Feeder mechanism and hopper for two different types of cartons

Package making – Methods – Forming or partial forming a receptacle and subsequent filling

Reexamination Certificate

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Details

C053S048100, C053S389100

Reexamination Certificate

active

06374581

ABSTRACT:

This invention relates to packaging of primary articles such as cans and bottles in multiple packaged cartons and is more particularly concerned with feeding such cartons in collapsed condition from a hopper and for initiating and then completing a set up operation of cartons in sequence.
The majority of known packaging machines are dedicated machines which construct only one size of one type of carton. Therefore, modern bottling plants are required to use a plurality of packaging machines to package different carton types, each machine taking up considerable floor space and being expensive to both purchase and operate.
A limited number of packaging machines are capable of packaging different sizes of cartons, for example six, eight or twelve packs of a wraparound carton. All such machines require adjustment when switching from one size or type of carton to another. This adjustment includes the manual removal of all of the cartons within the packaging machine and possible the mechanical adjustment of components in the machine. During this change over period, which can be thirty minutes or more, a machine cannot be used (known as “downtime”), which is an expensive delay in a bottling plant. Such a delay may even result in downtime for the entire bottling line, not just the packaging machine, if problems arise during the changeover period.
The present invention seeks to overcome the commercial disadvantages of known packaging machines by providing a feeder mechanism which is able to set up more than one type of carton. Further, the invention is capable of switching from one carton type to another, or between sizes with minimum downtime. The modular nature of the present invention enables a “fully flexible” machine to be constructed which overcomes, or at least mitigates, the problems of known machines.
The present invention can be used with a packaging machine described in PCT Published Application WO99/14120. It is envisaged that the present invention can be used with various other types of packaging machine. Alternatively, the erecting mechanism of the preset invention can be sold as an individual module to be fitted to new equipment on a retro fit basis.
One aspect of the invention provides an apparatus for storing two different types of carton, and for selecting and transferring cartons to be packaged which apparatus comprises a first hopper for storing a first carton type, a second hopper for storing a second carton type, carton engaging means and transfer means to transfer the carton from its respective first or second hopper from the infeed end of a packaging machine characterized in that said carton engaging and transfer means is rotatable about a fixed axis in an orbital path and in that the carton engaging means incorporates means to provide a first position for engaging cartons from the first hopper and a second position for engaging cartons from the second hopper the first and second pick up positions are located at different points on said orbital path.
According to an optional feature of this aspect of fee invention, the apparatus may further comprise means to place one of said hoppers in an operative position and control means to select the position of carton engagement means corresponding to the operative hopper selected.
According to another optional feature of his aspect of the invention, means to place one of said hoppers in an operative position may comprise a frame mounted to a second fixed axis and wherein said first and second hoppers are mounted to the frame each hopper being oppositely disposed about the second fixed axis.
According to a further optional feature of this aspect of the invention, said operative hopper may be adjacent the orbital path of said carton pick up and transfer means.
According to a still further optional feature of is aspect of the invention the control means may control the hoppers to place them in operative and inoperative positions.
A second aspect of the invention provides a method of selecting cartons held in first or second hoppers and transferring said cartons to the infeed end of a packaging machine which method comprises the steps of selecting one of said hoppers to be operative, placing said hopper in an operative position, positioning a carton engaging means to engage a carton stored in the operative hopper and transferring the engaged carton to said infeed end.
A third aspect of the invention provides an apparatus for storing two different types of carton, comprising a first hopper and a second hopper oppositely disposed about a fixed axis and rotatable between a first position whereby one of said first and second hoppers is in an operative position and a second position whereby the other of said first and second hoppers is in an operative position.


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patent: 0 719 706 (1996-07-01), None

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