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Publication numberUS2845759 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 5, 1958
Filing dateSep 26, 1955
Priority dateSep 26, 1955
Publication numberUS 2845759 A, US 2845759A, US-A-2845759, US2845759 A, US2845759A
InventorsCote Omer E, John Fradenburgh
Original AssigneeUs Automatic Box Machinery Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of and machine for filling bottles with capsules
US 2845759 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug- 5, 1958 o. E. coTE ETAL 2,845,759

METHOD oF AND MACHINE FOR FILLING B'oIILEs wIIH CAPSULES e sheets-sheet 1 Filed Sept. 26. 1955 /kM/,mzz @u 1 m@ Y a Hoazegg Aug. 5, 1958 o. E. COTE ETAL 2,845,759

METHOD OF AND MACHINE FOR FILLING BOTTLES WITH CAPSULES Filed Sept. 26, 1955 6 Sheets-Sheet 2 g; L/owazeya l o. E. corE ETAL 2,845,759

METHOD OF AND MACHINE FOR FILLING BOTTLES WITH CAPSULES Aug. 5, 1958 6 Sheets-Sheet 3 4 Inv Omer E. Core Javn Frac/en burg/r y A2M JM fm2; f my( Filed Sept. 26. 1955 Aug. 5, 1958 o. E. COTE ET AL METHOD OF AND MACHINE FOR FILLING BOTTLES WITH CAPSULES 6 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Sept. 26, 1955 E. Cafe Aug. 5, 1958 o. E. COTE ET AL 2,845,759

METHOD 0F AND MACHINE FOR FILLING BOTTLES WITH CAPSULES Filed Sept. 26, 1955 6 Sheets-Sheet 5 Eng .6. H /ao Inveos Omer E Cof'e Uhn F'acn burg/v METHOD OF AND MACHINE FOR FILLING BOTTLES WITH CAPSULES Filed Sept. 26, 1955 Aug. 5, 1958 o. E. coTE ErAL 6 Sheets-Sheet 6 Mmm afm/W @n m/ mmm.

Iaweazoaw Ome rE Ce a-hrr Frein/en burg/o y #ema/fwn zf 9 doaezgy@ KOLLEQ.) KmnulOI United States METHOD OF AND MACHINE FOR FILLING BOTTLES WITH CAPSULES Omer E. Cote, Providence, R. I.,and .lohn Fradenburgh, Dunedin, Fla., assignors to United States Automatic Box Machinery Co., Inc., Roslindale, Mass., a corporation of Massachusetts Application September 26, 1955, Serial No. 536,668

9 Claims. (Cl. 53--61) The invention also contemplates a new and novel method of filling containers with capsules. The method may be performed by the machine herein disclosed but it will be apparent that other mechanisms might be devised to carry out the required steps.

It is customary in the pharmaceutical trade to sell certain types of medicines in capsule form, each bottle to contain a specified number of pills or capsules. As the cost of such medicines is more than nominal,` it is'the practice to place an exact number of capsules in each bottle and the number of such capsules is customarily noted on the label.

Heretofcre, machines have been designed for filling bottles with specified numbers of capsules but, due to the complexity of themechanism, they have not worked well, the capsules jamming in the delivery tubes and the count often being inaccurate. Furthermore, machines of prior construction have not included means for causing automatic stopping of the machine upon failure' ofthe proper number of capsules to be put in delivery position prior to delivery to the container.

Accordingly, it is an objectof the present invention to provide a machine for automatically lilling bottles with capsules in which: (l) each bottle may be filled with any desired number of capsules; (2) the machine includes means whereby the size ofthe capsule may be varied on different runs and diiering-sized'bottles may be used; '(3) improved hopper and feeding mechanisms are provided which insure that so long as the machine is in operation all'of the `chutes leading to the bottlesi'will be completely filled so that the correct number of capsules will be available at'each-eycle of operation of the machine to enter the appropriate bottle; (4) interchangeable means is provided whereby the dimensions of the capsulecontaining delivery chutes may be `varied according to requirements determined by the size of the capsule;-(5) there are interlocking electrical circuits which function to stop the machine instantly upon `failure of the correct number of capsules to be delivered to'any one of-lthe plurality of chutes leading to the bottles.

These and other objects of `the invention will be more clearly understood as the description proceeds with -the aid of the accompanying drawings in which- Fig. l is a front elevation of the vmachine in perspective, showing the hopper, the brush-distributing means, thechutes, the count bars, the bottles in position to receive the capsules, and the conveyor.

` Fig. 2` is a front elevation of the complete machine ICC broken away in part to .show somerofthe operating mechanism and with other actuating elements shown in dotted line in the lower portion.

.Fig 3-is a side elevation looking'from-the right of Fig. 2.

Fig. 4 is a horizontal section taken on the line 4 4 of Fig. 3, showing the bottles in position on the conveyor and the mechanism for controlling the stop ,elements that locate the bottles with respect to the, delivery chutes.

Fig. 5 is a vertical, partial side elevation taken .approximately on the line 5-5 of Fig. 2, showing the gate-actuating mechanism.

Fig. 6 is a vertical section taken approximatelyon the line 6-6 of Fig. 7, showing the mechanism .for actuating the count bars with the feeler fingersthat are designed to sensethe presence of capsules in Vthedelivery chutes and to hold capsules thereabove .from descending vduring the period of delivery of capsules therebelow.

Fig. 7 is an enlarged front elevation` of the central portion .of the machine with all but two of the delivery chutes removed and the other two broken away to show `portions of the` operating mechanism.

Fig. 8 is a horizontal sectiony taken on'pthe line 8--8 of Fig. 6.

Fig. 9. is an enlarged side elevation ofthe brush mechanism as viewed in the upper part'of Fig. 3 andaapproximately on the line 9-9 of Fig. 2.

jFig. l0 is a front elevation 'of a portion 'of one of the brushes, showing its lett-handV end supported in a track with a 'lever extension-connected to a power-driven chain` Fig.` ll is a'plan view of FigflO.

Fig. 12 is a wiring diagram.

In the detailed descriptionwhich'l now follows, the machine is considered in fourmajor portions: (1)the hopper;v (2)the chute-loadingmeans; (-3)'the capsuleholding and releasing mechanismrand (4) thebottlefeeding means. All of the parts Vfunctiontogether to produce the end result of loading bottles with a specified number of capsules, some ofthe parts'operating continuously and others, intermittentlytorbringgaboutgthe completed lling operation.

'Referring to Fig. l, the hopper sectiony is shown at A, the chute-loading means at LVB, theV capsule-holding and releasing mechanism at C, and Vthe bottle-feeding means at D. The capsules that are to be loadedinto the bottlesare poured into the hopperat A, from -which they descendv by gravity, into the chute-loading means; B in which is a series of continuously-moving brushes which agitate the capsules so that in due course the capsules will fall into alined positions in a plurality of inclined chutes. On entering the chutes the capsules will-descend by gravity to the vertical portions of the-chutes at-the section C wherein is provided a common gate at the lower ends of the vertical parallel chutes to prevent further descent of the capsules until such time as the bottles have come into position thereunder. Thereafter capsulerestraining fingers are applied to a certain capsule-in each chute a counted number above the-gate, after-which the gate is swung-away permitting the counted capsules to .fall the remainder of the way through :pairs of converging chutes to enter the bottles. Upony closure of the gate, the restraining fingers are `withdrawn permitting the capsulesthereabove to `fall tothe gate.

Section D includes a conveyordesignedto bringv a specified number of bottles into :alinedposition under the chutes and to maintain vthese bottles 1in correct position until the gate has been openedland the counted capsules have fallen into the several bottles. The conveyor then functions to remove the lled bottles andto bring a newv batch of bottles into position to receive the next batch of counted capsules.

conveyor will bring the correct number of bottles to filling position.

The machine, generally Referring to Fig. 3, it can be seen that the machine comprises a unit consisting of a housing 2 within which the various mechanisms are contained. The housing includes the structural framework elements needed to support the several moving parts. The machine stands on adjustable legs 4 and has, at its upper rear, a platform 6 carried by the supports 8 and 1li bolted to the rear of the supporting framework. A capsule-receiving hopper 12 is carried by supports 14 and 16. The lower end of the hopper empties into a tray 18 which tray rests on the top of an electromagnetic vibrator 2U, which is spring-mounted on the platform 6. Operation of vibrator 2i? shakes the tray 18 and the capsules which have descended from the hopper into the tray so that they will iiow continuously through a narrow slot 22 at the front of the tray into the chute-loading means. A plurality of small holes 24 are present in the front bottom portion of the tray to allow accumulated dust to fall into dust collector 26.

So long as the machine is in proper operation, the vibrator 20 continues to function, thus insuring a steady iiow ot' capsules into the chute-loading means B at a rate at least as great and preferably somewhat greater than the number of capsules required to ll each hatch of bottles as they arrive in loading position.

Chute-loading means Chute-loading means B is shown in Figs. l, 2 and 3. It consists of an open, rectangular container 28 having along its bottom a plurality of parallel chutes or grooves 30 (see Figs. l, 2, 3 and 9), each of appropriate Width to receive in easy sliding relation a capsule after it enters container 28 from the tray 18.

The sides 32 and 34 of container 2S, laterally of chutes 30, slope inwardly so that all capsules within the container will be in the chute area.

ln order to insure that the capsules be continuously disturbed after entering the container from tray 18, a moving brush mechanism is provided which continuously agitates the capsules resulting in the capsules falling into the chutes as they happen to be alined by the moving brushes. These brushes are shown in Figs. l, 2, 3, 9, l and ll and are indicated by the numeral 36. The brushes are carried by crosswise-extending bars 38 on tue outer Y ends of which are rollers 4d (see Figs. l0 and 1l) which rollers run in a track 42. This track is oval in shape and in a vertical plane and may best he seen in Fig. 3. The hars 38 have outward extensions 44 with crank arms 46, the extremities of which are connected to a continuous chain 48, mounted on sprockets 50 and 52. This chain is driven by means of a motor 54 through a suitable gear reduction and a chain 56 to a sprocket 58. Thus, as long as motor 54 continues to run, the series of brushes 36, of which eight are indicated in Fig. 3, moves in the direction of the arrow so as to engage the capsules 64 as the brushes niove in succession upwardly over and along the chutes 30.

As shown in Fig. 9, the chutes at the lower portion of container 28 are covered by a sheet of material indicated at 60, which material preferably is transparent plastic so that the capsules in the chutes thereunder may be observed.

ln order to provide improved circulation of the capsules in the container prior to their entry into the chutes, it has been found desirable to cause each brush as it moves upwardly over and along the chutes to be temporarily lifted therefrom. This is accomplished by the mechanism shown in Figs. 9, l0 and ll, in which the arm 46 is caused to be raised by chain 48 as the chain rides up over a raised support 62. This causes the brush to be swung away from chutes 30, but it is restored to its normal position shortly thereafter as indicated by the brush thereabove in Fig. 9.

From the description thus far it is apparent that by lling the hopper 12 with capsules 64, the capsules will iiow first into tray 18, thence through opening or slot 22 into container 28 to aline themselves in the plurality ot sloping parallel chutes 3i). ln the present illustrative machine there are twenty such chutes and, with the machine in normal operation, the capsules being indicated at 6d in Fig. 9 slide down the chutes into the vertical portions of the chutes as at 66 in Fig. l. All twenty chutes will be solidly iilled with capsules down the front of the machine to the gate 68.

Capsule-holding and releasing mechanism The upper portion of the capsule chutes immediately below the container 23 is covered with a transparent plastic sheet 69, as shown in Figs. 3, 6 and 9, which sheet extends downwardly to a position behind the upper count bar 79. From thereon down to the gate 63 the chutes are open at the front, but such openings are not large enough to permit the escape of the capsules. Accordingly, the machine will reach a condition of operation in which all of the chutes 66 are filled with capsules from the gate 68 upwardly to the container 28 of the chuteloading means. The count bar itl cooperates with a second or a lower count bar 72 to control the number of capsules that will be permitted to drop from the chutes into the bottles or containers 74 through the converging chutes 76. The converging chutes have their upper ends in exact alinement with the lower ends of the twenty vertical chutes 66, and their lower ends merge, as at 78 (Figs. l and 2), to provide an exit mouth directly over the neck ot the associated bottle. Thus, capsules running out of the rst and second capsule chutes 66a and 66b (Fig. l) will run through the converging chutes 76 to fall into bottle 74. Similarly, those capsules in the third and fourth chutes, counting from the left, will fall into jar 74a, and so on.

As previously pointed out, there is normally positioned under the lower ends of chutes 66 a gate 68 shown in Figs. l, 2, 3 and 5. Mechanism is provided which periodically slides this gate in a horizontal direction toward the rear of the machine to uncover the lower ends ot' chutes 66 so that capsules in the chutes may fall into the associated bottles.

In order to limit the number of capsules that may fall into the bottles when the gate 68 is opened, means associated with the count bars and 72 is provided which acts to press against one 4capsule in each of the chutes, thereby holding that capsule in fixed position in its chute and preventing any downward movement of the capsules thereabove. Those capsules in the chutes 66 below the capsules that are being held by the count-bar mechanisms will fall freely into the bottles as soon as the gate is opened by being moved to the rear.

Referring to Figs. l and 6, it will be observed that the count bars 7l) and 72 are held in adjustable vertical position by means of thumbscrews 80 and 82 cooperating with Vertical supports 84. By loosening these thumbscrews, count bars 70 and J72 may be shifted vertically with respect to supports 84. The purpose of providing this adjustability is so that certain lingers mounted on the rear of the count bars, which lingers are shown at 86 and 8S in Figs. l, 6 and 7, may he brought to bear against speciically located capsules in chutes 66. Thus, for example, let us suppose that in referring to Fig. l, linger S6 is brought to bear against the fourteenth capsule in chute 66b counting upwardly from gate 68 and nger 88 is brought to bear against the thirteenth capsule counting p'wardly'fro'm gate-68 in chute 66a. Then it should be apparent that, if -gate68 is opened, thirteen-capsules'will fall downwardly through chute'66band twelve capsules willifall downwardlythrough chute 66a, to fill bottle 74 with twenty-five capsules.

Thus, by shifting the vertical position of'count bars 70 and 72 to bring the fingers 86 and 'SS-'against-cap-sules selectively'located above the gate l68, the number of capsules'l falling into bottle 74-wli'engate 68'is opened may beexactly determined.

If it is desired to fill the bottle 74 with fty capsules, this-may be achieved by closingv gate 68, moving count bars 70 and 72 outwardly so that fingers 86 vland 88 no longer press against the respective capsules in the chutes 66b and 66a thereby permitting the capsules in the chutes to slide downwardly untilstopped by gate 68 thereby again filling the chutes through their entire lengths. The count bars 70 and 72-are then moved inwardly so that fingers 86 and'88 againv engage the fourteenth and thirf teenth capsules in the chutes 66b and 66a and, while these capsules are being held against downward movement, the gate is opened so that twenty-five additional capsules will now run down into bottle 74. By this procedure with the count bars 70 and 72 correctly positioned, any number of capsules may be supplied to bottle 74 within the range of all normal, commercial requirements. A

As a further example of filling bottles with another number of capsules, suppose the desired number is twenty. Count bar 72 will first be moved down until vthe fingers 88 are at a level in their chutes to engage the eleventh capsule up from the gate. Count bar 70will then'be moved down so that fingers 86 will engage' in their appropriate 'chutes the eleventh capsule up from the gate. This is possible because when the countV bars' are in engagement with each other, the ngers 86 and88,'.functioning in alternate chutes will be on the'same level. Then when gate 68 is opened 20 capsules (l0V from each of two adjacent chutes) will fall into the bottle.

Twenty capsules could also be delivered in the follow- -ing manner. Count bar 70 could be'p'ositioned to have fingers 86 engage the twelfth capsule in alternate chutes whilev count bar 72 is positionedso fingers l88l engagethe tenth capsule in alternate chute. Then upon openingA of gate 68, capsules will fall into the bottle (11 from one chute and 9 -from the adjacent chute) With the count bar set todeliver'ZOcapsules for each opening of gate 68, it isapparent that any multiple of 20 capsules can also be delivered by opening the gate a suitable number of times in timed relation with the movement of the countbars and 72.

From the foregoing it is believed apparent that by proper vertical adjustment of the count bars coupled with the proper number of cycles of gate openings, any required number of capsules may be delivered to the bottles.

Gate and count-bar-aclua'tng means The mechanism that actuates the gate 68 and the count lbars 70 and 72 will now be described. We will first consider the movement of the gate.

Referring to Figs. 2 and 3 there is shown a motor 90 driving through belt 92 a gear-reduction unit 94, which in turn through sprocket 96, drives chain 98 and sprocket 100. (See also Fig. 7.)

Sprocket 100, driven by motor 92, rotates continuously and freely on shaft 102. A cam track 104 fixed to sprocket is utilized in the actuation of the count bars which will be described in more detailhereinafter. A smaller sprocket 106, also fixed to sprocket 100, continuously drives chain 108 and sprocket 110 mounted for free rotation on a lower shaft 112. The function of sprocket 110 will likewise hereinafter be explained.

Referring now to sprocket 100 which is mounted for continuous free rotation on shaft 102, it will be seen in Figs. 2 and 7 that there is an associated conventional clutch 114 brought into actuation by operation of the solenoid-controlled element 116 (see Fig. l2). Upon actuati'on lof element 116 through electrical circuits to'be described hereinafter, geari 'tl'will'belocked in engagement with clutch 114 which clutch is splined as at 118 to shaft 102, thus setting shaft- 102 in rotation to continue in rotation solong as element 116 remains in actuated position.

Athe-le'fthand end of shaft 102 asl-shown in Figs. 2, Sfand 7 is an element 120E containinga cam -trackv 122. In thisv cam track is a follower -124 '(see Fig. 5) connected to fork 126, the ends ofwlichstraddle and are lguided by shaft 102. Extending-from fork- 126 isrod-12S` connected with lever 130 whichlever-'is secured to 'shaft 132 running interiori-y of a tubular shaft 134' land freely rotatable therein. To shaft 132 is Yaffixed a lever 136- connected by bar 138 to another-lever 140'se'eured to an upper shaft 142 parallel to shaft 132.

On shaft 132 are secured two levers 144 and 146 (see Pigs. 5 and 7 ),'each of"which"ispiv'otally connected to extensions 148 and 150 connected respectively to the vvertical gate-carrier bars 152 and 154 on which at their lower ends 'is'mounted gatel`68. lSimilarly, lleversr 156 and 158 are connected with upper extensions' 160 and- 162 of gatecarrier bars 152 and 1154. v

By thisconstruction itis believed apparent that, when shaft 102 and element/1120 affixed 4thereto are rotated, rod 12S as viewed inFig. 5 will first be moved to the left by Virt-ue of cam track '122 to shift gate-carrier bars 152 and 154m the left thereby moving gatef68 to theleft so that it will no longer block the lower ends of capsule chutes 66 thereby permitting the-*capsules 64 to fall through the converging chutes 76 into bottle 74. As pointed out above, only those capsules that are located below'the fingers S6 and 88 of the count bars will drop when vgate 68is movedin 'the manner just explained.

The mechanism 'foractuating the countbars willno'w be explained.

It will be remembered that sprocket 100 rotates continuously and this sprocket contains the cam track 104. Fitting in this track is a follower 1ML-(Figs. 6 and 7)- connected to fork 166 from which'extends rod 168. The upper end of rod 168 ispivotally connected-to lever 170 whichis aflixed to tubular shaft 13.4. 'Afiixe'd to tubular shaft 134- are a pair of spaced levers l172 which are pivotally connected to spaced lextensions 174 of the twocountbar supports 84. Another lever 176 secured to shaft 134 is 'pivotally connected to rod 178 which in turn is pivotally'connected to lever 180 secured to .the tubular shaft 182. On shaft 182 are two additional spaced levers 184 and 186 c-onnected'to spaced upper-extensions 188 ofthe.

count-bar supports S4.

Itis believed apparent'from this descriptiony that as .gear rotates the count-bar supports 84' and the count Vbars 70 and 72 mounted thereon will be .continuously moved toward and away from the vertical chutes 66.

Referring now to Figs. 6 and 8, it will be noted that there are mounted on the inner sides of the horizontally- Vextending count bars'70 and 72 a plurality of microswitches or the equivalent thereof, those on the upper count bar being numbered 190 and those :on the lower count bar being Anumbered 192. The switches 192 are shown in Fig. 8 in plan View. and each of these switches 190 and 192 have extending therefrom switch arms 194 with fingers S6 and 88 on their ends, which ngers enter through the frctnt lopen channels of chutes 66 to press against the capsules 64 which may -be located at the level of such fingers or feeler elements. The count bars, when moved toward the capsules, are m'ovedy far enough so that the fingers will exert sufficient pressure against the capsules that they may engage to hold such capsules firmly in position in the chutes 66 and thereby prevent any'downward movement of all capsules located thereabove whenever gate 68 has been opened to permit the capsules therebelow to fall into the `bottle 74.

Obviously the timing ofthe movement of gatex68 and count bars 70 and 72 must be such that the gate can be opened only when the lingers are pressing against capsules in chutes 66,

More specifically the timing of the count bars with respect to the gate is as follows: The count bars 70 and 72 go through a complete in and out cycle for one revolution of cam 164 and gate 68 also goes through one complete cycle for one revolution of shaft 102 which is tied to cam 164 by clutch 114. In other owrds whenever gate 68 is in actuation it is synchronized with count bars 70 and 72. The timing is this. Starting with the gate closed, shaft 102 is brought into operation by clutch 114. Fingers 86 and 8S move in to grip their appropriate capsules. Gate 68 then yopens todump the capsules. Gate 68 then closes while fingers of 86 and 38 are still in and holding. The fingers move out so additional capsules may fall to engage gate 68 and fill the chutes. The fingers move in, engage the capsules and the cycle is then repeated.

The gates position is normally closed. The number of gate openings in timed relation with the count bars is controlled by the gearing between shaft 162 and cam 256,

namely gears 246, 248, 250, 252 and 254. If the gear ratio is one to one, the gate will open only once and then remain closed while the bottles are being moved. If the ratio is four to one, for another example, the gate will open four times in timed relation to the count bars and will then stay closed while the ten lled bottles are removed.

Operaton of the conveyor Means must be provided for presenting the proper number of bottles at exact locations under the ten converging pairs of chutes 76 that feed the capsules fromv the twenty vertical chutes 66 into the bottles 74. The conveyor mechanism functions as follows.

As has been pointed out above, the sprocket 160 runs continuously and this drives chain 108 and sprocket 110 likewise continuously. Sprocket 11o is freely rotatable on shaft 112 (see Figs. 3 and 4). Fixed with respect to sprocket 110 is sprocket 196 which drives chain 19S and sprocket 200. This latter sprocket is fixed on shaft 202 n the other end of which is bevel gear 294 meshing with bevel gear 206, which latter gear drives shaft S carrying a gear 210 which actuates continuously the conveyor 212. This conveyor may be the form of a series of small fiat plates 213 as shown in Fig. l, 'linked' together and presenting a smooth metallic surface on which the bottles 74 rest. Conveyor 212, being driven by the continuously-rotating sprocket 110, moves continuously, constantly urging the bottles in the direction of movement of the conveyor shown by the arrow in Fig. 4. When unrestrained, bottles positioned thereon will move continuously with the conveyor but, when restrained by suitable stops, the bottles may be held in xed, accurately-located positions. p

The character of the stops for controlling the location of the bottles on the conveyor will now be explained.

Referring to Fig. 4, there is shown schematically a clutch mechanism 214, one part of which is keyed to shaft 112. This clutch is caused to function by operation of a solenoid-controlled element indicated at 216 (see Figs. 4 and l2). Thus, whenever element 216 is actuated, shaft 112 is caused to rotate correspondingly. Means will hereinafter be described which causes shaft 112 to be put into rotation periodically for one revolution. Afxed to shaft 112 are two cam elements 218 and 22d containing cam tracks 222 and 224. Suitable cam followers located in the cam tracks 222 and 224 cause movement of the forked elements 226 and 228 from which extend in a downward direction rods 239 and 232. Rod 230 when actuated causes simultaneous movement of stops 234 and 236 (see Figs. 3 and 4), while movement of rod 232 causes actuation of the single stop 238. The linkage shown in Figs. 2, 3 and 4 actuated by rod 230, is as follows: A lever 240 pivoted at 242 and having upper extensions 244 will be swung back and forth once for a single revolution of shaft 112. The cam tracks 222 and 224 are so designed that all of the stops 234, 236 and 238 will be in position over the conveyor to hold the bottles in correct position when shaft 112 is not rotating. 'It is during this period when shaft 112 is stationary that shaft 102 under control of clutch 114 is in operation. Thus, for example, stop 234 will hold ten bottles in exact correct position while the gate 68 and the count bars 70 and 72 are going through their motions.

When shaft 112 is rotating, shaft 192 will be stationary with the gate 68 closing the lower end of chutes 66 so that, upon simultaneous withdrawal of stops 234, 236 and the subsequent properly timed withdrawal of stop 23S, the filled bottles may be moved to the right by the conveyor 212 to leave the machine. A second set of ten bottles previously held between stops 236 and 238 will be moved into position under converging chutes 76 between stops 234 and 236 and a new set of ten bottles previously restrained by stop 238 will move forward to engage repositioned stop 236 and the following bottles will be cut off by timely repositioning of stop 23S.

Gearing for controlling the number of filling operations before shifting bottles lf, for example, it is desired to iill each of the bottles 74 with one hundred capsules, it will be necessary for the shaft 102 to make four complete revolutions, allowing capsules to fill the space in the chutes 66 between gate 68 and the fingers 86 and 88 of the count bars four times, dropping into each bottle 74 twenty-five capsules four times for a total of one hundred. When this has been completed, it then becomes necessary to stop rotation of shaft 102 so that further filling will be prevented and bringing into operation shaft 112 which will cause withdrawal of the stops to permit the filled bottles to be carried off and a new batch of unfilled bottles to be brought into filling position. This is achieved by virtue of an electric circuit, which will be explained hereinafter, aided by a gear train which causes the circuit to function at a predetermined time. This gear train is shown in Figs. 2, 3 and l2.

On the end of shaft 162 is a gear 246 meshing with gear 24S which in turn meshes with gear 250, and a smaller gear 252 associated with gear 250 drives gear 254 mounted on a shaft which carries a cam 256. The teeth of the gears are so arranged that four revolutions of shaft 162 will result in one revolution of cam 256. Thus, after the bottles have been filled four times by four revolutions of shaft 162, cam 256 will act to close a switch 294D (see Figs. 2, 7 and 12) which puts shaft 112 in operation and slight initial rotation of shaft 112 breaks a circuit causing shaft 102 to stop rotating by virtue of the throwing out of clutch 114. Immediately upon disengagement of clutch 114, a brake 258 (see Fig. 7) functions to bring shaft 102 to a substantially instantaneous halt. At this point, however, cam 256 will have released its switch lever putting the circuits in condition so that, upon the completion of one revolution of shaft 112, the circuit controlling the solenoid-operated element 116 will function to restore operation of shaft 102. Shaft 112 ceases its rotation at the end of one revolution because it is controlled by a so-called onerevolution clutch, which automatically throws out after the shaft has made one revolution. Thus, the process is repeated again and again so that automatic filling of the bottles is carried out in a continuous manner.

Safety mechanism Means is also provided to stop the operation of the machine whenever the fingers 86 and 88 of the switches 199 and 192 do not engage capsules when the tingcrs are moved into the chutes 66. Obviously, if a capsule is missing at the finger locations, it means that a full -9 count ofcapsules wil1.not be fed to the related bottle on'eithe-"that feeding or the. next'orfboth. This "safety feature is achieved'by a wiingcircuit which Ikrequires that each `ofl.the' twenty finger-carrying farms" ofthe switches' .190andl 192 must close their contacts at each inward .movement of count oars 70` and 72', `ii:"the machineV is to continue functioning. Ifone' ormore ofthe switches 4190 or 1924 are 'not closed, 'this 'means' 'that a Capsule ismissing atl'the linger position in one.or`"m`re of "thechutes 66. Failure' of one or more switches'to close prevents current from` Showing through these switches, which are `arranged in series, and this results in 1the instantaneous breaking of relay-controlled switches Whichshuts down the machine and prevents 'further'operation uu'til the difficulty has been remedied and themachine started up again by manual operation of 'other switches.

The controlling electrical circuit .3 Reference-is now made! to Fig. '12 to explainzthefioperatiorrrofthe machine in further. detail.

. 11G-Volt,y ecyclezalternating current is` supplied from theiline. A double-pole, single-throw'switch-f260 is used tol-connect `thecircuit'to theline. A toggle vsvv-itch`262. on the lfront' ofithe cover of the-controller 1264'. isused tooperate azsyntronvibrator already fr'efe'rredto and shownfin Fig. 3-for. agitating the feedhopper. Thefvibrfator.v circuit isinpa'rallel4 with theco'unt-bar switches I190 andf192, andthe twoV top contacts266 fand1`268lof the: relay '.27 0.

`Relay270 is energizedthrough acircuit inseries'with the Count-bar switches. 1in other words, if eachfofithe chutesisi'iilled with capsules, all ofthe switches `1190 iand-192Iwill betclosed as the count' bars 70 iand72mo`ve inward yand the fingers 36 and 88 enga-ge capsules,'`thus completing a-series circuit through these switches. The 'count-'bar switches must allbe closed tocornpletethe circuit 272 ofthe relay 270. Absenceof one 'on more `oapsuleswat,the-.ringerpositions -in any of the chutes-66 wil1`result'in"the failure of onefor more of--the'lswitches 1'90 and 1.92ito close and, as a result, the relay 270-l cannot operate. flf the relay 270 does not close, th'enit'is apparent that'vibrator 20cannot function.

Fromtheforegoingit will be seen that at 'theifstarh 'the Ychutesl 66 being empty before any capsules from-the hopper'12 haverentered and'filled thechutes; no-`vibra tion-will occur and, therefore, no capsules will how from the* hopper to ll the chutes.

'-To'fovercome-this; situation, a `socalled"momefntary switch"274' is-utilized tornanuallyclo'se the circuitto 'the"yibrator"f20=nnd thus to' startthe capsules owing fro'mthe hopper 512 into the various chutes 66.

'Aspointed out above, as 'soon as motor 90` has `been startedthe count bars 70 andy 72c'ornrnence their 'steady `oscillation Which .continues uninterruptedly throughout theifunctioningofthe machine. hus, when'the chutes '66 have 'been 'fil'ledwithcapsulesby virtue of holding the momentary-switch 274 cl-osed'until enoughV capsules have entered container 28 from hopper 12, have been-dis tributed -by'brushes 36 ha-ve' worked-:their: wayA down through f the chutes `(itV beingl understood that 'motor "5 4 'hasalsolbeenlputiinto; operation '.tocause Ythe brushes todo theirf-yvo'rlcin.'thev container 2S), the'ngers of 'switchesf1l90l'and192 will,'.in'time, -iind'the' chutesfull land'lall of `the`'swi`tches 190 and fl92"will `then-fsim`ul 'taneously close thus energizing Vrelay 270 causing the -two lpairsof."contarcts,265,26S-afnd 276, 278-fto-beclosed. 'Momentary-'switch 274 may now bereleasedfasa circuit :hasl:been:established forv vibrator-.20 which Will'remain closednsoz long'as relay 270 continues tolbe energized. @losing Vof relay 270 also establishesa` holding circuit .through `contacts 275,278 vand the normally-closed switch 280. Y. :Ab` the same time` the clutch-actuating element 116, moved'by. solenoid 282.,.Will be in clutch-operating positonby` virtue.. of thenormally-openedswitch 284'b'ei1'1g I10 closed atthis time because of the positiony of camn 286 that is mounted on..shaft112'(see'FigsL4'lndil2). ""Operation of solenoid"282 and' Velement `116"throws"clutch 114 intoV operation yand starts 'shaft102 rotating. 'On Shaft 102 is cam '288 which is adaptedto"'openswitch 230 on each revolution of shaft 102. I

The position of cam 288 is timedwith respect'tothe motion `of the'count barsy 70 and 72 so that, when .the switches and '192 are all closed by ngersineng'gement with capsules in chutes 66,'the switch 280j'wil1b'e opened byengagement of cam 288 with theswit'ch'iaim 289. Opening of switch 280,' howeverfdoes not Aenergize solenoid 282 nor the relay 270, as the circuitis preserved by the Switches 190and '192. I v

Thereafter, "when cam '288 rotates farther, switchv-280 willbe reclosed just before count bars'70and 72 r'o've away from the chutes 66' to cause opening` of thefswitches 190 and 192. In this lway the circuitthroii'gh`the"jcoil 272 of relay 270 is preserved and the circuit through 'solenoid 282 remains in forcethrough 'switchl 2&0, theljcontinued closed contacts 276 and278, and switch 284y 'which is closed so long as shaft 112V 'does' not rotate.

'In this way, even thoughthe' switches 1190 and are constantly opening and 'closing as`the count b'ars 70 and'72move out'a'nd in, still the circuits arepreservfed through relay 270 and solenoid 232" because `switchn2i80 is closedfand opened by cam 288m time with the'opeing and closing of switches v190 and 192'to preserveithe'cireits. This manner ofoperation is also necessaryin order to save the .wear/and noise which would occur should lthe coil 2.72 be energized and deenergized at'each tfilling cycle.

`Itwill also be seen'that the timed relationof the'co'uritbar switches 190 and 192 to switch"2:80"will` result`'in the immediate .opening ot' relay 270 if any' capsules are missing from one or more chutes when the lingers of 'count b'ars 70' and' 72 'are in capsule-'engaging position. At that point switch `230 will be opened by' cam'SSaiid 'the' series circuit through the ycount-bar switches 190 vand 192 will not 'be completed because ofthe absenceof one or more capsulesv at the finger-'engaging positions in 'chutes 66'. Thus, the circuit through coil 2*'72will'qbe broken and the double sets of contacts opened. `-Coil y282 is deenergizedbecause there is no long-er a circuitleitlier through switch 280 and the contacts 276 and 278 -v'or through the count-bar switches. This also stops l'the hopper vibrator and any further 'movement of thejgia'te 6'8 which is controlled by rotation of shaft '102, which rotation has ceased .by virtue of the disenga'gernentof clutch -114"under the influence of; the vbroken'circuit vthrough coil 282.

In summary, up to this point, the normally-closed lswitch 280 is 'opened' by cam '283 `at every lcy'cle of the machine, each cycleincluding an in-a'nd-out 'movement of the cont'bars 70 and'72 and an opening andclosiug ofthe gate 68 operated by rotation of'sh'aft 102. I

All ofI the "` switches' must be' 'closed"if' the 'relay' coil272 is to be energized initiallyfbut thereafter it" 'rn'aybe' maintained venergized .bythe cooperationA4 of normallyclosed switch' '280.

Fu'nctoninga'of circuit -after the bottles m-ize 'been'ylled with the desired number of capsules lof capsulesis required-'n the bottles, a number! of-vll'ing cyclesmust'follow consecutively, -thenurn'ber-` of continuous' cyelesbeing'determined by 'the required count.

Let us assume that a count requires four filling cycles. The set of change of gears already referred to and shown in Figs. 2, 3, 7 and l2, namely, gears 246, 248, 250, 252 and 254, are installed to give a four-to-one ratio between the main filling mechanism shaft 102 and the shaft on which is mounted cam 256. After four cycles, or, that is, four rotations of shaft 102, cam 256 will close switch 290 and thus energize the lower-clutch solenoid 292. The circuit at that instant is either through the count-bar switches 190 and 192 or through the normallyclosed switch 280. Actuation of solenoid operates clutch 214 by means of movement of element 216, thus throwing shaft 112 into operation. Clutch 214 is a singlerevolution clutch so that at the end of one revolution shaft 112 will come to a halt and, when in stopped position, cam 286 will be in engagement with the arm 287 of switch 284 thereby to hold that switch in closed position, in which condition it remains until the shaft 112 is again put into rotation by subsequent operation of solenoid 292.

From the foregoing it can be seen that, whenever shaft 112 is brought into rotation, shaft 102 will stop as soon as cam 286 leaves switch arm 287 to open switch 280. Thus, while shaft 112 rotates to withdraw the bottle stops so that the filled bottles may be moved away from the filling stations and a new batch of bottles brought into position, the gate 68 which is controlled by rotation of shaft 102 remains in closed position, the shape of cam track 122 being such to insure this condition. While shaft 102 is stationary, the gear 100 of course continues to rotate and therefore the count bars 70 and 72 continue their in-and-out motion.

However, during the period of rotation of shaft 112 during which time switch 284 is open, it is apparent that the repeated closings of switches 190 and 192 cannot reestablish the circuit through solenoid 282 and therefore there can be no further rotation of shaft 102 until shaft 112 has completed its single revolution and switch 284 is again closed with cam 286 coming to rest against switch arm 287. it might also be pointed out that, when e the switches 190 and 192 are opened, as count bars 70 and 72 move away from the chutes, relay 270 will remain closed for the reason that cam 2&5 on the now stationary shaft 102 will have stopped just short of opening switch 280. Thus, with switch 280 closed, the holding circuit for coil 272 remains effective while shaft 112 is in operation and swtiches 190 and 192 are periodically opened.

After the bottles have shifted their position upon withdrawal of stops 234, 236' and 238, which shift of position is completed when the stops are brought back to position over the conveyor prior to the conclusion of the single revolution of shaft 112, the switch 284 will be closed by cam 286 engaging the switch lever 287 and this then immediately energizes solenoid 2S2 putting clutch 114 back into operation to cause the synchronized operation of the gate and the capsule-holding fingers on switches 190 and 192. Thus, the filling operation is repeated and this continues until the machine is intentionally shut down or until one or more capsules are missing from a chute and hence not engaged by the appropriate switch fingers.

It is our intention to cover all changes and modifications of the example of the invention herein chosen for purposes of the disclosure which do not constitute departures from the spirit and scope of the invention.

We claim:

l. A machine for filling containers with a specific number of identical articles, said machine comprising a plurality of generally vertical parallel chutes, means for constantly filling said chutes with said articles, a motor, a continuously driven element, a gate under said chutes, gate actuating means for opening and closing sai-d gate, a clutch between said element and gate actuating means, article holding means continuously reciprocated by means driven by said element, said gate and holding means being timed with respect to each other so that said gate is open only when said holding means is holding articles in said chutes, a conveyor, a second clutch, means controlled by said second clutch for controlling movement of said containers by said conveyor, and mechanically controlled .circuitry for causing substantially simultaneous disengagement of said first clutch to stop said gate under said chutes and engagement of said second clutch and then to disengage said second clutch after said conveyor has moved a fresh set of containers to position under said chutes and to engage said first clutch to cause reopen-ing and closing of said gate in timed relation with said holding means whereby a specific number of articles will fall into said containers `on each opening of said gate and gearing associated with said circuitry for controlling the number of actuations of said gate prior to disengagement of said first clutch and engagement of said second clutch.

2. A machine for filling containers with a specific number of identical articles, said machine comprising, in combination a plurality of parallel chutes, means for continuously introducing said articles one above the other into the upper portions yof said chutes, a movable gate at the lower end of said chutes for limiting downward movement of said articles, a plurality of containers removably positioned below said chutes, means for releasably holding an article at a selected level in each chute in fixed position, means for moving said gate to open position when said 4holding means is holding all of said articles at said selected levels whereby all articles in said chutes below each said held article may fall into said containers, means for thereafter sequentially closing said gate and releasing said holding means whereby said held arti-cles and articles thereabove in said chutes may again fill the chutes between sai-d gate and said holding means, and control means carried by said holding means for preventing vopening of said gate when an article is missing from said selected level in one of said chutes.

3. A machine for filling containers with a specific number of identical articles, said machine comprising, in cornbination a plurality of parallel chutes, means for continuously introducing said articles one above the other into the upper portions of said chute, a movable gate at the lower end of said chutes for limiting downward movement of said articles, a plurality of containers removably positioned below said chutes, means for releasably holding an article at a selected level in each chute in fixed position, said article-holding means comprising a bar having a plurality of series-connected switches each provided with an extended actuating finger for engaging articles at said selected levels in said chutes, said chutes each being provided with openings for receiving said fingers, means for moving said gate to open position, a control circuit including said series-connected switches for actuating said gate-moving means to open said gate when all of said switches are actuated by engagement of said fingers with articles in said chutes, whereby al1 articles in said chutes below the articles engaged by said fingers may fall into said containers.

4. A machine as defined by claim 3, further including means for sequentially closing said gate and releasing said holding means, whereby articles in said chutes may again till the chutes between said gate and said holding means.

5. In a bottle filling machine the combination comprising a plurality of parallel vertical channels sized to guide articles in single file, means for continually depositing articles in the upper end of each channel, gate means at the bottom end of each channel for preventing release of article therefrom, holding means for limiting downward flow of articles in each channel, said latter means being periodically inserted into said channels at selected points above said gate to engage articles therein, mechanical means for withdrawing said gate to release articles positioned below said holding means, and means preventing operati-on of said mechanical means for with- 13 drawing said gate until articles in all of said channels at said selected points are engaged by said holding means.

6. -In a bottle llin-g machine the combination comprising a plurality of parallel vertical channels sized to guide articles in single tile, means for continually depositing articles in the upper end of each channel, gate means at the bottom end `of each channel for preventing release of yarticles therefrom, holding means for limitin-g downward flow of articles in each channel, said latter means being periodically inserted into said channels to engage selected articles therein, and mechanical means for periodically withdrawing said gate to release articles positioned below said holding means, sai-d mechanical means for withdrawing said gate comprising a solenoid-actuated clutch and means controlled by said holding means for energizing the solenoid of said clutch only when said holding means engage an article in each -of said channels, said clutch-actuating solenoid being ide-energized when said holding means fails to engage an article in all of said channels.

7. A machine for lling containers with a specic number of identical articles, said machine comprising in combination, a plurality of parallel chutes, means for continuously introducing said articles one above the other into the upper portions of said chutes, a movable gate at the lower end of said chutes for preventing discharge of said articles from said chutes, a plurality of containers positioned below said chutes to receive articles discharged from said chutes, holding means for engaging and holding an article at a selected level in each chute, means for causing said holding means to move into and out of said chutes repeatedly to engage and disengage articles at said selected levels, means for moving said gate to open position only when articles till each chute from said gate to said selected level and the articles at said selected level are held by said holding means, whereby all articles in each chute below said holding means are discharged by gravity into said containers, means for sequentially closing said gate and moving said holding means out of said chutes whereby said held articles and additional articles above said held articles may fall and again ll said chutes between said gate and said holding means, means for holding said gate closed after a predetermined number of cycles of movement of said holding means and said gate, means operative after said predetermined number of cycles of movement and While said gate is closed to advance said plurality of containers out from under said chutes and to position additional containers beneath said chutes, and means for causing said gate moving means to again open and close said gate for said predetermined number of cycles in cooperation with said holding means after said additional containers are positioned beneath said chutes.

8. A machine as set forth in claim 7, wherein said article-holding means comprises a plurality of lingers, one nger for each chute, said fingers being associated with the actuating arms of a plurality of interconnected electrical switches, said switches al1 being actuated when said ngers engage and hold articles in said chutes, thereby to maintain a circuit controlling said gate-moving means.

9. A bottle filling machine comprising storage means having a plurality of parallel compartments for storing articles of identical size in parallel inclined rows, means for feeding articles to the upper end of said compartments, a gate at the bottom end of said compartments, said gate normally being positioned to prevent articles from dropping by gravity out of said compartments, means for moving said gate out of said normal position to release articles in said compartments and for returning said gate to said normal position after said articles have been released, a bar carrying a plurality of switches, each switch having an actuating finger extending therefrom said bar being mounted transversely of said compartments with each finger in alignment with one of said compartments, means for moving said bar toward and away from said compartments, each of said actuating fingers upon movement of said bar toward said compartments penetrating one of said compartments at a predetermined point relative to said gate, the distance between said gate and said point being slightly in excess of a whole multiple of the axial length of said articles so that each of said ngers will bear against an article in one of said compartments when said compartments are fully loaded, said switches being actuated by said lingers only when the latter engage articles in said compartments, electrically operated means responsive to simultaneous actuation of all of said switches for actuating said gate moving means to withdraw said gate and release articles from said compartments, said bar moving means being adapted to hold said bar in position to maintain said fingers in engagement with articles located at said predetermined points in said compartments until said gate has completed its cycle of movement away from and back to said compartments whereby to prevent all articles at and above said point in each compartment from being released while said gate is open, and means for moving a set of containers in position to be lled beneath said compartments and for moving said set of containers away after they have received a predetermined number of articles.

References Cited in the tile of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,509,069 Mrachek May 23, 1950 2,523,098 Cremieux Sept. 19, 1950 2,565,962 Daniels Oct. 27, 1953

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U.S. Classification53/495, 53/167, 53/153, 53/250, 221/68
International ClassificationB65B5/10
Cooperative ClassificationB65B5/103
European ClassificationB65B5/10B1