Apparatus for feeding flattened, tubular container blanks

  • Inventors: REJSA J,US
  • Assignees: Pillsbury Co
  • Publication Date: January 08, 1974
  • Publication Number: US-3783753-A

Abstract

A pair of cooperating, rotating conveying elements are located adjacent to a storage station in which the tubular containers are temporarily stored. The tubular blanks in the storage station are oriented normal to the feed axis of the conveyor with the center of each blank approximately aligned with the conveyor feed axis. A pair of coaxial feeding blades located in the plane of the feed axis extend into the open ends of the blank. The blank when in the storage station is oriented with its open ends spaced along the common axis of the feeding blades. In operation, the feeding blades are moved centrally on their common axis so that their pointed ends extend almost to the center of the tube. The blades are then moved along the conveyor feed axis until the score line of one corner of the blank is driven into the nip of the conveyor. The blades then are raised to their original position and moved apart along their common axis until their tips are withdrawn far enough to clear aligned portions of the blank.

Claims

1. An apparatus for feeding flattened tubular containers having a corner score comprising in combination a supporting framework, a feed conveyor mounted on the framework, said feed conveyor comprising at least a pair of adjacent mating rotatable elements driven to feed material placed therebetween in a given feed direction along a feed axis extending between adjacent portions of the rotatable elements, a storage station mounted adjacent to the rotatable elements in a position to temporarily store at least one of the containers with one said corner score portion thereof in alignment with the feed axis, at least one feeding blade mounted for movement along an axis parallel to a nip between rotatable conveyor elements and extending through the feed axis, a first actuating means for moving the blade toward and away from the center of the container along its own axis to insert the blade into the container at the storage station through its open end, a second actuation means connected to the blade for moving the blade along the feed axis for lowering the blade briefly to force the adjacent portion of the tube into the nip between the rotatable elements of the conveyor and thereafter returning the blade along the feed axis away from the rolls and retracting the blade outwardly so that the container as it is advanced by the feed conveyor will clear the end of the blade. 2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the storage station is oriented and positioned relative to the rotatable elements so that the corner score is in substantially alignment with a line located between the rotatable elements. 3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the containers have laterally extending end flaps and said apparatus includes cooperating creasing rolls positioned to engage the laterally extending flaps of the tubular containers, said creasing rolls including cooperating circumferentially extending ridges and grooves for forming a crease in the flaps that pass therebetween to stiffen the flaps. 4. An apparatus for feeding flattened tubular containers comprising a supporting framework, a feed conveyor including at least two adjacent rotatable elements driven to feed material placed therebetween in a given feed direction, a storage station mounted adjacent to the rotatable elements for holding the tubular containers, a feeding means mounted for movement on the framework to insert a portion of the tubular container into the nip between adjacent portions of the rotatable elements and at least one feeding blade mounted for movement along an axis parallel said nip between rotatable conveyor elements extending through a plane between the adjacent mating rotatable elements, a pair of parallel related parallelogram links, each pivotally connected at one end thereof to the blade and at the other to the supporting framework, first actuating means connected to the parallelogram links for moving the blade toward the center of the storage location and a second actuating means operatively connected to the links for moving the blade along the feed axis. 5. An apparatus for feeding flattened tubular containers having a corner score comprising in combination a supporting framework, a feed conveyor mounted on the framework, said feed conveyor comprising at least a pair of adjacent mating rotatable elements driven to feed material placed therebetween in a given feed direction along a feed axis extending between adjacent portions of the rotatable elements, a storage station mounted adjacent to the rotatable elements in a position to temporarily store at least one of the containers with one said corner score portion thereof in alignment with the feed axis, at least one feeding blade mounted for movement along an axis parallel to a nip between rotatable conveyor elements extending through the feed axis, a first actuating means for moving the blade toward and away from the center of the container along its own axis, a second actuation means connected to the blade for moving the blade along the feed axis whereby the blade can be inserted into the containers into the storage station through their open end and lowered briefly to force the adjacent portion of the tube into the nip between the rotatable elements of the conveyor and thereafter returning the blade along the feed axis away from the rolls and retracting the blade outwardly so that the container as it is advanced by the feed conveyor will clear the end of the blade, a first sensor operatively associated with the second actuator to sense the return of the second actuator to its retracted position and operatively connected to the first actuator to move the blade out when the second actuator is retracted, a second sensor for detecting the movement of the second actuator to its extended position and being operatively connected therewith to return the second actuator to its retracted position when actuated, a third sensor positioned on the framework to engage the containers after said containers have been moved from the storage location and operatively connected to the first actuator to move the blade toward the center of the container and a fourth sensor operatively connected to the second actuator for moving the blades downwardly when a demand signal is received by the fourth sensor to thereby drive the container into engagement with the rotatable elements.
Rejsa ,ian. Wm APPARATUS FOR FEEDING FLATTENED, TUBULAR CONTAINER BLANKS [75] Inventor: Jack J Rejsa, Minneapolis, Minn. [73] Assignee: ThePillsbury Company, Minneapolis, Minn. [22] Filed: Nov. 26, 1971 [2]] Appl. No.: 202,290 [52] US. Cl 93/581, 93/53 R, 271/1, 271/10, 271/131 [51] Int. Cl B311) l/06 [58] Field of Search ..271/l, 18, 44 R, 271/23, 10; 270/83, 84, 76, 77; 93/53 R, 39 R, 58.1; 53/186 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 795,519 7/1905 Lang et a1 270/83 X 3,080,797 3/1963 Cook 3,160,410 12/1964 Everson 2,661,947 12/1953 Reynolds.... 1,010,520 12/1911 Pringle ..271/51UX 3,367,248 2/1968 Rhino et a1. 93/53 R Primary Examiner-Evon C. Blunk Assistant Examiner-Bruce H. Stoner, Jr. Attorney-Ronald E. Lund et al. [ 57] ABSTRACT A pair of cooperating, rotating conveying elements are located adjacent to a storage station in which the tubular containers are temporarily stored. The tubular blanks in the storage station are oriented normal to the feed axis of the conveyor with the center of each blank approximately aligned with the conveyor feed axis. A pair of coaxial feeding blades located in the plane of the feed axis extend into the open ends of the blank. The blank when in the storage station is oriented with its open ends spaced along the common axis of the feeding blades. In operation, the feeding blades are moved centrally on their common axis so that their pointed ends extend almost to the center of the tube. The blades are then moved along the conveyor feed axis until the score line of one corner of the blank is driven into the nip of the conveyor. The blades then are raised to their original position and moved apart along their common axis until their tips are withdrawn far enough to clear aligned portions of the blank. 5 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJAH 81974 sumlurs IN VENTOR. crack. rl'zQeJZsa 22a ZZ Q m Y APPARATUS FOR FEEDING FLATTENED, TUBULAR CONTAINER BILMS FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to packaging equipment and more particularly to an apparatus for feeding flattened tubular containers or blanks to further handling equipment. THE PRIOR ART Flattened tubular containers such as cartons, paper balers and the like have long been in use without a satisfactory system for folding them open prior to filling. This problem is particularly acute in the case of paper balers formed from heavy kraft paper that is folded into a tube and provided with longitudinal and transverse score lines defining the edges of the container and flaps at the ends which after the baler has been filled with cartons, boxes, cans or the like, are folded over one another to seal the ends of the filled baler. Balers of this kind have sometimes been referred to as a Bax (a registered trademark of the St. Regis Paper Company) since they have characteristics of both a box and a bag. At the present time, containers of this kind are fed to the filling machines manually and are opened by hand prior to being inserted in the filling machine. . OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION The present invention has as its major objective replacing personnel use for opening paper tubular containers and feeding them to the filling machines. The machine should be capable of (a) reliably opening the tube and placing one open tube at the inlet of the filling machine each time an additional container is called for at a rate of at least thirty containers per minute, (b) eliminating carton loading jams, (c) providing carton size versatility with the ability to accommodate at least two different size containers which differ in all their dimensions and (d) the provision of a feeding apparatus which can be moved from place to place and easily positioned adjacent to a carton loadingmachine which it is used to feed. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention is used for feeding and opening flattened tubular containers, e.g., flattened prescored tubes of kraft paper which when opened form a paper carton. Several of the tubes are preferably placed in a stack above a storage location. A conveying assembly is located adjacent to the storage location. The blank in the storage location is preferably oriented normal to the feed axis of the conveyor with its center approximately aligned with the feed axis of the conveyor. At least one feeding blade positioned in-the plane of the feed axis extends into the one open end of the blank. The tube when in the storage position is oriented with its open ends positioned relative to one another on the common axis of the feeding blades. In operation, the feeding blades are moved centrally along their common axis so that their pointed ends extend almost to the center of the tube. The blades are then moved along the feed axis until a score line of one corner of the container located near the center of one of the flattened walls of the blank is driven into engagement with the conveyor. The blades then are raised to their original position and moved awayfrom one another until their tips are withdrawn far enough to clear aligned portions of the blank while'the conveyor transports the blank to a remote point. The blades are mounted upon a support which allows them to travel along the same axis and maintain the same spacing from the center of the container at all times. For this purpose a parallelogram linkage assembly is preferred. Connecting rods are provided for locating the parallelogram links relative to one another and an actuator, e.g., a pneumatic cylinder is provided for simultaneously extending or retracting the connecting rods to in turn extend or retract the blades. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS. FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the blank feeding structure of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a side view of the blank feeding structure. FIGS. 3, 4, 5 and 6 are side views of the blank feeding structure during various phases of operation of the device. FIGS. 3A, 4A, 5A, and 6A are plan views of the blank feeding structure corresponding to FIGS. 3, 4, 5 and 6 respectively, during various phases of operation of the device. FIG. 7 is schematic representation of the electrical and hydraulic control circuitry of the device. FIGS. S and 9 are plan and edge views, respectively, of the tubular container blanks of a type this device is capable of feeding. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION A broad general arrangement of the functional assemblies that make up the apparatus will be described with particular reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. A pair of cooperating, rotating conveying belts designated generally 30 and 40 define a conveyor and are located adjacent to a storage station A in which tubular containers 112 are temporarily stored. The containers 112 are oriented in station A normal to the feed axis B of the conveyor with one of the corner score lines 13 located near the center of each flattened container 12 and on the lower surface thereof approximately aligned with the feed axis B. Feeding'blades l4 and 16 extend into the open ends of the blank 12 and are located in the plane of the feed axis B. In operation, the feeding blades 14 and 16 are first moved toward one another along their common axis C so that their pointed ends extend almost to the center of the tubular blank. The blades are then moved along the feed axis B until the score line of one corner of the blank is driven into the nip between the conveyor belts. The blades then are raised to their original position and moved apart along axis C until their tips are withdrawn far enough to clear portions of the blank which are in alignment with the blades. The tubular blanks 12 best shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 are in flattened condition and include longitudinally extending fold lines 13 to define panels as well as transversely extending fold lines 14 to define end flaps which are separated by notches 12c and 12d. The apparatus includes the usual supporting frame work 20 composed of a plurality of vertically disposed posts 20a connected by horizontally disposed crossmembers 20b some of which are shown in FIG. 2. A hopper 22 is defined by a plurality of vertically disposed bars 23 having inwardly turned lower ends 22a that function asistops to define the storage location A. - The hopper bars are provided with. horizontally disposed laterally extending wings 22b which can be moved laterally on the frame for lateral adjustment either toward or away from each other by the provision of elongated slots in the wings for mounting bolts 22c only some of which are shown. The hopper guide bars 23 on the sides of the hopper (only one of which is shown in FIG. 2) are also mounted for adjustable movement toward or away from the center of the stack of tubular containers. In this way, the apparatus is suited for handling tubular containers of many sizes. Since the fold line defined by the score 13 can be considered to remain in a fixed location, only the walls of the hopper need to be adjusted in order to accommodate containers of various sizes. Thus, when a larger side container is to be used, the walls of the hopper are adjusted appropriately with the score line 13 remaining in the same location on the lower side of the stack. The feed conveyors will now be described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. An electric drive motor 24 suitably mounted on the framework 20 is connected by a roller chain 26 to a roll 28 which supports the lower end of a feed belt 30 that extends upwardly and toward the left seen in FIG. 2 and is entrained at its upper end over a roll 32 mounted for rotation in journal 34 which is yieldably biased toward the right by spring 38 within a track 36 supported on the framework. A mating belt 40 is entrained over rolls 42 and 46 and is driven through its engagement at 48 with belt 30. Roll 46 is journaled in a bearing 47 that is yieldably biased toward roll 32 by a spring 50. The belts 30 and 40 are tightened by suitable belt tighteners 30a and 40a respectively. During operation the belts run continuously in given feed directions. As shown in FIG. 1, the rolls 28 and 42 (FIG. 2) are provided with forming rolls at their outward ends which include two circumferentially extending mating ridges 43 and grooves 45 which serve to provide corrugations in the flaps to thereby stiffen them and prevent them from drooping and curling. The construction and actuation of the feed blades 14 and 16 will be described, especially with reference to FIG. 2. Two supporting plates 50 are rigidly secured to the right side of the framework. A blade arm support bracket 54 is connected by two mounting blocks 55 and 57 to each end of pivot shaft 56 which itself extends through bearings 58 that are secured to the supporting plates 50 (only one of which is shown in FIG. 2). Movement of the bracket 54 on shaft 56 is controlled by a feed cylinder 100 connected at its upward end to the framework and at its lower end to the central portion of the bracket 54 to articulate the plate about the horizontal transversely extending axis of the shaft 56 between dotted and solid line positions of FIG. 2. A pair of guides in the form of half cylinders 47 and 49 are mounted parallel to and placed slightly above the rolls 32 and 46 to help feed thecontainer into the nip between the rolls when the blades 14 and 16 descend along the axis B. Parallelogram links 60 and 62 are pivotally secured to the mounting block 55 on the left side of plate 54 as seen in FIG. 1. Similar parallelogram link members 66 and 68 are pivoted to the block 57 which is affixed to the right hand side of plate 54. As can be best seen by comparison of FIGS. 1 and 3A, the blade 16 is pivotally secured to the free ends of the arms 60 and 62, and the blade 14 is pivotally secured to the ends of links 66 and 68 so that the blades are coaxial and maintain a common transverse blade insertion axis C at all times. Insertion of the blades is controlled by a cylinder 102 which is connected to a crank 104 having two throws that are secured respectively to connecting rods 107 and 108 so that the extension of cylinder 102 will turn crank 104 in a counterclockwise direction thereby moving the parallelogram links outwardly and withdrawing the blades 14 and 16 to their retracted position. A preferred form of control will now be described in connection with FIG. 7. The cycle of operation is started by means of an electrical pulse through conductors 110 and 112 to the solenoid 114 ofa solenoid operated pneumatic valve 116. The pulse can, for example, be supplied periodically by the turning of a shaft on one of the packing machines (not shown) to which the tubes are fed. The consequent opening of valve 116 will exhaust fluid from line 118 to valve 120 which is connected by lines 122 and 124 to the cylinder as well by line 126 to a limit valve 101. The cylinders 100 and 102 are operated by compressed air supplied through line 128 and a line 130 which is connected to a valve 132 that communicates through a line 134 with the limit valve 104 through lines 136 and 138 with the cylinder 102 and through the line 139 to the limit valve 106. The valves 120 and 132 are typically internally pressurized pilot operated valves. Exhausting the pilot ends (118, 126, and 134, 139) shifts the valve spool to change the cylinder direction. The cycle of operation can best be understood by comparison of FIGS. 3 through 5A and 7. It will be assumed first that an electrical signal is supplied through conductors and 112 to the solenoid operated valve of 116. This will cause the compressed air supplied through line 128 to pass through line 124 thereby extending the feed cylinder 100 and causing the blades to descend from the position of FIGS. 3-3A to the position in FIGS. 4 and 4A along the feed axis B thereby forcing the corner score line 13 near the center of the flattened container in the feed station A between the pair of semi-cylindrical guides 47 and 49 and into the nip of the belts 30 and 40. At the end of the downstroke of the feed cylinder 100 the valve 101 is engaged by the projection 101a on the cylinder 100 thereby shifting valve and allowing the feed cylinder 100 to be retracted. Near the end of the upstroke of cylinder 100, projection 101a engages the valve 104 which shifts valve 132 thereby causing the air in line to feed through line 136 extending the opening cylinder 102 and withdrawing the blades 14 and 16 to the retracted position of FIGS. 5 and 5A. When the forward end of the container engages and actuates the valve 106 the valve 132 is shifted so as to feed air through line 138 causing the cylinder 102 to be retracted thereby reinserting the blades 14 and 16 into the lowermost container in the stack. As the trailing end of the container passing between belts 30 and 40 comes to the blades 14 and 16, the blades pass through the openings 120. This is possible because the blades are withdrawn far enough to clear the inward ends of the notches 12c although they are not completely retracted from beyond the side edges of the tubes when in their outermost position as shown in FIG. 5A. The stack of containers rest upon the blades in such a position that the, tips of the blades extend upwardly through the wider slots 12d on the lower surface of the tube, but when the blades are insorted, because their tips are pointed, the blades pass into the center of the bottom tube. When the containers are released by the conveyor belts 30 and 40, they will open by popping up to define a rectangular tube opened at its ends because the fold lines 13 have been reverse folded. In this way, the container will right itself and stay erect ready to receive cans, boxes or other articles which are to be inserted through one end. The flaps are then folded down upon one another conventionally at each end of the container and bonded together with suitable fasteners or adhesives. The apparatus for filling or sealing the ends of the tubes can comprise any commercially available equipment for this purpose such as the filling equipment known as the Bax equipment sold by the St. Regis Paper Company. What is claimed is: ll. An apparatus for feeding flattened tubular containers having a corner score comprising in combination a supporting framework, a feed conveyor mounted on the framework, said feed conveyor comprising at least a pair of adjacent mating rotatable elements driven to feed material placed therebetween in a given feed direction along a feed axis extending between adjacent portions of the rotatable elements, a storage station mounted adjacent to the rotatable elements in a position to temporarily store at least one of the containers with one said corner score portion thereof in alignment with the feed axis, at least one feeding blade mounted for movement along an axis parallel to a nip between rotatable conveyor elements and extending through the feed axis, a first actuating means for moving the blade toward and away from the center of the container along its own axis to insert the blade into the container at the storage station through its open end, a second actuation means connected to the blade for moving the blade along the feed axis for lowering the blade briefly to force the adjacent portion of the tube into the nip between the rotatable elements of the conveyor and thereafter returning the blade along the feed axis away from the rolls and retracting the blade outwardly so that the container as it is advanced by the feed conveyor will clear the end of the blade. 2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the storage station is oriented and positioned relative to the rotatable elements so that the corner score is in substantially alignment with a line located between the rotatable elements. 3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the containers have laterally extending end flaps and said apparatus includes cooperating creasing rolls positioned to engage the laterally extending flaps of the tubular containers, said creasing rolls including cooperating circumferentially extending ridges and grooves for forming a crease in the flaps that pass therebetween to stiffen the flaps. 4. An apparatus for feeding flattened tubular containers comprising a supporting framework, a feed conveyor including at least two adjacent rotatable elements driven to feed material placed therebetween in. a given feed direction, a storage station mounted adjacent to the rotatable elements for holding the tubular containers, a feeding means mounted for movement on the framework to insert a portion of the tubular container into the nip between adjacent portions of the rotatable elements and at least one feeding blade mounted for movement along an axis parallel said nip between rotatable conveyor elements extending through a planebetween the adjacent mating rotatable elements, a pair of parallel related parallelogram links, each pivotally connected at one end thereof to the blade and at the other to the'supporting framework, first actuating means connected to the parallelogram links for moving the blade toward the center of the storage location and a second actuating means operatively connected to the links for moving the blade along the feed axis. 5. An apparatus for feeding flattened tubular containers having a corner score comprising in combination a supporting framework, a feed conveyor mounted on the framework, said feed conveyor comprising at least a pair of adjacent mating rotatable elements driven to feed material placed therebetween in a given feed direction along a feed axis extending between adjacent portions of the rotatable elements, a storage station mounted adjacent to the rotatable elements in a position to temporarily store at least one of the containers with one said corner score portion thereof in alignment with the feed axis, atleast one feeding blade mounted for movement along an axis parallel to a nip between rotatable conveyor elements extending through the feed axis, a first actuating means for moving the blade toward and away from the center of the container along its own axis, a second actuation means connected to the blade for moving the blade along the feed axis whereby the blade can be inserted into the containers into the storage station through their open end and lowered briefly to force the adjacent portion of the tube into the nip between the rotatable elements of the conveyor and thereafter returning the blade along the feed axis away from the rolls and retracting the blade outwardly so that the container as it is advanced by the feed conveyor will clear the end of the blade, a first sensor operatively associated with the second actuator to sense the return of the second actuator to its retracted position and operatively connected to the first actuator to move the blade out when the second actuator is retracted, a second sensor for detecting the movement of the second actuator to its extended position and being operatively connected therewith to return the second actuator to its retracted position when actuated, a third sensor positioned on the framework to engage the containers after said containers have been moved from the storage location and operatively connected to the first actuator to move the blade toward the center of the container and a fourth sensor operatively connected to the second actuator for moving the blades downwardly when a demand signal is received by the fourth sensor to thereby drive the container into engagement with the rotatable elements.

Description

Topics

Download Full PDF Version (Non-Commercial Use)

Patent Citations (6)

    Publication numberPublication dateAssigneeTitle
    US-1010520-ADecember 05, 1911Carter Crume Company LtdDelivery mechanism for printing-presses.
    US-2661947-ADecember 08, 1953Johnson & JohnsonFolding and creasing device
    US-3080797-AMarch 12, 1963Thomas L CookCarton extractor and opener
    US-3160410-ADecember 08, 1964George M OldenbourgApparatus for folding sheet material
    US-3367248-AFebruary 06, 1968Haskon IncCarton erection apparatus
    US-795519-AJuly 25, 1905Dick Co AbFolding-machine.

NO-Patent Citations (0)

    Title

Cited By (4)

    Publication numberPublication dateAssigneeTitle
    EP-0371955-A1June 06, 1990Binder & Co. AktiengesellschaftDevice for removing bags
    US-4527788-AJuly 09, 1985Hamada Printing Press Mfg. Co., Ltd.Printer-slotter with speed variable motor control
    US-4651509-AMarch 24, 1987Tetra Pak International AbArrangement on packing machines
    US-5430546-AJuly 04, 1995Dr. Johannes Heidenhain GmbhOptical device for measuring relative position of or angle between two objects