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Publication numberUS3807117 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 30, 1974
Filing dateAug 10, 1972
Priority dateAug 10, 1972
Publication numberUS 3807117 A, US 3807117A, US-A-3807117, US3807117 A, US3807117A
InventorsAbrams H
Original AssigneeOwens Illinois Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for forming packages of containers
US 3807117 A
Abstract
A method and apparatus for forming packages of containers wherein the containers are moved substantially continuously in a predetermined path, the containers are segregated into groups or clusters and bands of stretchable material moving along the path are stretched about the clusters and bonded to one another to produce banded clusters. Carriers are thereafter applied to the ends of the containers.
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United States Patent 1191 Abrams 5] Apr. 30, 1974 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR FORMING PACKAGES OF CONTAINERS Herbert C. Abrams, Columbus, Ohio Owens-Illinois, Inc., Toledo, Ohio Aug. 10, 1972 [75] Inventor:

Assignee:

Filed:

Appl. No.:

US. Cl 53/3, 53/26, 53/48, 53/75, 53/159, 53/198 Int. Cl B65b 13/14 Field of Search 53/3, 26, 30, 48, 75, 159, 53/198 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS l/l973 Walter 53/3 l/l958 Crary 53/48 X 10/1971 Chidsey, Jr. 53/48 X 11/1970 53/48 X Bertrand 4 e oo e 3,447,280 6/1969 Cunningham et a1 53/26 X 3,404,505 10/1968 Hohl et al. 53/26 2,575,580 11/1951 Cadmus 53/48 X 3,097,740 7/1963 Poupitch... 53/48 X 3,628,305 12/1971 Owen 53/48 X Primary Examiner-Travis S. McGehee Assistant Examiner.|ohn Sipos Attorney, Agent, or FirmBarnes, Kisselle, Raisch &

Choate [5 7] ABSTRACT A method and apparatus for forming packages of containers wherein the containers are moved substantially continuously in a predetermined path, the containers are segregated into groups or clusters and bands of stretchable material moving along the path are stretched about the clusters and bonded to one another to produce banded clusters. Carriers are thereafter applied to the ends of the containers.

41 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR FORMING PACKAGES OF CONTAINERS This invention relates to a method and apparatus for forming packages of containers and particularly containers which have a body portionand a relatively smaller neck portion.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In the handling'of containers such as bottles having a body portion and a relatively smaller neck portion with a closure on the upper end of the neck portion, it is common to provide packages comprising groups or clusters of the containers. In one type of such package, a group or cluster of containers is provided with a band about the body portions and a carrier is provided over the neck portions.

Among the objects of the invention are to provide a method and apparatus for forming such groups or clusters from containers moving continuously in a predetermined path; wherein the groups or clusters are banded at high speed; wherein problems of inertia and complicated mechanical drive are minimized; wherein adjustments can be readily made for containers of different sizes and for different sized groups or clusters of containers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the invention, a method and apparatus is provided for forming packages of containers wherein the containers are moved substantially continuously in a predetermined path, the containers are segregated into groups or clusters as they are moved continuously and bands of stretchable material moving along the path are stretched about the clusters and bonded to one another to produce banded clusters as the clusters are moved continuously. Carriers are thereafter applied to the ends of the containers.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary plan view of an apparatus embodying the invention.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary sectional view on an enlarged scale taken along the line 22 in FIG. 1, parts being broken away.

FIG. 3 is a plan view of a modified cluster.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a further modified form of group or cluster.

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary part sectional plan view of a portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 showing the parts in a different operative position.

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 7-7 in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary view on an enlarged scale of a portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 9-+9 in FIG. 6.

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary part sectional view of the apparatus embodying the invention.

DESCRIPTION Referring to FIG. 1, the apparatus embodying the invention comprises a plate 10 to which containers are delivered by an infeed conveyor, not shown. Two continuous rows of containers C having a body portion and a relatively smaller upper neck portion, are moved along plate 10 by endless side belts ll trained over sprockets l2 and provided with pockets 13 engaging the sides of the rows of containers and are delivered to an endless conveyor E.

As the containers are moved along by conveyor E, tools T are moved radially inwardly to segregate the containers into groups or clusters. Simultaneously, endless bands B of a stretchable material such as polyethylene are drawn from reels l4 and guided by rolls along the sides of the containers so that the tools T stretch the bands B as the tools move transversely inwardly and clamp opposing bands together at longitudinally spaced portions. As presently described, the tools T are provided with a heated element or knife which functions to sever the bands between the clamped portions. The portions of tools T are then heated to bond the clamped portions together. As the clusters are further moved along by the tools T and the conveyor E, a flat carrier F is applied over the upper ends of the containers by assemblies A movable on an endless track.

Referring to FIG. 1, each tool T forms a part of a tool carrier 20 which is provided with an overrunning clutch 21 such that it can be engaged upon appropriate signal with a conveyor 22 that is trained over sprockets 23, 24 one of which is driven.

As the containers are moved along afger disengagement from the endless belts 11, a counter 25 functions to signal the presence of a cluster and upon signal actuates a solenoid 26 (FIG. 5) to cause the clutch 21 to engage the conveyor 22 so that the tool T are. carrier 20 will be carried along by each conveyor. Each conveyor is guided by a track 27 so that the tool carriers 20 are progressively moved transversely inwardly as shown in FIG. 1 to a position wherein electrical bus bars 28 engage the portions of the tool carriers at the appropriate times to energize the heated portions thereof, as presently described.

As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, each carrier 20 has a spring clutch assembly 21 released by engagement of the solenoid plunger 29 with a projection 30 to cause the carrier to move along with the conveyor. A typical spring clutch assembly may be such as that shown and described in US. Pat. No. 3,161,145, issued Dec. 15, 1964.

Referring to FIGS. 6-9, the tool T comprises a spring loaded clamping member 31 that has spaced portions 31a which engage longitudinally spaced portions of the bands B bringing them into opposed clamping relation sufficient to press the bands together but insufficient to deform the bands.

. Each tool T further includes a heated knife or wire 35 supported on a spring loaded plunger 36 so that upon further movement of the tool carrier 20, radially inwardly, the wire engages the bands melting the plastic material and thereby severing the bands in the portions of the bands betweenthe spaced portions 31a of the tool.

After the severing of the bands, heat is applied to spring loaded heated parts 32 which bond the bands beyond the clamp portions 31a. After the band has cooled sufficiently to set, the tool carriers 20 move and guide the clusters during application of the carriers F. Finally, the tool carriers 20 are guided outwardly by the track 27 around the sprocket 24'. At this point, a quick return belt 40 with pushers thereon engages each carrier 20 to quickly carry the tool carrier 20 to a waiting position adjacent the stop 26. In accordance with well-known construction, the one-way clutch 21 of each carrier permits the carrier to be disengaged from drive with the conveyor 22 adjacent stop 26. As each carrier reaches the waiting position, the projection 41 engages the preceding tool carrier to hold the clutch in disengaged position with respect to the conveyor 22.

Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, each clutch 21 includes a shaft 45 rotatably mounted in a body 46 and a sprocket 47 fixed to the shaft. A lever 48 is rotatably mounted on the shaft 45 and a clutch spring 49 is provided which has one end fixed to the carrier and the other to the lever, the convolutions of the spring snugly surrounding the shaft 45.

It can thus be seen that the tools T perform the following functions as the containers are moved continuously:

1. Form the container group or clusters 2. Form the band around the groups or clusters 3. Cut the bands between'groups or clusters 4. Heat-seal the band The containers are fed to the machine by belts 11 to assure orderly feed and uniform spacing between containers. Later when the bottles are moved together into groups, space is developed between the groups for the tools. There is no requirement, therefore, for escapement devices to generate the spacing. Because the space between all container groups is the same, the pitch (distance between lead containers of two adjacent groups) will change with a change in container size or number of containers in a group (FIGS. 3, 4). To provide the proper pitch, the demand-type conveyor system releases the tools in synchronism with the appropriate number of containers. Thus automatically spaced on the proper pitch, the tools are moved by conveyors 22 to engage the bands and container groups. The strips of band material are fed, one from each side of'the bottle line, between the heat-seal tools and the containers. As the tools move toward each other and meet between the container groups, the bands are tensioned and wrapped around the groups thus formed.

Subsequently, the web between packs is cut and then heat-sealed toprovide separate individual 4-, 6-, or 8- packs. I

The container groups move continuously through the machine while the bands and carriers are applied.

The machine system complexity is greatly reduced because of the elimination of the following:

1. Complex band stretch tooling 2. High-rate equipment for band cutting and opening (see FIG. 2)

3. In-feed container escapement devices 4. Provisions for band tooling adjustments 5. Extra guide belts to maintain container spacing The machine system made possible by this invention has many other favorable assets. Because the overall machine complexity is greatly reduced, construction costs are reduced, and increased reliability coupled with reduced maintenance is achieved. One of the most important features is that band tooling adjustment required for set-up is almost completely eliminated. In addition, by varying the feed of feed rollers 50, the tension on the bands which is established by the feed rollers 50 and the carriers 20 can be readily controlled to provide the desired tension in the bands as they are placed about the clusters.

Another important feature is that the machine system lends itself to the design of models with options to suit the needs of the user. For example, where container and group configurations are limited, a less complex machine might be provided. In this case, heat-seal and carrier tools could be driven on fixed pitch chains, although more tools would be required to fill the chain. The slight increase in tool cost would be offset by the reduction in complexity and cost of the demand conveyor drives and the tool-release controls. Provisions for changing the drive chains would make change-over possible if the changes are limited. In instances where printing of the bands can be of a repetitive pattern, controls for maintaining registration would not be required. The user would again benefit by using a less complex machine and from the band material inventory saving (only one inventory of band would cover all container and pack sizes for a given product).

Savings in band material cost may be possible with this approach, through use of lower-cost material, by providing for a longer stretch time. By way of expla nation, machine length is related to stretch time, and an 0.4-second increase 7 in stretch time would increase machine length approximately 13 inches. This would be a small increase to almost double the stretching time for the band, if the material cost benefits could be obtained.

I claim:

1. The method of forming packages of containers having a body portion and a relatively smaller neck portion which comprises moving said containers substantially continuously in a predetermined path,

segregating said containers as they are moved in said path into groups or clusters,

moving and guiding bands of stretchable material alongside the path of said containers such that opposed bands are moved alongside and with the containers,

stretching portions of said bands into the space between successive clusters,

bringing said stretched portions into clamping engagement with one another,

bonding said portions to one another,

severing said clamped-portions prior to bonding to provide continuous bands holding said clusters in assembled relation,

thereafter moving said banded clusters in a continuous path,

moving successive carriers for said clusters along with said clusters in synchronism therewith,

and applying said carriers to the upper ends of the containers as the banded clusters are moved continuously.

2. The method set forth in claim 1 wherein the step of severing occurs as the containers are being moved continuously.

3. The method set forth in claim 1 wherein said step of bringing said stretch portions into engagement with one another is achieved by bringing longitudinally spaced portions of said bands into engagement with one another.

4. The method set forth in claim 3 wherein said step of bonding said portions to one another is performed by applying heat thereto.

5. The method 'set forth in claim 4 including the step of severing said bands in the areas between said spaced portions to thereby provide continuous bands holding said clusters in assembled relation.

6. The method of forming packages of containers having a body portion which comprises moving said containers substantially continuously in a predetermined path,

segregating said containers as they are moved in said path into groups or clusters,

positioning and moving bands of stretchable material alongside the path of said containers such that opposed bands are moved alongside and with the containers,

stretching portions of said hands into the space between successive clusters,

bringing said stretched portions into clamping engagement with one another,

bonding said portions thereof to one another,

severing said clamped portions prior to bonding to provide continuous bands holding said clusters in assembled relation.

7. The method set forth in claim 6 wherein the step of severing occurs as the containers are being moved continuously.

8. The method set forth in claim 6 wherein said step of bringing said stretch portions into engagement with one another is achieved by bringing longitudinally spaced portions of said bands into engagement with one another.

9. The method set forth in claim 8 wherein said step of bonding said portions to one another is performed by applying heat thereto.

10. The method set forth in claim 9 including the step of severing said bands in the areas between said spaced portions to thereby provide continuous bands holding said clusters in assembled relation.

11. The method of forming packages of containers having a body portion which comprises moving said containers substantially continuously in a predetermined path with the containers in abutting relationship to one another,

moving bonding tools along the paths of the containers,

positioning an endless length of stretch material alongside the path of the containers such that opposed bands are provided alongside the containers,

causing the tools to move transversely inwardly toward one another while they are moved continuously to thereby stretch said bands and segregate said containers as they are moved in said path into groups or clusters, causing said tools to move further transversely inwardly to further stretch portions of said bands into the space between the successive clusters and bring said stretch portions into clamping engagement with one another, and bonding said portions to one another. 12. The method set forth in claim 11 including the step of heating portions of said tools to perform said bonding step.

13. The method set forth in claim 12 wherein each said tool clamps longitudinally spaced portions of said bands. 1

14. The method set forth in claim 13 including the step of severing said bands between said longitudinally spaced bonded portions and prior to bonding.

15. In an apparatus for making a package of containers having a body portion, the combination comprising a conveyor for moving containers in predetermined paths,

means along the conveyor for segregating the containers into clusters,

means for moving continuous lengths of stretchable material along the sides of said clusters as they are moved in said continuous path,

means positioned alongside the path of the containers and operable to stretch portions of said band between successive clusters toward one another into clamping contact,

means for bonding said contacted portions to one another,

means for severing successive clusters at said clamped portions and prior to bonding to leave each cluster with an endless band of stretchable material about said cluster,

means further along the path of said clusters for applying carriers to said clusters as they are being moved along said path.

16. The combination set forth in claim 15 wherein said last-mentioned means is operable to move with said cluster such that the severing occurs as the cluster is moving in said path.

17. The combination set forth in claim 15 wherein said means for engaging and stretching portions of said band comprises a plurality of elements along each side of the path of movement of said clusters,

means for guiding and moving said elements transversely toward one another.

18. The combination set forth in claim 17 wherein said means for bonding said stretch portions of said bands to one another comprise heated portions of said transversely moved elements.

19. The combination set forth in claim 18 wherein said elements include a severing portion operable to sever said bands while they are clamped and prior to bonding.

20. The combination set forth in claim 15 including means for guiding said elements in an endless path, and conveyor means for moving said elements.

21. The combination set forth in claim 20 wherein each said element includes means for engaging and disengaging said element from said endless conveyor.

22. The combination set forth in claim 21 including means responsive to the presence of a cluster of containers for engaging a corresponding element with the conveyor.

23. The combination set forth in claim 22 including means for rapidly advancing said element in said predetermined path to a position adjacent the point of contact with a cluster of containers before a band is applied thereto.

24. The combination set forth in claim 15 wherein each said element clamps a band at longitudinally spaced portions and each said elements cooperate to bond said bands at said longitudinally spaced portions.

25. The combination set forth in claim 24 wherein at least one element of said opposed pair includes means for severing said bands.

26. In an apparatus for making a package of containershaving a body portion, the combination comprising a conveyor for moving containers in predetermined paths,

means along the conveyor for segregating the containers into clusters, means for moving continuous lengths of stretchable material along the sides of said clusters as they ar moved in said continuous path,

means positioned alongside the path of the containers and operable to stretch portions of said band between successive clusters toward one another into clamping contact,

means for bonding said contacted portions to one another,

means for severing successive clusters at said clamped portions prior to bonding to leave each cluster with an endless band of stretchable material about said cluster.

27. The combination set forth in claim 26 wherein said last-mentioned means is operable to move with said cluster such that the severing occurs as the cluster is moving in said path.

28. The combination set forth in claim 26 wherein said means for engaging and stretching portions of said band comprises a plurality of elements along each side of the path of movement of said clusters,

means for guiding and moving said elements transversely toward one another.

29. The combination set forth in claim 28 wherein said means for bonding said stretch portions of said bands to one another comprise heated portions of said transversely moved elements.

30. The combination set forth in claim 29 wherein said elements include a severing portion.

31. The combination set forth in claim 26 including endless means for guiding said elements in an endless path, and conveyor means for moving said elements.

32. The combination set forth in claim 31 wherein each said element includes means for engaging and disengaging said element from said endless conveyor.

33. The combination set forthin claim 32 including means responsive to the presence of a cluster of containers for engaging a corresponding element with the conveyor.

34. The combination set forth in claim 33 including means for rapidly advancing said element in said predetermined path to a position adjacent the point of contact with a cluster of containers before a band is applied thereto.

35. The combination set forth in claim 26 wherein each said element engages a band at longitudinally spaced portions and said elements cooperate to bond said bands at said longitudinally spaced portions.

36. The combination set forth in claim 35 wherein at least one element of each opposed pair includes means for severing said bands.

37. An apparatus for forming packages of containers having a body portion which comprises means moving said containers substantially continuously in a predetermined path with the containers in abutting relationship to one another,

means for moving clamping and bonding tools along the paths of the containers,

means for positioningan endless length of stretch material alongside the path of the containers such that opposed bands are provided alongside the containers,

means for causing the tools to move transversely inwardly toward one another while they are moved continuously to thereby stretch said bands and segregate said containers as they are moved in said path into groups or clusters,

means for causing said tools to move further transversely inwardly to further stretch portions of said bands into the space between the successive clusters and bring said stretch portions into clamping engagement with one another,

and means for bonding said portions to one another.

38. The combination set forth in claim 37 including means for heating portions of said tools to perform said bonding.

39. The combination set forth in claim 38 wherein each said tool includes portions engaging and bonding longitudinally spaced portions of said bands.

40. The combination set forth in claim 39 including means on said tools for severing said bands between said longitudinally spaced clamped portions.

41. The method of forming packages of containers having a body portion which comprises moving said containers substantially continuously in a predetermined path,

segregating said containers as they are moved in said path into groups or clusters, moving and guiding bands of stretchable material alongside the path of said containers such that opposed bands are moved alongside and with the containers,

stretching portions of said bands into the space between successive clusters,

clamping the portions of said webs between successive clusters at longitudinally spaced portions, severing said bands between said longitudinally spaced clamped portions,

and thereafter bonding the free ends of opposed bands as they are clamped.

27 3 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,807,1l7 Dated A ril 30, 1974 Inventor(s) Herbert C Abrams It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 4, line 57, cancel "stretch" and insert -stretched Column 5, line 23, cancel "stretch" and insert --stretched- Column 5, line 41, cancel "stretch" and insert -stretchable- Column 5, line 53, cancel "stretch" and insert -stretched- Column 6, line 33, cancel "stretch" and insert stretched Column 7, line 27, cancel "stretch" and insert --stretched Column 8, line 9, cancel "stretch" and insert -stretchable Column 8, line 21, cancel "stretch" and insert stretched Signed and sealed this 10th day of September 197A.

(SEAL) Attest:

MCCOY M. GIBSON, JR. C. MARSHALL DANN' Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3950203 *Apr 2, 1975Apr 13, 1976Vereenigde Metaalverpakking En Hechtdraad Industrie B.V.Mvm-EndraMethods of applying a tape around an object or a stack of objects and devices for carrying out said method
US4530264 *Jun 30, 1983Jul 23, 1985Illinois Tool Works Inc.Carrier cutting wheel
US4563859 *Jul 13, 1983Jan 14, 1986Koninklijke Emballage Industrie Van Leer B.V.Method and apparatus for packaging products
US4670279 *Aug 3, 1983Jun 2, 1987Otto Hansel GmbhMethod for wrapping essentially flat products of the luxury-item or foodstuffs industry, especially squares or bars of chocolate, in packaging foil
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US5114012 *Oct 22, 1990May 19, 1992Wta Inc.Interleaved spiral wrapping of foam product and stretch film for packaging carbonless paper rolls
US5210995 *Jul 1, 1991May 18, 1993Doboy Iberica S.A.Machine designed for packaging objects, particularly containers
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US6591436Jun 19, 2001Jul 15, 2003Spuhl Ag St. GallenSide seam pocketed coil springs
US6834477 *Jun 11, 2002Dec 28, 2004Spuhl AgMethod and system for forming strings of pocketed coil springs with traction mechanism
US7614202Nov 27, 2007Nov 10, 2009Atlas Vac Machine Co., LlcSealer and interchangeable tooling therefor
US7690175 *Jul 9, 2007Apr 6, 2010Sitma S.P.A.Method for the packaging of articles with a film of plastic material
DE102010015853A1 *Mar 8, 2010Sep 8, 2011Krones AgVerfahren und Vorrichtung zur Behandlung von Artikeln
EP0388606A2 *Feb 1, 1990Sep 26, 1990Renzo GrossiApparatus for continuously packaging batches of containers or the like
WO2002102668A1 *Jun 11, 2002Dec 27, 2002Spuhl Ag St GallenMethod and system for forming strings of pocketed coil springs with traction mechanism
WO2011031703A1 *Sep 8, 2010Mar 17, 2011Illinois Tool Works Inc.Shrink film applying apparatus having independently drivable flight bar assemblies
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/398, 53/441, 53/580, 53/48.5, 53/553, 53/48.3, 53/556, 53/450, 53/479, 53/413, 206/150, 53/75, 206/427
International ClassificationB65B21/00, B65B9/00, B65B21/24, B65B9/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65B9/02, B65B21/245
European ClassificationB65B21/24F, B65B9/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 14, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: OWENS-ILLINOIS PLASTIC PRODUCTS INC., ONE SEAGATE,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST. EFFECTIVE APRIL 15, 1987;ASSIGNOR:OWENS-ILLINOIS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:004875/0962
Effective date: 19870323
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:OWENS-ILLINOIS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:4875/962
Owner name: OWENS-ILLINOIS PLASTIC PRODUCTS INC., A CORP. OF D
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:OWENS-ILLINOIS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:004875/0962