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Publication numberUS3765991 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 16, 1973
Filing dateJan 23, 1970
Priority dateJan 23, 1970
Also published asCA951685A, CA951685A1, DE2103021A1
Publication numberUS 3765991 A, US 3765991A, US-A-3765991, US3765991 A, US3765991A
InventorsHoffmann W
Original AssigneeB & J Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Labeling apparatus
US 3765991 A
Abstract
The invention provides a labeling apparatus and method of labeling containers, wherein the control of the labeling operation is dependent on the supply of the labels. Also, there may be used a continuous length of labels rather than individual pre-cut labels, resulting in a very high-speed operation. The labeling device includes a continuous supply of labels, cutting means for providing individual label lengths, adhesive applying means for printing the labels, and label applying means for applying labels to individual containers. Operating in conjunction with the labeling components are means for controlling and transporting an individual container between a container receiving and container discharge station, whereby the label is applied to the container before the discharge station, thereafter wrapped about the container.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Hoffmann 1 Oct. 16, 1973 LABELING APPARATUS Primary Examiner-Benjamin A. Borchelt [75] Inventor: Wolfgang Hoffmann, Modesto, Assistant Examiner-J. V. Doramus Calif. Attorney-Stanley Bialos [73] Assignee: B & H Manufacturing Company,

Inc., Modesto, Calif. [57] ABSTRACT [22] Fil d; J 23, 1970 The invention provides a labeling apparatus and method of labeling containers, wherein the control of [21] Appl' 5187 the labeling operation is dependent on the supply of V 1 7-2 V the labels. Also, there may be used a continuous length of labels rather than individual pre-cut labels, [52] US. Cl. 156/521, 156/230 resulting in a very high speed operation. The labeling [51] Int. Cl. B32b 31/18, B321) 31/20 device includes a continuous supply f labels cutting [58] Field of Search 156/521, 510, 297, means f idi i dividual label lengths, adhesive 156/230, 250 applying means for printing the labels, and label applying means for applying labels to individual containers. Operating in conjunction with the labeling compo- References Cited nents are means for controlling and transporting an UNITED STATES PATENTS individual container between a container receiving 3,404,059 10/1968 Ritterhoff 156/521 and mtaiher discharge Static), whereby the label is 2,344,185 3/1944 Tuthill 156/521 pp to the Container before the discharge station, 3,531,354 9/1970 Hetzinger et al. 156/521 thereafter wrapped about the container.

10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures Patented Oct. 16, 1973 3 Sheets-Shoat l 1N VENTOR Wolfgang HQF FMANN ATTORNEY Patented Oct. 16, 1973 3,765,991

S Sheets-Sheet 2 20a" 22a 7 Z 442 INVENTOR Wolfgang HOFFMANN A 'I'TURNIL'Y Patented Oct. 16, 1973 s Shuts-Shunt s w? w w Q INVENTOR Wolfgan HOFFMANN ATTORNEY LABELING APPARATUS This invention relates to an apparatus and method.

More particularly, this invention relates to an apparatus and method for applying flexible indicia, such as labels, to containers.

Containers of many types require marking indicia to be applied to their exterior surface for identification purposes. Thus, by way of example consumer goods such as vegetables, soups, etc. are packaged in metal containers and a flexible wrapper is applied to the exterior surface of the container for identification of the commodity therein.

At present, the type of operation involved in application of labels to containers is relatively complicated and an expensive procedure. Normally, the labels for use in such an operation are pre-printed, cut and stacked in bundles of several hundred or more which are then supplied to the packaging manufacturer. The labels must be manufactured to precise tolerances, as any variation in their length and/or width will affect their runnability in a label application operation. One system for application of the labels to containers operates on the principle of applying a pattern of adhesive to the container, and running the container over the uppermost label of a stack of labels, whereby the container picks up the uppermost label and the latter is then wrapped around the container. The labels, stacked in a magazine of a labeling apparatus, must be carefully loaded into the magazine in order to perform properly. Thus, the labels must be fanned before being inserted into the magazine to ensure that they will separate individually to avoid the possibility of a container failing to pick up a label. Nonetheless in practice this does happen and there is a resulting loss of labels and production time, resulting in increasing production costs.

A further problem associated with present labeling systems is that the grain of the substrate e.g. paper, is an important factor in applying the label to the container. Frequently, the label manufacturers will provide labels where the grain of one batch runs in a direction opposite to the grain of a further batch. Depending on the grain of the substrate, problems are sometimes encountered in application of the label to a container due to curling of the label in the wrong direction.

Still further, in using systems involving stacked labels, some downtime is required to refill the label magazine, even when an automatic loading magazine is employed which is capable of receiving a further supply of labels when the first supply is being used.

All in all, the use of pre-cut labels is a relatively inefficient manner of applying such labels to containers, in addition to being costly. And, such systems employing this operate at relatively low speeds compared to the production rate of the containers, so that normally an "in-line" operation is not possible without using two or more labeling machines.

With this invention, applicant has developed a labeling apparatus and method eliminating the above disadvantages of existing labeling devices and methods. The apparatus and method of the present invention provides an improved system, capable of running at speeds double those of present operations.

in accordance with this invention, in a labeling apparatus, control of the labeling operation is taken away from the container and placed in the actual label applying operation. To this end, in a labeling apparatus, there is provided transporting and controlling means for transporting and controlling a container between a container receiving and container discharging station, with controlling means for retaining control of a severed label from a continuous supply thereof, transporting the label to a label applying station, and for applying it to a container, all with a continuous uninterrupted motion. i

In greater detail, in accordance with a preferred embodiment, there is provided a labeling apparatus including selecting means for selecting a container and supply thereof, container receiving and transport means for receiving an individual container from said selecting means at a container receiving station and for transporting said container to a container discharge station, label supplying means for supplying a continuous length of labels, feeding means for feeding a continuous length of labels from said supplying means, cutting means in advance of said feeding means in the feeding direction of said length of labels, said cutting means being operated to sever individual label lengths from said length of labels, label control and transport means for controlling said individual label lengths from said cutting means and transporting said label to label applying station, said adhesive applying means for applying a predetermined adhesive to said label as said label is transported from said cutting means to said label applying station and means for applying said label in position with said container and for securing it thereto.

In accordance with a further aspect of this invention, there is provided a method of labeling containers which includes the steps of providing a continuous length of labels, providing a supply of containers to be labeled, selecting an individual container, moving the selected container from said supply to a container labeling station, severing a label from said supply thereof, applying adhesive to said label, contacting said container with said label and applying said label to said container. According to a preferred embodiment, a container, from a supply thereof, is selected and transported nonrotatably about its own axis but orbitally moved about a fixed axis, while being thus fixedly clamped between its ends against rotation to prevent displacement while it is moving about the fixed axis, to a container recieving station. The step of supplying a continuous length of labels is preferably carried out by feeding a single layer or web of labels from a roll supply, whereafter an individual label length is severed from the supply and presented to the subsequent adhesive applying operation. To this end, the label is preferably retained under control from the cutting operation and passed through an adhseive applying stationwhere adhesive is applied to the label in the desired pattern. The step of applying a label to a container is preferably carried out by moving the label in juxtaposition to the container e.g. by placing a portion of the label, namely the leading edge portion of the label onto the container, and thereafter rotating the container about its own axis on a relatively flat surface for wrapping the label about the container.

The means for selecting and feeding a container may be any suitable means normally used in this art for this purpose. As is evident, the purpose of such means is to select an individual container from a supply of such containers, which supply may, for example, be fed from a previous packaging operation. Such means may, for

example, be a screw (helix screw) feed means, which type of means is known in the art of high speed can filling equipment, e.g. beverage can filling equipment. A spiral screw feed is used to assume control over an individual container after selecting that container from an array of such containers. A screw feed will then feed the container to means for transporting the container to a labeling station.

The term labeling station denotes the point at which the labels are applied to the containers. According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the labeling station preferably comprises rotatable means, means for rotating said rotatable means and control means for releasably retaining the container presented thereto by said feeding means, transporting said container to and through said labeling station, and for releasing a labeled container thereafter. More particularly, the preferred continuously rotatable means preferably comprises a rotatable drum typearrangement having a plurality of individual container retaining stations therein, each individual container station being provided with a releasable container retaining means. The rotatable drum type-arrangement may consist of any suitable drum type of arrangement as, for example, a pair of spaced apart frame members, preferably of a substantially circular shape, rotating about a central axis and driven by suitable means as hereinafter explained in greater detail. One of the spaced apart frames is provided with a plurality of cooperating gripping means adapted to releasably grip a container at the point at which the container is presented to it and thus hold the container against rotation about the container axis, and discharge a labeled container at a discharge point. To this end, the gripping means may comprise gripping clamps for engaging a container and retaining it in juxtaposition with the container station, the gripping clamps being operated by suitable means e.g. a cam mechanism. The cam mechanism may be constructed so as to permit the rotatable drum to receive a container, subsequently retain the container, transport it to the labeling station and after labeling, release a container at the desired point.

It will be understood that in place of a rotatable drum-type arrangement, other equivalent arrangements may be employed as, for example, an endless chain or belt, a turret system, each of which may be similarly constructed to receive a container, transport it to the labeling station and discharge a labeled container at the discharge point.

The label supply means may be any suitable device for mounting a supply of labels. The labels will normally be supplied in roll form, containing several hundred or more labels in a continuous roll. To this end, the label supply means may include spaced apart supporting means adapted to rotatably retain the labels about a central axis.

The label supply means preferably includes a tension and slack take-up device, for creating the desired tension on the roll labels for presentation to the apparatus. The slack take-up means may be a conventional dancer-roller arrangement.

The means for feeding a supply of labels to the labeling station may include suitable drive means for engaging a single layer of label forms, e. g. a pair of spaced apart drive rollers.

The means for severing an individual label from a roll of labels preferably comprises a single pair of cooperating cutting assemblies. A particularly preferred form comprises a first member in the form of a rotatable drum having one or more cutting knives thereon and rotating about a fixed axis; the second member may comprise a stationary assembly whereby upon feeding a predetermined length of label material between the two cooperating assemblies, they are actuated to sever a label. According to a particularly preferred feature of the present invention, a stationary cooperating member may be mounted on a lever whereby movement of the lever by suitable actuation means, e.g. pneumatic cylinder piston causing the stationary member to be spaced slightly from direct alignment with the rotatable member when no label is passed between the two members. It has been found that this type of arrangement provides a longer life for the cutting blades inasmuch as there is no direct contact between the two cutting members when there is no label to be cut.

After severing a label length from the roll of labels, the label is then placed in juxtaposition with a rotatable vacuum drum or other suitable means located ahead of the vacuum drum which serves as a carrier for the label between the label cutting station and the label applying station. At the same time, while under the control of the vacuum drum, glue is applied to the label.

The vacuum drum may be any suitable conventional vacuum type drum wherein a vacuum is created causing the label to adhere to the surface of the drum. Such conventional arrangements include a source of vacuum connected to the drum, means for creating this source of vacuum, e.g. a conventional pump, with the surface of the drum being air-permeable.

According to a preferred embodiment, the surface of the drum used in the apparatus of the present invention may be provided with an air-permeable resilient material, e.g. rubber. The air-permeability may be a feature of the rubber or alternately the rubber may be provided with apertures as desired.

The vacuum drum will also include the conventional vacuum cut-off arrangement to eliminate the vacuum at a desired label transfer point. To this end, the vacuum drum may also include a source of pressurized air to help in the transfer of the label from the vacuum drum to the container.

Suitable means are provided for continuously rotating the vacuum drum preferably tied in to the main drive system of the apparatus. The adhesive applying means of the present invention includes an adhesive bath, and means for applying or printing on to one face of a label a desired pattern of adhesive. The adhesive containing bath may be any suitable type of container mounting, for example, an adhesive applying roll. The adhesive applying roll is preferably in the form of a roller having the desired printed pattern thereon whereby the roll will print on a label the adhesive pattern required.

According to a preferred embodiment, the adhesive bath may be spring loaded whereby it is normally urged against the vacuum drum, with suitable means for removing the adhesive applying means from contact with the drum when the labels are not supplied. Such means may be, for example, magnetic control switches. In this embodiment, the adhesive container is preferably pivotably mounted for movement about a pivot point at one end of the container.

The label applying station of the apparatus includes means for bringing the adhesive applied face of a label into contact with a container with the container and the label continuously moving in the same direction and at the same speed. This may be accomplished by arranging the vacuum drum and the rotatable means of said labelling station in alignment whereby the label is transferred to the container. Thereafter suitable means for rotating the container and thus wrapping the label thereabout may be employed.

In a preferred embodiment, the adhesive applying means will preferably print into a label, at the leading and trailing edges thereof, a glue pattern in a desired form. Thereafter, the vacuum drum, suitably aligned with the rotatable means, will pass in close proximity to a container on the rotatable means whereby the leading edge portion of the label is brought into direct contact with the container, the label being transported from the vacuum drum to the container by cutting-off the vacuum of the vacuum drum and if desired, using a pressurized source of air to aid in the transfer.

After the leading edge portion of the label is applied to the container, the container may then be brought into operative relationship to further means for rotating the container about its own axis, and thus wrapping the label completely about the container. To this end, the container may be released from the container retaining means at the discharge station, and means for rotating the container about a fixed axis may then be employed. Such means include, for example, a rotatable belt-type of arrangement for spinning the container about a fixed axis.

The drive system of the present invention may be any suitable drive system which will be known to those skilled in the art for equipment of the present type. More particularly, the components will be operated in a time-related sequence whereby a label from a continuous supply thereof is severed, said label is brought into operative relationship with the vacuum drum, adhesive applied and the label subsequently placed in juxtaposition with a container fed by the rotatable means for controlling the container between the container receiving and container discharge station.

The apparatus of the present invention is applicable to many different types of containers including round cans, irregularly shaped cans, etc. The type of label applied may likewise vary i.e. it may be a label for fully wrapping or likewise vary i.e. it may be a label for fully wrapping or surrounding a portion or the total container or a partial label adapted only to surround a portion of the container. The labels may be pre-printed or alternately, between the means for severing a label length from a continuous roll and means for severing a continuous length of labels, there may be included suitable printing means for printing an otherwise blank roll of lables.

The type of adhesive used for applying these labels may be any sort of suitable adhesive known to those skilled in this art. More particularly, the adhesive will normally be ofa wet glue type. The apparatus of the present invention provides many advantageous features over the labeling apparatus of the prior art. More particularly, it permits a high speed operation which heretofore has not been possible with existing equipment. Speeds of up to more than 600 containers per minute can be reached using the present apparatus. Accordingly, as previously mentioned, the use of a continuous supply of labels in strip form has many advantageous features.

Having thus generally described the invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, illustrating a preferred embodiment and in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view of an apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an end view taken along the right hand side of FIG. 1; 7

FIG. 3 is an end view of the label control drum; and

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the drum of FIG. 3.

In the drawings, reference letter L denotes the labels and reference letter C denotes a container.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, the labeling apparatus according to the present invention is mounted at a frame designated by the reference letter Fr. In general, the frame members are all designated by reference letter Fr. Mounted to the frame member is a conventional container screw type feeding device driven by the main drive system hereinafter described. The screw feed includes a rotatable shaft mounting at its free end a gear pinion 102 adapted to engage a further gear pinion 104 of the main drive shaft. Shaft 100 is mounted by means of bearing 106 connected to a mounting plate 108, and includes a standard clutch mechanism indicated generally by reference numeral 110.

A conventional screw feed mechanism SR is connected to the shaft 100, is journalled by bushings 112 and supports 114 to the frame Fr.

A source of containers e.g. cans, produced or supplied from a previous operation, are fed to a receiving station generally indicated by reference letter R, where they may be aligned in a single row by use of, for example, spaced apart guide rails 116. The cans may be fed to the receiving station R by suitable means e.g. a conveyor. Once at the receiving station, the cans are individually engaged by the screw feed and fed to the subsequent operation. The means for receiving a supply of containers, for feeding individual containers to the labeling operation, preferably consists of a vertically mounted rotatable drum indicated generally by reference letter D. In greater detail, drum D consists of a pair of spaced apart flanges and 120a extending from a central shaft 122 from which they are journalled for rotation about the central axis. The shaft 122 is driven by suitable drive means as hereinafter explained.

The flange 120 is a stepped lip construction defined by an extending terminal portion 121 and a lower portion 123 forming therebetween an L-shaped container receiving edge, as shown in FIG. 2.

The rotatable drum D includes a plurality of container receiving stations located thereabout, and defined in the embodiment shown by releasable clamping means adapted to contain by non-rotatably gripping a container at the station. To this end, the flange 120a includes a mounting bracket 124 rigidly connected thereto, and journalling a shaft 126. Mounted on shaft 126- is a rotatable lever 128 having at one end a container engaging surface 130. Mounted to the other end of the lever 128 is a cam follower 132. The lever 128 is spring loaded on shaft 126 whereby it normally remains in a closed (container retaining) position.

Operating in conjunction with the container engaging means are cooperating means for opening the container engaging means at the containerreceiving station and the container discharge station, designated by S1 and S2 respectively (FIG. 1). The container retainin-g means receives a container fed to the drum D, re-

tains it in juxtaposition with the container station on the drum D through the labeling operation and discharges the container at a desired discharge station S2.

The cooperating members comprise a stationary support 134 connected to the frame Fr, carrying a guide rail 136 thereon. The guide rail 136 (as shown in FIG. 2) may be a curved plate, extending a distance indicated by the bracket portion S1 and S2 shown in FIG. 1. Thus, during rotation of the drum D, the container engaging means, spring loaded and normally held in a closed position, will abut the guide rail 136 at the container receiving station S1, thereby opening the clamp to permit insertion of a container, whereafter the cam follower 132 disengages from the guide rail 136 and the container is retained at the station until such time as it reaches the discharge station S2 whereafter the same operation is repeated.

Referring now to the label supply means and the means for feeding a supply of labels to a labeling station, a V-shaped supporting member mounts a pair of arms 200a and 200b which have shafts 202 extending therefrom. Each shaft 202 is adapted to mount a roll of labels, there being two shafts provided whereby a continuous uninterrupted labeling operation may be carried out without the necessity of halting operation of the apparatus to replace a single roll of labels.

The roll of labels, indicated by reference letter L, may be journalled on the shaft 202; the roll of labels being placed between spaced apart triangular retaining members, having fingers 204 connected to a central portion 206 slidably journalled on the shaft 202. The mounting screw 210 projecting knobs 212 threadably engages threaded end portions of web control guide 228 to retain the roll of labels on shaft 202 through lever 222 and cam follower 226.

In accordance with a preferred feature of this invention, and for the purpose of maintaining exact alignment of the feed of the labels with the labeling system, there are provided means for permitting minor lateral adjustments of the roll L on the shaft 202. To this end, there is provided an adjusting means consisting of a threaded shaft 215 having at one end a spindle 216; the shaft 214 threadably engaging at the other end a threaded bushing 218 mounting it to the frame of the apparatus. journalled on the threaded shaft 214 is a threaded sleeve 220, the latter pivotally mounting the lever 222 thereon. The lever 222 is centrally journalled on the shaft 224 for rotating movement thereon. The end of the lever 222 opposite the sleeve 220 is provided with a cam follower 226, positioned to. engage the web control guide 228, slidably journalled on shaft 202. Thus, by rotating the spindle 216, and by rotation of the lever 222, the web control guide can be moved axially on the shaft 202 to effect minor adjustments of the positioning of the roll L of labels, to bring it into alignment with the labeling operation as required and to retain the entire assembly on the shaft 202.

The unwind system for the supply of labels may include a pair of spaced apart guide rollers 250 freely journalled on shafts 252 connected to a frame member of the apparatus. In advance of the guide rollers 250, a further pair of rollers 254 and 254. Roller 254 not driven, is journalled on a shaft 256. Roller 254', driven by the drive system, is journalled on shaft 256'. Shaft 256' is mounted on a lever 402 which in turn is pivotally mounted on a shaft 404. Lever 402 is spring loaded by means of spring 260. Reference numeral 406 illustrates an adjustable rod connected to the lever 402 (slidably connected) at one end. At the other end, it is also connected pivotally to a lever 264. As the label web is pulled by drive roller 274, lever 264 will rise causing adjusting rod 406 to release the lever 402, which in turn, causes roller 254 to apply pressure to roller 2S4 causing the web to be driven and hence unwound from the supply thereof. The additional web material in turn will cause lever 264 to decend and hence act on the lever 402 in reverse and cause roller 254' to releive pressure on roller 254, thus halting sup ply of the label web.

The slack-takeup mechanism partially described above, also includes a dancer roller assembly; the assembly including a freely mounted roller 408 journalled on a shaft 262 of a lever 264. The lever 264 is pivotally mounted on a shaft 266, whereby the weight of the roller 408 and lever 264 maintain a downwards pressure on the strip or web of labels as they pass over the roller 408.

After passing through the slack-takeup mechanism, and in accordance with a preferred feature of the present invention, the strip of labels may pass over a supporting surface 270 and through a registering device indicated generally by reference numeral 272. The purpose of device 272 is to key-in an individual label in the strip of labels to correspond to the length of the individual label to be cut from the strip. To this end, the device 272 may be an electric eye (photosensing device) which is well known in the art.

The drive means for feeding a strip of labels includes a driven roller 274 journalled on a rotatable shaft 276 operating in conjunction with an opposed roller 278 journalled on shaft 280. Shaft 276 mounting roll 274 is driven in a manner hereinafter described. The strip of labels thus passed between rollers 274 and 278, pulled from the supply L thereof, and fed to the cutting and adhesive applying operations as hereinafter described.

A preferred cutting device, illustrated in the drawings, includes a single pair of cooperating cutting assemblies; the first comprising a rotatable drum 282 journalled on a shaft 284 with the drum 282 mounting a pair of cutting bldes 286. The number of cutting blades may vary, depending on the diameter of the drum and the speed of rotation, etc. The shaft 284, rotating the drum 282, is driven by suitable means, in conjunction with the other components of the apparatus.

The second cooperating member of the cutting assembly is a stationary shear member 290 which may be suitably mounted on the apparatus to cooperatively sever a label length of material. However, according to a particular preferred embodiment and as illustrated in the drawings, the second cooperating member 290 is so contructed and arranged such that it does not directly contact the first knife member 286 during severing of the label length or when there is no label feed to the assembly. To this end, the shear member 290 is mounted on a lever 298, which in turn is pivotally mounted on pivot 300. One end of the lever 298, designated by reference numeral 302 is connected to a fixed stop arrangement 304 which in turn is mounted to the frame of the apparatus. A pivot 300 journalls a clevis 306 connected to a pneumatic cylinder 308. If desired, an adjusting arrangement similar to that described with respect to the vacuum drum may also be included so as to permit slight adjustments of the positioning of the shear member 290.

The piston assembly 308 is timed to actuate when no label feed is received between the cutting assembly. In this manner, the piston assembly will draw the stationary member slightly out of position so that the movable cutting blade 286 will not contact the stationary member, and thus prevent wear on the blades. Actuation of the piston assembly could be accomplished in several ways, for example, through a photosensing device, etc.

Located in advance of the cutting assembly in the feeding direction of the roll of label material is a positioning roller 310 freely journalled on a shaft 312 connected to the frame of the apparatus. This roller serves to position the label for a subsequent operation on a rotatable vacuum drum now to be described. The leading end of the label material is placed in juxtaposition with the drum by the guide roller 3110 prior to it being severed by the co-operating cutting assembly.

The means for transferring a cut label from a cutting station onto a container, according to the preferred embodiment shown in the drawings, includes a rotatable vacuum drum indicated generally by reference numeral 314. This vacuum drum includes a central rotatable shaft 316 journalled in the frame of the apparatus, the shaft being rotated by a central drive system hereinafter described, with bearing 318 mounting the shaft 316 against the frame. On the other side of the frame, bearing 318a journals the shaft. 7

The drum includes a circular member 320 and opposed flanges 32012 and 320a defining a recess within the surface of the drum for receiving a label L. The drum 320 having a central aperture therein, is mounted on the shaft and positioned by means of a stop member 322. The label recess areas between the flange 320a and drum 3211b is lined with an air permeable resilient material, such as rubber or provided with air holes in it.

A source of vacuum (not shown) is connected to a friction plate 380, which includes a plurality of apertures (air passages), one such passage being designated by reference numeral 414. The drum includes an inner chamber, having a plurality of air conduits 416 therein, whereby when the conduit 414 registers with a conduit 416, a vacuum will be created in the conduit 416. Extending to the outer surface of the drum are a plurality of further conduits 418 connected to the conduit 416, which will thereby cause a vacuum on the surface of the drum.

To achieve the proper timed relationship between the registering of the pressure plate and the drum and hence the two conduits 414 and 416 and to align with the leading edge of the label, an adjustment bracket 417 is provided which is connected to the frame of the apparatus. This bracket mounts a rod 418 on which there is threaded a pin 420 which pin is rigidly connected to the pressure plate 380. By rotating adjustment rod 418, an angular movement of the pressure plate is effected to cause a change in the timed relationship between the pressure plate 380 and the drum 320.

The drum 320 is held on the shaft by means of a friction plate 380 adapted to engage the outer flange 320a of the drum. Friction plate 380 in turn is held in place by means of pressure flange 382, spring loaded by means of spring 384 and which in turn, is held on the shaft by means of a plate 386. Bolt 388 retains member 386 on the shaft. 1

The glue applying system of the present invention includes a glue bath in the form of an open topped container 390 containing a supply of adhesive. A rotatable glue wheel, indicated by reference numeral 392, is mounted on a shaft 394 journalled in the side walls of the container 390. The glue wheel 392 contains a desired pattern structure for applying glue to a label.

The glue container 390 is pivotally mounted at one end on a shaft 396. In the other end, it is spring loaded by means of spring 398 abutting a flange 400 of the container 390 to normally urge the glue wheel 392 against the label held by the vacuum drum 314. The magnetic control device indicated generally by reference number 402 is positioned adjacent the glue container 390 and is actuated by means of a solenoid operating in conjunction with the vacuum of the vacuum drum 314. This solenoid unit (not shown) will detect a drop in the vacuum pressure of the drum 314, whereafter the magnetic control unit 402 will be actuated to pull the glue roller away from the vacuum drum 314. In this manner, when there is no label applied on the drum, the glue container will be lowered to prevent accidental application of the glue to the drum.

In the above described manner, the outer face of the label held by the vacuum on the drum 314 will be printed with glue. The glue is normally printed (and the glue apply wheel so constructed) to apply glue to the leading and trailing end portion of the label or as desired.

A label having the glue printed thereon, and retained by the vacuum drum 314 which is rotatable in one direction about its axis, is bodily moved in one general direction about the axis of the vacuum drum where the rotation of the drum D rotatable about its axis in a direction opposite to the vacuum drum whereby the facing surfaces of such drums move in the same direction brings a container fixedly clamped on such drum D into contact with the label with the container moving in the same general direction as the label. At this point, the leading edge of the label having the adhesive is secured to the container, the trailing edge of the label extending freely from the container as shown in FIG. 1. The container, upon being orbitally rotated further, towards the container discharge station, is then released from en gagement with the gripping means otherwise retaining it; at which point the container and label are brought into contact with means for rolling the container about its axis and thus wrapping the label about the container. These last mentioned means include a pair of spaced apart rotatable wheels 422 mounted on rotatable shafts 424 (suitable means being provided for rotating one or both shafts). Extending about the wheels 422 is an endless belt 420. Belt 420 engages the container and rotates it about its horizontal axis upon a track support shown in FIG. 1 to wrap the label thereabout.

The drive system, briefly summarized, includes a motor M, a gear box 430, a drive sprocket 432 connected to a driven sprocket 434 through 436. This in turn drives the main drive shaft 438 from where all moving components are centrally driven. Drive sprocket 434 may be mounted using any standard safety overload device.

Each of the movable parts are driven by suitable means connected to the main drive system such as belts and sprocket arrangements. Thus, as shown in FIG. 2, the label feed drive roller 274' is driven through shaft 440 and clutch brake 442 by means of a variable speed pulley 444 which is controlled by lever mechanism 446 providing manual or automatic adjustment of the rate of feed of the labels for the purpose of alinging printed areas, where pre-printed labels are employed. In the case of automatic operation, this mechanism may be controlled through the photosensing device 272 as shown in FIG. 1 and as previously described.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A labeling apparatus comprising: selecting means for selecting a container and supply thereof, container receiving and transport means for receiving an individual container from said selecting means at a container receiving station and for transporting said container toward a container discharge station and having means for gripping the container between its ends for nonrotation about its axis, label supplying means for supplying a continuous length of labels, feeding means for feeding a continuous length of labels from said supplying means, cutting means in advance of said feeding means in the feeding direction of said length of labels, said cutting means being operated to sever individual label lengths from said length of labels, label control and transport means including a rotatable vacuum drum adjacent to and facing said container transport means for controlling said individual label lengths from said cutting means and transporting said label to a label applying station on said container transport means, said container transport means and said vacuum drum being driven in the same direction at the location where said drum faces the container transport means, means for placing the leading end of the continuous length of labels in juxtaposition to the vacuum drum prior to severing of an individual label length, said cutting means comprising a stationary shear member and a rotary cutting member both spaced from and ahead of said vacuum drum to sever said individual label length at a location away from said drum, and adhesive applying means for applying a predetermined adhesive to said label as said label is transported from said cutting means to said label applying station, said label control and transport means being positioned to apply said label into juxtaposition with said gripped container and for adhering a leading edge portion thereof thereto while the container is thus gripped.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein means is provided to release said gripping means after said leading edge portion is adhered to a container, and means is provided for subsequently wrapping said label about said container.

3. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said feed means for feeding said container comprises a spiral screw feed, said screw feed being adapted to feed individually a single container to said transport means.

4. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said means for supplying a continuous length of labels includes support means for mounting a roll of labels, means for advancing a single web of said roll of labels to said cutting means, said apparatus including a slack take-up means.

5. An apparatus according to claim 4, said apparatus including means for advancing a single web of said roll of labels to said cutting means, and a slack take-up mechanism, said means for advancing said roll of labels including intermittently operative drive means adapted to include said web and to advance it in conjunction with said slack take-up mechanism, said web passing between said slack take-up mechanism prior to being fed to said cutting means.

6. An apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said slack take-up mechanism includes a dancer roller assembly, said dancer roller assembly being adapted to move between a first and second position, said first position including means for actuating said drive means, said second position including means for disengaging said drive means from said roll of labels.

7. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein means is provided for rotating said vacuum drum about a fixed axis, a source of vacuum connected to said drum, a source of pressurized air in operative relationship to said drum adapted to aid in releasing a label from control of saiddrum to apply it to a container, said vacuum drum being mounted in operative relationship to said adhesive applying means and to said transporting means transporting and controlling a container.

8. In a labeling apparatus for continuously applying individual labels from a continuous web of label material to a succession of containers, a container transport drum continuously rotatable about an axis for receiving a succession of containers, a plurality of container receiving stations on said drum, releasable means at each station for gripping a container between its ends for orbitable movement about said drum axis and for clamping the container against rotation about its own axis, a rotatable vacuum drum adjacent to and facing said transport drum for releasably holding a succession of individual severed labels cutting means comprising a stationary shear member and a rotary cutting member both spaced from and ahead of said vacuum drum to sever individual lengths of labels from said continuous web at a location away from the drum, means for placing the label web in juxtaposition to the vacuum drum before severing of an individual label from the web, means for continuously rotating said drums in opposite directions to cause the facing surfaces of said drums to move in the same general direction, an outer face of each label on the vacuum drum having adhesive applied thereto, the vacuum drum being so positioned with respect to the container transport drum as to cause a leading portion of a label to adhere to a clamped container on the container transport drum, means for subsequently releasing the container with the label adhered thereto, and means after such release for wrapping the label about the container.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein means is provided to apply adhesive to a face of a label while on the vacuum drum.

10. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said label wrapping means comprises an endless conveyor for moving the container over a support track.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification156/521, 156/230
International ClassificationB65C3/00, B65C3/12, B65C9/08, B65C9/18
Cooperative ClassificationB65C2009/1861, B65C3/12, B65C9/1819
European ClassificationB65C9/18A4B, B65C3/12