US2805755A - Article feeding mechanism for cartoning machines - Google Patents

Article feeding mechanism for cartoning machines Download PDF

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US2805755A
US2805755A US576096A US57609656A US2805755A US 2805755 A US2805755 A US 2805755A US 576096 A US576096 A US 576096A US 57609656 A US57609656 A US 57609656A US 2805755 A US2805755 A US 2805755A
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metering
sweep
chains
infeed
articles
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Jones Wickliffe
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RA Jones and Co Inc
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B35/00Supplying, feeding, arranging or orientating articles to be packaged
    • B65B35/30Arranging and feeding articles in groups
    • B65B35/44Arranging and feeding articles in groups by endless belts or chains

Description

Spt. I0, 1957' w. JONES ,80

ARTICLE FEEDING MECHANISM FOR CARTONING MACHINES Filed April 4, 1956 9 ShetS-Sheet l #50 0 INVENTORT.

Sept. 10, 1957 w. JONES 2,805,755

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ARTICLE FEEDING MECHANISM FOR CARTONING MACHINES Filed April 4, 1956 9 Sheets-Sheet 3 IN V EN TOR.

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ARTICLE FEEDING MECHANISM FOR CARTONING MACHINES Filed April 4, 1956 9 Sheets-Sheet 9 LOU.) PRIME '55 DETECTORS RELAY CR4 154- n m HOLDING \f CONTACT v 1 157 4-: MAVUEL CR -155 RESET RELAY CR4-2 16 A CR3-l 4 HOLDINGU ,92 CONTACT r1&5

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United States Patent ARTICLE FEEDING MECHANISM FOR CARTONING MACHINES Wicklilfe Jones, Cincinnati, Ohio, assignor to The R. A.

Jones and Company, Inc, Covington, Ky., a corporation of Kentucky Application April 4, 1956, Serial No. 576,096

19 Claims. (Cl. 19834) This invention relates to cartoning machines, and in particular, to a mechanism which counts and assembles the articles which are to be packed into each carton. The feeding mechanism is intended primarily for handling canned goods and is disclosed as part of a machine for packing loads of canned beer into the well known six-can or twelve-can cartons.

The cartoning machine, for which the feed mechanism is particularly intended is of the constant-motion type in which the metered loads of cans are carried in the buckets of a conveyor, while a second conveyor, advancing parallel with the first, carries the cartons which are to receive the loads of cans. During the continuous advancement of the two conveyors, the loads are pushed into the cartons; the cartons subsequently are closed, then sealed and discharged, ready for shipment and sale.

One of the primary objects of the invention has been to provide a simple, high speed can feeding mechanism which meters and arranges the cans in loads, then transfers the loads to the bucket conveyor of the cartoning machining during continuous advancement of the feeding mechanism and conveyor buckets in time with one another at high production speed.

For high speed continuous operation, the feeding mechanism utilizes a series of parallel intake conveyor chains which advance several parallel streams of the cylindrical cans at a rapid rate toward a metering device, with the metal cans simply resting upon the intake conveyor and advanced by frictional engagement with the chains. The metering device consists of relatively short parallel chain runs interposed between the intake conveyor chains in running in the same diretcion but at a slower rate. The metering chains carry upwardly projecting fingers which establish a two-point engagement with each can of a given transverse row as the cans are advanced continuously by the intake conveyor chains, thereby to reform the cans into groups, as explained below. Since the metering fingers advance at a slower rate, they retard the rows of cans on the infeed conveyor chains and form the advancing cans into solid prime rows upstream from the metering chains, due to the relative chain speeds.

The metering chain runs pass around sprockets in their receiving and delivery ends, such that the fingers pass upwardly in an arc and into the open spaced delienated by the circular bottoms of the cans, then establish the two-point engagement withthem. The slower motion of the fingers separates the cans into metered groups, one group being metered by each set of metering fingers. The longitudinal spacing of the metering fingers determines the number of transverse rows of cans metered upon each cycle. In other words, the metering fingers take advantage of the open spaces naturally delineated by the circular rims or chimes of the cans. Even though the cans are in contact with one another both longitudinally and transversely, the fingers are free to enter the open spaces without interference. I

At the discharge end of the metering chains, the fingers conveyor. v

"ice

pass downwardly in an arc and release the metered load of cans; the load, still in group formation, is then accelerated by the faster infeed chains which extend outwardly beyond the end of the metering chains. The retarding effect produces a space between the metered groups, thereby providing clearance areas into which sweep elements may be entered for later operation.

After leaving the end of the metering chain runs, the loads of cans are advanced to the transverse sweep bars of a sweep mechanism which intercepts the loads and advances them, while still in group formation, into the buckets of the cartoner to be packed into the cartons. The metering chains and sweep bars advance continuously in time with one another and in time with the buckets of the cartoner; accordingly, the loading cycles fol? low one another continuously to meter and transfer the loads of cans as rapidly as possible and in time with the continuous operation of the cartoning machine. I

Another object has been to provide a metering device which, by a simple repositioning of parts, is capable of metering greater or smaller loads of cans, for example, loads consisting of three, four, six, twelve or twentyfour cans. v

According to this concept, the longitudinal spacing of the metering fingers may be varied along the chainsttO meter the larger or smaller loads, the spacing of the sweep chains being sufiiciently great tohandle the maximum loads. To time the metering device for its selected load, sets of interchangeable gears are installed in the metering chain drive. The gears have speed ratios which advance the rows of metering fingers in time with the sweep bars, a smaller number of rows of fingers ,(larger loads) requiring a corresponding faster rate of advancement of the metering chains to time the metering fingers with the sweep bars. a I I Another object hasbeen to provide a reliable sensing apparatus which continuously responds to the flow of cans and insures that the correct number of cans is advanced to the conveyor buckets upon each loading cycle. Otherwise expressed, the apparatus prevents the buckets from receiving a partial load; the buckets advance either completely filled or'completely empty, At the same time, only the metering apparatus stops in case an interruption in can flow occurs. This action makes it unnecessary to shut down the machine and thereby speeds up production. I f

If the prime rows are not kept supplied constantly, the detector apparatus carries out its function by stopping the metering chains during an appropriate portion of the machine cycle, while the other components continue advancing. Upon stoppage, the metering chains halt the advancement of the cans on the infeed conveyor-until more cans are available. The cartoning machine is arranged to, skip those buckets which are not charged with cans so as to avoid-sealing empty cartons during the continuous advancement of the components with the metering chains stopped.

On the other hand, the detector apparatus ignores those temporary breaks in the supply which may becorrected chine were to shut downreach time a momentary 'interruption or gap occurred in the can supply on the 'infeed In case of depletion in the supply, not promptly corrected, the detector apparatus shuts down the metering device at the end of one cycle; after the condition is remedied, and a manual restart button is depressed, it starts the metering device at the beginning of a later icycle in time with the sweep mechanism and bucketflcoxr veyor. The metering device will be halted in the same speed. The metering chain, sweep chain and bucket conveyor necessarily operate in synchronism with one another. In other words, upon each metering cycle, one group of six cans is metered and separated from the prime rows by the metering device, the group of cans is next advanced as a unit to' the sweep mechanism and placed under the control of the sweep bars, and finally the group is transferred by the sweep bars to one of the advancing buckets of the bucket conveyor, the three components all operating in time with one another.

Referring to Figure 5, which best shows the cycle of operation, the solid rows of cans are indicated at A and are retarded by engagement of the metering lugs with the leading cans of the rows. The metered group of cans, indicated at B is released by the metering fingers and is being separated and advanced from the solid row by the infeed conveyor chains upon which the cans rest. The metering chains advance the released load or group against the sweep bar as shown in broken lines, since the infeed chains advance at a greater lineal speed than the sweep bars. The released group thus follows the sweep bar as it advances, due to the frictional engagement of the cans with the high speed end infeed chains, and remains completely in formation. Upon reaching the end of the infeed conveyor, the group comes to rest as at C upon the downwardly inclined slide bars 14 leading to the bucket conveyor, being arrested by the retaining springs 15. The group remains in this position until the next trailing sweep bar advances to the group and transfers it in a positive manner as a unit load to the conveyor bucket as illustrated by the group D. Thereafter, the load is advanced as indicated at E to be packed by the cartoning mechanism into its carton.

As explained later in detail, the infeed conveyor includes a low prime detector indicated generally at 16 and a gap detector indicated at 17, both of which include sensing fingers contacting the tops of the prime rows of cans. The low prime detector decommissions the metering device if any one of the prime rows of cans become depleted. In this event, the machine continues operating while the metering device is halted temporarily until the solid rows are restored. The metering device is halted by an electrically operated clutch 18 (Figure 3) which is disengaged when the detectors are activated. The gap detector 17 checks for fallen or misaligned cans which are missed by the prime detector and also stops the metering device if the condition is not corrected in time by the operator.

It will be understood that the cartoning machine is of the constant motion type in which the carton is erected while moving parallel with the bucket conveyor, such that the cans are inserted during continuous advancement of the bucket conveyor. The metering chains and sweep mechanism also operate continuously in time with the cartoning conveyor in order to group the cans and feed them to the cartoning conveyor at a high rate of speed. In the event of an interruption to the flow of cans on the infeed conveyor causing the metering device to be stopped temporarily, the cartoning conveyor continues to advance with one or more of its buckets empty; however, the cartoner is equipped with a suitable mechanism to halt the feed of cartons to the unloaded buckets as they advanced to the cartoning section, thereby to prevent the erection and closing of empty or partially filled cartons. The cartoning machine is not a part of the invention and has been omitted from the disclosure.

As indicated in Figures 11 to 13, the mechanism may be converted by a simple readjustment of parts, to meter and feed the cans in groups of twelve instead of six, for packaging in twelve-can cartons. In this case, the loads consist of three transverse rows of cans with the cans four abreast (Figure 11). For accommodating the twelve-can groups, the lugs of the metering chains and t e buckets of the conveyor arerepositioned to accommodate twelve instead of six cans. This arrangement is explained in greater detail later.

Infeed conveyor Referring to Figure 1, the cartoning machine includes an intermediate support frame indicated generally at 20 journalling the several rotating shafts of the feed mechanism. The high speed infeed conveyor 1 consists of the four parallel chain runs 2 (Figures 3, 4, and 5), each trained about a drive sprocket 21 at its discharge end. The sprockets 21 are mounted in common upon a drive shaft 22 having its opposite ends journalled in side plates 23 secured to the opposite sides of frame 20. The drive shaft 22 of the conveyor chains is driven by a sprocket chain 24 passing around a sprocket 25 keyed to shaft 22 and driven by the sprocket 26 of a power unit 29.

The power unit consists of a motor 27 mounted upon a slidable base 28 carried upon a bracket 30 and adjusted by the hand wheel 31. The motor includes a variable speed pulley 32 connected by the belt 33 to the pulley 34 of a speed reducing transmission 35 which drives a sprocket 26. The variable speed pulley arrangement is conventional and provides selected speeds by rotation'of hand wheel 31 to shift the motor relative to its base, thereby changing the pulley pitch.

The upper runs of the infeed conveyor chains are slidably supported upon parallel rails 36 mounted upon the base plate 37 which forms a part of the longitudinal conveyor frame 39. The outer or receiving end of the high speed infeed conveyor includes an idler shaft (not shown) which carries idler sprockets similar to the sprockets 21 of drive shaft 22. The idler shaft isvjournalled in the frame work of the machine and preferably is adjustable to control the chain slack. The infeed conveyor further includes a series of return run idler rollers 39 loosely journalled in brackets 40 projecting downwardly from the conveyor frame 39. v

The separator rails 5, which delineate the longitudinal can lanes above the conveyor chains, are supported by posts 41 rising from cross bars 42 secured to the base plate conveyor. The parallel lower rails 5 which engage the lower portion of the cans are secured directly to the cross bars 42.

As best shown in Figures 1 and 13, the gap detector 17 and prime detector 16 each include a pair of brackets 43-43 rising upwardly from the separator rails 5 and joined by a cross bar 44. Each detector or sensing device includes a switch 45 secured to the bracket 43 at one side of the conveyor run and actuated by a series of sensing fingers 46, one finger for each lane of cans. The sensing fingers are pivotally mounted upon a cross rod 47 having its opposite ends mounted in the brackets '43.

Both detectors are similar in structure as best described with reference to Figure 13. It is to be noted that the structure shown in Figure 13 is intended for the twelvecan group, the detector having four fingers corresponding to the four lanes of cans. When the mechanism is adjusted for the present six-can loads, the fingers for the inactive lane is either removed or de-commissioned.

The switch 45 of each detector is of the normally open type and is closed only when any one of the sensing fingers, which normally rest upon the tops of the cans, is allowed to drop. For this purpose, the fingers are in common operating connection with the micro-switch. This connection may consist of an actuating rod 48 having its opposite ends ofi-set as at 50-50 and pivotally mounted in the support brackets 43. Each finger includes a rearwardly projecting lug 51 extending beneath the actuating rod (Figure l). The end of the rod adjacent the switch is bent angularly to form a lever 52 which is engageable with the plunger 53 of the micro-switch. Upon downward motion of any of the fingers, its lug 51 rocksthe actuating rod upwardly in crank fashion, caus- 5 ing lever 52 to shift plunger 53' and close the microcuit, the closing of either detector switch conditions the control circuit to disengage the electrically operated clutch 18 which stops the metering device temporarily while .the machine continues to run.

As noted earlier, the feed mechanism is arranged to operate continuously at thehighestpractical speed, with interruption eliminated as far as possible. Normally, theJinfeed conveyor continuously urges the solid rows of cans towardthemetering device, which also operates continuously, .while its metering fingers separate the cans into groups as they pass .over the metering chains and are temporarily decelerated. This metering action, although .quite rapid, "sets :up the first phaseof the feeding cycle, followed by the timed transferof the load by the sweep mechanism is the bucket conveyor.

The detectors 17 and 18, arranged to decommission :themetering deviceonly if such interruption is unavoidable, such as by depletion of the prime rows of cans A, 'or if one :or more cans are not properly in upright posirtion. As explained with reference to the electrical cirare arranged to decommission the metering'device only at the. end of its metering cycle and to reactivate the metering device in time with the motion of the sweep :mechanism and bucket conveyor. In other words, when an interruption in the flow of cans occurs, and the sensing fingers of either detector signal the controlcircuit, the circuit allows the metering device to complete its cycle (release its group of metered cans) before disengaging the electrically operated clutch 18 whichhalts the metering device. vates the metering device; however, the circuit engages "the clutch only at the beginning of the next cycle of operation, such that'the new load of cans is metered in time with the operation of the sweep mechanism and bucket conveyor. The timing of the metering device is carried out by a cycle control switch unit 54, activated by a cam rotating in time with the cycles of the feed mechanism. 7

According to the present arrangement, the prime. detector 16 is located a considerable distance upstream of the metering device while the gap detector 17 is located adjacent the metering device asshown in Figure l. The fingers of the prime detector include horizontalextensions 56 having a lengthsuitable to contact at least two cans so as to prevent the fingers from dropping and actuating the switch in response to a minor gap in the can stream. Such a gap may be formed by acan which has fallen from its upright position in one of the lanes. Accordingly, the prime detector is effective only if one of the prime rows becomes depleted and allows one or more of the sensing fingers to drop. In order forthe machine to continue its opcrationtherefore, the solid rows of prime cans, indicated at A, must extend upstream from the metering device to the sensing fingers of the prime de-. tector 16 The gap detector 17 is located immediately upstream from the metering device, as shown in Figure 1, and its sensingfingers include the short -horizontal. extension 57 which permit them to drop into a minor gap in any one of the lanes of, cans, thereby to halt the metering device. The gapdetector is mounted upstream from the metering device a distance to create a synchronized'action with respect to the metering device. As shown in Figure 1, two transverse rows of cans upstream of the metering device have been checked by the sensing fingers 57, while the fingers rest upon the third row of cans.- Referring to Figured which corresponds to the position of the parts in Figure 1, it will be seen that since none of the sensing fingershas droped in responseto a gap in the third row at the end of the cycle, the'cyclecontrol cam After the trouble iscorrected, the circuit acti- '8 will starta new cycle, and thus advance the load A, .immediately followingload B, towardthe sweep mechanism. It .will be understood that load B is released at the end of the cycle and is. carried to the position shown in broken lines, to be advanced at a faster rate under control of the sweep mechanismS. During the next cycle, load A will be advanced and released at the end of the cycle in the same manner. 'On the other hand, assuming that at the end of the cycle (Figure 5), one of the cans in the third row has fallen, then the finger which has dropped will send a signal to the control system, causing the clutch 18 to be disengaged at this point in the cycle. Accordingly, the load B is released at the end of the cycle for advancement bythe sweep mechanism to the position C, but load A will be arrested by the metering device. The electrical apparatus for bringing about this action is described later with reference to the control system shown in Figures 14 and .15. After the operator corrects the condition, the cycle control switch engages the metering clutch, again in time withthe sweep mechanism, so as to "resume the feeding cycles. As a practical matter, the operator can usually upend a fallen can before it reaches the gap detector so as to avoid the interruption.

Metering mechanism As Shown in Figures 1, 3 and 5, the metering chains 4 are trained upon respective pairs of sprockets 58 and 59 carried on shafts 60 and 61, which are journalled in the side plates 62. The tension of the chains is regulated by set screws 63 at opposite sides, journalled in blocks 64, and engaging opposite ends of the shaft 60. The shaft is carried in :a slot 65 formed in the side plates 62 at opposite sides. Shaft 60 is an idler shaft while shaft 61 constitutes the drive shaft.

Referring to Figures 4 and 5, the drive shaft 61 includes a gear 66 meshing with a gear 67 fixed on an intermediate shaft 68 which is journalled in the frame structure. The intermediate shaft 68 includes a sprocket 70 driven by a sprocket chain 71 trained over a sprocket 72 mounted on cross shaft 73. Cross shaft 73 is driven by a longitudinal shaft 74 (Figure 1),;by means of the bevel gears 75. The longitudinal shaft 74 is driven in time with the bucket conveyor by the driving system of the cartoning machine (not shown). The driving system is arranged to advance one row of metering fingers 6 in time with the advancement of each sweep bar 12 of the sweep mechanism, each advancement thereof constituting one loading or charging cycle. As shown by the arrows in Figure 5, the gears 66 and 67 drive the upper runs of the metering chains. in the same direction as the lower runs of the sweep chains.

As best shown in Figure 3, the metering chains 4 are supported upon slide rails 76 mounted upon a base plate 77 secured to the frame of the machine. I As. shown in detail in Figures 7 and 8, the metering fingers 6 of the chains 4 are carried by U-shaped brackets 79 projecting outwardly and forming part of the chain links. The fingers each include a stem portion 78 projecting through the spaced brackets, the finger prop-er projecting upwardly above the chains. As viewed in Figure 7, the fingers 6 are generally cylindrical and have an apex portion 80 on their trailing side, corresponding generally to the circumference of the bottom edge of the can cylindrical which they engage.

As shown in Figure 4, the two inside chains 4 each car'ry two sets of fingerswhile the outermost chains each carry single fingers, the leading cans of the load being engaged by respective mating pairs of fingers. For metering the six-can loads, the fingers are spaced along the chains to interfit the two transverse rows of cans and reside in the interspaces between the cyclindrical cans. in other words, the fingers move in an arc upwardly about the idler sprockets 59 at the receiving end of the metering chains and into the spaces between the cans at the same speed as the advancing cans without interference.

Upon reaching the delivery end of the chains, the fingers 6 pass downwardly about the sprockets 59 moving out of engagement with the leading cans, allowing the metered load to be accelerated by the infeed conveyor as described earlier. Since the infeed conveyor advances at a slightly greater speed than the metering chains, the

upstream rows of cans are retarded, thus forming solid rows extending upstream from the metering chains. It will be noted that the metering fingers, by engaging a cholrdal portion of the cylindrical cans, take advantage of the spaces between them to separate the loads from the solid rows in a simple manner to provide continuous rapid metering.

Metering clutch slidably keyed as at 84 to the shaft extension 81 and shiftable endwisely into engagement with a mating driving collar 85-secured to sprocket 70. The clutch collar includes a driving dog or lug 86 as best shown in Figure 3, which engage the mating shoulder 87 of the driving collar 85. I

At the opposite end of shaft extension 81 there is located a fixed stop collar 88 having stop lugs 90 engageable with the mating stop lugs 91 of the clutch collar. The clutch is shown in its disengaged position in Figures 3 and 6, with. the clutch collar locked to the stop collar and with the metering chains halted.

The purpose of the stop collar is to stop the metering chains in a positiv manner, at or near the end of its cycle as indicated in Figure 5. In otherwords, upon disengagement of the clutch, the metering chains would tend to over-run under momentum; however, the stop collar brings the parts to a positive stop by engagement of the stop lugs. It will be noted in Figure 3, that the stop lugs 90 of the fixed collar 88 are spaced radially apart to provide clearance for the lugs 91 of the clutch collar, such that the lugs of th collar are free to rotate slightly until positively stopped as shown in Figure 3.

Upon shifting of the clutch collar to engage position (opposite to the position shown in Figure 6) the driving lug 86 and 87 of the clutch collar and driving collar are brought into engagement, creating a driving connection by way of the lugs, through the clutch collar to the shaft and gear. The relative position of the driving lugs 86 and 87 are such that the driving connection is picked up in time with the advancement of the sweep mechanism and bucket conveyor. To provide a smooth positive coupling action, the driving collar has a spiral face v92 (Figure 3) leading in the driving direction to the shoulder 87.

The clutch collar is shifted by the solenoid 93 which is attached by bracket 94 to housing 82. The armature 95 of the solenoid is connected to a yoke lever 96 having its lower end pivotally connected to a bracket 97 attached to housing 82. The yoke lever includes a yoke portion 98 surrounding the clutch collar and having a yoke pin 100 engaged in a groove 101 of the clutch collar.

The yoke lever is urged in clutch engaging direction by a tension spring 102 having one end anchored as at 103 to the frame structure and having its opposite ends anchored as at 104 to the upper end of t Y v The spring 102 urges the lever and collar constantly in clutch engaging direction counter to the solenoid.

The solenoid armature 95 is connected to the upper end of the yoke lever by a tension spring 105 having one the load; The downstream ends of the slide bars are.

I slide bars.

end anchored as at 106 to the lever and its opposite end anchored as at 107 to the armature. A spacer bar '108, attached to the lever, has its opposite end seated against the armature.

According to the spring arrangement, the yoke lever 96 is yieldably pulled in clutch disengaging direction by the spring when the solenoid is energized. The yieldable connection allows the armature to retract fully, while the spring controls the pressure applied to the clutch collar. When the solenoid is deenergized, the clutch engaging spring 102, in the same manner, urges the clutch collar yieldably toward the driving collar. These movements are controlled by the cycle cam and switches as explained later. The driving and stop lugs are so positioned that they engage at one side or the other immediately when the clutch collar is shifted. The spiral face and stop dogs of the two collars provide sufficient clearance for this direct engagement.

Sweep mechanism The sweep mechanism consists of the two parallel chain runs 13-43 carried above the discharge end of the infeed conveyor and extending over the receiving end of the bucket conveyor (Figure 1). The sweep chain runs are trained upon a pair of idler sprockets 110 at its receiving end, which are mounted upon the idler shaft 111 journalled at opposite ends in slots 113 of the side plates of the support frame 20 at opposite sides. Idler shaft 111.n1ay be adjusted to control the slack in the sweep chains by adjustment screws 114, similar to those of the metering chains. The sweep bars 12 have their opposite ends connected to the parallel chains as at 115. g

The discharge end of the sweep chains are trained over the pair of driving sprockets 116 which are carried upon the drive shaft 117, also journalled in the side plates. The drive shaft is driven by a sprocket 118 having a sprocket chain 120 trained upon a second sprocket 121 of cross shaft 73. Sprocket 121 has the same pitch diameter as its companion sprockets 72 which drives the metering chains 4.

As protection against damage to the mechanism, a releasable couple 122 is interposed between the drive sprocket 118 and drive shaft 117 of the sweep chains. As shown in Figures 2 and 10, this device consists of a pair of detent levers 123 carried onthe sprocket '118 and releasably engaging a detent collar 124 pinned to the drive shaft. The companion ends of the levers are pivotally connected as at 125 to the face of the sprocket while their opposite ends are yieldably drawn together by a tension spring 126 having its opposite ends anchored to the ends of the lever. A detent tooth 127 located intermediate the length of each lever engages the respective detent notches formed in the detent collar 124.

The driving torque is thus transmitted from the sprocket through the detent teeth of the levers to the collar which is pinned to the drive shaft. In the event that one of the sweep bars 12 should encounter an obstruction, for example, a fallen can, the yieldable detent teeth will disengage in response to the over-load and thus permit the sweep chains to be stopped while the pulley continues to rotate. The connection may be reestablished by rotating the hand wheel 128 which is keyed to the drive shaft.

As shown in Figure 5, the sweep chains are slightly inclined downwardly, such that the lower run is substantially parallel with the upper surface of the downwardly inclined slide bars 14 which support the cans as they are advanced to the bucket conveyor. The flanges of the conveyor buckets 10 are provided with spaced notches 130 as best shown in Figures 2 and 4, allowing the upstanding fianges to pass in an arc upwardly between the Accordingly, the can load D is advanced in a positive manner into the bucket which is shown in Figure 5 passing upwardly to a receiving position beneath a free of interruption to allow the upstanding flanges to measures passfreely .between them, while the upstream ends of the-bars are attachedto a crossbar 131 passing beneath the discharge end of the infeed conveyor. The *cross bar I31 has its opposite ends attached to the frame structure andarigidly supports the slide bars. It will be noted that the rearward or upstream end of the slide bars are interposed between the infeed conveyor runs, and that the upper surface of the bars is flush with the upper surface of thechains-to allow the cans to slide freely from the chains -to the bars.

.As 1best shown .in Figure 5, the retainer springs 15, which restrain the load .C in :stationary position, individually engage the three leading cans of the load. The shank 132 of.each.retainer spring is inclined upwardly to facilitate disengagementwhen the load is pushed by its sweep'barto the conveyor bucket. The retainer springs are mounted upon across their .133 having its opposite ends secured to the machine frame, ieachspring being held in position by screws 134 which engage a clamping plate 135 overlying the rearward portion of the'spring.

After being dislodged from beneath the retainer springs, the load -D .passes through a housing 136 secured to the machine frame and having atop wall 137 and spaced side walls 138. The housing confines the load ingroupformation as it is transferred by the trailing sweep bar down the inclined slide bars and into the-conveyor bucket.

As indicated by. the arrows in Figure 1, the metering device andsweep mechanism are both driven from the longitudinal shaft 74 by way of the companion sprockets 7-2 and 121 of the cross shaft 73. Since the longitudinal shaft is timed with the cartoning machine and its bucket conveyor, the three componentsall operate in synchronism;

It will be noted in Figure 5, that the metering chains are provided with six "sets of metering fingers while the sweep chain runs are provided with four sweep bars.

Because of this, -it is necessary to advance the sweep chain at a rate sulficiently faster to time its four loading spaces with the six loading spaces of the metering chains. This is brought about by the meshing gears. 66 and 67 (Figure 4) whichhavepitch diameters for the necessary reduction ratio to the metering chain drive shaft. This ratio advances the loads of cans in timewith the advancemerit of the sweep barsyboth units being "driven from the same source as noted above. T he gears 66 and 67 also provide the necessary reversal for the metering chains, thereby to advance the upper run of the metering chains in the same direction as the lower run of thesweep chains. 6

Cycle control system The cycle controlcam 55, which regulates the stopping and starting of the metering device, when necessary, is mounted upon the cross shaft 73 which drives the metering device and sweep mechanism in synchronism withthe cartoning machine (Figures 3, '5, and 9). The cam actuates the cycle switch unit 54 througha cam lever having a roller 141journalled as at 142 and tracked upon the periphery of the cam. Thecam lever is pivotally mounted upon a bracket 143 attached to the machine frame. A tension spring144 anchoredto the lower end of the lever, urges the roller yieldably against the periphery of the cam.

The cycle control cam has adepression'145 which allows the cam lever to shift to the left, as indicated inFigure 5, once for each loading cycle. Therefore, upon each revolution of the shaft, the metering, fingersrelease one load of cans, as indicated at B, and the cycle-switches are actuatedto signal the endof the cycle.

As stated earlier, the cycle control cam allows the metering device to be halted only at the end of its cycle and to be reactivated only at the beginning of a later cycle in response-toe signal from the low,prime detector '16 or gap detector17. "The cycle switch unit 54consists of "the normally open switch 146 and a normally closed switch 147, *bothmounted uponthe stationary bracket 12 148 .(Figure.9 Each switch includes a spring loaded gplunger 15 0 engageable byarespective lug 151 ,project- Ting outwardly from-opposite sides of the cam lever 140. When the cam lever is in the. position shown in Figures 5 and :15; theswitches are shifted momentarily from normal position.

It will be seen therefore, that as the metering device .3 releases one load of cans, indicated at B in Figure 5, thecycle :switches shift to:the1position of Figure IS to signal -the rend -of the cycle then immediately return to the normalpositionLof'Figure 14 as depression passes beyond the cam rollerl141.

As explained below in detail, if a break in the fiowof cans occurs during the cycle, the low prime detector 16 sends a signal which is stored by the control circuit, the 'circuitthen being effective to stop the metering device by disengaging clutch 18 at'the end of the cycle, thatis, when the cy'clecontrol switches 146 and 147 are shifted momentarily-to the-position of Figure 15. The control circuit1(.-Figure 14) includes relays, the coils of the relays -being indicated by the circles labelled CR3 and CR4. Theitwocontacts of each relay are identified with their actuating 'coils by corresponding labels, such as contacts CR31 andCR3-'2 'of relay CR3. The several switches andrelay contacts are' shown inFigure 14 in the positions -whichthey occupy during normal operation of the-machine.

:Described i'n detail '-with reference to Figure 14, the c'ontrolcircuit-is energized by the supply lines 152 and 153. The normallyopen switch 45 of the low prime detector is interposed in the branch line 154 extending ''across thesupplyflines. A relay coil CR4 is interposed -in branch line 154 to be energized by the normally 'openlow prirne detector switch 45 when one of the sens "ing fingersdrops' in response to a lack of cans, thus closing-normally open switch45. Upon being energized, re-

lay CR4 is locked in by a holding circuit 155 including the-normally=open holding contact CR4-1 and a normally closedfmanually operated reset switch 156 shunting the detector switch 45. Consequently, if the detector SWilCh"45lSCiOSCd momentarily, relay CR4 is energized and-closcs its holding circuit 155 by way of contact CR41 and remains locked in until the prime rows are "restored to open the detector switch 45. Thereafter, the normally closed reset switch 156 may be depressed to opentheholdin'g circuit and deenergize relay CR4. A si'gnal light 157 is inserted in line 158 to indicate the tripping of the lowprime detector and is extinguished whenrelay CR4 is deenergized by operation of the reset Switch.

The clutch solenoid 93 is energized by the normally "open contact CR3-J in one .of 51 power lines.160, the .co'ntactbeingclosed whenrelay CR3 is energized. The "clutch-1'8, as explained earlier, is disengaged only, when relay CR3is activatedto energize clutch solenoid 93. RelayCR3 is .energizedindirectly either by switch45, of prime detectoril'6 or by switch 45 of the gap detector 17; the ,tirhingKstopping and starting of the metering device)is controlled by the cycle control switches 146 and 147 in -branch. lines 162 and 163 leading to relay CR3.

The position ofkthe cycle control cam and switches 146 .andl147, .shown diagrammatically in Figure 15 corresponds to thepositionof the parts in Figure 5 at the end .ofa loading-cycle. It will be notedinthe diagram (Fig- -ure 1-5) *thatznorrnally closed cycle switch 147 in line 163, has opened and that normally open cycle switch 146 rin -line 1627has-closed. The switches dwell in this po- -.sitiononly for a short period and return to. their normal ,positionsethroughout the :next cycle as shown in Figure .l4 to preventi the :metering device from being stopped.

-Assurning-that the low prime detector switchr45 closes during the. cycle (Figure 14), relay CR4 will be energized and lockedinby its :holding contact CR4-1 in holding line 155and.-will.also-close contact .CR4.2.in branch line 164'. The circuit is thus completed from supply line 152 through the branch line 164 to the open cycle switch 146; therefore, the circuit is partially established to energize relay CR3 at the end of the current cycle and will be completed by the cycle switch 146 at the end of the cycle. The machine thus continues operating normally until the depression 145 (Figure 15) reaches the cam roller and closes switch 146, thus energizing the relay CR3. Upon being energized, relay CR3 closes its normally open contact CR3-1 in line 160 and energizes clutch solenoid 93, thus shifting clutch 18 to disengaged position, as shown in Figure 6. This stops the metering device while the other components continue to run. To reactivate the metering device after the solid rows of prime cans are again flowing beneath the low prime detector, the manual reset switch 156 is opened momentarily to open the holding circuit 155 and deenergize relay CR4. Assuming that the manual reset switch 156 is opened during the cycle (Figure 14) relay CR3 will remain energized by way of a holding circuit consisting of branch line 163 from line 152, closed cycle switch 147 and holding contact CR3-2 interposed in branch line 165. Accordingly, even though the low prime detector circuit is now open, relay CR3 and the clutch solenoid remain energized by the holding circuit (lines 163 and 165) to prevent the metering device from starting until the next cycle. When the depression 145 of the cam reaches the position shown in Figure 15, momentarily opening switch 147, the holding circuit (line 165) is opened momentarily to deenergize relay CR3, thus deenergizing clutch solenoid 93 and engaging the clutch to start the metering device on cycle.

In the event that the loW prime detector should signal the relay CR4 at the end of the cycle, the signal will be completed to relay CR3 through contact CR-2 (now closed in line 164) and by way of cycle switch 146 which is closed momentarily. Also, at this point in the cycle, should switch 45 of the gap detector momentarily close, the circuit will be completed to relay CR3 by way of the branch line 166 through the momentarily closed cycle switch 146 to the relay CR3. As noted earlier with re spect to Figure 5, the fingers 57 of the gap detector are located in a position to respond to a fallen can in time with the cycles of operation of the metering device. Any gap caused by a fallen can is suificiently long to allow one of the fingers to drop and remain in dropped position (with its switch 45 closed) until the cycle is completed and the cycle control cam closes its switch 146 (Figure 15). Upon closing of switch 146, with gap detector switch 45 closed, relay CR3 is energized by way of lines 166 and 162, thus closing contact CR3-1 in line 160 to energize clutch solenoid 93. The clutch solenoid thus disengages the cycle control clutch immediately to stop the metering device. ended to-open the gap detector switch 45, relay CR-S is deenergized and opens its contact CR3-1 in line 160 to deenergize the clutch solenoid 93, thus engaging clutch 18. This causes the metering device to resume its operating cycles in time with the other components of the machine by ope-ration of the driving lugs of clutch collar 83 and driving collar 85, as explained earlier.

The apparatus may be provided with a second low prime detector as indicated at 45a in Figure 14. The two detectors are spaced apart from one another along the conveyor and prevent the metering device from being stopped if the prime is restored promptly after a failure. The detector switch 45a is normally open and may be located downstream from its companion low prime detector. It has been omitted from Figure 1 because of space limitations.

If low prime detector 45 closes in response to a break in can flow, it will not complete its circuit to relay CR4 until the break reaches detector 45a and causes it to close.

The circuit will then be completed to CR4 to stop the As soon as the fallen can is up- 14 metering action oncycle as outlined above. However,- if the prime'is restored before detector 45a closes, then the signal is not completed to CR4; hence, the meteringaction continues without interruption.

In order to prevent any signal from being missed, an overlapping action takes place in the opening and closing movements of the cycle switches 146 and 147. For this purpose, the lug 151, which engages the plunger of switch 147 is set closer than the lug of switch ,146 (Figure 9).

This causes normally closed switch 147 to remain closed momentarily while switch 146 is closing at the end of the cycle. The overlapping action prevents both cycle switches from being open at anytime during the cycle and makes certain that a signal from the low prime detector is either stored temporarily (by its holding circuit) or acted upon immediately by relay CR3.

From the foregoing, it will be seen that signals from the prime detector are stored unless they occur at the end of the cycle when the cycle switches are tripped,

while signals from the ,gap detector are transmitted only atthe end of the cycle. Itjwill be understood that the cycle switches are timed with the metering clutch to cause the lugs of the clutch' collar to snap directly to stopping or driving position when the clutch solenoid is energized or deenergized.

. Twelve-can loading" 5 When the machine is adjusted to pack the twelve-can loads into cartons (Figures 11 to 13), the buckets 10 on 'the' conveyor chains are enlarged by reversing the position of'one bucket section, as'indicated at 167. In this position, the buckets accommodate three transverse rows of cans instead of two rows shown in Figure 4. The metering fingers-6 are also repositioned along the metering chains to provide space for three transverse, rows instead of two rows previously metered. t

- To accommodate the four longitudinal rows of cans, instead of three, an additional metering chain, indicated at 168, is installed upon the metering device. 7 Since the repositioned rows of metering fingers now provide four rows of fingers (four metering spaces) instead of six, the lineal speed of the metering chains necessarily is increased to time its cycles with the four sweep bars. For this purpose, the gear 66 shown in Figure 4 is removed from the drive shaft 61 and a new gear is installed upon the opposite end of the shaft to mesh with the gear 171. The ratio of these gears provides the necessary timing between the sweep bars and metering fingers. It will be understood that the principle of operation is the same whether the mechanism is set up for the six-can or twelve-can loads. It is also to be noted that various other load sizes and can sizes may be accommodated by repositioning the metering fingers and making the necessary adjustments in speed.

Having described my invention, I claim:

1. feed mechanism for metering and advancing groups of articles to a cartoning machine comprising a series of infeed conveyor chains for advancing the articles toward the cartoning machine at a given speed and having a discharge end adjacent the cartoning machine, a series of metering chain loops having upper runs extending parallel with the infeed chains and having spaced rows of abutment elements projecting above the plane of the infeed chains, a sweep chain loop located above a discharge portion of the infeed chains and having a lower run parallel with the infeed chains and extending beyond the discharge end thereof, a series of sweep elements on said, sweep chain loop extending transversely above the infeed chains, driving means connected to the metering chain loops and sweep chain loop for ad vancing the abutment elements and sweep elements in time with one another in the same direction as the infeed conveyor chains and at a slower rate, the abutment elements moving in an arc upwardly around the upstream end of the metering chain loops and separating the articles 17 during advancement along the upper runs of the metering chain loops, a sweep chain loop located above the infeed chains and'having a lower run extending generally parallel with and beyond the discharge end of the infeed chains, a series of sweep elements on the sweep chain loop extending transversely above the infeed chains in position to engage the articles thereof, driving means connected in common to the metering chain loops and sweep chain loop for advancing the abutment elements and sweep elements in time with one another and in the same direction as the intake conveyor chains at a slower rate, the abutment elements moving in an arc upwardly around the upstream end of the metering chain loop and separating the articles on the said chains into metered groups and decelerating the articles upstream of said groups, thereby reforming said articles into solid rows, the abutment elements moving downwardly below the infeed chains at the downstream end of the chain loop thereby releasing the metered groups, the infeed chains accelerating the released groups and advancing the same to the sweep elements, said sweep elements moving downwardly in an are at the upstream end of the sweep chain loop in advance of the released groups of articles and thereby intercepting the groups and regulating the advancement thereof on the infeed chains, a series of slide bars interposed between the infeed chains and extending outwardly beyond the discharge end thereof, the slide bars being partially co-extensive with the sweep chain loop, and a series of retainer spring elements mounted above the slide bars in position to engage and arrest the articles intercepted by the sweep bars and advanced by the infeed chains beyond the discharge end thereof, whereby the arrested groups of articles dwell temporarily on the slide bars beyond the discharge end of the infeed chains to be engaged and advanced to the cartoning machine by a successive sweep element advancing along the lower run of the sweep chain during continuous advancement of the metering chain loops and sweep chain loop.

6. A feed mechanism for metering and advancing groups of articles to a cartoning machine comprising, a series of infeed conveyor chains arranged to support and advance the articles and having a discharge end adjacent the cartoning machine, a series of metering chain loops interposed between the infeed chains and having upper runs parallel therewith, respective rows of metering elements spaced apart from one another on the metering chain loops, the abutment elements of the upper chain runs projecting above the plane of the infeed chains, a sweep chain loop located above the infeed chains and having a lower chain run extending outwardly beyond the discharge end thereof, a series of sweep elements on the sweep chain loop, driving means connected to the metering chain loops and and sweep chain loop advancing the abutment elements and sweep elements in time with one another and in the same direction as the infeed chains at a slower rate, the abutment elements moving in an arc upwardly around the upstream end of the metering chain loops and decelerating the articles and reforming the same into solid rows on the infeed chains, the abutment elements separating the leading articles of the solid rows into metered groups during advancement along the upper run of the metering chain loop then moving downwardly in an arc at the downstream end of the loop below the plane of the infeed chains, thereby releasing the metered groups, the infeed chains accelerating the released groups and advancing the same to the sweep elements, the sweep elements moving downwardly in an arc at the upstream end of the sweep chain loop in position to intercept then advance the groups successively to the cartoning machine, normally engaged shiftable clutch means interposed between the said driving means and metering chain loops for stopping the chain loops upon being shifted, an article detector mounted relative to the infeed chains and having sensing elements contacting the articles thereof, and means connecting the sensing elements to the shiftable clutch,

said sensing fingers being responsive to an absence of articles on the infeed conveyor to disengage the clutch.

7. A feed mechanism for metering and advancing groups of articles to a cartoning machine comprising, a series of infeed conveyor chains arranged to support and advance the articles and having a discharge end adjacent the cartoning machine, a series of metering chain loops interposed between the infeed chains and having upper runs parallel therewith, respective rows of metering elements spaced apart from one another on the metering chain loops, the abutment elements of the upper chain runs projecting above the plane of the infeed chains, a sweep chain loop located above the infeed chains and having a lower chain run extending outwardly beyond the discharge end thereof, a series of sweep elements on the sweep chain loop, driving means connected to the metering chain loops and sweep chain loop advancing the abutment elements and sweep elements in time with one another and in the same direction as the infeed chains at a slower rate, the abutment elements moving in an arc upwardly around the upstream end of the metering chain loops and decelerating the articles and reforming the same into solid rows on the infeed chains, the abutment elements separating the leading articles of the solid rows into metered groups during advancement along the upper run of the metering chain loop then moving downwardly in an are at the downstream end of the loop below the plane of the infeed chains, the infeed chains accelerating the released groups and advancing the same to the sweep elements, the sweep elements moving downwardly in an arc at the upstream end of the sweep chain loop in position to intercept then advance the groups successively to the cartoning machine, normally engaged shiftable clutch means interposed between the said driving means and metering chain loops for stopping the chain loops upon being shifted, an article detector mounted relative to the infeed chains and having sensing elements contacting the articles thereof, means connecting the sensing elements to the shiftable clutch, said sensing fingers being responsive to an absence of articles on the infeed conveyor to dis engage the clutch, and cycle control means interposed in the means connecting the sensing elements to the clutch, the cycle control means connected to said driving means and effective to engage the clutch and start the metering chain loops in time with the advancement of the sweep elements after the sensing elements are shifted to normal position by articles advancing on the infeed chains.

8. A feed mechanism for metering and advancing groups of articles to a cartoning machine comprising, an infeed conveyor for advancing articles toward the cartoning machine at a given speed, a metering device located along the infeed conveyor upstream of the cartoning machine, the metering device having an abutment arranged to advance in the same direction as the infeed conveyor above the plane thereof at a lower speed, said abutment, by its lower speed, thereby engaging and decelerating the articles on the infeed conveyor and reforming the articles into a solid row on the infeed conveyor, the abtument separating the solid row of articles into metered groups and thereafter releasing the metered groups of articles, the infeed conveyor accelerating the groups upon release thereof, and thereby separating the same from one another, and a sweep mechanism located along the infeed conveyor downstream from the metering device and having a sweep element arranged to advance in the same direction as the infeed conveyor, said sweep element intercepting the accelerated groups of articles on the infeed conveyor and advancing the groups to the cartoning machine and driving means connected to the metering device and sweep mechanism and advancing the abutment and sweep element in time with one another, whereby the successive groups of articles are metered and advanced during continuous advancement of the metering device and sweep mechanism.

9. A feed mechanism for metering and advancing groups of articles to a cartoning machine comprising, a series of infeed conveyor chains arranged 'to support and advance articles toward the cartoning machine and having a discharge end adjacent the cartoning machine, a series of metering chain loops having upper runs interposed between the infeed chains and extending parallel therewith, respective rows of abutment elements spaced apart from one another on the metering 'chain loops, the abutment elements having portions projecting above the plane of the infeed chains during advancement along said upper runs, a sweep chain loop having a lower run extending above the discharge end of the infeed chains, a series of sweep elements on the sweep chain loop extending transversely above the infeed chains during advancement along said lower run, driving means connected to the metering chain loop and sweep chain loop advancing the abutment elements and sweep elements in time with one another and in the same direction as the infeed chains at a slower rate, the abutment elements moving in an arc upwardly about'the upstream end of the metering chains and separating the row of articles in the infeed chains into metered groups, then moving downwardly below the infeed chains at the downstream end of the metering chain loop thereby releasing the metered groups, the infeed chains accelerating the released groups and advancing the same to the sweep elements, said sweep elements moving downwardly at the upstream end of the sweep chain loop to a position intercepting the released group of articles, then advancing the same to the cartoning machine during continuous advancement of the metering chain loop and sweep chain loop.

10. A feed mechanism for metering and advancing groups of articles to a cartoning machine comprising, an infeed conveyor for advancing articles toward the cartoning machine at a given speed, a metering device located along the infeed conveyor upstream of the cartoning machine, the metering device having a series of abutment means arranged to advance in the same direction as the infeed conveyor above the plane thereof at a lower speed, said abutment means engaging and decelerating the articles on the infeed conveyor, and reforming the articles in a solid row on the infeed conveyor, the abutment means separating the solid row of articles into metered groups, the abutment means moving downwardly below the plane of the infeed conveyor at the downstream end of the metering device thereby releasing the metered groups of articles, the infeed conveyor accelerating the groups upon release thereof and thereby separating the groups from one another, a sweep mechanism located above the infeed conveyor downstream from the metering device and having a series of sweep elements arranged to advance in the same direction as the infeed conveyor, said sweep elements intercepting the accelerated group of articles on the infeed conveyor and advancing the group to the cartoning machine and driving means connected to the metering device and sweep mechanism and advancing the abutment means and sweep elements in time :with oneanother, whereby the successive groups of articles are metered and advanced during continuous advancement of the metering device and sweep mechanism, a normally engaged electrically operated clutch interposed between the said driving means and metering chain loop, a normally open article detector switch mounted relative to the infeed chains upstream of the metering device and connected to the clutch, the switch having sensing fingers contacting the articles advancing thereon, said fingers shifting the switchto closed position in response to a deficiency of articles on the infeed conveyor, and electrical means connecting the switch to the clutch for energizing and disengaging the clutch upon closing of the switch by the said fingers.

11. A feed mechanism for metering and advancing groups of articles to a cartoning machine comprising, an infeed conveyor for advancing articles toward the cartoning machine at a given speed, a metering device located along the infeed conveyor upstream of the cartoning machine, the metering device having a series of abutment means arranged to advance in the same direction as the infeed conveyor above the plane thereof at a lower speed, said abutment means engaging and decelerating the articles on the infeed conveyor and reforming the articles in a solid row on the infeed conveyor, the abutment means separating the solid row of articles into metered groups, the abutment means moving downwardly below the plane of the infeed conveyor at the downstream end of the metering device thereby releasing the metered groups of articles, the infeed conveyor accelerating the groups upon release thereof and thereby separating the groups from one another, a sweep mechanism located above the infeed conveyor downstream from the metering device and having a series of sweep elements arranged to advance in the same direction as the infeed conveyor, said sweep elements intercepting the accelerated group of articles on the infeed conveyor and advancing the group to the cartoning machine, driving means connected to the metering device and sweep mechanism and advancing the abutment means and sweep elements in time with one another, whereby the successive groups of articles are metered and advanced during continuous advancement of the metering device and sweep mechanism, an electrically operated clutch interposed between the said driving means and metering chain loop, an article detector switch mounted relative to the infeed chains upstream of the metering device and having sensing fingers contacting the articles advancing thereon, said fingers shifting the switch to closed position in response to a deficiency of articles on the infeed conveyor, electrical means connecting the switch to the clutch for disengaging the clutch upon actuation of the switch by the fingers and a cycle control switch interposed in said electrical means between the detector switch and clutch, the said driving means being connected to the cycle control switch for actuating the switch in time with the advancement of the said sweep elements, said cycle switch arranged to engage the clutch and start the metering device in time with the sweep elements after the detector switch, is closed by articles on the infeed conveyor.

12. A feed mechanism for metering and advancing groups of articles to a cartoning machine comprising, an infeed conveyor for advancing articles toward the cartoning machine at a given speed, a metering device located along the infeed conveyor upstream of the cartoning machine, the metering device having a series of abutment means arranged to advance in the same direction as the infeed conveyor above the plane thereof at a lower speed, said abutment means engaging and decelerating the articles on the infeed conveyor, and reforming the articles in a solid row on the infeed conveyor, the abutment means separating thesolid row of articles into metered groups, the abutment means moving downwardly below the plane of the infeed conveyor at the downstream end of the metering device thereby releasing the metered groups of articles, the infeed conveyor accelerating the groups upon release thereof and thereby separating the groups from one another, a sweep mechanism located above the infeed conveyor downstream from the metering device and having a series of sweep elements arranged to advance in the same direction as the infeed conveyor, said sweep elements intercepting the accelerated group of articles on the infeed conveyor and advancing the group to the cartoning machine, driving means connected to the metering device and sweep mechanism and advancing the abutment means and sweep elements in time with one another, whereby the successive groups of articles are metered and advanced during continuous advancement of the meter ing device and sweep mechanism, a normally engaged electrically operated clutch interposed between the said driving means and metering device, an article detector switch mounted relative to the infeed chains upstream of the metering device and having sensing fingers contacting the articles advancing thereon, said fingers closing the switch in response to a deficiency of articles on the infeed conveyor, electrical means connecting the switch to the clutch for disengaging the clutch upon closing of the switch by the fingers, a cycle control switch interposed in said electrical means between the detector switch and clutch, and actuating means connected to the driving means and actuating the cycle control switch in time with the advancement of the said sweep elements, said cycle switch completing the circuit from the detector switch to the clutch in time with the advancement of the abutment thereby to engage the clutch and start the metering device in time with the sweep elements after the detector switch is closed by the articles on the infeed conveyor.

13. A feed mechanism for metering and advancing groups of articles to a cartoning machine comprising, a series of infeed conveyor chains for advancing the articles toward the cartoning machine at a given speed and having a discharge end adjacent the cartoning machine, a series of metering chain loops having upper runs extending parallel with the infeed chains and having spaced rows of abutment elements projecting above the plane of the infeed chains, a sweep chain loop located above a discharge portion of the infeed chains and having a lower run parallel with the infeed chains and extending beyond the discharge end thereof, a series of sweep elements on said lower runs extending transversely above the infeed chains in position to engage the articles, driving means connected to the metering chain loops and sweep loop for advancing the abutment elements and sweep elements in time with one another in the same direction as the infeed conveyor chains and at a slower rate, the abutment elements moving in an arc upwardly around the upstream end of the metering chain loops and separating the articles on the infeed chain into metered groups then moving along said upper chain run at said slower rate to decelerate the articles on the infeed chains to reform the same into solid rows, the abutment elements moving downwardly below the plane of the infeed chains at the downstream end of the chain loop to release the metered groups upon the infeed chains, said sweep elements thereby engaging said groups and advancing the groups successively to the cartoning machine during continuous advancement of the metering chain loops and sweep chain loops, a rotating shiftable coupling means interposed between the said driving means and metering chain loops, a stationary stop element engageable with the shiftable coupling means for stopping the same at a given point of rotation, and an article detector mounted relative to the infeed chains and connected to said coupling means, said detector being responsive to the absence of articles on the infeed conveyor to shift the coupling means to a disengaged position into engagement with the said stationary stop means, thereby stop the metering chain with said abutments at a given position of advancement.

14. A feed mechanism for metering and advancing groups of articles to a cartoning machine comprising, a series of infeed conveyor chains for advancing the articles toward the cartoning machine at a given speed and having a discharge end adjacent the cartoning machine, a series of metering chain loops having upper runs extending parallel with the infeed chains and having spaced rows of abutment elements projecting above the plane of the infeed chains, a sweep chain loop located above a discharge portion of the infeed chains and having a lower run parallel with the infeed chains and extending beyond the discharge end thereof, a series of sweep elements on said lower runs extending transversely above the infeed chains in position to engage the articles, driving means connected to the metering chain loops and sweep chain loop forfadvancing' the abutment elements and sweep elements in time with one another in the same direction as the infeed conveyor chains and at a slower rate, the abutment elements moving in an arc upwardly around the upstream end of the metering chain loops and separating the articles on the infeed chain into metered groups then moving along said upper chain run at said slower rate to decelerate the articles on the infeed chains to reform the same into solid rows, the abutment elements then moving downwardly below the plane of the infeed chains at the downstream end of the chain loop to release the metered groups, the infeed chains thereby accelerating the released groups and advancing the same to the sweep elements as the sweep elements travel along the lower run of the sweep chain, said sweep elements thereby engaging said groups and advancing the groups successively to the cartoning machine during continuous advancement of the metering chain loops and sweep chain loop, a shiftable rotating coupling means interposed between the said driving means and metering chain loops, a stationary stop element engageable with the shiftable coupling means for stopping the coupling means and metering chains at a given point upon disengagement thereof, an article detector mounted relative to the infeed chains and connected to said clutch, said detector being responsive to the absence of articles on the infeed conveyor to shift the clutch to said disengaged position and thereby stop the metering chain and,ssaid stationary stop element maintaining the metering chain loop in stopped position after arrest thereof, and a driving element in driving connection with the metering chains and engageable with said coupling means upon shifting thereof to coupled position, said driving element efiective to start the metering chain loops with the abutment elements thereof in time with the sweep elements after the detector is actuated in response to articles advanced on the infeed conveyor.

15. A feed mechanism for metering and advancing groups of articles to a cartoning machine comprising, a series of infeed chains for advancing the articles toward the cartoning machine at a given speed and having a discharge end adjacent the cartoning machine, a series of separator rails in a plane above the infeed chains and extending parallel therewith, said rails dividing the advancing articles into individual rows, a series of metering chain loops having upper runs interposed between the infeed chains and extending parallel therewith, the metering chains having spaced rows of abutment elements projecting above the plane of the infeed chains and between said separator rails, a sweep chain loop located above a discharge portion of the infeed chains and having a lower run parallel with the infeed chains and extending beyond the discharge end thereof, said separator rails extending partially across the metering chain loop and terminating at said sweep chain loop, a series of sweep elements on said sweep chain loop extending transversely above the discharge portion of the infeed chains, driving means connected to the metering chain loops and sweep chain loop for advancing the abutment elements and sweep elements in time with one another in the same direction as the infeed conveyor chains and at a slower rate, the abutment elements moving in an arc upwardly around the upstream end of the metering chain loops and between the separator rails and separating the articles on the infeed chain into metered groups then moving along said upper chain run at said slower rate to decelerate the articles on the infeed chains, thereby reforming the rows into solid rows, the abutment elements thereafter moving downwardly below the plane of the infeed chains at the downstream end of the chain loop and releasing the metered groups, the infeed chains thereby accelerating the released groups and advancing the same to the sweep elements as the sweep elements travel along the lower run of the sweep chain, said sweep elements engaging said groups and advancing the groups successively to the cartoning machine during

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US2840224A (en) * 1957-04-24 1958-06-24 Baljak Corp Conveying devices for accelerating and timing articles
US2928559A (en) * 1957-02-25 1960-03-15 Bitco Inc Lumber stacker
US3009299A (en) * 1958-09-02 1961-11-21 Albert F Goetze Inc Automatic switching and storage conveyor
US3016665A (en) * 1957-07-22 1962-01-16 Manett Entpr Inc Packaging machine
US3027852A (en) * 1961-01-03 1962-04-03 Roy R Key Dough-twisting machine
US3037609A (en) * 1959-11-24 1962-06-05 Packaging Corp America Article handling mechanism
US3053025A (en) * 1960-02-29 1962-09-11 Ralph W Johns Case loader
US3060659A (en) * 1959-07-30 1962-10-30 St Regis Paper Co Packaging method and apparatus
US3085377A (en) * 1960-08-03 1963-04-16 Continental Can Co Method and machine for packaging articles
US3093234A (en) * 1961-09-27 1963-06-11 Procter & Gamble Article rearranging apparatus
US3105337A (en) * 1961-04-05 1963-10-01 Lynch Corp Product feeder for cartoning machine
US3109531A (en) * 1959-11-30 1963-11-05 Joseph J Jackson Grouping and crowding machine
US3133386A (en) * 1959-07-27 1964-05-19 Owens Corning Fiberglass Corp Method of conveying and processing bodies
US3141274A (en) * 1963-01-10 1964-07-21 Johns Nigrelli Johns Case loader
US3162294A (en) * 1962-07-05 1964-12-22 R A Jones & Company Inc Article timing mechanism for packaging machines
US3167167A (en) * 1961-01-03 1965-01-26 Roy R Key Dough-twisting apparatus
US3179230A (en) * 1961-09-18 1965-04-20 Hunt Foods And Ind Inc Conveyor system
US3190434A (en) * 1961-11-07 1965-06-22 Remy & Cie E P Grouping and spacing device
US3193076A (en) * 1963-06-19 1965-07-06 Fmc Corp Container feeding mechanism
US3194381A (en) * 1962-10-01 1965-07-13 Olin Mathieson Apparatus for grouping articles into package units
US3224556A (en) * 1962-10-04 1965-12-21 Baker Perkins Inc Article grouping and conveying methods and apparatus
US3225510A (en) * 1963-05-13 1965-12-28 R A Jones And Company Inc Article cartoning machine
US3269086A (en) * 1963-06-17 1966-08-30 Kimberly Clark Co Machine for entubing articles
DE1224573B (en) * 1961-07-24 1966-09-08 Charles Preston Warman Jun Druckmittelbetaetigte clutch or brake
DE1229899B (en) * 1961-11-07 1966-12-01 Remy & Cie E P An apparatus for one-box of bottles
US3314522A (en) * 1965-07-19 1967-04-18 Fmc Corp Article handling apparatus
US3424293A (en) * 1966-03-22 1969-01-28 Schweizerische Ind G Device for grouping objects
US3465869A (en) * 1967-05-31 1969-09-09 Mead Corp Control system
US3482674A (en) * 1968-03-11 1969-12-09 Emhart Corp Conveyor system for handling groups of articles
US3783990A (en) * 1971-09-09 1974-01-08 Diamond Int Corp End to end egg transfer mechanism
US3986597A (en) * 1974-08-21 1976-10-19 Fmc Corporation Carton feeding system
US4236855A (en) * 1978-09-08 1980-12-02 Warrick Equipment Corp. Apparatus for and method of sequentially transporting, accumulating and stacking a predetermined number of groups of individual similar flat articles and thereafter depositing the entire stack on a conveyor
US4544059A (en) * 1981-07-03 1985-10-01 De Forenede Bryggerier A/S Apparatus for combining several rows of bottles or similar objects on an inlet conveyor to a single row on an outlet conveyor
US4577745A (en) * 1983-03-15 1986-03-25 The Mead Corporation Apparatus for arranging articles in groups
US5241805A (en) * 1991-07-31 1993-09-07 Standard-Knapp, Inc. Bottle packer for in line cases

Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2686603A (en) * 1951-04-30 1954-08-17 Lawson Stacker Co Inc Tier transfer mechanism for automatic lumber stackers

Patent Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2686603A (en) * 1951-04-30 1954-08-17 Lawson Stacker Co Inc Tier transfer mechanism for automatic lumber stackers

Cited By (35)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2928559A (en) * 1957-02-25 1960-03-15 Bitco Inc Lumber stacker
US2840224A (en) * 1957-04-24 1958-06-24 Baljak Corp Conveying devices for accelerating and timing articles
US3016665A (en) * 1957-07-22 1962-01-16 Manett Entpr Inc Packaging machine
US3009299A (en) * 1958-09-02 1961-11-21 Albert F Goetze Inc Automatic switching and storage conveyor
US3133386A (en) * 1959-07-27 1964-05-19 Owens Corning Fiberglass Corp Method of conveying and processing bodies
US3060659A (en) * 1959-07-30 1962-10-30 St Regis Paper Co Packaging method and apparatus
US3037609A (en) * 1959-11-24 1962-06-05 Packaging Corp America Article handling mechanism
US3109531A (en) * 1959-11-30 1963-11-05 Joseph J Jackson Grouping and crowding machine
US3053025A (en) * 1960-02-29 1962-09-11 Ralph W Johns Case loader
US3085377A (en) * 1960-08-03 1963-04-16 Continental Can Co Method and machine for packaging articles
US3027852A (en) * 1961-01-03 1962-04-03 Roy R Key Dough-twisting machine
US3167167A (en) * 1961-01-03 1965-01-26 Roy R Key Dough-twisting apparatus
US3105337A (en) * 1961-04-05 1963-10-01 Lynch Corp Product feeder for cartoning machine
DE1224573B (en) * 1961-07-24 1966-09-08 Charles Preston Warman Jun Druckmittelbetaetigte clutch or brake
US3179230A (en) * 1961-09-18 1965-04-20 Hunt Foods And Ind Inc Conveyor system
US3093234A (en) * 1961-09-27 1963-06-11 Procter & Gamble Article rearranging apparatus
DE1229899B (en) * 1961-11-07 1966-12-01 Remy & Cie E P An apparatus for one-box of bottles
US3190434A (en) * 1961-11-07 1965-06-22 Remy & Cie E P Grouping and spacing device
US3162294A (en) * 1962-07-05 1964-12-22 R A Jones & Company Inc Article timing mechanism for packaging machines
US3194381A (en) * 1962-10-01 1965-07-13 Olin Mathieson Apparatus for grouping articles into package units
US3224556A (en) * 1962-10-04 1965-12-21 Baker Perkins Inc Article grouping and conveying methods and apparatus
US3141274A (en) * 1963-01-10 1964-07-21 Johns Nigrelli Johns Case loader
US3225510A (en) * 1963-05-13 1965-12-28 R A Jones And Company Inc Article cartoning machine
US3269086A (en) * 1963-06-17 1966-08-30 Kimberly Clark Co Machine for entubing articles
US3193076A (en) * 1963-06-19 1965-07-06 Fmc Corp Container feeding mechanism
US3314522A (en) * 1965-07-19 1967-04-18 Fmc Corp Article handling apparatus
US3424293A (en) * 1966-03-22 1969-01-28 Schweizerische Ind G Device for grouping objects
US3465869A (en) * 1967-05-31 1969-09-09 Mead Corp Control system
US3482674A (en) * 1968-03-11 1969-12-09 Emhart Corp Conveyor system for handling groups of articles
US3783990A (en) * 1971-09-09 1974-01-08 Diamond Int Corp End to end egg transfer mechanism
US3986597A (en) * 1974-08-21 1976-10-19 Fmc Corporation Carton feeding system
US4236855A (en) * 1978-09-08 1980-12-02 Warrick Equipment Corp. Apparatus for and method of sequentially transporting, accumulating and stacking a predetermined number of groups of individual similar flat articles and thereafter depositing the entire stack on a conveyor
US4544059A (en) * 1981-07-03 1985-10-01 De Forenede Bryggerier A/S Apparatus for combining several rows of bottles or similar objects on an inlet conveyor to a single row on an outlet conveyor
US4577745A (en) * 1983-03-15 1986-03-25 The Mead Corporation Apparatus for arranging articles in groups
US5241805A (en) * 1991-07-31 1993-09-07 Standard-Knapp, Inc. Bottle packer for in line cases

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