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Publication numberUS3479024 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 18, 1969
Filing dateFeb 23, 1967
Priority dateFeb 23, 1967
Publication numberUS 3479024 A, US 3479024A, US-A-3479024, US3479024 A, US3479024A
InventorsMiller Roland E, Olson Edgar C, Piatek Robert J, Wayne Clyde D
Original AssigneeNat Dairy Prod Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for arranging articles in a row
US 3479024 A
Abstract  available in
Images(8)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 18, 1969 R. E. MILLER ETA!- 3,479,024

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR ARRANGING ARTICLES IN A ROW 8 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 23, 1967 ZO- 47 ..I?

24: cuvrez cu-rrcz Z8 Z8 Z9 Z9 {cowsesea I couveesirz j .Zizzazzturzs 47a POLAND 5. M4452 am: a A/AY/VE 506A? c. OLSON 205577 J e/Ara/z a; M; 6% mtg Nov. 18, 1969 R. E. MILLER ETAL METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR ARRANGING ARTICLES IN A ROW Filed Feb. 23, 1967 8 Sheets-Sheet 2 lift POLAND 5 MALE? 04705 0 WAY/V5 ROMETJP/ATFA Nov. 18, 1.969

Filed Feb.

R. E. MILLER ETAL 3,479,024

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR ARRANGING ARTICLES IN A ROW 23, 1967 8 Sheets-Sheet 3 n I 8 3 N L.

D a N m m S I E. E I

Ch a m 2 g I: g g 5 g 5 g 1 0 3 I0 I\ 9. Q

Hi- I I I T. In a as azzztazzs? POLAND ISM/ALE? CLYOE D. WAYNE 50642 C 0450 05537 4/. P4475! Nov. l8, 1969 R. E. MILLER ETAL METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR ARRANGING ARTICLES IN A ROW H re e :2 K m mummm n MA m w. .5 i n c s .0 r 8 N52? AOA m wwm 059 Nov. 18, 1969 R. E. MILLER ETAL 3,479,024

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR ARRANGING ARTICLES IN A ROW Filed Feb. 25, 1967 8 Sheets-Sheet 6 ML- IS) 9 L l l .Ezzazztczzzs POZAND E. M/AZE? 62705 0. NA Y/VE 064? 6. 04 so/v 205.527 flMTZX Nov. 18, 1969 R. E. MILLER ET AL 3,479,024 A METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR AHRANGING ARTICLES IN A ROW Filed Feb. 23, 1967 a Sheets-Sheet 7 mental-:5 POL/4N0 E M/LLEP CZ V05 a NA Y/VE 6064,? c. 0; saw 206567 1 /A 75% United States Patent Office 3,479,024. Patented Nov. 18, 1969 3,479,024 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR ARRANGING ARTICLES IN A ROW Roland E. Miller, Orangeville, Clyde D. Wayne, Wilmette,

Edgar C. Olson, Waukegan, and Robert J. Piatek, Chicago, Ill., assignors to National Dairy Products Corporation, Chicago, Ill., a corporation of Delaware Filed Feb. 23, 1967, Ser. No. 621,095 Int. Cl. B6511 39/02; A01 27/00; B65q 47/26 US. Cl. 270-58 24 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Method and apparatus for converging a given number of adjacent rowscf closely spaced individual units into a lesser number of rows of individual units. In moving from an adjacent row to a converged row, the units are accelerated to a velocity at least equal to the product of the given number of adjacent rows and the velocity of the individual units in the adjacent rows.

This invention relates generally to the packaging of presliced cheese and, more particularly, to an improved method and apparatus for producing an output line of individual cheese slices from a plurality of adjacent cheese ribbons. Included in the invention is an improved method and apparatus for converging a plurality of adjacent moving lines of individual cheese slices into a single output line of individual cheese slices.

Presliced cheese is a readily saleable item due to the ease with which it may be used in the preparation of food, both at home and on a commercial basis in restaurants, etc. In one type of automated system for making presliced cheese, a continuous sheet of Warm cheese is cooled by passing it over a large chilled cylindrical roll. As the sheet of cheese leaves the chilled roll, it is slit to form continuous ribbons, each of which is then guided over suitable means and through a cutting station. As the ribbons move through the cutting station, they are cut transversely of their length to form individual cheese slices which move in lines from the cutting station. The slices are then stacked and wrapped in moisture proof airtight packages, preferably by automated means.

Naturally, it is costly to provide a separate automated wrapping operation for each ribbon of cheese moving from the chill roll. Furthermore, it is possible to build automatic wrapping machines having a capacity considerably greater than that which a single ribbon of cheese moving from the cheese roll could provide. It is therefore desirable that the individual cheese slices in a plurality of rows formed by cutting a plurality of ribbons at a cutting station be converged into a single moving composite line of individual cheese slices.

Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide an improved method and apparatus for producing a single row of individual cheese slices from a plurality of adjacent cheese ribbons.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved method and apparatus for converging a plurality of adjacent input lines of individual cheese slices into a single output line of individual cheese slices.

A more general object of the invention is to provide improved cheese packaging equipment.

A more particular object of the invention is to provide a converging method and apparatus which minimizes the chance of slippage and misalignment of the individual cheese slices being converged.

A further object of the invention is to provide a method and apparatus for converging input lines of individual cheese slices into a single output line and wherein overlapping of the cheese slices in the output line is avoided.

A still further object of the invention is to provide converging apparatus including means for selecting individual slices of cheese from each of a plurality of input lines in a predetermined order, and shifting the selected slices into successive alignment with each other in the direction of movement thereof after accelerating such slices to a given output velocity.

Various other objects of the invention, and the various advantages of the invention, will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a schematic diagram of a cheese packaging system incorporating the invention;

FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of a portion of a chill roll and various elements associated therewith used in the cheese packaging system of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a perspective view of an apparatus for cutting cheese ribbons used in the system of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged sectional elevational view taken along the line 4-4 of FIGURE 3;

FIGURE 5 is a top plan view showing a preferred pattern in which the cheese ribbons are cut by the apparatus of FIGURES 3 and 4;

FIGURE 6 is a top plan view of an apparatus forming a portion of the system of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary elevational view of the apparatus of FIGURE 6;

FIGURE 8 is an enlarged sectional end view taken along the line 88 of FIGURE 7;

FIGURE 9 is an enlarged sectional end view taken along the line 99 of FIGURE 7;

FIGURE 10 is a sectional plan view taken along the line 1010 of FIGURE 7; and

FIGURE 11 through 14 are fragmentary elevational views, partially in section, illustrating successive steps in the operation of a portion of the apparatus of FIGURE 7, as viewed in the direction of the arrows 14-14 of FIG- URE 10.

Very generally, the present invention is directed to a method and apparatus for transforming a plurality of ribbons 20 of cheese into a lesser number of single file rows 21 of slices 22. In the illustrated embodiment, a continuous sheet of cheese 24 is slit to provide the ribbons 20 which are advanced in side-by-side relation to a cutter 26. The cutter transforms each of the ribbons into a row of slices 22, thereby creating advancing side-by-side rows 28 of slices equal in number to the original number of ribbons 20.

Individual slices are then selected from the multiple rows 28 in a predetermined order by a converger 29 and shifted into successive alignment with one another to form the desired lesser number of single file rows 21, these rows representing a combination of several of the ribbons 20. The single file rows 21 are then delivered to a wrapping and packaging apparatus 30. After being formed from the ribbons 20 and prior to achieving single file orientation in a composite row 21, the individual slices 22 are accelerated to a given output velocity which closely approximates the product of the number of ribbons combined into one row and the velocity of the ribbons.

In the illustrated embodiment, sixteen ribbons are combined or converged to provide four single file rows of slices. The invention is not limited, of course, to the transformation of any specific number of ribbons into a specific number of rows of slices and the particular arrangement selected is intended by way of illustration and not limitation. The following discussion will be directed principally to the convergence of eight ribbons into two single file rows, it being understood that convergence of the remaining eight ribbons is accomplished in an identical manner.

More specifically, and with reference to FIGURE 2, the sheet 24 of cheese is produced through the use of a chill roll 36 onto which molten cheese is allowed to flow and cool. The sheet is removed from the chill roll by means of a scraper 37 and passed over a takeoff roll 38 where it is slit into a plurality of ribbons by a plurality of disc blades 41 mounted on a suitable axle 39. After being cut, the individual ribbons are passed over a guide roll 42 supported by a pair of arms 43, only one of which is shown in FIGURE 2.

When a long chill roll is utilized and, thus, a large number of cheese ribbons are produced, it has been found convenient to employ at least two automatic wrapping and packaging machines 30 and to divide the plurality of cheese ribbons into several groups, each group serving a corresponding one of the wrapping machines. Space considerations are often such that the wrapping machines must be spaced laterally from each other or from a position in direct alignment with the ribbons as they leave the takeoff roll 38. In order to effect a spatial separation of the plurality of adjacent ribbons into a number of groups, the ribbons are first collated to move them in a stack parallel with the' axis of the chill roll, and then are decollated in separate groups having the desired spacing.

The collating operation is performed by a plurality of flanged collator rollers 44 which are mounted for rotation about axes which are disposed to effect a 90 twist in each of the cheese ribbons. A decollator conveyor 45 is disposed beneath the collator rollers 44 and the ribbons are stacked one upon the other on this conveyor as they leave the rollers and are moved in a direction parallel to the axes of the chill roll 36 and the takeoff roll 38.

Decollating of the stacked ribbons carried on the decollator conveyor 45 may be accomplished in groups at desired positions along the path of the decollator conveyor. In FIGURE 1, the sixteen ribbons formed are decollated in groups of eight in order to feed two wrapping machines 30. FIGURE 2 is an enlarged view in perspective of the decollating of eight of the cheese ribbons. Decollating is accomplished by means of a plurality of flanged decollator rollers 46 which have axes parallel to the axes of the collator rollers 44. The decollator rollers are disposed beneath the moving stack of cheese ribbons just past the end of the decollator conveyor 45. The ribbons are collated or stacked with each successive ribbon from right to left being supported on top of the next preceding ribbon; the stack of ribbons is decollated by diverting the ribbons one at a time from the bottom of the stack. Thus, the first ribbon into the stack is the first out of the stack.

After passing over and around a given one of the decollator rolls 46, the lowermost cheese ribbon of the stack is directed downwardly, twisted approximately 90, and guided around one of a plurality of horizontal flanged rollers 47 disposed in axial alignment with each other and supported on a common shaft. After passing around a horizontal roller 47, each of the cheese ribbons engages and is supported on a horizontal moving decollator discharge conveyor 47a, only a portion of which is shown in the drawings (FIGURE 2). Thus, the cheese ribbons, as they move on the discharge conveyor 47a, are disposed adjacent each other, are coplanar, and are moving at the same generally constant speed. The discharge conveyor 47a delivers the ribbons to a cutter conveyor 48 which in turn delivers cut slices 22 to the converger 29.

The cutter conveyor 48 (FIGURE 3) operates in a timed relationship with the decollator discharge conveyor 47a, with the cutter 26, and with the converger 29 so that the size of the slices and their removal from the conveyor may be accurately controlled. The conveyor 48 comprises a plurality of continuous timing "belts 49 provided with transversely extending ribs 50 and grooves 51 on their under surface. Alternate belts 49a are supported at their forward ends by splined pulleys 65 rotatably car- .4 ried individually on the forward ends of brackets 67. The remaining belts 49b are supported at their forward ends by splined pulleys (not shown) carried on a shaft 69. The shaft 69 is rotatably mounted somewhat rearwardly of the rollers 65 so that the belts 49b terminate rearwardly of the termination of the belts 49a. The earlier termination of the belts 49b provides gaps 71 intermediate the forward ends of the belts 49a to facilitate the removal of the cheese slices from the belts, as will become apparent shortly.

As will be noted from FIGURE 3, the ribbons 20, prior to being cut, are supported so as to span the belts 49b, with an edge portion of each ribbon resting upon the edge portion of each of two belts 49a. This relationship between the cheese and the belts is preserved after the ribbons are cut. Thus, each of the slices 22 of the rows 28 also spans a belt 49b and is supported at its side edges by each of a pair of the belts 49a. When the cheese slices reach the area where the belts 4% have terminated, therefore, they span the gaps 71 for a brief duration, enabling them to be engaged from beneath by a portion of the converger 29, as hereinafter described.

The ribbons 20 are moved by the cutter conveyor 48 to and past the cutter 26. The cutter 26 comprises (FIG. 3) a plurality of cylindrical sections 73 of substantially the same diameter keyed to a common drive shaft 75 journalled between two upright plates 77 attached to opposite walls of a frame 79 of the machine. A gear 81 is drivingly secured on the drive shaft 75 and is maintained in engagement with an idler gear 83 mounted on an idler shaft 85. The idler shaft 85 is journalled in one of the plates 77 and carries a sprocket 87 connected by means of a chain 89 to a sprocket 91 keyed to the spindle 93 of a gear box 94 suitably mounted, by means not illustrated, on the frame 79 of the machine. A motor (not shown) is drivingly connected to the gear box 94. Preferably, the motor which drives the gear box 94 is also drivingly connected to the conveyor 48, either through the gear box 94 or otherwise so that the same motor drives both the conveyor 48 and the cutter 26, thereby insuring synchronization between the two.

Each of the cylindrical sections 73 of the cutter 26 carries a plurality of radially directed blades 95 spaced circumferentially about the periphery thereof. As may be seen in FIGURE 4, the blades 95 are secured in their respective cylindrical sections 73 by means of mounting blocks 97 which fit is suitable recessess 99 formed in the surface of the sections. The blocks 97 are secured to the section by means of bolts 101. Each of the recesses 99 has an inclined wall therein and, upon tightening of each of the bolts the block 97 associated therewith is forced against the blade. This wedges the blade against the wall of the recess opposite the inclined wall and holds the blade securely in place within the recess.

The. circumferential spacing of the outer ends of the blades 95 about their respective cylindrical sections 73 corresponds to the desired length of the individual cheese silces. In the drawings, four blades are shown about the circumference of each section, but it is to be understood that variations are possible within the scope of the invention. The tips of each of the blades 95 are sharpened and the motor 63 drives the shaft 75 such that the tangential velocity of the tips equals the linear velocity of the cheeseribbons 20* moving beneath. At the lower extent of their arcuate travel, the blades cooperate with the belts 49 of the cutter conveyor 48 to cut the ribbons transversely to form the individual cheese slices. Because the blades are moving in the same direction and at the same speed as the ribbons, there is no bunching or tearing of the cheese during the cutting process. In fact, the cheese ribbons are under a slight tension prior to being cut. This tension is relaxed as the ribbons are cut, permitting a slight shrinkage of each individual slice and creating a slight gap 103 between each slice and the immediately preceding and succeeding slices (FIG. 3).

Referring to FIGURE 5, it will be observed that the individual slices of cheese leaving the cutter 26 are in staggered positions, that is, not directly abreast of each other, for reasons subsequently explained in connection with the operation of the converger 29. More specifically,

the ribbons are cut so that each transverse cut of any one ribbon is spaced longitudinally from rather than aligned with the transverse cuts of an adjacent ribbon. This longitudinal spacing is approximately equal to the quotient of the distance between cuts in any one strip divided by the given number of strips. The slices are aligned in pairs spaced transversely of the direction of movement, each pair being comprised of one slice from one of the four lines toward the left, and of one slice from one of the four lines to the right when considering the slices produced from eight ribbons. In this manner, two slices are presented for pickup by the converger at the same time. Thus, the slices shown in FIGURE 5 and designated 221: through 22h are typical of those formed by a fraction of a revolution of the cutter shaft 75. It will be seen that slices 22a and 22g are in transverse alignment, as are slices 22b and 22 22c and 22e, and slice 22d and a slice 22h of a succeeding set. This specific arrangement has been found to be preferable in that it avoids interference between the slices as they are picked up by the converger.

The slices 22 are delivered by the cutter conveyor 48 to the converger 29, the basic function of which is to converge or combine each set of four adjacent horizontal input lines of cheese slices 28 into a single output line 21 of individual cheese slices. In the illustrated apparatus, the converger combines two groups of four input lines into two single output lines, one for each group.

The particular structure of the converger is illustrated in FIGURES 6 through 10. Some elements in these figures are broken away or left out for clarity.

The converger includes a plurality of cheese-carrying elements or pickers 105, each of which is adapted to carry an individual cheese slice 22. In FIGURES 7 and 8, the details of the pickers includes a pair of projecting prongs 107 having flattened tips or shelves 109 for contacting the underside of the cheese slice which it supports. The width of the pickers at the prongs is such as will enable the prongs to fit into the gaps 71 intermediate the belts 49a and engage the cheese slices from beneath. The prongs extend from a tubular body 111 of rectangular external and internal cross section, and may be welded to the body 111 or may be formed integral therewith in a casting. Plastichas been found to be a suitable material from which the pickers can be fabricated.

The pickers 105 are supported on a plurality of cross bars 113, each of which carries two pickers. The cross bars 113 are of rectangular cross section and extend through the tubular bodies 111 of the pickers. The tubular bodies are free to slide longitudinally along the cross bars 113 but, because of the rectangular mating cross sections of the pickers and cross bars, the pickers will turn when the cross bars are rotated.

Each of the cross bars carries a pivot element 115 and 117, respectively, at its opposite ends. Basically, the pivot elements cmprise a cylindrical body with a pair of spaced flanges on each end thereof. The pivot elements 115 are all rotatably mounted intermediate the links of a traveling conveyor chain 119. Similarly, the pivot elements 117 are all rotatably mounted intermediate the links of a traveling conveyor chain 121. (In FIGURES 610, parts of the chains 119 and 121 are broken away to show sprockets 123 and 125, discussed below, by which they are supported.) The chains are of identical size and the spacing of the pivot elements 115 and 117 therealong is such that the cross bars extend between the chains perpendicularly thereof and are evenly spaced from each other. The cross bars move with the chains and, because of the pivot elements 115 and 117, are free to rotate with respect thereto.

In order to guide and drive the two chains 119 and 121 simultaneously, four sprockets 123, 125, 127 and 129 are provided, each of which have teeth which drivingly engage one of the chains. Thus, the two sprockets 123 and 127 engage the chain 119, whereas the two sprockets 125 and 129 engage the chain 117. The sprockets 123 and 125 are mounted on a drive shaft 131 near the opposite ends thereof, and the sprockets 127 and 129 are mounted on an idler shaft 133 near its opposite ends. The shafts 131 and 133 are suitably journalled at their ends in the frame 79. Driving torque is transmitted to the drive shaft 131 through a drive sprocket or gear 135 keyed to the shaft near the sprocket 123. The drive sprocket or gear 135 is drivingly connected to an output shaft of a gear box (not shown) driven by the motor which also powers the cutter 26 and cutter conveyor 48. Upon rotation of the drive shaft 131, the sprockets 123 through 129 and the conveyor chains 119 and 121 are simultaneously driven so that the cross bars 113 move parallel with each other and with the chains, forming a continuous conveyor for carrying the pickers 105. Two chains tracks 137 (FIGS. 8 and 9) are supported, by means subsequently explained, between the sprockets 123-129 and serve to support and guide the upper runs of the chains, as they pass between the sprockets, by engaging the undersides of the chains.

The position of the pickers 105 is regulated both as to the orientation of the shelves 109 of the prongs 107 With respect to the horizontal and as to the position of the pickers on the cross bars 113 upon which they are slidably mounted. Movement of the pickers along the cross bars 113 initially places them in position to engage from beneath the individual slices of cheese delivered by the cutter conveyor 48 and subsequently causes them to converge the several input lines 28 of cheese slices into a pair of output lines 21. Control over the orientation of the pickers causes the shelves 109 to lie in a horizontal plane from immediately prior to the pickup of the cheese slice until after the slice has been removed from the picker thereby minimizing shifting movement of the slice on the shelf.

Referring first to the orientation of the pickers, the

pickup of the cheese slices by the pickers occurs while the pickers are moving in an arcuate ascending path, i.e., at the point of travel of the pickers at which the cross bars carrying them are passing around the sprockets 127 and 129. Normally during such movement, the flat sliceengaging surface 109 of the prongs 107 would be inclined relative to the horizontal. However, such a disposition of the surface would not be conducive to an orderly pickup of the slices. Accordingly, the pickers are guided in their movement so that the fiat upper surface of the prongs remains generally horizontal as the picker moves upwardly from beneath the slice and engages the slice and until the slice is removed from the surface 109.

I In this regard, a cam track or groove 139 in the shape of a closed loop (FIG. 7) is provided in a vertical plate 141 which is secured to one wall of the frame 79 of the machine. Each of the pivot elements 117 of the cross arms 113 has an arm 143 keyed thereto on the opposite side of the chain 119 from the pickers. The arms extend inwardly toward the camming groove 139 and terminate adjacent thereto. Each of the arms carries a cam follower roller 145 which is received in the groove and moves therein as the chain 117 moves about the sprockets 125 and 129. The arms 143, being keyed to their respective pivot elements 117, control the rotative orientation of the cross bars 113 according to the contour or configuration of the groove 139. Due to the mutual rectangular cross sections of the pickers 105 and the cross bars 113, the position of the arms 143 will also regulate the rotative orientation of the prongs 107 and shelves 109 on the pickers with respect to the horizontal.

The effect of the camming groove 139 on the position of the pickers 105 and, more particularly, on the shelves 109 thereon may be seen best in FIGURE 7. As viewed in that figure, the movement of the pickers 105 is clock- Wise, approaching the slices 22 in an arcuate path from underneath, The camming groove 139 is shaped such that the position of the shelves 109 on the pickers will be as shown in phantom at the left-hand edge of the figure. Just prior to and following passage of the pickers 105 between the belts 49a of the cutter conveyor 48, the shelves 109 are maintained in a horizontal position. Thus, they evenly engage the underside of the cheese slices and lift them from the conveyor. The shelves are maintained in a horizontal disposition until they have deposited the cheese slices on an output conveyor 147 as will be subsequently described.

In order for the converger to carry away all of the cheese slices delivered to it from the plurality of input lines which it services, the pickers are moved at a velocity which is several times greater than the input velocity of the ribbons 20. The order of magnitude by which the output velocity is greater than this input velocity preferably corresponds at least to the number of ribbons being converged into a single row. In the illustrated apparatus, four input lines are being converged into a single output line and, consequently, the pickers 105 travel at a speed which is about four times that of the ribbons 20. By making the output velocity at least this magnitude, the slices in the output line will not overlap but will be spaced to the same degree as when they are cut. They are therefore easily handled by the wrapping machine 30. This assumes, of course, that approximately the same spacing is desired between the slices in the output row as in the input rows. It may be desirable to effect a greater spacing between the slices in the output row to facilitate wrapping, in which case the output velocity would be an even greater multiple of the input velocity. It would be possible, of course, to accelerate the slices in two stages through the use of an intermediate conveyor so that the acceleration imparted by the picker would be less than the product of the number of ribbons and their input velocity, although the total acceleration would remain the same. In the illustrated embodiment, a unit is removed from each row in a predetermined repeating sequence, each selection being made at a time interval which approximates the quotient of the time elapsing while one unit travels a distance equal to its own length divided by the number of rows of units being condensed into a single row.

Transfer of cheese slices between the cutter conveyor 48 and the converger pickers 105 could conceivably cause slippage or disorientation of the cheese slices with respect to each other and their direction of movement since the pickers are moving at a much greater speed than the conveyor, and since the change in speed of the cheese slice occurs over a relatively short interval of time, necessitating a rapid acceleration of the slice. Where the cheese slices are subsequently to pass into a Wrapping machine, this misalignment could prevent proper wrapping of the cheese slices. Furthermore, such misalignment may be severe enough that the cheese slices could topple into the machinery and become destroyed.

The converger 29 of the present invention avoids this problem by effecting engagement between the cheese slice and the picker at that point in the travel of the picker in which it has a horizontal velocity component which is equal to the speed of the cutter conveyor and a resultant speed equal to the desired ultimate speed of the slice. The acceleration of the slice is therefore essentially entirely vertical, causing the slice to bear down upon the shelf 109 of the picker but creating no horizontal forces which could cause the slice to shift on the shelf.

In determining the precise location of this ideal point of transfer, it will be recalled that the ultimate velocity of the cheese slices is at least equal to the product of the velocity of the cheese ribbons and the number of ribbons. This ultimate velocity has a horizontal component equal to the velocity of the input conveyors, i.e., the velocity of the ribbons, when the direction of the ultimate or resultant velocity is at an angle to the horizontal whose cosine is equal to the ratio of the velocity of the ribbons to the desired ultimate velocity. Since the resultant velocity is a tangential velocity as the pickers move in a curved path at the entry end of the converger, the desired point is that point at which a tangent to this path is at the abovementioned angle to the horizontal. The path, of course, is the path of the cross bars 113 on which the pickers are supported. If a slightly greater ultimate velocity is de sired, a slightly greater angle will be used.

EXAMPLE Four ribbons are delivered to an input conveyor which is moving at a velocity of 500 in./ min. The ribbons are cut into slices which move at the same velocity. The slices are converged into a single row of slices moving at a velocity of 2000 in./min. The ratio of the initial velocity of the ribbons (500 in./min.) to the ultimate velocity of the slices (2000 in./min.) is 0.250, which is the cosine of 755. The pickup point, therefore, lies approximately on a line drawn through the point where a tangent to the arcuate path of the cross bars is at an angle of 75.5 to the horizontal. The line drawn through this point is at the complementary angle of 14.5 to the horizontal.

Thus, at the instant each cheese slice is picked olf the cutter conveyor 48 by the pickers 105, the horizontal velocity of the conveyor and the horizontal velocity of the shelves 109 of the pickers will be the same. As the pickers complete their arcuate path and begin moving only horizontally, the horizontal velocity of the pickers and, hence, the cheese slices carried thereby will have accelerated from the velocity of the cutter conveyor to the velocity of the output conveyor 147.

As the pickers move through their arcuate paths to engage and lift the cheese slices from the input conveyors, they are maintained in alignment with the gaps 71 between the conveyor belts 49a such that the prongs 107 on the pickers will pass into the gaps. This alignment is accomplished by a plurality of guides 149 (see FIGURE 8) which are mounted on a cylindrical drum 151 coaxial with the sprockets 127 and 129. The drum 151 is mounted on the shaft 133 and is spaced from the sprockets 127 and 129 by spacer bushings 153. Each of the guides 149 includes a pair of spaced apart rectangular sides which extend radially outwardly from a web 156 secured to the drum 151. The guides are positioned in a predetermined pattern about the periphery of the drum in accordance with the order and position of the respective pickers 105 as they are returned to the input conveyor end of the converger, as will be explained subsequently.

In order to effect engagement between the pickers 105 and the guides 149, each picker is provided with a forwardly extending appendage 158 (FIGS. 11-14) on which is mounted a cam follower Wheel 157. The spacing of the rectangular sides 155' on the guides 149 is such as to accommodate the cam follower wheel 157 of the pickers. The underside of each picker is provided in addition with a downwardly extending appendage 158 which carries a pair of spaced cam follower wheels 159 mounted for rotation about axes normal to the axis of the cross bar 113 on which the picker is carried. As the drum 151 rotates, at the same angular velocity as the sprockets 127 and 129, the guides 149 move with the pickers 105 as the links of the chains 119 and 121 to which they are coupled are passed around the sprockets. The walls or sides 155 prevent movement of the pickers 105 along the cross bars 113 upon which they are slidably mounted, and thereby proper alignment of the pickers with respect to the gaps 71 between the conveyor belts 49a is maintained. The precise manner in which each of the pickers is aligned with the proper one of the guides 149 on drum 151 as the pickers return from the output conveyor end of the converger will be explained in detail subsequently.

The converger includes a system of cams for guiding the pickers 105 from their diverged positions at the cutter conveyor 48 into single file alignment in the direction of movement. This enables the pickers to deposit the cheese slices on the output conveyor 147 in a single line. The convergence cam system includes a pair of cross bars 161 (FIGS. 7 and 8) which are mounted to extend between opposite walls of the machine frame 79 by flanges 163. A pair of mounting brackets 165 are attached to each of the two bars 161 toward the ends thereof and support eight convergence cam tracks 169, each of which consists of a wide metal strip fastened on its edge to the top surface of the brackets 165. The cam tracks 169 are received intermediate the cam wheels 159 of the pickers and are shaped to displace the pickers 105 along the cross bars 113 to which they are slidably fastened, and to thereby cause the pickers to converge into a single line moving toward the output conveyor. As may be seen in both FIGURES 6 and 7, the cam tracks overhang the brackets 165 toward the drum 151 and approach the periphery of the drum closely.

As the guides 149 on the drum 151 drop away from the pickers 105 at the beginning of the horizontal movement of the pickers between the two ends of the converger, one of the cam wheels 159 on each of the pickers engages the side of one of the cam tracks 169. The cam tracks at this end are spread out across the width of the converger in order to receive pickers from each of the guides 149 on the drum. As the chains 119 and 121 continue to move the pickers toward the output conveyor, the convergence cam tracks guide each of the pickers into alignment with one of two output lines. The height of the cam tracks varies, the two middle tracks in each group of four being higher than the outer two. This is to allow for clearance of the other of the cam wheels 159, the latter being mounted at varying levels for selection of the pickers as they are diverged in their return path, as explained below.

Because of the staggered cut of the cheese slices, as explained previously in connection with the cutter 26, and because of the positioning of the pickers and the horizontal acceleration thereof, the apparatus illustrated converges two groups of four input lines each of individual cheese slices into two output lines, with each of the two pickers on one of the cross bars 113 serving a different output line. The cam wheels 159 on the pickers 105 are spaced from each other such that, at the sharpest angle of the convergence cam track, bo h rollers will contact the cam track and roll against the surface thereof to prevent binding.

After moving from the input end of the converger 29 at which the cheese slices are picked up by the pickers 105, the pickers move toward the output end of the converger where the individual slices 22, which are now moving in two output lines 21, each of which represents the total slices in four input lines 28, are deposited upon the output conveyor 147. The output conveyor (FIGS. 6 and 7), like the cutter conveyor 48, is constructed so as to provide spaced conveyor sections so as to define gaps 148 which permit the pickers to pass through the gaps while depositing the slices on the conveyor, as hereinafter described. The upper level of the output conveyors is very slightly below that of the highest level of the shelves 109 of the pickers 105. Thus, as the pickers pass through the gaps 148 of the output conveyors 147, the cheese slice carried on each picker moves over the output conveyor, straddling the gap. As the chains 119 and 121 pass around the sprockets 123 and 125, the pickers drop through the gap so that each cheese slice becomes deposited on and entirely supported by the conveyor. The output conveyor is caused to travel at the speed of the pickers and there is no change in the velocity of the slices.

In order to maintain the position of the pickers 105 so that they remain within the gaps of the output conveyors 147 after the convergence cam tracks 169 terminate, and so that they arrive at a diverging station in a predetermined position, a pair of flanged wheels 173 and 175 are provided and are mounted on the drive shaft 131 (FIGS. 6, 7 and 9). The flanged wheels rotate with the shaft 131 and, hence, with the sprockets 123 and 125. Each of the wheels is in alignment with one of the output lines 21, each Wheel servicing a converged group of four input lines 28. As the pickers approach the periphery of the wheels 173 and 175, the wheel flanges pass on either side of one of the rollers 157 on the undersides of the picker. The particular roller which is guided varies in suc ceeding pairs of pickers, as explained below, and by guid ing the roller therein between the flanges of the wheel, the picker 105 is precisely positioned on the cross bar 113 upon which it is mounted.

Provision is made for maintaining alignment of the pickers with the flanged wheels after the cam tracks terminate. This is accomplished by guide rails 177 supported on brackets 179 which, in turn, are bolted to further brackets 181. The brackets 181 extend from the previously referred to brackets which support the cam tracks 169, and may be welded to such brackets. As may be seen in FIGURE 9, the rails are positioned to contact opposite ends of the body 111 of each picker 105 to prevent it from moving along the cross bar 113 on which it is secured.

After depositing the cheese slices on the output conveyors, the pickers are returned to the input conveyors and to their diverged position in order to once again pick up the incoming lines of cheese slices. The cams for accomplishing the divergence of the pickers are supported on a cam support plate 183, which is mounted to a pair of cross bars 185 by means of four brackets 187, two on each cross bar. Each of the cross bars 185 is mounted to the frame 79 by flanges 189 and extends between the two walls of the frame at a location betlween the sprockets 123-129 driving the chains 119 and 121. The lower portions of the chains between the sprockets are kept from sagging by two chain tracks 191 supported on brackets 193 attached to the frame 79.

Each successive picker, as it leaves the area of guidance by one of the wheels 173 and 175, is diverged to a different position with respect to the input conveyors. The return cam guidance system provided is designed to select the proper picker for each of several divergence cam tracks 195. Referring particularly to FIGURES 11 through 14, it may be seen how the apparatus selects each of four immediately successive pickers to guide same along a different one of the cam tracks as the pickers leave the guide wheel 173 and begin their return movement in the direction of the cutter conveyor 48. By comparing the various figures, it will be seen that the two appendages 158 on the pickers 105 vary in their length. Thus, as the picker in FIGURE 11 leaves the wheel 173, the wheel 159 furthest to the right will engage the cam track 195d and be diverted along this cam track. As will be noted in FIGURE 10, the forward end of the track 1950, i.e., the end nearest the output end of the converger, is located far enough rearwardly of the forward end of the cam track 195d to avoid interference between the wheel furthest to the left (FIG. 11) and the track 195a.

The picker which is immediately behind the one illustrated in FIGURE 11, shown in FIGURE 12, has a sufliciently short right-hand appendage 158 to permit the right hand wheel 159 thereon to ass under the cam track 195d. Thus, divergence of the picker of FIGURE 12 will not occur until the right-hand one of the wheels 159 strikes the surface of the cam track 195c. The cam track 195c projects a sufficient distance from the support plate 183to engage the wheel 159 furthest to the left.

In so far as the picker shown in FIGURE 13 is concerned, the appendage 158 is on the left side of the body 111. Furthermore, the left-hand portion of the appendage is sufliciently short to permit the wheel 159 thereon to clear the cam track 195a. As a result, divergence of the picker of FIGURE 13 will not occur until the right hand wheel 159 strikes the cam track 19511, the latter projecting a suflicient distance from the support plate 183. Finally, in the picker shown in FIGURE 14, the wheels 159 are of equal elevation and the left-hand wheel 159 is guided by the cam track 195a. As a result, when the l 1 picker of FIGURE 14 leaves the guide wheel 173, the wheel 159 on the left-hand side will strike the surface of the cam track 195a to be guided thereby. Location of the forward end of the track 195b rearwardly of the forward end of the track 195a prevents interference between the track 195k and the right-hand roller 159.

Returning now to FIGURE 10, it will be seen that the 1 plan configuration of the cam tracks 195 is such that the pickers will be guided to four positions spaced along one-half of the axial length of the drum 151. Upon returning to the drum in these positions, the guides 149, which are suitably positioned on the drum, will guide the pickers between the appropriate belts of the cutter conveyor 48. The cam tracks 195e through 195g are of a similar configuration to the four cam tracks just described, and the pickers being guided by the wheel 175 will be returned to these cam tracks in the same manner as just described.

Referring now more specifically to the construction of the output conveyor 147, as illustrated in FIGURES 6 and 7, it will be seen that the conveyor comprises a frame which includes two pair of horizontally spaced vertically arranged side plates 197. Each plate carries a stud shaft 199 adjacent its rearward end, with each stud shaft projecting inwardly toward the opposite plate of the pair. Each stud shaft 199 has rotatably mounted on it a sprocket 201. In addition, a shaft (not shown) extends between each pair of plates forwardly of the shafts 199 and carries apair of sprockets (not shown), each of which is aligned with a sprocket of a stud shaft 199. The sprockets carry a chain to which are attached bars 203 which define a flat surface for receiving the cheese slices 28. The rearward shaft also carries a drive sprocket (not shown) suitably connected to a power source for driving of the shaft and associated chain.

Thus, between each pair of plates 197 two bar conveyors 205 are provided, these conveyors being horizontally spaced a sufficient distance to permit passage of the pickers therebetween. As the picker moves downwardly through the gap between the conveyors 205, the lateral edge portions of the slices which overhang the lateral edges of the pickers, engage the bar conveyor and are supported thereby.

In order that the central portion of the slice deposited by the pickers may also be supported, a plate 197 of each pair carries a bracket'207 having mounted on it a rearwardly extending arm which carries at its rearward end a rotatably mounted pulley 209. A similar pulley 211 is mounted rearwardly of the pulley 209 on a shaft 213 which carries a sprocket 215 for imparting rotation to the shaft through a suitable power source. The pulleys 209 and 211 carry an O-ring belt 217 of very narrow diameter which, together with the arm of the bracket 207, is narrow enough to pass between the prongs 107 of the pickers 105 as the pickers in turn pass between the conveyors 205. Thus, the central portion of the slice is supported by the O-ring belt 217.

To review the operation of the apparatus from the beginning, and in connection with the formation of a single output line 21 of individual cheese slices 22, the cheese leavng the chill roll 36 is cut into ribbons by the blades 41. The ribbons of cheese 20 are collated into a stack by the collator rollers 44. Upon reaching the decollator rollers 46, the ribbons are peeled off and carried on the flat cutter conveyor 48 in adjacent horizontal relationship. The cutter 26 cuts the ribbons transversely to form a plurality of slices of cheese. These cheese slices are carried in lines, referred to herein as input lines 28, by the cutter conveyor to the converger 29.

The cheese slices of four of the input lines are picked up by the converger 29 and are converged into a single output line which is moving at a velocity which is four times that of the ribbons 20. This is accomplished by a plurality of pickers 105 which pick up cheese slices having a horizontal velocity which is the same as the velocity of the cutter conveyor 48, accelerate them to the velocity of the output conveyors 147, and move them into a single line. The converger then transfers the cheese slices to the output conveyor 147 which carries the cheese on to a wrapping and packaging machine 30. Thus, the four ribbons 20 are formed into four input lines 28 of individual cheese slices 22, and then are converged into a single output line 21 of individual cheese slices, all automatically.

It may therefore be seen that the invention provides an improved method and apparatus for producing an output line of individual cheese slices from a plurality of adjacent cheese ribbons. The invention also provides an improved method and apparatus for converging a plurality of adjacent moving lines of individual cheese slices into a single output line of individual cheese slices. The spacing between the cheese slices in the output line is such as to prevent overlap and the quantity of cheese slices being conveyed by an output line is the same as the total quantity of the converged input lines.

Various other embodiments and modifications thereof in addition to those shown and described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the foregoing description. For example, it should be clear that the invention is not limited to the handling of cheese and may be equally efl ective in the conversion of strips of various other materials into a single file row of units. Such other embodiments and modifications thereof are intended to fall within the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A method of producing a single file row of individual units from a given number of adjacent strips moving in a given direction at a generally constant velocity, which method comprises cutting each of the moving strips transversely at a first station to form a given number of advancing adjacent rows of individual units, longitudinally moving the adjacent rows from the first station to a second station, selecting units from each of the rows in a predetermined order at the second station and shifting said selected units into successive longitudinal alignment with each other, and accelerating said units after the cutting of the strips and before the aligning of the individual units to a velocity at least equal to the product of the given number of strips and the velocity of the strips.

2. A method in accordance with claim 1 wherein the transverse cuts in the advancing strips are made so that each cut in each strip is spaced longitudinally relative to the cuts in the other strips, thereby causing the unit-s to arrive at the second station one at a time at predetermined time intervals, and wherein the units are selected in the order of their arrival at the second station.

3. A method in accordance with claim 2 wherein the strips are cut so that the leading edges of adjacent strips in adjacent rows are initially separated longitudinally by a distance approximating the quotient of the distance between cuts in any one strip divided by said given number of strips.

4. A method of converging a given number of adjacent rows of closely spaced individual units into a single row of individual units, comprising selecting individual units from each of the rows in a predetermined order at a first station, accelerating said selected units to a velocity in the direction of movement of the units at least equal to the product of the given number of rows and the velocity of the individual units in the rows, and shifting said selected units into successive alignment with each other while maintaining the velocity to which they were accelerated.

5. A method in accordance with claim 1 wherein the predetermined order of selection is one unit from each line in repeating sequence, and wherein selection of the units is made at a time interval which approximates the quotient of the time elapsing while one unit travels a distance equal to its own length divided by said given number of rows of units.

6. A method in accordance with claim 1 wherein the units are slices which lie in substantially horizontal planes during their movement.

7. A method in accordance with claim 1 wherein the individual units are moved in an arcuate vertically ascendin'g path upon selection at the first station so that the acceleration of the units is initially essentially entirely vertical but ultimately horizontal.

8. A method in accordance with claim 1 wherein the individual units are selected by elements moving through an arcuate vertically ascending path, and wherein the point of selection along the path is that point at which a line tangent to the path forms an angle with respect to the horizontal whose cosine is equal to the ratio of the forward velocity of the units to the resultant of the forward and vertical velocities of the element.

9. An apparatus for producing a single file row of individual units from a given number'of adjacent strips, which apparatus comprises means for moving the strips longitudinally through a first station to a second station at a generally constant velocity, cutter means for cutting each of the moving strips transversely at the first station to form a given number of advancing adjacent rows of individual units, means for selecting individual units from each of the rows in a predetermined order at the second station and for shifting the selected units into successive alignment with each other in the direction of movement thereof, and means for accelerating the units after the cutting of the strips and before the aligning of the individual units to a velocity equal to the product of the given number of strips and the velocity of the strips.

10. An apparatus for converging a given number of adjacent rows of closely spaced individual units into a single file row of individual units, said apparatus comprising means for selecting individual units from each of the rows in a predetermined order at a first station and for accelerating said selected units to a velocity in the direction of movement of the units while moving such selected units to a second station, the velocity of the units after acceleration being at least equal to the product of the given number of rows and the initial velocity of the strips, and means for shifting the selected units into successive alignment with each other in the direction of movement thereof.

11. An apparatus in accordance with claim 9 wherein said selecting and accelerating means comprises a conveyor having a plurality of elements thereon adapted to engage the units, said conveyor being constructed to move said elements thereon through an arcuate path such that a tangent thereto at the point of selection is approximately at an angle with respect to the direction of movement of the input lines whose cosine is equal to the ratio of the forward velocity of the units to the resultant of the forward and vertical velocities of each of the elements.

12. Apparatus in accordance with claim 9 wherein said selecting and accelerating means comprises a conveyor having a plurality of elements thereon adapted to engage the units, said elements being carried by said conveyor at longitudinally spaced intervals relative to each other in a manner corresponding to the predetermined order of selection.

13. Apparatus in accordance with claim 12 wherein said elements are movable on said conveyor transversely of the direction of their acceleration, and wherein said shifting means comprise a plurality of cams for moving said elements into successive alignment with each other in the direction of movement of said conveyor.

14. An apparatus for converging a plurality of adjacent coplanar moving rows of individual units into a single moving row of individual units, said apparatus comprising an input conveyor for carrying a plurality of adjacent rows of individual units, an output conveyor adapted to move the single row of individual units in the same direction as said input conveyor at a speed which is substantially greater than the speed of said input conveyor, and means intermediate said input and output conveyors for engaging and carrying the units from said input conveyor to said output conveyor in the same direction as the movement of said input and output conveyors while accelerating the units to a velocity at least equal to the product of the given number of rows of individual units on the input conveyor and the velocity of the individual units on the said input conveyor, said means including a converger conveyor having a plurality of transversely movable elements thereon for engaging and carrying the units and cam means for moving said elements from positions aligned with and adjacent to respective moving rows of units on said input conveyor to a position aligned with and adjacent to said single moving line of units on said output conveyor.

15. Apparatus in accordance with claim 14, wherein the units are delivered directly to said output conveyor by said converger conveyor, wherein means are provided for moving said converger conveyor elements at the speed of said output conveyor in the direction of movement thereof at the time the units are delivered to said output conveyor, wherein said converger conveyor is provided with a plurality of bars moving therewith and extending transversely of the direction of movement of said output conveyor, wherein said elements are slidably supported on said bars, and wherein said cam means are adapted to engage and slide said elements along said bars.

16. An apparatus in accordance with claim 14, wherein said input conveyor comprises a plurality of spaced input conveyor sections adapted to support the units with such units straddling the spaces between said spaced sections, and wherein said elements include portions adapted to pass between said sections and engage the units from beneath.

17. An apparatus in accordance with claim 9 wherein said selecting means comprises a plurality of elements carried by a moving conveyor along an endless path, each of said elements defining a supporting surface adapted to engage the lower surface of a unit, said conveyor being adapted to move said elements through an arcuate path in which said supporting surface is brought into engagement with a unit from beneath, and wherein means are provided for maintaining said supporting surface generally horizontal from immediately prior to its engagement of the unit until after the removal of the unit therefrom, including during its movement along the latter portion of said arcuate path.

18. Apparatus in accordance with claim 17, wherein said means for maintaining said supporting surfaces of said elements generally horizontal comprises bars for supporting said elements and to which said elements are keyed, a cam track loop lying in a plane which is substantially perpendicular to the plane of the arcuate path of said elements, and a plurality of arms each rigidly secured to one of said bars for turning same, said arms each having a cam follower secured thereto and adapted to follow said cam track loop.

19. An apparatus in accordance with claim 9, wherein said cutter comprises an element rotatable about a horizontal axis and cutter blades extending from said element generally radially of said axis, an equal number of cutter blades being provided for each of said strips, each of said blades being aligned with one of said strips, each of said cutter blades being spaced circumferentially from an immediately adjacent cutter blade by an angle equal to the quotient of 360 divided by the total number of blades.

20. An apparatus in accordance with claim 13, wherein sets of said elements are provided, each set including one element for each of said strips, and wherein a cam is provided for each element to guide said element into alignment with a predetermined row of individual units 15 and then shift it into alignment with each of the other elements to form a single row.

21. An apparatus in accordance with claim 19, wherein means are provided to automatically associate each element with a preselected cam track for each cycle of operation.

22. An apparatus in accordance with claim 20, Wherein said means comprises a cam follower on each of said elements, said cam followers being arranged at different locations on each of said elements, each of said locations corresponding to the location of one of said cam tracks.

23. An apparatus in accordance with claim 12 wherein said elements travel in a closed path from a receiving station, past a delivery station, and back to the receiving station, wherein each of said elements includes a bifurcated arm providing prongs arranged in side-by-side order in a direction transverse to the unit flow, and wherein a takeoff conveyor is provided to receive units from said elements, said take 01f conveyor including a narrow section adapted to pass between said arm segments and engage References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 4/1963 Morton et a1. l9832 X 9/1966 Disbrow et a1 27058 EUGENE R. CAPOZIO, Primary Examiner PAUL V. WILLIAMS, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3084783 *Oct 4, 1960Apr 9, 1963Baker Perkins LtdHandling of flat articles
US3271023 *Dec 30, 1963Sep 6, 1966Gen Foods CorpSheet collating apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3887719 *Apr 23, 1973Jun 3, 1975Kraftco CorpMethod and apparatus for handling process cheese spread
US3900574 *Oct 3, 1973Aug 19, 1975Kraftco CorpTreatment of cheese slices to prevent sticking together
US4004395 *Mar 28, 1974Jan 25, 1977Hauni-Werke Korber & Co., KgMethod and machine for the production of hinged-lid packs for groups of cigarettes or the like
US4244460 *Aug 31, 1978Jan 13, 1981Groundwater Fergus MProcess and equipment to form modules of biscuits or other like products
US6199346Dec 1, 1998Mar 13, 2001Kraft Foods, Inc.Apparatus for continuous manufacture of multi-colored and/or multi-flavored food product
US6350483Nov 27, 2000Feb 26, 2002Kraft Foods, Inc.Method for continuous manufacture of multi-colored and/or multi-flavored food product
US6612213 *Nov 8, 1999Sep 2, 2003Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AgDouble-cut lobed belt diverter
US8616101 *Aug 29, 2006Dec 31, 2013Lts Lohmann Therapie-Systeme AgProcess and device for manufacturing a product from strip tape, especially for manufacturing a medicinal and/or active substance-containing product as well as fillable containers or sealed-margin bags
US20060288834 *Aug 29, 2006Dec 28, 2006Detlev NeulandProcess and device for manufacturing a product from strip tape, especially for manufacturing a medicinal and/or active substance-containing product as well as fillable containers or sealed-margin bags
Classifications
U.S. Classification270/52.9, 270/58.1, 271/69, 198/449
International ClassificationB65B35/30, B65B35/54, B65G47/68
Cooperative ClassificationB65B35/54, B65G47/681
European ClassificationB65G47/68B, B65B35/54