US 3505776 A
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A ril 14, 1970 E.'Loub Y 3,505,776 H V PACKAGING MACHINE Filed Sept. 1, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet l I N VENTOR Char/es f C/oaa M @WTORNEYS A ril 14,1970
Filed Sept. 1, 1967 c. s. cl oub 1 PACKAGING MACHINE 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTOR.
Ch ar/es f C7aaa M W WFFORNEYS United States Patent O 3,505,776 PACKAGING MACHINE Charles E. Cloud, Wilmette, Ill.,' assiguor to Cloud Machine Corporation,-Skokie, Ill., a corporation of Delaware Filed Sept. 1, 1967, Ser. No. 664,996
Int. Cl. 1365b 41/18, 9/08 US. Cl. 5351 24 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The illustrated embodiment of the invention discloses a machine and method for continuously forming a series of filled packages from a continuous length of film or flexible material such as a paper, cloth or metal strip, transparent or otherwise. The material may be any that conforms to the herein described requirements. If desired, the film material may be plastic coated where the pockets are to be formed in a heat sealing operation.
A need has developed in the industry for more accurate controls for regulating the-speed of an article or the speed of-a web of material such as film, and the present invention is concerned with a new and improved apparatus for dealing with this'problem. According to the present invention it is contemplated that the machine be provided with a deformable roller and so positioned that the articles or web can be trained thereover. Controls are provided for detecting misalignment of the articles or web and for transmitting the sensed signal to the deformable roller for causing the diameter of the roller to be varied thereby causing the speed of the articles or web to be varied to correct the misalignment. The misalignment may occur at the sealer, as illustrated, or at other stations on various different types .of equipment. According to still other important features of this invention, the deformable roller and the controls operating the same have been provided on a packaging machine for detecting misalignments of theweb of material being fed therethrough. By useof the inventions here disclosed rapid adjustments can be made to compensate for the misalignments of the web so that many adjustments per minute can be made.
While various different deviceshave been used in the past to regulate the alignment of film with respect to various other mechanisms on packaging equipment, deformable rollers and controls of the type here disclosed are believed to be novel and distinctly advantageous-over the predecessor devices.
In the prior art there is shown method and apparatus for forming vertical seals including both sensing the position of a film during the sealing process and the position of a film prior to scaling in order to regulate the speed of a film.
This has been accomplished by a cam actuated switch at the position of the sealing device and an electric eye at a position preceding the vertical sealing in order to compare the alignment between the mechanically actuated switch and the position of marks on the film which indicate the alignment of the film relative to the sealer.
3,505,776 Patented Apr. 14, 1970 SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION I have provided a complete packaging apparatus and method utilizing a novel deformable roller to control the position of an article or a web or a film of material such as paper to be processed relative to a target point.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a deformable roller cooperable with other mechanisms to control the position of an article relative to another article handling or processing mechanism.
It is one object'of the present invention to provide a continuous packaging method and apparatus for the high speed manufacture of filled packages from continuous film material free of packaging defects.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved registration unit for controlling the speed of a film relative to a sealing operation.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved cam actuated film registration unit and an electric eye control which is reliable, simple, durable and less costly than previous controls.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a dancer roller which actuates a brake to control the tension of the film.
Many other advantages, features and additional objects of the present invention will become manifest to those versed in the art upon making reference to the detailed description and the accompanying sheets of drawings in which a preferred structural embodiment incorporating the. principles of the present invention is shown by way of illustrative example.
ON THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a schematic view illustrating the packaging machine of the invention; a 1
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view illustrating the registration control system of the packaging machine;
h FIG. 3 is a top fragmentary view of the packaging mac me;
--FIG. 4 is a side fragmentary and film supply for the machine;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged top fragmentary view of the unit and film supply for the packaging machine;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary front view of the packaging machine; and
FIG. 7 is a view illustrating the film for use in the packaging machine.
AS SHOWN ON THE DRAWINGS The principlesof this invention are particularly useful when embodied in a packaging machine such as illustrated in FIGS. l5, generally indicated by the numeral 10. The packaging machine 10 producesa filled package 12 having a left and right seal 14, 16 respectively, at the rate of hundreds per minute. The packages 12 may be produced from a continuous film of material or from several continuous films of material, as desired. Some packaging materials can be more readily folded than other films, and machines of the type shown in the drawing canbereadily used for producing filled packages of this type. Where other types view of the speed control of film are employed which cannot be readily folded, it may be desirable to form packages from a pair of lengths ofmaterial. p
The machine 10 has a base 18 supporting various components including a roll stand 20 which supports a roll strip or continuous film of packaging material 22. The
coated on at least one side with a sealable material suchv as plastic or other suitable adhesive. Thefilm of packagtarget point such as a vertical ing material 23 can be supplied in printed form or can be printed while on the machine by providing a suitable printing device (not shown). The strip (if not printed, can be printed by moving the same through the printing device.
A paper plow 26 is supported on the frame 18 forwardly of a printer (where required) for folding the film 23. When the film is folded at 28, FIG. 1, the fold is disposed at the bottom of the film as the film then assumes a generally V-shape.
In order to further prepare the film 23 so that filled packages may be formed, a pair of guide rollers 29, is disposed on the downstream side of the plow 26 and the folded film 23 is guided therebetween to a vertical sealer 31. The film 23 is adapted to be pulled and moved through an arc as the vertical sealer is driven contemporaneously with drive roller 35. The vertical sealer 31 has a series of vertically extending circumferentially spaced heated lands 32 which are provided to form longitudinally spaced vertically extending heat seals 14, 16 in the film (FIG. 1). After the film has been heat sealed in the manner described, pockets 33 are formed and each is disposed between a pair of rollers 34, 35.
The film 23 then passes over a driven feed roll 35 to a filling station wheel 37. Each pocket 33 may be filled with a desired amount of the product to be packaged such as a food or drink flavoring. When material such as drink flavoring is to be placed in the pockets 33, the pockets are filled in a pouring operation, as shown, which is further described in copending U.S. application Ser. No. 484,481, entitled Manufacturing of Sealed Packages from Strip Stock, and now Patent No. 3,453,799. Thereafter, the strip is moved into a cutting position where a shear type cutter or cutter mechanism 38 having shear blades 39 are cooperable with cutter blades of lands (not shown) provided on the filling wheel 37. The blades are disposed at spaced intervals around the perimeter of the filling wheel 37. The cutter or shear mechanism 38 includes the shear blade 39 mounted on a vertical axis or cutter drive shaft (not shown) in order that the filled packages or package 12 are severed from the strip 23 at the area of the heat seals 14, 16 while the packages 12 are in an upright position. The open ended filled packages 12 are led onto an infeed conveyor (not shown) to be transported to a heat sealer 40 for forming a longitudinal end seal 15 at the open end of the package 12.
At this point, the package 12 is complete and is transported to a packaging station for the completed packages.
. The film material 23 is unwound from the supply roll 22 which it rotatably mounted on the roll stand 20. The shaft 24 supports the supply roll 22 and is mounted on bracket supports 46, 48 which maintain the shaft 24 in an adequate spaced relationship with the base 18 of the packaging machine 10 in order to support a large diameter roll 22 indicated herein. It will be appreciated that while the film roll 22 is free to unreel that its transverse position is fixed. As the film material 23 is unwound from the film supply roll 22, it is fed through a series of rollers 49, 50, 52, 54, 56 and 58 which both drive and guide the web from the roll to the plow 26 which folds the film 23. The roller is a dancer roller controlling a brake and. the roller 52 is a driven deformable roller.
The tension of the packaging film 23 is controlled by a brake unit 60 through roll shaft 24 to the roll stand 20. A U-shaped braking belt 62 has an end mounted on a brake arm 64 which is pivoted at 66. The brake arm 64 is mounted on the bracket supports 46, 48 and forms a pivot for a brake lever 68' which is operated by a dancer roller arm 72. The roller arm 72 is mounted between the dancer roller 50 and the brake lever 68. The roller 50 is supported by a brake tensioning spring 74.
In the regulation of the tension of the web of film 23 to the vertical sealer, the brake unit 60 operates in response to the diameter of roll 22. As the diameter of the roll 22 decreases, the dancer roller 50 is pulled down by the film 23. The braking lever 68 is pulled down around the pivot 66 to turn the brake arm 64 in a direction to release the brake 62 and thereby lower the tension on the film 23.
The registration unit 76 is driven by a vertical shaft 78 that is mounted on the same axis as the vertical sealer 31. Fixed to the shaft 78 for rotation therewith is a cam switch actuator 86 having three lands 88 corresponding to the vertical sealer lands 32 on the vertical sealer 31 such that there is one land 88 for every four vertical sealer lands 32.
In the feeding of film 23 into the packaging machine 10 to the vertical sealer 31, there is a tendency for the film to oscillate and, according to important features of this invention, a new method and apparatus has been developed for controlling the film 23 to maintain the printed marks 112 on the film in proper alignment with respect to the vertical sealer 31 so the vertical seals 14, 16 can be properly positioned.
The electric eye 100 here employed utilizes a light that cooperates with light and dark marks 112 on the film 23 (FIG. 7). When the film 23 is properly oriented with relation to the vertical sealer 31, the eye 100 is aligned with the marks 112.
The registration unit 76 operates with an electric eye 100 positioned on the upstream side of the vertical sealer 31. The microswitch of the registration unit 76 and electric eye are in a series electric circuit with a solenoid 102 which operates an air valve 104. The series circuit is connected to power supply terminals 92, 94.
In the air supply circuit which is regulated by the solenoid valve 104, is a source of compressed air (not shown), and a regulator valve 101 leading to the valve 104. On the operating side of the valve 104 is a meter 105, a bleed valve 107, an air cyclinder 106, and a ram 108 which operates a lever 110.
The regulator valve 101 is used for controlling the pressure of air supplied from the compressor. The meter 105 is an air pressure meter which indicates the pressure of air supplied from the valve 104 to the air cylinder 106. The bleed valve 107 is open at all times so that when compressed air is being delivered to the air cylinder 106 some of the air pressure is lost through the bleed valve 107.
The solenoid 102 when deenergized shuts off the air supply to the air cylinder 106 by closing solenoid valve 104. The bleed valve 107 serves to allow the pressurized air in the air cylinder 106 to be discharged so that the lever 110 acting on the deformable roller 52 can return the roller to a normal position 52a, FIG. 6.
The roller 52 is a natural gum rubber which is compressible and resilient and mounted between a pair of collars 52c and 520.. The collar 52c has four pins 52c which project axially therefrom in a direction towards the adjacent collar 52d so that when the rubber roller 52 is urged into engagement with the collar 52c the pins or tangs become embedded therein to insure that the roller 52 will corotate with the collars. The roller 52 most desirably will have a greater width than the web. The roller 52 is driven and designed with each revolution to yield enough material by supplying film 23 to make three packages 12. The sealer 30 produces twelve packages 12 in one revolution. Thus, the deformable roller 52 must travel or rotate four times to every revolution of the sealer 31.
Alternatively, the deformable roller 52 can be run in an expanded position 52b so that when correction is needed the solenoid 102 would close and let air out of the air cylinder through the bleeder valve 107 in order to allow the expanded roller 52 to decrease in diameter to advance film 23 at a slower rate and thereby correct in a backward direction as compared to the embodiment operation as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
The electric eye 100 represents a standard electric eye system which senses registration marks and thereby actuates the solenoid 102 when there is a correspondence between actuation of the microswitch 80 and the registration of a-registrationmark on the electric eye 100.
In operation, the film 23 oscillates constantlyabout the lands 32 of the vertical sealer 31. The deformable roller 52 is acted upon through the speed control system for the web 23 constantly to achieve the proper alignment of the eye marks 112 with the vertical seals 14, 16 on the package 12 and acts to prevent a misalignment. The printed message would ordinarily fall between the eye marks 112 and the vertical seals 14, 16.
. As used in this invention, the electric eye 100 is a reflective scanner 42 RA 1 used with a high speed impulse control 23 DF -3 manufactured by Electronics Corporation of America. It is responsive to abrupt changes in light intensity such as from the printed, alignment marks 112 on. the film 23. The electric eye-100 is connected to close the circuit between the terminals 92 and 94.after,registration of ,--a print. mark 112 and remain closed for ,approxirnatelyt075 second and then open. When this corresponds with the closing of microswitch 80, a series circuit is formed between the terminals 92 and 94, and thesolenoid 102 is energized. This allows air to pass to the air ,cylinder 106.and operate lever 110 to deform the roller 52 to increase its peripheral velocity. ''The lever 110 has a; pairlof stops 113, 114 parallel to the direction of travel of the ram 108.
Summarizing, the solenoid 102 is operated on actuation of, the microswitch 80 of registration unit 76 and a sensing by the electric eye 100 which is'.075- second within the actuation ofthe microswitch. The electric eye 100 may operate prior to and during the actuation of the microswitch80 .to energizethe solenoid 102.
'Ihe solenoid 102 cannot operate without receiving both signals. Thev solenoid valve 1 04 is opened on energization of the solenoid102 and closedon deenergization of the solenoid102 Thus, when signals from the. electric eye 100 and registration unit 76 coincide as above, the dea formable roller 52 is acted upon by the lever 110 to increase the diameter- 52b of the roller 52 and thereby increase the speed of the film 23. Y I
The registration unit. 76 provides anadditional control not provided by the electric eye since itgives a signal indication as to theextent. that the-film marks 112 are misaligned with respect to the vertical sealer 31.-
Ordinarily, the film 23 does not move out of alignment in excess of A of an inch-If, during. the course. of rotation of the vertical sealer;-31 the film marks are properly oriented and-aligned .with respect to the cam lands 88, the switch actuator 82 would close the circuit through theswitch 80 and this signal would be transmitted to the solenoid 2102.. Since the signal was previously transferred by the electric eye 1 sensing a print markwithin .075 second, thesolenoid 102 is, actuated and thereby causes deformation of the feed roller. 52 to increase the speed of the film 23 as it is fed to the packaging machine 10.
,7 Alternatively, if there. is a failure of coincidence of the registrationunit 76 with a sensingv ofthe print mark .112
by the electric eye 100 within .075 second the deformable roller 52 is caused to decrease in size 52a thereby to slow the supply of filmto the packaging machine 10;
These corrections are constant and. the. speed of the film oscillatesabout an'ideal speed for achieving proper vertical sealing-by vertical sealer 31. The package 12 is thus formed with the printing thereon which is properly oriented by the vertical sealer 31. p p
The purpose of the roller 49'is to maintain" the web at a desired angle relative to the next roller. A preferred angle would be one where web segments 23a23a on opposite sides of the roller 49 are maintained essentially parallel to eliminate the diameter of the feed roll from being a factor on the tension of the web;
In the illustrated form of the invention it is noted that the packages are cut off before they are sealed at their upper open ends. Insofar as the present invention is concerned, it will be appreciated that the package also could be sealed at its open end and then cut 01f as shown in copending US. application Ser. No. 290,725 entitled Method and Apparatus for Packaging, now United States Patent No. 3,344,576.
- Although minor modifications might be suggested by those versed in the art, it should be understood'that I wish to embody within the scope of the patent warranted hereon, all such modifications as reasonably and properly comewithin the scope of my contribution to-the art.
lclaimzv 1. A method of controlling longitudinally spaced positions on a strip relative toa target point periodically moving into contact with the strip, comprising the steps of:
training a strip of material having longitudinally spaced positions defined thereon by markings around a radially deformable feed roll having a normal diameter and being deformable to anabnormal diameter; directing the strip from the feed roll toward a moving target periodically contacting the strip; periodically sensing a contact position of the target for acertain timeinterval; periodically sensing markings at a position upstream of the target and for another certain time interval; and periodically deforming the feed roll to the abnormal diameter for a'timeinterval determined by the time during which both the mark and the target are coincidentally sensed; whereby a mean diameter of the feed roll is varied according to aproportionate amount of time per revolution during which the roll is .held at the abnormal diameter,
thereby to oscillate a path of travel of the strip about a desired length for bringing the marking into coincidental contact with the target and as a function of the time during which both the markings and the target are coincidentally sensed.
of said deformable roller, thereby to vary the speed of the material to correct any misalignment. 3. A continuous packaging apparatushaving:
a sealerfor forming spaced seals along a length of film relative to print marks thereon; feed means for feeding the film to said sealer; deformable .roller'means cooperable-with said feed means for'regulating the speed of the film; eye means for sensing the print marks; and
a registration unit cooperable with said eye means for signalling misalignment so that said roller means deforms and thereby varies the' speed of said film from said feed means to correct themisalignment.
4. A continuous packaging apparatus as recited in claim 3, wherein said eye means is operatively connected with said registration unit and roller means to vary the rate of travel of the film when improper alignment is sensed.
'5. A continuous packaging apparatus as recited in claim 3 wherein said registration unit includes a cam assemblydriven in time with said sealer to periodically actuate switch means for desired intervals.
6. A continuous packaging apparatus as recited in claim 3 wherein said switch means on the registration unit includes a microswitch and cam assembly driven directly by said sealer.
7. A continuous packaging apparatus as recited in claim 3 wherein said eye means and registration unit are serially connected to control said roller means, said roller means including lever means to change the diameter of a driven feed roller and thereby control the speed of said film.
8. A continuous packaging apparatus as recited in claim 7 wherein said roller means includes a valve for supplying high pressure air to actuate said lever means.
9. A continuous packaging apparatus having:
a sealer for forming spaced transverse seals along a length of film between print marks thereon to form pockets;
feed means for feeding the length of film to said sealer;
a brake cooperable with said feed means for controlling film tension;
a dancer roller operably connected to said brake for controlling the feed rate of the film;
deformable roller means included in said feed means;
a speed control unit cooperable with said roller means to oscillate the film speed and thereby align said sealer with the print marks on the film;
filler means to fill the pockets in the sealed film with a product; and
longitudinal sealer means for closing the pockets.
10. A continuous packaging apparatus as recited in claim 9 wherein said speed control unit includes a microswitch and cam assembly driven directly by said sealer.
11. A continuous packaging apparatus as recited in claim 10 wherein said speed control unit includes an electric eye and'said microswitch are serially connected to said deformable roller means, said deformable roller means comprising a feed roller, and lever means responsive to signals from the speed control unit to control the diameter of the feed roller and thereby control the oscillation of the film speed.
12. A continuous packaging apparatus as recited in claim 11 wherein said deformable roller means includes a valve for supplying high pressure air to actuate said lever means.
13. A continuous packaging apparatus as recited in claim 9 wherein said brake is a U-shaped braking belt around a brake drum coaxial with the film roll and cooperable with a dancer roll carried on a pivot arm whereby the dancer roll senses the film tension and controls the brake tension.
14. A continuous packaging apparatus as recited in claim 9 wherein said speed control unit includes eye means and a registration unit which are serially connected to control said roller means.
15. A packaging apparatus as defined in claim 9 wherein the deformable roller has a width in excess of the film width and is comprised of compressible resilient material.
16. The apparatus of claim 15 wherein said deformable roller is comprised of natural gum rubber.
17. A continuous packaging apparatus having:
a sealer for forming spaced seals along a length of a film relative to print marks thereon;
feed means for feeding the film to said sealer;
a deformable roller cooperable with said feed means for regulating the speed of the film;
eye means for sensing the print marks;
a registration unit cooperable with said eye means for signalling misalignment so that said roller means deforms and thereby varies the speed of said film from said feed means to correct the misalignment; and
means for deforming the roller in response to signals received from said registration unit,
18. The apparatus of claim 17 further characterized by said roller comprising a rubber sleeve mounted between a pair of collars, and means to insure corotation of the rubber sleeve with the collars.
19. An apparatus having:
feed means for feeding material;
deformable roller means cooperable with said feed means for varying a path of travel of the material; eye means disposed downstream of said roller for sensing the position of the material at a selected point on the apparatus; target means periodically contacting the strip;
a registration unit sensing a contact position of said target means; and
means cooperable with said eye means and said registration unit upon receiving misalignment signals for 'varying the diameter of said deformable roller and thereby varying a path of travel of the material to correct misalignment of the material with the target means.
20. An apparatus as recited in claim 19 wherein said feed means includes an idler and a dancer roller which are positioned relative to said deformable roller so that film segments moving to said deformable roller are maintained in essentially parallel relation to minimize said deformable roller as a factor in film tension.
21. An apparatus as defined in claim 19 wherein the deformable roller has a width in excess of the film width and is comprised of compressible resilient matetrial.
22. The apparatus as defined in claim 19 wherein said deformable roller is comprised of natural gum rubber.
23. The apparatus of claim 19 further characterized by said roller comprising a rubber sleeve mounted between a pair of collars, and means to insure corotation of the rubber sleeve with the collars.
24. An apparatus having:
feed means for feeding strip material having longitudinally spaced markings thereon; deformable roller means having a normal diameter,
disposed to cooperate with said feed means for varying a path of travel of the material, and said roller being deformable to an abnormal diameter;
means for sensing the markings at a selected point on the apparatus and for a certain time interval;
target means periodically contacting the strip;
a registration unit sensing a contact position of said target means for another certain time interval; and means actuated by said means sensing the markings and said registration unit for periodically deforming said deformable roller means to the abnormal diameter for a time period determined by the time during which both said target and one of the markings are sensed; I thereby varying a mean diameter of the deformable roller and thus varying a path of travel of the material to bring the markings into coincidental contact with the target.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2/1944 Luehrs 226 1 5/1966 Huck 226 THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner R. L. SPRUILL, Assistant Examiner