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Publication numberUS3527020 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 8, 1970
Filing dateJun 21, 1968
Priority dateJun 21, 1968
Publication numberUS 3527020 A, US 3527020A, US-A-3527020, US3527020 A, US3527020A
InventorsMancini Derek
Original AssigneePortion Containers Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for filling and sealing cups
US 3527020 A
Abstract  available in
Images(8)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

D. MANCINI APPARATUS FOR FI LLING'AND SEALING CUPS Sept. 8,. 1970 8 Sheets-Sheet 1 "Filed June 21, ess

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APPARATUS FOR FILLING AND SEALING curs Filed June 21', 19 8. s Sheets-Sheet 4 V Jere/Z Sept. 8, 1970 Filed June 21. '1968 D. MANCINI Sept. 8, 1970 D. MANCINI APPARATUS FOR FILLING AND SEALING cuPs 8 Sheets-Sheet 6 Filed June 21; 1968 Sept. 8, 1970 D. MANCINI APPARATUS FOR FILLING AND SEALING CUPS Filed June 21. 1968 A 8 Sheets-Sheet 7 l|llL.||

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APPARATUS FOR FILLING AND SEALING CUPS Filed Jime- 21. 1968 8 Sheets -Sheet s ZQQL |-l .IM' iilml mekmrmm' Q? M "EM m1 APPARATUS FOR FILLING 3,527,020 Patented Sept. 8, 1970 AND SEALING CUPS Derek Mancini, Agincourt, Ontario, Canada, assignor to Portion Containers, Inc., Chicago Heights, 111., a corporation of Illinois Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 515,011, Dec. 20, 1965. This application June 21, 1968, Ser. No. 738,951

Int. Cl. B65b 3/12, 7/28 U.S. Cl. 53-482 18 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Round synthetic plastic cups having annular flanges at their open upper ends provided with upwardly facing flat annular surfaces are sequentially dispensed from a stack of said cups, are annularly supported on the underside of said annular flanges and sequentially advanced along a path of movement, and are sequentially filled in stages as they are so sequentially advanced. A cover strip, including a paper backed foil having a heat sealing coating on the exposed foil on the underside of the strip, flat round covers each having a diameter at least as large as the outside diameter of the flat annular surfaces of the annular flanges of the cups, and interconnecting webs between the covers, is sequentially advanced and the end cover of the cover strip is directed over the upwardly facing flat annular surface of the annular flange of a dispensed, supported and filled cup as it is sequentially advanced along the path of movement. The heat sealing coating on the underside of the end cover is annularly heated and pressed against the annularly supported upwardly facing flat annular surface of the annular flange of said cup for heat sealing said cover to said filled cup. The interconnecting web between said end cover and the next adjacent cover in the cover strip is severed adjacent said next adjacent cover to provide said end cover with a laterally extending tab to facilitate subsequent removal of the heat sealed cover from the cup.

This application is a continuation-in-part of US. application Ser. No. 515,011, filed Dec. 20, 1965.

An object of this invention is to provide a new and improved packaged food product including a filled and sealed synthetic plastic cup.

Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved method of filling and sealing synthetic plastic cups.

A further object of this invention is to provide a new and improved apparatus for filling and/or sealing synthetic plastic cups.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reference to the accompanying specification, claims and drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a cover which seals a synthetic plastic cup;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational View of the cover;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a synthetic plastic cup to be filled and sealed in accordance with this invention;

FIG. 4 is a vertical sectional view through the cup illustrated in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of a sealed cup which has been filled and sealed in accordance with this invention;

FIG. 6 is a vertical sectional view through the filled and sealed cup illustrated in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a greatly enlarged sectional view through the cover taken substantially along the line 77 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view illustrating the method of dispensing, conveying, filling and sealing the synthetic plastic cups;

FIG. 9. is a vertical sectional view similar to FIG. 6 but illustrating a modified form of the filled and sealed synthetic plastic cup;

FIG. 10 is a partial front elevational view of the apparatus of this invention for dispensing, conveying, filling, sealing and discharging the synthetic plastic cups;

FIG. 11 is a partial top plan view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged vertical sectional view through the filling means for filling the synthetic plastic cups in stages and taken substantially along the line 12-12 of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a horizontal sectional view through the apparatus taken substantially along the line 13-13 of FIG. 10;

FIG. 14 is an enlarged elevational view of the sealing apparatus for sealing the cups and looking from the left in FIG. 10;

FIG. 15 is a front elevational view of the sealing apparatus for sealing the cups and looking in the same direction as FIG. 10;

FIG. 16 is a rear elevational view of the sealing apparatus looking from the rear of FIG. 10;

FIG. 17 is an elevational view partly in section of the sealing apparatus looking from the right of FIG. 10, the sectioned portions being taken along the line 1717 of FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is a diagrammatic view illustrating the manner in which the cover strip is sequentially advanced by the sealing mechanism;

FIG. 19 is a further enlarged sectional view taken substantially along the line 1919 of FIG. 15 and the line 19--19 of FIG. 20 illustrating the severing of the end cover from the cover strip;

FIG. 20 is a further enlarged sectional view through the sealing apparatus and taken substantially along the line 20-20 of FIG. 14;

FIG. 21 is an enlarged partial horizontal sectional view taken substantially along the line 2121 of FIG. 20; and

FIG. 22 is an exploded perspective view of a stripper plate for stripping the cover strip from the index drum and directing the same over the synthetic plastic cups to be sealed.

Referring now, more particularly, to FIGS. 1 to 7 the synthetic plastic cup of this invention to be filled 'and sealed is a thin walled cup and is designated at 10. It is preferably formed from high impact polystyrene or the like by a vacuum or blow molding procedure. It includes a frusto-conical side wall 11 and a bottom wall 12. The upper portion of the side wall 411 is provided with an annular shoulder 13 and the top of the side wall 11 is formed into an annular flange 14 having a flat annular upper surface. A modified form of the cup 10 is illustrated in FIG. 9, the only difference being that the flat annular flange 14 also has a depending annular skirt 15. The annular shoulders 13 provide a means for stacking a plurality of cups in nested relation as illustrated in the left portion of FIG. 8 so that the flat annular flanges 14 of the cups 10 are spaced apart when in nested relation. The flat upper surface of the annular flange 14 provides an ideal surface for heat sealing a cover thereto.

The cover which is heat sealed to the flat annular flange 14 of the cup 10 after the cup has been filled with a food product or the like is designated at 17, it being circular in configuration and it having a tab 18 extending laterally from one side thereof. The diameter of the cover 17 is at least as large as and is preferably a little larger than the outside diameter of the flat annular flange 14 of the cover, as for example, the diameter of the cover 17 being 1 and the outside diameter of the flat annular flange 14 of the cup being 1%". The tab 18 extending laterally from the cover 17 may, for example, have a width of /8 and a length of These dimensions given by way of example are for a cup of creamer size for packaging individual portions of cream, salad dressing, catsup or the like. Of course, these dimensions would be greater for larger size cups.

The cover 17 and its tab 18 are preferably formed as a laminate including a thin metal foil 19, such as aluminum, permanently adhered to a paper backing 20 which may be kraft paper or the like. The paper backing 20 adds substance and body to the thin metal foil 19. The other and underside of the thin metal foil is provided with a heat seal layer 21 which may be a resin or wax type sealing material such as sold under the trademark Alvex. This heat seal layer 21 cooperates with the flat annular upper surface of the annular flange 14 of the cup for annularly heat sealing the cover 17 to the filled cup 10. The

cover 17 which is so heat sealed to the cup 10 provides a flawless seal for the contents of the cup which can stand considerable abuse in handling but yet which may be readily broken by removal of the cover from the cup, the tab 18 which also comprises the aforementioned laminate facilitating such removal.

The method of dispensing, conveying, filling and sealing of the cups 10 is diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 8. Here, the cups 10 are arranged in nested relation in a stack generally designated at 22 with the flat annular flanges 14 of the nested cups 10 being arranged in spaced relation so as to facilitate sequential removal of the bottom cup 10 from the stack of cups 22. The cups 10, as they are sequentially dispensed from the stack of cups at a cup dispensing station 23, are annularly supported on the underside of the flat annular flange 14 and are then sequentially moved along a path of movement. As the cups are so sequentially moved along the path of movement, they are filled in stages at filling stations 24 and 25, the cup 10 at filling station 24 being partially filled and then, as it is moved to station 25, it being finally filled up to the desired amount. As the filled cups are sequentially advanced from the filling stations 24 and 25, they sequentially appear at a sealing station 26 where the round covers 17 are heat sealed to the flat annular flanges 14 of the cups 10. The covers 17 are arranged in a cover strip generally designated at 27, the round covers 17 being connected together in said cover strip by webs 18. Each time that a filled cup appears at the sealing station 26, the end cover 17 of the cover strip 27 is advanced over the cup and heat sealed to the cup. As the end cover is being heat sealed to the cup, the Web 18 between it and the next adjacent cover 17 is severed to provide a tab on the end cover 17 which facilitates subsequent removal of the cover 17 from the filled cup 10. In annularly heat sealing the end cover 17 to the filled cup 10 a heated annular iron is pressed against the cover 17 and since the cup 10 is annularly supported at the flat annular flange 14 thereof, appropriate pressure as well as heat is annularly applied to the cover 17 to form a flawless heat seal between the cover 17 and the flat annular flange 14 of the cup 10. After the cover 17 is thus heat sealed to the cup 10, it is sequentiall advanced along the path of movement to a discharge station 28 for discharging the filled and sealed cups.

Where cups having the annular skirt as illustrated in FIG. 9 are utilized, the support for the flat annular flange 14 is annular in configuration so as to extend upwardly between the side wall 11 of the cup and the annular skirt 15 to engage the underside of the flat annular flange 14 so that appropriate pressure may be applied during the heat sealing of the cover to the cup.

Referring now, more particularly, to FIGS. 10, 11 and 13 the apparatus for dispensing, filling, heat sealing and discharging the cups 10 is generally designated at 30 and the conveying means for sequentially advancing the cups along the path of movement is generally designated at 31, the conveying means being illustrated in the form of an intermittently advanced turntable 64. The apparatus generally designated at 30 includes a bottom bed plate 33 having a stainless steel cover plate 34, a top base plate 35 having a stainless steel cover plate 36 and posts 37 for securing these plates 33, 34 and 35, 36 in spaced apart relation, the plates being secured to the posts 37 by screws 38 or the like. The mechanisms arranged between the plates 33 and 35 are normally covered with stainless steel side plates secured to the posts 37, these side plates being omitted from the drawings to observe the mechanisms therein.

An electric motor 40 is secured to the bed plate 33 and it operates to rotate a sheave 41 which is connected by a belt 42 to a sheave 43 for operating a gear speed reducer 44 also secured to the bed plate 33. The gear speed reducer 44 operates to rotate a shaft 45 at a reduced speed which in turn is connected by a coupling 46 to a shaft 47 journaled in a bearing 48 carried by the upper base plate 35. A gear 49 is pinned to the shaft 47 and is rotated in the clockwise direction as indicated by the arrow in FIG. 13.

The gear 49 meshes with a gear 51 pinned to a shaft 52 which is journaled for rotation by a lower bearing 53 in the bed plate 33 and an upper bearing 54 in the upper base plate 35. The shaft 52 rotated by the gear 51 operates to rotate a collar 55 pinned thereto which is provided with a downwardly extending Geneva pin 56. The shaft 52 is also provided with a locking surface 57. As the collar 55 is rotated, the Geneva pin 56 and the locking surface 57 cooperate with slots 58 and recesses 59, respectively, in a Geneva wheel 60 pinned to a shaft 61 which is journaled by a bearing 62 in the bed plate 33 and a bearing 63 in the upper base plate 35.

With the parts in the position illustrated in FIG. 13 the Geneva wheel 60 is locked in position by the locking surface 57 engaging in a recess 59 in the Geneva wheel. As the collar 55 rotates in the counterclockwise direction as shown by the arrow, the Geneva pin 56 enters one of the slots 58 in the Geneva wheel and at this time the locking surface 57 disengages the recess 59. As the collar 55 continues its movement, the pin 56 operates to advance the Geneva wheel 60 in the clockwise direction as shown by the arrow to its next adjacent position. When this occurs, the Geneva pin 56 leaves the slot 58 in the Geneva wheel and the locking surface 57 enters the next locking recess 59 in the Geneva wheel to lock the Geneva wheel in its advanced position until such time as the Geneva wheel is again advanced by the Geneva pin 56 on the continuously rotating collar 55. As a result, the Geneva wheel 60 and, hence, the shaft 61 are intermittently advanced in steps, there being, as illustrated in FIG. 13, sixteen such steps in one complete revolution of the Geneva wheel 60.

As stated above, the conveying means 31 is in the form of a turntable 64 which is secured to a hub 65 which in turn is pinned to the shaft 61 intermittently rotated by the Geneva wheel 60. The turntable 64 is provided near its periphery with a plurality of closed holes 66, there being, as illustrated, sixteen of such holes circumferentially arranged around the turntable 64. Thus, as the Geneva wheel is intermittently advanced step by step, the turntable 64 is correspondingly intermittently advanced. The holes 66 in the turntable 64 which are so sequentially advanced pass the cup dispensing station generally designated at 23, the cup filling stations generally designated at 24 and 25, the heat sealing station generally designated at 26 and the discharge station generally designated at 28.

The gear 51 which continuously rotates the shaft 52 meshes with a gear 69 pinned to a shaft 70 which is journaled in the bed plate 33 by a bearing 71 and in the upper base plate 35 by a bearing 72. The gear 69 is rotated by the gear 51 in a clockwise direction as indicated by the arrow in FIG. 13. The gear 69 also meshes with a gear 73 pinned to a shaft 74 which is journaled for rotation in the bed plate 33 by a bearing 75 and in the upper base plate 35 by a bearing 76. Here, the gear 73 is rotated in a counterclockwise direction as illustrated by the arrow in FIG. 13. Thus, the shafts 47, 52, 70 and 74 are continuously rotated while the shaft 61 is intermittently advanced by the Geneva gear 60.

The cup dispensing apparatus at the cup dispensing station 23 is like that illustrated in the aforementioned copending application of which this application is a continuation-in-part. It is illustrated herein at the left hand portions of FIGS. and 11. It includes a vertical plate 81 which is secured to the base plate 35 through a suitable flange 82. A support plate 83 is secured to the top of the vertical plate 81 by screws 84 or the like. The inner end of the support plate 83 is provided with a circular hole 85 which has a diameter corresponding generally tothe outer diameter of the annular flat flanges 14 of the cups 10. A plurality of guide posts 86 are carried by the support plate 83 circumferentially around the circular openings 85 and extend upwardly therefrom to form a magazine for a stack 22 of the nested cups. The upper ends of the posts 86 have an annular ring 87 secured thereto by screws 88, the cups being inserted into the magazine through the opening in the ring 87.

A head 92 is slidably mounted beneath the support plate 83 by a pair of posts 93 carried by the vertical plate 81, the head 92 being moved to a retracted position as illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11 and an advanced position. The head 92 is provided at its bottom with a plate 94 which has a horizontal slot which receives a pin 96 carried by a crank 97 which is secured to the upper end of the continuously rotating shaft 74. Thus, as the shaft 74 is rotated, the pin 96 operating in the slot in the plate 94 operates to reciprocate the head 92 between advanced and retracted positions. The head carries a pair of fingers 100 which extend forwardly from the head on opposite sides of the cups 10 carried by the magazine. A pair of stop shoulders 101 are secured to the fingers 100 adjacent the inner ends of the fingers and a pair of wedges 102 are secured adjacent the outer ends of the fingers above and spaced from the stop shoulders 101.

When the head 92 is advanced, the stop shoulders 101 engage with the fiat annular flange 14 of the lowermost cup 10 of the stack of cups 22 in the magazine so as to maintain the same in place. When the head is retracted to the position as illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11, the stop shoulders 101 move away from the flat annular flange 14 of the lowermost cup 10 and the wedges 102 enter between the flat annular flange 14 of the lowermost cup and the flat annular flange 14 of the next above cup so as to release the lowermost cup and to retain the remaining cups in the stack of cups in proper position in the magazine. As the head 92 moves from its retracted position, as illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11, to the advanced position, the wedges 102 are withdrawn from below the flat annular flange 14 of the new lowermost cup and the stop shoulders 101 are moved under the flat annular flange 14 of the new lowermost cup so as to maintain it and the remaining cups in the stack in position in the magazine. Thus, as the head 92 is continuously reciprocated, the lowermost cup is released from the stack of cups in the magazine and is deposited in the cup receiving hole 66 in the turntable 64, the intermittent advance of the turntable 64 being timed with respect to the reciprocation of the head 92. In this way, cups are automatically sequentially dispensed into the cup receiving holes 66 in the turntable 64 as the turntable '64 is intermittently advanced.

When the cups 10 are so received in the cup receiving holes 66 in the turntable 64, the undersides of the flat annular flanges 14 of the cups rest upon the turntable about the holes 66 therein. As a result, the cups are annularly supported in the turntable by the undersides of the flat annular flanges 14 of the cups.

As the cups 10 are sequentially advanced by the turntable 64 from the cup dispensing station 23, they pass by the filling stations 24 and 25 to be filled in stages thereat. The filling stations 24 and 25, as shown in FIGS.

10, 11 and 12, include a block 105 having a nipple 106 at one end thereof and a through passage 107. A hose 108 is removably connected to the nipple 106 to supply a fluid food product or the like from a metering pump to be described hereafter. The end of the passage 107 opposite to the nipple 106 is closed by a plug 109 which is sealed into the passage 107 by an O-ring 110. A pair of lateral passages 111 extend outwardly from the passage 107, one passage being associated with the filling station 24 and the other passage being associated with the filling station 25. A cover 112 is removably secured to the block 105 by means of wing screws 113. The cover 112 is provided with a pair of circular recesses 114 communicating with the pair of lateral passages 111 and downwardly and outwardly diverging holes 115 communicate with the recesses 114. The recesses 114 are sealed with respect to the block 105 by O-rings 116 or the like. The cover 112 and, hence the block 105 are secured in place by a screw 117 received in a post 118 carried by the upper base plate 35.

When a fluid such as a food product or the like is forced into the passage 107 from the hose 108, the fluid is forced through the passages 111, the recesses 114 and the downwardly and outwardly diverging holes 115 into the cups 10 carried therebelow by the turntable 64 as shown more clearly in FIG. 12. The fluid is essentially directed by the ports 115 against the side walls of the cups 10 so as to minimize foaming of the fluid as it is thus directed into the cups 10. The holes 115 of the filling stations 24 and 25 are of substantially the same size so that when a charge of fluid is forced into the pasage 107, the charge is substantially equally divided as it passes to the two cups at the filling stations 24 and 25. As a result, the cup at the filling station 24 is substantially half filled and the cup at the filling station 25, which had previously been at the filling station 24, is finally filled up to the desired amount, as illustrated in FIG. 12. It has been found that this two stage filing of the cups, as illustrated in FIG. 12, provides final filling of the cups to the de sired amount within extremely close tolerances. By filling the cups in stages in this manner, minimum foaming of the fluid is brought about and the cups may be filled at about twice the rate than if they were filled in a single operation.

The fluid, such as a food product or the like, is supplied in measured amounts to the filling stations 24 and 25 by means of a metering pump which corresponds in all respects to the metering pump which is disclosed in the aforementioned patent application of which this application is a continuation-in-part. For purposes of illustration herein, the metering pump is illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11 and it includes a tubular cylinder 120 which receives a head 122 at one end thereof and a head 123 at the other end thereof, the heads 122 and 123 being sealed to the inner surface of the cylinder 120 by means of O-rings or the like. The head 123 is provided with a plate which receives a stationary pin carried by a post 124 which in turn iscarried by the upper base plate 35 for pivotally mounting the head 123 with respect to the upper base plate 35. Located within the cylinder 120 is a piston 125 which is sealed in the cylinder by an O-ring or the like. The piston 125 is provided with a piston rod 126 extending through the head 122 which is releasably connected by a pin 133 to a block 134 which in turn is adjustably connected into a slot 136 in a crank 137 by a pin 135, the pin being held in adjusted positions in the slot 136 of the crank 137 by lock nuts 138. The heads 122 and 123 and the cylinder 120 are releasably held in assembled relation by a yoke consisting of a pair of arms 127 pivotally secured to the head 122, a cross bar 129, and a screw 130 extending through the cross bar 129 and engaging the head 123. The screw 130 is released and tightened by a handle 131 on the screw 130. Thus, the metering pump may be quickly disassembled and assembled for cleaning purposes. The head 123 includes an inlet port which communicates with a hose 139 extending from a source of the fluid to be pumped and an outlet port connected to the hose 108 for delivering the fluid to the filling stations 24 and 25. These inlet and outlet ports are provided with suitable check valves for controlling the flow of fluid into the metering pump and out of the metering pump.

The crank arm 137 which is secured to the upper end of the continuously rotating shaft operates to reciprocate the piston in the cylinder 120 to provide metered charges of the fluid to be delivered to the filling stations 24 and 25. By adjusting the pin 135 with respect to the slot 136 in the crank 137 the amount of metered charges so delivered may be adjusted as desired. In this way,

the desired amount of fluid may be delivered to the cups 10 at the filling stations 24 and 25 as the cups are sequentially advanced by the turntable 64, the crank 137 and, hence, the metering pump being operated in timed relation with respect to the advance of the cups 10 by the turntable 64.

As the filled cups are sequentially advanced by the turntable 64 from the filling stations 24 and 25, they are sequentially advanced to the sealing station generally designated at 26. The sealing station includes a sealing mechanism which is illustrated generally in FIGS. 10 and 12 and is shown in more detail in FIGS. 14 to 21. The sealing station or mechanism 26 includes a housing provided with a mounting base 146 by which it is mounted to the upper base plate 35, 36 of the apparatus generally designated at 30. The housing 145 has a central wall 147, an opening 148 on one side thereof which is normally closed by a cover and an opening 149 on the other side thereof which is also normally closed by a cover, the covers being omitted for clarification purposes.

The upper end of the shaft 47 which is continuously rotated in the clockwise direction as illustrated in FIG. 13 extends upwardly beyond the upper base plate 35 and 36 and is provided with a tongue 150 as illustrated more clearly in FIG. 17. The tongue 150 is releasably received in a slot 151 in a drive shaft 152 which is journaled for rotation by a bearing 153 in a bushing 154 secured to the housing 145. Thus, when the housing 145 of the sealing mechanism 26 is secured to the upper base plate 35, 36, the shaft 47 is automatically coupled to the drive shaft 152.

The drive shaft 152 has a bevel gear 155 secured thereto which meshes with a bevel gear 156 secured to a cam shaft 157 which is journaled for rotation by bearings 158 and 159. The shaft 157 extends through the center wall 147 and carries a gear 160 which meshes with an idler gear 161 carried by a shaft 162 supported by the center wall 147. The gear 160 is rotated in a clockwise direction as illustrated in FIG. 16 to drive the idler gear 161 in a counterclockwise direction. The idler gear 161 meshes with another idler gear 163 mounted on a shaft 164 also carried by the center wall 147. The idler gear 163 which is rotated in a clockwise direction as illustrated in FIG. 16 meshes with a gear 165 carried by a shaft 166 which is journaled for rotation in the center wall 147 and which extends therethrough to drive an unwind drum 189 which is carried by the shaft 166. The gear 165 is rotated in a counterclockwise direction as illustrated in FIG. 16 for rotating the unwind drum 189 in a clockwise direction as illustrated in FIG. 15.

The shaft 157 also has a cam 169 secured thereto, the cam rotating in the clockwise direction as illustrated in FIG. 16. The cam 169 operates against a cam follower 170 carried by the free end of an arm 171 which is secured at its other end to a shaft 172. The shaft 172 is journaled for oscillation in the center wall 147 and extends therethrough for operating the heat sealing device as will be pointed out more fully hereafter.

One end of a link 174 is pivotally secured at 175 to the cam 169 and the other end thereof is pivotally secured at 176 to a pawl arm 177 rotatably mounted on a shaft 178, the pawl arm 177 being rotatably movable with respect to the shaft 178. The shaft 178 is rotatably supported in the center wall 147 and extends therethrough to carry an index drum 196 so as to intermittently advance the index drum. Secured to the shaft 178 is a ratchet disk 179 and the pivotal connection 176 between the link 174 and the pawl arm 177 pivotally carries a pawl 180 which is urged against the ratchet disk 179 by a spring 181. A back stop arm 182 is pivotally mounted at 183 to the center wall 147 and it also is urged into engagement with the ratchet disk 179 by a spring 184.

With the parts in the position illustrated in FIG. 16 the back stop arm 182 is engaging one of the teeth of the ratchet disk 179 so as to prevent reverse rotation thereof. As the cam 169 is rotated from the position shown to a position where the pivotal connection 175 is beneath the shaft 157, the pawl arm 177 is rotated in a clockwise direction to cause the pawl 180 to engage the next succeeding tooth on the ratchet disk 179. As the pivotal connection 175 to the cam 169 is then moved from the aforementioned low position back to the high position as illustrated in FIG. 16, the pawl 180 therefore causes the ratchet disk 179 to rotate in the counterclockwise direction as illustrated in FIG. 16. Four ratchet teeth are formed in the ratchet disk 179 so that for each rotation to the shaft 157 in the clockwise direction the ratchet disk 179 and, hence, the shaft 178 are intermittently advanced through substantially 90 in the counterclockwise direction as illustrated in FIG. 16. This intermittent advance of the shaft 178 causes quarter turn intermittent advancing of the index drum 196.

The upper end of the housing 145 of the heat sealing mechanism 26 is provided with an upwardly directed extension 186 which carries a shaft 187 for rotatably mounting a reel 188 containing a roll of the cover strip 27. The cover strip 27 is unwound from the reel 188 by the aforementioned unwind drum 189 secured to the continuously rotating shaft 166. As shown more clearly in FIGS. 15 and 17, the unwind drum 189 is secured to the shaft 166 by a disk 190 which is silver soldered to the shaft 166 in appropriate angular position and by a screw 191 extending through a hole in the disk 190 into a tapped hole in the unwind drum 189. The unwind drum 189 is provided with a pair of side flanges which are engaged by the outside circular edges of the covers 17 in the cover strip 27 for guiding the cover strip as it is unwound from the reel 188. The drum 189 is also provided with a central annular groove 193 and with four pairs of pins 194 which are contoured to engage the edges of the covers 17 adjacent the webs 18 in the cover strip 27 as shown more clearly in FIG. 18. In this way, the cover strip 27 is positively and accurately unwound from the reel 188. The index drum 196 is like the unwind drum 189, it being accurately positioned and secured to the intermittently advancing shaft 178 by a disk 197 silver soldered to the end of said shaft and a screw 198 securing the index drum 196 to the disk 197. The angular position of the index drum 196 is, therefore, accurately positioned with respect to the angular position of the ratchet disk 179 also secured to the shaft 178. The index drum is also provided with guide flanges 199, a central annular groove 200 and contoured pins 201 for guiding and accurately advancing the cover strip 27 as the index drum 196 is intermittently advanced by the quarter turn intermittent steps of the index drum 196.

As shown more clearly in FIGS. 15 and 17, a keeper bar 203 is pivotally mounted by a pin 204 to the center wall 147 of the housing and it may be swung against the cover strip 27 on the unwind drum 189 and the index drum 197 and also away therefrom to permit threading of the cover strip onto the drums. When the keeper bar 203 is swung against the cover strip 27, it may beheld in that position by a pin 205 extending through a hole in the keeper bar 203 into a hole in a boss formed on the center wall 147. The keeper bar 203 maintains the cover strip 27 in firm engagement with the unwind drum 189 and the index drum 196 so as to provide accurate feeding of the cover strip 27. The cover strip 27 is arranged in a loop between the unwind drum 189 and the index drum 196, the loop preferably being of a length equivalent to about three covers 17. This loop allows continuous unwinding of the cover strip 27 from the reel 188 by reason of the continuous rotation of the unwind drum 189 and allows intermittent advancing of the cover strip in accordance with the intermittent advancing movement of the index drum 196.

A stripper member 207, shown in perspective in FIG. 22, is provided With-a curved surface 208 which is recevied within the groove 200 of the index drum 196 for stripping the cover strip 27 from the index drum 196 and directing the same forwardly to the heat sealing mechanism. The stripper member 207 is provided with an arm 209 having holes by which the stripper member is secured to the housing 145 of the mechanism 26. The end cover 17 of the cover strip 27 is thus intermittently advanced and directed to a position where it may be heat sealed to a cup.

As shown more clearly in FIGS. 14 and 15, a sealer head shaft 211 is vertically slidably mounted in a pair of brackets 212 formed on the frame 145. A collar 210 which is pinned to the shaft 211 carries a pin 210 which is slidably mounted in a hole in the upper bracket 212 so as to prevent rotation of the sealer headishaft 211, as it is vertically reciprocated. The lower end of the shaft 211 carries a sealer head 213 which is provided with an elongated slot 214 which receives a roller 215 carried by one end of an arm 216, the other end of the arm 216 being secured to the shaft 172 which is oscillated through the arm 171 by the cam follower 170 and the cam 169. Thus, as the cam 1-69 is rotated, the shaft 172 is oscillated to vertically raise and lower the sealer head 213.

The sealer head 213 has four depending pins 217 which extend through holes in webs 218 in a heat sealing iron 221, the heat sealing iron 221 being held on the lower ends of the pins 217 by pins 219 extending therethrough. Springs 220 engaging shoulders on the pins 217 and the webs 218 resiliently urge the sealing iron 221 downwardly against the pins 219, there thus being provided a one way spring biased strain release connection between the iron 221 and the sealer head 213. The bottom of the iron 221 is provided with an annular surface 222 which has annular dimensions corresponding to the annular dimensions of the flat annular flanges 14 of the cups 10. This annular surface 222 on the iron 22 1 is shown more clearly in FIG. 20. The lower end of the iron 221 is provided with a plurality of holes for receiving electrical heating elements 225 for heating the annular surface 222 on the bottom of the iron 221. These electrical heating elements 225 are electrically connected through suitable electrical connections 226 to a plug and socket arrangement 227 for energizing the same, the electrical connections 226 being flexible to accommodate the up and down movement of the iron 221.

The turntable -64 sequentially advances filled cups concentrically below the annular heating surface 222 of the heated iron 221, the cups being supported on the undersides of their flat annular flanges 14 by the turntable 64. When the end cover 17 of the cover strip 27 is projected over a filled cup and the heated iron 221 is moved downwardly into engagement with the cover 17 by the downward movement of the sealer head 213, the springs 220 on the pins 217 resiliently press the heated annular surface 222 against the cover 17 against the reaction of the turntable 64. In other words, the cover 17 and the flat annular flange 14 of the cup 10 are resiliently pressed together between the turntable 64 and the heated annular surface 222 of the heated iron 221. The application of this resilient pressure and the heat afforded by the heated iron forms an eflicient annular heat seal between the cover and the cup. In the event that there should be a tendency for the turntable 64 to flex or bend by reason of the pressure applied by the heated iron 221, the turntable 64 may be supported from below as by means of rollers 229 and 230 suitably supported by the housing 145, such rollers being illustrated in more detail in FIGS. 20 and 21.

As the end cover 17 of the cover strip 27 is so being heat sealed to a filled cup 10, the web adjacent the next succeeding cover in the strip is severed by a suitable shear mechanism to provide the cover 17 with a laterally extending tab 18 to assist in subsequent removal of the cover from the filled cup. The shear mechanism includes a stationary blade 232 below the cover strip 27 which is secured to the housing 145 by screws 233 or the like. This stationary blade 232 has a knife edge 232 as illustrated in FIG. 20. A movable blade 234 is pivoted at 235 to the stationary blade 232 and it is provided with a knife edge 236 which cooperates with the knife edge 232 of the stationary blade 232 to shear or sever the web 18 adjacent the next succeeding cover 17 in the cover strip 27. A link 237 is pivoted at 238 to the movable blade 234 and is pivoted at 239 to the sealer head 213. Thus, as the sealer head 213 is raised to raise the iron 221, the movable blade 234 is also raised to allow the next succeeding cover 17 in the cover strip 27 to be advanced over the next filled cup 10 which is brought into line with the heated iron upon advance of the turntable. As the sealer head 213 is lowered to lower the iron 221 to heat seal the end cover 17 to the filled cup 10, the movable blade 234 is also lowered to sever that cover 17 from the cover strip 27. In this way the covers are sequentially severed from the cover strip and heat sealed to the cups.

The turntable 64 also operates to sequentially advance the filled and sealed cups, to the discharge station generally designated at 28. As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the discharge station 2 8 includes a ramp 242 underneath the turntable 64 and as the filled sealed cups 10 are advanced, the ramp 242 operates to lift the cups upwardly and outwardly from the holes 66 in the turntable 64. The ramp 242 may be secured in place by a post 243 carried by the upper base plate 35, 36. The discharge station 28 also includes a pair of plates 244 which are secured to the upper base plate 35, 36, the plates being spaced apart to such an extent so as to receive the cups therebetween with the undersides of their flat annular flanges resting on the top thereof. The plates 244 have fingers 245 extending above the turntable 64 so that as the filled and sealed cups 10 are advanced by the turntable 64 and raised therefrom by the ramp 242, they are supported by the upper edges of the plates 244 and their fingers 245. The continued move ment of the cups 10 by the turntable 64 forces the cups along the upper edges of the plates 244 and their fingers 245. The plates 244 and their fingers 245 act as rails and direct the sealed and filled cups 10 to a point of discharge.

Where cups having depending skirts 15 like those illustrated in FIG. 9 are to be filled and heat sealed, the turntable 64 is preferably provided with annular bosses about the holes 66, the bosses extending upwardly within the skirts 15 to support the underside of the flat annular flange 14 as the cover 17 is being heat sealed thereto.

While for purposes of illustration, one form of this invention has been disclosed, other forms thereof may become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reference clusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. An apparatus for heat sealing covers from a cover strip on round synthetic plastic cups wherein said round synthetic plastic cups have annular flanges at their open ends provided with upwardly and downwardly facing flat annular surfaces, and wherein said covers are incorporated in a cover strip including a paper backed metal foil having a heat sealing coating on the exposed metal foil on the underside of the strip, flat round covers each having a diameter at least as large as the outside diameter of the upwardly facing flat annular surfaces of the annular flanges of the cups, and interconnecting Webs between the covers, said apparatus comprising conveyor means having circular openings therein with flat surfaces therearound for receiving the cups with the flat surfaces annularly supporting the cups on the downwardly facing flat annular surfaces of said annular flanges of the cups to sequentially advance the cups along a path of movement, cover strip advancing means for sequentially advancing the cover strip to direct the end cover of said cover strip over a cup which is sequentially advanced by said conveyor means, heat sealing means including a movable iron having a heated flat annular surface for engaging the end cover of the cover strip for heating and pressing the heat sealing coating on the underside of the end cover of the cover strip against the upwardly facing fiat annular surface of the annular flange of the cup which is annularly supported by its downwardly facing flat annular surface on the flat surface of and sequentially advanced by the conveyor means for heat sealing said cover to the upwardly facing flat annular surface of the annular flange of said cup, knife means for severing the interconnecting web between said end cover and the next adjacent cover in the cover strip adjacent said next adjacent cover to provide said end cover with a laterally extending tab to facilitate subsequent removal of the heat sealed cover from the annular flange of the cup, and means for operating said conveyor means, said cover strip advancing means, said heat sealing means and said knife means in timed relation.

2. An apparatus as defined in claim 1 including means for sequentially dispensing said round synthetic plastic cups from a stack of such cups onto said conveyor means to be sequentially advanced thereby, and means for operating said cup dispensing means in timed relation with said conveyor means.

3. An apparatus as defined in claim 1 including means for filling said cups as said cups are sequentially advanced by said conveyor means before said covers are sealed to said cups, and means for operating said cup filling means in timed relation with said conveyor means.

4. An apparatus as defined in claim 2 including means for filling said cups as said cups are sequentially advanced by said conveyor means before said covers are sealed to said cups, and means for operating said cup filling means in timed relation with said conveyor means.

5. An apparatus as defined in claim 3 wherein said cup filling means includes a manifold above the path of movement and having a pair of filling ports over adjacent cups as they are sequentially advanced along the path of movement, a metering pump connected to said manifold for intermittently supplying a charge of fluid thereto and hence through the pair of filling ports to the adjacent cups therebelow, one of said ports partially filling one of said cups and the other of said ports finally filling to the desired amount the other of said cups which had been partially filled by said one of said ports.

6. An apparatus as defined in claim 5 wherein said manifold comprises a body having a longitudinal passage therein to which the metering pump is connected and a pair of longitudinally spaced transverse open ended passages communicating therewith, a cover secured to said block over said transverse passages and having said pair of ports extending through said cover in communication with said transverse passages, and sealing means for sealing said cover to said block about each of said transverse passages.

7. An apparatus as defined in claim 6 wherein each of said pair of ports comprises a plurality of annularly arranged and downwardly and outwardly extending holes for directing the fluid charge toward the side walls of the cups therebeneath.

8. An apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said cover strip advancing means includes a reel supporting a roll of said cover strip, an unwind drum unwinding the cover strip from said roll, an index drum receiving the cover strip from said unwind drum and sequentially advancing and directing the end cover of said cover strip over said cup which is sequentially advanced by said conveyor means, pins on said unwind drum and said index drum engaging said cover strip for positively advancing said cover strip as said drums are rotated, and a keeper bar holding said cover strip against said drums.

9. An apparatus as defined in claim 8 wherein said operating means for said cover strip advancing means includes means for continuously rotating said unwind drum, and means for intermittently rotating said index drum, said cover strip forming a loop of approximately several covers between said unwind drum and said index drum.

10. An apparatus as defined in claim 8 wherein said cover strip advancing means includes a stripper plate for stripping the cover strip from said index drum and directing the end cover of the cover strip over the cup which is sequentially advanced by the conveyor means.

11. An apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said heat sealing means includes a slidably mounted support head, a plurality of pins and associated springs forming a spring biased lost-motion connection between said support head and said iron for moving said iron as said support head slidably moves, said spring biased lost-motion connection resiliently pressing the heated annular surface of the iron against the end cover of the cover strip, and said operating means for said heat sealing means including means for slidably moving said support head.

12. An apparatus as defined in claim 11 wherein said operating means for said knife means includes a connection between said knife means and said supporting head.

13. An apparatus as defined in claim 1 including support means for said conveyor means adjacent said heat sealing means for backing up the conveyor means as the heated annular surface of the movable iron of the heat sealing means engages the end cover of the cover strip for heat sealing the same to the annular flange of the cup annularly supported by the conveyor means.

14. An apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said conveyor means comprises a turntable and said circular openings therein are arranged in a circle around the turntable.

15. An apparatus as defined in claim 14 wherein the operating means includes an electric motor and gearing for continuously driving said cover strip advancing means, said heat sealing means and said knife means, and Geneva gearing for intermittently driving said turntable.

16. An apparatus as defined in claim 4 wherein said conveyor means comprises a turntable and said circular openings therein are arranged in a circle around the turntable.

17. An apparatus as defined in claim 16 wherein the operating means includes an electric motor and gearing for continuously driving said cover strip advancing means, said heat sealing means, said knife means, said cup dispensing means and said cup filling means, and Geneva gearing for intermittently driving said turntable.

18. An apparatus as defined in claim 1 including discharge means having a ramp for raising the heat sealed cups from the circular openings in the conveyor means and rails engaging the undersides of the annular flanges of the raised cups for directing the same to a point of discharge.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Barbieri.

Phillips et a1 53-300 XR Abel 53-329 Wise 53-281 XR 10 5 THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner R. L. SPRUILL, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 53-300, 329

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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/282, 53/300, 53/329.3
International ClassificationB65B7/28, B65B7/16
Cooperative ClassificationB65B7/2807, B65B7/16
European ClassificationB65B7/16, B65B7/28B