|Publication number||US3838549 A|
|Publication date||Oct 1, 1974|
|Filing date||Mar 29, 1973|
|Priority date||Mar 29, 1973|
|Publication number||US 3838549 A, US 3838549A, US-A-3838549, US3838549 A, US3838549A|
|Original Assignee||Fmc Corp|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (21), Classifications (14)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent 11 1 1111 3,838,549
Pepmeier Oct. 1, 1974 PACKAGING METHOD 2,815,620 12/1957 Prodigo 53/14  Inventor: Carl R. Pepmeier Fredericksburg 2,967,383 l/l96l Rumsey, Jr. 53/14 a Primary ExaminerFrank T. Yost  Assignee: FMC Corporation, Philadelphia, Pa.
 Filed: Mar. 29, 1973  ABSTRACT  Appl. No.: 345,982 A packaging method in which a folded edge area of a wrapping material is overlapped onto the opposing edge area thereof and seamed with a frangible seal to g 53/14 igi g sg Provide a tube which is then filled and closed to pro.
vide a p k h i a projegting longitudinal edge  Field of Search 53/ 14, 28, 180 M portion or p along the seam thereof which fad  References Cited tates package rupture and unwrapping of the packd d t. UNITED STATES PATENTS age pro 2,385,897 10 1945 Waters 53/180 M x a 4 Clalms, 3 Drawing Figures PACKAGING METHOD The present invention is directed to an improved packaging method.
Disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,542,570 is a process wherein a continuous web of wrapping material is fed about a forming member. where its longitudinal edges are overlapped, and then over a nozzle. where its overlapping longitudinal edges are sealed to provide a continuous tube. During passage over the nozzle. the tube of wrapping material is urged into a flattened condition and, as it leaves such nozzle, is filled with an extruded product which is to be packaged, as for example cheese. in a hot, viscous condition.
The web of wrapping material and the subsequently formed tube are drawn relative to the forming member and nozzle by an advancing mechanism consisting. for example, of a pair of positively driven endless belts which firmly grip the filled tube and urge the same forward. If desired, the endless belts may be provided with cleats which together cooperate to pinch the filled tube at longitudinally spaced intervals to thereby preform such tube into discrete packets.
Following the advancing mechanism, the now preformed and filled tube is passed into a crimper mechanism where it is sealed transversely along the areas which have heretofore been pinched together. During this sealing stage pressure is applied to opposite sides of the formed packets to distribute the still viscous packaged product into a substantially uniform thickness.
This chain of connected packets is then cooled, as by passage through a water bath, dried, and severed along the sealed areas to provide separate packets, or individually wrapped cheese slices. Generally, a number of these wrapped slices are then stacked and overwrapped to form a package.
At the longitudinal seam of the individually wrapped cheese slices, the outer edge of the overlapping edges of the wrapping material is intended to serve as a handle by which the wrapping material may be peeled away from the packaged cheese by the consumer. While this handle or outer edge of the wrapping material may not be intentionally sealed in place, during some or all of the different stages of the abovedescribed method, such as the flattening, advancing, sealing, cooling, drying, severing, and stacking. such outer edge is pressed snugly against and clings tenaciously to the underlying portions of the wrapping material. As a result, manipulation of this'outer edge of the wrapping material, if at all possible, and access to the packaged product is extremely difficult.
Often the longitudinal edge of the wrapping material which is to form the outer edge of the tube seam is printed with indicia which is intended to draw the consumers attention to such edge and perhaps instruct the consumer in its use. Such printing operation is expensive and may be detrimental to the physical and/or chemical characteristics of the wrapping material. More important, while such printing may well alert the consumer to the seam along the wrapped product it does not eliminate or reduce the clinging or adherency of the outer edge of the wrapping material to the underlying portion of the wrapping material along such seam. Accordingly, a primary object of this invention is to provide a new or improved and generally more satisfactory packaging method.
Another object is the provision of an improved method for making a. package having an exposed, free flap which facilitates easy access to the packaged product.
Still another object is the provision of an improved method for making a seamed package having a projecting, relatively thick flap along its seam which can be easily gripped and manipulated by a consumer to effect package seam rupture.
A further object is to provide an improved packaging method in which a flowable product is encased with a wrapping material which is arranged to provide for easy access to the packaged product.
The above and other objects of the invention are achieved by a method in which a folded edge area of a wrapping material is overlapped onto the opposing edge area thereof and seamed with a continuous, narrow, frangible seal to provide a tube which is then filled and closed to provide a package. In this method the overlapping longitudinal edge areas of the wrapping material are seamed by a seal having a width which is less than that of the outermost of the overlying folded portions. This seam may be spaced from either. and preferably both, the longitudinal edge and the fold along the outermost of the overlapping edge areas of the wrapping material. In the resulting package, either of the sections of such edge area which extend along opposite sides of the seam may serve as a flap by which the consumer may effect rupture of the package seam and gain access to the packaged product. With generally flat packages or packages having corners, it is desired that the seam be positioned so that the longitudinal edge of the outermost of the overlapping longitudinal edge areas extends beyond or projects from the package for easy access and manipulation.
Unless dictated by the particular product which is being packaged or the conditions to which the resulting package may be subjected to prior use by the consumer, the wrapping material itself must be able to be bonded but is not otherwise critical. Desirably, at least the side of the wrapping material which forms the inside surface of the package is formed of heat-scalable material to permit the necessary package seals to be effected by the application of heat and pressure. Thus, such wrapping materials may be formed of a thermoplastic material, as for example, polypropylene, or may be comprised of a non-thermoplastic material, such as, cellophane or paper, having a coating or heat-scalable material on one or both sides thereof.
While packages formed by the method of the present invention are not limited to any particular material which is to be packaged, for the sake of simplicity and ease of description, the invention is hereafter set forth in detail as applied to containing of a moldable product, as for example, hot cheese, in packages which are of rectangular cross-section, and more specifically to flat or slab-like packages.
More specifically in the method of the present invention a web of continous wrapping material is advanced under longitudinal tension and, during such travel, one longitudinal edge area thereof is permitted or caused to assume a relaxed or floppy condition and is subsequently folded onto an area of the web which is directly adjacent thereto. Successive portions of the advancing web are then gradually and progressively deflected to overlap this folded edge area onto the opposite longitudinal edge area of the web, with the overlying portions of the folded edge area being exposed. These overlapping edge areas are then sealed through the overlying folded portions and only along a width less than that of the outermost of such overlying portions to provide a tube having a continuous, longitudinal seam. Sealing of such edge areas is only to such extent as to provide for a secure yet frangible seam and is effected at a location which is preferably spaced from both the longitudinal edge and the fold extending along the outermost of the overlying folded portions.
A flowable material which is to be packaged is delivered into the successive portions of the tube concomitantiy with the advancement thereof afterwhich the filled portions of the tube are collapsed and secured at longitudinally spaced intervals thereof to provide a series of individual but connected packages. Desirably, the successive portions of the tube are deflected toward aflattened condition prior to the filling thereof, with the outermost of the overlying folded portions being located directly adjacent to and perhaps projecting beyond an adjacent edge of such flattened tube. In the formation of flat or slab-like packages, the successive portions of the filled tube are molded to dispose the opposing surfaces thereof into substantially parallel planes prior to the collapsing and sealing thereof.
The successive portions of the filled tube may be collapsed and secured at longitudinally spaced intervals thereof, for example, by merely squeezing the same and applying a metallic or plastic band. Preferably, and as heretofore mentioned, at least one side of the web of wrapping material which forms the inside surface of the tube is formed of heat-scalable material whereby the successive portions of the filled tube may be collapsed and secured by urging opposing portions of the tube into contact with each other along areas extending across the filled tube and then heat-sealing such contacting tube portions to each other.
The apparatus employed in the method of the present invention includes a forming member to and beyond which a continuous web of wrapping material is advanced under longitudinal tension from a supply. During its advancement away from a supply, this web is engaged with and travels over a guide bar which extends across its path and which is chamfered or beveled at one end thereof to permit or cause one longitudinal edge area of such web to relax. Beyond such bar a folder urges the relaxed or floppy longitudinal edge area onto an area of the web which is directly adjacent thereto, afterwhich a shaping device deflects successive portions of the advancing web about the forming member with the folded longitudinal edge area of the web being overlapped onto the opposite longitudinal edge area of the web and with the overlying portions of the folded edge area being exposed.
Cooperating with the forming member is a sealer for sealing the overlapping edge areas through and only along a narrow width of the outermost of the overlying folded portions to provide a tube having a continuous yet frangible longitudinal seam. Suitable means are provided for advancing the successive portions of the dition prior to the filling thereof. During this change in the tube cross section, the tube seam is oriented as to appear adjacent to an edge of the resulting package, and preferably with the edge of the outermost of the overlying folded portions of the wrapping material being located directly adjacent to or projecting beyond the edge of the finished package.
The teachings of the present invention are adapted for packaging a variety of flow-able or extrudable materials, including food products, such as cheese, sandwich meats, fats, etc., and non-edible products, as for example, putty and glazing compounds.
In the drawing,
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic view illustrating the apparatus employed in the method of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic perspective view showing a fragmentary portion of the apparatus and method shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a portion of one member of the apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a folder employed and illustrated in the apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 5 is an end view of the folder shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary view illustrating a step of the method of the present invention;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of one form of package made by the method of the present invention; and
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary end view of a portion of a modified package.
With reference to FIG. 1 of the drawing, a flowable product which is to be packaged, such as hot, viscous cheese, is continuously delivered from a supply hopper 10 by a pump 12 and piping 14 to one end of a hollow forming member 16. Such product flows under pres sure through the forming member 16 and is extruded, as hereafter described, through a nozzle 18 which is attached to the free end of the member 16.
A web of wrapping material 20, as for example, a regenerated cellulose fllm having a thermoplastic coating on its side 22, is drawn, as by rollers 24, from a supply roll 26, engaged with a deflector rod or roll 27 and guide bar 28 and passed into a folder 30 where one of its longitudinal edge areas 32 is urged onto an adjacent area of the web, as hereafter described. Beyond the folder 30, the now folded web is embraced snugly about the forming member 16 by a shaping device 34.
Referring to FIGS. l3, the deflector roll or rod 27 determines the angle at which the web 20 approaches the guide bar 28 and may be mounted for limited adjustment, while the guide bar 28 is keyed or otherwise secured to a rod 36 which, in turn, is fixed to brackets 38 in a plane extending transversely across the web path. Both the rod 27 and bar 28 are of a length at least equal to the width of the web 20 and are of arcuate contour to facilitate smooth passage of the web 20 relative thereto.
A chamfered or beveled surface 40 is provided at one end of the bar 28 which encourages the longitudinal edge area 32 of the web to assume a relaxed or floppy condition as it travels relative thereto without disturbing the tension in the portion 42 of the web which is engaged with the remainder of such bar. To achieve this effect, it is essential that the web 20 approach the bar 28 at an angle such that the web edge area 32 which is intended to be relaxed comes into direct contact with the edge 43 of the chamfered or beveled surface 40 as the web engages and travels relative to the bar 28. The edge 43 of the chamfered surface 40 in effect deflects or encourages the web edge area 32 against the chamfered surface 40 and thereby provides for the desired relaxation of such web edge area.
Optimum relaxation of the web edge area 32 is achieved by having the web 20 approach the bar 28 along a path as shown in FIG. 1; that is, with the plane of the web 20 being almost perpendicular or at an angle slightly greater than 90 to a plane containing the edge 46 of the chamfered surface 40. As the angle included between these planes is increased so that less of the web edge area 32 contacts with the edge 43 of the chamfered surface 40, the web edge area 32 is relaxed to a lesser degree, with no relaxation being apparent when such planes approach a parallel relationship.
The folder is positioned in spaced relationship with the bar 28 and is fixed at 44 to a suitable support structure 47. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the folder 30 includes a channel 48 having walls 50 and 52 which are arranged to provide such channel with a cross section which varies progressively along a portion of its length.
More specifically, from a maximum at the folder entrance, the channel walls 50 and 52 are inclined rela tive to each other to a gradually reduced degree progressively along the lengths thereof until they assume a substantially parallel relationship which is maintained throughout the remaining length of the folder. Thus, the channel 48 exhibits a V-shaped cross section which is gradually less pronounced progressively along its length and which blends smoothly into a cross section which is of generally U-shape.
With a channel 48 formed of sheet metal, the above described channel configuration can be achieved by simply maintaining one channel wall substantially planar, while the opposite wall is flexed along a portion of its length into a desired arcuate contour.
With the particular construction of the folder channel described, the relaxed or floppy longitudinal edge area 32 of the web 20 is gradually urged beneath an area of the web which is directly adjacent thereto concomitantly and progressively with the travel of such web relative to the folder. The deflection imparted to the longitudinal edge area 32 by the folder wall 52 will, of course, be reflected to a gradually reduced extent along trailling portions of such edge area. The beveled surface of the guide bar 28 and the angle of approach of the web 20 to such bar 28 together restrict the deflection of such trailing portions of the longitudinaledge area 32 and thus prevent edge fold-overs and possible web rupture.
While the guide bar 28 serves its intended function admirably, the channel 48 does not, by itself, consistently provide for uniform folding of the longitudinal edge area 32 continuously along the length of the web 20. Moreover, with the use of the channel 48 above, there is a tendency for the web longitudinal edge area 32 to crease or fold-over and/or for the web to be subjected to diagonal stresses and possibly tear. Accordingly, in the apparatus of the present invention the folder 30 is also provided with a deflecting blade 54 which cooperates with the walls of the channel 48 to readily minimize, if not completely eliminate, the abovementioned difficulties.
As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the blade 54 projects into the open end of the channel 48, in spaced relationship with the channel walls 50 and 52, and is formed integrally with and connected to the channel wall 52 by a bight section 56. The free edge of the blade 54 is continuous and smooth, having a curved initial section 58 and a straight terminal section 60.
Upon advancement of the web 20 into and through the folder 30, the channel 48 gradually and progressively urges the relaxed longitudinal edge area 32 of the web downwardly and inwardly into a position beneath the web area 62 which is directly adjacent theretov Dur ing this movement of the web 20, the free edge of the blade 54 causes web folding to occur consistently along a line 64 which is substantially parallel to the web longitudinal edges.
The desired folding is completed as the web 20 is advanced into and along the terminal portion of the channel 48 which is of U-shaped cross section. The terminal portion of the blade 54, having a straight edge section 60, is substantially completely confined to this terminal portion of the channel 48 and, in addition to dictating the web fold lines 64, minimizes any tendency for the web 20 to skew and be subjected to diagonal stresses.
The web 20 emerging from the folder 30, and now having a folded edge area 66 formed by the overlying web areas or portions 32 and 62, is advanced toward and into the shaping device 34. which is preferably of a construction as described in my copending application Ser. No. 293,337, filed: Sept. 29, 1972. The shaping device 34 serves to deflect successive portions of the advancing web 20 about the forming member 16, with the folded longitudinal edge area 66 of the web 20 being overlapped onto the opposite longitudinal edge area 68. During passage along the forming member 16, the overlapping edge areas of the successive portions of the web 20 are bonded to each other by a sealer 70 to provide a seam 72 which has a width less than that of the outermost of the overlying folded edge portions 32 and which is preferably spaced from both the free edge of the portion 32 and the fold line 64.
The continuous tube 76 which is thus formed is advanced along the remainder of the forming member 16 and over the nozzle 18, where it is urged toward a flattened condition; that is, distorted from a circular to a generally rectangular configuration. Upon leaving the nozzle 18, the now partially flattened tube 76 is filled with the material 78 which is to be packaged.
As shown in FIG. 6, in the distortion of the tube 76 during its passage along the nozzle 18, the tube seam 72 is oriented so as to be disposed adjacent to one edge of the partially flattened tube before and after the fill ing thereof and, if desired, with the web area 32 projecting beyond such adjacent edge of the filled tube.
An advancing mechanism, shown in part at 80, draws the tube along and away from the forming member 16 and nozzle 18. This mechanism serves also to squeeze and collapse the successive portions of the filled tube at longitudinally spaced areas 82, at which areas the tube is subsequently sealed and severed to provide individual packages, such as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. The
structure and operation of the advancing mechanism 80 and the procedures employed in converting the filled tube into individual packages are the same as that described in my above-noted copending application.
The finished package 84 shown in FIG. 7 includes a longitudinal seam 72 and end seals 86. Projecting from the edge of this package is a part or tab 88 of the outermost portion 32 of the overlying web portions by which the consumer may effect rupture of the seam 72 and gain access to the packaged material.
ln the modified package 90 shown in FlG. 8, none of the web portion 32 extends beyond the package. This arrangement is achieved by controlling the location of the seam 72 during passage of the tube 76 over the nozzle 18 as heretofore described. Rupture of the package seam 72 can be effected simply by movement of the thickened folded edge section 92 relative to the remainder of the package.
in the production of either form of package 84 and 90, the location of the seam 72 may be varied from that which is illustrated. For example, in the package 84 the seam 72 may be formed closer to the fold line 64, while in the package 90 the seam 72 may be spaced further from such fold line. In both of such instances the larger areas of the package wrapping material are made available for gripping during package rupture.
It is to be understood that changes and variations may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. A method for encasing a flowable product with a wrapping material including the steps of advancing under longitudinal tension a continuous web of wrapping material, concomitantly with continuous advancement of the web relaxing one longitudinal edge area thereof and subsequently folding the same upon an area of the web which is directly adjacent thereto, progressively deflecting the longitudinal edge areas of the successive portions of theadvancing web to overlap the folded edge area thereof onto the opposite longitudinal edge area with the overlying portions of the folded edge area being exposed. sealing the web overlapping edge areas through the overlying folded portions and only along a width thereof less than that of the outermost of such portions to provide a continuous tube having a frangible longitudinal seam, delivering a flowable material which is to be packaged into the successive portions of the tube concomitantly with the advancement thereof, and collapsing and securing the successive portions of the filled tube at longitudinally spaced areas thereof to provide a series of individual but interconnected packages.
2. A method as defined in claim 1 wherein the seam provided by sealing of the overlapping longitudinal edge area of the advancing web is spaced from the free edge of the outermost of the overlapping edge areas.
3. A method as defined in claim 2 further including the steps of deflecting successive portions of the tube toward a flattened condition prior to the filling thereof with the outermost edge of the overlying folded portions projecting from such flattened tube. and molding successive portions of the filled tube to dispose opposing surfaces thereof in generally parallel planes prior to collapsing and sealing thereof to provide packages which are of substantially uniform thickness and in which the outermost edge of the overlying folded portions extends beyond an adjacent edge of the package.
4. A method as defined in claim 1 wherein the seam provided by sealing of the overlapping longitudinal edge areas of the advancing web is spaced from the fold in the outermost of the overlapping edge areas.
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|U.S. Classification||53/451, 53/412, 383/210, 383/89, 383/88|
|Cooperative Classification||B65B9/20, B65B9/2056, B65B9/2028, B65B9/2007, B65B9/2035|
|European Classification||B65B9/20M4, B65B9/20N, B65B9/20|