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1. (WO2019042513) PACKAGING SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PACKAGING OBJECTS
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CLAIMS

1. A system (1) for packaging objects with a tubular plastic film, said system comprises:

• a gripping unit (2) having a plurality of horizontally oriented gripping arms (3) for holding the tubular plastic film (11) and for releasing it onto an object (7);

• a first conveyor (5) for supporting the object (7) and transporting it toward the gripping unit (2) in an axis parallel with the gripping arms (3) so that the object (7) is delivered between the gripping arms (3);

• a second conveyor (6) for supporting the object (7) and transporting it away from the gripping unit (2), said second conveyor (6) placed next to the gripping unit (2), which during packaging is placed between the first (5) and second conveyors (6);

• elements (10) adapted for cooperating with each other for temporarily holding the film (1 1), said elements enclosing a cutting device (12) and a welding device (13), said elements (10) positioned at the end of the first conveyor (5); and

• a control unit.

2. System according to claim 1 , wherein the elements (10) adapted for cooperating with each other for holding the film comprise a set of reciprocating elements (10) that can be forced together in order to press against the outer surface of the film (11), while the cutting device (12) and welding device (13), which is placed between the set of reciprocating elements (10), cuts and welds the film (1 1) thereby generating two closed ends.

3. System according to claim 1 or 2, wherein an additional welding device (13') is adopted between the elements (10) adapted for cooperating with each other for holding the film, said welding device (13) and said additional welding device (13') flanking the cutting device (12).

4. System (1) to any one of the claims 1 to 3, wherein the control unit is programmed to execute the following steps:

• loading the gripping unit (2) with tubular plastic film (11);

• ensuring that the gripping unit (2) is placed between the first (5) and second (6) conveyors, whereby the gripping arms (3) are positioned axially with the conveyors (5, 6);

• activating the first conveyor (5) to transport the object (7) toward the gripping unit (2), wherein the object (7) moves along and in between the gripping arms (3);

• activating the gripping unit (2) to release film (11) from the gripping arms (3) onto the object (7) while the object (7) moves towards the second conveyor

(6);

• activating the set of reciprocating elements (10) thereby forcing them to press against the outer surface of the film (1 1), while the cutting device (12) and welding device (13), which is placed between the set of reciprocating elements (10), cuts and welds the film (11) thereby generating a closed end in the film (11) covering the object (7); and

• moving the object (7) with closed ends to the second conveyor to transport the packaged object away from the gripping unit.

5. System according to any one of the claims 1 to 4, wherein the gripping unit (2) is loadable with tubular plastic film (11) for packaging at least 3 objects (7).

6. System according to any one of the claims 1 to 5, wherein the gripping unit (2) is movable.

7. System according to claim 6, wherein the gripping unit (2) is movable, such as on a track, between a station for loading the gripping unit (2) and the space between the first (5) and second (6) conveyors, where packaging of the object (7) is performed.

8. System according to any one of the claims 1 to 7, wherein the system is configured to accommodate a long object (7) by consecutively releasing two tubular film (11) segments along the object (7), said segments overlapping each other along the length of the object.

9. Method for packaging objects tubular film (11) with the system of any one of the claims 1 to 8, said method comprises the steps of:

• loading the gripping unit (2) with tubular plastic film (11);

• directing the gripping unit (2) to be placed between the first (5) and second (6) conveyors, whereby the gripping arms (3) are positioned axially with the conveyors (5, 6);

• activating the first conveyor (5) to transport the object (7) toward the gripping unit (2), wherein the object (7) moves along and in between the gripping arms (3);

• activating the gripping unit (2) to release film (11) from the gripping arms (3) onto the object (7) while the object (7) moves towards the second conveyor

(6);

· activating the set of reciprocating elements (10) thereby forcing them together in order to press against the outer surface of the film (1 1), while the cutting device (12) and welding device (13), which is placed between the set of reciprocating elements (10), cuts and welds the film (1 1) thereby generating one or two closed ends; and

· moving the object (7) with closed ends to the second conveyor (6) to transport the packaged object (7) away from the gripping unit (2).

10. Method according to claim 9, wherein the gripping unit (2) is configured to accommodate a long object (7) by consecutively releasing two tubular film (1 1) segments along the object (7), said segments overlapping each other along the length of the object (7).

11. Method of claim 10, wherein the overlapping segments are held in place by gluing or by a band, such as a strip.

12. An apparatus for holding a tubular film (1 1) while said film is being welded an cut, said apparatus comprising elements (10) adapted for cooperating with each other for temporarily holding the film (1 1), said elements enclosing a cutting device (12) and a welding device (13).

13. The apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the elements (10) adapted for cooperating with each other for holding the film comprise a set of reciprocating elements (10) that can be forced together in order to press against the outer surface of the film (11), while the cutting device (12) and welding device (13), which is placed between the set of reciprocating elements (10), cuts and welds the film

(11) thereby generating two closed ends.

14. The apparatus according to claim 12 or 13, wherein the apparatus comprises an additional welding device (13') placed between the elements (10) adapted for cooperating with each other for holding the film, said welding device (13) and said additional welding device (13') flanking the cutting device (12).