US 3832827 A
An apparatus and method are provided for continuously forming containers of plastic sheet material and filling same as they are formed, thereby eliminating the need to rehandle formed containers to effect their filling. In one form, two sheets of weldable polymeric material or metal are continuously fed together from respective roll supply thereof, are edge seamed and welded together to form continuous pockets between each of which is fed an intermittent supply of material to form the contents of the pockets. In another form, the sheets are continuously formed by one or more extruders and fed together where they are formed into pockets with each pocket being closed after a predetermined quantity of contents are delivered between the two sheets. If extruded continuously, the sheets are preferably fed downwardly together while fluent material is intermittently disposed therebetween after each previous pocket is sealed and disposed below the newly formed but open pocket.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Lemelson Sept. 3, 1974  Inventor: Jerome H. Lemelson, 85 Rector St.,
Metuchen, NJ. 08840  Filed: July 10, 1972 ] Appl. No.: 269,926
Related US. Application Data  Continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 696,966, Dec. 18, 1967, Pat. No. 3,676,249, which is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 269,832, March 22, 1963, abandoned, which is a continuation of Ser. No. 651,749, April 9, 1957, abandoned.
 US. Cl. 53/111 R, 53/21 R, 53/140  Int. Cl B65!) 55/08, B65b 9/10, B65b 9/04  Field of Search 53/25, 28, 111 R, 111 RC, 53/127, 140, 180, 21 R; 21/54 R, 102 R;
Rainer et a1. 156/272 Sloan et al 53/140 X Primary Examiner-Robert L. Spruill [5 7] ABSTRACT An apparatus and method are provided for continuously forming containers of plastic sheet material and filling same as they are formed, thereby eliminating the need to rehandle formed containers to effect their filling. In one form, two sheets of weldable polymeric material or metal are continuously fed together from respective roll supply thereof, are edge seamed and welded together to form continuous pockets between each of which is fed an intermittent supply of material to form the contents of the pockets. In another form, the sheets are continuously formed by one or more extruders and fed together where they are formed into pockets with each pocket being closed after a predetermined quantity of contents are delivered between the two sheets. If extruded continuously, the sheets are preferably fed downwardly together while fluent material is intermittently disposed therebetween after each previous pocket is sealed and disposed below the newly formed but open pocket.
9 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures CONTAINER FORMING AND FILLING APPARATUS RELATED APPLICATIONS This is a continuation-in-part of application Ser..No. 696,966 filed Dec. 18, i967 now US. Pat. No. 3,676,249, for Irradiation Apparatus and Method which was a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 269,832 filed Mar. 22, 1963, now abandoned, and having as a parent application Ser. No. 651,749 filed Apr. 9, 1957, also abandoned.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an apparatus and method for forming and filling packaging of sheet materials immediately after the formation of said sheet materials so as to eliminate the need for specially winding or packaging the sheet materials and rehandling same during the package forming and filling operations.
The conventional technique for forming and filling packaging of sheet materials such as plastic film is to first form such sheet material, wind it onto a roll, handle and store the roll of sheet, rehandle it and properly place it on a feed means to a packaging machine, guide and feed the sheet material through input feed rolls to the packaging station, seal and in certain instances form the sheet material into pockets or containers thereafter fill each pocket or container with contents and then seal the filled container or pocket to retain the contents therein. This rather length procedure is extremely time consuming and costly. The instant invention relates to a new and improved apparatus which is operable to eliminate a number of the aforedescribed steps in forming packaging of sheet and plastic film which may be extrusion formed to shape. Apparatus for forming and filling packaging of sheet material immediately after the sheet is formed, is provided in line with the extrusion sheet forming apparatus and is synchronized in its operation to properly receive, seal and form containers thereof and fill such containers without the need to wind the plastic sheet onto a roll, rehandle and rewind same in the packaging machine. By eliminating a number of handling and winding operations, considerable savings in handling and labor are possible.
Accordingly it is a primary object of this invention to provide a new and improved apparatus and method for forming and filling packaging with a variety of products.
Another object is to provide an apparatus and method for forming and filling containers of plastic sheet material immediately after extrusion forming the sheet material while the sheet material is in a thermally deformable condition.
Another object is to provide a plastic package formments of parts as will be more fully described and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, but it is to be understood that changes, variations and modifications may be resorted to which fall within the scope of the invention as claimed.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a side view of a schematic diagram showing apparatus for continuously forming and processing packaged materials in accordance with the teachings of the instant invention;
FIG. 2 is a side view showing an apparatus for continuously forming composite materials by laminating and further processing same on an automatic basis;
- FIG. 3 is a side view of a modified form of a protion of the apparatus of FIG. 2 and FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of a material produced by means of the apparatus of FIG. 2. FIG. 5 shows a modified form of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
There is shown in FIG. 1 an apparatus 10 for continuously forming containers of sheet material, filling said containers with a product to be further processed and later dispensed therefrom. The apparatus 10 includes an intermittently operated filling machine, the filling ing apparatus and method employing a sheet extruder to supply plastic sheet for the packages or containers formed thereby so as to eliminate the need to provide coiled rolls of sheet material and to stop operation of the apparatus each time a roll of material is used up.
Another object is to provide an apparatus and method for forming composite material of a plurality of materials including at least one of which is freshly extruded.
With the above and such other objects in view as may hereafter more fully appear. the invention consists of the novel constructions, combinations and arrangehead 11 of which is shown as having a dispensing end or nozzle 12 disposed vertically in a line with and above a container forming means to be described and operative to dispense predetermined quantities of a liquid or fluent material 13 which is controllably flowed or dropped from the end of the nozzle or hopper 12.
Provided at the sides of the filling head 11 are respective supply means 14 and 15 for sheet materials 16 and 17 which are downwardly fed therefrom at a controlled rate so as to converge towards each other and form respective walls of an elongated tube or envelope for containing the materials 13 fed from the dispensing or filling head 11. Supply means 14 and 15 may each comprise a separate extrusion machine which is controllably operated to feed polymeric thermoplastic material to respective sheeting dies to form the sheets 16 and 17. Sheet 16 is fed to the upper surface of a belt 19 forming part of an endless belt conveyor 18 and supported on a frame (not shown) for guiding the sheet 16 downwardly and towards a vertical axis passing through the discharge end of the nozzle 12. Endless conveyor 18 has a plurality of rolls or drums 20 and 21 at least one of which is power rotated at a controlled speed by a suitable motor (not shown) to carry the sheet 16 at substantially the rate at which it is formed or fed from supply means 14. Similarly, sheet 17 is fed from an extruder 15 or other suitable sheet supply means onto the upper surface of an endless belt23 which is driven about drums 24 and 25, one of which is power rotated to convey the belt 23 at substantially the lineal speed at which sheet 17 is fed from machine 15.
Drums 21 and 25 are located to cause the sheets 16 and 17 to be positioned either close to each other or to have the border portions of said sheets in abutment with each other while the center portions of the sheets are held sufficiently apart from each other to permit the fluid or fluent material 13 to pass therebetween into the tubular formation defined by the two sheets 16 and 17. Accordingly, the belts 19 and 23 may either be concavely formed against concave center portions of the drums 21 and 25 to provide said separation between the central portions of sheets 16 and 17 or the drums 21 and 25 may be suitably separated while respective tiers of sealing or welding wheels, (not shown) at the ends of said drums and rotated with the drums, engage and weld the respective borders of the sheets 16 and 17 together to form a tube which is closed at its sides. No.- tations 26 and 27 refer to auxiliary means for side seaming or guiding the assembly of sheets 16 and 17 as they are fed downwardly while notations 26' and 27 refer to guide rolls for the side seamed sheets.
Located below the wheels or drums 26 and 27 is a line welding fixture 29 which is operative to engage selected portions of the sheet assembly 28 and effect lateral weld lines completely across the assembly so as to form separate pockets of thesheet assembly each of i which pockets is preferably filled with a predetermined quantity of material to be dispensed therefrom. The welding fixture 29 includes a lineal actuator 29' having its output shaft 30 connected to a bar sealing die 31 which is operative to advance against the sheet assembly to compress same againstthe stationary bar, die or platen 32 located adjacent the other side of the sheet assembly. When so projected, a line seal may be effected across the envelope by means of heat applied to at least one of the dies, radio frequency energy generated across the dies as electrodes, ultrasonic energy applied to the dies which serve as ultrasonic welding means or other suitable welding means.
The welding operation'is preferably synchronized ,to the filling operation by means .of a multi-circuit, selfrecycling timer or controller operative to control the servo 30 advancing and retracting die 31 as wellas the means for energizing said die and the servo motor'or solenoid (not shown) which controls a pump or valve which is operative to effect the discharge or release of a predetermined quantity of material from nozzle 12 between the sheets 16 and 17 after a weld has been effected or the dies 31 and 32 have clampingly engaged the side seamed sheets forming assembly 28 below the filling head so as to restrict the downward flow of material to be contained in the pocket formed above the weld. I
Each pocketed portion 28 of the envelope is thereafter conveyed ,by driving the elongated continuously formed, welded and filled member 28 around a plurality of guide wheels or drums 33 to 40 in the path illustrated which winds back and forth for a predetermined height so as to align portions of the elongated envelope with each other. By winding said envelope in a manner such as illustrated in F IG. 1, asingle source 43 of penetrating radiation R may be directed so as to simultaneously pass through'all of the loopso'f the reversed windings of the envelope and thereby simultaneously irradiate and effect a plurality'ofportions of said elongated envelope. The radiation source 42 is shown disposed at the top'of the array of loops of the envelope and directing its intense radiation downwardly through said plurality of loops. By adjusting the apparatus of FIG. 1 to form, fill and drive the envelope at a predeterminedlinealspeed and by either controlling the intensity of radiationor providing itat a predetermined level, predetermined changesmay be effected not only in the material held in each pocket of the envelope but the envelope material may also be predeterminately changed in physical characteristics such as by cross linking the polymer thereof; In other words, such predetermined changes in both the contents of 'the envelope and the material of its walls may be effected by subjecting the envelope and its contents to the, intense radiation a plurality of times during which it winds forward and in reverse along itszig-zag or somewhat sinuous'path of travel'through the radiation field.
At the end of the path defining the final loop of travel of the assembly 28, each envelope passes over a drum 44 and downwardly towards an outflow conveyor 48. Disposed aligned with the envelope is a cutting fixture 45 including a solenoid 46 operating a cutting blade 47 which advances across the envelope preferably at the laterally extending weld line and against a stationary blade or platen 49 which cooperates with the blade in severing individual pocketed envelope portions from the main elongated formation 28. A photoelectric detector 43 is provided to scan the pocketed assembly 28 at the cutting station and to detect either marks provided along the border of the sheet assembly 28 which indicate the locations of the lateral weld lines or to detect said weld lines and to effect the operation of the cutting fixture to cut individual sealed pouches from the main formation 28 which fall onto the conveyor 50 and are carried away to be boxed or otherwise handled thereafter. 7
e As stated, the material 13 which is fed between sheets 16 and 17 to be enveloped or packaged in the pocket formations formed thereof, may be liquid, particulate, and/or otherwise shaped solid material which is so controlled in its flow or discharge from the filling head 11 as to provide a predetermined amount in each pocket or envelope formation 28'. Said material may comprise a food or drug which is to be sterilized or otherwise affected by the intense radiation which is passed through the walls of the envelope or container portion as it is conveyed through the radiation field. The apparatus 10 may also include means for evacuating air from the envelope if it is to be only partially filled by its product contents or to include therewith an inert gas, liquid or other material adapted to displace or remove oxygen from the volume defined within the envelope when sealing' lines are disposed across the upper and lower ends of the portion defining the envelope.
The described power operated means including filling material feed means 11, the extruders l4 and 15, the feed conveyors 19 and 22, the marginal sealing or welding dies 27, 26, the transport rolls or conveyor for the filled, pocketed sheet 28, the radiation generator 42, the cutting means 45 and the conveyor 48 for cut, filled and irradiated packages or envelopes 28' may all be 'operated'by servo devices such as motors or other variable means which are either automatically controlled per se or controlled by a master controller such as a multi-circuit timer or process computer. One or more transducerssuch as photoelectric cells operative to scan contents of the pocketed envelope portions of the composite material 28 or marks printed at predetermined intervals along the border of said material may be used to provide feedback signals for controlling such variables as extrusion rate for the sheets 16 and 17, speed of the belts of conveyors l9 and '22, rotation of welding dies 26, 27, operation of transverse welding dies 30 and 32 and cutoff.
If a single computer or programmable controller is used to control the apparatus of FIG. 1 by predeterminately controlling operation of the variable devices thereof, then as the requirements for the packaging of different quantities of material 13 or the material varies in composition, variable such as rate of flow of said material, timed cutoff thereof, conveyor and welding die tensisity may be predeterminately controlled by said controller.
FIG. 2 illustrates an apparatus for continuously forming and operating on a laminate made of two or more materials such as a base sheet and a reinforcing means therefore. In particular, the apparatus of FIG. 2 may be utilized for fabricating filament reinforced sheet or tape such as tape used in strapping or for winding purposes.
The apparatus 50 includes a first supply means 51 for a reinforcing material 52 which is shown disposed between two other supply means 53 and 55 each of which continuously supply respective sheet materials 54 and 56 which are fed downwardly therefrom towards the downwardly feeding reinforcing material 52. The supply means 51, 53 and 55 may each comprise a respective extruder for continuously extrusion forming their materials or one or more of the devices may comprise means for otherwise providing its material such as a spirally wound coil formation thereof and suitable means for feeding and guiding the material therefrom. Reinforcing material 52 may comprise a single sheet or strip or a plurality of filaments or wires of glass, ceramic, metal or polymeric material which are fed in parallel array downwardly and of a width such as to cover substantially the width of the sheet members 54 and 56. Endless belt conveyors 57 and 58 respectively guide sheets 54 and 56 into abutment with the reinforcing member 52 and, in certain instances, with each other so as to encapsulate member 52 therebetween.
Power driven falls 59 and 60 operate to receive and compress the sheet members 54 and 56 against the central element of filaments 52 in a manner to completely encapsulate same between said sheets and to weld the sheets together as they are fedtherethrough. The composite formation 61 may comprise a single sheet or ribbon of polymeric material which is internally reinforced with a plurality of filaments, whiskers or wires extending through the central portion thereof in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of member 61. The elongated formation 61 is thereafter power driven back and forth around a plurality of rolls 63 to 68 to cause said formation to loop back and forth a number of times in alignment with a device 69 for generating high energy radiation as described and directing same through the looped formation to intersect different portions of member 61 as it travels back and forth between the rollers.
Radiation generating means 69 may be similar to the generating means 42 of FIG. 1 and may comprise a Van DeGraff generator, an atomic pile or other suitable source of atomic fission or an electric glow discharge means operating at high frequency and high voltage glow discharge directly in alignment with one or a plurality of the loops of the composite material 61.
Radiation from the high intensity radiation generator or source 69 is of such a characteristic and is operative to irradiate a sufficient area or areas of the composite material 61 during its travel through the field thereof such that a desired and predetermined degree of cross linking of the cross linkable portion of the composite material is obtained. In other words, by providing a source or sources of radiation of predetermined intensity, locating said radiation source or sources so as to irradiate a predetermined effective length of the continuously fed composite material, supplying the components 52, 54 and 56 at such a rate of flow that the composite formation 61 travels through the radiation field at a rate to effect the exposure of any unit area thereof to a predetermined quantity of radiation dosage such that predetermined changes or degree of cross linking occur in the composite material by the time it has been completely irradiated. The end effect may be such as to convert, for example, a theremoplastic polymer such as polyethylene comprising sheet members 54 and 56 from a relatively soft material having a low melting point to a cross linked material of substantially greater rigidity, strength and higher melting point. The reinforcing material 52 which is fed between sheet members 54 and 56 may or may not be also improved in physical and chemical characteristics by the action of the intense radiation. If the reinforcing material 52 comprises, for example, a plurality of extruded filaments or netting made of a cross linkable plastic polymer, it too may be substantially enhanced in strength and rigidity. If it comprises glass filaments or fibers fed between sheets 54 and 56 and encapsulated therein by compression of said sheets to completely surround said filaments and become welded together, then the radiation may be such as to improve the bond not only between sheets 54 and 56 but also between the material of said sheets and the filaments 52 so as-to provide a substantially improved end product.
Also illustrated in FIG. 2 are means for coating an adhesive on at least one surface of the composite sheet member 61 which comprises a pair of rolls 70 and 71 one of which is power rotated and operative to receive the irradiated sheet 61 and apply suitable pressuresensitive adhesive to, for example, the upper surface thereof from a supply reservoir 72 of said adhesive. The member 61 may be slitted into separate filaments which are immediately coiled into rolls for dispensing as filament reinforced adhesive tape or may be further processed or coiled before slitting. Notations 73 and 74 refer to cooperating cutting blades which are predeterminately operated to cut predetermined lengths of sheet 61 from the main sheet.
It is noted that the apparatus 50 of FIG. 2 which includes the continuous supply means or extrusion heads 51, 53 and 55 for continuously fabricating an elongated composite member such as a sheet which is internally reinforced with a plurality of filaments or netting, may be provided per se or in combination with a similar array of extrusion heads at the head of a packaging machine such as the one illustrated in FIG. 1 to supply one or more reinforcing sheets of material to define the walls of containers or bags which are continuously formed as described. In other words, sheets 16 and 17 of FIG. 1 and the means for supplying same to the envelope forrning apparatus of FIG. 1 may be replaced by a plurality of sheets such as reinforced sheet 61 of FIG. 2 and means for continuously forming and supplying same as defined in FIG. 2. The apparatus .of FIG. 1 may also be modified whereby a single extrusion such as a sheet of thermoplastic polymer is continuously formed as described, fed downwardly, folded and the free edges thereof welded together to form an elongated tube and thereafter laterally line or band welded to form individual envelopes which are filled as described.
It is also noted that the laminating means illustrated in FIG. 2 may be modified whereby a single sheet of thermoplastic polymer such as sheet 54 is continuously formed and fed downwardly as described into abutment with a plurality of reinforcing filaments or netting such as 52 which are also continuously feddownwardly and both formations are thereafter compressed, together by the bite of a plurality of rolls or belts which are operative to force the filaments or netting into the surface of the extrusion softened sheet to form an integral assembly and-bond between the two prior to the irradiatingor container formation thereof.
, FIG. 3 illustrates means for irradiating a sheet of material such as the composite material 61 produced as in FIG. 2. A suitable sheet of any material to be predeterminately irradiated to effect, for example, cross linking of one or more components thereof is fed to a core member or drum 76 upon which the sheet is wound for storage thereafter prior to dispensing same. The member 61 may be a strap, tape, ribbon or band with or without an adhesive coating applied thereto as described. a 1
lnFlG. 3, irradiation processing of the material 61 is effected as it is wound onto its core or drum 76 by means of a suitable winding means (not shown) which is preferably operative at constant speed. A source 69' of intense radiation such as. a Van DeGraff generator, quantity of radioactive material, cathode ray tube or other suitable radiation generating means, is disposed to direct radiation of predetermined intensity against and through the outer layer or ply of the winding material thereafter through the subsequent turns of the coil formation 61 during the entire winding operation. In one form of this embodiment of the invention, the radiation emitted by'the generator 69 is generated at a constant intensity and the desired degree of cross linking or other radiation effect is attained by subjecting the winding coil formations to a radiation dosage of such an intensity as to provide substantially the entire length of the winding material in the desired physical condition by thetime winding is completed or shortly thereafter. The shielding effected by each layer or turn of the winding material 61 for previously wound turns may be such that substantially constant radiation dosage is directed against theentire length of material so wound. However, for those situations where the wound portions of the coil formation 61 which are closer to the core of center thereof are subjected to substantially higher dosages of'radiation which may be of such a nature as to degrade same in order to provide sufficient radiation against the outer turns of the coil formation to effect a predetermined change inthe characteristics of the material thereof, one or both of two radiation variables may be predetenninately changed during a winding cycle so as to expose the complete'length of wound material to substantially the same degree or to reduce the amount of dosage to which the first wound portions of material are exposed so as not to degrade same. To effect such a process, the intensity of radiabeing wound. In lieu of shifting the attitude of the source of radiation, the winding coil itself may be predeterminatelyshifted in location .with' respect thereto during a winding cycle to provide predetermined changes in the physical characteristics of the entire length of material being wound.
As an example of the radiation dosage required to effect cross linking of a suitable polymeric material applicable to improving material which is fabricated, and processed by means of the type hereinbefore described,
.it is noted that a Van DeGraff electron accelerator manufactured by the High Voltage Engineering Company of Burlington, Massachusetts, and capable of generating beam energy having an output of 2,000,000 volts at a power output of 500 watts may be utilized in locations with its output being a foot or less from the surface of the plastic materials described to effect suitable .cross linking of such plastics as polyethylene, polypropylene and other polyethers. Polyethylene, for example, having a melt index of 1.8 and a molecular weight of about.20,000 may be improved in its adhesion and heat sealing characteristics by exposure with high particle energy generated by a Van DeGraff generator of the type defined above for periods of 1 minute or more and said exposure may be effected by means of a single source of radiation disposed and operative as illustrated in the drawings to simultaneously irradiate different portions of loops of said material wound or guided back and forth through the field of radiation. Exposure to the direct beam of radiation of such a generator or, a corona discharge device may also be operative to affect the surface of the sheet material moving through the field in such a manner as to increase its ability to retain and adhere an adhesive such as the described pressure-sensitive adhesive applied to the sheet material after being so processed. Exposure of polyethylene, for example, to electrical energy in the order of 10,000 to 30,000 watt seconds per square foot for a period of 10 to 30 seconds willsubstantially increase the adhesion of polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride to each other whereby one of the two materials may be utilized as the reinforcing member or members or to reinforcing material such as glass provided as filaments or fibers for reinforcing purposes as described.
In a modified form of the invention the apparatus of FIGS. l-3 may be modified to cause the feeding of a plastic monomer. or combination of monomer and other material or materials between the outer sheets or materials 16, 17 and 54, 56 which monomer is thereafter polymerized by the action of the high energy radiation intersecting the composite material as described so as to form a strong bond thereof between the outer materials. Similarly, either or both of the outer sheets or layers of the compsoite material may be formed by extruding, coating or spraying a plastic monomer or monomers to cover and/or impregnate the core materials113 and 52 whereafter said monomer is polymerized in situ onor within the core or central material by the action of the radiation R dosing the composite material.
The polymerized in situ materials so defined above maybefurther treated by radiation of such an intensity along the path of travel. of the composite to effect its cross linking after or during the act of polymerizing same.
If any of the described extruding materials have either or both their surfaces coated with a monomer of pass through vaporous atmospheres containing monomer material, it may be deposited and polymerized in situ thereon by the action of suitable radiation means such as glow discharge means, intense atomic radiation, intense laser light, electron beams or the like.
Also, combinations of the actions of intense pressure applied to the composite by the rolling means and the radiation applied thereto may cooperate to polymerize and/or cross link monomeric material fed and applied as described.
In another form of the invention, it is noted that the radiation generating means 69 of FIG. 2 may be operative to generate a plurality of separate beams of radiation adapted to scan spaced apart band areas of cross linkable material fed therepast as described in such a manner as to effect the crosslinking of only said band areas of material. Single sheet film or composites of materials including such polymers as low or medium density polyethylene or other suitable polymers may thus be radiation treated so that parallel strip portions of the sheet or composite are more rigid and greater in tensile strength than more flexible portions therebetween thus providing a flexible material which is rein forced by cross linked portions forming the same sheet. Suitable masking between the radiation source and the sheet may also be utilized to permit the radiation of only selected areas of the fed sheet material such as spot, net-like or other areas thereof.
In FIG. 4 is shown structural details of a composite sheet material 61 produced, for example, by means of the apparatus of FIG. 2. The sheet 61 is comprised of layers or strata 54' and 56 of the same or different polymers which are integrally bonded or welded together to form a unitary sheet having embedded therein a multitude of filaments 52 or a netting provided and constructed as hereinabove described. In passing through the joining or roll bonding means 59 and 60, the material of sheets 59 and 56 are caused to flow over and around the filaments or netting 52 so asto completely surround same and form a voidless composite structure 61 as illustrated. Either or both rolls 59 and 60 may have operatingsurfaces which emboss suitable patterns such as irregular roughened indentations, serrations or otherwise shaped regular or irregular patterns 61" operative to improve the adhesion and holding ability of the surface of the tape and the adhesive layer or layers 75 disposed thereon as described. Surface treatment may also be effected by applying a suitable flame, corona electrical discharge, electron beam or other suitable radiation beam discharge or powered brushing elements against the surface of the composite material 61 prior to or after the formation thereof as described.
Modified forms of the apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 may include vacuum or pressure forming machinery having dies or molds disposed and operable to receive either or both the freshly extruded sheets 16, 17 or 54, 56 and to form indentations therein as they are fed to provide blister-like three dimensional packaging thereof when the indentations are filled with product material and the non-deformed portions sur-,
rounding the indentations are sealed together as described. Such a modification to FIG. 1 of the drawings in shown in FIG. 5 wherein a pressure forming machine 80 is provided beneath the extruder 14 and includes a female die assembly 81 and a male die assembly 82 which assemblies cooperate in intermittently deforming the extruding sheet 16 to form said indentations, denoted D, therein prior to feeding the sheet 16 to the sheet 17 to have the portions thereof so deformed filled with said product material.
1. Package forming apparatus comprising:
first extrusion means for extrusion forming a first sheet of plastic, second extrusion means for extrusion forming a second sheet of plastic,
third and fourth means for respectively downwardly guiding and carrying said first and second sheets from said first and second extrusion means, said third means being operable to bring said first and second sheets together while vertically disposed,
fifth means for forming predetermined portions of the length of said first and second sheet materials into containers,
sixth means including a dispensing head disposed between third and fourth means for downwardly conveying predetermined quantities of material to be packaged between said first and second sheets as they are brought together and formed into containers and dispensing each of said predetermined quantities of material into respective of the containers as they are formed, and
seventh means for sealing said material into the containers intowwhich it is dispensed.
2. Package forming apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said fifth means includes respective cooperating dies disposed on opposite sides of said first and second sheets for engaging and longitudinally side seaming said sheets to form a tube thereof and a further die means operable for intermittently forming a lateral seal between said sheets to form pockets thereof, and means for intermittently operating said sixth means in cooperation with the operation of said further die to dispense predetermined quantities of said material into the pockets formed of said sheets before the pockets are closed, and means operable to cause each filled pocket to be closed after it has received its contents from said fifth means.
3. Package forming apparatus in accordance with claim 2 including radiation generating means disposed to irradiate the seals formed by said cooperating dies and said further die means, said radiation means being of sufficient intensity to improve the characteristics of said seals formed by said first, second and further die means.
4. Package forming apparatus in accordance with claim 1 including means for permanently deforming said first sheet, as it is fed, with indentations therein defining retainers for a product, said sixth means including means for dispensing predetermined quantities of said material into the volumes defined by said indentations, means for abutting said second sheet with portions of said first sheet adjacent said indentations as both sheets are fed and sealing the abutted portions to close off the contents within said volumes defined by said indentations in said first sheet.
5. Package forming apparatus in accordance with claim 4 including means operable after said abutted portions of said sheets are sealed for severing individual portions thereof containing respective quantities of said material disposed in the indentations formed in said first sheet.
6. Package forming apparatus in accordance with claim 4 including means for permanently deforming said second sheet with indentations and aligning same with the indentations formed in said first sheet prior to the sealing operation so as to form separate volumes defined by the walls of the indentations in said first and second sheets.
7. Package forming apparatus in accordance with claim 1 including means for irradiating the containers and and the material dispensed into each with radiation of sufficient intensity and for a sufficient period of time to physically change the characteristics of the first and second sheet materials.
8. Package forming apparatus in accordance with claim 1 including means for generating and directing radiation of sufficient intensity and for sufficient time to both change the physical characteristics of the first sheets.