US 3748717 A
Apparatus for use in fastening U-shaped clips around the twisted necks of flexible bags of the type suitable for use in containing poultry products and the like. The apparatus includes structure for moving a clip toward and tightly about the twisted neck of a bag and a guide for feeding a clip into the path of travel of a ram which moves the clip toward the bag neck. A magazine having a number of guide members thereon is rotatably mounted above the clip guide, the magazine being adapted to hold a number of stacks of clips on respective guide members thereof so that, when a guide member is aligned with the clip therebelow, the stack can gravitate onto the clip guide to permit the clips to be fed one-by-one out of the stack and toward a bag neck to be sealed. Means is provided for releasably holding the magazine in any one of a number of operative positions.
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United States Patent [191 Leffler et a1.
[ July 31, 1973 CLIP FASTENER APPARATUS WITH MAGAZINE FEED  inventors: Edward K. Leffler, West Ollis;
Kenneth A. Kraft, Milwaukee, both of Wis. I
 Assignee: John Mohr & Sons, Milwaukee, Wis. 22 Filed: Feb. 11, 1971 i 21 Appl. No.: 114,430
Primary ExaminerRobert C. Riordan Assistant Examiner-Neil Abrams Attamey-Townsend and Townsend the twisted necks of flexible bags of the type suitable for use in containing poultry products and the like. The apparatus includes structure for moving a clip toward and tightly about the twisted neck of a bag and a guide for feeding a clip into the path of travel of a ram which moves the clip toward the bag neck. A magazine having a number of guide members thereon is rotatably mounted above the clip guide, the magazine being adapted to hold a number of stacks of clips on respective guide members thereof so that, when a guide member is aligned with the clip therebelow, the stack can gravitate onto the clip guide to permit the clips to be fed one-by-one out of the stack and toward a bag neck to be sealed. Means is provided for releasably holding the magazine in any one 'of a number of operative positions.
4 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures FIG. I I /|40- INVENTORS EDWARD K. LEFFLER KENNETH A. KRAFT ATTORNEYS PATENTEU JUL 3 1 SHEET 3 OF 3 INVENTORS EDWARD K. LEFFLER KENNETH A. KRAFT ATTORNEYS CLIP FASTENER APPARATUS WITH MAGAZINE FEED This invention relates to improvements in apparatus for fastening an initially U-shaped clip to the twisted neck of a flexible plastic bag and, more specifically, to such an apparatus having a magazine for increasing the capacity of the same.
In clip fastener machines, the clips are fed oneby-one into the path of a reciprocating ram so that the ram can move a clip in its path toward and about the neck of a bag to effectively close and seal the same. Generally, the clips are disposed in a vertical stack and gravitate toward the path of the ram. The number of clips in a stack is usually limited so that bag closing operations must periodically be stopped to replenish the clip supply. This frequent stopping of operations limits the work output for a given machine and requires additional operator attention.
The present invention provides an improvement for machines of this type by providing a machine capable of greatly increasing the clip capacity of such a machine. To this end, the invention utilizes a magazine above the structure which feeds individual clips toward the region at which a bag neck is received prior to being closed. The magazine-has a number of circumferentially spaced guide members capable of supporting respective stacks of U-shaped clips so that each stack of clips, when it becomes aligned with a guide immediately above the path along which the individual clips move toward a bag neck, may move downwardly and onto the guide for individual feeding into the path of a ram which moves the clips toward a region which receives a bag neck. Means is provided to releasably hold the magazine in any one of a number of operative positions. Thus, when the supply of clips on one guide member of the magazine is exhausted, the magazine can be released and rotated to the next operative position at which a corresponding guide member will be aligned with the clip guide. Then, the stack on the guide member can gravitate onto the clip guide and be used to supply the clips thereof as needed.
The primary object of this invention is, therefore, to provide a clip fastener apparatus having a magazine thereon for holding a plurality of stacks of clips with each stack being movable into a position aligned with a clip guide on the apparatus so that the clip capacity of the apparatus is significantly increased to eliminate interruptions in bag closing operations.
Another object of this invention is to provide a clip fastener apparatus having a magazine of the type described wherein the magazine is rotatably mounted and has a number of circumferentially spaced guide members thereon of the same cross section as the clip guide of the apparatus so that a stack of clips carried by a guide member will readily gravitate onto the clip guide without having to manually handle the stack of clips at any time after it is placed in the magazine.
Other objects of this invention will become apparent as the following specification progresses, reference being had to the accompanying drawings for an illustration of an embodiment of the invention.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the clip fastener apparatus of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a vertical cross section of the apparatus;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the apparatus, parts being broken away and in dashed lines to illustrate details of construction;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 44 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view ofa clip for use with the apparatus; and 1 FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of a group of clips bonded together in a stack for insertion into the magazine of the apparatus.
The clip fastener apparatus of this invention is broadly denoted by the numeral 10 and includes a generally horizontal plate 12 having a recess 14 (FIG. 3) extending inwardly from one side thereof, the recess having an innermost, elongated portion 16 which is in alignment with a track 18 (FIGS. 3 and 4) along which a U-shaped clip 20 moves under the influence of a ram 22 (FIG. 2). In this way, the clip can be moved around the twisted neck of a bag positioned in recess portion 16. A die 24, shown in dashed lines in FIG. 3, is secured to the underside of plate 12 and has an arcuate surface 26 which faces and is in alignment with track 18. The purpose of surface 26 is to bend the sides 28 and 30 of a clip 20 so that the sides will partially encircle the neck of a bag in recess portion 16. Surface 26 can be configured in any manner to either cause the clip sides to overlap each other or to be in substantially sideby-side relationship. In either case, the clip will tightly close the bag and seal the contents therewithin.
A knife blade 32, shown in dashed lines in FIG. 3, is shiftably carried on plate 12 for movement into and out of cutting relationship to a bag neck disposed in recess portion 16. Blade 32 has a cutting edge 34 which severes the excess portion of the bag neck which is above the clip. The knife moves toward the bag neck and cuts the same after the clip has been applied to the bag. As shown in FIG. 3, blade 32 is retracted but it is in alignment with the innermost end of recess portion 16, the location at which a bag neck will normally be disposed immediately after a clip has been applied thereto.
Plate 12 is secured in any suitable manner to a lateral projection 36 (FIG. 2) which extends outwardly from a cylinder 38 forming a part of a fluid-actuated power device 40 of which ram 22 forms a part. Cylinder 38 is adapted to be secured by a bracket 42 (FIGS. I and 2) to a vertical rod 44 which is stationary. Bracket 42 may be recessed to permit a coil spring 46 (FIG. 1) to surround rod 44 and to bias apparatus 10 upwardly with respect to a collar 48 rigidly secured to rod 44. Another bracket (not shown) similar in construction to bracket 42 mates with the latter so that the two brackets effectively surround rod 44 and thereby couple apparatus 10 to the rod while at the same time, the bias force of spring 46 permits some slight movement of apparatus 10 relative to the rod so that apparatus 10 can be used with a vacuum lifter which evacuates bags to which clips are to be applied by apparatus 10. Generally, a vacuum lifter can pivot but cannot move vertically. Spring 46 -permits apparatus 10 to move vertically a slight distance to assure alignment of recess 14 with a bag neck on a vacuum lifter. The brackets are releasably secured to rod 44 by screws, each screw having a head 50 to facilitate manual turning of the screw.
Ram 22 is of any suitable construction, such as a flat strip coupled to a piston 52 within cylinder 38. A coil spring 54 biases piston 52 to the right when viewing FIG. 2. A fluid under pressure, such as air, is introduced into cylinder 38 by a fitting 56 coupled by a tube 58 to a distribution valve 60 which is adapted to be coupled by means of a fitting 62 to the source of the fluid under pressure. A rod 64 extends outwardly from valve 60 and serves as an actuator to open the valve. A coil spring 66 biases rod 64 in a direction to maintain valve 60 in a closed condition. A lever 68 is pivotally mounted by a pin 70 (FIG. 3) on plate 12, one end of the lever having a downward extension 72 coupled to rod 64 as shown in FIG. 1. An upward projection 74 (FIGS. 1 and 3) is rigid to lever 68 near recess portion 16. Projection 74 is adapted to be engaged by the neck of a bag in recess portion 16 so that as the operator moves the bag neck toward die 24, lever 68 is pivoted about pin 70 to cause movement of rod 64 to the right when viewing FIG. 3 to thereby actuate and open valve 60. Fluid under pressure then passes through the valve, through tube 58 and then into cylinder 38 to cause piston 52 to move to the left when viewing FIG. 2 so that the flat forewardmost face 76 of ram 22 will move a clip in track 18 toward recess portion 16 and about the bag neck disposed therein.
Blade 32 is coupled directly to a piston 80 of a piston and cylinder assembly 78 (FIGS. 1 and 3), the piston being movable in a cylinder 82 under the influence of fluid pressure introduced into the cylinder by way of a tube 84 in fluid communication with the interior of cylinder 38 by means of a fitting 86. A fitting 88 couples tube 84 to cylinder 82. The connection of fitting 86 to cylinder 38 is at a location near the end of the path of travel of piston 52. Thus, when piston 52 passes the orifice 90 in fluid communication with fitting 86, the fluid under pressure in the cylinder is then free to pass out of the cylinder, through tube 84 and into cylinder 82 to move piston 80 in a direction to shift blade 32 across recess portion 16. A coil spring 92 within cylinder 82 biases piston 80 into a blade-retracting position as shown in dashed lines in FIG. 3. Blade 32 is below the upper surface 94 of plate 12. In fact, the plate can be formed by several layers, one of which has a wide groove 96 (FIG. 2) therein so that blade 32 is received in this groove and movable relative to plate 12.
Cylinder 38 defines a support for a generally vertical shaft 98 which is threaded or otherwise secured to an upper boss 100 on cylinder 38. The shaft is adapted to rotatably mount a magazine 102 on cylinder 38, the magazine having means for mounting a number of stacks of clips with each stack being generally parallel with shaft 98. A stack 104 of clips 20 is shown in side elevation in FIG. 6 and several portions of a clip stack 104 is shown in dashed lines in FIG. 2 with the lower portion of the stack being mounted on a clip guide 106 and an upper portion of the clip stack being shown on one of the guide members of magazine 102.
Clip guide 106 has a cross section of the type shown in FIG. 3 and includes a central body 108 having a pair of opposed, flat, generally parallel side faces 110 which are spaced apart a distance only slightly less than the distance between sides 28 and of clips 20. Thus, a stack of clips can be disposed on body 108 and gravitate freely with respect thereto. A web 112 extends downwardly and outwardly from body 108 and terminates in a pad 114 which is secured by screws 116 to the upper surface of plate 12. Thus, clip guide 106 is rigidly held in a fixed position on plate 12. Also, the lower end of clip guide 106 is spaced above the bottom of track 18 as shown in FIG. 2 so that a clip can be fed off a stack of clips on clip guide 106 when ram 22 moves to the left when viewing FIG. 2.
The upper end of clip guide 106 is disposed within a U-shaped recess 118 in a disk 120 secured in any suitable manner to the upper extremity of boss' 100. The bottom end of magazine 102 is in sliding engagement with the upper surface of disk 120.
Magazine 102 has a central, tubular core provided with a lower bearing 124 and an upper bearing 126. The bearings are mounted on shaft 98 to permit the core 122 to rotate relative to the shaft. A nut 128 threaded onto shaft 98 limits the downward movement of the shaft into the threaded opening in boss 100. A second nut 130 threaded to the upper end of the shaft holds the magazine in place thereon yet allows the magazine to rotate about the shaft. A cover 132 is received over the magazine to effectively enclose the same to protect it from dust and other foreign particles.
The magazine has a plurality of circumferentially spaced guide members 134 spaced slightly outwardly from core 122 with each guide member having a cross section essentially the same as that of clip guide 106. To this end, each guide member 134 has a pair of generally flat, parallel sides 136 which become coextensive with respect to side faces 110 of clip guide 106 when the corresponding guide member 134 is vertically aligned with the clip guide. Thus, a stack of clips carried on guide member 134 can readily move onto clip guide 106 and gravitate progressively downwardly as the bottom-most clip is stripped from the stack by the action of ram 22. Each stack 104 of clips 20 is generally coated with a resin or other adhesive to adhesively bond the adjacent clips together yet allow the same to be readily separated from each other by the action of ram 22.
Magazine 102 has a top 138 which is integral or other-wise rigidly secured to an upper, circular band 140 which is secured by screws 142 to respective guides members 134. An intermediate band 144 is secured by screws 146 to respective guide members 134; and a lower band 148 is secured by screws 150 to the lower ends of respective guid members 134. It is only through band 140 that guide members 134 are directly connected with core 122. Bands 144 and 148 effectively hold the guide member in respective, circumferentially spaced positions relative to each other, the rigidity of the connection between top 138 and band 140 being sufficient to effectively maintain the lower portions of guide members 134 out of engagement with the outer surface of core 122. Thus, a stack of clips on a guide member aligned with clip guide 106 can freely move downwardly without interference from core 122.
Means for releasably holding the magazine in any one of a number of operative positions includes a lever 152 provided with a pair of spaced sides 154, only one of which is shown in each of FIGS. 1 and 2, pivotally mounted by a pin 156 on web 112 as shown in FIG. 2. Lever 152 has an upward extension 158 which is bifurcated at its upper end to present a pair of sides 160, only one of which is shown in each of FIGS. 1 and 2. The bifurcation defines a recess between sides 160 for receiving the head of a screw corresponding to a guide member 134. Thus, when the screw head is in the bifurcation, the corresponding guide member is vertically aligned with clip guide 106 so that a stack of clips can gravitate freely from the guide member onto the clip guide. A spring 162 biases lever 152 in a clockwise sense when viewing FIG. 2.
In operation, apparatus is mounted on rod 44 so that guides members 134 of magazine 102 are substantially vertically disposed. Cover 132 is initially removed from the magazine and stacks 104 of clips are placed in the magazine on the various guide members 134. The stacks will gravitate and the lower clip of each stack will slidably engage the upper surface of disk 120 (FIG. 3); with a guide member initially aligned with clip guide 106, the stack of clips can progressively decrease in height until all the clips have been used up. Then, the operator depresses lever 152 to move extension 158 away from the magazine. The operator then rotates the magazine until the next guide member 134 comes into vertical alignment with clip guide 106. Then, lever 152 is released and the corresponding screw head is received in the bifurcation of extension 158. The magazine is then releasably held against further rotation and the stack of clips on the corresponding guide member will again progressively decrease in height as clip fastening operation continues. The time to change the position of the magazine is very short and the change can be made without having to remove cover 132.
As clip fastening operations continue, the magazine can be replenished with stacks 104 of clips 20 at those locations of the magazine that have previously supplied clips. Thus, there is no need to interrupt clip fastening operations at any time so long as there is a supply'of clips, however small, in the magazine.
1. Apparatus for fastening a U-shaped clip around the neck of a bag comprising: a support having a generally horizontal track; a clip-closing die at one end of said track; structure on the support for moving a clip along said track and against said die, whereby the clip is forced into closing relationship about the neck of a bag disposed across said track; a fixed, generally vertical clip guide for receiving a clip and disposed above said track, said clip guide having a transverse dimension less than that of a clip to allow the latter to embrace the clip guide as the clip is guided downwardly thereby toward and onto the track by gravitation; a magazine having a number of vertically disposed, circumferentially spaced guide members, each guide member being of substantially the same cross section as said clip guide and adapted to shiftably receive a stack of clips thereon so as to permit the clip stack to gravitate onto said clip guide when the guide member is vertically aligned therewith; means mounting the magazine on the support for rotation relative thereto about a generally vertical axis spaced laterally from the clp guide to permit any one of the guide members to move into vertical alignment with the clip guide with the lower end of a guide member in proximity to the upper end of the clip guide; and means carried by the support for releasably holding the magazine in any one of a number of operative locations at which a respective guide member is vertically aligned with said clip guide.
2. Clip fastener apparatus comprising: a support having means thereon defining a generally horizontal track; a clip-closing die coupled to the support adjacent to one end of the track structure including a shiftable ram on the support for moving a clip along said track and against said die to cause the clip to be moved into closing relationship to the neck of a bag disposed adjacent to the die; a clip guide carried by the support above said track and adjacent to the opposite end thereof, said clip guide being operably to direct a clip downwardly and onto the track and into the path of the ram; and a magazine mounted on the support for rotation relative thereto about a generally vertical axis, said magazine including a number of longitudinally spaced,
generally circular bands, a plurality of circumferentially spaced guide members secured to and disposed within said bands, said guide members surrounding a central region and being adapted for holding a number of circumferentially spaced stacks of clips with each stack of clips being vertically movable, a core disposed in said region and spaced inwardly from said guide members, and means coupling one of the bands to the core, said magazine being movable relative to the support by an amount sufficient to permit any one of a number of stacks of clips held thereby to be moved into alignment with said clip guide, whereby the clips of the stack can be fed onto the clip guide.
3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2, wherein is included means carried by the support for releasably holding the magazine in any one of a number of operative positions with respect to said clip guide.
4. Apparatus as set forth in claim 3, wherein said holding means includes a lever pivotally mounted on the support and movable into and out of holding engagement with the magazine, and means biasing the lever into engagement with the magazine.
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