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Title:
DEVICE AND METHOD FOR PRODUCING POURED LOLLIPOPS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2006/136394
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
Method for producing poured lollipops, in which sticks for the lollipops to be produced are taken separately from a supply of sticks and are inserted by means of stick holders in a die filled with lollipop mass for the lollipops, in which the sticks are held in position in the die by stick holders during hardening of the lollipop mass, in which the sticks are grasped by stick holders after hardening of the lollipop mass in order to be removed from the die for further processing.

Inventors:
ASMA, Seferinus, Jelle (Van Vroonhovenlaan 1A, CM Veldhoven, NL-5503, NL)
Application Number:
EP2006/005965
Publication Date:
December 28, 2006
Filing Date:
June 21, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CFS WEERT B.V. (De Fuus No. 8, RV Weert, NL-6006, NL)
ASMA, Seferinus, Jelle (Van Vroonhovenlaan 1A, CM Veldhoven, NL-5503, NL)
International Classes:
A23G7/00; A23G3/56; A23G9/26; A23G9/50
Domestic Patent References:
2004-08-12
Foreign References:
EP0956776A11999-11-17
GB2219725A1989-12-20
DE10319829A12004-11-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOLFF, Felix et al. (Kutzenberger & Wolff, Theodor-Heuss-Ring 23, Köln, 50668, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. Method for producing poured lollipops, in which sticks for the lollipops to be produced are taken separately from a supply of sticks and are inserted by means of stick holders in a die filled with lollipop mass for the lollipops, in which the sticks are held in position in the die by stick holders during hardening of the lollipop mass, in which the sticks are grasped by stick holders after hardening of the lollipop mass in order to be removed from the die for further processing. 2. Method according to Claim 1, in which the sticks are taken from the supply by first stick holders and inserted in the die and held in position by second stick holders positioned near the die during the solidification of the lollipop mass around the stick. 3. Method according to Claim 2, in which the second stick holders are attached to the die.

4. Method according to Claim 1, 2 or 3, in which the sticks for removing the poured lollipops from the die are held by third stick holders. 5. Method according to Claim 4, in which the third stick holders are moved in a direction away from the die after the sticks have been grasped and the die has been opened, following which the die is conveyed further. 6. Method according to Claim 4 or 5, in which the third stick holders form part of a conveyor belt, in particular a conveyor belt leading towards a packaging machine. 7. Method according to Claim 4 or 5, in which the

sticks are transferred to fourth stick holders from the position where they are held by the third stick holders, said fourth stick holders forming part of a conveyor belt, in particular a conveyor belt leading towards a packaging machine.

8. Method according to Claim 7, in which the fourth stick holders grasp the sticks at a location on the sticks which is situated further from the lollipop than the grasping point of the third stick holders. 9. Method according to one of the preceding claims, in which the sticks are pulled back over a small distance at the end of the insertion movement into the lollipop mass, but still remain in the lollipop mass, the lollipop mass being viscous while the insertion takes place.

10. Method according to one of the preceding claims, in which the die is provided with inlet openings for the lollipop mass, which are situated at the top of the die and also form insertion openings for the sticks, the sticks preferably being inserted into the lollipop mass along a vertical path, coinciding with the centre axis of the sticks.

11. Method according to Claim 10, in which the stick holders pick up sticks from the supply at the bottom of the supply in a horizontal orientation and then turn the sticks to a vertical insertion position.

12. Method according to Claim 11, in which the stick holders with the sticks are subsequently moved vertically downwards in order to be inserted into the lollipop mass.

13. Method according to one of the preceding claims, in which the die is tilted after hardening to a position in which the sticks extend horizontally and, in this orientation, are grasped by the stick holders in order to remove the lollipops from the die for further processing.

14. Method according to one of the preceding claims, in which in each case one series of sticks is simultaneously taken from the supply and inserted into

the die.

15. Method according to one of the preceding claims, in which the sticks are dispensed to the stick holders from the supply by means of a feed device which is displaceable along a dispensing opening of the supply between a pick-up position for picking up the individual sticks and a transfer position for transferring the sticks to the stick holder.

16. Lollipop produced by pouring, comprising a stick and a head of initially pourable, then solidified lollipop material, the lollipop material forming a projection at the position where the stick protrudes from the head, which projection extends along the stick. 17. Die for producing lollipops by pouring, comprising a body having a series of mould cavities and stick holders attached to the die in order to securely hold the lollipop sticks inserted into the cavities on the die. 18. Die according to Claim 17, in which the stick holders comprise a series of first clamps and a series of second clamps, the first and second clamps being arranged so as to be displaceable relative to one another on the body of the die between a receiving position and a clamping position.

19. Storage container for lollipop sticks, comprising a storage tray having a series of dispensing openings arranged at regular intervals at the bottom, comprising a feed device which can be moved along the bottom and is displaceable along the dispensing openings between a pick-up position for picking up individual sticks and a transfer position for transferring the sticks to a series of stick holders.

20. Storage container according to Claim 19, in which the feed device is provided with a series of holding spaces for in each case one stick, which holding spaces are preferably at regular intervals from one another which correspond to those of the mould cavities in the die.

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21. Storage container according to Claim 19 or 20, in which the feed device is displaceable along a supporting panel having passages for a stick holder.

22. Storage container according to Claim 19, 20 or 21, in which the width of the dispensing openings is that of several sticks next to one another.

23. Transfer unit for transferring a series of lollipop sticks from a supply to a series of stick holders situated at a distance from the supply, such as stick holders on a die or stick holders on a conveyor belt, comprising a holder body which is displaceably arranged on a frame for displacement between a pick-up position for picking up the sticks from the supply and a dispensing position for dispensing the sticks to the stick holders, the holder body being provided with first and second stick clamps for clamping the sticks, which stick clamps are displaceable relative to one another along the holder body.

24. Transfer unit according to Claim 23, in which the first stick clamps comprise two series of first clamping parts spaced apart in a direction transverse to the sliding direction, the second stick clamps being situated between the series of first clamping parts.

25. Transfer unit according to Claim 24, in which the second stick clamps are arranged on a slide which is displaceable relative to the holder body.

26. Transfer unit according to Claim 23, 24 or 25, furthermore comprising a drive mechanism for displacing the holder body, as well as adjustable/programmable control means for the drive mechanism.

27. Transfer unit according to Claim 26, in which the drive mechanism is servo-controlled.

28. Transfer unit according to Claim 26 or 27, in which the control means are adjustable so that the speed and/or acceleration/deceleration of the movement can be adjusted.

29. Transfer device for transferring a series of lollipops from a first conveyor belt to a second conveyor belt, comprising a holder with a series of

stick grippers and means for displacing the holder from a position near the first conveyor belt, in which the lollipop sticks are grasped by the stick grippers, to a position near the second' conveyor belt, in which the lollipop sticks are dispensed, and back again.

30. Transfer device according to Claim 29, in which the first conveyor belt is provided with holders for holding lollipops in groups in series transverse to the conveying direction of the first conveyor belt. 31. Transfer device according to Claim 29 or 30, in which the second conveyor belt is provided with holders for holding the lollipops in a series parallel to the conveying direction of the second conveyor belt, the conveying directions of the first and second conveyor belts being at right angles to one another.

32. Transfer device according to Claim 31, in which the holders on the second conveyor belt are designed for holding in each case one lollipop.

33. Transfer device according to Claim 32, in which the holder which can be moved to and fro and has the stick grippers can be positioned such that it engages with the sticks at a location at a distance from the lollipop head in order to offer a point of engagement for the holders of the second conveyor belt between the lollipop head and the point of engagement of the stick grippers.

34. Transfer device according to Claim 33, in which the movement of the holder with stick grippers is guided in a curved track. 35. Transfer device according to one of Claims 29-34, furthermore comprising a drive mechanism for displacing the holder with stick grippers, as well as adjustable/programmable control means for the drive mechanism. 36. Transfer device according to Claim 35, in which the drive mechanism is servo-controlled.

37. Transfer device according to Claim 35 or 36, in which the control means are adjustable so that the speed and/or acceleration/deceleration of the movement

can be adjusted.

38. Transfer device according to Claim 35, 36 or 37, in which the control means may be indexed, in particular if series of lollipops are formed in steps during the shaping process, according to this step-wise stream.

39. Device provided with one or more dies according to Claim 17 or 18, with a storage -container according to one of Claims 19-22 and/or with a transfer unit according to one of Claims 23-28 and/or with a transfer device according to one of Claims 29-38.

40. Transfer unit provided with one or more of the characterizing features described in the attached description and/or illustrated in the attached drawings.

41. Die provided with one or more of the characterizing features described in the attached description and/or illustrated in the attached drawings. 42. Storage container provided with one or more of the characterizing features described in the attached description and/or illustrated in the attached drawings.

43. Transfer device provided with one or more of the characterizing features described in the attached description and/or illustrated in the attached drawings .

44. Lollipop provided with one or more of the characterizing features described in the attached description and/or illustrated in the attached drawings .

45. Method comprising one or more of the characterizing steps described in the attached description and/or illustrated in the attached drawings.

Description:

Device and method for producing poured lollipops

The invention relates to the production of poured lollipops. The invention furthermore relates to a device for producing poured lollipops. Furthermore, the invention relates to the poured lollipops themselves.

Lollipops can be produced by separating off pieces from a strand of confectionery or other material into a rotating drum provided with moulds during the closing of the drum, which pieces are pressed into the desired shape in a closed mould, while inserting a lollipop stick coming from a supply provided on the drum therein. Subsequently, the lollipops are released from the moulds and collected in a tray and cooled or transferred to a conveyor belt of a packaging machine. Another way of producing lollipops is by pouring. In this case a low viscosity mass is introduced into a die with a series of moulds in order to shape the lollipop itself, following which sticks are inserted into the moulds from a supply via dedicated conveying hoses using compressed air. Once the mass has set sufficiently in the moulds, the lollipops are released from the moulds. In this case, the heads which have been produced may become damaged, since the material used in the pouring process is damaged relatively easily. This is especially annoying as by pouring it is possible, in principle, to achieve perfect and attractive shapes which accurately match the desired shape .

It is an object of the invention to provide a

method and device for producing poured lollipops with which lollipops of the desired shape can be produced in a reproducible manner.

It is another object of the invention to provide a method and device for producing poured lollipops with which a large number of lollipops can be produced per unit time in an accurate manner and can be processed further.

According to one aspect, the invention provides a method for producing poured lollipops, in which sticks for the lollipops to be produced are taken separately from a supply of sticks and are inserted by means of stick holders in a die filled with lollipop mass for the lollipops, in which the sticks are held in position in the die by stick holders during hardening of the lollipop mass, in which the sticks are grasped by stick holders after hardening of the lollipop mass in order for the lollipops to be removed from the die for further processing. Thus, the position of the sticks per se and relative to the lollipop head is always known and thus so too is the position of the lollipop heads. As the position of the sticks is known in an optimum manner and engagement with the lollipop sticks can always take place in the same position, the position of the lollipop head itself also being established, the packaging process is improved. The fragile lollipop heads are protected from damaging forces. In this manner, even complex shapes of poured lollipops remain intact.

In a further embodiment thereof, the sticks are taken from the supply by first stick holders and inserted in the die and held in position by second stick holders positioned near the die during the solidification of the lollipop mass around the stick. The first stick holders can then be used repeatedly for successive dies.

In a simple embodiment hereof, the second stick holders are attached to the die.

In a further -embodiment of the method according to the invention, the sticks for removing the poured lollipops from the die are held by third stick holders. Preferably, the third stick holders are moved in a direction away from the die after the sticks have been grasped and the die has been opened, so that the movement path of the die is kept clear.

In a simple embodiment thereof, the third stick holders form part of a conveyor belt, in particular a conveyor belt leading towards a packaging machine.

In an alternative embodiment thereof, the sticks are transferred to fourth stick holders from the position where they are held by the third stick holders, said fourth stick holders forming part of a conveyor belt, in particular a conveyor belt leading towards a packaging machine. The movement of the conveyor belt towards the packaging machine is in this case decoupled from the movement of the stick holders removing the lollipops from the die, as a result of which the conveyor belt can be of a simple design, for example in the form of a chain with stick clamps.

In this case, it is preferable that the fourth stick holders grasp the sticks at a location on the sticks which is situated further from the lollipop than the grasping point of the third stick holders, so that the movement ranges of the third and fourth stick holders do not interfere with one another.

According to another aspect, the invention provides the measure that the sticks are pulled back over a small distance at the end of the insertion movement into the lollipop mass, but still remain in the lollipop mass, the lollipop mass being viscous while the insertion takes place. As the sticks are pulled back, some lollipop material is entrained, as a result of which a protuberance is formed on the lollipop head. The protuberance prevents a flat side of the head on the stick side of the head, which would otherwise be formed as a result of the lollipop material being liquid.

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In a further development, the die is provided with inlet openings for the lollipop mass, which are situated at the top of the die and also form insertion openings for the sticks. The sticks are in this case preferably inserted into the lollipop mass along a vertical path, coinciding with the centre axis of the sticks .

The stick holders can pick up sticks from the supply at the bottom of the supply in a horizontal orientation and then turn the sticks to a vertical insertion position. When the sticks are picked up in a horizontal orientation, they are then immediately supported.

Preferably, the stick holders with the sticks are subsequently moved vertically downwards in order to be inserted into the lollipop mass. The vertical translational movement of the sticks can be known: the sticks can be inserted into the die exactly vertically and in a controlled manner. In a further embodiment, the die is tilted after hardening to a position in which the sticks extend horizontally and, in this orientation, are grasped by the stick holders in order to remove the lollipops from the die for further processing. In this case, the horizontal orientation simplifies the transfer of the sticks to the further (in particular third) stick holders.

The arrangement according to the invention is extremely suitable for handling the sticks in series, in each case one series of sticks simultaneously being taken from the supply and inserted into the die.

In a further development of the method according to the invention, the sticks are dispensed to the stick holders from the supply by means of a feed device which is displaceable along a dispensing opening of the supply between a pick-up position for picking up the individual sticks and a transfer position for transferring the sticks to the stick holder. In this manner, the sticks can be dispensed from the supply in a reliable manner.

According to another aspect, the invention provides a lollipop produced by pouring, comprising a stick and a head of initially pourable, then solidified lollipop material, the lollipop material forming a projection at the position where the stick protrudes from the head, which projection extends along the stick.

According to yet another aspect, the invention provides a die for producing lollipops by pouring, comprising a body having a series of mould cavities and stick holders attached to the die in order to securely hold the lollipop sticks inserted into the cavities on the die.

Preferably, the stick holders comprise a series of first clamps and a series of second clamps, the first and second clamps being arranged so as to be displaceable relative to one another on the body of the die between a receiving position and a clamping position, with which a simple and reliable clamping action can be achieved. In the abovementioned case of horizontal support of the sticks underneath the bottom of the supply, the sticks can easily slide along during closure of the clamps.

According to another aspect, the invention provides a storage for lollipop sticks, comprising a storage container tray having a series of dispensing openings arranged at regular intervals at the bottom, comprising a feed device which can be moved along the bottom and is displaceable along the dispensing openings between a pick-up position for picking up individual sticks and a transfer position for transferring the sticks to a series of stick holders.

Preferably, the feed device is provided with a series of holding spaces for in each case one stick, which holding spaces are preferably at regular intervals from one another which correspond to those of the mould cavities in the die, so that the sticks are immediately in the correct relative position for insertion into the die.

Preferably, the feed device is displaceable along a supporting panel having passages for a stick holder, so that the stick can be transferred as closely as possible to the feed device. In order to prevent the formation of bridges in the storage container, it is preferable if the width of the dispensing openings is that of several sticks next to one another.

According to a further aspect, the invention provides a transfer unit for transferring a series of lollipop sticks from a supply to a series of stick holders situated at a distance from the supply, such as stick holders on a die or stick holders on a conveyor belt, comprising a holder body which is displaceably arranged on a frame for displacement between a pick-up position for picking up the sticks from the supply and a dispensing position for dispensing the sticks to the stick holders, the holder body being provided with first and second stick clamps for clamping the sticks, which stick clamps are displaceable relative to one another along the holder body.

Preferably, the first stick clamps comprise two series of first clamping parts spaced apart in a direction transverse to the sliding direction, the second stick clamps being situated between the series of first clamping parts, so that a reliable three-point clamp is achieved.

In a simple embodiment, the second stick clamps are arranged on a slide which is displaceable relative to the holder body.

Preferably, the transfer unit furthermore comprises a drive mechanism for displacing the holder body, as well as adjustable/programmable control means for the drive mechanism. The drive mechanism is preferably servo-controlled. Preferably, the control means are adjustable so that the speed and/or acceleration/deceleration of the movement can be adjusted. The movement, in particular the abovementioned pulling back of the stick over a short

distance subsequent to the insertion into the die, can be adjusted in an optimally adapted manner, for example to the shape and dimensions of the lollipop head and the consistency of the lollipop material. According to a further aspect, the invention provides a transfer device for transferring a series of lollipops from a first conveyor belt to a second conveyor belt, comprising a holder with a series of stick grippers and means for displacing the holder from a position near the first conveyor belt, in which the lollipop sticks are grasped by the stick grippers, to a position near the second conveyor belt, in which the lollipop sticks are dispensed, and back again. Thus, the lollipops, for example the aforementioned poured lollipops, can be transferred in groups. The second conveyor belt may be positioned for conveying items towards and through a packaging machine where the heads of the lollipops are packaged individually in, for example, a film/foil sheet. In one embodiment, the first conveyor belt is provided with holders for holding lollipops in groups in series transverse to the conveying direction of the first conveyor belt, such as the abovementioned conveyor belt having poured lollipop moulds transverse to the conveyor belt.

The transfer of such transverse series of lollipops can be simplified if the second conveyor belt is provided with holders for holding the lollipops in a series parallel to the conveying direction of the second conveyor belt, the conveying directions of the first and second conveyor belts being at right angles to one another.

The holders on the second conveyor belt may be designed for holding in each case one lollipop. In one embodiment, the holder which can be moved to and fro and has the stick grippers can be positioned such that it engages with the sticks at a location at a distance from the lollipop head in order to offer a point of engagement for the holders of the second

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conveyor belt between the lollipop head and the point of engagement of the stick grippers. As a result, the holders of the second conveyor belt can engage securely on the lollipops possible. The movement of the holder with stick grippers may be guided in a curved track.

In one embodiment, the transfer device furthermore comprises a drive mechanism for displacing the holder with stick grippers, as well as adjustable/programmable control means for the drive mechanism. The drive mechanism is preferably servo-controlled. Preferably, the control means are adjustable so that the speed and/or acceleration/deceleration of the movement can be adjusted.

The control means may be indexed, in particular if series of lollipops are formed in steps during the shaping process, according to this step-wise stream.

In general, the invention provides a device provided with one or more dies according to the invention, with a storage container according to the invention and/or with a transfer unit and/or with a transfer device according to the invention.

The invention will be explained with reference to a number of exemplary embodiments illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which: Fig. 1 shows a diagrammatic view of a part of a device according to the invention for manufacturing poured lollipops;

Fig. 2 shows a die for use with the device from Fig. 1; Fig. 3 shows a longitudinal section through a storage container for sticks positioned above a die according to Fig. 2;

Figs. 3A-D respectively show a diagrammatic cross section of the storage container from Fig. 3 and bottom views of three consecutive stages of a stick being dispensed from the storage container from Fig. 3;

Figs. 4A-D show diagrammatic illustrations of the consecutive stages of a stick being disposed from the storage container from Fig. 3;

Figures 5A-D show diagrammatic illustrations of the consecutive stages of a sti-ck being transferred from the storage container from Fig. 3 to the die from Fig. 2; Figs. 6A-C diagrammatically show the consecutive stages of a stick being inserted into the die from Fig. 2;

Figs. 7A and 7B show a diagrammatic illustration of the removal and transfer of a lollipop shaped in the die from Fig. 2;

Fig. 8 shows a lollipop produced using the device from Fig. 1.

The device 1 illustrated in Fig. 1 comprises a frame 2 which is supported by legs 3 on a floor. A double conveyor chain 4 rotating in direction A, in the part illustrated in Fig. 1 rotating about wheels 6a, 6b, one of which may be driven, is arranged in the device 1. A series of dies 5 is attached to the chains 4, which co-rotate with the latter in the direction A. Above the upper section of the chain 4, a filling device 20 is illustrated diagrammatically, from where a mass for forming lollipops by pouring, in particular a confectionery mass, is dispensed to the moulds 5 in the direction E. Downstream of the filling device 20 is situated a station where the sticks S for the lollipops to be shaped are inserted in the dies 5. Downstream thereof is a zone in which the mass of lollipop material in the dies 5 is allowed to solidify, optionally by cooling, until it is sufficiently hard to be removed from the die 5 using the stick S for further treatment. In an alternative arrangement, the chain may rotate to the right, the filling device being positioned to the left of the stick station and the bottom zone of the chain path being used for cooling -(see for example Figs. 7A, B) .

At the downward zone of the -chain 4, there is a transfer station (detail of Fig. 7), where the dies 5 are opened and the lollipops are removed in order to be

passed to an installation for further treatment, such as for example the illustrated conveyor belt 40, which leads to a packaging machine (not shown) .

The dies 5, as illustrated in Fig. 2 comprise a substantially beam-shaped body 12 which is provided with mould cavities 11 (not shown) having openings 13 for the passage of liquid lollipop material into the filling station 20 and of sticks S. The mould cavities 11 can be opened using means which are not shown in more detail and in a manner not shown in any more detail for the removal of the solidified lollipops. On the longitudinal sides of the body 12, slides 14, 15 are arranged which are connected to a movement mechanism by means of pins 16, 17 for respective sliding movements in the directions G and H. The slides 14, 15 are provided with resilient clamping arms 18, 19 extending over the top side of the body 12 and provided with notches 20, 21 for clamping a stick S in a more or less fitting manner. By means of the movement mechanism (not shown) , and the connection to the pins 16, 17, the slides 14, 15 can be moved in the directions G and H in such a manner that the clamping arms 18, 19 can be moved between an open position, in which a stick S can easily be introduced into opening 13, and a gripping position, in which a stick is held in a clamping manner by the notches 20, 21 on the die 5.

The stick supply 7 illustrated in Fig. 1 comprises two vertical main walls 7a, b, the distance between which can be adjusted and is adapted to the length of the sticks S to be used, and a bottom 9 (end walls 25 shown in Fig. 3), a stick transfer device 10 being displaceable below the bottom region 9 and being rotatable in the direction B through 90° in order to insert the sticks into the dies 5 in the vertical direction. Fig. 3A shows the bottom 9 in more detail and diagrammatically shows that two panels 31, 32 are present, each of which leaves an opening 9a clear. The sliding panel 32 is provided with slots 33, having a width which is slightly greater than the diameter of a

stick. The slots 33 are delimited by tapered locating edges 33a. The fixed panel 31 is provided with recesses

34. The panel 32 is a sliding panel which can be moved to and fro in the direction I, with the aid of a means (not shown in any more detail) arranged on the ends 25 of the storage container 7 (see Fig. 3) . On one of these ends, a panel 22 is arranged, in a similar manner to the storage container 7 fixed to the frame 2, to which a servomotor 21 is fixedly attached. The servomotor 21 is driven by a control unit 200 programmable/adjustable via panel 201 and drives a shaft 24 which extends above the storage space 8 through the storage container 7, and through both end walls 25. On both ends of the shaft 24, an arm 27 is attached, to which an axial projection is attached, on the end of which a rocker bar 28 is attached, near reference numeral 26. As is also illustrated in Figs.

5A-D, the bottom end of each rocker bar 28 is pivotably connected to the transfer device 10 to be discussed below.

As can be seen in Fig. 3, the bottom 9 forming the underside of the stick supply 8 is provided with a number of dispensing openings 23 which form the bottom end of a slightly tapering feed space 22, delimited by bottom parts 21 which are triangular in cross section. These bottom parts 21 are fixedly attached at their ends to the walls 7a, b of the storage container 7.

In this example, the width of the openings 23 is approximately four times larger than the diameter of the sticks. By selecting the width of the dispensing opening 23 to be a multiple of the diameter of the sticks and/or by the tapering of a delimiting wall of the feed 22, the formation of bridges is prevented.

The distance between the openings 23, the slots 33 and the recesses 34 is equal to the distance between the openings 13 in the die 5.

Dispensing a stick or series of sticks from the dispensing openings 23 is carried out in the manner illustrated in Figs. 3B-D and 4A-C.

In Fig. 3B, the sliding panel 32 is positioned such that it closes off the dispensing openings 23 on both sides of the passage 9a. The sticks S in this case rest on the sliding panel 32. When the sliding panel 32 is moved in the direction I, during which process this panel slides over the fixed panel 31 (which also leaves the opening 9a clear) , over a distance t (Fig. 3B) , the situation illustrated in Fig. 3C is achieved. There, the slot 33 is exactly under the dispensing opening 23 and one of the sticks S accommodated in de feed 22 can fall into the slot 33 and is then detained by the fixed panel 31.

Subsequently, the sliding panel 32 is slid back into the position illustrated in Fig. 3D, which corresponds to that of Fig. 3B, except that a stick S has now been moved to above the recess 34 in the fixed panel 31.

All this is also illustrated in Figs. 4A-C, the situation in Figs. 4A and 4B corresponding to that of Fig. 3C and that of Fig. 4C corresponding to that of Fig. 3D.

Figs. 4A-C furthermore illustrate that the holder 10 is moved upwards in the direction K in order to move clamps 35, 36 present thereon and to be discussed below in more detail into the passage 9a, but still below the profile of the sliding panel 32. When the stick S which was picked up in Fig. 4B has been moved to above the recess 34, the stick 5 can fall downwards in the direction J and land on the holder 10 in order to then, see Fig. 4D, be clamped between the clamps 35, 36 and moved downwards with the holder 10 in the direction L, as will be discussed below.

In order to transfer the transfer device 10 from a position near the supply 7 to a position for dispensing the sticks to the dies 5, the mechanism illustrated in Figs. 5A-D is provided. As has already been indicated in the explanation of Fig. 3, use is made of a movement mechanism driven by a servomotor 21 which is adjusted via the control unit 200 and the associated operating

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panel 201, both fitted on the frame 2, and which has a shaft 24 and rocker bars 28. The top pivot point 26 of each rocker bar 28 moves along the circular path of disc 27 in the direction M (Fig. 5A) by rotation of the shaft 24.

The bottom pivot point 29 of the rocker bar 28 is rotatably attached to the ends of the transfer device 10. The transfer device 10 itself is provided on both sides with panels 50 which are connected to the latter in a rotationally stiff manner and are each pivotable about a pivot 63, which forms a bearing in blocks 60, which are arranged in the frame 2 so as to be able to move up and down to some degree. On both sides of the frame 2, a groove 61 is provided having a bent section 61a and a vertical section 61b. Cams 51 forming an integral part of the panels 50 extend into the grooves 61.

When comparing Figs. 5A-D, it can be seen that from the position of the transfer device 10 illustrated in Fig. 5A, in which a stick S can be transferred from the passage 9a, the cam 51 is situated near the end of the bent section 61a of the groove 61. The pivot 63 is in this case situated in the highest position. The pivot point 26 is also situated near the highest position. When the shaft 24 is driven and the discs 27 are rotated in the direction M, the rocker bars 28 will move in the direction M, as a result of which the bottom pivot point 29 will be forced downwards. As a result of the cam 51 being retained in the groove 61, in particular the groove section 61a, the transfer device 10 makes an elongated movement in the direction

B, as indicated in Fig. 5B, rotating about pivot 63.

When the top pivot point 26 has reached the position illustrated in Fig. 5C, the cam 51 will also have reached the top end of the vertical slot section 61b. The orientation of the transfer device 10 has then been rotated through 90° and thus the stick S has been transferred from a horizontal direction to a vertical direction.

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When the shaft 24 rotates further, the top pivot point 26 will be moved to a lowest position of its circular path, in which the cam 51 moves vertically in the vertical groove section 61b, and the pivot 63 will also be moved along in a downward direction, against the action of a compression spring (not illustrated in any more detail) . The transfer device 10 is in this case moved vertically downwards (direction L) . The situation illustrated in Fig. 5D is then reached, where the stick S extends through the passage opening 13 in the die 5. However, the servomotor 21 is adjusted/programmed such that the shaft 24 has been turned back slightly and thus the rocker bar 28 has been moved back slightly in order to move the stick S back over a distance d in the direction Ll.

Using the operating panel 201, the desired distance in δ can be adjusted, as well as the speed and acceleration/deceleration of the movement of the transfer device 10, in particular in the downward insertion zone and the upward zone during retraction over distance δ. The adjustment can be effected as a function of the features of the lollipop head, such as the diameter, length and composition of the lollipop mass (viscosity) . It should be noted that other servo controls are possible, such as for example a servo-pneumatic cylinder drive.

The transfer device 10 is then activated in order to release the clamp and subsequently the transfer device 10 is moved to the position illustrated in Fig. 5A again by operating the servomotor 21 and the rocker bar 25 in order to pick up a subsequent series of sticks.

The transfer device 10 itself is substantially beam-shaped and, as can be seen in Fig. 6A, is provided with clamps 35, 36, the clamps 35 being arranged on a strip 37 which can move to and fro in a direction B and the clamps 36 being arranged on fixed strips 38a, b on either side thereof.

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Figs. 6A-C again show the transfer of the stick S from the transfer device 10 to the die 5. In Fig. 6A, the transfer device 10 is still moving downwards in the direction L, in the zone of Figs. 5C-D. After the stick S has been inserted in the passage opening 13, and into the die up to a certain depth, the stick S is pulled back in the direction Ll over a distance d. This pulling back can already take place when the clamping arms 18, 19 have been moved towards one another, if the clamping arms 18, 19 are slightly resilient. The closing movement of the arms 18, 19 can also take place at the same time as the last part of the stick is being inserted in the direction L and the subsequent pulling back in the direction Ll. This results in the situation illustrated in Fig. 6C, in which the stick S is clamped between the arms 18, 19 on the die 5. As a result of the controlled manner in which the sticks S are grasped, transferred and placed, the sticks remain straight and are placed vertically in the lollipop mass which is still liquid or viscous. They are subsequently held straight in the latter. The subsequent packaging process is thus improved as there will no longer be any askew or loose sticks. The dies 5 filled with lollipop material mass are conveyed together with the sticks S inserted therein to a removing station, where the lollipop sticks S, as illustrated in an alternative embodiment in Figs. 7A, B are engaged by grippers 60. Subsequently, the dies 5 are opened and the clamping arms 18, 19 are pushed apart, following which the clamps 60 are moved backwards in the direction C in order to remove the lollipops from the dies 5 in order to enable the dies 5 to move along further with the chains 4. Fig. 7A shows a side view of the transfer station where the lollipops held in the dies 5 can be removed from the dies 5 and transferred to the conveyor belt 40, which conveys the lollipops, with the sticks S held in stick clamps 42 which are arranged on a rotating

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chain 41, to a following processing station, for example a packaging station.

The conveyor belt 4 in this case runs in the opposite direction A' around the driven chain wheel 6c, as an alternative to the arrangement of Fig. 1 which has already been described above. However, the transfer station from Fig. 1 can also be identical to the transfer station from Figs. 7A, B.

The transfer station comprises a fixed frame 62. A spindle 63a is arranged on the frame which is driven by a servomotor 72 via transmission 73, which servomotor is driven by control 202, which is adjustable by means of the operating panel 203.

A transverse part 64 is attached at the end of the spindle 63a which is expandable in the direction C. On either side of the spindle 63a, guide rods 63b are fixed in the frame 62. In each case one ring 65 is mounted in a slidable manner on these rods 63b, to which a console 66 is attached. At the pivot 67 on the console 66, an arm 68 provided with a cam 69 is pivotably attached and a transverse beam 75 is attached to the end thereof (Fig. 7B), to which stick clamps 60 are attached. On both sides of the frame 62, curve panels 70 are fixedly attached, which panels 70 are provided with a curve 71 in which the cam 69 can be displaced. The curve 71 has a section 71a which is bent upwards and downwards and a straight section 71. The beam 75 is connected in a manner not shown in any more detail to the aforementioned end part 64, which is fixed to the expandable part of the spindle 63a. The tube in which the spindle 63a moves is held stationary on the frame 62 at the end near reference numeral "66.

When a die 5 with the lollipops has arrived at the correct location in the transfer device, the chain 4 is stopped. At that point in time, a filling may be effected at the filling station 20 and sticks can be placed in a die 5 by means of the transfer device 10. During this stationary period, the lollipops are removed from the dies 5 by means of an indexed coupling

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of the associated control devices.

Fig. 7A illustrates the point in time when the sticks are engaged by the clamps 60. Subsequently, the clamps are pulled back in the horizontal zone 71b by retracting the spindle 63a, so that the lollipop heads end up outside the path of the dies 5. The chain 4 can then be driven again for a subsequent cycle.

If the spindle 63a is pulled back further, the cam

69 ends up in the bent zone 71a of the curve 71, where the clamps 60 are lifted over the track of the stick clamps 42 of the conveyor belt 40 and lowered again to a position, also shown in Fig. 7A, in which the stick clamps 42 are located between the clamps 60 and the lollipop head R and have a sufficient stick length to be able to engage with the sticks S.

The conveyor belt 40 is stopped during this transfer phase, likewise in an indexed manner. The stick clamps 42, which are known per se, are in principle in the closed position, but when the clamps 60 are moved downwards, sticks S are pushed against the two clamping jaws, as a result of which these are pushed aside slightly, against the action of spring tension on the stick clamps 42, in order to allow the sticks S through. Then, the stick S is securely clamped in the stick clamps 42. Subsequently, the clamps 60 are opened and the spindle 63a is expanded again in order to move the clamps 60 outside the path of the conveyor belt 40 which is at right angles to the paper and at right angles to the plane of movement of the chain 4. The conveyor belt 40 is then displaced over a distance equal to the Length of the transferred rows of lollipops.

It should be noted that this transfer device can also be used for lollipops which are shaped in another manner.

During the entire process, from the lollipop sticks being dispensed from the supply up to the end conveyor belt, the lollipops are held in a known and secure manner, in which the lollipop material itself

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can remain untouched and the packaging of the lollipops in, for example a bunch wrap, can be executed in a reliable manner.

By the movement of pulling back in the direction Ll over a distance d, a lollipop shaped like that in

Fig. 8 is obtained, the head R being provided with a spherical projection dR, having a length d, rather than a flat side 101.




 
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