Title:
Material bagging machine having a bag folder mounted thereon
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bagging machine for bagging organic and other materials such as compost, silage, grain, sawdust, dirt, sand, etc., comprising a mobile frame means, a material receiving means, a material packing means on the mobile frame means in communication with the material receiving means, a rearwardly extending material forming means in communication with the material packing means and a bag folding means associated with the material forming means.



Inventors:
Cullen, Steven R. (Astoria, OR, US)
Application Number:
10/350973
Publication Date:
07/29/2004
Filing Date:
01/23/2003
Assignee:
CULLEN STEVEN R.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/576
International Classes:
A01F25/14; B65B9/15; B65B9/18; (IPC1-7): B65B9/15
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PARADISO, JOHN ROGER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KOLISCH HARTWELL, P.C. (PORTLAND, OR, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A bagging machine for bagging material, comprising: a mobile frame means having rearward and forward ends; a material receiving means on said mobile frame means; a material packing means on said mobile frame means; a material packing means on said mobile frame means in communication with said material receiving means; a rearwardly extending material forming means in communication with said material packing means; and a mechanized bag folding means associated with said material forming means; said bag folding means adapted to receive an unfolded plastic bag and position the same around said material forming means in a folded condition.

2. The bagging machine of claim 1 wherein said bag folding means positions the folded bag at the forward end of said material forming means.

3. The bagging machine of claim 1 wherein said material forming means comprises a tunnel.

4. The bagging machine of claim 3 wherein said tunnel includes a top wall portion and opposite side wall portions.

5. The bagging machine of claim 1 wherein said material forming means has inner and outer surfaces and wherein said bag folding means is positioned at said outer surface of said material forming means.

6. The bagging machine of claim 5 wherein said bag folding means comprises a plurality of elongated, spaced-apart supports, having rearward and forward ends, positioned at least partially around said material forming means; at least some of said supports having one or more driven members thereon which move the unfolded bag forwardly with respect to said material forming means.

7. The bagging machine of claim 6 wherein said driven members comprise rollers.

8. The bagging machine of claim 6 wherein said driven members comprise wheels.

9. The bagging machine of claim 6 wherein said driven members comprise an endless belt.

10. The bagging machine of claim 6 wherein a plurality of idler members are mounted on said material forming means opposite said driven members to that the unfolded bag is moved forwardly with respect to said material forming means between said driven members and said idler members.

11. The bagging machine of claim 6 wherein said rearward ends of said elongated supports are yieldably urged towards said material forming means.

12. The bagging machine of claim 6 wherein said elongated supports are yieldably urged towards said material forming means.

13. The bagging machine of claim 10 wherein said driven members are yieldably urged towards said idler members.

14. The bagging machine of claim 10 wherein said idler members are yieldably urged towards said driven members.

15. The bagging machine of claim 1 wherein said bag folding means comprises a plurality of spaced-apart supports positioned at least partially around said material forming means; at least some of said supports having one or more driven members thereon which move the unfolded bag forwardly with respect to said material forming means.

16. The bagging machine of claim 15 wherein said driven members comprise rollers.

17. The bagging machine of claim 15 wherein said driven members comprise wheels.

18. The bagging machine of claim 15 wherein said driven members comprise a belt.

19. The bagging machine of claim 15 wherein a plurality of movable idler members are mounted on said material forming means opposite said driven members to that the unfolded bag is moved forwardly with respect to said material forming means between said driven members and said idler members.

20. The bagging machine of claim 15 wherein said supports are yieldably urged towards said material forming means.

21. The bagging machine of claim 19 wherein said idler members are yieldably urged towards said driven members.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates to a material bagging machine for bagging organic and other materials such as silage, compost, grain, sawdust, dirt, sand, etc., and more particularly to a bagging machine having a bag folder mounted thereon.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Agricultural feed and compost bagging machines have been employed for several years to pack or bag silage, compost or the like into elongated plastic bags. Two of the earliest bagging machines are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,687,061 and 4,046,068. Applicant is the named inventor in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,424,051; 5,295,554; 5,297,377; 5,313,768; 5,345,744; 5,355,659; 5,367,860; 5,396,753; 5,398,736; 5,408,809; 5,408,810; 5,421,142; 5,425,220; 5,426,910; 5,452,562; 5,463,849; 5,464,049; 5,517,806; 5,671,594; 5,775,069; 5,784,865; 5,799,472; 5,857,313; 5,894,713; 5,899,247; 5,904,031; 5,960,612; 6,009,692; 6,443,194, all of which relate to bagging machines. In the prior art bagging machines, silage, compost or the like is supplied to the forward or intake end of the bagging machine and is fed to a packing means such as a rotor, screw conveyor or the like which conveys the material into a tunnel on which a folded plastic bag is positioned. As the packing means forces silage through the tunnel, the folded bag is pulled from the tunnel to enclose the material being bagged. As the material is packed into the bag, the bagging machine moves away from the filled end of the bag in a controlled fashion so as to achieve compaction of the material within the bag.

[0005] In the present state of the art, the manufacturers of the plastic silage/compost bag must blow or extrude the plastic into a tubular/bag shape, roll it onto a core, fold it into a collar, and then put the same into a box or container, which is palleted for convenient shipping. Once the box is delivered to the field, it may take several men and a crane to lift the folded bag out of the box and feed it by hand over and onto the tunnel. The bag is laboriously pushed onto the tunnel until the bag is gathered at the forward end of the tunnel so that the bag is ready for filling and packing.

[0006] A major disadvantage and cost of the current method of manufacturing plastic bags for use on bagging machines is the sophisticated and expensive machinery required by the manufacturers to fold the bags after the blowing or extruding process. Only a few manufacturers have such costly machines, who pass the processing and material costs onto the end user. Secondly, the extra steps necessary to convert the roll of plastic into a bag, fold the bag into a box, load the individual boxes into a larger container for shipping, and then to transport and deliver those boxes to the consumers adds time, packaging, space requirements, handling equipment, manpower and disposal costs to the entire process.

[0007] A further problem created by the present method of putting plastic bags onto the tunnel or material forming means on the bagging machine is the physical strain and danger to the men who load the bag onto the tunnel. The newer, bigger bags (14′×500′) weigh up to 1200 lbs and the industry trend is for even larger tunnels and even longer bags.

[0008] There is a need to replace the old process of manufacturing the bags and the installation of the same on the bagging machines to reduce manufacturing and handling costs, improve safety and worker ergonomics, and eliminate the stranglehold a few manufacturers have on bag distributors and consumers. The purpose of the invention is to do away with the costly pre-folding of plastic bags and the packaging of one bag per box, which must be hand-mounted onto the machine, and replace that method wherein an unfolded bag is placed on the rearward end of the tunnel with a bag folding apparatus mounted on the tunnel moving the bag forwardly on the tunnel and causing the same to be unfolded.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] A bagging machine for bagging organic and other material such as compost, silage, grain, sawdust, dirt, sand, etc., is described. The bagging machine comprises a mobile frame means, a material receiving means on the mobile frame means, a material packing means on the mobile frame means in communication with the material receiving means, a rearwardly extending material forming means in communication with the material packing means and a bag folding means associated with the material forming means. The bag folding means comprises a plurality of elongated arms mounted on the material forming means in a spaced-apart relationship with respect to one another. The rearward ends of the elongated supports have driven rollers, wheels or belts mounted thereon for driving engagement with the unfolded bag which has been positioned on the rearward end of the material forming means. Preferably, the material forming means has a plurality of idler rollers, wheels, endless belts, etc., mounted thereon in such a manner so that the unfolded bag is positioned between the idler rollers, wheels, or endless belts and the driven rollers, wheels, endless belts, on the support members so that the unfolded bag is moved forwardly towards the forward end of the material forming means. The elongated arms may also have idler rollers, wheels, endless belts, etc., mounted thereon forwardly of the rearward end thereof which are positioned opposite to idler rollers, wheels mounted on the material forming means. The unfolded bag is automatically folded when it reaches the forward end of the material forming means. Either or both of the idler rollers, wheels, endless belts and the driven rollers, wheels and endless belts are preferably yieldably urged into engagement with the bag positioned therebetween.

[0010] A principal object of the invention is to provide a material bagging machine having a bag folder mounted thereon.

[0011] Another object of the invention is to provide a bag folder for a material bagging machine which positions an unfolded bag onto the tunnel of the machine so that the bag is folded as it is moved forwardly on the tunnel.

[0012] Yet another object of the invention is to eliminate the need for handling folded bags for bagging machines as they are customarily handled.

[0013] Still another object of the invention is to provide a method and means which eliminates the need for workmen to manipulate heavy folded bags.

[0014] These and other objects of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is a side view of a bagging machine having a bag folder mounted thereon;

[0016] FIG. 2 is a side view of the rearward end of the bagging machine and the bag folder mounted thereon;

[0017] FIG. 3 is a rear view of the bag folder mounted on the tunnel;

[0018] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the bag folder of this invention mounted on a tunnel;

[0019] FIG. 5 is a side view illustrating idler rollers positioned on the exterior of the tunnel and idler rollers positioned on the elongated arms; and

[0020] FIG. 6 illustrates an idler endless belt mounted on the exterior surface of the tunnel which is positioned opposite to a driven endless belt.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0021] The numeral 10 refers to a bagging machine such as marketed by Versa Corporation, Astoria, Oreg. The bagging machine is intended to bag organic material such as compost, silage, grain, sawdust, etc., within a conventional bag. The machine 10 may also be used to bag dirt or sand to create temporary dikes during flooding. Machine 10 is seen to include a wheeled frame 12. The machine 10 may be of the type which is pulled by a prime mover such as a tractor. Although frame 12 shown in the drawings as wheeled, it is possible that the wheels could be omitted in some machines.

[0022] Further, the machine could be truck-mounted such as seen in U.S. Pat. No. 5,784,865. The machine 10 illustrated in the drawings is self-propelled such as illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 5,799,472. For purposes of description, machine 10 will be described as having a forward end 14 and a rearward end 16. Machine 10 is provided with a material receiving means 18 at its forward end which may be in the form of: (1) a feed table such as seen in U.S. Pat. No. 5,297,377; (2) a hopper such as seen in U.S. Pat. No. 5,398,736; (3) a feed mechanism such as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,396,763; (4) a feed mechanism such as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,367,860; or (5) a hopper such as seen in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,140,802; 5,419,102; and 5,724,793. The purpose of the material receiving means is to receive the material to be bagged and deliver the same to a material packing means 20 positioned at the forward end of a material shaping or forming means. The material packing means may be: (1) a rotor such as shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,396,753; 5,297,377; 5,799,472; 5,295,554; (2) a screw conveyor such as seen in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,140,802 or 5,419,102; (3) a plunger such as seen in U.S. Pat. No. 5,724,793; or (4) the packing fingers described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,687,061.

[0023] The material forming or shaping means is preferably a tunnel 22. The size (diameter) of the tunnel 22 will depend on the desired bag diameter. A face plate 24 is normally secured to the forward end of the tunnel 22 with the face plate 24 being secured to the frame of the machine. In some machines, the face plate is permanently mounted on the machine with the tunnel being secured to the face plate. Various tunnels are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,899,247; 5,396,753; 5,297,377; 5,799,472; 5,398,736; 5,355,659; 5,295,554; 5,140,802; 5,419,102; 5,421,142; 5,724,793; 5,894,713. Normally, the tunnel 22 will include a top wall 26, side walls 28 and 30, and at least a partial bottom wall 32. Normally, a bag pan 34 is provided below the floor or bottom wall 32 for supporting the folded bag thereon in conventional fashion. Face plate 24 includes an opening 36 through which the material passes to the interior of the tunnel when a rotor is utilized as the packing means. If plungers, screw conveyors, etc., are utilized as the packing means, the face plate may or may not be included and opening 36 will be omitted. The design of the material receiving means, packing means, frame and forming means do not form a part of the instant invention. The purpose of the instant invention is to pull a plastic unfolded bag from a roll or container positioned adjacent the rear end of the machine and to pull that material forwardly around the tunnel by means of a bag folding means which moves the unfolded bag forwardly on the tunnel and which causes the bag to be folded on the tunnel as it is positioned on the tunnel.

[0024] The numeral 38 refers to a bag folding mechanism which is designed to receive a tubular bag thereon which is stored on a roll 40 mounted on a truck or trailer 42 or a ground supported frame. The bag is generally referred to by the reference numeral 44. Although it is preferred that the bag 44 be in a rolled-up condition, such as illustrated in the drawings, the bag could be dispensed from a container much like garbage bags are stored in boxes.

[0025] The bag folding mechanism 38 comprises a plurality of elongated support arms 46 which are secured at their forward ends to either the face plate 24 or the exterior surface of the tunnel 22 in any convenient manner. Preferably, the arms 46 are pivotally secured at their rearward ends by pivot pins 48. It is preferred that the arms 46 be spring-loaded so that the rearward ends thereof are urged towards the exterior surface of the tunnel. A driven wheel or roller 50 is rotatably mounted at the rearward end of each of the arms 38 and is rotated in any convenient fashion such as by a hydraulic motor 54. Although a hydraulic motor 54 is illustrated, the motors could be electrically driven if so desired. As seen in FIG. 3, the arms 38 are positioned around the exterior surface of the tunnel 22. Preferably, a plurality of idler wheels or rollers 56 are rotatably mounted on the exterior surface of the tunnel 22 opposite to the rollers or wheels 50, as illustrated in FIG. 3. If the rearward ends of the arms 38 are not spring-loaded to urge the rearward ends thereof towards the tunnel but are fixed to the tunnel or face plate, it is recommended that either or both the wheels 50 and 56 be spring-loaded so as to be urged towards one another to ensure that the driven wheels 50 will be in driving engagement with the bag 44. Further, the wheels or rollers 56 could be driven with the wheels or rollers 50 being idlers.

[0026] FIG. 5 illustrates a modification of the apparatus of FIGS. 1-4 wherein additional idler wheels or rollers 56′ are secured to the exterior surface of tunnel 22 rearwardly of the rearward idler wheels 56 to add additional support to the bag 44. Preferably, if the idler wheels or rollers 56′ are utilized, the elongated arms 38 will also have idler wheels 58 mounted along a portion of the length thereof and which are positioned opposite to the idler wheels or rollers 56′. In FIG. 5, it can be seen that a spring 60 is provided for each of the support arms 38 for urging the rearward ends of the support arms 38 towards the exterior surface of the tunnel 22. The spring 60 could be replaced by an air cylinder or the like.

[0027] A modified form of the bag driven apparatus is illustrated in FIG. 6 wherein the driven wheels or rollers 50 are replaced by a driven endless track which may be in the form of a flat or V belt. The endless belt 60 extends between rollers 62 and 64, one of which is driven by an electric or hydraulic motor. As illustrated in FIG. 6, an endless belt idler assembly 66 is mounted on the exterior surface of the tunnel 22 opposite to the endless belt 60.

[0028] In operation, the truck or trailer 42 carrying the roll 40 will be positioned adjacent the rearward end of the machine 10. If the roll 40 is supported on a ground supported frame, the machine 10 will be positioned adjacent the ground supported frame. The end of the bag 44 is positioned around the tunnel 22 so that the bag passes between the driven rollers or wheels 50 and the idler wheels or rollers 56. The rotational movement of the rollers or wheels 50 causes the bag 44 to be pulled forwardly along the exterior surface of the tunnel. As the end of the bag reaches the face plate 24, the bag material tends to fold upon itself, as illustrated in FIG. 2. The bag 44 is pulled from the roll 40 by the driven wheels or rollers 50 until the desired length of bag has been folded onto the tunnel 22. At that time, if the bag has not been previously cut to length, the bag is cut to separate the same from the roll 40.

[0029] The embodiment of FIG. 6 works identically to the embodiments of FIGS. 2 and 5 except that the endless belt 60 engages the exterior surface of the bag rather than the driven rollers or wheels 50.

[0030] Thus it can be seen that a novel bagging machine has been described which includes a bag folding mechanism thereon which eliminates the need for the factory folding, packaging, shipment and placement of the folded bag onto the tunnel with the attendant disadvantages set forth hereinabove.

[0031] Thus it can be seen that the invention accomplishes at least all of its stated objectives.