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Publication numberUS3789744 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 5, 1974
Filing dateMay 6, 1971
Priority dateMay 6, 1970
Also published asDE2022175A1
Publication numberUS 3789744 A, US 3789744A, US-A-3789744, US3789744 A, US3789744A
InventorsG Wahle
Original AssigneeHauni Werke Koerber & Co Kg
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Transporting apparatus for filter rod sections or the like
US 3789744 A
Abstract
The outlet of a filter rod making machine is directly or indirectly connectable with the magazines of several filter cigarette making machines by means of pneumatic conduits. The inlets of the conduits receive filter rod sections by way of discrete transfer units which form part of a distributor system serving to permit entry of filter rod sections into a selected transfer unit in response to signals from detectors which are mounted in the magazines of the filter cigarette making machines. When the requirements of the filter cigarette making machines do not match the output of the filter rod making machine, the latter machine is caused to operate at a reduced speed or delivers filter rod sections into an auxiliary magazine which can supply filter rod sections to the distributor system if the filter rod making machine is idle or if the requirements of the filter cigarette making machines exceed the output of the filter rod making machine.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Wahle 1451 Feb. 5, 1974 TRANSPORTING APPARATUS FOR FILTER ROD SECTIONS OR THE LIKE [75] Inventor: Gunter Wahle, Reinbek, Germany [30] Foreign Application Priority Data 7 May 6, 1970 Germany P 20 22 175.4

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,828,873 4/1958 Arlin 214/17 CA x 2,861,840 11/1958 Powischill et al. 214/17 CA x 3,614,166 10/1971 Spitz 131/21 R UX 3,460,687 8/1969 Bardenhagen.... 214 17 CA 2,984,352 5/1961 Gilman 131/21 R x 2,310,460 2/1943 Randolph 131/21 A 2,674,381 4/1954 Cady... 214/17 CA 2,140,128 12/1938 Craggs 302/28 3,199,418 8/1965 Schubert 93 1 c 3,590,826 7/1971 Wochnowski 131/21 A 2,602,453 7/1952 Treble 1. 131/94 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 980,379 l/l965 Great Britain l3l/2l A 814,385

6/1959 Great Britain 131/94 Primary Examiner-Andrew R. .luhasz Assistant Examiner-James F. Coan Attorney, Agent, or FirmMichae1 S. Striker [5 7] ABSTRACT The outlet of a filter rod making machine is directly or indirectly connectable with the magazines of several filter cigarette making machines by means of pneumatic conduits. The inlets of the conduits receive filter rod sections by way of discrete transfer units which form part of a distributor'system serving to permit entry of filter rod sections into a selected transfer unit in response to signals from detectors which are mounted in the magazines of the filter cigarette making machines. When the requirements of the filter cigarette making machines do not match the output of the filter rod making machine, the latter machine is caused to operate at a reduced speed or delivers filter rod sections into an auxiliary magazine which can supply filter rod sections to the distributor system if the filter rod making machine is idle or if the requirements of the filtercigarette making machines exceed the output of the filter rod making machine.

15 Claims, 15 Drawing Figures mm.- 3 O'm's'a? Mm LE MWM HTTORNEV PATENTEDFEB 51914 SHEET 2 BF 8 D mm GVN'TER WAHLE HTTORNL'V PATENTEDFEB w 3.789744 SHEEI 3 0F 8 HTTORWEV PATENTEUFEB 5 I974 v 3789.744 sum 5 OF 8 204C I Hg, 70 C 227 Wen/0r.- GVNTER WAHLE TRANSPORTING APPARATUS FOR FILTER ROD SECTIONS OR THE LIKE BACKGROUND or THE INVENTION The present invention relates to transporting apparatus for elongated rod-shaped articles, and more particularly to improvements in apparatus for transporting sections of filter rods or wrapped tobacco filler rods which can be used for the manufacture of plain or filter-tipped smokers products. Still more particularly, the invention relates to improvements in apparatus for transporting plain or filter tipped smokers products (including cigarettes, cigarillos and cigars) and/or filter rod sections between one or more producing machines and a plurality of consuming machines. For example,

the apparatus of the present invention can be utilized to transport filter rod sections of multiple unit length from a machine for the production of a continuous filter rod which is subdivided into sections of desired length to a plurality of filter cigarette making machines.

It is already known to transport filter rod sections or wrapped tobacco filler rod sections by means of pneumatic conduits. Such mode of transporting rodshaped articles in tobacco processing plants exhibits several important advantages, especially as concerns the speed of transport and the protection of conveyed articles from external influences. Satisfactory transport of large quantities of rod-shaped articles is particularly important in mass-producing filter cigarette making or like machines which must store a substantial quantity of articles for further processing. Thus, a filter cigar, cigarillo or cigarette making machine normally comprises a magazine for a supply of filter rod sections of multiple unit length which must be subdivided to yield shorter filter rod sections ready to be united with wrapped tobacco filler rod sections to form therewith filter .cigarettes, cigarillos or cigars of unit length or multiple unit length. A drawback of presently known pneumatic transporting systems is that they are incapable of automatically supplying rod-shaped articles to several consuming machines without any attention on the part of the supervising personnel and also that the pneumatic systems are too complicated and too prone to malfunction. Therefore, many tobacco processing plants still employ so-called chargers or trays which receive the output of one or more producing machines and transport rod-shaped articles to the magazines of the consuming machines. The filling of trays necessitates the provision of additional complex apparatus and the transporting system for the trays occupies additional space which is at a premium in tobacco processing plants.

US. Pat. No. 3,397,922 discloses a transporting apparatus which employs pneumatic conduit means and serves to deliver rod-shaped articles from a rod making machine to a packing or filter cigarette making machine. A drawback of the patented apparatus is that it can connect the rod making machine with a single consuming machine.- since the output of a rod making machine (e.g., a filter rod making machine or a cigarette rod making machine) often exceeds the output of a single consuming machine (such as a filter cigarette making machine), teh producing machine which receives articles by way of the patented transporting apparatus must be arrested at frequent intervals. This invariably entails substantial losses in output, not only due'to idling of the producing machine but also because the SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved apparatus for the transport of filter rod sections, sections of wrapped tobacco filler rods and/or analogours rod-shapedarticles which can operate without chargers or trays and which can satisfy the requirements of several consuming machines including modern high-speed filter cigarette, cigar or cigarillo making machines.

Another object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved pneumatic transporting apparatus for rod-shaped articles which are produced and manipulated in tobacco processing plants.

A further object of the invention is to provide a fully automatic pneumatic transporting apparatus for filter rod sections and/or sections of wrapped tobacco filler rods.

An additional object of the invention is to provide a transporting apparatus which is capable of insuring continuous operation of one or more consuming machines during periods of idleness of one or more producing machines or vice versa.

Still another object of the. invention is to provide a transporting apparatus which can be used to transport rod-shaped articles between presently known producing and consuming or processing machines.

An ancillary object of the invention is to provide the transporting apparatus with a novel distributor system for rod-shaped articles.

The invention is embodied in a combination which preferably constitutes a so-called production lineconsisting of several cooperating machines for the production and/or processing of rod-shaped articles for use in the manufacture of smokersproducts. The combination comprises at least one producing machine arranged to turn out rod-shaped articles (for example, filter rod sections of multiple unit length), a plurality of article-consuming or processing machines each having a magazine for reception and storage of a variable supply of rod-shaped articles and detector means arranged to scan the supply of articles in the respective magazine and to produce signals which are indicative of the quantity of stored articles, a plurality of pneumatic conduit means, one for each magazine and each arranged to convey articles to the respective magazine, and distributor means which is responsive to signals from the detector means and is operative to introduce articles turned out by the producing machine into conduit means associated with magazines containing less than a predetermined quantity of articles. The arrangement is preferably such that the distributor means responds to the signal from that detector means which is mounted in or on the magazine containing the smallest quantity of rod-shaped articles.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic elevational view of a production line comprising a filter rod making machine and four filter cigarette making machines and further including a transporting apparatus which embodies one form of the invention and serves to transport filter rod sections from the filter rod making machine to selected filter cigarette making machines;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of the distributor means in the transporting apparatus as seen in the direction of arrow II shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of a detail as seen in the direction of arrows from the line Illlll of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a diagram of an operative connection between a detector in the magazine of the distributor means and the prime mover of the filter rod making machine;

FIG. 5 is a diagram of an-operative connection between a detector in the magazine of one of the filter cigarette making machines and the distributor means;

FIG. 6 is a schematic elevational view of a second production line which employs a modified transporting apparatus serving to normally deliver filter rod sections directly from the outlet of the filter rod making machine to a selected filter cigarette making machine;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged partly vertical sectional view of the distributor means in the transporting apparatus,

substantially as seen in the direction of arrow VII shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a view as seen inthe direction of arrow VIII shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged view of a detail as seen in the direction of arrow IX shown in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a sectional view as seen in the direction of arrows from the line XX of FIG. 9;

FIG. 1 1 is a diagram of the control system in the production line of FIG. 6;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary plan view of the distributor means in a third production line which is similar to that shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 13 is a sectional view as seen in the direction of arrows from the line XIIIXIII of FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 is a sectional view as seen in the direction of arrows from the line XIV-XIV of FIG. 12; and

FIG. 15 is a diagram of the control system in the production line which includes the structure shown in FIGS. 12 to 14.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring first to FIG. 1, there is shown a production v line which includes a single producing machine 1 and four consuming machines 6a, 6b, 6c, 6d. The producing machine 1 is a filter rod making machine of the type known as KDF and produced by I-Iauni-Werke, Korber & Co. K.G., of I-Iamburg-Bergedorf, Western Germany. This machine discharges filter rod sections F (see FIG. 2) into a magazine or hopper. 2 which serves for temporary storage of the output and forms part of a distributor system 3 connected with the magazines or hoppers 9a, 9b, 9c, 9d of the respective consuming machines 6a-6d by flexible, rigid or partly flexible pipes or conduits 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d. The distributor system 3 further includes four discrete transfer units 7a, 7b, 7c, 7d which serve to introduce filter rod sections E into the respective conduits 4a-4d.

The consuming machines 6a-6d are filter cigarette making machines of the type known as MAX and produced by Hauni-Werke, of l-Iamburg-Bergedorf. The exact construction and mode of operation of the producing machine 1 and of the consuming machines 6a-6d forms no part of the present invention. It suffices to say that the producing machine 1 forms a continuous wrapped filter rod which is served to yield filter rod sections or filter elements F of six times unit length. Such filter rod sections are fed into the hopper 2 of the distributor system 3 and are transported, when necessary, into the magazines 9a-9d of the respective consuming machines 6a-6d. Each of these consuming machines is preferably coupled with a discrete cigarette rod making machine, (not shown), for example, with a machine known as GARANT and produced by Hauni- Werke of Hamburg-Bergedorf. The cirarette rod making machine supplies to the respective filter making machine 6a, 6b, 6c or 6d pairs of wrapped tobacco rod sections of unit length, and the conduit 4a, 4b, 4c and 4d delivers to the respective consuming machine filter rod sections F. Such filter rod sections are served in the respective machine 6a, 6b, 60 or 6d so that each thereof yields three filter plugs of double unit length.Such filter plugs are assembled with pairs of wrapped tobacco rod sections into filter cigarettes of double unit length which are thereupon severed midway between their ends to yield pairs of filter cigarettes of unit length.

The consuming machines 6a-6d respectively comprise detectors 8a, 8b, 8c, 8d which are operative connected with the respective transfer units 7a-7d to actuate the transfer units when the supply of filter rod sections F in the respective magazines 9a-9d decreases below a predetermined minimum level. The signals which are generated by the detectors 8a-8d are transmitted to the corresponding transfer units 7a-7d by way'of conductor means lla 11b, 11c, 11d. In FIG. 1, each of the conductor means Ila-11d is illustrated by a single line for the sake of simplicity.

The prime mover of the filter rod making machine 1 comprises a d-c motor 12 which can be operated at a plurality of speeds and is operatively connected with a control circuit 13 by conductor means 12a. The control circuit 13 is further connected with a level sensing device or detector 14 which is installed in or on the hopper 2 to produce signals which are indicative of the momentary level of filter rod sections F in the distributor system 3. FIG. 1 further shows upper level sensing devices 73a, 73b, 73c, 73d and lower level sensing devices 74a, 74b, 74c, 74d which are mounted in or on the respective magazines 9a-9d and form part of the respective detectors 8a-8d. The construction of the detector 8a (including its level sensing devices 73a, 74a) is illustrated in FIG. 5 which further shows the operative connection between the detector 8a and the corresponding transfer unit of the distributor system 3.

The details of the distributor system 3 are shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Since the construction of the transfer unit 7a is identical with that of the transfer unit 7b, 70 or 7d, only the transfer unit 7a is shown in full detail. As mentioned before, the unit 7a serves to transfer filter rod sections F from the hopper 2 into the conduit 4a and hence into the magazine 9a of the consuming machine 6a when the detector 8a furnishes a signal in dicating that the supply of filter rod sections in the magazine 9a has descended to a predetermined lower level which is detected by the level sensing device 74a. The transmission of a signal from the detector 8a, and hence the operation of the transfer unit 7a, is terminated when the upper level sensing device 73a of the detector 8a detects that the magazine 9a is filled with filter rod sections F to a predetermined upper level.

FIG. 2 merely shows a portion of the producing machine l, namely, a driven drum-shaped transfer con veyor 21 which is formed with axially paralled receiving means or flutes 22 and serves to deliver a row of filter rod sections F from the customary cutoff (not shown) of the machine 1 into the hopper 2 of the distributor system 3. The transfer station where the flutes 22 of the drum 21 receive filter rod sections F is shown at AA, and the transfer station where the sections F leave the respective flutes 22 is shown at A. The drum 21 is a suction drum of the type customarily employed in machines for the production and processing of smokers products, and the sections F which enter the flutes 22 at the station AA are held by suction during transport toward the station A where they descend onto the upper stretch of an endless belt or chain conveyor 23 to advance in the direction indicated by the arrow 24. The sections F enter the respective flutes 22 of the drum 21 by moving lengthwise and leave the respective flutes 22 by moving sideways. If desired, the expulsion of sections F from the flutes 22 which reach the trans fer station A can beassisted by one or more streams of compressed air or other suitable gaseous fluid. F urthermore, and particularly if the machine 1 is a high-speed producing machine, the endless conveyor 23 can be provided with transversely extending pockets, sockets or analogous receiving means into which the descending sections F enter at the station A to be positively transported in the direction indicated by the arrow 24 in order to enter the hopper 2 of the distributor system 3.

The conveyor 23 is trained over two pulleys or I sprocket wheels 26, 27 which are mounted on a carriage 28 having roller followers 31, 32 arranged to travel along one or more guide rails 29 mounted in a stationary frame member 29a of the producing machine 1. The carriage 28 comprises or is connected with a spindle nut 36 which meshes with an elongated feed screw 34 driven by a reversible electric motor 33 mounted on the frame member 29a. The motor 33 can move the carriage 28 and the conveyor 23 back and forth as indicated by a double-headed arrow 37. At least one of the pulleys or sprocket wheels 26, 27 is driven by a constantly operating motor'or transmission so that the upper stretch of the conveyor 23 advances in the direction indicated by the arrow 24.

The means for automatically changing the direction of rotation of the motor 33 includes a relay 41 which is connected in circuit with the motor 33 and with two limit switches 38, 39 adjacent to the path of movement of an actuating member or trip 40 on the spindle nut 36. When the trip 40 actuates the limit switch 38, the direction of rotation of the feed screw 34 is changed so that the carriage 28 begins to move in a direction to the left, as viewed in FIG. 2. When the trip 40 actuates the limit switch 39, the latter causes the motor 33 to reverse the direction of rotation of the feed screw 34 so that the carriage 28 begins to advance in a direction to the right, as viewed in FIG. 2. v

The hopper 2 accommodates a set of oscillatable agitating members 43 (see the arrows 42)'which insure that the filter rod sections F which leave the upper stretch of the conveyor 23 in the region of the pulley or sprocket wheel 26 are uniformly distributed in the interior of the hopper. Uniform distribution of filter rod sections F in the hopper 2 is normally insured by the reciprocating carriage 28 so that the agitating members 43 constitute an optional but nevertheless desirable feature of the distributor system 3.

The transfer unit 70 of the distributor system 3 comprises two upright (preferably vertical) ducts 46a and 47a which communicate with the lower portionof the hopper 2 so that each thereof normally accommodates a stack of parallel filter rod sections F. The inlets at the upper ends of the ducts 46a, 47a are flanked by rollers 49 which are oscillatable in directions indicated by double-headed arrows 48 in order to insure that the filter rod sections F can readily enter into and normally fill both ducts irrespective of whether the filter rod sections are being withdrawn from the lower ends of the ducts. The space between the ducts 46a, 47a accommodates twopivotable blocking levers 51a, 52a which are provided with hook-shaped lower end portions or pallets normally extending into the lower end portions of the ducts 46a, 47a to prevent uncontrolled evacuation of filter rod sections F. The blocking levers 51a, 52a tend to move their pallets out of the respective ducts 46a, 47a but such pallets are normally held in operative or blocking positions by a pin-shaped armature 53a which is movable up and down or axially in the space between the levers 51a, 52a to move the pallets to their blocking positions in-response to energization of an electromagnet 72a (see FIG. 5). It is assumed that the armature 53a is movable axially and forwardly (at right angles to the plane of FIG. 2 and down, as viewed in FIG. 5) in order to move the pallets of the blocking levers 5 la, 52a apart (i.e., to operative positions) in response to deenergization of the electromagnet 72a and to permit or cause the pallets to move to their inoperative positions in response to energization' of the electromagnet 72a. The normally blocked lower ends of the ducts 46a, 47a are adjacent to one (54a) of two coaxial flanges or disks 54a, 56a which are oscillatable about a horizontal axis and are connected to each other by two parallel horizontal tubes 57a, 58a. The flange 56a is adjacent to and is oscillatable with reference to a stationary disk-shaped support 59a for two suction pipes 64a, 66a and a supplypipe 67a for compressed air. The latter is flanked by the suction pipes 64a, 66a. The suction pipe 64a registers with the lowermost filter rodv section F in the duct 46a and also registers with the pipe 57a in one end position of the flanges 54a, 56a. The supply pipe 67 registers with the inlet of the conduit 4a and also registers with the pipe 58a in the one end position of the flanges 54a, 56a. When the flanges 54a, 56a are caused to move to the other end positions (shown in FIG. 3), the supply pipe 67a registers with the pipe 57a and the suction pipe 66a registers with the pipe 58a (which is then in axial alignment with the lowermost filter rod section F in the duct 47a). The flange 54a is formed with holes or bores 68a, 69a which respectively register with the pipes 57a, 58a, and these pipes further register with similar holes or bores 68a, 69a in the flange 56a. The stationary disk 59a has three holes or bores 61a, 62a, 63a which respectively register fan). The flanges 54a, 56a are oscillated in directions indicated by the double-headed arrow 71a, for example, by a constant-speed motor (not shown) which also drives. the flanges of the other three transfer units 7b-7d. The arrangement is preferably such that the flanges 54a, 56a and the corresponding flanges of the transfer units 7b-7d are oscillated continuously as long as the machine 1 and/or the machine 6a 6d are in use and irrespective of the positions of pallets of the blocking levers 51a, 52a and the blocking levers of the other three transfer units. When the flanges 54a, 56a dwell in one of their end positions, the holes 68a register with the lower end of the duct 46a and with the suction pipe 640 (by way of the hole 61a) while the holes 69a register with the hole 63a and hence with the supply pipe 67a. Therefore, the suction pipe 64a can draw the lowermost filter rod section F from the lower end of the duct 46a (provided that the pallet of the blocking lever 51a is held in the inoperative or retracted position) whereby such section F enters the pipe 57a between the flanges 54a, 56a. At the same time, a filter rod section F in the pipe 58a registers with the conduit 4a and is expelled into this conduit by compressed air which is supplied by the pipe 67a. When the flanges 54a, 56a dwell in the other end position, the suction pipe 66a can draw the lowermost filter rod section F from the duct 47a (provided that the pallet of the blocking lever 52a is held in the inoperative or retracted position) whereby such filter rod section enters the pipe 58a. At the same time, the pipe 57a, registers with the inlet of the conduit 4a which receives from the pipe 57a a filter rod section F in response to admission of compressed air by the supply pipe 67a.'Thus, when the armature 53a causes or allows the pallets of the blocking levers 51a, 52a to assume their inoperative or retracted positions, the conduit 4a receives a succession of filter rod sections F which are alternately withdrawn from the ducts 46a, 47a by suction pipes 64a, 66a and are propelled into the conduit 4a by compressed air supplied via pipe 67a.

The electromagnet 72a is controlled by the detector 80 in the magazine 9a of the consuming machine 6a in such a way thatthe armature 53a enables or causes the pallets of the blocking levers 51a, 52a to move to their operative or blocking positions when the supply of filter rod sections F in themagazine 9a has risen to the level of the upper sensing device 73a. The electromagnet 72a withdraws the armature 53a from the space between the blocking levers 51a, 52a when the supply of filter rod sections F in the magazine 9a of the consuming machine 6a descends to the level of the lower sensing device 74a. As shown in FIG. 5, each of the level sensing devices 73a, 74a is a photosensitive detector which respectively includes a light source 76a, 77a and a photosensitive element 780, 79a. The outputs of the photosensitive elements 78a, 79a are respectively connected to time-delay devices 81a, 82a which are respectively connected to the inputs a, b of a signal storing circuit 83a. The output of the signal storing circuit 83a is connected with the winding of the electromagnet 72a by way of an amplifier 84a. The signal storing circuit 83a is of known design; its output c transmits a signal to the amplifier'84a in response to reception of a signal at the input a and for as long as there is no signal at the input b. Thus, when the time-delay device 82a transmits a signal to the input a,'the output 0 of the signal storing circuit 83a transmits a signal to the amplifier 84a until the time-delay device 81a transmits a signal .to the input b. The pin-shaped armature 53a of the electromagnet 72a is withdrawn from the space between the blocking levers 51a, 52a when the electromagnet 72a is energized.

The detector 14 is a composite detector which is mounted in or on the hopper 2 of the distributor system 3 and the details of which are illustrated in FIG. 4. This detector comprises four identical level sensing devices 86, 87, 88and 89. These sensing devices are disposed at four different levels, as clearly shown in FIG. 1, and respectively comprise light source 91, 92, 93, 94 and photosensitive elements 96, 97, 98, 99 which transmit signals to time-delay devices 101, 102, 103, 104. The outputs of the time-delay devices 101-104 are con nected with an integrating circuit 106 which can constitute an operational amplifier and transmits signals of varying intensity to a signal comparing junction 107. The junction 107 compares the signal from the ampli-' fier 106 with a signal which is transmitted by a conventional tachometer generator 108. The signal from the tachometer generator 108 indicates the operating speed of the d-c motor 12 of the prime mover of the producing machine 1. The signal from the amplifier 106 is indicative of the desired speed of the motor 12, and the signal from the generator 108 is indicative of the momentary speed of the motor 12. The speed of the motor 12 is changed if the intensity of signal transmitted by amplifier 106 changes, i.e., as a function of the level of filter rod sections Fin the magazine 9a of the consuming machine 6a. The manner in which the generator 108 determines the rotational speed of the output shaft of the motor 12 forms no part of the present invention. The signal from the junction 107 is transmitted to the motor 12 by way of a preamplifier 109 and an operational amplifier 1 1 l. The operational amplifier 111 is preferably a thyristor amplifier, for example an amplifier of the type known as MINISEMI which is produced by the West German firm AEG-Telefunken. The arrangement is such that the rotational speed of the output shaft of the motor 12 increases if the signal from the amplifier 106 is indicative of a relatively low level of the supply of filter rod sections F in the hopper 2 of the distributor system 3. Thus, the producing machine 1 turns out filter rod sections F at a higher rate when the supply of such filter rod sections in the hopper 2 decreases, and the output of the machine 1 decreases if the hopper 2 contains a substantial supply of filter rod sections.

The operation:

The machine 1 produces a continuous wrapped filter rod which is severed by a conventional cutter to form a single file of filter rod sections F of six times unit length. Such sections are propelled into successive flutes 22 of the conveyor 21 at the transfer station AA and are held by suction while moving with the conveyor 21 from the station AA to the station A. The filter rod sections F thereupon advance with the upper stretch of the endless conveyor 23 in the direction indicated by the arrow 24 and descend into the hopper 2 of the distributor system 3. As mentioned before, the filter rod sections F travel lengthwise during introduction into the flutes 22 of the conveyor 21 and move sideways between the stations AA and A as well as during transport by the upper stretch of the endless conveyor 23. The motor 33 reciprocates the carriage 28 and the conveyor 23 at a relatively slow speed so that the filter rod sections F which descend at the pulley or sprocket wheel 26 are uniformly distributed across the full width of the hopper 2. Eventual unevennesses in the distribution of filter rod sections F in the interior of the hopper 2 are eliminated by the oscillating agitating members 43.

When the supply of filter rod sections F in one of the magazines 9a-9d decreases to the level which is scanned by the lower level sensing device 74a, 74b, 74c, or 74d of the respective detector 8a, 8b, 8c or 8d, the corresponding transfer unit'7a, 7b, 70 or 7d receives a signal in a-manner as illustrated in FIG. 5 and the corresponding electromagnet 72 causes its armature 53 to effect a movement of the corresponding blocking levers 51, 52 to their inoperative positions.

It is now assumed that the lower level sensing device 74a of the detector 8a for the magazine 9a of the consuming machine 6a furnishes a signal which is transmitted to the input a of the signal storing circuit 83a by way of the tieme-delay device 82a. The purpose of the time-delay device 82a is to prevent the signal from the photosensitive element 79a of the lower level sensing device 74a from reaching the signal storing circuit 83a in response to short-lasting changes in the level of filter rod sections F in'the magazine 9a. The other time-delay device 81a performs an analogous function. The output of the signal storing circuit 83a then transmits a signal to the amplifier 84a which energizes the electromagnet 72a so that the armature 53a is withdrawn from the space between the blocking levers 51a, 52a whereby the pallets of these levers move to their retracted or inoperative positions. Consequently, the lowermost filter rod sections F in the upright ducts 46a, 47a of the transfer unit 7a can descend into registry with the suction pipes 64a, 66a. The output c of the signal, storing circuit 83a continues to transmit a signal to the amplifier 84a after the signal at the input a of the circuit 83a disappears. The output signal is erased in response to transmission of a signal tothe input b of the circuit 83a, namely, when the upper level sensing device 73a of the detector 8a determines that the supply of filter rod sections F in the magazine 9a has risen to the maximum permissible level.

While the pallets of the blocking levers 51a, 52a dwell in their retracted positions, the oscillating flanges 54a, 56a place the tubes 57a, 58a alternately into registry with the lower end portions of the ducts 46a, 47a and with the conduit 4a. Thus, the filter rod sections F are being transferred into the magazine 9a by way of the conduit 4a in response to admission of compressed air into the tube 57a or 58a by way of the supply pipe 670. As mentioned before, when the tube 57a registers with the lower end portion of the duct 46a, it also registers with the suction pipe 64a. Therefore, the lowermost section F is withdrawn from the duct 46a into the tube 57a by suction and remains in this tube while the flanges 54a, 56a move .to their other end positions wwich are shown in FIG. 3'.'The filter rod section F in the tube.57a then registers with the conduit 411 as well as with the supply pipe 670 whereby the section F is automatically propelled ino the magazine 9a of the consuming machine 6a. When the tube 57a registers with the conduit 4a, the tube 58a registers with the lower end portion of the duct 47a and enables the suction pipe 66a to withdraw the lowermost section F into the tube 58a. Such filter rod section is thereupon introduced into and conveyed through the conduit 4a when the tube 580 moves nto registry with the supply pipe 67a. The manner in which thefilter rod sections F which travel through the conduit 4a enter the magazine 10 9a is similar to that which will be described in connection with FIG. 7.

As the conduit 4a admits filter rod sections F into the magazine 9a, the supply of sections in the magazine rises so that the light beam between the light source 77a and the photosensitive element 79a of the lower level sensing device 74a is interrupted; however, the ouput c of the signal storing circuit 83a continues to transmit a signal to the amplifier 84a so that the electromagnet 72a remains energized and maintains the armature 53a in retracted position. Thus, the pallets of the blocking levers 51a, 52a remain in retracted positions and the conduit 4a continues to admit filter rod sections F into the magazine 9a. Such admission is terminated when the supply of filter rod sections F in the magazine 9a rises to the, level of the upper sensing device 73a of the detector 8a, namely, when the filter rod sections interrupt the light beam which issues from the light source 76a and normally impinges against the photosensitive element 78a. The elemnt 78a then transmits a signal to the erasing input b of the signal storing circuit 83a by way of the time-delay device 81a, whereby the signal at the output 0 of the circuit 83a disappears and the electromagnet 72a is deenergized. Consequently, the armature 53a is reintroduced into the space between the blocking levers 51a, 52a so that the pallets of these levers prevent further descent of fil ter rod sections F in the lowermost portions of the ducts 46a, 47a. Thus, when the electromagnet 72a is deenergized, the blocking levers 51a, 52a prevent the lowermost filter rod sections F in the ducts 46a, 47a from moving into registry with the suction pipes 64a, 66a.

The operation of the transfer units 7b, 7c, 7d is analogous to the just described operation of the transfer unit 7a. It will be noted that the operation of each of these transfer units is independent of the operation of the other transfer units and that any one of these units begins to transport filter rod sections F into the respective magazine 9a, 9b, 9c or 9d when the lower level sensing device of the respective detector 8a, 8b, or 8d transmits a signal to the corresponding signal storing circuit, such as the circuit 83a of FIG. 5. If the consumption of filter rod sections F by the machines 6a-6d decreases, i.e., if the supply of filter rod sections in the hopper 2 of the distributor system 3 rises, the corresponding level sensing devices'86, 87, 88, 89 of the detector 14 change the intensity of the signal which is transmitted by the amplifier 106 of FIG. 4 so that the operating speed of the motor 12 and the output of the producing machine 1 decrease. This can take place in response to a malfunctioning of one or more consuming machines 6a-rd or in response to a malfunctioning of the associated cigarette rod making machines each of which is preferably directly coupled with the corresponding consuming machine. The intensity of signal which is furnished by theamplifier 106 of FIG. 4 to the junction 107 decreases when the level of filter rod sections F in the hopper 2 of the distributor system 3 rises, i.e., such signal is weakest when the level of filter rod sections rises to the level of the uppermost sensing device 86. Inversely, when the level of filter rod sections F in the hopper 2 decreases, for example, because all of the consuming machines 6a to 6d to operate at full speed but the operation of the producing machine 1 is temporarily interrupted for one or morereasons or if the producing machine 1 operates at less than normal speed, the intensity of signal which is transmitted by amplifier 106 of FIG. 4 to the junction 107 and thereupon to the circuit of the motor 12 increases whereby the operating speed of the producing machine also increases and the hopper 2 begins to fill up. Such gradual filling of the hopper 2 results in a reduction of the intensity of signal which is transmitted by the amplifier 106 so that the operating speed of the producing machine 1 decreases. It will be seen that the operating speed of the producing machine 1 is a function of the level of the supply of filter rod sections F in the hopper 2 of the distributor system 3. The operation of the producing machine 1 must be interrupted in response to complete filling of the hopper 2 of the distributor system 3 only when one or more consuming machines 6a-6d are at a standstill or operate at a greatly reduced speed for extended periods of time. This occurs at infrequent intervals so that, for all practical purposes, the operation of the producing machine 1 need not be interrupted due to lack of consumption of filter rod sections F by the machines '6a-6d.

It is clear that two or more transfer units (7a, 7b, 7c, 7d) of the distributor system 3 can operate simultaneously or one after the other, depending on the level of the supply of filter rod sections F in the respective magazine 9a, 9b, 90 or 9d.

The capacity of the hopper 2 is preferably selected in such a way that it can store the output of the producing machine 1 while the consuming machines 6a-6d remain idle for relatively long periods of time. Also, this hopper can store a sufficient quantity of sections F to insure that the consuming machines 6a-6d can remain in operation during temporary idling of the producing machine I. Since the hopper 2 receives sections F at the top (from the conveyor 23) and discharges sections at the bottom (ducts 46a, 47a, etc.), the average length of intervals during which sections F remain in the hopper 2 varies little or not at all.

The fillers of filter rod sections F normally consist of or contain acetate fibers or other filamentary filter material which is treated with a plasticizer. The length of intervals during which the sections F dwell in the hop per 2 is long enough to insure that the plasticizer can set before the sections enter the conduit 4a, 4b, 40 or 4d.

The transporting apparatus of FIGS. 1 to has been found to be particularly suited for the storage and transport of filter rod sections wherein fibrous filamentary material is treated with a plasticizer.

The production line of FIG. 6 differs from the production line of FIG. 1 in that the producing machine 201 (which is analogous to the producing machine 1 of FIG. 1) can furnish filter rod sections F directly to the magazine 2090, 209b, 209C or 209d of the respective consuming machine 206a, 206b, 2066 or 206d. These consuming machines are analogous to the consuming machines 6a-6d of FIG. 1. The filter rod sections F which are produced by the machine 201 when the magazines 209d-209d are filled to capacity are introduced into an auxiliary magazine 216 by way of an auxiliary conduit or pipe'204a. In the event that the producing machine 201 is idle but the auxiliary magazine 216 contains at least some filter rod sections F, the magazine 209a, 209b, 209c or 209d can receive filter rod sections which are being returned from the auxiliary magazine 216. Thus, the consuming part of the production line of FIG. 6 can remain in operation even if the producing machine 201 is idle. The auxiliary magazine 216 is analogous to the hopper 2 of FIG. 2 and forms part of a modified distributor system 203 having five transfer units 207a, 207b, 207e, 207d, 207e which can respectively transmit filter rod sections F to the conduits 204a, 204b, 2040, 204d, 2042.

The distributor system 203 comprises a driven drumshaped conveyor 22] which has flutes 222 normally receiving filter rod sections F from the producing machine 201 and serving to deliver such filter rod sections into registry with one of the conduits 204a-204e (see FIG. 7). The conduits 204a-204e can receive filter rod sections F from the conveyor 221 by way of the respective transfer units 207a-207e. The signal for actuation of transfer units 207a-207e are generated by detectors 208a, 208b, 2080, 208d, 214 which are respectively installed in or on the magazines 209a, 209b, 209e, 209d and 216. The detectors 208a-208d are respectively connected with the transfer units 207a-207d by conductor means 211a, 21 lb, 211C, 211d. The connection between the detectors 208a-208d and the respective transfer units 207a-207d further comprises a control circuit 213. This control circuit is connected with the detector 214 for the auxiliary magazine 216 by further conductor means 211e and with the transfer unit 207 e by conductor means 219. Additional conductor means 218 connects the control circuit 213 with a withdrawing unit 217 which serves to transfer filter rod sections F from the auxiliary magazine 216 back into the flutes 222 of the conveyor 221 in the distributor system 203. The withdrawing unit 217 is rendered operative only when the producing machine 201 ceases to furnish filter rod sections F directly to the conveyor 221 for delivery to one of the transfer units 207a-207e. The d-c motor 212 of the prime mover for the producing machine 201 is connected with the control circuit 213 by conductor means 215. Further conductor means 223 connects the control circuit 213 with a start pushbutton 210 and a stop pushbutton 220 both mounted on a control panel provided on the frame of the producing machine 201. The pushbutton 210 is actuated to start and the pushbutton 220 is actuated to arrest the motor 212.

The detector 214 inthe auxiliary magazine 216 (see FIG. 7) is positioned in such a way that it produces a signal when the supply of filter rod sections F in this magazine rises to a predetermined maximum permissible level. Such signal is transmitted to the control circuit 213 by way of the conductor means 2112. It is to be noted that the pushbuttons 210, 220 merely start or stop the motor 212 of the producing machine 201. The speed of the motor 212 is determined by the control circuit 213 in dependency on the signal from the photoelectric detector 214 in the auxiliary magazine 216. A further conductor means 218 connects the control circuit 213 with the withdrawing unit 217.

Referring now in detail to FIGS. 7, 8, 9 and 10, it will be seen that each of the transfer units 207a-207e comprises a chamber 226a, 226b, 2260, 226d, 2262 which is adjacent to the path of flutes 222 on the conveyor 221 (see particularly FIG. 9). As shown in FIG. 10 which illustrates the chamber 2260, each of the chambers 226a-226e narrows in the direction of evacuation of filter rod sections F from its interior, and each of these chambers communicates with the respective conduit 204a-204e. FIG. 10 shows the chamber 2260 in registry with one of the flutes 222 of the conveyor 221 and the filter rod section F in this flute is about to descend into the chamber 226c in order to be introduced into the intake end of the conduit 2042. Conduits or tubes 227a, 227b,'227c, 227d, 2272 are respectively provided to admit compressed air into the respective chambers 226a-2262 opposite the respective conduits 204a-2042 in order to propel filter rod sections F through the conduits and into the respective magazines 209a209d and 216.

The flutes 222 of the conveyor 221 communicate with groups of radially inwardly extending suction ports 228 (see particularly FIGS. 9 and 10), and each group of suction ports 228 communicates with a discrete axially parallel blind bore or channel 229 of the conveyor 221. As shown in FIG. 10, the channels 229 are parallel with the axis of the conveyor 221 and their open ends terminate in one end face of the conveyor 221, namely, in that end face which is adjacent to a stationary valve plate 232. The valve plate 232 has an arcuate groove 231 (see the left-hand portion of FIG. 9) which is connected with a suction tube 233 so that the flutes 222 which travel along the groove 231 and contain filter rod sections F retain such sections under the action of suction which is generated 'by a suction-generating device 318 (FIG. 11) connected to the discharge end of the tube 233. The conveyor 221 rotates in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 9, and the groove 231 of the valve plate 232 is followed by a set of five relatively short arcuate recesses or grooves 236a, 236b, 2360, 236d, 2362 which respectively communicate with tubes 237a, 237b, 2370, 237d, 2372. The tubes 237a-2372 can be connected with the suction generating device 318 or with a source (FIG. 11) of compressed air, depending upon whether a filter rod section P which is contained in a flute 222 travelling past the recesses 236a-2362 is to bypass one or more such recesses or is to be introduced into a selected one of the chambers 22611-2262. The manner in which the tubes 237a-2372 can be connected with the suction generating device 318 or with the source of compressed air is illustrated in FIG. 11. It will be noted that each of the recesses 236a-2362 of the stationary valve plate 232 is in alignment with the corresponding chamber 226a-2262.

The details of the auxiliary magazine 216 and of the withdrawing unit 217 are illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8. The magazine 216 has a hopper or receptacle 241 which can store filter rod sections F admitted by way of the conduit 2042 when the magazines 209a-209d of the consuming machines 206a-206d are filled to capacity. As shown in FIG. 7, the discharge end of the conduit 2042 is located between the lower ends of inner stretches of two endless belts 247, 248 which are respectively trained over rollers 242, 243 and 244, 246. The inner stretches of the belts 247, 248 travel in an upward direction, as viewed in FIG. 7, so that they introduce the filter rod sections F into the lower zone of the receptacle 241 when the conveyor 221 of the distributor system 203 admits filter rod sections into the intake end of the conduit 2042 by way of the respective transfer unit 2072. The belts 247, 248 are driven continuously, irrespective of whether or not the conduit 2042 delivers filter rod sections F.

The detector 214 in the upper portion of the receptacle 241 of the auxiliary magazine 216 is a photoelectric detector which includes a light source 336 (see FIG. 11) and a photosensitive element 337 which transmits a signal in response to such filling of the receptacle 241 that the light beam from the source 336 to the element 337 is interrupted.

The aforementioned withdrawing unit 217 comprises a rotary drum-shaped conveyor 252 (see FIGS. 7 and 8) which is provided with axially parallel receiving means or flutes 251. The shaft 253 ofthe conveyor 252 is rigidly connected with a spur gear 254 and can be coupled to a coaxial drive shaft 257 by way of an electrically operable clutch 256. The drive shaft 257 is connected with a toothed driver pulley 258 which is rotated by a toothed belt 259. The belt 259 is further trained over a toothed pulley 261 on the output shaft of a constantly driven electric motor 262. Thus, the shaft 257 rotates continuously but the shaft 253 of the conveyor 252 rotates only when the clutch 256 is engaged. An energizing winding 250 of the clutch 256 can be connected with an energy source by way of conductor means 265 and slip rings 255, 260. The spur gear 254 on the shaft 253 of the conveyor 252 forms part of a gear train which further includes intermediate spur gears 263, 264 and a fourth spur gear 266. The gear 266 is rotatable on but cannot move axially with reference to the shaft 267 of the conveyor 221 in the distributor system 203. The gear 266 is connected with a.

holder 272 which forms part of a twin clutch 273. The holder 272 is rotatable on but cannot move axially of the shaft 267. This holder serves to support an energizing winding 274 of the twin clutch 273, and the winding 274 can be connected with an energy source by way of slip rings 268, 269 and conductor means 271. A second holder 281 is mounted on the shaft 267 and is rigidly connected to a toothed pulley 276. The holder 281 also forms part of the twin clutch 273 and is connected with and supports an energizing winding 282 which can be connected with an energy source by way of conductor means 277 and slip rings 278, 279. The holder 282 can rotate on the shaft 267 but is not movable axially of the conveyor 221. The space between the holders 272 and 281 accommodates a torque transmitting disk 283 which is movable axially of but cannot rotate relative to the shaft 267. The end faces of the torquetransmitting disk 283 and the adjacent end faces of the holders 272 and 281 are provided with teeth (so-called HIRTI-l teeth) so that, when the winding 274 or 282 of the clutch 273 is energized, the disk 283 is rotated by the respective holder. The pulley 276 which is rigid with the shaft 267 of the conveyor 221 is driven by a toothed belt 284 which is trained over a second pulley 286 driven by a shaft 287 which receives torque from the motor 212 of the prime mover of the producing machine 201.

Referring to FIG. 11, there are shown the details of the electrical components of the production line of FIG. 6. Each of the detectors 208a-208d is of identical construction. These detectors respectively comprise energy sources 301a, 302b, 3010, 301d which are connected with potentiometers 302a, 302b, 3020, 302d. The wiper arms 303a, 303b, 3030, 303d, of the potentiometers 302d-302d are respectively connected with pivotable scanning arms 304a, 304b, 3042, 304d which rest on the topmost layers of filter rod sections F in the respective magazines 209a-209d. It will be readily understood that the intensities of output signals from the potentiometers 302a, 302b, 3022, 302d are respectively proportional to the quantities of filter rod sections F which are stored in the respective magazines 209a-209d. The potentiometers 302a 302d are respectively connected to the conductor means 211a-211d, and the intensity of signals transmitted by such conductor means increases if the quantities of filter rod sections F in the respective magazines 209a-209d decrease. The voltage signals are transmitted to the control circuit 213. Such voltage signals are transmitted to the energizing coils 306a-306d and 307a-307d of electromagnetically operated valves 308a, 308b, 3086, 308d and 309a, 309b, 3090, 309d. Furthermore, such voltage signals are transmitted to diodes 311a, 311b, 3110, 311d which are connected with one terminal ofa source 312 of constant potential. The other terminal of the source 312 is connected to the ground, as at 313. The control circuit 213 is assembled in such a way that a current can flow through the diode 3110, 311b, 311c or 311d only if the signal which is transmitted by the respective conductor means (221a, 211b, 2l1c or 211d) is stronger than the signals from the other three conductor means.

The valves 308a-308d are connected with a supply conduit 314 for compressed air. The conduit 314 is further connected with a valve 309e and with the source 316 of compressed air. A suction conduit 317 is connected with the valves 308a-308d, with the suction generating device 318, and with a valve 3082. The latter is further connected to the supply conduit 314. The output signals from the detectors 208a-208d are further transmitted to the inputs a, b, c, d of a logical circuit 321 of the type known as NAND-gate. The output 2 of the NAND-gate 321 is connected with the input a of an AND-gate 322. A second input b of the AND-gate 322 is connected with a tachometer generator 323 which monitors the rotational speed of the output shaft of the motor 212 and produces signals whose intensity is proportional to such speed. The signal from the output c of the AND-gate 322 is amplified at 324 and can be transmitted (by conductor means 319a) to the coils 306e, 307e of the electromagnetically operated valves 3082, 30%. The valve 308e can connect the tube 237e with the conduit 314 or 317, and the valve 309a can connect the tube 227e with the conduit 314.

The output signals from the detectors 208a-208d are further transmitted to the respective inputs a, b, c, d of an integrating circuit 326 here shown as an operational amplifier having an output 2 which is connected to a signal comparing junction 327. The intensity of signal which is transmitted by the output 2 of the integrating circuit 326 is indicative of the sum of signals received at the inputs a to d. The junction 327 is further connected with a potentiometer 328 which furnishes a signal indicative of the desired minimum rotational speed of the output shaft of a motor 212. Thus, when the signal from the output e of the integrating circuit 326 is weaker than the signal from the potentiometer 328 (which is adjustable), the signal from the potentiometer 328 determines the rotational speed of the motor 212. The signal from the junction 327 is transmitted to an input amplifier 329 which is in circuit with the motor 212 (see the conductor means 215). The junction 327 is further connected with the aforementioned tachometer generator 323 which transmits signals indicating the momentary rotational speed of the output shaft of the motor 212. In the absence of a signal from the output 2 of the integrating circuit 326, the rotational speed of the output shaft of the motor 212 is determined by the potentiometer 328.

The output e of the logical circuit 321 is further connected with the input b of a so-called AND-NO gate 331 whose other input a is connected with the input b of the gate 322 and with the output of the tachometer generator 323. The output c of the gate 331 is connected with an amplifier 332 which is connected with the windings 250, 274 of the clutches 256, 273 by way of the conductor means 218. The output signal from the photosensitive element 337 of the detector 214 in the receptacle 241 of the auxiliary magazine 216 is transmitted to the input a of a so-called OR-gate 338 having a second input b connected to the stop pushbutton 220 for the motor 212. The output c of the gate 338 is connected with the input b of a signal storing circuit 339. The input a of the circuit 339 is connected with the start pushbutton 210, and the output c of the circuit 339 is connected with the winding 282 of the clutch 273 by way of an ampllfier 341 and conductor means 218. The signal at the output c of the circuit 339 appears in response to transmission of a signal from the starter pushbutton 210. Such signal remains even if the starter pushbutton 210 is released, as long as the input b of the circuit 339 fails to receive a signal from the detector 214 or from the stop pushbutton 220.

The operation of the production line of FIGS. 6-11 is as follows:

The machine 201 is in operation and furnishes a continuous stream of filter rod sections F of six times unit length. Such filter rod sections are fed to that consuming machine whose magazine contains the smallest supply of filter rod sections. The distributor system 203 insures that only one of the magazines 209a-209d receives filter rod sections at a time. Signals to the distributor system 203 are furnished by the detectors 208a-208d, and more particularly by the potentiometers 302a-302d. The intensity of signals furnished by the potentiometers 302a-302d by way of conductor means 211a-211d depends on the inclination of the corresponding scanning arms 304a-304d. Only one of the diodes 3lla-311b permits the flow of current from the source 312 of constant potential, namely, that diode which receives from the respective potentiometer 302a-302d a signal of maximum intensity.

As shown in FIG. 11, the inclination of the scanning arm 304d indicates that the supply of filter rod sections F in the magazine 209d of the consuming machine 206d is smaller than the supplies in the other three magazines 209a-209c. Therefore, the diode 311d permits the flow of current to the windings 306d, 307d of the electromagnetically operated valves 308d, 309d. Consequently, the tubes'227d, 237d are connected with the supply conduit 314 for compressed air. The tubes 2370-2376 are connectedwith the suction conduit 317, and hence with the suction generating device 318. These tubes are sealed from the supply conduit 314 and hence from the source 316 of compressed air. Consequently, the filter rod sections F moving past the recesses 236a-236c are held in the corresponding flutes 222 by suction until they reach the recess 236d which is connected with the source 316 to expel the filer rod sections into the chamber 226d. Since the motor 212 of the producing machine 201 is on, the starter pushbutton 210 transmits a signal to the input a of the signal storing circuit 339. The output c of the circuit 339 transmits a signal to the winding 282 of the clutch 273 by way of the amplifier 341 and conductor means 218. Therefore, the shaft 287 of FIG. 7, which is driven by the motor 212, drives the shaft 267 of the conveyor 221 by way of the pulley 286, belt 284 and pulley 276. The pulley 276 drives the shaft 267 by way of the holder 281 and torque transmitting disk 283 which is attracted to the holder 281 because the winding 282 is energized. This is shown in FIG. 11. The clutch 256 is not energized and, therefore, the drive shaft 257 for the shaft 253 is idle and the conveyor 252 of the withdrawing unit 217 is at a standstill. The filter rod sections F which are produced by the machine 201 are transferred from the flutes 222 of the conveyor 221 by way of the transfer unit 207d. The arc uate grove 231 and recesses 236a, 236b, 2360 of the stationary valve plate 232 are connected with the suction generating device 318 but the recess 236d is connected with the source 316 of compressed air (by way of the tube 237d) so that the filter rod sections remain in the flutes 222 while moving past the groove 231 and recesses 236a, 236b, 2360 and enter the chamber 226d of the transfer unit 207d. The tube 237d introduces into the recess 236d a stream of compressedair which enters successive axially parallel channels 229 of the conveyor 221 and then flows into the ports 228 to expel the filter rod sections F from successive flutes 222 into the chamber 226d of the transfer unit 207d. At the same time, the tube 227d transmits from the source 316 a stream of compressed air which expels the filter rod sections F from the chamber 226d of the transfer unit 207d into the conduit 204d for transport into the magazine209d of the consoming machine 206d. Each of the magazines 209a-209d comprises a pair of constantly driven endless belts corresponding to the belts 247, 248 shown in FIG. 7. Such belts transport the filter rod sections F which are admitted by way of the respective conduits 204a-204d and introduce them into the lowermost zones of the respective magazines 209a-209d.

When the supply of filter rod sections F in the magazine 209d has risen above the supply of filter rod sections in one of the other three magazines 209a-2090, the corresponding diode 311d ceases to transmit a signal to the coils 306d, 307d for the valves 308d, 309d. It is assumed that, when the supply of filter rod sections F in the magazine-209d rises, it exceeds the supply of filter rod sections in the magazine 2090 of the consuming machine 2060. The-diode 311d thereupon connects the source 312 of constant potential with the coils 3060, 3070 of the electromagnetically operated valves 3080, 3090 which latter connects the tube 2370 with the source 316 of compressed air. The tube 2270 is also connected with the source 316 so that the filter rod sections F enter the chamber 2260 and thereupon the conduit 2040 for transport into the magazine 2090. The delivery of filter rod sections F into the magazine 2090 is terminated when the supply of sections in this magazine rises above the supply of filter'rod sections in one of the other three magazines 209a, 209b, 209d. It will be seen that the distributor system 203 automatically delivers filter rod sections F into that magazine which contains the smallest supply of filter rod sections. The output signal from the logical circuit 321 insures that the rotational speed of the motor 212 in the producing machine 201 automatically changes in response to changes in consumption of filter rod sections by the consuming machines 206a'-206d. Thus, the rotational speed of the output shaft of the motor 212 is higher when the signal which is transmitted by one of the conductors 211a-21 1d is very strong, and such rotational speed de 206a-206d are out of commission, or if one or more of the cigarette rod making machines which are directly coupled with such consuming machines are arrested, the quantities of filter rod sections F in the magazines 209a-209d rise to the maximum permissible value. The

purpose of the auxiliary magazine 216 is to accept the output of the producing machine 201 when all of the magazines 209a-209d are filled to capacity. Thus, the producing machine 201 need not be arrested when the magazines 209a-209d are filled because the filter rod sections F are then automatically admitted into the re ceptacle 241 of the auxiliary magazine 216. The signal from the output 0 of the logical circuit 321 is then transmitted to the input a of the AND-gate 322 which causes the amplifier 324 to energize the coils 3060, 3070 of the valves 3080, 3090 by way of conductor means 3190. The input 12 of the AND-gate 322 receives a signal from the tachometer generator 323 because the motor 212 of the producing machine 201 is running. Therefore, the output c of the AND-gate 322 energizes the coils 306e, 3070 and the tubes 227e, 2370 of the transfer unit 2070 are connected with the source 316 of compressed air by way of conduit 314.'The conduit 2040 then conveys a continuous stream of filter rod sections F into the space between the inner stretches of the endless belts 247,248, andthe belts transport the filter rod sections sideways and upwardly, as viewed in FIG. 7, into'the lowermost zone of the receptacle 241 of the auxiliary-magazine 216. When the supply of filter rod sections F in the receptacle 241 rises to the level of the detector 214, the photosensitive element 337 of the detector 214 transmits a signal to the input a of the OR-gate 338 and the output 0 of this gate transmits a signal to the erasing input b of the signal storing circuit 339. The signal at the output 0 of the circuit 339 disappears so that the winding 282 of the clutch 273 is deenergized. Also, the disappearance of output signal from the signal storing circuit 339 results in deenergization of the motor relay 342 which causes the amplifier 329 to disconnect the motor 212 from the energy source so that the producing machine 201 comes to a standstill.

When the supply of filter rod sections F in at least one of the magazines 209a-209d decreases below the maximum level, the signal at the output 0 of the logical circuit 321 disappears. Since the tachometer generator 323 does not transmit a signal because the motor 212 is at a standstill, neither the input a nor the input b of the AND-NO gate '331 receives a signal. Therefore, the

,output 0 of the gate 331 transmits a signal which causes the amplifier 332 to energize the windings 250 and 274 by way of conductor means 218. The continuously running motor 262 causes the clutch 256 and the spur gears 254, 263, 264, 266, the holder 272 and the torque-transmitting disk 283 to rotate whereby the disk 283 is disengaged from the holder 281 and engages with the holder 272. The conveyors 252 and 221 begin to rotate so that the filter rod sections F are being withdrawn from the receptacle 241 of the auxiliary magazine 216 and are transferred into the flutes 251 of the conveyor 252 and thence into the flutes 222 of the conveyor 221. The conveyor 221 delivers such filter rod sections into that magazine (209a or 20% or 209a or 209d) which is not filled to capacity.

When the supply of filter rod sections F in the magazine 216 descends below the level of the detector 214, the operator can depress the start pushbutton 210 to restart the producing machine 201 by causing an energization of the motor relay 342 which causes the amplifier 329 to reconnect the motor 212 with the energy source by way of conductor means 215. Thus, the machine 201 resumes the'production of filter rod sections.

If the machine 201 is at a standstill, for example, due to a short-lasting malfunctioning, the consuming ma-v chines 206a-206d can operate for a certain period of time by receiving filter rod sections F from the auxiliary magazine 216. The withdrawing unit 217 is automatically actuated when the supply of sections F in one of the magazines 209a-209d decreases below the maximum level while the producing machine 201 is idle. The withdrawal of filter rod'sections F from the receptacle 241 of the auxiliary magazine 216 and the delivery of such filter rod sections into the flutes 222 of the conveyor 221 take place in the following way:

In the first step, the operator depresses the stop pushbutton 220 so as to deenergize the winding 282 of the clutch 273. The relay 342 is deenergized and the amplifier 329 disconnects the motor 212 from the energy source. The producing machine 201 comes to a standstill. The output signal from the tachometer generator 323 disappears when the motor 212 comes to a standstill. If at least one of the consuming machines 206a-206d requires a fresh supply of filter rod sections, i.e., if at least one of the inputs a, b, c, d of the logical circuit 321 receives a signal from the respective detecdrives the shaft 267 of a conveyor 221 by way of the holder 272. The rotational speed of the conveyors 221, 252 is synchronized by the gear train 254, 263, 264, 266 so that the filter rod sections F which are being withdrawn from the receptacle 241 of the auxiliary magazine 216 by the flutes 251 of the conveyor 252 enter the flutes 222 of the conveyor 221. The flutes 222 then deliver filter rod sections F to that one of the transfer units 207a, 207b, 2070', 207d which serves to deliver filter rod sections to the magazine containing the smallest quantity of filter rod sections. The transfer of filter rod sections from the flutes 222 into the conduit 204a, 204b, 2040 or 204d takes place in a manner as described above.

If the producing machine 201 is to be started again, i

the operator depresses the start pushbutton 210 so that the winding 282 of the clutch 273 is energized by way of the signal storing circuit 339 and amplifier 341. Also, the amplifier 341 energizes the motor relay 342 which causes the amplifier 329 to connect the motor 212 with the energy source byway of conductor means 215. The tachometer generator 323 transmits to the junction 327 and to the input b of the AND-gate as well as to the input a of the AND-NO gate 331 a signal as soon as the motor 212 is started. The signal from the tachometer generator 323 to the input a of the gate 331 causes the amplifier 332 to deenergize the windings 250, 274 of the clutches 256, 273. Therefore, the motor 262 is disconnected from'the conveyors 252 and 221, and the withdrawal of filter rod sections F from the auxiliary magazine 216 is terminated. From thereon, the conduit 204a, 204b, 2040 or 204d receives filter rod sections F directly from the producing machine 201.

The embodiment which is illustrated in FIGS. 12-l5 differs from the embodiment of FIGS. 6-11 in that the distributor system does not employ a rotary conveyor. Such rotary conveyor is replaced by a reciprocable plate-like conveyor 421 serving to deliver filter rod sections F from the producing machine 401 into one of the conduits 404a, 404b, 404e, 404d, 4042 which respectively correspond to the conduits 204a204e of FIGS. 6-11. The signals for movements of the plate-like conveyor 421 to a selected one of four of its five positions are furnished by detectors 408a-408d (FIG. 15) corresponding to the detectors 208a-208d which are used in or on the magazines 209a-209d of the consuming machines 206a-206d of FIG. 6.

The conveyor 421 forms part of a modified distributor system 403 and is provided with guide elements or flutes 422a, 422b, 4220, 422d, 4222. This conveyor is reciprocable along a base 43 which is provided with suitable guide means, such as dovetailed projections shown in FIG. 13. The directions of reciprocation of the conveyor 421 are indicated by arrows 424, 424'. The means for moving the conveyor 421 with reference to the base 423 comprises a reversible electric motor 426 whose output shaft drives a feed screw 427 meshing with a spindle nut 428 which is arranged to share the movements of the conveyor 421. The motor 426 rotates the feed screw 427 in a direction to move the conveyor 421 downwardly, as viewed in FIG. 12 (see the arrow 424), when the circuit of the motor 426 is completed by way of a first motor relay 466. When the relay 466 is deenergized and a second relay 467 is energized, the motor 426 rotates the feed screw 427 in a direction to move the conveyor 421 upwardly, as viewed in FIG. 12 (see the arrow 424'). The power leads which can connect the motor 426 with an energy source by way of the relay 466 or 477 are shown at 468. The motor 426 is a conventional reversible-polarity motor which can change the direction of rotation of its output shaft in response to energization of the relay 466 or 477.

The conveyor 421 has a cover plate 429 which is provided with the aforementioned spindle nut 428 and carries a set of five actuating members or trips 4310, 431b, 431e, 431d, 431e each of which can actuate a stationary switch 432. The direction in which the filter rod sections F which are produced by the machine 401 can travel to the flutes 422a-422e of the conveyor-421 is indicated by an arrow 433.

The flutes 422a-422e of the conveyor 421 taper in the direction of transport of filter rod sections F from the producing machine 401 toward the respective consuming machine (arrow 433). The inlets of the conduits 404a-404e are fixed'to the conveyor 421 so that each thereof registers with the tapering end of the respective flute 422a-422e. At least a portion of each of the conduits 404a-404e consists of flexible material so veyor 421 with reference to the base 423.

The inlets of the conduits 404a-404e are formed with transversely extending slots 434a-434c for reception of gates 436, 437 which consist of thin sheet metal and are mounted on the base 423. Said gates serve to shut off those conduits which are not fed. As mentioned before, the construction of the consuming machines which receive filter rod sections F by way of the conduits 404a-404d is assumed to correspond to the construction of machines 206a-206d shown in FIG. 6. The conduit 404e can deliver filter'rod sections F to an auxiliary magazine (not shown) which corresponds to the magazine 216 of FIG. 7. The magazine which receives filter rod sections by way of the conduit 404e can return such filter rod sections for delivery to the consumingmachines by way of the conduit 404a, 404b, 404C or 404d. This takes place when the producing machine 401 is temporarily out of commission.

The producing machine 401 includes a tubular outlet 441 which is shown in FIGS. 12 and 13 and serves to deliver filter rod sections F to the flutes 422a-422e of the conveyor 421. The reference characters 442 and 443 denote two driven rollers which form part of an accelerator 444 serving to propel the filter rod sections F from the tube 441 of the producing machine 401 into the registering flute'of the conveyor 421. A supply conduit 446 is connected with the outlet 441 and serves to admit a stream of compressed air which can propel filter rod sections F into one of the conduits 404a-404e at a time.

The control circuit for the production line which includes the structure of FIGS. 12-14 is illustrated in FIG. 15. This Figure shows the aforementioned detectors 408a-408d which are associated with the magazines of the consuming machines that receive filter rod sections F from the producing machine 401. The detectors 408a-408d respectively comprise energy sources 451a, 451b, 4510, 451d and potentiometers 452a, 452b, 4526, 452d having wiper arms 453a, 453b, 453e, 453d. The wiper arms 453a-453d are respectively connected with pivotable scanning arms 454a, 454b, 454e, 454a which rest on the topmost layers of supplies of filter rod sections F in the magazines of the respective consuming machines. The signal which is produced by a detector is more pronounced if the supply of filter rod sections in the respective magazine is low. The wiper arms 453a453e are connected with the ground, as at 459, by way of a source 458 of constant potential, relays 456a, 456b, 456c, 456d. and diodes 457a, 457b, 4570, 457d. The contacts of the relays 456a-456d are closed in response to energization of the respective relays and then connect the outputs of sources 4610, 461b, 4610, 461d of reference signals with the respective inputs a, b, c, d of a signal comparing circuit 462 as well as with the respective inputs a, b, c, d of a logical circuit 463 of the type known as NAND-gate. The output e of the logical circuit 463 is connected with the winding of a relay 4562 which, when energized, connects a source 46le of reference signals with the input e of the signal comparing circuit 462. The sources 461a-461e serve to transmit voltage signals which equal to or are twice, three times, four times and five times as strong as a basic or unit signal. Thus, when the relay 456e is energized by the logical circuit 463, the source 4612 transmits to the input e of'the signal comparing circuit 462 a signal whose intensity is five times the intensity of signal from the source 461a to the input a of the signal comparing circuit 462 in response to energization of the relay 456a.

The circuit 462 has a further input f which is connected with the input 0 of a forward and rearward counter 464. The counter 464 adds up signals which are transmitted by way of the input a and subtracts from the obtained sum those signals which are transmitted to it by way of the input b. The signal and the output c of the counter 464'is indicative of the difference between the sum of signals transmitted to the counter at the input a and the sum of signals transmitted to the input b.

The signal comparing circuit 462 has two outputs g and g. The output g transmits a signal as long as the difference between the signal transmitted by one of the sources 461a-4612 and the signal transitted by the counter 464 is a positive signal. The output g transmits a signal when the signal representing the difference between a signal transmitted by one of the sources 461a-46k and the output signal from the counter 464 is a negative signal. The output signals at g and g respectively energize the relays 466, 467 which regulate the operation of the reversible motor 426.for the conveyor 421 in the manner as described in connection with FIG. 12. The relay 466-or 467 can connect the motor 426 with the energy source by way of power leads 468.

The output g of the signal comparing circuit 462 is further connected with a relay 469 which has two contacts a and b one of which is closed when the other is open and vice versa. It will be noted that the condition of the relay 469 is -a function of the nature of the signal that is being emitted by the circuit 462. The inputs a and b of the counter 464 are respectively connected with the switch 432 in response to energization and deenergization of the relay 469. The condition of the relay 469 determines whether or not a signal from the switch 432 reaches the input a or the input b of the counter 464. i l

The operation of the production line the parts of which are shown in FIGS. 12 to 15 is as follows:

The filter rod sections F which areproduced by the machine 401 are moved serially into the'range of rollers 442, 443 of the accelerator 444 and are propelled lengthwise so as to be separated from each other and to enter into the flute 4226 of the conveyor 422. The stream of compressed air which is admitted into the flute 422a of the conveyor 421 by way of the supply conduit 446 causes the filter rod sections F in the flute 4220 to advance toward and into the inlet of the conduit 4040 and to enter the corresponding magazine. If desired or necessary, the conduit 404c.can be connected with one or more orifices which admit thereto compressed air to assist in the transfer of filter rod sections F toward the respective magazine. When the supply of filter rod sections in the magazine which is connected with the conduit 404e rises so that such supply exceeds the supply of filter rodv sections in another magazine, for example, in the magazine wherein the supply of filter rod sections is scanned by the arm 454a shown in FIG. 15, a current flows from the source 45 la by way of the wiper arm 453a; relay 456a, diode 457a and the source 458 to the ground 459. The relay 456a closes its contact and connects the source 461a of ref-' erence signals with the input a of the signal comparing circuit 462. The input 0 receives a signal whose intensity is indicative of the value 1; The input f of the'cir-

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Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4010678 *Jul 17, 1975Mar 8, 1977Hauni-Werke Korber & Co., KgMethod and apparatus for making composite filter plugs
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Classifications
U.S. Classification493/4, 493/30, 131/909, 493/25, 131/88, 406/33, 493/39, 131/94
International ClassificationA24C5/32
Cooperative ClassificationA24C5/323, Y10S131/909
European ClassificationA24C5/32T2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 1, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: KORBER AG
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNORS:HAUNI-WERKE KORBER & CO. KG (MERGED INTO);KORBER GESELLSCHAFT MIT BESCHRANKTER HAFTUNG (CHANGED TO);REEL/FRAME:004889/0874;SIGNING DATES FROM 19870617 TO 19870713