Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A METHOD AND AN APPARATUS FOR PRODUCING CONTAINERS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1990/007451
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method and an apparatus for producing a container (10) filled with goods (60) and possessing superior mechanical stability are disclosed. A preform (10a) which is filled with the filling goods, consists of crystallizable plastic material and comprises a bottom portion (11a) and an opening portion (13), is reformed into the container by means of a mechanical forming tool (20). On the reforming of the bottom portion, the mechanical forming tool displaces the bottom portion towards the opening portion of the preform under simultaneous temperature conditioning of the material of the bottom portion. The mechanical forming tool abuts against the bottom portion for such a length of time that the bottom portion obtains a total crystallinity of at least 15 %. An apparatus according to the invention includes a holder (50) in which the preform (10a) is received and in which the preform is retained on reforming of its bottom portion, and a mechanical forming tool (20) with an abutment surface (22) which, by means (26), is given an elevated temperature. The apparatus is included in equipment for filling of the preform with filling goods and the forming tool is disposed for the above-mentioned displacement of the bottom portion, once the preform has been supplied with filling goods and for retention of the abutment surface during a predetermined period of time at an end position of the above-mentioned displacement.

Inventors:
S�rensen, Erling
Application Number:
PCT/SE1989/000747
Publication Date:
July 12, 1990
Filing Date:
December 22, 1989
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
PLM AB A/S HAUSTRUP PLASTIC A/S PLM HAUSTRUP HOLDING S�RENSEN, Erling.
International Classes:
B29C49/48; B29C49/42; B29C49/64; B29C51/00; B29C51/42; B65B7/28; B65B61/00; B29L22/00; (IPC1-7): B29C71/02; B65B3/02; B65B7/28; B65B61/24
Foreign References:
EP0282941A21988-09-21
US4338765A1982-07-13
US4381279A1983-04-26
EP0251877A11988-01-07
US4684025A1987-08-04
Download PDF:
Claims:
1. A method for producing a goods (60)filled container (10) of favorable mechanical stability, in which the container is formed from a preform (10a) of crystallizable plastic material, the preform and the container, respectively, comprising a container body (12) with a sealed bottom portion (11a, 11, respectively) and an opening portion (13), in which, on the forming of the container, the bottom portion (11a) of the preform is reformed by means of a mechanical forming tool (20) into the bottom portion (11) of the container, in which the temperature of an abutment surface (22) of the mechanical forming tool (20) is adjusted at a level in excess of the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the plastic material and in v/hich said abutment surface is brought into contact with an outwardly facing defining surface (15) of the bottom portion (11a) of the preform (10a), and displaces at least one region (17) of the bottom portion of the preform towards the opening portion, c h a r a c t e r i z e d in that said region (17) is displaced towards the opening portion (13) once the preform (10a) has been supplied with the filling goods (60); that the mechanical forming tool abuts against the bottom portion (11a, 11) for such a length of time that material in the bottom portion of the container obtains a total crystallization of at least 15 %, at least in one layer most proximal the abutment surface of the mechanical forming tool; and that the preform, or alternatively the container, is provided with a tight seal (70).
2. The method as claimed in claim 1, c h a r a c t e r i z e d in that the filling goods (60) are supplied to the preform (10a)' at a temperature exceeding approx. 50°C, preferably exceeding approx. 70°C, and generally exceeding 90°C.
3. The method as claimed in claim 1 or 2, c h a r a c t e r i z e d in that the preform (10a) is sealed once the mechanical tool (20) has commenced, and as a rule completed, the major part of said displacement of said region (17) of the bottom portion (11a) towards the opening portion of the container.
4. The method as claimed in claim 1 or 2, c h a r a c t e r i z e d in that the displacement by the mechanical forming tool (20) of said region (17) of the bottom portion (11a) of the preform (10a) takes place once the preform (10a) has been sealed.
5. The method as claimed in claim 1 or 2, c h a r a c t e r i z e d in that the container (10) is sealed once the mechanical tool (20) has completed the displacement of at least said region (17) towards the centre of the container.
6. The method as claimed in claim 1, c h a r a c t e r i z e d in that the abutment surface (22) is displaced into contact with the outer defining surface of the bottom portion (11a, 11) before the preform (10a) and the container (10), respectively, have been supplied with filling goods (60).
7. The method as claimed in any one of claims 16, c h a r a c¬ t e r i z e d in that the mechanical forming tool (20) abuts with its abutment surface (22) against" the outwardly facing defining surface (15) of the bottom portion for substantially all material in the bottom portion (11).
8. The method as claimed in claim 7, c h a r a c t e r i z e d in that the abutment surface (22) of the mechanical forming tool is displaced into abutment against the outwardly facing defining surface (15) of the bottom portion (11a, 11) of said region (17) where substantially amorphous plastic material is defined thereby.
9. The method as claimed in any one of claims 18, c h a r a c t e r i z e d in that the mechanical forming tool (20) abuts against the outwardly facing defining surface (15) of the bottom portion (11a, 11) for such a length of time that material in the bottom portion which, when the tool first makes contact with the bottom portion, is substantially amorphous, thermocrystallizes to such a considerable extent that the material, at least in a layer most proximal the defining surface, becomes opaque.
10. In the formation of a container (10) with favorable mechanical stability and including a sealed bottom portion (11), for reforming a preform (10a) of crystallizable plastic material and including a bottom portion (11a) and an opening portion (13), an apparatus comprising a holder (50) in which the preform (10a) is received and in v/hich the preform is retained on reforming of its bottom portion (11a) for the formation of the bottom portion (11) of the container (10) and including a mechanical forming tool (20) including means (26) for adjustment of an abutment surface (22) of the mechanical forming tool to an elevated temperature, and means (21) for displacing the forming tool during the abutment of its abutment surface against at least one region (17) of the bottom portion (11a) of the preform (10a) against the opening portion of the preform, c h a r a c t e r i z e d in that the apparatus is included in or associated with equipment for filling the preform (10a) with filling goods (60); that, for the formation of the bottom portion (11) of the container, the forming tool (20) is disposed for said displacement of said region (17) tov/ards the opening portion (13) of the preform once the preform has been supplied with filling goods (60); and that the forming tool is disposed for retention of the abutment surface (22) during a predeterm nable period of time in an end position for the displacement of said region (17).
Description:
A method and an apparatus for producing containers

The present invention relates to a method and an apparatus according to the preambles of the independent claims.

In the employment of containers of thermoplastic material, it is necessary, in many physical applications, to ensure that the container - and thereby the plastic material of which the container consists - can tolerate both low temperatures and high temperatures without undesired permanent deformation. Similarly, there are demands that the container, after sealing, can withstand relatively large pressure differences between the inner space of the container and the space outside the container, without such pressure difference entail¬ ing an undesired deformation of the container. The term deformation encompasses both the deformation maintained by the pressure differences and that deformation which remains once the pressure differences have been equalized. Wishes have also been expressed on the part of packers and fillers to be able to seal the container as soon as possible - and preferably immediately - after the container has been filled with its contents. In many physical applications, in particular when long-term storage of foods is under consideration, there are requirements that the sealing be carried out such that the connection between the sealing member, for example the lid, and the opening portion of the container be continuous and tight in all of its parts. In such instance, the connection between the sealing member and the opening portion generally consists of a loop which is closed in the circumferential direction. A further desire which has been expressed in this art is that, when the goods are of a more or less liquid nature, the filled and sealed container should have a head space (the space between the sealing member, or lid, of the container and the upper defining surface of the goods) which is as small as possible.

Hence, there are express wishes in the art for a container of plastic material which is suited for high-temperature applications and/or for the storage of liquids under pressure, for example the storage of

soft drinks, beer etc. The term high-temperature applications is taken to mean, for example, that the contents in filled and sealed containers are pasteurized (60-70°C), that liquid is filled directly into the containers from boiling (hot filling), or that the contents of filled and sealed containers are sterilized (at least 121°C). It will be obvious to one skilled in the art that, during the heating cycle and cooling cycle, respectively, which take place in connection with pasteurization, hot filling and sterilization, the plastic material is exposed to extreme thermo stresses and/or that considerable pressure differences occur between the inner of the container and its surroundings.

In general, it is required that once a container has been supplied with goods and sealed, the goods fill out as large a portion of the filling space as possible. In addition, when the goods are of a more or less fluid nature, it is required that the space between the upper defining surface of the goods and the edge of the opening is large so as to minimize the risk that the contents of the as yet unsealed container slop over the edge. It is obvious, that, in case the container is of can form and has a large opening area, both of the above-disclosed requirements are mutually conflicting. In particular in physical applications in which the container, after filling, is moved to a sealing station, the requirement of a large distance betv/een the upper defining surface of the goods and the opening edge is accentuated even further.

A major problem in the tight sealing of a hot-filled container, before its contents have cooled, is that the pressure difference between the inner space of the container and the container's surroundings progressively increases according as the contents of the container cool, since the pressure within the container progressively diminishes. As a rule, the walls of the container body consist of

monoaxially or biaxially oriented material, which implies that the walls of the container will have caved-in or dimpled portions if the container is sealed relatively soon after the filling goods have been supplied to the container.

The present invention relates to a method and an apparatus in which the above requirements demands and wishes are satisfied and in which the above problems and drawbacks are obviated. This is achieved by the technology as set forth in the characterizing clauses of the independent claims.

The container body and, as a rule, also the opening portion of the container, consist of monoaxially and/or biaxially oriented plastic material. The oriented material possesses a good capacity to withstand expansion forces. When the present invention is reduced into practice, the size of the maximum excess pressure within the container is adjusted to levels which entail that the deformation of the walls will be acceptable and/or will return to an acceptable level when the excess pressure has been reduced or no longer prevails. Since, at excess pressure within the container, its bottom portion is influenced by outwardly directed forces, the maximum inner pressure is also adjusted in view of the capacity of the bottom portion to withstand these forces, so as to avoid the risk of harmful deformation to the bottom portion, for instance that the bottom portion is turned inside out.

The present invention includes embodiments in which reforming of the bottom portion takes place once the container has been sealed, or in which a greater or lesser portion of the reforming cycle takes place before the container has been sealed. In the physical applications disclosed in the foregoing, excess pressure will thereby arise in the container in conjunction with the displacement of at least one region of the bottom portion towards the opening portion of the container. This excess pressure is accommodated by the wall and bottom-portion, respectively, of the container body without permanent, unacceptable deformation, or with no deformation v/hatever, even once the bottom portion and the mechanical tool employed have been separated from

one another. According as the temperature in the interior of the container falls, the excess pressure diminishes and, in certain physical applications, becomes a partial vacuum.

By selecting a suitable point in time for sealing the container, there will be achieved according to the present invention an adjustment of the largest level of the excess pressure which occurs within the container, at the same time as the delayed sealing operation in certain physical applications entails that a certain partial vacuum v/ill prevail v/ithin the container once its contents have cooled. Hereby, there v/ill be achieved an adaptation to the ability of the container to v/ithstand inner and outer excess pressure without the container being deformed to such an extent that its use is jeopardized. The term deformation is primarily taken to mean the pressure-dependent deformation which occurs in conjunction with filling of the container or in conjunction with subsequent transport, storage and sale. When the present invention is reduced into prac¬ tice, the point in time for sealing and the size of the deformation are, as a rule, adapted to one another so that neither partial vacuum nor excess pressure prevails v/ithin the sealed container at normal storage temperature.

By sealing the container after reforming of the bottom portion has commenced or, in certain embodiments, been completed, a reduction of the space will be achieved between the upper defining surface of the filling goods and the sealing member (the lid). The size of the reduction of the space which reforming of the bottom portion entails is, in such instance, adapted to the size of the space between the filling goods and the lid and/or to the distance between the upper surface of the filling goods and the opening edge prior to defor¬ mation. In embodiments in which the container is sealed before reforming of the bottom portion or once but a slight part of the reforming of the bottom portion has taken place, an embodiment is generally selected in which the lid possesses resiliently yieldable properties. In this instance, after reforming of the bottom portion, the lid is optionally allowed to bulge outwardly at least in its central regions, while the lid returns, once the contents of the

container have cooled, to its original form, or in certain embodiments, in which partial vacuum occurs in the container, bulges inwardly (as the pressure in the filling space diminishes when the contents cool).

The highest level of the excess pressure is adapted to, for example, the volume of the container, the temperature-dependent volume change of the filling goods and the size of the space which is not taken up by filling goods etc., for adjusting the pressure within the con- tainer at normally prevailing storage temperatures to a lowest level which entails that the container is capable of withstanding the forces directed towards the interior of the container without any caved-in portions being formed. In certain embodiments the maximum excess pressure is selected to be at such a level that partial vacuum never occurs in the container under normal storage conditions.

Expedient embodiments of the present invention are disclosed in the dependent claims. The present invention will be described in greater detail below with reference to a number of drawings. In the acco pany-

Figs. 1-4 are sections through a first embodiment of the present invention;

Figs. 5-7 are sections corresponding to the sections in Figs. 1-4 for a second embodiment of the present invention; and

Figs. 3 is an axial section through a container.

Referring to the drawings, there is shown a container 10 and a preform 10a for the container, respectively. The preform and the container consist of crystallizable plastic material the preform and the container, respectively, comprising a container body 12, a sealed bottom portion 11a and 11, respectively, and an opening portion 13. The container body and preferably also the opening portion consist, as a rule, of monoaxially or biaxially oriented material. The opening portion has an opening edge 14 which, in the embodiment shown on the

drawings, is arranged as an opening flange. The bottom portion 11, 11a is provided with a circu ferentially disposed outer portion 19 forming one or more standing surfaces 18 for the container and a central portion 17 located inside thereof and at least in the container being displaced in relation to the standing surface or standing surfaces tov/ards the opening portion of the container. At least in the preform 10a (cf. Figs. 1 and 5), the central portion consists substantially of amorphous material. The term substantially amorphous material is here taken to mean that the crystallization is less than 10 % and as a rule less than 5 %. It will be obvious to one skilled in the art that, in certain embodiments, the central portion 17 of the preform is located flush with the standing surface or standing surfaces of the bottom portion or, in certain embodiments, is located at a lower level. The outwardly facing surface of the bottom portion has reference numeral 15 and its inwardly facing surface has reference numeral 16.

The preform 10a and the container 10, respectively, are carried by a step 53 of a circular or polygonal holder 50. The step is located between an upper defining surface 51 facing the centre axis 61 of the apparatus and a lower defining surface 52 facing the centre axis. The upper defining surface defines, tov/ards the centre axis 61, a tube-like member 57 v/hich is dimensioned so as to surround the bottom portion 11a, 11, of the preform and the container, respectively, and, in certain embodiments, also at least the lower portion of the container body 12. In certain embodiments, the tube-like member is of a sufficiently long axial extent to surround at least the major portion of the container body. The inner cross-sectional area of the tube-like member is adapted to the form (configuration) of the preform or the container, and is, for example, circular, elliptical, polygonal, etc. As a rule, the tube-like member 57 is provided with a bevel 56 at its upper portion so as to facilitate placing of the container in the holder. The lov/er defining surface surrounds an aperture 54. The holder has a downwardly facing ' abutment surface 55 which rests against an abutment surface 45 on a substrate 40.

The substrate 40 is provided with an aperture 43 with an upper surface 41 facing the centre axis and a lower surface 42 facing the centre axis, the lower surface being of smaller circumference than the upper. The transition between the tv/o surfaces forms a step 45 /hich constitutes the previously mentioned abutment surface 45 of the substrate 40. The dimensions of the aperture 43 are adapted to the maximum size of the generally annular holder 50 which is employed in the embodiments contemplated here. By such means, adaptation to different sizes and cross-sectional configurations (for example circular, elliptical, polygonal etc.) of the bottom portion and the container body, respectively, will be effected in that each holder 50 has outer dimensions adapted to the dimensions of the aperture 43 of the substrate and inner dimensions adapted to the dimensions and designs of the contemplated preform and container, respectively. In the figures, the annular holder is shown as placed in the aperture of the substrate without the employment of specific holding means. However, it will be obvious to one skilled in the art that such means may be given varying design in response to the contemplated applica¬ tion. By way of non-restricting example, mention might be made that the aperture of the substrate and the annular holder are threaded, that the substrate and the annular holder, respectively, are provided with holes for locking pins etc.

A mechanical forming tool 20 constituting a bottom forming device and, as a rule, also a crystallization device, is shown in the figures beneath the substrate 40. The mechanical tool is displaceable by drive means (not shown) by the intermediary of a lov/er shaft 21 to an upper position (cf. Figs. 2 and 7) and back to the position shown in Figs. 1 and 5.

The mechanical tool is provided with an upwardly facing abutment surface 22 with a central portion 23 and an outer circumferential portion 24. In the illustrated embodiment, the abutment surface merges, in an outer circumferential region, into a fitting or guiding surface 27 which forms a substantially vertically directed circum¬ ferential surface facing away from the centre axis 61 of the

apparatus. The fitting surface is adapted to the lower defining surface 52 of the annular holder 50 facing the centre axis, so as to be displaceable to a position v/here the fitting surface 27 is surrounded by the lower defining surface 52 of the annular holder 50. The fitting surface merges into an outwardly directed abutment surface 25 which cooperates with the abutment surface 55 of the annular holder. Finally, the mechanical tool has a lower, outwardly facing defining surface 28 which connects to the abutment surface 25 of the mechanical tool and is dimensioned so as generally to fit into the aperture 43 of the substrate (cf. Fig. 2). Means 26 for raising the temperature of the abutment surface of the bottom forming device (for example heating coils, ducts for heat carrier medium), are included in the mechanical tool. The abutment surface 22 is of a convex form at least in its central region.

In a preferred embodiment according to the present invention, an upper counter support 30 is displaceable, by means of an upper shaft 34, between a first position (cf. Fig. 1), v/here space is allowed to place the preform 10a in the holder 50, and a second position v/here said support rests against the opening edge 14 of the container (cf. Fig. 2). The counter support is provided with a circumferential abutment portion 31 with an abutment surface 32 for cooperation with the opening edge 14. A central connection portion 33 includes channels 35 which, with the counter support resting against the opening edge, communicate the space beneath the counter support with the ambient atmosphere. The central connection portion constitutes anchorage means for the upper shaft 34. It will be obvious to one skilled in the art that the upper counter support is, in certain embodiments, displaced laterally so as to permit placing of the preform in the annular holder 50.

Figs. 3-7 illustrate an alternative embodiment of the present invention in which the upper counter surface 30 is replaced by a sealing member 80 disposed above the opening portion of the preform 10a and the container 10, respectively. The sealing member comprises a circumferential abutment portion 81, for example one or more heat-sealing jaws, welding jaws, etc., a central connection portion 83 and a drive shaft 84 connected to the central connection portion.

The circumferential abutment portion is provided with one or more abutment surfaces 82 which are turned to face the opening edge of the container. The figures also show a seal 70, for example a lid, a wafer etc., provided with a gripping device 71. The abutment portion also includes means for sealingly connecting the seal to the opening portion of the container. Thus, in certain embodiments the abutment portion includes a sonotrode for fixing the wafer to the opening portion by means of ultrasonic welding, while in other embodiments means 85 are provided for raising the temperature of the abutment surface 82 of the abutment portion, for example electrical heating coils or ducts for thermal medium.

By means of the drive shaft 84, the sealing member 80 is displaceable between a first upper position (cf. Figs. 3 and 5), and a second lower position (cf. Figs. 4, 6 and 7), in which position the sealing member abuts against the wafer and urges this towards the opening portion of the container.

Fig. 8 shows a section through the container 10 once the filling goods in the container have cooled. In this figure, as in the preceding figures, the preform and the container, respectively, are shown as having been supplied with filling goods 60.

The preform 10a is placed in the holder 50 once it has already been filled with goods 60 or is filled with goods after being placed in the holder. The goods are generally supplied to the preform at a temperature in excess of 50°C, preferably in excess of 70°C and generally in excess of 90°C. The bottom forming tool 20 is subsequently displaced upwardly in Figs. 1 and 5 to assume that position which is shown in Figs. 2 and 7, respectively. The abutment surface 22 of the bottom forming tool is, in such instance, set at an elevated temperature, as a rule a temperature exceeding the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the material. In a preferred embodi¬ ment, the temperature of the abutment surface is adjusted by means of the heating device 26 at a level slightly in excess of the tempera¬ ture at which the speed of the thermocrystallization of the plastic material is at its highest, preferably at a temperature exceeding

this temperature by at least 5°C and generally exceeding this temperature by at least 10°C. Thermal energy from the filling goods is added to the thermal energy from the bottom forming tool and entails that the thermal plastic material of the bottom portion, on abutment against the abutment surface of the bottom forming tool, rapidly reaches a temperature above the Tg of the material. At this point, the material softens and reforming of the bottom portion is facilitated at the same time as the material thermally crystallizes.

In the employment of, for example, polyethylene terephthalate, hereinafter abbreviated PET, thermocrystallization takes place very slowly as long as the material temperature is less than 90-100°C, whereafter at increasing temperature the crystallization increases rapidly. The crystallization speed is also pressuredependent. but at those pressure forces which are relevant in the application of the present invention, the effects of the pressure forces on crystallization are essentially negligible, which entails that maximum crystallization speed will be obtained for PET if the material is at a temperature within the range of 135-145°C.

In certain embodiments, depending upon the type of plastic material and choice of temperatures, reforming speed, material thickness etc., such great upwardly-directed pressure forces are required against the bottom of the preform that these forces cannot be compensated for by the gravitational forces developed by the preform and the filling goods. In such embodiments, the upper counter support 30 or the sealing member 80 is displaced into abutment against the opening portion and hereby ensures that the preform is held in place and that the abutment surface 22 of the bottom forming tool securely abuts against the bottom portion. The forming tool 20 thereafter returns to its lower position (cf. Fig. 1) once sufficient time has elapsed with the bottom forming tool in the upper position that the material in the bottom portion has achieved the desired crystallization. As a rule, thermo crystallization is allowed to continue until such time as the material has a crystallization of at least approx. 15 %, generally at least approx. 20 % and, in a preferred embodiment, at least approx. 25 %. In case of PET it has proved to be appropriate

to allow crystallization to continue for such a length of time that at least the material most proximal the defining surface of the bottom portion becomes opaque. The upper counter support 30 is thereafter displaced from the position illustrated in Fig. 2 , whereupon the sealing member 80, once a closure 19, for example a v/afer, has been placed over the opening of the container, is displaced from its initial position (cf. Fig. 3) to a working position (cf. Fig. 4) where it urges the wafer against the opening edge of the container. A joint will hereby be formed betv/een the wafer and the opening edge. In embodiments, the joint is achieved in that the abutment surface 82 of the circumferential abutment portion 81 is at such a high temperature that the wafer, by means of glue which melts, or by means of hot welding, is fixed to the opening portion. In other embodiments, the sealing member includes the sonitrode for ultrasonic welding, the joint being formed as a welding joint.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention (cf. Figs. 5-7) reforming of the bottom portion is effected wholly or partly once the container has been sealed. In such instance, the sealing member 80 is allowed to absorb forces upwardly directed from the bottom reforming tool, at least once the sealing of the container has commenced. In such embodiments, fixing of the seal against the opening edge of the container by means of ultrasonic welding is to be preferred, since the sealing member may thereby be kept at a low temperature and arising out of heating of the plastic material of the opening portion are avoided. However, it will be obvious to one skilled in the art that, in certain applications, sealing members with raised tempera¬ ture at the abutment surface 82 are employed. The temperature and the properties, respectively, of the connection means for fixedly securing the wafer to the opening portion are selected such that a relatively lengthy abutment of the abutment surface against the wafer and consequential heating thereof and of the opening portion do not entail any problems.

On the reforming of the bottom portion, excess pressure arises within the container. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the wafer (the lid) consists of resiliently yieldable material, for

which reason the excess pressure entails that the wafer, in a central region, forms an outward bulge 72 (cf. Fig. 7). In order to ensure that the bottom portion is capable of withstanding the excess pressure, the bottom forming tool 20 is retained in its upper position (cf. Fig. 7) for such a length of time that the above crystallization levels are achieved. Thereafter, the bottom forming tool and the sealing member return to their initial positions and the container is removed from the holder 50.

Examples of pressure variations in the physical application of the present invention and employment of containers of PET are that the excess pressure within the container, after reforming of the bottom portion is allowed to reach 0.2 bar and that the dimensions of the container, the size of the space between the filling goods and the wafer and the material properties of the container are selected such that, when the container cools, the pressure is reduced within the container by approx. 0.2 bar, whereby it will be ensured that, at room temperature, largely the same pressure v/ill prevail within the container as outside. Hereby, the outward bulging 72 will disappear when the wafer returns to its original form (cf. Figs. 7 and 8). In certain embodiments, the size of the reduction of the filling space of the container entailed by reforming of the bottom portion is adapted such that, when the filling goods have cooled, a certain partial vacuum or excess pressure prevails in the container. This implies that the lid (the wafer) will have a permanent inward bulging or outward bulging which indicates that the seal is tight and also demonstrates that the container has not been tampered with. In such cases applications, an outer protective lid is, as a rule, employed - this being dimensioned so as to withstand mechanical stresses in the form of jolts or jerks during transport and handling of the con¬ tainer. The wafer (the inner lid) is more elastic than the rest of the container, for which reason the partial vacuum will not entail undesirable deformation of the opening portion of the container, its body or bottom portion, a deformation v/hich would result that the package as a whole be rejected by the consumer.

Fig. 8 shows a container which has been sealed with the filling goods in the warm state, the bottom of the container being thereafter reformed and in which the temperature of the filling goods and the extent of the reforming have been adjusted so that the pressure reduction which occurs in the interior of the container in conjunction with the temperature reduction has entailed that the seal (wafer) 70 of the container has reassumed its original form and forms a substantially planar lid.

The temperature of the abutment surface of the bottom shaping tool is selected, in certain embodiments, to be at relatively high levels. Thus, it has proved to be possible to employ, for PET, temperatures of up to approx. 220°C, i.e. a temperature which is less than the melting temperature of the material by approx. 25°C, and at the same time achieve the sought-for crystallization levels in the material in the bottom portion. The advantage inherent in such high temperatures is that, after the crystallization, the material is mechanically stable up to very high temperatures.

The above description relates to fundamental embodiments of the present invention. In order to achieve the contemplated capacity in filling equipment, for example the substrate is disposed as a rotary table with a plurality of apertures 43 and annular holders 50 cooperating therewith.

The present invention should not be considered as restricted to that described above and shown on the drawings, many modifications being conceivable without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims.