Modular shrink-wrap machine

  • US 6,854,242 B2
  • Filed: 10/29/2001
  • Issued: 02/15/2005
  • Est. Priority Date: 10/30/2000
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A selectively reconfigurable shrink-wrap machine for use with a loading device for individually wrapping products sequentially with shrink-wrap material wherein the loading device delivers products in sequence to the machine for wrapping with shrink-wrap material, the shrink-wrap machine comprising:

  • a sensor associated with the loading device for sensing product position on the loading device;

    a film supply for presenting a roll of shrink-wrap material;

    a wrapping station at which products are wrapped with film material from the film supply;

    a first conveyor for carrying products wrapped in the film material between the wrapping station and a film sealing and cutting apparatus, the first conveyor being driven to deliver products sequentially in synchronized velocity with the loading device in response to signals generated by the sensor;

    a second conveyor;

    a film sealing and cutting apparatus, the film sealing and cutting apparatus having an upper head and a lower head at least one which heads is driven for movement into and out of engagement with the other head between adjacent film wrapped products received by the first conveyor for effecting a seal between adjacent products, the upper head and lower head traveling mutually toward and away from each other, at least the upper head moving about a predetermined closed geometric path, and engaging once every movement cycle to effect a sealing and cutting operation between adjacent film wrapped products, the upper head and the lower head each maintaining a fixed angle of orientation relative to a direction of movement of products along the first conveyor during travel of the upper head about the predetermined path, the second conveyor being disposed adjacent the film sealing and cutting apparatus for receiving wrapped products sequentially from the sealing and cutting apparatus as they are delivered by the first conveyor and as they are sequentially sealed and cut;

    a microprocessor-driven control system having a touch sensitive viewing and controlling means for prompting and receiving operator response for controlling operation of the shrink-wrap machine, the control system having microprocessor circuits selectively programmed for control of at least one of a plurality of different possible wrapping stations or modes of operation the sensor associated with the loading device being such that to sense product position on the loading device, the sensor actually senses a product propelling means on the loading device, whereby the sensor generates signals to the first conveyor for synchronous movement with the loading device so that, irrespective of the presence of products on the loading device, the film sealing and cutting apparatus will continue to effect seals between assumed positions of adjacent products as if the products were present.

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