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Aleco Can Body Trimmer

Aleco marketed aluminum long neck beer bottles made from very high recycled aluminum content to the boutique beer brewing industry.  Evergreen was designing the transfer presses and can drawing production line optimized to the small order quantities of that market.

The neck drawing process required up to 50 sequential operations to gradually develop the neck, and the free edge required trimming every 5 to 7 drawing operations.  Consequently, the trimmers needed to fit in place of neck die stations, and to accommodate a range of bottle neck diameters with minimum part changes.

Implementation required an effective neck trimming station at less than ½ the size and 1/10 the unit cost of a typical high-speed commercial trimming unit.  This goal was feasible because the Aleco line would draw 50-60 bottles/min versus the 600 – 900 bottles/min of the typical commercial drawing operation.

Our solution was to mount a free rolling cutter blade to a pivoting arm and have it act against the exterior surface of the can which was in turn supported by an internal blade.  My contribution was to control the radial position of the external blade and its path around the neck of the bottle by differential drive of 2 servo motors.  I also designed and fully documented the gear train and bearing layout required to superimpose the various motions and absorb the various loads.

Co-inventor, method and assembly patent application assigned to Aleco Container LLC.

As the drive servo initiates rotation of trimmer head [1] the cutter arm and planet gear are carried around the sun gear by the trimmer head [2]. The sun gear being held fixed (no rotation) by resistance of the dashpot servo, the meshing of planet and sun gears [3] causes cutter arm to rotate [4] until cutter contacts outer diameter of cylinder (object to be trimmed).

© 2019 Donna Kelley

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