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Publication numberUS2828888 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 1, 1958
Filing dateJan 10, 1951
Priority dateJan 26, 1950
Publication numberUS 2828888 A, US 2828888A, US-A-2828888, US2828888 A, US2828888A
InventorsCharles Nicolle
Original AssigneeCharles Nicolle
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for dispensing fragile articles
US 2828888 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

. APPARATUS FOR DISPENSING FRAGILE ARTICLES Filed Jan. 10, "1951 C. NICOLLE April 1, 1958 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTO R l s Nicolle ATTORNE APPARATUS FOR DISPENSING FRAGILE ARTICLES Filed Jan. 10 1951 C. NICOLLE April 1, 1958 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. 13

m 0 Ts r E r V 2 v! WMB ATTORNEY c. NICOLLE 2,828,888

APPARATUS FOR DISPENSING FRAGILE ARTICLES A ril 1, 1958 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Jan. 10, 1951 FIG. 17

INVENTOR Charles Nicolle 57 g ATTORNEY United States Patent APPARATUS FOR DISPENSING FRAGILE ARTICLES Charles Nicolle, Gentilly, France Application January 10, 1951, Serial Ne. 205,319

Claims priority, application France January 26, 1950 8 Claims. (Cl. 221-263) This invention relates to distributor or dispensing apparatus, and more particularly to apparatus of the type including in combination a continuously-travelling generally strip-like receiver having formed therein at least one row of recesses aligned in the direction of travel of the receiver, and means for continuously feeding a multiplicity of articles of similar shape to said receiver and inserting the articles singly into the said recesses.

In many manufacturing processes and steps of widely varying characters, it may be desirable to isolate from one another a multiplicity of loosely-packed, usually small, articles all having a similar, generally geometrical form, especially such articles of parallelopipedic or cylindrical, e. g. disc-like shape. This may be required either with a view to subjecting the articles individually to some further treatment, or for wrapping the articles, or for other purposes. It has been suggested, to this end, to feed the articles on to a receiver means to which a continuous displacement is imparted and in which there is formed at least one row of spaced recesses conforming in shape with, and each adapted to receive one of, the articles. Each article is thus strictly retained in place, being inserted into a recess of similar form, and is carried forward in the travel of the receiver means.

Thus, in the case of a wrapping or packing process, the recessed receiver may be lined with, or constituted by, a sheet or strip of plastic (e. g. cellulose acetate) or other material, and the articles (e. g. pharmaceutical tablets, lozenges, and the like) may be subsequently entirely wrapped between'such recessed strip and a further sheet or strip of similar or different material, which may itself be flat or also recessed, and which is placed over, and suitably assembled (e. g. by self-adhesion) to the first sheet.

To distribute or dispense the articles singly into the recesses of the receiver means, it has been proposed to use an inclined chute delivering on to the surface of the receiver. However, in the prior arrangements of this type, wherein the inclined chute was disposed with its longitudinal centre line in a common vertical plane with the centre line of the row of recesses, it has been found by experience that a smooth, accurate insertion of each article into its recess cannot be reliably ensured, especially at high speed.

It is accordingly the general object of this invention to provide a distributor or dispenser arrangement of the type specified whereby articles may be deposited with greater accuracy and at higher speed one at a time into each of the recesses of a moving receiver element, without any danger of an article being inserted in the wrong position in its recess or of its becoming jammed during its descent, as between the wall of the recess and the bottom of the chute.

Another object of this invention is to provide improved apparatus for feeding disk-shaped articles edgewise into a chute or passageway.

According to an essential feature of the invention, means such as a chute is provided for feeding a continuous string of the articles in single file along a straight downwardlyinclined path whose axis intersects the row of recesses at a point laterally spaced from the axis of the row of recesses, the horizontal projection of said straight path on the plane of the receiver forming an appreciable angle with the axis of the row of recesses. This appreciable angle preferably, though not necessarily, is or approximates 90 degrees.

According to another feature of the invention, the open lower end of the chute extends to a point in close proximity with the surface of the receiver element and is formed with a cut-out in one of its sides, of such vertical extent above the surface of the receiver that it will allow one, and only one, article to issue at a time from the chute as the lower end of said article has become at least partially inserted into a recess presented beneath it by the moving receiver.

The article under consideration, as soon as its lower edge has been brought to bear against the wall of the recess presented under it, is driven in the translatory motion of the receiver, and becomes of its own accord disengaged from the chute through the cut-out formed therein, then drops into said recess, allowing the next following article to take its place within the chute.

The cut-out part of the chute may be either formed in the lower face thereof, or, more preferably, in its side wall directed towards the forward direction of motion of the moving element.

The apparatus for feeding the articles edgewise includes a hopper from which they are allowed to flow directly into the distributor chute, or into a kind of funnel serving to feed the several chutes of a multiple distributor feeding a movable element formed with several parallel ranks of recesses.

In either case the articles will, at the outlet of the hopper, assume the position they are to occupy within the chute or chutes before being deposited into each of the successive recesses of the moving element.

To make sure that the articles are inserted in the desired position from the hopper into the chute or into the funnel provided ahead of the chute of the distributor, at least one roller may be provided at the input into said distributor, said roller being rotated in a direction reverse from the direction of feed of the articles, and being if desired further provided with a slight axial reciprocation; this roller being so mounted as to define between it and the wall of the hopper (or between it and another revolving roller) the space strictly necessary to allow the articles to move downwards in the correct position.

To prevent any jamming or compression of the articles at the entrance into the distributor chute or chutes, small pusher members to which up-and-down reciprocations are imparted may be disposed on either side of said entrance.

The accompanying drawings illustrate, by way of non restrictive examples, various forms of embodiment of the subject matter of the invention.

In the drawings:

Figures 1 and 2 are respectively a longitudinal sectional view on the line AB-C of Figure 2 and a transverse'sec-tional view on line DE of Figure 1, of a distributor according to the invention;

Figures 3 to 7 are views similar to Figure l, at successive times in the operation of the distributor, and showing how an article (e. g. in the form of a disc) issuing from the chute, inserts itself into one of the recesses in the moving element, while allowing the next article to descend gradually through the chute until it finally assumes the position occupied by the first article in Figure 1;

Figure 8 is a view similar to that of Figure'Z of a modified distributor;

Figure 9 is a view in longitudinal section similar to Figure 1, and Figure 10 is a plan view, of another modification of the distributor;

Figure 11 is a view similar to Figure I, wherein the movable element consists of a pro-recessed plastic strip suitable for wrapping e. g. pharmaceutical tablets dispensed by the apparatus;

Figure 12 is a view in transverse section of a distributor according to the invention, designed to dispense e. g. pharmaceutical tablets into the recesses of a strip of plastic material formed with several parallel ranks of recesses, and provided with a device for supplying tablets to said chutes;

Figure 13 is a partial view of the front face of the distributor of Fig. 12 and of its supplying device;

Figure 14 is a view in transverse section on an enlarged scale, of the hopper of the supply device;

Figure 15 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken on the line XV-XV of Fig. 14, showing the entrance to the distributor chute on an enlarged scale;

Figures 16 and 17 are views in section on line FG of Figure 15 and in section on line HI of Figure 16, respectively, and on an enlarged scale, of the inlet for the distributor chutes.

In Figures 1 to 7, it is assumed that the distributor of the invention is designed for the distribution of identical (e. g. disc-shaped) articles into sequential recesses formed in a movable article-conveying element, to which a translatory movement is imparted in the direction of the arrow F.

This movable element 1 consists for example of a conveyor table slidable on a fixed support 2. The table 1 is formed with recesses 3 corresponding in shape to the articles to be conveyed.

The particular form of movable table illustrated is not a necessary part of the invention proper, and may be replaced by any other movable device formed with holes or provided with recesses having the form of the articles to be received from the distributor.

The distributor consists of an inclined chute 4 the horizontal projection of which is normal to the longitudinal axis of the conveyor table.

Sliding sequentially in the chute 4 are the articles 5 to be distributed, which in the example illustrated are shown as disc-shaped articles (such as lozenges, pharmaceutical tablets, coins or the like).

The chute at its lower end terminates adjacent the upper surface of the table 1, and is so disposed relatively to this table that the first article 5 counted from the bottom of the chute, will (Figure 2) engage itself into the first of the recesses 3 which is presented vertically beneath the chute 4 in the displacement of the table 1 in the direction of the arrow F.

In Figure 2, the lowest article 5 is shown as not only becoming engaged into the recess 3, out as bearing against the bottom of this recess (which may be preferable in some cases).

The chute 4 is formed, in that one of its side walls which is directed towards the arrow F, with an aperture 6 of such height that it can allow each article to pass successively through it as said article is engaged in a recess 3; only one article can pass through the aperture 6 at a time.

In Figmre 1, the first article 5 is seen as engaged in the recess 3 of the table 1 which is presented under it.

As the table 1 advances in the direction of the arrow F with a continuous motion, the edge of the recess 3 carries the article 5 through the aperture 6 of the chute (Figure 3).

Progressively with the displacement of the table 1, the article 1 becomes engaged deeper and deeper into the aperture 6 (Figure 4). It gradually leaves the chute 4 behind it (Figure 5), while allowing the next article 5 to slide down behind it, so that next article is soon 4 (Figure 6) brought to bear upon the fiat surface of the table 1 between the two successive recesses 3 and 3 As the article 5 still carried forward by the edge of the recess 3 comes out completely from the chute aperture 6 (Figure 7), it drops of its own accord into the recess 3 The next article 5 engages into the recess 3 which is presented under it, and a similar sequence of operations is repeated for this next article.

In the modification of Figure 8, the aperture formed in the chute for the successive release of the articles to be distributed, rather than being formed in the side wall of the chute, is formed in the lower face of the chute.

This aperture 7 should be of such height as to allow one and only one article 5 to escape or drop into one of the recesses 3 of the table 1 as the lower end of said article has become engaged in said recess.

In the modification of Figures 9 and 10, the chute 4 is again located in an inclined plane extending through the axis of the movable element 1, as in Figure 2 for instance, but, rather than being normal to said axis in said plane, it is so inclined that its horizontal projection forms an angle 0: with said axis; the line of contact xx of the lower end of the chute 4- with the surface of table 1 of course remaining parallel to the axis of the table. This arrangement is more advantageous than that in which the contact line xx would be at an angle to said axis.

To ensure an adequate contact of the lower end of the chute 4 with the surface of the table 1., this end is suitably bevelled as at 4'.

An aperture 6 (as in Figure 1) may be provided for the output of the articles -5 from the chute.

It will be seen that, both in the arrangement of Figures 9 and It) as in those of Figures 1. to 8, the articles 5 (e. g. pharmaceutical tablets) are always presented to the recesses 3 in the table 1 edgewise; their fiat faces remain parallel to the axis of the table.

In Figure ll, there is illustrated a distributor with a side opening (as in Figures 1 to 7) distributing e. g. pharmaceutical tablets 5 into the recesses 8 sequentially pre-formed in a strip 9 of plastic material designed to serve as a wrapper for said tablets. Once the tablets 5 have been housed in all of the pro-formed recesses in the sheet 9, the wrapping is completed in known manner by covering this sheet with a second sheet of plastic material bonded to the first.

Thus, the distributor according to the invention may, among other uses, serve to distribute or dispense articles to be wrapped to a wrapping device or machine of known type.

In all the foregoing modifications, the articles are fed edgewise from the chute into the receiver, so that the leading edges of successive articles are spaced apart by the long dimensions of the articles. In order that the article may be fed edgewise, it is inherently necessary that the articles have an elongated cross-section. The chute is tilted at an angle to the vertical so that the articles falling out the bottom of the chute are tilted. This angle of tilt from the vertical is substantially greater than the maximum angle at which the articles are in stable equilibrium edgewise. In other words, the articles are in unstable equilibrium when they pass out of the chute, so that they fall by gravity into more stable positions within the recesses, with their long dimensions horizontal. The angle of tilt of the chute with respect to the horizontal is substantially greater than the angle of repose of the articles within the chute. The axis of the passageway in the chute intersects the receiver at a point spaced laterally from the centre line of the row of recesses which receive the articles. The cut away side at the bottom end of the chute has its cut properly dimensioned so that one and only one article may move laterally out of the chute after its lower end engages the bottom of the recess. In specific terms, this to the axis of the passageway in the chute, is slightly greater than the long dimension of the elongated crosssection of the article minus the depth of the recess at the point of intersection of the passageway axis and also minus the spacing between the end of the chute and the receiver, the depth of the recess and the spacing also being measured parallel to the passageway axis.

Figs. 12 to 17 illustrate suitable apparatus for feeding articles of elongated cross-section edgewise into chutes.

This device is assumed as supplying pharmaceutical tablets to a multiple distributor adapted to dispense said tablets, for the purpose of wrapping them, into preformed recesses in a strip of plastic material comprising several parallel lines of recesses which the distributor is adapted to feed simultaneously.

The tablets 5 (Figures 14 and 15) are loosely packed in a hopper which delivers at its bottom into a kind of flattened funnel 11 in which the inner width corresponds to the thickness of the pharmaceutical tablets 5 to be dispensed. The latter moves downwards in form of a sheet through the interior of the funnel 11.

From the base of the funnel 11 lead five chutes 4 each of which extends just into contact with the surface of the strip 9 of plastic material above one of the lines of recesses 8.

Arranged within the hopper 10 are two baffles 12 (Figures l2 and 14) which channelize the continuousdownward motion of the tablets toward the entrance of the funnel 11. Above the entrance of the latter two, rollers 13 and 14 are arranged, revolving in reverse direction from the downward direction of motion of the tablets.

A single one of these revolving rollers could be provided if preferred.

The spacing between the rollers (or between the single roller and the wall of the hopper facing it) should substantially correspond with the thickness of a tablet 5.

The revolving roller or rollers 1314 may have a slight reciprocation imparted to them parallel to their axis of rotation.

At the inlet into the five chutes 4 (Figures 15 to 17), two sets of two pushers 15-16 are arranged. These pushers, placed between the rollers, are driven with upand-down reciprocatory movements effective to impart motion to, and to unblock, any tablets tending to be blocked at the outlet from the chamber 11 and prevent them from being too tightly clamped against one another; a condition which would be liable to damage them because of theirfragility and to stop the continuous supply onto the chutes.

This reciprocatory motion is imparted to each of the sets of pushers 15-16 by means of a rocking lever 17 mounted on a shaft 18. At each of its ends the lever 17 freely engages the end of a pin 19 rigid with the pusher assembly 1516.

Each pusher is slidable in a housing 20 formed in the wall 21 separating adjacent chutes. Its pivot 19 is itself slidable in a slot 22 formed in the wall 23.

The pin 18 terminates at its other end in a crank 24 having a crankpin 25 riding in a cam-groove 26 formed in the periphery of a drum 27.

Both drums 27 are mounted on a shaft 28 driven in continuous rotation by any suitable transmission (not shown).

The tablets 5 after having moved downwards through the funnel 11 into which they were inserted and in which they remain in an edgewise position, penetrate, edgewise still, into the five chutes 4 simultaneously and are fed to the recesses 8 of the five lines of recesses in the plastic strip 9 designed as a wrapper for them, as previously stated.

The distributor according to the present invention, provided with a supply device such as the one shown in Figures 12 to 17, or any other supply device, may be used separately for dispensing the articles into the recesses or sockets of amovable element (conveyor, wrapping sheet or strip, moving table, or the like).

This distributor-may also be combined with any machine designed for subjecting such articles to certain operations or treatments, and especially with a machine for wrapping said articles on a continuous recessed strip or sheet, or in separate recessed strips, plates or sheets.

What I claim is:

1. Apparatus for dispensing fragile articles having an elongated cross-section, comprising an inclined chute open at its lower end and having an unobstructed passageway whose cross-section taken in a plane perpendicular to its axis generally conforms to and is slightly larger than the largest cross-section of one of said articles taken perpendicular to the center line of said elongated cross-section so that said articles can slide through said passageway only by moving edgewise in a single row, a receiver for said articles having an upper surface and a straight .row of spaced recesses, each generally conforming to the contour of one of said articles so that each recess can receive one incoming article, said recesses being shallow with a depth below said upper surface substantially equal to the short dimension of said elongated cross-section, means operable to move said receiver along a path parallel to said row of recesses, and means supporting said chute with its lower end adjacent and above said path and with its lower end aligned directly above said row of recesses and with the axis of said passageway intersecting said receiver at a point spaced from the axis of said row of recesses on the side opposed to said incoming articles, the horizontal projection of the axis of said passageway making a substantial angle no greater than about with the axis of the arriving recesses of said row, said chute being supported with the axis of said passageway tilted in a direction toward the centre line of the row of recesses at an angle to the horizontal substantially greater than the normal angle of repose of said articles and at an angle to the vertical substantially greater than the maximum angle at which said articles are in stable equilibrium edgewise, said chute being open at the bottom so that as eachrecess passes the chute one of said articles slides partially into it with its lower end spaced laterally from the center of the recesses and tilted at the angle of tilt of the passageway axis, one side of the lower end of the chute being cut away to a depth to provide a spacing between said one chute side and said upper surface of said receiver insuflicient to permit lateral movement of one of said articles out of the chute but to provide a spacing between said one chute side and the depth of said recesses suflicient to permit free lateral movement of'only one article out of the chute after the lower end of said article moves into the recess.

2. Apparatus for dispensing articles as defined in claim 1, in which said receiver is horizontal.

3. Apparatus for dispensing articles as defined in claim 1, in which said receiver is horizontal, and the horizontal projection of the axisof said passageway makes an angle substantially equal to 90 with the axis of said row of recesses.

4. Apparatus for dispensing fragile articles having an elongated cross-section, comprising an inclined chute open at its lower end and having an unobstructed passageway whose cross-section taken in a plane perpendicular to its axis generally conforms to and is slightly larger than the largest crosssection of one of said articles taken perpendicular to the center line of said elongated cross-section, so that said articles can slide through said passageway only by moving edgewise in a single row, a receiver for said articles having an upper surface and a straight row of spaced recesses, each recess generally conforming to the contour of one of said articles so that each recess can receive one incoming article, said recesses being shallow with a depth below said upper surface substantially equal to the short dimension of said elongated cross-section, means operable to move said receiver along a path parallel to said row of recesses, and means supporting said chute with its lower end adjacent and above said path and with its lower end aligned directly above said row of recesses and with the axis of said passageway intersecting said receiver at a point spaced from the axis of said row of recesses on the side opposed to said incoming articles, the horizontal projection of the axis of said passageway making a substantial angle no greater than about 90 with the axis of the arriving recesses of said row, said chute being supported with the axis of said passageway tilted in a direction toward the center line of the row of recesses at an angle to the horizontal substantially greater than the normal angle of repose of said articles and at an angle to the vertical substantially greater than the maximum angle at which said articles are in stable equilibrium edgewise, said chute being open at the bottom so that as each recess passes the chute, one of said articles slides partially into it with its lower end spaced laterally from the center of the recess and tilted at the angle of tilt of the passageway axis, one side of the lower end of the chute being cut away to a depth measured parallel to the passageway axis which is slightly greater than the long dimension or said elongated crosssection less the sum of the depth of the recess at the point of intersection of the passageway axis and the spacing between the end of the chute and the receiver, said last-mentioned depth and said spacing also being measured parallel to the passageway axis, the depth of said cut being insutficient to permit lateral movement of an article with its lower end on said upper surface but suificient to permit free lateral movement of only one article out of the chute after its lower end moves into the recess.

5. Apparatus for dispensing articles as defined in claim 4, in which the side of the chute which is cut away is the side facing the departing recesses of the receiver, and said receiver is edective when the lower end of an article moves into one of said recesses to engage the article and move it laterally out of the chute through said cut away side, said article being then in a state of unstable equilibrium so that it falls by gravity into the recess.

6. Apparatus for dispensing articles as defined in claim 4, in which the chute is tilted toward the direction from which the receiver approaches the chute, and the chute is cut away on its lower side, so that when the lower end of an article moves into a recess, the upper end of having an unobstructed passageway whose cross-section taken in a plane perpendicular to its axis generally conforms "to and is slightly larger than the diamertical crosssectiohbf one of said articles so that said articles can slide through said passageway only by moving edgewise in a single row, a receiver for said articles having an upper surface and a straight row of spaced recesses, each recess generally conforming to the contour of one of said articles so that each recess can receive one incoming article, said recesses being shallow with a depth substantially equal to the thickness of said articles, means operable to move said receiver along a path parallel to said row of recesses, and means supporting said chute with its lower end adjacent and above said path and with its lower end aligned directly above said row of recesses and with the axis of said passageway intersecting said receiver at a point spaced from the axis of said row of recesses on the side opposed to said incoming articles, the horizontal projection of the axis of said passageway making a substantial angle no greater than about 90 with the axis of the arriving recesses of said row, said chute being supported with the axis of said passageway tilted in a direction toward the center line of the row of recesses at an angle to the horizontal substantially greater than the normal angle of repose of said articles and at an angle to the vertical substantially greater than the maximum angle at which said articles are in stable equilibrium edgewise, said chute being open at the bottom so that as each recess passes the chute, one of said articles slides partially into it with its lower edge spaced laterally from the center of the recess and tilted at the angle of tilt of the passageway axis, one side of the lower end of the chute being cut away to a depth to provide a spacing between said one chute side and said upper surface of said receiver insufllcient to permit lateral movement of one of said articles out of the chute but to provide a spacing between said one chute side and the depth of said recesses sufiicient to permit free lateral movement of only one article out of the chute after the lower end of said one article moves into the recess.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 574,692 Waldron Jan. 5, 1897 982,092 Robinson Jan. 17, 1911 1,026,755 Lundin May 21, 1912 1,425,374 Elgy Aug. 8, 1922 1,574,913 McManus Mar. 2, 1926 2,179,755 Newman Nov. 14, 1939 2,253,027 Hall Aug. 19, 1941 2,348,400 Manspeaker May 9, 1944 2,363,014 Nicolle Nov. 21, 1944 2,407,016 Kalister, et al Sept. 3, 1946 2,435,589 Hofiecker, et al. Feb. 10, 1948 2,444,232 Shanldin, et a1 June 29, 1948 2,523,098 Cremieux Sept. 19, 1950 2,535,848 Furminger Dec. 26, 1950

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Classifications
U.S. Classification221/263, 221/184, 453/58, 198/406, 198/546, 53/246, 29/809, 221/68, 198/396
International ClassificationB65B35/06, B65B35/00, B65B5/10
Cooperative ClassificationB65B35/06, B65B5/103
European ClassificationB65B5/10B1, B65B35/06