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Title:
METHOD AND DEVICE FOR PRODUCING COMPONENT DELIVERY SYSTEM UTILIZING FILM BAGS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/168895
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A collapsible core and a method for forming a faceplate onto a film bag using a collapsible core are disclosed. The collapsible core includes a cylindrical sleeve, a central actuator at least partially disposed within the central bore, a plurality of collapsible segments attached to the central actuator, and a stationary segment attached to the central actuator. The plurality of collapsible segments and the stationary segment define a forward end of the collapsible core spaced from the forward end of the cylindrical sleeve in a first direction that is opposite the second direction. Movement of the central actuator in the second direction relative to the plurality of collapsible segments transitions the plurality of collapsible segments from an expanded configuration to a collapsed configuration for receiving the film bag.

Inventors:
GIANSANTI, Brent (10 Connecticut Avenue, Norwich, CT, 06360, US)
SENERTH, Joseph (10 Connecticut Avenue, Norwich, CT, 06360, US)
Application Number:
US2019/019719
Publication Date:
September 06, 2019
Filing Date:
February 27, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NORDSON CORPORATION (28601 Clemens Road, Westlake, OH, 44145-1119, US)
International Classes:
B29C45/14; B05C7/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AKHAVANNIK, Hussein (Baker & Hostetler LLP, 2929 Arch StreetCira Centre, 12th Floo, Philadelphia PA, 19104-2891, US)
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Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A collapsible core for receiving and securing a film bag, the collapsible core comprising: a cylindrical sleeve that defines a forward end, a rearward end opposite the forward end in a second direction, and a central bore that extends from the film bag to the rearward end,

a central actuator at least partially disposed within the central bore; and

a plurality of collapsible segments attached to the central actuator, wherein the plurality of collapsible segments at least partially define a forward end of the collapsible core spaced from the forward end of the cylindrical sleeve in a first direction that is opposite the second direction,

wherein movement of the central actuator in the second direction relative to the plurality of collapsible segments transitions the plurality of collapsible segments from an expanded

configuration to a collapsed configuration for receiving the film bag, wherein the forward end of the collapsible core has a first diameter in the expanded configuration that is measured along a radial direction that is perpendicular to the first and second directions, and a second diameter in the collapsed configuration measured along the radial direction, wherein the second diameter is less than the first diameter.

2. The collapsible core of claim 1, wherein the central actuator defines a body that has a forward surface, a rearward surface opposite the forward surface, a plurality of side surfaces that extend from the forward surface to the rearward surface, and a plurality of slots that extend between the forward and rearward surfaces, wherein each of the plurality of slots extends into the body from a respective one of the plurality of side surfaces.

3. The collapsible core of claim 2, wherein each of the plurality of collapsible segments defines an extension configured to engage the slot of a respective one of the plurality of side surfaces of the central actuator.

4. The collapsible core of claim 3, wherein each of extensions is a dovetail extension, and each of the slots is a dovetail slot.

5. The collapsible core of claim 1, wherein the central actuator is tapered, such that a rearward end of the central actuator is wider than a forward end of the central actuator opposite the rearward end.

6. The collapsible core of claim 5, wherein the central actuator defines a bore that extends from the forward end to the rearward end, wherein the bore defines a first threaded section and a second threaded section spaced from the first threaded section in the second direction.

7. The collapsible core of claim 6, further comprising a core cap and a first fastener disposed within the bore of the central actuator, wherein the first fastener engages the core cap and the first threaded section of the bore to attach the core cap to the central actuator.

8. The collapsible core of claim 6, further comprising a hydraulic cylinder and a second fastener partially disposed within the bore of the central actuator, wherein the second fastener engages the second threaded section of the bore to attach the hydraulic cylinder to the central actuator.

9. The collapsible core of claim 8, wherein a hydraulic piston connected to the hydraulic cylinder is configured to transition the central actuator between the expanded and collapsed configurations.

10. The collapsible core of claim 1, wherein the second diameter is about 0.05 inches less than the first diameter.

11. The collapsible core of claim 1, wherein when the plurality of collapsible segments are in the collapsed configuration and the film bag is received on the collapsible core, movement of the central actuator in the first direction relative to the plurality of collapsible segments transitions the plurality of collapsible segments from the collapsed configuration to the expanded configuration for securing the film bag to the collapsible core.

12. The collapsible core of claim 1, further comprising a tapered ring attached to the forward end of the cylindrical sleeve and disposed around the plurality of collapsible segments.

13. The collapsible core of claim 1, wherein the plurality of collapsible segments includes five collapsible segments, the collapsible core further comprising a stationary segment that partially defines the forward end of the collapsible core.

14. The collapsible core of claim 1, wherein at least one of the plurality of collapsible segments collapses inwards further in the radial direction than another of the plurality of collapsible segments.

15. A collapsible core for receiving and securing a film bag, the collapsible core comprising: a cylindrical sleeve that defines a forward end, a rearward end opposite the forward end in a second direction, and a central bore that extends from the forward end to the rearward end,

a central actuator at least partially disposed within the central bore;

a plurality of collapsible segments attached to the central actuator; and

a stationary segment attached to the central actuator,

wherein the plurality of collapsible segments and the stationary segment define a forward end of the collapsible core spaced from the forward end of the cylindrical sleeve in a first direction that is opposite the second direction,

wherein movement of the central actuator relative to the plurality of collapsible segments transitions the plurality of collapsible segments from an expanded configuration to a collapsed configuration for receiving the film bag, wherein the forward end of the collapsible core has a first diameter measured in a radial direction that is perpendicular to the first and second directions in the expanded configuration and a second diameter in the collapsed configuration measured in the radial direction, wherein the second diameter is less than the first diameter.

16. The collapsible core of claim 15, wherein the stationary segment includes an alignment projection that extends from the stationary segment in the first direction, wherein the alignment projection defines a fixed location for engagement with a robotic instrument.

17. The collapsible core of claim 15, wherein the stationary segment does not move in the radial direction when the plurality of collapsible segments transition from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration.

18. The collapsible core of claim 17, wherein movement of the central actuator in the second direction relative to the plurality of collapsible segments transitions the plurality of collapsible segments from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration.

19. The collapsible core of claim 18, wherein when the plurality of collapsible segments are in the collapsed configuration and the film bag is received on the collapsible core, movement of the central actuator in the first direction relative to the plurality of collapsible segments transitions the plurality of collapsible segments from the collapsed configuration to the expanded configuration for securing the film bag to the collapsible core.

20. The collapsible core of claim 15, wherein the second diameter is about 0.05 inches less than the first diameter.

21. A method for forming a faceplate onto a film bag using a collapsible core, the collapsible core comprising a forward end, a rearward end opposite the forward end in a second direction, a plurality of collapsible segments that at least partially define the forward end of the collapsible core, and a center actuator attached to the plurality of collapsible segments, the method comprising:

placing the film bag over the collapsible core;

translating the center actuator in a first direction that is opposite the second direction to transition the plurality of collapsible segments from a collapsed configuration to an expanded configuration, wherein the forward end of the collapsible core has a first diameter in the expanded configuration that is measured along a radial direction that is perpendicular to the first and second directions, and a second diameter in the collapsed configuration measured along the radial direction, wherein the second diameter is less than the first diameter; and

forming the faceplate onto the film bag.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein the forming includes injection molding a faceplate onto the film bag.

23. The method of claim 21, further comprising: after the forming, translating the center actuator in the second direction to transition the plurality of collapsible segments from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration; and

removing the film bag from the collapsible core.

24. The method of claim 21, wherein the translating includes maintaining a stationary segment that partially defines the forward end of the collapsible core in a fixed position.

25. The method of claim 24, wherein the placing includes engaging the stationary segment with a robotic instrument carrying the film bag.

26. The method of claim 21, further comprising, before the placing, translating the center actuator in the second direction to transition the plurality of collapsible segments from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration.

Description:
METHOD AND DEVICE FOR PRODUCING COMPONENT DELIVERY SYSTEM

UTILIZING FILM BAGS

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent App. No. 62/637,314, filed March 1, 2018, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates to manufacturing flexible film bags, and more particularly relates to a device and method for receiving and securing a flexible film bag for attachment of a faceplate.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Various compositions are packaged in tubular cartridges for use in caulking guns and other types of dispensing mechanisms. Each of the tubular cartridges can comprise a cylindrical film bag that contains the composition, where the film bag is sealed at one end and attached to a faceplate at the opposite end. The faceplate can interface with a dispensing mechanism during operation, and thus can include a passageway for the composition to exit the film bag. During assembly of the tubular cartridge, the faceplate can be formed onto one end of the film bag. To perform this operation, the film bag can be placed into and secured to a machine that forms the faceplate directly onto an end of the film bag. This can be accomplished by disposing the film bag over various types of cores that are incorporated into the machine. However, static cores can lead to difficulty in disposing the film bag onto and removing the film bag from the core due to the lack of clearance between the inner diameter of the film bag and the outer diameter of the core. Collapsible cores have been utilized to address this issue, but are not without their own drawbacks. When a collapsible core collapses, the movement of various aspects of the core can lead to difficulties when interfacing with a robotic instrument that places the film bag onto and removes the film bag from the collapsible core.

[0004] As a result, there is a need for a collapsible core for receiving and securing a film bag for attachment of a faceplate that easily interfaces with a robotic instrument that moves the film bag to and from the collapsible core. SUMMARY

[0005] An embodiment of the present disclosure is a collapsible core for receiving and securing a film bag. The collapsible core includes a cylindrical sleeve that defines a forward end, a rearward end opposite the forward end in a second direction, and a central bore that extends from the forward end to the rearward end, a central actuator at least partially disposed within the central bore, and a plurality of collapsible segments attached to the central actuator. The plurality of collapsible segments at least partially define a forward end of the collapsible core spaced from the forward end of the cylindrical sleeve in a first direction that is opposite the second direction. Movement of the central actuator in the second direction relative to the plurality of collapsible segments transitions the plurality of collapsible segments from an expanded configuration to a collapsed configuration for receiving the film bag, where the forward end of the collapsible core has a first diameter in the expanded configuration that is measured along a radial direction that is perpendicular to the first and second directions, and a second diameter in the collapsed configuration measured along the radial direction, where the second diameter is less than the first diameter.

[0006] Another embodiment of the present disclosure is a collapsible core for receiving and securing a film bag. The collapsible core comprises a cylindrical sleeve that defines a forward end, a rearward end opposite the forward end in a second direction, and a central bore that extends from the forward end to the rearward end, a central actuator at least partially disposed within the central bore, a plurality of collapsible segments attached to the central actuator, and a stationary segment attached to the central actuator. The plurality of collapsible segments and the stationary segment define a forward end of the collapsible core spaced from the forward end of the cylindrical sleeve in a first direction that is opposite the second direction. Movement of the central actuator relative to the plurality of collapsible segments transitions the plurality of collapsible segments from an expanded configuration to a collapsed configuration for receiving the film bag, where the forward end of the collapsible core has a first diameter measured in a radial direction that is perpendicular to the first and second directions in the expanded configuration and a second diameter in the collapsed configuration measured in the radial direction, where the second diameter is less than the first diameter.

[0007] A further embodiment of the present disclosure is a method for forming a faceplate onto a film bag using a collapsible core, the collapsible core comprising a forward end, a rearward end opposite the forward end in a second direction, a plurality of collapsible segments that at least partially define the forward end of the collapsible core, and a center actuator attached to the plurality of collapsible segments. The method includes placing the film bag over the collapsible core and translating the center actuator in a first direction that is opposite the second direction to transition the plurality of collapsible segments from a collapsed configuration to an expanded configuration. The forward end of the collapsible core has a first diameter in the expanded configuration that is measured along a radial direction that is perpendicular to the first and second directions, and a second diameter in the collapsed configuration measured along the radial direction, wherein the second diameter is less than the first diameter. The method also includes forming the faceplate onto the film bag.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. The drawings show illustrative embodiments of the disclosure. It should be understood, however, that the application is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.

[0009] Figure l is a side perspective view of a collapsible core according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0010] Figure 2A is a side perspective view of a stationary segment of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1;

[0011] Figure 2B is a side perspective view of a first collapsible segment of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1;

[0012] Figure 2C is a perspective view of a second collapsible segment of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1;

[0013] Figure 2D is a perspective view of a third collapsible segment of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1;

[0014] Figure 2E is a side perspective view of a fourth collapsible segment of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1; [0015] Figure 2F is a side perspective view of a fifth collapsible segment of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1;

[0016] Figure 3 is a perspective view of a center actuator of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1;

[0017] Figure 4A is a side cross-sectional view of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1, with the collapsible segments in an expanded configuration;

[0018] Figure 4B is a side cross-sectional view of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1, with the collapsible segments in a collapsed configuration;

[0019] Figure 5 is a side perspective view of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1, with the collapsible segments in the collapsed configuration;

[0020] Figure 6A is a front view of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1, with the collapsible segments in the expanded configuration;

[0021] Figure 6B is a front view of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1, with the collapsible segments in the collapsed configuration;

[0022] Figure 7 is an alternative side perspective view of the collapsible core shown in Figure 1, with the collapsible segments in the collapsed configuration; and

[0023] Figure 8 is a process flow diagram of a method for forming a faceplate onto a film bag using a collapsible core according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

[0024] Described herein is a collapsible core 10 for receiving and securing a film bag.

Certain terminology is used to describe the collapsible core 10 in the following description for convenience only and is not limiting. The words "right", "left", "lower," and "upper" designate directions in the drawings to which reference is made. The words“forward” and“rearward” refer to directions in a first direction 2 and a second direction 4 that is opposite the first direction 2 along the collapsible core 10 and related parts thereof. The words "inner" and "outer" refer to directions toward and away from, respectively, the geometric center of the description to describe the collapsible core 10 and related parts thereof along a radial direction 6 that is perpendicular to the first and second directions 2, 4. Though the radial direction 6 may be depicted as a extending in a particular direction, the radial direction 6 can be any direction located on a plane to which the first and second directions 2, 4 are normal. The terminology includes the above-listed words, derivatives thereof, and words of similar import.

[0025] Figures 1-7 depict a collapsible core 10 for receiving and securing a film bag for processing and forming a faceplate onto the film bag. Referring to Figures 1-3, the collapsible core 10 defines a forward end lOa and a rearward end lOb opposite the forward end lOa in the second direction 4, where each of the forward and rearward ends lOa, lOb are defined by various components of the collapsible core 10. The collapsible core 10 can define a substantially cylindrical structure that extends along the first and second directions 2, 4. The collapsible core 10 includes a plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and a stationary segment 20 that collectively define the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10. The interaction and movement of the collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and the stationary segment 20 will be described further below.

[0026] Referring to Figures 1 and 2A, the stationary segment 20 has a body 21 that defines a forward end 2la and a rearward end 2 lb opposite the forward end 2 la. The body 21 of the stationary segment 20 can have a first surface 22a defined by the forward end 2 la, a second surface 22b defined by the rearward end 2 lb, a third surface 22c that extends from the first surface 22a to the second surface 22b, and a fourth surface 22d opposite the third surface 22c that also extends from the first surface 22a to the second surface 22b. The stationary segment 20 also can have a fifth surface 22e that extends from the first surface 22a to the second surface 22b and from the third surface 22c to the fourth surface 22d, as well as a sixth surface 22f that extends from the opposite side of the third surface 22c to the fourth surface 22d, as well as from the first surface 22a to the second surface 22b. The body 21 of the stationary segment 20 can be substantially lens-shaped with the forward end 2la being larger than the rearward end 2lb. However, it is contemplated that the body 21 of the stationary segment 20 can be differently shaped and sized as desired.

[0027] The stationary segment 20 can further include an alignment projection 24 that extends from the first surface 22a. The alignment projection 24 can define a reference point for a robotic instrument that places the film bag over the collapsible core 10 and removes the film bag from the collapsible core 10, as will be discussed below. Though the alignment projection 24 is shown as defining a particular shape, the alignment projection 24 can be differently configured as desired. The stationary segment 20 defines an extension 26 that extends outward from the third surface 22c for engaging the central actuator 80, which will be described further below. Though depicted as extending from the first surface 22a to the second surface 22b, the extension 26 can alternatively extend to any extent between the first and second surfaces 22a, 22b. The extension 26 can define a dovetail shape, though other suitable shapes are contemplated. The stationary segment 20 can include a tab 28 that extends outward from the fourth surface 22d and is configured to be received in a slot 128 defined by a tapered ring 124, which will be described below.

[0028] Referring to Figures 1 and 2B, a first collapsible segment 30 has a body 31 that defines a forward end 3 la and a rearward end 3 lb opposite the forward end 3 la. The body 31 of the first collapsible segment 30 can have a first surface 32a defined by the forward end 3 la, a second surface 32b defined by the rearward end 3 lb, a third surface 32c that extends from the first surface 32a to the second surface 32b, and a fourth surface 32d opposite the third surface 32c that also extends from the first surface 32a to the second surface 32b. The first collapsible segment 30 can also have a fifth surface 32e that extends from the first surface 32a to the second surface 32b and from the third surface 32c to the fourth surface 32d, as well as a sixth surface 32f opposite the fifth surface 32e that extends from the first surface 32a to the second surface 32b and from the third surface 32c to the fourth surface 32d. The forward end 3 la of the body 31 is depicted as substantially trapezoidal and the rearward end 3 lb as a circular segment, though other combinations of shapes of the forward and rearward ends 3 la, 3 lb are contemplated. Like the stationary segment 20, the first collapsible segment 30 includes an extension 36 that extends outward from the third surface 32c for engaging the central actuator 80. Though depicted as extending from the first surface 32a to the second surface 32b, the extension 36 can alternatively extend to any extent between the first and second surfaces 32a, 32b. The extension 36 can define a dovetail shape, though other suitable shapes are contemplated. The first collapsible segment 30 can include a tab 38 that extends outward from the fourth surface 32d and is configured to be received in a slot 128 defined by the tapered ring 124.

[0029] Referring to Figure 1 and 2C, a second collapsible segment 40 has a body 41 that defines a forward end 4la and a rearward end 4 lb opposite the forward end 4 la. The body 41 of the second collapsible segment 40 can have a first surface 42a defined by the forward end 4 la, a second surface 42b defined by the rearward end 4 lb, a third surface 42c that extends from the first surface 42a to the second surface 42b, and a fourth surface 42d opposite the third surface 42c that also extends from the first surface 42a to the second surface 42b. The body 41 of the second collapsible segment 40 is depicted as shaped substantially as a circular segment, though other shapes for the body 41 are contemplated. Like the stationary segment 20 and the first collapsible segment 30, the second collapsible segment 40 includes an extension 46 that extends outward from the third surface 42c for engaging the central actuator 80. Though depicted as extending from the first surface 42a to the second surface 42b, the extension 46 can alternatively extend to any extent between the first and second surfaces 42a, 42b. The extension 46 can define a dovetail shape, though other suitable shapes are contemplated. The second collapsible segment 40 can include a tab 48 that extends outward from the fourth surface 22d and is configured to be received in a slot 128 defined by the tapered ring 124.

[0030] Referring to Figures 1 and 2D, a third collapsible segment 50 has a body 51 that defines a forward end 5 la and a rearward end 5 lb opposite the forward end 5 la. The body 51 of the third collapsible segment 50 can have a first surface 52a defined by the forward end 5 la, a second surface 52b defined by the rearward end 5 lb, a third surface 52c that extends from the first surface 52a to the second surface 52b, and a fourth surface 52d opposite the third surface 52c that also extends from the first surface 52a to the second surface 52b. The third collapsible segment 50 can also have a fifth surface 52e that extends from the first surface 52a to the second surface 52b and from the third surface 52c to the fourth surface 52d, as well as a sixth surface 52f opposite the fifth surface 52e that extends from the first surface 52a to the second surface 52b and from the third surface 52c to the fourth surface 52d. Like the first collapsible segment 30, the forward end 5 la of the body 51 of the third collapsible segment 50 is depicted as substantially trapezoidal and the rearward end 5 lb as a circular segment. However, the forward and rearward ends 5 la, 5 lb of the third collapsible segment 50 can dimensionally differ from those of the first collapsible segment 30, as well as comprise different shapes entirely. The third collapsible segment 50 includes an extension 56 that extends outward from the third surface 52c for engaging the central actuator 80. Though depicted as extending from the first surface 52a to the second surface 52b, the extension 56 can alternatively extend to any extent between the first and second surfaces 52a, 52b. The extension 56 can define a dovetail shape, though other suitable shapes are contemplated. The third collapsible segment 50 can include a tab 58 that extends outward from the fourth surface 52d and is configured to be received in a slot 128 defined by the tapered ring 124.

[0031] Referring to Figures 1 and 2E, a fourth collapsible segment 60 has a body 61 that defines a forward end 6la and a rearward end 6 lb opposite the forward end 6 la. The body 61 of the fourth collapsible segment 60 can have a first surface 62a defined by the forward end 6 la, a second surface 62b defined by the rearward end 6 lb, a third surface 62c that extends from the first surface 62a to the second surface 62b, and a fourth surface 62d opposite the third surface 62c that also extends from the first surface 62a to the second surface 62b. Like the second collapsible segment 40, the body 61 of the fourth collapsible segment 60 is depicted as shaped substantially as a circular segment, though other shapes for the body 61 are contemplated. The fourth collapsible segment 60 further includes an extension 66 that extends outward from the third surface 62c for engaging the central actuator 80. Though depicted as extending from the first surface 62a to the second surface 62b, the extension 66 can alternatively extend to any extent between the first and second surfaces 62a, 62b. The extension 66 can define a dovetail shape, though other suitable shapes are

contemplated. The fourth collapsible segment 60 can include a tab 68 that extends outward from the fourth surface 62d and is configured to be received in a slot 128 defined by the tapered ring 124.

[0032] Referring to Figures 1 and 2F, a fifth collapsible segment 70 has a body 71 that defines a forward end 7la and a rearward end 7 lb opposite the forward end 7 la. The body 71 of the fifth collapsible segment 70 can have a first surface 72a defined by the forward end 7 la, a second surface 72b defined by the rearward end 7 lb, a third surface 72c that extends from the first surface 72a to the second surface 72b, and a fourth surface 72d opposite the third surface 72c that also extends from the first surface 72a to the second surface 72b. The first collapsible segment 70 can also have a fifth surface 72e that extends from the first surface 72a to the second surface 72b and from the third surface 72c to the fourth surface 72d, as well as a sixth surface 72f opposite the fifth surface 72e that extends from the first surface 72a to the second surface 72b and from the third surface 72c to the fourth surface 72d. Like the first and third collapsible segments 30, 50, the forward end 7la of the body 71 is depicted as substantially trapezoidal and the rearward end 7 lb as a circular segment, though other combinations of shapes of the forward and rearward ends 7 la, 7 lb are contemplated. The fifth collapsible segment 70 includes an extension 76 that extends outward from the third surface 72c for engaging the central actuator 80. Though depicted as extending from the first surface 72a to the second surface 72b, the extension 76 can alternatively extend to any extent between the first and second surfaces 72a, 72b. The extension 76 can define a dovetail shape, though other suitable shapes are contemplated. The fifth collapsible segment 70 can include a tab 78 that extends outward from the fourth surface 72d and is configured to be received in a slot 128 defined by the tapered ring 124.

[0033] Continuing with Figures 1 and 3-4B, the collapsible core 10 includes a central actuator 80 that is connected to the stationary segment 20 and the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70, which can collectively be referred to as the plurality of collapsible segments, as will be described further below. The central actuator 80 has body 81 that defines a forward end 8 la and a rearward end 8 lb opposite the forward end 8 la. The body 81 of the central actuator 80 can have a first surface 82a (or forward surface) defined by the forward end 8 la, and a second surface 82b (or rearward surface) opposite the first surface 82a defined by the rearward end 8 lb. The central actuator 80 can also have third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth surfaces 82c, 82d, 82e, 82f, 82g, and 82h that each extend from the forward surface 82a to the rearward surface 82b. Each of the surfaces 82c-82h can also be referred to as respective side surfaces. Because the central actuator 80 can define six surfaces 82c-82h that extend from the first surface 82a to the second surface 82b, the body 81 of the central actuator 80 can be substantially shaped as a hexagonal prism, with the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth surfaces 82c-82h defining the six side surfaces of the hexagonal prism. Though the body 81 of the central actuator 80 is depicted as defining a hexagonal prism, the body 81 can define more or less than six side surfaces, and thus define different shapes as desired. However, the number of side surfaces defined by the body 81 will generally correspond to the total number segments included in the collapsible core 10, which includes the plurality of collapsible segments plus the stationary segment 20.

[0034] The body 81 of the central actuator 80 can be tapered, such that the rearward end 8 lb of the central actuator 80 is wider than the forward end 8 la. As shown in Figures 4A and 4B, the forward end 8 la of the central actuator 80 can have a first width Wi and the rearward end 8 lb can have a second width W2, where the second width W2 is larger than the first width Wi. The body 81 of the central actuator 80 can also define a plurality of slots 90a-90f that extend between the first and second surfaces 82a, 82b. Each of the slots 90a-90f can extend from the first surface 82a to the second surface 82b, and from a respective one of the side surfaces 82c-82h inward into the body 81 of the central actuator. For example, the first slot 90a can extend into the body 81 from the third surface 82c, the second slot 90b can extend into the body 81 from the fourth surface 82d, the third slot 90c can extend into the body 81 from the fifth surface 82e, the fourth slot 90d can extend into the body 81 from the sixth surface 82f, the fifth slot 90e can extend into the body 81 from the seventh surface 82g, and the sixth slot 90f can extend into the body 81 from the eighth surface 82h. Each of the slots 90a-90f is configured to receive an extension of a respective one of the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 or the stationary segment 20, as will be discussed further below. When the extensions of the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 or the stationary segment 20, the slots 90a-90f can comprise dovetail slots. However, different shapes for the slots 90a-90f are contemplated, but the shape of the slots 90a-90f will generally be

complementary to the shape of the extensions of the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 and the stationary segment 20.

[0035] The central actuator 80 can further include a recess 84 that extends rearward into the body 81 from the first surface 82a. The recess 84 is depicted as substantially cylindrical and configured to receive a core cap 94, which will be discussed below. However other shapes of the recess 84 are contemplated. The recess 84 can be partially defined by a shelf 88 positioned within the recess 84. The shelf 88 can be shaped as a circular segment, and can aid in orienting the core cap 94 when the core cap 94 is inserted into the recess 84. The body 81 of the central actuator 80 can also have a central bore 86 that extends from the recess 84 to the second surface 82b. The central bore 86 can include multiple sections, such as a first section 86a and a second section 86b, where the first section 86a has a different diameter than the second diameter. For example, the first section 86a can have a smaller diameter than the second section 86b. However, in alternative embodiments the diameters of the first and second sections 86a, 86b can be the same, or the diameter of the first section 86a can be larger than that of the second section 86b. As shown in Figures 4A and 4B, the first section 86a of the central bore 86 can include a first threaded section 87a and the second section 86b of the central bore 86 can include a second threaded section 87b. Both the first and second threaded sections 87a, 87b are designed to engage respective fasteners during assembly of the collapsible core 10, as will be discussed further below. The relative orientations and designs of the threads of the first and second threaded sections 87a, 87b can differ or be the same as desired. [0036] Continuing with Figures 1-4B, the collapsible core 10 can include a sleeve 100 that is configured to at least partially receive the central actuator 80. The sleeve 100 can have a body 101 that defines a forward end lOla and a rearward end 10 lb opposite the forward end lOla. The sleeve 100 can define a central bore 104 that extends from the forward end lOla to the rearward end 10 lb, where the central bore 104 is configured to at least partially receive the central actuator 80. The central bore 104 can also be configured to receive a hydraulic cylinder 116 that is connected to the central actuator 80. The hydraulic cylinder 116 can include a bore 119 that is configured to receive a fastener 112 to attach the hydraulic cylinder 116 to the central actuator 80. Specifically, the bore 119 includes a first section 1 l9a and a second section 1 l9b, where the first section 1 l9a has a smaller diameter than the second section 1 l9b. The transition between the first and second sections 1 l9a, 1 l9b limits the extent to which the fastener 112 can extend through the hydraulic cylinder 116. In operation, the hydraulic cylinder 116 can by hydraulically actuated to move in the first and second directions 2, 4 to move the central actuator 80 relative to the sleeve 100. The hydraulic cylinder 116 is attached to the central actuator 80 by the fastener 112, which extends through the first and second sections 1 l9a, 1 l9b of the bore 119 and engages the second threaded section 87b of the central bore 86 of the central actuator 80. The collapsible core 10 also includes a fastener 108 configured to attach the core cap 94 to the central actuator 80. In operation, the fastener 108 extends through the central bore 86 of the central actuator, threadedly engages the first threaded section 87a, and engages the core cap 94. The transition between the first and second sections 86a, 86b of the central bore 86 limits the extent to which the fastener 108 can extend through the central actuator 80. Though the fasteners 108, 112 are depicted as threaded bolts, each of the fasteners 108, 112 can comprise any type of fastener suitable for attaching the hydraulic cylinder 116 to the central actuator 80, and the central actuator 80 to the core cap 94. Further, though a threaded engagement between the hydraulic cylinder 116 and the central actuator 80 and between the central actuator 80 and the core cap 94 is shown, these parts can be attached through alternative means, such as adhesive, welding, etc.

[0037] Continuing with Figures 5-7, the assembly of the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70, the stationary segment 20, and the central actuator 80 will be discussed further. When fully assembled, the central actuator 80 is located at the radial center of the collapsible core 10, with each of the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 and the stationary segment 20 disposed radially around the central actuator 80. The extensions of each of the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 and the stationary segment 20 can be disposed in a respective one of the slots 90a-90f of the central actuator 80. For example, the extension 26 of the stationary segment 20 can be disposed in the first slot 90a of the central actuator 80, the extension 36 of the first collapsible segment 30 can be disposed in the second slot 90b, the extension 46 of the second collapsible segment 40 can be disposed in the third slot 90c, the extension 56 of the third collapsible segment 50 can be disposed in the fourth slot 90d, the extension 66 of the fourth collapsible segment 60 can be disposed in the fifth slot 90e, and the extension 76 of the fifth collapsible segment 70 can be disposed in the sixth slot 90f. Likewise, the third surface 22c of the stationary segment 20 can contact the third surface 82c of the central actuator 80, the third surface 32c of the first collapsible segment 30 can contact the fourth surface 82d, the third surface 42c of the second collapsible segment 40 can contact the fifth surface 82e, the third surface 52c of the third collapsible segment 50 can contact the sixth surface 82f, the third surface 62c of the fourth collapsible segment 60 can contact the seventh surface 82g, and the third surface 72c of the fifth collapsible segment 70 can contact the eighth surface 82h. However, it should be noted that only one arrangement of the central actuator 80, the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70, and the stationary segment 20 is described, and rearrangement or resizing of these components is contemplated, and thus the relative placement of these components can change. When the collapsible core 10 is fully assembled, the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 and the stationary segment 20 can define the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10.

[0038] Referring to Figures 4A-7, in operation, the collapsible core 10, and particularly the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70, can be transitioned between an expanded configuration and a collapsed configuration. This movement aids in the ability to slide a film bag over the collapsible core 10, secure the film bag to the collapsible core 10, and remove the film bag from the collapsible core 10, as will be discussed further below. In Figures 4A and 6A, the collapsible core 10 is in the expanded configuration. In this configuration, the central actuator 80 is at its forward-most position in the first direction 2 in relation to the other components of the collapsible core. In the expanded configuration, the forward end lOa of the collapsible core defines a first diameter Di that is measured along the radial direction 6. As the forward end lOa is substantially circular, the first diameter Di can be measured across the forward end lOa in multiple directions. When the collapsible core 10 is in the expanded configuration, the positioning of the outer surfaces 20c, 30c, 40c, 50c, 60c, and 70c of the stationary segment 20 and the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70, respectively, causes the forward end lOa to define a substantially circular shape and thus the outer surfaces 20c, 30c, 40c, 50c, 60c, and 70c to be spaced at an equal radial distance from the center of the collapsible core 10.

[0039] To transition the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration, the central actuator 80 can be moved through the central bore 104 of the sleeve 100 in the second direction 4. This can be performed by actuating the hydraulic cylinder 116, which is connected to the central actuator 80. The hydraulic cylinder 116 can itself be connected to a hydraulic piston or similar hydraulic device (not shown) that is capable of being manually actuated by a user or automatically operated by a control system (not shown). Though hydraulic devices are contemplated for actuating the hydraulic cylinder 116, other suitable devices for translating the hydraulic cylinder 116 are contemplated. When transitioning the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration, the central actuator 80 moves relative to the sleeve 100 and the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 from a forward-most position, where the central actuator 80 is spaced furthest in the first direction 2 relative to the sleeve 100 and the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70, to a rearward-most position, where the central actuator 80 is spaced furthest in the second direction 4 relative to the sleeve 100 and the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70. As shown in Figures 4A and 4B, the forward-most and rearward-most positions can be separated by a distance D.

[0040] When the central actuator 80 is moving in the second direction 4 to transition the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration, the interaction between the extensions 36, 46, 56, 66, and 76 and the respective slots 90b-90f within which they are disposed causes the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 to move radially inward along the radial direction R. As the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 move radially inward, certain ones of the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 move radially inward to a greater extent than others of the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70. As shown particularly in Figure 6B, the first, third, and fifth collapsible segments 30, 50, and 70 move further inward along the radial direction 6 than the second and fourth collapsible segments 40 and 60. The staggered movement of the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 prevents the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 from locking up during transition from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration. It should be noted that although the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 move radially inward when transitioning from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration, the stationary segment 20 remains stationary and thus does not move radially. Though the extension 26 of the stationary segment 20 is disposed within a first slot 90a of the central actuator 80, this engagement does not cause the stationary segment 20 to move like the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70. By keeping the stationary segment 20 stationary, the stationary segment 20, and in particular the alignment projection 24, can define a fixed location for easy engagement with a robotic instrument (not shown) during placement of a film bag (not shown) over the collapsible core 10 and/or removal of the film bag from over the collapsible core 10.

[0041] The collapsible core 10 can include a tapered ring 124 attached to the forward end lOOa of the sleeve 100 that is disposed around the stationary segment 20 and the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70. When attached to the sleeve 100, the tapered ring 124 can be tapered radially inward as it extends in the first or forward direction 2, such that the tapered ring 124 creates a gradual transition between the stationary segment 20 and the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 and the sleeve 100. The tapered ring 124 can be attached to the sleeve 100 through a plurality of fasteners 132. However, other means of attachment are contemplated. The tapered ring 124 defines a plurality of slots 128 that extend radially through the rearward-most end of the tapered ring 124, where each one of the plurality of slots 128 is configured to receive a respective one of the tabs 28, 38, 48, 58, 68, and 78 of the stationary segment 20 and the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70. As the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 expand outward, the respective tabs 38, 48, 58, 68, and 78 move radially outward further into the slots 128.

[0042] Referring to Figures 4B, 5, 6B, and 7, the collapsible core 10 is shown with the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 in the collapsed configuration. In the collapsed configuration, the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 defines a second diameter D 2 measured along the radial direction 6. Unlike in the expanded configuration, due to the different extent of radial contraction of various ones of the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70, the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 does not define a perfectly circular shape. However, the forward end lOa is still generally circular, and can define a second diameter D 2 measured along the radial direction R. Because the forward end lOa is still generally circular, the second diameter D 2 can be measured across the forward end lOa in multiple directions. However, these directions will be where the forward end lOa is at its widest. In operation, the second diameter D 2 of the forward end lOa is smaller than the first diameter Di of the forward end lOa. For example, the second diameter D 2 can be about 0.05 inches smaller than the first diameter Di. However, the first and second diameters Di, D 2 will vary based upon the design of the collapsible core 10, which inherently depends upon the particular film bag with which the particular collapsible core 10 will be used.

[0043] The decrease in diameter of the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration allows a user or an automated system to more easily dispose a film bag over the collapsible core 10 for forming a faceplate onto the film bag. If the collapsible core was constantly in the expanded configuration and did not have the ability to transition into the collapsed configuration, disposing a film bag over the collapsible core 10 would be prohibitively difficult to accomplish consistently at a fast rate and without damaging the film bag. This ease of placement is furthered by the inclusion of the tapered ring 124, which eases the transition of the film bag as it is placed over the stationary segment 20 and the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70, and then subsequently the sleeve 100. The stationary segment 20 further aids in placement of the film bag over the collapsible core 10 and removal of the film bag from the collapsible core, as the stationary segment 20, and in some embodiments the alignment projection 24, provides a fixed location for engagement with other portions of the film bag production line, such as a robotic instrument.

[0044] In operation, the collapsible core 10 can be part of a larger factory line for creating a component delivery system utilizing film bags. The collapsible core 10 specifically is used in the portion of the factory line in which a faceplate is formed onto an open-ended film bag. In one embodiment, the faceplate is injection molded onto the film bag, though other processes for attaching the faceplate to the film bag are contemplated. A single collapsible core 10 as described above can be integrated into a machine (not shown) containing a plurality of collapsible cores, such that many film bags can receive a faceplate during a single operation. The machine that contains the collapsible core can include a variety of other components for forming the faceplate onto the film bag and processing the film bag, such as robotic instruments for placing film bags over the collapsible cores and removing the film bags from the collapsible cores, hydraulic pistons or other actuating means for moving the hydraulic cylinders of each collapsible core 10 along the first and second directions 2, 4, control systems for operating the machine, and a user interface for allowing manual control by a machine operator.

[0045] Continuing with Figure 8, the collapsible core 10, and particularly the ability to transition the forward end lOa of the collapsible core between the expanded configuration and the collapsed configuration, can aid in a method for forming a faceplate (not shown) onto the film bag, as will be described in relation to method 200. Method 200 can first begin with step 202, in which the collapsible core 10, particularly the forward end lOa, is transitioned from the expanded configuration into the collapsed configuration. To do this, an operator of a film bag processing machine that contains the collapsible core can direct the hydraulic piston attached to the hydraulic cylinder 116 to translate the hydraulic cylinder 116 in the second direction 4, which likewise translates the central actuator 80 in the second direction. This movement of the central actuator 80 causes the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 that partially define the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 to move radially inward along the radial direction 6. As a result, the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 will transition from having a first diameter Di to a second diameter D 2 that is smaller than the first diameter Di. Alternatively, transitioning the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 from the expanded configuration into the collapsed configuration can be performed automatically by the control system attached to the machine containing the collapsible core 10. The transitioning step 202 may not be necessary at the beginning of an operation for processing a film bag, as the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 may initially be in the collapsed configuration by default or after a previous processing operation. During step 202, while the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 are transitioning from the expanded configuration into the collapsed configuration, the stationary segment 20 will not be moving as a result of movement of the central actuator 80.

[0046] After step 202, the machine places a film bag over the collapsible core 10 in step 206. This can be performed by a robotic instrument that transfers the film bag from a storage location or previous portion of the manufacturing operation onto the collapsible core 10. The film bag can be placed onto the collapsible core by first disposing one of the open ends of the film bag over the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10, and then sliding the film bag along the collapsible core 10 until the film bag is completely disposed over the collapsible core 10. The decrease in diameter of the forward end lOa from the first diameter Di to the second diameter D 2 provides increased clearance that allows the film bag to be placed over the collapsible core 10 easier, quicker, and with a decreased chance of damaging the film bag. These objectives are furthered by the presence of the tapered ring 124, which provides a gradual transition in diameter from the stationary segment 20 and the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 to the sleeve 100. When placing the film bag over the collapsible core 10 in step 206, the robotic instrument that controls movement of the film bag can use the stationary segment 20, and particularly the alignment projection 24, as a reference point for guiding the film bag relative to the collapsible core 10, as the stationary segment 20 does not move radially when the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 moves from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration.

[0047] After the film bag has been placed over the collapsible core 10 in step 206, step 210 can be performed, in which the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 is expanded from the collapsed configuration to the expanded configuration. To perform this step, the control system associated with the film bag processing machine that contains the collapsible core 10 directs the hydraulic piston attached to the hydraulic cylinder 116 to translate the hydraulic cylinder 116 in the first direction 2, which likewise translates the central actuator 80 in the first direction 2. This movement of the central actuator 80 causes the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 that partially define the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 to move radially outward along the radial direction 6. As a result, the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 will transition from having the second diameter D 2 to the first diameter Di that is larger than the second diameter D 2. By transitioning the forward end lOa from the collapsed configuration to the expanded configuration after the film bag is disposed over the collapsible core 10, the clearance between the collapsible core 10 and the film bag can be removed, thus securing the film bag to the collapsible core 10 for forming the faceplate onto film bag.

[0048] After step 210, the faceplate can be formed onto the film bag in step 214. For example, the faceplate can be formed onto the film bag through injection molding. However, other processes for forming the faceplate onto the film bag are contemplated. The faceplate can be formed from a variety of materials, such as various plastics, and when attached to the film bag can seal one side of the film bag. The faceplate can include a passage for dispensing a material that will be disposed within the film bag in a subsequent step of the manufacturing operation, as well as a seal for securing the material within the film bag prior to use.

[0049] Once the faceplate has been formed onto the film bag, the step 218 can be performed. In step 218, the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 is transitioned from the expanded configuration into the collapsed configuration. To do this, the control system operating the processing machine that contains the collapsible core can direct the hydraulic piston attached to the hydraulic cylinder 116 to translate the hydraulic cylinder 116 in the second direction 4, which likewise translates the central actuator 80 in the second direction. As in step 202, movement of the central actuator 80 causes the plurality of collapsible segments 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 that partially define the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 to move radially inward along the radial direction 6. As a result, the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 will transition from having the first diameter Di to the second diameter D 2 that is smaller than the first diameter Di. This decrease in diameter of the forward end lOa from the first diameter Di to the second diameter D 2 provides increased clearance that allows the film bag to be removed from the collapsible core 10 in step 222.

[0050] After the faceplate has been formed onto the film bag in step 214 and the forward end lOa of the collapsible core 10 has transitioned into the collapsed configuration in step 218, the film bag and faceplate can be removed from the collapsible core in step 222. Much like in step 206, step 222 can be performed by a robotic instrument that removes the film bag from the collapsible core 10 and transfers the film bag to a storage location or a subsequent portion of the manufacturing operation. The film bag can be removed from the collapsible core 10 by sliding the film bag along the collapsible core 10 and over the forward end lOa until the film bag is completely removed from the collapsible core 10. The decrease in diameter of the forward end lOa from the first diameter Di to the second diameter D 2 provides increased clearance that allows the film bag to be removed from the collapsible core 10 easier, quicker, and with a decreased chance of damaging the film bag. After the film bag has been removed from the collapsible core 10 in step 222, the method 200 can return to step 206 if subsequent faceplate formation operations will be performed, and the above described steps of method 200 can be repeated. [0051] While the invention is described herein using a limited number of embodiments, these specific embodiments are not intended to limit the scope of the invention as otherwise described and claimed herein. The precise arrangement of various elements and order of the steps of articles and methods described herein are not to be considered limiting. For instance, although the steps of the methods are described with reference to sequential series of reference signs and progression of the blocks in the figures, the method can be implemented in a particular order as desired.