US3069035A - Article handling apparatus - Google Patents

Article handling apparatus Download PDF

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US3069035A
US3069035A US813587A US81358759A US3069035A US 3069035 A US3069035 A US 3069035A US 813587 A US813587 A US 813587A US 81358759 A US81358759 A US 81358759A US 3069035 A US3069035 A US 3069035A
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members
bottles
bottle
fingers
gripping
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US813587A
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Leonard H Schwarz
Frank A Remkiewicz
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LEONARD H SCHWARZ
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LEONARD H SCHWARZ
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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
    • B65B21/00Packaging or unpacking of bottles
    • B65B21/02Packaging or unpacking of bottles in or from preformed containers, e.g. crates
    • B65B21/14Introducing or removing groups of bottles, for filling or emptying containers in one operation
    • B65B21/18Introducing or removing groups of bottles, for filling or emptying containers in one operation using grippers engaging bottles, e.g. bottle necks
    • B65B21/183Introducing or removing groups of bottles, for filling or emptying containers in one operation using grippers engaging bottles, e.g. bottle necks the grippers moving in an endless path

Description

Dec. 18, 1962 L. H. scHwARz ETAL 3,0
ARTICLE HANDLING APPARATUS 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed May 15, 1959 HAPZ 11v Zia/win b By FRANK/4, FEMHiW/CZ 1962 L. H. SCHWARZ ETAL 3,06 3
ARTICLE HANDLING APPARATUS U 1 'N ENTORJ Dec. 18, 1962 L. H. SCHWARZ ETAL 3,069,035
ARTICLE HANDLING APPARATUS Fil ed May 15, 1959 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 Dec. 18, 1962 L. H. SCHWARZ EIAL 3,069,035
ARTICLE HANDLING APPARATUS Filed May 15, 1959 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 United States Patent 3,069,035 ARTICLE HANDLING APPARATUS Leonard H. Schwarz and Frank A. Remkiewicz, West Hartford, Conn; said Remkiewicz assignor to Leonard H. Schwarz, doing business as The Hedlen Company Filed May 15, 1959, Ser. No. 813,587 13 (Ilairns. (Cl. 214-309) The present invention relates to article handling apparatus, and more particularly to a machine for automatically handling articles, such as bottles, adapted to be contained in cases.
The invention may be advantageously incorporated in an uncasing machine which receives cases containing bottles and continually and automatically unloads these bottles from the cases so that the bottles and unloaded cases can be discharged from the machine.
In the past, various types of machines have been built for the purpose of automatically uncasing bottles. These machines have usually been expensive and complicated. :Prior machines have, for the most part, required a large amount of floor space. Many prior uncasing machines have also used pneumatic and hydraulic actuating devices which required expensive installations including sources of air or fluids under pressure.
An important problem in automatic bottle handling equipment has been breakage of bottles. In prior uncasing machines, bottles jammed in cases have often been broken by application of excessive force in the course of removal from the cases. Bottles out of proper position in a case also have been subject to breakage. In addition, many prior uncasing machines are not capable of unloading bottles which are misaligned in a case and out of proper position therein.
It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide improved apparatus for handling articles, such as bottles, adapted to be contained in a carrier or case.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved device for engaging or gripping articles, such as bottles, by the use of which the possibility of breakage of these articles is reduced.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide improved article handling apparatus, suitable for 1111. casing bottles, which may be constructed and installed at lower cost than similar apparatus for such purposes heretofore known.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide improved article handling apparatus which locates and engages articles not necessarily disposed in a certain position, but which may be misaligned with the receptacles therefor, as in a case or carrier.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide improved and simplified mechanism for article handling apparatus wherein articles are carried along a path, which automatically releases the articles at a desired position along the path.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide an improved bottle gripping device for bottle uncasing machines which is of simple constructiomwhich handles a wide variety of bottle sizes, which grips bottles that are not in precise position for gripping engagement, and which rejects bottles jammed in a case without causing damage to the rejected bottles.
Briefly described, an articles handling apparatus provided in accordance with the present invention includes devices for gripping articles, such as bottles. A conveyor carries these gripping devices continuously between a loading station and an unloading station along a defined path of travel. This path of travel includes descending portions and ascending portions adjacent to the loading station. The gripping devices are carried downwardly into engagement with the articles and grip and lift the 3,069,035 Patented Dec. 18, 1962 articles as the gripping devices are carried upwardly on the conveyor. A portion of the path of movement of the gripping devices immediately over the loading station is configured to carry the gripping devices in a plurality of directions across the loading station so as to locate any of the articles which might be out of alignment or not in exact position for gripping. The articles are transferred by the gripping devices to a position over the unloading station. A release mechanism in the gripping devices is actuated by the devices as they reach the unloading station to release the articles at the unloading station.
The invention itself, both as to its organization and method of operation, as well as the foregoing and other objects and advantages thereof, will become more readily apparent from a reading of the following description in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a sectional View of a bottle uncasing machine incorporating the features of the present invention, the section being taken along the line 1--1 of FIG. 2 and viewed in the direction of the appended arrows;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the machine shown in FIG. 1, the section being taken along the line 22 of FIG. 1 and viewed in the direction of the appended arrows; t 1 1 FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view of a portion f the machine shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic representation of the operation of certain parts of the machine shown in FIGS. 1 and 2; i
FIG. 4a is an enlarged, fragmentary view schematically showing the movements of the bottle gripping units over the station at which bottles are removed from the cases;
-FIG. 5 is a perspective view, partly in section, showing a bottle gripping device used in the machine shown in FIGS. 1 and 2; and
FIGS. 6 to 8, inclusive, are sectional views of the bottle gripping device shown in FIG. 5 illustrating the operation thereof.
Referring more particularly to the drawings, a machine is shown which is especially suitable for removing bottles 10 of the type used for containing soft drinks, malt beverages, etc. from cases 12. It will be appreciated, as the description of the illustrated bottle uncasing machine proceeds, that the features which are provided by the present invention are also suitable for use in other article handling apparatus. The cases 12 shown in the drawings are of the type known in the art as halfdepth cases. The illustrated machine is also suitable for use in extracting bottles from full-depth cases which fully enclose the sides of the bottles, as will be explained here inafter. An L-shape support structure 14 for the machine is constructed of steel plates which are welded together. The structure is mounted on dolly wheels 16 so that it may be moved about a bottling plant for use where desired. A threaded rod 18 is secured to the bottom of the support structure by means of nuts and may be extended to the floor for maintaining the machine in position when it is placed in operation. A feed conveyor 20 is mounted in a framework 21 which is supported on a deck provided by the lower'leg of the L-shaped support structure by rods 22 fastened to the support structure by nuts. The framework 21 is also constructed of welded steel plates. Guides 24 for the cases are mounted on the sides of the framework 21 to prevent excessive lateral movement of the cases as they proceed along the I seen in FIG. 2 of the drawings. Three cases 12 are shown by dashed lines. The cases may be fed along rollers 26 by gravity feed, for example. A stop 28 prevents the continuous flow of cases down the feed conveyor. The cases are carried one at a time over the stop 28 by means of a walking platform linkage 29. This linkage includes a platform 30 carried by a plurality of links 32, 34 and 36. Another similar set of links (not shown) is disposed on the opposite side of the framework 21. These links are pivotally connected between brackets 38 attached to the walking platform. The links 32, 34 and 36 are also pivotally connected to a slide 40 which travels in a slotted member 42 and define a parallelogram linkage. A sprocket chain 44 is mounted on a sprocket 48 and guide 46. Another sprocket (not shown) is mounted on the same shaft as the sprocket 48. Another sprocket chain 50, which is driven from a motor drive system (not shown), rotates the sprocket 48 in a counter-clockwise sense and thereby drives the sprocket chain 44. The center link 34 is also pivotally connected to one of the links on the sprocket chain 44. Accordingly, the platform 30 engages the underside of the case 12 which is held against the stop 28. The center link 34 pivots the parallelogram linkage as the link 34 travels around to the lower reach of the chain 44 so that the platform 30 lifts and carries each successive case over the stop 28 to the station at which the bottles are removed from the case. Succeeding cases carried by the walking beam 30 serve to push preceding cases away from the station. Each case is pushed into position by the platform and not by the next following case. This positive push insures that each case is properly located and also makes it possible to push a plurality of empty cases up an incline if wanted. This removes the necessity for an additional unit, normally required in bottling plants for elevating empty cases.
The cases remain at the station for a time sufficient for the bottles to be removed by the transfer mechanism to be described hereinafter. The empty cases are discharged from the machine to some case discharge means, such as a chute or conveyor (not shown). Electrical limit switches and stop switches may be incorporated as a safety measure to prevent operation of the feed conveyor when preceding cases are jammed in the machine, or for other purposes, as is conventional in the conveyor art. While a particular type of feed conveyor has been described for the sake of completeness, it will be appreciated that any feed conveyor by which cases may be fed one at a time to a station may be suitable.
The article transfer apparatus provided by the invention is supported on a framework 54 which may also be constructed of welded steel plates. Double walls are provided on each side of the framework 54. These walls are defined by plates 56, 58, 60 and 62. A beam 66 formed of other plates holds the side walls in spaced relationship. A rail 70 and another rail 72 extend vertically in the forward corners of the L-shaped support structure 14. The framework 54 is held in place with the beam 66 on the rails 78 and 72 in the support structure 14. A jack 74 is disposed between a plate 78 in the framework of the L-shaped support structure 14 and the lower beam 66 in the other framework 54. The height of the framework 54 above the ground may be adjusted by raising or lowering the framework along the rails 70 and 72 with the jack 74. This affords flexibility of operation of the uncasing machine with bottles and cases of different heights.
A conveyor 80 including a pair of sprocket chains, one of which 81 is shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings, is mounted in the framework 54 of the article transfer apparatus. These sprocket chains are held near the plates 58 and 60' of the framework 54 by means of guide tracks 82. The conveyor 80, therefore, moves along a predetermined and predefined path which will be described in greater detail hereinafter.
The conveyor is driven by means of drive sprockets 84 and 86. These sprockets 84 and 86 are keyed for rotation on shafts 88 and 89. The drive sprocket 84 drives the sprocket chain 81 while the other drive sprocket 86 drives the sprocket chain (not shown) disposed on the plate 60 of the framework 54. Power for driving the sprockets 84 and 86 is derived from a motor 90. The motor 90 is belt-coupled to a pulley 92 on a gear box 94. This gear box 94 contains speed reduction gears. The output shaft 98 from the gear box 94 drives a sprocket 168. The sprocket 100 is chain-coupled to another sprocket 102 mounted on a shaft 104 which is immediately behind the shaft 88. A smaller sprocket 106 and another smaller sprocket of diameter equal to the diam eter of the sprocket 106 are both mounted on the shaft 104. These smaller sprockets including the sprocket 106 are chain coupled, individually, to sprockets 108 and 110 which are keyed to the shafts 88 and 89, respectively. These sprockets turn the shaft 88 and the drive sprockets 84 and 86 therewith. Another pair of sprockets, of which only the sprocket 112 is shown, is slidably disposed in slots 114 in the framework, and the weight thereof serves to tighten the sprocket chains 116 connecting the sprocket 186 and its associated sprocket on the shaft 104 to the sprockets 1G8 and 118 on the drive shaft 88.
A plurality of bottle gripping devices 182 are carried on the sprocket chain conveyor 80. Two carriages 120 and 122 for the support of arrays of gripping devices are used in the illustrated machine. These carriages 120 and 122 are attached to the conveyor by means of brackets 124 and 126 of generally V-shaped configuration to be described in detail hereinafter.
Reference is made to FIG. 5 which shows an individual one of the bottle gripping devices 182 used in the machine illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. The gripping device shown in FIG. 5 is supported on a pair of angle members 130. These members are fastened together by a strip 132 of metal which is clamped against the angle members by nuts and bolts 134 disposed near opposite ends of the strip 132. The angle members 130 are also held in spaced relationship from each other by spacer sleeves 138 around long bolts 136 which pass through holes on the vertical sides of the angle members 130. The angle members 130 and the bolts 136 surrounded by the spacer sleeves 138 provide a frame for supporting gripper finger members 140 and 142. These members 140 and 142 have front end portions which are bent inwardly and then outwardly to define bulges 144 adapted to engage a bottle at its neck just below the bulbous head portion of the bottle. The upper ends of the gripper finger members are bent inwardly. These gripper fingers may be made of steel plate. Flanged, semi-cylindrical members 146 are welded to each of the members 140 and 142.
A U-shaped bracket 148 is loosely mounted on the angle members 130 between the bolts 136 so that it hangs from the angle members 130. The gripper finger members 140 are freely and pivotally mounted between the ends of the bracket 148. Pins 150 for mounting the fingers on the bracket 148 extend through holes in the bracket and through the flanged semi-cylindrical members 146 on the fingers 140 and 142. Pin clips 152 of L-shaped configuration extend through holes at each end of the mounting pins 150 and in the bracket 148. The ends of these pins which extend inwardly of the bracket 148 serve to prevent the upper ends of the fingers from moving too far outwardly beyond the bracket 148 to avoid interference thereof with the operation of the gripper fingers of adjacent gripper devices.
A bolt 154 extends through a hole in the center strip 132. Sleeves 156 and 158 surround this bolt. The sleeve 156 is disposed between the strip 132 and a nut 160 on the bolt 154 and holds the bolt rigidly in place on the strip 132 when the nut 160 is tightened. A washer 162 is disposed between the bottom of the angle members and the lower sleeve 158. A compression spring 164 is loosely seated on the head of the bolt 154. A rectangularcam member 166 rests on the top of this compression spring 164. The sleeve 158 rests on the cam member .166. Accordingly, tightening the bolt rigidly fastens the cam member 166, spring 164 and sleeves 156 and 158 on the frame defined by the angle members 130 at the center strip 132.
A pair of tubular members 168 and 170 is loosely mounted on top of the angle members 130 beneath the bracket 148 by means of pins 172. These members serve to effect release of any article held between the gripper fingers 140 and 142.
The operation of the gripper devices will be described with reference to FIGS. 6, 7 and 8. FIG. 6 shows a bottle engaged by the neck below the head by the gripper fingers 140 and 142. In order to engage the bottle 10, the support frame of the gripper device is lowered so as to bring the fingers 140 and 142 to a level below the head of the bottle 10. Since the fingers are freely and pivotally mounted on the bracket 148, the fingers spread apart and slide over the head of the bottle to receive the bottle neck therebetween. While the fingers are being lowered over the head of the bottle, the bracket 148 to which the fingers are secured may also rise slightly. The bracket and fingers are constructed of thin plate material so that their weight is not excessive. Accordingly, the bottle is not damaged as the fingers slide over the head of the bottle. If the bottle is slightly out of place, the fingers can pivot and the bracket can tilt and thereby move over a significant distance (approximately one inch where the bracket is about four and one-half inches long and the fingers are each about three inches in overall length). Therefore, the fingers will slide over the neck of a misaligned bottle so that the misaligned bottle is received between the fingers.
After the gripper device is lowered and the bottle is receivedbetween the fingers 140 and 142, the frame is raised. This causes the fingers to grip the bottle so that the bottle will-be raised with the frame. The cam member 166 engages the bent upper ends of each of the fingers 140 and 142, as the frame is raised, to cause the fingers 140 and 142 to pivot toward each other at their lower ends. The bottles are held between the fingers with a force equal to the weight of the bottle. This is because the bottles are held by tong action of the freely pivotally mounted finger members and without the addition of any external spring or other forces. Since bottles are designed to be supported by their necks by forces much greater than their own weight, even when containing a beverage, the possibility of breaking a bottle due to excessive force applied to the neck thereof is minimized. Moreover, it is unnecessary to attach rubber or other soft materials to the bottle engaging ends of the fingers 140 and 142 in order to prevent damage to the bottles andto absorb excessive forces as was the case in many prior bottle handling machines. Such materials tend to soften and wear out quickly or become contaminated in use, thereby requiring replacement.
The possibility of breaking a bottle which might be jammed in a case or carrier is also minimized, as will be observed by reference to FIG. 8 of the drawing. Let it be assumed that the bottle 10 is jammed, as by becoming wedged, in a compartment of a case or carton.
Wedging of a bottle is a common occurrence in bottling plants, since foreign material may fall into the case and jam the bottle in a case compartment. The spring 164 on which the cam member 166 rests serves to prevent the extraction of a jammed bottle from a case. As was observed from the discussion in connection with FIG. 6, the cam member 166 engages the bent upper ends of thefingers as the fingers rise and causes these fingers to pivot toward each other at their lower ends. In the event that a bottle is jammed in the case, downward forces applied by jammed bottles and transmitted through the fingers 140 and 142 are applied against the cam member 166. These downward forces serve to compress the spring 164. As the spring compresses, the cam member 166 does not move upwardly with the angle members an appreciable amount. Accordingly, the fingers and 142 do not pivot toward each other at their lower ends to the extent which would be the case if the bottles were not jammed in the carrier. The initial length of the spring is adjusted by tightening the bolt 154 so that the spring may be compressed by sufiicient amount in the course of the upward movement of the gripper devices to prevent the cam 166 from forcing the lower ends of the fingers 140 and 142. together possibly to crush and break the bottle. In other Words, excessive forces which might otherwise damage the bottle are absorbed in the spring 164 while the gripper device is raised.
FIG. 7 shows the operation of the gripper device upon the release of a bottle 10 which has been lifted and carried by the device. It will be observed that the gripper fingers 140 and 142 are freely pivotally mounted on the bracket 148. The bottle 10 is, therefore, held by tong action only when the cam member 166 is disposed between the bent upper ends of the fingers 140 and 142. The release members 168 and 170 are disposed below the closed end of the bracket 148. These members 168 and 170 extend outwardly beyond the ends of the angle members 130 on the support frame for the gripper unit. A release bar 180, shown in FIG. 7 as an angle member, is adapted to engage the release members 168 and 170. The actuation and operation of the release bar and its associated mechanism will be described in detail hereinafter and particularly by reference to FIG. 3 of the drawings.
When the release bar is raised, the release members 168 and 170 are in turn raised. The bracket 148 is lifted by the release members 168 and 170 and raises the bent upper ends of the fingers 140 and 142 over the cam member 166, since the cam member 166 is stationary on the support members 130. The fingers then pivot apart from each other due to the force applied by the weight of the bottle, and the bottle drops downwardly. A discharge conveyor maybe disposed below the unloading station at which the bottles are released.
A plurality of gripping devices 182 are mounted together in an array as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 for the purpose of removing all of the bottles carried in a case at the same time. As many rows of as many gripping devices .182 as needed may be mounted in a unitary array. In the illustrated machine, six gripping devices may be mounted as a unit on each pair of angle member 130. Four pairs of angle members having six gripping devices mounted thereon may be assembled in a frame. This provides an array of 24- gripping devices suitable for extracting bottles from cases of the standard type which contain twenty-four bottles. In FIG. 2, only one of the units disposed on one pair of angle members is shown in order to clarify the illustration.
The array of gripping devices 182 is mounted between two pairs of hanger members 184 and 186. The hanger members of each pair are connected together by different bars 188. The angle members 130 are secured between the pairs of hanger members 184 and 186 by means of the tie bolts 136. Only one tie bolt need be passed through each pair of angle members 13%} at opposite ends of the angle members. The brackets 148 of the gripping devices 182 are kept in place in the array by means of the bolt 154 and sleeve 156 arrangements which extend through holes at the top of the brackets 148. Other rods 190 connected between opposite ones of the hanger members 184 and 186 add additional support to the frame unit. The relative spacing of the respective gripping devices on the angle members 130 is readily adjusted by loosening the nut 134 and moving the center strip 132. Similarly,
the distance between adjacent pairs of angle members 130 may be adjusted by changing the length of the sleeves around the tie bolts 136.
An array of gripping devices 182 is mounted on the carriage 120. The carriage 120 includes two carriage bars which are spaced parallel to each other and each of which is located near one of the sprocket chains of the sprocket chain conveyor. These bars are held together by means of rods 192, 194 and 196. A bumper 198 is disposed around the rod 196. The hangers 1 84 and 186 may be detachably secured to the carriage 120 by slipping the hook end of the hangers 134 and 186 over the rods 192 and 196.
A number of arrays of gripper units having different arrangements of the gripping devices or different size gripping devices thereon maybe used interchangeably with each bottle uncasing machine so that the machine is adaptable for use with different types of cases such as might be encountered in any bottling plant. Since the arrays of gripping units are readily interchanged, switching the machine from operation with one type of case or bottle to operation with another type may be accomplished readily and quickly.
The carriage 120 is attached to the chains of the convey r 80 by means of the mounting brackets 124 on each side of the carriage. The carriage 122, which is also mounted on the sprocket chain conveyor 80, is similar to the carriage 126 in all respects and carries a similar array of gripping devices 132, only one of which is shown in the drawing to clarify the illustration. The array of gripping units 182 is mounted on the other carriage 122 by means of hangers 184 and 186'. The carriage 122 is attached to the chains 80 by means of brackets 126 similar to the brackets 124.
The brackets 124 and 126 are two-part structures. Each part has an opening near one end for receiving the centerrod 194 of the carriage. This center rod is pivotally mounted in these openings in the brackets so that the entire carriage may swing and tilt about the axis of the center rod 194. The parts of the bracket 124 are in dividually attached to adjacent links of the chains constituting the conveyor 80. The brackets 124 therefore securely hold the carriage on the chains 80. Each part of the brackets 124 is of a predetermined length. It will be appreciated that the array of gripper units follows the path of the axis of the rod 194. This is a predetermined path of travel defined by the shape of the sprocket chains constituting the conveyor 80. The path has a predetermined configuration at the loading station at which the bottles are gripped and lifted out of the cases 12. Since the gripper units descend vertically into a case, the
sides of the case do not interfere with the unloading op- U eration. Thus, full-depth as well as half-depth cases may be unloaded.
The path of the chainconveyor (FIGS. 1, 4 and 4a) includes an ascending portion 200 and a descending portion 202. At the lowest point in the path of travel, the chain conveyor travels through an are 204. The are 204 is a generally circular are. It will be noted that the ascending and descending portions 200 and 202 of the path of travel are parallel and separated by a certain distance. The radius of curvature of the are 204 is greater than one-half of this certain distance. The length of the arms of each of the bracket 124 is such that the axis of the rod 194 is at a point one-half the certain distance between the ascending and descending portions 200 and 202 of the path. The axis of the rod 194 therefore moves downwardly and then upwardly along the same vertical path when the carriage 120 is descending and ascending along the descending and ascending portions 202 and 200, respectively, of the chain conveyor path. However, since the radius of curvature of the arc 204 is greater than the distance between the axis of the rod 194 and the chain conveyor path, this axis does not rotate about a dead center position when the carriage 120 is carried around the are 204. FIG. 4a shows how the rod 194 travels with the conveyor around are 204 by illustrating three &
positions A, B and C of the rod 194. In two of these positions A and B the bracket 124 connecting the rod 194 to the conveyor is on the right side (as viewed in FIG. 4a) half of the arc. In position C, the rod 194 is over the center of the are 204. The equal radial distances from the rod 194 to the are 204 in each of the positions A, B and C are indicated, respectively, by the arrow headed lines A, B and C. The positions of the rod 194, when the bracket 124 travels upwardly along the left side of the are 204, are not shown to simplify and clarify the drawing, since these positions are symmetrical, with respect to the bisector of the arc, to the indicated positions A and B. The actual path of the axis of the rod 194 and the consequent movement of the gripping devices 182 is shown in FIG. 4. The line drawing (FIG. 4) shows the path of movement of the axis by the direction of the arrows 206. This path has a particular loop configuration, since the path is traced by the axis of the rod 194 as it moves around the arc and is spaced from the circumference of the are by a distance greater than the radius of curvature thereof. a
It will be noted that the carriage and therefore the array of gripper units is carried in one direction and then in an opposite direction during a dwell period as the carriage is carried around the arc portion 204. This causes the gripper fingers and 142 to traverse, back and forth, in opposite directions across the loading station at which the bottles are removed from the case. This traversal of the loading station is in the nature of a fishing or locating motion, whereby the necks of the bottles are located between the fingers 140 and 142 of each of the gripping devices 132 even though these bottles 10 may be out of place or misaligned in their case or carrier.
A pantograph mechanism 210 (FIGS. 1 and 2) and another pantograph mechanism 212 maintain the carriages 120 and 122, respectively, substantially level during movement of the carriages along the chain conveyor 80. Such a mechanism is desirable to prevent the array of gripping devices 182 from tilting excessively, which might cause the bottles 10 which are lifted and transported by the gripping devices 182 to slide out of the fingers. These pantograph mechanisms are substantially identical so that only the mechanism 2110 need be described in detail herein. It includes a pair of pantograph arms 213 and 214 which are attached between the side wall plates 56 and 58 of the frame 54. These arms 213 and 214 are pivotally connected by means of T-brackets 216 and 218 to the plates 56 and 58. The free ends of the arms 213 and 214 are connected to diametrically opposite points on a ring member 220. A bent pantograph arm 222 and another pantograph arm 224 are also pivotally connected to the ring 220. These arms are connected at points on the ring which are diametrically opposite to each other and ninety degrees away from the points of connection on the ring of the other arms 213 and 214. The arms 222 and 224 are connected to the carriage 122 through a bushing, as shown in the case of the other pantograph mechanism 212. The parts of the other pantograph mechanism 212 are identified by the same reference numerals as used in the case of the pantograph mechanism 210. The length of the arms of each of the pantograph mechanisms 210 and 212 is adjusted so that the carriages and the arrays of gripping devices 182 are kept level and in a horizontal plane at all times during the movement of the gripper devices along their path of travel.
After gripping and lifting the bottles 10 out of the case 12 at the loading station, the gripping devices are carried by the conveyor along a path around the chain drive sprocket wheel 84 to an unloading station over a discharge apparatus for the bottles 10. This discharge apparatus is shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings by the dotdashed lines as the feed table for a bottle washer loader 9 machine of the type such as may be found in most modern bottling plants.
A release mechanism is mounted on each of the inner side wall plates 60 and 58 at positions opposite to each other. The mechanisms are substantially identical. They include a release bar 180 which was mentioned in connection with FIG. 7 of the drawings. This release bar 180 is an angle iron. One leg of the release bar angle iron extends outwardly away from the side wall plate. A bell crank lever 246 includes an operating arm and a link arm. The link arm is pivotally connected to a support 248 and to the release bar 180. Another link 250 is connected to the support 248 and to release bar 180. The connection of the link 250 is a pivotal connection to each of the members 180 and 248, as was the case for the link arm of the bellcrank lever 246. The link arm of the bellcrank lever 246 and the link 250 are parallel to each other. Accordingly, when the bellcrank lever 246 is pivoted in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 1, the release bar 180 moves upwardly and forwardly and at all times maintains the release bar 180 parallel to the support 248. The support 248 is arranged parallel to the carriages 120 and 122 and therefore parallel to the gripper units.
The operation of the release mechanism is best illustra-ted in FIG. 3. As the carriage 120 moves along the chain conveyor 80 into the unloading station over the discharge device 252, the bumper 198 around the'rod 196 strikes the arm of the bellcrank 246. Further movement of the carriage 120 causes the bellcrank 246 to pivot in a clockwise direction, as indicated by the arrow. The release bar 180 is then raised upwardly. As pointed out in connection with FIG. 7, the release bar 180 engages the ends of the release members. 168 and 170 in the gripper units 182, Since the release bar in each release mechanism is always parallel to the support 248, and since the release members 168 and 170 are always maintained by the parallelogram mechanism, including the arms 224 and 222, parallel to the support bar 248, all of the release members 168 and 170 for each group of four gripping device units are engaged simultaneously and are raised simultaneously. When the release members are raised, the brackets 148 supporting the gripping fingers of each of the gripping devices 182 are raised so that they are permitted to pivot freely. The bottles 10 are then released onto the discharge apparatus 252.
It will be appreciated that two release mechanisms are operated simultaneously so as to lift the release members 168 and 170 in the array of gripping units' at both ends without tilting. Accordingly, all of the bottles 10 held by the gripping units 182 are dropped simultaneously at the unloading station on the discharge apparatus 252. After unloading the bottles of the unloading station, the gripper devices are carried by the carriage 120 along the upper reach of the chain conveyor 80 and again downwardly along the descending portion 200 of the path to remove another group of bottles from their case.
Two groups of bottle gripper units are illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings. It is desirable to use two groups of bottle gripper units so that one group may deposit bottles at the unloading station at approxi mately the same time as bottles are being lifted out of a case at the loading station. This increases the speed of operation of the illustrated bottle uncasing machine. One array of bottle gripper units may be used, if desired, for slower speed operation.
From the foregoing description, it will be apparent that there has been provided improved article handling apparatus especially suitable for use in uncasing bottles and similar articles. While a bottle uncaser has been shown in accordance with one embodiment of the invention, various components and elements useful therein, as well as variations in the mechanisms themselves, all coming within the spirit of the invention, will, no doubt, readily suggest themselves to those skilled in the art.
10 Hence, it is desired that the foregoing shall be considered merely as illustrative and not in any limiting sense.
What is claimed is:
1. Article handling apparatus for transferring an article between a loading station and an unloading station which comp-rises article transfer means having freely pivotal fingers mounted on a support member for engaging said article and carrying said article therewith when said fingers are raised with said support member and actuable to release said article when said fingers are raised independently of said support member, means for defining a path of travel for said transfer means between said loading and unloading stations, said path having an ascending portion adjacent to said loading station so that said transfer means engages an article at the loading station upon leaving said loading station, and means operated by said transfer means for actuating said transfer means to raise said fingers independently of said support member to release said article at said unloading station.
2. In a bottle uncasing machine for removing from a case, at a loading station, bottles having necks and discharging. said bottles at an unloading station, the combination which comprises means for gripping said bottles including a plurality of pairs of freely pivotal finger members, and means for defining a path of travel for said gripping means between said loading and unloading stations having a portion of predetermined configuration which traverses said loading station in a plurality of directions opposite to each other to carry said finger members over said case whereby to permit said finger members to pivot into position surrounding the necks of said bottles.
tion and carrying said article to said unloading station, a conveyor for carrying said gripper unit between said stations over a path having a U-shaped portion, said portion having an arcuate end which has a certain radius of curvature adjacent said loading station, a bracket carried by said conveyor, and means for pivotally mounting said gripper unit on said bracket at a distance less than the radius of curvature of said arcuate end of said U- shaped path portion on the inside of said U-shaped path portion whereby said gripper unit moves to locate the article at said loading station.
. 4. In article handling apparatus for transferring articles between a loading station and an unloading station,
the combination which comprises article gripper means for gripping said articles at said loading station and carrying said articles to said unloading station, a conveyor for carrying said gripper means over a closed path between said stations, said path having portions descending toward said loading station, passing through a generally circular are over said loading station and then ascending, said descending and ascending portions being parallel to each other and spaced from each other by a given distance, said are having a radius of curvature greater than one-half said given distance, a bracket secured to said conveyor and extending toward the inside of said path,
'and means for mounting said gripper means on said bracket at a distance equal to one-half said given distance from said path on the inside thereof whereby said gripper means can execute motions to locate said article at. said loading station.
5. An article transferdevice for engaging an article at a loading station which comprises a pair of article gripping finger members each freely and pivotally movable toward and away from the other, means for carrying said finger members over said loading station along a path which traverses said loading station in opposite directions so as to locate said article between said finger members at said loading station, and means for pivotally advancing said members toward each other to engage said located article at said loading station.
6. A bottle gripping device which comprises a movable support, a U-shaped bracket loosely mounted on said support with the open end depending from said support, a pair of gripping finger members freely pivotally mounted at the lower end of said bracket, said finger members having opposed ends inwardly bent toward each other for locating and engaging a bottle between one pair of said opposed ends, a cam member carried by said support and disposed between said finger members for engaging the other pair of opposed ends of said finger members when said support is moved upwardly to pivot said one pair of opposed ends toward each other to grip said bottle, and a bar disposed between said sup port and the closed end of said bracket movable upwardly to raise said bracket and release said finger members from engagement with said cam to release said bottle.
7. A bottle gripping unit which comprises a movable support member, a plurality of U-shaped brackets hanging from said support member and spaced from each other thereon, a plurality of pairs of gripping finger members, each pair of said finger members being freely pivotally mounted on a different one of said brackets for free pivotal movement of each finger member of each said pairs toward and away from the other, a plurality of cam members fixedly supported on said support, each of said members being disposed between a different one of said pairs of finger members for pivoting said finger members toward each other into engagement with bottles to be gripped when said support is raised, and a release member extending longitudinally of said support between said support and the closed ends of said brackets and loosely mounted on said support for releasing said bottles from said finger members by simultaneously raising said brackets.
8. An article gripping device which comprises a pair of members movable toward each other to grip an article therebetween, another member movable in a direction transverse to the direction of movement of said gripping members for urging said gripping members toward each other, a support movable with said other member, and yieldable means for positioning said other member on said support and yieldable in response to forces on said other member in a direction toward said article greater than a certain magnitude when said other member moves in said transverse direction.
9. An article gripping device which comprises a pair of finger members each pivotable toward the other for gripping an article, means for raising said finger members for lifting said article including a member movable upwardly between said finger members for engaging opposed ends thereof to pivot each of said finger members toward the other at the other ends thereof, and a spring for positioning said upwardly movable member on said raising means yieldable in response to certain excess downward force on said raising means to prevent gripping of said article by said finger members.
10. A device for gripping a bottle in a case and for lifting the bottle therefrom which comprises a support, a pair of finger members loosely mounted on said support for independent vertical movement wtih respect to said support, a rod depending from said support and fixedly mounted thereon, a cam member on said rod, and a compression spring holding said cam member in position on said rod, said cam. member being disposed between said finger members to pivot said finger members toward each other when said support is raised to finger closing position to thereby cause said finger members to grip said bottle, said bottle being capable of exerting downward forces to compress said spring when said bot- 12 tle is jammed in said case whereby to prevent raising of said cam member to finger closing position.
11. Article handling apparatus for transferring articles between a loading station and an unloading station which comprises article transfer means having a plurality of pairs of freely pivotal article engaging fingers carried on a common support member for engaging said articles and carrying said articles therewith when said fingers are raised with said support member, means for carrying said transfer means between said loading station and said unloading station, and release means including a bar actuated by said transfer means when said transfer means reaches said unloading station for operating said transfer means and simultaneously raising all of said fingers independently of said support member to release said articles at said unloading station.
12. Bottle handling apparatus for transferring bottles between a loading station and an unloading station, which apparatus comprises a support, a plurality of pairs of freely pivotable bottle gripping fingers carried on said support for gripping and lifting said bottles when raised together with said support and for releasing said bottles when raised independently of said support, a plurality of members carried on said support and associated with said fingers for raising said fingers and releasing said bottles when said members are raised, a conveyor disposed to travel along a path between said loading and unloading stations, means for attaching said support to said conveyor for movement therewith, a bar disposed along and just out of the path of travel of said conveyor near said unloading station, and a lever connected to said bar and disposed in the path of travel of said attaching means and movable by said attaching means for moving said bar into engagement with all of said releasing members for simultaneously raising all of said releasing members to release said bottles.
13. A bottle uncasing machine for lifting bottles from a case and depositing said bottles on a discharge conveyor which comprises a plurality of bottle gripping devices each having a pair of pivotal finger members, a plurality of members for supporting said finger members, a plurality of means secured to said supporting members for pivoting said finger members toward each other to grip individual ones of said bottles when said supporting members are raised, and a plurality of members loosely mounted on said supporting members for opening said finger members to release said bottles, a conveyor, a bracket for connecting said devices to said conveyor, said conveyor being downwardly movable toward said case for engaging said bottles and upwardly movable out of said case for lifting said devices to grip and lift said bottles therewith, said conveyor carrying said lifted bottles along a predetermined path of travel to a position over said discharge conveyor, a mechanism for releasing said bottles including a bar for simultaneously engaging each of said release members when raised, and a lever for raising said bar to raise said release members, said lever being disposed for engagement with said bracket when said devices are disposed over said discharge conveyor.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 47,804 Daniels May 23, 1865 1,050,521 Cunning Jan. 14, 1913 1,846,526 Lormor Feb. 23, 1932 2,400,542 Davis May 21, 1946 2,681,161 Lorenz et a1. June 15, 1954 2,684,800 Lewis July 27, 1954 2,695,190 Meierjohan Nov. 23, 1954 2,696,927 Copping Dec. 14, 1954 2,863,579 Meyer Dec. 9, 1958
US813587A 1959-05-15 1959-05-15 Article handling apparatus Expired - Lifetime US3069035A (en)

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Cited By (25)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE1228183B (en) * 1963-07-06 1966-11-03 Enzinger Union Werke Ag Machine for the automatic loading and unloading of bottle crates etc. like
DE1230351B (en) * 1964-01-20 1966-12-08 Max Kettner Device for inserting bottles into bottle crates or for emptying bottle crates
DE1236999B (en) * 1964-04-11 1967-03-16 Enzinger Union Werke Ag Machine for the automatic loading and unloading of bottle crates etc. like
DE1261793B (en) * 1965-09-25 1968-02-22 Enzinger Union Werke Ag Machine for automatic loading and unloading of bottle crates
DE1290864B (en) * 1967-07-19 1969-03-13 Kronseder Hermann Machine for the automatic loading and unloading of bottle crates etc. like
US3456811A (en) * 1967-10-02 1969-07-22 Barber Colman Co Machine for unloading tray supported articles
DE1586265B1 (en) * 1967-03-07 1971-09-30 Smedlund Kurt Henry Device for the compression of compressible material, e.g. Garbage, in containers, e.g. Bags
US3612254A (en) * 1970-04-24 1971-10-12 Owens Illinois Inc Container-handling chuck
US3767496A (en) * 1971-06-30 1973-10-23 Owens Illinois Inc Method of making a plastic-covered glass container
US3885825A (en) * 1971-12-20 1975-05-27 Owens Illinois Inc Article handling chuck
US3902594A (en) * 1973-09-27 1975-09-02 Columbia Machine Apparatus for arranging and stacking containers
US4036353A (en) * 1975-07-03 1977-07-19 Maschinenfabrik Schweiter Ag Transfer apparatus for gripping and holding a spinning cop
DE2914420A1 (en) * 1979-04-10 1980-10-16 Enzinger Union Werke Ag Transfer path of bottle loading fixture - is produced by pivot location on drive wheel rim
US4395069A (en) * 1980-09-30 1983-07-26 E. P. Remy Et Cie. Pincers-type gripper for seizing objects and gripping head equipped with such grippers
US4941699A (en) * 1988-10-28 1990-07-17 Figgie International, Inc. Uncaser finger
US5160235A (en) * 1989-03-31 1992-11-03 Visser's-Gravendeel Holding B.V. Apparatus for relocating arranged plants
DE4238035A1 (en) * 1992-11-11 1994-05-19 Alfill Getraenketechnik Bottle-conveyor through cleaning machine
US5373618A (en) * 1993-02-01 1994-12-20 Automated Label Systems Company Method of removing stretchable sleeves from bottles
US6006493A (en) * 1997-01-06 1999-12-28 Focke & Co. Apparatus for filling cartons
US6691860B2 (en) * 2000-11-09 2004-02-17 Honeywell International Inc. Gripper mechanism for handling a cylindrical workpiece
US20040245791A1 (en) * 2002-10-03 2004-12-09 David Tye Crown neck container gripping device
US20050167041A1 (en) * 2000-11-09 2005-08-04 Osterfeld Gary J. Apparatus for manufacturing filter cartridges, and method of using same
US20050281646A1 (en) * 2004-05-14 2005-12-22 Uhlmann Pac-Systeme Gmbh & Co. Kg Package-transfer apparatus
US7255760B2 (en) 2000-11-09 2007-08-14 Honeywell International, Inc. Apparatus for manufacturing filter cartridges, and method of using same
US9493315B2 (en) * 2015-04-14 2016-11-15 Ouellette Machinery Systems, Inc. Object array lifting and transferring apparatus

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US47804A (en) * 1865-05-23 Improvement in boring-tools for artesian wells
US1050521A (en) * 1909-05-03 1913-01-14 James Cunning Hog-scraping machine.
US1846526A (en) * 1930-09-09 1932-02-23 Willard Storage Battery Co Battery handling device
US2400542A (en) * 1942-12-30 1946-05-21 Allan C Davis Case unloading machine
US2696927A (en) * 1949-03-29 1954-12-14 Atkron Inc Bottle crate unloading machine
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Cited By (27)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE1228183B (en) * 1963-07-06 1966-11-03 Enzinger Union Werke Ag Machine for the automatic loading and unloading of bottle crates etc. like
DE1230351B (en) * 1964-01-20 1966-12-08 Max Kettner Device for inserting bottles into bottle crates or for emptying bottle crates
DE1236999B (en) * 1964-04-11 1967-03-16 Enzinger Union Werke Ag Machine for the automatic loading and unloading of bottle crates etc. like
DE1261793B (en) * 1965-09-25 1968-02-22 Enzinger Union Werke Ag Machine for automatic loading and unloading of bottle crates
DE1586265B1 (en) * 1967-03-07 1971-09-30 Smedlund Kurt Henry Device for the compression of compressible material, e.g. Garbage, in containers, e.g. Bags
DE1290864B (en) * 1967-07-19 1969-03-13 Kronseder Hermann Machine for the automatic loading and unloading of bottle crates etc. like
US3456811A (en) * 1967-10-02 1969-07-22 Barber Colman Co Machine for unloading tray supported articles
US3612254A (en) * 1970-04-24 1971-10-12 Owens Illinois Inc Container-handling chuck
US3767496A (en) * 1971-06-30 1973-10-23 Owens Illinois Inc Method of making a plastic-covered glass container
US3885825A (en) * 1971-12-20 1975-05-27 Owens Illinois Inc Article handling chuck
US3902594A (en) * 1973-09-27 1975-09-02 Columbia Machine Apparatus for arranging and stacking containers
US4036353A (en) * 1975-07-03 1977-07-19 Maschinenfabrik Schweiter Ag Transfer apparatus for gripping and holding a spinning cop
DE2914420A1 (en) * 1979-04-10 1980-10-16 Enzinger Union Werke Ag Transfer path of bottle loading fixture - is produced by pivot location on drive wheel rim
US4395069A (en) * 1980-09-30 1983-07-26 E. P. Remy Et Cie. Pincers-type gripper for seizing objects and gripping head equipped with such grippers
US4941699A (en) * 1988-10-28 1990-07-17 Figgie International, Inc. Uncaser finger
US5160235A (en) * 1989-03-31 1992-11-03 Visser's-Gravendeel Holding B.V. Apparatus for relocating arranged plants
DE4238035A1 (en) * 1992-11-11 1994-05-19 Alfill Getraenketechnik Bottle-conveyor through cleaning machine
US5373618A (en) * 1993-02-01 1994-12-20 Automated Label Systems Company Method of removing stretchable sleeves from bottles
US6006493A (en) * 1997-01-06 1999-12-28 Focke & Co. Apparatus for filling cartons
US6691860B2 (en) * 2000-11-09 2004-02-17 Honeywell International Inc. Gripper mechanism for handling a cylindrical workpiece
US7255760B2 (en) 2000-11-09 2007-08-14 Honeywell International, Inc. Apparatus for manufacturing filter cartridges, and method of using same
US20050167041A1 (en) * 2000-11-09 2005-08-04 Osterfeld Gary J. Apparatus for manufacturing filter cartridges, and method of using same
US20040245791A1 (en) * 2002-10-03 2004-12-09 David Tye Crown neck container gripping device
US7287792B2 (en) * 2002-10-03 2007-10-30 Aquatyzer Engineering, Inc. Crown neck container gripping device
US20050281646A1 (en) * 2004-05-14 2005-12-22 Uhlmann Pac-Systeme Gmbh & Co. Kg Package-transfer apparatus
US7462148B2 (en) * 2004-05-14 2008-12-09 Uhlmann Pac-Systeme Gmbh & Co. Kg Package-transfer apparatus
US9493315B2 (en) * 2015-04-14 2016-11-15 Ouellette Machinery Systems, Inc. Object array lifting and transferring apparatus

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