Patent application title: ORBITAL FEEDER
Robert M. Kalany (Florence, KY, US)
Robert J. Thiemann (Crestview Hills, KY, US)
Paul A. Frederick (Harrison, OH, US)
R.A. Jones & Co. Inc.
IPC8 Class: AB65B4326FI
Class name: Package making means to open or erect receptacle
Publication date: 2012-03-22
Patent application number: 20120067004
An improved orbital carton feeder comprises at least one carton gripping
suction cup rotatably mounted to a rotatable wheel and moving in a
hypocycloidal path having cusps, one of which defines a curved path
portion coordinated with a blank placement station. Multiple cusps, cups
and operational stations are disclosed, as well as a preferred cusp
angular relationship responding to an angle of a carton blank at a
discharge or pickoff station and an angle of disposition of a blank
1. An orbital blank feeder having a blank transporter moving in a
hypocycloidal path having a plurality of cusps wherein one of said cusps
is defined as the apex of a curved path, said feeder having a blank
pick-off station, a blank placement station and a blank pre-opening
station between said pick-off and placement stations, each station
oriented proximate one of said cusps.
2. A feeder as in claim 1 wherein said one cusp is operably oriented adjacent a blank conveyor for transferring a blank to said conveyor at said placement station.
3. A feeder as in claim 2 including at least four cusps.
4. A feeder as in claim 2 including at least five cusps.
5. A feeder as in claim 2 including at least six cusps.
6. A feeder as in claim 1 wherein said feeder includes a blank magazine having a discharge station presenting a blank at an angle to horizontal, and each cusp is in an angular relationship with respect to adjacent cusps, said angular relationship being approximately equal to the sum of the angle of a blank at a discharge station to horizontal and an angle from horizontal of an adjacent blank conveyor operably oriented to receive a blank from said feeder.
7. A feeder as in claim 1 wherein said pick-off station is oriented proximate a first cusp of said path and said pre-opening station is located proximate a second sequential cusp of said path.
8. A feeder as in claim 7 wherein said placement station is oriented proximate a third cusp of said path.
9. An orbital feeder for feeding carton blanks from a blank magazine to a carton conveyor through a portion of a hypocycloidal path, said path having at least four cusps, said feeder comprising a blank pick-off station at said magazine and proximate a first of said cusps, a blank pre-opening station proximate a second of said cusps and a blank placement station proximate a third of said cusps.
10. A feeder as in claim 9 wherein said cusp path defines at least two pointed cusps and one U-shaped cusp oriented proximate said blank placement station.
11. A feeder as in claim 10 wherein said first and second cusps are pointed.
 The application claims priority to U.S. Ser. No. 61/403,605 filed Sep. 17, 2010, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 This invention relates to orbital feeders such as rotary carton feeders and more particularly to such feeders which pick up a flat carton blank from a magazine and deliver it to a conveyor for carton erection and loading.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Rotary carton feeders are well known. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,518,301 and 4,596,545 show, for example, features of the R. A. Jones & Co. Inc. "Orbi-Trak" orbital feeder. These two patents are both incorporated expressly herein by reference and made a part hereof as if fully set forth herein.
 Such feeders as described in these patents provide reliable and reasonably fast carton feeding from a magazine of flat blanks to an erected open position between trailing and lead lugs of a carton conveyor, on which the cartons can be loaded (typically from their ends), closed, sealed and discharged.
 In any carton feeder, and particularly as carton throughput speeds increase, it is necessary to feed the cartons from their magazine to the lug conveyor accurately, and to insure reliable opening of cartons once transported by the lug conveyor.
 When dealing with flat blanks designed to eventually be opened into cartons having a tube shape, which is primarily square or rectangular when opened, it is desired that each fed carton be handled in a way to reliably open. Such flat blanks are typically side-seamed with eventually opposed panels lying flat against adjacent respectively opposed panels (to provide an eventual square carton configuration) or against a combination of opposed and adjacent panels (to provide an eventual rectangular carton configuration). Respective panels are defined along fold lines either folded or scored for folding upon erection of the carton. There are several circumstances which may obstruct this goal of reliable opening.
 For example, it will be appreciated that cartons are typically, but not necessarily, fed from a horizontally-oriented or slightly inclined magazine where cartons are oriented flat against each other in a stack with the cartons resting on their lower edge. A stack of cartons is moved along with successive cartons being picked off the end of the stack at a pick-off position. There are numerous and varied expedients to facilitate the reliable separation of a carton at the stack end pick off position. Known devices to this end are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,601,691; 4,429,864; 4,779,860; 4,934,682 and 4,093,207, all of which are herein expressly incorporated by reference as if fully set forth here. In U.S. Pat. No. 4,571,236, reliable carton squaring is provided in part by a rearwardly inclined leading lug of the carton lug conveyor. That patent is also expressly herein incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.
 Nevertheless, the parameters of stacked carton blanks, their separation from the blank stacks in the feed magazines and the transfer of the blanks from the pick-off position at the magazine to erected condition between the leading and trailing transport lugs of a carton conveyor continue to present considerations of reliable blank transfer and erection, particularly as speeds increase.
 In this instance, where carton blanks are configured to produce opened cartons of square cross-section, it will be appreciated that the intermediate unfolded scored lines, about which the blank will be folded, are parallel and lie immediately adjacent each other in the flat blank. Viewing the flat blank as a whole, the stiffness of the blank is affected by these proximate fold lines, parallel with each other. In other words, such a blank is more easily folded or bent in the area extended along these scored lines, compared to a blank for a rectangular cross-section carton where the unfolded score lines are not so closely oriented.
 With such a square configuration carton, and considering the process of picking off from a magazine such a carton blank with a suction cup, it is desirable to have the carton opened uniformly when finally between the leading and trailing lugs of the carton conveyor. One potential obstacle to this goal is the undesirable creation of an "L"-shaped configuration during the blank pick-off, transfer or deposit into the carton conveyor lugs. In this undesirable configuration, the upper half of the blank is bent forwardly of the carton, with the remainder oriented downwardly. Typically, this occurs at a bending of the blank about the adjacent fold lines of the blank, for a square configuration carton. This artifact in a process can occur during the pickoff, transfer or placement and results in an "L"-shaped blank between the conveyor lugs which cannot be fully opened or erected as desired. Such an "L"-shaped blank cannot be used and must be rejected.
 It has accordingly been one objective of the invention to provide a rotary carton feeder and process which eliminates or reduces the possibility of producing "L"-shaped carton blanks in the transfer process.
 In another aspect of rotary carton feeders, it is known to "pre-open" the carton blanks at location after the pickoff from a magazine but prior to placing the blank in the conveyor lugs. Such pre-opening can be useful in the facilitation of reliable opening and placing of cartons in the carton conveyor.
 Current applications providing a "pre-opening" operation, however, are attended by further disadvantages. In one system, the carton blank magazine must be placed above and directly over the carton conveyor. Wheel-mounted suction cups pick off blanks, move the blanks generally counterclockwise (when viewed from a position with the stacked magazine and conveyor extended to the right), and then place the pre-opened blank on the conveyor with flow to the right. The disadvantage of such a system is the orientation of the blank magazine over the carton conveyor in a space which should be left open for conveyor access and adjustment or maintenance.
 In another configuration, the magazine is above but not directly over the carton conveyor, which extends to the right, and is oriented on the left side of the clockwise-rotating transfer wheel. Here, the cartons are picked off from the magazine and transferred generally in a clockwise direction over and downwardly to the carton conveyor lugs. Since, however, the blank is now generally moving near the bottom of the wheel to the left, its overall direction of movement must be reversed to match the opposite machine direction of the carton transport lug conveyor. This need for a "reverse" motion creates an abrupt and unreliable placement and is one factor limiting operational speeds.
 Even when such systems provide a vacuum or suction partial pre-opening of the blank by presenting it to a suction cup, for example, the foregoing inherent disadvantages are a concern.
 Accordingly, it is yet a further objective of the invention to provide an orbital carton feeder providing a suction generating pre-opening of a magazine-fed blank but without the need to orient the blank magazine over and above the carton conveyor, and without requiring any reverse motion of the blank in connection with placing it between leading and trailing lugs of a carton conveyor.
 A further objective of the invention has been to provide apparatus and methods of rotary carton feeding for reliable opening of magazine-fed carton blanks, including picking blanks from a magazine, placing them between lugs of a carton conveyor, and at higher speeds then heretofore available, with a pre-opening operation option.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 To these ends, a preferred embodiment of the invention contemplates a rotary carton blank feeder having a rotating feeder wheel carrying rotating blank holding vacuum cups rotating through at least four cusps of an hypocycloidal motion pattern. This is attained similarly to that apparatus of U.S. Pat. No. 4,596,545 but wherein one or more suction cup supporting spindles are mounted on a carrier or feeder wheel and the apparatus generates a preferred four cusp movement with the operative cusp adjacent the blank placement station defined in more of a "U"-shaped than sharp configuration which results in a relatively smooth, softer and slower placement operation.
 Between the pickoff station defined at a first cusp of motion, and the placement station defined at a third cusp of motion, there is operationally oriented a pre-opening vacuum station proximate a second cusp of motion. As the picked-off blank is presented to this station, suction is applied to the blank's opposite side to partially pre-open it. The now partially pre-opened blank is then moved to the placement station at a third cusp of motion.
 Thereafter, the suction cup, having placed the blank, is reoriented as the feeder wheel continues its rotation and the cup is moved through yet a fourth cusp of motion back toward its proper orientation for picking off a blank at the first cusp of motion defining the pickoff station.
 Several parameters of the invention will thus become readily apparent. First any number of cusps can be used in apparatus according to the invention so long as they prove pickoff and placement stations as described as well as an optionally preferred pre-open station, and then return of the suction cup from the smooth placement station to operative position as it moves to the pick-off station motion cusp.
 The variations of operable motion cusps can be used to provide large variations in the relative orientation of the blank magazine to the carton conveyor on which blanks are placed. For example, and with respect to the rotary feeder phases, the pick-off and placement stations can be in a relative 180 degree phase relationship or at some other phase where other magazine-to-conveyor positions are desired.
 Any number of spindles can be used for so long as the hypocycloidal motion of the picked-off blanks is not obstructed by other blanks or feeder elements, and with attendant speed capabilities.
 Accordingly, the preferred embodiment of the invention provides a rotary feeder, with optional vacuum blank pre-opening and soft, reliant placement for full blank erection between leading and trailing conveyor lugs, without the need to orient the blank magazine above and over the carton conveyor and without requiring any motion reversal.
 With more particularity, one embodiment of the invention includes a generally horizontal blank magazine with a discharge section declining the blank at about 45 degrees from horizontal at a pick-off position defined at a first cusp of motion of an orbital feeder according to the invention. At 180 degrees on the other side of the orbital feeder of this invention from the pick-off position is disposed an inclined portion of a carton transporting lug conveyor, inclined at about 45 degrees to a downstream horizontal position. It will be appreciated that this 180 degree relationship can be varied to accommodate desired operational parameters.
 Preferably, and if desired, a pre-open or pre-break station is oriented at a second cusp of blank motion, as will be described in detail, for at least pre-breaking the blank to facilitate later full erection on the conveyor.
 The carton blank placement station is advantageously placed within the inclined portion of the conveyor, at about 180 degree phase of the orbital feeder from the pick-off position, and is defined at a third cusp of motion of the orbital feeder. This third cusp is so configured that its apex is not a point but is defined over a more extended distance, resulting in a smooth, more gentle carton blank placement movement as the blank is placed between the lugs of the conveyor and then further erected.
 From there, the spindle/suction cup is rotated through a fourth and final cusp of motion for re-orientation to proper position for presentation to the pick-off position through the first cusp of motion.
 As noted above, the orbital feeder according to the invention may have one or a plurality of spindle carried, blank holding suction cups. Such a feeder may also be configured with other combinations or patterns of cusps, so long as the placement cusp is more elongated to facilitate placement, is re-oriented prior to arrival at the next cycle pick-off position, and optionally provides for a cusp of movement defining a pre-opening station between blank pick-off and placement. Within these parameters, a variety of magazine and carton conveyor relationships can be provided without requiring magazine orientation above and directly over the carton conveyor, and without requiring any reversal of blank motion to achieve proper placement on the transport conveyor.
 These and other objectives and results will be readily appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention and from the drawings, in which:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic elevational view of a carton feeding and erecting system according to the invention and including a carton magazine, rotary feeder and carton lug conveyor;
 FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 illustrating the invention comprising a rotary carton feeder having a preferred four cusp following motion;
 FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but illustrating a less desirable four cusp constant velocity motion where each cusp is identically configured;
 FIGS. 4A-4E are diagrammatic views showing the progression of the placement cusp at varied angular phases, with respect to the pick-off cusp at the carton magazine as the cusp approaches and departs the blank placement station;
 FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic view illustrating use of suction cup and breaker channel for pre-braking a carton blank;
 FIG. 6 is a view of a suction cup and breaker channel before release of a more fully-erected carton;
 FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6 but also showing the carton transport lugs receiving and erecting a placed carton;
 FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 6 but illustrating an undesirable "L"-shaped carton blank configuration;
 FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIGS. 8 and 7 but showing a failed opening of an "L"-shaped carton blank;
 FIGS. 10A and 10B illustrate respectively an alternate five cusp following motion of an alternate rotary feeder and, for contrast, a five cusp constant velocity motion; and
 FIGS. 11A and 11B illustrate respectively an alternate six cusp following motion of an alternate rotary feeder and, for contrast, a six cusp constant velocity motion.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Turning now to the drawings, FIGS. 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 illustrate features of a preferred embodiment of the invention. FIG. 1 illustrates a carton feeding operation including carton blank magazine 10, rotary blank feeder 12 and a carton lug conveyor 14 for receiving, erecting and transporting erected cartons. The elements respectively define a pick-off station 16 at the discharge end of a magazine 10 and a pre-open or pre-break station 18, and a blank placement station 20, each station attended or defined by one cusp of a multiple cusp motion orbital blank feeder of the type described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,518,301 and 4,596,545 but with a multiple cusp motion as described herein. One of ordinary skill will appreciate the mechanical modifications necessary in the apparatus of U.S. Pat. No. 4,596,545 incorporated herein, to provide the hypocycloidal motion having at least four cusps.
 More particularly, and according to the invention, the rotary or orbital feeder 12 of a preferred embodiment includes motion defined through four "cusps" 22-25. A first cusp 22 is oriented at pick-off station 16, a second cusp 23 at pre-break or pre-opening station 18, a third "following" cusp 24 at placement station 20 and a fourth orienting cusp 25 operatively between cusps 24 and 22.
 Rotary feeder 12 operates here in a general counterclockwise direction of Arrow A (FIG. 2), A blank picking, breaking, transport and placing rotary suction cup apparatus 28 (illustratively in FIG, 1 and in more detail in FIGS. 5, 6) includes a blank holding cup 29 (FIG. 5) situated within a breaker channel 30 having bars 31, 32. Suction cup apparatus 28 is disposed on a rotatable shaft (not shown) for rotation about minor axis 34 carried on feeder wheel 36 with the cup 29 thus moving in a hypocycloidal pattern of motion having four cusps about major axis of rotation 38 of feeder 12 and wheel 36. Suction cup 29 is operably connected to a hose 33 (FIG. 9) for supplying vacuum to the cup from a vacuum source to facilitate the picking of a blank 13 from blank magazine 10.
 As noted above, the mechanism and principle of operation of feeder 12 and cup assembly 28 are fully disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,518,301 and 4,596,454, incorporated herein, with the modification of components to provide the particular cusp number and motions described herein as will be readily apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art. The feeder sun and planetary elements are provided as appreciated by those skilled in the art to provide the modified cusps and motion patterns according to the invention as described herein.
 For purposes of this disclosure then, a "cusp" is defined as an outermost point in the motion, i.e. the outermost point of an operative element (here the face 40 of cup 29) as it moves through its hypocycloidal path about axis 38. Said in another way, a "cusp" as that term is used herein is that point of motion of the operative apparatus in its path where the point is in a direct straight line including both major axis 38 and minor axis 34. In the case of cusp 24, the point is the apex of an elongated curve rather than a precise abrupt point as will be discussed. Accordingly, it will be understood that a "cusp" is a point or apex of a single curve in a hypocycloidal path as described.
 In particular, where a four cusp pattern is used in a preferred embodiment, first, second and fourth cusps 22, 23 and 25 are "point" cusps through which cup 29 (face 40) moves quickly with a relatively constant velocity motion. Third cusp 24, however, is defined by a "following" motion wherein the cusp is the apex of an elongated curve rather than pointed in pattern as are the others. In this way, the cup 29 at placement station 20 has a delayed or slower motion as the cusp is more elongated. This results in a much softer, gentler and accurate placement in both approach and release duration of a carton blank between the trailing and leading lugs 42, 44 of conveyor 14 which receive, fully erect and transport the blank.
 In the preferred embodiment, it will be appreciated the four cusps are spaced at 90 degree intervals about axis 38, with first cusp 22 at 0 degrees, second cusp 23 at 90 degrees, third cusp 24 at 180 degrees (see FIG. 4c) and fourth cusp 25 at 270 degrees.
 Accordingly, as wheel 36 of feeder 12 rotates about major axis 38, a first cup apparatus 28 engages a flat carton blank B at the pick-off station 16 located at a discharge from magazine 10. The blank B is moved in the motion pattern of cup apparatus 28 both generally about major axis 38 and in a circular path about minor axis 34, thus in a general hypocycloidal path to pre-opening and through station 18 where, by action of suction cup 29 pulling the blank B against channel 30 and bars 31, 32 or by optional application of suction by suction cup 45 (FIG. 1) operating on the opposite side of a blank B, the blank is at least partially broken open into a configuration illustrated by blank B-2 of FIG. 1. Blank B can be broken by the suction of the blank toward bars 31, 32 as the blank is moved away from pick-off station 16.
 Thereafter, a blank in a shape as that of blank B-2 is delivered to the placement station 20 and between lugs 42, 44 of conveyor 14 as illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7.
 It will be appreciated the blanks of this embodiment, when erected, are of square cross-sectional configuration, the opposed panel lengths represented at 46, 48 and the opposite panel widths 50, 52. When blanks B are flat as in magazine 10, opposed scored but unfolded fold line 54 lines alongside scored but unfolded fold line 56. Panel 48 lies against panel 50 and panel 52 against panel 46 in this flat condition.
 The rigidity of the flat carton blank of eventual square cross-section is thus weakest in the area of and along these unfolded scored lines 54, 56. It is easier to suffer, then, a reverse folding of the blank about these lines 54, 56 during the pick-off and blank break in other equipment. Such undesirable blank configuration is illustrated (as an "L"-shaped blank B-3) in FIGS. 8 and 9, wherein reliable squared-up blank placement opening and erection cannot be obtained.
 This undesirable anomaly is illustrated best in FIG. 9 where a mis-formed "L"-shaped carton blank B-3 is placed between two lugs 42a and 44a of a conveyor 14a. This blank B-3 must be then discharged as waste.
 Use of the present invention described herein including the cup apparatus 28 pre-break, or the passage of a blank through pre-open station 18 prevents this from occurring, even with square cross-section cartons.
 Continuing with the description, and with reference to FIGS. 4A-4E, the progression of delivery of a blank, B-2, into and between lugs 42, 44 of conveyor 14 is illustrated. Each FIG. illustrates the angular progression of feeder wheel 36 from 150 degrees through 210 degrees. In this regard, the third cusp 24 is in a static angular position at 180 degrees from the pick-off station 16 at 0 degrees.
 In FIG. 4A, the wheel 36 (not the "cusp", which is merely part of a motion pattern) is at 150 degree rotation. A first lug set 58 of conveyor 14 has carried away a previously placed blank (B-4) while succeeding blank B-2 is moving in its hypocycloidal path toward path cusp 24. In FIG. 4B, wheel 36 has advanced to 165 degrees angular rotation, and cup 29 has progressed to a point approaching the elongated apex 60 of cusp 24. In FIG. 4c, the cup 29 and blank B-2 have reached and are in the middle of cusp 24 and elongated following motion along elongated apex 60. Blank B-2 is here fully and gently placed in a second set 62 of lugs 42, 44 at placement station 20.
 FIG. 4D illustrates the retreat of cup 29 back along path of cusp 24, toward cusp 25, having now released blank B-2 and with wheel 36 now at 195 degrees rotation. Finally, FIG. 4E represents progress of wheel 36 through 210 degrees rotation with cup 29 having passed along cusp 24 toward a path taking it to cusp 25.
 Also to be noted is that conveyor 14 is generally oriented on an incline of 45 degrees in this embodiment, approximately parallel to a 45 degree incline of a blank B at pick-off station 16. Thereafter, conveyor 14 may be operatively elongated, such as in a horizontal direction, for further carton filling or processing.
 It will be appreciated then that cup 29 and a blank B-2 is carried along in a hypocycloidal path to that portion defined by third cusp 24. As the blank B-2 approaches the elongated apex 60 of cusp 24, the blank may be decelerated for gentle, reliable placement in lug set 58. Once the blank B-2 is released to the lugs 42, 44, the cup 29 can be accelerated back along its hypocycloidal path for another cycle. The acceleration and/or deceleration velocity parameter of the cup 29 with or without the blank B-2 can be predetermined within the scope of the invention to accommodate any desired motion facilitating carton feeding.
 FIGS. 2 and 3 offer a side-by-side comparison of an operative rotary feeder motion according to the invention (FIG. 2) and a rotary feeder motion of constant velocity throughout for comparison purposes. The operation of the feeder in the hypocycloidal path 70 illustrated in FIG. 2 provides the benefits of the invention. In FIG. 3, for contrast, each cusp is defined at a sharp precise point of path reversal.
 In contrast, operation of a feeder in the constant velocity motion through the more symmetric hypocycloidal path 72 (FIG. 3) about a wheel 36a, results in a four cusp path, with each cusp symmetrical. Thus, at a placement station 73, near conveyor 14b, the placement motion is constant and abrupt, resulting in a lesser reliable blank placement at speed.
 Diagrammatic FIG. 10A illustrated a five cusp hypocycloidal path 74, in a feeder including a feeder wheel 76, and according to an alternate embodiment of the invention. Here the cusps each have a respective apex and these are oriented at a 72 degree angular phase. Such an orientation accommodates use of a carton conveyor 14C (lugs not shown for clarity) inclined at only 19 degrees (see FIG. 10A) where the conveyor is approximately tangent to a cusp 78 and elongated apex 80. Here, it is preferable to orient the magazine discharge so blanks are presented for pick-off at about 55 degrees, and perhaps at 53 degrees, with some degree of variation acceptable as needed.
 Reviewing FIG. 10B in contrast, a feeder wheel 76a with a five cusp constant velocity cusp path 74a is illustrated with similar disadvantages at a placement station 78a as in FIG, 3.
 FIGS. 11A and 11B illustrate six cusp paths. In FIG. 11A, an alternate embodiment is disclosed where cusp 82 has an elongated apex 84 proximate a preferably horizontal conveyor 14d (lugs not shown for clarity). Cusp 82 is in a hypocycloidal path 86 about a feeder wheel 88.
 Blanks B in a magazine are discharged at a pick-off station from about 55 degrees and carried to a placement position on conveyor 14d defined proximate cusp 82.
 It will be appreciated that conveyor 14d can be horizontal or only slightly inclined or declined from the horizontal to offer a landing or placement orientation complimentary to that of the angled blank pick-off location, and in order to accommodate a desired conveyor angle.
 Hypothetically, it will be appreciated that the sum of the angle of the blank pick-off orientation from horizontal, and that of the receiving lug conveyor (here 14d) from horizontal preferably approximates the segment of the relative phase of the cusps to each other. Thus, in a four cusp path feeder, that sum angle is about 90 degrees; in a five cusp path feeder about 72 degrees and in a six cusp path feeder, about 60 degrees, plus or minus two or three degrees.
 This relationship permits design of the rotary feeder magazine and conveyor orientation in a large variety of combinations, and is only a rule-of-thumb in providing the invention for a multiplicity of desired spacings and component locations of magazine, feeders and conveyor. Selection of the number of path cusps is then a function of the desired application.
 In contrast, FIG. 11B illustrates a six cusp constant velocity motion path 92 having six symmetric cusps generated about feeder wheel 94 with a cusp 96 nearest conveyor 14d for potential blank placement but where cusp 96 has a sharp, single point apex 98, as that of 78a in FIG. 10B or that of the cusp nearest conveyor 14b in FIG. 3, all of which are attended by the disadvantages of the sharper, more abrupt motion at placement as noted above.
 Finally, it will be appreciated that feeders of the invention can be provided with as many suction cup apparatus or spindles 28 as the carton size will permit accommodation through motion about the path traversed. It will also be appreciated that as the number of selected cusps changes, the overall feeder and wheel size may change to accommodate any particular carton blank size or alternately other geometric mechanical changes can be made in the apparatus. Additionally, the wheel size may be affected by the number of spindles used.
 Accordingly, the invention in preferred and alternative embodiments provides numerous advantages among which are included, preferred blank placement dynamics, accommodation of a wide variety of relative magazine and conveyor orientations, positive and reliable carton placement and erection, elimination of adverse carton configurations through the process even for difficult to handle small, square cross-section cartons, all at high speeds now demanded in carton feeding processes, and the provision of additional blank handling stations by way of four or more cusps of a hypocycloidal motion feeder.
 Such invention is capable of handling a wide range of carton speeds through a wide range of carton sizes, and up to at least and over 800 cartons per minute.
 Of course, it will be appreciated that the invention could be used with a wheel operating in a clockwise direction to accommodate a variation of magazine and conveyor orientations. In this regard, the sequence of the cusp operations and the reference to the cusps as first, second, third and fourth, and so on, would be reordered.
 Moreover, the invention contemplates providing a plurality of blank operations by the use of four or more cusps, with additional cusps provided to present a blank to one or more other stations such as for printing, gluing or the like. Additionally, cusps can be tailored in their path to present the blank as needed at a particular station.
 These and other modifications and variations of the invention will be readily appreciated by the foregoing to those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope of the invention and applicant intends to be bound only by the claims appended hereto.
Patent applications by Paul A. Frederick, Harrison, OH US
Patent applications by Robert M. Kalany, Florence, KY US
Patent applications by R.A. Jones & Co. Inc.
Patent applications in class MEANS TO OPEN OR ERECT RECEPTACLE
Patent applications in all subclasses MEANS TO OPEN OR ERECT RECEPTACLE