|Número de publicación||WO1999065778 A2|
|Tipo de publicación||Solicitud|
|Número de solicitud||PCT/US1999/013830|
|Fecha de publicación||23 Dic 1999|
|Fecha de presentación||18 Jun 1999|
|Fecha de prioridad||18 Jun 1998|
|También publicado como||WO1999065778A3|
|Número de publicación||PCT/1999/13830, PCT/US/1999/013830, PCT/US/1999/13830, PCT/US/99/013830, PCT/US/99/13830, PCT/US1999/013830, PCT/US1999/13830, PCT/US1999013830, PCT/US199913830, PCT/US99/013830, PCT/US99/13830, PCT/US99013830, PCT/US9913830, WO 1999/065778 A2, WO 1999065778 A2, WO 1999065778A2, WO 9965778 A2, WO 9965778A2, WO-A2-1999065778, WO-A2-9965778, WO1999/065778A2, WO1999065778 A2, WO1999065778A2, WO9965778 A2, WO9965778A2|
|Inventores||Werner R. Schmitt, Horst Kerber, James G. Lin, Daniel D. Peck, Dennis L. Robinson, Horstmar A. Schober|
|Exportar cita||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Citas de patentes (7), Citada por (1), Clasificaciones (3), Eventos legales (5)|
|Enlaces externos: Patentscope, Espacenet|
CAN ASSEMBLY SYSTEM
Background of the Invention
The present invention relates to a system for handling and assembling cans. An inner can is properly aligned and held in position within an outer can. The present invention also relates to a puck for aligning the inner and outer cans.
Summary of the Invention
It is an object of the present invention to provide a can assembly system which can place an inner can inside an outer can for subsequent assembly.
In this system, a punching station and a flaring station are provided for punching a hole in the outer can and then flaring the punched hole. This hole will provide access to the inner can which is subsequently inserted into the outer can.
Both of these stations have die arrangements which mate with the contour of the surface of the can in order to avoid deformation of the can end.
An optional station can be provided in the present system for honing, reaming, polishing or otherwise finishing the hole of aluminum cans in order to avoid hairline cracks. This optional treatment can occur after the punching at the punching station.
Both the punching and flaring operations can be carried out in turrets. It is therefore possible to provide continuous motion for both the punching and flaring operations.
During the punching and flaring operations, the outer can may be conveyed in a first puck. This puck will not only maintain proper alignment of the can but can protect a flared bottom edge of the can during transport as will be explained below. After punching and flaring of the outer can, the present system will remove the outer can from the first puck and then place it in a two-stage puck. This transfer operation occurs in a can depucking and can mating station which can be a turret. Before the two-stage puck is fed to the depucking station, an inner can is inserted in the empty two-stage puck. The inner can is properly oriented and placed on the puck and then this loaded puck is fed to the depucking station whereat the outer can is placed over the inner can. The two-stage puck will maintain the height of the inner puck at a proper elevation to mate with the outer can when it is placed in the puck. This preassembled inner and outer cans are then fed in the two-stage puck for subsequent handling operations. For example, the inner and outer cans can be crimped together in order to form a unitary structure. The assembled inner and outer cans will then be discharged from the two-stage puck and the two-stage puck will be recirculated for subsequent use. As noted above, the inner can is first placed on the two-stage puck. A gasket can also be placed around an opening in the upper edge of the inner can in this system. The use of this gasket is optional. This gasket may be pretreated before being fed onto the puck. In particular, florescent pigmentation can be formed in the gasket or the gasket can be sprayed with invisible ink, for example, before it is fed to a station whereat it is inserted on the inner can. Thus, a manufacturer can make a gasket with some implanted pigmentation or some invisible ink can be sprayed onto the gasket just prior to its insertion on the inner can. In either arrangement this fluorescent pigmentation or invisible ink can be detected to serve as a signal that the gasket is present on the inner can. For example, an ultraviolet light source and sensor can be provided downstream from the optional gasket insertion station. The sensor can confirm presence and proper seating of the gasket on the inner can. The gasket with the inner can can then be fed to a station whereat the outer can is placed over the inner can. The use of this gasket is optional as noted above. When plastic inner and outer cans or plastic coated inner and outer cans are mated together, then the gasket can be omitted if so desired.
Further scope of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description given hereinafter. However, it should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description. Brief Description of the Drawings
The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description given hereinbelow and the accompanying drawings which are given by way of illustration only, and thus are not limitative of the present invention, and wherein:
Figure 1 is a schemative, plan view showing the can assembly system of the present invention;
Figure 2 is an enlarged view of a portion of the system shown in Figure 1;
Figure 3 is a front view of the punching station; Figure 4 is a bottom, perspective view of the male die in the punching station;
Figure 5 is a top, perspective view of the female die in the punching station;
Figure 6 is a perspective view of a first puck used in the present invention;
Figure 7 is a perspective view of a two-stage puck used in the present invention with an inner can shown in dotted lines; Figure 8 is a perspective, exploded view showing the inner can and the gasket; and
Figure 9 is a perspective, cut-away view of the outer can after punching and flaring operations with the inner can shown in dotted lines.
Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments Turning to the drawings and with particular reference to Figure 1, a can assembly system 10 of the present invention is shown. Inner and outer cans are handled in this system 10 as will be described in detail below. The outer cans 30 are cans of a first predetermined size which is larger and longer than the inner cans which are cans of a second predetermined size. In the system 10, the outer cans 30 are received on can depalletizer 12. The outer cans 30 will be described in more detail below. These cans 30 can have a closed, bottom end 31 and an open, top end 29. The cans 30 are initially oriented with their open end 29 facing upwardly when they are removed from the depalletizer 2. For purposes of this disclosure, the end of the outer can 30 having the opening will be the top 29 of can 30 while the opposite end will be the bottom 31 of the can 30. A flared edge can be provided around this top open end 29.
From the can depalletizer 12, outer cans 30 are fed along conveyor 14 to the first turret 16. In this turret 16, the cans 30 are inverted such that their open ends 29 face downwardly. During the inversion process the outer cans 30 are then inserted into first pucks 18. The first puck 18 is shown in Figure 6 and a portion of the outer can 30 is shown in Figure 9. The first puck 18 surrounds the top flared open end 29 of the outer can 30 and protects it during subsequent conveying. Therefore damage such as chipping to the edge of the can will be avoided. It should be noted that the outer can 30 shown in Figure 9 has been processed such that the bottom 31 is no longer closed but has an opening 104 therein. This processing and the outer can 30 itself will be discussed in more detail below.
In Figure 1, when the outer can 30 is depalletized and moving along conveyor 14, no puck is provided. Because the outer cans 30 are resting on their closed bottom ends 31, the top, open flared ends 29 are not in contact with the conveyor 14 and therefore damage to this end of the can due to transport is avoided. When the cans 30 are inverted by turret 16, the top end 29 will be placed in puck 18. Although the outer cans are then resting on this top end 29, the end 29 is surrounded and protected by the first puck 18. The first turret 16 inverts the cans and inserts them into the pucks 18 as noted.
As seen in Figure 6, the first puck 18 has a centrally disposed, longitudinally extending well 19. A central opening 20 is provided at the bottom of well 19 for receiving a female die as will be described below. This central opening 20 along with the two side vents 22 allow escape of air when the outer can 30 is inserted into the well 19 of the first puck 18. It is noted again that the bottom end 31 of the outer can 30 is initially sealed during this stage of insertion of the can 30 into the first puck 18. In Figure 9, however, the can 30 is shown after subsequent processing whereby the bottom end 31 is no longer closed. Provision of air escape means by central opening 20 and/or vents 22 in the first puck 18 allows the can 30 to quickly and readily seat. No air cushion is formed to delay insertion of the cans 30 into the pucks 18. The top edge 24 of the first puck 18 is cammed in order to aid in aligning can 30 during insertion into the puck 18. Apart from this slight tapering of the top edge 24, it is contemplated that the well 19 of the first puck 18 will be formed by a cylindrical wall 26 which conforms to the outer can 18. The diameter of this wall 26 will be slightly greater than the largest diameter of the can inserted into the puck 18. A Up 28 is provided around the bottom of the puck 18 on which the can 30 rests. The lip 28 defines the central opening 20. The pucks 18 can be made from metal, coated metaL wood, plastic or any other suitable material.
Retiirning to Figure 1, from the first turret 16, the first pucks 18 and outer cans 30 are fed to a punching station 32. This punching station 32 includes a second turret. The cans 30 and associated pucks 18 are fed through the punching station 32 together on the turret. While the turret rotates with the cans and pucks, a hole is punched into the bottom 31 of the outer can 30. The details of the punching dies for carrying out this operation are shown in Figures 3-5. In Figure 3, one of the punches 33 on the turret of the punching station 32 are shown. A plurality of such punches 33 are provided on the turret. The punches 33 are rotatable with the turret in station 32 and include a female die 34 and male die 38. The male die 38 and the female die 34 are movable toward and away from one other. This reciprocation can be carried out while the turret is station 32 is rotating or while the turret is stationary. Thus, continuous or incremental feeding of cans 30 through station 32 is possible.
The female die 34 is partially surrounded by a platform 35 fixed on the rotatable turret in station 32. In Figure 3, this female die 34 is in a retracted position and an outer can 30 is shown in dotted lines. The first puck 18 which surrounds the top 29 of can 30 is omitted from Figure 3 for simplicity. This puck would rest on the Up 37 of platform 35. The top open end 28 of the can 30 faces the female die 34.
An enlarged view of the female die 34 is shown in Figure 5. This female die 34 has a central opening 36 for receiving and discharging a disc which is punched from the bottom 31 of the outer can 30 as wiU be described below. The top surface of the female die 34 has a concave shape which mates with the shape of the bottom 31 of the can 30 as seen in Figure 9. In particular, the female die 34 moves upwardly relative to platform 35 when the inner can 30 and puck 18 are seated on the platform Up 37. The female die 34 is sized to pass through the central opening 20 in puck 18 and the opening in the top 29 of outer can 30. The top surface of the female die 34 will move into engagement with the interior of the bottom 31 of can 30. This engagement wiU prevent deformation of the can 30 during the punching operation as will now be described.
Figure 4 shows an enlarged view of the male die 38 and surrounding stripper plate 40. The male die 38 is reciprocated relative to the stripper plate 40. In Figure 4, the die 38 is shown protruding from stripper plate 40 but this die 38 can be totally retracted within plate 40. Both plate 40 and die 38 are movable toward the female die 34. Thus, the stripper plate 40 and male die 38 are longitudinally reciprocable relative to the upper punch platform 39. When the puck 18 and outer can 30 are loaded into the punching station 32, the female die 34 will move upwardly into the interior of can 30 as previously described. The central opening 20 of puck 18 aUows the female die 34 to pass freely therethrough. The concave upper surface of the female die 34 wiU engage the interior of the can bottom 31. The bottom 31 of the outer can 30 in the punching station 32, however, is actually on a top side of the can due to the previous inversion of the can in the first turret 16. Nonetheless, as noted above, the initiaUy open end of the outer can 30 will be described as the top 29 of can 30. In the punching station 32, the stripper plate 40 wiU also move downwardly to engage the exterior bottom 31 of the can. Either the stripper plate 40 or female die 34 can move first or they could both move simultaneously to engage can bottom 31. The stripper plate 40 has a convex shape to mate with the bottom 31 of the outer can 30. Thus, the shapes of the female die 34 and stripper plate 40 are such that they conform to one another. They wiU firmly hold the can in position without deformation.
After this engagement the male die 38 will move downwardly and extend from the stripper plate 40. This movement wiU punch a hole into the bottom 31 of the can 30. The disc which is punched from the bottom of the can wiU then be discharged through the opening 36 in the female die 34. The male die 38 can have a convex shape which also generaUy matches the bottom 31 of the can. Apart from the general convex shape, a wedge can be formed on the male die 38 as shown in Figure 4. In particular, a central ridge or line 42 is provided across the face of the male die 38. This central ridge 42 gives the male die a wedge shape in addition to its overaU convex shape. The angle of the face of the punch can be offset by three degrees relative to a horizontal plane. This offset punch face wiU reduce the force required to form the hole in the bottom 31 of the outer can 30. This wedge shape allows for shearing of the can bottom 31 during the punching operation.
After the hole is punched in the can bottom 31, the male die 38 is retracted into the stripper plate 40. This stripper plate 40, however, will prevent the can 30 from moving upwardly during die retraction and wiU therefore maintain engagement of the can 30 in the puck 18.
The stripper plate 40 can then disengage from the bottom 31 of the can 30 and the female die 34 can be withdrawn from the interior of the can. Of course the order of movement of the stripper plate 40 and female die 34 can be reversed or be simultaneous, if so desired. The first puck 18 and can 30 can then be discharged from the punching station 32 onto conveyor 44 as seen in Figure 1. The punching station 32 is shown as a second turret but of course any other suitable design can be used. The use of a turret however, enables continuous motion of the cans 30 and pucks 18 during the punching operation. Cams can be provided around the circumference of the turret in station 32 in order to raise and lower the respective dies 34, 38 and stripper plates 40 in the plurality of punches 33. Of course, these dies and plates can be pneumaticaUy operated, electrically operated or operated in other suitable fashion.
On conveyor 44, the first pucks 18 and outer cans 30 are then fed to the downstream flaring station 46. An optional treatment station 48 can be provided between the punching station 32 and flaring station 46. When handling aluminum cans, for example, it has been found that hairline fractures can be formed during the flaring operation. Honing, reaming, polishing, etc. can be provided as an optional treatment station 48 in order to avoid this problem. In addition, or as an alternative, a deburring station can be provided between the punching station 32 and flaring station 46. By sanding or otherwise smoothing the edge of the hole in can 30 after it is formed in the punching station 32, hairline fractures can also be prevented in the flaring station 46 when handling aluminum cans. When steel cans or plastic cans are handled, however, this treatment station 48 can be omitted. Of course, any other suitable treatments can be carried out at the station 48 as necessary.
The downstream flaring station 46 is similar to the punching station 32. A pluraUty of pairs of female dies and male rods are provided in a rotatable turret. A male rod similar to the male die can be inserted through the hole in the bottom 31 of can 30 in order to form a flange around the hole's periphery. The rod which forms this flange can be reciprocably mounted in a stripper plate. The contours of the stripper plate and the matching female die can be convex/concave similar to these elements in the punching station 32 in order to mate with the bottom 31 of the outer can 30 and avoid deformation thereof. Of course, if flat cans were being handled, then the dies 34, 38 and stripper plate 40 in the punching station 32 and associated structures in the flaring station 46 could be flat. Alternatively, the female die 34 could be convex and the stripper plate 40 could be concave if the handled can had a bottom which protrudes outwardly. Of course, if deformation of the cans were of Uttle or no concern, then the shapes of the dies and stripper plates would not necessarily need to match the shape of the can bottom 31.
From the flaring station 46, the outer cans 30 and first pucks 18 are fed via conveyor 50 to a can depucking and can mating station 52. This station 52 includes a fourth turret. In this station 52, the treated outer cans 30 wiU be removed from the first pucks 18 and inserted into two-stage pucks 54 as shown in Figure 7. In Figure 7, the outer can 30 is not shown, but this can would be received in the recess between the central holder 76 and the outer holder 78. These two-stage pucks wiU be described in more detail below. A conveyor 56 feeds these two-stage pucks 54 to station 52. The upstream handling of these two-stage pucks 54 will now be described.
Initially, an inner can depaUetizer 58 is provided. These inner cans 60 are shown in Figure 8. It is contemplated that the inner cans will have a sealed, closed bottom 62 and flanged opening 64 on the opposite end. A gasket 98 can be mounted about opening 64 as wiU be described below. Of course, while a particular inner can 60 has been shown and described, it should be contemplated that any suitable type of container could be utilized with the present invention.
Returning to Figures 1 and 2, inner cans 60 are moved from the depaUetizer
58, the inner cans 60 are fed via conveyor 66 to staging area 68. The staging area 68
5 can stockpile inner cans 60 in order to ensure a smooth continuous operation. While not shown, a staging area can be provided for the outer cans 30 downstream from depalletizer 12. Of course, either of these staging areas can be omitted if so desired.
From the staging area 68, the inner cans 60 are moved along conveyor 70 to an inner can puclάng station 72. This pucking station 72 includes a fifth turret. If the0 staging area 68 was omitted, the inner cans 60 would be fed directly to the pucking station 72. In this pucking station 72, the inner cans are inserted on the two-stage pucks 54.
As shown in more detail in Figure 7, the inner cans 60 are received in the central opening 74 of the two-stage puck 54. This two-stage puck 54 has a central5 holder 76 with the central opening 74. An outer holder 78 encircles the central holder 76. These holders 76, 78 are of a unitary, one-piece construction. The central holder 76 has two side vents 80 as shown in Figure 7. Also, at the bottom of the opening in the central holder 76, a centraUy disposed through hole 82 is provided. This through hole 82 can be used to push the inner can 60 or other contents from the central holder o 76. For example, a push rod (not shown) can be inserted into through hole 82 in order to engage an article held in the central holder 76. This push rod can then be used to eject the article from the central holder 76. Alternatively, a blast of air or other ejection means could be used. Moreover, the through hole 82 need not be centraUy positioned in the two-stage puck 54 but could be offset if so desired. Moreover, this5 through hole 82 and/or the vents 80 can be omitted if so desired. These vents 80 as well as through hole 82 enable air to escape when an article such as inner can 60 is inserted into the central holder 76.
It is contemplated that an inner can 60 wiU be inserted into the central holder 76. These inner cans 60 wiU have a circumference which closely mates with the inner0 circumference of the central holder 76. In order to prevent an air cushion from forming and to aid in quick insertion of the inner can 60 into the central holder 76, the vents 80 and/or through hole 82 are provided.
The bottom 84 of the central holder 76 is positioned above the bottom 86 of the outer holder 78. This enables the top of the inner can 60 with the flanged opening 64 to engage with the bottom 31 of the outer can 30 as wiU be described later. While the heights of the holders 76, 78 can be varied, it is contemplated that the sidewaUs forming the outer holder 78 may be 5 centimeters while the sidewall forming the central holder 76 may be 14.5 centimeters and the distance from the bottom 84 of the central holder 76 to the top edge of the central holder may be 7.5 centimeters. Moreover, the diameter of the central holder 76 may be 5 centimeters whereas the diameter of the outer holder 78 may be 8 centimeters. Of course, any of these dimensions can be varied if so desired.
It is contemplated, nonetheless, that the inner wall of the central holder 76 will correspond to the outer diameter of the article to be held therein. Likewise, the inner wall of the outer holder 78 will correspond to the diameter of article to be held therein. In particular, the top 28 of the outer can 30 can be inserted into the outer holder 78. The flared opening in the can top 28 will fit over the central holder 76 and be within the interior of the outer holder 78. The flared wall around the top 29 of the outer can 30 is therefore protected by the outer holder 78 during conveying of the can similarly to the protection provided by the first puck 18. This arrangement stably holds the cans 30, and prevents them from tipping or otherwise wobbling when being transported. Positioning of the articles can therefore be ensured.
Both the inner wall of the central holder 76 and outer holder 78 can be cammed at the upper edge thereof. This wUl aid in insertion of articles into the various holders. Also, the outer edge of the central holder 76 at the top edge thereof can be sUghtly cammed in order to aid insertion of the outer can 30 into the outer holder 78. Of course, the waUs of the first and two-stage pucks 18, 54 could be straight and without any camming surfaces if so desired.
From this description of the two-stage puck 54, it should become apparent that the inner can 60 is placed in the central holder 76. This operation occurs at the inner can pucking station 72 as seen in Figures 1 and 2. The inner cans 60 will move along conveyor 70 to the inner can pucking station 72 whereat the two-stage pucks which are fed by conveyor 88 wiU enter the inner can pucking station 72. It is contemplated that this station 72 comprises a turret which initiaUy receives the two-stage pucks 54 and then rotates to receive the inner cans 60. The two-stage pucks 54 with the inner cans 60 therein wiU then be discharged onto conveyor 90.
The elevated bottom 84 of the central holder 76 wiU enable a portion of the inner can 60 to extend above the top edge of the central holder 76. Of course, the amount that the inner can 60 projects from the holder 76 could be varied if so desired. Instead of using a fixed bottom 84 in the two-stage puck 54, a push rod or other ejector could be provided in order to elevate the inner can to the desired height. In this alternative arrangement an ejector rod or other structure would extend through the through hole 82 in the bottom of the central holder 76 in order to lift the can to the desired height at an appropriate time. A fixed spacer could also be used in the bottom of the central holder 76 if necessary to elevate the inner cans 60. However, a simpler arrangement is the arrangement shown wherein the height of the fixed bottom 84 of the central holder 76 wiU simply hold the can 60 above the upper edge of the central holder 76. This arrangement is particularly suited to handling cans which are of a standardized size.
In Figures 1 and 2, the cans move from conveyor 90 to a gasket placement station 92. This station 92 is also a turret which receives the two-stage pucks 54 with inner can 60 from conveyor 90. A gasket feeder 94 is provided for feeding gaskets on conveyor 96 to the gasket placement station 92. As the inner cans 60 move through the gasket placement station 92, the gaskets 98 are taken from conveyor 96 and placed on the flared upper opening 64 of the inner can 60. These gaskets wiU tightly fit onto the openings 100 and be held there by friction. Of course, some adhesive or other attachment means could be used if so desired.
It is contemplated that both the inner can 60 and outer can 30 wiU be made from metal. When such an inner can 60 is in contact with the outer can 30, this gasket 98 is needed. However, if one or both of the cans 60, 30 were plastic-coated or made from plastic or other material which did not require a gasket 98 at their interface, this gasket placement station 92 and its associated structures 94, 96 can be omitted if so desired. In this arrangement the two-stage pucks 54 would move directly from the station 72 to the station 52 and the gasket placement station 92 could be omitted or simply turned off.
In the arrangement shown in Figures 1 and 2, the two-stage pucks 54 with the inner can 60 having the gaskets 98 on their upper opening 64 wiU be moved by conveyor 56 to the can depucking and can mating station 52. Within the gasket placement station 92 or along the length of this conveyor 56, a gasket verification device 100 can be provided. This device wiU confirm that the gasket 98 is present and properly seated on the opening 64 of the inner can 60. If the gasket is missing, a bypass line or other ejection device (not shown) can be provided for removing the inner can 60 and/or two-stage puck 54 such that it will not enter the station 52.
The gasket verification device could be a device for detecting fluorescent pigment which is implanted inside the gaskets 98. In other words, the gaskets 98 fed to the gasket feeder 94 could have a pigment such as fluorescent pigment impregnated therein. This impregnation would involve certain steps during the manufacture of the gaskets 98. Alternatively, upon arrival at the factory, the gaskets 98 could be spray painted with invisible ink or another detectable material. For example, a device for spraying invisible ink on the gaskets could be provided along conveyor 96 or this step could be carried out before the gaskets are placed in feeder 94. Rather than doing this spraying at the factory, the gaskets could also be manufactured with invisible ink sprayed thereon.
Either way, when the gaskets 98 are placed on the inner can 60 by the gasket placement station 92, the verification device 100 can then inspect the cans to make sure that the gaskets are properly seated thereon. For example, if the gaskets are sprayed with invisible ink, then an ultraviolet light source can be used along conveyor 56 to detect if the gaskets 98 are properly seated on the inner can 60. Rather than merely detecting the presence of a gasket 98, a more sophisticated detector could be used to determine whether the gasket is completely sealed around the opening 100 of the inner can 60 to insure that a proper leak-proof seal wUl eventuaUy be formed. After the gaskets 98 are placed on the inner cans 60, the two-stage pucks 54 move into the can depucking and can mating station 52. Outer cans 30 in first pucks 18 are also infed to the station 52 along conveyor 50. In the station 52, the outer cans 30 will be removed from first pucks 18 and inserted into the outer holder 78 of the two-stage puck 54. The inner cans 60 are already in the central holder 76 of the two- stage puck 54. Therefore, the outer cans 30 are placed over the inner cans 60 as shown in Figure 9.
As previously described, the bottom 84 of the central holder 76 is slightly elevated so that the top of the inner can 60 wiU mate with the bottom 31 of the outer can 30. Moreover, due to the concentric arrangement of the holders 76, 78, the opening 64 provided in the upper portion of the inner can 60 wiU concentrically mate with an opening 104 previously formed in the outer can 30. These two cans 60, 30 will therefore be in mating configuration as indicated in Figure 9. If a gasket 98 is used, the gasket wiU interface between the two cans 60, 30.
After the outer cans 30 are removed from first pucks 18, the empty pucks 18 are returned along recirculation line 106 to the first turret 16 as shown in Figures 1 and 2. It is contemplated that a turret wiU also be used in the station 52.
The previously discussed stations 16, 32, 46, 52, 72, and 92 all include turrets. This enables the pucks and associated cans to continuously move through the system 10. Therefore, a continuous flow is provided. It is possible, however, to substitute other handling means for any of these turrets if so desired. Rather than using a continuous flow, a stepwise flow or batch processing could be used, if so desired.
The two-stage pucks 54 with the inner can 60 and outer can 30 exit the station 52 along conveyor 108. These pucks 54 wiU first move to a valve insertion station 110. A valve 111 can be placed in the mating openings 64, 104 of the cans 60, 30. From the station 110, the two-stage pucks 54 move along conveyor 112 to a crimping station 114. In this station 114, the inner can 60, outer can 30, and valve 111 are crimped together at mating openings 64, 104 to thereby seal the inner can. The bottom 31 of the outer can 30 is sealed to the top of the inner can 60 in this process. The inner can 60 is therefore closed except for access through the vent. The top 29 of the outer can 30 remains open. From the crimping station 114, the two-stage pucks 54 with their connected inner and outer cans 60, 30 are moved along conveyor 116 to a gross leak check station 118. In this station, the inner cans 60 can be charged with a gas, for example, and the sealing can be checked. In this manner, it can be determined whether or not the cans 30, 60 and valve are properly mated. Other leak detection arrangements could be used if so desired. From the gross leak check station 118, the two-stage pucks 54 are conveyed along conveyor 120 to a gas-fdling station 122. Gas, liquid or any desired material can be charged into the inner can 60.
From the gas-fiUing station 122, the pucks 54 are moved by conveyor 124 to a cap assembly station 126. A protective cap 127 can be inserted over the ends of the cans 30, 60 and valve 111 in order to protect the assembled arrangement. The mating cans 30, 60 and valve 111 form an assembled can 129. The bottom 31 of the outer can 30 would be covered by cap 27. During shipping and subsequent handling, these caps 127 would protect the valve 111. From the cap assembly station 126, die two- stage pucks 54 with the assembled cans 129 and cap 127 are moved along conveyor 128 to a can depucking and inverting station 130.
This station 130 will invert the assembled cans 129 such that they rest on the caps 127 placed thereon in the previous station 126. The assembled cans 129 will be discharged along conveyor 132 to a palletizer 134. This palletizer 134 can place the assembled arrangement on paUets or in boxes as so desired. Of course, the palletizer 134 could be omitted. For example, instead of using a paUetizer/packer 134, the assembled cans 132 could alternatively be conveyed to some downstream operation. Such a downstream operation could be filling the space between the inner can 60 and outer can 30 with a Uquid or other medium through the open top 29 of the outer can 30. Then a bottom could be sealed to the top 29 of the outer can 30 in order to form a filled, closed container. This closed container would have product in the space between the inner can 60 and outer can 30 as well as charged gas within the inner can 60.
From the can depucking and inverting station 130, the empty two-stage pucks 54 are fed along conveyor 88 to the inner can pucking station 72 as previously discussed. Similarly to other stations, the can depucking and inverting station 130 is contemplated as being a rotatable turret. This enables continuous handling of the assembled cans and pucks. However, other types of handhng arrangements can be used in this station 130 as has been discussed with the previous stations.
While certain processing stations 110, 114, 118, 122, and 126 have been discussed, it should be contemplated that any of these stations could be omitted if so desired. Moreover, additional stations can be added in this loop of the can assembly system 10. AdditionaUy, while different conveyors have been discussed, it is contemplated that a single length of conveyor can be used in different portions of the system 10. For example, the conveyor 108, 112, 116, 120, 124, and 128 could aU be a single conveyor. Great flexibility is had in the layout arrangement of the instant system. Also, as should be apparent to one skilled in the art, the exact placement of the different stations could be varied. For example, while a generally straight tine flow is shown between the first turret 16, punching station 32, flaring station 46, and can depucking and mating station 52, a nonlinear arrangement could be used. It should be readUy apparent to a skiUed artisan that the shapes and types of the various conveyors can be readily changed.
It is contemplated that the system 10 of the present invention can handle between 75 to 500 parts per minute and in particular, it could handle 400 parts per minute. Of course, these handling features can easily be varied.
While cans for beverages have been discussed, the instant invention can be used for handling cans for food, powder, or any other suitable material. Metal cans, plastic-coated cans, plastic cans, or any other type of containers could be used. In fact buckets, boxes or containers other than cans can be handled. Great flexibility can be had with the instant can assembly system 10.
The invention being thus described, it wiU be obvious that the same may be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention, and aU such modifications as would be obvious to one skiUed in the art are intended to be included within the scope of the foUowing claims.
|Patente citada||Fecha de presentación||Fecha de publicación||Solicitante||Título|
|US3733680 *||17 Mar 1971||22 May 1973||Continental Can Co||Method of and apparatus for assembling internesting members|
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