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Title:
AN AUTOMATIC MACHINE FOR BOXING OBJECTS ARRANGED ON ONE OF MORE ROWS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/181289
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
The present invention concerns a packaging machine suitable for collection one or more containers from a collection area and position them inside specific packages in a release area, the machine comprising at least two guides (10) spaced between them and along which a collection group (20, 50) results to be mobile, to which it is possible to connect one or more pick-up heads suitable for grasping and releasing the container, the guides (10) being configured in such a way that the movimentation of the collection group (20, 50) along them conducts the pick-up heads from a collection area to a release area and vice-versa. It is then foreseen a movimentation system (31, 33, -34) that moves the collection group (20, 50) along said guides (10). In accordance with the invention, a first motorized system (22) is foreseen that controls a rotation of at least one part of the collection group (20, 50) during the movimentation thereof along the guides in such a way that during all the course of the guide from the collection area to the release area the pick-up heads can keep a predetermined inclination and wherein, further, the movimentation system of the collection group foresees at least one belt (30) per guide to which said collection group (20, 50) connects, a multiplicity of pulleys (31) assembled rotatably and that define a course of passage for said belt along the relative guide and a second motorized system (34) that conducts the belt to move along the guide in a direction or in the opposite direction, thus dragging integrally the collection group.

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Inventors:
SCOPELLITI, Stefania (Via San Leonardo Filieri 7, Cassino, 03043, IT)
Application Number:
IB2016/052640
Publication Date:
November 17, 2016
Filing Date:
May 09, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
IMACH S.R.L.S. (Via San Leonardo Filieri 7, Cassino, 03043, IT)
International Classes:
B65B39/00; B25J9/02; B25J9/10; B25J15/00; B25J15/02; B25J15/04; B65B5/08; B65B5/10; B65B21/18; B65B21/20; B65B35/36; B65B35/38; B65B35/58; B65B59/00; B65G47/90; B65G47/91
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EMMI, Mario (Viale Matteotti 25, Firenze, 50121, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

. A packaging machine suitable for collecting one or more containers from a collection area and placing them inside specific packages in a release area, the machine comprising:

- At least one guide (10) along which a collection group (20, 50) results to be mobile to grasp and release the container/s, the guide (10) being configured in such a way that the movimentation of the collection group (20, 50) along it allows a collection from a collection area and a release in a release area and vice-versa;

- A movimentation system (31, 33, 34) that moves the collection group (20, 50) along said guide (10);

- Characterized in that a first motorized system (22) is comprised that, during the movimentation of the collection group along the guide, controls a further movimentation of at least one part of the collection group (20, 50) relative to the guide in such a way that during all the course of the guide from the collection area to the release area the transported containers can vary or keep a pre-determined inclination and wherein, further, the movimentation system of the collection group comprises at least one belt (30) to which said collection group (20, 50) connects, a multiplicity of pulleys (31) assembled rotatably and that define a path of passage for said belt along the guide and a second motorized system (34) that conducts the belt to move along the guide in a direction or in the opposite direction, thus dragging integrally the collection group.

. A packaging machine suitable for collection one or more containers from a collection area and placing them inside specific packages in a release area, the machine comprising:

- At least one guide (10) along which a collection group (20, 50) results to be mobile to grasp and release the container/s, the guide (10) being configured in such a way that the movimentation of the collection group (20, 50) along it allows a collection from a release area and a release in a release area and vice-versa;

- A movimentation system (31, 33, 34) that moves the collection group (20, 50) along said guide (10);

- Characterized in that a first motorized system (22) is comprised that, during the movimentation of the collection group along the guide, controls a further movimentation of at least one part of the collection group (20, 50) relative to the guide in such a way that during all the course of the guide from the collection area to the release area the transported containers can vary or keep a pre-determined inclination and wherein, further, the movimentation system of the collection group comprises at least one chain (30) to which said collection group (20, 50) connects, a multiplicity of pinions (31) assembled rotatably and that define a path of passage for said chain along the guide and a second motorized system (34) that conducts the chain to move along the guide in a direction or in the opposite direction, thus dragging integrally the collection group.

3. A packaging machine, as per claim 1 or 2, wherein at least two guides (10) are comprised, spaced between them and between which said collection group (20, 50) is connected. A packaging machine, as per one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the collection group (20, 50) is configured to allow an interchangeable application of one or more pick-up heads.

A packaging machine, as per claim 1 or 2, wherein the second motorized system (34) transmits the rotation of at least one of said pulleys/pinions in such a way as to conduct the belt/chain in movimentation .

A packaging machine, as per one or more of the preceding claims, wherein said movimentation of at least one part of the collection group (20, 50) is a rotation, preferably around an axis substantially orthogonal or orthogonal to the translation plane of the collection, group along the guide.

A packaging machine, as per one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the guide comprises a first rectilinear section (10'), a semi-circular section (10'') and a second rectilinear section (10''').

A packaging machine, as per one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the collection group (20, 50) comprises:

A rotation axis (26) connected to the ends thereof to the belts/chains and contextually sliding along the guide;

A support (S) to allow to connect in a removable manner one or more pick-up heads, the support (S) forming at least one passage through which the axis (26) passes in such a way that the support (S) results to be rotatable around the rotation axis The first motorized system (22) being arranged in such a way as to control the rotation of the support (S) with respect to said rotation axis (26) .

A packaging machine, as per claim 8, wherein the axis (26) is integral to the two ends thereof . (26' ) with respect to a carriage (27) provided with one or more wheels in such a way that the carriage results to be mobile along said guides.

A packaging machine, as per claim 8 or 9, wherein one or more rolling elements (26' ' ' ) are foreseen, arranged in said passage of the axis (26) .

A packaging machine, as per one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the carriages (27) are connected to the belt (30) or to the chain and wherein the first motorized system (22) connects kinematical ly to said rotation axis (26) through such transmission means (23, 24, 25) that, when said first motorized system (22) is operated, the support (S) rotates around the axis (26) .

A packaging machine, as per claim 11, wherein said transmission means comprise:

A pulley (25) integral to the axis (26);

A pulley (23) integral to the first motorized system (22) ;

A transmission belt (24) that connects said two pulleys or alternatively

A pinion or crown gear integral to the axis (26) ; A pinion or crown gear integral to the first motorized system (22) ; A transmission chain (24) that connects said two pinions or crown gears.

A packaging machine, as per one or more of the preceding claims, wherein control means are foreseen that control the operation of the first motorized system (22) on the basis of the position occupied by the collection group (20, 50) with respect to the guides.

A packaging machine, as per one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the collection group (20, 50) further comprises a coupling plate (53) that connects to the plate (S) and comprising connection means to allow to connect in an interchangeable manner one or more pick-up heads.

A packaging machine, as per one or more of the preceding claims, wherein a third motorized system (52) and a sliding rail (51) are foreseen, which allow to move, along said binary, the coupling plate (53) .

A packaging machine, as per one or more of the preceding claims, wherein a support device (300, 301, 304, 305) is foreseen, to which a centering device (302, 303) is fixed, the support device being movable vertically in such a way as to adjust the positioning height of the centering device.

A packaging machine, as per claim 16, wherein the centering device comprises one or more plates (302) that are rotatable in such a way as to acquire the rotation to rotate them inside the container in correspondence of the mouth thereof, widening the opening thereof and centering it with respect to the containers to releise.

Description:
TITLE

AN AUTOMATIC MACHINE FOR BOXING OBJECTS ARRANGED ON ONE OR

MORE ROWS

Technical field

The present invention refers to a machine for packaging in containers, for example boxes or cases, objects of any nature such as bottles, bricks, cans, paper material, containing liquid or solid products, distributed in an orderly manner on one or more rows in the pick-up station.

In particular, the invention refers to a machine that is particularly efficient and functioning.

Background art

Multiple types of boxing machines suitable for collection containers to then position them inside further specific containers (for instance bottles and the like in containment boxes) have long been known.

In the technical jargon this type of machine is called also crating machine or boxing machine and must operate in conjunction with other machines (filling machines, corking machines, shrink wrappers, sorting machines) in a packing line.

This type of machine can operate in contexts characterized both by low and by high production volumes .

The packing and storage field encloses a great variety of articles to package with significant differences of materials, sizes and types of products to handle. This determines the need to have a great flexibility of adaptation to the different types of products in terms both of size and of characteristics of the materials used for the products themselves.

Multiple electromechanical systems of manipulation are generally known that adequately applied can execute the operation of boxing. There exist machines with parallel configuration of the conveyor belts in which the pick-up heads are moved through a Cartesian system of manipulation or still machines in which the pick-up heads are lifted and moved through rotation around a central axis. All these systems do not allow to move great masses of products at great speeds with a limited energy consumption.

Publication. US3209923 is for example known, which describes a boxing machine.

In particular, the bottles that travel in an orderly manner on a conveyor belt arrive to a collection area where they are collected through a translating carriage along a rail and positioned above the bottles. The carriage, apart from translating, can lower/lift the pickup organs that are composed of a sort of cups that make the suction and therefore collect, each one, a single container.

When the carriage is positioned on the collection area, the pick-up organs that collect the bottles and lift them are lowered in such a way that the carriage can translate in a release area to then position them in an orderly manner in specific containers.

The containers foresee single lodging seats of the bottles and such ' seats are delimited by separation walls that detach a seat from the other ones. It is clear that the thickness of such walls, inside a container, cannot be exactly the same as the distance between a container and another one positioned side by side.

The need arises to have a translating carriage for the collection that adapts itself to such positioning differences, allowing anyway a precise insertion.

The solution is obtained with the pick-up organs that are formed by a number of supporting plates equivalent to the number of cases where to release the containers and each plate having a number of cups equal to the number of bottles to collect. The two front plates are then assembled on a translating system that allows to space them from the back ones .

In this way, each plate foresees a pre-arrangement of cups that reflects the order of the seats foreseen in the containers where to position the bottles and, in addition, the fact that the front plates can be moved apart/drawn near to the back ones makes that the two front plates go in correspondence of two front cases and the back ones are spaced adequately to, go in correspondence of the back cases.

Such system has long been known and has several technical inconveniences, among which the fact that the pick-up system is not versatile and can collect only bottles of a certain shape that have to be inserted in pre-determined containers that obligatorily must be arranged in a precise way.

In case the containers are arranged in an unprecise way and/or there is the need to collect further types of bottles, for example with handle, then the present machinery results to be absolutely not idoneous .

Publication DE0078474 is also known, which corresponds to the preamble of claim 1.

In such publication, the pick-up organ described is now mobile along an inverted U-shaped curve cogwheel rail. A support that supports the head foresees two opposed crown gears that engage along the path. Such support is then fixed slidingly, through two rings, to a vertical guide which, through a sliding block is contextually sliding along a horizontal guide.

In this way, the head follows the curve path, keeping its longitudinal axis rigorously perpendicular to the horizontal support surface.

Such system is, however, structurally complex because it requires the presence of two guides (horizontal and vertical) to keep the head in axis and this, above all, impedes the pick-up head to work with other inclinations (something that is for instance necessary if you want to adapt the grip to containers of a particular conformation) .

Moreover, the movimentation is obtained through a grip of the gear wheels on the toothed guide. This solution is complex and subject to wear. Further, the system needs frequent lubrication actions of the organs, rendering the system not idoneous to all working environments (for example the food one) . It is therefore necessary to intervene periodically with a . substitution of the guide and of the crown gears.

Disclosure of invention

It is therefore the aim of the present invention to provide an automatic boxing machine that solves said technical inconveniences.

In particular, it is the aim of the present invention to provide a boxing machine that results to be versatile, allowing to move any type of container arranged in one or more rows, and to be able to insert it in any container .

It is also the aim of the present invention to provide a boxing machine that can maneuver any type of container, also moving it with different transport angles and that has low maintenance costs.

Further, the invention has the objective of allowing to carton great quantities of product at high speeds, with the help of absorbed low power with respect to the machines currently in commerce. These and other aims are reached with the present boxing machine, suitable for collection one or more objects, for example containers, from a collection area and placing them inside specific packages in a release area, in accordance with claim 1.

Such machine comprises:

At least one guide (10) along which a collection group (20, 50) results to be mobile to grasp and release the container/s, the guide (10) being configured in such a way that the movimentation of the collection group (20, 50) along it allows a collection from a collection area and a release in a release area and vice-versa;

A movimentation system (31, 33, 34) that moves the collection group (20, 50) along said guide (10).

In accordance with the invention, a first motorized system (22) is foreseen that, during the movimentation of the collection group along the guide, controls a further movimentation of at least one part of the collection group (20, 50) relative to the guide in such a way that during all the course of the guide from the collection area to the release area the containers transported can vary or keep a pre-determined inclination and wherein, further, the movimentation system of the collection group foresees at least one flexible belt-like element, for example in the form of a belt (30) or a chain, to which said collection group (20, 50) connects, a multiplicity of rotating elements (31), for instance in the form of pulleys or pinions, assembled rotatably with respect to the guide and that define a path of passage for said flexible belt-like element along the guide and a second motorized system (34) that conducts such flexible beltlike element to move along the guide in a direction or in the opposite direction, thus dragging integrally the collection group. The flexible belt-like element can therefore be, for example, a classic transmission belt fixed around the pulleys or a transmission chain in grip with the relative pinions or crown gears assembled rotatably along the cam.

Such solutions solve easily all said technical inconveniences .

In particular, the translation system along the guide in the form of such flexible belt-like element, for example a belt-pulley or, alternatively, chain-pinion (or crown gear) coupling, allows to obtain a machine as a whole structurally simpler and that requires low maintenance. The substitution, in fact, of a worn belt or of a chain is something that is much faster and quicker than the substitution of crown gears. Further, few lubrication is needed that allows the use of such machine also in the food industry.

The first motorized system, which controls the rotation of at least one part of the collection group (20, 50) makes that the machine as a whole is structurally simpler apart from being more versatile.

There is no need in fact of complex guides that serve to keep the position of the pick-up heads and, further, such system allows to move the pick-up heads along the guides with any desired inclination, which can be kept constant along all said course or which could be even varied, if it became necessary.

Further advantages can be deduced from the dependent claims .

Brief description of collections

Further features and advantages of the present machine, as per the invention, will result to be clearer with the description that follows of some of the embodiments thereof, made to illustrate but not to limit, with reference to the attached collections, wherein: - Figure 1 is an axonometric view of the machine illustrating the preferred embodiment of the conveyor belts, of the lifting system of the head and of the alignment system of the heads;

- Figure 2 is an exploded view of the guides and of the assembly 20 that moves on the guides and drags the pick-up heads;

- Figure 3 and the detail of figure 3A always refer to the movimentation of the pick-up heads, highlighting the belt or chain system and the assembly 20 dragged along the guides thanks to the belt system;

- Figure 4 is an axonometric view of the servomotor 22 assigned to adjust the inclination of the pick-up heads;

- Figure 5 represents two axonometric views of the carriages that move along the guides;

- Figure 6 shows a view and relative section G-G of the cam;

- Figure 7 and figure 7A both show in an axonometric view the group (20, 50) forming by the assembly 20 to which the assembly of support of the pick-up heads connects;

- Figure 8 and figure 9 show examples of pick-up heads;

- Figure 10 show a sequence of three subsequent positions occupied by the pick-up heads along the guide cam;

- Figure 11 represents three possible lay-outs of machine ;

- Figure 12 and figure 13 refer to details relative to the unload area;

- Figure 14 is an axonometric view of a complete line;

- Figure 15 is, last, an axonometric view that highlights the unload area provided with the packing cartons.

Description of some preferred embodiments

Figure 1 shows in an overall axonometric view the boxing machine, which is composed of a frame 100, preferably of parallelepiped shape with quadrangular base, having two columns 101 opposed one to the other on which the cams 10 (or guides 10) on which the carriages slide are anchored, described more in detail below.

In particular, figure 2 extrapolates from the assembly of figure 1 the two cams 10 to better highlight them and to which the motorized system 22 connects to adjust in an automatic manner the inclination of the pickup head.

The two cams are spaced one from the other and between them a collection group (20, 50) is interposed which, through said motorized system 22, is capable of modifying and eventually keeping constant a pre-determined inclination of the pick-up heads.

The two cams 10 are inverted U-shaped.

As per the known art, each cam foresees two parallel rectilinear sections, joined between them through a semicircular section.

As it can be well seen in figure 2, the cams form a sliding guide for the pick-up group (20, 50) to which the pick-up heads are fixed. The assembly, described in detail below, moves along such two guides, being able to adjust the inclination of the pick-up heads in an automatic manner (being such assembly motorized) .

The collection group can be thought of as composed of an assembly 20 to which the underlying group 50 is connected that foresees the attachment means to connect, in a removable and interchangeable manner, the various pick-up heads.

Along the cams, in pre-determined points, rotational elements are applied, around which a flexible belt-like element is made to pass which can be moved to drag the assembly 20.

The cam creates a support for such rotational elements around which such flexible belt-like element that drags the group (20, 50) passes.

In a first preferred embodiment, going further into the descriptive detail of the invention, figure 3 shows the arrangement of a belt 30 for each cam.

The flexible belt-like element is therefore in the form of a belt.

The belt is moved by a further motorized system 34 and is connected to it, as also highlighted in figure 3, the assembly 20. In this manner, the movimentation of the belts drags in an integral manner the assembly 20 along the cams and therefore the underlying group 50 and the relative pick-up heads.

More in detail, on each cam (or guide) are fixed pulleys 31. Each pulley is interposed in the space between the cam 10 and a metal wall 32 making part of the frame.

In this way, such pulleys 32 (which are in a prefixed number along each cam) , result to be rotatable around the longitudinal axis thereof, or around the hinging axis thereof, exactly as wheels of a vehicle that, rotate .

The belt 30 can, for example, be of the toothed type and make grip with the pulleys which are toothed as well.

Alternatively, a flat belt and relative flat pulleys could be used.

In a further alternative, such flexible belt-like element could be in the form of a transmission metallic chain with relative pinions or crown gears in the place of the pulleys and that make grip on the chain.

Figure 3A shows in an enlargened view a single belt applied to only one of the two cams and highlights the axis 33 that transmits the motion through a rotary engine 34 (see figure 3) .

The axis 33 rotates and conducts in rotation a pulley 31' around which the belt passes. The pulley 31' is preferably toothed and in figure 3A it is not totally visible since it is covered by the passage of the belt. The belt follows the course of the cam, passing around the pulleys that, as said, are fixed rotatably between cam and wall. The belt is therefore operated through the rotation of the motorized pulley 31' . The pulley 31' rotates and conducts in rotation the entire belt whose motion is facilitated by the rotation of the other pulleys assembled idle and on which it is made to pass.

The same solution would be obtained with chain and motorized pinion that substitutes the pulley 31' and with the other idle pulleys substituted with the same quantity of pinions assembled idle (or crown gears) .

The assembly 20 (shown in figure 3 and 3A in a simplified manner) connects to the two belts (or chain according to the solution) in such a way as to be dragged integrally by them along the path defined by the two guides .

The connection takes place through a plate 21 that is fixed to the two belts (or equivalently to the chains) .

The assembly 20 is described in greater detail with reference to figures 3, 4 and to figure 5.

It is obviously identical, even in the way of functioning, independently from the fact that the dragging is obtained with belt or chain.

In figure 4 the electric motor 22 is foreseen that conducts in rotation the toothed pulley 23 to which a toothed belt 24 connects that wraps the pulley 25 conducted by the rotation axis 26. The pulley 25 is in fact integral to the axis 26.

The axis 26, through the ends thereof 26' , is inserted in the carriages 27, represented also in figure 5, and that move each one along a cam (see also figure 2) .

In figure 5 the hole 26'' obtained on the plate 27' of the carriage 27 is well highlighted and inside of which the end 26' of the axis 26 is inserted in an integral manner.

Always to the plate 27' are hinged two further plates 27a and 27b on which the. wheels are fixed in a rotatable manner that make grip and roll on the cam.

Figure 5 shows, for each carriage, four wheels in the shape of two opposed pairs and fixed each pair to the own support (27a, 27b) . The support (27a, 27b) as described is assembled in an articulated manner with respect to the plate 27' . In this way, the wheels have the possibility of adapting themselves to the course when it passes from the rectilinear configuration to the curve one, following faithfully the profile.

As per figure 3A, the plate 27' is rigidly connected with the plate 21 (with a preferred angulation at ninety degrees) .

The wheels are characterized by a V-shaped section that allows the carriage to be perfectly guided. Figure 6 in fact shows the section G-G of the cam that, externally, forms a V-shaped profile on which the single wheel makes ' grip .

The wheels can also be in a different number to four, for example three (one opposite to two wheels) or only two, opposed.

The engine, as per figure 3, leans on a support ( S ) that forms a support surface and, at its ends, two rings of passage of the axis 26. In such rings, as per figure 4, are arranged rotatory bearings 26' ' ' that allow, as clarified in the functioning, to make such support (S), and what is connected to it, rotate with respect to the axis 26.

Figure 15, as also figure 7 and figure 7A, show that the support (S) is connected rigidly to the underlying part 50 made by a further engine 52, a sliding binary 51 and coupling 53 for pick-up heads.

An intermediate plate (PI) connects the plate (S) to the underlying group described.

This system, as clarified below, allows to adjust and keep at will a pre-determined inclination of the pickup heads since, during the course of the group along the cams, the engine causes a rotation, around the axis 26, of the plate (S) and of the underlying group connected to it (and therefore as a consequence also the pick-up heads) .

As per figure 3A the engine 22 is fixed to a support plate (S' ) , rendered integral to the plate (S) .

Going back, for example, to figure 3 or still better to figure 2, the assembly 20 runs the entire cam 10, passing by the rectilinear section 10' to the curve section 10' ' to terminate in the rectilinear section 10''' . In this way, the pick-up heads are brought from the collection area to the unload area and vice-versa. During this course, the four wheels of the carriage 27 follow the profile of the cams thanks to the fact that they are assembled on the articulated supports (or the plates 27a, 27b of figure 5) .

Naturally, supposing that the engine 22 is not operated along such course, the carriages 27 would follow the course of cam like also the engine, the support (S) and consequently all the underlying group 50 to which the pick-up heads connect.

If, with reference to figure 3A, we think of an axis perpendicular to the plate 21 and an axis perpendicular to the plate (S' ) of connection of the engine, these would continue to be kept perpendicular to the cam in each point along the course, if the engine 22 was never operated.

Nevertheless, the automated adjustment system, 3.S j_t is structured, makes that the group formed by the support (S), engine 22 and the underlying group 50 to which the pick-up heads are fixed can rotate to compensate the curvature of the cam, keeping the pick-up heads always in a position orthogonal to the supporting plane from the pick-up area to the release area and vice-versa, or keeping other inclinations and/or varying them if necessary .

Generally, in the passage from the rectilinear section (10') to the rectilinear section ( 10' '') , through the curve section (10''), it is necessary to keep the pick-up heads always with the same initial inclination.

If the engine 22 did not intervene, then the pick-up heads would reach a rotation of ninety degrees at the top of the course and then of other further ninety degrees in correspondence of the rectilinear section (10''').

The structure of the group (10, 50), together with the engine 22, allows instead an automated adjustment.

In particular, the end 26' of the axis 26 is inserted with interference (or preferably is blocked with known blocking systems) in the hole 26' ' .

This implies that the group formed by axis 26 and carriages 27 is per se an only thing in which axis 26 and carriages do not have relative rotation between them.

The support (S) to which the engine connects 22, and therefore also the group 50 with the underlying pick-up heads, are instead rotatable, through the bearings 26''' with respect to the axis 26.

In particular, when the engine 22 is operated, with reference to figure 4, through the belt transmission between the pulley 25 (integral to the axis 26) and the pulley 3 (integral to the engine axis) , it happens that the axis 26 ad the carriages 27 cannot rotate because they are bound rigidly to the belt system and with the wheels of the carriages that slide between the guides. Therefore, the carriages group 27 - axis 26 remains still, in the sense that it does not rotate relatively to the guide but limits itself to slide on it. The operation of the engine 22, through the pulley 23 of the engine and to the connection belt 24 that passes on the pulley 25 integral to the axis 26, will make the support (S), and what is now connected integrally, rotate around the axis 26.

With respect to a classic functioning, the assembly of figure 4 functions inversely. It is not the axis 26 that rotates thanks to the operation of the engine 22 but it is the engine group, the support (S) and the underlying group that thanks to the operation of the engine itself brings itself in rotation around the axis 26.

Figure 10 shows in a sequence of three phases of example the movimentation of the entire group (20, 50) along the guides.

In phase A is represented the grip of the product, phase B is an intermediate phase of transport and phase C represents the release.

During the course of all the cam the controlled operation of the engine 22 makes that the support (S) (and therefore also the engine and the underlying group) can keep always the same inclination, making it rotate progressively with respect to the axis 26 that remains still (in the sense that it does not rotate but is dragged by the belts), thanks precisely to the bearing supports 26" ' .

It is to be noted, in fact, that in figure 10 the position of the engine and of the pick-up heads remains always the same during all the movimentation along the cams .

Figure 10, for example, shows such a progressive rotation along the course so that the pick-up heads keep always a position orthogonal to the soil, but nothing would impede other inclinations.

This group (20, 50) thus conceived allows to adjust the angulation of the pick-up heads in an extremely versatile manner.

It is clear that the operation of the engine 22, and therefore the rotation of the pulley 23, is not random but is coordinated with respect to the shape and length of the cam in such a way that according to the position occupied such a rotation takes place as to keep a selected pre- determined inclination.

To that aim, an electronic control system is foreseen, per se well-known in the state of the art, that coordinates the operation of the engine 34 and that of the engine 22. The engine 34 operates the belts and the controller receives a signal indicative of the position occupied by the group (20, 50) along the cam. On the basis of the position it is modified along the course of the cam, the controller commands an operation of the engine 22 that, with a rotation of the axis thereof, for example progressive, controls the rotation of the plate S with respect to the axis 26, compensating the curvature of the cam and making that the pick-up heads can keep a constant pre-determined inclination during all the course.

There is, therefore, an inclination adjustment system of the pick-up heads that is automated and that allows to adjust and keep the inclination in a precise manner during all the course of the cam, further selecting any type of inclination.

The motorized system 22, apart from being of easy construction, allows also to easily select a starting inclination to keep it during all the course. In this manner, also grips of containers of non-standard forms or having a handle can be easily made as well.

Figure 7 shows for clarity purposes the assembly 20 to which the support 50 is connected for the pick-up heads .

The pick-up heads are per se well known in the state of the art and are not the specific object of the present invention. Some of them are represented in a non-limiting manner in figures 8 and 9 and allow to grasp, for example, through sucking or through grippers systems or the like, various containers of various shapes.

The heads are arranged on mobile stations provided with longitudinal movement placed on a single or double row, operated by pneumatic actuators and anyway with controlled operation. Such mechanism allows the pick-up heads to move apart, after making the grip of the product, before the insertion in the containers, so as to facilitate the operation of boxing. On the mobile positions are obtained the anchoring seats of the heads having such a shape as to be fitted without the help of utensils from the operator.

The pick-up heads are organs that, adequately substituted and installed on the heads-holders, allow to box different types of products placed on a single or more rows. Further, they can be furnished with a rotation system around the own axis of all the pick-up head, or of one or more grippers with completion of longitudinal and transversal repositionings. This allows an extreme flexibility during the packaging phases. Further, the pick-up heads can be adapted also to products with pack grip such as bundles. The single grippers can be furnished with dedicated pneumatic actuator or an actuator can operate more grippers through the help of connection organs or transmission organs. The pick-up heads can be realized also with particular configuration suitable for the grip in the handle of the bottles.

Nevertheless, the pick-up heads and the kinematisms thereof for the grip are per se well known in the state of the art and not the specific object of the present invention and, for that reason, are not described further in detail here.

The support 50, to which the supports 53 of the pick-up heads are connected, is sliding also transversally with respect to the support 20 through a rail 51 and a further engine 52. In this manner, a transversal position can be further adjusted and this is well highlighted also in figure 10.

When the assembly 20 moves along the cams, naturally the support 50 connected to it in an integral manner moves, dragging the pick-up heads. The rotation around the axis 26 allows to keep all the group (20, 50) and therefore, pick-up heads in a perpendicular position with respect to the collection surface of the product 200 and with the pick-up heads that can further translate transversally.

The part considered extremely innovative for such patent application is represented by the coupling of the belt-pulley system (or equivalently chain-pinion) for the movimentation . of the group (20, 50) in combination with the motorized system to adjust the inclination of the pick-up heads.

In this manner, such combination allows to obtain a machine capable of adapting quickly, therefore with great flexibility features, to the different types and configurations of the products that the line, in which the machine is installed, can produce.

In particular, such boxing machine is capable of great volumes of production and results to be of simple and economical realization. It satisfies fully the predominant need of flexibility and of adaptation to the different products to produce. Differences that can be present both as regards the product to box and as regards the container (box or case) inside of which the product has to be positioned. In fact, features of exceptional flexibility are required to allow the adaptation to containers and products (bottles, cans, bricks, etc.) with great diversity of height and size, with and without handle, of plastic material and non-plastic material, as well as configuration of packaging on a single or more rows .

The belt movimentation system operated by engine allows a quick movimentation at low cost. It is enough in fact to send in movimentation the two belts to move the entire group. The maintenance costs are reduced to the minimum and often they are reduced to a quick substitution of the belt, preserving integrally the cams.

The same can be said in the equivalent chain-pinion combination.

The servo-motorized system that adjusts the inclination confers, always at a low consumption, an enormous flexibility.

Going back to figure 1, in the low part of the structure the conveyor belts 200 are present.

In particular, on one part there are the conveyor belts 200 from which the collection is done and, on the opposite part, the belts 250 where the collected product is released.

The possible configurations are however multiple.

For example, it is noted how from figure 11 different configurations are possible:

Conveyor belts placed at 90° with respect to the release area;

Conveyor belts placed at 180° with respect to the release area;

Conveyor belts placed at 180° with carton feeding on two files.

The second configuration (180°) is the standard one and allows to dispose the feedings of the products (bottles and boxes) on the line in a parallel manner, reducing significantly the encumbrance of the machine; the first configuration (90°) is used for products to box that suffer permanent deformations during the permanence thereof on the conveyor belt in movement. This last configuration permits to reduce significantly the problems both of manipulation and of quality of the products, easily subject to permanent deformations generated by the boxing process. The third configuration is the one that guarantees the greatest flexibility of production and the greater number of boxed products. In fact, the feeding on double row of the boxes allows, under a condition of single type of products to box, to execute the manipulation of a high number of boxes with reduced sizes of the machine. In fact, by feeding the conveyor belt of the bottles with a high number of rows, a greater number of pick-up heads can be installed, positioned precisely on two rows, parallel and consecutive. This particular arrangement guarantees enormous benefits in the manipulation of deformable products for which it is not possible to generate thrusts between them along the direction of advancement inside the machine. Further, this conformation would permit to operate with two different products fed one by the internal conveyor belt and the other one by the external conveyor belt, both boxed on the internal row of cartons and on the external row of cartons .

After making the collection operation, the pick-up heads are moved in the deposit station. The deposit place is represented in detail also in figure 15, in which the conveyor belt is highlighted on which the cartons of containment are arranged.

The conveyor belt is always at the same height but a device is foreseen that facilitates the insertion of the products in the cartons.

In particular, figure 12 shows a centerer that can be fixed or provided with vertical movement, operated by controlled operation organs 300. In all the configurations, it is anyway foreseen an adjustment system of the height 301 that can be manual or of controlled operation. The adjustment in height of the center figure 12 allows to render the machine flexible with respect to any size of boxes or cartons to package since it allows to lift/lower the unload plan easily and quickly.

In particular, the manual system with crank 301 or the automatic system 300 allows to lift and lower the high part 304 provided with two exiting pivots 305.

Such exiting pivots 305 serve as support for the equipment of .figure 13.

Such equipment is substituted at the moment of the substitution of the pick-up heads. In fact, it makes part of the components to be substituted on the machine when the type of product is changed. It is constituted by a series of pallets or hooks 302 arranged in a frame and that adequately operated allow to center the carton with respect to the deposit head. The pallets or hooks can be operated mechanically by the pick-up heads during the descend thereof or through controlled operations, for example of the electro-pneumatic type 303, once the carton has been transported in the deposit position.

In particular, as represented in figure 13, the pallets 302 can rotate towards the inside of the box to fill, so keeping it open and centering it with respect to the pick-up head, the whole rendering the insertion operation more precise. The functioning of the machine as a whole comprises the following phases:

1) The group (20, 50) with attached pick-up heads (see figure 7) is lowered to position the pick-up heads of figure 8 in contact with the bottles to collect. The operation thereof determines the grip of the bottles;

2) Said group (20, 50) with attached pick-up heads and bottles just collected is moved towards the deposit position through the operation of the gearmotor 34 of figure 3 that operates the axis 3 and therefore moves the belts. Further, at the same time the ratiomotor 22 is operated, guaranteeing the perfect alignment of the pickup heads with respect to the worktop;

3) The heads, before reaching the deposit position, are detached by operating the separation system;

4) At the same time, the carton/s is/are positioned in the deposit position;

5) The centerer (component of figure 13) is lowered against the carton through the operation of the basket- holder (component of figure 12);

6) The pick-up heads descend in the boxes, releasing the collected bottles;

7 ) The pick-up heads are lifted to be brought in the collection position. At the same time, the basket-holder is lifted;

8) Once the lifting of the basket-holder figure 12 has been completed, the boxes are transported outside of the machine by the conveyor belt 250.

Obviously, the machine is provided with a software suitable for executing the operations described, of encoder, resolver. and systems of detection of the position, of electro-valves and actuators that contribute to the execution of the programmed phases.

The engines used in the present invention are available in commerce and are per se not the object of the present invention. They are generally electric motors.

Respecting what has been described so far, the guides can naturally be of different shapes from the one described (inverted U shape) .

For example, the curve section could comprise a straight section.