US 2503147 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
, April 4, 1950 N. APPLr-:zwElG CARPULE FILLING MACHINE 5 Sheets-Sheet l Filed Deo. 2l, 1944 A/ INVENTOR.
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Patented Apr. 4, 1950 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CARPULE FILLING MACHINE Norman Applezweig, New York, N. Y.
Application December 2]., 1944, Serial No. 569,124
3 claims.' (c1. zza-116) i herein to denote a hermetically sealed fluent re'l ceptacle o1' the type adapted for use in a cartridge syringe.
It is an object of the invention to provide an inexpensive machine comprising relatively few and simple parts, which is adapted to fill carpules automatically, quickly and accurately.
It is a more specific 'object of the invention to provide a carpule filling machine in which carpules are mechanically led to and beyond a filling station where a filling mechanism automatically injects fluent material into the carpules, so that no individual manual handling of the carpules is required for filling.
Other objects of this invention will in part be obvious 4and in part hereinafter pointed out.
'Ihe invention accordingly consists inthe fea'- tures of,construction, combinations of elements, and arrangement of parts which will be exemplifled in the construction hereinafter described, and of which the scope of application will -be in' dicated in the claims.
In the accompanying drawings, in which is shown one of the various possible embodiments of this invention,
Fig. 1 is a top plan View of a carpule filling machine embodying my invention;
Fig. 2 is a sectional view therethrough, taken substantially along the line 2-2'of Fig. 1, and in addition schematicaly showing the source of filling fluid;
Fig. 3 is a fragmentary enlarged side view of the machine;
Fig. 4 is an enlarged sectional view taken substantially along the line 4 4 of Fig. 3; and
Fig. 5 is a fragmentary view similar to Fig. 4 butl showing the machine at a later stage of its operation.
Essentially, the apparatus shown and described herein comprises a filling station F, means M to move carpules to and beyond the filling station, an injecting means I at said station of the proper type to lll a carpule, means D to dispose the car- -pules in predetermined relationship tothe injecting means when the carpules are at the filling station, and means S to shift said injecting means toward and away from filling position.
Carpules require a special type of injecting or filling means, due to their particular construction. In general, this construction comprises an open-ended tube I2 (Figs. 4 and 5) which is hermetically sealed at both ends, being closed at one end by a cap I4 of self-sealing material such as 65 rubber, and at the other end by aplug I8 of resilient material. .The term self-sealing as used herein denotes the ability of the lmaterial of the cap to lclose hermetically a. small hole left in it by passage therethrough of a slender tube such as a hypodermic needle.v The plug is adapted to be forced toward the cap when the carpule is used in a cartridge syringe. The cap Il has'a thin zone I6 whichis adapted to be pierced by one of the two needles of a conventional cartridge syringe. Said cap has a flange I8 which abuts against the rim at one end of the tube l2 to prevent the cap' from being forced into the carpuleV after being properly positioned. Carpules are 'furnished for flllin-g in sterile, empty, hermetically closed condition, i. e., with both ends closed, as indicated, the gaseous atmosphere within the carpule being at or about atmospheric pressure. Because of this construction. when carpules are filled with a fluent material, e. g. a pharmaceutical liquid, the gas which is displaced must be allowed to leave the carpule, so that the carpule filling means employed herein essentially includes two conduits-one to lead fluent material into the carpule, and the other to permit escape of the displaced atmosphere.
Referring now in detail to the drawings, It denotes a machine embodying my invention and comprising a frame 20 on which the various machine yelements are supported. Running along the two sides of the frame on the upper face thereof are a pair of angle irons 22 spaced apart far enough to act as rails for slidably receiving racks 24 forming part of the means M to move the carpules to and beyond the filling station F.
Each rack includes a base plate 26 having a series of carpule'holding means 28 secured to its upper surface. These carpule holding means may, as illustrated,l be in the form of tubes attached at their lower ends to the plate 26 and having their upper'ends 30 open and flanged to facilitate insertion of Carpules therein; Said carpule holding means are arranged'in rows longi-v tudinally and transversely of the plate, the term longitudinally as used herein denoting the direction of travelA of Carpules through the machine. The number of carpules in each transverse row corresponds to the number of individual injecting means at the filling station, and the number of carpule holding means in each longitudinal row may vary, several carpule holding means preferably being provided in each longitudinal row to obtain the full benefit of using racks such as described.
Many such racks 24 are employed, as in the racks 2'4.
operation of the machine empty carpules .are inserted plug-down in the carpule holding means 28 of a rack 24 while the same is remote from the filling machine I8, and the loaded rack then placed on rails 22 at the receiving end R. of the machine. After all the carpules in a rack have been iilled, the entire rack is lifted from the rails at the discharge end D of the machine.
The means to move the carpules to and beyond the filling station also includes a pair of endless chains 32, one on each side of the machine I8, running through the space between the rails 22 from a point adjacent the receiving end R of the machine to and beyond the iilling station F. The chains are connected at regular intervals by strips 34, having pusher flanges 36 which are.. adapted to engage the trailing edges 38 of With this construction, if the upper reaches of the chains are moved in the direction indicated by the arrow A, the pusher flanges 36 will force the racks 24 to move in like direction through the machine.
Suitable means is provided for moving the chains in such direction, and since, as will later be seen, the filling station F is stationary, said means desirably is adapted to impart an inter-v mittent motion to the chains whereby the carpules may be heldl stationary during filling. The chain moving means includes two pairs of sprockets 48, 48', one pair on each side of the lling station F, so that the chains can move the racks to and beyond said station. Each pair of sprockets is interconnected by a shaft 42, 42 so as to synchronously move the chains. The shaft 42' beyond the lling station F projects from the frame 28 and carriesa Geneva wheel 44. This Geneva wheel consists of a disc 4'6 having a plurality of radial slots 48 formed therein. Intermediate the slots, the circumference of the disc is provided with concave lockingsegments 58. The wheel is intermittently turned by a crank pin 52 mounted on a crank plate 54 secured for rotation on a shaft 56 which is driven continuously from any suitable source of power.
The crank plate has a segmentally circular flange 58 which slidably engages the locking segments 58 when the pin 52 is not traveling in one of the radial slots 48. This arrangement holds the Geneva wheel stationary between its periods of intermittent motion. dimensioned with respect to the diameter of the sprockets 48 that each time said wheel turns through 90 the chains 32 will move a distance equal to that between the centers of adjacent carpule holders 28 in a longitudinal row.
Both the Geneva wheel and the crank plate are secured to their respective shafts 42', 56 by suitable means, such as set screws (not shown),
The Geneva wheel is so 4 in vertically extending slots 88 in said standards. Said frame carries a plurality of positioning sleeves 18 whose lower ends 12 are iiared and whose upper ends have flanges 13 defining central apertures 14. The inner diameter of each sleeve is slightly greater than the external diameter of the carpule caps I4. The frame 64 is provided with a large through opening 16 at each end for a purpose soon to be apparent. A cam-following roller 18 is rotatably mounted on each end of the frame 64, said rollers resting under gravity on cams 88, one on each side of the machine. Said cams are fixed to shafts 82 iournaled in pedestals 84 secured to the frame 28. These shafts carry sprockets 86 driven by chains 81 which mesh with sprockets 88 of the same size as the sprockets 86. One sprocket 88 is ilxed to the driveshaft 56. The chains 81 are interconnected for synchronous movement by a sprocket 89 and a countershaft 92 which carries the other sprocket 88. By virtue of this construction, each time the shaft 56 turns once, the frame 64 will be raised and lowered once. The several positioning sleeves 18 are in such relationship to the frame of the machine that each sleeve 18 is in 'alignment with one of the longitudinal rows of carpule holding means 28.
Each injecting means I at the feeding station comprises an elongated barrel 94 screwed into a frame 96 extending between the standards 68, 62. Said barrel has an axial bore 98 running from end to end and enlarged at the upper end to provide a recess |88 leading to a conical seat |82. An outlet arm |84 for coupling to a resilient tube is integrally fashioned on one side of the body, said arm having a central :bore |86 which is connected to the longitudinal bore 98 of the barrel. The barrel also has a threaded tip |88 of small diameter on which there is screwed the hub H8 of a slender hollow needle H2, such as a which permit simultaneous adjustment of the gear and plate in such manner that the chain moving means may be arranged to place a transverse row of carpule holding means 28 in registry with the injecting mechanisms I at the feeding station F during the idling periods of the chains.
hypodermic needle. It will be obvious that this needle is connected by the bore 98 to the outlet bore |86. The needle H2 is disposed in alignment with the aperture 14 in its associated carpule positioning sleeve 18 and with the thin zones I6 of carpule caps successively held thereby.
Each individual injecting means I also includes a second hollow slender needle |4 which is adapted to be thrust through said thin cap zone i6 so that as a fluent material is fed into a carpule through one lof the needles, for' example, the inlet needle H4, the displaced gas within the carpule may be led off through the outlet needle H2. Although any mounting of the two hollow needles H2, ||4 which enables them to pierce the cap is satisfactory, I prefer to have said needles coaxially disposed so that they jointly will pierce but a single hole in the cap. Accordingly, as shown in Figs. 4 and 5, the inlet needle H4 is small enough to be received in the outlet needle H2 and permit passage of gas or eiiluent through the needle H2 and bore 98.
Even more satisfactory results may be obtained by having the outer needle H2 pierce the carpule cap rst and, after this initial piercing has taken place, moving the tip of the inner needle to a position below the tip of the outer needle. Such operation may be secured by mounting the needle I4 for vertical, freely-slidable movement within the needle ||2 and having the needle H4 offer such slight resistance to movement away from a carpule that when the tip of the needle H4 rests on a carpule cap, said needle will not pierce said cap but will only enter a carpule after the cap thereof has been pierced by the needle H2.
Downward movement of the needle I |4-is ensured by weighting the same with a fixture I I6 designed to couple theneedle ||4 to a resilient conduit. The weight of this fixture is not enough to force the needle ||4 through a carpule cap. The'fixture ||6 has a conical plug ||8 on its lower surface designed to fit snugly, the conical seat |02 and seal the bore 98 when the injecting mechanism is in operation. This is necessary since the filling system works either above or below atmospheric pressure and its operation would be disturbed if said system were open to the air.
It may be mentioned that, if desired, the needle 4 can be urged to its outthrust position by a spring instead of gravity.
All the coupling fixtures ||6 are connected by short lengths |20 of resilient tubing, a distributing manifold |22, and an inlet pipe |24 to a source of supply such as a bottle |26 containing fluid material with which it is desired to fill the carpules. All the coupling arms |04 are connected by short lengths of resilient tubing |26 to any exhaust manifold |28 running into an outlet pipe |30. Said pipe extends to a suction pump |32 comprising, by way of example, the barrel |34 of a large hypodermic syringe and two checi:`
valves |36, |38, one on each side of the syringe. Both check valves permit iiow of fluid only away from the filling station. Thus, when the plunger of the syringe is lifted the valve |38 will close and a sub-atmospheric pressure will be established in the exhaust manifold |28. When the needles ||2, ||4 are in the filling position illustrated in- Fig. 5, this will draw fiuid from the bottle |26. On the downstroke of the plunger the check valve |36 will close and fluid compressed under the plunger will be forced past the check valve |38.
It may be desirable, particularly when air bubbles are to be removed from the carpules, to return the outlet pipe |30 to the bottle |26, and, accordingly, I have provided a pipe |40 connecting the checkvalve |38 to said bottle. It will be observed that said pipe |40 terminates in the bottle above the level of the liquid |42 therein, although the pipe |24 terminates close to the bottom of said bottle. In this manner, any fluid returning through the outlet pipe will be pumped back into the bottle.
It may be mentioned that instead of employing a suction pump in the outlet pipe, a pressure pump could be placed in the inlet pipe |24, as illustrated in dotted lines by the pump |40. In such case, however, as will later be seen, it is necessary to provide control means, such as electric switches, to intermittently operate the electric motor M' which drives the pump |46. v0n the other hand, where a pump is placed in the outlet line, the electric motor M for said pump |32 may be operated continuously, since as will shortly be apparent, liquid then will only be pulled out of the bottle |26 when the needles |2,4
||4 have entered a carpule.
The means S to shift the injecting means I from its idle position shown in Fig. 5 to its filling position shown in Fig. includes the frame 96 whose ends |48 are slidably but non-rotatably received in the vertical slotsg68 of the standards 60, 62. Each of said ends carries a roller |50 riding on a cam |52, fixed to a shaft |54. Said shafts are journaled in the pedestals `84 and carry gears |56 meshing with gears |56 on the shafts 82. The gears |56, |58 are of the same size, so that the shafts |56 will turn once for each revolution of the shafts 82. The rollers |50' are maintained in contact with the cams |52 by the weight of the frame 96 and by pull springs |59 tensioned between the two ends of said frame 96 and the machine frame 20 and passing through the apertures 16 in the frame 64. The cams are so designed that the carpule positioning sleeve frame 64 will begin to move downwardly as locking segment 50 is engaged by the flange 58, At such time a transverse row of carpules is disposed at the feeding station F with each carpule directly beneath a positioning sleeve. 'Ihe frame 64 is moved downwardly until the flange 13 of each sleeve rests on the cap I8 of the carpule located therebeneath. As the shafts 82 continue tol turn, the cams 80 will leave the roller followers 16, whereby the full weight of the frame 64 rests on the several carpules in said transverse row. It will be noted that due to the non-rotatable mounting of the frame ends 66 in the standards 60, 62, said frame will have no tendency to turn as it rests upon the carpules, sothat the carpules are firmly and accurately held in place preparatory to and'during the filling thereof. The cams |52 are so designed with respect to the cams 80 that the tips of the inner hollow needles V| I4 will touch the carpule caps I8 after the positioning frame 64 has come to rest. Immediately thereafter, the tips .of the needle I2 pierce thelthin zones I6 in the caps under the weight of the frame 96 and the pressure 'exerted by the springs |59. As soon as the needles ||2 pierce the carpule caps, the needles ||4 descend by gravity to assume their filling position. At
this point the cams '80 and |52 are provided with low dwells, so as to permit the sleeves 10 to remain in engagement with the carpules and the needles i2, |4 to stay in filling position.
During filling, the manifold |28 is under subatmospheric pressure because of the continuous operation of the pump |32. This creates a subatmospheric pressure in the carpules. The pressure in the bottle |26 is atmospheric, duev to the provision of a vent |60. The liquid in the bottle will, therefore, rise through feed line |24 to flow into the distributing manifold |22, from whence it enters the needles ||4 and passes into the several carpules. The low dwells of the cams 80, |52 are so designed that after a sufiiclent period of time has elapsed to ll the carpules under the prevailing conditions, first the injecting means I is raised, and then the positioning frame 64. Disengagement of the tips of the needles 2 from the carpule caps will prevent any more liquid from being sucked into the carpules, since a sub-atmospherlcpressure will no longer be maintained in said carpules. No liquid will drip from the capillary bore of either needle H2, H4.
In the event that a pump is used in the feed line |24, suitable electric switches are placed in the path of the barrel 94 and a fixture I|6 and another switch in the path of the racks 24 at the feeding station so that the motor M will be turned on only when the holding means and filling means are in filling .position and carpules of the cams 80, |52 which maintain the frames 64 and 96 in elevated position out of the path oi the next transverse row of carpules.
Adjacent strips 3l are spaced apart a distance equal to an integral multiple of the spacing between carpule centers. However, there may be a space between adjacent racks at which the lling means will descend despite the absence of carpules. It will be appreciated that when this occurs, no lling fluid flows through the needle IH because either the switch designed to be engaged by a rack at the iilling station is not closed, or if the suction pump |32 is employed, no suction is applied from a needle H2 to a needle ill through a carpule.
It will thus be seen that there is provided an apparatus for filling carpules which achieves the several objects of this invention and which is well adapted to meet the conditions of practical use.
As various possible embodiments might be made ofthe above invention, and as various changes might be made in the embodiment above set forth, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Having thus described my invention, I claim as I new and desire to secure by Letters Patent:
1. For use at the filling. station oi' an apparatus for loading hermetically sealed carpules, each of which is closed by a cap of self-sealing material, and which apparatus includes means for moving carpules to and beyond said lling station, and for holding carpules in proper position for loading at said station: an injecting means including a pair of hollow slender coaxial needles, one slidable telescopically disposed within the other, means for urging the inner needle to a normal position wherein its tip is below the tip of the `outer needle, and means to move said needles axially toward and away from the cap of a 20 needle, and wherein means is provided to establish a sub-atmospheric pressure in the outer needle.
REFERENCES CITED The followingv references are o record in the le of this patent: f l
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 995,711 Parker June 20, 1911 1,325,991 King Dec. 23, 1919 1,842,134 Waite Jan. 19, 1932 2,146,072 Howard Feb. 7, 1939