|Publication number||US3659393 A|
|Publication date||2 May 1972|
|Filing date||28 May 1970|
|Priority date||28 May 1970|
|Publication number||US 3659393 A, US 3659393A, US-A-3659393, US3659393 A, US3659393A|
|Original Assignee||Royal Packaging Equipment Inc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (38), Classifications (9)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
I United States Patent [151 3,659,393 Richter 1 May 2, 1972 54] APPARATUS FOR AND METHOD OF FORMING VACUUM PACKAGES Primary Examiner-Travis S. McGehee Attorney-Diner, Brown, Ramik & Holt  Inventor: Joseph Richter, Fair Lawn, NJ.  Assignee: Royal Packaging Equipment, Inc.,  ABSTRACT Mal/wood, This disclosure relates to apparatus for forming vacuum  Filed: May 28, 1970 packages and includes means defining a cavity adapted to receive a package having aperture means in a periphery PP 41,304 thereof, means for temporarily sealing a flexible cover to the package periphery outboard of the aperture means, vacuum  U S Cl 53/22 A 18/19 F 53/112 A means for drawing a portion of the flexible cover overlying the [5 l] B65b 31/02 aperture means away from the aperture means to form an ac-  Fieid A H2 A cess opening opening into the package between the flexible cover and the package periphery, means for withdrawing air  References Cied from the package through the access opening and the aperture means incident to permanently sealing the flexible cover to UNITED STATES PATENTS the package periphery, and means for permanently sealing the 3 481 100 2/1969 B 53/112 A x flexible cover to the package periphery inboard of the aperergstrom means. 3,061,984 11/1962 Mahaffy.... ..53/112 A X 3,522,687 8/1970 Mahaffy ..53/112 A X 19 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures 67 62 60 63 v 64 6 SEE "I3 "[7 56.5
a 71L 40 34 16 3;} 4U
APPARATUS FOR AND METHOD OF FORMING VACUUM PACKAGES A primary object of this invention is to provide apparatus for forming vacuum packages or pouches by providing two webs of heat sealable material, the first of which is formed into a plurality of packages or pouches provided with one or more apertures in peripheries thereof. The packages are filled in a conventional manner and positioned within a cavity contoured to the general configuration of the package. The second web is fed into overlying relationship to the package after which'means are operative for temporarily sealing the second web to the package periphery outboard of the aperture means. Thereafter a vacuum is drawn above the temporarily sealed portion of the second web such that a portion of the second web is drawn away from the aperture to form an access opening opening into the package between the second web and the periphery of the package. It is through this access opening and the aperture that air is withdrawn from the package after which means are provided to permanently seal the two webs to each other about the periphery but inboard of the aperture.
A further object of this invention is to provide novel apparatus of the type described wherein permanent sealing means are reciprocably mounted within an evacuation chamber, and means are provided for relatively reciprocating the evacuation chamber and the cavity.
A further object of this invention is to provide a novel apparatus of the type herebefore described wherein the evacuation chamber has cooperative inboard and outboard means for forming respective permanent and temporary seals, and said last-mentioned seals define a generally annular passage into which opens a port adapted to be placed in fluid communication with a source of vacuum for drawing air outwardly of the package through the access opening and the aperture.
With the above and other objects in view that will hereinafter appear, the nature of the invention will be more clearly understood by reference to the following detailed description, the appended claimed subject matter, and the several views illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a schematic view of an apparatus constructed in accordance with this invention, and illustrates a pair of heat scalable webs which are formed into filled evacuated packages.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken through an apparatus for evacuating each filled package, and illustrates the formation of a temporary peripheral seal between the webs outboard of an aperture in a periphery of the lower web with a vacuum being drawn above the upper web to form an access opening through which air is withdrawn from the package.
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view similar to FIG. 2, and illustrates cooperative sealing means for forming a permanent peripheral seal inboard of the aperture formed in the package periphery.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken generally along line 44 of FIG. 2, and illustrates the manner in which two packages are simultaneously evacuated incident to being permanently sealed to form a pair of evacuated packages.
FIG. 5 is a highly enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the encircled portion of FIG. 2. 7
.FIG. 6 is a fragmentary top plan view taken along the upper web of FIG. 4 after the permanent seals have been made, and illustrates the particular configuration thereof as well as the position of each seal inboard of the aperture associated therewith.
Reference is first made to FIG. 1 of the drawings which schematically illustrates a machine, generally designated by the reference numeral 10, for forming packages from a pair of webs ll, 12 drawn by conventional means (not shown) from rolls 13, 14. The web 12 is heated by a conventional heater 15, and the heated portion is stepped into overlying relationship to a package-forming mold 16 which is adapted to be reciprocated vertically by conventional means (not shown), as is indicated by the double headed arrow 17. The packageforming mold 16 includes one or more cavities (unnumbered) into which the heated portion of the web 12 is drawn to form one or more packages, each of which is generally designated by the reference numeral P. Thereafter the mold I6 is retracted downwardly and the web 12 is again stepped to the left during which each package is filled with an appropriate product and a peripheral portion (unnumbered) of each package is provided with one or more apertures A by means of a reciprocal piercing tool 18.
Each package is then positioned between a mechanism, generally designated by the reference numeral 20, for evacuating each package, directing an inert gas therein if desired, and heat sealing a portion of the web 11 to the periphery of each package inboard of the aperture A in a manner to be described more fully hereinafter. However, at this time it will be pointed out that the mechanism 20 includes an upper member 21 and a lower member 22 which are reciprocated between the closed position illustrated in FIG. 1 and an open position at which the sealed packages can be again step advanced to the left and severed to form individual packages, as illustrated by the last package in FIG. 1.
Referring particularly to FIGS. 2 and 4 of the drawings, the mechanism 20 includes the upper member 21 and the lower member 22, the latter of which includes a base 23, a pair of long upstanding walls 24, 25, a pair of narrower end walls 26 27, and a central wall 28 medially thereof (FIG. 4). The walls 26, 28 and the left-hand portion of the walls 24, 25, as viewed in FIG. 4, define a first cavity 30 while the walls 27, 28, and the right-hand side of the walls 24, 25, as viewed in FIG. 4, define another cavity 31. The cavities 30, 31 are of a generally polygonal cross-section but the shape thereof may be varied as might be the number of cavities associates with each mechanism 20. That is, though lower member 22 of the mechanism 20 defines two cavities, this number may also vary.
Upper inner surfaces of the walls 24 through 27 are cut away or notched as at 32 to form an upper refacing shoulder (unnumbered), and seated upon this shoulder is a generally rectangular frame 33 across the middle of which is secured a plate 38 (FIG. 4). As viewed from top elevation the frame 33 and the plate 38 are of a block figure-8 configuration. The rectangular frame 33 carries upon its upper surface a pair of rectangular yieldable cushioning or sealing members 34, 35. When operated in a manner to be described hereinafter, seals S, S of a like block figure-8 configuration are obtained in the manner illustrated in FIG. 6.
It is to be noted that the wall 28 is secured by conventional fasteners to the plate 38 and to a rectangular flat plate 37. Due to this construction the plate 37, the block 28, the plate 38, the frame 33, and the rectangular cushioning members 34, 35 can be removed as a unit when, forv example, it is desired to form but a single package in a single cavity as opposed to a pair of packages formed in the cavities 30, 31. When it is desired to form but one package another rectangular frame corresponding to the frame 33 is seated within the notch 32. However, as opposed to a pair of rectangular cushioning members 34, 35 the frame carries but a single rectangular cushioning member corresponding in length and width generally to the over-all length and width of both of the cavities 30, 31. In this manner different numbers of packages can be formed by the mechanism of this invention merely by substituting frames 33 of varying configurations carrying appropriately contoured cushioning members thereon.
Outboard of the notch 32 the walls 24 through 27 likewise have fixed to an uppermost end face thereof a yieldable cushioning or sealing member 40 which again as viewed from above is of a rectangular outline and defines with the member 34 an annular passage 41 which is likewise of a rectangular configuration, as viewed from above in FIG. 4. A passage 42 between the rectangular cushioning members 34, 35 above the plate 38 merges at each end thereof with the annular passage 41 and thus the passages 41, 42 are of a block figure-8 configuration, as viewed from above in FIG. 4.
The wall 25 is thicker than the walls 24, 26 and 27, and includes a pair of passages 45, 46 connected at their bottoms to a common passage 47 which is connected by a flexible conduit 48 to a conventional vacuum source (not shown). The passage 45 includes a port 50 opening into the cavity 30 (FIG. 4) and an upper port 51 (FIG. opening into the channel 41 between the members 35, 40 and in substantial registration with the aperture A in the periphery (unnumbered) of the package housed within the cavity 30. The passage 46 likewise includes a port 52 opening into the cavity 31 and an upper port (not shown) corresponding to the port 51 of the passage 45 which likewise opensinto the passage 41 on the right side of the wall 28, as viewed in FIG. 4. Though not illustrated, this port is likewise in general registration with an aperture (not shown) formed in the periphery of the package housed within the cavity 31. As is readily apparent in FIGS. 2, 4 and 5 of the drawings, air is withdrawn from the exterior of the packages and the interior of the cavities 30, 31 through the respective ports 50, 52 and passages 45, 46 while air is withdrawn from the interior of the packages through the apertures A, in the peripheries thereof, the passage 41 between the members 35, 40, and the ports 51 of the passages 45, 46.
If it is desired to introduce an inert gas or similar gaseous medium into the interior of the packages, such may be conducted into the passage 41 by means of a conduit 53 (FIG. 2), a passage 54 and a passage 55 positioned between the passages 45, 46 and having an upper end (not shown) opening into the passage 41 between the members 35, 40. Gaseous medium introduced into the passage 41 will, of course, enter the packages through the apertures A in the package peripherres.
The upper member 21 includes a generally rectangular housing 60 having a peripheral skirt or wall 61 in overlying alignment with the sealing member 40. The housing 60 defines a rectangular chamber 62 from which air is adapted to be evacuated by means of a port 63 (FIG. 2) and a conduit 64 coupled to a conventional vacuum source (not shown).
A pair of cam actuated mechanical pistons or fluid motors 65, 66 are conventionally mounted atop the housing 60 and include respective piston rods 67, 68 secured to a rectangular plate 70 having a central passage 71. A pair of rectangular plates 72, 73 are removably secured to the plate 70 by fasteners (not shown), and each plate 72, 73 includes a rectangular peripheral skirt 74, 75, respectively. The peripheral skirt 74 of the plate 72 is in alignment along all four sides with the member 34 while the peripheral skirt 75 of the plate 73 is in alignment with the member 35 along all four sides thereof. The purpose of this configuration is to form the generally rectangular permanent heat seals S (FIG. 6) inboard of the apertures A in a manner to be described more fully hereinafter. For this purpose the skirts 74, 75 are heated by, for example, calrod heaters 76, 77 carried by each of the members 72, 73. The electrical connections for the heaters 76, 77 are not shown but it is to be understood that the leads thereof maybe passed outwardly of the housing 60 through the chamber 62 and an appropriate fitting (not shown) coupled to the threaded bore 78 shown in FIG. 2. The leads are preferably long enough to accommodate for the up and down movement of the plate 70 under the influence of the cylinders 65, 66.
Before describing the operation of the mechanism immediately hereinafter, it is to be noted that the frame 33 while seated upon the shoulder 32 is maintained in its position by a plurality of balls 80 seated in bores 81 positioned about the periphery of the walls 24 through 27. The balls 80 are spring biased to engage a continuous groove 82 formed in the outer periphery of the frame 33, and are biased to normally seat in the groove 82 by a spring 83 seated upon a threaded plug (not shown). Thus, in normal operation the frame 33 is held immovable upon the shoulder 32 but in order to remove and replace the same it is merely necessary to lift the frame 33 up wardly at which time the spring 83 is compressed. When the frame 33 or a different frame is inserted into the cavities 30,
31 a like groove 82 thereon automatically receives each of the balls to maintain such a new frame in its operative seated position upon the shoulder 32.
OPERATION Assuming that the members 21, 22 of the mechanism 20 are in their spaced or retracted position, a pair of the filled pouches or packages formed from the web 12 are advanced to a position above and in alignment with the cavities 30, 31 with, of course, a portion of the web 11 in superimposed relationship thereto. The members 21, 22 are then moved to the closed position shown in FIG. 1 at which time a temporary peripheral seal is effected between the bottom of the peripheral skirt 61 and the member 40, as shown in FIG. 4. Air is then withdrawn from the chamber 62 through the conduit 64 and the port 63. The air is withdrawn through an annular space (unnumbered) between the inner surface of the skirt 61 and the outer periphery of the members 74, 75, as is indicated by the unbroken unnumbered headed arrows in FIGS. 4 and 5. Air is also drawn upwardly through a gap (unnumbered) between the members 72, 73 through the central passage 71, as best shown in FIG. 4. Thus, the entire upper web inboard of the temporary peripheral seal is drawn upwardly to the position shown in FIGS. 2 and 4 to form about the entire periphery of the two webs inboard of the temporary seal a gap or space S, as is best illustrated in FIG. 5. By so lifting the portion of the inner web the apertures A are placed in fluid communication with the interior of each of the packages through the space S which defines an access opening between the ports 51, 51 and the interior of each package. Upon drawing a vacuum through the conduit 48 air within the chambers 30, 31 is withdrawn outwardly therefrom through the ports 50, 52, in the manner heretofore described, but more importantly air in each of the packages can now be withdrawn through the access opening S, each of the apertures A, the passage 41, and each of the ports 51, 51 which are substantially in registration with the apertures A, as is best shown in FIG. 5 by the unnumbered broken headed arrows. Once the packages have been completely evacuated, a gaseous medium may be inserted by conducting the same through the passages 54, 55 which, as heretofore noted, open into the passage 41 and thus the gaseous medium is charged into the packages through the apertures A and the access openings S.
After the packages in the cavities 30, 31 have been charged with a suitable gaseous medium, the pistons 65, 66 are actuated simultaneously to lower the heated members 72, 73 to form the heat seals S by the cooperation of the rectangular heated peripheral skirts 74, 75 and the cushioning members 34, 35, thereby isolating each individual package, after which the system is returned to its normal stable condition, the mechanism 20 is open, the webs 11, 12 are again advanced, and thereafter the individual packages are severed and removed in the manner diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 1.
While preferred forms and arrangements of parts have been shown in illustrating the invention, it is to be clearly understood that various changes in details and arrangement of parts may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of this disclosure.
1. Apparatus for forming vacuum packages comprising means defining a cavity adapted to receive a package having aperture means in a periphery thereof, means for temporarily sealing a flexible cover to the entire package periphery outboard of the aperture means, means for drawing a portion of said flexible cover overlying said aperture means away from said aperture means to form an access opening into said package between said flexible cover and said package periphery, and means for withdrawing air from said package through said access opening and said aperture means incident to permanently sealing said flexible cover to said package periphery inboard of said aperture means while the flexible cover portion is held away from the aperture means by said drawing means.
2. The .apparatus as defined in claim 1 including means for permanently sealing said flexible cover to said package periphery inboard of said aperture means.
3. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said drawing means includes a source of vacuum.
4. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 including chamber means inboard of said sealing means and above said flexible cover, and said drawing means includes a source of vacuum in fluid communication with said chamber means.
5. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 including means for permanently sealing said flexible cover to said package periphery inboard of said aperture means, said temporary and permanent sealing means being in spaced relationship to each other and defining chamber means therebetween, and said drawing means includes a source of vacuum in fluid communication with said chamber means.
6. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said withdrawing means includes a port in said cavity defining means in registration with said aperture means.
7. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said drawing means includes a source of vacuum, said withdrawing means includes a port in said cavity defining means in registration with said aperture means, and said port is inboard of said temporary sealing means.
8. The apparatus as defined in claim 7 including means for permanently sealing said flexible cover to said package periphery inboard of said aperture means, said temporary and permanent sealing means being in spaced relationship, and said port being in alignment with the space between said temporary and permanent sealing means.
9. The apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein the space defined by said temporary and permanent sealing means is of an annular configuration.
10. Apparatus for forming vacuum packages comprising a mold body including a peripheral wall defining a cavity adapted to receive a package having aperture means in a periphery thereof, a port in said peripheral wall adapted for registration with said aperture means, a closure body including a peripheral wall defining an evacuation chamber, means for imparting relative movement to said bodies for opening and closing the same, cooperative peripheral sealing means carried by said peripheral walls for temporarily sealing a flexible cover to the entire package periphery outboard of said port and said aperture means, a portion of said evacuation chamber adjacent said port being outboard thereof whereby upon evacuation of said chamber a portion of said flexible cover adjacent said evacuation chamber portion is drawn away from said aperture means and said port, and means for evacuating air from said evacuation chamber while the flexible cover portion is drawn away from said aperture means and said port by said evacuating means.
11. The apparatus as defined in claim 10 including cooperable peripheral sealing means in said evacuation chamber inboard of said temporary sealing means for permanently sealing said flexible cover to said package periphery inboard of said aperture means and said port.
12. The apparatus as defined in claim 11 including means for reciprocating said permanent sealing means relative to said evacuation chamber and said temporary sealing means.
13. The apparatus as defined in claim 11 wherein said cooperative peripheral temporary and permanent sealing means are in part each defined by a sealing member carried by said mold body peripheral wall, said sealing members define a generally annular passage therebetween, and said port opens into said passage.
14. The apparatus as defined in claim 12 wherein said cooperative peripheral temporary and permanent sealing means are in part each defined by a sealing member carried by said mold body peripheral wall, said sealing members define a generally annular passage therebetween, and said port opens into said passage.
15. The apparatus as defined in claim 14 including means for withdrawing air from said package through said port and said aperture means.
16. A method of forming vacuum packages comprising the steps of providing a pair of webs, forming a package having an aperture in a periphery thereof from a portion ofone of the webs, overlying a portion of the other web upon the package including the periphery thereof, temporarily sealing the two webs to each other along the entire periphery and outboard of said aperture, drawing a vacuum above the other web at least adjacent said aperture whereby a portion of the other web overlying the aperture will be drawn away from an underlying portion of the one web periphery to form an access opening and withdrawing air from the package through the access opening and the aperture incident to permanently sealing the webs together inboard of said aperture while said other web portion is drawn away from the access opening.
17. The method as defined in claim 16 including the step of permanently sealing the webs together along the entire periphery and inboard of said aperture.
18. A method of forming vacuum packages comprising the steps of providing a pair of webs, forming a package having an aperture from a portion of one of the webs, overlying a portion of the other web upon the package, temporarily sealing the two webs to each other along the entire peripheries thereof and outboard of said aperture, drawing a vacuum above the other web whereby a portion of the other web overlying the aperture will be drawn away from an underlying portion of the one web to form an access opening, and withdrawing air from the package through the access opening and the aperture incident to permanently sealing the webs together inboard of the aperture while said other web portion is drawn away from the access opening.
19. The method as defined in claim 18 including the step of permanently sealing the webs together along the entire periphery and inboard of said aperture.
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|U.S. Classification||53/433, 53/511, 425/518, 425/513, 425/504, 426/396|