|Publication number||US2193059 A|
|Publication date||Mar 12, 1940|
|Filing date||Dec 17, 1938|
|Priority date||Oct 9, 1937|
|Publication number||US 2193059 A, US 2193059A, US-A-2193059, US2193059 A, US2193059A|
|Inventors||Eric Chapman Harold|
|Original Assignee||Eric Chapman Harold|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (13), Classifications (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
March 12, 1940. H. E. CHAPMAN 5 AMPOULE FILLING MACHINE Filed Dec. 17, 1938, 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Z IG.1, 107 .59 106 66 66 H I 56 7 .110 I if; I .111 l I E95 94 1| r 13 March 12, 1940. H. E, CHAPMAN 2,193,059
AMPOULE FILLING MACHINE Filed DEC. 17, 1958 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 .IIG.2.
March 12, 1940. H. E. CHAPMAN AMPOULE FILLING MACHINE Filed Dec 17, 1933 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 e I 3. w
m VE/v aQ, ,4 E. cWaPMe/V March 12, 1940. H. E. CHAPMAN 2,193,059
AMPOULE FILLING MACHINE Filed Dec. 17, 1938 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Ill/Il a Patented Mar. 12, 1940 UNITED STATES Application December 17, 1938, Serial No. 246,474 In Great Britain October 9, 1937 7 Claims.
This invention relates to an improved method of and machine for filling with pharmaceutical andmedicinal liquids, flasks or bottles having out risk of manual or air-borne contamination.
The machine which is constructed with a view to permitting of sterilization of every part with the machine fully assembled is thus capable of 1 filling. solutions, vaccines, .serums and similar liquids free of contamination and in an aseptic.
condition into sterile flasks or bottles.
The improved method of filling and the aseptic filling machine according to.this inventionare applicable for filling any flask through a puncturable rubber cap, but has a particular application in the filling of vaccine bottles and the like having a cap embodying afiltering medium housed. in a chamber having puncturable roof and floor diaphragms as described in my prior United States specification No. 2,061,958, and the particular machine hereinafter described, by way ofexample, has been designed for the express purpose of filling such capped bottles.
3 The improved -method of filling liquid into bottles through needles piercing vpuncturable selfsealing caps consists in delivering measured quantitles of a liquid by gravity to a battery of burettes and ejecting the-liquid under. pneumatic pressure through the filling needles.
Broadly, the improved aseptic filling machine comprises a liquid reservoir, 2. battery of burettes receiving liquid under gravity from the reservoir, valve means controlling the flow of liquid to the burettes, a plurality of filling needles, and valve meanscontrolling the supply of compressed air to the burettes for ejecting liquid therefrom through the needles into bottles whosecapsare pierced by the needles.
'In accordance with a preferred construction, a plurality of burettes or charge-holding chambers are provided into which a sterile fluid gravitates from a reservoir, charging of the chambersbeing efi'ected from the bottom upward and the charges ofliquid thensimultaneously delivered by compressed air admitted to the tops of the burettes through a plurality of filling needles, one for each chamber.
The accompanying drawings illustrate a preferred. construction of. machine in accordance with the invention, together with a diagram of the associated liquid and air sterilizing plant.
In the drawings- Figures 1 and 2 are longitudinal and transverse cross-sectional elevations of the machine. 5
Figure 3 is a sectional plan online III-III of Figure 1.
Figure 4 is a diagrammatic view of the machine and associated sterilizing plant;
Figure 5 is a section on the line V--V of Figure Gand showing on enlarged scale a certain valve arrangement used in this invention.
Figure 6 is a section on the line VIVI of Figure 5.
' Figure? is a longitudinal sectional elevation through two of the burette control taps.
Figure 8 is a cross-section on line VIII-V111 of Figure '7; and
Figure 9is a sectional plan of the single-handle operating mechanism for simultaneously actuating rows of burette control taps.
The machine is provided with a base i, supported on levelling screws 2, and comprising a box-like compartment 3 having openings 4 in its opposite ends so as to form a tunnel into which a false-bottom tray 5 containing the capped bottles for filling may be inserted. These tunnel openings 4 are'closed by self-levelling doors 6 swivelly mounted on hinge bars 7 pivotally supported by the opposite end Walls of the base I. The doors 30 6 which are secured in the closed position by the swingable screw handles 8 have inwardly projecting tongues 9 which locate the bottle tray 5 in the correct position longitudinally. The tray 5 is correctly located transversely by the engage ment of its mouth flange it within longitudinal channels H formed between the inturned ledges of parallel angle-section strips l2 supported by the mouth flanges it of the compartment 3 and, the inturned mouth rims of a roof member M of 49 inverted tray-form. The bottles are supported within the tray 5 by one of a series of removable floors it, the depending rims H of which are made of various depths so that a floor lliwith a rim ll of appropriate depth is chosen according 45 to the height of the bottles l5 being filled, in order that the rubber caps it are supported with their upper surfaces just below the level of the mouth of the bottle tray 5. The bottles l5 are located in the desired position by an apertured 50 plate 59 supported on pillars 20 having pivoted heads it which, when swung over to the position shown in Figure 2, clamp the plate is in position. The removable tray floors 56 are each provided with interchangeable feet 22 which are of 5 different sizes according to the depth of the floor rim l1 being used, in order that the soles of the feet 22 are normally just above the open bottom of the tray 5, as shown in Figures 1 and 2. Immediately below each of the tray floor feet 22 is a vertically movable plunger 23 freely slidable within a sleeve, 24 depending from the floor 25 of the compartment 3. The plungers 23 have head discs 26 and feet discs 21 with rubber washers 28 to contact with the floor 25 and the lower ends of sleeves 24 respectively. The four plunger feet 21 rest upon a pair of parallel lifting bars 29 suspended on swinging links 39 secured to transverse spindles 3|, 32, journalled in the opposite walls of the lower portion 33 of the base one end of spindle 3| projecting out beyond one wall to receive a handle 34. The bottles |5 are equidistantly spaced in two parallel rows by the plate l9 sothat when the tray 5 is correctly located by the tongues 9, each bottle is immediately below a hollow filling needle 35 which projects down through an opening in the tunnel roof I4. The needles 35 dependfrom control taps 35 suspended from a lower deck plate 31 supported by pillars 38 upstanding from the base flange 13. The taps 36 in each row are in axial alignment so that the conical plugs 39 may be mounted, as shown in Figure 7, on a common operating spindle 49. Each conical tap plug 39 is provided at its larger end with a diametrical slot 4| to receive a pin 42 piercing the spindle 4|) in order that all taps in a row are operated simultaneously as the spindle 40 is rotated. Each tap plug is pressed upon its conical seating within the tap body 36 by a coil spring 43 interposed between the end of the plug 39 and a washer or collar 44 held against axial movement along spindle 40 by a split ring 45. Each tap body 36 is provided with three passages 46, 41, 2-8 therein, passage 46 extending down to the hollow needle 35, passage 31 extending up to afford an entrance into the bottom of a burette 49 or 59, and passage 48 extending sidewardly to register with the bore 5| of a junction member 52 to which the lower end of a liquid feed pipe 53 is connected. Each tap plug 39 has a transverse recess 54 in its periphery to establish communication between passages 46, 41 and 48 at appropriate times, as hereinafter more particularly described. The front ends of the spindles 40 are furnished with tongues 55 adapted to be engaged within transverse notches 56 provided in the rear ends of a pair of stub spindles 51 rotatably journalled in the front wall 58 of a hood or casing 59 supported by the base The stub spindles 51, which pass through fluid-tight glands 99 mounted on the hood wall 58, carry toothedwheels 6 constantly in mesh so that both stub spindles 51, and through them the tap spindles 48, are simultaneously rotated by a single tap control handle 62 mounted on a dished cover 63, through a pinion 64 associated with the handle 62 meshing with a pinion 65 on one of the stub spindles 51.
Of the twelve burettes provided, ten of them, designated by numeral 49, are of metal, whilst the remaining two, designated by numeral 59 and situated one at the front end of each row, are made of glass, encased with protective metal sheaths 66 having sight openings 61 so that the contents of the glass burettes 58 may be observed through the lower window 68 in the hood front wall 58. A graduated scale plate 69, common to both burettes 58, is located in front of the sheaths 66 and, since the bores of the burettes 49 and 59 are of identical dimensions, the measured quantity of liquid, as shown by scale 69, within either of the burettes 58, is a correct indication of the amount of liquid in each burette. The upper ends of the burettes 49, 50 and of the sheaths 66 are connected to headers 18 mounted on an upper deck plate 1|, the burettes 49, sheaths 66 and lower and upper deck plates 31, 1| respectively together constituting a rigid structure. Each row of headers 16 has a common pipe 12 passing in fluid-tight manner through the aligned headers 18 via packing glands 13. The interiors of the burettes 49, 5|) communicate with the pipes 12 via passages 14, so that sterile air or steam may be passed simultaneously to the interiors of all burettes 49, 58, as hereinafter described. The pipes 12 are connected through passages 15 to the horizontal and longitudinal bore 16 of a main control valve 11 mounted on the upper deck 1|. A vertical bore 18 communicates at its lower end via a sleeve 19 with a connector piece 8|] to which is connected a pipe 8| extending between the two rows of burettes 49, 58 to an inlet union 82 mounted on the back wall 83 of the hood 59. Supported on pillars 84 above the upper deck 1| is a saddle tank 85 which can receive liquid (from a sterilizing installation hereinafter described) through a connector 86 mounted on the hood wall 83. Liquid from this tank 85 can gravitate through the pipes 53 to feed the burettes 49, 50 via the taps 36. The amount of liquid in the tank 85 is indicated by a gauge glass 81, extending between upper and lower nipples 88, 89 respectively, and visible through a window 99 in the good front wall 58. From the upper nipple 88 depends a pipe 9| which communicates at its lower end with the bore 18 of valve 11. The plug 92 of valve 11 has a three-way passage 93 therein by means of which communication can be established at the appropriate times between the pipe 8| (through connector 8!), sleeve 19, and bore 18), pipes 12 (through bore 16) and pipe 8| (through bore 18). The plug 92 has a tongue 94 adapted to engage within a transverse notch 95 in the inner end of the spindle 96 of an exteriorly operable handle 91 by means of which the plug 92 can be turned.
A pressure gauge 98 mounted on a connecting pipe 99 passing through a fluid-tight gland H18 in the side wall of the hood 59 is connected to the sleeve 19 below the valve 11. The pipe 8|, valve 11 and pipes 12 are normally used for sterile air, so that during normal working air is allowed to leak constantly through a small constant-leak valve |0| mounted on the main valve 11. The cone plug 192 of the valve ||l| is adjustable to regulate the degree of leak by screwing in or out the plug I83 engaging in a threaded boss I04 in the wall of the hood 59, said plug I83 being operable exteriorly. A small relief valve N15 is mounted in the wall of the tunnel 3 of the base l which is regulated byspring-loading or other means to provide for a constant leak of air from the interior of the tunnel 3, the air in the interior of which is maintained at a predetermined positive pressure, so that no air can pass into the machine when either of the doors 6 is opened. The tunnel roof I4 is provided with perforations N16 to ensure an equalized downfiow of air from the hood 59 into the tunnel 3. The side wallsof the tunnel 3 and hood I, and the crown of the latter, are provided with internal ribs N11 to strengthen the machine structure, particularly during periodical steam-sterilizing. A safety valve I68 is mounted on the crown of the hood 59 area-05a bottom of the machine and drainage "tubes I I connect 'the'tank 85 'withan outlet'union III on' the back wall of the hood A thermometer I I2, mounted between holders H3, IM- on the lower and upper decks 37, H respectively, is arranged at the front end of thehood 59 so as to be visible through the window 53. Sterile air and liquid are delivered to the machine from the sterilization plant, shown diagrammatically in Figure 4. This plant comprises a bulk liquid storage tank I connected by a valve-controlled branch pipe I2I to a sterile air line I22 emanating from an air filter I23 of suitable design, into which air is introduced under pressure through an air inlet branch I2 2. The air line 522 is connected to the inlet union $2 on the backof the machine. Liquid, e. unsterilized liquid, is elevated under air pressure through the liquid pipe I25 into a primary filter I26 constructed to permit initial sterilization by wet steam, and thence through the pipeline IZI to incorporate a secondary filter I28 (preferably of the sintered-glass type) for removal of fibre and other suspensions emanating from the primary filter, into either one of a pair of containers I25, each capable of holding surficient sterile liquid for several fillings of the tank 85 of the machine, into which tank 85 the sterile liquid can be delivered from the containers I 29 through piping lilii under the pressure of air bled from the pipeline I 22. Steam may be fed to either or both the liquid pipe I30 and the air line I22 through a valve-controlled bridge pipe I3I. will be appreciated that in order to maintain the machine in an aseptic condition and prevent contamination, of the liquid during the filling process, all parts of the machine which come into contact with the sterile liquid and sterile air must be constructed of non-corrosive material, whilst, as shown in the drawings, pipe bends and the like in which spores or bacteria are likely to lodge and propagate are eliminated wherever possible. The entrance of foreign matter liable to contaminate the components is prevented by the use of highly efiicient fluid-tight valves and pipe joints.
If the machine is employed for filling bottles through puncturable caps not providing for open commimication betweenthe bottle interior and atmosphere as described in my prior United States specification No. 2,061,958, the filling needles are modified to incorporate an air vent. Prior to using the, machine and periodically during use, steam at a suitable pressure is admitted for sterilizing to the empty liquid tank 85 through union 85 to drain the tank via tubes III] and union ill, and thence to-the feed-pipes 53 and also to the'main valve TI through union B2 and pipe 3!, thence through pipes I2, burettes 49, 50, to taps 36 and needles 35. Steam escapes to the interior of the hood 53 and base I through the constant-leak valve It'll and the needles: 35, the washers 28 under the head discs 26 of plunger 23 preventing escape through the plunger sleeves 24. The drain cock I89 and, if desired, the air relief valve Illfi areclosed, so that a suitable pressure of steam is maintained during the sterilizing operation, the building-up of an excessive pressure being prevented by the relief or safety valve Hi8. After the sterilizing operation, a suitable quantity of sterile liquid is run into the tank 85, the feed pipes 53 being filled at the same time (the plug bodies 39 of taps 36 are at this time in the position shown in Figure 8). The handle 62 is then operated so that the recesses 56 in the tap bodies 39 establish communication between the feed pipes 53 and the bottom of the burettes 49,
50, whilst 'still closing'the passages at leading to the-needles "35. 'I'hegravitating liquid mounts up I within-'the burettes it, 55 until the required charge is shown by the scale is, whereupon the tapstt are again operated by means of handle $2 to preventfurther supp-lyof liquid from the feed pipes '53. Prior to fillingthe burettes 53, 5d
a. tray 5 loaded with capped bottles 55 is introduced through one of the doors 6 into the tunnel 3, within which the tray 5 is located by the door tongues 9, so that by depressing the handle 34, the swinging links 30 elevate the bars 29 and thus move the plunger 23 up through the sleeves 24 of the tunnel floor 25. The ascending plungers 23 contact with the feet 22 of the tray bottom I5 and lift same, with the empty bottles I5 a sufficient distance for the fixed needles 35 to pierce right through the caps IS. The caps I8 are constructed with puncturable self-sealing roof and floor diaphragms, as described in my prior United States specification 2,061,958. Whilst the bottles I5 are thus elevated, the taps 36 are operated by handle 63 to establish communication between the filled burettes 49, 5!] and the hollow needles 35, and the main air valve I! is operated by handle 91 to bring the plug 92 thereof to the position shown in Figure 5, in which position sterile air fromthe pipe BI can pass into the pipes 72 connected to the tops of the burettes 49, Eli, the liquid being thus ejected under pressure through needles 35 into the bottles I5. The appropriate valve movements are then made to prevent delivery of liquid or air to the burettes 49, 5! and of liquid to needles 35, the filled bottles l5 are lowered, the loaded tray 5 removed and another tray of empty bottles introduced, in readiness for the filling cycle to be repeated.
1. A liquid filling machine including a fluid tight casing, a liquidreservoir within said casing, a battery of burettes within the casing and connected at their lower ends to said reservoir to receive liquid therefrom, valve means controlling the fiow of liquid to the burettes, a plurality of filling needles within said casing each carried by a burette, means for supplying compressed air to the upper ends of the burettes, other valve means controlling the air supply, a bottle carrier within the lower part of the casing to hold bottles in alinement with the needles, and means to raise the bottle carrier and cause the needles to enter bottles supported by the carrier.
2. A liquid filling machine according to claim 1 wherein, the liquid. flows by gravity to the lower ends of the burettes, and the first mentioned valve means also controls the flow of liquid from the burettes to the needles and the valves are in axial alinement.
3. A liquid filling machine according to claim 1 wherein the first mentioned valve means effects simultaneous filling of all the. burettes in one position and simultaneously places all burettes in communication with their needles in a second position.
i. A liquid filling machine according to claim 1 wherein the second valve means is provided with a bleeder valve communicating with the interior of the casing to maintain pressure within the casing in excess to the external air pressure.
5. A liquid filling machine according to claim 1 wherein there is provided means for admitting sterilizing fluid to said tank and said secondmentioned valve means for causing complete filling of the casing and parts therein withsterilizing fluid.
for connecting each end of the longitudinal passage in the valve casing, with a respective series of burettes.
'7. The device of claim 6 characterized by having each connecting means between a series of burettes and the valve casing consist of a single continuous tube having a port opening into each burette.
HAROLD ERIC CHAPMAN.
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|U.S. Classification||141/91, 141/329, 141/275|