US 20060201115 A1
Soap bars are packaged in a single sheet of material which can be plastic, paper, paperboard or combinations of these materials in the form of laminates. The soap bars are packaged in high-speed machines at more than about 50/minute. The single sheet of material is die cut to form a main section with the top, bottom and longitudinal side panels and end flaps appended to each panel. In order to promote folding at the desired points the sheet of material is weakened by scoring, perforating or scoring at the fold points. This weakening can be done just prior to feeding to the wrapping machine or at the time of die cutting. The die cutting can be done at the time of feeding in to the wrapping machine. The packaged soap bar will have planar end surfaces so that the package can stand on end and can have corner vents to permit the escape of some moisture and some fragrance at the point of sale.
1. A method of wrapping products having a major dimension and a minor dimension comprising:
(a) providing a roll of sheet material for wrapping products;
(b) cutting edge portions from said roll of sheet material to form a modified sheet material having a main section and a plurality of depending flaps section, said plurality of depending flaps section depending from each side of said main section and being of a shape to facilitate the formation of a wrapped product with said flaps forming end surfaces of the wrapped product;
(c) feeding the modified sheet material and a plurality of products into an automatic product wrapping machine wherein segments of said modified sheet material are formed in the machine by cutting at designated points and said segments of said modified sheet material are wrapped laterally around each of said plurality of products and said plurality of flaps in said plurality of depending flaps section are folded to overlap and form end surfaces of a wrapped product; and
(d) sealing the overlapping flaps to form the wrapped product.
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This application is a continuation of application PCT/US2004/016234, filed May 21, 2004, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application 60/473,053 filed May 23, 2003, both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
This invention relates to the wrapping of a product from a roll of sheet material. More particularly this invention relates to a selectively cut sheet of material from a roll where the sheet of material has a main section and a depending flaps section and this sheet of film is wrapped around a product in an automatic wrapping machine.
Consumer products such as personal care products and foods are packaged in various ways. This can be by use of a carton, wrapped in a first wrapping and then inserted into a sleeve or enclosed in a sheet of material crimp sealed at each end by means of flow wrapping. There are yet other techniques such as form/fill packaging. It is desirable to use a single sheet of material to package a product for ease of manipulating materials and to achieve a lower cost. The present invention is directed to the wrapping of substantially rectangular products using a single sheet of material. Although the process can be used to package different products it will be described in a preferred embodiment with regard to the packaging of substantially rectangular soap bars.
Soap bars are packaged in many ways. The more common comprise individual soap bars packaged in paperboard or plastic cartons, packaging individual soap bars in a single sheet of material, packaging a plurality of soap bars in a single sheet of material, packaging individual soap bars in a first stiffener sheet of material and a second wrapper sheet of material, and packaging a plurality of soap bars in a first stiffener sheet of material and a second wrapper sheet of material. Of these soap bar packaging techniques the most common are the packaging of individual soap bars in paperboard or plastic cartons, flow wrap packaging in a single sheet of material and the packaging of individual soap bars in a first stiffener sheet of material and second wrapper sheet of material. In the latter technique the stiffener sheet of material functions to form the package into a generally rectangular shape so that it can be more easily be stacked on store shelves for sale.
In the packaging of individual soap bars in paperboard or plastic cartons the carton material is cut into individual pre-cut sheets formed into cartons and stacked for use in a packaging machine. A separate carton is picked from the stack to package each soap bar. It will have been die cut to form a main central section and a plurality of flaps. The main section will comprise the top, bottom, two longitudinal side panels and a longitudinal glue flap. Usually the carton raw material sheet will be scored at the main section panel and flap fold lines. The plurality of flaps will form the end wall surfaces of the carton while the main section forms the other surfaces of the carton. The flaps are sealed to form the end surfaces. The carton making materials usually will have a thickness of about 200 microns to about 600 microns. This will be sufficient to maintain a rectangular shape to the carton when the cartons are stacked on a shelf. The paperboard will be printed and can be coated with a plastic or laminated with a plastic.
As noted other packaging that is commonly used to package individual soap bars is a first stiffener sheet material and a second wrapper sheet material. The first stiffener sheet usually will be less flexible than the second wrapper sheet. Both of these sheets are in a continuous form on a roll. They usually are fed into a wrapping machine where the sheets are wrapped around the soap bar to produce the final package. The stiffener sheet is the inner sheet which is around the major surfaces of the soap bar and the second wrapper sheet surrounds the stiffener sheet and fully around the soap bar. In the flow wrapping of a soap bar the sheet of film is wrapped laterally to surround the soap bar and crimp or otherwise sealed at each end. There is a longitudinal seal across the bottom surface of the package as well.
All of the techniques for wrapping a soap bar effectively wrap the soap bar. The soap bar is adequately protected until used by the consumer. It can be easily shipped and can be displayed on shelves or in bulk containers. The soap bar will be fresh and will have retained most of its fragrance using any of these wrapping techniques.
It has now been found that a single sheet of material from a roll can be formed to produce a soap bar package that has the attributes of both a carton and a stiffener sheet enclosed in a second wrapper sheet. It is a hybrid package between a carton and a sheet of film package. The ends of the package resemble a carton. But the package is formed and the soap bar packaged using of a single sheet of material. These are packaged in high-speed soap bar wrapping machines to give a substantially rectangular package. In addition the longitudinal end surfaces will be substantially planar so that the soap bar can be stacked on end.
The use of a single sheet of material simplifies the packaging of the soap bar over the use of two sheets. There is less material to inventory, and handle, less material to manipulate during the packaging operation, and a lower overall packaging cost. Also this technique can be used on the same high speed wrapping machines that use a stiffener sheet with a wrapper sheet. There is a greater operating efficiency and a lower capital cost.
The invention comprises the wrapping of soap bars in automatic wrapping machines using a sheet of material that is formed into a main section and a plurality of flaps section by selectively removing material to form the flaps. The preferred way to remove material is by die cutting. The die cutting of the material to remove film segments will facilitate the folding of the flaps that are formed. The flaps are folded onto each other and sealed to form the end wall panels of the soap bar package. The main section of the film forms the top, bottom and longitudinal sidewall panels of the package. The package will have an overlapping longitudinal seal across the bottom surface. The die cutting can be by roll die cutting or platen die cutting. Other cutting techniques, such as laser techniques, can be used.
In order to facilitate the folding of the die cut material there can be a weakening of the material at the lines where folds are to be made. This can apply to the flaps section and main section panels intersection and/or to between the main section panels. The weakening can be scoring, perforating or forming small slits. In a scoring the thickness of the material will be materially reduced or can be offset. Such a weakening is useful for sheets of material of a greater thickness so that folds are made more effectively at the desired points.
The sheets of material can be die cut and perforated, slit, scored or otherwise weakened in a single step where a single rotary die simultaneously performs both functions, or this can be done using two different dies. Further the sheet of material can be printed and otherwise decorated in this same step. The printing and decorating can be done using the same converting line with the die cutting and weakening of the material. If the roll of material is plastic and is to be stored after die cutting to form the main section and a plurality of flaps section, it is useful to score the material just prior to feeding the film in-line into the automatic soap bar wrapping machine. If scored prior to storage due to the flow of plastics the depth of scoring can decrease over time. When scoring is at a maximum the folds are more apt to be made at the proper place in the packaging machine.
The weakening also can be adapted to provide for the easy opening of the package. The weakening can be designed to assist in making folds and to provide for an easy opening where with an exertion the material can be severed along the weakening area.
The sheet of material will have a thickness of about 50 microns to about 600 microns, and preferably about 75 microns to about 450 microns. The sheet of material can be a plastic, a plastic/plastic laminate, a paperboard, a plastic/paperboard laminate, a plastic/paperboard/plastic laminate, a plastic/paper laminate or a plastic/paper/plastic laminate. The plastics can be any of the plastics commonly used in soap bar packaging such as thermoplastics. Useful thermoplastics include ethylene and propylene polymers and copolymers, vinyl polymers and copolymers, acrylic polymers and copolymers and polyesters. These can have a coating of an adhesive to facilitate the making of seals.
The soap bar to be packaged can be essentially any shape or size, and can be opaque, translucent or transparent.
The invention will be described in more detail in the preferred embodiments of the wrapping of soap bars with specific reference to the drawings.
The process of
The soap bars are fed into the automatic wrapping machine with either a leading longitudinal side surface or a leading end surface. When the soap bar is fed in with a leading end side surface it can be rotated turned to a leading longitudinal side surface. The die cut film is fed into the wrapping machine and moves in the same direction as the soap bar feed when placed over the soap bar 60 as in 7A or placed under the soap bar as in 7B. In the 7A orientation the bottom panel segments 28 and 30 are folded under the soap bar 60, the trailing bottom panel segment being folded under first and the leading panel segment second. It is possible to reverse the sequence of the folding of the leading and trailing edges. The side flaps 34, 34′ , 36, 36′ are folded inward. The bottom panel flaps 38, 38′ , and 40, 40′ then are folded upward. This is followed by top panel flaps 32, 32′ being folded downward. When all of the flaps are fully folded the soap bar passes by hot platens that press against the folded flaps to heat seal the flaps. In addition the wrapped soap bar will pass over a heated platen to seal the overlapping edges of panels 28 and 30 to form the longitudinal bottom seal 35 (
In the 7B embodiment the soap bar 60 is placed on to the die cut sheet segment top panel 22. The longitudinal side panels 24 and 26 are folded upward and then bottom panel segments 28 and 30 are folded to form a package open at the ends. The flaps 34, 34′ and 36, 36′ then are folded inward followed by bottom flaps 38, 38′ and 40, 40′ being folded downward. The top flaps 32, 32′ then are folded upward. Then as in the embodiment of
The sequence of either
As noted the weakening to promote folds can by scoring, perforating or slitting. Scoring is preferred and depending on the material can extend up to half or more of the thickness of the material. However any of these techniques will enhance the packaged soap bar to have flat end surfaces so that the packaged soap bar can stand on end as is shown in
The optional apertures 31, 31′, 33 and 33′ that are created at the time of die cutting provide corner points in the package for the escape of some moisture to prevent condensation of the moisture in the interior package surfaces and to allow some of the fragrance to escape at the point of purchase the packaged soap bar can have one to eight of these apertures. That is, there can be one at each corner. However it is preferred that they only be at the upper corners. By allowing some of the fragrance to escape at the point of purchase, the purchaser can detect the fragrance and use this as a part of the purchase decision.
In addition by the control of the depth of the weakening in a material the package can be converted to an easy opening package. This can be accomplished with reference to
The sheet materials that can be used comprise most of the materials currently being used to package soap bars. These include paperboard, plastic/paperboard/laminates, plastic/paperboard/plastic laminates, plastic/paper laminates, plastic/paper/plastic laminates, plastics, and plastic/plastic laminates. The preferred plastics are thermoplastics. The thermoplastics include the polymers and copolymers of ethylene, propylene, butadiene, vinyl compounds, acrylic compounds and polyesters. Specific embodiments of plastics include polyethylenes, polypropylenes, polyvinylchlorides, polyvinylacetates, polyvinyl alcohols and polyesters such as polyethylene terephthalate. These plastics can contain various additives such as colorants, fillers, thickeners, catalysts and ultraviolet and other light absorbing compounds. The additives would be added to give the plastic particular properties that are desired to have in the plastic.
The thickness of the film material will depend to a degree on the composition of the material. However, the thickness can be about 50 microns, to about 600 microns, and preferably about 75 microns to about 450 microns. The sheet material can be transparent, translucent or opaque, in whole or in part. Also it may be of any color or tint. The sheet to be used and the thickness of the film to be used will be dictated by the soap bar to be packaged and the exact functional characteristics needed. Once a package material is chosen, the thickness to be used can be determined.
In addition the film material can have a continuous or discontinuous layer of an adhesive on its surface. This can be a heat activated adhesive and can be any of the commonly used acrylic adhesives, polyolifin coatings or hot melt adhesives. Alternatively, cold seal contact adhesives can be used when heat usage is not desirable.