US 3325966 A
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June 20, 1967 J. A. BRUCE ETAL 3,325,966
APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING A PLURALITY OF ARTICLES WITHIN A SINGLE PACKAGE Filed May 4, 1964 8 Sheets-Sheet 1 BY lq QW ATTORNEYS June 20, 1967 J. A. BRUCE TAL APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING A PLURALITY OF ARTICLES WITHIN A SINGLE PACKAGE 8 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed May 4, 1964 ATTORNEYS June 20, 1967 .1. A. BRUCE ETAL 3,325,966
' APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING A PLURALITY OF ARTICLES WITHIN A SINGLE PACKAGE v Filed May 4, 1964 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTORS w N I I DORNEYS June 20, 1967 J. A. BRUCE ETAI. 3,325,966
APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING A PLURALITY OF ARTICLES WITHIN A SINGLE PACKAGE Flled May 4, 1964 y 8 Sheets-Sheet 4 5 ATTORNEYS June 20, 1967 Filed May 4. 1964 J. A. BRUCE ETAL APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING A PLURALITY OF ARTICLES WITHIN A SINGLE PACKAGE 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 ATTORNEY-5 June 20, 1967 .1. A. BRUCE ETAL 3,325,966
APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING A PLURALITY oF ARTICLES WITHIN A SINGLE PACKAGE Filed May 4, 1964 8 Sheets-Sheet 6 "IIHI BY l www( D N- INVENTORS ATTORNEY June 20, 1967 J. A. BRUCE ETAL APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING A PLURALITY OF ARTICLES WITHIN A SINGLE PACKAGE y 8 Sheets-Sheet 'i Filed May 4, 1964 mui wk mi I NVENTORS HYMoA/Q HASM/ JOHN (LW/07555 `BY met @ai M ATTORNEYS June 20, 1967 .1. A. BRUCE' v:aT/1.1. '3,325,966
APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING A PLURALITY OF' ARTICLES WITHIN A SINGLE PACKAGE Filed May 4, 1964 8 Sheets-Sheet a BY w QW D7@ ATTORNEY United States Patent C) 3 325,966 APPARATUS FOR FACKAGING A PLURALITY UF ARTICLES WITHIN A .SINGLE PACKAGE John Adams Bruce, Raymond A. Smith, and .lohn C.
Whitesell, Tampa, Fla., assignors to Forspack, Inc.,
Filed May 4, 1964, Ser. No. 364,599 9 Claims. (Cl. 53-19S) This invention relates to a method and apparatus for packaging and more particularly to a device suitable for packaging a plurality of individual containers within a single package.
In prior Patent 2,996,180, issued Aug. 15, 1961, to John A. Bruce, there is disclosed a package comprising four small cans such as, for example, orange juice cans wherein the cans are stacked in pairs in side-by-side and end-on-end relation and are provided with a stiff backing on one side thereof and are wrapped with heat-shrinkable film. It is pointed out in the above-mentioned patent that it is frequently desirable to package a plurality of cans in a singie package such as, for example, frozen juices where only a single can is used but wherein it is desirable to provide for purchasing a plurality of cans simultaneously. It is also desirable from the point of view of conserving shelf space to provide for the storage of a plurality of cans in a single package.
In prior Patent 3,101,847, issued Aug. 27, 1963, to John A. Bruce, there is disclosed a protective cushion for packaging cans in the manner described in Patent 2,996,180. The protective cushion replaces the backing member disclosed in Patent 2,996,180 and comprises a central portion which extends between the stacked cans and further comprises a face portion which covers at least a portion of one side of the cans and forms a rigid backing and support for the package.
According to the present invention there is provided a method and apparatus for packaging a group of four cans into a single package as disclosed in Patent 2,996,180, utilizing a protective cushion such as disclosed in Patent 3,101,847. The apparatus may be broadly divided into three sections, namely, the card feed section wherein the `individual protective cushions are folded into their operative position and fed to a conveyor `which feeds the cards to the second section of the apparatus. This second section may be termed the can feed section wherein groups of four cans are delivered onto the folded card and are maintained in that position while being conveyed to the third and final section of the packaging apparatus. The final packaging section comprises a wrapping and sealing section wherein a heat-shrinkable film is wrapped around the plurality of cans retained on the protective -cushion and are delivered to a feeding means which feeds the packaging film from which the packages are passed to a film shrinking section where the heat-hrinkable film forms a tight wrapping around the cans with the card forming a secure backing therefor.
An object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus for packaging into a single compact package a plurality of articles such as, for example, four cans.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus for feeding folded cards providing a protective cushion for a plurality of cans to a can feeding mechanism which delivers four cans onto the card and transfers the card rwith cans to a wrapping and sealing mechanism.
Further objects and many of the attendant advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent upon consideration of the following detailed specification in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation of the apparatus according to the present invention,
FIG. 2 is a side elevation partly in section showing details of the can deiivery and heat sealing means.
, FIG. 3 is an end elevation of the card feed means,
FIG. 4 is a side elevation partly in section showing deails of the card feed means,
FIG. 5 is a sectional View along the line 5 5 of FIG. 2,
FIG. 6 is a sectional view along the line 6 6 of FIG. 2,
FIG. 7 is a plan View through the center of the machine showing the conveyor and heat sealing mechanism,
FIG. 8 is a side elevation of the can clamp,
FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the clamp shown in FIG. 8,
FIG. 1() is an end elevation of the clamp shown in FIG. 8,
FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of a card suitable for use in the package formed by the present apparatus,
FIG. 12 is a plan View of a card suitable for use in the package formed by the present apparatus,
FIG. 13 is a side elevational view of the apparatus in section,
FIG. 14 is a partial sectional view of one end of the holder for the heat sealer,
FIG. 15 is an end elevation of the structure in FIG. 14, and
FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the heat sealer holder.
Referring now more specifically to the drawings wherein like numerals indicate like parts throughout the several views there is shown at 1 in FIG. 1 a frame which is comprised of four corner posts two of which are shown at 2 and 3 and supporting cross bars such as shown at 4 and 5. The specific shape and configuration of the supporting frame is not of primary significance as its only function is to provide support for the various elements of the packaging machine.
Mounted on this frame are the card feed mechanism shown generally by the numeral 6, the can feed mechanism shown generally by the numeral 7 and the wrapping and sealing section disclosed at 8. Each of the elements is driven from a common source such as an electric motor generally shown at 9.
Card feed mechanism As shown in FIG. 1 the card feed mechanism 6 is supported adjacent one end of the frame 1 by means of brackets 11. A card feed frame 12 has supported on the upper surface thereof a plurality of guideways I3 which provide a convenient means for stacking the cards in their at condition. The cards may be of the type such as disclosed in prior Patent 3,101,847 and as generally shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 herein. The cards comprise end portions 14 and a foldable central portion 15 which in the folded position extends between the ends of the stacked cans.
The card feed mechanism is shown in greater detail in FIGS. 3 and 4 and includes a central supporting shaft 16 which is journalled within the frame 12 and which is driven from the lmotor 9 by suitable gearing or coupling means 17. Fixed on this shaft 16 is a central sleeve 18 and a pair of end sleeves 19. The construction of each of the end sleeves and the mechanism associated therewith is identical and therefore the specific construction of only one end of the mechanism will be described in detail. With reference to FIGS. 3 and 4 it can be seen that there are four pairs of arms 21 which `are pivoted to the end sleeve 19. Pivotally mounted on the outer ends of these arms 21 are cross bars 22 with suction cups 23 secured to the inner end thereof. Pivotally mounted on the central sleeve 18 is a link Z4. The outer end of this link is slidable in a sleeve 25 pivoted to the arm 21. A spring 26 acts against the arms 21 and tends to force the arms and associated cross bar 22 outwardly so that the cam follower 27 is maintained in engagement with the cam plate 28. It can be seen that there is provided a link 24 for each pair of arms 21. The cam plate 28 is fixed on the card feed frame 12 and is shaped so that the arms 21 are in the outermost position thereof when the arms are disposed above the shaft 16 and the arms are forced inwardly against the restraining force of spring 26 when the shaft rotates to position the arms therebelow.
When the arms 22 are in the uppermost position thereof the suction cups 23 engage the lowermost -card stacked within the guideways 13. When the arms are so positioned suction may be applied by any convenient means to the suction cups to cause the cups to pickup the lowermost card in the stack and move the card therewith as the arms are rotated by rotation of shaft 16. As the arms are rotated from the uppermost position thereof the cross bars 22 are brought more closely together by reason of the angular disposition of cam plates 28. This linward movement of the cross bars 22 causes the central portion 15 of the card to be folded along the fold lines thereof so that when the arms 21 are in the lowermost position the central portion of the card is folded so as to extend substantially at right angles with respect to the end portions thereof. Whenfthe card is in the lowermost position the suction on the suction cups 23 is cut off so that the card is released. A card conveyor is shown at 29 in FIG. 4 and this conveyor is provided with spaced upstanding abutments 31 which abut the rear edge of the folded card and move it along a horizontal path towards the can delivery means. It can be seen that the card conveyor 29 includes a chain and sprocket 32 and this chain is driven through gearing 33 (FIG. 3) from the motor 9 and in timed relation to rotation of the shaft 16 so that an abut-y ment 31 is presented to the rear edge of each of the cards as each card is delivered by a pair of rotatingarms 21. The opposite end of the card conveyor 29 is supported by sprockets 34 (FIG. 7) which are mounted on a shaft 34a journalled on cross bar 5 of frame 1. It can be seen in FIG. 1 that the card conveyor terminates substantially directly beneath the can feed means. The cards are then picked up by the canswhich engage the folded central portion of the card and maintain the card in correct position with respect to the cans through the packaging operation as will become more fully apparent hereinafter. Can feed mechanism Mounted'on shaft 34a is a pair of sprockets 35 and mounted on shaft 36a is a pair of sprockets 36. These pairs of sprockets support can conveyor chains 37 and 38 (FIG. 7) which receives the cans :and transport the cans to the wrapping and sealing mechanism. Mounted on the can conveyor chains at spaced intervals therealong are sleeves 39 (FIG. 8). Each sleeve slidably receives a cam follower 41 which includes a shaft portion 42 slidable Within the sleeve 39. On one end of the shaft 4-2 is a cam roller 43 and mounted on the opposite end of shaft 42 is a can engaging face plate 44. This face plate is shaped in the manner shown in FIGS. 9 and 10 and is provided with a central recessed portion 45 and upstanding can rim engaging portions 46. The cam rollers 43 cooperate with cam tracks 47 and 4S (FIG. 7) which are adjustably mounted on the inner faces of the frame 1. It can be seen that the cam tracks are so arranged that the can face plates are brought closer together immediately adjacent the end portion of the card conveyor.
Referring to FIG. l it can be seen that there is provided an inclined can trackway 49 which is mounted on the upper surface of frame 1. This can trackway is arranged to receive two rows of cans in end-to-end relation. These cans are delivered to the upper end of the trackway 49 by any suitable conveyor arrangement and the cans roll down the trackway 49 to the turret 51. This turret is shown more clearly in FIG. 2 and is d. rotatably mounted on shaft 52. A gear 53 is rotatable with the turret assembly and interconnects the turret with the Idrive motor 9. The turret may comprise a single roller with a plurality of spaced projections 54 or may comprise a plurality of individual disc spaced along shaft 52. The projections 54 are so arranged that four cans disposed in pairs inend-to-end relation fit therebetween. A guard rail 55 prevents the cans from becoming displaced from the turret as the turret assembly is rotated and also by means of a special cam attachment prevents the cans from becoming jammed or misaligned during their movement through the trackway and the rotatable turret. The turret is rotated to bring the four cans downwardly and the timing of the turret assembly is interrelated with respect to the card feed conveyor 29 so that as a group of four cans are delivered at the bottom of the turret a folded card is presented. The card is delivered by the card conveyor so that the central folded portion is forced between the ends of the cans and the cam followers 41 are forced inwardly so that the face plates 44 of the cam followers engage the can ends as the trackway 55 terminates and frees the Cans from en-` gagement with the turret assembly 51. The four cans with the card 14-15 carried thereby are moved along the horizontal path from the turret assembly to the wrapping assembly.
Wrapping and sealing assembly of the chains 37 and 33 advancing the cans to kbe packaged. With reference to FIG. 2 it can be seen that the film passing over the feed rollers 58 and 59 passes over and under the cans as they advance along the path of chains 37 and 38.
Rotatably journalled in frame 1 above the path of travel of chains 37 and 38 are shafts 61 and 62 (FIG. 2).
Shaft 61 has a pair of sprockets 63 mounted thereon and.
shaft `62 has `a similar pair of sprockets '64. Each pair of sprockets 63 and 64 has a heat sealer supporting chain 65 mounted thereon and chains 65 are driven by rotation of shaft 62 through coupling 66 (FIG. 7) connected with drive motor 9.
Disposed beneath the path of travel of the cans carried by chains 37 and 38 and rotatably mounted within frame l 1 are shafts 67 and 68. Shaft 67 supports a pair ofl sprockets `69 and shaft 68 carries a pair of sprockets 71.`
Each pair of sprockets 69 and 71 carry a heat sealer supporting chain 72. By driving the shaft 68 from motor 9 by means of a suitable coupling the pairs of chains 72 are driven in synchronism with the chains 65.
Fixed Within the frame 1 are cams for the heat sealer elements mounted on the chains 65 and 72. For the chains 54 these cams include inner trackways 73 and 74 and outer cam trackways 75 and 76 disposed adjacent the path of travel of the chains 65 around the sprockets-63 and `64. Similarly there are provided cam trackways for the heat sealers mounted on chains 72. These cam track- Ways include inner trackways` 77 and outer trackways 78 disposed at the points where the chain is carried around the sprockets 69 and '71.
Mounted on the chains 65 and 72 and spaced equidistantly therealong are heat sealer holders 79 as seen in FIGS. 14, l5 and 16. Each heat sealer holder comprises a pair of spaced upright arms and between these arms is slidable the heat sealerelement 80. The heat sealer element has a pair of cam rollers 81 which engage a cam trackway such as the trackway 73 shownin FIG. 14. The heating block has brushes mounted thereon which are connected in the heating block with the heating wire on the outer face `of the heating block. -It can be seen that as the heat sealers are moved around the path of travel the cam ftrackways will cause the heating elements t-o move inwardly and outwardly within the holders 79. The cam trackways are so arranged that the heating elements commence their outward movement within the holders as the chains 65 and 72 move around the sprockets 63 and `69 respectively. Thus, as seen in FIG. 2, the packaging film disposed between adjacent groups of cans on chains 37 is forced together into heat sealing relation as shown at 86. The brushes engage a suitable electrical contact (not shown) at this point in the path of travel of the heat sealers so as to heat the film, seal and shear the -film so as to enclose the four cans and card in a single package. Each package is then passed to a film shrinking unit so that the film may be shrunk to tightly grip the four cans and card =to form the completed package.
It can be seen according to the present invention there is provided Ian apparatus for forming packages comprising four cans with a backing card thereon, the cans and card being tightly retained by a shrink film wrapped therearound. The ends of the cans are not completely enclosed with the shrink film but this in no way adversely affects the package. The cards are picked up from the guideways 1'3 in a flattened condition and are folded and delivered to the card conveyor Iwhich carries the cards to a position beneath the turret assembly 51. The turret assembly delivers a group of four cans to the cards so that the central folded portion of the cards is disposed between adjacent ends of the four cans. The card and can assembly is carried between the gripping face place 44 to the wrapping and sealing section where the card and can assembly is enveloped with a heat shrinkable film, the film 'being sealed on each side of the assembly. The packages are then delivered to a heat shrinking tunnel of well known design where the film is shrunk to tightly grip the encased group of cans and cards.
Obviously many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings.
What is claimed is new and is desired to be secured by lLetters Patent is:
1. In a packaging apparatus lof fthe class described, a rotatable turret, la first can conveyor for delivering two rows of cans to the turret, pockets on the periphery of said turret, each of said pockets receiving a pair of cans from each of said rows of cans so as to have four cans end-to-end pairs disposed side-by-side, a second can conveyor disposed beneath said turret, cam followers slidably mounted on said second conveyor, face plates on said cam followers for engaging the ends of a group of four cans, fixed cams for forcing said cam followers and face plates inwardly into engagement with the cans as the conveyor is moved in timed relation to the rotation of the turret.
2. In a packaging apparatus of the class described, means for feeding a plurality of cans with groups of said cans being in end to end alignment, means for holding a plurality of said groups of cans together with each group of cans being disposed in side-by-side relation with an adjacent group of cans, means for packaging said plurality of groups of cans comprising wrapping means and sealing and severing means.
3. In a packaging apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said means for holding said plurality of said groups of cans together comprises cam followers engaging the ends of said groups of cans opposite from the ends of said cans in end to end alignment.
4. In a packaging apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said feeding means includes a rotatable turret having pockets on the periphery thereof, each of said pockets adapted to retain a plurality of said groups of said cans.
5. In a packaging apparatus of the class described for packaging a plurality of cans together comprising means for feeding a plurality of groups of cans, each can in a group being in end to end alignment with each other can in the group, each group of cans being in side-by-side relation with each adjacent group of cans, means for feeding a card to engage portions 'of the sidewalls of at least two groups of cans, means for holding said cans with the card engaged therewith and means for wrapping said cans and card with film and means for sealing yand severing the film of at least two groups of cans with the cans within each group being in end-to-end alignment and the cans of adjacent groups being disposed side-by-side.
6. In a packaging apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said means for holding said plurality of groups of cans together comprises cani followers engaging the ends of said groups of cans opposite from the ends of said cans in end-to-end alignment.
7. In a packaging apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said feeding means includes a rotatable turret having pockets on the periphery thereof, each of said pockets adapted to retain a plurality of said groups of said cans.
i8. In a packaging apparatus of the class described for packaging at least four cans together comprising means for feeding pairs of cans with the cans in each pair being in end-to-end alignment, means for feeding a card having a folded central portion and sidewall engaging end portions with the folded central portion extending between the ends of group of the pairs of cans in end-to-end alignment and the end portions of the card engaging sidewalls of the group of cans, gripping and conveying means for transporting said cans, packaging means for wrapping each group of cans with card engaged therewith and sealing and severing means for separating each group of cans into individual packages.
9. In a packaging apparatus according to claim 8, wherein said packaging means includes means for feeding heat shrinkable lil-m to cover the exposed sidewall faces of each group of cans and said sealing and severing means includes pairs of heating bars, said heating bars sealing and severing the film between -adjacent groups of cans.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 984,522 2/1911 Altschul 53-212 X 2,383,664 8/1945 Malnoit 53-204 X 2,575,580 11/1951 Cadmus 53-26 2,701,938 2/1955 Murray 53-26 2,744,608 5/ 1956 Ardell et al.
2,751,730 6/1956 Gentry 53--32 2,817,197 12/1957` Anness 53-48 2,928,220 3/1960 Kannengiesser et al. 53-180 2,959,901 l1/1960 `Conti 53-28 3,108,414 10/1963 Schleicher et al. 53-48 3,239,991 3/1966 Copping 53-30 o TRAVIS s. MCGENEE, Primm Examiner.
FRANK E. BAILEY, Examiner. N. ABRAMS, Assistant Examiner.
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