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Publication numberUS3624982 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 7, 1971
Filing dateDec 15, 1969
Priority dateDec 15, 1969
Publication numberUS 3624982 A, US 3624982A, US-A-3624982, US3624982 A, US3624982A
InventorsMarietta James W Jr
Original AssigneeD Mar Co, Marietta James W Jr
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Vacuum packing apparatus
US 3624982 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1971 J. w. MARIETTA, JR 3,624,932

VACUUM PACKING APPARATUS Filed Dec. 15, 1969 s Sheets-Sheet 1 4 4 5 hue/ozor 3 James MMarz'e/fa. Jr.

Afforney 1971 J. w. MARIETTA, JR

VACUUM PACKING APPARATUS 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Dec. 15, 1969 United States Patent 3,624,982 VACUUM PACKING APPARATUS James W. Marietta,'Jr., D-Mar Co., 1116 W. 24th St., Los Angeles, Calif. 90007 Filed Dec. 15, 1969, Ser. No. 885,043 Int. Cl. B65b 31/04 US. Cl. 53-79 23 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A machine for vacuum packaging items of irregular shape and size in tubular flexible plastic film comprising a tubular neck with open front and rear ends about which a supply of tubular film stock is engaged, means spaced forward of the neck to tie, clip or seal the front end of the film stock in closed condition, means for urging an item to be packaged forward into the rear end of, through and from the front end of the neck and suction means at the front end of the neck to evacuate fluid and air from between the film stock and the item as the item and film stock moves forwardly from the neck, said means to tie, clip or seal the front end of the film stock closed and adapted to similarly close the portion of the film stock adjacent the rear end of the packaged item.

In the food handling art, particularly in the food handling industry, there is an everincreasing use of plastic bags and/or casings for enveloping products such as roasts, poultry, hams and other items of irregular size and shape.

The purpose of packaging such items in plastic bags or casings is to hermetically seal the item and to thereby prevent oxidation and dehydrating of the item and to thereby materially extend its storage and/or shelf life.

To most effectively gain the above results and to eliminate and/or prevent the establishment of air pockets,

bubbles and the like, it is common practicetoevacuatethe air from the bags or casings.

Evacuation of the air from the bags or casings, as above-noted, also urges the bags or casings into intimate supported contact with the item packaged and prevents the bag or casing from establishing and presenting space robbing and fragile, easy to rupture or tear, inflated blister or bubble-like protuberances and/or outwardly projecting parts and portions.

The most common and to date the most effective means for enveloping or bagging items of irregular shape and size, in the manner referred to above, involves a machine having an elongate, horizontal, upwardly opening hopper into which an item to be enveloped is deposited. The hopper is provided with a discharge opening at one end and an elongate longitudinally outwardly opening tubular neck extending outwardly from the opening and about which a supply or length of tubular casing film is slidably engaged in gathered or accordioned fashion or over which the open end of a plastic bag can be engaged, and through which the item deposited in the hopper can be transported and urged, as by means of a hydraulic or pneumatic cylinder and ram unit at the end of the hopper remote from the discharge opening therein.

In operation, when tubular casing film is employed on the outer end of the tubular casing film engaged about the neck is drawn from the outer free end of the neck, is gathered together and is closed and sealed by means of a metal clip applied thereto by a related clipping machine, or is closed and sealed by a line of welding effected by a related heat sealing device.

With the outer free end of the casing thus sealed, an item deposited in the hopper is urged therefrom, through 'ice the neck and into the casing, thus drawing adequate additional casing from the neck to cover the item. The air in the casing, about the item, is urged rearwardly and from between the casing and item by the hands of the operator and the rear end of the casing is manually gathered and sealed closed by an encircling metal clip and by means of the related clipping machine.

With the product or item thus enveloped, the casing rearward of the last applied clip is cut by a knife and the operation is repeated in like manner with the next item to be packaged.

When plastic bags are employed, the bags are manually engaged over the neck of the machine, for each item to be packaged. Once a bag is suitably engaged with the neck, the operation of filling the bag, evacuating the air therefrom and clipping it closed, is the same as when tubular casing stock or film is employed.

It will be noted that the above method of evacuating air from such casing is slow and ineffective. Further, the method of clipping and then cutting the casing, as noted, does not lend itself to the economical use of the casing material and is, in fact, wasteful of the casing material.

Still further, the use of bags, as above noted, is wasteful of material, since the bags provided must be large enough to receive the largest item to be packaged. Accordingly, when packaging other than the largest item or items, considerable excess bagging material is present, which excess material must be trimmed away and discarded.

The average cost for each bag thus established is about fifteen cents and it is not unusual for a large packing house to encase or package twenty million items a year. If, in such a case, a savings of twenty percent of the film used to package could be effected, such a packing house would realize a saving of approximately $600,000 annually.

An object of this invention is to provide a novel means or device for enveloping items of irregular shape and size which is such that about. twenty percent less film stock is used than is now used in packaging items in plastic bags in the manner set forth above.

Another object of my invention is to provide a novel means of the character referred to which is such that a material saving of tubular casing stock, when such stock is employed, can be achieved.

It is an object of this invention to provide a packaging means of the character referred to having novel means for evacuating air and excess fluids from between an item and a surrounding or enveloping flexible plastic film.

A further object of this invention is to provide a means of the character referred to wherein the plastic film packaging material is drawn by vacuum or sub-atmospheric atmosphere into intimate contact with and about the item packaged, progressively, as the film and item are moved into engagement with each other so as to exhaust air and fluid from between the film and item andso that a minimum amount of film is expended or used to envelope the item.

An object and feature of my invention is to provide means of the character referred to including a tubular loading tube or neck with open, rear inlet and front outlet ends, through which an item to be packaged can be advanced and on and about which an item receivingfiexible plastic bag or supply of tubular, flexible plastic packaging material is engaged for receiving an item advanced from the outlet end of the neck, said neck having air and fluid scavenging means at its forward end communicating with the space between the item and the flexible plastic thereabout and to exhaust air and fluid therefrom whereby the plastic is urged into intimate contact and is made to conform substantially to the form of the item by atmospheric pressure.

It is an object and feature of my invention to provide a means of the character referred to which includes suction tubes projecting forwardly from the neck to terminate and open in the space between the item and the film forward of and remote from the neck.

-It is another object of my invention to provide suction tubes of the character referred to which are flexible whereby the forward open ends of said tubes are free to move and shift into engagement with and to follow the configuration of the item as it is moved thereby.

Still another object of my invention is to provide tubes of the character referred to which are normally curved inwardly toward the central axis of the neck and of the items moving through and from the neck whereby the forward open inlet ends of the tubes yieldingly engage and follow the exterior surfaces of the items moved thereby to exhaust air and fluid from between the plastic material and the items, at the leading and trailing ends of said item, as well as the sides thereof.

Yet another object of my invention is to provide a structure of the character referred to having gas introducing means at the forward end of the neck, associated with the means for evacuating air and fluids, which gas introducing means is adapted to introduce an inert gas, such as nitrogen, into the casing and about the item to flush air therefrom and which is evacuated therefrom whereby any residual gas about the item is said inert gas.

Still further, it is an object of the present invention to provide a structure of the character referred to which is such that the minus pressure serves to draw oxygen from the surface of the item and the inert gas is introduced and is present so that when the minus pressure is relieved, the surface of the item is saturated with said inert gas and is not subject to oxidizing and becoming discolored.

The foregoing and other objects and features of my invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of typical preferred forms and applications of my invention, throughout which description reference is made to the accompanying drawings, in which: 7

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a packaging apparatus including or incorporating the instant invent-ion;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged detailed sectional view taken substantially as indicated by line 22 on FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken as indicated by line 33 on FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged detailed sectional view taken as indicated by line 4-4 on FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken substantially as indicated by line 5-5 on FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a view of a portion of my new construction with parts shown in section to better illustrate the invention and showing parts in different positions in dotted lines;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken substantially as indicated by line 7-7 on FIG. 6;

FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 are isometric, diagrammatic views showing the sequence of operation of my construction;

FIG. 11 is an isometric view of a portion of my construction showing a bag related thereto preparatory to receiving an item to be packaged;

FIG. 12 is an isometric view of a portion of a modified form of my construction;

FIG. 13 is a view of a clip employed toclose and seal the casings or bags; and,

FIG. 14 is a view showing the clip engaged with and closing a bag or casing.

Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings, my invention includes a base structure, such as a table A with a flat top 10, front and rear ends 11 and 12, sides 13 and supporting legs 14. Mounted atop the table at the rear end portion thereof is an elongate upwardly opening hopper H with flat vertical front and rear end walls 15 and 16, lat- '4 erally spaced preferably upwardly divergent side walls 17 and a round or semi-cylindrical bottom wall 18 formed integrally with the side walls.

The front and rear walls 15 and 16 are provided with axially aligned apertures 19 and 20, substantially equal in diametric extent, and substantially concentric with the cylindrical or rounded bottom wall 18 of the hopper.

The invention next includes an elongate cylindrical loading tube or neck N with a straight smooth bore 21, a straight smooth exterior surface 22, open front and rear ends 23 and 24 and mounting means 25 at its rear end to mount the neck on the front wall 15 of the hopper with its open rear end 23 concentric with and in communication with the forward outlet opening 19 of the hopper.

In the case illustrated, the mounting means 25 comprise a radially outwardly projecting flange at the rear end of the neck and a plurality of fasteners 26 releasably securing the flange to the wall 15.

In practice, the neck N can be of any desired crosssectional configuration and while it is shown as being cylindrical, it can be made square, rectangular or ovoid, as desired or as circumstances require.

The neck is a fabricated structure and incorporates portions of and carries other elements and parts of a vacuum or suction means S.

In the case illustrated the neck includes front and rear rings 30 and 31 and radially spaced inner and outer tube sections or barrels 32 and 33 fixed to and extending between the rings 30 and 31.

The ring 31 carries or defines the mounting flange 25 and has radially spaced forwardly projecting inner and outer mounting flanges 34 and 35 to slidably receive annular, rearwardly projecting mounting flanges 36 and 37 on the rear ends of the barrels 32 and 33. The several related mounting flanges 34-36 and 35-37 are secured together by radially extending screw fasteners 38 threadedly engaged in and through registering openings in said flanges and as clearly illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawings.

The forward ring 30 has a rounded front end 40, a flat rear end 41 and radially spaced inner and outer mounting flanges 42 and 43 projecting rearwardly from the rear end 41. The flanges 42 and 43 slidably engage forwardly projecting mounting flanges 44 and 45 on the forward ends of the barrels 32 and 33 and are secured together by fasteners 46 in substantially the same manner that the mounting flanges 34-36 and 35-37 at the rear end of the neck are engaged and secured together.

The flanges 36-37 and 44-45 are inside their related flanges 34-36 and 42-43 and the fasteners 38 and 46 are engaged from the outside, inwardly.

The outer barrel 33 is flush with the outer sides of the rings 30 and 31 and the flanges 35 and 36 and defines the outer surface 21 of the neck and the inner barrel 32 is flush with the insides of the rings 30 and 31 and the flanges 34 and 42 and defines the bore 22 of the neck.

With the neck structure set forth above, it will be apparent that the rings and barrels define an annular axially extending flow passage or chamber X in the neck.

The vacuum or suction means S related to the neck N includes a duct 45 in the flange 25 and ring 31, communicating wtih the rear end of the chamber X and connected with a vacuum pump or other suitable source of minus pressure (not shown) by means of a line 46 and fitting 47. The means IS further includes a plurality of circumferentially spaced openings 50' entering the front end 40 of the forward ring 30 of the neck and communieating wtih the forward end of the chamber X and an elongate suction tube T engaged in each opening 50 and projecting forwardly from the neck.

Each tube T has a rear end 51 slidably engaged in a related opening 50 and a front end 52 which is preferably rounded and provided with a plurality of perforations or holes 53 designed to prevent a bag or film from plugging and sealing the front end of the tube.

If desired, the front end of the tubes could be provided with screens or any other suitable means to prevent stoppage of flow therethrough and supplemental openings 53 can be provided along the inner side of the tubes without departing from the spirit of this invention.

The rear end of each tube T is provided with a mounting flange 54 with flat front and rear surfaces 55 and 56 to engage the opposing rear end 41 of the ring 40 and the front ends of the barrels 32 and 33, and inner and outer sides 57 and 58 to establish fiat bearing engagement with the opposing surfaces of their adjacent flanges 42 and 43, as clearly illustrated in FIG. 2 through FIG. 5 of the drawings.

With the structure thus described, it will be apparent that flanges 54 are held captive between the ring 30 and the barrels 32 and 33 and are held captive and against rotation between and by the flanges 42 and 43 on the ring 30.

In practice, it is preferred that the tubes T extend axially forwardly and radially inwardly from the forward end of the neck and so that the forward ends converge at or in close proximity to the central axis of the neck, as clearly illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 3 of the draw mgs.

In practice, the tubes can be straight, as shown in FIG. 12 of the drawings, but are preferably longitudinally forwardly and radially inwardly curved, as shown in FIGS. 1 through 11 of the drawings.

It is preferred that the tubes T be such that their front ends normally yieldingly engage an item moved thereby.

To effect the desired curvature of the tubes and to impart them with desired resiliency, I provide each tube with a pair of diametrically opposed, radially inwardly opening, longitudinal grooves 60 and an elongate, curved, leaf spring 61 of desired curvature and strength slidably engaged in or through the tube, with its edges engaged in the grooves 60.

The grooves 60 and the plane of the leaf springs 61 occur on the central or mean planes of fiexure of the tubes and are such that they will not impede fieXure of the tubes or result in adverse wearing of the parts.

With the structure set forth above, it will be apparent that the tubes T can be established straight, which greatly simplifies their manufacture and that their ultimate curvature and their resistance to flexure is determined by the springs 61. Their curvature and strength can be varied or adjusted by changing the shape and strength of the springs.

The invention next includes feed means F for moving and urging an item deposited in the hopper H, forwardly from the hopper into and through the neck N and thence forwardly through and/or between the tubes T.

The means F can vary widely in form and is shown as including a hydraulic or pneumatic cylinder and ram unit 65 secured to and projecting rearwardly from the rear wall 16 of the hopper H in axial alignment with the opening 20 therein. The stroke of the unit 65 is substantially equal with the combined longitudinal extent of the hopper H, neck N and tubes T and is arranged so that the ram 66 thereof will, when the unit is actuated, extend centrally through the said hopper, neck and group of tubes.

The forward end of the ram is provided with a pistonlike stem engaging head 67, which head is preferably provided with sealing means 68 to Wipe and seal in the bore 22 of the neck as the head is moved therethrough.

The unit 65 is under control of a manually operable valve means (not shown) which includes a handle 69 or the like, accessible at the table A.

The suction means 5 can be such that it is constantly in operation and such that air is normally being drawn into and through the tubes T, neck N and out through the line 46, but is preferably under control of a manually operable valve means (not shown) under control of a handle 30 or the like, accessible at the table A.

The structure thus far described is the basic construction provided by this invention and is an operable and serviceable structure for effectively packaging items of irregular shape and size in flexible plastic bags or in flexible plastic casing film.

If an item is to be packaged in a bag, a bag B is engaged over the end of the neck N of the construction, as illustrated in FIG. 11 of the drawings. With the bag thus engaged on and over the neck, the item to be packaged is deposited in the hopper H and the feed means F is actuated to urge the item forwardly from the hopper, through the neck and at the same time into the bag B and through or by the tubes T. As the item and bag move by the tubes T the air and any fluid between the item and the bag are scavenged and exhausted through the tubes and the bag is urged into intimate contact with the item.

When the trailing end of the stem moves forward of the forward ends of the tubes, the tubes continue to function to draw the bag inwardly, around and into intimate contact with the trailing end of the item. When the struc ture is operated to the above extent, the portion of the bag gathered at the trailing edge of the item can be sealed temporarily by turning the packaged item about one revolution and can be permanently tied off and sealed by means of a clip, string or any other suitable means.

If the structure is employed to handle and to package items in plastic, tubular, casing film, a length or supply of tubular plastic film P is engaged on about the neck in gathered, accordioned-like fashion. The forward end of the film is drawn over the tubes T, gathered and tied off or sealed in any suitable manner to establish what is, in effect, the outer closed end of an elongate bag. With the outer end of the tubular film thus sealed, an item I (see FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 of the drawings) is deposited in the hopper H, is urged forwardly from the hopper into and through the neck N and thence into the sealed end of the tubular film P and by the tubes T, by the means F. When the item moves forward of the tubes and the air and fluids are evacuated from between the item and the film, the encased item can be turned to establish final gathering together of the film at the trailing end of the item and can be tied off or clipped to permanently seal the package.

With the item I thus packaged, the portion of the film rearward of the tied off or clipped portion of the film is cut and the new forward end of the film is tied off or clipped, preparatory to receipt and packaging of another or next 1tem.

In the preferred carrying out of the invention and in addition to the structure thus far described, the invention further includes an elongate, concaved, upwardly opening receiver R on the forward end portion of the top 10 of the table A, spaced forward of and in alignment with the neck N and adapted to receive and support the encased or enveloped item I as it is moved forwardly from and is discharged by the forward end of the neck.

The receiver R is such that it prevents the item I from dropping downwardly to the top 10 of the table as it moves forwardly from the neck and in such a manner as to draw excess tube film stock from the neck and in such a manner as to lose control of the item and make clipping and/ or tieing off or sealing of the trailing end of the encased item more diflicult. Further, the receiver R is such that it maintains the encased item in desired and proper relationship with the tubes F so that the item and the encasing material related thereto is prevented from moving relative to the tubes in such a manner as to interrupt or break the pressure differential between the interior and exterior of the encasing material, established and maintained by the means S.

In the preferred carrying out of the invention, the rear, receiving end of the receiver is flared radially outwardly and is extended rearwardly to extend freely below the forward end portions of the tubes T to effectively guide the item into proper relationship on the receiver should it tend to turn or otherwise become misaligned as it leaves the neck and to support the outer ends of the lowermost tubes T, adjacent thereto, when and if said tubes are caused to flex downwardly an extensive amount by the weight of the stem as it moves though the tubes and between the neck and the receiver.

With the above relationship of parts, it will be apparent that the lowermost tubes T will, when necessary, bridge between the neck and the receiver to prevent malfunctioning of the structure.

The receiver is concaved so as to prevent the item from rolling, uncontrollably, out of alignment with the neck and also to facilitate manual turning and/or rotation ofthe item so as to wind or twist the position of the encasing material at the trailing end of the item for the purpose of temporarily sealing the casing preparatory to clipping and/ or tieing off that part or portion of said material.

In practice, the receiver could be a flat, elevated portion of the top of the table A, or an equivalent structure, without departing from the spirit of this invention.

Finally, in the preferred carrying out of the invention, I provide a pneumatically operated clipping machine or device C for applying metal clips on and about the ends of tubular casing material or bags to be closed and sealed in the course of use and operation of the invention.

The clipping device C can be any one of a number of standard clipping devices employed in the packing industry and which are well-known to those skilled in the art.

The clipping device C applies a clip 80, such as illustrated in FIG. 13 of the drawings, and forms it about the casing material in a manner such as illustrated in FIG. 14 of the drawings.

In the normal use of clipping devices such as referred to above, the devices are mounted in fixed position and the encased item to be sealed is manually moved into desired or necessary engagement with the device for application of the clip or clips to the encasing material.

In this invention, the clipping device C is supported by a laterally shiftable support means L mounted on the table at one side of the receiver R and so that the casing receiving, clip applying and forming parts and/ or portions of the device C are on a plane in close proximity to the central axis of the neck, forward of said neck, and are normally spaced laterally of and are disposed toward said axis.

The support means L includes a laterally shiftable carriage 81 supporting the device C and a hydraulic or pneumatic cylinder and ram unit 82, under control of a suitable valve means (not shown), and operated by a manually engageable lever 83 accessible at the table A and in convenient proximity to the operating levers 69 and 70 for the means F and S referred to above.

The means L is such that it will, upon actuation, shift the device C laterally inwardly toward the central axis of the construction to engage and to clip and seal the portion of the encasing material occurring on said axis and in line with the device C and means L.

In the case illustrated the device C and means L are on a transverse plane immediately forward of the forward ends of the tubes T and the receiver 'R is suitably relieved or notched as at 85 to accommodate the device C and its related carriage 81.

In practice, the device C can be such that it is automatically operated and applies a clip to a related casing or bag when the means L reaches its fully actuated position or can be under control of a suitable valve means (not shown) operated by a lever 86 suitably related to the other aforementioned levers 69, 70 and 83.

It is tobe understood that, if desired, the device C could be such that it ties off the casing with wire or string or could be replaced with a heat sealing means or device without departing from the spirit of this invention.

Since the sealing or clipping device C and its related support means L can vary widely without departing from the spirit of this invention further detailed description of said device and means will be dispensed with.

Referring to FIG. 6 of the drawings, it is important to note that when the item I is being encased in a bag or tubular film or encasing material, the means F urges and moves the item I into close proximity to the forward ends of the tubes T and to a position where the forward ends of the tubes commence to shift radially inwardly and follow the railing edge of the item. At this time the head '68 of the means F shifts rearwardly into the neck N to seal therein, thereby sealing off the interior of the casing stock bridging the space between the item I and neck N and drawing a vacuum or minus pressure therein to supplement the means S.

During the above-noted operation, the pressure differentials acting through the casing material urge the tubes T radially inwardly, supplementing their inherent resiliency and in such a manner that the ends of the tubes, as they move inwardly, can urge the item I forwardly that limited distance required to move the item completely out of engagement with the tubes. If the above-noted tendency of the tubes to advance the item forwardly is insufficient to, in fact, move the item, it is sufiicient so that little manual assistance from the operator of the structure will effect the desired movement.

At the same time that the tubes T move inwardly in the manner set forth above, the vacuum effected by the rearwardly moving head holds the item back and draws the encasing material inwardly so that a minimum amount of casing material is used and that close bearing engagement of the material on the trailing end of the item is assured.

It will be apparent that as the item moves forward and the tubes T reach their innermost normal position and upon turning the item I so as to twist the casing at the center of the item, immediately forward of the tube ends, that short additional length of casing material required to effect tieing, clipping or sealing of the casing is drawn from the neck and effectively gathered, collected or drawn together so as to be properly presented for clipping, tieing off and sealing.

In practice, means for introducing an inert gas, such as nitrogen between the casing and the item can be provided. Such a means preferably introduces the gas rearward of the inlet ends of the suction tubes and at a lesser rate than the rate at which air and fluids are evacuated by the suction means whereby the gas effectively flushes the space between the item and casing of air, but is not such as will inflate the casing.

In FIG. 12. of the drawings I show gas introducing means G related to the neck N and the tubes T of the means 8'. The means G includes a gas conducting tube extending longitudinally through the neck N and having an open forward end, the forward end of the neck spaced rearward of the forward ends of the tubes T and having a rear end suitably connected with a gas supply line 101 extending to the rear end of the neck.

With the means G, it will be apparent that air in the casing, in addition to being drawn therefrom by the means S, is flushed therefrom by inert gas. It will be further apparent that the means S in addition to evacuating air also serves to evacuate all excess inert gas which follows the air into the suction tubes and that the casing is still drawn into intimate contact with the item packaged.

In FIG. 1 of the drawings, I have shown the strucutre provided with eight tubes T. For the purpose of illustration and so as not to unduly complicate the drawings, I have, in the other figures of the drawings, shown the structure as including but four tubes.

In practice, the number of tubes T provided can vary widely and may be varied according to the size and shape of the neck, the weight of film to be handled and a number of other related factors.

With the structure that I provide, it will be apparent that encasing items in the desired manner can be easily and quickly effected with the exercise of little skill and and efiort and that a minimum of encasing material need be expended.

Having described only typical preferred forms and applications of my invention, I do not wish to be limited or restricted to the specific details herein set forth, but Wish to reserve to myself any modifications and/or variations that may appear to those skilled in the art.

Having described my invention, I claim:

1. A structure of the character referred to for encasing an item in an elongate flexible tubular casing with an open rear end and a closed front end, said structure including an elongate, tubular neck with a rearwardly Opening inlet end and a forwardly opening outlet end and adapted to enter the open rear end of and to slidably and sealingly support a tubular casing, means to urge an item to be encased into, forwardly through and from the outlet end of the neck, whereby an item is deposited in a related casing and the casing is advanced from engagement about and with the neck, and suction means carried by the neck and opening at the forward end thereof to scavenge air and fluids from between a casing and an item as an item is moved forwardly from the neck and a casing is advanced from engagement about the neck by the forwardly moving item.

2. A strucurte as set forth in claim 1 wherein said suction means includes air conducting means extending longitudinally of the neck, a source of minus pressure connected with the air conducting means at the rear end of the neck and a plurality of elongate forwardly projecting flexible tubes about the forward end of the neck with rear ends communicating with the air conducting means and having open front ends, the front ends of the tubes adapted to engage and move along the exterior of an item as an item is moved longitudinally outwardly from the neck.

3. A structure as set forth in claim 2 wherein said tubes extend longitudinally forwardly and radially inwardly toward the central longitudinal axis of the neck.

4. A structure as set forth in claim 2 wherein said tubes are curved to extend forwardly from the neck and radially inwardly whereby their forward open ends normally occur in close proximity to the central axis of the neck, engage the forward leading end of an item and move thereacross and engage and move across the rear trailing end of an item as it moves longitudinally forwardly between said forward ends of the tubes.

5. A structure as set forth in claim 1 including an elongate upwardly opening hopper with an opening in its forward end communicating with the rear end of the neck and adapted to receive an item to be encased and to orient said item in axial alignment with the neck and the means to urge the item through the neck.

6. A structure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said suction means includes air conducting means extending longitudinally of the neck, a source of minus pressure connected with the air conducting means at the rear end of the neck and a plurality of elongate forwardly projecting flexible tubes about the forward end of the neck with rear ends communicating with the air conducting means and having open front ends, the front ends of the tubes adapted to engage and move along the exterior of an item as an item is moved longitudinally outwardly from the neck, said tubes being curved to extend forwardly from the neck and radially inwardly whereby their forward open ends normally occur in close proximity to the central axis of the neck, engage the forward leading end of an item and move thereacross and engage and move across the rear trailing end of an item as it moves longitudinally forwardly between said forward ends of the tubes, and including an elongate upwardly opening hopper with an opening in its forward end communicating with the rear end of the neck and adapted to receive an item to be encased.

,7. A structure as set forth in claim 1 including an elongate upwardly opening hopper with an opening in its forward end communicating with the rear end of the neck and adapted to receive an item to be encased, said means to urge an item forwardly includes a cylinder and ram unit fixed to the rear end of the hopper and having an. elongate ram movable longitudinally through the hopper 10 and neck and an item engaging head on the forward end of the ram.

8. A structure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said suction means includes air conducting means extending longitudinally of the neck, a source of minus pressure connected with the air conducting means at the rear end of the neck and a plurality of elongate forwardly projecting flexible tubes about the forward end of the neck with rear ends communicating with the air conducting means and having open front ends, the front ends of the tubes adapted to engage and move along the exterior of an item as an item is moved longitudinally outwardly from the neck, said tubes being curved to extend forwardly from the neck and radially inwardly whereby their forward open ends normally occur in close proximity to the central axis of the neck, engage the forward leading end of an item and move thereacross and engage and move across the rear trailing end of an item as it moves longitudinally forwardly between said forward ends of the tubes, said structure further including an elongate upwardly opening hopper with an opening in its forward end communicating with the rear end of the neck and adapted to receive an item to be encased, said means to urge an item forwardly including a cylinder and ram unit fixed to the rear end of the hopper and having an elongate ram movable longitudinally through the hopper and neck and an item engaging head on the forward end of the ram.

9. A structure as set forth in claim 8 including a receiver defining an upwardly disposed encased item supporting surface forward of the neck and suction means to support an encased item as it is advanced forwardly from the neck and suction means.

10. A structure as set forth in claim 8 including seal ing means positioned forward of the neck and suction means and adapted to engage and seal a casing at the rear end of an item when the rear end of an item is forward of said neck and suction means.

11. A structure as set forth in claim 8 including a receiver defining an upwardly disposed encased item supporting surface forward of the neck and suction means to support an encased item as it is advanced forwardly from the neck and suction means and sealing means positioned forward of said neck and suction means and adjacent the receiver and to engage and seal a casing at the rear end of an item when the rear end of an item is moved forward of the neck and said suction means and is supported by said receiver.

12. A structure as set forth in claim 1 including an elongate receiver defining an upwardly disposed longitudinally extending concaved supporting surface in alignment with and forward of the neck and suction means to slidably receive and support an encased item as it is advanced forwardly from the neck and suction means.

13. A structure as set forth in claim 12 including an elongate upwardly opening hopper with an opening in its forward end communicating with the rear end of the neck and adapted to receive an item to be encased.

14. A structure as set forth in claim 12 wherein said suction means includes air conducting means extending longitudinally of the neck, a source of minus pressure connected with the air conducting means at the rear end of the neck and a plurality of elongate forwardly projecting flexible tubes about the forward end of the neck with rear ends communicating with the air conducting means and having open front ends, the front ends of the tubes adapted to engage and move along the exterior of an item as an item is moved longitudinally outwardly from the neck, said tubes are curved to extend forwardly from the neck and radially inwardly whereby their forward open ends normally occur in close proximity to the central axis of the neck, engage the forward leading end of an item and move thereacross and engage and move across the rear trailing end of an item as it moves longitudinally forwardly between said forward ends of the tubes.

15. A structure as set forth in claim 12 including an elongate upwardly opening hopper with an opening in its forward end communicating with the rear end of the neck and adapted to receive an item to be encased, said means to urge an item forwardly including a cylinder and ram unit fixed to the rear end of the hopper and havlng an elongate ram movable longitudinally through the hopper and neck and an item engaging head on the forward end of the ram.

16. A structure as set forth in claim 1 including sealing means positioned forward of the neck and suction means and adapted to engage and seal a casing at the rear end of an item when said rear of the item is forward of said neck and suction means.

17. A structure as set forth in claim 16 wherein said suction means includes air conducting means extending longitudinally of the neck, a source of minus pressure connected with the air conducting means at the rear end of the neck and a plurality of elongate forwardly projecting flexible tubes about the forward end of the neck with rear ends communicating with the air conducting means and having open front ends, the front ends of the tubes adapted to engage and moved along the exterior of an item as an item is moved longitudinally outwardly from the neck, said tubes are curved to extend forwardly from the neck and radially inwardly whereby their forward open ends normally occur in close proximity to the central axis of the neck, engage the forward leading end of an item and move thereacross and engage and move across the rear trailing end of the item as it moves longitudinally forwardly between said forward ends of the tubes.

18. A structure as set forth in claim 16 including an elongate upwardly opening hopper with an opening in its forward end communicating with the rear end of the neck and adapted to receive an item to be encased.

19. A structure as set forth in claim 18 wherein said means to urge the item forwardly includes a cylinder and ram unit fixed to the rear end of the hopper and having an elongate ram movable longitudinally through the hopper and neck and an item engaging head on the forward end of the ram.

20. A structure as set forth in claim 1 including an elongate receiver defining an upwardly disposed longitudinally extending concaved supporting surface in alignment with and forward of the neck and suction means to 12 slidably receive and support an encased item as it is advanced forwardly from the neck and suction means and sealing means positioned forward of said neck and S1104 tion means, adjacent the receiver and adapted to engage and seal the casing of an encased item at the rear end of the item when the rear end of an item is moved forward of the neck and said suction means and is supported-bysaid receiver.

21. A structure as set forth in claim 20 wherein said suction means includes air conducting means extending longitudinally of the neck, a source of minus pressure connected with the air conducting means at the rear end of the neck and a plurality of elongate forwardly projecting flexible tubes about the forward end of the neck with rear ends communicating with the air conducting means'and having open front ends, the front ends of the tubes adapted to engage and move along the exterior of the item as an item is moved longitudinally outwardly from the neck, said tubes are curved to extend forwardly from the neck and radially inwardly whereby their forward open ends normally occur in close proximity to the central axis of the neck, engage the forward leading end of an item and move thereacross and engage and move across the rear trailing end of an item as it moves longitudinally forwardly between said forward ends of the tubes.

22. A structure as set forth in claim 20 including an elongate upwardly opening hopper with forwardly disposed discharge opening aligned and communicating with the rear end of the neck and to receive an item to be encased.

23. A structure as set forth in claim 22 wherein said means to urge the item forwardly includes a cylinder and ram unit fixed to the rear end of the hopper and having an elongate ram movable longitudinally through the hopper and neck and an item engaging head on the forward end of the ram.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,208,193 9/1965 Rumsey 53-112 B 3,369,341 2/1968 Niedecker 53-1123 3,470,673 10/1969 Tipper 53l 12 B TRAVIS S. MCGEHEE, Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 531 12 B

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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/79, 53/512, 53/138.4
International ClassificationB65B9/10, B65B9/15, B65B31/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65B9/15, B65B31/044
European ClassificationB65B9/15, B65B31/04D