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Title:
FORMING STATION OF FILTERS FOR FILTERING COFFEE CAPSULES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2024/111008
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention is aimed at the field of mass production lines of objects, in particular the production lines of coffee capsules and/or powdered beverages in general. More in detail, the invention relates to a forming station (100) of filters (1 ) for filtering coffee capsules, adapted to be applied along a production line (200) of a capping machine (300), comprising: - a feeding group (2) of a filtering film (F); - a frame comprising a support surface (3) for said filtering film (F) provided with at least one hole (4); - a unit for cutting, forming and ejecting a pleated filter (1 ) obtained from said filtering film (F). Said unit for cutting, forming and ejecting a pleated filter (1 ) comprises at least one working head (5) comprising at least a first tool (6) for locking said filtering film (F), a second tool (7) for cutting said filtering film (F), a third tool (8) for forming a pleated filter (1 ) and a fourth tool (9) for ejecting said pleated filter (1 ) from said forming station (100), wherein said first (6), second (7), third (8) and fourth (9) tools are arranged coaxially with each other and with said hole (4) of said support surface (3).

Inventors:
COMANDULLI MARCO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IT2023/050260
Publication Date:
May 30, 2024
Filing Date:
November 22, 2023
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TECMES SRL (IT)
International Classes:
B31D5/00; B31D1/00; B31D5/04; B65B43/50; B26D1/06; B65B29/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2022029548A12022-02-10
Foreign References:
US20090211713A12009-08-27
US20180215120A12018-08-02
CH717840A22022-03-15
EP3040285A12016-07-06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARI, Marco Giovanni (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Forming station (100) of filters (1 ) for filtering coffee capsules, adapted to be applied along a production line (200) of a capping machine (300), characterized in that it comprises:

- a feeding group (2) of a filtering film (F);

- a frame comprising a support surface (3) for said filtering film (F) provided with at least one hole (4);

- a unit for cutting, forming and ejecting a pleated filter (1 ) obtained from said filtering film (F), where said unit for cutting, forming and ejecting a pleated filter (1 ) comprises at least one working head (5) comprising at least a first tool (6) for locking said filtering film (F), a second tool (7) for cutting said filtering film (F), a third tool (8) for forming a pleated filter (1 ) and a fourth tool (9) for ejecting said pleated filter (1 ) from said forming station (100), wherein said first (6), second (7), third (8) and fourth (9) tools are arranged coaxially with each other and with said hole (4) of said support surface (3).

2. Forming station (100) according to claim 1 , characterized in that said first locking tool (6) comprises a stop collar adapted to cooperate with said support surface (3) to hold said filtering film (F) in position above said hole (4) at least during the subsequent processing of said second cutting tool (7).

3. Forming station (100) according to claim 1 , characterized in that said second cutting tool (7) comprises a punch adapted to obtain a disc (D) of suitable size from said filtering film (F). Forming station (100) according to claim 1 , characterized in that said third forming tool (8) comprises a punch (18) adapted to impact said disc (D), and a die (28) adapted to act as an abutment for said punch (18) with the interposition of said disc (D), where said punch (18) and said die (28) comprise on their facing surfaces workings in relief with ridges and channels, complementary to each other and arranged in a radial pattern, adapted to reproduce a pleating on said disc (D). Forming station (100) according to claim 4, characterized in that said die (28) is drilled axially and comprises a frusto-conical portion (28’) adapted to cooperate with said punch (18) and a cylindrical portion (28”) adapted to temporarily house inside it said disc (D) provided with pleats. Forming station (100) according to claim 4, characterized in that said at least one working head (5) comprises heating means for said die (28). Forming station (100) according to claim 1 , characterized in that said fourth ejection tool (9) comprises a stem adapted to impact on the disc (D) provided with pleating to eject it from said perforated die (28) obtaining a pleated filter (1 ). Forming station (100) according to claim 1 , characterized in that said at least one first working head (5) comprises:

- a thrust carriage (11 ); first motor means (M1 ) adapted to act on said first (6), second (7) and third (8) tools by means of said thrust carriage (11 ); - second motor means (M2) adapted to act on said fourth tool (9)> wherein said first (M1 ) and second (M2) motor means are adapted to impart an alternating vertical translation movement to said tools (6, 7, 8, 9). Forming station (100) according to claim 8, characterized in that said first (M1 ) and second (M2) motor means comprise a servomotor, or a double-acting pneumatic cylinder. . Forming station (100) according to claim 8, characterized in that said at least one first working head (5) comprises elastic means with helical spring (12, 13), interposed between said thrust carriage (11 ) and said first (6) and second (7) tools, adapted to keep said first (6) and second (7) tools in elastic connection with said third tool (8) during their alternating vertical translation movement. . Forming station (100) according to claim 1 , characterized in that it comprises four working heads (5) arranged like the corners of a rhombus adapted to simultaneously form four pleated filters (1 ).. Forming station (100) according to claim 1 , characterized in that said filtering film (F) comprises a continuous tape wound on a reel, and said feeding group (2) of a filtering film (F) comprises means for unwinding said tape wound on a reel. . Forming station (100) according to claim 1 , characterized in that it comprises a transfer group (14) of said pleated filter (1 ), exiting from said cutting, forming and ejection unit, towards said production line (200) of said capping machine (300).

. Forming station according to claim 13, characterized in that said transfer unit (14) of said pleated filter comprises a rotatable wheel (15) with a vertical axis comprising a plurality of housings (16) arranged in a radial pattern adapted to reproduce the shape of said pleated filters (1 ) so as to maintain the shape thereof and preserve the pleating thereof during their transfer on said production line (200), where said wheel (15) is arranged so that at least one of said housings (16) is located at and below said at least one working head (5). . Capping machine (300) adapted for the production of filtering coffee capsules of the type comprising a pleated filter (1 ) adapted to contain coffee powder, characterized in that it comprises along a production line (200) a forming station (100) of filters (1 ) according to at least one of the preceding claims.

Description:
FORMING STATION OF FILTERS FOR FILTERING COFFEE CAPSULES

Field of application

The invention is aimed at the field of mass production lines of objects, in particular the production lines of coffee capsules and/or powdered beverages in general.

More in detail, the invention relates to a forming station of filters for filtering coffee capsules.

Background art

Filtering coffee capsules are particularly used for the preparation of beverages of the so-called “American coffee” type, but everything reported below is also valid for filtering capsules for the preparation of generic beverages.

Filtering capsules comprise a rigid, truncated cone-shaped casing, shaped like a glass, generally made of plastic or compostable material, a pleated filter generally made of paper (or other suitable material), arranged inside the casing, and a sealing foil, generally made of aluminium.

The coffee powder is arranged inside the capsule, and is contained between the pleated filter and the sealing foil.

The current production processes of filtering capsules require that both the casings and the filters are built and produced offline, separately and with specific machinery, and then assembled together with the introduction of each filter in a corresponding casing, and only subsequently fed in capping machines which fill with coffee powder and close the casing with the sealing foil to obtain the actual filtering capsules.

External machines are therefore known, specifically used only for forming paper filters for filtering coffee capsules, arranged offline with respect to the main production line of the capping machine.

These filter forming machines use a disc as starting material, i.e. a template supplied already suitably pre-cut, for example in filtering paper or other porous material.

The most traditional machines for forming pleated paper filters comprise:

- means for feeding paper discs, even in packages made up of a plurality of overlapping discs;

- a fixed mould and a corresponding mobile mould, shaped with ridges and channels in relief, between which the paper discs are inserted and pressed in order to give them a first pleat;

- a duct, having the same shape as said moulds, in which the already treated paper discs are made to slide out of the moulds, and in which the pleating of the discs is further fixed and consolidated.

The packages of pleated discs exiting from said duct are sent to storage before being used in the capping machines.

Of course, using additional machinery to preform the filters, starting from pre-cut templates using additional die-cutting tools, entails logistical, economic and organizational drawbacks for the entire production line of filtering coffee capsules: - need to acquire multiple machines, each used for a specific operation, with huge economic investments;

- high use of human resources for managing the process and moving materials from one machine to another;

- high maintenance costs multiplied by the number of machines to manage;

- high energy consumption due to the different machines in operation;

- need to store large quantities of pre-processed materials (pre-cut discs and formed filters), with space problems;

- logistical and management effort for the coordination of different productions to be conveyed into the capping machine for the final steps of the actual capping process.

In general, purchasing already finished and pre-formed paper pleated filters, ready to be fed into a capping machine, is also a very expensive solution.

Disclosure of the invention

The invention aims to overcome these limitations by defining a forming station of filters for filtering coffee capsules adapted to be applied along a production line directly on board a capping machine.

It is also the aim of the invention to create an efficient, fast, compact forming station, cost-effective to produce, automated, adapted to be coordinated and in phase with all the subsequent processes of the capping machine.

Such objects are achieved with a forming station of filters for filtering coffee capsules, adapted to be used along a production line of a capping machine, characterized in that it comprises: a feeding group of a filtering film; a frame comprising a support surface for said filtering film provided with at least one hole; a unit for cutting, forming and ejecting a pleated filter obtained from said filtering film, where said unit for cutting, forming and ejecting a pleated filter comprises at least one working head comprising at least a first tool for locking said filtering film, a second tool for cutting said filtering film, a third tool for forming a pleated filter and a fourth tool for ejecting said pleated filter from said forming station, wherein said first, second, third and fourth tools are arranged coaxially with each other and with said hole of said support surface.

Further features of the invention are described in the dependent claims.

The invention also relates to a capping machine adapted for the production of filtering coffee capsules comprising a filter forming station as claimed.

The filter forming station according to the invention exhibits numerous advantages essentially due to the presence of at least one working head provided with a plurality of tools coaxial with each other, having different functions carried out sequentially in a single work cycle.

The possibility of combining all the tools with the capping machine and in a single working head, first for cutting the filtering film, and then for processing and forming the filter, eliminates the need to use more external machinery and eliminates the need to store the various materials at different processing stages, with risk of deterioration.

The economic advantages of having integrated a forming station into the capping machine are evident:

- all the operations are performed (cutting of the filtering film disc and production of the finished pleated filter) with a single machine, i.e. the forming station according to the invention;

- the number of machinery needed for the various processes is reduced and consequently the investment costs are reduced;

- the use of human resources for process management is reduced;

- maintenance costs and energy consumption are reduced (less machinery to manage and operate).

Furthermore, the need to store large quantities of materials is eliminated: the only material to be stored for the production of filters is the starting filtering film, advantageously in the form of a reel and with obvious benefits, being easily stored and moved, not subject to deterioration, having a lower cost as it is a raw material (the cost of finished filters is incomparable).

The forming station according to the invention allows the production of each pleated filter on board the capping machine, with the same speed as the entire encapsulation process.

The coaxiality of all the working tools reduces the overall dimensions of the forming station; the optimized spaces allow the integration thereof into the most varied capping machines.

Brief description of the drawings

The advantages of the invention shall appear more clearly from the following description of a preferred embodiment, made by way of an indicative and non-limiting example with reference to the figures, in which:

- Figure 1 illustrates, in section along a vertical plane, a forming station of filters for filtering coffee capsules according to a possible variant of the invention;

- Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5 illustrate, in section along a vertical plane, the forming station of Fig. 1 , in four different working steps;

- Figure 6 illustrates, in a top plan view, a production line of a capping machine comprising a forming station of filters for filtering coffee capsules according to the invention.

Detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention

With reference to Figure 1 , a forming station 100 of pleated filters 1 for filtering coffee capsules of the type particularly suitable for the preparation of American coffee is illustrated.

In the following description, reference will therefore be made to filtering capsules of the type comprising a rigid glass-shaped casing, made of plastic material, or aluminium, paper or other compostable material, a pleated filter 1 advantageously made of paper housed inside said casing, and a closing foil usually made of aluminium.

Said forming station 100 comprises:

- a feeding group 2 of a filtering film F, in particular filter paper; - a frame comprising a support surface 3 for said filtering paper film F provided with at least one hole 4;

- a unit for cutting, forming and ejecting a pleated filter 1 obtained from said paper filtering film F, wherein said cutting, forming and ejection group of a pleated filter 1 comprises a working head 5 which performs all the operations simultaneously, in a single cycle.

Said working head 5 comprises:

- a first tool 6 for blocking and holding said filtering paper film F in position;

- a second tool 7 for cutting said filtering paper film F to obtain a disc D of suitable size;

- a third tool 8 for forming said paper disc D to obtain a pleated filter 1 ;

- a fourth tool 9 for ejecting said pleated filter 1 from said working head 5.

Said first 6, second 7, third 8 and fourth 9 tools are arranged coaxially with each other and with said hole 4 of said support surface 3, and are provided with an alternating vertical translation movement which allows the respective descents and ascents thereof along a vertical working axis according to an appropriate sequence.

Figures 2-5 illustrate said working head 5 in four different sequential operating steps, in which said tools 6, 7, 8, 9 act, one at a time.

With particular reference to Figure 2, said first locking tool 6 comprises a stop collar adapted to cooperate with said support surface 3, at the edge of said hole 4, to hold said filtering paper film F in position at least during the subsequent processing of said second cutting tool 7.

With particular reference to Figure 3, said second cutting tool 7 comprises a punch adapted to obtain a disc D of suitable size from said filtering paper film F.

With particular reference to Figure 4, said third forming tool 8 comprises an upper punch 18 and a lower die 28.

Said punch 18 is adapted to impact on said paper disc D, while said die 28 is adapted to act as an abutment for said punch 18 with the interposition of said paper disc D.

Said punch 18 and said die 28 are both provided with a complementary taper and include on their facing surfaces relief work with ridges and channels, arranged in a radial pattern, adapted to reproduce a pleating on said paper disc D, when pressed.

In order to allow the disc D to be retained between said punch 18 and die 28, without tearing or damaging the paper, the conicity angles of said punch 18 and said die 28 are slightly different and said punch 18 and said die 28 are close with each other, but without contact. A mechanical abutment (not shown) placed at a predetermined distance acts as an abutment for said punch 18, preventing the disc D from being pinched with the die 28.

In order to impress a long-lasting pleating on said paper disc D, said working head 5 comprises heating means (not shown) for said die 28.

Said die 28 is stably associated with said frame of said forming station 100, below said support surface 3, at the hole 4.

Said die 28 is axially perforated so as to allow the newly formed pleated filter 1 to then be ejected from the working head 5.

Said die 28 comprises an upper portion of truncated cone shape 28’, adapted to cooperate directly with said punch 18, and a lower cylindrical portion 28” adapted to temporarily accommodate within it said paper disc D provided with pleating, preserving such pleating thereof during the ejection step.

With particular reference to Figure 5, said fourth ejection tool 9 comprises a stem adapted to impact on the paper disc D provided with pleating to eject it from said perforated die 28, through its cylindrical portion 28”, obtaining a glass-shaped pleated filter 1 .

Said working head 5 comprises motor means adapted to act at least indirectly on said tools to allow the alternating vertical translation movement thereof.

With particular reference to Figures 1 -5, said working head 5 comprises:

- a thrust carriage 11 ;

- first motor means M1 adapted to act on said first 6, second 7 and third 8 tools by means of said thrust carriage 11 ;

- second motor means M2 adapted to act on said fourth tool 9.

Said first M1 and second M2 motor means are adapted to impart an alternating vertical translation movement to said tools 6, 7, 8, 9. In the variant described herein, said first M1 and second M2 motor means each comprise a servomotor, particularly suitable for the sudden changes in motion required by the working head. Alternatively, said first and second motor means may each comprise a doubleacting pneumatic cylinder.

Said thrust carriage 11 , on which said first motor means M1 act, slides on load-bearing columns 19 stably associated with the frame of the forming station 100.

A sleeve 21 hangs from said thrust carriage 11 , inside which said fourth ejection tool 9 slides.

The punch 18 of said third forming tool 8 is stably associated with said sleeve 21 ; externally to said sleeve 21 there are elastic helical spring means acting between said first 6 and second 7 and said thrust carriage.

A first helical spring 12 is arranged between said thrust carriage 11 and said first locking tool 6, a second helical spring 13 is arranged between said thrust carriage 11 and said second cutting tool 7.

Said first 12 and second 13 helical springs are externally coaxial to said sleeve 21 .

Said first 12 and second 13 helical springs are adapted to keep said first 6 and second 7 tools in elastic connection with said third tool 8, stably associated with said sleeve 21 , during their alternating vertical translation movement.

All the movements of the working head 5, the descents and ascents of the tools 6, 7, 8, 9, are coordinated by a command and control unit (not illustrated), with which it is possible to set the working parameters of the individual tools, to take into account various factors, such as the thickness of the starting filtering material.

The operation of the forming station 100 is described below, with reference to a single work cycle aimed at obtaining a single pleated filter 1 :

- a filtering film F is fed inside the forming station 100, below said working head 5, along a support surface 3 of said frame (Fig. 1 );

- said command and control unit activates said first motor means M1 , and said thrust carriage 11 , to which said first 6, second 7, third 8 and fourth 9 tool are hung, directly and indirectly, begins its descent;

- said first locking tool 6, i.e. said collar reaches said support surface 3, clamping with it said filtering film F, locking it in position (Fig. 2);

- the progressive descent of the thrust carriage 11 leads said second cutting tool 7 to cut said filtering film F, obtaining from it a disc D which falls into support on the underlying die 28 (Fig. 3);

- the continuous descent of the thrust carriage 11 brings said punch 18 closer to the upper frusto-conical portion 28’ of said die 28, pressing the paper disc D included between them;

- said first 12 and second 13 helical springs are compressed, crushed between said thrust carriage 11 and the respective tools 6, 7 (Fig. 4);

- said command and control unit stops said first motor means M1 , while by activating said second motor means M2 it commands the continuous descent of said fourth tool 9 so that its stem passes entirely through said perforated die 28 accompanying the pleated filter 1 now formed outside of the working head 5 (Fig. 5);

- said command and control unit reverses the motion of the first M1 and second M2 motor means which raise the tools 6, 7, 8, 9 and bring the working head 5 back to its initial position; the helical springs 12, 13 are extended again, and the filtering film F is released and free to advance on the support surface 3.

With particular reference to Figure 6, a possible variant of the forming station 100 according to the invention is illustrated, applied along a production line 200, inside a capping machine 300.

Said capping machine 300 comprises, according to the prior art, the following work stations:

- a feeding station 10 for a plurality of casings in succession;

- a feeding station 20 for a plurality of pleated filters 1 ;

- a station 30 for inserting each filter 1 into a corresponding casing 1 ;

- a station 40 for welding an edge of said filter 1 to an edge of said casing;

- a station 50 for filling said filter 1 with coffee powder (or other powder that needs to be filtered for the preparation of beverages);

- a sealing station 60 of said casing by means of a sealing foil to obtain a filtering capsule;

- an ejection station 70 of said filtering capsule obtained.

In detail, said feeding station 20 of a plurality of pleated filters 1 comprises the forming station 100 according to the invention.

In the variant illustrated in Figure 6, said forming station 100 comprises four working heads 5 arranged like the corners of a rhombus adapted to simultaneously form four pleated filters 1 .

The support surface 3 for said filtering film F comprises four corresponding holes 4 coaxial to said four working heads 5.

Said filtering film F is continuous and advantageously wound on a reel, and said feeding group 2 of a filtering film F comprises means for unwinding said reel.

It is clear to those skilled in the art that the filtering film F fed may also be of the discontinuous type, i.e. comprise a plurality of sheets fed in sequence beneath the working head 5.

Said forming station 100 comprises a transfer group 14 of said pleated filters 1 , exiting from the four working heads 5, towards said production line 200 of said capping machine 300.

Said transfer group 14 of said pleated filters F comprises a rotatable wheel 15 with a vertical axis.

Said wheel 15 is petal-shaped and comprises, on each petal, four movable housings 16 adapted to receive four newly formed pleated filters 1 and to vary the mutual position thereof, switching to an in-line configuration.

For each work cycle of the forming station 100 there corresponds a rotation click of said wheel 15, so as to position at each cycle empty housings 16 ready to receive the pleated filters 1 produced under the forming station 100. Said housings 16 have a truncated cone shape and reproduce the shape of said pleated filters 1 so as to maintain the shape thereof and preserve the pleating thereof during their transfer onto said production line 200. Said housings 16 comprise retention means for said pleated filters 1 adapted to prevent the escape and deformation thereof during their transfer onto said production line 200.

In a simplified variant of the forming station 100, the pleated filters 1 exiting from each working head 5 may fall from the corresponding die 28, pushed by said fourth ejection tool 9, directly into corresponding casings fed along the production line 200 of the capping machine 300.