US 3403772 A
Description (Le texte OCR peut contenir des erreurs.)
Oct. 1, 1968 v Filed Jan. 5, 1967 L. 'VADAS CONTAINER FEED MECHANI SM nan .nan
3 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR. LESLIE VADAS ATTORNEY I Oct. 1, 1968 L. VADAS I 3,403,772
CONTAINER FEED MECHANISM Filed Jan. 5,1967 5 Shets-Sheet 2 'F'IE'n Ei INVENTOR. LESLIE VADAS ATTORNEY Oct. 1, 1968 L VADAS CONTAINER FEED MECHANISM 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Jan. 5, 1967 INVENTOR. LESLIE VADAS ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,403,772 CONTAINER FEED MECHANISM Leslie Vadas, Los Gatos, Calif., assignor to FMC Corporation, San Jose, Calif., a corporation of Delaware Filed Jan. 5, 1967, Ser. No. 607,454 7 Claims. (Cl. 198-34) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A slow speed endless control chain lifts a plurality of containers off a fast speed feed conveyor. After a predetermined interval, the control chain deposits the containers back on the feed conveyor; meanwhile a space has developed between the detained containers and the preceding containers so each group of containers is spaced fromthe following group as the groups are advanced to a processing unit.
Background of invention In one type of cooker, the cans are moved into the cooker by means of a transfer reel that has a plurality of peripheral pockets, each of which is arranged to receive a group of, for example, twenty containers disposed in end to end relation. Each pocket is an elongate trough-like member that opens sidewise to receive a line of containers which is first brought to a position alongside and in parallel relation to the elongate pocket and then moved into the pocket along a path that extends transversely of the line. To prepare a line of twenty cans for transfer into the transfer reel, it is necessary that the line of cans be separated from the cans next behind. Usually this is accomplished by gates or the like which arrest the following cans, allowing only the leading cans to move to a position parallel to the pocket of the reel. The raising and lowering of gates necessitates the use of timing and actuating mechanisms that require servicing, adjustment, and repair and, accordingly, an important object of the present invention is the provision of an improved mechanism for forming distinct and separate lines of cans from a substantially continuous supply line without the use of gates or the like.
Also, in the past it has been necessary to stop the rotary movement of the transfer reel so that a line of cans can be pushed into a pocket of the reel. The intermittent forming of the lines of cans and the intermittent stopping and starting of the reel results in a relatively slow operation. Accordingly, it is another object of the invention to provide means for continuously forming lines of cans and transferring each line into a pocket of a transfer reel without stopping the rotation of the reel.
Summary of invention An endless, relatively slow-speed control chain has a portion of its run that is congruent to a portion of relatively fast-speed container feed chain. The control chain has spaced control sections thereon, each section including a plurality of laterally-spaced lifter members which pass on opposite sides of the feed chain at the stretch of chain where the two chains are congruent. The lifter members lift a plurality of containers up off the feed chain and therefore, due to the slow speed of the control chain, the following line ofcontainers is slowed down. After a predetermined interval the lifted group of containers is deposited back on the feed conveyor; meanwhile, a space has opened up between this group of containers and the preceding group. By controlling the relative speeds of the two chains, the size of the space between groups can be adjusted to a desired distance.
Patented Description of the drawings FIGURE 1 is a diagrammatic longitudinal side elevation with parts in section, of an article controlapparatus embodying the teachings of the present invention.
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged vertical section taken along line 2-2 of FIGURE 1. v
FIGURE 3 is a side elevation taken along line 3 3 of FIGURE 2.
FIGURES 4, 5 and FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary diagrammatic plan of a transfer reel associated with the line forming apparatus of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 8 is an enlarged'vertical section taken on line 88 of FIGURE 7.
In the embodiment of the invention chosen for illustration in FIGURE 1, cans C are moved toward the right on the upper run 10 of an endless chain 12 that rides on the upper edge of a fixed guide plate 13 mounted on a fixed support structure 14. The cans are guided by elongated stationary rods 15 (one only being shown) that are disposed on opposite sides of the can. As each can reaches approximately point A, it beings to move along an upper run of a second endless chain member 16 which is made up of two spaced parallel chains 17 and 18 (FIG. 2) each of which is trained around a pair of guide sprockets 20 and 21 (FIG. 1) and a drive sprocket 22. The two drive sprockets 22 are keyed to a transverse shaft 23 that is driven by a chain and sprocket drive 24 from a rightangle drive unit 25. A shaft 26, which may be operatively connected to a source of power such as an electric motor (not shown), is coupled to the drive unit 25.
The endless chain member 16 includes two spaced canretarder and releasing units 30 and 31, each unit being made up of a plurality of rubber pads 33 (FIGS. 2 and 3) which are riveted between special links 34 of the chains and are disposed in two opposite lines, with a pad 33 in one line facing a pad in the opposed line. In the arrangement of FIGURE 1, each opposed line of each can retarder unit has forty-three rubber pads, but it will be understood that the number of pads will depend upon the number of cans that are to be segregated to form a line.
The chains of the can-retarder are driven at a slower linear speed that the feed chain 12 and, as seen in FIG. 2, their upper surfaces are at a higher elevation than the upper surface of the chain 12. Accordingly, as seen in FIGURE 4, when the leading opposed rubber pads on the unit 30 move into contact with a can C on the feed chain 12, they lift the can from the chain and slow down that can and the cans immediately behind, permitting the preceding cans to be moved forwardly at the speed of the chain 12. The unit 30 continues to lift cans off the chain until about ten cans are gripped by the rubber pads. The next ten cans remain on the chain 12 but cannot move forward at the speed of chain 12 since they are held back by the cans on the rubber pads.
When the leading pair of opposed rubber pads reaches approximately point B (FIG. 5) they begin to move downwardly around the drive sprockets 22 and thereby depositing the cans one by one on the chain 12. Since the chain is moving faster than the rubber pads, each can of the first ten cans will be accelerated away from the following can. The second ten cans will of course move forwardly in substantially abutting relation as soon as the last can of the first ten cans is released by the rubber pads.
It should be noted in FIG. 4 that the retarder units 30 and 31 are so spaced from each other that the first pair of rubber pads of one unit Will arrest the forward movement of the can immediately following the last can 6 are views of the mechanism of of a line of cans that is being advanced under the control of the other retarder unit. Thus, in the above example, retarder unit will grip and retard the twentyfirst can in the supply line so that there will be twenty cans in the line that is under control of the retarder unit The chain 12, moving in the direction of arrow D (FIG. 7) extends along side of a transfer reel 40 (FIGS. 7 and 8), that has laterally-opening pockets 40A, and is arranged to deliver each line of cans into a carrier 41 formed on an endless chain 42. Accordingly, when a line of cans is released by a retarder unit 30 or 31, the cans are moved to a position alongside the reel 40 in the path of rotary movement of a paddle 43 which is welded to a sleeve 44. The sleeve is keyed to a shaft 46 that is driven by a chain drive 48 from the drive shaft 26. As previously mentioned, the shaft 26 drives the retarder units 30 and 31 and, as seen in FIGURE 7, it also drives the shaft 49, on which the reel 40 is keyed by means of a chain drive 50. Accordingly, the retarder units, the paddle 43, and the reel 40 are actuated in timed relation whereby the paddle makes one complete counter-clockwise revolution while the reel 40 moves clockwise (FIG. 8) an angular distance around its axis suificient to move one laterally opening pocket 40A away from a position opposite the paddle and move the next pocket to said can-receiving position. Further, the speed of the chain 12 is such that a line of cans is moved into position opposite the reel during the time that the counterclockwise-moving paddle moves from a position, indicated by the phantom line X in FIGURE 8, to the pushoif position shown in full-lines in FIGURE 8. Also, the relative speeds of each retarder unit and the chain 10 is such that a retarder unit will hold back a newlyformed line long enough so that, when it is released, it will not move into the path of the paddle 43 until the paddle has pushed the previous line from the chain 12.
The container feed mechanism of the present invention is particularly effective in handling containers that are moving at high speeds. In one successful installation, containers which were about 2 inches in diameter and 4 inches long and filled with water, were successfully arranged in groups while moving at the rate of about 450 cans per minute. During this operation the feed conveyor 12 was operated at about 188 f.p.m. and the control chain 16 was operated at about 150 f.p.m.
From the foregoing description it will be seen that the present invention provides a unique mechanism for forming lines of cans, separating each line from the following line, and releasing each line so that the leading cans of the line are in spaced relation. Further the invention eliminates the need for intermittently-operated gates and intermittently-indexed transfer reels. Rather, the apparatus of the present invention makes it possible to continuously feed cans to an accumulating station, and transfer lines of cans into the reel without stopping the reel.
Having thus described my invention, what I claim as new and desire to protect by Letters Patent is:
1. A container feed mechanism comprising a feed mechanism for engaging a line of containers and displacing the containers laterally at a feed zone; means for actuating said feed mechanism; and means for forming successive spaced lines of containers and moving each line individually into the path of movement of said feed means during a period of continuous movement of said feed means to cause each line of containers to be displaced laterally in timed relation to a preceding or following line; said line-forming means comprises a movable feed conveyor having a generally straight line section for advancing containers at a predetermined speed, means for driving said feed conveyor, a control conveyor having a straight line section coinciding with a straight line section of said feed conveyor, means for driving said control conveyor at a slower speed than the speed of said feed conveyor, and retarder means on said control conveyor for moving a predetermined number of con- 4 r tainers out of engagement with said feed conveyor and holding them out of engagement for a predetermined interval of time to permit preceding containers to move away from the slowed-down containers, said retarder means being effective to effect reengagernent of the containers with said feed conveyor after said predetermined interval.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said feed conveyor comprises an elongate movable carrier strand adapted to support and advance containers on its upper surface, and said control conveyor comprises a pair of coextensive endless conveyor members, means for guiding said members through said straight line section, one member on each side of said carrier, and groups of lifter units secured in spaced relation on each conveyor member, the lifter units of each group on each member being disposed opposite a group of lifter units on the other member, each lifter unit being constructed so that its upper surface is spaced above the upper surface of said carrier strand at said straight line section a distance such that containers on said strand will be lifted by said units and held in spaced relation above the upper surface of said strand and advanced by said control conveyor.
3. A container feed mechanism comprising a feed conveyor for supporting a series of elongated axially aligned containers and for moving the containers along a predetermined path parallel to the longitudinal axes of the containers at a predetermined speed, a control conveyor having a portion adjacent to and moving in the same direction as and at a speed different than a run of said feed conveyor, and disengaging means on said control conveyor for temporarily disengaging a group of containers from driven engagement on said feed conveyor and supporting at least a portion of the group on the control conveyor and thereafter reengaging the entire group of containers with the feed conveyor, the temporary disengagement of said group of containers from said feed conveyor being effective to permit the preceding group of containers on said conveyor to become spaced forwardly from said following group of disengaged containers.
4. A mechanism according to claim 3 wherein said control conveyor comprises an endless flexible member and the container-disengaging means of said control conveyor comprises a plurality of lifter members secured to said flexible member, and means for guiding a portion of 'said flexible member to a position adjacent said feed conveyor with lifter members disposed on opposite sides of said feed conveyor and with the upper surfaces of said lifter members disposed at an elevation adapted to hold a portion of said containers in spaced relation above 'said feed conveyor and out of engagement therewith.
5. A mechanism according to claim 3 wherein the container disengaging means of said conveyor comprises a plurality of lifting members movable upwardly under certain ones of the group of containers on said feed conveyor to lift said certain containers from said conveyor and causing the other ones of said containers in said group to move from positions spaced from each other to positions in abutting engagement with each other.
6. A mechanism according to claim 5 wherein said conveyor comprises a pair of endless chains disposed in side-by-side spaced relation, means for guiding said chains upwardly to a position on opposite sides of a portion of said feed conveyor, then alongside said feed conveyor for a predetermined distance and finally downwardly away from said feed conveyor, said lifter members being disposed on said endless chains to pass alongside of said feed conveyor and raise a portion of said group of containers off said feed conveyor and then pass downwardly away from said feed conveyor to deposit said portion of the group of containers back on said feed conveyor, and means for driving said endless chains at a slower linear speed than the linear speed of said feed conveyor.
7. A method of conveying and separating containers moving at high speed into spaced groups of containers comprising the steps of supporting and moving a series of elongated axially aligned containers along a predetermined path at a predetermined speed, lifting and moving at a slower speed a portion of a first group of the series of containers relative to other containers in Said group, subsequently lowering said portion of said group for reestablishing movement of said portion at said predetermined speed, and subsequent to said lowering step lifting and moving at a slower speed a portion of a second group of containers thereby causing said first group of containers to become spaced from said second group of containers.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,010,486 8/1935 Herrmann 198--25 2,986,263 5/1961 Jones 198--34 3,072,095 1/1963 Keessen 19834 10 RICHARD E. AEGERTER, Primary Examiner.
Citations de brevets