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Title:
MACHINE FOR BUNDLING AND PALLETIZING GROUPS OF OBJECTS AND METHOD FOR BUNDLING AND PALLETIZING GROUPS OF OBJECTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/208140
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A machine (1) for bundling and palletizing groups (10) of objects (11), comprising a device (20) for feeding a group (10) of objects (11) to be bundled, a device (30) for retaining the group (10) of objects (11) to be bundled, a device (40) for bundling the group (10) of objects (11) to be bundled retained by the retention device; the retention device (30) comprises at least one grip element (31) adapted to retain at least one portion of the group (10) of objects (11) to be bundled, the grip element (31) being movable on command to arrange the group (10) of objects (11), once bundled, at a storage pallet (50).

Inventors:
MARASTONI, Daniele (Via Della Costituzione 22, San Giovanni In Persiceto, 40017, IT)
Application Number:
IB2017/053163
Publication Date:
December 07, 2017
Filing Date:
May 30, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SACMI IMOLA S.C. (Via Selice Provinciale, 17/a, Imola, 40026, IT)
International Classes:
B65B21/24; B25J15/00; B65B11/04; B65B27/04; B65B35/36
Domestic Patent References:
WO2015028894A12015-03-05
Foreign References:
US20120009053A12012-01-12
US20120151879A12012-06-21
DE102013113754A12015-06-11
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MODIANO, Micaela (MODIANO & PARTNERS, Via Meravigli 16, Milano, 20123, IT)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A machine (1) for bundling and palletizing groups (10) of objects (11), comprising a device (20) for feeding a group (10) of objects (11) to be bundled, a device (30) for retaining said group (10) of objects (11) to be bundled, a device (40) for bundling said group (10) of objects (11) to be bundled retained by said retention device, characterized in that said at least one retention device (30) comprises at least one grip element (31) adapted to retain at least one portion of said group (10) of objects (11) to be bundled, said at least one grip element (31) being movable on command to arrange said group (10) of objects (11), once bundled, at a storage pallet.

2. The machine (1) according to claim 1 , characterized in that said bundling device (40) comprises a device that uses an extensible film (41).

3. The machine (1) according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said bundling device (40) comprises means for moving said group (10) of objects (11) around a rotation axis (100) so as to draw said extensible film (41) around said group (10) of objects (11), means for feeding said extensible film being provided in order to allow the wrapping of said film around said group (10) of objects (11).

4. The machine (1) according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one grip element (31) can move on command in order to rotate said group (10) of objects (11) about said rotation axis (100).

5. The machine (1) according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said retention device comprises a first grip element (31) and an opposite grip element (33), which are arranged on opposite sides with respect to said group (10) of objects (11).

6. The machine (1) according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises, between said bundling device (40) and said storage pallet (50), one or more intermediate stations, such as for example a printing device (60), a labeling device, a device for applying a handle for carrying the bundle on the part of the consumer, a device for applying a cardboard tray, et cetera.

7. The machine (1) according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said retention device (30) comprises at least two grip elements (31) adapted to bundle and palletize in parallel respective groups (10) of objects (11) fed by said feeder (20).

8. The machine (1) according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one grip element (31) comprises an anthropomorphic robot.

9. The machine (1) according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises a device for printing the outer surface of said group (10) of objects (11) once they are bundled, said at least one grip element (31) being adapted to move said group (10) of objects (11) from said bundling device (30) toward said printing device and from said printing device at a storage pallet.

10. A method for bundling and palletizing groups (10) of objects (11), comprising:

- a step of feeding to a feeder (20) a group (10) of objects (11) to be bundled;

- a step of gripping, on the part of a retention device (30), said group

(10) of objects (11) to be bundled;

- a step of bundling, by means of a bundling device (40), said group (10) of objects (11) to be bundled, retained by said retention device (30), by means of an extensible film (41);

characterized in that it comprises

- a step for moving, by means of said retention device (30) comprising at least one grip element (31) adapted to retain at least one portion of said group (10) of objects (11) to be bundled, said group (10) of objects (11) at a storage pallet (50).

11. The method according to claim 10, characterized in that it comprises, between said bundling step and said movement step, a step for printing at the outer surface the extensible film (41) wrapped around said group (10) of objects (11).

Description:
MACHINE FOR BUNDLING AND PALLETIZING GROUPS OF OBJECTS AND METHOD FOR BUNDLING AND PALLETIZING GROUPS OF OBJECTS

The present invention relates to a machine for bundling and palletizing groups of objects, particularly groups of containers, and to a method for bundling and palletizing groups of objects.

Currently, in the field of the packaging of objects, and in particular of containers such as bundles or the like, so-called bundling machines are used to which the containers to be bundled are fed by means of a feeder.

The most commonly used bundling machines use an optionally preprinted shrink-wrap film, which is wrapped around a group of objects. This group of objects, wrapped by a portion of shrink-wrap film, is then sent to a shrink-wrap oven and then, once it has exited from the shrink-wrap oven, by using grip devices of various types, is arranged or stacked on pallets so that the bundles arranged on the same plane, also known as layer, have a predefined mutual orientation.

As an alternative, so-called cold bundling machines have been proposed which use, instead of the shrink-wrap film, extensible film which is wrapped around the group of containers.

A first type of cold bundling machines provides for the film to be wrapped around the group of objects, which are kept in a fixed position by a retention device, while a second type provides for the retention device of the group of containers to be adapted to rotate the group of objects so as to drag the extensible film around it, unwinding it from the spool.

In both cases, the groups of objects around which the extensible film has been wrapped are sent, usually by means of a conveyor belt, to a loading station, at which there are robots adapted to pick up groups of bundles to arrange them and/or stack them in an orderly manner on a respective pallet.

The obvious advantage of cold bundling machines is to avoid the use of the shrink-wrap oven and of reducing the quantity of film required for bundling.

On the other hand, currently the use of extensible film does not allow to use preprinted film, since printing, if performed prior to wrapping around the group of objects, would be then deformed due to stretching.

Furthermore, apparatuses for secondary packaging that use both hot bundling machines and cold bundling machines have a considerable length in addition to a certain complexity in management, since they must provide, in output from the bundling machine, a conveyor, a device for gathering groups of bundles, creating the layer, and a robot for picking up the groups of bundles and for the ordered positioning thereof on the pallet.

These apparatuses are characterized by conveyance means (typically belts with feet on the ground) onto which each individual bundle discharges its own weight; the bundling operations and the subsequent orientation movements to form the layer of bundles do not provide for the lifting of the bundles from the belt but for example provide for the rotation and movement of the bundles, making them slide on said belt.

The drawbacks of these apparatuses for secondary packaging are:

- the need to provide independent and bulky machines for bundling, for forming the layer of the pallet, and for moving in order to move and superimpose the individual layers;

- layouts which are complex, expensive and more difficult to manage due to the fact that each one of the three machines requires its own conveyor belts and corresponding connecting belts;

- it is often necessary to provide intermediate buffers or storage areas for the bundles if one wishes to increase the overall efficiency of the three machines;

- inflexibility in the composition of the pallets, since if one wishes to change the pallet format or create smaller pallets it is necessary to stop the machine and act on the setup.

The aim of the present invention is to solve the problems and obviate the drawbacks described above, providing a machine for bundling and palletizing groups of objects, particularly groups of containers, and a method for bundling and palletizing groups of objects, which are capable of reducing drastically the time required to perform these operations, integrating into a single flexible, economic and compact machine the three independent machines described above.

Within this aim, an object of the invention is to provide a machine for bundling and palletizing groups of objects, particularly groups of containers, and a method for bundling and palletizing that allows to reduce the length of the lines and to simplify the devices required to perform these operations.

This aim, as well as these and other objects which will become better apparent hereinafter, are achieved by a machine for bundling and palletizing groups of objects, particularly groups of containers, and by a method for bundling and palletizing groups of objects according to the provisions of the independent claims.

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become better apparent from the description of some preferred but not exclusive embodiments of a machine for bundling and palletizing groups of objects, particularly groups of containers, and of a method for bundling and palletizing groups of objects according to the invention, illustrated by way of nonlimiting example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a practical embodiment of a machine for bundling and palletizing groups of objects according to the invention;

Figure 2 is a perspective view of the retention device;

Figure 3 is a perspective view of a possible variation of embodiment of the machine according to the invention.

In the exemplary embodiments that follow, individual characteristics, given in relation to specific examples, may actually be interchanged with other different characteristics that exist in other exemplary embodiments. With reference to the figures, the present invention relates to a machine, designated generally by the reference numeral 1 , for bundling and palletizing groups 10 of objects 11, such as for example containers.

The machine 1 comprises a feeder 20, for example of the belt type, of a group 10 of objects 11 to be bundled, at least one device 30 for the retention of the group 10 of objects 11 to be bundled, and at least one device 40 for bundling the group 10 of objects 11 to be bundled, retained by the retention device or devices 30.

In particular, the bundling device 40 uses an extensible film 41.

Of course, nothing prevents the bundling device from being able to use a film of a different type, for example of the shrink-wrap type.

The bundling device 40 is adapted to wrap the extensible film 41 around the group 10 of objects 11 about at least one wrapping axis 100.

The bundling device 40 can comprise means that provide for the rotation of a spool of film 42 around the group 10 of objects 11, which is thus kept stationary by the retention device 30, or means for rotating the group 10 of objects 11, as shown in the figures, about at least one rotation axis, which substantially corresponds to the wrapping axis 100, so as to drag the extensible film 41 around the group 10 of objects 11.

According to the present invention, the retention device 30 comprises at least one grip element 31 , which is adapted to retain at least one portion of the group 10 of objects 11 to be bundled.

At least one of the grip elements 31 can move on command in order to position the group 10 of objects 11, once bundled, at a storage pallet 50.

The movement on command of the grip elements 31 to place the group 10 of bundled objects 11 at a storage pallet 20 is performed by virtue of movement means which will be described better hereinafter.

In one possible constructive solution, each grip element 31 advantageously has at least one pair of lateral retention bodies 31a, 31b, which are arranged substantially parallel to the wrapping axis 100 and are mutually opposite with respect to the wrapping axis 100.

In particular, the lateral retention bodies 31a, 31b can be moved mutually closer and further apart (along an opening/closing direction 102) in order to clamp and open onto the group 10 of objects 11 around which the extensible film 41 is to be wrapped.

Furthermore, with reference to a practical embodiment, the grip element or elements 31 can move on command to rotate the group 10 of objects 11 about the rotation axis.

Once the respective group 10 of objects 11 has been positioned or stacked in a correct and predetermined manner on the storage pallet 50, the lateral bodies 31a, 31b open and are extracted, moving parallel to the wrapping axis 100, from the inside of the bundle formed by the extensible film 41 wrapped around the group 10 of objects 11.

The bundling device 40 comprises means for feeding the extensible film 41 , which typically is wrapped around a spool 42, in order to allow the wrapping of the extensible film 41 around the group 10 of objects 11.

It is possible to provide for the retention device 30 to comprise a grip element 31 and a mutually opposite grip element (not shown) which are arranged on opposite sides with respect to the group 10 of objects 11.

According to one possible embodiment, the retention device 30 can comprise at least two grip elements 31 , which are optionally associated with respective opposite grip elements 33, which are adapted to bundle and palletize in parallel the groups 10 of objects 11 fed by the feeder 20.

Advantageously, the grip element or elements 31 comprises or comprise an anthropomorphic robot.

The machine 1 can have, between the bundling device 40 and the storage pallet 50, one or more intermediate stations, such as for example a printing device 60, a labeling device, a device for applying a handle for carrying the bundle on the part of the consumer, a device for the application of a cardboard tray, etc. Conveniently, the machine 1 can comprise a device 60 for printing the external surface of the group 10 of objects 11 once they have been bundled.

In particular, the grip element 31 is adapted to move the group 10 of objects 11 from the bundling device 40 toward the printing device 60 and then, once printing has ended, from the printing device at the storage pallet 50.

Conveniently, once the retention device 30 has picked up from the feeder 20 the group 10 of objects 11, the group 10 is no longer released along all of the optional subsequent stations, until the bundle is deposited on the storage pallet 50.

It is also possible to provide for the retention device 30 to "release" temporarily the group 10 of objects 11 to the bundling device 40 to then position it, once bundled, at the storage pallet 50.

According to a further aspect, the present invention relates to a method for bundling and palletizing groups 10 of objects 11, which comprises:

- a step for feeding to a feeder 20 a group 10 of objects 11 to be bundled;

- a step for gripping on the part of a retention device 30 of the group

10 of objects 11 to be bundled;

- a step for bundling, by means of a bundling device 40, the group 10 of objects 11 to be bundled, retained by the retention device 30, bundling being performed by means of an extensible film 41.

The method further provides:

- a step for moving, by means of the retention device 30 which comprises at least one grip element 31 adapted to retain at least one portion of the group 10 of objects 11 to be bundled, the group 10 of objects 11 already bundled at a storage pallet 50.

It is further possible to provide, between the bundling step and the movement step, for multiple intermediate steps, such as for example a step for printing at the outer surface of the extensible film 41 wrapped around the group 10 of objects 11.

In practice it has been found that the invention in all of its embodiments is capable of achieving fully the intended aim and objects.

The invention thus conceived is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the appended claims.

In practice, the materials used, so long as they are compatible with the specific use, as well as the shapes and dimensions, may be any according to the requirements and the state of the art.

All the details may further be replaced with other technically equivalent elements.

The disclosures in Italian Patent Application no. 102016000055932 (UA2016A003955), from which this application claims priority, are incorporated herein by reference.

Where technical features mentioned in any claim are followed by reference signs, those reference signs have been included for the sole purpose of increasing the intelligibility of the claims and accordingly such reference signs do not have any limiting effect on the interpretation of each element identified by way of example by such reference signs.