US 2764859 A
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06L 1956 N. K. HANSELMANN METHOD OF PACKAGING COMPRESSIBLE ARTICLES Filed Sept. 18, 1950 iEIEl IINVENTOR. I A: 45% tZ/f/l/W a-obu United States Paten a.
METHOD OF PACKAGING COMPRESSIBLE ARTICLES Norman K. Hanstlmann, Dayton, Ohio Application September-.18, 1950, Serial No.'185,491
1 Claim. '(CI. 53-22 (Granted under Title 35, U. S. Code (1952), see. 266) The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the vUnitedStatesGoverrnneut for governmental purposes without payment to me of "any royalty thereon.
This invention relates to a method of packaging nonrigid articles which are compressible and which ordinarily are bulky due to the presence of air in the interstices thereof. It is the object of the invention to provide a method of packaging articles of the above described type which results in a great reducion in volume of the article so that it can be stored and transported in a minimum space. It is a further object of the invention to provide a method of packaging compressible articles which in addition to reducing the volume of the article also permits the article to be molded into various shapes so as to permit storage thereof in irregular spaces with efiicient utilization of space. It is a still further object of the invention to provide a method of packaging capable of attaining the above results which at the same time is simple, cheap and requires a minimum of equipment and apparatus.
Briefly the method consists in placing the article in a bag or non-rigid container made of a gastight plastic film, sealing the container, and then evacuating the container to as low a pressure as possible. The resulting removal of air from the interstices of the article permits the outside air pressure to compress the containerand its contents to a minimum volume. If the evacuation is carried out slowly the container and its contents may be molded into a variety of shapes or molded to fit the space in which it is desired to store the article.
A more complete description of the process will be given in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
Fig. 1 shows typical apparatus for vacuum packaging compressible articles in accordance with the invention.
Fig. 2 shows the general appearance of the article in Fig. 1 after vacuum packaging.
Figs. 3 and 4 show the method of molding the article during evacuation to fit a storage container.
Fig. 5 shows a suitable valve for use in evacuating the container, and
Figs. 6 and 7 show an alternative method of sealing the container after evacuation.
As already stated an article to be vacuum packaged in accordance with the invention must be non-rigid and have a compressible structure of the type that entrains a large amount of removable air. Referring to Fig. 1 such an article is placed in container 1 which is then sealed along edge 2. The container 1 must be made of a non-rigid or plastic material so that it can readily conform to the shape of the contained article. The material of which the container is made must also be practically impervious to gases and the necessary seals must be gas tight. A valve and nipple 3, which may be the commercially available type shown in Fig. 5 for example, is provided in the container to permit the connection of a hose 4 between the vacuum pump 5 and the container 1 5 pressure reduced the atmospheric pressure external thereto compresses the container and its contents. When the 2,764,859 l atent ed Qct- 5 ice for evacuation'o'f the latter. A manometer 10 or other suitable pressure indicating device may be connected to the-hose '4 to indicate the pressure in the container.
Asthe air isremove'd from the container and'the inside pressure inthe container has been reduced to substantially;'zero thevalve 3 is closed and the pump disconnec'ted. After "substantially complete evacuation the containerand its contents are a solid high density mass, as represented in Fig. 2, having a volume much less than that of the article before packaging. volume achieved depends of course upon "the" nature of the article: Bulky non-ri id articles having sunny 'interior structure of I OWjdCHSltY permit th'e greatest reduction volume a 'd may be vacuum packed with great advan- M tandpoint'fofspace' saving. If it is-desi'reg-f mold the package into a desiredshap'e a form 6 such as shown in Figs. 3 and 4 may be used. The package is placed in the form before evacuation, as shown in Fig. 3, and evacuated while in the form. When completely evacuated the package forms a rigid unyielding mass, however, during evacuation and before the pressure is reduced to a very low level the mass is pliable and may be made to conform to the shape of the form by the application of external force. This force may be applied directly to the mass by the hands or by the use of a suitable implement. In Figs. 3 and 4 the form is shown as rectangular, however it may take any desired configuration." Such forms may be used to advantage to premold a package into an irregular shape so that it may be fitted into a similar irregularly shaped storag space. ing process.
In general vinyl plastic film having a thickness of about .012" is a very satisfactory material for the container 1, since it is highly impervious to gases and moisture and is easily sealed. However vinyl plastic has the disadvantage that it becomes brittle at extremely low temperatures. In cases where the package is to be subjected to low temperatures, polyethylene film has been found suitable since it remains pliable at such temperatures. Polyethylene however does not form as good a barrier against gases and moisture as the vinyl plastic film and therefore when polyethylene is used it has been found advisable to use a composite film consisting of an inner layer of polyethylene, a layer of metal foil and an outer layer .of scrim or other protective fabric.
Instead of using a valve of the type shown in Fig. 5 the arrangement shown in Figs. 6 and 7 may be used. The container 1 is fitted with a plastic tube 7 through which a hollow rigid tube 8, attached to hose 4, may be inserted for withdrawing the air from the container. After evacuation is complete the tube 8 is partly withdrawn and the plastic tub 7' sealed as at 9 in Fig. 7.
The excess length of tube 7'may then be out OK if desired.
The above described process of vacuum'pack-aging is particularly useful in military survival kits. Such kits for use in cold climates or in the arctic regions contain a sleeping bag as well as certain other articles of clothing for protection against the extreme cold. These survival The reduction in Slow evacuation is best during the moldvolume can be reduced from '40 to 50 percent below the minimum volume that can be attained by ordinary methods of packing. One particular instance in which vacuum packaging is highly advantageous is in the case 'of the survival kit packed in a fighter pilots contour seat of the ejectable type. In this case the sleeping bag is premolded, as explained in connection with Figs. 3 and 4, to fit the contour of the seat so that in packing it. against the seat a very efl'lcient utilization of space is obtained. The mold of cours would be shaped in this case to conform to the configuration of the seat. No appreciable impairment of the heat insulating properties of sleeping bags and clothing as a result of vacuum packaging has been found.
The method of packaging, reducing the volume of and molding intov a desired form a non-rigid article of the type that normally contains throughout its structure a relatively large amount of removable interstitial air, said method comprising the steps of placing said article in a non-rigid, gas impervious container, sealing said container, placing said sealed container in a mold having the shape that it is desired to impart to the package, slowly evacuating said container to substantially zero pressure, and forcing said container into contact with the surface of the mold during evacuation.
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