(19)
(11)EP 3 838 818 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
07.09.2022 Bulletin 2022/36

(21)Application number: 20206731.0

(22)Date of filing:  10.11.2020
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B65H 19/10(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
B65H 19/105; B65H 2406/31; B65H 2301/5151

(54)

A METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PREPARING EDGES OF REELS OF WEB MATERIAL

VERFAHREN UND VORRICHTUNG ZUR VORBEREITUNG VON ENDEN VON BAHNMATERIALROLLEN

PROCÉDÉ ET APPAREIL DE PRÉPARATION DE BORDS DE BOBINES DE MATÉRIAU EN BANDE


(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: 18.12.2019 IT 201900024556

(43)Date of publication of application:
23.06.2021 Bulletin 2021/25

(73)Proprietor: Fameccanica.Data S.p.A.
66020 San Giovanni Teatino (CH) (IT)

(72)Inventors:
  • GIANSANTE, Antonio
    I-66020 San Giovanni Teatino (Chieti) (IT)
  • CUCCHIELLA, Devin
    I-66020 San Giovanni Teatino (Chieti) (IT)

(74)Representative: Marchitelli, Mauro 
Buzzi, Notaro & Antonielli d'Oulx S.p.A. Corso Vittorio Emanuele ll, 6
10123 Torino
10123 Torino (IT)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 0 943 568
DE-A1- 4 236 691
GB-A- 2 101 919
US-A1- 2003 015 296
DE-A1- 4 040 545
GB-A- 2 091 224
US-A- 5 197 688
  
      
    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

    Field of the invention



    [0001] The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for preparing edges of reels of web material.

    [0002] The invention has been developed, in particular, for applying to the field of producing absorbent sanitary articles. In the following description, reference will be made to this specific field without however losing generality.

    Description of the prior art



    [0003] In machines for producing absorbent sanitary articles, large quantities of web materials are used, for example, non-woven fabric. The web material used in machines for producing absorbent sanitary articles is contained in reels having a width equal to the width of the web material, and a diameter in the order of 1-1.5 meters.

    [0004] Modern machines for producing absorbent sanitary articles operate at increasingly higher speeds, so that the speed of unwinding of the web materials from the reels tends to becomes faster and faster, increasing the frequency with which the finished reels are replaced with new reels.

    [0005] Replacing a finished reel with a new reel must be carried out by maintaining continuity between the web material coming from the reel close to finishing and the web material coming from the new reel, in order not to interrupt the operation of the machine. The continuity of the web material is obtained by making a joint, usually made by means of adhesive, between the tail portion of the web that is unwinding from a reel in the process of finishing with the leading portion of a web wound on a new reel.

    [0006] In order to quickly and automatically create the joint on the unwinding assemblies of the reels, it is necessary to preliminarily carry out an adequate preparation of the leading edges of the new reels.

    [0007] Solutions are known that envisage carrying out the preparation of the edges and the joint between the webs of two reels directly on the unwinding assembly of the machine for producing absorbent sanitary articles. One example of this prior art is described in EP-A-1277683 by the same Applicant.

    [0008] Preparation of the edges of the reels carried out directly on the unwinding assembly could cause the machine to stop in case of malfunctions or jams of the automatic device for preparing the edges.

    [0009] For this reason, it may be preferable to carry out the preparation of the edges of the reels off-line in order to load the reels - with the edges ready for carrying out the joint - onto the unwinding assemblies of the machine for producing absorbent sanitary articles.

    [0010] There is, therefore, a need to provide apparatuses to automatically carry out the preparation of the edges of the reels off-line, capable of operating quickly, efficiently and minimizing the risk of jams. In this respect it is noted that both the documents DE 40 40 545 A1 D1 and EP 0 943 568 A1 show a method for preparing edges of reels of web material, comprising:
    • arranging a plurality of reel(s) in an entry station arranged with the respective axes aligned along a horizontal axis, and
    • picking up a reel in said entry station by means of a reel-taking device translatable along at least one horizontal direction and having a horizontal shaft which engages a central hole of the reel. However, in the methods disclosed in these documents it is not the reel taking device which is translatable, but the reel holding devices, i.e. the belts on which the reels are supported. The same applies in corresponding fashion to the devices disclosed in these documents.

    Object and summary of the invention



    [0011] The present invention aims to provide a method and an apparatus for preparing edges of reels of web material that satisfies the aforesaid requirements

    [0012] According to the present invention, this object is achieved, by a method and by an apparatus having the characteristics forming the subject of claims 1 and 8.

    [0013] The claims form an integral part of the disclosure provided here in relation to the invention.

    Brief description of the drawings



    [0014] The present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the attached drawings, given purely by way of non-limiting example, wherein:
    • Figure 1 is a perspective view of a reel-holder unit for transporting reels of web material,
    • Figure 2 is a perspective view illustrating the reel-holder unit of Figure 1 loaded with a plurality of reels of web material,
    • Figure 3 is a schematic perspective view that illustrates the reel-holder unit of Figures 1 and 2 associated with an automatic guided vehicle,
    • Figures 4 and 5 are front elevation views illustrating the operation of the automatic guided vehicle used for transporting the reel-holder unit,
    • Figure 6 is a perspective view that illustrates the transport of the reel-holder unit by means of a fork conveyor,
    • Figure 7 is a detail on a larger scale of the part indicated by the arrow VII in Figure 6,
    • Figure 8 is a perspective view of an apparatus for preparing edges of reels of web material,
    • Figures 9-20 are schematic perspective views illustrating the sequence of operations for applying adhesive elements on the outer surface of the edge of web material,
    • Figures 21-31 are schematic perspective views illustrating the sequence of operations for applying adhesive elements on the inner surface of the edge of web material, and
    • Figures 32a, 32b - 35a, 35b are schematic views illustrating possible arrangements of the reels on unwinding assemblies.

    Detailed description



    [0015] With reference to Figures 1-6, numeral 10 indicates a reel-holder unit configured to support a plurality of reels of web material 12. The reel-holder unit 10 is used to transport the reels of web material 12 in a production plant, for example, in a plant for producing absorbent sanitary articles.

    [0016] With reference in particular to Figure 1, the reel-holder unit 10 comprises a frame 14 having a vertical longitudinal plane 16. The frame 14 comprises two frame sections 18 arranged on opposite sides of the vertical longitudinal plane 16. The two frame sections 18 are separated and spaced apart in a direction perpendicular to the vertical longitudinal plane 16.

    [0017] The frame 14 comprises a header 20 which joins together the two frame sections 18. The header 20 is located at a first front end of the frame 14. The second front end of the frame 14, opposite the header 20, is open. The two frame sections 18 extend horizontally from the header 20 according to a general U-shaped configuration, so as to leave a free passage space between the two frame sections 18. The two frame sections 18 may be provided with respective feet 22 for resting on the ground.

    [0018] The two frame sections 18 comprise respective reel support bars 24 which extend horizontally along respective axes parallel to the vertical longitudinal plane 16. The reel support bars 24 may have respective flat surfaces inclined with respect to a vertical plane and arranged according to a general V configuration upwardly open.

    [0019] With reference to Figure 2, the reels of web material 12 are arranged in an upright position on the reel-holder unit 10. The outer circumferential surfaces of the reels 12 rest on the two reel support bars 24. The two reel support bars 24 are spaced apart by a distance determined as a function of the diameter of the reels 12, so as to stably support the reels 12 in an upright position.

    [0020] The reels 12 are arranged on the reel-holder unit 10 with their respective axes A aligned with each other. The adjacent reels 12 are in contact with each other along respective vertical front surfaces.

    [0021] After having loaded an array of reels 12 on the reel-holder unit 10, a removable tailboard 26 may be applied to the open end of the frame 12. The reels 12 located at the opposite ends of the array of reels rest frontally against the header 20 or against the removable tailboard 26. In this way, the array of reels 12 is constrained to the frame 14 in the direction of the longitudinal axis A, and prevents the reels 12 from falling during transport.

    [0022] With reference to Figures 1-3, the reel-holder unit 10 may comprise a protective cover 28. The protective cover 28 may be extended and retracted telescopically in the direction of the axis A. Figures 1 and 2 illustrate the protective cover in the retracted position, and Figures 3 and 6 show the protective cover 28 in the extended position. The protective cover 28 may, for example, be formed by a plurality of circular sectors which can be interpenetrable and extendable relative to each other. In the extended position, the protective cover 28 may have a tubular shape which extends around the array of reels 12 positioned on the frame 14.

    [0023] With reference to Figure 3, the reel-holder unit 10 may be moved by means of an automatic guided vehicle (AGV) 30. With reference to Figures 4 and 5, the automatic guided vehicle 30 may be inserted into the center of the frame 14 between the two frame sections 18. The two frame sections 18 may have respective brackets 32 protruding inwards. The automatic guided vehicle 30 may have a vertically-movable support 34, which can be moved between a lowered position (Figure 4) and a raised position (Figure 5). As can be seen in Figure 5, the vertically-movable support 34 of the automatic guided vehicle 30 may rest on the brackets 32 of the frame sections 18 to lift the reel-holder 10 and the reels 12 supported thereby from the ground. In the configuration wherein the reel-holder unit 10 is raised from the ground, the automatic guided vehicle 30 may transport the reel-holder unit 10 and the relative reels 12 along a programmable path.

    [0024] With reference to Figures 6 and 7, in a possible embodiment, the reel-holder unit 10 can be moved by means of a fork lifter 36, such as, for example, a transpallet or a forklift truck. The two frame sections 18 of the reel-holder unit 10 may be provided with longitudinal seats 38 (Figure 7) shaped to receive the forks of the fork lifter 36.

    [0025] The reels 12 are positioned on the reel-holder 10 using a hoist or similar lifting systems. The reels 12 may be loaded onto the reel-holder unit 10 so that the respective unwinding directions, indicated by the arrow B, are concordant with each other. The reels 12 have respective leading edges 40, which are usually glued to the outer surfaces of the respective reels 12, to prevent the end portion of the web material from unwinding from the reel during transport. The leading edges 40 of the various reels 12 loaded onto the reel-holder unit 10 may be arranged in a random orientation.

    [0026] With reference to Figure 8, numeral 50 indicates - in its entirety - an apparatus for preparing the edges of the reels of web material 12. The term "preparing the edges" means all the preliminary operations necessary to carry out the joint between the webs of two reels. In particular, for preparing the edges of the reels, it is necessary to remove the portion of web material forming the outer turn of each reel 12 (which is frequently dirty or damaged), and to apply on the leading edge of the reel - formed after removing the outer turn - the elements necessary for joining a corresponding reel to the tail edge. Generally, a layer of double-sided adhesive tape is applied to the leading edge of each reel, which is used to join to the tail portion of a web of a reel in the process of finishing. Metallic elements may also be applied to the leading edge of each reel, which allow detection of the joint zone, by means of a metal detector. In some cases it is also envisaged to apply adhesive elements along the side edges adjacent to the leading edge to stiffen the leading edge.

    [0027] One of the aspects to be taken into consideration during the preparation of the edges of the reels 12 is that preparing the edges is normally carried out on the outer side or the inner side of the webs. Figures 32a, 32b to 35a, 35b illustrate possible arrangements of the reels 12 on automatic unwinding assemblies. These Figures are useful to understand why preparing the edges must normally be carried out on the outer side or the inner side of the webs. An automatic unwinding assembly of a production machine generally has two winders that carry a reel being unwound and a reserve reel, respectively. In Figures 32a, 32b to 35a, 35b, the reels 12 are rotatable on respective unwinding winders around their respective axes A. The arrows B indicate the unwinding direction of the webs, which coincides with the rotation direction of the reels 12 around the respective axes A while unwinding the webs. In Figures 32a - 35a, the reel 12 mounted on the right winder is the reel being unwound, and the reel mounted on the left winder is the reserve reel. In Figures 32b - 35b, the reel 12 mounted on the left winder is the reel being unwound, and the reel mounted on the right winder is the reserve reel. The reserve reels 12 have an adhesive element 90 applied to the leading portion of the web, which serves to join the leading portion of the web of the reserve reel with the tail portion of the web of the reel being unwound, when the reel is being unwound and is almost finished. As can be seen in Figures 32a, 32b to 35a, 35b, depending on the unwinding direction of the reels 12 (clockwise or anticlockwise), and depending on the path of the web on a deflection roller, the adhesive element 90 must be arranged on the outer side or on the inner side of the web of the reserve reel 12.

    [0028] In particular, in the arrangement of Figures 32a, 32b, the adhesive element 90 must be on the outer side of the web when the reserve reel 12 is mounted on the left winder (Figure 32a) and, instead, must be on the inner side of the web when the reserve reel 12 is mounted on the right winder (Figure 32b).

    [0029] In the arrangement of Figures 33a, 33b, the adhesive element 90 must be on the inner side of the web when the reserve reel 12 is mounted on the left winder (Figure 33a) and, instead, must be on the outer side of the web when the reserve reel 12 is mounted on the right winder (Figure 33b).

    [0030] In the arrangement of Figures 34a, 34b, the adhesive element 90 must be on the outer side of the web both when the reserve reel 12 is mounted on the left winder (Figure 34a) and when the reserve reel 12 is mounted on the right winder (Figure 34b).

    [0031] In the arrangement of Figures 35a, 35b, the adhesive element 90 must be on the inner side of the web both when the reserve reel 12 is mounted on the left winder (Figure 35a) and when the reserve reel 12 is mounted on the right winder (Figure 35b).

    [0032] The arrangement of Figures 34a, 34b and 35a, 35b is advantageous as the adhesive element 90 always remains on the same side of the web regardless of where the reserve reel is mounted.

    [0033] With reference to Figure 8, the apparatus 50 comprises an inlet station 52 and an outlet station 54 at which respective reel-holder units 10 can be arranged. The apparatus 50 comprises a reel pick-up device 56, which is configured to pick up a reel 12 from the reel-holder unit 10 located at the inlet station 12, to retain the reel 12 during the edge-preparation operations, and to deposit the reel 12 with the prepared edge on the reel-holder unit 10 located at the outlet station 54.

    [0034] With reference to Figure 8, the two reel-holder units 10 are positioned at the inlet station 52 and at the outlet station 54, with their respective open sides facing the operation area of the apparatus 50.

    [0035] With reference to Figure 10, the reel pick-up device 56 comprises a base 58 which can be moved along at least one straight direction C, a rotatable support 60 that rotates with respect to the base 58 around a vertical axis D, an upright 62 that extends upwards from the rotatable support 60, and a horizontal shaft 64 extending along a horizontal axis E, perpendicular with respect to the vertical axis D. The shaft 64 may be carried by a translatable support 66, movable in a vertical direction with respect to the upright 62.

    [0036] With reference to Figure 10, the translation direction C of the reel pick-up device 56 is aligned with the central longitudinal plane 16 of the reel-holder 10 located at the inlet station 52. For picking-up a reel 12, the reel pick-up device 56 is brought closer to the reel-holder unit 10 located at the inlet station 52. The vertical position of the shaft 64 is adjusted so that the shaft 64 is aligned with respect to the central holes 68 (aligned with each other) of the reels 12 positioned on the reel-holder unit 10. The base 58 of the reel pick-up device 56 can be freely inserted between the two frame sections 18 of the reel-holder unit 10 to pick up the reels 12 spaced apart from the open side of the reel-holder unit 10.

    [0037] During the movement of the reel pick-up device 56 in the direction C towards the reel-holder unit 10, the shaft 64 fits into the center hole 68 of the reel 12 closest to the open side of the reel-holder 10. When the shaft 64 has engaged the hole 68 of the reel 12 located at the end of the array, the translation movement of the base 58 is stopped. The shaft 64 may also engage several reels 12 simultaneously. For example, the shaft 64 may simultaneously engage two reels 12 having a smaller width than a reel that can be picked up individually.

    [0038] At this point, the shaft 64 is lifted in the vertical direction and the reel 12 engaged by the shaft 64 is lifted from the reel support bars 24 of the reel-holder unit 10. At this point, the reel pick-up device 56 moves in the direction C, moving away the reel 12 engaged by the shaft 64 from the remaining reels 12 supported by the reel-holder unit 10.

    [0039] After picking-up a reel 12 by means of the reel pick-up device 56, the automatic sequence for preparing the edge begins. As previously indicated, the edge-preparation operation may involve the outer surface or the inner surface of the web material, depending on how the reel is mounted on the unwinding assembly of the production machine (see Figures 32a, 32b - 35a, 35b.)

    [0040] The apparatus 50 is able to automatically carry out the preparation of the edges of the reels both on the outer side and on the inner side of the web material. In a possible embodiment, the apparatus 50 may be configured to alternatively carry out preparation of the edges on the outer side and on the inner side of the web material, so as to obtain - on the reel-holder unit 10 located at the outlet station 54 - reels with the joint elements located on the outer side, and reels with the joint elements located on the inner side alternating with each other. Preparing the edge on the outer side or on the inner side may be carried out in alternating sequence, or preparing the edges of a certain number of reels on the outer side and a certain number of reels on the inner side can be programmed, as required.

    [0041] Figures 11-20 schematically illustrate the sequence for preparing the edge of a reel on the outer side of the web material, and Figures 21-31 schematically illustrate the sequence for preparing the edge of a reel on the inner side of the web material.

    [0042] With reference to Figures 8 and 11, the apparatus 50 comprises a feeder 70 configured for feeding adhesive elements intended to be applied on the reels 12. The feeder 70 may, for example, comprise two rollers 72, which can be operated to advance a belt 74 on which arrays of adhesive elements can be arranged. The apparatus 50 may also comprise a manipulator 76, for example, an anthropomorphic robot, configured to pick up adhesive elements from the feeder 70 and to apply the adhesive elements to the outer surface of the reel 12. The manipulator 76 may have a head 78 configured for picking up the adhesive elements from the belt 74 of the feeder 70. The head 78 of the manipulator 76 may, for example, pick up the adhesive elements by suction.

    [0043] With reference to Figures 10, 11 and 12, in order to prepare the edge on the outer side of the web material, after a reel has been picked up by the pick-up device 56, the reel 12 is rotated by 180° around the vertical axis D, as indicated by the arrow F in Figure 11, by means of a rotation around the axis D of the rotatable support 60 of the reel pick-up device 56. As illustrated in Figures 11 and 12, the manipulator 76 picks up a first adhesive element 80 from the feeder 70 and applies it to the outer surface of the reel 12.

    [0044] The position at which the first adhesive element 80 is applied (Figure 12) is known to the control unit since the coordinates of the head 78 of the manipulator 76 are known at the moment wherein the first adhesive element 80 is applied to the outer surface of the reel 12.

    [0045] In a possible embodiment, the first adhesive element 80 may have an inner adhesive surface that is applied in contact with the outer surface of the reel 12 and an outer surface impermeable to gases, which allows the adhesive element 80 to be picked up by suction.

    [0046] With reference to Figures 13 and 14, the first adhesive element 80 applied to the outer surface of the reel 12 is gripped by means of a gripping member 82. The gripping member 82 may be a roller connected to a suction source, which picks up the first adhesive element 80 by suction. This allows gripping of the outer turn of the reel 12 by suction, even in the case in which the web material is a porous material (typically a non-woven fabric). In a possible embodiment, the apparatus 50 may comprise a gripping tool 84, which carries two gripping members 82 parallel to each other.

    [0047] The gripping member 82 can grip the outer turn of the reel 12, without the need to know the position of the leading edge 40 of the reel, since the gripping of the web material is carried out on the first adhesive element 80 whose position is known by the electronic control unit of the apparatus 50.

    [0048] After gripping the first adhesive element 80, the gripping tool 84 moves the gripping member 82 away from the reel 12. In this way, a loop is formed between the outer turn of web material and the remaining part of the reel 12. As illustrated in Figure 14, a cutting device 86 is inserted into the loop formed by the outer turn of web material and transversely cuts the web material. In a possible embodiment, cutting of the web material may be carried out between the two gripping members 82 of the gripping tool 84. The transverse cutting of the web material is performed downstream of the gripping area with reference to the direction of unwinding the web B.

    [0049] After transversely cutting the web, the gripping tool 84 may be rotated as illustrated in Figure 15 to move the end of the web generated by the transverse cut away from the reel 12. This end is picked up by a suction device 88. While the end of the web material is aspirated by the suction device 88, a section of web material with a length equal to or greater than the circumference of the reel 12 is unwound from the reel 12. In this way, all the web material forming the outer turn is unwound from the reel 12, including the section comprising the leading edge 40. The web section that is unwound from the reel 12 is aspirated by the suction device 88.

    [0050] With reference to Figure 15, during the unwinding and suction step of the web section forming the outer turn of the reel 12, the web may be held in a horizontal position between the two gripping members 82 of the gripping tool 84. The outer surface of the web section unwound from the reel 12 faces upwards.

    [0051] With reference to Figure 16, at the end of the unwinding and suction step of the web section forming the outer turn of the reel 12, the manipulator 76 picks up a second adhesive element 90 and applies it to the outer surface of the web material. The manipulator 76 may apply the second adhesive element 90 with a top-down movement on the web section obtained in a horizontal position. A movable contrast surface 92 (Figure 15) may be provided, which is arranged under the horizontal web to provide a support surface against which the head 78 can be pressed for applying the second adhesive element 90. The manipulator 76 may pick up the second adhesive element 90 from the same feeder 70 from which the first adhesive element 80 (which was discarded with the material forming the outer turn of the reel 12) was previously picked-up. The second adhesive element 90 may be a double-sided adhesive tape and may have metal elements integrated therein to allow detection of the joint zone of the two webs by means of a metal detector.

    [0052] After applying the second adhesive element 90, the cutting device 86 transversely cuts the web material downstream of the second adhesive element 90 as illustrated in Figure 17. The section of cut web material is aspirated by the suction device 88 and is discarded as waste.

    [0053] In a possible embodiment, two or more adhesive elements 90 each having specific properties may be applied.

    [0054] Then, as illustrated in Figure 18, the end web portion on which the second adhesive element 90 has been applied is rewound onto the reel 12. Rewinding may be carried out by rotating the shaft 64 of the reel pick-up device 56 in the direction C opposite to the unwinding direction of the reel 12.

    [0055] The step of preparing the edge of the reel may be concluded by applying an adhesive closing element 94 to the end of the web material (Figures 18 and 19). Applying the adhesive closure element 94 may be carried out by means of the manipulator 76, which can pick up the adhesive closing element 94 from the feeder 70 as shown in Figure 18.

    [0056] With reference to Figures 19 and 20, at the end of the steps for preparing the edge of the reel 12, the reel pick-up device 56 moves in the direction D towards the outlet station 54, and deposits the reel 12 on the reel-holder unit 10 located at the outlet station 54. The reel-holder unit 10 located at the outlet section 54 has its open side facing the reel pick-up device 56 so that the reel pick-up device 56 can be inserted between the two frame sections 18 of the reel-holder unit 10 until the reel 12 comes into contact with the header 20 of the reel-holder unit 10, or with a previously deposited reel 12. At this point, the reel 12 is placed on the reel support bars 24 of the reel-holder 10, and the reel pick-up device 56 is moved away from the outlet station 54 by extracting the shaft 64 from the central hole 68 of the reel 12.

    [0057] Figures 21-31 illustrate the sequence of operations for preparing the edges of the reels 12 on the inner side of the web material.

    [0058] Figure 21 illustrates the picking-up of a reel by the reel pick-up device 56 at the inlet station 52. This operation takes place in the same way as previously described.

    [0059] With reference to Figure 22, after picking up a reel 12 by means of the reel pick-up device 56, the reel 12 is held by the reel pick-up device 56 in the same orientation with which it was picked up by the reel-holder unit 10.

    [0060] With reference to Figures 22 and 23, the manipulator 76 picks up a first adhesive element 80 from the feeder 70 and applies it to the outer surface of the reel 12, as in the embodiment described above.

    [0061] Then, as illustrated in Figure 24, the first adhesive element 80 is picked up by the gripping member 82 and is moved away from the reel to form a loop.

    [0062] With reference to Figure 25, the cutting member 86 is introduced into the loop and carries out the transverse cut of the web material downstream of the first adhesive element 80 with reference to the unwinding direction of the reel 12 indicated by the arrow B.

    [0063] With reference to Figure 26, as in the embodiment described above, a web section with a length equal to or greater than the length of the circumference of the reel 12 is then unwound, and this web section is aspirated by the suction device 88. As shown in Figure 26, in this embodiment, the inner side of the web section unwound from the reel 12 faces upwards.

    [0064] With reference to Figure 27, the manipulator 76 picks up a second adhesive element 90 and applies it to the inner surface of the web section unwound from the reel 12. Then, as illustrated in Figure 28, the cutting device 86 carries out the transverse cut of the web section unwound from the reel 12 downstream of the second adhesive element 90. The cut leading portion of the web is aspirated by the suction device 88 and is discarded as waste.

    [0065] Then, as illustrated in Figure 29, the web section unwound from the reel 12 that remains after cutting the leading portion is rewound on the reel 12 by rotating the, reel around the horizontal axis A in the direction C opposite to the unwinding direction B of the reel 12. At this point, the manipulator 76 may apply an adhesive closing element 94 to attach the edge of the web material onto the outer surface of the reel 12.

    [0066] Then, as illustrated in Figure 30, the reel 12 is rotated by 180° around a vertical axis by rotation of the rotating support 60 of the reel pick-up device 56.

    [0067] Finally, as illustrated in Figure 31, the reel 12 is deposited on the reel-holder unit 10 located at the outlet station 54.

    [0068] The reels 12 arranged on the reel-holder unit 10 in the outlet station 54 may all be arranged with the respective unwinding directions B in agreement with each other.

    [0069] In a possible embodiment, the apparatus 50 may be configured to alternately carry out the preparation of the edges of the reels 12 on the outer surface and on the inner surface of the web material, so that the reels deposited on the reel-holder unit 10 in the station outlet 54 can alternately be arranged on the downstream winder and on the upstream winder of an unwinding assembly.

    [0070] When the reel-holding unit 10 located at the outlet station 54 is complete, it is transported to an unwinding assembly of a production machine where the reels are loaded manually or automatically onto the winders of the unwinding unit.


    Claims

    1. A method for preparing edges of reels of web material, comprising:

    - arranging a plurality of reels (12) in an inlet station (52) arranged with the respective axes (A) aligned along a horizontal axis,

    - picking up a reel (12) in said inlet station (52) by means of a reel pick-up device (56) translatable along at least one horizontal direction (C) and having a horizontal shaft (64) that engages a central hole (68) of the reel (12),

    - applying a first adhesive element (80) on the outer surface of the reel (12),

    - gripping said first adhesive element (80) by means of a gripping member (82) and moving the gripping member (82) away from the reel (12) so as to form a loop between a section of the outer turn of the web material and the remaining part of the reel (12),

    - inserting a cutting member (86) into said loop and transversely cutting the web material downstream of said first adhesive element (80) with reference to the unwinding direction (B) of the reel (12),

    - unwinding a section of web material with a length equal to or greater than the length of the circumference of the reel (12) and aspirating one end of web material unwound from the reel (12),

    - applying a second adhesive element (90) on an outer surface or on an inner surface of the section of web material unwound from the reel (12),

    - transversely cutting the section of unwound web material downstream of the second adhesive element (90) and discarding as waste the section of unwound web material downstream of the cut,

    - rewinding the remaining section of web material onto the reel, and

    - depositing the reel (12) in an outlet station (54) .


     
    2. The method according to claim 1, comprising alternatively applying said second adhesive element (90) onto the outer surface of the web material of a first reel (12) and onto the inner surface of the web material of a second reel (12).
     
    3. The method according to claim 1 or claim 2, comprising rotating said reel (12) by 180° about a vertical axis perpendicular to the axis of the reel (A) between the step of picking up the reel (12) at the inlet station (52) and the step of depositing the reel (12) in the outlet station (54).
     
    4. The method according to claim 3, wherein said step of rotating the reel (12) about a vertical axis (D) is performed before applying said first adhesive element (80) onto the outer surface of the reel (12).
     
    5. The method according to claim 3, wherein said step of rotating the reel (12) around a vertical axis (D) is performed after applying said second adhesive element (90).
     
    6. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising applying an adhesive closing element (94) for attaching the edge of the web material having said second adhesive element (90) on the surface of the reel (12).
     
    7. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein applying said first adhesive element (80) and said second adhesive element (90) is carried out by means of an anthropomorphic robot (76).
     
    8. An apparatus for preparing edges of reels (12) of web material, comprising:

    - a reel pick-up device (56) that can be translated along at least one horizontal direction (C), and having a horizontal shaft (64) configured to fit into a central hole (68) of a reel (12),

    - a manipulator (76) configured to apply a first adhesive element (80) on the outer surface of a reel (12) held by said reel pick-up device (56),

    - a gripping member (82) configured to grip said first adhesive element (80) on the outer surface of the reel (12) and to distance said first adhesive element (80) from the outer surface of the reel (12) so as to form a loop,

    - a cutting device (86) configured to transversely cut the web material at said loop,

    - a suction device (88) configured for aspirating a portion of web material unwound from said reel (12), wherein said manipulator (76) is also configured to apply a second adhesive element (90) on a section of web material unwound from said reel (12), and wherein said cutting device (86) is also configured to transversely cut the web material unwound from the reel (12) downstream of said second adhesive element (90), and wherein said suction device (88) is configured to discard as waste the section of cut web material downstream of the second adhesive element (90), wherein said reel pick-up device (56) is configured to rewind the section of web material onto the reel (12) after applying said second adhesive element (90) and to deposit the reel (12) in the outlet station (54).


     
    9. The apparatus according to claim 8, comprising a first reel-holder unit (10) located at an inlet station (52) and a second reel-holder unit (10) located at an outlet station (54), said reel-holder units (10) being configured to carry a plurality of reels (12) arranged with the respective axes (A) aligned along a horizontal axis.
     
    10. The apparatus according to claim 8 or claim 9, wherein said reel pick-up device (56) can be inserted inside said reel-holder units (10) for picking up and releasing the reels (12).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren zum Vorbereiten der Enden von Bahnmaterialrollen, umfassend:

    - Anordnen einer Vielzahl von Rollen (12) in einer Einlassstation (52), die mit den jeweiligen Achsen (A) entlang einer horizontalen Achse ausgerichtet angeordnet sind,

    - Aufnehmen einer Rolle (12) in der Einlassstation (52) mittels einer Rollenaufnahmevorrichtung (56), die entlang mindestens einer horizontalen Richtung (C) verschiebbar ist und einen horizontalen Schaft (64) aufweist, der in ein mittiges Loch (68) der Rolle (12) eingreift,

    - Aufbringen eines ersten Klebeelements (80) auf die Außenfläche der Rolle (12),

    - Greifen des ersten Klebeelements (80) mittels eines Greifelements (82) und Wegbewegen des Greifelements (82) von der Rolle (12), um eine Schlaufe zwischen einem Abschnitt der äußeren Windung des Bahnmaterials und dem restlichen Teil der Rolle (12) zu bilden,

    - Einführen eines Schneidelements (86) in die Schlaufe und Querschneiden des Bahnmaterials stromabwärts des ersten Klebeelements (80) in Bezug auf die Abwickelrichtung (B) der Rolle (12),

    - Abwickeln eines Abschnitts des Bahnmaterials mit einer Länge, die gleich oder größer als die Länge des Umfangs der Rolle (12) ist, und Ansaugen eines Endes des von der Rolle (12) abgewickelten Bahnmaterials,

    - Aufbringen eines zweiten Klebeelements (90) auf eine Außenfläche oder auf eine Innenfläche des von der Rolle (12) abgewickelten Abschnitts des Bahnmaterials,

    - Querschneiden des Abschnitts des abgewickelten Bahnmaterials stromabwärts des zweiten Klebeelements (90) und Aussondern des Abschnitts des abgewickelten Bahnmaterials stromabwärts des Schnitts als Abfall,

    - Wiederaufwickeln des restlichen Abschnitts des Bahnmaterials auf die Rolle, und

    - Ablegen der Rolle (12) in einer Auslassstation (54) .


     
    2. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 1, umfassend ein abwechselndes Aufbringen des zweiten Klebeelements (90) auf die Außenfläche des Bahnmaterials einer ersten Rolle (12) und auf die Innenfläche des Bahnmaterials einer zweiten Rolle (12).
     
    3. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 1 oder 2, umfassend ein Drehen der Rolle (12) um 180° um eine vertikale, rechtwinklig zur Rollenachse (A) liegende Achse zwischen dem Schritt des Aufnehmens der Rolle (12) an der Einlassstation (52) und dem Schritt des Ablegens der Rolle (12) in der Auslassstation (54).
     
    4. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 3, wobei der Schritt des Drehens der Rolle (12) um eine vertikale Achse (D) vor dem Aufbringen des ersten Klebeelements (80) auf die Außenfläche der Rolle (12) durchgeführt wird.
     
    5. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 3, wobei der Schritt des Drehens der Spule (12) um eine vertikale Achse (D) nach dem Aufbringen des zweiten Klebeelements (90) durchgeführt wird.
     
    6. Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, umfassend das Aufbringen eines klebenden Verschlusselements (94) zum Befestigen des Endes des Bahnmaterials mit dem zweiten Klebeelement (90) auf der Oberfläche der Rolle (12).
     
    7. Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Aufbringen des ersten Klebeelements (80) und des zweiten Klebeelements (90) mittels eines anthropomorphen Roboters (76) durchgeführt wird.
     
    8. Vorrichtung zum Vorbereiten der Enden von Bahnmaterialrollen (12), umfassend:

    - eine Rollenaufnahmevorrichtung (56), die entlang mindestens einer horizontalen Richtung (C) verschoben werden kann und einen horizontalen Schaft (64) aufweist, der dazu ausgelegt ist, in ein mittiges Loch (68) einer Rolle (12) zu passen,

    - einen Manipulator (76), der dazu ausgelegt ist, ein erstes Klebeelement (80) auf die Außenfläche einer durch die Rollenaufnahmevorrichtung (56) gehaltenen Rolle (12) aufzubringen,

    - ein Greifelement (82), das dazu ausgelegt ist, das erste Klebeelement (80) an der Außenfläche der Rolle (12) zu greifen und das erste Klebeelement (80) von der Außenfläche der Rolle (12) abzuheben, um eine Schlaufe zu bilden,

    - eine Schneidvorrichtung (86), die dazu ausgelegt ist, das Bahnmaterial an der Schlaufe in Querrichtung zu schneiden,

    - eine Saugvorrichtung (88), die dazu ausgelegt ist, einen Abschnitt des von der Rolle (12) abgewickelten Bahnmaterials anzusaugen, wobei der Manipulator (76) außerdem dazu ausgelegt ist, ein zweites Klebeelement (90) auf einen Abschnitt des von der Rolle (12) abgewickelten Bahnmaterials aufzubringen, und wobei die Schneidvorrichtung (86) außerdem dazu ausgelegt ist, das von der Rolle (12) abgewickelte Bahnmaterial stromabwärts des zweiten Klebeelements (90) in Querrichtung zu schneiden, und wobei die Saugvorrichtung (88) dazu ausgelegt ist, den Abschnitt des geschnittenen Bahnmaterials stromabwärts des zweiten Klebeelements (90) als Abfall zu auszusondern,
    wobei die Rollenaufnahmevorrichtung (56) dazu ausgelegt ist, den Abschnitt des Bahnmaterials nach dem Aufbringen des zweiten Klebeelements (90) auf die Rolle (12) wieder aufzuwickeln und die Rolle (12) in der Auslassstation (54) abzulegen.


     
    9. Vorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 8, umfassend eine erste Rollenhaltereinheit (10), die sich an einer Einlassstation (52) befindet, und eine zweite Rollenhaltereinheit (10), die sich an einer Auslassstation (54) befindet, wobei die Rollenhaltereinheiten (10) dazu ausgelegt sind, eine Vielzahl von Rollen (12) zu tragen, die mit den jeweiligen Achsen (A) entlang einer horizontalen Achse ausgerichtet angeordnet sind.
     
    10. Vorrichtung gemäß Anspruch 8 oder 9, wobei die Rollenaufnahmevorrichtung (56) in die Rollenhaltereinheiten (10) zum Aufnehmen und Freigeben der Rollen (12) eingesetzt werden kann.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé pour préparer des bords de bobines de matériau en bande continue, comprenant :

    - l'agencement d'une pluralité de bobines (12) dans un poste d'entrée (52) agencé avec les axes respectifs (A) alignés le long d'un axe horizontal,

    - le ramassage d'une bobine (12) dans ledit poste d'entrée (52) au moyen d'un dispositif de ramassage de bobine (56) translatable le long d'au moins une direction horizontale (C) et ayant un arbre horizontal (64) qui entre en prise avec un trou central (68) de la bobine (12),

    - l'application d'un premier élément adhésif (80) sur la surface extérieure de la bobine (12),

    - la préhension dudit premier élément adhésif (80) au moyen d'un organe de préhension (82) et l'éloignement de l'organe de préhension (82) par rapport à la bobine (12) afin de former une boucle entre une section du tour extérieur du matériau en bande continue et la partie restante de la bobine (12),

    - l'insertion d'un organe de coupe (86) dans ladite boucle et la coupe transversale du matériau en bande continue en aval dudit premier élément adhésif (80) en référence à la direction de déroulement (B) de la bobine (12),

    - le déroulement d'une section de matériau en bande continue avec une longueur égale ou supérieure à la longueur de la circonférence de la bobine (12) et l'aspiration d'une extrémité du matériau en bande continue déroulé de la bobine (12),

    - l'application d'un second élément adhésif (90) sur une surface extérieure ou sur une surface intérieure de la section de matériau en bande continue déroulée de la bobine (12),

    - la coupe transversale de la section de matériau en bande continue déroulée en aval du second élément adhésif (90) et le rejet, en tant que rebut, de la section de matériau en bande continue déroulée en aval de la coupe,

    - le réenroulement de la section restante du matériau en bande continue sur la bobine, et

    - le dépôt de la bobine (12) dans un poste de sortie (54).


     
    2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, comprenant en alternance l'application dudit second élément adhésif (90) sur la surface extérieure du matériau en bande continue d'une première bobine (12) et sur la surface intérieure du matériau en bande continue d'une seconde bobine (12).
     
    3. Procédé selon la revendication 1 ou la revendication 2, comprenant la rotation de ladite bobine (12) de 180° autour d'un axe vertical perpendiculaire à l'axe de la bobine (A) entre l'étape du ramassage de la bobine (12) au poste d'entrée (52) et l'étape du dépôt de la bobine (12) dans le poste de sortie (54).
     
    4. Procédé selon la revendication 3, dans lequel ladite étape de la rotation de la bobine (12) autour d'un axe vertical (D) est réalisée avant l'application dudit premier élément adhésif (80) sur la surface extérieure de la bobine (12).
     
    5. Procédé selon la revendication 3, dans lequel ladite étape de la rotation de la bobine (12) autour d'un axe vertical (D) est réalisée après l'application dudit second élément adhésif (90).
     
    6. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant l'application d'un élément de fermeture adhésif (94) pour attacher le bord du matériau en bande continue ayant ledit second élément adhésif (90) sur la surface de la bobine (12).
     
    7. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'application dudit premier élément adhésif (80) et dudit second élément adhésif (90) est effectuée au moyen d'un robot anthropomorphique (76) .
     
    8. Appareil pour préparer des bords de bobines (12) de matériau en bande continue, comprenant :

    - un dispositif de ramassage de bobine (56) qui peut être translaté le long d'au moins une direction horizontale (C), et ayant un arbre horizontal (64) configuré pour s'ajuster dans un trou central (68) d'une bobine (12),

    - un manipulateur (76) configuré pour appliquer un premier élément adhésif (80) sur la surface extérieure d'une bobine (12) retenue par ledit dispositif de ramassage de bobine (56),

    - un organe de préhension (82) configuré pour prendre ledit premier élément adhésif (80) sur la surface extérieure de la bobine (12) et pour distancer ledit premier élément adhésif (80) par rapport à la surface extérieure de la bobine (12) afin de former une boucle,

    - un dispositif de coupe (86) configuré pour couper transversalement le matériau en bande continue au niveau de ladite boucle,

    - un dispositif d'aspiration (88) configuré pour aspirer une portion de matériau en bande continue déroulée de ladite bobine (12),

    dans lequel ledit manipulateur (76) est également configuré pour appliquer un second élément adhésif (90) sur une section de matériau en bande continue déroulée de ladite bobine (12), et dans lequel ledit dispositif de coupe (86) est également configuré pour couper transversalement le matériau en bande continue déroulé de la bobine (12) en aval dudit second élément adhésif (90), et dans lequel ledit dispositif d'aspiration (88) est configuré pour rejeter, en tant que rebut, la section du matériau en bande continue coupée en aval du second élément adhésif (90),

    dans lequel ledit dispositif de ramassage de bobine (56) est configuré pour réenrouler la section du matériau en bande continue sur la bobine (12) après l'application dudit second élément adhésif (90) et pour déposer la bobine (12) dans le poste de sortie (54).


     
    9. Appareil selon la revendication 8, comprenant une première unité porte-bobine (10) située à un poste d'entrée (52) et une seconde unité porte-bobine (10) située à un poste de sortie (54), lesdites unités porte-bobines (10) étant configurées pour supporter une pluralité de bobines (12) agencées avec les axes respectifs (A) alignés le long d'un axe horizontal.
     
    10. Appareil selon la revendication 8 ou la revendication 9, dans lequel ledit dispositif de ramassage de bobine (56) peut être inséré à l'intérieur desdites unités porte-bobines (10) pour ramasser et libérer les bobines (12).
     




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    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