|Title of Invention||
A DEVICE FOR AUTOMATICALLY FEEDING CASHEW NUTS TO SHELLING MACHINES
|Abstract||DEVICE FOR-AUTOMATICALLY-FEEDING CASHEW- NUTS TO. SHELLING ABSTRACT Streams o£ nuts, one nut after the other, are taken from a container (1) containing loose nuts, by-means which unload them into one end of respective orientating channels (18), of which the other ends are placed against a battery of spring jaws. The orientating channels include at an intermediate point at least one step down (120), and they have a V profile such that the nuts lie in them horizontally on their edge, with their convex part uppermost or downmost. Pushers (29) travel longitudinally through them behind each nut, pushing it to the end of its respective channel to where it meet-s said battery of spring jaws. If the nuts are orientated with their convex part uppermost, they go over said step without modifying their orientation, whereas if they are orientated with their convex part downmost, when they reach the step they rise up at the rear and roll through 180°, so assuming the correct orientation. Other pushers (35) then insert the correctly orientated mits into the spring jaws which transfer them to the shelling s-tation.|
|Full Text||The invention relates to a device for automati¬cally feeding cashew nuts to shelling machines of the type described in Italian Patent Application No. BO 94 A 000405, in the name of the present applicant, as a replacement for the semiautomatic feeder dealt with in that document.
The feeder according to the invention comprises a container containing loose nuts, with an inclined bottom wall whose top part contains suitable slots set at different levels and on respective imaginary concentric circumferences with respect to the centre of rotation of a circular feed disc. The latter disc, positioned on top of said bottom wall, contains groups of auigularly equi¬distant holes, each large enough to hold one nut. As this disc rotates, its holes collect the nuts lying in the closed lower part of the container and carry them upwards before unloading them through the abovementioned slots, which communicate with respective descending pipes through which the nuts are conveyed to respective hori¬zontal parallel channels with V profiles. In these channels the nuts lie horizontally on their edge with their convex part turned at random either upwards or downwards. Special pushers come against the rear of the nuts and drive them along said channels. These channels include a step down at an intermediate point: if the convex part of the nut is uppermost, the nut goes over the step without modifying its orientation. If, on the other hand, the convex part of the nut is downmost, once it is half over said step, its rear end rises up and the pusher obliges the nut to roll about an axis which is transverse relative to the direction of advance, so that, after passing over the step, the nut has its convex part • uppermost, in the correct orientation for its subsequent insertion into the slideway in which it is transferred to the shelling station.
Accordingly, the present invention provides a device for automatically feeding cashew nuts to shelling machines of known type that has a battery of spring jaws that are open both below and above and are mounted next to each other on a horizontal slideway which at the correct moment moves said jaws from a loading position, in which they are placed against the means for feeding the nuts, standing on their edge, with their longitudinal axis horizontal and with their convex part uppermost, to a position in which the nuts are inserted between respective pairs of upper and lower shelling blades, which device is characterized in that it comprises: a container with means that feed it with the sized loose nuts (N) up to a predetermined and approximately constant level, means being provided for taking, from this container, streams of nuts, one nut after the other, and for discharging the nuts into the ends of respective orientating channels; a battery of horizontal orientating channels arranged side by side and parallel with each other, against one of the ends of which said battery of spring jaws is placed, these channels having a cross-section with an approximately V profile such that each nut fed in periodically by upstream means stands on its edge in the channel with its longitudinal axis horizontal and with its convex part either uppermost or downmost; at least one step down being provided at an intermediate point of each chaimel, and each channel having at least one pusher, which at the correct moment comes up against the rear of the nut fed in by said means at the starting end of each channel and pushes the nut longitudinally along the channel to the other end, in such a way that, if the nut is orientated with its convex part uppermost, it goes over said step down without modifying its orientation, whereas if the nut is orientated with its convex part downmost, when it comes to the step it rises up at
the rear in such a way that the pusher rolls it transversely around its forward lobe until its convex part is uppermost; and means for exactly inserting the orientated nuts that have reached the rear end of the respective orientating channel, into the open spring-loaded jaws, which then transfer the nuts in a known manner to the shelling station.
Other features of the invention, and the attendant advantages, will become
clear in the following description of a preferred embodiment thereof, illustrated
purely by way of a non - limiting example in the
igures of the two appended sheets of drawings, in which:
- Fig. 1 shows the feeder device in lateral
slevation with some parts in section;
- Fig. 2 is a top view of the rotating perforated lisc which operates in the container in which the loose LUts are placed;
- Fig. 3 is a cross-section through one of the LUt orientating channels, viewed on III-III of Figure 1;
- Figs. 4 cuid 5 show in lateral elevation the lifferent behaviours of the nuts as they travel along the >rientating channels.
In Figures 1 and 2, 1 is a container into which :he loose nuts N are fed by any suitable means 2, in luantity, to an approximately constant level. The bottom fall 101 of the container 1 is inclined at an. angle of ipproximately 45° and its top portion, above the filling Level of the nuts, contains a suitable number of slots, Eor example four slots 3, 4, 5, 6, in the form of arcs of :ircles. These arcs are concentric and situated at iifferent levels with appropriate angular distances Detween each. They are of appropriate length and are *ider by a suitable amount than the length of the nuts that are to be processed and that have previoudly been sorted on the basis of size.
The slots 3 and 4, which are very close to eacl] sther, may communicate with each.other at one end, sc forming a single broken slot, as illustrated in Figure 2.
Moxuited on the bottom of the container 1, para¬
llel with and a short distance from this bottom, is c
rotating circular disc 7 (see below) whose centre oj
rotation coincides with the centre of curvature of the
slots 3, 4, 5, 6 and which covers almost the whole oj
said bottom. This disc contains, by way of example, thret
groups of angularly equidistcuit holes A, B, C, each grrou]
consisting of four holes. Each group's holes are iden¬
tified in Figure 2 by a chain line connecting thei
The-depth and the diameter of each hole is sue] as to contain only one nut and its diameter is equal t(
the width of said slots formed in the bottom wall 101 of the container. The distance between the holes of each group and the centre of rotation of the disc 7 is equal to the distance between each centre of rotation and the abovementioned slots 3, 4, 5, 6.
As the disc 7 rotates anticlockwise as shown in Figure 2, the holes of the disc fill with nuts in the bottom part of the container, and as they arrive over the slots 3, 4, 5/ 6 they unload the nuts into them. The nuts are then conveyed by gravity through respective pipes 103, 104, 105, 106 into respective orientating channels that will be described later. Brushes 8 fixed in the upper interior part of the container 1 perform a scraping action to ensure that each hole is occupied by only one nut, and aXso push down on these nuts, forcing them through the holes when the holes come into alignment with the slots 3, 4, 5, 6.
Purely as a non-limiting example, it can be seen that the holes of the groups A, B, C arrive over the slots 3, 4, 5, 6 in the following order: 9a, 10a, 11a, 12a, then 9b, 10b, lib, 12b and then 9c, 10c, lie, 12c. When one group of holes has finished unloading its nuts, a sufficient interval of time must elapse before the next group of holes unloads to allow the nuts dropped by the previous group of holes to be carried away from the unloading point of the pipes 103, 104', 105, 106 (see below) . It will be understood that the above-indicated order of Tinloading of the holes of the disc 7, and the arrangement of these holes and of the slots in the container bottom, as illustrated in the drawings, is intended purely for indicative purposes and does not limit the scope of protection of the invention.
The disc 7 is fastened axially on the upper end
of a shaft 13 that revolves in mountings 14 and 15 fixed
to the frame of the machine and receives its power
through the bevel gears 16 from the geared motor 17 used
to power the nut shelling machine^ —— ^
The xmloading pipes 103, 104, 105, 106 (Fig. 1) are positioned over the ends of respective horizontal.
parallel and coplanar channels 18 having a V profile as can be seen in Figure 3 and having a longitudinal opening along the bottom for the passage of the pushers mentioned earlier (see also Fig. 3). Each channel is made up of a pair of angular sides 19 whose lower sides are fixed to pairs of guides 20 which form the bottom of the channels and which are in turn fixed at the rear to a bridge 21 fixed to the machine frame, and fixed at the other end to the top of the vertical teeth of a comb structure 22. The latter structure is likewise fixed to the machine freone. The width of the bottom of the channels 18 is such as to support the nuts which, owing to the inclination of the channel walls, stand on their edge. The channels 18 may be of constauit width or may decrease slightly in width from their beginning to their end.
The guides 20 each have at an intermediate point a step down 120, of the correct height, which will be discussed later. To simplify the construction, each side 19 of a channel may be subdivided into two portions fixed to corresponding portions of different height of each guide 20 and meet each other at the location of said step 120, as indicated at 119.
. Undemeat^h the channels 18 and parallel therewith are the upper sides of respective chain conveyors 23. These run at one end arotind, sprockets 24 fixed to a shaft 25 which, by meeuis of a positive drive 26, such as a chain and sprockets, receives the requisite rotation from the geared motor 17 already referred to. The other end of each chain conveyor 23 runs around respective sprockets 27 supported by respective forks 28 connected to means of traction (not shown). Fixed to each chain conveyor 23 are a number of equidistant pushers 29 which, as they rxm ■ along the upper side of these conveyors, pass lengthwise along the channels 18 and move on rectilineax fixed guides 30 made of some suitable material having a low coefficient of friction.
The nuts that fall periodically out of"the pipes
103, 104, 105, 106 in the corresponding ends of the channels 18 may be orientated such that the convex part
of their kidney-shaped profile is uppermost as shown in Figure 4, or downmost as shown in Figure 5.
In the case illustrated in Figure 4, the nuts that are being pushed along the channels 18 by the pushers 29 go over the step 120 without modifying their orientation amd their convex part continues uppermost. In the case of Figure 5, however, when the nuts reach the step 120 and their front end passes over it, their rear end rises up so that, vmder the action of the pushers 29, the nuts roll through 180° about their forward lobe until their convex part is uppermost.
To improve the performance and reliability of the system of orientation described above, the dimensions of the channels 18 can be such that their width decreases slightly frcaa the beginning to the end.
The channels 18 are longer than the chain con¬veyors 23 that rwa. underneath them so that the correctly orientated nuts remain in the terminal part of these channels while the pushers swing down and commence the return parth towards the starting position of a new working cycle. Immediately downstream of the channels 18, respective spring jaws 31, of a known type, are movmted in battery form on a horizontal slideway 32 connected to guide means (not shown) auid hinged at 33 to the end of a pivoting lever 34. This lever is driven by a cam (not illustrated because known), whose motion comes from the geared motor 17 and which at the correct moment moves said slideway from a position for the loading of the nuts to a position away from the channels 18 so that the nuts can be inserted between the shelling blades (see below) .
Above the terminal part of the channels 18 is a battery of hook-shaped pushers 35 (Fig. 1), one per ' channel, pointing down and fixed to a horizontal shaft 36 that is perpendicular to these channels and is supported i by the machine fraune in such a way so as to be able to rotate. At one end it has an adjustable crauik 37 which connectB^ through aua adjusteQ>le tie rod 38 with smother lever 39. The lever 39 is hinged at 40 to the machine frame and, by meeuis of an intermediate roller 41, follows
the profile of a double-acting cam 42 fixed to the same shaft 25 as drives the chain conveyors 23 with the pushers 29.
Whenever a group of pushers 29 has brought a corresponding group of nuts N to the terminal part of the orientating channels 16, and after the nuts have been abandoned by the pushers, the hook-shaped pushers 35 are operated at the correct moment auid push the nuts into the spring-loaded jaws 31, before returning to their raised position of rest. The jaws 31 then move away from the channels 18 and position themselves between the shaped blades 43 and 44 which move towards each other in a self-centring movement, enter said jaws and grip the nuts, which they then hold while said jaws move back to the channels 18 for the next working cycle. In the shelling station, the upper blades 43 are then caused to pivot in a known way aQxwit a respective vertical axis in such a way as to open the shell of the nut, which then falls from the blecdes and is collected by suitedsle discharge means, while the blades themselves retraxn at the cxxrrect moment to the position of mutual separation in readiness for the next cycle. The shelling station has not been illustrated in the same detail as Figure 1, being of the same type as that described in the patent application mentioned in the introduction to the present description. This station ^Iso receives its drive from the geared motor 17, with a ratio such that for every complete revolution of the distributing disc 7 the battery of pushers 35 acts three times, and the shelling station also carries out three working cycles.
It will be understood that the description refers to a preferred embodiment of the invention to which mcuiy variants and modifications may be applied, especially from the point of view of constxuction: these may depend, for example, on the number of spring jaws 31 that are to be fed or on the need to be able quickly.to replace the disc 7 and—on—the_carrying out of other adjustment^" as the size of the nuts varies; all of this being possible without thereby departing from the un4erlylng principle
of the invention as set forth above, as illustrated and as claimed below.
In the claims which follow, references given in parentheses are purely illustrative and do not limit the scope of protection of the claims.
1. A device for automatically feeding cashew nuts to shelling machines of known type that has a battery of spring jaws (31) that are open both below and above and are mounted next to each other on a horizontal slideway (32) which at the correct moment moves said jaws from a loading position, in which they are placed against the means for feeding the nuts, standing on their edge, with their longitudinal axis horizontal and with their convex part uppermost, to a position in which the nuts are inserted between respective pairs of upper and lower shelling blades (43, 44), which device is characterized in that it comprises:
- a container (1) with means (2) that feed it with the sized loose nuts (N) up to a predetermined and approximately constant level, means being provided for taking, from this container, streams of nuts, one nut after the other, and for discharging the nuts into the ends of respective orientating channels (18);
a battery of horizontal orientating channels (18) arranged side by side and parallel with each other, against one of the ends of which said battery of spring jaws is placed, these channels having a cross-section with an approximately V profile such that each nut fed in periodically by upstream means stands on its edge in the channel with its longitudinal axis horizontal and with its convex part either uppermost or downmost; at least one step down (120) being provided at an intermediate point of each channel, and each channel having at least one pusher (29), which at the correct moment comes up against the rear of the nut fed in by said means at the starting end of each channel and pushes the nut longitudinally along the channel to the other end, in such a way that, if the nut is orientated with its convex part uppermost, it goes over said step down without modifying its orientation, whereas if the nut is orientated with its convex part downmost,
when it comes to the step it rises up at the rear in such a way that the pusher rolls it transversely around its forward lobe until its convex part is uppermost; and
means (35) for exactly inserting the orientated nuts that have reached the rear end of the respective orientating channel, into the open spring-loaded jaws (31), which then transfer the nuts in a known manner to the shelling station.
2. The device according to claim 1, wherein the container (1) that holds a constant quantity of loose nuts (^) that have to be fed one at a time and at the correct moment to the starting end of the respective orientating chaimels, has a bottom wall (101) inclined at a suitable angle, its top part situated over the starting end of said channels (18) and containing slots (3, 4, 5, 6), one for each channel, in the form of arcs of circles, of appropriate length and slightly wider than the length of the nut, each lying on a different imaginary circumference so that their centres of curvature coincide with the axis of rotation of a circular disc (7) which lies on said bottom wall and contains groups (A, B, C) of holes (9,10,11,12), the number of holes of each group being equal to the number of said orientating channels, these holes being large enough to hold just one nut each and being set out in any manner such that, as said disc rotates, its holes each become loaded in the bottom part of the container with one nut which is then unloaded by gravity when these holes comes to the top part of said container and line up with their respective slots (3, 4,3, 6), from which there extend descending channels (103,104,105,106) to unload the nuts into the starting ends of the orientating channels; the shaft (13) that turns said disc being driven by the geared motor (17) that drives the shelling machine, with the correct phase for the pushers (29) operating in the orientating channels.
3. The device according to claim 2, wherein inside the top part of the container (1)
with the loose nuts, stationary brushes (8) are provided to act over the top part of the disc (7) as it rotates inside said container and to perform the two functions of scraping, so that only.nut is present in each hole of the disc, and then pushing these nuts out and down when the holes arrive over the underlying slots (3,4,5,6) of the container.
4. The device according to claim 1, wherein the container (1) of loose nuts is fed from an upper hopper (2) whose unloading nozzle is positioned at a suitable level below the group of slots (3,4,5,6) present on the bottom wall of said container.
5. The device according to claim 1, in which the nut orientating channels are open longitudinally along the bottom and are formed by respective flat parallel guides (20) that form the bottom of the channel and consist of two portions of different thicknesses in such a way as to define, at an intermediate point, the abovementioned step down (120), fixed to each of which guide portions are adjustable angle sections (19) that form the inclined sides of the channels and whose consecutive ends abut against each other in one plane at the location of the step.
6. The device according to claim S, in which the sides of the orientating channels are at a slight convergence towards the terminal part of said channels.
7. The device according to claim 5, in which the pushers (29) that push the nuts along the orientating channels (IS) enter for a precise distance through from the bottom of these channels, there are more than one of them per channel, they are equidistant from each other and attached to respective chain conveyors (23) situated underaeath said
channels, and they are driven by the geared motor (17) of the shelling machine and have fixed guides (30) along which their upper arm runs.
8. The device according to claim 1, wherein there is positioned above the terminal part of the orientating chaimels (18), where the nuts arrive with the correct orientation and are abandoned by their pushers (29), a battery of basically hook-shaped pushers (35) which are angled downwards and fixed, with the possibility of adjustment, to a common shaft (36) which is turned at the correct moment to cause said pushers to introduce the orientated nuts into their respective spring jaws (31) which will transfer them to the shelling station, this shaft being connected by an adjustable rod and crank system (37, 38) to a pivoting lever (39) driven by a cam (42) which receives the necessary in-phase rotation from the geared motor (17) of the shelling machine.
|Indian Patent Application Number||870/MAS/1996|
|PG Journal Number||30/2009|
|Date of Filing||23-May-1996|
|Name of Patentee||OLTREMARE S.P.A|
|Applicant Address||VIA PIEMONTS 5-I-40069 ZOLA PREDOSA, PROVINCE OF BOLOGNA|
|PCT International Classification Number||A47J43/26|
|PCT International Application Number||N/A|
|PCT International Filing date|