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Publication numberUS3453799 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 8, 1969
Filing dateSep 1, 1965
Priority dateSep 1, 1965
Publication numberUS 3453799 A, US 3453799A, US-A-3453799, US3453799 A, US3453799A
InventorsCloud Charles E, Purvinis Richard F
Original AssigneeCloud Machine Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Manufacture of sealed packages from strip stock
US 3453799 A
Abstract  available in
Images(9)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 8, 1969 c. E. CLOUD ETAL 3 9 MANUFACTURE OF SEALED PACKAGES FROM STRIP STOCK Filed Sept. 1, 1965 INVENTORS Q Char/e55 C/qad z'cfiavv f firm/7119 W *WATTORNEYS MANUFACTURE OF SEALED PACKAGES FROM STRIP STOCK Filed Sept. 1, 1965 July 8, 1969 c. E. CLOUD ETAL Shee t 2 of 9 .S 5% T s n F 9 M C July 8, 1969 3,453,799

MANUFACTURE OF SEALED PACKAGES FROM STRIP STOCK C. E. CLOUD FIT AL Sheet 3 of 9 Filed Sept.

7 J INVENTORS Char/e6 fC/aad lab/Yard E/ a V/n/lsr Y MFT'ORNEY;

MANUFACTURE OF SEALED PACKAGES FROM STRIP STOCK Filed Sept. 1, 1965 July 8, 1969 c. E. CLOUD ETAL Sheet 44 VWTTORNEYS MANUFACTURE OF SEALED PACKAGES FROM STRIP STOCK Filed Sept. 1, 1965 July 8, 1969 c. E. CLOUD ETAL Sheet 'INVENTORS C77 arr/es 67040 m zzw July 8, 1969 c. E. CLOUD ETAL 3,453,799

MANUFACTURE OF SEALED PACKAGES FROM STRIP STOCK Filed Sept. 1. 1965 Sheet 6 of 9' Fag-6 INVENTORS 60 Char/e55 Cyqag @c'fia/d/f' Parr/W716 m' 7 ATTORNEYS MANUFACTURE OF SEALED PACKAGES FROM STRIP STOCK Filed Sept. 1. 1965 C.E. CLOUD ETAL July 8, 1969 Sheet gig/m5 I E we L 1 IHIII HII IHII HHH lllllllllll & II

- I N V E NTORS Char/es 15 C/oud ATTORNEYS July 8, 1969 c. E. CLOUD ETAL MANUFACTURE OF SEALED PACKAGES FROM STRIP STOCK Sheet 8 M9 Filed Sept.

2. 7 as: :E:

I NVEN TKORS Char/ea E C/qua 1966 are 5 firz/mvls July 8, 1969 c. E. CLOUD ETAL 3,453,799

MANUFACTURE OF SEALED PACKAGES FROM STRIP STOCK Sheet Filed Sept. 1. 1965 5 J w 2 y Mm d i w 2 K b ml lw d P; /3 2 w. w 2

I INVENTOR. Char/es 5 6704/ /c'fiand fP/I'V/h/S By% ,W. ATTORNEYS Patent Ofic 3,453,799 Patented July 8, 1969 3,453,799 MANUFACTURE OF SEALED PACKAGES FROM STRIP STOCK Charles E. Cloud, Wilmette, and Richard F. Purvinis, 'Chicago, 111., assignors to Cloud Machine Corporation, Skokie, 11]., a corporation of Delaware Filed Sept. 1, 1965, Ser. No. 484,481 Int. Cl. B65b 43/00, 57/00, 51/26 US. Cl. 53-29 14 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A machine for continuously forming packages from strip stock including a plow for forming a double-walled strip of stock, a vertical heat sealer for forming longitudinally spaced pockets along the length of the stock and for separating the pockets by vertical heat seals, a filler wheel having a source of vacuum to separate the side walls of the pockets for filling, the filler wheel having a series of funnels for loading each pocket with material to be packaged, a cutter wheel for shearing the pockets at the heat seals while the pockets are in an upright position, a pair of guide belts for maintaining the severed packages in an upright position, an infeed conveyor in proximity to the guide belts to transport the severed packages, and a horizontal heat sealer downstream from the cutter wheel for forming a longitudinal end seal at the open end of the package for sealing the contents therein. The invention further includes the method of forming sealed packages.

This invention relates to a machine and method for continuously forming a series of filled packages from a continuous length of flexible material. The material may be any flexible medium, such as a plastic, paper, cloth, or metal strip, transparent or otherwise, or in fact, any material that will conform to the herein described requirements. If desired, the strip material may be plastic coated where the pockets are to be formed by a heat sealing operation.

In the continuous manufacture of bulky type packages of the type having a pair of side seals and at least one end seal, difiiculty has been encountered in forming a smooth, completely sealed end seal, and one of the primary objectives of this invention is to provide a new method and apparatus for solving such problem. To this end, it has been found that by first filling the longitudinally spaced packets through an upper open end that a better end seal can be maintained where the partially formed package having an upper open end is severed from the length of strip stock before the upper open end is finally sealed. By following this procedure, experiments have shown the weight of the contents of the material being packaged causes less interference with the formation of the upper end seal than where the upper end seal is formed before the package is severed from the strip, enabling a package to be produced having superior appearance, that is, free of wrinkles, and which has a satisfactory upper end seal.

Important features of the present invention relate to an improved method and apparatus for high-speed manufacture of filled packages from continuous strip material, which packages are free of the defects previously described.

Another important feature of our invention relates to a new and improved suction operated collapsible bellows provided on the filling wheel between lands provided thereon for opening the side walls of the packets to facilitate filling.

Still another important feature of the present invention relates to a new type of cutoff whereby the lands on the filling Wheel comprise knife blades which coact with an upright adjacently disposed knife wheel for cutting the open-ended filled packages from the strip.

Still another important feature of the new apparatus herein disclosed concerns a brake cooperable with a feed roll for varying the position of the film or sheet material to maintain the printing on the film in proper orientation with respect to the vertical sealer so that the vertical seals will be correctly positioned between the printed areas so that the printing will not be out of alignment on the completed package.

Still another important feature of our invention relates to a new device for unloading the formed packages onto an output or discharge conveyor whereby the packages are deposited in shingle fashion thereon to facilitate the subsequent loading of the packages into shipping cartons.

In summary, it is an important objective of this invention to provide a new and improved method and apparatus for the high speed manufacture of filled packages of a high quality type from a continuous length of material.

Further objectives severally are the method of making such filled packages from a strip or strips of material from a series of steps performed thereon, the method of filling the packets during the course of manufacture, the method of cutting off the open-ended packages from the end of the strip material, and the method of sealing such open-ended packages after severance from the strip.

Further objects and advantages will appear from the detailed description and claims to follow, particularly in connection with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate more or less diagrammatically a single strip machine and apparatus for carrying out the new process and producing filled packages.

On the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a diagrammatic view diagrammatically illustrating our machine;

FIGURE 2 is a top plan view of our machine;

FIGURE 3 is a side view of our machine:

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged fragmentary view of a filling wheel with portions shown in section as viewed on lines IV--IV looking in the direction indicated by the arrows as shown in FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 4A is a front view of a bellows;

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view of a mechanism for severing bags or packages from the continuous strip and for sealing the top end thereon;

FIGURE 6 is an enlarged fragmentary top plan view of the filling wheel;

FIGURE 7 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view of the mechanism for vacuumizing the filling wheel as viewed on the line VII-VII looking in the direction indicated by the arrows as seen in FIGURE 4;

FIGURE 8 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view taken substantially on the section of a mechanism for transmitting an electric signal to a brake when the printing on the strip is out of registry with an electric eye which section is taken substantially along the line VIIIVIII looking along the line indicated by the arrows as seen in FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 9 is an enlarged fragmentary horizontal section taken substantially on the line IX-IX looking in the direction indicated by the arrows as seen in FIG- URE 8;

FIGURE 10 is an enlarged fragmentary top plan view of the longitudinal sealer and the mechanism for staggered stacking of the 'packages;

FIGURE 11 is an enlarged side view of the longitudinal sealer and the mechanism for staggered stacking looking in the direction of the arrows as seen on line XI-XI of FIGURE 10;

FIGURE 12 is a diagrammatic view similar to FIG- URE 1 only illustrating the modified form of our machine; and.

FIGURE 13 is a side view of a package produced by the machine shown in FIGURE 12.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION According to the illustrated form of the invention, a filled package 9 of the type shown in FIGURE 1 can be produced by our packaging machine 10. The present machine has been found to be capable of producing hundreds of these packages per minute. The package 9 may be produced from a continuous strip of material or from several continuous strips of material, as desired. Some packaging materials can be more readily folded than other films and machines of the type shown in the drawings can be readily used for producing filled packages of this type. Where other types of films are employed which cannot be readily folded, it may be desirable to form the packages from a pair of lengths of material.

The machine 10 has a base 11 supporting various components of our machine. Mounted on the side of the base 11 is means comprising a roll stand 12 for supporting a roll or a continuous strip of packaging material 13. The roll 13 is supported on arm 14 in such a way that when the strip is unrolled, the strip is disposed generally in a horizontal plane. The strip 13 may be of any suitable type and can be coated on at least one side with a scalable material such as plastic or other suitable adhesive. The strip of packaging material 13 can be supplied in a printed form or can be printed while on our machine 10 by providing a suitable printing device (not shown). The strip, if not printed, can be printed by moving the same through the printing device.

A suitable strip plow 16, is suitably supported on the frame 11 forwardly of a printer (where required) for folding the strip 13. When the strip is folded at 13a (FIGURE 1), the fold is disposed at the bottom of the strip as the strip then assumes a generally V-shape.

In order to further prepare the strip 13 so that filled packages may be formed, a pair of guide rollers 18, 18' is disposed on the downstream side of the plow 16 and the folded strip 13 is guided therebetween to a vertical sealer 19. The strip 13 is adapted to be pulled and moved through an are as the vertical sealer is driven contemporaneously with the drive roll 18. The vertical sealer has a series of vertically extending circumferentially spaced heated lands 19a which are provided to form longitudinally spaced vertically extending heat seals 13b in the strip. After the strip has been heat sealed in the manner described, pockets 130 are formed and each is disposed between a pair of pocket side walls 13d. The strip 13 is then moved between a second pair of guide rolls 20, 20 and then over a driven feed roll 21 and then through or about a filling station wheel 22 and any suitable material may be inserted in the pockets 130 in the desired amount. Each pocket may be filled with a desired amount of a product to be packaged such as a food or drink flavoring. Where material such as drink flavoring is to be placed in the pockets 13, the pockets are filled in a pouring operation as illustrated. Thereafter, the strip is moved into a cutting position where a shear type cutter or cutter mechanism 24 having shear blades 246: are cooperable with cutter blades or lands 24b provided on the filling wheel 22 and which blades 24b are disposed at spaced intervals about the perimeter of the filling wheel. The cutter or shear mechanism 24 includes a cutter 24a that is mounted on a vertical axis or cutter drive shaft 240 so that the filled packages or pouches 9 are severed from the strip 13 at the area of the heat seal 13b while the packages or pouches 9 are in an upright position. The open-ended filled packages or pouches 9 are then moved onto an infeed conveyor 25 and then transported to .a heat sealer 26 for forming a longitudinal end seal 13e at the open end of the pouch.

Vertical sealer and guide and drive rolls The vertical sealer 19 (FIGURE 3) is mounted on a hollow vertical shaft 27 supported on the base 11 by a bearing 28. A junction box support bracket 29 is mounted on the base 11 and carries a junction box 30 having brushes or sliding contacts 31 and 32 which are engaged with electrically insulated collector rings 33 and 34 carried by the hollow vertical shaft 27 and rotatable in unison therewith. Electrical lead lines 35 and 36 are joined with a heater 26 (FIGURE 3) which heats the lands 19a for forming the spaced vertical seals 13b in the folded strip 13.

After the folded strip 13 is formed with vertical seals 13b, the strip is drawn between the drive rolls 20. The drive rolls 20 each have a vertical axis and are rotatably mounted on the base 11. A pivot arm 37 is joined at 38 (FIGURE 2) with one of the rolls 20 and has a pivot 39 at an opposite end. The arm 37 is further connected to a lever arm 40 which is joined to a spring 41. The spring 41 is attached to the base at 42. The spring 41 serves to hold the rolls against opposite sides of the strip 13. The one roller 20 can be pivoted away from the other roller on its pivot 39 to facilitate threading of the strip between the drive rolls. The spring insures that the drive rolls are snugly engaged with the strip to drive the same.

The driven feed roll 21 is mounted on the base adjacent to the rolls 20 to aid in training the film 13 onto the filling wheel 22.

Pouch filling The filling station or wheel 22 is keyed at 43 on a drive shaft 44 (FIGURE 4) for rotating on a suction block or plate 45 disposed between the base 11 and the drum or wheel 22. The suction block is atfixed at 45 to a ring 46 and the drum or wheel 22 rotates on the block 45 (FIG- URE 7). The suction block 45 has a C-shaped suction passage 45a (FIGURE 4) and a suction inlet pipe 47 is connected therewith. The suction block 45 and the ring 46 all cooperate together to define a fixed or non-rotating lower suction or vacuum chamber 49. The ring 46 includes a C-shaped ring groove 50 in communication with the suction pipe 47 and the fixed pipe groove or suction passage 45a.

The filling drum 22 includes a lower rotating circular Wheel plate 51 having holes 52 in registration with the fixed wheel plate groove 45a. The hole 52 is linked with the C-shaped plate groove 45a by means of a series of circumferentially spaced vertical plate passages 45b.

Disposed at circumferentially spaced intervals about the perimeter of the circular wheel plate 51 between the knives or lands 24b are a series of valleys 53.

In the valleys 53 are collapsible bellows or devices 54. Each bellows comprises a series of rubber open-bottomed bell-shaped cups 54a having ring flanges 54b and 540 at opposite ends which are securable by a suitable rubber cement to the corresponding ring flange on one of the adjacent cups 54a. The bellows or collapsible devices 54 are mounted on mounting 55 which are, in turn, screwed at 56 to an outer perimeter of the wheel plate 51. The mountings 55 each have an interior suction passage 57 connectible at one end with the suction passages 52, 45a, 45b, 50 and the suction pipe 47 and connected at an opposite end with the associated bellows 54. When the vacuum is applied to the bellows and when the folded strip 13 is in engagement with the angled lands 24b and with the bellows 54, the force of the vacuum causes the bellows to collapse causing the inside wall 13d of the pocket to be pulled inwardly of the outside wall 13d to open the pocket to permit filling. The circumferential distance between the lands or knives 24b is less than the distance between the vertical heat seals 13b when the strip 13 is engaged about the drum of wheel 22. Also, the lands or knives are mounted on an inclined axis relative to the vertical axis of the filling wheel 22 and are spaced closer together at upper ends than at lower ends to permit the film to be tightly engaged with the lands 24b at the lower ends to facilitate filling since the upper ends of the pockets 13c can be more readily opened. When the suction causes the side walls 13d of the pocket 13!: to be pulled apart, the strip 13 at the heat seals 13b is engaged against the flat surfaces at the outside faces of the lands or knives 24b. The bellows 54 (FIGURE 4A) has a beveled fiat edge at its outer upper end where it contacts the film. Tests have shown that where the bellows is provided with the flat edge 54a that the tendency for the inner pocket side wall to become wrinkled can be eliminated.

The rotating suction passages 52 and 57 are activated only when in communication with the C-shaped suction block passage 45a. When the drum suction passages 52 and 57 are disconnected from the suction block passage 45a, the strip 13 is no longer positively secured with the drum or wheel 22 as shown in FIGURE 5. It will be noted that the reference numeral 60 in FIGURE 5 designates the vacuum break area where the fixed plate 45 is free of its arcuate groove 45a. The vacuum break area 60 is also shown in FIGURE 7.

Mounted at one side of the filling wheel 22 is an air nozzle N for assisting the bellows 54 in opening the strip pockets 13c. The nozzle N can be fixedly mounted and connected to a suitable pump and air supply for providing a continuous air stream to spread the top edges of the side walls 13d13d. The nozzle N is particularly useful and desirable where thin films of a light weight type are being fed through the machine. Where thicker, heavier weight films are used, the side walls 13d--13d do not have as great a tendency to stick together and the nozzle N may then be turned off if desired.

The Wheel or drum 22 further includes an upper drum plate 61 which supports the shaft bearings 62 for the drive shaft 44. The upper plate is supported by a vertical drum wall 63 (FIGURE 4) that is secured at opposite ends by pins such as are designated at 64 and 65. Disposed at the perimeter of the upper drum plate 61 are a series of funnels 66 which include a funnel tube 67 for discharging materials into the open ends of the pockets 13c. Mounted on top of the upper drum plate 61 is a circular material retainer wall 68 for holding material deposited on the plate and preventing spillage of such material over the outer edge of the upper drum plate 61.

Mounted on the base 11 is a hopper supporting post 70 having an arm 71 fixedly mounted at its upper end. The arm 71 supports a hopper 72 enabling the hopper to be disposed in overlying relation with respect to the upper drum plate 61 so that materials to be packaged can be deposited on the upper surface and loaded into the funnels 66. The arm 71 is provided with a swingable hopper gate 73 including a knob 74 carried on the arm 71 to permit the gate to be pivoted into and out of engagernent with the hopper outlet. A plow 75 is provided for directing the materials deposited on the upper wheel or drum plate 61 in a radially outward direction into the funnel 66. Mounted centrally of the upper drum plate 61 is a circular bearing housing 76, and it will be noted that the plow 75 is adapted to rotate about the perimeter of the housing 76 for moving the materials to be packaged into the funnels 66.

While the use of the filling wheel 22 is one of the preferred means for filling the pockets 13c and involves certain features of our invention, other means for filling could be employed such as hand filling. Also, a funnel type filling operation can be eliminated to permit filling of solid rather than granular materials.

Cato/j mechanism It will be perceived from a study of FIGURE 5 that after the open pockets 130 have been filled that these pockets move into a vacuum break area 60, at which time the vacuum is caused to be released to permit the collapsible diaphragms 54 to be disengaged from inside walls 13d of the open pocket 13c. The vertical strip seals 1311 are maintained in engagement with the lands 24b until such time after the shearing knife blades 24a engage the cutting edges 2412 provided on the lands, severing the filled, partially formed, open-ended package from the strip. In this regard it is significant to note that the cutter 24 is propelled or rotated by the driven. filling wheel 22 and more particularly as a result of the blades 24b on the filling Wheel 22 being moved into frictional engagement with the knife blades 24a on the cutter 24. A brake is also provided for the cutter 24a to provide tension on the cutter shaft 240 to hold the cutter 24' in position until the next filling wheel cutter or land 24b is engaged with the cutter 24'. After the open-ended package as been severed, the severed package is caused to be moved onto the infeed conveyor and transported to band sealer 77 as shown in FIGURE 5.

Band sealer The band sealer 77 includes a pair of endless belts 78 and 79. The belt 78 is guided or trained over belt guide rollers 80, 81, 82 (FIGURE 11), 83 and 84, while the belt 79 is trained over belt guide rollers of pulleys 85, 86, 87, 88 and 89 (FIGURE 11). The guide rollers 82 and 87 are driven as will hereafter be described in further detail. The rollers 80, 81 and and 8 6 are adjustably mounted to permit adjustment of a pouch intake nip 90 as shown in FIGURES 2 and 5. The rollers 84 and 89 are mounted on adjustable arms 84a and 89a to enable the operator to adjust the pressure on the endless belts 78 and 79 by means of the adjustable rollers 83 and 88.

Mounted adjacent to the rolls or rollers 81 and 86 are a pair of longitudinal seal forming heated rolls 91 and 92. These heated rolls 91 and 92 are mounted on heater elements 93 and 94 for forming a longitudinal top seal 13s on each pouch '9 as the pouches are transported on the infeed conveyor 25 between heated metal bands 95 and 96 to complete the formation of the filled pouches.

Discharge and stacking of farmed pouches Endless metal bands 95 and 96 are heated by the rollers 91 and 92 for accomplishing this purpose. The metal band 95 is trained over rolls 91 and 91a while the metal band 96 is trained over the rolls 92 and 92a. Another set of endless belts 98 and '99 are provided for transporting the sealed packages or pouches 9, while the top end seals 13e are being cooled, to a discharge conveyor. The belt 98 is trained over the roll or pulley 91a and a discharge roll or pulley 101, and the belt 99 is trained over the roll or pulley 92a and a discharge and a conical roll or pulley 102. Mounted adjacent the discharge rolls 101 and 102 are a pair of pouch guides 103 and 104 to assist in the placement of the pouches 9 in shingle-like or staggered relation on the discharge conveyor 100. As the pouch 9 is disengaged from the belts 98 and 99 the upper end of the pouch falls against the guide 104 while the other lower guide coacts with a lower area of the pouch to minimize lateral slippage of the pouch off of the guide 104.

Drives A motor is mounted on an underside of the base 11 along with a speed reducer drive gear 111 and a spead reducer 112 as is clearly shown in FIGURE 3. Joined with the speed reducer 112 and operated thereby is an upright drive shaft 113 that is coupled at 114 to another upright wheel drive shaft 115. The shaft 115 is carried on shaft bearings 115a and operates to drive the drive wheel 22. A longitudinal chain drive 116 is driven off pulley 117 and the pulley is carried on the drive shaft 115. The chain drive 116 is trained over gear 118 which is in turn connected to an upright guide roll shaft 119 for driving the guide roll 20. A gear drive 120 joins the gear roll shaft 119 to another upright shaft 121 for driving the feed roll 21. The drive shaft 27 for the vertical sealer 19 is also driven through gear 122 and. the chain drive 116. It will thus be appreciated that the chain drive 116 is used for driving four units including the filling wheel 22, the drive rolls 20 and 21, the vertical heat sealer 19, and

a registration unit 125 that is to be hereafter described.

By connecting the speed reducer 112 to an indexing drive of the Geneva type, the operation of the machine could be made discontinuous, if desired, to give an intermittent operation.

The cutoff mechanism 24 has its cutoff wheel 24' carried on the shaft 240. As will be seen in FIGURE 3, the lower end of the drive shaft 24c is mounted on a bearing 126 and a brake 127 is cooperable with the drive shaft to provide tension on the cutter wheel so that the cutter wheel will hold its position after the rotating land blade 24b is disengaged from the associated blade 24a on the cutter 24'.

The registration unit 125 is driven by a drive shaft 128 that is connected to the chain drive 116 by means of a sprocket 129.

Also mounted on the base 11 is a second motor 135 that is joined by a V-belt or chain drive 136 to a speed reducer 137. A drive shaft 138 is driven through the speed reducer and is joined at its upper end by means of a universal joint 139 to another upright drive shaft 140 for driving the band sealer 77. Referring now to FIGURE 11, it will be seen that the drive shaft 140 is coupled with the side belt pulley 87 for driving the side belt 79. Also, a cross drive 141 is provided for driving the other side belt 78. The same drive shaft 140 also drives the endless metal bands 95 and 96 through the rollers 91a and 92a. The roller 92a is clearly shown in FIGURE 11 to be mounted on the drive shaft 140 and the cross drive 141 is utilized for driving the roller 91a as well as the discharge belt 98. It will further be seen in FIGURE 11 that the discharge belt 99 is also trained over the driven roll 92a for driving the conical roller 102 that provides means for laying the formed pouches 9 in a sidewise shingle-like manner on the discharge or outfeed conveyor 100.

In FIGURE 3 it will be seen that another endless belt 145 is driven by the motor 135 which belt is trained over pulleys 146, 147 and 148. The infeed conveyor is trained over the drive pulley 147 and is driven thereby over a supporting guide 150 (FIGURE 11) at one end and over a guide roller 152 carried on roller shaft 153 mounted on bearings (not shown) at an opposite end. The infeed conveyor extends diagonally through a table or housing opening 154 and cooperates with the belt sealer 77 for transporting filled pouches from the filling wheel to the band sealer. The pulley 148 is connected by a chain drive 149 to the outfeed conveyor 100 for driving the outfeed conveyor 100 at a slightly slower rate than the rate of travel or rotation of the conical roller 102 so that the pouches can be placed on the outfeed conveyor 100 in staggered relation.

Material feed control The registration unit 125 cooperates with an electric eye 155 (FIGURE 2) positioned on the upstream side of the vertical sealer which cooperate together in operating a solenoid valve 156 (FIGURE 3) coupled with a ram 157 on an air cylinder 157a which, in turn, operates a brake 158 for retarding the movement of film or material through the feed rollers 159, 160 and 161.

The registration unit 125 (FIGURES 8 and 9) is driven by the sprocket 129 through registration drive shaft 128 that is mounted on bearings 128a and 1281; at its opposite ends. Fixed to the shaft 128 for rotation therewith and with the vertical sealer 19 through the chain drive 116 is a switch actuator 01' disc 162 which has a series of switch actuators 162a about its periphery. A pinion gear 163 is rotatably mounted coaxially of the disc 162. A spur gear 164 is fixed to a spur gear mounting shaft 165 and is meshed with the pinion gear 163. A switch 166 is mounted on the pinion gear 163 having a movable switch arm 167 for engagement with the switch actuators 162a. A manual control knob 168 is provided in the spur gear shaft 165 to enable the relative position of the switch 166 to be adjusted with respect to the switch actuators for alignment of the eye marks on the material being used for packaging.

. In the feeding of film into the machine to the vertical sealer there is a tendency for the film to oscillate and according to important features of this invention a new method and apparatus has been developed for controlling the film to maintain the printed matter on the film in proper alignment with respect to the vertical sealer so the vertical seal can be properly positioned.

The electric eye here employed utilizes a light that cooperates with light and dark marks on the film. When the film is properly oriented with relation to the vertical sealer 19, the eye is aligned with the marks. When the eye is in proper alignment with the marks a signal is transmitted through a relay to the solenoid valve 156 for operation of the brake 158 to slow the film as it is drawn into the vertical sealer. In order for the brake to be operated. however, a second signal must be received from the registration unit so that both switches are on at the same time since the solenoid valve cannot operate without receiving both signals. The solenoid valve shuts down as soon as either of the switch signals are shut down.

The registration unit provides an additional control not provided by the electric eye since it gives a signal indication as to the extent that the film marks are misaligned with respect to the vertical sealer 19.

Ordinarily the film does not move out of alignment in excess of of an inch. If, during the course of the rotation of the vertical sealer 19, the film marks are properly oriented and aligned with respect to the switch actuators 162a, the switch actuators would close the circuit through the switch 166 and this signal would be transmitted to the solenoid valve 156. Since a signal was previously transmitted by the electric eye that the alignment was proper, and since the registration unit has emitted a signal indicated proper alignment, the solenoid valve is actuated to cause the feed rolls to be braked and reduce the speed of the film as it is fed to the vertical sealer 19. If the registration unit, and particularly the switch actuators fail to trip the associated switch to close the circuit, then no signal is transmitted to the solenoid valve and no braking occurs, thereby permitting the film to be fed at a slightly faster rate to the vertical sealer and thus adjusting the position of the marks relative to the vertical sealer so that the print can be properly oriented on the vertical sealer to prevent misalignment of the printing on the strip.

Modifications FIGURES l2 and 13 show a modified form of our machine 200 for producing a composite package 208 that is comprised of a series of filled packages 209 which are joined together at upper ends by a longitudinal heat seal 2132.

In the production of a composite package of this type, the same type of machine can be used as previously described. This machine 200 would be adapted to form vertical heat seals 21311 in a strip of stock 213 whereupon the strip would be fed upon a filling wheel 222 for filling of package pouches 213a. The pockets defined by side walls 213b, 2131) can be filled in any suitable manner, as previously described.

After the pockets are filled, the strip is moved to a cutting mechanism 224. The cutting mechanism 224 is of the same general type as previously described except cutter 224 has six knives 224a. Some of the knife blades do not extend the full length of the knives and are left free of any knife area at upper ends so that partial severing of the strip can be made to produce the composite package that is comprised of a series of packages 209. As illustrated, the cutter 224 has only two knives that extend the full length of the cutter wheel 224' and which are identified at 2240. The other knives 224a, as mentioned before, are of a short length so as to be able to cut notches 214 between the packages 213d for partial severing. The knives 2240 are constructed so as to cut the full heat seal of the strip along edges 215-215. It will be appreciated that another significant difference between the cutrter 224 and the cutter 24 is that the cutter 224 has six knives while the cutter 24 has five knives so that the different cutting requirements can be met.

After the composite package 208 has been severed from the strip 213, it is caused to move into the final sealing area where the horizontal sealer 226 forms the longitudinal upper heat seal 213e to complete the package. The horizontal sealer 226 is of the same type as the sealer 26.

Although minor modifications might be suggested by those versed in the art, it should be understood that we wish to embody within the scope of the patent warranted herein, all such modifications as reasonably and properly come within the scope of our contribution to the art.

We claim as our invention:

1. The method of continuously forming sealed packages, comprising the steps of providing a length of strip stock,

forming a series of upwardly opening pockets along the length of the stock separated by upright sealed areas,

engaging the formed strip against a filling station having raised and spaced lands formed thereon with the sealed areas engaging the lands and the pockets extending across depressed areas between adjacent lands,

applying a vacuum to one side of the pockets in the areas between adjacent lands for pulling the sides of the pocket apart to facilitate loading of the package and for retaining the strip in engagement with the filling station, loading the pockets with material to be packaged while continuing to apply the vacuum releasing the vacuum to permit the strip to dis engage from the filling station, cutting off the thus formed package while in an upright position, and

sealing the open end of the severed package while in an upright position.

2. Apparatus for packaging comprising,

means for feeding a strip of material having confronting sides,

means for forming spaced pockets along the length of the strip material leaving upper ends of the pockets open,

a filling station having spaced lands and valleys along which the continuous strip is guided and moved,

a series of collapsible bellows disposed about the periphery of the filling station each having one end for engagement with one side of said strip, and which bellows collapses upon being engaged with the strip side for separating the sides for filling,

means overlying said bellows for funneling material into the pockets,

means connectible with an opposite end of each of said bellows for collapsing the bellows and opening the pockets to facilitate filling of the pockets and for subsequently releasing the strip after filling, means for filling the pockets,

cutoff means including knife edges on said lands for severing filled packages from the strip material, and means for sealing upper open ends of the severed packages.

3. Apparatus for packaging comprising,

means for feeding a strip of material having confronting sides,

means for forming spaced pockets along the length of the strip material leaving upper ends of the pockets open,

a filling station having spaced lands and valleys about which the continuous strip is guided and moved,

means disposed about the periphery of the filling station in said valleys for opening the pockets for filling,

means for funneling material into the open pockets,

cutoff means including knife edges on said lands for severing filled packages from the strip material, and

means for sealing upper open ends of said packages.

4. Apparatus for packaging comprising,

means for feeding a strip of material having confronting sides,

means comprising a sealer for forming spaced pockets along the length of the strip material leaving upper ends of the pockets open,

a driven filling station having spaced lands and valleys about which the continuous strip is guided and moved, means in the valleys for opening the pockets for filling,

means on the filling station overlying the open pockets for funneling material into the pockets,

cutoff means including knife edges on said lands and a cutter wheel having circumferentially spaced knife edges engageable with the knife edges on said lands and with said cutter wheel driven by said driven filling station, and

means for sealing upper open ends of said packages.

5. A packaging machine including a package filling wheel having circumferentially spaced lands, a first set of shear knives on the lands, means for holding a film against the lands, a cutter having a second set of spaced shear knives about its periphery, and means for driving the filling wheel causing the cutter to be driven by the frictional engagement occasioned as the knives in the respective sets engage one another.

6. A packaging machine including a package filling wheel having circumferentially spaced lands, a first set of shear knives on the lands, means for holding a film against the lands, a cutter having a second set of spaced shear knives about its periphery, spaced pairs of the knives in the sets being of varied lengths for the partial and complete severance of selective ones of the packages to produce strips of partially severed packages, and means for driving the filling wheel causing the cutter to be driven by the frictional engagement occasioned as the knives in the respective sets engage one another.

7. In combination, a package filling wheel having circumferentially spaced lands with wheel knife edges thereon, suction means between the lands for holding the packaging material against the lands, the lands being divergently disposed on the wheel and more closely spaced relative to one another at upper ends as opposed to lower ends of the lands, a cutter having spaced cutter knife edges thereon, and means for causing relative movement between the filling wheel and the cutter for engaging said knives to cut a film.

8. Apparatus for packaging comprising,

means for feeding a strip of material having confronting sides,

means for forming spaced pockets along the length of the strip material leaving ends of the pockets open,

a filling station having spaced lands and valleys along which the strip is guided and moved,

a series of collapsible bellows disposed about the periphery of the filling station each having one end for engagement with one side of said strip, and which bellows collapses upon being engaged with the strip side for separating the sides for filling,

means connectible with an opposite end of each of said bellows for collapsing the bellows and opening the pockets to facilitate filling of the pockets and for subsequently releasing the strip after filling,

means for filling the pockets,

cutoff means for severing filled packages from the strip material, and

means for sealing open ends of the severed packages.

9. In combination, a package filling Wheel having circumferentially spaced lands with wheel knife edges thereon, means between the lands for holding the packaging material against the lands, the lands being divergently disposed on the wheel and more closely spaced relative to one another at upper ends as opposed to lower ends of the lands permitting tight engagement of the strip against the lower ends of the lands and loose engagement of the strip at upper ends to facilitate opening of the strip pockets for filling, means for filling strip pockets, a cutter having spaced cutter knife edges thereon, and means for causing relative movement between the filling wheel and the cutter for engaging said knives to cut a film.

10. In combination, a package filling device having circumferentially spaced lands with wheel knife edges thereon, the lands being spaced for engaging transversely sealed areas of a strip of packaging film thereagainst of the type having pockets between the transversely sealed areas, a cutter having spaced cutter knife edges thereon adjacent said device, collapsible suction means between the lands for opening the pockets, air jet assist means cooperable with said collapsible suction means in the opening of the pockets for filling, and means for causing relative movement between the filling device and the cutter for engaging said knives to cut a film.

11. Apparatus for packaging comprising,

means for feeding a strip of material having confronting sides,

means for forming spaced pockets along the length of the strip material separated by sealed areas leaving ends of the pockets open,

a filling station having spaced lands and valleys along which the strip is guided and moved, knife edges on the lands,

the lands being spaced for engaging the transversely sealed areas of a strip of packaging film thereagainst, a cutter having spaced cutter knife edges thereon adjacent said device,

collapsible suction means between the lands for opening the pockets,

air jet assist means cooperable with said collapsible suction means in the opening of the pockets for filling, means for placing articles in the pockets,

means for causing relative movement between the filling station and the cutter for engaging said knives to cut the strip of material at the sealed areas to provide several packages, and

means for sealing the open ends of the severed packages.

12. Apparatus for packaging comprising,

means for feeding a strip of material having confronting sides,

means for forming spaced pockets along the length of the strip material leaving ends of the pockets open,

means including a series of collapsible bellows each having one end for engagafnenfwith one side of said strip, and which bellows collapses upon being engaged with the strip side for separating the sides for filling, and v means connectible with an opposite end of each of said bellows for collapsing the bellows and opening the pockets to facilitate filling of the pockets and for subsequently releasing the strip after filling.

13. A packaging machine including a package filling wheel having spaced lands, a first set of shear knives on the lands, means for holding a film against the lands, a cutter having a second set of spaced shear knives, spaced pairs of the knives in the sets being of varied lengths for the partial and complete severance of selective ones of the packages to produce successive strips each having partiallysevered packages, and means for causing relative movement between the filling wheel and the cutter for engaging said knives for cutting.

14. A packaging machine as defined in claim 8, further characterized by said filling station having a central axis and said spaced lands having vertical cutting edges thereon peripherally disposed about the axis, the lands being divergently disposed on the wheel and more closely spaced relative to one another at upper ends as opposed to lower ends of the lands permitting tight engagement of a film strip against the lower ends of the lands and looseengagements of the strip at upper ends to facilitate opening of the strip pockets for filling, the lands being angularly disposed relative to the central axis with lands each being closer to the central axis at one end as compared to its opposite end.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,330,361 9/1943 Howard 5328 2,475,617 7/1949 Irmscher 5328 2,563,071 8/1951 Salfisberg 53179 X 2,923,111 2/1960 Sel0ck' 5329 3,276,183 10/1966 Carl-isle et al. 53-51 3,302,365 2/1967 Currie 5329 TRAVIS S. MCGEHEE, Primary Examiner.

US. Cl. XJR.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/455, 53/386.1, 53/385.1, 53/562, 53/51, 53/570
International ClassificationB65B9/08
Cooperative ClassificationB65B9/087
European ClassificationB65B9/087