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Publication numberUS3771282 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 13, 1973
Filing dateMay 10, 1971
Priority dateMay 10, 1971
Publication numberUS 3771282 A, US 3771282A, US-A-3771282, US3771282 A, US3771282A
InventorsT Flanagan
Original AssigneeEmhart Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for packaging articles
US 3771282 A
Abstract
An automatic machine is disclosed for wrapping a blank of corrugated paperboard around an array of articles, and for gluing end flaps of the side panel to form a sealed package. The machine includes a frame having an elevator structure equippped with vacuum means for drawing a blank downwardly between flap folding, or camming means, to form the blank into a generally U-shaped configuration at the bottom of the stroke of the elevator structure. An array of articles to be packaged is dropped upon the bottom panel of the blank intermediate the upper, or initial position, of the elevator structure and the lower or second position, so that both the article array and the blank are travelling in the same direction when they contact one another. The vacuum means releases the bottom panel of the U-shaped carton blank at the lower or second position of the article array, and the unit is captured at this poistion in the pocket of an intermittently operated pocket chain conveyor in order to support the resulting package while the end flaps of the side panels are sequentially closed against the ends of the article array. Simultaneously with horizontal movement of the package by the pocket chain conveyor, the top panel of the carton is folded downwardly by a movable plow so as to provide a box for the articles in a very short L-shaped path of movement of the article array. The end flaps of the top and bottom panels of the package are folded by fixed plows in a conventional manner after the end flaps of the side panels have been glued. The package may then be conveniently fed into a vertical compression unit where the manufacturer's tab is glued and folded in a conventional manner.
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United States Patent 91 Flanagan Nov. 13, 1973 APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING ARTICLES Thomas L. Flanagan, Killingworth, Conn.

[75] Inventor:

[73] Assignee: Emhart Corporation, Bloomfield,

Conn.

22 Filed: May 10, 1971 211 Appl. No.: 141,817

[52] U.S. Cl 53/194, 53/207, 53/230 [51] Int. Cl. B651) 11/20, B65b 47/10 [58] Field of Search 53/32, 33, 192, 194, 53/207, 223-224, 230-232 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,146,565 9/1964 Otto 53/192 3,531,914 10/1970 Franklin 53/230 Primary Examiner-James L. Jones, Jr. Assistant Examiner-Neil Abrams Attorney-McCormick, Paulding & Huber [57] ABSTRACT An automatic machine is disclosed for wrapping a blank of corrugated paperboard around an array of articles, and for gluing end flaps of the side panel to form a sealed package. The machine includes a frame having an elevator structure equippped with vacuum means for drawing a blank downwardly between flap folding, or camming means, to form the blank into a generally U-shaped configuration at the bottom of the stroke of the elevator structure. An array of articles to be packaged is dropped upon the bottom panel of the blank intermediate the upper, or initial position, of the elevator structure and the lower or second position, so that both the article array and the blank are travelling in the same direction when they contact one another. The vacuum means releases the bottom panel of the kshaps ar enb anka .thelqwsrt aqsit n.

of-the article array, and the unit is captured at this poistion in the pocket of an intermittently operated pocket chain conveyor in order to support the resulting package while the end flaps of the side panels are s qy ntie lxdww sa n tt c enqsqtthsa ay.

Simultaneously with horizontal movement of the package by the pocket chain conveyor, the top panel of the carton is folded downwardly by a movable plow so as to provide a box for the articles in a very short L- shaped path of movement of the article array. The end flaps of'the top and bottom panels of the package are folded by fixed plows in a conventional manner after the end flaps of the side panels have been glued. The package may then be conveniently fed into a vertical compression unit where the manufacturers tab is glued and folded in a conventional manner.

5 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTEUnuv 13 um SHEET 10F 3 INVENTOR.

THOMAS L. FLANAGAN ATTORNEYS APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING ARTICLES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to packaging machines and deals more particularly with a machine for automatically wrapping a blank of corrugated paperboard material around an array of articles and for sequentially folding the various flaps and panels of the blank to form a sealed container. Prior art machines of this general type have been proposed heretofore, and US. Pat. No. 3,530,640, issued to I-Ioffmann Sept. 29, 1970, shows one such machine for forming a package after the array of articles has been placed upon the initially flat blank, but the construction shown in this patent utilizes a forming mandrel in conjunction with a fixed die for achieving the initial U-shaped configuration of the blank.

One of the objects of the present invention is to provide means for loading an array of articles onto a paperboard blank with the blank being securely retained in the machine at all times, and without the necessity for positively controlling the articles to be packaged during at least the initial forming stage of the blank. In short, the present invention seeks to obviate the need for providing a mandrel to urge the article being packaged against the paperboard blank.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,482,372, issued to Hottendorf Dec. 9, 1969, shows a machine for utilizing the articles to be packaged as the mandrel in the forming of a paperboard blank around these articles. However, in the I-lottendorf machine the paperboard blank is merely supported by a one-piece platen, rather than being positively controlled by vacuum means provided in an elevator structure, as taught in the present disclosure. As a result of the Hottendorf approach, the weight of the articles being packaged must be relied upon in order to properly position the blank as it is gravity fed through the fixed box forming means of the machine.

One of the objects of the present invention is to provide a machine which represents a substantial improvement over the Hottendorf apparatus in that the blank is positively restrained, and is positively drawn downwardly through camming means adapted to fold the side panels of the blank into a generally U-shaped configuration without relying upon the array of articles as a mandrel during this forming operation.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a method and apparatus which does not rely upon the presence of a group of articles on a paperboard blank to assist in the forming of the blank as it is fed through a machine of the present invention. The array of articles serves only to provide reactive surfaces against which the end flaps of both the side panels and both the top and bottom panel of the paperboard blank can be folded as the machine is glued up into its final configuration.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In practicing the method of the present invention, and in adapting the method of the present invention to the machine described herein, a paperboard flat box blank is prescored so as to define a bottom panel, a pair of side panels connected to opposite sides of the bottom panel, a pair of end flaps connected to opposite ends of each of said side panels, and a top panel connected to one of said side panels. The top and bottom panels also have end panels connected to their opposite ends to provide a blank of conventional configuration well adapted to be used in a wrap-around packaging machine in order to provide a very compact and tight package for shipping an array of articles. The blanks are sequentially fed to an infeed station of the machine where each of them can be engaged by a vertically reciprocable elevator structure characterizd by vacuum holddown means for positively restraining the blank. The vacuum means engages the underside of the bottom panel of the box blank and draws it downwardly past a fixed camming surface at one side, which camming surface is adapted to fold one of the side panels of the box blank through 90, and past a plow located on the opposite side of the elevator structures path of travel so as to fold the other side panel, and incidentally its associated top panel, into parallel relationship with the said one side panel. It is an important feature of the present invention that the array of articles to be packaged is dropped onto the bottom panel of the downwardly moving box blank, with the result that very low G-forces are experienced by both the articles to be packaged and by the box blank itself, and with the result that the box blank is at least preliminarily formed without requiring that a mandrel be present on the bottom panel of the box blank. When the bottom panel reaches the lowered position of the elevator structure the partially formed box and the articles are released for transverse movement in response to an intermittently driven pocket chain conveyor. One pair of end flaps associated with said one side panel are folded by reciprocable plows while the partially formed box is held at said lower position. The pair of end flaps associated with each of the side panels are sequentially folded into position as the package is moved in this manner. The top panel is also folded downwardly into parallel relationship with the bottom panel and with engagement with the upper ends of the articles therein, providing a package which need only be glued, and to then have the end flaps associated with the top and bottom panels folded into position by fixed plows as the pocket chain conveyor feeds the package toward the vertical compression unit. The manufacturers tab is glued and sealed in this compression unit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view and shows, in schematic fashion, a first portion of the machine wherein the box blank is drawn vertically downwardly by an elevator structure while the article array is dropped onto the bottom panel in accordance with the method of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic view showing in perspective the remaining portion of the machine, wherein the partially formed box blank is fed horizontally toward the lower end of a vertical compression unit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Turning now to the drawings in greater detail, FIG.

1 shows in schematic fashion a vertical stack of box blanks which stack is held in a magazine (not shown) of conventional construction, and which magazine includes means for stripping the lowermost blank from the stack and feeding the blank horizontally in the direction of the arrow 12 toward an infeed station. The blank is supported at the infeed station by suitable means, not shown in this view, but shown in FIG. 3 at 14 and 16.

The box blanks are of conventional construction, and each includes a bottom panel B, a pair of side panels S, and S, connected to opposite sides of the bottom panel B, and two pairs of end flaps F, and F, connected to opposite ends of each of said side panels providing four such end flaps as shown. The box blank further includes a top panel T connectedte to one of said side panels 8,, and the top panel T also has a a manufacturers tab, or side flap G, provided on an opposite side edge from that associated with the side flap 8,. Finally, the box blank is further characterized by end flaps associated with each of the bottom and top panels, and these end flaps are indicated generally at H and J respectively.

Still with reference to FIG. 1, conventional means is provided for advancing slugs or arrays of articles to a position spaced vertically above the box blank at the infeed station, and the means for accomplishing this function is also conventional, one such possible construction being shown in the U.S. Pat. No. 2,219,824, issued to Kimball et al. Oct. 29, 1940. As described in this patent, and as indicated schematically in FIGS. 3 and 4, the apparatus for feeding the arrayof articles to the position indicated in FIGS. 1 and 4 includes a shifting grid structure which defines a plurality of lanes for receiving the array of articles in columns, and this shifting grid structure further includes a shifting bottom bar associated with each lane divider. Means is provided for moving these bars, all of which are connected to one another for simultaneous movement to align them with the lane dividers of the grid structure permitting the articles to drop from the position shown in FIG. 4 generally vertically downwardly until they reach the FIG. 5 position and are restrained by suitable means to be described. Thus, FIG. 4 shows the lane defining portion of the grid structure 18, 18 which will be fixed in a particular installation, and also shows each of the bars 20, 20 which are connected to one another and to the actuator 22 for movement from the position shown in FIG. 4 to that shown in FIG. 5, to drop the articles downwardly as described above. The arrows 24, 24 in FIG. 1 show the direction of movement of the articles in the array in response to opening of this grid structure.

Referring again to FIG. 1, means is provided for drawing a box blank downwardly from the infeed position shown, and as indicated generally by the arrow 26, prior to dropping of the articles onto the bottom panel of the box blank in the manner to be described. FIGS. 3 through 5 inclusively show in schematic fashion the means for drawing the box blank downwardly from its infeed position, as depicted in FIG. 3, to a lowered position, best shown in FIG. 6.

The elevator structure indicated generally at 28 in FIG. 3 comprises a vertically reciprocable air motor having a movable portion which carries a plurality of vacuum cups for engaging the underside of the bottom panel of the box blank at the infeed station as the movable portion of the air motor moves upwardly in the di I rection of the arrow 30. The vacuum cups 32, 32 engage the underside of the box blank, and the box blank is then drawn downwardly as depicted in FIG. 4, in the direction of the arrow 34, with the result that the side panel S, is folded upwardly as it is engaged by the fixed cam surface 36 provided for this purpose in the machine. Likewise, the opposite side panel S, together with its associated top panel T, is folded through a similar angle as a result of engagement with the temporarily fixed plow 38, which plow has additional functions to be described in greater detail hereinbelow.

The vertically reciprocable elevator structure indicated generally at 28 is air operated in both directions, and its velocity is closely controlled so as to reduce the end packed forces felt both by the articles to be packaged and by the carton blank during contact therebetween as shown in FIG. 5. In short, the machine and method described here do not rely upon the gravity force of the articles to be packaged to support the blank between said articles and a one-piece platen. Instead vacuum cups are provided in the elevator structure for positively gripping the underside of the blank and for drawing it downwardly between camming surfaces both fixed and movable.

As shown in FIG. 5, when the side panels S, and S, are folded through a substantial angle and when the elevator structure has reached a first predetermined position in its downward path of travel, but prior to the end of the stroke of air motor and elevator 28, an array of articles will have been released by the shifting grid structure 20 with the result that the article array will drop downwardly under the influence of gravity to engage the bottom panel of the blank to provide a mandrel around which the remaining panels and flaps on the box blank can be conveniently folded. More particularly, and referring now to the schematic view shown in FIG. 2, when the partially formed box reaches a second predetermined position, comprising the lowered position of the elevator structure 28, the vacuum cups are released from their grip on the underside of the bottom panel of the box blank. It is a feature of the present invention that the elevator structure does not comprise solely a one-piece platen for supporting the blank. The elevator structure does include a flat plate in addition to the vacuum cups, and this plate 40 is engaged by a fixed stop during downward movement of the elevator structure, with the result that the plate will cause the box blank to be stripped from the vacuum cups as the vacuum cups are allowed to continue their downward movement through a slightly greater distance than that traveled by the flat plate 40. Thus, the vacuum cup defining means travels a slightly greater distance in its vertical path of movement from the upper position suggested in FIG. 3 to the lowered position depicted in FIG. 6 than does the generally flat plate 40, the latter engaging a fixed stop 42 provided for this purpose at the lower position of the elevator structure.

The flat plate 40 provides a convenient surface across which the partially formed box can be urged transversely in the pocket of an intermittently driven pocket chain conveyor of the type shown schematically in FIGS. 7 and 8.

The pocket chain conveyor indicated schematicallly in FIGS. 4 through 8 inclusively is intermittently driven in the direction indicated, and includes a series of pockets defined by inverted L-shaped guides which serve to hold the side panels of the box blank in a 90 position with respect to the bottom panel after these side panels have been folded as a result of the fixed camming means 36 and the movable plow 38. It is also noted that the inverted L-shaped elements 60 and 62 serve to final fold the side panels into abutting relationship to the article array, the fixed cam 36 and movable plow 38 being so shaped and arranged as not to necessarily fold these side panels into contact with the article array itself.

Prior to the pocket chain conveyor advancing the partially formed box from FIG. 6 to the FIG. 7 position, a pair of movable plows 48, 48 provided on the movable end portions of a pair of air motors 46, 46 fold the end flaps F ,F associated with the side panel S forwardly against the end of the array of articles. Preferably, and in accordance with the present invention, these movable plows 48, 48 are driven in the direction of motion of the pocket chain conveyor and through a sufficient distance so as to provide a guide for the ends of the articles comprising the array so as to preclude movement of these articles as the partially formed box and its associated contents are fed to the right by the pocket chain conveyor as depicted in FIGS. 6, 7 and 8.

In order to fold the top panel T of the box downwardly as the partially formed box and its contents are fed by the pocket chain conveyor in a horizontal direction, and in order to move the top panel down early enough to permit a succeeding blank to be fed to the infeed station as indicated generally at 100 in FIG. 7, an air motor 58 is provided with a movable plow 38 mentioned previously and this air motor 58 is so timed as to move the plow 38 in a direction opposite that of the direction of the motion of the pocket chain conveyor to assure that the top panel T is folded downwardly over the tops of the articles in the package at a faster speed than would be permitted through the use of a fixed plow in this position.

It is a further feature of the present invention that a pair of fixed plows 50, 50 are adapted to engage the end flaps F,, F, associated with the side panel S as the partially formed box and its contents are fed by the pocket chain conveyor. It will of course be apparent that the fixed plows 50, 50 also serve to hold the end flaps F,, F in position as the partially formed box and its contents 'are fed through the FIG. 7 position to the gluing station indicated schematically at 52. At the gluing station these end flaps F, and F are provided with a suitable adhesive so that the box can be sealed as the end panels H and J, associated with the bottom and top panels, are folded by the fixed plows, indicated generally at 54, 54.

The pocket chain conveyor then moves the box and its contents to the lower end of a vertical compression unit 45 of conventional construction to allow the adhesive to set. The manufacturers tab G is not folded in this unit until it has been glued by suitable means (not shown), and when so glued, a fixed plow (not shown) folds this final flap into place.

I claim:

1. Apparatus for forming a box and for drop packing an array of articles in the box while it is being so formed, said box having an initially flat horizontal configuration with a bottom panel, a pair of side panels connected to opposite sides of said bottom panel, a pair of end flaps connected to opposite ends of each of said side panels, and a top panel connected to one of said side panels, said apparatus comprising a vertically reciprocable elevator structure, vacuum hold down means in said elevator structure, means for reciprocating said elevator structure between a raised position wherein said vacuum hold down means engages the underside of said bottom panel and a lowered position wherein said vacuum hold down means is not in engagement with said bottom panel, said elevator structure having an upper surface which is normally spaced below said vacuum hold down means but which supports the bottom panel when said elevator structure is at its lowered position, box forming means mounted between said raised and lowered positions of said elevator structure for folding said side panels through during downward movement, means for dropping an array of articles onto the upper surface of said bottom panel during downward movement of said elevator structure.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said box forming means comprises a fixed side panel camming surface for folding one of said side panels, and a horizontally movable plow which folds the other side panel when in a first position, and said movable plow also serving to fold said top panel over onto the top of said array after said elevator has reached its lowered position.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 further characterized by a pocket chain conveyor or having an upper run intermittently driven horizontally and in a direction opposite that of said movable plow during folding of said top panel, said pockets on said pocket chain conveyor being adapted to receive a box partially formed by said box forming means at the lowered position of said elevator structure during a dwell interval of said pocket chain conveyor and to move the box off said elevator structure at substantially the same time as said movable plow is folding said top panel.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 further characteized by end flap folding means for folding the end flaps associated with said one side panel while said elevator structure is at its lowered position, and end flap folding bars alongside the path of travel of said upper run of said pocket chain conveyor for folding the end flaps associated with said other side panel during the intermittent motion of said pockets.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said means for dropping an array of articles onto said bottom panel comprises a shifting grid defining lanes for receiving the array of articles, a horizontally shifting bottom bar associated with each lane, and means for moving said bars from and to dump positions aligned with said lane defining grid.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3146565 *Sep 29, 1960Sep 1, 1964Otto Margaret GApparatus for forming and filling containers
US3531914 *Dec 19, 1967Oct 6, 1970Stone Container CorpPackaging machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3834114 *Aug 29, 1972Sep 10, 1974Stone Container CorpPackaging machine and method
US4085564 *Aug 13, 1975Apr 25, 1978Focke & PfuhlMethod and apparatus for making tray-type packets
US4149452 *May 4, 1977Apr 17, 1979Talarico Lawrence JFolding and packaging machine
US4250693 *Dec 7, 1977Feb 17, 1981Sundpacma AktiebolagApparatus for packing units of goods under continuous movement
US4308709 *Jan 30, 1980Jan 5, 1982Williams Donald FApparatus for forming paper boxes and the like
US4341055 *Jan 30, 1980Jul 27, 1982Williams Donald FMethod for forming paper boxes and the like
US4463541 *Jul 13, 1981Aug 7, 1984International Paper CompanyApparatus and method for automatically packing articles in catons
US5131208 *Jan 31, 1991Jul 21, 1992Radco Industries, Inc.Method and apparatus for forming cartons
US5400571 *Mar 19, 1993Mar 28, 1995G.D Societa' Per AzioniMethod and machine for producing cartons of cigarettes
US7316103 *Jun 5, 2006Jan 8, 2008Graphic Packaging International, Inc.Continuous motion packaging system
US7503157 *Sep 13, 2007Mar 17, 2009Graphic Packaging International, Inc.Continuous motion packaging system
US8341923 *Jul 9, 2008Jan 1, 2013Hunter Douglas Inc.Packaging window coverings
US8550970 *Dec 3, 2010Oct 8, 2013Giuseppe PanepintoApparatus for finishing products coming out from a machine for folding and gluing cardboard or paperboard products with a back
US20070277480 *Jun 5, 2006Dec 6, 2007Graphic Packaging International, Inc.Continuous motion packaging system
US20080000199 *Sep 13, 2007Jan 3, 2008Ford Colin PContinuous Motion Packaging System
US20090013643 *Jul 9, 2008Jan 15, 2009Hunter Douglas, Inc.Packaging Window Coverings
US20090044497 *Jul 11, 2005Feb 19, 2009Meadwestvaco Packaging Systems LlcMachine for sealing carton
US20110136640 *Jun 9, 2011Giuseppe PanepintoApparatus for finishing products coming out from a machine for folding and gluing cardboard or paperboard products with a back
US20120237715 *Sep 20, 2012Xerox CorporationBending preformed vacuum insulation panel
US20150360801 *Jan 30, 2013Dec 17, 2015Neopost TechnologiesSystem for packaging items in a custom sized box
DE3307855A1 *Mar 5, 1983Sep 6, 1984Leifeld & Lemke MaschfVerfahren und vorrichtung zum herstellen von sammelpackungen
EP0937645A1 *Feb 19, 1999Aug 25, 1999Gerhard Schubert GmbHPackaging apparatus and method for at least one product in a container
WO2003078255A1 *Mar 19, 2003Sep 25, 2003Cornelis Hermanus PonsteenFolding device for manufacturing a package from a sheet of foldable material
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/574, 53/207, 53/230, 53/578
International ClassificationB65B11/16, B65B11/20, B65B11/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65B11/22, B65B11/004
European ClassificationB65B11/00D, B65B11/22
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 23, 1985ASAssignment
Owner name: NEW STANDARD-KNAPP, INC., A CORP OF CT
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:STANDARD-KNAPP, INC., A CORP OF CT;REEL/FRAME:004354/0414
Owner name: UNITED BANK & TRUST COMPANY, A CT BANKING CORP OF
Free format text: MORTGAGE;ASSIGNOR:NEW STANDARD-KNAPP, INC. A CORP OF CT;REEL/FRAME:004354/0422
Effective date: 19841222