US 2154266 A
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' April 11, 1939. K. I .FORDA 2,154,266
METHOD OF AND APPARATUS FOR VACUUM SEALING CONTAINERS .Filed May 24, 1937 fEEZ I --f' INVENTOR /mL L. FURD ATTORNEY laisse l 2,154,266I
UNITED" STATES PATENT oFFlc-E nl'rildi o'r um -srrm'rus poli.v vacunar f ssamm communs Am In! M. 1037, Heelal No. 1442415 itching. .(01. 22S-.42) f The seneral'obiect of the present invention is iirst heating, and cappingv stations, or sones, tofprovide an improved 'method oi' a'idpparatus beiore they reach thecontainer top heating sone. for automatically sealing soecalled vacuum s aled The top heating chamber may be heated by any ,jars or containers, such, for example; 8 5 those. available and suitable heating means, such as a disclosed in United. States Patents, Nos. 1,862,560, gas burners and electric'heaters, or by dischargand 1,963,101. and used to enclose fruits, vegeingfhot'air or steam into the top heating chamtables, and other foodstuil's tobe; preserved and ber. The latter may be open at its underside, materials desirably held. Morev specifically, the ,though in some cases, it may be provided with a object o! the invention iseto provide 'foi'. theetlecmovable bottom wall formed by o.l travelling belt "inve andrapid sealing of vacuum sealed jcen-L having apertures which receive and are substantainers. by subiectingffch i'ioitalner,l after-it ally nlled by neck portions ofthe containers has been lilled and has had 'its dover loosely pu moving through the top heating sone. in place, to a top heating action `which isconnned Of the drawlnl: wholly ormainly to the Lipper portion of the con y Fig,\'1 is a ditic elevation of container .f5 tlner and its'covenand bywhich air,and vapor heating, capping, and top heating appara- 15 will be expelled from the container, so that when, tus,r th parts broken away and in section;
as a result oi a subsequent cooling or other ac. Fig. 2 is a partial section on the line 2-201' .tion, the vapor'vpressure within vthe container f becomes less than the atmospheric pressure act- Fig. 3..,is a atic elevationiliustrating ing externally ori/ the container, the container 'a modification of the apparatus shown in Pigs. 1 2 f cover will'be forced by the pressure dlilerential and 2; a inw relation with the container. rig. 4 is a section on the line 4-4 of Fig.' 3; and vIn many uses of the present invention, the top Fig. 5 is a plan view of a portion of a belt or heating and sealing action will foilow'container apron employed in' the apparatus oi' 1*'138v 3 illling, heating, and. cover positioning operations and'4. Y 25 .carried out in relatively rapid succession, but Infthe form ofthe invention illustrated diawith opportunity i'or some cooling oi the congrammatically in Pigs. 1 and 2, a horizontally tainer between the last mentioned heating operextending belt conveyor'A", running over pulleys ation andthe top heating operation characteris- A', giveshorisontal movement to a row of con- 0 tic of the present inventi n.- The said heating tainers B. supported on the upper rim of the belt,
"Operntinn Dleding the heating operation, and thereby'moves the top portions of the con-e may or may not'be a cooklngoperation. butin tainers through a top heating chamber C. As any case will ordinarily resulti theexpulsion of shown, the upper run portion oi the belt A is all, or practically all, oi the air previously held supported at its side edges by longitudinal guide as in the 'container or "its contents. The cooling rail parts A', and the belt, which may be formed'v occurring during 'the period, in which the .cover oi.' woven wire or other material commonly emis being put in place on the container may result ployed for the purpose, is transversely stiiiened in the passage oi some airinto the upper por' by cleat-like members A. notched to receive lowtion 0f the @Duinen `The t0n hcntint Operner portions oi the containers B, which are thereby 40 4 tion drives outthat air and generates some vapor, properly positioned on the belt.
with the-result that an adequately high vacuum v The top heating chamber C, as shown, is in the la obtained by a subsequent container coolinxr form et a box above, and elongated in the direcmmn', mm quickly .than i* wuldbe if 11 en' 'tien of travel of the belt A. The end waus c' me @ummm msdf *he i01 Pmi 0h11 of the bex c are formed with netenes 'c1I in their u had be-en subjected t the hum @enum im' lower edges, and the bottom wall of the box is mw, prem and femm the num formed with a slot C. ior the pe therethrough o! the top portions of the containers, In the preferred practical embodiment o! the 1 Invention, the top pol-.uom o-tthe containers m which extend to a level above the level oi the thentop heating so 5* moved through a top heating chamber on a belt m f the bx A shown' and moved. and on which the containers are di'sthe: hnmbel from Perforated BllPPlJ Pipes tributed in a row. or in a plurality of side by aide D. As shown, there are two D extending rows'. The same beltA conveyor may be used to(v 'longitudinally of the the bot- 55. move the vely throughiillin'g,.v tom of the latter, and arranged one 55 b, are loselyplaced on the containers.
of the row of container top portions extending into the chamber.
B efore the containers are moved into the top heating zone, the container caps, or cover parts,
To prevent displacement of the covers b, by the air or vapor expelled from the containers, while at the same time permitting the covers to lift or tilt suiliciently @r the escape of air and vapor expelled during the top heating action, I advantageously make use of a conveyor belt E, running over pulleys or rolls E' in the chamber C adjacent the ends of the latter. As shown, the belt E carries cover engaging parts or projections E2 suitably spaced ton symmetrically engage the different container covers b, and thereby yieldingly hold the latter in place. As shown, lifting of the lower run of the belt E is opposed, and the projections E2 are suitably pressed against the covers b, by the Weight of a oating guide member E3, extending longitudinally of the chamber C and having uprising ears E4 vertically slotted to receive guide pins C4 carried by the side walls of the chamber C. To insure the proper relative rates of travel of the conveyor belts A and E, and
the proper relative positions of each container and the cooperating cover engaging partE2, one of the pulleys A' and the adjacent pulley E may be connected by gears EA proportioned to give the same peripheral velocities to the pulleys A and E.
In the apparatus diagrammatically shown in Fig. l, the belt A is employed to move the containers into and through the top heating zone,
after rst moving them past a nlling station, in
which the charge of material to be sealed in each container yis passed into the latter through a lling funnel or nozzle member F, and thence through a heating* chamber G, and thence ythrough a capping station. As it passes through the'cappingzone, each container receives a cap or cover from the cap reservoir H, of a cover supplying mechanism, which may be of Well known form. As shown, the reservoir has cover heating means H at its lower end.
The heating chamber G, as shown, has its bottom wall Gf below the upper run of the conveyor ben A, the end wens of the chamber G being notched and slotted for the passage of the belt A and the containers B carried by the latter.` As
shown, the chamber G is heated by steam discharged through perforated steam supply pipes G3, located in the portion of the chamber below the conveyor belt A, which, with such chamber heating provisions, is necessarily pervious for the upflow through it of steam. To minimize the outow of steam from the chamber Gand the inilow of air into the latter, suitable closure or baille parts G3 may be provided at the open- W ing's in the end` walls of the chamber G through which the containers pass ,into and out of the n latter. Each such part G3 may be in the form of `vexible baille curtain, such as is frequently employed in connection with such apparatus, which tends to extend across and close the corresponding end 'wall opening, but is automatically displaced by the containers as requirecMo accommodate the movements of the latter.
' In the use of the apparatus illustrated in Figs.
lan'dA 2, the foodstui or other material' to be preserved may be cooked or partially cooked prior .to the container filling operation, and the heating action of the chamber G may serve an -air expelling purpose only, or both an air expeiling and cooking purpose'. As will be apparent to those skilled inthe art, the described procedure gives advantages in addition to those already mentioned. For one thing, the location of the reservoir H and cover supply mechanism in the open, between the heating chamber G and top 5 heating chamber C, makes the cover supply mechanism accessible for inspection and adJust-'4 ,ment and reduces the interference with the "normaloperation of the apparatus necessarily resulting from a temporary interruption in the nor- 10 mal operation of the cover supply mechanism. The localized top heating action effected 'in the chamber C, expels air entering the upper portion ofthe container and its contents as the container'passes from the heater G to the top'heater 15 C, subjects the container cover to a sterilizing action, and contributes Ito an effective ultimate sealing of thecontaineix In particular, the top tion to the top heating chamber C, of means 30 providing a movable bottom wall therefor,'with apertures therein through which the upper portions` of the containers extend into. the chamber. As shown, vthe'bottom wall is formed by a belt I having suitably spaced apertures I', each adapted 35 to receive the upper portion of a container. When as may frequently be desirable, the top heating action is conned to container upper portions ysmaller in cross section than the adjacent body portion of the containers. Each aperture yI may 40 be of a diameter less than the diameter of the body portion of the container, and just sufcient for the protrusion therethrough of the portion of the container subjected to the top heating action.
As shown, the belt I runs over guide means at 45 the ends of the chamber C so disposed as to lower the portion of the belt I entering. the chamber C, so as to cause each aperture I to be entered by the top wportion of a corresponding container B.
At the end at which the containers leave the 50 chamberV C, the guide m'eans for the belt I are arranged to raisethe portion of the belt moving away from the container to a level above the tops of the containers and their covers. The guide means shown, comprise a pulley or roller J 4and 515 guiderolls K at each end of the chamber. Each pulley or roller J has its upper belt engaging surface at the desired level of the top run of the belt. At each end of the chamber there are two pulleys K arranged to engage the upper sides of 50 the opposite edges of the,lower run of the belt, the various pulleys K being above, and tangential to thehoizontal` lower portion of the belt I. The pulleys J are located at a greater distance from the ends of the chamber C than thev correspond-v 65 ing pulleys K so that the lower portion of the belt I, includes an inclined portion extending from the lbevel of the underside ofthe corresponding pulleys K to a level above that of the tops of the covers on the containers B moving through the top heat-- l70 ing zone. The 'belt I must have its travel proportional to that of the'belt A and belt E. 'Ihat result may be secured by'a gear connection between a driving pulley or pulleys for the belt I,
and the driving means for one or the other' of the 'f f a localized top, heating action than by a 25 belts A and E, but with the belts A and E driven y in timed relation and with each container held in position at top and bottom by -the parts EI and A3. the belt I can be advancedv by the containers B with which it is in engagement.
While in accordancewith. the provisions of the statutes, I have illustrated and described the best form of embodiment of my invention now known to me, it lwill be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes may be made in the form of the apparatusldisclosed without departing from the spirit of-my invention as set forth in the appended claims and that in some cases certain features of my invention may be used to advantage without a corresponding use of other features.
Having now described my invention, what I- claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent, isz' l. In packaging material in a vacuum sealed container, the' method which consists in subjecting the upper portion ofthe lled container to a localized top heating action, while loosely holdingy the container cover in place to permit the escape of air and vapori'rom the container during the top heating operation'and to permit the cover to be pressed into sealing engagement with the container, when, following the'top heating operation, the pressure acting externally on the container becomes higher than the pressure within thecontainer, and subsequent to said top heating action, subjecting said container to an external pressure exceeding the pressure within the container. I
2. In packaging material in containers having vacuum sealed covers, the method which consists in moving the filled containers through'a top heating zone in which the upper portion of each container is subjected to a localized heating action to expel air and vapor from thel container and in loosely holding the covers for the containers in place thereon, as the containers pass through the top heatingzone to permit of such cover lifting movements as are necessary for the expulsion of air and vapor and so as to-insure, the vacuum sealing `of each container an increase at the end of the top heating 'actiony in the pressure acting externally on the container, over the internal container pressure, and subsequent to said heating action, subjecting said container to an external pressure exceeding the pressure within the container.
3. Vacuum sealing apparatus comprising a heating chamber formed with openings in its wall l'or movement through the chamber of the upper portions of containers, conveyor means for supporting and moving said containers, and yielding means within said chamber acting on the covers for said containers to hold them loosely in place an the containers, and adapted to yield, to permit xaidcoverstolifttoaccommodatetheescapeof sir and vapor expelled from the containers by :he top heat action, and to insure the vacuum sealing of each container when it passes outof said iop heating zone and the pressure acting exernmlyontheccntainerbecomeshishl'thanthe nternal container pressure. .f
4. Inpackagingmaterialtobe preservedina iontainer having a vacuum sealed cover, the nethod 'which consists in illling the container ind placing its cover in position and thenin enrelopingtheupperendsofthecontainersina steam atmosphere so as to yform vapor in the upper portions of the containers without mate- ]rially increasing the temperature of the lower portions of the containers and the contents thereof, and subjecting the cover to force, tending to maintain the latter in its container closing posit tion, but yielding to permit the escape of air and vapor from the container, and thereafter increasing the external pressure on the container relative to the internal container pressure, thereby containers arranged thereon in a' row and to move said containers in the longitudinal direction of the row, a top heating chamber above said conveyor means and formed with end and bottom wall openings for themovement through the chamber ,of the upper portions of the containers in said row, means for heating the portions of the containers within said chamber, and means for loosely holding covers in place on the containers to permit the escape of air and vapor from the containers as their top portions "are passing through said chamber and to insure the movement oi' each cover into sealing engagement with the container as the latter passes away from said chamber and the pressure with the container diminishes below the pressure acting externally on the container.
6. Vacuum sealing apparatus comprising in combination conveyor means adapted to support containers arranged thereon in a row and to move said containers in the longitudinal direction of the row, a top heating chamber above said conveyor means and formed with end and bottom wall openings for the movement through the chamber of the upper portions of the containers in said row, means for heatlngthe portions of the containers within said chamber, means for loosely holding 4covers in place on the containers to permit the escape of air and vapor from the containers extending into said chamber and to insure the movement of each cover into sealing engagement with the container as the latter passes away from said chamber and the pressure with the container diminishes below the pressure 'acting externally on the container, and means forming a movable bottom wall for said chamber and formed with permanent apertures through which the upper portions ci' the containers extend into said chamber.
7.-In packaging material in a vacuum sealed container, the method which consists in illling the container with said material, heating the nlled comprising in container, placing a container cover in closing position on the container, thereafter subjecting the upper portion of the filled container to a localized top heating action, while loosely holding the container cover in place to permit the escape of air and vapor from the container during the top heating operation and to permit the cover to be pressed into sealing engagement with'the container, when, following thewp heating operation, the pressurey acting externally on the container exceeds the pressure within the container, and subsequent to said top heating action, subjecting said container to an external pressin'e exceeding the-pressure-within the ccn- KARL L. FORD.