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Title:
Pressing System
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Apparatus for pressing blanks in a coining, stamping or press forming operation includes a rotary pressing table to which the blanks are fed, a store receptacle for the blanks and a feed system for feeding the blanks dispensed from the store receptacle to the rotary pressing table. The feed system has a guide conduit into which the blanks pass following dispensing from the store receptacle and along which the blanks are urged to file one behind another to an exit from the guide conduit. The blanks pass directly from the conduit into a receiving station of the rotary pressing table.


Inventors:
Gregory, Stephen (Pontypridd, GB)
Application Number:
11/813843
Publication Date:
03/12/2009
Filing Date:
01/25/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B21D22/00; B44B5/02; B65G19/02; B65G47/14
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GORDON & JACOBSON, P.C. (60 LONG RIDGE ROAD, SUITE 407, STAMFORD, CT, 06902, US)
Claims:
1. Pressing apparatus for pressing blanks in a coining, stamping or press forming operation, the apparatus including a rotary pressing table to which the blanks are fed, a store receptacle for the blanks and a feed system for feeding the blanks dispensed from the store receptacle to the rotary pressing table, the feed system including a guide conduit into which the blanks pass following dispensing from the store receptacle and along which the blanks are urged to file one behind another to an exit from the guide conduit, the blanks passing directly from the conduit into a receiving station of the rotary pressing table.

2. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the blanks comprise disc form elements having opposed major faces and a minor dimension thickness edge.

3. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the rotary pressing table has an upwardly extending axis of rotation.

4. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the guide conduit extends transversely to the axis of rotation of the pressing table.

5. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the guide conduit extends substantially horizontally.

6. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the blanks pass along the conduit in edge to edge file relationship.

7. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the blanks pass along the conduit in single file.

8. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the motion of the blank in passing into the receiving station of the rotary pressing table is in the same general direction as the motion of the blank along the conduit.

9. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the guide conduit is elongate, the blank moving in a direction in-line with the conduit in passing into the blank receiving station of the rotary pressing table.

10. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the blanks are fed directly to the guide conduit from the receptacle store, in file one behind another.

11. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the store receptacle includes a dispensing arrangement for dispensing the blanks in file in edge to edge relationship, to the guide conduit.

12. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the store receptacle includes a rotary/centrifugal feed arrangement urging the blanks to be dispensed from the store receptacle

13. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the feed system includes a biassing arrangement operational to bias blanks in the guide conduit in the direction of the rotary pressing table.

14. Pressing apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the biassing arrangement comprises a drive arrangement operational to drive blanks in the guide conduit in the direction of the rotary pressing table.

15. Pressing apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the drive arrangement includes an actuator arranged to contact the surface of the blanks in the guide conduit.

16. Pressing apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the drive arrangement includes a non-contact device (such as a linear induction motor) operational to drive blanks in the guide conduit.

17. Pressing apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the actuator is located adjacent the underside surface of blanks in the guide channel.

18. Pressing apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the biassing arrangement includes an endless belt drive arranged to contact the blanks in file in the guide conduit.

19. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the rotary pressing table rotates between successive positions in which blanks are urged to pass via the exit of the guide conduit into successive receiving stations of the rotary pressing table.

20. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein a plurality of receiving stations are provided on the rotary pressing table, each comprising a receiving recess provided in a sector element mounted to the surface of the table.

21. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the receiving stations are replaceable on the rotary table to fit receiving stations for receipt of blanks of varying dimensions.

22. Pressing apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the rotary pressing table carries blanks to a pressing station where a press forming operation (such as coining or stamping) is carried out upon the blank.

23. A feed system for feeding blanks from a receptacle store to a rotary pressing table, the feed system comprising a guide conduit into which the blanks pass following dispensing from the store receptacle and along which the blanks are urged to file one behind another to an exit from the guide conduit, the blanks passing directly from the conduit into a receiving station of the rotary pressing table.

24. A press forming process in which blanks are fed from a receptacle store of blanks to a rotary pressing table, the blanks passing from the receptacle store into a guide conduit along which guide conduit the blanks are urged to file one behind another to an exit from the guide conduit, the blanks passing directly from the guide conduit into a receiving station of the rotary pressing table.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a pressing system for pressing blanks in a coining, stamping or other press forming process.

2. State of the Art

Known press forming techniques for use, for example, in the coin manufacturing industry use a rotary pressing table (frequently known as a rotary dial plate table) having a vertical rotary axis about which the table rotates. The dial plate table has a series of circumferentially spaced blank receiving stations which pass by a feed outlet at which a respective blank is fed into a respective receiving station. The table is then rotated to a pressing station at which a press forming operation (coin stamping) is carried out. The table indexes rotationally with sufficient dwell time for loading of the blanks into the receiving stations from the feed outlet and performance of the pressing operation. Conventionally, the blanks are fed from an elevated hopper or bowl store (which is periodically loaded with blanks), downwardly into a vertical guide tube to form an upright column or stack of the blanks. Blanks are then fed from the bottom of the vertical stack by means of a reciprocating finger which on its forward stroke forces the lowermost blank sideways from the stack at the feed outlet and into the adjacent dial plate table receiving station.

The prior art system described requires complex timing of the reciprocating finger to pare off the lowermost blank from the stack at the precise moment the dial plate receiving station is in position. This results in frequent failure due to mechanical problems and mis-timing which results in down time to repair. Changeover to run the system for blanks of different sizes requires the stack guide tube, and dial plate receiving station arrangement to be reset. This results in the receiving station distribution about the circumference of the dial plate table changing and as a result the timing of the reciprocating finger of the feed system is required to be altered. This changeover procedure is time consuming and results in significant down time.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An improved technique has now been devised.

According to a first aspect, the present invention provides pressing apparatus for pressing blanks in a coining, stamping or press forming operation, the apparatus including a rotary pressing table to which the blanks are fed, a store receptacle for the blanks and a feed system for feeding the blanks dispensed from the store receptacle to the rotary pressing table, the feed system including a guide conduit into which the blanks pass following dispensing from the store receptacle and along which the blanks are urged to file one behind another to an exit from the guide conduit, the blanks passing directly from the conduit into a receiving station of the rotary pressing table.

According to a second aspect, the invention provides a feed system for feeding blanks from a receptacle store to a rotary pressing table, the feed system comprising a guide conduit into which the blanks pass following dispensing from the store receptacle and along which the blanks are urged to file one behind another to an exit from the guide conduit, the blanks passing directly from the conduit into a receiving station of the rotary pressing table.

According to a further aspect, the invention provides a press forming process in which blanks are fed from a receptacle store of blanks to a rotary pressing table, the blanks passing from the receptacle store into a guide conduit along which guide conduit the blanks are urged to file one behind another to an exit from the guide conduit, the blanks passing directly from the guide conduit into a receiving station of the rotary pressing table.

It is preferred that the blanks comprise disc form elements having opposed major faces and a minor dimension thickness edge. In this context disc form should be read as encompassing within its scope circular, hexagonal octagonal or other polygonal shaped generally flat blanks, having opposed major faces.

Desirably, the rotary pressing table has an upwardly extending axis of rotation. This enables the blanks to be retained on the table by gravity.

Beneficially, the guide conduit extends transversely to the axis of rotation of the pressing table, preferably substantially horizontally (although a slight incline may be permissible, or even aid in progressing the blanks toward the table, if inclined in that direction).

The blanks pass along the guide conduit in edge to edge file relationship, preferably in single file. Preferably, the motion of the blank in passing into the receiving station of the rotary pressing table is in the same general direction as the motion of the blank along the conduit.

The guide conduit is preferably elongate (more preferably generally straight), the blanks desirably moving in a direction in-line with the conduit in passing into the blank receiving station of the rotary pressing table. Desirably the feed system (preferably the guide conduit) has gauging means for rejecting oversize and/or undersize blanks. The gauging means may include an aperture in the conduit through which undersize blanks fall.

Advantageously, the blanks are fed directly to the guide conduit from the receptacle store, in file one behind another. The store receptacle preferably includes a dispensing arrangement for dispensing the blanks in file in edge to edge relationship, to the guide conduit. Desirably, a rotary/centrifugal arrangement urges the blanks to be dispensed from the store receptacle.

It is preferred that the feed system includes a biassing arrangement operational to bias blanks in the guide conduit in the direction of the rotary pressing table. The biassing arrangement preferably comprises a drive arrangement operational to drive blanks in the guide conduit in the direction of the rotary pressing table. The drive arrangement may include an actuator arranged to contact the surface of the blanks in the guide conduit, preferably the underside surface of the blanks filing along the guide channel. The drive arrangement contacting the underside of the blanks is preferred because it requires less re-organisation of apparatus parts when changing over the apparatus to deal with blanks of differing thickness. In one embodiment, it is preferred that an endless belt drive is provided to contact and drive the blanks in file in the guide conduit.

Alternatively, the drive arrangement may comprise a non-contact drive arrangement, such as a linear induction motor, preferably positioned to extend in-line below the guide conduit. By using an induction motor, the number of moving parts for the apparatus is reduced aiding in ease of assembly, re-assembly and down time during maintenance or changeover.

Beneficially, the rotary pressing table rotates between successive positions in which blanks are urged to pass via the exit of the guide conduit into successive receiving stations of the rotary pressing table. A plurality of receiving stations are preferably provided on the rotary pressing table, each beneficially comprising a receiving recess provided in a sector element mounted to the surface of the table. Desirably, receiving stations are replaceable on the rotary table to fit receiving stations for receipt of blanks of varying dimensions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be further described in a specific embodiment by way of example only and with reference to the following drawings, in which;

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a prior art pressing system;

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of apparatus in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of apparatus in accordance with the invention; and

FIG. 4 is an underside perspective view of an alternative embodiment of apparatus in accordance with the invention.

Referring to the drawings and initially to the prior art system of FIG. 1, there is shown pressing apparatus (101) including a rotary dial plate pressing table (102) having a vertical rotary axis about which the table rotates. The dial plate table (102) has a series of circumferentially spaced blank receiving stations which pass by a feed outlet (103) at which a respective blank is fed into a respective receiving station. The table is then rotated to carry the blanks to a pressing station (104) at which a press forming operation (coin stamping) is carried out. The table indexes rotationally with sufficient dwell time for loading of the blanks into the receiving stations from the feed outlet and performance of the pressing operation. The blanks are fed from an elevated hopper or bowl store (105) which is periodically loaded with blanks, and pass downwardly into a vertical guide tube (106) to form an upright column or stack of the blanks. Blanks are then fed from the bottom of the vertical stack by means of a reciprocating finger (107) which on its forward stroke forces the lowermost blank sideways from the stack at the feed outlet and into the adjacent dial plate table receiving station.

The prior art system described requires complex timing of the reciprocating finger (107) to pare off the lowermost blank from the stack at the precise moment the dial plate receiving station is in position. This results in frequent failure due to mechanical problems and mis-timing which results in down time to repair. Changeover to run the system for blanks of different sizes requires the stack guide tube, and dial plate receiving station arrangement to be reset. This results in the receiving station distribution about the circumference of the dial plate table changing and as a result the timing of the reciprocating finger of the feed system is required to be altered. This changeover procedure is time consuming and results in significant down time.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Turning now to the system of the present invention as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The apparatus 1 comprises a rotary feed bowl (2), a feed system (3) including a guide feed channel (4) extending horizontally from the feed bowl (2) and a rotary dial plate table (5) (having a vertical rotary axis) positioned at the distal end of the guide feed channel (4). Blanks are periodically loaded into the feed bowl and dispensed from the feed bowl to pass along the guide feed channel in single file (in edge to edge relationship). The feed bowl has a rotary base (7) which rotates and agitates the blanks. A peripheral lip (8) ensures that only blanks which are orientated lying on a major face can pass under the influence of centrifugal force to a peripheral circumferential outlet (not shown). The feed bowl outlet is lined up with the proximal end of guide channel (4). The guide channel (4) can be varied in width to facilitate pressing runs of blanks of different sizes. A gauge arrangement (9) includes an aperture (10) in the base of the channel sized to ensure that blanks undersize by more than a given tolerance level are rejected by falling through the aperture (10). A deflection arm (11) also ensures that over-thickness blanks are deflected into a reject channel. The blanks are initially fed along the guide channel in single file by means of being pushed from the blank behind. In effect therefore the rotary drive of the feed bowl is the input driver to cause the blanks to move along the guide channel (4). However the guide channel (4) feed system includes a drive arrangement in the form of an endless belt drive (12). The belt (14) of the belt drive (12) contacts the upper surface of the single file blanks in the guide channel and urges them in the direction of the dial plate table (5). The end length of the guide channel (4) is horizontal and leads to a level entry/crossover point 20 at which the blanks are transferred to the dial plate table (5). The dial plate table (5) includes a circumferential edge (15), and an upper surface which has a series of sector elements (16) fixed to the table (5), each sector element including a circumference facing receiving recess (18) (receiving station) shaped and dimensioned to receive a single blank. When the dial plate table (5) is in a rotary position such that an empty receiving recess (18) of a respective slot is lined up at the cross over point (20) with the end of the guide channel (4), the endmost blank is urged by rearward force to move to enter and occupy the recess (18). The table then turns and the next in line blank is forced into abutment with the circumferential edge (15) of the dial plate table (5) awaiting the next vacant recess (18) to line up at the cross over point (20). The endless belt drive arrangement (12) performs the important function of ensuring that any spacing or gaps between blanks in the single file line in the guide channel (4) are closed. The apparatus operates at significant speed and it is important to ensure that the next in line blank at the crossover position (20) is always at the ready, in position at the end of channel (4), to be urged across to the dial plate table (5).

When in position on the table, the blanks are rotated to a pressing station (24) at which a press forming operation (for example coin stamping) is carried out. The table indexes rotationally with sufficient dwell time for loading of the blanks into the receiving stations (18) and performance of the pressing operation.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the endless belt drive arrangement (12) is positioned beneath the guide channel (4), the upper length of the belt protruding, through a slot (31) in the base of the guide channel. The belt moves at a speed greater than the speed at which the blanks pass along the guide channel (4) ensuring that lagging blanks in the channel are brought up to engage with leading blanks in a convenient manner. It has been found that positioning the drive arrangement beneath the line of travelling blanks, such that the blanks are supported on the drive belt improves the reliability of this aspect of the design. The guide belt slips beneath the edge to edge contacting, in file blanks in the guide slot. Additionally, the drive arrangement contacting the underside of the blanks is preferred because it requires less re-organisation of apparatus parts when changing over the apparatus to deal with blanks of differing thickness.

In an alternative embodiment, the drive arrangement may comprise a non-contact drive arrangement such as a linear induction motor, preferably positioned in-line below the guide conduit. By using an induction motor, the number of moving parts for the apparatus is reduced aiding in ease of assembly, re-assembly and down time during maintenance or changeover. The use of a linear motor also enables simple external adjustment of the drive speed.

The technique and system of the present invention does not require a complex timing arrangement to ensure transfer of blanks to the receiving station (18) at the dial plate table (5). Additionally, when the process run is converted to take blanks of a different size, there is no requirement to make timing adjustments or change feed tubes. The sector elements (16) are simply replaced with sector elements with appropriate sized receiving recesses and the width of the guide channel is adjusted. These features ensure that the operational down time is minimised.