US 3499261 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 10, 1970 w. B. HULLHORST ETAL 3,499,61
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND PACKAGING MATERIAL Original Filed May 18, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 March 1 0, 1970 I w HuLLHo s ETAL 3,499,261
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND PACKAGING MATERIAL Original Filed May 18 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 TO AIR EXHAUST I NVENTORS vvonuna nunann ou ono nnuou o aaoonooaoaubn ac o oooa 4aooaooeoooooo uo. 0ucoaucuao United States Patent 3,499,261 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLIN AND PACKAGING MATERIAL William B. Hullhorst and Pierce B. Brown, Granville, and William H. Mosier, Pleasantville, Ohio, assignors to Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, a corporation of Delaware Continuation of application Ser. No. 456,748, May 18, 1965. This application Apr. 26, 1968, Ser. No. 724,642
' Int. Cl. B65b 1/20, 5/04; B30b 9/28 U.S. C]. 5324 19 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Methods and apparatus for compressing and packaging fibrous material and handling the resulting or similar compressed packages. Mechanical compression and air evacuation are used simultaneously for loose fibrous material, fiat mats, and rolled sections. One or more charges of compressed mats may be held in position in a cross ram means by vacuum while the compression station compressses additional charges for a single package. Means are disclosed for removing an expanded package from package holding flanges.
This application is a continuation of Ser. No. 456,748, filed May 18, 1965, now abandoned.
It has been conventional practice in packaging or preparing fibrous material, as for example, materials formed of glass fibers especially usable for insulation purposes, to stack predetermined lengths of fibrous mats in contiguous relation, compress the stack or assembly of mat lengths in a direction normal thereto and insert the compressed assembly into preformed paper bags or containers which are sealed or stapled to enclose the assembly. This method of packaging or conditioning fibrous mats for handling and shipment has been quite expensive for the reasons among others that the bags, being necessarily fabricated of heavy material, are costly and manual handling involves a large amount of labor. The bags or enclosures for the fibrous .material must have a comparatively high tear strength to adequately withstand rongh handling and resist the expansive force of the mats by reason of their tendency to return to normal thickness. Furthermore, exteriorly applied compression to the assembled mats results in nonuniform compression of the mats and in many instances one or more of the stacked mat sections may be compressed to a degree sufficient to break or fracture the individual fibers thus reducing the resiliency of the mat. When such mats are unpacked for application and use, the fibers, if crushed or broken, will not spring back'or revert to their normal expanded condition. The crushing or breaking of the fibers substantially reduces the insulating value, rendering the mats unsatisfactory and inefficient for the purpose intended.
Another method that has been employed in packaging loose mineral fiber mats was to roll up the mat materials with a sheet of paper, the rolled package then subjected to externally applied compressive force and the compressed roll inserted in a paper bag or envelope. When rolling up the sheet of paper in the fibrous mats the fibers in the resulting roll formation were in loose or fiutfy condition. When an exterior compressive force was applied to the loose roll, the convolutions of the mat were unevenly ice compressed, the paper became wrinkled or torn and tended to funnel in toward the center causing objectionable bulges in the fibrous material. Furthermore, it has been found unsatisfactory to mechanically compress the completed roll and reduce the volume to any substantial degree without over compressing and fracturing the fibers in certain zones of the roll, a disadvantage as above pointed out. Examples of previous packaging apparatus are found in US. Patents Nos. 2,765,838 and 2,789,406.
It is, accordingly, an objective of this invention to provide an improved means and method for handling and packaging materials.
It is another object of this invention to provide an improved means and method for packaging fibrous material which enables the packaging of more fibrous material within the same volume occupied by similar previous packages without breaking or mechanically damaging the fibers and thus not reducing the insulating value nor the resiliency of such material so that the fibers will spring back to their normal expanded condition when the package is removed.
It is still another object of this invention to provide an improved method and means for preventing the buckling of stacks of fibrous mats during a com-pressing process.
A still further object of this invention is to provide an improved method and means for loading fibrous material into a compressing position, for unloading the compressed fibrous material into packaging means, and further unloading the expanded package means from a holder therefor.
The invention thus features a method of packaging a mass of fibrous material which comprises the steps of evacuating air from within the mass and confining the evacuated mass in a package. The mass of fibrous material may be advantageously mechanically compressed in conjunction with the evacuation of air therefrom. When compressing the stack of fibrous mats a negative pressure on one side of the stack may be advantageously provided to prevent buckling of the column formed by the stack during compression, the negative pressure serving further, if desired, to evacuate the air from within the fibrous mats as they are being compressed.
A method is further provided for handling a package that has expanded against retaining surfaces by providing an air film between the package and at least one of the retaining surfaces to aid in removal of the package. A still further method for handling material is taught which includes the step of providing a surface exerting a negative pressure adjacent the material to be handled and then moving the surface to a desired position.
The invention features apparatus for carrying out the above and other methods which includes means for compressing a mass of fibrous materials comprising means for evacuating air from within the mass of materials. Means are provided for mechanically compressing the mass of fibrous materials in conjunction with the air evacuation, and means for packaging the compressed mass. Cross ram means are provided for shuttling the compressed mass into the packaging means. Means are shown for providing an air film bearing surface for the compressed mass as it is shuttled into the packaging means.
The cross ram means may advantageously include means for providing a negative pressure area adjacent the compressed mass to maintain the mass in a compressed position. The packaging means may include spaced, opposed flanges to maintain a package open to receive the compressed mass from the cross ram means. Means are shown for removing the package of compressed material from the flanges which comprises opposed compressing surfaces to reduce the pressure of the package against the flanges. An air film may be provided between the package and at least one of the compressing surfaces to aid in removal of the package. At least one of the compressing surfaces may advantageously be a conveyor. At least one of the compressing surfaces may also be curved outwardly away from the package at the removal end thereof so that the package may expand slowly as it is removed to prevent shearing or rupturing of the package.
A method and means for making roll up packages of fibrous material is also shown and includes mandrel means, means for winding a section of fibrous material onto the mandrel, and means for evacuating the air from the fibrous material as it is wound on the mandrel.
Other objects, advantages and features of this invention will become apparent when the following description is taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a view in perspective of apparatus embodying the teachings of this invention;
FIGURE 2 is a view in perspective of the embodiment illustrated in FIGURE 1 showing an additional step in the process;
FIGURE 3 is a view in perspective of a second embodiment of the teachings in this invention;
FIGURE 4 is a view of the apparatus illustrated in FIGURE 3 noting the operation thereof;
FIGURE 5 is a view in perspective of a third embodiment of the teachings of this invention;
FIGURE 6 is a view in perspective of the apparatus of FIGURE 5 with portions broken away to clarify the relation and operation of certain components;
FIGURE 7 is an end view of the apparatus of FIGURE 6 illustrating diagrammatically the relation of the various components;
FIGURE 8 is an end view of the apparatus illustrated in FIGURE 7 illustrating the location of additional components of the apparatus;
FIGURE 9 is a front elevational view of the apparatus illustrated in FIGURE 5 showing the disposition of the various components thereof;
FIGURE 10 is a view in perspective of a cross ram means of the apparatus of FIGURE 5 more clearly illustrating the construction thereof;
FIGURE 11 is a front elevational view of a mandrel illustrating a fourth embodiment of the teachings of this invention; and
FIGURE 12 is an end view of one of the circular end plates of the apparatus of FIGURE 11.
The present invention is described with reference to compacting and packaging quantities of fibrous materials in mass formation or a series of bats or sections of mineral fibers such as fibers formed from glass, slag, fusible rock or the like. The manufacture of mats or bats of fibers formed from mineral material has been carried on for several years, and such mats or bats have been used extensively for heating and acoustic insulation in buildings and as heat insulation in appliances such as refrigerators, freezing units, ranges and water heaters as well as in places where heat loss or heat transfer is to be avoided as far as possible.
Fibrous bats of this character are usually formed by attenuation of fiber-forming material by high velocity gaseous blasts in a manner wherein the fibers are accumulated in haphazard or random assembly into a mass or mat of substantial thickness. The fact that the mats are necessarily thick in order to obtain high insulating or sound-attenuating efiiciency increases the cost of transportation because of the bulk of the fibrous masses or mats. While the mats are comparatively light in weight,
they normally occupy a comparatively large volume per unit of weight.
As discussed hereinbefore, several methods of packaging have been tried and used with varying degrees of success. The major difficulty in most previous methods of packaging was that in compressing the mats to a degree where economical transportation was afforded there was sometimes resultant fiber breakage by the mechanical compression methods and apparatus used which reduced the insulating value and the ability of the fibers to spring back.
It has been discovered that fibrous mats may have the air evacuated from the mass of fibrous materials and greater compression is attained without the breakage of the fibers comprising the mats. Referring to FIGURE 1 there is illustrated a first embodiment of the teachings of this invention in which a series of mats 20 may be delivered by conveyor means 21 to a packaging apparatus illustrated generally at 30. The packaging apparatus 30 comprises a box-like container 31 having one or more plenums 32 attached to one or more sides of the container 31. The plenums 32 communicate with the interior of the container 31 via a plurality of perforations 33. It is to be noted that slots or other air passages may be utilized with equal effectiveness as a substitute for the perforations shown herein. The plenums 32 are connected via air exhaust conduits 34 to a suction source not shown herein. A motor-driven exhaust fan may perform satisfactorily for most applications.
The mats 20 are conveyed into or manually placed in the container 31 and air is evacuated from the mass of fibrous materials via perforations 33 and plenums 32. As the air is evacuated the mats are compressed and successive mats 20 may be placed in the container until the desired size package is created.
Referring to FIGURE 2 there is illustrated a means for packaging the compressed mats 20 which comprises a sheet 35 which may preferably be kraft paper. The sheet 35 is placed in the container 31 and the mats are stacked and compressed thereon. When a full package is attained, a first fold of the sheet 35 may be placed over the top of the uppermost matand it will closely adhere to the upper surface of the package because the air exhaust is still pulling through the perforations 33. Thus, the other fold of the sheet 35 may be placed over the first fold and secured by adhesive, staples, etc. The air exhaust via conduits 34 is now shut off and the package is complete.
To assist in removing the package from the container 31 a plenum 36 is connected to one wall of the container 31, preferably the bottom wall thereof, and communicates with the interior of the container 31 via perforations 38. The plenum 36 is connected to a gated pressure source (not shown) via conduit 37. When the package is ready for removal the pressure source is gated to plenum 36 via conduit 37 and the air flow through perforations 38 creats an air film on the interior surfaces of the container 31 allowing the package to be readily removed. The air pressure may be increased to a point where the package acts as a piston in the box-like container 31. The air pressure then acts as a hydraulic fluid and assists in removing or drives the package from the container 31.
The apparatus of FIGURE 1 thus allows the packaging of more mats in a similar size package. The air evacuation system is designed to uniformly compress the fibrous mats 20 to the greatest degree possible without injuring tht individual fibers making up the mats. The mats 20 when unpackaged thus spring back with their full resiliency to their normally expanded form With the full insulation value designed therein available.
Referring to FIGURES 3 and 4 there is illustrated a second embodiment of the teachings of this invention comprising a horizontal plate 40, a vertical stop plate 41 and compression platen or ram means 42. A plenum 43 is attached to horizontal plate 40 and communicates with expansion of the package over a sharp corner or edge of plate 121 as it is being removed from chute 100 might rupture or tear the sleeve or bag.
Referring to FIGURES and 9 it will'be seen that a plenum chamber 123 is secured to the top of plate 121 and communicates with the package side'of the plate 121 via perforations 122 distributed along the package side of plate 121. A flexible conduit 124 may be utilized to connect the plenum 123 to a suitable pressure source.
In operation the loading or negative pressure means 60 is moved forwardly so that theair evacuating means attached to conduit 64 cause the adherence thereto and enables the movement of a stack of bats 54 from conveyor 52 across loading shelf 53 to a compressing position between ram means 70 and pedestal means 80 as loading means 60 is moved back to its original position. In addition to moving the stack 54 from the conveyor 52 into compressing position the evacuation of air from the stack 54 through perforations 63 prevents any buckling of the stack 54 as it is being compressed.
As discussed hereinbefore with respect to the embodiments illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 3, air is evacuated from the fibrous material via perforations 63 and assists in compressing the stack of bats 54. While side plates 51 and 55 of the apparatus are shown only in FIGURE 5 for purposes of simplicity, such side plates are advantageously utilized to assist the evacuation of air via perforations 63 from the fibrous mats by reducing the bat edges directly exposed to ambient air pressures. Compression ram means 70 is mechanically moved vertically to further assist in compressing the fibrous mats 54, accomplishing a triggering of the vacuum effect by mechanical compression to raise the density of the mats 54 as they are being compressed. As the compression plate 70 moves downwardly and as the stack 54 is compressed the pedestal 80 moves downwardly so that the mats are compressed into a position between plenum wings 91a and 91b of cross ram means 90. Air is continued to be evacuated through perforations 92 from the mats 54 and the velocity and static pressures attained by such evacuation is sufficient to hold the mats in a compressed position in cross ram means 90 between plenum wings 91a and 91b even though the vertical ram means 70 is raised to its initial position and a successive charge of bats 54 is received into loading position via operation of the loading means 60. This enables two or more charges of stacks 54 of bats to be compressed for packaging in a single sleeve or bag. This reduces the height of the stacker necessary and reduces the difliculties inherent in dealing with very high stacks of bats of vibrous materials.
After one or more charges of compressed stacks 54 are received between plenum wings 91a and 91b of cross ram means 90 the cross ram means 90 is shuttled into bag or sleeve loading position within chute means 100. To assist the cross ram 90 in moving the compressed stack of bats into the chute 100 a positive air pressure may be applied via conduit 85 into plenum 83. This positive pressure results in air flow through perforations 82 and provides an air' film bearing surface between plate 81 and the compressed bats located between plenum wings 91a and 91b. A similar arrangement may be utilized in conjunction with the vertical ram means 70 to provide an air film bearing surface between the lower surface of ram 70 and the upper side of the compressed stack of bats between plenum wings 91a and 91b, if desired. For'purposes of simplicity, however, and since such an arrangement would be virtually identical to that shown for pedestal means 80, the air film bearing surface arrangement for vertical ram 70 has been omitted from the drawings.
The use of such air films above and below a compressed stack of bats between plenum wings 91a and 91b will prevent or greatly reduce any shearing effects of the fibrous bats when the cross ram is shuttled into position within chute 100. Such air film arrangements may not be neces- 8. sary depending upon the number of charges in each package, the density of compression ratio of the compressed stack between plenum wings 91a and 91b, and the amount of evacuation pressure applied to the compressed stack by the exhaust system connected=to main plenum'91 via conduit 93.
A bag or'sleeve of packaging material is inserted onto chute 100 and flanges 101, 102 and secured in place by one or more clamping means 104. When the cross ram means -has delivered the compressed stack to the proper position in chute 100, the air evacuation pressure, in plenum wings 91a and 91b is discontinued and the cross ram means 91 is shuttled back into loading position beneath vertical ram means 70 while the compressed stack of fibrous mats remains in chute 100. It may be advantageous, again depending upon the pressures and densities involved within the'compressed stack, to reverse air flow within plenum 91 to provide air film bearing surfaces similar to that discussed hereinbefore between plenum wings 91a and 91b and the compressed stack to aid cross ram means 90 in its withdrawal.
Because a great many more bats may be placed in a package similar in size to that previously made for shipment there will be an increased tendency for the mats to try to resume their normal height and more pressure will be exerted upon a sleeve or bag means containing the compressed stack of bats while it is still on chute means 100. This, of course, will cause the sides of the sleeve or bag means to adhere tightly to the outside of the flanges 101 and 102 of chute makingit virtually impossible for the bag to be removed from chute 100 after the clamping means 104 has been released. To reduce the pressure of the package against flanges 101, 102 compressing forces are applied to the package in a direction normal to the area defined by flanges 101, 102 by compression surfaces of plate 121 and conveyor 111. To aid the removal of the package without damage the unloading means and provide positive air pressure from plenums 113, 123 via perforations 112, 122 from conduits 114, 124, respectively, connected to positive air pressure sources not shown. Air film bearing surfaces are thus provided between plate 121 and the upper side of the package, and conveyor 111 and the upper surface of the plenum 113. The conveyor 111 is started, grips the lower surface of the package, and the bag or package is removed from the chute 100.
Referring to FIGURES 11 and 12 there is shown a combined mandrel and plenum arrangement wherein the plenums and 151 .are performing the dual function of evacuating air from a mat as it is rolled onto amandrel arrangement 160, while also functioning as end flanges to keep the mat roll up properlyaligned. Perforations 152 provide communication between air evacuating surfaces and plenums 150 and 151. An air evacuation system not shown is connected to plenums 150 and 151 through the nipples 153 and conduits 154. As disclosed hereinbefore, the mat is compressed as it is rolled onto the mandrel by the evacuation of air from the confines of the fibrous mats via perforations 152 in the face of end flanges 150, 151. The mats may receive some mechanical compression by being kept under tension as they are rolled on the mandrel. The mandrel may be turned by hand or by any other suitable arrangementknown to thoseskilled in the art. t
It is to be noted that the characterization of the material to packaged as mats, batts, etc., is not intended to be limiting but rather-a generic description of material gathered together for compressing. The material may be .loose or in an integrated layer. Further, fibrous material the upper surface thereof via perforations 44. A conduit 45 connects the plenum 43 to an air exhaust system.
In compressing stacks of fibrous mats, whether the stack of mats was compressed in a horizontal direction or in a vertical direction, mechanical means had to be provided in the past to prevent the buckling of the column formed by the stack of the mats away from the backing or supporting plate 40. By evacuating or exhausting the air from the stack of mats 47 as it is mechanically compressed by movement of ram plate means 42 toward stop plate means 41 the initial velocity pressure flow through the stack 47 of mats to the perforations 44 retains the stack 47 in place. As the stack 47 is further compressed the mats become more dense, the fibers closer together and there is a gradient between velocity pressure flow through the stacks and static pressure by suction from the perforations 44 which retains the stack in place to prevent buckling thereof.
In addition to retaining the stack in place and preventing buckling thereof, the perforations 44, plenum 43, and conduit 45 connected to an air exhaust system performs the functions discussed hereinbefore with respect to the apparatus illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 2 and evacuate or exhaust the air within the mass of fibrous material thereby allowing a greater compression of a similar stack of mats than by previously known methods Without breaking the fibers within the mats. While the embodiment illustrated in FIGURE 1 represents and advance the embodiment illustrated in FIGURES 3 and 4 is still more advanced since the mats may not only be compressed by the evacuation of air therefrom but may be further assisted in compression by the ram means 42. It is believed that the fiber breakage is avoided in the apparatus illustrated in FIGURE 3 since the great rush of air out of the bats as they were previously mechanically compressed is avoided since the air exhaust system has been removing air from the fibrous mats prior to the exertion of the same pressures which heretofore broke or ruptured fibers and reduced the insulating value and return resiliency thereof. Further, the end bats or mats in the stack are not utilized as much to transmit compression forces to the centrally located bats and the fibers of the end bats thus escape breaking or rupturing forces.
Completion of the packaging of the materials compressed by the apparatus of FIGURE 3 may be accomplished via suitable cross ram apparatus as well known in the prior art.
Referring to FIGURES 5 through there is illustrated a third embodiment of the teachings of this invention in which the discoveries herein are shown in operation in connection'with the packaging of stacks of bats of fibrous material.
Referring to FIGURES 5 through 10 and, for the moment FIGURE 5 in particular, it may be seen that a stack of bats 54 of fibrous materials is delivered by conveyor 52 to a loading position abutting against an end plate 51 of a packaging apparatus generally indicated at 50.
Referring to FIGURES 6 and 7, it will be noted that there is apparatus generally indicated at 60 for loading the stack 54 into position at a compressing station and to initiate evacuation of air from the stack of bats. The loading apparatus 60 comprises a loading plate 61 having a plenum 62 attached secured thereto with perforations 63 providing communication between the plenum 62 and the loading surface of the plate 61. A flexible conduit 54 provides a connection between the plenum 62 and an air exhaust system not shown. The plenum 62-plate 61 arrangement is supported by a frame 67 on rollers 66 for reciprocation toward a stack 54 of bats on conveyor 52 and back into compressing position. After the stack 54 has been engaged by the plate 61 as a result of velocity pressure flow through stack 54, the loading mechanism 60 is returned :across loading shelf 53 to the position shown in the FIGURES 6 and 7 taking the stack of bats 54 therewith into position between compression platen or ram plate means 70 and pedestal means 80.
Compression platen means 70 is adapted to be driven in a downward direction between side plates 51 and 55 (FIG. 5) to mechanically compress the stack 54. Examples of suitable driving means for the platen means 70 may be found in the hereinbefore mentioned patents. The pedestal means is mounted upon shaft 84 and is adapted to be driven downwardly by the compression of the stack 54 to a position shown in dotted lines in FIG- URE 7 so that a compressed stack may be in a position to be inserted in a package by a cross ram means 90. A stop 86 may be provided to insure that the lowermost position of pedestal means 80 is properly aligned with cross ram means 90 to insure proper pickup of a compressed stack of bats 54. Pedestal means 80 may include a plate 81 having a plenum 83 attached thereto -with peerfo rations 82 providing communication between the stack side of the plate 81 and the plenum 83. A flexible conduit 85 may be utilized to connect the plenum 83 to a suitable pressure source.
Referring to FIGURES 6, 7, 8, 9 and particularly FIGURE 10, it may be seen that the cross ram means comprises a combination ram and plenum chamber 91 having horizontally extending Wings 91a and 91b of sufficient length to receive a compressed stack of bats 54. The inner surfaces of the wings 91a and 9111 have perforations 92 formed therein 50 that the inner surfaces may communicate with plenum chambers within the wings 91a and 91b which are connected to the main plenum chamber 91. A flexible conduit 93 may be provided to connect the main plenum chamber 91 to a suitable air evacuation system. A shaft 94 is to be connected to a suitable driving arrangement for shuttling the cross ram means 90 into and out of packaging or sleeve chute means whenever suflicient mats have been compressed with in the confines of the wings 91a and 91b. A suitable shuttle drive arrangement may be found in the hereinbefore mentioned patents and is not a part of this invention.
Referring to FIGURES 5, 8 and 9, it will be noted that the packaging means bag chute 100 is secured to the side plate 51 and is positioned to receive the wings 91a and 91b of cross ram means 90 when a compressed stack 54 is to be packaged. Wings or flanges 101 and 102 of chute means 100 are curved to receive the curved plenum configuration of the wings 91a and 91b of the cross ram 90. A bag or sleeve of suitable packaging material such as kraft paper may be slipped over and surround flanges 101 and 102 and secured in place by a clamp means 104 which may be a solenoid or air actuated clamping means. An aperture is formed in the side plate 51 to admit cross ram means 90 to the chute means 100.
Package unloading means to assist in unloading a filled sleeve or bag are indicated generally at and 120. The unloading assist means 110 comprises a conveyor 111 and a plenum chamber 113 disposed beneath the under surface of the upper loop of the conveyor belt and adapted to provide positive air pressure between the plenum 113 and the belt via perforations 112 formed in the top of plenum 113. The plenum chamber 113 is connected via conduit means 114 to a suitable air pressure source. I
The unloading assisting means comprises a plate 121 pivotally secured by hinge means 125 to side plate 51 so that the plate 121 may be lifted while the sleeve or bag is being placed over chute means 100. The plate means 121 is curved upwardly at the end opposite its hinged end (at the unloading end) to permit ready access while placing a bag over chute means 100 without lifting the plate 121 any further than necessary. The curved end of plate 121 is also operative to avoid creasing the sleeve or bag or causing a rupture thereof as the filled package is expanding as it is being removed from chute 100. That is, a filled package tends to expand and a sudden modifications and different arrangements may be made other than is herein disclosed and the present disclosure is illustrative merely, the invention comprehending all variations thereof.
1. A method of packaging a mass of fibrous material comprising the steps of compressing the mass past the previous fiber breakage point which prevented expansion of the mass to its precompression state by evacuating air from within said mass at a rate to effect compression of the mass, mechanically applying positive pressure to said mass to effect mechanical compression of said mass f fibrous material in conjunction with said air evacuation to prevent fiber breakage, and confining said resultant compressed mass in a package 2. A method of packaging a stack of fibrous mats comprising the steps of supporting only one of two opposing sides of a stack of mats with a support means, compressing said stack while providing a negative pressure between said support means and said supported side of said stack to hold against buckling of said stack toward said unsupported side during compression.
3. A method of packaging a stack of fibrous mats comprising the steps of compressing the stack past the previous fiber breakage point while the mats retain their ability to expand to their precompression state when removed from the package by evacuating air from within said mats at a rate to effect compression of the mats while applying positive mechanical pressure to said stack to effect mechanical compression of said stack, and accomplishing the air evacuation adjacent at least one side of said stack to prevent buckling of said stack during compression 4. Apparatus for handling and packaging a mass of fibrous material comprising a station for compressing the mass past the previous fiber breakage point while the mass retains the ability to expand to its precompression state when compression forces are removed, said station including means for evacuating air from within said mass at a rate to effect compression of the mass and means for mechanically applying posiitve mechanical pressure to said mass to effect mechanical compression of said mass while said air evacuating means is operating, and means for packaging said compressed mass.
5. A method for removing a package of compressed material from opposed package holding flanges when the expansion of the material has caused the package to grip said flanges comprising the steps of compressing the other opposed surfaces of the package between a first compressing surface while providing an air film between said package and said first compressing surface and a conveyor means compressing surface in contact with said package.
6. A method as defined in claim which further includes the step of providing support means on the opposite side of that portion of the conveyor compressing surface in contact with said package and providing an air film between said support means and said opposite conveyor surface.
7. A method of packaging a mass of fibrous material comprising positioning said mass adjacent a negative pressure surface, evacuating air from within said mass via said negative pressure surface, mechanically compressing said mass as air is evacuated therefrom, placing said compressed mass in a cross ram means and providing negative pressure adjacent said mass in said cross ram means to maintain said mass compressed.
8. A method as defined in claim 7 which further includes the steps of cycling the previous steps until a predetermined number of successive charges of fibrous material have been placed in said cross ram means.
9. A method as defined in claim 7 which further includes shuttling said cross ram means into a package, removing said negative pressure from said mass of fibrous material to allow said material to expand within said package and withdrawing said cross ram means leaving said mass of fibrous mterials in said package.
10. A method as defined in claim 9 which further includes providing surfaces to maintain said package in an open position to receive said fibrous mass, compressing said package when said mass expands within said package to reduce pressure against said surfaces maintaining said package open, and providing an air film between at least one of said compressing surfaces and said package to assist removal of said package.
11. Apparatus for handling and packaging a mass of fibrous material comprising a compressing station, means for positioning said mass in said compressing station, said station comprising means for evacuating air from within said mass and means for mechanically compressing said mass as said air is being evacuated, means for packaging said compressed mass, and cross ram means for shuttling a compressed mass into said packaging means including means for providing a negative pressure area adjacent said mass to maintain said mass in its compressed configuration.
12. Apparatus for handling and packaging a mas of fibrous material comprising a compressing station, means for positioning said mass in said compressing station, said station comprising means for evacuating air from within said mass and means for mechanically compressing said mass as said air is being evacuated, means for packaging said compressed mass including means for maintaining a package open to receive said compressed mass having a pair of spaced opposed flanges adapted to receive a surrounding package, cross ram means for shuttling a compressed mass into said packaging means, and means for removing said package of compressed mate rial from said flanges which comprises surface means for compressing said package to reduce the pressure of said package on said flanges and means for providing an air film between said package and at least one of said compressing surfaces.
13. Apparatus as defined in claim 12 in which one of said compressing surfaces is a conveyor means adapted to remove said package from said flanges.
14. Apparatus as defined in claim 12 in which said compressing surfaces are disposed in opposed relationship to compress the package in a direction substantially normal to the area defined by said flanges, and in which at least one of said compressing surfaces is curved outwardly away from said package at a package removal end thereof to allow the package to expand slowly as it is removed from said flanges, thereby avoiding shearing of rupturing of said package.
15. A method for packaging a section of fibrous material on a mandrel means comprising the steps of winding said section on said mandrel, mechanically compressing the fibrous material as it is wound on the mandrel, and evacuating air from said fibrous material to compress said material as it is wound onto said mandrel.
16. Apparatus for filling and unloading a collapsible container comprising means for holding sides of said collapsible container apart to open said container, means for delivering a compressed charge of material into said open container and releasing the compression on said charge allowing said charge to expand to the limits of said container, means for removing said container of compressed material from said holding means which includes surface means for compressing said container to reduce the pressure of said container on said holding means and means for providing an air film between said container and at least one of said compressing surfaces.
17. Apparatus as defined in claim 16 in which one of said compressing surfaces is a conveyor means adapted to remove said container from said holding means.
18. Apparatus as defined in claim 16 in which said compressing surfaces are disposed in opposed relationship to compress the container in a direction substantially normal to the area defined by said holding means, and
11 Y 12 in which at least one of said compressing surfaces is References Cited curved outwardly away from said container at a removal UNITED STATES PATENTS end thereof to allow the container to expand slowly as it is removed from said holding means, thereby avoiding 2,984,172 5/1961 Roberts at 100 90 shearing or rupturing of said container. 5 3 3 2 2 31962 Rodlsh 53 12: 19. Apparatus as defined in claim 17 in which a sup- 1 5 ,4 7 1966 Gar r0w et 532 3,307,319 3/1967 Christensen et al. 53-22 port surface is provided for a side of a loop of said conveyor opposite the side of said loop in contact with said container, and means for providing an air film bear- TRAVIS MCGEHEE Primary Exammer ing surface between said support surface and its asso- 10 US. Cl. X.R.
ciated side of said loop. 53124; IOU-90