Dokumentenidentifikation EP1785249 28.06.2007
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001785249
Titel Vorrichtung zum Formpressen von aus Plastik hergestellten Artikeln
Anmelder Sacmi Cooperativa Meccanici Imola Società' Cooperativa, Imola, Bologna, IT
Erfinder Battilani, Mauro, 40026, Imola (BO), IT
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HU, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, RO, SE, SI, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 17.04.2003
EP-Aktenzeichen 061270310
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 16.05.2007
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 28.06.2007
IPC-Hauptklasse B29C 31/04(2006.01)A, F, I, 20070417, B, H, EP
IPC-Nebenklasse B29C 43/34(2006.01)A, L, I, 20070417, B, H, EP   
IPC additional class B29C 33/14  (2006.01)  A,  L,  N,  20070417,  B,  H,  EP
B29C 43/08  (2006.01)  A,  L,  N,  20070417,  B,  H,  EP
B29B 11/10  (2006.01)  A,  L,  N,  20070417,  B,  H,  EP

Technical Field

The present invention relates to an apparatus for pressure molding articles made of plastics, such as caps for closing a container and the like.

Background Art

Patent US 5,807,592 by the same Assignee discloses apparatuses of the indicated type for the pressure-molding of caps for closing a container, such as screw caps. Such apparatuses comprise a carousel that rotates about a vertical axis and on which a plurality of pressure-molding units are mounted concentrically around the rotation axis of the carousel and at an identical mutual angular distance. Each one of said units comprises an upper punch, which cooperates with a lower mold that is aligned with said punch and has a molding cavity.

By virtue of the rotation of the carousel, the molding units trace a circular path, which comprises a first sector, in which the necessary doses of plastic material to be molded are deposited in the cavities of the molds, a second sector, in which the article is molded, a third sector, in which the molded article is cooled, and a fourth sector, in which the molded article is extracted and conveyed away.

In these known apparatuses, the plastic material to be molded is removed from an extruder by means of a rotating head provided with a plurality of removal elements, which trace a circular path that has a point of tangency with the extrusion nozzle and with the circular path traced by the molding units. The rotating head and the carousel are mutually in step, in order to allow the removal elements to remove in succession doses of plastic material from the extruder and deposit them in the cavities of the molds.

The conventional apparatuses suffer the drawback that in the time that elapses between the moment when the doses are deposited in the cavities and the moment when said doses are compressed, the portion of the dose that is introduced in the cavity, by making contact with the colder surface of the cavity, undergoes cooling and therefore a variation in the degree of plasticity of the plastic material that is located at said portion, which causes, during molding, aesthetic defects that can be observed on the outer surface of the molded article. These defects, which become apparent mostly in the form of regions whose surface differs in terms of opacity from the surrounding regions and which sometimes have a certain surface porosity, constitute an unacceptable qualitative depreciation of the molded article.

Another drawback is the fact that the doses usually are not deposited at the center of the cavities of the molds, and therefore during the compression step the distribution of the plastic material does not expand uniformly, since it does not start from the center, causing molding problems due to the asymmetry of the filling.

Other drawbacks due to the deposition of the doses in the molding cavities can be observed in apparatuses (see patent US 5,885,408 ) for forming plastic caps, on the bottom of which a label for decorative purposes or bearing information is to be incorporated externally. In these apparatuses, the labels are deposited inside the molding cavity before the doses, so that said doses, when they make contact with the label, due to their high temperature, cause deformations of the labels, particularly creases, which are unlikely to be smoothed out during the compression step.

Disclosure of the Invention

The aim of the present invention is therefore to provide an apparatus which, associated with each molding unit of compression molding apparatuses, allows to obviate the drawbacks cited above.

Within this aim, an object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus that is highly flexible in use in relation to the ability to work with plastic material of various kinds and consistencies.

According to the invention there is provided a method whose characteristics are defined in the appended claims.

Brief description o the Drawings

Further features and advantages of the present invention will become better apparent from the following description on the basis of the accompanying drawings, wherein:

  • Figure 1 is a schematic plan view of the apparatus according to a first embodiment;
  • Figure 2 is a sectional view, taken along the radial line II-II of Figure 1;
  • Figure 3 is a sectional plan view, taken along the line III-III of Figure 2;
  • Figure 4 is a partial sectional view, taken along the tangential line IV-IV of Figure 2;
  • Figures 5 to 10 are views of the apparatus in six successive operating positions;
  • Figure 11 is a view of a first variation, taken along a radial direction;
  • Figure 12 is a partially sectional and tangential view taken along the line XII-XII of Figure 11;
  • Figure 13 is a radial view, taken along the line XIII-XIII of Figure 12;
  • Figure 14 is a plan view, taken along the line XIV-XIV of Figure 12;
  • Figures 15 to 17 are views of the apparatus according to the variation in three successive operating positions;
  • Figure 18 is a tangential sectional view of a second variation which is similar to the variation of Figure 12; and finally
  • Figure 19 is a sectional plan view of the variation of Figure 18, taken along the line XIX-XIX.

Ways of carrying out the Invention

With reference to figures 1 to 5, the apparatus comprises a carousel, generally designated by the reference numeral 1, which is rotationally actuated in the direction X about a vertical axis. The carousel comprises a supporting element 2, termed drum hereinafter, on which a plurality of molding units are mounted (see Figure 5); each molding unit comprises an upper punch 3, which is substantially stationary with respect to the drum 2 and a lower mold 4, which can move along an axis B for alignment with the punch 3.

The molding units are distributed at an identical radial and angular distance around the axis A, and therefore their axes B trace a circular path C (see Figure 1).

Each mold 4 has a cavity 5 (see Figure 4), which is open upward and in which a dose D of plastic material is molded; said dose is introduced therein in the pasty state and is fed by a rotating head 6, which can rotate in the direction Y about an axis E that is parallel to the axis A.

The mold 4 is mounted at the top of a vertical stem 4a, which is guided in a seat of the drum 2 and is actuated by a hydraulic jack (not shown), which can be connected, by way of suitable valve systems, to a source of pressurized fluid. When the pressurized fluid pushes the stem 4a upward, the mold 4, in an appropriate region of the path C of the carousel, compresses the dose D of plastic material against the punch 3, performing, along a subsequent arc of the path C, the molding of the article, which in the described case is a cap-type closure F.

Said rotating head 6 is shown only schematically in the accompanying drawings, since it is not relevant to the inventive concept of the present invention. In any case, it can be understood more clearly from the aforesaid patent US 5,807,592 .

As shown in Figures 1 and 5, the rotating head 6 is composed of a shaft 7, which rotates about the axis E and to the top of which a flange 8 is rigidly coupled; a plate 9 is fixed on top of the flange 8, and a disk 10 is also fixed thereto above the plate and is provided with recesses 11 that give the disk a star-like appearance.

A plurality of elements 12 for removing the doses of plastic material are fixed to the downward face of the flange 8 and are distributed around the axis E at an equal circumferential distance that is equal to the one by which the molds 4 are spaced around the axis A. Each removal element 12 comprises a sort of cup, which has a concave portion orientated in the rotation direction Y. The lower edge of the cups 12 is co-planar to the outlet of a nozzle 13 of an extruder 14, whose opening is directed upward so that during the rotation of the head 6 each cup 12 can remove from the nozzle a dose D of plastic material that corresponds to the dose that exits from the nozzle in the time that elapses between the passage of two successive cups in front of said nozzle.

The cups 12 trace a path G that is tangent to the path C traced by the molds 4, and the angular velocities of the carousel 1 and of the rotating head 6 are linked so that at the point of tangency of the paths C and G each cup 12 is substantially aligned with a respective mold 4. The transfer of the dose D from the cups 12 into the cavities 5 of the molds can be performed as described in the aforesaid patent US 5,807,592 by virtue of the action of a jet of compressed air that is directed downward, possibly combined with a mechanical action obtained by providing, in each cup, an expulsion piston that can move vertically and is actuated by compressed air by way of valve means.

The recesses 11 of the star 10 are shaped so as to receive and retain on the upper face of the plate 9 the molded caps F, which after the cooling step are diverted in succession so as to leave the carousel. The caps F that engage the recesses 11 are conveyed between two guides 15 and 16, which are arranged at the level of the plate 9, so as to form a channel 17 for removing the caps.

As explained initially, with carousels for compression molding of the type described above, the dose D of plastic material, after being removed by the cups 12 and introduced in the cavities 5, remains in contact with the internal surface of the cavity for some time before the compression step begins. During this time, the portion of the dose D that is in contact with the internal surface of the cavity 5 undergoes a cooling that alters its consistency, so that during the molding step the plastic material flows unevenly, causing defects that are visible in particular on the outer surface of the bottom of the cap.

In order to obviate this drawback, a device is associated with each mold 4 and supports with minimal contact and temporarily the dose D to be introduced in the corresponding cavity, so as to allow the punch to approach it before the actual molding step is started.

As shown by Figures 2 to 4, said device is composed of two pairs of levers 18, 19 and 20, 21 which are pivoted on diametrically opposite sides of the mold 4 by means of threaded pivots 22, 23 and 24, 25, which are screwed into the base of the mold so as to allow the oscillation of the levers on parallel planes that are substantially radial with respect to the rotation axis A of the carousel.

The levers 18-21 extend upward so that their tops protrude above the edge of the cavity 5. The tops of the levers 18, 19 are connected to the tops of the respective levers 20, 21 by means of two mutually parallel rods 26, 27 that are diametrical above the cavity 5. The levers 18 and 20 are articulately connected to the levers 19 and 21, respectively, by means of pins 28 and 29. In order to allow the play that is necessary for the levers 18-21 to be able to oscillate about the pivots 22-25, the pins 28 and 29 are driven through arms that protrude from the lower ends of the levers 18 and 20 and engage in elongated slots 30 (see Figure 2) of arms that are coupled in a mirror-symmetrical fashion to the lower ends of the levers 19 and 21.

The levers 18-21 of each pair are actuated toward each other by virtue of traction springs 31 (see Figure 2) which, along an angular portion of the path of the carousel 1, retain them in a position in which the rods, above their respective cavities, are adjacent at a mutual distance that allows to momentarily support a dose D of plastic material deposited between them by a cup 12, as will become better apparent hereinafter.

The movement of the pairs of levers 18-21 associated with each mold 4 is controlled by a cam 32 that is fixed to the drum 2.

Each cam 32 has a profile that is composed of a ramp 33, which continues upward with a straight portion 34 that is parallel to the axis A. A cam follower cooperates with each cam 32 and is constituted by a roller 35 that is supported rotatably by two arms 36 and 37 that protrude at right angles from the respective levers 18 and 20 toward the axis A.

The operation of the described apparatus is described hereinafter by following what happens in a molding unit during the 360° rotation of the carousel 1.

By virtue of the rotation of the head 6, the cups 12 remove in succession doses of plastic material from the outlet of the nozzle 3. The consistency of the plastic material at the outlet of the nozzle 13 is such as to allow the dose to adhere to the wall of the cups 12.

When a cup 12 of a molding unit, after removing a dose D from the nozzle 13 of the extruder 14, is located at the point of tangency between its path G and the path C of the molds 4, the dose D is propelled downward and collected on the rods 26 and 27, which in this step in which the mold 4 has not yet started its lifting stroke are close one another (see Figure 5).

In the angular position &agr;, the lifting of the mold 4 begins. However, the rods 26 and 27 still remain mutually adjacent until, after reaching the angular position &bgr;, the mold 4 has reached the level at which the roller 35 abuts against the ramp 33 of the cam 32, causing the divarication of the rods (see Figure 6) and making the dose D fall into the cavity 5.

As shown in Figure 6, the rods 26, 27 open in the cavity 5 when the mold 4 is close to the punch 3. The compression of the dose D is completed (see Figures 7 and 8) by virtue of the subsequent rotation of the molding unit to the angular position y.

As shown in Figure 8, throughout the step for molding and stabilizing the cap (which continues until the corresponding molding unit has reached the angular position &dgr;), the rods 26, 27 remain spaced due to the engagement of the roller 32 on the straight portion 34 of the cam 32.

Once the angular position &dgr; has been reached, the descent of the mold 4 begins; when the roller 35 has descended below the ramp 33, said descent allows the rods 26 and 27, due to the action of the springs 31, to move adjacent one another again above the cavity 5, and be ready to receive a new dose D.

As shown in Figure 9, the molded cap F remains attached to the punch and, after being deposited on the plate 9 of the head 6, is collected by the recesses 11 of the star conveyor 10 (see Figure 10) and conveyed along the channel 17 toward the removal means.

The described apparatus therefore achieves the intended aim and object. In fact, according to a fundamental aspect of the invention, the time that elapses between the deposition of the dose D in the cavity 5 and the beginning of the deformation of the plastic material is practically reduced to zero. In this manner, the dose D remains in localized contact with the inner surface of the cavity 5 for a time that is insufficient to cause significant changes in the consistency of the plastic material. Therefore, the temperature of the plastic material of the deposited dose remains substantially constant in every point, so as to ensure a uniform plastic deformation during compression.

The fact that the deposition of the dose and the beginning of the compression are substantially simultaneous also offers the advantage that in the case of caps provided with an incorporated label, the time for which the doses remain on the labels, which are introduced beforehand in the molding cavities, is insufficient to cause deformations of the label. Therefore, the labels remain always perfectly flat and are smoothed out once compression is complete.

One highly advantageous aspect of the invention is the fact that the speed of the mold 4 is usually such as to cause the separation of the dose D from the rods 26 and 27. In particular, the dose D is propelled against the punch with such an impact force that it adheres to said punch. Therefore, the region of the dose that makes contact with the punch and may form defects, actually, during the compression step, remain inside the cap, so that any defects, once molding has been completed, also remain inside the cap, and do not endanger the aesthetics of the product because they are not visible externally.

The described apparatus is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the same inventive concept.

Figures 11 to 14 illustrate a solution which, as shown more clearly in Figures 15 to 17, orientates the rods 26 and 27 radially with respect to the rotation axis A of the carousel.

Differently from the previously described solution the levers 20 and 21 support two respective free rollers 38 and 39, which are mounted in a cantilevered fashion approximately halfway along their length, while the pin 28, which articulates to each other the levers 18 and 19 supports a roller 40 that protrudes outward.

The levers 18-21 are actuated by an internal cam 41, which is coupled to the cylindrical part of the rotating drum 2, and by an external cam 42 (see Figures 15 to 17), which is constituted by a bulge that protrudes from an element 42a that is stationary with respect to the carousel 1.

The internal cam 41 comprises two slots 43 and 44, and a respective roller 38 and 39 engages in each of said slots and acts as a cam follower.

Each one of the slots 43 and 44 comprises two parallel and vertical portions, which are connected by an inclined intermediate portion. The upper portions of the slots are further apart than the lower portions. In this manner, when the molds are lifted, the rollers 38 and 39, by following the slots 43 and 44, cause the divarication of the levers 18-21 and the spacing of the rods 26 and 27.

The cam 42 is arranged at the point of tangency between the paths C and G, and during the rotation of the carousel 1 raises in succession the rollers 40, causing a rapid mutual spacing and approach of the rods 26 and 27.

Conveniently, the rods are provided centrally with curved portions 45 and 46 (see Figure 14), which form a seat that is adapted to receive a dose D of plastic material deposited therein by a cup 12.

The activation of the levers 18-21 by the cam 42 precedes the activation performed by the cam 41. The operating sequence can be deduced from Figures 15 to 17. In particular, after a dose D has been removed by a cup 12 and deposited on the curved portions 45 and 46 of the rods 26 and 27 of a respective mold 4 (see Figure 15), the roller 40, by surmounting the cam 42, causes the rods 45 and 46 to perform a rapid movement to open (see Figures 15 and 16) and close (see Figure 17), which allows the dose not to fall into the cavity 5 of the mold 4 and instead continue to be retained in the seat formed by the curved portions 45 and 46. The opening and closing movement of the rods 26 and 27 can be synchronized with the stroke of the mold 4, so as to catch the dose D released into the cavity 5.

The steps for molding the cap F follow one another in the manner described in the preceding example, taking into account the fact that the opening and closing movement of the rods, due to their radial arrangement, occurs in a tangential direction.

Another variant of the apparatus is shown in Figures 18 and 19. Said solution is a constructive simplification with respect to the solution of Figures 11 to 14 owing to the absence of the external levers 18 and 19, so that the rods 26 and 27 are fixed in a cantilevered fashion only to the internal levers 20 and 21, forming a sort of fork.

Further variants provide for the thermal conditioning of the rods by means of resistor-type plugs, by induction or by means of a jet of air.

Method for compression molding of plastic articles (F), comprising molding a dose (D) of plastic material in a molding unit (3, 4) between an upper punch (3) and a lower mold (4) comprising a cavity (5), the upper punch (3) and the lower mold (4) being mutually aligned and movable between a spaced position and a close position, feeding said dose (D) by using feeding means (12, 13, 14) for removing said dose (D) from an extruder (14) and delivering the removed dose (D) to supporting means (18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27) temporarily supporting said dose (D) when said lower mold (4) is still spaced away from said punch (3), and further comprising actuating said supporting means (18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27) by using actuating means (32; 41; 42) so as to release said dose (D) into said cavity (5) before said punch (3) and said lower mold (4) start the compression step, characterized in that, said actuating comprises moving said cavity (5) towards said punch (3) such that said dose (D) is separated from said supporting means (18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27). Method according to claim 1, wherein, during said actuating, said lower mold (4) is moved at a speed such as to cause separation of said dose (D) from said supporting means (18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27). Method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said moving comprises propelling said dose (D) against said punch (3). Method according to claim 3, wherein, after said propelling, said dose (D) adheres to said punch (3). Method according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein, during said temporarily supporting, said dose (D) is supported by two rods (26, 27) of said supporting means (18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27), said two rods (26, 27) extending above said cavity (5) and being supported by respective levers (18, 19, 20, 21), said two rods (26, 27) being actuated by cam means between a closer position for supporting said dose (D) that is deposited between said two rods (26, 27) by said feeding means (12, 13, 14), and a spaced position for releasing said dose (D) into said cavity (5). Method according to claim 5, wherein said levers (20, 21) are divaricated by rollers (38, 39) engaging with slots (43, 44) of an internal cam (41) of said cam means. Method according to claim 5 or 6, wherein said two rods perform a movement for gripping said dose (D) by means of a roller (40) adapted to engage on a stationary cam (42) of said cam means, said roller (40) being supported by a pivot (28) articulating said levers (18, 19). Method according to any preceding claim, wherein a plurality of removal elements (12) of said feeding means are moved along a circular path (G) for removing a plurality of doses (D) in succession and for transferring each dose (D) to a corresponding molding unit (3, 4) of a plurality of molding units, said plurality of molding units being advanced along a further circular path (C). Method according to claim 8, wherein said transferring is provided at a point of tangency between said circular path (G) and said further circular path (C). Method according to any preceding claim, and further comprising thermally conditioning said supporting means (18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27). Method according to any preceding claim, and further comprising incorporating a label in the plastic material during molding of the article (F), said label being deposited in said cavity (5).

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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