US 2941652 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 21,-1960 A. R. MILLER PILIfCOUNTING APPARATUS Filed Aug. 25, 195B @2 2@ d @NMX lj wwf/vm? mym United States Patent C PILL-COUNTING APPARATUS Anthony R. Miller, 2549 Blaisdell Ave., S., Minneapolis, Minn.
Filed Aug. 2s, 195s, ser. No. 756,798
6 claims. (ci. 19a-3o) This invention relates to apparatus for handling pills for counting and the like and more specifically relates to apparatus for individually segregating pills from each otter so as to facilitate ready and easy counting of the p1 s.
An object of my invention is to provide a new and improved apparatus of simple and inexpensive construction and operation for handling a volume of pills to facilitate counting thereof. p p
Another object of my invention is to provide a novel apparatus which will `accept a large volume of small objects such as pills and the like and will string out the pills into a line to thereby facilitate counting of the the drawings and is described herein. The apparatus,`
which is indicated in general by numeral 10 includes a generally circular upright housing 11 having. an open top- 11b and having a supporting structure 11a in the borttom thereof to which is rigidly affixed a motor 12 having a,;drive shaft 12b to which is keyed a bevel gear 12e.
The` upper end of shaft 12b has a pill-carrying rotor 13 aflixed thereon which is generally conically shaped and is convergent in an upward direction. The peripheral u edge portion 13a of the rotor 13 is disposed in closely spaced relation with respect to the upright wall `11 but is movable with respect to the wall 11.
Means are provided for guiding and obstructing the rotary movement of the pills or other objects carried.A
on the rotor 13, and` in the form shown, such means include a quadrant-shaped rigid structure 14 aixed'to the upright sidewall `11 of the housing and having a sloping bottom ledge which is spaced fromthe conically shaped rotor i013A so as to allow the rotorto rotate thereunder and `to prevent pills 'from moving beneath the structurell'.`
A pilllguidin'g 'vane'15 is" aiiixed to the structurel/4' and extends generally outwardly from the central portion of the rotor 13 into proximity with the cylindrical sidewall 11 of the housing. lt will be noted that the outer end portion 15a of the rigid and aixedly emplaced vane 15 is spaced from the sidewall 11. At the end of the rigid and stationary vane 15 is provided a flexible and thin membrane or filament 16 which is disposed immediately above the rotor 13 and extends outwardly into close proximity with the sidewall 11. The membrane 16 will be flexed under the inuence of a pill being urged thereagainst by means of the rotor 13 so as to allow pills to pass by the vane 15 one at ya time and along the peripheral wall 11 of the housing.
17 so as cause the pills traveling on the rotor and past Y the membrane 16 to pass through the opening 17. A
chute 18 is secured at the bottom edge of the opening 17 to direct the pills onto a conveyor belt 19 which is: mounted on a rotary shaft 20 and a second idler roller 21 which are respectively mounted in bearings 22 mounted on an elongated frame structure 23 which is suitably affixed to the housing 11 and extending radially outwardly therefrom in alignment with the opening 17. The frame structure 23 defines upwardly extending walls 24 at the opposite sides of the conveyor 19 so as to maintain the pills on the conveyor. A plurality of deflector vanes 25 and 26 are aixed to the walls 24. It will be seen that the several vanes or panels 25 direct the pills toward one side of the conveyor and the vane 26 cooperates with the first vane 25 to assure that ther-pills will roll therealong and be carried on the conveyor in a single line. As the pills are guided by the vane 25 toward one side of the conveyor 19 they will be maintained in a single line and will be discharged olf the end of the conveyor.
Means are provided for driving the conveyor in synchronism with the rotor 13 and in the form shown, a first lshaft 27 is mounted in a suitable bearing 2S on the supporting structure 11a and has a pair of bevel gears 29 and 30 on the opposite ends thereof. The bevel gear 29 is in engaged and meshed relation with the bevel gear 12e and is driven thereby. The bevel gear 3u is engaged and meshed with another bevel gear 31 which is aliixed to a drive shaft 32 which is mounted in suitable bearings 33. The other end of shaft 32 has another bevel gear 34 affixed thereon which is meshed with a bevel gear 35 on the conveyor driving shaft 2t). The bevel gears 34 and 35 may be enclosed in a suitable protective housing 36 which is affixed as by screws 37 to the side wall 11 ofthe main housing. p
. Means are provided on the` apparatus for counting theA pills moved by the conveyor 19 and in the form shown, such means include a photoelectric cell 37 and a source of light 3S which are oriented in alignment with each other at-the `discharge end, of the conveyor 19 and positioned so that the pills falling otf the end of the conveyor -V suitable control means for operating the motor relay #ttl when a predetermined number of pills `have been counted so asto deenergize the motor relay and stop the motor.
Inthe operation-of the present invention, the motor 12 will be operated atV any oneiof three selectable speeds, either Ithirty-three r.p.m., forty-five r.p.m., or seventyeight r.p.m. lt has been found that to operate the motor at a rate of speed of thirty-three r.p.m. provides satisfactory results for handling pills up to tive to six hundred pills per minute. After the motor 33 is started, the rotor 13 lwill revolve in the direction indicated by arrow A, and thereafter, a large quantity of pills may be poured indiscriminately upon the rotor 13. The pills will slide down the conically shaped rotor and will rest against the sidewall 11 of the housing. The rotating rotor will carry the pills around the housing and into engagement with the stationary vane 15 and into engagement with the liexible membranes 16 which will flex under the inuence of the Patented June 21,1969
the pills in a single line as they passalong theY belt con-Y veyor and the` pills will thereby pass through the light beam from .the source 38 in4 a single line so asV to cause operation of the counter 39 each time a pill breaks the light beam. It is contemplated that ordinarily pills will be supplied onto the rotor 13 in such numbers that theY pills will not build up into almultiple layer accumulation adjacent the rotor periphery.v However, even if the pills are slightly piled up adjacent thev periphery of thefro-tor,
13the pills will still pass by the membrane 16,v one at a time. It will be understood that 4most pills are smoothly rounded and it is quite unlikely that one pillwill lie upon another pill in exact vertical alignment with the underlying pill. because the underlying pill is being driven byy the rotor i3, it will pass by the membrane 16 and if the p second pill lying on the underlying pill is not exactly in vertical alignment in all, respects with the underlying pill, themembrance i6 will engage the overlying pill and will iiick it in a reverse direction as compared' to the. direction of travel'of the rotor, or at least will restrain the overlying pill so that it does not pass by the membrane at the same instant, asi the underlying pill. It is conceivable that upon very infrequent occasions, two pills` might pass .the membrane` 16 atr one instant, but even if this occurs, the two pills will engage' the surface 14a'and be'fedonto the .conveyor belt'19 at `different instances, so that the desired effect of Stringing out the pills for counting purposes is accomplished.V v Y It v/ill be seen that I have provided a new and improved device for handling a large quantity of pillsV or other small objects for Stringing out the pills into a single line to facilitate counting of the pills.
It will,- of course, be understood that various changes may be made in the form, detail,v arrangement and proportion of thev parts without departing from the scope of my invention which consists of the matter described here'- in and set forth in the appended claims.
What I claim is: Y Y
l. Apparatus for segregating small objects such aspills and the like for counting the same one by one, comprising a substantially cylindrical retaining wall, an upwardly convergenttapered rotor inwardly of the wall and having alower peripheral edge in closely spaced relation tothe wall, means revolving the rotor on an upright axisfsub- Vstantially concentrie'of the wall, Vsaid-wall having apilldischarging opening at the edge of the rotor to allow pills to'iroll off the rotor and out the opening, -a rigid, stationary vane above the rotor-and extending from the central portion of the rotor into spaced vrelation with the wall at one side of the opening therein, an upright ilexible membrane on the vane'an'd extending therefrom to the wall and yielding under the influence of pills on the rotor to permit the pills to move one ata time between lvane andwall and into the opening. i
2. Apparatus 'for segregating Small objects vsuch as pills 41 and the like for counting/the same one byv one, comprising a substantially cylindrical retaining wall, an upwardly convergent tapered rotor inwardly of the wall and having a lower peripheral edge in closely spaced relation to the wall, means revolving the rotor on an upright axis substantially concentric of the wall, said wall having a pill-discharging opening at the edge of the rotor to allow pills to roll off the rotor, and` out of the opening, a rigid stationary vane above theV rotor and extending from the central portion. of the rotor into spacedV relation with the wall .at one side of the opening therein, an upright dexible membrane on the vane'and extending therefrom to the wall and yielding under the iniiuence of pills on the rotor to permitthe. pills to move oner at a time between the vane and thewall and into the opening, an outwardly extending conveyorhaving a receiving end below the opening and in close proximity therewith, guide means at the opposite sides of the conveyor for retaining the pills on the conveyor, and an obliquely oriented stationary vane extending across the conveyor. and directing ther pills to one side thereof whereby to orient the pills in a single line as they move along the conveyor to facilitateV counting oflthe pills one by one.
3. The invention set forth in claim 2 and including al counter mechanism having a photoelectric cell at photoelectric cell and light source are disposed at'the'` dischar'geend'of theconveyor to sense the dischargingof pills from the conveyor.
5. The invention set forth in claim 2 and including a` pill-obstructing Structure secured to the cylindrical wall and spaced above the rotor at the other side of the opening in the wall, whereby to prevent pills from passing by the opening as they move with the conveyor. 6. Apparatus for segregating small objects such asi pills and the like for counting the same one by one, cornprising a substantially cylindrical retaining wall, an voutwardly convergent tapered rotor inwardlyV of the wall and having a lower peripheral edge in closely spaced rela'- tion to the wall, means revolving the rotor on an upright axis substantially concentric of the wall, said wall having 45 a pill-discharging opening at the edge of the rotor to' allow the pills to roll olf the rotor and out the opening,` means obstructing movement of the pills on the rotor and extending from the central portion of the rotor into proximity with the wall, said obstructing means andwall defining a space therebetween adjacent the edge ofthe rotor of :uch width as to accommodate the passage-off' pills therethrough one at a time, 'and an upright flexible'v membrane xed in said space and yielding under the influence of pills on the rotor to permit the pills to move;
one at a time through the space whereby to permit discharge of the pills one at aY time through the opening in the wall.V
References Cited inthe file of thispatent UNITED STATES PATENTS