BRPI1001168A2 - Method for mass processing of a food product packed in an equipment - Google Patents

Method for mass processing of a food product packed in an equipment Download PDF

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Publication number
BRPI1001168A2
BRPI1001168A2 BRPI1001168A BRPI1001168A2 BR PI1001168 A2 BRPI1001168 A2 BR PI1001168A2 BR PI1001168 A BRPI1001168 A BR PI1001168A BR PI1001168 A2 BRPI1001168 A2 BR PI1001168A2
Authority
BR
Brazil
Prior art keywords
semi
rigid
strips
flexible
rigid strips
Prior art date
Application number
Other languages
Portuguese (pt)
Inventor
Paulo Anthony Zerfas
Robert C Jones
Original Assignee
Kraft Foods Global Brands Llc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US12/429,855 priority Critical patent/US20090266036A1/en
Application filed by Kraft Foods Global Brands Llc filed Critical Kraft Foods Global Brands Llc
Publication of BRPI1001168A2 publication Critical patent/BRPI1001168A2/en

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B9/00Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, e.g. liquids or semiliquids, in flat, folded, or tubular webs of flexible sheet material; Subdividing filled flexible tubes to form packages
    • B65B9/10Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in preformed tubular webs, or in webs formed into tubes around filling nozzles, e.g. extruded tubular webs
    • B65B9/20Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in preformed tubular webs, or in webs formed into tubes around filling nozzles, e.g. extruded tubular webs the webs being formed into tubes in situ around the filling nozzles
    • B65B9/207Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in preformed tubular webs, or in webs formed into tubes around filling nozzles, e.g. extruded tubular webs the webs being formed into tubes in situ around the filling nozzles the web advancing continuously
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B61/00Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages
    • B65B61/02Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages for perforating, scoring, slitting, or applying code or date marks on material prior to packaging
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B61/00Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages
    • B65B61/18Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages for making package-opening or unpacking elements
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B61/00Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages
    • B65B61/18Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages for making package-opening or unpacking elements
    • B65B61/188Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages for making package-opening or unpacking elements by applying or incorporating profile-strips, e.g. for reclosable bags
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B9/00Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, e.g. liquids or semiliquids, in flat, folded, or tubular webs of flexible sheet material; Subdividing filled flexible tubes to form packages
    • B65B9/02Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material between opposed webs
    • B65B9/04Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material between opposed webs one or both webs being formed with pockets for the reception of the articles, or of the quantities of material
    • B65B9/042Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material between opposed webs one or both webs being formed with pockets for the reception of the articles, or of the quantities of material for fluent material
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B9/00Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, e.g. liquids or semiliquids, in flat, folded, or tubular webs of flexible sheet material; Subdividing filled flexible tubes to form packages
    • B65B9/06Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in a longitudinally-folded web, or in a web folded into a tube about the articles or quantities of material placed upon it
    • B65B9/08Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in a longitudinally-folded web, or in a web folded into a tube about the articles or quantities of material placed upon it in a web folded and sealed transversely to form pockets which are subsequently filled and then closed by sealing
    • B65B9/087Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in a longitudinally-folded web, or in a web folded into a tube about the articles or quantities of material placed upon it in a web folded and sealed transversely to form pockets which are subsequently filled and then closed by sealing the web advancing continuously
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B9/00Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, e.g. liquids or semiliquids, in flat, folded, or tubular webs of flexible sheet material; Subdividing filled flexible tubes to form packages
    • B65B9/06Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in a longitudinally-folded web, or in a web folded into a tube about the articles or quantities of material placed upon it
    • B65B9/08Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in a longitudinally-folded web, or in a web folded into a tube about the articles or quantities of material placed upon it in a web folded and sealed transversely to form pockets which are subsequently filled and then closed by sealing
    • B65B9/093Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in a longitudinally-folded web, or in a web folded into a tube about the articles or quantities of material placed upon it in a web folded and sealed transversely to form pockets which are subsequently filled and then closed by sealing the web having intermittent motion
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B9/00Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, e.g. liquids or semiliquids, in flat, folded, or tubular webs of flexible sheet material; Subdividing filled flexible tubes to form packages
    • B65B9/10Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in preformed tubular webs, or in webs formed into tubes around filling nozzles, e.g. extruded tubular webs
    • B65B9/20Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in preformed tubular webs, or in webs formed into tubes around filling nozzles, e.g. extruded tubular webs the webs being formed into tubes in situ around the filling nozzles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B9/00Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, e.g. liquids or semiliquids, in flat, folded, or tubular webs of flexible sheet material; Subdividing filled flexible tubes to form packages
    • B65B9/10Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in preformed tubular webs, or in webs formed into tubes around filling nozzles, e.g. extruded tubular webs
    • B65B9/20Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in preformed tubular webs, or in webs formed into tubes around filling nozzles, e.g. extruded tubular webs the webs being formed into tubes in situ around the filling nozzles
    • B65B9/213Enclosing successive articles, or quantities of material, in preformed tubular webs, or in webs formed into tubes around filling nozzles, e.g. extruded tubular webs the webs being formed into tubes in situ around the filling nozzles the web having intermittent motion
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D33/00Details of, or accessories for, sacks or bags
    • B65D33/007Details of, or accessories for, sacks or bags for facilitating the separation of the two walls, e.g. walls of inequal height, tabs; for maintaining the mouth of the sack or bag open
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D33/00Details of, or accessories for, sacks or bags
    • B65D33/16End- or aperture-closing arrangements or devices
    • B65D33/30Deformable or resilient metal or like strips or bands
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B2220/00Specific aspects of the packaging operation
    • B65B2220/08Creating fin seals as the longitudinal seal on horizontal or vertical form fill seal [FFS] machines
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B47/00Apparatus or devices for forming pockets or receptacles in or from sheets, blanks, or webs, comprising essentially a die into which the material is pressed or a folding die through which the material is moved
    • B65B47/04Apparatus or devices for forming pockets or receptacles in or from sheets, blanks, or webs, comprising essentially a die into which the material is pressed or a folding die through which the material is moved by application of mechanical pressure
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B7/00Closing containers or receptacles after filling
    • B65B7/16Closing semi-rigid or rigid containers or receptacles not deformed by, or not taking-up shape of, contents, e.g. boxes or cartons
    • B65B7/162Closing semi-rigid or rigid containers or receptacles not deformed by, or not taking-up shape of, contents, e.g. boxes or cartons by feeding web material to securing means
    • B65B7/164Securing by heat-sealing
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D75/00Packages comprising articles or materials partially or wholly enclosed in strips, sheets, blanks, tubes, or webs of flexible sheet material, e.g. in folded wrappers
    • B65D75/52Details
    • B65D75/58Opening or contents-removing devices added or incorporated during package manufacture
    • B65D75/5805Opening or contents-removing devices added or incorporated during package manufacture for tearing a side strip parallel and next to the edge, e.g. by means of a line of weakness

Abstract

METHOD FOR MASS PRODUCTION OF A FOOD PRODUCT PACKED IN A EQUIPMENT A resealable flexible packaging for retail sale of food products is described which is comprised of a ñlme material. Resealable flexible packaging is suitable for mass production in high speed forming-filling-sealing equipment. The flexible package includes a pair of semi-rigid strips attached to the flexible pouch walls and positioned parallel to the opening of the package. Semi-rigid strips are configured and arranged to nest and predispose towards each other. Upon opening the package, the semi-rigid strips are movable between a closed position and an open position. In addition, the semi-rigid strips are configured such that they automatically reseal the package when the strips are released from the open position.

Description

“METHOD FOR MASS PRODUCTION OF A FOOD PRODUCT PACKED IN A EQUIPMENT” Related Applications This application claims the benefit of U.S. Patent Application 12 / 429,855, filed April 24, 2009, which is hereby incorporated in its entirety by reference.
Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to packaging and, more particularly, to a disposable food package comprising a pouch made of a film material having an automatic closing feature.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Flexible film packaging is well known in the art and typically comprises disposable pouches commercially produced on high speed forming-filling-sealing machines from rolls of plastics film material. Flexible film packages have cavities in which pluralities of contents, such as food products, are stored. Consumers usually consume only a portion of the contents of the package. A resealable package feature allows the user to unload a portion of the contents through the opening of the package and then seal the opening to reseal the flexible package.
Numerous resealable flexible packaging is well known in the art. In one approach, resealable flexible packages have push-to-close zipper closures. Push-to-close zippers show alignment of two profiles located on opposite walls of the package to lock the closure and close the package again. This alignment can be problematic and / or time consuming for consumers, especially younger or older consumers, who may have limited manual dexterity. In addition, if a particulate food product, such as sliced cheese or breadcrumbs, is stored in flexible packaging, the particulate matter may interfere with the alignment of zipper profiles, which usually have narrow channels or lanes.
In another approach, resealable flexible packages include a sliding zipper closure. Sliding closures on these flexible packages help align the two profiles located on the walls of the package; however, these slide fasteners require additional plastic material and fabrication that add additional costs. While the slides allow users to more easily align the profiles of the package walls, the slide closures create a slight opening between the slide and the side seal when the package is in the closed configuration. Additionally, the zipper slide remains in the slide tracks when the package is in the open position and the slide extends to the opening, thereby slightly reducing the size of the pocket opening.
Moreover, typical resealable flexible packaging does not automatically close again. Resealable flexible packaging typically requires affirmative manual action to close again. Thus, the user has to remember to close the package and precisely press the closure to seal and pull the zipper slide to the closed configuration between each use. Additionally, if such a resealable flexible packaging inadvertently falls out while open, the contents may spill. The consumer must remember, or have enough time to reseal the package to avoid possible splashing or wasting the contents of the package.
Summary The package described herein comprises a flexible pouch made of film material and a pair of semi-rigid strips attached to the walls of the flexible bag positioned such that the semi-rigid strips are aligned and predisposed towards each other. Upon removal from the top, the semi-rigid strips are movable between a closed position and an open position. In addition, the semi-rigid strips are configured such that they automatically reseal the package when the strips are released from the open position. The strips may extend the full width of the flexible pouch or may extend between the side seals of the pouch.
To commercially produce self-closing flexible packaging with semi-rigid strips, high speed forming-filling-sealing equipment with a vertical or horizontal configuration can be employed. In one embodiment, cavities are formed of film material in an in-line operation such that strips may be added to the inner or outer surfaces of the film material. Semi-rigid strips can be attached to the front and rear panels by heat sealing or adhesive bonding.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The above needs are met at least partially by providing the flexible pouch with the self-closing features described in the following detailed description, particularly when studied in conjunction with the drawings, wherein: Figure 1 comprises an elevational view. front of a flexible package configured in accordance with various embodiments of the invention; Fig. 2 comprises a cross-sectional view of the flexible package of Fig. 1 taken along line 2-2; Figure 3 comprises an isometric cross-sectional view of the flexible package of Figure 1 in the open configuration; Fig. 4 comprises a cross-sectional view of the flexible package of Fig. 1 in the open configuration; Fig. 5 comprises a perspective view of the flexible package of Fig. 1 in the open configuration; Figure 6 comprises a front elevational view of another embodiment of a flexible package; Fig. 7 comprises a cross-sectional view of the flexible package of Fig. 6 taken along line 7-7; Figure 8 comprises a rear elevational view of another embodiment of a flexible package; Fig. 9 comprises a cross-sectional view of the flexible package of Fig. 8 taken along line 9-9; Figure 10 comprises a cross-sectional view of another embodiment of a flexible package; Fig. 11 comprises a perspective view of the flexible package of Fig. 10 in the open configuration; Figure 12 comprises a partial perspective view illustrating an apparatus configured in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; Figure 13A comprises a partial perspective view illustrating an apparatus configured in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; Figure 13B comprises a partial perspective view illustrating an apparatus configured in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; Figure 14 comprises a partial perspective view illustrating an apparatus configured in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; Fig. 15 comprises a perspective view of another embodiment of a flexible package; Fig. 16 comprises a cross-sectional view of the flexible package of Fig. 15; Fig. 17 comprises a perspective view of the flexible package of Fig. 15 in the open configuration; Figure 18 comprises a perspective view of another embodiment of a flexible package; Fig. 19 comprises a cross-sectional view of the flexible package of Fig. 18; and Figure 20 comprises a partial perspective view illustrating an apparatus configured in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that elements in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and are not necessarily drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions and / or relative positioning of some of the elements in the figures may be exaggerated relative to other elements to help improve understanding of various embodiments of the present invention. Also, common but well understood elements which are useful or necessary in a commercially viable embodiment are not generally depicted in order to facilitate a less obstructed view of the various embodiments of the present invention. It is further understood that certain actions and / or steps may be described or represented in a particular order of occurrence, although those skilled in the art realize that such sequence specificity is not really required. It is also to be understood that the terms and expressions used herein have the ordinary technical meaning agreed upon for such terms and expressions by those skilled in the art in the presented technological field, except where different specific meanings were otherwise presented herein.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Generally, with respect to these various embodiments, a flexible pouch or package with an automatic closing feature is illustrated in Figures 1-11. The flexible pouch 10, shown in Figures 1-5, may be used to package food products 12, such as particulate food products including sliced cheese, cereal and dried fruit mix, to name a few. A flexible pouch 10 has a pair of curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 disposed parallel to the opening of the pouch. The semi-rigid curved strips 14, 16 are configured and arranged to nest and predispose one another. The first and second semi-rigid strips 14, 16 are secured to the opposite front and rear panels 18, 20 of the flexible bag 10 and the predisposition of the strips 14, 16 predisposes the panels 18, 20 to the closed configuration. The flexible pouch 10 may be comprised of a flexible film material that is shaped using high speed forming-filling-sealing equipment. The flexible pouch may have a variety of seals, folds and other features, determined by a variety of considerations, such as the products stored in the pouch and the method of manufacture of the pouch, to name but a few.
In an illustrative embodiment, shown in Figure 1, the flexible pouch 10 includes front and rear panels 18, 20 having side seals 22, an upper seal 24 and a lower fold 26. For ease of access to the product, flexible pouch 10 includes a removable top part 28. The distance below the removable top 28, the front and rear panels 19, 20 have semi-rigid curved strips 14, 16 located therein. Upon removal from the top, the curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 are movable between an open position, allowing dispensing of the food product, and a closed position that limits or prevents entry of the food product.
As shown in Figure 1, the side seals 22 extend along the outer edges of the panels 18, 20 to create the pouch 10. The side seals 22, top sealing 24 and similar seals discussed herein may be conventional heat seals. Such conventional heat seals may be created by altering heat sealing bars or other suitable sealing apparatus, and are well known to those skilled in the art.
Furthermore, the flexible pouch 10 includes a weakness area 30 which assists the user in separating the removable top 28 from the flexible pouch 10. The weakness area 30 may be a mechanical or laser incision line. This line can be linear or nonlinear. If the area of weakness is nonlinear, the flange on the top of the package (discussed below) may not extend completely across the width of the package. In addition to a laser incision line, weakness area 30 may include perforations. The incision line or perforations may extend the full width of the flexible pouch 10. Alternatively, or in addition to the incision line, the weakness area 30 may include a tear initiation feature 32 along only a portion of it. such as a small notch or V-slot on one edge of the package. For example, as shown in Figure 1, weakness area 30 may include a tear initiation feature 32 aligned with an incision line.
Where a flexible pouch 10 is used for food products 12, an airtight seal 34 is desirable to ensure freshness of the product. The hermetic seal 34 may have a detachable openable feature. In the illustrative embodiment of Figure 1, the detachable hermetic seal 34 is positioned below the curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16. In another embodiment, the hermetic seal 34 may be created by the top seal 24 if the area of weakness 30 takes the form of a seal. an incision line, opposed to perforations, which would interfere with the hermetic seal 24 created by the top seal 24. In addition, the flexible pouch 10 may have tamper-proof feature.
Below the weakness area 30, the front and rear panels 18, 20 each have a curved semi-rigid strip 14, 16 attached to them. The semi-rigid curved strips 14, 16 have a slight arc and are positioned in the panels 18, 20 such that the curved strips nestle tightly together. More particularly, the curvature of the first curved semi-rigid strip 14 aligns in the same direction as the curvature of the second curved semi-rigid strip 16, as illustrated in Figure 2. The radius of curvature of the curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 may be greater or smaller than illustrated in figure 2.
Curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 may have a variety of dimensions. For example, strips 14, 16 may have a radius of curvature of 0.125 to 6.0 inches (3.2 to 152.4 mm), a thickness of 0.007 to 0.050 inch (0.18 to 1.27 mm), a height of 0.125 to 2.5 inches (3.2 to 63.5 mm) and a length of 0.75 to 20 inches (19.1 to 508 mm). In an illustrative embodiment, the semi-rigid curved strips 14, 16 are about 1.25 inch (31.8 mm) high, 5.75 inch (146.1 mm) long, with a radius of curvature of 1.25 inch (31.8 mm), and a thickness of about 0.015 inch (0.38 mm), depending on the dimensions and features of the flexible pouch 10, the semi-rigid curved strips 14, 16 may extend over the entire width of the package. , as shown in Figure 1, or may extend between the side seals 22 such that the strips 14, 16 terminate at the inner edge of the side seal 22. Other embodiments are contemplated, such as, for example, a strip embodiment semi-rigid curves 14, 16 ending in the middle of the side seals 22.
As suggested, the curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 are predisposed towards each other to automatically close the flexible pouch 10 upon release from the open position. The semi-rigid curved strips 14, 16 stay in their stable rest configurations when they are extended to their full length. When the semi-rigid curved strips 14, 16 detach and move to a fully open position shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, longitudinal tension is induced on the strips 14, 16 such that when the strips are released from that position they automatically move to the fully extended position, which securely ties straps 14, 16 and closes flexible pouch 10. In addition, in addition to the curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 provide a self-closing feature for flexible pouch 10, strips 14, 16 create an audible snap when the flexible pouch is closed again. The audible snap assures the consumer that the packaging is securely closed and that the unused portion of the contents remains fresh.
As shown in Fig. 1, the curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 are positioned parallel to the opening created at the top of the pocket 10 by removing the top 28. Moreover, the curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 are positioned at a distance from the area. of weakness 30. In one embodiment, strips 14, 16 are positioned about 0.75 inch from the edge of the upper film. This distance may vary and the desired distance may be between 0.125 and 2.0 inches (3.2 and 50.8 mm).
Curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 may comprise a variety of materials including a relatively heat resistant polymer such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high impact polystyrene (HIPS), polypropylene (PP), high density polyethylene ( HDPE), another of a variety of relatively rigid polymers, or a thin strip of resilient metal such as a thin strip of steel. Curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 may be attached to panels 18, 20 in a variety of ways, such as, for example, can be heat sealed or adhesive bonded. Additionally, the strips 14, 16 may be attached to the inner or outer surfaces of the panels 18, 20. By one approach, the first and second curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 have an outer heat seal layer compatible with a sealant thereon. front and rear panels 18, 20.
Semi-rigid mill-loaded strips 14, 16 may be produced in a variety of ways, such as stamping, injection molding, thermoforming, extrusion, or a combination of two or more such processes. For example, the strips may be stretched and quenched after profile extrusion. In addition, the semi-rigid curved strips 14, 16 may be produced as either separate, even elements or as a continuous strip of reel strip material on a reel. In one embodiment, the semi-rigid curved strips 14, 16 may be put in line in precut strips. In another manufacturing process, the semi-rigid curved strips 14, 16 may be formed into line. For example, in one embodiment, the material from which the semi-rigid curved strips 14, 16 are formed is wound onto a flat-shaped reel such that the curvature of the semi-rigid curved strips 14, 16 is imparted by a process of forming such. as a thermoforming tool when material is rewound from the reel.
Turning to Figures 3 and 5, the flexible pouch 10 is illustrated in the open configuration. Above the curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 and below the area of weakness 30 is a portion of the film material comprising the panel flanges 36, 38. Thus, when the removable part 28 has been separated from the flexible pouch 10 , the panel flanges 36, 38 extend above the curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 and can be grasped by the user. In an illustrative embodiment, strips 14, 16 are positioned between 0.5 and 1.0 inch (12.7 to 25.4 mm) from the upper edge of the film material. Thus, in an illustrative embodiment, the panel flanges 36, 38 may be between 0.25 and 0.8 inches (6.3 and 20.3 millimeters) high. Such panel flanges 36, 38 provide a loose film for easy grip which aids in opening the pouch 10.
To open the flexible pouch 10, the user can manually grab and pull the panel flanges forwards and backwards 36, 38 along each other. Pulling the panel flanges 36, 38 with light force causes the package to move to a fully open configuration. Once opened, the flexible pouch 10 may be maintained in the fully open configuration by applying longitudinal compression to the sides of the flexible pouch 10 where the curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 terminate. Continuous application of such longitudinal compression retains the flexible pouch 10 in the fully open configuration shown in Figures 3-5. The fully open configuration allows significant access to the food products stored in the flexible pouch 10. In one embodiment, the flexible packaging is sized to allow manual one-handed application of longitudinal compression.
By releasing the longitudinal compression, the spring tension of the curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 causes them to bounce back to the closed position, thereby automatically closing the pouch 10. As mentioned, the closing action can be quick and accompanied by an audible snap sound. After returning to the closed position, the matched curvature of the curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16 is forced tightly, creating a secure closure at the top of the flexible pouch 10.
Turning now to Figures 6 and 7, another embodiment of a flexible pouch is illustrated. In this and subsequent embodiments, similar flexible pouches are illustrated with slightly different features. For convenience, features of the various embodiments that correspond to features already discussed with respect to previously discussed embodiments are identified using the same reference number in combination with a prefix (such as "1") to distinguish the different embodiment. For example, the flexible pouch 110 corresponds to the previously described flexible pouch 10.
As shown in Fig. 6, flexible pouch 110 includes side seals 122, an upper seal 124 and a lower seal 142.
This embodiment may be produced from two rolls of film material which are heat sealed to one another. In this example, the semi-rigid curved strips 114, 116 extend to the outer edges of the side seals 122. As shown in Figure 7, the flexible pouch 100 comprises a generally vertical front panel 120 and a rear panel 118 in which a bulge is created to accommodate a plurality of food products 112.
Turning now to Figures 8 and 9, another embodiment of a flexible pouch 210 is illustrated. The flexible pouch 210 includes a lower seal 242, side folds 244 and a flap or wing seal 246 along the back of the flexible pouch. 210. Wing seals 246, such as side seals 22, may be conventional heat seals. As shown in the illustrative embodiment of Figure 9, the semi-rigid curved strips 214, 216 are attached to the outer surfaces of the front and rear panels 218, 220.
Also in another illustrative embodiment, shown in Figures 10 and 11, a flexible pouch 310 is illustrated. The flexible pouch 310 is similar to the above-described flexible pouch 10, except that the flexible pouch 310 has only a curved semi-rigid strip 314 attached to either. front or rear panels 318, 320. One embodiment such as this works similar to the previously discussed embodiments, except that the closure may not be as airtight as in the previous embodiments, but the flexible pouch 310 uses less strip material and thus has reductions. of cost.
As mentioned earlier, the method of manufacturing flexible pouches may affect the seals, folds and various other particular features of particular flexible pouches. A variety of manufacturing methods are available for commercially producing the flexible pouches, and some examples will be discussed here and illustrated in Figures 1214. The flexible pouches can be made in a high speed forming-fill-seal (FFS) operation. which produces up to 800 packages per minute. FFS operation can be on a variety of FFS machines illustrated in Figure 12, or it can also be on a horizontal FFS machine illustrated in Figures 13A and 13B, or a horizontal thermoforming-filling-sealing machine (HTFFS) shown in Figure 14. Curved semi-rigid strips can also be attached to bags in a variety of ways, such as by heat sealing or adhesive bonding by means of a built-in equipment module designed to work in harmony with the operation's bag making machines. FFS.
In an illustrative embodiment shown in Figure 12, the flexible pouches are made in a vertical FFS or bagging line. A series of flexible pouches is formed of a film roll 48 such that the front and rear panels of the film material define a cavity. By one approach, a membrane of the wound film material is fed onto a bend shoulder 50 such as a forming collar or mandrel to provide it with a tubular shape. Opposite longitudinal edges of the film are grouped around the filler tube 49. The longitudinal edges are sealed, such as by a sealing tool 52, to form a wing seal, or overlapped to form an overlap seal. In an illustrative embodiment, the curved semi-rigid strips are wound on spools 54. The strips are brought into alignment with a reciprocating sealing tool 56 for attachment to the walls of the flexible pouch. The lower pouch seal is also shaped by the alternating action sealing tool 56, which may include a pair of alternating sealing bars. Alternating sealing bars are hot sealing bars maintained at a desired temperature to apply heat and pressure to the front and rear walls. Additionally, the heat sealing bars are grouped on opposite sides of the tubular membrane so that heat is transferred by conduction to the film on both sides while pressure is applied. The sealing bars can be used in intermittent or continuous operation. In intermittent operation, the movie stops while the sealing bars snap into the movie. In continuous operation, the sealing bars may move vertically at machine speed as they snap into the film. During operation, sealing tool 56 attaches the curved semi-rigid strips and creates an upper seal in a lower pouch and creates a lower seal in an upper pouch at approximately the same time. Moreover, the sealing tool 56 may contain an alternating action blade that acts to separate the lower pouch from the upper pouch. Once the operation is completed and the upper pouch has been filled with food product, the upper pouch moves down and the lower pouch into which curved semi-rigid strips are attached. In addition to attaching the strips and sealing the pouches, the sealing tool 56 can also be used to impart curvature to the curved semi-rigid strips and / or create the area of weakness. For one approach, sealing tool 56 has a cutting device associated with it to create a perforation through the top of the package, or a notch in the edge of the package to aid in tear initiation. By another approach, the area of weakness in the pouch is not punctured at the packaging line, but is pre-incised (mechanically or with a laser) at the film maker.
As mentioned, the strips are attached to the flexible pouches such that the curvature of the first curved semi-rigid strip aligns with the curvature of the second curved semi-rigid strip. Strips can be attached to the vertical FFS pouch in a variety of ways, for example, hot melt adhesive, pressure sensitive adhesive, and heat seal, to name just a few. As mentioned earlier, the semi-rigid curved strips can be applied to the external surfaces of the walls. In a vertical FFS process, the curved semi-rigid strips have an outer heat seal layer compatible with a sealant on the outer surface of the package walls. In such a vertical FFS operation, the semi-rigid curved strips are attached to the front and rear panels in a direction perpendicular to the machine direction on the outer surface of the panels.
After a lower seal is formed in the flexible pouch, the partially shaped flexible pouch is then filled with food product, which is introduced into the pouch by means of the filler tube 49. In one embodiment, an area of weakness is formed in the flexible pouches. set a removable top. By an approach, a notch, incision line, or other feature for ease of removal from the top of the package can then be formed at the top of the pouch. An airtight seal can also be created in the disposable pouch. The sealing tool 56 can perform a variety of functions simultaneously, including: creating the bottom seal of the pouch that is about to be filled with product; attach the curved semi-rigid strips to the top of the front and rear panels and create a detachable heat seal just below the strips in the newly filled pouch; and having an alternating action blade or cutting tool that separates the newly filled pouch from the next about to be filled pouch. The reciprocating cutting tool may also create an area of weakness such as a hole through the top of the package, or a notch in the edge of the package. By another approach, the area of weakness in the pouch is not punctured at the packaging line, but is pre-incised (mechanically or with a laser) at the film maker, such that the incised area of weakness is incorporated into the film at as it arrives from the manufacturer. If such an approach is taken, the film should be positioned in the packaging machine via optical registration so that the previously made incision line is in the correct position when the flexible pouch is formed.
There are a variety of alternative steps to those described in vertical FFS operation. Also, high speed techniques may be employed instead of applying heat and pressure by hot sealing bars as previously described. For example, RF energy, ultrasonic energy or other techniques may be employed.
In another example, shown in Figure 13A, flexible pouches are manufactured in a horizontal FFS or a flow-forming wrapping device. Like the above-described vertical process, a series of flexible pouches are formed and the film material defines a cavity with front and rear panels. Figure 13A illustrates a single roll of film 148 being folded into a folding apparatus 150 and then sealed with a sealing stamp 152 to conform pocket cavities in series with one another. After the film is made into cavities, the cavities are filled with food product. The strip alignment roller 158 is adjusted at an angle to cause the strips to rotate after unwinding and to be redirected so that they are aligned in proper operation for attachment to the flexible pouches. As shown in Fig. 13A, a double roll of strips 154a is located on the carriage. As the straps are positioned and sealed in the pouches and the pouches advance toward the machine, the strips are unrolled continuously from roll 154a and advance toward the machine along with the pouches. As the double layer of continuous strips 154a is unwound, the strips are dispensed by the roll and positioned between the two front and rear panels of the film material. In this embodiment, the strips are sealed on the inner surface of the front and rear panels. As shown in Figure 13A, sealing bars 156 seal the flexible pouch and strips on either side of the pouch. As an approach, arranging the strips inside the pouch material makes the sealing process easier because sealing bars 156 are configured to transfer heat through the pouch material which is thinner than the semi-rigid strips. . However, the strips may be of a thicker material and thus may require more heat, pressure or time to be affected by the heat sealing process. The sealing bars 156 may also create an area of weakness in the package such as by a cutting device associated with them. By another approach, a separate mechanical or laser incision tool (not shown) may be employed inline to create the incision line in the shaped packages. Also by another approach, the area of weakness such as the incision line is already shaped into the film when the film arrives from the manufacturer.
In another embodiment, such as shown in Fig. 13B, the flexible pouches are made in a horizontal FFS or a flow-wrap line similar to the example shown in Fig. 13A. A series of flexible pouches are formed from a single roll of film 148 which is folded into a folding apparatus 150, such as a folding groove opening device shown in Figure 13B, and then sealed with a sealing stamp 152 to conform. pocket cavities in series with each other. After the film is formed into cavities, the cavities are filled with food product. In the illustrative embodiment of Fig. 13B, the horizontal FFS process has two separate spools 154b with curved semi-rigid strips instead of a single double-sided strip roll 154a shown in Fig. 13A. A continuous ribbon of curved semi-rigid material is dispensed into the line by the reel and then attached to the pocket cavities in sealing pattern 156. It is also contemplated that the pre-cut strips may be threaded and secured to the flexible film pouches. Sealing pattern 156 also provides a top seal on the flexible pouch and may also create a peelable sealing if desired. The filled cavities are then separated from each other, such as by an alternating action blade not shown.
Also and another embodiment, illustrated in Fig. 14, the flexible pouches are made in thermoforming-filling-horizontal sealing (TFFS) equipment. As shown, such a process may employ two rolls of film material 248a, 248b. A series of product cavities is thermoformed from a flexible plastic lower film 248b, which can then be filled with a food product. The shaping of the lower film 248b occurs at the thermoforming station 260. After the lower cavities are filled with a product, the curved semi-rigid strips are introduced into the proper position between the upper and lower films. The strips may arrive precut in the process inline, or on a continuous reel of semi-rigid spring strip material that may or may not require further forming processing. In the illustrative embodiment of FIG. 14, the semi-rigid curved strips are positioned on two spools 254, mated together on the strip roll guide 258, and placed in series for attachment to the flexible pouch.
After alignment of the curved semi-rigid strips and upper and lower films, the curved semi-rigid films and strips enter the sealing station 256. This sealing station 256 is generally contained in a vacuum chamber, especially when the food product requires packaging. low-vacuum vacuum or modified atmosphere packaging. At sealing station 256 are an upper movable hot seal bar 257a and an unheated movable lower seal support print 257b, which act together to apply heat and pressure to the upper and / or lower films, making all necessary heat seals. to define the final package (such as the package shown in figures 6 and 7) including side seals, top and bottom seals, peel-off sealing below the semi-rigid strips as well as sealing the curved semi-rigid strips in the upper and lower films.
Upon leaving sealing station 256, the shaped flexible pouches move in series to a cutting station 262 where the pouches are separated from each other. The cutting station 262 may also create a weakness area in the pouches such as by a cutting device. Alternatively, a separate laser or mechanical incision tool (not shown) may be employed inline to create the incision line in the film as it is unwound from the roll prior to shaping the packages. By another approach, the area of weakness is already shaped in the film when the film arrives from the manufacturer. However, if pre-incised film is employed, it must be recorded on the packaging machine so that the incision line is in the correct position once the pouches have been formed.
By a horizontal TFFS process, the strips are sealed between the top film 248a and the bottom film 248b such that they are attached to the inner surfaces of the bottom film and top film. More particularly, the film may have a heat sealable layer on the inner surface that seals in the resin material of semi-rigid fires. Also in another embodiment, the strips have an outer heat sealing layer compatible with sealing on the inner surface of the film. The flexible pouch film or substrate material may be shaped as a polymeric sheet of various polymers, copolymers, coextrusions and / or plastic laminations. Additionally, the film material may be a monolayer polymeric film or a multilayer laminate comprising an outer layer of durable material and one or more barrier layers and inner sealant layers. The multilayer combination may be comprised of polyolefin such as polyethylene (high, medium, low, low linear and / or ultra low density polymers including metallocene), polypropylene (non-oriented, oriented and / or biaxially oriented); polybutylene; ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA); polyamides (non-oriented, oriented and / or biaxially oriented) such as nylon; poly (ethylene terephthalate) (non-oriented, oriented and / or biaxially oriented); polyvinyl chloride; ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH); polyvinylene chloride (PVDC); polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH); polystyrene; or combinations thereof Adhesive bonding layers may also be used.
In addition to the above-described curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16, it is also contemplated that semi-rigid strips may have alternative transverse sectional configurations. For example, an illustrative embodiment in FIG. 15 includes a flexible package 400 with a pair of semi-rigid strips 414, 416 with a slight fold therein such that the strips have a pleat, angle or V-shape imparted thereto. The partially folded semi-rigid strips 414, 416 extend practically the entire width of the package and are parallel to the opening of the pouch. Partially folded semi-rigid strips 414, 416, like the previous strips, have corresponding profiles and are configured to automatically close the package 400 once the partially folded semi-rigid strips 414, 416 are released from an open position. More particularly, once released from the open position, the associated strips and panels 418, 420 are firmly forced against each other, creating a secure closure at the top of the flexible pouch 400.
As with curved semi-rigid strips 14, 16, the partially folded semi-rigid strips 414, 416 are configured and arranged to nest and predispose one another. The first and second partially folded semi-rigid strips 414, 416 are secured to opposite front and rear panels 418, 420 of the flexible pouch 400 such that the strip profiles align in the same direction. Additionally, the predisposition of the strips 414, 416 predisposes the panels 418, 420 to the closed configuration. The pouch 400 may comprise a thin flexible film material such as that formed using high speed forming-filling-sealing equipment previously discussed. Although the package 400 includes a side seal 422, an upper seal 424 and a lower seal 426, a variety of windshield seals, folds and other features are contemplated for use with the partially folded semi-rigid strips 414, 416. The pouch 400, illustrated Figure 15 includes a weakness area 430 that facilitates removal of the upper portion 428. The weakness area 430, by one approach, is positioned at a distance below the upper seal 424 and at a distance above the partially folded semi-rigid strips 414. 416 such that a portion of the front and rear panels 418, 420 comprise a flange 436, 438 which can be manually picked and detached to open the package 400 once the upper part 428 has been removed. While flexible pouch 400 illustrates the partially folded semi-rigid strips 414, 416 attached to the inner surfaces of the front and rear panels 418, 420, as shown in Figure 16, it is also contemplated that strips 414, 416 may be affixed to the outer surfaces. To ensure freshness of the food product 412, the flexible pouch 100 may include an airtight seal. In one approach, the hermetic seal may include an upper seal 424. In another approach, the hermetic seal may include a peelable hermetic seal 434.
Another illustrative flexible pouch 500, shown in Figures 18 and 19, includes flat semi-rigid strips 514, 516. By one approach, the flat semi-rigid strips 514, 516 extend practically the entire width of the package and are parallel to the opening of the pouch. . As with the previous strips, flat semi-rigid strips 514, 516 are arranged towards each other such that the pouch automatically closes when the strips 514, 516 and associated panels 518, 520 are firmly forced against each other. Flat semi-rigid strips 514, 516 have a flat profile and are secured to front and rear panels 518, 520 such that the strips 514, 516 generally overlap. Thus, like the previous strips, flat strips 514, 516 nest with each other by overlapping or having significant surface to surface contact. Additional configurations for semi-rigid strips are contemplated. Additionally, the flexible pouch can have a variety of configurations with different seals, folds and various other features.
In addition to the variety of manufacturing methods discussed above, numerous changes to the various disclosed methods are contemplated without changing the overall operation of the manufacturing method or the flexible packaging produced. As mentioned, high speed forming-filling-sealing (FFS) operations can produce significant amounts of flexible packaging in a relatively short period of time. The various processes described above including the vertical fabrication process of FIG. 12, the horizontal fabrication processes of FIG. 13A-14, and the strip attachment methods discussed herein may be modified or combined to particular manufacturing requirements or limitations. For example, a packaging system shown in Fig. 20 employs a vertical FFS or bag forming line similar to that of Fig. 12, although with various modifications such that flexible packaging is produced with an upper seal and two side seals, as shown, produced in figures 13A and 13B. Additionally, the system of Fig. 20 aligns the semi-rigid strips in a direction parallel to the machine direction or the movement of the pocket series.
As shown in Figure 20, flexible pouches are formed of a film roll 648 such that the front and rear panels of the film material define a cavity. By one approach, a membrane of wound film material is fed over a bend boss 650 to provide the film with a tubular shape. Opposite longitudinal edges of the film 648 are grouped around the filler tube 649. The longitudinal edges are sealed as by a sealing and attaching tool 652. As an approach, the sealing and attaching tool 652 forms an upper sealing that will cover the width of the opening of the package between side seals once the flexible package is formed. In addition, the sealing and attaching tool 652 can also attach semi-rigid strips to film 648.
In an illustrative embodiment, the semi-rigid strips are wound onto spools 654 and brought into alignment with the film in the sealing and attachment tool 652 to be secured to the film. Attachment to the film can be done by a variety of mechanisms. By one approach, heat sealing may be employed to secure the semi-rigid strips to the film. By another approach, an adhesive may be used, such as a hot melt adhesive or a pressure sensitive adhesive. The semi-rigid strips may have an outer heat seal layer compatible with a sealant on the outer surface of the film comprising the package walls. Although the material wound on the spools 654 may have a curvature or profile conformed thereto, by another approach, the profile or curvature of the semi-rigid strip may be created in sealing and attachment tool 652. In the example of Figure 20, the semi-rigid strips, being reeled in 654 spools, are attached to the film as a series of semi-rigid strip of spools 654 advances in a direction parallel to the machine direction. The sealing and attaching tool 652 may also create a weakness area or a tear initiation feature such as a notch. Alternatively, the area of weakness may be pre-incised in the film by the film manufacturer. In such a case, 648 film may need to be loaded into the packaging system to ensure proper placement of the weakness area in the flexible pouch. In addition to tool 652, the tear initiation feature can be created during other operations discussed below.
As shown in Figure 20, side seals 622a, 622b of flexible package 610 may be shaped by an alternating action sealing tool 656, which may include a pair of alternating sealing bars. By one approach, alternate sealing bars are hot sealing bars maintained at a desired temperature to apply heat and pressure to the tubular membrane to create flexible packages. In addition, the heat-sealing bars 656 shown in Figure 20 are placed together on opposite sides of the tubular membrane so that heat is conductively transferred to the film on both sides while pressure is applied. The sealing bars can be used in intermittent or continuous operation. In intermittent operation, the movie stops while the sealing bars snap into the movie. In continuous operation, the sealing bars may move vertically at machine speed as they snap into the film. During operation, sealing tool 656 seals side seal 622b of a lower pouch and creates another side seal 622a for another upper pouch at substantially the same time. Thus, as the lower flexible pouch is sealed to a second side seal 622b, thereby enclosing the food in the flexible package, an upper flexible pouch has a first side seal 622a created therein. After forming a side seal 622a in the upper flexible pouch, the upper flexible pouch may be filled with food and lowered to conform the second sealed side seal 622b therein. In addition to forming side seals, sealing tool 656 may create a tear initiation feature or tool 656 may contain a reciprocating blade that is configured to separate the lower or lower pouch from the upper pouch.
As mentioned, after the first side seal 622a has been created in the flexible pouch, the pouch can then be filled with product which is introduced by the filler tube 649. Both before and after the flexible pouch 610 has been filled with food, the pouch may advance downward to become the lower or base pouch, and then the second side seal 622b is created in the package, thereby enclosing the food product in the flexible pouch 610.
Sealing tools 652 and 656, similar to the sealing tools previously discussed, perform a variety of functions simultaneously or in rapid succession. For example, the sealing and attaching tool 652 can create an upper pouch seal and attach the semi-rigid strips. In addition, tool 652 can also create a detachable heat seal just below the semi-rigid strips and can impart the curvature or shaped profile of the semi-rigid strips. By one approach, sealing tool 656 creates side seals in two different packages simultaneously and can also separate these packages. In addition, sealing tool 656 may also include a cutting device to create a notch on the edge of the package to aid in tear initiation, or may create an area of weakness in the film. The cutting device may also be used to separate said packages by means of the reciprocating blade.
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that a wide variety of modifications, alterations and combinations may be made with respect to the above-described embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, and that such modifications, alterations and combinations must be considered within the scope of the inventive concept.

Claims (25)

  1. Method for mass production of a food product in a high-speed forming-filling-sealing machine, characterized in that it comprises: forming a series of disposable pouches with front and rear panels made of film material each one of the disposable pouches defining a cavity therein; filling the disposable pouch cavity with a food product; hermetically seal the disposable bags; attaching a first semi-rigid strip to the front panel and a second semi-rigid strip to the rear panel, with each of the semi-rigid strips having a profile aligned with the profile of the adjacent semi-rigid strip so that the strips align with the first and second semi-rigid strips being predisposed towards each other; and separate the disposable pouches from each other.
  2. Method according to claim 1, characterized in that it further comprises forming a removable upper part in the disposable pouches defined by an area of weakness.
  3. Method according to claim 1, characterized in that the first and second semi-rigid strips are attached to the inner surfaces of the front and rear panels.
  4. Method according to claim 1, characterized in that the first and second semi-rigid strips are attached to the outer surfaces of the front and rear panels.
  5. Method according to claim 1, characterized in that the first and second semi-rigid strips are precut.
  6. Method according to claim 1, characterized in that the strip material from which the first and second semi-rigid strips are produced is dispensed by a reel.
  7. A method according to claim 6, characterized in that the strip material is wound onto the flat reel such that the profile of the first and second semi-rigid strips is imparted by a thermal forming tool when the material is unwrapped from the reel.
  8. Method according to claim 1, characterized in that the attachment of the first and second semi-rigid strips comprises at least one of: heat sealing the first and second semi-rigid strips to the inner surface of the front and rear panels; heat sealing the first and second semi-rigid strips on the outer surface of the front and rear panels; adhesive bonding of the first and second semi-rigid strips to the inner surface of the front and rear panels; adhesive bonding of the first and second semi-rigid strips to the outer surface of the front and rear panels.
  9. Method according to claim 1, characterized in that the heat sealing the first and second semi-rigid strips comprises having an external heat sealing layer compatible with the first and second semi-rigid strips which is compatible with a sealant in the front and rear panels.
  10. Method according to claim 1, characterized in that the first and second semi-rigid strips are attached in an orientation parallel to the machine direction.
  11. Method according to claim 1, characterized in that the first and second semi-rigid strips are attached in a orientation perpendicular to the machine direction by means of a strip applicator module configured and arranged to heat cut and seal the first and second semi-rigid strips in the disposable bag.
  12. A method for mass production of a food product in a horizontal thermoforming-filling-sealing apparatus, characterized in that it comprises: thermoforming a series of product cavities from a thermoplastic flexible plastic lower film; fill the series of thermoformed cavities of product; attach the first semi-rigid strip to the bottom film; securing the second semi-rigid strip to a flexible upper film; heat seal the flexible upper film into the lower film, the films defining a pouch, wherein the first and second semi-rigid strips overlap significantly and the first and second semi-rigid strips have profiles that align in the same direction such that the straps nest in a closed position.
  13. Method according to claim 12, characterized in that securing the first semi-rigid strip to the lower film comprises heat sealing.
  14. Method according to claim 12, characterized in that securing the first semi-rigid strip to the lower film comprises adhesive bonding.
  15. Method according to claim 12, characterized in that the first and second semi-rigid strips are attached to the inner surfaces of the front and rear panels.
  16. Method according to claim 12, characterized in that the first and second semi-rigid strips are attached to the outer surfaces of the front and rear panels.
  17. Method according to claim 12, characterized in that the first and second semi-rigid strips are precut.
  18. A method according to claim 12, characterized in that the strip material from which the first and second semi-rigid strips are dispensed is wound onto a reel.
  19. A method according to claim 18, characterized in that the strip material is wound onto the flat reel such that the profile of the first and second semi-rigid strips is imparted by a thermal forming tool when the material is unwrapped from the reel.
  20. Method according to claim 12, characterized in that the first and second semi-rigid strips are attached in an orientation parallel to the machine direction.
  21. Method according to claim 12, characterized in that the first and second semi-rigid strips are attached in a orientation perpendicular to the machine direction by means of a strip applicator module configured and arranged to heat cut and seal the first and second semi-rigid strips in the disposable bag.
  22. 22. Method for the mass production of a food product in a vertical forming-filling-sealing apparatus, characterized in that it comprises: forming a flexible plastic tube from a flexible plastic film roll, the plastic tube having a sealed edge and having a pair of semi-rigid strips attached to the flexible film, wherein the strips of the semi-rigid strip pair overlap significantly since the semi-rigid strips are attached to the flexible film; forming a first side seal on the plastic tube to create a flexible pouch from the flexible plastic tube; fill the flexible pouch with a food product; forming a second side seal in the flexible pouch to seal the food product within the flexible pouch; and separate the full flexible pouch from the plastic tube.
  23. A method according to claim 22, characterized in that the semi-rigid strips have shaped profiles that align in the same direction such that the semi-rigid strips nest when the flexible pouch is in the closed position.
  24. The method of claim 22, characterized in that forming a flexible plastic tube from a flexible plastic film roll further includes forming the flexible film onto a forming collar to create the plastic tube. .
  25. Method according to claim 22, characterized in that the plastic tube with a sealed edge and holding a pair of semi-rigid strips in the flexible film includes forming an upper seal in the flexible film with front and rear panels, the front panels. and rear each having a pair of semi-rigid strips attached thereto.
BRPI1001168 2008-04-24 2010-04-22 Method for mass processing of a food product packed in an equipment BRPI1001168A2 (en)

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EP2243707A3 (en) 2012-09-19
AR076414A1 (en) 2011-06-08
US20090266036A1 (en) 2009-10-29
EP2243707A2 (en) 2010-10-27
MX2010004522A (en) 2010-10-25
CO6270034A1 (en) 2011-04-20
CN101920794A (en) 2010-12-22

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