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Publication numberUS3908333 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 30, 1975
Filing dateOct 31, 1973
Priority dateNov 2, 1972
Publication numberUS 3908333 A, US 3908333A, US-A-3908333, US3908333 A, US3908333A
InventorsMario Cavanna
Original AssigneeMario Cavanna
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Device for registering articles and package elements therefor during feed to a packaging machine
US 3908333 A
Abstract
Articles to be packaged are fed to an automatic packaging machine on a positive endless conveyor having upstanding pusher elements which engage each successive article, and carton blanks for each article wrapper are fed to an upwardly inclined stretch of the positive conveyor upstream of a zone where the individual articles are deposited on the conveyor, in register with the carton blanks already placed thereon.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Cavanna 1 Sept. 30, 1975 [54] FOR 3269.086 8/1966 ClOOtS 6t 211 198/34 X AND PACKAGE ELEMENTS THEREFOR 3,540,187 1 H1970 Monaghan 53/209 X 3,659,398 5/1972 Holt 53/389 DURING FEED TO A PACKAGING MACHINE [76] Inventor: Mario Cavanna, Prato Scsia (Novara), Italy [22] Filed: Oct. 31, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 411,570

[30] Foreign Application Priority Data Nov. 2, 1972 Italy 31247/72 [52] US. Cl. 53/51; 53/209; 53/389; 198/23; 198/34 [51] Int. Cl. B65B 41/18 [58] Field of Search 53/51, 160,209, 251, 389, 53/378; 198/23, 34, 84, 102

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,651,899 9/1953 Ackley 53/209 X Primary Examiner-Robert L. Spruill Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Sughrue, Rothwell, Mion, Zinn & Macpeak [57] ABSTRACT Articles to be packaged are fed to an automatic packaging machine on a positive endless conveyor having upstanding pusher elements which engage each successive article, and carton blanks for each article wrapper are fed to an upwardly inclined stretch of the positive conveyor upstream of a zone where the individual articles are deposited on the conveyor, in register with the carton blanks already placed thereon.

4 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures U.S. Patent Sept. 30,1975 Sheet 1 of2 3,908,333

US. Patent Sept 30,1975 Sheet20f2 3,908,333

DEVICE FOR REGISTERING ARTICLES AND PACKAGE ELEMENTS THEREFOR DURING FEED TO A PACKAGING MACHINE This invention concerns a device for placing articles in registration with packages during the feeding of articles to a packaging machine of the automatic type.

in a known method of feeding articles to an automatic packaging machine the articles for packaging are first placed on a non-positive accumulator conveyor belt which is followed by an article spacing conveyor belt moving at a greater speed than the accumulator belt; there then follows a positive conveyor belt for the spaced articles, having a number of article-engaging pusher elements, spaced apart by a predetermined pitch which is strictly correlated to the rate of operation of the associated packaging machine. As the articles are advanced by the positive conveyor belt they must be brought into registration with respective package elements, which generally consist of punched carton blanks previously prepared for automatic folding around the articles by the packaging machine to complete the packaging of the articles.

At present the methods used to bring package elements into registration with the articles are mostly manual, and thus entail high packaging costs. Moreover, manual methods cannot always adjust to the everincreasing rate of operation of automatic packaging machines. 7

Automatic or semi-automatic methods have been suggested for coupling the package elements to the individual articles, but these methods have not up to now given very satisfactory results, due to their complexity and to the difficulties encountered in synchronizing the means for loading the packages with the positive conveyor belt for the articles.

For example, in U.S. Pat. No. 2,542,330, an auxiliary conveyor is proposed for feeding the package elements, this auxiliary conveyor sloping upwards in the direction of movement of the articles to be packaged and feeding cartons to a position between the article feeding conveyor and a lifting conveyor. It is arranged that the cartons are brought by the auxiliary conveyor into positions in which they project partially above the article conveyor and are spaced from the lifting conveyor, travelling at a conveniently increased speed, the lifting of the articles together with their respective cartons being effected manually.

Such a system, however. requires the installation of an auxiliary conveyor, the precise positioning of which is difficult since it has to be fitted immediately below the article feeding conveyor so that the delivery end of the said auxiliary conveyor more or less coincides with "that ofthe article feeding conveyor. Apart from this not inconsiderable constructional complication, it is also necessary to have a suitable mechanism to ensure strict synchronization between the feeding movement of the articles and the advancing movement of the packaging cartons. Furthermore, the system proposed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,542,330 is in practice complex and not easy to set up.

A main object of this invention is to avoid the abovementioned disadvantages by providing a device for bringing articles and package elements therefor into register with each other during the feeding of the articles to a packaging machine in which the need for an auxiliary conveyor belt, and general constructional complexity, is avoided.

Another object of the invention is to provide a device as aforesaid which can operate in perfect synchronization with the forward movement of the articles without needing to provide a special synchronizing mechanism, thereby ensuring accuracy of movement such as to allow an even feed of package elements at a predetermined rate for the folding and sealing of the packages in a packaging machine, even at high speeds of operation. I

According to the present invention there is provided a device for bringing articles and packages therefor into registration with each other during feeding of the articles to a packaging machine, consisting of a positive endless conveyor for the said articles, having a number of article-engaging pusher elements the spacing of which on said conveyor is adjustable,characterised in that the positive conveyor is arranged with a first stretch aligned with a preceding article feed means and a second inclined stretch, positioned in the zone preceding the said first stretch, inclined upwardly in the direction of advance of the said positive conveyor, and in that a package feeding station is arranged for placing upon the said positive conveyor single package elements which are brought into registration with individ' ual articles substantially in the connecting zone between the first and second stretches of the said positive conveyor.

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of a device according to this invention, illustrated merely by way of non-restrictive example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1 and 2 show diagrammatically, in vertical section and plan view respectively, a feeding system for a packaging machine, incorporating a device according to the invention, and

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic perspective view of the same feeding system.

Referring to the drawings, a feeding system for an automatic packaging machine includes a positive conveyor 1 formed by an endless chain, situated below a pair of endless spacing conveyor belts 2 arranged sideby-side and not far apart. The conveyor belts 2 are in turn situated below a collector or accumulator conveyor belt 3 on which articles 4 for packaging are fed non-positively. The endless belts 2 and 3 pass around respective rollers 20,21), 2c, 2d and 3a, 3b, 3c, of which at least one in each set, for example the rollers 2a, 3a, is motor-driven.

The conveyor belts 2 are driven at a speed conveniently greater than that of the belt 3 so as to cause the articles 4 to be spaced apart by a requisite distance on the belts 2. The articles 4 therefore travel, in the direction indicated by the arrow A, from the belt 3 to the pair of belts 2, and from the latter to the positive chain conveyor I. The conveyor 1 is provided with a number of pusher elements 5, consisting, in this example, of small upstanding blades integral with the chain of the conveyor 1 and perpendicular to it. The pusher elements 5 are spaced apart at a equal distances along the conveyor, the spacing of the elements 5 being predetermined according to the rate of operation of the packaging machine, the length of each article 4 in the direction of travel A, and the speed of the positive conveyor 1.

The speed of the positive conveyor 1 is equal to that of the pair of spacing conveyor belts 2 so that the pusher elements 5 act individually upon the articles 4, keeping them suitably spaced apart in their passage into the packaging machine.

The positive chain conveyor 1 passes around three rollers or sprockets 6, 7, 8 at least one of which is a motor-driven sprocket, so arranged that the said conveyor 1 has an upper substantially horizontal stretch 9, positioned on the same level as the packaging station (not shown) and in alignment with the upper surfaces of the conveyor belts 2 and 3, which are also aligned with each another. The conveyor 1 also has an inclined stretch 10 immediately preceding the horizontal stretch 9, the stretch l sloping upwardly in the direction of travel A of the articles and terminating at a central roller or sprocket 6 at the commencement of the horizontal stretch 9.

The gap between the two adjacent spacing conveyor belts 2 is situated on the centrelines of the conveyors 1 and 3, that is, on the longitudinal axis of the system. This gap is completely open at the downstream or delivery end of the conveyor belts 2. To this end, while the rollers 2a, 2);, 2d have a length such as to span both the belts 2, at the delivery end of the spacing conveyor there are two independent rollers 2c, supporting the two respective belts 2: these rollers 20 are adjacent and coaxial but are supported independently, cantilever fashion, by respective lateral brackets (not shown) mounted on the supporting structure of the system so that a clear gap is left between the adjacent ends of the rollers 20. This arrangement ensures that the pusher elements 5 of the chain conveyor 1 can move freely over the roller 6 through the gap between the spacing belts 2 and the rollers 20 while projecting for a certain distance above the plane in which the articles 4 are conveyedthat is, the plane defined by the upper surfaces of the conveyor belts 2 and 3.

The pusher elements 5 are designed to push individual package elements in the form of carton blanks 11 along the inclined stretch 10 of the conveyor 1, and then, in the horizontal stretch 9, to push the same carton blanks 11 together with respective articles 4 placed upon the carton blanks by the adjacent spacing conveyor belts 2.

The carton blanks ll, fed from an appropriate feeding station '(which will be described hereinafter), slide on a bed 18 supported from the floor or the ground by suitable support elements 19, 20 (FIG. 3) and including a slideway 18a parallel to and coplanar with the inclined stretch 10 of the conveyor 1 and a horizontal slideway 18h level with of the horizontal stretch 9 of the conveyor 1. The two slideways 18a and 18b are connected together in correspondence with the roller 6, near the rollers 2c.

Along the entire upper surface of the bed 18 there is provided a longitudinally extending medial gap 21 through which the pusher elements 5 of the conveyor 1 pass.

On both sides of the gap 21 there are symmetrically arranged longitudinal guide strips 22 along the entire length of upper surface of the bed 18 for the purpose of directing the carton blanks 11 while they are sliding along the bed 18 so as to keep them always orientated in the same direction. These guide strips 22 are affixed to the bed 18 by means of screws 23 or the like and are adjustable in position laterally so that the spacing between the strips 22 can be selected according to the width of the carton blanks 11 in use at any given time.

Similarly, in order to guide the articles 4 and to maintain them in a constant orientation there may be provided fixed lateral guide walls (not shown) upon both sides of the conveyors l. 2 and 3.

The drive of the motorized rollers or sprockets pertaining to the belts l, 2 and 3 is derived through mechanical transmissions which have not been illustrated in the interests of clarity, but which are of any suitable known type.

The carton feeding station is positioned to correspond with the lower end of the slideway 18a below the belt 3, and may be of any suitable type.

In the example shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the carton feeding station consists of a roll 12 of cardboard followed by a guide roller 12a and by a pair of driven rollers 13, 14 between which the cardboard is drawn, the cardboard being creased longitudinally by means of flanges on the roller 13. The drive connections to the rollers 13, 14 which are of known type, have been omitted from the drawings in the interests of clarity. The longitudinal creases formed in the cardboard by the flanges 13 are indicated by lines of small dashes in FIG. 2, these creases facilitating the subsequent folding of the cardboard in the packaging apparatus (not shown) placed downstream of the horizontal stretch 9 of the conveyor 1.

Downstream of the rollers 13 and 14 there are arranged a fixed blade 15 and a movable blade 16 of a cutter which operates at regular intervals in synchronization with the movement of the conveyor 1, cutting the continuous sheet of cardboard coming off the roll 12 so as to form single carton blanks 11. The carton blanks 11, immediately after cutting, fall, as shown by the arrow B in FIG. 3, on to the slideway 18a and are conveyed up the latter by the pusher elements 5 of the conveyor 1.

From the preceding description it will be apparent how the device of the present invention functions.

While the positive chain conveyor 1 is moving, the carton feeding station, consisting of the roll 12 and the cutter l5, 16, supplies carton blanks 11 to the slideway 18a, one blank being deposited in each space between adjacent pusher elements 5. The pusher elements 5 push the carton blanks 11 upwardly along the slideway 18a so that they pass beneath the adjacent article spacing conveyor belts 2 on which the articles 4 are advanced with predetermined mutual spacing between successive articles thanks to the greater speed of the conveyor belts 2 relative to that of the preceding article feeding conveyor belt 3. Before the articles 4 reach the discharge end of the conveyor belts 2, the pusher elements 5 protrude through the gap between the belts 2, projecting upwards so as to engage the rear ends of the articles 4. When, therefore, the articles 4 pass form the belts 2 on to the horizontal slideway 18b of the bed 18, the pusher elements 5 engage simultaneously both the carton blanks 11 and the articles 4 deposited therein from the belts 2, effecting positive conveyance at the articles 4, in registration with their respective carton blanks 11, to the end of the bed 18.

It will be seen that by feeding the carton blanks on to the same conveyor as that which advances the articles 4 to the packaging machine, perfect synchronisation of the feeding of the carton blanks 11 and the articles is achieved very advantageously, without having recourse to an auxiliary conveyor but using only one single positive conveyor 1 which performs both the article feeding and the carton feeding functions at the same time.

As the articles 4 and the carton blanks ll advance along the flat stretch 18b of the bed 18 the carton blanks 11 are folded to form cartons wrapping the articles 4 by the operation of automatic packaging devices (not shown).

The pusher elements 5 are adjustable in position on the chain conveyor 1 so as to allow for variation as desired of the spacing between adjacent elements 5 according to the dimensions of the packaging carton blanks 11.

According to a variant of the illustrated embodiment the roller 6 can be omitted and the conveyor I allowed to slide upon the bed 18 in correspondence with the gap 21 so as to keep the conveyor 1 aligned with the upper surfaces of the two stretches 18a and 18b of the .bed 18.

The device according to the invention ensures a continuously exact and even registration between the articles 4 and their respective packages, the latter being exactly positioned by the same pusher elements 5 as those which act upon the articles 4 themselves. The invention may be embodied with various modifications and constructional variants all coming within the scope of this invention.

I claim:

1. A device for bringing articles and respective individual package elements therefor into registration with each other while feeding the articles and package elements to a packaging machine comprising positive endless main conveyor means including a first stretch for receiving and conveying said package elements and a second stretch for receiving said articles on said package elements and conveying said articles and the package elements to said packaging machine, spaced apart pusher elements secured to said main conveyor means for feeding package elements along said first and second stretches, article feed conveyor means disposed above said first stretch for feeding articles onto package elements carried by said main conveyor means, said article feed conveyor means being aligned with both said first and second stretches in a vertical plane, said article feed conveyor means having an end portion terminating close to said main conveyor means at a point substantially between said first and second stretches, said article feed conveyor means having passage means for said pusher elements to pass at least partially above said end portion, said pusher elements travelling in a path in which at least their top parts pass above said end portion whereby said pusher elements will engage and feed said articles and said package elements in registration with each other on said second stretch.

2. A device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said pusher elements are adjustably mounted on said main conveyor means.

3. A device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said first stretch is upwardly inclined, said second stretch is disposed substantially horizontally and said article feed conveyor means is disposed above said first stretch in v substantial horizontal alignment with said second stretch.

4. A device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said article feed conveyor means includes a pair of spaced apart parallel endless conveyor with the space therebetween defining said passage means.

Patent Citations
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US3540187 *Apr 10, 1968Nov 17, 1970Weldotron CorpApparatus for packaging products
US3659398 *Nov 2, 1970May 2, 1972Battle Creek Packaging MachineFilm feed and cutter for fold-over wrapping machine
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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/51, 53/389.5, 198/418.3, 198/461.1, 53/209
International ClassificationB65B43/52, B65B43/42, B65B35/00, B65B35/24
Cooperative ClassificationB65B35/24, B65B43/52
European ClassificationB65B35/24, B65B43/52