US 3516336 A
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June 23, 1970 M1 MAUUM ET AL AUTOMATIC PACKAGING MACHINE 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Nov. 13, 1967 mm O E w r m Mt 0 E o n 0| 8 CZ u N An N .I W it mm M \ID a Y B June 23, 1970 M, MAuLlNl ETAL AUTOMATIC PACKAGING MACHINE 5 Sheets-Sheet Filed Nov. 15*, 1967 FRANCO AlUOLA NAURU-IO MAU LINK Agent June 23, 1970 ET 3,516,336
AUTOMAT I C PACKAG ING MACHINE Filed Nov. 13, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 FRANCO AlUOLA MAumzw MAULIW INVENT OR 5 BY E il fig Agent June 23, 1970 MAUL|N| ETAL AUTOMATIC PACKAGING MACHINE 5 Sheets-Sheet 4.
Filed NOV. 15, 1967 FRANCO AIUOLA MAURIZIO MAUUN INVENTORJ Agent June 23, 1970 MAULlNI EI'AL 3,516,336
AUTOMATIC PACKAGING MACHINE Filed NOV. 15, 1967 0 Sheets-Sheet b FRANCO AIUOL MAURIZIO MAULlr INVENTORS BY M Aent
United States Patent O 3,516,336 AUTOMATIC PACKAGING MACHINE Maurizio Maulini and Franco Aiuola, Milan, Italy (both A.C.M.A. Azionaria Costruzioni Macchine Automatiche S.p.A., Via Fioravanti 27, Bologna, Italy) Filed Nov. 13, 1967, Ser. No. 682,003 Claims priority, application Italy, Dec. 3, 1966, 24 762/66 Int. Cl. B31b 11/74, 1/36; B65b 43/26 US. Cl. 9336.01 5 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to product packaging machines in general. More precisely it relates to an automatic apparatus which operates on lined box-like packets or cartons of known type, particularly of impermeable lining, so as to effect, before an inlet station the closure of the bottom flap of said packets and, downstream of said inlet station, the closure of the other flap or top flap.
There already exist containers or cartons, especially for liquid, paste, hygroscopic products and the like, which comprise a first external stiffening envelope, such as cardboard, punched and creased in manner such that limiting zones are formed, designed to constitute faces or lateral walls of preferably rectangular outline and at the opposite ends of said lateral walls, flaps which, folded, are capable of forming the bottom and top lids of the finished container. Inside said first external envelope a tubular member of substantially flexible and impermeable material is then provided. Said tubular member extends beyond both ends of said lateral walls and its ends may be closed by the end flaps of the external envelope.
The structure of said containers, provided with rectangular lateral walls and end flaps, renders them of more advantageous use than other known containers which are obtained by unwinding a tubular member of stiffening and waterproof material from a roll and effecting, in combination with the filling the squeezing, the sealing and the cutting of the said tubular member. A packaging is thus achieved of tetrahedral form and with greatly reduced rigidity and hermetic sealing characteristics as well as greatly reduced stacking potential.
However, despite their superior qualities, double-walled containers have until now been subject to limitations due to difliculties in the closure of the end flaps. Automatic machines are known, in which the box-like constructions, fed in their tubular condition, are carried, with uniform motion and suitably spaced from one another, by a conveyer belt through a plurality of stations which effect the closure of an end of the construction or packet and the filling and closure of the other end. However said known machines operate on single enveloped packets.
The main object of this invention is that of obviating such difficulties and removing said inconveniences by providing an apparatus which will effect the folding, the closure and the sealing of the various parts at the ends or heads of said double-walled packets or cartons advancing 3,516,336 Patented June 23, 1970 with uniform motion, in manner such as to effect a stable and effective seal.
Another object of this invention is that said apparatus be capable of following and accompanying, during the operative phase, the packets in continuous motion, avoiding the use of members with complex movements and the inconveniences derived from the latter.
A further object of this invention is that of providing an apparatus of structure such that it may be adapted, according to needs, to operate on packets of different dimensions.
A further object of this invention is that of providing an apparatus of simple structure, easy actuation and sure use and working which is also applicable to packaging lines with different conveying tracks.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION These and other objects, which will better appear hereinafter, are achieved by an automatic apparatus according to the invention, for closing one end of box-like cartons provided with an inner flexible envelope and an external stiffening envelope and foldable end flaps in said external envelope, comprising a supporting frame defining a feeding path for said box-like packets, supplying and transfer means for said cartons, and, successively arranged along the said feeding path, a first unit including tensioning members for spreading said end of said inner envelope in the feeding direction of said transfer means, a second unit for heat sealing said one end of said inner envelope, and a third unit for folding up said end flaps of said external envelope.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will appear more clearly from the following detailed description of a preferred but not exclusive embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention, illustrated by way of example, and not intended to have a limiting meaning, in the accompanping drawings in which:
FIG. 1 shows, in a perspective and partly sectioned view, one of the said double-enveloped packets or containers;
FIG. 2 shows, in a perspective and partly sectioned view, the inlet station of an automatic packaging machine;
FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 respectively show, in elevation and diagrammatically, a setting unit of the apparatus and, in corresponding perspective and partially sectioned views, a sealing and correlated folding unit of the apparatus;
FIGS. 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 diagrammatically show the phases of the folding of the bottom head of a packet, and
FIG. 11 shows, in a perspective view, a three-armed lever assembly.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS With reference to FIG. 1 the container or packet, generally indicated by reference numeral 1 and illustrated in tubular prismatic shape, comprises an external stiffening envelope 1a obtained from a piece of material, preferably cardboard, punched and creased, which defines a lateral surface with rectangular faces and closed along one edge.
On the longitudinal extension of said rectangular faces, at the ends of said case 1, are defined, on opposite sides, side-flaps 2 and flaps 3 and 4. The flaps 3 are shorter in length than the flaps 4 which are sufficiently long to cover all the opening of the tubular packet 1. Said side-flaps and flaps are designed, during the folding along creased folding or score lines, to close the openings of the opposite ends of the said packet.
Inside the stiffening envelope 1a a second envelope is placed. Said second envelope is constituted of a tubular member of flexible sheet material united along a zone 5a by means of the superimposition of an edge and the folding of the edge according to a double union.
The tubular member 5 is rendered internally impermeable, more particularly by the presence or coating of a film of suitable plastics material.
The longitudinal development of said tubular member 5 is such as to extend beyond the ends of the packet, substantially to the level of said side-flaps 2. The envelope 5 is substantially attached to all the lateral surfaces 1a by means of the interposition of adhesive material along the zones 6. The said flaps 3 are completely united to the envelope 5, while the side-flaps 2 are centrally united to the latter along a triangular adhesive zone 6. The flaps 3 have Zones 3a laterally depressed with respect to a central triangular zone, in order to cause, in the folding of the flaps, the side-flaps and the internal envelope, the leveling of the lid flaps on the superimposed previously folded flaps.
From FIGS. 2, 3, 4 and 5 it may be seen that the automatic packaging machine, comprising the apparatus according to the invention, includes a conveyer belt 7. Said conveyer belt 7 is wound on relative pulleys (not shown in the drawings), the driving pulley being actuated with uniform motion.
As best visible in FIGS. 2 and 4, the belt member 7 has its generatrix extending in a vertical direction and has a rectilinear strand portion (FIG. 4) and an arcuated portion (FIG. 2) wound on the respective pulley.
At the external surface of said belt 7 are arranged suitably spaced apart blocks 8. Said blocks being positioned by screw means 8a. Said blocks 8 define interposed open housings or packets. On the two lateral plane surface sides of said blocks 8 horizontal slots 8b are provided. Within said slots 8b respective horizontally movable tangs or fins 9 are pivoted at vertical pivots 9a, said tangs are biased by springs 10 mounted on guide pins. The said tangs protrude from the side of said blocks 8 and are maintained in contact with the conveyer belt 7. In such manner, when the belt 7 is wound on its respective pulleys, assuming a curved form, the rear external corner of each tang touches the belt and, due to the respective spring 10 the tang following the profile of the belt rotates and laterally protrudes from the respective slot 811. Said tangs however remain within the respective slots when the belt 7 is rectilinear.
The tangs or fins have a rear edge permanently in contact with the belt member 7.
During the feeding the packets 1 are housed vertically and flattened (see FIG. 2) inside a magazine delimited by members 11a, :11b, and 110 at the sides and the bottom respectively. Since the direction of advancement of the said belt 7 is in the direction of the arrow A of the drawings, the exit of the packets is almost tangential to the branch of the belt leaving a pulley. Before and above the said magazine is positioned a senser element 12 constituted of a horizontal plate shaped body which may be considered rigid. Said senser element 12 maintains the row of packets 1 flattened, and holds them in position urging the uppermost flap 4 of the first packet of the row in a direction away from the belt 7 and releasing it by virtue of the flexion of the row, when the assembly of packets is pushed by the plate 11a advancing stepwise.
On an upright 13, at the side of and downstream from said magazine, are mounted pick-up feeding suckers 14, which communicate through the upright itself and a pipe union 13a, with suction means (not shown). The said upright 13 has a base member 1312 which is pivoted in and caused to oscillate by known means (not shown). Shaped members 16, provided at the exit of the magazine and above the said conveyer belt 7, cooperate with the packet removed by the said suckers 14 for the positioning of said removed packet between the blocks 8. To this purpose is provided a shaped pusher 17, positioned on an upright 17a, which is subjected to reciprocating motion by a slider 18, guided in 18a and forming part of a crank mechanism not shown. The shaped member ;16, during the removal of the packet, tends, with its tooth, to maintain the flap 4 separated from the flap 3. The packet is thus arranged inside a housing, assuming the tubular shape and helped in this by the member 16a which aids the positioning of the carton envelope between two contiguous blocks 8. The ends of the carton project beyond the upper and lower sections of the blocks 8. Guiding and retaining members 19 act on the free face of the carton 1; said members 19 are secured to the framework of the machine and are situated in manner such as to continue the action of the arcuate pusher 17.
To the said framework of the machine is also fixed a profiled part 20 which is of shape such as to be substantially parallel to the belt 7 and whose upstream end is higher than its other end. Said member 20 engages the lower flap 4 and causes it to project externally with respect to the body of the carton 1. During transport the cartons pass through the first unit of the apparatus which effects the closure and the sealing of the lower end. Said first unit (see FIG. 3) is constituted of a first group, generally indicated with 21. Said group 21 below the conveyor belt 7 and lying in the plane of advancement of the packets, comprises flexible ring means 22 (indicated with dots and dashes). Said means 22 are preferably constituted of a chain wound on driving and driven pulleys (not shown), with central axles passing through 23.
The upper branch of said chain 22 is substantially parallel to the path of the belt 7 and moves along, as indicated by the arrow B, with a translational speed equal to that of the belt 7 itself. Along the chain 22 are positioned, uniformly distributed, a plurality of pairs of arm members 24 and 25. The member 24 is formed of an essentially L-shaped sheet whose arm (nearest the chain) terminates in an enlarged tail section 24a. The member 24 is pivoted in 24b to a block 26 mounted on the chain, and is subjected to the action of a torsional spring 27, one end of which is secured to the said block 26, the other end being secured to the member 24 itself, so that the said arm with the tail section 24a is arranged to intersect the path of the chain. The member 25 is formed of a similar sheet member with a substantially hook-shaped form and with concavity reversed with respect to the chain. Said member 25 is fulcrumed in 25a to a block 28 mounted on the chain. In a slot 25b of said member 25 is engaged a pin 29a of an arm 29 of a three-armed lever 30 (see FIG. 11). Said three-armed lever 30 is pivoted in 30a to a block31 secured to the chain. The lower arm 32 of said lever 30 is urged towards the block 26 by spring biased means 33. The third arm 34 of said lever 30 carries a roller 35a which engages in a continuous grooved cam 35b defining a closed run partly internal and partly (specifically along the upper strand of the chain) external to the chain itself. The grooved cam 35b is mounted on the framework. A sliding cam 36 is provided for a certain section between the chain 22 and the grooved cam 35b. Said cam has an engagement front 3611 with the said tail section 24a.
As may be seen in FIG. 3, the members 24 and 25 entrained by the chain 22 along the run of the respective cams 36 and 3512 are arranged progressively in manner such that, in the section of the chain near the belt 7, they penetrate inside the mouth 5b of a flexible envelope or tubular member 5, which moves with the same speed as the belt 7. They diverge in the direction of advance thereby opening, stretching and consequently bringing together the margins 5b of the envelope 5 at the center plane of the carton. This operation is facilitated by the special glue with which the flexible envelope is stuck on the side-flaps 2.
As the advance of the said margins 51) continues they are intercepted by members of an assembly generally indicated at 37 (see FIG. 4). The margins 5b are then released by the pairs of blades or members 24 and 25. The assembly 37 comprises two members 38 facing and delimiting, according to the plane of advancement, a gap 38a. Beyond the members 38 are positioned a pair of pressure rollers 39 with vertical rotation shafts. Said rollers 39 have spring biased means for a pressure coupling. The rollers 39 delimit with the successive members a passage lane 40 for the margins 5b, while, since the upper faces of such members are horizontal and co-planar, the flaps 4 and the side-flaps 2 of the advancing carton are supported and maintained open externally, the opening action thereof having been determined by said shaped member 20 and by the members 38. Continuing along the line of advancement there are provided two heating plates 41 for the thermo-sealing of the said margins 5b. More particularly said plates 41 incorporate along the boundaries delimiting the lane 40, electrical resistances, connected through the connections 41a to the current supply line. Said plates 41, as well as successive tangential rollers 42, are supported by the framework (not shown). Said rollers 42 are revolvingly mounted on said framework and provided with cooling axial through holes and strongly compress the margins 512, also effecting a precooling of the margins. The cooling is completed by successive counterposed plates 43 which are provided, along the edges delimiting the lane or channel 40, with longitudinal grooving communicataing through pipe unions 43a With an air supply source (not shown). A complete closure of the margins 5b is thus obtained.
At the plates 43 the flaps 4 of a carton are supported open by means of fixed rods 44. The section of the flap 2 corresponding to the lateral surface 1a is inserted between the two innermost of the rods 44, while the outermost of the rods laterally supports, at the lowest level of the inner rods, the flap 4. The said rods 44 extend to discs 45 which are mounted on a rotatable shaft 45a and which draw glue from a roller 46. Said roller 46 rotates partially within a glue tank 47. The vertical discs 45 correspondingly transport the glue to the application face of the flap 4, to the closed bottom of the tubular envelope 5 and to the lower face of the flap 3.
On the extension of the rods 44 are provided, with suitably inclined planes, members 48a, 48b and 480. The upper internal rod 48a and the lower external rod 480 support the lower flap 4 open, While the shaped member 48b gradually twists, its end distant from said rods 44 being higher than its other end, and is almost horizontal in a plane nearest the conveyer belt 7 in order to effect the folding of the margins (FIG. 3) on the flap 3. An extended upper member 49, supported by the fixed framework of the machine and parallel to the run of the belt 7, is provided with a longitudinal downwardly opened channel to house the flap 4 of the upper end of the packet, in manner such as to maintain the latter open until, once the closure of the lower end of the packet and the transfer of the latter to the filling station has been completed, the closure of the upper end of the packet at a second unit of the apparatus commences.
Before reaching a filling station (not shown), the packet enter a further assembly of the apparatus (see FIG. 5) which comprises, along the plane of advancement, an oscillating member or pawl 50 mounted on a shaft 51 Said shaft 51 is rotatably mounted on the fixed framework of the machine and is connected to a suitable transmission system, partially represented and indicated by reference numeral 52. The pawl 50 is normally vertical to engage the downstream side of the flap 2, after which, during the righthand rotation, it folds said flap and supports it for application to the base of the carton.
The carton then passes to a third group, generally indicated by reference numeral 53, which comprises a boxlike framework 54 having an aperture 54a on the side facing the conveyer belt 7. Inside said framework 54 is positioned a scaffold mounting 56 having a plate 55 externally guided at said aperture 54a and joined on the bounding plane of the latter. The height of said scaffold mounting 56 is adjustable by means of a vertical screw 57 screwed in the latter. The upper end of the screw 57 passes through the framework 54 and terminates in an actuation handwheel 57a rotatably associated with a ring nut 58 secured to the framework 54. A shaft 59 is coupled to the framework 54 and is actuated through a toothed wheel 60. A sleeve 61 with a conical pinion 61b is prismatically engaged to the shaft 59 by means of a key 61a. The sleeve 61 is rotatably connected, by means of an interposed bush 62, to the scaffold 56 and follows the vertical movements of the latter since the bush is contained between a ledge 61c and a removable stop 63, formed of an extensible ring. A shaft 65 is rotatably connected to the scaffold mounting 56 by interposed su port means 64. A conical pinion 66 is keyed on the shaft 65 and is in mesh with said conical pinion 61b and a cog Wheel 67. The edges of a cowling 69 are freely engaged in an aperture 68 of said plate 55 (for clarity of representation--see FIG. S-the cowling has been shown separated into two parts, one displaced from the other). Screw means 69a pass through slots 70 on the margins of the cowling; said slots 70 have arcuate shape with the arc centre on the axis of the shaft 65. The said screws 69a serve to secure the cowling 69 to a plate 55 according to the desired angular position with respect to the shaft 65. Said cowling 69 is mounted on the shaft 65 by interposed means 71. On the end of the shaft 65 projecting from the cowling and distant from the shaft 59 a discoid member 72 is keyed. Said discoid member 72 is substantially composed of a centrally inter-connected pair of discs. Said discs are correspondingly provided with peripherally open shaped slots 72a. Upstream with respect to the shaft 65 a shaft 73 is coupled to the cowling 69. On said shaft 73 is mounted a toothed wheel 74 meshing with the cog wheel 67 and a cog wheel 75; cog wheel 75 meshes with a cog wheel 76 mounted on a shaft 77. The shaft 77 exits from the cowling 69, through an arcuate aperture 78 with the arc centre on the axis of the shaft 73, and is connected, by interposed means 79 to a plate 80. The plate 80 is connected, in suitable angular position relative to said shaft 73, to the cowling 69 by screw means inserted in suitable arcuate slots 80a. Externally to said cowling 69 on the shaft 77 is keyed a second discoid member 81 (similar to the first discoid member 72) with a slot 81a which slides in the plane of advancement. Both discoid members 72 and 81 are almost parallel to the plane of the lower base of the advancing carton and co-act with one another as shown in FIGS. 6 to 10. By suitable phasing of said discs the side-flap 2 engages inside the slot 81a and is transferred in manner such as to be held inside the slot 72a, when the member 72 supports said sidefiap for application to the base of the packet.
A shaped section 82, which twists and follows the run of the conveyer belt 7, is provided for the successive closure of the flap 4.
The working of the apparatus according to an embodiment of the invention is clear from the detailed description.
The invention as thus conceived is capable of numerous modifications and variations all lying within the ambit of the invention as described above and claimed below. Thus, for example, the part 82 may be provided to preceed the group 53, for the closure first of the flap 4 then of the side-flap 2. Moreover all the details may be replaced by other technically equivalent members.
1. An automatic apparatus for closing one end of boxlike cartons having an inner flexible envelope with at least one open end to be closed and an external stiffening envelope and foldable end flaps in said external envelope, comprising a supporting frame defining a feeding path for said cartons supplying and transfer means for said cartons, and, successively arranged along the said feeding path, a first unit including tensioning mechanism for spreading said open end of said inner envelope in the feeding direction of said transfer means, said tensioning mechanism comprising an endless chain arranged, at least with a portion thereof, substantially parallel to and below said feeding path, support and driving means for said endless chain, a plurality of pairs of tensioning members mounted in spaced relationship on said endless chain, each pair of tensioning members comprising a first arm projecting from said endless chain, a support member pivotably carrying said arm and secured to said endless chain, spring means between said arm and said support member, a second arm at a distance from said first arm, lever means secured to said endless chain and supporting said second arm, and control means for said tensioning members, a second unit for heat sealing said one end of said inner envelope, and a third unit for folding up said end flaps of said external envelope.
2. An automatic apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein said control means for said tensioning members comprise a first guide element for slidably engaging said first arm, and a second guide groove element for slidably engaging said lever means carrying said second arm.
3. An automatic apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the said third unit for folding up said end flaps of said external envelope includes a first shaft mounted for rotation, an adjustable framework supporting said shaft, a casing adjustable around said shaft, a second shaft driven by said first shaft and arranged in said casing, a third shaft driven by said second sahft, a mounting plate for said third shaft and adjustably arranged on said casing, first and second disc members on said first and third shafts in the range of said feeding path of said cartons, a slot in each of said disc members for engaging and folding an end flap of the carton.
4. An automatic apparatus for closing one end of boxlike cartons having an inner flexible envelope with at least one open end to be closed and an external stiffening envelope and foldable end flaps in said external envelope, comprising a belt conveyor with driving and guiding pulleys and having a flexible belt member with a substantially rectilinear strand portion and an arcuated portion wound on said pulleys, said belt member having the generatrix thereof arranged in a vertical direction, block members spaced at regular intervals on the belt member of the conveyor along the entire extension thereof each of said blocks having opposite upwardly directed plane surfaces extending perpendicular tosaid belt member and facing at a distance corresponding plane surfaces of the next subsequent block thereby defining an open pocket therebetween, spring biased fin members in said plane surfaces including spring means urging said fin members to project from said plane surfaces thereby to hold in position said cartons inserted in the pockets, a carton feeding unit arranged near an arcuated portion of the belt member and adapted to insert successively a carton in each of said pockets brought by said belt conveyor in front of said feeding unit, and successively arranged along the rectilinear strand portion of said belt conveyor in the path of said open ends, a first unit including tensioning members for spreading an open end of said inner envelope in the feeding direction of said belt conveyor, a second unit for heat sealing said end of said inner envelope, and a third unit for folding up said end flaps of said external envelope.
5. An automatic apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said block members have slots in said plane surfaces thereof and extending perpendicular to said generatrix of the belt member and said fin members have hinge means with a hinge axis parallel to said generatrix and rotatably securing said fin member within said slots, said hinge axis being offset with respect to the center line of the respective block, and said fin members having a rear edge extending in the direction of said belt member and having at least one part thereof permanently in contact with said belt member.
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