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Publication numberUS20020092275 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/835,775
Publication dateJul 18, 2002
Filing dateJan 16, 2001
Priority dateJan 16, 2001
Publication number09835775, 835775, US 2002/0092275 A1, US 2002/092275 A1, US 20020092275 A1, US 20020092275A1, US 2002092275 A1, US 2002092275A1, US-A1-20020092275, US-A1-2002092275, US2002/0092275A1, US2002/092275A1, US20020092275 A1, US20020092275A1, US2002092275 A1, US2002092275A1
InventorsJin Kim
Original AssigneeJv Medi Co., Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tablet supplying and packaging apparatus
US 20020092275 A1
Abstract
A tablet supplying and packaging apparatus comprises a controller, a cassette unit having a cassette rack and a plurality of tablet cassettes detachably mounted on the cassette rack in columns and rows, a turntable having a plurality of tablet containers, and a packaging unit disposed below the cassette unit and the turntable for packaging the tablets selectively released from said tablet cassettes and said tablet containers into a plurality of tablet paper bags by the controller.
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Claims(9)
What is claimed is:
1. A tablet supplying and packaging apparatus, comprising: a) a controller controlling an operation of the apparatus; b) a cassette unit defined by a width and a height, wherein the cassette unit has a cassette rack and a plurality of tablet cassettes detachably mounted on the cassette rack in columns and rows, wherein said tablet cassettes each release a predetermined amount of tablets therefrom in accordance with the controller;
c) a turntable having a center and a plurality of tablet containers disposed around the center, wherein said each tablet container is defined by side walls, a top opening and a bottom opening, wherein the turntable is disposed lower in level than a lowermost row of the tablet cassettes and in front of the cassette unit, wherein one or more tablets manually distributed in at least one of said tablet containers are downwardly released in accordance with the controller; and
d) a packaging unit disposed below the cassette unit and the turntable for packaging the tablets selectively released from said tablet cassettes and said tablet containers into a plurality of tablet paper bags in accordance with the controller.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a hopper disposed between the packaging unit and both of the turntable and the lowermost cassette row of the tablet cassettes to guide the tablets from the turntable and the tablet cassettes to the packaging unit.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the controller is wireless-accessed to enable a remote controlling.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the controller comprises:
a) a monitor screen to input a prescription information and display the operation of the apparatus a prescription processing;
b) a processor to administer a tablet release of the tablet cassettes and the turntable, and a tablet packaging and external discharge of the packaging unit, in accordance with the prescription information input through the monitor screen.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the controller is wireless-accessed to enable a remote controlling.
6. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the prescription information is input to the monitor screen through internet.
7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the packaging unit comprises:
a) a printer to print the prescription information on a packaging paper; and
b) a heating perforator to heatingly seal the packaging paper into the tablet paper bags containing the tablets released from the turntable and the tablet cassettes, and sequentially perforate the tablet-containing paper bags easy detachment of the tablet paper bags.
8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the controller is wireless-accessed to enable a remote controlling.
9. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the prescription information is input to the monitor screen through the internet.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The invention relates to a pharmaceutical automation system for sorting and packaging tablets. More particularly, the present invention relates to a tablet supplying and packaging apparatus that optimally combines a cassette-based tablet supply system and a turntable-based tablet supply system to substantially improve pharmaceutical efficiency.
  • [0002]
    A doctor's prescription generally requires one or more kinds of tablets for a type of disease. So the more types of illnesses included in a prescription, the more kinds of different tablets a patient should take for each dosage. The dosage may vary from once per day to three or more times per day depending on seriousness and types of disease, or how many different types of illnesses a patient suffers.
  • [0003]
    The cassette-based tablet supply system has difficulty in automation favoring extra pills such as half-split pills and quarter-split pills. That is, such split pills have disadvantageously stayed away from pharmaceutical automation. The alternative was a turntable-based tablet supply system that adopts manual tablet sorting and automatic tablet packaging mechanism. However, the turntable-based system has limitations due to relatively small capacity.
  • [0004]
    Accordingly, there has been a strong demand for an optimal combination of the cassette-based tablet supply system and the turntable-based system.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0005]
    Therefore, an object of the invention is to optimally combine a cassette-based tablet supply system and a turntable-based tablet supply system.
  • [0006]
    Another object of the invention is to substantially improve pharmaceutical efficiency.
  • [0007]
    To achieve the above-described objects, a tablet supplying and packaging apparatus according to the present invention comprises a controller, a cassette unit, a turntable, and a packaging unit. The controller controls an operation of the apparatus. The cassette unit is defined by a width and a height and has a cassette rack and a plurality of tablet cassettes detachably mounted on the cassette rack in columns and rows. The tablet cassettes each release a predetermined amount of tablets therefrom in accordance with the controller.
  • [0008]
    The turntable has a center and a plurality of tablet containers disposed around the center. Each tablet container is defined by side walls, a top opening and a bottom opening. Preferably, the turntable is disposed lower in level than a lowermost row of the tablet cassettes and in front of the cassette unit so that one or more tablets manually distributed in at least one of said tablet containers are downwardly released in accordance with the controller.
  • [0009]
    The packaging unit is disposed below the cassette unit and the turntable for packaging the tablets selectively released from the tablet cassettes and tablet containers into a plurality of tablet paper bags in accordance with the controller.
  • [0010]
    For a better performance, the apparatus further comprises a hopper disposed between the packaging unit and both of the turntable and the lowermost cassette row of the tablet cassettes to guide the tablets from the turntable and the tablet cassettes to the packaging unit.
  • [0011]
    The controller comprises a monitor screen to input a prescription information and display the operation of the apparatus a prescription processing, and a processor to administer a tablet release of the tablet cassettes and the turntable, and a tablet packaging and external discharge of the packaging unit, in accordance with the prescription information input through the monitor screen. In a preferred version, the controller is wireless-accessed to enable a remote controlling. Here, the prescription information may be input to the monitor screen through internet.
  • [0012]
    The packaging unit comprises a printer to print the prescription information on a packaging paper, and a heating perforator to heatingly seal the packaging paper into the tablet paper bags containing the tablets released from the turntable and the tablet cassettes, and sequentially perforate the tablet-containing paper bags for easy detachment of the tablet paper bags.
  • [0013]
    The advantages of the present invention are: (1) the tablet supplying and packaging apparatus according to the present invention realizes both a massive tablet supply into each tablet cassette and a piece-by-piece tablet supply in the turntable within the apparatus, thereby enabling each discharged tablet bag to safely contain either whole tablets or, for example, half-split pills, thus allowing a patient to conveniently intake the paper-bagged dosage at a single batch; (2) the apparatus enables an optimal combination of the turntable mechanism for half-split or rarely demanded tablets and the cassette-based mechanism for whole or frequently demanded tablets, thereby significantly improving pharmaceutical efficiency and tablet management security and thusly customer reliability; and (3) the streamlined hybrid apparatus of the turntable-based system and the cassette-based system enables a drugstore to optimally utilize limited pharmaceutical space, thus improving cost efficiency and store productivity.
  • [0014]
    Although the present invention is briefly summarized, the full understanding of the invention can be obtained by the following drawings, detailed description and appended claims.
  • BRIEF DESCIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0015]
    These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a tablet supply and packaging apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 2 is a schematic front view of FIG. 1;
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 3 is a schematic side view of FIG. 2;
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 4 is an exploded view detailing a turntable in FIG. 1;
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 5 is a structural view detailing a mechanism in which tablets are being dropped from turntable containers;
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 6 is a partially cross-sectioned view of a tablet cassette in FIG. 1 to show a mechanism in which tablets are being dropped from the tablet cassette;
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 7 is a diagram showing the operation of the tablet supplying and packaging apparatus according to the present invention; and
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing the operation mechanism of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0024]
    As shown in FIG. 1, the tablet supplying and packaging apparatus 10 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a cassette unit 12, a turntable 14, and a controller 16 controlling the operation of the apparatus 10. As further shown in FIG. 2, the apparatus 10 further includes a packaging unit 18.
  • [0025]
    The cassette unit 12 is defined by a width and a height and has a cassette rack 20 and a plurality of tablet cassettes 22 detachably mounted on the cassette rack 20 in columns and rows. The tablet cassettes 22 each release a predetermined amount of tablets therefrom through a release hole 24 as shown in FIG. 3, in accordance with the controller 16. The release hole 24 serves to guide tablets 26 from the tablet cassette 22 down through a hopper 28 to the packaging unit 18. In a preferred version, the tablet cassettes 22 are mounted on the cassette rack 20 in about 5 to 15 columns and about 5 6 1328. 09 to 10 rows. The most preferred alignment for the tablet cassettes 22 is twelve columns and seven rows.
  • [0026]
    Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the turntable 14 has a center and a plurality of tablet containers 32 disposed around the center 30. Each tablet container 32 is defined by side walls 34, a top opening 36 and a bottom opening 38. Preferably, the turntable 14 is disposed lower in level than a lowermost row 40 of the tablet cassettes 22 and in front of the cassette unit 12 so that one or more tablets 27 manually distributed in at least one of the tablet containers 32 are downwardly released in accordance with the controller 16.
  • [0027]
    The apparatus 10 also includes a platform 42 receiving the turntable 14 therein. The turntable 14 has a plurality of plates 44 flexibly connected thereto. Each plate 44 is swingably connected by a hinge 48 to the tablet container 32. A support rail 46 provided in the platform 42 flexibly supports the turntable 14 while being selectively covered by the plates 44 which correspond to the plurality of tablet containers 32 in number. Each plate 44 is hingedly engaged to a tablet container portion 49 adjacent to the bottom opening 38 of each tablet container 32 to releasably close the bottom opening 38 of each tablet container 32. In this construction, one or more tablets 27 are either maintained in each tablet container 32 when the bottom opening 38 is closed by the plate 44 or downwardly discharged when the plate 44 is released.
  • [0028]
    The support rail 46 is disposed beneath the bottom openings 38 of the tablet containers 32 in circular formation to uphold the plates 44. The support rail 46 has a release opening 50 formed either by a partial displacement or by a partial removal of the support rail 46. So when one selected from the tablet containers 32 reaches over the release opening 50 in accordance with an angular rotation of the turntable 14, the plate 44 corresponding to the selected tablet container 32 is lowered through the release opening 50 so that the tablets 27 in the selected tablet container 32 are downwardly released through the release opening 50.
  • [0029]
    The apparatus 10 also includes a vertical shaft 52 fixed to the center 30 of the turntable 14 to center the turntable 14. The vertical shaft 52 allows the turntable 14 to spin therearound to make the angular rotation of the turntable 14 in accordance with the controller 16. Here, the angular rotation of the turntable 14 may be either clockwise or counter-clockwise. When the angular rotation is set clockwise, each plate 44 is hinged to the left thereof. In a similar manner, when the angular rotation is set counter-clockwise, each plate 44 is hinged to the right thereof.
  • [0030]
    In an embodiment, the turntable 14 further comprises a disk 54 provided radially from the containers 32. A shaft cap 56 allows the turntable 14 including the disk 54 to stabilize on the shaft 52. The disk 54 may include a numbering system 58 so that the controller 16 can dictate the angular rotation of the turntable 14 based on the numbering system 58.
  • [0031]
    The packaging unit 18 is disposed below the cassette unit 12 and the turntable 14 for packaging the tablets 26, 27 selectively released from the tablet cassettes 22 and tablet containers 32 into a plurality of tablet paper bags 60 in accordance with the controller 16.
  • [0032]
    As shown back in FIG. 3, the hopper 28 disposed between the packaging unit 12 and both of the turntable 14 and the lowermost cassette row 40 of the tablet cassettes 22 to guide the tablets 26, 27 from the turntable 14 and the tablet cassettes 22 to the packaging unit 18. FIG. 6 shows the release mechanism of the tablets 26 from the tablet cassette 22 wherein the tablets 26 are released from the cassette 22 into the through hole 24 by rotation of a rotor 70 powered by a motor 72 that is controlled by the controller 16.
  • [0033]
    The controller 16 comprises a monitor screen 62 to input a prescription information and display operation of the apparatus 10, and a processor CPU to administer a tablet release of the tablet cassettes 22 and the turntable 14. As shown in FIG. 7, the processor CPU administers the release and packaging of the tablets 26, 27. The tablet-packaged paper bags 60 are externally discharged from the packaging unit 18, in accordance with the prescription information input through the monitor screen 62. In a preferred version, the controller 16 may be wireless-accessed to enable a remote controlling. For example, the prescription information may be input to the monitor screen 62 through internet.
  • [0034]
    The packaging unit 18 comprises a printer 64 to print the prescription information on a packaging paper, and a heating perforator 66 to heatingly seal the packaging paper 68 into the tablet paper bags 60 containing the tablets 26, 27 released from the turntable 14 and the tablet cassettes 22, and sequentially perforate the tablet-containing paper bags 60 for easy detachment of the tablet paper bags 60.
  • [0035]
    [0035]FIGS. 7 and 8 each illustrate the operational mechanism of the tablet supplying and packaging apparatus 10 according to the present invention. As shown therein, the prescription information may be input through either the monitor screen 62 or internet. Then the controller CPU administers the tablet cassettes 22 and the turntable 14 for tablet releasing and packaging.
  • [0036]
    Further referring to FIG. 8, the pharmacist checks the filling of tablet cassettes 22 and fills a required amount of tablets in the turntable containers 32 depending on the prescription information (S1). If tablets 26 in cassettes are required then input cassette numbers (S2, S5). If the tablets 27 in the turntable containers 32 are required then input the first and last container numbers (S3, S6). If both are required then input require cassette numbers, and the first and last number of the turntable containers 32 (S3, S5). The tablet packaging and external release thereof are automatically completed by the packaging unit 18 (S7).
  • [0037]
    An advantage of the present invention is that the tablet supplying and packaging apparatus 10 realizes both a massive tablet supply into each tablet cassette and a piece-by-piece tablet supply in the turntable within the apparatus, thereby enabling each discharged tablet bag to safely contain either whole tablets or, for example, half-split pills, thus allowing a patient to conveniently intake the paper-bagged dosage at a single batch.
  • [0038]
    Another advantage is that the apparatus 10 enables an optimal combination of the turntable mechanism for half-split or rarely demanded tablets and the cassette-based mechanism for whole or frequently demanded tablets, thereby significantly improving pharmaceutical efficiency and tablet management security and thusly customer reliability.
  • [0039]
    Further, the streamlined hybrid apparatus 10 of the turntable-based system and the cassette-based system enables a drugstore to optimally utilize limited pharmaceutical space, thus improving cost efficiency and store productivity.
  • [0040]
    Although the invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred versions thereof, other versions are possible by converting the aforementioned construction. Therefore, the scope of the invention shall not be limited by the specification specified above and the appended claims.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7428805 *Aug 13, 2007Sep 30, 2008Jvm Co., Ltd.Semi-automatic medicine packaging machine
US7669733Nov 8, 2006Mar 2, 2010Jun Ho KimCassette device for automatic medicine packaging apparatus
US7814731 *Oct 20, 2006Oct 19, 2010Forhealth Technologies, Inc.Automated drug preparation apparatus including a bluetooth communications network
US7894656May 29, 2007Feb 22, 2011Jvm Co., LtdMethod and apparatus for inspecting manual dispensing tray of automatic medicine packaging machine
US8239214Jan 26, 2007Aug 7, 2012Jvm Co., Ltd.Method and apparatus for backing up power failure for automatic medicine packing machine
US8739499 *Feb 1, 2012Jun 3, 2014Yuyama Mfg. Co., Ltd.Medicine dispensing system and medicine dispensing device
US8991138 *Sep 17, 2009Mar 31, 2015Yuyama Mfg. Co., Ltd.Medicine dispensing device
US20070062156 *Aug 22, 2006Mar 22, 2007Kim Jun HAutomatic medicine packing system
US20070277477 *Mar 13, 2007Dec 6, 2007Jun Ho KimMethod and device for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine
US20080071648 *Nov 17, 2006Mar 20, 2008Jun Ho KimIntegrated control system and method for automatic medicine packaging apparatuses
US20080077274 *Dec 6, 2006Mar 27, 2008Jun Ho KimMedicine storage cabinet
US20080099499 *Nov 8, 2006May 1, 2008Jun Ho KimCassette device for automatic medicine packaging apparatus
US20080104929 *Jan 17, 2007May 8, 2008Jun Ho KimApparatus and method for preventing irregular packaging for automatic medicine packing machine
US20080114818 *Jan 26, 2007May 15, 2008Jun Ho KimMethod and apparatus for backing up power failure for automatic medicine packing machine
US20080149522 *Apr 23, 2007Jun 26, 2008Jun Ho KimDivision-packaging method and apparatus for automatic medicine packaging machine
US20080169046 *Oct 20, 2006Jul 17, 2008Forhealth Technologies, Inc.Automated drug preparation apparatus including a bluetooth communications network
US20080172990 *Aug 13, 2007Jul 24, 2008Jun Ho KimSemi-automatic Medicine Packaging Machine
US20110173926 *Sep 17, 2009Jul 21, 2011Yuyama Mfg. Co., Ltd.Medicine Dispensing Device
US20120124939 *Feb 1, 2012May 24, 2012Itsuo YasunagaMedicine dispensing system and medicine dispensing device
US20140096479 *Oct 8, 2012Apr 10, 2014W. Brent PearsonPill Packaging Machine
WO2009107931A1 *Jan 19, 2009Sep 3, 2009Cretem Co., Ltd.Apparatus for packaging medicine
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/493, 53/253
International ClassificationB65B9/093, B65B5/10, B65B35/56, B65B61/02, B65B61/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65B35/56, B65B5/103, B65B61/007, B65B9/093, B65B61/025
European ClassificationB65B9/093, B65B5/10B1, B65B61/00D, B65B35/56, B65B61/02B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 11, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: JV MEDI CO., LTD., KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KIM, JIN SOO;REEL/FRAME:011726/0894
Effective date: 20010402