US20030230377A1 - Apparatus and method for automated splicing of closer tape - Google Patents

Apparatus and method for automated splicing of closer tape Download PDF

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Publication number
US20030230377A1
US20030230377A1 US10172272 US17227202A US2003230377A1 US 20030230377 A1 US20030230377 A1 US 20030230377A1 US 10172272 US10172272 US 10172272 US 17227202 A US17227202 A US 17227202A US 2003230377 A1 US2003230377 A1 US 2003230377A1
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apparatus
closer tape
means
clamping
closer
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Abandoned
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US10172272
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Robert Turvey
Theis Clarke
Jeramy Dubay
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Turvey Robert R.
Clarke Theis F.
Dubay Jeramy M.
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65HHANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL, e.g. SHEETS, WEBS, CABLES
    • B65H69/00Methods of, or devices for, interconnecting successive lengths of material; Knot-tying devices ;Control of the correct working of the interconnecting device
    • B65H69/08Methods of, or devices for, interconnecting successive lengths of material; Knot-tying devices ;Control of the correct working of the interconnecting device by welding
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C65/00Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C65/02Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure
    • B29C65/18Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated tools
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C65/00Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C65/02Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure
    • B29C65/18Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated tools
    • B29C65/24Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated tools characterised by the means for heating the tool
    • B29C65/242Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor by heating, with or without pressure using heated tools characterised by the means for heating the tool the heat transfer being achieved by contact, i.e. a heated tool being brought into contact with the welding tool and afterwards withdrawn from it
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C65/00Joining or sealing of preformed parts, e.g. welding of plastics materials; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C65/78Means for handling the parts to be joined, e.g. for making containers or hollow articles, e.g. means for handling sheets, plates, web-like materials, tubular articles, hollow articles or elements to be joined therewith; Means for discharging the joined articles from the joining apparatus
    • B29C65/7802Positioning the parts to be joined, e.g. aligning, indexing or centring
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/01General aspects dealing with the joint area or with the area to be joined
    • B29C66/05Particular design of joint configurations
    • B29C66/10Particular design of joint configurations particular design of the joint cross-sections
    • B29C66/11Joint cross-sections comprising a single joint-segment, i.e. one of the parts to be joined comprising a single joint-segment in the joint cross-section
    • B29C66/114Single butt joints
    • B29C66/1142Single butt to butt joints
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/50General aspects of joining tubular articles; General aspects of joining long products, i.e. bars or profiled elements; General aspects of joining single elements to tubular articles, hollow articles or bars; General aspects of joining several hollow-preforms to form hollow or tubular articles
    • B29C66/51Joining tubular articles, profiled elements or bars; Joining single elements to tubular articles, hollow articles or bars; Joining several hollow-preforms to form hollow or tubular articles
    • B29C66/52Joining tubular articles, bars or profiled elements
    • B29C66/524Joining profiled elements
    • B29C66/5241Joining profiled elements for forming coaxial connections, i.e. the profiled elements to be joined forming a zero angle relative to each other
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/80General aspects of machine operations or constructions and parts thereof
    • B29C66/81General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps
    • B29C66/814General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the design of the pressing elements, e.g. of the welding jaws or clamps
    • B29C66/8141General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the design of the pressing elements, e.g. of the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the surface geometry of the part of the pressing elements, e.g. welding jaws or clamps, coming into contact with the parts to be joined
    • B29C66/81427General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the design of the pressing elements, e.g. of the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the surface geometry of the part of the pressing elements, e.g. welding jaws or clamps, coming into contact with the parts to be joined comprising a single ridge, e.g. for making a weakening line; comprising a single tooth
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/80General aspects of machine operations or constructions and parts thereof
    • B29C66/81General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps
    • B29C66/814General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the design of the pressing elements, e.g. of the welding jaws or clamps
    • B29C66/8141General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the design of the pressing elements, e.g. of the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the surface geometry of the part of the pressing elements, e.g. welding jaws or clamps, coming into contact with the parts to be joined
    • B29C66/81431General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the design of the pressing elements, e.g. of the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the surface geometry of the part of the pressing elements, e.g. welding jaws or clamps, coming into contact with the parts to be joined comprising a single cavity, e.g. a groove
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/80General aspects of machine operations or constructions and parts thereof
    • B29C66/82Pressure application arrangements, e.g. transmission or actuating mechanisms for joining tools or clamps
    • B29C66/824Actuating mechanisms
    • B29C66/8242Pneumatic or hydraulic drives
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/80General aspects of machine operations or constructions and parts thereof
    • B29C66/83General aspects of machine operations or constructions and parts thereof characterised by the movement of the joining or pressing tools
    • B29C66/832Reciprocating joining or pressing tools
    • B29C66/8322Joining or pressing tools reciprocating along one axis
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C2793/00Shaping techniques involving a cutting or machining operation
    • B29C2793/0081Shaping techniques involving a cutting or machining operation before shaping
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/01General aspects dealing with the joint area or with the area to be joined
    • B29C66/05Particular design of joint configurations
    • B29C66/301Three-dimensional joints, i.e. the joined area being substantially non-flat
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/80General aspects of machine operations or constructions and parts thereof
    • B29C66/81General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps
    • B29C66/814General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the design of the pressing elements, e.g. of the welding jaws or clamps
    • B29C66/8141General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the design of the pressing elements, e.g. of the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the surface geometry of the part of the pressing elements, e.g. welding jaws or clamps, coming into contact with the parts to be joined
    • B29C66/81411General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the design of the pressing elements, e.g. of the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the surface geometry of the part of the pressing elements, e.g. welding jaws or clamps, coming into contact with the parts to be joined characterised by its cross-section, e.g. transversal or longitudinal, being non-flat
    • B29C66/81415General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the design of the pressing elements, e.g. of the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the surface geometry of the part of the pressing elements, e.g. welding jaws or clamps, coming into contact with the parts to be joined characterised by its cross-section, e.g. transversal or longitudinal, being non-flat being bevelled
    • B29C66/81417General aspects of the pressing elements, i.e. the elements applying pressure on the parts to be joined in the area to be joined, e.g. the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the design of the pressing elements, e.g. of the welding jaws or clamps characterised by the surface geometry of the part of the pressing elements, e.g. welding jaws or clamps, coming into contact with the parts to be joined characterised by its cross-section, e.g. transversal or longitudinal, being non-flat being bevelled being V-shaped
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/80General aspects of machine operations or constructions and parts thereof
    • B29C66/84Specific machine types or machines suitable for specific applications
    • B29C66/853Machines for changing web rolls or filaments, e.g. for joining a replacement web to an expiring web
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/90Measuring or controlling the joining process
    • B29C66/92Measuring or controlling the joining process by measuring or controlling the pressure, the force, the mechanical power or the displacement of the joining tools
    • B29C66/924Measuring or controlling the joining process by measuring or controlling the pressure, the force, the mechanical power or the displacement of the joining tools by controlling or regulating the pressure, the force, the mechanical power or the displacement of the joining tools
    • B29C66/9261Measuring or controlling the joining process by measuring or controlling the pressure, the force, the mechanical power or the displacement of the joining tools by controlling or regulating the pressure, the force, the mechanical power or the displacement of the joining tools by controlling or regulating the displacement of the joining tools
    • B29C66/92611Measuring or controlling the joining process by measuring or controlling the pressure, the force, the mechanical power or the displacement of the joining tools by controlling or regulating the pressure, the force, the mechanical power or the displacement of the joining tools by controlling or regulating the displacement of the joining tools by controlling or regulating the gap between the joining tools
    • B29C66/92613Measuring or controlling the joining process by measuring or controlling the pressure, the force, the mechanical power or the displacement of the joining tools by controlling or regulating the pressure, the force, the mechanical power or the displacement of the joining tools by controlling or regulating the displacement of the joining tools by controlling or regulating the gap between the joining tools the gap being kept constant over time
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C66/00General aspects of processes or apparatus for joining preformed parts
    • B29C66/90Measuring or controlling the joining process
    • B29C66/96Measuring or controlling the joining process characterised by the method for implementing the controlling of the joining process
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65HHANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL, e.g. SHEETS, WEBS, CABLES
    • B65H2701/00Handled material; Storage means
    • B65H2701/30Handled filamentary material
    • B65H2701/37Tapes

Abstract

An apparatus and method for splicing closer tape utilizes a first clamping assembly adapted to hold a first section of closer tape and a second clam ping assembly adapted to hold a second section of closer tape. A moving assembly is adapted to move the first and second clamping assemblies relative to one another so as to permit alignment of the first and second sections of closer tape. A joining assembly is adapted to join the first and second sections of closer tape together.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present invention relates generally to thermoplastic bag production machinery, and more particularly, to an apparatus and method for splicing thermoplastic bag closer tape in an automated fashion. [0001]
  • BACKGROUND ART
  • The process of producing storage bags includes the steps of folding a web of thermoplastic to obtain an elongate folded web of material and laminating a thermoplastic closer or zipper tape to free ends of the elongate folded web of material. Sliding closure members are then placed on the closer tape at spaced locations thereon and end stops are formed in the closer tape between the sliding closure members. The elongate folded web is then severed at the end stops using an automated hot knife to create individual bags. [0002]
  • The thermoplastic closer tape is stored on a rotatable spool and is unwound therefrom during production and fed to a production line. In a known production process the production line must be shut down when the spool has been emptied so that a full spool of closer tape can be substituted for the empty spool. This, in turn, results in significant downtime, and increases the cost of producing bags. [0003]
  • WO 99/12725 discloses a splicing unit and method of splicing of a reclosable zipper strip. The trailing end of one strip and the leading end of a next strip are brought together in abutting relationship within the splicing unit and sealing material is overlaid on the trailing and leading ends. Heat and pressure are applied to the sealing material and the trailing and leading ends to seal the trailing and leading ends together. Flanges of the zipper strips are held apart by separator plates during the sealing operation. [0004]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, an apparatus for splicing closer tape includes a first clamping assembly adapted to hold a first section of closer tape and a second clamping assembly adapted to hold a second section of closer tape. A moving assembly is adapted to move the first and second clamping assemblies relative to one another so as to permit alignment of the first and second sections of closer tape. A joining assembly is adapted to join the first and second sections of closer tape together. [0005]
  • According to a further aspect of the present invention, an apparatus for splicing closer tape includes first means for clamping a first section of closer tape and second means for clamping a second section of closer tape. Means are provided for moving the first clamping means relative to the second clamping means so as to permit alignment of the first and second sections of closer tape. Means are also provided for joining the first and second sections of closer tape together. [0006]
  • According to yet another aspect of the present invention, a method of splicing closer tape includes the steps of clamping a first section of closer tape, clamping a second section of closer tape and moving the first clamping means relative to the second clamping means so as to permit alignment of the first and second sections of closer tape. The method further includes the step of joining the first and second sections of closer tape together. [0007]
  • Other aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description.[0008]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an apparatus for automated splicing of closer tape according to the present invention wherein a front cover plate is removed therefrom to reveal components therein; [0009]
  • FIG. 2 is an exploded isometric view of the rear of the apparatus of FIG. 1; [0010]
  • FIG. 3 is a fragmentary isometric view of a clamp box subassembly together with a base plate of a heater block subassembly of the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2; [0011]
  • FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of the subassembly of FIG. 3; [0012]
  • FIG. 5 is a fragmentary isometric view of the heater block subassembly of the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2; [0013]
  • FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the subassembly of FIG. 5; [0014]
  • FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken generally along the lines [0015] 7-7 of FIG. 6;
  • FIG. 8 is a fragmentary side elevational view of the subassembly of FIG. 5 with a side plate removed to reveal components therein; [0016]
  • FIG. 9 is an exploded isometric view of the components of FIG. 1 except that front and back cover plates are not shown; [0017]
  • FIG. 10 is an isometric-fragmentary view of a rear clamping assembly utilized in the apparatus of FIG. 1; [0018]
  • FIG. 11 is a front elevational view of the rear clamping assembly of FIG. 10; [0019]
  • FIG. 12 is an isometric view of a cutting assembly utilized in the apparatus of FIG. 1; [0020]
  • FIGS. 13 and 14 are side and front elevational views, respectively, of the cutting assembly of FIG. 12; [0021]
  • FIG. 15 is an elevational view of a section of closer tape prepared for splicing with another section of closer tape by the apparatus of FIG. 1; [0022]
  • FIG. 16 is an isometric view of a tool for preparing the section of closer tape of FIG. 15 for splicing; [0023]
  • FIG. 16A is a trimetric, enlarged, fragmentary view of the tool of FIG. 16; [0024]
  • FIGS. [0025] 17-20 are fragmentary isometric views of portions of the apparatus of FIG. 1 during various stages of a splicing operation;
  • FIG. 21 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 7 illustrating the apparatus of FIG. 1 during a joining stage of operation; and [0026]
  • FIG. 22 is a block diagram of a control circuit for controlling the apparatus of FIG. 1.[0027]
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • Referring first to FIGS. [0028] 1-4 and 9, an apparatus 30 according to the present invention is operable to splice zipper or closer tape when a spool of the closer tape runs out and is to be replaced by a fresh spool of closer tape. This splicing is preferably undertaken automatically and results in little or no downtime of an associated thermoplastic bag production line. The apparatus 30 includes first and second clamping assemblies 32, 34 that are operable during splicing to hold ends of the closer tape sections from the empty spool and fresh spool and a cutter assembly 36 (FIGS. 1, 2, 9 and 12-14) that severs portions of the closer tape sections. As seen in FIGS. 1-4 and 9, the apparatus 30 further includes a moving assembly 38 for moving the clamping assembly 32 holding the closer tape section from the fresh spool into alignment with the clamping assembly 34 holding the closer tape section from the empty spool. A joining assembly 40 (FIGS. 1, 2 and 5-8) is movable into engagement with the aligned sections of closer tape to join such sections together. Thereafter, the clamping assemblies 32, 34 open to release the joined sections.
  • Specifically, FIG. 1 illustrates the apparatus [0029] 30 during production of thermoplastic bags and before a splicing operation is to occur. Closer tape 50 stored on a spool 52 is fed through open clamping assemblies 32 and 34 by a feeding mechanism (not shown) to a thermoplastic bag production line (also not shown). The diameter of the stored closer tape 50 decreases as the closer tape 50 is unwound from the spool 52. Eventually, the diameter of the closer tape stored on the spool 52 reduces to a point where a stored closer tape diameter sensor 54 (FIG. 22) develops a command signal indicating that a splicing operation is to be undertaken. Alternatively, as seen in FIG. 22, the command signal may be developed on a line 56 (shown in dotted lines in FIG. 22) by manually actuating an optional switch 56 commanding initiation of a splicing operation. Preferably, a fresh spool of closer tape is positioned adjacent the apparatus 30 just prior to generation of the command signal and a leading end of the closer tape stored on the fresh spool is prepared and inserted into the clamping assemblies 32 and 34 in a fashion noted in greater detail hereinafter. Thereafter, upon generation of the command signal, the apparatus 30 executes a sequence of steps resulting in splicing of the leading end of the closer tape stored on the fresh spool with a trailing end of the closer tape 50 stored on the spool 52.
  • The apparatus [0030] 30 includes a clamp box subassembly 60 (FIGS. 1-4) and a movable heater block subassembly 62 (FIGS. 1, 2 and 5-8) mounted by bearing assemblies 64 a, 64 b (FIGS. 3, 4 and 9) in the clamp box subassembly 60. The movable heater block subassembly 62 is movable up and down as seen in FIGS. 1 and 2 in the bearing assemblies 64 under the influence of a piston and cylinder device 66 (hereinafter each such device is referred to as a cylinder for simplicity). The joining assembly 40 is disposed within and carried by the movable heater block subassembly 62 and is movable therewith. As seen in FIGS. 1, 3, 4 and 9, a first clamping jaw portion 68 is mounted for sliding movement from side-to-side on a bearing assembly 72 carried by an upper surface 74 of a base plate 75 a of the clamp box subassembly 60. The clamp box subassembly further includes a top plate 75 b and side plates 75 c and 75 d wherein the plates 75 a-75 d are secured together by bolts or other suitable fasteners (not shown). One or more pins may be carried by the base plate 75 a and the top plate 75 b and may extend into corresponding bores in the side plates 75 c and 75 d to assist in aligning the various parts during assembly.
  • A second clamping jaw portion [0031] 76 is mounted for sliding movement from side-to-side on a bearing assembly 77 secured to a lower surface 78 of a bottom plate 79 a of the movable heater block subassembly 62. (As seen in FIGS. 1, 2 and 5-8, the heater block subassembly further includes a top plate 79 b and side plates 79 c and 79 d that are aligned together by alignment pins and secured together by bolts or other suitable fasteners (not shown)). The first and second clamping jaw portions 68, 76 are substantially complementarily-shaped in the sense that the jaw portions 68, 76 include an m-shaped upper surface 80 and an inverted w-shaped lower surface 82, respectively. The surfaces 80, 82 are opposed and the second clamping jaw portion 76 is movable up and down with the heater block subassembly 62 toward and away from the first clamping jaw portion 68. First and second spaced alignment pins 84 a, 84 b are carried by the first clamping jaw portion 68 and slide in apertures 86 a, 86 b, respectively, (FIG. 9) in the second clamping jaw portion 76 during relative movement of the clamping jaw portions 68, 76 so that the opposed surfaces 80, 82 are maintained in precise alignment with one another.
  • As seen in FIGS. 2 and 9-[0032] 11, a third clamping jaw portion 90 is secured to the upper surface 74 of the base plate 75 a of the clamp box subassembly 60 and a fourth clamping jaw portion 92 is secured to the surface 79 of the movable heater block subassembly 62. The third and fourth clamping jaw portions 90, 92 are immovable from side-to-side and the fourth clamping jaw portion 92 is movable up and down with the movable heater block subassembly 62 toward and away from the third clamping jaw portion 90, which is stationary in all respects. The third clamping jaw portion 90 includes an m-shaped upper surface 94 and the fourth clamping jaw portion 92 includes an inverted v-shaped surface 96 that opposes a first tapered portion 94 a of the m-shaped upper surface 94. A fifth clamping jaw portion 98 (best seen in FIGS. 9-11) is mounted on a spring-loaded arm assembly 100 and is guided by posts 95 a and 95 b carried by the third clamping jaw portion 90 that extend into bores 97 a and 97 b in the portion 98. Bushings 99 a-99 d are disposed in the bores 97 a, 97 b surrounding the posts 95 a, 95 b. The jaw portion 98 includes an inverted v-shaped surface 102 opposing a second tapered portion 94 b of the m-shaped upper surface 94. The fifth clamping jaw portion 98 is urged by a spring 104 of the arm assembly 100 toward the position shown in FIGS. 10 and 11 such that the inverted v-shaped surface 102 is normally in engagement with the second tapered portion 94 b of the m-shaped upper surface 94. An operator of the apparatus 30 may push up on a knob 106 mounted on a rod 108 that extends upwardly through a bushing 107 (FIG. 9) of the arm assembly 100 to displace the fifth clamping jaw portion 98 upwardly such that the inverted v-shaped surface 102 is spaced from the second tapered portion 94 b.
  • A zipper stop plate [0033] 109 (FIGS. 9-11) is secured by any suitable fasteners to a face of the third clamping jaw portion 90.
  • When the various parts are in the positions shown in FIGS. [0034] 1-4 the first and second tapered portions 94 a, 94 b of the m-shaped upper surface 94 are aligned from front to back of the apparatus 30 with corresponding tapered portions 80 a, 80 b of the m-shaped upper surface 80. Similarly, the inverted v-shaped surface 96 and the inverted v-shaped surface 102 are aligned in the same relationship with tapered portions 82 a, 82 b of the inverted w-shaped lower surface 82. Two closer tape paths 110, 112 (FIGS. 1 and 17) extending from front to back through the apparatus 30 are thereby established through the first through fifth clamping jaw portions 68, 76, 90, 92 and 98.
  • The moving assembly [0035] 38 includes a piston and cylinder device 120 (hereinafter this device as well as other piston and cylinder devices are simply referred to as “cylinders”) (FIGS. 1-4 and 9) having a connecting rod 122 (FIGS. 4 and 9) that is threaded to the first clamping jaw portion 68. A lock nut (not shown) prevents unthreading of the connecting rod 122 from the first clamping jaw portion 68. If desired, the cylinder 120 may include an anti-rotation feature that prevents rotation of the connecting rod 122 during operation of the cylinder 120, in which case the lock nut would not be required. The cylinder 120, when actuated, moves the first and second clamping jaw portions 68, 76 from the position shown in FIGS. 1-4, 17 and 19 to the position shown in FIG. 20 wherein the tapered portions 80 b and 82 b are aligned with the tapered portion 94 a of the third clamping jaw portion 90 and the inverted v-shaped surface 96 of the fourth clamping jaw portion 92, respectively.
  • Referring next to FIGS. 9 and 12-[0036] 14, the cutter assembly 36 includes a movable bracket 130 having first and second blade mounting portions 132, 134. The blade mounting portions 132, 134 are offset relative to another such that cutting edges 136, 138 of single-edge razor blades 140,142, respectively, are parallel to one another and such that the cutting edges 136, 138 are spaced apart by a predetermined distance (seen in FIG. 13). Preferably, the predetermined distance is equal to 0.125-0.25 inch, although a different spacing could alternatively be used. Referring specifically to FIGS. 12-14, each of the blade mounting portions 132, 134 includes a clamping member 144, 146, respectively, that bears against a base member of the respective razor blade 140, 142. Referring again to FIGS. 9 and 12-14, a cylinder 148 is carried by a mounting bracket 150 secured to the clamp box subassembly 60 and the cylinder 148 includes a threaded connecting rod 152 that extends though a bushing 154 and which is threaded into a threaded bore in the movable bracket 130 so that the connecting rod 152 and the bracket 130 move together as a unit. A lock nut (not shown) may be threaded onto the connecting rod 152 to prevent unthreading of the connecting rod 152 from the movable bracket 130. If desired, the cylinder 148 may include an anti-rotation feature that prevents rotation of the connecting rod 152 during operation of the cylinder 148, in which case the lock nut would not be required. The cylinder 148 is actuable to move the bracket 130 and blades 140, 142 upwardly to a cutting position and downwardly to a retracted position.
  • Referring next to FIGS. 1 and 5-[0037] 9, the joining assembly 40 includes a fusing member or bar 160 having a first end 162. The joining assembly 40 further includes a cylinder 164 having a collar 166 threaded into a threaded bore 168 (FIGS. 7 and 9) formed in the upper plate 79 b of the movable heater block subassembly 62. The cylinder 164 includes a cylinder connecting rod 172 having an end 174 threaded into a first threaded bore 176 of a bracket 178. As was the case with the connecting rods 122, 152, a set screw (not shown) may be threaded onto the end of the connecting rod 172 or the cylinder 164 may have an anti-rotation feature to prevent unthreading of the connecting rod 172 from the bracket 178. A stop member 184 extends through a bore 185 in the upper plate 79 b and includes a lower end 186 threaded into a second threaded bore 188 of the bracket 178 (see FIGS. 7 and 9). A threaded stop collar 190 is threaded onto a threaded outer surface 192 of the stop member 184. The outer diameter of the stop member 184 is smaller than the diameter of the bore 185 so that the stop member 184 is freely movable within the bore 185. In addition, the position of the stop collar 190 on the stop member 184 is adjusted to define a downward end-of-travel limit for the bar 162. An upward end-of-travel limit for the bar 162 is established by contact of an upper surface 193 of the stop member 184 with a surface 194 of the clamp box subassembly 60 (FIGS. 1-4 and 9).
  • A second end [0038] 195 of the fusing bar 160 is secured by suitable fasteners together with first and second thermal insulating members 196 a, 196 b and a cover plate 197 to the bracket 178 (FIGS. 7-9). The first end 162 of the fusing bar 160 is bifurcated whereby first and second wings 200 a, 200 b are separated by an opening 202. The opening 202 includes a tapered portion 204 and a notched portion 206 (FIGS. 7 and 9). When the fusing bar 160 is in the position shown in FIG. 7, the second end 162 is disposed in a heater assembly 208 carried on a top surface 209 of the bottom plate 79 a of the movable heater block subassembly 62. The heater assembly includes a cover member 210 disposed over first and second heater blocks 212 a, 212 b, a thermally insulative heater stand-off member 214 and a heater spacer plate 216. The first and second heater blocks 212 a, 212 b include mating mirror-image recesses therein (one of which, 218, is visible in FIG. 7) and resistive or other heater elements therein that are energized during a splicing operation to develop heat that is transferred to the fusing bar 160. In the preferred embodiment, the elements 210, 212, 214 and 216 are secured to the base plate 75 a by bolts or other fasteners. Also preferably, the cover member 210 and the heater spacer plate 216 are fabricated of ceramic or other heat resistant material.
  • Industrial Applicability
  • Referring next to FIGS. [0039] 16-21, the operation of the apparatus 30 will now be described under the assumption that the command signal has not yet been generated and the movable heater block subassembly 62 is disposed in the uppermost position so that the first clamping jaw portion 68 and the third clamping jaw portion 90 are spaced from the second clamping jaw portion 76 and the fourth clamping jaw portion 92. It is also assumed that closer tape is being fed off of a spool of closer tape through the closer tape path 110 of the apparatus 30 to a production line (not shown). An operator prepares for a splicing operation by cutting or otherwise forming a notch 220 and a hole 221 in a leading section 222 of closer tape stored on the fresh spool, as seen in FIG. 15. Preferably, the notch 220 and the hole 221 are formed by a tool 223 shown in FIGS. 16 and 16A. The notch 220 is substantially rectangular, approximately 0.125-0.25 inch wide (although a different width might alternatively be formed) and extends from an upper edge 224 to a point just at or beyond a rail 226 of the closer tape section 222. Also preferably, the hole 221 is located a distance of approximately 2.3125 inches from a leading edge 228 of the notch 220. The operator then pushes up on the knob 106 to space the fifth clamping jaw portion 98 from the second tapered portion 94 b of the third clamping jaw portion 90. The closer tape includes closer elements 225 that are closed (or occluded) so that the portions of the closer tape are held together. Free ends 227 a, 227 b of the leading section 222 opposite the closer elements 225 are spread apart and the leading section 222 is thereafter inserted into the closer tape path 112, and specifically into the space between the fifth clamping jaw portion 98 and the second tapered portion 94 b, until the free ends 227 a, 227 b rest on the surfaces of the tapered portion 80 b and the surfaces of the tapered portion 94 b and such that the hole 221 is aligned (from front-to-back) with a front surface of a 0.25 inch cover plate (not shown) secured to the front of the apparatus 30. When the closer tape is so positioned, the notch 220 is disposed over the zipper stop plate 109 such that the leading edge 228 of the notch 220 contacts a surface 229 of the zipper stop plate 109, as seen in FIG. 18. The operator then releases the knob 106, thereby capturing the leading section 222 of the closer tape between the fifth clamping jaw portion 98 and the second tapered portion 94 b. The closer elements 225 are captured within a slot 230 in the fifth clamping jaw portion 98 (FIG. 9). The apparatus 30 is then in the state illustrated in FIG. 17.
  • Once the leading section [0040] 222 is clamped, the sequence of operation may pause until the command signal is generated. At this point, the closer tape feeding mechanism is automatically or manually deactuated so that further feeding of closer tape 50 from the spool 52 is prevented. Thereafter, a controller 232 (FIG. 22) develops a signal to actuate the cylinder 66, thereby causing the movable heater block subassembly 62 to move downwardly until the second clamping jaw portion 76 and the fourth clamping jaw portion 92 are moved into clamping contact with the leading section 222 and the trailing end of the closer tape 50 from the spool 52. At this time, the closer elements 225 of both portions of closer tape are positioned in slots 234, 236 and 238 in the second clamping jaw portion 76 and the second clamping jaw portion 92, respectively (FIGS. 9 and 19). The controller 232 then actuates the cylinder 148 (FIGS. 1 and 9), thereby driving the bracket 130 upwardly to the cutting position whereby the leading section 222 and the trailing end of the closer tape 50 on the spool 52 are severed. As should be evident from the above description, the portion of the leading section 222 held by the first clamping jaw portion 68 and the second clamping jaw portion 76 extends rearwardly in the apparatus 30 beyond the portion of the trailing end of the closer tape 50 held by the third clamping jaw portion 90 and the fourth clamping jaw portion 92 by an amount equal to the spacing between the cutting edges 136, 138.
  • Once the severing step is complete, the controller [0041] 232 (FIG. 22) deactuates the cylinder 148 to retract the bracket 130 and actuates the cylinder 120 to cause the clamping jaw portions 68, 76 to move to the position shown in FIG. 20. This movement causes the portion of the leading section 222 held by the first clamping jaw portion 68 and the second clamping jaw portion 76 to contact and slide over the portion of the trailing end of the closer tape 50 held by the third clamping jaw portion 90 and the fourth clamping jaw portion 92 so that the former is disposed atop and overlaps the latter. During this movement, the material of the leading section 222 and/or the material of the trailing end of the closer tape 50 deform as necessary to accommodate such movement.
  • Once the portions of closer tape are aligned as noted above, the controller [0042] 232 actuates the cylinder 164 to move the bar 160 until the end 162 moves out of contact with the heater blocks 212 a, 212 b and into contact with the overlapping portions of closer tape. The wings 200 a, 200 b of the bar 160 heat the overlapping portions 222 and 50 of closer tape and fuse such portions together. Advantageously, the wings 200 a, 200 b of the bar 160 are not actively heated during fusing of the overlapping portions of closer tape; rather, the heat stored by these portions 200 of the bar 160 is transferred to the sections of closer tape and the bar 160 cools to a temperature below the melting point of the thermoplastic material of the closer tape. Sticking of the bar 160 to the portions of closer tape is thereby avoided.
  • In addition to the foregoing, the closer elements [0043] 225 of both portions of closer tape 222 and 50 are positioned in the notched portion 206 of the opening 202 so that the closer elements 225 are not fused together.
  • The controller [0044] 232 thereafter deactuates the cylinder 164 to raise the bar 160. In addition, the controller 232 deactuates the cylinder 66 so that the movable heater block subassembly 62 is raised. This, in turn, causes the second clamping jaw portion 76 and the fourth clamping jaw portion 92 to be spaced from the first clamping jaw portion 68 and the third clamping jaw portion 90, thereby releasing the joined sections of closer tape, as well as the severed trailing end of the closer tape 50 from the spool 52. The severed end of the closer tape 50 may then be removed from the apparatus 30. Thereafter, the controller 232 deactuates the cylinder 120, thereby moving the first and second clamping jaw portions 68, 76 back to the positions shown in FIG. 17. During this movement the spliced sections of closer tape slide over the m-shaped upper surface 80 and are positioned in the closer tape path 110. The operator may then (or at any other point in the splicing process subsequent to the severing step) push up on the knob 106 and remove the severed leading end of the closer tape held by the fifth clamping jaw portion 98. The operator may thereafter release the knob 106 and production of thermoplastic bags may resume.
  • The present invention is not limited to the concept of splicing portions of closer tape on a strictly automated basis as noted above. Rather, any or all of the steps described herein may be undertaken as a result of manual steps taken by an operator. Also, one or more of the cylinders [0045] 120, 148 and 164 may be replaced by another moving assembly, such as a linear servo or other motor, if desired.
  • Numerous modifications to the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art in view of the foregoing description. Accordingly, this description is to be construed as illustrative only and is presented for the purpose of enabling those skilled in the art to make and use the invention and to teach the best mode of carrying out same. The exclusive rights to all modifications that come within the scope of the appended claims are reserved. [0046]

Claims (30)

    We claim:
  1. 1. Apparatus for splicing closer tape, comprising:
    a first clamping assembly adapted to hold a first section of closer tape;
    a second clamping assembly adapted to hold a second section of closer tape;
    a moving assembly adapted to move the first and second clamping assemblies relative to one another so as to permit alignment of the first and second sections of closer tape; and
    a joining assembly adapted to join the first and second sections of closer tape together.
  2. 2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the joining assembly comprises a heated element.
  3. 3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the joining assembly includes a heater block and wherein the heated element comprises a bar having a bifurcated end portion movable into thermal contact with the heater block.
  4. 4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the bifurcated end portion is moved out of thermal contact with the heater block and into contact with one of the first and second sections of closer tape during a fusing operation.
  5. 5. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the heater block is movable under the influence of a piston and cylinder device relative to the first and second sections of closer tape.
  6. 6. The apparatus of claim 1, further including a cutter assembly for severing portions of the closer tape prior to joinder thereof.
  7. 7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the cutter assembly is operated by a piston and cylinder device.
  8. 8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the moving assembly comprises a piston and cylinder device.
  9. 9. The apparatus of claim 1, further including a controller adapted to automatically operate the first and second clamping assemblies, the moving assembly and the joining assembly during production of thermoplastic storage bags.
  10. 10. Apparatus for splicing closer tape, comprising:
    first means for clamping a first section of closer tape;
    second means for clamping a second section of closer tape;
    means for moving the first clamping means relative to the second clamping means so as to permit alignment of the first and second sections of closer tape; and
    means for joining the first and second sections of closer tape together.
  11. 11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the joining means comprises a heated element.
  12. 12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the joining means includes a heater block and wherein the heated element comprises a bar having a bifurcated end portion movable into thermal contact with the heater block.
  13. 13. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein the bifurcated end portion is moved out of thermal contact with the heater block and into contact with one of the first and second sections of closer tape during a fusing operation.
  14. 14. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein the heater block is movable under the influence of a piston and cylinder device relative to the first and second sections of closer tape.
  15. 15. The apparatus of claim 10, further including means for severing portions of the closer tape prior to joinder thereof.
  16. 16. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the severing means is operated by a piston and cylinder device.
  17. 17. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the moving means comprises a piston and cylinder device.
  18. 18. The apparatus of claim 10, further including means for automatically operating the first and second clamping means, the moving means and the joining means during production of thermoplastic storage bags.
  19. 19. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the operating means comprises a controller.
  20. 20. A method of splicing closer tape, the method comprising the steps of:
    clamping a first section of closer tape;
    clamping a second section of closer tape;
    moving the first clamping means relative to the second clamping means so as to permit alignment of the first and second sections of closer tape; and
    joining the first and second sections of closer tape together.
  21. 21. The method of claim 20, wherein the step of joining comprises the step of placing a heated element in contact with at least one of the first and second sections of closer tape.
  22. 22. The method of claim 21, wherein the step of joining means includes the steps of providing a heater block and moving the heated element into thermal contact with the heater block.
  23. 23. The method of claim 22, wherein the heated element comprises a bar having a bifurcated end portion that is moved out of thermal contact with the heater block and into contact with one of the first and second sections of closer tape during a fusing operation.
  24. 24. The method of claim 23, including the further step of moving the heated element under the influence of a piston and cylinder device relative to the first and second sections of closer tape.
  25. 25. The method of claim 24, including the further step of severing portions of the closer tape prior to joinder thereof.
  26. 26. The method of claim 25, wherein the severing step is implemented by a piston and cylinder device.
  27. 27. The method of claim 20, wherein the clamping steps are implemented by a piston and cylinder device.
  28. 28. The method of claim 20, wherein the moving step is implemented by a piston and cylinder device.
  29. 29. The method of claim 20, further including the step of automatically operating the first and second clamping means, the moving means and the joining means during production of thermoplastic storage bags.
  30. 30. The method of claim 29, wherein the step of automatically operating comprises the step of operating a controller.
US10172272 2002-06-14 2002-06-14 Apparatus and method for automated splicing of closer tape Abandoned US20030230377A1 (en)

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MXPA04012668A MXPA04012668A (en) 2002-06-14 2003-06-13 Field convertible tap-off unit.
CA 2489538 CA2489538C (en) 2002-06-14 2003-06-13 Field convertible tap-off unit

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