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Publication numberUS3789570 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 5, 1974
Filing dateNov 15, 1972
Priority dateNov 15, 1972
Publication numberUS 3789570 A, US 3789570A, US-A-3789570, US3789570 A, US3789570A
InventorsMullins J
Original AssigneeMullins J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Bagging apparatus and method
US 3789570 A
Abstract
This invention relates to an apparatus and method for automatically bagging material, especially ice cubes, and is particularly adapted to be coin operated. The apparatus includes a carrier having a measuring cavity therein with the carrier being reciprocable between a rearward position where the cavity is filled by the material to be bagged and a forward discharge position where the measured quantity of material is dumped into an open bag. A supply of flattened plastic bags is provided below the carrier and are supported by rods passing through openings in an upward extension of the rear side of the bag. The bags are supported in a bag storage section in such a way that a portion of the rearward wall extension of the bag is inclined upwardly and rearwardly away from the remainder of the bag. When it is desired to open the bag, a rod having a thin lower end is released to engage the inclined surface of the first bag and then is moved along this surface to drop inside the bag and then to partially open the bag. After the bag has been partially opened, a bag supporting means is clamped to the forward side of the bag to move it to a more fully open position and to move the lower end of the bag away from the remaining bags so that a door can be slid between the bag in the filling section and the other bags in the storage section. After the bag has been filled, the bag supporting means is released from the bag and a heat sealing means is actuated to form a heat seal across the upper portion of the bag. The bag can then be pulled from the supporting rods and removed from the machine.
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tates atetit n has, Jr.

[ Feb. a, ram

BAGGHNG APPARATUS AND on James N. Mullins, .in, PO. Box 4340, Forth Worth, Tex. 7990! Filed: Nov. 15, 1972 Appl. No.: 306,676

inventor:

US. Cl 53/29, 53/38, 53/l89,

53/384 [51] lint. Cl B65b 43/28 [58] Field of Search 53/29, 38, 189, 384

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 6/1952 Williams 53/384 1/1963 Burks et al 53/29 Primary Examiner-Travis S. McGehee Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Hyer, Eickenroht & Thompson 5 7 ABSTRACT therein with the carrier being reciprocable between a rearward position where the cavity is filled by the material to be bagged and a forward discharge position where the measured quantity of material is dumped into an open bag. A supply of flattened plastic bags is provided below the carrier and are supported by rods passing through openings in an upward extension of the rear side of the bag. The bags are supported in a bag storage section in such a way that a portion of the rearward wall extension of the bag is inclined upwardly and rearwardly away from the remainder of the bag. When it is desired to open the bag, a rod having a thin lower end is released to engage the inclined surface of the first bag and then is moved along this surface to drop inside the bag and then to partially open the bag. After the bag has been partially opened, a bag supporting means is clamped to the forward side of the bag to move it to a more fully open position and to move the lower end of the'bag-away from the remaining bags so that a door can be slid between the bag in the filling section and the other bags in the storage section. After the bag has been filled, the bag supporting means is released from the bag and a heat sealing means is actuated to form a heat seal across the upper portion of the bag. The bag can then be pulled from the supporting rods and removed from the machine.

16 Claims, 15 Drawing Figures Patented Feb. 5, 19 74 7 Sheets-Sheet 1 Patented Feb. 5, 1974 7 Sheets-Sheet 2 Patented Feb. 5, 1974 '7 Sheets-Sheet a M 3 m 0 a 5, 6 w 2 m 1 Z w Patented Feb. 5, 1974 '7 Sheets-Sheet 4 k /06 Via n5 VAC.

mama

Patented Feb. 5, 1974 7 Sheets-Sheet 5 Patented Feb. 5, 1974 3,789,570

'7 Sheets-Sheet 6 Patented Feb. 5, 1974 7 Sheets-Sheet '7 ll BAGGING APPARATUS AND METHOD This invention relates to a method and apparatus for sequentially opening a plurality of plastic bags so that they can be filled. In one of its preferred embodiments, it relates to a method and apparatus especially adapted to automatically bag ice cubes which have been frozen in the apparatus and one which is well adapted for coin operations.

The dispensing of small quantities (a few pounds) of ice cubes at locations such as in motels is usually accomplished by providing an ice making machine which freezes the cubes and then dumps them into a storage bin. The consumer then scoops the cubes from the bin and into his own ice bucket or other container. This type of dispensation can result in very unsanitary conditions. For example, if the bin is not cleaned periodically, a slime may gather on its walls. Also, patrons of the motel will sometimes use their hands to dip out the ice cubes, temporarily store such items as fish, milk,

etc; in the ice bin and even attempt to chill melons or creases the costs as it involves considerable manual labor.

Attempts have been made to develop machines which would freeze and automatically bag ice cubes at the point of consumption, e.g., at a motel. These machines have been unsuccessful for various reasons, not

' the least of which is the difficulty of handling plastic bags. These bags, as contrasted with the ordinary Kraft paper bag, are extremely flexible and are not selfstanding when opened as is a Kraft bag so that they must be supported at their upper ends during the opening, filling procedures and by at least one of the upper ends during the closing procedure. Moreover, the bags are usually manufactured in such a way that they consist of two flat panels joined at their side and bottom edges. Due to this structure and to the fact that the panels tend to stick together, they are much more difficult to open than ordinary Kraft paper bags and providing a machine which can automatically open and fill such plastic bags with a high degree of consistency has been a substantial problem.

It is an object of this invention to provide an apparatus and method which will automatically and positively open successive ones of plastic bags and positively hold a bag in open position while a material is being deposited therein and on which is capable of performing this operation on a large number of bags without malfunctioning in the sense of failing to open a bag during each cycle of operation.

Another object is to provide the method and apparatus in which the first one of a plurality of flattened plastic bags is positively partially opened by moving the forward side of the bag away from the rearward side and then the forward side is positively grasped and moved to further open the bag and to support its forward side during the filling of the bag from an automatic dispensing mechanism.

Another object is to provide such an apparatus in which a plurality of bags are disposed in a storage compartment adjacent a filling compartment with an opening therebetween which is normally closed by a closure member but which is opened during the bag filling cycle to permit a bag to be moved into the filling section and then is closed before the bag is removed from the filling section thereby preventing access to the unfilled bags in the storage compartment, the apparatus including a means for grasping the front side of the bag to move it to open position and for snapping the front side upwardly to move the lower end of the bag away from the remaining bags in the storage compartment so that the closure member can be moved between the bag to be filled and the remaining bags without interfering with the bag filling operation.

Another object is to provide such an apparatus which will automatically open plastic bags of two-sheet type of construction and when open, will cause the open end of the bag to have substantially a square or rectangular configuration to facilitate filling.

Other objects, advantages and features of the invention will be apparent upon consideration of the specification, the claims, and the drawings wherein:

F IG. 1 is a perspective of a coin operated machine for automatically freezing and bagging ice cubes and internally containing a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of this invention which also embodies the method of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a view with the front door of the apparatus of FIG. I in open position but showing a portion of the apparatus at an intermediate point in the bag filling cycle;

FIG. 3 is a front view of the lower right hand portion of the apparatus of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an elevational view, partly in phantom, showing the metering and bagging mechanism from its right hand side as viewed from the front of the machine and in that portion of its cycle in which ice cubes are passing from a bin into the metering mechanism;

FIG. 5 is a view from the right hand side showing the operations of the rod used to initially open a bag;

FIG. 5A is an enlarged side view of the lower end of the bag opening rod;

FIG. 6 is an elevational view of the metering and bagging mechanism from the left hand side with the mechanism being positioned at the end (or start) of its cycle;

FIG. 7 is a side elevational view similar to FIG. 6 but with part of the supporting framework broken away and showing the mechanism during the initial part of the bag opening cycle;

FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 7 but showing the mechanism in a subsequent portion of the bag opening cycle;

FIG. 9 is a perspective to further illustrate the bag opening and holding arrangement;

FIG. 10 is a view similar to FIG. 8 showing the bag opening mechanism in still aother and more advanced portion of its cycle;

FIG. 11 is an elevational view of the mechanism from the right hand side showing the mechanism in a still more advanced stage of its cycle;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the bagging and metering mechanism;

FIG. 13 is a perspective showing the bag support arrangement; and

FIG. 14 is a schematic electrical diagram showing the mode of control of the apparatus.

Referring to the drawings, the cabinet is provided with a conventional coin operated switch mechanism 11 and an access door 12. As indicated in FIG. 2, the upper part of the cabinet contains an ice cube bin 13 into which ice cubes are deposited by a conventional freezing unit 14. The latter can be of the type which freezes a layer of ice on the underside of a refrigerated plate and then defrosts the plate to permit the ice layer to drop down upon a conventional hot wire cube cutter.

A frame 15 is disposed below the ice bin and supports a carrier 16 for horizontal reciprocation in the housing, such support being here shown as including guide members 17 (FIG. 3) slidably engaging the edges of the upper plate 18 of the carrier. As best shown in FIG. 12, the carrier 16 has a cavity 19 therein which has an open top and bottom. Thus when the carrier is moved rearwardly, the cavity 19 comes into registry with bin opening 20 (as indicated in FIGS. 4 and 12) so that ice cubes can fall into the cavity to fill the same. At this point, the lower end of the cavity is closed by a bottom plate 21 over which the carrier moves. Plate 21 termi-- nates at 22 so that ice can be discharged from the cavity upon forward movement of the carrier as will be explained in moredetail below. The carrier is provided with a rearwardly extending portion 23 which acts to close the bin opening 20 at all times during the operation of the equipment except when cavity 19 is being filled.

Means are provided for reciprocating the carrier through a cycle of operation. In FIG. 6, this means is illustrated as including an endless sprocket chain 24 extending between an idler sprocket 25 and a motor driven sprocket 26, all of which are mounted on frame 15. Carrier 16 has a drive flange 27 connected thereto which has an elongated opening 28 through which a pin extends, the other end of the pin being connected to chain 24. Thus, upon actuation of the motor driven sprocket, the carrier will be moved rearwardly by the pin when the latter is in the bottom of opening 28 and as the pin moves around the motor driven sprocket 26, it will move up in opening 28 to be in an upper portion thereof as the carrier is moved forwardly. Similarly, the pin will move down in opening 28 as it moves over the idler sprocket 25.

As is shown best in FIGS. 7, 8 and 10, a trap door 29 is preferably provided adjacent the bottom of cavity 19 and is hinged to the carrier by pivot pin 30 fixed to the trap door and is urged toward closed position by spring 31 acting on arm 32 which is connected to the pivot pin 30. Also, arm 32 carries a cam roller 33 which engages the lower side of ramp 34 to open the trap door at an appropriate point during the cycle. Thus as the carrier moves rearwardly and receives ice cubes in its cavity,

.the weight of the cubes will normally press the trap door 29 downwardly so that it rides along the surface of bottom plate 21 until the carrier moves forward sufficiently that the trap door clears the end 22 of plate 21. At this point, the cam roller 33 engages the underside of ramp 34 to positively open the door so that the contents of the cavity can be discharged into an open bag thereunder. As will be explained below, at the time the front end of cavity 19 reaches the end 22 of plate 21, the bag thereunder has not been fully opened and it is desired to delay discharging the contents of the cavity until the bag has been substantially fully opened. A spike 35 is fixed to the upper side of the trap door to act on the cubes as the trap door is swung downwardly to prevent the cubes from bridging in the cavity.

As shown in FIG. 4, the cabinet or housing 10 is provided with a bag filling section 36 and a bag storage section 37 with an opening therebetween for passage of a bag from the storage section to the filling section. Means are provided in the storage section for supporting a plurality of flattened bags. As shown in FIG. 13, this means includes a pair of support rods 38 having their rear ends fixedly connected to frame part 39 carried by frame 15. The type of bags employed has a rearward side 40 extending above the upper edge 41 of the front side 42 of the bag. I-Ioles are provided in the back side of the bag adjacent the upper edge so that a plurality of bags can be supported on rods 38. The bags are urged forwardly so that the foremost bag is in contact with a stop 43 by the action of springs 44 on a follower 45 which is slidably mounted on rods 38. Follower 45 has a forwardly inclined portion 45a near its lower end. The purpose of this is to cause the rearward side of the bag to have a rearwardly and upwardly inclined portion 40a exposed above'the upper edge 41 of the front side 42 of the bag.

As shown in FIG. 5, a bag opening element 46 having a relatively thin lower end can then be positioned on the inclined bag portion 45a as shown in dashed outline at 46' and moved forwardly while riding along this inclined portion to drop down into the interior of the bag between the front and rear sides thereof to partially open the bag as shown in full line view in FIG. 5. The bag opening element or rod 46 is illustrated in FIG. 9 as being mounted on carrier 16 for vertical movement by sliding in a sleeve 47. The rod has an arm 48 bearing a cam roller 49 which cooperates with a series of camming surfaces as best shown in FIG. 5. Thus, during initial portion of the cycle, the cam roller 49 will-rest upon a support 50 fixed to frame 15 such as at position A to hold the rod in its uppermost positon. As the carrier moves forward, the cam roller will move to the end of support 50 and drop off the support to position B, that is, to a position such that the lower end of the rod is in sliding contact with the inclined bag portion 40a. As the carrier continues its forward movement, the rod will move downwardly along this inclined portion into the bag until bearing 48a on arm 48 rests on the bottom of opening 51 in flange 52 which is attached to the carrier. Continued outward movement of the rod will partially open the bag as indicated in FIG. 5. When the cam roller 49 has been advanced to position C it will engage a ramp 53 so that it will move up the ramp and withdraw from the bag. Ultimately it engages the lower side of the outer end of tiling ramp 54. This ramp is pivoted at 55 to a support 56 which extends upward and is attached to the outer edge of ramp 53. The outer end of the ramp 54 is resiliently urged into engagement with ramp 53 by a spring 57. As the cam roller 49 continues moving, it will move the ramp to the dashed outline position so that the cam roller can pass under it and then move to its outermost position D. As the carrier reverses its direction of movement, the cam roller will roll up the upper side of tilt ramp 54 and as it moves to the rear end of the ramp, the weight of the rod will cause the tilt ramp to again tilt to the dashed outline position until its rear end engages the forward end of support 50 so that the cam roller can move to again be positioned on the support 56 at position A. Thus it will be seen that the rod or bag opening element ll-6 is provided with actuating means including means mounting the element for reciprocal motion for movement to move the lower end of the element downwardly into sliding contact with the inclined portion of the rear bag wall and thence along said portion down into the interior of the bag after which it is moved still further to move the forward side of the bag away from the rearward side to partially open the bag.

As shown in FIG. 5A, the lower end of rod 436 has a rather pointed lower end 46a and has a notch 36b formed in its forward side slightly above the lower end. The edge of this notch frictionally engages the inner surface of the forward side of the bag as the rod moves upwardly to raise the outer side of the bag to some degree for a purpose described below.

Bag support means are provided which are movable into the partially opened bag to engage and support the forward side thereof and to move it to a more fully opened position so that as the carrier moves to discharge position, the contents in the cavity can fall into the opened bag. The bag support means is then released so that the filled bag can be heat sealed as described below. Thus the bag support means includes a blade 58 (FIG. 9) carried for vertical reciprocation by carrier 16. This can be accomplished by mounting the blade in vertical slots 59 so that the blade can be moved down into the bag after the rod 46 has partially opened same and for that reason the blade is spaced slightly to the rear of the rod. The blade is biased to its upper position by a spring 60 connected between the blade and the carrier 16. In order to move the blade downwardly,

.the same, the cam roller engages the underside of ramp portion 65a and is moved downwardly thereby which in turn causes lever 61 to pivot and move blade 58 down into the partially opened bag. Further outward movement of the carrier will cause the blade to move the bag to fully open position. To facilitate this, means are provided for clamping the forward side of the bag to blade 55. Thus, as shown best in FlG. 9, the blade carries a clamping arm 66 pivoted to it at 67 and biased by spring 6% so that normally the lower end of the clamping arm is spaced from the blade so that the forward side of the bag can be'received between the blade and arm. The lower end of the arm is provided with a pair of clamping pads 69 so that when the lower end of the clamping arm is moved toward the blade, the pads will securely clamp the forward side of the bag to the blade. The upper end of the clamping arm is provided with a cam roller 70, which when the blade is lowered, travels down to a ramp '71 across which it moves to swing the lower end of the clamping arm toward blade 5%. As the cam roller moves across the ramp, it opens a door '72, which is spring loaded to its closed position as shown in H6. 9, and then engages surface "73 at which time the clamp pads 69 are in firm engagement with blade 5%. When the blade is being raised, as described below, cam roller 741) moves downwardly over surface 73 and along the outside surface of door 72 to maintain the clamping arm 66 in clamping position.

However, when the cam roller passes upwardly beyond the upper end of door 72, spring 68 moves the clamping arm to a non-clamping position as shown in H6. 9.

With an unattended coin operated machine, it is desirable to protect the bags in the bag filling section 36 (FIG. 41) from pilferage by someone opening access door 12 to remove a bag of ice and then reaching back and removing the bags in the storage section. To prevent this and also to cooperate with a heating sealing means for sealing a bag, a closure means here illustrated as a sliding door 74 (FIGS. 2 and i) is mounted for movement in tracks 75 between open and closed positions with respect to the opening between the bag filling and bag storage sections. Means are provided for automatically causing such movement. Thus the door can be provided with a drive flange '76 which is connected to a drive sprocket chain 77 in the same manner as drive chain 24 is connected to drive flange 27 for the carrier. Thus when motor '78 is turned on it will cause the chain to turn on idler sprocket mounted on bracket 79 to move the door to open position as shown in FIG. 2. After the above described mechanism has moved a bag into the bag filling compartment, operation of motor "7% will cause the door to move to close the opening between the bag filling section and the bag storage section as shown in FIG. 4-. To facilitate this, tracks 75 terminate near the left edge (as viewed in MG. 2) of the opening and the door is of such height that it can be moved to closed position while the bag being filled can be continued to be supported on rods 38 when the door is in closed position as shown in FIG. 10.

In order to permit the door to slide between the bag in the bag filling section and the bags remaining in the bag storage section, it is necessary that the lower end of the bag to be filled be moved away from the bags in the storage section a sufficient distance that the door can move therebetween. To achieve this function, ramp 65 is provided with an upwardly offset portion 65b. Then as the cam roller first contacts ramp section 65a, it will be moved downwardly to lower the blade 58 into the bag. At about the time the cam roller 64 reaches horizontal ramp portion 650, cam roller ill of the clamping arm 66 will have moved along ramp l to be positioned on ramp section 73 at which time the forward side of the bag is clamped to the blade by the clamping arm. Then as cam roller 64 moves forward, it will move past ramp section 650 after which the spring 60 will snap the blade upwardly until cam roller 64 engages ramp portion 65b. This upward snapping of the blade causes the lower end of the bag to be snapped outwardly and away from the bags in the storage section so that the door '74 can move therebetween. As indicated above, the edge of the notch on the lower end of the rod will tend to move the forward side of the bag upwardly as the rod moves upwardly so that when the blade subsequently has the forward side of the bag clamped to it, the clamping will be at a location lower on the front side of the bag than it would be otherwise. This permits the subsequent upward snapping of the forward side of the bag to be more effective.

As the carrier moves forward, cam roller 64 will move past the outer end of ramp section 6522 and spring 6h will then move the blade upwardly and during the initial portion of such movement, cam roller 76 will clear the top of door 72 thereby releasing the bag.

It will be noted that ramp 65 is hinged at 65d and that ramp portion 6a is urged to the position shown in FIG.

7 by a spring 65e acting between an arm 65f on ramp section 65a and ramp section 65b. Arm 65f and a stop 65g act to limit the upward swinging of ramp section 65a. When the carrier moves rearwardly after a bag has been filled cam roller 64 will move against the upper side of ramp section 65a causing it to swing downwardly so that the cam roller can move therepast.

Heat sealing means are provided so as to be movable, responsive to movement of the carrier, to close the upper end of the bag and to apply heat thereto to heat seal the bag. This is illustrated as including a conventional bar type sealer 80 (FIG. 4) carried by a pair of levers 81 each of which is pivoted to the frame by a pivot 82. Only the right hand lever is shown but it will be understood that a corresponding left hand lever is pivoted to the left hand side of the frame and that the outer ends of the levers are connected by a rod 810 (FIG. 6) and that the sealer bar can be connected to rod 81a. A spring 83 is connected to the right hand lever 81 and to the frame to urge the levers to move the sealer bar downwardly. However, a trigger lever 84 having a shoe 85 at its lower end is pivoted at 86 to the frame and is urged to latching position by a spring 87 connected between the trigger lever and ramp pivot support 56. It will thus be seen that the shoe provides a notch to engage the rod 81a to retain the sealer mechanism in a cocked position as shown in FIG. 4.

After the bag has been filled and blade 58 retracted, the carrier will continue its forward movement until abutment 88 (FIG. 9) pushes against a bar 89 fixed to and extending inwardly of trigger lever 84 to move the trigger lever to unlatched position as shown in FIG. 1 1. This permits the sealer mechanism to pivot downwardly until roller cam 90 on the inside of lever 81 strikes an abutment 91 on the carrier. As the carrier moves rearwardly, roller cam 91 will be disengaged from abutment 91 so that the sealer mechanism can then swing downwardly to move the forward side of the bag against the rear side and form a heat seal across the top of the bag.

As the carrier moves forward toward bag filling position, the cam roller 90 on lever 81 will engage the lower end of toggle 92, which is pivoted at 93 to support 94 carried by the frame, and will cause the toggle to pivot upwardly so that the roller cam 90 can move therepast. However, as the carrier moves rearwardly toggle 92 will engage roller cam 90 to pivot the sealer bar upwardly. During the final portion of this movement, bar 89 will engage the underside of shoe 85 to move the trigger lever 84 in a counter-clockwise direction (as viewed in FIG. 4) so that the bar can be moved to be engaged as shown in FIG. 4. Pivoting of toggle 92 in a clockwise direction while it engages roller cam 90 to return the sealer mechanism to cocked position is prevented by a stop 95 carried by support 94.

As shown in FIG. 2, the bin 13 is provided with an agitator in the form of an upstanding shaft 96 rotated by a motor and drive mechanism 97. Shaft 96 has a pair of bars 98 which agitate the ice in the bin and prevent it from bridging. The agitator is operated only while the carrier is receiving ice from the bin and periodically (e.g., for -20 seconds each 15 minutes) during periods when ice is not being dispensed. Agitation during the ice dispensing cycle is controlled by agitator switch 99 (FIG. 4) carried by the frame so that when the carrier moves rearwardly, the switch arm engages cam surface 100 (FIG. 12) to close the switch. The switch remains closed by virtue of the switch arm riding along surface 101 while the carrier is moving rearwardly to place cavity 19 under bin outlet 20 and then as the carrier moves forwardly, the switch arm will open the switch to stop the agitation as soon as cam surface moves forwardly of the switch arm.

A description of a complete cycle of operation will now be given. A coin is deposited in coin operated switch mechanism 1 1 and this momentarily closes coin switch 11a (FIG. 14). The resulting pulse actuates double acting latching relay 102 which connects carrier drive motor 26a into the circuit and it acts to start the carrier moving rearwardly until cavity 19 is below bin opening 20 so that ice cubes can fill the cavity. At the same time, the backward movement causes agitator switch 99 to close which starts the agtiating mechanism. Then as the carrier drive motor starts to move the carrier forwardly, switch 99 will be opened and agitation will cease. At about this same time, switch 103 (FIGS. 4 and 14) is closed momentarily by toggle 103a engaging the switch and this energizes door motor 78. As the door begins to open, a roller switch 104 on top of motor 78 is engaged and closed by a platen 105 on door 74 and this maintains motor 78 in operation until the door is fully open at which time the roller switch is opened by the platen moving out of contact with it. In the meantime, toggle 103a has moved past switch 103 permitting it to open. As the carrier moves forward rod 46 drops down and begins to open the bag as shown at 46 in FIG. 2. Then lever 61 is moved down by cam roller 64 moving along ramp 65 (FIG. 7) so that the blade 58 is lowered into the bag and clamping lever 66 is actuated to clamp the front side of the bag to the blade. Further movement of the carrier results in cam roller 64 moving to its FIG. 10 position to snap the front side of the bag upwardly resulting in movement of the bottom of the bag away from the other bags as shown in FIG. 10. In the meantime, rod 46 has been moved out of the bag by ramp 53. As soon as the bag is snapped, toggle 103a moves into engagement with door closing switch 106 to close it. This starts door motor 78 to begin running to move the door to closed position, with roller switch 104 again being held closed by engagement with platen 105 until the door has fully closed after which it will open and stop the door motor. Next, as the carrier moves forward, cam roller 33 will engage ramp 34 (FIG. 10) to move trap door 29 to open position thereby permitting the ice cubes in the cavity to fall in the bag. Next, cam roller 64 moves forwardly out from under ramp portion 65b and the blade 58 is moved upward by spring 60 which also releases clamping lever 66 so that the forward side of the bag is now unsupported. During its last increment of forward movement, the carrier ,unlatches trigger lever 84 permitting the sealer bar to move downwardly to FIG. 11 position. Then as the carrier begins to move rearwardly, abutment 91 will clear cam roller 90 to permit the heater bar to swing down, close the bag and form the heat seal. Then the roller cam 90 engages toggle 92 to move the sealer bar back to the latched position. During the final increment of movement in the cycle, toggle 107 engages switch 108 to close it which causes latching relay 102 to open the circuit to carrier drive motor 26a. 9

It will be appreciated that toggle 103a is pivoted to the carrier at 1031: (FIG. 12) so that as the carrier moves rearwardly, the toggle can swing upwardly when it engages door switches 103 and 106 so as not to actuate them. However, when the carrier moves forward, stop 103C prevents the toggle from swinging and the switches are actuated. Similarly toggle 1107 is pivoted at W70 so that it can be pivoted upwardly to avoid actuating stop switch W8 as the carrier moves forward but will actuate it when the carrier moves rearward.

From the foregoing it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to attain all of the ends and objects hereinabove set forth, together with other advantages which are obvious and which are inherent to the apparatus and method.

It will beunderstood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims.

As many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

The invention having been described, what is claimed l. A method of opening and filling a flexible plastic bag from a series of such bags having openable ends and being of the type which have a portion of their rearward sides extending above their forward sides which comprises, in combination: supporting said series of bags at their rearward sides while at the same time causing the foremost bag to have its extending portion inclined rearwardly and upwardly of the remainder of the bag to provide an inclined surface while the upper edge of the forward side of the bag remains in close proximity to the rearward side of the bag; placing an element having a thin end in sliding contact with said inclined surface and sliding it therealong into the interior of the bag and then moving it forwardly to move the forward side of the bag away from the rearward side to partially open the bag; gripping the forward side of the partially opened bag and moving it to open the bag further while continuing support of the rearward side of the bag; depositing material in said bag; and ceasing to grip the forward side of the bag.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the forward side of the bag, after it has been gripped but before material is deposited in the bag, is moved upwardly rapidly to cause the lower end of the bag to be moved away from the next succeeding bag of the series.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein the step of ceasing to grip the forward side of the bag occurs after the material has been deposited in the bag and wherein force is thereafter applied to move the forward side of the bag against the rearward side thereof and then heat is applied across the upper end of the bag to seal the upper end thereof.

4. The method of claim 3 including the step of moving a door between the opened bag and the next succeeding bag after the opened bag has'had its lower end moved away from the next succeeding bag and wherein the door is positioned to support the rear side of the bag while the forward side is moved against the rearward side and while heat is being applied to seal the bag.

5. The method of claim ll wherein at least the upper portion of the bag is of heat sealable material and including the further step of sealing the upper end of the bag after said material has been deposited therein by applying heat across the upper end of the bag after it has been closed while pressing the sides of the bag together at the locus of the application of heat.

6. An apparatus for successively opening a plurality of flexible plastic bags and for holding them open while a material is deposited therein, the bags being of the type which have a portion of their rearward sides extending above their forward sides, comprising, in combination: a support; a carrier mounted for horizontal reciprocation on said support; means for supporting a plurality of flattened bags of the aforesaid type beneath said carrier so that the forward bag has its extending portion inclined upwardly and rearwardiy of the remainder of the bag; a bag opening element having a relatively thin lower end; actuating means for the bag opening element including means mounting the element for movement to move the lower end of the .element downwardly into sliding contact with the inclined portion of a bag and thence along said portion down into the interior of the bag to move the forward side thereof away from the rearward side to partially open the bag; support means movable into the partially opened bag to engage and support the forward side of the bag and to move it to a more fully open position; and means for so moving the support means into the bag and for retracting the element from the bag and for releasing and withdrawing the bag support means from the bag.

'7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein said bag opening element is a rod having a thin lower end, said element mounting means mounting the rod on the carrier so that as the carrier moves forward, the rod is moved along said inclined surface.

8. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein said bag support means is mounted on the carrier to move into the bag as aforesaid responsive to forward movement of the carrier and then to move upwardly while grasping the forward side of the bag to move the bottom of the bag away from the other bags.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said bag support means includes a blade carried by the carrier for vertical reciprocation with respect thereto and on downward movement, moving inside the bag, and a clamping member carried by the blade and operable to be moved responsive to movement of the blade to a position such that the forward side of the bag is between the clamping member and the blade and then to be moved to clamp the forward side of the bag to the blade to support the forward side of the bag while the bag is in open position.

10. An apparatus for successively filling and sealing a plurality of flexible heat scalable plastic bags and for isolating unfilled bags while a filled bag is being removed comprising, in combination: a housing having a bag filling section and a bag storage section with an opening therebetween for passage of a bag from the storage section to the filling section; means for supporting a plurality of flattened bags in said bag storage section with a first bag adjacent said opening; means for moving a forward side of a first bag away from the rearward side of the bag while the rearward side remain sta tionarily supported in said bag storage section and for moving said forward side upwardly to cause the lower end of the bag to be moved away from the remaining bags in the storage section; means for filling the bag while it is in open position; closure means normally closing said opening and movable to open said opening so that a bag can be opened and filled and also being movable to closed position after the bag has been opened and after it has had its lower end moved away from the remaining bags, said closure means while in closed position being between the filled bag in the filling section and the bags stored in the storage section; and heat sealing means movable, responsive to movement of the carrier to apply a heat seal across an upper portion of the bag by pressing said upper portion of the bag against said closure means when it is in closed position and applying heat to seal the bag.

11. The apparatus of claim wherein said closure means is a sliding door and wherein means are provided for moving the door to open position prior to operation of said means for moving the forward side of a bag and for moving the door toward closed position prior to filling of a bag.

12. An apparatus for opening and filling a succession of plastic bags which comprises, in combination: a housing including a bin for storing material to be bagged, said bin having a lower discharge opening; a carrier mounted in the housing below the bin and having a measuring cavity therein open at the top and bottom, said carrier being mounted in the housing for reciprocation between a rearward filling position where the cavity is in register with the bin opening to a forward discharge position wherein the contents of the cavity are to be discharged from the bottom of the cavity; means closing the bottom of the cavity while it is receiving material from the bin and while it is being moved to said discharge position and then opening the bottom of the cavity; means in the housing below the carrier adapted to support a plurality of flattened bags with the forwardmost flattened bag being adjacent the rearward side of said cavity when the carrier is in said forward discharge position; and means for moving the forward side of said forwardmost bag away from the rear side of the bag to open same and positioning the open end of the bag beneath said cavity when the carrier is in said forward discharge position.

13. The apparatus of claim 12 wherein said means closing the bottom of the cavity includes a trap door mounted on the carrier adjacent the bottom of the cavity; means for holding the trap door in closed position as the carrier moves toward said forward discharge position and permitting the trap door to open when the carrier moves to said discharge position; and means for moving the trap door to closed position prior to the carrier returning to its filling position.

14. The apparatus of claim 13 wherein the means for holding the trap door in closed position includes a plate beneath the carrier disposed so that the trap door slides therealong to be held in closed position, said plate terminating adjacent the rear side of the opened bag.

15. An appartus for opening, filling and sealing a succession of plastic bags of heat sealable material, the bags being of the type which have a portion of their rearward sides extending upwardly above their forward sides, comprising, in combination; a housing including a bin for storing material to be bagged, said bin having a lower discharge opening; a carrier mounted in the housing and having a measuring cavity therein open at the top and bottom, said carrier being mounted in the housing for reciprocation between a rearward filling position where the cavity is in register with the bin opening to a forward discharge position where the contents of the cavity are to be discharged from the bottom of the cavity; said housing having a bag filling section and a bag storage section beneath the carrier with an opening between the sections for passage of a bag from the storage section to the filling section; means for supporting a plurality of flattened bags of the aforesaid type in said bag storage section so that the forward bag has its upwardly extending portion inclined upwardly and rearwardly of the remainder of the bag; a bag opening element having a relatively thin lower end; actuating means for the bag opening element including means mounting the element for movement to move the lower end of the element downwardly into sliding contact with the inclined portion of a bag and thence along said portion down into the interior of the bag to move the forward side thereof away from the rearward side of the bag to partially open. the bag; support means movable into the partially opened bag to engage and support the forward side of the bag and move it to a more fully open position so that as said carrier moves to discharge position the contents thereof can fall into the open bag; means for so moving the bag support means into the bag and for retracting the element from the bag and for releasing and withdrawing the bag support means from the bag; closure means normally closing said opening between the bag storage and filling sections and movable to open said opening so that a bag can be opened and filled and also being movable to closed position after a bag has been moved into the filling section and while in closed position being between the bag in the filling section and the bags in the storage section; and heat sealing means movable, responsive to movement of the carrier after a bag has been filled to apply a heat seal across an upper portion of the bag by pressing said upper portion of the bag against said closure means when it is in closed position and applying heat to seal the bag.

16. The apparatus of claim 15 wherein means are provided to snap the forward side of the bag upwardly as it is being moved to open position, to cause the lower end of the bag to be moved away from the remaining bags in the bag storage section.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/459, 53/384.1, 53/572, 53/284.7, 53/477
International ClassificationB65B43/28, B65B43/26
Cooperative ClassificationB65B43/28
European ClassificationB65B43/28