US 3823809 A
Apparatus for handling relatively soft articles such as freshly molded bars of soap effects transfer of the soap bars, as to a wrapping machine, by a system wherein each soap bar in turn is picked up by a suction device from an incoming conveyor and deposited in spaced relation on another conveyor, and another suction device picks up each spaced bar in turn and delivers it to a wrapping station. During the entire transfer between the incoming conveyor and the wrapping station movement of each soap bar is accomplished without mechanical gripping or sliding of the bar along guide surfaces.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 191 Henry et al.
[111 3,823,809 [451 July 16, 1974 ARTICLE TRANSFER  Inventors: Marcel Henry, Les Chenes-Ermont;
Andre Malatray, Bois-DArcy, both of France  Assignee: Colgate-Palmolive Company, New
22 Filed: Jan. 6, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 215,773
u  Foreign Application Priority Data -...T J UJJ QZL FIBE:.'11:: v
 [1.8. C1 198/25, 214/1 BV  Int. Cl. B65g 47/100  Field of Search 214/1 BV, 1 BD; 198/20 R, 198/25, 103, 179
 References Cited 6/1968 Benatar 214/1 B UX 5/1972 Harris 198/25 Primary Examiner-Edward A. Sroka Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Strauch, Nolan, Neale, Nies & Kurz 57 ABSTRACT Apparatus for handling relatively soft articles such as freshly molded bars of soap effects transfer of the soap bars, as to a wrapping machine, by a system wherein each soap bar in turn is picked up by a suction device from an incoming conveyor and deposited in spaced relation on another conveyor, and another suction device picks up each spaced bar in turn and delivers it to a wrapping station. During the entire transfer between the incoming conveyor and the wrapping station movement of each soap bar is accomplished without I mechanical gripping or sliding of the bar along guide surfaces.
aim m PAIENTEDJUL 1 81914 SHEEIBUFB mm m I q 3.823.809
saw a are l ARTICLE TRANSFER This invention relates to the efficient and damagefree handling and transfer of relatively soft articles, particularly articles that are subject to deformation or surface marking.
In its preferred embodiment the invention will be disclosed for transferring individual articles, such as relatively soft cakes or bars of soap, detergent or the like, between operational stations in a forming and packaging system. More specifically the invention will be disclosed for the handling of these soap or like bars being transferred to a packaging station such as in the ma chine disclosed in Billi U.S. Pat. N0.'3,338,026.
As disclosed in the Billi patent, a soap or like bar entering the machine is usually placed on an endless conveyor that delivers bars in spaced timed relation to a rotary transfer unit that in turn disposes each bar in operative relation to a wrapping station where the bar is wrapped in one or more sheets of paper and moved on for final handling. In machines of the type disclosed in said patent, and indeed in soap wrapping and like ma chines known to applicant, each soap bar is subjected to mechanical gripping and/or sliding over stationary guide surfaces both during deposit on the conveyor and pick-up and transfer by the rotary unit. This mechanical handling has created problems of soap deformation and surface marring that are particularly evident in the handling of relatively soft so -called superfatted soaps and in high speed systems where the soap bar is delivered to the wrapping station as soon as possible after pressing and may still be so relatively warm and soft as to be vulnerable to deformation.
It is the major object of the invention to eliminate the foregoing difficulties.
A further object of the invention is to provide a novel apparatus and method for the damage-free transfer of relatively soft soap or like bars as at a wrapping station, wherein the soap surface is not subjected to mechanical gripping or sliding along guide surfaces during transfer.
Further objects of the invention will appear in connection with the disclosure including the appended drawings and the annexed claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS FIG. 4 is an enlarged generally perspective view showing apparatus for picking up soap from the feed conveyor and delivering it to the'wrapping station;
FIG. 4A is a side elevation showing the control-cam for the suction head of FIG. 4;
FIG. 5 is a longitudinal section through the suction control valve at the apparatus of either FIG. 3 or FIG. 4;
FIG. 6is a section substantially at line 6-6 of FIG. 5 and showing control passages according to F IG; 3;
. FIG. 7 is a section substantially at line 7--7 of FIG.
FIG. 8 is a generally perspective view of the stationary valve member, showing port and passage detail; v
FIG. 9 is a section like FIG. 6 but showing control passages according to FIG. 4;
FIG. 10 is a section through the machine including the apparatus of FIG. '4, showing the structural relation between the various cams and'parts operated thereby in the assembly;
FIG. 11 is a fragmentary side elevation showing suction head details in FIG. 3; 7
FIG. .12 is asection substantially on line FIG. 11;
FIG. 13, 14 and 15 are diagrammatic side elevations showing three different operational phases of the apparatus of FIG. 4;
FIG. 16 is a substantially plan view showing further detail of the bucket and suction head assemblies of FIG. 4;
FIGS. 17, 18, and 19 are diagrammatic side views showing different relative operational positions of the suction head and bucket in the apparatus of FIG. 4;
FIG. 20 is a generally perspective view showing a dual suction head pick-up;
FIG. 21 is a diagrammatic view showing control phases of the suction head of the apparatus of FIG. 3; and
12l2 in FIG. 22 is a diagrammatic view showing control phase of the suction head of the apparatus of FIG. 4.
PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The invention will be described for its'preferred embodiment as incorporated in a soap bar wrapping system such as disclosed in said Billi patent. Referring to the diagrammatic showing at FIG. 1 the invention comprises essentially a first rotary suction head pick-up sta-.
FIG. I is a diagrammatic view illustrating the nature I of a preferred application of the wrapping machine;
FIG. 2 is a generally perspective view illustrating detail as to the preferred embodiment;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged generally perspective view showing apparatus for picking up the soap from an input conveyor and transferring it to a feed conveyor;
invention to a soap FIG. 3A is a side elevation of a control cam for the suction head in FIG. 3;
tion 11 for transferring each soap bar B in succession from-an incoming conveyor 12 to an endless belt feed conveyor 13 where the top flight exhibits compartments evenly spacing the bars therealong, and a second rotary suction head pick-up station 14 for extracting soap bars in succession from the feed conveyor and delivering them into thew'rapping station at 15. In practice the incoming and feed conveyors and the actual wrapping mechanism are preferably of substantially the same structure and disposition as disclosed in the Billipatent and the invention is essentially concerned with transferring the soap bars therebetween.
FIG. 2 shows the transfer apparatus of FIG. 1 in more detail. Each soap bar B entering on conveyor 12 arrives in turn at a position adjacent stop 16, and at station 11 is picked up by asuction head unit 17 carried by a rotating drum-18. There are three equally spaced units 17 carried by drum l8, and only one is shown for clarity of disclosure. Drum 18 is vertical, being suitably rotated by power drive means (not shown) to continuously turn about a fixed horizontal axis. On its front face drum 18 has affixed three equidistantly spaced projections 19 for mounting the suction head units 17.
Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, each unit 17 comprises a bracket 21 secured on a projection 19 as by a bolt 22. A shallow groove 23 in the surface of bracket 21 seats a bar 24 that'(FIG. 12) has a cylindrical section 25 extending beyond the end of bracket 21 to pivotally mount the hub 26 of a lever unit 27 that comprises an arm 28 extending from hub 26 to support a cam follower roller 29. Another arm 31 (FIG. 11) on the lever unit 27 extends at right angles to arm 28 to connect hub 26 rigidly to an intermediate portion of a lever 32 which at one end is apertured at 33 to mount a suction cup assembly 34. At its other end lever 32 is engaged by the end of an adjustment bolt 35 that extends through an opening in a plate 36 fixed to bar 34 as by a screw '37 (FIG. 3). A tension spring 38 is connected at opposite ends to plate 36 and lever 32, and an adjustable nut 39 is mounted on the threaded end and bolt 35 in abutment with plate 36.
Thus, in the assembly, the suction head unit is pivotallymounted on the pivot 25 that is fixed on drum 18 and is parallel to the axis of rotation of drum 18. Adjustment by nut 39 may vary the normal angular position of lever 32 and therefore the suction head unit relative to drum 18, nd the adjustment is maintained by spring 38. Holding screw 27 has its lower end extending into a selected one ofa number of threaded bores (not shown) in the bottom of groove 23, whereby the bar 24 and therefore the suction head unit as a whole may be adjusted toward or away from drum 18.
The suction cup assembly 34 comprises a flexible rubber cup 41 adapted to engage the soapb ar- (FIG. 3),
-the interior of the cup being connected by an internal passage to a conduit section 42 coupledto a flexible hose 43. Hose 43 is connected to a valve assembly 44 that cyclically controls the application of suction to cup 41.
Referring to FIGS. 3 and -8 the valve assembly 44 comprises a central cylindrical member 45 that is pro vided at one end with an enlarged head 46. At theother end member 45' is formed with a reduced diameter threaded mounting section 47 and a suction conduit attachment nipple 48. Valve member 45 is fixed to an upright 49 rigid with the machine frame 51. The reduced end of member 45 extends through an opening 52 (FIG. 5) in upright 49 until shoulder 53 abuts the upright, and a holding nut 54 is mounted on threaded section 47.
A cylindrical annular valve barrel 55 is rotatably mounted on valve member 45. As shown in FIG. 5, the outer diameter of barrel 55 is equal to the diameter of valve head 46, and the adjacent flat smooth annular axially facing surfaces 56 and 57 of the head and barrel are in rotative sliding contactin a plane. The other annular end. surface 58 of barrel 55 is in smooth sliding contact with the adjacent planar surface 59 of the upright, whereby rotatable barrel 55 is axially fixed on member 45.-
As shown in FIG. 2, a post 61 is fixed centrally of drum 18 and it projects horizontally toward valve assembly 44.-At its outer end post 61 has'secured thereto a bifurcated arm 62 embracing a pin 63 projecting radially from barrel 55. In the assembly drum l8,'post'6l tion of drum 18.
Barrel 55 (FIG. 6) is formed with three equiangularly spaced radial ports 64 all opening-into its inner periphcry and all having threaded outer bores 65 for mounting a fitting 66 (FIG. 5) adapted for connection to the other end of a flexible conduit 43 (FIG. 3) from one of the suction heads on drum 18. The axes of ports 64 lie in a plane normal to the axis of rotation ofbarrel 55 and about centrally along the barrel.
As shown in FIG. 5, stationary valve member 45 is centrally formed with a blind bore 67 closed at the end near head 46 and open through nipple 4 8. Bore 67 extends at least through the plane containing the axes of 'ports'64. Referring to FIGS. 6 and 8, the surface of valve member 45 is formed with two circumferentially spaced but circumferentially aligned grooves 68 and 69 of different-length. At opposite ends of the longer groove 68 radial ports 71 and 72 extend from that groove into bore 67. Preferably the angularspacing of the axes of ports 71 and 72 is about The smaller groove 69 is formed intermediate its ends with a sidewall recess 74 that extends to a longitudinalrecess 75 on member 45, and recess 75 extends to a radial recess 76 in head surface 56 that opens to atmosphere.
In operation as valve barrel, 55 is continuously rotated, the three suction heads 34 carried on rum 18 are selectively connected to a source of suction, as when their respective ports 64 communicate with groove 68, and exhausted to atmosphere as their respective ports communicate with groove 69.
A fixed cam plate 77 is secured to the machine frame (FIG. 3) andit is formed with a cam surface 78 engaged by follower roller 29 of the suction head unit. The function of this cam is to periodically. rock each suction head 34 through a small angle, clockwise in F lG.3 about pivot 25, and to control the position of the soap bar carried by the head 34 relative to the conveyor 13, just after head 34 engages a bar of soap from conveyor 12 for a purpose to appear.
During operation, as drum 18 continuously rotates,
each suction head 34 will be connected to the source of suction just prior to the time it engages a soap bar and suction will be maintained while the suction cup 41 engages and picks up the soap bar and while the suction head carrying the bar along with it moves, by the indi-' catedcounter clockwise rotation of drum 18, to a point above a compartment on conveyor 13. Such a compartment free of soap is shown at 80 in FIG. 2. At this point thevalve 44 cuts off communication of suctionto cup 41 and then vents conduit 43 to atmosphere whereby the soap bar drops .by gravity into a compartment 80 below it. As soon as the soap bar is picked up and starts moving awayfrom the pick-up point shown in FIG. 2 the above-described clockwise rocking of the suction head on pivot 25 by cam 77 quickly takes place to raise.
the soap bar sufficiently to ensure that it will clear the edges of conveyor 12 and the fingers 81 shown at opposite ends of compartment 80. Cam surface 78 is so con-.
' toured, see FIG. 3A, that the compensated movement suction and exhaust to cup 41 and the action of cam 77 are all accomplished in timed relation, so that each suction head 34 in turn effects a friction-free pick-up of a bar of soap arriving on conveyor 12, raises it slightly, moves it in a line substantially parallel to the adjacent upper flight of conveyor 13 for a small distance and then deposits it into a compartment 80 on moving conveyor 13.
The initial pick-up is smooth and gentle with no mechanical gripping, and the relatively soft surface of cup 41 conforms generally to the surface contour of the soap bar. When the soap bar is released over a conveyor compartment 80, it drops only a small distance vertically and rests on the smooth bottom of compartment 80. Thus the soap bar is substantially free of deforming or mechanical gripping forces during transfer between conveyors 12 and 13 and is not subjected to any sliding along guide or like surfaces, and so even though it may still be soft it remains unmarked on its surfaces.
Referring now to FIGS. 2, 4 and the bars of soap B that have been deposited in equally spaced compartments in conveyor 13 arrive in succession at station 14 where a rotatable drum 91 mounts three equiangularly spaced bucket assemblies 92 and a suction head pickup assembly 93 associated with each bucket assembly. These bucket and pick-up assemblies rotate with drum 9]. Only one pair of associated bucket and suction pick-up assemblies is shown in detail for clarity of disclosure. All are preferably identical. As shown in FIG. 10 drum 91 is fixed as by a fastener 95 upon a horizontal shaft 96 continuously rotated as by a dual chain drive 97. Drum 91 is peripherally supported by bearing 98 on machine frame 51.
As shown further in FIG. 10, each bucket 94 which is generally cup-shaped is secured as by bolts 99 upon the extended end 101 ofa rock shaft 102 supported in bearings 103 in drum 91 and having a crank arm 104 at the other end mounting'a cam follower roller 105 disposed in a continuous cam track 106 of a relatively stationary cam member 107 fixed to the machine frame 51.
Each bucket assembly includes an elevator member 108, here shown as being a bifurcated arm having two soap bar engaging pads 109, fixed upon the extended end 111 of a rock shaft 112 journalled in bearing 1 13 in drum 91 and carrying at its other end a crank arm 114 mounting a cam follower roller 115 disposed in a continuous cam track 116 on cam member 107.
Rock shafts 102 and 112 are parallel to shaft 96 of the drum. During operation as drum 91 rotates each of the buckets 94 is rocked relative to rotating drum 91 by the action of cam 106, and each elevator member 108 is synchronously rocked relative to rotating drum 91 by the action of cam 116. This operation will be later described in connection with the associated operation of the suction pick-up assemblies.
It will be understood, however, that the construction, drive and operation of drum 91, including the cam and rock shaft actuation of the buckets and elevator members in timed relation, is essentially the same-as in said Billi patent, to which reference is made for any necessary detail to understand the same.
The invention, in the preferred embodiment being here disclosed, distinguishes at this station over the Billi patent apparatus essentially by inclusion of the suction pick-up assemblies 93 and mechanism for operating and actuating each of them in timed relation to the associated bucket assembly.
Referring to FIGS. 10 and 16, at the outer end of each bucket 94 a block 117 is fixed as by welding and this mounts a pivot post 118 that projects parallel to rock shaft 102. Pivotally supported on post 118 is a lever 119 having a hub 121 surrounding post 118, an angularly extending arm 122 at one end carrying a cam follower roller 123, and a longitudinally disposed arm 124 that projects along the base 125 of the bucket 94 and has secured thereto a rigid conduit 126 which extends through the space between bucket side arms 127 and 128 and freely between the arms of elevator member 108 (FIG. 10). A tension spring 130 interconnects bucket 94 and arm 124 to bias lever 119 counterclockwise about its pivot.
At one end conduit 126 carries a rubber suction cup 129, and at its other end 131 is secured a flexible conduit 132 leading to control valve unit 133. Valve unit 133 is mainly of the same construction as valve unit 44, corresponding parts bearing the same numerals.
Valve unit 133 comprises a relatively stationary member that is the same as member 45 in valve unit 44 except for the grooving and port arrangement shown in FIG. 9. Member 45' is formed with spaced circumferentially aligned long and short surface grooves '68 and 69. Groove 68' is longer than groove 68 in member 45, and it is connected to central bore 67 by three spaced radial ports 135, 136 and 137. Valve member 45 is stationarily mounted in the assembly in that it extends through an aperture in an upright 138 rigid with machine frame 51 with shoulder 53 abutting one side of the upright and nut 54 tight on the other side.
Rotary barrel 55 is mounted on cylindrical member 45' as in FIG. 5, and a pin 139 extends radially from barrel 55 into the bifurcated end of a relatively rigid horizontal projection 140 on drum 91. In practice this projection may be the suction box employed in said Billi patent for handling paper in the soap wrapping operation, but any equivalent projection will suffice. Thus barrel 55 rotates continuously at the speed of drum 91."
A stationary annular cam member 141 is attached to upright 138 as by screws 142 passing through a block 143 rigid with both. Block 143 spaces cam member 141 inwardly from upright 138 to enable roller 123 to engage the cam control surface 144 that extends all around the outer periphery of member 141. As shown in FIG. 4A, cam surface 144 comprises two circularly curved surfaces a and b coaxial with a center 0. At the top surfaces a and b are connected by an inclined flat surface d, and at the bottom surfaces a and b areconnected by a reversely curved surface e including a depression f. The control functions of these surfaces will be described below.
As each soap bar B in turn approaches station 14 on the conveyor 13, a bucket assembly 92' with the associated suction pickup on counterclockwise rotating drum 91 is descending toward the conveyor 13 in timed relation. FIG. 17 diagrammatically shows the relationship of parts at this time. The angular disposition of bucket 94 is controlled by cam 106 and when the bucket reaches a position just above conveyor 13 it is rocked slightly toward the conveyor, this controlled motion of the bucket being as disclosed in said Billi patent.
During this time, as bucket assembly 92 is approaching conveyor 13, the associated suction head assembly 93 is held retracted within the confines of the bucket somewhat in the position illustrated in FIG. except that of course there is no soap in the bucket. At this time cam roller 123 is moving along surface a of cam 141 (FIG. 4A). Just before the bucket starts to rock toward the conveyor, however, cam roller 123 enters the cam surface e, f (FIG. 4A) and this allows the lever 119 to rock relative to the bucket counterclockwise in FIG. 17 to displace the suction head quickly out of the confines of the bucket and into the soap engaging position shown in FIGS. 4 and 13. The suction head at this point is moved toward the soap faster than the bucket. The suction head had been connected to its source of suction prior to this movement as will appear. The parts are so arranged that the suction cup 129 has flush even contact with the top surface of the soap bar to be removed by suction from conveyor 13. There is preferably no relative sliding motion between the suction cup and the soap bar as they engage.
Now, as drum 9 1 continues to rotate, cam roller 123 moves to roll along cam surface b (FIG. 4A) thereby rocking the suction head back within the confines of the bucket to the position shown in FIG. 15. In practice the interior of the bucket 94 against which the soap bar may be drawn when the parts are as in FIG. 15 is preferably lined with a soft rubber or like layer to reduce the chances of marking the soap. As shown in FIG. 17, when the bucket assembly reaches position 92 the soap bar has been removed from conveyor 13, being supported within the bucket solely by the force of the suction head, and is moving upward toward the wrapping device. This relationship as shown by bucket assembly position 92 is maintained as the drum 91 totates through the position illustrated in FIG. 18.
While the drum is rotating through the soap bar pickup and raising positions of FIGS. 17 and 18, the elevator device 108 ismaintained retracted from the bucket out of engagement with the soap by the action of cam 116, this being essentially the same as operation of the same disclosed in said Billi patent.
Eventually the continued rotation of drum 91 brings the bucket assembly to its top position 92 in FIG. 19, at which time the suction head is cut off from its source of suction to free the soap bar to rest in the bucket that by this time is facing upwardly. At the time the suction is cut off, cam roller 123 enters cam surface d (FIG.
4A) to cause lever 119 to rock clockwise through asmall angle, while cam 106 is acting through the drum to oppositely rock the bucket slightly counterclockwise to insure complete separation of the soap bar and suction head. This relative positioning of the parts is shown in FIG. 14 in detail. I
At this time elevator 108 is actuated by cam 116 to project up through the bucket to engage and raise the soap bar into the grasp of fingers 151 (FIG. 19) of a conveyor 152. This actuation of elevator 108 and the take away operation of fingers I51 and conveyor 152 is the same as disclosed in said Billi patent and per se does not comprise part of the present invention. Reference is made to said Billi patent for the subsequent handling and wrapping operations.
' FIG. 20 illustrates an optional structure of the bucket and suction head assemblies which is preferable when the soap bars are relatively heavy. For example, the single suction cup arrangement of FIG. 16 may be adequate for soap bar weights up to grams, while the dual suction cup arrangement of FIG. 20 may raise soap bars weighing up to 220 grams.
In FIG. 20 the structure is generally the same as that of FIGS. 13-16, the exception being that bucket arms 127 and 128 may be spaced further apart, and two tubes 126 extend down to terminate in two soap engaging suction cups 129 at the same level. Otherwise, the arrangement and operation are the same.
FIG. 21 shows the diagrammatic motion path of each suction cup 41 and the associated timing of valve 44 with respect to that suction cup 41. As shown in FIG. 21, suction cup 41 is vented to'atmosphere through most of each revolution of drum 18, and valve 44 connects it to vacuum approximately 15 after it passes to its lower left quadrant of motion. During'the remainder of its motion through that quadrant, suction cup 41 is connected to the source of suction, that is between points V and V V on FIG. 21. It will be noted that suction cup 41 is descending almost vertically as it picks up the relatively stationary soap bar at point S, that while it carries the soap bar it slightly rises and then moves almost horizontally due to the above-explained control of cam 77, and that at the end of this horizontal movement the soap which is moving horizontally at substantially the speed of conveyor 13 may drop away from it into the conveyor compartment as the suction is released at point V FIG. 22 shows diagrammatically the path of movement of each suction cup 129 during a revolution of drum 91, and the associated timing of valve 133 with respect to that suction cup. It will be noted that suction cup 129 is vented to atmosphere through about of its movement, being connected to its source of suction by valve 133 at point V during movement in the lower quadrant. Under control of cam 177 suction cup 129 becomes disposed to move in a generally horizontal direction at substantially the speed of travel of the soap bar on conveyor 13 over to point S where it picks up the soap bar. Between points S and V the soap bar is supported wholly by the vacuum force applied through suction cup 129, and when the suction cup is vented at V, the soap remains in the upwardly open bucket where it remains until lifted out by the elevator.
The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended .to be embraced therein.
What is claimed-and desired to be secured by Letters I Patent is:
4 1'. A method of transferring a succession of freshly processed relatively soft surfaced bars of soap or the like from an intake conveyor to. a wrapping or like further processing machine comprising the steps of effecting suction pick-up of each bar and moving the bar supported wholly by vacuum in a generally horizontal predetermined direction to a position above the substantially horizontal top flight of a moving feed conveyor,
depositing said bars in spaced compartments along said feed conveyor without sliding contact with that conveyor, and subsequently effecting suction pick-up of each bar in succession from the feed conveyor and raising it supported wholly by vacuum to an upper level for delivery to operative elements of said machine.
2. The method defined in claim 1, wherein each of said suction pick-up operations is carried out by substantially vertical movement of a suction element into engagement of the associated bar for optimum lack of surface damage.
3. The method defined in claim 1, wherein said bars are randomly fed in succession into position for effecting the first-named suction pick-up operation.
4. The method defined in claim 1, including the step wherein each bar after initial pick-up is moved along a path adjacent to and at a speed substantially the same as the feed conveyor and while so moving is deposited onto that conveyor.
5. An article handling machine wherein a succession of soft surfaced articles fed into the machine are transferred with an optimum lack of mechanical gripping and/or sliding to an operational station at a higher level comprising intake conveyor means for feeding said articles in random succession into said machine in a first predetermined substantially horizontal direction, suction means for. picking up each article in succession from said intake conveyor means and moving it in a second predetermined substantially horizontal direction along a predetermined path at an angle to said first direction, feed conveyor means having a portion moving adjacently below said path in the same direction and at substantially the speed of movement of the articles being transferred along said path, control means for said suction pick-up means for releasing each article in turn to deposit said articles in predetermined spaced relation on said feed conveyor means, and further suction means for extracting each said article in succession from said feed conveyor means and raising it to said operational station in timed relation with operation of said pick-up means.
6. The article handling machine defined" in claim 5, wherein said pick-up means comprises a first suction head, and said control means includes a first valved inlet to said first suction head.
7. The article handling machine defined in claim 6, wherein said first suction head is movably supported on a first member continuously rotated about an axis disposed transversely with respect to 'said path, and a first cam means is provided for controlling the disposition of said first suction head on said first member for determining said path.
8. The article handling machine defined in claim 5, wherein said article extracting means comprises a second suction head, and control means including a valved inlet is provided for sequentially energizing said second suction head for picking up each article and deenergizing said second suction head for releasing said article for delivery to said operational station.
9. The article handling machine defined in claim 8, wherein said second suction head is movably mounted on a second member continuously rotated about an axis disposed transversely with respect to said path, and a second cam means is provided for controlling the disposition of said second suction head on said second member.
10. Apparatus for transferring to an operational station relatively soft surfaced articles of such nature that they are subject to surface damage when mechanically gripped or caused to slide along fixed guide surfaces comprising feed conveyor means continuously moved in a predetermined substantially horizontal direction, a first suction means at one end of said conveyor means for picking up a series of such articles in succession and depositing them in predetermined spacing on said conveyor means, a second suction means at the other end of said conveyor means for subsequently effecting pickup and extraction of each article from said conveyor means and delivering ea'ch extracted article in spaced succession to said operational station, meansmounting each of said suction means on members that are continuously rotated about parallel axes extending transversely of the direction of movement of said conveyor means, and means for operating said conveyor means and both of said suction meansin timed relation, each of said suction means comprising a continuously rotatable member pivotally mounting a set of angularly spaced suction heads that are rockable about axes parallel to those of said members, each set of said suction heads being connected to a source of vacuum by means including a control valve unit individual to that set, and each said valve unit being periodically actuated. by means on each suction head engaging cam means to periodically synchronously energize and deenergize said suction heads during each revolution of said members.
11. Apparatus for transferring to an operational station relatively soft surfaced articles of such nature that they are subject to surface damage when mechanically gripped or caused to slide along fixed guide surfaces comprising feed conveyor means continuously moved in a predetermined substantially horizontal direction, a first suction means at one end of said conveyor means for picking-up a series of such articles in succession and depositing them in predetermined spacing on said conveyor means, a second suction means at the other end of said conveyor means for subsequently effecting pickup and extraction of each article from said conveyor means and delivering each extracted article in spaced succession to said operational station, means mounting each of said suction means on members that are continuously rotated about parallel axes extending transversely of the direction of movement of said conveyor means, and means for operating said conveyor means and both of said suction means in timed relation, said first suction means comprising a continuously rotatable first member pivotally mounting a plurality of angularly spaced suction heads that are rockable about axes parallel to that of said first member, said suction heads being connected to a source of vacuum by means ineluding a common control valve unit, and said valve unit being operated toperiodically energize and deenergize each suction head during each revolution of said first member.
12. Apparatus for transferring to an operational station relatively soft surfaced articles of such nature that they are subject to surface damage when mechanically gripped or caused to slide along fixed guide surfaces comprising feed conveyor means continuously moved in a predetermined substantially horizontal direction, a first suction means at one end of said conveyor means for picking up a series of such articles in succession and depositing them in predetermined spacing on said conveyor means, a second suction means at the other end a of said conveyor means for subsequently effecting pickup and extraction of said article from said conveyor means and delivering each extracted article in spaced succession to said operational station, means mounting each of said suction means on members that are continuously rotated about parallel axes extending transversely of the direction of movement of said conveyor means, and means for operating said conveyor means and both of said suction means in timed relation, said second suction means comprising a continuously rotatable second member pivotally mounting a plurality of angularly spaced suction heads that are rockable about axes parallel to that of said second member, said suction heads being connected to a source of vacuum by means including a common control valve unit, and said control valve unit being operated to periodically energize and deenergize each suction head during each revolution of said second member.
13. Article transfer means for damage-free transport of relatively soft-surfaced articles between relatively movable conveyors comprising a support, a member mounted on said support for rotation about a substantially horizontal axis, a plurality of angularly spaced suction devices individually rockably mounted on said member on axes that are parallel to that of said member, a first conveyor means adjacent said member whereby articles picked up by said suction devices from a second conveyor means may be moved to and deposited in succession on said first conveyor means, cam means on said support adapted to be operably connected for causing each of said suction devices in turn to rock relative to said rotating member and to move in a predetermined path while transferring an article to said first conveyor means, means for connecting said suction devices to a source of vacuum including a control valve on said support periodically actuated by said rotating member to energize and deenergize said suction device during each revolution of said member, means for adjusting each said suction device about its axis of rocking, and correlated means for adjusting each suction device toward and away from said member.
14. Article transfer means comprising a member rotatable about a substantially horizontal axis, at least one bucket assembly rockably mounted on said memher, a suction device rockably mounted on said member at and for relative movement with respect to said bucket assembly, cam means operably connected to said suction device adapted to displace said suction device relative to said bucket assembly in-different'positions of rotation of said member, conveyor means adapted to deliver articles in predetermined spaced relation to be picked up in turn by said suction device during rotation of said member, and means driven by said rotating member for connecting said suction device to a source of vacuum including a control valve periodically actuated to energize and deenergize said suction device during each revolution of said member.
15. A article transfer means as defined in claim 14, wherein said control valve comprises a part rotatably driven by said member.
16. Article transfer means as defined in claim 14, said suction device being rockably'supported on said bucket assembly.
17. Article transfer means comprising a member rotatable about a substantially horizontal axis, at least one bucket assembly mounted on said member, a suction device rockably mounted on said member at and for relative movement with respect to said bucket assembly, cam means operablyconnected to said suction device adapted to displace said suction device relative to said-bucket assembly in different positions of rotation of said member, conveyor means adapted to deliver articles in predetermined spaced relation to be picked up in turn by said suction device during rotation of said member, and means for connecting said suction device to a source of vacuum including a control valve periodically actuated to energize and deenergize said suction device during each revolution of said member, said cam controlled suction device having an article engaging element that is disposed within the bucket assembly during a major portion of each revolution of said member, is displaced outof said bucket to pick up an article from said conveyor means during another portion of revolution of said member and is withdrawn with respect to said bucket assembly to release said article within said bucket assembly during another portion of revolution of said member.
18. Article transfer means as defined inclaim 1, wherein said bucket assembly is movably mounted on said member and includes an elevator movably mounted on said member, and means is provided for oppositely displacing said bucket assembly and elevator when said article is released, saidelevator being operative upon said withdrawal of said suction element to move said article out of the bucket assembly to a further operational station.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION July 16, 1974 Patent No. 18231809 Dated IIWentOflS) Marcel Henrv et al It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
' Column 3, line 19, change "34 to --24;
Column 3, 'line 29, change nd" to and .Column 3, line 30, change "27" to '-'-3 7 Column 4, line 29 change "rum'f to -'drum.
- Column., 7, line 57 change "of'" (second occurence) to -on. Y
- Claim 12, Column 10, line 65 change said (f.irst
'occurence) to --each. v w
Claim 18, Column 12, line 38 change to --17--.
Signed and sealed thia 8th day of October 1974,
(SEAL) Attest: g I g MCCOY M, GIBSON JR, c. MARSHALD'DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents