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1. (WO2017137865) METHOD AND A MACHINE FOR MAKING ABSORBENT SANITARY ARTICLES
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CLAIMS

1 ) A method for making absorbent sanitary articles whereby each absorbent article (2) is provided with at least one pair (6) of side tabs (7), the method comprising the steps of

feeding a single continuous web (22), with a longitudinal axis (L), towards at least one cutting station (37, 38, 39) where the continuous web (22) is subdivided by a succession of cuts transverse to the longitudinal axis (L) into a first and a second series (23, 24) of side tabs (7), each of which has an asymmetrical shape; the side tabs (7) of the first and second series (23, 24) being arranged alternately with each other in a continuous succession;

separating the side tabs (7) of the first series (23) from the continuous web (22) and feeding them along a first path (P1 ) along which each side tab (7) is rotated by 180° about an axis of rotation (7b) perpendicular to the plane containing the side tab (7) itself;

separating the side tabs (7) of the second series (24) from the continuous web (22) and feeding them along a second path (P2), distinct from the first path (P1 ) and along which each side tab (7) keeps unchanged its respective orientation relative to the plane containing the side tab (7) itself; applying each rotated side tab (7) of the first series (23) and each side tab (7) of the second series (24) along a continuous strip (9) of a material for making the absorbent articles (2), in such a way that each rotated tab (7) of the first series (23) is juxtaposed with a respective tab (7) of the second series (24) to define a respective pair (6) of side tabs (7).

2) The method according to claim 1 , characterized in that each rotated side tab (7) of the first series (23) and each side tab (7) of the second series (24) are applied separately along the continuous strip (9).

3) The method according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that along the second path (P2), each side tab (7) of the second series (24) is translated sideways relative to an initial pickup position until reaching a final position of application on the continuous strip so as to define alternately the right- hand side tab (7) and the left-hand side tab (7) of a respective pair (6) of side tabs (7) of respective absorbent articles (2) which are consecutive to each other along the continuous strip (9).

4) The method according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that along the first path (P1 ), each side tab (7) of the first series (23) is translated sideways relative to an initial pickup position until reaching a final position of application on the continuous strip so as to define alternately the left-hand side tab (7) and the right-hand side tab (7) of a respective pair (6) of side tabs (7) of respective absorbent articles (2) which are consecutive to each other along the continuous strip (9).

5) The method according to claim 4, characterized in that the step of translating the side tab (7) of the first series (23) sideways along the first path (P1 ) from the initial position to the final position is performed after the step of rotating the side tab (7) by 180° about the respective axis of rotation (7b) perpendicular to the plane containing the side tab (7) itself.

6) The method according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises a step of arranging along the first path (P1 ) each side tab (7) of the first series (23) according to a predetermined spacing and arranging along the second path (P2) each side tab (7) of the second series (24) according to a predetermined spacing in such a way that each side tab (7) of the first and second series (23, 24) will become part of a respective absorbent article (2).

7) The method according to claim 6, characterized in that the step of translating each side tab (7) of the first series (23) sideways is performed simultaneously with the step of arranging according to the predetermined spacing each side tab (7) of the first series (23); and in that the step of translating each side tab (7) of the second series (24) sideways is performed simultaneously with the step of arranging according to the predetermined spacing each side tab (7) of the second series (24).

8) The method according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the continuous web (22) is subdivided according to a

continuous repetition of a continuous succession (25) of at least four side tabs (7) defined by a first and a second side tab (26, 28) of the first series (23) arranged alternately with a first and a second side tab (27, 29) of the second series (24); each of the four side tabs (26, 27, 28, 29) of the continuous succession (25) is oriented differently from the others.

9) The method according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the continuous web (22) is subdivided according to a continuous repetition of a continuous succession (25), each of which comprises a succession of pairs (25a, 25b) of side tabs (7) which are mirror-symmetrical to each other about an axis at right angles to the longitudinal axis (L) of the continuous web (22); in particular, each continuous succession (25) comprises a pair (25a) defined by a first tab (26) of the first series (23) and a first tab (27) of the second series (24) which are consecutive and mirror-symmetrical to each other about an axis at right angles to the longitudinal axis (L) of the continuous web (22), and a pair (25b) defined by a second tab (28) of the first series (23) and a second tab (29) of the second series (24) which are consecutive and mirror-symmetrical to each other about an axis at right angles to the longitudinal axis (L) of the continuous web (22).

10) The method according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized by feeding a single continuous web (22) from which respective pairs (6) of side tabs (7) of the trailing portion (5) of the absorbent article (2) are obtained and feeding a single continuous web (22) from which respective pairs (6) of side tabs (7) of the leading portion (4) of the absorbent article (2) are obtained.

1 1 ) A machine for making absorbent sanitary articles, comprising a feed line (8) for feeding a continuous strip (9) of a material for making the absorbent articles (2), a means (10) for cutting the continuous strip (9) into individual absorbent articles (2), at least one unit (1 1 ) for forming and applying at least one pair (6) of side tabs (7) of the absorbent articles (2); the forming and application unit (1 1 ) comprising a plurality of conveyors (17, 18, 19, 20, 21 ) which rotate about respective axes (30, 31 , 32, 33, 34) which are all parallel to a transverse direction, relative to the feed direction of the continuous strip (9), and which comprise: a roller (21 ) for conveying a single continuous web (22) with a longitudinal axis (L) towards at least one cutting station (35, 37, 39) and for making on the continuous web (22) a succession of cuts transverse to the longitudinal axis (L) to divide the selfsame continuous web (22) into a first and a second series (23, 24) of side tabs (7), each of which has an asymmetrical shape; the side tabs (7) of the first and second series (23, 24) being arranged alternately with each other in a continuous succession;

a first and a second means (17, 18) for picking up the side tabs (7) of the first and second series (23, 24), respectively, at a first and a second pickup station (36, 38), both located downstream of the one or more cutting stations (35, 37, 39); the first pickup means (17) rotating each side tab (7) by 180° about an axis of rotation (7b) perpendicular to the plane containing the side tab (7) itself; the second pickup means (18) keeping unchanged a respective orientation of each side tab (7) relative to an axis of rotation (7b) perpendicular to the plane containing the side tab (7) itself; a first transfer means (19) for transferring each side tab (7) of the first series (23) positioned downstream of the first pickup means (17), conveys and applies each rotated side tab (7) of the first series (23) to the continuous strip (9);

a second transfer means (20) for transferring each side tab (7) of the second series (24) and positioned downstream of the second pickup means (18), conveys and applies each side tab (7) of the second series (24) to the continuous strip (9) in such a way that each rotated tab (7) of the first series (23) is juxtaposed with a respective tab (7) of the second series (24) to define a respective pair (6) of side tabs (7).

12) The machine according to claim 1 1 , characterized in that by means of the second transfer means (20), each side tab (7) of the second series (24) is translated sideways relative to an initial pickup position until

reaching a final position of application on the continuous strip so as to define alternately the right-hand side tab (7) and the left-hand side tab (7) of a respective pair (6) of side tabs (7) of respective absorbent articles (2) which are consecutive to each other along the continuous strip (9).

13) The machine according to claim 1 1 or 12, characterized in that by means of the first transfer means (19), each side tab (7) of the first series (23) is translated sideways relative to an initial pickup position until reaching a final position of application on the continuous strip so as to define alternately the left-hand side tab (7) and the right-hand side tab (7) of a respective pair (6) of side tabs (7) of respective absorbent articles (2) which are consecutive to each other along the continuous strip (9).

14) The machine according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that by means of the first transfer means (19), each side tab (7) of the first series (23) is arranged according to a predetermined spacing and in that by means of the second transfer means (20) each side tab (7) of the second series (24) is arranged according to a predetermined spacing in such a way that each side tab (7) of the first and second series (23, 24) will become part of a respective absorbent article (2).

15) The machine according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the conveying roller (21 ) comprises one or more cutting means (49) distributed along the outside surface of the roller (21 ) and/or one or more portions defining an anvil (50) of a respective cutting means (48), facing the outside surface of the conveying roller (21 ) and acting in conjunction therewith.

16) The machine according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises a unit (1 1 ) for forming and applying pairs (6) of side tabs (7) arranged in a trailing portion (5) of an absorbent article (2) and a unit (1 1 ) for forming and applying pairs (6) of side tabs (7) arranged in a leading portion (4) of an absorbent article (2).