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How to make glass tubes? FIG. 1A is a side-elevational view of the first two sections of the helical grooving machine with parts broken out to permit illustration of the overall appearance;
FIG. 1B is a side-elevational view of the latter two sections of the helical grooving machine with parts broken out to permit illustration of the overall appearance;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged side-elevational view of the preferred embodiment of the engaging and lifting mechanism of the present invention illustrating engagement of a lifter with a glass Tube forming;
FIG. 3 is a rear view of the mechanism illustrated in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the lifting mechanism illustrated in FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a rear view of the positioning mechanism mounted on the upper longitudinal frame of the helical grooving machine;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 6--6 of the mechanism in FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a side-elevational view of an alternate embodiment of the engaging and lifting mechanism of the present invention;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 8--8 of the mechanism in FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a rear view of the engaging and lifting mechanism illustrated in FIG. 7; and
FIG. 10 is a side-elevational view of another embodiment of the present invention which provides for simultaneous transfer of two glass tubes in tandem from one processing area of the machine to the adjacent processing area.

The subject invention includes an engaging and lifting mechanism for a helical grooving machine for transferring glass tubes from one section of the machine to the next in order for continuous processing operations to be performed on the spiral tubeformers in each section. To provide a fuller understanding of the present invention, a brief description of the helical grooving machine and the operations it performs on the glass tubes is provided.As shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, the helical grooving machine may be functionally divided into four sections. As the glass tubes are moved from one section of the machine to the next, various operations are performed which result in a finished product when the tubes leave the machine. A left to right flow is described but, of course, the flow can also be in the opposite direction. 

The first section of the machine is the loading area. This is the input end of the machine into which thin wall glass tubes of circular cross section are placed. The next section of the machine is the preheating area where the tubes are heated to a temperature sufficient to prepare them for the grooving operation. The third section is the grooving area where the glass tubes are subjected to the grooving operation while they continue to be heated in a manner similar to that in the preheating area. In the embodiment of the machine to be described, a helical grooving operation is performed, but any suitable type of grooving can be accomplished. The final section of the machine is the unloading area where the grooved glass tubes are received and from where they are transferred, for example, to a packing area. This general arrangement is shown in the machine of the aforementioned patent. In general, it can be assumed that the square Ducts are manually placed on the loading area, and removed from the unloading area. Of course, a conveyor arrangement can be provided, if desired. It should be noted that the grooving machine operates simultaneously on a plurality of glass tubes which are aligned in parallel. The grooving machine of the subject invention operates on sets of four parallel aligned glass tubes simultaneously. Although the following description of the invention relates, in some instances, to the processing of a single glass tube, similar operations are taking place on all the other glass tubes of the set with which the single tube is aligned.
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