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1. (WO2019063446) A PACKAGING APPARATUS FOR FORMING SEALED PACKAGES
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CLAIMS

1.- A packaging apparatus (1) for forming a plurality of sealed packages (2) filled with a pourable product comprising :

- conveying means (5) for advancing a web of packaging material (4) along an advancement path (P) ;

an isolation chamber (10) separating an inner environment from an outer environment (13);

a tube forming device (14) extending along a longitudinal axis (L) , being at least partially arranged within the isolation chamber (10) and being adapted to form a tube (3) from the, in use, advancing web of packaging material (4), wherein the conveying means (5) are also adapted to advance the tube (3) formed by the tube forming device (14) along a respective tube advancement path (Q) ;

- a sealing device (15) at least partially arranged within the isolation chamber (10) and being adapted to longitudinally seal the tube (3) formed by the tube forming device (14);

- a support structure (23) carrying at least the tube forming device (14);

- filling means (16) for continuously filling the tube (3) formed by the tube forming device (14) with a pourable product;

- a package forming unit (17) adapted to form and seal the packages (2) from the, in use, advancing tube (3) formed by the tube forming device (14) and filled by the filling means (16);

the packaging apparatus (1) being characterized in that the support structure (23) comprises at least one support column (60) at least indirectly carrying the tube forming device (14) and extending parallel to the longitudinal axis (L) of the tube forming device (14) .

2 . - The packaging apparatus according to claim 1, and further comprising a base support structure ( 22 ) housing the package forming unit (17) and carrying the isolation chamber (10);

wherein the support column (60) is carried by the base support structure ( 22 ) and extends perpendicular away from the base support structure ( 22 ) .

3 . - The packaging apparatus according to claim 2 , wherein the base support structure ( 22 ) comprises a main frame structure (49) and the isolation chamber (10) comprises an auxiliary frame (55) carried by the main frame structure (49) .

4. - The packaging apparatus according to claim 3 , wherein the isolation chamber (10) comprises a housing

(11) being connected to the auxiliary frame (55) and the support column (60) is distinct from the auxiliary frame (55) and the housing (11) .

5. - The packaging apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the support structure ( 2 3 ) also comprises a coupling assembly (61) coupled to the support column (60) and to the tube forming device (14) such that the support column (60) indirectly carries the tube forming device (14) .

6.- The packaging apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the support structure ( 2 3 ) comprises more than one support column (60) being parallel to one another, wherein the coupling assembly (61) is coupled to at least a pair of the support columns (60) .

7.- The packaging apparatus according to claim 6, wherein the tube forming device (14) is centered with respect to the pair of the support columns (60) coupled to one another by the coupling assembly (61) .

8.- The packaging apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the support structure (23) further comprises a stabilizing assembly (67) for mechanically stabilizing the support column (60).

9.- The packaging apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the stabilizing assembly (67) comprises at least one main support bar (68) being connected to the support column (60), having an extension transversal to the support column (60) and being at least indirectly carried by a base support structure (22) of the packaging apparatus ( 1 ) .

10.- The packaging apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the support column (60) also carries at least a portion of the sealing device (15) .

11.- The packaging apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, and further comprising a sterilization unit (18) adapted to sterilize the web of packaging material (4) at a sterilization station upstream of the tube forming device (14) along the advancement path (P) .

12.- The packaging apparatus according to claim 11, wherein the sterilizing unit (18) comprises an electron beam generator adapted to direct an electron beam onto the, in use, advancing web of packaging material (4) .

13.- The packaging apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the support column (60) is arranged within the isolation chamber (10) .

14.- The packaging apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the tube forming device (14) comprises at least two forming ring assemblies (37, 38, 39) , each of which extending within a respective plane (H; I; J), wherein the respective planes (H; I; J) are parallel and spaced apart from one another.

15. - The packaging apparatus according to claim 14, wherein each one of the forming ring assemblies (37, 38, 39) is connected to at least a respective connection bar (62), the respective connection bar (62) being connected to the support column (60) .

16. - The packaging apparatus according to claim 15, wherein each connection bar (62) is moveable along the support column (60) .

17. - The packaging apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the conveying means (5) comprises a web drive assembly (27) arranged within the isolation chamber (10) upstream of the tube forming device (14) along the advancement path (P) , the web drive assembly (27) being carried by the support column (60) .