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Publication numberUS3628576 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 21, 1971
Filing dateJul 25, 1969
Priority dateJul 25, 1969
Also published asCA918116A1
Publication numberUS 3628576 A, US 3628576A, US-A-3628576, US3628576 A, US3628576A
InventorsOwen Dave L
Original AssigneeGrace W R & Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Vacuum nozzle device
US 3628576 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United; States Patent BX X Q ZIMZIZ l Ml l l l l 3 53 555 2 7 3 w m n n m n u wn y 6 O e n c pwn n aa p h f Gil-l VBWRTBJ 7347960 5666627 9999999 l l l l l ll 0604009 1. I ll 4526398 828577 862680 [54] VACUUM NOZZLE DEVICE 8 Claims, 9 Drawing Figs.

[52] 1141/65, 53/1128,137/533.11,14l/86 ...Bb31l/M [501 FieldofSearch............................................27/24,24.1; 53/112 B; 128/276-278, 350; 141/8, 64-66, 85, 86, 115,116,119, 46; 222/525; 239/498, 596, 60l;l37/533.11

trapped between the nozzle and the suction tube for valving the device in response to reciprocation of the slide tube. A special nozzle is of shallow depth and has a closed end with ports entering from the side. Another special nozzle member has a sump in its tip and narrow slot openings entering into its vacuum evacuated bore.

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' SHEET 2 BF 2 I FIG. 8

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FIG. 9 34 43 5O 78 M/O//OOW 83 4. INVENTOR 88 DAVE L. OWEN H6. 6

ATTORNEY 1 VACUUM NOZZLE DEVICE This invention relates to an improved device for removing air from a package. In another aspect, the invention relates to an improved vacuum packaging device. In a still further aspect, the invention relates to the vacuum packaging of poultry or the like in flexible film bags.

It is known practice for processors of turkeys, chickens, and poultry products to individually vacuum pack each bird in a collapsible airtight bag which may be made of any suitable thermoplastic such as biaxially oriented irradiated polyethylene. For simplicity, the invention will be described with reference to the packaging of poultry or the like; however, the invention is broadly applicable to the removal of air from any collapsible material in which a product may be placed.

A process has heretofore been proposed wherein a nozzle (in communication with a means for creating a vacuum) is inserted into the package to be vacuumized. After a sufficient period of time to effectively remove the air from the package, the package is twisted so as to prevent entrance of air into the evacuated package and the twisted neck is then sealed by means such as clipping or heat sealing. In one packaging method the bird is first placed in each bag in a substantially vertical position and disposed immediately below a fixed vertical nozzle. While the operator holds the bag mouth over the nozzle, the air is exhausted from within the interior of the bag.

In U.S. Pat. No. 3,312,256, issued to D. J. Reisinger and assigned to the same assignee as this application, an improved mechanism is provided that lifts the bird and the bag off the table during the package closing procedure. The patent illustrates a vacuum-actuated lifting mechanism supported above a packing table and carrying an associated vacuum nozzle assembly. The arrangement is such that when a vacuum condition is established within the mechanism, the latter will operate to raise the nozzle, and consequently the bird and bag, upwardly a sufficient distance above the table to permit the operator to twist the bag after a vacuum has been obtained in the bag. The bag is then removed from the nozzle and sealed. After the package has been vacuumized and sealed, it is subjected to a heat shrinking operation so that the bag shrinks to form a skintight package about the bird.

It is an object of this invention to provide a new and improved apparatus for vacuum packaging.

Still another object of the invention is to provide such apparatus having a minimal number of parts that can be easily disassembled for cleaning and reassembled with unskilled labor.

It is another object of the invention to provide a new and improved drip-free nozzle for a vacuum packaging device.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide a drip-free vacuum packaging device.

In carrying out one aspect of my invention in one form thereof, I have provided an improved vacuumizing apparatus. The improved vacuumizing apparatus has a base suction conduit with a slide mounted for reciprocation thereon and biased toward the upper end thereof. The slide has a hand grip on its outer surface and a nozzle connected to its lower end. A floating valve member is engaged between the nozzle and the suction conduit and clamped therebetween when the slide is in its raised rest position, closing the vacuumizing apparatus. The valve floats between the nozzle and the suction conduit when the handle is actuated by pulling against its bias.

In the preferred form of my improved vacuumizing apparatus the slide is biased toward the upper end of the base suction conduit by a helical spring that encircles the base suction conduit. The spring is held in its functional position between the base suction conduit and the slide by being engaged at its lower end by a spring retaining seat provided on the outer surface of the base conduit by a split-ring engaged in a split-ring seat formed in the outer surface of the conduit and extending radially around the base suction conduit, the splitring projecting beyond theadjacent outer surfaces of the conduit. The slide has a spring retaining seat engaging the upper end of the spring. The slide extends wholly around the base suction conduit and the spring retaining seat is formed by part of an offset in the axial bore that extends axially through the slide. This offset is formed between an upper region of the slide that fits close to the base suction conduit and an intermediate, enlarged region fitting radially over the helical spring. This intennediate region has an inside radius smaller than the outside radius of the split-ring and therefore can not pass over the split-ring. Part of the offset forms the stop that engages the upper surface of the split: ring to stop the actuation stroke of the apparatus.

To form a seal between the slide and the base suction conduit, a seal extends around the base suction conduit. The seal is seated in a seal seat formed in the outer surface of the base suction conduit. The seal projects beyond the adjacent outer surface of the base suction conduit and is engaged against the inside surface of the upper region of the slide to form the seal.

A lower region of the axial bore in the slide is enlarged further than the region overlying the helical spring and encircles the split-ring and engages the split-rings outer surface for guided reciprocation thereon. The terminal end of the bore in the slide tube has a threaded region which engages a mating threaded region on the outer surface of a nozzle to secure the nozzle in the vacuumizing apparatus.

A floating valve member is engaged between the nozzle and the lower end of the base suction conduit. The floating valve has a rounded head positioned below the base suction conduit. The head is larger than the inside of the lower end of the base suction conduit so that it is maintained outside of the base suction tube and can not pass into it. A stem on the floating valve member extends from the rounded head and is engaged in the channel of the base suction conduit and holds the valve member in alignment and in and below the base suction conduit. A plurality of channels formed in the valve member provide passageways for the flow of air between the valve member and the lower end of the base suction conduit and up through the conduit. The channels pass from below the lower end of the base suction tube to above the lower end of the base suction tube. The nozzle has an upwardly directed beveled re gion on its inside surface at its upper end, that is engaged by the rounded head of the floating valve when the spring is expanded to clamp the valve member between the nozzle and the base suction conduit to shut off the vacuum nozzle.

The vacuumizing apparatus desirably is mounted by a mounting means having a quick-connect line coupling that connects the upper end of the base suction conduit with a stiff flexible tube. The stiff flexible tube extends above the quick connect line coupling and is equipped for direct connection to a suspending supporting means. The stiff flexible tubing supplies the pivoting characteristics needed in the usual case to enable a product being vacuumized to be slipped into the jaws of a clipper or other sealing means without the necessity of withdrawing the vacuum force from the package.

A new dripless vacuum nozzle also forms an important aspect of my invention. This nozzle has a closed tip with a sump in the tip and at least one narrow slot opening above the sump. The nozzle has the outer configuration of a cylinder with a rounded point at its outer closed tip, the inside of the nozzle is a cylindrical bore penetrating axially below the ports to form the sump. A threaded area is formed on the inside of the nozzle at its upper end above the ports and these threads are meshed with the threads on the nozzle tube securing the nozzle to the nozzle tube. This nozzle is a species of the nozzle claimed in a copending application of William H. Dunn, Jr., filed on even date with this application entitled Vacuum Apparatus and Snorkel Nozzle Ser. No. 844,887, filed July 25,

I969 and assigned to the same assignee as this application.

Another new nozzle also forms an important aspect of my invention. This nozzle has a first disc-shaped region and a second disc-shaped region. The second disc-shaped region is smaller than the first disc-shaped region, projects from the first disc-shaped region and is centered with respect thereto. A bore is formed in the nozzle and extends through the first discshaped region and into the second disc-shaped region perpendicularly to the radius lines of the disc. The bore terminates in a tapered point in the second disc-shaped region. A plurality of ports enter the nozzle from the outer circumference thereof and intersect the bore. The ports enter the nozzle at the juncture between the first and the second disc region, intersecting both of said discs. The ports extend across the face of the first disc-shaped region as a trough beyond the second disc-shaped region. The ports radiate from the bore at a right angle thereto and intersect the bore in the bore region restricted to the tapered area of the bore. A third disc-shaped region projects from the first disc-shaped region opposite the second discshaped region and is centered with respect to both the first and second disc-shaped regions. Threads are formed on the outer circumferential edge of the third disc for mounting the disc.

FIG. 1 is an elevational view showing thevacuum nozzle assembly with a package engaged thereon and twisted and in phantom lines the device is shown with its flexible connection flexed to position the twisted neck of the bag in the throat of a clipper.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged partial vertical section of the nozzle assembly.

FIG. 3 is a view of an alternate nozzle.

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the vacuum nozzle assembly of FIG. 2 with phantom lines depicting the order of assembly.

FIG. 5 is a view of the alternate nozzle of FIG. 1 shown in position for substitution in the assembly of FIG. 4.

FIG..6 is a partial vertical section showing a portion of the assembly of FIG. 2 with the alternate nozzle substituted in the assembly.

FIG. 7 is a plan view of one side of an auxiliary disassembly tool.

FIG. 8 is a side elevation of a different nozzle.

FIG. 9 is a vertical section through the nozzle of FIG. 8.

Referring now to FIG. 1, an embodiment of my invention is shown comprising a packing table 10, a support assembly 11 and a vacuumizing apparatus or device 12. The vacuumizing device 12 is connected to the support assembly 11 by a mounting means 9 that includes a stiff flexible tubing 13. The vacuumizing device 12 has a conduit 14 that is connected to a means (not shown) for withdrawing air therethrough. The vacuumizing device l2'has a snorkel nozzle 15 that is in communication through the device 12 and its conduit 14 with the means for withdrawing air or pulling the vacuum. The operating handle 16 actuates the device to open the device for withdrawing air from a region such as a region enclosed by a bag 20.

In operation, the operator places the item to be packaged such as a bird 21 (for example, a chicken, whole and dressed) on the table 10, inserts the bird into the heat-shrinkable plastic bag 20 in such a manner that the snorkel 15 can be inserted into the bird's body cavity. With the end of the bag 20 and the enclosed bird 21 resting on table 10, the operator inserts the snorkel into the birds body cavity and lifts the loaded bag upwardly gathering the open end of the bag around the lower portion of the device 12, gripping the film of the bag 20 tightly about the handle 16. The handle 16 is actuated and a vacuum is drawn through the snorkel 15 as hereinafter described in greater detail to evacuate the cavity of the bird and the bag 20. After the bag has been evacuated the operator slides the bag down as desired to provide a clearance between the bird and the tip of the snorkel while simultaneously rotating the bag to twist the bags neck and close the vacuumized bag. The device 12 is at the same time swung on the tubing 13 to position the twisted neck portion of the bag in a clipper 22 (only the jaws of which are shown in phantom lines) and a clip is applied to the twisted neck to retain the vacuum. A suitable clipper is shown in US. Pat. No. 3,383,746 issued to Narduzzi, Wing and Forte and assigned to the same assignee as this application. The clipper would be mounted to one side of the table 10 at a height disposing its throat within the pivot arc of the bag's neck. The clipper's throat should, of course, be oriented for easy entrance of the neck of the bag in a manner such as is shown in phantom lines in FIG. 1. Of course, other securing means could be employed to secure the bags neck.

Referring now to FIG. 4, an exploded view representing the assembly arrangement of my device 12 is shown. The base component is an axial cylindrical suction conduit or tubular member 23 which is hollow throughout its length and has an O-ring seat 24 formed radially in its outer surface and a splitring seat 25 formed radially in its outer surface at its lower end 26. The vacuum conduit 14 intersects the channel or bore 30 of the tube 23 between the O-ring seat 24 and the upper end 31 of the tube 23. The upper end 31 of the tube has threads 32 formed on the outer surface thereof radially therearound. An O-ring 33 is provided and sized so that in assembling the device, it may he slipped over the lower end 26 of the tube and seated in the O-ring seat 24. The O-ring projects radially outward beyond the outer circumference of the tube 23 when it is seated in the O-ring seat 24. An axial slide tube 34 is sized so that it may he slipped onto the tube 23 with the tube 23 passing through the throat 35 into the axial slide tube channel or bore 36. The outer surface of the slide tube is formed into the hand grip 16.

A helical spring 40 fits in the enlarged channel portion 41 (FIGS. 2) of the slide tube 34 and around the axial suction tube 23. The split-ring or collar 42 is positioned in thesplitring seat 25 and held in position by the slide tube 34 which overlies it securing it on the seat 25.

Floating valve member 43 is positioned with stem 44 in channel 30 at the end 26 of the suction tube 23. The rounded head 45 is sized so that it will not fit into the channel 30. Therefore the floating valve member 43 is retained at the lower end 26 of the suction tube 23. A plurality of channels 46 are formed in the valve member 43 to provide a passageway for the flow of air between the valve member and the lower end 26 of the suction tube 23. A plurality of ridges 47 separate the channels 46 (FIG. 2) from one another and engage the walls of the bore 30 to stabilize the stem 44 therein. The entrance to the channel 30 at the lower end 26 of the suction tube 23 has a beveled entrance surface 50 that reduces the wear on the floating valve where it engages with the lower end 26 and enables the ball to. seat properly and maintain its alignment capability over a long life.

The slide tube 34 extends below the end 26 of the suction tube 23 and the threads 51 on the outer surface of the nozzle 15 are mated with the threaded region 52 at the terminal end 53 of the bore 36 in the slide tube 34. It will be seen that the upper region 54 of the slide tube 34 extends radially about and fits close to the base suction tube 23 and sealingly engages the O-ring for reciprocation thereon. The intermediate enlarged region 41 overlies helical spring 40 and the offset 55 between the upper region 54 and the enlarged region 51 forms a seat engaging the upper end 56. Offset 55 is beveled or tapered to prevent it from damaging the O-ring during assembly. The lower end 57 of the spring 40 is engaged against the upper surface or end 60 of the split-ring, which forms the opposed spring seat, the spring being held in compression between the offset seat 55 and the opposed spring seat 60 and being further compressible upon actuation of the handle 16. A lower further enlarged region 61 of the bore 36 overlies and is in guiding engagement with the outer surface of the split-ring which it encircles and is in guided engagement therewith for reciprocation thereon. The offset 59 between region 41 of the bore and enlarged region 61 serves as the slide stop by engaging the upper surface 60 of the split-ring 42.

The nozzle has an upwardly directed beveled valve seat 63 which is held biased against the rounded head 45 of the floating valve member 43 by the retention of the spring 40 under compression in the apparatus. The floating valve member 43 is preferably made of a slightly resilient material so that it will form a tight closure under the compression of the spring.

In the usually preferred form of my nozzle, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the threads 51 are formed on a mounting collar 64 which collar has a flange 65 at its lower end 66, the upper side 67 of the flange 65 is engaged against the lower end 37 of the slide tube 34 when the nozzle is secured in position. A nozzle tube 79 is inserted through the collar 99 and welded therein. The nozzle tube 79 has a male threaded region 711 on its outer surface at its lower end 72. A nozzle tip or nozzle member 73 is mated with the lower end 72 of the nozzle. The nozzle tip 73 has a bore 79 extending into its upper end 99 with threads 75 formed at the entrance end of the bore. The threads 75 are mated with the male threaded region 7Il on the end of the nozzle tube 79. A plurality of ports 79 enter into the bore 74 from the exterior of the nozzle tip. A sump region 77 is formed by the lower end of the bore 74 which extends below the ports 76 in the lower end 99 of the nozzle tip 73. The tip' 81 of the nozzle tip '73 is rounded for easy insertion into the bag and into the products within the bag 29.

An alternate nozzle 82 is shown in FIGS. 3, 5 and 9 and it has a threaded region 93 and a flange region 99 that operate identically with the equivalent parts in the nozzle R5. The collar region is formed directly as a part of the nozzle itself and ports 85 are formed in its outer face 86 and pass under what is in effect a faceplate portion 99 to allow easy passage of air from the sides of the nozzle into the nozzle. The ports 95 project beyond the faceplate portion 99 in the face 96 as troughs 79. The nozzle passageways 85 feed into the nozzle bore 97. The faceplate portion 89 prevents any solids, particularly soft solids like fat, from being forced into the nozzle in a glob should the nozzle be pressed directly against such materials as would be the case if the bore 97 opened directly out through the face of the nozzle. As may be seen in FIG. ti, when assembled, the parts mate identically as those previously described with respect to the nozzle 15. The alternate nozzle has a beveled region 88 which is the equivalent of the beveled region 63 of the previously described nozzle is. The nozzle 92 produced for commercial use has circular ports 95 that have a diameter of is inch.

Another way to describe the nozzle would be as three discs, a first disc-shaped region M which would be the flange, a second and smaller disc-shaped region 89 which would be the faceplate portion and a third disc-shaped region 7 9 which projects from the first disc-shaped region M and is opposite discshaped region 89 and is also smaller than disc-shaped region 84 and has threads 83 formed thereon. The ports 95 enter the nozzle at the juncture between the first and second disc regions 84 and 89 and intersect the bore 97 in the bore region restricted to the tapered area of the bore. While a symmetrical and even disc shape is preferred any generally disc shape is operable. For example, one or more of the disc-shaped regions could have the edges shaped as an octagon, most likely with the outwardly facing edges beveled so that they would not be sharp. Other shapes could also be imparted to the disc" regions particularly to attempt to avoid a narrow reading of the claims. Thus it is to be understood that, as used herein generally disc-shaped region includes all varient shapes, such as octagonal for example, that are basically circular rather than basically square.

The mounting means for the device 112 also serves as the means for permitting the device to be pivoted. The mounting means 9 has a quick connect line coupling 99 that has a male member 91 and a female member 92, FIGS. ll, 2 and t. The female member 92 has a lower female threaded region (threads not shown) at the lower end 93 of part 92 which mates with the threads 32 on the upper end of the suction tube 23. The male member 91 of the quick connect line coupling 90 is shown in FIG. 2 to be plugged with a plug 99. The upper end of the male member 9B has a male threaded region 95.

The stiff flexible tube 13 has one end engaged over the upper male threaded region 95 of the male quick connect line coupling member 91. A first hose clamp 97 encircles the stiff flexible tube over the male threaded region or the upwardly extending male extension 95 of the quick connect line coupling member 911 and is tightened to secure the tubing on the upwardly extending male extension 95. A tube adapter 99 has a male tube engaging extension engaged in the other end of the tube 13. The tube is secured to the tube adapter 99 by hose clamp 99 in the same manner described with respect to hose clamp 97 and upwardly extending male extension 95. An adapter 1199 is threadibly engaged with the tube adapter 99 and with the support assembly Illl as may be seen in FIG. 1.

A tool for removing the nozzle 92 should it be over tightened is shown in FIG. 7. it may be seen that the tool l9l' has a handle portion i192 and two pins 1193 at one end with an arc cut out 999 formed therein. The end of the handle with the pins i193 fitting into troughs slots 79 on each side of the faceplate 199 with pins engaging the troughs so that the handle may be turned while the slide tube 39 is held stationary to screw the nozzle tip out of mating engagement with the slide tube 39. It is usually necessary only to hand tighten the nozzle tip with the fingers. Usually the tip can also be removed without the aid of any tools. The nozzle has sufficient mass to it so that it is more easily gripped by the nozzle tube 79 for manual removal by twisting to dislodge it from threaded engagement in the sleeve 34L However, the other end of the tool 11911 has a pin 195 therein and should the nozzle tip 73 become too tight to remove by gripping it manually, the pin 1199 may be inserted in a port 79 with the nozzles curved outer surface resting against the curvature 1199 of the tool M35. The handle can then be turned like a crank to unscrew the nozzle 73.

The assembly of the parts will now be briefly explained with particular relation to their assembly and disassembly in the plant for cleaning, sanitation and maintenance. To assemble the vacuumizing apparatus, the base suction tube 23 is grasped and held with the lower end 29 turned upwardly and the O-ring 33 is slipped over the lower end 29 and into O-ring seat 29. Next the slide tube 39 is inserted over the lower end 29 of the suction tube 23 and pushed well down on the suction tube so that it is clear of the split-ring seat 25. Nest the helical spring 99 is slipped over the end 29 of the suction tube 23 and down into the slides bore 39. Then the split-ring 92 is positioned in the split-ring seat 25 and the stem 99 of the floating valve member 93 is positioned in the bore 39 of the suction tube 23. Then while holding the split-ring in position the slide tube 34 is slipped upward, pressing the spring 99 against the split-ring 92. The slide tube is advanced until its threaded region 52 is beyond the end of the suction tube 23 at which time the nozzle is secured in position with thread 51 mating with threads 52 thus securing all of the parts in position.

Quick connect line coupling piece 92 once assembled on the suction tube 23 remains thereon during routine cleaning and sanitation maintenance. To assemble the quick connect line coupling piece 92 on suction tube 23, the coupling piece 92 is screwed onto the threaded end 31 of the suction tube 23. This may be done conveniently before beginning the previously described assembly operations or after they have been completed. If the nozzle 115 is to be used, the nozzle tip 73 may be secured onto the nozzle tube 79 either before or after the nozzle is secured to the slide tube 39. Of course, the device t2 is secured to its mounting means 9 through the coupling of the quick connect line clamp 99.

To disassemble the device 112 for cleaning it is only necessary to disconnect the quick connect line coupling 99 to remove the vacuumizing apparatus for a thorough cleaning. These are the only parts of the apparatus that are exposed to fluid materials coming through the device with the withdrawn air. The fluid material is normally made up largely of the body fluids from the birds being packaged. Once the quick connect line coupling has been uncoupled, the parts will come apart in the reverse order from which they were assembled and may be readily cleaned with a cleaning solution and a brush.

in the usual packing house procedure, when poultry is being packaged, it is the practice to disassemble the vacuumizing apparatus at the end of each day's packaging and frequently more often as required by governing regulations. All the parts may be separated in substantially the reverse order of that described for their assembly. lt may be seen that this is usually entirely a hand operation, no tools being necessary. One exception to this is when disassembling the nozzle 92 when the tool ll9l may be needed as previously described. Ordinarily it would not be necessary to remove the O-ring 33 from its seat, but only to scrub past it with a cleaning brush, twisting the brush as it passes. However, the O-ring can easily be removed when desired.

While my invention is not limited to the use of specific materials in its construction, I have found the following materials to be optimum particularly when the device is to be used in its preferred application, to package poultry. The O- ring is made of food-approved nitrile rubber, the stiff tubing is made of a stiff clear vinyl plastic so that it may be inspected interiorly from the outside. The hose clamps are made of aluminum and all of the adapters and the other parts are made of stainless steel type 303 or 304. The valve member is made of Delrin (Reg. T.M.).

Turning now to a more detailed description of the operation of my device. After the device has been mounted on the support assembly 11 and starting from the rest position which is shown in solid lines in FIG. 1, the slide tube 34 is held in the raised position on the suction tube 23 by the spring 40. The beveled upwardly directed valve off seat 63 is thereby held in firm engagement with the rounded head of the floating valve member 43 closing the nozzle.

The operator takes a bag containing a product, such as is shown in FIG. 1, places the bag on the table and pulls the bag's open mouth up around and over the handle 16 inserting the nozzle tip 73 into the bird's cavity by manipulating the bird (such as a small Cornish hen) to a position standing on end and lifting the bird slightly above the surface of the table. All of this is done in one quick motion during which time there is no vacuum on the nozzle tip. The operator will then pull down on the handle 16 while gripping the bag's neck tightly gathered about handle I with one hand. The handle 16 is pulled down until the upwardly directed beveled valve seat 63 is no longer engaged with the rounded head 45 of the floating valve member 43. The offset 59 provides the stop to the downward movement of the handle 16 when it engages the upper surface 60 of the split-ring 42. The length of stroke in the actual device made is 54 inch. This stroke opens the valve and connects the vacuum at the vacuum conduit 14 through the interior of the suction tube 23 with the nozzle 15 which opens through the nozzle tip 73 to the inside of the bird 21 through ports 76. The vacuum draws air out of the birds body cavity'and out of the bag itself; which is open to the'inside of the bag, up through the open, connected vacuum channel. This collapses the bag tightly about the bird. 'The operator maintains a down pressure on the handle 16 and pivots the apparatus by swinging it outwardly on the tube 13 while at the same time slipping the bag'downwardly by sliding it down the nozzle tube until it is in the position shown in phantom lines in FIG], and positions the bag in the jaws 22 of the slipper for closing the bag and sealing it airtight. In this way the vacuum is allowed to continue to operate until the actual clipping occurs, at which time the handle is released and the spring returns the slide tube to its upper position closing the valve. A

clip is applied sealing the bag and in the usual case, the bags neck is severed just above the clip by a knife in the clipping apparatus. The severed bag is generally allowed to fall a few inches to a moving conveyor (not shown) positioned below the clipper's throat 22. The conveyor transfers the bagged product to the next operation, for example to a shrink tunnel (not shown). The remaining bag portion is removed from the device by the operator releasing his grip on the tube 70. The spring 40 then returns the slide tube to its upper position engaging the upwardly directed valve seat against the floating valve member 43 shutting off the vacuum. The apparatus, of course, also swings back to its starting position perpendicular to table 10.

If it is not desired to have the longer snorkel nozzle 15, of course, the nozzle 82 may be substituted therefor, and this is often desirable depending on the product being packaged. The long nozzle, however, is useful for packaging other products than birds, for example: meat loaf and corned beef, in which case the nozzle is inserted down alongside the meat in a tubular bag and the air is withdrawn as the nozzle is allowed to slip out of the bag. This prevents the bag from collapsing against the meat part way up, which would prevent the removal of air in the bottom of the bag. in all other respects the process is the same as that previously described with respect to packaging birds. v

A special nozzle tip is shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. This nozzle can be used for a prolonged uninterrupted period of packaging products, such as corned beef which have loose unground spice on its outer surface. Corned beef is usually packaged in a sleeve-type bag. Thus the special nozzle tip is substituted in nozzle 15 and inserted between the bag and the corned beef. The nozzle is projected into the bag all the way to the bags bottom to assure good evacuation of the bag. As the nozzle is withdrawn from the bag it scraped along between the corned beef and the bag. The device, is, of course, also being pivoted as the nozzle is withdrawn to position the bags neck in the clipper as previously described with respect to packaging a bird. The special nozzle has a plurality of slots 121, each of which is long and narrow. The ends 122 and 123 of the slots 120 may be seen in FIG. 9 to be sloped or inclined from the inside of the nozzle to the outside. This is an important feature in the self-cleaning functioning of the nozzle tip 120. The slot should preferably be no wider than about 1/32 inch for a wide range of spiced food stuffs. Reducing the width of the slot more than absolutely necessary tends to cut down on the nozzle's evacuation efficiency. For other special or general applications sloted nozzle tips having slots larger or smaller than 1/32 inch may be used. The use of slot ports rather than rounded ports is particularly valuable when hard roundish particles that could be wedged in the rounded ports are going to be encountered during the nozzle use. Slot ports have been found to have the facility of cleaning themselves under such conditions when used according to the general packaging procedures described in this patent application. Perhaps this is in part due to the bag material scraping passed the slot ports as the nozzle is withdrawn from the bag while its mouth is gripped tightly against the nozzle to maintain the vacuum prior to clipping. Rather than just being pushed into the ports and more tightly wedged therein particles lodging in the ports may be scraped upwardly and then rolled or slipped out of the slots on the inclined ends.

The nozzle tip produced for commercial use-is 1% inches long and H6 inch in diameter to its outside circumference; the bore is 17/32 inch in diameter. Eight slots are spaced evenly around the nozzle tip and a sump is provided in the tip to prevent drip-back from one package to the next during packaging. The only difference between the nozzle tip 120 and 73 is thesubstitution of the slots 121 for the ports 76;

There is an alternate vacuum withdrawal path that may be used in the device 12. if the plug 93 was removed from the quick connect line coupling where it is shown in FIG. 2 and instead, conduit 14 was plugged, the means for withdrawing air through the device 12 may be connected to stand 11 below table 10. Of course, the stand and all of the connecting elements would have to be hollow. This is generally not a very desirable arrangement because of ,the difficulty encountered in cleaning the fluid materials from the evacuation line particularly the numerous junctures in mounting means 9 and the curved stand 11. However, some packing houses are equipped with such a stand evacuation arrangement and my device is adaptable for use therewith.

lclaim:

l. in a vacuumizing apparatus:

l. A base suction conduit,

II. a slide mounted for reciprocation on said base suction conduit, said slide including a hand grip on its outer surface.

Ill. means biasing said slide upwardly on said base suction conduit,

IV. a nozzle connected to the lower end of said slide, and

V. a floating valve member having passage means preventing sealing contact between said base suction conduit and said valve member, said valve member being engaged between said nozzle and said suction conduit and clamped thereby when said slide is in its rest position, closing the vacuumizing apparatus and floating between said nozzle and said suction conduit when said slide is actuated against its bias.

2. The vacuumizing apparatus of claim ll wherein:

The base suction conduit I includes:

A. a spring retaining seat on its outer surface,

The slide ll includes:

A. a spring-retaining seat, and

The means biasing the slide Ill includes: I

A. a spring engaged between said spring retaining seat of l A of the base suction conduit and said spring-retaining seat ll A of the slide.

3. In a vacuumizing apparatus:

I. an axial and cylindrical base suction tube, said base suction tube including:

A. an O-ring seat extending radially around said base suc tion tube,

B. a split-ring seat extending radially around said base suction tube below the O-ring seat and close to the lower end of said base suction tube,

C. a threaded region on the outer surface of said base suction tube at its upper end and above said O-ring seat, and

D. a beveled region on the inside of said base suction tube at its entrance from the lower end,

Il. an O-ring positioned on said O-ring seat and projecting beyond the adjacent outer surface of said base suction tube,

III. a split-ring positioned on said split-ring seat and projecting beyond the adjacent outer surface of said base suction tube,

IV. a helical spring encircling said base suction tube above said split-ring and having one end engaged against the upper end of said split-ring,

V. an axial and cylindrical side tube mounted for reciprocation on said base suction tube, said slide tube including: A. a hand grip extending radially around its outer surface,

and

B. a cylindrical bore extending axially therethrough, said bore including:

a. an upper region extending radially about and fitting close to said base suction tube and sealingly engaging said O-ring for reciprocating thereon,

b. an intennediate region enlarged and fitting radially over said helical spring,

c. a seat engaging the upper end of said spring formed by the offset of said intermediate region (b) from said upper region (a),

d. a lower region enlarged further than (b) and encircling said split-ring and in guided engagement thereon for reciprocation thereon, and

e. the terminal end having a threaded region on its inside surface,

Vl. a valve member including:

A. a round head positioned below said base suction tube and sized so that it cannot pass into said base suction tube, engaging said beveled region I l) of said base suction tube,

B. a stem extending from said rounded head VI A and engaged in the channel of said base suction tube to hold said valve member in alignment in and below said base suction tube, and

C. a plurality of channels formed on the outer surface of said valve member and providing passageways for the flow of air between said valve member and said beveled region l D of the base suction tube and up through said base suction tube,

V". a nozzle including:

A. a mounting threaded region on its outer surface mating with the threads V B (e) on the inside surface at the terminal end of said slide tube, and

B. an upwardly directed beveled seat exiting toward said base suction tube i, said rounded head Vl A of the valve member engaging said beveled seat to shut off said nozzle in response to the pressure applied to said rounded head W A by said helical spring W expanding between said split-ring ill and said seat v b (c) in said slide tube V, squeezing said round head W A of the valve member between said beveled region l l) on the inside of said base suction tube and said beveled seat,

Vlll. a mounting means for said apparatus including:

A. a plugged quick connect line coupling having a lower female threaded region mated with threaded region l C on the outer surface of said base suction tube and having an upwardly extending male extension,

B. a stiff flexible tube engaged on saidupwardly extending male extension of said plugged quick connect line coupling Vlll A,

C. a first hose clamp over said stiff flexible tube Vlll lb and said upwardly extending male extension of said plugged quick connect line coupling Vlll A clamping them together,

D. a tube adapter with a male tube engaging extension engaged in the other end of said stiff flexible tube Vlll l8, and

E. a second hose clamp over said stiff flexible tube Vlll 1B and said tube adapter Vlll D clamping them together, and

l)(. a vacuum conduit intersecting said base suction tube l between the O-ring seat l A and the threaded region l C.

d. vacuumizing apparatus of claim 3 wherein:

Vll. is a nozzle assembly which includes:

C. a mounting collar which has the mounting threaded region Vll A thereon,

D. a nozzle tube which has:

a. the upwardly directed beveled seat V" B,

b. a male threaded region on the outer surface at the lower end of said nozzle tube, and

c. a snout of reduced cross section projecting below said male threaded region (b), and

F. a nozzle tip including:

a. a sump in its lower end,

b. a plurality of ports above said sump and above the lower end of said snout Vll D (c), and

c. a threaded area in the nozzle tip above said ports mating with said male threaded region Vll D (b) of said nozzle tube.

5. in a vacuumizing apparatus:

l. A base suction conduit, said base suction conduit including a spring-retaining seat on its outer surface, said spring retaining seat extending around the outer surface of said base suction tube,

ii. a spring-retaining member positioned in said springretaining seat and extending substantially wholly around the base suction conduit,

ill. a slide mounted on and extending around said base suction conduit for reciprocation on said base suction conduit, said slide including a hand grip on its outer surface and a spring-retaining seat,

IV. means biasing said slide upwardly on said base suction conduit, said means biasing said slide including a helical spring engaged between said spring-retaining member of the base suction conduit and said spring-retaining seat of the slide and extending around the base suction conduit,

V. a seal scat extending around the outer surface of said base suction conduit above said spring-retaining seat,

Vl. a seal engaged on said seal seat and extending around the base suction conduit, projecting beyond the adjacent outer surface thereof and engaging the inside of said slide to form a pneumatic seal between. the base auction conduit and the slide,

Vll. a nozzle connected to the lower end of said slide, and

Vlll. a floating valve member engaged between said nozzle and said suction conduit and clamped thereby when said slide is in its rest position, closing the vacuumizing apparatus and floating between said nozzle and said suction conduit when said handle is actuated against its bias.

6. The vacuumizing apparatus of claim wherein said apparatus includes:

a mounting means comprising:

A. a quick connect line coupling, said quick connect line coupling connected to the upper end of the base suction conduit and having a male threaded region at its upper end,

B. a stiff flexible tube engaged on said male threaded region of said quick connect line coupling,

C. a first hose clamp over said stiff flexible tube and the male threaded region of said quick connect line coupling clamping them together,

D. a tube adapter with a male tube engaging extension engaged in the other end of said stiff flexible tube, and

E. a second hose clamp over said stiff flexible tube and said male tube engaging extension of said tube adapter clamping them together.

7. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said slide includes an internal threaded region at its lower end, and the nozzle includes:

A. a mounting collar with a threaded region on its outer surface mating with said threaded region of said slide,

B. a nozzle tube comprising:

a. an upwardly directed beveled region on the inside of said tube at its upper end and exiting toward the base suction conduit, the floating valve member engaging said beveled region to shut off said nozzle in response to the pressure applied by said spring expanding between the spring-retaining seat on the base suction conduit and the spring-retaining member on the slide, and

b. a male threaded region on the outer surface of its lower end, and

C. a nozzle tip including:

a. a closed terminal end,

bl a sump in the lower end,

c. a plurality of ports above said sump, and

d. a threaded area above said ports, said threads meshed with said male threaded region on said nozzle tube- 8. The vacuumizing apparatus of claim 5 wherein the base suction conduit is an axial tube, the seal seat is an O-ring seat all...

extending radially around said base suction tube, the retaining seat is a split-ring seat extending radially around said base suction tube and positioned close to the lower end of said base suction tube, said seal is an O-ring, said spring-retaining member is a split-ring, the helical spring is engaged against the upper end of said split-ring, and the slide is an axial tube, the hand grip extends radially around the outer surface of said axial slide tube, and an axial bore extends axially through said axial slide tube, and said axial slide tube includes:

A. an upper region extending radially about and fitting close to said base suction tube to form the pneumatic seal with the O-ring seal,

B. an intermediate region enlarged and fitting radially over said helical spring and having an inside radius smaller than the outside radius of said split-ring, the spring retaining seat is the offset'of this intermediate region from said upper region which engages said helical spring at its upper end,

C. a lower region enlarged further than said intermediate region and encircling said split-ring and in guided engagement thereon for reciprocation thereon, and

D. a stop, said stop being the offset of said lower region from said intermediate region and engaging the upper surface of said split-ring when said axial slide tube is actuated against the bias of said helical spring and thereby stopping the activation stroke of said apparatus,

E. the terminal end having a threaded region on its inside surface; the floating valve member includes: a. a rounded head positioned below said base suction tube, said rounded head having a circumference larger than the inside dimension of the lower end of said base suction tube maintaining said rounded head outside of said base suction tube,

b. a stem extending from said rounded head and engaged in the channel of said base suction tube and holding said valve member in alignment in and below said base suction tube,

c. a plurality of channels formed in said valve member and passing from below to above the lower end of said base suction tube to provide passageways for the flow of air between said valve member and the lower end of said base suction tube and up through said base suction tube.

II t i t t

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Classifications
U.S. Classification141/95, 53/512, 137/533.11, 141/86
International ClassificationB65B31/06
Cooperative ClassificationB65B31/06
European ClassificationB65B31/06