US 3031556 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 24, 1962 E. E. LAKSO ETAL COTTON DRIER FOR COTTONING MACHINES Filed April 17, 1961 INVENTORS LAKSO EINO E. AUSTIN S. CHANDLER ATTORNEY United States Patent lice 3,031,556 COTTON DRIER FOR COTTONING MACHHNES Eino E. Lakso and Austin S. Chandler, Fitchhurg, Mass,
assignors to The Lakso Company Incorporated, Fitchburg, Mass., a corporation of Massachusetts Filed Apr. 17, 1961, Ser. No. 103,627
2 Claims. (Cl. 219-19) In the packaging of small articles particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, cotton wads cut from coils are automatically tucked into the open ends of the filled containers just before the cap is applied to the container, the cotton essentially filling the neck of the container in order to hold the contents, such as tablets, substantially immovable to prevent damage.
This cotton contains a certain amount of moisture, for instance in the neighborhood of from fiveto eight percent,
' and of course when the cap is placed on the container this moisture is trapped inside and in some cases will cause a deleterious action on the contents.
It is the primary object of the present invention to provide a simple and effective means for drying the cotton and it has been found that the moisture can be reduced to as low as one percent so that damage to the container contents is avoided.
Further objects of the invention include the provision of a cotton drying device which may be easily applied and attached to an existing cottoning machine adjacent the wadding mechanism so that the cotton is dried just prior to its application to the containers as aforesaid and will pick up a minimum of moisture from the atmosphere between the drying operation and the insertion of the cotton wads into the individual containers.
It has been found that generally conventional means for drying require heat enough so that when the machine stops for any reason, such as starvation of the line of containers arranged on a conveyor leading into the cottoning apparatus, the residual heat is intense enough to char and even burn the cotton; and it is another object of the present invention to provide a heating means for drying the cotton, which heating means is effective substantially instantaneously to cease to emit heat when the machine shuts oif, i.e., when the bottles stop advancing to the cottoning device; and on the other hand the heat just as instantaneously reaches a maximum upon the re-starting of the machine when the bottles once again start moving along to the cottoning device; and the provision of heating means in the form of infra-red quartz lamps mounted in a new and improved arrangement and container through which the cotton passes to the cottoning apparatus and including an On and Off switch which is controlled by the containers themselves as they move along toward the cottoner, such switch having an actuator extending into very close proximity to the point of cottoning and being of a nature such that when containers are present the heat is applied to the cotton which is moving through the drying apparatus but instantly upon the absence of bottles passing the switch actuator, the switch is turned off, the cottoning stops, and the infra-red quartz lamps instantaneously collapse insofar as the heat is concerned; but upon the containers once again starting up, the switch is actuated to rc-energize the machine and the heat substantially instantaneously reaches a maximum to provide for the requisite drying of the cotton as it once more is fed through the drier to the cottoning machine.
The invention further relates to arrangements and combinations of parts which will be hereinafter described and more particularly set forth in the appended claims.
Reference is to be had to the accompanying drawings, in which:
3,031,556 I Patented Apr. 24, 1962 FIG. 1 is a perspective front view of the cottoning machine to which the drier is applied;
FIG. 2 shows the drying apparatus in open position to illustrate the same, and
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view illustrating the operation of the switch.
The drier of the present invention can be utilized with any cottoning or wadding machine such machines being well known in the art. In general each one comprises, mounted on asuitable framework, guides for instance as shown at 10 which lead the cotton in a substantially endless coil form as indicated at 12, to the measuring cutoff and wadding apparatus, this apparatus being well known in the art and in general including for instance a cutoff knife 14, a reciprocating rod at 16 which stuffs the cutofi length of cotton wadding into the neck of the advancing bottles 18 which are guided along a guide rail 20 as by a conveyor 22. Any suitable means may be utilized for drawing the cotton as for instance to the right in intermittent steps in FIG. 1 in order to correctly position it at the place located, and such means as well as the wadding rod 16, the cutoff knife 14, etc. are suitably driven by cams, etc. (not shown) in the proper timed relation to each other.
There is an On and Off control switch 23 which is operated by an elongated light-weight lever 24 in the nature of a feeler. When this feeler (see FIG. 3) does not sense bottles, it drops, and the entire machine including the electrically energized cotton drying apparatus, is shut olf; but as soon as bottles again lift the feeler 24, the main circuit will be energized to energize the electric cotton drying mechanism as well as the cottoning mechanism. There is also a manually operated On and CE switch 26.
The cotton drying mechanism per se is conveniently located as close to the point where the cotton will be stuffed into the containers as is possible, and may comprise for instance a lower container generally indicated at 28, this having a bottom wall 30 over which the cotton is adapted to be drawn about suitable guides, etc. from a container 32. The container 28 includes end and side walls, the cotton entering through one end wall and exiting through the other end wall, passing thence to the guides 10 and from there to the cottoning apparatus briefly described above.
Conveniently mounted as for instance on a hinge or the like, the container 28 (including the bottom end walls and side walls), is provided with a cover member 34 which may have a handle to conveniently open the same. This cover member is provided with two elongated series of infra-red quartz lamps, each of which is generally indicated at 36. These lamps are mounted in aluminum ceramic lampholders and are commercially available from the Miskella Infra-Red Company of Cleveland, Ohio. As stated, the lamps are electrically energized and turn on and off with the switch 23 actuated by feeler 24.
The principal characteristic of these infra-red quartz lamps is that heat is immediately projected upon energization thereof and this heat at once dries the cotton as for instance from a seven or eight percent of moisture down to a one or two percent of moisture as the cotton exits from the drier. It is also a very important characteristic of the present invention that the quartz lamps immediately cool and fail to project any heat as soon as the current is turned off.
The advantage of the infra-red quartz lamps is therefore that the cotton in the drier will not be scorched or burned when the machine stops due to a starvation of the line of bottles or for any other reason which actuates the switch 23. Immediately upon such stoppage, the lamps go out and the heat is substantially instantaneously withdrawn, so that the cotton is not injured; but on the other herein disclosed, otherwise than as set hand, immediately the machine starts up again, the heat is present and dries the cotton to a uniform degree, regardless of the stopping and starting of the machine.
Therefore itwill be seen that the objects of the invention have been carried out and there is thus provided a relatively simple but effective means for drying the cotton without any damage thereto during periods of idleness of the machine as would be the case were electric resistance units to be utilized in the drying operation.
Having thus described our invention and the advantages thereof, we do not wish to be limited to the details forth in the claims, but what we claim is: a
1. A cottoning -machine comprising in combination a conveyor for traveling containers along a predetermined path, a cottoning device adapted to cut and wad cotton 'in said containers at a predetermined point, operating means for the conveyor and device, an On and Off switch having an actuator located in the path of said containers, said switch de-energizing the operating means to stop the same when there are no containers present and being adapted to once more energize the operating means when the containers impinge upon the switch actuator, with a substantially instantaneous heating and cotton drying means including an enclosure, 21 series of instantaneously operating heat lamps, arranged therein and in circuit with said switch so that the heat of the lamps collapses immediately upon the tripping of the switch actuator to de-energize the operating means.
2. The cottoning machine of claim 1 wherein the lamps are infra-red quartz ceramic heat lamps.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Thompson May 25, 1954 Miskella i July 22, 1958 heat 2 Doyle May 19, '1953