|Publication number||US20050041889 A1|
|Application number||US 10/643,688|
|Publication date||Feb 24, 2005|
|Filing date||Aug 19, 2003|
|Priority date||Aug 19, 2003|
|Also published as||EP1512636A2, EP1512636A3|
|Publication number||10643688, 643688, US 2005/0041889 A1, US 2005/041889 A1, US 20050041889 A1, US 20050041889A1, US 2005041889 A1, US 2005041889A1, US-A1-20050041889, US-A1-2005041889, US2005/0041889A1, US2005/041889A1, US20050041889 A1, US20050041889A1, US2005041889 A1, US2005041889A1|
|Original Assignee||Scarberry Paul W.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (10), Referenced by (4), Classifications (5), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention generally relates to a continuous web of packaging bags. More specifically, the present invention relates to a continuous web of bags for use in packaging medical products utilizing automated bagging machines.
Presently, automated bagging machines have become popular for use in bagging various articles and products. Specifically, such bagging machines are configured to receive a continuous web of interconnected, pre-opened bags and to index the bags, one at a time, to a filling, sealing and separating station where appropriate products may be placed into the individual bags. After each bag has been filled, the bag is sealed and subsequently separated from the continuous web. Presently known bagging machines utilize plastic film bags for such an automated process.
Products being supplied to the medical industry are required to be packaged in sterile packaging. The industry typically utilizes individual bags each consisting of a plastic sheet of film bonded at selected locations to a sheet of porous substrate to define a pocket for receiving medical products. One such substrate is sold under the tradename TyvekŪ
Typically, the sterile packaging bags are sold as single bags that must be filled one at a time. Thus, filling sterile bags with products takes a significant amount of time as compared to currently available systems that utilize automated bagging machines to load products into pre-opened bags connected as a web.
One method to provide a strip of sterile bags adapted for implementation with an automated bagging machine is shown in Baker U.S. Pat. No. 6,419,392. In this patent, each of the bags includes a slit in the plastic film that transverses the entire open end of a pocket formed by a seal between the plastic film and a paper backing film. The opening in the plastic film extends across the entire width of the bag and allows product to be inserted into the bag when the bag is still connected to the continuous strip.
Although the web of bags shown in the '392 patent can be automatically loaded with product by an automated bagging machine, the opening formed in the plastic film extends across the entire width of the pocket, which presents challenges in opening and loading the bag with product. Further, since the opening in each of the bags is formed in the plastic film, the plastic film must face outward when utilized in an automated bagging machine. Thus, the heated sealing bar of the bagging machine contacts the paper backing layer during the sealing process, which results in an inadequate seal between the backing layer and the plastic film. Further, the heated sealing bar has a tendency to damage the paper backing layer.
As can be understood, a need currently exists for a continuous strip of bags that are pre-opened and allow sterile products to be inserted while being able to be used with currently available automated bagging machines. Further, a need exists for continuous strip of bags that can be utilized with different types of products where each bag has an opening that can vary depending upon the type of product being packaged.
The present invention is a continuous web of bags that are particularly useful in packaging sterilized products and can be used with an automated bagging machine. The continuous strip of bags includes a plurality of individual bags connected end-to-end where each of these bags is pre-opened and allows product to be inserted into each individual bag by automated bagging machines.
The continuous web of bag is formed from an elongated strip of base material adhesively attached to an elongated strip of plastic film. Preferably, the elongated strip of base material exhibits deadfold properties and can withstand the sterilization process. Specifically, the base material is selected from a group consisting of medical papers, spun-bonded olefin, and other types of heat sealable materials. The plastic film, preferably, is selected from a group consisting of high or low density polyethylene, polypropylene, or polyethylene-terephtlalate.
The plastic film is adhesively bonded to the base material by using a continuous strip of adhesive material. Specifically, the adhesive bond defines a chevron-shaped bottom seal, a pair of spaced side seals and an open end.
Each of the bags formed along the continuous web is separable from the remaining portions of the continuous web along a line of perforation. The line of perforation extends through both the base material and the plastic film such that each of the bags can be separated from the web in a conventional manner. Each of the bags of the continuous web includes a die-cut formed in only the base material such that product can be inserted into each bag through the die-cut. The die-cut is formed in the base material and has a width such that the side edges of the die-cut are spaced inwardly from the side seals formed by the strip of adhesive. In this manner, the die-cut does not extend across the entire width of the continuous web such that the base material and plastic film are sealed to each other on opposite sides of the die-cut.
In the first embodiment of the invention, the die-cut is formed from a blank of material removed from the base material. The die-cut opening is defined by a pair of side edges that are each spaced slightly inwardly from the side seals of each bag. Preferably, the line of perforation extends through and bisects the die-cut opening. Thus, when each individual bag is separated from the continuous web, half of the die-cut opening remains with the bag currently being removed, while half of the die-cut opening remains with the next bag along the continuous web.
After the bag of the first embodiment of the invention is filled with product, a heat seal is created on the bag below the die-cut opening to seal the contents of the bag. Preferably, the automated bagging machine creates the heat seal by a heated sealing bar that contacts the plastic film, while a pressure bar contacts the layer of base material. In this manner, the heated sealing bar does not contact the base material, thereby preventing damage to the base material during the sealing process.
In a second embodiment of the invention, the die-cut is a die-cut slit formed only in the base material. The die-cut slit allows product to be inserted into each individual bag through a slit in the base material. Preferably, the die-cut slit includes ends that are spaced inwardly from the side seals of the bag such that the base material and plastic film remain sealed to each other on each side of the die-cut slit. Once a product has been inserted into the bag, a heat seal is formed beneath the die-cut slit such that the bag is completely sealed.
In a third embodiment of the invention, the die-cut is a die-cut opening having a transverse length substantially less than the width of the continuous web. A first area of perforation in the base layer extend between a first side edge of the die-cut opening and a side edge of the bag, while a second area of perforation in the base layer extends between the second side edge of the die-cut opening and the opposite side of the continuous web of bags. In the third embodiment, the user can control the size of the die-cut opening by utilizing a unique pair of fingers contained on the automated bagging machine. Specifically, the fingers of the automated bagging machine are inserted into the die-cut opening and can be separated to tear the base material along the first and second areas of perforation to increase the size of the die-cut opening. The moveable fingers can selectively expand the size of the die-cut opening only a very small amount or, if desired, expand of the die-cut opening almost entirely to the side seals formed between the plastic film and the base material. In this manner, the user can select the opening size depending upon the type of product to be inserted.
Various other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be made apparent from the following detailed description and the drawings.
The drawings illustrate the best mode presently contemplated of carrying out the invention.
In the drawings:
Referring first to
Each of the individual bags 12, 14 shown in
As shown in
As illustrated in
Referring now to
Referring now to
In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the base material 22 is a material that exhibits deadfold properties, which allows each of the bags to be loaded by an automated bagging machine without introducing wrinkles and folds into the base material 22 during loading. Typically, the base material 22 is a low porosity, long fiber paper having superior web strength such that the base material will remain intact if autoclaving is used. Alternatively, a paper-like material, such as TyvekŪ, a spun-bonded olefin, will be used in the preferred embodiment of the invention. The spun-bonded olefin acts as a filter to prevent passage of recontaminating bacteria or the like through the base material while being sufficient permeable to gas. Additionally, the spun-bonded olefin exhibits deadfold properties such that it can be utilized with automated bagging machines.
In the prior art bags formed as a continuous web for packaging medical products, the plastic film layer 24 includes a slit across the entire transverse lip of the continuous web such that product can be inserted into bag through the slit in the plastic film. Such product is shown in the Baker U.S. Pat. No. 6,419,392. Although the subject matter of the '392 patent presents a continuous roll of bags, the continuous roll exhibits numerous drawbacks which have been addressed by the present invention.
Referring back to
Referring back to
As illustrated in
Referring now to
The base material and the plastic film are attached to each other near the bottom end 48 by only the small portions of the side seals 26, 28. Thus, the bag 14 can be opened by peeling apart the base material and the plastic film along the bottom edge 48. When the plastic film and the base material are peeled apart, the two layers separate along the chevron-shaped bottom seal 30 in a known manner.
As can be understood in the embodiment shown in
Referring now to
As the continuous web 10 is pulled around the drive roller 52, an air nozzle 54 directs a blast of air 56 to separate the base material 22 from the plastic film 24. Specifically, the air blast 56 passes through the die-cut opening 36 to open the pocket of each bag to be filled.
Once the two layers of the continuous web 10 have been separated, product 58 can be inserted through the die-cut opening 36 as illustrated. In the embodiment shown in
Once the product 58 has been inserted into the individual bag, the continuous web travels to a sealing station that includes a heated, stationary seal bar 60 and a movable pressure bar 62. As illustrated in
As can be understood in
Referring now to
Unlike the first embodiment, the second embodiment of the invention includes a die-cut slit 64 formed only in the base material 22. The die-cut slits 64 are spaced along the length of the continuous web such that each of the bags include one of the die-cut slits 64. In the embodiment of the invention illustrated, the die-cut slit 64 includes a pair of curved ends 66, 68 that are each spaced inwardly from the side seals 26, 28, respectively. The die-cut slit 64 allows the automated bagging machine to separate the layer of base material and the plastic film to insert product into the pocket 32 formed in each of the bags. Unlike the first embodiment, the die-cut slit 64 is not removed from the layer of base material, but instead is simply a die-cut that allows access to the pocket 32 through the layer of the base material 22. Although the die-cut slit 64 shown in the embodiment in the invention illustrated in
In the embodiment illustrated, the length of the die-cut slit 64 is selected to allow many types and sizes of products to be inserted into each of the bags formed along the continuous web 10. The length of the die-cut slit 64 could be decreased depending upon the type of product to be inserted. A decrease in the length of the die-cut slit 64 would reduce the size of the opening available to insert the product, but also would reduce the tendency of the bag to buckle during the insertion process.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now specifically to
In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in
In the embodiment of the invention illustrated, it is contemplated that the user can vary the width of the die-cut opening by utilizing a unique loading device, which is schematically shown in
Once the fingers 82, 84 have been inserted into the die-cut opening 72, the fingers 82, 84 are moved toward the side edges 16, 18 of the continuous web, as shown by the arrows 88, 90 of
After the width of the die-cut opening 72 has been expanded by the movable fingers 82, 84, product can be inserted into the individual bags using the steps discussed in
Once the product has been inserted into the individual bag 14, a heat seal 92 is created beneath the die-cut opening 72 in the same manner as described as the first embodiment of
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|U.S. Classification||383/37, 383/66|
|Nov 28, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SHARP PACKAGING SYSTEMS, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SCARBERRY, PAUL W.;REEL/FRAME:014741/0043
Effective date: 20030813
|May 4, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SHARP PACKAGING SYSTEMS, LLC, WISCONSIN
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:SHARP PACKAGING SYSTEMS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:017564/0868
Effective date: 20060427