US 2744531 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
M y 8, 1956 w. MCK. MARTIN ET AL 2,744,531
CONTAINER WASHING APPARATUS Filed Dec. 17, 1951 2 Sheets-Sheet l 54 INVENTORS WILL/AM Mc/r. MART/N 3153 1-". RYAMJR.
ATTORNEY May 8, 1956 w. M K. MARTIN ET AL 2,744,531
CONTAINER WASHING APPARATUS Filed Dec. 17, 1951 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR$ WILL/AM MCX. MART/IV JIES F. RYAMJR.
A 7' TORNE Y United States Patent Ofiice CONTAINER WASHING APPARATUS William McK. Martin, San Mateo, and James F. Ryan,
In, Palo Alto, Calif., assignors to James Dole Engilnferlulg Co., San Francisco, Calif., a corporation of eva a Application December 17, 1951, Serial No. 262,118
1 Claim. (Cl. 134-125) This invention relates to apparatus for washing containers, and more particularly for washing of scaled containers which have been filled with a sterile product, and sealed in a closing machine, in the manner disclosed in assignees patent to the first-named applicant No. 2,549,216, dated April 17, 1951, and co-pending applications by the first-named applicant, Serial No. 104,074, filed July 11, 1949, Patent No. 2,667,424, granted Jan. 26, 1954, for Apparatus and Method for Filling Products in Containers, and Serial No. 238,060, filed July 23, 1951, Patent No. 2,685,520, granted Aug. 3, 1954, for Apparatus and Method for Preserving Products in Sealed Containers.
In the apparatus referred to, a continuous line of sterile containers, usually metal (so-called tin can) containers, is continuously filled with a sterile food product, and the containers are then conducted to a closing machine where sterile metal covers are automatically applied to the containers. In the closing machine, the operation of which is conventional, the containers are continuously discharged from the machine in spaced apart relationship. During the filling of the containers prior to the time the covers are applied thereto by the closing machine, some 1 of the product may collect on the outside of the containers; and before labeling the same, it is desirable that the containers be clean. The apparatus hereof is particularly adapted for washing a continuously moving series of the spaced apart containers as they come from the closing machine, although it can be employed for the washing washing fluid to the successive containers as they are rotated, to clean the same. Means is also provided for continuously conducting the series of spaced containers onto the container supporting means to thus cause each container of the series oncoming against the supporting means, or in other words, which is next adjacent to the supporting means, to bump the container on the supporting means and thus eflect removal of the supported container from the supporting means.
Preferably, the container supporting means comprises a pair of spaced apart rollers rotatable in the same direction and which form a cradle for each container to be supported. Also, although gravity conducting of the containers to the supporting and rotating means may be employed to cause the above described bumping for effecting removal of the successive supported containers from the supporting means therefor, it is preferred to move vided to engage the top sides of the successive containers Means is positioned adjacent the con- Patented May 8, 1956 as they are supported on a trackway on their lower sides.
From the preceding, it is seen that the invention has as its objects, among others, the provisions of an improved washing apparatus of the character related, which is of simple and economical construction inasmuch as it is composed of relatively few parts, and to an improved method of washing. Other objects of the invention will become apparent from a perusual of the following description.
Referring to the drawings: v
Fig. 1 is a side elevational view of the preferred form of apparatus with certain portions broken away and shown in section, to disclose more clearly the construction;
Fig. 2 is a fragmentary longitudinal section of the apparatus of Fig. 1 taken in planes closely adjacent one side of the apparatus, and illustrating some of the mechanism thereof in greater detail; certain parts being shown broken away and in section to disclose the construction more clearly. The planes of the section are indicated by line 22 in Fig. 4;
Fig. 3 is a vertical section taken in a plane-indicated by line 33 in Fig. 1'; v v
Fig. 4 is an end elevation looking in the direction of arrow 4 in Fig. 1;
Fig. 5 is a face view of nozzle means for applying the washing fluid, partly broken away and in section for purposes of clarity. I
As related previously, the washing apparatus is particularly adapted for use in conjunction with'a conventional closing machine 1 which may be of any well known type, and in which covers are applied and sealed to the successive containers 2 of the continuous'line or series of containers conducted to the closing machine. From closing machine 1, the continuous line 'or series of the sealed containers, which are cylindric'ally shaped and which are in spaced apart relationship as they leave the closing machine, is conducted by gravity onto a trackway 3 of washing apparatus 4; a conventionalcan twister gravity conveying guide 6 being provided between closing machine 1 and'trackway 3 to turn the cans so that when they are deposited onto trackway 3, they can roll on their sides. The washing apparatus comprises 'a' suitable framework 7, composed of the usual metalposts and cross bars, and supports trackway 3; the trackway comprising spaced bottom rails 8 which support the ends ofconta'iners 2 on their seams, and side guide plates 9 which engage the bottom and the top of each container to maintain the series of containers in line. Trackway 3 is relatively horizontal and extends to a position adjacent a pair of spaced apart rotatable rubber covered rollers 11 which are rotatable in the same direction and which provide a cradle for freely supporting and rotating each container about its axis as it is deposited onto the cradle. Since the containers are fed onto trackway 3 by gravity from conveying guide 6, they have sufficient velocity to roll along trackway 3.
Means cooperable with trackway'3 is provided adjacent rotatable rollers 11 to feed positively the successive containers toward rollers 11.
Such means comprises a power driven rubber or other suitable flexible endless belt 12; the under-reach of which is driven in the direction of movement of the containers to effect the positive feeding. Such under-reach of the belt engages the top sides of the successive containers while they are supported on their bottom sides on trackwayis. Belt 12 adjacent said supporting means for applying a Washing is provided with a floating mounting so that as the successive containers meet the container receiving end of belt 12, the belt may yield to accommodate itself to the oncoming containers. i
Belt 12 turns about a pair of rollers 13 and 14; the container receiving roller 13 being an idler roller and being journalled for rotation in a pair of spaced arms 16 at one end of each of such arms. The opposite end of each of arms 16 is freely journalled on a rotatable shaft 17 supported on framework 7, so as to pivot thereon and hence, provide the described floating mounting of the belt. Roller 14 is fixed to shaft 17 so that upon rotation of shaft 17, roller 14 is driven to drive the belt. An adjustable stop, in the form of a set screw 18 supported by framework 7, is provided to engage the container receiving end of each of arms 16 to provide the proper minimum spacing between the under-reach of belt 12 and the container supporting rails 8 of trackway 3.
Because of the floating mounting of endless belt 12, the same positively, frictionally engages the top sides of the containers; and since the belt is driven, the containers are positively fed to the supporting rollers 11. Washing mechanism 19, in the form of nozzles described more fully hereinafter, is positioned adjacent supporting rollers 11 for directing any suitable washing fluid against the successive containers on rollers 11 to wash the same.
In this connection, rollers 11 are rotated at such speed that each container as it is supported and rotated by the rollers, is spun around at least two and preferably more revolutions to insure thorough washing of the entire cylindrical side of the container. Each oncoming container, next adjacent to the container being washed on rollers 11, bumps against such container being washed, to thus effect removal of the same from rollers 11 and in turn become the container which is washed. From rollers 11, each removed container then rolls down discharge end 21 of trackway 3 whereupon it is discharged from the machine to be dried or otherwise handled in any suitable manner.
The drive for endless belt 12 and rollers 11 comprises an electric motor 22 as the prime mover; motor 22 being mounted on top of framework 7 adjacent one side thereof, on a base 23 which is pivoted at 24 at one end thereof and carries an adjustable set screw 26 at the opposite end engaging the top of framework 7. The purpose of set screw 26 is to adjust the slack in driving belt 27 which is connected to the motor and to a pulley 23 fixed to one end of a shaft 29 journalled in framework 7. At its opposite end, shaft 29 carries a sprocket 31; and the left hand roller 11, appearing in Figs. 1 and 2 is fixed to shaft 29 so as to be rotatable therewith. The right hand roller 11 is fixed to another shaft 32, appearing in Figs. 1 and 2, also journalled in framework 7, and which carries a sprocket 33 at the same end as sprocket 31 on the shaft 29. An endless chain 34 passes around sprockets 31 and 33 so that the drive of the right hand roller 11 is taken off the drive of the left hand roller 11.
Chain 34 is also utilized to effect driving of endless belt 12. For this purpose, chain 34 engages a sprocket 36 which is fixed to a shaft 37, also journalled on framework 7 and which carries a pinion 38. The latter pinion engages a gear 39 which is carried by the rotatable shaft 17 upon which belt roller 14 is mounted, to thus effect rotation of shaft 17 and consequently roller 14, whereby the belt is driven.
Washing mechanism 19 comprises a plurality of spray nozzles which direct a suitable washing fluid against the containers. With reference to Figs. 4 and 5, the washing mechanism includes a manifold pipe 41 mounted on framework 7 and which is connected to a wash water inlet pipe 42 having a suitable control valve 4-3. Pipe 41 is provided with downwardly extending extensions 44 at each end; and the ends of such extensions have spray nozzles 46 which direct a spray of the wash water against both the top end and the bottom end of the sealed container being washed, to eifect thorough washing of these parts of the container. Additional spray nozzles 47 are connected to manifold 41 between end nozzles 46, to direct the spray water against the entire peripheral side of each container being washed to causc thorough washing of such side.
The seamed cover or lid end of the container (the right hand end appearing in Fig. 4), may require special treatment because it is the end into which the product is filled; and the product may adhere to such end. This may be particularly troublesome, if the product happens to be a puree, resulting in a sticky mess. To insure thorough cleaning of the cover end, one of nozzles 47 is located directly above such end, as can be seen from Fig. 4. it is also desirable to mix with the wash water being discharged from the nozzle 47 over the cover end of the container, a suitable gas such as steam or air which will provide a scouring action as the spray hits the cover end in question, to cut off mechanically any accumulation of sticky or dried material.
For the latter purpose, a steam discharge pipe 48 pro jects into the right hand nozzle 47 appearing in Fig. 4, to mix live steam with the wash Water, to thus provide the described scouring action. Steam discharge pipe 48 is connected to a steam supply pipe 49 which has a suitable valve 51 for controlling the supply of steam to the nozzle in question, or to enable the steam supply to be shut off from such nozzle when the scouring action is not needed, depending upon the product which is being filled into the containers. In this connection, also de pending upon the character of the product, all the nozzles 4-7 and 46 may be provided with the steam injection means described to discharge the combination of the wash water, with the steam or other suitable scouring gas.
Any suitable washing fluid may be employed; the preferred fluid being, of course, water which may be warmed or heated and which may contain any of the well known detergents. For collection of the wash water, a pan 52 is provided under rollers 11 which collects most of the water. Any water not collected by pan 52 falls into another pan 53 located below pan 52; the pan 52 having a drain 54 leading to pan 53; and pan 53 also having a discharge drain spout 56.
The sides of the frame structure 7 above the top of trackway 3 may be left open because the direction of the sprays of washing fluid is such that substantially none of the washing fluid will spray outside of the framework. However, if desired, suitable removal covering panels (not shown) may be provided about the open portion of the framework.
Apparatus for washing a series of spaced apart cylindrically shaped containers comprising means including a rotatable roller for supporting each container on its side and rotating it about its axis, means including an elongated trackway upon which a plurality of spaced apart containers can be supported for conducting said series of containers, an endless conveyor positioned above said trackway with one end thereof adjacent said container supporting means for positively feeding said series of containers onto said supporting means while maintaining them in such spaced apart relationship to cause each container of said series which is next adjacent said supporting means to bump the container on said supporting means and thus effect removal of such supported container from said supporting means, means adjacent the end of said conveyor which is adjacent said supporting means for pivotally mounting the conveyor to provide a floating mounting thereof and thus enhance frictional driving of said spaced containers by said conveyor, means including a stop adjacent the opposite end of said conveyor upon which said opposite end freely rests to fix the spacing between the under reach of said conveyor and said trackway at such opposite end, and means fluid to the successive containers on said supporting means to clean the same.
(References on following page) References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Kaestner Apr. 5, 1898 Faust July 25, 1899 5 Troehler Dec. 29, 1903 Moltrup Oct. 11, 1921 Gay Feb. 15, 1927 5; Cole Nov. 26, 1929 Kaufimann Mar. 11, 1930 Graham July 14, 1931 Anderson Aug. 2, 1932 Petra 2 Nov. 7, 1939 Berger June 18, 1940 Protin Feb. 11, 1941 Tellier Aug. 1, 1950