|Title of Invention||
A METHOD FOR FILLING A PLASTIC BOTTLE WITH A NECK AND ATTACHING A CAPSULE
|Abstract||A container (1) with a corresponding bottle neck (2) should be provided with a capsule (4) inside of which a substance (16) is placed that is to be released into the bottle contents. The aim of the invention is to avoid having to sterilize the contents again after the container has been aseptically filled, albeit the substance in the capsule often does not endure these temperatures. To this end, the invention provides a method with the following steps: a) aseptic filling of the plastic bottle; b) welding a first membrane (12) onto the container neck; c) placing the substance, which is to be released into the plastic bottle, on the first membrane that is already welded on; d) covering the substance, which is to be released, by a second membrane and welding the second membrane (17) to the first membrane (12). Lastly, a closure (5) with a secured tamper-evident layer is placed over the capsule (4) and onto the bottle neck.|
The present invention relates to a method for filling a plastic bottle with a neck, and the attachment of a capsule with at least one substance which is enclosed therein and which is to be dispensed into the plastic bottle, according to the introductory part of claim 1, as well as to a plastic bottle with a capsule attached on the bottle neck, according to the introductory part of patent claim 11.
As is known, there are many mixed products which separate, decompose or change in another manner and thus become unusable after a certain period of time. This is circumvented for example by way of storing certain substances which break down easily, separately, and leaving it to the consumer to bring together the components before the actual use. This in particular is the case with different medicaments, with which a powdery substance or a tablet is to be added to a liquid component, and these two parts are to be taken together afterwards. This concept however is becoming more widespread in the foodstuffs industry. Thus for example, fruit yoghurts are offered, which are accommodated in a two-part pot, wherein the yoghurt is accommodated in one pot and the crunchy muesli in the other pot, and wherein the muesli pot may be moved in a hinged manner and the contents may be emptied into the yoghurt pot after the removal of a cover membrane. Since here, the two components may be also consumed on their own without any problem, it is also not a problem for the consumer to have both parts individually accessible in front of him. With milk mixing products with which for example the fluid component obtained from milk is present with other substances, such as for example various vitamins, trace elements or other components which are beneficial to health, it does not make sense for the consumer to have these two parts presented in a separate manner.
Accordingly, plastic bottles which are combined with a capsule in which a substance to be applied into the plastic bottle is held, have been obtainable on the market for a few years now. One particular known embodiment is known from WO 98/40289. Here, the first version is described, with which a tablet is located in a cavity of a closure which is closed by a lid. On opening for the first time, this lid is pierced and the tablet falls into the container. This solution however is inadequate for reasons of demands with regard to shelf-life and hygiene, since the tablet is not present sealed in a separate capsule. In a second variant, the tablet is located in a capsule and is removed from this by way of a break-through means, and falls into the liquid component located thereunder. Since the capsule remains in the pour-out region of the closure, the closure must be screwed off after opening for the first time, and the capsule removed. This is awkward for the consumer and is probably not understood. The consumer would merely become irritated because of the poor pour-out nature of the closure.
Apart from these mentioned documents which represent the closest state of the art, furthermore all possible concepts have been disclosed, which practically all indicate a chamber
in a closure, in which the tablet is accommodated in a direct manner or in an enclosure which may be pierced. Such documents for example are GB-A-2'32r231 or GB-A-2'364'699.
GB-A-2'210'014 shows a completely different idea, in that a water beaker is disclosed which is filled with water, in order to consume tablets which are located in a blister package arranged above the beaker. Finally EP-0'857662 yet shows a somewhat unusual solution with which a container or its lid comprises a secondary closure, which may be used by a filling machine for filling a receptacle in a cold-aseptic manner.
The solutions with regard to closure and receptacles shown up to now, wherein a capsule with a substance is held over the container neck, always assume that these capsules need to be removed after having been emptied, in order to bring the container with the closure into a condition of use. The applicant distances himself from this concept, and is aware of the fact that per se, the concept of a capsule with a substance accommodated therein and which is to be introduced into the fluid of the receptacle, represents an enormous potential, but that this potential however may only be exploited if the capsule may be attached onto the receptacle during the filling procedure in a manner which is conducive to production. A solution which has already been filed previously by the applicant is based on welding a finished capsule directly onto the bottle neck and thereby dimensioning the capsule and bottle neck accordingly. However, it has been shown that for various applications, such a solution is hardly possible to be realized logistically in a reasonable manner, in particular when one operates with very high filing speeds.
A farther problem lies in the fact that often, the fluid accommodated in the receptacle, if it is the case here of a drink, must also yet be sterilized after the aseptic filing. However temperatures which under certain circumstances would already destroy the contents of the capsule already located on the bottle occur during sterilization.
Since however the receptacle is closed with the capsule, it is not possible to carry out the sterilization before applying the capsule. These problems are particularly the case with fruit juices or drinks produced on the basis of milk.
It is therefore the object of the present invention to specify a method for filling a plastic bottle with a neck, and the attachment of a capsule with at least one substance enclosed therein and to be dispensed into the plastic bottle, which is suitable for filling installations with very high speeds and is also suitable for filling fluids to be sterilized in the bottle.
This object is achieved by a method with the features of patent claim 1.
It is further an object of the invention to specify a plastic bottle with a capsule attached on the bottle neck, which may be realized according to the method according to claim 1. This object is achieved by a plastic bottle with a capsule attached on the bottle neck, with the features of patent claim 11. Advantageous designs of the method are to be deduced from the dependent claims 2 to 10, whilst the dependent claims 11 and the following indicate advantageous embodiments of the plastic bottle.
The method according to the invention, as well as a plastic bottle filled according to the method and provided with a capsule, are represented schematically in the drawings. There are shown in:
Figure 1 the course of the method in part steps a) to g);
Figure 2 shows a plastic bottle filled according to the method, with a capsule attached
thereon, and a closure placed on over the capsule, partly in section.
The end product to be obtained consists of a filled plastic bottle with a bottle neck, on which a capsule is placed. The capsule contains a substance to be dispensed which may be present in solid form, in tablet form, in powder form or even in liquid form.
The plastic bottle which in its entirety is indicated at 1, consists preferably of plastic, and comprises a bottle neck 2. An collar 3 is integrally formed on the bottle neck 2 peripherally on the outside. Of course the collar which is present here is not relevant to the actual method. A capsule which in its entirety is indicated at 4 is welded on the bottle neck 2. A closure 5 is placed on over the welded-on capsule 4. The closure 5 comprises a guarantee strip 6 which encompasses the collar 3. The closure 5 is provided with a drinking spout 7 which may be closed with a sealing cap 8. The closure 5 has a union lateral wall 9 with an inner thread 10. The closure may be screwed on from the integrity guarantee position represented here, into a position for use. With this, the capsule 4 is pierced and its content gets into the fluid present in the plastic bottle 1. The more detailed design of the closure is not the subject-matter of the present invention and its exact design is therefore not described.
The method according to the invention is now explained with reference to Figure 1. The steps a) to c) are surrounded with a dot-dashed frame. This dot-dashed frame is to schematically represent the fact that these steps are effected in an aseptic chamber 20. The aseptic chamber 20 per se is a closed chamber in a filling installation, and is thus integrated in this installation. In a first step which is indicated in the Figure at a), a filling conduit 11 is introduced into the plastic bottle 1 and this is filled to the desired level with the fluid to be filled. The plastic bottle 1 in a subsequent step is conveyed to a welding station, and there is sealed with a first membrane 12. In
principle, the terms welding as well as sealing are to be used in a tantamount manner. In the actual context, a welding of two thermoplastic layers takes place. Accordingly, the membrane is coated on both sides with a layer capable of being sealed. This layer undergoes a thermoplastic welding with the container neck. The membrane itself, which is preferably manufactured of aluminium, is thereby attached on the bottle neck 2 by way of a sealing. For this, an electrically heatable sealing- or welding punch 13 is present in a correspondingly schematic manner, by way of which the connection of the membrane to the container neck is effected. After this sealing, the plastic bottle 1 is closed in an absolutely sealed manner by way of the first membrane 12. The electrically heated mould punch 14 moves away, and the first membrane 12 may then be yet be brought into its final shape optionally either in a purely mechanical or thermal manner. Accordingly, the first membrane 12 may already be attached in its final shape, or be brought into its final shape in the subsequent step in Figure c), for example with a heated punch 14.
The plastic bottle 1 which is sealingly closed by the first membrane 12 then leaves the aseptic chamber 20 and now as an optional intermediate step, may be sterilized itself in the container. This intermediate step is represented in Figure 1 as d). After the sterilization, the filled container which is closed in an absolutely sealed manner, may in principle be intermediately stored before the further steps are effected.
In the next step, the sealed container 1 is then introduced into a dry room 30. The dry room may, as the case may be, also be designed simultaneously as a clean room. In this dry room 30, a substance 16 to be introduced into the container is then attached onto the first membrane 12 which is already welded on the bottle neck. As already mentioned, this substance 16, as shown here, may be present in tablet form, but it is indeed possible for this substance 16 to be deposited onto the first membrane 12 in powder form or in a liquid, pasty form. The first membrane 12 is designed according to the consistency of the substance to be deposited.
When the substance 16 to be introduced is applied on the first membrane 12, a second membrane 17 is laid thereon. This second membrane 17 too may be already pre-shaped. This second membrane 17 may for example again be an aluminium film. This aluminium film may be printed, anodised or once again have another coating which essentially is to meet aesthetic demands. It is of course advantageous for this coating to be able to prevent an erosion of the film. Since, as already mentioned, the first membrane 12 may be provided with a hot-seal layer in a double-sided manner, the second membrane 17 no longer needs to carry a sealing layer. The second membrane 17 is then applied over the first membrane 12, wherein at least the surfaces of the first and second membrane which come to lie over the container neck, come to lie over one another in a congruent manner. In the subsequent step, which is represented in the drawing at f), the second membrane 17 is now welded onto the first membrane 12. Here too, a suitable electrical welding punch 18 is provided. More preferably, one would design the second
membrane 17 roughly equal and opposite to the first membrane 12, so that an inner space arises which is as large as possible. Thereby, according to desire, the first membrane may be deep-drawn to a greater extent than the second membrane or vice versa. This again is essentially dependent on the consistency of the substance which is to be accommodated in the capsule 4 to be filled. If with regard to this substance it is the case of a liquid, the second membrane may of course also be designed in an absolutely plane manner.
The welding of the membranes 12 and 17 is effected at relatively low temperatures which are harmless with regard to the contents. The temperatures to be selected are essentially dependent on the hot-seal coatings attached on the first membrane. In principle, one may provide the first membrane 12 on both sides with a hot-seal layer which may be processed at about the same temperature. However, it is more advantageous to provide the first membrane on one side with a low temperature sealing layer and on the other side with a hot-temperature sealing layer. In this case, in the first step one would weld the first membrane 12 with the low-temperature sealing layer on the container neck or bottle neck. The second hot-temperature sealing layer does not participate at this temperature. Accordingly, the second membrane 17 is subsequently welded onto the high-temperature sealing layer at a correspondingly higher temperature. As already mentioned, the second membrane 17 is not provided with a hot-seal layer in this case.
Alternatively, it is of course also possible to provide both membranes each with a hot-seal layer. In this case however one would advantageously attach hot-seal layers with different temperature ranges on both membranes. Here, one provides only the first membrane 12 with a hot-seal layer which is welded at a higher temperature, whereas one would then weld the second membrane 17 onto the first membrane at a lower temperature than was previously the case on welding the first membrane. Accordingly the second membrane has a low-temperature sealing layer.
Expressed somewhat more generally, a plastic bottle with a plastic neck with a capsule attached thereon thus arises, wherein at least the first membrane 12 comprises a hot-seal layer for a first temperature range for welding onto the container neck, and a second hot-seal layer which is either arranged on the second side of the first membrane 12 or on a side of the second membrane 17, and is suitable for a second temperature range.
The first membrane 12 as well as the second membrane 17 may of course be designed in a uni-laminar or multi-laminar manner. The materials from which these membranes may be manufactured are quite numerous. Membranes of aluminium or plastic or a mixture thereof are of course most suitable for deep-drawn or pre-shaped membranes. The same is the case for the second membrane 17, in the case that this is likewise to have a crowned shaped. If however it is the case of a plane membrane, thus paper films laminated with aluminium are of course also
considered. In general, plastic films with vapour-deposited metal are likewise considered. The hot-seal layer however in any case is the outer coating.
As soon as the capsule is attached in a finished manner on the container or on the bottle 1, the closure 5 is then attached on this straight away. The capsule is protected from mechanical influences by way of this.
A bottle filled according to this method ensures a superior shelf-life capability of the product which is introduced therein. The influence of temperature on the substance 16 to be introduced is extremely low thanks to the relatively low temperatures with which the membranes may be attached thanks to the respective hot-seal coatings. As the case may be, the dry room may also be accordingly cooled.
As already mentioned, the first membrane may also be a plane membrane. This in particular is useful if afterwards the active substance to be dispensed into the bottle is deposited already in an encapsulated form on this membrane, and thus the second membrane is part of this capsule. This solution although being economically more costly, may however be required for reasons of logistics. In this case, one may provide the first membrane with a hot-seal layer on both sides, wherein it makes sense for the hot-seal layer which comes to lie on the container neck to be a low-temperature sealing layer, whilst that sealing layer which connects to the second membrane which is part of the capsule is designed for a higher temperature range. This procedure permits the achievement of a product which is particularly easy to handle with regard to logistics and storage.
One solution which is particularly simple with regard to manufacturing technology and which also requires less investment lies in the diameters of the capsule membranes being larger than the diameter of the bottle neck 2. In this case, the second membrane which is part of the capsule, is centrically placed onto the first membrane, and the closure or a part of a multi-part closure is then pressed on, so that the capsule is held with a practically positive first on the bottle neck in an edge-flanged manner, and is held in a secure manner by the closure or a closure part. It is particularly for this assembly type where one would advantageously manufacture all membranes of aluminium or aluminium composite.
Here, it is yet to be noted that the numbering of the steps a) to g), represented in Figure 1, does not correspond to the numbering in the patent claims.
Without explicitly going into detail here, it is yet to be mentioned that the membranes may be designed such that several chambers are formed, and accordingly also different active substances may be dispensed.
List of reference numerals
union lateral wall
heated mould punch
electrical welding punch
1. A method for filling a plastic bottle with a neck and the attachment of a capsule with at
least one substance which is enclosed therein and which is to be dispensed into the plastic bottle,
characterised by the following sequence of steps:
a) aseptic filling of the plastic bottle
b) welding a first membrane onto the bottle neck
c) direct or indirect deposition of the substance to be dispensed into the plastic bottle, onto the welded-on membrane
d) fixation of the substance to be dispensed by a further membrane, and the connection of the further membrane to the first membrane or to the bottle neck
e) attachment of a closure on the bottle neck in a secured integrity guarantee position, over the formed capsule.
2. A method according to claim 1, characterised in that the first membrane is attached as a deep-drawn film disk which comprises a receiver shell for the substance to be deposited thereon.
3. A method according to claim 1, characterised in that the first membrane is thermally deformed after or on welding, such that at least one receiver shell is formed for the substance to be deposited thereon and dispensed into the bottle.
4. A method according to claim 1, characterised in that the second membrane is deposited as a preshaped, curved membrane.
5. A method according to claim 1, characterised in that the first membrane is a plane membrane and the active substance is indirectly deposited thereon in an encapsulated form, wherein the film of the capsule which comes to lie on the already attached membrane, is the second membrane for fixing the substance to be dispensed.
6. A method according to claim 5, characterised in that the further membrane is a film which has a diameter which is larger than the bottle neck diameter, and by way of pressing on the closure, is held encompassing the bottle neck with a positive fit, on this, and is fixed on the bottle neck by way of the closure or the closure part.
7. A method according to claim 6, characterised in that the further membrane is one of the two films for forming the capsule, and the film is an aluminium film or a film containing aluminium.
8. A method according to claim 1, characterised in that after the step b), the contents of the sealed bottle is sterilized, and the further specified steps follow thereafter.
9. A method according to claim 1, characterised in that at least the steps c) and d) are carried out in a dry room.
10. A method according to claim 1, characterised in that at least the steps a) to d) are effected at clean room conditions according to foodstuff guidelines.
11. A method according to claim 1, wherein the first membrane on one side is provided with a low temperature sealing layer, and on the other side is provided with a high-temperature sealing layer, characterised in that the first membrane is welded onto the bottle neck with the low-temperature sealing layer, and thereafter the second membrane is welded onto the high-temperature sealing layer of the first membrane.
12. A method according to claim 1, wherein the first and the second membrane each have a sealing layer but for different temperature ranges, characterised in that the first membrane is welded on at a higher temperature, adapted to the attached sealing layer, whilst the second membrane is welded onto the first membrane at a lower temperature than previously the case with the first membrane.
13. A plastic bottle with a capsule attached on the bottle neck, manufactured according to at least one of the claims 1 to 10, characterised in that at least the first membrane comprises a hot-seal layer for a first temperature range for welding on the bottle neck.
14. A plastic bottle according to claim 13, characterised in that the first membrane additionally comprises a second sealing wax coating which is arranged on the second side of the first membrane and is suitable for a second temperature range.
15. A plastic bottle according to claim 13, characterised in that at least the first membrane comprises two or more incorporated recesses for substances which are different or are to be dispensed one after the other
16. A plastic bottle according to claim 13, characterised in that the bottle neck comprises a safety collar which is in a positive-fit connection with a guarantee strip which is arranged at the lower end of the peripheral lateral wall.
17. A plastic bottle according to claim 13, characterised in that the first membrane is a plane membrane, and the second membrane is likewise a plane membrane of a capsule in which the substance to be dispensed is already introduced.
|Indian Patent Application Number||2264/CHENP/2007|
|PG Journal Number||09/2014|
|Date of Filing||25-May-2007|
|Name of Patentee||RM BETEILIGUNGS AG|
|Applicant Address||KALTENBACHERSTRASSE 28, CH-8260 STEIN AM RHEIN, SWITZERLAND|
|PCT International Classification Number||B65B 61/02|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/CH05/00596|
|PCT International Filing date||2005-10-26|