US20080014344A1 - Apparatus and related methods to apply adhesive during labeling operations - Google Patents

Apparatus and related methods to apply adhesive during labeling operations Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080014344A1
US20080014344A1 US11/863,609 US86360907A US2008014344A1 US 20080014344 A1 US20080014344 A1 US 20080014344A1 US 86360907 A US86360907 A US 86360907A US 2008014344 A1 US2008014344 A1 US 2008014344A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
label
adhesive
onto
configured
portion
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Abandoned
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US11/863,609
Inventor
Wesley Fort
Eric Lingier
Reinhard Rettig
Leslie Varga
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Nordson Corp
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Nordson Corp
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Publication date
Family has litigation
Priority to US69648305P priority Critical
Priority to US73905205P priority
Priority to US11/426,074 priority patent/US7771556B2/en
Application filed by Nordson Corp filed Critical Nordson Corp
Priority to US11/863,609 priority patent/US20080014344A1/en
Assigned to NORDSON CORPORATION reassignment NORDSON CORPORATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: LINGIER, ERIC, RETTIG, REINHARD, FORT, WESLEY C., VARGA, LESLIE J.
Publication of US20080014344A1 publication Critical patent/US20080014344A1/en
First worldwide family litigation filed litigation Critical https://patents.darts-ip.com/?family=37192352&utm_source=google_patent&utm_medium=platform_link&utm_campaign=public_patent_search&patent=US20080014344(A1) "Global patent litigation dataset” by Darts-ip is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65CLABELLING OR TAGGING MACHINES, APPARATUS, OR PROCESSES
    • B65C9/00Details of labelling machines or apparatus
    • B65C9/20Gluing the labels or articles
    • B65C9/22Gluing the labels or articles by wetting, e.g. by applying liquid glue or a liquid to a dry glue coating
    • B65C9/2204Gluing the labels or articles by wetting, e.g. by applying liquid glue or a liquid to a dry glue coating using spraying means
    • B65C9/2213Applying the liquid on the label
    • B65C9/2221Applying the liquid on the label continuously, i.e. an uninterrupted film
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65CLABELLING OR TAGGING MACHINES, APPARATUS, OR PROCESSES
    • B65C9/00Details of labelling machines or apparatus
    • B65C9/20Gluing the labels or articles
    • B65C9/22Gluing the labels or articles by wetting, e.g. by applying liquid glue or a liquid to a dry glue coating
    • B65C9/2204Gluing the labels or articles by wetting, e.g. by applying liquid glue or a liquid to a dry glue coating using spraying means
    • B65C9/2208Applying the liquid on the article
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65CLABELLING OR TAGGING MACHINES, APPARATUS, OR PROCESSES
    • B65C9/00Details of labelling machines or apparatus
    • B65C9/20Gluing the labels or articles
    • B65C9/22Gluing the labels or articles by wetting, e.g. by applying liquid glue or a liquid to a dry glue coating
    • B65C9/2204Gluing the labels or articles by wetting, e.g. by applying liquid glue or a liquid to a dry glue coating using spraying means
    • B65C9/2213Applying the liquid on the label
    • B65C9/2217Applying the liquid on the label discretely, i.e. several points or strips or interrupted films
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T156/00Adhesive bonding and miscellaneous chemical manufacture
    • Y10T156/10Methods of surface bonding and/or assembly therefor
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T156/00Adhesive bonding and miscellaneous chemical manufacture
    • Y10T156/10Methods of surface bonding and/or assembly therefor
    • Y10T156/1052Methods of surface bonding and/or assembly therefor with cutting, punching, tearing or severing
    • Y10T156/1062Prior to assembly
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T156/00Adhesive bonding and miscellaneous chemical manufacture
    • Y10T156/12Surface bonding means and/or assembly means with cutting, punching, piercing, severing or tearing
    • Y10T156/1374Surface bonding means and/or assembly means with cutting, punching, piercing, severing or tearing with means projecting fluid against work
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T156/00Adhesive bonding and miscellaneous chemical manufacture
    • Y10T156/17Surface bonding means and/or assemblymeans with work feeding or handling means
    • Y10T156/1798Surface bonding means and/or assemblymeans with work feeding or handling means with liquid adhesive or adhesive activator applying means

Abstract

A labeling apparatus is configured for applying a label onto a moving object. The apparatus includes a label delivery mechanism having a fixed reference point and configured to hold the label in a fixed position relative to the fixed reference point. The label delivery mechanism is operable to deliver the label onto the object. A first adhesive applicator includes a first adhesive discharge and is positioned and arranged to dispense adhesive onto a first portion of the label. A second adhesive applicator includes a second adhesive discharge and is positioned and arranged to dispense adhesive onto a second portion of the label during contact with the label. The first adhesive discharge and the second adhesive discharge are maintained at respective fixed positions relative to the fixed reference point.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE
  • This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 11/426,074, filed Jun. 23, 2006, now pending, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. Nos. 60/696,483 and 60/739,052, respectively filed on Jul. 1, 2005 and Nov. 22, 2005, now expired, the disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein in their entirety.
  • TECHNICAL FILED
  • The present invention generally relates to the application of adhesive onto objects and, more particularly, to the application of adhesive onto labels in a packaging operation.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Labels may be made in various sizes and shapes, and may further fall into one of several types. One type of label, for example, is the wrap-around label, in which a leading edge of the label is initially secured with adhesive to a three dimensional object, such as a container or other product or product packaging of any shape. The label is then wrapped around the object so that the trailing edge of the label overlaps and is adhesively secured to the label itself. Another type of label is one in which both the leading and trailing edges of the label are affixed directly to the object.
  • The securement of labels to bottles or other containers, for example, must be of such a quality that the labels can withstand the various conditions that may be later experienced by the containers or bottles during shipping, storage, and use thereof subsequent to the product packaging or filling operation. For example, with bottles of carbonated beverages, the labels must withstand expansion of the bottles due to the carbonation of the beverage and, for example, additional expansion and contraction during shipping and storage operations in which the temperatures of the product may vary. Moreover, the labels must also be aesthetically pleasing. For example, it may be desired that the exposed edge of a label should not readily flap, become detached from the product, have exposed adhesive, or have large amounts of adhesive forming lumps underneath the label.
  • In conventional processes, adhesive is applied to labels using a wheel coater. Wheel coaters use an open reservoir for holding the adhesive. A rotating wheel receives a coating of adhesive on its outer circumference that in turn transfers adhesive onto the label by rolling contact with the label. A container, such as a bottle, can, or other type of object moves along a conveyor and a paper or plastic label is secured to the outer surface of the container or object during a production operation. A drawback of wheel applied adhesive is that the open reservoir is susceptible to contamination, which may affect the quality of applied labels.
  • Other known processes involve the application of adhesive via one or more non-contact adhesive dispensers directing adhesive to the back surface of labels, which are mounted on the circumferential surface of a rotating drum. In processes of this type, the back surfaces of the labels typically face outwardly and toward the non-contact adhesive dispenser. Conventional non-contact adhesive dispensers, however, may cause adhesive to string, thereby affecting the quality of the resulting adhesive pattern on the label or the production process.
  • Other processes involve the application of adhesive via slot coaters. Slot coaters may be desirable to reduce or eliminate the stringing observed with conventional non-contact adhesive dispensers. In processes where a slot coater is used, it may be necessary to repeatedly retract the slot coater away from the rotating drum or, conversely, retract the rotating drum away from slot coater, especially during periods of the process when adhesive is not being applied to the label. Such retraction may be done, for example, to prevent the transfer of heat from the slot coater to portions of the label onto which adhesive is not applied. This retraction may require complex mechanical components and associated controls which may increase maintenance and/or production costs.
  • There is a need for apparatus and methods of applying adhesive to labels in which the adhesive is applied with a slot coater or the like, but without complex mechanical components and controls to move the slot coater or rotating drum.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In one embodiment, a labeling apparatus is configured for applying a label onto a moving object. The apparatus includes a label delivery mechanism having a fixed reference point and configured to hold the label in a fixed position relative to the fixed reference point. The label delivery mechanism is operable to deliver the label onto the object. A first adhesive applicator includes a first adhesive discharge and is positioned and arranged to dispense adhesive onto a first portion of the label.
  • A second adhesive applicator includes a second adhesive discharge and is positioned and arranged to dispense adhesive onto a second portion of the label during contact with the label. The first adhesive discharge and the second adhesive discharge are maintained at respective fixed positions relative to the fixed reference point.
  • The apparatus may include a vacuum drum, with the fixed reference point being a center of rotation of the vacuum drum. A first surface on the vacuum drum defines a first radius relative to the center of rotation and is configured to support the first portion of the label. A second surface on the vacuum drum defines a second radius relative to the center of rotation that is different from the first radius. The second surface is configured to support the second portion of the label which may, for example, be a trailing edge portion.
  • The first surface is configured to space the first portion of the label from the second adhesive applicator. In a specific embodiment, the second radius is greater than the first radius. The second surface may be configured to engage the trailing edge portion of the label against the second adhesive applicator. The second surface may be configured to deflect toward the center of rotation when the trailing edge portion of the label engages the second adhesive applicator. Moreover, a biasing member may urge the second adhesive applicator toward the second surface.
  • The apparatus may include a transition surface adjacent the second surface and configured to support a third portion of the label positioned between the first and second portions, with the transition surface being continuous with the second surface.
  • In another embodiment, a labeling apparatus is configured for applying a label onto a moving object, with the label having a leading edge portion and a trailing edge portion. The apparatus includes a vacuum drum configured to hold the label and operable to deliver the label onto the object. The vacuum drum includes a center of rotation as well as first and second surfaces respectively having first and second different radii from the center of rotation and respectively supporting the leading and trailing edge portions of the label.
  • A first adhesive applicator is positioned and arranged to dispense adhesive onto the leading edge portion of the label without contacting the label. A second adhesive applicator is positioned and arranged to dispense adhesive onto the trailing edge portion of the label during contact with the label. The first surface is configured to space the leading edge portion of the label from the second adhesive applicator and the second surface is configured to engage the trailing edge portion of the label against the second adhesive applicator.
  • In specific embodiments, the second adhesive applicator is a slot gun. The second surface may be configured to deflect toward the center of rotation when the trailing edge portion of the label engages the second adhesive applicator. A biasing member may urge the second adhesive applicator toward the second surface. A transition surface may be adjacent and continuous with the second surface and be configured to support a third portion of the label positioned between the leading and trailing edge portions.
  • In another embodiment, a labeling apparatus is configured for applying a label onto a moving object. The apparatus includes a label delivery mechanism having a fixed reference point and configured to hold the label in a fixed position relative to the fixed reference point. The label delivery mechanism is operable to deliver the label onto the object. An adhesive applicator is positioned and arranged to dispense adhesive onto a portion of the label during contact with the label. The adhesive applicator is maintained at a fixed position relative to the fixed reference point. In a specific embodiment, the labeling apparatus includes a vacuum drum, such that the fixed reference point is a center of rotation of the vacuum drum.
  • In another embodiment, a labeling apparatus is configured for applying a label onto a moving object. A label delivery mechanism is configured to hold a plurality of the labels that define a continuous web and is operable to deliver the labels onto the object. A cutting mechanism is operatively connected to the label delivery mechanism and is configured to cut the web into the individual labels. At least one adhesive applicator is positioned and arranged to discharge adhesive onto the web at a point upstream of the cutting mechanism. The cutting mechanism may be configured to support the web without contacting the adhesive on the labels.
  • In another embodiment, a method of applying an adhesive pattern onto a label includes supporting a first portion of the label at a first distance from a fixed point of reference. A second portion of the label is supported at a second distance from the fixed point of reference and which is different from the first distance. The label is moved past a first adhesive applicator such that the first and second portions do not contact the first adhesive applicator. Adhesive is applied onto the first portion with the first adhesive applicator.
  • The label is moved past a second adhesive applicator such that the first portion does not contact the first adhesive applicator and the second portion contacts the second adhesive applicator. Adhesive is applied onto the second portion with the second adhesive applicator. The method may include rotating the first and second portions about a common center of rotation. Supporting the first portion of the label may include supporting a leading edge portion of the label while supporting the second portion of the label may include supporting a trailing edge portion of the label. The method may include simultaneously applying adhesive to the first and second portions.
  • Various additional advantages, objectives and features of the invention will become apparent to those of ordinary skill upon review of the following detailed description of the illustrative embodiments taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a plan view of a back surface of a label, illustrating an adhesive pattern;
  • FIG. 2 is another plan view of a back surface of a label, illustrating another adhesive pattern;
  • FIG. 3 is another plan view of a back surface of a label, illustrating another adhesive pattern;
  • FIG. 4 is another plan view of a back surface of a label, illustrating yet another adhesive pattern;
  • FIG. 5 is a fragmented plan view of a wrap-around label;
  • FIG. 6 is a top view of an exemplary embodiment of a roll-fed labeling apparatus;
  • FIG. 7 is a plan view of a wrap-around label being dispensed from a roll;
  • FIG. 8 is a top view of another exemplary roll-fed labeling apparatus;
  • FIG. 9 is a detail view of the encircled portion of the roll-fed labeling apparatus of FIG. 8 supporting an exemplary label;
  • FIG. 10 is an enlarged top view of a trailing edge pad and a contact adhesive applicator of the labeling apparatus of FIG. 8;
  • FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the trailing edge pad of FIG. 10;
  • FIG. 12 is an enlarged top view similar to FIG. 10, showing the contact adhesive applicator proximate a leading edge pad of the labeling apparatus of FIG. 8.
  • FIG. 13 is a top view of another exemplary roll-fed labeling apparatus;
  • FIG. 14 is a partial view of a cutting wheel and web of labels of the apparatus of FIG. 13;
  • FIG. 15 is a top view of a cutting wheel of the apparatus of FIG. 13;
  • FIG. 16 is a view similar to that of FIG. 14, depicting an alternative embodiment of a cutting wheel and adhesive pattern on the web of labels; and
  • FIG. 17 is a top view of the cutting wheel of FIG. 16.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS
  • FIGS. 1-4 illustrate various examples of adhesive patterns that may be applied to a leading edge portion 8 of a label 10 with apparatus to be further described below. The labels 1 0 are described in connection with methods and apparatus for application to containers, however, it will be appreciated that the labels may be applied to any desired object. Adhesive is applied onto labels 10 according to the specific application. For example, as shown in FIG. 1, adhesive applied to a label 10 may be such that the resulting pattern is spaced a distance “d” from a leading edge 12 thereof. The distance “d” may be chosen, for example, so as to preclude the adhesive from squeezing out from beneath the label 10 and being exposed when the label 10 is applied to a container.
  • Additionally, adhesive may be applied within an overall adhesive pattern area 14 that approximates a lateral edge region 16 of the label 10. Thus, for labels having a rectangular appearance, the pattern area 14 may also be a rectangle having a length “L” and a width “W”. The adhesive may be applied to provide continuous coverage over the area 14 as shown in FIG. 1. The area 14 is defined by the outer boundaries of each applied adhesive pattern along the length “L” and width “W” of the pattern area 14.
  • Various adhesive patterns may be applied to the leading edge portion 8, including beads, dots, filaments, or combinations thereof, or any other adhesive pattern. In one aspect, the adhesive in this region of label 10 may be fairly evenly distributed to eliminate peaks or valleys that may, for example, be readily visible to or readily felt by the consumer after the label 10 has been applied to a container.
  • With reference to FIGS. 2-3, in one embodiment, beads of spaced apart adhesive 18 are dispensed onto the leading edge portion 8 of label 10. The beads 18 may remain as beads prior to attachment to the container, or, as shown in FIG. 2, they may coalesce with one another before or after application to the container to produce a general coating of adhesive 20 in the form of an elongate strip as shown in FIG. 3.
  • In another embodiment, and as shown in FIG. 4, several continuous filaments 22 of adhesive are dispensed onto the leading edge portion 8 of label 10 within the area 14. The swirl of adhesive may be sized, for example, such that the adhesive is able to readily adhere the corners of the label. To this end, swirls of relatively small diameter may be chosen to ensure adhesive coverage of corner regions 24 of the label 10 to thereby prevent or minimize the occurrence of peeling edges or dog-ear corners. For example, and without limitation, a width “w” of a swirl or other pattern may be chosen to be less than about 10 mm or, more particularly, within a range of about 5 mm to about 10 mm.
  • With reference to FIG. 5, a wrap-around label 26 includes, respectively, leading and trailing edge portions 26 a, 26 b having respective adhesive patterns that may be similar to or different from one another. In this exemplary embodiment, the wrap-around label 26 has a solid pattern 28 spaced from the leading edge 30. Similarly, the label 26 includes a pattern defined by three solid stripes 32 spaced from a trailing edge 34 of the label 10. Alternatively, and as noted above, the leading edge portion 26 a may include any pattern of any form such as those described above in regard to FIGS. 1-4 or any other suitably chosen pattern. Similarly, the trailing edge portion 26 b may include a pattern defined by a single stripe similar, for example, to the pattern 28 of FIG. 5.
  • Other patterns of adhesive beads or filaments that may be used, include, but are not limited to: straight lines, sinusoidal patterns, omega-shaped patterns, or saw tooth patterns. When these or the above patterns are used, the amount of adhesive applied may be suitably chosen so as to prevent “read through” (i.e., the adhesive is not readily apparent from the outside of the label). Other adhesive patterns and related components of labeling apparatus are described in further detail in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/426,074, assigned to the assignee of the present invention, and the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
  • FIG. 6 shows an exemplary labeling apparatus that may be used to create the trailing edge portion adhesive patterns discussed above. Labeling apparatus 38 includes a label delivery mechanism 40 and one or more contact dispensing guns 42. The label delivery mechanism 40 is configured to hold several labels 44 and is operable to deliver individual labels 44 to a conveyor, such as a carousel 50 having bottles or containers 52 positioned thereon. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 6, the dispensing gun 42 is used to apply adhesive to the labels 44 as they are held on a vacuum wheel or drum 46 of the label delivery mechanism 40, which rotates about a center 47. The dispensing gun 42 includes an adhesive discharge 43 that is kept at a fixed distance from the center 47 as dispensing gun 42 applies adhesive to the labels 44.
  • In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 6, the dispensing gun 42 intermittently applies adhesive to a trailing edge portion 44 b of each label 44. More specifically, the dispensing gun 42 is cycled on and off to apply an adhesive pattern to the trailing edge portion 44 b of one label and then immediately cycled on and off again to apply an adhesive pattern to the trailing edge portion 44 b of the immediately adjacent label 44 located upstream on the vacuum drum 46.
  • The labels 44 may be carried on a continuous web over the vacuum drum 46. Alternatively, the labels 44 may be cut from a roll 48 while on the vacuum drum 46, or prior to being transferred onto the vacuum drum 46, thereby producing seams 44 c between adjacent labels. Alternatively also, the labels 44 may be carried on a continuous web having pre-formed perforations defining the seams 44 c. The cycle time of the dispensing gun 42 may be suitably chosen for the specific application. The intermittent operation of the dispensing gun 42 therefore enables high production line speeds (i.e., travel of labels 44 around drum 46) while avoiding application of adhesive over the seam 44 c between adjacent labels 44 or over the line that will subsequently become the seam 44 c. For example, labels may be applied to containers 52 at a rate greater than about 800 labels per minute, or at a rate greater than about 1000 labels per minute.
  • To accommodate such speeds, the vacuum drum diameter may range, for example, from about 300 mm to about 1 m. The positions of the adhesive gun(s), along with other variables, may lead to gun on/off cycle times in the range of, for example, about 2 ms to about 10 ms or more.
  • Application of adhesive to a label 44 may be such that it is applied adjacent the cut joint or seam 44 c, on either or both sides of the cut joint 44 c. Moreover, the application of adhesive may be such that adhesive is not applied over the cut joint 44 c itself. That is, the adhesive may be applied to an area that is spaced from the leading or trailing edge defined by the seam 44 c by a distance “d” (FIG. 1). As noted above, the distance may be chosen, for example, so as to preclude the adhesive from squeezing out from beneath the label 44 and being exposed when the label 44 is applied to the container 52. This may help prevent or minimize contamination that arises if and when adhesive contacts any cutters or razors (not shown) that may be integrated on the vacuum drum 46.
  • In a subsequent step of the process depicted in FIG. 6, after the dispensing gun 42 applies adhesive, the labels are applied to the bottles or containers 52 positioned on the rotating carousel 50. The carousel 50 is positioned relative to the vacuum drum 46 such that the bottles 52 come into contact with the labels 44 after adhesive is applied. To facilitate applying the labels 44, the bottles 52 may be rotated in a direction opposite that of the vacuum drum 46. It will be appreciated that other types of conveying devices may be used instead of a carousel, such as, and without limitation, various in-line conveyors.
  • With reference to FIG. 7, in roll-fed labeling operations (such as the one shown in FIG. 6), adhesive 54 may be applied to a trailing edge 56 of a label 58 before or after the label is cut from a roll 60. The cut line is generally shown by reference numeral 62. Adhesive 64 may also be applied to a leading edge 66 of the next adjacent label 68. The dispensing of the adhesive 54 and 64 on either side of the cut line 62 may occur before the first label 58 is cut from the roll 60 or it may take place after the cutting operation. The adhesive 54 and 64 may be dispensed from a single dispensing gun 42 or may, alternatively, be dispensed from at least two different dispensing guns, as explained in further detail below with respect to the embodiment of FIGS. 8-10.
  • With reference to FIGS. 8-10, a labeling apparatus 70 includes two adhesive applicators 42 a, 42 b mounted adjacent the vacuum drum 46 for applying adhesive patterns to leading and trailing edge portions 44 a, 44 b of labels 44 dispensed from roll 60. The relative location of the two applicators 42 a, 42 b, in this regard, may be such that adhesive is simultaneously applied to the leading and trailing edge portions 44 a, 44 b. The leading edge portion 44 a of each label 44 receives an adhesive pattern from a non-contact adhesive applicator gun 42 a, while the trailing edge portion 44 b of each label 44 receives adhesive from a contact adhesive applicator in the form of a slot gun 42 b, which may be, for example and without limitation, a non-circulating type slot gun. The adhesive applicators 42 a, 42 b respectively include adhesive discharges 43 a, 43 b that are kept at a fixed position relative to center 47 during application of adhesive onto labels 44.
  • In one aspect of this exemplary embodiment, slot gun 42 b makes contact with the trailing edge portion 44 b of the label 44, but does not make contact with other portions of the label 44, such as the leading edge portion 44 a. While this feature and the details thereof are discussed herein in connection with the exemplary labeling apparatus 70, those of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate that this feature is applicable to the exemplary labeling apparatus 38 of FIG. 6, which includes a contact-type dispensing gun 42 similar to the slot gun 42 b of the exemplary labeling apparatus 70 of FIG. 8.
  • With continued reference to FIG. 8, it may be desirable to avoid contact of the slot gun 42 b with portions of the label 44 other than the trailing edge portion 44 b. This may be desirable to minimize unnecessary contact of the slot gun 42 b with portions of the label 44 that do not receive adhesive, thereby minimizing the likelihood of damage to those portions of the label 44. This may be particularly desirable when the labels 44 are made of materials especially susceptible to relatively high temperatures and, more particularly, to the relatively high operating temperatures of adhesive applicators that apply hot-melt adhesives.
  • To this end, vacuum drum 46 includes a label support structure configured to support the labels 44 such that contact is permitted between the slot gun 42 b and the trailing edge portion 44 b of each label 44 while spacing slot gun 42 b from other portions of the labels 44.
  • With particular reference to FIG. 9, the label support structure is defined by leading and trailing edge pads 72, 74 that respectively support the leading and trailing edge portions 44 a, 44 b of the label 44. The trailing edge pad 74 includes a contact surface 74 a positioned at a radius R2 from the center of rotation 47 of the vacuum drum 46. In contrast, the leading edge pad 72 includes a contact surface 72 a positioned at a radius R1 that is smaller than radius R2. In one aspect of this embodiment, the leading and trailing edge pads 72, 74 are spaced in the circumferential direction i.e., along the direction of rotation of vacuum drum 46, indicated by arrow 77, thereby providing two discrete supporting surfaces 72 a, 74 a for label 44.
  • With reference to FIGS. 8-10, the contact surface 74 a is configured to enable contact of the trailing edge portion 44 b with slot gun 42 b during rotational movement of the vacuum drum 46. More particularly, this contact is made during rotational movement of the label 44 in the direction indicated by arrows 77. In one aspect of this embodiment, the radial position (in relation to the center 47) of the slot gun 42 b is fixed. Moreover, the radial position is configured to cause contact between the slot gun 42 b and the trailing edge portion 44 b of label 44 at an intersection point 79 along the direction of rotation of vacuum drum 46. Moreover, the pad 74 may be formed from materials that permit deflection of the pad 74 toward the center 47, such as in reaction to contact with the slot gun 42 b. In this regard, the trailing edge pad 74 may be formed, for example and without limitation, of rubber or combinations of flexible materials reinforced with stainless steel, aluminum or polyamide plastic.
  • In another aspect of this embodiment, the slot gun 42 b may include a biasing member in the form of a spring 80 (FIG.8) that urges the slot gun 42 b toward the trailing edge pad 74. More particularly, the spring 80 is configured to react to a force applied against the slot gun 42 b by the contact surface 74 a when the slot gun 42 b and contact surface 74 a come in contact. More specifically, the spring 80 reacts to cause a nozzle 86 of the slot gun 42 b to exert a normal force against the label 44 in a radial direction, thereby ensuring contact between the slot gun 42 b and the label 44.
  • While slot gun 42 b is depicted including a biasing member in the form of a spring 80, it is contemplated that other types of biasing members or no biasing members may be alternatively utilized. For example, and without limitation, the biasing member may take the form of structures formed from resilient materials. Similarly, while this exemplary embodiment depicts the biasing member being part of the slot gun 42 b, those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the biasing member may be alternatively positioned in other parts of the apparatus 70. For example, and without limitation, a biasing member may be positioned on a structure adjacent the slot gun 42 b and in operatively coupled to the slot gun 42 b.
  • With continued reference to FIGS. 8-10, contact between the slot gun 42 b and label 44 and, more specifically, between nozzle 86 and trailing edge portion 44 b, permits coating of the trailing edge portion 44 b with adhesive exiting nozzle 86 through discharge 43 b, thereby enabling application of the desired adhesive pattern onto trailing edge portion 44 b. As discussed above, the discharge 43 b may be configured to apply a continuous, solid pattern, such as the exemplary pattern 28 of FIG. 5, across the width of the label 44 or, alternatively, more than one discrete pattern across the width of the label 44 (e.g., similar to patterns 32 of FIG. 5). Similarly, the slot gun 42 b may be configured to apply a discrete pattern in the direction of travel i.e., the direction or rotation of the label 44.
  • With reference to FIGS. 9-12, the trailing edge pad 74 may include a width “S” (FIG. 11) suitably chosen to support labels of different widths. As describe herein, the width “S” is measured in a direction orthogonal to the direction of rotation of the vacuum drum 46. For example, and without limitation, the width “S” can range up to about 250 mm for some applications, or be greater than about 250 mm for other applications. In another aspect, the trailing edge pad 74 includes a transition surface 90 providing a ramp for gradual contact of label 44 with slot gun 42 b as label 44 and trailing edge pad 74 move toward slot gun 42 b, generally in the direction of arrow 77. The transition surface 90 may be integral with other portions of the trailing edge pad 74 and integral with contact surface 74 a thereof to thereby provide a continuous supporting surface for label 44. In this exemplary embodiment, the transition surface 90 supports a portion of the label 44 between the leading and trailing edge portions 44 a, 44 b.
  • With particular reference to FIG. 11, the trailing edge pad 74 is mounted on a mounting block 94. Mounting block 94 may be made from metal or other materials. Mounting block 94 includes one or more jacking assemblies 96 that permit tilting or adjustment of the trailing edge pad 74 and, more particularly, adjustment of the radial position of the contact surface 74 a. In this exemplary embodiment, two jacking assemblies 96 are provided, each comprising a bolt and nut assembly. While jacking assemblies 96 in the form of nut and bolt assemblies are shown, it will be appreciated that various other methods and mechanisms suitable for adjustment of trailing edge pad 74 a may be used.
  • As noted above, the label support structure includes a leading edge pad 72 that is circumferentially spaced from trailing edge pad 74. Leading edge pad 72 includes a contact surface 72 a that supports the leading edge portion 44 a of the label 44. The contact surface 72 a is positioned to space, in the radial direction, the leading edge portion 44 a of the label 44 from the slot gun 42 b. More particularly, and as noted above, the contact surface 72 a is positioned at a radius R1 that is smaller than the radius R2 defined by contact surface 74 a.
  • In this regard, radii R1 and R2 respectively define circumferential trajectories or paths 81, 83 (FIG. 9) partially followed by label 44. More particularly, the support structure is configured to enable travel of the trailing edge portion 44 b along path 83 and travel of the leading edge portion 44 a along path 81.
  • The radius R1 defines a position of the contact surface 72 a that is configured to prevent contact of the leading edge portion 44 a with the slot gun 42 b as the leading edge portion 44 a moves past a projected point of contact 79 a, along path 83, with nozzle 86. In one aspect of this embodiment, the radius R1 may be selected such that the non-contact adhesive applicator 42 a can apply an adhesive pattern onto the leading edge portion 44 a of the label 44. More specifically, the radius R1 may be chosen such that a distance between the leading edge portion 44 a and an output 98 of the non-contact adhesive applicator permits application of the adhesive onto portion 44 a.
  • While the embodiment of FIG. 8 depicts a labeling apparatus 70 including two applicators 42 a, 42 b for respectively applying adhesive patterns to the leading and trailing edge portions 44 a, 44 b, it is contemplated that, a labeling apparatus may alternatively include no non-contact adhesive applicators 42 a at all. For example, a labeling apparatus may be such that it includes only a slot gun 42 b applying adhesive to the trailing edge portion 44 b. Likewise, a labeling apparatus may be such that includes a slot gun 42 b applying adhesive to portions other than the trailing edge portion 44 b. In such alternate embodiments, the label support structure may include pads suitably chosen to cause contact between the nozzle 86 of the slot gun 42 b and the portions of label 44 where adhesive is applied, while separating the label from the nozzle 86 at other portions of the label 44.
  • Similarly, while the embodiments herein described are illustrated having at least one adhesive applicator or dispensing gun 42 positioned adjacent the carousel 50, it is contemplated that the at least one applicator may be positioned within an interior of the carousel 50. In such an alternative embodiment, the label support structure may be such that the radius R1 of the leading edge pad is greater than the radius R2 of the trailing edge pad (in relation to the embodiments of FIGS. 6 and 8). In such an embodiment, the deflection of the trailing edge pad may be such that it follows a radially outward direction.
  • In another aspect, while the embodiments herein described are illustrated having one dispensing gun applying adhesive to one label at any given time, it is contemplated that a dispensing gun may apply adhesive to more than one label at any given time. For example, a contact adhesive applicator may have a width capable of applying adhesive to two or more labels adjacent to one another and vertically arranged (in a direction into the plane of FIG. 8) on vacuum drum 46. Similarly, a labeling apparatus may include one or more slot guns positioned adjacent to one another and vertically arranged. In this regard, any additional labels and/or slot guns positioned below (with respect to the vertical orientation described above) the label 44 and/or slot gun 42 b may or may not be aligned respectively with the label 44 and/or slot gun 42 b.
  • With reference to FIGS. 13-15, another embodiment of a labeling apparatus 110 includes a label delivery mechanism 112, a vacuum wheel 114 that receives labels 116 from the label delivery mechanism 112, and at least one adhesive applicator or dispensing gun 118 dispensing adhesive onto the labels 116. The labeling apparatus 110 feeds labels 116 onto objects 113 held in a carousel 115. In this exemplary embodiment, the labels 116 are in the form of a continuous web fed from a roll 119 and supported by the label delivery mechanism 112 via one or more rollers 120.
  • Adhesive is dispensed onto the labels 116 from at least one dispensing gun 118 which may be a contact or non-contact type gun. For example, the dispensing gun 118 may take the form of a slot gun similar to the slot gun 42 b discussed above with respect to FIGS. 8-10, or may be any other suitably chosen contact or non-contact type of adhesive applicator. In this exemplary embodiment, the dispensing gun 118 is in the form of a contact type applicator positioned proximate an unsupported web span 122 between two of the rollers 120. Alternatively, dispensing gun 118 may be placed using one of the rollers 120 as a backing roll and not necessarily in an unsupported web span.
  • With particular reference to FIGS. 13-14, the dispensing gun 118 is further positioned such that adhesive is applied onto a face or side of the label 116 that does not contact any of the rollers 120 at any point downstream of the point of application of adhesive onto the label 116. This may be desirable to prevent contamination of the rollers 120 otherwise resulting from such contact. In this exemplary embodiment, and as best appreciated in FIG. 14, adhesive is dispensed in a pattern that is intermittent in the machine direction (indicated by arrow 126) to correspond to at least the leading and trailing edges of the label 116, as well as defined by discrete (non-continuous) adhesive elements 128 in the cross-machine direction (orthogonal to the direction indicated by arrow 126).
  • The label delivery mechanism 112 includes a cutting mechanism in the form of a cutting wheel 130 having a grooved surface profile. The grooved profile supports the continuous web of labels 116 while permitting contact between labels 116 and a cutting apparatus of the cutting wheel 130, as explained in further detail below. In this regard, the grooved profile of the cutting wheel 130 is defined by support sections 132 protruding from a core 133 of the cutting wheel 130 to contact labels 116 as cutting wheel 130 rotates. One or more cutting elements 134, such as blades are provided on cutting wheel 130 to separate individual labels 116 from the web. The support sections 132 contact the web of labels 116 in areas between adhesive elements 128 dispensed by gun 118, thereby avoiding contamination of the cutting wheel 130 otherwise caused by contact with the adhesive on the web of labels 116.
  • The cutting elements 134 may be spaced from one another in the cross-machine direction to thereby define a perforated seam or cut line 136 (shown in phantom) between individual labels 116. Alternatively, the cutting elements may be continuous in the cross-machine direction so as to completely cut through the web of labels 116. Likewise, and with particular reference to FIG. 15, the cutting elements 134 are spaced from one another around the circumference of cutting wheel 130 to define the length of each label 116. Accordingly, the cutting elements 134 are suitably spaced around the circumference of cutting wheel 130 in accordance with the desired length of the labels 116 for a particular application.
  • In one aspect of this embodiment, the cutting wheel 130 may cooperate with an anvil (not shown) in the form of a roller or flat plate such that the web is supported between the cutting wheel 130 and the anvil to thereby cut the labels 116. Alternatively, the anvil may be positioned on a surface of the vacuum wheel 114 (FIG. 13).
  • With reference to FIGS. 16-17, in which like reference numerals refer to like features of FIGS. 13-15, an alternative embodiment of a cutting wheel 150 may support a web of labels 116 having adhesive dispensed by gun 118 in a pattern 152 that is continuous in the cross-machine direction (indicated by arrow 154). In this embodiment, the cutting wheel 150 has a surface that is discontinuous in the direction of rotation thereof, indicated by arrow 156 and consistent with the machine direction or direction of travel of the web of labels 116. This discontinuous surface is configured to permit the cutting wheel 150 to contact the web only in portions of the web's length that does not have adhesive. More specifically, the outer surface of the cutting wheel 150 is defined by recesses 160 which house the one or more cutting elements 134. Like the embodiment of FIGS. 13-15, the cutting wheel 150 effects a cut 136 (shown in phantom) on the web of labels 116 which determines the resulting length of each individual label 116. To this end, the cutting elements 134 are spaced around the circumference of cutting wheel 150 to define the length of each label 1 16.
  • While the embodiments of FIGS. 13-17 depict respective cutting mechanisms in the form of cutting wheels 130, 150, those of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate other types of cutting mechanisms that may be alternatively used, so long as they facilitate cutting of the labels 116 at a point downstream of the point of adhesive application. Likewise, it is contemplated that a web of labels 116 may be in the form of a pre-perforated web, with the location of the perforations corresponding to a desired length of the resulting labels 116. In this embodiment (not shown), a cutting mechanism such as cutting wheels 130, 150, would not be required.
  • While the present invention has been illustrated by the description of one or more embodiments thereof, and while the embodiments have been described in considerable detail, they are not intended to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. The various features described herein may be utilized alone or in any combination. Additional advantages and modifications will readily appear to those skilled in the art. The invention in its broader aspects is therefore not limited to the specific details, representative apparatus and method and illustrative examples shown and described. Accordingly, departures may be made from such details without departing from the scope or spirit of the general inventive concept.

Claims (25)

1. A labeling apparatus for applying a label onto a moving object, comprising:
a label delivery mechanism having a fixed reference point, being configured to hold the label in a fixed position relative to said fixed reference point, and being operable to deliver the label onto the object;
a first adhesive applicator positioned and arranged to dispense adhesive onto a first portion of the label, said first adhesive applicator including a first adhesive discharge; and
a second adhesive applicator positioned and arranged to dispense adhesive onto a second portion of the label during contact with the label, said second adhesive applicator including a second adhesive discharge;
wherein said first adhesive discharge and said second adhesive discharge are maintained at respective fixed positions relative to said fixed reference point.
2. The labeling apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a vacuum drum, said fixed reference point being a center of rotation of said vacuum drum.
3. The labeling apparatus of claim 2, further comprising:
a first surface on said vacuum drum defining a first radius relative to said center of rotation and configured to support the first portion of the label; and
a second surface on said vacuum drum defining a second radius relative to said center of rotation that is different from said first radius, said second surface configured to support the second portion of the label;
wherein said first surface is configured to space the first portion of the label from said second adhesive applicator.
4. The labeling apparatus of claim 3, wherein said second radius is greater than said first radius.
5. The labeling apparatus of claim 3, wherein said second surface is configured to support a trailing edge portion of the label.
6. The labeling apparatus of claim 5, wherein said second surface is configured to engage the trailing edge portion of the label against said second adhesive applicator.
7. The labeling apparatus of claim 6, wherein said second surface is configured to deflect toward said center of rotation when the trailing edge portion of the label engages said second adhesive applicator.
8. The labeling apparatus of claim 7, further comprising:
a biasing member urging said second adhesive applicator toward said second surface.
9. The labeling apparatus of claim 3, further comprising:
a transition surface adjacent said second surface and configured to support a third portion of the label positioned between the first and second portions thereof, said transition surface being continuous with said second surface.
10. The labeling apparatus of claim 1, wherein said second adhesive applicator is configured to dispense adhesive onto the second portion of the label without contacting the label.
11. A labeling apparatus for applying a label onto a moving object, the label having a leading edge portion and a trailing edge portion, the apparatus comprising:
a vacuum drum configured to hold the label and operable to deliver the label onto the object, said vacuum drum including a center of rotation and first and second surfaces respectively having first and second different radii from said center of rotation and respectively supporting the leading and trailing edge portions of the label;
a first adhesive applicator positioned and arranged to dispense adhesive onto the leading edge portion of the label without contacting the label; and
a second adhesive applicator positioned and arranged to dispense adhesive onto the trailing edge portion of the label during contact with the label;
wherein said first surface is configured to space the leading edge portion of the label from said second adhesive applicator and said second surface is configured to engage the trailing edge portion of the label against said second adhesive applicator.
12. The labeling apparatus of claim 11, wherein said second adhesive applicator is a slot gun.
13. The labeling apparatus of claim 11, wherein said second surface is configured to deflect toward said center of rotation when the trailing edge portion of the label engages said second adhesive applicator.
14. The labeling apparatus of claim 11, further comprising:
a biasing member urging said second adhesive applicator toward said second surface.
15. The labeling apparatus of claim 11, further comprising:
a transition surface adjacent said second surface and configured to support a third portion of the label positioned between the leading and trailing edge portions thereof, said transition surface being continuous with said second surface.
16. A labeling apparatus for applying a label onto a moving object, comprising:
a label delivery mechanism having a fixed reference point, being configured to hold the label in a fixed position relative to said fixed reference point, and being operable to deliver the label onto the object; and
an adhesive applicator positioned and arranged to dispense adhesive onto a portion of the label during contact with the label, said adhesive applicator including an adhesive discharge;
wherein said adhesive discharge is maintained at a fixed position relative to said fixed reference point.
17. The labeling apparatus of claim 16, further comprising a vacuum drum, said fixed reference point being a center of rotation of said vacuum drum.
18. A method of applying an adhesive pattern onto a label, comprising:
supporting a first portion of the label at a first distance from a fixed point of reference;
supporting a second portion of the label at a second distance from the fixed point of reference, the second distance being different from the first distance;
moving the label past a first adhesive applicator such that the first and second portions do not contact the first adhesive applicator;
applying adhesive onto the first portion with the first adhesive applicator;
moving the label past a second adhesive applicator such that the first portion does not contact the second adhesive applicator and the second portion contacts the second adhesive applicator; and
applying adhesive onto the second portion with the second adhesive applicator.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein moving the label past the first adhesive applicator and moving the label past the second adhesive applicator further comprise respectively rotating the first and second portions about a common center of rotation.
20. The method of claim 18, wherein supporting the second portion of the label further comprises supporting a trailing edge portion of the label.
21. The method of claim 18, wherein supporting the first portion of the label further comprises supporting a leading edge portion of the label.
22. The method of claim 18, further comprising:
simultaneously applying adhesive to the first and second portions.
23. A labeling apparatus for applying a label onto a moving object, comprising:
a label delivery mechanism configured to hold a plurality of the labels defining a continuous web and operable to deliver the labels onto the object;
a cutting mechanism upstream of said label delivery mechanism and configured to cut the web into individual labels; and
at least one adhesive applicator positioned and arranged to discharge adhesive onto the web at a point upstream of the cutting mechanism.
24. The labeling apparatus of claim 23, wherein said cutting mechanism is configured to support the web without contacting the adhesive on the labels.
25. The labeling apparatus of claim 23, wherein said at least one adhesive applicator is further positioned and arranged to discharge adhesive onto a first face of the web, said cutting mechanism being configured to support the web by contacting the first face of the web.
US11/863,609 2005-07-01 2007-09-28 Apparatus and related methods to apply adhesive during labeling operations Abandoned US20080014344A1 (en)

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US73905205P true 2005-11-22 2005-11-22
US11/426,074 US7771556B2 (en) 2005-07-01 2006-06-23 Apparatus and process to apply adhesive during labeling operations
US11/863,609 US20080014344A1 (en) 2005-07-01 2007-09-28 Apparatus and related methods to apply adhesive during labeling operations

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US12/842,508 Abandoned US20100300599A1 (en) 2005-07-01 2010-07-23 Apparatus And Process To Apply Adhesive During Labeling Operations

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