Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MAKING SINGLE-USE CAPSULES FOR BEVERAGES.
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2022/034400
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Described is a method for making single-use capsules for beverages comprising the steps of: providing an upper flange (107) having at least one hole (108); providing a support (105) having at least one seat (106) for 5 housing a rigid cup-shaped body (2); inserting a rigid cup-shaped body (2) in said housing seat (106), said rigid cup-shaped body (2) having an inner space and an open upper opening (2c); providing a piece (S) of filter material above the upper flange (107); actuating a first step of feeding, by means of a pushing element (115), a central portion of said piece (S) of 10 filter material towards said hole (180), up to an intermediate position; upon reaching said intermediate position of the pushing element (115), performing a main locking of said piece (S) of filter material relative to said upper flange (107) and making a main cut of the piece (S) of filter material along a predetermined main closed cutting line (10), extending 15 substantially circularly about said central portion, to define a filter (4) for infusion of beverages.

Inventors:
MANARESI GIORGIO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2021/056577
Publication Date:
February 17, 2022
Filing Date:
July 21, 2021
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
IMA SPA (IT)
International Classes:
B65D85/804; B26D1/04; B26D5/42; B26D7/01; B26D7/02; B26D7/14; B29C65/08; B65B29/02; B65B51/22; B65B61/00; B65B61/06; B65B61/20
Domestic Patent References:
WO2013189555A12013-12-27
WO2013064988A12013-05-10
WO2014060838A12014-04-24
Foreign References:
EP2730523A12014-05-14
US7910145B22011-03-22
DE3935625A11991-05-02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MILLI, Simone et al. (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A method for making single-use beverage capsules, said capsules having a rigid cup-shaped body (2) equipped with a closed base (2b) and an upper opening (2c), and a filter (4) having a concave shape and positioned inside the rigid body (2) to form a chamber for containing a dose of product (D), said method comprising the following steps:

- providing an upper flange (107) having at least one hole (108);

- providing a support (105) having at least one housing seat (106) for housing said rigid cup-shaped body (2), said support (105) being positioned under the upper flange (107) with the housing seat (106) aligned with the hole (108);

- inserting the rigid cup-shaped body (2) into said housing seat (106) with the upper opening (2c) close to the support (105);

- providing a piece (S) of filter material above the upper flange (107);

- actuating a first step of feeding, using a pushing element (115), a central portion of said piece (S) of filter material towards said hole (108), up to a first position;

- upon reaching said first position of the pushing element (115), a main locking of said piece (S) of filter material relative to said upper flange (107) is performed, the method being characterised in that it comprises the following further steps:

- making a main cut of said piece (S) of filter material along a main closed cutting line (10), extending substantially circularly about said central portion, to obtain a filter (4) for infusion of beverages;

- after the step of making the main cut, actuating a second step of feeding, using the pushing element (115), the filter (4) towards said housing seat (106), from the first position to a desired final position, suitable for fixing said filter (4) to an inner surface of said rigid cupshaped body (2); then

- fixing a perimeter portion of the filter (4) to said inner surface of the rigid cup-shaped body (2); wherein said first and/or second feeding step are performed in an adjustable way in such a way as to vary, respectively, a position of said filter (4) relative to the main closed cutting line (10) and/or to said desired final position.

2. The method according to claim 1 , wherein said first and second feeding steps are performed in an adjustable manner in such a way as to vary the desired final position of the filter (4) keeping unchanged the position where the perimeter portion of the filter (4) is fixed to the inner surface of the rigid cup-shaped body (2).

3. The method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the step of making a main cut of said piece (S) of filter material to define said filter (4) comprises a step of moving a main cutting device (110) equipped with a cutting edge in the direction of the piece (S) of filter material, until making contact with said piece (S) of filter material and cutting it.

4. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the following steps are carried out before the first feeding step:

- placing a sheet (F) of filter material above said upper flange (107);

- carrying out a preliminary locking of said sheet (F) of filter material above said upper flange (107); and

- performing a preliminary cutting of said sheet (F) of filter material to obtain said piece (S) of filter material.

5. The method according to claim 4, wherein the step of carrying out a preliminary cutting of said sheet (F) of filter material to obtain said piece (S) of filter material comprises: moving an additional cutting device (112) provided with a cutting edge in the direction of said sheet (F) of filter material, until making contact with said sheet (F) of filter material and cutting it.

6. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising, simultaneously with the first feeding step, a step of generating radial folds on the piece (S) of filter material and/or, simultaneously with the second feeding step, a step of generating radial folds on the filter (4).

7. An apparatus (100) for making single-use beverage capsules, said capsules comprising a rigid cup-shaped body (2), having a closed base (2b) and an upper opening (2c), and a filter (4) having a concave cross section, positioned inside the rigid body (2) to form a chamber for containing a dose of product (D), said apparatus (100) comprising:

- a support (105) comprising a seat (106) for housing a rigid cupshaped body (2);

- an upper flange (107) comprising a hole (108), said upper flange

(107) being positioned above the support (105), positioning the hole

(108) aligned with the housing seat (106);

- a pushing element (115) facing said hole (108) and movable between a withdrawn position, outside the hole (108), and an advanced position, inside the hole (108), said pushing element (115) having a shape suitable for intercepting a central portion of the piece (S) positioned on the upper flange (107) and pulling the piece (S) of filter material into the hole (108);

- a main locking element (110a) configured to lock said piece (S) of filter material against the upper flange (107);

- a main cutting device (110) positioned above said upper flange (107) and configured to make a main cut of said piece (S) of filter material, whilst said piece (S) is locked by the main locking element (110a), along a main closed cutting line (10), having a substantially circular extension around said central portion, to obtain the filter (4) or infusion of beverages; said main cut being performed when

18 reaching an intermediate position, located between said withdrawn and advanced positions;

- a sealing element (120), configured to fix a perimeter portion of the filter (4) along an inner surface of the rigid cup-shaped body (2) inserted in said housing seat (106), after said pushing element (115) has fed the filter (4) towards said housing seat (106), moving the filter (4) from the intermediate position to the advanced position;

- a control unit configured to actuate said main cutting device (110) when the pushing element (115) is in said intermediate position, in such a way that the cut on the piece (S) of filter material occurs when the pushing element (115) is at said intermediate position, said control unit also controlling the pushing element (115) for actuating it in such a way as to vary, respectively, a position of said filter (4) relative to said main closed cutting line (10) and/or to the advanced position.

8. The apparatus (100) according to claim 7, wherein said main cutting device (110) comprises a first cylindrical blade (111 ).

9. The apparatus (100) according to claim 8, comprising an additional cutting device (112), positioned outside the main cutting device (110) and configured to cut a sheet (F) of filter material along a preliminary cutting line (12), in such a way as to obtain said piece (S) of filter material, said preliminary cutting line (12) of the additional cutting device (112) preferably having a substantially circular shape.

10. The apparatus (100) according to claim 9, further comprising an additional locking element (112a), acting in conjunction with the additional cutting device (112), for locking said sheet (F) of filter material relative to said upper flange (107).

19

11. The apparatus (100) according to any one of claims 7 to 10, wherein the sealing element (120) comprises a sonotrode (121) with a hollow tubular shape, positioned about said pushing element (115) and movable axially towards and away from the housing seat (106), preferably independently of the pushing element (115).

12. The apparatus (100) according to any one of claims 7 to 11 , comprising a guide element (125) above the upper flange (107) and movable from, and towards, the upper flange (107), and having a central cavity sized to allow the passing through of said pushing element (115).

13. The apparatus (100) according to claim 12, wherein the guide element (125) has radial grooves relative to said central cavity, positioned to favour the formation of wrinkles on said piece (S) of filter material.

20

Description:
DESCRIPTION

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MAKING SINGLE-USE CAPSULES FOR BEVERAGES

Technical field

This invention relates to the technical field of products for making infusion or extraction beverages.

More specifically, the invention relates to a method and an apparatus for making single-use beverage capsules, more specifically rigid capsules fitted internally with a filter.

Background art

The capsules of interest for the invention are of the type which can be used by dispensing machines and have typically standardised dimensions. This type of product includes, for example, K-CupĀ® or K-CupĀ® compatible single-use coffee capsules.

The structure of the prior art single-use capsules comprises, in the simplest form, a rigid cup-shaped body, an internal filter containing a dose of product for extraction or infusion beverages, and a sheet, film or other element for closing the upper opening.

The rigid cup-shaped body is typically made of plastic and/or paper material and comprises a side wall usually truncated cone or cylindrical in shape and a perforatable closed bottom. At the top it has an open upper opening.

The filter is a portion of filter material, for example filter paper for beverages, fixed inside the rigid cup-shaped body in such a way as to form a concave surface with the cavity facing upwards and designed to contain a dose of product to allow the filtering when struck by a flow of water coming from the upper part of the rigid body.

Typically, these filters are made starting from a flat sheet of filter material, deformed and/or folded according to the above-mentioned concave shape. i The upper closing element is a cover or film (or generically "lid") positioned to occlude the open upper opening of the rigid cup-shaped body, preferably glued or sealed in such a way as to hermetically seal it to allow a good preservation of the dose of product contained in the capsule and prevent a contamination with extraneous agents. The closing element is designed, usually but without limiting the scope of the invention, to be perforated by a nozzle which supplies liquid, usually water.

According to the invention, the operation of the single-use capsules generally comprises a dispensing machine perforating the closing element of the rigid cup-shaped body using a needle for introducing hot water under pressure inside the rigid body, the pressurised water passes through the dose of product to allow the infusion or extraction of substances and/or essences and then passes through the filter, and then escapes from the perforated base.

It is considered important in order to protect the quality of the beverage produced that, during the perforating of the bottom of the capsule, the filter is not damaged by the element assigned to this operation. If this occurred, the final beverage would be spoilt with solid bodies of the infusion or extraction process (for example, coffee grain powder). To avoid damaging the filter, the capsules should be made wherein the filter is fixed to the rigid cup-shaped body in the correct position, that is to say, in such a way that the lower portion of the filter maintains a minimum distance from the bottom of the cup.

It is common practice in the modern market to conform to standard formats in the production of single-use capsules, to favour their compatibility with dispensing machines, which are also standardised and therefore with standard bottom perforating systems. This generally requires a standardisation of certain dimensional parameters of the rigid cup-shaped body.

At the same time, there is an increasingly felt need for diversifying the characteristics of the beverages made with the single-use capsules according to the invention. More specifically, it is necessary to vary the dose of product contained in the filter, to modify the intensity and/or the quantity of beverage which can be produced with a single capsule.

In order to adapt the capsules to different product doses, maintaining the standard format, the prior art teaches the use of filters of different sizes (that is to say, at different distances from the bottom of the rigid body) inside rigid bodies of identical dimensions. In some standardised capsules it is also possible to vary the height of the rigid cup-shaped body without adversely affecting the compatibility with the respective standard format; in this way, it is possible to increase the flexibility on the inner space and on the dose of product which may be effectively contained in the capsule.

Disadvantageously, as regards the dose of product contained, the prior art comprises the use of different machines for making different variants of capsule. More specifically, for each different size of the filter and/or each different height of the rigid cup-shaped body, or even for each combination between the two above-mentioned parameters, it is necessary to use different stations inside the production plant or in any case replace some tools.

With the gradual increase in the needs by the market for diversification of the single-use capsules, it is increasingly evident how this problem can lead to a proliferation of different tools to be used in the assembly stations on the lines for production of single-use capsules for beverages, increasing the management, feeding and maintenance costs, with the risk of inefficient or not fully operational use for many machines.

Aim of the invention

In this context, the technical purpose which forms the basis of the invention is to provide a method and an apparatus for making single-use beverage capsules in such a way as to overcome the above-mentioned drawbacks of the prior art. More specifically, the aim of the invention is to provide a method and an apparatus for making single-use beverage capsules which are able to improve the flexibility of the production lines of the above-mentioned capsules, reducing the number of tools and increasing the efficiency.

The technical purpose indicated and the aims specified are substantially achieved by an apparatus and a method for making single-use beverage capsules, comprising the technical features described in one or more of the appended claims.

Said aims are achieved in particular by a method for making single-use beverage capsules, said capsules having a rigid cup-shaped body equipped with a closed base and an upper opening, and a filter having a concave shape and positioned inside the rigid body to form a chamber for containing a dose of product, said method comprising the following steps:

- providing an upper flange having at least one hole;

- providing a support having at least one housing seat for housing said rigid cup-shaped body, said support being positioned under the upper flange with the housing seat aligned with the hole;

- inserting the rigid cup-shaped body in said housing seat with the upper opening close to the support;

- providing a piece of filter material above the upper flange;

- actuating a first step of feeding, using a pushing element, a central portion of said piece of filter material towards said hole, up to a first position;

- upon reaching said first position of the pushing element, main locking of said piece of filter material relative to said upper flange is performed, the method being characterised in that it comprises the following further steps:

- making a main cut of said piece of filter material along a main closed cutting line, extending substantially circularly about said central portion, to obtain a filter for infusion of beverages; - after the step of making the mam cut, actuating a second step of feeding, using the pushing element, the filter towards said housing seat, from the first position to a desired final position, suitable for fixing said filter to an inner surface of said rigid cup-shaped body; then

- fixing a perimeter portion of the filter to said inner surface of said rigid cup-shaped body; wherein said first and/or second feeding step are performed in an adjustable way in such a way as to vary, respectively, a position of said filter relative to the main closed cutting line and/or to said desired final position.

Said aims are also achieved by an apparatus for making single-use beverage capsules, said capsules comprising a rigid cup-shaped body, having a closed base and an upper opening, and a filter having a concave cross section, positioned inside the rigid body to form a chamber for containing a dose of product, said apparatus comprising:

- a support having a seat for housing a rigid cup-shaped body;

- an upper flange comprising a hole, said upper flange being positioned above the support, positioning the hole aligned with the housing seat;

- a pushing element facing said hole and movable between a withdrawn position, outside the hole, and an advanced position, inside the hole, said pushing element having a shape suitable for intercepting a central portion of the piece positioned on the upper flange and pulling the piece of filter material into the hole;

- a main locking element configured to lock said piece of filter material against the upper flange;

- a main cutting device positioned above said upper flange and configured to make a main cut of said piece of filter material, whilst said piece is locked by the main locking element, along a main closed cutting line, having a substantially circular extension around said central portion, to obtain the filter or infusion of beverages; said main cut being performed when reaching an intermediate position, located between said withdrawn and advanced positions;

- a sealing element, configured to fix a perimeter portion of the filter along an inner surface of the rigid cup-shaped body inserted in said housing seat, after said pushing element has fed the filter towards said housing seat, moving the filter from the intermediate position to the advanced position;

- a control unit configured to actuate said main cutting device when the pushing element is in said intermediate position, in such a way that the cut on the piece of filter material occurs when the pushing element is at said intermediate position, said control unit also controlling the pushing element for actuating it in such a way as to vary, respectively, a position of said filter relative to said main closed cutting line and/or to said advanced position.

Brief description of the drawings

Further features and advantages of the invention are more apparent in the non-limiting description which follows of a preferred non-limiting embodiment of a method for making single-use beverage capsules an a relative apparatus, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:

- Figure 1 shows a partly simplified cross section of an apparatus for making single-use beverage capsules made according to the invention;

- Figure 2 shows a cross section of a single-use capsule for beverages;

- Figures 3 to 10 show the apparatus for making capsules of Figure 1 in different operating configurations according to different steps of the method according to the invention;

- Figures 11a to 11d show a portion of filter material in different configurations according to different steps of the method according to the invention;

- Figure 12 shows the step of Figure 11 c in an alternative embodiment. Detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention

With reference to Figure 1 , the numeral 100 generically indicates an apparatus for making single-use beverage capsules according to the invention.

A capsule of the type which can be produced by the apparatus 100 is illustrated in a longitudinal cross section in Figure 2 and is labelled 1. In the simplest form, it comprises a rigid cup-shaped body 2, a closing element 3 made of perforatable material, and a filter 4 containing a dose of product "D" for extraction or infusion beverages, preferably ground coffee.

The rigid body 2 is made of plastic and/or paper material and comprises a side wall 2a, preferably substantially frustoconical, and a closed bottom 2b, the latter made of perforatable material.

At the top of it, the rigid body 2 has an upper opening 2c which is accessible before closing.

The filter 4 comprises a portion of filter material, preferably filter paper for beverages. The filter 4 is made from a sheet "F" of filter material, to which reference is hereinafter made to denote a strip or web or other semifinished piece of thin filter paper.

A perimeter portion of the filter 4 is fixed to the inner side of the side wall 2a, preferably continuously along its circumference, to define a chamber for containing a dose of product "D". Advantageously, the filter 4 is fixed to the rigid body 2 in such a way as to have a concave surface designed to contain the dose of product "D" and allow the filtering relative to a flow of water coming from the upper opening 2c.

The closing element 3 (also called "lid") is a film or other type of cover positioned to occlude the upper opening 2c, in such a way as to hermetically seal it to allow a good conservation of the dose of product "D" contained in the capsule 1 and prevent a contamination with extraneous agents, and the closing element 3 also makes it possible to contain the water dispensed for the infusion. Preferably, the closing element 3 is configured to be perforated by a nozzle which supplies liquid under pressure of a dispensing machine.

In its simplest embodiment, the apparatus 100 comprises: a main cutting device 110, a pushing element 115 and a sealing element 120.

In the embodiment illustrated, there is an upper flange 107 which defines a central hole 108, extending about an axis of extension "X" and having an inlet section 108a, preferably flared, and an outlet section 108b. Close to the inlet section 108a, the central hole 108 may have radial inner grooves. The main cutting device 110 is located above the upper flange 107 and is equipped with a cutting edge configured to cut a piece "S" from the sheet "F" of filter material, interposed between the main cutting device 110 and the upper flange 107.

According to another aspect, there is a movable support 105 equipped with a seat 106 for housing a rigid cup-shaped body 2.

The support 105 is moved by an external device (not illustrated).

In use, the outlet section 108b faces the housing seat 106 in such a way that, when the rigid cup-shaped body 2 is positioned below, the outlet section 108b is substantially aligned with the upper opening 2c of the rigid body 2.

Preferably, the above-mentioned piece "S" of filter material consists of filter paper for coffee or tea. The main cutting device 110 is configured to cut the piece "S" along a predetermined, substantially circular main cutting line 10 to obtain a filter disc designed for inserting in a rigid cup-shaped body 2, for making a single-use capsule of the type described above.

The main cutting line 10 made by the main cutting device 110 is substantially circular and has a diameter greater than 75 mm when the filter material is positioned flat. The above-mentioned diameter must make it possible to obtain a filter 4 to be inserted correctly in the rigid body 2.

The main cutting device 110 comprises a first cylindrical blade 111 , having a diameter preferably between 75 and 190 mm. For simplicity, the drawings show only the part in cross-section of the cylindrical blade 111. The choice of the diameter of the cylindrical blade 111 is a function of the minimum dimension of the filter 4 to be made.

The first cylindrical blade 111 is movable away from, and towards, the upper flange 107, preferably driven by a linear actuator, not illustrated, connected to it. In the embodiment illustrated, the first cylindrical blade 111 is movable along the axis of extension "X".

Preferably, the apparatus 100 comprises a main locking element 110a, for example a pressing element, associated with the main cutting device 110 and configured to lock the piece "S" of filter material to favour its cutting by the main cutting device 110. For simplicity, the drawings show only the part in cross section of the main locking element 1 10a.

Preferably, the apparatus 100 comprises an additional cutting device 112, positioned outside the main cutting device 110 in such a way as to surround it.

Advantageously, the additional cutting device 112 is equipped with a cylindrical cutting edge configured to make a preliminary cut of the sheet "F" of filter material, interposed between the main cutting device 110 and the upper flange 107, along a preliminary cutting line 12. The above- mentioned preliminary cut is aimed at obtaining the piece "S" of filter material, designed for the subsequent cuts by the first cylindrical blade 111.

Preferably, the preliminary cutting line 12 of the additional cutting device 112 is substantially circular and has a diameter greater than that obtained subsequently with the first cylindrical blade 111 of the main cutting device 110.

In the embodiment illustrated, the additional cutting device 112 comprises a second cylindrical blade 113 having a diameter preferably between 470 and 570 mm. For simplicity, the drawings show only the part in crosssection of the cylindrical blade 113.

Preferably, the apparatus 100 comprises an additional locking element 112a, associated with the additional cutting device 112 and configured to lock the sheet "F" of filter material to favour its cutting by the additional cutting device 112. For simplicity, the drawings show only the part in cross section of the main locking element 110a.

In the embodiment illustrated, the upper flange 107 has respective contact grooves for the main cutting device 110 and for the additional cutting device 112.

The pushing element 115 is movable, preferably along the axis of extension "X", towards and away from the central hole 108 between a withdrawn position (illustrated in Figure 3), above the upper flange 107, and a forward position (illustrated in Figure 10), wherein the hole 108 is completely crossed to reach the inside of the rigid body 2. In the passage from the withdrawn position to the advanced position, the pushing element 115 strikes a central portion of the piece "S" of filter material interposed between the main cutting device 110 and the upper flange 107 and pulls the piece "S" of filter material into the hole 108. Preferably, the pushing element 115 comprises a head 116, configured to enter the rigid cupshaped boy 2 after passing through the central hole 108, and a stem 117 connected to the head 116.

More specifically, the head 116 is designed to pull the piece "S" of filter material, located on the upper flange 107, through the central hole 108 and, after being cut further by the main cutting device 110, inside the rigid cup-shaped body 2 located in the housing seat 106. The above-mentioned pulling is performed by applying a pressure on the central portion of the piece "S" of filter material in such a way as to fold the piece "S" of filter material to obtain a concave shape with the cavity facing upwards, designed to contain a dose of product "D" (for example coffee powder).

In at least one embodiment, the head 116 has radial grooves on the outer surface (not illustrated) designed to favour the formation of a predetermined wrinkle on the piece "S" of filter material during its feeding through the hole 108.

Preferably, the pushing element 115 is moved by an actuator (not io illustrated) connected to the stem 117.

Advantageously, the pushing element 115 is configured to adopt a predetermined intermediate position (Figure 7), between the withdrawn and advanced positions.

The sealing element 120 is configured for sealing a perimeter portion of the filter 4 to a lateral inner surface of the rigid cup-shaped body 2. In the embodiment illustrated, the sealing element 120 is configured for sealing the filter 4 along a predetermined fixing line 14 on the side wall 2a located at a distance from the upper opening 2c which is fixed and identical for all the dimensions of the filter 4.

The sealing element 120 preferably comprises a sonotrode 121 , positioned outside the pushing element 115 and coaxial with it. Preferably, the sealing element 121 can be moved axially away from and towards the housing seat 106 between a raised position and a lowered position where it is suitable for performing the above-mentioned sealing, preferably independently of the pushing element 115. In the embodiment illustrated, the sealing element 121 can be moved along the axis of extension "X". Preferably, the central hole 108 of the upper flange 107 is configured to allow simultaneous movements of the pushing element 115 and of the sealing element 120 towards and away from the housing seat 106.

The sealing element 120 is positioned at the fixing line 14 when the pushing element 115 is in the advanced position.

Preferably, a sonotrode may be used as sealing element to perform an ultrasonic sealing.

Advantageously, the apparatus 100 comprises a control unit, configured to operate the main cutting device 110 when the pushing element 115 is in the above-mentioned predetermined intermediate position. The control unit is also active on the pushing element 115 for varying the intermediate position and/or the advanced position.

Adjusting the intermediate position has the effect of varying the position of the piece "S" of filter material at the moment of cutting by the main cutting ii device 110 to obtain the filter 4. Consequently, the size of the filter 4 after cutting along the predetermined main cutting line 10 depends advantageously on the choice of the intermediate position.

In other words, although the diameter of the main cutting device 110 is fixed, the dimensions of the piece cut by it vary according to the intermediate position made to adopt the pushing element 115, when the main cutting device 110 performs the cut.

At the intermediate position, the pushing element 115 pauses and the main cutting device 110 cuts the piece "S" of filter material.

Figures 11 c and 12 schematically illustrate a cut made along the main cutting line 10 at different intermediate positions to obtain different dimensions of the filter 4.

The adjustment of the advanced position of the pushing element 115 has the effect of controlling the final position of the filter 4 in the rigid cupshaped body 2 and defines the position in which the sealing occurs on the side wall 2a of the rigid cup-shaped body 2.

Preferably, the control unit is designed to activate the sealing element 120 when the above-mentioned pushing element 115 is in the advanced position. Advantageously, the control unit adjusts the position of the advanced position of the pushing element 115 in such a way as to position a perimeter portion of the filter 4 on the predetermined fixing line 14.

In at least one embodiment, the apparatus 100 comprises an interface for adjusting the intermediate and/or advanced position by part of a user.

Preferably, the apparatus 100 comprises a guide element 125, above the upper flange 107 and able to be moved towards and away from the latter along the axis of extension "X". The guide element 125 has a central cavity positioned aligned with the central hole 108 of the upper flange 107 and configured to allow the pushing element 115 and the sealing element 120 to pass through it. The guide element 125 defines with the upper flange 107, in a configuration close to the upper flange 107, a gap for slidably housing the piece "S" of filter material. The guide element 125 may also have grooves, radial in the above-mentioned central cavity, at least in a zone ending in the central cavity for generating radial folds on the piece "S" of filter material during its pushing by the pushing element 115, in such a way as to favour a wrinkle on the filter 4.

The invention also relates to a method for making single-use beverage capsules of the type described above, preferably using the apparatus 100 described above.

The above-mentioned method comprises a step of providing a rigid cupshaped body 2 of the type described above.

The method according to the invention also comprises a step of preparing a piece "S" of filter material, preferably of filter paper for coffee or tea, on top of an upper flange 107 having a central hole 108.

Preferably, the step of preparing a piece "S" of filter material comprises a step of preparing a sheet "F" of filter material above the upper flange 107 (Figure 3), performing a preliminary locking of the sheet "F" of filter material above the upper flange 107 (Figure 4) and performing a preliminary cut of the sheet "F" of filter material (Figure 5).

Preferably, the step of performing a preliminary locking of the sheet "F" of filter material above the upper flange 107 is performed by a lowering of an additional locking element 112a of the type described above.

Preferably, the step of performing a preliminary cutting of the sheet "F" of filter material comprises moving an additional cutting device 112 provided with a cutting edge in the direction of the sheet "F" of filter material, until coming into contact with the sheet "F" and cutting it along a preliminary cutting line 12 (illustrated in Figure 11 a), preferably substantially circular, thus obtaining the piece "S" of filter material. More specifically, this preliminary cutting step may be carried out by punching the sheet "F".

Preferably, the additional cutting device 112 comprises a second cylindrical blade 113.

The step of preparing a piece "S" of filter material is illustrated, in one embodiment, in Figures 3 to 5 and 11 a, the piece "S" of resulting filter material is illustrated in Figure 11 b.

In a different embodiment, the sheet "F" is cut into a different cutting station and the piece "S" ready is conveyed and positioned above the central hole 108 of the upper flange 107.

Subsequently, the method according to the invention comprises actuating a first step of feeding (Figure 6), using a pushing element 115, a central portion of the piece "S" of filter material towards the housing seat 106, up to a predetermined intermediate position (Figures 7 and 8). The pushing element 115 is actuated in such a way as to pull the piece "S" of filter material along the central hole 108 towards the rigid cup-shaped body 2 making it slide on the upper flange 107.

Subsequently, upon reaching the predetermined intermediate position of the pushing element 115, the method according to the invention comprises a step of carrying out a main locking of the piece S of filter material relative to the upper flange 107 and performing a main cut of the piece "S" of filter material along the main cutting line 10 (Figure 8), thus obtaining a filter 4 of the desired size.

Preferably, the step of locking the main piece S of filter material relative to the upper flange 107 is accomplished by a main locking element 110a of the type described above.

Preferably, the step of performing a main cut of the piece "S" of filter material comprises moving a main cutting device 110, of the type described above, provided with a cutting edge, towards the piece "S" of filter material, until making contact with the piece "S" and cutting it along a predetermined main closed cutting line 10 to define the filter 4 of the type described above (Figure 8).

The main cutting line 10 extends substantially in a circular fashion around the central portion of the piece "S". Moreover, the filter 4 is cut in such a way as to be provided with a surface and a perimeter shape suitable for insertion into the rigid body 2 described above.

Advantageously, the predetermined intermediate position of the pushing element 115 described above is adjustable, in such a way as to be able to adjust the size of the filter 4.

After the main cutting step, this method comprises actuating, preferably using the pushing element 115, a second step of feeding the filter 4 (Figure 9) inside the rigid body 2, until reaching a desired final position (illustrated in Figure 10). More specifically, the desired final position is suitable for fixing a perimeter portion of the filter 4 to the inner surface of the rigid cup-shaped body 2 along a fixing line 14.

Preferably, the method according to the invention comprises a step of generating radial folds on the piece (S) of filter material and on the filter 4. More specifically, the step of generating radial folds is performed using a guide element 125 of the type described above. Advantageously, it is designed to create a wrinkle on the surface of the filter 4.

After the second feeding step, the method according to the invention comprises the step of fixing, preferably by sealing, a perimeter portion of the filter 4 to the inner surface of the rigid cup-shaped body 2, in particular along the above-mentioned predetermined fixing line 14, shown in Figure 11d. Advantageously, the final position is adjustable.

The invention achieves the set aim by overcoming the drawbacks of the prior art, since the method and the apparatus 100 described above allow adjusting the cutting of a piece "S" of filter material in such a way as to make, with a single machine, filters for single-use capsules for beverages of the type described above of different sizes. The invention therefore increases the flexibility of the machinery for the production of single-use capsules and allows a greater diversification of the production compared with the prior art. The invention also allows the use of filters with different sizes without increasing the number of cutting stations.