Title:
DEVICE FOR FOLDING IN AT LEAST ONE FLAP OF A PACKAGE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for folding in at least one flap of a box includes a folding mechanism for folding the at least one flap and a pressing mechanism for pressing the flap into the inside of the box, where the pressing mechanism projects into the inside of the box. The flap is closed with only the two tool. Particularly by the use of the pressing means, the flap can be pressed against until such time as glue, applied in the preceding step, has bonded. To adapt to different widths of the package, only one tool has to be exchanged. The folding means need not be changed, since it is adapted for the widest possible package.



Inventors:
Rapp, Reinhard (Stuttgart, DE)
Stoeckel, Klaus (Korb, DE)
Rapp, Wolfgang (Winterbach, DE)
Application Number:
12/299384
Publication Date:
07/23/2009
Filing Date:
04/12/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B7/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
PARADISO, JOHN ROGER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RONALD E. GREIGG (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
1. 1-11. (canceled)

12. An apparatus for folding in at least one flap of a package, comprising: folding means for folding down the at least one flap; and pressing means for pressing on the flap, wherein the pressing means protrude into an interior of the package in order to press down the flap.

13. The apparatus as defined by claim 12, further comprising drive means that move the folding means and the pressing means such that the flap, on being folded, reaches a range of motion of the pressing means which moves and presses the flap into the interior of the package.

14. The apparatus as defined by claim 12, wherein the folding means folds the flap by approximately 90°.

15. The apparatus as defined by claim 13, wherein the folding means folds the flap by approximately 90°.

16. The apparatus as defined by claim 12, wherein folding means and/or pressing means have a comb-like structure.

17. The apparatus as defined by claim 13, wherein folding means and/or pressing means have a comb-like structure.

18. The apparatus as defined by claim 14, wherein folding means and/or pressing means have a comb-like structure.

19. The apparatus as defined by claim 16, wherein the comb-like structures of the folding means and the pressing means are capable of meshing with one another.

20. The apparatus as defined by claim 17, wherein the comb-like structures of the folding means and the pressing means are capable of meshing with one another.

21. The apparatus as defined by claim 18, wherein the comb-like structures of the folding means and the pressing means are capable of meshing with one another.

22. The apparatus as defined by claim 19, wherein the folding means and/or pressing means are put in a pivoting motion via at least one lever.

23. The apparatus as defined by claim 22, wherein the folding means and/or pressing means are disposed displaceably relative to the at least one lever.

24. The apparatus as defined by claim 22, wherein the pivoting motion of the at least one lever can be generated by cam means.

25. The apparatus as defined by claim 12, further comprising at least one gluing head which applies glue to the flap.

26. The apparatus as defined by claim 13, further comprising at least one gluing head which applies glue to the flap.

27. The apparatus as defined by claim 22, further comprising at least one gluing head which applies glue to the flap.

28. The apparatus as defined by claim 6, further comprising a slide having an up-and-down motion which is coupled mechanically to the at least one lever via a toggle link.

29. The apparatus as defined by claim 28, wherein the connection between the slide and the toggle link is made via a T-slot.

Description:

PRIOR ART

The invention is based on an apparatus for folding in at least one flap of a package, as generically defined by the preamble to the independent claim. From European Patent Disclosure EP 1389 166 B1, an apparatus for inserting a product to be packaged into packaging means, in particular blister strips in folding boxes, is already known. After the blister strips have been inserted into the folding boxes, the boxes are closed in the conventional way. However, this apparatus must be modified, if blister strips are to be stored, instead of in a folding box, in a so-called wallet package, which is a folding box that can be opened up and closed again in the form of a billfold. It is therefore the object of the invention to disclose such an apparatus and in particular to take care that it is easy to adapt to different sizes of packages. This object is attained by the characteristics of the independent claim.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

Advantages of the Invention

The apparatus according to the invention for folding in at least one flap of a package, in accordance with the characteristics of the independent claim, has the advantage over the prior art that secure the fixation of the blister strip can be made possible with the aid of a so-called fixation flap. The flap is closed with only two tools, namely with folding means and pressing means. Particularly by the use of the pressing means, the flap can be pressed against until such time as glue, applied in the preceding step, has bonded. To adapt to different widths of the package, only one tool has to be exchanged. The folding means need not be changed, since it is adapted for the widest possible package.

In an expedient refinement, drive means are provided, that move the folding means and the pressing means such that the flap, on being folded, reaches the range of motion of the pressing means, which moves and presses the flap into the interior of the package. The power takeoff motion of the two tools always remains the same, even with different geometries of the package and flap.

In an expedient refinement, it is provided that the folding means folds the flap by approximately or somewhat less than 90°. Thus the folding means can be operated with a rising or falling direction of motion, and the pressing means correspondingly with a contrary direction of motion, that is, falling or rising. As a result, the flap is securely folded over into the interior of the package.

In an expedient refinement, it is provided that folding means and/or pressing means have a comb structure, and the comb structures of the folding means and the pressing means are capable of meshing with one another. This structure is especially well suited to folding over particularly short flaps, where folding means and pressing means have to act on the flap in tight spaces.

In an expedient refinement, it is provided that the folding means and/or pressing means can be put in a pivoting motion via at least one lever. In an expedient refinement, it is provided that the pivoting motion of the lever can be generated by means of cams. This type of driving is distinguished by an especially simple kind of construction.

In an expedient refinement, it is provided that the folding means and/or pressing means are disposed displaceably relative to the lever. As a result, especially simple adaptations can be made to various packaging geometries.

In an expedient refinement, it is provided that the pivoting motion of the lever can be generated by means of cams. Thus the secure closing or fixation of the flap can be done in a structural unit.

Further expedient refinements will become apparent from further dependent claims and from the description.

DRAWINGS

One exemplary embodiment of the apparatus for folding in at least one flap of a package is shown in the drawings and will be described in further detail below.

Shown are:

FIG. 1, a side view of the package with the end flaps still open;

FIG. 2, a side view of the package with the end flaps folded in;

FIG. 3, a perspective view of the package;

FIG. 4, the package with the side flap open as the glue is being applied;

FIG. 5, a schematic illustration of the apparatus as the flap is being folded;

FIG. 6, a schematic illustration of the apparatus as the flap is being pressed;

FIG. 7, a perspective view of the apparatus;

FIG. 8, the top view of the apparatus in a first working position;

FIG. 9, the cross section taken along the line A-A in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10, a top view of the apparatus in the position of repose;

FIG. 11, a cross section taken along the line B-B in FIG. 10;

FIG. 12, a top view of the apparatus in a second working position;

FIG. 13, a cross section taken along the line C-C in FIG. 12; and

FIG. 14, a cross section taken along the line D-D in FIG. 12.

The package shown in FIG. 1 is a so-called wallet 1. This wallet 1 can be folded open and closed again like a billfold. It protects a blister strip 3 fixed therein. A card 4 with recesses in the regions of the indentations in the blister strip 3 is also provided. This card 4 covers the blister strip 3, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. For fixing the blister strip 3 to the wallet 1, lateral flaps 2 or end flaps are provided, as part of the package that forms the wallet 1. With the apparatus for folding inward, which is described later, these flaps are fixed to the card 4 by means of glue 5, so that the blister strip 3 located between the card 4 and the bottom of the wallet 1 is also solidly joined to the wallet 1. On the bottom of the wallet 1, openings or cutouts adapted to the blister strip indentations can be provided. Via these openings, objects located in the indentations can be removed. The wallet 1 is essentially in the form of a conventional folding box. However, the wallet 1 can be opened in a reclosable manner via an adhesive closure in the longitudinal direction. Moreover, unlike a conventional folding box, the sides are not closed, since the flaps 2 are folded inward in order to connect the blister strip 3 directly or indirectly to the wallet 1.

The wallet 1 has a width A as indicated in FIG. 3. For securing the blister strip 3 to the wallet 1, a gluing head 6 is provided, which applies a glue 5 to the top of the flap 2; see FIG. 4.

This flap 2 is now to be folded into the interior of the wallet 1. For this purpose, there is a folding means 7 located below the flap 2, as shown in FIG. 5. The folding means 7 is pivoted upward about a pivot point 9 via a lever 11. In the process, the flap 2 is brought toward the interior of the wallet 1 into the working range of a pressing means 8. If the side flap 2 is in the working range of the pressing means 8, then the latter is pivoted about the pivot point 10 toward the flap 2 via the lever 12. In FIG. 6, the working range of the pressing means 8 is selected such that it feeds the flap 2 into the interior of the wallet 1. As a result, the flap 2, with the adhesive 5 now pointing downward, is pressed against the card 4 or blister strip 3, as shown in FIG. 2. The apparatus is distinguished by at least three variables in terms of adjustment possibilities. The length of the pressing means 8 is x1. The length of the lever 11 of the folding means 7 is marked x2. The spacing between the upper surface of the wallet 1 and the tip of the folding means 7 when the latter reaches its maximum upper vertical position is marked x4. The length of the (end) flap 2 is marked x3, and the variables x1, x2, and x4 should be adapted to it.

In FIG. 7, a conveyor system 13 delivers a wallet 1 in the travel direction 14; the end flaps 2 of the wallet are to be glued to the card 4 resting on a blister strip 3. First, the wallet 1 moves past a gluing head 6, which applies glue 5 to the top of the flap 2. Next, the wallet reaches the working range of the folding means 7 and pressing means 8, as will be described in further detail hereinafter.

In FIG. 7, a working position is shown in which the pressing means 8 presses the flap 2, which is to be glued, into the interior of the wallet 1. The head of the pressing means 8 has a comblike structure 34, which tapers to a point in the direction of the interior of the wallet 1. The head of the pressing means 8 can be displaced via an adjusting means 30 along a guide 32, so that the extent to which the pressing means 8 protrudes into the interior of the wallet 1 can be adjusted via x1. The head of the pressing means 8 is tipped down via a lever 12, so that the head can be introduced into and retracted from the wallet 1 perpendicular to the travel direction 14. A drive means 22, via a coupling rod 26, converts the motion, transmitted via a belt 24, into a corresponding tilting motion of the lever 12. The belt 24 connects the drive means 22 of the pressing means 8 to the drive means 21 for the folding means 7. As will be illustrated in further detail hereinafter, the motion of the drive means 21 is converted into a tilting motion of the lever 11, which is supported at a pivot point 10. The lever 11 is connected to the head of the folding means 7, which likewise has a comb structure 33, and the two comb structures 33, 34 mesh with one another.

In FIG. 8, the essential components of FIG. 7 are shown again in top view, specifically in the same working position as FIG. 7. Since the components correspond to those of FIG. 7 and are provided with the same reference numerals, a repeated description of them will be dispensed with. In the sectional view along the line A-A in FIG. 9, the drive mechanism can be seen. The drive means 22 for the pressing means 8 executes a motion essentially perpendicular to the travel direction 14. This motion is enabled, via the coupling rod 26, onto the lever 12 in the sense of a pivoting motion in a plane whose normal vector is essentially parallel to the travel direction 14. For that purpose, the lever 12 is supported tiltably about the pivot point 9. The motion of the lever 12 is limited by the coupling rod 26, whose other end is rotatably connected to the lever 12 at a pivot point 27. The desired pivoting motion is generated as a result.

The corresponding position of repose is shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. There, the position of the drive means 22 is so far away from the wallet 1 that the lever 12 has folded the tip of the pressing means 8 so far toward the rear that it is no longer located in the interior of the wallet 1.

FIG. 9 moreover clearly shows that the underside of the pressing means 8 presses the flap 2 essentially parallel to the inside of the wallet 1. The folding means 7 is still in a position in which the flap 2 has been erected by essentially nearly 90°, before the pressing means 8 moved the thus-erected flap 2 by a further 90° into the interior of the wallet 1. The folding means 7 as well is set into a tilting motion via the lever 11, and the lever 11 is pivotably supported via the pivot point 10. The folding means 7 can preferably be displaced along the longitudinal axis of the lever 11, so that the length x2 can be adjusted as a result, and thus the angle by which the folding means 7 folds the flap 2 can be adjusted to virtually 90°.

In FIG. 10, the essential components are shown in the position of repose. The pressing means 8, in particular, is no longer located inside the wallet 1. This view especially clearly shows the intermeshing comb structures 33, 34 of the folding means 7 and pressing means 8. Particularly the vertical positions of the folding means 7 and pressing means 8 can be seen in the sectional view along the line B-B in FIG. 11. Thus the tip of the folding means 7 is now located underneath the flap 2. The drive means 22 for the pressing means 8 is in its position farthest away from the wallet 1, because the lever 12 has tilted to the rear about the pivot point 10. In the ensuing work step, the folding means 7 is moved upward about the pivot point 9, so that the flap 2 is erected into a position as in FIG. 5. In addition, the drive means 22 is moving in the direction toward the wallet 1, so that the lever 12 and hence the tip of the pressing means 8 are tilted toward the wallet 1. The motions of the folding means 7 and pressing means 8 are adapted to one another such that the pressing means 8 moves the flap 2, erected by the folding means 7, into the interior of the wallet 1, into the position shown in FIG. 9.

In FIG. 12, a working position is now shown which corresponds to that of FIGS. 8 and 9, but which is adapted to a smaller flap 2. The pressing means 8, with the aid of the adjusting means 30 and the guide 32, is disposed farther away from the wallet 1 than it would be for larger flap geometries. As a result, the tip of the pressing means 8 no longer protrudes so far into the interior of the wallet 1 in order to press the flap 2. The length x2 between the pivot point 9 and the folding means 7 has also been lengthened accordingly, so that the top of the tip of the folding means 7 has a reduced length x4 compared to the upper surface.

In FIG. 13, the section through the apparatus along the line C-C is shown, in the pressing position for small flap geometries x3. In comparison to the adjustment in FIG. 9, the size x2 has been varied accordingly by displacing pressing means 8 along the lever 12. The dimension x4 is adjusted in that a T-slot 15 is displaced on a slide 16, as can be seen in FIG. 14.

The sectional view along the section line D-D of FIG. 14 shows the drive mechanism for the folding means 7. A cam 18, for instance, is set into rotation via the belt 24. The cam 18 has a thread 20 with a certain inclination. On the right-hand side, the thread 20 is surrounded by two cam rollers 17. Via these cam rollers 17, a linearly guided slide 16 is moved up and down. A T-slot 15 is secured adjustably to the slide 16. A toggle link 19 transmits the motion of the T-slot 15 to the lever 11. This lever 11 carries the folding means 7. As a result, the lever 11 is set into a pivoting motion about the pivot point 9.

In summary, the apparatus for folding in at least one flap 2 of a package 1 functions as follows: The wallet 1 moves into the apparatus. In the process, the gluing head 6 applies the worm of glue 5 to the flap 2. The transporting motion then stops. The folding means 7 folds the flap 2 upward by somewhat less than 90°. Next, the pressing means 8 folds the flap 2 by more than 90° into the interior of the wallet. The pressing means 8 keeps the flap 2 in that position. In the process, the glue 5 sets. The pressing means 8 moves out of the wallet 1 and pivots into the position of repose, as does the folding means 7. The wallet 1 leaves the station. Simultaneously, the next wallet 1 enters the station. From here, the sequence already described is repeated. The flap 2 is closed by merely two tools, namely the folding means 7 and the pressing means 8. The motion of the folding means 7 and pressing means 8 is contrary; that is, while the folding means 7 moves the flap 2 upward from below, the pressing means 8 in turn positions the raised flap 2 into the interior of the wallet 1 by a motion from the top downward. The construction selected is distinguished by great flexibility. In wallets of different widths A, only a single tool that has to be adapted to this width A has to be exchanged. This is the pressing means 8, which moves the flap 2 into the interior of the wallet 1. The folding means 7 should be selected such that it securely covers the maximum width A of the wallet 1 to be processed.

As already described, the adjusting means 30, 32 serve to adapt the pressing means 8 to different flap heights x3. This is attained in particular by connecting the folding means 7 and/or pressing means 8 displaceably to the respective levers 11, 12. Moreover, via the T-slot 15, the final position in the working position x4 of the folding means 7 can be adjusted. By adjustment of the T-slot 15 on the slide 16, the size x4 is adjusted such that x4 fits the flap length x3. As a result, although the final position in the position of repose is displaced as well, nevertheless this does not matter for the function. Next, the folding means 7 is displaced on the lever 11 until the folding angle of the flap 2 is adjusted to virtually 90°. The construction is also distinguished by the fact that very flat wallets 1 with a short top flap length x3 can be processed. This is achieved by providing that comb structures 33, 34 of the folding means 7 and pressing means 8, respectively, mesh with one another.

As a rule, two end flaps 2 have to be closed. However, for the sake of simplicity, only one end has been shown.

Numerous modifications for realizing the apparatus will be familiar to one skilled in the art. For instance, instead of being driven with cams, the folding means 7 and/or pressing means 8 can be driven via servo motors. Instead of the pivoting motions, linearly moved folding means 7 and/or pressing means 8 are also conceivable. Nor do these have to be toothed, if the motion and adjustment of the folding means 7 and pressing means 8 are altered in such a way that the tools 7, 8 move without overlapping. Although simpler tools could be made, nevertheless the effort and expense for calibration would be greater. In particular, the risk of collision of the tools from incorrect settings is greater.

A knife with an additional motion could also be provided that holds down the fluted edge between the flap 3 and the bottom face, joined to it, of the wallet 1. This could improve the process of the folding of the flap 2 by the folding means 7. The knife must be in the lower position during the folding by the folding means 7. Next, it would have to be put into the upper position, when the pressing means 8 advances the flap into the interior of the wallet 1. However, this knife does run the risk of coming into contact with the worm of glue 5.

The apparatus described is especially well suited for fixation of blister strips 3 in wallets 1 but is not limited to that. It serves in general to fold in at least one flap 2 into the interior of a package.