Title:
DRUM FOR STORING AND DISPENSING A REELED CLIP LINE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a clip storage drum for storing and dispensing a reeled clip line, in particular a line of S-clips, said drum comprising a drum body which has a hub and side walls respectively arranged at the axial end faces of said hub, said side walls extending beyond the circumferential surface of the hub in the radial direction. The storage space defined by the inner facing surfaces of the side walls and the hub and extending circumferentially around the hub is used to accommodate the clip line. According to the invention, a holding means for fixing the start of the clip line to the drum body is provided on the outer circumferential surface of the hub.



Inventors:
Schleucher, Heiko (Gedern, DE)
Application Number:
13/668238
Publication Date:
05/09/2013
Filing Date:
11/03/2012
Assignee:
POLY-CLIP SYSTEM GMBH & CO. KG (Hattersheim, DE)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65H54/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RIVERA, WILLIAM ARAUZ
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FITCH EVEN TABIN & FLANNERY, LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A clip storage drum for storing and dispensing a reeled clip line, in particular a line of S-clips, said drum comprising: a drum body which has a hub and side walls respectively arranged at the axial end faces of said hub, said side walls extending beyond the circumferential surface of the hub in the radial direction, wherein the storage space defined by the inner facing surfaces of the side walls and the hub and extending circumferentially around the hub is used to accommodate the clip line, where a holding means for fixing the start of the clip line to the drum body is provided on the outer circumferential surface of the hub.

2. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where the holding means is embodied as a clamping device for clamping the start of the clip line.

3. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where the retention force of the holding means is directed towards the hub surface.

4. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where the surface of the holding means engaging with the start of the clip line is adapted to the cross-sectional profile of the start of the clip line.

5. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where the holding means is adapted to fix the start of a line of S-clips.

6. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where the holding means is adapted to hold a plurality of clips at the start of the clip line.

7. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where the holding means is in the shape of a hook.

8. The clip storage drum according to claim 7, where the hook-shaped holding means has a free end which broadens towards the hub surface.

9. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where the holding means is formed integrally with the hub or with a hub portion which is securely attached to the rest of the hub body.

10. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where the holding means is adapted to release the start of the clip line for complete unwinding of the clip line.

11. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where the holding means is designed to be resiliently elastic.

12. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where the holding means is arranged in the axial centre of the hub on the outer circumferential surface of the hub.

13. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where the holding means is arranged adjacent to a side wall on the outer circumferential surface of the hub.

14. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where the holding means is arranged on the outer circumferential surface of the hub and in the region of an opening which is located in one of the two side walls.

15. The clip storage drum according to claim 1, where an angle reference point is provided on the hub.

Description:

This application claims priority to, and the benefit of, German Patent Application No. 20 2011 107 493.9 filed Nov. 4, 2011 with the German Patent Office, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a clip storage drum for storing and dispensing a reeled clip line, in accordance with the preamble of claim 1.

Such a clip storage drum is known from DE utility model 20 2007 006 428. Said drum comprises a drum body having a hub and side walls respectively disposed at the axial end faces of the hub, said side walls extending beyond the outer surface of the hub in the radial direction. A circumferential storage space for accommodating the clip line is defined by the facing surfaces of the side walls and the outer surface of the hub.

Using such clip storage drums in clipping machines that are used in conjunction with a stuffing machine to produce sausage products is known from DE patent 10 2005 032 530. In the clipping machine, the filling material is stuffed into a tubular casing which is closed at one end by a first clip, and the casing is closed by placing a second clip. The clips may be U-shaped, with the two lateral legs being parallel to each other or at an obtuse angle to each other, as known from DE patent 32 44 979, for example.

In the clipping machine, the clips are fed as a clip line along a predefined guide track to closing tools at a rate which is dependent on the dimensions of the clip. The clips and the closing tools of the clipping machine are matched to each other for this purpose. The clip size must be changed in order to produce different sausage products, so the closing tools are also replaced accordingly. In order to prevent operating errors, it is also necessary that those clips still located on the drum body occupy defined positions during synchronized dispensing of the clips from the clip storage drum.

There are two different kinds of clips in practice, namely “R-clips” and “S-clips”. The former are already wound in many ways onto clip storage drums of the kind initially specified and are dispensed from these during the clipping operation. In practice, “S-clips” are provided in the form of sticks that are fed via linear or slightly curved tracks to the respective clipping site. However, such known feed systems for S-clips are limited in their length, since otherwise it is not possible to feed the S-clips manually into said feed tracks, due to the limited height of humans.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of the invention is to provide a clip storage drum of the kind initially specified, on which predetermined positioning of the clips on the drum body is assured when storing them on the drum body and dispensing them in a clipping machine.

According to the invention, this object is achieved with a clip storage drum having the features of independent claim 1.

In this clip storage drum, a holding means for fixing the start of the clip line to the drum body, the clip line preferably comprising S-clips, is arranged on the hub and more particularly on the outer circumferential surface of the hub. By fixing the start of the clip line in a particular position on the drum body, the clips in the clip line are likewise positioned in predetermined positions on the drum body when the clip line is placed on the drum body, when storing the clip line and when dispensing the clips in the clipping machine. This ensures that the clips are exactly positioned when they are fed in a synchronized manner to the closing tools of the clipping machine.

The holding means is preferably designed in such a way that the clip line is securely held when it is reeled onto the clip storage drum and when reeled off the storage drum during production. The start of the clip line is released from the holding means to unreel it completely. The holding means operates by exerting an appropriate biasing force on the start of the clip line.

The holding means may preferably be embodied as a clamping device for clamping the start of the clip line. The retention force of the holding means which is preferably designed to be resiliently elastic, may be directed towards the outer hub surface.

The face of the holding means engaging with the start of the clip line may be adapted to the cross-sectional profile of the start of the clip line to ensure that the start of the clip line is adequately fixed to the drum body. For this purpose, the holding means may be adapted to grip several clips at the start of the clip line.

The holding means may preferably be in the shape of a hook. This ensures that the start of the clip line can easily be arranged in the position in which it is to be fixed on the circumferential surface of the hub. This is particularly the case when the hook-shaped holding means is resiliently elastic.

The holding means is preferably formed integrally with the hub. This ensures that the hub and the holding means are joined together sufficiently securely. The drum body and the holding means are preferably made of plastic, for example of polystyrene. When manufacturing the drum body, several component members of the drum body can be made by casting or by injection molding, and joined together by welding or gluing, for example.

As already mentioned at the outset, “R-clips” and “S-clips” are known in practice. R-clips are made of a metal wire or the like, which is shaped in such a way that the clips are successively arranged one after the other such that their closure planes, as defined by the legs and the bottom portion of each clip, are all in one plane. The clips are successively joined to each other at the respective ends of the clip legs. S-clips, in contrast, are arranged one against the other in a row, in such a way that their closure planes, which, as mentioned above, are defined by the plane formed by the bottom portion of the clip and its two legs, lie one against the other. These clips have the shape of the letter “U” in many cases, the clip legs and the bottom portion of each single clip lying against the clip legs and the bottom portion of subsequent clip. S-clips, which are already discrete, can be held together by an adhesive strip which extends along the outer side of the bottom portions of clips lying one against the other.

The present invention is especially advantageous in the case of S-clips, in particular, because until now, as mentioned at the outset, such clips have only been fed as sticks in straight or slightly curved feed tracks of a clipping machine. With the proposed solution, it is also possible now to wind such S-clips onto a clip storage drum, with the result that the number of clipping operations that can be carried out before the S-clips loaded into the machine are used up means that the process duration or the duration of machine operation can be significantly longer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention shall now be described in further detail with reference to the Figures showing embodiments of the invention, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a first embodiment of a clip storage drum, with a clip line reeled thereon;

FIG. 2 shows a side view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 2a shows a detail A in FIG. 2;

FIG. 3 shows a plan view of the embodiment in FIG. 1, without a clip line;

FIG. 4 shows an enlarged view of a detail B in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 shows a cross-sectional view of the clip storage drum along line A-A in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5a shows an enlarged view of a detail C in FIG. 5, showing an embodiment of a holding means provided in the first embodiment;

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of a second embodiment of a clip storage drum, with a clip line reeled thereon in the form of a spiral;

FIG. 7 shows a cross-sectional view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 shows a side view of the second embodiment; and

FIG. 8a shows an enlarged view of a detail Z in FIG. 8, showing another embodiment of a holding means provided in the second embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The clip storage drum of the first embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 to 5a, which is preferably provided for S-clips, contains a drum body 10 having a hub 50 and side walls 22 and 32 respectively arranged at the axial end faces of hub 50. Side walls 22 and 32 extend perpendicularly to the hub axis 52. A storage space which is defined by the two side walls 22 and 32 and radially inwards by the outer circumferential surface of hub 50, and which is radially outwardly open, is used to store a reeled clip line 60. Clip line 60 is formed by a plurality of U-shaped clips 62 (S-clips) which are arranged one against the other. Clips 62 are designed in such a way that two lateral legs running parallel to each other are provided on a middle portion and perpendicular thereto.

A holding means 20 is arranged immediately adjacent to side wall 32 on the outer circumferential surface of hub 50 (FIG. 3). This holding means 20, which is shaped like a hook, is used to fix the start of the clip line 60 to drum body 10. Holding means 20 is attached to hub 50. To that end, holding means 20 may be formed integrally with hub 50. However, it is also possible that holding means 20 be molding onto a hub member which is securely joined to the rest of the hub body by gluing, welding, or the like.

As can be seen from FIG. 2, holding means 20 is located in the region of an opening 26 in one of the two side walls (22, 32). In the embodiment shown, opening 26 is in side wall 32, so it is possible, for example with the aid of optical means or visual inspection, to check whether the start of the clip line is securely fixed in the desired position by holding means 20. The remaining parts of the clip line can be reeled alongside and above each other in several layers inside the storage space between side walls 22 and 23, as can be seen from FIG. 1.

In the embodiment shown, holding means 20 is embodied as a clamping device which can exert a retention force, in the direction of the hub surface, on the fixed start of clip line 60. The surface of the holding means 20 engaging the start of the clip line may be substantially adapted for this purpose to the cross-sectional profile of the fixed start of the clip line. The hook-shaped holding means 20 preferably has a free end 24 which broadens towards the hub surface, as can be seen from FIG. 5a, in particular.

Holding means 20 fixes the start of the clip line in place and thus also clip line 60, which is reeled in the circumferential direction of hub 50 in the storage space between side walls 22, 32. Holding means 20 may be designed in such a way that one or more clips at the start of the clip line are secured in the circumferential direction of hub 50 by the holding means.

An angle reference point 54 is provided on hub 50. In the embodiment shown, this angle reference point is on the inner circumferential surface of hub 50. As can be seen from FIG. 2a, in particular, this angle reference point 54 is embodied as a radially inwardly pointing projection. Holding means 20 is arranged at a particular angle to this angle reference point 54. Angle reference point 54 ensures that the clip storage drum 10 and hence also the start of the clip line fixed by holding means 20 are arranged at defined angles in a rotary mount of the clipping machine. To that end, angle reference point 54 in the form of a projection may be brought into engagement with a matching recess or notch in the rotary mount for clip storage drum 10 in the clipping machine, in order to provide a non-rotating connection.

The second embodiment of a clip storage drum shown in FIGS. 6 to 8a, which likewise is preferably provided for S-clips, likewise has a drum body 110 comprising a hub 150 and side walls 122, 132. As can be seen from FIG. 7, in particular, the side walls extend radially outwards at an obtuse angle relative to the outer circumferential surface of hub 150 and a hub axis 152. A holding means 120 is attached to the outer circumferential surface of hub 150 in the axial middle thereof. This holding means 120 is used to fix the start of clip line 160. Clip line 160 is formed by substantially U-shaped clips 162 arranged one against the other. As can be seen from FIG. 6, the two lateral clip legs extend at an obtuse angle from the middle clip portion. Clip line 160 is arranged in the radially outwardly open storage space which is formed by the outer circumferential surface of hub 150 and the two side walls 122 and 132 projecting at an obtuse angle therefrom, and is stored in layers lying one above the other in a spiral.

The start of clip line 164, which is formed by a plurality of clips 162 (FIG. 8a), is fixed to hub 150 on the outer circumferential surface thereof. On the surface which is in contact with clips 162, the hook-shaped holding means 120 has surface regions which are adapted for this purpose to the cross-sectional profile of the respective clips 162 and which partly surround the respective cross-sectional profiles. These surface regions may be provided in the form of parallel channels on the surface of holding means 120 which is in contact with clips 162. This is illustrated in FIG. 8a.

In this embodiment also, holding means 120 is securely joined to the body of hub 150. This can be achieved by embodying the holding means 120 integrally with hub 150, or by molding it onto a hub portion which is securely joined to the rest of the hub body by gluing, welding, or in some other way.

Holding means 120 is located in the region of an opening 126 which is arranged in one of the two side walls, which in the embodiment shown is side wall 132.

In both embodiments, holding means 20, 120 may be designed to be resiliently elastic and may exert a retention force in the direction of the outer circumferential surface of hub 50, 150. Movement of the fixed end of the clip line and hence of the clip line 60, 160 in the circumferential direction of the outer hub surface can be prevented by appropriately shaping the surface which is in contact with the start of the clip line. For this purpose, a free end 24, 124 of the hook-shaped holding means 20, 120 may be embodied so that it broadens towards the outer hub surface, as can be seen from FIGS. 5a and 8a, in particular.

The retention force exerted by holding means 20, 120 ensures that the one end of clip line 60, 160 is securely held in place when the clip line is reeled onto the clip storage drum. To unreel the clip line completely, the start of the clip line is released from the holding means.

The holding means 20, 120 may be made of plastic. The entire drum body 10, 110 may also be made of plastic. A suitable plastic is polystyrene, for example.