US 2963839 A
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STAMPING ATTACHMENT FOR CAPPING MACHINES Filed May 3, 1954 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORS .f/mfsffam (W/ms: Pam/140 ATTORNEY Dec. 13, 1960 J. J. FLOYD ETAL 2,963,839
STAMPING ATTACHMENT FOR CAPPING MACHINES Filed May 5, 1954 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 7/70 lda I B W i ATTORNEY Dec. 13, 1960 J. J. FLOYD EIAL STAMPING ATTACHMENT FOR CAPPING MACHINES 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed May 3, 1954 INVENTORS (hm clFlayd Charla; Jflahhdia ATTORNEY Dec. 13, 1960 J. J. FLOYD ETAL 2,963,839
STAMPING ATTACHMENT FOR CAPPING MACHINES Filed May 3, 1954 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 35 J2 J8 37 IIIIIIIIIII EVIIII/II J7 INVEN ORS 6/2755 flora ATTORNEY United States Patent O STAMPING ATTACHMENT FOR CAPPING MACHINES James J. Floyd, Boonton, and Charles Spannello, Short Hills, N.J., assignors to Schcring Corporation, Bloomfield, N.J., a corporation of New Jersey Filed May 3, 1e54, Ser. No. 427,204
6 Claims. (11. 53-131 The present invention relates to a stamping attachment for capping machines and more particularly to a device for stamping, printing, embossing, or otherwise marking a cap or inner seal for vials or bottles containing pharmaceutical products or the like.
The invention is of particular utility for marking code letters, numbers, symbols, or other indicia on an inner seal of containers, such as the crimp seal on multiple dose vials.
Our invention is of particular utility for detecting counterfeiting of the labels on the vials or bottles containing costly materials, such as pharmaceuticals. It is also of advantage in preventing mislabeling of vials or bottles in preparation for the market, as the code letter, number, or other symbol will indicate to the operator in charge of the labeling machine the contents of the container, so that insurance is provided against the application of wrong labels.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers have had to contend with counterfeiters who either replace labels on packaged products with other labels of the manufacturer, or with counterfeited labels which indicate a higher potency or weight for the contents of the vial or bottle than is actually the case, such counterfeiting frequently occurring with hormones, vitamins, antibiotics, and the like. By providing an inner seal carrying a code number, letter or other symbol, the manufacturer can easily determine whether misrepresentation has taken place, and also whether the contents are of his own manufacture.
In accordance with the present invention, a stamping or coding attachment is applied to the chute or inclined track of known capping machines, for stamping or otherwise marking each of a series of metal or plastic disks or caps being fed through such chute to the capping mechanism. In the attachment of our invention, the operation of the stamping device is synchronized with the feeding means for the capping mechanism in such manner that after each stepwise feeding of the vials or bottles, which may, if desired, have previously been stoppered, and while the feeding means is in inactive position, i.e., during a dwell in the intermittent feeding of the caps, an electric circuit is closed which effects more or less instantaneous operation of the stamping mechanism. By such arrangement, the disc or cap registering at such moment with the stamping device is maintained stationary during the operative movement of the stamping member.
Other features and advantages of our invention will become apparent from the following detailed description thereof taken together with the accompanying drawings which show, by way of example, a satisfactory form of our improved attachment applied to a known type of capping machine. In said drawing,
Fig. l is a diagrammatic view, in elevation, of the capping machine with our improved attachment applied thereto, said attachment being shown in position for stamping, embossing, or otherwise marking a disc or cap 2,963,839 Patented Dec. 13, 1960 in the cap feeding chute of the machine, one of the capped vials being shown in position under the sealing head of the capping machine;
Fig. 2 is a view similar to Fig. 1, but showing the position of the parts in the next step of the cycle of operations of the capping machine, the plunger of the stamping device being shown in the retracted or inoperative position;
Fig. 3 shows an enlarged longitudinal section through the stamping attachment;
Fig. 4 is an enlarged sectional view of the holder for the marking dies;
Fig. 4a is an end view thereof;
Figs. 5 and 5a are details showing a longitudinal section and an end view of the housing for the die holder;
Figs. 6 and 6a show, respectively, a central longitudinal section and an end view of the plunger assembly;
Fig. 7 is an end view of the closure plate for the plunger guide; while Fig. 8 is a perspective view of the commercial form of the stamping attachment.
Referring to the drawing, the capping machine is shown generally at 10. It may be of any known or suitable type, the one illustrated being an Alseco Type SC capping machine, manufactured by the Aluminum Seal Co. of Richmond, Indiana. This machine includes a rotary table 11 driven in any suitable way, as by a spindle 12, from which table the vials indicated at 13 are transferred to a stationary table 14 by a shuttle bar 15. The latter has a forwardly extending vial-engaging arm 16 and two spacer fingers 17. The shuttle bar is oscillated in known manner in a horizontal plane and through an elliptical path in such manner that the forward arm 16 removes the vials from the rotary table 11 and slides them onto the stationary table 14, while the fingers 17 maintain the vials in properly spaced relation. A chute 18 onto which the metal discs or caps 19 are fed from a hopper 20 is arranged in the path of the vials as they slide from the rotary table 11 onto the table 14 in such manner that as a vial passes under the gravity feed chute, it picks up the lowermost cap, as best shown in Fig. 2. The lowermost cap is held within the chute by springs at both sides thereof (not shown), such springs yielding to release the cap as the same is moved forward on engagement by the rim of the vial. Toward the end of its movement to the right, as indicated in Fig. 1, the shuttle bar brings the rightmost vial, designated by a, into registry with the sealing head 18a, which carries rollers operating to bend the soft metal disc beneath the rim and about the neck of the vial. As this mechanism forms no part of the present invention, it has not been shown in detail. After the sealing operation is completed, the vial is pushed onto a conveyor 20a.
In accordance with the invention, there is provided, intermediate the ends of the chute 18, a stamping or marking device indicated generally at 21. The stamping device includes a die holder 22 and a plunger 23. These are mounted on opposite walls of the chute 18, the walls of the latter being provided with suitable openings as shown at 24 and 25. The plunger 23 reciprocates within the longitudinal bore 26 of a guide 27 which is secured to a reinforced portion indicated at 28 of the chute 18, as by means of screws 2?. These screws pass through openings 30 which form a continuation of bores 31 extending longitudinally of the guide 27 and are received in suitably tapped holes in the chute wall.
The plunger 23 includes an enlarged end portion 32 which is centrally bored to receive the stem 33 of a plunger head 34 (Fig. 6) which may be approximately of the same diameter as the end portion 32. The replaceable head 34 is preferably of brass and is detach- 3 ably secured in position by the set screw 35. The intermediate portion 36 of the plunger is bored to receive the rod 37 which is made of iron or other magnetic material and is secured'within the intermediate portion 13byascrew38. V
The plunger rod 37 forms the armature of a solenoid 39 shown diagammatically in Fig. 3, and in commercial form in Fig. 8. The housing of the solenoid 39 is secured by means of screws to the flange 4t} (Fig.3) whichis provided 'with tapped holes 41 (Fig. 7) to receive such screws. The circuit of the solenoid includes a micro-switch 42 and the conductors '43, 44'which lead to a source of current. The switch'42 is normally open andis located at a suitable point on the'capping machine in the path of movement of the shuttle bar 15, as shown in Figs. 1, 2. and 8, the switch being shown open in Fig. 2 and closed in Figs. 1 and 8. 7
As indicated in Fig. 1, in the extreme right position of the shuttle bar, in which its 'arm'lo prevents advance of the next vial indicated at b on the table 11 into position for removing the next cap from the chute 13, the switch 42 is closed, there being at such time a dwell in the movement of the caps down the chute. It will be understood that the chute, during the normal operation of the appar-atus is at all times filled with a row of caps which advance step-by-step as a cap is withdrawn by a vial. Upon closingot the switch, the solenoid is energized and the plunger is moved upwardly as viewed in Fig. 3, so that the plunger head 34 moves into the chute, engages the cap 19 which at such moment is in registry therewith, and moves such cap into position for stamping, as will shortly be explained.
As the return movement of the shuttle bar begins, the switch '42 is opened by its spring, the solenoid is deenergized, and the plunger moves into inoperative position either by gravity or by the aid of a spring (not shown).
The die holder 22 is positioned in a housing 45 having an end flange 46 provided with tapped holes 47 which register with tapped holes in an enlarged'or reinforced portion of the chute wall, flange 46 being secured to the chute wall by screws 48. The die holder 22 is' fixed within the housing 45 by means of a pin 49 and is provided with a knurled grasping knob 5i (Fig. 4).
The holder is provided with a plurality of longitudinal bores which receive dies 52 whose projecting end faces carry the marking indicia 53. The bores 51 are threaded fora portion thereof to receive adjustable screws 54 which determine theextent to which the ends of the dies project beyond the face of the holder. The dies are held in adjusted'position by set screws 55.
' The operation of the stamping mechanism will be clear from the foregoing description.
' The caps 19 remain stationary within the chute 18 until the shuttle bar moves the vial b beneath the chute 18 and onto the table 14 as shown in Fig. 2. During this movement, the head or rim of the vial next in line removes the lowermost cap and the stack of caps Within the chute advances a distance corresponding'to the diameter of a cap. During each dwell in the movement'of the caps, one of them is in registry with the plunger 23 and with the oppositely disposed die holder 22. As the shuttle bar in its reciprocating movement along an elliptical horizontal path brings a vial beneath the sealing head 13a of the capping machine, it closes the switch 42 and causes energization of the solenoid. The plunger thereupon picks up a cap and forces the same against the dies which stamp or impress the selected indicia upon the cap. Upon openingof the switch 42, the plunger '23 returns to inoperative position, the cap remaining within the chute. It will be understood that the diameter of the plunger head and the degree of movement thereof within the chute are so determined with reference to the depth of the cap that the next/upper cap in the chute is unable to advance during the stamping operation. It will also be seen that the stamping operation on a cap is initiated while such cap is held against downward movement by the row of caps beneath it in the chute, the only restraining means for such caps being at the discharge end of the chute.
It will be seen from the foregoing that we have provided a simple and inexpensive stamping or marking attachment for capping machines which can be easily applied to existing machines of various types and whose operation can be controlled in'synchronism with the movement of the vials, bottles, or the like, in the capping machine.
Variations from the specific embodiment described herein-above may be resorted to by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. Thus the stamping or marking attachment can be secured to a vertical portion of the chute instead of to the inclined portion. Also, it is immaterial what type of mechanism is employed for advancing the vials in the capping machine, provided onlythat such mechanism operates in such manner as to cause a dwell in the movement of the caps down the chute of sulficient duration for the operation of the plunger of the stamping or marking attachment.
If desired, the die holder can be eliminated and the plunger head constructed as the die holder, in which case the inside of the cap will be marked or embossed; or the position of the caps as they pass the plunger 23 can be inverted, so that the plunger with the'die or dies therein will mark the outside of the caps, the chute then having a reverse bend below the plunger, so that the caps will be discharged from the chute in the position shown in Figs. 1 and 2. In a further modification, the'plunger, constructed to act also as the die holder, can occupy the position of the die holder 22 as shown in the drawings, so that upon operation of the plunger, it will force the registering cap against the opposite wall of the chute and mark the outside of the cap.
1; In a vial capping machine, the combination with a gravity feed chute for caps in which a row of caps advances step-by-step with intermediate dwells, the caps being freely movable within the chute and being stacked therein in abutting relation, means for yieldingly restraining movement of the lowermost cap at the discharge end of the chute, a sealing head for securing the caps to the vials, and means for advancing the vials 'step-by-step beneath the mouth of the chute for removing the caps therefrom and for delivering the cap-bearing vials in spaced relation to the sealing head, of a stamping device associated" with the chute intermediate the ends of the latter and including a reciprocating plunger and die means for marking the caps, the chute having an opening in registry with the plunger, means for operating the plunger to cause the same to enter the chute to efiect marking of the caps in the chute in succession, and mechanism for controlling said operating means in timed relation to the movement of the vials to cause marking of a cap resting on the cap immediately below it during a dwell in the travel of the caps through the chute.
2. The combination as defined in claim 1 wherein the mechanism for controlling the plunger operating means is in turn operated by the vial advancing means;
3. The combination as defined in claim 1 including a solenoid for operating the plunger and an electric switch controlling the solenoid circuit and operated by the vial advancing means.
4. The combination 'as'defined in claim 1 wherein the die means is fixed to the wall of the chute opposite the plunger, said plunger acting to press the exterior surface of the caps against said die means.
5. A stamping attachment for capping machines comprising a plunger guide adapted to be attached to a wall of a gravity feed chute for caps in which the latter advance step-by-step with intermediate dwells,,said guide having a longitudinal bore and said chute having an opening in registry therewith, a solenoid operated plunger slidable in 5 said bore, a housing adapted to be secured to the 0pposite wall of the chute in registry with the plunger, a die holder detachably mounted in said housing, a switch controlling the solenoid circuit and means for operating the switch in synchronism with the movement of the vials in the capping machine.
6. A stamping attachment as defined in claim 5 wherein the die holder is provided with a plurality of bores for receiving a plurality of marking dies, means for limiting the penetration of the dies into said bores to predetermine the degree of extension of the die beyond the holder.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,281,063 Pearson Oct. 8, 1918 6 Stabler Oct. 14, 1919 Davis Oct. 17, 1933 Sharp June 19, 1934 Hakogi Apr. 20, 1937 Booth Dec. 6, 1938 Brinton Dec. 8, 1942 Lehmann et a1. Mar. 16, 1943 Brinton Feb. 1, 1944 Zimmerman Nov. 13, 1951 Wood et a1 Apr. 28, 1953 Zimmerman May 26, 1953 Oostanzo Oct. 6, 1953 Phipps Oct. 6, 1953