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United States Patent 5,761,883
Pruett, et. al. Jun. 9, 1998

Cookie tray loading machine
Inventors: Pruett; Daniel W. (Athens, GA); Haley; Charles T. (Bogart, GA); Philipp; Timothy (Watkinsville, GA).
Assignee: Food Machinery Sales, Inc. (Athens, GA).
Appl. No.: 563,667
Filed: Nov. 28, 1995
Intl. Cl. : B65B 35/30
Current U.S. Cl.: 53/448; 53/246; 53/247; 53/251; 53/475; 53/498; 53/499; 53/534; 53/543
Field of Search: 53/246, 247, 251, 534, 543, 448, 475, 493, 495, 498, 499; 198/367, 442, 436, 437, 601, 890, 890.1, 689.1, 459.8, 460.1

References Cited | [Referenced By]

U.S. Patent Documents
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3,008,564Nov., 1961Lakso 198/437 X
3,290,859Dec., 1966Talbot
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5,582,284Dec., 1996Calladine et al. 198/442 X

Foreign Patent Documents
317198May, 1989EP
619229Oct., 1994EP 198/890
2277073Oct., 1994GB 198/442
Primary Examiner: Moon; Daniel
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Isaf, Vaughan & KerrFails; Charles H.

Abstract

A cookie tray loading machine (5) constructed and arranged to divert a single file lane of cookies (12) moved along an infeed conveyor belt (9) into a plurality of separate and generally parallel lanes (34) of cookies, which are formed as rows (44) of cookies on a plurality of alignment belt assemblies (36) and spaced apart from each preceding row of cookies, each row of cookies being placed onto a tray loading conveyor belt (46) and moved toward a tray loading station (60) for placement directly into a packaging tray (62), is disclosed. The loading machine includes a sweep arm diverter assembly (20) having a sweep arm diverter (21) directly driven by a sweep arm servomotor (23), a first lane alignment arm assembly (26) and a second and opposed lane alignment arm assembly (30) for aligning the cookies into the separate lanes of cookies, and an alignment belt assembly (36) for each lane of cookies. Each alignment belt assembly includes an alignment belt cookie sensor (37), an alignment belt (38), and an alignment belt servomotor (40) for directly driving each alignment belt separately from the others. Each row of cookies formed on the cookie tray loading machine is placed by the tray loading conveyor belt directly into the packaging tray, the packaging tray being positioned on a packaging tray indexing conveyor (65) at the tray loading station. Thereafter, in response to the receipt of a row of cookies, the tray indexing conveyor carries the packaging tray a distance sufficient to allow for the next row of cookies to be placed directly into the packaging tray.

32 Claims, 16 Drawing Figures

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