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Publication numberUS3907626 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 23, 1975
Filing dateMay 9, 1973
Priority dateMay 12, 1972
Also published asDE2323717A1
Publication numberUS 3907626 A, US 3907626A, US-A-3907626, US3907626 A, US3907626A
InventorsJohn E Cook
Original AssigneeNorprint Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Labelling devices
US 3907626 A
Abstract
Apparatus for affixing self-adhesive labels to cans or other articles comprises a conveyor for the articles, and a nozzle for delivering a blast of compressed air at the instant at which a label is detached from the label web whereby the label is blown directly on to a surface of the article. The arrival of an article is detected by a lamp projector and photo-electric cell which is arranged to receive reflected light from a can.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

itfid States Patent [I91 Cook Sept. 23, 1975 [5 LABELLING DEVICES 3.483.059 l2/l969 Dinter l56/542 29. 4 [973 F 'l i. 5 84 [75] Inventor: John E. Cook, Boston, England 362 rem'h d 1 6/5 73 N tL' 't d, E l' d l fflgmfc orprm "m e ng an Primary E.\'uminerCharlcs E. Van Horn [22] Filed; M y 1 1973 Assistun! E.\'aminerM, G. Wityshyn [2] 1 Applv NO: 358,524 Attorney. Agent, or FirmMcGlcw and Tuttle [30] Forelgn APPHCEIIIDI'I-PI'IOIIIY Data ABSTRACT May l2. I972 United Kmgdom 72/223l7 Apparatus for afflxing self-adhcsivc labels to cans or {52] US. Cl. 156/361; 156/363; 1 other articles comprises a conveyor for the articles. 2 156/542; 56/584; lsfi/DIG' 38 and a nozzle for delivering a blast olcomprcsscd air at [5 I] 865C 865C 9/28; 865C 9/42 the instant at which a label is detached from the label [58] held of Search 156/584 web whereby the label is blown directly on to a sur 156/361 38 face of the article. The arrival of an article is detected by a lamp projector and photo-electric cell which is [56] References cued arranged to receive reflected light from a can.

UNlTED STATES PATENTS 3,3()l.733 1/1967 West et al l56/363 6 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures US Patent Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 1 of6 3,907,626

72 FIG].

Sheet 2 of 6 Sept. 23,1975

US Patent US Patent Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 3 of6 3,907,626

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US Patent Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 5 of6 3,907,626

E E P72 CDE W2 CDEP 7 605 P2 EP7 RSEP EP5 EP77 EP7O US Patent Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 6 of 6 POWER SUPPLY we lNVERTO c5 c7 88 B7 PHOTO PROJE C TOR CELL 2 LAMP LABELLING DEVICES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the invention This invention relates to apparatus for applying suecessive labels to successive articles of a row of articles, for example cylindrical cans.

2. Summary of the Prior Art It has been proposed to apply successive selfadhesive labels to a succession of articles such as cans by means of an air blast which either overcomes or follows a suction action applied to the label at a position such that it is temporarily held in juxtaposition to the given article immediately before the label is applied to the article. This prior proposal suffers from two main disadvantages, namely complexity and comparatively low speed of operation. The former arises because of the need to control an additional function and the latter stems from the need momentarily to hold the labels stationary immediately prior to actual contact with an article.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to the present invention there is provided label-applying apparatus comprising conveyor means for moving a row of articles to be labelled past a labelapplying station, means for dispensing labels successively from a web of labels, pneumatic nozzle means disposed at the point at which the labels are freed from the web for directly blowing successive labels into adhering relationship with the articles, and means for synchronizing operation of the conveying means, the dis pensing means and the pneumatic nozzle means.

Further according to the present invention there is provided self-adhesive label applying apparatus comprising a conveyor for moving a row of articles to be labelled through a label-applying station, a sharp-edge for detaching successive labels from a web carrying the labels, a nozzle disposed immediately adjacent the sharp-edge whereby a detached label can be blown directly on to an article to be labelled, means for detecting the presence of an article at, or approaching, the label-applying station and means responsive to a signal from the detecting means to initiate synchronous operation of the nozzle and detachment of a label from the web.

Still further according to the present invention there is provided self-adhesive label applying apparatus comprising a conveyor for moving a row of cylindrical containers to be labelled with their longitudinal axes upright through a label-applying station, a light source directed to a position off-set from the centre of the row and at an angle to an upper plane surface of the containers, a photoelectric cell orientated to receive light from the light source reflected from the end surfaces of the containers, means for indexing a web carrying the labels, means for detaching successive labels from the web, a nozzle arranged to direct a compressed air blast on to successive labels as they are detached from the web and thereby to force the labels into adhering contact with the containers, and means operated by a signal received from the photo-electric cell to initiate synchronised operation of the nozzle and the label web.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a diagram illustrating a label-applying station which forms part of the label-applying apparatus in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation of part of the label-applying apparatus including article-detecting means;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the parts shown in FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a circuit diagram of control means of the apparatus, the Figure being split for convenience into a number of sections a to (1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIG 1, an article such as a can is conveyed in the direction of arrow 12 through a label-applying station 14. The cans 10 are moved on a conveyor (not shown) and the arrival of each can 10 at a positionjuxtaposed to the label-applying station is detected by detection means 16 (FIGS. 2 and 3). Selfadhesive labels are carried by a web 18 which passes around a dispense edge member 20 which is so profiled that successive labels 22 become detached from the silicone-treated web and are available for application to the can 10. A guide roller 24 assists in guiding the web towards the sharp edge 26 of the member 20 at which labels are dispensed.

At a position downstream of and slightly above the upper face of the dispense edge member 20 a nozzle 30 is provided which is supported by an arm structure 32. The nozzle 30 is connected to receive timed air blasts or jets at preferably 50 lb./squarc inch (3.50kg./sq.cm.) from a solenoid'operated valve 34. Preferably, the outlet orifice of the nozzle 30 is disposed at a distance in the range Vs to 54 (3mm to 6mm) from the label 22 about to be applied to the can 10. Preferably, the label 22 at the instant an air blast is delivered from the nozzel is at a distance of A inch (6mm) from the surface of the can 10 which is to receive the label.

The operational sequence of the apparatus is initiated by the sensing of an article such as can 10 as the article approaches the labelling station. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 detection is effected by a light beam from a lamp 40 directed at an angle of to the horizontal on to the upper surface of a can 10 and, if a can is present, the incident light beam will be reflected at an angle of 45 on to a photo cell 42. To ensure detection ofa can edge the light beam is directed to an offset position with respect to the axis of the row of cans.

In an unillustrated modification, detection is effected by interruption of a light beam directed on to a photoelectric cell, but such detection means is unsatisfactory if articles in a row are in contact or likely to be in contact with one another since no edge will be seen" by the detection means, and hence no signal can be generated.

Reverting now to the structure illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the arm structure 32 carries the lamp 40 and photocell 42 on a dependent plate 44 and as will be seen from FIG. 3 the guide roller 24 is formed from two frusto-conical parts. It is retained on a mounting pin 46 by a retainer 48.

A bracket 50 is secured on the upper edge of the arm 32 and twin arms 52 thereof rotatably carry a roller 54 having an adjustable collar 56 thereon which can be adjusted axially of the roller to accommodate different widths of label-carrying web. A transverse member 58 of the bracket is connected both to the arm structure 32 and to a slotted bar 60 which is adjustable relatively to a main structure 62. The connection between the main structure 62 and the bar 60 is effected by a nut 64 and bolt 66, the nut earring a permanently mounted tommy bar 68 to facilitate ready slackening and retightening of the nut. A square-headed bolt 70 is engaged in a corresponding aperture in the structure 62 and the shank thereof is a tight but sliding fit in the slot of the bar 60.

The main structure 62 carries two lateral projections 72, 74 which in turn rotatably mount rollers 76, 78 both of which act as guides for the web oflabels 18 (see FIG. 1). The roller 76 is of double frusto-conical form (FIG. 3). One of the rollers 76 serves as a guide for the unused web and the other. 78, as a guide for the spent web.

The unused web carries either pre-printed labels or labels which have been printed locally on another part (not shown) of the apparatus. In the latter construction any conventional label-printing mechanism is suitable and it is only necessary that its operation should be synehronized with the advance of the label web and, of course, the advance of the cans 10. The adjustment provided by the bolt and slot connection between the main structure 60 and the arm 32 enables different sizes and spacing of labels on the web to be accommodated.

The circuits which provide for synchronization of the spool valve 34, the label web 18 and the printing mechanism. if fitted, will now be described with reference to FIG. 4.

Power is received from mains 90, one terminal of which. as is conventional, is at earth potential. Line and neutral are connected to the circuits through a doublepole switch 92 and an indicator lamp 94 is connected to provide an indication that the apparatus is switched on. A radio frequency filter circuit 96 of conventional design is also connected across line and neutral. line being connected through a one amp fuse 98. Output terminals of the filter circuit 96 are connected to primary windings of transformers T1 and T2.

The secondary winding of the transformer T1 is connected to terminals B1 and B2 of a power supply board B and the output terminals of the secondary winding of transformer T2 are connected to terminals B6 and B7 of the board B. the terminal B7 being connected through 500mA fuse 100.

The board B includes a rectifier bridge (not shown) connected to terminals B1 and B2 and provides a 24 volt output at terminal B4. A further rectifier bridge (likewise not shown) is connected to input terminals B6 and B7 of the board B and provides a stabilized It) volt output at terminal B12 with the aid of a stabilizing circuit. The rectifier bridge also provides volt outputs at terminals B5 and B8.

The output terminal 812 of board B is connected to a delay circuit board DA at terminal DAl. a solenoid valve driving circuit board A, at terminal A1, a label web driving control circuit board EW at terminal EWl, a printing mechanism control circuit board EP at terminal EP] and an inhibit circuit board C at terminal C1. The terminal 812 is also connected to potentiometers R100 and R102 which serve to adjust the delay provided by the board DA and the duration of the air blast through the nozzle 34. R100 is connected to board DA at terminal DAB and R102 to board A at terminal A8. Output terminal B5 of power supply board B is connected to terminals A12, EWlZ and EP12 of boards A, EW and EP respectively. Output terminal B8 is connected to terminal C of socket AA and also to the photo-cell 42. Output terminal B5 is also connected to the lamp projector 40. Output terminal B3 is connected through a [.5 amp fuse 108 with terminal A of a socket CC. Terminal B4 of board B is grounded.

The electrical connections of the photo-electric cell 42 and the projector lamp 40 will now be outlined. The lamp 40 operated at 15 volts DC.

The cell 42 is grounded by line 140 and receives a supply through terminal B8 of the board B. Cell 42 is connected through a switch SB with the delay circuit board DA at a terminal DA3 thereof. The photo-cell is also connected to terminal C8 of the inhibit circuit board C. The biased switch S8 serves to index successive labels for test purposes as required.

The web drive motor 110 is connected through a plug BBB and socket EE with a motor control board D which is itself connected to the mains supply through an 800mA. fuse 112 and a terminal D10. The motor board is entirely conventional and will not be further described. The plug EEE and socket EE include terminals D and E which provide connections to main on/off switches 114 and 116 which are controlled by a relay 118. The relay 118 is transferred when switch 120 is closed. Relay 118 holds itself on contact 122 and the stop switches M51 and M82. M81 breaks and drops relay 118 off if web 18 becomes wound around the drive roll (not shown).

MS2 breaks and drops relay 118 off if the cover of the print drum is opened with the motor running. The stop switch M52 also drops relay 118 off. Contact 116 removes a ground on the inputs of clutch drivers to allow the machine to become operative and contact 1 14 allows the motor to run.

Terminal A of plug CCC is connected to terminal B3 of board B through the corresponding terminal of socket CC and is also connected to relay 118 and the respective windings 124, 126, 128. and 132 of the solenoid valve 34, of an electromagnetic clutch in the label web drive. of an electromagnetic brake in the label web drive, of an electromagnetic clutch of the printing mechanism and of an electro-magnetic brake of the printing mechanism. The other terminals of these windings are connected respectively through the plug CCC and socket CC at terminals B, C. D, E and F thereof to terminal A11 of the circuit Board A (valve driver), to terminal EWll of the board EW (web driver), to terminal EWlO of board EW, to terminal EPll of board EP and to terminal EPlO of board EP.

Provision is made for sensing the exact positions of the labels on the web by means of a projector lamp and a photo-electric cell 152 and for sensing the position of the print facets of the printing mechanism relative to the labels by means of a projector lamp 154 and a sensing photo-electric cell 156. Both lamps 150, 154 and photo-electric cells 152, 156 are connected through plug AAA and socket AA to the various circuit boards. Terminal A connects the photo-cell 152 with the inhibit circuit C at terminal C6; terminal B connects photo-cell 152 to the circuit C at terminal C9; terminal C connects the photo-cell 156, the lamps 150, l54 and the photo-cells 152, 156 with terminal B8 of power supply board B to provide the power supply to these components; and terminal D provides a connection between the photo-cell 156 and switch SDI and also with terminal EP6 of board EP. One contact of switch SD! is connected to switch SB which provides in one switch condition a connection to photo-cell 42. Another contact of switch SDI is connected to terminal C5 of inhibit circuit board C. Terminal E of socket AA provides a ground connection for the photo-cell 156, the projector lamps 150, 154 and the photo-cell 152. Terminal F of socket AA provides a connection between one contact of the switch 116 and terminals 5 of boards EW and EP. A further connection through a diode 160 is made to terminal C2 of board C. The latter terminal is also connected through a capacitor 162 with one contact of the switch SD].

The boards DA and A have similar circuitry and differ only in the purposes served, the board DA serving to delay the signal received from the photo-cell 42 by an amount appropriate to the size of can, size of label and the required location of the label on the can surface. Briefly, board A includes a variable delay circuit VDA, the value of the delay being controlled by the potentiometer R102, a flip-flop circuit RSA and a coil driver circuit CAA which is tripped to operative condition by a signal from the flip-flop circuit. Power to energize the solenoid 124 of the valve 34 is provided through the line connected to the terminal All.

The circuit of board DA is identical to board A but the coil driver circuit is not used since the purpose of the board is merely to delay the signal received from the photo-cell 42 but an amount dependent on the setting of potentiometer R100. Board DA includes a delay circuit VDAA, and a flip-flop circuit RSAA.

The web driver board EW includes two coil drivers CDEWl and CDEW2, and a flip-flop circuit RSEW. At any given instant one coil driver circuit is operative and the other at rest. Energization of the coils 126, 128 is effected by the coil driver circuits through terminals EWlO and EWll and through socket CC and plug CCC as previously described.

The printing mechanism driver board EP is identical to board EW and corresponding parts have been given corresponding reference characters.

The inhibit circuit board C includes a circuit PSC for varying the sensitivity of the photo-cell 42, a circuit LDC for testing with the aid of a lamp LC whether or not the photo-cell is functioning properly, and an inverter I for changing the label sense from a triggering action dependent upon sensing the leading edge of the next label to sensing the trailing edge of a preceding label. A flip-flop circuit RSC serves to prevent any stray signals being fed to the board A, until a preceding labelling operation has been completed. On completion of a labelling operation the flip-flop RSC is changed over by a pulse received from the label or print drum sense.

For test purposes the switch SB serves to override the automatic system and allow a label to be dispensed until the switch is released. Switches SDl and SD2 enable the board EP to be switched out if pre-printed labels or plain labels are to be applied. Switch SC enables the photo-cells to be tested in conjunction with circuit LDC without the apparatus being otherwise in use.

The operation of the apparatus will now be described with particular reference to H0. 4. When the photocell 42 detects the leading edge of a can 10, or possibly the trailing edge of the can to be labelled (depending upon the mode of detection), a pulse is delivered through the switch SE to terminal DAB of board DA. After a preset delay, a pulse is delivered at terminal DA6 and this is fed to terminal C5 of the inhibit circuit. This changes the mode of the inhibit circuit so that a subsequent stray signal cannot initiate the required sequence of events until the inhibit circuit has been re-set either by the circuit board EW, or the circuit board E? if the apparatus includes a print mechanism.

The inhibit circuit board C sends through terminal C3 a signal to board A and this in turn energizes winding 124 of the solenoid valve through terminal All. The delay circuit of the board A controls the length of the air blast delivered.

The signal is also delivered to board EW and the flipflop circuit RSEW thereof is caused to energize one or other of the coil drivers CDEWI or CDEW2 and these, in turn energize the web clutch coil 126 to index the web 18 until the photo-cell 152 detects the next label gap so the signal generated serves to trigger the flipflop circuit RSEW to its other mode in which the web brake 128 is energized.

At the same time, if printing mechanism is fitted the circuit EP similarly energizes the clutch 130 of the printing drum and as soon as the printing drum has carried out the required printing step, the photo-cell 156 detects completion of the drum printing action and actuates the drum brake solenoid 132 through the flipflop RSEP and coil driver CDEPI or CDEP2. It will be appreciated that the sensing of motion of the web would be unnecessary if exact label pitch could be guaranteed, but this is rarely, if ever, possible in practice because registration of these components is liable to creep during a long run.

Immediately after a can 10 has been labelled, a signal generated either by the web sensing or the drum sensing is sent to the inhibit circuit board C triggering it to its condition in which it will respond to a fresh signal from the board DA, and the cycle can then be repeated if a further signal is generated.

I claim:

1. A label-applying apparatus comprising conveyor means for moving a row of articles to be labelled past a label-applying station, means at said label-applying station for dispensing labels successively from a web of labels to float free of support and without application of suction thereto, pneumatic nozzle means at said label-applying station and disposed at the point where each successive label is dispensed from the web, said pneumatic nozzle means directing a blast of air under positive pressure against each freely floating label immediately following its dispensing from the web, for blowing freely floating labels directly from said dispensing means into adhering relationship with the arti cles and constituting the only means exerting a pneumatic force on the dispensed labels, and means for synchronizing operation of the conveying means, the dispensing means and the pneumatic nozzle means.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the articles to be labelled are upright cylindrical containers and said synchronizing means includes a light source directed to a position off-set from the centre of the row and at an angle to an upper plane surface of the containers and a photoelectric cell oriented to receive light from the light source reflected from the upper plane surfaces of the containers.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the synchronizing means comprises an inhibit circuit which serves to prevent indexing of the label web and operation of the nozzle as a result of stray signals.

4. Apparatus according to claim I wherein the outlet of the nozzle means is spaced by about 3mm to 6mm from a label dispensed from the web and about to be applied to said article.

5. Apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the label about to be applied is spaced, on detachment from the web by about 6mm. from the surface of the article which is to receive the label.

6. Self-adhesive label applying apparatus comprising a conveyor for moving a row of articles to be labelled through a label-applying station, a sharp-edge member operable to detach successive labels from a web carrying the self-adhesive labels, a nozzle disposed immediately adjacent the sharp-edge member and operable to direct a blast of air under positive pressure against each freely floating detached label, directly as it is detached by said sharp-edge member, onto an article to be labelled, means operable to detect the presence of an article approaching the label-applying station and means operable. responsive to a signal from the detecting means, to initiate synchronous operation of the nozzle and detachment of a label from the web.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3301733 *May 28, 1963Jan 31, 1967Idento Equipment CompanyCombination label imprinting and applying apparatus
US3483059 *Dec 17, 1965Dec 9, 1969Avery Products CorpApplicator for pressure-sensitive adhesive labels
US3729362 *Dec 21, 1970Apr 24, 1973French JLabeling machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4106972 *Sep 26, 1977Aug 15, 1978Label-Aire Inc.Velocity compensator and apparatus incorporating the same
US4188252 *Aug 31, 1977Feb 12, 1980Automecha Ltd.Label positioning and applying apparatus
US4255220 *Feb 2, 1979Mar 10, 1981Label-Aire Inc.Method for supplying a label to an article surface
US4612076 *Nov 19, 1984Sep 16, 1986Willett International LimitedLabel laminating method
US5342461 *Apr 14, 1992Aug 30, 1994Imtec, Inc.High speed continuous conveyor printer/applicator
US5516398 *Dec 16, 1994May 14, 1996Kabushiki Kaisha SatoExcessive label projection prevention device for labeler
US5843252 *Aug 13, 1996Dec 1, 1998Imtec, Inc.High speed continuous conveyor printer/applicator
US6325877May 4, 1998Dec 4, 2001Imtec, Inc.High speed continuous conveyor printer/applicator
Classifications
U.S. Classification156/361, 156/497, 156/DIG.380, 156/542, 156/363, 156/757
International ClassificationB65C9/42, B65C9/28
Cooperative ClassificationB65C9/42, B65C9/28
European ClassificationB65C9/28, B65C9/42