Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3754370 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 28, 1973
Filing dateMar 24, 1972
Priority dateMar 24, 1972
Publication numberUS 3754370 A, US 3754370A, US-A-3754370, US3754370 A, US3754370A
InventorsHanson N
Original AssigneeHanson N
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Bag dispensing apparatus and method
US 3754370 A
Abstract
Preformed bags e.g. of thin-film plastic are singly dispensed in opened condition from a rolled supply in which the bags are closed and interconnected, by an apparatus and method which passes the bag from the supply roll to a dispensing station and in the course of such passage relatively moving the opposing bag sidewalls to selectively sever one sidewall to open the bag and at the dispensing station inflating the bag for convenience in loading, easy grasping and removal.
Images(4)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Hanson 1 1 Aug. 28, 11973 1 BAG DISPENSING APPARATUS AND 3,298,580 1/1967 Lerner 225/106 METHOD 3,328,939 7/1967 Harris et al.... 53/385 3,477,196 11/1969 Lerner 53/29 X Inventor: Neil n, 5 Cambridge 3,579,948 5/1971 Lerner 53 335 x Rd., San Marino, Calif. 91108 22 Fi Mar- 24 1972 Primary Examiner-Robert L. Spruill Attorney-Louis J. Bachand, Jr. et a1. {21] App]. No.: 237,769

[57] ABSTRACT [521 11.8. C1 A 53/29, 53/67, 53/187, Preformed bags e.g. of thin-film plastic are singly dis- 53/385, 225/4, 225/ 100, 225/106 pensed in opened condition from a rolled supply in [51] Int. Cl B651: 43 which the bags are closed and interconnected, by an {58] Field of Search 53/29, 64, 67, 183, apparatus and method which passes the bag from the 53/187, 390, 384, 385, 386; 225/2, 4, 5, 100, supply roll to a dispensing station and in the course of 101, 106; 242/5553, 56.8; 312/39 such passage relatively moving the opposing bag sidewalls to selectively sever one sidewall to open the bag [56] References Cited and at the dispensing station inflating the bag for convenience in loading, easy grasping and removal.

27 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures Patented Aug. 28, 1973 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 IOU Patented Aug. 28, 1973 4 Sheets-Shee t 2 Patented Aug. 28, 1973 3,754,370

lch.

4 Sheets-Sheet 4 mummy BAG DISPENSING APPARATUS AND METHOD BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention has to do with apparatus and method for dispensing preformed bags singly and on demand in opened condition, ready for use, from a lowest cost supply such as a preperforated roll of connected bags. More particularly, the invention is concerned with provision of means to enable use such lowest cost bag rolis to dispense, automatically facile and reliably, single bags extended for ready filling, easy grasping and removal by the user.

The invention is highly adapted to use in supermarkets but is likewise an important solution to packaging problems in many industrial agricultural and food handling applications The convenience of plastic bags for packaging arises from their insensitivity to moisture, their see-through qualities and their case of manipulation. Recently, supermarkets have begun to provide their customers with plastic bags, in lieu of traditional small paper bags, particularly in produce areas, where the mentioned advantages of plastic bags are most significant. Typically, these bags are carried on a roll which is hung in the produce area. The shopper grasps the end bag and tugs. If she is skillful and not unduly freighted with groceries, a single bag will tear cleanly from the roll. Often, however, dexterity or attention fails and several bags are pulled from the roll before any bag tears away. The result is waste. Some shoppers may use this event to acquire extra bags at increased cost to the store; others are only irritated. Once the bag removal has been negotiated the problem of separating the film walls to open the bag vexes the would-be user.

Other forms of plastic bag supply than rolls, such as stacks of precut, preopened bags are, in the opinion of many stores, unduly expensive for a convenience item to shoppers.

Accordingly, there exists a need for a better means of providing plastic bags to shoppers in supermarkets. Ideally, such better means would meet these objectives:

1. Be adapted to use of lowest cost bags; these are end-to-end interconnected and closed bags on a roll;

2. Be capable of singly dispensing bags to eliminate waste;

3. Be foolproof, readily comprehended and reliable in operation to encourage proper bag use;

4. Be simple in design to minimize maintenance problems and down-time;

5. Below in capital cost;

6. Be positive in bag opening technique to minimize failures;

7. Be compact to fit into crowded supermarket areas;

8. Be quiet in operation;

9. Be easily replenished with bag supplp rolls by relatively unskilled labor; supply 10. Be designed to present bags open, ready for easy grasping, loading or removal and use;

l 1. Be self-actuating for additional bag deliveries.

It will be evident that devices meeting these criteria are not limited in utility to supermarkets. Indeed, modern industrial packaging is coming increasingly to rely on bags to carry various multi-component and even single component products. Plastic bags are particularly useful in this regard because of their see-through quality, their sanitary properties, their ability to be reliably and rapidly heat sealed and their relatively low cost. In practice, an operator or loading apparatus places the parts to be packaged, ranging from nuts and bolts to chicken parts, in each bag. Reduction in the time required to obtain, open and secure each bag for filling can mean significant savings on the packaging line. In this connection, the present method and apparatus are an important contribution, providing as they do the lowest cost bags, ready for filling, at speeds capable of exceeding a single operators capacity to fill them, to be highly adapted to high speed automated loading machinery.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The foregoing objectives are met in the method and apparatus of the present invention which provides for the rapid and reliable opening and dispensing of bags from a roll of bags, at low cost, with great efficiency.

More particularly, the invention provides a method of dispensing preformed bags from a supply of end-toend severably interconnected bags individually and in opened condition at a dispensing station, which includes advancing collapsed bags successively in connected relation along a path to the dispensing station in a manner to have a predetermined sidewall facing outward at the dispensing station, relatively moving the predetermined sidewall and the opposing bag sidewall in advance of the dispensing station to selectively sever the predetermined bag sidewall from the next succeeding bag for presentation in opened, single sidewall connected condition at the dispensing station. The opposing bag sidewalls may be relatively moved in the plane of the advancement path and parallel to the direction of the bag advance. The predetermined bag sidewall may be maintained stationary and the opposing bag sidewall moved in sliding relation therewith or vice versa. The bags may be advanced intermittently and responsive to separation of the forwardmost bag at the dispensing station. Typically the bags are positively opened at the dispensing station e.g., by blowing air into the bag open end, thus maintaining the bag open at the dispensing station.

In a highly preferred embodiment of the present method, thin-film plastic bags are dispensed individually and in opened condition at the dispensing station from a supply of collapsed, end-to-end severably interconnected bags by the method which includes engaging each bag in succession by a first sidewall thereof for travel to the dispensing station, engaging the second opposing bag sidewall for relatively different movement during bag travel to the dispensing station to selectively sever the second sidewall from the next succeeding bag to open each bag in advance of the dispensing station and inflating each open bag presented at the dispensing station. In this embodiment there is further typically included the steps of adhesively gripping the first sidewall, to engage the same, at laterally spaced locations adjacent the severable interconnection thereof with the next succeeding bag, and sequentially moving the bag sidewalls in a manner e.g., unequally, to sever the second sidewall from the next succeeding bag, such as first in reverse direction a distance then again forward a greater distance to present a single bag at the dispensing station.

Apparatus is provided for carrying out the foregoing method for singly dispensing preformed bags in opened condition from a supply of such bags closed in end-toend severably interconnected relation, the apparatus comprising means to transport connected bags from the bag supply to a dispensing station in a manner ultimately to have a predetermined bag sidewall facing outward at the dispensing station and means to relatively move the opposing sidewalls of each bag in timed relation with the movement of the bags to the dispensing station to selectively sever the predetermined sidewall of each bag from the next succeeding bag, thereby to open each bag in sequence for dispensing at the dispensing station. The apparatus typically further includes means to separate the opposing bag sidewalls to open the bag mouth at the dispensing station, a roll of bags carried on a spindle defining the bag supply, bag means which includes bag engaging structure traveling between the bag supply and the dispensing station, the transport structure being adapted to successively engage each bag opposite its predetermined sidewall for transport to the dispensing station. The transport structure may further include a drive for the bag engaging structure and a drive control responsive to separation at the dispensing station of the forwardmost bag, to actuate the drive. The drive control may be operated to drive the bag structure rearward, then forward, to the dispensing stations in time sequence, upon each actuation of the drive. The apparatus may further include drag structure limiting travel of the predetermined bag sidewall relative to its opposing sidewall to effect severence of the predetermined sidewall from the next succeeding bag.

In certain preferred embodiments, the present apparatus may be particularly adapted for singly dispensing at a dispensing station preformed thin-film plastic bags in opened condition from a supply of such bags in closed end-to-end severably interconnected relation; the apparatus in this embodiment comprising an endless belt mounted to travel a path extending between the bag supply and the dispensing station, first bag engaging means carried by the belt and adapted to draw the bags in succession from the bag supply and along said path in sidewall engaged relation, second bag engaging means arranged to selectively engage each bag at the opposite sidewall and means to intermittently vary the belt movement to cause said second means to engage said opposite sidewall for relative movement with its opposing sidewall and to sever the connection between one of said sidewalls and the next succeeding bag, to thereby open the bag. The first bag engaging means typically comprises adherent material adapted to releasably grip the bags, and the apparatus typically includes bag inflating means at the dispensing station.

The bag supply as indicated may comprise a roll of bags and the apparatus further includes a frame supporting the supply roll for unrolling delivery of bags, the frame defining the dispensing station in spaced relation to the roll, a pair of rollers carried by the frame including a roller at the dispensing station and a roller adjucent the bag roll. The rollers support the belt means. There may further be provided means to press bags against the belt adherent material between the rollers. The pressing means may comprise a wheel supported by the frame to resiliently engage the opposing sidewall and the apparatus may further include means to spring urge the wheel into bag contact. The mentioned pressing wheel may be arranged to roll with the opposing bag sidewall during bag advance and to resist movement of this sidewall on reverse travel of the bag. Plate means may be provided beneath the belt to cooperate with the wheel to press the bags into adherent engagement.

The mentioned advancing and reversing means will typically comprise an electric motor, and motor control switches responsive to bag movement to initiate and terminate motor operation to advance a succession of bags singly and in opened condition.

generally the Generally are unrolled horizontally from the roll and the apparatus may further include means to present the bags open end up at the dispensing station including successive belt portions carried for passing over and around the dispensing station roller with successive bags.

The bag inflating means may comprise plant compressed air or an air blower as a pressurized air source and the apparatus may further include deflector means arranged to direct pressurized air into successive bags as the bags are carried around the dispensing roller.

The apparatus may also include sensing means arranged to sense a bag at the dispensing station, and motor control means adapted to cycle the motor sequentially through alternating reverse and forward movements responsive to the sensed absence of a bag at the dispensing station to present the next bag at the station after removal of a bag.

Conveniently, the rollers, belt, and motor are sup ported by a section of the frame which is removable from the remainder of the frame.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will be further descirbed as to an illustrative embodiment thereof in conjunction with the attached drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of bag dispensing apparatus according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a bag supply roll, partly unrolled showing the transverse heat sealed and perforated tubing which comprises the bags in end-toend severably interconnected relation;

FIG. 3 is a horizontal section of the tubing in FIG. 2, taken along line 33 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a side vertical section of the apparatus taken on line 44 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a vertical section from thereof taken on line 55 in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a side vertical section taken on line 6-6 in FIG. 5 particularly depicting the forwardmost bag separation and the next bag opening;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the engaging wheel and back up plate arrangement used to open the bags; and

FIG. 8 is a schematic of the circuitry used to effect the sequence of transport mechanism operation resulting in opening and dispensing of bags automatically.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Turning now to the drawings in detail, and particularly with reference to FIGS. 1, 4, 5, and 6, the bag dispensing apparatus 1 comprises a housing 2 of sheet metal or the like having a front panel 3 defining a bag dispensing station 4, a bag supply roll 5 and a bag handling mechanism generally indicated by M, each enclosed by the housing. The apparatus 1 is sized to be placed on a shelf or counter 7 or it may be supported on a pedestal at the use location e.g. in a supermarket or on a packaging line, for operation in any plane.

The housing 2 includes a rear cabinet portion 8 having sidewalls 9, a top wall 10, rear wall 11 and a bottom plate 15 projecting forwardly of the sidewalls and provided with rubber feet 16 to rest upon counter 7.

The housing 2 further includes a door 23 side hinged at 24 and releasably securable to the cabinet 8 by latch means 25 operable by button 26. The bag handling mechanism M is carried by and within the plane of door 23 for easy access to or removal of moving parts for maintenance or repair, by simply unlatching the door and swinging it open on hinge 24. And the door 23 arrangement enables facile replacement of supply rolls 5.

Before turning to the bag handling mechanism M in detail, the bag supply will be described. As noted above, there is provided herein means for dispensing singly and in opened condition bags from a supply in which the bags are closed and in end-to-end severably interconnected relation. Such a bag supply is depicted at S in FIGS. 2 and 3. Plastic tubing 27 is transversely heat sealed at longitudinally spaced locations 23 to define a succession of bags 29 having opposed sidewalls 30, 31 (FIG. ll) which are accordingly successive sec tions of the tubing. The tubing 27 is perforated through both tubing walls adjacent and forward of each heat seal 28 to form a dual severable interconnection 32. The tubing 27 thus sealed and perforated is rolled upon core 22 for unrolling delivery of bags, bottom 34 first. Because both tubing walls 30, 31 are perforated, one bag 29 may be separated from the next partially by severing one sidewall 30 or 31 or completely by severing both sidewall 30 and 31 from their respective continuations on the next bag, across the heat seal 28. Use is made of the resulting selective severability of bags 29 thus formed from tubing 27 in this manner, for dispensing the bags opened, singly and still partly connected, for reliability of delivery, as shown in FIG. 1.

The bag supply may be remote or adjacent to the dispensing station and the bag handling mechanism M sized accordingly. In the drawing, the supply roll 5 is supported in the cabinet 8 by vertical members 17 secured to bottom plate 15 by bolt 18 and wing nuts 19. These members are spaced to accommodate the roll 5 width and are radially slotted at to receive the ends of spindle 21 on which core 22, upon which the bag supply is rolled, is carried. Stacked, flat bags connected end-to-end may also be used as the bag supply. The interconnected bags 29 are drawn from the supply roll 5 to the bag handling mechanism M where guide spindle 35 carried between arms 36 extending from members 17 presses the bags outward for handling mechanism engagement.

The bag handling mechanism M provides means to transport bag 29 formed in tubing 27 from supply roll 5 to the dispensing station 4 at front panel 3 therein, and means to relatively move the bag sidewalls 30, 31 during passage to the dispensing station, to selectively sever at least one sidewall of the bag from the next succeeding bag, to open the bag. Accordingly, the bag handling mechanism comprises the transport structure, the opening structure, and a drive and controls to operate these structures in timed relation.

The bag transport structure is essentially comprised of means extending between the supply roll 5 and the dispensing station 3 and means to grip the bags 29 in sequence for travel from the roll to the station.

With reference to FIGS. 4, 5, 6, one form of bag transport structure is shown, comprising a lower roller assembly 40, an upper roller assembly 41, and a bifurcated endless belt 42 extending between and around the rollers, the belt carrying bag adherent adhesive as a surface layer d3.

The lower roller assembly comprises driven lower roller 44 fixed on horizontal shaft 45 which is journaled in vertically disposed mounting plates 46 secured at their flange portions 47 to the door 23 front panel 3 by fasteners, not shown. The roller shaft 45 rotates on its longitudinal axis in bearings 38, carried in the mounting plates 460 The lower roller 44 is divided into left and right sections 44a, respectively respecitvely which are spaced apart at 439 to accommodate therebetween trip means 59 located therebetween for purposes to be explained below.

The lower roller sections 44a, 441) are each grooved at 51 and knurled at the groove bottom 52 for nonslip engagement of the endless belt.

The endless belt is divided into right and left segments d211, 42b each of which comprise relatively inelastic, tough webs of cloth, plastic, metal or like material having a gummy, tacky or sticky outer surface for temporary adhesion to the bags 29 e.g., a tacky adhesive coating fonning layer 43. Suitably, the adhesive of layer 43 is high in shear strength and low in peel strength to enable positive advancement of the bags 29 and easy release at the dispensing station 4. Numerous known, high tack, rubber or resin based materials possess the requisite temporary adherent quality and can be used, including materials available in tape form, the belt then being, a tape backing e.g., Mylar film, or a solid block of gum rubber or sticky elastomer suitably shaped e.g., as a wheel can be used.

The upper roller assembly 41 lies in a common vertical plane with the lower roller assembly 40 and includes an upper roller 53, a shaft 54 parallel to lower roller shaft 45 journaled in bearings 55 carried by the panels 56 of door 23. The upper roller 53 is an idler roller comprising left and right sectios 53sections 53b spaced apart at 57 to accommodate trip means 58 for purposes hereinafter explained, and corresponding to section Ma, 44b of lower roller 44 is carried on the upper shaft 5% for rotation about the shaft.

it will be observed that lower roller 44 carries the belt segments 42a, 42b closely adjacent to the bag supply roll 5 and into bags 29 directed outwardly by guide spindle 35. The bags 29 in connected relation are thus engaged in sequence simultaneously by the belt segments 42a, d-2b.

The belt segments 42a, 42b by means of their adhesive layer 43 adherently grip each bag 29 urged thereto by guide spindle 35. The relatively narrow width of the individual belt segments 42a, @211 and their relatively wide spacing is highly advantageous in obtaining true tracking of the bags 29 coming off the roll 5 and sure passage of the bags to the dispensing station 4 without misalignment, while nontheless maintaining easy removability of the bags from the belt at the dispensing station.

As best seen in FIGS. 4 and 6 the belt segments 42a, 42b carry the adhesively engaged bags 29 bottom 34 up (or heat seal end first) from the supply roll 5 upward to upper roller assembly 41 whereupon the bags are drawn over the upper roller 53 and thereby inverted as they come into the dispensing station, see FIG. 1. The

' bag can be advanced open end first to the lower roller assembly 40 to achieve the same open end up relation of the bag at the dispensing station 4. The bag 29 at the dispensing station 4 is separated by hand (FIG. 6), before or after filling, utilizing the relatively low peel strength of the adhesive layer 43 to advantage, as well as the relatively small lateral extent of the belt 42 engaging the bag, provided by the spaced belt segments 42a, 42b.

An electric motor 60 of the reversing type is provided supported on the door 23 between the rollers 44, 53 for cated at 70 which is carried adjacent the bag advancement path and intermediate the rollers to engage the bag sidewall 31 thereopposite, for unidirectional movement. In the embodiments of the Figures, the drag structure 70 includes a bracket 71 supported by the cabinet sidewall 9, and a wheel assembly 72 carried thereby comprising wheels 73 (FIG. 7) an axle 74 therefor supported by bracket 71, a clevis 75 having opposed slots 74a to receive the axle 74 in laterally ad- 10 justable relation and a guide stem 750 connected to the driving the rollers through motor output shaft 61, drive pulley 62, drive belt 63, and lower shaft pulley 64.

The lower and upper rollers 44, 53 are drivingly connected by belt segments 42a, 42b so that forward or reverse operation of the motor causes respectively counterclockwise or clockwise rotation of the upper and lower rollers together about their respective axes and concomitant belt segment travel. Control of motor and thus belt segment 42a, 42b travel direction is by switches 50, 58, and 65 and circuitry shown in FIG. 8 and is explained below, it being necessary here only to note that the switches are sequentially actuated to alternate belt 42 travel direction, in unequal forward and reverse modes.

Having thusfar described the transport of the bags 29 from the supply roll 5 to the dispensing station 4, the bag opening aspectsof the device will be delineated.

The bags 29 are initially interconnected across perforations 32 in the opposing sidewalls 30, 31 adjacent the heat seals 28. See FIGS. 2 and 6. It is a signal feature of the method and apparatus herein that the bags 29 are opened for dispensing although drawn from a roll 5 wherein the bags are closed. In general, the bags are opened by moving the opposing bag sidewalls 30, 31 relative to one another in the course of the bag transport from the bag supply 5 to the dispensing station 4. The relative movement may be with respect to the path of advance of the bags, generally defined by the path of belt segments 42a, 42b either parallel to the path, i.e., the opposing sidewalls are moved parallel to the path either in opposite direction e.g., one sidewall up and one sidewall down in the machine configuration shown in the drawings, or in the same direction at unequal speeds, or one sidewall is moved and the other held stationary e.g., by belt 42 or drag structure 70 described below. The sidewalls 30, 31 may be moved laterally apart to a degree inducing severing of a sidewall at the perforations or the sidewalls may be oppositely or differentially angularly displaced, e.g., relatively rotated. In each of these movements, the bag sidewalls 30, 31 are moved sufficiently to cause the tubing 27 film to tear at the perforations 32.

In preferred practice, and as shown in the drawings, one sidewall only of the bags is severed, the other sidewall remains interconnected with the next succeeding, corresponding bag sidewall, so that there is no discontinuity in the advance of the bags from the supply roll to the dispensing station, and the bags are carried for alternately reversing movement.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 4, 6, and 7, the belt segments 42a, 42!) are adapted to grip the bags 29 in succession and move them to and from the dispensing station 4 as determined by tne motor 60 operation. Means to relatively move the opposing bag sidewalls 30 and 31 in conjunction with the belt segments 42a, 42b is provided in the form of drag structure generally indiclevis on which tension spring 76 is centered in engagement with wall 77 of the bracket and clevis 75. The guide stem passes through opening 78 in bracket wall 77 in guiding relation, to maintain wheel 73 engagement with sidewall 31 of the bags. The spring 76 urges the wheel assembly 72 forward into bag engagement. A back-up plate is provided behind the belt segment sections opposite the wheel assembly 72 to cooperate with the wheels 73 in firmly engaging the bag outer sidewall 31 between the upper and lower rollers 44, 53.

The wheels 73 and axle 74 are connected through a clutch means (not shown) permitting the wheels to r0- tate only clockwise or with the bag advance. The wheels 73 are provided with relatively non-slip surface and are desirably somewhat resilient to maximize the footprint of the wheel on the bag sidewall 31. Suitably wheels 73 are fabricated of relatively hard rubber or plastic or provided with a surface layer of suitable friction material.

During advance of the bags 29 to the dispensing station 4, the wheels 73 are urged against the outer bag sidewall 31 to ride in a rolling manner on the sidewall in directly opposed relation to belt segments 42a, 42b. Reversal of the bag travel direction causes the clutch mechanism to lock wheels 73 against counterclockwise rotation and the wheels drag on the bag sidewall 31. Sufficient pressure is applied by the wheels 73 through action of spring 76 to preclude substantial retrogressive movement of the outer sidewall 31, although the inner sidewall 30, gripped by the adhesive layers 43 of the belt segments 42a, 42b, does move in the reverse direction. The result is relative movement of the bag sidewalls 30, 31 as they slide past each other. The engaged outer sidewall 31 crumples and backs up, as best seen in FIG. 6. The nonengaged outer sidewall 31 of the next succeeding bag 29, untrammeled by any drag structure does move, and the result is a tearing force at the perforation 32 in the outer sidewall 31, but not at the inner sidewall 30. The perforated tubing 27 yields locally, severing the bag interconnection on one side, and the bag is opened on the outer side. See FIG. 7.

The opposed arrangement of drag structure and belt segments is significant in effecting the optimum tear at the outer sidewall junction. A Quidrilateral relation is highly suitalbe, e.g., two spaced belt segments forming two corners and drag structure wheels thereopposite. Departures from equilateral and opposed spacing of these elements may be used and will result in special tearing effects, e.g., one half of a sidewall perforation may be opened or a perforation may be opened at the sides and not at the center. Center tearing is preferred in the present invention where bag inflation is to be practiced at the dispensing station and is most effectively realized by mounting the wheels 73 directly across the bags from the belt segments 42a, 42b.

In addition to the spacing of the opposing bag engaging elements, the rate of relative movement and the distance of relative movement may be varied for particular tubing materials, types of perforations and like variable factors. In general, it may be observed that the length of relative sidewall movement should be sufficient to initiate perforation tearing, at a minimum, and less than that tearing an opening greater than the outer sidewall width. In this connection the width and spacing of the belt or other means to grip the moving sidewall is desirably such that the bag is gripped approximately equidistantly between the bag edges and the line of engagement of the drag wheel or like structure. As a bench mark, it has been observed that a 14 polyethylene inch long, one mil gage polyehtylene film bag, having a width of 12 inches is readily single sidewall severed from a roll for opening by belt segments threefourth inch wide spaced 4 inches apart and equidistant from the bag center, where two one inch wide drag wheels are spaced 4 inches apart and equidistantly from the bag center, over the belts.

The mentioned engagement and wide track draw in the bags dispensed as described above has mainfold benefits in reliability of device operation. Countless bags may be reliably severed from a supply roll, despite vagaries of film gage, film blocking tendencies, imperfections in perforations and like quality control problems. The bags are reliably, time after time, perfectly dispensed because of the self-correcting balance in the bag tracking system.

Once opened desired the deisred degree, the bags 29 are advanced to the dispensing station 4 by again reversing the belt segments 42a, 42b travel direction. With reference particularly to FIGS. 1 and 6, a further feature of the apparatus 1 can now be described. At the top of housing 2, secured to the cabinet top wall by bracket 81 is a self-contained blower 32 having an outlet 83 arranged to deliver pressurized air along the inside of the top wall. A transversely curved deflector 84 is provided hinged at 85 to the forward edge of the topwall 10 to define a plenum at 86 between the deflector 84 and the bag wall 31 atop upper roller 53 which causes the pressurized air to be distributed across the width of panel 3. The outer sidewall separatedbut still inner sidewall interconnected-bag 29 being advanced to the dispensing station 4 is filled with blower air as it is fully invented, (see FIG. 1) with the outer wall 30 bellying outward, for filling or only easy grasping and removal by simply overcoming the remaining perforated connections and the low peel strength of the belt segments 42a, 42b.

The control of the apparatus 1 may now be described commencing with the removal of the bag by the user. As noted above the apparatus is arranged to cycle the belt segments 42a, 42b through alternately reversed travel directions to alternately open and deliver bags 29 for dispensing.

The actuation of the motor 60 to effect the described belt 42 movements is by means of the already mentioned trip means 50, 58 and 65. Trip means 50 is located below the dispensing station and comprises an upwardly biased trip arm 90 and microswitch 91, and is arranged to act as a lower limit switch, sensing the full length presence of a bag at the dispensing station 4 as the bag bottom edge 34 contacts the arm 90. Depression of arm 90 by the leading bag edge opens the switch 91 and shuts off motor 60. Conversely, separation of the bag 29 from the dispensing station 4 (FIG. 6) permits the trip arm to raise, closing the switch 91 and starting motor 60 in a first (reverse) direction to drive rollers M, 53 clockwise (FIG. 6).

Trip means 58 is located at the upper roller assembly 41 above the dispensing station 4 and comprises a curved, outwardly biased trip arm 92 and microswitch 93. The trip means 58 is arranged to act as an upper limit switch, sensing the absence ofa bag above the dispensing station 4 in sequence with the start up of the motor by switch 31 and acts to reverse the motor to the bag advance mode, the rollers 44, 53 then rotating counterclockwise (FIG. 4).

Accordingly when a bag 29a is separated at the dispensing station 4, the lower limit switch 50 closes and starts the motor an to carry the next succeeding bag 29b backward whereupon the drag structure automatically actuates to retard outer sidewall 31 movem at as explained above, and thus open the bag 29b at perforation 32, between bag 29b and 29c. When the front edge of bag 29b moves past switch 58, arm 92 moves outwardly closing the switch 93 and reversing the motor 60. The bag 29b is now advanced to the dispensing station a until the lower limit switch arm is depressed again opening switch 91 and shutting off the motor. It will be noted that the open end of the bag 2% passes through plenum 86 and the bag is thus air inflated as it engers the dispensing station. The deflector 84 continues to direct blower 82 air into the open bag end to maintain inflation, see FIG. I. enters A third trip means 65 is proved located centrally of the dispensing station and comprising an outwardly biased trip arm 95 and microswitch 96. The trip means 65 is arranged as a fail-safe" switch and signals the motor 60 through switch 96 to stop through a suitable delay circuit to permit full length presence of a bag at the dispensing station.

A suitable circuit arrangement for the motor and switches is shown in FIG. 8. As shown, the circuit comprises a low output instant reversing motor 100, a single pole double throw relay 101, a double pole double throw relay 102, switches 91, 93 and 96 and capacitor 106 to provide additional power for instant stop and reverse action. Referring to FIGS. 4 and 8, when the bag at dispensing station 4 is removed, lower limit switch 91 and center limit switch 96 close, energizing the relay H01 through contacts W3, MP4 to drive the motor 106 to reverse the belt 42 travel, toward the bag supply 5. The bag about to be dispensed is carried backward until the sealed bottom 28 thereof clears the upper limit switch 93, defining the distance and time of reverse movement. A time delay relay can also be used for this purpose. Upper limit switch 93 is closed and energizes relay W2 through contacts m3, 205 to drive the motor 100 to advance the belt 42 while simultaneously de-energizing the relay 102. The travel of the next bag 29 across the dispensing station is sensed by arm 90 and opens the lower limit switch 91, shutting off the motor MM) until the bag is removed and another cycle commenced. The center limit switch 96 serves to prevent recycling operation of the device should a bag not fully engage the lower limit switch arm 90.

I claim:

3. Apparatus for singly dispensing preformed bags in an opened condition from a supply of such bags closed in end-to-end severably interconnected relation, said apparatus comprising means to transport connected bags from the bag supply to a dispensing station in a manner ultimately to have a predetermined bag sidewall facing outward at the dispensing station and means to relatively move the opposing sidewalls of each bag in timed relation with the movement of the bags to said dispensing station to selectively sever said predetermined sidewall of each bag from the next succeeding bag, thereby to open each bag in sequence for dispensing at the dispensing station.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 including also means to separate the opposing bag sidewalls to open the bag mouth at the dispensing station.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1 including also a roll of bags carried on a spindle defining the bag supply.

4. Apparatus according to claim 1 in which said transport means includes bag engaging structure traveling between the bag supply and the dispensing station, said structure being adapted to successively engage each bag opposite its predetermined sidewall for transport to the dispsnsing station.

5. Apparatus according to claim 4 in which said transport means further includes a drive for the bag engaging structure and a drive control responsive to separation at the dispensing station of the forwardmost bag to actuate the drive.

6. Apparatus according to claim 5 in which the drive control operates to drive the structure rearward then forward to the dispensing station in time sequence upon each actuation of the drive and including also drag structure limiting travel of said predetermined bag sidewall relative to its opposing sidewall to effect severance of the predetermined sidewall from the next succeeding bag.

7. Apparatus for singly dispensing at a dispensing station preformed thin-film plastic bags in opened condition from a supply of such bags in closed, end-to-end severably interconnected relation, said apparatus comprising an endless belt mounted to travel a path extending between the bag supply and the dispensing station, first bag engaging means carried by the belt and adapted to draw bags in succession from the bag supply and along said path in sidewall engaged relation, second bag engaging means arranged to selectively engage each bag at the opposite sidewall and means to intermittently vary the belt movement to cause said second means to engage said opposite sidewall for relative movement with its opposing sidewall and to sever the connection between one of said sidewalls and the next succeeding bag, to thereby open the bag.

8. Apparatus according to claim 7 in which said first bag engaging means comprises adhesive adapted to releasably grip said bags.

9. Apparatus according to claim 8 including also bag inflating means at the dispensing station.

10. Apparatus according to claim 9 in which said bag supply is a roll of bags and including also a frame supporting said roll for unrolling delivery of bags, said frame defining said dispensing station in spaced relation to said roll, a pair of rollers carried by the frame including a roller at the dispensing station and a roller adjacent said bag roll, said rollers supporting the belt means, and means to press bags against the belt adhesive between the rollers.

11. Apparatus according to claim 10 in which said pressing means comprises a wheel supported by the frame to resiliently engage said opposing sidewall and including also means to spring urge said wheel into bag contact.

12. Apparatus according to claim 10 in which said belt is carried for alternating forward and reverse movement, and said wheel is arranged to roll with the opposing bag sidewall during bag advance and to resist movement of said sidewall on reverse travel of the bag to effect the sidewall severance.

13. Apparatus according to claim 12 including also plate means beneath said belt adapted to cooperate with said wheel to press said bags into belt adhesive engagement.

14. Apparatus according to claim 10 in which said advancing and reversing means comprises an electric motor, and motor control switches responsive to bag movement to initiate and terminate motor operation to advance a succession of bags singly and in opened conditoion. condition.

15. Apparatus according to claim 14 in which said bags are unrolled horizontally from the roll and including also means to present the bags open end up at the dispensing station including successive belt portions carried for passing over and around the dispensing station roller with successive bags.

16. Apparatus according to claim 15 in which said bag inflating means comprises a pressurized air source and including also deflector means arranged to direct pressurized air into successive bags as the bags are carried around the dispensing station roller.

17. Apparatus according to claim 16 including also sensing means arranged to sense a bag at the dispensing sequentially and motor control means adapted to cycle the motor sequentialy through alternating reverse and forward movements responsive to the sensed absence of a bag at the dispensing station to present the next bag at the station after removal of a bag.

18. Apparatus according to claim 17 in which said rollers belt and motor are supported by a section of said frame removable from the remainder of said frame.

19. Method of dispensing preformed bags from a supply of end-to-end severably interconnected bags individually and in opened condition at a dispensing station, which includes advancing collapsed bags successively in connected relation along a path to the dispensing station in a manner to have a predetermined bag sidewall facing outward at the dispensing station, relatively moving said predetermined bag sidewall and the opposing bag sidewall in advance of the dispensing station to selectively sever the predetermined bag sidewall from the next succeeding bag for presentation in opened, single sidewall connected condition at the dispensing station.

20. The method according to claim 19 including also relatively moving said opposing bag sidewalls generally in the plane of said advancement path and parallel to the direction of bag advance.

21. The method according to claim 20 including also maintaining said predetermined bag sidewall stationary and moving said opposing bag sidewall in sliding relation therewith.

22. The method according to claim 19 including also advancing said bags intermittently and responsive to separation of the forwardmost bag at the dispensing station.

23. Method according to claim 19 including also opening the bag at the dispensing station.

24. The method according to claim 23 including also blowing air into the bag open end to maintain the bag open at the dispensing station.

25. Method of dispensing thin-film plastic bags individually and in opened condition at a dispensing station from a supply of collapsed, end-to-end severably interconnected bags which includes engaging each bag in succession by a first sidewall thereof for travel to the dispensing station, engaging the second opposing bag sidewall for relative movement during bag travel to the dispensing station to selectively sever said second sidewall from the next succeeding bag to open each bag in advance of the dispensing station and inflating each open bag presented at the dispensing staion.

26. The method according to claim 25 including also adhesively gripping said first sidewall at laterally spaced locations adjacent the severable interconnection thereof with the next succeeding bag.

27. The method according to claim 26 including also sequentially moving each bag in unequal reverse and forward directions, sufficient to sever one sidewall from the next succeeding bag across the major portion of the bag width and to present a single bag at the dispensing station.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2874886 *Aug 5, 1954Feb 24, 1959Continental Can CoApparatus for dispensing flexible merchandise containers
US3298580 *Oct 14, 1965Jan 17, 1967Automated Packaging CorpContainer delivery apparatus
US3328939 *Aug 12, 1964Jul 4, 1967Ethyl CorpBag dispensing apparatus
US3477196 *Apr 27, 1967Nov 11, 1969Automated Packaging CorpMechanism for automatically feeding,loading,and sealing bags
US3579948 *Apr 29, 1968May 25, 1971Automated Packaging CorpBag handling apparatus and method
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3969874 *Oct 17, 1974Jul 20, 1976Halcomb Walter CPackaging machine
US4334399 *May 16, 1980Jun 15, 1982Taiyo Shokai Co., Ltd.Apparatus for transferring strip-like plastics bag material in packaging machine
US4336681 *May 16, 1980Jun 29, 1982Taiyo Shokai Co., Ltd.Method of transferring strip-like plastics bag material in packing machine
US4387550 *Jun 18, 1980Jun 14, 1983Automated Packaging Systems, Inc.Container strips and method of making and using the same
US4493684 *Jul 7, 1983Jan 15, 1985W. R. Grace & Co., Cryovac Div.Method for making partially separated multibags
US4651506 *Feb 24, 1986Mar 24, 1987Automated Packaging Systems, Inc.Packaging apparatus and method
US4664161 *Mar 4, 1985May 12, 1987Kureha Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.Automatic filling apparatus, and bag mouth opening device thereof
US4694638 *Aug 28, 1986Sep 22, 1987The Ultra Bagger Co. Of CincinnatiApparatus and method of loading articles into an inflated bag from a web
US4979617 *May 15, 1989Dec 25, 1990Mobil Oil CorporationDispensing system for severable sheet material
US5159800 *Aug 28, 1990Nov 3, 1992W. R. Grace & Co.-Conn.Bag opening device
US5167301 *Nov 14, 1990Dec 1, 1992A.W.A.X. Progettazione E Ricerca S.R.L.Supermarket checkout counter incorporating dual bag feeding apparatus for dispensing, delivering, opening and retaining flexible bags for purchased articles
US5335485 *Jul 31, 1992Aug 9, 1994A.W.A.X. Progettazione E Ricerca S.R.L.Flexible bag dispensing apparatus for use in supermarkets and the like
US5640834 *Jun 8, 1995Jun 24, 1997Automated Packaging Systems, Inc.Method of opening individual bags
US5664402 *Sep 28, 1995Sep 9, 1997Gary W. Clem, Inc.Method and means for harvesting and packaging seeds
US5853117 *Oct 31, 1995Dec 29, 1998Moore Business Forms, Inc.Separator for linerless labels
US5862968 *Oct 24, 1996Jan 26, 1999Moore Business Forms, Inc.Separator for linerless labels
US6135281 *Apr 2, 1998Oct 24, 2000Simhaee; EbrahimContinuous roll of plastic bags
US6379292Oct 3, 2000Apr 30, 2002Ebrahim SimhaeeContinuous roll of plastic bags
US6716159 *Jan 31, 2002Apr 6, 2004Pentax CorporationEndoscope holding apparatus
US6945695Jun 13, 2003Sep 20, 2005Rabiea Jeffrey DPlastic bag and packaging method using same
US6948294 *Jul 16, 2004Sep 27, 2005Rabiea Jeffrey DMethod of packaging point-of-purchase items
US8052011 *Nov 24, 2004Nov 8, 2011Doron TamApparatus and method for dispensing bags
US8157141 *Jun 14, 2006Apr 17, 2012Cryovac, Inc.System and method for detecting and registering serrated bags
US8544681 *Aug 12, 2007Oct 1, 2013Shekeltronix Retail Technologies Ltd.Bag dispensing machine for upward dispensing
US20100025415 *Aug 12, 2007Feb 4, 2010Shekeltronix Retail Technologies LtdBag dispensing machine for upward dispensing
USRE32963 *Nov 27, 1987Jun 27, 1989Automated Packaging Systems, Inc.Packaging apparatus and method
USRE34392 *Jul 19, 1991Sep 28, 1993Mobil Oil CorporationDispensing system for severable sheet material
EP0269145A1 *Oct 13, 1987Jun 1, 1988Audion Elektro B.V.Apparatus for packaging products
EP1094980A1 *Mar 19, 1998May 2, 2001Angelo C. RomanoApparatus for opening and dispensing plastic bags
EP1108652A1 *Apr 2, 1998Jun 20, 2001Ebrahim SimhaeeMethod of manufacturing a roll of plastic bags
WO1986004038A1 *Jan 3, 1986Jul 17, 1986Automated Packaging Syst IncPackaging apparatus and method
WO2003106269A1 *May 30, 2003Dec 24, 2003Jeffrey D RabieaPlastic bag and packaging method using same
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/459, 225/106, 225/100, 225/4, 53/385.1, 53/67, 53/570
International ClassificationB65B43/00, B65B43/12
Cooperative ClassificationB65B43/123
European ClassificationB65B43/12B