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1. WO1993016920 - PROCEDE ET APPAREIL D'EMBALLAGE D'ALIMENTS EN TRANCHES INDIVIDUELLES UTILISANT LA SOUDURE PIQUEE A CHAUD

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

WE CLAIM:

1. A food packing device for producing individually wrapped slices of a food item from a continuous flattened tube of wrapping material with the food item therein, the flattened tube having a front face and a rear face, the device comprising:
a registration station for producing adjacent sections of said flattened tube separated from each other by registration lines, wherein each of said registration lines are formed by said registration station pressing the front face and rear face of the tube material along an area transverse to the length of the tube such that the food item is squeezed out of said area;
a conveyor to transport said continuous tube of the food item;
a heating station disposed downstream of the registration station to heat said adjacent sections of said food item from said registration device at said registration lines for a predetermined time; and
a sealing station to receive said adjacent sections of said food item from said heating station and to heat said registration lines to form a tack seal at said registration lines.

2. The food packaging device of Claim 1, wherein said food item is a cheese product.

3. The food packaging device of Claim 1, wherein said heating station has a temperature of approximately between 250°F and 320°F.

4. The food packaging device of Claim 1, wherein said heating station has a temperature of approximately between 350°F and 450°F.

5. The food packaging device of Claim 3 , wherein said predetermined time is approximately 1/2 seconds.

6. The food packaging device of Claim 1, wherein said heating station comprises a plurality of cleats mounted on a rotatable cylinder.

7. The food packaging device of Claim 1, wherein said heating station comprises a plurality of cleats.

8. The food packaging device of Claim 6, wherein said plurality of cleats are arranged circumferentially and equidistant from each other.

9. The food packaging device of Claim 8 , wherein adjacent ones of said plurality of cleats are separated from each other a predetermined distance which defines the length of a slice.

10. The food packaging device of Claim 6, wherein said registration station comprises a cleat aligned with one of said plurality of cleats of said heating station so as to form said registration line when said food item is positioned therebetween.

11. The food packaging device of Claim 10, wherein said registration station comprises a plurality of cleats mounted on a rotatable cylinder.

12. The food packaging device of Claim 6, wherein said sealing station comprises a cleat aligned with one of said plurality of cleats of said heating station so as to press the front face and rear face of the tube material together to form a seal when said registration line is aligned with said aligned cleats.

13. The food packaging device of Claim 12 , wherein said sealing station comprises a plurality of cleats mounted on a rotatable cylinder.

14. The food packaging device of Claim 13 , wherein said registration station comprises a cleat aligned with one of said plurality of cleats of said heating station so as to form said registration line when said food item is positioned therebetween.

15. The food packaging device of Claim 6, wherein said sealing station comprises a cleat aligned with one of said plurality of cleats of said heating station so as to press together the front and rear faces of the tube material to form a seal when said registration line is aligned with said aligned cleats.

16. The food packaging device of Claim 15, wherein said sealing station comprises a plurality of cleats mounted on a rotatable cylinder.

17. The food packaging device of Claim 11, wherein said registration station and said sealing station have the same diameters.

18. The food packaging device of Claim 17, wherein the diameters of said registration station and sealing station are different in value than the diameter of said heating station.

19. The food packaging device of Claim 11, comprising a synchronizing device to align at least one of said plurality of cleats mounted on the registration station and at least one of said plurality of cleats mounted on the heating station.

20. The food packaging device of Claim 16, wherein said synchronizing device aligns at least one of said plurality of cleats mounted on the heating station with at least one of said plurality of cleats mounted on the sealing station.

21. The food packaging device of Claim 17, wherein said plurality of cleats of said heating station are equally spaced and are supported on a surface, wherein the surface lies between adjacent cleats and supports a section of said food item.

22. A method of producing individually wrapped slices of a food item from a continuous flattened tube of wrapping material with the food item therein comprising the steps of:
pressing said tube along a first area transverse to the length of the tube such that the food item is squeezed out of said first area so as to form a first registration line;
pressing said tube along a second area transverse to the length of the tube such that the food item is squeezed out of said second area so as to form a second registration line and define a food item slice located between said first and second registration lines;
heating said first and second registration lines for a predetermined amount of time;
after the heating of the first and second registration lines, pressing said heated first and second registration lines so as to form a food item slice with a tack seal.

23. The method of Claim 22 , wherein said food item is a cheese product.

24. The method of Claim 23, wherein said heating step is performed at a temperature of between approximately 250°F and 320°F.

25. The method of Claim 23, wherein said heating step is performed at a temperature of between approximately 350°F and 450°F.

26. The method of Claim 24, wherein said predetermined time is approximately 1/2 seconds.

27. The method of Claim 22, comprising cutting said food item slice with said tack seal along said first and second registration lines.

28. An individually wrapped slice of a food item formed from a continuous flattened tube of wrapping material with the food item therein formed by the steps of:
pressing said tube along a first area transverse to the length of the tube such that the food item is squeezed out of said first area so as to form a first registration line;
pressing said tube along a second area transverse to the length of the tube such that the food item is squeezed out of said second area so as to form a second registration line and define a food item slice located between said first and second registration lines;
heating said first and second registration lines for a predetermined amount of time;
pressing said heated first and second registration lines so as to form a food item slice with a tack seal.

29. The food item slice of Claim 28, wherein said food item is a cheese product.

- SO - SO. The food item slice of Claim 28, wherein said heating step is performed at a temperature of between approximately 250°F and 320°F.

31. The food item slice of Claim 28, wherein said heating step is performed at a temperature of between approximately 350°F and 450°F.

32. The food item slice of Claim 30, wherein said predetermined time is approximately 1/2 seconds.

33. The food item slice of Claim 28 comprising the step of cutting said food item slice with a tack seal along said first and second registration lines.

AMENDED CLAIMS
[received by the International Bureau on 18 May 1993 (18.05.93);
original claims 1, 3, 4, 10, 12, 15, 17, 21, 22, 24, 25, 28, 30 and 31 amended: new claims 34-39 added; remaining claims unchanged (8 pages)]
1. A food packing device for producing individually wrapped slices of a food item from a continuous
flattened tube of wrapping material with the food item
therein, the flattened tube having a front face and a
rear face, the device comprising:
a registration station for producing adjacent
sections of said flattened tube separated from each other by registration lines, wherein each of said registration
lines are formed by said registration station pressing
the front face and rear face of the tube material along
an area transverse to the length of the tube such that
the food item is squeezed out of said area;
a conveyor to transport said continuous tube of the food item;
a heating station disposed downstream of the
registration station to heat said adjacent sections of
said food item from said registration station at said
registration lines for a predetermined time and wherein
said registration lines are not pressed during said predetermined time; and
a sealing station to receive said adjacent sections of said food item from said heating station and to
heat said registration lines to form a tack seal at said
registration lines.

2. The food packaging device of Claim 1, wherein
said food item is a cheese product.

3. The food packaging device of Claim 1, wherein
said heating station generates a temperature of approximately between 250 °C and 320 °C.

4. The food packaging device of Claim 1, wherein
said heating station generates a temperature of approximately between 350 °C and 450 °C.

5. The food packaging device of Claim 3, wherein said predetermined time is approximately 1/2 seconds.

6. The food packaging device of Claim 1, wherein said heating station comprises a plurality of cleats mounted on a rotatable cylinder.

7. The food packaging device of Claim 1, wherein said heating station comprises a plurality of cleats.

8. The food packaging device of Claim 6, wherein said plurality of cleats are arranged circumferentially and equidistant from each other.

9. The food packaging device of Claim 8, wherein adjacent ones of said plurality of cleats are separated from each other a predetermined distance which defines the length of a slice.

10. A food packing device for producing individually wrapped slices of a food item from a continuous flattened tube of wrapping material with the food item therein, the flattened tube having a front face and a rear face, the device comprising:
a registration station comprising a cleat aligned with one of said plurality of cleats of said heating station so as to form said registration line when said food item is positioned therebetween and for producing adjacent sections of said flattened tube separated from each other by registration lines, wherein each of said registration lines are formed by said registration station pressing the front face and rear face of the tube material along an area transverse to the length of the tube such that the food item is squeezed out of said area;
a conveyor to transport said continuous tube of the food item;

a heating station comprising a plurality of cleats mounted on a rotatable cylinder and disposed downstream of the registration station to heat said adjacent sections of said food item from said registration device at said registration lines for a predetermined time; and a sealing station to receive said adjacent sections of said food item from said heating station and to heat said registration lines to form a tack seal at said registration lines.

11. The food packaging device of Claim 10, wherein said registration station comprises a plurality of cleats mounted on a rotatable cylinder.

12. A food packing device for producing individually wrapped slices of a food item from a continuous flattened tube of wrapping material with the food item therein, the flattened tube having a front face and a rear face, the device comprising:
a registration station comprising and for producing adjacent sections of said flattened tube separated from each other by registration lines, wherein each of said registration lines are formed by said registration station pressing the front face and rear face of the tube material along an area transverse to the length of the tube such that the food item is squeezed out of said area;
a conveyor to transport said continuous tube of the food item;
a heating station comprising a plurality of cleats mounted on a rotatable cylinder and disposed downstream of the registration station to heat said adjacent sections of said food item from said registration device at said registration lines for a predetermined time; and a sealing station comprising a cleat aligned with one of said plurality of cleats of said heating station so as to press the front face and rear face of the tube material together to form a seal when said registration line is aligned with said aligned cleats and to receive said adjacent sections of said food item from said heating station and to heat said registration lines to form a tack seal at said registration lines.

13. The food packaging device of Claim 12, wherein said sealing station comprises a plurality of cleats mounted on a rotatable cylinder.

14. The food packaging device of Claim 13, wherein said registration station comprises a cleat aligned with one of said plurality of cleats of said heating station so as to form said registration line when said food item is positioned therebetween.

15. A food packing device for producing individually wrapped slices of a food item from a continuous flattened tube of wrapping material with the food item therein, the flattened tube having a front face and a rear face, the device comprising:
a registration station comprising and for producing adjacent sections of said flattened tube separated from each other by registration lines, wherein each of said registration lines are formed by said registration station pressing the front face and rear face of the tube material along an area transverse to the length of the tube such that the food item is squeezed out of said -area;
a conveyor to transport said continuous tube of the food item; —
a heating station comprising a plurality of cleats mounted on a rotatable cylinder and disposed downstream of the registration station to heat said adjacent sections of said food item from said registration device at said registration lines for a predetermined time; and a sealing station comprising a cleat aligned with one of said plurality of cleats of said heating station so as to press together the front and rear faces of the tube material to form a seal when said registration line is aligned with said aligned cleats and to receive said adjacent sections of said food item from said heating station and to heat said registration lines to form a tack seal at said registration lines.

16. The food packaging device of Claim 15, wherein said sealing station comprises a plurality of cleats mounted on a rotatable cylinder.

17. The food packaging device of Claim 11, wherein sealing station comprises a rotatable cylinder wherein the rotatable cylinders of said registration station and said sealing station have the same diameters.

18. The food packaging device of Claim 17, wherein the diameters of the rotatable cylinders of said registration station and sealing station are different in value than the diameter of the rotatable cylinder of said heating station.

19. The food packaging device of Claim 11, comprising a synchronizing device to align at least one of said plurality of cleats mounted on the registration station and at least one of said plurality of cleats mounted on the heating station.

20. The food packaging device of Claim 16, wherein said synchronizing device aligns at least one of said plurality of cleats mounted on the heating station with at least one of said plurality of cleats mounted on the sealing station.

21. The food packaging device of Claim 17, wherein said plurality of cleats of said station are equally spaced and are supported on a surface, wherein the surface lies between adjacent cleats and supports a section of said food item.

22. A method of producing individually wrapped slices of a food item from a continuous flattened tube of wrapping material with the food item therein comprising the steps of:
pressing said tube along a first area transverse to the length of the tube such that the food item is squeezed out of said first area so as to form a first registration line;
pressing said tube along a second area transverse to the length of the tube such that the food item is squeezed out of said second area so as to form a second registration line and define a food item slice located between said first and second registration lines;
discontinuing said pressing of said tube and heating said first and second registration lines for a predetermined amount of time;
after the heating of the first and second registration lines, pressing said heated first and second registration lines so as to form a food item slice with a tack seal.

23. The method of Claim 22, wherein said food item is a cheese product.

24. The method of Claim 23, wherein said heating step is performed at a temperature of between approximately 250 "C and 320 °C.

25. The method of Claim 23, wherein said heating step is performed at a temperature of between approximately 350 °C and 450 °C.

26. The method of Claim 24, wherein said predetermined time is approximately 1/2 seconds.

27. The method of Claim 22, comprising cutting said food item slice with said tack seal along said first and second registration lines.

28. An individually wrapped slice of a food item formed from a continuous flattened tube of wrapping material with the food item therein formed by the steps of:
pressing said tube along a first area transverse to the length of the tube such that the food item is squeezed out of said first area so as to form a first registration line;
pressing said tube along a second area transverse to the length of the tube such that the food item is squeezed out of said second area so as to form a second registration line and define a food item slice located between said first and second registration lines;
discontinuing said pressing of said tube along said first and second areas transverse to the length of the tube and heating said first and second registration lines for a predetermined amount of time;
pressing said heated first and second registration lines so as to form a food item slice with a tack seal.

29. The food item slice of Claim 28, wherein said food item is a cheese product.

30. The food item slice of Claim 28, wherein said heating step is performed at a temperature of between approximately 250 °C and 320 "C.

31. The food item slice of Claim 28, wherein said heating step is performed at a temperature of between approximately 350 °C and 450 °C.

32. The food item slice of Claim 30, wherein said predetermined time is approximately 1/2 seconds.

33. The food item slice of Claim 28 comprising the step of cutting said food item slice with a tack seal along said first and second registration lines.

34. The food packaging device of Claim 1 , wherein said wrapping material comprises a stretchable material.

35. The food packaging device of Claim 34, wherein said wrapping material comprises polypropylene.

36. The method of Claim 22, wherein said wrapping material comprises a stretchable material.

37. The method of Claim 36, wherein said wrapping material comprises polypropylene.

38. The food item slice of Claim 28, wherein said wrapping material comprises a stretchable material.

39. The food item slice of Claim 38, wherein said wrapping material comprises polypropylene.

STATEMENT UNDER ARTICLE 19

In the Search Report mailed March 17, 1993, claims 28-33 were indicated to lack novelty in view of U.S. Patent No. 3,542,570 to Bush et al . and U.S. Patent No. 3,851,068 to Kraft. Claims 28 and 30-33 were
indicated to lack novelty in view of U.S. Patent No.
4,183,964 to Vinokur. Claims 1-9 and 22-33 were indicated to lack an inventive step in view of Vinokur. Claims 6-9 and 29 were indicated to lack an inventive step in view of Vinokur and Bush et al.
Applicant traverses the findings of the search report in view of the present amendment of claims 1 and 28. In particular, claim 1 has been amended to emphasize that at the heating station the registration lines are not pressed during heating. Claim 28 has been amended so that the pressing of the transverse areas is discontinued during the heating of those areas.
In direct contrast. Bush et al. teaches to press and heat the wrapper at crimper mechanism 46. Bush et al. does not teach or suggest a heating station in which the registration lines are not pressed during the application of heat.
With regards to amended claim 28, assuming Kraft's packages shown in FIGS. 2 and 4 are tubes, heat seals 38 are not transverse to the length of the tube as claimed. Furthermore, Kraft only describes a seal 38 which is heat sealed without undergoing the process of forming registration lines and heating the registration lines. Thus, Applicant's seal is formed by a different process which results in a seal with different properties than that of Kraft.
Vinokur fails to press the heated registration lines to form a tack seal as in amended claims 1 and 28. Vinokur teaches to stuff a tubular casing 1 with meat.

The casing 1 is then pressure sealed along a line by apparatus 3. The casing and line are then fed to a zone 6 for cooking the meat. Next the casing is fed between support 9 and clamps 10 and 11. Clamps 10 and 11 engage the casing on either side of the line and heat seal the casing on either side of the line. Thus, Vinokur fails to press the line twice as required by amended claim 28.
In addition, with regards to amended claim 1, the pressed line 4 of Vinokur is not heated by clamps 10 and 11 to form a seal. In fact, Vinokur' s heat seals are on either side of line 4. Furthermore, there is no suggestion in Vinokur or the prior art to apply heat to line 4 to form a seal.

Please date stamp and return the enclosed copy of this letter as acknowledgement of receipt of this request.