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Publication numberUS3783077 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 1, 1974
Filing dateDec 27, 1971
Priority dateDec 27, 1971
Also published asCA963850A, CA963850A1, DE2258612A1
Publication numberUS 3783077 A, US 3783077A, US-A-3783077, US3783077 A, US3783077A
InventorsMessmer E
Original AssigneeMessmer E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Label applicator
US 3783077 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

E. E. MESSMER Jan. 1, 1974 LABEL APILI CA'IOR 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Dec. 27, 1971 l v L Jan. 1, 1974 E. E. MESSMER LABEL APPLICATOR 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Dec. 27. 1971 E. E. MESSMER Jan. 1, 1974 LABEL APPLI CATOR 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Dec. 27, 1971 7 TL/i 5- E. MESSMER LABEL APPLICATOR Jan. 1, 1974 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Dec. 2'7. 1971 United States Fatent 6 3,783,077 LABEL APPLICATOR Edwin E. Messmer, 203 Leonard Young St., Oradell, N .J. 07649 Filed Dec. 27, 1971, Ser. No. 211,927 Int. Cl. B65c 3/12 US. Cl. 156-446 14 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Apparatus for applying pressure-sensitive labels to containers wherein each container is moved by a conveyor belt into engagement with a pair of timing belts and a microswitch. The microswitch actuates label feeding means and as a result, a label is advanced into the path of the moving container. While the label is being advanced, the timing belts slide the container and the label against a labeling belt which moves at the same speed as the label. The section of the labeling belt into which the container is urged is substantially parallel to a section of the timing belts. In addition, the space between the labeling belt and the timing belts is slightly less than the diameter of the container and the belts move in opposite directions. Thus, the belts engage and frictionally rotate the container while the normal component of the frictional force fixes the label to the container. The speeds of the conveyor belt, timing belts, and labeling belt are all independently adjustable.

The subject invention relates to apparatus for applying labels to containers.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a label applicator for automatically applying labels to containers.

It is another object of the present invention to prov1de a label applicator for applying labels to containers of different sizes and shapes. The invention is especially adapted to apply labels to containers of circular cross-section.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a label applicator for applying labels to containers at variable rates. 1

To achieve some of the objectives mentioned above and others, the invention employs means for feeding containers; means for feeding labels into the path of travel of the containers; and means for frictionally rotating the containers in timed relation with the feeding of the labels, whereby'the normal component of the frictional force presses the labels against the containers.

The above mentioned and other objects and features of this invention will become apparent by reference to the following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a top view of a label applicator according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective view of the label applicator;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary top view on an enlarged scale, of an operating label applicator which illustrates a bottle being fed by a conveyor belt into position for having a label applied;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary top view of an operating label applicator illustrating a switch which has been closed by a bottle to actuate label feeding apparatus;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary top view of an operating label applicator which illustrates a bottle in the process of having a label applied;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary top view of an operating label applicator which illustrates a labeled bottle being advanced by moving belts;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary top view of an operating label applicator which illustrates a bottle being discharged by the moving belts;

FIG. 8 is a vertical cross-sectional view of an operating label applicator, taken along line 88 of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 9 is a vertical cross-sectional view of an operating label applicator, taken along line 99 in FIG. 6.

A label applicator chosen to illustrate the present invention is shown in FIG. 1. In general, the label applicator includes a horizontal conveyor belt 10 for feeding containers 11, the latter being bottles of circular crosssection; means for feeding pressure sensitive labels 12 (shown in FIG. 2) into the path of travel of the containers 11; and means for frictionally rotating the containers 11 in timed relation with the feeding of the labels 12, whereby the normal component of the frictional force presses the labels 12 against the containers 11.

More particularly, a base 29 supports a vertical front plate 13 and a vertical back plate 14, the plates being parallel to each other. Each of the plates 13 and 114 rotatably supports an end of a rod 15 to which there is connected an idler pulley 16. In addition, each plate 13 and 14 rotatably supports an end of a rod 17 to which there is connected a drive pulley 18. The rods 15 and 17 are perpendicularly located with respect to the front and back plates 13 and 14 and lie in a horizontal plane. Further, the pulleys 16 and 18 have equal diameters. As a result, the conveyor belt 10, which is supported by the pulleys 16 and 18, has an oblong shape, the long sides of which are disposed horizontally. Conveyor belt 10 may be formed of hinged-together strips of a low friction material, such as nylon. The back plate 14 supports a variable speed motor 19 whose drive shaft (not shown) is coupled to the rod 17. Thus, when the motor 19 is turned on it drives the conveyor belt 10 at selected speeds, thereby providing control over the rate at which the containers 11 are moved into and away from the means for rotating the containers.

The front plate 13 supports an apron 21 having an extension 22 which projects over a part of, and is parallel to, the conveyor belt 10. A guide plate '20 having a pair of parallel slots 23 and 24 is coupled to the extension 22 by a bolt 25 which passes through the slot 23, a bolt 26 which passes through the slot 24, and threaded knobs 27 and 28 which, respectively, engage the bolts 25 and 26. The slots 23 and 24 are located perpendicular to the plates 13 and 14 and to the direction of travel of the conveyor belt 10. Therefore, by loosening the knobs '27 and 28, the guide plate 20 may be moved perpendicularly with respect to the direction of travel of the containers 11. A guide wall 102, connected to the back plate 14, and the guide plate 20 are used to define a path along which the containers 11 must travel in order to have a label 12 applied. The mobility of the guide plate 20 permits the width of the path to be adjusted to accommodate containers 11 differing in diameter.

The extension 22 of the apron 21 supports, adjacent to the guide plate 20, a support member 30. The support member 30 includes a pair of parallel slots 31 and 32 and is coupled to the extension 22 by a bolt 33 which passes through the slot 31, a bolt 34 which passes through the slot 32, and threaded knobs 35 and 36 which, respectively, engage the bolts 33 and 34. The slots 31 and 32 are perpendicularly located with respect to the plates 13 and 14 and to the direction of travel of the conveyor belt 10. Therefore, b loosening the knobs 35 and 36, the support member 30 may be moved perpendicularly with respect to the direction of travel of the conveyor belt 10. A bracket 38 fixed at an edge 39 of the support member 30 includes a hole 40 which is perpendicularly disposed with respect to the support member 30. A rod 42 rotatably coupled to the hole 40, is connected at one end to an idler pulley 41 and at its other end to a similar pulley 42 (see FIG. 2). The idler pulleys 41 and 42 are above and below bracket 38, respectively, so as to prevent axial movement of the rod 40. Another bracket 44, fixed about an edge 39 of the support member 30, includes a hole 45 which is perpendicularly disposed with respect to the support member 30. A rod 46, rotatably coupled to the hole 45, is connected at one end to idler pulley 47 and at the other end to a similar pulley 48 and a driven pulley 49 (see FIG. 9). The pulleys 47 and 48 are arranged to prevent axial movement of the rod 45. The pulleys 41 and 47 support an oblong belt 50 and the pulleys 42 and 48 support an oblong belt 51. The belts 50 and 51 are parallel with respect to each other and rotate simultaneously when the driven pulley 49 is rotated.

The driven pulley 49 is coupled to a variable speed motor 52, fixed to the support member 30, by a belt 53 and a pulley 54 coupled to the shaft (not shown) of the motor 52. As a result, when the motor 52 is turned on it rotates belts 50 and 51 at selectable speeds. As more fully described below, when the support member 30 is moved so that the belts 50 and 51 are engageable with the containers 11, the rotating belts 50 and 51 control the rate of rotation of the containers 11. In addition to the foregoing, the support member 30 supports T-shaped members 56 and 57 which are used to guide the containers 11, and a microswitch 58, fixed about the edge 39 of the support member 30. The microswitch 58 extends through the space between the belts 50 and 51 and is used, as more fully described below, to control the feeding of labels 12.

The extension 22 f the apron 21 supports, adjacent to the support member 30, a guide plate 60. The guide plate 60 includes a pair of parallel slots 61 and 62 and is coupled to the extension 22 by a bolt 63 which passes through the slot 61, a bolt 64 which passes through the slot 62, and threaded knobs 65 and 66 which, respectively, engage the bolts 63 and 64. The slots 61 and 62 are located perpendicular to the plates 13 and 14 and to the direction of travel of the conveyor belt 10. Therefore, by loosening the knobs 65 and 66, the guide plate 60 may be moved perpendicularly with respect to the direction of travel of the containers 11. A guide wall 103 which is connected to the back plate 14 and the guide plate 60 are used to define an exit path along which the labeled containers must travel. The mobility of the guide plate 60 permits the width of the exit path of the containers to be adjusted for containers 11 ditfering in diameter.

The back plate 14 supports a horizontal platform 68. In turn, the platform 68 rotatably supports (see FIGS. 1 and 2) an idler pulley 69, an idler pulley 70, an idler pulley 67, a belt 71 supported by the idler pulleys 67, 69, and 70, and a drive pulley 72 which frictionally engages the belt 71. Pulleys 67, 69, and 70, are located so that a flat part of the belt 71 is parallel to belts 50 and 51 and extends over and perpendicular to the conveyor belt 10. The drive pulley 72 is connected to an end of a rod 73 which passes perpendicularly through a hole (not shown) in the platform 68. The other end of the rod 73 is connected to an idler pulley 74 which is supported by the base 29. The base 29 supports a variable speed motor 76 whose output shaft (not shown) is coupled to a drive pulley 75. The drive pulley.75 is coupled by belt 77 to the idler pulley 74. Therefore, when the motor 76 is turned on it moves the belt 71 at selectable speeds. The belt 71, as more fully described below, is used to rotate the containers 11.

The platform 68 supports (see FIGS. 1 and 2) a vertical rectangular member 80 at an acute angle with respect to the direction in which containers 11 are fed. A microswitch 81 and a pair of brackets 82 which perpendicularly support a rod 84 in the path of moving containers 11 are all fixed to the rectangular member 80 for reasons stated below. The platform 68 rotatably supports a rod 85 which is loaded With a wound ribbon 86 carrying a supply of labels 12. The labels are of the type having a pressure-sensitive adhesive on one face, the labels being readily peelable from the ribbon 86. Platform 68 also supports a cylinder 87 for guiding the ribbon 86 to the rectangular member 80, a pair of nip rollers 88 and 90 for drawing the ribbon 86 from the rectangular member 80, and a driven takeup member 89. The ribbon 86 is guided against a wall 91 of the rectangular member 80, continues past the microswitch 81, is pressed into a space between the member 80 and rod 84 (see FIGS. 3-6) by a distortion bar 83 which is coupled to the platform 68, and has its direction of travel sharply reversed by the rod 84. The distortion bar 83 serves to break the seal between labels and the ribbon. Thereafter, the sharp reversal of the direction of travel of ribbon 86 causes the labels 12 to peel themselves away from the ribbon 86 and into the path of moving containers 11. The belt 77 drives an idler pulley 93 which is connected by a shaft 94 to an electric clutch and brake combination 95 of conventional design. An output shaft 96 of the clutch and brake 95 is connected to the roller 88 and also drives a drive pulley 97. The drive pulley 97 drives a belt 98 which is coupled to an idler pulley 99. The idler pulley 99 drives a shaft 100 which is connected to the take-up member 89. Thus, when the shaft 96 is rotated by the clutch 95, the rollers 88 and 90, and the take-up member 89, are driven simultaneously.

The electric clutch 95 is engaged and connects the shaft 94 to the output shaft 96 when the microswitch 58 is momentarily closed by a container 11. The microswitch 81 is opened momentarily each time a label 11 is advanced and causes the shaft 94 and the output shaft 96 to disengage. More particularly, as shown in FIGS. 3 to 7, the microswitch 81 includes a starwheel 92 which is biased against the moving label-bearing ribbon 86. When a label 12 is under the microswitch 81, two teeth of the starwheel 92 slidably engage the label. As the ribbon is advanced, the leading edge of the next label engages one of the teeth of the starwheel. This engagement causes the starwheel 92 to turn, thereby momentarily opening the microswitch 81 and causing the electric clutch 95 to be disengaged and the electric brake to engage, whereby advancement of ribbon 86 is halted. Thus, each container 11 only causes one label 12 to be advanced into its path.

It may be noted that the drive pulley 72, the roller 88, and the take-up member 89 are driven by the same motor 76. As a result, the speed with which a label 12 is fed and the speed of the belt 71 are related. Preferably, the relationship is such that the label 12 and the belt 71 travel at the same speed.

Operatively, referring to FIG. 3, the motor 19 moves the conveyor belt 10 and the motor 76 moves the belt 71 so that the part of the belt 71 which extends over the conveyor belt 10 moves in the same direction as the conveyor belt. The motor 52, generally, drives belts 50 and 51 so that the portions which face the belt 71 move in a direction opposite to the direction of movement of belt 71. While the belts 10, '50, 51, and 71, are moving, a container 11 is moved towards rod 84. Referring to FIGS. 4 and 8, when the container 11 strikes the rod 85, it is urged against belts 50 and 51 and the microswitch 58. The container 11 causes the microswitch 58 to close, thereby causing the ribbon 86 to be advanced and a label 12 to be fed, with the adhesive side of the label facing the container. As shown in FIG. 5, the space between the belts 71 and the belts 50 and 51 is smaller than the diameter of the containers I11. As a result the container 11 engages the label 12 and the belts 71, 50 and 51 frictionally rotate the container 11 and label 12. The force exerted by the belt 71 on the pressure sensitive label 12 fixes the label 12 to the container 11. After the label :12 has been advanced, the microswitch 81 opens momentarily, as shown in FIG. 6, to disengage the clutch and engage the brake 95 and the ribbon 86 stops moving. As shown in FIG. 7, the labeled container 11 is discharged by the belts 71, 50 and 51 onto the conveyor belt 10.

Since the speeds of motors 18, 52, and 76 are all independently adjustable, the following relationship can be established. Belt 71 can be caused to move slightly faster than belt 10, so that as each container 11 moves past the position shown in FIG. 4 and into engagement with belt 71, it will be moved away from the container immediately following it, thus insuring that the following container does not interfere with the labeling operation. Furthermore, the speed relationship between belt 71 and belts 50 and 51 can be adjusted so that the containers are rotated at the optimum speed, for labeling, depending among other things upon the diameter of the containers being labeled.

Although the label applicator has been described in connection with circular containers, it is not limited thereto. For example, by driving the belts 50 and 51 in the same direction and with the same speed as the belt 71, the label applicator can be used to apply labels to square containers. Also, belts 50 and 51 can be driven in the same direction as belt 71 even when circular containers are used, but by driving them at different speeds the container will be caused to rotate.

In view of the foregoing, it is to be understood that the description herein of a preferred embodiment according to the invention is set forth as an example thereof and is not to be construed or interpreted as a limitation on the claims which follow and define the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for applying labels to circular containers comprising:

(a) means for feeding containers;

(b) means for feeding labels into the path of travel of the containers; and

(c) means for rotating the containers in timed relation with the feeding of the labels, and for simultaneously pressing the labels onto the containers, said rotating means including continuous flexible belts presenting spaced-apart surfaces between which said containerfeeding means moves the containers, each container simultaneously engaging both said surfaces, and means for moving said surfaces in opposite directions to rotate each container.

2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said labelfeeding means introduces a label between one of' said surfaces and the container to be labeled.

3. Apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein said labelfeeding means advances each label at linear speed equal to the linear speed of said one surface.

4. Apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein said surfaces are vertical and said label-feeding means supplies the labels oriented in a vertical plane.

*5. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 including means for adjusting the spacing between said surfaces so that they can accommodate containers of different diameter.

6. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 including means for independently adjusting the speeds of said containerfeeding means and each of said surfaces.

7. Apparatus for applying labels, which are supplied on a backing ribbon, to circular containers comprising:

(a) means for feeding containers;

(b) means for feeding labels into the path of travel of the containers;

(c) means for rotating the containers in timed relation with the feeding of the labels, and for simultaneously pressing the labels onto the containers, said rotating means including means presenting spaced-apart surfaces between which said container-feeding means moves the containers, each container simultaneously engaging both said surfaces, and means for moving said surfaces in opposite directions to rotate each .container; and

(d) means adjacent to the path of movement of the containers for sharply reversing the direction of the ribbon, each label being separated from the ribbon at the point of reversal, the label being introduced between one of said surfaces and the container to be labeled.

8. Apparatus as defined in claim 7 including drive means, and an electric clutch for transmitting motion from said drive means to said label-feeding means, said responsive means controlling the operation of said electric clutch.

9. Apparatus as defined in claim 7 including means responsive to label movement for terminating operation of said label-feeding means after each label is fed.

10. Apparatus for applying labels to circular containers comprising:

(a) means for feeding containers;

(b) means for feeding labels into the path of travel of the containers;

(c) means for rotating the containers in timed relation with the feeding of the labels, and for simultaneously pressing the labels onto the containers, said rotating means including means presenting spaced-apart surfaces between which said containerfeeding means moves the containers, each container simultaneously engaging both said surfaces, and means for moving said surfaces in opposite direc tions to rotate each container, one of said surfaces moving in the same direction as said containerfeeding means; and

(d) means for moving said one surface at a higher linear speed than the speed of said container-feeding means, whereby the forwardmost container in a series of containers being fed is moved away from the next succeeding container when the forwardmost container engages said one surface.

11. Apparatus as defined in claim 10 wherein said surfaces are defined by resilient material so that they provide a pressure upon each container moving between them.

12. Apparatus as defined in claim 10 including means responsive to movement of a container into a predetermined position with respect to said rotating means for initiating operation of said label-feeding means.

13. Apparatus as defined in claim 10 wherein said container-feeding means includes a conveyor upon which the containers rest, the surface of said conveyor being of low friction material to permit rotation of the com tainers with respect to said conveyor.

14. Apparatus for applying labels to circular containers comprising:

(a) means for feeding containers;

(b) means for feeding labels into the path of travel of the containers; and

(c) means for rotating the containers in timed relation with the feeding of the labels, and for simultaneously pressing the labels onto the containers, said rotating means including means presenting spaced-apart surfaces between which said containerfeeding means moves the containers, each container simultaneously engaging both said surfaces, and means for moving said surfaces in opposite directions to rotate each container, said moving means including drive means for each of said surfaces, at least one of said drive means being reversible so that both of said surfaces can move in the same direction as desired.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,764,408 9/ 1956 Weiler 156-455 X 3,536,560 10/1970 Della Vita et al 156455 3,367,822 2/1968 Hoffler "156-1613 2,788,150 4/1957 Rose 15616.12

ALFRED L. LEAVITT, Primary Examiner D. A. SIMMONS, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3954543 *Sep 15, 1972May 4, 1976Messmer Edwin ELabel applicator
US4714515 *Sep 22, 1986Dec 22, 1987Shibuya America CorporationStraight line container labeling apparatus
US4830701 *Mar 3, 1988May 16, 1989Label-Aire Inc.Labeling system
US5082520 *Dec 3, 1990Jan 21, 1992West Michael JAutomatic high-speed labeling machine employing various linear and rotational speeds of the container
US20080283179 *Oct 30, 2007Nov 20, 2008John Richard SinkDevice and Method for Printing Labels
WO1993012005A1 *Dec 18, 1991Jun 24, 1993West Michael JAutomatic high-speed labeling machine employing various linear and rotational speeds of the container
WO1996030886A1 *Mar 29, 1996Oct 3, 1996Ferguson International Holdings PlcImprovements in and relating to lamination of sheet materials
Classifications
U.S. Classification156/446, 156/449, 156/364, 156/455
International ClassificationB65C3/00, B65C3/16, B65C9/18, B65C9/08, B65C9/00, B65C9/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65C3/16, B65C9/1869, B65C9/04
European ClassificationB65C9/04, B65C9/18B2, B65C3/16