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Title:
AN APPARATUS AND A METHOD FOR PORTION PACKING OF POUCHED PRODUCTS FOR ORAL USE AND A POUCHED PRODUCT FOR ORAL USE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/105168
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
The present invention relates to an apparatus (19) and a method for portion packing of pouched products for oral use. The present invention further relates to a pouched product for oral use (201). The apparatus comprises a first feeding unit (23) for supplying a web (25) of packaging material (7), a forming unit (31) for forming a tubular web (32) of the packaging material with a predeterminable cross-sectional shape, a second feeding unit (27) for supplying a filling material (29) into the tubular web, a sealing unit (35) for providing the tubular web with a series of transverse seals (40a, 40b) by repeated transverse sealing, the transverse seals having a length (l) corresponding to a collapsed cross-sectional shape of the tubular web, two subsequent transverse seals being interspaced by a repetition distance (d), and a separation unit (36) for separating the pouched products for oral use (43) from each other in or at the transverse seals, wherein the sealing unit is configured such that the length (l) of the transverse seal is greater than or equal to the repetition distance (d).

Inventors:
BÖRJESSON BENGT (SE)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2020/083295
Publication Date:
June 03, 2021
Filing Date:
November 25, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SWEDISH MATCH NORTH EUROPE AB (SE)
International Classes:
B65B9/20; B65B9/207; B65B9/22; B65B29/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012069505A12012-05-31
Foreign References:
US4703765A1987-11-03
EP2428450B12013-07-17
US6135120A2000-10-24
EP3383746A12018-10-10
Other References:
"Total moisture determination", FEDERAL REGISTER, vol. 74, no. 4/712-719/Wednesday, 7 January 2009 (2009-01-07)
AOAC (ASSOCIATION OF OFFICIAL ANALYTICAL CHEMICS: "Official Methods of Analysis 966.02", 1990, article "Moisture in Tobacco"
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VALEA AB (SE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An apparatus (19) for portion packing of pouched products for oral use (43), said apparatus (19) comprising

- a first feeding unit (23) for supplying a web (25) of packaging material (7), - a forming unit (31) for forming a tubular web (32) of said packaging material (7) with a predeterminable cross-sectional shape,

- a second feeding unit (27) for supplying a filling material (29) into said tubular web (32),

- a sealing unit (35) for providing said tubular web (32) with a series of transverse seals (40a, 40b) by repeated transverse sealing, said transverse seals (40a, 40b) having a length (I) corresponding to a collapsed cross-sectional shape of said tubular web (32), two subsequent transverse seals being interspaced by a repetition distance (d), and

- a separation unit (36) for separating said pouched products for oral use (43) from each other in or at said transverse seals (40a, 40b), characterized in that said sealing unit (35) is configured such that said length (I) of said transverse seal is greater than or equal to said repetition distance (d). 2. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said length (I) of said transverse seal is at least 20%, preferably at least 40%, more preferably at least 60% and most preferably at least 80% greater than said repetition distance (d).

3. The apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said forming unit (31) comprises a filling tube (55, 56, 63), an outer circumference of said filling tube (55, 56, 63) dimensioning said predeterminable cross-sectional shape of said tubular web (32).

4. The apparatus according to claim 3, wherein said outer circumference of said filling tube (55, 56, 63) is within the range of 30-120 mm, preferably 40-100 mm, more preferably 45-90 mm, most preferably 50-80 mm.

5. The apparatus according to claim 3 or 4, wherein at least a part of said filling tube (55, 56) has a circular cross-sectional shape.

6. The apparatus according to claim 3, 4 or 5 wherein at least a part of said filling tube (56, 63) has a flattened cross-section, such as an elliptical or oval cross- section.

7. The apparatus according to any one of claims 3-6, said filling tube (56) having a first end (57) facing away from said sealing unit (35) and a second end (59) facing said sealing unit (35), wherein said first end (57) has a circular cross-sectional shape and said second end (59) has a flattened cross-section, such as an elliptical or oval cross-sectional shape, said filling tube (56) comprising a transition region (61) in which said cross-sectional shape transits from said circular cross-sectional shape to said flattened shape.

8. A method for portion packing of pouched products for oral use (43), said method comprising:

- supplying and advancing a web (25) of packaging material (7),

- forming a tubular web (32) of said packaging material (7),

- supplying a filling material (29) into said tubular web (25),

- providing said tubular web (25) with a series of transverse seals (40a, 40b) by repeated transverse sealing, said transverse seals (40a, 40b) having a length (I) corresponding to a collapsed cross-sectional shape of said tubular web (32), two subsequent transverse seals being interspaced by a repetition distance (d), and

- separating said pouched products for oral use (43) from each other in or at said transverse seals (40a, 40b), characterized in that said transverse sealing is controlled such that said length (I) of said transverse seal (40a, 40b) is greater than or equal to said repetition distance (d).

9. The method according to claim 8, wherein said filling material has a moisture content in the range of from 1-65 wt%, preferably 2-60 wt%, more preferably 20-60 wt%, most preferably 30-56 wt%.

10. A pouched product for oral use (201), said pouched product for oral use comprising a filling material and a saliva- permeable pouch enclosing said filling material, said pouched product for oral use having a rectangular shape with a maximum length (L) and a maximum width (W), said maximum length (L) being greater than or equal to said maximum width (W), characterized in that said pouched product for oral use (201) comprises a first and a second edge seal (209a, 209b) sealing a respective first edge portion (203a) and a second edge portion (203b) of said pouch, said first and second edge seals (209a, 209b) extending in a length direction of said product (201), said first edge portion (203a) being located opposite to said second edge portion (203b).

11. The pouched product for oral use (201) according to claim 10, wherein said maximum length (L) is at least 20%, preferably at least 40%, more preferably at least 60% and most preferably at least 80% larger than the maximum width (W) of said pouched product for oral use.

12. The pouched product for oral use according to claim 10 or 11, wherein said maximum length (L) is within the range of 15-60 mm, preferably 20-50 mm, more preferably 22.5-45 mm, most preferably 25-40 mm

13. The pouched product for oral use (201) according to claim 10, 11 or 12, wherein said pouched product for oral use (201) comprises at least one additional seal (207) extending in a width direction of said product (201), said at least one additional seal (207) being included in said first and second edge seals (209a, 209b), preferably said at least one additional seal (207) being constituted by a single additional seal (207).

14. The pouched product for oral use (201) according to any one of claims 10-13, wherein said filling material has a moisture content in the range of from 1-65 wt%, preferably 2-60 wt%, more preferably 20-60 wt%, most preferably 30-56 wt%.

15. The pouched product for oral use obtained or obtainable by the method according to claim 8 or 9 and/or with the apparatus according to any one of claims 1-7.

Description:
AN APPARATUS AND A METHOD FOR PORTION PACKING OF POUCHED PRODUCTS FOR ORAL USE AND A POUCHED PRODUCT FOR ORAL USE

TECHNICAL FIELD The present invention relates to an apparatus and a method for portion packing of pouched products for oral use. The present invention further relates to a pouched product for oral use.

BACKGROUND Pouched products for oral use may be produced by measuring portions of a filling material, a smokeless tobacco composition, and inserting the portions into a tubular web of packaging material, which is to form a saliva-permeable pouch enclosing the filling material. US 4,703,765 discloses a device for packaging precise amounts of finely divided tobacco products, such as snuff tobacco or the like, in a tubular packaging material into which snuff portions are injected via a fill tube, the tubular packing material thereby having a vertical orientation. Downstream from the tube, welding means are positioned for trans verse sealing of the packaging material, and also cutting means for severing the packaging material in the area of the transverse seal to thus form discrete or individual portion packages.

EP 2 428450 B1 relates to a snus dosing method, wherein a portion of tobacco is filled into a dosing chamber of a dosing device and then blown out of the dosing chamber by means of blow-out air to which water vapour has been added.

Pouched products for oral use may alternatively be produced by placing portions of a filling material, such as moist snuff, on a nonwoven web using a pouch packer machine in accordance with the device disclosed in US 6,135,120. This device comprises feeding means for feeding the tobacco material into pockets formed in a rotary portioning wheel for portioning the material into portions, at least one compression means for compressing the tobacco material portions, a unit for advancing a packaging material, such as a nonwoven web, in synchrony with the compressed portions, at least one discharge means for discharging the portions from the pockets to the packaging material, and a forming unit for forming individual portion-packages, i.e. pouched products for oral use, from the discharged portions and the packaging material. At the intended point of discharge of the portions of to the packaging material, the packaging material has the form of a tape, the compression means being arranged to compress the portions in a direction which differs from the discharging and the feeding directions. The compression is preferably effected in a direction perpendicular to the discharging and the feeding directions. The compression may be effected in the axial direction of the portioning wheel whereas the feeding and discharging may be effected in the radial direction of the wheel. This technique is herein referred to as the “NYPS” technique.

However, even if there exist a number of known apparatuses and methods for portion packing of pouched products for oral use, there is still a desire to improve the apparatus and/or the method to be able to run at higher speed and/or with fewer production stops and/or less waste.

There may also be a desire to improve the apparatus and/or the method to be able to perform portion packing also for pouched products for oral use comprising a filling mate rial having a moisture content which is difficult to handle with prior art methods and/or apparatuses. In particular, it may be desirable to provide an apparatus, which is able to handle filling materials over a wide range of moisture contents in a single apparatus. It may also be desirable to provide an apparatus being able to handle filling materials with a low or a very low moisture content and/or with a high or very high moisture content, thereby extending the range of possible moisture contents. If operating at the lower end of moisture content, there is a desire to be able to have less dusting than prior art methods and/or apparatuses, which in turn gives a better working environment.

Pouched products for oral use made in prior art apparatuses and/or with prior art methods may have a risk of getting an uneven weight distribution of the filling material within the pouch. For example, due to gravity and the potential use of pressurized gas in the dosage apparatus, there is a risk that the filling material could gather at the lower end of the pouched product when it is still in the vertical orientation. This may lead to an uneven weight distribution of the filling material within the pouch, i.e. a non-uniform filling of the pouched product, also known as a pear shape. SUMMARY

The object of the present disclosure is to overcome or ameliorate at least one of the disadvantages of the prior art, or to provide a useful alternative. The object above may be achieved by the subject-matter of the independent claims. Embodiments are set forth in the appended dependent claims, in the following description and in the drawings.

The present invention relates to an apparatus for portion packing of pouched products for oral use according to claim 1. The apparatus comprises

- a first feeding unit for supplying a web of packaging material,

- a forming unit for forming a tubular web of the packaging material with a predeterminable cross-sectional shape,

- a second feeding unit for supplying a filling material into the tubular web, - a sealing unit for providing the tubular web with a series of transverse seals by repeated transverse sealing, the transverse seals having a length corresponding to a collapsed cross-sectional shape of the tubular web, two subsequent transverse seals being inter spaced by a repetition distance, and

- a separation unit for separating the pouched products for oral use from each other in or at the transverse seals, wherein the sealing unit is configured such that the length of the transverse seal is greater than or equal to the repetition distance

The pouched product for oral use is portion-packed, i.e. each pouch encloses an amount of filling material, which is intended to make up a portion of a suitable size. The pouched product is configured to fit comfortably and discreetly in a user’s buccal cavity, e.g. between the upper and/or lower gum and the lip. It is not intended to be swallowed.

The pouched product for oral use may be a pouched tobacco product for oral use, e.g. a snuff product or a snus product, a pouched nicotine containing product for oral use or a pouched nicotine free product for oral use.

The pouched product for oral use described herein may be dry, semi-dry or moist. Generally, dry pouched products have a moisture content of less than 10 wt% and moist pouched products have a moisture content of above 40 wt%. Semi-dry pouched products have a moisture content between 10 wt% and 40 wt%.

As used herein the term “pouched product for oral use” may refer to a portion of smokeless tobacco or tobacco-free filling material, which may be nicotine-containing or nicotine free, packed in a saliva-permeable packaging material intended for oral use.

The pouched product may be flavourized by mixing the flavour in the filling material during manufacturing. Additionally or alternatively, the flavour may be added to the pouched product after it has been manufactured.

By the term "tobacco" as used herein is meant any part, e.g., leaves, stems, and stalks, of any member of the genus Nicotiana. The tobacco may be whole, shredded, threshed, cut, ground, cured, aged, fermented, or treated otherwise, e.g. granulated or encapsulated.

The term “tobacco material” is used herein for tobacco leaves or parts of leaves, such as lamina and stem. The leaves and parts of leaves may be finely divided (disintegrated), such as ground, cut, shredded or threshed, and the parts of leaves may be blended in defined proportions in the tobacco material.

The filling material may comprise a finely divided tobacco material such as a ground tobacco material or cut tobacco. In addition to the tobacco material, the filling material may further comprise at least one of the following: water, salt (e.g. sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and any combinations thereof), pH adjuster, flavouring agent, cooling agent, heating agent, sweetening agent, colorant, humectant (e.g. propylene glycol or glycerol), antioxidant, preservative (e.g. potassium sorbate), binder, disintegration aid. In an example, the filling material comprises or consists of finely divided tobacco material, salt such as sodium chloride, and a pH adjuster.

For pouched products with no or low tobacco content, to which nicotine is added, the nicotine of the filling material may be synthetic nicotine and/or nicotine extract from tobacco plants. Further, the nicotine may be present in the form of nicotine base and/or a nicotine salt. The nicotine salt may be free, i.e. it is mixed with the other components of the product without combining chemically with said components. Additionally or alternatively, the nicotine salt may combine chemically with one or more components of the filling material. For instance, the nicotine salt may combine with alginate particles or cellulose.

As used herein, the term “moisture content” refers to the total amount of oven volatile ingredients, such as water and other oven volatiles (e.g. propylene glycol) in the preparation, composition or product referred to. The moisture content may be given herein as percent by weight (wt%) of the total weight of the preparation, composition or product referred to. If not stated otherwise moisture content is herein given in relation to the weight of the filling material.

The moisture content as referred to herein may be determined by using a method based on literature references Federal Register/ vol.74, no. 4/712-719/Wednesday, January 7, 2009/Notices ’’Total moisture determination” and AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Chernies), Official Methods of Analysis 966.02: “Moisture in Tobacco” (1990), Fifth Edition, K. Helrich (ed). In this method, the moisture content is determined gravimetrically by taking 2.5±0.25 g sample and weighing the sample at ambient conditions, herein defined as being at a temperature of 22°C and a relative humidity of 60%, before evaporation of moisture and after completion of dehydration. Mettler Toledo's Moisture Analyzer HB43, a balance with halogen heating technology, is used (instead of an oven and a balance as in the mentioned literature references) in the experiments described herein. The sample is heated to 105°C (instead of 99.5±0.5°C as in the mentioned literature references). The measurement is stopped when the weight change is less than 1 mg during a 90 seconds time frame. The moisture content as weight percent of the sample is then calculated automatically by the Moisture Analyzer HB43.

Pouched products for oral use may be post-moisturized after pouch formation or not post- moisturized after pouch formation. Pouched products which are not post-moisturized are herein referred to as non-post-moisturized. Post-moisturized pouched products may be produced by spraying water on the pouched product before packaging the pouched products in user containers. Post-moisturized pouches are sometimes referred to as “original” products. Non-post-moisturized pouched products are sometimes referred to as “white” products and are by some consumers considered to have a more appealing visual appearance. The moisture content of the final pouched product comprising a moist or semi-dry snuff or snus product is normally within the range of from 25 to 55 wt% based on the weight of the pouched product. The packaging material, which is used for the pouch, is typically a nonwoven material, such as viscose. It may include a chemical binder. Nonwoven materials are fabrics that are neither woven nor knitted. Methods for the manufacturing of nonwoven materials are commonly known in the art.

Pouched products for oral use are normally sized and configured to fit comfortably and discreetly in a user’s mouth between the upper or lower gum and the lip. In general, pouched products for oral use have a generally rectangular shape. Some typical shapes (length x width) of commercially available pouched products for oral use are, for instance, 35 mm x 20 mm, 34/35 mm x 14 mm, 33/34 mm x 18 mm, 27/28 mm x 14 mm, 34 mm x 10 mm and 38 x 14 mm. Typical pouched products for oral use may have a maximum length within the range of from 25 to 40 mm along the longitudinal direction of the product and a maximum width within the range of from 5 to 20 mm along the transverse direction of the product. The thickness (“height”) of the pouched product is normally within the range of from 2 to 8 mm. The total weight of commercially available pouched products for oral use are typically within the range from about 0.3 to about 3.5 g, such as from about 0.5 to 1.7 g, per pouched product. A user container typically comprises in the range of 10-30 pouched products, such as in the range of 20-25 pouched products. The pouched products may be placed randomly in the user container or in a pattern, for instance as described in WO 2012/069505. The user container as disclosed herein is consumer package having a shape and a size adapted for conveniently carrying the package in a pocket or in a handbag and may be used for packaging any known type of pouched product for oral use.

Typically, the packaging material is supplied as a planar web to the apparatus by the first feeding unit. Thereafter the planar web is formed to a tubular web by the forming unit, e.g. around a tube comprised in the forming unit. The tube may also be used for supplying the filling material into the tubular web and is thus often called a filling tube, e.g. forming a part of the second feeding unit. However, the planar web may alternatively be formed to a tubular web in a stand-alone forming unit, such that the web is supplied as tubular to the other units of the apparatus, or the web may be directly manufactured as tubular. The term “tubular” as used herein refers to any cross-sectional shape; specifically, it is not restricted to a circular tubular web. The tubular web may e.g. have a square, polygonal, elliptical or oval cross-sectional shape. However, the tubular web has a closed circum ference, such that the tubular web is able to retain the filling material inside the tubular web. The cross-sectional shape is predeterminable by means of the forming unit. It may e.g. be determined by the outer circumference of the filling tube. Further, the cross- sectional shape of the tubular web may vary along the direction of travel, e.g. if the filling tube has a variable outer shape, such as transiting from circular to elliptical or oval, as is further described herein. However, preferably the circumference of the tubular web remains the same even if its cross-sectional shape varies along the direction of travel, in order to reduce, or preferably avoid, tensioning of the tubular web.

As an option, the apparatus may in addition comprise a sealing unit for providing the tubular web with at least one longitudinal seal, also called a longitudinal sealing unit. The at least one longitudinal seal extends in the direction of travel of the tubular web and is utilized for fixing the web of packaging material into a tubular shape. The longitudinal sealing unit is thus used to make at least one longitudinal seal in the tubular web formed in the forming unit, such that the tubular web stays in its tubular shape. The longitudinal sealing unit may e.g. be a heat-welding unit, an ultrasonic sealing unit or an adhesive applicator. Often, the pouched product for oral use comprises a single longitudinal seal. In that case, there is a single longitudinal sealing unit. As an alternative, the tubular web may be formed from two planar webs. In that case, there may be two longitudinal sealing units providing a respective longitudinal seal. As yet an alternative, a plurality of longitudinal sealing units may be used providing a plurality tubular webs at the same time being parallel to each other.

The apparatus further comprises a second feeding unit for supplying a filling material into the tubular web. Typically, the filling material is supplied portion-wise, e.g. by means of the dosing method described in EP 2428450 B1, but the filling material may also be supplied in a continuous flow.

The tubular web may assume an at least partly vertical orientation when the filling material is supplied to the tubular web. The filling material may thus move into the tubular web due to gravity. As an alternative or a complement, pressurized gas, e.g. pressurized air, may be utilized to blow the filling material into the tubular web. The pressurized gas may be supplied intermittently, e.g. one blow corresponding to each portion of filling material. As yet an alternative or a complement, negative pressure or vacuum may be utilized to suck the filling material into the tubular web. The vacuum may be supplied intermittently, e.g. once for each portion of filling material.

As an alternative, the tubular web may assume an at least partly horizontal orientation when the filling material is supplied to the web. In that case, the forming unit may be located downstream of the second feeding unit, e.g. as described in the above-mentioned “NYPS” technique disclosed in US 6,135,120.

The filling material may be filled into the tubular web by means of a filling tube, e.g. like the filing tubes described herein. Thereby, the tubular web surrounds an outer circum ference of the filling tube, while the filling material is fed through the filling tube. Hence, the filling material lands inside the tubular web.

The apparatus further comprises a sealing unit for providing the tubular web with a series of transverse seals by repeated transverse sealing, also called a transverse sealing unit. The transverse seal is a seal being transverse to the direction of travel of the tubular web. The transverse sealing unit may e.g. be a heat-welding unit, an ultrasonic sealing unit or an adhesive applicator. The transverse sealing unit operates repetitively, such that two subsequent transverse seals are interspaced by a repetition distance, determined as a centre-to-centre distance.

The transverse seals made by the transverse sealing unit has a length corresponding to a collapsed cross-sectional shape of the tubular web. The length of the transverse seal is determined in a direction transverse to the direction of travel of the tubular web. When being transversely sealed, the tubular web is compressed to a straight line of doubled packaging material giving the collapsed cross-sectional shape. Hence, the length of the transverse seal equals, or substantially equals, half of the circumference of the tubular web. The transverse sealing unit is configured such that the length of the transverse seal is greater than or equal to the repetition distance.

The apparatus also comprises a separation unit for separating two consecutive pouched products for oral use from each other, e.g. by cutting, in or at the transverse seal. It is thus feasible to form a transverse seal in the tubular web by means of the transverse sealing unit, which seal is cut at its centre or close to its centre, such that one part of the seal, e.g. substantially half the seal, forms a transverse edge seal in one pouched product and the other part of the seal, e.g. substantially the other half, forms a transverse edge seal in the consecutive pouched product. In that case, the transverse seal formed in the tubular web is substantially twice as wide, as seen in the direction of travel of the tubular web, than an individual transverse edge seal of the product.

The term “transverse seal” as used herein relates to the seal being formed in the appa ratus according to the invention extending in the tubular web in the transverse direction, i.e. the direction being perpendicular to the direction of travel. The term “edge seal” as used herein relates to a seal of the pouched product. The edge seal seals an edge of the product. A “transverse edge seal” thereby seals the edge, which was oriented perpen dicular to the direction of travel of the tubular web in the apparatus.

As a result of the transverse sealing and subsequent separation in the apparatus, each pouched product for oral use is delimited as seen along the direction of travel by a pair of opposite transverse edge seals. If the direction of travel of the tubular web is vertical, there will thus be a lower transverse edge seal and an upper transverse edge seal, when the seals are formed.

As an alternative to cutting a transverse edge seal formed in the apparatus into portions as described above, separation may be performed by means of a separate knife or blade operating in an interspace between two separately formed transverse edge seals in the tubular web. The interspace may be adapted to the space needed for the blade or knife. As yet an alternative, the separation unit may form a separate unit, i.e. not being part of the transverse sealing unit.

As mentioned above, two subsequent transverse seals are interspaced by the repetition distance. Thus, the length and width dimensions of the product are determined by the length of the transverse seal and the repetition distance, respectively. Further, the product also has a height in a thickness dimension, which i.a. depends on how much filling material is filled into each product. Typically, the pouch of the pouched product is not maximally filled, but rather the filling material is displaceable within the pouch, such that the products could rather be described as pillow-like. Due to the thickness, a product is typically narrower, i.e. less wide, at its waist as compared to when measuring at its edge, just like a typical pillow.

By utilizing an apparatus according to the invention, for which the length of the transverse seal is greater than or equal to the repetition distance between two subsequent transverse seals, it may be possible to obtain an efficient filling of the filling material. The dimension of the tubular web, e.g. its diameter, can be selected to provide efficient filling. The apparatus according to the invention allows a larger cross-sectional area of the tubular web compared to tubular webs of prior art apparatuses. Typically, the outer shape of the forming unit is related to the cross-sectional shape of the tubular web, since the tubular web is formed around the forming unit.

Also the second feeding unit, e.g. comprising the filling tube as described herein, can be configured to provide efficient filling. Since the tubular web has a larger cross-sectional area as compared to tubular webs of prior art apparatuses, the flow of filling material can be made more efficient, e.g. at a higher feeding rate and/or with less risk of the filling material sticking to the second feeding unit. Less risk of sticking results in fewer produc tion stops and/or less waste.

Consequently, the apparatus and/or the method according to the invention are able to run at higher speed and/or with fewer production stops and/or with less waste than prior art solutions.

Further, the apparatus and/or method according to the invention makes it possible to manufacture pouched products for oral use which are more uniformly filled, i.e. the filling material has a more uniform weight distribution within the pouch, as compared to pouched products made with prior art methods and/or apparatuses.

In addition, the apparatus and/or the method according to the invention are able to per form portion packing also for pouched products for oral use comprising a filling material having a moisture content which is difficult to handle with prior art methods and/or appara tuses. Purely as an example, a single apparatus may be configured to handle filling materials over a wide range of moisture contents, e.g. over the range of from 1-65 wt%, preferably 2-60 wt%, more preferably 20-60 wt%, most preferably 30-56 wt%, which with prior art technology typically has to be taken care of by at least two different apparatuses. Further, this range may be covered without any post-moisturizing, which however is an option.

In particular, with an apparatus and/or method according to the invention, it may be possible to handle filling material with a moisture content in the range of 32-45 wt%. With conventional apparatuses/methods filling materials with a moisture content within that range tend to be too moist for packing with a vertical filling tube, cf. the method of EP 2 428450 B1, but not moist enough to be packed by the method of US 6,135,120. However, with an apparatus and/or method according to the invention, a single apparatus may be configured to handle filling materials with moisture contents in that range, and, possibly, higher and/or lower moisture content as well.

Since it may be possible to operate the apparatus and/or method according to the invention over a wide range of moisture contents, it may be possible to deliberately choose not to post-moisturize the pouched product, since the desired final moisture content may be obtained in the apparatus and/or with the method according to the invention. Non-post-moisturized pouched products are sometimes referred to as “white” products and are by some consumers considered to have a more appealing visual appearance. Further, non-post-moisturized pouched products may have a more even weight distribution of the filling material within the pouch than corresponding post- moisturized pouched products. With the apparatus and/or method according to the invention it may be possible to produce “white” products over a wider range of moisture contents than with prior art methods and/or apparatuses.

If operating at the lower end of moisture contents of filling material, it is an advantage that the apparatus and/or method according to the invention may result in less dusting than prior art methods and/or apparatuses, which in turn gives a better working environment.

It is also possible to provide an apparatus being able to handle filling materials with a low or a very low moisture content and/or with a high or very high moisture content, thereby extending the range of possible moisture contents.

The length of the transverse seal may be at least 20%, preferably at least 40%, more preferably at least 60% and most preferably at least 80% greater than the repetition distance d. It is also possible that the transverse seal is at least 100%, at least 150%, at least 200%, at least 250% or at least 300% greater than the repetition distance d.

Typically, a maximum length of the pouched product, corresponding to the width of the transverse seal, is within the range of 15-60 mm, preferably 20-50 mm, more preferably 22.5-45 mm, most preferably 25-40 mm. The sealing unit and the separation unit may be combined into a single unit. Thereby the separation line, e.g. the cut, can be positioned at any desired position in relation to the transverse seal formed in the apparatus. Often it is preferred to separate two consecutive products at the centre of the transverse seal formed in the apparatus. This is e.g. obtain able by an ultrasonic sealing device like the one described in EP3383746.

As mentioned herein, the forming unit may comprise a filling tube, an outer circumference of the filling tube dimensioning the predeterminable cross-sectional shape of the tubular web. The filling tube may also form part of the second feeding unit. In that case, the filling material can be fed through the feeding tube into the tubular web.

By utilizing such a filling tube, the cross-sectional shape can be purposely selected to obtain the desired dimensions. Thereby the outer shape and dimension of the filling tube may be selected and/or configured to provide the tubular web with the desired dimension and shape, both at filling of the filling material and during transverse sealing. However, preferably the circumference of filling tube remains the same even if its cross-sectional shape varies along the direction of travel of the tubular web, in order to reduce, or preferably avoid, tensioning of the tubular web. The inner shape and dimension of the filling tube, i.e. of its bore, may be selected and/or configured to make the filling of the filling material as efficient as possible.

The outer circumference of the filling tube may be within the range of 30-120 mm, prefer ably 40-100 mm, more preferably 45-90 mm, most preferably 50-80 mm. These circum ferences are selected to give the pouched product the desired maximum length of the pouched product, corresponding to the width of the transverse seal.

The filling tube may have a length within the range of from 50 to 500 mm, such as from 150 to 400 mm.

At least a part of the filling tube as seen along its length may have a circular cross- sectional shape, possibly along the whole length. For example, at least a first end facing away from the sealing unit, and thus facing the rest of the second feeding unit, may have a circular cross-sectional shape. The circular cross-sectional shape is beneficial, since it has the largest cross-sectional area given a predefined circumference. This could be beneficial for the supply of filling material. Purely, as an example, there is thus less risk of filling material sticking to the inner walls of the filling tube. A filling tube having the same circular cross-sectional shape as seen along its whole length may be used.

The outer shape and dimension of the filling tube may furthermore be selected to facilitate the transverse sealing, e.g. having a cross-sectional shape which reduces, or preferably avoids, the risk of material tension within the material of the tubular web. It is thus some times desirable that the filling tube has a varying cross-sectional shape as seen along its length. This may be provided at least at a second end of the filling tube, which faces the transverse sealing unit. Purely as an example, at least a part of the filling tube may have a flattened cross-sectional shape, e.g. an elliptical or oval cross-sectional shape. Hence, the step in change of cross-sectional shape in order to perform transverse sealing is less than it would have been for a completely circular cross-sectional shape. Thereby, the trans verse sealing unit may be located closer to the filling. However, the second end should preferably not be too flattened, since the filling material should be able to easily pass the second end. Preferably the circumference of filling tube remains the same even if its cross-sectional shape varies along the direction of travel of the tubular web, in order to reduce, or preferably avoid, tensioning of the tubular web.

At least a part of the filling tube as seen along its length, possibly the whole length, may have a flattened cross-sectional shape, e.g. an elliptical or an oval cross-sectional shape. Thereby, the cross-sectional shape may be the same over the whole length of the filling tube or it may vary.

As an example of a cross-sectional shape varying along the length, the first end of the filling tube facing away from the sealing unit may have a circular cross-sectional shape and the second end facing the sealing unit may have a flattened cross-sectional shape, such as an elliptical or oval cross-sectional shape, the filling tube comprising a transition region in which the cross-sectional shape transits from the circular cross-sectional shape to the flattened shape. Thereby a filling tube may be provided, which gives both efficient filling and efficient transverse sealing.

The present invention further relates to a method for portion packing of pouched products for oral use, the method comprising:

- supplying and advancing a web of packaging material,

- forming a tubular web of the packaging material, - supplying a filling material into the tubular web,

- providing the tubular web with a series of transverse seals by repeated transverse sealing, the transverse seals having a length corresponding to a collapsed cross-sectional shape of the tubular web, two subsequent transverse seals being interspaced by a repetition distance, and

- separating the pouched products for oral use from each other in or at the transverse seals, wherein the transverse sealing is controlled such that the length of the transverse seal is greater than or equal to the repetition distance.

The tubular web is advanced in a direction of travel. The method is preferably performed by an apparatus as described herein. For details of the method steps, please see the description of the corresponding parts of the apparatus.

The method may further comprise a step of

- providing the tubular web with a longitudinal seal.

A single longitudinal seal may be provided in order to fix the web of packaging material into the tubular shape. It would also be possible to provide two parallel longitudinal seals, please see the description of the corresponding longitudinal sealing unit of the apparatus.

The transverse sealing and separation may be performed as a single common operation in a single unit, e.g. by the sealing device disclosed in EP3383746. Hence, transverse sealing and separation may be performed simultaneously and in the same operation step for the transverse seals. It may further be performed by the same operation surface as disclosed in the sealing device of EP3383746.

As mentioned above, the method according to the invention is able to perform portion packing also for pouched products for oral use comprising a filling material having a moisture content which is difficult to handle with prior art methods. Purely as an example, the same kind of method may be utilized to handle filling materials over a wide range of moisture contents, e.g. over the range of from 1-65 wt%, preferably 2-60 wt%, more preferably 20-60 wt%, most preferably 30-56 wt%, which with prior art technology typically has to be taken care of by at least two different apparatuses/methods. Further, this range may be covered without any post-moisturizing, which however is an option. In particular, with the method according to the invention, it may possible to handle filling material with a moisture content in the range of 32-45 wt%. With conventional appara tuses/methods filling materials within that range tend to be too moist for packing with a vertical filling tube, cf. the method of EP 2428450 B1 , but not moist enough to be packed by the method of US 6,135,120. However, with the method according to the invention, the method may handle filling materials with moisture contents in that range, and possibly higher and/or lower moisture content as well. Since it may be possible to operate the apparatus and/or method according to the invent- tion over a wide range of moisture contents, e.g. over the range of from 1-65 wt%, preferably 2-60 wt%, more preferably 20-60 wt%, most preferably 30-56 wt% , it may be possible to deliberately choose not to post-moisturize the pouched product, since the desired final moisture content may be obtained already in the apparatus and/or with method according to the invention. Non-post-moisturized pouched products are sometimes referred to as “white” products and are by some consumers considered to have a more appealing visual appearance. Further, non-post-moisturized pouched products may have a more even weight distribution of the filling material within the pouch than corresponding post-moisturized pouched products. Wth the apparatus and/or method according to the invention it may be possible to produce “white” products over a wider range of moisture contents than with prior art methods and/or apparatuses.

When being filled into the tubular web, the filling material may have a moisture content as low as at least 1 wt%, preferably at least 2 wt%, more preferably at least 3 wt% and most preferably at least 4 wt%. Hence, it may be possible to run the apparatus and/or perform the method also for filling materials, which have such a low moisture content that they would not function appropriately in prior art apparatuses and/or when using prior art methods. For examples, less dust may be created, resulting in a better working environ ment. Moisture contents at the low end of the range may typically be utilized for pouched products with no or low tobacco content, to which nicotine is added.

When being filled into the tubular web, the filling material may have a moisture content as high as up to 65 wt%, preferably up to 60 wt%, more preferably up to 58 wt%, most preferably up to 56 wt%. Hence, it may be possible to run the apparatus and/or perform the method also for filling materials, which have such a high moisture content that they would not function appropriately in prior art apparatuses and/or when using prior art methods.

Hence, the apparatus and/or the method as described herein can extend the range of possible moisture contents both at the low end and at the high end of moisture content as compared to prior art. For example, the apparatus and/or the method may operate within the range of from 1-65 wt%, preferably 2-60 wt%, more preferably 20-60 wt%, most preferably 30-56 wt%. As already mentioned above, a single apparatus may then be used to operate over the whole range.

The web may be moving continuously when performing the method. In that case, the transverse sealing, and optionally the separation, may be performed by a sealing unit, such as the transverse sealing unit described herein, while the sealing unit travels together with the tubular web for a predeterminable distance.

The present invention also relates to a pouched product for oral use, the pouched product for oral use comprising a filling material and a saliva-permeable pouch enclosing the filling material, the pouched product for oral use having a rectangular shape with a maximum length and a maximum width, the maximum length being greater than or equal to the maximum width. The pouched product for oral use comprises a first and a second edge seal, sealing a respective first edge portion and a second edge portion of the pouch, the first and second edge seals extending in a length direction of the product, the first edge portion being located opposite to the second edge portion.

The pouched product may be manufactured in the apparatus as described herein and/or with the method as described herein. The pouched product is portion-packed, i.e. the amount of filling material is intended to make up a portion of a suitable size.

The edge seals are adapted to seal edge portions of the product. Hence, when the product is manufactured in the apparatus as described herein and/or with the method as described herein, the first and second edge seals extend in the direction transverse to the direction of travel of the tubular web and are thus called transverse edge seals. As mentioned herein, the first or second edge seal may thereby correspond to a respective part, preferably substantially a half, of the transverse seal formed in the tubular web by the transverse sealing unit. Accordingly, the maximum length of the pouched product corresponds to the length of the transverse seal. Further, the maximum width of the pouched product corresponds to the repetition distance between two subsequent transverse seals when made in the apparatus described herein, as measured from centre to centre, i.e. from the centre of a first transverse seal to the centre of the subsequent transverse seal. Further, the pouched product also has a height in a thickness dimension, which i.a. depends on how much filling material is filled into each product. Typically, the pouch is not maximally filled, but rather the filling material is displaceable within the pouch, such that the pouched product could be described as pillow-like. Due to the thickness, the pouched product is typically narrower, i.e. less wide, at its waist as compared to when measuring at its edge, just like a typical pillow.

The maximum length of the pouched product, corresponding to a length of the transverse seal, may be at least 20%, preferably at least 40%, more preferably at least 60% and most preferably at least 80% greater than the maximum width of the pouched product for oral use. It is also possible that the maximum length of the pouched product is at least 100%, at least 150%, at least 200%, at least 250% or at least 300% greater than the maximum width. The maximum length of the pouched product may be within the range of 15-60 mm, preferably 20-50 mm, more preferably 22.5-45 mm, most preferably 25-40 mm.

The pouched product for oral use may comprise at least one additional seal extending in a width direction of the pouched product. The at least one additional seal is included in the first and second edge seals, indicating that the at least one additional seal has been made before the edge seals were made. The at least one additional seal is thus overlapped by the first and second edge seals. The at least one additional seal may e.g. be welded into the edge seals. Accordingly, when the pouched product is manufactured in the apparatus as described herein and/or with the method as described herein, the at least one addi- tional seal of the pouched product correspond to a longitudinal seal made by the longi tudinal sealing unit.

The at least one additional seal may be constituted by a single additional seal. As an alternative, there may be two additional seals, e.g. one at each side of the pouched product. The filling material may have a moisture content within the range of from 1-65 wt%, preferably 2-60 wt%, more preferably 20-60 wt%, most preferably 30-56 wt%, determined as a weight percentage of the filling material. This range may be covered without any post-moisturizing, which however is an option. Hence, the filling material of the pouched product may have a moisture content as low as at least 1 wt%, preferably at least 2 wt%, more preferably at least 3 wt% and most preferably at least 4 wt%. Moisture contents at the low end of the range may typically be utilized for pouched products with no or low tobacco content, to which nicotine is added. Further, the filling material of the pouched product may have a moisture content as high as up to 65 wt%, preferably up to 60 wt%, more preferably up to 58 wt%, most preferably up to 56 wt%.

Accordingly, the range of possible moisture contents may be extended both at the low end and at the high end of prior art moisture contents. The comments written in relation to the apparatus and/or method according to the invention are valid for the pouched product as well.

The present invention also relates to a pouched product as described herein being obtained or obtainable by using the apparatus as described herein. The present invention also relates to a pouched product as described herein being obtained or obtainable by the method as described herein

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will hereinafter be further explained by means of non-limiting examples with reference to the appended drawings wherein:

Fig. 1 illustrates a pouched product for oral use according to prior art,

Fig. 2 illustrates a pouched product for oral use according to the invention,

Fig. 3a-g illustrate an apparatus according to the invention for portion packing of pouched products for oral use,

Fig. 4 illustrates a tubular web provided with a series of transverse seals. Fig. 5 illustrates a filling tube of the apparatus according to the invention.

Fig. 6 illustrates an another filling tube of the apparatus according to the invention. It should be noted that the appended drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale and that the dimensions of some features of the present invention may have been exaggerated for the sake of clarity.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION The invention will in the following be exemplified by embodiments. It should however be realized that the embodiments are included in order to explain principles of the invention and not to limit the scope of the invention, defined by the appended claims. Details from two or more of the embodiments may be combined with each other. Figure 1 schematically illustrates a pouched product for oral use 101 according to prior art. The prior art product 101 has a rectangular shape with a maximum length Lo extending in a length direction and a maximum width Wo extending in a width direction, whereby the maximum length Lo is greater than the maximum width Wo. The prior art product 101 comprises a filling material and a saliva-permeable pouch enclosing the filling material. The prior art product 101 comprises two long side edges 103a, 103b and two short side edges 105a, 105b. The prior art product 101 also has an extension in a height direction, being perpendicular to the length direction and to the width direction, however not seen in this perspective. The prior art product 101 comprises at least one seal 107 extending in the length direc tion. Typically, and as illustrated in Figure 1, there is a single seal 107 extending in the length direction. This seal is often called a longitudinal seal, since, when manufacturing the prior art product 101 , this seal is made along the direction of travel of the web forming the pouch. The longitudinal seal is often positioned spaced apart from the long side edges 103a, 103b. Thereby it is often preferred to position it at or close to the longitudinal centre line, as is illustrated in Figure 1. The longitudinal seal 107 may be made by any method known to the skilled person, e.g. by means of heat-welding, ultrasonic sealing and/or applying an adhesive. Further, the prior art product 101 comprises two seals 109a, 109b extending in the width direction. The two seals 109a, 109b seal the two short side edges 105a, 105b and thus form edge seals. These seals 109a, 109b are often called transverse edge seals, since, when manufacturing the prior art product 101, these edge seals are made transverse to the direction of travel of the web forming the pouch. The transverse edge seals 109a,

109b may be made by any method known to the skilled person, e.g. by means of heat welding, ultrasonic sealing and/or applying an adhesive. Since the transverse edge seals 109a, 109b are made after the longitudinal seal 107, i.e. downstream of the longitudinal seal 107 in the manufacturing apparatus, the longitudinal seal 107 is included in the trans verse edge seals 109a, 109b, i.e. the longitudinal seal 107 forms part of the transverse edge seals 109a, 109b, e.g. the longitudinal seal 107 being welded into the transverse edge seals 109a, 109b.

Figure 2 schematically illustrates a pouched product for oral use 201 according to the invention. The pouched product 201 comprises a filling material and a saliva-permeable pouch enclosing the filling material and has a rectangular shape with a maximum length L extending in a length direction and a maximum width W extending in a width direction, whereby the maximum length L is greater than or equal to the maximum width W. The illustrated pouched product 201 comprises a filling material and a saliva-permeable pouch enclosing the filling material. The pouched product 201 also has an extension in a height direction, however not seen in this perspective.

The pouched product 201 comprises two long side edges 203a, 203b and two short side edges 205a, 205b. The pouched product 201 comprises at least one longitudinal seal 207, typically a single one, and two transverse edge seals 209a, 209b, with the terms longitudinal and transverse relating to the direction of travel of the web forming the pouch as further described herein in relation to the apparatus and method.

Although the pouched product 201 according to the invention and the prior art product 101 may have similar generally rectangular shapes, it can be seen that they differ from each other regarding how the various seals are positioned, as is further described below. They may also differ as regards size and length to width ratio. Thereby, an apparent difference is that, in the pouched product 201 according to the invention, and as may be gleaned in Figure 2, the at least one longitudinal seal 207 is shorter than the transverse edge seals 209a, 209b, while it is vice versa in the prior art product 101. Typically, and as illustrated in Figure 2, there is a single longitudinal seal 207 extending in the width direction of the pouched product 201 according to the invention. When manu facturing the pouched product 201 , this seal is made along the direction of travel of the web forming the pouch, as is further described herein. The longitudinal seal 207 is often positioned spaced apart from the short side edges 205a, 205b. Thereby it is often prefer red to position it at or close to the transverse centre-line, as is illustrated in Figure 2. The longitudinal seal 207 may be made by any method known to the skilled person, e.g. by means of heat-welding, ultrasonic sealing and/or applying an adhesive.

The transverse edge seals 209a, 209b form a first 209a and a second edge seal 209b sealing a respective first edge portion and a second edge portion along the two long side edges 203a, 203b of the pouched product 201. The transverse edge seals 209a, 209b preferably extend all the way out to the respective long side edge 203a, 203b, but there may also be an interspace between the transverse edge seal 209a, 209b and the long side edge 203a, 203b. The transverse edge seals 209a, 209b may be made by any method known to the skilled person, e.g. by means of heat-welding, ultrasonic sealing and/or applying an adhesive. Since the transverse edge seals 209a, 209b are made after the longitudinal seal 207, the longitudinal seal 207 is included in the transverse edge seals 209a, 209b, e.g. the longitudinal seal 207 being welded into the transverse edge seals 209a, 209b. The longitudinal seal 207 is thus overlapped by the transverse edge seals 209a, 209b.

As mentioned above, the transverse edge seals 209a, 209b are longer than the at least one longitudinal seal 207 and thus also longer than the width W of the pouched product, e.g. at least 20%, preferably at least 40%, more preferably at least 60% and most preferably at least 80% greater than the width W. Accordingly, the length L of the pouched product 201 is longer than the width W of the pouched product, e.g. at least 20%, prefer ably at least 40%, more preferably at least 60% and most preferably at least 80% greater than the width W.

The filling material of the pouched product 201 according to the invention may have a moisture content of at least 1 wt%, preferably at least 2 wt%, more preferably at least 3 wt% and most preferably at least 4 wt%. Hence, it may be possible to provide pouched products with filling materials, which have a lower moisture content than prior art pouched products. Moisture contents at the low end of the range may typically be utilized for pouched products with no or low tobacco content, to which nicotine is added.

The filling material of the pouched product 201 according to the invention may have a moisture content of up to 65 wt%, preferably up to 60 wt%, more preferably up to 58 wt%, most preferably up to 56 wt%. Hence, it may be possible to provide pouched products with filling materials, which have a higher moisture content than for prior art pouched products.

Accordingly, the range of possible moisture contents may be extended both at the low end and at the high end of prior art moisture contents.

Figures 3a-g schematically illustrate an apparatus 19 according to the invention for portion packing of pouched products for oral use. The apparatus 19 comprises a first feeding unit 23 for supplying a planar web 25 of the packaging material 7, a second feeding unit 27 for supplying a filling material 29 to the advancing web 25, a forming unit 31 for forming a tubular web 32 of the planar web 25 of the packaging material 7, a sealing unit 33 for making a longitudinal seal, a sealing unit 35 for making a transverse seal, illustrated as an ultrasonic sealing device 35 comprising an anvil 3 and a sonotrode 5, and a separation unit 36 for separating the pouched products from each other.

The second feeding unit 27 may be located downstream or upstream of the forming unit 31 or together with the forming unit 31. If placed together, as for the apparatus 19 illustrated in Figures 3a-g, the web 25 is first formed to a tubular web 32 and thereafter the filling material 29 is placed in the tubular web 32 as a portion 10 e.g. by means of the dosing method described in EP 2428450 B1. In the illustrated embodiment, a filling tube 55 is used both for forming the tubular web 32 and for filling of the filling material into the tubular web 32.

Alternatively, the filling material may be placed on the planar web as a portion before the planar web is formed to a tubular web, such that the packaging material is arranged around the portion of filling material to form the tubular web, thereby enclosing the portion.

At least one of the sealing unit 33 for making a longitudinal seal and the sealing unit 35 for making a transverse seal may perform simultaneous welding and separation, e.g. by the sealing device disclosed in EP3383746. In the apparatus 19 according to the invention, welding and separation may be performed simultaneously and in the same operation step for at least one of the seals. It may further be performed by the same operation surface as disclosed in the sealing device of EP3383746.

Below the movement of the parts of the sealing unit 35 are described for an ultrasonic sealing device like the one of EP3383746. However, for heat welding, the sealing jaws can be moved in a corresponding way.

The sonotrode 5 and the anvil 3 are arranged to be displaced in a reciprocating way in relation to the tubular web 32 in a direction being perpendicular to a direction of travel DT, between a first position, illustrated in Figure 3a, being in contact with the tubular web 32 and a position, illustrated in Figure 3c, being out of contact with the tubular web 32.

Further, the sonotrode 5 and the anvil 3 are adapted to follow the tubular web 32 when moving in the direction of travel DT, while performing the simultaneous welding and separation, in order to be able to follow the tubular web 32 to a downstream position, illustrated in Figure 3b.

The anvil 3 moves along a path 37 which has a first portion 37a parallel to and adjacent to the tubular web 32, a second portion 37b moving the anvil 3 away from the tubular web 32, a third portion 37c bringing the anvil 3 back upstream and a fourth portion 37d bringing the anvil 3 back into contact with the tubular web 32. The sonotrode 5 follows a corresponding path 39, having corresponding portions 39a, 39b, 39c, 39d. See paths 37, 39 illustrated in Figure 3a. The paths 37, 39 are further described below.

Figure 3a illustrates a start of the method. A longitudinal seal, e.g. like the longitudinal seal 207 illustrated in Figure 2, is continuously formed in the advancing tubular web 32 by the device 33 for making a longitudinal seal. The anvil 3 and the sonotrode 5 assume the first position, in which they start welding. A portion 10 of the filling material 29 is filled from above into the tubular web 32. The portion 10 of the filling material moves downwards, e.g. by gravity and/or by pressurized gas, until it reaches the portion of the tubular web 32, which is in the gap 9 between the anvil 3 and the sonotrode 5. The anvil 3 and the sonotrode 5 of the sealing unit 35 for making transverse seals move downstream together with the tubular web 32 while performing the welding along the respective first portions 37a, 39a of their paths, thereby making the transverse seal. The anvil 3 and the sonotrode 5 then reach a second position being downstream of the first position but yet in contact with the tubular web 32. See Figure 3b. The tubular web 32 is separated by being cut by means of a cutting edge 15 in the middle of the welding zone, thereby providing a transverse edge seal, sealing the edges of the pouch being formed. Hence, in the illustrated embodiment, the separation unit 36 and the sealing unit 35 for making transverse seals are combined into a single unit. Since the cut is made in the transverse seal formed in the tubular web 32, a part of the formed transverse seal, typi cally a half or about a half, will form a lower transverse edge seal 41 of the pouch being formed, while the other part of the formed transverse seal, typically the other half, will form an upper transverse edge seal of the preceding pouch.

Thereafter the anvil 3 and the sonotrode 5 are moved away from the tubular web 32 along the second portions 37b, 39b of their respective paths until they reach a respective third position, such that they are no longer in contact. The already formed transverse edge seal 41 seals the lower side edge of the pouch and prevents the portion 10 of the filling material 29 from falling out. See Figure 3c.

As a next step, the anvil 3 and the sonotrode 5 are moved back upstream along the third portions 37c, 39c of their respective paths to a fourth position being out of contact with the tubular web 32. See Figure 3d.

Then the anvil 3 and the sonotrode 5 are moved back to the first position along the fourth portions 37d, 39d of their respective paths, such that they start forming a new transverse seal. See Figure 3e. The distance the tubular web 32 has moved between forming a transverse seal and forming a subsequent transverse seal makes up a repetition distance d, which is measured between centre-lines of the transverse seals. See also Figure 4 illustrating the tubular web 32 provided with a series of transverse seals 40a, 40b each having a length I. Figure 4 also illustrates the separation lines, in which the pouched products are successively cut from each other. Hence, during manufacturing the preceding pouch is separated from the pouch being formed in or at the transverse seal 40a before the next transverse seal 40b is formed. The repetition distance d corresponds to the width W of the pouched product for oral use 201 according to the invention, cf. Figure 2. The maximum length L of the pouched product 201 , see Figure 2, is given by a length I of the transverse seal 40a, 40b formed in the tubular web 32, see Figure 4, which in turn is given by the circumference of the tubular web 32, such that half of the circumference corresponds to the maximum length L of the pouched product 201.

The anvil 3 and the sonotrode 5 move along the respective first portions 37a, 39a of their paths together with the tubular web 32 while performing the welding until the anvil 3 and the sonotrode 5 reach the second position being downstream of the first position but yet in contact with the tubular web 32. See Figure 3f. The tubular web 32 is cut by the cutting edge 15, leaving an upper transverse edge seal 45 at the upper edge of the pouched product 43 and a corresponding lower transverse edge seal 46 at the lower edge of the next pouched product, which has been filled by a next portion 10 of the filling material.

Thereafter the anvil 3 and the sonotrode 5 are moved away from the tubular web 32 along the second portions 37b, 39b of their respective paths until they reach a respective third position, illustrated in Figure 3g, such that they are no longer in contact, as is already described above for Figure 3c. The anvil 3 and the sonotrode 5 continue to move along their paths 37, 39 described above, while the tubular web 32 moves in the direction of travel DT.

In order to help separating the tubular web 32 in the cut, the arrangement 19 may further, as an option, comprise a pulling unit, illustrated in Figure 3f and 3g as a nip 47 between a pair of rollers 49, 51 arranged to pull the pouched product 43 in the direction of travel DT. Thereby the tubular web 32 is tensioned in a controllable way in order to make a separa tion of the pouched product 43 from the next pouched product easier. The distance z between the nip 47 and the cutting edge 15 when the sealing device is in the second position, see Figure 3f, roughly corresponds to the extension of the pouched product 43 in the direction of travel DT. Hence, if the arrangement 19 is utilized for manufacturing pouched products for oral use of different sizes, the distance z is preferably adjustable. After passing the nip 47, the pouched product 43 is placed on a conveyer 52. See Figure 3g. In the illustrated embodiment, the forming unit 31 comprises a filling tube 55, see Figure 3a. The web 25 is fed from the first feeding unit 23 as a planar web having a respective side edge at either side. Thereafter, the web 25 is wrapped around the filling tube 55 to form the tubular web 32. The cross-sectional shape of the tubular web 32 is given by the outer circumference of the filling tube 55 and may e.g. be circular. Subsequently, the side edges of the web 25 are fixated by providing the longitudinal seal by the sealing unit 33, thus setting the circumference of the tubular web 32. As mentioned above, the filling tube 55 is also used for supplying the filling material into the tubular web 32, i.e. the filling tube 55 is also comprised in the second feeding unit 27.

An example of a filling tube 56 is illustrated in Figure 5. A first end 57 of the filling tube 56 faces away from the sealing unit 35. It thus faces the rest of the second feeding unit 27. A second end 59 of the filling tube 56 is intended to face the sealing unit 35 for making a transverse seal. The first end 57 and the second end 59 may have the same cross- sectional shapes or different cross-sectional shapes, as is illustrated. If different, the filling tube 56 may comprise a transition region 61 between the two ends 57, 59, in which the cross-sectional shape transits from the cross-sectional shape of the first end 57 to the cross-sectional shape of the second end 59. Preferably, the filling tube 56 is configured in such a way that its outer circumference, as measured e.g. in millimetres, is retained the same all the way from the first end 57 to the second end 59, although the cross-sectional shape of the filling tube 56 changes along its length.

At the first end 57, it is generally beneficial to have an as high cross-sectional area as possible for the given outer circumference, in order to facilitate the providing of the filling material 29 through the filling tube 56 into the tubular web 32. For example, a large cross- sectional area reduces the risk of the filling material 29 sticking to the inner wall of the filling tube 56. Hence, it may be preferred to have a circular or close to circular cross- sectional shape at the first end 57. If having a circular cross-sectional shape with a radius r, as is illustrated, the outer circumference is 2pt and the cross-sectional shape is pt 2 .

At the second end 59, the tubular web 32 is soon to be transversely sealed. When being sealed, the tubular web 32 is compressed to a straight line, thus forming a collapsed cross-sectional shape of the tubular web 32. It is thus generally beneficial that the second end 59 of the filling tube 56 has a flattened profile, e.g. an elliptical cross-sectional shape with a minor axis a and a major axis b, as is illustrated. However, the second end 59 cannot be too flattened, since the filling material 29 should be able to easily pass the second end 59.

The sealing unit 35 for making a transverse seal is located downstream of the forming unit 31. When being sealed, the tubular web 32 is compressed to a straight line of doubled packaging material. It thus has an outer circumference of about twice the maximum length L of the pouched product 201 , cf. Figure 2, i.e. 2L. Hence, if the first end 57 of the filling tube 56 has a circular cross-sectional shape, the maximum length L will equal pt, L = pt. Another example of a filling tube 63 is illustrated in Figure 6. This filling tube 63 has the same cross-sectional shape over the whole length. The cross-sectional shape is elliptical with a minor axis c and a major axis e.

Further modifications of the invention within the scope of the appended claims are feasible. As such, the present invention should not be considered as limited by the embodiments and figures described herein. Rather, the full scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims, with reference to the description and drawings.