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Publication numberUS3868917 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 4, 1975
Filing dateJun 15, 1973
Priority dateAug 29, 1969
Publication numberUS 3868917 A, US 3868917A, US-A-3868917, US3868917 A, US3868917A
InventorsHorst F W Arfert
Original AssigneeReynolds Metals Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sealed container and apparatus for and method of sealing same
US 3868917 A
Abstract
A closure having a peripheral flange portion provided with an annular bottom surface is sealed by the application of heat and pressure to a dish-like container having a peripheral flange portion provided with a cooperating annular top surface so as to define a high quality bonded lamination comprised of the flange portions. The outer portion of the lamination is then curled to form a high strength annular bead which defines the peripheral outline of the side wall of a sealed container.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Arfert Mar. 4, 1975 15 SEALED CONTAINER AND APPARATUS 3,160,999 12/1964 Lee 53/39 FOR AND METHOD OF SEALING SAME 3,233,813 2/1966 Wolford et a1 113/120 G 3,380,272 4/1968 Halter 113/120 G [7 Inventor: Horst Arfert,R1chmond,\/a- 3,396,430 8/1968 Westcott... 425/109 3,496,896 2/1970 Smith 113/120 G [73] Assgnee- F f Company 3,600,248 8/1971 Mojonnier 156 69 10nd, 3,695,084 10/1972 Siemonson 113/120 0 [22] Filed: June 15, 1973 3,695,806 10/1972 Arfert 425/109 [21] APPL NO: 370 319 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,331,941 4/1902 France Related U.S. Appllcatlon Data {60] Division of Ser. No. 272,059, July 14, 1972, Pat. No. Primary E, 'mniner-C, W, Lanham 3,752,387. WhlCll i1 (llVlSlOll Of S81. N0: Ass 'sfant E -a n[ngr M Keenan 7 3595306 whlch Attorney, Agent, or FirmGlenn, Palmer, Lyne & contmuauon-m-part of Ser. No. 854,108, Aug. 29, Gibbs 1969, abandoned.

52 us. c1. 113/1 E, 113/120 0 [57] AIfJ'STRACT 151 Int. Cl B2ld 51/26 A closure mg a perlpheral flange portlon prov1ded 5 Field of Search H 113/] E 116 QA, 120 K, with an annular bottom surface is sealed by the appli- 113/12O Y 120 156/69; 53/39 42, cation of heat and pressure to a dish-like container having a peripheral flange portion provided with a cooperating annular top surface so as to define a high [56] References Cited quality bonded lamination comprised of the flange portions. The outer portion of the lamination is then UNITED STATES PATENTS curled to form a high strength annular bead which def l l fines the peripheral outline of the side wall of a sealed e man 2,968,270 1/1961 McChesney 113/120 0 comm 3,060,652 10/1962 Eckman 53/32 10 Claims, 23 Drawing Figures D1ZT "1.1 113 1 1 88 t L17 1 LZQ 44 6O 81 1, l

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sum 1 OF 8 n3 H -r PATENTEBHAR' 4MB 868 91 SHEET 8 OF 8 SEALED CONTAINER AND APPARATUS FOR AND METHOD OF SEALING SAME CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS This application is a divisional of applicants copending patent application Ser. No. 272,059, filed July 14, 1972 (now U.S. Pat. No. 3,752,387) which in turn is a divisional of applicants patent application Ser. No. 49,492, filed June 24, 1970 (now U.S. Pat. No. 3,695,806) which in turn is a continuation-in-part of applicants now abandoned patent application Ser. No. 854,108, filed Aug. 29, 1969.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In packing food products in disposable containers, for example, it is important that the container in which each food product is packaged be sealed in a high strength manner to minimize the likelihood of air leakage into the container which may cause spoilage of the food product. In addition, the container should have sufficient structural strength to assure it will not be easily damaged.

Many apparatus and methods have been proposed heretofore for making and sealing disposable food containers; however, many of these previously proposed apparatus and methods rely entirely on a mechanical swaging action, or the like, to provide a seal between a container closure and an associated container and such mechanical swaging has only proven satisfactory for comparatively expensive containers which have comparatively thick walls. Other apparatus and methods use heat sealing techniques to fasten a closure in position and the heat sealing is generally achieved after the associated closure has been mechanically attached in position which does not assure the provision of an optimum seal between the container and its closure and it is very undesirable to provide a seal in this manner because it tends to also heat the packaged food product which may be detrimental thereto.

SUMMARY This invention provides an improved sealed container and apparatus for and method of making same wherein the container has a closure which is sealed in position to a dish-like member in a high strength manner so as to bond flange portions of the closure and dish-like member together under heat and pressure to define a high quality bonded lamination. The outer portion ofsuch lamination is curled to form a high strength annular bead which defines the peripheral outline of the side wall of the sealed container with the inner portion of the lamination serving to hold the annular bead in spaced relation from such side wall as a protective shield therefor and said inner portion may be arranged substantially in one plane, or may have an arcuate or undulating configuration as viewed in cross section.

Other details, uses, and advantages of this invention will become apparent as the following description of the exemplary embodiments thereof presented in the accompanying drawings proceeds.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The accompanying drawings show a present exemplary embodiment of this invention, in which FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary sealed container of this invention comprised of a dish-like member having a substantially flat sheet-like closure bonded in position thereon to define a lamination or flange means;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of the exemplary embodiment of the container of FIG. 1 taken essentially on the line 22 of Flg. 1 and showing, in an exaggerated manner, the heat-scalable material provided on the inside surfaces of the dishJike member and closure.

FIGs. 2A, 2B, and 2C are fragmentary cross-sectional views similar to FIG. 2 illustrating three additional exemplary embodiments ofthe container ofthis invention wherein the container of each embodiment is substantially identical to the container of FIG. 1 with the exception of the cross-sectional configuration of the inner portion of its bonded lamination and a recess in its top closure;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view similar to Flg. 2 and prior to sealing the sheet-like closure in position and forming an annular bead in the outer edge portion of such lamination;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view with parts broken away illustrating one exemplary embodiment of the apparatus of this invention which may be used to define the sealed container of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged view with parts in cross section, parts in elevation, and parts broken away illustrating the apparatus of FIG. 4 with the closure being urged tightly against the peripheral flange of the dish-like container;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view particularly illustrating a multiple thickness annular portion defined by a peripheral flange portion of the dish-like container held against a cooperating flange portion of the closures and adjoining portions ofthe apparatus;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged view similar to FIG. 5 illustrating the action of the die comprising such apparatus moved so as to fold the multiple thickness annular portion shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 to define a substantially tubular heat laminated section which is subsequently curled to define an annular bead;

FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 6 and illustrating the tubular section and adjoining portions of the apparatus;

FIG. 8A is a greatly enlarged fragmentary crosssectional view illustrating surface portions defining an annular cutout in the lower forming die;

FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIG. 5 and illustrating the dies and container after forming the outer portion of the tubular section to define an annular bead having a roughly circular cross-sectional configuration;

FIG. 10 is a view similar to FIG. 6 particularly illustrating the annular bead and adjoining portions of the apparatus;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary view in elevation illustrating another exemplary embodiment of the apparatus of this invention which may be used to provide a peripheral bead in a dish-like container and sealed closure to define the container of FIG. 2;

FIG. 12 is a view similar to FIG. 11 with parts in crosssection, parts in elevation, and parts broken away, illustrating cooperating dies and rings urged together to sandwich peripheral flange means of a dishlike container therebetween at the beginning of an operating cycle used to form an annular bead in the outer portion of such flange means;

Flg. 13 is an enlarged fragmentary view illustrating the action of the apparatus in folding the flangeg means of the dish-like container to define a substantially tubular section which is subsequently curled to define an annular bead;

FIG. 14 is a greatly enlarged fragmentary crosssectional view illustrating the tubular section and adjoining portions of the apparatus;

FIG. 15 is a view similar to FIG. 13 and illustrating the apparatus after forming the outer portion of the tubular section to define an annular bead therein;

FIG. 16 is a view similar to FIG. 14 particularly illustrating the formed annular bead and adjoining portions of the apparatus;

FIG. 17 is a view similar to FIG. 15 and particularly illustrating the operation of a device used to lift the dish-like container away from the supporting ring and its associated lower die;

FIG. 18 is a view similar to FIG. 16 illustrating by solid lines a modification of the apparatus of FIGS. 11-16 which may be used to define the container of FIG. 2A and illustrating by dotted lines a modification of such apparatus which may be used to define the container of FIG. 2B; and

FIG. 19 is a view similar to FIG. 18 and particularly illustrating a modification of the apparatus which may be used to define the container illustrated in FIG. 2C of the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS Reference is now made to FIGS. l-3 of the drawings which illustrate one exemplary embodiment of a sealed container of this invention which is designated generally by the reference numeral 20. The container 20 comprises a dish-like container portion or member 21 having a peripheral flange portion 22 provided with a planar top annular surface 23 and a closure 24 having a peripheral flange portion 25 provided with a cooperating planar bottom annular surface 26. The dish-like member 21 may be made of a suitable material such as a metallic foil containing aluminum and has a coating or layer of heat-sealable material defining its inside surface and the closure 24 comprises a sheet-like closure which may also be made of metallic foil and has a coating or layer 31 of a heat-sealable material defining its inside surface.

The layers 30 and 31 of the heat-sealable material extend over planar surface portions or surfaces 23 and 26 and define what amounts to adhesive means which serve to bond such surfaces together in a high strength manner and provide a high quality bonded lamination 32 comprised of the associated flange portions 22 and 25. The container 20 also has an annular bead 33 formed in the peripheral outer portion of the lamination 32 and with the inner portion 34 of such lamination lying substantially in one plane.

The inner portion 34 of the lamination 32 serves to hold the annular bead 33 in spaced relation from the main portion or substantially vertically arranged peripheral sie wall of the dish-like member 21 and thereby effectively uses the annular bead 33 as a protective shield for such main portion. It will also be appreciated that the bead 33 has a substantially circular cross-sectional peripheral outline and inasmuch as the container 20 has a roughly oval peripheral configuration the bead 33 has a substantially toroidal configuration which has high hoop strength and is capable of withstanding comparatively high external loads applied against the bead 33 to provide maximum protection for the container 20 even under conditions where the con-- tainer is made of comparatively thin materials such as metal foil, laminated paper, and the like.

The flange portion 22 and 25 of members 21 and 24, respectively, are heat laminated together utilizing those portions of the heat-sealable layers 30 and 31 provided on their planar surfaces as adhesive means by the application of heat and pressure to thereby provide a high quality seal about the entire outer pcriphery of the sealed container 20. The annular bead 33 is defined in container 20 after sealing the closure 24 in position whereby the product 35 contained within container 20 is assured of being maintained in a sealed condition and the subsequent provision of the annular bead 33 serves to provide added structural integrity for the container 20 without disrupting the character of the seal defined between closure 24 and the dish-like member 21.

The container 20 is preferably formed utilizing the apparatus and method of this invention and an exemplary apparatus and method is presented in FIG. 4 of the drawings and designated generally by the reference numeral 36. The apparatus 36 comprises a fixed support in the form of a plate 40 which has a container supporting member or ring 41 carried by support 40 and preferably fixed in position thereon. The ring 41 has a planar top annular surface 42, see FIG. 5, which is adapted to support the top peripheral flange 22 of container 20 with a terminal edge portion 43 of such flange extending beyond the peripheral edge of the annular surface 42. The apparatus 36 also has a movable support which is in the form of a movable support plate 44 and the plate 44 has a clamping ring 45 suitably fixed thereto. The clamping ring 45 is particularly adapted to clamp both the peripheral flange 25 of closure 24 and the peripheral flange 22 of member 21 together against the top surface 42 of ring 41.

The movable plate 44 is moved toward and away from the fixed plate 40 by an actuating device comprised of a pair of direct acting fluid cylinders 46 and each cylinder 46 has an outer housing 50 which terminates in a mounting flange 51 which has a plurality of openings 52 therein which are adapted to receive a threaded bolt 53 therethrough and each threaded bolt is received in a cooperating threaded opening provided in the fixed plate 40 to thereby support each housing 50 and cylinder 46 in a fixed manner against the lower surface of plate 40. Each fluid cylinder 46 has a piston 54 and an axially slidable piston rod 55 fixed to such piston and extending outwardly in sealed relation through the flange portion 51 and through an opening 56 in the fixed plate 40 with the terminal outer end of each rod 55 being threadedly connected in the movable support plate 44 as indicated at 60. Each cylinder 46 has a compression spring 61 acting between the bottom surface of the movable plate 44 and the top surface of the fixed plate 40 and the springs 61 tend to urge plate 44 away from plate 40.

Each cylinder 46 is provided with a suitable fluid, such as air, under regulated pressure from a suitable source and upon supplying air through a supply conduit 62 in each housing 50 the associated piston rod 55 is urged outwardly to move themovable plate 44 away from the fixed plate 40. The movable plate 44 and its associated components are moved toward the fixed plate by supplying air under pressure through supply conduits 63 extending through housings of cylinders 46.

The apparatus 36 has die means shown as a pair of cooperating dies each carried by an associated support or plate and each die is movable relative to its associated plate. One of the dies shown in the drawings as a lower die 64 is supported around the container supporting member or ring 41 and is axially movable relative to ring 41 and essentially along a central vertical axis through the apparatus 36. The other die 66 of the previously mentioned pair of dies is supported around clamping ring 45 and is also axially movable relative thereto.

The lower die 64 in this example of the invention has heating means shown as a substantially annular electrical heating device fixed tothe outer surface of its top portion, as viewed in FIG. 4. The heating device 70 serves to heat the die 64 and adjoining ring 41 to define the previously mentioned bonded lamination 32 and in a manner to be described in more detail subsequently.

The apparatus 36 may be provided with suitable automatic means to place each closure 24 in position over an associated dish-like container or member 21 in an aligned manner or such closure may be placed in position manually. Once a particular closure is placed in position the cylinders 46 are energized through a suitable control system to move theh clamping ring 45 and die 66 toward ring 41 and die 64 to define the multiple thickness annular portion or bonded lamination 32 essentially as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 ofthe drawings.

The rings 41 and 45 and dies 64 and 65 are urged together in a manner as illustrated in FIG. 6 and the heating device 70 serves to heat the outer portions of the die 64 and ring 41 as well as the flange portions 22 and 25 of dish-like member 21 and closure 24, causing their respective heat-scalable layers 30 and 31, seen in Flg. 3, adjoining annular surfaces 23 and 26 to be heat sealed together. The heat sealing is thus achieved under conditions of both heat and pressure to define the bonded lamination 32 which will also be referred to as a multiple thickness annular portion. The dies 64 and 66 have suitable actuating means and are operated in a manner now to be described to define a substantially tubular heat laminated section 74 which is then formed to define the annular bead 33 shown in FIGS. 9 and 10.

As seen particularly in FIG. 4, each die 64 and 66 has an actuator shown in each instance as an air cylinder 75. Each cylinder 75 is a reverse acting cylinder which has a piston rod 76 provided with one end fixed to an associated support plate either 40 or 44 and its opposite end fixed to piston 77. Each air cylinder 75 has a tubular outer housing 80 attached to an associated die, either 64 or 66, by a plurality of pins 81 which are axially slidable through associated openings 82 in an associated plate either 40 or 44. Each pin has one end threadedly connected to its associated die as indicated at 83 and an opposite threaded end attached to a flange 84 fixed to the base of its associated tubular housing 80 by a plurality of nuts 85 as indicated at 86. Thus, each air cylinder 75 in essence has its piston rod 76 and piston 77 fixed with respect to an associated support plate while the housing portion 80, together with pins 81 and its attached die (either 64 or 66) move with respect to the associated support plate and rod 76.

Each air cylinder 76 is supplied with air under regulated pressure from a suitable pressure source to either one or the other of a pair of conduits 87 or 88 operatively connected to housing 80 on opposite sides of piston 77 As air is supplied to each outermost conduit 87, the housing 80, its pins 81, and associated die fixed to such pins are moved outwardly relative to the associated support plate until the bottom surface of the associated die engages the inside surface of the associated support plate. Similarly, when it is desired to move a particular die inwardly or away from the inside surface of its associated support plate, air under regulated pressure is supplied through conduit 88 to thereby urge the associated die inwardly or toward the center of the apparatus 36 and in essence toward the dish-like member 21 and its closure 24.

This arrangement of reverse acting air cylinders enables the utilization of commercially available components while providing the application of forces on a broad stable base defined by the outside periphery of the tubular housing 80 and such stable base may be further increased in peripheral outline by using flange 84 and placing the pins 81 in the flange 84 in a predetermined pattern corresponding to the peripheral configuration of the associated die, whether it be lower die 64 or upper die 66.

The dies 64 and 66 have annular projections 64A and 66A respectively defining the base portion thereof and each projection 64A and 66A is adapted to engage an associated inwardly extending annular flange 90 comprising an integral part of an associated die holder 91. Each die holder 91 with its annular flange 90 is fixed to an associated support plate by a plurality of threaded bolts 92 which extend through associated openings in the particular support plate and through cooperating threaded openings 93 in the die holder 91 and each annular flange 90 serves to limit movement of an associated die relative to its support plate.

The apparatus 36 also has suitable guide posts 95 which have their lower ends suitably fixed in the fixed plate 40 and each guide post 95 has its upper end extending through an associated sleeve bearing 96 fixed to the movable plate 44 and through an associated aligned opening in the plate 44. As the movable plate 44 is moved toward and away from the fixed plate 40, the guide posts 95 provide the guiding function in a manner well known in the art.

The apparatus 36 has a vacuum ring 101 suitably fixed to the fixed plate 40 outwardly of the die 64 and die holder 91, see FIG. 5. The vacuum ring 101 has an annular groove 102 defined therein and the groove 102 has a substantially rectangular peripheral outline comprised of a pair of vertical surfaces 103 and 104. The ring 101 has a pair of seal-supporting grooves extending inwardly therein from each of its surfaces 103 and 104 and a pair of sealing rings 105 and 106 respectively are suitably supported in such grooves. The apparatus 36 also has a vacuum ring 107 suitably fixed to the movable plate 44 and the ring 107 has a lower end portion 108 which is adapted to be received within the groove 102.

The vacuum rings 101 and 107 have a combined height which is greater than the combined height of the vacuum rings 101 and 107 enable the forming of a sealed chamber 11 1 prior to clamping the closure 24 in position against the dish-like member 21.

As seen in FIG. 4, the apparatus 36 also has means for providing a vacuum in the chamber defined by the rings 101 and 107 and such means comprises a conduit 112 which extends through ring 107 and is operatively connected to a suitable vacuum pump 113. Once the movable plate 44 is positioned so that vacuum ring 107 is in the dotted line position 109 and the clamping ring 45 is in position 110, see FIG. 5, the entire chamber 111 surrounding the dish-like container and the space indicated at 115 between the sheet-like closure 24 and the dish-like member 21 will be evacuated upon starting the vacuum pump 113. The apparatus 36 then operates to seal the closure 24 in position in a manner to be subsequently described in more detail to define the annular bead 33 in the outer periphery of the sealed container 20.

The apparatus 36 may also be provided with means for supplying an inert fluid such as an inert gas into the evacuated chamber 111 and into the space 115 of the container prior to sealing the closure 24 in position and such means may comprise a conduit 116 which may be supplied with an inert gas such as nitrogen from any suitable source such as a supply tank 120, see FIG. 4.

As seen particularly in FIG. 8 of the drawings, the clamping ring 45 has an outer surface 121 which defines the inside surface of the tubular section 74 and the die 64 has an inner surface 122 corresponding in configuration to and being spaced outwardly from the outer surface 121 by a controlled distance indicated at 123 determined by the thickness of the multiple thickness annular portion 32 and hence the thickness of tubular section 74. The die 64 is moved upwardly after defining the multiple thickness annular portion 32 to define the tubular section 74 and the die 66 is then moved downwardly to define the annular bead 33.

As seen particularly in FIG. 6 of the drawings, the die 64 has an annular cutout 125 adjacent the outer edge of its inside surface 122 and the die 66 has an annular cutout 126 adjoining the outer portion of its inside surface 127. The annular cutouts 125 and 126 cooperate to define a substantially toroidal inside surface which defines bead 33 upon moving the dies in a manner to be described subsequently.

The annular cutout 125 is defined by an outwardly concave surface portion 128 and an outwardly convex surface portion 130 adjoining the inner edge of the outwardly concave surface portion 128 at one end and the outer edge of the inside surface 122 of die 64 at its opposite endto thereby define a roughly S-shaped surface on the outer edge portion of the die 64, see FIG. 8A. The die 64 is adapted to be moved by its actuator or cylinder 75 by a controlled fixed distance indicated at 131 to thereby define a terminal end portion 132 in the tubular section 74 which tends to flare outwardly into cutout 125 and is more easily engaged by the inner edge 133 of the die 66 to thereby enable easier formation of the bead 33.

Having described the various component parts of apparatus 36 in detail, a brief presentation will now be made to highlight the simplicity with which the apparatus and method of this invention enable the sealing of a closure on an associated dishlike container in a high strength manner. In particular, it will be seen that the dish-like member 21 is supported in position on the supporting ring 41 and a sheet-like closure 24 may be placed in position thereon or suitably held as by vacuum-or the like against the lower surface of the clamping ring 45. The cylinders 46 are then energized to move the vacuum rings 101 and 107 in aligned and sealed end-to-end relation to define vacuum chamber 111 while keeping the clamping ring 45 and die 66 spaced away from the top of the dish-like member 2]. The vacuum pump 113 evacuates the air from the vacuum chamber 111 thus defined and from the area 115 between closure 24 and a product 35 contained in dishlike member 21. If desired at this point an inert gas such as nitrogen may be introduced into the chamber 111 and suitably introduced into the container 20 by holding the closure 24 spaced from member 21 for a short time interval.

The cylinders 46 are then actuated until the clamping ring 45 and die 66 engage and sandwich the peripheral flange portion 25 of the closure 24 against flange portion 22 of dish-like member 21 which is supported by ring 41 and die 64, see FIGS. 4 and 5, and air at a pressure of roughly I00 psig is supplied through conduit 88 of the upper cylinder 75 to hold the die 64 with its lower surface substantially coplanar with the lower surface of the clamping ring. The heating device is in operation so that a heat seal is provided utilizing both heat and pressure which efficiently seals the closure 24 to the dish-like member 21 in a high strength and optimum manner to define the multiple thickness annular portion 32 illustrated in FIG. 6.

With the cylinders 46 still actuated, air under pressure in upper cylinder is suitably switched from conduit 88 to conduit 87 and decreased to a level of about 20 psig. Simultaneously, air at a pressure of roughly psig is supplied through conduit 88 of the lower air cylinder 75 causing movements of the dies 66 and 64 from their positions shown in FIGS. 5 an 6 to positions illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8 to thereby form the heat laminated tubular section 74.

Once the section 74 has been defined the air under pressure supplied to the lower cylinder 75 is suitably switched from its conduit 87 to its conduit 88 and reduced from 100 psig to a pressure generally of the order of 20 psig while simultaneously the air under pressure in the upper cylinder 75 is changed from its conduit 87 to its conduit 88 and increased from roughly 20 psig to 100 psig. This switching action causes movement of the dies 64 and 66 from their positions shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 tonew positions illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10 whereby the substantially toroidal inside surface defined by cooperating cutouts and 126 forms the annular bead 33 which is spaced from the vertical side wall of the container 20 by the annular planar portion 34 of lamination 32 and serves as a shield for such side wall.

The curling action illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10 of the drawings which defines the peripheral bead 33 is such that a substantial curling effect takes place. However, it will be appreciated that the curling may be precisely controlled simply by controlling the length of the tubular section 74 and the configuration of the cutouts 125 and 126 in a manner well known in the art.

In this example of the invention the heating device 70 is shown as an electrical heating device and provided adjoining the upper portion of the die 64. However, it will be appreciated that any suitable means may be provided for heating the heat-sealable material provided on flange portions 22 and 25 of members 21 and 24 respectively. In addition, the heating device 70 may be carried by the die 66, if desired.

The various cylinders 46 and 75 illustrated in this example of the invention as shown as air cylinders and the air pressures previously mentioned as being used with certain cylinders were only given for explanatory purposes. It will be also be appreciated that any suitable actuator may be provided whether it be a fluid operated actuator, an electric motor driven actuator, or the like. In addition, the closure 24 may be placed in position using any suitable automatic or manual means, as desired.

In this example of the invention suitable controls and associated control circuitry have not been illustrated and described for moving the various components to provide heat sealing of the closure 24 on the dish-like member 21. However, it is to be understood that any suitable control means may be provided for sequencing the components such as the cylinders, heating elements, vacuum pump, etc., to provide either semiautomatic or substantially fully automatic sealing of each closure on an associated dish-like member. Further, suitable conveyor means may also be provided to enable automatic loading of dish-like members and closures into the apparatus 36 and unloading of sealed containers therefrom.

In this example of the invention the entire inside surface of the dish-like member 21 and the inside surface of the closure 24 is shown as having a heat-scalable material bonded thereagainst as a layer. However, it will be appreciated that the heat-scalable material may be provided only on one of such inside surfaces or only on one or both of the peripheral flange portions 22 and 25 of the members 21 and 24 respectively, if desired. Fur ther, any suitable heat-scalable material may be used and typical materials which may be used include hot melt adhesives, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, and polyethylene, for example.

After forming the multiple thickness bonded portion 32 in this exemplary presentation of the invention, the dies 64 and 66 are first moved upwardly, as seen in FIG. 8, to define the tubular section 74 and then such dies are moved downwardly to define the integral annular bead 33 around the container 20. However, it will be appreciated that in some applications of this invention it is preferable that the dies 64 and 66 and associated components be suitably modified and such dies operated by being first moved downwardly to define a substantially tubular section, similar to section 74, which extends beneath the main portion of the multiple thickness bonded portion 32. The modified dies 64 and 66 are then suitably moved upwardly to define an annular bead which is substantially identical to the bead 33.

The apparatus 36 has been described above as being used to define the exemplary dish-like container 20 i1- lustrated in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3; however, it will be appreciated that the apparatus 36 may be used to define the dish-like container illustrated in FIGS. 2A, 2B, or 2C by suitably modifying various component portions thereof in a manner now to be described. In particular, it will be appreciated that the ring 41 may have its top annular surface 42 suitably modified to be either upwardly convex, upwardly concave, or undulating while modifying the oppositely arranged bottom surface of the clamping ring 45 in a cooperating manner so as to be either downwardly concave, downwardly convex, or undulating respectively to thereby enable forming of dish-like containers having peripheral flange means as illustrated in FIGS. 2A, 2B, and 2C.

Because the containers of FIGS. 2A, 2B, and 2C are very similar to the container 20 they will be designated by the reference numerals 20A, 20B, and 20C. For ease of presentation and understanding, the various compo nent portions of each container have also been designated by the same reference numerals as in the container 20 followed by the letter designation A, B, or C, corresponding to the particular letter designation of the dish-like container being referred to; and, it is to be understood that the previous detailed description of each component of container 20 is in general fully applicable to each container 20 A-C and thus will not be repeated.

Another exemplary embodiment of the apparatus of this invention is illustrated in FIGS. 11-17 of the drawings and such apparatus is designated generally by the reference numeral 135.

The apparatus 135 is particularly adapted to form a bead in the peripheral portion of the lamination or flange means 32 of the dish-like container 20. The apparatus 135 receives the dish-like container after its closure 24 has been sealed in position thereagainst in a similar manner as previously described and forms an annular bead 33 in the peripheral portion of such flange means; however, it will be appreciated that the apparatus 135 may be suitably modified to incorporate the necessary heating means similar to the heating device to enable placing of the dish-like portion or member 21 in position within the apparatus 135 and then sealing the closure member 24 thereagainst. Further, it will be appreciated that suitable means may also be incorporated in the apparatus 135, if desired, to evacuate the space within the container prior to sealing the closure 24 in position, as well as supplying means for introducing an inert gas such as nitrogen from any suitable source into the container 20 prior to sealing the closure 24 in position.

The apparatus comprises a lower support 136 which carries a container supporting ring 137 which is fixed thereto using any suitable technique and the ring has a stepped top surface indicated generally by the reference numeral 138 and is comprised of an outer portion 139 and an inner portion 140 both of which will be described in more detail subsequently. The top surface 138 is particularly adapted to support the outer portion of the flange means 32 of the dish-like container 20. The ring 137 also has an inside cylindrical surface 141 defined by a bore therethrough and a cylindrical surface 142 of larger diameter which is defined by a counterbore in the lower portion of ring 137 to thereby define a stop in the form of an annular surface 143 extending between the top edge of surface 142 and the bottom edge of surface 141.

The apparatus 135 has a lower member which will be referred to as a lower die 145 which is carried by the lower support 136 concentrically within ring 137 and die 145 is axially movable within such ring. The die 145 has an annular top surface 147 and means in the form of a plurality of compression springs 150 acting between the lower support 136 and the die 145 yieldingly urging the die 145 so that the top surface 147 is sub stantially coplanar with the outer portion 139 of the stepped top surface 138 of ring 137. Each compression spring 150 has a lower end thereof received within a cavity or bore 151 in the lower support 136 and has an upper end thereof received within a cooperating bore 152 in the lower die 145 and the bore 152 which is arranged in axial alignment with the bore 151 of the lower support 136.

The lower die has a cavity 153 defined therein which is particularly adapted to receive an unbeaded container comprised of member 21 having a closure 24 sealed thereagainst to enable forming the peripheral.

bead 33 in the peripheral portion of the flange means 32. The lower die 145 also has a lower comparatively large diameter cylindrical surface 154 which engages and supports the die 145 for sliding movement along surface 142 of ring 137 and has a smaller diameter cylindrical surface 155 which supports such die for sliding movement along the surface 141. A surface 156 extends between the top edge of surface 154 and the bottom edge of surface 155 and defines a projection or stop which engages the stop surface 143 to limit the outward movement of the lower die 145 and thereby control the extent that the compression springs 150 may yieldingly urge the lower die 145 upwardly.

The apparatus 135 has an upper support 157 which has an upper die 160 suitably fixed thereto for movement therewith. The upper die 160 has a bottom surface 161 which is surrounded by an adjoining surface which will be referred to as an annular peripheral bottom surface 162 which is arranged above and substantially parallel to the surface 161. The upper die 160 has a cylindrical outside surface 163 which adjoins the outer edge surface 162 with a small arcuate surface 164 being provided therebetween. The surfaces 161 and 162 enable a recess 159 to be defined in the closure 24 of container 20 which allows for outward expansion of such closure without damaging the container in the event of apressure build-up in the container or expansion of its contents by freezing.

The apparatus 135 also has what will be referred to as clamping ring 165 which is supported around the upper die 160 and the ring 165 is axially movable relative to the upper die 160. The ring 165 has an annular bottom clamping surface 166 and a plurality of compression springs 167 are provided and act between the upper support 157 and the clamping ring 165 to yieldingly urge the ring 165 so that its clamping surface 166 'is substantially coplanar with the annular surface 162 of the upper die 160.

Each compression spring 167 has an upper end received within a cylindrical bore 170 in the upper support 157 and a lower end received within a bore 171 in the clamping ring 165 which is arranged in axial alignment with bore 170. The clamping ring 165 is provided with a suitable stop means defined by bolts 168 each having a head portion 168A, a threaded lower portion 168B threadedly received within the clamping ring 165, and an intermediate smooth rod-like portion 168C, see FIG. 11. Each rod-like portion extends through an opening or bore 169 in the upper support 157 and each bore 169 has a counterbore 169A which receives a head portion 168A of an associated screw therethrough with an annular stop surfac'e 1698 being defined between each bore 169 and counterbore 169A. The compression springs 167 yiueldingly urge the-ring 165 outwardly until the lower surfaces of the bolt head portions 168A engage stop surfaces 169B whereby the clamping surface 166 is initially held substantially coplanar with annular surface 162 and during a part of the beading operation to be subsequently described the springs 167 are overridden and the top surface of ring 165 is urged tightly against the bottom surface of the support 157, see FIG. 13, with the bolt heads 168A moved upwardly within their associated counterbores 169A. However, it will be appreciated that the stop means or stop for ring 165 may be constructed in a similar manner as the stop for the lower die 145, if desired.

The apparatus has a plurality of guide posts 172 which have their lower ends suitably fixed to the lower support 136 and have their upper ends slidably received within an associated sleeve bearing 173 which is fixed to the upper support 157 by press fitting, welding, or the like, as shown at 174. The apparatus 135 normally holds its supports in the open or spaced position illustrated in FIG. 11 so that it can receive a dishlike container which is to be beaded therewithin whereby the upper end portions of the guide posts 172 engage only the lower portions of the sleeve bearings 173. Upon moving the supports 136 and 157 together in a manner to be subsequently described, the upper ends of the guide posts 172 are received within the sleeve bearings 173 initially as illustrated in H0. 12 and then as illustrated in FIG. 13 whereby the supports 136 and 157 and their associated components are moved while being held in precise vertical alignment to enable forming of the peripheral bead 33 in the peripheral flange means of the dish-like container.

The upper die has a plurality of vertical passages 175 extending from the lower surface thereof to a central chamber 176 in such die and chamber 176 in turn has suitable passage means 177 interconnecting such chamber to ambient. The passages 175 and 177 with their associated chamber 176 assure that as the upper die 160 is brought into position toward the closure member of the dish-like container there will be no air trapped between such upper die and the upper portion of the container which would tend to prevent proper operation of the apparatus 135.

The exemplary apparatus 135 has its lower support 136 and its upper support 157 suitably fixed to plates 180 and 181 respectively which may comprise a lower and upper platen respectively of a standard press. Accordingly, any suitable moving means, whether mechanical (such as a standard mechanical device used to provide reciprocating movements), hydraulic, or pneumatic may be utilized to relatively move the plates 180 and 181 and, hence, their respective supports 136 and 157 toward and away from each other.

For simplicity of presentation, a double arrow 182 has been shown on the plate 181 to indicate moving means for moving such plate and its support 157 vertically in either direction with the lower plate 180 and support 136 being held stationary. However, it will be appreciated that the upper plate and its support may be held stationary and only the lower plate and its support relatively moved toward and away therefrom or both upper and lower supports and their associated plates may be moved toward and away from each other.

The container supporting ring 137 has what will be referred to as a first annular cutout 184 adjoining both the outer edge of its inside cylindrical surface 141 and the inner edge of surface 140. Similarly, the clamping ring 165 has a second annular cutout 185 adjoining both its cylindrical surface 163 and the inner edge of its surface 166. The cutouts 184 and 185 cooperate to define a substantially toroidal inside surface which is used to form the bead 33 in the container in a manner to be subsequently described, see FIG. 14.

Having described the cooperating component portions of the apparatus 135 in detail, a detailed presentation will now be made of the manner in which the components of apparatus 135 and their associated surfaces cooperate to define the bead 33 in the bonded lamination or flange means 32 to define the completed container 20.

The apparatus 135 is opened to the position illustrated in FIG. 11 and an unbeaded sealed container is moved in position so that its flange means 32 is supported on the outer annular surface portion 139 of the stepped surface 138 of the supporting ring 137 with the inner portion of such flange means being supported on the surface 147. The moving means for the upper plate 181 and support 157 is then actuated to thereby initially relatively move the supports and, hence,,the dies and rings toward each other and clamp the flange means 32 therebetween essentially as illustrated in FIG. 12. In this position the outer portion of the flange means 32 is clamped tightly in position between the surface 139 and surface 166, as shown at 178, to assure that once the cooperating dies and rings are moved further together the outer portion will not slip or flap in a detrimental manner.

With further movement of the supports 136 and 157 toward each other, the outer portion of the flange means is moved between surfaces 140 and 166 which exert sufficient pressure to prevent wrinkling and yet allow slipping movement. The vertical distance or gap indicated at 179, see FIG. 14, between surfaces 139 and 140 will vary depending upon the particular container being beaded; however, in one application wherein the thickness of the flange means or lamination was 0.()l2 0.015 inch the gap at 179 was 0.010 inch.

The dies and rings cooperate to first define a substantially tubular section which is also designated by the reference numeral 74 as in the previous description in connection with the apparatus 36 and as shown in FIGS. 13 and 14 of the drawings. Upon moving the supports away from each other, the dies and rings cooperate to form the section 74 in the form of the annular head 33 which has a roughly circular cross-sectional outline as illustrated in FIGS. 15 and 16 of the drawmgs.

The action of the apparatus 135 is such that once the supports 136 and 157 are moved together in the manner illustrated in FIG. 12, the peripheral annular surface 162 ofthe upper die 160 is arranged generally opposite the annular top surface 147 of the lower die 145, with the inner portion of the annular clamping surface 166 of clamping ring 165 being arranged generally opposite the stepped surface 138 of the container supporting ring. In this position, it will be seen that the peripheral portion of the flange means 32 is tightly clamped between the surface 139 and the clamping surface 166 so that during subsequent movement of the upper die 160 within the ring 137 the flange means 32 is firmly held during the initial movement used to form the tubular section 74, as previously mentioned.

The ring 137 has its inside surface 141 spaced outwardly from the outside surface 163 of the upper die 160 by a controlled thickness which is determined by the thickness of the flange means 32. Thus, after initially moving the supports 136 and 157 together to clamp the flange means in a forming position in the manner described above, further relative movement of the supports 136 and 157 toward each other causes the upper die to override lower compression springs 150 and causes the container supporting ring 137 to override the compression springs 167 and thereby vertically move the entire filled and sealed dish-like container beneath the stepped surface 138 of the ring 137, see FIG. 14, to define the tubular section 74. In this position the upper end of the tubular section 74 is within the substantially toroidal surface defined by surfaces 184 and 185.

Upon actuation of the moving means so that the plates 180 and 181 and, hence, their associated supports 136 and 157 are relatively moved apart, the now compressed compression springs 150 operate to move the lower die 145 in a telescoping manner upwardly while the compression springs 167 operate to move clamping ring 165 downwardly causing the outer portion of the tubular portion 74 to engage surfaces 184 and 185 and define the annular bead 33 essentially as illustrated in FIGS. 15 and 16 of the drawings.

The apparatus also has a device designated generally by the reference numeral 186, refer to FIGS. 13 and 17, which is particularly adapted for lifting the now beaded container 20 away from supporting ring 137 to the dotted line position indicated at 187 in FIG. 17. The device 186 comprises a comparatively thin flat plate 188 carried within the cavity 153 in the lower die and plate 188 has a rod 190 suitably attached thereto, such as against the lower surface thereof. The rod 190 extends through aligned openings 19], 192, and 193 in the plate 180, support 136, and lower die 145 respectively and such rod may be actuated by a suitable actuator of known construction to raise the plate 188 and the beaded container 20 once the the beading operation has been completed and then lower such plate back into position against a surface 194 defining the bottom of the die cavity 153. The actuator for rod 190 and action thereof is represented schematically by the double arrow 195.

The rod 190 may be synchronized with the operating movement of the plate 181 so as to automatically raise the beaded container when the beading operation has been completed. Further, the rod 190 preferably raises the beaded container sufficiently above the ring 137, as shown at 187 in FIG. 17, to enable removal of such container by a lateral transfer mechanism essentially in a horizontal direction substantially parallel to the top surface of the plate 188.

The upper die and its associated components have been provided with suitable passage means to prevent air from being trapped between the closure 24 and the upper die 160 during the beading operation. Similarly, the plate 188 may also have suitable openings 188A provided therein communicating with passages 193, 192, and 191 to prevent air from being trapped between the dish-like container and the lower die 145.

The exemplary apparatus 135 has been illustrated and describedwith its supports 136 and 157 suitably fixed to plates and 181 respectively comprising a standard press. However, it will be appreciated that the plates 180 and 181 may be suitably modified to define supports 136 and 157 without requiring the provision of the separate supports 136 and 157.

As previously indicated, the apparatus 36 may be suitably modified to define containers A, 208, or 20C. It will also be appreciated that the apparatus 135 may also be suitably modified to define such containers and particular attention is now directed to FIGS. 18 and 19 of the drawings. FIG. 18 illustrates the manner in which the top surface of die 145 and the peripheral surface portion of the upper die 160 may be modified as indicated by solid lines and designated respectively by the reference numerals 147A and 162A to enable forming the beaded container 20A of FIG. 2A having the inner portion of its flange means 32A defined in an upwardly convex configuration with the bead 33A at the terminal end of such flange means. FIG. 18 also illustrates the manner in which the top surface of lower die 145 and the peripheral surface portion of the upper die 160 may also be suitably modified as indicated by dotted lines and designated respectively by the reference numerals 1473 and 162B to enable forming the beaded container 208 of FIG. 28 having the inner portion of its flange means 32B defined in an upwardly concave configuration with the bead 33B at the terminal end of such flange means.

As seen in FIG. 19, the lower die 145 may also have its annular top surface made as an undulating surface 147C with the annular peripheral surface portion of the upper die 160 made as a cooperating undulating surface 162C to thereby define a dish-like container having its bonded lamination or flange means 32C made in the form of an undulating configuration, as viewed in cross-section, with the bead 33C at the end such flange means. It should be emphasized that by forming the inner portion of the flange means or bonded lamination, either to an arcuate configuration or to an undulating configuration, the annular bead formed in the outer periphery of its associated dish-like container is held in spaced relation from the side walls of the dishlike container with greater strength and rigidity and thereby provides optimum shield-like protection for such side walls. In addition, the roughly toroidal configuration of the peripheral bead greatly strengthens such bead and assures such bead and its adjoining flange means cannot be deformed radially inwardly against the container.

Certain words and phrases such as top, bottom, inner, outer, upwardly, downwardly, etc., have been used throughout this specification and claims to indicate various positions of certain parts and surfaces as illustrated in the drawings; however, it is to be understood that these parts and surfaces may be suitably arranged in any desired manner. For example, the overall apparatus disclosed herein may be inverted and the unbeaded sealed container may be suitably repositioned for forming to take this into account.

While present exemplary embodiments of this invention, and methods of practicing the same, have'been illustrated and described, it will be recognized that this invention may be otherwise variously embodied and practiced within the scope of the following claims.

I claim:

1. An apparatus for sealing a closure having a peripheral flange portion provided with an annular sealable surface against the top of a dish-like container having a top peripheral flange provided with a cooperating annular sealable surface wherein at least one of said sealable surfaces has adhesive means thereon, said apparatus comprising a fixed support, a container supporting ring carried by said fixed support and having an annular top surface adapted to support said flange, a movable support, an actuating device for moving said movable support toward and away from said fixed support, a clamping ring carried by said movable support for clamping said closure against said annular top surface, and a pair of cooperating dies each carried by an associated support and each being movable relative to its associated support, one of said dies being supported around said container supporting ring and being axially movable relative thereto and the other of said dies being supported around said clamping ring and being axially movable relative thereto, said dies and rings being adapted to be moved together so that said sealable surfaces are bonded together by said adhesive means to form a multiple thickness bonded lamination comprised of an annular portion'of said flange and a corresponding annular portion of said closure and said dies being adapted to be then moved in one direction to first define a substantially tubular laminated section and adapted to be moved in an opposite direction to form said section in the form of an annular bead having a roughly circular cross-sectional outline, said clamping ring having an outside surface which defines the inside surface of said tubular section and said one die having an inside surface corresponding to and being spaced outwardly from said outside surface by a controlled thickness determined by the thickness of said multiple thickness bonded lamination.

2. An apparatus as set forth in claim 1 and further comprising a pair of actuators each operatively connected to an associated die, said actuators cooperating to move said dies first in said one direction and then in said opposite direction.

3. An apparatus as set forth in claim 1 in which one of said dies has a heating device provided thereon, said heating device providing heating of adhesive means provided on at least one of said annular portions to bond said annular portions together during the application of pressure by said dies and rings against said annular portions.

4. An apparatus as set forth in claim 1 in which one die has a first annular cutout adjacent the outer edge of its inside surface and said other die has a second annular cutout adjacent the outer edge of its inside surface, said annular cutouts cooperating to define a substantially toroidal inside surface which is used to form said bead.

5. An apparatus as set forth in claim 4 in which said first annular cutout is defined by an outwardly concave surface portion and further comprising an outwardly convex surface having opposite ends adjoining the inner edge of said outwardly concave surface portion and the outer edge of the inside surface of said one die to thereby define a roughly S-shaped surface on the outer edge portion of said one die, said one die being adapted to be moved in said one direction by a controlled fixed distance which is smaller than the height of said tubular section to thereby provide an end portion of said tubular section which tends to follow the contour of said convex surface and thereby enable easier engagement by said other die during movement in said opposite direction to define said bead.

6. An apparatus as set forth in claim 1 and further comprising a pair of vacuum rings each fixed to an associated support outwardly of said dies, said vacuum rings being adapted to be moved into end-to-end sealed relation to define a sealed chamber and said vacuum rings having a combined height which is greater than the combined height of said container supporting ring and clamping ring to thereby enable defining said sealed chamber prior to clamping said closure in position, and further comprising means for providing a vacuum within said chamber to thereby enable evacuation of said chamber and dish-like container prior to sealing said closure in position.

7. An apparatus as set forth in claim 6 and further comprising a device for supplying an inert gas into said chamber and dish-like container prior to sealing said closure in position.

8. An apparatus as set forth in claim 1 and further comprising a pair of cylinders each having a piston rod fixed to an associated support and a tubular housing attached to an associated. die to thereby enable easy movement of each die by moving the associated housing relative to its piston rod and support while applying moving forces on a broad stable base defined by said housing.

9. An apparatus as set forth in claim 8 in which said cylinders comprise air cylinders.

10. An apparatus as set forth in claim 4 in which said one die has an electrical heating device provided thereon, said heating device providing heating of a heat-sealable material defining said adhesvie means and provided between said annular portions to heat seal said annular portions together during the application of pressure thereagainst by said dies and rings.

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Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification413/26, 53/486, 53/366
International ClassificationB65B7/28, B29C57/12, B65D77/20
Cooperative ClassificationB29C57/12, B65D77/2024, B65B7/2857, B65D77/2012, B65D2577/2025
European ClassificationB65D77/20B2, B65D77/20E, B65B7/28F1A, B29C57/12