Title:
METHOD OF OPERATING A SHRINK WRAPPING MACHINE IN A CONTAINER FILLING PLANT FOR DISPOSING PORTIONS OF PATTERNS AT A SUBSTANTIALLY PREDETERMINED LOCATION AND ORIENTATION ON EACH SHRINK WRAPPED FLAT OF CONTAINERS, BEFORE AND AFTER A ROLLER EXCHANGE, AND APPARATUS THEREFOR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a container filling plant for disposing portions of patterns at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each shrink wrapped flat of containers, before and after a roller exchange, and apparatus therefor. The abstract of the disclosure is submitted herewith as required by 37 C.F.R. §1.72(b). As stated in 37 C.F.R. §1.72(b): A brief abstract of the technical disclosure in the specification must commence on a separate sheet, preferably following the claims, under the heading “Abstract of the Disclosure.” The purpose of the abstract is to enable the Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and gist of the technical disclosure. The abstract shall not be used for interpreting the scope of the claims. Therefore, any statements made relating to the abstract are not intended to limit the claims in any manner and should not be interpreted as limiting the claims in any manner.



Inventors:
Schagidow, Tuchwat (Geldern, DE)
Van Triel, Manfred (Kalkar, DE)
Application Number:
12/365988
Publication Date:
02/04/2010
Filing Date:
02/05/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/48.1, 53/203, 53/461, 53/557
International Classes:
B65B21/24; B65B11/00; B65B41/12; B65B51/10
View Patent Images:
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20090094947Packaging Apparatus for Handling Pills and Associated MethodApril, 2009Aylward
20090301041DEVICE FOR PACKAGING ITEMSDecember, 2009Van Rens
20080041016Loading arrangementFebruary, 2008Viaud et al.
20070051074Method for packing containers automaticallyMarch, 2007Voigtmann
20020020153Supporting structure of a bag packaging machineFebruary, 2002Klinkel
20070214745Modular StamperSeptember, 2007Quinn et al.
20050063618Gas-filled bodyMarch, 2005Lorsch
20080209862Method for fastening a paper product roll entity to a pallet and a paper product roll entity wrapped by plastic foilSeptember, 2008Jappi et al.



Primary Examiner:
GERRITY, STEPHEN FRANCIS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NILS H. LJUNGMAN & ASSOCIATES (GREENSBURG, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a blow molded bottle filling plant, the method disposing all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern, on shrink wrap material, at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each shrink wrapped flat of blow molded bottles, thus providing a substantially consistent aesthetic appearance of each wrapped flat of blow molded bottles, before and after a supply roller exchange; said blow molded bottle filling plant comprising: a blow molded bottle filling machine configured to fill blow molded bottles with a liquid beverage; a first blow molded bottle conveying arrangement configured to convey and dispose empty blow molded bottles to said filling machine for filling; a blow molded bottle closing machine configured to close filled blow molded bottles; a second blow molded bottle conveying arrangement configured to convey and dispose filled blow molded bottles from said filling machine to said closing machine for closing; and a third blow molded bottle conveying arrangement configured to convey and dispose closed blow molded bottles from said closing machine to said shrink wrapping machine for wrapping; said shrink wrapping machine comprising: a separating and grouping arrangement being configured and disposed to separate and group blow molded bottles into groups and place the groups onto flats; a wrapping device being configured and disposed to wrap flats of blow molded bottles with shrink wrap to secure the groups of blow molded bottles to their corresponding flats; said wrapping device comprising: an in use supply roller configured to feed a continuous strip of patterned strip-format flat shrink wrap material for wrapping a group of blow molded bottles and its corresponding flat; a ready for exchange supply roller configured to supply a continuous strip of patterned strip-format flat shrink wrap material for wrapping a group of blow molded bottles and its corresponding flat; a clamp roller between said in use supply roller and said ready for exchange supply roller; said clamp roller comprising a first and a second semi-cylindrical portion, said first cylindrical portion having a flat side disposed towards a flat side of said second cylindrical portion forming a substantially cylindrical clamp roller; the flat sides of said first and second semi-cylindrical portions being configured to move apart and providing a vertically oriented slot for receiving a leading portion of shrink wrap material extending from said ready for exchange supply roller; the flat sides of said first and second semi-cylindrical portions being configured to move together holding a leading portion of shrink wrap material extending from said ready for exchange supply roller; a crank configured to rotate said clamp roller; an alignment rail configured to move shrink wrap material being fed from said in use supply roller to a changing position adjacent said clamp roller and a feeding position away from said clamp roller; a plurality of rollers and clamps configured to receive shrink wrap material being fed from said in use supply roller during wrapping of flats of blow molded bottles, and configured to hold the shrink wrap material being fed in place just prior to a supply roller exchange, and being configured to release tension of the shrink wrap material being fed during a supply roller exchange; a first welding and cutting arrangement configured to weld shrink wrap material being fed from said in use supply roller to shrink wrap material extending from said ready for exchange supply roller, said first welding and cutting arrangement being configured to cooperate with a rounded portion of said first semi-cylindrical portion of said clamp roller; a second welding and cutting arrangement configured to weld shrink wrap material being fed from said in use supply roller to shrink wrap material extending from said ready for exchange supply roller, said second welding and cutting arrangement being configured to cooperate with a rounded portion of said second semi-cylindrical portion of said clamp roller; a first sensor configured to sense marks on shrink wrap material being fed from said in use supply roller to said plurality of rollers and clamps; and a second sensor configured to sense marks on shrink wrap material extending from said ready for exchange supply roller to said clamp roller; said method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a blow molded bottle filling plant comprising: feeding a continuous strip of patterned strip-format flat shrink wrap material for wrapping a group of blow molded bottles on a corresponding flat with said in use supply roller; wrapping groups of blow molded bottles on corresponding flats with said in use supply roller disposing all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern on the shrink wrap material at a predetermined location and orientation on each wrapped flat of blow molded bottles; sensing marks on shrink wrap material being fed from said in use supply roller with said first sensor; placing said ready for exchange supply roller into said shrink wrapping machine; moving apart the facing flat sides of said first and said second semi-cylindrical portions of said clamp roller providing a vertically oriented slot in said clamp roller; inserting a leading portion of shrink wrap material extending from said ready for exchange supply roller into an upper portion of the vertically oriented slot between the facing flat sides of said first and said second semi-cylindrical portions of said clamp roller; moving together the facing flat sides of said first and said second semi-cylindrical portions of said clamp roller to hold said leading portion of shrink wrap material; rotating said clamp roller with said crank to move shrink wrap material held in said clamp roller and disposing shrink wrap material on the cylindrical surface of said clamp roller adjacent shrink wrap material being fed by said in use supply roller to said plurality of rollers and clamps; said rotating of said clamp roller comprising rotating said clamp roller and shrink wrap material disposed on said clamp roller in a direction opposite the direction of shrink wrap material being fed by said in use supply roller upon the shrink wrap material disposed on said clamp roller becoming adjacent shrink wrap material being fed by said in use supply roller; stopping feeding of continuous strip of shrink wrap material from said in use supply roller with said plurality of rollers and clamps upon said first sensor sensing a predetermined number of marks on the shrink wrap material being fed from said in use supply roller; holding the shrink wrap material being fed from said in use supply roller in place, and releasing tension of the shrink wrap material being fed about said clamp roller with said plurality of rollers and clamps; moving said alignment rail toward said clamp roller, and moving shrink wrap material being fed from said in use supply roller, and contacting shrink wrap material extending from said ready for exchange supply roller with shrink wrap disposed on said clamp roller; aligning marks on the shrink wrap material being fed from said in use supply roller with marks on shrink wrap material extending from said ready for exchange supply roller disposed on said clamp roller; welding shrink wrap material being fed from said in use supply roller to shrink wrap material extending from said ready for exchange supply roller to provide a continuous uninterrupted pattern on the shrink wrap material at the weld; cutting away overlapping not welded shrink wrap material from at least one of said ready for exchange supply roller and said in use supply roller and providing a continuous sheet of shrink wrap material extending from said ready for exchange supply roller to said plurality of rollers and clamps; applying tension to the welded shrink wrap material now being fed from said ready for exchange supply roller with said plurality of rollers and clamps; feeding shrink wrap material from said ready for exchange supply roller; wrapping groups of blow molded bottles on corresponding flats with said ready for exchange supply roller and disposing all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern, on the shrink wrap material, at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each shrink wrapped flat of blow molded bottles, thus providing a substantially consistent aesthetic appearance of each wrapped flat of blow molded bottles, before and after a supply roller exchange; and shrinking the shrink wrap wrapped around each of the wrapped groups of blow molded bottles on their corresponding flat.

2. The method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a blow molded bottle filling plant of claim 1, wherein said step of rotating said clamp roller disposes an overlapping portion of shrink wrap material, extending from said ready for exchange supply roller, said overlapping portion of said shrink wrap material extending from said extending from said ready for exchange supply roller, on said clamp roller, overlaps with shrink wrap material extending from said in use supply roller.

3. The method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a blow molded bottle filling plant of claim 2, wherein said step of cutting away overlapping not welded shrink wrap material, comprises cutting away a not welded overlapping portion of said overlapping portion of said shrink wrap material extending from said ready for exchange supply roller.

4. A method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a container filling plant, the method disposing all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern, on shrink wrap material, at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each shrink wrapped flat of containers, thus providing a substantially consistent aesthetic appearance of each wrapped flat of containers, before and after a supply roller exchange, said method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a container filling plant comprising: feeding a continuous strip of patterned shrink wrap material for wrapping a group of containers on a corresponding flat with a first supply roller to a plurality of rollers and clamps; wrapping groups of containers on corresponding flats with said first supply roller disposing all portions of the continuous uninterrupted pattern on the shrink wrap material at a predetermined location and orientation on each wrapped flat of containers; sensing at least one indicum on shrink wrap material being fed from said first supply roller with a first sensor; placing a second supply roller into said shrink wrapping machine; moving apart facing flat sides of a first and a second semi-cylindrical portion of a clamp roller providing a vertically oriented slot in said clamp roller, said clamp roller being disposed between said first and said second supply rollers; inserting a leading portion of shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller into an upper portion of the vertically oriented slot, between the facing flat sides of said first and said second semi-cylindrical portions of said clamp roller; moving together the facing flat sides of said first and said second semi-cylindrical portions of said clamp roller to hold said leading portion of shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller; rotating said clamp roller to move shrink wrap material held in said clamp roller and disposing shrink wrap material on a cylindrical surface of said clamp roller adjacent shrink wrap material being fed by said first supply roller to said plurality of rollers and clamps; said rotating of said clamp roller comprising rotating said clamp roller and shrink wrap material disposed on said clamp roller to move in a direction opposite the direction of shrink wrap material being fed by said first supply roller upon the shrink wrap material disposed on said clamp roller becoming adjacent shrink wrap material being fed by said first supply roller; stopping feeding of continuous strip of shrink wrap material from said first supply roller with said plurality of rollers and clamps upon the first sensor sensing a predetermined number of indicia on the shrink wrap material being fed from said first supply roller; holding the shrink wrap material extending from said first supply roller in place with said plurality of rollers and clamps; releasing tension of the shrink wrap material being fed with said first supply roller with said plurality of rollers and clamps; moving said shrink wrap material extending from said first supply roller toward said clamp roller; contacting shrink wrap material extending from said first supply roller with shrink wrap material disposed on said clamp roller; aligning at least one indicum on the shrink wrap material extending from said first supply roller with at least one indicum on shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller disposed on said clamp roller; welding shrink wrap material extending to said plurality of rollers and clamps to shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller, while said at least one indicum on the shrink wrap material extending from said first supply roller is aligned with at least one indicum on shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller, providing a continuous uninterrupted pattern on the shrink wrap material at the weld; cutting away any overlapping not welded shrink wrap material, if necessary, from said second supply roller and said plurality of rollers and clamps and providing a continuous sheet of shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller to said plurality of rollers and clamps; applying tension to the welded shrink wrap material now being fed from said second supply roller with said plurality of rollers and clamps; feeding shrink wrap material from said second supply roller; and wrapping groups of containers with said second supply roller and disposing all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern, on the shrink wrap material, at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each shrink wrapped group of containers, thus providing a substantially consistent aesthetic appearance of each wrapped group of containers, before and after a supply roller exchange.

5. A shrink wrapping machine in a container filling plant configured to operate according to the method of claim 4, said shrink wrapping machine comprising: a first feeding arrangement configured to feed a continuous strip of patterned shrink wrap material for wrapping a group of containers on a corresponding flat with a first supply roller to a plurality of rollers and clamps; a shrink wrapping arrangement configured to wrap groups of containers on corresponding flats with said first supply roller disposing all portions of the continuous uninterrupted pattern on the shrink wrap material at a predetermined location and orientation on each wrapped flat of containers; a first sensor configured to at least one indicum on shrink wrap material being fed from said first supply roller with a first sensor; a supply roller disposing arrangement configured to dispose the second supply roller placed into said shrink wrapping machine; a clamp roller comprising a first and a second semi-cylindrical portion, said first and said second semi-cylindrical portions being configured moving apart at facing flat sides providing a vertically oriented slot in said clamp roller to receive a leading portion of shrink wrap material extending from said second supply; said first and said second semi-cylindrical portions of said clamp also being configured to move together to hold said leading portion of shrink wrap material, extending from said second supply roller, between the facing flat sides of said first and said second semi-cylindrical portions of said clamp roller; said clamp roller also being configured to move shrink wrap material held in said clamp roller and disposing shrink wrap material on a cylindrical surface of said clamp roller adjacent shrink wrap material being fed by said first supply roller to said plurality of rollers and clamps; said plurality of rollers and clamps being configured to stop the feeding of continuous strip of shrink wrap material from said first supply roller upon the first sensor sensing at least one indicum on the shrink wrap material being fed from said first supply roller; said plurality of rollers and clamps also being configured to hold the shrink wrap material extending from said first supply roller in place with said plurality of rollers and clamps; said plurality of rollers and clamps also being configured to release tension of the shrink wrap material being fed with said first supply roller with said plurality of rollers and clamps; a shrink wrap moving arrangement configured to move shrink wrap material extending from said first supply roller toward said clamp roller, and to contact shrink wrap material extending from said first supply roller with shrink wrap material disposed on said clamp roller; said clamp roller also being configured to rotate to align at least one indicum on the shrink wrap material extending from said first supply roller with at least one indicum on shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller disposed on said clamp roller; a welding arrangement configured to weld shrink wrap material extending to said plurality of rollers and clamps to shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller to provide a continuous uninterrupted pattern on the shrink wrap material at the weld; a cutting arrangement configured to cut away any overlapping not welded shrink wrap material, if necessary, extending from said second supply roller and said plurality of rollers and clamps and providing a continuous sheet of shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller to said plurality of rollers and clamps; and said plurality of rollers and clamps also being configured to apply tension to the welded shrink wrap material now being fed from said second supply roller with said plurality of rollers and clamps.

6. The method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a container filling plant of claim 4, wherein said step of aligning at least one indicum on the shrink wrap material extending from said first supply roller with at least one indicum on shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller, disposed on said clamp roller, disposes an over-lapping portion of shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller on said clamp roller, said overlapping portion of said shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller on said clamp roller overlaps with shrink wrap material extending from said first supply roller.

7. The method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a container filling plant of claim 6, wherein said step of cutting away any overlapping not welded shrink wrap material, if necessary, comprises cutting away a not welded portion of said overlapping portion of said shrink wrap material extending from said second supply roller.

8. A method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine comprising: feeding wrapping material from a first supply roller to said packaging machine and wrapping at least one object to be wrapped; stopping the feeding of wrapping material from said first supply roller upon a predetermined amount of wrapping material being fed from said first supply roller; inserting a leading portion of wrapping material extending from a second supply roller into a connecting station; disposing wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, adjacent wrapping material extending from said first supply roller, within said connecting station; moving wrapping material extending from said first supply roller toward said wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; contacting wrapping material extending from said first supply roller with wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, within said connecting station; aligning at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said first supply roller with at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, within said connecting station; welding said leading portion of said wrapping material extending from said second supply roller to wrapping material extending from said first supply roller while said at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said first supply roller is aligned with said at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; cutting the wrapping material extending from said first supply roller proximate the weld and detaching the wrapping material extending from said first supply roller from the wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; feeding wrapping material from said second supply roller to at least one object to be wrapped; and wrapping said at least one object to be wrapped with said material extending from said second supply roller.

9. A wrapping machine configured to operate according to the method of claim 8, said wrapping machine comprising: means for feeding wrapping material from said first supply roller to said packaging machine and wrapping said at least one object to be wrapped; means for stopping the feeding of wrapping material from said first supply roller upon a predetermined amount of wrapping material being fed from said first supply roller; means for inserting a leading portion of wrapping material extending from a second supply roller into said connecting station; means for disposing wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, adjacent wrapping material extending from said first supply roller, within said connecting station; means for moving wrapping material extending from said first supply roller toward said wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; means for contacting wrapping material extending from said first supply roller with wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, within said connecting station; means for aligning said at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said first supply roller with said at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, within said connecting station; means for welding said leading portion of said wrapping material extending from said second supply roller to wrapping material extending from said first supply roller while said at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said first supply roller is aligned with said at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; means for cutting the wrapping material extending from said first supply roller proximate the weld and detaching the wrapping material extending from said first supply roller from the wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; means for feeding wrapping material from said second supply roller to at least one object to be wrapped; and means for wrapping said at least one object to be wrapped with said material extending from said second supply roller.

10. A wrapping machine configured to operate according to the method of claim 8, said wrapping machine comprising: an apparatus configured to feed wrapping material from said first supply roller to said packaging machine and wrapping said at least one object to be wrapped; an apparatus configured to stop the feeding of wrapping material from said first supply roller upon a predetermined amount of wrapping material being fed from said first supply roller; an apparatus configured to insert said leading portion of wrapping material extending from said second supply roller into said connecting station; an apparatus configured to dispose wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, adjacent wrapping material extending from said first supply roller, within said connecting station; an apparatus configured to move wrapping material extending from said first supply roller toward said wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; an apparatus configured to contact wrapping material extending from said first supply roller with wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, within said connecting station; an apparatus configured to align said at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said first supply roller with said at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, within said connecting station; an apparatus configured to weld said leading portion of said wrapping material extending from said second supply roller to wrapping material extending from said first supply roller while said at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said first supply roller is aligned with said at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; an apparatus configured to cut the wrapping material extending from said first supply roller proximate the weld and detaching the wrapping material extending from said first supply roller from the wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; an apparatus configured to feed wrapping material from said second supply roller to said at least one object to be wrapped; and an apparatus configured to wrap said at least one object to be wrapped with said material extending from said second supply roller.

11. The method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine of claim 8, wherein said step of inserting a leading portion of wrapping material extending from a second supply roller into a connecting station further comprises clamping said leading portion within a gap in a clamp roller in said connecting station.

12. The method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine of claim 11, wherein said step of disposing wrapping material extending from said second supply roller comprising rotating said clamp roller by an amount sufficient to dispose said wrapping material, extending from said second clamp roller, on an outer surface of said clamp roller adjacent wrapping material extending from said first supply roller.

13. The method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine of claim 12, wherein the outer surface of said clamp roller adjacent wrapping material being fed from said first supply roller, is moved in a direction opposite the direction of the wrapping material being fed from said first supply roller.

14. The method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine of claim 13, wherein said step of aligning at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said first supply roller with at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from said second supply roller further comprises rotating said clamp roller and said material extending from said second supply roller, disposed on the outer surface of said clamp roller.

15. The method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine of claim 14, wherein said step of rotating said clamp roller and said material extending from said second supply roller, disposed on the outer surface of said clamp roller, disposes an overlapping not welded portion of wrapping material extending from said second supply roller on said clamp roller, said overlapping not welded portion of said material extending from said second supply roller on said clamp roller overlaps with wrapping material extending from said first supply roller.

16. The method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine of claim 15, wherein said method further comprises cutting away said overlapping not welded wrapping material extending from said second supply roller and providing a continuous sheet of wrapping material extending from said second supply roller.

17. The method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine of claim 18, wherein said method further comprises disposing all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern, on the continuous sheet of wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each wrapped at least one object to be wrapped, thus providing a substantially consistent aesthetic appearance of each wrapped at least one object to be wrapped, before and after the change of supply of wrapping material from said first supply roller to said second supply roller.

18. The method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine of claim 17, wherein said wrapping material extending from said first and said second supply rollers is shrink wrap material.

19. The method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine of claim 18, wherein: said at least one object to be wrapped comprises a group of containers to be wrapped; and said method further comprises placing each group of containers to be wrapped in a corresponding flat prior to wrapping.

20. A shrink wrapping machine configured to operate according to the method of claim 19, said shrink wrapping machine comprising: an apparatus configured to feed shrink wrapping material from said first supply roller to said packaging machine and shrink wrapping said at least one object to be shrink wrapped; an apparatus configured to stop the feeding of shrink wrapping material from said first supply roller upon a predetermined amount of shrink wrapping material being fed from said first supply roller; an apparatus configured to insert said leading portion of shrink wrapping material extending from said second supply roller into said connecting station and clamping said leading portion within a gap in a clamp roller in said connecting station; an apparatus configured to dispose shrink wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, adjacent shrink wrapping material extending from said first supply roller, within said connecting station, said apparatus also being configured to rotate said clamp roller by an amount sufficient to dispose said shrink wrapping material, extending from said second clamp roller, on an outer surface of said clamp roller adjacent shrink wrapping material extending from said first supply roller, wherein the outer surface of said clamp roller adjacent shrink wrapping material being fed from said first supply roller, is configured to be moved in a direction opposite the direction of the shrink wrapping material being fed from said first supply roller; an apparatus configured to move shrink wrapping material extending from said first supply roller toward said shrink wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; an apparatus configured to contact shrink wrapping material extending from said first supply roller with shrink wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, within said connecting station; an apparatus configured to align said at least one indicum on shrink wrapping material extending from said first supply roller with said at least one indicum on shrink wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, within said connecting station, said apparatus also being configured to rotate said clamp roller and said material extending from said second supply roller, disposed on the outer surface of said clamp roller, and dispose an overlapping not welded portion of shrink wrapping material extending from said second supply roller on said clamp roller, said overlapping not welded portion of said material extending from said second supply roller on said clamp roller overlaps with shrink wrapping material extending from said first supply roller; an apparatus configured to weld said leading portion of said shrink wrapping material extending from said second supply roller to shrink wrapping material extending from said first supply roller while said at least one indicum on shrink wrapping material extending from said first supply roller is aligned with said at least one indicum on shrink wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; an apparatus configured to cut the shrink wrapping material extending from said first supply roller proximate the weld and detaching the shrink wrapping material extending from said first supply roller from the shrink wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; an apparatus configured to cut away said overlapping not welded shrink wrapping material extending from said second supply roller and providing a continuous sheet of shrink wrapping material extending from said second supply roller; an apparatus configured to feed shrink wrapping material from said second supply roller to said at least one object to be shrink wrapped; an apparatus configured to wrap with shrink wrap said at least one object to be shrink wrapped with said material extending from said second supply roller and dispose all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern, on the continuous sheet of shrink wrapping material extending from said second supply roller, at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each shrink wrapped at least one object to be shrink wrapped, thus providing a substantially consistent aesthetic appearance of each shrink wrapped at least one object to be shrink wrapped, before and after the change of supply of shrink wrapping material from said first supply roller to said second supply roller, said at least one object to be wrapped comprising a group of containers to be wrapped; and said apparatus configured to wrap with shrink wrap said at least one object to be shrink wrapped being configured to place each of said group of containers to be wrapped in a corresponding flat prior to wrapping.

Description:

CONTINUING APPLICATION DATA

This application is a Continuation-In-Part application of International Patent Application No. PCT/EP2007/006965, filed on Aug. 7, 2007, which claims priority from Federal Republic of Germany Patent Application No. 10 2006 037 189.5, filed on Aug. 9, 2006. International Patent Application No. PCT/EP2007/006965 was pending as of the filing date of this application. The United States was an elected state in International Patent Application No. PCT/EP2007/006965.

BACKGROUND

1. Technical Field

The present application refers to a method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a container filling plant for disposing portions of patterns at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each shrink wrapped flat of containers, before and after a roller exchange, and apparatus therefor.

2. Background Information

Background information is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily admit that subsequently mentioned information and publications are prior art.

With some methods, one can achieve a position-precise or relatively precise fastening of the areas of the flat materials that are to be connected to one another for the roller exchange, using the beginning, or connection location, of the roller that is positioned as the successor roller, with the precision-accurate, or precision-precise fastening or relatively precise fastening, or joining, of the respective portions being done by use of a clamp rail which, in turn, is fastened outside of the supply unit and/or outside of the connecting station provided there for the roller exchange, under use of a gradation gauge, or the like caliper means, that is provided for the commencement portion of the flat material of the connection roller, or exchange roller.

This signifies that the clamp rail that is provided at the commencement region of the flat material of the exchange roller must or should be transported, together with this exchange roller, to the connecting station and must or should then be fastened there to the element that is configured to position, which action may require and/or desire, at least, significant and/or a relatively luxurious handling, and is not often practicable in the case of a cramped work space.

OBJECT OR OBJECTS

An object, or task, of the present application is to simplify the provision of an exchange roller for replacing a depleted roller by a replenishing roller, or exchange roller.

SUMMARY

For the solution of this task, a procedure is disclosed as is substantially taught as a procedure providing the realization of a roller exchange, at a supply unit which serves for supplying of a sheet, or strand, and the like level material, to a packaging machine, or such like processing machine, from a stock of such flat material that is wound in roller form, or that is wound into rollers, or is in roller form, and, in each case, for the roller exchange, in a connection station, or connecting station, the level material of the roller that is located in use is connected to a leading, or connection, area of an at-ready connection roller. This connection area, or extent of the material, being precisely or generally positioned at an element configured to position, and upon connecting of the level material, is severed from the roller used up to the time of the roller exchange. For the exact or general positioning of the respective connection area of the flat, level material of the connection roller in the connection station, or welding and/or severing connecting station, is fastened, by clamping, to the element configured to position that is provided in the station. A supply unit, or roller supply unit, for the realization of this procedure is indicated, or disclosed, or taught, by a supply unit for supplying of a level material to a packaging machine, or such like processing machine, with at least two roller-receiving structures, that are configured, in each case, for the carrying of a level material-stock, in form of a roller, in which at least one roller forms the roller located so as to be in use, from which the level material is drawn off during the operation of the packaging machine, or such like processing machine. At least one further roller provides the function of a connection roller being ready for the roller exchange; with a connecting station through which is passed the level material of the roller that is in use and a connection area, of the level material of the connection roller, at a connecting position, for the purpose of a transition-correct connection, is precisely or generally positioned at a holding and connection element. The holding element and/or the element configured to position, is a clamp roller that is configured to be turned by hand, around its respective axis.

In accordance with the present application, the connection is made by joining the level material of the roller that is to be provided, directly to the element configured to position of the connecting station, joining being achieved by a clamping, i.e., this element configured to position is configured as a clamp element or clamp roller. Then, after the clamping connection has been established, the position-precise or relatively precise and/or connection-precise or relatively precise alignment of the level material of the connection roller, occurs through turning, for instance, by manually turning of the clamp roller, during the roller exchange.

The above-discussed embodiments of the present invention will be described further herein below. When the word “invention” or “embodiment of the invention” is used in this specification, the word “invention” or “embodiment of the invention” includes “inventions” or “embodiments of the invention”, that is the plural of “invention” or “embodiment of the invention”. By stating “invention” or “embodiment of the invention”, the Applicant does not in any way admit that the present application does not include more than one patentably and non-obviously distinct invention, and maintains that this application may include more than one patentably and non-obviously distinct invention. The Applicant hereby asserts that the disclosure of this application may include more than one invention, and, in the event that there is more than one invention, that these inventions may be patentable and non-obvious one with respect to the other.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further embodiments of the present application are disclosed according to at least one possible embodiment according to the present application. The present application is explained in the following with reference to the drawing figures which are showing the arrangement of one embodiment of the present application. There is shown in:

FIG. 1 in simplified representation, and in a side elevational view, a supply unit for supplying of a substantially flat or level sheet material, for instance, a foil material, to a packaging machine, or such like processing machine;

FIG. 1A shows schematically the main components of one possible embodiment example of what may be a typical system for filling containers;

FIG. 2 in a side elevational view of a joining and/or connecting station of the supply unit, that is configured, for the purpose of connecting, to effectuate the exchange of an empty roller of the level material against a new, full, roller of material, or exchange roller;

FIG. 3 in schematic representation the essential elements of the connecting station as is illustrated by FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 in an individual display one of the mandrels, or cores, of a cylindrical roller, or the like substantially cylindrically configured structure (foil cores) of the arrangement as is illustrated in accordance with FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENT OR EMBODIMENTS

In the figures reference numeral 1 designates a supply unit that serves for supplying a level material, and in the shown execution form, in one possible embodiment for supplying of a weld-able plastic, or packaging foil 2 that is brought to the packaging machine, not shown. The supply unit 1 has, for this stage of supplying of a weld-able plastic, or packaging foil 2, in a machine frame 3, among other things, two mandrels, or cores, of cylindrical rollers, or the like substantially cylindrically configured structures, which extend with their axes in horizontal direction and parallel or virtually parallel with respect to one another; which rollers 4 and 5 serve in each case for the holding of a roller 6 or 7 (foil roller) of the plastic, or packaging foil 2; and one of these rollers is the roller that is in use for supplying the packaging foil 2, with the packaging machine being in the running condition, and from this roller the foil 2 is drawn off in the direction indicated by the arrow A, and is supplied to the packaging machine; while other roller is serving as an exchange roller, or connection roller, that is held ready for a roller exchange.

FIG. 1A shows schematically the main components of one possible embodiment example of a system for filling containers, specifically, a beverage bottling plant for filling bottles 130 with at least one liquid beverage, in accordance with at least one possible embodiment, in which system or plant could possibly be utilized at least one aspect, or several aspects, of the embodiments disclosed herein.

FIG. 1A shows a rinsing arrangement or rinsing station 101, to which the containers, namely bottles 130, are fed in the direction of travel as indicated by the arrow 131, by a first conveyor arrangement 103, which can be a linear conveyor or a combination of a linear conveyor and a starwheel. Downstream of the rinsing arrangement or rinsing station 101, in the direction of travel as indicated by the arrow 131, the rinsed bottles 130 are transported to a beverage filling machine 105 by a second conveyor arrangement 104 that is formed, for example, by one or more starwheels that introduce bottles 130 into the beverage filling machine 105.

The beverage filling machine 105 shown is of a revolving or rotary design, with a rotor 105′, which revolves around a central, vertical machine axis. The rotor 105′ is designed to receive and hold the bottles 130 for filling at a plurality of filling positions 113 located about the periphery of the rotor 105′. At each of the filling positions 103 is located a filling arrangement 114 having at least one filling device, element, apparatus, or valve. The filling arrangements 114 are designed to introduce a predetermined volume or amount of liquid beverage into the interior of the bottles 130 to a predetermined or desired level.

The filling arrangements 114 receive the liquid beverage material from a toroidal or annular vessel 117, in which a supply of liquid beverage material is stored under pressure by a gas. The toroidal vessel 117 is a component, for example, of the revolving rotor 105′. The toroidal vessel 117 can be connected by means of a rotary coupling or a coupling that permits rotation. The toroidal vessel 117 is also connected to at least one external reservoir or supply of liquid beverage material by a conduit or supply line. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1A, there are two external supply reservoirs 123 and 124, each of which is configured to store either the same liquid beverage product or different products. These reservoirs 123, 124 are connected to the toroidal or annular vessel 117 by corresponding supply lines, conduits, or arrangements 121 and 122. The external supply reservoirs 123, 124 could be in the form of simple storage tanks, or in the form of liquid beverage product mixers, in at least one possible embodiment.

As well as the more typical filling machines having one toroidal vessel, it is possible that in at least one possible embodiment there could be a second toroidal or annular vessel which contains a second product. In this case, each filling arrangement 114 could be connected by separate connections to each of the two toroidal vessels and have two individually-controllable fluid or control valves, so that in each bottle 130, the first product or the second product can be filled by means of an appropriate control of the filling product or fluid valves.

Downstream of the beverage filling machine 105, in the direction of travel of the bottles 130, there can be a beverage bottle closing arrangement or closing station 106 which closes or caps the bottles 130. The beverage bottle closing arrangement or closing station 106 can be connected by a third conveyor arrangement 107 to a beverage bottle labeling arrangement or labeling station 108. The third conveyor arrangement may be formed, for example, by a plurality of starwheels, or may also include a linear conveyor device.

In the illustrated embodiment, the beverage bottle labeling arrangement or labeling station 108 has at least one labeling unit, device, or module, for applying labels to bottles 130. In the embodiment shown, the labeling arrangement 108 has three output conveyor arrangement: a first output conveyor arrangement 109, a second output conveyor arrangement 110, and a third output conveyor arrangement 111, all of which convey filled, closed, and labeled bottles 130 to different locations.

The first output conveyor arrangement 109, in the embodiment shown, is designed to convey bottles 130 that are filled with a first type of liquid beverage supplied by, for example, the supply reservoir 123. The second output conveyor arrangement 110, in the embodiment shown, is designed to convey bottles 130 that are filled with a second type of liquid beverage supplied by, for example, the supply reservoir 124. The third output conveyor arrangement 111, in the embodiment shown, is designed to convey incorrectly labeled bottles 130. To further explain, the labeling arrangement 108 can comprise at least one beverage bottle inspection or monitoring device that inspects or monitors the location of labels on the bottles 130 to determine if the labels have been correctly placed or aligned on the bottles 130. The third output conveyor arrangement 111 removes any bottles 130 which have been incorrectly labeled as determined by the inspecting device.

The beverage bottling plant can be controlled by a central control arrangement 112, which could be, for example, computerized control system that monitors and controls the operation of the various stations and mechanisms of the beverage bottling plant.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show the supply unit 1, in each case just prior to a role exchange, again both mandrels, or cores, of the cylindrical rollers, or the like substantially cylindrically configured structures 4 and 5, on which are arranged the rollers 6 and 7; in the shown state, the roller 7 is in use, and the roller 6 is ready for a roller exchange; as well, there are shown, further with their axes disposed parallel or virtually parallel to each other and parallel or virtually parallel to the mandrels 4 and 5, several turn and guidance rollers 8 through 10 for guidance of the packaging foil 2. The turn and guidance rollers 8 through 10 are mounted so as to be able to rotate, respectively, in each case with their respective ends being mounted in a frame 11 of the connecting station, or welding station, 12, which is likewise secured to the machine frame, or rack 3.

In general, the turn roller 8 is assigned to the mandrel 4, and the turn roller 9 is assigned to the mandrel 5. The two turn rollers 10 form, together with another roller 13, an assembly or equipment structure 14, that is in one possible embodiment configured for the controlled change, or substantially alleviation, or substantially elimination of the tension acting upon the foil during the roller exchange. For this, this foil 2 is passed over three rollers 10 and 13. The roller 13 is at its two ends in each case attached to a swing, or swivel arm, or crank structure, that is generally identified by reference numeral 13.1, and upon this crank structure 13.1, there acts an actuator arrangement and/or a piston-cylinder arrangement, 13.2, so as to effect a controlled swinging of the swivel arm 13.1, and, with it, of the roller 13. The roller 13 is used in conjunction with the foil clamp equipment for the foil [2], and also for the accurate positioning of an image imprinted on the foil.

Another component of the welding station 12 is a clamp roller 15; this clamp roller 15 being configured in such a way that it can be journaled with its respective ends within the frame 11, and the clamp roller 15 is, furthermore, configured to provide a clamp slit 16, namely, in the shown execution embodiment, thereby that the clamp roller 15 is configured in two parts, at least for the extent of its length that is desired for the functioning of welding of the welding station 12, with the two parts being disposed on the respective sides of the clamp slit to 16, the two parts being generally identified by reference numerals 15.1 and 15.2, which are moveable, for clamping, in each case, of a foil beginning, or leading portion, mutually with respect to one another. The turning of the clamp roller 15 and, if desired, also the opening and fastenings of the clamp fissure 16 occurs, in the shown execution form, by hand with a turn crank; and/or switch crank 17 which is provided at one end of the clamp roller 15.

Components of the station 12 that is providing a weld, are, furthermore, two heat-able welding rails 18 which, firstly, lie with their longitudinal extent substantially parallel to the axis of rotation of the clamp roller 15; secondly, are disposed in offset manner at an angle somewhat smaller than one hundred eighty degrees with respect to this axis of rotation; as well as, thirdly, are moveable by actuator elements (e.g., pneumatic piston-cylinder arrangements) in controlled manner in the direction toward the clamp roller 15, and in the direction away from the clamp roller 15.

For a roller exchange, for instance, of the roller 7 by the roller 6, in the FIGS. 2 and 3, roller 7 is being shown as nearly spent, and located as being in use; and the roller 6 is being shown in the at-ready condition, or as a new roller 6, the beginning of the foil on the roller 6, while being passed about a turn roller 8, is held in controlled manner in the clamp fissure, or slit, or gap, 16 of the clamp roller 15. Fastening of the commencement portion of the foil in the clamp slit 16 of the clamp roller 15 occurs, on this occasion, basically in such a way that the beginning of the foil is placed from above into in the open clamp fissure 16, and the gap 16 is then closed for clamping of the foil 2. Afterwards, the clamp roller 15 is manually turned, with the aid of crank 17, in any case, so far that a circumferential portion of the clamp roller 15 is covered at least by a single ply, or one layer of the foil 2 that is supplied by the roller 6 which is at hand for a roller exchange; with the circumferential portion of the clamp roller 15 being then disposed directly opposite to the foil 2 of the roller 7 that is being used at present for packaging.

The connecting of the foil beginning to the clamp roller 15 occurs, furthermore, in such a way that during the roller exchange, the connection of the foils is substantially such that the sides match. For this, in the shown embodiment form, i.e., the clamp roller 15 is turned in such a way that upon fastening of the foils with the shown execution form, on fastening the foil beginning, that the direction of rotation that is indicated by the arrow B, is opposed, at the circumferential area of the clamp roller 15, which area is adneighboring the foil that is being used, to the direction of movement, indicated by the direction of the arrow A, of the used foil.

In order so as to essentially ensure or promote a transition-correct and/or print format-correct connecting of the foil during the roller exchange, an alignment rail, or alignment arrangement 19 is provided which is oriented with its longitudinal extent, parallel or virtually parallel to the central axis of the clamp roller 15, and the alignment rail has a length which applies along, or is in conformity with, the entire foil width. At this alignment rail 19, the foil 2 that is held in the condition of being ready for a roller exchange, of roller 6, is precisely aligned or generally aligned with respect to marks provided at the foil, for instance, pressure brands, or pressure regions 2.1.

The alignment of the foil at the alignment rail occurs in such a way that the mark applied on the foil (pressure mark, or pressure point, or region), is aligned at the alignment rail [19]. This occurs, for instance, by hand through the operator; and whereby he moves this foil portion into the clamp fissure of the clamp roller in forward movement and/or backward movement.

Alignment of the wrapping material (foil, shrink wrap, polyethylene, or other wrapping materials) may be aligned by aligning at least one indicum on material extending from each of the supply rollers. The at least one indicum may be a pattern or a portion of a pattern, indicia, or a magnetic, optical, electrostatic, or other indicum that may be sensed by a sensor. The alignment of the wrapping material may occur, for instance, automatically through a controller; and whereby the controller receives signals from sensors and relays a signal to a servo motor, for example, to rotate the clamp roller and move the wrapping material in the clamp roller in forward movement and/or backward movement. The wrapping material may be moved forward and/or backward an extend necessary to substantially align the at least one indicum on the wrapping material extending from each supply roller.

Upon clamping of the beginning of the foil in the clamp fissure 16, the position-correct and/or connection-correct adjustment occurs for the welding process by way of a rotation, through substantially 360 degrees, of the clamp roller [15] against the direction of movement, or rotation, of the foil roller [7] that is positioned so as to be in use.

Afterwards, the clamp roller 15 is secured in a suitable way against turning, or other undesired movements.

In order that this alignment rail can be used, firstly, while providing a roller onto the mandrel 4; as well as, secondly, while providing a roller onto the mandrel 5, and in order to improve, in one possible embodiment, also the accessibility of the clamp roller 15, the alignment rail 19 is configured so as to be tilt-able.

Upon completion of the steps of alignment and/or clamping of the foil, it can be desired for achievement of a sufficient foil tension, between the roller 6 and the clamp roller 15, to turn the at-ready roller 6 somewhat in the direction corresponding to an increase of the tension of the foil 2, i.e. corresponding to a raising of the tension of the foil.

By way of sensors indicated schematically by reference numeral 20 in FIG. 2, the pressure points [2.1] at the foil 2, that is drawn from the roller 7, are substantially continuously monitored. Alternatively the diameter of the rollers 6, 7 can be also be sensed, or monitored, by suitable sensors.

When a computer 21 of the packaging machine, or arrangement, that is linked to the sensor 20 notes the impending depletion of the material on the respective of the roller 6, 7 presently in use, the computer 21 initiates the exchange process of the pertaining rollers.

For this event, firstly, the processing speed of the packaging machine is brought to a stand-still, and, therefore, the removal speed of the foil 2 from the roller 7 is slowed down.

In the end, the full stop of the slower moving foil 2 occurs in response, for example, through the action of the sensor 20, or by another sensor 22, which sensor monitors or senses the presence of available marks on the foil 2, for instance, of the pressure brands or markings 2.1.

Now the foil between the respective spent roller 6, 7 and the packaging machine is clamped, and this clamping action is performed by the clamp rail 14.1. In one possible embodiment of the present application, by an automatic actuation of the actuator arrangement configured to actuate the clamp beams, or rails, and/or piston-cylinder arrangement, this actuator being designated by reference numeral 13.2, and, accordingly, the associated swinging-movement of swing or swivel arm 13.1 and at this disposed turn roller 13, until the mark (pressure brand) of the foil 2 is detected by means of another sensor 20. This is the position in which at the associated welding rail or beam, there is essentially ensured or promoted a transition-correct and/or print format-accurate connecting of the foil 2 of the new foil roller 6 to the foil 2 used until then.

Subsequently there occurs, in controlled manner, by means of the control computer 21, a moving or actuation of the weld rail, beam, and/or dividing rail 18, from the respective commencement position into the welding position, in which by a dividing, or severing, and/or welding process, the connecting of the foil 2 of the foil roller 6, to the foil that is being brought to the packaging machine, is achieved, as well as a severing of the connection, generated by this weld process, from the remainder of the foil of roller 7 occurs.

In order so as to achieve a substantially perfect weld, weld seam, or weld bead, in one possible embodiment, a weld that is also free of tension during the roller exchange, the initially substantially permanent preliminary tension, or pre-tension, of the foil 2 is reduced or eliminated, or substantially alleviated, due to the controlled swinging of the roller 13, in conformity with the actuation of the pneumatic cylinder 13.2, and this swinging movement occurs at least in the area of the weld to be provided.

Upon conclusion of the procedure comprising the steps of severing and welding, there is performed operation of the actuator arrangement 13.2, and/or piston-cylinder arrangement 13.2 for the swing or swivel arm 13.1, together with the turn roller 13, so that the excess of foil material that had been wound about clamp roller 15, that extends between the clamp equipment 14 and the foil roller 6, is rendered taught; and afterwards the clamp equipment 14 is opened. This approach restricts or minimizes a jerky tension, or pressure, upon the fresh weld upon re-starting of the machine.

Completion of the dividing and/or welding, i.e. after an occurred roller exchange, the packaging machine, controlled by the control computer 21, is brought to the operational condition, i.e. running condition, whereby the foil 2 is drawn off now from the roller 6. The roller 7 is taken by hand from the supply unit. Also taken from the supply unit is the remainder of foil that is present at the clamp roller 15, this being achieved by opening of the clamp fissure 16. For the next roller exchange, a new roller 7 is placed upon the mandrel 5, and the beginning of this roller is fastened, by clamping, in the clamp slit 16 in the clamp roller 15 in a manner that is position-precise or relatively precise and connection-precise or relatively precise, and the clamp roller, with the help of the crank 17, is so turned that the foil 2, that is initially placed from above into the clamp slit 16, again surrounds the clamp roller on a majority portion of the roller circumference, at least, however, the circumferential portion that is facing the used foil 2 of the used roller 6, which means that there will be present at least a one-ply of foil 2 surrounding the pertaining circumferential region of the clamp roller [15]; and in addition the foil 2 that is in the at-ready condition is precisely or relatively precisely aligned for transition-correct and/or print format-accurate connecting. The desired foil tension is set, again by turning of the clamp roller 15, if desired, in conjunction with a turning back of the roller 7 that is positioned on the mandrel 5, between this roller and the clamp roller 15.

Upon depletion of the material of the roller 6 disposed on the mandrel 4, a roller exchange occurs in analogous way once more.

For the roller exchange it is also desired, furthermore, that the rollers 6 and 7 are already precisely aligned or relatively precisely aligned on the respective mandrels 4 and 5. This alignment adjustment occurs in such a way that the center lines of the foils are pulled, or drawn, from the rollers 7 or 6, in such a way that the center lines lie in a common plane and vertically with respect to the axes of the mandrels 4 or 5; and, besides, preferentially are also disposed coincidentally with respect to the center line of the product group, or arrangement.

FIG. 4 shows again, in detail, one of the two mandrels 4 or 5, together with a roller 6 and/or 7. For every mandrel a roller abutment 23 is provided which abutment 23 is configured to be axially adjustable at the mandrel 4 and/or 5. The setting of this abutment 23 occurs, for instance, under use of a gradation measuring structure 24, or other similar means, that are likewise provided at the mandrels 4 and/or 5, or other aids, for instance, sensors, etc.

Any one or more of the above described steps for performing a roller exchange may be automated. For example, each of the steps may be automated to provide a completely automated roller exchange process. In another example, the wrapping material extending from each roller is automatically aligned, welded, and cut, Automation of the process may be achieved with one or more controllers, sensors, servos, robots, and other devices as are known in the art, to automatically effectuate a roller exchange.

The present application was described herein above with reference to one embodiment. It is understood that numerous changes as well as variations are possible, without thereby departing from the spirit and scope of the present application or the underlying thought or thoughts of the present application.

For the realization of a roller exchange, at a supply unit, which serves for supplying of a sheet, or strand, and the like flat or level material, to a packaging machine, or such like processing machine, from a stock of such flat material that is wound in roll form, that is, wound into rollers, or is in roller form, and, in each case, for such roller exchange, in a joining station and/or connecting station, the flat material of the roller that is in use, is connected to the connection portion of the material of a fresh roller that is replacing the depleted roller.

One feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time if the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a procedure providing the realization of a roller exchange, at a supply unit 1 which serves for supplying of a sheet, or strand, and the like level material 2, to a packaging machine, or such like processing machine, from a stock of such flat material that is wound in roller form, or that is wound into rollers 6, 7, or is in roller form, and, in each case, for the roller exchange, in a connection station, or connecting station 12, the level material 2 of the roller that is located in use 6, 7 is connected to a leading, or connection, area of an at-ready connection roller 7, 6; this connection area, or extent of the material, being precisely or generally positioned at an element configured to position 15, and upon connecting of the level material 2, is severed from the roller 6, 7 used up to the time of the roller exchange 6, 7, wherein for the exact or general positioning of the respective connection area of the flat, level material 2 of the connection roller 7, 6, in the connection station, or welding and/or severing connecting station 12, is fastened, by clamping, to the element 15 configured to position that is provided in the station 12.

Another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time if the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in the procedure, wherein the element configured to position the flat material is configured as a clamp roller 15.

Yet another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time if the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in the procedures, wherein the element configured to position the flat material is configured as a clamp roller 15 with a clamp gap 16.

Still another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time if the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in the procedures, wherein the connection area of the flat material 2 of the respective connection roller 7, 6 covers the element configured to position 15 precisely or generally at least one circumferential area, which circumferential area is adneighboringly positioned with respect to the flat, level material 2 of the roller 6, 7 that is located so as be in use.

A further feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time if the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in the procedures, wherein that upon completion of the connecting phase of the connecting area to the element configured to position 15, the position element 15 is turned in such a way in reference to its axis of rotation, that the flat material, by winding, onto its circumferential area of the position element 15, this position element 15 is covered at a circumferential area by at least one layer, which circumferential area is positioned in adjacent, or adneighboring manner to the roller 6, 7 that is presently in use.

Another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time if the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in the procedures, wherein that the position-precise alignment of the flat, level material 2 of the respective connection roller 7, 6 occurs at the element configured to position 15 under use of marks 2.1 operationally positioned at the level material 2, as well as at least one alignment element positioned at the connecting station 12, for instance, under use of an alignment beam, or alignment rail 19.

Yet another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time if the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in the procedures, wherein the position-precise alignment occurs through turning of the element configured to position 15, and/or through winding up of the flat, level material 2 onto the element configured to position 15.

Still another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time if the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in the procedures, wherein that the connection, of the flat, level material 2 that is positioned such as to be in use, to the flat, level material 2 of the respective connection roller 7, 6 that is intended for use, is configured to be overlapping.

A further feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time if the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in the procedures, wherein when use is made of a flat, level material in form of a weld-able foil 2, connecting occurs, during the roller exchange, through welding, often by a welding procedure comprising a dividing, or severing, stage and a welding stage.

One feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time if the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a supply unit for supplying of a level material to a packaging machine, or such like processing machine, with at least two roller-receiving structures 4, 5, that are configured, in each case, for the carrying of a level material-stock, in form of a roller 6, 7, in which at least one roller 6, 7 forms the roller located so as to be in use, from which the level material 2 is drawn off during the operation of the packaging machine, or such like processing machine, and at least one further roller provides the function of a connection roller 7, 6 being ready for the roller exchange; with a connecting station 12 through which is passed the level material 2 of the roller 6 that is in use and a connection area, of the level material of the connection roller, at a connecting position 18, for the purpose of a transition-correct connection, is precisely or generally positioned at a holding and connection element 15, wherein the holding element and/or the element configured to position, is a clamp roller 15 that is configured to be turned by hand, around its respective axis.

Another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time if the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in the supply unit, wherein for alignment of the foil 2 of the connection roller 7, 6, in the connecting position 18, in the connecting station 12, alignment means 19 for the alignment of the level material 2 are provided, under use of marks 2.1 that are positioned so as to aid in the alignment of the level material.

Yet another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time if the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in the supply unit, wherein the alignment means comprise at least one alignment rail, often a tilt-able alignment rail 19.

One feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a blow molded bottle filling plant, the method disposing all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern, on shrink wrap material, at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each shrink wrapped flat of blow molded bottles, thus providing a substantially consistent aesthetic appearance of each wrapped flat of blow molded bottles, before and after a supply roller exchange; the blow molded bottle filling plant comprising: a blow molded bottle filling machine configured to fill blow molded bottles with a liquid beverage; a first blow molded bottle conveying arrangement configured to convey and dispose empty blow molded bottles to the filling machine for filling; a blow molded bottle closing machine configured to close filled blow molded bottles; a second blow molded bottle conveying arrangement configured to convey and dispose filled blow molded bottles from the filling machine to the closing machine for closing; and a third blow molded bottle conveying arrangement configured to convey and dispose closed blow molded bottles from the closing machine to the shrink wrapping machine for wrapping; the shrink wrapping machine comprising: a separating and grouping arrangement being configured and disposed to separate and group blow molded bottles into groups and place the groups onto flats; a wrapping device being configured and disposed to wrap flats of blow molded bottles with shrink wrap to secure the groups of blow molded bottles to their corresponding flats; the wrapping device comprising: an in use supply roller configured to feed a continuous strip of patterned strip-format flat shrink wrap material for wrapping a group of blow molded bottles and its corresponding flat; a ready for exchange supply roller configured to supply a continuous strip of patterned strip-format flat shrink wrap material for wrapping a group of blow molded bottles and its corresponding flat; a clamp roller between the in use supply roller and the ready for exchange supply roller; the clamp roller comprising a first and a second semi-cylindrical portion, the first cylindrical portion having a flat side disposed towards a flat side of the second cylindrical portion forming a substantially cylindrical clamp roller; the flat sides of the first and second semi-cylindrical portions being configured to move apart and providing a vertically oriented slot for receiving a leading portion of shrink wrap material extending from the ready for exchange supply roller; the flat sides of the first and second semi-cylindrical portions being configured to move together holding a leading portion of shrink wrap material extending from the ready for exchange supply roller; a crank configured to rotate the clamp roller; an alignment rail configured to move shrink wrap material being fed from the in use supply roller to a changing position adjacent the clamp roller and a feeding position away from the clamp roller; a plurality of rollers and clamps configured to receive shrink wrap material being fed from the in use supply roller during wrapping of flats of blow molded bottles, and configured to hold the shrink wrap material being fed in place just prior to a supply roller exchange, and being configured to release tension of the shrink wrap material being fed during a supply roller exchange; a first welding and cutting arrangement configured to weld shrink wrap material being fed from the in use supply roller to shrink wrap material extending from the ready for exchange supply roller, the first welding and cutting arrangement being configured to cooperate with a rounded portion of the first semi-cylindrical portion of the clamp roller; a second welding and cutting arrangement configured to weld shrink wrap material being fed from the in use supply roller to shrink wrap material extending from the ready for exchange supply roller, the second welding and cutting arrangement being configured to cooperate with a rounded portion of the second semi-cylindrical portion of the clamp roller; a first sensor configured to sense marks on shrink wrap material being fed from the in use supply roller to the plurality of rollers and clamps; and a second sensor configured to sense marks on shrink wrap material extending from the ready for exchange supply roller to the clamp roller; the method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a blow molded bottle filling plant comprising: feeding a continuous strip of patterned strip-format flat shrink wrap material for wrapping a group of blow molded bottles on a corresponding flat with the in use supply roller; wrapping groups of blow molded bottles on corresponding flats with the in use supply roller disposing all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern on the shrink wrap material at a predetermined location and orientation on each wrapped flat of blow molded bottles sensing marks on shrink wrap material being fed from the in use supply roller with the first sensor; placing the ready for exchange supply roller into the shrink wrapping machine; moving apart the facing flat sides of the first and the second semi-cylindrical portions of the clamp roller providing a vertically oriented slot in the clamp roller; inserting a leading portion of shrink wrap material extending from the ready for exchange supply roller into an upper portion of the vertically oriented slot between the facing flat sides of the first and the second semi-cylindrical portions of the clamp roller; moving together the facing flat sides of the first and the second semi-cylindrical portions of the clamp roller to hold the leading portion of shrink wrap material; rotating the clamp roller with the crank to move shrink wrap material held in the clamp roller and disposing shrink wrap material on the cylindrical surface of the clamp roller adjacent shrink wrap material being fed by the in use supply roller to the plurality of rollers and clamps; the rotating of the clamp roller comprising rotating the clamp roller and shrink wrap material disposed on the clamp roller in a direction opposite the direction of shrink wrap material being fed by the in use supply roller upon the shrink wrap material disposed on the clamp roller becoming adjacent shrink wrap material being fed by the in use supply roller; stopping feeding of continuous strip of shrink wrap material from the in use supply roller with the plurality of rollers and clamps upon the first sensor sensing a predetermined number of marks on the shrink wrap material being fed from the in use supply roller; holding the shrink wrap material being fed from the in use supply roller in place, and releasing tension of the shrink wrap material being fed about the clamp roller with the plurality of rollers and clamps; moving the alignment rail toward the clamp roller, and moving shrink wrap material being fed from the in use supply roller, and contacting shrink wrap material extending from the ready for exchange supply roller with shrink wrap disposed on the clamp roller; aligning marks on the shrink wrap material being fed from the in use supply roller with marks on shrink wrap material extending from the ready for exchange supply roller disposed on the clamp roller; welding shrink wrap material being fed from the in use supply roller to shrink wrap material extending from the ready for exchange supply roller to provide a continuous uninterrupted pattern on the shrink wrap material at the weld; cutting away overlapping not welded shrink wrap material from at least one of the ready for exchange supply roller and the in use supply roller and providing a continuous sheet of shrink wrap material extending from the ready for exchange supply roller to the plurality of rollers and clamps; applying tension to the welded shrink wrap material now being fed from the ready for exchange supply roller with the plurality of rollers and clamps; feeding shrink wrap material from the ready for exchange supply roller; wrapping groups of blow molded bottles on corresponding flats with the ready for exchange supply roller and disposing all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern, on the shrink wrap material, at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each shrink wrapped flat of blow molded bottles, thus providing a substantially consistent aesthetic appearance of each wrapped flat of blow molded bottles, before and after a supply roller exchange; and shrinking the shrink wrap wrapped around each of the wrapped groups of blow molded bottles on their corresponding flat.

Another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a blow molded bottle filling plant wherein the step of rotating the clamp roller disposes an overlapping portion of shrink wrap material, extending from the ready for exchange supply roller, the overlapping portion of the shrink wrap material extending from the extending from the ready for exchange supply roller, on the clamp roller, overlaps with shrink wrap material extending from the in use supply roller.

Yet another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a blow molded bottle filling plant, wherein the step of cutting away overlapping not welded shrink wrap material, comprises cutting away a not welded overlapping portion of the overlapping portion of the shrink wrap material extending from the ready for exchange supply roller.

Still another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a container filling plant, the method disposing all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern, on shrink wrap material, at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each shrink wrapped flat of containers, thus providing a substantially consistent aesthetic appearance of each wrapped flat of containers, before and after a supply roller exchange, the method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a container filling plant comprising: feeding a continuous strip of patterned shrink wrap material for wrapping a group of containers on a corresponding flat with a first supply roller to a plurality of rollers and clamps; wrapping groups of containers on corresponding flats with the first supply roller disposing all portions of the continuous uninterrupted pattern on the shrink wrap material at a predetermined location and orientation on each wrapped flat of containers; sensing at least one indicum on shrink wrap material being fed from the first supply roller with a first sensor; placing a second supply roller into the shrink wrapping machine; moving apart facing flat sides of a first and a second semi-cylindrical portion of a clamp roller providing a vertically oriented slot in the clamp roller, the clamp roller being disposed between the first and the second supply rollers; inserting a leading portion of shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller into an upper portion of the vertically oriented slot, between the facing flat sides of the first and the second semi-cylindrical portions of the clamp roller; moving together the facing flat sides of the first and the second semi-cylindrical portions of the clamp roller to hold the leading portion of shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller; rotating the clamp roller to move shrink wrap material held in the clamp roller and disposing shrink wrap material on a cylindrical surface of the clamp roller adjacent shrink wrap material being fed by the first supply roller to the plurality of rollers and clamps; the rotating of the clamp roller comprising rotating the clamp roller and shrink wrap material disposed on the clamp roller to move in a direction opposite the direction of shrink wrap material being fed by the first supply roller upon the shrink wrap material disposed on the clamp roller becoming adjacent shrink wrap material being fed by the first supply roller; stopping feeding of continuous strip of shrink wrap material from the first supply roller with the plurality of rollers and clamps upon the first sensor sensing a predetermined number of indicia on the shrink wrap material being fed from the first supply roller; holding the shrink wrap material extending from the first supply roller in place with the plurality of rollers and clamps; releasing tension of the shrink wrap material being fed with the first supply roller with the plurality of rollers and clamps; moving the shrink wrap material extending from the first supply roller toward the clamp roller; contacting shrink wrap material extending from the first supply roller with shrink wrap material disposed on the clamp roller; aligning at least one indicum on the shrink wrap material extending from the first supply roller with at least one indicum on shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller disposed on the clamp roller; welding shrink wrap material extending to the plurality of rollers and clamps to shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller, while the at least one indicum on the shrink wrap material extending from the first supply roller is aligned with at least one indicum on shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller, providing a continuous uninterrupted pattern on the shrink wrap material at the weld; cutting away any overlapping not welded shrink wrap material, if necessary, from the second supply roller and the plurality of rollers and clamps and providing a continuous sheet of shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller to the plurality of rollers and clamps; applying tension to the welded shrink wrap material now being fed from the second supply roller with the plurality of rollers and clamps; feeding shrink wrap material from the second supply roller; and wrapping groups of containers with the second supply roller and disposing all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern, on the shrink wrap material, at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each shrink wrapped group of containers, thus providing a substantially consistent aesthetic appearance of each wrapped group of containers, before and after a supply roller exchange.

A further feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a shrink wrapping machine in a container filling plant, the shrink wrapping machine comprising: a first feeding arrangement configured to feed a continuous strip of patterned shrink wrap material for wrapping a group of containers on a corresponding flat with a first supply roller to a plurality of rollers and clamps; a shrink wrapping arrangement configured to wrap groups of containers on corresponding flats with the first supply roller disposing all portions of the continuous uninterrupted pattern on the shrink wrap material at a predetermined location and orientation on each wrapped flat of containers; a first sensor configured to at least one indicum on shrink wrap material being fed from the first supply roller with a first sensor; a supply roller disposing arrangement configured to dispose the second supply roller placed into the shrink wrapping machine; a clamp roller comprising a first and a second semi-cylindrical portion, the first and the second semi-cylindrical portions being configured moving apart at facing flat sides providing a vertically oriented slot in the clamp roller to receive a leading portion of shrink wrap material extending from the second supply the first and the second semi-cylindrical portions of the clamp also being configured to move together to hold the leading portion of shrink wrap material, extending from the second supply roller, between the facing flat sides of the first and the second semi-cylindrical portions of the clamp roller; the clamp roller also being configured to move shrink wrap material held in the clamp roller and disposing shrink wrap material on a cylindrical surface of the clamp roller adjacent shrink wrap material being fed by the first supply roller to the plurality of rollers and clamps; the plurality of rollers and clamps being configured to stop the feeding of continuous strip of shrink wrap material from the first supply roller upon the first sensor sensing at least one indicum on the shrink wrap material being fed from the first supply roller; the plurality of rollers and clamps also being configured to hold the shrink wrap material extending from the first supply roller in place with the plurality of rollers and clamps; the plurality of rollers and clamps also being configured to release tension of the shrink wrap material being fed with the first supply roller with the plurality of rollers and clamps; a shrink wrap moving arrangement configured to move shrink wrap material extending from the first supply roller toward the clamp roller, and to contact shrink wrap material extending from the first supply roller with shrink wrap material disposed on the clamp roller; the clamp roller also being configured to rotate to align at least one indicum on the shrink wrap material extending from the first supply roller with at least one indicum on shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller disposed on the clamp roller; a welding arrangement configured to weld shrink wrap material extending to the plurality of rollers and clamps to shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller to provide a continuous uninterrupted pattern on the shrink wrap material at the weld; a cutting arrangement configured to cut away any overlapping not welded shrink wrap material, if necessary, extending from the second supply roller and the plurality of rollers and clamps and providing a continuous sheet of shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller to the plurality of rollers and clamps; and the plurality of rollers and clamps also being configured to apply tension to the welded shrink wrap material now being fed from the second supply roller with the plurality of rollers and clamps.

Another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a container filling plant wherein the step of aligning at least one indicum on the shrink wrap material extending from the first supply roller with at least one indicum on shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller, disposed on the clamp roller, disposes an over-lapping portion of shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller on the clamp roller, the overlapping portion of the shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller on the clamp roller overlaps with shrink wrap material extending from the first supply roller.

Yet another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of operating a shrink wrapping machine in a container filling plant wherein the step of cutting away any overlapping not welded shrink wrap material, if necessary, comprises cutting away a not welded portion of the overlapping portion of the shrink wrap material extending from the second supply roller.

Still another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine comprising: feeding wrapping material from a first supply roller to the packaging machine and wrapping at least one object to be wrapped; stopping the feeding of wrapping material from the first supply roller when upon a predetermined amount of wrapping material is being fed from the first supply roller; inserting a leading portion of wrapping material extending from a second supply roller into a connecting station; disposing wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, adjacent wrapping material extending from the first supply roller, within the connecting station; moving wrapping material extending from the first supply roller toward the wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; contacting wrapping material extending from the first supply roller with wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, within the connecting station; aligning at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the first supply roller with at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, within the connecting station; welding the leading portion of the wrapping material extending from the second supply roller to wrapping material extending from the first supply roller while the at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the first supply roller is aligned with the at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; cutting the wrapping material extending from the first supply roller proximate the weld and detaching the wrapping material extending from the first supply roller from the wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; feeding wrapping material from the second supply roller to at least one object to be wrapped; and wrapping the at least one object to be wrapped with the material extending from the second supply roller.

A further feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a wrapping machine comprising: a means for feeding wrapping material from a the first supply roller to the packaging machine and wrapping the at least one object to be wrapped; a means for stopping the feeding of wrapping material from the first supply roller when upon a predetermined amount of wrapping material is being fed from the first supply roller; a means for inserting a leading portion of wrapping material extending from a second supply roller into a the connecting station; a means for disposing wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, adjacent wrapping material extending from the first supply roller, within the connecting station; a means for moving wrapping material extending from the first supply roller toward the wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; a means for contacting wrapping material extending from the first supply roller with wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, within the connecting station; a means for aligning the at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the first supply roller with the at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, within the connecting station; a means for welding the leading portion of the wrapping material extending from the second supply roller to wrapping material extending from the first supply roller while the at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the first supply roller is aligned with the at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; a means for cutting the wrapping material extending from the first supply roller proximate the weld and detaching the wrapping material extending from the first supply roller from the wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; a means for feeding wrapping material from the second supply roller to at least one object to be wrapped; and a means for wrapping the at least one object to be wrapped with the material extending from the second supply roller.

Another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a wrapping machine comprising: an apparatus configured to feed wrapping material from a the first supply roller to the packaging machine and wrapping the at least one object to be wrapped; an apparatus configured to stop the feeding of wrapping material from the first supply roller when upon a predetermined amount of wrapping material is being fed from the first supply roller; an apparatus configured to insert a the leading portion of wrapping material extending from a the second supply roller into a the connecting station; an apparatus configured to dispose wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, adjacent wrapping material extending from the first supply roller, within the connecting station; an apparatus configured to move wrapping material extending from the first supply roller toward the wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; an apparatus configured to contact wrapping material extending from the first supply roller with wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, within the connecting station; an apparatus configured to align the at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the first supply roller with the at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, within the connecting station; an apparatus configured to weld the leading portion of the wrapping material extending from the second supply roller to wrapping material extending from the first supply roller while the at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the first supply roller is aligned with the at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; an apparatus configured to cut the wrapping material extending from the first supply roller proximate the weld and detaching the wrapping material extending from the first supply roller from the wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; an apparatus configured to feed wrapping material from the second supply roller to the at least one object to be wrapped; and an apparatus configured to wrap the at least one object to be wrapped with the material extending from the second supply roller.

Yet another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine further comprising: the step of inserting a leading portion of wrapping material extending from a second supply roller into a connecting station comprising clamping the leading portion within a gap in a clamp roller in the connecting station.

Still another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine further comprising: the step of disposing wrapping material extending from the second supply roller comprising rotating the clamp roller by an amount sufficient to dispose the wrapping material, extending from the second clamp roller, on an outer surface of the clamp roller adjacent wrapping material extending from the first supply roller.

A further feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine wherein the outer surface of the clamp roller adjacent wrapping material being fed from the first supply roller, is moved in a direction opposite the direction of the wrapping material being fed from the first supply roller.

Another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine wherein the step of aligning at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the first supply roller with at least one indicum on wrapping material extending from the second supply roller comprises: rotating the clamp roller and the material extending from the second supply roller, disposed on the outer surface of the clamp roller.

Yet another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine wherein the step of rotating the clamp roller and the material extending from the second supply roller, disposed on the outer surface of the clamp roller, disposes an overlapping not welded portion of wrapping material extending from the second supply roller on the clamp roller, the overlapping not welded portion of the material extending from the second supply roller on the clamp roller overlaps with wrapping material extending from the first supply roller.

Still another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine further comprising: cutting away the overlapping not welded wrapping material extending from the second supply roller and providing a continuous sheet of wrapping material extending from the second supply roller.

A further feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine further comprising: disposing all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern, on the continuous sheet of wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each wrapped at least one object to be wrapped, thus providing a substantially consistent aesthetic appearance of each wrapped at least one object to be wrapped, before and after the change of supply of wrapping material from the first supply roller to the second supply roller.

Another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine wherein the wrapping material extending from the first and the second supply rollers is shrink wrap material.

Yet another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a method of exchanging a roller of wrapping material in a packaging machine further comprising: the at least one object to be wrapped comprising a group of containers to be wrapped; and placing each group of containers to be wrapped in a corresponding flat prior to wrapping.

Still another feature or aspect of an embodiment is believed at the time of the filing of this patent application to possibly reside broadly in a shrink wrapping machine comprising: an apparatus configured to feed shrink wrapping material from the first supply roller to the packaging machine and shrink wrapping the at least one object to be shrink wrapped; an apparatus configured to stop the feeding of shrink wrapping material from the first supply roller upon a predetermined amount of shrink wrapping material being fed from the first supply roller; an apparatus configured to insert the leading portion of shrink wrapping material extending from the second supply roller into the connecting station and clamping the leading portion within a gap in a clamp roller in the connecting station; an apparatus configured to dispose shrink wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, adjacent shrink wrapping material extending from the first supply roller, within the connecting station, the apparatus also being configured to rotate the clamp roller by an amount sufficient to dispose the shrink wrapping material, extending from the second clamp roller, on an outer surface of the clamp roller adjacent shrink wrapping material extending from the first supply roller, wherein the outer surface of the clamp roller adjacent shrink wrapping material being fed from the first supply roller, is configured to be moved in a direction opposite the direction of the shrink wrapping material being fed from the first supply roller; an apparatus configured to move shrink wrapping material extending from the first supply roller toward the shrink wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; an apparatus configured to contact shrink wrapping material extending from the first supply roller with shrink wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, within the connecting station; an apparatus configured to align the at least one indicum on shrink wrapping material extending from the first supply roller with the at least one indicum on shrink wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, within the connecting station, the apparatus also being configured to rotate the clamp roller and the material extending from the second supply roller, disposed on the outer surface of the clamp roller, and dispose an overlapping not welded portion of shrink wrapping material extending from the second supply roller on the clamp roller, the overlapping not welded portion of the material extending from the second supply roller on the clamp roller overlaps with shrink wrapping material extending from the first supply roller; an apparatus configured to weld the leading portion of the shrink wrapping material extending from the second supply roller to shrink wrapping material extending from the first supply roller while the at least one indicum on shrink wrapping material extending from the first supply roller is aligned with the at least one indicum on shrink wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; an apparatus configured to cut the shrink wrapping material extending from the first supply roller proximate the weld and detaching the shrink wrapping material extending from the first supply roller from the shrink wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; an apparatus configured to cut away the overlapping not welded shrink wrapping material extending from the second supply roller and providing a continuous sheet of shrink wrapping material extending from the second supply roller; an apparatus configured to feed shrink wrapping material from the second supply roller to the at least one object to be shrink wrapped; an apparatus configured to wrap with shrink wrap the at least one object to be shrink wrapped with the material extending from the second supply roller and dispose all portions of a continuous uninterrupted pattern, on the continuous sheet of shrink wrapping material extending from the second supply roller, at a substantially predetermined location and orientation on each shrink wrapped at least one object to be shrink wrapped, thus providing a substantially consistent aesthetic appearance of each shrink wrapped at least one object to be shrink wrapped, before and after the change of supply of shrink wrapping material from the first supply roller to the second supply roller, the at least one object to be wrapped comprising a group of containers to be wrapped; and the apparatus configured to wrap with shrink wrap the at least one object to be shrink wrapped being configured to place each of the group of containers to be wrapped in a corresponding flat prior to wrapping.

The components disclosed in the various publications, disclosed or incorporated by reference herein, may possibly be used in possible embodiments of the present invention, as well as equivalents thereof.

The purpose of the statements about the technical field is generally to enable the Patent and Trademark Office and the public to determine quickly, from a cursory inspection, the nature of this patent application. The description of the technical field is believed, at the time of the filing of this patent application, to adequately describe the technical field of this patent application. However, the description of the technical field may not be completely applicable to the claims as originally filed in this patent application, as amended during prosecution of this patent application, and as ultimately allowed in any patent issuing from this patent application. Therefore, any statements made relating to the technical field are not intended to limit the claims in any manner and should not be interpreted as limiting the claims in any manner.

The appended drawings in their entirety, including all dimensions, proportions and/or shapes in at least one embodiment of the invention, are accurate and are hereby included by reference into this specification.

The background information is believed, at the time of the filing of this patent application, to adequately provide background information for this patent application. However, the background information may not be completely applicable to the claims as originally filed in this patent application, as amended during prosecution of this patent application, and as ultimately allowed in any patent issuing from this patent application. Therefore, any statements made relating to the background information are not intended to limit the claims in any manner and should not be interpreted as limiting the claims in any manner.

All, or substantially all, of the components and methods of the various embodiments may be used with at least one embodiment or all of the embodiments, if more than one embodiment is described herein.

The purpose of the statements about the object or objects is generally to enable the Patent and Trademark Office and the public to determine quickly, from a cursory inspection, the nature of this patent application. The description of the object or objects is believed, at the time of the filing of this patent application, to adequately describe the object or objects of this patent application. However, the description of the object or objects may not be completely applicable to the claims as originally filed in this patent application, as amended during prosecution of this patent application, and as ultimately allowed in any patent issuing from this patent application. Therefore, any statements made relating to the object or objects are not intended to limit the claims in any manner and should not be interpreted as limiting the claims in any manner.

All of the patents, patent applications and publications recited herein, and in the Declaration attached hereto, are hereby incorporated by reference as if set forth in their entirety herein.

The summary is believed, at the time of the filing of this patent application, to adequately summarize this patent application. However, portions or all of the information contained in the summary may not be completely applicable to the claims as originally filed in this patent application, as amended during prosecution of this patent application, and as ultimately allowed in any patent issuing from this patent application. Therefore, any statements made relating to the summary are not intended to limit the claims in any manner and should not be interpreted as limiting the claims in any manner.

It will be understood that the examples of patents, published patent applications, and other documents which are included in this application and which are referred to in paragraphs which state “Some examples of . . . which may possibly be used in at least one possible embodiment of the present application . . . ” may possibly not be used or useable in any one or more embodiments of the application.

The sentence immediately above relates to patents, published patent applications and other documents either incorporated by reference or not incorporated by reference.

Some examples of bottling systems, which may be used or adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment of the present may be found in the following U.S. patents assigned to the Assignee herein, namely: U.S. Pat. No. 4,911,285; U.S. Pat. No. 4,944,830; U.S. Pat. No. 4,950,350; U.S. Pat. No. 4,976,803; U.S. Pat. No. 4,981,547; U.S. Pat. No. 5,004,518; U.S. Pat. No. 5,017,261; U.S. Pat. No. 5,062,917; U.S. Pat. No. 5,062,918; U.S. Pat. No. 5,075,123; U.S. Pat. No. 5,078,826; U.S. Pat. No. 5,087,317; U.S. Pat. No. 5,110,402; U.S. Pat. No. 5,129,984; U.S. Pat. No. 5,167,755; U.S. Pat. No. 5,174,851; U.S. Pat. No. 5,185,053; U.S. Pat. No. 5,217,538; U.S. Pat. No. 5,227,005; U.S. Pat. No. 5,413,153; U.S. Pat. No. 5,558,138; U.S. Pat. No. 5,634,500; U.S. Pat. No. 5,713,403; U.S. Pat. No. 6,276,113; U.S. Pat. No. 6,213,169; U.S. Pat. No. 6,189,578; U.S. Pat. No. 6,192,946; U.S. Pat. No. 6,374,575; U.S. Pat. No. 6,365,054; U.S. Pat. No. 6,619,016; U.S. Pat. No. 6,474,368; U.S. Pat. No. 6,494,238; U.S. Pat. No. 6,470,922; No. 6,463,964; and No. 7,263,812.

Some examples of cameras or the like optical monitoring apparatus that may possibly be utilized or possibly adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment of the present application may possibly be found in the following U.S. patents: U.S. Pat. No. 5,233,186 issued to Ringlien on Aug. 3, 1993; U.S. Pat. No. 5,243,400 issued to Ringlien on Sep. 7, 1993; U.S. Pat. No. 5,369,713 issued to Schwartz et al. on Nov. 29, 1994; U.S. Pat. No. 5,442,446 issued to Gerber et al. on Aug. 15, 1995; U.S. Pat. No. 5,661,295 issued to Buchmann et al. on Aug. 26, 1997; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,898,169 issued to Nodbryhn on Apr. 27, 1999.

Some examples of position sensors or position sensor systems that may be used or adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment of the present invention may be found in the following U.S. patents: U.S. Pat. No. 5,794,355, issued to inventor Nickum on Aug. 18, 1998; U.S. Pat. No. 5,520,290, issued to inventors Kumar et al. on May 28, 1996; U.S. Pat. No. 5,074,053, issued to inventor West on Dec. 24, 1991; and U.S. Pat. No. 4,087,012, issued to inventor Fogg on May 2, 1978.

Some examples of rotation sensors that may possibly be utilized or possibly adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment of the present application may possibly be found in the following U.S. patents: U.S. Pat. No. 6,246,232 issued to Okamura on Jun. 12, 2001; U.S. Pat. No. 6,448,761 issued to Stumpe on Sep. 10, 2002; U.S. Pat. No. 6,474,162 to Voss et al. on Nov. 5, 2002; U.S. Pat. No. 6,498,481 issued to Apel on Dec. 24, 2002; U.S. Pat. No. 6,532,831 issued to Jin et al. on Mar. 18, 2003; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,672,175 issued to Jin et al. on Jan. 6, 2004.

Some examples of position sensors or position sensor systems that may be used or adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment of the present invention may be found in the following U.S. patents: U.S. Pat. No. 5,794,355, issued to inventor Nickum on Aug. 18, 1998; U.S. Pat. No. 5,520,290, issued to inventors Kumar et al. on May 28, 1996; U.S. Pat. No. 5,074,053, issued to inventor West on Dec. 24, 1991; and U.S. Pat. No. 4,087,012, issued to inventor Fogg on May 2, 1978.

Some examples of laser cutting apparatus and methods that may possibly be utilized or adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment may possibly be found in the following U.S. patents: No. 6,191,382 B, entitled “Dynamic Laser Cutting Apparatus”; No. 2003/0207062A1, entitled “Laser-Cut table Multi-Layer Sheet Material”; No. 5,614,278 ent it led “Strip of Separable Labels or Tags Having a Display Surface for Display of Information Thereon”; No. 4,189,337, entitled “Real Time Labeler System”; and No. 2004/0226659 A1, entitled “Label Application System.”

Some examples of cutting apparatus that may possibly be utilized or possibly adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment of the present may possibly be found in the following U.S. patents: U.S. Pat. No. 5,060,367 issued to Vandevoorde on Oct. 29, 1991; U.S. Pat. No. 5,091,237 issued to Scloegl et al. on Feb. 25, 1992; U.S. Pat. No. 5,715,651 issued to Thebault on Feb. 10, 1998; U.S. Pat. No. 5,916,343 issued to Huang et al. on Jun. 29, 1999; U.S. Pat. No. 6,502,488 issued to Taylor on Jan. 7, 2003; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,684,599 issued to Fresnel on Feb. 3, 2004.

Some examples of computer systems that may possibly be utilized or possibly adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment of the present application may possibly be found in the following U.S. patents: U.S. Pat. No. 5,416,480 issued to Roach et al. on May 16, 1995; U.S. Pat. No. 5,479,355 issued to Hyduke on Dec. 26, 1995; U.S. Pat. No. 5,481,730 issued to Brown et al. on Jan. 2, 1996; U.S. Pat. No. 5,805,094 issued to Roach et al. on Sep. 8, 1998; U.S. Pat. No. 5,881,227 issued to Atkinson et al. on Mar. 9, 1999; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,072,462 issued to Moshovich on Jun. 6, 2000.

Some examples of packaging machines that may possibly be utilized or possibly adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment of the present application may possibly be found in the following: The Innopack packaging machine and the SP-35 ShrinkPacker, manufactured by KHS Maschinen und Anlagenbau AG, located at Juchostrasse 20. 44143 Dortmund, Germany, and probably sold in the United States by Kisters Kayat Inc., 4100 U.S. Highway #1 South, Sarasota Fla., 32141, U.S.A., and KHS Kisters Packing Technology Division, located at Boschstrasse 1-3, D-47533 Kleve, Germany, are examples of packaging machines which may possibly be utilized or adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment. Other examples of packing machines manufactured by KHS Maschinen und Anlagenbau AG may be found on the following website: http://www.packexpo.com/ve/35175/products.html. Some other examples of packaging machines which may possibly be utilized or adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment may possibly be found in the following U.S. patents: U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,260, entitled “Packaging machine for cardboard boxes and process for packaging articles in cardboard boxes;” U.S. Pat. No. 4,785,610, entitled “Automatic machine for packaging products of different kinds in boxes;” U.S. Pat. No. 5,265,398, entitled “Automatic counting and boxing machine;” U.S. Pat. No. 5,943,847, entitled “Packaging machine for multi-packs;” U.S. Pat. No. 5,937,620, entitled “Packaging machine for multi-packs;” U.S. Pat. No. 5,711,137, entitled “Packaging machine and method of packaging articles;” and U.S. Pat. No. 5,706,633, entitled “Packaging machine and method of packaging articles.”

Some examples of wrapping machines which may possibly be utilized or adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment may possibly be found in the following U.S. patents: U.S. Pat. No. 6,484,475, entitled “Modular packaging machine;” U.S. Pat. No. 4,694,633, entitled “Film wrapping machine;” U.S. Pat. No. 4,118,916, entitled “Thermoplastic wrapping machine;” U.S. Pat. No. 4,118,916, entitled “Thermoplastic wrapping machine;” U.S. Pat. No. 5,371,999, entitled “Shrink film wrapping machine;” U.S. Pat. No. 4,748,795, entitled “Film wrapping machine;” and U.S. Pat. No. 5,115,620, entitled “Wrapping machine.”

Some examples of shrink wrapping machines or machines for wrapping items in plastic film which may possibly be utilized or adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment may possibly be found in the following U.S. patents: U.S. Pat. No. 7,263,812, entitled “Beverage bottling plant for filling bottles with a liquid beverage material having a machine and method for wrapping filled bottles;” U.S. Pat. No. 6,826,893, entitled “Apparatus for wrapping products with plastic film;” U.S. Pat. No. 6,739,115, entitled “Equipment for wrapping groups of products in plastic film;” U.S. Pat. No. 5,878,555, entitled “Apparatus for wrapping articles in plastic film;” U.S. Pat. No. 5,787,691, entitled “Apparatus for wrapping articles in plastic film;” U.S. Pat. No. 5,519,983, entitled “Shrink wrap packaging system with an ultrasonic side sealer;” U.S. Pat. No. 4,956,963, entitled “Method of sealing a shrink wrap package;” U.S. Pat. No. 4,873,814, entitled “Method of making a shrink wrap package;” and U.S. Pat. No. 4,214,419, entitled “Collating and shrink wrap packaging apparatus.” A further example of shrink wrapping machines or machines for wrapping items in plastic film and methods wrapping, which may possibly be utilized or adapted for use in at least one possible embodiment, may possibly be found in WO2008014968, entitled “Method of Shrinking a Shrink-Fit Film onto Packs, and Apparatus for Implementing the Method”, published on Jul. 2, 2008.

The following patents, patent applications or patent publications, are hereby incorporated by reference as if set forth in their entirety herein: DE 10 2004 032 528 B3, having the following English translation of the German title “BEVERAGE BOTTLING PLANT FOR FILLING BOTTLES WITH A LIQUID BEVERAGE MATERIAL HAVING A MACHINE AND METHOD FOR WRAPPING FILLED BOTTLES,” published on Aug. 11, 2005.

All of the patents, patent applications or patent publications, which were cited in the International Search Report dated Jan. 29, 2008, and/or cited elsewhere are hereby incorporated by reference as if set forth in their entirety herein as follows: DE 90 16 526, having the following German title “VORRICHTUNG ZUR FBRDERUNG EINER ENDLOSEN FOLIE AUS KUNSTSTOFF ODER DERGLEICHEN,” published on Feb. 21, 1991; U.S. Pat. No. 3,035,787, having the title “AUTOMATIC JOINING DEVICE FOR REELED BAND MATERIALS,” published on May 22, 1962; DE 103 01 347, having the following English translation of the German title “PACKAGING TAX BAND APPLICATION MACHINE HAS A FILM CHANGEOVER UNIT WITH A FILM SEALING UNIT TO PRODUCE A WELDED AND CUT TRANSVERSE SEAM BETWEEN OLD AND NEW FILM STRIPS AND OLD STRIP AND NEW STRIP LEADER,” published on Feb. 26, 2004; EP 0 706 965, having the following English translation of the German title “SPLICER FOR BOBBIN-LIKE WOUND WEBS OF PACKAGING MATERIAL,” published on Apr. 17, 1996; U.S. Pat. No. 6,451,145, having the title “WEB SPLICING SYSTEM,” published on Sep. 17, 2002; US 2004/084133, having the title “SPLICING DEVICE FOR SPLICING TWO WEB MATERIALS TOGETHER, UNWINDER COMPRISING SAID SLICING DEVICE AND RELATIVE METHOD,” published on May 6, 2004; U.S. Pat. No. 3,227,594, having the title “METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SPLICING INDEFINITE LENGTH WEBS,” published on Jan. 4, 1966; DE 285 356, having the following German title “VORRICHTUNG FOR DRUCKMASCHINEN ZUR VEREINIGUNG DES VORDERENDES DER NEUEN MIT DEM HINTERENDE DER ABLAUFENDEN PAPIERBAHN,” published on Oct. 18, 1913; DE 10 2004 032528, having the following English translation of the German title “CARRYING OUT ROLLER CHANGE IN SUPPLY UNIT FOR FEEDING FLAT STRIP MATERIAL TO PACKAGING MACHINE, INVOLVES POSITIONING CONNECTING REGION OF CONNECTING ROLLER BEFORE ROLLER CHANGE WITH HOLDING, POSITIONING ELEMENT IN CONNECTING STATION HOLDER,” published on Aug. 11, 2005; and “HANDBOOK OF PRINT MEDIA,” by Helmut KIPPHAN, published in 2001, and having the following ISBN: 3-540-67326-1.

The patents, patent applications, and patent publication listed above, beginning on line 1205 on page 45 in the paragraph with the phrase: “Some examples of bottling systems . . . ” and ending on line 1386 on page 52 in the paragraph with the phrase: “ . . . and having the following ISBN: 3-540-67326-1” are herein incorporated by reference as if set forth in their entirety. The purpose of incorporating U.S. patents, Foreign patents, publications, etc. is solely to provide additional information relating to technical features of one or more embodiments, which information may not be completely disclosed in the wording in the pages of this application. Words relating to the opinions and judgments of the author and not directly relating to the technical details of the description of the embodiments therein are not incorporated by reference. The words all, always, absolutely, consistently, preferably, guarantee, particularly, constantly, ensure, necessarily, immediately, endlessly, avoid, exactly, continually, expediently, need, must, only, perpetual, precise, perfect, require, requisite, simultaneous, total, unavoidable, and unnecessary, or words substantially equivalent to the above-mentioned words in this sentence, when not used to describe technical features of one or more embodiments, are not considered to be incorporated by reference herein.

The corresponding foreign and international patent publication applications, namely, Federal Republic of Germany Patent Application No. 10 2006 037 189.5, filed on Aug. 9, 2006, having inventors Tuchwat SCHAGIDOW and Manfred VAN TRIEL, and DE-OS 10 2006 037 189.5 and DE-PS 10 2006 037 189.5, and International Application No. PCT/EP2007/006965, filed on Aug. 7, 2007, having WIPO Publication No. WO 2008/017450 and inventors Tuchwat SCHAGIDOW and Manfred VAN TRIEL, are hereby incorporated by reference as if set forth in their entirety herein for the purpose of correcting and explaining any possible misinterpretations of the English translation thereof. In addition, the published equivalents of the above corresponding foreign and international patent publication applications, and other equivalents or corresponding applications, if any, in corresponding cases in the Federal Republic of Germany and elsewhere, and the references and documents cited in any of the documents cited herein, such as the patents, patent applications and publications, are hereby incorporated by reference as if set forth in their entirety herein.

The purpose of incorporating the Foreign equivalent patent application PCT/EP2007/006965 and German Patent Application 10 2006 037 189.5 is solely for the purpose of providing a basis of correction of any wording in the pages of the present application, which may have been mistranslated or misinterpreted by the translator. Words relating to opinions and judgments of the author and not directly relating to the technical details of the description of the embodiments therein are not to be incorporated by reference. The words all, always, absolutely, consistently, preferably, guarantee, particularly, constantly, ensure, necessarily, immediately, endlessly, avoid, exactly, continually, expediently, need, must, only, perpetual, precise, perfect, require, requisite, simultaneous, total, unavoidable, and unnecessary, or words substantially equivalent to the above-mentioned word in this sentence, when not used to describe technical features of one or more embodiments, are not generally considered to be incorporated by reference herein.

Statements made in the original foreign patent applications PCT/EP2007/006965 and DE 10 2006 037 189.5 from which this patent application claims priority which do not have to do with the correction of the translation in this patent application are not to be included in this patent application in the incorporation by reference.

All of the references and documents, cited in any of the documents cited herein, are hereby incorporated by reference as if set forth in their entirety herein. All of the documents cited herein, referred to in the immediately preceding sentence, include all of the patents, patent applications and publications cited anywhere in the present application.

The description of the embodiment or embodiments is believed, at the time of the filing of this patent application, to adequately describe the embodiment or embodiments of this patent application. However, portions of the description of the embodiment or embodiments may not be completely applicable to the claims as originally filed in this patent application, as amended during prosecution of this patent application, and as ultimately allowed in any patent issuing from this patent application. Therefore, any statements made relating to the embodiment or embodiments are not intended to limit the claims in any manner and should not be interpreted as limiting the claims in any manner.

The details in the patents, patent applications and publications may be considered to be incorporable, at applicant's option, into the claims during prosecution as further limitations in the claims to patentably distinguish any amended claims from any applied prior art.

The purpose of the title of this patent application is generally to enable the Patent and Trademark Office and the public to determine quickly, from a cursory inspection, the nature of this patent application. The title is believed, at the time of the filing of this patent application, to adequately reflect the general nature of this patent application. However, the title may not be completely applicable to the technical field, the object or objects, the summary, the description of the embodiment or embodiments, and the claims as originally filed in this patent application, as amended during prosecution of this patent application, and as ultimately allowed in any patent issuing from this patent application. Therefore, the title is not intended to limit the claims in any manner and should not be interpreted as limiting the claims in any manner.

The abstract of the disclosure is submitted herewith as required by 37 C.F.R. §1.72(b). As stated in 37 C.F.R. §1.72(b):

    • A brief abstract of the technical disclosure in the specification must commence on a separate sheet, preferably following the claims, under the heading “Abstract of the Disclosure.” The purpose of the abstract is to enable the Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and gist of the technical disclosure. The abstract shall not be used for interpreting the scope of the claims.
      Therefore, any statements made relating to the abstract are not intended to limit the claims in any manner and should not be interpreted as limiting the claims in any manner.

The embodiments of the invention described herein above in the context of the preferred embodiments are not to be taken as limiting the embodiments of the invention to all of the provided details thereof, since modifications and variations thereof may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the embodiments of the invention.

AT LEAST PARTIAL NOMENCLATURE

  • 1 Supply unit
  • 2 Substantially flat sheet material, or foil, or foil sheet
  • 2.1 Pressure point or region
  • 3 Machine frames
  • 4, 5 Mandrel or core of cylindrical roller or the like substantially cylindrically configured structure
  • 6, 7 Roller or respectively foil carrying roller
  • 8, 9, 10 Idle rollers, group of rollers
  • 11 Frame
  • 12 Welding station and/or connection station
  • 13 Roller
  • 13.1 Swing or swivel arm, or crank structure
  • 13.2 Actuator arrangement and/or piston-cylinder arrangement for the swing or swivel arm 13.1
  • 14 Clamp equipment configured to clamp the foil
  • 14.1 Clamp beams
  • 14.2 Actuator arrangement configured to actuate the clamp beams
  • 15 Clamp roller
  • 15.1, 15.2 Part of the clamp roller 15
  • 16 Clamp gap
  • 17 Crank
  • 18 Welding rail; or welding arrangement, and severing rail, or severing arrangement, or arrangement to perform welding and/or severing
  • 19 Alignment rail, or alignment arrangement
  • 20 First sensor, or first sensor arrangement
  • 21 Computer
  • 22 Further sensor, or second sensor; or second sensor arrangement
  • 23 Roller abutment structure
  • 24 Calibrated measuring structure or measuring device
  • A Direction of movement of the foil 2 that is supplied to the packaging machine
  • B Direction of rotation of the clamp roller [15]