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Box sealer & closer

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US3894380A
US3894380A US45193974A US3894380A US 3894380 A US3894380 A US 3894380A US 45193974 A US45193974 A US 45193974A US 3894380 A US3894380 A US 3894380A
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means
box
sensing
closing
apparatus
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Erland Gunnar Lorantz Poulsen
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Erland Gunnar Lorantz Poulsen
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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
    • B65B57/00Automatic control, checking, warning, or safety devices
    • B65B57/02Automatic control, checking, warning, or safety devices responsive to absence, presence, abnormal feed, or misplacement of binding or wrapping material, containers, or packages
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B59/00Arrangements to enable machines to handle articles of different sizes, to produce packages of different sizes, to vary the contents of packages or to give access for cleaning or maintenance purposes
    • 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

An apparatus for sealing and closing boxes having sensing means for sensing the width and height of the box prior to its entry into the machine, means for comparing the size of the box being sensed with the size of the box going through the machine, and delay means for delaying movement of the various movable parts of the machine if there is a size difference, until the box in the machine has cleared the machine, and stop means for holding the box being sensed and preventing its entry into the machine, the stop means being rendered inoperable if there is no size difference and means for moving the sealing and closing portions of the machine if there is a size difference. Also disclosed is a novel flap closer employing a spiral member rotated by a motor.

Description

United States Patent 1191 Poulsen July 15, 1975 [54] ox SEALER & CLOSER 3,769,777 11/1973 Miller et a1. 53/76 76 l t E l d G L nt Poulsen, 1 nven or 22222 5X? 3 Ridges Primary E.rummerTrav1s S. McGehee Ontario, Canada 7 AB TR CT [22] Filed: Mar. 18, 1974 [5 1 A An apparatus for sealing and closlng boxes havlng PP N05 451,939 sensing means for sensing the width and height of the box prior to its entry into the machine, means for [30] Foreign Applicafion priority Data comparing the size of the box being sensed with the size of the box gomg through the machme, and delay Apr. 6. [973 Canada M18629 means for delaymg movement of the various movable 52 us. c1 53/75; 53/3 74 Parts of machme. here a f the box in the machme has cleared the machine, and [51] Int. Cl B65b 57/02; 8651: 7/20 I f h th b b d d 581 Field of Search 53/75, 76. 374 S 6 OX F sense ventmg 1ts entry mto the machlne, the stop means [56] Reerences Cited being rendered mooerable If there Is no s1ze difference and means for moving the sealing and closing portions UNITED STATES PATENTS of the machine if there is a size difference. Also dis- 3,085,376 4/l963 Ferguson et al. 53/75 closed is a novel flap loser employing a spiral mem. 3.261640 8/l966 Romney et al 1 v 53/75 ber rotated by a motor. 3.374604 3/1968 Roesner et al 53/75 3.502.256 3/1970 Boulay et al 53/75 X 23 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures SHEET zmtmxm 2.2:

mwwm r 1 Box SEALER & CLOSER The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for sealing boxes of random size.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Box gluing machines for gluing boxes of random sizes which are presently in use, suffer from various defects. Such machines are required to accept boxes of a random size, within certain upper and lower limits, and then to open the bottom flaps of the box and apply glue and then re-close the bottom flaps and at the same time apply glue to the top flaps and then close them, and apply pressure to the top and bottom flaps of the box so as to ensure that they are securely glued. Customarily, these functions are performed at various different stations throughout a machine, and some form of conveyer apparatus is incorporated into the machine to drive the boxes through the machine.

Such machines presently in use move the conveyers, or guides to the correct width, and tnove the upper flap closers and glue applicators and pressure members to the correct height, so as to glue and close that particular box, sensing of the size of the box being performed by the movable parts of the apparatus itself.

In such known apparatus, it has been the practise for all of the various movable parts to be established at their largest box position, ie at their maximum width and maximum height, and then as each box is presented to the machine the various parts will move inwardly and downwardly until they contact the box itself at which point they will come to rest. After that particular box has left the machine the movable parts will then move back out to their largest box position once more, ready for presentation of the next box.

Thus the sensing of the size of the particular box was, in fact, achieved by moving the various movable parts inwardly and downwardly until they contacted the box itself.

As a result, the machine could only accept one box at a time, and all other boxes waiting to be glued would have to be backed up awaiting entry into the machine one at a time. This resulted in a slowing down of the operation. Obviously, if such a machine could be preset for a particular size of box, and the same size of box could then be run through continuously, it would be possible to have two or even three boxes in the machine at the same time, with a consequent increase in production.

However, in the case of known random box gluers, this was not possible for the reasons given. An additional factor causing a loss of production was the fact that for example when using boxes of smaller dimensions, at or close to the smallest sized box which the machine would accept, the various movable parts had to move from their largest box positions to their smallest box positions and back again for each box. This was true even though a series of six or twelve such smaller boxes might be presented to the machine one after the other.

In addition to the loss of time, such repetative movements led to excessive wear in the machine resulting in a requirement for a relatively high degree of maintenance and machine down time.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention therefore seeks to provide a method and apparatus for the closing and sealing of random sized boxes in which the size of the box is sensed prior to its entry into the machine. If the box is the same size as the box currently in the machine itself, then the machine will immediately accept such a further box without delay, and without the various movable parts moving from one position to another. If the size of the box as sensed is different from the size of the box going through the machine then the subsequent box is delayed until the box in the machine is cleared. As soon as the box in the machine has cleared the machine, the various movable parts of the machine will then move directly from the position for the first box size to the position for the next box size without going out to their largest box position and then back again.

The invention further provides apparatus for performing the method described, which apparatus includes sensing means for sensing the width and height of the box prior to its entry into the machine, means for comparing the size of the box being sensed with the size of the box going through the machine, and delay means for delaying movement of the various movable parts of the machine if there is a size difference, until the box in the machine has cleared the machine, and stop means for holding the box being sensed and preventing its entry into the machine, the stop means being rendered inoperable if there is no size difference.

More particularly, it is an objective of the invention to provide a method having the foregoing advantages which includes the step of varying the amount of glue applied to the various panels of the box in accordance with the size of the box.

More particularly, it is an objective of the invention to provide a method having the foregoing advantages in which the preliminary step of opening the bottom panels of the box for application of the glue is performed at the sensing stage.

More particularly, it is an objective of the invention to provide random gluing apparatus having the foregoing advantages in which the sensing means includes movable box conveyer means engagable with the sides of the box, whereby to drive the box through the sensing means.

More particularly, it is an objective of the invention to provide apparatus having the foregoing advantages in which means are incorporated in the sensing stage for opening the bottom flaps of the box whereby to make the same ready foi' application of glue thereto.

More particularly, is an objective of the invention to provide apparatus having the foregoing advantages in which the height sensing means is connected directly to the vertically movable portions of the apparatus, and both closes the leading upper flap of the box and also detects the height of the box, and controls movement of the vertically movable portions of the apparatus whereby to procure movement thereof to a height corresponding to the height of the box.

More particularly, it is an objective of the invention to provide apparatus having the foregoing advantages incorporating means for closing the rearward upper flap of the box by means of a rotary spiral drive member arranged at an angle to the top of the box.

The foregoing and other objectives will become apparent from the following description of a preferred embodiment of the invention which is given here by way of example only with reference to the following drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective illustration of the random gluing apparatus according to the invention, shown partially cut away, and partially in phantom;

FIG. 2A is a top plan view of the sensing station and a first portion of the closing and sealing apparatus shownin FIG. 1;

FIG. 2B is a top plan view of the remaining portion of the apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a schematic top plan view of the apparatus formoving the movable conveyer portions of the apparatus;

FIG. 4 is a perspective illustration of the height sensing apparatus;

FIG. 5 is a side elevation of a detail of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a side elevation of the rear flap closing apparatus',

FIG. 7 is a perspective illustration showing the bottom flap opening means and product support member in schematic form, and,

FIG. 8 is a schematic block diagram showing the relationship of the various parts and their controls.

' LDESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, it will be seen that the apparatus comprises a box sensing zone shown as Z, and box gluing and closing station shown as G, these two portions Z and G forming part of the overall gluing apparatus zaccordingto the 1 invention.

keferringrfirst of all'to the sensing zone Z, it will be seen that this comprises a box track way formed of plurality of rollsonother substantially frictionless carriage "means shownaswlll, arranged in two rows side by side in a horizontal manner to provide a predetermined path ;of movementfor a box shown in phantom as B.

The box B will be a conventional rectangular packing case .or carton having side flaps, and front and rear flaps forming its bottom and top.

The two sets of rollers 10 are mounted in a common frame 12, which may be-moved upward and downward in a vertical plane by means of the air cylinder 14 for reasons to be described below.

The entry of boxes into the sensing zone Z, takes I place from a typical box conveyer line such as may be found in almost any factory and requires no further description. In order to control the entry of such boxes B into the sensing zone Z, an input gate 16 is provided, just prior to the rollers 10, the gate 16 being movable upwardly and downwardly by means of the air cylinder 18, which is controlled .in a manner to be described below.

Movement of boxes B out of the sensing zone Z is controlled by means of the box stop plate 20 which is mounted on a further air cylinder 22, which is controlled in a manner to be described below.

As described above, it is necessary that the bottom side flaps of the box B, which at this stage are still un- Z as shown, the angle rollers 24 holding the two bottom side flaps at a predetermined angle so that they cannot swing. fully open.

In order to hold the front and rear flaps of the box closed, so as to prevent the escape of any product from the box, a product supportrail 26 is provided, arranged between the two sets of rollers 10, and operable upwardly and downwardly by means of an air cylinder 28.

In order to sence the width of the box B at the sensing zone Z, a pair of infeed drive belts 30 are provided driven by any suitable motorized drive means 31, and running around wheels 32, so that the belt may be started and stopped as desired.

The wheels 32 are mounted on transverse slide mem bers (not shown) whereby the wheels 32 may slide towards and away from one another in pairs, from opposite sides of the sensing zone Z so as to accomodate either a narrower or a wider box. (See FIG. 3.)

Co-ordinated transverse sliding movement of the wheels 32 is achieved by a continuous cable system (described in more detail below) whereby a single air cylinder (described below) may control the inward and outward sliding movement of the drive wheels 32.

Box contact sensors 33 which are of the fluidic airoperated type, are mounted adjacent to the belts 30 and will respond to contact with the opposite sides of the box B to deliver a signal.

In order to sense the height of the box B, the height sensing arm 34 is provided, which is swingably mounted by means to be described below, so that it may swing upwardly and downwardly. The free end of the arm 34 is bent into an L-shaped formation as shown, and a finger member 35 is swingably mounted on such free end, for contacting the leading or front upper flap of the box B.

The sensing arm 34 is operated upwardly and downwardly by an air cylinder 36, and senses the height of the box B by means of the sensing unit shown generally as 37 (described below).

The gluing and closing portions of the apparatus are indicated generally as G.

This portion of the apparatus is provided with any suitable form of box carriage means for supporting the box and its contents while it is moved through the apparatus. Such carriage means will be seen to comprise further angled rollers 38, and a product support rail or rails 40, which are preferably angled downwardly at the input end of the apparatus to provide a ramp. At the output end of the apparatus, the carriage means comprises a pair of upwardly angled lower side flap closers 42, and a plurality of free running rollers 44.

In order to drive the box forcibly from one end of such carriage meansto the other, a pair of main drive belts 46 are provided, running around wheels 48, driven by anysuitable motor drive means 49.

As in the case of the drive belts 30 in the sensing zone Z, the entire assembly comprising each of the drive belts 46 and their associated wheels 48 is movable transversely relative to the machine inwardly and outwardly so as to accomodate boxes of different width. The manner in which such movement is achieved will be described below, (see FIG. 3) it being sufficient for the purposes of the present explanation to understand that the members move in and out as described.

In order to secure and glue the top flaps of the box, an upper assembly is provided comprising a support frame 50 having two arms 52 which are mounted on vertical slide members (not shown) located at the back of the machine, and joined by a cross member 54 whereby the entire frame assembly 50 may be raised upwardly and downwardly along a vertical path.

Any suitable drive means may be provided, such as the air cylinder 55 connected by any suitable means to the cross member 54.

Preferably such connection means will comprise a chain drive system and any suitable brake, the details of which are omitted for the sake of clarity.

In order to close the rear flap of the box, the rear flap closer assembly 56 is provided comprising an angled support member 58 fastened to the frame 50. The support member 58 carries a helically wound rod closer member which is rotatably mounted at each end, so that it may rotate along its central axis. Any suitable motor such as the pneumatic drive motor 62 is provided to rotate the closer member 60. In addition to functioning as rear flap closer as described, when the closer rod member 60 is stationary, it also serves to deflect the front panel of the box downwardly, if it has sprung up after leaving the sensing zone Z.

In order to hold the front and rear flaps closed during application of glue, a top flap securing rail 64 is provided, supported below and parallel to the frame 50, which engages both the front and the rear top flaps as the box is passing along the carriage means described above.

In order to hold the flaps shut, glue is applied to the front and rear flaps, of the top and bottom of the box, while the side flaps are open. The glue is applied in four strips, leaving the central portion of the front and rear flaps free of glue so that they may be engaged by the product support means 40 and the top flap securing rail For the purpose of applying the glue, lower and upper glue applicators 66 and 68 are shown, which are connected by any suitable hose means (not shown) to a source of so called"hot melt glue or adhesive which is maintained in a suitable hot glue tank at a predetermined temperature in a liquid state. The lower and upper applicators 66 and 68 incorporate suitable on off valve means (not shown) operated in a manner to be described below.

In order to dose the two side flaps after glue has been applied to the top front and rear flaps, angled closer bars 70 are fastened beneath the frame 50, arranged in such a manner as to engage the edges of the side flaps and fold them inwardly.

Pressure is applied to the top of the box by means of the pressure assembly 72 having a series of rollers 74 which are spring loaded in any suitable manner so as to apply pressure to the top of the box, and thereby press both the lower side flaps and the upper side flaps against their respective front and rear flaps while the glue is setting.

Referring now to FIG. 3, it will be seen that this Figure shows the manner in which the drive belts 30 of the sensing zone Z, and the drive belts 46 of the gluing and closing portion G are moved transversely inwardly and outwardly to accomodate different sizes of box.

Thus, the drive belts 30 will be seen to run around wheels 32, described above, and the wheels 32 are themselved mounted for transverse sliding movement on any suitable slide rail means (not shown). In order to move the wheels 32 inwardly and outwardly, a continuous control cable 76 is provided which runs around a series of pulleys 78. Cable 76 may be operated in one direction or the other around the pulleys 78 by means of the, air cylinder 80, which is clamped to the cable 76 by clamp means 82. The wheels 32 of the drive belt 30 are also clamped at spaced intervals to the cable 76 by means of clamp means 84. As will be apparent from the layout of FIG. 3, movement of the control cable 76 in one direction in response to the operation of the air cylinder 80, will procure transverse sliding movement of the wheels 32 in one direction, and movement of the cable 76 in the opposite direction will move the wheel 32 transversely in the opposite direction. At the same time, it will of course be appreciated that such transverse movement will take place in equal and opposite amounts, so that the belts 30 always remain centered with respect to the central axis of the entire apparatus so that the box, no matter what its size is located along the central axis of the apparatus.

The main drive belts 46 similarly run around wheels 48 which are mounted on any suitable transverse sliding means (not shown) whereby they may slide to and fro towards and away from one another. Such transverse movement of the wheels 48 is achieved by means of a control cable 86 running around pulleys 88, and operated by means of an air cylinder 90 fastened to the cable 86 by means of clamp means 92. The wheels 48 are also connected to the control cable 86 by means of clamp 94. In this way, transverse inward and outward movement of the main drive belt 46 will take place in equal and opposite amounts in response to operation of the air cylinder 90, with the drive belts 46 remaining centered with respect to the central axis of the apparatus at all time so as to maintain the box on such central axis.

In order to control the various motors and air cylinders, a system of sensing devices is provided at suitable points in the apparatus, as best shown in FIG. 8. These sensing devices in the case of the present invention are all of the fluidic type. That is to say, they operate by variation in air pressure. Such sensing devices operate on contact to provide a signal which is the result, usually of shuting off an air outlet in the sensing device. Obviously, however, the signal can equally well be the result of opening up an air outlet which has previously been shut off. In effect, therefore, such sensing devices may be regarding as the equivalent of micro-switches in the case of an electrical control system.

The sensing devices are connected to a fluidic logic system 96 by means of which signals from the sensing devices are communicated to the appropriate operating members, namely the various motors and cylinders, for the purpose of procuring the appropriate operation of such members in the correct sequence for the operation of the apparatus.

As shown in FIG. 8, the various air cylinders or pistons are shown by the reference P, and their appropriate numbers, and the various motors are shown by the reference M with their appropriate number, and the valves for the glue applicators are shown by the reference V with the appropriate number, and the various sensors are shown by the letter S with the appropriate number.

Thus, the first sensor to be activated when a box enters the width sensing zone 2 is the sensor 98, which is located immediately behind the input gate 16. The sensor 98 is connected to the logic 96, and delivers a signal thereto upon entry of a box from the factory conveyer system.

Sensors 33 are located in asssociation with each of the input drive belts 30, and will move more inwardly and outwardly with the belts 30 and will contact either side of a box when it enters the sensing zone Z.

The sensor 100 is attached to the box stop plate 20, and senses the arrival of a box in contact with the plate 20.

The two sensors 102, and 104 are mounted spaced apart from one another on a mounting plate 106, attached to one side of the drive belt 46 as shown. The sensors 102 and 104 are spaced apart from one another a predetermined distance, and are activated by an operating plate 108 attached to the adjacent end of one of the belts 30. In this way, by signals received from the sensors 102 and 104, any difference between the width spacing of the belts 30, and the belts 46 can readily be detected, and the logic 96 may deliver the appropriate signal to the piston 90 in a manner to be described below.

As described above, the sensor unit 37 is attached to and responsive to the movement of the height sensing arm 34, and sends an appropriate signal to the logic system 96, for controlling operation of the piston 55, which itself procures upward or downward movement of the frame 50 and arms 52. Four sensors numbered 110, 112, 114, and 116 are located at spaced intervals along one side of the gluing and closing portion G, mounted on a suitable mounting plate (not shown) extending underneath the front drive belt 46, and movable transversely inwardly and outwardly in unison with the wheels 48 and belts 46. Each of these sensors is connected to the logic system 96, and controls the following functions. The sensor 110 provides a signal producing upward operation of the air cylinder 22 and the box stop gate 20, such signal being produced as soon as a box has moved from the sensing zone Z into the beginning of the gluing and closing portion G. The sensor 112 provides a signal from the logic system 96 to the motor 62 to start the rotation of the upper rear flap closer 60. Sensor 114 provides a signal from the logic system 96 to the air cylinder 28 and the air cylinder 14 causing the product support rail 26 to move downwardly, and the frame 12 carrying the rollers to move upwardly. Sensor 116 provides a signal from the logic system 96 to the motor 62 causing the rear flap closer member 60 to discontinue rotation. It will of course be appreciated that each of these sensors is activated by contact of the box B as it passes through the gluing and closing portion G of the apparatus, so that these various functions take place in sequence one after the other.

In order to procure application of the glue or hot melt adhesive to the lower and upper portions of the box, a further four sensors are provided on the rear side of the apparatus. The sensors are numbered 118, 120, 122, and 124 respectively. They are all connected to the logic system 96, and they procure signals from the logic system 96 to the valves V of the lower and upper glue applicators 66 and 68. As before, such sensors are activated progressively one after the other by the passage of the box B through the apparatus in a manner to be described below. Thus, sensors 122 and 124 are activated in sequence by contact with the leading edge of the box, and sensors 118 and 120 are activated in sequence by movement of the trailing edge of the box past such sensors. In order to accomodate boxes of different length so as to apply glue strips which are the appropriate length of the box, and also to cut ofi' application of the glue momentarily as the center of the box passes over the glue applicators 66 and 68, it is necessary to sense the length of the box, and to provide some variation in the timing of the operation of the valve V controlling the applicator 66 and 68. Such sensing and control is achieved by means of mounting the sensors 118 and 124 in a movable manner so that they may move length wise parallel to the axis of movement of the box B. Such movement is effected by mounting the sensors 118 and 1 12 on opposite portions of the control cable 86, as best shown in FIG. 3. Thus, when the air cylinder moving the control cable 86 moves in one direction, the sensors 1 l8 and 124 will move outwardly apart from one another, when the air cylinder 90 moves in the other direction the sensors 118 and 124 will move together again. It will of course be appreciated that the movement of the air cylinder 90 is simultaneously procuring outward and inward movement of the belts 46 transversely with respect to one another to accomodate variations in box width. However, since in all such boxes or packing cases, the width and the length are proportional to one another, a variation in the width will require a proportional variation in the length of the glue pattern, and such proportional variation is achieved by the means described above.

Sensing of the height of the box is achieved by the sensing unit 37 as shown in H6. 5. The sensing arm 34 is connected through hub 126 to a control disc 128. Along side disc 128 are two fluidic sensors 130 and 132 located on support arms 134. Arms 134 are mounted on frame 50. Disc 128 is so arranged as to seal the air outlets (not shown) of sensors 130 and 132. A channel or groove 136 of arcuate shape is cut in disc 128 to register with sensors 130 and 132. and is just long enough to permit such registration with both sensors simultaneously in one predetermined position, as shown in FIG. 5.

STATEMENT OF OPERATION The operation of the apparatus will proceed in the following stages:

1. It is assumed that a box is presently passing through the gluing and closing station G, and that the input gate piston 18 and input gate 16 are down and that the box stop cylinder 22 and box stop plate 20 are up. At this stage, the input drive belts 30 will have moved outwardly to their widest position, in response to a signal from the logic system 96 to the air cylinder 80, and the height sensing arm 34 will be at its highest position.

2. As a second box arrives in the sensing zone Z, it will contact the sensor 98, which passes a signal to the logic system 96. Logic system 96 then signals the piston 8 to move upwardly raising the input gate 16 so as to prevent the feed of further boxes into the sensing zone Z.

3. The logic system 96 then signals the piston 80 to move the two drive belts 30 inwardly, and simultaneously starts up the motors 31 to procure driving movement of belts 30.

Upon contact of both belts 30 with the opposite sides of the box, the two sensors 33 will then deliver signals to the logic system 96, causing piston 80 to cease operation.

4. The movement of the belts 30 will move the box B forwardly until it strikes the box plate 20. This will then activate the sensor 100 which will signal the logic system 96. The logic system 96 will then signal the piston 14 controlling the frame 12 to drop downwardly and will simultaneously signal the piston 28 controlling the product support rail 26 to move upward. It will also simultaneously signal the motors 31 to cease operation.

The box will thus be stationary, centered with respect to the center line of the apparatus by means of the simultaneous inward movement of the belts 30, and resting with its lower side flaps open, held at an angle against the angled rollers 24, with the product support rail 26 holding the lower front and rear flaps closed, and supporting the weight of the product within the box.

5. The logic system 96 then signals the piston 36 operating the height sensing arm 34 so as to cause the height sensing arm 34 to swing downwardly on to the top of the box 8. As the sensing arm 34 moves downwardly, the finger member 35 will strike the front leading flap of the box and press it downwardly until the true height of the box B is determined. The sensor unit 37 then provides a signal to the logic system 96. If the box height is same as the height of the box going through the gluing portion G, then the signal will be a G signal. If the box height is not the same, then the signal will be a no GO signal. Such a signal is produced by the fluidic sensor 130 and 132 as follows. Where the two sensors 130 and 132 both register with the channel 136, when arm 34 has come to rest on top of the box B, then the signal will be a G0 signal. This indicates that the entire frame 50 is already at the correct height to accept the box B in the sensing zone 2, and requires no adjustment.

Conversely, where the sensor 130 is not registering with the groove 136 it will be sealed off by the disc 128. The sensor 130 will not register with the groove 136 until some upward movement of the frame 50 has taken place.

Similarly, where the sensor 132 is not registering with the groove 136 and is sealed by the disc 128 then it will indicate that some downward movement of the frame 50 is required. Obviously, as the upward or downward movement of the frame 50 takes place the disc 128 will move relative to the sensors 130 and 132 until such registration takes place. When this occurs, then both sensors will signal the logic system 96 that no further adjustment is required.

Simultaneously with the sensing of the height of the box B, the width sensing of the box 8 is achieved by means of the sensors 102 and 104 in a somewhat generally similar manner. Thus, where the width of the box in the gluing portion G is the same as the width of the box in the sensing zone Z, then the belts 46 and the belt 30 will be at the same width, and the plate 108 will be spaced equally between the two sensors 102 and 104. They will, therefore, deliver a G0 signal to the logic system 96 indicating that the gluing portion G of the machine is instantly ready to receive the next box.

On the other hand, if there is a size difference, then one or other of the sensors 102 or 104 will deliver a different signal from the other, indicating a NO GO condi- [101'].

6. In the event that the logic system 96 receives a NO GO signal from either of the sensors 130 or 132 or 102 or 104, then it will automatically introduce a delay of approximately two to four seconds, so as to permit the box in the gluing portion G to be cleared through the apparatus before proceeding to admit the box B, in the sensing zone Z, to the gluing portion G.

On the other hand, if the signals from the sensors 132, 130, 102 and 104 are all GO, then the logic system 96 immediately signals the piston 22 to drop the box stop plate 20 and simultaneously signals the motors 31 to start up so as to push the box in the sensing zone 2 through into the gluing zone G.

7. As the box enters the gluing zone G, it will enter into the grip of the drive belt 46 and will be moved axi ally through the gluing portion G. As it moves along this path, it will strike sensors located on either side, adjacent to the drive belts 46 in sequence one after the other.

Dealing first with the sensors 110, 112, 114 and 116, on the front side of the machine as the leading edge of the box strikes sensor 1 10, this sensor delivers a signal to the logic system 96 which there upon signals the piston 22 to raise the box stop plate 20 so as to prevent the entry of a further box into the gluing portion G.

8. As the box strikes sensor 112, the sensor delivers a signal to the logic system 96 which there upon signals the motors 62 of the rear closer 60 to commence rotation so as to engage the rear upper flap of the box and drive it closed in the manner described.

9. As the box strikes sensor 114 it signals the logic system 96 which there upon signals piston 14 to raise the frame 12 upwardly, and signals piston 28 so as to drop the product support 26 downwardly, and simultaneously signal the piston so as to move the belts 30 outwardly. In this way, the sensing zone Z is prepared once again to receive the next box for sensing, and opening of the bottom laps in a manner described above.

As the box strikes the sensor 116, it signals the logic system 96, which there upon signals the motor 62 to cease operation.

At this stage, the lower front and rear flaps are engaged by the central product support rail 40, with the two lower side flaps open, and supported by the angled rollers 38. Similarly, the top front and rear flaps are held securely down by the securing rail 64, with the two upper side flaps standing open. The top and bottom of the box is therefore ready for gluing.

Application of the glue and the length of the glue pattern is controlled by the sensors 118, 120, 122, and 124. As the leading edge of the box strikes sensor 118 and 120, nothing happens. When the leading edge of the box strikes sensor 122 it signals the logic system 96 which in turn signals the top and bottom glue applicator valve 66 and 68 to commence delivering glue. This is done by a spray system in four separate bands running lengthwise along the bottom and top front and rear flaps respectively.

10. As the box strikes'the sensor 124 it signals the logic system 96 which signals the valve 66 and 68 to shut off. This provides a slight gap at the center of the box, so as to avoid spraying glue between the front and rear flaps, which would otherwise contaminate the product within the box.

As the trailing end of the box leaves the sensor 118, that sensor delivers a signal to logic system which there upon reactivates the glue valve 66 and 68 to com mence spraying once more, and as the trailing end of l l the box leaves the sensor 120, this in turn shuts off the valve.66. anld 68.

ll. As the box proceeds further down through the apparatus, under the movement of the belts 46, the lower side flaps are closed by the lower flap closers 42, and upper. side flaps are closed by the upper closer bars 70. With the upper and lower side flaps closed in against the upper and lower front and rear flaps, all that is required is to apply pressure, through the medium of the pressure assembly 72 as the box passes there beneath, andthe glue will set and the box is closed.

This completes the description of the function of the apparatus where the box sizes are the same.

Where the box sizes are different, then one or other of the sensors 102, 104, 130 and 132 will deliver a NO GO signal to the logic system 96. This will therefore introdiiee a predetermined delay of somewhere between 2 and 4 seconds, during which the box presently going through the gluing portion G will be cleared through the machine 12. After this predetermined delay the logic system 96 will then signal the air cylinder 90 to move the drive .belts 46 inwardly or outwardly so as to bring them into alinment with the belt 30 of the sensing zone Z. Such movement of the cylinder 90 will continue until a G signal has been received from sensors 102 and 104, indicating that the belts 46 are alined with the belts 30. Simultaneously, the logic system 96 will signal the cylinde'r 55 to raise or lower the frame 50. Upward or downward movement of the frame 50 will cause the height sensing arm 34 to. rotate about the hub 126, thereby moving the disc 128 relative to the sensor 130 and 132. As soon as the frame 50 is at the correct height, sensors 130 and 132 will deliver the GO signal I to the logic system 96. As soon as the logic system 96 receives the GO signal, it will proceed as before, that is to say the box stop plate will be dropped, the motor 3listarted up so as to drive the box from the sehsing zone Z into the gluing portion G.

Asibefore, once the box in the sensing zone Z has been moved into the gluing portion G, the sensor 110 signals the box stop plate 20 to rise, and the sensor 114 signals the piston 80 to move the belts to their widest position, and also signals the piston 28 to drop the product support rail 26 and signals the piston 14 to raise the frame 12. It will also signal the piston 18 to drop the input, gate 16 so as to admit a further box into the sensing zone Z. l

It will thus be seen that by this system, where a series of box all the same size are present to the apparatus, that they can pass through the gluing portion G, with out the requirement for moving various portions of the apparatus at all. All that is required is for the belts 30 in the sensing zone 2, and the height sensor arm 34 to determine that the box is the same size, and it will then pass immediately through into the gluing portion G.

Thus, in this way, it is possible to have two or possibly even three boxes passing through the gluing zone G simultaneously thereby greatly increasing the output of the apparatuswhen all of the boxes are the same size.

When boxes of different sizes are presented in a random manner to the apparatus, the apparatuscan still operate somewhat faster than other known forms of apparatus since one box is being glued while the next box is being sensed. As soon as the box being glued as cleared the machine, the various movable portions of the gluing portion of the apparatus then move directly from point to point ie from the position at which they were for the box being glued to the position at which they are required to be for the next box. It is, therefore, not necessary for them to move back out to their widest and highest position as in the case of previously known apparatus. 'In this way, considerable wasted movement is avoided, and a faster, more economical operation of the apparatus is achieved. While the apparatus described above is specifically for use as a box gluer, it will be appreciated that boxes may be sealed in other well known ways such as stapling, taping and the like. The closing of the box in all cases however, may be carried out in essentially the same way and many features of the presently described box closer may be usefully employed for such a purpose in a stapler or taper.

Alternatively, the glue applicators of the present invention may simply be replaced by staplers or tapers such as are will known in the art.

The foregoing is a description of a preferred embodiment of the invention which is given here by way of example only. The invention is not to be taken as limited to any of these specific features as described but comprehends all such variations there of as come within the scope of the appended claims.

The preferred embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

I. Apparatus for sealing and closing boxes of different sizes, said apparatus having movable sealing closing means, said boxes moving into said movable sealing and closing means in sequence one after the other, wherein the improvement comprises;

means for closing a portion of the top of a box and sensing the height of such closed portion prior to entry into said sealing and closing means;

height signal generating means responsive to said height sensing means, and.

means for adjusting the height of said sealing and closing means, upwardly or downwardly in response to a height signal, said adjustment being completed prior to entry of said box into said sealing and closing means,

2. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 including conveyor means for moving said box from said sensing means to said sealing and closing means, and control means for controllably driving said conveyor means, said control means being responsive to a height sensing signal to procure movement of said conveyor means only when said sealing and closing means are at the correct height to receive said box.

3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said height sensing means is mechanically connected to said sealing and closing means, and wherein movement of said sealing and closing means to vary the height thereof in response to a signal as aforesaid moves said height sensing means, and varies said height signal.

4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 including conveyor means, forming part of said sealing and closing means, engagable with opposite sides of said box to drive same through said sealing and closing means, and means movably mounted said conveyor means for movement towards and away from opposite sides of said box, whereby to accomodate different sizes of box.

5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 including glue applicator means for sealing said boxes, said applicator means being controllably operable to apply varying quantities of glue.

6. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said height sensing means comprises an arm member swingably mounted on said movable sealing and closing means and poweroperated drive means for swinging same downwardly and upwardly into and-out of contact withthetopofabox. i

7. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said height sensing means is movable between an upperand lower position relative to said sealing and closing means, and wherein said signal generating means generates a signal above orbelow a predetermined position of said sensing means relative to said sealing and closing means said position being between its upper and lower position, said signal terminating when said sensing means reaches said predetermined position.

8. In an apparatus for sealing and closing boxes ofdifferent sizes, said apparatus being or the typehaving movable sealing and closing means, said boxes moving into said movable sealing and closing 'means in sequence one after the other, an improved flap closing means comprising;

A spiral flap engaging member;

Means mounting said spiral member for movement upwardly and downwardly, said spiral member being oriented at an angle between horizontal and vertical, and motor means for rotating said spiral flap member in a direction to engage and move a flap from an open to a closed position.

9. An improved flap closing means as claimed in claim 8 wherein the spiral flap engaging member comprises a rod member wound into a helical spiral, rotatably mounted at each end for rotational movement about the central axis of said spiral as aforesaid.

10. An improved closing apparatus as claimed in claim 8 wherein said spiral member is mounted on said movable sealing and closing means, and moves upwardly and downwardly in unison therewith.

11. An improved flap closing means, as claimed in claim 8 including height sensing means for sensing the height of the top of a box and producing a height signal controlling said movable mounting means and causing same to move upwardly or downwardly to correct the height thereof and control means for said motor means operating same when said mounting means is at the correct height.

12. An improved flap closing means as claimed in claim 8 wherein said movable mounting includes a support bar located at a predetermined angle, bearing means at each end of said bar offset therebeneath, said spiral member being rotatably mounted therebetween, and said motor means being fastened at one end of said support bar.

13. Apparatus as claimed in claim 8 wherein said spiral flap engaging member engages a rear top flap of said box and closes same and including height sensing means for closing a front top flap of said box while simultaneously sensing the height of the top of said box.

14. Apparatus for sealing and closing boxes of different sizes, said apparatus having movable sealing and closing means, said boxes moving into said movable sealing and closing means in sequence one after the other and having main conveyor means for engaging said boxes on opposite sides and moving them therethrough, and being movable inwardly and outwardly for boxes of difi'erent width, the improvement comprismg;

' width sensing'conveyor means for sensing the width of a box, movable towards and away from the sides F of said box prior to entry thereof into said sealing and closing means and being driveable to convey a box towards said sealing and closing means;

width signal generating means responsive to move- 'ment of saidserising" means to generate a width signal; i

means for moving said main conveyor' means inwardly or outwardly in respponse to said width signal to accomodate, said box at'said sensing means,

and, f drive means for driving said width sensing conveyor means when said movemeht of said conv' eyor means is; completed. M I

l5 Apparatus as claimed in claim wherein said widthse ising conveyor means comprises a pair of conveyorbeltsri ounted on drivemeans so as to engage opposite sides of said box and contact sensors associated therewith for sensing contact with said sides of said box and means for moving said conveyor belts inwardly and outwardly, said drive means being operable to drive said belts thereby moving said box towards said main conveyor means after sensing the width thereof.

16. Apparatus as claimed in claim 15 including stop means between said conveyor belts and said main conveyor means to check a box between said belts, and power operated means for moving said stop means to permit such movement.

17. Apparatus as claimed in claim 15 including bottom flap releasing means located between said width sensing conveyor means operable to permit two bottom side flaps of said box to swing downwardly, and product support means movable upwardly against the bottom rear and front flaps of said box to support the same, and preventing release of the contents of the box.

18. Apparatus as claimed in claim 15 including control switch means on one of said conveyor belts and said main conveyor means, operable to procure either inward or outward movement of said main conveyor means, and switch contact means on the other of said conveyor belt and said main conveyor means, relative movement between said switch means and said contact means caused by inward movement of said conveyor belts to the width dimension of a box therebetween procuring movement of said main conveyor belts to a corresponding width dimension.

19. Apparatus for sealing and closing boxes of different sizes said apparatus having movable sealing and closing means said boxes moving into said movable sealing and closing means in sequence one after the other the improvement comprising;

means for sensing the height of a box prior to entry into said sealing and closing means;

height signal generating means responsive to said height sensing means;

means for adjusting the height of said sealing and closing means in response to a height signal said adjustment being completed prior to entry of said box into said sealing and closing means;

main conveyor means forming part of said sealing and closing, and engageable with opposite sides of said box to drive same through said sealing and closing means;

means movably mounted said main conveyor means for movement towards and away from opposite sides of said box, whereby to accomodate differentsizes of boxes;

width sensing means movable towards and away from the sides of said box prior to its entry into said sealing and closing means, said width sensing means producing a width signal, and,

means for moving said main conveyor means inwardly and outwardly in response to said width signal whereby to move said main conveyor means to the correct width to accept said box.

20. Apparatus as claimed in claim 19 wherein said height sensing means is movable between an upper and lower position relative to said sealing and closing means, and wherein said signal generating means generates a signal above or below a predetermined position of said sensing means relative to said sealing and closing means said position being between its upper and lower position, said signal terminating when said sensing means reaches said predetermined position.

21. Apparatus as claimed in claim 19 wherein said aeight sensing means is operable to contact and close e frorit top flap of the box and to sense a height of the 10p of the box, and including a spiral flap engaging member for engaging and closing the rear top flap of the box and drive means for rotating the same.

22. Apparatus as claimed in claim 19 wherein said width sensing means comprises a pair of conveyor belts mounted on drive means so as to engage opposite sides of said box and contact sensors associated therewith for sensing contact with said sides of said box and means for moving said conveyor belts inwardly and outwardly, said drive means being operable to drive said belts thereby moving said box towards said main conveyor means after sensing the width thereof.

23. Apparatus as claimed in claim 19 including glue applicator means for sealing said boxes said applicator means being controllably operable to apply varying quantities of glue, and being movable to apply glue in varying patterns depending upon the size of the box.

I l II t

Claims (23)

1. Apparatus for sealing and closing boxes of different sizes, said apparatus having movable sealing closing means, said boxes moving into said movable sealing and closing means in sequence one after the other, wherein the improvement comprises; means for closing a portion of the top of a box and sensing the height of such closed portion prior to entry into said sealing and closing means; height signal generating means responsive to said height sensing means, and, means for adjusting the height of said sealing and closing means, upwardly or downwardly in response to a height signal, said adjustment being completed prior to entry of said box into said sealing and closing means.
2. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 including conveyor means for moving said box from said sensing means to said sealing and closing means, and control means for controllably driving said conveyor means, said control means being responsive to a height sensing signal to procure movement of said conveyor means only when said sealing and closing means are at the correct height to receive said box.
3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said height sensing means is mechanically connected to said sealing and closing means, and wherein movement of said sealing and closing means to vary the height thereof in response to a signal as aforesaid moves said height sensing means, and varies said height signal.
4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 including conveyor means, forming part of said sealing and closing means, engagable with opposite sides of said box to drive same through said sealing and closing means, and means movably mounted said conveyor means for movement towards and away from opposite sides of said box, whereby to accomodate different sizes of box.
5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 including glue applicator means for sealing said boxes, said applicator means being controllably operable to apply varying quantities of glue.
6. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said height sensing means comprises an arm member swingably mounted on said movable sealing and closing means and power operated drive means for swinging same downwardly and upwardly into and out of contact with the top of a box.
7. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said height sensing means is movable between an upper and lower position relative to said sealing and closing means, and wherein said signal generating means generates a signal above or below a predetermined position of said sensing means relative to said sealing and closing means said position being between its upper and lower position, said signal terminating when said sensing means reaches said predetermined position.
8. In an apparatus for sealing and closing boxes of different sizes, said apparatus being of the type having movable sealing and closing means, said boxes moving into said movable sealing and closing means in sequence one after the other, an improved flap closing means comprising; A spiral flap engaging member; Means mounting said spiral member for movement upwardly and downwardly, said spiral member being oriented at an angle between horizontal and vertical, and motor means for rotating said spiral flap member in a direction to engage and move a flap from an open to a closed position.
9. An improved flap closing means as claimed in claim 8 wherein the spiral flap engaging member comprises a rod member wound into a helical spiral, rotatably mounted at each end for rotational movement about the central axis of said spiral as aforesaid.
10. An improved closing apparatus as claimed in claim 8 wherein said spiral member is mounted on said movable sealing and closing means, and moves upwardly and downwardly in unison therewith.
11. An improved flap closing means, as claimed in claim 8 including height sensing means for sensing the height of the top of a box and producing a height signal controlling said movable mounting means and causing same to move upwardly or downwardly to correct the height thereof and control means for said motor means operating same when said mounting means is at the correct height.
12. An improved flap closing means as claimed in claim 8 wherein said movable mounting includes a support bar located at a predetermined angle, bearing means at each end of said bar offset therebeneath, said spiral member being rotatably mounted therebetween, and said motor means being fastened at one end of said support bar.
13. Apparatus as claimed in claim 8 wherein said spiral flap engaging member engages a rear top flap of said box and closes same and including height sensing means for closing a front top flap of said box while simultaneously sensing the height of the top of said box.
14. Apparatus for sealing and closing boxes of different sizes, said apparatus having movable sealing and closing means, said boxes moving into said movable sealing and closing means in sequence one after the other and having main conveyor means for engaging said boxes on opposite sides and moving them therethrough, and being movable inwardly and outwardly for boxes of different width, the improvement comprising; width sensing conveyor means for sensing the width of a box, movable towards and away from the sides of said box prior to entry thereof into said sealing and closing means and being driveable to convey a box towards said sealing and closing means; width signal generating means responsive to movement of said sensing means to generate a width signal; means for moving said main conveyor means inwardly or outwardly in respponse to said width signal to accomodate said box at said sensing means, and, drive means for driving said width sensing conveyor means when said movement of said main conveyor means is completed.
15. Apparatus as claimed in claim 14 wherein said width sensing conveyor means comprises a pair of conveyor belts mounted on drive means so as to engage opposite sides of said box and contact sensors associated therewith for sensing contact with said sides of said box and means for moving said conveyor belts inwardly and outwardly, said drive means being operable to drive said belts thereby moving said box towards said main conveyor means after sensing the width thereof.
16. Apparatus as claimed in claim 15 including stop means between said conveyor belts and said main conveyor means to check a box between said belts, and power operated means for moving said stop means to permit such movement.
17. Apparatus as claimed in claim 15 including bottom flap releasing means located between said width sensing conveyor means operable to permit two bottom side flaps of said box to swing downwardly, and product support means movable upwardly against the bottom rear and front flaps of said box to support the same, and preventing release of the contents of the box.
18. Apparatus as claimed in claim 15 including control switch means on one of said conveyor belts and said main conveyor means, operable to procure either inward or outward movement of said main conveyor means, and switch contact means on the other of said conveyor belt and said main conveyor means, relative movement between said switch means and said contact means caused by inward movement of said conveyor belts to the width dimension of a box therebetween procuring movement of said main conveyor belts to a corresponding width dimension.
19. Apparatus for sealing and closing boxes of different sizes said apparatus having movable sealing and closing means said boxes moving into said movable sealing and closing means in sequence one after the other the improvement comprising; means for sensing the height of a box prior to entry into said sealing and closing means; height signal generating means responsive to said height sensing means; means for adjusting the height of said sealing and closing means in response to a height signal said adjustment being completed prior to entry of said box into said sealing and closing means; main conveyor means forming part of said sealing and closing, and engageable with opposite sides of said box to drive same through said sealing and cLosing means; means movably mounted said main conveyor means for movement towards and away from opposite sides of said box, whereby to accomodate different sizes of boxes; width sensing means movable towards and away from the sides of said box prior to its entry into said sealing and closing means, said width sensing means producing a width signal, and, means for moving said main conveyor means inwardly and outwardly in response to said width signal whereby to move said main conveyor means to the correct width to accept said box.
20. Apparatus as claimed in claim 19 wherein said height sensing means is movable between an upper and lower position relative to said sealing and closing means, and wherein said signal generating means generates a signal above or below a predetermined position of said sensing means relative to said sealing and closing means said position being between its upper and lower position, said signal terminating when said sensing means reaches said predetermined position.
21. Apparatus as claimed in claim 19 wherein said height sensing means is operable to contact and close the front top flap of the box and to sense a height of the top of the box, and including a spiral flap engaging member for engaging and closing the rear top flap of the box and drive means for rotating the same.
22. Apparatus as claimed in claim 19 wherein said width sensing means comprises a pair of conveyor belts mounted on drive means so as to engage opposite sides of said box and contact sensors associated therewith for sensing contact with said sides of said box and means for moving said conveyor belts inwardly and outwardly, said drive means being operable to drive said belts thereby moving said box towards said main conveyor means after sensing the width thereof.
23. Apparatus as claimed in claim 19 including glue applicator means for sealing said boxes said applicator means being controllably operable to apply varying quantities of glue, and being movable to apply glue in varying patterns depending upon the size of the box.
US3894380A 1973-04-06 1974-03-18 Box sealer & closer Expired - Lifetime US3894380A (en)

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US20040045676A1 (en) * 2002-09-09 2004-03-11 Andrzej Chojnacki Synchronized stamp applicator machine and method of operating the same
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
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
US20050235603A1 (en) * 2002-12-30 2005-10-27 Le Tuan V Case sealer with moving flap closers
US20040123559A1 (en) * 2002-12-30 2004-07-01 Le Tuan Vinh Random automatic case sealer
US7278248B2 (en) 2002-12-30 2007-10-09 Tuan Vinh Le Case sealer with moving flap closers
US6910314B2 (en) * 2002-12-30 2005-06-28 Tuan Vinh Le Random automatic case sealer
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US7269933B2 (en) * 2003-05-16 2007-09-18 Tuan Vinh Le Random multi-stage automatic case sealer
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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
CA991601A (en) 1976-06-22 grant
GB1454651A (en) 1976-11-03 application
CA991601A1 (en) grant

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