(19)
(11)EP 3 710 363 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
01.12.2021 Bulletin 2021/48

(21)Application number: 18804420.0

(22)Date of filing:  09.11.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B65B 25/14(2006.01)
B65B 59/00(2006.01)
B65B 11/22(2006.01)
B65B 11/12(2006.01)
B65B 59/04(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
B65B 59/005; B65B 11/22; B65B 59/04; B65B 25/146
(86)International application number:
PCT/IB2018/058824
(87)International publication number:
WO 2019/097377 (23.05.2019 Gazette  2019/21)

(54)

MACHINE FOR PACKAGING SOFT PRODUCTS

MASCHINE ZUM VERPACKEN VON WEICHEN PRODUKTEN

MACHINE À EMBALLER DES PRODUITS MOUS


(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: 14.11.2017 IT 201700130063

(43)Date of publication of application:
23.09.2020 Bulletin 2020/39

(73)Proprietor: T.M.C. S.p.A.
40023 Castel Guelfo (Bologna) (IT)

(72)Inventors:
  • RASI, Michele
    44123 Ferrara (IT)
  • ROSSI, William
    40016 San Giorgio Di Piano (bologna) (IT)

(74)Representative: Milli, Simone 
Bugnion S.p.A. Via di Corticella, 87
40128 Bologna
40128 Bologna (IT)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 067 048
IT-A1- UB20 159 738
EP-A2- 0 995 682
US-A- 5 465 550
  
      
    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] This invention relates to a machine for packaging soft products, such as, for example, but without limiting the scope of the invention, those for sanitary use, in particular rolls of tissue paper products such as rolls of paper for sanitary and/or household use or unwoven products such as nappies.

    Background art



    [0002] Currently, in the automatic machines which perform the packaging of the above-mentioned products, the products are grouped together in one or more layers, such as, for example, layers composed of several rolls aligned in rows, and they are sent to a feed station downstream of which there is a packaging unit.

    [0003] For reasons of simplicity, a machine for making packaging rolls is described below.

    [0004] The purpose of the packaging unit is to wrap the group of rolls with a sheet of heat-sealable wrapping material, for example, but without restricting the scope of the invention, made of transparent polypropylene, and to stabilise the wrapper thus obtained.

    [0005] According to a known machine configuration, the station for feeding the rolls and the packaging unit are arranged one after another, the first beneath the second and with the interposition of a horizontal elevator plate which receives the rolls in a predetermined format from the feed station and transfers them to the packaging unit.

    [0006] The elevator plate lift is generally combined with two vertical walls which laterally delimit the size, that is to say, the format, of the group of rolls, and which allow the format to be stably maintained, in particular when this has two or more layers superposed on each other.

    [0007] The packaging unit comprises, usually, a chain or belt conveyor, which is looped and is provided with U-shaped pockets (defined by pairs of drive teeth), designed to house respective groups of rolls. The conveyor is motor-driven in a stepwise fashion and is positioned above the feed station for stopping, at each pause, a relative pocket with the respective inlet opening facing the elevator plate.

    [0008] The packaging unit is associated with a line for feeding wrapping sheets, which, simultaneously with each positioning of a pocket, feeds a sheet of wrapping material to the pocket which is positioned facing the elevator plate. The sheet of wrapping material is fed in such a way as to close the inlet opening of the pocket, so that, with the subsequent lifting of the elevator plate, the sheet is intercepted by the group of rolls and is forced by them to enter into the pocket.

    [0009] The insertion of the groups of rolls in the pocket determines a U-shaped folding of the sheet of wrapping material around the group, after which the sheet of wrapping material comes out of the pocket with two relative end flaps.

    [0010] According to a known packaging method, a first of the two flaps is folded at a right angle on the group of rolls by a first folding device of the packaging unit, and, subsequently, the second of the two flaps is folded, again at a right angle, and superposed on the first flap by a second folding device of the packaging unit.

    [0011] After folding, the group of rolls and the wrapped film are transported by the conveyor, in a direction transversal to the lifting direction, towards a tunnel equipped with units for closing the package (bottom and tops).

    [0012] Thus, during movement inside the tunnel, firstly the zone for superposing the flaps is subjected to an operation for stabilising the wrapping material consisting, usually, in a reciprocal sealing of the flaps (as mentioned, further downstream relative to the folding area, that is, during step-like feeding of the above-mentioned pockets) in the tunnel for closing the wrapping film and subsequently also along the two heads formed.

    [0013] Of particular interest in this invention is the above-mentioned chain or belt conveyor.

    [0014] This unit comprises (see also patent EP 1 067 048 of the same Applicant as this invention) in a minimum configuration (see Figures 1 and 2):
    • a plane A for feeding groups of products B (horizontal), positioned between two flanks;
    • a drive unit comprising a plurality of pulleys C located at the two ends of the feed plane A and keyed on at least two power-driven shafts D and E by a first F1 and a second F2 motor; on the pulleys C are wound at least two pairs of chains or belts G parallel to each other to define a ring-shaped path with an active linear lower branch facing the feed plane A and a non-active linear upper branch;
    • a plurality of crosspieces or carriages H connected to the pairs of chains or belts G along the ring-shaped path and each supporting at least one tooth L configured for retaining and feeding along the feed plane A the groups of products B positioned between consecutive pairs of the teeth L;
    • a control unit M connected to the motors F1 and F2 is configured to control their operation in accordance with variations in the distance between the pairs of teeth L on the relative pairs of rings of chain or belt G as a function of the variations in size of the groups of products B.


    [0015] Therefore, the traditional arrangement of the machine outfeed conveyor is such that according to the use until now there is at least one pair of motors which each control a series of belts or chains (two or multiples of two) and fastened to the above-mentioned belts and there are a series of drive carriages at a predefined spacing equal to the extension of the belt or chain divided by the maximum width of the group of products to be retained between the drive teeth.

    [0016] A known solution of this type of machine is disclosed in the patent application IT UB20 159 738.

    [0017] Each of the motors moves a series of carriages each having a distance equal to the predetermined spacing (format); when a pack is to be contained with widths greater than that of the spacing it is necessary to change it, removing the series of carriages and reducing their number along the extension of the entire path of the chain or belt through a manual operation.

    [0018] Similarly, in the presence of the second motor which jointly with the first moves a second series of carriages equidistant by the spacing of the first actuator, it is necessary, for a change of spacing, to remove and move or only remove both the carriages of the first actuator and those of the second.

    [0019] This is because usually in a pair of containment teeth one has the pushing function (upstream relative to a feed direction along the active branch) and one has a containment function (downstream relative to the feed direction).

    [0020] Starting from this base configuration, the conveyor has, over time, had a series of developments, as required by market needs.

    [0021] More specifically, a high flexibility of the spacing or format changes between the teeth has been requested to have extremely an small spacing (width with a single product) or a spacing of maximum dimension.

    [0022] To obtain this, the number of chains and belts and the number of power-driven units which control them has been increased in order to have a control even on individual carriages and not on a plurality of carriages, modifying the spacing of pairs independently.

    [0023] However, these modifications to the conveyor have given rise to several drawbacks.

    [0024] A first drawback is due to the long length / extension of the entire ring-shaped path which makes it necessary to increase the distances between the unit and the rest of the outfeed stations.

    [0025] Moreover, the greater the extension of the group the greater will be the number of carriages in transit, since the extension and the spacing is given by the maximum width of the product to be packaged.

    [0026] Now, the greater the spacing (and the extension), the greater will be the speed of the power-driven units when it is necessary to package groups of products with small spacing, but if the groups have limited width and the packaging speed requested is high (in view of the length of the path) then the rotation speeds become high, to the detriment of the winding quality and reliability of the machine.

    [0027] A further drawback currently present in the structure of the unit is due to the need to assemble and dismantle carriages which, according to the format needs, must be carried out manually.

    [0028] Currently, in fact, the system needs a manual intervention to be able to apply or remove the carriages from the belts or chains by means of a long and laborious mechanical operation.

    [0029] Alternatively, it is known from US 5 465 550 document that the teeth can be completely removed from the carriages by manual operation.

    [0030] Another drawback is due to the constructional profile of each tooth, which has the shape of an upturned "L" in which, for each pair of teeth forming the containment pocket, each smaller stretch of "L" (used for connection to the carriage) faces the other one. This configuration creates a problem which arises when the size of the formats (labelled B1 in Figure 3) is less than the sum of the two smaller stretches of "L" (minimum spacing) and it makes it necessary to use the rotation of the pushing or containing teeth to be able to efficiently retain the products (see Figure 3).

    [0031] In other words, when a configuration is to be made with a size less than the above-mentioned minimum spacing, due to the contact of the upper parts of the two teeth forming the pair, it is necessary to rotate one of the two teeth. This operation must be repeated for all the teeth operating along the annular path.

    [0032] All these situations result in a significant waste of non-operational time on the machine.

    Disclosure of the invention



    [0033] The aim of this invention is to provide a machine for packaging soft products, such as, for example, the rolls of tissue paper products such as rolls of paper for sanitary and/or domestic use which overcomes the above-mentioned drawbacks of the prior art.

    [0034] More specifically, the aim of this invention is to provide a machine for packaging soft products which can increase and make simpler the size changes of the groups of product being wrapped without modifying the basic structures of the base of the unit for moving the products.

    [0035] A further aim of this invention is to provide a machine for packaging soft products which is able to reduce the problems of speed reduction for moving the carriage / tooth, in particular for the smaller formats without reducing the productivity and the quality of the packaging of the product. A further aim of this invention is to provide a machine for packaging soft products which is able to reduce the time for modifying the configurations of the teeth on the carriages, whilst maintaining a high level of safety of drive and containment on the packs of products.

    [0036] These aims are fully achieved by the machine for packaging soft products according to the invention as characterised in the appended claims.

    Brief description of drawings



    [0037] The features of the machine will become more apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred, non-limiting embodiment of it, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
    • Figure 1 illustrates a schematic side view with some parts cut away of a machine for packaging soft products of known type;
    • Figure 2 illustrates an enlarged detail of the machine of Figure 1;
    • Figure 3 illustrates a detail of two drive teeth of the machine of Figure 1 in a different operating configuration;
    • Figure 4 illustrates a schematic front view with some parts cut away in order to better illustrate others of a machine for packaging soft products, according to this invention;
    • Figure 5 illustrates a schematic front view with some parts cut away in order to better illustrate others of a machine for packaging soft products, according to this invention, in a different operating configuration;
    • Figure 6 illustrates a schematic perspective view of a drive tooth used on the machine of Figures 4 and 5;
    • Figure 7 illustrates a schematic exploded perspective view of a first variant embodiment of the drive tooth of Figure 6;
    • Figures 8 and 9 illustrate schematic perspective views of a corresponding detail of the drive tooth of Figures 6 or 7;
    • Figure 10 illustrates a schematic exploded perspective view of a second embodiment of the drive tooth used on the machine of Figures 4 and 5;
    • Figure 11 illustrates a schematic exploded perspective view of the drive tooth of Figure 10 partly assembled;
    • Figure 12 illustrates a perspective view of a support carriage of the drive teeth used on the machine of Figures 4 and 5.

    Detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention



    [0038] With reference to the accompanying drawings, in particular Figures 4 and 5, the machine according to the invention, labelled 100 in its entirety, is used for packaging soft products, such as, for example, but without restricting the scope of the invention, those for sanitary use, such as rolls of tissue paper products such as, for example, rolls of paper for sanitary and/or household use or unwoven products such as nappies.

    [0039] Again with reference to Figures 4 and 5, the machine 100 comprises a plane 1 for feeding groups 2 of products (where groups of products may refer to a single product being wound, or a plurality of products arranged on several rows and several layers).

    [0040] The feed plane 1 is usually delimited by a pair of flanks.

    [0041] The machine 100 also comprises a plurality of pulleys 3 positioned at the two ends of the feed plane 1 and connected on at least two power-driven shafts 4, 5 (usually coaxial to each other and completed by a pair of driven shafts, but merely by way of example). Each shaft 4 and 5 is driven independently by at least a first 6 and a second 7 motor.

    [0042] On the pulleys 3 are wound two pairs of chains or belts 8 (positioned close to the flanks) parallel to and independent from each other, movable along a first direction D8 and a feed direction V8, to define a ring-shaped path having an active linear lower branch 8a facing the feed plane and a non-active linear upper branch 8b.

    [0043] The machine 100 comprises a plurality of carriages 9 which are connected, alternatively in sequence, to the pairs of motor-driven chains or belts 8 and distributed along the ring-shaped path.

    [0044] Each carriage 9 supports at least one tooth 10, 11, 12 (normally a plurality of between 2 and 5), projecting towards the feed plane 1 during the passage on the lower branch 8a.

    [0045] Each tooth 10, 11, 12 is configured for retaining and feeding along the feed plane 1 the groups 2 of products from a receiving compartment 13 to a zone 14 for unloading and releasing the group 2 of products (the unloading and releasing zone 14 coincides with a tunnel for transfer and definitive closing of the packet).

    [0046] The machine 100 also comprises a control unit 15 (shown here by a block) connected to the motors 6, 7 is configured to control their operation in accordance with variations in the distance between the carriages (9) on the relative pairs of chains or belts 8 as a function of the variations in size of the groups 2 of products.

    [0047] The machine 100 comprises transfer means 16 for moving one group 2 of products at a time, with a corresponding sheet 17 of wrapping material folded into a "U" shape around the group 2 of products, towards the feed plane 1 and to the receiving compartment 13 defined by a first 10 and a second 11 tooth, along a second direction D16 transversal to the first direction D8.

    [0048] The transfer means 16 comprise an elevator plate which is able to receive the group of products at a first lower height and lift the group of products to a second upper height corresponding to the receiving compartment defined between the first and second tooth 10 and 11.

    [0049] As illustrated, along the lower linear branch 8a of the chains or belts 8 there is a number of teeth 10, 11, 12 equal to the number of groups 2 of products positioned or arrived on the feed plane 1, in the operational stretch between the compartment 13 for receiving the group 2 of products and up to the unloading and releasing zone 14.

    [0050] Each tooth 10, 11, 12 is configured along the operational stretch to define simultaneously both a pushing tooth and a tooth containment when the same tooth 10, 11, 12 is interposed between two groups 2 of consecutive products along the feed plane A.

    [0051] As illustrated, the lower linear branch 8a defined by the belts or chains 8 has a succession of teeth 10, 11, 12 along the operational stretch, comprising at least, in a minimum operating configuration:
    a first tooth 10 for pushing and a second tooth 11 for containing positioned on opposite sides of the receiving compartment 13 for receiving a first group 2 of products;
    • the second tooth 11, positioned downstream relative to the first tooth 10 with reference to the feed direction V8, is interposed between the first group 2 of products and a second group 2 of products, located downstream of the first group 2 of products relative to the feed direction V8, in such a way as to also define a tooth for pushing the second group 2 of products (towards the unloading and releasing zone 14).


    [0052] Again as shown in Figures 4 and 5, the minimum configuration may comprise a third tooth 12, positioned downstream of the second tooth 11 with reference to the feed direction V8, interposed between the second group 2 of products and a third group 2 of products, positioned downstream of the second group 2 of products relative to the feed direction V8, in such a way as to define a tooth for containing the second group 2 of products and a tooth for pushing the third group 2 of products towards the unloading and releasing zone 14.

    [0053] In other words, the system present on the transfer means comprises a pair of teeth (10 and 11) controlled, in this case, by the corresponding first and second motor 6 and 7. These two teeth contain the group of products in elevation forming the receiving compartment 13.

    [0054] The same teeth move together and move the group of products by a distance equal to the width of the group of products plus the dimension of the tooth.

    [0055] This operating parameter has the advantage, with respect to the prior art systems, that the feed step is substantially equal to the size of the pack and not to the step defined mechanically on the machine.

    [0056] Subsequently, the group of products can be subjected to a lower sealing of the film which surrounds the group of products, whilst it remains between the two teeth until sealing is completed.

    [0057] In this second movement the tooth labelled 10 (motor 6) moves to the position of the tooth 11 (motor 7) and contains (downstream) the group 2 of products arriving from the receiving compartment 13 which must then be sealed.

    [0058] During this second movement, the tooth 11 can start pushing the group of products and without any other stop it moves up to the zone 14 for unloading and releasing the group of sealed products where there are units for final closing of the group (typically those for the lateral sealing). This tooth then completes its stroke positioning behind the teeth which are stationary awaiting their turn to restart the cycle.

    [0059] This structure makes it possible to reduce the problems of changing the spacing in the machine, the speed reduction for movement of the carriage / tooth (especially for the smallest formats) and rotation of the pushing or containment teeth for the smallest formats.

    [0060] Basically, the number of compartments defined along the lower linear stretch has each tooth belonging to a carriage which is able to push and simultaneously contain the bundle as a function of the position in which the group of products is located.

    [0061] Again as illustrated (in particular in Figures 6 to 11), each at least one tooth 10, 11, 12 present on each carriage 9 comprises at least a head 18 permanently connected to the carriage 9 and at least an operating portion 19 in contact with the groups 2 of products which can be separated from and reconnected (in a snap-in fashion) to the head 18.

    [0062] Preferably, each tooth 10, 11, 12 quick comprises means 20 for rapid connection / detachment positioned between the head 18 and the operating contact portion 19 to allow a stable coupling or a separation of the operating portion 19 to/from the head 18.

    [0063] The rapid connection / detachment means 20 can be, for example, of the type with a bayonet coupling, with pins movable axially and equipped with a spring for maintaining the closed position, etc.

    [0064] It should be noted that each head 18 has a central seat 18a for housing an end of the operating portion 19 configured to match the central housing seat 18a.

    [0065] In light of this, between the central seat 18a and the end of the operating portion 19 there are positioned the rapid connection / detachment means 20.

    [0066] It should also be noted that the configuration of each tooth is like a "T" where the horizontal stretch is extremely reduced in length and allows relative approach between two successive teeth such that it can contain individual formats of extremely reduced width.

    [0067] Preferably (Figures 6, 8, 9), the head 18 has a seat 18a configured, in cross section, in the form of a cross, and wherein the end of the operating portion 19 has a matching shape in the form of a cross in such a way as to allow a coupling of the operating portion 19 according to at least at two different orientations to each other rotated through a right angle.

    [0068] This feature makes it possible, in a fast and safe fashion, to modify the geometry of the operating portion 19 as a function of the pulling and pushing needs of the groups of products to be handled.

    [0069] More specifically, this possibility is increased thanks to the fact that the operating portion 19 of each tooth 10, 11, 12 has the shape of a blade defined by two surfaces of reduced width and two surfaces of large width. In a first alternative embodiment (Figure 7), each tooth comprises a sheath 21 for external covering which can be coupled to / withdrawn from by sliding in / from the operating portion 19 of the corresponding tooth 10, 11, 12 and which can be locked, by interference, to the same operating portion 19.

    [0070] In light of this, the sheath 21 has an external size, of operational contact with the group 2 of products, with dimensions greater than the dimensions of the external size of the operating portion 19 (in both the above-mentioned positions).

    [0071] According to a second alternative embodiment (Figures 10 and 11), each head 18 has a stub 18b protruding downwards from the head 18 and wherein the operating portion 19 has a relative sector 19a which can be placed alongside the stub to form an upper stretch of the operating portion 19.

    [0072] A joining sheath 21 which can be coupled by sliding and interference to the stub 18b and to the operating portion 19 in such a way as to form a complete single operating portion 19.

    [0073] It should be noted that in this latter alternative embodiment, the sheath 21 may also represent the means 20 for rapid connection / detachment of the operating portion 19 from the head 18.

    [0074] To complete the structure described above, each carriage 9 comprises:
    • two end heads 22, 23 connected to a plurality of upper tubes 24 (a pair) for joining the two heads 23, 23 to define a crosspiece having a width equal to the width of the feed plane 1;
    • at least two half heads 25, 26 connected to the upper tubes 24 and configured for associating with the corresponding chains or belts 8;
    • at least one head 18 forming a part of the tooth 10, 11, 12 and connected at least to a pair of lower tubes 27, associated with the two end heads 22, 23, in such a way as to allow the head 18 a sliding adjusting along the pair of lower tubes 27 (when necessary);
    • at least one operating portion 19 in contact with the group 2 of products connected, in a removable fashion, to the head 18.


    [0075] In light of this, the carriage 9 illustrated has five teeth 10 of which at least four adjustable and a fixed central one for stiffening.

    [0076] All the teeth present have the possibility of separating the operating portion from the head connected to the carriage.

    [0077] The machine structured in this way achieves the preset aims thanks to an extremely flexible constructional architecture and which is able to obtain a correct and precise movement on any type of format.

    [0078] Moreover, thanks to the particular structuring of each tooth, the size changes even with special configurations (non-standard) of the products being processed can be obtained in a rapid, precise manner whilst maintaining a high quality standard of the final product.


    Claims

    1. A machine for packaging soft products, comprising at least:

    - a plane (1) for feeding groups (2) of products;

    - a plurality of pulleys (3) located at the two ends of the feed plane (1) and connected on at least two shafts (4, 5) driven independently by at least a first (6) and a second (7) motor; on the pulleys (3) being wound at least two pairs of chains or belts (8) parallel to and independent from each other, movable along a first direction (D8) and a feed direction (V8), to define a ring-shaped path having an active linear lower branch (8a) facing the feed plane and a non-active linear upper branch (8b);

    - a plurality of carriages (9) which are connected, alternatively in sequence, to the pairs of motor-driven chains or belts (8) and distributed along the ring-shaped path; each carriage (9) supporting at least one tooth (10, 11, 12), projecting towards the feed plane (1) during the passage on the lower branch (8a), and configured for retaining and feeding along the feed plane (1) the groups (2) of products from a receiving compartment (13) to a zone (14) for unloading and releasing the group (2) of products;

    - a control unit (15) connected to the motors (6, 7) is configured to control their operation in accordance with variations in the distance between the carriages (9) on the relative pairs of chains or belts (8) as a function of the variations in size of the groups (2) of products;

    - transfer means (16) for moving one group (2) of products at a time, with a corresponding sheet (17) of wrapping material folded into a "U" shape around the group (2) of products, towards the feed plane (1) and to the receiving compartment (13) defined by a first (10) and a second (11) tooth, along a second direction (D16) transversal to the first direction (D8);

    along the lower linear branch (8a) of the chains or belts (8) there is a number of carriages (8) equal to the number of groups (2) of products positioned or arrived on the feed plane (1), in the operational stretch between the compartment (13) for receiving the group (2) of products and up to the unloading and releasing zone (14); each tooth (10, 11, 12) being configured along the operational stretch to define simultaneously both a pushing tooth and a tooth containment when the same tooth (10, 11, 12) is interposed between two groups (2) of consecutive products along the feed plane (A),
    characterised in that each at least one tooth (10, 11, 12) present on each carriage (9) comprises at least a head (18) permanently connected to the carriage (9) and at least an operating portion (19) in contact with the groups (2) of products which can be separated from and reconnected to the head (18).
     
    2. The machine according to claim 1, wherein the lower linear section (8a) defined by the belts or chains (8) has a succession of teeth (10, 11, 12) along the operational stretch, comprising at least, in a minimum operating configuration, a first tooth (10) for pushing and a second tooth (11) for containing positioned on opposite sides of the receiving compartment (13) for receiving a first group (2) of products, and wherein the second tooth (11), positioned downstream relative to the first tooth (10) with reference to the feed direction (V8), is interposed between the first group (2) of products and a second group (2) of products, located downstream of the first group (2) of products relative to the feed direction (V8), in such a way as to also define a tooth for pushing the second group (2) of products.
     
    3. The machine according to claim 2, wherein a third tooth (12), located downstream of the second tooth (11) with reference to the feed direction (V8), is interposed between the second group (2) of products and a third group (2) of products, positioned downstream of the second group (2) of products relative to the feed direction (V8), in such a way as to define a tooth for containing the second group (2) of products and a tooth for pushing the third group (2) of products towards the unloading and releasing zone (14).
     
    4. The machine according to any one of preceding claims, comprising means (20) for rapid connection / detachment positioned between the head (18) and the operating contact portion (19) to allow a stable coupling or a separation of the operating portion (19) to/from the head (18).
     
    5. The machine according to claim 4, wherein each head (18) has a central seat (18a) for housing an end of the operating portion (19) configured to match the central housing seat (18a); between the central seat (18a) and the end of the operating portion (19) there being positioned the rapid connection / detachment means (20).
     
    6. The machine according to claim 5, wherein the head (18) has a seat (18a) configured, in cross section, in the form of a cross, and wherein the end of the operating portion (19) has a matching shape in the form of a cross in such a way as to allow a coupling of the operating portion (19) according to at least at two different orientations to each other rotated through a right angle.
     
    7. The machine according to any one of preceding claims , comprising a sheath (21) for external covering which can be coupled to / withdrawn from by sliding in / from the operating portion (19) of the tooth (10, 11, 12) and which can be locked, by interference, to the same operating portion (19); the sheath (21) having an external size, of operational contact with the group (2) of products, with dimensions greater than the dimensions of the external size of the operating portion (19).
     
    8. The machine according to any one of preceding claims , wherein each head (18) has a stub (18b) protruding downwards from the head (18) and wherein the operating portion (19) has a relative sector (19a) which can be placed alongside the stub to form an upper stretch of the operating portion (19); a joining sheath (21) which can be coupled by sliding and interference to the stub (18b) and to the operating portion (19) in such a way as to form a complete single operating portion (19).
     
    9. The machine according to any one of preceding claims, wherein each carriage (9) comprises at least:

    - two end heads (22, 23) connected to a plurality of upper transversal tubes (24) for joining the two heads (22, 23) to define a crosspiece having a width equal to the width of the feed plane (1);

    - at least two half heads (25, 26) connected to the upper tubes (24) and configured for associating with the corresponding chains or belts (8);

    - at least one head (18) forming a part of the tooth (10, 11, 12) and connected at least to a pair of lower tubes (27), associated with the two end heads (22, 23), in such a way as to allow the head (18) a sliding adjusting along the pair of lower tubes (27);

    - at least one operating portion (19) in contact with the group (2) of products connected, in a removable fashion, to the head (18).


     
    10. The machine according to any one of preceding claims, wherein the operating portion (19) of each tooth (10, 11, 12) has the shape of a blade defined by two surfaces of reduced width and two surfaces of large width.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Maschine zum Verpacken von weichen Produkten, umfassend mindestens:

    - eine Ebene (1) zum Zuführen von Gruppen (2) von Produkten;

    - eine Vielzahl an Riemenscheiben (3), die an den beiden Enden der Zuführebene (1) angeordnet sind und auf mindestens zwei Schäften (4, 5) verbunden sind, die unabhängig von mindestens einem ersten (6) und einem zweiten (7) Motor angetrieben werden; wobei auf den Riemenscheiben (3) mindestens zwei Paare von Ketten oder Riemen (8), die parallel und unabhängig voneinander sind, gewickelt sind und entlang einer ersten Richtung (D8) und einer Zuführrichtung (V8) bewegbar sind, um eine ringförmige Strecke zu definieren, die einen aktiven linearen unteren Zweig (8a), der der Zuführebene zugewandt ist, und einen nicht aktiven linearen oberen Zweig (8b) aufweist;

    - eine Vielzahl an Wagen (9), die abwechselnd nacheinander mit den Paaren von motorgetriebenen Ketten oder Riemen (8) verbunden und entlang der ringförmigen Strecke verteilt sind; wobei ein jeder Wagen (9) mindestens einen Zahn (10, 11, 12) trägt, der während des Durchgangs auf dem unteren Zweig (8a) in Richtung der Zuführebene (1) vorsteht und ausgebildet ist, um entlang der Zuführebene (1) die Gruppen (2) von Produkten von einer Aufnahmeunterteilung (13) zu einer Zone (14) zum Entladen und Freigeben der Gruppe (2) von Produkten zurückzuhalten und zuzuführen;

    - eine Steuereinheit (15), die mit den Motoren (6, 7) verbunden ist, so ausgebildet ist, dass sie ihren Betrieb gemäß den Änderungen des Abstands zwischen den Wagen (9) auf den relativen Paaren von Ketten oder Riemen (8) als Funktion der Größenunterschiede der Gruppen (2) von Produkten steuert;

    - Transportmittel (16) zum Bewegen einer Gruppe (2) von Produkten gleichzeitig, mit einem entsprechenden Bogen (17) aus Verpackungsmaterial, der in eine "U"-Form um die Gruppe (2) von Produkten herum gefaltet ist, in Richtung der Zuführebene (1) und zur Aufnahmeunterteilung (13), die durch einen ersten (10) und einen zweiten (11) Zahn entlang einer zweiten Richtung (D16) quer zur ersten Richtung (D8) definiert ist;

    entlang des unteren linearen Zweigs (8a) der Ketten oder Riemen (8) befindet sich eine Anzahl von Wagen (8), die der Anzahl der Gruppen (2) von Produkten entspricht, die auf der Zuführebene (1) im operativen Teilstück zwischen der Unterteilung (13) zur Aufnahme der Gruppe (2) von Produkten und bis zur Entlade- und Freigabezone (14) positioniert oder angekommen sind; wobei ein jeder Zahn (10, 11, 12) entlang des operativen Teilstücks so ausgebildet ist, dass er gleichzeitig sowohl einen Schiebezahn als auch einen Einschlusszahn definiert, wenn der gleiche Zahn (10, 11, 12) zwischen zwei Gruppen (2) aufeinanderfolgender Produkte entlang der Zuführebene (A) eingefügt ist,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass ein jeder mindestens eine an jedem Wagen (9) vorhandene Zahn (10, 11, 12) mindestens einen fest mit dem Wagen (9) verbundenen Kopf (18) und mindestens einen Betätigungsabschnitt (19) in Kontakt mit den Gruppen (2) von Produkten, die vom Kopf (18) getrennt und wieder mit diesem verbunden werden können, umfasst.
     
    2. Maschine nach Anspruch 1, wobei die untere lineare Sektion (8a), die durch die Riemen oder Ketten (8) gebildet ist, entlang des operativen Teilstücks eine Abfolge von Zähnen (10, 11, 12) aufweist, die in einer minimalen Betriebskonfiguration, einen ersten Zahn (10) zum Schieben und einen zweiten Zahn (11) zum Enthalten, der auf gegenüberliegenden Seiten der Aufnahmeunterteilung (13) zur Aufnahme einer ersten Gruppe (2) von Produkten positioniert ist, aufweist und wobei der zweite Zahn (11), der stromabwärts relativ zum ersten Zahn (10) in Bezug auf die Zuführrichtung (V8) positioniert ist, zwischen der ersten Gruppe (2) von Produkten und einer zweiten Gruppe (2) von Produkten eingefügt ist, die sich stromabwärts der ersten Gruppe (2) von Produkten relativ zur Zuführrichtung (V8) befindet, so dass auch ein Zahn zum Schieben der zweiten Gruppe (2) von Produkten definiert wird.
     
    3. Maschine nach Anspruch 2, wobei ein dritter Zahn (12), der in Bezug auf die Zuführrichtung (V8) stromabwärts des zweiten Zahns (11) angeordnet ist, zwischen der zweiten Gruppe (2) von Produkten und einer dritten Gruppe (2) von Produkten, die in Bezug auf die Zuführrichtung (V8) stromabwärts der zweiten Gruppe (2) von Produkten positioniert sind, eingefügt ist, so dass ein Zahn zum Enthalten der zweiten Gruppe (2) von Produkten und ein Zahn zum Schieben der dritten Gruppe (2) von Produkten in Richtung der Entlade- und Freigabezone (14) definiert wird.
     
    4. Maschine nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, umfassend Mittel (20) zur schnellen Verbindung und Ablösung, die zwischen dem Kopf (18) und dem Betätigungskontaktabschnitt (19) positioniert sind, um eine stabile Kopplung oder eine Trennung des Betätigungsabschnitts (19) an den/vom Kopf (18) zu ermöglichen.
     
    5. Maschine nach Anspruch 4, wobei ein jeder Kopf (18) einen zentralen Sitz (18a) zum Unterbringen eines Endes des Betätigungsabschnitts (19) aufweist, der ausgebildet ist, um mit dem zentralen Gehäusesitz (18a) zusammenzupassen; zwischen dem zentralen Sitz (18a) und dem Ende des Betätigungsabschnitts (19) sind Schnellverbindungs-/Ablösemittel (20) positioniert.
     
    6. Maschine nach Anspruch 5, wobei der Kopf (18) einen Sitz (18a) aufweist, der im Querschnitt in Form eines Kreuzes ausgebildet ist, und wobei das Ende des Betätigungsabschnitts (19) eine passende Form in der Form eines Kreuzes aufweist, sodass eine Kopplung des Betätigungsabschnitts (19) entsprechend zumindest zwei unterschiedlichen Ausrichtungen, die zueinander rechtwinklig gedreht sind, ermöglicht wird.
     
    7. Maschine nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, umfassend eine Hülle (21) zur äußeren Abdeckung, die durch Gleiten in den/vom Betätigungsabschnitt (19) des Zahns (10, 11, 12) koppelbar ist/herausgezogen werden kann und die durch Interferenz mit demselben Betätigungsabschnitt (19) gesperrt werden kann; wobei die Hülle (21) eine Außengröße des operative Kontakts mit der Gruppe (2) von Produkten aufweist, deren Abmessungen größer sind als die Abmessungen der Außengröße des Betätigungsabschnitts (19).
     
    8. Maschine nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei ein jeder Kopf (18) einen von dem Kopf (18) nach unten ragenden Stutzen (18b) aufweist und wobei der Betätigungsabschnitt (19) einen relativen Sektor (19a) aufweist, der neben dem Stutzen platziert werden kann, um ein oberes Teilstück des Betätigungsabschnitts (19) zu bilden; eine Zusammenfügungshülle (21), die durch Gleiten und Interferenz mit dem Stutzen (18b) und dem Betätigungsabschnitt (19) verbunden werden kann, so dass ein vollständiger einzelner Betätigungsabschnitt (19) gebildet wird.
     
    9. Maschine nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei ein jeder Wagen (9) mindestens umfasst:

    - zwei Endköpfe (22, 23), die mit einer Vielzahl an oberen Querrohren (24) verbunden sind, um die beiden Köpfe (22, 23) zusammenzufügen, um ein Querstück mit einer Breite gleich der Breite der Zuführebene (1) zu definieren;

    - mindestens zwei Halbköpfe (25, 26), die mit den oberen Rohren (24) verbunden sind und zur Assoziation mit den entsprechenden Ketten oder Riemen (8) ausgebildet sind;

    - mindestens einen Kopf (18), der einen Teil des Zahns (10, 11, 12) bildet und mindestens mit einem Paar von unteren Rohren (27) verbunden ist, die mit den beiden Endköpfen (22, 23) assoziiert sind, so dass es dem Kopf (18) eine Gleitverstellung entlang des Paars von unteren Rohren (27) ermöglicht wird;

    - mindestens einen Betätigungsabschnitt (19) in Kontakt mit der Gruppe (2) von Produkten, der abnehmbar mit dem Kopf (18) verbunden ist.


     
    10. Maschine nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Betätigungsabschnitt (19) eines jeden Zahns (10, 11, 12) die Form einer Klinge aufweist, die durch zwei Flächen verringerter Breite und zwei Flächen großer Breite definiert ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Machine à emballer des produits mous, comprenant au moins :

    - un plan (1) pour alimenter des groupes (2) de produits ;

    - une pluralité de poulies (3) situées aux deux extrémités du plan d'alimentation (1) et reliées sur au moins deux arbres (4, 5) entraînés indépendamment par au moins un premier (6) et un second (7) moteur ; sur les poulies (3) étant enroulées au moins deux paires de chaînes ou de courroies (8) parallèles et indépendantes l'une de l'autre, mobiles le long d'une première direction (D8) et d'une direction d'alimentation (V8), pour définir un parcours annulaire ayant une branche inférieure linéaire active (8a) faisant face au plan d'alimentation et une branche supérieure linéaire non active (8b) ;

    - une pluralité de chariots (9) qui sont reliés, alternativement en séquence, aux paires de chaînes ou de courroies motorisées (8) et répartis le long du parcours annulaire ; chaque chariot (9) supportant au moins une dent (10, 11, 12), faisant saillie vers le plan d'alimentation (1) pendant le passage sur la branche inférieure (8a), et configurée pour retenir et alimenter le long du plan d'alimentation (1) les groupes (2) de produits d'un compartiment de réception (13) à une zone (14) pour décharger et libérer le groupe (2) de produits ;

    - une unité de commande (15) reliée aux moteurs (6, 7) est configurée pour commander leur fonctionnement en fonction des variations de la distance entre les chariots (9) sur les paires relatives de chaînes ou de courroies (8) en fonction des variations de taille des groupes (2) de produits ;

    - des moyens de transfert (16) pour déplacer un groupe (2) de produits à la fois, avec une feuille correspondante (17) de matériau d'emballage pliée en forme de « U » autour du groupe (2) de produits, vers le plan d'alimentation (1) et vers le compartiment de réception (13) défini par une première (10) et une seconde (11) dent, le long d'une seconde direction (D16) transversale à la première direction (D8) ;

    le long de la branche linéaire inférieure (8a) des chaînes ou courroies (8) se trouve un nombre de chariots (8) égal au nombre de groupes (2) de produits positionnés ou arrivés sur le plan d'alimentation (1), dans le tronçon opérationnel entre le compartiment (13) destiné à recevoir le groupe (2) de produits et jusqu'à la zone de déchargement et de libération (14) ; chaque dent (10, 11, 12) étant configurée le long du tronçon opérationnel pour définir simultanément à la fois une dent de poussée et une dent de retenue lorsque la même dent (10, 11, 12) est interposée entre deux groupes (2) de produits consécutifs le long du plan d'alimentation (A), caractérisée en ce que chacune au moins une dent (10, 11, 12) présente sur chaque chariot (9) comprend au moins une tête (18) reliée de manière permanente au chariot (9) et au moins une partie opérationnelle (19) en contact avec les groupes (2) de produits qui peuvent être séparés de la tête (18) et reconnectés à celle-ci.
     
    2. Machine selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle la section linéaire inférieure (8a) définie par les courroies ou chaînes (8) a une succession de dents (10, 11, 12) le long du tronçon opérationnel, comprenant au moins, dans une configuration opérationnelle minimale, une première dent (10) pour pousser et une seconde dent (11) pour contenir positionnées sur des côtés opposés du compartiment de réception (13) pour recevoir un premier groupe (2) de produits, et dans laquelle la seconde dent (11), positionnée en aval par rapport à la première dent (10) par rapport à la direction d'alimentation (V8), est interposée entre le premier groupe (2) de produits et un second groupe (2) de produits, positionné en aval du premier groupe (2) de produits par rapport à la direction d'alimentation (V8), de manière à définir également une dent pour pousser le second groupe (2) de produits.
     
    3. Machine selon la revendication 2, dans laquelle une troisième dent (12), située en aval de la deuxième dent (11) par rapport à la direction d'alimentation (V8), est interposée entre le deuxième groupe (2) de produits et un troisième groupe (2) de produits, positionné en aval du deuxième groupe (2) de produits par rapport à la direction d'alimentation (V8), de manière à définir une dent pour contenir le deuxième groupe (2) de produits et une dent pour pousser le troisième groupe (2) de produits vers la zone de déchargement et de libération (14).
     
    4. Machine selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant des moyens (20) pour une connexion / un détachement rapide positionnés entre la tête (18) et la partie de contact de fonctionnement (19) pour permettre un couplage stable ou une séparation de la partie opérationnelle (19) vers / depuis la tête (18) .
     
    5. Machine selon la revendication 4, dans laquelle chaque tête (18) a un siège central (18a) pour loger une extrémité de la partie opérationnelle (19) configurée pour correspondre au siège de logement central (18a) ; entre le siège central (18a) et l'extrémité de la partie opérationnelle (19) se trouvant positionnés les moyens de connexion / détachement rapide (20).
     
    6. Machine selon la revendication 5, dans laquelle la tête (18) a un siège (18a) configuré, en coupe transversale, sous la forme d'une croix, et dans laquelle l'extrémité de la partie opérationnelle (19) a une forme adaptée sous la forme d'une croix de manière à permettre un couplage de la partie opérationnelle (19) selon au moins deux orientations différentes l'une par rapport à l'autre, tournées d'un angle droit.
     
    7. Machine selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant une gaine (21) pour revêtement externe qui peut être accouplée à / retirée par coulissement dans / de la partie opérationnelle (19) de la dent (10, 11, 12) et qui peut être verrouillée, par interférence, à la même partie opérationnelle (19) ; la gaine (21) ayant une dimension externe, de contact opérationnel avec le groupe (2) de produits, avec des dimensions supérieures aux dimensions de la dimension externe de la partie opérationnelle (19).
     
    8. Machine selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle chaque tête (18) a un ergot (18b) faisant saillie vers le bas à partir de la tête (18) et dans laquelle la partie opérationnelle (19) a un secteur relatif (19a) qui peut être placé le long de l'ergot pour former un tronçon supérieur de la partie opérationnelle (19) ; une gaine de jonction (21) qui peut être couplée par coulissement et interférence à l'ergot (18b) et à la partie opérationnelle (19) de manière à former une seule partie opérationnelle complète (19).
     
    9. Machine selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle chaque chariot (9) comprend au moins :

    - deux têtes d'extrémité (22, 23) reliées à une pluralité de tubes transversaux supérieurs (24) pour joindre les deux têtes (22, 23) afin de définir une traverse ayant une largeur égale à la largeur du plan d'alimentation (1) ;

    - au moins deux demi-têtes (25, 26) reliées aux tubes supérieurs (24) et configurées pour s'associer aux chaînes ou courroies (8) correspondantes ;

    - au moins une tête (18) formant une partie de la dent (10, 11, 12) et reliée au moins à une paire de tubes inférieurs (27), associés aux deux têtes d'extrémité (22, 23), de manière à permettre à la tête (18) un ajustement coulissant le long de la paire de tubes inférieurs (27) ;

    - au moins une partie opérationnelle (19) en contact avec le groupe (2) de produits reliés, de façon amovible, à la tête (18).


     
    10. Machine selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle la partie opérationnelle (19) de chaque dent (10, 11, 12) a la forme d'une lame définie par deux surfaces de largeur réduite et deux surfaces de grande largeur.
     




    Drawing


























    Cited references

    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