US 3619969 A
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Nov. 16, 1971 E. L.. HoLcoMaE 3,619,959
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING Filed Nov. 24. 1969 5 Sheets-Sheet l INVENToR EDWARD L.. HoLcoMaE MMM/7W ATTORNEY Nov. 16, 1971 E. l.. HoLcoMBE METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING 5 Sheets-Sheet a Filed Nov. 24. 1969 Nov. 16, 1971 E. l.. HoLcoMBE 3,619,969
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING Filed Nov. 24, 1969 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTOR EDWARD L. HOLCOMBE SYM/May ATTORNEY Nov. 16, 1971 E, L, HQLCgOMBE 3,619,969
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING Filed Nov. 24, 1969 5 Shoots-Shoot /.l
' INVIENTR EDWARD L. HOLCOMBE BW/ fw/ ATTORNEY lDE. L. HOLCOMBE METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING Nov. 16, 1971 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Nov. 24, 1969 ww. Nw. mw. mw.
INVENTOR EDWARD L. HOLCOMBE BY aux//w/ ATTORNEY United States Patent O 3,619,969 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING Edward L. Holcombe, Taylors, S.C., assignor to W. R. Grace & Co., Duncan, S.C. Filed Nov. 24, 1969, Ser. No. 879,449 Int. Cl. B65b 43/36 U.S. Cl. 53-29 10 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention is directed to apparatus for automatically sequentially delivering bags to a loading station, blowing the bags open and delivering an item to and inserting the item in a bag. The invention includes in particular means for positioning a box of bags in the apparatus and delivering the bags in proper condition to the loading station, meansfor supplying a proper amount of air both in width of delivery and volume to open the bag, means to control the reciprocation of the `item delivery means and parts of the item delivery means and a method of packaging employing such an apparatus.
This invention relates to packaging and more particularly to automatically filling bags with articles using powered assist and to the air opening of bags.
In copending application .Ser. No. 666,854, Packaging Apparatus, Method and Bags, John T. Roberts and Ralph L. Wing, inventors, filed Sept. 11, 1967, and assigned to the same assignee as the present application now Pat. No. 3,552,090 an apparatus and method is shown for feeding a continuous chain of imbricated bags sequentially into a loading position, sequentially opening the bags and filling the open bags. The apparatus has a bag loading station, means for sequentially conveying a chain of imbricated bags to the loading station one bag at a time and a bag opening means for opening the one bag in the loading station. The bag opening means includes means for directing a stream of air across the opening of the bag. Suitable imbricated bags are shown in copending application Ser. No. 666,855, Package of Bags, Ralph L. Wing, inventor, filed Sept. 11, 1967, now Pat. No. 3,587,843, assigned to the same assignee as this application.
It is an object of this application to provide an improved apparatus and method for feeding, opening and loading such imbricated bags.
It is a further object to provide improved apparatus and methods for air opening bags, for manipulating and constructing movable carriages for bag loading equipment and the like.
It Iis a still further object to provide more eicient packaging apparatus and methods.
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic top plan view of the apparatus of my invention.
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic side plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with a chain of bags thereon and the bag in the loading position inflated.
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic perspective view of the loading table, tape pulling unit and aspirator of FIGS. 1 and 2.
FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic front view of a chain of imbricated bags mounted on tape suitable for use with the apparatus.
FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic front end view of the support table and inflated bag of FIG. 2.
FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic fragmentary view of part of the carriage control means at one side of the carriage in FIG. 2 with parts broken away.
FIG. 7 is a cross section through loading tray 200 and the tray mounting portion of carriage 144 taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 1 with the tray lifted off of the carriage.
3,619,969 Patented Nov. 16, 1971 FIG. 8 is a diagrammatic perspective view of drawer 132a of FIG. 1 with its mounting means.
The present invention relates to an automatic bag loader that has a frame means interconnecting its components into a single unit for ease of installation. The automatic bag loader includes means for receiving a pluralty of bags for automatic feeding to a loading station; a means for transferring the bags from the receiving means to the loading station in proper position, condition, and orientation for opening and loading; means for opening the bags sequentially at the loading station and maintaining the bags in position for loading until time to remove the loaded bag from the loading station; and means for loading an item fed to the automatic bag loader into a waiting bag at the loading station.
Looking first at FIGS. 1 and 2, the automatic bag loader 10 has a frame 11 which has a bag guide and positioning section 12, a loading table section 13, a bag moving tape pulling and holding section 14 (FIG. 3), a bag opening blo-wer section 515 and a parcel receiving conveying and insertion section 16.
The bag receiving section 12 includes a platform 20 (FIG. 2) which is connected to and forms a lower part of the frame 1.1 at a sutcient height above the floor to prevent contamination of the bags or their container from materials on the floor. The platform as shown consists of a series of interconnected metal rods extending between the legs of the frame 11.
The bag guide and positioning section includes a series of rollers 22a, 22b, and 22e. A roller 23 is positioned below the level of rollers 22 which are horizontally aligned with one another so that the bags which in their preferred form are the taped imbricated bags, such as are shown in FIG. 2 and are more fully described in copending application Ser. No. 666,854, Packaging Apparatus, Method and Bags, John T. Roberts and Ralph L. Wing, inventors, led Sept. 11, 1967, now Pat. No. 3,552,090 and Ser. No. 666,855, Package of Bags, Ralph L. Wing, inventor, filed Sept. ll, 1967, now Pat. No. 3,587,843, both assigned to the same assignee as this application. The taped bags are preferably fed from a box 26 under the roller 23 where the corners 27 of the bags, that extend beyond the tapes rst fall outwardly as shown on the under side of the roller 23 and then fall forward onto the top of the chain of bags as the bags pass over the roller 22a. The bags are maintained in this flattened position by the close spacing of rollers 22a, 22b, and `22e` until they are drawn onto the loading table 30, the outer end of which is closely adjacent to roller 22e` preventing the downward folding of the corners of the bags. The corners 27 of the bags may sag down slightly between the spaced rollers but not so far that they are caught by the upcoming rotating surface and realigned. For bags extending about 5-8 inches beyond the two spaced apart supporting tapes on each side and spaced about 31-11/2 inches apart on the tapes, a roller spacing of up to about 2 inches is acceptable. The rollers are rotated by the movement of the bags passing over them and the corners of the bags simply slide up over the curved outer end of table 30. The rollers are journaled in the frame for easy rotation.
Looking now at FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 the loading section 14 includes the loading table 30 which has a smooth flat bag supporting surface 31 and a smooth downwardly turned forward edge 32. The supporting surface 31 of the table has a slightly raised region 33 through which an air jet signalling means 34 is directed for signalling purposes to be further explained later. The slightly raised region 33 insures a secure engagement of this region with the under surface of a bag held thereacross. The bag is held taut across this raised area by the supporting tapes 35 and 36, FIGS. 4 and 5. The downturned edge 32 of the table has a Cut out 80 therein through `which an override signalling means 37 projects into the path of any bag that excessively overrides the signalling means 34.
The bag moving, pulling and holding section has two bag interconnection or tape positioning and orienting guiding means or wheels 40 and 411 which guide the tapes and hold them in their fully parted position as they cross the upper surface 31 of the loading table 30 and redirect the tapes into the bight of the meshing, pulling or conveying means, powered gear wheel 42 and meshing idler gear wheel 43. When the preferred chain of imbricated bags is used with pressure sensitive adhesive tapes or strips 3S and 36 interconnecting the bags the tapes are initially oriented or laid over the guiding means with their 40 and 41 sticky sides against the guides so that the tapes will be squeezed together adhesive face to adhesive face as they pass through the meshing gear wheels 42 and 43. This reduces the instances of the tape sticking to the apparatus as it passes from the meshing wheels 42 and 43, through aspirator 44 and into the bo-x 26.
Looking now in particular at FIGS. 2 and 3 as well as at FIG. 1, it may be seen that the loading table 30, the means 4S for sequentially advancing the plurality of bags into the loading position and the aspirator 44 are in a single assembly 46. The outer assembly housing is a rectangular box like housing 47 with an open bottom for easy access and sheet metal sides to enclose the operating mechanisms. The loading table is also of sheet metal, forming the upper closure of the rectangular box-like housing. The assembly is removably mounted on the frame 11 through a stud `50 which is bolted to the housing 47 as shown and which has a semi-circular cut out 49 in the bottom thereof which is seated on rod 51 which is secured in frame 11. A strap 418 is secured across the bottom of cut out 49 preventing assembly 46 from being dislodged therefrom unintentionally. It will be understood that a similar mounting arrangement is provided at the other side of the housing 47. The other end of the assembly 46 rests on strap 52 which is pivotally connected at its upper end to frame 11. The strap 52 has a handle S8. This arrangement provides an easy means for rotating the box backward so that its face 46 will be exposed to make it convenient to install a new package of imbricated bags on the apparatus. The rear end of assembly 46 rests only on strap 52. Therefore if the assembly is rotated forward slightly on rod 51 handle 58 may be moved to pivot strap 52 rearwardly out of the Way and the assembly 46 can then be lowered back until its outer wall rests against stop 69. It will be seen that this exposes face 59 of assembly 46. To reposition the assembly 46 it is only necessary to rotate the assembly forward on rod 51 and when it has cleared strap 52, pivot the strap back into position as shown in FIG. 2. To remove the assembly 46 from the apparatus 10 for maintenance it is only necessary to remove straps 48 While the assembly is horizontal and then thereafter lift assembly 46 from this position.
Looking now in particular at FIG. 3, the powered gear wheel 42 is controlled by an air jet signalling means 53 for sequential operation. The air jet 53 has an aperture or nozzle 54 through which a jet of air 55 exits into the path of the lead bag in the chain of bags 25. Air jet 55 is fed air through air line 56, which is broken for clarity of illustration. Air jet 55 opens through connection 57 to a normally closed diaphragm switch 60 which is electrically connected to a power source (not shown) through electric wires 61 and 62 and controls the power to the motor 63 through electric wires 64 and 65. When the air jet 55 is stopped-up or blocked the pressure in line 56 is increased, expanding the diaphragm (not shown) and opening the switch. When the air jet 55 is open the pressure in line 56 is insuflicient to expand the diaphragm and the switch closes completing the electrical circuit, powering motor 63 and driving wheel 42 and thereby conveying the tape through the meshing wheels pulling a new bag into the loading position. Air pressure at about 21/2 p.s.i. is supplied to line 56 by the ow control valve 66 which trims fluctuations in the air pressure. Air is supplied to the ow control valve 66 through air line 67 which is maintained at about 27 p.s.i. in this preferred embodiment after passing through pressure regulator 68. The pressure regulator is adjustable to the desired reading which may be checked on gauge 70.
A mechanically operated override switch 72 is operated by the override signalling means rod 37 which is positioned in the path of the lead bag in the chain of bags 25 beyond the air jet S3. Rod 37 is shown broken for clarity of illustration. The override switch is a normally closed air valve connected to the air line 67 at connection 73 by air line 74 which is also broken for clarity of illustration. Air line 67 is operated in this particular embodiment at about 27 p.s.i. which happens to be the air pressure available in the plant. It will be understood that if a bag overrides the signalling means 54 it will engage the override signalling means 37 which will engage against plunger 75 admitting air at a pressure of about 27 p.s.i. through air line 76 into air line 56 through air line connection 77 which will increase the pressure in that line above 21/2 p.s.i. opening diaphragm switch 60 and shutting off motor 63 even though air jet 54 remains open. The positioning of the override signalling means 37 in the cut away 80 which extends through the downwardly curved edge of the loading table 30 and into the flat planar bag supporting surface thereof positions the rod 37 close enough to the signalling means 33 so that a bag will not be pulled down over the edge of table 30 to such an extent that it would be wasted before motor 63 is shut off. Instead the bag is stopped in a position in which it can almost always be opened and used.
Idler gear wheel 43 is carried in a frame 81 and journaled therein for easy rotation. The frame is carried on an air cylinder rod 82 so that the idler wheel 43 may be closed into mesh with the driven wheel 42 or retracted therefrom by the air cylinder 83. The air cylinder 83 is spring loaded to the retracted position and held closed by constant air pressure in the cylinder 83 in response to the positioning of valve handle 84. Air line 85 is connected via connection 73 to air line 67 which is maintained set at 27 p.s.i. One of the advantages of having this air closure of the meshing gears 42 and 43 is that should someones lingers be drawn into the meshing wheels they should part and not cause injury. Pressure regulator 94 is connected to air line 67 by connection 93. Pressure regulator 94 receives plant air at about 80 p.s.i. This happend to be the plant air pressure in the specific instance described. The plant pressure was received through air line 95 and regulated to 27 p.s.i. which pressured air passes into air line 67. This pressure may be checked on gauge 89 and the regulator adjusted as needed.
The bag loader 10 is equipped to operate with various size bags from 10 inches to 24 inches in width, for example. The guiding means 40 and 41 are adjustable. They are mounted on bolt members on which they are journaled for easy rotation, the bolts are secured in threaded apertures 86 on mounting bar 87. In the position shown in this preferred embodiment aperture 86a is 2% inches from a center line passing through the bight or juncture of the gear wheels 42 and 43, the guide wheel 40 would be positioned in an aperture 3% inches from the center and aperture 86C would be 4% inches from the center for receipt of bags of about lO-l4 inches, 14-18 inches and 18-24 inches respectively in which the tapes are spaced the same distance from the center on each side of bag and about 4 inches, 6 inches and 8 inches apart respectively.
Aspirator 44 is shut off each time the motor 63 is shut off being in the same electrical circuit through the switch. This both econoinises on the use of plant air and mproves the effectiveness of the aspirator. Electric wires 90 and 91 connect the `aspirator to the switch 60. Through this connection the switch 60 controls air valve 92 which is solenoid operated. Air valve 92, which is normally closed, is connected to air line 95 through air line 97 to air line and connection 96. Connection 96 is in air line 95 which is the plant air. When valve 92 is opened air passes through air line 98 and via connection 101 and air lines 102 and 103 to aspirator passages 104 and 105 respectively which feed into passages 106 and 107 respectively, down through passages 110 and 111 respectively into the channel 112, which has an enlarged lluted opening I113 for easy feeding of the tapes thereinto. The supporting means or tapes that interconnected the bags passes through the channel 112 and is dispensed therebelow into any convenient container for disposal. The tapes are shown being returned to the box 26 in FIG. 2 which is usually disposed of once the chain of taped bags has been completely drawn therefrom. When a new package of bags is to be installed on the machine before the chain of the previously installed bags has run out the spent tapes are grasped Where they extend below the aspirator and positioned in the mouth 114 of the cutter 115 and drawn across the knife blade 116 and severed. The cutter 115 is mounted on the one end of the aspirator. Then the end attached to the waste tape is allowed to fall into box 26 and the unused bags are released by opening the idler wheel 43 and unthreaded from the apparatus 10 and returned to the box 26. If desired a pipe member may be attached to the outlet from the aspirator and the spent tape may be directed through the pipe and conveyed by the air to a disposal bin or the like.
Turning our attention now to the bag opening blower section 16 and looking in particular at FIGS. 1 and 2, an electric motor driven centrifugal fan blower unit 120 is mounted within a rectangular housing 121 which is open at its bottom region 122 for easy access and is surrounded by sheet metal walls 123 to protect the operating parts from being damaged by articles falling into the operating area and to prevent contamination. A sheet metal upper housing closing member 124 has wings 128a and 128b extending forward of the main closing member portion. The opening formed between wings 128a and 128b opens to an air delivery chute 126 having a bottom surface 127 and side walls 130a and 130b for directing the air from blower unit 120 upwardly and directly across the forward edge of the loading table surface 30 to inflate a bag positioned thereon.
Drawers 132@ and 132b slide out of the sidewalls 130a and 13011 to constrict the width of the chute changing the chutes capacity so that the chute may be wide to allow a delivery of a wide air stream from its passageway for opening wide bags, for example bags 24 inches wide, and narrow for opening narrow bags, for example bags l inches wide. If the stream directed against the mouth of the bag is much wider than the spacing of the tapes the air stream will blow the edges of the bags up particularly after the lead bag has been inflated so that it does not even loosely cover the next bag in the chain at its outer edges extending beyond the tapes. This would disrupt the clear surface beyond the desired, one open bag at a time, on the loading table 30. Because the tapes are held taut between the meshing gears 42 and 43 and that portion of the chain of bags extending olf of the back of the table 30 by the weight of the bags themselves, the bottom surface of the inflated bag attached to the tapes is held in position by its attachment to the tapes thus securely covering the underlying bags mouth between the tapes 3S and 36. Each drawer 132:1 and 132b has a small projection or positioning pin 133a and 133b respectively in its bottom edge. Each of the projections is engageable in a respective series of apertures or holes 129a and 129b formed in the bottom surface or wall 127 of the chute 126 aligned with the projection in a straight line extending away from said drawers. The holes 129a are about 1/2 inch apart as are the holes 129b. It will be understood that the drawers 132a and 132b are grasped by handles 131a and 131b respectively and a respective drawer 128a or 12811 is thereby pulled out or pushed in until aligned with the desired aperture 129 and the projection or pin 133 is positioned therein to positively position the drawer. It is necessary to lift up slightly to free the pins 133 from the apertures for movement. The pins are only about 1/s inch long in the particular preferred embodiment shown. It has been found that with bags 18.1-24 inches wide a chute of 8 inches is preferable. This would be the position with the drawers completely pushed in. For bags of about 14-18 inches a chute width of about 6 inches is preferable. For bags of about 10-14 inches, 14-18 inches, and 18-24 inches, chute widths of about 4 inches, 6 inches and 8 inches respectively are preferred. There is a space 138 between the bottom surface 127 of the chute and the blower outlet 139 so that iluids and other matter falling into the chute will not pass into the blower but fall through to below the apparatus.
Looking at FIG. 8, it may be seen that each drawer has a front face 153 and a top wall 154. The outer edges 155 and 156 of the top wall 154 are mounted in Delrin (registered trademark of Du Pont) runners 157 and 158 which are secured to the underside of a wing 128a or 128b. It will-be understood that the outlet from the blower 139 is not as wide as the chute until the drawers are positioned in the outermost position with the pin in the outermost aperture. Only in this position would any air from the blower be propelled behind the front face 153 of a drawer. The edge 155 of top wall 154 of the drawer extends closely adjacent to the bottom surface 127 of the chute so that the leakage through the chute behind the face 153 is not sucient to inflate the outer edges of bags lying beyond the tapes and in alignment with this area of the chute.
It has been found that an air current of about -300 cubic ft./minute is preferable and generally desired for orderly opening of the bags without ripping them olf the tapes or otherwise destroying the sequentaial opening operation of the bag loader 10. The lower volume of air is desirable for narrow chute widths and the upper portion of the range for wider chute widths. A damper plate member or means 134 is pivotally mounted by pin 135 so that it may be pivoted or positioned to partially close or block the air inlet opening to the blower to varying degrees to constrict the air entering said fan inlet and thereby restrict the air current passing to the chute 127. The damper plate 134 is controlled by rod member 137 which is connected by pin 140 to the damper plate member 134. The rod 137 passes out through the rear sheet metal wall of the rectangular housing 121 which has a slot 141 formed therein and extends outwardly from the apparatus for manipulation. The bottom of the rod 137 has a plurality of positioning teeth 142 formed thereon which can engage the thin sheet metal siding at the lower edge 143 of the slot to hold the damper in the desired position. The thin sheet metal serves as a catch member for positioning the rod in the slot aperture by engaging between the teeth.
When the carriage 144 which is part of the article receiving, conveying and insertion section 17, which will be further described further on in this application, is moved forward it actuates valves 145 by engaging against roller lever member 146. This supplies air through air line to air cylinder 151 which has a piston reciprocal therein for moving closing shut off plate member 152 over the air inlet 148 opening to the blower. As the cylinder 151 pushes the plate 152 forward it engages the plate aaginst damper plate 134 and pushes it against the air inlet opening so that the closure of the air-inlet opening includes such portion of the plate 134 as is in position over the opening 148 as a damper. The cylinder 151 is spring loaded so that when the carriage 144 passes back across the roller 146 reversing the valve 145 and opening a relief port therein the spring returns the air closure shut off plate 152 to the blower open position and the damper plate 134 which is normally spaced about 1-2 inches from the blowers air inlet 148 returns to its position partly obstructing the air inlet opening to the blower. The blower is shut off by the plate 152 when the carriage passes over the chute 126 to prevent the bottom of the carriage and the parts carried by it from deflecting the air passing upwardly through the chute downwardly causing bags below the top bag to be inflated inhibiting the normal operation of the loader 10.
Turning our attention now specically to the article receiving, conveying and insertion section 17, and looking in particular at FIGS. 1 and 2, it may be seen that carriage 144 is mounted on rods 160 and 161 for reciprocation thereon between the outer loading position 162 in which the carriage is shown in FIG. 1 and the forward bag loading position or insertion position 163 which the carriage is positioned in FIG. 2. It will be understood that the carriage 144 is received on the rods or carriage mounting bars 160 and 161 by bushings (not shown) for easy reciprocation between the outer article loading position 162 which is remote from the loading position and the inner article insertion or bag loading position 163 which is adjacent to the loading position. The mounting7 bars 160 and 161 are secured to said apparatus and extend parallel thereto in alignment with the loading position. The bag loader is not fully automatic but semiautomatic being actuated by an operator engaging a knee against the outside of the hinged plate 164 which presses against the plunger on a reverse actuation switch air valve 165. The hinged plate 164 is hinged at its upper edge and extends substantially the length of the machine so that the operator may actuate the switch while standing at any position along the operators side of the bag loader 10 to bring about the reversing movement of the carriage 144. The actuation of the valve 165 switches the air under a pressure of about 24 p.s.i. in this preferred embodiment from cylinder 166 or 167 to the other cylinder. The cylinders have equivalent arrangements in their air lines although the attachments in the air lines are shown only with respect to cylinder 166. As may be seen, air line 170 going to cylinder 166 has a flow control 171 giving free flow ball check throttle out control to the cylinder 166 so that when air is supplied to cylinder 166 the air will actuate the piston therein with a rapid motion pushing the carriage 144 at about 120 feet per minute for the length of the piston movement which is about 4 inches causing the carriage to continue its movement until it engages against the bumper pad 172 of cylinder 167 which serves to slow the carriage through the throttled escape of the vented air from the cylinder 167 through the flow control (not shown) such as 171 connected thereto. The pistons stroke is not the length of the distance to be traversed or traveled by the carriage. The carriage continues its movement until the reverse pad 173 engages against the face 174 of the carriage controls mount 175. The bumpers or bumper pads 172 and stop pads 173 are mounted on the pusher or work block 176 of the rod 177, the bumper pads on the outer face of the work block and the stop pads on the inner face. The carriage locking arm member 180 is pivotally mounted and rides in the bight or yoke of the pusher block 176 over a pin 181 and drops down camming surface 182 to drop over pin or locking catch means 183 and lock the carriage in position 162, as shown in solid line in FIG. 6. These with their operating parts function as the carriage locking means. When the operator next actuates the plate actuator 164 and thereby the switch 165 and causes a reversing of the carriage the plunger (not shown) in cylinder 167 is actuated by the air pushing the end member 176 from its solid line position toward its phantom line position shown in FIG. 6 causing the pine 181 to engage the cam surface 182 unlocking the locking groove or slot 185 on the outer end of arm 180 from the pin 183 by lifting it from the position shown in solid liue to the position shown in phantom line allowing the carriage 144 to move freely on the rods and 161. Groove 185 has sucient length to allow locking before bumper 173 engages face 174 and unlocking by the cam action of cam 182 before pin 183 engages the other end of the groove 185. The lock slot has an open length corresponding to the length lineally of the cam surface required to raise and lower the locking slot from the carriage locking means. It may be seen that as the pin 181 moves outwardly on the carriage locking member it retains the carriage locking member in raised or unlocked position. The carriage locking member 180 is pivotally mounted in a cut out recess 187 in the carriage control mount 175 by pin 186. The cylinder 167 is secured in the carriage controls mount 175 by having its forward end 190 threadably secured therein as shown in FIG. 6 and the rod 160 is secured in the upper end thereof by nuts on its threaded outer end and the carriage controls mount is bolted to the frame 12. It will be understood that cylinder 166 has the same appended parts as cylinder 167 and so they will not be detailed here.
Both sides 191 and 192 of the carriage 144 have end faces 193 which face the inner article insertion or bag loading position 163. One of the end faces 193 serves as the return push engaging surface of the carriage. These faces extend forward so that the carriage will be stopped at the inner article insertion or bag loading position 163 straddling the exposed operating parts of the means for sequentially conveying the bags into the loading position. The other end face 194 of the carriage 144 is ush and faces the outer article loading position 162. Face 194 serves as the loading position direction push engaging surface of the carriage. The cross bar 195 of, the frame 11 which mounts the forward end of the air box or housing 121 is of course raised in its medial region and lowered in the regions below the sides 191 and 192 of the carriage so that the side where they extend downwardly as shown in FIG. 2 may pass across the cross member 195. Of course the carriage straddles the air box 121 so that it may reciprocate back and forth on the rods 160 and 161 without engaging the air box 121 itself. The bottom surface of the carriage at one side serves as the camming surface for activating valve 145 and maintaining the valve in actuated position.
Looking now at FIGS. 1 and 7, the carriage 144 has a mounting means 196 thereon that mates with a mounting means 198 and 199 on an article carrying means or tray 200. The particular article carrying means shown is formed from a plurality of rods as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. However other article carrying means could be used such as the tray shown in our copending application United States Ser. No. 666,854 which has been previously referred to in this application, of course equipped with suitable mounting means.
It will be understood that the center portion of the carriage 144 is shaped as a saddle to form part of the mounting means 196 as may be seen in FIG. 7. This mounting means 196 includes pins 201 and 202 on the mounting means 196 that engage with the mating grooves or slots 203 and 204 on the mounting means 198. It may be seen that the groove 203 faces to the side so that the article carrying means 200 is angled to position this groove on pin 201 and then the other side is lowered to position groove 204 on pin 202 and thereafter the weight of the tray operating thereon holds the tray in position against accidental dislodgement. It will be understood that mounting means 199 is simultaneously mounted in the same manner on pins on the other side of mounting means 196. Of course, there are a pair of pins on each side of the carriage, one pin of each of the pairs on each side of the saddle. There are also, therefore, two pairs of mounting means one on each side of the tray, with one pair having outwardly directed slots and the other pair downwardly directed slots. For larger article carrying means other sets Of pins such as 205 and 206 may be provided.
Because the plant air pressure may not be at the desired p.s.i. or properly cleaned of foreign matter air pressure regulating and filtering means such as are illustrated at 205 may be desirably attached to each bag loading apparatus 10. Both the details of this apparatus and the detailed air line connections have been omitted from the equipment in order to make the diagrammatic representation clearer when taken with the description given herein. It will be understood that those skilled in the art may easily run air lines between the various operating and control apparatus to provide safe operation of the equiprnent and provide safety switches at appropriate positions, such as for example to be opened by rotating back of the assembly 46 for feeding on a new chain of bags 25, and as may be required by the laws of the various governments.
Turning now to the operation of the bag loader 10, a box 26 of taped bags 25 is positioned on the platform 20 as shown in FIG. 2. The chain of taped bags 25 is fed below rollers 23 and over roller 22a, 22b, and 22e and pulled forward over the upper surface 31 of loading table 30. The tapes which project forward of the lead bag are pulled down and fed one on each side of the guide wheels 40 and 41, stuck together and fed between the gear Wheels 42 and 43. The idler wheel 43 is moved into mesh with wheel 42 clamping the tapes therebetween. The tapes are then fed down through the aspirator opening 113 and through channel 112. As the tape is later conveyed between the gear wheels 42 and 43 through the aspirator it will return to the box 26 so that when the box is removed the waste tape will be removed with it. It is important that the bags pass against the wheel 23 to insure that the bags move in a manner causing the ears to fold downwardly prior to traversing roller 22a and also serve to indicate to an operator loading a new chain of bags on the apparatus that the box is properly positioned as shown in FIG. 1.
It may be observed that the corners 27 of the bags 25 fall outwardly as they pass under the roller 23 and then flop back into their normal bag flattened position as they pass over roller 22C. It is important that the rollers 22C, 22h and 22a be positioned sufficiently close together so that the corners of the bags will not flop down between them and turn back under. Thus for bags spaced about inch apart to 11/2 inches apart and extending from about to 8 inches out beyond the tapes at the sides the rollers should not be spaced more than about 2 inches apart. At this time the carriage 144 would be in the outer article loading position 162 and locked therein. The assembly 46 then raised back into operating position on strap 52. The air power and the electric power would now be turned on. This would cause the lead bag to index if it was not already in its loading position and the blower would cause the lead bag to inflate. The bag would of course be stopped in the indexed position by the signalling means 34. The operator loads the article to be inserted into a bag on to the article carrying means 200. The operator then hits the plate 164 with a knee switching the valve 165 and powering the piston 167 driving the pushing block 176 against the end 194 of the carriage 144 and unlocking the carriage by lifting the locking means 180 and propelling the carriage 144 to the inner article insertion or bag loading position 163 as shown in FIG. 2 the operator then manually completes the positioning of the item to be loaded in the bag and usually shoves the bag from the apparatus to another conveyor for closing or other procedures. The operator hits the plate 164 with a knee reversing the switch 165 and activating cylinder 166 which operates in the same manner as cylinder 167 to return the carriage to position 162. The sequence is then repeated, of course the machine power not having to be reactivated and the next bag being automatically indexed immediately after the loaded bag is removed from over the signalling means 34. Normally the operator will strip the loaded bag from the tapes by engaging the upper lip area of the bag with his arm with a forward motion as he shoves the article from the carrier 200. To load on a new chain of bags onto apparatus '10 after the box 26 is empty it is necessary to drop assembly 46 back to expose face 59 and repeat the sequence of loading the iirst chain of imbricated bags onto the loading apparatus 10.
To adjust the machine for handling a different size bag it is necessary to position the guides 40 and 41 to the distance substantially corresponding to the spacing between the tapes and to adjust the drawer members 132 and 133 to substantially the spacing of the tapes. It is generally also desirable to adjust the air passing into the air blower by adjustment of the damper through the manipulation of the rod 137 to position the proper notch between teeth 142 over the lower edge 143 of the slot 141 so the proper amount of air will be delivered to the forward edge of the bag to open the bag without unduly tearing at the bag.
In order to save the expense and trouble of having a mechanic corne and move the guides 40 and 41 when necessary to accommodate different sized bags it is often preferable to secure a guide in each position so that in the embodiment illustrated herein there would be 6 guides. Of course, any number of guides may be employed depending on the number of bag widths the specific apparatus is to be used with.
While in accordance with the patent statutes, I have described what at present is considered to be the preferred embodiment of my invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that numerous changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the invention and it is therefore aimed in the appended claims to cover all such equivalent variations as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
1. In an improved bag feeding, opening and filling apparatus for feeding a continuous chain of imbricated bags sequentially into a loading position, sequentially opening the bags and filling the opened bags, having, (I) a bag loading station, (Il) means for sequentially and periodically conveying a chain of imbricated 'bags to said bag loading station one bag at a time, and (III) bag opening means for opening said one bag in said loading station, said means including means for directing a stream of air across the opening of said bag; the improvement comprising, said bag opening means including,
(A) a blower below and aimed in the general direction of the bag loading station, said blower having an air inlet and an air outlet,
(B) an air delivery chute at the outlet of said blower and directed at said bag loading station, said air delivery chute including,
(l) a drawer on each side thereof, each of said drawers slidably mounted for sliding movement into the passageway of said chute obstructing said passageway for the distance said drawers are moved thereinto,
(a) a handle on each of said drawers for pulling said drawer into and pushing said drawer out of said passageway,
(b) a positioning pin at the front bottom edge of each of said drawers,
(2) a bottom wall in said chute, the lower end of said bottom wall terminating short of the air outlet of said blower providing an opening through the bottom of said chute,
(a) a plurality of apertures in the bottom wall of said chute aligned with each said positioning pin and extending away from said drawers in a straight line, said apertures aligned to receive respective ones of the pins for positioning said drawers in said passageway,
(C) at least two dampers for obstructing the air inlet to said blower,
(1) one of said damper means including,
(a) a plate member pivotally mounted to pivot to a plurality of positions of varying degrees of blocking said inlet to said blower constricting the air entering said blower to adjust the flow of air from said chute of 100 to 300 cubic feet per minute when the drawers are changed in their position changing the capacity of said chute,
(b) a rod member connected to said plate for pivoting said plate and extending outwardly from apparatus,
( 1) positioning teeth on said rod,
(2) a catch member for said rod positioned in said apparatus for engagement between said teeth for positioning said rod (2) another damper means including,
(a) a plate member reciprocating to positively close and open the air inlet to said blower,
(b) an air cylinder having a piston reciprocal therein for moving said plate between said open and said closed positions,
(c) a valve operably connected to said air cylinder for reciprocation thereof,
(IV) a carriage, said carriage having,
(A) a locking catch means therein,
(B) a loading position push surface for propelling said carriage toward said loading position,
(C) a return push surface for propelling said carriage toward a position remote from said loading position,
(D) a camming surface on said carriage for actuating said 'valve to open and close said other damper means before said carriage enters said loading position and maintaining said valve in actuated position while said carriage is in said loading position,
(E) means on said carriage for mounting a tray thereon, said mounting means including,
( 1) a saddle,
(2) a pair of pins on each side of said carriage, one pin of each said pairs on each side of said saddle,
(V) two carriage mounting bars secured in said apparatus and extending parallel thereto and aligned with said loading position, said carriage mounted on said bars for reciprocating thereon between a position adjacent to said loading position and remote from said loading position, (VI) carriage locking and propelling means at each end of the reciprocation pathway of said carriage, each of said means including,
(A) an air cylinders having a reciprocating air cylinder rod extending therefrom,
(B) a work block connected to said rod at its outer end for reciprocation thereby, said block having a bumper paid on its outer face and a stop pad on its inner face, and a yoke at its lower portion,
(C) a pin extending across said yoke,
(D) a locking arm pivotally mounted in said apparatus below said air cylinder and extending through said yoke in the direction of outward reciprocation therefrom and above said pin,
(1) a lock slot on the outer end of said arm,
(2) a cam surface on said arm toward the other end thereof from said locking slot, said cam surface oriented to ride up and down on said pin as said work block is reciprocated to lift said lock slot off and lower it back onto said carriage locking catch means to lock and unlock said carriage from its two extreme positions of reciprocation, said lock slot having an open length corresponding to the length linearly of cam surface required to raise and lower said lock slot from said carriage locking catch means, said pin engaging said cam surface on the outer stroke of said rod to lift said arm and unlock said locking slot from said carriage locking catch means, said bumper pad engaging a push surface of said carriage on its outer stroke to push said carriage and power it to its opposed position through its reciprocal path, said stroke being shorter than the distance traveled by said carriage,
(E) a throttle valve connected to each of said cylinders for throttling the air vented from said air cylinder when the air pressure is switched therefrom, buffering the movement of said carriage to said position and into locked position.
(Vil) a tray mountable on said means on said carriage for mounting a tray, said tray including (A) a pair of mounting means on one side thereof having downwardly directed slots,
(B) a pair of mounting means on the opposite side thereof having an outwardly directed slot directed at a right angle to said downwardly directed slots, said slots engageable with respective pins on said carriage,
(C) and a reverse saddle on said tray mating with said saddle on said carriage,
(VIII) a plurality of rollers extending beyond said loading position and aligned therewith horzontally and spaced not more than .about 2 inches apart, (IX) ia roller below said plurality of rollers and situated between the height of the upper edge of the box intended for yreceipt in said apparatus and said plurality of rollers, indicating the position for the bags and to direct said bags and properly orient them for passage onto said plurality of rollers for advancement to said bag loading station.
2. In an improved bag opening apparatus for opening a bag in a predetermined position having a bag opening means for opening said bag in said predetermined position, said means including means for directing a stream of air across the opening of said bag, the improvement comprising,
(A) a blower, said blower having an air inlet and an air outlet,
(B) an air delivery chute at the outlet of said blower and directed at said predetermined position, said air delivery chute including,
(l) walls, said wall including,
(a) two sets of positioning means,
(2) a movable passageway obstructing drawer means on each side thereof, each of said drawer means slidably mounted for sliding movement into the passageway of said chute obstructing said passageway for the distance of said movement, said drawer means including,
(a) a means on each of said drawers for pulling said drawer into and pushing said drawer out of said passageway,
(b) a front edge on each of said drawers,
said front edge cooperating with a respective one of said sets of positioning means to position said drawer in said passageway.
3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the front edge of each of said drawers includes a mating positioning means and the walls of said air delivery chute include a bottom wall; each set of said positioning means in said chute walls being formed in said bottom wall, aligned with a respective mating positioning means and extends away from said drawers in a straight line, said mating positioning means and positioning means being thereby aligned to cooperatively engage for positioning said drawers in said passageway.
4. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the bag opening means includes at least two tlalnpcrs for obstructing the nir inlet to said blower.
(1) one of said damper means having a plurality of positions of varying degrees of blocking said inlet to said blower restricting the flow of air into said blower inlet, and
(2) the other damper means including,
(a) a plate member reciprocating to positively close and open the air inlet to said blowers.
5. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the drawers consist of a top and a front, the means on each of said drawers for pulling said drawer into and pushing said drawer out of said passageway is a handle on the front of said drawer, said mating positioning means is a pin on said front of said drawer, said positioning means in said bottom chute wall is a plurality of apertures and said air delivery chute includes, a pair of runners, one runner at each side of the top of said drawers receiving an outer side edge thereof for sliding movement of said drawer and the edge of the top of said drawer distant from said blower outlet is closely adjacent to the bottom wall of said chute and the edge of the top of said drawer nearest to said blower outlet is spaced substantially above the bottom wall of said chute, the bottom wall of said chute slopes upwardly from the outlet of said blower and the tops of said drawers extend horizontally.
6. In an improved bag loader having a loading station the improvement comprising,
(I) a carriage, said carriage including (A) a loading position push surface for propelling said carriage toward said loading station,
(B) a return push surface for propelling said carriage toward a position remote from said loading station,
(II) means mounting said carriage for reciprocation between a position adjacent to said loading station and remote from said loading station,
(III) a carriage propelling means at each end of the reciprocation pathway of said carriage, each of said means including, v
(A) an air cylinder having a reciprocating air cylinder rod extending therefrom,
(B) a means connected to said rod at its outer end for reciprocation thereby, said means connected to said rod engaging a push surface of said carriage on its outer stroke to push said carriage and power it to its opposed position through its reciprocal path, said stroke being shorter than the distance traveled by said carriage,
(C) a throttle valve connected to each of said cylinders for throttling the air vented from said air cylinder when the air pressure is switched therefrom buffering the movement of said carriage to said position.
7. The apparatus of claim 6 `wherein the carriage includes a locking catch means and each carriage propelling means includes a carriage locking means at its respective end of the reciprocation pathway of said carriage, each of said locking means including a work block, said work block having a bumper pad on its outer face, a stop pad on its inner face, a yoke at its lower por/tion, and a pin extending across said yoke; and said apparatus including,
(A) a locking arm pivotally mounted in said apparatus lbelow said air cylinder and extending through said yoke in the direction of outward reciprocation therefrom and above said pin,
(l) a lock slot on the outer end of said arm,
(2) a cam surface on said arm toward the other end thereof from said locking slot, said cam surface oriented to ride up and down on said pin as said work block is reciprocated to lift said lock slot off and lower it back onto said carriage locking catch means pin, to lock and unlock said carriage from its two extreme positions of reciprocation, said lock slot having an open length corresponding to the length linearly of cam surface required to raise and lower said lock slot from said carriage locking catch means, said pin engaging said cam surface on the outer stroke of said rod to lift said arm and unlock said locking slot from said carriage locking catch means, said bumper pad engaging a push surface of said carriage on its outer stroke to push said carriage and power it to its opposed position through its reciprocal path, said stroke being shorter than the distance traveled by said carriage,
(B) a throttle valve connected to each of said cylinders for throttling the air |vented from said air cylinder When the air pressure is switched therefrom, buffering the movement of said carriage to said position and into locked position. l
8i. The apparatus of claim 7 including,
(A) means on said carriage for mounting a tray thereon, said mounting means including,
(1) a saddle,
(2) a pair of pins on each side of said carriage, one pin of each of said pairs on each side of said saddle,
(B) a tray mountable on said means on said carriage for mounting a tray, said tray including (1) a pair of mounting means on one side thereof having downwardly directed slots,
(2) a pair of mounting means on the opposite side thereof having an outwardly directed slot directed at a right angle to said downwardly directed slots, said slots engageable with respective pins on said carriage,
(3) and a reverse saddle on said tray mating with said saddle on said carriage,
(C) a plurality of rollers extending beyond said loading position and aligned therewith horizontally and spaced not more than about 2 inches apart,
(D) a roller below said plurality of rollers the position of said roller being such as to indicate the position for the bags loaded into said bag loader and to direct said bags and properly orient them for passage on to said plurality of rollers for advancement to said loading position.
9. A method for loading bags in a loading station comprising, reciprocating a carriage -between a position adjacent to the loading station and remote from the loading station by I(A) stroking the carriage to said loading station with a short stroke push means that strokes a loading position push surface on the carriage, the stroke of said means -being shorter than the distance traveled by the carriage,
(B) receiving the carriage at said loading station with a 'buffer stroke, the buffer stroke being shorter than the distance traveled by the carriage,
(C) stroking the carriage to said remote position with another short stroke push means that strokes a return push surface on the carriage, the stroke of said means being shorter than the distance traveled by the carriage,
(D) receiving the carriage at said remote position with a buffer stroke, the buffer stroke being shorter than the distance traveled by the carriage.
10. A method for opening bags in a predetermined position comprising propelling air in a stream through an outlet and directing said air stream across the opening of a bag to be opened in said predetermined position by confining the air stream in an air delivery chute at said outlet, said air delivery chute being directed toward said predetermined position; adjusting the width of said air stream iby sliding passageway obstructing drawer means on each side of the chute into position in the 15 16 chutes passageway, obstructing the passageway for the References Cited desired distance determined by said movement; and de- UNITED STATES PATENTS termining the extent of said movement and xing the 3 3 position of said drawers by engaging positioning means 3112525?? lg? mgiegl-e u at the front -bottom edge of each drawer 1n a selected re 5 3,331,182 ,H1967 Hannon 53 385 X spective one of a plurality of mating positioning means in the bottom wall of the chute, which mating positioning TRAVIS S MCGEHEE, Primary Examiner means extend away from said positioning means in a straight line aligned to be selectively engaged thereby for U,Sl C1. X R. positioning said drawers in said passageway. 10 53-187, 385