Title:
METHOD OF FOLDING A BOX BLANK
United States Patent 3828659
Abstract:
A machine for forming a box from a collapsed blank that includes four interconnected sidewalls having four alternately interconnected end flaps extending therefrom, in which each blank is folded flat with one pair of interconnected end flaps facing the other pair of interconnected end flaps in juxtaposition to one another. The box forming machine includes a magazine assembly for supporting a plurality of blanks in vertically oriented planes and includes means for successively dispensing individual blanks to the receiving end of the box forming machine. The receiving end of the box forming machine includes means for spreading the extended end flaps wherein one pair of interconnected end flaps is angularly disposed to one side of the plane of the collapsed blank and the second interconnected pair of end flaps is angularly disposed on an opposite side of the plane of the collapsed blank. Means is provided for retaining the flaps in their spread relationship while conveyor means advances the collapsed blank to an end flap folding station which includes means for folding the pairs of end flaps back against their respective connected sides. The collapsed carton blank is then moved to a box opening station having means for engaging and angularly displacing one side of the collapsed blank to an open position while an adjacent interconnected side is engaged and held in a fixed position by stabilizing means. After the box has been opened, the bottom end flaps are folded upwardly to a position aligned with the bottom of the box.


Inventors:
REICHERT D
Application Number:
05/359307
Publication Date:
08/13/1974
Filing Date:
05/11/1973
Assignee:
ABC Packaging Machine Corporation (Largo, FL)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B31B5/80; (IPC1-7): B31B1/36; B31B49/02
Field of Search:
93/36R,49R,49M,49AC,53R,53M,53SD,84R
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3421415APPARATUS FOR SETTING UP AND GLUING CARTONS1969-01-14Pearson
2750856Case handling apparatus1956-06-19Ferguson et al.
Primary Examiner:
Lake, Roy
Assistant Examiner:
Coan, James F.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Newton, Hopkins & Ormsby
Parent Case Data:


This is a division of application Ser. No. 222,617, filed Feb. 1, 1972, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,763,750.
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. In a method for forming a box from a collapsed carton blank wherein the collapsed carton blank includes four interconnected sidewalls with cetain sidewalls having end flaps and in which each blank is flat with one flap facing another flap in juxtaposition with one another, said method including the steps of:

2. A method as required by claim 1 further characterized in that said facing end flaps are maintained in parallel planes relative to each other during folding movement to said angular displaced positions.

3. A method as required by claim 1 wherein the other end flaps are respectively interconnected with the facing end flap, and are displaced therewith, including a further step of advancing said carton blank with said end flaps in said angularly displaced positions along a predetermined path and for thereafter folding said interconnected flaps back upon the outer surface of the sidewalls from which they respectively extend.

4. A method as required by claim 3 further characterized in that said interconnected end flaps are maintained in a common plane during folding movement against the outer surface of said sidewalls.

5. A method as required by claim 4 including a further step of opening said collapsed carton blank to form a box with said interconnected flaps folded back against said sidewalls.

6. In a method of forming a box from a collapsed carton blank wherein the collapsed carton blank includes interconnected juxtaposed sidewalls and juxtaposed end flaps projecting from the sidewalls, the sidewalls and end flaps being separated by score lines along said blank, and wherein said sidewalls are disposed in parallel sidewall planes and said flaps are disposed in flap planes which respectively coinside with said sidewall planes, said method including the steps of:

7. A method as required by claim 6, wherein the pivoting of said one of said flaps in said opposite direction is accomplished by means of a vacuum cup, which is moved in said opposite direction while a vacuum is applied thereto to retain said one of said flaps against said cup.

8. A method as required by claim 6 wherein said sidewise force to said one of said flaps is applied against the outer surface of said one of said flaps by a vacuum cup which moved in an arcuate path in said one direction, and the pivoting of said one of said flaps in the opposite direction is accomplished by moving said vacuum cup in said arcuate path in said opposite direction as a vacuum is applied to said cup for retaining said one of said flaps against said cup.

9. A method as required by claim 6 including restraining said other of said flaps in its angular position as said one of said flaps is pivoted in the opposite direction.

10. A method as required by claim 6 including, after said one of said flaps has been pivoted to its spread position, applying forces to the inside surfaces of said flaps in directions parallel to and on opposite sides of the planes of said sidewalls for folding said flaps flat against the outer surfaces of their respective sidewalls.

11. In a method of forming a box from a carton blank wherein adjacent wall portions of said box are separated by a score line, the steps of:

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a box forming apparatus wherein box blanks are moved from a collapsed position to an open position. More particularly, this invention is directed to a box forming machine for use with boxes having four interconnecting sidewalls with four alternately interconnecting end flaps.

In the shipment of products from the factory to the various distribution outlets, the products are normally stored in cardboard boxes. The cardboard boxes are manufactured at one facility and maintained in a collapsed position for shipment to a second facility wherein the boxes are provided with goods. In setting up boxes for receiving products, the collapsed blanks are normally supported on a magazine section of an automatic box forming machine and are serially advanced through the box forming machine which includes a number of stations which perform various folding and assembling operations on the collapsed blank.

In certain types of products which are placed in cardboard boxes for shipment, such as bottles of liquid which are filled by automatic machinery, it is necessary to maintain the top flaps of the box in an open position for receiving the liquid container from the automatic filling machines. Some types of box forming machinery are provided with retaining members which will engage and retain the top end flaps in an open position during a filling operation.

One type of specialized carton blank has been manufactured for use in maintaining the top end flaps in an open relationship during placement of containers within the box. This special type of blank includes four interconnected sidewalls with four alternately interconnected end flaps extending therefrom. The box blanks are shipped from the factory with the sidewalls and interconnected end flaps in coplanar relationship relative to each other and are stored in this position on the box forming machine for assembling the box into an open position for receiving products. In utilizing the specially formed carton blank, one pair of interconnected end flaps is folded back against the sidewalls from which they extend and the second pair of interconnected end flaps is also folded back against the sidewalls from which they extend, before the carton blank is opened. With the interconnected end flaps folded back against their respective sides, the box can then be opened to a rectangular position wherein the interconnected portion between the end flaps will maintain the end flaps in a folded position against the sides of the box during further handling of the box to place liquid containers or other products therein.

The above described specialized box blanks are primarily used in the liquid packaging industry wherein the liquid containers are manufactured at one plant, placed in the boxes with the interconnected end flaps folded against the sides and shipped to a second plant wherein the containers are removed therefrom, filled with liquid and again replaced in the box. After the filled containers have been placed in the box, the tabs extending between the interconnected flaps are severed and the end flaps are folded to a cover position and secured in such position for further shipment.

The use of the specialized box blanks having the four interconnected sides with four alternately interconnected end flaps described hereinabove, requires special box forming machinery for automatically forming the boxes into an assembled relationship. One such specialized box forming machine is disclosed in the patent to Pearson, No. 3,421,415 issued Jan. 14, 1969.

One problem with the prior art box forming machine capable of utilizing the specialized boxes having interconnected flaps, is that the carton or box blanks are supported in one plane in the magazine storage section and are adjusted to a second plane during a box setting up process, which angular adjustment complicates the mechanism required, thus rendering the machine more susceptible to breakdown. The prior art magazine section supports the carton blank in generally horizontal planes vertically stacked above each other. In dispensing the carton blanks from the vertically stacked array of blanks, it is necessary to provide complicated holding mechanisms for holding the remainder of the stack while retrieving the bottom collapsed blank for use.

In the manufacture of the specialized carton blanks, the blank is scored at a number of areas where the blank is to be folded in a box forming operation. Sometimes the dies which perform the scoring operation are not properly set, thus the score effected is too light. Also, if corrugated cartons remain in storage for any length of time these scores have a tendency to disappear. If these scores are not deep enough they will cause problems when an attempt is made to open the flaps with interconnected tabs on them.

Another problem in forming a box which includes interconnected pairs of end flaps utilizing the prior art box forming machine, is that one end flap is normally engaged and cammed to a folding position which will put an undue strain on the interconnecting tabs. Often, the camming of one end flap will cause this interconnected tab to tear and break easily. If it breaks or tears, it will jam the machine and also cause a ruined case. These tabs are put in the case when the case is made by means of a splitter. If the splitter is not set correctly or if it is dull, it can often leave a tab that is not cut to the proper depth, perhaps smaller than specified or a dull knife can cause a rip or a tear. In either event, this will cause the tab to break easily in a folding operation by camming of one end flap to effect movement of adjacent interconnected end flap.

Another problem is in storage of the cases. If the cases are stored for any length of time or in a hot or dry atmosphere, such as a warehouse or loft, the paper dries out and becomes quite brittle, and when the corrugated flaps are cammed to their folded position, the tabs will snap.

A further problem with the prior art box forming machine for use with specialized cartons is that the machinery is not capable of utilizing a number of various sized blanks, thus requiring a separate machine for each size of carton blank being used.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The above disadvantages of the prior art and the requirements for using specialized carton blank have been overcome by the present invention which basically includes a box forming machine having a magazine storage station wherein the collapsed carton blanks are stored in generally vertically oriented planes and horizontally stacked in juxtaposition adjacent each other, with individual carton blanks being dispensed from the magazine station and transferred along a substantially common plane through the various box forming operations. The box forming machine of the present invention includes a receiving station, a box opening station and a bottom flap folding station. Conveyor means is operatively associated with the box forming machine and cyclically controlled for advancing a collapsed blank from the receiving station to each of the box forming stations and for discharge adjacent an opposite end. The end flap spreading station includes one pair of fixed vacuum cups and a second pair of movable vacuum cups which are operatively associated with each other for spreading adjacent interconnected end flaps prior to advancement of the collapsed blank to the end flap folding station. In the end flap folding station, the pairs of interconnected end flaps are folded back against the sides from which they extend with the carton blanks remaining in the collapsed condition. The box opening station includes one pair of vacuum cups for grasping and stabilizing one side of the blank while a second pair of movable vacuum cups grasps and effects displacement of an adjacent interconnected side through an angle of substantially 90° to cause the box to be opened while maintaining the interconnected end flaps in folded relationship against their sides. The bottom flap folding station includes means for folding the leading and trailing end flaps into horizontal alignment with the box bottom for discharge from the box forming machine wherein glue can be readily applied in a next adjacent machine.

One important feature of the present invention is the storage of the carton blanks in vertical planes wherein the blanks can be transferred directly to a coplanar path of movement for transfer through the box forming machine.

A further feature of the present invention provides means for folding both pairs of interconnected end flaps in one angular direction away from the plane of the carton blank and then folding one interconnected pair of end flaps in an opposite offset angular relationship. This folding of the end flaps will not only serve to separate the end flaps but will also break predetermined score lines between the end flap and carton sides, which is an advantage over a carton blank which has improperly scored lines or in which the scored lines have disappeared.

Another feature of the present invention includes the method of folding the interconnected pairs of end flaps back against the outer sides, wherein the folding operation includes means for contacting and moving an interconnected pair of end flaps in a common plane during movement back against the sides from which they extend. By placing a force and effecting movement of the interconnected pair in a common plane, this will prevent the interconnected tabs from tearing or breaking.

Another important feature of the present invention is the alignment of the box forming stations wherein various steps of a box forming operation can be performed without changing the plane or path of movement of the blank during advancement through the various stations.

It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a box forming machine which is capable of forming a box from a collapsed blank having four interconnected sidewalls with four alternately interconnected end flaps extended therefrom in which each blank is folded flat with one pair of interconnected flaps facing the other pair of interconnected flaps in juxtaposition to one another.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a box forming machine wherein the collapsed box blanks are maintained in a common plane as they are dispensed from the magazine station, and advanced through the various box forming stations.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a box forming machine having a magazine station which is operable for storing a plurality of box blanks and cyclically controlled for dispensing individual box blanks to the receiving end of a box forming machine.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a box forming machine having an end flap spreading station which is operable for spreading two pairs of alternately interconnected end flaps without adjusting the plane of movement of the collapsed blank.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a box forming machine having an end flap folding station wherein the alternately interconnected end flaps are folded back against the sides from which they extend without the box blank being adjusted from the common plane of movement through the box forming machine.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a box forming machine having a box opening station wherein the sides of the box blank are opened by adjusting the sides to substantially 90° angles relative to each other and wherein at least one side of the box blanks remain in the common plane of movement of the blank from the preceding end flap folding station.

A further object of this invention is to provide cyclic control means for effecting advancement of a collapsed carton blank from a receiving end of a box forming machine and through each of the box forming stations for discharge at the opposite end of the box forming machine.

An additional object of the present invention is to provide a box forming machine which is simple in construction and operation, economical to manufacture and reliable in performance.

These and other objects and advantages of the details of construction will become apparent after reading the following description of the illustrative embodiment of a box forming machine embodying the principles of the present invention with reference to the attached drawings wherein like reference numerals have been used to refer to like parts throughout the several figures, and wherein:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES OF DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a box forming machine embodying the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the box forming machine showing the structural framework and drive control means, with certain parts omitted for purpose of clarity;

FIG. 3 is an elevational side view of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a flow diagram showing the progression of the box blanks through the various forming operations;

FIG. 5 is a schematic elevational view taken substantially longitudinally through the box forming machine showing the progression of the blank through the various stations of the box forming machine, with certain parts omitted for purpose of clarity;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken transversely through the receiving end and end flap spreading station and through the magazine assembly as shown in FIG. 5, with certain parts omitted for purpose of clarity;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged side elevational view of the magazine assembly, with certain parts broken away and shown in section and certain parts omitted for purpose of clarity;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of FIG. 7, with certain parts omitted for purpose of clarity;

FIG. 9 is an end elevational view as seen from the left of FIG. 8 with certain parts omitted and certain parts broken away and shown in section for purpose of clarity;

FIGS. 10, 11, and 12 are enlarged plan views adapted to be connected along match line A--A and B--B showing the structural framework and drive control system, with certain parts broken away and shown in section and certain parts omitted for purpose of clarity;

FIGS. 13, 14 and 15 are side elevational views of FIGS. 10, 11, 12 with the views adapted to be connected along match line C--C and D--D;

FIG. 16 is an end elevational view of the box forming machine as seen from the left of FIG. 15 with certain parts omitted for purpose of clarity;

FIG. 16a is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken along lines 16--16a of FIG. 16;

FIG. 17 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of the end flap spreading station;

FIG. 18 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of the end flap spreading station showing the end flap retaining means, with certain parts broken away and certain parts omitted for purpose of clarity;

FIG. 19 is a vertical sectional view taken transversely through the end flap retaining plate and looking from left to right in FIG. 18;

FIG. 20 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of the end flap folding station, with certain parts omitted and certain parts broken away and shown in section for purpose of clarity;

FIG. 21 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of still another portion of the end flap folding station with certain parts omitted and certain parts broken away and shown in section for purpose of clarity;

FIG. 22 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of the end flap folding station with the folding assembly moved to an adjusted inoperable position;

FIG. 23 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of the box opening station with certain parts omitted and certain parts broken away and shown in section for purpose of clarity;

FIG. 24 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view showing the opening assembly of FIG. 23 moved to an adjusted position;

FIG. 25 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view similar to FIG. 24 showing the box opening assembly moved to a second adjusted position;

FIGS. 26, 27 are schematic pneumatic flow diagrams adapted to be connected along lines E--E and showing the various pneumatic control systems utilized in the box forming machine; and

FIG. 28 is a timing chart of the main program control shaft.

DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT

CONTENTS

A -- general Description

B -- supporting Framework

C -- conveyor

D -- drive Control System

E -- magazine Assembly

F -- end Flap Spreading Station

G -- end Flap Folding Station

H -- box Opening Station

I -- bottom End Flap Folding Assembly

J -- operation

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The box forming machine embodying the principles of the present invention is shown in the drawings and generally represented by the reference numeral 10 (FIG. 1). The box forming machine will be described with reference to the supporting framework as shown in FIGS. 1-3 and 10-15 and represented by numerals 11, 12, etc.; a conveyor 50 shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 5 and 10-15; a drive control system shown in FIGS. 10-15 and 26-28 and represented by numerals 100, 101 etc.; a magazine assembly shown in FIGS. 1 and 5-9 and generally represented by numeral 200; an end flap spreading station shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 17-19 and generally represented by numeral 300; an end flap folding station shown in FIGS. 5 and 20-22 and generally represented by the reference numeral 400; a box opening station shown in FIGS. 1, 5, 12, 16 and 23-25 and generally represented by numeral 500 and a bottom end flap folding assembly shown in FIGS. 12, 15 and 16 and generally represented by the reference numeral 600.

The box forming machine embodying the principles of the present invention is designed for particular application to a carton blank which includes four interconnected sides 1, 2, 3 and 4, as shown in FIG. 4. Each of the interconnected sides 1-4 includes an upwardly extending end flap 1a, 2a, 3a and 4a. The interconnected pairs of end flaps 1a and 2a are connected by an integrally formed tab portion 5. The adjacent pairs of end flaps 3a and 4a are connected by an integrally formed tab portion 6. The sides 1-4 of the collapsed carton blank also includes downwardly directed flaps 1b, 2b, 3b and 4b. In a collapsed storage position, the carton blank is supported such that the sides 1 and 2 are in juxtaposition against the sides 3 and 4, and with their respectively extending end flaps also supported in juxtaposition relative to each other.

FIG. 4 shows a flow diagram of the carton blank moving from a first collapsed position within the magazine assembly to a second position wherein the interconnected end flaps 1a and 2a are spread or folded to one angular displaced position on one side of the plane of the collapsed carton blank and the interconnected end flaps 3a and 4a are folded to an angular displaced position on an opposite side of the plane of the collapsed carton blank. The carton blank is then advanced to a third station wherein the interconnected end flaps 1a and 2a are folded back against the carton blank sides 1 and 2 and the interconnected end flaps 3a and 4a are folded back against the sides 3, 4, respectively. After the collapsed carton blank interconnected end flaps have been folded back against their sides, the blank is advanced to a box opening station wherein the the adjacent sides 1-4 are moved to angular displaced positions disposed substantially ninety degrees relative to each other to form a rectangular box configuration. In movement of the carton blank sides to the box forming position, the integrally formed tab portions 5, 6 will maintain the end flaps 1a-4a in the folded position against their respective sides for use in facilitating the placement and removal of liquid containers or other articles therefrom. With the box in the box opening station, the bottom end flaps 16 and 46 are folded to a substantially horizontal position aligned with the bottom edge of the box. The box is then advanced in this condition to a next adjacent machine for applying glue or other adhesive means and for folding and pressing bottom flaps 2b and 3b to a closed and sealed position.

The function of the supporting framework is to provide means for supporting the various box forming stations in operative association with each other and to provide a structural framework for supporting the drive and pneumatic control system.

The function of the conveyor is to provide means for advancing a carton blank cyclically through the various stations of the box forming machine.

The function of the drive control system is to provide means for controlling cyclic operation of the magazine assembly, the end flap spreading station, the end flap folding station, the box opening station and the bottom end flap folding station.

The function of the magazine assembly is to provide means for supporting a plurality of collapsed carton blanks in position to be dispensed individually to the first station of the box forming machine.

The function of the end flap spreading station is to provide means for receiving a collapsed carton blank from the magazine assembly and to provide means for separating and spreading adjacent interconnected pairs of end flaps.

The function of the end flap folding station is to provide means for receiving a collapsed carton blank with the end flaps spread from the end flap spreading station and to provide means for folding the adjacent interconnected pairs of end flaps back against the sides of the collapsed carton blanks.

The function of the box opening station is to provide means for receiving the collapsed carton blanks from the end flap folding station and to provide means for moving the sides of the collapsed carton blanks to a position of substantially 90° relative to each other whereby the box will be opened to a substantially rectangular configuration.

The function of the bottom end flap folding station is to provide means for moving the downwardly hanging end flaps to a horizontally adjusted position in alignment with the bottom of the opened box.

The details of construction of each of the component parts and stations of the box forming machine will be described in detail hereinbelow in a separate section directed to each of the stations. An automatic cyclic control operation of the component parts of the various box forming stations will be described in the description of the operation of a collapsed carton blank being advanced through the box forming machine.

SUPPORTING FRAMEWORK

As shown in FIGS. 1-3 and 10-15, the box forming machine is supported in an assembled box forming relationship by a plurality of conventional metal stock structural members which are connected to each other by conventional means such as welding or threaded bolt connecting elements. The supporting frame means includes four channel-shaped vertical legs 11-14. The leg members 11-14 are connected to the outer surface of a pair of longitudinally extending inwardly directed channel-shaped members 15, 16. The longitudinal extending frame members 15, 16 are secured in horizontally spaced parallel arranged relationship by a plurality of transverse cross-connecting frame elements 17.

As shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 10 and 11, the supporting framework includes a pair of horizontally oriented cross connecting supporting plates 18, 19. The supporting plate members 18 will provide a supporting surface for a motor and gear box drive means and the supporting plate 19 will provide a supporting surface for a pneumatic drive control means, both of which will be described in more detail hereinbelow. The supporting framework also includes four vertically extending post elements 20, 21, 22, 23. The vertically extending support posts 20-23 are utilized for supporting various component parts of the box forming machine in position relative to the main supporting framework. The components of the box forming machine are supported to define a receiving end generally represented by the reference numeral 30 and a discharge end generally represented by the reference numeral 31.

A collapsed carton blank is guided from the receiving end toward the discharge end by means of a pair of angular guide track members 33, 34. The guide track members 33, 34 are supported in laterally spaced horizontally oriented relationship and are parallel arranged relative to each other to define a slot 35 therebetween for receiving and guiding a collapsed carton blank.

As shown in FIG. 2, the guide track member 33 terminates at a point short of the end of guide track member 34 with the framework being provided with a second horizontally spaced guide track member 36. Guide track members 34 and 36 will provide means to guide an open box through the box opening and bottom end flap folding station.

CONVEYOR

As shown in FIG. 5, a collapsed carton blank will be advanced from adjacent the receiving end through the various box forming stations by means of a conveyor assembly generally represented by the reference numeral 50 and including a pair of endless chain members 51, 52. Each of the endless chain members 51, 52 are vertically oriented and horizontally spaced relative to each other to provide a distance therebetween which will accommodate an open box adjacent the discharge end of the box forming machine. A collapsed blank and an open box are advanced with the conveyor chain 51, 52 by a plurality of cross connecting bars 53. Cross connecting bars 53 are connected at their opposite ends to the chain members 51, 52 and are operable for engaging the trailing edge of a collapsed blank and a trailing edge of an open box for effecting movement of the blank and box through the box forming machine.

As shown in FIG. 5, the conveyor means 50 is provided with an upper run which is represented by the reference numeral 54 and a lower run which is represented by the reference numeral 55. A collapsed blank and an open box are advanced during movement of the cross connecting bars 53 along the upper run of the conveyor. As shown in FIG. 5, the lower edges of the collapsed blank and the open box are supported by bottom guide means 60. The guide means 60 is detailed in dimensions to extend between the guide members 33, 34 to maintain the collapsed blank in a vertically aligned position during movement through the various forming operations.

Referring now particularly to FIGS. 5 and 13, the conveyor chain members 51, 52 are supported adjacent the entrance end and adjacent the upper run of the conveyor by means of a pair of sprockets 61, 62 which are supported by a cross support shaft 63. Cross support shaft 63 is rotatably supported by conventional bearing means on an upper edge of a pair of vertically extending channel-shaped support members 64. The upper run of the chains 51, 52 are supported adjacent the discharge end by a pair of sprockets 65, 66. The sprockets 65, 66 are coplanar aligned relative to the sprockets 61, 62, respectively. Sprockets 65, 66 are supported by stud shafts 67, 68. The stud shafts 67, 68 are mounted on a pair of inwardly directed channel-shaped members 69, 70. The channel-shaped members 69, 70 extend throughout the length of the box forming machine and provide a guiding support for the upper run of the chain members 51, 52 and cross bars 53.

As shown in FIGS. 10 and 13, the chain members 51, 52 are supported adjacent the conveyor lower run 55 and adjacent the receiving end by a chain adjustment assembly which includes three pairs of axially spaced sprockets 71, 72, and 73. One set of the three sprockets is aligned in a common plane for supporting each of the chain elements 51, 52. The sprockets 71, 73 are secured in an aligned set position by support shaft 75, 76. Sprockets 72 are supported on a cross support shaft 77. The opposite ends of shaft 77 is supported for sliding movement within elongated slot 78 provided in each of the longitudinally extending frame members 15, 16. As shown in FIGS. 10 and 13, the support shaft 72 is adjusted to a selectively set position within slot 78 by means of a pair of threaded bolt adjustment members 79. The threaded bolt adjustment members 79 are secured in a selectively set position relative to support brackets 80 by means of a pair of conventional threaded locking nuts 81. The adjustable sprockets 72 will provide effective means for applying the proper tension to the conveyor chains 51, 52. Conveyor chains 51, 52 are supported adjacent the discharge end lower run by a pair of sprockets 82, 83. Sprockets 82, 83 are fixed in axially spaced location on a cross support shaft 84. Cross support shaft 84 is supported adjacent one end by a conventional bearing means 85 and is supported adjacent an opposite end by means of a conventional brake assembly 86. The conveyor chain members 51, 52 are provided with additional support adjacent sprockets 82, 83 by a pair of idler sprockets 87, 88 as shown in FIGS. 5 and 15.

DRIVE CONTROL SYSTEM

Referring now particularly to FIGS. 10-12, 16 and 16a a drive control system is shown for use in effecting cyclic operation of the conveyor means 50, program control shaft and magazine assembly indexing drive means.

As shown in FIG. 11, the drive control system includes a conventional electric motor 100 mounted on the upper surface of cross support plate 18. Motor 100 includes an output drive shaft 101 having a pulley 102 mounted thereon. Drive from motor and pulley 102 is delivered by a belt 103 to pulley 104 operatively associated with a conventional gear reduction housing 105. Gear reduction housing 105 includes a first output drive shaft 106 and a second output drive shaft 107. A sprocket element 108 is fixed to shaft 107 and is in driving engagement with a chain 109 which delivers rotary movement to sprocket 110 fixed to program control shaft 111. The opposite ends of program control shaft 111 is supported by conventional bearing means 112, 113 in the frame members 15, 16, respectively. Chain 109 is supported in an adjusted driving relationship by means of an idler sprocket 114.

As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the program control shaft 111 includes a plurality of cams 121-129 which are fixed thereto in angular set relationship and detailed in design for controlling a plurality of control valves 131-139 operatively associated therewith, respectively. The specific operation of a cam and its associated control valve will be described in more detail hereinbelow in the description of the various component and subassemblies of the box forming machine.

Referring now particularly to FIG. 11, the gear reduction housing output drive shaft 106 includes a sprocket 141 which is in driving engagement with a chain 142. An opposite end of chain 142 is supported in driving engagement with a sprocket 143. Sprocket 143 is fixed to a drive shaft 144. The opposite ends of drive shaft 144 are supported by conventional bearing means 145, 146 in the longitudinal extending side frame members 15, 16, respectively. Drive chain 142 is maintained in an adjusted driving relationship by means of an idler sprocket 147. Shaft 144 is provided with a clutch assembly 150 which includes means for selectively coupling a drive chain 151 to the shaft 144 whereby rotary movement of shaft 144 will effect corresponding movement of chain 151.

As shown in FIG. 12, chain 151 is supported at its opposite end by a first sprocket 152. Sprocket 152 is mounted on a shaft which is supported by a zero speed switch control mechanism 153. Chain 151 is also supported in driving engagement with a sprocket 154 which is fixed to the conveyor drive shaft 84. Drive chain 151 is maintained in an adjusted driving relationship by a pair of adjustable idler sprockets 155, 156.

As shown in FIG. 16a, the sprocket 154 is fixed to shaft 84 and includes a positive stop clutch assembly 160 operatively associated therewith. The positive stop clutch assembly includes a limit stop cam element 161 having a stop surface 162 operatively associated with a bell crank 163. Bell crank 163 is pivoted on a frame element at 164 and includes a first arm 165 detailed in dimension for engaging the limit stop surface 162 to maintain drive shaft 84 in an angular set position. Bell crank 163 also includes a lower depending arm 166. Arm 166 is supported for contact by a reciprocably operable piston rod 167. Piston rod 167 is supported for reciprocating movement by means of a conventional pneumatic cylinder 168. Operation of pneumatic cylinder will effect movement of piston rod 167 to the right to thereby effect a counterclockwise movement of bell crank 163 to disengage the limit stop arm 165 from limit stop surface 162. As shown in FIG. 16a, an adjustable set screw means 169 is operatively associated with the bell crank arm 166 for limiting the extent of clockwise movement of bell crank about pivot 64.

The conveyor clutch assembly 160 is operated to release the limit stop cam element 161 by effecting operation of cylinder 168. Cylinder 168 is moved to an operable position for effecting disengagement of cam element 161 by operation of a control valve 132. Valve 132 is actuated by cam 122 mounted on the program control shaft 111. As shown in FIG. 27, movement of control valve 132 to a position for effecting a disengagement of the limit stop element 161 will also effect movement of clutch control valve 150a to an operable position to energize the conveyor clutch assembly 150 whereby drive can be transferred through chain 151 to effect operation of conveyor 50. The conveyor brake assembly 86 is also controlled by valve 150a. With the valve 150a in one position, the brake assembly 86 is operated, and with valve 150a in second adjusted position, the clutch assembly is operated.

Movement of valve 150a to a conveyor braking position is effected by means of a control valve 86a which includes an actuator element 86b operatively associated with a conveyor cross connecting bar 53. The control valve 86a is located adjacent the box opening station, wherein the conveyor will be stopped when a blank has been moved into position for opening in the box opening station. The cross connecting conveyor bar 53 will effect movement of the actuator 86b to an operable position whereby valve 150a will be adjusted to effect operation of brake assembly 86. The control valve 86a is connected in series with program control valve 132 whereby the valve 86a is only operable provided the program control valve 132 is not angularly positioned to effect operation of the clutch assemblies 150, 160. A sequence of operation of the conveyor, including the control of the clutch and brake assemblies by the program control valve means will be described in more detail hereinbelow in the description of the operation of the box forming machine.

Referring now to FIGS. 10 and 11, the drive control system includes a sprocket 170 which is fixed to drive shaft 144 adjacent longitudinal extending support frame members 16. Sprocket 170 is supported in driving engagement with a chain 171. An opposite end of chain 171 is supported in driving engagement with a sprocket 172. Sprocket 172 is fixed to drive shaft 173. The opposite ends of drive shaft 173 are supported by conventional bearing means 174, 175 mounted on the side frame members 15, 16, respectively. Chain 171 is maintained in an adjusted driving relationship by means of an idler sprocket 176.

As shown in FIG. 10, drive shaft 173 is provided with a clutch assembly 180. Clutch assembly 180 includes a sprocket 181 which is supported in driving engagement with a chain 182. An upper end of chain 182 is connected to a sprocket 183 on the magazine drive shaft. Chain 182 is maintained in an adjusted driving relationship by means of an adjustable idler sprocket 184.

The clutch assembly 180 is operative for connecting the sprocket 181 and chain 182 to the drive shaft 173 whereby drive can be delivered from motor 100 to the magazine drive mechanism, as will be described in more detail hereinbelow.

The box forming machine drive control system includes a vacuum supply source shown in FIG. 10 and generally represented by the reference numeral 190. The vacuum supply source 190 is driven by a conventional belt and pulley drive means 191 from a drive motor 192. The vacuum supply source 190 and drive motor 192 are supported on the upper surface of the cross-support plate member 19. Vacuum supply source 190 is operable for furnishing a vacuum supply to a plurality of suction cups, as will be described in more detail hereinbelow.

Vacuum supply source 190 is connected by a pair of supply lines 193, 194 to vacuum control valves 345, 531, respectively. The description and operation of vacuum control valves 345, 531, will be described in more detail hereinbelow, as they relate to the particular elements to be operated.

As shown in FIGS. 26 and 27, the box forming machine includes a plurality of pneumatic cylinders operatively associated with a number of cyclically controlled box forming mechanisms mentioned above, which cylinders will be described in detail below as they relate to the various stations and assemblies.

As shown in FIGS. 26, 27, a conventional pneumatic supply source (not shown) is operatively connected to a manual control valve 195. Manual control valve 195 includes a supply line 196 having a plurality of branch supply lines 196a, 196b, 196c, 196d, 196e, 196f, 196g, and 196h. Branch supply line 19a is operatively connected to control valve 137; branch supply line 196b is operatively connected to control valve 131; branch supply line 196c is operatively connected to control valve 138; branch supply line 196d is operatively connected to control valve 260a; branch supply line 196e is operatively connected to control valve 340; branch supply line 196f is operatively connected through manual control valve 197 to control valves 134 and 139; branch supply line 196g is operatively connected to control valve 132; and, branch supply line 196h is f, operatively connected to control valve 150a. The description of operation of the above mentioned control valves and their associated cylinders will be described in more detail hereinbelow in the description of each of the stations and assemblies and in the description of the operation of the box forming machine.

MAGAZINE ASSEMBLY

Referring now particularly to FIGS. 1 and 5-9, the magazine assembly is shown and generally represented by the reference numeral 200. The magazine assembly is located adjacent the entrance end of the box forming machine and is operable for supporting a plurality of carton blanks in position to be individually dispensed to the receiving end of the box forming machine.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 8 and 9, the magazine assembly is constructed to include a pair of base frame members 201, 202. Base frame member 201 is attached to the upper extended ends of channel-shaped post members 22, 23 with the base frame member 202 being supported on the upper extended ends of leg members 12, 14. The frame members 201, 202 are connected to the vertically extended posts and leg members by conventional means such as welding or threaded connecting bolts (not shown). Base frame members 201, 202 are supported in a substantially horizontal position to include a first portion which extends transversely between the leg members and post members and includes a second portion which is cantilevered to the left of the main frame assembly, as shown in FIG. 1.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 8, the left extended ends of the base frame members 201, 202 are connected to an end frame element 203. The magazine assembly frame means also includes a number of cross connecting frame members 204, 205 and 206. The frame members 201-206 provide means for supporting a plurality of collapsed carton blanks, for supporting indexing means for advancing the blanks to a blank dispensing position and for supporting a dispensing assembly for dispensing individual collapsed blanks to the end flap spreading station.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 6, a plurality of collapsed carton blanks are supported on the magazine assembly in vertically oriented planes horizontally positioned in juxtapositioned relationship. The carton blanks are supported for indexing movement to a dispensing position by a pair of horizontally oriented parallel arranged support shafts 207, 208. The support shafts 207, 208 are supported adjacent one end by bearing members 209, 210, which are mounted on the frame elements 203, 204, respectively. The opposite ends of support shafts 207, 208 are rotatably supported by the peripheral surface of a pair of rollers 211, 212. Rollers 211, 212 are mounted on the frame member 206, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. Support shafts 207, 208 are provided with oppositely directed threaded surfaces which provide a support for the carton blanks, with the threaded surfaces operable for effecting movement of the collapsed carton blanks toward the dispensing assembly during intermittent rotary movement of the support shafts 207, 208.

As shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 7, 8, 10 and 13, support shafts 207, 208 are intermittently driven for advancing the collapsed carton blanks to a dispensing position by means of a control shaft 215. Control shaft 215 is rotatably supported by conventional bearing means 216, 217 mounted on frame members 204, 205, respectively. Control shaft 215 is driven from the main drive assembly described hereinabove by drive chain 182 and clutch control mechanism 180.

As shown in FIG. 8, the control shaft 215 includes an extended end which passes through bearing 216 and is provided with a sprocket 219. Sprocket 219 transfers drive to a coplanar aligned sprocket 220 mounted on shaft 208 by means of a chain 221. A second sprocket 222 is fixed to shaft 208. A chain 223 is supported in driving engagement with sprocket 222 and in driving engagement with a coplanar aligned sprocket 224 mounted on support shaft 207. Chain 223 extends beyond sprocket 224 and is supported by an idler sprocket 225. Idler sprocket 225 will support chain 223 such that the lower run of the chain will be in driving engagement with sprocket 224 whereby the support shafts 207, 208 are both driven in a counterclockwise direction of rotation as shown in FIG. 9. The intermittent drive delivered to the support shafts 207, 208 for effecting serial advancement of individual carton blanks to a dispensing position will be described in more detail hereinbelow.

The collapsed carton blanks are maintained in a horizontally aligned position by a pair of guide members 231, 232. Guide members 231, 232 are detailed in horizontal spacing to confine the lateral edges of collapsed carton blanks therebetween and to maintain the collapsed carton blanks in a horizontally aligned position as they are advanced along the surface of the support shafts 207, 208.

As shown in FIGS. 6-9, the magazine assembly 200 includes a dispensing assembly generally represented by the reference numeral 240 which is operable for dispensing individual carton blanks from the magazine into the receiving end of the box forming machine. The dispensing assembly 240 includes a structural framework having a pair of vertically extending channel-shaped frame members 241, 242 which are connected adjacent their upward ends by a horizontal extending channel-shaped frame 243. A second cross connecting frame member 244 extends between the vertically oriented frame members 241, 242 in substantially parallel relationship to and below frame member 243.

As shown in FIG. 9, the dispensing framework includes a pair of parallel arranged vertically extended frame elements 245, 246 which are connected to frame members 243, 244 by bracket elements 247. Frame elements 245, 246 provide a support for a pair of guide tracks 248, 249. Guide tracks 248, 249 are constructed of a suitable synthetic material which will provide a self-lubricating surface for supporting a reciprocally operable dispensing member 250.

Dispensing member 250 is constructed in the form of a U-shaped member having a base portion 251 and a pair of vertically extending legs 252, 253, as shown in FIG. 8. The legs 252, 253 are supported for sliding movement along one surface of the guide tracks 248, 249 and are maintained in position relative thereto by means of a pair of retaining bars 254, 255. Retaining bars 254, 255 are detailed for slidably engaging an opposite surface of the guide tracks 248, 249. Retainer bars 254, 255 are maintained in proper alignment and connected with legs 252, 253 by a plurality of connecting bolt means 256 and spacer members 257. The dispensing member 250 is supported for vertical translating movement along the guide tracks 248, 249 from an upper retracted position, as shown in FIG. 9 to an extended position adjacent the lower edge of the guide tracks 248, 249. When the dispensing member 250 is moved to the lower position, a collapsed carton blank will be moved into position adjacent the receiving end of the box forming machine.

Vertical translating movement of the dispensing member 250 is effected by means of a pneumatic control cylinder 260. Cylinder 260 is supported on the upper surface of frame member 243 and includes a conventional piston rod 262 having a threaded connecting element 263 which is connected to an angle member 265. Angle member 265 is connected to the base 251 of the dispensing member by conventional threaded bolt connecting means 265. The length of piston rod 262 is detailed for effecting movement of the dispenser member 250 from the upper retracted position to the lower dispensing position.

As shown in FIG. 7, the dispensing member 250 includes an angled guide member 266 which is supported thereon for guiding the upper edges of collapsed carton blanks into position beneath the dispensing member base portion 251. A stop member 267 is supported beneath the angle frame element 264 for serving as a limit position to align the collapsed carton blank beneath the dispensing member base frame portion 251.

As shown in FIG. 7, the magazine assembly includes a pair of support elements 270 which are supported in horizontally spaced position on the upper surface of the cross connecting frame element 206. The support elements 270 are detailed in vertical spacing to present an upper surface which is coplanar with the upper surface of the support shafts 207, 208. The support members 270 are detailed in spacing relative to the guide tracks 248, 249 to define a space therebetween which will permit a single collapsed carton blank to pass therethrough in a dispensing operation.

In operation, the support shafts 207, 208 are operable for successively advancing the leading vertically oriented carton blanks into a dispensing position aligned with the space between support elements 270 and guide tracks 248, 249. Movement of a collapsed carton blank to a dispensing position will effect operation of a pair of pneumatic control sensing valves 280 having valve actuators 282. Sensing valves 280 are supported adjacent the lower edge of the frame members 245, 246 and include conventional slot and bolt adjustment means 284 which will permit the valves to be adjusted to a selectively set position of alignment. Valves 280 are utilized to sense the location of a carton blank in the dispensing position for controlling operation of cylinder 260, as will be described below.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 6-8, the upper edges of the collapsed carton blanks are urged forward to a dispensing position by means of a cable arrangement which includes a bracket element 285. Bracket element 285 includes a downwardly extending leg member 286 which is detailed for engaging an outside vertical surface of the outmost collapsed carton blank. The bracket member 285 is urged toward the dispensing position by means of a cable 287 which extends around a pair of pulleys 288, 289 and over a third pulley 290. Pulley 290 is supported adjacent an upper edge of a tubular conduit member 291. The tubular conduit member 291 is attached to leg member 114. The extended free end of cable 287 is connected to a weight 292. The above described weight and cable arrangement is operable for applying pressure to the outer surface of the outmost carton blank for urging all of the cartons toward the dispensing position and for maintaining the collapsed carton blanks in generally vertically oriented planes during advancement of the carton blanks to the dispensing position by the support shafts 207, 208.

A collapsed carton blank dispensing cycle is effected by operation of the pneumatic cylinder 260 through actuation of valve 260a. Valve 260a is controlled by valve 135 operatively associated with cam 125 on the main program shaft and by the sensing valves 280. Operation of the valve 135 will actuate valve 260a to energize pneumatic cylinder 260, provided sensing valves 280 are actuated, to effect advancement of the dispensing member 250 from the upper retracted position to the extended dispensing position. During movement of the dispensing member 250 downward, the base portion 251 will engage the upper edge of a collapsed carton blank and will slide the collapsed carton blank downward against the surface of guide tracks 248, 249 and into position within the receiving end of the box forming machine. The extent of downward movement of the dispensing member 250 is controlled by means of a sensing valve 295 located adjacent the lower edge of frame element 245. The sensing valve 295 includes conventional pivotal arm and valve actuator means which are operated by a cam element 296 supported on the dispensing member leg portion 252 (FIG. 9). Cam 296 effects operation of the valve 295 after the dispensing member 250 has been moved to a lower limit position to reverse operation of valve 260a, to cause the dispensing member 250 to be moved to the upper retracted position for engaging a next collapsed carton blank. After a first collapsed carton blank has been dispensed to the box forming machine, clutch 180 will be actuated due to a carton blank moving away from sensing valve actuators 282 to effect an intermittent drive to rotate support shafts 207, 208 for advancing the supported carton blanks toward the dispensing assembly wherein a next adjacent collapsed carton blank will be moved to an aligned dispensing position and in contact with valve actuators 282.

END FLAP SPREADING STATION

Referring now particularly to FIGS. 5, 6, 10 and 17-19, the box forming machine includes an end flap spreading station which is generally represented by the reference numeral 300. The end flap spreading station is located between the receiving end 30 of the box forming machine and the vertically extending supporting post members 22, 23. As shown in FIG. 6, the end flap spreading station is located directly beneath the magazine dispensing assembly wherein a collapsed carton blank dispensed from the magazine assembly will be directed into the space defined between the guide members 33, 34.

As shown in FIGS. 6 and 18, a second pair of guide members 301, 302 are supported in vertically spaced relationship above the guide members 33, 34. Guide members 301, 302 are horizontally spaced to provide a space therebetween for receiving a collapsed carton blank. The space between guide members 301, 302 is vertically aligned relative to the space defined between guide members 33, 34. Guide members 301, 302 include an upper edge portion aligned with a scored area between the carton sides and end flaps. Guide members 301, 302 are supported above the conveyor assembly 50 such that the conveyor cross connecting members 53 will engage a trailing edge of a collapsed carton blank received therein and will effect movement of the collapsed carton blank to the next adjacent forming station. The space defined between carton blank guide members 33, 34, 301, 302 is coplanar to the magazine assembly dispensing position defined between guide tracks.

After a collapsed carton blank has been received at station 300, the adjacent pairs of interconnected end flaps of the carton blank are separated and spread open by an end flap spreading assembly 310. The end flap spreading assembly includes a first pair of vacuum cups 311, 312 which are operatively connected to a fixed vacuum manifold 313 is connected to the vacuum source 190 by a control line 314. The opposite ends of the vacuum manifold 313 are supported in a fixed position by a pair of bracket elements 315, 316 which extend outwardly from the guide member 302, as shown in FIG. 17. The flap spreader assembly also includes a pair of vacuum cups 321, 322 operatively supported on a movable manifold 323. The vacuum manifold 323 is supported for cyclic movement from a retracted home position, as shown in FIG. 17, to an extended end flap spreading position by a pair of pivotally mounted arms 324, 325. Arms 324, 325 are supported by a pivot support shaft 326 mounted in an end cross connecting frame member 17 and an intermediate cantilevered frame member 17a. Vacuum manifold 323 is connected to vacuum source 190 by a control line 327. Cyclic movement of vacuum cups 321, 322 from the retracted home position to the extended flap spreading position is effected by the means of a pneumatic cylinder 330. Pneumatic cylinder 330 is connected adjacent its base end to a fixed supporting bracket 331 and includes a conventional reciprocably operable piston rod 332 which is connected at its extended end to an upstanding bracket 333. Bracket 333 is fixed to the upper surface of arm 335. Cylinder 330 is detailed in length and extent of cyclic movement to effect movement of vacuum cups 321, 322 from the retracted home position to the extended flap spreading position. When the vacuum cups 321, 322 are moved to the extended flap spreading position, the cups are positioned adjacent the fixed vacuum cups 311, 312, with the adjacent pairs of interconnected end flaps supported therebetween. When vacuum cups 321, 322 are moved to the extended end flap spreading position, one pair of interconnected end flaps will be pressed into position with the vacuum cups 311, 312 and will be maintained thereagainst by vacuum being applied to cups 311, 312. A vacuum applied to the cups 321, 322 will maintain the second pair of interconnected end flaps into engagement with the cups 321, 322 and will pull this second pair of connected end flaps away from the first pair to a position substantially as shown in FIG. 19.

The vacuum cups 311, 312 are supported in a displaced position located on one side of the plane of movement of a carton blank and the vacuum cups 321, 322 are supported in their home position at a displaced position on an opposite side of the plane. In the movement of both pairs of interconnected end flaps in a first direction toward the fixed vacuum cups 311, 312 the scored area between the end flaps and the carton blank sides will be broken due to the bending movement of the end flaps relative to the carton blank sides which are maintained in a fixed position by the upper edge portions of guide members 301, 302. The breaking or creasing of the scored area between the end flaps and the carton sides will ensure that all carton blanks will be provided with a sufficiently creased or scored area regardless of deficiency included in the scored area in the manufacture of the boxes.

Pneumatic cylinder 330 is controlled in effecting movement of vacuum cups 321, 322 by means of control valve 340 and a sensing valve 340a. Sensing valve 340a includes a sensing arm 341 which is supported in position between the guide members 33, 34 to be contacted by a collapsed carton blank being received in the end flap folding station 300. A control valve 132 operatively associated with cam 122 on the main program control shaft 111 is connected in series with valve 340a. When a collapsed carton blank is advanced into position at station 300, sensing arm 341 will be depressed to operate valve 340a which all allow the control valve 340 to energize the pneumatic cylinder 330, provided cam 122 has operated valve 132. As cylinder 330 is energized, the vacuum cups 321, 322 will be moved into position adjacent the vacuum cups 311, 312 as described hereinabove. A reversing operation of the pneumatic cylinder 330 is controlled by valve 132 and cam 122. With a first adjacent interconnected pair of end flaps held by vacuum cups 311, 312 the second adjacent interconnected pair of end flaps will be moved away from the first interconnected pair of end flaps, as cylinder 330 retracts the vacuum cups 321, 322 to the home position. The vacuum source 190 will be supplied to suction cups 311, 312, 321 and 322 through valve 345 in a timed sequence of operation of cylinder 330 by operation of a control valve 133 actuated by cam 123 on the program shaft 111.

Referring now particularly to FIGS. 18 and 19, the pairs of interconnected end flaps are maintained in their spread relationship by means of an end flap retaining assembly generally represented by the reference numeral 360. The end flap retaining assembly 360 includes a retaining plate 361. Retaining plate 361 is constructed of an elongated member having a formed receiving end 362 and a formed exit end 363. Retaining plate 361 is supported for pivotal movement by a support shaft 366 having its opposite ends supported on a pair of frame elements 364, 365.

As shown in FIG. 19, the end flap retaining plate 361 includes an actuating arm 367 which is connected to the extended end of a piston rod 368. Piston rod 368 is reciprocally supported by a conventional pneumatic cylinder 369. Cylinder 369 and piston rod 368 are operable for effecting movement of the end flap retaining plate 361 from a retracted inoperable position, as shown in solid lines of FIG. 19, to an extended operable position, as shown in dotted lines of FIG. 19. With the end flap retaining plate 361 in a retracted inoperable position, a collapsed carton blank can be dispensed into station 300 and the end flaps can be spread relative to each other without interferring or engaging the retaining plate 361. After the end flaps have been spread open as shown in FIG. 19, retaining plate 361 is adjusted to an operable position, as shown in the dotted lines of FIG. 19, wherein retaining plate guide bar 361a will engage and hold one interconnected pair of end flaps in a spread relationship and an extended edge of plate 361 will hold the other pair of end flaps, as the collapsed carton blank is advanced from station 300 to the next adjacent end flap folding station.

Operation of pneumatic cylinder 369 is effected by means of a control valve 370 mounted on a support bracket 371. Support bracket 371 is attached to the upper surface of the cantilevered support frame elements 17a. Control valve 370 includes a control arm 372 which is pivotally mounted thereon for effecting operation of a valve actuator stem 374. An extended end of control arm 372 is provided with a roller element 375 supported in engagement with a control cam 376. Control cam 376 is mounted on the upper surface of arm 324. Cam 376 is detailed in design to effect operation of the control valve 370 when the vacuum cups 321, 322 have been moved to the retracted home position such that one pair of interconnected end flaps is held by cups 311, 312 and the second pair of interconnected end flaps is held by cups 321, 322. With the adjacent pairs of interconnected end flaps spread open, cam 376 will effect operation of control valve 370 which will in turn operate the pneumatic control cylinder 369 to advance the flap retaining plate 361 to an extended operable position. After the end flaps have been spread open and the retaining plate has been moved into position, the conveyor means 50 will be operated such that the carton blank will be moved forward to the next adjacent end flap folding station, as will be described in more detail hereinbelow.

END FLAP FOLDING STATION

Referring now particularly to FIGS. 5 and 20-22, the box forming machine includes an end flap folding station which is generally represented by the reference numeral 400, (FIG. 5). The end flap folding station is located between the vertically extending post elements 22, 23 and the supporting leg members 11, 12 and adjacent spreading station 300. The guide frame members 33, 34 and 301, 302 extend substantially throughout the length of the end flap folding station for maintaining the collapsed carton blank in a substantially upright position during conveying therethrough.

As shown in FIGS. 18 and 20, the end flap folding station includes a substantially V-shaped guide member 401. The V-shaped guide members 401 includes a pointed forward end 402 with a pair of trailing leg members 403, 404. The V-shaped guide member 401 is supported in a substantially horizontally oriented position by a pair of downwardly extending connecting rods 405, 406. Connecting rods 405, 406 mounted to a forwardly extending end of a framework assembly 410. As shown in FIGS. 18 and 20 the V-shaped guide member 401 is supported such that the end portion 402 is in vertical alignment with the slot provided between the guide members 301, 302 and is vertically adjusted to contact the end flaps and hold the end flaps in a spread position as they are advanced from station 300 to the end flap folding station 400.

The end flap folding station includes a folding assembly mounted on framework 410. The mounting framework 410 includes a pair of vertically oriented horizontally spaced plate elements 411, 412. A pneumatic cylinder means 415 is supported between plate elements 411, 412 in a substantially vertically oriented position and includes a conventional piston rod element 416 which extends therebelow and is connected to a substantially inverted U-shaped bracket 417. Bracket 417 includes a pair of downwardly extending leg members 418, 419. A first folding rod element 420 is connected to the extended end of leg 418 with a second folding rod element 421 connected to the extended end of leg 419. Bracket 417 with legs 418, 419 are detailed for supporting the folding rods 420, 421 in a horizontally oriented and spaced parallel relationship. The end flap folding assembly 417, 418 etc. is maintained in longitudinal aligned relationship relative to a carton blank by means of a stabilizer rod 430. Stabilizer rod 430 is connected to the upper surface of bracket 417 and includes an upwardly extending end which is reciprocally supported by a sleeve element (not shown) mounted between the plate elements 411, 412. The stabilizer rod 430 will prevent angular displacement of the bracket 417 to thereby maintain the folding rods in a proper longitudinally aligned relationship. The folding rods 421, 422 are detailed in length to contact and apply a simultaneous force to the interconnected pairs of end flaps in a folding operation to prevent undue strain being placed on the connecting tab.

The pneumatic cylinder 415 is operable for effecting movement of the end flap folding assembly from an upper retracted position, as shown in FIG. 21, to a downwardly extended end flap folding position, as shown in FIG. 20. Cyclic operation of the end flap folding assembly from the upper retracted position to the downwardly extended end flap folding position is effected by means of a control valve 139 which is operated by a cam 129 supported on the main program control shaft 111. Cam 129 is detailed such that when a carton blank is moved into position beneath the end flap folding assembly 400, the cam element will operate the control valve 139 to supply pneumatic pressure to the cylinder 415 whereby hte cylinder will move the folding bars 420, 421 downward into engagement with the spread end flaps. Downward movement of the folding bars 420, 421 will contact the upper surface of the spread end flaps and fold the end flaps back down toward the outer surface of the carton blank sides. The folding bars 420, 421 will be maintained in the downward flap folding position during advancement of the carton blank through the receiving station 400. As the carton blank is advanced through the receiving station 400, the end flaps which are folded back toward the carton blank sides will engage a pair of angularly formed guide rods 450, 451. The guide rods 450, 451 include a horizontally oriented portion 452 and an upwardly inclined portion 453. During an advancement of the carton blank through the end flap folding station, the inclined portions 453 will contact the outer or upper surface of the end flaps and in response to further advancement of the carton blank, the interconnected flaps will be folded down against the outer side of the carton blanks and will be maintained thereagainst by the horizontally disposed portions 452, as the carton blank is discharged from the end flap folding station 400. The end flap folding guide rods 450, 451 are supported in aligned position relative to the guide member 301, 302 by a number of vertically extending connecting rods 456. Rods 456 are connected adjacent their upper end to a framework assembly 460. The framework assembly 460 is secured on the main frame assembly by a conventional slot-and-bolt connecting means 461. The slot-and-bolt connecting means 461 will permit the frame assembly 460 to be vertically adjusted relative to the main frame assembly.

As shown in FIGS. 21 and 22 the supporting plate elements 411, 412 are connected to the frame assembly 460 by a pair of vertically oriented hinge members 463, 464. Hinge members 463, 464 are maintained in an assembled relationship by conventional hinge pins 465, 466, respectively. As shown in FIG. 22, the end flap folding assembly can be moved to an outwardly displaced inoperable position by removing one of the hinge pins and pivoting the end flap holding assembly about the other hinge pin.

It is apparent from the above description of the end flap folding station that a carton blank which is fed to the end flap folding station with the end flaps in a partially spread position will be engaged by the V-shaped guide member 401 which will maintain the end flaps in the spread position and will guide the end flaps and carton blank into position beneath the end flap folding assembly 417. With a carton blank in position beneath the end flap folding assembly 417, the control valve 139 will be operated by the cam element 129 to effect a downward extension of piston rod 416 to cause the folding bars 420, 421 to contact the upper surface of the spread end flaps and move them back toward the outer sides of the carton blank. The folding bars 420, 421 will maintain the flaps in the downwardly folded relationship as they are advanced through the folding station; and with a continued advancement of the carton blank through folding station 400, the incline portion of the guide rods 450, 451 will effect a further downward folding of the interconnected end flaps to move the end flaps into contact with the outside surfaces of the carton blank sides. The carton blank is advanced through the end flap folding station by the conveyor means 50 with cross-connecting bars 53. After a carton blank has been advanced through the end flap folding station 400, the carton blank is moved into position within box opening station 500, as will be described hereinbelow.

BOX OPENING STATION

Referring now particularly to FIGS. 1, 5, 12, 16 and 23-25, the box forming machine includes a box opening station which is generally represented by the reference numeral 500 (FIG. 5). The box opening station 500 is located on the main supporting framework between the leg members 11, 12 and the post elements 20, 21. The box opening station is located immediately adjacent the end flap folding station 400 and a carton blank with the end flaps folded back against its sides is advanced from the end flap folding station into the box opening station by the conveyor cross connecting bars 53. A carton blank moved into position within the opening station will be supported in engagement with a lateral surface of the guide member 34. After a carton blank has been moved into a position within the opening station, the carton blank is opened and the box is righted by an opening assembly 510. The opening assembly 510 includes a pair of vacuum cups 511, 512 which are carried by a channel-shaped support arm 513. The channel-shaped support arm 513 is connected to the lower end of a vertically extending support member 514.

As shown in FIG. 23, the upper extended end of support member 514 includes a pair of vertically spaced laterally projecting arms 515, 516. The extended ends of arms 515, 516 are mounted on a pivot support shaft 517. Pivot support shaft 517 is rotatably supported by a pair of vertically spaced horizontally extending plate members 518, 519. The pair of vacuum cups 511, 512 are moved between angularly adjusted positions by a pneumatic control cylinder 520. Cylinder 520 is supported adjacent its base end by a pair of support brackets 521. Cylinder 520 includes a reciprocally operable piston rod 522 which has its extended end connected to an actuator arm 523 mounted on the pivot shaft 517, directly below the support plate 518. Cylinder 521 is controlled in a box opening operation by a control valve 138 which is operated by cam 128 on the main program control shaft 111. A supply of vacuum is furnished to the cups 511, 512 by a conventional supply line 530 which is operatively connected to the vacuum source 190 through valve 531 (FIG. 26). Valve 531 is controlled by cam 121 and valve 131. The above described case opening assembly including vacuum cups 511, 512 are operable for engaging one end wall of a collapsed carton blank and for moving the end wall to an angularly displaced position substantially ninety degrees relative to the sidewall, to open the box in a box righting operation.

In order to maintain an adjacent interconnected sidewall in a fixed position during an opening operation, a pair of stabilizing vacuum cups 541, 542 are supported in position above the guide frame member 34 and in position to engage and hold the carton blank side disposed thereagainst. Vacuum cups 541, 542 are mounted on a vacuum block manifold 543 which is connected to the pneumatic source by a supply line 543a (FIG. 26). The vacuum manifold block 543 is supported for reciprocating movement relative to the guide frame member 34 by means of a channel-shaped support member 544. The channel-shaped support member 544 is attached to the upper extended end of a vertically oriented support leg 545. Support leg 545 is attached to the outside surface of the longitudinally extending frame 16.

As shown in FIG. 12, the support frame member 544 includes a slot 546 detailed for receiving a vertically extending bracket 547 which is attached to the manifold block 543. One horizontal edge portion of the bracket 547 is connected to a supporting rod 548. Rod 548 is reciprocally supported by a pair of bushings 549, 550 with an extended end of the support rod being attached to bracket 547, by conventional threaded bolt connecting means. Bracket 547 is controlled in a reciprocating cycle of operation by means of a pneumatic cylinder 560. Cylinder 560 is supported on the upper surface of the supporting plate 544 and includes a conventional piston rod 561 which has an extended end connected to bracket 547. A reciprocating cycle of operation of the cylinder 566 will effect movement of the supporting bracket 547, manifold 543 and the supported pair of vacuum cups 541, 542 to an outwardly extended position in engagement with a sidewall of a carton blank supported in position against guide member 34. Movement of the stabilizer cups 541, 542 to an outwardly extended carton engaging position is effected by means of a control valve 121 which is operatively associated with cam 131 mounted on the main program control shaft 111. A supply of vacuum is furnished to stabilizer cups 541, 542 through valve 531 as controlled by cam 121 and valve 131 described above.

BOTTOM END FLAP FOLDING ASSEMBLY

After a box has been opened or righted in the box opening station 500 the bottom end flaps are folded to a generally horizontal position prior to being dispensed from the box forming machine. The function of folding the end flaps to a horizontal position is to allow glue or other conventional adhesive means to be applied thereto so that the side flaps can be folded and pressed thereagainst for connecting the end flaps and side flaps in an assembled relationship. The glue or adhesive applying means and the side flap folding and pressing means is provided on an adjacent machine which forms no part of the present invention and the details of which are not described herein.

The end flap folding assembly is supported on the main framework immediately below the box opening station 500. The end flap folding assembly is generally represented by the reference numeral 600 (FIG. 16). The end flap folding assembly includes a pair of side flap retaining elements 601, 602. The function of the side flap retainer elements 601, 602 is to engage the inner surface of the bottom side flaps and to hold them in a vertically aligned position during a folding operation of the end flaps. As shown in FIG. 16, each of the side flap retainer elements 601, 602 include pivotally mounted elements 603, 604 which are supported for pivotal movement by cross support shafts 605. The side flap retaining elements 601, 602 are moved from a downwardly displaced inoperable position, as shown in FIG. 16, to an upupwardly extended operable position in engagement with the side flaps, by pneumatic cylinders 606, 607. Cylinders 606, 607 are controlled in a reciprocating cycle of operation by valve 608 which is controlled by cam 131 described above.

As shown in FIGS. 12, 15, and 16, the end flap folding assembly includes a first or trailing end flap folding bar generally represented by the reference numeral 620. The end flap folding bar 620 includes a horizontally oriented straight portion 621 and an angular inclined portion 622. Folding bar 620 is supported adjacent the extended ends of a pair of arms 623, 624. The inner ends of arms 623, 624 are attached to collars 625, 626, respectively. Collars 625, 626 are mounted on a support shaft 627. The opposite ends of support shaft 627 are mounted in conventional bearing means 628, 629 which are carried by transversely extending framework elements 17. The end flap folding assembly also includes a second or leading end flap folding bar 630 (FIG. 12). The second end flap folding bar 630 includes a longitudinally aligned portion 631 and an angular inclined portion 632. Folding bar 630 is mounted on the extended ends of a pair of support arms 633, 634. The inner ends of arms 633, 634 are attached to a collar 636. Collar 636 is mounted on support shaft 627 and is longitudinally adjustable relative to the support shaft 627. Collar 636 is maintained in a selectively set position relative thereto by conventional set screw means (not shown). The purpose of adjusting collar 636 and its supported folding arm 630 is to adjust the folding assembly for use with various sized boxes. The end flap folding assembly is normally maintained in a downwardly extended or retracted inoperable position wherein the folding end portions 622, 632 are generally vertically oriented and angularly disposed relative to downwardly hanging end flaps.

The end flap folding assembly, including bars 620, 630, are moved to an upwardly adjusted end flap folding position by means of pneumatic control cylinder 640. Cylinder 640 is connected adjacent its base end to a supporting bracket 641 and includes a piston rod 642 which is connected adjacent its extended end, as shown in FIG. 16, to an actuator arm 643. Actuator arm 643 is fixed to the support shaft 627 whereby angular displacement of the actuator arm 643 will effect corresponding angular displacement of the support shaft 627 and the supported end flap folding bars 620, 630. When the end flap folding bars are moved from their downwardly displaced position to their upwardly adjusted end flap folding position, the downwardly hanging end flaps will contact the inclined portions 622, 632. As the inclined end portion 622 is moved upwardly to an operable end flap folding position, a downwardly hanging trailing end flap will engage the angle portion 622 and will be moved inwardly within the box and advanced upwardly to a horizontal position aligned with the bottom surface of the box. Movement of the angle portion 632 of folding bar 630 will contact the leading end flap and will effect a camming displacement of the leading end flap from a vertically hanging position upwardly to a horizontal position aligned with the bottom edge of the box. With the end flap folding bars 620, 630 moved upwardly to a flap folding position, the longitudinally oriented portion 621, 631 will provide a horizontally extending guide surface for guiding the end flaps during advancement of the box to the next glue applying and sealing station (not shown). Cylinder 640 is controlled in a cycle of operation for effecting movement of the folding bars 620, 630 by a control valve 137 and cam element 127. A cycle of operation of the end flap folding bars will be described in more detail hereinbelow in the description of the operation of the box forming machine.

OPERATION

Prior to effecting automatic operation of the box forming machine, a source of air pressure is connected to the manual control valve 195 and electrical power is supplied to drive motor 100 and the vacuum pump 190, whereby a supply of air pressure can be delivered to the associated cylinders, drive can be delivered to the conveyor and magazine assembly and a supply of vacuum can be delivered to the above described vacuum cups.

After the electrical power, vacuum and air pressure supply means have been energized, a plurality of collapsed carton blanks are supported on the magazine assembly as shown in FIGS. 1 and 6, with the collapsed carton blanks supported in vertically oriented planes in juxtaposition adjacent each other.

A cycle of box forming operation is then effected by moving a manual control switch (not shown) to an on position for effecting operation of the electrical motor 100. Operation of motor 100 will rotate the program control shaft 111 and will deliver an input drive to the conveyor clutch assembly 150 and the magazine indexing clutch assembly 180. A cycle of operation of the main program control shaft 111 will effect angular displacement of the cams 121-129 to thereby effect movement of the control valves 131-139 to a displaced operable position, in a timed sequence of operation. Reference is made to the timing chart shown in FIG. 8 for the angular relationship of the cams 121-129 relative to each other for controlling the sequence of operation.

With a plurality of collapsed carton blanks supported in the magazine assembly and with the motor drive means 100, pneumatic pressure source (not shown) and vacuum source 190 energized, the indexing clutch 180 will be operated to advance a collapsed carton blank into an aligned dispensing position in contact with the sensing actuators 282. When a collapsed carton blank contacts the sensing actuators 282, the control valve 280 will be adjusted to thereby supply pneumatic pressure to control valve 135. With a supply of pneumatic pressure furnished to control valve 135, the associated program control cam 125 will effect movement of the valve to an actuated position for adjusting control valve 260a to effect operation of the pneumatic cylinder 260. Operation of the pneumatic cylinder 260 will cause the transfer element 250 to contact a collapsed carton blank supported in an aligned dispensing position and will effect movement of the collapsed carton blank downward into the receiving end of the box forming machine.

As shown in the timing chart of FIG. 28, during movement of the collapsed carton blank downward to the receiving end of the box forming machine, the conveyor control clutches 150 and 160 will be deenergized and the brake assembly 86 will be energized to maintain the conveyor in a static position as the collapsed carton blank is moved into position within the receiving end of the box forming machine. After the pneumatic cylinder 260 has effected movement of the collapsed carton blank into the receiving end of the box forming machine, the cam element 296 will operate sensing valve 295 for moving the control valve 260a to an adjusted position to effect movement of the pneumatic cylinder 260a to a retracted position.

When a first collapsed carton blank has been moved away from the sensing actuators 282, the clutch 180 will be operated to thereby index the carton blanks supported on the magazine forward to advance the next blank in an alligned dispensing position and for effecting operation of the sensing actuators 282.

Movement of a collapsed carton blank into the receiving end of the box forming maching will contact the sensing arm 341 operatively associated with control valve 340. With the control valve 340 operated by a case being moved into a proper position, cam 124 will adjust control valve 134 to thereby deliver pneumatic pressure to effect adjustment of control valve 340a. Adjustment of control valve 340a will operate to energize cylinder 330. When cylinder 330 is energized, the movable vacuum cups 321, 332 will move into position to contact one interconnected pair of end flaps and will bend the contacted interconnected pair of end flaps against the adjacent interconnected pair of end flaps and will fold both interconnected pairs of end flaps in an angular displaced position toward the fixed vacuum cups 311, 312.

During movement of the vacuum cups 321, 322 to the adjusted position, the program shaft cam 123 will adjust valve 133 for effecting displacement of vacuum control valve 345 whereby a supply of vacuum will be furnished along supply line 193 to the vacuum cups 311, 312, 321 and 322. After the vacuum cups 321, 322 have been displaced angularly a sufficient amount so that one pair of interconnected end flaps are in contact and grasped by the vacuum cups 311, 312 the program cam 124 will adjust valve 134 to move valve 340a to a second adjusted position to cause cylinder 330 to retract. As cylinder 330 retracts, the vacuum cups 321, 322 will be moved to their original home position. As the vacuum cups 321, 322 move to their home position, and due to the vacuum source being supplied thereto, the interconnected pair of end flaps contacted by vacuum cups 321, 322 will be grasped and displaced to a position angularly offset on an opposite side of the plane of the collapsed carton blank, causing the two interconnected pairs of end flaps to be spread relative to each other. Movement of the vacuum cups 321, 322 to their home position will cause cam 376 to effect operation of valve 370. Operation of valve 370 will energize cylinder 369 to effect movement of the retaining element 360 to its adjusted operable position in engagement with the spread end flaps to maintain them in their spread condition during advancement of the carton blank to the end flap folding station.

As shown by the timing chart of FIG. 28, after the cylinder 330 has been deenergized to effect movement of the vacuum cups 321, 322 to their home position, the clutch assemblies 150, 160 associated with the conveyor will be energized for effecting a driving movement of conveyor 50. As conveyor 50 is driven, a cross connecting bar 53 will advance the collapsed carton blanks to the end flap folding station. During movement of the collapsed carton blank to the end flap folding station, the fixed guide member 401 will move into position between the spread pairs of end flaps to maintain them in their spread relation during forward movement of the collapsed carton blank.

After the collapsed carton blank has been moved into an aligned position within the end flap folding station, the conveyor clutch assemblies 150, 160 will be deenergized to stop the collapsed carton blank in position beneath the end flap folding mechanism. With the collapsed carton blanks supported in the end flap folding station, program control cam 129 will effect adjustment of valve 139 to thereby operate cylinder 415. Operation of cylinder 415 will effect movement of the folding bars 420, 421 to a downwardly displaced position in contact with the inside surfaces of the interconnected pairs of end flaps.

As shown in FIG. 20, the folding bars 420, 421 are detailed in design and length to contact both of the interconnected pairs of end flaps and to maintain them in a common plane relative to each other during a folding operation. After cylinder 415 has been energized to effect a downward displacement of folding bars 420, 421, the conveyor clutch assemblies 150, 160 will be energized to advance the collapsed carton blank with the sides folded downward to the box opening station. During movement of the collapsed carton blank to the box opening station, the fixed guide bars 452, 453 will contact the downwardly folded end flaps to maintain them in a folded position in contact with the side from which they extend as they move forward to the box opening station.

After a collapsed carton blank has been advanced into position within the box opening station, a cross connecting bar 53 will contact and effect operation of sensing valve 86a and since the program cam 122 is properly position to effect operation of valve 132, the clutch assemblies 150, 160 will be deenergized. With a collapsed carton blank supported in an aligned position in the box opening station, program control cam 128 will effect operation of valve 138 to thereby energize cylinder 520. As cylinder 520 is energized, the vacuum cups 511, 512 will be angularly adjusted into position for engaging one side of the collapsed carton blank. Simultaneously with movement of vacuum cups 511, 512 to an adjusted position, the vacuum cups 541, 542 will be moved to an adjusted position for engaging an adjacent side of the collapsed carton blank by operation of control valve 131 with program cam 121.

Cam 121 and valve 131 will also effect operation of vacuum control valve 531 to thereby supply a vacuum source to the vacuum cups 511, 512, 541 and 542. After the vacuum cups 511, 512 have been moved to their angular adjusted position and engaged a side of the collapsed carton blank, program cam 128 will adjust control valve 138 to cause cylinder 520 to retract for effecting movement of the vacuum cups 511, 512 to their original home position. As the vacuum cups 511, 512 move to their original home position, the engaged side of the collapsed carton blank will be angularly displaced relative to the adjacent side which is held by vacuum cups 541, 542, thereby opening the box, whereby the interconnected sides are disposed substantially ninety degrees relative to each other and in substantially a rectangular configuration.

As shown by a timing chart of FIG. 28, the bottom end flap folding assembly 600 will be operated as soon as the cylinder 520 has been retracted to the original home position. The end flap folding assembly is operated by program cam 127 which will effect adjustment of control valve 137. Control valve 137 will effect a simultaneous operation of the side flap retaining cylinders 606, 607 and the bottom end flap control cylinder 640. The control cylinders 606, 607 and 640 will operate to adjust the bottom end flaps to a horizontally aligned folded position as described hereinabove. After the box has been opened at the box opening station and the bottom end flaps have been folded to an adjusted position, the conveyor clutches 150,160 will be operated to advance the box through the discharge end of the box forming machine for movement onto a next box forming machine for applying glue or other suitable adhesive means to the bottom flaps and for pressing the bottom flaps to a closed and sealed condition.

It now becomes apparent that the above described illustrative embodiment of a box forming machine is capable of obtaining the above stated objects and advantages. It is obvious that those skilled in the art may make modification on the details of construction without departing from the spirit of the invention which is to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.