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1. WO1996040493 - CUSHIONING CONVERSION MACHINE AND METHOD WITH STITCHING ASSEMBLIES

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[ EN ]

CLAIMS
1 . A cushioning conversion machine for converting sheet-like stock material into a dunnage product, comprising:
a first assembly which shapes the stock material into a continuous three-dimensional strip of dunnage having overlapped portions of the stock material; and a second assembly which connects the overlapped portions of the stock material to maintain the three-dimensional shape of the strip of dunnage, said connecting assembly including a pair of rotatable stitching members,
a first one of said stitching members having a plurality of radially outwardly extending projections around the circumference thereof, said projections having at least two axially spaced apart segments defining a recess therebetween, and a second one of said stitching members including at least one axial punch segment including a peripheral edge portion dimensioned to be received in said recess in said first stitching member during rotation of said stitching members, the peripheral edge portion having corner edges at opposite sides thereof and being cooperative with the projections of said first stitching member to cut at each corner edge thereof a row of slits in the overlapped portions of the stock material, thereby forming at least one row of tabs for interlocking the overlapped portions of the stock material.
2. A conversion machine as set forth in claim 1 , wherein said second stitching member includes a second axial segment axially adjacent one side of said punch segment, said second axial segment having a plurality of radially outwardly extending projections meshing with the projections of one of the axial segments of the first stitching member, and the peripheral edge portion of the punch segment has punch portions thereof aligned with the spaces circumferentially between the projections of the second axial segment, and the punch portions have said corner edges cooperative with edges on the projections of said first stitching member to cut respective rows of slits in the overlapped portions of the stock material.
3. A conversion machine as set forth in claim 2, wherein said second stitching member includes second axial segments axially adjacent opposite sides of said punch segment, said second axial segments each having a plurality of radially outwardly extending projections meshing with the projections of a respective one of the axial segments of the first stitching member, and the peripheral edge portion of the punch segment has punch portions thereof aligned with the spaces circumferentially between the projections of each second axial segment, and the punch portions have said corner edges cooperative with edges on the projections of said first stitching member to cut respective rows of slits in the overlapped portions of the stock material.
4. A conversion machine as set forth in claim 3, wherein said punch portions are formed by radially extending projections circumferentially staggered with the projections of said second axial segments.
5. A conversion machine as set forth in claim 4, wherein said radially extending projections are in the form of gear teeth.
6. A conversion machine as set forth in claim 3, wherein the peripheral edge portion of said second stitching member is circumferentially continuous with the punch portions being formed by portions of the circumferentially continuous peripheral edge portion that span the circumferential space between the projections of said second axial segments.
7. A conversion machine as set forth in claim 6, wherein the
circumferentially continuous peripheral edge portion has circular corner edges at opposite sides thereof forming the corner edges of said punch portions.
8. A conversion machine as set forth in claim 1 , wherein said at least two axially spaced apart segments of said first stitching member include a central segment and an outer segment each defining a said recess with a respective side of said central segment, each said recess extending annularly around said first stitching member, and said second stitching member including a central segment having radially extending projections meshing with the radially extending projections of said central segment of said first stitching member, and a said punch segment aligned with a respective said annular recess of said first stitching member.
9. A conversion machine as set forth in claim 8, wherein each said punch segment has a plurality of projections circumferentially staggered with said projections of said central segment.
10. A conversion machine as set forth in claim 1 , wherein said first and second stitching members are each formed by a plurality of coaxially stacked flat disc members.
1 1 . A conversion machine as set forth in claim 10, wherein said flat disc members include gear-shape disc members and circular disc members.
12. A connecting assembly for a cushioning conversion machine that converts sheet-like stock material into a dunnage product, said connecting assembly comprising a pair of rotatable stitching members, a first one of said stitching members having a plurality of radially outwardly extending projections around the circumference thereof, said projections having at least two axially spaced apart segments defining a recess therebetween, and
a second one of said stitching members including at least one axial punch segment including a peripheral edge portion dimensioned to be received in said recess in said first stitching member during rotation of said stitching members, the peripheral edge portion having corner edges at opposite sides thereof and being cooperative with the projections of said first stitching member to cut at each corner edge thereof a row of slits in overlapped portions of the sheet-like stock material, thereby forming at least one row of tabs for interlocking the overlapped portions of the stock material.
13. A connecting assembly as set forth in claim 12, wherein said second stitching member includes a second axial segment axially adjacent one side of said punch segment, said second axial segment having a plurality of radially outwardly extending projections meshing with the projections of one of the axial segments of the first stitching member, and the peripheral edge portion of the punch segment has punch portions thereof aligned with the spaces circumferentially between the projections of the second axial segment, and the punch portions have said corner edges cooperative with edges on the projections of said first stitching member to cut respective rows of slits in the overlapped portions of the stock material.
1 . A connecting assembly as set forth in claim 13, wherein said second stitching member includes second axial segments axially adjacent opposite sides of said punch segment, said second axial segments each having a plurality of radially outwardly extending projections meshing with the projections of a respective one of the axial segments of the first stitching member, and the peripheral edge portion of the punch segment has punch portions thereof aligned with the spaces circumferentially between the projections of each second axial segment, and the punch portions have said corner edges cooperative with edges on the projections of said first stitching member to cut respective rows of slits in the overlapped portions of the stock material.
15. A connecting assembly as set forth in claim 14, wherein said punch portions are formed by radially extending projections circumferentially staggered with the projections of said second axial segments.
16. A connecting assembly as set forth in claim 15, wherein said radially extending projections are in the form of gear teeth.

17. A connecting assembly as set forth in claim 14, wherein the peripheral edge portion of said second stitching member is circumferentially continuous with the punch portions being formed by portions of the circumferentially continuous peripheral edge portion that span the circumferential space between the projections of said second axial segments.
18. A connecting assembly as set forth in claim 17, wherein the
circumferentially continuous peripheral edge portion has circular corner edges at opposite sides thereof forming the corner edges of said punch portions.
19. A connecting assembly as set forth in claim 12, wherein said at least two axially spaced apart segments of said first stitching member include a central segment and an outer segment each defining a said recess with a respective side of said central segment, each said recess extending annularly around said first stitching member, and said second stitching member including a central segment having radially extending projections meshing with the radially extending projections of said central segment of said first stitching member, and a said punch segment aligned with a respective said annular recess of said first stitching member.
20. A connecting assembly as set forth in claim 19, wherein each said punch segment has a plurality of projections circumferentially staggered with said projections of said central segment.
21 . A connecting assembly as set forth in claim 12, wherein said first and second stitching members are each formed by a plurality of coaxially stacked flat disc members.
22. A connecting assembly as set forth in claim 21 , wherein said flat disc members include gear-shape disc members and circular disc members.
23. A cushioning conversion machine for converting sheet-like stock material into a dunnage product, comprising:
a first assembly which shapes the stock material into a continuous three-dimensional strip of dunnage having overlapped portions of the stock material; and a second assembly which connects the overlapped portions of the stock material to maintain the three-dimensional shape of the strip of dunnage, said connecting assembly including a pair of rotatable stitching members, at least one of which has axial segments thereof of different cross-sectional shapes and at least one of the axial segments being formed from a plurality of disc members.
24. A connecting assembly for a cushioning conversion machine that converts sheet-like stock material into a dunnage product, said connecting assembly comprising a pair of rotatable stitching members, at least one of which has axial segments thereof of different cross-sectional shapes and at least one of the axial segments being formed from a plurality of disc members.
25. A rotatable stitching member for a connecting assembly in a cushioning conversion machine that converts sheet-like stock material into a dunnage product, said stitching member having axial segments thereof of different cross-sectional shapes and at least one of the axial segments being formed from a plurality of disc members.
26. A stitching member as set forth in claim 25, wherein all of said axial segments are formed from one or more disc members.
27. A stitching member as set forth in claim 25, wherein said disc members were formed by punching from a metal plate.
28. A stitching member as set forth in claim 25, wherein some of said disc members have a toothed profile.
29. A stitching member as set forth in claim 25, wherein some of said disc members have a circular profile.
30. A stitching member as set forth in claim 25, wherein some of said disc members have a central hub from which a plurality of circumferentially spaced apart projections extend radially.
31 . A stitching member as set forth in claim 25, wherein said axial segments includes two first axial segments separated by a second axial segment, said first two axial segments each being formed by at least one first disc member having a central hub from which a plurality of circumferentially spaced apart projections extend radially, and said second axial segment being formed by at least one second disc member having an outer diametral extent less than the outer diametral extent of the first disc member.
32. A stitching member as set forth in claim 31 , wherein said second disc member is circular and has an outer peripheral edge portion at least partially overlapping the circumferential spaces between the projections of the first disc member of each second axial segment.
33. 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.
34. A dunnage product as set forth in claim 33, wherein said at least one row of tabs includes two rows of tabs that are laterally spaced apart.
35. A dunnage product as set forth in claim 34, wherein the tabs in each row are laterally aligned with respective tabs in the other row.
36. A dunnage product as set forth in claim 35, wherein the tabs have opposite longitudinal ends thereof connected to relatively adjacent portions of the stock material.
37. 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.
38. A method as set forth in claim 37, including the step of supplying as the stock material a material that is biodegradable, recyclable and composed of a renewable resource.
39. A dunnage product formed by the method of claim 37.
40. A cushioning conversion machine for converting a sheet-like stock material into dunnage sections of a desired length, said machine comprising:
a frame having an upstream end and a downstream end;
a forming assembly, mounted to the frame, which shapes the stock material into a continuous three dimensional strip of dunnage having overlapped portions of the stock material;
a pulling/connecting assembly mounted to the frame downstream of the forming assembly including a pair of interacting rotating members, the first of the rotating members including a pulling axial section which pulls the stock material through the forming assembly and a connecting axial section which connects the overlapped portions of the stock material;
a stock supply assembly, positioned upstream of the forming assembly, which supplies the stock material to the forming assembly; and a severing assembly, positioned downstream of the pulling connecting assembly, which severs the connected strip of dunnage into dunnage sections of a desired length.
41 . A cushioning conversion machine as set forth in claim 40, wherein the connecting axial section which connects the overlapped portions of the stock material includes projections which perforate the stock material.
42. A cushioning conversion machine as set forth in claim 40, wherein the pulling/connecting assembly includes another connecting axial section, the pulling axial section being situated between the two connecting axial sections.
43. 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 perforations and an adjacent row of dents.
44. A dunnage product as set forth in claim 43, wherein the connecting portion includes another row of perforations and wherein the row of dents is situated between the two row of perforations.