Title:
Sealer applicator for a fiberboard assembler
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sealer applicator (20) for a fiberboard container assembler is provided. The sealer applicator (20) includes a housing (30) defining a first guide surface (32, 34, or 36) and a plurality of applicator assemblies (50) disposed within the housing (30). The sealer applicator (20) also includes at least one trigger (60) in communication with the plurality of applicator assemblies (50), the at least one trigger (60) adapted to reciprocate the plurality of applicator assemblies (50) between an ON state, wherein each of the applicator assemblies (50) apply a closure material to the container (24), and an OFF state when the least one trigger (60) is actuated.



Inventors:
Moser, Daniel D. (St. Joseph, MO, US)
Mcclure, Jack A. (Omaha, NE, US)
Rothfuss, Floyd (Omaha, NE, US)
Application Number:
11/744075
Publication Date:
11/06/2008
Filing Date:
05/03/2007
Assignee:
Weyerhaeuser Co. (Federal Way, WA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B51/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GERRITY, STEPHEN FRANCIS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY (Memphis, TN, US)
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A sealer applicator for a fiberboard container assembler, the sealer applicator comprising: (a) a housing defining a first guide surface; (b) a plurality of applicator assemblies associated with the housing; and (c) at least one trigger in communication with the plurality of applicator assemblies, the at least one trigger adapted to reciprocate the plurality of applicator assemblies between an ON state, wherein each of the applicator assemblies apply a closure material to a container, and an OFF state when the least one trigger is actuated.

2. The sealer applicator of claim 1, further comprising a second trigger in communication with the plurality of applicator assemblies.

3. The sealer applicator of claim 2, wherein the second trigger is spaced from the at least one trigger to switch at least one of the plurality of applicator assemblies from the OFF state to the ON state when the second trigger is actuated by a container.

4. The sealer applicator of claim 3, further comprising a third trigger in communication with the plurality of applicator assemblies.

5. The sealer applicator of claim 4, wherein the third trigger is spaced from the second trigger to switch at least one of the plurality of applicator assemblies from the OFF state to the ON state when the third trigger is actuated.

6. The sealer applicator of claim 1, wherein the closure material is selected from a group consisting of adhesives, tape, staples, and straps.

7. The sealer applicator of claim 1, wherein the plurality of applicator assemblies are adhesive applicators.

8. The sealer applicator of claim 1, wherein the at least one trigger is a sensor.

9. The sealer applicator of claim 1, wherein a leading edge of the first guide surface is tapered.

10. The sealer applicator of claim 1, wherein the at least one trigger initiates a timing cycle upon detection of the container by the at least one trigger.

11. The sealer applicator of claim 1, further comprising: (1) a second guide surface located adjacent the first guide surface; (2) a second applicator assembly disposed between the first and second guide surfaces; and (3) a second trigger in communication with the second applicator assembly and configured to reciprocate the second applicator between the OFF and ON states when the second trigger is actuated by a container.

12. The sealer applicator of claim 11, further comprising a third trigger disposed between the second guide surface and a third guide surface, the third trigger adapted to reciprocate at least one of the plurality of applicator assemblies between the OFF and ON states when the third trigger is actuated.

13. A sealer applicator for a fiberboard container assembler, the sealer applicator comprising: (a) a housing defining a plurality of guide surfaces; (b) a plurality of applicator assemblies associated with the housing; and (c) at least one sensor in communication with the plurality of applicator assemblies, the at least one sensor adapted to reciprocate the plurality of applicator assemblies between an ON state, wherein each of the applicator assemblies apply a closure material to a container, and an OFF state when the least one sensor senses the container.

14. The sealer applicator of claim 13, wherein the at least one senor initiates a timing cycle upon detection of the container by the sensor.

15. The sealer applicator of claim 13, further comprising a second sensor disposed within the housing and spaced from the at least one sensor such that at least one of the plurality of applicator assemblies is disposed between the at least one sensor and the second sensor.

16. The sealer applicator of claim 15, further comprising a third sensor disposed in the housing and positioned within the housing to actuate at least one of the plurality of applicator assemblies when the third sensor senses the container.

17. The sealer applicator of claim 16, wherein the plurality of applicator assemblies apply an adhesive when actuated into the ON state.

18. A sealer applicator for a fiberboard container assembler, the sealer applicator comprising: (a) a housing; (b) at least three applicator assemblies associated with the housing; (c) a plurality of sensors disposed within the housing and in separate communication with the at least three applicator assemblies, the plurality of sensors positioned to independently actuate at least one of the three applicator assemblies into an ON state, wherein the at least one applicator assembly applies a closure material to a container when the container is sensed by at least one of the plurality of sensors; and (d) a guider surface formed in the housing and positioned to position a portion of the container within the housing.

19. The sealer applicator of claim 18, wherein the plurality of sensors initiates a timing cycle upon detection of the container by the at least one of the plurality of sensors.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Corrugated packaging is well-known to transport a variety of goods, such as produce and dry bulk goods. Typical corrugated boxes are manufactured from a flat of corrugated fiberboard that is subsequently creased or scored to provide controlled bending of the corrugated board. Often, slots are cut to provide flaps on the box. Such boards are known in the art as box blanks.

Large numbers of box blanks may be rapidly assembled to form a box using a tray former. Thereafter, the resulting box, after being filled with product, is sealed by a well-known case sealing apparatus. Such case sealing apparatuses are efficient and effective at applying adhesives to flaps for further assembly and typically include a sealer applicator to apply the adhesive. In the past, the sealer applicator applied beads of adhesive to only a specific area of the flap, regardless of the size of the flap. As an example, existing boxes usually include flaps or end panels that range between five inches to 12 inches deep. Currently available sealer applicators apply adhesive beads to only the lower three-four inches of the flaps.

Because currently available applicators apply adhesive to only the lower three or four inches of the end panel, box manufacturers are required to increase the paper grade of the corrugated box blank to maintain the strength of the enclosure formed by the end panels. This adds to the expense of the box.

Thus, there exists a need for a sealer applicator that readily accepts boxes of varying sizes to apply a sealing material to a box blank for assembly.

SUMMARY

This summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This summary is not intended to identify key features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.

A sealer applicator for a fiberboard container assembler is provided. The sealer applicator includes a housing defining a first guide surface and a plurality of applicator assemblies disposed within the housing. The sealer applicator also includes at least one trigger in communication with the plurality of applicator assemblies, the at least one trigger adapted to reciprocate the plurality of applicator assemblies between an “ON” state, wherein each of the applicator assemblies apply a closure material to a container, and an “OFF” state when the least one trigger is actuated.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will become better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a sealer applicator constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a side planar view of the sealer applicator of FIG. 1, showing a container of a first size being processed through the sealer applicator;

FIG. 3 is a side planar view of the sealer applicator of FIG. 2, showing a container of a second size being processed through the sealer applicator; and

FIG. 4 is a side planar view of the sealer applicator of FIG. 2, showing a container of a third size being processed through the sealer applicator.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A sealer applicator 20 constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure may be best understood by referring to FIGS. 1 and 2. The sealer applicator 20 is suitably configured for use in an assembly line of a well-known case sealer (not shown) having a conveyor 22. The conveyor 22 transports a corrugated box 24 having an opened lid that must be sealed. The box 24 includes a pair of major flaps 26a and 26b and a pair of minor flaps 28a and 28b to form an end panel for packaging of various types of goods.

The sealer applicator 20 includes a housing 30 suitably manufactured from a high strength material, such as stainless steel. The housing 30 includes a plurality of guide surfaces 32-36. The guide surfaces 32-36 are configured to lift either the major flap 26 or minor flap 28 away from the box 24 and maintain it in a substantially horizontal position to permit application of a closure material to the box 24, as described in greater detail below.

A leading edge 38-42 of each guide surface 32-36 is tapered to accommodate boxes having bent or folded flaps 26 or 28. In the event that either flap 26 or 28 is bent during the assembly process, the optional tapered leading edge 38-42 provides a transition for the flap as it enters one of the guide surfaces 32-36. This helps minimize the risk of a bent flap ensnaring an otherwise blunt end of the guide surface.

The seal applicator 20 also includes a plurality of applicator assemblies disposed within the housing 30. Although the plurality of applicator assemblies are illustrated and described as being disposed within the housing 30, the scope of the disclosure is not intended to be so limited. As a non-limiting example, the plurality of applicator assemblies may be remotely located from the housing, such as on an adjacent structure. Therefore, such embodiments are within the scope of the present disclosure.

In the illustrated embodiment, the sealer applicator 20 includes a total of five applicator assemblies 50-58 disposed within the housing 30. The placement and number of the applicator assemblies 50-58 within the housing 30 is not intended to be limiting and, therefore, may change to accommodate a large number of spray patterns. The non-limiting illustrated embodiment includes a first set of three applicator assemblies 50-54 grouped together, and two separate applicator assemblies 56 and 58 disposed above the first set of applicator assemblies 50-54.

A wide variety or types of applicator assemblies are within the scope of the present disclosure. One such applicator assembly is a well-known hot melt glue module adapted to apply a well-known closure material, such as adhesive. Other types of closure materials, such as tape, staples, and straps, are within the scope of the present disclosure.

The sealer applicator 20 also includes at least one trigger 60 in communication with the plurality of applicator assemblies in a manner well-known in the art. Although the illustrated embodiment includes a total of three triggers 60, it should be apparent that the disclosure is not intended to be so limited. As a non-limiting example, a single trigger 60 may be in communication with all of the applicator assemblies, while other embodiments contemplated by the present inventors also include having a single trigger for each applicator assembly 50-58. Thus, such embodiments are also within the scope of the present disclosure.

Still referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the sealer applicator 20 includes a total of three triggers 60-64. Specifically, the sealer application include a first trigger 60 is in communication with applicator assemblies 50-54, a second trigger 62 in communication with the forth applicator assembly 56, and a third trigger 64 in communication with the fifth applicator assembly 58. The triggers 60-64 are adapted to reciprocate the applicator assemblies between an ON state, wherein each of the applicator assemblies 50-58 applies a closure material to the box 24, and an OFF state.

One type of trigger 60 includes a photoelectric glassfiber sensor, such as Model BT24S manufactured and sold by Banner Engineering Corp., and a programmable photoeye, such as Model Q45BB6F manufactured and by Banner Engineering Corp. The photoelectric sensor is in communication with the photoeye, such that when a box 24 is detected by the photoelectric sensor, it sends a signal to the photoeye. Upon receipt of the signal, the photoeye starts a timing cycle. The timing cycle initiates a delay phase from zero and starts counting upon receipt of the signal. The delay phase is a function of the travel speed of the box 24 on the conveyor 22 to allow the conveyor 22 to properly position the box 24 adjacent the applicator assemblies 50-58.

At the expiration of the delay phase, the photoeye begins an application phase. During the application phase, at least one of the applicator assemblies 50-58 is actuated into the ON state to apply a bead of closure material to the box 24. This phase is adjustable and is programmable to apply the closure material to the box 24 as a function of the length of the box 24. At expiration of the application phase, the applicator assembly is returned to its OFF state and the photoeye is reset to begin a new cycle upon receipt of a new signal from the sensor.

Although the trigger 60 is described as including a time delay, it should be apparent that the appended claims are not intended to be so limited. As a non-limiting example, the trigger 60 may be a momentary switch. With such a trigger 60, when the presence of a box 24 is detected, the trigger 60 actuates the applicator assembly 50 into the ON state, wherein a bead of closure material is applied to one of the flaps 26 or 28 of the box 24. As soon as the trigger 60 fails to sense the presence of the box 24, the applicator assembly is returned to its normal OFF condition or state. Further, other types of triggers 60, such as mechanically actuated switches, are also within the scope of the present disclosure.

Additional operational aspects of the sealer applicator 20 may be best understood by referring to FIGS. 2-4. Referring to FIG. 2, a box 24 of a first size is transported on the conveyor 22 of the case sealer assembly, such that one of the major flaps 26 slides across the first guide surface 32. As it slides across the first guide surface 32, it is held in a substantially horizontal position. As the box 24 passes in front of the trigger 60, the trigger 60 senses the presence of the box 24, thereby actuating the first set of applicator assemblies 50-54 into an ON state, as described above. Specifically, after expiration of the delay phase, a bead of adhesive glue, for example, is applied to the box 24 during the application phase. After expiration of the application phase, the applicator assemblies 50-54 are returned to their OFF state. Thereafter, the box 24 continues to a closure apparatus (not shown) where the major flap 26a is compressed against the corresponding major flap 26b to bond the major flaps 26a and 26b together.

Referring to FIG. 3, a box 124 of a larger size, but substantially same configuration than the box illustrated in FIG. 2, is processed through the case sealer assembly. The box 124 is transported along the conveyor 22, such that its major flap 126a is guided onto the second guide surface 34, where it continues until it is sensed by the first and second triggers 60 and 62. Like the previous embodiment described above, the box 124 is sensed by the first and second triggers 60 and 62 to initiate the timing cycle, where the corresponding applicator assemblies 50-54 and 56 apply a stream of closure material to the box 24.

As seen best by referring to FIG. 4, a box 224 of still yet a different size, larger than the box 124, is processed through the sealer applicator 20 of the present disclosure. In this embodiment, the box 224 has a closure material applied to it in the identical manner as the previously described embodiments, with the exception that the major flap 26a is conveyed along the third guide surface 36. As the box 224 is conveyed along the third guide surface 36, it passes not only the first and second triggers 60 and 62, but also the third trigger 64. Because the box 224 is detected by all three triggers 60-64, the timing cycle described above is triggered and all applicator assemblies 50-58 are actuated into the ON state.

Applying a closure material across a greater surface area of a box provides a greater bonding area between flaps of a box. This results in greater box strength in the bonding area which, in turn, allows a box manufacturer to use a lower grade paper and, therefore, lower the cost of such a box. Thus, the sealer applicator of the present disclosure provides an improvement over applicators currently available in the market.

While illustrative embodiments have been illustrated and described, it will be appreciated that various changes can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.