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Publication numberUS3195283 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 20, 1965
Filing dateApr 9, 1962
Priority dateApr 9, 1962
Publication numberUS 3195283 A, US 3195283A, US-A-3195283, US3195283 A, US3195283A
InventorsBroersma Robert J
Original AssigneeB & B Engineering Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method for filling a container
US 3195283 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 20, 1965 J, BROERSMA 3,195,283

METHOD FOR FILLING A CONTAINER Filed April 9, 1962 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. ROBE/P7 J BPOEKSMA A TTOR/VEYS July 20, 1965 R. J. BROERSMA 3,

- METHOD FOR FILLING A CONTAINER Filed April 9, 1962 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 IN VEN TOR.

A TTORNE Y R. J. BROERSMA METHOD FOR FILLING A CONTAINER July 20, 1965 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed April 9, 1962 INVENTOR ROBERT J. BROERSMA 4 TTOR/VEYS y 20, 1965 R. J. BROERSMA 3,195,283

METHOD FOR FILLING A CONTAINER Filed April 9, 1962 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 WWII! il I IN VEN TOR. 1708f RT J BROLRSMA BY 4% fM/&/?W

A 7'7'OR/V E Y United States Patent 3,195,283 METHOD FUR FILLING A CGNTAINER Robert J. Broersma, Spring Lake Township, Gttawa County, Mich, assignor to B & B Engineering Gompany, Grand Haven, Mich, a partnership of Michigan Filed Apr. 9, 19762, Ser. No. 185,915 Claims. (CI. 5321) This invention relates to a method and apparatus for packing a solid, fluent packing material around an irregular article within a container and it relates particularly to a method and means for packing a suitable solid, fluent and porous packing material, such as peat moss or sawdust, around the roots of nursery stock within a suitable container, such as a paper bag or the like.

Inasmuch as the present invention relates primarily to the packing of nursery stock and was developed for the purpose of packing nursery stock, it will be further described in connection therewith. However, it will be recognized that at least certain aspects of the invention are applicable for the packing of other types of articles and the scope of the invention should be recognized accordingly. Thus, it will be understood that the specific reference hereinafter to the packing of nursery stock is at least for the broader aspects of the invention selected for illustrative purposes only and is not limiting.

Referring now specifically to the packing of nursery stock for illustrative purposes as aforesaid, this has long presented a problem which has plagued nursery operators for many years and for which no previous solution has been proposed insofar as I am aware. It has long been customary to pack nursery stock, both large and small, such as rose bushes, small trees, shrubbery and other similar articles, in peat moss, sawdust or other suitable packing materials contained within bags of various types, usually paper. Such packing has in the past been largely carried out by hand, particularly in smaller nurseries, inasmuch as the problems incident to the use of mechanical packing devices have been greater than the labor saved and, accordingly, the quite substantial expense of hand packing has been accepted. There have been, however, certain machines proposed for this purpose and used in larger operations but these machines have usually relied upon means for applying a mechanical pressure directly to the packing material, such as by a ram driving the packing material and nursery stock into a bag. The forces developed by such machines have often resulted in severe damage to the roots, stems, stalks and branches of the plant as the packing material is compressed around them and driven into the bag. Further, these machines have been extremely expensive both in original cost and in operation. Therefore, such machines have not been satisfactory or several reasons but they have nevertheless been used for lack of anything better.

Accordingly, the objects of the invention include:

(1) To provide a method for packing a solid fluent material around an irregular article within a container which can be carried out by a relatively inexpensive machine and which will impose a minimum, and preferably no, damage onto such article.

(2) To provide a method, as aforesaid, which is particularly adaptable to the packing of nursery stock into containers, such as paper bags, cotton socks and pot-s, and which particularly will impose no damage onto the roots of the plant being so packed.

(3) To provide a method, as aforesaid, which will be adaptable to use with a variety of different solid and fluent packing materials.

(4) To provide a method, as aforesaid, by which a bag may be tightly packed and with few, and preferably no, voids therein.

3,l5,283 Patented July 20, 1965 "ice (5) To provide a method, as aforesaid, which can be carried out by a relatively simple and consequently inexpensive machine.

(6) To provide apparatus capable of carrying out the above referred to method.

(7) To provide apparatus, as aforesaid, which will be readily applicable to many different types of nursery stock, to containers of many different kinds and sizes and to packing materials of many different types, all without appreciable, and preferably no, modification in the machine excepting as different holding devices are required to accommodate the machine to containers of different sizes.

(8) To provide apparatus, as aforesaid, which will have a duty cycle of only a few seconds, whereby a single operator can pack several thousand items of nursery stock in a given day without unreasonable fatigue, whereby to enable the nursery operator to keep his packing operation co-ordinated with the requirements of meeting a given planting season without requiring an excessive investment in packing equipment.

(9) To provide apparatus, as aforesaid, which requires relatively simple structure whereby to minimize both the original cost of such equipment and the cost of maintaining same in good operating condition.

(10) To provide apparatus, as aforesaid, which will be relatively simple to operate and which, accordingly, can be operated accurately and with good quality control by even relatively unskilled operators after only a short period of instruction.

(11) To provide both method and apparatus which will be readily applicable to either top-filled bags or bottom-filled bags.

(12) To provide a bag structure capable of being used with the method and apparatus aspects of the invention but which is sufficiently similar to present conventional bag structure that such bags can be obtained from standard sources at no appreciable, if any, additional cost.

Other objects and purposes of the invention will be apparent to persons acquainted with methods and apparatus of this general type upon reading the following disclosure and inspection of the accompanying drawings.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a side elevation, partially broken, view of a machine embodying the invention. 7

FIGURE 2 is a side, partially broken, view of the bagholding portion of the machine.

FIGURE 3 is a section taken on the line III--III of FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 4 is a detail of FIGURE 2 on an enlarged scale and showing a bag in place.

FIGURE 5 is a top view of the container-holding device, shown in a closed position, and further indicated by the line VV of FIGURE 8.

FIGURE 6 is a top view of the container-holding de- Vice in open position.

FIGURE 7 is a section taken on the line VII-VII of FIGURE 5 with the nozzle structure omitted.

FIGURE 8 is a central sectional, partially broken, view taken on the line VIIIVIII of FIGURE 5,'showing a container in filled condition.

FIGURE 9 is a view generally similar to FIGURE 4 but showing a different container and bottom-piece construction.

FIGURE 10 is a plan view showing further details of the bottom member of FIGURE 9.

FIGURE 11 is an oblique view of the form of bag utilized in FIGURE 8 and showing same in inverted position to expose the bottom thereof.

FIGURE 12 is a view similar to FIGURE 11 showing the form of the bag structure utilized inFIGURE 4.

e) FIGURE 13 is a view similar to FIGURE 11 showing the form of bag structure utilized in FIGURE 9.

FIGURE 14 is a view similar to FIGURE 13 showing a still further form of bagstructure.

FIGURE 15 is a view similar to FIGURE 11 showing a still further form of bag structure.

FIGURE 16 is a view similar to FIGURE 11 showing another form of bag structure.

FIGURE 17 is a view similar to FIGURE 11 showing another form of bag structure.

FIGURE 18 is a partially elevational, partially sectional, view. of a modification of the filling apparatus using a bottom-filling method.

General description In general, the method aspects of the invention consist of appropriately holding a suitable container, into which the plant has previously been placed, and discharging a.

material-laden gas stream into said container for carrying packing material from a point of origin into said container. The gas is permitted toescape from said container, firstpreferably at a pointremote from the point at which it enters and through one or more openings which are sufliciently small that said material will bridge said openings and not pass therethrough and later through similar openings adjacent the point of entry. The material is by the turbulence of the gas carrier arranged substantially uniformly around the roots of the plant within the container and is firmly packed therein.

The apparatus of the invention comprises a suitable hopper which is closable at the bottom and which, when open, discharges into a suspension chamber. Gas under pressure is introduced into said suspension chamber with sufficient turbulence that said packing material is suspended in the gas stream. Conduit means are provided for conducting the gas and material carried thereby from said suspension chamber to a packing head. Said packing head consists of a holder for the container, which holder includes back-up means when said bag or container is of flexible nature and means for opening and closing same. Said container-holding means are placed adjacent the discharge end of said conduit. Preferably, said container-holding head will be replaceable with respect to said conduit in order that heads of various sizes and types can be readily replaced on and with respect to said conduit in order to accommodate said equipment for containers of various different sizes, shapes and types.

The containers may be rigid or nonrigid, of a wide variety of shapes and sizes and made from a wide variety of materials. Commonly, however, they are substantially cylindrical paper bags. A relatively large filling opening is provided through one part of the bag with one relatively small gas discharge opening adjacent thereto and another relatively small gas discharge opening at a point remote from the filling opening.

It is believed that the method aspects of the invention can be best explained in terms of at least one example of specific apparatus by which said method may be practiced. Accordingly, the description will proceed. next to a description of the apparatus aspects of the invention by which the method may be more fully and completely understood. It should be understood, however, that the method may be practiced by many different types of ap-. paratus and a description of certain specific devices hereinafter is no derrogation of the breadth of the inventive concept.

Detailed description A frame structure 1 is provided, preferably of suitably fabricated parts, and appropriately arranged in any convenient manner for holding the parts of the apparatus as hereinafter described, both in operative relationship to each other and in operative position with respect to a supporting surface, such as a floor. A hopper 2 is pro vided for receiving the fluent packing material and is 4 arranged to discharge same into a suspension chamber 3 which is conveniently here shown of generally cylindrical shape. Any suitable valve structure 4, here indicated as a sliding gate type of valve, is provided for controlling the flow of material from said hopper 2 into the suspension chamber 3. A suitable agitator here schematically indicated by the agitator 6, may be provided of any convenient type at the discharge end of the hopper 2 for the purpose of keeping same agitated sufficiently to prevent bridging of the fluent material across the discharge opening of said hopper.-

A pressure cylinder 7 is mounted on the frame structure land suitably connected to base means 8 supporting the portion 9a of the conduit 9. Energizing of the cylinder 7 from any convenient source through a conduit 7a will lift the entire structure comprising the suspension chamber 3, the conduit 9 and other parts associated herewith, and hereinafter further described, to effect a sealing of the upper end of the suspension chamber 3 against the valve 4 and-further sealing of the valve 4 against the bottom of the hopper 2 to prevent escape of pressure fluid and solid material from the top of the suspension chamber 3 past said valve when said chamber is placed under pressure. As further shown in FIGURE 3, said suspen sion chamber 3 is mounted in vertical sliding relationship with a supporting and guiding tubular member 5 having a plurality, such as two, suitably machined contact bushings 5a and 5b fixed rigidly to the inner surface of the tubular support member 5 and for engagement with and guidance of the suspension chamber 3. Said tubular member 5 is mounted inany convenient manner, such as by radially arranged membersSc and 5d (FIGURE 1) to the frame structure 1. A block 10'is affixed to the suspension chamber 3 and extends between a pair of support members for the tubular member 5,'such as the members 5d and 5e (FIGURE-3) for permitting vertical movement of said suspension chamber with respect to said tubular member but :limiting rotatable movement with respect thereto. The adjustable devices 10a and 10b are provided to effect suitable adjustment with respect to the clearance between members 50! and 5e.

Leading from the bottom of the .suspension chamber 3 is a conduit 9 which is preferably. smoothly blended by radii at 11 and 12 with the bottom of the suspension chamber 3. Said conduit 9 terminates in a nozzle 13 which is likewise preferably smoothly blended at 14 into the conduit 9. A supply of gas, usually air, under pressure is introduced in any convenient manner from a source P through a conduit 15 into the suspension chamber 3. A conventional valve V is provided to regulate the pressure 13nd at suitable .on-off valve 16 is provided to control the Suitable container-holding means 17 is arranged adjacent the nozzle 13 and is properly positioned with respect to said nozzle by an appropriate portion 18 of the frame structure 1 mounted in this embodiment upon the base structure 8.

Turning now primarily to FIGURES 2 andrS, and as suming that the machine is intended .for packing nursery stock, such as roses, into a generally cylindrical paper bag, a description of one specific device for holding such bag in position for filling will now .be set forth.

A pair of semicircular casing halves 21 and 22 are arranged to match each other and define a cylindrical zone into which said bag will fit snugly when suitably packed.

Said casing halves are hingedly supported with respect to each other by the hinge structures 23 and 24 pivoting on a rod 26 and rigidly mounted to the frame structure 18. One of the casing halves, here the half 22 (FIGURE 6), is provided on its bottom end flange 102 with a circular bottom member 27 having atleast a single opening 28 through the bottom thereof.

Latch structure 29 is provided for detachably holding said casing halves in closed position with respect to each other. In the form of latch structure here shown, there is provided one pair of sleeves, here the sleeves 31 and 32 affixed to the casing half 21 and a second pair of sleeves 33 and 34 affixed to the other casing half, said sleeves being related to each other in such a manner that their central openings are coaxially aligned when said casing halves are closed. A pair of latch pins 36 and 37 are held by a yoke 38 for simultaneous vertical movement in response to movement of the lever 39, said lever being in turn pivotally mounted at 41 on a bracket 42 which is supported on the casing half 21. Thus, lifting of the handle 39 sufficiently to move said latch pins upwardly and out of the sleeves 33 and 34 will unlatch the casing halves and permit them to move on the pivot structures 23 and 24 into the open position.

Returning now to the nozzle 13, the same is contoured at its lower portion in the manner indicated in FIGURE 5. In this manner, the casing halves 21 and 22, when closed, lie snugly against the adjacent surface 44 of said nozzle and a semicircular half sleeve 46 of soft, preferably resilient, material such as sponge rubber, may be fastened in any convenient manner, such as by an adhesive, to a semicircular outer surface of said nozzle, A convex side of said nozzle 13 is provided with a plurality of ribs of which two are indicated at 48 and 49 which ribs define a plurality of vertical channels of which one is indicated at 51 (FIGURES 5 and 8). Said ribs extend into close proximity with the inside surfaces of the casing halves 21 and 22 when same are in closed position for purposes appearing further hereinafter.

There is in this embodiment provided a further selectable means for closing the upper end of said casing halves snugly around the stem S of the plant being packed. This is accomplished by providing a sliding cover 56 arranged for reciprocable movement toward and away from the nozzle 13 such movement also constituting movement into and out of a position closing substantially all of the upper end of the cylinder formed by the casing halves 21 and 22 and not occupied by said nozzle 13. More specifically, a slide pin 57 is mounted in the casing half 22 and supports a tubular support slide 58 (FIGURES 2 and 8). Said tubular slide 58 is pivotally engaged by a yoke 59 which connects to a handle 61 (FIGURE 5) and is pivoted at 62 to a bracket 63, said bracket being also supported on the casing half 22. The cover 56 is aflixed in any convenient manner, as by welding, solidly to the slide member 58 for movement into and out of its closed position in response to manipulation of the handle 61. The inner (rightward as appearing in FIGURES 2 and 8) end of said cover is of generally conical shape as indicated at 64 in FIGURES 2 and 7. The inner upper edge of said cover 56 is provided with a rubber pad 66 for pressing an adjacent portion of the container snugly against the plant stem S as shown in FIGURE 8.

If desired, guides 67 and 68 may be affixed to the respective casing halves 21 and 22 and function to hold said cover plate 56 firmly against the upper ends of the casing halves 21 and 22 when said cover is in closed position.

Turning now to the container into which the nursery stock is to be packed, it will next be described inasmuch as certain structural features thereof are essential to enable it to operate properly with the apparatus thus far described.

While said container may in some instances be of rigid pot form, it will more commonly be a flexible paper bag and accordingly the invention will be further described in terms of the use of such a bag. If a rigid pot or other such container is utilized in place of the flexible paper bag hereinafter further described, the container holder will be modified accordingly in a manner which will be evident from the description given.

Turning now to the details of a container comprising a flexible paper bag, such bag is indicated in FIGURE 8 at 72, and may comprise any of several convenient materials. Usually, however, the bag will be made of paper which may or may not be coated either or both externally and internally to diminish or prevent the passage of water therethrough. Said bag is preferably of substantially cylindrical shape and of suitable height chosen with respect to the size of nursery stock being packed. For example, for roses, the bag will normally be about 15 inches in height and approximately 4 or 5 inches in diameter. The relationship of the height of the bag to the height of the casing halves 21 and 22 is such that the upper ends of said bag will preferably extend upwardly a sufiicient distance beyond the upper end of the bag to permit tying.

An opening is provided in the bottom of the bag at 73 in registry with the opening 28.

The opening 73 in the bag and the opening 28 in the bottom of the casing defined by the casing halves 21 and 22 may be any of several patterns. However, they must be in registry with each other and they must achieve registry without appreciable effort or attention on the part of the machine operator when a bag is placed into the casing halves 21 and 22. Therefore, it has been found most advantageous for this purpose to provide a single opening in the center of each of the bag bottoms and a single opening in the center of the casing bottom 27 which holes are both centered and hence will be in registry with each other quickly and easily upon the insertion of the bag into the casing halves. By making the opening 28 larger than the opening 73, its registry may be still further improved even with only a minimum of attention on the part of the operator.

While a wide variety of containers may be utilized in connection with the method and apparatus thus far described, a few specific further examples will be mentioned hereinafter for the purpose of further clarifying the invention. For example, in FIGURE 11 there is shown (inverted to better show the bottom thereof) a generally cylindrical bag which may be of either flexible or rigid material having an open mouth at its one end and a single, centered, air-discharge opening 73 at its other end. In many instances such bag will be made of paper or other material readily decomposable in the soil in order that the plant may be planted without removing same from the bag.

FIGURES 12 and 4 show the same bag as FIGURE 11 with a small piece of suitable mesh material 74 superimposed over the hole 73 to minimize the escape of packing material out from said hole during subsequent storage and/ or transportation of the completed package. In FIG- URE 13 there is shown a bag having a plurality of relatively small openings in its lower end, this being more adaptable to packing with such materials as sawdust which have less capacity for bridging openings than do materials such as peat moss. In FIGURE 14 there is shown a bag for obtaining the same results as the bag in FIGURE 13 but doing so by the placement across the openings of a small piece of mesh material, such as a wire or plastic mesh for the same purposes as above mentioned in connection with FIGURE 12.

In FIGURE 15 there is shown a bag in which the closing flap 76 is initially raised from closed position and, unlike the form shown in FIGURE 11, the opening 77 extends only through the first bottom flap of the bag and not through the flap 76. Said flap 76 is then covered by a pressure-sensitive adhesive which is normally protected by a removable strip 73. After filling of the bag the strip 7% may be removed and the bottom flap 76 closed and sealed across said air-discharge opening '77. This will positively prevent the escape of any of the packing material through the air-discharge opening during subsequent handling and storage of the package and also prevent drying of moist packing material. FIGURE 16 is similar to FIGURE 13 but places the openings in the side of the bag.

FIGURE 17 indicates a different type of bag construction wherein the bottom is merely folded instead of being provided with closing flaps. Here the openings may be 7 placed as indicated at 79 and in a position to be covered by a further fold of the folded portion 81 of the bag. A pressure-sensitive adhesive, suitably protected by a detachable flap 80, may be placed on the face of the portion 81 for efiecting positive closure of said openings as desired.

Operation Continuing to use the structure and operation of specific apparatus to illustrate both the method and the apparatus aspects of the invention, the same will now be further ilustrated by a description of the operation of the apparatus above described. A hopper 2 is filled with any suitable packing material such as peat moss, sawdust, ex-' panded mica, perlite or other air-suspendable material commonlyused for packing purposes. Said material will in some cases be substantially dry but will more often be somewhat damp. Any desired degree of dampness may be permitted which will stillpermit transport of the packing material by the gas streams hereinafter further described.

When an item of nursery stock, such as a rose bush, is to be packed, the roots of same are inserted into a bag of the form shown in FIGURE 11 by any convenient means and the bag'is ready for packing. The lever 39 is raised, thereby unlocking the latch structure 29 and enabling the casing halves 21 and 22 to be swung apart on the pivots 23 and 24. The bag containing the item of nursery stock is then placed on the bottom 27 and with the opening 73 in registry with the opening 28. The stem of the nursery stock is placed against the pad 46. The

casing halves 21 and 22 are then closed together into the position shown in FIGURE 2 and the handle 39 is depressed to set the latch structure 29. The bag at this point occupies the position shown in broken lines 72a in FIG- URE 2. The handle 61 is now brought forwardly, toward the operator, and the cover 56 thereby closed against said bag to urge it against the stem S of the plant being packed and tothereby shape it as shown at 72b in FIGURE 8.

By any suitable control means, such as an air cylinder 83 (FIGURE 1), the valve 4 is retracted and, with the agitator 6 rotating at a suitable speed, a suitable quantity of packing material in the hopper 2 is permitted to drop into the suspension chamber 3 after which the valve 4 is again moved into position across the bottom of the hopper 2 as shown in FIGURE 1. Next the cylinder 7 is energized and the entire unit moves up against the bottom of the hopper 2 thereby sealing same and the upper end of the suspension chamber 3. The air valve 16 is then operated, such as by the operator depressing a foot pedal 82, and air under pressure is caused to enter the suspension cham- .ber 3. Such entering air stream creates suflicient turbulence within said suspension .chamber that the packing material is suspended therein and carried by said stream out through the conduit 9 through the nozzle 13 and into the bag '72. Material-laden air entering into the bag 72 will do so with sufficient turbulence that packing material is carried all the way to the bottom of the bag but, by its own mutual adherence, assisted if necessary by the mesh part 74, is preventedfrom exiting fromthe bag through the openings at 73 and 28.

Thus, the material first arriving at said discharge opening will immediately, or practically immediately, bridge within the bag and this causes the material to be packed snugly around the roots of the plant. Further, the pres sure of material entering through the nozzle 13 causes material within the bag to be packed as tightly as desired, the same being regulated by the value of the air pressure applied through the valve 16. As the bag fills and the escape of air through the opening 28 becomes progressively more restricted, the air will start to escape from the passageways 51. However, to do so requires that the air entering from the nozzle 13 turn sharply through a 180 degree turn and thereby tends to free it ofthe solid material being carried thereby, said material continuing under its own inertia into the bag 72. Thus, the bag continues to filland the later entering air escapes through the passageways 51.

As each cycle of operation is completed, and the air ceases to flow into the bag, the full pressure of the air is imposed on the solid material within thebag and gives it a set, or finalpack, which further assists in producing a commercially desirable tightly packed bag. This will not, however, effect any damage to the roots of the plant. Furthere, since the bag 72 is filled from the bottom upwardly,

rather than from the top downwardly as isnecessary when packing material is inserted by ram means, the bottom of the bag will be completely full, material will be packed closely and snugly around all of the roots of the plant and no appreciable voids will be present therein.

When the bag is filled, the foot pedal 82 is released to close the valve 16 and the air pressure shut off. The handle 39 may then be again raised to unlock the casing halves 21 and 22, the same are opened and the bag removed. The. openings in the lower end of the bags, such as 97 in the bag shown in FIGURE 13, may be left'open without harm where the particles of packing material are strongly adherent to each other, such as in the case of peat moss, or where less adherence is present, such as in the case of packing with sawdust, the opening may if desired be closed with astrip of adhesive tape. The cycle is now readyto repeat.

Since a normal operating cycle, even assuming manual locking and unlocking of the latch 29 and manual insertion and removal of the bags from within the casing halves 21 and 22, will not exceed 10 or 15 seconds, it can be readily seen that the bagging operation .will proceed with extreme rapidity, even with a minimum of automatic controls. It power means are provided for operating the latch 29 and conveyor. means are provided for supplying bags to be packed to the operator and for taking away packed bags,

it can be seen that the operating cycle can be still further shortened.

Modification FIGURES 9 and 10 show a bottom member M having a plurality of openings for use with a bag of the type illustrated in FIGURE 13, particularly if the bag is somewhat elliptical or rectangular, or other shape which will enable it to be received in only a single predetermined position with respect to the casing halves 21 and22 andwhere it is preferable to avoid the relatively large hole 73 by providing a plurality, as six, of smaller holes. I-Iere, however, there is provided a mesh support for the packing material within the bottom structure itself, such as the inserts 92 comprising screen material 93 held by a circular base 94 and supported if desired by small reinforcing rods 96. Again, however, the openings $7 in this form of bag 98 are positioned in registry with each of the openings 99 in the bottom member 91;. This bottom member 91 is readily replaceable into the container holder 17 in place of the bottom 27 by suitable screws passing through the openings 101 and into the flange 102 of the casing half 22.

Referring now to FIGURE 18, there is shown a modification wherein the bag is held horizontally while same is being filled and which may be used if, as is applicable in some instances, it is desired to fill the bag from the bottom.

In such case, the conduit replaces the part 9a of conduit 9 and supports a casing 111 fixed thereto and divided 7 arranged over the end of the conduit lili). The upper (leftward in FIGURE 18) end of the bag 103 preferably extends to or beyond the end of the casing and the tapered cover parts 104 and 106 Will shape it as desired, usually to a conical form. The covers may be sufficiently loose that an air'escape vent is provided between said covers and the plant stem or, alternatively, the upper end of the bag may be punched in a manner similar to that shown for the bottom of the bag in FIGURE 16. In such latter case, the bag holes are matched by holes 112 in the cover portions 104 and 166 and the cover portions 104 and 106 may fit against the plant stem snugly.

The casing halves 111a and lfilb are now closed and the foot pedal 81 operated in a manner already above described. Packing material is injected into the bag in the same manner as above described and packs itself snugly around the roots of the plant. The package may be left in this manner, if desired, or alternatively, the filling of the bag can be controlled such that same is filled only to within a predetermined distance of the bottom of the bag whereby the bottom portion may then be folded over and sealed in any convenient manner, such as by adhesive tape.

It will also be recognized that, as has already been suggested above, while cylindrical bags have here been primarily referred to for purposes of illustration, bags of other shapes may be freely utilized as desired. The characteristics of the method and means herein described for filling such bags are such that the bag may be completely irregular in addition to the irregularity of the plant roots located therewithin and it will still be filled snugly and well packed in all portions thereof.

While a specific manipulative procedure has been set forth above to illustrate the method of the invention, and specific apparatus has been set forth to illustrate the apparatus aspects of the invention, these particular illustrations will be recognized as only illustrative embodiments of the invention and the actual scope of the invention will be as determined and set forth by the hereinafter appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. In a method of packing solid, fluent and porous material around an object within a container, the steps comprising:

suspending said fluent material in a gas stream;

introducing the material-laden gas stream into said container through a first opening in a wall of said container on one side of said object;

discharging said gas from said container through a second opening in a wall of said container remote from said first opening and located on the opposite side of said object, While impacting said material against said wall and across said second opening and continuing the discharging of said gas through said second opening while utilizing said impacted material for separating subsequently introduced gas from material carried thereby;

whereby said material is deposited within said container and around said object positioned therewithin and said gas is exhausted from said container.

2. In the packing of an irregularly shaped object positioned in a container with a solid, fluent and porous material, the steps comprising:

suspending said fluent material in a gas stream;

introducing the material-laden gas stream into said container through a first opening therein on one side of said object and directing said stream toward one end of said container;

discharging said gas from said container through a second opening remote from said first opening and located close to said one end and on the other side of said object and permitting said material to bridge said second opening and form a porous wall across same; impacting subsequently introduced material against said wall and continuing the discharging of said gas through said second opening while ultilizing said impacted material for separating subsequently introduced gas from material carried thereby;

whereby said material is deposited within said container and around said irregularly shaped object positioned therewithin and said gas is exhausted from said container. 3. In the packing of the roots of plants within a paper bag, such as for shipping, sale and/ or planting of same, the steps comprising:

positioning said plant with its roots within said bag, said bag having a relatively large first opening in one portion thereof and a relatively small second opening at a point therein remote from said first opening;

suspending a particulate, fluent and porous solid material in an air stream;

introducing said material-laden air stream into said bag through said first opening therein, directing said stream toward said second opening and permitting said air to exit from said bag through said second opening therein and effecting a bridging of said second opening by said material;

thereafter utilizing the material bridging said second opening for separating subsequenlty introduced air from the material carried thereby,

whereby said bag will be filled with said material closely packed around the roots of said plant and said carrying air will be discharged through said second opening.

4. The method described in claim 3 including the further step of discharging material from said bag through a third opening positioned adjacent said first opening but causing said gas to substantially reverse its direction of flow in passing from said first opening to said third opening whereby solid material continues to be impelled toward the mass thereof within said bag.

5. The method described in claim 3 wherein said first opening is adjacent the stem of said plant and said second opening is through a portion of the bag as remote as possible from said first opening,

6. The method described in claim 3 wherein said first opening is as far as possible from the stem of said plant and said second opening is closely adjacent the stem of said plant.

7. In a method for packaging nursery stock, the steps comprising:

positioning an item of nursery stock within a container,

the root portion of said stock being within said container and the above-ground portion of said stock eX- tending out of said container;

suspending a fluent, solid, packing material in a gas stream;

introducing said material laden stream into said container and directing said stream toward the bottom thereof and utilizing the turbulence resulting therefrom to effect an intimate distribution of said material among the roots of said item;

permitting said gas to escape from said container While retaining said material therein.

8. In a method for packaging nursery stock, the steps comprising:

positioning an item of nursery stock within a container,

the root portion of said stock being within said container and the above-ground portion of said stock extending out of said container;

suspending a particulate, solid material in a gas stream;

introducing said material-laden gas stream into said container at one portion thereof and directing said stream toward another portion thereof opposite said one portion and utilizing the turbulence resulting therefrom to effect an intimate distribution of said material among the roots of said item;

permitting said gas to escape from said container while retaining said material therein.

9. A method of packing an item of nursery stock in a flexible-walled container having an open top and an open- 1 1 a ing therethrough adjacent the bottom wall thereof, comprising:

positioning an item of nursery stock within said container with the root portion of said stock being within said container and the stemportion of said stock extending out of said container through said open p;

placing a filling tube so that it extends into said container through said open top and then substantially closing said open top against said tube and said stem to restrict flow of air outwardly from the container through said open top;

depositing a quantity of particulate, fluent material Within a zone adapted for communication with said tube;

injecting air under superatmospheric pressure into said zone to suspend said material therein in a turbulent condition;

introducing the material-air suspension under said superatmospheric pressure into said container through said tube and directing said suspension toward the bottom of said container; and

retaining the material in said container while permitting air to escape from said container through said opening whereby the superatmospheric pressure packs the material snugly against the root portion of said stock.

10. A method of packing an item of nursery stock in a container having a filling opening and a gas discharge opening means at a point remote from said filling opening, comprising:

positioning an item of nursery stock within said container; placing a filling conduit in said filling opening and substantially completely closing ofl? said container so that egress of air from saidcontainer issubstantially restricted except through said gas discharge opening means;

entraining a quantity of particulate, fluent material in a gas stream;

injecting said material-laden gas stream under superatmospheric pressure through said filling conduit into said container and utilizing said pressure to drive said stream toward said item of nursery stock to effect an intimate distribution of said material around said item and to pack saidmaterialsnugly against said item; and

retaining the material in said container while permitting the gas to escape through said gas discharge opening means.

References (Titer! by thelExaminer UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,352,345 9/20 vBecker 53-124 1,353,613 9/20 Renton 53-116 1,664,913 4/28 Bewley 53124 2,256,939 9/41 Copeland 5336 2,540,059 1/51 Stirn et a1 141-1 2,955,396 10/60 Preis 53124 2,962,844 12/60 Orlando et a1. 5336 2,995,205 8/61 Cordell 22953 XR 2,997,224 8/61 Stannard 229-53 3,020,688 2/62 Modderno 5336 FRANK E. BAILEY, Primary Examiner.

EARLE DRUMMOND, TRAVIS S. MCGEHEE,

Examiners.

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Referenced by
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US3848360 *Mar 2, 1973Nov 19, 1974C MillionMeans for and method of potting plants
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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/434, 53/436, 383/67, 383/103, 383/66, 383/102, 383/113, 53/469
International ClassificationB65B1/16
Cooperative ClassificationB65B1/16
European ClassificationB65B1/16