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Rotary machine with separately controllable stations

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Rotary machine with separately controllable stations


A rotary machine may have multiple stations that have a linear motion operated by a cam and a rotational motion operated by individual motors mounted on each station. Each station may perform a motion profile that is proportional to the machine's central axis rotation or, in some cases, independent of the central axis rotation. In some embodiments, each station may rotate to orient a part prior to processing. In one embodiment, the cam driven linear motion may enable a station to lower for loading and unloading, then raise for processing. The rotary machine may have various mechanisms at each station for processing a part. One such embodiment is a rotary machine that may be outfitted with compound dispensing mechanisms at each station.

Browse recent Computrol, Inc. patents - Golden, CO, US
Inventors: William W. Weil, Scott J. Woolley, Ian J. Buckley, James N. McBride, Harly S. Crabtree, Bert Johansson
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120269979 - Class: 4274211 (USPTO) - 10/25/12 - Class 427 
Coating Processes > Spraying

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120269979, Rotary machine with separately controllable stations.

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CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This patent application is based upon and claims priority to and benefit of pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/622422 filed 11 Jan. 2007 entitled “Closure Sealant Dispenser” by William W. Weil, et al., which is a divisional application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/670,176 entitled “Closure Sealant Dispenser” by William W. Weil, et al and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,179,333 on 20 Feb. 2007, which in turn claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/412988 entitled “Can Sealant Dispenser” by William W. Weil, et al. filed 23 Sep. 2002, and to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/194,380 filed 19 Aug. 2008 entitled “Rotary Machine with Separately Controllable Stations” by William W. Weil, et al., the entire contents of which are hereby specifically incorporated by reference for all they disclose and teach.

BACKGROUND

Rotary processing machines are used in many types of high speed processes, such as in the packaging industry. A rotary machine has a center axis about which multiple stations rotate. Each station may process a unit as the station rotates about the axis. Such machines may be used for various manufacturing processes from forming containers to filling, capping, and labeling, as well as other operations.

SUMMARY

A rotary machine may have multiple stations that have a linear motion operated by a cam and a rotational motion operated by individual motors mounted on each station. Each station may perform a motion profile that is proportional to the machine\'s central axis rotation or, in some cases, independent of the central axis rotation. In some embodiments, each station may rotate to orient a part prior to processing. In one embodiment, the cam driven linear motion may enable a station to lower for loading and unloading, then raise for processing. The rotary machine may have various mechanisms at each station for processing a part. One such embodiment is a rotary machine that may be outfitted with compound dispensing mechanisms at each station.

This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings,

FIG. 1 is a diagram illustration of an embodiment showing an example of a rotary machine.

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional diagram illustration of an embodiment showing a station with an individually controllable motor and a cam driven linear motion.

FIG. 3 is a top view diagram illustration of an embodiment showing a rotary machine with various operational zones.

FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustration of an embodiment showing a method for controlling a rotary machine.

FIG. 5 is a diagram illustration of an embodiment showing a system for controlling a rotary machine.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A rotary machine with multiple modular stations may use independently controllable motors on each station. The independently controllable motors may enable many different types of motion profiles that may not be readily available or even possible with other types of rotary machines.

The stations may be constructed with a motor and a cam operated linear motion. The cam may cause the station to move linearly as the rotary machine turns about its axis. In one such embodiment, a cam may enable a station to lift a part into place and rotate the part under an applicator or other processor. After the processing is complete, the cam may lower the station into place so that the part may be removed and another part added. Such an embodiment may be useful for depositing liner compound on can ends, lids, caps, and other products.

The types of station motion profiles that may be performed may include constant speed profiles, variable speed profiles, and motion that may be coordinated with other sensors, such as an orientation profile.

Throughout this specification, like reference numbers signify the same elements throughout the description of the figures.

When elements are referred to as being “connected” or “coupled,” the elements can be directly connected or coupled together or one or more intervening elements may also be present. In contrast, when elements are referred to as being “directly connected” or “directly coupled,” there are no intervening elements present.

The subject matter may be embodied as devices, systems, methods, and/or computer program products. Accordingly, some or all of the subject matter may be embodied in hardware and/or in software (including firmware, resident software, micro-code, state machines, gate arrays, etc.) Furthermore, the subject matter may take the form of a computer program product on a computer-usable or computer-readable storage medium having computer-usable or computer-readable program code embodied in the medium for use by or in connection with an instruction execution system. In the context of this document, a computer-usable or computer-readable medium may be any medium that can contain, store, communicate, propagate, or transport the program for use by or in connection with the instruction execution system, apparatus, or device.

The computer-usable or computer-readable medium may be, for example but not limited to, an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared, or semiconductor system, apparatus, device, or propagation medium. By way of example, and not limitation, computer readable media may comprise computer storage media and communication media.

Computer storage media includes volatile and nonvolatile, removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data. Computer storage media includes, but is not limited to, RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, digital versatile disks (DVD) or other optical storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can accessed by an instruction execution system. Note that the computer-usable or computer-readable medium could be paper or another suitable medium upon which the program is printed, as the program can be electronically captured, via, for instance, optical scanning of the paper or other medium, then compiled, interpreted, of otherwise processed in a suitable manner, if necessary, and then stored in a computer memory.

Communication media typically embodies computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data in a modulated data signal such as a carrier wave or other transport mechanism and includes any information delivery media. The term “modulated data signal” means a signal that has one or more of its characteristics set or changed in such a manner as to encode information in the signal. By way of example, and not limitation, communication media includes wired media such as a wired network or direct-wired connection, and wireless media such as acoustic, RF, infrared and other wireless media. Combinations of the any of the above should also be included within the scope of computer readable media.

When the subject matter is embodied in the general context of computer-executable instructions, the embodiment may comprise program modules, executed by one or more systems, computers, or other devices. Generally, program modules include routines, programs, objects, components, data structures, etc. that perform particular tasks or implement particular abstract data types. Typically, the functionality of the program modules may be combined or distributed as desired in various embodiments.

FIG. 1 is a diagram of an embodiment 100 showing a rotary machine with multiple stations. Embodiment 100 is a simplified example of a rotary machine that has independent motors on each station, plus a cam driven linear motion for each station. Embodiment 100 is an example of a rotary machine that may be used to apply liner compound, for example. Many other embodiments may perform different functions using similar or different configurations.

The rotary machine 102 has a base 104 on which a table 106 may rotate. Disposed around the center axis 107 are stations 108, 110, 112, 114, 116, and 118. The portion of the machine 102 above and including the table 106 may rotate at a constant speed, while each station may process a single part as the rotary machine 102 rotates about the center axis 107.

A motor may be used to cause the rotary machine 102 to rotate about the center axis 107. Such a motor may be mounted inside the base 104 or may be externally mounted. In many cases, a belt drive or gear drive transmission may be used to couple the main drive motor to the rotating portion of the rotary machine 102.

As the stations progress around the center axis, the stations may pass a loading zone where a part to be processed may be loaded onto a station. The station may pass a lifting zone where the station may lift the part into position for processing, and a processing zone where the part undergoes processing. After processing, the station may rotate past a lower zone and then to an unload zone. An example of such a progression is illustrated in FIG. 3 of this specification.

The rotary machine 102 is an example of a six station rotary machine. Other embodiments may have 3, 4, 8, 10, 16, 32, or any other number of stations. The number of stations is roughly correlated with the throughput of the overall machine. As the number of stations doubles, the machine may be able to process about twice as many items.

The rotary machine 102 is designed with the stations mounted under the table 106. In this embodiment, parts to be processed are placed on top of the stations in a chuck, such as the chuck 138 illustrated in station 112. The chuck 138 may grasp or hold a part to be processed.

In other embodiments, the stations may be placed above the part to be processed. For example, a screw cap installation embodiment may install a threaded cap onto a container. In the example, the cap may be loaded into a chuck operated by a station mounted above the container. The container may be presented below the screw cap and the station may rotate the cap onto the container.

The rotary machine 102 is illustrated with dispensers 120, 122, 124, 126, 128, and 130 at stations 108, 110, 112, 114, 116, and 118, respectively. The dispensers may apply sealing compound to can ends that may be held at each station. The stations may hold a can end, lift the can end underneath a dispenser, and rotate the can end while the dispenser dispenses sealing compound.

The rotary machine 102 has a cam 132 that is located on the base 104. Each station may have a cam follower, such as cam followers 134 and 136 on stations 118 and 112, respectively. The cam 132 and cam followers may cause the stations to move in a linear motion with respect to the table 106 based on the location of the station around the rotary machine 102. When the stations are in the locations of stations 118, 108, and 110, the cam may cause the stations to be in a lower position than when the stations are in the position of stations 112, 114, and 116.

The cam 132 and cam follower mechanisms may cause the stations to move in a linear motion during a rotation about the center axis 107. The illustrated embodiment shows the cams causing a linear motion parallel to the center axis 107. Other embodiments may have a linear motion in a direction perpendicular to the center axis 107. Still other embodiments may have linear motion in other directions.

In some embodiments, a servo motor, solenoid, or other actuator may be used to generate linear motion. In many embodiments, a bearing system may be used to guide the linear motion.

Each station may have a separately controllable motor for controlling the station rotation. In different embodiments, each station motor may be a servo motor, stepper motor, fixed speed, or some other type of controllable motor. A controller may be able to operate the station motors in several different modes using motion profiles.

In a first mode, the station motors may be caused to rotate proportionally to the center axis rotation of the rotary machine. In such a mode, the motion profile of the station may be a multiplier of the rotation of the center axis. The rotational speed of the center axis may be used as an input to the controller to determine the rotational speed of the stations.

In some embodiments, a sensor on the rotary machine 102 may detect the speed or position of the rotation about the center axis 107. In some embodiments, the calculation or determination of the movement of station motors may be calculated using either speed or position. When position is sensed, speed may be calculated. When speed is sensed, it may be more difficult to calculate position, as a secondary position sensor may be used.

In the first mode of operation, as with other modes of operation, a controller may use either speed or position as an input, and the controller may control station motors using speed or position as an output.

In a second mode of operation, the station motors may be caused to rotate at a constant speed regardless of the speed of rotation of the center axis. In an example, each station may be set to rotate at a constant speed regardless of the table rotation speed.

In other modes of operation, the station motors may be caused to rotate on a variable speed profile. A variable speed profile may change station motor speed while the station progresses around the center axis.

In one example of a variable speed profile, the station speed may be set at a slow speed or even stopped during the load and unload phase, but may increase to a high speed during the processing phase. A variable speed profile may define the acceleration or how fast the speed is increased or decreased, and may define a specific period of time to hold each speed.

A variable speed profile may be defined in many different manners. In one manner, an initial speed may be defined for a load process. At a predetermined point, such as when the station passes a sensor or moves past the load area, the speed may be ramped up at a predetermined rate, held at a constant speed, then ramped down to the initial speed.

In some cases, the points at which a speed profile changes may be defined with different types of input. For instance, some variable speed profiles may be defined with respect to time. In the previous example, the high speed portion of a speed profile may be held for a predetermined time. In another instance, the high speed portion of the speed profile may be held for a specific number of turns or rotations. In still another instance, the high speed portion of the speed profile may be held constant until the station passes a sensor or a predetermined location around the center axis.

In each instance given above, the manner in which a speed profile is defined may change the actual motion of the station motor in different cases, such as when the machine is slowed down or sped up. In the case of a rotary machine 102 where compound is being dispensed, some embodiments may program a variable speed profile to perform a certain number of turns during a compound dispensing operation at a specific speed, for example.

In some embodiments, a variable speed profile may be adjusted based on the rotation about the center axis. In such an embodiment, the variable speed profile may be defined for a maximum operating speed of the rotary machine 102, and the actual speed of the station may be decreased by a percentage calculated by the current speed divided by the maximum speed. In such an embodiment, the motion of the station motors may be slowed proportionally with the speed of the table.

In some embodiments, a variable speed profile may be performed the same manner regardless of the rotation about the center axis. In such an embodiment, a speed profile may be started when a station reaches a predetermined position around the center axis. For example, once a station was raised into place, the speed profile may be executed from an initial speed and may return to the initial speed until the unload and load operations are completed.

Such an embodiment may be useful in cases where the speed profile is important in performing a process. For example, a dispensing operation may use a dispenser that dispenses a compound at a predetermined flow rate and for a predetermined period of time. By operating the speed profile at the same speed and duration regardless of the speed of the rotary machine about the center axis 107, the compound may be dispensed consistently regardless of the table rotation speed.

In some embodiments, a variable speed profile may include an operation to orient the part. When a part is oriented, the part may be turned or positioned to a specific orientation prior to performing an operation. A part may be received, positioned to a starting orientation, then have an operation performed.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120269979 A1
Publish Date
10/25/2012
Document #
13541030
File Date
07/03/2012
USPTO Class
4274211
Other USPTO Classes
74 55
International Class
/
Drawings
6



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