Title:
Unit for transferring products from a packaging machine to a feeding line of a boxing machine
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In a unit for transferring products from a packaging machine to a feeding line of a boxing machine, a conveying belt has a plurality of seats for receiving products released by the packaging machine. A curved plate is associated to the conveying belt in a region corresponding to a passage portion between an upper run and a lower run, to close the seats and hold the products. A hopper is situated downstream with respect to the curved plate and receives the products released by the seats of the lower run, disengaged from the curved plate, and convey the products to a compartment made in the feeding line below. A sensor is associated to the hopper and counts the number of products received by the hopper. A straight plate is situated downstream respect to the curved plate and is operated to move in parallel directions, or opposite directions, with respect to the feeding direction of the lower run, respectively to close or open the seats disengaged from the curved plate.



Inventors:
Monti, Giuseppe (Pianoro (Bologna), IT)
Application Number:
11/141438
Publication Date:
12/01/2005
Filing Date:
05/31/2005
Assignee:
Marchesini Group S.p.a. (Pianoro, IT)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
198/431
International Classes:
B65B35/30; B65B35/32; B65B57/20; B65G47/52; B65G47/74; (IPC1-7): B65B57/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BURGESS, RAMYA PRAKASAM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ware Fressola Maguire & Barber LLP (Monroe, CT, US)
Claims:
1. A unit for transferring products from a packaging machine to a feeding line of a boxing machine, with the packaging machine having an outlet line, feeding a plurality of packaged products, the unit including: at least one conveying belt, situated between said outlet line and feeding line, and having a plurality of seats for receiving at least one product released by said outlet line of the packaging machine, said conveying belt defining corresponding runs, an upper run and a lower run, operated in corresponding, opposite feeding directions; first guiding means associated to said conveying belt at least in a region corresponding to a passage portion between the upper run and the lower run, and closing said seats, in order to hold products contained in said seats; conveying means, situated near the lower run of the conveying belt, downstream with respect to said first guiding means for receiving the products released by the seats of said lower run, disengaged from said first guiding means, and for conveying said products to a compartment made in the feeding line below; sensor means, associated to said conveying means for counting the number of products received by the conveying means; second guiding means, situated between the lower run of the conveying belt and said conveying means, downstream with respect to said first guiding means, and enabled by said sensor means for moving in parallel directions or opposite directions, with respect to the feeding direction of said lower run, respectively to close or open the seats disengaging from said first guiding means, respectively to hold or release the products contained in the seats and for preventing or allowing the products to be conveyed to the conveying means.

2. A unit, as claimed in claim 1, further including partition means, associated to said conveying means and enabled by said sensor means to allow, or prevent, conveying of the products released by the conveying means to a compartment of the feeding line below.

3. A unit, as claimed in claim 1, further including a plurality of conveying belts arranged one after another and having corresponding seats for receiving at least one product; with a fore conveying belt receiving products released by the outlet line of the packaging machine; and with a rear conveying belt cooperating with said first guiding means and second guiding means, and said conveying means to release said products onto the feeding line.

4. A unit, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said second guiding means are operated to move with a linear speed at least equal to the speed of said the lower run.

5. A unit, as claimed in claim 4, wherein said second guiding means include at least one straight plate, situated downstream with respect to said first guiding means, below them.

6. A unit, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said first guiding means are stationary.

7. A unit, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said first guiding means include at least one curved plate.

8. A unit, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said conveying means include at leas one hopper.

9. A unit, as claimed in claim 2, wherein said conveying means include at least one hopper, and said partition means include at least one bulkhead, enabled by said sensor means to close or open the bottom of said hopper.

10. A unit, as claimed in claim 1, further including transferring means, associated to said outlet line of said packaging machine and collecting packaged products in a substantially vertical configuration and releasing them into the seats of the conveying belt in a substantially horizontal configuration.

11. A unit, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said conveying belt is operated in a continuous way.

12. A unit, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said conveying belt is vertically aligned with respect to said feeding line.

13. A unit, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said conveying belt extends laterally, that is crosswise with respect to said packaging machine.

14. A unit, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said feeding line of said boxing machine is operated stepwise.

15. A unit, as claimed in claim 14, wherein said feeding line is enabled by said sensor means.

16. A unit, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said packaging machine is a bagging machine.

17. A unit, as claimed claim 1, wherein said products are packages with tubular shape.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to automatic packaging of various products, in particular liquid solutions, doughy substances, granular and/or powder substances for food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and cleansing use.

In the specific case, the present invention relates to a unit for transferring packaged products from a packaging machine to a feeding line of a boxing machine.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

There are known bagging machines, which, according to widely known techniques, package food granular substances into substantially tubular bags and release them directly onto a feeding line of a boxing machine, situated below.

The tubular bags are obtained from a continuous sheet, of e.g. thermo-weldable paper, which is previously cut, so as to define a plurality of vertical strips, arranged one beside another.

Afterwards, each of the vertical strips is brought to a tubular configuration and welded longitudinally in regions corresponding to the lateral edges.

The bottom of each vertical strip is welded in step relation with the longitudinal welding and then the so obtained tubular bags are filled with a batched quantity of a prefixed granular substance.

When the filling is completed, each strip is welded at top and cut near the welded portion, so as to cause its detachment from the continuous sheet.

In this way, a desired tubular package is obtained, suitably sealed, and the bottom of the subsequent tubular structure is formed.

The so obtained sealed bags, arranged vertical one beside another, are generally released onto a chute, which is situated below and which conveys them, in bulk, to a conveying belt situated in front of the bagging machine.

This configuration makes the front area of the bagging machine inaccessible for the set up, as well as for maintenance.

The main drawback lies in the fact that the chute releases the bags onto the conveying belt in uncontrolled configurations, doubtlessly not suitable to feed directly a boxing machine for introducing the so obtained tubular bags into cases, usually of cardboard.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of the present invention is to avoid the above drawbacks by proposing a unit for transferring products, in controlled configuration, from a packaging machine, in particular a bagging machine, to a feeding line of a boxing machine, which assures best versatility and flexibility standards, independently from the type, size and number of treated products.

Another object of the present invention is to propose a transferring unit, which is particularly reliable and functional and assures high production rate in any operation conditions.

A further object of the present invention is to propose a transferring unit, which is capable of particularly rapid and easy adapting at the size changeover and to the number of packaged products in relation to the characteristics of the operation cycle of the packaging machine, thus facilitating the set up and maintenance thereof.

The above mentioned objects are obtained, in accordance with the contents of the claims, by a unit for transferring products from a packaging machine to a feeding line of a boxing machine, with the packaging machine having an outlet line, feeding a plurality of packaged products, the unit including:

at least one conveying belt, situated between said outlet line and feeding line, and having a plurality of seats for receiving at least one product released by said outlet line of the packaging machine, said conveying belt defining corresponding runs, an upper run and a lower run, operated in corresponding, opposite feeding directions;

first guiding means associated to said conveying belt at least in a region corresponding to a passage portion between the upper run and the lower run, and closing said seats, in order to hold products contained in said seats;

conveying means, situated near the lower run of the conveying belt, downstream with respect to said first guiding means for receiving the products released by the seats of said lower run, disengaged from said first guiding means, and for conveying said products to a compartment made in the feeding line below;

sensor means, associated to said conveying means for counting the number of products received by the conveying means;

second guiding means, situated between the lower run of the conveying belt and said conveying means, downstream with respect to said first guiding means, and enabled by said sensor means for moving in parallel directions or opposite directions, with respect to the feeding direction of said lower run, respectively to close or open the seats disengaging from said first guiding means, respectively to hold or release the products contained in the seats and for preventing or allowing the products to be conveyed to the conveying means.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The characteristic features of the invention will be pointed out in the following description of some preferred but not limited embodiments, with reference to the enclosed figures, in which:

FIGS. 1 and 2 are schematic, lateral and top views of the transferring unit, proposed by the present invention;

FIGS. from 3 to 9 are schematic, enlarged, respective lateral views of the proposed transferring unit in a sequence of particularly significant operation steps;

FIG. 10 is a schematic, partial, lateral view of an extremely significant embodiment.

DISCLOSURE OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Having regards the above described Figures, the reference numeral 1 indicates the proposed unit for transferring products 3 released by the outlet line of a packaging machine 2, in particular a bagging machine, to a feeding line 5 of a boxing machine (not shown).

The unit 1 includes a conveying belt 4, interposed between the outlet line and the feeding line 5 and having a plurality of seats 4a, defined by corresponding separators.

Each of the seats 4a receives one bag 3, e.g. a tubular bag, released by the outlet line of the bagging machine 2.

The conveying belt 4 extends preferably laterally, that is crosswise to the bagging machine 2 and is aligned vertically with respect to the feeding line 5.

Transferring means 20, advantageously connected to the outlet line of the bagging machine 2, pick up bags 3 in vertical configuration A and release them into the seats 4a of the conveying belt 4 in horizontal configuration B.

The conveying belt 4, preferably moved continuously, defines relative runs, an upper run 17a and a lower run 17b, operated in corresponding, opposite feeding directions W, W′.

In the portion Y of passage between the upper run 17a and the lower run 17b, the conveying belt 4 is connected to a curved plate 6, preferably stationary, which faces and closes the seats 4a in order to hold the bags 3 contained in the seats 4a.

A hopper 7, situated near the lower run 17b of the conveying belt 4, in cascade with respect to the curved plate 6, receives the bags 3 released by the seats 4a of the lower run 17b and disengaging from the curved plate 6, and conveys the disengaged bags 3 toward a compartment 5a made on the feeding line 5.

The hopper 7 includes sensor means 8, advantageously situated near the inlet mouth, for counting the bags 3 released in sequence by the conveyor 4.

The proposed transferring unit 1 includes a straight plate 60, situated between the lower run 17b of the conveying belt 4 and the hopper 7, downstream with respect to the curved plate 6.

The straight plate 60 is operated to translate in parallel feeding direction H, or in opposite direction H′ with respect to the feeding direction W′ of the lower run 17b, respectively to close, or open, the seats 4a, which disengage from the curved plate 6, so as to hold, or release, the bags contained therein, and to forbid, or to allow their conveying to the hopper 7.

The straight plate 60 is enabled to translate, in one direction or the other, by the sensor means 8, that is in function of the counting of the bags 3, with a speed at least equal to the speed of the lower run 17b, preferably slightly higher.

Advantageously, the hopper 7 has a moving bulkhead 9, enabled by the sensor means 8 to allow the closing, or opening, of the bottom of the hopper 7, then, to prevent, or to allow, the conveying of the bags 3 toward the dwelling compartment 5a of the feeding line 5.

The feeding line 5 is preferably operated stepwise, enabled by the sensor means 8, that is in relation to the counting of the bags 3.

The operation of the proposed transferring unit 1 will be described briefly, beginning from a generic intermediate working step, in which the straight plate 60 is withdrawn, the bottom of the hopper 7 is open (the moving bulkhead 9 shifted) and faces a compartment 5a of the feeding line 5, dwelling and still empty (FIG. 3).

The bags 3 released by the transferring means 20, in horizontal configuration B, into the seats 4a of the conveying belt 4, are moved by the latter up to the curved plate 6, which closes the seats 4a transiting between the upper run 17a and the lower run 17b, in a region corresponding to the passage portion Y, preventing the bags contained therein from going out.

Downstream of the curved plate 6, with the straight plate 60 withdrawn, the bags 3 can fall freely into the hopper 7, suitably counted by the sensor means 8 and can be sent directly to the compartment 5a dwelling below.

As soon as the sensor means 8 detect the prefixed number of bags 3 entered into the hopper 7, they enable the operation of the straight plate 60, so as to suspend the releasing of the bags 3 into the hopper 7, and enable the operation of the feeding line 5 by one step, that is the feeding of the full compartment 5a, so that a subsequent empty compartment 5a moves under the bottom of the hopper 7 (FIGS. 4, 5).

The translation of the straight plate 60 in a direction H parallel to the feeding direction W′ of the lower run 17b, with the relative speed substantially zero, allows to close the seats 4a, which disengage from the curved plate 6 to hold the bags 3 contained therein and prevent them from being conveyed toward the hopper 7 (FIGS. 6, 7).

The positioning of the empty compartment 5a in correspondence to the bottom of the hopper 7 enables the operation of the straight plate 60 in a direction H′ opposite to the feeding direction W′ of the lower run 17b, so as to resume the releasing of the bags 3 into the hopper 7.

The translation of the straight plate 60 in the opposite direction H′ allows to open again the seats 4a facing the hopper 7, previously closed by the straight plate 60 (FIG. 8).

During the opposite translation H′ of the straight plate 60, due to the direction discordance with the lower run 17b, the bags 3 are released into the hopper 7 with a double rate with respect to the predetermined conditions, with the straight plate 60 retracted.

During this step, it is suitable to limit the speed of the straight plate 60, preferably equal or slightly higher than the one of the lower run 17b, so as to avoid possible calculation errors of the sensor means 8 caused by possible alignment of more bags 3 during the releasing step.

When the sensor means 8 detect the prefixed number of bags 3 entered into the hopper 7, the cycle repeats in the same way: the operation of the straight plate 60 is enabled, so as to suspend the releasing of the bags 3, as well as to operate the feeding line 5 by one step to move the full compartment 5a, so that a subsequent empty compartment 5a moves to face the bottom of the hopper 7.

Advantageously, the loading mouth of the hopper 7 is wide enough to cover the number of seats 4a, transiting in the period of time necessary for the feeding line 5 to position a new, empty compartment 5a, in the region corresponding to the discharge mouth of the hopper 7.

According to a different operation mode, it is possible to close the bottom of the hopper 7, during its loading, by the moving bulkhead 9, so as to accumulate a prefixed number of bags 3 in the hopper 7, and then to open the bulkhead 9, in order to release simultaneously the bags 3 into the compartment 5a dwelling below (FIG. 9).

In this way, it is possible to perform a supplementary counting of the bags in case of anomaly of the feeding line 5 of the boxing machine.

However, in relation to the particulars, the moving bulkhead 9 can be avoided in the bottom of the hopper 7.

FIG. 10 shows a particularly significant embodiment, including a plurality of conveying belts 4, 40, 400, arranged downstream, each of which has corresponding seats for receiving an bag 3.

In this case, a fore conveying belt 4 receives products released by the outlet line of the bagging machine 2 and a rear conveying belt 400 cooperates with the plates, curved plate 6 and straight plate 60, and with the hopper 7 to release the bags 3 into the compartments 5a of the feeding line 5, in the above described way.

A plurality of conveying belts, situated between the outlet line of the bagging machine and the feeding line of the boxing machine, allows advantageously to separate, if required, the batching environment from the boxing environment (generally required in the pharmaceutical field).

If the bagging machine 2 includes means for selective rejection of the bags 3, some seats 4a can remain empty.

This does not create any problem for the correct operation of the proposed transferring unit 1, since the operation of the straight plate 60 and of the feeding line 5, and possibly of the moving bulkhead 9 (if present), is subjected to the sensor means 8, that is to the counting of the bags 3 released into the hopper 7.

It is obvious how the proposed unit allows the transfer of products in controlled configuration from a packaging machine, in particular bagging machine, to a feeding line of a boxing machine, assuring best versatility and flexibility standards.

The proposed transferring unit is particularly reliable and functional, and assures high production rate in any operation condition, independently from the size and number of treated products.

The unit can advantageously adapt, in a particularly rapid and easy way, to the changes of the packaged products size, in relation to the specifics of the operation cycle of the packaging machine.

The transferring unit can facilitate the packaging machine set up and maintenance operations.

The proposed transferring unit is particularly indicated for the automatic packaging of liquid substances, doughy substances, granular and/or pulverulent substances, for food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and cleansing use.

It is understood that the proposed invention has been described, with reference to the enclosed figures, as a mere, not limiting example. Therefore, it is obvious that any changes or variants applied thereto remain within the protective scope defined by the following claims.