US 3799395 A
Apparatus for sequentially feeding garment hangers individually from a supply position to a discharge position. The hangers are arranged side-by-side with their hooked ends over a fixed pole which slopes downwardly to the discharge position. Stop means are arranged to obstruct the path of the hangers until relative movement of the first hanger and the stop means allows only the first hanger to slide down the pole while retaining the other hangers. The invention is disclosed in embodiments wherein the first hanger is lifted over a fixed stop, and wherein movable stop means are positioned alternately in obstructing and unobstructing positions relative to the hangers.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 [111 3,799,395 Vanderpool Mar. 26, 1974 GARMENT HANGER FEEDER APPARATUS  Inventor: Charles C. Vanderpool, Rd. No. 1,
Waverly, Waverly, N.Y. 14892  Filed: Apr. 10, 1972 ] Appl. No.: 242,695
 US. Cl. 221/289, 221/298  Int. Cl B65h 3/00  Field of Search 221/195, 289, 298, 191,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,930,510 3/1960 Pallissard 221/289 2,997,725 8/1961 Friedman.... 221/192 X 3,133,670 5/1964 Heyer 221/298 X 1,816,341 7/1931 Petersen 221/298 3,124,269 3/1964 Tobler 221/298 X 2,640,511 6/1953 Harney 221/298 X Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Francis J. Bartuska Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Charles S. McGuire 5 7] ABSTRACT Apparatus for sequentially feeding garment hangers individually from a supply position to a discharge position. The hangers are arranged side-by-side with their hooked ends over a fixed pole which slopes downwardly to the discharge position. Stop means are arranged to obstruct the path of the hangers until relative movement of the first hanger and the stop means allows only the first hanger to slide down the pole while retaining the other hangers. The invention is disclosed in embodiments wherein the first hanger is lifted over a fixed stop, and wherein movable stop means are positioned alternately in obstructing and unobstructing positions relative to the hangers.
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GARMENT HANGER FEEDER APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to apparatus for sequentially supplying garment hangers to a desired location by gravity feed. More specifically, the invention is directed to an automatic feed device for supplying garments on hangers in properly timed sequence to the loading station of a machine where plastic bags are placed over the garments.
In applicants copending US. applications Ser. Nos. 141,882 and 242,445, respectively filed on May 10, 1971 and Apr. 10, 1972, are disclosed two forms of garment bagging apparatus. In the first-mentioned application the apparatus is of a fully automatic nature, the bagsbeing formed from a continuous supply of bagging material and applied to the garments without operator assistance. In the other application the apparatus is of a semi-automatic nature, requiring an operator to pull the bagging material over the garments and to manually actuate switches controlling machine operation. In both forms of apparatus the hangers are supported on an upright pole when the bag is applied and it is desirable to provide means for automatically placing the hanger on the pole prior to the bagging operation.
, SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION i the hangers are discharged after sliding down the pole.
Stop means are provided to block the path of movement of the hangers down the rod until actuation to effect relative movement of the first hanger in the supply and the stop means. The single hanger then slides down the poleto the discharge position, i.e., the lower end of the ole, while the other hangers are retained by the stop means. l' A In a full embodiment, a fixed stop is provided and the hanger nearest the stop is lifted from below by a pin movable to extend through the pole adjacent the stop. Both electrical and pneumatic actuating means are disclosed for moving the pin. Also, adjusting means may be provided for changing the effective dimension of the pin which lifts the hanger, thereby allowing the use of various hanger diameters or thicknesses. In other embodiments the stop-means are movable between obstructing and unobstructing positions with respect to the hangers, but are so constructed that all hangers but the first in line are retained when the first is released. A pivotally movable arm carrying two reciprocating fingers or rods is disclosed, as well as a rack and pinion arrangement for moving the stop means.
The above and other novel features of the invention will appear more fully hereinafter from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. It is expressly understood that the drawings are employed for purposes of illustration only'and are not designed as a definition of the limits of the invention, reference being had for this purpose to the appended claims.
In the drawings, wherein like reference characters indicate like parts:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one form of garment bagging apparatus wherein the invention may be employed;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 3 is an end elevation of the apparatus of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a front elevation, with portions broken away, of the apparatus of FIGS. 2 and 3;
FIGS. 5a, 5b and 5c are a series of fragmentary, side elevational views of the apparatus showing the sequence of movement as an individual hanger is fed from the supply;
FIG. 6 is an end view, partly in section, showing another form of actuating means for the apparatus of FIGS. 2-5;
FIGS. 7 and 8 are fragmentary side and plan views, respectively, of a modified form of stop means for use in the embodiment of FIGS. 2-6;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention;
FIGS. l0-l2 are side elevational views of the apparatus of FIG. 9 showing the sequence of operation thereof as a hanger is fed from the supply;
FIG. 13 is a front elevational view of still another embodiment of the invention; and
FIG. 14 is an end elevational view of the apparatus of FIG. 13.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS In FIG. 1, apparatus similar to that in copending application Ser. No. 141,882 for applying individual bags from a continuous roll of bagging material, is shown. The apparatus includes base portion 20, upon which rigid frame 22 and rotatable ring 24 are supported. Three vertical poles 26 extend from ring 24 and have notched upper ends for accepting the hooked ends of conventional garment hangers. Ring 24 is rotatable so that poles 26 are each moved successively to three positions, termed the loading, bagging and discharge positions. Materials 28 is supplied from a roll supported on frame 22 and fed over appropriate guides to an open leading end which may be drawn downwardly over a garment on a hanger suspended on one of poles 26. Although the automatic bagging apparatus of Application 'Ser. No. 141,882 includes a vertically reciprocating carriage for automatically pulling the bagging material over the garments, none is shown in the present drawing. Ohter details are also omitted or altered from the referenced application for simplicity, the showing of the bagging apparatus being of a general nature only. Other major portions of the apparatus are web engaging section 30, vacuum unit 32, garment discharge elements 34, and automatic feeder portion 36, the latter being that with which the present invention is con- Turning now to FIGS. 2-4, rod 40 is fixedly supported on an edge of bracket 44 which forms a channel to accommodate the ends of hanger hooks, as shown in FIG. 3, so that the hangers may slide freely along the rod. The other end of bracket 44 is secured by screws 46 to spacer 48, in turn affixed to solenoid mounting plate 50. Solenoid 52 is also mounted on plate 50 and enclosed by cover 54. Connector 56 is affixed to the movable armature of the solenoid and to U-shaped loader rod 58. The loader rod extends from connector 56 loosely through openings in guide 60 and, at its free end 62 through an opening in bushing 64. The latter extends through a slotted opening in rod 40 and is welded or otherwise fixedly attached thereto.
Fixed stop 66 extends from busing 64 upwardly at a point adjacent end 62 of loader rod 58, and slopes downwardly to meet rod 40. Thus, a hanger placed on rod 40 upwardly of stop 66 may slide down the rod until it contacts the fixed stop, but its path is then obstructed. As previously suggested, the apparatus is intended to receive a fairly large number of hangers on rod 40 and sequentially discharge them, in timed relation, from end portion 42. InFIGS. Sa-Sc a plurality of hangers 68 are shown in section, hooked over rod 40 with the first hanger contacting fixed stop 66 and the remainder stacked up behind in side by side relation.
Loader pin 58 is biased by spring 70 in a downward direction to a normal position, defined by stop 72, wherein end 62 is flush with or slightly below the surface of rod 40. In this position, end 62 of the loader pin is directly below the one of hangers 68 which is resting against fixed stop 66, as seen in FIG. a. Actuation of solenoid 52 moves loader pin 58 upwardly, thereby causing end 62 to lift the hanger resting against stop 66, as shown in FIG. 5b. Travel of pin 58 is sufficient to carry the hanger to the height of stop 66, whereupon the hanger will slide off the end of the pin, down fixed stop 66, as shown in FIG. 50, and eventually off of end 42 of rod 40. Upon deactuation of solenoid 52 (which need be actuated only momentarily), spring 70 will move loader pin 58 back to its normal position and all of hangers 68 will slide down pole 40 until the next hanger in line contacts stop 66.The sequence is then repeated each time a hanger is to be fed to the discharge position, i.e., off of end 42.
In FIG. 6 is shown an alternate actuation means. Loader pin 58 again extends through bushing 64 and rod 40 to terminate adjacent fixed stop 66. The pin extends through guide 74 and is attached to rod 76 of piston 78. The latter is mounted in cylinder 80 for upward movement by pressurized air admitted through line 82, being biased to a normally downward position by spring 84. Thus. momentary actuation of a valve controlling air supply to line 82 will be effective to raise loader pin 58, the upper limit of travel being defined by stop 86. The hanger abutting fixed stop 66 will then be fed to the discharge end of rod 40 in the manner previously described.
FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate a modification allowing adjustment of the effective dimension of end 62 of loader pin 58 which acts on the hangers. Fixed stop 88 is affixed to bushing 90, again welded to rod 40, by screws 92 which extend through elongated slots 94 and have heads recessed within counterbores in the fixed stop. In order to accommodate the screws and slots, the top of fixed stop 88 is straight rather than sloping, as in the first described modification. Groove 96 is formed in the surface of fixed stop 88 against which the hangers rest before being lifted over the top, and is somewhat wider than the diameter of end 62 of loader pin 58. When screws 92 are loosened, fixed stop 88 may be moved to the right, as viewed in FIGS. 7 and 8, until a portion of end 62 is in registration with groove 96. Since the hangers rest against the surface of the fixed stop in which the groove is formed, only that portion of end 62 which is not in registration with the groove will be effective to lift the hanger. This will allow adjustment to provide an effective width of end 62 substantially equal to the diameter or thickness of the hangers being lifted thereby. That is, if the full width of end 62 were used to lift hangers of small thickness, it is likely that more than one hanger at a time would be lifted over the fixed stop.
Referring now to the embodiment of FIGS. 9-12, mounting bracket 98 is fixedly supported in the proper position by arm 38 (FIG. 1) extending from frame 26. Welded or otherwise affixed to the lower side of bracket 98 is curved channel 100 which supports along its other edge hanger support rod 102, corresponding to rod 40 of the previous embodiment. Fragments of a plurality of hangers 104, carrying the garments to be bagged, are shown supported on rod 102. End portion 106 of rod 102 is positioned closely adjacent the upper end of garment support pole 26 when the latter is in the loading position. The relative position is such that a hanger sliding off of end position 106 will be placed on pole 26. Rod 102 is disposed in a downwardly sloping direction toward end portion 106 so that hangers placed on the rod are carried by gravity toward end 106.
The mechanism for feeding hangers 104 one at a time to'the garment pole comprises a pair of reciprocating rods and associated apparatus for moving them in proper sequence. Rod 108 has an end portion adapted to be placed in blocking relation to hangers 104, as shown in FIG. 10, thereby preventing any hangers from sliding off end portion 106. Rod 108 passes loosely through an opening in bracket 98, and is attached to element 110, having slotted opening 112.
Rocker arm 114 is pivotally supported on the end of rod 116, extending fixedly from bracket 98. Screw 118 extends loosely through slot 112 in element and is secured to rocker arm 114. Actuating arm 120 is pivotally secured to rocker arm 114 and is movable in response to actuation of a solenoid (not shown).
Rod 122 extends loosely through an opening in bracket 98 and extends through an enlarged opening in rocker arm 114. Spur portion 124 likewise extends through bracket 98, thus preventing rotation of rod 122. Spring 126 is compressed between fixed ring 128 on rod 122 and bushing 130, which is thereby urged against the rocker arm. Rod 122 is retained on rocker arm 114 by nuts 132.
The elements are shown in the initial position, prior to actuation of the solenoid, in FIG. 10. Rod 108 bears against rod 102, preventing hangers 104 from sliding further down the rod. Upon actuation of the solenoid, arm 120 is moved upward, thereby rotating rocker arm 114 in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIGS. 10-12. Initial rotation moves rod 122 in a downward direction, but rod 108 does not move upward until screw 118 reached the top of slot 112. The elements are shown in FIG. 11 in an intermediate position of rotation of arm 114. It will be noted that rods 106 and 122 are spaced by approximately the diameter of one of the hangers 104. Also, the end of rod 122 which moves down to engage rod 102 is tapered, thus facilitating movement thereof between two adjacent hangers.
Continued rotation of rocker arm 114 will bring the tip of rod 122 into contact with rod 102 and will then cause upward movement of rod 108. As rod 108 is being moved upward, spring 126 is compressed. As seen in FIG. 12, as rod 108 is raised to allow a hanger to slide off rod 102, rod 122 blocks the path of the other hangers.
When the solenoid is deactuated the sequence of movement is reversed. As rocker arm 114 is rotated counterclockwise'rod 122 remains in engagement with rod 102 as spring 126 expands. In the meantime, screw 118 has traveled back to the lower end of slot 112 and rod 108 is moved back into engagement with rod 102. When rod 122 is raised back to the position of FIG. 10, hangers 104 may slide as far as rod 108, but no further. Hangers carrying garments to be bagged may thus be fed one at a time, at proper intervals, to the bagging apparatus in responseto actuation and deactuation of a solenoid, electric operation of which would be the same as operation of solenoid 52 in the previous embodiment.
A further embodiment is shown in FIGS. 13 and 14. Hanger support rod 140 is supported on channel 142 and sloped downwardly toward the discharge end, as in the prior embodiments. Channel 142 is supported 'on backing plate 144, with spacer 146 therebetween, the entire mechanism, of course, being held on arm 38 in a proper location relative to the bagging apparatus. Air cylinder 148 is secured to bracket 150 and biased in the downward direction, as pictured in FIGS. 13 and 14. Clevis 152 serves to connect air cylinder rod 154 to rack 156. Rod 158 is secured to the lower end of rack 156 and extends loosely into sleeve 160. Pin 162 extends from rod 158 loosely through slot 164 in sleeve 160, and spring 166 is compressed between flange 168 on rod 158 and bracket 170 through which the rod passes. I
Pinion gear 172 is mounted for rotation on shaft 174, extending fromv backing plate 144, and engages both rack 156 and a second rack 176 on the opposite side. Both racks extend throughsuitable bearings on bracket 178, and rack 176 extends through bracket 170 to an attachment with support plate 180. Finger 182 is likewise mounted on plate 180 by pins 184 which extend through elongated slots 186 in the finger, thereby allowing relative movement of the finger and backing plate. Spring 188 biases finger 1'82 toward downward movement relative to the backing plate, thus normally maintaining pins 184 at the upper ends of slots 186.
Hangers 190 are normally retained against movement down rod 140 past sleeve 160. Upon actuation of the valve (not shown) controlling air supply to cylinder 148, rack 156 is moved upward. This compresses spring 166 further, but does not immediately lift sleeve 160 since pin 162 must first move to the top of slot 164. Movement of rack 156 is transmitted through pinion 172 to move rack 176 downward, thus moving plate 180 and finger 182 downward until the latter engages rod 140 between the first two hangers 190. Relative dimensions are such that finger 182 engages rod 140 as or before pin 162 reaches the top of slot 164. Thus, all hangers except the first will be blocked by finger 182 as sleeve 160 is raised upon further travel of the racks.
Spring 188 will be tensioned as rack 176 continues to move downward, with pins 184 moving down slots 186, after finger 182 has engaged rod 140.
Thus, a single one of hangers 190 is released upon movement of the elements in response to actuation of air cylinder 148. Movement of the cylinder back to the extended position will return the elements to their positions of FIG. 13, with sleeve 160 moving back into engagement with rod before finger 182 is lifted out of contact therewith since spring 188 will be contracting until pins 184 reach the tops of slots 186. Backing plate 180 will then lift finger 182 out of blocking position with respect to the hangers, the first of which may then slide down against sleeve 160. The mounting of backing plate 180 on rack 176 by screws 192, extending through slots 194 in the backing plate, allows lateral adjustment of the position of finger 182 so that it may be spaced from sleeve by the thickness of one hanger.
What is claimed is:
1. Apparatus for feeding a succession of garment hangers one at a time from a supply position to a discharge position, said apparatus comprising, in combination:
a. a fixed, elongated support element sloping downwardly from said supply towardsaid discharge position and adapted to support the hooked ends of a plurality of garment hangers;
b. a stop element anchored with respect to said support element and extending a predetermined distance upwardly from the upper surface thereof to define a stop surface obstructing movement of hangers arranged on said support element in sideby-side relation, said stop surface having a groove therein;
0. a hanger release element having an end portion movable between a retracted position, below the plane of said upper surface, and an extended position, spaced above said upper surface by at least said predetermined distance, said end portion having an essentially fiat upper surface for engaging and lifting said hangers;
d. means for effecting movement of said release element end portion, to lift the hanger nearest said stop element to a position where it may slide over said stop element to said discharge position; and
e. means for selectively moving said stop surface relative to said support, to adjust the distance between said stop surface and the edge of said end portion farthest therefrom measured in a direction parallel to the axis of said support element and opposite to the direction of said discharge position from said stop surface, thereby positioning said end portion by varying amounts within said groove.
2. The invention according to claim 1 wherein said end portion is round and said groove is semi-circular having a diameter at least as great as said end portion, whereby substantially half of said end portion may be disposed in said groove.
3. The invention according to claim 2 wherein said stop element comprises a block releasability secured by screws to an underlying support and said adjusting means comprises elongated slots through which said screws pass and extending substantially parallel to said support element axis.