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Publication numberUS3543475 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 1, 1970
Filing dateSep 30, 1968
Priority dateSep 30, 1968
Publication numberUS 3543475 A, US 3543475A, US-A-3543475, US3543475 A, US3543475A
InventorsMoon Lester E
Original AssigneeFramton Foods Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Dispensing device and packaging machine
US 3543475 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 1, 197G L. E. MOON DISPENSING DEVICE AND PACKAGING MACHINE Filed Sept. 50, 1968 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 [/V M54772 165767? 6. May

3 rial -38 Dec. 1, 1970 L. E. MOON A 3,543,475



Dec. 1, 1970 Filed Sept. 30

Dec. 1, 1978 L. E. MOON DISPENSING DEVICE AND PACKAGING MACHINE Filed Sept. 30, 1968 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 W Y w n 5 0 m m 2 5 a w v V 4, z f a m y z m w Q 2 I Q /m L 6 LJIL m g 5 6 fl 8' w, m L m I12 Y I a f M O m Cr 3,543,475 DISPENSING DEVICE AND PACKAGING MACHINE Lester E. Moon, St. Louis County, Mo., assignor to Framton Foods, Inc., St. Louis, Mo., a corporation of Missouri Filed Sept. 30, 1968, Ser. No. 763,749 Int. Cl. B65b 57/06, 57/14, 61/06 US. CI. 53-55 14 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An article dispensing device for attachment to a packaging machine having a shear automatically separating and discharging one article in response to a signal from the packaging machine indicating measurement and discharge of product for packaging, and having control elements automatically advancing sequentially connected articles into position for separating and discharging the next successive article.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates in general to the packaging art and more particularly to a device for separating and dispensing discrete items from a continuous tape for packaging With measured products.

In the past several years it has become a common practice in the merchandising of various consumer products, such as soaps or detergents, breakfast cereals, prepared cake mixes, snack items and the like, for the manufacturer to insert into each box, bag or other package a premium article, advertising, recipes, coupon or the like. In some cases this practice is restricted to selected production runs of the consumer commodity, and in other cases the practice has grown into a continuous process for inducing product recognition and sales.

Although various devices have been developed for insering these various items into consumer product packaging, these devices have not been versatile or adaptable to a broad packaging spectrum and the insertion of premiums has remained, to a large extent, a hand operation involving a sizable labor cost and substantially slower production rates than canbe achieved by modern packaging machines. In the past the devices for automatically inserting premium items have included manually loaded buckets arranged to discharge a series of articles into successive detergent containers or the like on a moving conveyor and in timed relation with the travel thereof, or complex sorting and conveying equipment making a random selection and discharge of premiums into product filled containers and in timed relation with the conveyor movement thereof. In short, the prior art base required manual operation, either direct packaging or loading of dispensing devices, or has been too complicated and expensive; particularly for intermittent or selective production runs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention is embodied in a dispensing device for sequentially separating and dispensing articles for packaging with products, including drive means for advancing a continuous and interconnected series of articles, sensing means responsive to the position of such articles for stopping the drive means, cutting means for severing the leading article from said series of articles, and control means responsive to product measurement for operating cutting means and restoring said other means to an operative condition for the next dispensing operation.

"United States Patent One of the principal objects of the present invention is to provide a device for separating discrete items carried at longitudinally spaced intervals on a tape and introducing such items into packages of other objects. Another object is to provide a simple, eflicient dispensing device adaptable for use with conventional machines for packaging products measured by weight, volume or numerical accumulation in a pre-measuring unit for subsequent discharge through a feed or delivery chute into any suitable container for such product, and in which the dispensing device is responsive to the measuring and discharge of product for simultaneously dispensing individual articles into the product containers.

These and other objects and advantages will become apparent hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For purposes of illustration and disclosure the invention is embodied in the parts and in the arrangements and combinations of parts hereinafter described and claimed. In the accompanying drawings which form part of the specification and wherein like numerals and letters refer to like parts wherever they occur:

FIG. 1 is an elevational view illustrating a typical packaging machine and the relationship therewith of a dispensing device embodying the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the dispensing device taken from the side opposite to that shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an end elevational view, partly broken away, showing the discharge end of the dispensing device;

FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the dispensing device;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the dispensing device;

FIG. 6 is a view taken substantially along line 6-6 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 77 of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram of the electrical circuit forming part of the dispensing device.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The present invention is embodied in an article dispensing device 2 adapted for attachment, either for temporary or permanent installation, to and concurrent operation with a conventional machine 4 for packaging a pre-measured, by weight, volume or numerical accumulation, of a consumer commodity. The dispensing device 2 is dependent upon the operation of the packaging machine 4 to dispense premium items or the like for simultaneous packaging with the consumer product.

As diagrammatically shown in FIG. 1, a typical packaging machine 4 selected for disclosure of the invention is designed to form bags from cellophane, plastic or like roll stock and to package pretzels based upon a predetermined weight measurement. The machine 4 includes a jaw-type sealing assembly 6 reciprocally mounted on a frame 8 for drawing an extended length of sheet cellophane 10 from a roll (not shown) and shaping it over a curved plow 12 to form a transition of the sheet material into a tubular configuration 13, in which the side margins are heat sealed together and, at equally spaced intervals, the opposed bag walls of the tubular configuration are transversely heat sealed together to form individual connected packages 14 and, when filled, the machine 4 subsequently severs the individual packages 14 from one another by cutting through the transverse heat seals. The transition 12 from sheet stock 10 to tubular form 13 is shaped over the curved plows 12 around the outer surface of a filling hopper 16, which is also carried by the reciprocal sealing assembly 6. The filling hopper 16 is fed by a trough 18 swingably mounted on the machine frame 8 to follow the vertical shifting movement of the hopper 16, and the trough 18 is provided with a measured amount of the pretzel product from a scale bucket 20 mounted on the frame 8 above it. The bottom of the scale bucket 20 is normally closed by a bucket door 22 adapted to open through a suitable mechanism at the upper pOSltion of the sealing assembly 6 and the hopper 16 (as shown in broken lines in FIG. 1). The machine 4 further includes means for delivering the pretzel product to the scale bucket 20 and weight sensing means associated with the bucket 29 for stopping the feed after a predetermined amount of pretzels have been measured, but such means and the other structure of the conventional machine 4 are unnecessary to an understanding of the present invention.

The dispensing device 2 is adapted to introduce an individual article or premium item 160 into each package 14 formed by the packaging machine 4 and, for disclosure purposes, these items 160 are encapsulated at equally spaced intervals in a continuous tape 162. The tape, as shown, comprises two layers of cellophane that are heat sealed to circumscribe the items 160, the heat sealing including later ridges or corrugations 163 to facilitate driving engagement and movement of the tape 162 through the dispensing device 2. In addition, the width of one side margin 164 of the tape 162 is preferably wider than the driving means of the device 2. It will be understood that the form of the tape 162 and arrangement of articles 160 therein is not to be construed as limiting inasmuch as paper, cloth, plastic, cellophane or other materials may be employed as a carrier for various items, or a series of articles may be formed with an interconnecting guide and carrier strip adapted to the teachings of this invention. However, it will be apparent that the disclosed form of tape 162 lends itself to sterilization and handling under the necessary sanitary conditions required for packaging food products.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 2-7 of the drawings, the dispensing device 2 is mounted on the main frame 8 of the packaging machine 4 superjacent to the filling hopper 16 and has an article dispensing or discharge means comprising a delivery chute 96 in position to discharge the items 160 into the hopper 16. The dispensing device 2 includes a main housing 30 forming a control panel housing and main supporting frame, the housing 30 having four peripheral walls 32 integrally formed with a back wall 34 and being provided with an access door 36 hinged on the lower peripheral wall 32. The upper peripheral wall 32 is bolted to a support member 38 which projects outwardly from the frame 8 and supports the entire dispensing device 2 on the packaging machine 4 (FIGS. 1, 3 and 6). A support and feed table or plate 40 projects outwardly from the back wall 34 of the housing 30, the table 40 having an upwardly turned marginal flange 42 secured to the back wall 34 and, at the other side, a downwardly turned marginal flange 44 is provided with a longitudinal slot 46. It will be apparent that the housing 30 and table 40 accommodate the various operative mechanisms of the dispensing device 2 for feeding a continuous series of the items 160 from a suitable source (not shown) across the table 40, and for separating and discharging individual items into the hopper 16 to the product bags 14 in timed relation with the discharge of product into the bags 14. These various mechanisms include cutting means 24 adjacent to the discharge or delivery chute 96, drive means 26 for actuating the feeding of the tape 162 and contained items 160, sensing means 28 for orienting the items 160 on the table 40 relative to the cutting means 24, in addition to means for guiding the tape onto and across the table and control means for these mechanisms.

The sensing mechanism 28 is mounted on a U-shaped frame 52 having an intermediate leg 48 with a threaded end adjustably secured in the elongated slot 46 of the table flange 44 by jam nuts 50. The upper leg 51 of the frame 52 is provided with a photoelectric lamp or transmitter 54 capable of emitting a narrow light beam toward the plate 40 and through a transparent pane 58 formed from clear plastic or the like in such table. The opposite leg 53 carries a photoelectric cell 56 or receiver disposed in vertical alignment with the light beam emitted by the lamp 54. The transparent pane 58 extends longitudinally in the plate 40 the approximate length of the slot 46 and also has a substantial lateral width to accommodate both longitudinal and lateral adjustment of the sensing means 28 relative to the table 40.

The forward or discharge end of the mounting plate 40 is secured to a mounting bar '60 (FIGS. 24, 5) which is welded to and projects outwardly from the back wall 34 of the housing 30. A shear plate 62 is secured to the upper surface of the bar 60 and has its upper surface coplanar with the upper surface of the plate 40. The shear plate 62 comprises part of the cutting means 24, and the leading edge of the shear plate 62 is wiped by a shear knife 63, which projects through a slit 64 in the back wall 34, and is pivotally mounted on a tab 66 attached to the back wal 34. A mounting arm 68 (FIG. 3) is secured on the back wall 34 and extends above the housing 30, and at its upper end the arm 68 is provided with a bifurcated bracket 70 to which the barrel of an air cylinder 72 is pinned. The air cylinder 72 is of con ventional construction and has an interval piston (not shown) and a piston rod 74 pinned at its outer end to the shear knife 63. When the piston and rod 74 is retracted, the knife 63 will be positioned above the shear plate 62. However, when the piston and rod 74 are actuated downwardly, the blade 63 is moved across the leading edge of the plate 62 to cut the leading item 160 from the tape 162. The air cylinder 72 is vertically adjustable by changing the position of the mounting arm 68 so that the knife 63 can be precisely positioned with respect to the plate 62.

The drive means 26 for feeding the tape 162 across the table 40 includes a drive roll 84 and a pressure roll 86.

A downwardly and rearwardly extending bearing tab 76 (FIGS. 2 and 4) in which the outer end of a drive shaft 78 is journaled is secured on the outer end of the mounting bar 60. The drive shaft 78 extends beneath the plate 40 and at its inner end projects through the back wall 34 into the housing 30 and is connected to the output of a gear reduction motor unit, shown generally at 80 and of a well-known type. The motor unit 80 is internally fitted with a typical brake to prevent coasting of the drive train. A sprocket 82 is carried on the shaft 78 and the drive roller 84 is mounted on the shaft 78 and has a knurled outer surface, the upper arcuate segment of which projects through an opening 85 in the table 40 so that a portion of this highly frictional peripheral surface is always present at, or slightly above, the upper surface of the table 40. The pressure roller 86 is formed of hard rubber and is carried on a spindle 88, which projects through an arcuate slit 90 in the back wall 34 and is rigidly secured to a swing arm 92 (FIG. 6) pinned to the wall 34. The pressure roller 86 is biased against the exposed segment of the drive roller 84 by a spring 94. The cutting means 24 also includes a guide or hold-down shoe 61 mounted on the back wall 34 adjacent to the shear 63 to hold the tape 162 against the shear plate 62 and prevent buckling of the tape 162 during operation of the shear 63. In addition, an angularly and laterally adjustable holddown pin 123 is provided on the pressure roll shaft 88 and has its free end disposed opposite to the shoe 61 and slightly above the tape 162 to cooperate in preventing buckling of the tape during the cutting operation of shear 63.

Associated with the drive means 26 is a feed roller 104 formed of a relatively spongy, yieldable material and adapted to guide the premium articles from the source onto the table 40. In fact, the yieldable roller 104 easily accommodates the translation of direction of article feeding from different angles to a horizontal position on the table 40 and, as shown in FIG. 2, the table 40 is tangentially aligned with the upper surface of the feed roller 104. The roller 104 is mounted on a drive shaft 100 journaled in a sleeve bearing 102 (FIG. 6) secured to the adjacent end peripheral wall 32, and intermediate to the sleeve bearing 102 and the back wall 34 the drive shaft 100 is provided with a sprocket 106 driven from the sprocket 82 by a roller chain 108. The rollers 84 and 104 are driven in the same direction when the gear motor 80 is energized, and the sprocket ratio and roller diameters are all such that the rollers 84 and 104 will rotate at the same peripheral velocity.

The table 40 is provided with one or more guide pins 112 which project upwardly from slotted arms 114 secured to the table 40 by mounting screws 116. The spacing between the pins 112 and the upwardly turned table flange 42 can be altered by both pivoting the arms 114 about the screws 116 and by sliding the arms 114 inwardly or outwardly on the screws 116 in order to form an adjustable guide channel for the tape 162. Similarly, adjacent to the feed roller 104 is another guide pin 118 having a collar 120 adjustably mounted on a stud 122 projecting outwardly from the back wall 34.

As will be seen by reference to FIG. 6, the housing 30 encases the motor unit 80, a photoelectric control unit 124, a time-delay relay 126 and an air control unit 127 including a valved air pressure reservoir 128, a pressure regulator 130 and a solenoid actuated air valve 132. A flexible air line 133 with a quick-connect coupling 134 connects a suitable source of pressurized air through the pressure regulator 130 to the reservoir 128 and thence to the three-way air valve 132. The air valve 132 normally has its internal valve element (not shown) turned to connect the air reservoir 128 with the lower retraction side of the air cylinder 72 through conduit 135R to maintain the shear 63 in retracted inoperative position. However, to actuate the shear 63, the solenoid of the valve 132 is energized to reverse the position of the valve element and connect the air reservoir 128 through conduit 135A to the top of the air cylinder 72 above its internal piston, and simultaneously to exhaust the retraction side of the cylinder 72 to atmosphere. It will be apparent that, in lieu of the double air system for actuation and retraction, the air cylinder 72 may have a spring return piston arrangement of known construction. The housing 30 is also provided with a master control switch 136.

Referring now to FIG. 8 wherein the electrical control circuit for the dispensing device 2 is diagrammatically shown, the main circuit is connected to main electrical lines 138 through a connector plug 154 and, when the master switch 136 is closed, a circuit is completed through amplifier 146 to amplify the light beam signal of the sensing means 28. During transmission the photocell 54 closes a circuit to energize a control relay 148 and closes its normally open contacts 140 to complete the normal circuit to the electric motor unit 80. The control relay 148 also has a set of normally closed contacts 152 in the circuit of the valve 132 of the air system for shear 63. Therefore, when the relay 148 is de-energized by interruption of the light 'beam by an article 160, the photocell 54 opens the circuit to relay 148 and breaks the contacts 140 to stop the motor unit 80 and simultaneously the contacts 152 are closed to condition the cutting means 24 for operation. An ancillary circuit is provided through the master switch 136 in which the packaging machine control switch 21 is connected through plug 156 in the circuit to the cutting means 24. The air valve 132 is conditioned for operation of the shear 63 by closing of the contatcs 152 and is responsive to the closing of switch 21 to complete the circuit whereby discharge of product by the packaging machine 4 also actuates the cutting means 24 to separate and dispense the leading article 160 from the tape 162. When the switch 21 opens after discharge of the product, the circuit to the solenoid (not shown) of air valve 132 is broken and the spring return of the valve connects the retraction air conduit R to retract the knife 63.

The time delay relay 126 has a set of normally open contacts 142 and an associated relay has normally closed contacts 144, the two sets of contacts 142 and 144 being in a motor circuit shunting the relay contacts 140. The relays 126 and 150 are in parallel with the air valve 132 and are energized during the short time that the auxiliary circuit is completed through the switch 21. The relay 150 opens its contacts 144 to positively prevent operation of the motor unit 80 during the cutting operation, and the contacts 144 close at the time of retraction of the shear 63. The time delay relay 126 closes its contacts 142 and has a self-holding circuit so that the relay coil 126 will remain energized after the switch 21 opens. Accordingly, following the cutting operation the shunt circuit through the contacts 142 and 144 is completed for a short time to operate the motor 80 and advance the tape 162 so that light transmission to the photocell 54 is re-established and motor operation is continued through the contacts 140 of the relay 148. The relay 126 times out and opens its holding circuit and the contacts 142.

In preparing the device 2 for operation, the tape 162 is positioned over the fed roll 104 with the wide heat seal 164 adjacent to the wall 34 and along the plate 40 between the guide pins 112 and the upturned flange 42. It should be noted that the guide pins 112 and 118 delineate a predetermined path across the plate 40 and are adjusted so that lateral displacement of the tape is restricted to a minimum but longitudinal movement is unimpeded. The pressure roller 86 is raised away from the drive roller 84 and the wide heat seal 164 of the tape 162 is passed under the shoe 61 and pin 123 and between the shear knife 63 and plate 62 and positioned so that the shear 63 will cut the tape equidistant between the leading and next successive articles 160. The U-shaped frame 52 is adjusted both longitudinally and laterally by manipulating the jam nuts 50 until the light beam of the sensing means 26 is obstructed by the leading portion of an article 160 overlying the transparent pane 58.

It is believed that the operation of the dispensing device 2 in conjunction with the packing machine 4 will be readily apparent from the foregoing description of structure, function and inter-relationship of parts, and that this novel device 2 for correlating premium insertion with product packaging both meets the objects sought to be attained and will be fully understood by those skilled in the art.

This invention is intended to cover all changes and modifications of the example of the invention herein chosen for purposes of the disclosure and is to be limited only by the scope of the claims.

What is claimed is:

1. An automatic device for accommodating the insertion of individual articles into packages concurrently with the product filling said packages by a packaging machine, comprising drive means adapted to advance a series of interconnected articles along a predetermined path, cutting means adapted to separate the leading article from said series of articles, sensing means responsive to the position of successive articles in said series for stopping said drive means to orient said leading article in position for actuation of said cutting means, and control means including means responsive to the operation of said packaging machine for actuating said cutting means and for starting said drive means to advance said series of articles.

2. The device according to claim 1 wherein the articles are on a continuous tape at longitudinally spaced intervals and wherein the cutting means severs the tape intermediate the articles thereon.

3. The device according to claim 2 wherein the tape is transparent, the articles are substantially opaque, and the sensing means comprises a lamp positioned to emit a beam of light through the transparent tape and a photoelectric cell positioned on the opposite side of the tape in alignment with the beam, whereby when an article intersects the beam the light beam will be interrupted.

4. The device according to claim 3 wherein the drive means includes an electric motor, and wherein the control means further includes a first relay responsive to light conduction of the photoelectric cell for closing a normally open set of contacts to complete the circuit to the motor.

5. The device according to claim 1 wherein the path is defined in part by a supporting plate across which the series of articles is advanced, and wherein the drive means includes a roller, the periphery of which is disposed adjacent to the top surface of the plate where it engages and drives the articles, and pressure means for urging the tape against the drive roller.

6. The device according to claim 5 wherein the pres sure means is a pressure roller journaled on a spindle which is shiftable toward and away from the driver roller, and wherein a spring normally urges the pressure roller toward the drive roller.

7. The device according to claim 5 wherein the cutting means includes a shear plate rigid with respect to the supporting plate and disposed generally transverse to the path, and a shiftable knife adapted to move across an edge of the plate and cut the tape extending over that edge.

8. The device according to claim 7 wherein the cutting means includes an air system for actuating said knife across the edge of the shear plate, and wherein the control means includes a solenoid operated air valve for admitting air to the cylinder.

9. The device according to claim 7 in which the articles are carried on flexible tape means, including hold-down means disposed above the plates intermediate the drive means and the cutting means, whereby the tape means is prevented from buckling upwardly during actuation of said cutting means.

10. The device according to claim 5 including a feed roller located in the path in spaced relation to the drive roller and having its peripheral surface arranged tangentially to the upper surface of the supporting plate, the feed roller revolving with and at the same peripheral velocity as the drive roller.

11. The device according to claim 5, including adjustable guide means for altering the width of the predetermined path, at least one of said guide means projecting upwardly from the supporting plate.

12. A device according to claim 3 wherein the predetermined path is defined in part by a supporting plate across which the tape is advanced, the plate having a transparent pane through which the light beam of said sensing means is transmitted, and sensing means being carried in alignment on a bracket adapted for longitudinal and lateral adjustment with respect to the path to accommodate selevtive orientation of the leading article relative to said cutting means.

13. In combination with a packaging machine having filling means for discharging a predetermined amount of a product into a container therefor, a dispensing device for introducing into the containers with the products articles supplied in a continuous and interconnected series, said device comprising drive means for advancing the continuous and interconnected series of articles along a predetermined path, sensing means responsive to the position of the articles on the path for stopping the drive means, detaching means for separating the leading article from the series of articles, and control means responsive to the filling means and sensing means for operating the detaching means and for causing the drive means to advance the series of articles, so that the dispensing device is conditioned to dispense another article.

14. A device according to claim 13 wherein the packaging machine operates cyclically and includes a receptacle in which the predetermined amount of product is accumulated, a door on the receptacle for retaining the product in the receptacle, and means for opening the door at predetermined time in the cycle of the packaging machine so that the predetermined amount of product will be advanced for packaging, and wherein the control means is responsive to the means for opening the receptacle door and actuate the detaching means simultaneously with the opening of the door.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,655,777 10/1953 Hagen 5355 X 3,091,063 5/1963 Brock 5364 3,204,329 9/1965 Sweeney 9336.9 X 3,331,182 7/1967 Hannon 9336.9 X 3,382,644 5/1968 Vogt 53--l23 X 3,411,767 11/1968 Moser 5351 X 3,421,284 1/1969 Zemek 5359 3,477,196 11/1969 Lerner 5359 X FOREIGN PATENTS 930,544 7/1963 Great Britain.

WAYNE A. MORSE, JR., Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3731451 *Jun 2, 1971May 8, 1973Brown & Williamson TobaccoFilter plug forming and bagging machine
US3831866 *Nov 18, 1971Aug 27, 1974Armour & CoMethod and apparatus for shredding cheese
US3861121 *Aug 1, 1973Jan 21, 1975Wright Machinery Company IncArticle packaging apparatus
US3916598 *Oct 15, 1974Nov 4, 1975Du PontSynchronized tube forming and filling machine for forming chub packages
US6035610 *Oct 7, 1998Mar 14, 2000Exact Packaging IncorporatedMethod and apparatus for separating and inserting items packaged in a bandolier
WO1999032360A1 *Dec 17, 1998Jul 1, 1999The Procter & Gamble CompanyMethod and apparatus for positioning an article in a pouch
WO2000020283A1 *Sep 15, 1999Apr 13, 2000Exact Packaging, Inc.Separating and inserting bandolier packaged items
U.S. Classification53/55, 493/302, 493/382, 53/520, 53/64, 53/171, 53/50, 53/493
International ClassificationB65B61/20, B65B57/00, B65B57/14
Cooperative ClassificationB65B61/20, B65B57/145
European ClassificationB65B61/20, B65B57/14F
Legal Events
May 17, 1985AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Effective date: 19850508
May 17, 1985ASAssignment
Effective date: 19850508