US20090049798A1 - Appartus for cutting gas-filled filling bodies to size, and assembly for producing strings of gas-filled filling bodies - Google Patents

Appartus for cutting gas-filled filling bodies to size, and assembly for producing strings of gas-filled filling bodies Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090049798A1
US20090049798A1 US12/197,620 US19762008A US2009049798A1 US 20090049798 A1 US20090049798 A1 US 20090049798A1 US 19762008 A US19762008 A US 19762008A US 2009049798 A1 US2009049798 A1 US 2009049798A1
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Prior art keywords
filling
filling bodies
bodies
string
cutting
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Abandoned
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US12/197,620
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Johannes Lorsch
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Individual
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B55/00Preserving, protecting or purifying packages or package contents in association with packaging
    • B65B55/20Embedding contents in shock-absorbing media, e.g. plastic foam, granular material
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B26HAND CUTTING TOOLS; CUTTING; SEVERING
    • B26DCUTTING; DETAILS COMMON TO MACHINES FOR PERFORATING, PUNCHING, CUTTING-OUT, STAMPING-OUT OR SEVERING
    • B26D7/00Details of apparatus for cutting, cutting-out, stamping-out, punching, perforating, or severing by means other than cutting
    • B26D7/20Cutting beds
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B31MAKING ARTICLES OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER; WORKING PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER
    • B31DMAKING ARTICLES OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN SUBCLASSES B31B OR B31C
    • B31D2205/00Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles
    • B31D2205/0005Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles for making dunnage or cushion pads
    • B31D2205/0011Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles for making dunnage or cushion pads including particular additional operations
    • B31D2205/0058Cutting; Individualising the final products
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B31MAKING ARTICLES OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER; WORKING PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER
    • B31DMAKING ARTICLES OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN SUBCLASSES B31B OR B31C
    • B31D2205/00Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles
    • B31D2205/0005Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles for making dunnage or cushion pads
    • B31D2205/0011Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles for making dunnage or cushion pads including particular additional operations
    • B31D2205/007Delivering
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B31MAKING ARTICLES OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER; WORKING PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER
    • B31DMAKING ARTICLES OF PAPER, CARDBOARD OR MATERIAL WORKED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO PAPER, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN SUBCLASSES B31B OR B31C
    • B31D2205/00Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles
    • B31D2205/0005Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles for making dunnage or cushion pads
    • B31D2205/0076Multiple-step processes for making three-dimensional articles for making dunnage or cushion pads involving particular machinery details
    • B31D2205/0088Control means
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B61/00Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages
    • B65B61/04Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages for severing webs, or for separating joined packages
    • B65B61/06Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages for severing webs, or for separating joined packages by cutting
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B61/00Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages
    • B65B61/04Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages for severing webs, or for separating joined packages
    • B65B61/06Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages for severing webs, or for separating joined packages by cutting
    • B65B61/08Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages for severing webs, or for separating joined packages by cutting using rotary cutters
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B65/00Details peculiar to packaging machines and not otherwise provided for; Arrangements of such details
    • B65B65/08Devices for counting or registering the number of articles handled, or the number of packages produced by the machine

Definitions

  • the present invention relates to an apparatus for cutting and/or advancing gas-filled filling bodies, and to an assembly for producing strings of gas-filled filling bodies using said apparatus.
  • Filling bodies made of a plastic film material and inflated with gas, in particular with air, are increasingly utilized as filling and wrapping material in shipping packaging to transport fragile goods. It is particularly advantageous if the filling bodies are produced from flat film material rolls on site and “on demand” since, in this manner, the space requirements for transporting and storing the film material can be reduced by several orders of magnitude.
  • the prior art discloses different kinds of prefabricated tubular films for producing such filling bodies and appropriate filling devices and filling methods.
  • the prefabricated tubular plastic film is a flat half-tube which is closed on one longitudinal side and open on the other longitudinal side and which is subdivided into pockets by closely adjoining pairs of transverse (i.e., transversely in relation to the longitudinal extension of the tube) weld seams, wherein perforations for simple separation of the individual pockets are provided between the weld seam pairs.
  • the transverse weld seams do not completely extend to the open edge of the tubular film.
  • An electric motor continuously transports the afore-described tubular film through an filling device that is adapted to the tubular film.
  • the upper film and the lower film are initially moved apart at the open side and air is blown in-between so that closed pockets inflate to form gas-filled filling bodies in the form of air-filled film bags, in particular in the shape of pads.
  • the upper and lower films are pressed together, passed by a continuous welding device, and welded in longitudinal direction so that the trapped air cannot escape.
  • the filling device discharges the pads or air-filled film bags in the form of a continuous chain or string, with the individual pads respectively connected with each other by a flat connecting section.
  • the pads or air-filled film bags are provided in predetermined lengths, i.e., that a certain number of pads or bags is provided for which a respective separation of the bags must be performed.
  • a manual separation is disadvantageous for many applications, even if there are perforations at the connecting sections.
  • the filling device discharges the pads or air-filled film bags such that they are already automatically cut to predetermined lengths and/or that the pads or air-film bags are cut to the desired length after they are inflated, without damage to the pads by the cutting process.
  • Another object of the invention involves the provision of an assembly in which a cutting device having the afore-stated characteristics is advantageously utilized to produce strings of filling bodies of individually required lengths.
  • the apparatus according to claim 1 effectuates cutting and advance of the string of filling bodies.
  • part of the apparatus according to claim 1 may also be used in accordance with claim 14 to realize a controlled advance of the string of filling bodies.
  • Such controlled advance is not easily realized in the state of the art because of the irregular form of the string of filling bodies and because of the asymmetry caused by the welding process on one side.
  • an engagement element advantageously in the form of a catch, having at least two, preferably at least three arms which are radially arranged on a wheel, with the catch conforming to the contour of the inflated film bag.
  • the catch constitutes something like a large “gear wheel” for the bags so that the bags can be reliably transported, and in relation to which the cutting sites can be synchronized.
  • the actual cutting process is realized by a recessed blade that is arranged in or on the wheel and lowered at a time when cutting is desired (e.g., after every fifth gas-filled bag) so as to perform the cut in a single process.
  • the wheel is stopped at the moment of lowering the blade.
  • a spring-supported positioning element allows for precise positioning of the blade in opposition of the cutting site.
  • the arms i.e., effectively the teeth of the large “gear wheel”, hereby also function as counter element for the cutting process.
  • the arms of the catch are shaped in a special manner.
  • the arms or cutter bars have a slightly trapezoidal shape in the axial direction (with respect to the rotation axis of the wheel). This takes into account that the film bags shrink somewhat at the free side when the film bags are inflated (caused by the formation of the pad), whereas the film bags maintain their original width on the inflated side that has the weld seam.
  • the arms are slightly wider on the welded side of the film bags than on the “free” side so that guidance precision is continuously ensured by the mentioned trapezoid shape.
  • the individual arms are so wide that they fit into the intermediate spaces between the filling bodies.
  • EP 1 320 495 which is incorporated by reference into the present disclosure.
  • the bulging of the inflated filling bodies provides a centering to ensure that the cut is in fact made at the desired position—typically in midsection—between the film welding seams, so that none of the chambers of the filling bodies are damaged.
  • a positioning element For cutting purposes, a positioning element is first lowered towards the film and clamps the film. By engaging the positioning element, the film is secured on both sides of the cutting edge so that the cutting process cannot cause the film to be pulled into, e.g., the counter bearing slot. Thereafter, a preferably jagged knife is lowered and introduced into a slot of the opposite cutter bar.
  • a sprung embodiment of the positioning element is advantageous.
  • the positioning element can additionally be configured as guide plate that can swing open and is provided in particular to secure the film bag when it is first introduced into the apparatus. To introduce the film bag, the casing is folded up and then lowered.
  • the catch is a band or a chain which conforms to the bulged shape of the filling body as a corresponding conveyance trough.
  • the transport is realized by means of a linear transport element, as opposed to the wheel as a rotary transport element according to the embodiment discussed above.
  • relaxed film webs are possible.
  • the invention cannot only be used for cutting purposes but also for reliably transporting a string of gas-filled filling bodies in the absence of a cutting device, so that, for example, a reservoir for gas-filled filling bodies can be stacked to relatively great height and by means of the engagement element, the string of filling bodies can then be safely and reliably transported from the lowest point of the reservoir to the upper filling edge of the reservoir, cf. also EP 1 714 777 A2.
  • the catches can preferably be embodied as brushes.
  • an electric motor drives the wheel, wherein the motor is briefly halted for the actual cutting process.
  • the wheel freely rotate and to effectuate the rotary drive by pulling on the outgoing string of filling bodies only, with the pull being implemented by either a user or by a transport device arranged downstream.
  • a filling apparatus is provided for producing a gas-filled string of filling bodies and inflates prefabricated plastic film material which is stored on a roll with gas, preferably with air, via fill openings and divided into individual pockets by transverse welding seams in relation to the transport direction, whereby flat connecting sections remain in the areas of the transverse welding seams and the fill openings are then welded shut so as to be airtight.
  • a temporary storage facility is arranged downstream of the filling device to temporarily store a quantity of string-shaped filling body material which is fed to a cutting device as described above for separating the string of filling bodies at the flat connecting sections after a predetermined number of pads and transferring it to a delivery facility for discharge of the strings of filling bodies.
  • the temporary storage facility can be a storage box for temporary storage of a larger quantity of string of filling bodies.
  • the temporary storage facility may also just include a short section.
  • a control unit may be provided which is configured to receive from a computer-aided inventory control system the volume of the article and/or the volumes of multiple articles to be packaged in a packaging container and the volume of the packaging container. Based on these data, the control unit calculates the remaining unused volume of the packaging container. Based on the remaining unused volume, the control unit estimates the number of filling body pads and uses this information to initiate production of a string of filling bodies or of multiple strings of filling bodies having the estimated total number of filling body pads.
  • a control unit having a special sensor arrangement may also be provided and configured to measure the remaining empty space in a packaging container that is already filled with articles to be packaged and to send a signal representative of this empty space to the control unit.
  • the control unit is hereby configured to estimate on the basis of the signal of the sensor arrangement and the volume of the packaging container the required number of filling body pads and configured to initiate production of a string of filling bodies or multiple strings of filling bodies having the estimated total number of filling body pads.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a central view of an apparatus according to the invention without a cuffing device
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 , partially illustrated in a sectional view;
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a detailed representation of the central view of the apparatus according to the invention having a cutting device
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a view of an assembly according to the invention for producing and fabricating strings of filling bodies.
  • FIG. 1 shows an apparatus 10 according to the invention for cutting gas-filled filling bodies 12 to size.
  • the filling bodies 12 are embodied as pads and have a bulge 27 .
  • the individual pads 12 are connected via connecting sections 13 which are provided with perforations (not illustrated). If a connecting section 13 is intended for separation, this connecting section 13 is also the cutting area 14 (see FIG. 3 ).
  • the apparatus 10 has a central wheel 20 which has arms 21 b arranged thereon.
  • the arms are provided with depressions 16 , in which a knife 15 arranged in a cutting device 11 can engage.
  • the arms 21 b together with the depressions 16 also constitute the cutter bars.
  • connecting bridges 28 which extend radially from the center 29 of the central wheel 20 and are connected with the central wheel via connectors 22 .
  • the arms 21 b extend axially away from the central wheel (see FIG. 2 ) in a direction that is substantially perpendicular and, at the same time, substantially parallel to the central axis 25 of the central wheel 20 .
  • the arms 21 b are also connected with the connecting bridge 28 via fasteners 22 .
  • the intermediate space 21 a between the arms 21 b forms together with the arms 21 b the catch 21 .
  • the central wheel 20 and thus also the catches 21 are rotatable about the axle 25 so that, via a not illustrated drive, the rotation of the wheel 20 can be introduced into the apparatus 10 via the axle 25 for transporting the filling bodies 12 .
  • a distance 26 between the arms 21 b and the axle 25 is adjustable in accordance with the form of the filling bodies so that the apparatus 10 according to the invention can also be used for different sizes of the filling bodies (i.e., in particular different widths, i.e., different distances between the connecting sections 13 ).
  • trough-shaped guide plates 32 are provided in the radial spaces between the individual arms 21 b and suited to the contour of the filling bodies. These guide plates prevent in particular the filling bodies and/or the strings of filling bodies that have been cut off on one or both ends from sliding into the inner area of the wheel 20 . In particular when operating the apparatus such that a cut is made after each individual filling body, the guide plates 32 are of particular significance.
  • a cutting device 11 (see FIG. 3 ) is arranged in a cutting location 30 and movable against the cutter bar 21 b .
  • a knife 15 having a waved blade is arranged in the cutting device 11 .
  • the cutting device 11 has a positioning element 17 which is movably arranged by means of springs 18 and has a fixation element 17 a . If a use of the cutting device 11 is not intended, the position element 17 rests because the spring element 18 is not deflected. In this position, the fixation element 17 a is located above the filling element 12 on the plane 17 b .
  • the spring element 18 is deflected and the positioning element 17 is deflected downwards towards the cutting plane 14 until the fixation element 17 a rests on the arm 21 b and thus on the cutting bar, so that the connecting section 13 is fixed.
  • the central wheel 20 is stopped in order to allow for a clean cut, and the knife 15 separates the connecting section 13 and is moved back to its initial position in the cutting device 11 .
  • the spring element 18 is relaxed again, the positioning element 17 and the fixation element 17 a retract from the wheel 20 , and, if they are retracted far enough, e.g., when the fixation element 17 a is on the plane 17 b again, the central wheel 20 is caused to rotate again.
  • the central wheel 20 from which the arms 21 b extend out has slots 23 which are scanned by an optical sensor 24 .
  • an electronic counter (not illustrated) is triggered.
  • Each slot 23 represents a bag 12 .
  • the counter is connected to a control unit (not illustrated) which evaluates the data generated by the counter and triggers and controls the operation of the cutting device 11 and the stoppage of the wheel 20 .
  • the control unit triggers the cutting device 11 (e.g. 7 bags, etc.).
  • catches in the form of brushes which extend in an axial direction are provided about a rotatably drivable central wheel, i.e., the engagement arms 21 of the above-described cutting device are replaced with brushes (in the absence of the cuffing device).
  • the arc length distance of the brushes along the outer perimeter equals hereby approximately the width of the filling bodies or a multiple thereof.
  • This embodiment exploits the fact that the filling bodies are relatively light and, thus the forces exerted by the bristles are already sufficient for transporting a string of filling bodies.
  • the elasticity of the bristles is hereby adapted to the string of filling bodies to be transported and the delivery height, i.e., the greater the transport performance the harder the bristles must be selected.
  • the flexible bristles enable easy introduction of the string of filling bodies. Furthermore, the string can be manually pulled forward without problems, as the bristles give way, without damage to the string of filling bodies or accidental separation at the perforations.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates schematically an assembly for producing gas-filled strings of filling bodies 12 having a predefined number of pockets or pads.
  • This assembly includes a filling device 40 to produce the endless air-filled string of filling bodies 12 from a flat half-tubular film that is fed from a storage roll 42 . Air is hereby blown into pockets that are open on one side so that they bulge and thereby assume the shape of pads. Immediately thereafter, the pockets, which are still open, are welded shut at the upper film and the lower film in airtight manner, without air being able to escape beforehand. Details are disclosed in EP 1 714 777 A2, which is incorporated into the present disclosure by reference. Of course, other known filling devices and film types can be used within the scope of the present invention.
  • the string of filling bodies is first deposited in approximately a meander-like manner in a storage box 44 that is arranged below the filling device, although such storage is not necessarily required in the present invention.
  • a light barrier monitors the fill level in the storage box 44 . If the fill level exceeds a level designated with 46 , production of the filling bodies is stopped. If the fill level falls below this level (taking into account a specified switching hysteresis, if necessary), production is resumed.
  • the filling device 40 can be dimensioned such that it takes into account a lower production frequency of the filling bodies, while the respective fabricated filling body sections can nonetheless be provided very quickly.
  • the storage roll 42 is empty, the time for changing the storage roll 42 can be bridged.
  • the string of filling bodies 12 is withdrawn from the lower area of the storage box 44 and pulled out laterally and upwards while passing by the stacked layers of the string of filling bodies.
  • the string of filling bodies is actually stacked in the storage box 44 in a rather random manner, the stored strings of filling bodies cannot entangle themselves, in particular in view of the fact that the width of the storage box is adapted to the width of the filling bodies.
  • the cutting and transport apparatus 10 described in connection with FIGS. 1 to 3 generates the pulling force necessary to remove the string of filling bodies.
  • the cutting and transport apparatus is located on a telescopic support 48 well above the typical working height so that the filling body sections can be discharged from above.
  • an electric motor can move the telescopic support 48 downward from the illustrated working position.
  • Using the cutting and transport apparatus 10 according to the invention has the advantage that the film bag string 12 can be withdrawn from the storage box 44 at a higher speed than the production speed of the filling bodies and at the same time cut with the cutting device 30 to the desired length, without damage to the terminal pads.
  • the string of filling bodies 12 falls from the cutting and transport apparatus 10 into the sloped entry area 52 of a horizontally arranged transport channel 54 .
  • a blower provided at the left end face in the drawing blows a continuous air stream into the transport channel 54 , as indicated by the arrows 50 , wherein the air stream leaves the transport channel 54 at the opposite, open end face 66 of the transport channel 54 so that the strings of filling bodies 12 are further conveyed in the transport channel 54 .
  • Hatches 56 , 58 that can be actuated by an actuator and are assigned to individual packaging sites are provided at the bottom of the transport channel 54 . Of course, depending on the assembly and the number of packaging sites, more than two hatches can be provided. If only one packaging site is to be used, then either the transport channel 54 is not needed at all or a transport channel with a single permanently opened discharge opening can be used, depending on space requirements.
  • the filling body section 12 leaves the transport channel 54 via the respectively opened hatch (hatch 56 is open in the exemplary embodiment).
  • Packaging containers 60 and 62 e.g., the schematically illustrated cardboard boxes
  • the filling body string sections in collection baskets or in a single collection basket (not illustrated) arranged below the hatches and to manually process them thereafter. It is further possible to convey the packaging containers below the hatches 56 , 58 by means of a conveyor belt or the like so that the packaging containers on their way on the conveyor belts are automatically filled with the required quantity of filling bodies. Typically, the distribution of the filling bodies within the packaging container must be manually optimized thereafter.
  • the entire assembly is controlled by a control unit having a microprocessor such that for a particular packaging task a respective, individually adjusted number of gas-filled filling body pads is produced.
  • a user may pre-select this number of the desired filling pads of the string either via a numerical keyboard or by means of multiple actuation of a button (e.g., a foot switch). In the latter case, every actuation of the button may correspond to a predetermined number of pockets, e.g. 6 pockets. If no further button actuation is performed within a predefined period of time, a string having the corresponding number of filling pads is produced. Alternatively, after pre-selection of the number via a first button, the production of the string of filling bodies may be triggered by actuating a second button.
  • a button e.g., a foot switch
  • the respective number of filling pads is calculated from data of an inventory control system.
  • measurements of the articles to be packaged are oftentimes already saved for shipping purposes so that the inventory control system can propose a suitable package size or cardboard box size.
  • the remaining empty space to be filled with the filling bodies can be calculated.
  • the required number of filling bodies can be estimated—at least approximately.
  • the content of a cardboard box or container whose top is still open and which is already loaded with the articles to be packaged is scanned by sensors 64 (see FIG. 4 ), preferably in contact-free manner, to thereby determine the remaining empty space in the container.
  • the sensors may involve stereoscopically arranged video cameras or systems that scan in contact-free manner the contours of the cardboard box content via laser beams or ultrasound.
  • the sensors thereby capture a relief picture of the cardboard box content based on which the remaining empty volume can be calculated if the inner volume of the cardboard box is known. Based on the remaining empty volume, the required number of filling bodies can be estimated.
  • the delivery rate of the transport channel 54 is typically limited, it may be provided when there is a demand of longer strings of filling bodies to output the latter in several individual strings. In many cases, this also simplifies the handling of the strings of filling bodies when they are distributed in the packaging containers. For example, when a string of 35 filling pads is requested, one string of 20 pads and another string of 15 pads could be produced if the maximum conveyable string length is 20 pads.
  • the control unit then initiates production of the requested number of filling bodies, wherein, in view of the desired delivery site of the strings of filling bodies, the hatch 60 assigned to this delivery site is opened and the non-assigned hatch 62 is closed. Thereafter, the cutting and transport apparatus 10 is moved by the calculated angle that corresponds to the number of desired filling bodies, wherein the corresponding length of the filling body string 12 is removed from the storage box. If the level falls below level 46 in the storage box, the filling device 40 produces more filling bodies.
  • the wheel 20 of the cutting and transport apparatus 10 is stopped and the cutting device 11 is triggered.
  • the wheel is thereafter rotated by a predefined angle that is to be taken into account in measuring the next strings of filling bodies.

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  • Engineering & Computer Science (AREA)
  • Mechanical Engineering (AREA)
  • Filling Or Discharging Of Gas Storage Vessels (AREA)
  • Auxiliary Devices For And Details Of Packaging Control (AREA)
  • Basic Packing Technique (AREA)
  • Containers And Plastic Fillers For Packaging (AREA)

Abstract

An apparatus for cutting gas-filled filling bodies (12) to size, wherein the filling bodies are fed to the apparatus in the form of a string of successive gas-filled filling bodies that are connected by flat connecting sections (13); wherein a cutting device (11) having a cutting element (15) is provided for cutting the gas-filled filling bodies (12) in the connecting section (13) between two filling bodies; wherein at least one catch (21) is provided that is preferably arranged on a wheel (20) and has an engagement area (21 a) for receiving a filling body (12); wherein the catch (21), together with the filling body (12) is movably arranged and configured such that the filling body (12) situated in the catch (21) is centered. A counter (23, 24) is provided for receiving a number of filling bodies (12) moved across a reference point. An evaluation and control unit is provided for receiving data of the counter (23, 24) and for triggering the cutting process. The apparatus can have an assembly for producing gas-filled strings of filling bodies (12) and can be used to produce filling body string sections having an individual number of filling body pads, wherein the necessary number of pads is calculated from the data of an inventory control system or determined by sensors.

Description

  • The present invention relates to an apparatus for cutting and/or advancing gas-filled filling bodies, and to an assembly for producing strings of gas-filled filling bodies using said apparatus.
  • Filling bodies made of a plastic film material and inflated with gas, in particular with air, are increasingly utilized as filling and wrapping material in shipping packaging to transport fragile goods. It is particularly advantageous if the filling bodies are produced from flat film material rolls on site and “on demand” since, in this manner, the space requirements for transporting and storing the film material can be reduced by several orders of magnitude.
  • The prior art discloses different kinds of prefabricated tubular films for producing such filling bodies and appropriate filling devices and filling methods.
  • According to a particularly suitable embodiment in the state of the art, the prefabricated tubular plastic film is a flat half-tube which is closed on one longitudinal side and open on the other longitudinal side and which is subdivided into pockets by closely adjoining pairs of transverse (i.e., transversely in relation to the longitudinal extension of the tube) weld seams, wherein perforations for simple separation of the individual pockets are provided between the weld seam pairs. The transverse weld seams do not completely extend to the open edge of the tubular film. An electric motor continuously transports the afore-described tubular film through an filling device that is adapted to the tubular film. The upper film and the lower film are initially moved apart at the open side and air is blown in-between so that closed pockets inflate to form gas-filled filling bodies in the form of air-filled film bags, in particular in the shape of pads. Immediately thereafter, the upper and lower films are pressed together, passed by a continuous welding device, and welded in longitudinal direction so that the trapped air cannot escape.
  • The filling device discharges the pads or air-filled film bags in the form of a continuous chain or string, with the individual pads respectively connected with each other by a flat connecting section. In practice, it is desirable that the pads or air-filled film bags are provided in predetermined lengths, i.e., that a certain number of pads or bags is provided for which a respective separation of the bags must be performed. A manual separation is disadvantageous for many applications, even if there are perforations at the connecting sections. There is a need that the filling device discharges the pads or air-filled film bags such that they are already automatically cut to predetermined lengths and/or that the pads or air-film bags are cut to the desired length after they are inflated, without damage to the pads by the cutting process.
  • It is an object of the present invention to provide a cutting device which is simple in structure and yet performs a safe and precise separation of the pads or bags and can also be utilized for advancing a string of filling bodies.
  • Another object of the invention involves the provision of an assembly in which a cutting device having the afore-stated characteristics is advantageously utilized to produce strings of filling bodies of individually required lengths.
  • The above-mentioned objects are solved by an apparatus according to the features of claim 1 and by an assembly having the features of claim 11.
  • The apparatus according to claim 1 effectuates cutting and advance of the string of filling bodies. In the event an advance of the string of filling bodies is desired only in the absence of a cutting function, part of the apparatus according to claim 1 may also be used in accordance with claim 14 to realize a controlled advance of the string of filling bodies. Such controlled advance is not easily realized in the state of the art because of the irregular form of the string of filling bodies and because of the asymmetry caused by the welding process on one side.
  • The dependent claims set forth advantageous embodiments of the invention.
  • According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, it is proposed to capture the individual bags with an engagement element, advantageously in the form of a catch, having at least two, preferably at least three arms which are radially arranged on a wheel, with the catch conforming to the contour of the inflated film bag. Thus, the catch constitutes something like a large “gear wheel” for the bags so that the bags can be reliably transported, and in relation to which the cutting sites can be synchronized. The actual cutting process is realized by a recessed blade that is arranged in or on the wheel and lowered at a time when cutting is desired (e.g., after every fifth gas-filled bag) so as to perform the cut in a single process. Preferably, the wheel is stopped at the moment of lowering the blade. A spring-supported positioning element allows for precise positioning of the blade in opposition of the cutting site. Preferable, the arms, i.e., effectively the teeth of the large “gear wheel”, hereby also function as counter element for the cutting process.
  • The arms of the catch are shaped in a special manner. The arms or cutter bars have a slightly trapezoidal shape in the axial direction (with respect to the rotation axis of the wheel). This takes into account that the film bags shrink somewhat at the free side when the film bags are inflated (caused by the formation of the pad), whereas the film bags maintain their original width on the inflated side that has the weld seam. Thus, the arms are slightly wider on the welded side of the film bags than on the “free” side so that guidance precision is continuously ensured by the mentioned trapezoid shape.
  • The individual arms are so wide that they fit into the intermediate spaces between the filling bodies. For the shape and production of the filling bodies, reference is made to EP 1 320 495, which is incorporated by reference into the present disclosure. The bulging of the inflated filling bodies provides a centering to ensure that the cut is in fact made at the desired position—typically in midsection—between the film welding seams, so that none of the chambers of the filling bodies are damaged.
  • In this context, it is fundamentally conceivable within the scope of the invention to forego the separation perforations of the filling bodies to be used, even though the perforations could be advantageous for further, manual separation of strings of filling bodies. On the other hand, by eliminating a separation perforation, the distance between the two transverse welding seams can be decreased or even reduced to a broad transverse welding seam which is cut through in midsection by the apparatus. As a consequence of the respective enlargement of the inflatable film area, the film material is better utilized overall.
  • For cutting purposes, a positioning element is first lowered towards the film and clamps the film. By engaging the positioning element, the film is secured on both sides of the cutting edge so that the cutting process cannot cause the film to be pulled into, e.g., the counter bearing slot. Thereafter, a preferably jagged knife is lowered and introduced into a slot of the opposite cutter bar. A sprung embodiment of the positioning element is advantageous. In an exemplary embodiment, the positioning element can additionally be configured as guide plate that can swing open and is provided in particular to secure the film bag when it is first introduced into the apparatus. To introduce the film bag, the casing is folded up and then lowered.
  • According to an alternative embodiment of the invention, the catch is a band or a chain which conforms to the bulged shape of the filling body as a corresponding conveyance trough. In this embodiment, the transport is realized by means of a linear transport element, as opposed to the wheel as a rotary transport element according to the embodiment discussed above. Furthermore, as an alternative, relaxed film webs are possible.
  • The invention cannot only be used for cutting purposes but also for reliably transporting a string of gas-filled filling bodies in the absence of a cutting device, so that, for example, a reservoir for gas-filled filling bodies can be stacked to relatively great height and by means of the engagement element, the string of filling bodies can then be safely and reliably transported from the lowest point of the reservoir to the upper filling edge of the reservoir, cf. also EP 1 714 777 A2.
  • In the case of a pure transport apparatus without cutting function, the catches can preferably be embodied as brushes.
  • Preferably, an electric motor drives the wheel, wherein the motor is briefly halted for the actual cutting process. However, in case of an apparatus that is used purely for transport purposes, without having a cutting device, it is also conceivable to let the wheel freely rotate and to effectuate the rotary drive by pulling on the outgoing string of filling bodies only, with the pull being implemented by either a user or by a transport device arranged downstream.
  • It is further proposed within the scope of the present invention to provide an assembly for producing gas-filled strings of filling bodies having a predetermined number of inflated pads. A filling apparatus is provided for producing a gas-filled string of filling bodies and inflates prefabricated plastic film material which is stored on a roll with gas, preferably with air, via fill openings and divided into individual pockets by transverse welding seams in relation to the transport direction, whereby flat connecting sections remain in the areas of the transverse welding seams and the fill openings are then welded shut so as to be airtight. A temporary storage facility is arranged downstream of the filling device to temporarily store a quantity of string-shaped filling body material which is fed to a cutting device as described above for separating the string of filling bodies at the flat connecting sections after a predetermined number of pads and transferring it to a delivery facility for discharge of the strings of filling bodies. The temporary storage facility can be a storage box for temporary storage of a larger quantity of string of filling bodies. However, the temporary storage facility may also just include a short section.
  • According to another advantageous embodiment, a control unit may be provided which is configured to receive from a computer-aided inventory control system the volume of the article and/or the volumes of multiple articles to be packaged in a packaging container and the volume of the packaging container. Based on these data, the control unit calculates the remaining unused volume of the packaging container. Based on the remaining unused volume, the control unit estimates the number of filling body pads and uses this information to initiate production of a string of filling bodies or of multiple strings of filling bodies having the estimated total number of filling body pads.
  • As an alternative or in addition, a control unit having a special sensor arrangement may also be provided and configured to measure the remaining empty space in a packaging container that is already filled with articles to be packaged and to send a signal representative of this empty space to the control unit. The control unit is hereby configured to estimate on the basis of the signal of the sensor arrangement and the volume of the packaging container the required number of filling body pads and configured to initiate production of a string of filling bodies or multiple strings of filling bodies having the estimated total number of filling body pads.
  • By way of example, the invention will now be described in more detail with reference to the drawings, in which:
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a central view of an apparatus according to the invention without a cuffing device;
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the apparatus of FIG. 1, partially illustrated in a sectional view;
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a detailed representation of the central view of the apparatus according to the invention having a cutting device; and
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a view of an assembly according to the invention for producing and fabricating strings of filling bodies.
  • FIG. 1 shows an apparatus 10 according to the invention for cutting gas-filled filling bodies 12 to size.
  • The filling bodies 12 are embodied as pads and have a bulge 27. The individual pads 12 are connected via connecting sections 13 which are provided with perforations (not illustrated). If a connecting section 13 is intended for separation, this connecting section 13 is also the cutting area 14 (see FIG. 3).
  • The apparatus 10 has a central wheel 20 which has arms 21 b arranged thereon. The arms are provided with depressions 16, in which a knife 15 arranged in a cutting device 11 can engage. Thus, the arms 21 b together with the depressions 16 also constitute the cutter bars.
  • Provided on the central wheel 20 are connecting bridges 28 which extend radially from the center 29 of the central wheel 20 and are connected with the central wheel via connectors 22. The arms 21 b extend axially away from the central wheel (see FIG. 2) in a direction that is substantially perpendicular and, at the same time, substantially parallel to the central axis 25 of the central wheel 20. The arms 21 b are also connected with the connecting bridge 28 via fasteners 22. The intermediate space 21 a between the arms 21 b forms together with the arms 21 b the catch 21. The central wheel 20 and thus also the catches 21 are rotatable about the axle 25 so that, via a not illustrated drive, the rotation of the wheel 20 can be introduced into the apparatus 10 via the axle 25 for transporting the filling bodies 12. A distance 26 between the arms 21 b and the axle 25 is adjustable in accordance with the form of the filling bodies so that the apparatus 10 according to the invention can also be used for different sizes of the filling bodies (i.e., in particular different widths, i.e., different distances between the connecting sections 13).
  • As shown in FIG. 1, trough-shaped guide plates 32 (not shown in FIG. 3) are provided in the radial spaces between the individual arms 21 b and suited to the contour of the filling bodies. These guide plates prevent in particular the filling bodies and/or the strings of filling bodies that have been cut off on one or both ends from sliding into the inner area of the wheel 20. In particular when operating the apparatus such that a cut is made after each individual filling body, the guide plates 32 are of particular significance.
  • A cutting device 11 (see FIG. 3) is arranged in a cutting location 30 and movable against the cutter bar 21 b. A knife 15 having a waved blade is arranged in the cutting device 11. The cutting device 11 has a positioning element 17 which is movably arranged by means of springs 18 and has a fixation element 17 a. If a use of the cutting device 11 is not intended, the position element 17 rests because the spring element 18 is not deflected. In this position, the fixation element 17 a is located above the filling element 12 on the plane 17 b. If two filling bodies are to be cut apart, the spring element 18 is deflected and the positioning element 17 is deflected downwards towards the cutting plane 14 until the fixation element 17 a rests on the arm 21 b and thus on the cutting bar, so that the connecting section 13 is fixed. At the moment of contact of the fixation element 17 a with the cutting bar, the central wheel 20 is stopped in order to allow for a clean cut, and the knife 15 separates the connecting section 13 and is moved back to its initial position in the cutting device 11. Thereafter, the spring element 18 is relaxed again, the positioning element 17 and the fixation element 17 a retract from the wheel 20, and, if they are retracted far enough, e.g., when the fixation element 17 a is on the plane 17 b again, the central wheel 20 is caused to rotate again.
  • As shown in FIG. 1, the central wheel 20 from which the arms 21 b extend out has slots 23 which are scanned by an optical sensor 24. With each passing of a slot 23, an electronic counter (not illustrated) is triggered. Each slot 23 represents a bag 12. The counter is connected to a control unit (not illustrated) which evaluates the data generated by the counter and triggers and controls the operation of the cutting device 11 and the stoppage of the wheel 20. After an adjustable number of bags 12 has passed by the sensor 24, the control unit triggers the cutting device 11 (e.g. 7 bags, etc.).
  • According to another—not illustrated—embodiment of the invention, designed as a pure transport apparatus, catches in the form of brushes which extend in an axial direction are provided about a rotatably drivable central wheel, i.e., the engagement arms 21 of the above-described cutting device are replaced with brushes (in the absence of the cuffing device). The arc length distance of the brushes along the outer perimeter equals hereby approximately the width of the filling bodies or a multiple thereof.
  • This embodiment exploits the fact that the filling bodies are relatively light and, thus the forces exerted by the bristles are already sufficient for transporting a string of filling bodies. The elasticity of the bristles is hereby adapted to the string of filling bodies to be transported and the delivery height, i.e., the greater the transport performance the harder the bristles must be selected. The flexible bristles enable easy introduction of the string of filling bodies. Furthermore, the string can be manually pulled forward without problems, as the bristles give way, without damage to the string of filling bodies or accidental separation at the perforations.
  • An outer guide plate is not necessarily required for such a pure transport apparatus, since the string of filling bodies is sufficiently pressed into the catches by gravity alone. Thus, the above-described brush-operated transport apparatus can be relatively simple and light-weight.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates schematically an assembly for producing gas-filled strings of filling bodies 12 having a predefined number of pockets or pads. This assembly includes a filling device 40 to produce the endless air-filled string of filling bodies 12 from a flat half-tubular film that is fed from a storage roll 42. Air is hereby blown into pockets that are open on one side so that they bulge and thereby assume the shape of pads. Immediately thereafter, the pockets, which are still open, are welded shut at the upper film and the lower film in airtight manner, without air being able to escape beforehand. Details are disclosed in EP 1 714 777 A2, which is incorporated into the present disclosure by reference. Of course, other known filling devices and film types can be used within the scope of the present invention.
  • Preferably, the string of filling bodies is first deposited in approximately a meander-like manner in a storage box 44 that is arranged below the filling device, although such storage is not necessarily required in the present invention. A light barrier monitors the fill level in the storage box 44. If the fill level exceeds a level designated with 46, production of the filling bodies is stopped. If the fill level falls below this level (taking into account a specified switching hysteresis, if necessary), production is resumed. In this manner, it is ensured that there is always a sufficient inventory of filling bodies available so that temporary usage peaks for filling bodies can be evened out and the filling device 40 can be dimensioned such that it takes into account a lower production frequency of the filling bodies, while the respective fabricated filling body sections can nonetheless be provided very quickly. In addition, if the storage roll 42 is empty, the time for changing the storage roll 42 can be bridged.
  • Subsequently, the string of filling bodies 12 is withdrawn from the lower area of the storage box 44 and pulled out laterally and upwards while passing by the stacked layers of the string of filling bodies. Even if, contrary to the meander-like illustration in FIG. 4, the string of filling bodies is actually stacked in the storage box 44 in a rather random manner, the stored strings of filling bodies cannot entangle themselves, in particular in view of the fact that the width of the storage box is adapted to the width of the filling bodies. Preferably, the cutting and transport apparatus 10 described in connection with FIGS. 1 to 3 generates the pulling force necessary to remove the string of filling bodies. In the illustrated exemplary embodiment, the cutting and transport apparatus is located on a telescopic support 48 well above the typical working height so that the filling body sections can be discharged from above. In order to feed the string of filling bodies 12 into the cutting and transport apparatus 10 without using a ladder or something similar, an electric motor can move the telescopic support 48 downward from the illustrated working position.
  • Using the cutting and transport apparatus 10 according to the invention has the advantage that the film bag string 12 can be withdrawn from the storage box 44 at a higher speed than the production speed of the filling bodies and at the same time cut with the cutting device 30 to the desired length, without damage to the terminal pads.
  • Due to gravity, the string of filling bodies 12 falls from the cutting and transport apparatus 10 into the sloped entry area 52 of a horizontally arranged transport channel 54. A blower provided at the left end face in the drawing blows a continuous air stream into the transport channel 54, as indicated by the arrows 50, wherein the air stream leaves the transport channel 54 at the opposite, open end face 66 of the transport channel 54 so that the strings of filling bodies 12 are further conveyed in the transport channel 54. Hatches 56, 58 that can be actuated by an actuator and are assigned to individual packaging sites are provided at the bottom of the transport channel 54. Of course, depending on the assembly and the number of packaging sites, more than two hatches can be provided. If only one packaging site is to be used, then either the transport channel 54 is not needed at all or a transport channel with a single permanently opened discharge opening can be used, depending on space requirements.
  • The filling body section 12 leaves the transport channel 54 via the respectively opened hatch (hatch 56 is open in the exemplary embodiment). Packaging containers 60 and 62 (e.g., the schematically illustrated cardboard boxes) are to be filled with filling bodies and positioned at respective packaging sites below the hatches 56, 58 so that the filling body sections together with the articles to be padded can directly fall into the cardboard box whose top is still open.
  • As an alternative, it is also possible to collect the filling body string sections in collection baskets or in a single collection basket (not illustrated) arranged below the hatches and to manually process them thereafter. It is further possible to convey the packaging containers below the hatches 56, 58 by means of a conveyor belt or the like so that the packaging containers on their way on the conveyor belts are automatically filled with the required quantity of filling bodies. Typically, the distribution of the filling bodies within the packaging container must be manually optimized thereafter.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the entire assembly is controlled by a control unit having a microprocessor such that for a particular packaging task a respective, individually adjusted number of gas-filled filling body pads is produced.
  • A user may pre-select this number of the desired filling pads of the string either via a numerical keyboard or by means of multiple actuation of a button (e.g., a foot switch). In the latter case, every actuation of the button may correspond to a predetermined number of pockets, e.g. 6 pockets. If no further button actuation is performed within a predefined period of time, a string having the corresponding number of filling pads is produced. Alternatively, after pre-selection of the number via a first button, the production of the string of filling bodies may be triggered by actuating a second button.
  • Alternatively, it is also possible that the respective number of filling pads is calculated from data of an inventory control system. In such an inventory control system, measurements of the articles to be packaged are oftentimes already saved for shipping purposes so that the inventory control system can propose a suitable package size or cardboard box size. Based on the volumes of the articles to be packaged and based on the known inner volume of the package proposed by the inventory control system, the remaining empty space to be filled with the filling bodies can be calculated. Based on the known volume of an individual filling body pad, the required number of filling bodies can be estimated—at least approximately.
  • According to an alternative or supplemental embodiment, the content of a cardboard box or container whose top is still open and which is already loaded with the articles to be packaged is scanned by sensors 64 (see FIG. 4), preferably in contact-free manner, to thereby determine the remaining empty space in the container. The sensors may involve stereoscopically arranged video cameras or systems that scan in contact-free manner the contours of the cardboard box content via laser beams or ultrasound. The sensors thereby capture a relief picture of the cardboard box content based on which the remaining empty volume can be calculated if the inner volume of the cardboard box is known. Based on the remaining empty volume, the required number of filling bodies can be estimated.
  • Since, in view of the maximum length of a string of filling bodies, the delivery rate of the transport channel 54 is typically limited, it may be provided when there is a demand of longer strings of filling bodies to output the latter in several individual strings. In many cases, this also simplifies the handling of the strings of filling bodies when they are distributed in the packaging containers. For example, when a string of 35 filling pads is requested, one string of 20 pads and another string of 15 pads could be produced if the maximum conveyable string length is 20 pads.
  • The control unit then initiates production of the requested number of filling bodies, wherein, in view of the desired delivery site of the strings of filling bodies, the hatch 60 assigned to this delivery site is opened and the non-assigned hatch 62 is closed. Thereafter, the cutting and transport apparatus 10 is moved by the calculated angle that corresponds to the number of desired filling bodies, wherein the corresponding length of the filling body string 12 is removed from the storage box. If the level falls below level 46 in the storage box, the filling device 40 produces more filling bodies.
  • Subsequently, the wheel 20 of the cutting and transport apparatus 10 is stopped and the cutting device 11 is triggered. In order to release the separated filling body string section at the location 11 shown in FIG. 4, the wheel is thereafter rotated by a predefined angle that is to be taken into account in measuring the next strings of filling bodies.

Claims (20)

1.-15. (canceled)
16. An apparatus for cutting a string of gas-filled filling bodies to size, comprising:
a cutting device having a cutting element for cutting a flat connecting section between two filling bodies;
at least one movable catch having an engagement area to receive a gas-filled filling body and to center the filling body;
a counter constructed to count a number of filling bodies passing a reference point; and
an evaluation and control unit receiving the number counted by the counter and causing the cutting device to cut the connecting section, when the number exceeds a predefined count.
17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the cutting device includes a positioning device including a fixation element to keep the connecting section between the two filling bodies in place by applying a force on the connecting section as the cutting device cuts the connecting section.
18. The apparatus of claim 16, further comprising a central wheel having a center, said catch including two arms arranged on the central wheel in radial spaced-apart relationship from the center of the central wheel and directed axially outwards.
19. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the two arms are arranged in relation to each other such that the filling body is centered between the two arms.
20. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the two arms have outer end faces in the shape of a trapezoid.
21. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein a space between the two arms depends on a bulge of the filling body so as to center the filling body between the arms without damage to the filling body.
22. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the two arms are radially adjustable with respect to the center of the central wheel.
23. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the catch includes a conveying trough formed by a chain and a band.
24. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the counter includes an optical sensor.
25. The apparatus of claim 24, wherein the optical sensor is arranged at the reference point.
26. The apparatus of claim 24, wherein the optical sensor is structured to scan slots arranged at the central wheel.
27. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the cutting element has a jagged cutting area.
28. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein at least one of the catch and the central wheel is stopped when the cutting element cuts the connecting section.
29. An assembly for producing a string of gas-filled filling bodies having a predefined number of pads, said assembly comprising:
a storage roll receiving prefabricated plastic film material having transversal welding seams with respect to a transport direction of the plastic film material, thereby dividing the plastic film material into individual pockets and forming flat connecting sections between the pockets;
a filling device for inflating the pockets by introducing a gas through a fill opening of each of the pockets, with the fill opening being sealed after inflation of the pocket for producing a string of filling bodies;
a temporary storage facility arranged downstream of the filling device to temporarily store a predefined quantity of the string of filling bodies;
a cutting device withdrawing the string of filling bodies from the storage facility and cutting a respective one of the connecting sections after a predefined number of filling bodies has passed by to produce string sections of filling bodies; and
a delivery device to output the string sections of filling bodies.
30. The assembly of claim 29, wherein the gas is air.
31. The assembly of claim 29, further comprising a computer-aided inventory control system; and a control unit configured to
to receive from the computer-aided inventory control system data about a volume to be packaged in a packaging container;
to calculate based on the data, a remaining empty volume in the packaging container,
to estimate based on the remaining empty volume, a required number of filling body pads; and
to initiate based on the estimated required number of filling body pads, the production of at least one string of filling bodies having the estimated total number of filling body pads.
32. The assembly of claim 31, further comprising a sensor arrangement measuring the remaining empty volume in the packaging container and sending a signal representative of the remaining empty volume to the control unit, wherein the control unit estimates the required number of the filling body pads from the signal of the sensor arrangement and the volume of the packaging container; and initiates production of the at least one string of filling bodies having the estimated required number of the filling body pads.
33. Apparatus for controlled advance of gas-filled filing bodies, comprising at least one catch having an engagement area to receive a filling body, wherein the catch, together with the filling body, is movably arranged and configured such that the catch engages a connecting section between neighboring filling bodies and conforms to a contour of the filling bodies such as to exert a thrust force onto a string of the filling bodies.
34. The apparatus of claim 33, wherein the at least one carrier is configured as a brush.
US12/197,620 2007-08-23 2008-08-25 Appartus for cutting gas-filled filling bodies to size, and assembly for producing strings of gas-filled filling bodies Abandoned US20090049798A1 (en)

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EP2028109A2 (en) 2009-02-25
DE102007045938A1 (en) 2009-02-26

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