US 3768231 A
A packaging machine is provided for the automatic stacking or grouping of long relatively narrow lengths or strips of material, preferably in a box or other receptacle so that the lengths are stacked and boxed in a single operation.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
States Patent 1 Koslow Qt. 3U, 1973 MACHINE FOR PACKAGING LONG LENGTHS  Inventor: George Koslow, 149 Church St.,
 US. Cl. 513/59 R, 53/123,.53/236,
53/244, 53/250  Int. Cl .Q B65b 57/10  Field of Search 53/59 R, 62, 236,
 References Cited 2,918,766 12/1959 Rogier et a]. 53/249 X Primary ExaminerTravis S. McGehee Attorney-A. H. Caser  ABSTRACT A packaging machine is provided for the automatic stacking or grouping of long relatively narrow lengths or strips of material, preferably in a box or other receptacle so that the lengths are stacked and boxed in a single operation.
UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,535,847 10/1970 Strohmeier et al. 53/59 R 14 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures e 15 Q E? I 1 '66 f i 76 67 PATENTED EH30 I975 SHEET 2 [IF 4 Pmmninncr 20 ms 3; 768' 231 SHEET 3 0F 4 l The field of the invention comprises machines for stacking andboxing long lengths of material. (2) So far as is known, the invention is new.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The machine of the invention is specially suitable for stacking and boxing long relatively narrow lengths of material, suitably as such lengths are cut from a continuous moving length of the material or as they emerge from a prior operation. As an example, the cut lengths may be of plastic, may be several feet long, one or more inches in width, and a fraction to several inches thick, and may be cut from a continuously extruded length of material. The machine comprises a trough .which preferably is disposed in a loping position so that its stripreceiving end is abovethe low end. In its bottom or floor the trough has at least one door which opens to discharge a length, and means are provided for opening the door at the proper time. While such means could be a manually-operated device, such as a lever, in the preferred form of the invention it is a power-operated device, such as an air cylinder,'and means are also provided, responsive to the arrival of the lengths in discharge position on the trough, for activating such device. Beneath the trough is a movable carriage having means for holding one, two, or more receptacles in spaced-apart side-by-side relation. The carriag is movable back and forth by appropriate means so that as one receptacle is filled with lengths at a filling station, another may be moved from a ready position to the filling position, and the filled receptacle or box may be moved to unloading position.
In addition to the on-line automatic stacking and boxing steps which may be carried out without interruption of production, the invention has sundry other advantages, including the sloping disposition of the trough whereby to aid the movement of the lengths; thus, the slopemay be adjusted to provide either a selfsliding or a braking action, as may be required, and the more flexible lengths can be moved along without humping, the latter being an undesirable action which some lengths would exhibit if pushed horizontally. No powered conveyors or precisioned machine slides are necessary. In one form, the invention provides for the stacking of two lengths at a time in a single box. In addition, the invention presents advantages of simplicity and economy.
I drawings, in which FIG. 1 is an end view, partially cut away, of a trough and carriage supported on a frame;
FIG. 2 is a side view of FIG. 1 looking along the line 2--2 thereof;
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view of door-opening means that is influenced by the cutting stroke of cutters for producing the strips;
FIG. 4 is a view like FIG. 3 but showing door-opening means influenced by the movement of the lengths through the trough;
FIG. 5 is a side view, partly in section and partly broken away, of a modification showing a double trough and a box-holding carriage beneath the same;
FIG. firisa section'alyiew taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged-view of several details of FIG. 5; and
FIG. 8 is a diagrammatic view of another modification.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the trough 10 is shown supported in a sloping position on a frame comprising a forward upstanding member 11 and a back upstanding member 12.. Mernber 11 comprises a pair of posts 13, 14 supporting a top piece 15 and a cross piece 16, while member 12 comprises a short post 17 resting on a forwardly extending, upwardly inclined relatively short cross piece l8having a depending lip 19. Trough 10 is attached to top piece 15 by the brackets20, 21,
while at its other end the trough sides 22, 23 are attached to opposite sides of post 17.
As'seen in FIG. 2, the trough has a high or front end portion 25 disposed at a length-receiving station and a low or back end portion 26. In the bottom side of the trough is a pair of. doors 27, 28 disposed in spaced endto-end relation, and in a preferred form of trough, these doors comprise substantially the entire floor surface, the parts at 29, 30, and 31 being preferably open. The bottom of the trough, which includes the doors 27, 28 and the openings at 29, 30, and 31, comprises a lengthdispensing or length-discharging station. Beyond the opening at 31 is a stop 24 which is substantially opposite the forward end of a box on the carriage and which favors accurate deposition of each length in the box. Although two doors are shown, the number is variable, and may be 1, 3, 4, or more, or whatever number is required for smooth operation. Thus, items of simple form, such as tubing and rods, will not usually need more than one door, whereas more complex or more flexible-forms are better handled with two or more doors. Besides solid doors, one may use grills, rollers, spaced rods, or any other suitable structure. Door 27 has a trough-closing portion at 32,- and a side piece-33 normal thereto, and the latter is hinged to the side 23 as at 34, 35. The portion 32 has an extension 36.to the end of which are connected means for opening the door in the form of the arm or rod 37 of an air-operated cylinder 38 The arm 37 is pivotally connected to the extension 36, and the cylinder is pivotally supported at 39 to the trough side 23. Cylinder 38 is of a conventional kind, being provided with an internal spring which keeps arm 37 normally extended so that door 27 is normally closed; and when air is introduced to the cylinder, it acts against the spring to retract arm 37 and thus open door 27; Door 28 is constructed like door 27 having a side piece 40 hinged at 41, 42 and operated by the pivoted arm 43 of cylinder 44. Air lines leading to the cylinders are shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.
At 45'of FIG. 1 is a cylindrically shaped member which spaces the trough sides 22, 23.
Beneath the trough,- at what may be described as a stacking and boxing station, is a carriage 48, note FIG. 1, having means for supporting a pair of spaced-apart side-by-side receptacles for receiving cut lengths. The carriage is movable back and forth in a direction substantially normal to the direction of movement of the lengths on the trough so as to position one of the receptacles at a filling position beneath the trough and the other receptacle at a ready position, or, if such other receptacle is filled, at an unloading position.
More specifically, the carriage comprises a long member 49 of any suitable construction, but which preferably is hollow and preferably of square or rectangular cross-sectional outline so as to better support a receptacle of square or rectangular cross-sectional outline. For receptacles of other outline shape, the member 49 may suitably have a corresponding outline. Member 49 is supported on a pair of transversely extending plates 50, 51, the former resting on cross piece 16 and the latter on cross piece 18. A pair of L-shaped supports or brackets 52, 53 extend transversely of the forward end portion of member 49 to opposite sides thereof, with a horizontal arm 54, 55 of each support fastened, as by bolts 56, 57, to the underside of member 49, thus forming a box-holding space between each bracket and the member 49, and a box 58, 59 is adapted to be snugly held in each such space. Besides a box, any other suitable receptacle, such as a basket, or a bin, or the box holders themselves, may be used. (Note that if the box holders are used, the operation comprises a stacking or grouping one, and the stacked strips could be removed and tied into bundles, or tied before removal.) Adjacent the back end portion of member 49 is a similar pair of brackets, one of which is seen at 60 of FIG. 2, is present and serves to support boxes 58, 59 at the back end portions thereof. It will be seen that the box-holding spaces formed between the brackets and the member 49 are adapted to snugly receive the boxes 58, 59.
Returning to plate 50, it is provided with a pair of bearing blocks 61, 62 on the underside of each end portion thereof, and it is these blocks which actually make contact with the cross piece 16. The blocks are made of any suitable bearing material, such as nylon, bronze, and the like, to facilitate sliding movement over the cross piece. Similarly, plate 51 has a pair of bearing blocks, one of which is seen at 63, which slide across the cross piece 18. Rollers can be substituted for the bearing blocks, if desired.
As may be seen in FIG. 1, plate 50 has bearing means in the form of a roller 65 depending therefrom and engaging the forward surface 66 of the forward arm 67 of cross piece 16. The roller is fastened to the plate by means of a threaded bolt 68 and nut 69. Use of the roller facilitates movement of the carriage transversely of the trough. A sliding bearing could also be used instead of the roller.
Means for effecting movement of the carriage are provided, suitably supported on each cross piece. On the forward cross piece 16 such means comprise the air cylinder 72 pivotally connected at 73 to the cross piece. The cylinder has an arm or rod 74 pivotally connected at 75 to a post 76 fixedly secured to and depending from the plate 50, note FIG. 2. A second cylinder 77 is similarly secured to the back cross piece 19 and is pivotally connected to a fixed post 78 depending from the plate 51.
Means for actuating the cylinders 72 and 77 are shown at 80 comprising a conventional sliding spool valve 81 having an air inlet at 83, exhaust ports at 82 and 84, and air outlets at 85 and 86. Tube 85 is branched, one branch 87 passing air to cylinder 72 and the branch 88 to cylinder 77. Tube 86 is also branched, one branch 89 passing air to cylinder 72 and the other branch 90 to cylinder 77. Valve 81 is manually operable, for by pushing on plunger 91, air is passed to tubes 86 and 89, the arm 74 of cylinder 72 is moved to the left, and consequently the box carriage 48 is moved to the left. By pushing on plunger 92, air is passed to tubes 85 and 87, the arm 74 is moved to the right, and carriage 48 is moved to the right. Stops 93 and 94, secured to cross piece 16, may be used to limit transverse movement of the carriage, and a second pair of stops, not shown, may be present on cross piece 18. These stops may be fixed or adjustable. Any other suitable stops can be used. It will be understood that cylinder 77 will be energized when cylinder 72 is.
Manual operation of the carriage is feasible in some applications, particularly where the lengths or strips are being produced and immediately stacked and boxed, i.e., in on-line production applications. Thus, in one application involving strips 14 ft. long moving at a speed of about ft./min., formation of each strip required about one-fourth minute, and filling of a box required about 20 minutes, and with such time intervals, manual shifting of the carriage is entirely feasible. It is in order at even lower time intervals. Of course, automatic shifting is also conveniently done in such applications. Generally, production of larger strips requires longer time intervals, and smaller strips shorter intervals.
In operation, strips are introduced to the trough, a portion of one being seen at 46 of FIG. 2, and owing to its slope, they slide down the same at an appropriate speed until they strike the stop at 24 at the back end of opening 31, or, depending on the strip, extend through the opening at 31. Note strip 47 of FIG. 2. Then, in response to a signal, as described below in connection with FIGS. 3 or 4, the trough doors 27, 28 are automatically opened by the cylinders 38, 44, and each strip is allowed to fall by gravity into a box at the filling station. Note the strips 47a in box 58 in FIG. I. Then the doors are closed by the return action of the cylinders, and the foregoing action is repeated for succeeding strips until the box is filled. Carriage 48 is then moved by manually actuating the cylinders 72, 77, as described, so that the filled box, note 58 of FIG. 1, is moved to unloading position where it is taken off the carriage, and a fresh box, note 59, is moved into filling position. While box 59 is being filled, another fresh box is put on the carriage to replace the removed filled box.
Turning to FIGS. 3 and 4, these illustrate means, responsive to the production of the lengths, for activating the door-opening means or cylinders 38 and 44 to permit each length to fall by gravity from the trough discharge station into a box at the filling station. Considering FIG. 3 first, it shows the continuous length of material 96 as it is drawn or fed to a cutting station 97 where it is cut to shorter lengths, one of which is seen at 98 as having arrived at discharge position on the trough, by a pair of cutters 99, 100. The upper cutter 99 may be reciprocated up and down by a rotating crankshaft 101 to which the cutter is operatively connected by a pivot arm 102. Suitably, and if desired, the cutters 99, 100, crankshaft 101, and arm 102 may comprise a more or less conventional cutting machine, and according to the invention, such machine is modified to the extent of installing a pair of cams 103, 104 on the crankshaft, as shown. A pair of air valves 105, 106 are then brought into operative relationship with the cams. The valves are connected by the Tee 107 to a source of high pressure air by lines 108, 109, and to air cylinders 38, 44 (note FIG. 2) by lines 112, 113. Rods 37,
43 of the cylinders are pivotally connected to door extensions 36, 36a of doors 27, 29 of the trough, the pivot points of the doors being identified at 114, 115.
Cylinders 38 and 44 each have an apertured tongue 38a, Ma extending therefrom, this being a conventional structure and useful for pinning the cylinder to a clevis-like bracket (note 180 of FIG. 7) so that the cylinder can pivot.
In FIG. 3, the air valve 106 is shown as having operated just a short time after the cutters have completed a cutting stroke, and subsequently cylinder 44 is shown as having retracted the rod 43, and door 28 is shown as having opened to permit the'front end of the length 98; to fall into a box, not shown, at the stacking and boxing station. Following operation of cylinder 44, rod 43 will be extended by the internal springof the cylinder, rear door 28 will close, cam 103 will activate valve 105 to open the air path to the cylinder 38, the latter will be operated to retract rod 37 upwardly to open forward door 27- and thus permit the back end of length38 to fall into the box. Thus, a delay action is secured by slightly varying the position of the cams on the crankshaft, and in this way the doors can be opened sequentially so as to deposit the cut length progressively, thus preventing the length from turning over on edge or over completely as may sometimes happen in a free fall. It may be noted that such delay factor is useful for cut lengths that are more or less flexible, as shown by length 98, but it is not a requirement for stiffer lengths such as tubes and heavier rods. Also, for stiffer lengths, only one door may be sufficient, and if desired, it may be somewhat longer than those shown in FIG. 3.
It will be seen that in FIG. 3 the opening of the doors is influenced bythe production'or flow of the lengths, i.e., by the arrival of each in discharge position on the trough. More specifically,'opening of the doors is influenced by the cutting stroke that forms them, and more particularly. by the rotation of the shaft by which the cutters are operated.
In FIG. 4, a cut length is shown at 118, and as it moves from-left to right under the'impetus of the continuous moving length, not shown, its right hand end strikes a switch 119, thus closing a circuit and energizing the timer 120 which is connected onone side to an electric current supply 121 and on the other side to a solenoid-operated air valve 122. The valve 122 is thus operated to permit'high pressure air from source 123 to flow via lines 124,125 to air cylinders 126, 127, thus causing doors 128, 129 to open. If desired, an adjustable speed control valve, optionally shown at 130, may be presentto restrict the air flow to cylinder 127, and in this case optional line 131, rather than optional line 132, will be operative. By so restricting the air flow, cylinder 127 with operate alittle later than cylinder 126-, thus producing the delay effect described above. Timer 120 is wired and adjusted to hold the doors open long enough for the length to clear them, even though the length has moved away from contact with switch 119. The delay effect is not required for items of simple form like tubing and rods.
It is evident that in FIG. 4 the opening of the doors is also influenced by the production or flow of cut lengths, i.e.,'by the arrival of each length in discharge position on the trough, and spefically by the movement of each length as it engages or collides with the activating switch 119.
As between the systems of FIG. 3 or FIG. 4, it may be noted that FIG. 3 is an all air-operated system and specially useful for some applications, as where an explosion-proof design is wanted. It is synchronized by the cams 1413, 104, although only one cam may be necessary. The system of FIG. 4 is desirable for more rigid lengths and for use at slower speeds; it can operate from any prior operation without special provision for synchronizing with such operation.
Reviewing FIGS. 1-4 for a moment, it may be noted that in some cases, as where the cut length is quite flexible, the bottomless or open portion 31 of the trough may not be required and this portion may be covered over instead of open. The flexible length can thus curve downwardly so that its leading end strikes the end of the box. For the same reason, the stop at 24 can be eliminated, as the flexible length may never strike it. To reduce friction, rollers may be installed at the door edges to facilitate discharge of the lengths. Similarly, rollers may be used in place of the bearing blocks 61, 62, and 63 of FIGS. 1 and 2. Also, although the rear door 28 or 128 of the troughs is shown as opening first, the action may be reversed to have it open last.
1 Other means may be employed to operate the doors besides the air cylinders, such as.-a cam shafr synchronized with the cutter crankshaft. The doors can, of course, be operated manually by pulling on the handle I optionally shownat 27a of FIG. 1, in which case the operation becomes manual.
- In FIG. 3, while a pair of cams are shown as synchronized with the cutters, one could use in place of the cams'an electric eye, or photocell, or a switch, or an air valve, or a fluidic sensor, or other transducer. And in FIG. 4 it is possible to utilize the trailing end of a cut length as well as the leading end to activate switch 1 19; or any other transducer may be used.
Referring to the carriage 48, it has been indicated that movement of the same may be carried out by manually activating the plungers 91 or 92 when the box 58 has been filled to a desired extent. Instead of such operation, one may employ automatic operation using a counter which, after a predetermined number of lengths have been deposited in the box, will operate a switch, after which a solenoid-type air valve will move the carriage to shift the filled box to an unloading station and-bring a fresh empty box into filling position.
In general, the boxes on the carriage may be fed from other sources besides a cutter or cutting station, such as from a hopper, where pre-cut lengths or lengths previously manufactured to desired size, have been deposited; and in such cases a signal for depositing a length from the hopper'to the box may come from a prior opthat is substantially like that of FIGS. 1 and 2, comprising a forward upstanding member and a back member 136, (the latter having been cut off) a top piece 137, and a cross piece 138 associated with the member 135, a short upwardly inclined, forwardly extending cross piece 139 having a lip'140 associated with the member 136, and the latter being in the form of a short post similar to the post 17 in FIG. 2. A pair of symmetrical troughs is generally indicated at 142, 143, with the low end of each supported on opposite sides of said short post and the high end connected to top piece 137. On its outer side trough 142 is defined by a side piece 144 of channel cross section, and similarly, trough 143 is defined by a similar side piece 145. The opposed side pieces 144, 145 are connected to each other, and supported, by the transverse members 146, 147, 148, 149, and 150, the latter having been cut off.
Considering trough 142, it is provided with two pairs of symmetrical doors 151, 151a and 152, 152a (door 152 is behind 152a in FIG. and therefore invisible). Door 151 comprises a bottom shelf 153 and, integrally joined thereto, an outwardly sloping side panel 154. On the outer side of panel 154 there is fastened a hollow member 155 of square cross-sectional outline, and through this extends a rod 156 which is fixed to the member 155 as by welding at each end. At its ends 157, 158 the rod is rotatably supported in the bearings or pillow blocks 159, 160 which are slightly spaced from the ends of member 155. The latter acts to support the trough 142 for swinging movement about rod 156 and away from the opposite trough 143, the force for which is supplied by air cylinder 161 which, at its upper end, is pivotally connected to arm 162 of side piece 144 through clevis 141 and lug 163, and at its lower end is pivotally connected to member 155 through the clevislug connection 164.
On its inner side, the trough 142 is closed off by the member or wall 165 (FIGS. 6 and 7) which extends the length of the trough and which is fixedly suspended from the transverse members 146-151).
The opposite trough 143 is similarly closed off by member 166 (FIG. 6), and between the members 165 and 166 there is a space 167 in which dividing means in the form of a plurality of movable guides 168, 169, 170, and 171 (FIGS. 5-7) are disposed, preferably with tapered leading edges as shown at 172 of FIG. 6. Guides 168, 170, and 171 are only partially shown. The walls 165, 166 also serve to prevent the lengths or strips from striking or snagging on the guides.
Trough 143 is constructed in the same way as trough 142, but is reversed, and is similarly moved by an air cylinder, not shown. In FIG. 6, only the bottom shelf 173 and a portion of side panel 174 of door 151a are visible, while in FIG. 5 these same structures may be seen. Some structures have been omitted in FIG. 5 to avoid complicating the showing.
As shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, the guides 168-171 are moved by means of air cylinders. In these views, only one cylinder is seen, and in FIG. 7 only guide 169 is seen, being in the form of a rectangularly-shaped panel having an extension 175 at its upper end. At lug portion 176 of the extension the panel is pivotally joined to clevis 177 at the end of rod 178 of the air cylinder 179, the latter being pivotally joined to arm 162 of side piece 144 through the clevis and lug connection indicated at 180. The panel is also pivotally joined at 181 to clevis 182 attached to the transverse member 147. Upon movement of the rod 178, the guide panel 169 can move up (as shown in FIG. 7) or down (as shown in FIG. 5) about the pivot 181-182.
It will be understood that doors 152 and 152a have the same construction as the doors 151 and 151a. The
air lines for cylinders 161 and 179 have been omitted for sake of a clearer showing.
The carriage of FIGS. 5-7 is substantially the same as that of FIGS. 1 and 2 and therefore is only incompletely shown in FIG. 5, where the transverse plates 185, 186, which support the carriage 187, are visible together with bearing blocks 188, 189 attached to the underside of the plates and resting on the cross pieces 139, 138, respectively. The carriage 187 will be somewhat wider than that of FIGS. 1 and 2 because it supports boxes, one of which is seen at 190, that are wider in order to hold two lengths in side-by-side position.
In operation, individual lengths of a desired material are introduced to the high end of each trough of FIGS. 5-7, and such lengths may be produced in situ at a cutting station like that in FIG. 3, or they may have been produced in a prior operation and fed to the troughs in any suitable way, or they may be fed from a twin hopper, not shown. It will be understood that two sources of lengths will be used, one for each trough. The lengths pass down the troughs in the manner described, and the doors 151, 151a and 152, 152a open as set forth in the discussion of FIGS. 3 and 4, either of which systems may be used except that the system chosen will be used in tandem to supply the two troughs. The lengths fall into a box at the filling station, and coincidently with the fall of the first pair of lengths, the guide panels 168-171 will be actuated by their respective air cylinders to move downwardly with the falling lengths in order to keep them separate from each other and to insure that they will be evenly stacked in the box. The guides descend along the box centerline to a position close to the bottom of the box, remain there while the box is filled, and are retracted before the filled box is shifted. The guides are specially useful for thin flexible items. The tapered edges of the guides permit easier retraction as well as the use of narrower boxes, if such are desired.
It may be noted, in the foregoing operation, that door 151 opens to the position indicated by the dashed line 142a of FIG. 6, and door 151a opens in a similar way. The sloping of the side panels 154 and 174 of doors 151 and 151a is useful to provide adequate room for items that may be warped, or even intentionally slightly bent or curved, and also it permits such items to slide toward the opening above the box.
The air cylinders for the guides may be actuated manually, if desired, by means of a spool valve like that of FIG. 1, or they may be operated automatically in response to a signal furnished by the first pair of lengths to fall, as such lengths arrive in discharge position over the doors. Also, the guides can be made to slide vertically by using suitable linkage.
Operation of the carriage of FIGS. 5-7 may be like that described above for FIGS. 1 and 2.
Considering the lengths or strips that may be handled by the described devices, it may be noted that their cross-sectional shape is variable and includes such common forms as angles, channels, circular and flat rods, tubes, pipe, hose, bars, squares, single and multiple wave shapes, roll-formed shapes, and various special forms, including trim stock. Some indication has been given of the size of the strips, and it may be stated more generally that their lengths range as low as 1 ft. and as high as 50, 75, or ft. or more. Any limitations in the strip length will reside in the strength of the box, for as is known, boxes tend to be weaker as their length increasesHowever, items too long to be boxed can be grouped and then tied or strapped into batches or bundles. Strip thicknesses may range from a fraction of an inch up to 4, S, anti 6 inches, or more, and widths from 1 inch, or even less, to 5 or inches, or more.
The material of which thestrips are made maybe of any suitable kind, including plastic, wood, glass, metal, I
. that are too flexible to be pushed horizontally without humping. A slope angle less than the dynamic coefficient of friction will provide a self-braking action, while a greater angle will cause self sliding. As may be seen, a choice. of various angles is available to suit a desired operation. Provision of rollers at the let-off edges of the doors .will help reduce friction and will also reduce the slope angle. t
, Furthermore, the trough can be sloped in a nonuniform manner, if desired. One useful non-uniform slope is one having a slight slope along the high onethird, or so, of the trough, or through the length of the first door when more than one door is used, with a steeper slope obtaining for their emainin'g portion of the trough. In effect, a braking action would be provided along the distance that was slightly sloped, and a freesliding action along the steeper portion, thus keeping a strip in tension and preventing it from humping. The slope angles can be chosen to produce a net braking action or a net free-sliding action.
As between-a single trough and a double trough, as exemplified by FIGS. 1-2 and FIGS. 5-7, the former is preferred where a strip of heavier cross section, for example a plastic pipe, say of about 4 inches diameter, is being produced. A single trough is also preferred if a manufacturer is extruding at maximum capacity, or if he is making only shortruns. A double trough is preferred where the strip is of light cross section, or if the extruder is being operated at much less than maximum capacity, or where the expense for additional extrusion dies is not a factor.
In some cases, as where the strips have random stacking characteristics, such as those having a circular cross section or a circular cross-sectional outline, including rounds, tubes,'hose, etc., it is feasible to simplify the device by replacing the carriage 48 of FIGS. 1-2 or. 187 of FIGS. 5-7 by pivoted diverter means in the form of a pivoted plate, as diagrammatically illustrated in FIG, 8. Here, the strips, some of which are shown at 195, 195a, and 195b, are deposited from trough 196 onto the inclined plate 197 which is pivoted at 198 for-movement between position 199 and position 200. FIG. 8, of course, presents an end view of the plate and pivot, and it will be understood that their longitudinal dimension is coextensive with that of the trough. With the plate in position 199, the strips are deposited in a box 201, and when it is loaded, the plate is manually moved about its pivot to position 200 where it will direct the strips into box 202 without any interruption in the the deposition of the strips from the trough. The diverter plate 197 may also be made slidable, as well as pivotable, from one position to the other.
It may now be apparent that the invention provides for the automatic or manual stacking and boxing of a wide variety of items, strips or lengths either one at a time, or two together, or three together, etc. As also indicated, one may group a desired item without enclosing the same in a box by simply removing the box or boxes from the carriage and depositing the items or strips in the carriage box holder; and-such grouped items may then be strapped, or tied, or taped into bundles or batches. Note that the spaces between the carriage brackets, such as-53 and of FIG. 2, provide room for inserting strands, tapes, or the like in order to tie the items. In this connection, the term grouping is intended to include the deposition of the items from the trough or troughs; it is inclusive of stacking, which-denotes deposition of the items, such as flats, in a neat orderly pile, and is also inclusive of the random deposition of nonsstackable items, such as rounds, which do not stack as do flats. The term packaging is intended to include the-boxing of items, and also the formation of bundles orbatches, the latter comprising deposited items that are tied together by strands or tapes'or are left untied in the form, say, of counted piles, to be processed in a subsequent step. These various operations may be conducted on line, i.e., in conjunction with the production of the items, or at any time after production. In the course of the grouping operation, the items may be moved along the trough by a sliding action, by virtue of sloping the trough, and such movement may be adjusted as described; and the items may be deposited from the trough by gravity. Thus, special moving equipment for the items, such as powered conveyors, precisioned machine slides, etc., is eliminated. Over all, the devices of the invention are both simple to operate and economical to build and maintain. v
In the light of the foregoing description, the following is claimed:
1. A machine forpackaging long narrow lengths of material as said lengths are introduced thereto comprising a trough having one end portion disposed at a lengthreceiving station, said end portion, having an open inlet end for receiving the leading end of each length, said trough receiving each said length for sliding movement therethrough, at least one door in the floor of the trough through which said lengths are discharged, and means on the trough for opening said door,
a carriage at a filling station beneath and spaced from said trough having means for supporting a pair of spaced-apart side-by-side receptacles for receiving said lengths, said carriage being movable back and forth so as to position one of said receptacles at a filling position beneath said door and the other receptacle at a ready position,
means responsive to the arrival of each length in discharge position on the trough for activating said door-opening means to permit each length to be deposited into the receptacle at said filling-position,
and means adjacenteach end portion of the carriage for moving said carriage back and forth as a receptacle is filled to permit unloading of said filled receptacle.
2. Machine of claim 1 wherein said trough is inclined downwardly from the receiving station at an angle to aid sliding movement of the lengths in the trough.
3. Machine of claim 1 wherein said trough has an opening in the floor thereof between said door and the end remote from said receiving station.
4. Machine of claim 3 wherein said trough has a stop for the lengths beyond said opening.
5. Machine of claim 1 wherein said door-opening means comprise air cylinders.
6. Machine of claim 5 wherein said carriage-moving means comprise air cylinders.
7. Machine of claim 1 wherein said lengths are formed by a movable cutter at a cutting station adjacent said inlet end of the trough, and wherein said activating means is responsive to a cutting step for producing said lengths movement of said cutter.
8. Machine of claim 1 wherein said activating means is disposed along the path of movement of each length andis responsive to the engagement thereof by each length.
9. Machine of claim 1 wherein two doors are present in said trough comprising a forward and a rearward door and wherein delay means are present for delaying the opening of one door until after the other door has opened.
10. Machine of claim 2 wherein a second sloping trough is pre-sent adjacent and parallel to the first trough, said troughs to-gether being able to deposit two lengths at a time side-by-side in a receptacle at the filling position.
11. Machine of claim wherein dividing means are present to insure lateral separation of said side-by-side lengths.
12. Machine of claim 11 wherein said dividing means have lead-ing edges that are tapered.
13. A machine for stacking and boxing long narrow cut lengths of material as said lengths are cut from a continuous moving length of said material comprising a frame comprising forward and back upstanding members and a cross piece associated with each member,
a trough for receiving cut lengths supported in a sloping position on said members, the high end of the trough comprising a cut length-receiving station and being open for the endwise reception of one length after another, said trough receiving each said length for sliding movement therethrough, at
least one door in the floor of said trough through i which said lengths are discharged, and means supported on a side of the trough for opening said door,
a box carriage at a stacking and boxing station beneath said trough and supported on said cross pieces in a position substantially parallel to the trough, said carriage comprising a long member having brackets on each side thereof for supporting a pair of spaced-apart side-by-side boxes in which said lengths are deposited, bear-ing members on the underside of the carriage adapted to slide over the upper sides of said cross pieces, bearing means attached to said carriage underside and movably engaging a vertically extending wall of the forward cross piece, means supported on each cross piece for moving said carriage transversely back and forth on said cross pieces, stop means on one of the cross pieces for limiting the transverse movement of the carriage, said carriage being movable in a direction substantially normal to the movement of said lengths on the trough so as to position one of said boxes at a filling position beneath said trough and the other box at a ready position,
and means responsive to the arrival of each length in discharge position on the trough for activating said door-opening means to permit each cut length to be deposited from the trough into a box at the filling position.
14. A machine for stacking and boxing long narrow cut lengths of material as said lengths are cut from a continuous moving length of said material comprising a frame including a forward upstanding member and a back upstanding member, and a cross piece associated with each said member,
a pair of spaced-apart troughs for receiving cut lengths supported in a sloping position on said members with each trough having a high end disposed at a cut length-receiving station, each trough being defined by a side piece and having a floor comprising at least one door through which said lengths are discharged, said door of each trough, in closed position, being separated from the opposite trough by a fixed inner wall with said inner walls being slightly spaced from each other, a plurality of transverse members for supporting said side pieces and to which said fixed walls are attached, a series of spaced dividers in said wall space movable down and back as said doors open and close, and means supported on said side pieces for opening said doors,
a box carriage at a stacking and boxing station beneath said troughs, said carriage being supported adjacent end portions thereof on said cross pieces of the frame in a position below the troughs, said carriage comprising a long member having brackets extending transversely thereof for supporting a pair of spaced-apart side-by-side cut lengthreceiving boxes between each bracket and the long member, means supported on each cross piece for moving said carriage transversely back and forth on said cross pieces, said carriage being movable in a direction substantially normal to the movement of said material so as to position one of said boxes at a filling position beneath said troughs and the other box at a ready position,
means responsive to the arrival of each length in discharge position on the trough for activating said door-opening means to permit a cut length from each trough to be deposited side-by-side into said box at said filling position, means for moving said dividers downwardly to help maintain the position of the lengths relatively to each other,
and means for actuating said carriage-moving means as each box at the filling position is filled.