Method and apparatus for forming and hermetically sealing slices of food items

CAFC
  • US 5,701,724 A
  • Filed: 06/07/1995
  • Issued: 12/30/1997
  • Est. Priority Date: 06/05/1989
  • Status: Expired due to Term
First Claim
Patent Images

1. A process for automatically and continuously packaging a food item into hermetically sealed individual slices, comprising the steps of:

  • providing a continuous web of heat-sealable plastic material extending lengthwise, the web having front and rear sheets, a web width defined by the distance the web extends transverse to the web length, and two edges extending along the web length that can be sealed together;

    folding the web about the web length;

    moving the web in a forward direction;

    sealing the edges of the web to form a longitudinal hermetic seal, thereby defining a continuous tubular web;

    inserting the food item into the tubular web;

    flattening the web after the food item is inserted to form a continuous slice of the flattened food item disposed between the front and rear sheets of the web;

    urging the front and rear sheets of the web together at predetermined intervals along the flattened web to define a plurality of cross-sealing zones, and applying sufficient pressure at the cross-sealing zones to remove substantially all of the food item from between the front and rear sheets;

    forming a plurality of hermetically sealed cross-seals at the cross-sealing zones by heating the web at the cross-sealing zones for a period of time and at a temperature sufficient to hermetically seal the front and rear sheets of the web together at the cross-sealing zones, the cross-seals each extending continuously along the web width to form, together with the longitudinal hermetic seals, hermetically sealed packages entirely enclosing the individual slices of the food item; and

    cooling the web after the web is flattened and before the cross-seals are formed.

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