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Title:
PLANT FOR AUTOMATED PACKAGING OF ITEMS IN CARDBOARD BOXES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/025955
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A plant (1) for automated packaging of items (O) in cardboard boxes (B) comprising a bottom wall (PF), two pairs of side walls (PL1, PL2) and a top closing wall (Ps). The plant (1 ) comprises a forming station (2) for forming open sheet boxes (B) from a continuous-feed web (M), introduction means (3) for introducing items (O) into the open boxes (B), a closing station (4) for closing the open boxes (B) with the items (O) therein and feeding means (5) for feeding the open boxes (B). The forming station (2) comprises cutting and creasing means (15) for cutting and creasing the continuous-feed web (M), which are adapted to provide a longitudinal elongate element (E1) defining the bottom wall (PF), the top closing wall (Ps) and the first pair of side walls (PL1) of the box (B), and a pair of transverse panels (E2, E3) adapted to form the second pair of side walls (PL2) of the box (B), as well as first gluing means (21) for gluing the transverse panels (E2, E3) to the elongate element (E1), such that a substantially cross-shaped one-piece deployed blank (H) is provided. The first gluing means (21) comprise a first applicator (22) for applying hotmelt glue strips on the side edges of the elongate element (E1) and the forming station (2) comprises a pair of suction-cup manipulators (23) for picking up the transverse panels (E2, E3) and applying them on the elongate element (E1) at the glue strips to obtain the cross-shaped blank (H). The closing station (4) comprises folding and automatic gluing means (24) for folding and gluing the side walls (PL1, PL2) of the box (B) and the top wall (Ps), such that finished packages are formed, that are ready for storage or shipment.

Inventors:
BENIN, Marco (via Fabio Filzi 43, San Bonifacio, 37047, IT)
Application Number:
IB2018/055706
Publication Date:
February 07, 2019
Filing Date:
July 31, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PANOTEC S.R.L. (Via G. Polese 2, Cimadolmo, 31010, IT)
International Classes:
B65B43/12; B31B50/25; B31B50/54; B31B50/62; B31F1/08; B65B5/02; B65B11/00; B65B35/24; B65B35/44; B65B43/30; B65B49/10; B65B49/14; B31B100/00; B31B110/35; B31B120/10
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014117817A12014-08-07
Foreign References:
EP2890554A12015-07-08
US5148654A1992-09-22
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MAROSCIA, Antonio (Maroscia & Associati S.R.L, Piazza del Castello 26, Vicenza, 36100, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A plant (1 ) for automated packaging of items (O) in cardboard boxes (B) wherein each box (B) comprises a bottom wall (PF), two pairs of side walls (PLI , PL2) and a top closing wall (Ps), which plant (1 ) comprises:

- a forming station (2) for forming open sheet boxes (B) from a continuous- feed web (M);

- introduction means (3) for introducing items (O) into the open boxes (B);

- a closing station (4) for closing the open boxes (B) with the items (O) therein;

- feeding means (5) for feeding the open boxes (B) from said forming station (2) to said closing station (4);

characterized in that said forming station (2) comprises cutting and creasing means (15) for cutting and creasing the continuous-feed web (M), which are adapted to provide a longitudinal elongate element (Ei) defining the bottom wall (PF), the top closing wall (Ps) and the first pair of side walls (PLI ) of the box (B), and a pair of transverse panels (E2, E3) adapted to form the second pair of side walls (Pi_2) of the box (B), as well as first gluing means (21 ) for gluing the transverse panels (E2, E3) to the elongate element (Ei), in such a manner to provide a substantially cross-shaped one-piece deployed blank (H), said first gluing means (21 ) comprising a first applicator (22) for applying hotmelt glue strips on side edges of the elongate element (Ei) and said forming station (2) comprising a pair of suction-cup manipulators (23) for picking up the transverse panels (E2, E3) and applying them on the elongate element (Ei) at the glue strips to obtain the cross-shaped blank (H), said closing station (4) comprising folding and automatic gluing means (24) for folding and gluing the side walls (PLI , Pi_2) of the box (B) and the top wall (Ps), such that finished packages are formed, that are ready for storage or shipment.

2. A plant as claimed in claim 1 , characterized in that it comprises supply means (7) for supplying the continuous-feed web (M) into said forming station (2) in a longitudinal direction (X).

3. A plant as claimed in claim 1 , characterized in that said cutting and creasing means (15) comprise a first series of transverse tools (16) mounted to a first carriage (1 7), moving transverse to the direction of feed (X) of the continuous-feed web (M) and a first series of longitudinal tools (1 8) adapted to form a plurality of longitudinal cutting and creasing lines (U) on the blank (H).

4. A plant as claimed in claim 3, characterized in that said cutting and creasing means (1 5) comprise a second series of transverse tools (1 9) mounted to a second carriage (20), moving transverse to the direction of feed (X) of the blank (H) and adapted to form a plurality of transverse creasing lines (LT) thereon.

5. A plant as claimed in claim 1 , characterized in that said feeding means (5) comprise a first substantially inclined belt conveyor (9) located in said forming station (2) and a belt system (10) located in said closing station (4) for receiving the blank (H) from said belt conveyor (9).

6. A plant as claimed in claim 5, characterized in that said introduction means (3) for introducing the items (O) comprise a series of second belt conveyors (1 1 ) located in said forming station (2) and above the inclined plane (ττ) of said first belt conveyor (9) and a knife edge conveyor (1 2) located in said closing station (4) for depositing the item (O) to be packaged on the blank (H) before it is folded.

7. A plant as claimed in claim 6, characterized in that the belt (1 1 ') of said second series preceding said knife edge conveyor (1 2) is slidably mounted to guide means (13) transverse to the direction of feed (X) of the item (O) for centering its position with respect to the cross-shaped blank (H) that is being fed along said first belt conveyor (9).

8. A plant as claimed in claim 1 , characterized in that it comprises a belt conveyor (14) for conveying trimmings generated by said cutting and creasing means (1 5), which is located below from said first belt conveyor (9) and is adapted to convey them toward a shredding unit.

9. A plant as claimed in claim 1 , characterized in that said closing station (4) comprises a robotic arm (25) located immediately downstream from said knife edge conveyor (1 2), and comprising a second applicator (26) for applying hotmelt glue on the edges of the box (B) to be folded.

1 0. A plant as claimed in claim 1 , characterized in that said folding means (24) comprise a first operating unit (27) comprising a plurality of tilting actuators (28) with respective suction cup members (29) which are adapted to hold the cross-shaped blank (H) at its side walls (Pi , Pi_2) and fold it along its respective longitudinal (U) and transverse (LT) crease lines.

1 1 . A plant as claimed in claim 10, where the top wall (Ps) of the box

(B) comprises a transverse flap (WT) and a pair of longitudinal flaps (Wi), characterized in that said folding means (24) comprise a second operating unit (30) comprising a first nozzle (31 ) for distributing the glue on the transverse flap (WT) and a second nozzle (32) for distributing the glue on the longitudinal flaps (Wi), said second operating unit (30) also comprising a plurality of pressing rollers (33) for gluing the flaps (WT, Wi) on the side walls (Pi, Pi_2) of the box (B).

Description:
PLANT FOR AUTOMATED PACKAGING OF ITEMS IN CARDBOARD BOXES.

Field of The Invention

[0001 ] The present invention generally finds application in the field of plants for making packages and particularly relates to a plant for automated packaging of items in cardboard boxes.

Background art

[0002] Machines have been long known for making and forming boxes from continuously fed deployed cardboard webs or sheets.

[0003] These machines comprise means for feeding the cardboard sheets and means for cutting, creasing and folding the sheets respective longitudinal and transverse directions to form the folded and closed box.

[0004] A first drawback of these machines is that they do not comprise means for introducing and positioning of the items to be packaged in the boxes.

[0005] Therefore, the boxes are filled either by another machine separate from that for forming the boxes or manually by an operator, which involves a considerable increase of the overall processing times.

[0006] Furthermore, if filling is carried out by means of a further machine, this drawback causes an increase of the overall dimensions and the construction complexity of the entire plant.

[0007] In an attempt to at least partially obviate this drawback, plants have been developed that include both stations for forming the boxes and stations for introducing objects therein.

[0008] US201 50367974 discloses a plant for forming folded boxes from a continuous-feed cardboard web and for automated packaging of items therein.

[0009] Namely, the plant comprises a cutting and creasing station for cutting and creasing the cardboard web that is being continuously fed from an upstream roll, a folding station for folding the cardboard sheets that have been cut and creased to form the folded box and means for feeding the processed sheets.

[0010] In addition, the plant comprises means for feeding and positioning the items to be packaged, which are synchronized with the above described feeding means.

[0011] The positioning means are configured to locate objects on the deployed cardboard sheet being fed and processed before reaching the folding station in which the folded box is made.

[0012] Nevertheless, a first drawback of this arrangement is that the boxes made by this system do not have a stable structure and are prone to bending and deformation with time, particularly when they are being ordinarily displaced and transported.

[0013] Furthermore, the bottom wall and the side walls of the boxes are not reinforced and tend to collapse, particularly in case of heavy-weight items and packages.

[0014] A further drawback of this arrangement is that the steps for processing the continuous-feed cardboard web to obtain the deployed sheets to be later folded involves considerable waste of material, that cannot be reused to make further boxes.

[0015] In addition, the system does not have conveyor means associated with the cutting and folding stations for automatically removing the processing waste.

Technical Problem

[0016] In the light of the prior art, the technical problem addressed by the present invention is to provide a plant for automated packaging of items in cardboard boxes in which the boxes have a highly stable and resistant structure and their fabrication produces limited waste.

Disclosure of the invention

[0017] The object of the present invention is to obviate the above discussed drawback, by providing a plant for automated packaging of items in cardboard boxes, that is highly efficient and relatively cost-effective.

[0018] A particular object of the present invention is to provide a plant as described hereinbefore that affords automatic and synchronized box formation and item packaging.

[0019] A further object of the present invention is to provide a plant as described hereinbefore that can provide boxes having a highly stable and resistant structure.

[0020] Another object of the present invention is to provide a plant as described hereinbefore that can provide boxes with reinforced bottom and side walls.

[0021 ] A further object of the present invention is to provide a plant as discussed hereinbefore that can limit processing waste in the box making process.

[0022] Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a plant as described hereinbefore that has a small size and can be simply assembled.

[0023] These and other objects, as more clearly explained hereinafter, are fulfilled by a plant for automated packaging of items in cardboard boxes as defined in claimed in claim 1 , comprising a forming station for forming open sheet boxes from a continuous-feed web, and placing them on a horizontal surface, means for introducing items into the open boxes, a closing station for closing the open boxes with the items therein and feeding means for feeding the open boxes from the forming station to the closing station.

[0024] The first gluing means comprise a first applicator for applying hotmelt glue strips on the side edges of the elongate element and the forming station comprises a pair of suction cup-manipulators for picking up the transverse panels and applying them on the elongate element at the glue strips to obtain the cross-shaped blank.

[0025] The forming station comprises cutting and creasing means for cutting and creasing the continuous-feed web, which are adapted to provide a longitudinal panel defining the bottom wall, the top closing wall, the first pair of side walls of the box, and a pair of transverse panels adapted to form the second pair of side walls of the box, as well as first gluing means for gluing the transverse panels to the longitudinal panel, such that a substantially cross- shaped one-piece deployed blank is provided.

[0026] Also, the closing station comprises folding and automatic gluing means for folding side walls of the box and the top closing wall, such that finished packages are formed, that are ready for storage or shipment.

[0027] Advantageous embodiments of the invention are obtained in accordance with the dependent claims.

Brief Description of The Drawings

[0028] Further features and advantages of the invention will be more apparent from the detailed description of a preferred, non-exclusive embodiment of a plant for automated packaging of items in cardboard boxes which is described as a non-limiting example with the help of the annexed drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1 and 2 are perspective and broken-away side views of the plant of the invention;

FIGS. 3 and 4 are top view and broken-away side views of a first station of the plant of Fig. 1 ;

FIGS. 5 and 6 are perspective and a broken-away side view of a first detail of the first station of Figs. 3 and 4;

FIGS. 7 and 8 are perspective and a top views of a second detail of the first station of Figs. 3 and 4;

FIGS. 9 and 1 0 are perspective and broken-away side views of a second station of the plant of the invention;

FIGS. 1 1 and 1 2 are perspective of a first detail of the second station of Figs. 9 and 1 0 in two different operating configurations;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a second detail of the second system of Figs. 9 and 1 0;

FIG. 14 are perspective views of a cardboard box formed by means of the system of the invention.

Detailed description of a preferred exemplary embodiment

[0029] Particularly referring to the figures, a plant is shown, which is generally designated by numeral 1 , for automated packaging of one or more items O in the boxes B.

[0030] The items O may be selected from different classes, without departure from the scope of the present invention, whereas the boxes B may be of the type as disclosed in the Italian patent application 1 02016000131 802, by the proprietor of the present application.

[0031 ] Particularly, as best shown in FIG. 14, each box B comprises, in its assembled configuration, a bottom wall that PF, a top closing wall Ps, a first pair of side walls PLI and a second pair of side walls Pi_2 perpendicular to the first to define a compartment for containing the items O.

[0032] By way of example, the boxes B may have a first main format having a length of 600 mm, a width of 500 mm and a height of 450 mm, or a second main format having a length of 200 mm, a width of 1 50 mm and a height of 50 mm.

[0033] In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the plant 1 comprises a forming station 2 for forming deployed sheet boxes from a cardboard web M, as shown in FIGS. 3 to 8 and introduction means 3 for introducing items O into the boxes B.

[0034] The plant 1 comprises a closing station 4 for closing the boxes B with the items O therein, as shown in FIGS. 9 to 13 and feeding means 5 for feeding the open boxes from the forming station 2 to the closing station 4.

[0035] The forming station 2 and the closing station 4 for forming and closing the boxes B may comprise respective lattice frames 6 which are adapted to also support the introduction means 3 and the feeding means 5.

[0036] Furthermore, supply means 7 may be provided for supplying the continuous-feed cardboard web M from a stocking station, not shown, into the station 2 for forming in a longitudinal direction X.

[0037] For example, the supply means 7 may be of well-known type and may comprise one or more rollers 8 rotating about respective transverse axes and placed immediately upstream from the feeding means 5.

[0038] The feeding means 5 may comprise a first belt conveyor 9 which is substantially inclined to the horizontal and positioned in the forming station 2 to receive the cardboard web M from the supply means 7.

[0039] The feeding means 5 may also comprise a belt system 10 placed in the closing station 4 immediately downstream from the first belt conveyor 9 of the forming station 2.

[0040] As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the introduction means 3 for introducing the items O may comprise a number of second belt conveyors 1 1 , which are also placed in the forming station 2 above the inclined plane π of the first belt conveyor 9 and a belt with a knife edge conveyor 12 in the closing station 4 to place the items O on the deployed cardboard sheet before the latter is folded.

[0041] Advantageously, the introduction means 3 for introducing the items O and the feeding means 5 for feeding the open boxes B may be connected to a control unit by software which is adapted to synchronize the movements and check proper matching between the batches of items O and the open boxes B being fed.

[0042] The belt 1 1 ' of the second series located immediately upstream from the knife edge conveyor 12 of the closing station 4 may be slidably mounted to guide means 13 transverse to the longitudinal feeding direction X for feeding the item O or centering its position with respect to the open box B that is being fed along the first belt conveyor 9.

[0043] Preferably, a belt conveyor 14 may be provided for conveying trimmings generated in the forming station 2 below the first belt conveyor 9 them toward a shredding unit.

[0044] In a peculiar aspect of the invention, the forming station 2 comprises cutting and creasing means 15 for cutting and creasing the continuous-feed cardboard web M, which are adapted to provide an elongate longitudinal element Ei defining the bottom wall PF, the top wall Ps and the first pair of side walls PLI of the box B and a pair of transverse panels E2, E3 adapted to form the second pair of side walls Pi_2 of the box B.

[0045] The cutting and creasing means 15 may comprise a first series of transverse tools 16 mounted to a first carriage 17, moving transverse to the direction of introduction X of the continuous-feed web M and a first series of longitudinal tools 18 adapted to form a plurality of longitudinal cutting and creasing lines U on the deployed cardboard sheet.

[0046] Particularly, the first transverse tools 16 cut the continuous-feed web M to create the elongate element Ei and the transverse panels E2, E3 whereas the longitudinal tools 18 form creasing lines U along their longitudinal edges, defining respective longitudinal side flaps Wi , W2 and a corresponding central body Ci , C2. [0047] In addition, the cutting and creasing means 15 comprise a second series of transverse tools 19 mounted to a second carriage 20, moving transverse to the direction of feed X of the deployed sheet and adapted to form a plurality of transverse creasing lines LT thereon.

[0048] The transverse creasing lines LT are adapted to define the first pair of side walls PLI , the top wall Ps and the bottom wall PF along the longitudinal extent of the elongate element EL

[0049] Namely, the first side walls PLI are in a position that is longitudinally offset from and alternate to the top wall Ps and the bottom wall PF and are joined to the latter along the transverse creasing lines LT.

[0050] The walls Ps, PF, PLI of the elongate element Ei and the transverse panels E2, E3 may have the same overall width I whereas the side flaps W2 of the transverse panels E2, E3 may have a width h greater than the width I2 of the side flaps Wi of the walls Ps, PF, PLI of the elongate element Ei .

[0051 ] Furthermore, the second transverse tools 19 are adapted to create a transverse folding flap WT, at the transverse end F of the top wall Ps, which is designed to be glued to the outer surface SOUT of one of the first side walls PLI as the box B is being closed.

[0052] In a further peculiar aspect of the invention, the forming station 2 further comprises first gluing means 21 for gluing the transverse panels E2, E3 to the longitudinal element Ei to provide a substantially cross-shaped one- piece deployed blank H.

[0053] The first gluing means 21 may comprise a first applicator 22 for applying hotmelt glue strips on the side edges of the elongate element Ei , which is placed immediately downstream from the second transverse tools 19, whereas the forming station 2 may comprise a pair of suction-cup manipulators 23, as best shown in FIGS. 7 and 8.

[0054] The suction-cup manipulators 23 move along respective transverse directions and are adapted to pick up the transverse panels E2, E3 and to apply them on the elongate element Ei at the glue strips to form the cross-shaped blank H.

[0055] Particularly, as best shown in FIG. 14, the transverse panels E2, E3 may be glued to the elongate element Ei at the portion corresponding to the bottom wall PF with the longitudinal creasing lines in overlapped relationship.

[0056] In this configuration, the side flaps W2 of the transverse panels E2, E3 overlap the central body Ci of the bottom wall PF, whereas the side flaps Wi of the bottom wall PF are glued to the bottom surface SINF of the central body C2 of the respective transverse panel E2, E3.

[0057] After forming, the cross-shaped blank H is transferred from the first belt conveyor 9 to the belt system 10 of the closing station 4, while the the knife-edge conveyor 12 places the items O on the blank H before it is folded.

[0058] In addition, the closing station 4 comprises folding and gluing means 24 for folding and gluing the side walls Pi , P2 of the box B and the top closing wall Ps to provide finished packages ready for storage and shipment, once the items O to be packaged have been introduced therein.

[0059] Preferably, the closing station 4 may comprise a robotic arm 25 located immediately downstream from the knife edge conveyor 12, and comprising a second applicator 26 for applying hotmelt glue on the edges of the blank H to be folded, as best shown in FIG. 10.

[0060] Particularly, the second applicator 26 will be adapted to distribute the glue strips on the outer surface SOUT2 of the side flaps W2 of the first pair of side walls Pi of the cross-shaped blank H.

[0061 ] Furthermore, the robotic arm 25 may move along a vertical axis to guide the items O as they are being positioned on the blank H.

[0062] The folding means 24 may comprise a first operating unit 27 with a plurality of tip-up folding actuators 28, as shown in FIGS. 1 1 and 12, which are coplanar with the feeding belt system 10 in the idle position.

[0063] Each of the actuators 28 comprises a respective suction cup member 29 which is adapted to hold the blank H at its side walls Pi , P2 and fold it along its respective longitudinal and transverse creasing lines U, LT.

[0064] In this configuration, all the side walls Pi , P2 are folded up and the side flaps W2 of the first side walls PLI are glued to the inner surface SIN of the second side walls Pi_2.

[0065] Conveniently, the folding means 24 may comprise a second operating unit 30 to fold the top wall Ps of the box B and close the top of the containing compartment.

[0066] The second operating unit 30 may comprise a first nozzle 31 for distributing the glue on the transverse flap WT of the top wall Ps and a second nozzle 32 for distributing the glue on the side flap Wi of the top wall Ps.

[0067] Furthermore, the second operating unit 30 comprises a plurality of pressing rollers 33 which are adapted to assist gluing of the transverse flap WT on one of the first side walls PLI and gluing of the longitudinal flaps Wi on the outer surface SOUT3 of the second side walls Pi_2.

[0068] Thus, each second side wall Pi,2 is held, both at its top portion and at its bottom portion, by the side flaps Wi of the top and bottom walls P s , PF and this configuration imparts greater stability to the box 1 .

[0069] All the moving parts of the plant are motorized and independently managed by the control unit, which is designed to synchronize their relative movements.

[0070] Advantageously, such control unit allows forming of the cross-shaped blank H, introduction of the items and folding of the box to occur without ever stopping the feeding means 5.

[0071 ] It will be appreciated from the foregoing that the plant of the invention fulfills the intended objects and particularly affords automatic packaging of a plurality of items in cardboard boxes having a highly resistant structure.

[0072] The plant of the invention is susceptible of a number of changes and variants, within the inventive concept as disclosed in the appended claims.

[0073] While the plant has been described with particular reference to the accompanying figures, the numerals referred to in the disclosure and claims are only used for the sake of a better intelligibility of the invention and shall not be intended to limit the claimed scope in any manner.

Industrial Applicability

[0074] The present invention may find application in industry, because it can be produced on an industrial scale in the field of package producing plants.