US 3895722 A
Apparatus is described for inverting boxes of different heights in conjunction with an in-feed conveyor and an out-feed conveyor. The relative position of two conveyor segments is changed to clamp a box therebetween. The conveyor segments are then inverted and the box released to continue on the out-feed conveyor in the inverted position.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Pluntz July 22, 1975  BOX INVERTING APPARATUS gellaillmw.l 2131/14/02;
, ei et a. 1 I  Inventor: Darrell E. Pluntz, Greenwood, Ind. 3,426927 2/1969 wogodward I 214 Q X  Assigneez Inland Container Corporation, 3,547,279 12/1970 Radomski 214/1 0 Indianapolis, Ind. Primary Examiner-Frank E. Werner  Fledi 1973 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Fitch, Even, Tabin & 211 Appl. No.: 426,512 Luedeka  U.S. Cl 214/1 Q; 198/243  ABSTFACT: 51 1m. 01. 865g 7/00 Apparatus descflbed for mvemng boxes of d'fferem  Field of Search 214/1 Q, 1 QA, 130 heights in conjunction with an in -feed conveyor and 198/2312, 243 an out-feed conveyor. The re1at1ve posltlon of two conveyor segments is changed to clamp a box therebe-  References Cited tween. The conveyor segments are then inverted and UNITED STATES PATENTS the box released to continue on the out-feed conveyor in the inverted osition. 1,677,290 7/1928 Parker 214 1 Q x p 2,293,192 8/1942 Campbell 214/] Q 1 Claim, 2 Drawing Figures BOX INVERTING APPARATUS This invention relates generally to materials handling equipment and, more particularly, to apparatus for inverting boxes of different heights on a conveyor.
In the packaging of various kinds of objects in boxes, particularly boxes having top and bottom flaps, such as RSC boxes, it is frequently desirable that the boxes be glued by automated equipment. Typically, such equipment automatically applies the glue, closes the flaps of the box, and may provide suitable pressure to ensure good adhesion. Good flap adhesion on a box is necessary for the package to conform to the uniform freight classification rules and the national motor freight classification rules.
Automatic gluing of the bottom flaps of a box may sometimes be accomplished using special machinery that squares the box, applies adhesive and closes the flaps and then inserts a plunger through the open end to apply pressure while adhesive sets. More often, the bottom flaps will be closed but not sealed, and the box then filled with the contents. Subsequently, adhesive is simultaneously applied to the top and bottom flaps. The weight of the contents maintains the necessary pressure on the bottom flaps while the adhesive sets, and pressure for sealing the top flaps of the filled box may be applied by a suitable top flap hold down blanket conveyor, as is known in the art.
Where the boxes are not completely filled by the product however, top flap sealing becomes more complicated. It is possible to provide a filler in each box to provide a back-up for the top flaps so that compression on the glued flaps can be adhieved. Due to the nature of certain products however, the product may not stack the same within each box, thus requiring variations in the thickness of the fillers.
An alternative technique designed to obviate the need for fillers is to invert the boxes after applying the glue and closing the flaps. If both the top and bottom flaps are to be sealed, either hot melt adhesive alone or in combination with a cold-setting adhesive is applied to thebottom flaps to obtain a quick bond before inversion. After inversion the contents of the inverted box provide the needed compression on what were previously the top flaps while a cold setting adhesive establishes the bond.
Where the boxes are of different heights, that is, where boxes of various heights are coming down a common conveyor line, it has heretofore been necessary to utilize several diverter lines to separate the boxes by height. Each diverter line then goes into a separate sealing apparatus which first applies glue, closes the flaps, and then transfers the box into a slide chute within the machine. In the slide chute, the box is gradually turned over as it progresses around the slide and is brought back toward the infeed end of the sealer at a different level than that which it entered, usually above or below the normal height that the box entered. The box then exits the machine and moves on for pallet loading or warehousing. Diverter lines and separate sealers for each box height add considerably to the cost of the materials handling equipment.
It is an object of the present invention to provide improved apparatus for inverting boxes of different heights on a conveyor, thereby allowing the boxes to be handled in the same manner whether they are completely filled or only partially filled.
Another object of the invention is to provide apparatus for inverting boxes on a conveyor which is capable of handling different heights of boxes.
Another object of the invention is to provide apparatus for inverting boxes for different heights on a conveyor which is relatively simple and low in cost.
Various other objects of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of apparatus constructed in accordance with the invention; and
FIG. 2 is a view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 from another perspective.
Very generally, the apparatus of the invention comprises a lower conveyor segment 11 supported on a frame 12 in alignment with the upstream portion, not shown, of an in-feed conveyor. An upper conveyor segment 13 is also supported on the frame. Control means 14 are provided for changing the relative position of the upper and lower conveyor segments to clamp box, not shown, therebetween. Means 15 are provided for inverting the frame such that the upper and lower conveyor segments are inverted. The control means are operable to change the relative position of the upper and lower conveyor segments to release the box with the lower conveyor segment in alignment with the downstream portion of an out-feed conveyor.
Referring now more particularly to the drawings, the apparatus of the invention is supported on a base comprising a pair of convergent beams 21 and 22 having a crossbeam 23 extending therebetween slightly towards the closer ends from the midpoint. A channel plate 24 is welded in an upright position to the closer ends of the beams 21 and 22. The spread ends of the beams 21 and 22 are supported on adjustable pads 25. A pair of adjustable pads 26 are provided at the lower end of the channel plate 24. A beam strut 27 extends from the crossbeam 23 to the center of the channel plate 24 for rigidity. A crossbeam 30 joins the wide ends of the beams 21 and 22.
A horizontal support bracket 28 is attached to the channel plate 24 about half-way up. The support bracket 28 includes a stiffening rib 29. A similar support bracket 31 having a stiffening rib 32 is secured to the channel plate 24 at its upper end. The two brackets 28 and 31 thus provide horizontal shelves for supporting further components, described below.
The upper bracket or shelf 31 supports a pair of bearing housings 33 through which a rotary support shaft 34 extends. The frame 12, which is, in the illustrated form of the invention, a carrier plate, is supported on the end of the shaft 34. The inverting means 15 include a sprocket 37 mounted on the shaft 34 which is driven by a drive chain 39 from a sprocket 41. The sprocket 41 is driven by a driving means or motor 47. The driving means 47 is mounted to the bracket 28 by means of a mounting plate 49.
The frame 12 comprises an upright carrier plate 51 from which a horizontal bottom plate 53 extends. A generally L-shaped bracket 55 is mounted to the bottom plate 53, and the lower conveyor segment is supported therefrom. The lower conveyor segment includes a conveyor segment frame 57 which is mounted in cantilever fashion from the bracket 55. A plurality of rollers 59 extend across the frame 57 and are rotatably supported therein. At one end of the frame 57, a
stop plate 61 is mounted on a pair of mounting brackets Four upright guide rods 67 are mounted to the bottom plate 53 on the carrier plate 12. The rods 67 extend parallel with each other, and slidably support a plate 69 by means of a plurality of bushings, not shown.
A mounting bracket 73 is affixed to the plate 69 and supports a frame 75 of the upper conveyor segment 13. The frame 75 supports a plurality of conveyor rollers 77 which extend across the frame and are rotatable therein.
For the purpose of supporting and slidably moving the plate 69 and hence the frame 75 on the rods 67, a pneumatic cylinder 14 is provided. The cylinder 14 is secured to the lower plate 53 and includes a main portion 81 and a movable upper portion 79 which is attached to the plate 69. The portion 79 is moved within the main portion 81 by suitable pneumatic controls, not shown, to move the plate 69 and hence the upper conveyor portion 13 with respect to the frame 12.
In using the apparatus of the invention in conjunction with a standard manufactured random case sealer, not shown, the boxes are run through the random size case sealer in the standard manner and a hot melt quick setting adhesive is applied to the bottom flaps. At the same time, a cold flow slow setting adhesive is applied to the top flaps. The standard top and bottom flap closure is made as the box progresses through the random case sealer. The normal compression action sets the bottom flaps on which the hot melt quick setting adhesive has been applied, thus securing the bottom closure with the weight of the contents of the box providing the desired compression.
The boxes then move into the apparatus of the invention. To ensure that the top flaps are held closed down, a suitable top flap blanket hold down conveyor, not shown, may be used.
The box enters the apparatus of the invention from the powered upstream side of the conveyor by moving in to the conveyor segment 11 (from the left in FIG. 1) and coming up against the stop plate 61. A suitable detector switch, not shown, senses the box presence, signalling the cylinder 14 to retract. At the same time, a suitable safety gate, not shown, located on the incoming conveyor, operates to prevent any additional boxes from moving onto the lower conveyor segment 11.
Upon actuation of the cylinder 14, the plate 69 slides downwardly on the rods 67 to bring the upper conveyor segment into engagement with the box, the variation in box height falling within the range of movement of the upper conveyor segment. As soon as the upper conveyor segment '13 contacts the box, a suitable switch, not shown, provides a signal to the driving means 47. The driving means 47 drives the shaft 34 through the chain 39 to rotate the carrier plate 12 through 180. The axis of this rotation is substantially parallel with the axes of rotation of the conveyor segment rollers 59 and 77 and is therefore perpendicular to the general direction in which the boxes travel on the conveyor. When complete rotation is made, a further suitable switch (not shown) signals the cylinder 14 to return the upper conveyor segment 13 to the fully extended position. This lowers the inverted box to a fixed exit conveyor level and the box exits from the apparatus onto the downstream portion of the conveyor, not shown (to the right of FIG. 1). For this purpose of effecting exit, the conveyor segment 13 includes intermittent power means (not shown) connected to part of all of the rollers.
A further sensor switch (not shown), located on the exit conveyor (not shown) and remote from the box inverter, provides an indication that the box has cleared the box-inverter. At this point, the drive means 47 reverses rotation, reinverting the carrier plate 12 and returning the upper conveyor segment 13 back to its original open position indicated in FIG. 1. The unillustrated safety gate on the upstream side of the conveyor may then retract and allow a further box to enter the apparatus,
It may therefore be seen that the invention provides improved apparatus for inverting boxes of different heights on a conveyor. The apparatus, when used in connection with a standard random case sealing equipment, alleviates the problem of void spaces in boxes being sealed. Only a single conveyor line is required with the apparatus of the invention, and the boxes are inverted to continue at the same conveyor level at which they enter.
Although the invention is described herein such that rotation of the frame occurs on an axis which is perpendicular to the conveyor direction, it is within the purview of the invention to utilize other axis orientations. In such cases, it may be necessary to supply power to the upper conveyor segment 13 in order to move the box onto the out-feed conveyor.
Various modifications of the invention in addition to those shown and described herein will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the foregoing description and accompanying drawings. Such modifications are intended to fall within the scope of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
l. Apparatus for inverting boxes of different heights on a conveyor, comprising, a lower conveyor segment, a stop plate on the downstream end of said lower conveyor segment for stopping a box thereon, a rotary carrier plate for supporting said lower conveyor segment aligned with the upstream portion of a conveyor, an upper conveyor segment moveably supported on said carrier plate, said upper and lower conveyor segments each including a plurality of parallel rollers for supporting the boxes, a pneumatic cylinder coupled to said upper conveyor segment for moving same toward and away from said lower conveyor segment to clamp and release, respectively, a box therebetween and provide full support of its top and bottom flaps, and a rotary mechanism for rotating said carrier plate about such that said upper and lower conveyor segments are inverted, said pneumatic cylinder being operated after the inversion of said segments to release the box with the then lower conveyor segment in alignment with the downstream portion of the conveyor, said rotary mechanism being operable to reverse rotate said carrier plate about 180 after release of the box to restore said upper and lower conveyor segments to their initial positions.
DATED IN ENTORQX:
July 22, 1975 Darrell Edwin Pluntz It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column Column Column Column 4,
'[SEAL] line 56, change "operated" to -operable.
Signed and Sealed this ninth Day Of December 1975 AI test:
RUTH C. MASON Arresting Officer C. MARSHALL DANN Commissioner ofPatents and Trademarks