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Publication numberUS3237371 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 1, 1966
Filing dateMar 29, 1962
Priority dateMar 29, 1962
Also published asDE1461854A1
Publication numberUS 3237371 A, US 3237371A, US-A-3237371, US3237371 A, US3237371A
InventorsCarl J Gerlach
Original AssigneeFmc Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Machine for operating on moving workpiece
US 3237371 A
Abstract  available in
Images(6)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 1, 1966 c. J. GERLACH 3,237,371

MACHINE FOR OPERATING ON MOVING WORKPIECE Filed March 29, 1962 6 Sheets-Sheet 2 F'IIEL. za-

In W ""2112 2O INVENTOR CARL J. OERLAOI'I ATTORNEY March 1, 1966 c. J. GERLACH 3,237,371

MACHINE FOR OPERATING 0N MOVING WORKPIECE 6 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed March 29, 1962 INVENTOR CARL J. GERLACH ATTORNEY March 1, 1966 c. J. GERLACH MACHINE FOR OPERATING ON MOVING WORKPIECE Filed March 29, 1962 6 Sheets-Shea}, 6

T'II3 '7 INVENTOR CARL J. OERLAOH ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,237,37 l MACHINE FOR OPERATING ON MOVING WORKPIECE Carl J. Gerlach, Green Bay, Wis., assignor to FMC Corporation, San Jose, Calif., a corporation of Delaware Filed Mar. 29, 1962, Ser. No. 183,437 12 Claims. (Cl. 53-482) The present invention pertains to a machine for individually operating on a moving workpiece and more particularly for packaging articles which have been previously encased in spaced relation in a tube of sheet material, said machine being capable of pressing the tube together between adjacent articles to enable sealing and severing of the tube whereby each article is wrapped in an individual bag.

The mechanism of the present invention has special utility in a packaging machine of the type wherein candy bars, for example, are first encased in longitudinally spaced relation in a tube of sheet material such as plastic, wherein the tube and encased candy bars are conveyed along a horizontal path between upper and lower heads, and wherein such heads are moved in timed relation with the tube conveyor so that the tube is crimped or pressed together, sealed, and severed by the heads between each pair of adjacent candy bars.

Whereas certain prior machines of this type have used rotary heads with satisfaction on many articles and wrapping materials, rotary heads have been inadequate for wrapping large articles and for increasing the machine capacity when using hard-to-seal wrapping materials. Thus, the circular path of movement of the rotary heads limits the height of the articles which can be Wrapped, it being noted that the height of the articles is the dimension thereof which is normal to the path of movement of the tube and in the plane of rotation of the rotary heads. In order to avoid contact of the rotary heads with the entubed articles, it has been necessary to space the articles farther apart in the tube. As a result, the seals are made farther away from the ends of the articles than is desired. Also, since the seals cannot be made close to the cntubed articles, oversize bags are produced and considerable material is wasted.

Furthermore, such circular movement brings the heads into contact with the tube for only brie-f intervals which are insntlicicnt to seal certain wrapping materials requiring longer contact times. Therefore, in order to increase the contact time of the sealing heads, it has been necessary to reduce the speed of movement of the entuhed articles as well as the speed of rotation of the sealing heads. This results in reducing the capacity of the machine.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a mechanism for pressing a tube of wrap-ping material close to the ends of articles entub-ed therein and for sandling articles in a relatively wide range of sizes.

Another object is to provide a packaging machine in which bags are fitted closely around the articles encased therein and in which waste of material is minimized.

Another object is to provide a mechanism for pressing a wrapping tube between articles entubed therein without damaging the articles by contact therewith.

Another object is to provide a pressing mechanism for a packaging machine which mechanism enables the machine to operate at full capacity even when relatively hard to-seal wrapping materials are employed.

Another object is to provide a pressing mechanism which increases the duration of time that the pressing heads are in contact with the tube-to be crimped.

These, together with other objects, will become apparent upon reference to the following description and accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan of a packaging machine including a pressing mechanism embodying the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a longitudinal vertical section taken on line 2-2 in FIG. 1 and showing the outline of a tube of articles being pressed.

FIG. 3 is a horizontal longitudinal section taken on a plane at a position indicated by line 3-3 in FIG. 2 and also showing the outline of the tube of articles.

FIG. 4 is a vertical transverse section, reduced in scale, taken on line 4-4 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary side elevation of and pressing mechanism as viewed from a position indicated by line 5-5 in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary isometric of an upper carrier, a pressing head, and adjacent structure, all of which constitute part of the pressing mechanism of the present invention.

FIGS. 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 are fragmentary longitudinal vertical sections taken on line 22 in FIG. 1, although reduced in scale from FIG. 1, and including a tube of articles being pressed and showing successive stages in the cycle of operation of the subject mechanism.

Referring more particularly to the drawings, the pressing mechanism of the present invention is generally indicated by the numeral (FIGS. 1-3) and is conveniently illustrated as a part of a packaging machine including a frame 21. The packaging machine may be of the type disclosed in the US. Campbell Patent No. 2,602,276, and, if so, the subject crimping mechanism would be used instead of Campbells rotary dies. The frame has a pair of parallel side panels 22, an upper transverse rod 23 (FIGS. 1 and 2) rigidly interconnecting the side panels, and a lower horizontal plate 24 (FIGS. 1-4) extending transversely between and rigidly connected to the side panels.

The packaging machine also includes a rear, horizontal feeding conveyor including a driven sprocket 31. It is to be noted that only the discharging end of the feeding conveyor is shown in FIGS. l-3. In addition, the packaging machine provides a horizontal forward discharge conveyor 32 in alignment with the feeding conveyor and having its receiving end, as illustrated in FIGS. l 3, longitudinally spaced from the discharge end of the feeding conveyor. The space between the feeding and the discharge conveyors defines a pressing station, generally indicated by the numeral 33, it being evident that the pressing mechanism 20 is located in the pressing station.

For convenience of subsequent reference, the feeding conveyor 30 is adapted to convey a workpiece such as a tube 38 (FIG. 2) of flexible, heat scalable, sheet material or film containing a plurality of articles 39, such as candy bars, along a path aligned with the feeding and discharge conveyors 30 and 32 and passing through the pressing station 33. The articles have opposite ends 40 and adjacent articles have their opposed ends in relatively closely spaced relation to each other. It is 'also to be noted that the articles have length dimensions extending longitudinally of the conveyors, height dimensions extending upward from the conveyors and width dimensions extending transversely of the conveyors (FIG. 3). The pressing mechanism 20 of the present invention presses the tube between adjacent articles and brings the tube together along a horizontal pressing plane (FIGS. 7-10) bisecting the articles.

With reference to FIGS. 2 and 4, the subject pressing mechanism '20 includes a carriage mounted for reciprocable movement longitudinally of and between the feeding and discharge conveyors 30 and 32. For supporting the carriage, upstanding longitudinally rails 51 are secured to the lower transverse plate 24 and extend longitudinally with respect to said conveyors and 32 in transversely spaced parallel relation to each other. Each of the rails has a longitudinal, horizontal groove 52. The carriage has a transverse base member 54 extending over the rails and lower longitudinal bars 55 secured to the base member and projecting downward in inwardly adjacent relation to the rails. Upright rollers 57 are journalled on the longitudinal bars and are fitted in the adjacent grooves for rollable engagement on the rails. Horizontal rollers 58 are mounted on the longitudinal bars and ride against the inside surfaces of their respective rails. For a purpose to be described, spaced front and rear conveyor mounting arms 60 are secured to the base member and extend upward therefrom.

One of the important features of the subject mechanism 20 is a transfer conveyor for conveying the tube 38 of articles 39 from the feeding conveyor 30 to the discharge conveyor 32 and for supporting the tube and articles during the pressing action. This conveyor includes a pair of lower longitudinal plates 66 secured to the lower frame plate 24 in transversely spaced relation to each other and positioned inwardly of the rails 51, as best seen in FIG. 4. Upper vertical plates 68 are secured to the lower longitudinal plates 66 in longitudinally spaced relation to each other and project upward therefrom in common planes with their respective longitudinal plates and adjacent to the feeding and discharge conveyors 30 and 32, as illustrated in FIG. 2.

The transfer conveyor 65 also includes front and rear carriage rolls transversely extended between and journalled in opposed mounting arms 60 so as to define a transverse gap 76 therebetween. In addition, four outer frame rolls 77, 78, 79 and 80, and four inner frame rolls 81, 82, 83 and 84 transversely extend between and are journalled in the longitudinal plates 66 or the vertical plates 68, as the case may be, it being noted that all of the rolls are parallel to each other. An endless conveyor belt 86 is guided around the several rolls and includes an upper horizontal tube advancing and supporting run 88 interrupted by the gap 76. That is, the gap separates the upper run into front and rear sections respectively adjacent to the feeding and discharge conveyors 30 and 32. The advancing run is in spaceed parallel relation to and below said pressing plane 45 (FIG. 7). As the carriage 50 (FIG. 2) rec-iprocates between the feeding and discharge conveyors, the carriage rolls move therebetween alternately lengthening and shortening the front and rear sections of the upper run, as is believed understood.

The subject pressing mechanism 20 also includes upper and lower pressing heads and 96 supported on carriers 98 and moved thereby into pressing engagement with the tube 38 on the transfer conveyor 65. The carriers are also very important in the present invention. For mounting the carriers, the side panels 22 of the frame 21 provide open vertical guideways 100 (FIGS. 2 and 3). Transversely aligned upper blocks 101 are fitted in the guideways for vertical slidable movement therein and include upper projections 102 within their respective guideways. Threaded bolts 103 project down from header plates 104 over the guideways, and nuts 105 are threaded on the bolts. Compression springs 106 are interposed the nuts and the upper projections in alignment with the bolts and yieldably urge the upper blocks downward. Furthermore, lower blocks 108 are slidably fitted in the guideways under the upper blocks and are held in fixed spaced relation to their respective upper blocks by rigid spacers 109. Substantially elliptical, horizontal ledges 110 are individually mounted on the blocks 101 and 108 and project inward therefrom. For supporting and adjusting the blocks in the guideways, pads 111 are positioned in the guideways between the lower blocks and the side panels 22. Pads of variou heights, that is thicknesses,

are inserted in order to raise and lower the upper and lower blocks and the interposed spacers.

One of the carriers 98 is associated with each block 101 and 108, and each carrier provides a pair of upright sprockets 115 rotatably mounted on its respective block by transverse pins 116 (FIG. 1). The sprockets on each carrier are located outward of their respective ledge 110 and in a common vertical plane with each other. Each carrier has an endless chain 118 trained around its sprockets and a mounting member 119 secured to its chain. During circuitous movement of the chain in response to rotation of the sprockets, its mounting member rides on the associated ledge. Still further, each carrier has a coupling 120 connected to its respective mounting member and projecting inward therefrom. As best illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the couplings of transversely aligned carriers are in coaxial relation.

It is of major significance to the present invention that the attitude of the heads 95 and 96 is controlled during the pressing operation. Accordingly, vertical guide plates (FIGS. 2 and 4) are secured to the opposite ends of the base member 54 of the carriage 50 and project upward therefrom in inwardly adjacent relation to the carriers 98. Each guide plate has a vertical slot 126 coplanar with the gap 76 in the transfer conveyor 65, as illustrated in FIG. 2. Upper and lower guide rollers 127 (FIG. 4) are slidably fitted in the slots for elevational movement therein and are individually rotatably connected to the couplings 120 of their respectively adjacent carriers.

The lower pressing head 96 (FIG. 4) interconnects the coaxially aligned lower guide rollers 127 and provides an upper face 135. This face has a pair of recesses 136 (FIG. 2) in which are located electrically energizable sealing wires 137 for heating and sealing the tube 38 during the crimping action The face of the lower head also has a knife receiving space between the recesses.

The upper pressing head 95 interconnects the coaxially aligned upper guide rollers 127 (FIG. 4) and provides a lower face 140 (FIG. 2) in which are mounted a pair of anvils 142 adapted to fit within the recesses 136 during the pressing and sealing actions.

The upper pressing head 95 also has a vertical opening 144 (FIG. 2) therein, and a tube cutting knife 145 is vertically slidably mounted in this opening. The knife has a lower blade 146, arms 147 (FIG. 4) projecting up ward from the blade in transversely spaced relation to each other, pins 148 extending outward from said upper head and movable through slots in upper brackets 152 of the head, and cam rollers 149 individually mounted on the arms. Tension springs 151 interconnect the pins and the upper brackets for yieldably maintaining the blade of the knife in upwardly spaced relation (FIG. 2) to the lower face 140 of the upper head.

Lower brackets 158 (FIG. 4) respectively project downward and upward from the upper and lower heads 95 and 96 and at opposite ends thereof. Attitude control rollers 159 are mounted on the brackets and are movably fitted in the slots 126 respectively below and above the guide rollers 127 therein. The purpose of the guide plates 125, the guide rollers and the attitude control rollers is, therefore, to maintain the faces 140 and 135 of the pressing heads in horizontal planes and in confronting relation to each other during orbital travel of their respective mounting members 119.

In order to force the knife 145 downward and toward the lower head 96 at the proper time during such orbital travel, a camshaft 155 (FIGS. 1, 2 and 4) extends transversely of and above the transfer conveyor 65 and is journalled in the upper projections 102 of the upper blocks 101. Knife actuating cams 156 are secured to the camshaft in axially spaced relation therealong. The cams project radially from the shaft in planes individually passing through the cam rollers 149 on the upper pressing head 95. During rotation of the camshaft, the cams intermittently contact their respective cam rollers and intermittently force the knife blade 146 below the lower face 140 of the head, against the urgcncc of the springs 151, and into the space 135 in the lower head.

For descriptive convenience, the upper carriers 98 and the upper pressing head 95 are collectively referred to as an upper pressing unit, generally designated by the numeral 160 (FIG. 2), whereas the lower carriers 98, the lower pressing head 96, the carriage 50, and the transfer conveyor 65, are collectively referred to as a lower pressing unit 161.

Movement is imparted to the carriage 50, the carriers 98, and the camshaft 155 in timed relation to each other by a countershaft 175 (FIG. 4) journalled in the side panels 22 of the frame 21. A driven sprocket 176 is secured to the countershaft, and a main drive chain 177 is in mesh with the driven sprocket for imparting rotation to the countershaft. Drive sprockets 178 are secured to opposite ends of the countershaft and are respec' tively coupled to carrier gear assemblies 180 by chains 181. The gear assemblies are individually mounted (FIG. 5) on the upper and lower blocks 101 and 108 and on the side panels and are connected to the forward pins 116 of their associated carriers 98. Furthermore, a driven sprocket 183 (FIGS. 1 and 4) is secured to an end of the camshaft and is coupled to one of the assemblies by a chain 184. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the feeding conveyor 30 is coupled to the transfer conveyor 65 by a chain 186 in mesh around the drive sprocket 31 on the feeding conveyor and a driven sprocket'187 on the lower rear outer roll 78 of the transfer conveyor. For a purpose to be described, the speed of the advancing run 88 is preferably slightly lower than the speed of the feeding conveyor 30 and, therefore, the transfer conveyor is driven so as to achieve this result.

In operation (FIGS. 7-11), the feeding conveyor 30 is driven so as to convey the tube 38 of articles 39 onto the upper run 88 of the transfer conveyor 65, and the discharge conveyor 32 is driven so that it carries packaged articles or bags 39 received thereon from the transfer conveyor away from the transfer conveyor. The transfer conveyor belt 86 is driven from the feeding conveyor so that the upper run travels forwardly from the feeding conveyor toward the discharge conveyor.

Furthermore, as the countershaft 175 (FIG. 4) is rotated, the upper and lower pressing heads 95 and 96 (FIGS. 7-11) are moved in orbital paths, specifically substantially elliptical paths, about transverse horizontal axes, parallel to each other, and perpendicular to the path of the tube 38 of articles 39 on the transfer conveyor 65. As each pressing head moves along its orbital path, it travels successively forwardly along a straight horizontal pressing run (FIGS. 8 and 9) contiguous to said pressing plane 45, thence forwardly and away from the pressing run along a separation arc (FIG. 10), thence rearwardly along a return run (FIG. 11), thence rearwardly and toward said pressing run along an approach arc.(FIG. 7), after which it returns to said pressing run. Throughout the travel of the heads, their faces 135 and 140 are maintained in parallel and confronting relation. Additionally, the forward speed of the heads along their pressing runs, and the forward components of speed in their approach and separation arcs, are equal to the speed of the advancing run 88. The speed of the heads along their return runs may be greater or lessthan said forward speed depending on the length of the articles 39 and the spacing therebetween. -In order to obtain this variable orbital speed of the heads, the main drive chain 177 (FIG. 4) is driven from a conventional epicyclic gear train, not shown, or other well known variable speed drive mechanism.

During thedescribed orbital travel of the pressing heads 95 and 96, the guide rollers 127 move upwardly and downwardly in the slots 126 of the guideplates 125 and reciprocate the carriage 50. Specifically, as the heads move forwardly along their pressing runs (FIGS. 8 and 9), the carriage moves forwardly, and as the heads move rearwardly along their return runs (FIG. 11), the carriage also moves rearwardly. During the time the runs are travelling along their approach and separation arcs (FIGS. 7 and 10), the carriage dwells respectively adjacent to the feeding conveyor 30 and the discharge conv-eyor 32. Furthermore, as the carriage reciprocates, the gap 76 in the transfer conveyor 65 moves back and forth, as above described, in vertical alignment with the pressing heads. Thus, as the lower head travels along its approach and separation arcs, it passes through the gap so as to move above and below the upper run 88 of the transfer conveyor.

While the pressing heads 95 and 96 move around their described orbital paths, therefore, the conveyor 30 conveys a tube 38 of encased articles 39 onto the upper run 88 which continues to advance the tube and articles but at a slightly lower speed so that the spacing between the articles decreases and the tube becomes slack between the articles just prior to pressing. As the heads travel successively along their approach arcs (FIG. 7) and pressing runs (FIGS. 8 and 9), they come into engagement with and press the tube between a pair of adjacent articles. It is to be noted that the heads bring the tube together in the describe-d central or pressing plane 45. The pressing action is positive since the mounting members 119 ride against ledges 110 and prevent separation of the heads as they press the tube thercbetween. Along the pressing runs, the pressed section of the tube is first sealed by heat from the wires 137 and is then cut by the knife 145, the latter being driven through the sealed tube when the cams 156 strike the cam rollers 149. Thereafter, as the heads travel along their separation arcs (FIG. 10), they move out from between said adjacent articles, and the transfer conveyor 65 concurrently delivers the wrapped package 39' to the discharge conveyor 32. The heads then return (FIG. 11) and repeat the pressing action between the next successive pair of articles. The springs 106 are a safety feature since they allow the upper head to yield if the heads accidentally engage an article 39.

Several advantages result from the above described construction and operation. Thus, because of the confronting relationship between the heads 95 and 96 and their described travel with the same velocity as the tube advancing run 88, the heads move into initial engagement with the tube along paths substantially perpendicular to the tube. Accordingly, the heads can enter, and emerge from, between very closely spaced articles of considerable heights without contacting and thereby damaging the articles. For certain application, the heads nearly touch the ends of the articles. The actual spacing between the ends of adjacent articles is a function of the article height, but, as a specific indication of the spacing, the angle 38a (FIG. 9) in the illustrated embodiment is approximately thirty degrees and the height of the articles shown is between five and six inches. Such close spacing conserves tube material and facilitates compact packaging since the sealed ends 40 of the packages are close to the ends 40 of the articles 39, as illustrated in FIG. 10. In order to adjust the mechanism for articles of different heights, pads 111 of different thicknesses are employed. It is evident that if the thickness of the pads is increased, for example, the upper and lower blocks 101 and 103 and the interposed spacers 109 are unitarily raised thereby increasing the spacing between the pressing plane and the advancing run 88.

Further, the straight pressing runs provided by the elliptical orbits of the heads and 96 afford a maximum pressing time so that certain hard-to-seal wrapping materials, of which the tube is made, can be sealed without reducing the speed of the conveyors 30, 32 and 35 and the carriers 98. This increased pressing time together with the continuous movement of the heads and the tube enables maximum machine capacity to be obtained.

Still further, utilizing the concepts of the subject pressing mechanism, articles in a relatively wide range of sizes can be wrapped. For example, actual embodiments of the present machine can package articles varying from seven inches high by eight inches wide by twelve inches long to relatively flat articles, under one and one-half inches high by twenty-two inches long. It is to be emphasized that the present invention is not to be limited to the specific dimensions and angle given herein, these specillc values being stated only to illustrate the significant results obtained by the subject invention.- These results are achieved without damaging the articles and without sacrificing output capacity of the machine.

Although a particular embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described, it will be understood that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the appended claims.

The invention having thus been described, what is believed to be new and is desired to be protected by Letters Patent is:

1. In a machine for packaging articles, said machine including means for conveying a tube of spaced articles along a predetermined path; a pressing mechanism comprising carriers positioned so that said path extends therebetween and being mounted for orbital travel successively along pressing runs in adjacent parallel relation to said path, thence away from said path into return runs, thence back toward said path, the orbits of said carriers having axes extending transversely of said path; pressing heads having pressing faces; means individually vswingably mounting said heads on said carriers for movement therewith; a carriage mounted for recipr'ocable movement in substantially parallel relation to said path; plate means secured to said carriage and providing elongated slot means substantially normal to said path and to said axes,

said mounting means including guide means fitted in said slot means for longitudinal movement therein during orbital travel of said carriers, attitudecontrol means connected to said heads and movably fitted in said slot means in spaced relation to said guide means for maintaining said faces in confronting substantially parallel relation to each other during said orbital travel; and drive means for imparting said orbital travel to said carriers in timed relation to said conveying means thereby to bring said faces into engagement with said tube between adjacent articles therein as said pressing heads move toward said path and along said pressing runs and to move said faces out of engagement with said tube as said heads move away from said path whereby said tubes are pressed between adjacent articles.

2. In an article packaging machine, a support, upper and lower substantially horizontal ledges rigidly connected to said support in spaced confronting relation to each other, means for conveying a tube of longitudinally spaced articles encased in the tube along a path between said ledges; upper and lower carrier members mounted on said support individually adjacent to said ledges for orbital travel around their respective ledges successively along relatively adjacent substantially parallel pressing runs, thence away from said pressing runs into relatively remote return runs, and thence back toward said pressing runs; pressing heads having pressing faces; means individual-ly swivelly mounting said heads on said carrier members for movement therewith; guide means for maintaining said faces of said heads in confronting substantially parallel relation to each other during said movement of the heads toward, along, and away from said pressing runs; and drive means for imparting said orbital travel to said carrier members in timed relation to said conveying means thereby to bring said faces into engagement with said tube between adjacent articles therein as said heads move toward and along said pressing runs, each of said carrier members riding against said ledges for precluding movement of said heads away from each other along said pressing runs whereby said tube is positively pressed between adjacent articles.

3. In a mechanism for pressing a tube of sheet material between articles encased in the tube, a frame; means mounted in said frame providing a supporting surface for each pair of articles between which the tube is pressed and for moving said tube longitudinally thereof during the pressing action; pressing heads having pressing faces; mounting means interconnecting said frame and said heads for moving said heads in orbits successively along a substantially common pressing run in spaced parallel relation to said supporting surface and wherein said heads are in closely adjacent relation to each other for pressing r the tube therebtween, and thence along return runs, said mounting means being adjustable with respect to said frame for adjusting the spacing between said common run and said supporting surface; and drive means for motivating said tube moving means and said pressing heads so that said heads move at the same velocity as the tube as said heads move along said common run.

4. In a machine for working on an elongated piece of material being conveyed in a predetermined path through the machine and being disposed lengthwise of the path, a frame, a carriage mounted in the frame for reciprocaible movement longitudinally of said path, a pair of carriage rolls mounted on said carriage in spaced relation longitudinally of said path and extending transversely of said path thereby defining a gap between said carriage rolls, a plurality of frame rolls mounted in said frame in spaced parallel relation to said carriage rolls, an endless belt guided around said rolls and providing a substantially horizontal run having first and second sections respectively extended away from said carriage rolls longitudinally of said path for supporting said piece of material in spanning relation to said gap, and workpiece engaging means reciprocable with said carriage for movement through said gap into and out of engagement with said piece of material.

5. In a machine for packaging articles in a flexible tube, said machine including feeding and discharging means spaced from each other so as to define a pressing station therebetween, a pressing mechanism comprising means substantially bridging the space between said feeding and discharging means for supporting said tube and articles during movement from said feeding means to said discharging means, said bridging means providing a gap extending across the space in transverse relation to the path of movement of the tube, upper and lower pressing heads, and means mounting said heads in alignment with said gap for movement into and out of engagement with said tube as it passes through said station for pressing the tube between adjacent articles therein, said mounting means being operable to guide said lower head upwardly and downwardly in said gap respectively above and below said bridging means as said heads are moved into and out of engagement with said tube.

6. In a packaging machine in which a tube of encased articles is moved in a predetermined direction along a substantially horizontal path through a pressing station, an upper unit mounted at said station above said path including an upper pressing head mounted for cyclical movement successively toward said path, thence parallel to said path and in said predetermined direction, thence away from said path, and return toward said path; a lower unit mounted at said station below said path including conveyor means having a substantially flat upper run continuous except for a transverse gap which is reciprocable lengthwise of the run, said run being movable in said predetermined direction parallel to said path for supporting and conveying the tube of articles through said station, said lower unit also including a lower pressing head and means interconnecting said lower head and said conveyor so that, as said upper run moves in said predetermined direction, said lower head cyclically moves successively toward said path, through said gap and above said upper run, thence parallel to said path in said predetermined direction, thence-away from said path, through said gap and below said upper run, and then returns toward said path; and drive means for cyclically moving said heads in timed relation so that said heads face each other as they move parallel to said path.

7. In a packaging machine for pressing a tube'between longitudinally spaced articles encased in the tube, substan-v tially horizontal feeding and discharge conveyors in longitudinal alignment and spaced from each other so as to define a pressing station there'between; a frame; a carriage mounted in said frame at said pressing-station for longitudinal reciprocable movement between said conveyors; a transfer conveyor including longitudinally spaced carriage rolls mounted on said carriage and extending transversely of said conveyors, a plurality of frame rolls mounted on said frame parallel to said carriage rolls and respectively adjacent to said feeding and discharge conveyors, and an endless belt trained around said rolls and including an upper horizontal tube advancing run in substantial alignment with said feeding and discharge conveyors, said advancing run being interrupted by a gap between said carriage rolls, said gap shifting longitudinally of said run during reciprocation of said carriage; plates rigidly connected to said carriage and upstanding thereform on opposite sides of said advancing run, said plates having vertical slots coplanar with said gap; upper and lower horizontal ledges projecting inward from said frame on each side of said advancing run with the upper and lower ledges being respectively in transverse alignment with each other, said upper ledges being spaced above said advancing run; carriers individually associated with said ledges and including substantially elliptical chains alongside of their respective ledges, the upper chains having lower horizontal runs and the lower chains having upper horizontal runs facing said lower runs, said upper and lower runs "being parallel to said advancing run of said transfer conveyor, said carriers also having mounting members connected to said chains, said mounting members travelling around and slidably engaging said ledges during movement of said chains, said carriers further having couplings projecting. inward from said mounting members; guide rollers slidably fitted in said slots and individually rotatably connected to said couplings; upper and lower pressing heads respectively interconnecting the guide rollers associated with transversely aligned carriers, said heads having pressing faces; attitude control rollers individually mounted on said heads and movably fitted in said slots in spaced relation to the guide rollers therein, said carriers constraining said heads to move in substantially elliptical paths about axes transverse to said conveyors, said guide plates constraining said faces to remain in parallel, confronting relation to each other as said heads move along said paths; and drive means for motivating said carriers and said conveyors in timed rela tion to each other so as to move a tube of articles between said carriers and to bring said faces into engagement with the tube between adjacent articles as said heads travel along their respective upper and lower runs thereby to press said tube, said drive means moving said heads at the same velocity as said advancing run during movement of said heads along their respective upper and lower runs.

8. In a machine for operating on a sheet of material, upper and lower sheet engaging heads, each head having a face, means underlying and supporting a sheet so that the sheet extends between the heads and so that the sheet is continuously supported lengthwise theereof except for a gap through which operations are to be performed, means for simultaneously moving the heads into engagement with the sheet thence along a substantially straight path lengthwise of the sheet and thence away from the sheet, said moving means moving the lower 10 head through said gap to effect engagement of the lower head with the sheet, and means for maintaining the faces of the heads in confronting substantially parallel relation of each other and to said sheet during the entire movement of the heads.

9. In a machine for handling a sheet of material, a support, sheet engaging heads, and means mounting the heads in the support on opposite sides of the sheet for movement into clam-ping engagement with the sheet and for travel lengthwise of and with the sheet while in said clamping engagement, said clam-ping engagement and lengthwise movement of the heads occurring in a predetermined plane, said support and mounting means having means for selectively adjusting said plane of clamping engagement along a path transversely related to the plane.

10. In a mechanism for pressing, a workpiece, means for supporting said workpiece for movement along a path in a predetermined direction, said supporting means having a movable gap therein, a pair of workpiece engaging heads on opposite sides of said path, means mounting said heads for movement toward and forwardly of said path, thence lengthwise of said path in said forward direction, thence away from said path, and thence rearwardly, said mounting means mounting one of said heads for movement through said gap when said one head moves toward and away from said path, and drive means for concurrently moving said heads in timed relation to said supporting means so that said heads travel length wise of said path at substantially the same speed as the workpiece, said drive means thereby moving the heads into engagement with the workpiece as the heads move toward and forwardly of the workpiece and during said lengthwise movement.

11. In a machine for packaging articles including means for conveying a tube of sheet material containing a plurality of spaced articles along a predetermined path; a pressing mechanism comprising carriers mounted on opposite sides of said path for orbital travel successively along pressing runs in adjacent parallel relation to said path, thence away from said path into return runs, and thence back toward said path; pressing heads having pressing faces; means individually mounting said pressing heads on said carriers for movement therewith; guide means connected to said pressing heads for maintaining said faces in confronting substantially parallel relation to each other as said heads move successively toward said path, thence along said pressing runs and thence away from said path; a knife mounted in one of said heads for movement toward and away from the other head; drive means for imparting said orbital travel to said carriers in timed relation to said conveying means thereby to bring said faces into engagement with said tube between adjacent articles therein as said pressing heads move toward said path and to maintain such engagement throughout said pressing runs whereby said tube is pressed between adjacent articles; means for moving said knife toward said other pressing head during movement of said heads along said pressing runs thereby to sever the tube as it is held in pressed condition, means yielda'bly urging said knife away from said other head, said knife moving means including a cam member mounted on said knife, a cam, means rotatably mounting said cam for rotation in a path which intersects said cam member, and means coupling said drive means to said cam mounting means to rotate said cam in timed relation with said carriers to bring said cam into engagement with said cam member during travel of said heads along their advancing runs thereby to intermittently move said knife toward said other head.

12. In a mechanism for performing an operation on a workpiece, means for supporting said work-piece for movement along a path in a predetermined direction, said supporting means having a gap therein which is reciprocable lengthwise of said path, a workpiece engag- 11 ing head mounted on one side of said path, means mounting said head for movement toward and forwardly of said path, thence lengthwise said path in said forward direction, thence away from said path, and thence rearwardly, said mounting means mounting said head for movement through said gap when said head moves toward and away from said path, and drive means for moving said head in timed relation to said supporting means so that said head travels lengethwise of said path at substantially the same speed as the workpiece, said drive means thereby moving the head into operating relation with the workpiece as the head moves toward and forwardly of the workpiece and during said lengthwise movement.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS FRANK E. BAILEY, Primary Examiner.

BROMLEY SEELEY, Examiner.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/374.6, 53/550
International ClassificationB65B51/30, B29C65/18, B26F3/06, B65B9/12, B29C65/74
Cooperative ClassificationB26F3/06, B65B9/12, B65B51/30, B29C65/7451, B29C65/18, B29C66/83543
European ClassificationB29C65/18, B26F3/06, B29C65/7451, B29C66/83543, B65B9/12, B65B51/30