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Publication numberUS2761603 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 4, 1956
Filing dateApr 26, 1952
Priority dateApr 26, 1952
Publication numberUS 2761603 A, US 2761603A, US-A-2761603, US2761603 A, US2761603A
InventorsBradley Fairchild Edwin
Original AssigneeBeverly E Williams
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for the aseptic packaging of foods
US 2761603 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 4, 1956 E. B. FAIRCHILD APPARATUS FOR THE ASEPTIC PACKAGING 0P FOODS Filed April 26, 1952 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 727 Home I l 70 (IA/6' fall/W 56 70667 HQAQCH/(D,

lll

INVENTOR.

fiffd/GLVE 5 Sept. 4, 1956 E. s. FAIRCHILD 2,761,603

APPARATUS FOR THE ASEPTIC PACKAGING OF FOODS Fil ed April 26, 1953 4 Sheeis-Sheet 2 Z EG.4/.

5040/ 590043 FQ/GCH/(O,

INVENTOR.

Sept. 4, 1956 E. B. FAIRCHILD 2,761,603

APPARATUS FOR THE ASEPTIC PACKAGING OF FOODS Filed April 26, 1952 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 50w 6190045 FQZQCH/(D,

I INVENTOR.

Sept. 4, 1956 E. B. FAlRCHlLD APPARATUS FOR THE ASEPTIC PACKAGING 0F FOODS Filed April 26. 1952 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 IN V EN TOR. 6.,

QTTOEA/EVS United States atent APPARATUS FOR THE ASEPTIC PACKAGING F FOODS Edwin Bradley Fairchild, Palo Alto, Calif, assignor of one-half to Beverly E. Williams, San Mateo, Calif.

Application April 26, 1952, Serial No. 284,587

18 Claims. (Cl. 226-68) This invention relates to the art of food processing and has particular reference to a process and apparatus for the packaging of fluid foods under aseptic conditions.

One of the objects of this invention is to provide a novel and improved process and apparatus for the packaging of fluid foods under aseptic conditions.

Another object of this invention is to provide a process and apparatus for the aseptic packaging of fluid foods in standard or commercially available steel drums or barrels.

Another object of this invention is to provide a process and apparatus of the character described in which the drums or barrels to be filled are pro-sterilized and sealed to be used immediately, or stored and later used in accordance with the demand for same.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a process and apparatus which permit fluid foods to be quickly packaged in standard drums or the like, under conditions of sterility such that the packaged product may be maintained in a fresh and palatable state for extremely long periods of time without the necessity for refrigeration.

In my copending application, Serial Number 232,960, filed June 22, 1951 on Process and Apparatus for Sterilizing and Filling Containers now Patent No. 2,698,120 is disclosed a device and method for steam sterilization of bulk containers, for filling the containers with a sterile fluid food under aseptic conditions and for sealing the same without contamination of the product. The invention disclosed herein differs broadly from that of said copending application in that here the containers are first pro-sterilized with the use of a hot gas, such as, for example, oxygen-free combustion gas, and steam sterilization is used only as an adjunct to the filling operation for sterilization of the container closure fittings and of the surfaces of the filling mechanism which are contacted by thefluid to be packaged. This eliminates the necessity for containers capable of withstanding pressures substantially above atmospheric, and further eliminates the formation of steam condensate which is objectionable in some cases in that some dilution of the packaged product results.

Briefly, then, this invention contemplates as a first step the pre-sterilization of a container such as a standard 55 gallon steel drum. The sterilized empty drum is then sealed with special closure members, one of which contains a thin, readily-pierceable diaphragm. A drum filling and capping apparatus is provided and includes a filling tube carrying a tool adapted to cut through the diaphragm to establish communication with the interior of the barrel and to deliver sterile fluid thereto for packaging. Upon completion of the filling operation, the tool is withdrawn and the diaphragm-containing member is capped to seal the contents against contamination. In ths manner, fluid foods including fresh milk may be practically and economically packaged in bulk quantities,

ice

and maintained in a fresh condition for long periods of time without refrigeration.

Other objects and advantages of this invention, it is believed, will be readily apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments thereof when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

In the drawings:

Figure 1 is a front elevation of a filling and capping mechanism which comprises a preferred embodiment of the invention.

Figure 2 is a sectional elevation taken substantially on the line 2-2 of Figure 1.

Figure 3 is a perspective view, on a reduced scale, of a standard drum provided with my special closure fittings.

Figure 4 is a fragmentary vertical sectional elevation of the filling and capping mechanism, illustrating the filling tube and tool in retracted position.

Figure 5 is a sectional elevation taken substantially on the line 5-5 of Figure 4.

Figure 6 is a sectional elevation similar to Figure 4, but illustrating the filling tube and tool in filling position.

Figure 7 is a sectional elevation similar to Figure 4, but illustrating the capping cylinder in operative position.

Figure 8 is an exploded vertical sectional elevation of the diaphragm-containing filler fitting.

Figure 9 is a vertical sectional elevation of the capped diaphragm-containing filler fitting.

Figure 10 is an exploded vertical sectional elevation of a modified form of diaphragm-containing filler fitting.

Figure 11 is an exploded vertical sectional elevation of the tester fitting.

Figure 12 is an exploded vertical sectional elevation of a modified form of tester fitting.

Referring now to the drawings, in Figure 3 is illustrated a conventional or standard 55 gallon steel drum 20, which is provided with the special fittings which embody features of this invention. Generally indicated at 21 is the diaphragm-containing filler fitting and generally indicated at 22 is the tester fitting, each suitably connected in a manner described in more detail below, to one of the drum heads 23. It will be understood that the drum 20 is of stainless steel or is provided with a lining (not shown) of material which is not subject to corrosive attack by the fluid material to be packaged. The filler fitting 21 includes an internally-threaded flange member 25 having an outer flange 26 and an inner flange 27 crimped against the inner surface of the drum head 23 to rigidly connect the member 25 thereto (see Figure 8). An annular resilient gasket 28 is provided between the flange 26 and the outer surface of the drum head to insure against leakage into or from the interior of the drum. Likewise, the tester fitting 22 includes a similar,,

but preferably smaller, flange member 30 having an outer flange 31, and internal flange 32 crimped against the inner surface of the drum head, and a sealing gasket 33 (see Figure 11).

As the first step in the process of this invention the drum 20 is pre-sterilized. That is, the interior of the empty drum, provided with the flange members 25 and 30 as described above, is sterilized and the empty sterile drum is then sealed. The sterilization maybe accomplished by heating, in any convenient manner, all of the air contained in the drum to a sterilizing temperature of approximately 300 F. A more eflicient and preferred method is toreplace the air with an oxygen-free gas. such as combustion gas, at a sterilizing temperature. This gas is introduced into the drum through the flange member 25 and exhausted through the flange member 30 until the inner surfaces of the drum have reached the sterilizing temperature. In order to seal the sterilized drum, the flange member 21 is closed by threadedly engaging therewith the preheated and sterilized closure member generally indicate'd35 in "Figure 8. Likewise, the flange member 22 is sealed by means of the preheated and sterilized .plug 37 .and closure membergenerally indicated '38 in'Figure 11, described inmoredetail below.

'Theclosure member 35 is generally cylindrical, having internal and external threads. The member.is' provided at the'upper' end thereof with a'flarrge 40and'at the 'l'ower end thereof with an inwardlyand'radially directed annular wall 41 merging with a re-entrant cylinder"42,"the outerwall 43 of the closurememberforming with the wall 41 and cylinder 42 an "annular'recess or channel 44 for a purpose to be described in'more detail below. The=wall of the central -opening -45 of'the cylinder 42 is provided with an annular groove 46 in the upper portion thereof,-and the opening is closed and sealed atthe lower end .thereof by means 'ofa relatively thin;preferably'metallic, diaphragm 48. The diaphragm is preferably secured to the wall 41 by welding. An annular gasket 50 is provided'on the underside of the flange 4-0 in position for sealing contact'with the upper surface of the flange 26 (see Figure 9).

The closure member 38 is generally cylindrical having ansupper flange 52, .gasket52a, a lower end walli53 having :a central opening 54, and external threads for engagement with the internal threads of'theflange member 22. Internal threads are provided in the central opening 55 which communicates with a cavity 56in whichis contained a rubber or rubber-like plug 57 inserted therein by compression. The plug 57 is provided-with an internal well 58 in which is received a supply 59 of self sealing compound or swellant for the material of the plug. This structure permits the contents of the drum to be tested from time to time by obtaining aasample by means of insertion of a hypodermic needle 'or the like through the plug 57, central opening54 and thence into the drum contents. A sample may be withdrawn by applying suction pressure to the external end of the needle. Upon completion of the sampling and withdrawal of the needle, the sealingcompound, togetherwith the inherent self-sealing characteristics of the plug material, will cause the needle puncture to be closed, preventingentrance of contamination. It will.be understoodthat the metallic externally-threaded plug 37 will, at all times after sterilization of the emptydrum, be-normally engaged with the internal threads of .the closure member 35 to preventexposure of the plug 57 to air and foreign matter. The plug 37 will, of course,.be removed-each time a sample istaken in the manner described .above.

After sterilization of the empty drum as described above,ithe closing and sealing of the drum by the closure members 35 and 38 takes place while all parts and surfaces'ofthedrum including the flangemembers'25 .and 30 -are at 'an elevated temperature, such .that.any residual contamination introducedduring the'closing and sealing operation is destroyed before the drHm'andJassQciated parts 'cool to 'non-lethal temperatures.

The sterilized and sealed 'drumis *now'ready to be filled under'aseptic conditions with the 'ste'rilefluidifood. If desired, the drum may be filled immediately, or itmay be stored empty without contamination for anirideterminate length of time before use.

'Referringnow'tcrFigures 1 to 7, the filling and-capping device which'embodies important features f this inventionis'generallyindicated- 65. "It is to'be'understoo'd that the'device 65"is, ora'plurality or the "same are, "supported on' a frame (not'shown) 'Whichmay'be similar to that shown and described in my copending application SeriahNumber 232,960 referredto hereinabove. 'The device 65 is'supported so that drums tobefilled may be positioned underneath the device with the flange memberZS in the position .indicatedin the drawings.

.The'fillingand capping device includes a worm-.cylinder '67, .a filling. tube cylinder 68,.and a capping tube cylinder 69, connected in sequence by means of bolted "flanges"70,"71,"'72 and"73 so that thethreecylindersaxe coaxial and substantially vertically disposed. Secured to the upper flange 74 on the worm cylinder 67 is a plate 75 which is provided with a central aperture (not shown) defined by a bearing member 78. Extending vertically downwardly through the central aperture and journaled in the bearing member 78. is a shaft having a threaded portion"81 at its lower end engaged in the threaded central opening 82 in the non-cylindrical elongated bar 33 (see'Figure l).

The wormcylinder :67 and filling tube cylinder -68 are spaced .by means of a horizontal plate 84, and the bar 83 extends downwardly through'a correspondinglyshaped central aperture 585 in theplate .84. The bar is secured at its lower end by means of welding, or the like, to a pistonmember 86 which is provided with a passage 87 leading from the side of the .piston to..the lowerface thereof. The filling tube 88 is carried by the piston member 86 by means of the internal .threa'ds"89 in the piston memberand the external threads 90 onthe upper portion 'of'thefilling tube. The fillingtube extends-vertically downwardly through the cylinderf68' and thence through a circular central opening 91 in *a plate 92 which separates the cylinders 68and 69. At 'the lower end thereof, the filling tube is provided with a piercing tool or lance 93 of generally'conical shapeand having a sharply-pointed end. Product passages.'94 extenddownwardly through the lance and establish communication between the interior of the filling "tube and theexterior of the lance.

The filling tube cylinder 68 is provided with bosses'95 and 96 having steam inlet'passage"97 andproduct inlet passage 98 therein, =respect-ively. -Steam line "99 and product line 1% communicate with the respective passages.

-A piston member 101 is provided within the cylinder 69 and isprovided with a centralthreaded opening 102 for supporting the capping tube 103 which encompasses the filling tube 88. The piston member 101 'and'capping tubeare'actuated through the'openi-ng of steam ports104 and105and steam condensate port 106 in the cylinder 69. Steam lines 107, 108and109 lead to the respective steam ports 104- and 105 and condensate-port 106' (see Figure 5).

:Boltedto the lower flange 110 of the cylinder 69 isa nozzle :head: generally indicated" 111 provided with "-a 'central :bore 112. Extending downwardly therefrom and formingraicontinnationof the central bore. is the -noz'zle proper/.113. "Bolted'to one'side of the nozzle head is a cap. feeder.:mechanisrn -114 which includes a block 115 upon-whichis/supporteda cap magazine 116 and-"atone endzofiwhich iscarrieda solenoid device 117, including an :armature'117a for'feeding'the caps 118 "fromthe magazine,rthrough the-passages'120 and 121 in the block 1152and head 110, respectively, and into the central "bore 112. -Aplurality ofelectrical heating units 125 is 'providedzfonmaintaining the nozzle head and *associated' parts-at a; temperature :of about300 F. to insure sterility of the surfaces.

.It will. be understood :fromithe :above description .that

thelfilling tube is verticallyreciprocated'with respect to the cylinders .68 and =69by. rotation ,of the shaft-80 which is threadedlyengaged with;the .bar 83, whichbar isjheldposition, whereinuthe tubeisfu'lly extended .asshown 'in Figure.6;.and- (3) 1he..draining position, .whereinltheftube is partially retracted as shown by the phantom lines of Figure 4.

Means are provided for controlling the energization and direction of rotation of the motor 135 so that the actuation and position of the'filling tube may be controlled. As shown in Figures 1 and 2, these means may include the worm 137 on the upper end of the shaft 80, which is engaged in driving relation with a gear 138. The gear 138 is carried on a stub shaft 140 journaled in suitable bearings 1 11 on an arm 142 secured to the plate 75. The gear ratio between worm 137 and gear 138 is such that the gear 138 will make one-half revolution to the number of times it will take for the shaft 80 to cause the filling tube to travel the full distance between the fully retracted and fully extended positions.

Secured to one face of the gear 138 is a contact member generally indicated 149 and divided radially into right and left halves separated by a break 150. Both halves are split vertically to form semi-circular members 151, 152, 153 and 154, each insulated from the other and from the shaft 140. The members 151 and 153 are electrically connected by means of conductor 155, and likewise the members 152 and 154 are connected by means of conductor 156 (see Figure 2). Conductors 158 and 159 connect the members 151, 153 and 152, 154 respectively to collector rings 160 and 161 carried on the shaft 140. Brushes 163 and 164 contact the respective rings 160 and 161 and lead wires 165 and 166 extend from the brushes to the motor 135.

An arm 170 is carried on the plate 75 and supports a stationary ring 171. These pairs, 1, 2 and 3 of brushes are carried on the ring 171, one pair for each of the three filling tube positions referred to above. Conductors 172 extend from each pair of brushes to a source of current, through a suitable switch (not shown). Accordingly, when any pair of brushes is energized by actuation of the appropriate switch, the motor is energized to rotate its shaft in one direction or the other, depending upon which side of the break 150 the appropriate pair of brushes 1, 2 or 3 happens to be. Rotation of the motor shaft will, of course, cause the gear 138 and contact member 149 to be rotated a distance sufiicient to bring one of the other pairs of brushes into contact with the insulated break 150, thereby breaking the flow of current and stopping the motor and hence the filling tube in the desired position.

In operation, a sterilized and sealed drum 20 is brought into position under the filling device 65 either by lifting the drum or by bodilylowering the device 65, with the nozzle 113 extending partially into the annular recess 44 of the closure member 35 as shown in Figure 4. At this point, the filling tube is in the number 1 or fully retracted position, and as shown in Figure 4, the passage 87 of the piston member 86 and hence the filling tube itself is in communication with the steam port 97. Steam at sterilizing pressure and temperature is then admitted at 97 and fiows through the filling tube and out the openings 160 in the lance to sterilize the filling tube, lance, all parts of the capping tube 103, and all the exposed surfaces of the closure member 35, including the diaphragm 48. In so doing, the steam flows down through the tube 103, bore 112 and thence into the annular recess 44. It will be understood that the lower end of the nozzle 113, which extends into the recess 44, forms with the walls of the recess a U-shaped circuitous path for the passage of steam to insure full coverage of the surfaces. The steam exhausts upwardly through the annular channel 181 formed between the nozzle 113 and closure member 35. Upon completion of this sterilization step, steam through 97 is cut off by means of a valve (not shown), but a small flow of steam is continued through a port 182 in the nozzle head 111.

The outer surfaces of the filling tube are maintained in a sterile condition at all times by an influx of steam to the cylinder 68 through a port 183 (see Figure 6), a condensate drain 184 also being provided in the cylinder 68. A passage 185 is provided in the piston member 86 to permit equalization of pressure on either side of the piston member. Likewise, the bar 83 and shaft are maintained in a sterile condition by means of steam which is admitted to cylinder 67 through line 67a, condensate being removed through drain line 67b.

After the initial sterilization step performed with steam from port 97, as described above, the piston member 86 and filling tube 88 are lowered to the number 2 or fully extended position past that illustrated in Figure 6. This is accomplished by energizing the brushes 2 described above, to cause appropriate rotation of the motor shaft 133 and shaft 80. As the filling tube moves downwardly, the lance 93 punctures the diaphragm 48, and with continued downward movement of the lance, the metal of the diaphragm is torn and rolled downwardly as shown in Figure 6. The openings in the lance facilitate this action. In the fully extended position, the passage 87 of the piston member is directly opposite and in communication with the product port 98, so that communication is established between the productline 100 and the interior of the drum 20. In the fully extended position, the filling tube carries the lance 93 to the bottom of drum 20 so that product will fill while the lance is submerged and will not therefore foam.

A product valve (not shown) in the line 100 is then' opened and the product to be packaged flows through the filling tube and into the drum. A check valve is provided in the product line 100 to permit inflow of product and to prevent outflow of steam when the filling tube is in positions other than the filling or fully extended position.

Upon filling of the drum, the product valve is closed and the filling tube raised to the number 3 position indicated by the phantom lines in Figure 4 wherein the openings 180 just clear the puncture in the diaphragm 5. At this point, the passage 87 in the piston 86 is in communication with the port 183 in the cylinder 68, and sufiicient steam is admitted therethrough to clear the filling tube of product, after which the tube is retracted to the position illustrated by the full lines of Figure 4.

The full drum is then sealed with one of the caps 118. Each of the caps 118 is provided with an annular channel having at the upper portion thereof an annular adhesive gasket 196. The inner cylindrical wall of the cap is provided with an annular protrusion197 adapted to be snapped into place in the annular groove 46 of the cylinder 42 of the closure member. In operation of the capping device, a cap 118 is fed from the magazine 116, by means of the armature 117a, first into the passage 120- and then into the bore 112 which is provided with a frusto-conical recess 200 which is oversize with respect to the cap diameter to permit proper alignment of the cap in the bore. The timing of the capping device is such that, during the filling operation, a cap 118 is in the passage 121 undergoing sterilization by the heat from the elements 125, with gate 205 to the passage 121 in the closed position. As the filling tube 88 is retracted after the filling and draining operations described above, the armature 117a, is actuated to push a cap 118 out of the magazine 116, through swinging gate 205 and into passage 120 where it in turn pushes another cap 118, which is already present in the passage 121 and which was sterilized therein, into the recess 200. The capping tube 103 is immediately brought down, by admitting steam through the port 104, to force the cap 118 downwardly through the bore 112 and onto the cylinder 42 of the closure member 35, as shown in Figure 7. The puncture in the diaphragm 48 is thus effectively capped and sealed.

The filled and sealed drum is then removed from the filling and capping device 65 and a plug member 210 is threadedly engaged with the internal threads of the closure member 35, hearing down on the cap 118 so that the. temporary seal ofv the gasket 1:96 is made permanen The completely assembled filler fitting is shown in Figure 9.

Modified forms of, filler fitting 21a and tester fitting 22av are illustrated in Figures 1.0 and 12, respectively. These fittings. are adapted for use in a non-reusable drum 20a. The fitting 21a is identical to the fitting 21 with the exception thatv the closure member 35a is adapted to be welded to the flange member 25a, the respective members being provided with tapered contact surfaces 215 and 216,. respectively. Here, it should be noted, the gasket 50. is dispensed with. Likewise, the tester fitting 22a is identical to the fitting 22, with the exception that the closure member 3811 is adapted to be welded to the flange member 30a, the respective members being provided with tapered contact surfaces 218 and 215?, respectively. Here again, the gasket 52:: is not necessary.

Having fully described. my invention, it is to be understood that I do not wish to be limited to the details set forth, but my invention is of the full scope of the appended claims.

I claim:

1. In apparatus for filling a sterilized container having a closure member including a pierceable diaphragm, the combination of a head member adapted to substantially enclose said closure member; heating means for sterilizing and maintaining a sterile atmosphere in said head member and surrounding said closure member; a filling tube operably connected to said head member; and means for reciprocating said tube with respect to said head, said filling tube including a lance element adapted to penetrate through said diaphragm to establish communication with the interior of said container.

2. In apparatus for filling a sterilized container having a closure member including a pierceable diaphragm, the combination of a head member adapted to substantially enclose said closure member; heating means for sterilizing and maintaining a sterile atmosphere in said head member and surrounding said closure member; a filling tube operably connected to said head member; and means for reciprocating said tube with respect to said head, said filling tube including a cone-shaped lance element having a sharpened lower end and adapted to penetrate through said diaphragm to establish communication with the interior of said container.

3. In apparatus for filling a sterilized container having a closure member including a pierceable diaphragm, the combination of a head member having a central bore adapted to substantially enclose said closure member; heating means for sterilizing and maintaining a sterile atmosphere in said central bore and surrounding said closure member; a filling tube operably connected to said nozzle head member; and means for reciprocating said tube with respect to said head, said filling tube including a lance element adapted to penetrate through said diaphragm to establish communication with the interior of said container.

' 4. In apparatus for filling a sterilized container having a closure member including a pierceable diaphragm, the combination of a head member having a central bore adapted to substantially enclose said closure member; means for sterilizing and maintaining a sterile atmosphere in said central bore and surrounding said closure member, said means including a plurality of heating ele ments in said head; a filling tube operably connected to said head member; and means for reciprocating said tube with respect to said head, said filling tube including a lance element adapted to penetrate through said diaphragm to establish communication with the interior of said container.

5. In apparatus for filling sterilized containers each atmosphere in said central bore and surrounding said closure member; a filling tube operably connected to said head member; means for reciprocating said tube With respect to said head, said filling tube including a lance element adapted to penetrate through said diaphragm to establish communication with the interior of said, container; means for feeding caps for said closure members to th central bore of said head member; and means operably connected to said head member for affixing one of said caps to each of said closure members.

6. In apparatus for filling sterilized containers each having a closure member including a pierceable diaphragm, the combination of a head member having a central bore adapted to. substantially enclose said closure member; means for sterilizing and maintaining a sterile atmosphere in said central bore and surrounding said closure member; a filling tube operably connected to said head member; means for reciprocating said tube with respect to said head, said filling tube including a lance element adapted to penetrate through said diaphragm to establish communication with the interior of said container; means for feeding caps for said closure members to the central bore of said head member; and means operably connected to said head member for aifixing one. of said caps to each of said closure members, said last, means including a tube operable in timed relation with said filling tube for reciprocation in said central bore.

7. In apparatus for filling a sterilized container having a closure member with cylindrical Walls, a cylindrical reentrant portion forming with the cylindrical walls an annular recess, and a pierccable diaphragm closing said reentrant portion, the combination of a nozzle head; a nozzle member extending downwardly from said nozzle head and adapted to, substantially enclose said closure member, said nozzle member extending into said annular groove; means for sterilizing and maintaining a sterile atmosphere in said nozzle member and surrounding said closure member; a filling tube operably connected to said nozzle member; and means for reciprocating said tube with respect to said head, said filling tube including a lance element adapted to penetrate through said diaphragm to establish communication with the interior of said container.

8. In apparatus for filling with a product a container having a closure member including a pierceable diaphragm, the combination of a cylinder member having a product delivery inlet and a steam inlet; a head member supported by said cylinder member and adapted to substantially enclose said closure member, said head member having a central bore communicating with said cylinder member; means for sterilizing and maintaining a sterile atmosphere in said central bore and surrounding said closure member; a filling tube operably connected to said cylinder member, said filling tube having at the lower end thereof a lance element extending into said central bore, said lance element being provided with a product outlet passage and being adapted to penetrate through said diaphragm to establish communication with said product inlet and wherein said lance element is in communcation with the interior of said container.

9. In apparatus for filling with a product a container having a closure member including a pierceable dia phragm, the combination of a cylinder member having a product delivery inlet and a steam inlet; a head member supported by said cylinder member and adapted to substantially enclose said closure member, said head member having a central bore communicating with said cylinder member; means for sterilizing and maintaining a sterile atmosphere in said central bore and surrounding said closure member; a filling tube operably connected to said cylinder member, said filling tube having at the lower end thereof a lance element extending into said central bore, said lance element being provided with a product outlet passage and being adapted to penetrate through said diaphragm to establish communication with the interior of said container; means for reciprocating said filling tube and lance element from a sterilizing position wherein the upper portion of said filling tube is in communication with said steam inlet to a filling position wherein said upper portion is in communication with said product inlet and wherein said lance element is in communication with the interior of said container; and means for feeding caps for said closure members to the central bore of said head member, said means being operable in timed relation with the reciprocation of said filling tube.

10. In apparatus of the character described, the combination of a container having an opening; a closure member secured to said container in said opening, said closure member having a central opening; a pierceable diaphragm sealing said central opening; a head member adapted to substantially enclose said closure member; heating means for sterilizing and maintining a sterile atmosphere in said head member and surrounding said closure member; a filling tube operably connected to said head member; and means for reciprocating said tube with respect to said head, said filling tube including a lance element adapted to penetrate through said diaphragm to establish communication with the interior of said container.

11. In apparatus of the character described, the combination of a container having an opening; a closure member secured to said container in said opening, said closure member having a central opening; a pierceable diaphragm sealing said central opening; a head member having a central bore adapted to substantially enclose said closure member; means for sterilizing and maintaining a sterile atmosphere in, said central bore and surrounding said closure member; a filling tube operably connected to said head member for reciprocation with respect thereto, said filling tube including a lance element adapted to penetrate through said diaphragm to establish communication with the interior of said container; means for feeding caps for said closure members to the central bore of said head member; and means operably connected to said head member for aflixing one of said caps to each of said closure members.

12. In apparatus of the character described, the combination of a container having an opening, a closure member secured to said container in said opening, said closure member having generally cylindrical walls and having a cylindrical reentrant portion coaxial with said cylindrical walls, said reentrant portion defining a central opening and further defining with said cylindrical Walls an annular recess, and a pierceable diaphragm sealing said central opening.

13. In apparatus of the character described, the combination of a container having an opening, a closure member secured to said container in said opening, said closure member having generally cylindrical walls and having a cylindrical reentrant portion coaxial with said cylindrical walls, said reentrant portion defining a central opening and further defining with said cylindrical walls an annular recess, a pierceable diaphragm sealing said central opening, and means on said closure member for the reception of a cap member for sealing the central opening after said diaphragm is pierced.

14. In apparatus of the character described, the combination of a container having an opening, a closure member secured to said container in said opening, said closure member having generally cylindrical walls and having a cylindrical reentrant portion coaxial with said cylindrical walls, said reentrant portion defining a central opening and further defining with said cylindrical walls an annular recess, a pierceable diaphragm sealing said central opening, said reentrant portion having an annular groove on the inner wall thereof, and a cap member adapted to be secured to said reentrant portion to seal the central opening after said diaphragm is pierced, said cap member having an annular protrusion adapted to resiliently seat in said annular groove.

15. In apparatus of the character described, the combination of a container having a pair of openings, a

closure member secured to said container in one of said openings, said closure member having a central opening, a pierceable diaphragm sealing said central opening, means on said closure member for the reception of a cap member for sealing the central opening after said diaphragm is pierced, a second closure member secured to said container in the other of said openings, said second closure member having a central opening, and a plug of self-sealing material sealing said latter central opening.

16. In apparatus of the character described, the combination of a container having an opening, a closure member secured to said container, said closure member having a central opening, the upper portion of said central opening being threaded and the lower portion thereof constituting a recess, a plug of rubber-like material sealed in said recess, said plug having a central chamber adapted to receive a supply of liquid self-sealing material, and a plug member threadedly engaged in the threaded portion of said central opening.

17. In a fitting adapted for use in a container of the type having an opening, the combination of a closure member adapted to be secured to said container in said opening, said closure member having generally cylindrical Walls and having a cylindrical reentrant portion coaxial with said cylindrical walls, said reentrant portion defining a central opening and further defining with said cylindrical walls an annular recess, and a pierceable diaphragm sealing said central opening.

18. In a fitting adapted for use in a container of the type having an opening, the combination of a closure member adapted to be secured to said container in said opening, said closure member having generally cylindrical walls and having a cylindrical reentrant portion coaxial with said cylindrical walls, said reentrant portion defining a central opening and further defining with said cylindrical walls an annular recess, a pierceable diaphragm sealing said central opening, said reentrant portion having an annular groove on the inner wall thereof, and a cap member adapted to be secured to said reentrant portion to seal the central opening after said diaphragm is pierced, said cap member having an annular protrusion adapted to resiliently seat in said annular groove.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 864,740 Hildenbrand Aug. 27, 1907 1,264,503 Grifiin Apr. 30, 1918 1,270,798 Dunkley July 2, 1918 1,773,263 Dister Aug. 19, 1930 2,006,963 Rollason July 2, 1935 2,098,763 Sebell Nov. 9, 1937 2,130,676 Sebell Sept. 20, 1938 2,268,289 Kronquest Dec. 30, 1941 2,575,863 Clifcorn Nov. 20, 1951 2,649,234 Taunton Aug. 18, 1953

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Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/510, 222/80, 53/310, 53/274, 215/247, 220/258.3, 53/281
International ClassificationB65B31/08, B65B31/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65B31/08
European ClassificationB65B31/08