US 3507089 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 21, 1970 c MlZELLE ET AL 3,507,089
BUNDLING MACHINE 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. AOfi/A/V 63 M/Z'ltf AOEEPT a a/zzfsp/s Filed May 1.1. 1967 April 21, 1970 A. c. MIZELLE AL 07,089
BUNDLING MACHINE Filed May 11, 1967 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 April 21, 1970 c M|ZE| E ET AL 3,507,089
BUNDLING MACHINE Filed May 11, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTOR HAP/AW CUM/[115 BYAOBLWT 0 G/ZZESP/f ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,507,089 BUNDLING MACHINE Adrian C. Mizzelle and Robert D. Gillespie, Petersburg,
Va., assignors to Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation, Louisville, Ky., a corporation of Delaware Filed May 11, 1967, Ser. No. 637,752 Int. Cl. B6511 11/12, 35/52 US. Cl. 53-61 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS Reference is made to applicants Patent No. 3,405,503 issued on Oct. 15, 1968 for Cartoner, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference and applicants pending application Ser. No. 596,667 filed Nov. 23, 1966 for Overwrapping Machine, the disclosure of which is referred to for background material and the state of the art.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In the packaging art, particularly the cigarette packaging art, it is often desirable for shipping, storage and sale purposes to bundle a group of packages, for instance two rows of five, as one sealed unit. It is important for protection purposes that the enclosed packages be protected from moisture, dryness and extreme temperatures. Normally, this is accomplished by enclosing the packages within a carton alone or in a carton with an overwrap around the carton for extra protection. A considerable savings in production costs could be accomplished if an automatic machine could be provided to adequately and efliciently bundle the packages so that substantially the equivalent protection is achieved for the cigarette packages as would be achieved by both a carton or carton overwrap.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An overwrapping machine of this invention is provided with a supporting structure having an assembly section where a selected number of packages, for illustrative purposes, cigarette packages, are taken from a feed line automatically and are delivered in a group to a station at which a reciprocal plunger drives the selected group of cigarette packages into contact with a predetermined length of bundling material which is automatically placed in position for contact with the group of packages. During the movement which brings the group of packages into contact with the bundling material, the material becomes positioned over the leading side of the group of packages together with the top and bottom faces of the group as well as the forward portion of the group ends. The continued action of the plunger locates the partially bundled group of packages at a glue or pasting station where glue or paste is applied to the exterior of the trailing side bottom flap of the bundling material. Subsequently, the trailing side lower flap of the bundling material is folded upwardly and the trailing side top flap is folded downwardly to cause the flaps to overlap and adhere to one another by the applied paste. The partially bundled group of packages are then moved into contact with a tucking mechanism where the forward portion of the bundling material projecting ends are folded rearwardly aganist the group of package ends. Upon the next reciprocation of the plunger, the group of packages and the length of bundling material are then moved to the next station, where the rear portions of the bundling material projecting ends are folded forwardly against the group of package ends by a tucking mechanism during the retraction of the plunger. Subsequently, the bottom end folding mechanism folds the protecting lower portion of the bundling material ends upwardly against the folded or tucked forward and rear portions of the bundling material ends. Upon the next reciprocation of the plunger the nearly completely bundled group of packages will be placed at the next station. At this station and during retraction of the plunger, paste is applied to the interior of the top end flaps of the bundling material. Thereafter, the group of packages is moved to the next station as a result of the following reciprocation of the plunger and during this movement, the top end flaps of the bundling material are folded downwardly to place the end flaps in contact with one another in a secure manner by means of the interposed adhesive. The bundle is now complete and fed to a discharge station following one or more reciprocations of the plunger whereupon a predetermined number of the bundles are placed in boxes for commercial shipment.
It is, therefore, a principal object of this invention to provide an improved automatic bundling machine for. bundling a group of packages, such as a group of cigarette packages, for protection during shipment, handling and storage. A machine is provided which will produce a substantial saving in labor cost and in the time required for bundling.
Numerous other objects and advantages will become apparent from the following detailed description which is to be taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings illustrating a somewhat preferred embodiment of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an exploded fragmentary and diagrammatic view illustrating the sequence of operation performed by the bundling machine of this invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional side elevation view of several stations of the bundling machine;
FIGS. 3a-g are perspective views showing the sequence of steps involved in bundling a group of packages in accordance with this invention;
FIG. 4 is a sectional end elevation view of a completed bundle formed by the bundling machine of this invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the drawings, a bundling machine 20 is shown supported by a table or chassis 22. Bundling machine 20 is coupled with a cigarette package feeding system 24. For descriptive purposes, the bundling machine 20 in this invention will be used for bundling packages of cigarettes.
The cigarette package feeding system 24 supplies a continuous line of cigarette packages into the bundling machine. The cigarette packages may be transferred directly from a cellophane wrapping machine where the individual packages have been wrapped in cellophane. A common type of conveyor system such as a pneumatic system, may be utilized to accomplish the transfer from the wrapping machine to the feeding system 24. The packages 26 are fed into bundling machine 20 where an elevator assembly 28 will elevate five packages at a time as they enter the machine. After two more rows have been similarly elevated, a horizontally reciprocal plunger assembly 30' will drive the two upper rows of five packages into contact with a predetermined length of bundling material which is received simultaneously by the bundling machine.
The predetermined length of wrapping material is cut from a web 34 of material from supply roll 36. The supply roll 36 is suitably mounted and controlled so that additional web material may be received as needed. Web 34 extends from supply roll 36 between idler rollers 38 and 40 and between feed rollers 42 and 44 through guide plates 46 and 48 and finally between cutting rollers 52 and 50. Cutting rollers 52 and 50 are synchronized with the feeding drive rollers 42 and 44 and the movement of each group of ten cigarette packages.
The belt conveyor 100 is used to feed the cigarette packages 26 in a continuous stream. Switch 102 is positioned in relation to the belt conveyor 100 so that the belt will be stopped when a group of five packages are resting on elevator platform 104. Another micro-switch 117 may be positioned at the other extremity of elevator platform 104 from where the cigarette packages 26 enter. This microswitch would be responsive to contact by the packages so that the elevator platform 104 is raised by means of air cylinder 106 and piston rod 108. The packages will pass between outwardly pivotal plates 108 and 110 until they are above plates 108 and 110. These plates are supported by means of upstanding brackets 118 which are in turn connected to intermediate plates 120 and 121. Hinges 122 are connected to the plates and the support brackets so that the plates 108 and 110 may be pivoted outwardly. Springs 124 held in position by stud heads 125 serve to bias plates 108 and 110 in an inwardly direction. When cigarette packages 26 are passed between plates 108 and 110 they are forced outwardly until the packages are above their upper extremities and then when elevator platform 104 is lowered the plates will move inwardly and will support cigarette packages 26. Plates 108 and 110 are limited in their inward movement by their respective engagements with companion plates 120 and 121.
When three rows of five packages of cigarettes each have been raised above plates 108 and 110 and are resting thereon, plunger assembly 30 will be activated to displace the top two rows of five packages into the bundling machine. A micro-switch 119 may be provided to be responsive to the top row of packages to activate the plunger assembly to move in a horizontal direction. Air cylinder 116 in conjunction with piston rod 114 will move plunger plate 112 into contact with the top two rows of packages and drive them into opening 113 between top and bottom horizontal supporting plates 54 and 56 and into contact with the predetermined length of bundling material 32. The plunger assembly will then be retracted and the elevator cycle will be repeated. The supply system for the predetermined length of bundling material is synchronized with the plunger movement so that a fresh length of bundling material 32 is provided for the next reciprocation of the plunger. As plunger assembly retracts, a micro-switch 115 is tripped which activates the supply system to provide another predetermined length of bundling material in position to be used on the subsequent reciprocation of the plunger assembly 30. The forward movement of plunger assembly 30 through switch 115 deactivates the elevator mechanism preventing elevation of packages that would cause jamming of the mechanism, the plungers return permits the elevators operation. It can be seen in the drawings how the length of bundling material 32 passes through openings 64 and 66 in upper plate 56 and lower plate 54 to be properly positioned for the packages of cigarettes as they enter through opening 113.
The length of bundling material is not completely severed across its entire width by cutting rollers 52 and 50. This enables it to be supported vertically until the group of packages makes contact and tears the predetermined length free and places it between plates 56 and 54. At this point the group of ten packages is now partially encased in the length of bundling material so that a front panel '58, a top panel 60 and a bottom panel 62 have been formed.
The next step is the folding and pasting of the trailing flaps. This may be done by the use of pasting and folding mechanism 69 in a manner similar to the one pointed out in the above referenced Patent No. 3,405,503 which employs a similar mechanism as particularly pointed out from column 8, line 47 to column 9, line 10 and as shown in FIGS. 2, 15, 21, 22 and 24. In general terms, a pasting mechanism applies paste to the underside of the trailing bottom flap which is then folded upwardly. The trailing top flap 74 is then folded downwardly into contact with trailing bottom flaps 72 and they are adhered to one another by means of an applied paste. In addition, forward end flaps 68 will be folded rearwardly by means of end plates 70. The partially closed bundle 96 is then moved to the next station upon the next reciprocation of the plunger assembly 30. At this position and during the retraction of plunger assembly 30, rear end flaps 78 will be tucked forwardly and inwardly against the end of the partially closed bundle 96 by a tucking mechanism 76. In mechanism 76, a tucking arm is pivotally connected to a piston which is driven by an air cylinder. The tucking arm is also pivotally attached to the support at a fixed point so that when the piston moves forward the arm will be pivoted upward to fold flap 78 and when the piston is retracted the arm will be returned to its original position.
Thereafter, the bottom end flap folding mechanism 82 will fold bottom end flap upwardly and into engagement with rear end flap 78 and forward end flap 68. Basically this mechanism includes a folding plate 84 which may be pivoted upwardly by activation of air piston cylinder assembly 86 which is interconnected with folding plate 84 through the means of rack and pinion assembly 88 driven by air cylinder 89. Prior to the next reciprocation of plunger assembly 30, plate 84 will be retracted to its lower position.
The next reciprocation of plunger assembly 30 positions the partially closed bundle 96 so that it may be contacted by end flap paster 90. As plunger assembly is retracted again, end flap paster 90 will be activated to apply paste to the underside of top end flap 92. A paster similar to the one used in the above mentioned application may satisfactorily accomplish this end.
The partially closed bundle is then moved to a subsequent position where suitable means such as a fixed folding template, wire, or a plate may be used. In the drawings, a folding plate 94 is illustrated to accomplish this final pasting step.
The finished bundle 96 is then moved through a predetermined number of reciprocations of the plunger to a coating and dating station if necessary or desirable. At this location, a suitable mechanism such as discussed in the above application and designated as coating and dating mechanism 98 in the accompanying drawings will most effectively accomplish this result. After this step is complete, the completed bundles are now acceptable for commercial use.
In summary, a continuous line of cigarette packages are supplied to the bundling machine 20. As each group of five packages enters the machine, elevator platform 104 which is part of elevator assembly 28 raises the group of five packages by means of air cylinder 106 until they are supported by outwardly pivotal plates 108 and 110. After three groups of five packages have been positioned thereon invertical relationship to one another, a plunger assembly 30 is activated so that air cylinder 116 and piston rod 114 drives plunger plate 112 into contact with the top two groups of packages 26. In this manner, plunger assembly 30 horizontally drives the group of ten packages into opening 113 and into contact with a predetermined length of bundling material 32.
The bundling material is supplied vertically from above from a supply roll 36 through a series of rollers until it is directed between a pair of cutting rollers 52 and 50 which will cut a predetermined length. The combined operation between belt conveyor 100 which supplies cigarette packages 26, plunger assembly 30 and the supply means for supplying length 32 are still synchronized to cooperate with one another.
The contact between the cigarette packages and the length of wrapping material is such that a front panel 58, a top panel 60 and a bottom panel 62 are formed to partially enclose the group of packages 26. The partially enclosed bundle of cigarette packages is then moved horizontally between upper plate 56 and bottom plate 54 through a series of bundling steps to completely enclose it. Suitable mechanisms are described and employed to accomplish the folding and pasting steps. First the forward end flap 68 is folded against the side of the group of packages and paste is applied to the underside of the trailing bottom flap 72 which is then folded upwardly against the group of packages. Trailing upper flaps 74 is then folded downwardly into contact with trailing bottom flap 72 so that the applied paste will cause the upper and bottom flaps to adhere to one another. Then a suitable tucking mechanism will fold rear end flap 78 against the partially enclosed bundle and another suitable tucking mechanism will fold forward end flap 68 against the partially enclosed bundle.
Thereafter, a bottom end flap folding mechanism 82 will fold bottom end flap 80 upwardly into contact with the previously folded rear end flap 78 and forward end flap 68. Paste is then applied by paster 90 to the underside of top end flap 92 which is in turn folded downwardly into contact with the previously folded bottom end flap 80 so that the applied paste will cause adherence between the two parts. A completely enclosed bundle 97 is produced at this point. If desired, the bundle may be passed through a suitable coding and dating mechanism to apply a code and date. The bundle is then ready for commercial shipment.
Thus, the several aforenoted objects and advantages are most effectively obtained. Although a single somewhat preferred embodiment of the invention has been disclosed and described in detail herein, it should be understood that this invention is in no sense limited thereby and its scope is to be determined by the appended claims.
1. A bundling machine for enclosing a predetermined number of packages arranged in rows with a predetermined amount of bundling material comprising:
means for supporting and supplying said bundling material;
a package feeding means part of which is on said support for receiving and feeding packages;
a bundling material feeding means on the support for feeding a length of bundling material to a first location at which the predetermined number of packages in rows are engaged therewith;
an elevator means on the support for receiving a pre determined number of packages in a row and elevating said row to an elevated position;
package support means on said support for supporting elevated rows of packages;
plunger means on said support for moving a group of said packages constituting at least one elevated row of packages from said package support means into engagement with the length of bundling material at said first location on the blank support means and then moving the engaged group and blank horizontally along a predetermined longitudinal axis and path of travel to a second location at which the length of bundling material is partially enclosed about the packages;
said bundling material feeding means including a pair of drive rolls for feeding the predetermined length of bundling material to the first location at which the packages may be driven against the length of bundling material upon reciprocation of the plunger means and said means for supporting and supplying said bundling material, supplying a web of bundling material to the feed rollers, and a cutolf means for cutting the predetermined length of bundling material from the web of bundling material fed by the feed rollers; assembly means on said support for partially folding and enclosing the length of bundling material about the packages as the plunger means moves the packages from the first to the second location, the length of bundling material having a leading panel extending over one end of the package, top and bottom panels over the respective top and bottom faces of the package, the length of bundling material having extending, trailing top and bottom flaps and extending ends;
trailing flap pasting means on the support for applying a predetermined pattern of paste to one of the trailing flaps;
trailing flap folding means on the support for folding the trailing flaps upon one another with the pattern of paste therebetween, said trailing flap folding means being automatically operated to fold the trailing fiaps while the partially assembled packages and length of bundling material are at the second location, the trailing flap folding means including a pair of vertically reciprocal folding plates adapted to move from a first position away from the respective trailing flaps toward one another to a second position into engagement with the respective trailing flaps to fold the trailing flaps upon one another with the pattern of paste therebetween, means for actuating the trailing flap folding plates linearly between the first and second positions and to maintain one of said plates at the second position to maintain the folded relationship between the trailing flaps with the pattern of paste therebetween until another length of bundling material partially enclosing a group of packages is moved by the plunger means from the first location at which time said one of said trailing flap folding plates is reciprocated away from the trailing flaps and the lead portion of said another partially enclosing length of bundling material is moved into engagement with the folded trailing flaps and moved to the second location by the plunger means;
end flap pasting means on the support for applying a further predetermined pattern of paste to the top end flaps;
end flap folding means on the support for completing the folding of the bundle by securing the end flaps by means of said further pattern of paste;
and means for directing the partially enclosing length of bundling material in line and along said predetermined longitudinal axis and path of travel from location to location with each movement of the plunger means to complete the folding and assembly of the length of bundling material about the group of packages.
2. The invention in accordance with claim 1 wherein said support means includes a pair of spaced plates biased toward one another and outwardly pivotal with respect to one another, said elevator means being so constructed and arranged to elevate each row of packages between said plates to pivot the plates outwardly and upon return of said elevator said plates are adapted to pivot inwardly to engage the underside of the elevated row of packages and support the row thereon.
3. The invention in accordance with claim 1 wherein drive means are provided for said plunger means operable upon the elevation of a predetermined number of rows of packages and synchronized with the operation of said elevator means.
4. The invention in accordance with claim 1 wherein the trailing flap pasting means is automatically operated to apply the predetermined pattern of paste to the trailing bottom flap upon delivery of the partially assembled packages and length of bundling material to the first location.
5. The invention in accordance with claim 4 wherein the trailing flap folding means is automatically operated to fold the trailing flaps following the application of the predetermined pattern of paste to the trailing bottom flap while the partially assembled packages and length of bundling material are at the first location.
6. The invention in accordance with claim 5 wherein said end pasting means is at a second location and means on said support cooperates in feeding the partially assembled packages and length of bundling material to the second location.
7. The invention in accordance with claim 6 wherein the end folding means includes tucking means for tucking portions of the ends and folding other portions prior to placement of the partially bundled packages at the second location and the end folding means includes a folding means at a third location at which the folding of the ends is completed following actuation of the end pasting means and means on said support cooperates in feeding the partially assembled packages and length of bundling material to the third location.
8. The invention in accordance with claim 7 wherein an indicia applying means is at a fourth location for applying selected indicia to the completely bundled packages and length of bundling material and means for cooperating and feeding the completely bundled packages from the third location to the fourth location.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner N. ABRAMS, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 53l31, 159, 230'