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Publication numberUS3776346 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 4, 1973
Filing dateApr 26, 1972
Priority dateApr 28, 1971
Publication numberUS 3776346 A, US 3776346A, US-A-3776346, US3776346 A, US3776346A
InventorsDubuit L
Original AssigneeDubuit L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic bottle handling machines
US 3776346 A
Abstract
A device for automatic handling and orientation of bottles for delivery to a work station. The device comprises a storage tub into which bottles are dumped, the bottom of the tub having a plurality of conveyors thereon. A corresponding plurality of channels each having a conveyor extending into the tub in the vicinity of a corresponding one of the conveyors therein. A selective reversing device disposed at the downstream end of the each of the channels and including a brush with bristles in the path of movement of the bottles for holding a bottle momentarily if it is in open end first position and for turning it over before entering a corresponding drop chute or if it is in closed end first position, for pushing the brush out of the way and in either case enabling the bottle to fall in closed end first position into its corresponding drop chute. A delivery conveyor disposed at the bottom of the drop chute for carrying bottles upright to a work station. The device further comprises a sensing device disposed at the upper end of each drop chute, a compartmented transfer member having as many compartments as there are corresponding drop chute, the transfer member having a retaining plate extending transversely for blocking bottles from falling to the delivery conveyor in a first position and for allowing them to drop to the delivery conveyor in a second position, and retractable abutments disposed at the height of at least one bottom above the retaining plate for regulating the passage in the drop chutes to the retaining plate.
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United States Patent [1 1 Dubuit [451 Dec.4, 1973 AUTOMATIC BOTTLE HANDLING MACHINES [76] Inventor: Louis Gilbert Dubuit, 60 Rue Vitruve, Paris, France 22 Filed: Apr. 26, 1972 [21] Appl. No.: 247,626

[30] Foreign Application Priority Data Primary ExaminerEdward A. Sroka Attorney-Irvin S. Thompson et al.

57 ABSTRACT A device for automatic handling and orientation of bottles for delivery to a work station. The device comprises a storage tub into which bottles are dumped, the bottom of the tub having a plurality of conveyors thereon. A corresponding plurality of channels each having a conveyor extending into the tub in the vicinity of a corresponding one of the conveyors therein. A selective reversing device disposed at the downstream end of the each of the channels and including a brush with bristles in the path of movement of the bottles for holding a bottle momentarily if it is in open end first position and for turning it over before entering a corresponding drop chute or if it is in closed end first position, for pushing the brush out of the wayand in either case enabling the bottle to fall in closed end first position into its corresponding drop chute. A delivery conveyor disposed at the bottom of the drop chute for carrying bottles upright to a work station. The device further comprises a sensing device disposed at the upper end of each drop chute, a compartmented transfer member having as many compartments as 9 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures PATENTEU DEC 4 I975 SHEET 10F 3 PATENTED [IEC 41915 SHEET 2 CF 3 FATENTEDBEC 4M5 3,776,340

' SHKET 30? 3 AUTOMATIC BOTTLE HANDLING MACHINES The present invention concerns devices for the automatic handling and orientation of hollow bodies, such as bottle, for delivery to work stations for filling, labeling or other operations.

Such devices comprise in general a storage tub into whichhollow bodies or bottles are dumped, at least one endless conveyor belt channel extending into the tub, at least one drop chute arranged vertically at the downstream end of the channel, and a delivery conveyor disposed at the end of the drop chute adapted to carry the hollow bodies received thereon to a work station.

Technological advancements in the work stations have been such that the stations are capable of very high throughputs rates.

In order that the automatic handling devices feeding the work stations are able to keep up with such veyer, this stoppage affects the conveyors of all the channels which therefore considerably diminishes the overall output.

Moreover, the endless conveyor belts of the channels are most often-provided with blades or complementary shaped recesses which pick up the hollow bodies or bottles haphazardly from the associated storage tub.

Concerning conveyors with recesses shaped complementary to the contour of the hollow body to be transported, the hollow bodies must be received perfectly into the recesses, however, the possibility of a body being so received in a recess, is not great, and the out put is therefore adversely affected.

Concerning blade conveyor which pick up the hollow bodies in either of its longitudinal orientations, i.e., open end first or closed end or bottom first, the output of such conveyors is better than the previous type and merely needs a selective turning or reversing device for subsequently longitudinally orientating the bodies which are not already properly oriented.

However, in devices for the automatic handling and orientating hollow bodies known at the present, the conveyors in the channels have the common the disadvantage of not reliably picking up the hollow bodies from the storage tub into which they extend which therefore affects the output of the apparatus.

A general aim of the present invention is to overcome those disadvantages.

A first aspect of the invention consists in a device for the automatic handling and orientation of hollow bod.- ies, such as bottles, of the type generally comprising a storage tub in which hollow bodies are dumped, a plurality of channels with endless conveyors belts extending into the said tub, a plurality of drop chutes each arranged vertically at the downstream end of a channel, and a delivery conveyor disposed in vertical alignment with the drop chutes, the endless belt conveyors of the channels being independent of one another, individual controls being provided for each endless belt conveyor. Thus, when a drop chute associated with a conveyor belt is jammed, the associated conveyor must be stopped, but the other conveyors preferably continue to operate the output is therefore improved.

A second aspect of the invention consists in a device for the automatic handling of hollow bodies such as bottles, comprising a storage tub in which the hollow bodies are dumped and a plurality of channels with endless belt conveyors extending into the tub, the bottom of the tub includes as many endless belt conveyors as there are the channel's, each of these endless conveyor belts extending at least into the vicinity of the upstream end of a conveyor belt in an associated channel.

Preferably in this case each conveyor at the bottom of the storage tub is disposed between two reciprocating partitions in vertical planes.

By means of the conveyors provided along the bottom of the storage tub which push the hollow bodies contained therein towards the conveyor belts in the channels, the probability of picking up hollow bodies is considerably increased.

The arrangement briefly described hereinbefore as well as other which will be described hereinafter enable the handling device to reach very high throughput rates.

Features and advantages of the invention will be brought out in the description which follows, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying schematic drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a lateral elevation view with a cut-away portions of the bottle handling device viewed in the direction of the arrow 1 in the FIG. 2;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of this device taken along the line II-II in the FIG. 1

FIG. 3 is a partial view in perspective of a feature of the device FIG. 4 is a schematic view in perspective of control means used in the device FIG. 5 is a perspective view on a larger scale of turning or reversing device in use in the automatic handling along line VIII--VIII in FIG. 2.

In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. l'4 the automatic bottle handling device comprises a storage tub 10 in which a plurality of empty containers or bottles 11 of synthetic plastic material are dumped a plurality of drop chutes 13 each associated with one of the channels 1 2, and a delivery endless conveyor belt l4 is disposed in vertical alignment with the chute 13.

The bottom of the storage tub 10 is provided with as many endless conveyor belts as there are channels 12 each of the endless conveyor belts extends to the lower or upstream end of the corresponding channels 12.

Each conveyor 16 passes over the two wheels or rollers 17, 18 the roller or wheel 17 being secured for rotation with a driving shaft 19 commonto all the conveyors 16.

Each conveyor 16 at the bottom of the tub 10 is in addition disposed between two vertical partitions. These partitions are pivoted at 20' in vertical planes and the lower edge of each partition rests on the edge of a cam excentrically mounted on a rotational shaft This shaft 22 is controlled by a grear wheel 23, a chain 24 passes over this grear wheel as well as a grear wheel fixed for rotation with one of the rollers 18, 19 of the associated conveyor belt 16.

Each channel 12 is provided with a pick-up endless conveyor belt 25 of the type having blades which in the illustrated example extend into the storage tub.

Each conveyor 25 is inclined along its entire length, that is it has no horizontal portion which reduces the surface area needed for the device and in the illustrated example each conveyor 25 comprises an ascending side 26 forming an obtuse angle with a descending linear side 27.

Each pick-up conveyor belt 25 is supported on three rollers or wheels 29, 30 and 31.

The wheel or roller 29 which drives as shown in FIG. 4 is fixed for rotation with a pulley 32 .over which a transmission belt 33 passes which also passes over a drive pulley 34 mounted for rotation with the driving shaft 35 common to all the pick-up conveyors 25 and over the tensioning pulley 36 carried by a lever 37 pivotally mounted at 38.

The lever 37 is pivotally controlled by its own control member which in the illustrated embodiment is a double-action jack 40 secured at one end to the frame of the apparatus.

Accordingly, it will be easy to understand that when the lever 37 is in its position shown in solid lines in FIG. 2 the corresponding pick-up conveyor 25 is continuously driven by the driving shaft 35, the transmission belt 33 being tensioned by the tensioning pulley 36.

On the other hand, when the lever 37 is in the posi tion shown partially in dash-dotted lines in FIGS. 2 the transmission belt 33 is loose or untensioned and the corresponding pick-up conveyor 25 is no longer being v driven while the other pick-up conveyors are driven.

Between a channel 12 and an associated drop chute 13 a selective reversing or turning device is interposed. As shown in FIG. 5, this selective reversing device comprises a brush or the like provided with bristles or other flexible fibre-like material.

This brush 50 is carried by a support 51 comprising, in the illustrated example, a plate 52 and two flanges 53 which extend along the sides thereof.

The support 51 is pivotally mounted about a pivot pin 47 carried by the frame of the device (not shown) and a counterweight 48 extending to the other side of this pivot pin.

Inclined projections 54 are provided at the other end of the flanges 53 on the support 51.

When a bottle 11 pushed by a blade of the conveyor 25 is orientated open end first, the latter comes into contact with the brush 50 (FIGS. 2, 6A and'6B), the rim 61 of the opening of a reduced diameter penetrates between the bristles continuing its forward movement, the bottle pivots the brush about the pivot pin 47 and since the rim of the opening 61 is captive between the bristles of the brush, the bottle 11 urged by the blade 60 is momentarily held by the brush 50. During the pivotal movement of the brush the bottle is then turned over when it moves out of contact with the blade 60 and the force of gravity on the bottle then frees the bottle from the brush 50, and the bottle falls bottom down in the drop chute 13.

The selective reversing device 45 then returns to its initial position owing to the force exerted by its own weight and the force exerted by the counterweight 48 adjusted for this purpose various other return means may be associated therewith such as springs.

If, on the other hand, the closed end or bottom of the bottom comes into contact with the brush 50 (FIGS. 7A and 7B) the bottle only slightly flattens the brush bristles which may be of rigid or non-rigid fibre, the pressure exerted by the relatively large surface of the bottle bottom is therefore diffused along the brush; the bottle 11 therefore not held momentarily by the brush but only pushes the selective reversing member so that it falls bottom down into the drop chute 13.

Thus, all the bottles fall bottom down in their respective drop chute 13.

A compartmented transfer member is interposed between the drop chutes l3 and the delivery conveyor 14. The transfer member 70 (FIG; 3) comprises the same number of vertical compartments 71 as there are drop chutes 13 and co-operate therewith, each of the compartments 71 is open at its top and bottom.

The transfer member 71 is extended beyond the compartments 71 by a retaining plate 72 at the height of the upper open end of the compartments towards the delivery conveyor 14. v

The transfer member 70 is controlled for reciprocating movement perpendicular to the conveyor 14 by a jack 75 controlled by earns 76 in synchronization with the conveyor 14 which operates continuously.

A retractable abutment 78 is associated with each of the drop chutes 13 and disposed at a distance above the transfer member at least equal to the height of a bottle 11 and projects into its associateddrop chute 13 under the control of the jack 7-9 controlled by cams 76 in transfer member 70.

Finally a sensing device 80 for detecting the passage of the bottles is disposed in each drop chute.-

This sensing device 80 controlsa time-delay microswitch 81 which controls an electrically operated valve 82 controlling the jack 40 to ensure the individual control of the corresponding pick-up conveyor 25 as described above.

The operation of the apparatus is as follows 1 The bottles are dumped into the tub 10.

The partitions 20 associated with each conveyor 16 on the bottom of the tub controlled for reciprocating rocking movement by corresponding earns 21 progressively orientating the longitudinal position of the bottles 11 in either direction along the conveyors 16 at the bottom of the storage tub 10.

These bottom conveyors- 16 carry the bottles 11 towards the pick-up conveyors 25 the loading of which is thereby optimized.

As seen above, the channels 25 deliver the bottles 11 in a predetermined orientation to the drop chute 13.

The bottles fall in the drop chutes 13 and are temporarily held by the retractable abutments 78 then by the retaining plate 72 in the following manner When the compartmented transfer member 70 is in retracted position such as shown in solid lines in FIG. 2, a series of bottles, one in each drop chute 13, rest directly on the retaining plate 72 the retractable abutments 78 retain the column of superposed bottles.

The compartmented transfer member 70 is there controlled so as to take the position shown in dashdotted lines in FIG. 2 so that the bottles 11 which were initially at rest on the retaining plate 72, then drop into the compartments 71 of the transfer member until they are carried in vertical position onto the delivery conveyor 14. l

The transfer member 70 is therefore simultaneously returned to its initial position as the abutments 78 are retracted.

A new series of bottles 1 1 therefore fall to the retaining plate 72.

As soon as the transfer member 70 reaches its initial position, the delivery conveyor 14 in continuous opera tion carries the bottles from the drop zone.

In association therewith, the retractable abutments 78 are once again returned to their initial position in which they extend into the drop chute 13.

A new cycle can then begin.

The time lag of the microswitch 81 substantially corresponds to the normal period of time for the passage of a bottle 11 in a drop chute.

If, because of jamming or filling of a drop chute, a bottle 11 remains for a prolonged period of time in line with the sensing device 80, the microswitch 81 actuates the associated valve 82 at the end of the time-delay period.

The valve 82 inturn controls a jack 40 which controls the corresponding pick-up conveyor 25, and only this conveyor, as described above.

Considering next another aspect of the present device, a channel 12 is formed between two flanges 90 each carrying a fixed guide 91 of semi-circular section (FIG. 8).

The fixed guides 91 are disposed parallel to one another with their convex surfaces facing one another, these surfaces ensure a support for the bottles 11 irrespective of their diameter.

In addition the space taken up by the guides9l between the flanges 90 is minimal so that a large space is formed therebetween which facilitates the passage of the blades 60 of the conveyors 25 and their associated fasteners.

According to another aspect of the device, the channels 12 are not linear but are formed by at least three successive sections A, B, C (FIG. 2), these sections having obtuse angles therebetween.

This arrangement therefore minimizes the floor surface necessary for such a channel 12 without causing an abrupt change of direction in the channel.

Indeed, the change of direction between successive sections of each channel is sufficiently small, of the order of l0-20, for example to avoid loss of contact between the blades 60 of the conveyor 25 and the bottles pushed thereby.

The present invention is, of course, not limited to the embodiment described and illustrated herein, but encompasses all alternatives, in particular with respect to the pick-up conveyors and/or their individual control means and with respect to the selective reversing device.

Further, it should be emphasized that the selective reversing device is applicable to the handling of narrow neck bottles as described above as well as wide neck bottles.

Indeed, in either case, if the open end of the bottle comes into contact with the selective reversing device, at least a portion of the bristles which are sufiiciently rigid extend into the open end of such bottle so that the rim thereof is held captive by the bristles for the time necessary to turn it over. If on the other hand, the bottom or closed end for the bottle comes into contact with bristles the bottle does not penetrate into the bristles which are sufficiently rigid so that-the selective re versing device is simply pivoted out of the way without causingthe bottle to be turner over. Accordingly, such,

a machine equipped with a selective reversing device can ensure the processing of wide :neck bottles as well as narrow neck bottles.

What I claim is:

1. A device for the automatic handling of empty containers comprising a storage-tub into which empty containers are dumped, a plurality of channels each including a conveyor whose upstream end extends into the storage tub, a corresponding plurality of drop chutes arranged vertically at the downstream ends of said channels, a delivery conveyor disposed in alignment with thedrop chutes, means for controlling the conveyors of the channels independently of one another, means for stopping the conveyor of a channel when its corresponding drop chute is filled with containers, each channel conveyor passing over at least two wheels, one of said wheels driving the corresponding conveyor, the driving wheel being fixed for rotation with a driven pulley, and a transmission 'belt passing over the driven pulley and a driving pulley fixed for rotation with a driving nel comprises three successive obtuse sections.

4. A device according to claim 1,, further comprising a compartmented transfer device common to the plurality of drop chutes and interposed between the drop chutes and the delivery conveyor, the compartmented transfer being mounted for transverse reciprocation with respect to the movement of the delivery conveyor, the compartments 0d the said transfer member being open at their upper and lower ends, and a retaining plate extending transversely along the top of the trans fermember relative the delivery conveyor, and retracable abutments normally extending into the drop chutes at a distance from the top of the transfer member at least as great as the heightof a container, said transfer member and the retaining means operating in synchronization.

5. A device according to claim 1, wherein a plurality of conveyors equal in number to the channel conveyors areprovided on the bottom of the storage tub, the conveyors on the bottom of the storage tub extending into the vicinity of the upstream end of the corresponding channel conveyor.

6. A device according to claim 5,, wherein each conveyor on the bottom of the storage tub is disposed between vertical partitions mounted for reciprocating movement.

7. A device for the automatic handling of empty containers comprising a storage tub into which empty containers are dumped, a plurality of channels each including a conveyor whose upstream end extends into the storage tub, a corresponding plurality of drop chutes arranged vertically at the downstream ends of said reversing device being pivotally mounted and including means for returning the said selective reversing device to its normal position.

8. A device according to claim 7, wherein the brushlike member includes a support for the bristles, and two flanges extending along opposed sides thereof.

9. A device according to claim 7, wherein the return means of the selective reversing device comprises a counterweight.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification198/396, 221/10, 198/400
International ClassificationB65G47/14
Cooperative ClassificationB65G2201/0244, B65G47/1471
European ClassificationB65G47/14B4F