|Publication number||US2855128 A|
|Publication date||Oct 7, 1958|
|Filing date||Jan 7, 1955|
|Priority date||Jan 7, 1955|
|Publication number||US 2855128 A, US 2855128A, US-A-2855128, US2855128 A, US2855128A|
|Inventors||Cookson Leonard T, Ralph Smith W|
|Original Assignee||Upjohn Co|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Referenced by (5), Classifications (8)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
L. T. COQKSON ETAL 2,855,128
COUNTER WITH ROTATING DEVICE Oct. 7, 1958 Filed Jan. 7, 1955 2 Shets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR 2| LEONARD .T. COOKSON WILLIAM R. SMITH Oct. 7, 1958 Filed Jan. '7. 1955 L. T. COOKSON ET AL COUNTER WITH ROTATING DEVICE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR LEONARD T. COOKSON WILLIAM R. SMITH COUNTER WITH RGTATING DEVICE Leonard T. Cookson and W. Ralph Smith, Kalamazoo, MiclL, assignors to The Upjohn Company, Kalamazoo, Mich., a corporation of Michigan Application January 7, 1955, Serial No. 480,466
7 Claims. (Cl. 222-352) This invention relates in general to a device for circulating a plurality of small articles, as pharmaceutical tablets, about the upper surface of a flat, perforate, rotatable plate, preferably arranged in an inclined plane, and more particularly to a disk type counter having means for feeding said articles into the perforations in said plate evenly and without damage to said articles.
Disk type counters having a perforate disk, by which the articles being counted are collected in predetermined quantities, provide in general a well known and rapid means of counting and depositing a predetermined quantity of such small articles into a container or into a series of containers. However, in counting certain types of soft tablets, such as those pressed from a powdery material, the disk counters presently in use tend to dislodge an objectionable amount of powder from the tablets and otherwise impose an excessive amount of damage onto the tablets. Such damage occurs primarily in the loading zone of the counter where the tablets are deposited into the perforations in the disk, and particularly adjacent the exit end of said zone where the perforations in said disk depart from said zone. At this departing point the tablets, regardless of their type, tend to pile up against the barrier which defines said exit end of said zone and some may be crushed under and by said barrier.
In those present disk counters with which we are familiar, the barrier which defines the exit end of the loading zone is designed for the single purpose of preventing the small articles, such as tablets or capsules, from escaping the zone unless they are deposited in a perforation. With certain types of relatively soft tablets, such as aspirin tablets, this arrangement is completely unsatisfactory for the reasons mentioned above. Upon studying this problem, we found that the objectionable powdering and damage to such types of soft tablets could be substantially eliminated by using as said barrier a cylindrical brush arranged tangent to the surface of said disk and located with its axis spaced laterally from the rotational axis of the disk. This permitted the tablets to be swept by said brush toward the center of said disk and thence to the other side of the loading zone in a continuous stream and Without material abrasion between said soft tablets.
Accordingly, a primary object of our invention has been the provision of a device particularly operable with a disk type counter whereby small articles, such as tablets and the like, formed from relatively soft materials can be accurately counted by such counter without creating objectionable damage to said tablets.
A further object of this invention has been the provision of a device, as aforesaid, including a perforate disk whereby said tablets are moved from the exit end of the loading zone on the perforate disk to the entry end of said zone, thereby reducing or eliminating the pile-up of tablets adjacent to said exit end of said zone and consequent abrasion which causes said powdering and damage.
A further object of this invention has been the provision of a device, as aforesaid, having a rotary brush States Patent can be easily adapted for use with disk type counters presently in use without material modification thereof being required.
Other objects and purposes of this invention will become apparent to persons familiar with this type of equipment upon reading the following specification and examining the accompanying drawings in which:
Figure l is a top plan view of a disk type counter embodying our invention.
Figure 2 is a side elevation view of said disk type counter.
Figure 3 is a top plan view of said counter with our circulating device located in a different position from that shown in Figure 1.
Figure 4 is a top plan view of said counter with the said circulating device located in a third position.
In meeting the objects and purposes set forth above, as well as others related thereto, we have provided, in combination with a disk type counter 16 (Figure 1) having a circular, perforate plate 11 rotatable in an inclined plane, a cylindrical agitating element 1.2, a baffle 13 and an arcuate rail 14 all defining a loading zone 15 on the upper surface of said perforate plate 11. The rotation of the brush, and its spacing from the center 35 of the plate ll, acts to return articles from the zone adjacent the brush to a zone adjacent the bafiie 13 and thus to prevent excessive pile-up and breakage of the articles at the point Where the plate 11 leaves the loading zone and to improve the consistency of filling each of the perforations in the plate ii.
For convenience in description, the terms upper,
lower and derivatives thereof will have reference to the counter and parts associated therewith as appearing in Figure 2. The terms inne outer and derivatives thereof will have reference to the geometric center of said counter and parts associated therewith.
Detailed construction As shown in Figures 1 and 2, the disk counter 10 has a perforate circular, flat, plate ll provided with a plurality of perforations 16 which may be disposed therein in a substantially conventional manner. Said perforations 16 are preferably aligned within concentric arcuate lead-in grooves 17 particularly designed and shaped for handling certain types of small articles, such as the tablets 39. The perforate plate ll is rotatably supported (Figure 2) on the shaft 19 for rotation by means, not shown. The support plate 18 is positioned below the plate 11 a distance, as 4 inch, sufficient to provide a running clearance therebetween but otherwise as close as possible. The plate 18 is mounted upon the base member 21 by means of the support posts 22, which may be vertically adjustable in any convenient, conventional manner to vary the inclination of the perforate plate ill with respect to the base member 21 or the horizontal. A discharge mechanism 23 is associated with, and disposed beneath, the support plate is near the lower end thereof for 'the purpose of directing articles, such as tablets, into a container 24 placed therebeneath. Said tablets may be fed into the loading zone 15 through chute means 25 from a hopper 26 preferably located near the upper end of the perforate plate 11.
For convenience in description, reference is herein made to upwardly and downwardly moving sides 40 and 36 of the inclined plate ll. These sides will be leftwardly and rightwardly, respectively (Figure l), of a diametric line A connecting the high and low points on face of the perforate plate 11 by the bearings 33 and A 34 at the opposite ends thereof. Said bearings are mounted on a frame structure including a back-plate 37. Said brush 31, which is substantially tangent to the upper surface of the perforate plate 11, may have spiral flights of bristles, as shown. The inner bearing 33 is preferably located adjacent to, but spaced from, the center 35 of the perforate plate 11 on the downwardly moving side 36 thereof. The outer bearing 34 is preferably located beyond the edge of the perforate plate 11 (Figure 1) so that the brush 31 will sweep the perforate plate 11 to the periphery thereof. It will be recognized that the location of said bearings may be varied, within the limitations set forth hereinafter, without departing from the scope of the invention.
A baffle 13, which may be an extension of the brush back-plate 37, preferably extends from the lower or innor end of the agitating element 12 beyond the periphery of the perforate plate 11 on the upwardly moving side 40 thereof. Although said baffle is preferably and normally disposed at an angle of about 135 degrees to the axis of the cylindrical brush 31, about as shown in Figure 1, the amount of this angle may be varied substantially.
The perforate plate 11 is rotated in a clockwise direction, as indicated in Figure 1 by the arrow D. The cylindrical brush 31 is rotated by any convenient means, not shown, as indicated by the arrow C (Figures 1 and 2) so that its movement is substantially opposed to the direction of movement of said plate along the area of contact therebetween. Thus, the brush 31 sweeps said plate toward the zone 15. The line of tangency between the cylindrical brush 31 and the perforate plate 11 is along a chord of the circular plate 11. Thus, a tablet 39 moving along the are 41 on the perforate plate 11 will engage the brush 31 substantially at the angle indicated by the line 42 tangent to the are 41 which line is clearly at an angle to the brush 31, as indicated by the broken line 43 which latter is perpendicular to the center line 38. The effect of this relationship is to pro duce movement of the tablets 39 toward the bafile 13 and will be discussed further hereinafter. The bafile 13 is also preferably disposed along a chord line of the perforate plate 11 for reasons appearing hereinafter.
As shown in Figures 1, 3 and 4, the agitating element 12 and the baffle 13 may be disposed in a variety of positions about the surface of the plate 11, depending upon the slope of the plate 11 and the position of the center line 38 with respect to the horizontal, as required in a particular case to move articles being counted as described hereinafter.
The arcuate rail 14 extends from the radially outer end of the bafile 13 along the periphery of the perforate plate 11 to the outer end of the cylindrical brush 31. Thus, the loading zone 15 is defined by the cylindrical brush 31, the baflle 13 and the arcuate rail 14 and it surrounds the rotational center 35 of the plate 11.
The amount of the upper surface of the plate 11 within the zone 15 may be varied considerably, as to comprise from one-third to three-quarters of said surface. Normally, however, said zone will include about one half of the upper surface to balance the space required within the zone for filling the perforations 16 and the space required outside of the zone for inspecting the filled perforations and discharging them.
The back-plate 37 of the agitating element 12 and the bafile 13 are both supported by means of the upright bars 44 and 45 secured at their lower ends to the laterally extending arms 46 and 47 which are in turn secured to the support plate 18 near the outer edges thereof. The rail 14 may also be mounted upon the arms 46 and 47, which arms may be adjustably mounted on the support plate 18, so that the entire circulating device including the brush, baflle and rail, may be moved around the counter upon the perforate plate 11, as shown in the several figures.
' Operation Operation of the machine is commenced by effecting rotation of the perforate disk 11 in a clockwise direction as appearing in Figure 1 and as indicated by the arrow D therein, by elfecting rotation of the shaft 32 of the brush in the direction indicated by the arrow C (Figure 1) and by filling the hopper 26 with a convenient number of articles to be counted and conducted to the outlet 23. A suitable container 24 (Figure 2) is placed in position for receiving the discharge from said outlet.
As the tablets 39, or similar small articles, are fed from the hopper 26 into the loading zone 15 on the perforate plate 11 the majority of them will accumulate in a mass against the bafile 13. Some of said tablets will fall immediately into the openings 16 as said openings pass under the partition 13 and enter into the filling zone 15. Others of said tablets will ride with said plate 11 to the brush 31 where, as detailed below, the filling of the openings 16 is completed and any excess of tablets flow along the brush in a generally downward direction, pass between said brush and the center 35 and return to a position adjacent the bafile 13.
In a preferred operation, the slope of the plate 11, that is, the slope of the diametric line A thereon with respect to the horizontal, is sufficient to discourage the tablets from riding on the upwardly moving side 40 of said plate into position adjacent the brush 31. Rather, it is preferred that the slope of the plate be at least enough so that the majority of the tablets remain in the region of the baffle 13 and only relatively few of the tablets, primarily those which are engaged by other tablets within the openings 16, be carried by the plate into the region of said brush.
Referring now to the upper limit of the slope of the plate 11, it will be understood that an increase in the angle of said plate with respect to the horizontal will decrease the angle with respect to the horizontal of the walls of the openings 16, which are usually substantially normal to the plane of said plate, and hence it is not usually desirable for the plate 11 to be positioned at an angle any higher than necessary to maintain the majority of the tablets in the region of the battle 13. Further, with the walls of the openings 16 normal to the plane of the plate, which is their usual and most easily handled and provided position, when the plate exceeds an angle of 45 degrees with respect to the horizontal, then the slope of the walls of said openings approaches such an undesirably low value that considerable trouble will be experienced in causing the tablets to be received into the openings 16 and they will become progressively slower in falling out of said openings at the outlet 23.
Therefore, while experience has shown the preferred position of operation to be with the plane of the plate 11 between about 10 degrees and about 20 degrees to the horizontal, it will be understood that such positioning is only illustrative and preferable and that the angle of the plate may vary between the limits above indicated without departing from the broad scope of one general and preferred method of operating the apparatus.
For some types of articles, however, particularly those having 'hard surfaces and wherein for some reason it is desired to have the openings 16 positioned as near to the vertical as possible, as for higher speed operation, it will be entirely acceptable and fully Within the scope of the invention to position the plate 11 at such a relatively low angle to the horizontal that the articles will ride on and along the upwardly moving side of the plate so that the majority thereof will accumulate against the brush 31. However, even with suchoperation it is desirable that the plate be maintained at a sufiicient slope that the tablets can flow easily along the brush in a downward direction, between the brush and the center 35 and return to the starting position along the bafiie 13.
In any case, as the tablets 39 approach the brush 31, they will be traveling along the are 41 at an angle to the broken line 43. The opposing sweep of the brush in the direction of the broken line 43 will effect a movement of the tablets 3? along the broken line path 48 between the plate center 35 and the brush 31 toward .the baffle 13. The agitation thus created by the element 12 together with the effect of gravity caused by the inclination of the plate 11 will effect the desired circulation, provided that the tablets can pass between the device 12 and the .center 35 of the plate 11. It will be apparent that, in this area, the rotational motion of the plate 11 actually moves the tablets toward the bafile 13. It will also be apparent that as the tablet approaches the center of the plate 11 along the brush 31 the angularity of its movement toward the brush, indicated by line 42, will be increased with respect to the broken line 43, thereby speeding up its movement toward the bafiie 13.
The agitation of the brush 31, the rotation of the plate 11 and the effects of gravity, all cause said tablets to circulate from the brush 31 along the baffle 13 toward the rail 14 and then back toward the brush.
The position of the brush 31 on the plate and the corresponding position of the baffle 13 with respect to the plate, may be varied through a substantial zone as illustrated by Figures 1, 3 and 4, depending upon the type of article being counted. Normally, it will be preferred to have the brush in as near a vertical position as possible, as illustrated in Figure 1 wherein the position of the brush is placed as close to the hopper as is structurally possible, and the baffle 13 is placed with a substantial downward slope for acting in combination with the rotational movement of the plate 11 to urge the articles along said bafile to the radially outer limits of said plate. However, under some circumstances certain advantages can be obtained by positioning the apparatus as shown in Figure 3 provided only that sufiicient downward slope is maintained along the brush in a radially inward direction that the articles will tend to flow radially inwardly along the brush in order to pass between the brush and the center 35 as they return to their position along the baflie 13.
The spiral flight of bristles on the brush 31 may be used to augment the door forces effecting movement of the tablets along the path 48. However, the spiral arrangement of the bristles while useful, is not essential to the principles of our invention. Similarly, the use of bristles, while advantageous is not essential and the brush 31 may be provided with any other surface which will engage the tablets without damage thereto.
It is essential, however, that the slope and rotational speed of the perforate plate 11, the angular positions of the baffle 13 and device 12, and the rotational speed of the brush 31 be carefully selected in the manner indicated above according to the type of tablet, or other article, being counted.
Such selection will produce a smooth, even circulation of the tablets and effect the filling of the perforations 16 in the perforate plate 11 without damaging, as by breaking or crumbling, the tablets or other articles being counted.
With the agitating device 12 and the baffle 13 disposed approximately as shown in Figure 1, and with the perforate plate 11 inclined to the horizontal at an angle of 15 degrees, it was found that relatively soft, easily damaged, tablets could be successfully loaded into the perforations 16 in the perforate plate 11 without damaging said tablets or creating excessive amounts of powder. Neverthless, as detailed above, the plate 11 can vary from an inclination of about 5 degrees to the horizontal to about 45 degrees to the horizontal. The low limit is determined by the point at which the effect of gravity becomes insufficient to cause the tablets to flow radially inwardly along the brush 31 and thereby effecting the flow around the center 35 and the high limit is determined by the point at which the articles fail to fall into the openings 16 with sufficient rapidity in the filling section or fail to fall out of said openings with sufiicient rapidity in the discharge zone 23.
Although a particular, preferred embodiment of our 'having a planar upper surface, said plate passing over said discharge station; an elongated, rotatable agitator supported above said upper surface and closely adjacent thereto, said agitator being positioned above the region of said plate which is about to pass over said discharge station and extending from the edge of said plate in said region at an inside angle of greater than ninety degrees with respect to said edge; a bafiie positioned above and closely adjacent to said surface and extending at an obtuse angle from the inner end of said agitator to the edge of said plate in the region thereof which has just passed over said discharge station; said agitator and said baflie defining a loading zone above said plate and spaced from said discharge station, said loading zone including more than one-half of said plate and being free from obstructions so that said articles may circulate freely within said zone and may contact said agitator and move therealong into contact with and along said bafiie whereby articles not received within said perforations are prevented by said agitator and said baffle from reaching said discharge station and are moved to the region of the plate which has just passed over said discharge station.
2. A device for circulating a plurality of small articles to a discharge station, the combination comprising: a rotatable, circular plate, said plate having perforations for receiving said articles and having a planar upper surface, said plate being rotatable in a plane inclined to the horizontal at an angle which will permit the articles to be carried along the upwardly moving side of said plate, and said plate passing over said discharge station with its downwardly moving side moving toward said discharge station and its upwardly moving side moving away from said discharge station; an elongated, generally cylindrical agitator supported above said surface and closely adjacent thereto, said agitator being rotatable in a direction opposed to the direction of rotation of said plate, said agitator extending inwardly from the edge of said plate on the downwardly moving side thereof at an inside angle of greater than ninety degrees with respect to said edge; a baflle positioned above and closely adjacent to said surface, said baffle extending at an obtuse angle from the inner end of said agitator to the edge of said plate on the upwardly moving side thereof, said baffle being on the downward side of said plate from the axis of rotation thereof; said agitator and said baffle defining a loading zone above said plate and spaced from said discharge station, said loading zone including more than one-half of said plate and being free from obstructions so that said articles may circulate freely within said zone and may contact said agitator and move therealong into contact with and along said bafile whereby articles not received within said perforations are prevented by said agitator and said baflle from reaching said discharge station and are moved to the region of the plate which has just passed over said discharge station.
3. The combination of claim 2 wherein the inner end of said agitator is spaced from, and extends below, the axis of rotation of said plate, said baffle being a flat plate secured to the end of said agitator.
4. The combination of claim 3, including an arcuate rail secured to and extending from the outer end of said baffle around the edge of said plate to the outer end of said agitator.
5. A device for circulating a plurality of small articles to a discharge station, the combination comprising: a rotatable, circular plate, said plate having perforations for receiving said articles and having a planar upper surface, said plate being rotatable in a plane inclined to the horizontal at an angle which will permit the articles to be carried along the upwardly moving side of said plate, said plate passing over said discharge station with its downwardly moving side moving toward said discharge station and its upwardly moving side moving away from said discharge station; an elongated, cylindrical brush supported above said surface, said brush being rotatable in a direction opposed to the direction of rotation of said plate and being positioned such that said brush is tangent to said surface, said brush extending inwardly from the edge of said plate on the downwardly moving side thereof at an inside angle of greater than ninety degrees with respect to said edge; a baffle secured to the inner end of said brush and extending at an obtuse angle from the inner end of said brush to the edge of said plate on the upwardly moving side thereof, said baffie being supported above and closely adjacent to said surface, and said baflie being on the downward side of said plate from the axis of rotation thereof; said agitator and said baffle defining a loading zone above said plate and spaced from said discharge station, said loading zone including more than one-half of said plate and being free from obstructions so that said articles may circulate freely within said zoneand may contact said agitator and move therealong into contact with and along said baffle whereby articles not received within said perforations are prevented by said agitator and said bafile from reaching said discharge station and are moved to the region of the plate which has just passed over said discharge station.
6. The combination of claim 5 wherein the length of said brush overlying said plate is substantially the same as the radius of said plate, the inner end of said brush lying close to the center of said plate.
7. The combination of claim 5 wherein said baflie is a flat plate and is disposed at an angle of approximately one hundred thirty-five degrees to the axis of said brush.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 453,873 Upjohn June 9, 1891 964,782 Hull July 19, 1910 1,622,709 Evans et a1 Mar. 29, 1927 2,457,220 Fowler et a1 Dec. 28, 1948 FOREIGN PATENTS 844,570 Germany July 21, 1952
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US453873 *||Jun 9, 1891||Pill enumerator and bottling machine|
|US964782 *||Apr 7, 1909||Jul 19, 1910||Alva M Hull||Counting-machine.|
|US1622709 *||Jul 10, 1924||Mar 29, 1927||Harry L Evans||Cartoning machine|
|US2457220 *||Mar 16, 1945||Dec 28, 1948||Lanteen Medical Lab Inc||Tablet counting apparatus|
|DE844570C *||Dec 28, 1944||Jul 21, 1952||Hesser Ag Maschf||Vorrichtung zum Abzaehlen und Einfuellen von Tabletten od. dgl. in Behaelter|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US3476294 *||Jan 2, 1968||Nov 4, 1969||Mcguffie Peter A||Line marking machines|
|US4793511 *||Mar 17, 1986||Dec 27, 1988||Deere & Company||Seed meter having seed disk aperture cleaning wiper and brush arrangement|
|US5176290 *||Oct 17, 1991||Jan 5, 1993||Machine-O-Matic Limited||Coin operated vending machine|
|US5191998 *||May 8, 1992||Mar 9, 1993||Schwarzli Josef W||Brush housing for bulk vendor|
|US6182859 *||Nov 3, 1998||Feb 6, 2001||The Northwestern Corporation||Brush housing for bulk vending machine|
|U.S. Classification||222/352, 222/370, 221/168, 222/330|
|International Classification||A61J7/02, A61J7/00|