(19)
(11)EP 3 405 318 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
17.06.2020 Bulletin 2020/25

(21)Application number: 17700949.5

(22)Date of filing:  17.01.2017
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B65B 41/18  (2006.01)
B65B 57/02  (2006.01)
B26D 1/36  (2006.01)
B26D 5/32  (2006.01)
B26D 5/36  (2006.01)
B29C 65/78  (2006.01)
B65B 51/30  (2006.01)
B65B 61/08  (2006.01)
B26D 1/62  (2006.01)
B26D 5/34  (2006.01)
B29C 65/74  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2017/050867
(87)International publication number:
WO 2017/125377 (27.07.2017 Gazette  2017/30)

(54)

A FILLING MACHINE AND A METHOD FOR FILLING A PACKAGE OF A WEB OF PACKAGING MATERIAL WITH A FOOD PRODUCT

ABFÜLLMASCHINE UND VERFAHREN ZUM BEFÜLLEN EINER VERPACKUNG AUS EINER PACKSTOFFBAHN MIT EINEM LEBENSMITTELPRODUKT

MACHINE DE REMPLISSAGE ET PROCÉDÉ DE REMPLISSAGE D'UN EMBALLAGE FAIT D'UNE BANDE DE MATÉRIAU D'EMBALLAGE AVEC UN PRODUIT ALIMENTAIRE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 18.01.2016 SE 1650055

(43)Date of publication of application:
28.11.2018 Bulletin 2018/48

(73)Proprietor: Tetra Laval Holdings & Finance S.A.
1009 Pully (CH)

(72)Inventors:
  • MOSSBERG, Ulf
    24630 Löddeköpinge (SE)
  • WEGBRANT, Tobias
    217 47 MALMÖ (SE)
  • LILJENBERG, Jimmy
    27433 Skurup (SE)
  • HERMODSSON, Göran
    245 32 STAFFANSTORP (SE)

(74)Representative: Tetra Pak - Patent Attorneys SE 
AB Tetra Pak Patent Department Ruben Rausings gata
221 86 Lund
221 86 Lund (SE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 0 847 926
EP-A2- 0 999 141
EP-A1- 2 910 473
US-A- 3 016 137
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Technical field



    [0001] The invention relates to a filling machine and a method for filling a package of a web of packaging material with a food product.

    Background art



    [0002] In filling machines for liquid food packages, such as e.g. sold by Tetra Pak under the name Tetra Pak A1, a web of packaging material is sterilized, and is subsequently formed into a tube by making the longitudinal edges of the web overlap each other and sealing the overlap area. This tube is filled with liquid food continually, and the tube of packaging material is transversally sealed and cut such that separate packages with liquid food are formed.

    [0003] The transversally seal procedure is typically carried out by a sealing jaw arrangement. The sealing jaw arrangement often comprises a pressure jaw assembly and a heating jaw assembly, wherein the portion of the tube subject to receive a transversal seal is arranged in between the pressure jaw assembly and heating jaw assembly during the formation of the seal. The pressure jaw assembly is arranged to provide means for allowing the sealing jaw arrangement to press the packaging material of the tube during the formation of the seal, and the heating jaw assembly is arranged to provide sufficient heat to the packaging material of the tube needed for the formation of the seal.

    [0004] After the transversal seal the packaging material of the tube is cut by means of a cutting device in order to create a package. A problem that might arise during the cutting process is that the packaging material may vary a bit in size and shape due to filling variations and due to design corrections performed by the jaw system. Such variations will complicate the cutting process and impair the precision of the cut.

    [0005] One known solution to the cutting accuracy issue is presented in the European patent application EP0847926 A1.

    [0006] EP0847926 A1 deals with a machine and method for cutting a product carrier, which in the examples provided is shown as a narrow tube of plastic material for holding medicine in the form of tablets. The patent application also describes an optical sensor downstream of the sealing apparatus for the different compartments in which the tablets are contained which reads the sealing marks on the plastic tube and operates a pair of rotating knives to cut the foil into individual packages at the sealing marks.

    Summary of the invention



    [0007] It is an object of the present invention to mitigate, alleviate or eliminate one or more of the above-identified deficiencies in the art and disadvantages singly or in any combination and solve at least the above mentioned problem.

    [0008] According to a first aspect, these and other objects are achieved in full, or at least in part, by a filling machine according to claim 1.

    [0009] This way, the precision of the cut will be increased and in turn it will be possible to increase the feeding speed of the web of packaging material through the filling machine. Also, due to the precision of the cut, the usage of packaging material will be reduced since only one sealing is needed unlike with the conventional cutting devices where the cut is made between two individual sealings.

    [0010] The means for providing the unique mark on the package may comprise a magnet such as Neodymium based magnet (e.g. NdFeB) or Samarium based magnet (e.g. Sm2Co17). According to the invention, the unique mark is created on the package by means of magnetisable paint. This is a simple yet efficient example of the present disclosure.

    [0011] In order for the overall process of sealing and cutting the package to be as accurate as possible, the means for providing the unique mark on the package may be provided on a jaw of said jaw system.

    [0012] The filling machine may further comprise a control unit connected to the sensor and to the cutting knife or a movable part of the filling machine to which the cutting knife is attached. The control unit is then used to control the adjustment of the cutting knife based on information received from the sensor. Basically, the following cutting process may be performed for each package. The sensor reads the unique mark on the package and sends that information to the control unit. The control unit calculates the positioning of the package based on the information received from the sensor and in turn sends instructions to the cutting knife or (if any) the means for adjusting the cutting knife which performs the adjustment in relation to the specific package. In one example, the cutting knife is arranged on a movable part in the filling machine. The movable part is movable in a first direction for cutting the package from the web of packaging material and in a second direction for adjusting in relation to said package.

    [0013] The filling machine may further comprise a gear wheel connected to said cutting knife for adjustment of the same. The gear wheel may in turn be a servo drive also comprised by the filling machine. This is a simple and effective way for making the adjustment of the cutting knife completely automated.

    [0014] In another example, the filling machine may further comprise a cutting unit. The cutting unit has a first gear wheel and a second gear wheel arranged opposite to the first gear wheel. The cutting knife is connected to the first gear wheel and an anvil is connected to the second gear wheel. Also here, the filling machine further comprises a drive, such as a servo drive, which is connected to the first gear wheel and the second gear wheel in order to control the movements of the same.

    [0015] According to a second aspect, the objects are achieved in full, or at least in part, by a method according to claim 10. The method comprises the steps of sealing the package after being filled with the food product by means of a jaw system, providing a unique mark on the package in the jaw system, detecting the mark downstream of the jaw system, if necessary, adjusting a cutting knife in relation to the package based on said detected mark, and cutting the package from the web of packaging material.

    [0016] Generally, all terms used in the claims are to be interpreted according to their ordinary meaning in the technical field, unless explicitly defined otherwise herein. All references to "a/an/the [element, device, component, means, step, etc.]" are to be interpreted openly as referring to at least one instance of the element, device, component, means, step, etc., unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    Brief description of the drawings



    [0017] The above objects, as well as additional objects, features and advantages of the present disclosure, will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following illustrative and non-limiting detailed description of preferred examples of the present disclosure, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

    Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a filling machine according to one example of the disclosure.

    Fig. 2 is a perspective view of a cutting unit and a servo drive of the filling machine.

    Fig. 3 is a cross section of the cutting unit in Fig. 2.


    Detailed description



    [0018] Fig. 1 illustrates a filling machine 1 for filling a package 2 of a web of packaging material with a food product according to one possible example of the disclosure. The filling machine 1 comprises a jaw system 3 (only partly illustrated) for sealing the package 2 after being filled with the food product. The jaw system 3 is equipped with means 4 for providing a unique mark 5 on the package 2. In this example, that means 4 is provided one of the jaws 6 in the jaw system 3 and comprises a magnet. The filling machine 1 further comprises a sensor 7 which is arranged downstream the said jaw system 3 and which is adapted to detect the mark 5 provided on the package 2 in the jaw system 3, and a cutting knife 8 used to cut the package 2 from the web of packaging material downstream of the jaw system 3 and the sensor 7. The cutting knife 8 is movably arranged in the filling machine 1 in such a way that it can be adjusted in relation to the package 2. The adjustment of the cutting knife 8 is based on the detected mark 5 and is performed just before cutting the package 2 from said web of packaging material.

    [0019] In an example of the disclosure, the unique mark 5 is provided on the package 2 using so-called information carrier technology. When the package material is manufactured, in the converting factory, a magnetisable ink is printed on the board. The magnetisable ink is not visible but can be magnetised, for example through a permanent magnet, to create a unique mark 5 on the packaging material to track a specific feature. In this case, the magnetisable ink is magnetised by means of a magnet 4 present in the jaw 6 in order to create a unique mark 5 in the area where the package 2 is to be cut.

    [0020] In an example, the filling machine 1 further comprises a control unit (not shown) which is connected to the sensor 7 and to the cutting knife 8. The control unit 8 is adapted to adjust the cutting knife 8 based on information received from the sensor 7.

    [0021] Fig. 2 and Fig. 3 illustrate a cutting unit 9 and a servo drive 10 connected to the cutting unit 9. This is one possible solution on how to drive, control and, if necessary, adjust the cutting knife 8 in relation to each package 2 passing though the filling machine 1. Here, as stated above, a complete cutting unit 9 is provided. The cutting unit 9 comprises a first gear wheel 11 and a second gear wheel 12 arranged opposite to the first gear wheel 11. The cutting knife 8 is connected to the first gearwheel 10 and an anvil 13 is connected to the second gear wheel 12. In turn, the first gear wheel 11 and the second gear wheel 12 are connected to the servo drive 10. The adjustment process of the cutting knife could for example be conducted according to the following. When the package 2 is transversely sealed in the jaw system 3, it is provided with a unique mark 5 by activating the magnetisable paint using the magnet 4 provided in one of the jaws 6 of the jaw system 3. Downstream thereof, the sensor 7 will read the unique mark 5 on the package 2 and send information about the same to the control unit. The control unit will then be able to calculate the positioning of the package 2 in the filling machine 1 based on the information received from the sensor 7.

    [0022] Thereafter, the control unit will send instructions to the servo drive 10 which in turn will adjust the first and second gear wheel 11, 12 accordingly so that the cutting knife 8 and the anvil 13 are properly aligned with the package 2 before it is cut away from the web of packaging material. In this example, the cutting knife 8 is in a fixed position with respect to the machine frame of the filling machine 1 and the rotation speed of the gear wheels 11, 12 are adjusted so as to synchronize the cutting knife 8 and the anvil 13 with the package 2.

    [0023] It should be understood that the control or adjustment process of the cutting knife 8 may differ.

    [0024] In another example, the cutting knife 8 is movable and thus adjustable in relation to the actual machine frame of the filling machine 1. It is understood that other variations in the present disclosure are contemplated and in some instances, some features of the disclosure can be employed without a corresponding use of other features. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly in a manner consistent with the scope of the disclosure.

    [0025] For instance, the sensor may be a magnetic sensor. Naturally, the components described above and comprised in the filling machine may be varied and have any suitable size and shape.

    [0026] The cutting knife may be part of a complete cutting unit but other possibilities are also possible. The cutting knife alone could for example be directly connected of a drive means which would control the same based on information received from the control unit.


    Claims

    1. A filling machine (1) for filling a package (2) of a web of packaging material with a food product, comprising
    a jaw system (3) adapted to seal said package (2) after being filled with said food product, said jaw system (3) being equipped with means (4) for providing a unique mark (5) on said package (2),
    a sensor (7) arranged downstream of said jaw system (3) and adapted to detect said mark (5) on said package (2), and
    a cutting knife (8) adapted to cut said package (2) from said web of packaging material,
    wherein said cutting knife (8) is movably arranged in said filling machine (1), such that said cutting knife (8) can be adjusted in relation to said package (2) based on said detected mark (5) before cutting said package (2) from said web of packaging material, characterized in that said unique mark (5) is created on said package (2) by means of magnetisable paint and wherein said means (4) for providing said unique mark (5) on said package (2) is provided in or on a jaw of said jaw system (3).
     
    2. The filling machine (1) according to claim 1, wherein said means (4) for providing said unique mark (5) on said package (2) comprises a magnet such as Neodymium based magnet (e.g. NdFeB) or Samarium based magnet (e.g. Sm2Co17).
     
    3. The filling machine (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a control unit connected to said sensor (7) and to said cutting knife (8), wherein said control unit is adapted to adjust said cutting knife (8) based on information received from said sensor (7).
     
    4. The filling machine (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a gear wheel (11) connected to said cutting knife (8) for adjustment of the same.
     
    5. The filling machine (1) according to claim 4, further comprising a servo drive (10) connected to said gear wheel (11).
     
    6. The filling machine (1) according to any one claims 1-5, further comprising a cutting unit (9), said cutting unit (9) comprising a first gear wheel (11) and a second gear wheel (12) arranged opposite to said first gear wheel (11), wherein said cutting knife (8) is connected to said first gear wheel (11) and an anvil (13) is connected to said second gear wheel (12).
     
    7. The filling machine (1) according to claim 6, further comprising a servo drive (10) connected to said first gear wheel (11) and said second gear wheel (12).
     
    8. The filling machine (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said cutting knife (8) is adjusted before each cut conducted by said cutting knife (8).
     
    9. The filling machine (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said sensor (7) is a magnetic sensor.
     
    10. A method for filling a package (2) of a web of packaging material with a food product, comprising
    sealing said package (2), after being filled with said food product, by means of a jaw system (3),
    providing a unique mark (5) of magnetisable paint on said package (2) in said jaw system (3), wherein said unique mark (5) is provided by means (4) provided in or on a jaw of said jaw system (3),
    detecting said mark (5) downstream of said jaw system (3),
    if necessary, adjusting a cutting knife (8) in relation to said package (2) based on said detected mark (5), and
    cutting said package (2) from said web of packaging material.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Füllmaschine (1) zum Füllen einer Verpackung (2) aus einer Verpackungsmaterialbahn mit einem Lebensmittelprodukt, umfassend
    ein Backensystem (3), das dazu ausgelegt ist, die Verpackung (2) zu versiegeln, nachdem sie mit dem Lebensmittelprodukt gefüllt wurde, wobei das Backensystem (3) mit einem Mittel (4) zum Bereitstellen einer eindeutigen Markierung (5) auf der Verpackung (2) ausgestattet ist,
    einen Sensor (7), der stromabwärts des Backensystems (3) angeordnet und dazu ausgelegt ist, die Markierung (5) auf der Verpackung (2) zu detektieren, und
    ein Schneidmesser (8), das dazu ausgelegt ist, die Verpackung (2) von der Verpackungsmaterialbahn abzuschneiden,
    wobei das Schneidmesser (8) bewegbar in der Füllmaschine (1) angeordnet ist, so dass das Schneidmesser (8) in Bezug auf die Verpackung (2) basierend auf der detektierten Markierung (5) eingestellt werden kann, bevor die Verpackung (2) von der Verpackungsmaterialbahn abgeschnitten wird,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die eindeutige Markierung (5) auf der Verpackung (2) mit Hilfe von magnetisierbarer Farbe erzeugt wird und wobei das Mittel (4) zum Bereitstellen der eindeutigen Markierung (5) auf der Verpackung (2) in oder an einer Backe des Backensystems (3) bereitgestellt ist.
     
    2. Füllmaschine (1) nach Anspruch 1,
    wobei das Mittel (4) zum Bereitstellen der eindeutigen Markierung (5) auf der Verpackung (2) einen Magneten, wie etwa einen Magneten auf Neodymbasis (z. B. NdFeB) oder einen Magneten auf Samariumbasis (z. B. Sm2Co17), umfasst.
     
    3. Füllmaschine (1) nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, ferner umfassend eine Steuereinheit, die mit dem Sensor (7) und mit dem Schneidmesser (8) verbunden ist, wobei die Steuereinheit dazu ausgelegt ist, das Schneidmesser (8) basierend auf vom Sensor (7) empfangenen Informationen einzustellen.
     
    4. Füllmaschine (1) nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, ferner umfassend ein Zahnrad (11), das mit dem Schneidmesser (8) zur Einstellung desselben verbunden ist.
     
    5. Füllmaschine (1) nach Anspruch 4, ferner umfassend einen Servoantrieb (10), der mit dem Zahnrad (11) verbunden ist.
     
    6. Füllmaschine (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 - 5, ferner umfassend eine Schneideinheit (9), wobei die Schneideinheit (9) ein erstes Zahnrad (11) und ein dem ersten Zahnrad (11) gegenüber angeordnetes zweites Zahnrad (12) umfasst, wobei das Schneidmesser (8) mit dem ersten Zahnrad (11) verbunden ist und ein Amboss (13) mit dem zweiten Zahnrad (12) verbunden ist.
     
    7. Füllmaschine (1) nach Anspruch 6, ferner umfassend einen Servoantrieb (10), der mit dem ersten Zahnrad (11) und dem zweiten Zahnrad (12) verbunden ist.
     
    8. Füllmaschine (1) nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Schneidmesser (8) eingestellt wird, bevor jeder Schnitt durch das Schneidmesser (8) ausgeführt wird.
     
    9. Füllmaschine (1) nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Sensor (7) ein Magnetsensor ist.
     
    10. Verfahren zum Füllen einer Verpackung (2) aus einer Verpackungsmaterialbahn mit einem Lebensmittelprodukt, umfassend
    Versiegeln der Verpackung (2), nachdem sie mit dem Lebensmittelprodukt gefüllt wurde, mit Hilfe eines Backensystems (3),
    Bereitstellen einer eindeutigen Markierung (5) aus magnetisierbarer Farbe auf der Verpackung (2) im Backensystem (3), wobei die eindeutige Markierung (5) durch ein Mittel (4) bereitgestellt wird, das in oder an einer Backe des Backensystems (3) bereitgestellt ist, Detektieren der Markierung (5) stromabwärts des Backensystems (3),
    erforderlichenfalls Einstellen eines Schneidmessers (8) in Bezug auf die Verpackung (2) basierend auf der detektierten Markierung (5), und
    Abschneiden der Verpackung (2) von der Verpackungsmaterialbahn.
     


    Revendications

    1. Machine de remplissage (1) destinée à remplir un emballage (2) fait d'une bande de matériau d'emballage avec un produit alimentaire, comprenant
    un système de pinces (3) conçu pour sceller ledit emballage (2) après son remplissage avec ledit produit alimentaire, ledit système de pinces (3) étant équipé de moyens (4) servant à produire une marque unique (5) sur ledit emballage (2),
    un capteur (7) disposé en aval dudit système de pinces (3) et conçu pour détecter ladite marque (5) sur ledit emballage (2), et
    un couteau (8) conçu pour découper ledit emballage (2) de ladite bande de matériau d'emballage,
    dans laquelle ledit couteau (8) est disposé de façon mobile dans ladite machine de remplissage (1), de sorte que ledit couteau (8) peut être réglé en relation avec ledit emballage (2) sur la base de ladite marque détectée (5) avant la découpe dudit emballage (2) de ladite bande de matériau d'emballage,
    caractérisée en ce que ladite marque unique (5) est créée sur ledit emballage (2) au moyen d'une peinture aimantée et dans laquelle lesdits moyens (4) de production de ladite marque unique (5) sur ledit emballage (2) sont disposés dans ou sur une pince dudit système de pinces (3).
     
    2. Machine de remplissage (1) selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle lesdits moyens (4) de production de ladite marque unique (5) sur ledit emballage (2) comprennent un aimant tel qu'un aimant à base de néodyme (p. ex. NdFeB) ou un aimant à base de samarium (p. ex. Sm2Col7).
     
    3. Machine de remplissage (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant en outre une unité de commande connectée audit capteur (7) et audit couteau (8), dans laquelle ladite unité de commande est conçue pour régler ledit couteau (8) sur la base des informations reçues depuis ledit capteur (7).
     
    4. Machine de remplissage (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant en outre une roue dentée (11) reliée audit couteau (8) pour le réglage de celui-ci.
     
    5. Machine de remplissage (1) selon la revendication 4, comprenant en outre une servocommande (10) reliée à ladite roue dentée (11).
     
    6. Machine de remplissage (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, comprenant en outre une unité de découpe (9), ladite unité de découpe (9) comprenant une première roue dentée (11) et une seconde roue dentée (12) disposée à l'opposé de ladite première roue dentée (11), dans laquelle ledit couteau (8) est relié à ladite première roue dentée (11) et une enclume (13) est reliée à ladite seconde roue dentée (12).
     
    7. Machine de remplissage (1) selon la revendication 6, comprenant en outre une servocommande (10) reliée à ladite première roue dentée (11) et à ladite seconde roue dentée (12).
     
    8. Machine de remplissage (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle ledit couteau (8) est réglé avant chaque découpe effectuée par ledit couteau (8).
     
    9. Machine de remplissage (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle ledit capteur (7) est un capteur magnétique.
     
    10. Procédé de remplissage d'un emballage (2) fait d'une bande de matériau d'emballage avec un produit alimentaire, comprenant
    le scellement dudit emballage (2), après son remplissage avec ledit produit alimentaire, au moyen d'un système de pinces (3),
    la production d'une marque unique (5) de peinture magnétique sur ledit emballage (2) dans ledit système de pinces (3), dans lequel ladite marque unique (5) est produite par des moyens (4) disposés dans ou sur une pince dudit système de pinces (3),
    la détection de ladite marque (5) en aval dudit système de pinces (3),
    si nécessaire, le réglage d'un couteau (8) en relation avec ledit emballage (2) sur la base de ladite marque détectée (5), et
    la découpe dudit emballage (2) de ladite bande de matériau d'emballage.
     




    Drawing












    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description