US 3503175 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
F. D. MARASSO ETAL 3,503,175
March 31, 1970 BULK PACKER 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed NOV. 28. 1966 m OE q wE IN VENTORS FRED D- MAR/15.50 ROBE/Q T E. RADEMAGHER BULK PACKER Filed Nov. 28. 1966 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIG. 7
I I l INVENTORS FRED D. MAR/1.550- ROBERT E. R4 05144 cam United States Patent 3,503,175 BULK PACKER Fred D. Marasso and Robert E. Rademacher, Richmond,
Va., assignors to American Machine & Foundry Company, a corporation of New Jersey Filed Nov. 28, 1966, Ser. No. 597,316 Int. Cl. B651) 9/02, 57/12 U.S. CI. 53-28 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE therearound.
This application relates to a method of and apparatus for packaging articles, and more particularly to a method of and apparatus for enclosing articles in an easy to open package.
Cellulosic and resinous plastic films are commonly employed in high-speed automatic machines that rapidly wrap a succession of like articles in the bread and cake families. In this type of machine, the film is generally supplied from one or more rolls or other indefinitely elongated supplies, and the film is fed through a work area wherein an article is enclosed therein.
In packaging certain of said types of articles, it is advantageous to enclose them in a package that can be rapidly and easily opened. A preferred way of making an easy to open package is to perforate the packaging material. This results in a defined pattern in the package that may be broken by the application of a small amount of force. However, it has been difficult to readily apply perforation patterns to cellulosic or resinous plastic films, particularly in a rapid manner, and more particlarly in conjunction with other packaging steps.
It is, accordingly, an object of this invention to provide a method of and apparatus for rapidly enclosing artitles in easy to open packages.
It is another object of this invention to provide a method of and apparatus for enclosing articles in plastic film packages.
It is a still further object of this invention to provide mean for sealing and perforating packaging material in a single manufacturing process step.
It is yet a further object of this invention to provide an improved method of perforating plastic film.
It is another object of this invention to provide an improved package.
In accordance with these and other objects, one embodiment of the invention comprises advancing two webs of film material from a remote storage area to a work area whereat they surround an article to be packaged, one of said webs of material being perforated in a first pattern prior to its arrival at the work station. The material opposite the leading edge of the article is then sealed while a second perforation pattern is placed in the material. The article and material is then advanced through the work area in a longitudinal direction while the material opposite the sides of the article is sealed together. Then the two webs of material are severed, joined and perforated in a third pattern opposite the trailing edge of the article to form a completed package.
A preferred embodiment of the invention will be described in detail hereinbelow in conjunction with the following drawings of which:
FIG. 1 is a schematic plan view of a preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a schematic elevation view of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a side elevation view of an assembly for severing, sealing and perforating packaging material in a substantially simultaneous operation;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the assembly shown in FIG. 3 taken along line 44 of that figure;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the assembly shown in FIG. 3 taken along line 5-5 of that figure;
FIG. 68 are sectional views of the severing, sealing and perforating assembly showing the sequence of operation thereof; and
FIG. 9 is a schematic of the operating circuit of the invention.
With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, a succession of articles or groups of articles to be packaged are advanced to a first conveyor 10. In the preferred embodiment herein disclosed, the apparatus is being utilized to package a succession of groups of twenty-four buns. However, it should be understood that the invention herein disclosed may be adapted to package a succession of groups of any types of articles or to package single articles. The only modifications necessary being those in the ancillary systems attending the apparatus as will be more fully understood below.
In the embodiment herein disclosed, the articles to be packaged are conveyed past a sensing device 12 to an air cylinder operated gate mechanism 14, there being suitable means operatively connecting the sensing device 12 and the air cylinder 15 that operates the gate as will be set forth hereinbelow. In the apparatus shown in FIGS. l-3, the gate is open upon sensing of the proper amount of a predetermined group of buns which could be twentyfour, as shown in this embodiment, or a single article or any predetermined number of articles. The buns are then conveyed to a conveyor and grouper mechanism 16 which operates to arrange them in a compact group, and advance them past a second sensing device 18 to a conveyor 19, which is in line with conveyor 16.
Sensing device 18 is operatively connected to a clutch and brake mechanism operatively connected to pairs of feed rollers 20 and 21. These feed rollers are operable to draw sheets or webs of packaging material, 22 and 23, respectively, from supply reels 24 and 25, respectively. As the web of material 22 is drawn from supply reel 24, it passes a perforating wheel 26 which puts a continuous longitudinal perforation pattern in it.
A pair of drive wheels 28 and 30 on each side of conveyor 19 pull the film material in a longitudinal direction along conveyor 19. Drive wheels 28 and 30 are geared to pull webs of material 22 and 23 slightly faster than the feed rollers 20 and 21 feed them to allow for slippage and keep the webs taut. As the packaging material and buns are advanced along conveyor 19, a pair of retractable hot wires 34, one on each side of conveyor 19, seal the longitudinal edges of webs of material 22 and 23 to each other as they move therepast. Air cylinder means control the operation of the retractable wires, which are normally in their raised, inoperative position.
The conveyor 19 advances the buns and the partially formed package therearound past a station 36 whereat the trailing edge of the package is severed from the sheets of packaging material, and the package is sealed, the leading edge of the package having been sealed at station 36 during the previous cycle, as will be set forth in detail hereinbelow.
A sensing device 38 is mounted above conveyor 19 just in advance of station 36. Sensing device 38 is operatively connected to two valves, one for deactivating the clutch and brake associated with the film feed, and
one for operating the sealing, severing and perforating assembly 40 at station 36.
With reference to FIG. 3, sealing, severing and perforating assembly 40 comprises two operatively connected subassemblies 42 and 44, the former being positioned above the level of the conveyor belts, and the latter spaced therefrom and positioned below the level of the conveyor belts. Subassemblies 42 and 44 are movable between open and closed positions by a drive mechanism generally indicated at 46. In their open position, subassemblies 42 and 44 are spaced apart a distance sufiicient to allow the packaging material and the articles held therein to pass therebetween.
In their closed positions, subassemblies 42 and 44 meet at a plane which is spaced above conveyor 19 a distance approximately equal to one-half the thickness of the article being packaged.
Snbassembly 42 includes an upper member 48 and a lower member 50. Lower member 50 includes two clamping bars 52 and 54, which are spaced apart a predetermined distance as seen in FIG. 4. A hot wire 56 is mounted between two compression spring assemblies, 58 and 60, which are in turn mounted to upper member 48, as at 62. The compression spring assemblies 58 and 60 are provided to maintain the hot wire taut, and include wire support members 64 and 66 which are sized and arranged such that the hot wire 56 is located between clamping bars 52 and 54, being spaced above the bottom of the clamping bars and parallel thereto, as may be clearly seen in FIGS. 3 and 5.
Upper and lower members 48 and 50 are connected to each other by a plurality of connectors 68, each of which includes a slot 70. A plurality of pins 72 are mounted on upper member 48 to receive slots 70 in connectors 68, the upper member being movable toward the lower member along slots 70. The two members are urged apart by springs 73, and are normally in the position shown in FIG. 3. However, when subassemblies are moved into the closed positions, as will be discussed more fully 'below, the upper member 48 is forced down slots 70 a distance equal to the length of the slot less the diameter of pins 72, which distance is greater than the distance hot wire 56 is normally spaced above the bottom of clamping bars 52 and 54. And, since the hot wire 56 is connected to upper member 48, when the latter memher is urged toward lower member 50, the hot wire will be forced below the level of the bottom of clamping bars 52 and 54.
A perforating member 74 is mounted on the exterior surface of clamping bars 52 and 54. As shown most clearly in FIG. 3, the teeth 76 of the perforating member extend below the level of the bottom of clamping members 52 and 54.
Lower subassem'bly 44 includes two clamping bars, 78 and 80, which are mounted like and spaced from clamping bars 52 and 54. Clamping bars 78 and 80 each include readily pierceable means 82 mounted on the exterior surface thereof in spaced relationship With pen forating members 74 for reasons which will be discussed more fully below.
Drive unit 46 includes an air cylinder 84 and a piston rod 86, which is retracted upon activation of the air cylinder. A member 88 is pivotally mounted to the as sembly frame 89 and is connected to piston rod 86 at 90. A rod 92 connects pivotable member 88 with sub assembly 42, and a rod 94 connects pivotable member 88 with subassembly 44. A second pivotable member 96 is mounted on assembly frame 89, and it is connected to the first pivotable member 88 by a connecting rod 98. A rod 100 connects pivotable member 96 to subassembly 42 and a rod 102 connects pivotable member 96 to subassembly 44.
With this arrangement, when air cylinder 84 is acti vated, piston rod 86 will rotate pivotable member 88 in a clockwise direction. Connecting rod 98 will cause second pivotable member 96 to simultaneously rotate in a counterclockwise direction, and rods 92, 94, 100 and 102 will force subassemblies 42 and 44 towards each other to their closed positions, whereat clamping bars 52, 54, 78 and meet, clamping the two webs of material therebetween.
However, as stated above, the teeth 76 of perforating member 74 are necessarily spaced below the level of clamping bars 52 and 54, and thus will engage the webs of material before they are clamped (FIG. 6), And, web material, for instance, polyethylene, is very difficult to perforate unless clamped because of its resilient properties, tending to give or move instead of being cut. For this reason, readily pierceable means 82, which may be a vertically mounted nylon brush, or equivalent means, are provided. By this arrangement, at a predetermined point in the movement of su-bassemblies 42 and 44 towards each other, the web material will, for an instant, be clamped between the leading edges of the teeth 76 of perforating members 74 and the top of the brush members of means 82. And, further movement of the four clamping members towards each other will force teeth 76 through the web material and into means 82, providing a transverse perforation pattern across the package. Upon further movement of the four clamping members, as stated hereinabove, the packaging material is clamped therebetween (FIG. 7).
Then, a further retraction of piston rod 86 causes rods 92 and to force the upper member 46 of subassembly 42 toward the lower member 48 thereof against the force of springs 73, lowering hot wire 56 through the clamped packaging material into the space between clamping members 78 and 80 to thereby seal and separate the packaging material (FIG. 8).
With reference to FIG. 9, the operating circuit comprises sensing device 12 which is connected to air cylinder 15 for opening the gate mechanism 14. In this embodiment, the sensing device 12 acts as a counter and includes a sensing means 106 and a stepping relay 108, which relay includes a presettable means 110. In FIG. 9, presettable means 110 is set at four, and upon the sensing of 4 rows of buns by sensor 106, which could be a photoelectric cell, a switch, or equivalent means, a time delay relay 112 is energized, which after a predetermined time period, activates a four-way solenoid valve 114, thus causing compressed air from a house supply to open normally closed gate air cylinder 15, causing the opening of the gate mechanism 14.
Simultaneously with the energization of time delay relay 112, a second time delay relay 116 is energized. After a second predetermined period of time, which in this instance, is sufficient to allow four rows of buns to pass through the gate, relay 116 operates solenoid valve 114 to cause the gate air cylinder to close the gate.
When the leading edge of the buns thus passed through the gate reach sensing device 18, energizing the same, a four way solenoid valve 118 is activated, causing compressed air from the house supply to engage pneumatic clutch 120 of the film feed mechanism (sets of rollers 20 and 21 and pairs of drive wheels 28 and 30) and release the brake 122 for the same. In addition, sensing device 18 is connected to an air cylinder 123 that moves the retractable side-sealing hot Wires 34 into operative position.
Sensing device 38 is also connected to solenoid valve 118, and when the former is energized by the leading edge of a group of buns, valve 118 is switched to its other position, causing the disengagement of clutch 120, the setting of brake 122, and the movement of retractable hot wires 34 to their inoperative position.
A time delay relay 124 is also connected to sensing device 38 and, upon energization of that sensing device, relay 124 operates a four-way solenoid valve 126 which is connected to air cylinder 84, and causes that air cylin der to operate sealing, severing and perforating assembly 40. After a predetermined period of time, relay 124 times out, returning solenoid valve 126 to its initial position, returning assembly 40 to its open position.
The compressed air for the clutch 120, brake 122 and air cylinder 123 is taken from a plant source 128, passed through a filter 130 and a pressure regulator 132 before passed (at 134) to valve 118. The compressed air for air cylinders and 84 also passes through a lubricator 135 before passing to (at 136) valves 114 and 126, respectively.
An electric motor 137 provides power for the various conveyors, which are activated upon start up of the apparatus and run continuously until the motor (and therefore the apparatus) is shut down. The motor drives the feed rolls only upon engagement of clutch 120.
An air cylinder 138 is connected to feed rolls and 21 to engage them with the film passing therethrough, and the air cylinder is activated by a solenoid valve 140, the operation of which is tied to the off-on switch for motor 137. An air cylinder 142 is provided for applying pressure between drive wheels 28 and so as to provide a clamping and driving capability therefor. This latter air cylinder is activated by a solenoid valve 144, which valve is also tied to the off-on switch for motor 137. The compressed air for cylinder 138 passes through a second regulator 146 since a reduced pressure is desired.
In operation, to start up the apparatus, the sheets of material are fed around a plurality of idler rollers 148 through drive wheels 28 and 30, and slightly past station 36. Assembly is cycled, the excess material in front of hot wire 56 being thrown away, the leading edge of the first package sealed and perforated.
Then, articles, such as the group of buns of the embodiment herein described, are fed up to gate mechanism 14 past sensing device 12. Upon the proper predetermined count, gate 15 opens and the buns move down conveyor and grouper 16 past sensing device 18 to conveyor 19. When the leading edge of the first row of buns activates sensing device 18, clutch 120 is engaged and brake 122 is released causing the feed of film webs 22 and 23 to commence. The webs of film are fed longitudinally by drive rollers 28 and 30 at approximately the same rate as buns travel along conveyor 19, so that the portion of film webs 22 and 23 opposite the leading edge of a group of buns at the beginning of conveyor 19, i.e. adjacent sensing device 18, will also be opposite the leading edge of the group of buns at the end of the conveyor 19, i.e. adjacent sensing device 38.
It should be noted that the length of conveyor 19 is adjustable, and is adjusted to one article length, which in this embodiment is the length of four rows of buns. And, since the package formed by the instant invention is approximately equal to the length of one article, the length of the package is variable along with the length of conveyor 19 to suit any article, which, as stated hereinabove can be one or more objects.
The first group of buns are fed down conveyor 19 to sensing device 38, the webs of film material 22 and 23 being sealed together opposite the sides of the group of buns by hot wires 34, which were moved into their operable position upon the energization of sensing device 18.
Energization of sensing device 38, halts the film feed by disengaging clutch 120 and activating brake 122, raises hot wires 34, and causes the operation of sealing, severing and perforating assembly 40. The operation of the latter assembly forms the front of the package enclosing the buns, severing the leading edge thereof from the trailing edge of the preceding package, which in this single instance is empty, and perforating a transverse pattern 150 in the webs of film. Perforation pattern 150 is perpendicular to a perforation pattern 152 which is placed in web 22 by perforating means 26.
When the clutch and brake mechanism halts the film feed mechanism, the conveyors keep moving. This keeps the film taut since the package cannot move more than infinitesmally and pull on the webs of film material 22 and 23.
At this juncture in the process, the package is halfformed, since the front has been severed and perforated and approximately one-half the sides have been sealed by hot wires 34.
Also at this point, a succeeding group of buns is being passed through gate 14, the conveyors being timed such that objects or groups thereof are passed in a successive manner along conveyor 19. Therefore, when the succeeding group of buns has been advanced to a point opposite sensing device 38, the trailing edge of the preceding package is opposite assembly 40, the remaining half of the sides thereof having been sealed by hot wires 34. And, upon operation of the assembly 40, the preceding package is severed from the succeeding package, the trailing edge thereof is sealed, and a second transversed pattern 154 is placed therein.
Of course, simultaneously, the leading edge of the succeeding package is sealed and a perforation pattern identical to is placed adjacent the leading edge thereof. This cycle repeats in a repetitive manner.
It will be obvious to those skilled in the art that many changes can be made in the details of construction and arrangement of parts without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A method of packaging articles, which comprises the steps of:
placing an article to be packaged between two continuous webs of material,
sealing said webs'of material to each other opposite the front and sides of said article,
perforating at least one of said webs of material in a predetermined pattern,
sealing and severing the webs of material opposite the rear of the article to form a package therearound, and
perforating another pattern in at least one of said webs of material interior of the sealed portions thereof with respect to the package center, said perforation patterns communicating with each other to provide means to easily open the package,
the sealing and severing operation and the last named perforating step being performed substantially simultaneously.
2. A method of packaging articles according to claim 1, wherein:
said predetermined perforation pattern is substantially parallel to the sides of said article, and
said another perforation pattern is perpendicular to said predetermined perforation pattern.
3. A method of forming an easy to open package, comprising the steps of:
advancing two sheets of material in a longitudinal direction;
perforating a longitudinally extending pattern in at least one of said sheets of material;
positioning articles to be packaged between said sheets of material;
transversely sealing the leading edges of said sheets of material;
perforating a first transverse pattern in said sheets of material spaced from the sealed leading edges thereof and substantially intersecting said longitudinally extending perforation pattern;
joining the longitudinal edges of said sheets to each other; perforating a second transverse pattern spaced from the first transverse pattern, said second transverse perforation pattern also substantially intersecting said longitudinally extending perforation pattern, and
sealing and severing the sheets of material rearwardly of said second transverse perforation patterns.
'4. Apparatus for packaging articles, which comprises:
means for advancing two Webs of material to a work area,
means for advancing an article to be packaged between said two webs of material at one end of said work area,
means responsive to the advancement of an article between said two webs of material for advancing said article and said webs of material through the work area,
detecting means mounted at the other end of said work area,
means responsive to said detecting means for sealing the webs of material opposite the front and rear of said article to each other, perforating the webs of material adjacent said seals, and severing said package from the rest of said webs of material, said means including:
a pair of spaced, clamping means mounted above and below said webs of material,
perforating means mounted on one of said pairs of clamping means, and severing means movably mounted between said one of said pairs of clamping means, and
means for moving said pairs of clamping members through a cycle, which cycle includes:
a first portion during which said pairs of clamping members are spaced apart and a second portion during which the clamping members clamp said webs of material therebetween and sever the webs of material, and said perforating members perforate the webs of material.
5. Apparatus for packaging articles, which comprises:
means for advancing two webs of material to a work area,
means for placing an article to be packaged between the two continuous webs of material,
means for sealing said webs of material to each other opposite the front and sides of said article, means for forming a perforation pattern in at least one of said webs of material interior of the sealed portions thereof with respect to the package center, and
means for sealing and severing the webs of material opposite the rear of the article to form a package therearound.
6. A method of packaging articles according to claim 1, wherein:
said perforation pattern includes at least one perforation line passing through the central portion of the package.
7. A method of packaging articles according to claim 1, wherein said webs of material are sealed to each other opposite the sides of said article by advancing them past heating elements that are brought into contact therewith.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,858,224 10/1958 Darrah. 3,259,303 7/1966 Repko 229-51 X 3,355,857 12/1967 Tobey 53182 2,971,305 2/1961 Webster et al 53-182 X 3,114,643 12/1963 Boston et al.
THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner E. F. DESMOND, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 53-74, 75, 182