Patent Number: 6,251,203

Title: Apparatus and method for assembling a plastic container for food products

Abstract: A manufacturing apparatus and method for assembling a food container having a body portion with an annular rim configured to be secured to an annular rim of a base portion of the container. The manufacturing apparatus and method includes a container supporting assembly, a tool member, a drive assembly, an oscillator assembly and a suspension assembly. The container supporting assembly supports the body and base portions of the container with the annular rim of the base portion engaging the annular rim of the body portion. The drive assembly moves the tool member along a first axis between a first position, wherein the tool member is engaged with the annular rim of the base portion, and a second position, wherein the tool member is disengaged therefrom. The oscillator assembly oscillates the tool member relative to the container supporting assembly to cause oscillation of the base and body portions relative to one another. This oscillation generates enough heat to melt areas of contact between the annular rims to join the base portion and the body portion. The suspension assembly supports the tool member for pivotal movement about a second axis orthogonal to the first axis to accommodate inaccuracies in the annular rims of the base and body portions and misalignment of the container components within the container supporting assembly.

Inventors: Vala; Warren (Plymouth, MN), Reishus; Terry (Eagan, MN), Zopf; Thomas (Clearwater, FL), Konle; Hans (Clearwater, FL)

Assignee: General Mills, Inc.

International Classification: B31B 17/00 (20060101); B29C 65/00 (20060101); B29C 65/08 (20060101); B32B 031/16 ()

Expiration Date: 06/26/2018