US 3823050 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 9, 1974 .4. L-A MERS 3,823,050
' LABEL APPLICAI'OR HEAD Filed Oct. 4, 1971 3 Sheets-Sheet l ji /e5 527 L4 M52:
MZJWM July 9, 1974 Filed Oct. 4, 1971 I-'I.LA Mans 3,823,050
LABEL APPLICATOR HEAD s sheets-shew 5 I N VENTOR.
' Her/seer L4 M525 United States Patent O US. Cl. 156-493 17 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A head for pressing a label against a rounded or other convexly shaped object so that even the extreme side portions of the label are firmly pressed down, including a flexible blanket whose forward face supports the label and a pair of resilient columns extending rearwardly from opposite sides of the blanket. As the head with a label thereon is thrust forward against a convex object and the blanket begins wrapping onto the object, the sides of the blanket begin moving towards one another and cause the forward ends of the columns to bend inwardly to wards each other, so they can press the sides of the blanket hard towards the object to firmly press the label sides against the object. As the head is withdrawn from the object, the bent columns tend to unwrap the blanket to thereby minimize sliding contact of the blanket with the label that could result in frictional removal of the label.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Reference is made to my related copending patent applications, Ser. No. 756,651, now US. Pat. No. 3,661,625 and Ser. No. 89,492, filed Nov. 13, 1970.
This invention relates to apparatus for applying labels to objects.
Labels can be applied to packages and other objects by a plunger that carries a label to the object and presses it thereon. Where the object has a convex surface, as in the case of typical soda bottles, difficulties have often been encountered in pressing all label portions firmly against the object. Sponge rubber plunger heads have been utilized that readily conform to the convex surface of the object. However, where there is considerable wrapping of the label on the object, the sponge rubber may not apply a large force to the extreme sides of the label in a direction normal to the object surface thereat. Furthermore, as the sponge rubber head is withdrawn from the object after having applied a label to it, the sides of the head tend to slide along the label. This can lead to removal of the label or wrinkling of it. In order to prevent such results, several strikings may be made of the label against the object. The first strike applies the label gently, while subsequent strikes, or post compressions, are employed as the glue is drying to press the label firmly against the object. A plunger head that could apply a label against a convex object in a manner that firmly pressed even highly wrapped side portions of the label against the object, and whichdid not tend to shift or wrinkle the label during plunger withdrawal, would enable the construction of more economical and reliable label application machinery.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a simple plunger head is provided that can smoothly and progressively wrap a label onto a convex object, pressing even the extreme side portions of the label hard against the object, and which withdraws from the object in a manner that avoids sliding movement relative to the label so as to avoid label shifting or wrinkling even when the label adhesive is still moist. The head includes a flexible blanket with a forward face for "ice supporting a label and wrapping it onto the object. The head also includes a pair of resilient columns extending rearwardly from opposite sides of the blanket. As the blanket encounters an object and begins wrapping onto it, the sides of the blanket are drawn towards one another and they bend the forward ends of the columns inwardly, towards one another. As the extreme sides of the blanket reach the object and press the label against it, the highly deflected columns apply a considerable inwardly-directed force component that presses the blanket sides hard against the object. As the plunger begins to withdraw from the object, the resilient columns force the blanket to unwrap, and therefore the blanket does not slide along the label.
In one plunger head, the blanket end columns are formed as a single member of rubber or other elastic material. The rearward column portions are thick and fixed in place on the plunger, while the front column portions are tapered in thickness with the thinnest section located immediately behind the blanket. This assures that the forward ends of the columns will be bent to a large angle so they can apply a large force component to the label sides in a direction perpendicular to the object surface thereat.
In order to hold a label on the plunger head as it travels towards the object, the forward blanket surface has a recess that can be coupled to a vacuum source. In one plunger head, a vacuum conduit is formedin the column portions that support opposite sides of the blanket, to couple the recess in the blanket to a vacuum source on the plunger. In another plunger head, a collapsible column extends rearwardly from a center portion of the blanket to couple the recess to a vacuum source. The collapsible column can help stiffen the center portion of the blanket in applications where stiffening is desirable.
The novel features of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention will be best understood from the following description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of a labeling machine constructed in accordance with the invention, shown at the beginning of a label applying operation;
FIG. 2 is a view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 showing a plunger carrying the label towards the object;
FIG. 3 is a view of the apparatus of FIG. 1, showing the plunger pressing a label against the object;
FIG. 4 is a view of the apparatus of FIG. 1, showing the plunger withdrawn from the object.
FIG. 5 is a highly simplified top perspective view of a plunger head constructed in accordance with the invention, prior to application of a label to a convex object;
FIG. 6 is a top view of the apparatus of FIG. 5 during the application of a label, at a time when the label is only partially applied;
FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6, shown at a time when the label is fully applied to the object;
FIG. 8 is a highly simplified view of a plunger head constructed in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 9 is a view of the apparatus of FIG. 8, shown during application of a label to a convex object;
FIG. 10 is a view of the apparatus of FIG. 8, shown during wrapping of a lable onto a largely rectangular object;
FIG. 11 is a partial plan view of the forward portion of a plunger, showing a plunger head constructed in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the plunger head in the apparatus of FIG. 11;
FIGS. 13 and 14 are plan views of two other embodiments of the invention which have notched columns to facilitate bending at the forward columns portions;
FIG. 15 is a sectional view of a labeling head constructed in accordance with another embodiment of the invention, wherein vacuum conduits extend through the column portions; and
FIG. 16 is a plan view of a labeling head constructed in accordance with still another embodiment of the invention, which utilizes a pair of auxiliary center columns.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIGS. 1-4 illustrate a method for applying labels to bottles 12, utilizing a plunger 14 with a head 16 constructed in accordance with the invention. For purposes of definition, and as shown in FIGS. 1-4, each label has certain predetermined dimensions and is of a certain predetermined shape. When hereinafter referring to column or support spacing, the predetermined dimension of a label is the longest dimension which can be taken across a label and generally extending between such columns or supports when a label is supported on a head 16. The bottles 12, having a circumference or a girth (as in the case of either cylindrical or non-cylindrical containers), are supported on a platform 18 and are moved by a screw conveyor 20 that momentarily stops the bottles at a location opposite the plunger 14. The plunger is thrust forward to punch a label 10 out of a web 22 and carry the label to the bottle 12. The label surface facing the bottle has been previously covered with glue so that it will stick to the bottle when pressed thereagainst. When the head 16 of the plunger contacts the bottle 12, the head is deformed by the bottle surface so as to progressively press all portions of the label 10 firmly against the bottle. The plunger then withdraws from the bottle and out of the hole in the web 22 from which the label was removed. The conveyor then moves the next bottle to a position opposite the plunger 14 while the web 22 moves down, so that the next label region thereon is opposite the plunger.
The surface of the bottle 12 which receives the label is of cylindrical form, and therefore the plunger head must deform to a cylindrical shape in order to press all portions of the label firmly against the bottle. The effective pressing of the extreme side portions 10s of the labels has heretofore been difficult, because this requires the application of large pressing forces normal to the bottle surface at the label sides 10s. Where the label wraps 180 about the bottle, the required forces at the extreme label sides 10s are perpendicular to the direction of plunger movement towards and away from the bottle. Heretofore, plungers have been able to apply large forces only in a direction parallel to their movement, so that only a small force component normal to the bottled surface could be applied at the sides of the labels where they wrap considerably about the bottle or other convex object. Furthermore, in prior art plunger heads, the head tended to slide along the sides of the label as it was withdrawn from the bottle, and therefore the plunger could wrinkle the label sides or even remove them. In accordance with the present invention, a plunger head is provided which can apply large normal forces towards all regions of an object surface even for a large included angle of label wrap, and which does not tend to slide along the label so as to wrinkle or remove it as the plunger withdraws from the object.
FIG. 5 illustrates a highly simplified plunger 26 for applying labels to a cylindrical object 28 which represents the middle portion of a typical soda bottle. The head includes a blanket 30 and a pair of column-like supports 32, 34 for supporting the blanket on a plunger mount 36. The columns 32, 34 have forward ends pivotally joined at 36, 38 to opposite sides of the blanket 30, and have rearward ends fixed to brackets 40, 42 on the plunger mount to prevent relative rotation of the rearward column ends relative to the mount. Both columns 32, 34 are constructed of resilient material while the blanket 30 is constructed of a flexible material that may also be resilient.
As the plunger head 26 is thrust forward and the blanket 30 begins wrapping about the object 28, as shown in FIG. 6, the distance between the opposite sides of the blanket at 36, 38 decreases. This causes the forward ends of the columns 32, 34 to move inwardly towards each other to cause bending of the columns. The columns 32, 34 continue moving forward as they are bending, so that they continue to press the blanket 30 hard against the object 28 and cause it to wrap progressively further about the object.
When the plunger has been thrust forward to a predetermined maximum distance, the plunger head has the configuration shown in FIG. 7. All portions of the blanket 30, including its extreme sides, are wrapped onto the object 28. The columns 32, 34 are deflected in the manner shown, so that the forward column portions 44, 46 extend with a large directional component parallel to imaginary lines 48, 50 which are normal to the object surface at the extreme sides of the blanket. The columns 32, 34 can apply large forces in directions along their lengths, even when they are bent. Accordingly, the forward end portions 44, 46 of the columns can apply large force components normal to the areas of the object surface at the sides of the blanket 30, to thereby firmly press side portions of a label against the object. As the plunger head 26 withdraws from the object 28, the bent columns 32, 34 tend to straighten and therefore pull apart the sides of the blanket 30. This assures that the blanket unwraps from the object so there is no sliding contact of the blanket with the label it has just applied, and therefore the blanket will not tend to drag ofi side portions of the label, which can cause wrinkling.
The head with a column-supported blanket is useful in a variety of label applying machines to assure firm pressing of all portions of a highly wrapped label, without wrinkling, during plunger withdrawal. However, this head is especially useful in the machine shown in FIGS. 14 wherein the plunger head is thrust through a web to punch out a label that it carries to the object. The plunger head should be stiff during its thrust through the web so as to cleanly break out a label. The use of columns to support a blanket provides a head which is stiff during label punch out, inasmuch as the columns 32, 34 are more resistant to collapse prior to their forward ends being toed inwardly by the wrapping of the blanket about a convex object. In order for the columns to bend in a collapsing-column manner, wherein they can be bent by a moderate side force applied at their outer ends and can apply a large force along their length even when bent, the columns should have an appreciable length-to-thickness ratio. Generally, the column length should be more than twice its minimum thickness.
The use of long uniformly slender columns 32, 34 can sometimes result in shifting of the blanket 30. For example, a relatively low force could deflect the head to the position 26a indicated in phantom lines in FIG. 5. Furthermore, the long slender columns exhibit large deflection along a considerable portion of their length near the end of forward plunger movement, which can cause the creation of large vibrations as the plunger is rapidly withdrawn from the object. FIG. 8 illustrates a plunger head 54 constructed in accordance with another embodiment of the invention, which utilizes a pair of columnlike supports 56, 58 to support the blanket 60, wherein each of the columns 56, 58 is tapered in thickness so it has a smaller thickness at its forward end than at its rearward end. The forward end portions 62, 64 are made thin enough and the material is resilient enough that the column can readily deflect to the orientation shown in FIG. 9 when wrapping the blanket about an object 66. At the extreme forward position of the plunger, the columns 56, 58 are bent along their entire length, but the rearward portions are only slightly bent and the forward portions 62, 64 are high bent. The forward portions 62, 64 bend sufliciently that they extend in a direction almost normal to the surface regions of the object 66 towards which they press, so they can apply a large force to a label held by the blanket 60 in a direction to firmly press the label against the object. The thicker rearward portions of the columns 56, 58 helps to more accurately fix the the sideward position of the blanket 60 in spite of any sidewardly deflecting forces. The thicker rearward portions of the columns also result in large deflections only at the most forward column portions so that there is a minimum of shock and vibrations when the plunger is suddenly withdrawn from the object and the columns straighten.
The use of column-like supports for a label-carrying blanket enables firm pressure to be applied for a variety of object surfaces and for very large degree of label wrap on the object. FIG. illustrates a plunger head 70 wraping a label about an object 72 of substantially square cross section, and wrapping the label onto four sides of the object. The extreme side portions of the label are actually pressed against the object in a direction opposite to the direction of forward plunger movement. The column members 74, 76 can deflects so that their forward end portions 78, 80 rotate more than ninety degrees from their original undeflected position, and therefore can apply large forces along their length in a direction that presses the side labels portions against the rear surface of the object. If desired, a label that wraps 360 degrees about an object can be applied by a plunger head of the invention. Of course, the width of the blanket 82 and height of the columns must be chosen so as to enable such a large wrap, but a large wrap can be employed to apply highly wrapped labels in a single pressing operation.
FIGS. 11 and 12 illustrate details of the plunger head 16 previously described in connection with FIGS. 1-4. The plunger head 16 is constructed of an elastic material such as rubber and has column-like side supports 90, 92 integral with a strap or blanket 94. The plunger head is constructed with a forward label-engaging face 96 that is designed to employ a vacuum to securely hold a label while carrying it to the object. To this end, the blanket 94 has a recess 98 in its forward face, and has several apertures 100 in communication with the recess for connection to a source of vacuum, or partial pressure. Nu: merous islands 102 extend forward from the bottom of the recess to support a label while permitting distribution of the partial pressure throughout the recess. The plunger includes a head mount 104 w ith a pair of brackets 106 that engage inwardly extending portions 108, 110 formed at the rearward ends of the column-like members 90, 92 of the head. Three collapsible members 112 extend between the mount 104 and a central portion of the blanket 96. Each of the collapsible members 112 has a conduit 114 formed therein that is coupled to one of the vacuum holes 100 in the blanket. A flexible pipe 116 which has a rearward end connected to a vacuum source, extends through the mount 104 and is coupled to the conduits 114 of the collapsible members 112.
Each of the column-like side supports 90, 92 has a thick rearward portion 118, a thin forward end portion 120 and a middle portion 122. The middle portion 122 is tapered in thickness between the forward and rearward portions so that it has sections of progressively decreasing thicknesses at locations progressively further forward therealong. Even though the forward portion 120 is of small length, it can bend considerably so as to extend nearly perpendicular to an object surface portion when the blanket 94 is highly wrapped upon the object. The
tapered center portion 122 provides a smooth transition between the thick rear portion 118 and the forward portion 120, and the center portion 122 deflects inwardly to a considerable extent so that the forward portions 120 can be brought closer together as the blanket wraps onto an object. The relatively thick rearward portions 118 and much of the tapered center portions 122 are thick enough to resist large sideward swaying or deflection in spite of vibrations or small sideward forces that may be applied.
The collapsible members 112 serve not only to connect a vacuum source to the blanket 94 but also help to stiffen the center of the blanket. Such stiffening can be helpful in the case of plunger heads that must be thrust through a web, as in the case of the machine of FIGS. l-4. Of course, the collapsible members 112 should readily collapse when they meet the object to which the label is applied. The collapsible members 112 have numerous grooves 123 spaced along their lengths so that small diameter portions are provided that can readily collapse, and yet larger diameter portions are provided to resist unpredictable deflections of the collapsible members when they are highly collapsed.
FIGS. 13 and 14 illustrate two other plunger heads, showing two other ways in which the column-like side supports can be formed to enable large bending near their forward ends. The head of FIG. 13 has notches 132 near the forward ends of each column-like side support to facilitate bending near the forward ends. The head of FIG. 14 has very deep cuts 142 near the forward ends of the column-like side supports to facilitate bending.
FIG. 15 illustrates another plunger head, somewhat similar in shape to the head of FIGS. 11 and 12, but wherein conduits 150, 152 are formed along the columns 154, 156. These conduits extend along the center of the columns and have forward ends 158 coupled to the recess 160 in the blanket 162. The conduits also have rearward ends 164 coupled to a pipe arrangement 166 that leads to a vacuum source. This head arrangement is particularly useful where stiffening of the center portion of the blanket 162 is not required or is even undesirable.
FIG. 16 illustrates still another plunger head 170 which is similar to the plunger head of FIGS. 11 and 12, except that a column structure 172 is provided which collapses in a bending mode instead of in simple compression, as occurs in the case of the collapsible members 112 of FIG. 11. The column structure 172 has a slot 174 extending therethrough between its forward and rearward ends to divide the structure into two bendably-collapsible columns 176, 178. Each of the columns 176, 178 has a conduit extending therethrough whose forward end is coupled to an aperture in the blanket of the head and whose rearward end is coupled to a vacuum source. When the head 170 presses against a convex object, the column structure 172 collapses so that the columns 176, 178 bow out to the positions 176a, 178a. The column structure 172 provides a high initial stiffness to the blanket 180 so that the blanket 180 can punch through a web to break out a label, with a minimum of head deflection. However, when the plunger head 170 presses against the bottle or other object to be labeled and the columns 176, 178 of the structure begin to bow outwardly, they greatly decrease in stiffness. This allows the center portion of the blanket 180 to be easily deflected rearwardly with respect to the rest of the head. Thus, the center of the blanket is stiif during label breakout when it is desirable for it to be stiff, and yet the center of the blanket is easily depressible during most of the wrap onto the object when it is desirable for it to be easily depressible.
To further clarify the apparatus of the invention and as shown in the drawings, the column-like supports, or in other words the flexible supports which are attached to and extend rearwardly from the flexible label engaging blanket, are essentially free-standing at their forward ends and thus are not generally supported along their outer surfaces approximate their forward ends. In spite of this, and as shown in the drawings and particularly in FIGS. 9 and 10, the flexible supports do not generally collapse outwardly as the blanket is wrapped about an article, but rather bend inwardly, this action facilitating the application of force by the blanket to the label. Also, as shown in FIG. 3, when a plunger head 16 is used to apply a label to a container or article having a chord longer than the spacing between the flexible supports, the supports are free to bow away from each other at their forward ends in order to wrap the blanket around the article, unfettered by any external support at those ends.
Thus, the invention provides apparatus for firmly pressing a label against a generally convex surface, in a manner that applies large normal pressing forces to side portions of the label that are highly wrapped about the object. Furthermore, the apparatu produces a minimum of sliding with respect to the side portions of the label during withdrawal of the head, so as to minimize wrinkling or other damage to the label. This is accomplished by employing a label engaging member such as one in the form of a blanket or strap for facewise engagement with a label so as to wrap with the label about the convex surface. The label engaging member need not be thin, but it must be flexible enough so that side portions of it can deflect with directional components towards each other so as to substantially conform to the convexity of the object to wrap a label onto the object. The apparatus also includes support members which can apply forces to opposite sides of the blanket or other label engaging member, with the forces having directional components towards each other to press the blanket sides largely in a direction normal to surfaces about which the sides of the blanket are highly wrapped. The supports furthermore are constructed to pull the sides of the blanket away from each other as the blanket unwraps from the object, so that neither side of the blanket slides along the blanket, thereby minimizing any tendency to pull off the label as the plunger is withdrawn from the object. Column-like members are suitable for such supports because they can bend so as to extend perpendicular or largely perpendicular to the object at regions where the label is highly wrapped, and because such column-like members can apply large forces in directions along their length even when highly bent, so as to push the sides of the blanket with large forces normal to the surface of the object. The columns are preferably thin at their forward ends and thicker along portions rearward from the forward ends, so that the more rearward portions need bend only a small amount while the sides of the blanket move towards each other, while the extreme forward end portions of the columns can bend to a high degree so as to achieve an orientation largely normal to the surface of the object towards which they push. The apparatus allows labels to be firmly applied to containers or other stiff objects in a single operation, even where the labels are highly wrapped about the objects. While label applying heads are described which are useful for applying labels to simple convex surfaces such as cylinders, the heads of the invention can be used for applying labels to compoundly curved surfaces such as spheres. In such cases, labels which can stretch may be used, and the head can employ addition supports at other edge portions of the blanket.
Although particular embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated herein, it is recognized that modifications and variations may readily occur to those skilled in the art and, consequently, it is intended that the claims be interpreted to cover such modifications and equivalents.
What is claimed is:
1. A label applying head having a forward end and comprising:
a member constructed of elastic material, said member including a blanket portion with a forward face for supporting a label and with opposite sides, said member also including a pair of column portions, one column portion extending rearwardly from each side of said blanket portion, the length of each column portion being at least twice its minimum thickness, each of said column portions having a forward end region that has a plurality of sections of progressively decreasing thickness at locations progressively nearer said blanket portion, and said label applying head being freestanding at said forward end.
2. The label applying head described in Claim 1 wheresaid forward face of said blanket portion has a recess;
at least one of said column portions has a passageway extending therealong, said passageway including a forward end opening into said recess to apply a vacuum thereto and a rearward end for connection to a vacuum source.
3. The label applying head described in Claim 1 ineluding:
at least one auxiliary column member constructed of elastic material and having a forward end disposed against a center region of said blanket portion and a rearward end; and
a head mount supporting said rearward end of said auxiliary column member and the rearward ends of said pair of column portions.
4. Apparatus for pressing a label firmly against a convex object comprising:
label engaging means for thrusting a label in a forward direction through a prepared label supporting web to remove the label and thrust it against an object to be labeled,
said label engaging means having a freestanding forward end and a surface for facewise engagement with a label, said surface having a center portion and opposite side portions and being flexible so that it can wrap onto said object with its side portions deflecting with directional components toward each other,
support means connected at forward ends thereof to 0p posite side portions of said label engaging means and having substantial directional components of motion toward and away from each other, for supporting said la'bel engaging means and for carrying said side portions toward and away from each other as said label engaging means wraps onto and off from said object, whereby said label engaging means wraps a label firmly about a convex object and then said label engaging means unwraps from the object as it withdraws therefrom to avoid dragging off side portions of the label, and
said support means including resilient column members extending rearwardly from said side portions of said label engaging means, each column member having a forward end portion with a plurality of sections of progressively decreasing thickness at locations progresively further forward therealong, whereby to encourage progressively greater inward bending along said forward column portions.
5. A label applying head adapted to pass through a label carrying web, detach a label therefrom and apply the label to an object, the head comprising a flexible blanket having a forward face for supporting a label and with a central portion disposed between two opposite side portions,
a resilient support column extending rearwardly of said blanket from each of said opposite side portions to a head supporting means, and
a resilient means connected between said central por' tion of said blanket and said head supporting means for supporting the central portion of said blanket during label detachment from a label carrying web and for thereafter at least partially deforming when said blanket engages an object to be labeled.
6. A label applying head as in Claim including apertures in said forward face of said blanket and means connecting said apertures with a vacuum source for maintaining a label on said forward face, said means including a conduit through said resilient means.
7. A deformable label engaging head for detaching a label from a supporting web and applying the label to an object comprising,
a flexible label engaging element having a forward face with a center portion and respective side portions,
first flexible supporting column means connected to said element at each of said side portions and extending rearwardly from said face, the element and forward portions of said first supporting means being freestanding,
second flexible means connected to said center portion and extending rearwardly from said face,
rearward support means for said head, said first and second flexible means being connected to said rearward support means,
a vacuum source, and
a conduit means within said second flexible means for providing a vacuum to the face of said label engaging element for maintaining a label thereon.
'8. A label engaging head as in Claim 7 adapted to extend through a label conveying web and to detach a label therefrom and carry it to a product, and
wherein said flexible label engaging element is deformable upon contact with a product to conform said label to the shape of said product.
9. A label engaging head as in Claim 8 wherein said second flexible means supports the center portion of said label engaging element when a label is detached from said web and is collapsible when said label engaging element and a label thereon engages a product.
10. A labeling machine as in Claim 8 including a forwardly facing recess in said element,
means connecting said recess to a vacuum source for establishing a vacuum in said recess, and
label supporting islands projecting forwardly from the bottom of said recess whereby a label is supported on said islands and said element, and is held on said element by said vacuum upon removal from said web.
11. Apparatus for wrapping labels about articles and comprising,
a flexible component having a forward face with at least two sides, and
flexible supporting means attached to and extending rearwardly of said flexible component at said sides to form a label applicator which is freestanding at a forward end thereof,
said flexible supporting means having a predetermined resistance to bending which varies along the length thereof from a lesser resistance to bending at points of attachment to said flexible component to a greater resistance to bending rearwardly such that said supporting means have substantial components of motion toward each other and are operable to carry said sides of said flexible component and said label forcibly toward and against said article when said face and said label are pressed against said article.
12. Apparatus for applying labels to objects and comprising,
a flexible component having a forward label engaging surface and a uniform thickness throughout,
flexible supporting means having a minimum thickness and being attached to said flexible component so as to extend rearwardly of said forward face,
said uniform thickness of said component being less than the minimum thickness of said flexible suppporting means,
said flexible supporting means having a resistance to bending which varies throughout from a lesser resistance to bending at points of attachment to said 10 flexible component to a greater resistance to bending rearwardly.
13. Apparatus for applying labels to objects said apparatus comprising,
a flexible label engaging component on a forward end of said apparatus and having a forward label engaging surface adapted for wrapping a label around an object to be labeled,
said label engaging surface having at least two edges,
flexible supporting means being attached at forward ends thereof to said component proximate said edges respectively so as to form intersections with said component, and extending rearwardly thereof,
said flexible supporting means having respective outer surfaces and a minimum thickness and being twice as long as said minimum thickness,
said flexible supporting means having a predetermined resistance to bending which varies along the length of said flexible supporting means from a lesser resistance to bending adjacent said intersections to a greater resistance to bending rearwardly such that said outer surfaces have components of motion toward each other when said component wraps a label around an object and are operable to carry said flexible component and said label forcibly toward and against said object, and
said apparatus being freestanding at said forward end.
14. A label applying head comprising:
a freestanding forward end including a flexible component having a forward surface for engaging a label, said surface having at least two peripheral portions, and
flexible supporting columns respectively attached to each of said peripheral portions and extending rearwardly from said surface, each of said columns having a minimum thickness and a resistance to bending which varies throughout a columns length from a predetermined resistance to bending at said forward end to a greater resistance to bending rearwardly.
1.5. A label applying head as in Claim 14 wherein each of said columns is thinner at its forward end than at its rearward end and is at least twice as long as its minimum thickness.
16. Apparatus for pressing a label against an object COmPIlSlng a flexible blanket having a forward face for supporting a label and with opposite sides,
a resilient support column extending rearwardly from each of said opposite sides,
a recess in said blanket,
means connecting said recess to a vacuum source for establishing a vacuum in said recess, and
label supporting projections extending from a bottom of said recess whereby a label is supported on said islands and said blanket and is held thereon by said vacuum.
17. A labeling machine for applying precut labels carried in an elongated web comprising:
an object conveyor for moving objects to be labeled;
plunger means having a forward face, said plunger means mounted for movement toward and away from objects on said conveyor so that said forward face can press labels against said objects; and
label conveying means interposed between at least one of said objects and said plunger means for carrying labels to a position adjacent said plunger so that said labels are received on said forward face of said plunger when said plunger is actuated to pass through said label conveying means toward said object to detach a label from said label conveying means and apply it to an object;
said plunger having a flexible blanket with a forward surface defining said forward face, and having a pair of resilient supports extending rearwardly from opness,
posite sides of said blanket, each support having a length at least twice as great as its minimum thick- References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Thomsen 156-518 X Randolph 156-517 X Carter 156-493 Schmidt 156-444 Rohbogner 156-250 12 Carter 156-566 Gohlfennen 156-493 Brown. Marquette 156-49'3 Beserner 156-572 Phin et a1.
Manas 156-568 Carter 156-492 Holstein 156-476 Carter et a1 156-482 Bliss 156-230 US. Cl. X.R.