US 3739696 A
An apparatus for setting up cartons, including a magazine that holds a horizontal stack of vertically oriented collapsed cartons. A receiving station accepts the cartons as they are fed thereto from the magazine by a moving conveyor lug and pushing bracket. Stationary vacuum cups and cooperative moving vacuum cups engage opposed panels of each carton and expand it to a rectangular open configuration laterally adjacent to the receiving station. A vertically moveable trough initially receives the collapsed carton at the receiving station and is subsequently moved downwardly clear of the carton prior to expansion. The lower rear flap of each carton is engaged by an inclined pushing element upon carton expansion, and the carton is subsequently pushed forwardly as the rear flap and a subsequently engaged front flap are bent to horizontal positions inward of the carton. Each carton is subsequently received between moving belt flights and carried through guide rods that fold the side flaps. The cartons are delivered to a horizontal receiving table where a vertical mandrel exerts pressure on the bottom flaps to secure an adhesive bond between them.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Pearson, deceased CARTON DELIVERY AND EXPANDING APPARATUS  Inventor: Reinhold A. Pearson, deceased, late of East 304 Second Avenue, Spokane, Wash. by Alma Pearson,
executrix  Filed: Apr. 21, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 246,256
Primary Examiner-Andrew R. Juhasz Assistant Examiner-James F. Coan Att0rneyWells, St. John and Roberts 1 June 19, 1973  ABSTRACT An apparatus for setting up cartons, including a magazine that holds a horizontal stack of vertically oriented collapsed cartons. A receiving station accepts the cartons as they are fed thereto from the magazine by a moving conveyor lug and pushing bracket. Stationary vacuum cups and cooperative moving vacuum cups engage opposed panels of each carton and expand it to a rectangular open configuration laterally adjacent to the receiving station. A vertically moveable trough initially receives the collapsed carton at the receiving station and is subsequently moved downwardly clear of the carton prior to expansion. The lower rear flap of each carton is engaged by an inclined pushing element upon carton expansion, and the carton is subsequently pushed forwardly as the rear flap and a subsequently engaged front flap are bent to horizontal positions in ward of the carton. Each carton is subsequently received between moving belt flights and carried through guide rods that fold the side flaps. The cartons are delivered to a horizontal receiving table where a vertical mandrel exerts pressure on the bottom flaps to secure an adhesive bond between them.
15 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures Patented June 19, 1973 6 Sheets-Sheet l Patented June 19, 1973 e Sheets-Sheet 2 Patented June 19, 1973 6 Sheets$heet 3 Patented June 19, 1973 6 Sheets-Sheet 4 Patented June 19, 1973 Patented June 19, 1973 3,739,696
6 Sheets-Sheet 6 FIG 9 FIG Q.
6Q /65 T T CARTON DELIVERY AND EXPANDING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates basically to the field of machinery for setting up corrugated cartons. It is concerned with a relatively simple apparatus for folding and sealing the bottom flaps of cartons. To provide a compact and economical folding apparatus, the flaps are partially folded in the vicinity at which each carton is expanded, and the folding of the flaps is continued during delivery of each expanded carton to a sealing mandrel. The apparatus eliminates the need for a carton to be maintained at a stationary position during several folding operations, which slows such a machine, and furthermore reduces the number of stations along the machinery so that each carton needs only to be stopped twice during travel between its collapsed condition and the sealing of its bottom flaps.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention basically relates to the apparatus disclosed herein for feeding and folding the carton elements. It is directed to the use of a horizontal receiving trough that is elevationally moveable to clear the lower edges of a collapsed carton after a carton panel is gripped for expansion purposes. Vacuum means is used to bend and expand the carton to a rectangular configuration while subsequently initiating the folding of the carton lower flaps. The lower rear flap folding device is used also to push the carton forwardly into engagement between opposed belt flights for further manipulation. A lower front flap folding surface is movably mounted on the framework to move clear of an expanding carton while being alternately positionable in the path of the lower front flap of an expanded carton during pushing movement caused bysaid rear flap folding device.
It is a first object of this invention to provide an economical and practical apparatus for folding the flaps of a corrugated carton from an upright magazine position without requiring subsequent turning of the carton prior to sealing of the bottom flaps.
Another object of this invention is to provide such equipment which is adaptable to a horizontal magazine to minimize the height requirements at the storage end of the machine.
Another object of the invention is to minimize the longitudinal length requirements of the machinery by integrating the flap folding components at locations in the area at which the collapsed carton is initially placed in the machine and along the conveyor devices which propel an expanded carton to a bottom sealing mandrel.
These and further objects willbe evident from the following disclosure, taken together with the accompanying drawings which illustrate one embodiment of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of the complete machine for setting up cartons;
FIG. 2 is a top view of the machine shown inFIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the magazine for holding collapsed cartons;
FIG. 4 is a top view of the collapsed carton feed apparatus;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged cross-sectional view looking along line 5-5 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary top view looking downward on the vacuum cup assemblies substantially along line 66 in FIG. 5, the carton engaging positions of the moveable vacuum cup apparatus being shown in dashed lines;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged elevational view taken alongside the lower rear flap pushing apparatus as seen along line 77 in FIG. 5;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view looking toward the lower front flap folding apparatus;
FIGS. 9-12 are a series of schematic views illustrating operation of the carton expanding and flap folding devices;
FIG. 9 is a schematic view showing engagement of a collapsed carton in elevation;
FIG. 10 is a schematic view showing expansion of a carton in a plan view;
FIG. 11 is an elevational schematic view illustrating the folding of the lower rear and front flaps of an expanded carton; and
FIG. 12 is a transverse elevational schematic view showing the inward folding of the lower carton side flaps.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIGS. 1-8 illustrate the essential details of the present machinery. FIGS. 912 schematically illustrate the specific functions accomplished by the apparatus disclosed herein. Conventional devices, such as control switches, motors, drive units, pumps and pneumatic devices are generally illustrated but not described in detail. Their selection and specific application are believed to be clear from the general disclosure.
The present machinery is concerned with the setting up, folding and sealing of a rectangular cardboard carton 80, which is manufactured, shipped and stored in the collapsed configuration shown in FIG. 3. Each carton comprises essentially identical side panels 81 and joining front and rear panels 82, 83. The side panels each include a carton side wall and integral lower side flaps 84, which join the lower edge of the respective side walls 85 along a scored line 86. The flaps 84 are coplanar with side walls 85 and are adapted to be folded inwardly toward the interior of the expanded carton. Rear panel 83 includes a lower rear flap 87 formed integrally with a rear carton wall 88 and adapted to be folded along a scored line 90. Front panel 82 includes a lower front flap 91 joined to a front carton wall 92 along a scored line 93. The scored lines 86, and 93 are coplanar. The outer or lower edges of the respective flaps 84, 87 and 91 are also coplanar with one another. The cartons 80 further include upper carton flaps at the opposite sides of the respective carton walls, but their presence is immaterial to the present disclosure, as they remain coplanar with the carton walls throughout operation of the present equipment.
The operations with which this disclosure is concerned involve the expansion of each carton to an open rectangular configuration, with the respective side panels 81 parallel to one another and defining right angles relative'to the front and rear panels 82, 83. Following carton expansion the front and rear lower flaps 91, 87 are folded inwardly to positions perpendicular to the carton walls, and the lower side flaps 84 are then folded inwardly over the front and rear flaps. Finally, pressure is applied against opposite surfaces of the folded lower flaps to seal them to one another by use of conventional adhesives.
The present machinery is located along a supporting structural framework generally indicated at 10. The machinery elements include a carton magazine 11 which holds a horizontal stack of collapsed cartons and feeds them singly in a longitudinal path along framework to a carton receiving station 12. Each collapsed carton is located at a fixed position at the carton receiving station 12 in a vertical orientation. The carton panels are gripped and moved relative to one another to bend the carton to an expanded position laterally adjacent the carton station 12. As each carton leaves the carton receiving station, the lower carton flaps are folded inwardly in a progression. Each carton is moved longitudinally to a flap sealing station 14 at which pressure is applied to the inner and outer lower flap surfaces to secure an adhesive bond between the respective lower flaps.
The collapsed carton storage magazine 1 l is best understood from the perspective view afforded in FIG. 3. A horizontal stack of collapsed cartons 80 is elevationally guided between the inner surfaces of elongated transverse comer guides 15. The lower edges of the cartons are further supported by intermediate elongated transverse guide rails 16. The outermost carton is engaged by a transversely moveable carriage l7 supported by rollers 18 that engage transverse guide bars 20. The carriage 17 includes an upright frame 21 that carries a forward cross member 22 with projecting adjustable pads 23 that abut the outer carton surfaces and urge them inwardly across the left hand end of the machine as viewed in FIGS. 1 and 2. A tension spring 24 is connected between carriage l7 and framework 10 to yieldably urge the carriage against the stack of cartons. A manually operable latch 25 is provided on framework 10 to selectively lock carriage 17 in a fully open condition for reception of incoming cartons. Latch 25 cooperatively engages an upstanding bracket 26 on carriage 17.
The present apparatus is adjustable for cartons of differing dimensions. In the magazine 11, differing widths of collapsed cartons are accommodated by moving the left hand comer guide 15. Threaded adjustment shafts 27 engage guide and movement is effected through a manual crank 30 and motion transmitting chain 28.
The carriage 17 pushes the stack of parallel collapsed cartons 80 alongside a forward transverse guide wall 31 presented on framework 10. The innermost carton 80 abuts an upstanding longitudinal conveyor frame 33 on framework 10. The inner corner bracket 32 (FIG. 4) at the inner end of wall 31 provides a gap between the longitudinal conveyor frame 33 and wall 31 through which a single collapsed carton can pass in a longitudinal direction as indicated by arrow 29 in FIG. 4. This movement is accomplished by endless conveyor chains 34 which carry an upright lug 36. The forwardly moving flights of chains 34 is recessed slightly along conveyor frame 33. Lug 36 projects outward from the surface of frame 33 a distance sufficient to insure engagement of the rear edge of one collapsed carton during each pass of lug 36 along the operative flight of chains 34.
The individual cartons 80 are moved longitudinally from magazine 11 to the carton receiving station l2,
which can be best understood from FIGS. 1 and 5. The carton receiving station basically comprises an upwardly facing open trough 40 together with a vertically spaced longitudinal upper comer guide 44 and a cooperative longitudinal guide flap 45. Each incoming carton is elevationally located by trough 40 and held in a fixed position thereon while maintained in a vertical orientation.
To insure accurate longitudinal placement of each carton, a moveable pushing bracket 37 is mounted on the conveyor frame 33 (FIG. 4). Bracket 37 is longitudinally powered in the direction shown by arrow 35 by a cylinder assembly 38 to abut the rear edge of each collapsed carton and move it forwardly in a timed relation to the movement afforded by lug 36. Bracket 37 pushes the rear edge of the carton forward and clear of the moving lug 36 to enable lug 36 to clear the carton for movement along the return flights of chains 34. Bracket 37, because of its defined longitudinal stroke, insures that each carton will be located along trough 40 at an identical fixed position for further manipulation.
Trough 40 is vertically moveable relative to framework 10. Its carton receiving position is illustrated in FIG. 5. Trough 40 is carried by vertical guide posts 42 joumalled within bearing sleeves fixed to framework 10. The trough 40 can be recessed elevationally from the position shown in FIG. 5 by operation of a pneumatic cylinder assembly 43.
The longitudinal inner corner guide 44, which extends along framework 10, has inwardly and downwardly facing guide surfaces for slidably engaging the upper edge of each carton and the outer carton panel surfaces to maintain the desired vertical orientation of each collapsed carton along framework 10. A short longitudinal flap 45 is pivotally mounted along the carton receiving station 12 to prevent inward tipping of a vertically positioned carton prior to its expansion. Flap 44 is pivotally connected along a longitudinal axis for free movement as indicated by arrow 39 (FIG. 5). This pivotal movement permits horizontal expansion of the carton without damage to the upper carton edges or flaps. A second longitudinal corner guide 46 is spaced across framework 10 from guide 44, and is adapted to engage the upper carton surfaces of each carton after expansion thereof at the carton receiving station 12.
Each incoming collapsed carton is initially gripped by a set of stationary vacuum cups 47 seen in FIGS. 1 and 5. The vacuum cups 47 are arranged vertically above trough 40 and are longitudinally positioned so as to grasp the outer surfaces of the outwardly-facing side panel 81 of each carton 80 when located at the carton fixed position along trough 40. To prevent undesired folding or bending of the side flaps 84, it is preferrable that at least one set of vacuum cups 47 be elevationally positioned immediately adjacent to trough 40 so as to insure that the side flap 84 maintains its coplanar relation to the remainder of the engaged side panel 81. The vacuum cups 47 are shown in the drawing as being supported by connecting vacuum conduits 48, which are in communication with a vacuum pump or other suitable source of vacuum pressure through. an intermediate control capable of selectively exhausting the vacuum pressure to relieve the gripping action at the inwardly facing cups 47.
The vertically moveable trough 40 can be elevationally recessed to clear the lower edge of each carton after the carton is gripped by action of the vacuum cups 47. In this manner, the lower edges of the carton are clear for the horizontal movement necessary to expand the carton to its desired configuration. Such horizontal expansion is accomplished by moveable vacuum cups 50 carried on supporting vacuum conduits 51 arranged in a frame pivoted about an upright support post 52.
The angular position of the vacuum cups 50 about the axis of post 52 is controlled by horizontal parallel arms 53 which present a parallelogram assembly mounted on a base pivot bracket 54 movably pivoted on framework 10. The action of arms 53 maintains the parallel relationship of vacuum cups 50 to keep them in positions facing oppositely to vacuum cups 47. Vacuum cups 50 are longitudinally located so as to engage the inwardly facing side panel 81 of each collapsed carton while at its fixed position at the carton receiving station 12. The illustrated vacuum cups 50 are also adapted to engage the lower side flap 84opposite to that engaged by vacuum cups 47. Again, the lower flaps are engaged to insure that they do not move inwardly during carton expansion. As can be seen in FIG. 6, the movement afforded to vacuum cups 50 through the pneumatic cylinder assembly 55 is such as to expand the carton 80 to a rectangular open configuration with the respective carton side panels parallel and opposed to one another. The inward movement of the upper carton edges is not restrained by the upper guides since flap 45 is freely movable upward to a horizontal position resting lightly on the upper surfaces of the expanded carton. When expanded, the upper portion of the carton spans the separation between the vertically and laterally adjustable corner guides 44, 46 which prevent later upward elevational movement of the expanded carton.
To provide a longitudinally compact machine, the fiap folding devices are integrated along framework together with the expansion arrangement discussed above.
As each carton is expanded by movement of vacuum cups 50, its lower rear flap 87 engages a reciprocating rear flap folding member 56. The member 56 includes a curved forwardly facing surface 59 that merges upwardly and rearwardly with a horizontal ledge 57. The upper face of ledge 57 is coplanar with the scored lines 86, 90, 93 of each carton at the carton receiving station 12 along framework 10. An upright or vertical shoulder 58 protrudes from ledge 57 and serves as a pushing element intersecting the location of the rear wall 88 and lower rear flap 87 of an expanded carton. The member 56 is reciprocated longitudinally by means of a horizontal pneumatic cylinder assembly 60 and is longitudinally guided by a sliding rod 61 journalled by a bearing on framework 10.
Forwardly adjacent to the carton receiving station 12 is a front flap folding element 62, having forwardly and upwardly inclined surfaces 63 meeting two extended horizontal ledges 64. The element 62, best seen in FIG. 8, is vertically moveable by means of an upright cylinder assembly 73 and is guided by vertical sliding rods 74.
To reduce the length of the apparatus, the front flap folding element 62 is mounted to framework 10 so as to be retracted elevationally below the pivotal path of the lower flaps of each carton 80 while being bent by operation of the supporting structure for vacuum cups 50. After the carton flaps have passed over element 62, it is raised to an operative position wherein the horizontal ledges 64 are also coplanar with the scored lines 86, 90, 93. The front lower flap 91 of the expanded carton then engages the inclined surfaces 63 when element 62 is raised, the folding of flap 91 being completed upon movement of the carton.
The cooperative placement of the rear and front flap folding elements 56, 62 provides vertical support for the lower surfaces of each expanded carton 80 laterally adjacent the carton receiving station 12 and permits release of vacuum pressure at the vacuum cups 47, 50. The expanded carton is restricted against elevational movement by the surfaces of members of 56, 62, as well as by the longitudinal guides 44, 46.
Forward movement of member 56 brings the shoulder 58 into contact with the carton rear wall 88 and pushes the expanded carton forwardly along framework 10. This forward movement completes folding of the carton lower front flap 91, which rides over surfaces 63, 64. The forward extension of member 56 overlaps the length of member 62, surfaces 63, 64 being formed of laterally spaced elements between which the surface 59 and ledge 57 can be freely received. I
The forward movement imparted to each carton by operation of member 56 brings the carton side walls 85 into engagement between laterally spaced longitudinal belt flights 65 which grip the carton and carry it forwardly. The lateral spacing of flights 65 is adjustable through a crank 69. The resulting forward movement causes the carton lower side flaps 84 to engage upwardly and forwardly converging rods 66, which progressively fold the respective side flaps 84 inwardly to a horizontal position overlapping the previously folded rear and front flaps 87, 91. A center horizontal ledge 67 (FIG. 2) is fixed on framework 10 immediately forward of the member 62 in order to prevent undesired unfolding of the carton front or rear flaps until they are held by the folded side flaps.
Adhesives may be applied to the abutting surfaces of the carton flaps prior to the folding of the surfaces. The mechanism for adhesive application is not illustrated, but can be in the form of a suitable spray applicator or nozzle well known in this industry. The folded flaps are directed onto a horizontal plate 68 at the exit end of the belts 65. An elevated rectangular mandrel 70 is then lowered against the inside flap surfaces by means of a vertical cylinder assembly 71 and guide rods 72 to apply compressive force between plate 68 and mandrel 76 to aid in the bonding of the adhesive. Each carton is then ejected from the machine by an incoming carton fed to plate 68 by belts 65.
It is believed that the functions of the machine are basically developed in detail in the above machine description. However, they can be briefly recapped with reference to schematic drawings in FIGS. 9-12.
FIG. 9 shows the fixed position of a carton 80 and the relative positions of the retracted front flap folding member 62 and retracted trough 40. The carton 80 has been gripped by the stationary vacuum cups 47 and by the moveable vacuum cups 50, and is illustrated just prior to horizontal bending of the carton walls.
in MG. 10, the carton is being expanded by the pivotal movement of the moveable vacuum cups 50, which bend the carton to a rectangular configuration between the upper guides 44, 46. FIG. 10 shows the initial longitudinal relation that exists between the expanded carton 80 and the members 56, 62, which then provide lower elevational support for the expanded carton.
FIG. 11 illustrates the forward movement imparted to the carton 80 by actuation of member 56, and the resulting folded positions of lower rear flap 87 and lower front flap 91.
FIG. 12 is a view looking toward carton 80 as it moves forwardly and is engaged by the converging rods 66, showing the lower side flaps 84 partially folded and the side walls 85 engaged between the opposed belt flights 65.
Minor changes might be made in the specific structure of the apparatus shown herein, consistent with the general skill of those in this field. For these reasons, only the following claims are intended to set out the definition of the invention disclosed herein.
Having thus described my invention, I claim: 1. In an apparatus for expanding and folding initially collapsed cartons having opposed side panels and end panels, each including lower flaps extending from the carton walls and foldable about scored lines between the flaps and respective walls:
a supporting framework; horizontal upwardly open trough means on the framework moveable between a first position at which the trough receives and elevationally locates the lower flap edges of a vertically oriented collapsed carton and a second position at which the trough is clear of such cartons; first vacuum means along side and above said trough operable to selectively grip one carton panel; and
means on said framework operatively connected to said trough means for moving said trough means to its second position following actuation of said first vacuum means.
2. The apparatus set out in claim 1 further comprismg:
second vacuum means movably mounted on said framework for selectively gripping a panel of each carton opposite to said one panel and moving it apart from said one panel to expand to the carton horizontally.
3. The apparatus set out in claim 2 further comprismg:
rear flap folding means in the path of each carton as it is expanded by operation of said second vacuum means to partially fold the lower rear flap of each carton during horizontal expansion of the carton. 4. The apparatus set out in claim 3 further comprisfront flap folding means on said framework movably mounted so as to be positioned partially under each carton after horizontal expansion thereof and to engage the front lower flap to partially fold said flap inwardly prior to forward movement of the expanded carton.
5. In an apparatus for expanding and folding initially collapsed cartons having opposed side panels and end panels, each including lower flaps extending from the carton walls and foldable about scored lines between the flaps and respective walls:
a supporting framework;
carton magazine means on the framework for storing a stack of collapsed cartons;
a carton receiving station on the framework comprising horizontal support means for engaging the upper and lower edges of an upright collapsed carton in a vertical orientation; carton feed means on said framework for individually transferring collapsed cartons from the carton magazine means to said carton receiving station;
first carton gripping means on said framework at said carton receiving station for engaging one carton panel while engaged by said horizontal support means to thereby fix the position of the carton panel relative to said framework;
power means operatively connected between the framework and said horizontal support means for selectively freeing the lower edge of each carton at said receiving station from engagement by said support means subsequent to engagement of the carton panel by said first carton gripping means;
and second carton gripping means movably mounted to said framework adjacent to said carton receiving station for selectively gripping a second panel of each carton opposed to the first panel thereof and subsequently moving the second carton panel apart from its first panel to horizontally expand the carton adjacent to the carton receiving station.
6. In an apparatus for expanding and folding initially collapsed cartons having opposed side panels and end panels, each including lower flaps extending from the carton walls and foldable about scored lines between the flaps and respective walls:
a supporting framework;
a carton receiving station on the framework;
feed means for directing individual collapsed cartons to a fixed position at the receiving station in a vertical carton panel orientation;
carton expanding means laterally adjacent to the carton receiving station for gripping and horizontally expanding each carton;
rear flap folding means on said framework at a location rearwardly and transversely adjacent to the receiving station, said rear flap folding means being movably mounted to the framework for forward movement across the carton receiving station and engagement of each expanded carton at an elevation such that the rear lower flap thereof is bent upward to a horizontal position, said rear flap folding means further including an element intersecting the location of each carton rear wall to thereby push the expanded carton forwardly from the carton receiving station;
front flap folding means on said framework forwardly and laterally adjacent to the carton receiving station in the path of movement of expanded cartons, said front flap folding means being vertically moveable to clear the path of an expanding carton at the carton receiving station and for location in the path of an incoming forward lower carton flap moved along with an expanded carton in response to operation of said rear flap folding means.
7. The apparatus set out in claim 6 where the path of forward motion of said rear flap folding means longitudinally overlaps the front flap folding means.
8. In an apparatus for expanding and folding initially collapsed cartons having opposed side panels and end panels, each including lower flaps extending from the carton walls and foldable about scored lines between the flaps and respective walls:
a supporting framework;
an upwardly open longitudinal trough mounted to the framework;
longitudinal guides mounted to the framework at positions above the trough;
carton feed means on said framework for individually positioning collapsed cartons in said trough and between said guides at a fixed position on the frame work;
first vacuum means upwardly adjacent to said trough for selectively gripping a first panel of each carton when at said fixed position;
first power means operatively connected to said trough for moving the trough clear of each carton while gripped by said first vacuum cup means;
and second vacuum cup means at an elevation upwardly adjacent to that of said trough for selectively gripping a second panel of a carton when at said fixed position and for subsequently moving said second panel relative to said first panel of the carton to thereby bend the carton to a stationary expanded position on the framework located laterally adjacent to said fixed position.
9. The apparatus set out in claim 8 wherein said I guides include:
a moveable member engageable with the carton side opposite to that gripped by said first vacuum means, said member being moveable so as to be clear of the upright surfaces of the carton upon expansion thereof.
10. The apparatus set out in claim 8 further comprisrear flap folding means on said framework for moving the lower rear flap of each carton forwardly and upwardly to a horizontal folded position, said rear flap folding means comprising:
a forwardly-facing surface leading upwardly and rearwardly to a horizontal ledge that is coplanar with the scored lines between the carton walls and lower flaps at said stationary expanded position;
an upright shoulder projecting upwardly from said surface adapted to engage a carton wall above the lower rear flap folded thereby;
and second power means connected between the framework and said surface for moving said surface and shoulder forwardly in a longitudinal direction through the machine area occupied by a carton while at said stationary expanded position.
11. The apparatus set out in claim 10 further comprising:
downwardly facing guide means extending longitudinally along the framework at an elevation immediately above the carton stationary expanded position, such guide means being adapted to prevent upward elevational movement of an expanded carton relative to the framework.
12. The apparatus set out in claim 11 further comprising:
front flap folding means for moving the lower front flap of each carton rearwardly and upwardly to a horizontal folded position, said front flap folding means comprising:
a rearwardly-facing surface extending upwardly and forwardly to a horizontal forward ledge coplanar with the scored lines between the carton walls and lower flaps at said stationary expanded carton position, said rearwardly facing surface being longitudinally located along the framework at a position forwardly adjacent to the carton stationary expanded position.
13. The apparatus set out in claim 12 further comprising:
third power means on said framework operatively connected to said rearwardly-facing surface for selectively moving it clear of the path of the moving panels of a carton being expanded by operation of said second vacuum means.
14. The apparatus set out in claim 10 further comprising:
laterally opposed belt flights along the framework for receiving and engaging the side panels of expanded cartons directed there between in response to forward movement of said rear flap folding means.
15. The apparatus set out in claim 14 further comprising:
a pair of upwardly and forwardly converging longitudinal guides fixed to said framework in the path of the respective lower side flaps of an expanded carton between said belt flights for progressively folding the side flaps inwardly and upwardly to a horizontal configuration during movement of a carton along said belt flights.