Method and system for placing packages in an outer packaging
The present invention relates to a method for packing deformable packages in a box, comprising engaging a series of said packages present on a conveyor and transferring these to and placing them in an outer packaging such as a box.
A method of this type is generally known in the state of the art. Deformable packages are understood to be all packages which change shape when subjected to contact pressure or another packing operation. In particular deformable packages are understood to be packages made of film or foil material (partially) filled with a fluid. Examples of such packages are containers that contain a drink as well as containers for holding infusion fluids.
The aim of the present invention is to provide a method by means of which packing in outer packaging, such as boxes, can be optimised.
This aim is realised with a method as described above in that when placing in said • outer packaging the upper sides of said packages are moved with respect to said outer packaging so that the packages are arranged lying obliquely against one another in said box.
According to the invention a more stable and space-saving filling of the outer packagings can be obtained in that according to the invention the deformable packages are arranged lying obliquely against one another in the outer packaging. As a result of the increased stability of the packages, the risk of damage during transport is reduced. After all, the packages are held in place in the outer packaging.
If more than one layer of packages is arranged in the outer packaging, the bottom part of the package in the upper layer will always lie in the space delimited between the upper side of a package in the lower layer and the side of an adjacent package in the lower layer. In this way the space is utilised to the optimum extent. Such a further layer can be positioned sloping in the same direction as the base layer, but according to an advantageous embodiment this further layer is positioned sloping in precisely the opposite direction. If the packages are elongated, these are preferably packed in the outer packaging with the long side horizontal. Of course, the part of the outer packaging acting as the base at that point in time does not have to be the base of the outer packaging at a later point in time.
The packages can be engaged in any way known in the state of the art, such as using vacuum suction cups, but according to an advantageous embodiment packages that are
provided with a pick-up edge are engaged close to the pick-up edge by clamping.
Although it is possible to place the packages directly in the outer packaging, according to an advantageous embodiment of the invention it is also possible to carry out the various operations via an intermediate step. That is to say a stack is produced for filling part or all of the outer packaging and this stack, which, for example, can be arranged in an auxiliary container, is slid into the final outer packaging.
The invention also relates to a system for packing deformable packages in an outer packaging, such as a box, comprising a conveyor for feeding a series of packages, a series of pick-up means, which simultaneously each pick up one package from said conveyor, which pick-up means can be moved in a vertical and horizontal direction with respect to the conveyor in order to lift the packages from the conveyor and transfer them, and accommodating means for outer packaging, said pick-up means being constructed to move said packages into said outer packaging, as well as a control for controlling the movements of said conveyor and said pick-up means, wherein said pick-up means are arranged to execute a movement essentially parallel to the direction of movement of said conveyor when inserting said packages into said outer packaging.
According to an advantageous embodiment of the invention the pick-up means are constructed as clamping means with clamping fingers if the packages allow for this. What is important is that the packages can be picked up easily by the pick-up means and to this end a distributor device is preferably present which places the packages a regular distance apart and in the correct position on the conveyor on which the pick-up means act.
If there are two series of pick-up means for picking up two series of packages in order simultaneously to fill either two outer packages or a single outer package, positioning of said packages at an angle can be achieved in a simple manner by moving said series of pick-up means towards one another.
The invention also relates to a packing system comprising an outer packaging with packages arranged therein, wherein said packages are arranged in an upright series one after the other in said outer packaging, wherein said outer packaging has an essentially flat bottom surface, wherein the axis of said packages when the latter have been placed in said outer packaging is at. an angle of 60-80° with respect to the bottom surface.
The invention will be explained in more detail below with reference to an illustrative embodiment shown in the drawing.
In the drawing:
Fig. 1 shows, in perspective, a package to be packed in an outer packaging;
Fig. 2 shows, diagrammatically, the transport of the packages according to Fig.l to an outer packaging;
Fig. 3 shows a detail of the pick-up means according to the invention; Fig. 4 shows a detail of the movement of the package into an outer packaging;
Fig. 5 shows a view corresponding to Fig. 4 at a further stage of packing; and
Fig. 6 shows, in side view, two layers of packages in an outer packaging according to the invention.
In Fig. 1 a package to be packed is indicated by 1. This package is generally known in the state of the art and is used for packing, for example, drinks and other liquids such as infusion liquids. This package consists of a base part 2, side walls 3 and 4, side edges 5 and a top edge 6. A bag of this type is produced from two layers of film material that are joined to one another by melting.
Fig. 2 shows a system for packing such packages 1 in outer packaging such as boxes 30. This system consists of a feed conveyor 8 on which the bags are placed. A main conveyor 9, consisting of a belt 10 on which partitions 11 are fitted, is arranged downstream of the feed conveyor 8. A compartment 12 is delimited between two partitions 11, for accommodating bags 1 between them. With this arrangement the distance between partitions 11 close to the pick-up means is such that the packages 1 are accommodated between them with a close fit or are even compressed to some extent. This means that when they are picked up by the grippers 23 it is ensured that the bags are very tight against one another, which ensures that the packages are placed in the outer packaging 30 in contact with one another. Both feed conveyor 8 and main conveyor 9 are provided with a drive motor, 14 and 15 respectively, controlled by a controller 16. There is a detector 17 that detects the presence and the condition of bags 1.
As can be seen from Fig. 2, the bags 1 have been placed flat on feed conveyor 8 with the side edges 5 extending on either side in the plane of the drawing. As a result of becoming accommodated in the compartment 12, one side edge 5 at the bottom comes into contact with the belt 10, whilst the other side edge projects upwards. Main conveyor 9 moves in the direction of arrow 13. A frame 20 is installed above main conveyor 9, which frame 20 can be moved perpendicularly to the plane of the drawing along transverse guide 19, which transverse guide 19 is joined to the main machine frame. There is a motor 18, which provides for transverse movement of frame 20.
Two gripper arms 22 are fixed to frame 20. These can be moved up and down by means of hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders 21. The gripper arms can be moved towards one another or away from one another by means of the hydraulic or pneumatic cylinder 31 with pistons 32. Grippers 23 (in this example five) are fitted close to the bottom ends of the gripper arms 22, each of which grippers is provided with two gripper fingers 24. Details of grippers 23 can be seen in Fig. 3. Gripper fingers 24 are provided with teeth 25 close to the free ends, for picking up side edge 5 of package 1 with said teeth. The operation of the gripper fingers is not shown. A carrier 28 provided with a central support 29 is arranged alongside main conveyor
9. A box 30 can be placed on either side thereof.
Through the control 16, the grippers 23 will be moved downwards with the cylinders 21 when sufficient bags 1 are present and will pick up two series of bags with the aid of the gripper fingers 24. The gripper arms 22 will then be moved, in any event in the horizontal plane, towards boxes 30. This movement is possibly preceded by a vertical upward movement in order to free the bags from the floor of the belt 10 or to move them out above the partitions 11. Subsequently, after executing the horizontal movement towards the boxes, a vertical downward movement is executed so that the bags are placed standing on their sides in the boxes 30. This is shown in detail in Fig. 4. When lowering the bags the cylinder/piston 31/32 is then operated, as a result of which the gripper arms 22 are moved towards one another as is shown in Fig. 5. As a result the bags come to lie at an angle in the outer packaging. After all, when the grippers 23 are moved towards one another the boxes are not able to move with them because of the presence of support 29.
If a second layer of packages has to be placed in the outer packaging 30, this layer is also placed at an angle and an example of this is shown in Fig. 6. In this figure the first layer of packages is indicated by 37 and the second layer by 38. It can be seen that the lower side of the packages in layer 38 drops into the space between adjacent bags 1 in layer 37. An appreciable saving in space can be obtained in this way and the bags are in a stable position in the outer packaging. The side of box 30 is then closed. At the time of use the box can be opened from a different side, for example at the side that is coincident with the plane of the drawing.
Although the invention has been described above with reference to a preferred embodiment, variants will be immediately apparent to those skilled in the art on reading
the description, which variants fall within the scope of the present claims.