US3775937A - Automatic random size box sealer - Google Patents

Automatic random size box sealer Download PDF

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US3775937A
US3775937A US3775937DA US3775937A US 3775937 A US3775937 A US 3775937A US 3775937D A US3775937D A US 3775937DA US 3775937 A US3775937 A US 3775937A
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means
boxes
assembly
box
mounted
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F Devan
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DEVON TAPE CORP
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DEVON TAPE CORP
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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
    • B65B51/00Devices for, or methods of, sealing or securing package folds or closures; Devices for gathering or twisting wrappers, or necks of bags
    • B65B51/04Applying separate sealing or securing members, e.g. clips
    • B65B51/06Applying adhesive tape
    • B65B51/067Applying adhesive tape to the closure flaps of boxes
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B7/00Closing containers or receptacles after filling
    • B65B7/16Closing semi-rigid or rigid containers or receptacles not deformed by, or not taking-up shape of, contents, e.g. boxes, cartons
    • B65B7/20Closing semi-rigid or rigid containers or receptacles not deformed by, or not taking-up shape of, contents, e.g. boxes, cartons by folding-down preformed flaps

Abstract

A machine for automatically folding and sealing boxes of various random heights, widths and lengths. The machine receives RSC (Regular Slotted Container) boxes of random dimensions whose upper flaps are open. It provides for automatically feeding these boxes one at a time into the machine, adjusting to the dimensions of the box, closing the inner and outer flaps, squaring the boxes, holding the upper flaps together and sealing the boxes and then transporting the sealed box out of the machine.

Description

United States Patent [191 Devan et al. Dec. 4, 1973 AUTOMATIC RANDOM SIZE BOX SEALER 3,502,256 3/1970 Boulay et a] 513/75 X [75] Inventors: Frank Devan,South Nyack;Fred

Devan, Palisades, both of Nu]- Przmary Exammer-Travls S. McGehee Attorney-Roland Plottel [73] Assignee: Devon Tape Corporation, Carlstadt,

57 ABSTRACT [22] Filed: May 10, 1972 A machine for automatically folding and sealing boxes Appl. No.: 252,035

US. Cl 53/75, 53/137, 53/374 Int. Cl B65b 7/20 Field of Search 53/75, 76, 137, 374

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 11/1966 Bixley 53/137 of various random heights, widths and lengths. The machine receives RSC (Regular Slotted Container) boxes of random dimensions whose upper flaps are open. It provides for automatically feeding these boxes one at a time into the machine, adjusting to the dimensions of the box, closing the inner and outer flaps, squaring the boxes, holding the upper flaps together and sealing the boxes and then transporting the sealed box out of the machine.

16 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures l AUTOMATIC RANDOM SIZE BOX SEALER The invention relates generally to machinery for handling boxes having foldable flaps and more particularly to machinery for automatically closing and sealing the flaps of such boxes. 1

The present invention finds particular applicationin the automatic closing and sealing of the upper flaps of corrugated boxes, which are often referred to as RSC (regular slotted container) boxes. They are one piece boxes having a pair of inner and outer bottom flaps and a pair of inner and outer top flaps. The boxes come flat, or knocked-down and are formed by opening them, and folding inward first the bottom inner flaps and then the bottom outer flaps. The boxes are then filled and the inner top flaps are folded closed above them. A length of tape secures the outer flaps together and holds them in a down or closed position.

These boxes have always been easily sealed manually. Attempts have heretofore been made to automate the closing of the upper flaps and the sealing of the boxes. Such prior automatic machines, however, have had serious limitations in that they are extremely complex and employ hydraulic surge or electro-pneumatic techniques. They require critical adjustments for their proper operation; and in daily use require constant attention of a highly skilled maintenance man, and may have a large amount of down time while they are being rapaired. The machine of the present invention does away with the shortcomings of the prior art by employing an extremely elegant and straightforward technique of using gravity and springs to adjust the machine to close and seal boxes of iiifi'erent dimensions.

Furthermore, the machine employs pressuresensitive tape. Prior art machines either glue or staple the boxes, or apply water activated gummed tape to the boxes. These prior art machines have complex sealing heads. For example, when a water activated gummed tape is applied to a box traveling through the machine, it is necessary to affirmatively dispense-(i.e., drive or push out) the moistened tape (1) at exactly the same speed as the box is moving and (2-) at the exact time the boxis below the tape dispensing head, If the synchronization is even slightly off e.g., as little as one millisecond (1/1000 of a second) the tape will not land properly on the box, thus not sealing it; and the tape will often jam in the machine, thus stopping it and requiring the attention of a repairman and down time. The present invention employs pressure-sensitive tape which is dispensed from ahead held in a gravity pivoting assembly. The tape is first brought into contact with a side wall of the box being sealed and additional tape for the seal area is then drawn out of the head by movement of the box past the head. No split second synchronization or drives are required because the tape is fed to the box by movement of the box itself. This elegant solution avoids the complex equipment and controls of the prior art and avoidsimproper seals, down time for repairs, and the cost dictated by a repairman having to attend the machine.

The machine of the invention may include an automatic feed which cues the boxes of different sizes and shapes before closing and sealing them, and thus, does away with any necessity for an attendant during its operation. The speed of the automatic operation moreover is quite fast. A typical machine will feed fold, and

seal random size boxes, at a rate of 12 boxes a minute or a cycle time of 5 seconds foreach box.

need not be sealed by the packer as the machine will also seal the lower flaps. It might be noted that this feature saves floor space, materials handling and labor by eliminating the traditional preforming and bottom sealing of boxes in a separate step prior to packing. The

packer fills the boxes with the desired contents and loads them on a conveyor which carries the unsealed boxes to the automatic sealing machine. Here a stop bar box entry assembly automatically separates and feeds the boxes one at a time into the machine at precisely timed intervals, which typically is one box every 5 seconds. After entry, a pusher flight bar transports the box at a constant speed through the apparatus (a typical speed is 80 feet per minute). Since the boxes may be of different widths, and the folding and sealing apparatus is mounted on the center line of the path of travel of the boxes through themachine, it is important that each box be centered during its travel through the machine. Spring loaded swiveling siderails in conjunction with a low-friction machine bed surface (on which the boxes travel) centers the boxes on their path of travel through the machine. An additional advantageous feature of the side loaded swiveling siderail is that by applying equal pressure to the sides of the boxes, the boxes are squarely aligned as they pass through the machine. Thus when the upper flaps are folded, and sealing tape is applied, the boxes have the necessary alignment and squared end panels which give them proper and maximum strength and their contents areproperly protected.

After being fed into the machine, the boxes then pass to a pivoting flap closing assembly which automatically adjusts to the height of the box. The novel assembly rapidly, yet gently, closes the leading inner flap of the box without breaking or distortingthe comer. The assembly also applies downward pressure on the inner flap in case abox is overstuffed. The pivoting assembly providesa height adjustment reference for a kicker mechanism which closes the trailing inner flap of the box. The kicker is alwaysbrought down on the trailing inner flap at precisely the height of the closed leading inner flap. The kicker comes down firmly and swiftly on the trailing inner flap, closing it and also applying a downwardpressure onto the flap in the event the box isoverstuffed. As the box is moving and the rear flap is within range of the kicker for only a fraction of a second, it is essential that the kicker be activated at precisely the right moment when the rear flap is in position. This is achieved in one embodiment of the present invention by a pair of electric eyes mounted on the pivoting assembly which sense the precise location of the rear face of the box relative to the kicker.

of the kicker, it is preferable to mount the electric eye on the pivoting assembly with the kicker. The kicker is activated by a signal from the electric eye which senses the position of the trailing end of the box.

For boxes of certain dimensions and for boxes which are overstuffed, is essential that the inner flaps be held down until the outer flaps can be folded on top of them. Provision is made for this in the machine of the present invention by the inclusion of a finger which holds down the inner flaps.

After the inner flaps are closed, the box is transported to a pair of plows which fold the outer flaps. The box is then transported to a sealing station where a lower taping head, mounted in a fixed position on the machine bed, automatically seals the bottom of the box. A top taping head, is mounted in a pivoting cradle to accommodate boxes of varying heights. It automatically applies a strip of tape to the top of the box. On the pivoting top taping head assembly there is included a side compression assembly which pushes the outer flaps together prior to and during the application of the tape. The box then passes off the machinery onto a conveyor belt or other receiving station.

In an alternative embodiment, instead of one pair of spring loaded swiveling siderails for centering the boxes, two pairs are provided. One at the inner flap closing assembly, and a second pair at the sealing assembly. This permits more rapid operation of the machine in that boxes of different widths can pass close to one another through the machine, one being at the inner flap closing position and the other at the sealing position.

IN THE DRAWINGS:

FIG. 1 is a diagramatic representation of the invention (not drawn to scale) illustrating its overall operation.

FIG. 2 is a diagram of a portion of FIG. 1 illustrating the operation of the kicker.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view from above of a forward portion of the machine of the invention, showing the box inner flaps being folded.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view from above of a rear portion of the machine of the invention, showing the box being sealed.

FIG. I is a diagram which illustrates the overall operation of the apparatus. It is not drawn to scale. Detailsv of various components of the machine are shown more fully in subsequent Figures. Like elements in all the Figures bear like legend.

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a plurality of RSC boxes, 10, of random size. It should be noted that the boxes, 10, are of different dimensions in both height and length, and although not shown in this FIG. 1, they also vary in their widths. The boxes, 10, are filled, and their upper flaps are open. The apparatus will automatically fold these flaps and apply a strip of tape along both the top and bottom outer flaps.

The boxes are fed by the conveyor, 12, to a stop bar box entry assembly shown generally by legend 14. This assembly automatically separates and feeds the boxes into the machine one at a time at precisely synchronized intervals. The assembly, 14, includes a first stop bar, 16, and a first drive wheel, 18, which are mounted together on a common bar, 20, and pivotal on a fixed fulcrum, 22. The bar, 20, with the first stop, 16, and drive wheel, l8, are shown in the down position, and in phantom in their up position. A pneumatic ram shown schematically as 24 raises and lowers the bar, 20. The stop box entry assembly includes a second stop bar, 26, and a second drive wheel, 28. When the bar, 20, is in the down position, a box from the conveyor belt, 12, enters the stop bar box entry assembly, 14, and is brought to rest by the second stop bar, 26. The drive wheels, 18 and 28, are continuously rotating. When a flight bar, 32, on the machine (further described below) is in a proper position to receive the next box, 10, the pneumatic ram, 24, is activated and the lever, 20, is moved upward to the phantom position shown in FIG. 1. This pushes the box above the second stop bar, 26, and the drive wheel, 18, advances the box to the second drive wheel, 28, which in turn advances the box onto a bed, 34. The flight bar, 32, (whose operation is described below) passes between the second drive roller, 28, and second stop bar, 26, and pushes against the rear face of the box, 10. The first stop bar, 16, it will be noted during this time, is in its up position (shown in phantom in FIG. 1) and thus prevents any subsequent box from entering the apparatus. The two positions of the lever, 20, and the first stop bar, 16, are synchronized with the travel of the pusher flight bar, 32, such that a box will always enter the apparatus before the flight bar, 32, and the flight bar, 32, will never come up underneath a box. Furthermore, the bar, 16, going into the up position separates the boxes and insures that only one box is fed to the apparatus at a time. In a typical operation in which a box is sealed in a 5 second cycle, the bar, 16, might be up for 1.5 seconds and be down for 3.5 seconds. However, it should be understood that this ratio of 30 percent up and percent down in each cycle is not critical and variations may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention.

The flap closing and sealing apparatus is shown generally by the legend 36. Boxes to be sealed enter on the machine bed, 34, (from the right of the drawing and travel leftward). They are moved along by the pusher flight bar, 32, which extends transverse the length of the bed and travels at a constant velocity, typically feet per minute. The pusher flight bar, 32, is driven by a closed loop gear chain which is shown schematically at 38. Two pusher'flight bars are shown on the chain as 32, although additional flight bars might be added. a motor, 40, is shown schematically driving the gear chain through a gear shown schematically at 41.

The machine bed may have a nonor lowfriction material surface such as a phenolic plastic or, for heavier loads, may be a ball transfer bed, 42, as shown in FIG. 3.

A pair of spring loaded swiveling side rails, 43, not shown in FIG. 1, but shown in detail in FIG. 3 center the carton to be sealed along the length of the bed, 34. The centered box is pushed into a first pivoting flap closing assembly, shown generally by the legend 44. This assembly, has three major parts: (I) a runner, 46, for closing the leading inner flap and for adjusting the assembly to the variable heights of the cartons being sealed; (2) a kicker, 48, for closing the trailing inner flap; (3) an electric eye assembly, 50, for sensing the position of the box and providing a signal to activate the kicker at the precisely right instant of time so that the rear flap is properly closed. The runner, 46, kicker, 48', and electric eye assembly, 50, are rigidly connected together and pivotally mounted on pivot arms, 52,

specific example, the pivots, 52, are 7 inches long and i can accommodate boxes of anywhere between 6-5: and 13-% inches high. The runner, 46, includes a slanting forward extending portion, 56. A box moved along the bed surface, 34, by the flight bar, first has its inner flap come into contact with this forward portion, 56, of the runner, 46. This gently folds the leading inner flap at the score inward until the surface of the slanting portion, 56, comes into contact with the upper corner of the front of the box. The continued forward movement of the box pushes against the assembly, 44, forcing it (upward and leftward in the FIG. 1) on the pivots, 52, to move upward on a curved path (as shown by the arrows in FIG. 1). As the box moves further (leftward in the diagram) the assembly, 44, continues to pivot until the lower portion, 54, of the runner, 46, arrives at the same plane as the top of the box. The leading inner flap is now pushed completely down and as the box advances this flap passes underneath the lower portion, 54, of the runner, 46. The mass, or weight, of the assembly, 44, pushes down on this flap and assists in properly closing an overstuffed box. It has been found that (l) the slanting portion, 56, of the runner, 46, (2) which is mounted in the pivoting assembly, 44, brings against the leading upper comer of the box and the leading inner flap a proper amount of force so that the flap is closed nicely on its bend line without breaking or damaging the bend and without damaging the flap or carton side walL'It is thought that this is due to a combi' nation of increasing pressure being applied (due to gravity) as the assembly is pushed upward, and the angle of the slanting front face, 56, of the runner initially bending the flap and then holding the flap downward.

The kicker, 48, is shown having a smooth or curved outer surface, 58, and pivots about a point, 60, following the path shown by the arrow 62. It is driven by a pheumatic ram, 64. In FIG. 2, the kicker is shown in its down position. It will be noted that when the kicker is down, it is level with the bottom face, 54, of the runner, 46, which is adjusted by, andof course level with, the top of the box. As thebox is traveling in a typical machine at about 80 feet per minute, it is necessary that the kicker come down at precisely the right moment so as to close the trailing inner flap from behind and quickly enough so that the box is still in a position to be contacted by the kicker. Since the machine will receive boxes of varying lengths and heights, it is essential that the kicker be activated at precisely the right moment, i.e., when the box is in the correct position. This position is determined by the rear face of the box. A measurement of the exact position of this face is done by a photo-electric eye, 66, mounted on the photoelectric eye assembly, 50. It will be recalled that this as is achieved. If the electric eye was mounted on the bed, rather than on the pivotal assembly, the kicker would come down too early for long boxes, and too late (and not close the trailing flap) of short boxes. Furthermore, since the kicker rides on the pivot assembly not only upward but also forward for higher boxes, an electric eye mounted fixedly on the bed, 34, might make it come down too early to close the trailing flaps of very high boxes and come down too late to close the trailing inner flaps of low boxes. Thus, it is important to mount the electric eye on the pivot assembly in fixed spacial relation to the kicker, 48. A second electric eye, 68, is shown on the assembly, 50. This electric eye, is used in one embodimentto sense the leading edge of a box and to activate the pneumatic ram mechanism, 64, to raise the kicker, 48. However, other arrangements may be used to raise the kicker than by sensing the arrival of a new box into the pivoting flap closing assembly.

In those instances where a long box is to be closed, having a short inner flap, for example a 30 inch box having a 4 inch trailing inner flap, :it is necessary to hold the trailing flap down (i.e., prevent it from popping" up due to natural resiliency of the cardboard bend) until it comes underneath the lower face, 54, of the runner, 46. To achieve this end a finger, 70, may be mounted on the side of the runner, 46, as is best shown in FIG. 3, The finger, 70, is pivotally mounted at 72 and travels between a first up position. along the side of the leading edge of the runner and a down position which is substantially parallel to the lower face, 54, of the runner. As the kicker, 48, comes down, the finger, 70, is pivoted to the lower position. The length of the finger, 70, is such that it'engages the trailing inner flap and holds it down (i.e., prevents it from popping up) in that short interval while the rear inner flap is no longer in contact with the kicker and before it comes into contact with the lower face of the runner. The finger assembly, 70, 72, may not be needed for all types of cartons and particularly for those types of cartons having relatively long inner flaps. After the rear edge of the carton has left the end of the pivoting flap closing assembly, 44, the assembly is no longer held up and returns to its down position or lower most position by the force of gravity. A shock absorber, shown schematically as 73, is mounted on the assembly to bring it down smooth and prevent swinging oscillations, which might damage a subsequent carton and also might give false readings and chattering from the electric eye, 68.

Before leaving the first pivoting assembly, the outer flaps are engaged by a pair of wings or plows, shown generally as 71, which fold down the outer flaps.

After leaving the first pivoting assembly, 44,.the box with its flaps closed is moved to a second pivoting assembly, shown generally by the legend 74. Here the top outer flaps are held down and are pushed together while tape is applied. Tape may also be applied to the bottom of the carton. The second pivoting assembly is shown diagrammatically in FIG. 1 and is also shown in greater detail in FIG. 4. The pivotingassembly, 74, is mounted with two pairs of pivot arms, 76, which permit the assembly to travel forward and upward as shown by the arrows, 78. The positions of the assembly are determined by the box being sealed, so'that the lower portion of the assembly is flush with the top of each box as it is being sealed.

A'pair of plows, 80, is ,mounted on the assembly, 74, and extend upward and diagonallyoutwa'rd from the leading face of the assembly (towards the first pivoting assembly) to engage and hold down the outer flaps of each box as it travels into the assembly, 74. The inner end of the plow, 80, is mounted flush with the lower face of the assembly.

A box first engages the plows with its outer flaps which are folded down and then engages the plows with its upper surface. This pushes the plows and the attached assembly, 74, forward and upward so that the bottom of the assembly comes flush with the top of the box. As the box passes beneath the assembly, pressuresensitive tape is applied by a tape head or dispenser, 82. A second tape head, 84, is mounted in the bed, 34, for sealing the bottom of the boxes. These heads may be any convenient or conventional tape dispensing heads.

To hold the top outer flaps together during taping, a side compression assembly, 86, is mounted on the pivoting assembly, 74. This is best illustrated in FIG. 4, and is shown as a bar, 88, mounted on a plate, 90, an inch or two below the bottom of the tape head, 82, and at the sides thereof. A spring, 92, pushes the outer upper sides of the box together to hold the top outer flaps together while tape is being applied. The side compression assembly also assists in centering the box relative to tape head, 82, so that tape is evenly applied on the outer flaps.

The two pivoting assemblies have been shown mounted on a rigid member, 95, which is spaced a predetermined distance from the bed, 34. The pivot assemblies 44 and 74 will accommodate boxes of various heights and in the example given is within a range of 7 inches. The fixed member, 95, may be raised and lowered as shown schematically by the arrows in FIG. 1 to accomodate a different range height of boxes. Alternatively, the pivot arms, 52, on the first pivoting assembly and 76 on the second pivoting assembly might be lengthened so as to permit the machine to receive boxes of a wider range of height.

As noted before, it is important that the box be properly centered in the apparatus as it passes through the two pivoting assemblies 44 and '74. This is accomplished by the pair of spring loaded swiveling side rails, 43, shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. Instead of a single pair of rails extending the entire length of the machine bed, it is possible to use two discrete pairs of spring loaded swiveling side rails, one at the first pivoting assembly, 44, and the other at the second pivoting assembly, 74. By the use of two pairs it is .possible to pass more boxes through the machine by having two boxes of different widths in the machine simultaneously; one at the first assembly and the other box at the second assembly. With a single spring loaded swiveling side rail it is possible only to have one box at a time in both of the pivoting assemblies. With the arrangement of two pairs of side rails, it is estimated that the speed of operation of the machine can be doubled.

After a box leaves the second pivoting assembly, 74, the assembly swings back to its down or lower position. A shock absorber, 96, as shown in FIG. 4, brings the assembly to a smooth and damped stop without oscillations or banging. At the end of the apparatus the sealed box is moved onto an output platform, 98, which may include a drive roller, 100. The pusher flight bar, 32, continues on the chain, 38, and as shown in FIG. 1, passes below the bed, 34, to pick up a subsequent box as the cycle of operation is repeated.

Thus there has been shown and described a machine for automatic receiving RSC boxes of random dimensions whose upper flaps are opened, for feeding these boxes one at a time into the apparatus and for automatically closing the inner and outer flaps, squaring of the box and holding the upper flaps together while sealing the boxes. All this is done without the attention of an attendant. To provide for the complete automatic operation of the machine, the motor gear drive, 40 and 42, may be provided with a slip disc (not shown, but of a conventional design) which in the event of an accidental jamming of a box or other member in the machine, the pusher flight bar will not be driven forward due to the slipping of the disc and thus will not crush any of the boxes in the machine. Furthermore, this will prevent the feeding of additional cartons into the machine since the stop mechanism is interlocked with the arrival of the pusher flight bar being in the proper position to receive the next carton. The tape heads, 82 and 84, can be provided with a conventional signaling apparatus indicating the run-out of the tape and upon so signaling an attendant can reload the tape. The system of the invention thus is a truly automatic machine which will fold and seal cartons of random size at a rapid pace.

Although the invention has been described having a typical speed of operation with two transport flite bars, it should be understood that the invention is not so limited and faster speeds and additional flite bars may be used to increase the number of boxes closed and sealed in any time period.

Although an illustrative embodiment of this invention has been described in detail herein with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to this precise embodiment, and that various changes and modifications may be effected therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for automatically closing and sealing the flaps of boxes of random sizes comprising a. means for transporting the boxes through the apparatus;

b. means for feeding the boxes one at a time to said transporting means;

c. means for centering the boxes as they pass through the apparatus;

d. a first pivotal assembly mounted in the path of travel of said boxes having runner means for folding the top leading flap of said boxes and for raising said pivotal assembly in accordance with the height of each box as its inner flaps are being folded;

e. electric eye means for sensing a predetermined position of each box at said first pivotal assembly and for providing a signal in accordance therewith;

f. kicker means mounted on said first pivotal assembly for folding the trailing inner flap in accordance with said signal from said electric eye means;

g. plow means for folding outer flaps of the boxes over said folded inner flaps; and

h. second pivotal assembly mounted in the path of travel of said boxes, including means for adjusting to the height of each box being transported therepast and having a tape dispensing means for applying sealing tape to said boxes being transported therepast.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said centering means comprises at least one pair of spring loaded swiveling side rails mounted on each side of the path of travel of the boxes for centering said boxes as they are transported through said apparatus.

3. An apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said centering means comprises two pairs of rails, one pair being mounted at said first pivotal assembly and said second pair being mounted at said second pivotal assembly.

4. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said centering means further comprises a ball transfer floor on which said boxes rest while being transported through the apparatus.

5. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said centering means comprises a low-friction phenolic board on which said boxes rest while being transported through the apparatus.

6. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said electric eye means is mounted on said first pivotal assembly.

7. An apparatus according to claim 6 wherein said electric eye means senses a trailing face of the box whose inner flaps are being folded and provides said signal in accordance therewith.

8. An apparatus according to claim 6 wherein said electric eye means comprises a pair of electric eyes, spaced apart along the path of travel of said boxes; one of said electric eyes sensing said predetermined position of said boxes and providing said signal for activating said kicker means, said predetermined position being a trailing edge of a box whose inner flaps are being folded; the other of said electric eyes sensing a separate predetermined position of said carton and providing a signal for returning said kicker means to its deactivated position.

9. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said runner means further comprises a pivotal finger means synchronized with said kicker means for holding said trailing inner flap closed after it has been folded by said kicker means.

10. An apparatus according to claim 1 further comprising on said second pivotal assembly a side compression assembly means for pushing the folded top outer flaps together.

11. An apparatus according to claim 10 wherein said side compression assembly means. includes a pair of resiliently mounted inwardly pushing cradles.

12. An apparatus according to claim 11 wherein said plow means is mounted on said first pivotal assembly.

13. An apparatus according to claim 12 wherein said apparatus includes second plow means mounted on said second pivotal assembly for holding said outer flaps closed and for cooperating with each box to raise said second pivotal assembly in accordance with the height of each box being sealed.

14. An apparatus according to claim 11 wherein said pivotal assemblies are each provided with air cushions means for eliminating swinging of said pivotal assemblies.

15. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said transporting means comprising a pusher flight bar means for engaging the trailing face of each box and pushing it through the apparatus.

16. An apparatus for closing the inner flaps of boxes of random heights as they travel relative to a flap closing station, comprising an assembly pivotally mounted at said closing station;

runner means mounted on said assembly for engaging the leading inner flap and edge of each box being closed and folding the leading inner flap as it travels (relative to the runner) and for transmitting a force from said moving box to said assembly to pivot said assembly to a level determined by the height of the box being closed; electric eye means mounted on said assembly for sensing the position of a rear face of the box being closed as it travels past a predetermined position on the pivotal assembly and for providing a signal in accordance therewith; and kicker means mounted on said assembly for closing the trailing flap of said carton in response to said signal from said electric eye means, whereby said kicker is at the correct height for closing the trailing flap of said box, due to pivotal movement of said assembly, and said kicker is activated when the box is in a correct position relative to the kicker on the pivotal assembly due to sensing the position of the box by electric eye means.

n 1, UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION H Patent No. 1 51 37 Dated December 4, 1973 InventorQs) Frank Devan et a1 It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected 'as shown below:

' In the titlefpage, under Inventors oauicil the foil-owing --Ronald E. Smith, Emerson, N.J. and Ulrich J. Orf, River Edge,- N.J.--

Signed and sealed this 17th day of December 1974.

(SEAL) Attest: v

CCOY GIBSON-JR, o. MARSHALL DANN Attesti nghofficer Commissioner of Patents FORM PC4050 (10-69) V i USCOMM DC "3767p" *u. s. covl'mmnn' manna omc: I! o-su-ssl.

Claims (16)

1. An apparatus for automatically closing and sealing the flaps of boxes of random sizes comprising a. means for transportiNg the boxes through the apparatus; b. means for feeding the boxes one at a time to said transporting means; c. means for centering the boxes as they pass through the apparatus; d. a first pivotal assembly mounted in the path of travel of said boxes having runner means for folding the top leading flap of said boxes and for raising said pivotal assembly in accordance with the height of each box as its inner flaps are being folded; e. electric eye means for sensing a predetermined position of each box at said first pivotal assembly and for providing a signal in accordance therewith; f. kicker means mounted on said first pivotal assembly for folding the trailing inner flap in accordance with said signal from said electric eye means; g. plow means for folding outer flaps of the boxes over said folded inner flaps; and h. second pivotal assembly mounted in the path of travel of said boxes, including means for adjusting to the height of each box being transported therepast and having a tape dispensing means for applying sealing tape to said boxes being transported therepast.
2. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said centering means comprises at least one pair of spring loaded swiveling side rails mounted on each side of the path of travel of the boxes for centering said boxes as they are transported through said apparatus.
3. An apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said centering means comprises two pairs of rails, one pair being mounted at said first pivotal assembly and said second pair being mounted at said second pivotal assembly.
4. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said centering means further comprises a ball transfer floor on which said boxes rest while being transported through the apparatus.
5. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said centering means comprises a low-friction phenolic board on which said boxes rest while being transported through the apparatus.
6. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said electric eye means is mounted on said first pivotal assembly.
7. An apparatus according to claim 6 wherein said electric eye means senses a trailing face of the box whose inner flaps are being folded and provides said signal in accordance therewith.
8. An apparatus according to claim 6 wherein said electric eye means comprises a pair of electric eyes, spaced apart along the path of travel of said boxes; one of said electric eyes sensing said predetermined position of said boxes and providing said signal for activating said kicker means, said predetermined position being a trailing edge of a box whose inner flaps are being folded; the other of said electric eyes sensing a separate predetermined position of said carton and providing a signal for returning said kicker means to its deactivated position.
9. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said runner means further comprises a pivotal finger means synchronized with said kicker means for holding said trailing inner flap closed after it has been folded by said kicker means.
10. An apparatus according to claim 1 further comprising on said second pivotal assembly a side compression assembly means for pushing the folded top outer flaps together.
11. An apparatus according to claim 10 wherein said side compression assembly means includes a pair of resiliently mounted inwardly pushing cradles.
12. An apparatus according to claim 11 wherein said plow means is mounted on said first pivotal assembly.
13. An apparatus according to claim 12 wherein said apparatus includes second plow means mounted on said second pivotal assembly for holding said outer flaps closed and for cooperating with each box to raise said second pivotal assembly in accordance with the height of each box being sealed.
14. An apparatus according to claim 11 wherein said pivotal assemblies are each provided with air cushions means for eliminating swinging of said pivotal assemblies.
15. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said transporting means compRising a pusher flight bar means for engaging the trailing face of each box and pushing it through the apparatus.
16. An apparatus for closing the inner flaps of boxes of random heights as they travel relative to a flap closing station, comprising an assembly pivotally mounted at said closing station; runner means mounted on said assembly for engaging the leading inner flap and edge of each box being closed and folding the leading inner flap as it travels (relative to the runner) and for transmitting a force from said moving box to said assembly to pivot said assembly to a level determined by the height of the box being closed; electric eye means mounted on said assembly for sensing the position of a rear face of the box being closed as it travels past a predetermined position on the pivotal assembly and for providing a signal in accordance therewith; and kicker means mounted on said assembly for closing the trailing flap of said carton in response to said signal from said electric eye means, whereby said kicker is at the correct height for closing the trailing flap of said box, due to pivotal movement of said assembly, and said kicker is activated when the box is in a correct position relative to the kicker on the pivotal assembly due to sensing the position of the box by electric eye means.
US3775937A 1972-05-10 1972-05-10 Automatic random size box sealer Expired - Lifetime US3775937A (en)

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Cited By (29)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3905175A (en) * 1974-04-09 1975-09-16 Augusto Marchetti Device for closing the rear flap of a parallelepiped box
US3911645A (en) * 1972-12-21 1975-10-14 Alfred Schmermund Folding device for packaging material
DE2414434A1 (en) * 1974-03-26 1975-10-16 Augusto Marchetti Parallel box front flap folding mechanism - has parallelogram linkage with lower member raised by incoming box
US3977162A (en) * 1974-04-09 1976-08-31 Augusto Marchetti Device for closing the front strap of a parallelepiped box
US4422282A (en) * 1980-09-15 1983-12-27 Augusto Marchetti Machine for closing the upper flaps of parallelepipedal cartons with foldable flaps
US4515579A (en) * 1982-10-20 1985-05-07 Marq Packaging Systems, Inc. Programmable case set-up and bottom sealing machine
US4517784A (en) * 1982-06-15 1985-05-21 Marq Packaging Systems, Inc. Programmable case sealing machine
US4545175A (en) * 1982-06-15 1985-10-08 Marq Packaging Systems, Inc. Programmable random size case sealing machine
US4554776A (en) * 1982-02-19 1985-11-26 Kabushiki Kaisha Daisei Kikai Package bag binding apparatus
US4704845A (en) * 1982-10-16 1987-11-10 Gebruder Buhler Ag Method and apparatus for closing bags and a plant for bagging bulk materials
US4722165A (en) * 1986-01-20 1988-02-02 Augusto Marchetti Self-adjusting closing machine for parallelepipedal boxes of varying format
EP0532947A1 (en) * 1991-09-19 1993-03-24 August Krempel Söhne GmbH & Co. Method and device for conveying and closing packages
EP0547822A2 (en) * 1991-12-16 1993-06-23 Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing Company Box closing and taping machine
US5255490A (en) * 1992-09-10 1993-10-26 Chiu Shao Fa Sealing and delivery device for double-layered carton sealing machine
US5480371A (en) * 1992-12-01 1996-01-02 Nippon Flute Company, Ltd. Box forming equipment
WO1997027109A1 (en) * 1996-01-22 1997-07-31 Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing Company Random box sealer
US5687543A (en) * 1996-05-28 1997-11-18 Belcor Industries Inc. Case sealing system
US6067773A (en) * 1997-07-15 2000-05-30 3M Innovative Properties Company Semi-automatic random box sealer
US6135937A (en) * 1998-10-30 2000-10-24 Ballos, Iii; Pete Moveable tape head for erecting machine
US20040097356A1 (en) * 2002-11-15 2004-05-20 Antonio Marchetti Device for straightening and closing the rear flap for self-dimensioning machine for closing parallelepiped boxes
US20040226268A1 (en) * 2003-05-16 2004-11-18 Tuan Vinh Le Random multi-stage automatic case sealer
US20050126123A1 (en) * 2003-12-16 2005-06-16 Al Chase Packaging case closing and tape sealing machine and processes
US6910314B2 (en) 2002-12-30 2005-06-28 Tuan Vinh Le Random automatic case sealer
US20050235603A1 (en) * 2002-12-30 2005-10-27 Le Tuan V Case sealer with moving flap closers
US7140165B2 (en) * 2001-11-30 2006-11-28 Dole Food Company, Inc. Apparatus and method for sealing boxes
US20080092484A1 (en) * 2006-10-24 2008-04-24 Better Case Sealer Llc Semi-automatic (human powered) case sealing machine
US20100316464A1 (en) * 2008-02-28 2010-12-16 Peguform Gmbh Mounting strip for mounting a formed part on a chassis body of a motor vehicle
US20110136642A1 (en) * 2009-12-09 2011-06-09 Hong Fu Jin Precision Industry (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd . Box folding apparatus
US20130152512A1 (en) * 2011-12-19 2013-06-20 Multivac Sepp Haggenmuller Gmbh & Co. Kg Method and folding device for handling l-boards

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US3282018A (en) * 1961-03-10 1966-11-01 Newnham Ind Pty Ltd Apparatus for applying adhesive tape to cartons
US3502256A (en) * 1966-12-08 1970-03-24 Textron Inc Apparatus for closing and stapling cartons varying in size

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US3282018A (en) * 1961-03-10 1966-11-01 Newnham Ind Pty Ltd Apparatus for applying adhesive tape to cartons
US3502256A (en) * 1966-12-08 1970-03-24 Textron Inc Apparatus for closing and stapling cartons varying in size

Cited By (42)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3911645A (en) * 1972-12-21 1975-10-14 Alfred Schmermund Folding device for packaging material
DE2414434A1 (en) * 1974-03-26 1975-10-16 Augusto Marchetti Parallel box front flap folding mechanism - has parallelogram linkage with lower member raised by incoming box
US3977162A (en) * 1974-04-09 1976-08-31 Augusto Marchetti Device for closing the front strap of a parallelepiped box
US3905175A (en) * 1974-04-09 1975-09-16 Augusto Marchetti Device for closing the rear flap of a parallelepiped box
US4422282A (en) * 1980-09-15 1983-12-27 Augusto Marchetti Machine for closing the upper flaps of parallelepipedal cartons with foldable flaps
US4554776A (en) * 1982-02-19 1985-11-26 Kabushiki Kaisha Daisei Kikai Package bag binding apparatus
US4517784A (en) * 1982-06-15 1985-05-21 Marq Packaging Systems, Inc. Programmable case sealing machine
US4545175A (en) * 1982-06-15 1985-10-08 Marq Packaging Systems, Inc. Programmable random size case sealing machine
US4704845A (en) * 1982-10-16 1987-11-10 Gebruder Buhler Ag Method and apparatus for closing bags and a plant for bagging bulk materials
US4515579A (en) * 1982-10-20 1985-05-07 Marq Packaging Systems, Inc. Programmable case set-up and bottom sealing machine
US4722165A (en) * 1986-01-20 1988-02-02 Augusto Marchetti Self-adjusting closing machine for parallelepipedal boxes of varying format
EP0532947A1 (en) * 1991-09-19 1993-03-24 August Krempel Söhne GmbH & Co. Method and device for conveying and closing packages
EP0547822A2 (en) * 1991-12-16 1993-06-23 Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing Company Box closing and taping machine
EP0547822A3 (en) * 1991-12-16 1993-10-20 Minnesota Mining & Mfg Box closing and taping machine
US5323586A (en) * 1991-12-16 1994-06-28 Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing Company Box closing and taping machine
EP0667287A1 (en) * 1991-12-16 1995-08-16 Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing Company Box closing and taping machine
US5255490A (en) * 1992-09-10 1993-10-26 Chiu Shao Fa Sealing and delivery device for double-layered carton sealing machine
US5480371A (en) * 1992-12-01 1996-01-02 Nippon Flute Company, Ltd. Box forming equipment
WO1997027109A1 (en) * 1996-01-22 1997-07-31 Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing Company Random box sealer
US5687543A (en) * 1996-05-28 1997-11-18 Belcor Industries Inc. Case sealing system
US6067773A (en) * 1997-07-15 2000-05-30 3M Innovative Properties Company Semi-automatic random box sealer
US6135937A (en) * 1998-10-30 2000-10-24 Ballos, Iii; Pete Moveable tape head for erecting machine
US7140165B2 (en) * 2001-11-30 2006-11-28 Dole Food Company, Inc. Apparatus and method for sealing boxes
US20070157546A1 (en) * 2001-11-30 2007-07-12 Dole Food Company, Inc. Apparatus and method for sealing boxes
US20040097356A1 (en) * 2002-11-15 2004-05-20 Antonio Marchetti Device for straightening and closing the rear flap for self-dimensioning machine for closing parallelepiped boxes
US6926652B2 (en) * 2002-11-15 2005-08-09 Antonio Marchetti Device for straightening and closing the rear flap for self-dimensioning machine for closing parallelepiped boxes
US6910314B2 (en) 2002-12-30 2005-06-28 Tuan Vinh Le Random automatic case sealer
US20050235603A1 (en) * 2002-12-30 2005-10-27 Le Tuan V Case sealer with moving flap closers
US7278248B2 (en) 2002-12-30 2007-10-09 Tuan Vinh Le Case sealer with moving flap closers
US7269933B2 (en) 2003-05-16 2007-09-18 Tuan Vinh Le Random multi-stage automatic case sealer
US20040226268A1 (en) * 2003-05-16 2004-11-18 Tuan Vinh Le Random multi-stage automatic case sealer
US20050126123A1 (en) * 2003-12-16 2005-06-16 Al Chase Packaging case closing and tape sealing machine and processes
US8109062B2 (en) 2003-12-16 2012-02-07 R.A. Pearson Company Packaging case closing and tape sealing machine and processes
US20110131925A1 (en) * 2003-12-16 2011-06-09 R.A. Pearson Company Packaging Case Closing and Tape Sealing Machine and Processes
US7886503B2 (en) * 2003-12-16 2011-02-15 R.A. Pearson Company Packaging case closing and tape sealing machine and processes
US7726099B2 (en) 2006-10-24 2010-06-01 Better Case Sealer Llc Semi-automatic (human powered) case sealing machine
US20080092484A1 (en) * 2006-10-24 2008-04-24 Better Case Sealer Llc Semi-automatic (human powered) case sealing machine
US20100316464A1 (en) * 2008-02-28 2010-12-16 Peguform Gmbh Mounting strip for mounting a formed part on a chassis body of a motor vehicle
US8485954B2 (en) * 2009-12-09 2013-07-16 Hong Fu Jin Precision Industry (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. Box folding apparatus
US20110136642A1 (en) * 2009-12-09 2011-06-09 Hong Fu Jin Precision Industry (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd . Box folding apparatus
US9663254B2 (en) * 2011-12-19 2017-05-30 Multivac Sepp Haggenmueller Se & Co. Kg Method and folding device for handling L-boards
US20130152512A1 (en) * 2011-12-19 2013-06-20 Multivac Sepp Haggenmuller Gmbh & Co. Kg Method and folding device for handling l-boards

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Publication number Publication date Type
CA978914A1 (en) grant
CA978914A (en) 1975-12-02 grant

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