US 3803993 A
A partition inserter is described for automatically placing partitions, of the type used to separate jars or bottles, into open cases. The apparatus includes a reciprocable stepped horizontal table for moving individual flat folded partitions from a vertical stack to a partition erecting device. Each partition is expanded by the device and, as the table continues to reciprocate, is urged onto horizontally protruding mandrels of a partition inserting means. The mandrels extend into apertures formed by the walls of a partition to grip and support the partition in the erect condition. After receiving a partition, the mandrels are pivoted downwardly and a cylinder is activated to lower the partition into a carton waiting on a horizontal conveyor below. Once the partition is released into the case, the mandrels are lifted and pivoted to the horizontal condition to receive the next successive partition.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
France 93/37 R mted States Patent 1 1 1111 ,803,993 Graham Apr. 16, 1974 PARTITION INSERTER  Inventor: Robert H. Graham, Spokane, Wash. 'm Examl'fer Roy Lake Assistant Exammer-James F. Coan Assigneer s n pany. p an Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Wells, St. John & Roberts Wash. 1
 Filed: Aug. 28, 1972  I ABSTRACT [21'] App]. 284,097 A partition inserter is described for automatically placing partitions, of the type used to separate jars or US. Cl. R, R, bottles into pen cases The appa atus includes a re- 214/1 BD ciprocable stepped horizontal table for moving indi-  Int. Cl. B31!) 11/02 vidua] flat folded partitions from a vertical stack to a Field of search-M 214/1 1 1 1 BD, partition erecting device. Each partition is expanded 1 93/37 53 R, 55 by the device and, as the table continues to recipro-' cate, is urged onto horizontally protruding mandrels of References Cited a partition inserting means. The mandrels extend into UNITED STATES PATENTS apertures formed by the walls of a partition to grip 3,257,002 6/1966 Pearson alm 214/1 BD and support the partition in the erect condition. After 2,249,201 7/1941 Ferguson 93 53 R receiving 8 Partition, the mandrels e p d down- 2,927,343 3/1960 Soderquist 214/1 BD x ardly and a ylinder is a tivated t l we th par 3,62l,765 11/1971 Sootheran et a1 93/37 R tion into a carton waiting on a horizontal conveyor be- 3,483,802 12/1969 Heyne 93/38 l w, Once the partition is released into the case, the 311341308 5/ 1964 2 93/36-0l X mandrels are lifted and pivoted to the horizontal con- 3,605,572 9/1971 Derderian 933/37 R dition to receive the next successive partition.
9 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures mmam 16 m4 3.8011993 SHEET 2 (IF 3 FIG 3 Foldable partitions are normally utilized to prevent damage of groups of bottles or jars packed into a single carton. Such partitions fold into a substantially flat configuration for storage and shipping purposes and are not usually self-supportable. The problem is, therefore, to erect the partitions and place them individually into cartonsl This tank is conventionally accomplished by hand. The machine disclosed in U. S. Pat. No. 3,257,002 granted to Reinhold A. Pearson et al. is an example of a machine for automatically handling such partitions. Expanded partitions are gripped by one of several pairs of transfer conveyor blocks radially spaced about a horizontal rotatable axis. The blocks each receive an expanded carton and pivot it in an arcuate path downwardly to a discharge station. A stripping mechanism is mounted adjacent the discharge station to remove the partition from each pair of blocks and allow it to fall either onto a group of bottles or into a container. The transfer conveyor of this apparatus is relatively complex. Additionally, a special carton conveyor is required to support and move cartons thereon.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an improvement in the transfer mechanism wherein the apertures of anerected carton are gripped by releasable members mounted for translational movement on the framework. By moving the partitions in a downward vertical path, this portion ofthe machinery can be greatly simplified in structure and operation in comparison to the alternate rotational transfer mechanism.
It is therefore, a primary object of this invention to provide a partition inserter that is relatively simple in construction and thereby inexpensive and relatively maintenance free.
An additional object is to provide such a partition inserter including means for positively locating a partition within a carton.
A further object is to provide a partition inserter that may be installed adjacent an existing conventional carton conveyor.
These and other objects and advantages will become evident upon reading the following disclosure which, when taken with the accompanying drawings describe a preferred form of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a partition;
FIG. 2 is a side view of ,the apparatus of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the apparatusillustrated in FIG. 2, the inserter being shown in a partition discharge position;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary front elevational view illustrating another operational phase of the inserter;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary front view of the partition gripping means; A
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along-line 6-6in FIG. 5; and
FIG. 7"is a sectional view taken along line 77 in FIG. 5. i
DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings in more detail and especially to FIG. 1, an expanded partition may be seen as generally designated by the reference numeral 1.0. Partition 10 includes two rectangular apertures 13 defined by spaced upright wall sections 11 overlappingly engaging a number of spaced horizontal wall sections 12. FIG. 1 illustrates partition 10 as having two horizontal wall sections 12 and three vertical sections 11. Partitions having greater numbers of wall sections may also be utilized without adversely affecting operation of the instant invention.
Partition 10 is constructed of relatively thin sheets of paperboard and is foldable from a relatively flat configuration to the expanded condition shown in FIG. 1. The partitions are shipped in the flat configuration and each must be expanded before placement into a carton 14 such as partially illustrated in FIG. 4. Erection of a partition is effected through operation of a carton expanding means illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. The expanding means basically includes a horizontally reciprocable table 20 for individually moving partitions from a vertical hopper 25, to'an operational station adjacent an erection assembly 35. A rigid framework 16 supports the expanding means adjacent a longitudinal section of a carton conveyor 17. Longitudinal carton guide rods 18, guide upright open cartons along the upper working flight of conveyor 17 to a partition receiving station elevationally below a partition transfer means 42. Expanded partitions are received from the expanding means and placed into cartons by transfer means 42.
Reciprocable table 20 (FIG. 2) is supported on frame 16 for horizontal translational movement by a set of rollers 21. A spaced pair of tracks 22 (FIGS. 2 and 3) rigidly mounted to framework 16 serve as guides for rollers 21 restricting movement of table 20 to a horizontal path perpendicular to conveyor 17.
A double acting pneumatic cylinder assembly 23 is operatively mounted between framework 16 and table 20 to selectively reciprocate the table 20.
Hopper 25 is affixed to framework 16. and includes vertical partition guides 26 which are located elevationally above the upper planar surface of table 20. Partitions are placed in hopper 25 in the flatconfiguration to form a vertical stack along guides 26. Hopper 25 is open at its lower end, enabling the bottom partition of the stack to rest on table 20. The rearward end of table 20 includes a raised or stepped section 27 of the same approximate thickness of a flat partition. As table 20 moves forwardly (from left to right in FIG. 2) theleading edge of section 27 contacts the bottom partition of the stack and moves it through a forward opening between the table 20 and guides 26. As the lowermost partition moves forwardly, the remainder of the stack is supported on the upwardly facing surface of section 27.
A pair of pivotable positioning members 30 are engaged and lifted as the partition moves forwardly. As the partitions trailing edge moves past, members 30 drop downwardly to hold the partition against rearward movement as the table is moved back to receive the next successive partition.
Members 30 are located on framework 16 to position successive partitions at the partition erection station adjacent erection assembly 35 and slightly forward of a vertical abutment wall 31.
Abutment wall 31 is mounted by upright legs to table 20 at an elevation such that it will span a collapsed partition positioned by members 30 but will engage and move an expanded partition forwardly as table 20 moves forwardly. Wall 31 is utilized to move expanded partitions forwardly to engage the mandrels of transfer means 42 as the next successive collapsed partition is simultaneously moved forward to be positioned by members 30. The forward position of wall 31 and an expanded partition is shown by dotted lines in FIG. 2, the rearward position being shown by solid lines.
It should be noted that the apparatus discussed above is not essentially new and was therefore not described or illustrated in great detail. The hopper, table, and erection assemblies are shown and described in greater detail in U.S. Pat. No. 3,257,002 granted to Reinhold A. Pearson and William Dewey Rigg on June 2l, 1966.
The principal features of the present invention exist within the elements comprising the transfer means 42 as described in detail below.
Partition transfer means 42 is supported by an upright frame 43 mounted adjacent the front of table to framework 16 and positioned elevationally above conveyor 17. Mandrels 46 of transfer means 42 are operatively mounted thereto for vertical movement between a partition receiving station (FIG. 2) and a partition dispensing station (FIG. 3). This vertical movement is initiated by a double acting pneumatic cylinder 47. A horizontal section 48 of frame 43 rigidly mounts the cylinder body section 50 of cylinder 47 upright with the piston shaft 51 thereof depending vertically downward through frame section 48. The free lower end of shaft 51 is affixed to a horizontal mounting plate 52 for a mandrel pivot assembly 54. Also affixed to plate 52 is a pair of upright guide rods 56. Rods 56 extend upwardly from plate 52 through frame section 48 and a complementary pair of guide bushings 57 to stabilize movement of mandrels 46 along a vertical path.
Mandrel pivot assembly 54 is mounted to the lower surface of plate 52 for selectively pivoting mandrels 46 to a horizontal position at the partition receiving position and to a vertical position prior to movement to the partition dispensing station.
Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, pivot assembly 54 may be seen in detail, mounted between opposed depending brackets 62 which are rigidly affixed at their upper ends to plate 52. A double acting pneumatic cylinder 63 is pivotably mounted between brackets 62 by a trunnioned yoke 65. Cylinder 63 includes a downwardly extending piston shaft 66 which is affixed to a wrist pin 67 intermediate the spaced ends of a U-shaped lever arm 68. A pivot pin 70 extends through arm 68 and brackets 62 to define a horizontal fulcrum axis for vertical pivotal movement of the free closed end of arm 68 in response to action of cylinder 63. The closed end of lever arm 68 is fixed to a rectangular plate 71 which in turn rigidly supports mandrels 46 for pivotal movement therewith.
Mandrels 46 are identical in construction and spaced apart on plate 71 a distance sufficient to allow their insertion into the apertures 13 of an expanded partition 10. Each mandrel includes a set of four elongated flexible strips 72 anchored to plate 71 in a rectangular cross-sectional pattern as shown in FIG. 7. Each strip 72 presents an outwardly facing surface -74 for engaging a corresponding wall of an aperture 13. Each strip 72 further includes an inwardly facing surface 75 to which an inwardly protruding shoulder 76 is secured. A circular tension spring 77 (FIG. 7) is mounted between shoulders 76 and surfaces 75 to normally bias strips 72 inwardly against a vertically movable cam plate 78 of the mandrel expanding assembly.
Cam plate 78 includes radially spaced inclined cam surfaces 81 each engaged by a corresponding inwardly inclined surface 82 of a shoulder 76. The free end of a piston shaft 83 depending vertically from a double acting pneumatic cylinder 85 is affixed to the upper surface of plate 78. Cylinder 85 in turn is rigidly affixed to plate 71. Extension of cylinder 85 forces cam plate 78 downwardly to spread the strips 72 apart. This spread condition of strips 72 facilitates snug engagement of an expanded partition 10 upon insertion of mandrels 46 within apertures 13.
Once mandrels 46 have received and gripped a partition, cylinder 63 is activated to pivot the mandrels downwardly, vertically positioning the gripped partition directly above an empty carton 14. Cylinder 47 is then extended to move the partition downwardly into the carton.
A carton flap spreading mechanism 87 is located in the downward path of the partitions to insure that carton cover flaps 88 will not obstruct free passage of the partition into the carton (FIG. 4). Mechanism 87 comprises a rectangular, open horizontal frame 90 fixed to framework 43 at an elevation above the upper flight of conveyor 17 slightly higher than a carton 14 with its flaps 88 extended upwardly. The sides of frame 90 are horizontally spaced about the vertical path of mandrels 46 to allow free passage of an expanded partition therebetween. Angular plates 91 are pivotably mounted adjacent the inner edge of the frame sides, by hinge sections 92. Plates 91 extend inwardly from hinge sections 92 into the vertical path of a partition 10 engaged by mandrels 46. A tension spring 94 extends between the outward edges of each plate 91 to a respective frame side, thereby biasing plates 91 into the path of downwardly moving partitions 10.
The normal inward bias of springs 94 is overcome as the edges of a downwardly moving partition engage plates 91. Upon such engagement, plates 91 are pivoted down and outwardly to abut and move carton flaps 88 away from the advancing partition.
Operation of the present invention is initiated as cylinder 23 is activated to move table 20 forwardly, bringing a partition from hopper 25 to the partition erection station. Table 20 is automatically returned to receive the next successive partition as a vertical abutment 101 on surface 27 trips a limit switch 102 on frame 16. As the table returns, cylinder 40 is activated to extend and retract, bringing the partition to the erect condition as shown in FIG. 3.
The beam of a photocell 103 is broken as the partition reaches the erect condition, allowing a table forward limit switch 104 to automatically actvate cylinder 23 to bring table forwardly with the next successive partition. As the table moves forward, abutment wall 31 pushes the erect partition onto mandrels 46.
As the erect partition moves onto mandrels 46, the beam of a second photocell 105 is broken, thereby activating cylinders 85 to extend to firmly grip the partition. Photocell 105 also activates cylinder 63 to pivot mandrels 46 and the partition downwardly as the table again reaches the back position.
Once mandrels 46 reach the down position an additional limit switch (not shown) is operated to activate cylinder 47 to lower the partition into a carton waiting below. A return switch 106 on frame 43 is operated as the mandrels reach the down position to release the partition and return the mandrels to an up position.
As the mandrels return to the up position, the next successive erected partition is moved forwardly onto the mandrels and the above described operational cycle is repeated.
Return switch 106 is also utilized to activate a carton stop 108 on conveyor 17 to retract, allowing the conveyor to move the next successive empty carton into position below the mandrels. Stop 108 is extended to position the next carton as the previously loaded carton operates a limit switch 110 mounted to conveyor 17 downstream from stop 108 a distance substantially equal to the length of a carton.
It may become evident from the above description that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the intended scope of the invention. Only the following claims, therefore, are intended to define the invention.
What I claim is:
1. In an apparatus for setting up and placement of collapsible paperboard partitions for bottles or the like comprising:
a rigid supporting framework; a storage hopper mounted on said framework for receiving and storing a stack of collapsed partitions;
partition erection means movably mounted to said framework for selectively gripping and expanding individual partitions;
delivery means on said framework for selectively moving expanded partitions from said erection means in a direction parallel to the partition walls; and
' transfer means on said framework adapted to selectively carry individual expanded partitions, said transfer means including a projecting mandrel member receivable within the apertures separating the walls of an expanded partition;
the improvement comprising:
mandrel mounting means supporting the mandrel member about a pivotal axis for angular movement of the mandrel member between first and second angularly spaced positions relative to said pivotal axis;
and support means on said framework carrying said mandrel mounting means for movement of said pivot axis relative to saidframework along a path between a first location of the mandrel member positioned outwardly adjacent to said delivery means and a second location spaced therefrom.
2. The apparatus as set out in claim 1 further comprising:
first power means operatively connected between said framework and said support means for selectively moving the pivot axis of said mandrel mounting means along said path between said first and second locations.
3. The apparatus as set out in claim 2 further comprising:
second power means operatively connected between said mandrel mounting means and said mandrel member for selectively moving the mandrel member about said pivotal axis between said first and second angularly spaced positions.
4. In an apparatus for setting up and placement of collapsible paperboard partitions for bottles or the like, comprising: i
a rigid supporting framework;
a storage hopper mounted on said framework adapted to receive and'store a stack of collapsed partitions;
partition erection means movably mounted on said framework for selectively gripping and expanding an individual partition;
partition delivery means on said framework for moving each partition from the hopper to said partition erection means and subsequently moving the expanded partitionoutward from the partition erection means; and
transfer means on said framework adapted to carry individual expanded partitions;
the improvement in said tranfer means comprising:
expandable partition insert means movably mounted on said framework for movement between a first position at which said insert means is placed within an expanded partition by operation of said partition delivery means and a second position at which the insert means and expanded partition are 10- catcd within the confines ofa receiving carton supported by said framework;
an upright cylinder mounted to said framework at a position outward from said partition erection means;
said expandable partition insert means comprising a protruding mandrel having a cross-sectional configuration and sides complementary to the open partition spaces or apertures between partition walls;
said mandrel being operatively supported by the upright cylinder assembly for movement relative to said framework in a translational path between a first elevation intersecting the path of movement of an expanded partition when moved outward from the partition erection means by said delivery means and a second elevational position below said first elevational position and intersecting the position of a receiving carton located on said framework.
5. The apparatus set out in claim 4 wherein the mandrel is pivotally mounted relative to the cylinder assembly about a tranverse pivotal axis for movement between angular positions respectively parallel to and angularly spaced from the path of movement of the partition delivery means.
6. The apparatus set out in claim 4 wherein the mandrel is pivotally mounted relative to the cylinder assembly about a transverse pivotal axis for movement between angular positions respectively parallel to and angularly spaced from the path of movement of the partition delivery means;
and power operated means operatively connected between the upright cylinder assembly and the mandrel for selectively pivoting the mandrel about said transverse axis between a first angular position parallel to the direction of movement of the delivery means and an angularly spaced second angular position about said axis.
7. The apparatus set out in claim 4 wherein the mandrel is pivotally mounted relative to the cylinder assembly about a transverse pivotal axis for movement between angular positions respectively parallel to and angularly spaced from the path of movement of the partition delivery means;
and power-operated means operatively connected between the upright cylinder assembly and the mandrel for selectively pivoting the mandrel about said transverse axis between a first angular position parallel to the direction of movement of the delivery means and a second angular position about said axis perpendicular thereto.
8. An apparatus for setting up and placement of collapsible paperboard partitions for bottles or the like, comprising:
a rigid supporting framework;
a storage hopper mounted on said framework adapted to receive and store a stack of collapsed partitions;
partition erection means movably mounted to said framework for selectively gripping and expanding individual partitions;
delivery means on said framework for selectively moving each expanded partition from said erection means in a direction parallel to the partition walls;
transfer means on said framework including a projecting mandrel member receivable within the apertures separating the walls of an expanded partition;
power operated means mounted to said framework and operatively connected to said mandrel member for selectively moving the mandrel member in a translational path between a first elevation outwardly adjacent said delivery means and intersecting the path of movement of an expanded partition and a lowered elevation;
said mandrel member being movably mounted on said framework about a movable transverse axis for angular movement of the mandrel member between a horizontal position facing toward the delivery means when at said first elevation and a downwardly facing vertical position when at said lowered elevation.
9. An apparatus for setting up and placement of collapsible paperboard partitions for bottles and the like, comprising:
a rigid supporting framework;
a storage hopper mounted on said framework adapted to receive and store a stack of collapsed partitions, said hopper being open at its lower end;
reciprocable table means mounted on said framework directly below said hopper adapted to support the partition within the hopper and to selctively shift the lowermost partition from within the hopper to a first location adjacent to said hopper wherein the partition rests upon said table means;
partition erection means movably carried on said framework directly above said first location adapted to selectively grip and expand an individual partition resting upon said table at said first location;
and transfer means on said framework adapted to selectively carry individual expanded partitions;
the improvement in said transfer means comprising:
said gripping means being mounted by said lastnamed means for pivotal movement about a vertically movable transverse axis between a first angular position projecting parallel to said table means and a second angular position about said axis perpendicular to said table means.