US 3838663 A
The outlet end of cigarette feed hopper 11 is partitioned into compartmental channels 16 in which the cigarettes stack one on top of the other for discharge to a packing machine. To detect a channel blockage a pivoted lug 20 is provided for each channel which, because of its weight distribution, normally extends into an empty or blocked channel through a slit therein and blocks the light path of an optical sensor. When all channels are filled and feeding properly the cigarette ends pivot the lugs out of the channels to unblock the light path.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 1111 3,838,663
Focke 51 Oct. 1, 1974 1 LIGHT SHUTTER SYSTEM FOR 1,407,063 2 1922 Grover 116/114 R EC G BLOCKAGES IN A 2,784,871 3/1957 Gabrielsen 221/6 3,167,904 2/1965 Winger 116/114 R X CIGARETTE FEEDER 3,270,916 9/1966 Lyman 221/6  Inventor: Heinz Hermann Focke, 3,435,940 4/1969 Seragnoli 53/151 X Siemensstrasse 10, 309 Verden/Aller, Germany Primary Examiner-Louis J. Capozi  Filed: June 25, 1973 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Sughrue, Rothwell, Mion,
Zinn & Macpeak  Appl. No.: 373,240
 ABSTRACT  Foreign Application Priority Data The outlet end of cigarette feed hopper 11 is parti- Apr. 21, 1973 Germany 2320396 tioned n mpartmental channels 16 in which the cigarettes stack one on top of the other for discharge  US. Cl. 116/114 R, 53/78, 221/6, to a packing machine. To detect a channel blockage a 221/21 pivoted lug 20 is provided for each channel which, be-  Int. Cl. 60111 21/00 cause of its weight distribution, normally n s into  Field of Search 116/114 R; 221/6, 17, 21; an empty or blocked channel through a slit therein 226/100; 131/25; 53/78, 151 and blocks the light path of an optical sensor. When all channels are filled and feeding properly the ciga-  Referenc s Cited rette ends pivot the lugs out of the channels to un UNITED STATES PATENTS block the llght P l,393,964 10/1921 Potts et al. 116/114 R 7 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures Pmsmww Hm 3,838,663 smm 2 Fig.7-
PATENIEDBBT H 3,888, 63
SHEET 20? 2 BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The invention relates to a cigarette magazine having I at least one downwardly directed outlet separated into compartmental channels by dividing walls. The cigarettes are stacked in the channels by their own weight in close-packed individual rows ready for removal at the lower end.
2. Prior Art Cigarette magazines of this nature are generally used for storing the prepared cigarettes before they are packed. Accordingly, cigarette magazines are arranged in front of cigarette packing machines.
In principle, these magazines are constructed in an identical manner and have downwardly directed outlets. These outlets are provided with dividing walls, which narrow towards the bottom to form a plurality of adjacent compartmental channels each adapted to receive a row of closely stacked cigarettes. At the lower end, these compartmental channels are open at their front end. In this way, successive groups of cigarettes can be pushed out of the compartmental channels. These groups, comprising two or more superposed cigarettes, are supplied to the packing machines.
To form regular groups from the cigarettes by pushing them out of the magazine outlets, it is essential that there are cigarettes in each compartmental channel. However, as these channels are relatively narrow, having only a small amount of play with respect to the cigarettes, obstructions, constrictions, or other blockages may occur in the compartmental channels or above the same at the input side of the channels in the magazine. These disturbances interrupt the continuous flow of cigarettes in the compartmental channels. As a result, irregular groups of cigarettes are produced.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The object of the invention is to avoid these disturbances and to discover in good time any incipient error due to blockages in the magazine so that the necessary steps can be taken before irregular groups of cigarettes can form at the lower end.
The invention is characterized in that each compartmental channel is monitored for the presence of a row of superposed cigarettes and, if at least one row is inter-. rupted, a signal is released. Monitoring of the individual compartmental channels is carried out at a sufficient distance above the lower outlet end of the compartmental channels so that, on receipt of the signal, steps can be taken in due time to deal with the source of the trouble, before irregular groups of cigarettes can be formed at the lower end of the outlet.
In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the individual compartmental channels are monitored by sensor lugs projecting into the channelsThese lugs abut against the cigarette ends facingthem' and if no cigarettes are present or if there is a break in the continuous flow of the cigarettes, the lugs undergo a change in their relative positioning thereby releasing the requisite signal. The machine can then be stopped and the fault corrected.
Other features, objects and advantages of the present invention will be made apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment thereof provided with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a simplified front view of a magazine having the features according to the invention. Features not relevant to the invention have been omitted.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged scale view of a vertical, partial section of the magazine considered in the longitudinal direction of the cigarettes.
FIG. 3 is a detailed view of FIG. 2 showing the same in a different position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The invention relates to the construction of cigarette magazines 10, in principle of the known type used in combination with cigarette packing machines. Various embodiments of these magazines are known. In principle, these magazines have a similar structure. According to the invention, at least one outlet is provided on the underside of a container 11, in which the cigarettes are arranged in an equidirectional but disordered manner. In the embodiment represented, two outlets l2 and 13 are provided. The cigarettes may be removed from these from below. v I
The outlets 12 and 13, which narrow towards the bottom, are separated into compartmental channels 16 by a plurality of dividing walls 15. The compartmental channels 16 are so dimensioned, by reason of the arrangement of the dividing walls 15, that each channel 16 is adapted to receive a row of close-packed superposed cigarettes 14. In the same manner as the cigarettes 14 removed at the lower end of the outlets 12 and 13, or the channels 16, the other cigarettes 14 drop by their own weight out of the container 1 1 of the magazine.
Removal of the cigarettes 14 at the lower end of the outlets l2 and 13, may be effected in various ways. In the embodiment represented (FIG. 2), a reciprocating slide bar 17 is provided, which each time pushes one group of cigarettes from an outlet 12 or 13. In the embodiment represented in FIG. 2, each group of cigarettes ejected from the magazine consists of 3 rows of superposed cigarettes 14. These groups are supplied to successive packing machines (not shown). For the purpose of simultaneously pressing 3 cigarettes from a compartmental channel 16, the slide bar 17 is provided with fingers, which enter each compartmental channel 16. A front wall 18 and a rear wall 19 of the cigarette magazine 10 terminate the range of movement of the slide bar 17.
To form groups of cigarettes, which in the case of the embodiment represented, consist of 21 cigarettes 14, it is essential that close-packed, superposed cigarettes, which can be'gripped by the slide bar 17, are present in the region of the lower outlet in each compartmental channel 16. To ensure this, the outlets l2 and 13 of the magazine 10 are monitored; each compartmental channel being monitored separately.
In the case of the embodiment represented, the compartmental channels 16 are monitored for the presence of cigarettes 14 by sensor lugs 20. A sensor lug 20 is provided for each compartmental channel 16. The sensor lugs project through slit-shaped recesses in the front wall 18 of the magazine 10 into the compartmental channels 16. In the normal position (FIG. 2), a nose 22 of the sensor lugs abuts against the cigarette ends facing it.
If the flow of cigarettes 14 is interrupted in one of the compartmental channels 16, the relevant sensor lug 20 undergoes a change in its relative position, i.e., from the position according to FIG. 2 to the position according to FIG. 3. This position change releases a signal which advantageously causes the machine to come to a stop.
The change in the relative position of the sensor 20 is produced, in the case of the embodiment represented, by it tilting by reason of its own weight. The sensor lugs 20 of the magazine 10 are pivotably mounted on a common swivel axis 23. The swivel axis 23 is so arranged with respect to the center of gravity of the sensor lugs 20, that in the starting position according to FIG. 2, the sensor lugs are always weighted in the direction of the stable position according to FIG. 3. As a result, during the process of examining the compartmental channels 16, the nose 22 of the sensor lugs abuts with slight pressure against the ends of the cigarettes 14. If the cigarettes are not present, a tilting movement is produced due to the unstable position of the sensor lugs.
All the sensor lugs are monitored by a common light barrier disposed in front of the magazine 10 and at right angles to it. This light barrier is produced by light emitting and light receiving elements 24,25. The construction of these is known in itself. The light barrier is directed in such a manner that in the normal position (FIG. 2), it is outside the range of the sensor lugs. The tilting movement of sensor lug 20, which occurs when no cigarettes are present in a particular compartmental channel 16, interrupts the light barrier (FIG. 3) thereby releasing the requisite signal.
The above described monitoring device is preferably arranged in a housing 26 in front of the magazine 10.
What is claimed is:
1. In a cigarette feed magazine having at least one downwardly directed outlet separated into compartmental channels by dividing walls; the cigarettes being stacked in these channels by their own weight in closepacked individual rows ready for removal at the lower end, the improvement comprising:
means for individually monitoring each channel for the presence of a row of closely stacked cigarettes, and
means responsive to the monitoring means for producing a signal if at least one row of cigarettes is interrupted.
2. A magazine according to claim 1, wherein each compartmental channel is provided with a separate monitoring element, arranged at a distance above a cigarette group to be removed.
3. A magazine according to claim 2, wherein the monitoring elements project into each compartmental channel; said elements undergoing a change in their relative position and thereby releasing a signal when an interruption occurs in a row of cigarettes.
4. A magazine according to claim 3, wherein the monitoring elements are pivotably mounted sensor lugs which project through slits in the wall of the magazine into the compartmental channels, and which tilt under their own weight when an interruption in a row of cigarettes occurs.
5. A magazine according to claim 4, wherein each sensor lug abuts against the cigarette ends facing it when the channel is filled with cigarettes.
6. A magazine according to claim 4, wherein the sensor lugs are mounted on a common swivel axis.
7. A magazine according to claim 6, wherein the signal is produced by the interruption of a light path as a result of the change in the relative position of at least one sensor element.