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Vertical Cartoner:

In a vertical cartoner, the carton erecting conveying/loading and closing is performed. A typical vertical cartoner has four chains laid out one above the other between two sprockets on vertical shafts. Attached to each of the chains will be a number of fingers or "lugs," which form pockets.

One pair of upper and lower lugs will form the rear or pusher end of the pocket. The lugs mounted on the other pair of chains form the front of the pocket. The cartoner will include some means of manually rotating the chain drive sprockets relative to each other to provide adjust-ability of the pocket length. There will also usually be some means of adjusting the height of the uppermost chain pair. This is necessary to assure that the lugs provide sufficient support at both the top and bottom of the carton.

Carton blanks are placed in a horizontal magazine that is perpendicular to the chains. A pusher mechanism provides a constant pressure to keep the cartons at the front of the magazine. This pusher may be spring loaded but system using a weight is generally preferable.

When the cartoner cycles, an arm with a vacuum gripper/suction cup swings out and grips the back panel of the carton: that is, the panel which will be at the back of the pocket formed by the lugs. As it pulls the carton out of the magazine, guide pushes against the side panel, forcing the carton open. As the carton moves forward, a guide folds the leading minor flap to a horizontal, closed position. The rear minor flap requires a folding mechanism to push it forward and closed. This folder /pusher may be on a reciprocating arm or it may be mounted on a rotating wheel. A horizontal guide rail under the carton holds the minor flaps closed.

The major flap(s) are now either glued or tucked closed.

Some products, such as candy pieces, may be packed using the carton as the primary package. Vertical cartoners with automated loading is usually the first choice. These machines may be built with a series of funnels over each lug pocket. A suitable tiller is mounted and discharges into the funnel as the carton passes. The use of the funnel gives the filler a much larger target to hit.

Other loading methods may use robots or may convey the product, such as a bottle, over the carton and drop it in. Both, especially the drop method, require a free entry the product to fall correctly.

After the carton has been loaded, a similar process to that described for bottom closing is used to close the carton top. Generally a carton with a glued bottom will have a glued top, However as each station is independent of the other, it is possible to build a cartoner to provide a glue bottom and tuck top and some are built this way for special applications.

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