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1. EP0831991 - CUSHIONING CONVERSION MACHINE AND METHOD WITH STITCHING ASSEMBLIES

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

Claims

1. A cushioning conversion machine (15) including conversion assemblies (31, 32) which convert a sheet-like stock material into a dunnage product, said conversion assemblies (31, 32) including a connecting assembly (32) comprising a pair of rotatable stitching members (102, 100, 202, 200),

a first one of said stitching members (102, 202) having a plurality of radially outwardly extending projections (120, 220) around the circumference thereof, said projections (120, 220) having at least two axially spaced apart segments (122, 124, 222, 224) defining a recess (126, 226) therebetween, and

a second one of said stitching members (100, 200) including at least one axial punch segment (132, 232) including a peripheral edge portion dimensioned to be received in said recess (126, 226) in said first stitching member (102, 202) during rotation of said stitching members (102, 100, 202, 200), the peripheral edge portion having corner edges at opposite sides thereof and being cooperative with the projections (120, 220) of said first stitching member (102, 202) to cut at each corner edge thereof a row of slits (193, 393) in overlapped portions (182, 382) of the sheet-like stock material, thereby forming at least one row of tabs (187, 191, 387, 391) for interlocking the overlapped portions (182, 382) of the stock material.


  2. A cushioning conversion machine (15) as set forth in the preceding claim wherein the conversion assemblies further comprise a first assembly (31) which shapes the stock material into a continuous three-dimensional strip of dunnage having overlapped portions (182) of the stock material and wherein the connecting assembly (32) connects the overlapped portions of the stock material to maintain the three-dimensional shape of the strip of dunnage.
  3. A conversion machine (15) as set forth in any preceding claim, wherein said second stitching member (100, 200) includes a second axial segment (130, 230) axially adjacent one side of said punch segment (132, 232), said second axial segment (130, 230) having a plurality of radially outwardly extending projections (134, 234) meshing with the projections (120, 220) of one of the axial segments of the first stitching member (102, 202), and the peripheral edge portion of the punch segment (132, 232) has punch portions thereof aligned with the spaces (142, 142) circumferentially between the projections (134, 234) of the second axial segment (130, 230), and the punch portions (132, 232) have said corner edges cooperative with edges on the projections (120, 220) of said first stitching member (102, 202) to cut respective rows of slits (193, 393) in the overlapped portions (182, 382) of the stock material.
  4. A connecting assembly (32) for a cushioning conversion machine (15) that converts sheet-like stock material into a dunnage product, said connecting assembly (32) comprising a pair of rotatable stitching members (102, 100, 202, 200),

a first one of said stitching members (102, 202) having a plurality of radially outwardly extending projections (120, 220) around the circumference thereof, said projections (120, 220) having at least two axially spaced apart segments (122, 124, 222, 224) defining a recess (126, 226) therebetween, and

a second one of said stitching members (100, 200) including at least one axial punch segment (132, 232) including a peripheral edge portion dimensioned to be received in said recess (126, 226) in said first stitching member (102, 202) during rotation of said stitching members (102, 100, 202, 200), the peripheral edge portion having corner edges at opposite sides thereof and being cooperative with the projections (120, 220) of said first stitching member (102, 202) to cut at each corner edge thereof a row of slits (193, 393) in overlapped portions (182, 382) of the sheet-like stock material, thereby forming at least one row of tabs (187, 191, 387, 391) for interlocking the overlapped portions (182, 382) of the stock material;

said second stitching member (100, 200) including a second axial segment (130, 230) axially adjacent one side of said punch segment (132, 232);

said second axial segment (130, 230) having a plurality of radially outwardly extending projections (134, 234) meshing with the projections (120, 220) of one of the axial segments (122, 222) of the first stitching member (102, 202);

the peripheral edge portion of the punch segment (132, 232) having punch portions thereof aligned with the spaces (142, 242) circumferentially between the projections (134, 234) of the second axial segment (130, 230); and

the punch portions having said corner edges cooperative with edges on the projections (120, 220) of said first stitching member (102, 202) to cut respective rows of slits (193, 393) in the overlapped portions (182, 382) of the stock material.


  5. A conversion machine (15) as set forth in any preceding claim or a connecting assembly (32) as set forth in claim 4, wherein said at least two axially spaced apart segments (122, 124, 222, 224) of said first stitching member (102, 202) include a central segment (122, 222) and an outer segment (124, 224) each defining a said recess (126, 226) with a respective side of said central segment (122, 222), each said recess (126, 226) extending annularly around said first stitching member (102, 202), and said second stitching member (100, 200) including a central segment (130, 230) having radially extending projections (134, 234) meshing with the radially extending projections (120, 220) of said central segment (122, 222) of said first stitching member (102, 202), and a said punch segment (132, 232) aligned with a respective said annular recess (126, 226) of said first stitching member (102, 202).
  6. A conversion machine (15) as set forth in claim 3 or the connecting assembly (32) set forth in claim 4, or any claim depending therefrom, wherein said punch portions are formed by radially extending projections (138) circumferentially staggered with the projections (134) of said second axial segment (130).
  7. A conversion machine (15) or a connecting assembly (32) as set forth in the preceding claim, wherein said radially extending projections (138) are in the form of gear teeth.
  8. A conversion machine (15) as set forth in claim 3 or the connecting assembly (32) set forth in claim 4, or any claim depending therefrom, wherein each said punch segment (132) has a plurality of projections (120) circumferentially staggered with said projections (134) of said central segment (130).
  9. A connecting assembly (32) according to Claim 4 or any claim dependent therefrom wherein said second stitching member (200) includes second axial segments (233, 230) axially adjacent opposite sides of said punch segment (232) , said second axial segments (233, 230) each having a plurality of radially outwardly extending projections (234) meshing with the projections (220) of a respective one of the axial segments (224,222) of the first stitching member (202), and the peripheral edge portion (237) of the punch segment (232) has punch portions (238) thereof aligned with the spaces (242) circumferentially between the projections (234) of each second axial segment (233, 230).
  10. A conversion machine (15) as set forth in claim 1 or the connecting assembly set forth in claim 4, or any claim depending therefrom, wherein said second stitching member (200) includes second axial segments (233, 230) axially adjacent opposite sides of said punch segment (232), said second axial segments (233, 230) each having a plurality of radially outwardly extending projections (234) meshing with the projections (220) of a respective one of the axial segments (224, 222) of the first stitching member (202), and the peripheral edge portion of the punch segment (232) has punch portions thereof aligned with the spaces (242) circumferentially between the projections (234) of each second axial segment (233, 230), and the punch portions (238) have said corner edges cooperative with edges on the projections (220) of said first stitching member (202) to cut respective rows of slits (393) in the overlapped portions (382) of the stock material.
  11. A conversion machine (15) or a connecting assembly (32) as set forth in the preceding claim, wherein the peripheral edge portion (237) of said second stitching member (200) is circumferentially continuous with the punch portions (238) being formed by portions of the circumferentially continuous peripheral edge portion (237) that span the circumferential space between the projections (234) of said second axial segments (233, 230).
  12. A conversion machine (15) or a connecting assembly (32) as set forth in the preceding claim, wherein the circumferentially continuous peripheral edge portion (237) has circular corner edges at opposite sides thereof forming the corner edges of said punch portions (238).
  13. A conversion machine (15) as set forth in claim 1 or the connecting assembly set forth in claim 4 or claim 9, or any claim depending therefrom, wherein said first and second stitching members (202, 200) are each formed by a plurality of coaxially stacked flat disc members (243 - 247).
  14. A conversion machine (15) or the connecting assembly (32) set forth in the preceding claim, wherein said flat disc members include gear-shape disc members (243, 244) and circular disc members (245-247).
  15. A method of forming a dunnage product from at least one layer of sheet-like stock material having overlapped portions, comprising the steps of:

forming in overlapped portions of the sheet-like stock material a central row of outwardly directed dents alternating with inwardly directed dents, and

forming from the overlapped portions at least one row of tabs in a direction opposite the relatively adjacent dent of the row of dents, said tabs being defined by laterally spaced-apart smooth-edge slits.


  16. A method as set forth in the preceding claim, including the step of supplying as the stock material a material that is biodegradable, recyclable and composed of a renewable resource.
  17. A dunnage product formed from at least one layer of stock material having overlapped portions, the overlapped portions including a row of outwardly directed dents alternating with inwardly directed dents, and at least one row of tabs adjacent said row of dents, said tabs being defined by laterally spaced-apart smooth-edge slits and being punched from the layer of stock material in a direction opposite the relatively adjacent dent of the row of dents.
  18. A dunnage product as set forth in the preceding claim, wherein said at least one row of tabs includes two rows of tabs that are laterally spaced apart.
  19. A dunnage product as set forth in the preceding claim, wherein the tabs in each row are laterally aligned with respective tabs in the other row.
  20. A dunnage product as set forth in any of the preceding method claims, wherein the tabs have opposite longitudinal ends thereof connected to relatively adjacent portions of the stock material.
  21. A dunnage product formed from one or more layers of stock material comprising a lateral pillow-like portion and a connecting portion which maintains the geometry of the pillow-like portion; the connecting portion including a longitudinal row of slits and a longitudinal row of dents on at least one side of the longitudinal row of slits.
  22. A dunnage product as set forth in the preceding claim, wherein the connecting portion includes another row of slits and wherein the row of dents is situated between the two rows of slits.
  23. A dunnage product as set forth in any of the preceding claims wherein the stock material is a material that is biodegradable, recyclable and composed of a renewable resource.