US3557516A - Method of making a package construction - Google Patents

Method of making a package construction Download PDF

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US3557516A
US3557516A US3557516DA US3557516A US 3557516 A US3557516 A US 3557516A US 3557516D A US3557516D A US 3557516DA US 3557516 A US3557516 A US 3557516A
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Prior art keywords
ribbon
apparatus
package
overwrap
plastic material
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Yaie M Brandt
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Reynolds Metals Co
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Reynolds Metals Co
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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
    • B65B61/00Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages
    • B65B61/14Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages for incorporating, or forming and incorporating, handles or suspension means in packages

Abstract

A PACKAGE CONSTRUCTION COMPRISES OF ARTICLES HAVING AN OVERWRAP SHRUNK IN POSITION THEREAROUND AND HAVING A COMPARATIVELY UNSHRINKABLE RIBBON MEANS FASTENED TO THE OVERWRAP AT SPACED INTERVALS AND BULGING OUTWARDLY FROM THE EXTERIOR SURFACE OF THE OVERWRAP AT LOCATIONS BETWEEN THE SPACED INTERVALS TO DEFINE A CARRYING HANDLE FOR THE PACKAGE, AND, AN APPARATUS FOR AND METHOD OF MAKING SUCH A PACKAGE CONSTRUCTION.

Description

26, Y. BRANDT METHOD OF MAKING A PACKAGE CONSTRUCTION 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 30. 1968 INVENTOR. YALE M. BRANDT HIS ATTORNEYS Jan. 26,1971 v Y.M..B'RANDT 3,557,516

METHOD OF MAKING A PACKAGE CONSTRUCTION Filed Oct. 30, 1 968 A Sheuts-5hect 2 INVENTOR. YALE M. BRANDT HIS ATTORNEYS 7 Jan; 26, M} R NDT 3,557,516

METHOD OF MAKING A PACKAGE CONSTRUCTION Filed Oct. 30, 1968 -shee'ts-fiheet 3 INVENTOR. YALE M. BRANDT BY 27144., (I "*9 HIS ATTORNEYS 1971' a Y. M. BRANDT 3,557,516

METHOD OF MAKING A PACKAGE CONSTRUCTION Filed 001;. 30, .1968 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR. YALE M. BRANDT MMKPW mwwi zl HIS ATTORNEYS United States Patent O 3,557,516 METHOD OF MAKING A PACKAGE CONSTRUCTION Yale M. Brandt, Waynesboro, Va., assignor to Reynolds Metals Company, Richmond, Va., a corporation of Delaware Filed Oct. 30, 1968, Ser. No. 771,841 Int. Cl. B65b 61/14, 53/02 US. Cl. 53-14 11 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A package construction comprised of articles having an overwrap shrunk in position therearound and having a comparatively unshrinkable ribbon means fastened to the overwrap at spaced intervals and bulging outwardly from the exterior surface of the overwrap at locations between the spaced intervals to define a carrying handle for the package; and, an apparatus for and method of making such a package construction.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Many packages have been proposed heretofore comprised of articles which have a plastic film heat shrunk around such articles; however, such previously proposed packages often are not provided with carrying handles or the handles which have been provided are either comparatively expensive to make or fasten in position or are unacceptable because they cause tearing of the plastic overwrapping material of their associated packages upon lifting such packages by their handles. Further, previously proposed apparatus and methods used to make overwrapped packages are complicated, expensive, and may result in unacceptable packaging costs.

SUMMARY This invention provides an improved package construction having a unique, simple, and economical carrying handle provided as an integral part thereof. Further, this invention provides an improved apparatus for and method of making such a package construction.

Other details, uses, and advantages of this invention will become apparent as the following description of the exemplary embodiments thereof presented in the accompanying drawings proceeds.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The accompanying drawings show present exemplary embodiments of this invention, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view with parts in section and parts broken away illustrating one exemplary embodiment of the completed package construction or package of this invention and an exemplary apparatus and method of making same;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustrating a heat-shrinkable tubular sleeve overwrap made from a single rectangular sheet and having a comparatively unshrinkable ribbon means or ribbon fastened in position therearound at spaced intervals wherein such overwrap is shown with articles to be overwrapped absent from the illustration;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating a plurality of articles in position within the overwrap of FIG. 2 prior to shrinking such overwrap in position;

FIG. 4 is a perspective View illustrating the overwrap of FIG. 3 shrunk in position around its associated articles and particularly illustrating the bulging of the comparatively unshrinkable ribbon outwardly from the exterior surface of the completed package and the manner in which fingers may be inserted between the ribbon and the outside surface of the package to enable easy grasping and carrying thereof; v

FIG. 5 is a perspective view illustrating another package similar to the package of FIG. 4 illustrating an overwrap and its integral carrying handle fastened in position around a plurality of cans;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 2 illustrating a substantially continuous seamless tubular sleeve made of a shrinkable material and having ribbon means in the form of a rectilinear band fastened at spaced intervals along the sleeve in substantially parallel relation to a central axis of such sleeve;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating the tubular sleeve overwrap of FIG. 6 shrunk in position around a plurality of articles and also illustrating the manner in which the resulting package may be easily grasped and carried;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 2 particularly illustrating a continuous tubular sleeve having ribbon means defined as a continuous annular band fastened in position concentrically therearound prior to inserting articles to be packaged within the tubular sleeve; and

FIG. 9 is a perspective view with parts in section and broken away illustrating another exemplary embodiment of the apparatus and method of this invention.

DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS One exemplary embodiment of the completed package construction of this invention is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 4 of the drawings and designated generally by the reference numeral 20 and such package construction or package comprises an overwrap 21 which is shrunk tightly against article means shown as a plurality of boxes each designated by the reference numeral 22 and provided with ribbon means shown as an elongated ribbon 23 fastened to the shrunk overwrap at spaced intervals and bulging outwardly from the exterior surface of the overwrap 21 at locations between the spaced intervals and each such location being designated by the reference numeral 25. Each outward bulge 25 results in the provision of a gap or space between the exterior surface of the overwrap 21 and the inside surface of the ribbon 23 enabling easy insertion of ones fingers through such gap whereby a simple and economical carrying handle for the package 20 is defined.

The ribbon 23 is comparatively unshrinkable, i.e., it is made of a material which will not shrink or shrinks substantially less than the overwrap 21 when subjected to an environment which would normally cause shrinking of such overwrap, and initially the ribbon 23 has substantially its entire inside surface designated by the reference numeral 31 adjoining the outside surface of the overwrap 21 prior to shrinking such overwrap in position, see FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawings. Further, the ribbon 23 is fastened to the overwrap 21 at spaced intervals or areas and each spaced area where the ribbon 23 and overwrap 21 are fastened together is designated by the reference numeral 27 in FIG. 2. Once the overwrap 21 is shrunk in position the ribbon 23 bulges outwardly between each spaced interval 27 and as indicated at 25 to define the previously mentioned carrying handle for the package 20.

The package construction or package 20 may be made by any suitable apparatus and utilizing any suitable method; however, one exemplary embodiment of an apparatus and method of this invention which may be utilized is shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings and designated generally by the reference numeral 35. The apparatus 35 comprises a suitable support supporting opposite ends of the central shaft 36 of a supply roll 40 of shrinkable material to enable unwinding rotation of the supply roll and such shrinkable material will be designated by the reference numeral 21 in both its unshrunk condition prior to the forming of a package and its shrunk condition after the forming of a package 20 for simplicity and to enable an easier understanding of this invention.

The apparatus 35 has a device which is designated generally by the reference numeral 42 for unwinding the heat-shrinkable material 21 from its supply roll 40 and moving the unwound section away from such upply roll. The device 42 of this example of the invention comprises an endless belt conveyor or belt 43 which is supported and suitably rotated around a pair of rollers 44 and 45 arranged at opposite ends thereof and such belt has openings extending therethrough enabling air flow in a direction substantially perpendicular to the surface of the belt and for reasons to be subsequently described. The roller 45 of this example of the invention is suitably driven to move the belt 43 in a known manner.

The belt 43 of this exemplary embodiment of the invention is made of a substantially porous material whereby openings are provided therethrough in a random manner and a few representative ones of such openings have been designated by the reference numeral 46. However, in some applications of this invention the belt may be made of a material which is substantially impervious to air flow therethrough and may have openings similar in function to the openings 46 mechanically formed therein in any desired pattern.

The unwinding device 42 comprises a vacuum device 47 suitably supported between the rollers 44 and 45 and beneath the bottom surface 51 of the top portion 52 of the belt 43. The vacuum device 47 is in the form of a substantially enclosed vacuum box having openings 50 extending through its top wall 53 and having a line 54 suitably connected between the vacuum device or box 47 and a vacuum source such as a vacuum pump 55.

The heat-shrinkable plastic film 21 is initially pulled between a roller 56 of apparatus 35 and the top surface of the belt 43 while a vacuum is applied by the vacuum device 47 through openings 50 in the top wall 53 and openings 46 in the belt 43 against the bottom surface of the plastic film 21 to thereby hold the film 21 against the top portion 52 of the belt 43. With the plastic film thus held in position by vacuum and with movement of the belt 43 the plastic film 21 is unwound from its supply roll 40 and moved away therefrom.

The apparatus 35 has fastening means designated generally by the reference numeral 60 for fastening ribbon means such as an elongated ribbon to the plastic material or film 21 at spaced intervals during the unwinding of such plastic material. For ease of presentation the elongated ribbon will be designated by the reference numeral 23 as in the completed package 20. The fastening means or device 60 comprises a suitable support supporting a central shaft 62 of a supply roll 63 of the ribbon 23 adjacent the unwinding and moving device 42 to enable unwinding rotation of the roll 63. The fastening device 60 also comprises an applicator shown in this example as a spray nozzle 65 for applying adhesive means in the form of a liquid adhesive 70 to the inside surface of the ribbon 23 at predetermined spaced intervals to define the previously mentioned fastened areas 27. The nozzle 65 is supplied with liquid adhesive from an associated supply reservoir and such nozzle is provided with associated components which are operated in a known manner to periodically spray liquid adhesive against the inside surfaclze of the ribbon 23 at the predetermined spaced interva 5.

The ribbon 23 has its forward end portion initially inserted between the roller 56 and the top surface of the belt 43 with adhesive 70 applied thereagainst so that with movement of the plastic material 21 by the device 42 the ribbon 23 is also simultaneously unwound from its supply roll 63 at the correct speed and as determined by the movement of the plastic material 21. A guide roller 66 is also provided and suitably supported for rotation between the supply roll 63 of ribbon 23 and the roller 56. The guide roller 66 assures that the ribbon 23 is introduced in position at the desired location along the width of the plastic material 21 and with continued unwinding movement of the plastic material 21 from its supply roll 40.

As previously mentioned the ribbon 23 is inserted between the roller 56 and the top surface of the belt 43 adjacent the belt roller 44. The roller 56 serves, in eflect, as a clamping device for clamping the ribbon 23 and the plastic material 21 together and assures optimum fastening of the ribbon 23 against such plastic material. Also, the compressive or clamping force exerted by the roller 56 may be suitably controlled in any desired manner to assure that the plastic material 21 and ribbon 23 are clamped firmly together.

As previously explained, the spray nozzle is used to apply liquid adhesive means 70 against the inside surface of the ribbon 23 and such liquid adhesive means may be in the form of a liquid glue, a suitable solvent, or the like, and is designated by the reference numeral 70 in both its liquid and solidified state. The liquid adhesive 70 may be of the type which is quick drying; however, to assure complete drying a drier may be provided in the form of a heated drying roll 71.

The roll 71 may be of any known construction, and in this exemplary embodiment of the invention is presented as a roll which has its outside surface electrically heated by heating elements embedded therein adjacent such outside surface with the heating elements being supplied with electrical energy from a suitable electrical source. The roll 71 may also be yieldingly urged against the top surface of the plastic material 21 in a controlled manner to compress the plastic material 21 and elongated ribbon 23 together and against the top surface of the belt 43. The drier of this example is shown as the single roll 71 acting against the top surface of the plastic material 21; however, it will be appreciated that a pair of cooperating drying rolls may be used downstream of the vacuum device 47 with one or both of such rolls having a heated surface.

The exemplary apparatus 35 may have one or more articles such as boxes 22 to be overwrapped suitably fed thereon by either manual or automatic means. In the illustration of FIG. 1 a plurality of four boxes 22 are overwrapped to define each package 20 and the boxes 22 may be suitably lightly tacked together as by adhesive spots therebetween to hold them in the desired vertical alignment during the wrapping thereof by the apparatus 35 and each set of boxes 22 to be overwrapped will be referred to as an assembly of boxes and designated by the reference numeral 73.

The exemplary apparatus 35 may have a pair of arms 74 each having a holding member 75 defining the lower end thereof and the arms 74 may comprise portions of an automatic loading assembly which automatically grasps each assembly 73 of boxes 22 from an associated supply thereof and positions the boxes 22 in the proper position on the belt 43 and hence at the proper position on the plastic material 21 so that substantially equal amounts of the boxes 22 are positioned on opposite sides of the ribbon 23. The operation of the apparatus 35 may be such that it moves each assembly 73 to be overwrapped in a continuous manner or in an intermittent manner, as desired. In this example of the invention the operation of the apparatus 35 will be described as an intermittent operation for simplicity and ease of presentation.

The apparatus 35 may be provided with a pick-01f belt conveyor 81 arranged downstream of the conveyor 43 and the conveyor 81 is supported on a pair of rollers 82 and 83. The pick-off conveyor 81 is used to transfer each assembly 73 of boxes 22 to a placing or overwrapping station which will be designated generally by the reference numeral 80. A substantially planar and horizontally arranged support 84 is provided at the overwrapping station 80 and utilized to support each assembly 73 during the overwrapping thereof. The planar support 84 has a substantially frictionless top surface 85 to enable smooth sliding movement of each assembly 73 thereacross.

One or more driving rollers may be provided in association with the planar support 84 and in this example of the invention a single driving roller 86 is provided and utilized to move each assembly 73 of boxes oif the support 84 and away from the overwrapping station 80 in a manner to be described in more detail subsequently. The driving roller 86 has an outer circumferential surface 90 which extends slightly above the top surface 85 of the planar support 84 to assure engagement with the bottom surface of each assembly 73 and enable each assembly 73 to be easily moved beyond the overwrapping station 80.

Each assembly 73 of boxes 22 is introduced onto the belt conveyor 43 and moved first by the belt conveyor 43 and then by the pick-off conveyor 81 onto the support 84 at the wrapping station 80. The driving roller 86 may also be jogged; i.e., rotated for a predetermined short time increment, to assure each assembly 73 is essentially in the center of the support 84. Any suitable control means may be provided to provide jog actuation of the roller 86, such as a photoelectric system, which may control a combination clutch and gear box assembly 91 which is operatively connected to the roller 86 and driven by an electric motor 92.

The apparatus 35 also has a cutter shown as a cutting knife 94 which is actuated by a suitable actuator 95 toward and away from the plastic material 21 and the knife 94 may be provided with a suitable backup member 96 to assure a sharp and accurate cutting action by the knife 94. The knife 94 is positioned upstream of the wrapping station 80 so that the required amount of plastic material 21 is cut upstream of the wrapping or placing station 80 to assure proper wrapping around the associated assembly 73. In addition, it will be appreciated that each assembly 73 of articles 22 is positioned on the belt 43 and the knife 94 is positioned to assure that the proper amount of plastic material 21 remains downstream of the assembly, i.e., between each particular assembly 73 and the knife 94.

The knife 94 is moved by its actuator 95 in a reciprocating manner so that each spaced area 27 having adhesive 70 applied thereagainst is effectively bisected by the knife 94 so that the ribbon 23 for each rectangular sheet designated by the numeral 99 and utilized to define a tubular overwrap, prior to shrinking, for each package 20 has its associated section of elongated ribbon 23 adhered thereto adjacent opposite end edges thereof and as illustrated at 100 for each end edge. It will also be appreciated that the placement of each assembly 73 on the conveyor 43 and the spacing between each fastened area takes into account the size of the boxes 22 and the fact that it is desirable that areas 27 at opposite ends of each sheet 99 be essentially bisected in defining each sheet 99.

As previously mentioned each assembly 73 is moved from the belt 43 onto the central portion of the support 84 at the wrapping station 80 by either the pick-01f conveyor 81 alone or in cooperation with the driving roller 86. Once a particular assembly 73 is in position on the support 84, the belt 43, pick-off conveyor 81, and driving roller 86 are automatically stopped by suitable electrical control means and the knife 94 is actuated in the manner previously described. The knife 94 cuts the plastic material 21 so that an upstream portion of such plastic material 21 between the support 84 and the knife 94 is free to be wrapped in position. It will also be apparent that a portion of the plastic material arranged downstream of the support 84 is also free to bewrapped around the assembly 73 and in a manner now to be described.

The apparatus 35 has a pair of cooperating wrapping arms 103 arranged at opposite ends of the planar support 84 and the arms 103 are supported by a bracket assembly 101 which is supported and moved by an actuator 102 to thereby move the arms 103 vertically in the desired manner. A backup member 104 may also be provided and moved in position in any suitable manner substantially centrally over the top surface of each assembly 73 once such assembly is positioned on the support 84. The backup member of this example comprises an elongated backup plate 104 which is carried and moved into position by an actuator 111 which also is used to carry and move a sealing bar 110 and in a manner which will be apparent from FIG. 1.

With an assembly 73 in position on the support 84 and with the rectangular sheet 99 now cut the arms 103 are moved by the actuator 102 upwardly from their lower position illustrated at 105 to an upper position and are then moved horizontally by a pair of cooperating actuators 106 causing the sheet 99 of plastic material 21 to be placed or wrapped around the assembly 73 of articles 22 with the opposite end portions of the sheet 99 placed one on top of the other and against the top surface of the plate 104 which has been moved in position by the actuator 111.

As previously mentioned the apparatus 3 5 has a sealing bar 110 which is carried by the actuator 111 and moved moved toward and away from the plate 104 by such actuator and once the arms 103 have overlapped the opposite end portions of the plastic material 21 against the backup member 104 the actuator 111 is extended further downwardly to move the sealing bar 110 in position and heat seal across the entire width of the plastic material 21 while also simultaneously effectively sealing adjacent the aligned, and also overlapped, opposite ends of each elongated section of ribbon 23. The rectangular sheet 99 is effectively heat sealed so that it defines a substantially tubular sleeve around the assembly 73 and because the ribbon 23 extends completely across one dimension of the sheet 99 it defines an annular band around the sleeve thus defined.

The exemplary ribbon 23 is presented in this specification as being made of cloth; however, such ribbon may be made of a thermoplastic material which is substantially unshrinkable by heat when compared with the heat shrinking characteristics of the plastic material 21 and as will be described in more detail in connection with another embodiment of this invention to be presented later in this specification. In those instances where the ribbon 23 is made of such a thermoplastic material the sealing bar 110, in effect, fastens the terminal ends of the ribbon 23 together in a more effective manner to define an annular band and carrying handle means of improved strength.

Once each particular assembly 73 of boxes 21 has been overwrapped in the manner described above the driving roller 86 is energized by energizing the clutch assembly 91 to move each overwrapped assembly 73 onto another belt conveyor or belt 115, which is supported by a plurality of rollers 116 with at least one or more of the rollers 116 being suitably driven to move the belt 115. The belt conveyor moves each assembly 73 away from the wrapping station 80 for further processing in a manner as will now be described. Further, it will be appreciated that the belt 115 may be continuously operated while the belt 43, pick-off conveyor 81, and driving roller are generally operated in a predetermined synchronized and sequential manner.

The apparatus 35 has a device for shrinking the heatshrinkable plastic material 21 against boxes 22 and in this example of the invention the heat shrinking device comprises the shrink tunnel or heated oven 120 which subjects the entire overwrapped assembly 73 to a controlled heat environment causing the plastic material 21 to be shrunk tightly in position therearound. However, as previously explained the ribbon 23 is made of a material which is comparatively unshrinkable as compared to the shrink rate of the plastic material 21 and when subjected to a heated environment. As the plastic material 21 is shrunk tightly around the boxes 22 the ribbon 23 retains practically its full length and bulges outwardly at 25 betweeen each adjacent pair of fastened areas 27 to define a carrying handle for the completed package 20 and as previously explained.

The exemplary package 20 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 4 of the drawings is shown comprised of a plurality of articles 22 and in this example of the invention a plurality of four boxes 22 are illustrated with each box having the general shaped of a parallelepiped and each box 22 may contain practically and desired product, such as a food products, for example. However, it will be appreciated that a single article may also be overwrapped in the manner described above.

The concept of providing an inexpensive carrying handle as taught by this invention may be utilized to package articles of all shapes and sizes and FIG. 5 illustrates a package construction 122 comprised of a heat-shrinkable plastic material 21 shrunk around a plurality of cans 124. The package construction has an annular band 23 suitably fixed to the plastic film 21 at spaced intervals and in the manner previously described in connection with the package so as to define a carrying handle for the package 122 which is of simple and economical construction. The plastic material 21 protects the top surfaces of the cans 124 from dust, dirt, and the like and it will also be appreciated that the package 122 may be provided with suitable means to prevent chime ride between adjoining cans 124.

The supply roll of plastic material 21 illustrated in connection with the apparatus and method of FIG. 1 is shown as a single thickness sheet of plastic; however, it will be appreciated that the supply roll 40 may in effect have a flattened tubular web suitably wound thereon which may be unwound and processed in a similar manner as described in connection with the single thickness plastic material 21.

For example, the ribbon 23 may be fastened to a tubular sleeve 125 (see FIG. 6) by adhesive means at spaced intervals and so that the major portion of the ribbon 23 is arranged substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the sleeve 125. The substantially continuous heat-shrinkable plastic sleeve with its ribbon 23 fastened in position at the predetermined spaced areas (also designated by the reference numeral 27) may then be suitably placed around associated article means such as a plurality of boxes 22 and the resulting assembly may be suitably subjected to a heated environment causing the sleeve 125 to shrink tightly against the boxes 22 and define the completed package construction designated generally by the reference numeral 126 and illustrated in FIG. 7. The package construction 12 6 also has its ribbon 23 bulging outwardly from the exterior surface of the sleeve 125 in its shrunken condition and as illustrated at thereby defining a gap or space between the inside surface of the ribbon 23 and the outside surface of the shrunken sleeve 125 to enable easy insertion of ones fingers through such space to define a convenient carrying handle.

It will also be appreciated that the apparatus 35 may be modified to provide means for processing a flattened tubular sleeve of the type mentioned above and which would be moved along the apparatus 35, and, such means may include the provision of means for expanding and inserting articles such as boxes 22 within each section of expanded sleeve at a placing station similar to station 80.

It will also be appreciated that it may be desirable in some applications of this invention to define tubular sleeves similar to sleeve 125 by suitably folding an elongated web and sealing the opposite side edges together. However, the final sleeve in this latter instance would have a longitudinal seam extending the full length thereof.

The substantially continuous surface tubular sleeve 125 of FIGS. 6 and 7 is shown as having an elongated ribbon 23 fastened thereto at spaced intervals so that it extends parallel to the longitudinal axis of the sleeve. However, the ribbon means or ribbon 23 may be defined as a continuous annular band and arranged concentrically around a tubular sleeve also designated by the reference numeral 125 in FIG. 8 and such annular band may be fastened to the continuous sleeve 125 at spaced intervals and as illustrated at 131. The continuous annular band 23 illustrated in FIG. 8 is also designated by the reference numeral 23 for convenience and ease of understanding; however, as mentioned above, such band is defined as a continuous piece and therefore has greater strength. The continuous annular band of FIG. 8 may be placed in position around its sleeve 125 at any time during the forming of a particular package construction. For example, the annular band may be placed around the tubular sleeve 125 in its flattened condition and suitably adhesively fastened at the desired spaced intervals or such annular band may be placed concentrically around the tubular sleeve 125 after it has an assembly of articles inserted therewithin and then suitably fastened in position at spaced intervals. The continuous tubular sleeve 125 with its annular band 23 illustrated in FIG. 8 may be shrunk in position around a plurality of articles to be packaged in a similar manner as described above in connection with the package construction 20.

The ribbon or ribbon means 23 provided on the packages of FIGS. 58 may be fastened in position at spaced intervals in any suitable manner. Further the ribbon means 23 shown in FIGS. 18 may be made of cloth, paper, plastic, or any other suitable material which is comparatively unshrinkable as compared with the plastic film 21. Also, the ribbon 23 may be decorated, printed, textured or colored to enhance the appearance of the package 01 to make the handle distinguishable from the rest of the package.

Another exemplary embodiment of this invention is illustrated in FIG. 9 of the drawings. The apparatus and method illustrated in FIG. 9 is very similar to the apparatus 35; therefore, such apparatus will be designated generally by the reference numeral 35A and parts of apparatus 35A which are very similar to corresponding parts of the apparatus 35 will be designated by the same reference numeral as the apparatus 35 also followed by the letter designation A and not described again. Only those component parts of the apparatus 35A which are different from corresponding parts of the apparatus 35 will be designated by a new reference numeral also followed by the letter designation A and described in detail.

The previous description made in connection with the apparatus 35 is also fully applicable to those component parts of the apparatus 35A which have the identical reference numbers even though such numbers may be followed by the letter designation A. The main differences between the apparatus 35A and the apparatus 35 are in the fastening device uitilized to fasten the ribbon 23 in position against the plastic material 21 and in the apparatus used to cut the plastic film 21 to define the rectangular sheets 99.

The fastening device 60A comprises a heat shoe A which is supported at the lower end of a telescoping rod 136A comprising an actuator 140A for the heat shoe 135A. The heat shoe may have a lower contact surface 141A suitably heated as by an electrical heating element, or the like, and the heat shoe 135A is periodically moved toward and away from the thermoplastic material 21 to urge the plastic material 21 against the ribbon 23 and heat seal such ribbon against the plastic material 21 at predetermined spaced intervals. The fastening action by heat sealing provided in the apparatus 35A is controlled in a similar manner and with the proper spacing as described in detail in connection with the fastening device 60 of the apparatus 35. It will also be appreciated that with this heat-sealing technique it is 9 not necessary to provide a heater roll in the apparatus 35A.

With the heat sealing technique presented in the apparatus 35A the desired fastened area between the plastic material 21 and the ribbon 23 may be controlled in a precise manner simply by controlling the area of the lower contact surface 141A. Further, it will be appreciated that the top surface of the belt 43A of the apparatus 35A serves in elfect as a backup surface against which the plastic material 21 and ribbon 23- may be urged to provide the desired contact pressure to enable more efficient heat sealing.

The cutter 94A comprising the apparatus 35A has an actuator 95A which carries a supporting bar 143A at the lower end of the telescoping rod portion of the actuator 95A and the supporting bar 143A has an electrically heated wire 145A suitably fastened thereto in electrically insulated relation and such wire is suitably electrically heated in a known manner. The supporting bar 143 A and wire 145A are moved by the actuator 95A against the plastic material and the ribbon 23 to sever the plastic material and ribbon 23 in an efiicient and precise manner. As described in connection with the cutter 94 the cutter 94A is also synchronized with respect to the other components of the apparatus 35A to assure that each rectangular sheet 99 has the desired length and is cut and at the correct time during the operation of apparatus 35A.

The ribbon 23 utilized in connection with the apparatus 35A may also be made of a thermoplastic material to enable easy cutting by the wire 145A and it will be ap preciated that by making the ribbon 23 of thermoplastic material it may also be slightly heat shrinkable. However, the ribbon 23 used with apparatus 35A is practically unshrinkable when compared with the plastic material 21.

The construction and operation of the apparatus 35A downstream of the cutter 94A is substantially identical to the apparatus 35 downstream of its cutter '94; therefore, such construction and operation will not be de scribed in detail. Further, it is to be understood that the completed package made by apparatus 35A is substantially identical to the completed package defined by the apparatus 35 and thus will be designated by the reference numeral 20.

The plastic material 21 used in overwrapping articles to define packages having integral handle means as taught by this invention may be made of any suitable shrinkable material such as a heat-shrinkable plastic material. One example of the material which has been successfully utilized is polyvinyl chloride. Further, it is to be understood that the heat-shrinkable plastic film may have either biaxial shrink characteristics or may be predominantly shrinkable in only one direction, as desired.

The apparatus 35 and 35A presented in this specification have been shown minus their supporting structures and associated drives for the belt conveyors; however, it is to be understood that suitable supporting structures and drives may be provided for each of these apparatus.

While present exemplary embodiments of this invention, and methods of practicing the same, have been illustrated and described, it will be recognized that this invention may be otherwise variously embodied and practiced within the scope of the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A method of making a package construction comprising the steps of, fastening elongated ribbon means of comparatively unshrinkable material to a shrinkable overwrap at spaced intervals, placing said overwrap and its fastened ribbon means around article means, and shrinking said overwrap tightly against said article means causing said comparatively unshrinkable elongated ribbon means to bulge outwardly from an exterior surface of said shrunk overwrap at locations between said spaced intervals to define a carrying handle for said package.

2. A method as set forth in claim 1 in which said fastening step comprises adhesively fastening said elongated ribbon means at said spaced intervals.

3. A method as set forth in claim 1 in which said fastening step comprises the steps of applying liquid adhesive means to the inside surface of said ribbon means at said spaced intervals and clamping said ribbon means and overwrap with said liquid adhesive means sandwiched therebetween.

4. A method as set forth in claim 3 in which said fastening step further comprises the step of rapidly drying said liquid adhesive means to fasten said ribbon means and overwrap together at said spaced intervals in a high strength manner.

5. A method as set forth in claim 1 in which said shrinkable overwrap comprises a heat-shrinkable plastic overwrap and said shrinking step comprises heat shrinking said overwrap in position.

6. A method as set forth in claim 5 in which said heatshrinkable overwrap comprises a substantially rectangular sheet of heat-shrinkable plastic and said placing step comprises wrapping said heat-shrinkable sheet around said article means and then heat sealing the opposite end portions thereof together to define a substantially tubular sleeve therearound prior to said heat shrinking step.

7. A method as set forth in claim 6 in which said comparatively unshrinkable ribbon means comprises a heatsealable ribbon means having end portions which are overlapped and fastened essentially together during said wrapping and heat sealing of said end portions of said sheet to thereby provide a handle of improved strength.

8. A method as set forth in claim 5 in which, said heatshrinkable overwrap comprises a tubular sleeve of heatshrinkable plastic, said fastening step comprises fastening an annular band of said ribbon means concentrically around said sleeve at said spaced intervals, and said placing step comprises inserting said article means within said sleeve.

9. A method as set forth in claim 5 in which, said heatshrinkable overwrap comprises a tubular sleeve of heatshrinkable plastic, said fastening step comprises fastening said ribbon means substantially parallel to the central axis of said sleeve at said spaced intervals, and said placing step comprises inserting said article means within said References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,499,463 3/1950 Crary 229-52 3,013,655 12/1961 Brody 229-52X 3,087,610 4/1963 Kirkpatrick 206-65 3,343,670 9/1967 Stephan 20665 TI-IERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner NEIL ABRAMS, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

US3557516A 1968-10-30 1968-10-30 Method of making a package construction Expired - Lifetime US3557516A (en)

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