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Publication numberUS2890557 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 16, 1959
Filing dateSep 28, 1956
Priority dateSep 28, 1956
Publication numberUS 2890557 A, US 2890557A, US-A-2890557, US2890557 A, US2890557A
InventorsGreer Henry W, Hompe Robert W, Martell Jack A
Original AssigneeSmith Kline French Lab
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Capsule filling machine
US 2890557 A
Images(5)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June,l6, 1959 H. w. GREER ETAL 2,890,557

CAPSULE FILLING MACHINE Filed Sept. 28, 1956 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 I I I l 1.

INVENTORS HENRY W. GREER. ROBERT W. HOMPE 8 JACK A. MARTELL ATTORNE:

June 16, 1959 H. w. GREER Er AL CAPSULE FILLING MACHINE 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Sept. 28, 1956 INVENTORS HENRY W. GRE'ER ROBERT W. HOMPE & JACK A MARTELL ATTORNE H. w. GREER ET AL 2,890,557 CAPSULE FILLING MACHINE June 16, 1959 FiledSept. 28, 1956 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 F I INVENTORS HENRY W. GREER ROBERT W. 'HOMPE a JACK A. MARTELL June 16,1959 H. w. GREER ETAL CAPSULE FILLING MACHINE 5. Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed se t'; 2a, 1956 v INVENTORS HENRY W. GREER ROBERT W. HOMPE 8x JACK A. MARTELL M W\\\ ATTO RN States Patent ()fiice 2,890,557 Patented June 16, 1959 CAPSULE FILLING MACHINE Henry W. Greer, Philadelphia, and Robert W. Hornpe, Ithan, Pa., and Jack A. Mai-tell, Westville, N.J., assignors to Smith, Kline & French Laboratories, Philadelphia, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania Application September 28, 1956, Serial No. 612,706 16 Claims. (Cl. 53--281) This invention relates to a machine for filling capsules and more particularly to a machine for automatically positioning, opening, filling, and closing the telescoping body and cap portions of a conventional capsule.

It is the primary object of the invention to provide a machine which will receive capsules in bulk quantities and without further handling by an operator produce filled, closed capsules.

More specifically the invention contemplates feeding capsules from a hopper successively and in predetermined end-to-end relationship for delivery to feeding apparatus which provides the continuous flow of capsules to filling apparatus in which they are opened, filled and closed, and discharged from the machine.

The foregoing broad general objects and further specific objects relating particularly to details of construction of the apparatus will become evident from the following description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a side elevation of the apparatus;

Figure 2 is a top View of the apparatus;

Figure 3 is a horizontal section through the apparatus looking downwardly thereon;

Figure 4 is a fragmentary vertical section through the apparatus shown in Figure 3;

Figure 5 is a fragmentary vertical section through the apparatus shown in Figure 1;

Figure 6 is a vertical elevation partly in section of a fragmentary portion of the apparatus shown in Figure 1;

Figure 7 is a diagrammatic drawing of the successive steps of capsule opening, filling, and closing, as accomplished by apparatus shown in Figures 1-6;

Figure 8 is an enlarged fragmentary section of the apparatus shown in Figure 5; and

Figure 9 is a diagrammatic showing of a portion of the apparatus shown in Figure 2.

The apparatus includes a horizontal base plate 10 affixed to the upper edges of vertically extending side plates 12. Vertically extending angle legs 14 support the base plate 16 from a suitable supporting surface not shown.

Referring to Figures 1 and 2 the machine includes means indicated generally at 16 for feeding capsules successively from the bulk quantity thereof, means indicated generally at 18 for positioning successive capsules with the capsule body portion forward, means indicated generally at 26 for transferring successive capsules from the means 18 to the means 22 and the means indicated generally at 22 provides for opening, filling, closing and discharging the capsules from the machine.

The feeding means indicated generally at 16 includes a rotatable disc 24 provided with a plurality of annular arrays of bores 26 extending longitudinally through the disc. The disc is mounted for rotation on supporting means 28 and is afiixed to a shaft 30 mounting a gear 32 driven by a gear 34 aflixed to a shaft 36 driven by a belt 38 which is in turn driven by means which will be hereafter described.

The disc 24 which rotates in the direction indicated by the arrow 40 in Figure 2 is provided around approximately half of its periphery with an upstanding retainer plate 42. The retainer plate is provided at its lower or right-hand portion as viewed in Figures 1 and 2 with a radially inwardly turned portion 44 which extends across the face of the disc 24 and terminates in an arcuated formed portion 46. The plate 42, 44, 46 serves to retain a plurality of capsules in random relation above the disc 24 while the disc rotates. As the disc rotates cap sules will drop into the bores 26 and be carried generally upwardly as viewed in Figure 1 and pass under a brush 46 arranged to sweep the surface of the disc 24 and to prevent capsules which have not entered the bores 26 from being carried upwardly past the brush. If an adequate quantity of capsules is maintained within the retainer plate each of the bores 26 will have received a capsule from the random supply and will carry the capsule past the brush 48 as the plate 20 rotates, the brush, however, preventing the disc from carrying any capsules therepast which are not positioned in bores 26.

A plurality of tubes 50 are positioned below the plate 24 in generally radial alignment and in vertically extending arrangement with their uppermost ends in alignment with the annular arrays of bores 26. A stationary plate 52 is positioned immediately below the rotating disc 26 and prevents capsules from falling through the bores 26 except into the tubes 5%. The tubes 50 pass through bores in the plate 52 and thus as the bores 26 in the disc 24 pass over the upper end of the tubes 50 the capsules contained within the bores 26 Will drop downwardly into the tubes 50.

The apparatus indicated generally at 18 in Figures 1 and 2 for arranging the capsules in proper end-to-end relation is shown more clearly in Figure 5 and includes a plurality of adjacently positioned discs 54 fixedly mounted on a shaft 55 and having their peripheries beveled as indicated at 56 and spaced apart so as to receive capsules 58 passing from the lowermost ends of the tubes 50. The spacing between the discs is selected to permit the body portions of the capsules to fall between the discs while preventing the cap portions of the capsules from passing between the discs thus positioning the capsules as indicated by the capsule 60 in Figure 5.

The discs rotate in the direction of the arrow 61 in Figure 5. The successive capsules are carried by the rotating discs under a plate 62 which deflects the cap portions of the capsules downwardly or backwandly and causes the capsules to advance in a generally horizontal position as is indicated by the capsule 64 in Figure 5. The capsules advancing to the right as viewed in Figure 5 pass with their leading or body ends above plates 66 extending between the discs 54 which position the capsules for passage under a plate '76 and for entry into tubes 72 with the body end of the capsule leading as indicated by the capsule 68 in Figure 5.

An air tube '74, supplied with compressed air from pipe 173 shown in Figure 3, is mounted on a suitable bracket 76 positioned on the plate 29 and is provided with bores directing jets of compressed air under the capsules 58 emerging from the tubes 59. These air jets assist in properly positioning the capsules and causing the capsules in the position of capsule to rotate and assume the position of the capsule 60 as shown in Figure 5.

The shaft 55 mounting the discs 54 is supported by conventional bearing blocks 74 mounted on the plate 29. A gear 76 affixed to the shaft 55 is driven by a chain 78 which is in turn driven by a speed reducer and motor assembly 80 mounted on the base plate 10 below the plate It will be evident from the foregoing that each of the. annular arrays of the bores 26 in the plate 24 discharges a succession of capsules to a tube 50 and each tube 50 discharges its capsules to a groove between adjacent discs 54. These capsules are positioned and each succession of capsules is discharged to a corresponding tube 72. Thus, there occurs a plurality of adjacently arranged lines of capsules being conducted downwardly by the tubes 72.

i The apparatus for transferring capsules from the tubes 72 to the capsule filing apparatus located generally at 22 in Figures 1 and 2 is indicated at 20 and includes a rotatable disc 82 positioned in spaced relation above a fixed disc 84. The rotatable disc 82 rotates in the direction indicated by the arrow 86 in Figure 2, and is provided with an annular array of bores 88 having bevelled leading edges as indicated at 90. The bores 88, several of which are shown in section in Figure 5, are adapted to receive capsules as indicated at 92 which have dropped through the tubes 72. The lower ends of the tubes 72 are in arcuate arrangement such as to position the ends of the, tubes above the line of travel of the bores 88 in the rotating disc 82.

An air manifold 94 of arcuate formation is positioned below the disc 84 in the region of the lower ends of the tubes 72. The space between the upper surface of the manifold 94 and the lower surface of the disc 88 is closed on three sides by the recessed lower portion 96 of the disc 88 and by a plate 98 extending upwardly from the manifold 94. The upper portion of the manifold within the space and below the tubes 72 is provided with an arcuate array of bores 100 and the manifold is connected to a suitable vacuum line as will hereafter be described.

The rotatable disc 82 is mounted on a suitable support column 102 and aflixed to a vertically extending shaft 104 which is driven by means hereafter described to rotate the disc 82 to cause the progression of bores 88 to pass below the lower ends of the tubes 72.

The lowermost ends of the tubes 72 are positioned between a pair of vertically extending support members 106 mounted on the base plate 10 by means of a transversely extending member 108. An angular shaped guide plate 110 is affixed to the plate 108 by means of a thumb screw 112 passing through a slotted bore in a vertically extending flange thereof. A horizontal flange positioned below the ends of the tubes 72 and is provided with bores 111 positioned below and in alignment with the lower ends of the tubes 72 and spaced above the upper surface of the disc 82.

A mounting block 114 is affixed to the base plate 10 to the left of the disc 82 as viewed in Figures 1 and 5. A slidable member 116 is mounted in the block 114 and mounts at its right-hand side as viewed in Figure a roller 118 and mounts on its upper surface a plate 120 which extends between the lower flange of the angle 110 and the upper surface of the disc 82 as will hereafter he more fully described. At the left of the member 116 is a vertically extending member 122 pivoted to a support angle 124 aflixed to the left-hand side of the support block 114 as viewed in Figure 5. The upper and lowermost ends of the member 122 are slotted. The upper end slot embraces a pin 126 affixed to the block 116 and the lower end slot embraces a pin 128 affixed to a slidable member 130 also mounted in the block 114 for horizontal sliding motion. The right-hand end of the member 130 is provided with upturned finger 132 and a spring 134 acts between the block 114 and the finger 132 to urge the member 130 to the left and to thus urge the member 116 to the right for engagement of the roller 118 with the peripheral surface of the disc 82. Y

The disc 82 is provided with five cam lobes 134 adapted to engage the roller 118 and move the member 116 to the left and move the member 130 to the right against the urging of the spring 134. Between each of the cam lobes 134 are four bores 88. Thus, as the disc 82.

the next cam lobe 4- rotates at a uniform rate of speed the plate will normally be positioned below the lowermost ends of the tubes 72 preventing capsules therein from dropping into the bores 88 of disc 82. However, upon engagement of a cam 134 with the roller 118 the plate 120 will be moved to the left, i.e., to the position shown in Figure 5, permitting capsules to drop from the tubes 72 into bores 88 thus filling four bores. Immediately upon the filling of the four bores further rotation of the plate 82 will carry the cam 134 beyond the roller 118 permitting the plate 120 to be moved under the tubes 72 preventing the passage of further capsules downwardly therein until 134 engages the roller 18 at which time four empty bores 88 will be in position below the tubes 72. The disc 82 rotates continuously and while the plate 120 is retracted for only a relatively short time interval this is suflicient for capsules to drop out of the tubes 72 into bores 88 and this dropping is accelerated by the existence of a partial vacuum in the space below the disc 82. It will be evident that the relative rotation of the disc and stationary condition of the capsules requires that the capsules enter the bores 88 quite rapidly. The bevelled leading edges of the bores 88 as indicated at 90 in Figure 5 facilitate this entry. Thus, during rotation of the disc 82 the bores passing below the lower ends of the tubes 72 are filled four at a time.

In order to limit the demand on the vacuum source, the support block 114 and the sliding member are bored as indicated at 131 to provide an air valve which is open when the parts are in the position shown with the plate 120 retracted and which is closed when the plate 120 is moved to the right as viewed in Figure 6 and capsules are prevented from dropping downwardly. As is best shown in Figure 9, a vacuum line 136 extends between the valve 131 and the manifold 94 and a vacuum line extends between the valve 131 and a vacuum distributor 137 which will hereinafter be described.

An air tube 141, supplied with compressed air from pipe line 143, is positioned over the disc 82 and directs a jet of compressed air onto the disc in the region where the disc is moving toward the tubes 72 and where the fixed disc 84 does not occur in order to insure the removal of any improperly remaining capsule parts from the bores 88 which were not passed into the filling apparatus. The filling apparatus will now be described.

Positioned to the right of the rotatable disc 84, as viewed in Figures 1 and 2, is the capsule opening, filling, and closing apparatus indicated generally at 22. This apparatus includes a rotatable member 140 having upper and lower discs 142 and 144 respectively extending therefrom. The rotatable assembly 140, 142, 144 is mounted on a vertically extending shaft 146 the upper end of which is positioned by a frame member 148 mounted on the base plate 10 and the lower end of which extends through the base plate 10 into drive means which will hereinafter be described. The rotatable assembly 140, 142, 144 rotates in the direction indicated by the arrow 143 in Figure 2.

The upper disc 142 mounts an annular array of punches 150 which are positioned within bushings 152 mounted in the disc 142. The punches are mounted for. vertical motion and prevented from rotating in their sleeves by means of keys 154. The disc 142 and the sleeves 152 are provided with aligning bores 156 communicating with bores 158 in the punches each of which communicates with a recess 160 in the lowermost end of the punch adapted to receive the cap end of a capsule.

The upper end of each of the punches is provided with a dome-like head 162 which is engaged by the upper edge ofthe cam plate 164 mounted on a fixed disc 166 posie tioned above the rotatable disc 142 and supported by the' support bracket 148.

.An annular array of lower punches 168 are slidably mounted in sleeve bushings 170 mounted in the lower disc 144. Keys 172 prevent the punches from rotating in the sleeves 170. The sleeves 170 and the rotatable disc 144 are provided with aligning bores 174 communicating with bores 1 76 within the punches extending upwardly through the reduced upper end portions 178 thereof and into upper cap portions 130 thereof recessed at 182 to receive the rounded lower ends of capsule bodies. A sleeve 184 is positioned above each of the sleeves 170 and is of such diameter as to provide for sliding fit of the punch cap 180 and the wall of a capsule body. The uppermost end of the bore in each of the sleeves 184 is recessed as indicated at 186 to receive the rim of a capsule cap and to position the rim for entry of the capsule body portion therein as will hereinafter be described.

A manifold 188 is connected by means of a line 190 to the vacuum distributor block 137 and extends in a region of the disc 144 as will become evident upon viewing Figures 2, 5 and 7, and as will be described. The manifold 188 has an open face adjacent to the rotating disc 144 and the ends of the passages 174 pass in alignment with the manifold 188. Thus, those punches passing in the region of the manifold 188 will have their central bores connected to the source of vacuum.

The fixed plate 84 positioned below the rotatable disc 82 extends from the manifold 94 to the rotatable disc 144 and extends under the rotatable plate 82 and the recessed portion 96 thereof in such a manner as to position the lower ends of capsules such as the capsule 92 carried by the disc 82 for passage of their lower ends over the surface 145 of the disc 144. With proper synchronization between the two rotatable discs 82 and 144, a bore 88 will be in alignment with each punch 163 for at least a brief interval of time. The disc 82 is provided with twenty bores and the disc 144 carries twenty punches. Thus these discs will each travel at the same rotational speed but at different peripheral speeds. However, regardless of the number of bores and punches, if the speeds of the two rotatable discs are so controlled that there exists a period of crossing of each successive bore 88 with each successive aligned pair of punches, a capsule sliding over the upper surface 145 of the rotatable member 144 after leaving the fixed plate 34 will upon crossing the bores above the punches 168 be drawn downwardly into the sleeves 184 by the vacuum applied thereto through the manifold 188. This operation will be described hereinafter in greater detail.

A manifold 194 extends around the peripheral face of the upper rotatable disc 142 as shown in Figures 2, 6 and 7 for a distance which will hereinafter be described in greater detail and is connected by means of a conduit 196 to the distributor block 137. The manifold 194 connects the vacuum supply to the punches 150 in the region of the manifold.

Fig. 7 shows diagrammatically the two annular arrays of punches in which they are shown for simplicity in linear array. The punches are numbered l-20 in Figure 7 to indicate stations. Station 3 in Figure 7 being the section shown in Figure 5 and the direction of motion of punches in Figure 7 is indicated by the arrow 200. The manifold 188, as indicated in Figure 7, extends from station 3 to station 8 and the manifold 194 extends from station 6 to station 13.

The. upper cam plate 164 includes depressed regions within which there are mounted depressing cams 202 and 204.. These cams are affixed to the stationary disc 166 as shown in Figure 2.

The lower cam plate 171 as shown in Figure 5 exists' in the region of stations 2 to 6 as indicated in Figure 7. In the region of stations 8 to 13 the lower punches ride on the bed plate It). In the region of stations 15 to 1 there is provided an elevated cam plate 206, and in the 6 region of stations 2 and 7 there are provided depressing cams 208 and 210 respectively to insure downward movement of the punches from the upper cam level to the lower cam level.

The material with which the capsules are to be filled is handled by apparatus indicated generally at 222 in Figures 1, 2 and 6. This apparatus includes a suitable hopper 224 mounted on a supporting frame 226 which is slidably mounted for motion radially of the rotatable cam discs in a mounting block 228 afiixed to the base plate 10. A spout 230 extending downwardly from the hopper 224 delivers the material to the surface of the disc 144. It should be noted that in the figures, the material supplying apparatus is in a retracted position, that is in a radially outward position. When the apparatus is in operation the material supplying apparatus will be moved radially inwardly as will be hereinafter described. Material passing downwardly through spout 230 enters within a retaining framework 232 which is also mounted on the supporting framework 226 and is adapted to slide over and upon the surface 145 of the disc 144 as the hopper 224 and spout 231 are moved radially inwardly and outwardly. The retaining. framework 232 is of a well-known type and includes a plurality of baffles 234 provided with small grooves or recesses on their under edges permitting a limited amount of the material to pass the successive baflles 234 as the disc 144 rotates. When the material supplying apparatus is in normal operating position the framework 232 is positioned directly over the array of lower punches in the region of stations 10, 11 and 12 and the bafiles 234 extend across the bores above the punches in the disc 144. Thus, the arrangement of retainer and baflies maintains a quantity of material positioned above the surface 145 of the disc 144 in order that capsules passing thereunder, as will be hereinafter described, receive material.

A stationary scraper 235 is positioned across and in contact with the surface 145 immediately following the material supplying means and serves to scrape from the surface 145, excess material and the material passing through the groove in the last baflle 234.

The scraper directs material in engagement therewith into a container 137 positioned adjacent to the disc 144.

As will hereinafter be made more evident, the amount of material retained in the finally closed capsule will depend upon the amount of material received in the opening passing below the material distributing baffies 234. In order to accurately position each punch of the lower punch disc as it passes the last baffle 234 and the scraper 235 there is provided an accurately positionable punch adjusting means. A retainer 236 is suspended be low the base plate 19. A rod 238 having an internally threaded bore extending upwardly from its lower end is mounted vertically and for vertical motion in the retaincr 236. Afiixed to the top of the rod 238 is a mushroom-like plate 240 over which the heads 169 of the lower punches pass. A screw 242 extends upwardly into the threaded bore 238 and by rotation of a knurled disc 244 affixed to the lower end of the screw acting against a fixed plate 245 the height of the mushroom plate 240 can be accurately adjusted thus accurately adjusting the position of the punches in station 12 and thus accurately dimensioning the space existing between the capsule and the material distributing baffles 234 under which the lower punch disc passes.

A vacuum manifold 141 is provided against the lower disc 144 in the region of station 12 in order to insure seating of each capsule body in each punch passing over the plate 240. The manifold 141 is connected to the vacuum supply through a line 143 connected to the manifold 196 as shown in Figure 6.

As previously described, the capsule feeding means indicated at 16, the capsule end positioning means indicated at 18 and the transfer means indicated at 20 serve to deliver a succession of capsules to the bores within the bushings 184 in the lower punch disc 144. In the region of the disc 82 the vacuum manifold 188 provides a constant negative pressure in the sleeves 184 thus insuring the dropping of capsules from the bores 88 in the disc 82 into the sleeves 184. As indicated in Figure which is shown in Figure 7 as station 3, the progression of lower punches 168 passing station 3 receive capsules positioned therein with the body portion of the capsule extending downwardly and the cap portion of the capsule positioned above the surface 145 of the plate 144. In stations 3-6, the lower cam plate 117 is of the such a thickness to position the capsule as described and indicated at 248 in Figure 7. The depressing cam 202 on the upper cam disc commences operation at station 5 and fully depresses the upper punches 150 at station 6. As the progression of punches pass this station the upper punches are moved downwardly and engage the capsule caps as indicated at 250 in Figure 7. The upper vacuum manifold 194 connects the vacuum supply to the punches in station 6 and as the punches rise passing through station 7, the condition of negative pressure within the punches insures the lifting of the capsule cap. The manifold 188 insures the retention of the capsule body in the lower punch through station 6 and through station 7 into station 8 as the lower punches move downwardly drawing the capsule body downwardly into the sleeves 184 with the uppermost rims of the capsules positioned flush with or slightly below the surface 145 of the lower disc 144.

As previously noted, stations 10, 11, and 12 are the capsule filling stations and in these stations the capsule bodies receive material from the retainer and baffle assembly 232, 234. The capsules in punches passing over the plate 240 are accurately positioned by the plate 240 positioning the punches and vacuum from the manifold 141 positioning the capsules in the punches. The scraping of the baffles 234 insures the provision of an accurate level of the material in the capsules and in the bores above the capsules.

Filled capsules leaving station 12 pass through stations 13 and 14 at which time the upper punch is moved downwardly until in station 14 the capsule cap has its lower rim positioned in the recess 186 shown in Figure 5. Punches moving through the station 15 have the lower punches moved upwardly raising each capsule 'body and moving the capsule body into its capsule cap. At the same time, the upper punches are riding upwardly behind the cam 204.

In order to insure closure of the capsules and to prevent the capsules from being crushed a compressed air manifold 212 is positioned adjacent to the periphery of the upper cam disc at station 15 and supplied with compressed air through pipe line 214. The compressed air urges the capsule cap downwardly and insures tight closure of the capsule without requiring absolute accuracy of cam positioning. Furthermore, due to the fact that the machine is operating at a fairly high rate of speed, the capsules are closed so rapidly that the air does not discharge immediately and completely from the capsule. The discharge occurs gradually and there is a tendency for the capsule cap and body portions to be urged apart. The air manifold in this station makes possible a yielding closure providing a time delay for the air to escape, thus insuring complete and permanent closure of the capsules. By the time the punches have reached station 16, the upper punches are completely retracted, the compressed air has blown the capsule cap out of the upper punch and the capsule remains with the capsule body supported in the lower punch which at this time has risen upwardly on the cam plate 206 until the entire capsule is positioned above the surface 145 of the disc 144 as indicated at 256 in Figure 7.

A brush 258 is mounted in fixed position to sweep over the surface of the disc 144 and discharge closed capsules radially outwardly to a chute 260 by which they are discharged from the machine.

Air manifolds 216 and 218 are positioned adjacent to the peripheries of the upper and lower cam discs respectively between stations 18 and 19 and are supplied with compressed air from a supply line 220. These manifolds serve to blow air through the punches to insure removal of any capsule parts or foreign matters therefrom before the punches again pass to station 3 and receive capsules from the disc 82. A brush 262 is additionally provided between stations 20 and 1 to sweep the surface 145 of the disc 144.

The various compressed air lines 143, 173 and 214 previously described are connected together through pipe line 175 and to the compressed air line 220 which is connected to any suitable source of compressed air. The vacuum manifold 137 is connected to a suitable vacuum pump by means of a pipe line 139.

As previously noted, the shaft 146 mounting the punch discs and the shaft 104 mounting the disc 86 extend downwardly through the base plate 10 to driving mechanism. Referring to Figure 3, it will be seen that the shaft 146 has afiixed thereto 'below the base plate 10 a gear 270 in mesh with a worm gear 272 mounted on a transverse shaft 274 which carries a pulley 276 driven by means of a belt 278 which is in turn driven from a motor 280 positioned on suitable mounting means not shown.

The cross shaft 274 is supported under the base plate 10 by conventional bearing pads 282 and has afiixed thereto a gear 284 in mesh with an idler gear 286 which drives a gear 288 aflixed to a cross shaft 290. The cross shaft 290 mounts a worm 292 in mesh with a gear 294 atfixed to the lower end of the shaft 104 driving the disc 82 above the base plate 10.

The shaft 290 has afixed thereto a gear 296 which drives, through a gear train indicated at 298, a cross shaft 300 which through a pair of mating gears 302 drives a cross shaft 304 mounting a pulley driving the belt 38 extending upwardly to the capsule feed means indicated generally at 16 and described in connection with Figures 1 and 2. The motors 80 and 280 are controlled by conventional electrical apparatus which need not be described herein.

From the foregoing, it will be evident that the apparatus provides complete automatic capsule filling means to which capsules and filling material may be supplied in bulk and from which there is received completely filled capsules. It will also be evident that while the foregoing embodiment of the invention has been described in the form of a capsule filling machine the details of the invention may be employed in connection with the filling of various types of containers other than capsules in which the container is provided with a cap portion and a body portion. In all cases, it will not be essential that the cap fit over the body portion. It is entirely conceivable that the cap may be of a type which enters the body portion through the over-fitting cap as preferably employed.

What is claimed is:

1. Container filling apparatus comprising means for delivering a plurality of parallel successions of uniformly positioned closed containers from a random supply thereof, means for filling containers, means for receiving the plurality of successions of containers and for delivering a single succession to said filling means, and said filling means including means for receiving the succession of containers and successively opening, filling and closing containers of the succession and discharging closed filled containers from the apparatus.

2. Container filling apparatus comprising means for delivering a plurality of parallel successions of uniformly positioned closed containers from a random supply thereof, means for filling containers, means for receiving the plurality of successions of containers and for delivering a lesser number of successions to said filling means, and said filling means including means for receiving a successlon of containers and successively opening, filling and closing containers of the succession and discharging closed filled containers from the apparatus.

3. Apparatus for filling containers having body parts and cap parts, said apparatus comprising means for separating a plurality of parallel successions of closed containers from a random supply thereof, means for posi- Ironing the individual containers in each succession with their body parts leading their cap parts, means for delivering the successions of containers from said separat ing means to said positioning means, means for filling containers, means for receiving the plurality of successions of containers and for delivering a lesser number of successions to said filling means, and said filling means including means for receiving a succession of containers and successively opening, filling and closing containers of the succession and discharging closed filled containers from the apparatus.

4. Apparatus for filling containers having body parts and cap parts, said apparatus comprising means separating a plurality of successions of closed containers from a random supply thereof, means receiving said plurality of successions of containers and positioning the individual containers of each succession with their body parts and capv parts uniformly arranged, means receiving said plurality of successions and converting them into a horivZontally moving succession, and means receiving the horizontally moving succession of positioned containers and filling the containers of the succession.

5. Apparatus for filling containers having body parts and. cap parts, said apparatus comprising means separating a plurality of successions of closed containers from a random supply thereof and dropping the successive con tainers, means receiving said plurality of successions of dropped containers and positioning the individual containers of each succession with their body parts and cap parts uniformly arranged and dropping the successive positioned containers, rotating means for opening, filling and closing containers, and rotating means simultaneously receiving a dropped container from each of said plurality of successions and horizontally delivering said simultaneously received containers successively to said rotating means for opening, filling and closing containers of the succession.

6. Container filling apparatus comprising means for delivering a plurality of parallel successions of uniformly positioned closed containers from a random supply thereof, means for filling containers, means including a disc having a circular array of longitudinally extending bores, vacuum means for inducing movement of containers into said bores and gating means for controlling movement of containers into said bores for receiving containers from each of said plurality of successions of containers from said delivering means and transferring a succession of positioned containers to said filling means, and said filling means opening, filling and closing the containers.

7. Apparatus for filling containers having body parts and cap parts, said apparatus comprising means for delivering a succession of uniformly positioned closed containers from a random supply thereof and means for receiving the succession of containers and filling the containers of the succession, said receiving and filling means including a pair of spaced rotatable discs longitudinally aligned on their axes of rotation, a circular array of longitudinally movable container cap receiving means mounted in a first of said discs, a circular array of longitudinally movable container body receiving means mounted in the second of said discs each in alignment with a corresponding cap receiving means in said first disc, means for rotating said discs in unison, means actuating said body and cap receiving means during rotation pf said discs to successively receive containers, open re- 10, ceived containers, close opened containers and discharge closed containers, and means for filling the body parts of open containers.

8. Apparatus for filling containers having body parts and cap parts, said apparatus comprising means for delivering a succession of uniformly positioned closed containers from a random supply thereof and means for receiving the succession of containers and filling the containers of the succession, said receiving and filling means including a pair of spaced rotatable discs longitudinally aligned on their axes of rotation, a circular array of longitudinally movable container cap receiving means mounted in a first of said discs, a circular array of longitud-inally movable container body receiving means mounted in the second of said discs each in alignment with a corresponding cap receiving means in said first disc, means for conducting flows of air through said body and cap receiving means, means for rotating said discs in unison, means actuating said body and cap receiving means during rotation of said discs and selectively providing air flows therethrough to successively receive containers, open received containers, close opened containers and discharge closed containers, and means for filling the body parts of open containers.

9. Apparatus for filling containers having body parts and cap parts, said apparatus comprising means for delivering a succession of uniformly positioned closed containers from a random supply thereof and means for receiving the succession of containers and filling the containers of the succession, said delivering means dropping successive containers With their body parts positioned below their cap parts, said receiving and filling means including a pair of spaced horizontally extending rotatable discs longitudinally aligned on their axes of rota ton, a circular array of longitudinally movable container cap receiving means mounted in the upper of said discs, a circular array of longitudinally movable container body receiving means mounted in the lower of said discseach in alignment With a corresponding cap receiving means in the upper disc, means for rotating said discs in unison, means actuating said body and cap receiving means during rotation of said discs to successively receive dropped containers, open received containers, close opened containers, and discharge closed containers and means for filling the body parts of open containers.

10. Apparatus for filling containers having body parts and cap parts, said apparatus comprising means for delivering a succession of uniformly positioned closed containers from a random supply thereof and means for receiving the succession of containers and filling the containers of the succession, said receiving and filling means including a pair of spaced rotatable discs longitudinally aligned on their axes of rotation, a circular array of longitudinally movable container cap receiving means mounted in a first of said discs, a circular array of longitudinally movable container body receiving means mounted in the second of said discs each in alignment with a corresponding cap receiving means in said first disc, means for conducting flows of air through said body and cap receiving means, means for rotating said discs in unison, means actuating said body and cap receiving means during rotation of said discs to successively receive containers in body receiving means under negative pressure, open received containers by opposed cap and body receiving means both under negative pressure, close opened containers by opposed cap and body receiving means With the cap receiving means under positive pressure, and discharge closed containers, and means for filling the body parts of open containers.

11. Apparatus for filling containers having body parts and cap parts, said apparatus comprising means for delivering a succession of uniformly positioned closed containers from a random supply thereof and means for receiving the succession of containers and filling the containers of the succession, said delivering means dropping successive containers with their body parts positioned below their cap parts, said receiving and filling means including a pair of spaced horizontally extending rotatable discs-longitudinally alignedon their axes of rotation, a circular array of longitudinally movable container cap receiving means mounted in the upper of said discs, a circular array of longitudinally movable container body receiving means mounted in the lower of said discs each in alignment with a corresponding cap receiving means in the upper disc, means for conducting flows of air through said body and cap receiving means, means for rotating said discs in unison, means actuating said body and cap receiving means during rotation of said discs and selectively providing air flows therethrough to successively receive dropped containers in body receiving means under negative pressure, open received containers by opposed cap and body receiving means both under negative pressure, close opened containers by opposed cap and body receiving means with the cap receiving means under positive pressure and discharge closed containers, and means for filling the body parts of open containers.

12. Apparatus for filling containers having body parts and cap parts, said apparatus comprising means for delivering a succession of uniformly positioned closed containers from a random supply thereof and means for receiving the succession of containers and filling the containers of the succession, said receiving and filling means including a pair of spaced rotatable discs longitudinally aligned on their axes of rotation, a circular array of longitudinally movable container cap receiving means mounted in a first of said discs, a circular array of longitudinally movable container body receiving means mounted in the second of said discs each in alignment with a corresponding cap receiving means in said first disc, means for rotating said discs in unison, means actuating said body and cap receiving means during rotation of said discs to successively receive containers, open received containers, close opened containers and discharge closed containers, means for filling the body parts of open containers, and means providing flow of air through empty receiving means prior to the receipt of container parts therein to insure clean receiving means for the receipt of container parts.

13. Container filling apparatus comprising means including a plurality of chutes for delivering a plurality of parallel successions of uniformly positioned containers from a random supply thereof, means providing an endless array of openings positioned to provide openings for simultaneously receiving a container from each of said chutes, means for simultaneously releasing one positioned container from each chute into a respective opening,

filling means positioned to receive containers from said endless array of openings, said filling means including means for receiving the succession of containers from said endless array of openings and for successively opening, filling and closing containers of the succession, and means for discharging closed filled containers from the apparatus.

14. Container filling apparatus comprising means including a plurality of chutes for delivering a plurality of parallel successions of uniformly positioned containers from a random supply thereof, means providing only a single endless array of openings positioned to provide openings for simultaneously receiving a container from each of said chutes, means for simultaneously releasing one positioned container from each chute into a respective opening, filling means positioned to receive containers from said endless array of openings, said filling means including only a single endless array of means for receiving the succession of containers from said endless array of openings and for successively opening, filling and closing containers of the succession, and means for discharging closed filled containers from the apparatus.

15. Apparatus for filling containers having body parts and cap parts, said apparatus comprising means separating a succession of closed containers from a random supply thereof, means including a pair of spaced rotating discs for positioning and advancing a succession of containers with their body parts extending substantially radially inwardly of said discs and with their cap parts extending substantially radially outwardly of said discs, and a stationary plate deflecting successive containers and positioning the individual containers of the succession with their body parts and cap parts aligned longitudinally and uniformly along their path of advance, and means receiving the succession of uniformly positioned containers and filling the containers of the succession.

16. Apparatus in accordance with claim 15 in which said positioning and advancing means includes an air jet cooperating with said spaced discs for positioning said succession of containers.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,839,820 Wilkie Jan. 5, 1932 1,876,813 Wilkie et al. Sept. 13, 1932 1,993,716 Hanley et al. Mar. 5, 1935 2,630,953 Kath Mar. 10, 1953 FOREIGN PATENTS 409,952 France May 7, 1910

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3186910 *Mar 8, 1962Jun 1, 1965Jacob A GlassmanMethod for producing peroral capsules
US3811550 *Aug 14, 1972May 21, 1974Hughes Co IncApparatus for orienting tapered articles
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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/281, 221/93, 221/251, 221/68, 221/171
International ClassificationA61J3/07
Cooperative ClassificationA61J3/074
European ClassificationA61J3/07B2