This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 618,690, filed Oct. 1, 1975 now abandoned. 5
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to improvements in label applying machinery.
All previous and presently known machinery for 10 applying pressure sensitive labels to an article use the same kind of carrier web for the labels, and the same kind of label removing method.
The conventional carrier web consists of a series of labels with a viscous (pressure sensitive) adhesive ap- 15 plied to a carrier strip of paper which has been coated on the label supporting side with a release agent. The labels are spaced along the strip, and the unneeded waste (or matrix) from which the labels have been die cut is always removed during manufacture. 20
The labels are removed sequentially by pulling the carrier strip around a relatively sharp edge under tension. The label, because of its stiffness, releases from the carrier web and continues in a straight line over the edge rather than bend sharply and follow the carrier 25 web.
This established method has a number of drawbacks:
(1) The need to remove all the waste or matrix from between and around labels during manufacture, because
its presence tends to hold labels in place during peeling, 30
This waste removal requirement makes the labels cost much more, because it limits the printing and die cutting speed severely and because a great deal of costly extra material has to be added around each label to make the ladderlike waste strip strong enought to remove by 35 pulling it free after die cutting on a printing press.
(2) The label peeling process used in all previous labelling machines requires pulling the web under high tension over a relatively sharp edge. Tiny cuts or nicks caused by the die cutting and slitting weaken the web 40 and it frequently breaks, especially at high speed.
(3) Small invisible interruptions in the release coating are common. Through them the label adhesive is able to adhere strongly to the unprotected carrier web. When this occasionally occurs at the leading edge of a label, it 45 will not peel but will follow the carrier strip around even a sharp edge. The same can happen when the adhesive is cold, or too old.
(4) The need for great stiffness in the label material prevents the use of many desired materials such as plas- 50 tics, or very thin labels, or very soft and pliant labels.
(5) During the peeling process, labels are being projected beyond the peeling edge and are essentially unsupported, except occasionally on one side (opposite the adhesive). They are easily disturbed and deflected by 55 small irregularities, tramp particles of adhesive, air currents, or static electricity.
(6) The means of actually applying the labels varies, including a blast of air (inaccurate at any distance and does not apply labels firmly), a roller (inaccurate), and a 60 plunger (too rigid and destructive on moving products).
(7) Automatic labelling machinery is very costly, partly because of sophisticated electronic label sensing and web control systems within the labeller.
It should be appreciated therefore that a label carry- 65 ing arrangement and apparatus for applying labels therefrom to goods, which permits the use of very thin and soft labels as well as stiffer labels, which permits the
use of lower cost label strips, and which permits label application at higher speeds and with greater reliability than presently known systems would be most desirable.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a label carrying arrangement and apparatus for applying the labels to goods is provided, which permits the use of a wide variety of labels, and which permits the application of the label at high speed and with high reliability to the goods. The label carrying arrangement includes a carrier strip with labels spaced therealong that have adhesive on their rear faces. The carrier strip has a separation line along a middle portion thereof which divides it into a pair of carrier strip portions. The label applying apparatus includes a label separator device with a substantially V-shaped notch at one end that forms a pair of separator edges. The carrier strip with labels thereon is guided up to the V-shaped notch, and the two carrier strip portions are pulled around a different one of the edge portions of the V to separate the strip portions from one another and from the label. A matrix of label material, from which the label was cut, can be left on the carrier strip and separated from the labels at the same time as the labels are separated from the carrier strip. Apparatus is also provided to engage the labels and press them against goods to be labelled.
Apparatus for engaging the labels and pressing them against the goods includes a bellows with holes in its face, and a pressure control for applying a vacuum or pressured air to the inside of the bellows. The bellows is pressed against the label as the label approaches or begins passing over the V-shaped notch and a vacuum is applied to the bellows to hold the label to the face thereof. The bellows moves with the label across the V-shaped notch while the vacuum continues to be applied, until the bellows and label have passed clear of the backing strip. Pressured air is then applied to the bellows to cause it to extend so that its face, with the label thereon, it thrust against an article to be labelled.
The novel features of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention will best be understood from the following description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of a labelling system constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a view taken on the line 2—2 of FIG. 1, showing details of a label carrying arrangement thereof;
FIG. 3 is a view taken on the line 3—3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 3A is a view taken on the line 3A—3A of FIG.
FIG. 4 is a more complete perspective view of the labelling system of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a partially sectional plan view of the system of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a partial perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 4, showing some of the details of the plunger carrying apparatus thereof;
FIG. 7 is a partially sectional side view of the system of FIG. 4 and shows other details thereof;
FIG. 8 is a view taken on the line 8—8 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a front elevation view of the system of FIG.
FIG. 10 is a view taken on the line 10—10 of FIG. 5;