US 3779829 A
The labeling machine comprises a pressure sensitive label dispenser for delivering either completely or partially released labels to label applicators on a label applying drum. The labels may be delivered directly to the applicators or to a stationary label holder having two spaced members for engaging spaced portions of a precisely positioned supported label and between which moves the label applicators. If the labels are delivered to the label holder, the applicators successively strip the precisely registered labels from the holder before carrying them to a label applying station for application to articles moving along a given path. The applicators are so constructed and so oriented at the label applying station that they will move the labels at the applying station in a path parallel to the path of movement of the articles and at the same speed as the articles, and will apply such labels precisely to given areas of the articles.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Wolff  U.S. Cl 156/361, 156/364, 156/475,
156/566, 156/DIG. 12, 156/DIG. 33  Int. Cl. B32b 31/00, B654: 9/00  Field of Search 156/566, 475, BIG. 5,
l56/DIG. 8, DIG. 9, DIG. l2, DlG. 14, DIG. 28, DIG. 33, DIG. 37, DIG. 38,DIG. 45, DIG.
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,159,522 12/1964 Schmidt 156/566 3,249,483 5/1966 Kauffman et al. 156/364 3,405,021 10/1968 Marano 156/361 3,537,934 11/1970 Munch... 156/364 3,594,257 Von Hofe '156/361 [451 Dec. 18, 1973 Primary ExaminerDouglas J. Drummond Att0rneyJohn J. Hart et a1.
[5 7] ABSTRACT The labeling machine comprises a pressure sensitive label dispenser for delivering either completely or partially released labels to label applicators on a label applying drum. The labels may be delivered directly to the applicators or to a stationary label holder having two spaced members for engaging spaced portions of a precisely positioned supported label and between which moves the label applicators. If the labels are delivered to the label holder, the applicators successively strip the precisely registered labels from the holder before carrying them to a label applying station for application to articles moving along a given path The applicators are so constructed and so oriented at the label applying station that they will move the labels at the applying station in a path parallel to the path of movement of the articles and at the same speed as the articles, and will apply such labels precisely to given areas of the articles.
19 Claims, 15 Drawing Figures are" PATENTED 18 975 SHEET 1 (IF 6 PATENIEUuEc 18 ms 3779.829
' SHEET 20$ 6 FIG. 2
SHEH 3 BF 6 PATENTED DEC 1 8 1973 PATENTEUUEC I8 1915 3.779.829
saw u 0F 6 v swans or s FIGJS PATENTED DEC 18 I975 I96 I97 I 5 km /92 6 L L? Q 6,)
LABELING MACHINE THE INVENTION This invention relates to an automatic machine for applying one or more labels to articles moving successively along a given path. This invention particularly relates to an improved labeling machine which is especially advantageous for the application of pressure sensitive labels supplied to the machine on a continuous backing web, although it can be employed to equal benefit in the application of other types of labels supplied either in the form of a web or from a hopper.
One of the'objects of the invention is to provide an improved labeling machine capable of precisely applying pressure sensitive labels to given areas of articles regardless of the location of such areas on such articles or the configuration of the articles.
Another object of the invention is to provide an improved labeling machine capable of accurately registering on articles, pressure sensitive labels which may be partially or totally released from supporting backing webs at the label-pick-up station.
A further object of the invention to to provide an improved labeling machine capable of accurately registering on articles pressure sensitive labels from backing webs that may be fed to the label pick-up station in horizontal, vertical, or other angular planes.
A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved labeling machine which is capable of accurately registering and holding at the pick-up station thereof, pressure sensitive labels which have been totally released from the backing web supplying them to such station.
Other objects of the invention, as well as the features of novelty thereof, will become apparent from a perusal of the following description when read in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which FIG. 1 is a schematic drawing showing in plan view a label machine capable of single labeling, or of simultaneously applying two labels to opposite sides of an article;v
, FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of one of the label applying devices in the machine of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an elevational view of one of the label applying devices in combination with a label dispenser for supplying completely released pressure sensitive labels, and having an applicator finger for applying labels to the shoulders of odd shaped bottles;
FIG. 4 is a partial elevational view looking toward the left side of the device shown in FIG. 3, as viewed in such figure;
FIG. 5 is a partial elevational view of a label dispenser for supplying pressure sensitive labels to the labeler in partially released condition;
FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic plan view showing a label dispenser for supplying vertically disposed labels horizontally to the labeler;
FIG. 7 is a partial elevational view looking toward the left side of the discharge end of the dispenser shown in FIG. 6, as viewed in such figure;
FIG. 8 is a partial elevational .view showing the labeler provided'with an applicator finger for' applying labels to the bodies of bottles; p
FIG. 9 is a diagrammatic drawing in plan view of the drive mechanism for the several devices in the machine;
FIG. 10 is a diagrammatic drawing in plan view of the suction system of the machine;
FIG. 11 is a detailed plan view showing how the label applying heads of the labeler are connected in the suction system;
'FIG. 12 is a partial diagrammatic plan view showing a label dispenser supplying vertically disposed carrier attached labels horizontally and directly to the label applicator finger;
FIG. 13 is a partial diagrammatic elevational view showing the means associated with the dispenser for printing code or batch numbers on the labels;
FIG. 14 is a diagrammatic drawing showing generally the circuit for controlling the printer means in FIG. 13; and
FIG. 15 is a partial elevational view illustrating modified forms of registering means.
In the drawings, the reference numeral 10 indicates generally the frame of label applying machine embodying the invention. Mounted on the frame 10 is an article conveyor 11 of usual construction for carrying the articles 12 to be labeled successively to and past the operating mechanisms as they travel through the machine. These operating mechanisms include a feed screw generally designated 14and located at the entry end of the machine. Adjacent to the feed screw 14, is an article registering device, generally designated 15, for repositioning the articles on the conveyor 11 after they are discharged by such feed screw so that the articles will come successively into precise registration with relation to the applicators 16 which apply the labels thereto at the labeling station 17. The labels for the articles are supplied from two label dispensers 20,20 to the applicators 16 at the pickup stations 60. The labels applied to the articles at the labeling station 17 are completely secured to the articles at a following pressure station generally designated 18. During the travel of the articles 12 from the feed screw 14 to and past the labeling station 17 and the pressure station 18, the lower run of a pressure belt 19 overlying the conveyor 11, presses down on their tops so that the articles during such portion of their travel through the machine, are held between such lower run of the belt 19 and the conveyor 11.
The feed screw 14 which is of known construction, is rotatably mounted so that is is located at one side of the article path in adjacent parallel relation to the entry end portion of the conveyor 11. As is shown in FIG. 9 of the drawings, the feed screw is driven from the main shaft 25 which extends the length of the machine and is continuously driven at a rate of three revolutions per cycle of operation of the machine, by an electric motor 26 that is connected thereto by a belt 27 coupling its drive wheel 28 to a pulley 29 mounted on a Shaft 30 aligned with the main shaft 25. Shaft 30 is connected in driving relation to the main shaft 25 by an electric clutch and brake unit 31 which is so constructed that when the clutch portion thereof is operated to disengage the shaft 30 from shaft 25, the brake portion thereof will be simultaneously applied to the main shaft 25 to stop the rotational movement of the latter. Thus, although the main shaft 25 is braked to a stop, the motor 26 will continue to rotate the shaft 30.
The main shaft 25 is provided with'a drive sprocket wheel 35 which is chain connected to a sprocket wheel 36 provided on one end of a shaft 37 arranged in parallelism with the main shaft. The other end of shaft 37 is provided with a sprocket wheel 38 which is connected by a chain to a sprocket wheel 39 for driving a chain of gears 40 connected to the shaft of the feed screw 14. The aforesaid parts connecting the feed screw 14 to the main shaft 25 are designed to produce a rotational speed for the feed screw of one revolution per cycle of operation of the machine. Thus, if the machine is set up to label 200 articles per minute, the feed screw will rotate at a rate of 200 revolutions per minute to space the articles at a definite pitch so that they advance in timed relation to the mechanisms operating at that label speed.
The articles in their travel from the feed screw 14 are next engaged by the registering device 15. This device adjusts them from the positions in which they have been left on the conveyor 11 by the feed screw, to positions on the conveyor in which they will be presented to the label applicators in precise registered position relative to the latter for accurate application of the labels thereto. As is shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings, the registering device is composed of two units 45,45 located one on each side of the conveyor 11 and having jaws 46,46 disposed in opposed relation. The jaws 46,46 are each constituted of an article contacting head of suitable material and the three pairs of jaws shown simultaneously engage three articles on the conveyor. The jaws 46 are spring pressed to enable them to engage the articles with a yielding pressure, whereas jaws 46' provide a rigid backing for the yielding pressure exerted by jaws 46 on the articles. In all other respects the two units 45,45 are similar in construction and are constructed in the manner particularly disclosed in'U.S. Pat. No. 3,522,134, dated July 28, 1970. As in the constructions disclosed in said patent, each of the units is composed of a vertical shaft 47, in FIG. 9, which is connected at its lower end by a bevel gear set 48 of :3 ratio to one end of a transverse shaft 49 connected in driven relation to the main shaft of the machine through gearing 50. The shaft 47 has asssociated therewith mechanism similar to that disclosed in the aforesaid patent to impart to the carriage 51 carrying the associated set of three jaws a translatory rotational movement such that said jaws, in each cycle of rotation thereof, will move into engagement with three of the articles 12 at a progressively changing rotational speed, then while maintaining their engagement with such articles, will move in the direction of travel of the articles at exactly the same velocity as that of the articles, and then after a given period of time, will disengage from the articles and move away from them at a progressively changing rotational speed until they again assume their normal rotational speed.
As previously indicated, the labeling station may be provided with one labeling unit for applying one label to each article, or may be provided with two labeling units, such as the units designated generally 55 and 56 in FIG. 1 of the drawing, to enable the application of two labels simultaneously to each article. The units 55 and 56 are similar and include intermittently moving multi-station turrets 57 and 58, respectively, each of which carries at each station thereof a label applying device 59 provided with an articulated vacuum label applicator 16. The two turrets 57 and 58 rotate in opposite directions, as indicated by the arrows, and are adjustable relative to each other to accommodate different sized articles. In the intermittent rotary movements of each turret, the applicators 16 thereof successively stop at a label pick-up station designated 60, successively pick up the labels 61 supplied to such station and carry them to the labeling station 17 where they are successively applied to the articles. The devices 20 for supplying the labels 61 which are of the pressure sensitive type, to the pick-up stations 60, may be commercial pressure sensitive dispensers, such as are now being made in this country by Avery Products Corporation, Compac Coporation and Dennison Mfg. Co. The versatility of the machine of this invention is demonstrated by the fact that it can be readily coordinated with these commercial dispensers which supply pressure sensitive labels that are completely, or only partially stripped from the backing webs on which they are mounted, and that are discharged from the dispensers at a variety of angles including the vertical and horizontal. Thus, as is shown in FIGS. 1 to 4 of the drawings, a typical commercial dispenser is shown as including a housing 65 containing the required mechanism for operating the dispenser. The housing 65 also supports in exterior relation a driven roll 66 for drawing the backing 67 on which the pressure sensitive labels are mounted from a supply roll 68, a label stripper plate 69, and a roll 70 for drawing the backing 67 over the plate 69 and feeding it to a' take-up reel 71. In accordance with this invention, the housing 65 has been provided with a bracket 72 for adjustably mounting the dispenser on an upright post 73 supported by a table plate 74. The bracket 72 is also provided with a transverse fixed bar 75 for rotatably supporting the supply reel 68.
It will be observed that in the operation of the dispenser shown in FIGS. 14 of the drawings, the backing 67 with the labels 61 adhered thereto is drawn from the supply reel 68 and around the sharp edge provided on the lower end of the stripper plate 69. As the backing strip is progressively bent back over the sharp stripper plate edge, the labels 61 are successively peeled off the backing strip. It will be observed more clearly in FIG. 3 of the drawings that as each label 61 begins to peel free from the reversing backing or carrier strip 67 at the bottom of the stripper plate 69, it will feed vertically downwardly across the vertically disposed outer surface 78 of a suction backup plate 79. Soon after the label has freed itself entirely from the carrier paper strip, the advancing end of the label engages against stops 80,80 mounted on the plate 79 to properly register the label thereon with its centerline exactly aligned with the centerline of the applicator 16 in position to pick it up, as will hereinafter become more clear. The velocity of feed of the backing strip is such that the freed label will be propelled forwardly across the surface 78 to positively seat it against the stops 80,80 despite the retarding influence being exerted thereon by the suction through the plate 79. As soon as the stops 80,80 halt the forward motion of the label, the suction exerted through plate 79 will grab and hold the label in its registered position. It has been found that this registration of the label can be facilitated if the plate surface 78 is covered with a layer 81 of a lubricant material such as Teflon as such a surface lessens the retarding frictional and pneumatic resistance to the movement of the label toward the stops 80,80.
The suction backup plate 79 forms one wall ofa label holding device 82 supported in depending relation from the bottom of the housing 65. The holding device 82 is constructed in the form of a housing to provide a closed chamber 83 which communicates through an opening in the bottom of the housing 65 with the interior of the latter. Within the housing is provided a suitable fan (not shown) for creating therein a low vacuum that is exerted on the portions of the plate 79 to be covered by the label 61 through the openings 84 in such plate (note FIG. 4). The vacuum thus created is just sufficient to hold the label in its registered position against the surface 78 until positively removed therefrom. It will be noted from a comparison of FIGS. 2-4 that the plate 79 and consequently the holding device 82 is provided with a channel-like opening 85 through which pass the applicators 16 in their step-by-step movements. During each period of dwell of the turret 57 one of the applicators 16 is located in an at-rest position within such opening 85 with its forward label carrying surface 86 substantially flush with the label carrying surface 78 of the label holder 82 so that such surface 86 will come into engagement with the central portion of the printed side of the label 61 that is registered on the label holder surface 78. The timing of the machine is such'that the applicator will arrive at this position after a label 61 has been projected from the carrying sheet 67 to the label holder surface 78. It will be noted in FIG. 3 of the drawings that the shafts of the two backing strip drive rolls 66 and 70 of the dispenser are provided with sprocket wheel 87 and 88, respectively, which are connected by a chain 89. Associated with sprocket wheel 77 is an electric clutch and brake unit 90'for controlling the rotational movements of the drive rolls 66 and 70 and consequently the feed of the carrier sheet 67. The clutch and brake unit 90 is electrically connected to, and actuated to initiate the feed of the carrier sheet by a photo-electric beam unit 91, in FIG. 2, located at a place relative to the conveyor 11 that is positioned upstream from the labeling station 17 a distance at least three times the pitch of the bottles 12. Whenever an article 12 breaks the beam of unit 91, the feed of the backing strip 67 is initiated. As a result of such location of the beam unit 91, the feed of the backing strip 67 will be initiated whenever there is present on the conveyor an articleto be labeled by the terminal label on such backing strip, and just after an applicator has moved beyond the label holder 82. The feed of such strip is further controlled by a photoelectric beam unit 92 located within the dispenser housing 65 and also electrically connected to the clutch and brake unit 90. The beam unit 92 is so arranged in a known manner with respect to the backing strip 67 upstream from the terminal label on such strip, that it sends an electric signal to unit 90 when the trailing end edge of a following label 61 on such backing strip moves past the beam thereof, thereby to stop the feed of the backing strip. When this occurs the terminal label on the backing strip will have been projected into registered position on the label holder 82 and its movement will have been halted. Thus, when an applicator 16 moves to the stationary position it will occupy on the next period of dwell of the machine, there will beprovided on the label holder 82 a label 61 in registered stationary relation. It will be noted in FIG. 4 of the drawings that in a period of dwell of the machine, the centerlines of the applicator 16, of the channel or opening 85, of the backing strip 67 on the stripper plate 69, and of the label 61 as registered by the stops 80,80, will all be substantially coincident. As a-result of this arrangement, when vacuum is then applied to the applicator 16 and the latter advances in the next step of its movement, the label 61 will be firmly carried thereby in the position in which it has been registered on the label holder 82, i.e. with the centerlines of the label and applicator label carrying surface coincidental. While in the example shown, the centerlines have been illustrated as the means for effecting the desired registration, it will be understood that any given line on such elements may be selected as the means for accomplishing such registration. It is known in the art, that in accordance with known methods of preparing pressure sensitive labels on backing sheets, such labels are so prepared on the latter that they are all precisely positioned in accurate relation with each other on the backing sheet. Thus, any given longitudinal line on the usual backing sheet provided with pressure sensitive labels may be selected as the reference line. The backing strip is then fed to the place of discharge of the labels thereon under the positive control of guides such as the guides 64,64 shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 of the drawings, so that the label will be discharged with the selected given line thereof, i.e. the centerline in the example shown, will be in registration with the corresponding given line of the label in the registered condition of such label on the stops 80,80. The stops 80,80 will overcome any inaccuracies that might occur in the operation of the dispenser such as for example in the stripping and propelling action of the dispenser. It will also be understood that the label 61 as it moves across the surface 78 of the plate 79 on which such stops are mounted will be retarded by the frictional and pneumatic resistance offered to its movement by such surface. The speed of discharge of the label from its backing sheet is so correlated to such resistance condition that the label progressively entering onto the surface 78, slides under the positive control of the vacuum, across such surface until it comes intocontact with the stops with a speed just sufficient to effect accurate registration thereof on the stops without buckling, which the vacuum also tends to prevent.
This same result can be attained with label registering mechanism embodying the invention regardless of the manner in which the pressure sensitive labels are supplied in accordance with known methods. Thus, there is shown in PK 5 of the'drawings, a type of dispenser provided with a known label register means 93 constituting photo-electric beam means and so constructed and located with relation to the backing strip 67 that it registers and stops the web with all but a small section of the terminal label 61 stripped from the backing web 67. The section of label remaining adhered to the backing web is just enough to insure registration of the label and the unit accomplishes such registration of the terminal label with relation to the centerline of the applicator 16 with such accuracy that it is unnecessary to provide on thesuction back-up plate 79 the registering stops 80,80 in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. It will, of course, be understood that while the detached'portion of the label is being advanced it will slide over the surface 78 of plate 79 under the control of the suction applied at such surface, and that when the feed of the web has been stopped by-the register means 93, the suction exerted through the openings or ports in plate 79 will grip the label and hold it in proper registered position to be picked up by the applicator l6. Thesuction required for such purposes may be of the order of one or two inches of mercury, or from 1/2-1 pound per square inch. When suction is subsequcntly provided in the applicator 16 for this purpose, such suction is sufficiently great as to exert a stronger grip on the label than the adhesive connection between the backing strip and the small remaining attached section or sections of the label. For example, a suction of approximately inches of mercury, or 7 1/2 pounds per square inch, may be provided in such applicator. Thus, when the applicator 16 is advanced in its next step of movement, it is enabled to strip such remaining attached portion of the label from the backing web without disturbing the registered position of the label on the applicator. This form of the invention is especially useful when the labels to be applied to the articles are of insufficient stiffness and would have a tendency to fold rather than slide across a holding surface, as in the case of labels which are made from adhesively coated and printed thin plastic films.
In FIGS. 6 and 7 of the drawings there is shown a dispenser which feeds the backing strip horizontally in vertically disposed position vto one side of the label holding device 82 which in such construction is in suction communication with the interior of the housing 65 through a side wall of the latter. In this construction, as in the construction shown in FIG. 5, the label register means 93 is a photo-electric beam arrangement for so controlling the feed of the backing strip that the backing stip is stopped while a small portion of the terminal remains attached thereto to effect the proper registration of the label on the label holder 82. Accordingly, this embodiment will function in the same manner as described with respect to the embodiment of FIG. 5 when the applicator 16 advances to remove the registered label 61 from the holder 82 and strip it entirely from the backing strip 67. However, it will be evident that the emboidment shown in FIG. 5 is better suited for those labels whose body rigidity is insufficient to enable them to be fed properly in the manner indicated in FIGS. 6 and 7.
The labeling unit shown in detail in FIGS. 2, 3 and 9 to 11 of the drawings is the labeling unit designated 55 in FIG. 1, and since both of such label units are of similar construction, a detailed description of unit 55 will suffice for an understanding of the construction and operation of both units. As is shown in FIG. 3 of the drawings, the turret of unit 55 is composed of a vertical shaft 95 that extends through and is rotatably supported by a suitable bearing unit 96 mounted on the table plate 74. The lower end of shaft 95 below the table plate 74 has secured thereto a cam plate 97 provided with cam rollers 98 which engage with the cam groove of a cylindrical cam 99 in a manner well known in the art. The cylindrical cam 99 is secured to a horoizontal shaft 100 rotatably supported by bearings 101,101 provided at the lower ends of depending bearing brackets carried by the table plate 74. Mounted on one end of shaft 101 is a sprocket wheel 102 that is chain connected to a sprocket whe'el 103 secured to the main shaft 25 (note FIG. 9 which indicates the driving connections for both units 55 and 56).
Secured to the vertical shaft 95 above and in spaced relation to the table plate .74 is turret plate 105 carrying in properly spaced relation six vertically disposed bearing units 106 for rotatably supporting the vertical shafts 107 of the six label applying devices 59 in each of the labeling units 55 and 56. The lower end of each vertical shaft 107 has secured thereto a cam arm 108 provided with a cam roller 109 which engages a cam track 110 v provided in the upper surface ofa horizontal cam plate 111 mounted on top of the table plate 74. The cam track 110 is designed to progressively turn each label applying device 59 during its travel from the label pickup station 60 to the label applying station 17 and back to station 60 so that the centerline of the label carrying surface 86 of its applicator 16 at station 60 comes into coincidence with the centerline of the label registered on the label holder 82, and at station 17 will be, with the centerline of the article, in a vertical plane radial to the turrets shaft 95. Each label applying device 59 is composed of a substantially cylindrical body 112 slidably mounted on shaft 107 and provided with an annular cam track 113 in which rides a cam roller 114 provided on the inner end of a pivoted lever arm 115 on the outer end of which is mounted on the label applicator 16. The arm 115 is mounted for pivotal movement about the axis of a pin 117 provided on a bracket device 116 secured to the top of shaft 107. It will thus be understood that as the body 112 slidably moves vertically on the shaft 107, the arm 115 will be caused by the cam track 113 and cam roll 114 to pivot about the axis of bracket pin 117 to thereby advance or retreat the applicator 16 as indicated by the dotted and full line positions thereof shown in FIG. 3. The body 112 is normally biased to its uppermost position in which the applicator will be fully advanced, by a vertically disposed compression spring 118 secured at its ends to a post 119 on the body 112 and a post 120 fixed to a collar 121 on shaft 95. The range of movement of the applicator 16 from a fully retracted position to a fully advanced position is controlled by cam mechanism including a vertical arm 122 secured at its top to the body 112 and carrying at its lower end a cam roller 123 which engages the bottom cam edge 124 of a ring cam 125. The cam 125 is supported in concentric relation to the turret plate 105 by cars 126 which are adjustably secured to posts 127 mounted on the cam plate 111. It will be noted that each arm 122 is slidable in a guide block 128 secured in projecting relation to the turret plate. Thus, while the body 112 is freely slidable on the shaft 107, it is restricted against rotational movement by the arm 122 and guide block 128.
It will be understood that in the operation of the machine, the cylindrical cam 99 will be rotated continuously by the main shaft 25, through sprocket wheels 102 and 103 and shaft 100 and that in each cycle of such operation the turret plate 105 will be advanced one step by the cylindrical cam 99. When during a period of dwell in the step-by-step movement of the turret, a label applying device 59 is located at the pick-up station 60, in FIGS. 1 and 2, the cam member 123 thereof will be located on the ring cam 125 to position the label carrying surrace 86 of the applicator 16 vertically, and the cam roller 109 will be located on the plate cam 111 to position such surface 86 in parallelism with the printed side of the label 61 held in registered relation by the label holder 82. In this condition of the parts the centerline of the applicator surface 86 will be coincident with the centerline of the label 61 being held by low suction on the holder 82. Prior to the next step of movement of the applicator 16 suction of greater degree then that applied to the label by the holder 82 is furnished in the applicator l6so that it grips the label firmly in its registered condition. On the next step of the applicator 16, the latter will strip the label from the holder 82 and the cam plate 111 will commence to progressively rotate the applying devices shaft 107 to change the angle of the held label relative to a plane radial to the axis of turret shaft 95, and the cam ring 125 will commence to change the position of the body 112 of the label applying device 59 on the shaft 107 thereof to advance the applicator 16 about the pivot 117. At the end of this first step of movement from the pick-up station 60, the-label and applicator will be at the positions shown by the label 61 and applicator 16, respectively, in FIG. 2 of the drawings. This process is continued so that at the end of the next step of the turret the label and applicator will be in the positions shown by the label 61" and the applicator 16", respectively, in FIG. 2. It will be noted that by this time the label will have been turned so that it is almost parallel to the line of movement of the articles 12 on the conveyor 11. During the next step of the turret and when the applicator reaches the place indicated by the vertical plane 130 that contains its centerline and is radial to the axis of shaft 107, the applicator 16 will be pivoted to the extent that its label carrying surface 86 will be advanced almost to the position at which' it will apply the label to the article 12' for which it is intended as indicated by the dotted outlined end of applicator 16. It will be understood that at this time, the article 12' will have advanced from its full line position to a position in which its central line is also contained in the vertical plane 130, and the carried label is parallel to the path of movement of such article. The surface 86 of applicator 16 will maintain this parallel relation until it arrives at approximately the place designated by the vertical plane 132 through its centerline and the axis of shaft 107. During this interval the applicator surface 86 will have a movement parallel to and equal in velocity to the movement'of the article 12 on the conveyor 11. While the surface 86 is moving through the distance indicated by the planes 130-132 parallel to and with equal velocity to the article.l2, the cam ring 125 will cause the applicator 16 to flick forwardly to apply the label to article 12' and retract. This label applying action takes place at the place indicated by the vertical plane 131. It will be noted that at this moment, the centerlines of thearticle 12, the label 61 being applied and the applicator surface 86 will be contained in the plane 131 and that the latter will be radial to both the shaft 107 of the label applying device and the turret shaft 95. During such final flickingmovement of the applicator 16, the vacuum thereto is broken and a positive discharge of air is passed therethrough to positively deposit the label on the article. 0n the return of the label applying device, whose operations have above been considered, to the pick-up station, the applicator 16 is retracted and rotated until it is returned to the condition in which it is ready to move through the passage 83 in unit 82 and pick up the label which has been registered on such unit, as indicated in FIG. 2 of the drawings.
The apparatus for controlling the pneumatic condition of the applicators 16 is shown in FIGS. 1-3, and
11 of the drawings. Asshown more clearly in FIG. 3,
a portion of such apparatus is mounted on the upper end of the turret shaft 95 and includes a rotatable valve plate 135 which is secured to such shaft and which is provided with six valve openings 136, in FIG. 11, to which are connected one endof six flexible hoses 137, the other ends of which are suitably connected to the applicators 16. Mounted on valve plate 135 is a stationary valve plate 138, the two plates being separated by a lubricating ring 139 made of any suitable lubricating material such as Rulon or Teflon. Plate 138 has a cen' tral bearing lined opening for receiving the upper end of the turret shaft and is provided with three ports, a pick-up port 140, a carrying port 141 and a blow off port 142. The three ports are arranged on plate 138 so that port is located at the pick-up station 60, port 142 is located at the labeling station 17, and port 151 is located between ports 140 and 142 on the path the labels are carried by the applicators. Ports 140 and 142 extend entirely through plate 138 while port 141 communicates with an elongated chamber 143 having a perforated bottom wall 144 so that continuous suction is provided in the applicators 16 traveling from the pick-up station 60 to the labeling station 17. The ports 140, I41 and 142 are in communication with three passageways 145, 146 and 147, in FIG. 10, extending along a stationary transverse bracket member 148 secured at one end to the stationary valve plate 138 and secured at its other end to the frame of the machine. Thus, the bracket member 148 and plate 138 form a bearing support for the upper end of the turret shaft 95. As is shown in FIG. 10, passage includes a solenoid valve 149 which controls the supply of vacuum to the pick-up port 140. Passage 145, together with passage 146, is also connected to a second solenoid vacuum valve 150, a filter 151 and a vacuum pump 152. Pas sage 147 is connected to valve and to a solenoid air valve 153 which controls a supply of air thereto from a source of air under pressure. The pressurized air from such source is controlled by a regulator valve 154.
It will be understood from the foregoing that when a label applying device 59 is located at the pick-up station 60 during a dwell of the turret, solenoid valve 149 is caused to acutate to supply vacuum to the devices applicator 16 through the port 140 in plate 138, the applicators associated port 136 in plate 135, and its associated hosel37, thereby enabling it to pick up the label registered on the holder 82. As the applicator, or finger 16 advances through the next two steps of the turret, vacuum is supplied thereto from the carrier port 141. During the interval that the finger 15 is moving with the conveyoer at constant velocity, its associated opening 136 in valve plate 135 passes under the blow off port 142 in plate 138, where vacuum is changed to air pressure to blow off the label carried by the finger. This blowing is controlled by valve 153. Vacuum valve 150 closes when air valve 153 opens to pass air pressure to the port 142. I
It will be observed in FIG. 3 of the drawings, that the applicator, or finger 16 is configured to place the label on the inclined shoulder of the bottle shown in dotted outline in such figure. By varying the contour of the FIG. 16 and the cams controlling the movements of the same, the finger can be made to place the label on any surface portion of the article, whether such surface portion be vertically, or horizontally disposed, or disposed at any angle therebetween. Thus, in FIG. 8 of the drawings there is shown an applicator or finger 16' having a straight contour enabling it to apply the label registered thereon to the vertical wall formingthe body of a bottle. In such a construction, instead of applying the label by a pivoting motion of the finger, as in the embodiment of FIG. 3, the finger 16' may be mounted on a slide 155 whose associated guide block 156 is mounted on the bracket 116 carrying the pivot pin 117 for the lever arm 115. Instead of carrying the finger 16 as in the construction of FIG. 3, the lever 115 is connected by a universal coupling 157 to the slide 155. In all other respects, the construction of the label applying device shown in FIG. 8 is similar to that shown in FIG. 3.
It will be understood that in its operations, the finger 16 will be slidably advanced and retracted by a sliding movement instead of with a pivotal movement as in the case of finger 16, but in all other respects will operate the same as the latter. Thus, at the labeling station, the finger 16 during the final step of its advancement will slidably flick forwardly to deposit the label on the article as indicated in dotted outline in FIG. 8. The same result may be accomplished by bending the upper portion of the finger 16 backwardly, instead of forwardly, and using the pivoted construction shown in FIG. 3.
The labeled articles 12 pass from the label applying station 17 to the. pressure station 18 for final application of the labels thereto by any suitable means such as the pressure means disclosed in said US. Pat. No. 3,522,134 for completing the application of the label, or the pressure means shown in FIG. 1 herein. In the construction illustrated in FIG. 1, the labeled articles at pressure station 18 pass between the inner runs of two pressure belts 160 and 161 made ofa compressible material of any suitable material such as a thick foam or sponge rubber, capable of applying the whole area of an applied label to the article with a resilient pressure. The belts 160, 161 are driven by rollers mounted on the belt shafts 162, 163, respectively, so as to move in the same direction and at the same speed as the articles 12 on the belt 11. As is shown in FIG. 9, the belt shafts 162, 163 are connected by vertical shafts 164, 165, respectively, and horizontal shafts 166, 167, respectively, to the transverse shaft 49 driven from the main shaft 25. The shaft terminates at the article discharge end of the machine in a gear box 170 and is connected through the latter to a transverse shaft provided with a sprocket wheel 171. The wheel 171 is chain connected to a sprocket wheel 172 mounted on a transverse shaft carrying the end drive wheel 173 for the conveyor 11 so that such wheel is located in alignment with shaft 25. The other end wheel 174, in FIG. 1, for the conveyor is a freely rotating wheel. Adjacently to the gear box 170, the main shaft 25 is provided with a sprocket wheel 175 which is chain connected to a sprocket wheel 176 mounted on the drive shaft ofa gear box 177 to which is drivenly connected the drive wheel 178, in FIG. 1, of the pressure belt 19.
The previously discussed constructions utilize a label holder 82 to slidably receive the label 61 from the dispensing device and from which the applicator 16 pick up the registered labels to deliver them to the labeling station. It is within the contemplation of this invention however, to register the labels directly n the applicators without the use of a vacuum label holder 82. In FIG. 12 of the drawings there is.shown a dispenser 20 of the type depicted in FIGS. 6 and 7, wherein the label 61 is properly registered'while suspended or partially attached to the backing strip 67. The thus registered label instead of having been slid across the vacuum plate ofa label holder as in the construction of FIG. 6, is slid across the label carrying surface 181 of the applicator 180 which has come to rest just prior to the feed of such label thereto. In the practice of this method, the applicators 18o prior to the delivery of labels thereto at the pick-up station, are provided with a low suction of the order of a couple of inches of mercury, say I pound per square inch. in order to'enable the label to be slid across the label carrying surraces 18] thereof into registered position and yet to enable such applicators to hold the registered labels thereon. The vacuum system may be so timed that such suction may be applied as an applicator is approaching its receiving position, or as soon as it has arrived and is stopped at its receiving position, in which position the label carrying surface 181 thereof is substantially flush with the path of movement of the detached portion of the label that will then be partially peeled off the carrier sheet 67.
The embodiment illustrated in FIG. 15 of the drawings, indicates the manner in which labels that are entirely peeled off the carrier sheet 67 by the stripping ac tion of the dispenser 20 may be registered on the label carrying surface 184 of an applicator 185. It will be understood that the dispenser 20 in FIG. 15 is of the type shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 of the drawings and will propel the labels 61 therefrom in the manner explained in connection with the construction shown in such latter figures. As in the embodiment of FIG. 12, the applicators 185 will successively come to a stop at their label receiving position in the pick-up station and will be provided prior to the feed of a label thereto with suction of a low order. The applicators 185 may each be provided with registering stops 186 mounted on the forward suction plate thereof forming the label carrying surface 184 and located below the latter. The stops 186,186 function in the manner explained with respect to the stop 80,80 in the embodiment of FIGS. 3 and 4 to effect registration of the propelled label 61 on the applicator. Instead of providing the stop on the applicators, one set of stops such as the stops 186', 186 shown in dotted outline in FIG. 15 may be provided at the pick-up station. Thus, as indicated such stops l86,186 may be spaced-apart so that the applicators pass therebetween in the manner of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The stops 186, 186 may be supported in such spaced condition by brackets 187,187 secured to the dispenser 20. In the operation of this embodiment, the label 61 is propelled from the dispenser after the applicator 185 has come to a stop at the pick-up station in position to slidably receive the label on its label carrying surface 184 and a suction condition has been created at such surface. The delivered label 61 will come to a halt astraddle the stops 186',186 which will correctly register it on the surface 184 of the applicator. On the next stop of movement of the applicator, the suction surface thereof will remove the label from the stops and carry it toward the labeling station.
FIGS. 13 and 14 of the drawings illustrate a feature of the invention which assures that each label will be provided with a code or batch number even though there may be labels missing on the carrier sheet supplied to the dispenser. As has been previously described, the photo-electric sensing means 92 in the housing causes the movement of the carrier backing or web 67 to come to a halt when the trailing edge of a label 61 passing through such sensor allows the light to trigger the same. During such period of dwell a code or batch number printer 191 will imprint a subsequent label 61 with the desired code or batch number. Assuming now that, as shown in FIGS. 13 and 14, the sensor unit 92 has just been triggered by label 61 to stop the feed of the backing strip 67 and that the space designated 190 on the strip in which would ordinarily be provided a succeeding label is instead empty. On the next movement of the web, due to the fact that there is no label in the space 190, the sensor 92 will permit the web to continue advancing until the trailing edge of the next affixed label 61" triggers the sensor 92.
Such an uninterrupted advance of the web over two stops would result in the failure oflabel 61 which fol lows label 61 to be provided with a code or batch number. Thus, when such label is applied to an article there are no means whereby such article can be traced in the event its contents comes into question.
In accordance with the invention such a possiblity is overcome, by electrically coupling a second photoelectric sensor unit 194 with sensor 92 so that such sensor 194 will also stop the web when the trailing edge of label 61" passes therethrough after the normal single stop advance of such web. The printer 191 will then operate to print the code or batch number on label 61". It will be understood that the printer 101 which is of a construction known to the art and of the type now employed in labeling machines made by the New Jersey Machine Corporation of New Jersey, is as in such labeling machines, connected to the main drive shaft 25 in a suitable manner so that every time the carrier strip 67 comes to rest it is actuated to print a label.- The manner in which the aforesaid control is exercised will become apparent from a consideration of FIG. 14 which shows an electric control and relay box 195 to which the above described article photo-electric sensor 91 and the label photo-electric sensors 92 and 194 are electrically connected. Also electrically connected to the mechanism in box 195 are the imprinter 191, electric clutch 196 and brake 197, the latter two of which consititute the clutch and brake unit 90 shown in FIG. 3 of the drawings Thus, a signal from either scanner 92 or 194 will stop the web, applying the brake and triggering the imprinter 191. The web feed is actuated by an artic'le 12 triggering the scanner 91 across the conveyor 11. In order that the carrier strip 67 may not be in a slack condition as it passes through the scanner 194, a
conventional drag pad l98is provided in advance of such scanner. It is also desirable to provide a free loop 199 between the drag pad 198 and the draw rolls 200 for advancing the web from the supply roll 68.
While I have hereinabove described and illustrated in the drawings preferred embodiments of my invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the appended claims.
I claim: 7
1. In a labeling machine having alabel pick-up station and a label applying station, means for moving an article toward and past said labeling station, a label applicator having a label supporting surface for carrying and applying a label to an article at said labeling station, means for moving said label applicator along a closed path from said pick-up station toward said labeling station and operative to bring said applicator to a and means for creating at said supporting surface a suction condition sufficient to hold the label thereto in such registered condition.
2. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 1, in which said registering means include a labeling register element associated with said applicator, and means for feeding a label while under vacuum control into engagement with said register element.
3. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 2, includ ing means for supporting said register element in stationary condition at said pick-up station adjacent to said closed path of movement of said applicator.
4. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 2, in which said label register element is mounted on said applicator in association with said label supporting surface thereof.
5. In a labeling machine ss defined in claim I, in which said registering means includes a stationary label holder located at said pick-up station and having a label holding surface adjacent to said closed path of movement of said applicator, means for creating at said holder supporting surface a low suction condition sufficient to hold a label thereto, and means for slidably advancing a label across such holder supporting surface under suction control and for halting such movement when said given line in the plane of the label will come into coincidence with said given line in the plane of said applicator surface, and in which said means for creating a suction condition at said applicator label supporting surface creates thereat a higher suctionthan that created at said holder supporting surface.
6. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 5, in which said means for slidably advancing and halting the movement of a label on said holder supporting surface includes a label register element mounted on said holder in association with said label supporting surface thereof and in the path of the slidable movement of a label on the latter.
7. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 5, in which said means for slidably advancing and halting the movement of a label on said holder supporting surface includes movable means for carrying a label in secured registered relation thereon toward such surface and foradvancing the separated leading end of the label slidably across such surface, means for progressively separating the label from said carrier means as it is advanced across such holder surface, and means for halting the movement of said carrying means when the label reaches its registered position on said holder supporting surface and while the trailing end of the label is still secured to such carrier means.
8. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 5, in which said label holder has a pair of spaced label holding suction surfaces disposed on oppositesides of said closed path for holding spaced portions of a label with the central position thereof spanning said closed path, and in which said label advancing means slidably advances a label across both of said spaced surfaces simultaneously to its registered position, said applicator in its movement away from the pick-up station stripping the registered label from both of said spaced surfaces.
9. In a labeling machine as defined-in claim 5, in which said label holder surface faces'in the direction of travel of said applicator on said closed path, and in which said applicator label supporting surface faces in the direction of travel of said applicator on said closed path in the region of said label holder.
10. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 6, in which said means for slidably advancing and halting the movement of a label on said holder supporting surface further include means for feeding toward such surface a label supporting strip having labels provided thereon in spaced registered relation at a given forward velocity, and mean for successively detaching labels from said supporting strip without interfering with the forward velocity imparted to a detached label by said advancing supporting strip, whereby the detached label is propelled across said holder supporting surface into engagement with said label register element while under the control of the suction on said holder supporting surface.
l1. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 1, in which said registering means includes means for advancing a label supporting strip having labels provided thereon in spaced registered relation, means operative during the advancement of said supporting strip to suecessively detach the foremost terminal labels at least partially from said supporting strip so as to advance them toward said pick-up station, and means operative to halt the advancing movement of each terminal label when it reaches a position in which said given line in the plane thereof will come into coincidence with said given line in the plane of said applicator surface.
12. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 11, in which said operative means includes means operative to stop the advancing movement of the strip by said advancing means each time the trailing end of a label on the strip passes a given point in the path of movement of the strip, whereby the terminal label will be completely detached from the strip and propelled into the pick-up station, and means associated with said applicator to stop the advancement of such terminal label.
13. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 11, in which said operation means includes means operative to stop the advancing movement of the strip by said advancing means, each time a given point adjacently in advance of the trailing ends of the labels on the strip arrives at a given point in the path of movement of the strip, such points being so selected that the terminal label in its registered position will only be partially detached and will have its trailing end still secured to said supporting strip.
14. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 1, in which said applicator moving means moves the applicator into position to enable the label supporting surface thereof to receive a label prior to the advancement of such label to said pick-up station, in which said suction creating means creates a low suction condition at said applicator surface prior to the advancement of such label to said pick-up station, and in which said registering means includes means for slidably advancing a label across said applicator surface under such suction control and for halting such movement when it reaches a position in which said given line in the plane of the label will come into coincidence with said given line in the plane of the applicator surface.
15. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 1, including means for orienting the label supporting surface of said applicator during the movement of said applicator so that when the latter is at said pick-up station, said surface thereof faces in the direction of said path, said orienting means being operable to turn said applicator surface toward said label applying station as the applicator approaches the latter from said pick-up station so that when said applicator is at said label applying station said given line of the label carried thereby will be in registration with a corresponding given line of the article at such station.
16. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 15, in which said orienting means comprises a shaft, means operable to turn such shaft to given positions as said applicator moves along said closed path and thereby to control the direction in which said label supporting surface faces, a pivot carried by said shaft, a lever movably mounted on said pivot, a member slidably mounted on said shaft, means preventing rotational movement of said slidable member on said shaft, means coupling one arm of said lever to said slidable member, an applicator finger bearing said label supporting surface connected to the other arm of said lever, and means operable to slidably move said member to given positions on said shaft as said applicator moves along said closed path and thereby to control the transverse movement of said finger relative to said shaft.
17. In a labeling machine as defined in claim 16, in which the portion of said applicator finger bearing said label supporting surface is so configured with relation to said orienting means as to enable such surface to deposit a label on any given portion of an article at said label applying station, said applicator moving means being synchronized with said article moving means so that said orienting means is enabled to cause said label supporting surface to carry a label at said label applying station so that it is substantially parallel to the path of movement of the article to which it is to be applied for a substantial distance in the same direction and at the same linear speed as the article.
18. In a labeling machine having a label pick-up sta- I tion and a label applying station, means for moving an article toward and past said labeling station, a label applicator habing a label supporting surface for carrying and applying a label to an article at said labeling station, means for moving said label applicator along a closed path from said pick-up station toward said labeling station, means associated with said pick up station for advancing a label supporting strip having a series of labels successively provided thereon, means operative to control the operation of said advancing means, a first means operative during the advancement of said supporting strip for successively detaching. the foremost terminal labels from said strip so as to advance them toward said pick-up station, first detector means connected to and controlling said control means and operative to cause the latter to stop the advancing movement of the strip by said advancing means each time a portion at least of a label carrying section of said strip that is provided with a label passes a given point in the path of movement of the strip, a second means spaced upstream from said first means for periodically performing an operation on the labels carried by said strip and having its operation controlled by said control means, and second detector means connected to and controlling said control means and operative to cause the latter to stop the advancing movement of the strip by said advancing means each time it detects a label in a label carrying section of said strip, whereby said second means will perform its operation on each label carried by the strip even through a strip label carrying seelocated along the path of movement of the articles to said label applying station, and operative to actuate said control means to start said advancing means each timea bottle is detected thereby.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,779,829 Dated December 18, 1973 Inventor(s) Edwin K. Wolff It; is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters 'Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Q91. 1 line 23 after "invention", "to to" should read ---is to--. Col. 2 line 12, after "01?" --a,-- has been omitted. Col. 2 line &6, after "that", "is is" should be --it is----. 001. 3 line 57; "drawing" should read --dra.wings--. Col.' L line 12, after "which" --may-- has been omitted. Col. 8 line 16, after "mounted" --on-- should be deleted. Col. .8 line 5 1, after "carrying" the word "surrace" should 5e --surfa.ee--. C01. 10 line 56, "FIG. 16" shouldread "finger 16--. 0'01. 11 line. 5?, "6n" should read ----on--. Col. 12 line 33, after "e'ffect the word "proper-e has Been omitted. Col, 13 line 20, "101" should be -191---. 001. 1d, line 5, (Claim 2) "labeling" should read -l8.bel-.
col. 16, 11m #0, (claim 18) "habing" should read -having--.
Signed and sealed this 23rd day of July 1971+.
(SEAL) Attest: I
MCCOY Mo GIBSON, JR. 1 c. MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner -of Patents