such as dehydrated soups, coffee, tea, and choclate. Such materials are powdery or granular and are characterized by an attraction for moisture. When exposed to the atmosphere or water vapor they absorb the moisture to form a liquid or a sticky mass. In dispensing machines, a beverage usually is formed by adding hot or cold water to a measured quantity of beverage material already deposited in a container. The beverage material is stored in the recessed bottom of an inverted cup and sealed into this compartment when the inverted cup is telescoped into a preceding inverted cup against the preceded cup s bottom wall, creating a seal compartment to protect the measured quantity of dry material before it is combined with water. A package as disclosed in U. S. Pat. No. 3,227,273 results from this method of packaging and is accomplished in an economic and efficient manner.

It is the primary object of the present inventionto provide an apparatus for filling and stacking the filled cups preparatory to the packaging method disclosed in U. S. Pat. No. 3,289.385.

This and further objects of the invention are more particularly set forth in the following detailed description and in the accompanying drawings of which:

FIG. 1 is a top view of a cup handling apparatus illustrating the preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the same cup handling apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a side view of a cup feeding mechanism of the cup handling apparatus;

FIG. 4 is a detail of a mandrel and a support block which carry the cup on a conveyor of the cup handling apparatus;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of a cup on the mandrel along line 55 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of a funnel of an individual cup filling device along line 6-6 of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 7 is a sectional view of an individual cup stacking device along line 77 of FIG. 1.

Although theinvention will be described in connection with a preferred embodiment, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to that embodiment. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Broadly, referring first to FIGS. 1 and 2, an initial supply of cups 2 is inverted and applied to a stack feeding mechanism 4 which feeds one cup at a time onto a mandrel 6 supported on a conveyor 8 which advances each cup into engagement with a funnel 10 of a filling wheel 12 at a filling station 9. At that point, a measur ing device 14 meters a predetermined amount of the dry substance into a recessed cup bottom 96 which opens upwardly and is brought into operative relation with the filling wheel 12 by the conveyor 8. The conveyor 8 thereafter moves the cup with the filled recess out of engagement with the funnel 10 and advances it along a predetermined path toward a stacking wheel 16 at the other end of a table 18, which supports the entire cup handling apparatus. The stacking wheel 16 has mounted thereon a plurality of stacking devices 20. As a cup 3, carried on the conveyor 8, is brought into operative relation with the stacking wheel 16 at a stacking station 15, it engages a stacking device 20, whereupon the cup is added to a stack of cups retained in the stacking device as the cup is removed from the mandrel 6. A dummy cup (not illustrated), having been interposed in the initial supply of cups 2 by a predetermined count, signals the completion of the stack, which is then removed by hand for packaging. As viewed in FIG. 1, the conveyor 8 moves in a general clockwise direction along a predetermined path, and as the empty mandrel 6 leaves the stacking station 15, it moves back into position under the stack feeding mechanism 4 to receive another cup.

More particularly, as seen in FIG. 2, the table 18 of the preferred embodiment includes a supporting frame 22 having upright legs and cross supporting members, a stainless steel top surface 19, and enameled sheet metal enclosure panels 23. An electric motor 24, having its base attached to the supporting frame 22, drives a pulley 26 by a belt 28. A switch 25 controls the on-off, function of the electric motor 24. A pulley 26 is at? tached to a drive shaft 30 and transmits power thereby to other members in a power train mounted on a drive shaft 30, journalled at its lower end in a pillow block 32. Two such members in the power train mounted on the drive shaft 30 are drive sprockets 34, 36 which with chains 38, 40 respectively combine to form the driving means for the horizontally disposed conveyor 8. The driven portion of the conveyor comprises a lower driven sprocket 42 and an upper driven sprocket 44,;

both mounted on a driven shaft 46, which is journalled in a pillow block 48. .Iournalling the upper portions of the drive shaft 30 and the driven shaft 46 are pillow blocks (not shown), the mountings of which are spaced apart by a pair of adjusting rods 49, 51 (FIG. 1). By means of these rods, tension is adjusted on the chains 38, 40, and support is furnished for the upper ends of the shafts 30, 46.

Attached by suitable means to the conveyor chains 38, 40, which can best be seen in FIG. 4, is a support block 50 for a mandrel rod 52 on which is mounted the mandrel 6. On the lower end of the mandrel rod 52 is a follower assembly 54 attached to the mandrel rod by a clevis 56. The follower assembly 54 comprises a raise cam roller 58in the fork of the clevis 56 and two return cam rollers 60 on either side of the clevis 56.

In the preferred embodiment, all three of these rollers are made of nylon. The raise cam roller 58 has a larger diameter than the return cam rollers 60 and, as best seen in FIG. 2, moves on the surfaces of a filling machanism raise cam 62 and a stacking mechanism raise cam 66 as the conveyor 8 advances the follower assemblies 54 on each cam. Both cams 62, 66 are made of multiple layers of fiberglass. The combination of nylon rollers on fiberglass cam tracks reduces friction andincreases durability.

The engagement of the raise cam roller $8 on cams 62, 66 imparts a lifting motion to the mandrels 6 on mandrel rods 52. During these lifts, the conveyor makes a 180 turn around the driving sprockets 34, 36 and the driven sprockets 42, 44. The driving sprockets 34, 36 are associated with the cup filling station 9, and the driven sprockets 42, 44 are associated with the cup stacking station 15. At each station are mounted a pair of rails forming return cams 64 at the filling station and 68 at the stacking station. The return cam rollers 60 separately engage the filling station return cam 64 and stacking station return cam 68 at approximately the midpoint of the 180 conveyor turn around these two stations. The engagement of the rollers with the cams imparts a downward movement, transversely of the conveyor movement, to the follower assembly 54. This movement returns the mandrel rod 52 and the mandrel 6 to their lower or normal positions on the conveyor. The large diameter of raise cam roller 58 permits the return cam rollers 60 to have free motion during engagement with return cams 64, 68 white the cam roller 58 is still rolling on cams 62, 66 respectively. This independent motion is necessary because the direction of roller rotation caused by the raise cams is in opposition to and occurs for a time simultaneously with that caused by the return cams.

The cup feeding mechanism 4 receives its power from the dirve shaft through the sprockets 70, the chain 72, the drive sprocket 74 and the drive shaft 76. This power train imparts motion through the intermediate shafts 77, the gears 79, the auger synchronizing shafts 82a, 82b, the worm gears 80a through 80d to the augers 78a through 78d. A groove 84 following the trace of a helix around the outer surface is cut in each of the augers 78a through 78d and is dimensioned to receive a cup lip 86. It can be seen in FIG. 3 that to move a cup downwardly from its nested position, the augers 78a, 78b must rotate simultaneously. To insure proper timing of rotation, the augers are synchronized by the auger synchronizing shafts 82a, 82b. The augers 78c, 78d are identical with the augers 78a, 78b and cooperate with them in separating a cup 3 from the supply of cups 2. These augers are also timed by the auger synchronizing shafts 82a, 82b and have cut in their outside surfaces identical helical grooves 84. These augers 78c, 78d rotate in a counterclockwise direction to cooperate with the augers 78a, 78b in advancing the cup down wardly, thus providing four points of contact around the cup rim 86. Adjacent traces or turns of the helical groove 84 on each auger are spaced apart from each other sufficiently to free a cup from any frictional forces tending to hold it with the immediately succeeding cup when the rotating augers engage the cup rim to separate that cup from its nested position. The four timed augers advance the cup to the point where the grooves 84 terminate in open ends. Then the cup falls by gravity onto a mandrel timed to be positioned below the cup in its path of fall. The conveyor 8 has mounted thereon a plurality of spaced apart mandrels. The spacing of the mandrels is related to the gear ratios of the cup feeding station power train so as to cause a mandrel to be in the appropriate position to receive the cup at the time it is freely falling in its path of fall. Since both the conveyor 8 and the cup feeding station drive shaft 76 are driven in common from the drive shaft 30, there is a fixed time relationship between the move ment of the conveyor and the feeding of the cups onto the conveyor.

While the preferred embodiment of the invention illustrates a stack of pre-nested cups manually inverted and loaded in the cup stack retainer 88 having vertical guides 90, an alternate is to feed the cups individually from a dryer (not shown) through an appropriate means, such as a pneumatic tube, to the stack retainer 88. A dryer is particularly advantageous when the cup filling and stacking apparatus is used to fill cups with a measured quantity of a deliquescent or hygroscopic material. Since it is undesirable to have moisture laden air in the cups, the dryer could remove the moisture prior to the deposition of a discrete portion of the deliquescent or hygroscopic material in the cup.

FIG. 4 is a detail of the mandrel 6, the mandrel rod 52 and the mandrel support block 50. Since conventional cups are shaped as frustums of cones, the mandrel must conform generally to this shape in order to properly carry the cups. The mandrel does not present a continuous surface to the inside of the cup. Only four portions of the surface of the mandrel are arcuate and conform to the inside dimensions of the cups. These four portions are the rounded corners of a square, the sides of which are substantially chords of a circle representing the inside perimeter of the cup, as illustrated in the cross sectional view of the cup and the mandrel in FIG. 5. The mandrel is made of materials suitable for machining and is coated on the outside with teflon for ease of cleaning. The mandrel is dimensioned such that when the teflon coating is applied, it will be sufficiently smaller than the inside dimensions of the cups to permit the cups to fit loosely thereon. It is undesirable for the cups to bind when dropping onto the mandrel. A support block 50 has mounting cars 92 for attaching it to the chains 38, 40 of the conveyor. A bore 53 through its long dimension guides the mandrel rod 52 on which the mandrel 6 is mounted.

The cups fall onto each mandrel in an inverted position to permit the mandrel to present the cup to the filling station 9 so that the cups recessed bottom opens upwardly to receive the measured substance metered from the measuring device 14. The filling wheel 12 has a plurality of like holes therein disposed inwardly of and adjacent the wheels periphery into which fit the funnels 10, as shown in FIG. 1. This filling wheel is likewise coated with teflon for ease of cleaning. It is attached by suitable means to the upper end of the drive shaft 30 and driven directly thereby. Consequently, the filling wheel 12 rotates at the same speed. as the sprockets 34, 36, which are driven by the same shaft 30 to activate the conveyor 8. This creates the synchronized or unison movement of the conveyor 8 with the filling wheel 12, an important feature of the filling operation. The holes are spaced apart around the filling wheel 12 a distance equal to the spaced apart mandrels 6 on the conveyor 8 below so that as the conveyor moves in unison with the filling wheel 12, the holes are in register with the mandrels. Minor alignment adjustments of the filling wheel 12 may be made at a pair of elongated mounting holes 13 on the filling wheel 12. Conveyor chains 38, 40 drive the sprockets 42, 44 respectively mounted on the driven shaft 46. The stacking wheel 16 i is attached to the upper end of the driven shaft 46, thereby causing the speed of rotation of the stacking wheel 16 to be the same as the driven sprockets 42, 44 of the conveyor 8. Thus, there is also synchronized or unison movement of the stacking wheel 16 with the conveyor 8, an important feature of the stacking operation, which assures proper stacking of the filled cups transferred from the conveyor. Minor alignment adjustments of the stacking wheel 16 may be made at the pair of elongated mounting holes 17 on the stacking wheel 16. Since the drive shaft 30 drives the cup feeding mechanism 4, the conveyor 8, the filling wheel 12, and, through the driven shaft 46, the stacking wheel 16, there is a timed relation between these devices that synchronizes the steps of the cup handling.

Referring now to FIG. 6, it is desirable in the filling operation to insure that the measured quantity of dry material is placed completely within the confines of the recessed bottom 96 of each cup 3. The funnel has at its lower extremity a cylindrical lip 94, dimensioned to fit within the recess. The cylindrical lip 94 is long enough to permit the funnel to come in contact with the bottom wall 98 of the cup. The funnel 10 is shaped generally as the frustum of a cone, the cylindrical lip 94 being at its narrow end and a flange 100 at its wide end. The funnel 10 fits loosely in a hole 102, of which there are a plurality in the filling wheel 12. The flange 100 on the funnel 10 supports the funnel in the hole 102 of the funnel wheel 12, and the funnel fits loosely. When the cup 3 is brought into operative relation with the filling station 9 by the conveyor 8 and the cup is at its uppermost position, the bottom wall 98 of cup 3 will touch funnel l0 and cause it to be slightly raised out of its seat in the hole 102, thereby assuring a proper seating when the cylindrical lip 94 conforms to the plane of the bottom wall 98 of the cup. The measuring device 14 is a conventional metering mechanism, such as a Bartelt machine. From this device, dry substance is metered into the funnel 10 and is deposited directly on the bottom wall 98 within the cup recess 96. As the conveyor 8 advances the cup 3 around the filling station 9, and the filling station return cam 64 engages the return cam rollers 60 on the mandrel rod 52 pulling the cup 3 out of engagement with the funnel 10, the dry substance will be retained entirely within the cup recess 96. Thus, extraportions of the dry substance do not rest on the rim edge 104 of cup recess 96, nor on any part of the outside surface of cup 3. The funnel 10 will also properly seat even if the cup 3 is disposed at an angle on mandrel 6. The conical shape of funnel 10 and its loose fit permits it to be raised from its normal position and conform to a tilt of the cup bottom, wherein the cylindrical lip 94 of funnel 10 is parallel to and resting on the bottom wall 98. Of course it is undesirable to have dry material on any cup portion likely to be handled by a person drinking from the cup. The dry material with only :1 slight bit of moisture added to it forms a sticky mass. which is likely to be greeted with something less than enthusiasm by the user. A further precaution to assure a clean outside cup surface during filling, is an alternate feature of adding a vacuum system (not shown) at funnel 10 to pick up loose particles of the metered products if any, from the area of the funnel 10 during filling. During the stacking of the cups, a cup being telescoped into a nest of cups displaces the air of the nesting cup. But this air displacement does not cause a movement of the dry material, even if powdery, in the cup recess, because the air in the recess is not displaced during the telescoping operation. Hence, the dry powder is not scattered to the outside surfaces of the cup during either the filling or the stacking operation. After stacking, the compartments of the recessed bottoms in this novel method of packaging cups are sealed by the rims of the recessed bottoms of the nested cups directly contacting the bottom walls of the nesting cups, and this seal is maintained until the cups are pulled apart for use in a vending machine. At this time, of course, the dry substance has been transferred to the inside bottoms of the nesting cups, since the stack is placed in the vending machine with the cups in their upright position. While traces of remaining powder may be on the outside surface of the recessed bottom, there is no powder on the rim edge 104, the part of the cup likely to be touched by a user.

Referring now to FIG. 7, the stacking device 20 of the stacking wheel 16 is shown in detail. The stacking device 211 comprises a stacking tube 108 having a pair of fasteners 106 (FIG. 1) attaching the stacking tube to the stacking wheel 16a over cup clearance hole 110. The stacking wheel 16 includes a plurality of these holes and, hence, these stacking devices disposed inwardly of and adjacent the wheels periphery. The holes are spaced apart around the stacking wheel a distance equal to the spaced apart mandrels 6 on the conveyor 8 below so that as the conveyor moves in unison with the stacking wheel 16, the holes are in register with the mandrels. The insidediameter of stacking tube 108 is equal to the diameter of the clearance hole 110.

In the walls of the stacking tube 108 are a pair of openings 120 disposed opposite each other and at approximately from the fasteners 106. These openings provide access for a cup retainer 1 12 to engage the cup lip 86. The cup retainer 112 comprises a mounting base 1 16, a spring loaded hinge 1 14 having a spring 1 15, and a detent lip 118. The retainer 112 is positioned so that the detent lip 118, adapted to conform to the arcuate shape of the cup 3, will grip the cup on its outside surface adjacent the lip 86. Consequently, as the cup 3 is elevated into the stacking device 20 by the raise cam roller 58 riding up the raise cam 66 transversely of the conveyor path as the conveyor 8 advances the cup 3 around the stacking station 15 in register or unison with the stacking wheel 16, the cup lip 86 pushes the detent lip 118 up. This pushing is against the urging of the spring loaded hinge 114, which therefore returns the detent lip 118 to its horizontal position when the cup lip 86 moves upwardly beyond the detent. The cup retainer 112 thereby creates a ratchet action on the cups as the cups are stacked that prevents a reverse movement of the cups by the downward urging of gravity. In this manner cups are added one at a time to a stack in each stacking device 20 on the stacking wheel 16 until the stacks are removed from the wheel.

To properly signal the completion of a stack in each of the stacking devices 20, dummy cups of a different color from those being filled, are interpositioned at predetermined intervals in the supply of cups. A stack of nested cups at the stacking station 15, having the dummy cup as its lowest member, is then removed from each of the stacking devices 20. The balance of the packaging method described, U.S. Letters Pat. No. 3,289,385 is accomplished separately from this cup handling apparatus.

Thus it is apparent that there has been provided, in accordance with the invention, a cup handling apparatus that fully satisfies the object, aims, and advantages set forth above. Although the invention has been described in conjunction with a specific embodiment and certain alternatives thereof, it is evident that other alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in view of the foregoing description. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variations as fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

Various of the features oi the invention are set forth in the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for feeding, filling, and stacking a supply of cups, the combination of a support; a cup feeding mechanism mounted on said support and operable to deliver cups one at a time into a position in which a portion of each cup opens upwardly; a conveyor mounted on said support for receiving said cups from said feeding mechanism and transporting the cups in said position and along a predetermined path; a cup filling mechanism mounted on said support and operable to deposit in each of said cups a measured amount of material while the cup is supported by and moving with said conveyor along a first portion of said predetermined path; means for moving said cups one at a time transversely of said path toward and away from said filling mechanism and into and out of operative relationship therewith; a stacking mechanism mounted on said support along a second portion of said path and operable to receive said cups from said conveyor during advance of the conveyor and to support the same in stacks with said measured amounts of substance in the cups; and means for transferring said cups with said material therein one at a time away from said conveyor and into said stacking mechanism.

2. The apparatus recited in claim ll, wherein said conveyor is horizontally disposed and is adapted to receive recessed bottom cups in an inverted position with the recesses opening upwardly.

3. The apparatus recited in claim 1 wherein said conveyor is horizontally disposed and includes mandrels adapted to receive and support recessed bottom cups individually in an inverted position and vertical supporting rods for carrying said mandrels on the upper ends of said rods, said rods being mounted in spaced apart relation on said conveyor for independent vertical reciprocation of said mandrels during movement of the conveyor along said predetermined path.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein said movement of said mandrels transversely to said conveyor is effected by individual followers attached to said vertical supporting rods for the mandrels and by cams extending along said predetermined path adjacent said filling mechanism and said stacking mechanism.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 in which said feeding mechanism, said conveyor, said filling mechanism and stacking mechanism are operated in timed relation by a common drive means.

6. The apparatus recited in claim 3, wherein said cup feeding mechanism is an auger driven in synchronism with said conveyor to deliver said cups one by one by gravitation onto said mandrels.

7. The apparatus recited in claim 3, wherein said first portion of said predetermined path lies on a circle in a horizontally disposed plane and said filling mechanism comprises a horizontally disposed rotatable filling wheel disposed above said first portion, said wheel having a plurality of filling devices thereon disposed through openings spaced apart adjacent and inwardly of the periphery of said filling wheel in register with said mandrels therebelow during movement of said conveyor in unison with said filling wheel along said first portion of said predetermined path, said filling devices adapted to receive said inverted recessed bottomed cups supported by said mandrels on said conveyor.

d. The apparatus recited in claim 3, wherein said second portion of said predetermined path lies on a circle in a horizontally disposed plane and said stacking mechanism comprises a horizontally disposed rotatable stacking wheel disposed above said second portion, said wheel having a plurality of stacking devices thereon disposed above openings spaced apart adjacent and inwardly of the periphery of said stacking wheel in register with said mandrels therebelow during movement of said conveyor in unison with said stacking wheel along said second portion of said predetermined path, said stacking devices adapted to receive, retain, and stack said inverted cups transported thereto one at a time on said mandrels by said conveyor.

9. In combination with a cup handling apparatus for feeding, filling, and stacking a supply of cups, a cup feeding mechanism disposed overhead of a horizontally disposed conveyor for feeding a supply of inverted cups onto mandrels adapted to receive and support said cups, said mandrels carried by said conveyor along a predetermined path, comprising: means for holding said supply of cups; auger means driven in synchronism with said conveyor to release said cups one by one to downwardly move by gravitation onto said mandrels below, said auger means having open endedgrooves dimensioned to engage the lips of said cups.

10. In combination with a cup handling apparatus for feeding, filling, and stacking a supply of cups, a cup filling mechanism for depositing from a metering device a measured amount of material in recessed bottoms opening upwardly of inverted cups, said apparatus having means for bringing said cups into operative relationship therewith one by one, comprising:

a horizontally disposed rotatable filling wheel having a plurality of like holes spaced apart adjacent and inwardly of the periphery of said filling wheel; and plurality of filling devices, one disposed in each of the filling wheel holes, said filling devices shaped generally as frustums of cones and having an upper end with an outside major diameter of a dimension less than the dimension of said holes to, permit disposition of said filling devices in said holes and a lower end with an outside minor diameter of a length less than the length of the inside diameter of said recessed bottoms opening upwardly, permitting said lower end to fit within said recessed bottoms, said upper end having a flange therearound for retaining said filling devices in said filling wheel holes and said lower-end having a cylindrical lip extending normal therefrom a length sufficient to touch the bottom wall of said recessed bottoms when said cups are brought into operative relationship therewith.

1 1. In combination with a cup handling apparatus for feeding, filling, and stacking a supply of cups, a cup stacking mechanism for receiving, retaining, and stacking inve-ted recessed bottomed cups having deposited in the recessed bottoms a measured amount of material, said apparatus having means for bringing said cups into operative relationship therewith one by one, comprising:

a horizontally disposed rotatable stacking wheel having a plurality of like holes spaced apart adjacent and inwardly of the periphery of said stacking wheel; and

a plurality of stacking devices disposed on said stacking wheel, one upstanding from and in register with each of the stacking wheel holes, each stacking device comprising a tubular body having an opening therethrough near the base thereof and a spring loaded retainer mounted adjacent and extending into said tubular body through said opening to engage each of said cups near the lip thereof when said cup is transported to said stacking wheel for operative relation therewith, said retainer being movable to permit movement of said cups past it in one direction only thereby retaining each cup transported to said stacking device and supporting a stack of cups formed by each cup telescoping into its predecessor.

12. A method of handling cups for feeding, filling,

and stacking a supply of the cups, comprising the steps of:

interposing in the supply of cups a cup having given indicia at positions of predetermined count for subsequently indicating the completion of a cup stack;

feeding the supply of cups one at a time into a position in which a portion of each cup opens upwardly;

transporting the cups in said position along a predetermined path;

moving the cups one at a time transversely of said path while the cups are being transported along a first portion of said predetermined path toward and away from and into and out of operative relationship with a filling apparatus;

depositing a measured amount of material in each of the cups while it is being transported along said first portion in operative relation with said filling apparatus; moving the filled cups one at a time transversely of said path while said filled cups are being transported along a second portion of said predetermined path into operative relationship with a stacking apparatus; retaining each of said filled cups on said stacking apparatus; and o supporting a stack of said retained cups on said stacking apparatus, said stack formed by each of said filled cups telescoping into its predecessor.

13. The method of handling cups recited in claim 12, further comprising the step of: synchronizing the steps of feeding the cups, moving the cups into operative relationship with said filling apparatus, and moving said filled cups into operative relationship with said stacking apparatus.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4927319 *Jul 20, 1988May 22, 1990S.T.S. SrlDevice for determining a preset number of containers, partially inserted within one another forming a package of the same containers
US4960203 *Aug 7, 1989Oct 2, 1990Dana CorporationAdjustable height article supporting mechanism
US5095958 *May 23, 1990Mar 17, 1992Sarcmi S.P.A.Filler valve for bottling equipment, incorporating means of support for a dummy bottle
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US6405871Aug 30, 2000Jun 18, 2002Southpac Trust Int'l. Inc.Apparatus for shipping preformed flower pot covers
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US7836665Jun 25, 2008Nov 23, 2010Wanda M. Weder & Bill F. StraeterMethod of transporting preformed flower pot covers
US8002102Oct 23, 2007Aug 23, 2011Irwin Jere FApparatus for orienting stacks of trimmed molded articles and method
US20020041046 *Dec 13, 2001Apr 11, 2002Fort James CorporationMethod and apparatus for making heat-insulative foamed layer containers and making a web of heat-insulative foamed layer material
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US20040112780 *Dec 4, 2003Jun 17, 2004Craig Frank J.Apparatus for shipping preformed flower pot covers
US20090104013 *Oct 23, 2007Apr 23, 2009Irwin Jere FApparatus for Orienting Stacks of Trimmed Molded Articles and Method
US20090320410 *Jun 25, 2008Dec 31, 2009Weder Donald EMethod of transporting preformed flower pot covers
US20110011033 *Sep 27, 2010Jan 20, 2011Weder Donald EMethod of transporting preformed flower pot covers
DE2817825A1 *Apr 24, 1978Oct 31, 1979Cleamax LtdOpen-mouthed cans feeding method - includes synchronising movement of cans, supported on conveyor, with rotational speed of turret for transferring cans into turret
EP0302837A2 *Jul 22, 1988Feb 8, 1989S.T.S. SrlDevice for selecting a predetermined number of containers partially inserted within one another, thereby forming a package of the same containers
EP0302837A3 *Jul 22, 1988Jan 31, 1990Sts SrlDevice for selecting a predetermined number of containers partially inserted within one another, thereby forming a package of the same containers
Classifications
U.S. Classification141/1, 414/795.3, 141/174, 414/788.2, 198/474.1, 221/105, 198/487.1, 141/282, 221/176
International ClassificationB65B43/42, B65B43/44
Cooperative ClassificationB65B43/44
European ClassificationB65B43/44