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Numéro de publicationUS3224554 A
Type de publicationOctroi
Date de publication21 déc. 1965
Date de dépôt11 avr. 1963
Date de priorité11 avr. 1963
Numéro de publicationUS 3224554 A, US 3224554A, US-A-3224554, US3224554 A, US3224554A
InventeursHoffinger William J, Moulder Jean E, Scherr Robert E
Cessionnaire d'origineAel Food Automation Division I
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes: USPTO, Cession USPTO, Espacenet
Automatic orientation, alignment and input feeding machinery for confectionary articles
US 3224554 A
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Description  (Le texte OCR peut contenir des erreurs.)

Dec. 21, 1965 J. E. MOULDER ETAL 3,

AUTOMATIC ORIENTATION. ALIGNM AND INPUT FEEDING MACHINERY FOR CONFECTIO RY ARTICLES 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed April 11, 1963 1965 J. E. MOULDER ETAL 3,

AUTOMATIC ORIENTATION, ALIGNMENT AND INPUT FEEDING MACHINERY FOR CONFECTIONARY ARTICLES Filed April 11, 1965 s Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. 4

D 21, 1965 J. E. MOULDER ETAL 3,

AUTOMATIC ORIENTATION, ALIGNMENT AND INPUT FEEDING MACHINERY FOR CONFECTIONARY ARTICLES Filed April 11, 1963 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 D 21, 19 J. E. MOULDER ETAL 3,224,554

AUTOMATIC ORIENTATION, ALIGNMENT AND INPUT FEEDING MACHINERY FOR CONFECTIONARY ARTICLES Filed April 11, 1963 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 v 99 fit I w 1 W M "u" w ugJ I m i lul" m In 1N VENTORS JZ'AA/ 5. nmu4aae dw, Maw/M 2 1965 J. E. MOULDER ETAL 3,224,554

AUTOMATIC ORIENTATION. ALIGNMENT AND INPUT FEEDING MACHINERY FOR CONFECTIONARY ARTICLES 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed April 11, 1963 United States Patent AUTGMATIC ORIENTATION, ALIGNMENT AND INPUT FEEDING MACHINERY FOR CGNFEC- TIONARY ARTICLES .l'ean E. Moulder, Huntington, Wiliiam J. I-Ioffinger, Ridgefield, and Robert E. Scherr, Old Greenwich, Conn, assiguors, by mesne assignments, to AEL Food Automation Division, Inc, Stamford, Conn.

Filed Apr. 11, 1963, Ser. No. 272,399 4 Claims. (Cl. 19833) This invention relates to automatic systems for handling large masses of confectionary articles and in particular to automatic input feeding machinery for lining up and feeding confectionary articles in predetermined orientation into apparatus for further operations to be performed upon them. The automatic input machinery described herein as illustrative of the invention is particularly adapted for receiving a large group or bulk of freshly made non-circular confections in random orientation and for gently sorting out this large mass of the confections and for feeding them along a line into positions and at a proper supply rate and in predetermined orientation for further operations on the confections, while avoiding any damage or marring of the freshly made product.

In the manufacture of confectionary articles as described herein, there are stages in the manufacturing sequence wherein the freshly made confections are required to be fed along a predetermined path in a line each in the same orientation and at a proper feed rate into processing apparatus for further operations to take place on them. For example, these further operations include such treatments as individual wrapping of the confectionary articles in paper, plastic, or foil wrappers, and treatments such as enclosing the confectionary articles in other confections or in attractive coatings of edible material, and often these further operations include packaging of the articles for protection and delivery and final sale to customers. The confectionary articles which require orientation and feeding during their manufacturing sequence include non-circular confections, i.e. elongated, rectangular, square, rhombic, triangular, polygonal and irregular confections, such as chocolate bars, elongated bonbons, coconut bars, nut bars, square sweetmeats, rectangular candies, triangular fruit candies, and the like.

These confectionary articles have the characteristics that they are delicate, they vary in size, and vary somewhat in shape and weight even though they are all of the same type and have been produced by identical sequences of steps. Moreover, as these delicate articles are discharged from the preliminary manufacturing operation they are often in a large group or bulk. These confections are suitably delivered from the previous manufacturing step, for example, as by delivery on layer cards in a storage box brought from storage, as by delivery from a cooling belt progressing out of a cooling tunnel, and similar means of delivery of large groups of confectionary. For the purpose of performing such further operations on them as discussed above, the individual articles in this large mass of confections must be properly arranged, aligned, oriented and individually fed into the subsequent processing apparatus.

This conversion of a large batch or mass of delicate confectionary articles into a single-file line of the confections at a proper feed rate and in proper orientation into subsequent apparatus is very difficult to accomplish rapidly and at a large output rate commercially without marring the confections. In most instances prior to the present invention such delicate confectionary articles have been manually inserted one at a time into the processing equipment. The operator individually picked up the confection by hand from among a large batch of freshly Patented Dec. 21, 1965 made ones and then inserted it into the processing equipment in the desired position and orientation, laboriously repeating these operations many times each minute. This was expensive and wasteful of human talents. The present invention enables this in-feeding of the confectionary articles to be accomplished automatically, at a fast rate, in a dependable manner for continuous running hourafter-hour while protecting each confection from marring.

Among the many advantages of the present invention are those resulting from the fact that it enables the automatic conversion of a large bulk or batch of non-circular confectionary articles into alignment with each article arranged in the same orientation and being fed along in line at a desired rate and enables this to be done rapidly and dependably without marring, disfiguring or crushing the delicate articles. Also, the confections all have the same orientation, that is, they are all arranged end-to-end or all are side-by-side as may be desired in the particular installation. Moreover, the automatic machinery described herein as illustrative of the present invention is capable of handling a variety of different shapes and sizes of confectionary articles including circular ones, as may be desired.

A further advantage is that the individual confections are always maintained right side up, that is, they are not subjected to tumbling or rolling while each confection is automatically sorted out and oriented and fed along into the line.

In this specification and in the accompanying drawings are described and shown illustrative embodiments of the automatic confectionary orientation, alignment and input feeding machinery of this invention, and various modifica tions thereof are indicated, but it is to be understood that these are not to be construed as exhaustive nor limiting of the invention, but on the contrary are given for purposes of illustration in order that others skilled in the art may fully understand the invention and the many ways of applying this invention in practical use.

The various objects, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will be more fully understood from a consideration of the following specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a plan view of an automatic system for packaging confectionary articles including the orientation, alignment and input feeding machinery of the present invention for receiving a large bulk of non-circular confections and feeding them along in alignment and oriented for further processing;

FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of the automatic input feeding machinery shown in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a plan View of the machinery shown in FIGURE 2, including a rotary vibratory platform conveyor forming a portion of the automatic input machinery;

FIGURE 4 is a side edge and partial sectional view of the rotary vibratory platform conveyor of FIGURE 3 as seen along the line 4-4 of FIGURE 3;

FIGURE 5 is a sectional view of the platform taken along the line 55 of FIGURE 3;

FIGURE 6 is a partial sectional view taken along the line 6-6 of FIGURE 3 and shown on enlarged scale;

FIGURE 7 is a plan view of orienting mechanism located at the discharge outlet from the rotary vibratory platform, and shown on a larger scale than in FIGURE 3;

FIGURE 8 is an elevational view of the orienting mechanism of FIGURE 7;

FIGURE 9 is a plan view of a modified form of the orienting mechanism;

FIGURE 10 is a side elevational view of the apparatus of FIGURE 9;

FIGURE 11 is a top plan view of a further modified form of orienting mechanism; and

3 FIGURE 12 is a side elevational view of the apparatus f FIGURE 11.

General description and operation In the confectionary processing system 20 shown in IGURE 1 as an illustrative application utilizing the utomat ic orientation, alignment and input feeding mahinery ernbodying the present invention, a main coneyor generally indicated at 22 progresses continuously i the direction of the arrow and carries suitable coniiners 23, such as boxes, for the confections being packged. It will be appreciated from the introductory disussion above that the confectionary processing system may have a wide variety of different forms for proiding many different processing steps and is here shown s a packaging system by way of example, and the nonircular confections may be of many different types as iscussed above. In this example of an embodiment of ne invention the confections being handled are rectanular chocolate candies being packaged in the boxes 23.

For proper operation of the system the confections 0 must be fed thereto in the .same relative orientation. "or example, when the confectionary articles are rectanular pieces of chocolate candy as illustratively shown erein, these candies are arranged to be fed thereto single Lle, in end-to-end relationship.

After the manufacture of the confections 10 they are uitably delivered in a large group 25 including numerus individual delicate confections, often one hundred or more in each group, randomly oriented; for example, these on'fections are delivered on layer cards carried in a stortge box, and, in some installations these confections are lelivered by raking them off from a cooling belt progressng out of a cooling tunnel, and the like. Automatic oriantation, alignment and input feeding machinery 26 :rnbodying the present invention receives these large groups 25 of the confections 10 and automatically oriants them and arranges them end-to-end into a singleile delivery line for further processing. This sorting out 1nd arranging of the individual confections is carried out iependably and at a rapid delivery rate without disturb- .ng or damaging their freshly made appearance. Then, the iutomatic in-feed machinery 26 feeds these aligned confections along a downwardly inclined narrow ramp 27 into the processing apparatus 28. This automatic input feeding machinery 26 includes a wide belt conveyor 29 and a rotary vibratory platform conveyor 30 having a contoured configuration as described further below and includes orienting mechanism 32.

The rotary vibratory conveyor 30 holds a relatively large reserve of the articles and continuously circulates the articles in the direction of the arrow 47. In this illustrative example of the invention which is shown in the drawings, the operator manually loads the wide belt conveyor 29 from a tray of confectionary articles by sliding the articles off from the tray onto the conveyor, and then the articles move from the conveyor 29 onto the vibratory platform 30. However, it will be understood that any suitable delivery arrangement can be utilized as indicated above, for example, in a chocolate packaging operation, the operator conveniently brings the freshly made chocolates from the manufacturing stage on the tray-like layer cards in storage boxes customarily used for carrying the candies and slides the chocolates from the layer cards onto the belt 29.

It is to be noted that the confections in the batch 25 on the belt conveyor 29 are randomly positioned. Consequently, there are statistical variations in the numbers of confections per unit time which are transferred by the belt conveyor 29 onto the rotary conveyor 30. The conveyor 29 moves in the direction 34 and provides a reserve sup-ply of confections, and the action of the rotary vibratory conveyor 30 is to compensate for this statistical variation in the rate, i.e. numbers of confections per unit time, at which the confections are supplied thereto.

If the rotary vibratory platform conveyor is full, then the additional articles remain on the belt conveyor 29. As the articles circulate on the rotary vibratory plat form conveyor 30 in the direction of the arrow 47 they are directed toward the ramp 27 and are oriented so as to slide down the ramp in single file end-to-end and into the processing apparatus 28.

Detailed description and operation During operation of the automatic input feeding ma chinery 26, the batches 25 of the confections are supplied from the manufacturing stage onto the belt conveyor 29, which moves the confections 10 toward the rotary vibratory platform conveyor 30, as indicated by the arrow 34. The conveyor belt 29 is formed of wide flexible material having a smooth top surface for preventing any marring of the bottom surfaces of the confections resting thereon. In this example the conveyor belt 29 is formed of fabric having a smooth outer coating of slippery plastic material.

The upper surface of the belt 29 moves between a pair of smooth parallel guide rails 36 and 37 and the belt passes around a pair of spaced parallel rollers 38 and 39 mounted on the housing 40. This belt is driven at an adjustable speed by means of a suitable variablespeed primary drive mechanism. A conveyor-speed adjustment control 42 is used for controlling the drive mechanism for adjusting the linear feed rate of the belt 29 over a suitable range. There is a fast-feed position for the control 42, for readily transferring numerous confections from the belt 29 onto the vibratory platform 30 when desired by the operator.

In order to convert this large bulk of randomly oriented confections into a single-file line progressing endto-end along the ramp 27 for further processing, these confections are acted upon by the rotary vibratory plat form conveyor 30 cooperating with the orienting mechanism 32. The transfer from the belt '29 onto the smooth top surface of the vibratory conveyor occurs adjacent to the roller 38. There is a straight lip 44 extending along one edge of the vibratory conveyor which is chamfered along its underside and is positioned near to the curving surface of the belt just slightly below the level of the belt 29. To assure transfer of the confections onto the vibratory platform 30 without marring, the top surface of this lip 44 is smooth and is precisely aligned with the axis of the roller 38 so as to be spaced at all points below the plane of the upper surface of the conveyor 29 by a slight amount.

This vibratory platform conveyor 30 oscillates with small, rapid, rotary reciprocating movements about a vertical neutral axis 46. This neutral axis is offset from the central area of the platform 30 and the smooth surface of this platform is contoured so as to guide each confection in turn along a path 47 approaching an outlet 50 near the top end of the ramp 27, defining the in-feed line.

The oscillatory movement of the platform 30 combines vertical and horizontal components of motion. During the advancing rotary movements, i.e., counterclockwise movement in this example as seen in plan view in FIG- URE 3, the platform moves upwardly, i.e., is rapidly elevated, by a slight amount. Consequently, the confections are firmly engaged by the smooth surface of the platform and are urged to move with it because their inertia causes them to tend to press down upon the platform as they resist its rapid upward movement. .Thus, the confections are all advanced an incremental amount in the direction 47. During the returning, i.e., retrograde, clockwise movement of the platform 30 as seen in FIGURE 3 it is quickly lowered by a corresponding slight amount, thus reducing the frictional force between the confections and the platform so that they retain a'l-arge proportion of their incremental advancement until the next advancing move ment of th platform begins.

In order to produce this combined vertical and rotary movement, the platform 30 is resiliently mounted and suitably driven. For example, the platform has four mounting lugs 52 which are rigidly attached to a ferromagnetic plate which is supported upon a plurality of leaf springs each canted at the same acute angle to the vertical and offset from the neutral axis 46 and positioned thereabout so that deflection of the springs causes the platform 30 to turn slightly as it is moved vertically. An electromagnet rests upon the base 54 and cyclically attracts the ferromagnetic plate to produce the desired deflection of the springs.

For example, this platform has been found to operate extremely well when the electromagnet is energized by means of unfiltered, half-wave-rectified alternating current of a frequency of 50 to 60 cycles per second, thus producing 50 or 60 rotary strokes, i.e., incremental advancing movements per second. To produce the desired motion of the platform 36 with the least amount of driving power, the platform 36 is arranged to have an angular moment of inertia about its axis 46 resonant with the effective torsion of the combined action of the springs acting about this same axis. In this example the platform 39 is formed of aluminum and its upper surface is smoothly polished.

To accommodate this rotary vibratory movement of the platform 31), there are clearance gaps 55, as seen in FIGURE 3, between the opposite ends of the lip 44 and the guide walls 36 and 37 and between the lip and belt 29. Similar clearance gaps are provided between the upper end of the ramp 27 and the adjacent parts of the platform 39. If desired, in installations where this ramp 27 is short, it may be attached to the vibratory platform 30.

In order to guide the confections as they travel around the platform in the path 47, the center portion 56 of the platform is raised approximately of an inch above the horizontal annular surface 57 adjacent to a perimeter wall 48. This raised center portion is surrounded by a truncated conical surface 58. Consequently, this sloping conical surface acts as an outwardly directed spiral guide about the oscillatory axis 46,

There is a converging outer guide wall 60 which begins at a point 61 adjacent to the clearance gap 55 and continues over to the outlet 50. This wall curves inwardly with respect to a fixed radius swung in an are about the vibratory axis 46, and thus the confections approach this wall 60 and are guided by it toward the outlet 50, because the confections when free of restraint tend to follow a path of generally constant or slightly increasing radius as they are propelled in direction 47 about the axis 46. The guide wall 68 as followed from point 6'1 is of progressively decreasing radius from the axis 46 so that it converges with the natural movement of the confections and they encounter this wall 60. As the confections progress up a ramp 62 along against the wall 60 they usually become oriented with a straight or fiat side parallel with the adjacent region of this wall.

Commencing at 63 near the point 61 in front of the outlet 54 there is the upwardly sloping ramp 62 which approaches this outlet. This ramp 62 extends fora substantial angular distance about the vibratory axis 46, as shown. It is noted that FIGURE 3 is drawn accurately to scale one-third actual size, so that dimensions and angular relationships can be scaled from this drawing. This ramp 62 rises to an elevation of an inch above the horizontal surface 57. Sloping downwardly and inwardly from the edge 64 of this ramp to the horizontal surface 57 is a deflection surface 66 which aids in rejecting improperly positioned confections.

As the confections advance up the ramp 62 toward the outlet, many of them, such as indicated at 67, become properly oriented by the vibratory advancement and the guide action of the wall 60 so as that one of their fiat surfaces extends in the direction of movement along beside the wall 60. These properly oriented confections 67 directly enter the outlet 56 and pass down the ramp 27.

There are from time to time other confections, such as the ones indicated at 68 and 69 which are turned at various angles to the direction of movement. Moreover, additional confections 10 are often backed up along the wall 60 behind the confections 69 and they are pushing against this confection 69 so that their pushing action cumulates in pressing against the confections 68 and 69. There is a strong tendency for a confection which is grossly turned away from its proper orientation to become jammed at the outlet 50 because of the cumulative force of those behind it which press against one of its flat surfaces and serve to lodge it and hold it in the jammed position.

In order to remove any mis-oriented confections which are a potential source of jamming, the orienting mechanism 32 gently pulls them out of the line and urges them aside so that they can recirculate around the vibratory platform 30 into position for making another advance up the ramp 62. This orienting mechanism 32 is advantageous in its operation, and as shown in FIGURE 3 is in the process of rejecting the confection 71. Thereafter the confection 68 will be pulled out of the line, and if the confection 69 turns further as the confection 68 is removed, then the confection 69 will also be promptly removed. Thus, the succeeding properly oriented confections 10 will thereafter have a clear path for smoothly entering into the outlet 50. Advantageously the pressure of succeeding confections aids the mechanism 32 in removing the mis-oriented ones.

This orienting mechanism 32 includes resilient rejector means revolving counter to the approaching confections and shown in this example as a pulley wheel 70 adjacent to the outlet 50 with a small flexible belt 72 running around it and having a roughened outer surface with a high coefficient of friction with respect to the confections, for example, such as provided by a rubber material on the belt, having a rippled, ribbed, dimpled surface, or the like. The effective width W (FIG. 7) of the opening 59 between the belt 72 and the wall 60 is slightly more than the minor dimension M of a confection but is less than the length L of a confection and is also less than the spanned space S from tip to tip occupied by a grossly mis-oriented confection. For driving the belt 72 in the direction of the arrow 73, an electric motor drive unit 74 having a built-in speed reducing gear mechanism is mounted on an arm bracket 76 secured to the machine frame '78. A drive shaft 80 extends down from the unit 74 and has a rubber sleeve 81 thereon engaging the belt 72. In this example with rectangular confections as shown, the shaft 86 is turning at 60 rpm, and the driving sleeve 81 has a diameter of /2 inch for moving the belt 72 at a surface speed of at least 1.5 inches per second, and a higher belt speed may be used for faster removal of the confections, which operates to advantage as shown.

For providing the strongest action in rejecting misoriented confections when the system is changed over from handling one type of confections to another, the angular position of the belt 72 can be adjusted. A base plate 82 (FIGURE 7) is attached to the arm bracket 76, and one corner of the motor unit 74 is connected by a pivot screw 84 to this base plate. Adjustable clamping means 86 in the form of a wing nut and threaded stud hold the motor unit 74 at the desired adjusted position with respect to an arcuate slot 87 in the base plate. The drive shaft also extends through an arcuate clearance opening 88 in the base plate, both slots 87 and 88 being concentric about the pivot 84. The position of the arm bracket 76 is adjusted by clamp screws 89 passing through slots 90 in the bracket. The belt 72 is guided by an idler pulley 92 on an idler shaft 93 depending from a mounting 94 attached to the arm 76.

As shown in FIGURE 6, the pulley 70 fits partially into an undercut 96 in the triangular end 97 of the wall 48 adjacent to the outlet 50. Any confection 68 which is projecting out from its proper orientation engages the curving belt 72 in the region 98 and is drawn out of the line and slides down the deflection slope 66 so as to re enter the circulation channel 57. Consequently, this rejected confection is recirculated around the channel 57 for a subsequent properly oriented entry into the outlet 50.

The orienting mechanism 32 operated to good advantage in handling rectangular, elongated, and oblong shaped confections.

In summary, the alignment of the confection is accomplished by the advantageous cooperation of the vibratory feed action and the mechanism 32. It is important to note that all of the confections which deviate by any substantial amount from the proper orientation are recirculated on the platform 30 for a subsequent opportunity to enter the outlet 50. In this way none of the confections are marred or damaged, and a steady, dependable input feed into the packaging system 20 is produced.

In FIGURES 9 and 10 is shown a modified form of orienting mechanism 32A having many parts performing functions corresponding with those of FIGURES 1-8 and identified by corresponding reference numbers. A motor drive unit 74 is secured to a large releasable clamp means in the form of a knob screw 99 passing through a slot 100 in the base plate and engaging into the bracket. On the drive shaft 80 is mounted revolving rejector means including a rotating wheel 101 having a plurality of resilient lobes 102 protruding therefrom. This wheel 101 is turned in a clockwise direction so that the lobes 102 as they sweep along beside the outlet 50 at a spacing W from the wall 60 are moving counter to the movement of the approaching confections 22. Those which are actually entering the outlet 50 is misaligned relationship are nudged by the lobes 102 into proper orientation. Those which are askew so as to project off to one side of the opening are pushed aside down the slop 66 so as to recirculate around the channel 57.

The orienting mechanism 32A operates to good advantage in handling rectangular, elongated, oblong, and square confections. When handling square confections the effective outlet width W is adjusted to be more than the minor dimension of the square confection as measured in either direction, but W is less than the diagonal span S of a spuare confection as measured from a corner to the diagonally opposite corner. Thus, misoriented square confections are urged aside so as to recirculate on the platform 30 for a fresh approach to the opening 50.

FIGURES 11 and 12 disclose another orienting mechanism 32B wherein the drive shaft 80 is inclined forwardly and includes a sweep arm 104 attached thereto at an angle. The motor 74 is set on an inclined base 82 secured to the bracket arm 76 by a brace 105. An elongated hole 88 in the base 82 accommodates the shaft 80 and permits lateral adjustment of the position of the motor 74. A resilient extension 106 projects beyond the end of the arm 104 and is formed by a short piece of rubber tubing. Thus, the resilient end 106 sweeps in an inclined 45 plane, as illustrated by the motion arrow 108 in FIGURE 11.

As the confections aproach the outlet they are deflected in a first direction, that is, toward their left by cam means 110 defined by a smoothly curving, inwardly extending cam 110 adjacent to the wall 60. This cam action initially positions the approaching confections with their leading ends directed toward the left of the desired ultimate path. Then the resilient arm end 106 gently pushes this leading end forwardly and turns the confection in the opposite direction from the cam action so that the leading end of the confection is caused to swing around the outermost portion 112 of the cam means 110 so as to enter the outlet 50 in proper alignment. Those confections which have not engaged the cam 110 but which happen to have their end leading and directed toward the right will not be caused to pivot about the outermost point 112 of the cam 110, but will be directly pushed inward along the downstream portion 113 of the cam 110 in proper alignment.

From the foregoing it will be appreciated that the automatic alignment and input feeding machinery of the prescut invention for supplying delicate articles in proper orientation dependably and rapidly to packaging systems is well suited to provide the advantages set forth, and since many possible embodiments may be made of the various features of this invention and as the apparatus described herein may be varied in various parts, all without departing from the scope of the invention, it is to be understod that all matter hereinbefore set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and that in certain instances some of the features of the invention may be used without a corresponding use of other features, all without departing from the scope of the invention a claimed hereinafter.

What is claimed is:

1. Automatic input feeding apparatus for confectionary articles comprising a rotary vibratory platform conveyor having a generally circular configuration and including a generally tangential discharge outlet from the perimeter of the platform, said vibratory platform conveyor having a smooth surface and holding the confectionary articles thereon, rotary vibratory drive means for said platform for circulating the articles therein in a direction toward said outlet, orienting mechanism for the confectionary articles approaching said outlet including guide wall means extending toward said outlet and defining one side of said outlet, and resilient rejector means revolving in a direction counter to the approaching confections and defining the opposite side of said opening for said articles to pass through said outlet single file and for rejecting misaligned confections including a pulley Wheel rotatably mounted at the opposite side of said opening, a belt travelling around said pulley wheel, guide means for said belt spaced from said pulley wheel and guiding the belt along a path at a large angle to the direction of movement of the confections approaching along said wall for urging the mis-aligned confections away from said outlet, whereby the confectionary articles are rearranged from a random group into a single file line passing through said outlet for further processing of the confections.

2. Automatic input feeding apparatus for confectionary articles comprising a rotary vibratory platform conveyor for holding the confectionary articles thereon and defining a closed recirculation path for said articles and including a discharge outlet from said recirculation path, said vibratory platform conveyor having a smooth surface and holding the confectionary articles thereon, rotary vibratory drive means for said platform for circulating the articles thereon along said path in a direction toward said outlet, orienting mechanism for the confectionary articles approaching said outlet including guide wall means extending toward said outlet and defining one side of said outlet, an inclined ramp sloping upwardly toward said outlet, and resilient rejector means revolving in a direction counter to the approaching confections and defining the opposite side of said opening for said articles to pass through said outlet single file and for rejecting misaligned confections including a pulley wheel rotatably mounted at the opposite side of said opening, a belt travelling around said pulley wheel, guide means for said belt spaced from said pulley wheel and guiding the belt along a path at a large angle to the direction of movement of the confection approaching up said ramp for urging the misaligned confections off of said ramp away from said outlet for recirclation, whereby the confectionary articles are maintained right side up and are rearranged from a random group into a single file line passing through said outlet for further processing of the confections.

3. Automatic input feeding apparatu for rectangular, elongated and oblong confectionary articles comprising a rotary vibratory platform conveyor having a smooth surface for holding the confectionary articles thereon and defining a closed recirculation path for said articles on the surface of the platform and including a discharge outlet from said recirculation path, rotary vibratory drive means for oscillating said platform about an axis encircled by said path for circulating the articles thereon along said path in a direction toward said outlet, orienting means for the confectionary :articles approaching said outlet including curved guide wall means extending toward said outlet and defining one side of said outlet, said curved wall means curving inwardly with respect to a fixed radius swung about said axis, and revolving rejector means revolving in a direction counter to the approaching confections and defining the opposite side of said opening for said articles to pass through said outlet single file and for rejecting misaligned confections including a pulley wheel rotatably mounted at the opposite side of said opening, a belt travelling around said wheel, adjustable guide means for said belt spaced from said pulley wheel and guiding the belt along a path at a large adjustable angle to the direction of movement of the confections approaching along said Wall for urging the misaligned confections away from said outlet for recirculation, whereby the confectionary articles are maintained right side up and are rearranged from a random group into a single file line all having the same orientation passing through said outlet for further processing of the confections.

4. Automatic input feeding apparatus for confections for automatically supply rectangular, elongated and oblong confections single-file and each longitudinally riented with respect to the direction of feeding while always maintaining the confections right side up comprising a rotary vibratory platform having a generally circular configuration for circulating the confections thereon, said vibratory platform having an outlet near its perimeter and facing in the direction of circulation of said confections, rotary vibratory drive means for vibrating said platform for circulating the confections thereon toward said outlet, orienting and aligning means for the confections approaching said outlet including guide Wall means extending toward said outlet and defining the outer side of said outlet, said guide wall means converging with the confections approaching said outlet, and resilient rejector means revolving in a direction counter to the approaching confections and defining the inner side of said outlet for said confections to pass through said outlet single file and each longitudinally oriented with respect to the direction of feeding and for rejecting misaligned confections including a pulley wheel rotatably mounted at the inner side of said opening, a belt travelling around said pulley Wheel, guide means for said belt spaced from said pulley wheel and guiding the belt along a path at a large angle to the direction of movement of the confections approaching along said Wall for urging the misaligned confections away from said outlet, said belt at its closest position to said wall being spaced from said Wall means by a distance W slightly greater than the minimum width M of the confections and less than the length L of the confections for feeding longitudinally oriented confections single-file through said outlet and for pushing Inis-oriented confections inwardly onto said platform away from said outlet, whereby the confections are arranged from a random group into a single-file line passing through said outlet and each longitudinally oriented with respect to the direc tion of feeding while maintaining the confections right side up for further processing of the confections.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,629,481 2/1953 StOVer 188-30 2,725,971 12/1955 Clark 221-1S9 X 2,737,286 3/1956 Kibler 198-30 FOREIGN PATENTS 642,423 8/ 1928 France.

SAMUEL F. COLEMAN, Primary Examiner.

EDWARD A. SROKA, Examiner.

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Classifications
Classification aux États-Unis198/392, 198/455
Classification internationaleB65G47/51, B65G47/68, A23G7/00
Classification coopérativeB65G2047/687, A23G7/0037, B65G47/5145, B65G47/684
Classification européenneA23G7/00H, B65G47/51A1D, B65G47/68D4