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Publication numberUS3901373 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 26, 1975
Filing dateAug 21, 1973
Priority dateAug 25, 1972
Also published asDE2241776A1
Publication numberUS 3901373 A, US 3901373A, US-A-3901373, US3901373 A, US3901373A
InventorsWilly Rudzinat
Original AssigneeHauni Werke Koerber & Co Kg
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Conveyor for cigarettes or the like
US 3901373 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 91 Rudzinat 1 Aug. 26, 1975 CONVEYOR FOR CIGARETTES OR THE LIKE [75] Inventor: Willy Rudzinat,Dassendorf,

Germany [30] Foreign Application Priority Data Aug. 25, 1972 Germany 2241776 [52] US. Cl. 198/20 C; 198/25 [51] Int. Cl. B65G 47/00 [58] Field of Search 198/20 C, 25, 31 AA, 20,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 8/1971 Schubert 198/20 C 3,603,445 9/1971 Zauschn, 3,664,891 5/1972 Schubert et al 198/31 AA FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 439,337 12/1935 United Kingdom l98/20C Primary Examiner-Richard A. Schacher Assistant ExaminerJames M. Slattery Attorney, Agent, or FirmMichael S. Striker 5 7 ABSTRACT A suction conveyor for transport of cigarettes, adhesive-coated uniting bands and/or other commodities which constitute or form part of smokers products along an arcuate path between a first and a second transfer station has a rotary hollow cylindrical envelope provided with radially inwardly extending suction ports which attract the commodities during transport from the first to the second station and communicate with an arcuate suction chamber between the internal surface of theenvelope and the external surface of a stationary cylindrical core. The suction chamber extends between the two stations and its cross-sectional area is selected in such a way that one or more ports can attract a single commodity or a few commodities while the other ports are free to communicate with the atmosphere. Those ends of the suction chamber which are adjacentto the two transfer stations communicate with outer ends of radial channels which are machined into the core and whose inner ends are connected with a suction fan by way of an axial bore in the core. The peripheral surface of the cylindrical envelope is smooth or is provided with axially parallel flutes for rod-shaped commodities which are to be transported sideways.

15 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTED Auszslsvs" SHEET 1 0F 4 PATENTED 2 975 sum 2 OF 4 PATENTEU AUG 2 81975 sum u 0F 4 CONVEYOR FOR CIGARETTES OR THE LIKE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to apparatus for transporting cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, filter rod sections, webs or bands of adhesive-coated or uncoated wrapping material and/or other components of smokers products. More particularly, the invention relates to improvements in conveyors which are used to transport portions of or entire smokers products in machines for the making and/or treatment of such products, for example, in cigarette rod making machines, filter cigarette making machines, filter rod making machines and/orothers. Still more particularly, the invention relates to improvements in apparatus embodying one or more endless conveyors (normally in the form of drums or rollers) which are used to transport portions of or entire smokers products from a first to a second transfer station and are designed to attract the products by suction so that the products cannot leavea predetermined path under the action of inertia, centrifugal force and/or gravity, i

In many instances, cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, filter rod sections, adhesive-coated uniting bands, webs of wrapping material and like commodities are transported by means of suction conveyors in the form of drums because such conveyors occupy little room and can be driven at a constant speed to insure full synchronization with the operation of other conveyors. If a drum-shaped suction conveyor is designed for the transport of rod-shaped articles, it is normally provided with article-receiving means in the form of axially parallel peripheral flutes into which portions of rod-shaped articles extend during sidewise movement between two spaced-apart transfer stations. The flutes communicate with radially inwardly extending ports which, in turn, communicate with axially parallel channels terminating at one axial end of the drum so as to be in temporary communication .with the arcuate suction groove of a stationary valve plate which is biased against the respective axial end of the drum to prevent entry of atmospheric air. The groove of the valve plate is connected with the intake end of a suction fan or another suitable suction generating device. The just described conveyors find widespread use in tobacco processing plants because they can reliably hold the articles in the respective flutes not only against movement radially outwardly but also against axial movement. Moreover, the articles which are introduced into the flutes of a suction drum are treated gently so that their wrappers remain intact and the articles remain round.

A drawback of the just described suction conveyors is that the wear on their moving and stationary parts is quite extensive. For example, the wear upon the aforementioned valve plate and/or on the drum itself is very pronounced so that such parts must be inspected and replaced at frequent intervals with attendant losses in output. The drums and the valvee plates must be machined with a high degree of precision so that frequent replacement of such parts contributes significantly to the maintenance cost of the machine.

It is further known to provide a suction conveyor with a hollow cylindrical body having peripheral flutes and radially inwardly extending ports which can sweep past a stationary suction chamber located in the interior of the cylindrical body. Thus, a port which communicates with the suction chamber attracts the article in the respective flute while the article is being transported from a first to a second transfer station. The cross-sectional area of the suction chamber is constant all the way from the first to the second transfer station. In many instances, the suction chamber is mounted on and communicates with the interior of a hollow stationary shaft one end of which is connected to the inlet of a suction generating device serving to draw air from those ports which communicate with the suction chamher. As a rule, the cross-sectional area of the suction chamber is incomparably larger than the crosssectional area of a suction port in the cylindrical body.

The just described suction conveyor is much simpler than the first mentioned conventional suction conveyor, and the wear upon its parts is much less pronounced because it need not be provided with a valve plate and with biasing means for urging the valve plate against the rotary part of the conveyor. However, such simplified suction conveyor also exhibits a number of serious drawbacks, especially as concerns the operation during starting of the machine which embodies the conveyor. This will be readily appreciated by considering the mode of operation of a filter cigarette making, cigarette rod making or like machine. In a modern tobacco processing plant, all suction-operated devices are often connected to a central suction generating device which is turned off at the end of a shift, before a holiday, or on weekends. Prior to deactivation of the suction generating device, the machines which are connected therewith are relieved off all finished or partially finished commodities so that the ports of all suction conveyors are free to communicate with the atmosphere. In other words, the outer or air intake end of each port which is machined into a cylindrical body forming part of a suction conveyor is fully exposed and can draw air from the atmosphere as soon as the suction generating device is started. This prevents the suction generating device from reducing the pressure in the suction chamber to such an extent that the articles which are introduced into the flutes of the cylindrical body would adhere to the cylindrical body during transport between the two transfer stations before the air intake ends of all suctions ports which communicate with the suction chamber are sealed from the atmosphere. The retention of the foremost article or articles which are being transferred onto a suction conveyor would be possible only by using an extremely large, bulky and expensive suction generating device whose energy requirements would be enormous and totally unwarranted for an economic operation of the machine. It was found that the air pressure in the suction chamber drops sufficiently only when the majority of suction ports are sealed from the atmosphere by manually inserted articles. Attempts to avoid the use of an overly large suction generating device for a full battery of machines which form one or more production lines include the starting of successive machines one after the other. This, however, delays the production and results in unwarranted losses in output. The provision of a discrete suction generating device for each machine is impractical due to excessive cost and also because such discrete suction generating devices are used to capacity only during starting but not when the machine is running at normal speed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved apparatus for conveying commodities, particclarly for conveying portions of and/or entire smokers products while the commodities are held by suction, which is constructed and assembled in such a way that the absence of one or more commodities in the path along which the commodities are being transported does not affect the retaining action upon the other commodity or commodities.

Another object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved suction conveyor which can be used in the above outlined apparatus for the transport of commodities between a first and second transfer station and which can properly. transport a maximum number of commodities as well as any lesser number of commodities including one.

A further object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved suction conveyor for the transport of adhesive-coated uniting bands, discrete rod-shaped articles in the form of filter plugs, cigarettes, cigarillos or cigars, and/or groups of two or more such articles.

An additional object of the invention is to provide a suction conveyor of the just outlined character which can properly transport rod-shpaed commodities irrespective of whether the commodities which are being supplied thereto at the first station travel lengthwise or sideways, and whose energy requirements are substantially lower than the energy requirements of conventional suction conveyors.

An ancillary object of the invention is to provide a suction conveyor which can automatically attract successive commodities for transport between spacedapart first and second transfer stations irrespective of whether the conveyor is fully or only partially loaded with commodities.

Still another object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for transporting commodites along a predetermined path which embodies one, two, three or mor suction conveyors of the above outlined character.

A further object of the invention is to provide a simple, compact and inexpensive suction conveyor wherein the parts are subjected to minimal wear, which can properly attract commodities of different sizes and- /or shapes, and which can be used as a superior substitute for conveyors which are presently employed in tobacco processing plants for the transport of portions of and/or entire smokers products along predetermined paths, at extremely short intervals, and in predetermined orientation.

The invention is embodied in an apparatus for transporting commodities, particularly for transporting portions of and/or entire smokers products (such as adhesive-coated uniting bands, elongated webs of cigarette paper or other wrapping material, discrete rod-shaped articles in the form of filter plugs, plain or filter cigarettes, cigars or cigarillos, or groups of rod-shaped articles). The apparatus comprises a conveyor for transporting commodities from a first to a second transfer station, means for supplying commodities to the first transfer station, and means for receiving commodities from the conveyor at the second transfer station.

In accordance with the invention, the conveyor comprises endless transporting means (e.g., a driven hollow rotary cylinder) defining for the commodities an elongated path extending from the first to the second transfer station, suction ports provided in the transporting means and having air intake ends which are adjacent to the path while moving from the first to the second transfer station so that a commodity which is located at the first transfer station is attracted by at least one oncoming port and advances therewith toward the second transfer station, a stationary cylindrical core or an analogous device defining with the transporting means a suction chamber communicating with the air discharge ends of those ports which are adjacent to the path, at least one channel provided in the device and having an air intake end communicating with the suction chamber in the region of the first transfer station, and a fan or other suitable suction generating means connected with the air discharge end of the channel. The aforementioned device is preferably further provided with at least one additional channel whose air intake end communicates with the suction chamber in the region of the second transfer station and whose air discharge end is also connected with the suction generating means.

The novel features which are considered as characteristic of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The improved apparatus itself, however, both as to its construction and its mode of operation, together with additional features and advantages thereof, will be best understood upon perusal of the following detailed description of certain specific embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a schematic elevational view of a filter cigarette making machine including apparatus which embody the invention and are used for the transport of rod-shaped articles and adhesive-coated uniting bands;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of a detail in the machine of FIG. 1, a suction conveyor which forms part of the improved apparatus being shown in section;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view as seen in the direction of arrows from the line III-III of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary elevational view of a cigarette rod making machine and of a conveyor which forms part of a modified transporting apparatus and serves to receive plain cigarettes for sidewise transport onto an endless conveyor belt;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view as seen in the direction of arrows from the line VV of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary end elevational view of a further apparatus which embodies the invention, the suction conveyor of the apparatus being shown in section.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG. 1 illustrates a filter cigarette making machine of the type known as MAX and produced by the West- German Firm of Hauni-Werke, K'cirber & Co. K. G., Hamburg-Bergedorf. This machine comprises at least one transporting apparatus which embodies the present invention.

A row-forming transfer conveyor 1 (which is preferably similar to or identical with the row-forming conveyor 101 of FIGS. 4 and 5) receives plain cigarettes of unit length from a cigarette rod making machine of known design (e.g., from a machine known as GAR- ANT and also produced by I-Iauni-Werke) and accumulates such cigarettes in the form of two rows wherein the cigarettes move sideways. The conveyor 1 is provided with axially parallel peripheral receiving means in the form of flutes (see the flutes 133 of the conveyor 101 shown in FIGS. 4-5) which receive and guide plain cigarettes while the cigarettes move lengthwise and while the conveyor 1 rotates about its axis, and which thereupon hold the cigarettes against any movement relative thereto while the conveyor 1 continues to rotate. The cigarettes entering the oddly numbered flutes of the conveyor 1 are arrested in first axial positions and the cigarettes entering the remaining flutes are arrested in second axial positions. The thus obtained two rows of parallel plain cigarettes are thereupon transferred onto a pair of coaxial or substantially coaxial aligning conveyors 2 (only one shown). One of the conveyors 2 transports the respective row of plain cigarettes through a greater distance or at a higher speed so that each cigarette of one row is accurately aligned with a cigarette of the other row prior to transfer of the thus obtained pairs of aligned plain cigarettes into successive flutes of an assembly conveyor 3. The cigarettes in the flutes of the assembly conveyor 3 are spaced apart so as to define gaps having a width exceeding the length of a filter rod section or filter plug of double unit length.

The machine of FIG. 1 further comprises a magazine or hopper 4 for a supply of parallel filter rod sections of six times unit length. Such sections are supplied by a filter rod making machine of known design. The lowermost portion of the magazine 4 communicates with a downwardly inclined chute 4a which conveys filter rod sections sideways into successive flutes of a sever ing conveyor 6 cooperating with two rotary diskshaped knives 7 which sever successive filter rod sections of six times unit length so that each such section yields three coaxial filter rod sections of double unit length (hereinafter called plugs or filter plugs). The severing conveyor 6 delivers successive groups of three coaxial filter plugs each into the flutes of three discrete staggering conveyors 8 which rotate at different speeds or move the respective plugs through different distances so that the originally aligned plugs of each group are staggered with respect to each other, as considered in the direction of their sidewise movement toward a shuffling conveyor 9 which cooperates with stationary cams 10 (only one shown) to convert all of the filter plugs into a single row wherein the filter plugs travel sideways and are located exactly one behind the other. Such plugs are transferred into successive flutes of an intermediate conveyor 11 which delivers the filter plugs into successive flutes of an accelerating conveyor 12. The latter inserts successive filter plugs into the gaps between the pairs of aligned plain cigarettes in successive flutes of the assembly conveyor 3. The conveyor 3 cooperates with two stationary cam 3a (only one shown) to reduce the distance between the plain cigarettes in successive flutes so as to cause the inner ends of the plain cigarettes to abut against the respective ends of the filter plug therebetween. The thus obtained groups of rod-shaped articles (each such group comprises two coaxial plain cigarettes of unit length and a filter plug between the plain cigarettes) are transferred into the flutes of a transfer conveyor 13 which advances the groups past a suction conveyor 19 serving to attach to each group a portion of an adhesive-coated uniting band consisting of paper, cork or other suitable wrapping material. V

The uniting bands are obtained by subdividing an elongated web 14a which is stored in the form of a roll 14 and is advanced by a pair of rollers 16, 17 so as to move lengthwise toward the periphery of the conveyor 19. The roller 16 may be driven and the roller 17 may be biased toward the roller 16 by springs or the like. The underside of the web 14a is coated with a film of adhesive paste during travel past an applicator roll 18a forming part of a conventional paster 18. The conveyor 19 attracts the leading end of the web 14a by suction (see the conveyor 219 of FIG. 6) and cooperates with a rotary drum-shaped cutter 21 which severs the leading end of the web 14a at regular intervals to form a succession of uniting bands (see the uniting bands 20 of FIG. 2) which are attached to groups of rod-shaped articles in successive flutes of the transfer conveyor 13.

The conveyor 13 transfers the groups each of which carries an adhesive-coated uniting band) onto a wrapping conveyor which cooperates with a stationary or movable rolling device 23 to convolute the uniting bands around the respective filter plugs and around the adjacent innerend portions of the respective plain cigarettes so that each such group forms a filter cigarette of double unit length.

Successive filter cigarettes of double unit length are transferred into the receiving means of a conveyor 24 forming part ofa testing device which examines the cigarettes for the condition of their wrappers and produces signals in response to detection of filter cigarettes having defective wrappers. Such signals are used to segregate the defective filter cigarettes from satisfactory filter cigarettes. Successive filter cigarettes whose wrappers are satisfactory are transferred onto a severing conveyor 26 cooperating with a rotary disk-shaped knife 26a to sever each filter cigarette midway across the filter plug so that such cigarettes yield pairs of filter cigarettes of unit length.

The pairs of filter cigarettes of unit length are transferred onto an inverting conveyor 27 which inverts the filter cigarettes of one row end-for-end and places the inverted cigarettes into the spaces between the adjacent non-inverted cigarettes whereby all filter cigarettes of unit length form a single row wherein the cigarettes move sideways and all of the filter plugs face in the same direction. The single row of filter cigarettes of unit length is advanced by an intermediate conveyor 28 which delivers successive filter cigarettes into successive flutes of a conveyor 29 forming part of a second testing device wherein the cigarettes are examined for the density of the free ends of their'tobacco fillers. Defective filter cigarettes are segregated from satisfactory cigarettes which are accepted by a transfer conveyor 31 and delivered onto the upper stretch of an endless conveyor belt 32 for transport into storage, to a tray filling device, or directly into a packing machine, not

shown.

FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate the construction of the transfer conveyor 13 which serves to receive groups G of three rodshaped articles each from the assembly conveyor 3 and discrete uniting bands 20 from the suction conveyor 19, and delivers such groups to the wrapping conveyor 22. It will be noted that the flutes 3b of the assembly conveyor 3 are empty and that those flutes 33 of the conveyor 13 which are located between the point of transfer of groups G from the conveyor 3 (transfer station 42) and the point of attachment of adhesivecoated uniting bands 20 are also empty. Thus, it is as sumed that the machine which embodies the apparatus including the conveyors shown in FIG. 2 is in the process of being evacuated prior to completion of a shift.

Each flute 33 of the conveyor 13 communicates with the outer or air intake ends of a row of four radially inwardly extending suction ports 34 in the form of bores having a circular cross-sectional outline, and the inner or air discharge ends of the ports 34 communicate with an arcuate suction chamber 36. The ratio of the sum of the cross-sectional areas of four ports 34 to the crosssectional area of the suction chamber 36 (as considered at right angles to the direction of air flow in the suction chamber) is selected in such a way that the chamber can attract groups G even if one or more flutes 33 preceding and/or following a filled flute 33 remain unoccupied so that the respective ports 34 draw atmospheric air. This is achieved by providing the conveyor 13 with a suction chamber 36 whose crosssectional area (as considered in a plane which includes the axis of the conveyor 13) is a narrow elongated slit (see FIG. 3). The area of such a split equals or approximates the sum of cross-sectional areas of four ports 34 (i.e., the sum of cross-sectional areas of all ports which communicate with a flute 33). In other words, the suction chamber 34 is so narrow that it offers a relatively high resistance to the flow of air therethrough.

The flutes 33 and ports 34 are machined into a transporting means in the form of a hollow cylindrical body or envelope 37 of the conveyor 13, and the suction chamber 36 is a shallow recess which is machined into the periphery of a stationary device here shown as a cylindrical core 38 which carries antifriction bearings 39 for the envelope 37. The depth of the suction chamber 36 is a very small fraction of the thickness of the envelope 37, as considered in the radial direction of the core 38. The suction chamber 36 extends along an arc of approximately 240 from the aforementioned transfer station 42 between the conveyors 3, 13 to a second transfer station 43 between the conveyors 13, 22. The suction chamber 36 is adjacent to the cylindrical internal surface 41 of the cylindrical envelope 37 and is sealed at both axial ends because the internal surface 41 is closely adjacent to the peripheral surface of the core 38. The flutes 33 are machined into the cylindrical peripheral surface of the envelope 37 which defines for the groups G an elongated arcuate path extending from the transfer station 42 to the transfer station 43. The envelope is driven by a gear 37a.

The means for drawing air from the suction chamber 36 comprises two radially inwardly extending channels or slots 44, 46 which are machined into the stationary core 38 and are respectively located at the transfer stations 42 and 43. The inner or air discharging ends of the channels 44, 46 communicate with an axial passage in the form of a blind bore 47 machined into the core 38. The open end of the passage 47 is connected with the suction inlet of a fan 48 or another suitable suction generating device. The impeller of the fan 48 is as sumed to be driven at a fixed speed so that the output of the fan is at least substantially constant.

The feature that the outer or air intake ends of the channels 44, 46 communicate with the respective ends of the suction chamber 36 (Le, in the region of the transfer stations 42, 43 between which the chamber 36 extends) also contributes to a more reliable retention of groups G in the flutes 33 which travel from the stalast groups G are being transferred from the flutes 33 into the flutes 22b of the wrapping conveyor 22. The aforementioned high resistance which the narrow slitshaped chamber 36 offers to the flow of air toward the air intake ends of the channels 44, 46 insures that the groups G shown in FIG. 2 remain in the respective flutes 33 even though a number of flutes behind the last group G (and downstream of the transfer station 42) are empty so that the corresponding ports 34 are free to communicate with the surrounding atmosphere. In a way, the narrow suction chamber 36 acts not unlike a labyrinth seal which insures that suction at the inner or air discharge ends of those ports 34 whose air intake ends are still sealed by the groups G suffices to retain such groups in the respective flutes 33 even though the ports 34 behind the last group G are free to admit atmospheric air. In other words, suction at the inner ends of those ports 34 whose outer ends are still obstructed (or already obstructed) by groups G suffices to prevent the ejection of groups G under the action of gravity and/or centrifugal force.

The minimum cross-sectional area of the channel 44 and/or 46 preferably exceeds the cross-sectional area of the suction chamber 36 in a plane which includes the axis of the core 38. This insures that the channels 44, 46 act not unlike magazines for storage of air and thus prevent abrupt fluctuations of pressure in the suction chamber 36.

The assembly conveyor 3 constitutes a means for supplying commodities (groups G) to the transfer station 42, and the wrapping conveyor 22 constitutes a means for receiving commodities (groups G and unit ing bands 20) at the transfer station 43.

The operation of the apparatus shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 is as follows:

When the filter cigarette making machine which em bodies the conveyors 3, 13, 19 and 22 of FIG. 2 is started, the assembly conveyor 3 begins to deliver groups G (each such group comprises two plain cigarettes of unit length and a filter plug of double unit length therebetween) to the transfer station 42 where the groups enter successivie flutes 33 of the cylindrical envelope 37 which is driven by gear 37a in synchronism with the assembly conveyor 3 so that successive flutes 3b arriving at the station 42 register with successive empty flutes 33. Since the air intake end of the channel 44 always faces the transfer station 42, and since the resistance which the suction chamber 36 offers to the flow of air from the air discharge ends of unobstructed ports 34 toward the outer end of the channel 44 is high, suction at the outer end of the channel 44 suffices to effect an automatic transfer of groups G from successive filled flutes 317 into successive empty flutes 33.

When the foremost group G enters an empty flute 33 at the transfer station 42, the air intake (outer) ends of the corresponding ports 34 are sealed and the suction at the air discharge (inner) ends of such ports increases. Such increased suction travels with the respective flute 33 from the transfer station 42 toward the transfer station 43 to thus insure that the group G continues to adhere to the concave surface which surrounds the respective flute 33. The empty flutes 33 which precede the just discussed (freshly filled) flute 33 do not affect the retaining action of foremost obstructed ports 34 due to the aforementioned high resistance which the suction chamber 36 offers to the flow of air from the inner ends of unobstructed ports 34 to- .core 38 is high.

ward the air intake end of the channel 44 in the cylindrical core 38. b

The retaining action of suction in the chamber 36 increases gradually to a certain extent while the number of unoccupied flutes 33 between the transfer stations 42 and 43 decreases. Successive groups G which travel past the continuously rotating suction conveyor 19 between the transfer stations 42 and 43 are provided with adhesive-coated uniting bands-20 which are attached thereto in such a way that they extend substantially tangentially of therespective groups. The flutes 22b of the wrapping conveyor 22 are relatively shallow and are in communication with suction ports (not shown) so that the conveyor 22 receives successive groups G from successive flutes 33, preferably in such a way that each uniting band 20 is attracted to the periphery of the conveyor 22 between two neighboring flutes 22b. The outer or air intake end of the channel 46 is shown as being located slightly downstream of the transfer station 43 so that suction in the ports of the wrapping conveyor 22 need not greatly exceed suction in that portion of the chamber 36 which is adjacent to the transfer station 43. I

The situation is analogous when the assembly conveyor 3 ceases to deliver groups G so that the flutes 33 which move toward, past and beyond the transfer station 42 .remain empty. The fact thatthe suction ports 34 which extend inwardly from such empty flutes 33 are free to communicate with the atmosphere does not affect the retaining action upon the last groups G which travel toward the transfer station 43. The suction at the inner or air discharge ends of ports 34 whose outer ends are still obstructed by the groups G in the respective flutes 33 remains satisfactory to guarantee proper retention of groups due to the provision of channel 46 which draws air from the chamber 36 and also due to the fact that the resistance which the chamber 36 offers to the flow of air in the circumferential direction of the The fan 48 can serve as a suction generating means for all suction conveyors of the machine shown in FIG. 1. It is also possible to provide each suction conveyor of the filter cigarette making machine with a discrete fan or to use a fan as a suction generating means for a group of conveyors.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate a row-forming transfer conveyor 101 which is similar tot or identical with the conveyor 1 of FIG. 1. The only difference is that the conveyor 101 delivers two rows of rod-shaped articles in the form of plain cigarettes 15] to the upper stretch of an endless conveyor belt 161 rather than .to a pair of aligning conveyors (see the aligning conveyors 2 of 1 FIG. 1). The flutes 133 of the conveyor 101 receive plain cigarettes 151 from a cigarette rod making machine of the type known as GAMNT trademark) produced by Hauni-Werke. FIG. 4 merely shows a portion of the cigarette rod making machine, namely a conventional ,cutoff 157 which severs a continuous wrapped tobacco filler rod or cigarette rod 1151 at regular intervals to form a single file of plain cigarettes 151 which move lengthwise in a prismatic trough 159 and are accelerated by a rapidly rotating eccentric accelerating device 158 (known as kicker) which propels successive cigarettes 151 in the direction indicated by arrow 156 and into successive flutes 133 of the continuously rotating conveyor 101. The construction of the conveyor 101 is similar to that ,of the conveyor 13 shown in FIGS.

2-3 and all such parts of the conveyor 101 which are identical with or clearly analogous to the corresponding parts of the conveyor 13 are denoted by similar reference characters plus 100. The cylindrical envelope 137 of the conveyor 101 is formed with rows or groups of suction ports 152, one group for each flute 133 in the'periphery of the envelope 137. The ports 152 not only serve to attract plain cigarettes 151 to the envelope 137 but also as a means for braking the respective cigarettes 151 so as to insure that the cigarettes come to a halt in predetermined axial positions and/or that their leading ends are not deformed and/or otherwise damaged during impact against fixed stops 154 or 154A of the envelope 137. Each group of ports 152 comprises three ports and each such group islocated ahead (as considered in the direction of lengthwise movement of the cigarettes 151) of a further suction port 153 in the form of a radial bore machined into the envelope 137. Each port 153 is located slightly ahead of the corresponding stop 154 or 154A and furnishes an additional braking or retarding action just before the leading end of a cigarette 151 is about to reach the adjacent stop 154 or 154A. The outer or air intake ends of the ports 153 are preferably enlarged so as to form shallow grooves 1153 to thus insure thatthe ports 153 can properly hold the cigarettes 151 during sidewise travel from afirst transfer station 142 (between the conveyor 10] and the cigarette rod making machine) and a second transfer station 143 (between the conveyor 101 and the conveyor belt 161).

The stops 154A alternate with the stops 154, as considered in the circumferential direction of the core 138, and are located at the right-hand axial end of the cylindrical envelope 137. The stops 154 are located midway between the axial ends of the envelope 137 so that, when the conveyor 101 rotates and successive flutes 133 of its envelope 137 receive plain cigarettes 151 from the cutoff 157, the cigarettes are braked by the respective ports 152, 153 'and arrested by the respective stops 154, 154A to form on the conveyor 101 two rows whose components travel sideways and are deposited on the upper stretch of the conveyor belt 161. The belt 161 is used instead of the aligning conveyors 2 of FIG. 1 when the cigarette rod making machine is to deliver plain cigarettes directly to a packing machine, to

storage or into a tray filling apparatus, i.e., not into a filter cigarette making machine.

The stationary cylindrical core 138 of the conveyor 101 is provided with pairs of coplanar channels 144, I46 and with two suction chambers 136 because the suction ports 152, 153 which are associated with the stops'154 are staggered with respect to suction ports 152, 153 which are associated with the stops 154A. Also, the channels 144 are located diametrically opposite the channels 146 because the trough 159 delivers successive plain cigarettes 151 at the 12 o'clock position and the conveyor belt 161 receives plain cigarettes at the 6 o'clock position.

The operation of the row-forming conveyor 101 is as follows:

When the cigarette rod making machine forms a continuous cigarette rod 1151, the orbiting knife or knives to advance in the trough 159 in the direction indicated by arrow 156 and to enter successive flutes 133 of the conveyor 101. Cigarettes 151 in oddly numbered flutes 133 travel all the way to the stops 154A, and the cigarettes 151 in evenly numbered flutes 133 travel to the stops 154 so that such cigarettes form two rows and advance toward the transfer station 143. As a cigarette 151 enters the registering flute 133 at the transfer station 142, it advances into the range of streamlets of air flowing into the respective ports 152 and is thereby decelerated before it reaches the respective port 153. The latter effects a further deceleration so that the leading end of the cigarette 151 cannot strike the respective stop 154 or 154A with a force which would cause deformation, bursting and/or other damage to the wrapper. The suction in ports 153 is further used to insure that the cigarettes 151 carnot change their axial positions in response to or subsequent to impact against the respective stops 154 or 154A. Thus, the ports 153 prevent a rebounding of cigarettes on the adjacent stops 154 or 154A and also serve to safely attract the cigarettes during sidewise travel from the transfer station 142 to the transfer station 142. The cross-sectional areas of suction chambers 136 in the peripheral surface of the core 138 are selected in thesame way as described in connection with the suction chamber 36 of the conveyor 13.

FIG. 6 illustrates a suction conveyor 219 which is similar to or identical with the suction conveyor 19 of FIG. 1 and cooperates with a rotary drum-shaped cutter 221 and a transfer conveyor 213. All such parts of the conveyor 219 which ae identical with or clearly analogous to the corresponding parts of the conveyor 13 (FIGS. 2-3) are denoted by similar reference characters plus 200. The uniting bands which are obtained in response to repeated severing of the leading end of the web 214a are shown at 220, the groups of three coaxial rod-shaped articles each are shown at G, the

transfer station where the web 214a reaches the conveyor 219 is shown at 242, and the transfer station between the conveyors 219, 213 is shown at 243. It will be noted that the cylindrical envelope 237 of the conveyor 219 is not providedwith flutes because this conveyor serves for transport of uniting bands 220 which are attracted thereto by suction ports 234 and suction chamber 236. The envelope 237 is preferably formed with a smooth'andhard cylindrical peripheral surface 266 so that it serves as a counterknife for the blades 221a of the cutter 221. Eah uniting band 220 is attracted to the surface 266 by at least two ports 234, one at the leading end and one at the trailing end of the respective uniting band.

An important advantage of apparatus which utilize conveyors embodying the present invention is that the conveyors can properly attract and transport (even at a very high speed) rod-shaped or otherwise configurated commodities which constitute components of or entire smokers products, even if a substantial number of suction ports are free to communicate with the atmosphere. This contributes to a higher output of tobacco processing machines because the starting of such machines or the evacuation of commodities therefrom can be completed within shorter intervals of time than in machines using conventionalconveyors.

Another important advantage of the improved conveyors is that their energy requirements are lower because the suction in their chambers remains sufficiently low even if the chambers are connected to the inlets of relatively small suction generating devices.

A further important advantage of the improved conveyors is that they insure a satisfactory transfer of articles or commodities from preceding conveyors or machines onto the rotating envelopes without resorting to shrouds, rails or other mechanical means which are likely to damage and/or deface the articles. This is attributed to the fact that the suction at that end of the suction chamber which is adjacent to the first transfer station (such as the station 42 of FIGS. 2-3) is sufficiently high to guarantee the entry of a rod-shaped article into the flute of the rotating envelope or the attraction of a uniting band to the peripheral surface of the envelope.

Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features which fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic and specific aspects of my contribution to the art and, therefore, such adaptations should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the claims.

What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims:

1. Apparatus for transporting commodities, particularly for transporting portions of and/or entire smokers products, comprising a conveyor for transporting commodities from a first to a second transfer station, said conveyor including driven endless transporting means defining for the commodities an elongated path extending from said first to said second station, said transporting means being provided with suction ports having air intake ends which are adjacent to said path while moving from said first to said second station so that a commodity which is located at said first station is attracted by at least one oncoming port and advances therewith toward said second station, each of said ports further having an air discharge end, a device defining with said transporting means a suction chamber communicating with said air discharge ends of those suction ports which are adjacent to said path, said device being provided with at least one first channel having an air intake end communicating with said chamber in the region of one of said stations and an air discharge end and at least one additional channel having an air intake end which communicates with said suction chamber in a region nearer to the other of said stations than to said one station and an air discharge end, and suction generating means connected with said air discharge ends of said channels; means for supplying commodities to said first station; and means for receiving commodities at said second station.

2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the crosssectional area of said suction chamber, as considered at right angles to the direction of air flow therein toward said air intake ends of said channels, is less than the minimum cross-sectional area of said channels.

3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said transporting means is a hollow rotary cylinder having a peripheral surface which defines said path and a cylindrical internal surface adjacent to said suction chamber, said ports extending between said surfaces of said cylinder.

4. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the ratio of the sum of the cross-sectional areas of those ports which attract a commodity during travel along said path to the cross-sectional area of said chamber, as

considered at right angles to the direction of air flow in said chamber toward the air intake ends of said channels is such that said ports continue to attract the commodity while the air intake ends of other ports which are adjacent to said path remain unobstructed by commodities.

5. Apparatus as defined in claim 4, wherein said transporting means has a surface which is adjacent to said path and is provided with receiving meanas for commodities, each of said receiving means being in communication with the air intake end of at least one of said ports.

6. Apparatus as defined in claim 5, wherein said transporting means is a hollow rotary cylinder and said surface is the peripheral surface of said cylinder, each of said receiving means constsituting an elongated flute which is parallel to the axis of said cylinder.

7. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said transporting means is a hollow rotary cylinder having a peripheral surface adjacent to said path and an internal surface adjacent to said suction chamber, said ports extending between said surfaces and said peripheral surface having axially parallel flutes for rod-shaped commodities, each of said flutes communicating with the air intake end of at least one of said ports.

8. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said transporting means is provided with a cylindrical peripheral surface which is adjacent to said path and said air intake ends of said ports are provided in said surface so that the commodities which are supplied to said first transfer station are attracted to said cylindrical surface during transport toward said second transfer station.

9. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said transporting means comprises a hollow rotary cylinder and said device is a cylindrical core surrounded by said hollow cylinder and having a peripheral surface provided with an arcuate recess which constitutes said suction chamber.

10. Apparatus as defined in claim 9, wherein the depth of said recess is less than the thickness of said hollow cylinder, as considered in the radial direction of said core.

11. Apparatus as defined in claim 9, wherein said core has an axial bore communicating with said suction generating means and with the air discharge ends of said channels.

12. Apparatus for transporting commodities, particularly for transporting portions of and/or entire smokers products, comprising a conveyor for transporting commodities from a first to a second transfer station, said conveyor including driven endless transporting means defining for the commodities and elongated path extending from said first to said second station, said transporting means being provided with suction ports having air intake ends which are adjacent to said path while moving from said first to said second station so that a commodity which is located at said first station is attracted by at least one oncoming port and advances therewith toward said second station, each of said ports further having an air discharge end, a device defining with said transporting means a suction chamber communicating with said air discharge ends of those suction ports which are adjacent to said path, said device being provided with at least one first channel having an air intake end communicating with said chamber in the region of said first station and an air discharge end and at least one additional channel having an air intake end which communicates with said suction chamber in the region of said second station and an air discharge end, and suction generating means connected with said air discharge ends of said channels; means for supplying commodities to said first station; and means for receiving commodities at said second station.

13. Apparatus as defined in claim 12, wherein the cross-sectional area of said suction chamber, as considered at right angles to the direction of air flow therein toward said air intake end of said second channel, is less than the minimum cross-sectional area of said second channel.

14. Apparatus for transporting commodites, particularly for transporting portions of and/or entire smokers products, comprising a conveyor for transporting rodshaped commodities sideways from a first to a second transfer station, said conveyor including driven endless transporting means defining for the commodities an elongated path extending from said first to said second station, said transporting means being provided with suction ports having air intake ends whicch are adjacent to said path while moving from said first to said second station so that a commodity which is located at said first station is attracted by at least one oncoming port and advances therewith toward said second station, each of said ports further having an air discharge end, a device defining with said transporting means a suction chamber communicating with said air discharge ends of those suction ports which are adjacent to said path, said device being provided with at least one channel having an air intake end communicating with said chamber in the region of said first station and an air discharge end, and suction generating means connected with said air discharge end of said channel; means for supplying commodities to said first station, including means for feeding rod-shaped articles lengthwise; and means for receiving commodities at said second station, including at least one second conveyor arranged to move the rod-shaped articles sideways.

15. Apparatus as defined in claim 14, wherein said air intake ends of said ports communicate with flutes provided in said transporting means and arranged to receive rod-shaped commodities at said first station whereby the ports communicating with the flutes at said first station attract the commodities entering such flutes to produce a braking action and to thus reduce the speed of lengthwise movement of commodities in the respective flutes.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4032000 *Apr 2, 1976Jun 28, 1977Service D'exploitation Industrielle Des Tabacs Et Des AllumettesTransport device for cylindrical objects rod-shaped, such as cigarettes
US4055192 *Oct 16, 1974Oct 25, 1977Hauni-Werke Korber & Co., KgRecovery of reusable tobacco particles in machines for the production of plain and filter tipped smokers products
US4235330 *Jul 16, 1979Nov 25, 1980Hauni-Werke Korber & Co. KgApparatus for transporting portions of or entire smokers' products
US4266655 *Dec 18, 1978May 12, 1981R. J. Reynolds Tobacco CompanyApparatus for phasing and transferring rod-shaped articles
US4840266 *Mar 28, 1988Jun 20, 1989Sasib S.P.A.Method and device for controlling the vacuum in a succession of suction conveyors
US5566812 *Mar 30, 1995Oct 22, 1996Japan Tobacco Inc.Aligning device used in manufacturing filter plugs for cigarettes
US6227345 *Mar 17, 1999May 8, 2001Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd.Transfer apparatus of chip components
US6357495Jul 30, 1999Mar 19, 2002I.M.A. Industria Macchine Automatiche S.P.A.Device for filling a blister band with products
US6585103 *Apr 27, 2001Jul 1, 2003Franz Gremser Gmbh & Co. KgSuction roller
US8006826 *Mar 25, 2009Aug 30, 2011Crown Packagin Technology, Inc.Star wheel with vacuum capability for retaining conveyed articles
EP0290756A1 *Mar 21, 1988Nov 17, 1988SASIB S.p.A.Method and device for controlling the vacuum in a succession of suction conveyors
EP2353408A2 *Jan 7, 2011Aug 10, 2011HAUNI Maschinenbau AGTransport drum for the tobacco processing industry
Classifications
U.S. Classification198/471.1, 198/493
International ClassificationA24C5/32, B65G29/00, A24C5/35
Cooperative ClassificationB65G2812/14, B65G29/00, A24C5/327
European ClassificationB65G29/00, A24C5/32T5
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 1, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: KORBER AG
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNORS:HAUNI-WERKE KORBER & CO. KG (MERGED INTO);KORBER GESELLSCHAFT MIT BESCHRANKTER HAFTUNG (CHANGED TO);REEL/FRAME:004889/0874;SIGNING DATES FROM 19870617 TO 19870713