US 3803800 A
Device for fitting caps, such as plastic bottles and containers, comprising essentially a revolving tray adapted to transfer separately, by means of clamps carried by its upper face caps picked up separately at a dispensing station to a sealing station whereat the caps are driven into the necks of the containers by a tapered lower surface of the tray. The latter revolves about a shaft slightly inclined to the vertical axis of an underlying positioning spider, thereby bringing the containers to be sealed to the sealing station. The tray and the spider revolve and are operatively connected by a pair of diametrically spaced vertical parallel rods rigidly carried by the spider, and engaging ball-and-socket bearings carried by the tray. The latter is rotatably mounted in the inclined shaft, carried by bracket arm, rigid with a sleeve slidably mounted on a vertical column, and carrying in turn a cap dispensing means.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent I -191 I I Tavernier 3,803,800 [4 Apr. 16, 1974 vPrimary Examiner-Travis S. McGehee Assistant Examiner-Horace M. Culver I DEVICE FOR FITTING BOTTLE AND CONTAINER CAPS  Inventor:
Georges Antoine Vernier, Lyon, Attorney, Agent, or F rm-inc H. Waters France 57 ABSTRACT Device for fitting caps, such as plastic bottles and con- Societe Ne'uvelle Baele Gangloff "Racine Villeurbanne, Rhone, F mice  Assignee:
tainers, comprising essentially a revolving tray adapted  Flled: 1973, to transfer separately, by means of clamps carried by its upper face caps picked up separately at a dispens- 2 1 Appl. N0.: 331,246
ing station to a sealing station whereat the caps are 53/319 driven into the necks of the containers by a tapered 8 8 02 73 b .5% 6 3 N C 41 3 W 6 b0 73 2 NR 5 .mh 0 .r "a L i m C ta mm 1 8 55 [l lower surface of the tray. The latter revolves about a shaft slightly inclined to the vertical axis of an underlying positioning spider, thereby bringing the contain- 53/287310 3 ers' to be sealed to the sealing station. The tray and the spider revolve and are operatively connected bya pair of diametrically spaced vertical parallel rods rigidly carried by the spider, and engaging 'ball-and-socke't [1- 6.] v ik'e r ncg -C ted "UNITEDYSTATES' PATENTS Brown"...
-- 53/324 bearings carried by the tray. The latter is 'rotatably mounted in the inclined shaft, carried by bracket arm,
7/1958 Br0wn..... 9/l973 rigid with a sleeve slidably mounted on a vertical column, and carrying in turn a cap dispensing means.
- 8 Cl aims,'2 Drawing Figures 2E a 2E E 222E252 DEVICE FOR FITTING BOTTLE AND CONTAINER CAPS The present invention relates to a device for fitting caps, e.g., to plastic bottles and containers, having a novel, useful and inexpensive construction, foolproof in operation.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to means for fitting caps, notably but not exclusively on bottles or containers of plastic material, and having therefore a lesser rigidity than conventional glass bottles or containers.
In the specific case of plastic bottles it is advantageous thatthese be sealed immediately after the filling thereof to prevent a portion of their content from being ejected or spilled during the handling and transport of the filled bottles, for example between a filling station and capping station, as a consequence of unavoidable shocks between the bottles.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Devices are known comprising a tray or platform overlying a positioning spider and provided with cap gripping means carried by the ends of pivoted levers adapted to sink the caps into the bottlenecks by causing the caps to describe a pivotal movement in a radial plane which contains the vertical axes of the bottles.
These prior-art arrangements are relatively complicated from the mechanical point of view, and therefore rather expensive.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is the essential object of the present invention to provide a cap fitting device which is of simple construction, reliable in operation and capable of being easily adjusted to the sizes of the containers or bottles to be capped. I v v This device comprises a transfer tray or platform overlying a positioning spider and rotatably connected thereto; this tray is adapted to rotate freely about a shaft inclined in relation to the vertical axis of the spider, so that the tray is also inclined in relation to a plane containing the upper ends of the containers, and so that its tapered underface is level with said plane at a cap fitting station. The tray is provided, on the other hand,near its .outer periphery, with gripping means adapted to pick up one by one the caps delivered by a cap dispensing station, in order totransfer the caps successively to the sealing area, whereat they are driven into the corresponding necks of the bottles by the tapered underface of the tray. I
Thus each cap picked up from the dispensing station, when the tapered portion of the tray is at a higher level in relation to the plane containing the top ends of the containers, is gradually brought to the level of said plane simply by virtue of the rotational movement of the tray.
In addition to the considerable mechanical simplicity characterizing this construction, it is also emphasized that this device is advantageous in' that it drives each cap into the neck of the container by inclining the cap only through a relatively small angle, just sufficient for facilitating the escape of air but not sufficient for causing even amomentary distortion or tilting of the neck as observed in hitherto known arrangements.
According to a preferred, exemplary and typical form of embodiment of the present invention, the spider is rigid with at least two vertical rods spaced on a common diameter and engaged in ball-and-socket bearings which are carried by the inclined transfer tray. The function of these two rods is to provide a rotational coupling between the spider and the tray, and also to permit a vertical movement of the tray in relation to the spider.
To this end, and in order to afford proper adjustment of the vertical position of the tray as a function of or depending upon the height of the containers to be sealed, the inclined shaft on which the transfer tray is adapted freely to rotate is secured to the free or outer end of a bracket arm which has its other end secured to a sleeve slidably mounted on a fixed column, provided, on the one hand, with adjustment means adapted to move the sleeve and its bracket arm vertically inrelation to the column and, on the other hand, with means for locking the sleeve and bracket assembly in a selected position.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A clearer understanding of this invention will be had from the following detailed description of a typical but exemplary form of embodiment of the invention with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the inventive cap fitting device, with parts shown in diametral section; and
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary plane view from beneath, and on a slightly greater scale, showing details of cap gripping and cap dispensing means.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the drawings, and particularly FIG. 1 thereof, reference numeral 2 designates a positioning spider rigid with a vertical shaft 3 connected to power means 4 adapted to impart a rotational motion thereto. This spider 2 may either consist of the output spider of a filling staion or machine, or be located just downstream of that station. The spider 2 is associated with a horizontal track or support 1 on which the containers are adapted to travel.
According to this invention, the spider 2 is rotatably rigid with a transfer tray 5 mounted for free rotation on a shaft 6. The tray 5 is rigid with a socket 7 rigid in turn with the outer race of a rolling-contact bearing 8 having its inner race tightly fitted to the shaft 6. Longitudinal axis y -y of shaft 6 is set at an angle a in relation to vertical axis x x of spider 2. Thus the tray 5 is inclined to the horizontal plane P containing the top faces of containers 9 to 'be sealed by means of caps 24.
It may also be seen that the tray 5 comprises a tapered portion 10 which, being located at the outer periphery of its underface, is inclined with respect to the upper surface of said tray 5 by an angle b of the same value as said angle 11. Thus, the generatrices of the tapered surface 10 are parallel to theplane P when they mounted in relation to said tray and having said rods 12 slidably mounted therein. These rods are braced by a member 14 carrying a guide 15 for properly positioning the necks of containers 9, in combination with an external guide 16.
The shaft 6 is secured to the outer or free end of a bracket arm 17 having its other end secured to a sleeve 18 slidably mounted on a fixed vertical column 19. The sleeve 18 is rigid in translation with a screw 20 engaging a nut 22 carried by the column 19. It further comprises a lock or set screw 23 for locking the sleeve in the selected adjustment position, i.e. when the tray is at the desired level.
From the foregoing it is already apparent that each point of the outer periphery of the tray 5 can oscillate between a lower vertical position, located necessarily in the sealing area of the containers, and an upper vertical position. Although not definitely necessary, it is advantageous that the station delivering or dispensing the caps 24 be located at the level of upper position of the tray.
A typical form of embodiment of a cap dispensing station is illustrated in FIG. 2. This station comprises essentially an inclined chute 25 carrying at its lower or free end a fixed upstream jaw 26 and a movable downstream jaw 27, adapted to pivot about a pin 28. The function of these jaws 26, 27 is to hold the caps 24 before they are picked up by the gripping means secured to the lower face, and more particularly to the tapered portion of tray 5. The movable jaw 27 is provided with a downstream extension 29 constituting a guide member for a purpose to be explained presently. This jaw 27 is constantly urged to its cap-clamping position by a spring 30.
In the form of embodiment shown in FIG. 2 the cap gripping means consist of clamps equal in number and disposed in the same angular relationship as the notches of the spider 2. Each clamp comprises a pair of arms, i.e., a downstream 32 and an upstream arm 33, carried about pivots 34 by a support 35 secured to the underface of tray 5. These two arms are urged to their clamping position by a traction spring 36. Finally, as shown more particularly in FIG. 2, the upstream arm 33 is somewhat longer than the downstream arm 32.
When the tray 5 and therefore the spider 2 rotate in v the direction of arrow 37 (FIG. 2), the arm 33 of each clamp, as it moves past the cap dispensing station, engages the first cap 24 and pushes the same forwards. Thus this cap 24 engages the guide member consisting of the extension 29 of jaw 27, and is therefore caused to move radially towards the center of the tray 5, into the gap formed by the arms of the corresponding clamp. Should the cap escape the guide 29, its radial position, in relation to the center of tray 5, would be equal to the radial distance measured between the vertical axis of container 9 to be sealed and the vertical axis x -x' about which the spider 2 is caused to rotate.
As the tray rotates, the cap 24 picked up by the clamp is gradually lowered into the neck of the underlying container 9 until the latter is sealed completely, i.e. until the cap has attained its lowermost position.
It may be noted, on the one hand, that the caps are driven positively into the necks of the containers by the tapered portion 10 of tray 5 and, on the other hand, that due to the moderate inclination imparted to the caps during their insertion, only a minimum force is required for driving each cap into the neck, thus avoiding any undesired distortion of this neck, this force being nevertheless sufficient to enable the air trapped in the container and expelled from the cap to escape freely.
With this arrangement, the tray is constantly provided with caps, independently of the number of containers supplied to the spider. Therefore, it may happen that if a container were missing in one of the spider notches, one of the caps would be returned to the dispensing station. It is therefore necessary to provide means for discontinuing the supply of caps to a clamp already provided with one of them.
To this end, the jaws 26 and 27 of the dispensing station are operatively connected to an arm 38 pivoted at 39 to a fixed support or bracket. This arm 38 is level with the path followed by the domed portion of'each cap 24 and therefore beneath the path of said clamps; it is urged to a position located transversely to this path by a return spring 40.
Thus when one of the caps has not been utilized at the sealing station as a consequence of a missing container or bottle, so that the cap is returned to the dispensing station, its domed portion engages the arm 38 and causes the same to pivot in the direction of arrow 42 in order to position the arm 38 against the gap formed between the jaws 26 and 27, and thus prevent the delivery of another cap into the clamp.
According to a modified form of embodiment the pick-up means carried by the tray 5 consist of suction cups 43 (see FIG. 1) or like means equal in number, and having the same angular arrangement, as the notches of spider 2.
Although a specific form of embodiment has been described hereinabove and illustrated in the accompanying drawing, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications may be brought thereto without departing from the scope of the invention.
What I claim is:
l. A device for fitting caps, such as to plastic bottles and containers, comprising: a spider for positioning containers to be sealed, operatively connected to means for rotatably driving the same about a vertical axis of rotation; a transfer tray overlying said spider, rotatably coupled thereto, and mounted for free rotation about a shaft inclined relative to said vertical axis, so that said tray is inclined in relation to a plane containing the top ends of the containers; said tray including a tapered lower surface of which the lowermost generatrix is level with said plane at a cap fitting station; said tray being provided, adjacent its outer periphery, with gripping means for picking up one by one caps delivered by a dispensing station, so as to bring the caps separately and successively to said sealing station, whereat they are driven into the necks of the containers by said lower surface of the tray.
2. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said spider is rigid with at least two vertical parallel rods spaced from each other on a common diameter and engaging ball-and-socket bearings carried by said tray.
3. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said inclined shaft has one end secured to one end of a bracket which has its other end secured to a sleeve slidably mounted to a fixed column, said sleeve including means for producing its vertical movement along said column, and means for locking said sleeve in a selected position. v
4. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said gripping means consist of,pick-up means in the form of suction cups.
5. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said gripping means include clamps on said lower surface of the tray, said clamps consisting of pairs of parallel arms pivoted to a common support by their inner ends and interconnected by traction springs which produce clamping of the caps. v
6. The device as defined in claim 5, wherein upstream arms of said clamps are longer than downstream arms and constitute a cap pick-up member at said dispensing station.
7. The device as defined in claim 5, wherein said dispensing station includes a feed chute including at its free, delivery end a pair of jaws of which at least the downstream jaw is angularly movable under the control of a return spring, and is also rigid with a guide-forming extension for causing radial movement of the caps in relation to said gripping means.
is still carrying a cap when moving past said gap.