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Dokumentenidentifikation EP0647173 11.03.1999
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0647173
Titel BLATTLOCHUNG
Anmelder Fra.Mo. S.n.c. di Franca Riva & C., Voghera, IT
Erfinder RIVA, Franca, I-Sale, IT
Vertreter Meissner, Bolte & Partner, 80538 München
DE-Aktenzeichen 69323313
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, CH, DE, DK, ES, FR, GB, GR, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, SE
Sprache des Dokument En
EP-Anmeldetag 17.06.1993
EP-Aktenzeichen 939133609
WO-Anmeldetag 17.06.1993
PCT-Aktenzeichen GB9301259
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 9400278
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 06.01.1994
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 12.04.1995
EP date of grant 27.01.1999
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 11.03.1999
IPC-Hauptklasse B26F 1/24
IPC-Nebenklasse B29C 65/74   

Beschreibung[en]

This invention relates to a method and apparatus for perforating, or shaping the perforations of, thermoplastic sheets, for example plain or corrugated polyolefin sheets.

Containers for the preservation and transport of food stuffs may be made from thermoplastic sheet material so as to be solid, light and economical. However, when used for the transport and storage of wares having a high moisture content, for example fruit or vegetables, deterioration of the product may occur owing to build up of moisture within the container. It has been proposed to provide such containers with a plurality of holes, for example by forming them from perforated sheets, and this reduces the problem considerably.

However, when the sheets are perforated with heated needles or punches alone, or similar techniques where direct heat is used to melt the material (including the use of lasers), the melted material forms a deposit, as indicated at 1 in Figure 1 of the accompanying drawings. The deposit 1 is upstanding from the general plane of the face of the corrugated sheet and therefore provides a trap or barrier for retention of moisture 2 which can both lead to deterioration of the packed product, in particular fruit and vegetables, and unwanted variations of the tare (unloaded weight) of the package.

If perforation of the sheet is carried out using conventional ultra sonic equipment, as illustrated in Figure 2 of the accompanying drawings, the moisture retention and stagnation problem is avoided but instead a different problem arises. This is the weakening of the whole structure due to the large sealing area 3 which is needed and the unbalanced deformation of the sheet as illustrated at 4, both of which affect the mechanical performance of the package.

US-A-2633441 describes an apparatus for perforating plastic board which comprises a pair of die members which are advanced from opposite sides of the board and pinch two portions of the facing sheets abutting the holes into engagement with each other.

EP-A-0339593 discloses a perforating device for thermoplastic sheet comprising a cylindrical body ending in a cone-shaped or truncated cone-shaped tip having a fixed needle or a movable coaxial needle connected with a piston.

The present invention seeks to provide a method and apparatus for producing perforations in thermoplastic sheet materials which are improved in the above respects.

According to the present invention there is provided an apparatus for shaping perforation in plastics sheet material with the features as mentioned in claim 1. The present invention concerns also a method for shaping perforations as claimed in claim 9.

The apparatus includes a needle so the perforations are simultaneously formed and shaped, or it may be used to shape pre-formed perforations. The needle which is included may be of the ultra-sonic type or it may be heated, e.g. electrically heated.

According to one example of the present invention, the needle may be an ultra-sonic electrode having one of the mould structures formed about its periphery spaced from its end and the method of perforating sheet material comprises placing a sheet of thermoplastic material beneath the ultra sonic electrode of the apparatus, bringing the electrode into contact with the sheet whereby to penetrate it until it contacts the structure, raising the structure until it and the electrode meet at a point approximately half way through the sheet, lowering the electrode once again and continuing to raise the cylinder until the upper peripheral portion of the cylinder contacts the complementary portion of the electrode comprising the mould structure approximately in the middle of the thermoplastic sheet whereby to finalise sealing thereof, and retracting the electrode and structure.

In another embodiment of the invention an electrically heated needle may be surrounded by a mould structure in relation to which it can reciprocate. A complementary mould structure is located on the other side of the sheet capable of receiving the needle. The needle perforates the sheet, immediately after which the complementary structures are brought together near the middle of the sheet and the needle is withdrawn.

In accordance with the invention it is possible to obtain a perforation of a plain or corrugated thermoplastic sheet material in which the area needed for sealing is reduced in comparison with prior art methods, down to as little as 1mm, or is dispensed with completely; the perforated structure is balanced increasing, in many cases, the mechanical strength of the perforated sheet; and the shape of the perforation produced improves water drainage avoiding moisture stagnation inside the finished package.

The thermoplastic sheet may be formed from any suitable thermoplastic material, such as a polyolefin e.g. polyethylene or polypropylene.

The shape of the needle or ultra-sonic electrode may be chosen within wide limits. However, it has been found that a generally cylindrical main section having a tapered or conical end portion is suitable for penetrating the thermoplastic sheet. One of the mould structures may be defined by an outwardly disposed part circular portion at or near the upper end of the cylindrical portion which cooperates with a similar corresponding peripheral portion on the cylinder whereby to form a smooth half-circular section bead on the final perforated product.

The invention will be described further, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

  • Figure 1 is a partial sectional view of corrugated thermoplastic sheet material perforated in accordance with prior art hot needles;
  • Figure 2 is a similar view to Figure 1 of a sheet perforated by a prior art ultra sonic method;
  • Figure 3 is a similar view to Figure 1 of a sheet perforated in accordance with the invention;
  • Figures 4 (a) to (f) illustrates diagrammatically the phases of operation of the apparatus of one embodiment of the present invention; and
  • Figures 5 (a) to (e) are similar views to Figure 4 of another embodiment.

Referring to the drawings, and in particular Figure 4, it will be seen that the apparatus of the invention in this embodiment comprises an ultra-sonic electrode generally designated 10 having a cylindrical main portion 12 and a conical tip 14. The electrode 10, for example a "Sonotrode", is positioned to reciprocate above a corrugated thermoplastic sheet 16. In a conventional ultra-sonic perforation system the sheet 16 would lie on a plate having holes therein to receive the electrode 10. However, in accordance with the invention, below each electrode 10 there is placed a mould structure generally designated 18 which comprises a cylinder 20 arranged for vertical reciprocation containing a piston 22 which is itself arranged for vertical reciprocation within the cylinder against the action of a working fluid or spring 24. The piston as illustrated has a shape very similar to the conical portion 14 of the electrode and is provided at its apex with a depression 26 which is of a shape corresponding to and is able to receive the extreme tip of the conical portion 14 of the electrode 10.

Operation of the apparatus is as follows. Starting in the position illustrated in Figure 4A the ultra sonic electrode 10 is reciprocated vertically downwardly (in the direction of the arrow) where the ultra sonic vibration increases the temperature of the thermoplastic material and starts to soften it. As illustrated in Figure 4B the electrode 10 begins to penetrate the material until it reaches the position shown in Figure 4C. In these three phases the position of the structure 18 remains static as illustrated. However, once the Figure 4C position is reached the structure 18 is moved upwardly, cylinder 20 and piston 22 together, and the needle 10 moves upward also. This continues to the position illustrated in Figure 4D at which the electrode 10 and piston 22 meet at approximately the half way point of the strip of thermoplastic material 16. At this stage the cylinder continues to be move upwardly whereas the electrode 10 starts to move downwardly pushing the piston 22 downwardly also against the pressure of the working fluid 24. This continues until the Figure 4E position is reached. The upper peripheral surface 28 of the cylinder 20 is relieved to a part circular shape as illustrated in the drawings. A corresponding part circular portion 30 is provided above the main cylindrical portion 12 of the electrode 10, which constitutes a second mould structure. When the Figure 4E position is reached these two mould shapes combine to mould the outstanding edges 32 of the perforated plastics material sheet into a bead 34 having a generally half circular external surface. The process is completed by the electrode 10 rising and the cylinder retracting while simultaneously the piston 22 is raised to the top of the cylinder 20 until the Figure 4A position is reached once more when a fresh thermoplastic sheet 16 can be inserted for perforation.

The apparatus of Figure 4 can be used, without the piston and associated elements, to seal holes formed by hot needles or other systems using direct heating. That is, effectively only the positions of Figures 4 (e) and (f) are employed to produce the bead 34.

Turning now to Figure 5 and using like numerals for like parts, the electrode is replaced by a needle heated by an electrical element 40 fixed into a plate 42 of insulating material. The needle 10' is surrounded by a first mould structure generally designated 44 mounted between two plates 46,48. The space between the plates 46,48 can be filled with cooling water 50 or a heating fluid. The mould 44 can be changed easily by separating the plates and inserting a new one if a different shape, etc. is required. A second mould structure 52 is located on the other side of the sheet 16 and is shaped to receive the needle 10 in orifice 54.

The structure 52 is held between two plates 56,58 and can easily be changed by separating the plates. Cooling water 60 or a heating fluid fills the structure 52.

The lower peripheral portion 62 of the structure 52 cooperates with the upper peripheral portion 64 of the structure 44 to produce the bead 34 as explained hereinafter. The structure 44 may have channels 66 to receive and shape melted sheet material. As illustrated, the channels 66 produce the bead shape shown as 34b in Figure 5 (e), but changing the mould shape can produce other shapes of bead as shown at 34a and 34c, according to requirements. Only an apparatus permitting to obtain a smooth half circular section bead as shown at 34c is claimed. Figure 5 (a) illustrates the initial position with the needle 10' about to perforate the sheet 16. As the needle 10' and mould 44 move upwardly (Figure 5 (b)), the second structure 52 moves down. In 5 (c) the needle has moved through the lower structure 44 and perforated the sheet 16, while the lower structure 44 has moved up so that its upper peripheral portion 64 is about midway through the sheet 16. Finally, in Figure 4 (d), the needle is retracted and, simultaneously or not, the upper structure 52 brought down to meet the lower structure 44 to form the bead 34 between them. The deformation 68 shown in figure 5 (c) is eliminated by the mould 52, and the channels 66 receive melted material to form the bead shape illustrated as 34b in Figure 5 (e). A wide variety of hole shapes may be obtained as illustrated in Figure 5 (e).

The apparatus can be used, with or without the needle 10', to seal holes already produced. In this case it may be necessary to replace cooling fluid 50,60 with a heated fluid (e.g. hot oil) so as to soften the sheet sufficiently to enable the bead 34 to be formed.

It will be understood that an array of such needles/electrodes 10' and mould structures will be provided whereby simultaneously to perforate a sheet of any given area. Alternatively a line of electrodes and structures can be provided and the sheet indexed forward as perforation occurs.

The method of the invention produces a perforation in which the sheet structure is balanced after deformation and indeed in some cases it can increase the mechanical performance and mechanical strength of the perforated sheet - especially in contrast to conventional ultra-sonic sealing methods. In addition, the shape of the hole, having no barrier on its upper face, dramatically improves water drainage and avoids moisture stagnation inside the finished package as well as reducing tare variation.


Anspruch[de]
  1. Vorrichtung zum Formen von Perforationen in Kunststoff-Flächengebildematerial (16), wobei die Vorrichtung ein Formgebilde (18, 30, 44, 52) auf der einen Seite des Flächengebildematerials und ein komplementäres Formgebilde (18, 30, 44, 52) auf der anderen Seite des Flächengebildematerials zum Zusammenwirken mit dem ersten Formgebilde zusammen mit einem Druckkolben (10', 22) aufweist, wobei wenigstens eines der Formgebilde und/oder der Druckkolben beheizbar ist und eines dieser Formgebilde eine Nadel (10, 101) aufweist, wobei die Formgebilde in der Lage sind, sich in etwa auf halbem Wege durch das Flächengebildematerial hindurch zu treffen, wobei das eine der Formgebilde mit dem Druckkolben (10', 22) zusammenwirkt, um dadurch das Material zu perforieren, woraufhin der Druckkolben zurückgezogen wird und das andere Formgebilde mit dem ersten Formgebilde zusammenwirkt, um der Perforation (34) eine Gestalt zu geben und den Flächenkörper abzudichten,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet,

    daß das eine der Formgebilde von einem nach außen vorstehend angeordneten, teilweise kreisförmigen Bereich (30, 52) an dem oder nahe bei dem oberen Ende eines zylindrischen Bereichs (12) der Nadel (10) gebildet ist, der mit einem ähnlichen, entsprechenden Umfangsbereich (28, 44) an dem anderen Formgebilde (20) zusammenwirkt, wenn die Bereiche aufeinander zu bewegt werden, so daß dadurch ein gleichmäßiger Wulst (34, 34c) mit halbkreisförmigem Querschnitt an dem fertigen, perforierten Produkt gebildet wird.
  2. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1,

    wobei der Druckkolben die Nadel (10') ist.
  3. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1 oder 2,

    wobei die Nadel (10) in eines der Formgebilde (30) eingebaut ist.
  4. Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 2 oder 3,

    wobei es sich bei der Nadel um eine vom Ultraschall-Typ handelt oder diese z.B. elektrisch beheizt ist.
  5. Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 2 bis 4,

    wobei die Nadel oder die Ultraschall-Elektrode (10) einen im allgemeinen zylindrischen Hauptabschnitt (12) und einen sich verjüngenden oder konischen Endbereich (14) aufweist, der zum Durchdringen des thermoplastischen Flächengebildes geeignet ist, und wobei der kreisförmige Bereich sich an dem oder nahe bei dem oberen Ende des zylindrischen Hauptabschnitts des Nadel befindet.
  6. Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 2 bis 5,

    wobei die Formgebilde (44, 52) relativ zueinander sowie unabhängig von der Nadel (10') hin- und herbeweglich sind, um dadurch einen Wulst (34c) zu bilden.
  7. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 6,

    wobei die Formgebilde in einfacher Weise austauschbar sind, um dadurch die Gestalt des Wulstes zu ändern.
  8. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 7,

    wobei die Formgebilde mit zugeordneten Reservoirs (50, 60) für Kühl- oder Heizfluid versehen sind.
  9. Verfahren zum Formen von Perforationen in Kunststoff-Flächengebildematerial (16) mit einer Vorrichtung nach einem der vorausgehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Verfahren folgende Schritte aufweist:
    • Anordnen eines ersten Formgebildes (18, 30, 44, 52) auf der einen Seite des Flächengebildematerials und eines komplementären Formgebildes (18, 30, 44, 52) auf der anderen Seite des Flächengebildematerials,
    • Aufbringen von Wärme und
    • Verlagern der Formgebilde aufeinander zu, so daß sie sich in etwa auf halbem Wege durch das Flächengebildematerial hindurch treffen, um dadurch der dazwischen gebildeten Perforation eine Gestalt geben, sowie
    • Bewegen der Formgebilde (10, 18; 44, 52) aufeinander zu, um einen gleichmäßigen Wulst (34, 34a bis 34c) mit halbkreisförmigem Querschnitt zu bilden.
Anspruch[en]
  1. An apparatus for shaping perforation in plastics sheet material (16) which comprises one mould structure (18,30,44,52) at one side of the sheet material and a complementary mould structure (18,30,44,52) at the other side of the sheet material to cooperate with the first mould structure together with a plunger (10',22), at least one of the structures and/or the plunger being adapted to be heated and one of this mould structures having a needle (10, 10'), the mould structures being capable of meeting approximately halfway through the sheet material, whereby one of the structures cooperates with the plunger (10', 22) whereby to perforate the material thereafter the plunger is withdrawn and the other mould structure cooperates with the first to shape the perforation (34) and seal the sheet characterised in that one of the mould structures is defined by an outwardly disposed partly circular portion (30, 52) at or near the upper end of a cylindrical portion (12) of the needle (10) which cooperates with a similar corresponding peripheral portion (28, 44) on the other mould structure (20) by being moved toward each other whereby to form a smooth half-circular section bead (34, 34c) on the final perforated product.
  2. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the plunger is the needle (10').
  3. An apparatus as claimed in either of claim 1 or 2 in which one of the mould structures (30) incorporates the needle (10).
  4. An apparatus as claimed in either of claims 2 of 3 in which the needle (10) is of the ultra-sonic type or is heated, e.g. electrically.
  5. An apparatus as claimed in any of claims 2 to 4 in which the needle or ultra-sonic electrode (10) has a generally cylindrical main section (12) and a tapered or conical end portion (14) suitable for penetrating the thermoplastic sheet, and the circular portion is at or near the upper end of the cylindrical main section of the needle.
  6. An apparatus as claimed in any of claims 2 to 5 in which the mould structures (44,52) are capable of reciprocation with respect to one another and independently of the needle (10') whereby to form a bead (34c).
  7. An apparatus as claimed in claim 6 in which the mould structures are easily exchangeable so as to alter the bead shape.
  8. An apparatus as claimed in claim 7 in which the mould structures are provided with associated reservoirs (50,60) of cooling or heating fluid.
  9. A method for shaping perforations in plastics sheet material (16) with an apparatus according any preceding claim which comprises presenting a first mould structure (18,30,44,52) to one side of the sheet material and a complementary mould structure (18,30,44,52) to the other side of the sheet material applying heat, and bringing the mould structures towards one another so that they meet approximately half way through the sheet material whereby to shape the perforation between them, and moving mould structures (10, 18; 44, 52) toward one another whereby to form a bead (34, 34a to 34c).
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Appareil pour conférer une forme à des perforations dans des feuilles de plastique (16) qui comprend une structure de moule (18, 30, 44, 52) d'un côté de la feuille et une structure de moule complémentaire (18, 30, 44, 52) de l'autre côté de la feuille pour coopérer avec la première structure de moule avec un piston (10', 22), au moins une des structures de moule et/ou le piston étant adapté pour être chauffé et une de ces structures de moule comportant une aiguille (10, 10'), les structures de moule pouvant se rapprocher pour entrer en contact à mi-chemin au travers de la feuille, une des structures de moule coopérant avec le piston (10', 22) pour perforer le matériau après quoi le piston est retiré et l'autre structure de moule coopère avec le premier pour conférer une forme à la perforation (34) et sceller la feuille, caractérisé en ce qu'une des structures de moule est définie par une partie circulaire (30, 52) partiellement disposée vers l'extérieur, au niveau ou près de l'extrémité supérieure d'une partie cylindrique (12) de l'aiguille (10) qui coopère avec une partie périphérique correspondante semblable (28, 44) sur l'autre structure de moule (20) en étant rapprochées l'une vers l'autre, pour former ainsi un cordon lisse de section demi-circulaire (34, 34c) sur le produit perforé final.
  2. Appareil selon la revendication 1, selon lequel le piston est l'aiguille (10').
  3. Appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 ou 2, selon lequel un des structures de moule (30) comprend l'aiguille (10).
  4. Appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications 2 ou 3 selon lequel l'aiguille (10) est de type à ultrasons ou est chauffée, par exemple, par un moyen électrique.
  5. Appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 4, selon lequel l'aiguille ou l'électrode à ultrasons (10) présente une section principale (12) généralement cylindrique et une partie d'extrémité (14) conique ou effilée pouvant pénétrer dans la feuille thermoplastique, et la partie circulaire est située au niveau ou à proximité de l'extrémité supérieure de la section principale cylindrique de l'aiguille.
  6. Appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 5, selon lequel les structures de moule (44, 52) peuvent être animées d'un mouvement alternatif l'un par rapport à l'autre et indépendamment de l'aiguille (10') pour former ainsi un cordon (34c).
  7. Appareil selon la revendication 6, selon lequel les structures de moule peuvent être aisément remplacées pour modifier la forme du cordon.
  8. Appareil selon la revendication 7 selon lequel les structures de moule sont associés à des réservoirs (50, 60) renfermant un fluide de refroidissement ou de chauffage.
  9. Procédé pour conférer une forme a des perforations dans des feuilles de plastique (16) a l'aide d'un appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, qui consiste à présenter une première structure de moule (18, 30, 44, 52) d'un côté de la feuille tandis qu'une structure de moule complémentaire (18, 30, 44, 52) de l'autre côté de la feuille applique de la chaleur, et à rapprocher les structures de moule l'une de l'autre de manière à les amener en contact à mi-chemin à travers la feuille, pour conférer une forme à la perforation entre elles, et à rapprocher les structures de moule (10, 18 ; 44,52) l'une de l'autre pour former ainsi un cordon (34, 34a à 34c) de section lisse demi-circulaire.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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