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Publication numberUS3474595 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 28, 1969
Filing dateJun 22, 1965
Priority dateJun 22, 1965
Publication numberUS 3474595 A, US 3474595A, US-A-3474595, US3474595 A, US3474595A
InventorsJohansen Paul, Moroney Ronald, Schwenzer Heinz
Original AssigneeSchwenzer Heinz
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for portion package sealing
US 3474595 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)


United States Patent 3,474,595 APPARATUS FOR PORTION PACKAGE SEALING Ronald Moroney and Paul Johansen, both of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Heinz Schwenzer, 2440 Keele St., Apt. 9B, Toronto 15, Ontario, Canada; said Moroney and said Johansen assignors to said Schwenzer Filed June 22, 1965, Ser. No. 465,883 Int. Cl. B65b 51/14, 61/12 US. Cl. 53-373 1 Claim ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The invention is directed to an apparatus whereby containers are sealed at a rate commensurate with the rate at which the containers are filled by effecting the sealing during the movement of the containers as they are indexed from station to station.

This invention relates to improvements in methods and apparatus for sealing portion packages.

In recent times the use of portion packages, that is, the use of portions of food such as for instance cream, jam, and the like, prepackaged for delivery and consumption, has come into extensive general use. Heretofore, reliance has been placed upon the usual methods of packaging, that is, to provide treated paper packages into which the portion foods have been placed. More recently however, plastic containers, usually vacuum formed, have been introduced and used for portion packaging of foods.

One problem associated with providing portion packages is the problem of filling the packages and sealing same. Heretofore, it has been usual practice to provide small containers of the required size which are adapted for fitting with a snap-in or snap-on cap. Other designs however utilize a sealing film which is preferably heat sealed over the open portion of the container. This has the effect of reducing the cost of the sealing cap since it is much cheaper to provide the seal in strip or film form as opposed to individual cap members. For this reason the film or strip type of sealing closure is generally preferred over the individual cap or type of closure member.

The particular problem associated with this general problem of filling and sealing is the problem of output per person per machine for a particular portion package. Inasmuch as the cost of the package and the package materials and the cost of the food or other being packaged are fixed relative to a particular situation, the labour involved in packaging then becomes the controllable variable in the cost and pricing of the portion packages. For this reason the output of a particular machine relative to its size and cost is of importance when considering the profit structure of a particular venture.

A further inward consideration is to be found in the nature of the particular product being packaged. In this regard it should be noted that primarily the limiting factor on the particular speed of packaging devices is limited by the nature of the food or other product which is being packaged. Thus, for certain types of foods there is a certain rate of dispensing which cannot be exceeded and considering a station to station type of packaging system there is a certain acceleration from station to station which must be observed and which is dictated by the particular type of food being packaged. Due to these considerations, it is of importance to provide means for handling the containers and the sealing thereof in such a manner as to be more expeditious than the limiting conditions imposed by the particular product being packaged.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus therefor whereby porice tion containers can be sealed at a rate commensurate with the rate at which the containers can be filled with portions of food or other substances. The invention accomplishes this aim by providing a method whereby the closure of the individual containers is efiected during movement of the containers as they are indexed from station to station.

Other objects and features of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description and accompanying drawings in which like numerals refer to like parts throughout the various views.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a diagrammatic representation of the method according to the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a diagrammatic representation of a Injlethod in variation of the method as illustrated in FIG- FIGURE 3 is a perspective, exploded view of apparatus according to the present invention;

FIGURE 4 is a side elevation of the apparatus as illustrated in FIGURE 3 mounted on a portion packaging machine;

FIGURE 5 is a side elevation of the opposite side of the machine as shown in FIGURE 4;

FIGURE 6 is a view on one end of a heater block according to the present invention;

FIGURE 7 is an enlarged detail side elevation of the endless link belt utilized with the present invention; and

FIGURE 8 is a view on top of a particular link of the belt as shown in FIGURE 7 and illustrating the cavity therein for supporting a portion container.

With reference to FIGURE 1, the general method of the invention is illustrated wherein a belt such as the belt or support means 11 supports a plurality of portion containers 12 thereon. A portion container dispensing device 13 is positioned as shown and a food filling means 14 is provided whereby food can be portioned into the individual containers 12. A strip of heat sealable material 15 from the roll 16 is provided to be placed in contact with the tops of the containers 12, so guided by means of a roller 17 or other suitable means. It is important to note at this point that the container dispenser 13, the food filling means 14, and the strip 15 are well known in the art of packaging and for this reason such are not described here in detail. Thus, it is possible to provide any one of several well known devices for accomplishing these individual steps in the complete portion packaging system or method. As will be hereinafter pointed out in detail, the present invention is directed towards a method and apparatus for sealing such containers and not with the filling or dispensing of same.

The sealing film 15, which is of a heat sensitive type is secured to the tops of the containers as at 18 and sealed thereon by the application of heat by means of the heater block 19. The heater block or heater unit 19 is lowered onto the strip 15 pushing same into contact with the container 12 and sealing these two together while the support means 11 is moving. Thus during the interval of indexing, common to such portion packaging machines, advantage is taken to seal the heat sensitive strip to the container thereby to provide a sealed package.

In FIGURE 2 a modification of this general method is shown wherein a heat sealing unit 20 is provided which covers two such containers 12. It will be understood that the unit 20 could also be made to cover more than two containers, the number of containers being covered depending upon the speed with which the line is being operated together with the required time for heat sealing of the strip to the container. Thus if the required time for heat sealing was four times the required time for dispensing and indexing of the portion container then a heat sealing unit, sealing tour containers at a time would be required to maintain the line speed.

With reference to FIGURE 3, FIGURE 4, FIGURE 5, FIGURE 6, FIGURE 7, and FIGURE 8 apparatus according to the present invention is illustrated. A heat sealing unit or sealing block 21 is slidably positioned on a pair of arms 22 and 23 to be biased against the collars 24 and 25 by means of the springs 26 and 27. A pivot block 28 secures one end of the arms 22 and 23 and an end block 29 secures the other ends of the arms and supports a roller 30 thereon. The heater block 21 is provided with a recess as at 31 into which can be secured the heating element 32. An operational thermostat 33 is secured adjacent to the heater block 21 and a cover 34 is provided to secure same and protect internal wiring thereof.

In FIGURE 4 the heater block assembly indicated generally as 35 is shown mounted onto a portioned packaging machine indicated generally as 36. In this machine a container dispensing unit is shown at 37 and a portion food dispensing or filling means 38 is mounted as shown. As has been stated these devices are well known in the art and many forms of them are available commercially and for this reason these devices are not described in detail in this specification.

An endless link belt 39 is mounted on the sprockets 40 and 41, these sprockets being rotatably supported on the frame 42 of the machine 36 and driven in unison with the drive which operates the container dispenser 37 and the food filling means 38. In this regard it should be noted that such drive mechanisms for operating these devices in unison and according to an indexing device are well known in the art. Other machines are presently available which include these devices and to one skilled in the art the provision of in unison indexing of the link belt 39 compatable with the dispensing and filling means is a comparatively simple adaptation.

The link belt 39 is composed of a plurality of separate links as illustrated in FIGURE 7. A conventional type of chain 43 is provided to which is secured a plurality of links 44, these links having a cavity as at 45 therein for reception of individual portion containers these containers being in this case provided with a rim as at 46. For the use of a heat sealable film or strip the rim 46 should be comparatively flat in order to provide a positive contracting surface for the sealing strip. However, various configurations of the lip or flange 46 of the container could be resorted to depending upon the particular requirements as to design and intended use of the container. Thus the container as shown in illustrated for the purpose of explaining the general method according to the invention.

With further reference to FIGURE 6, it will be seen that the heater block 21 is provided with a plurality of perforating needles as at 47 which perforate the strip of heat scalable film 48, as shown in FIGURE 4, whereby upon the individual links 44 passing about the sprocket 41 and separating due to increased circumferential distances the film is severed or parted, thereby to release individual sealed portion packages. These packages as at 48 can be handled and counted and packaged according to anyone of several very well known methods for handling individual articles. Thus it is not the intention of this disclosure to provide means for handlin these articles but to provide a method and apparatus forsealing portion containers.

A pair of locating pins 49 and 50 are provided projecting below the heater block 21 and are adapted to fit into the locating holes as at 51 and 52 of the link 44. Thus upon the heater block 21 dropping onto a particular link 44 the locating means 49 and 50 will position the block relative to the link and thus relative to the container within the link cavity and thus aligning the heater block with the filled container. In this regard it should be noted that other means may be resorted to for aligning the heater block with a particular link of the belt and that the means shown are done so by way of example only.

The means for contacting and removing the heater block 21 with a particular link 44 is illustrated in FIGURE 4 and FIGURE 5 wherein a cam 53 is rotatably mounted on the frame 42 and is operably connected with sprocket 41 by means of the chain drive 54 monnecting the other sprockets 55 and 56. At this point it should be noted that although the sprockets 55 and 56 are shown as being equal in diameter this is not necessarily the case since the relative speed of the sprocket 41 and the rotation of the cam 53 would be fixed for a particular machine design and for this reason the sprockets S5 and 56 are shown as being equal by way of example only.

In operation the apparatus as shown is powered by one of several well known drive means for such machines and the container dispenser 37 provides containers into the individual links 44 of the belt 39 and the food filling means 38 fills the containers. The heat sensitive sealing cap in the form of the film 48, which has been secured by heat sealing to the previous containers is pulled by action of the belt rotating and removing in the direction of the arrow as indicated at 57 under the roller 58 to come in close contact with the individual containers 46. Rotation of the cam drops the sealing unit 21 onto the individual container and strip and the pins 49 and 50 locating within the holes 51 and 52 move the unit 21 against the force of the springs 26 and 27, whereby the strip is sealed onto the top of the filled container to provide a portion package. The cam then lifts the heater block 21 from in contact with the sealed container and the springs 26 and 27 return the block 21 to a start position which is in abuttment with the stops 24 and 25.

Upon the heater block 21 dropping onto the tape or film 48 the perforating pins or needles 47 perforate the tape wherein upon the individual containers being moved about the periphery of the sprocket 41 these are separated by an increase in the circumferential spacing as indicated by the arrow 58.

The thermostat 33 operates to control the heat of the block 21, the heater 32 being of electrical nature providing the heat. The means for connecting and controlling such things are well known in the art and for this reason are not shown or described in detail here since these would be obvious to any workmen skilled in such matters.

From the foregoing it will be seen that the present invention provides a method whereby filled portion containers can be sealed, such sealing taking place during the interval of time in which the containers are indexed according to general practice and that the sealing may take place singly or in plurality according to the time requirements for a particular filling line. The invention also provides apparatus to accomplish the above method this apparatus being disclosed herein by way of preferred example only. Thus other designs for apparatus could be incorporated and still remain within the scope and spirit of the invention.

It should be further understood that although specific embodiments of the invention have herein been described and illustrated, the invention also contemplates such variations as may fall within the scope of the appended claim.

The embodiments of the invention of which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A sealing device for use with a portion packaging machine wherein a container dispenser issues containers and filling means are provided for dispensing portions into said containers, and a heat sealable strip is provided for sealing over said filled containers, said device comprising: an endless link belt supported for horizontal movement and passing about at least one drive sprocket, said belt having links each of which defines portion container supporting means therein; means for connecting said belt,

5 6 in unison with said dispenser and said filling means; a References Cited heat sealing block slidably supported above said link belt UNITED STATES PATENTS and slidable in a direction parallel with sa1d belt, sa1d block being yieldably biased in a direction opposite to 3,343,336 9/1967 Bradford 53'484 X the direction of travel of said belt; and means for inter- 5 1193978 7/1965 Bader 53282 X mittently contacting said block with said belt including 3328937 7/1967 Newman at 53 184 X means for perforating said strip between said containers, whereby upon said block being in contact, said strip will TRAVIS MCGEHEE: Prlmary Exammel be heat sealed to said containers, and upon said belt passing about said drive sprocket said containers will be 10 C X-R- separated by said strip parting at said perforating due to 5323Z circumferential spacing increase between said links,

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3193978 *Jan 22, 1962Jul 13, 1965Phillips Petroleum CoHeat sealing thermoplastic packages
US3328937 *Oct 14, 1964Jul 4, 1967Unit Portions IncDevice for continuously feeding and packaging flowable substances
US3343336 *Jun 30, 1964Sep 26, 1967Sta Hi CorpPackaging machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3584431 *Jul 24, 1969Jun 15, 1971Phillips Petroleum CoMethod and apparatus of filling and sealing cups
US3965656 *May 16, 1974Jun 29, 1976Solo Cup CompanyCup filling and capping apparatus
US4490961 *Jan 7, 1982Jan 1, 1985Raque Glenn FHeat seal method
US4807424 *Mar 2, 1988Feb 28, 1989Raque Food Systems, Inc.Packaging device and method
US5890349 *Feb 18, 1998Apr 6, 1999Heisler; RickMethod and apparatus for seating lids on continuously conveyed pre-formed containers
EP0741078A2 *Apr 30, 1996Nov 6, 1996JOHNSON & JOHNSON VISION PRODUCTS, INC.Packaging arrangement
EP0741078A3 *Apr 30, 1996Jun 4, 1997Johnson & Johnson Vision ProdPackaging arrangement
U.S. Classification53/329.4, 53/282
International ClassificationB65B7/16
Cooperative ClassificationB65B7/164
European ClassificationB65B7/16B1