Title:
Machine for fixing lids to packages for moist wipes, tissues or the like
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A machine for fixing lids to packages for moist wipes, tissues or the like, comprising, on a supporting structure, elements for the advancement of enclosures for packages, a lid application unit, adhesive distribution elements and elements for feeding the lids, the application unit being arranged below the advancement elements so as to apply the lids from below.



Inventors:
Bonotto, Antonio (Santorso, IT)
Application Number:
09/858713
Publication Date:
10/25/2001
Filing Date:
05/17/2001
Assignee:
IMAN PACK S.p.A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B7/28; (IPC1-7): B65B7/28
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HUYNH, LOUIS K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MODIANO & ASSOCIATI (20123 Milano, IT)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A machine for fixing lids to packages for moist wipes, tissues or the like, comprising on a supporting structure, means for the advancement of enclosures constituting packages, a lid application unit, adhesive distribution means and means for feeding said lids, said application unit being arranged below said advancement means so as to apply said lids from below.

2. The machine according to claim 1, wherein said application unit comprises carousel-type movement means which form a circuit which lies on a substantially vertical plane for a plurality of conveyors for said lids.

3. The machine according to claim 2, wherein each one of said conveyors comprises, on a supporting block which is fixed to said movement means, grip actuation means which are in turn associated with activation/deactivation control means adapted to determine two states for said actuation means, a grip state, in which said grip actuation means lock a corresponding advancing lid, and a release state in which said lid is released.

4. The machine according to claim 3, wherein said grip actuation means are normally in the grip state.

5. The machine according to claim 3, wherein said grip actuation means are of a type with a sucker associated with suction means.

6. The machine according to claim 1, further comprising contrast pusher springs.

7. The machine according to claim 3, wherein said grip actuation means are of a cam type.

8. The machine according to claim 3, wherein said grip actuation means comprise an arm which is articulated to a corresponding block and has, at a free end thereof, a wheel which is adapted to mate rotationally with corresponding shaped elements.

9. The machine according to claim 8, wherein said shaped elements are arranged in regions of a path of said movement means in which said actuators are in the release state.

10. The machine according to claim 8, wherein said shaped elements are constituted by a corresponding number of shaped bars.

11. The machine according to claim 1, wherein said movement means have paths which partially lie above said adhesive distribution means so as to allow application of said adhesive to the lids in transit.

12. The machine according to claim 1, wherein said movement means are of a chain type.

13. The machine according to claim 2, wherein said adhesive distribution means comprise a heated container which contains adhesive in a melted state and in which a shaped cylinder is pivoted and motorized, said cylinder being provided with a cavity having a surface that rotationally coincides with a supporting frame of a corresponding lid.

14. The machine according to claim 13, wherein said cylinder is moved in step with said conveyors.

15. The machine according to claim 1, wherein said advancement means are of a belt type.

16. The machine according to claim 1, wherein said advancement means comprise two first belts which are spaced and aligned and are connected in a bridge-like fashion by a pair of second belts which face each other and are arranged so as to form a conveyance channel for the packages which are locked laterally thereby by friction.

17. The machine according to claim 1, wherein said lid feeding means are of a belt type and lie below said application unit.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a machine which is particularly but not exclusively useful for fixing lids to packages for moist wipes, tissues or the like.

[0002] It is known that there is increasing market demand for moist wipes, tissues or the like arranged in packages which allow their selective and rapid extraction.

[0003] In particular, moist wipes and tissues or the like are currently contained in packages provided with suitable openings which, in the best cases, are associated with lids in order to ensure effective opening and closure.

[0004] In particular, the closure must ensure tightness against the loss of moisture so as to avoid the evaporation of the liquid (usually aqueous solutions) with which the tissues are impregnated; any loss of moisture thereof would in fact severely compromise their functionality, making them in practice ineffective for the uses for which they are particularly appreciated (for example for cleaning babies, removing cosmetic products, et cetera).

[0005] It should also be noted that the packages are substantially formed by enclosures constituted by folded and heat-sealed plastic films in which pre-scoring is provided to facilitate their opening; lids, substantially constituted by a hinged door fixed to a supporting frame, are glued at the pre-scoring.

[0006] Machines for fixing the lids to the packages are currently commercially available for automating the application of the lids.

[0007] These machines comprise, on a supporting structure, means for the advancement of the enclosures, a lid application unit, adhesive distribution means and lid feeding means.

[0008] In particular, in currently commercially available machines the lids are attached before packaging, but this compromises an effective execution of the subsequent processes.

[0009] In other cases, the lid is applied so that the wipes or tissues are already packaged from above.

[0010] In practice, the lid is arranged substantially at the opposite side of the heat-seal, which necessarily has to be arranged downward.

[0011] Placing the heat-seal downward means that drops may fall from the wipes, entailing the danger that some regions may not be adequately heat-sealed hermetically, thus compromising the preservation over time of the moisture inside the package.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] The aim of the present invention is to provide a machine, particularly for fixing lids to packages for moist wipes, tissues or the like, which solves the above-noted drawbacks of conventional machines and in particular allows to apply lids even to wipes or tissues which are already packaged while avoiding any possible loss of moisture which might compromise the functionality of the wipes or tissues.

[0013] Within this aim, an important object of the present invention is to provide a machine which is highly flexible in terms of application, since it is able to manage various package types and sizes.

[0014] Another object of the present invention is to provide a machine which allows solid and safe application of the lid to the package without entailing the risk of damaging or deforming it.

[0015] Another object of the present invention is to provide a machine which can be advantageously integrated in larger production lines which comprise the entire process for the production of packaged wipes or tissues.

[0016] Another object of the present invention is to provide a machine which can be manufactured with known technologies and equipment.

[0017] This aim and these and other objects which will become better apparent hereinafter are achieved by a machine for fixing lids to packages for moist wipes, tissues or the like, characterized in that it comprises, on a supporting structure, means for the advancement of enclosures constituting packages, a lid application unit, adhesive distribution means and means for feeding said lids, said application unit being arranged below said advancement means so as to apply said lids from below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] Further characteristics and advantages of the present invention will become better apparent from the following detailed description of two embodiments thereof, illustrated only by way of non-limitative example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0019] FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a machine according to the invention;

[0020] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of part of the machine of FIG. 1;

[0021] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a package which can be processed by the machine of FIG. 1;

[0022] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another detail of the machine of FIG. 1;

[0023] FIGS. 5 and 6 are, respectively, a perspective view and a sectional view of a same detail of the machine of FIG. 1;

[0024] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a different embodiment of the machine of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0025] With particular reference to FIGS. 1 to 6, a machine particularly for fixing lids to packages for moist wipes, tissues or the like, according to the invention, is generally designated by the reference numeral 10.

[0026] The machine 10 is particularly suitable for applying lids, designated by the reference numeral 11, to packages 12 provided by means of an enclosure 13 constituted by heat-sealed plastic film.

[0027] More specifically, in this case the lids 11 are applied to a continuous film 13a which is then cut and heat-sealed so as to form the enclosure 13 of the packages 12.

[0028] The machine 10 comprises, on a supporting structure 14, means for the continuous advancement of the film 13a for the packages 12, which are generally designated by the reference numeral 15; a lid application unit, generally designated by the reference numeral 16; adhesive distribution means, generally designated by the reference numeral 17; and means for feeding the lids 11, generally designated by the reference numeral 18.

[0029] In particular, in the machine 10 the application unit 16 is arranged below the advancement means 15 so as to apply the lids 11 from below.

[0030] The application unit 16 comprises carousel-type movement means 19 which form a circuit which lies on a substantially vertical plane for a plurality of conveyors, each generally designated by the reference numeral 20, for the lids 11.

[0031] Each conveyor 20 comprises, on a supporting block 21 which is fixed to the movement means 19 (see FIG. 1), grip actuation means 22 which are in turn associated with activation/deactivation control means 23 adapted to determine two states for the actuation means 22: a grip state, in which they lock a corresponding advancing lid 11, and a release state, in which they disengage the lid 11 from the grip.

[0032] The actuation means 22 are of the sucker type and are associated with suction means 24 and with contrast pusher springs 25, which in this case are helical.

[0033] The actuation means 23 are of the cam type and are constituted by an articulated arm 26 which is associated with the corresponding block 21 and has, at its free end, a wheel 27 (see FIG. 4) which is adapted to mate rotationally with corresponding shaped elements.

[0034] In particular, the shaped elements are two in number, are designated by the reference numerals 28 and 29 respectively, and are arranged in the regions of the path of the movement means 19 in which the actuation means 22 are in the release step.

[0035] In particular, the elements 28 and 29 are constituted, in this case, by mutually parallel shaped bars.

[0036] The movement means 19, in this embodiment, have a path which partly overlies said adhesive distribution means 17 in order to allow the application of said adhesive to the lid 11 in transit.

[0037] In particular, the movement means 19 are in this case of the chain type.

[0038] The adhesive distribution means 17 are constituted by a heated container 30 which contains the adhesive in the melted state and in which a shaped cylinder 31 is pivoted and motorized; the cylinder 31 is provided with a cavity 32 whose surface rotationally coincides with the supporting frame of a corresponding lid 11.

[0039] In particular, the cylinder 31 is moved in step with the movement of the blocks 21.

[0040] In this embodiment, the advancement means 15 are of the belt type, but with particular reference to FIG. 7 a different embodiment has two first spaced and aligned belts 33 which are connected in a bridge-like fashion by a pair of second belts 34 which are arranged so as to form an advancement channel for the packages 12, which are locked laterally thereby by friction.

[0041] The lid feeding means 18 are, also in this case, of the belt type and lie below the application unit 16.

[0042] In particular, the embodiment of FIG. 7 relates to the possibility to effectively apply the lids 11 also to packages 12 which are already formed and filled with wipes or tissues.

[0043] In practice, operation is as follows.

[0044] The application unit 16, as it turns, conveys along a substantially annular closed path the blocks 21 so that they pass at various stations which correspond to a matching number of steps of the process of the machine 10.

[0045] More specifically, considering an individual conveyor 20, the conveyor passes above the lid feeding means 18 where the downward slope of the shape of the corresponding shaped element 28 allows reactivation of the actuation means 22 which block a corresponding lid 11 by suction.

[0046] Further advancement of the device 20 causes the fixed lid 11 to pass over the cylinder 31, which by rotating in step applies the adhesive to the rim of the lid 11 being processed.

[0047] Further advancement places the device 20 at the underlying part of the package 12, where the appropriately provided element 29 determines release by the actuation means 22.

[0048] In practice it has been observed that the present invention has achieved the intended aim and objects.

[0049] In particular, it should be noted that the overall structure of the machine according to the invention allows easy and safe application of the lids in various application conditions and allows in particular to keep the heat-seals of the enclosure on the upper part so as to ensure better retention of the moisture inside the enclosure.

[0050] It should also be noted that the machine according to the invention can equally apply the lids to enclosures which are already preset so as to form the corresponding package and to enclosures which are still open or on continuous film which is cut and heat-sealed to form the enclosure only at a later stage.

[0051] It should also be noted that all this has been achieved with good constructive simplicity, which ensures an overall structural solidity of the machine which is suitable even for long and heavy duty cycles.

[0052] It should also be noted that the machine according to the invention can be easily integrated in larger production lines which provide for the entire production cycle of wipes and packages.

[0053] The present invention is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the inventive concept.

[0054] The technical details may be replaced with other technically equivalent elements.

[0055] The materials and the dimensions may be any according to requirements.