US 3855759 A
A method for closing and/or sealing an open top container without subjecting the container to objectionable axial compressive forces. A closure having a skirt which forms a downwardly opening annular recess or groove and having a bead at the end of the skirt, is constrained against movement while the mouth of the container is moved upwardly into the groove. An inwardly acting compressive force then crimps the closure against the neck of the container, either by embedding the bead in the wall of the container or by gripping the wall of the container above the closure bead or by both. One form of apparatus for carrying out the method is illustrated in the drawings.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Pohlenz [4 1 Dec. 24, 1974  Inventor: Elmer E. Pohlenz, Richmond, Ind.
 Assignee: Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Pa.
 Filed: Nov. 20, 1972  Appl. No; 307,963
 US. Cl 53/342, 53/310, 53/359  Int. Cl B65b 7/28  Field of Search 53/42, 329, 287, 309, 310,
Cheeley et al. 53/342 Weber 53/42 X Primary ExaminerTravis S. McGehee Assistant Examiner-Horace M. Culver Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Teare, Teare & Sammon  ABSTRACT A method for closing and/or sealing an open top container without subjecting the container to objectionable axial compressive forces. A closure having a skirt which forms a downwardly opening annular recess or groove and having a bead at the end of the skirt, is constrained against movement while the mouth of the container is moved upwardly into the groove. An inwardly acting compressive force then crimps the closure against the neck of the container, either by embedding the bead in the wall of the container or by gripping the wall of the container above the closure bead or by both. One form of apparatus for carrying out the method is illustrated in the drawings.
5 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTED DEC24|974 SHEET 2 OF 2 METHOD Il1 APPARATUS FOR CLOSING AND/OR SEALING RECEPTACLES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to a method for closing and/or sealing receptacles, and more particularly relates to an improved method for closing and/or sealing open top receptacles of the types having the relatively deformable sidewall constructions, such as those made from composite, fibrous or other such materials, which are easily crushed.
I-Ieretofore, various types of closure and receptacle arrangements have been provided to form a pull-type seal for storing various types of fluid materials, such as fruit juices, beer, lubricants, milk and other such liquid materials. Thus, for instance, such receptacles are made from relatively deformable or yieldable materials, such as fibrous or composite materials, plastic or the like, which are adapted to be closed at the bottom and top with a closure made, for instance, from a metallic material. Such covers are oftentimes provided with a beaded border or edge which is generally rolled by means of a beading tool into sealing engagement with the sidewall material of the receptacle. Oftentimes, the top closure or cap is provided with a pulltype tab to provide access into the interior of the receptacle. One such pull-type tab arrangement is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,353,739. In the installation of such closures, measures must be employed that will insure the most reliable operation of the equipment for large scale production in relation to providing a tight fluid seal to prevent leakage from and/or the entry of foreign matter from and/or into the receptacle. Since the bodies of such receptacles are generally made from readily deformable or yieldable materials, it is vital to apply the closure without distortion, damage or injury to the receptacle resulting from forces applied during the closing and/or sealing operations.
In the past, many types of closure or capping devices have been employed which have generally comprised a presser die or tool adapted to hold the closure or cap so as to press the same against the receptacle or container mouth. In such case, the die is made in one or more parts and is designed so as to force the closure or cap edge against the receptacle walls to provide the seal. However, such prior devices normally apply severe axial compressive forces to the receptacle body during the sealing operation resulting in distortion and- /or damage thereof. Moreover, such types of devices are generally limited for use with receptacles or containers having relatively rigid side wall constructions sufiicient to withstand such forces during the sealing operations.
Further, in tear-off type closures which have scores in their skirts, the scores are sometimes accidentally ruptured when the closures are secured on containers by rolling their skirts against the container as has frequently been required for affixation of closures on flexible containers. The prior art is lacking in a method and apparatus of securing tear-off closures on collapsible or fragile containers which does not either collapse or break the containers or accidentally rupture the scores in the closures during affixation.
Typical prior art patents illustrating various types of closure and/or sealing apparatus are disclosed in the following patents: U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,436,457; 2,859,575; 2,916,861 3,073,478 and British Pat. No. 711,005.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The method of the present invention is carried out without subjecting the body of the container to axial forces which would rupture or crush the container. Such result is accomplished by supplying only sufficient axial force to the container to move it into a downwardly opening recess or groove which is pre-formed in the closure by bending the peripheral portion upwardly and then downwardly. The outer periphery of the closure terminates in a bead. The container thereby holds the closure against a stationary member, in position where the closure can be acted upon by a die, which exerts a force upwardly and inwardly against the outer portion of the closure, until the upper portion of the can is crimped between the walls of the closure groove and the bead is firmly embedded within the outer wall of the container. Normally, the force required to effect a satisfactory seal by a crimping operation would, if exerted axially upon the container, crush the walls and render it useless. The present method solves the problem without necessitating the application of axial forces of such magnitude as to rupture or crush the container. The method may be carried out by various forms of apparatus but one form is illustrated in the drawings and is hereinafter described in detail.
This invention also solves the problem of accidental rupture of scores in tear-off closures when the closures are affixed to flexible containers.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, front elevation view, with parts in section, illustrating the apparatus of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, side elevation view, but on a reduced scale illustrating the apparatus of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, generally perspective view on an enlarged scale illustrating in greater detail portions of the support and die assemblies of the invention and looking generally in the direction of line 3--3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary vertical section view on an enlarged scale illustrating one step in the closing and sealing operation of the invention;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary, vertical section view, on an enlarged scale, illustrating another step in closing and sealing operation of the invention;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary, vertical section view, on an enlarged scale, illustrating the closure and bead construction thereof prior to sealing engagement with a receptacle;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary, vertical section view, on an enlarged scale, illustrating the closed and sealed condition of the closure around the receptacle of FIG. 6; and
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary, vertical section view on an enlarged scale illustrating the closed and sealed condition of a closure by crimping the closure against the neck of the container above the bead on the closure.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS One form of apparatus for carrying out the foregoing method is illustrated in the drawings and particularly in FIGS. 1 to 3 thereof, wherein the apparatus which is designated generally at 2 is shown in connection with a closure or lid C for a container or receptacle R. In the form shown, the apparatus 2 generally comprises a head assembly 6 which is mounted upon a vertical support or post 8 which, in turn, is mounted upon a base or frame 10, and a support assembly 12, which may also be mounted on the frame 10. Although one such apparatus has been illustrated, it is understood that any number of similarly arranged units could be mounted on a single frame for multiple sequencing operations, as desired.
In the embodiment of the apparatus illustrated, the support assembly 12 includes a cam member 14 concentrically mounted on a shaft 16 for rotation about a horizontal axis. The shaft 16, in turn, may be driven by a suitable electric motor (not shown) which may be mounted interiorly of the frame 10. A hearing member 18 is mounted on the frame which carries, in its bore, a bushing 20. A piston member 22 is disposed for reciprocal sliding movement within the bushing 20. One end of the piston member 22 carries a depending cam follower member 24 of stepped construction disposed for reciprocal movement within a complementary shaped stepped bore 25 provided in the frame 10. A cam roller 26 is rotatably mounted adjacent the terminal end of the follower member 24 for camming coacting engagement with the outer peripheral surface 27 of the cam member 14. The opposite end of the piston member 22 is connected via fasteners 28 to a table-like carrier member 30. The carrier member 30, in turn, mounts a cross or carrier plate 32 which is disposed in concentric relation with respect thereto. The carrier plate 32 mounts a plurality, such as three, push rods 34 which are symmetrically disposed adjacent the outer peripheral surface of the plate, as best seen in FIG. 3. In the form shown, the push rods 34 are spaced apart from one another a distance greater than the maximum transverse dimension of the receptacle R so as to facilitate insertion and removal of respective receptacles onto and from the carrier plate 32 during normal operation of the apparatus. Preferably, the push rods 34 have a lengthwise dimension less than the overall lengthwise dimension of such receptacle to enable closure and sealing of the closure member C with respect thereto, as will hereinafter be more fully described.
As best seen in FIGS. 1, 4 and 5, a pressure plate or pad 36 is disposed concentrically within a stepped bore provided in the carrier plate 32. The carrier 32 and pressure plates 36 are provided with complementary stepped shoulders, as at 35, to enable movement of the plate 36 in one direction relative to the plate 32, but to limit movement of the plate 36 in the opposite direction so that the plates 32 and 36 move, as a unit, in one direction, namely, in an upward direction. A cylindrical sleeve 38 depends from the plate 36 and is disposed for reciprocal movement within a bore 40 provided in the carrier member 30. A resilient coil spring 43 is disposed within the sleeve 38 so as to bear at one end against the plate 36 and at its other end against the piston member 22. By this arrangement, the plate 36 mounting the receptacle R is resiliently mounted with respect to the carrier plate 32 via spring 43 upon reciprocal movement of the support assembly 12 relative to the head assembly 6 during the closure and sealing operation. Preferably, the upper surface of the pressure plate 36 is provided with a recessed groove 41 (FIG. 3) for receiving the lower bead 42 of the receptacle R so as to hold the same in concentric relation with respect to the longitudinal central axis of the device during the closure and sealing operations.
In the embodiment illustrated, the head assembly 6 includes a cross-head member 44 from which depends a pressure block 46 which has a chamfered (FIG. 4) terminal end, as at 47. The cross-head member 44 and pressure block 46 are mounted in stationary relation on the post 8 (FIG. 2) during normal operations for closing and sealing a selective size of receptacle, but the same may be adjusted vertically on such post dependent upon the selected receptacle size. Depending from the cross-head member 44 is a die assembly 48 for deforming the peripheral portion and bead 49 of the lid C into sealing engagement with the side wall of the receptacle R. As shown, the die assembly 48 includes a cross plate 50 which is resiliently attached to the crosshead member 44 via a plurality (i.e., three) of guide rods 52 (FIG. 4). The guide rods 52 are symmetrically arranged with respect to the pressure block 46 and are resiliently attached at one end to the cross-head member 44 and are slidably received at their outer ends in counterbores 53 provided in the cross plate 50. Coil springs 54 are disposed around each of the guide rods 52 so as to bear at one end against the head 44 and at the opposite end against the plate 50 to enable resilient vertical movement of such plate relative to the stationary pressure block 46. The guide rods 52 are headed, as at 55, to limit axial movement of the plate 50 in a direction away from the pressure block 46. A draw ring, or die 56, is concentrically disposed within a shouldered opening provided within the plate 50. The plate 50 and die 56 are provided with complementary shaped countersunk shoulders, as at 58, to provide interlocking interchangeability between such parts. In the form shown, the die 56 has an inclined peripheral surface 59 which has a maximum transverse dimension the same as or slightly greater than the maximum transverse dimension of the bead 49 on the closure C, and which has a minimum transverse dimension which is less than such maximum transverse dimension of such closure. The surface 59 merges into a generally vertically oriented inner peripheral surface 60 which has a substantially uniform maximum transverse dimension which is less than the corresponding maximum dimension of such bead. By this arrangement, the surfaces 59 and 60 coact to progressively embed such bead into the wall of the receptacle and/or to compress the wall portion of the skirt above the bead against such receptacle wall, as will hereinafter be more fully described.
In the form shown, a retainer plate or ring 62 is mounted on the plate 50 via suitable fasteners, as at 63. The plate 62 has a cavity 64 (FIG. 4) dimensioned to accommodate the closure C therein. The plate 62 may be provided with a door-like slot 65 (FIG. 3) which communicates with the cavity 64 and which is adapted to slidably receive one of the closures C therethrough and into the loaded position within the cavity 64 for use in closing and sealing a receptacle.
In the invention, the receptacle R illustrated includes a tubular sidewall 66 which, in this example is of substantially right circular cylindrical configuration. As shown, the receptacle has a bottom wall 67 (FIG. 3) with the aforesaid bead 42 which may be of a metallic (i.e., aluminum) construction. The receptacle in the invention is adapted to be closed and sealed with the aforesaid closure or lid C which may be of a metallic construction (i.e., aluminum) including a top wall 68 (FIG. 7), and inclined inner peripheral surface 70, and inner vertical peripheral surface 72 and an interconnecting arcuate shaped bight portion 74, and outer generally vertically oriented flange-like skirt portion 76 which terminates in the aforesaid curled bead 49. Such lid formation results in a downwardly facing recess or groove 75 which receives the upper end of the receptacle as the cam 14 moves it upwardly.
The sidewall 66 of the receptacle R is preferably made from a lightweight composite or fibrous ma terial, such as paper, cardboard or the like. For example, the wall may be comprised of overlapping layers of paper in conjunction with a fluid impervious material, such as metallic foil, plastic or the like. The invention has specially beneficial application when employed with lightweight sidewall materials having reduced mechanical strength in relation to the axial loads incurred during the crimping or swedging operations to apply the closure.
In a typical operation for closing and sealing a receptacle R, a closure or lid C is simply inserted into the draw ring or die 56 via slot 65 in the plate 62. The receptacle may then be placed on the pressure plate 36 and centrally registered via recessed groove 41. Thus installed, the drive motor, not shown, may be actuated via foot pedal 78 (FIG. 2) to commence the cycle of operation. Actuation of the motor rotates cam 14 (FIG. 1) about a horizontal axis from its starting position (solid line) toward its maximum throw position (dotted line) for camming coacting engagement with the roller 26 of the cam follower 24. Upon rotation of the cam, the cam follower 24 is moved vertically upwardly to commence vertical movement of the carrier member 30, carrier plate 32, resiliently mounted pressure plate 36 and. the pusher rods 34 in a direction toward the head assembly 6. For example, in the embodiment shown, such components may initially raise a total of 2% inches. During this initial vertical movement, the receptacle R moves axially upwardly through the draw ring or die 56 and into the groove 75 so as to pick up the closure C disposed therein. Such upward movement of the receptacle continues until the upper end of the receptacle carrying the closure seats against the underside of the pressure block 46. Thus positioned (FIG. 4), the receptacle and closure are oriented so that they may be crimped or swedged together into sealed relation. In the invention, the travel of the cam 14 is sufficient to assemble such component parts, whereupon, the coil spring 43 may be compressed axially to enable vertical telescoping movement of the pressure plate 36 carrying the receptacle via the guiding and sliding movement of the sleeve 38 within the bore 40. By this arrangement, the receptacle mounting the closure is held in a resilient forwarding condition relative to the pressure block 46 which is retained in a stationary horizontal plane. As the carrier plate 32 continues its upward vertical movement, the push rods 34 are brought into engagement with the underside of the cross plate 50 which is resiliently mounted for vertical yielding movement via guide rods 52 and springs 54. After a slight dwell, the component parts continue their upward movement so as to deform the closure C into interlocking engagement with the confronting mounting edge of the receptacle via the inter action between the pressure block 46 and the die 56. During this deforming movement, the receptacle is held in a resilient floating condition via the resilient telescopic mounting of the pressure plate 36 so that the receptacle can move downwardly with reference to the carrier 30, thereby to relieve the receptacle body relative to vertical compressive forces required to perform the interlocking engagement between the parts. Inter action between the pressure block 46 and the die 56 causes the closure C to be deformed, for example, from the condition illustrated in FIG. 6 to the condition illustrated in FIG. 7, when the sealing is accomplished mainly by embedding the bead 49 in the wall 66 of the container. By this arrangement, the closure C is positively secured in interlocking relation with the upper marginal edge of the receptacle R so as to provide an effective fluid seal between the parts without distortion to the body of the receptacle, particularly when the latter is made from relatively weak materials. At the maximum throw of the cam 14, the die 56 has been pushed vertically upwardly via push rods 34 to a position above the closure C now interlocked with the receptacle R, whereupon, the closed and sealed receptacle is then, in effect, ejected from the die assembly 48. Continued actuation of the cam 14 commences its return stroke into its'bottom position (solid line, FIG. 1) so that the receptacle can be manually removed from the supporting pressure plate 36 thereby to enable insertion of another receptacle end closure for a repeated operation, as aforesaid.
It is to be understood that the words upward, or-upwardly, as used herein, refer to movement in a direction away from the bottom of the container and/or closure towards the top, irrespective of the alignment of the container and closure relative to the earth.
FIG. 8 illustrates a sealing method wherein the neck of the container is crimped between the walls of the groove above the bead 49 on the closure C. During such action, constriction of the bead forms an inwardly projecting rib in the skirt 76 above the bead, which compresses the container wall against the inner vertical wall 72 of the closure. At such time, the wall 72 acts as an inner support for the neck of the container. Such form of sealing is advantageous in that the closure will conform more readily to irregularities in the container finish, and will accommodate greater variations in tolerances of the container finish than will a rigid bead. This could be particularly important in sealing more rigid containers.
It is an advantage of this invention that it substantially eliminates accidental rupture of any substantially vertical score in the skirt of a tear-off closure during affixation of the closure to a container. The conventional roll-on method of affixation of closures to flexible containers rolls the closure skirt inwardly progressively around the skirt and therefore places any vertical scores in the closure skirt in tension which can rupture the scores. This invention effects simultaneous inward swaging of all portions of a bead around the closure skirt so that vertical scores in the skirt and bead are pressed together or compressed rather than stretched, and therefore does not rupture the scores.
It is to be understood that this invention is not restricted to the details of the apparatus illustrated and described herein since such apparatus may be modified in a variety of ways. For example, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that apparatus could be employed in which a closure is positioned on a container and a die thereafter moved upwardly with respect to the container to swage an outward projection on the closure skirt inwardly against the. container mouth to secure the closure on the container. It will also be apparent that a closure to be applied by this invention can have a variety of forms as long as it has an outward projection such as a rib or bead of its skirt which can be swaged inwardly by means of a die which is moved upwardly against the projection. Such projection may be continuous or discontinued around the closure skirt, and if a bead is employed, it may be either inwardly or outwardly curled.
I claim: 1. An apparatus for closing and/or sealing receptacles comprising:
a support assembly adapted for mounting a receptacle having a sidewall and an open top, a head assembly adapted to receive a closure having a depending skirt with an outwardly projecting annular bead thereon, said support assembly and said head assembly being adapted to be positioned relative to each other so that said closure is disposed on the top of said receptacle with said skirt disposed adjacent an out wardly facing surface near the top of the sidewall of said receptacle, said head assembly including first and second dies, means to position the top of said closure against said first die, said second die including a draw ring having means to permit said closure to be disposed circumferentially inside said die with said projection being disposed above said draw ring, said draw ring being adapted to be moved upwardly with respect to the closure and container to engage the bead on the closure as restrained by said first die to constrict the bead radially inwardly towards the side wall of the receptacle as the draw ring is moved upwardly past the bead on the closure, and
drive means for providing the relative motion between said draw ring and said closure and container. 2. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said support means is resiliently mounted on the support assembly.
3. An apparatus for closing and sealing receptacles comprising:
a movable support assembly adapted for mounting a receptacle,
said support assembly including pressure member means for yieldably mounting of said receptacle relative to said assembly,
means for moving the support assembly and receptacle upwardly,
a head assembly including a relatively stationary die and a relatively movable die,
the relatively movable die having a slot adapted for receiving a closure, having an outwardly projecting bead thereon, and for positioning it for engagement with the top of the receptacle as the receptacle is moved upwardly,
the relatively movable die comprising a draw ring adapted to engage the bead on the closure and to constrict it toward the outer wall of the receptacle as the relatively movable die is moved upwardly and while the top of the closure is in engagement with the relatively stationary die, and
drive means for actuating the support assembly.
4. An apparatus according to claim 3 wherein,
the draw ring is resiliently mounted on the head assembly and coacts telescopically with the relatively stationary die to constrict the closure bead around the receptacle.
5. An apparatus according to claim 3 wherein,
said drive means operates to move the relatively movable die upwardly with relation to the relatively stationary die sufficiently far to provide a clearance above the sealed receptacle.