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Publication numberUS3699746 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 24, 1972
Filing dateApr 9, 1971
Priority dateApr 9, 1971
Publication numberUS 3699746 A, US 3699746A, US-A-3699746, US3699746 A, US3699746A
InventorsArmstrong William A, Titchenal Oliver R
Original AssigneeBasic Packaging Systems Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for filling a chain of connected bag elements
US 3699746 A
Abstract
Apparatus for filling a chain of connected bag elements wherein improved design enables the apparatus to receive the bag elements from a folded pile. This allows the use of bag elements almost totally separated from each other whereby after filling the bag elements can be easily parted, as, for example, by a gentle pulling action. Accordingly, a cutting station to part the bags after filling can be eliminated from the apparatus. Other beneficial features of the invention include the employment of a mandrel to initially mount and align the connected bag elements in the apparatus such that the possibility of fouling the same by misfeeding the bags thereto is minimized, and an intermittently operated filling station which works in combination with a continuously run sealer or closing station to facilitate the pulling apart of the connected bag elements after fill operations.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[ 1 Oct. 24, 1972 APPARATUS FOR FILLING A CHAIN OF CONNECTED BAG ELEMENTS Inventors: Oliver R. Tltchenal; William A.

Armstrong, both of Berea, Ohio Basic Packaging Systems, Inc., Avon Lake, Ohio Filed: April 9, 1971 Appl. No.: 132,808

Related U.S. Application Data Continuation of Ser. No. 727,545, May 8, 1968, abandoned.

Assignee:

U.S. Cl ..53/l87, 53/384 Int. Cl. ..B6Sb 43/12 Field ofSearch........53/l87, 190, 183, 167, 192, 53/28, 384; 93/20. 8 R, 8 W, 8 WA; 83/175, 178, 425

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,178,202 9/1964 Germany..................83/l78F Primary Examiner-Theron E. Condon Assistant Examiner-Horace M. Culver Attorney-Gustalo Nuney [57] ABSTRACT Apparatus for filling a chain of connected bag elements wherein improved design enables the apparatus to receive the bag elements from a folded pile. This allows the use of bag elements almost totally separated from each other whereby after filling the bag elements can be easily parted, as, for example, by a gentle pulling action. Accordingly, a cutting station to part the bags after filling can be eliminated from the apparatus. Other beneficial features of the invention include the employment of a mandrel to initially mount and align the connected bag elements in the apparatus such that the possibility of fouling the same by misfeeding the bags thereto is minimized, and an intermittently operated filling station which works in combination with a continuously run sealer or closing station to facilitate the pulling apart of the connected bag elements after fill operations.

28 Claims, 11 DrawingFlgures PATENTEUHN 24 m2 3.699.746

SHEEI 3 0F 3 1 64a 42a; f gm iia l Ei"" INVENTORS. O/fver R. Ti/c/v ena/ BY Wf/h'am 19 Firms/rang HTTORNEY APPARATUS FOR FILLING A CHAIN F CONNECTED BAG ELEMENTS This application is a continuation of US. Pat. application Ser. No. 727,545, filed May 8, 1968, now abancloned, under the title APPARATUS FOR FILLING A CHAIN OF CONNECTED BAG ELEMENTS.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to improved apparatus for filling and sealing bags wherein the latter are in the form of a chain of connected bag elements, and more specifically, to such apparatus wherein the cost and complexity of the same are minimized while still maintaining a high degree of efficiency.

It is an object of the present invention to provide apparatus for filling a chain of connected bag elements wherein efficient filling of the bags is achieved at a relatively low cost and with uncomplicated apparatus.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such apparatus wherein the same can be supplied in individual modules such that the basic filling module can be combined with a variety of closure stations or modules now presently in use.

It is a still further object of the present invention to provideapparatus for filling a chain of connected bag elements wherein a cutting station has been eliminated to simplify the apparatus without detracting from the efficiency of the same.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide apparatus for filling a chain of connected bag elements wherein the bags are fed to the apparatus from a folded pile rather than from the usual supply roll arrangements, thereby permitting economies and advantages heretofore unknown in such apparatus.

It is still a further object of the present invention to provide apparatus for filling a chain of connected bag elements wherein a unique means of mounting and aligning the bag elements in the filling apparatus is provided such that the possibility of fouling the apparatus by misdirecting the bags thereto is minimized.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide apparatus for filling a chain of connected bag elements wherein the apparatus can be operated either continuously and/or intermittently as suits the desires of the packager and wherein the complexity of the apparatus is kept at a minimum to lessen apparatus costs and the likelihood of breakdowns.

Briefly then, the present invention concerns apparatus for filling a chain of connected bag elements wherein each bag normally includes closed bottom and top ends, and two sides closed except at their uppermost extent so as to form an open ended loop across a top edge portion of each bag element. The bag elements are preferably fed to the apparatus from a folded pile and are initially received by a mandrel upon which they are mounted in a curtain-and-rod-like fashion by means of the loop located along the top edge of each bag element. Specifically, the mandrel precisely mounts the chain of bag elements in the apparatus whereby the possibility of fouling the same by misdirecting the bag elements thereto is minimized. In the specific embodiments, the apparatus further includes a knife located downwardly of the leading edge of the mandrel. The knife longitudinally parts the loop, thereby forming fill openings between the two closed sides of each bag element and the two parted edges of the loop. The bag elements are then directed to a filling station which plows open the two parted edges to deposit a product in each bag element through the respective fill opening thereof. The above portions of the apparatus comprise a first or filling module and in most applications would be operated on an intermittent basis. The second or closing module in the preferred embodiment of the invention comprises a closure station which can include two continuously running belts which grip between them the filled bag elements, thereby pulling the same from the intermittently operated first module and apart from each other. Where the bag material comprises a thermoplastic, these belts can be heated along strategic areas to a temperature suitable to weld closed the fill openings of each bag element in a continuous sealing operation.

Yet additional objects and advantages of the present invention and its numerous and cognate benefits are even more appment and manifest in and by the ensuing description and specification taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which wheresoever possible, like characters of reference designate corresponding material and parts throughout the several views thereof in which:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a chain of connected bag elements of the general sort contemplated for use in the filling apparatus of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the connected bag elements of FIG. 1 taken along reference line 2-2 thereof;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 7 taken along reference line 3-3 thereof;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 7 taken along reference line 4-4 thereof;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 7 taken along reference line 5-5 thereof;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 7 taken along reference line 6-6 thereof;

FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of filling apparatus constructed according to the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a top view of the apparatus of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of a modified form of the apparatus of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a top view illustrating yet another modified form of the apparatus of the present invention; and

FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of the apparatus of FIG. 10.

Referring now more particularly to FIG. 1 there is shown a chain of connected bag elements 10 having along a top portion 14 thereof a loop 12. The connected bag elements 10 can be formed by intermittently sealing traverse strips 16 along a length of flattened thermoplastic tubing 21 whereby each bag element 10 is defined between a pair of the traverse strip seams l6. Specifically, seams 16 form the two closed sides 18 and 20 of each bag element 10 and, as observed from FIG I, extend upwardly from the bottom ends 22 of the bag elements to a point adjacent to but spaced from the top ends 24 thereof. This seam construction inherently forms the loop 12 wherein the channel 26 defined by the loop extends throughout the chain of the connected bag elements unobstructed. Thus, bag elements 10 can be mounted in a curtainand-rod-like fashion by inserting an elongated element through loop 12 which method of mounting is discussed more fully hereinafter.

In order to realize the full benefit of the apparatus described hereinafter, the connection between each of the bag elements 10 has been substantially weakened such that the bags can be parted from each other by a gentle pulling action. In the bag elements 10 illustrated, this is achieved by cutout portions 28 and 30 located within the metes and bounds of seams 16. The two cutout portions 28 and 30 are interrupted by a joined portion or land 32 connecting together the bag elements 10 near the bottom ends 22 thereof. Additionally, perforations 34 extend from seams 16 to the top end 24 of bag elements 10 further weakening the strength of the connection between each of the bag elements 10.

As is customary, each bag element 10 can further include a bottom gusset 36 which extends across the bottom end 22 thereof securely closing the same, At each side 18 and of bag elements 10, gussets 36 are secured with the two walls of the bag element by scams [6.

Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, there is shown an apparatus 38 adapted for efficiently filling the connected bag elements 10. As illustrated in FIG. '7, bag elements 10 are preferably fed to apparatus 38 from a folded pile 40 instead of the usual supply roll arrangements customarily used in the prior art filling devices. In pile 40 the bag elements 10 are located face down one on top of the other in a continuous Z-like stacking arrangement.

Specifically. apparatus 38 includes a mandrel 42 which initially receives the bag elements 10 from pile 40 for proper alignment and feeding of the same into apparatus 38. More specifically, loop 12 of connected bag elements 10 is fed about mandrel 42 such that the connected bag elements 10 are strung or mounted on mandrel 42 in a curtain-and-rod-like fashion. This arrangement of mounting bag elements 10 has been found especially effective in that the possibility of fouling the apparatus 38 by misfeeding the connected bag elements 10 thereto is minimized.

In the prior art bag filling devices the function of properly feeding the bags to the apparatus was facilitated by first winding the bags on a supply roll. Since these bags were previously correctly mounted on the supply roll, misfeeding problems were made less difficult to overcome. However, when feeding the bags from a folded pile like pile 40, no real effective initial alignment of the connected bag element 10 is provided. By the employment of the unique mandrel concept taught herein, however, feeding from a pile is possible whereby important benefits can be achieved. For instance, the usual tensions accompanying winding of connected bag elements on a supply roll are eliminated. Accordingly, the connected bag elements 10 can be almost completely severed from each other prior to being received by apparatus 38 and in a manner as, for example, like that illustrated in FIG. 1. After filling, the lightly connected bag elements 10 are easily parted from each other without the need of a special cutting tool. Accordingly, a special cutting station to part these bags after filling can be eliminated from the apparatus. Furthermore, the bearings, couplings, and the like necessary to rotatably mount the supply roll in the apparatus can also be dispensed with. Accordingly, while the invention is not limited to feeding bag elements 10 from a pile, the benefits and advantages obtained by doing so can be readily appreciated.

In particular, and as illustrated in FIG. 3, mandrel 42 is preferably of a generally dew-drop cross-sectional configuration with the tapered edge of the dew-drop comprising the top edge 44 of the mandrel. This configuration facilitates automatic centering of the fold or crease 23 of the loop on mandrel 42 such that bag elements 10 drape from mandrel 42 in precise vertical alignment.

A parting means or knife 46 is mounted on mandrel 42 downwardly of the leading edge 48 thereof as concerns the direction of travel of connected bag elements 10, which direction is indicated by arrow 49. Specifically, knife 46 is centered on the top edge 44 of mandrel 42, whereby the loop 12 is evenly parted in the longitudinal direction as it passed by knife 46. The parting of loop 12 forms a separate fill opening 51 for each bag element 10, as is illustrated in FIG 4, with the respective fill openings 51 being defined between two parted edges and 52 of the loop and the two closed sides 18 and 20 of each bag element.

As the connected bag elements 10 pass from mandrel 42 and knife 46, the two parted edges 50 and 52 are engaged by a pair of endless belts 54 and 56 which are driven by separate pulley systems 58 and 60. Specifically, the two parted edges 50 and 52 are squeezed together between belts 54 and 56 as illustrated in FIG. 5, whereby the connected bag elements 10 are directed to a filling station 62 which includes a hopper or spout 64.

Hopper 64 is suitably mounted so as to bisect the two parted edges 50 and 52 of bag elements 10 such that edges 50 and 52 are plowed open by hopper 64 and pass about the opposite sides 66 and 68 thereof as is best seen in FIG. 6. Accordingly, hopper 64 can be used to deposit a product into each bag element 10 through the respective fill openings 51 thereof located between the plowed open parted edges 50 and 52.

In particular, belts 54 and 56 are designed to support parted edges 50 and 52 entirely about hopper 64 and thereafter direct the filled bag elements 10 to a closure station described more fully hereinafter. To this end, pulley systems 58 and 60 cooperate together to provide a first pair of nip pulleys 70 and 72 located adjacent the front or plowing end 74 of hopper 64, and a second pair of nip pulleys 76 and 78 positioned opposite thereto adjacent the rear or back end 98 of the hopper. Thus,

belts 54 and 56 support parted edges 50 and 52 at the front end 74 of hopper 64 by means of the pressure supplied by the first pair of nip pulleys and 72, and thereafter the belts respectively snuggly pass about the opposite sides 66 and 68 of hopper 64, whereby parted edge 50 is supported by being squeezed between belt 54 and side 66, while parted edge 52 is supported in the same manner between belt 56 and side 68. The belts 54 and 56 with the parted edges 50 and 52 squeezed between them, are then reunited at the rear end 98 of hopper 64 by means of the second pair of nip pulleys 76 and 78. Thereafter. belts 54 and 56 are respectively directed between pulleys 80 and 82 which are mounted in spaced relationship such that belts $4 and 56 gradually separate from each other on their approach thereto. Accordingly, at this location, the parted edges 50 and 52 are now being squeezed or gripped less tightly between the gradually separating belts 54 and 56. This facilitates transfer of the filled bag elements to a continuously operated closing station, as is described more fully hereinafter.

Specifically, pulleys 80 and 82 respectively anchor the separate pulley systems 58 and 60 thereby returning the belts 54 and 56 to the first pair of nip pulleys 70 and 72 via a route including tension pulleys 84 and 86. Beneficially, tension pulleys 84 and 86 are slidingly mounted to move either inwardly or outwardly of their shown positions whereby the tension on belts 54 and 56 can be adjusted.

In addition to hopper 64, filling station 62 preferably includes a settling device 88 located beneath hopper 64 and on which the bottom ends 22 of bag elements are supported during fill operations. Settling device 88 includes an endless conveyor belt 90 which travels about (in the direction indicated by arrow 92) a pair of drive rollers 94 and 96. Also, settling device 88 is reciprocally mounted (by suitable means not shown) to operate in an upper position A, and a lower position B. The upper position A is depicted in FIG. 7 in solid lines, while the lower position B is depicted in the same FIGURE but in broken lines. As the filling of bag element l0 commences, the settling device 88 is in the upper position A whereby the settling device 88 pushes upwardly on the bottom end 22 of the bag elements 10 being filled. Accordingly, slack is given to the walls of the bag elements such that the same can readily bloom out to receive the fill. The lower position 8 is assumed by settling device 88 at a point intermediate of the filling of the bag element 10. In this position the bottom end 22 is allowed to drop back somewhat such that the bottom of bag elements 10 can completely fill with the product. Thereafter, settling device 88 returns to the upper position A whereby conveyor belt 90 is aligned to direct the bottom end 22 of the filled bag element 10 onto a second conveyor belt for closing operations.

Preferably, the parts of apparatus 38 described so far are operated on an intermittent basis wherein the bags are directed to the filling station 62 one at a time. This is customarily achieved by employing an electric eye which focuses on a printed legend on each bag element 10. The electric eye can be circuited to an electric motor (not shown) which operates the two continuous belts 54 and 56 and rollers 94 and 96. Specifically, the electric eye functions to cut the power supplied to the electric motor thereby stopping the operation with a bag element 10 located directly beneath hopper 64. A timer is usually incorporated into the electric motor to restart the same after the filling operation. Thus, the motor restarts and drives the next bag element to a position under hopper 64, at which time the electric eye again cuts the circuit to the motor whereby the filling processes are repeated. The up and down motion of the settling device 88 can also be accomplished by use of a timer or, if desired, a cam operated mechanism (not shown). Timers, electric eye circuits, suitable motors and the like, are components well known in the apparatus arts. Their proper selection for apparatus 38 should be merely a matter of efficient choice well within the powers of those skilled in the art in view of the disclosure of invention herein.

The second or closing module of apparatus 38 comprises a closing station which beneficially operates on a continuous basis whereby bag elements 10, after filling, are continuously pulled from the intermittently operated first or filling module and apart from each other and, thereafter, are closed across their fill openings 51.

In the embodiment of apparatus illustrated in FIG. 7 and 8, closing station 100 is provided with a pair of continuously operated endless belts 102 and 104 which are driven by separate pulley systems 106 and 108. Pulley systems 106 and 108 cooperate together to form a pair of nip pulleys 110 and 112 located on each side of the last filled bag element 10 at a position directly below and intermediate of pulleys 76 and 78, and 80 and 82 driving belts 54 and 56. Belts 102 and 104 pass between nip pulleys 110 and 112 to initially engage and grip between them the last filled bag element 10, whereby during the stop interval accompanying filling operations, the last filled bag element is pulled from the weakened grip of belts 54 and 56 and apart from the next preceding one, that is, the bag element 10 being filled through hopper 64.

Assisting belts 102 and 104 is a continuously operated endless conveyor belt 114 which supports and drives the bottom ends 22 of the filled bag elements during the closing operation. Specifically, conveyor belt 114 is driven about rollers 116 and 118 in the direction indicated by arrow 120, and at a speed synchronized with the speed of belts 102 and 104 gripping the top ends 24 of the bag elements 10. Rollers 116 and 118 are suitably mounted to align the support surface of conveyor belt 1 14 with that of settling device 88 while at its upper position A. Accordingly. at the termination of the filling step, settling device 88 smoothly delivers the filled bag element 10 onto conveyor belt 114 whereby the driving force of conveyor belt 114 is able to assist belts 102 and 104 in breaking the bag elements 10 apart.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, belts 102 and 104 are heated by suitable means as, for example, a pair of electrically heated cartirdges or elements 103 and 105, between which elements the belts 102 and 104 pass at a location downwardly of nip pulleys 110 and 112. By means of elements 103 and 105, the belts are raised to a temperature suitable to heat seal closed the bag elements 10 across their respective fill openings 51. Specifically, the seams formed connect together with the seams 16 at each side 18 and 20 of bag elements 10 to perfect the closure. As a more particular example, belts 102 and 104 can be like those shown in US. Pat. No. 2,658,522 wherein a continuous band or belt sealer is illustrated in some detail. Another example of such a sealing mechanism is the Doughbag continuous band or belt sealer designated as model CBG-B, and manufactured by Doughboy Industries, Inc., of New Richman, Wis.

Referring now to FIG. 9, there is shown an apparatus 38a illustrating a modification of the present invention wherein both the filling and closure modules thereof are designed to be able to operate on a continuous basis. To this end, there is provided a unitized settling device-conveyor system combination in the form of an endless conveyor belt 130 which supports and directs the bottom ends 22 of the connected bag elements 10 during both fill and sealing operations. Generally, conveyor belt 130 is anchored at each end and travels about (in the direction indicated by arrow 122) a pair of drive rollers 124 and 126. Located intermediate of drive rollers 124 and 126 is a pivot roller 128. Specifically, roller 124 is reciprocally mounted (as, for example, by a conventional cam mechanism not shown) to vibrate generally upwardly and downwardly about the axis of roller 128, as is indicated generally in dotted lines. Accordingly, likewise vibration of the portion of the conveyor belt 130 located beneath hopper 64a is obtained whereby the conveyor belt 130 is able to double as a settling device for apparatus 38a.

Other modifications illustrated in apparatus 380 concern the location of mandrel 42a which extends to adjacent the front end 74a of the hopper 64a, and if desired, can be fixedly secured to the same as, for example, by brackets, welding or the like. By so positioning and extending mandrel 424, the mandrel is able to direct and support the top ends 24 of bag elements 10 to a point nearly adjacent the front end 740 of the hopper, or more precisely, to the point at which loop 12 is parted by the knife 46a.

Similarly, the heated belts 102a and 104a have been extended to a location adjacent the rear end 98a of hopper 64a whereat they grip and unite together the parted edges 50 and 52 as they emerge from about hopper 64a.

Essentially, the repositioning of mandrel 42a and belts 102a and 104a involves a simplification of apparatus 38a wherein the belts 54 and 56 shown in apparatus 38 have not been employed. Belts 54 and 56, if operated on a continuous basis, however, can be incorporated into apparatus 380 and would likely be used for relatively heavy product fills. Altemately, for lighter product fills wherein the support at the front and rear ends of the hopper, as provided by mandrel 42a and belts 102a and 1040, is sufficient, the incorporation of belts 54 and 56 would generally not be desirable from an economical standpoint.

In particular, the hopper 64a employed for apparatus 380 is of the stationary or fixed in position type as opposed to those of reciprocating and/or rotary or like motion as are the type customarily employed in continuous filling and sealing apparatus. While reciprocating or rotary motion hoppers can readily be adapted for employment in the apparatus of the present invention, as for example one like that illustrated in US. Pat. No. 2,272,251, as a rule, such hoppers generally entail the use of activating mechanisms of considerable sophistication and complexity. Where such complex mechanisms can be avoided, it is usually desirable to do so. Such avoidance is accomplished in apparatus 380 by designing the hopper 64a to have a width dimension Y of only about one-sixteenth to about three-fourths as great as the width dimension X of the bag elements 10 being filled. Accordingly, in a continuous filling operation, the charge or fill would be dumped through hopper 64a as soon as a bag element 10 was far enough underneath the hopper to catch the fill. More specifically, the bag elements 10 would move at a speed timed to permit the charge to be completely dropped into the bag element before the trailing edge or side 18 thereof has passed by the hopper 64a. In such a system it would be particularly beneficial to fill the bag elements 10 through a fill opening located along the long or maximum dimension thereof to allow additional time for dropping of the charge into the bag element. Thus, in the connected bag elements 10 the side to side or X dimension of each bag element, which defines the length of fill opening 51, is beneficially of somewhat greater magnitude than the end to end or Z dimension of each bag element.

Yet another modification of the present invention is apparatus 38b illustrated in FIGS. 10 and l 1 and showing a particular embodiment of the general principles of the present invention in an apparatus wherein both the filling and closing modules thereof, if desired, are able to operate on an intermittent basis.

The mandrel 42b, knife 46b, and hopper 64b arrangement of apparatus 38b is generally similar to that shown in apparatus 38. Also, apparatus 381: is provided with a pair of endless belts 132 and 134 which support and direct the parted edges 50 and 52 of bag elements 10 to and about hopper 64b in a manner like that described in detail with regard to apparatus 38. Thereafter, however, belts 132 and 134 continue on with the parted edges 50 and 52 squeezed between them whereby the bag elements 10 are delivered to a closure station 136 which comprises a pair of impulse sealing bars 138 and 140. The sealing bars illustrated can be of the conventional sort, heated, for example, by an electric current to a temperature suitable for sealing bag elements 10 having heat sealable qualities, such as those formed of thermoplastic materials. Specifically, bars 138 and 140 are located directly below belts 132 and 134 at a unit number of bag elements widths from the leading side 20 of that bag element located directly beneath hopper 64b, whereby the bars are properly indexed to span across the width of a single previously filled bag element 10. More specifically, bars 138 and 140 are particularly suited for use in combination with an intermittently operated filling module wherein during the stop interval accompanying filling operations, the bars close together across the top end 24 of the bag element 10 located therebetween. Accordingly, the heat and pressure supplied by bars 138 and 140 forms a heat seam 142 welding closed the fill opening 51 of the bag element 10, with the seam 142 formed connecting together with seams 16 at each side 18 and 20 of the bag element to form a leak-proof closure.

After completion of sealing operations, belts 132 and 134 direct the filled and sealed bag elements 10 to nip pulleys 144 and 146. Nip pulleys 144 and 146 respectively anchor the separate pulley systems 148 and 150 driving the belts, and thereby return the same to the first pair of nip pulleys 70b and 72b via a route including tension pulleys 152 and 154 and 156 and 158. Specifically, as the two belts 132 and 134 pass about the anchor pulleys 144 and 146, they separate from each other releasing their grip on the parted edges 50 and 52 of the filled and sealed bag elements 10. The release of the top ends 24 of bag elements 10 by belts 132 and 134 frees the bag elements from apparatus 38 whereby they are allowed to fall away from the apparatus 38 tending to break apart from each other during the process.

Assisting in the breaking apart of the connected bag elements 10 is a trimmer 160. Trimmer 160 generally includes a pair of rotatably mounted and peripheral sharpened discs 162 and 164 disposed opposite each other on each side of bag elements 10 at a location directly below belts 132 and 134, and adjacent the anchor pulleys 144 and 146. Discs 162 and 164 cooperate together to shear or cut off the parted edges 50 and 52 of bag elements 10 along the top edge 166 of seam 142. Beneficially, the removal of the parted edges 50 and 52 further weakens the connection between each of the bag elements 10 such that the bag elements more easily part from each other upon release of their top ends 24 by belts 132 and 134. Preferably, the trimmed parted edges 50 and 52 are directed to a rotatably mounted reel 168 upon which they are wound and conveniently placed out of the way. To facilitate winding operations, the trimmed parted edges 50 and 52 need to H6. intact. Accordingly, the perforations 34 employed to weaken the loop 12 of bag elements 10 illustrated in FIG 1, would not normally be included on bag elements filled by apparatus having a trimmer 160 and reel 168.

in particular, the apparatus 38b described above is suited for relatively light product fills wherein the support and direction provided by belts 132 and 134 is adequate without assistance from a conveyor system to support and direct the bottom ends 22 of bag elements. If a conveyor system is employed. however, it could be like the one shown in FIG. 9.

The frame employed to mount the components of the apparatus described herein can be of the conventional type having, for example, four support legs and suitable cross members connecting together the legs, and therewith forming a stand-like structure on which the components can be suitably mounted.

The closing modules of the apparatus of the present invention have been described in particular as being of the heat sealing type adapted for closure of bag elements 10 having heat scalable or weldable qualities. The scope of the present invention, however, is obviously not limited to a heat seal closing principle. Thus, other closure modules, as, for example, the continuously operated tie tape closure apparatus illustrated in detail in US. Pat. No. 3,29l,l43, can be readily adapted for use in the apparatus described herein when suitably modified to practice the general principles thereof. As another example, mechanical means can be employed to close bag elements 10 such as the beadlike male and female locking members shown in US. Pat. No. 3,246,672. Yet as another example, bag elements [0 formed of paper of like material would likely require a closing apparatus designed especially therefor wherein frequently the apparatus would include means to apply strips of adhesive to the bag elements to form surfaces that can be closed by activating the adhesive.

While certain representative embodiments and details have been shown for the purpose of illustrating the invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for filling a chain of successively connected bag elements wherein each bag element normally includes closed bottom and top ends, and two sides, said sides being closed except at their uppermost extent, thereby forming an open ended tunnel located at the top end of each of said bag elements, said tunnels being aligned, said apparatus comprising:

a. a guide means comprising a mandrel about which the tunnel portion of said bag elements is fed, said mandrel being disposed to slidingly engage the underside of said closed top portions successively for aligning said chain of bag elements in said apparatus in a curtain and rod like fashion, means to form the tunnel of each bag element into freely spreadable flaps by dividing said tunnel along an uninterrupted path extending in the longitudinal direction, said dividing means being located downwardly of the forwardmost end of said mandrel,

. means located downwardly of said dividing means and cooperable therewith for plowing apart the spreadable flaps formed by said dividing means, and

. filling means cooperable with said plowing means for filling a product into each bag element through the fill openings thereof, respectively, defined between said plowed apart flaps.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 including means to close the fill openings of said filled bag element.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein lines of preferential separation exist between said bag elements, said apparatus including means to separate filled bag elements from said chain and direct the same individually or in select groups to said closing means.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein said apparatus includes means to intermittently arrest the forward motion of said chain of bag elements to assist said separating means to separate said filled bag elements from said chain.

5. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein said apparatus includes means to operate said filling means intermittently, and means to grip said chain and hold the chain firmly accompanying filling of said bag elements to assist said separating means to separate a previously filled bag element from said claim.

6. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said apparatus includes means to operate said separating means continuously.

7. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said apparatus includes means to operate said separating means continuously.

8. The apparatus of claim I wherein said dividing means comprises a stationary slitting means located downwardly of the leading edge of said mandrel.

9. The apparatus of claim 1 including means to grip a select region of said bag elements along the top end thereof and forward said bag elements to said filling means.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said gripping means comprises a first pair of continuous belts which grip between them said bag elements. said belts being disposed to sliding pass on opposite side portions of said filling means, whereby said flaps are firmly held underneath said belts and against said opposite side portions respectively, to assist filling said bag elements.

11. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said bag elements are of a general type adapted to be separated along preferential lines of separation, said apparatus including means to separate filled bags from said chain along said preferential lines of separation and direct filled bags to means for closing the filled bags.

12. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein said separating means comprises a second pair of belts adapted to grip between them said bags along a select region thereof adjacent said flaps, said second pair of belts being located behind said filling means.

13. The apparatus of claim 12 including means to operate said second pair of belts continuously, and means to operate the first pair of belts intermittently, whereby accompanying stoppage of said first pair of belts, said second pair of belts assists to separate filled bag elements individually of in select groups from said chain.

14. In apparatus of a type including filling means and useable for handling and filling material wherein the resulting product is a filled receptacle, the material including a loop comprising the substantially closed top portion of said material, said closed top portion being adapted to be parted to permit filling through the area between the parted edges thereof, the improvement which comprises, a mandrel for receiving said material by entering said loop and slidably engaging said closed top portion, means for forwarding said material from said mandrel to the filling means, means for dividing said closed top portion into freely spreadable flaps at a location intermediate of the forward end of said mandrel and said filling means, means to plow apart said flaps as the same approach the filling means, the lower extent of said filling means being disposed so that said plowed apart flaps pass about opposite side portions, respectively, thereof.

15. The apparatus of claim 14 including means to firmly hold said flaps against said opposite side portions, respectively, to assist filling.

16. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein said forwarding means comprises movable belts which grip between them a select region of said material along said closed top portion.

17. The apparatus of claim 16 wherein said belts firmly pass about said opposite side portions, respectively, and comprise means to hold said flaps against said opposite side portions to assist filling.

18. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein lines of preferential separation exist between said bag elements, said apparatus including means cooperative with said belts to separate filled bag elements from said chain, and means to forward the separated bag elements to means for closing the filled bag elements.

19. Apparatus for filling a chain of connected bag elements, said chain being generally of a type defining a longitudinally extending tunnel of narrower width than the transverse width of said chain and located generally along the top longitudinal edge portion thereof, said apparatus comprising in cooperative combination: guide means comprising a mandrel for receiving said chain by entering said tunnel, gripping means for receiving said chain from said mandrel and forwarding the chain to a filling means, said gripping means selectively engaging said chain in a region adjacent and along the top end thereof, means located forward of said filling means for dividing said tunnel along an uninterrupted path extending in the longitudinal direction,

and into freely spreadable flaps between which said bag elements can be filled, and means for spreading apart said flaps to a product receiving position.

20. The apparatus of claim 19 wherein said gripping means comprise a pair of opposed continuous belts which grip between them said bag elements.

21. The apparatus of claim 20 wherein said belts are disposed to slidingly pass on opposite side portions, respectively, of said filling means, whereby said flaps are firmly held underneath said belts and against said side portions, respectively, to assist filling said bag elements.

22. The apparatus of claim 21 wherein said bag elements are of a general type adapted to be separated along preferential lines of separation, said apparatus including means to separate filled bags from said chain and forward said filled bags individually or in select groups to means for closing the filled bags.

23. The apparatus of claim 22 wherein said separating means comprises a second pair of belts adapted to grip between them said bags along a select region thereof adjacent said flaps, said second pair of belts being located behind said filling means.

24. An apparatus for the continuous feeding of a chain of flexible bag elements being initially in a compact supply form in which the individual bag elements are largely disconnected except for at least a flexible loop portion at the uppermost part of the chain providing a relatively narrow tension bearing zone running lengthwise of the chain, said apparatus comprising, in combination:

a. a feeding device including an elongated element insertable in the loop portion for supporting a portion of the chain and for leaving successive connected bag elements in aligned fashion, generally along the longitudinal feed path,

. means which lie in the feed path for dividing the top of the loop portion into freely spreadable flaps,

. means to plow apart said flaps sufficiently to cause each bag element to open for filling, at least partially, and

. gripping means for imparting longitudinal movement to the chain engageable with the loop portion on opposite sides of said plowing means and maintaining the separated sides of the flexible loop portion in substantially continuous, conforming contact with the plowing means while the bag elements are in an opened condition, and said gripping means being cooperable with said elongated element for developing a controlled tension in said tension bearing zone causing successive portions of the chain to be pulled from the compact supply into the longitudinal feed path whereby the weaker connections between individual bag elements are largely maintained as the chain is being fed and the bag elements open for filling.

25. An apparatus according to claim 24 wherein filling means are provided for handling and filling material said filling means positioned so as to communicate with the interior of each bag element when in the opened condition and where the resulting product is a filled bag element, the plowing means comprising a hollow member having a flared cross section, the narrowest part of which lies in the feed path and said filling means arranged to discharge material through the plowing means and into the bag elements while they are held open.

26. An apparatus for the continuous feeding of a chain of flexible bag elements being initially in a folded supply form in which the individual bag elements are largely disconnected in a continuous Z-like stacking array except for at least a flexible loop portion at the uppermost part of the chain providing a relatively narrow tension band running lengthwise of the chain, said apparatus comprising, in combination,

a. a relatively narrow mandrel at least in length equal to the width of one bag element adapted to be inserted in the loop portion at the leading end of the chain for supporting a portion of the chain and for leading successive connected bag elements from the folded supply into a generally longitudinal feed path aligned with said mandrel,

b. means for dividing said loop portion into freely spreadable flaps,

c. plowing means having a diverging-converging cross-section, the narrowest diverging and converging parts thereof lying in the feed path and extending downwardly within the flexible loop portion a distance sufficient to cause each bag element successively to open for filling, at least partially, and

. a pair of continuous belts positioned on opposite sides of said plowing means adapted to be driven for imparting longitudinal movement to the chain and engageable with the loop portion on opposite sides of said plowing means and maintaining the separated sides of the flexible loop portion in substantially continuous. conforming contact with the diverging-converging cross-section of said plowing means, and said pair of belts cooperable with said mandrel during the feeding of the chain for developing a control tension in said tension band causing successive portions of the chain to be pulled from the folded supply and into the longitudinal feed path whereby individual bag elements in the chain may be almost completely severed in the folded supply form, yet be fed and individually opened for filling.

27. An apparatus according to claim 26 comprising in addition conveyor means adapted to support filled bag elements in the chain and extending below said plowing means and movable longitudinally in unison with the chain whereby the weight of individual filled bag elements is taken by the conveyor means.

28. An apparatus according to claim 27 comprising in addition sealing means positioned on opposite sides of the longitudinal feed path engageable with the sides of the flexible loop portion downstream of the plowing means for sealing successive filled bag elements along a longitudinal sealing line near the lower end of the flexible loop portion and isolating said tension band to a region above said sealing line, and trimming means engageable above the sealing line for trimming off said isolated portion of the tension band whereby the sealed bag elements will become severed from the chain automatically downstream of the trimming means when support for the bag elements is removed.

* I I l

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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/570, 383/37, 53/384.1
International ClassificationB65B43/26, B65B61/04, B65B43/00, B65B43/12
Cooperative ClassificationB65B61/04, B65B43/267, B65B43/123
European ClassificationB65B43/12B, B65B43/26D, B65B61/04
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 6, 1989ASAssignment
Owner name: BASIC OHIO ACQUISITION CORPORATION, 30400 DETROIT
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:BASIC PACKAGING SYSTEMS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:005060/0090
Effective date: 19881018
Owner name: PLASTIC FILMS, INC., A CORP. OF OH, STATELESS
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:BASIC OHIO ACQUISITION CORPORATION, A CORP. OF OH;REEL/FRAME:005060/0097
Effective date: 19890105
Jan 6, 1989AS01Change of name
Owner name: BASIC OHIO ACQUISITION CORPORATION, A CORP. OF OH
Effective date: 19890105
Owner name: PLASTIC FILMS, INC., A CORP. OF OH