US 2565045 A
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Aug. 21, 1951 D. RAY 2,565,045
FILLING MACHINE HAVING A FLEXIBLE BAG ENCLOSURE WITH SPACED RIBS TO PROVIDE A BAG SUPPORT AND PASSAGEWAYS EXTERNALLY OF THE BAG Filed July so, 1945 r; fL DOn R V INVENTORL Fi 2 BY AT T OHNEY Patented Aug. 21, 1951 FILLING MACHINE HAVING A FLEXIBLE BAG ENCLOSURE WITH SPACED RIBS TO PRO- VIDE A BAG SUPPORT AND PASSAGEW'AYS .EXTERNALLY OF THE BAG Don Ray, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Application July 30, 1945, Serial No. 607,721
This invention pertains to a machine for filling flexible, collapsible bags with a liquid or virtually liquid material. The invention also relates to. a machine and devices whereby the handling and filling of bags with a virtually liquid material is accomplished accurately, expeditiously and eificiently.
The subject matter of the present invention is to be distinguished from prior methods of filling containers in that the present invention relates to the use of containers made of a flexible, collapsible material. The bags or containers of the present invention are generally made of sheet material such as paper (which is either impregnated or coated with suitable. compositions) or sheet material made from any one of a variety of plastics, resinous compounds, polymers, (Bo-polymers, etc., such as, for example, cellulosic derivatives including cellophane, polyvinyl compounds, styrene polyiners, cumaroneindene-type resins, nylon, or the like. The bags, moreover, may be laminated and include a thin sheet of aluminum or other foil. At all events, the bags are collapsible, readily deformable, flexible, liquid tight, and preferably capable of being sealed by the application of pressure, or heat and pressure.
Bags of the above described character are filled with liquid or virtually liquid materials in accordance with this invention and then sealed. The sealed bag is ordinarily then inserted into a relatively rigid carton which protects the bag from accidental puncturing during shipment, handling, etc.
The invention also contemplates an apparatus whereby the liquid is deaerated during the filling step. Many materials such as, for example, orange juice, apple butter, berry purees, milk and other food stuffs deteriorate upon storage and such deterioration appears to be accelerated because of the presence of occluded air. In the process of the present invention these various liquids are deaerated during the filling step and since the bag is subsequently sealed so as to be virtually hermetic, the contents retain their potency and initial qualities for a very protracted period of time.
It is an object of the present invention, therefore, to disclose and provide an apparatus for handling and filling flexible bags with a liquid material.
A further object is to provide an apparatus arranged to employ suction or vacuum not only for the purpose of filling a container but also to facilitate the introduction of liquid into the container, thereby obviating the necessity of pumping food stuffs.
An object of the invention, moreover, is to disclose and provide devices which facilitate the filling of a flexible bag and subsequent sealing thereof.
A still further object is to disclose and provide a machine which insures the introduction of a predetermined or measured amount of liquid into a bag.
These and other objects will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, reference being had for purposes of illustration to the appended drawings which diagrammatically illustrate one form or arrangement of apparatus which may be employed.
In the drawings:
Fig. 1 is a side elevation of a measuring and filling device.
Fig. 2 is a horizontal section taken along the plane II--II of Fig. 1.
Fig. 3 is a vertical section taken through a movable portion of a housing illustrating a step preliminary to sealing of the bag.
Generally stated, the method of the present invention comprises placing a formed, open, collapsible, flexible bag of liquid-tight material into a vacuumizing zone, reducing the pressure around and within the open bag in said zone, separately measuring a desired quantity of liquid in a measuring zone, withdrawing the measured quantity of liquid into the vacuumizing zone by means of the reduced pressure in the latter zone, discharging the liquid into the bag while maintaining a reduced pressure in the vacuumizing zone so as to deaerate the liquid and fill the bag, then restoring the pressure in the vacuumizing zone to atmospheric, removing the open, filled bag therefrom, displacing what little air there may be immediately above the liquid within the bag with an inert gas, and hermetically sealing the edges of the bag. It is to be understood that not all of these steps need necessarily be carried out.
In the appended drawings a source of liquid material is indicated at I, a fluid pressure or hydrostatic head control device is indicated at 2, a
measuring device is indicated at 3, and a vacuuin' izing and filling device is generally indicated at 4. It is to be understood that any suitable source of liquid may be used. If, for example, orange juice is being handled, the source i may consist of a tank to which the burred or extracted juice is fed. In some instances the juice may be flash pasteurized or it may be subjected to a de-oiling operation before being introduced into the supply tank I. At all events, such supply preferably is conveyed by means of conduit 5 to the pressure control or hydrostatic head control device 2. This device may be a pressure-regulating valve or it may consist of a float tank 6, the inlet from conduit 5 into the tank being controlled by means of a float arm I and suitable linkage. The outlet line 8 from this device 2 leads to the measuring apparatus 3 preferably through athree-way valve 9 by means of which communication is established with the bottom port IU of the measuring device. This device may be cylindrical having side walls H of glass, a conical bottom portion [2 and a top l3. Extending through a suitable adjustable gland l4 carriedby-Ithe top is a' tube l5 provided with a flare-d lower end I6 adapted to snugly fit and seat upon a float ball 11 carried by the lower end of a guide rod l8 loosely extending through the tube l5. of the tube 15 may be provided with an air filter IS. The outer surface of the tube 55 may be provided with indices, a stationary index member carried by the top l3 cooperating with such in-' dices.
It will be evident that when' the valve 9' is in the position shown inFig. 1, liquid from the supply l and control device 2 may pass through conduit 8 into the measuring device 3. The'fioat ll rides upwardly on the surface of the liquid admitted into the measuring cylinder" H and eventually seats upon and closes the lower inlet to the tube l5. Escape of air from the upper portion of themeasuring chamber is thus discon-' open bottom. A suitable gasket may be carried by such seat. The stationar housing portion 24 is connected by means of conduit 26 with a threeway valve 21 having one branch 28 leading to a' source of vacuum or suction and an outlet'branch 29 in communication with the air. housing portion 24'is also provided with a port connected as by means of conduit'3il with the three-way valve 9, said conduit leading through the port into a filling'nozzle 3i provided with some means arranged to expose an extended surface of liquid being discharged therefrom. In the embodiment illustrated, the end of filling nozzle 3| is shown flattened or provided with a fish-tail type of nozzle adapted to discharge the liquid in the form of a relatively thin but wide ribbon-like stream.
The filling chamber also includes a movable housing portion, such' as 34', provided with an open top and an edge 35'arranged to'cont'act the seat and form a'tight seal therewith. The movable housing portion 34" is arranged to sup port a flexible, collapsible bag ofthe character previously described, this bag'being'shbwn provided with upstanding walls 36," the upper open edge of the bag being indicated at '31. The mov'-' able housing portion 34 isiarrangednot'only tosupport the bag'36 but to permitair to pass completely therearound" and; to accomplish this result, the housing portion 3'4" may be provided with a plurality of inwardly extending'ridgesor' ways 38, 39, etc.
The movable housing portions 34' may beof varying sizes arranged to support and carry bags" of different capacity. Means'sl'fould also be provided for bringingthemovable housing portions The upper end The upper 34 into contact with the seat 25 and such means may include a vertically movable support operat'ed in any suitable manner either manually, by foot pressure, or automatically.
It is to be understood that the bags 36 are ordinarily received in a flattened condition and by means of suitable machines (not shown but known to the. art) the bags are opened and formed into an upstanding, open-ended bag and placed within movable housings such as 34. These movable housings together with their bags are then brought into contact with the stationary housing portion 24 for the performance of the filling and deaerating operation.
The depth of each housing portion 34 is so arranged that it -suppo'rts the" open bag 36 with theupper portionof the bag'extendin'g above the lip 35 whereby thefilling nozzle 35 actually extends into the upper open end of the bag when such bag is in the filling device Ll.
The operation of the measuring device 3 has been described hereinbefore. While a suitable quantity of liquid material is being measured by the device 3 and after an empty, open, formed,
collapsible bag carried by a movable housing portion 3 1 has been brought into contact with the seat 2-5 of the stationary housing 2d, the valve 27 is adjusted so as to place the filling device in communication with a source or vacuum or'suction. Pressure within the filling device t isthus reduced to below atmospheric, the extent or degree of vacuum thus created within the filling chamber ordinarily ranging between about 18 inches and 26 inches-oi mercury. The movable housing portion 34 is kept in seating contact witlrthe lip 25 by reason of the reduced pressure within the chamber.
After a suitable quantity of liquid has been measured by the device 3 and a desired vacuum exists'within the filling device the valve 9 is operated so as to place the measuring device 3 in communication with the filling nozzle Bl through conduit St. The liquid is withdrawn from the measuring cylinder H by the vacuum within the filling chamber A and is discharged into the open, upstanding, collapsible bag 35 through the nozzle 3!. During such discharge the liquid is deaerated since the valve 2? is still in position communicating the filling chamber with the source of suction.
It is to be noted that a subatmospheric pressure exists completely around the bag 38 so that although the bag is of limp, flexible and collapsible'material, it does not collapse by reason of the vacuum within the chamber 4. Moreover, the filling nozzle 3i does not fill the entire cross-sectional area of the open end of the bag 3t so that the continued reduced pressure within the chamber effectively deaerates the liquid being supplied tothe bag.
During this filling operation the float H decends with the lowering level of the liquid within the measuring cylinder H, thereby admitting air into the upper portion of the cylinder through tube and air filter 29. As the last liquid from the measuring device 3 falls through inlet 3i into the bag, the reduced pressure within the chamber is broken by the admission of air through the'line 35, valve 9, port It, tube l5 and air filter I9. Valve 2'! may also be turned so as to place the filling chamber din communication with the air inlet line 29, thereby discontinuing the application of suction to the fillis restored within" the "filling "chamber, the seal between lips 25 and 35 is broken and the movable housing portion 34 may descend with its supported. and partially filled bag.
The movable housing portion with its filled bag may then be moved away and a new movable housing portion with an empty bag again brought into position. Fig. 3 shows a movable housing portion 34 with a filled bag, the liquid level being indicated at 42. As previously stated, the housing portions 34 are of different sizes and widths so as to accommodate bags of different capacity and preferably such housing portions are of a size that the liquid level 42 in a filled bag is in the same plane as the lips 35, thereby facilitating the subsequent bag-sealing operation.
Ordinarily the first operation is to spread the open upper portion of the bag in one direction so as to bring the upper edges 31 and 3? relatively close together. Concurrently with this operation a small quantity of inert gas, such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide, may be introduced into the upper portion of a bag as by means of a nozzle 43, whereupon what little air may be contained in the upper portion of the bag above the liquid level 42 is displaced and the bag may then be sealed by means of heated rollers, folding devices, or the like, the plane of the lips 35 facilitating the folding and sealing operations by establishing a working level correlated to the level of the liquid within the bag.
It will be noted that in the arrangement above described the liquid or virtually liquid material which is being bagged is not pumped but is transferred from the supply tank or source to the measuring device and to the bag by means of gravity and vacuum. Since most of the liquids are foodstuffs, they are not contaminated by passage through gear pumps or other devices which may introduce mineral impurities, oil from leaking journals or bearings, etc. The use of vacuum for withdrawing the measured quantity from the measuring device 3 into the bag is particularly desirable where the material is of a pulpy, viscous or thick consistency as is the case with many fruit and berry products. The use of vacuum to withdraw the liquid prevents dripping of small amounts of liquid from the nozzle and renders the operation both clean and accurate.
1. An apparatus for filling flexible, collapsible bags with a liquid under vacuum comprising: a measuring device including a container provided with a single port in the bottom thereof; a threeway valve connected to said container port; means for supplying liquid to said container through said valve at below a predetermined pressure head; a vacuumizing and filling device comprising a stationary housing portion having an open bottom and a seat around said open bottom; a movable housing portion having an open top and an edge portion adapted to contact said seat, said movable portion having spaced downwardly extending ribs on internal vertical walls and transverse spaced ribs on a bottom wall thereof, said spaced ribs on said walls defining a plurality of continuous connected passageways whereby a flexible bag may be supported on said ribs while being filled in a vacuum zone; a filling spout in the stationary housing portion in position to extend into a flexible bag supported by the movable portion; a suction port in the stationary housing; selectively operable means for connecting the suction port to suction and to atmosphere and conduit means between said filling spout and the valve and said measuring container.
2. A vacuumizing and filling device for flexible, normall collapsible bags comprising: a stationary housing portion having an open bottom and a seat around said open bottom; a movable housing portion having an open top and an edge portion adapted to contact said seat; said movable portion having spaced downwardly extending ribs on internal vertical walls and transverse spaced ribs on the bottom wall thereof; said spaced ribs defining a plurality of continuous connected passageways for pressure equalization between the interior and exterior of a flexible collapsible bag supported on said ribs within said portion while being filled in a vacuum zone; a filling spout in the stationary housing portion in position to extend into an open bag supported by the movable portion; valved means for supplying liquid to the filling spout and for connecting the filling spout to atmosphere upon completion of a filling operation; a suction port in the stationary housing; and selectively operable means for connecting said port to suction and to atmosphere.
3. A vacuumizing and filling device for flexible, normally collapsible bags comprising: a stationary housing portion having an open bottom and a seat around said open bottom; a movable housing portion having an open top and an edge portion adapted to contact said seat, said movable portion having spaced ri-bs on internal wall surfaces thereof for defining a plurality of continuous connected passageways arranged to extend downwardly and beneath a flexible bag supported on said ribs while being filled in a vacuum zone; a filling spout in the stationary housing portion in position to extend into an opened flexible bag supported by the movable portion, said filling spout having an elongated opening arranged to expose an extended surface of liquid discharged therefrom; valved means for supplying liquid to the filling spout; a suction port in the stationary housing; and selectively operable means for connecting said port to suction and to atmosphere.
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