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Publication numberUS3060943 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 30, 1962
Filing dateAug 17, 1959
Priority dateAug 17, 1959
Publication numberUS 3060943 A, US 3060943A, US-A-3060943, US3060943 A, US3060943A
InventorsClayton William B
Original AssigneeMerrick Medicine Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container cleaning apparatus and method
US 3060943 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 30, 1962 W. B. CLAYTON CONTAINER CLEANING APPARATUS AND METHOD 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Aug. 17, 1959 INVENTOR,

WILLIAM B. CLAYTON A TTORN E YS Oct 30, 1962 w. B. CLAYTON CONTAINER CLEANING APPARATUS AND METHOD Filed Aug. 17, 1959 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR,

WILLIAM B. CLAYTON EIE 3 5% WW I ATTORNEYS Oct. 30, 1962 w. B. CLAYTON 3,060,943

- CONTAINER CLEANING APPARATUS AND METHOD Filed Aug. 17, 1959 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTOR." WILLIAM B. CLAYTON,

67 EW Maw A TTORNEYS Oct. 30, 1962 w. B. CLAYTON 3,060,943

CONTAINER CLEANING APPARATUS AND METHOD Filed Aug. 17, 1959 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR, T 7 WILLIAM B. CLAYTOI! BY I 5% vm A TTORNEYS United States Patent 3,060943 CONTAINER CLEANING APPARATUS AND METHOD Wiliiarn 3. Clayton, Waco, Tex., assignor to Merrick Medicine Company, Waco, Tex., a corporation of Texas Filed Aug. 17, 1959, Ser. No. 834,109 23 Claims. ((11. 134-3) This invention relates to apparatus for and a method of cleaning containers, more particularly for removing lint, dust or other particulate substances from containers such as medicine bottles.

Bottles used for medicines and other substances intended for administration to humans and animals ordinarily are supplied by bottle manufacturers in sterile condition, packed in cardboard shipping cases, tops or caps off. In spite of the taking of reasonable precautions to keep the bottles clean, it is known by experience that cardboard or paper lint and other foreign matter finds its way into the packed containers during shipping, handling and storage of the packing cases. Even though such foreign particles should be and usually are sterile, their presence in the bottles or other containers at the time of filling is obviously objectionable. Removing the foreign substances just prior to filling the containers has, in the past, been somewhat troublesome, time consuming and inefiicient.

An object of the invention is to provide a new and improved method for removing fine particles of foreign matter, e.g. packing case lint or the like, from containers preparatory to filling. In accordance with the invention, containers to be cleaned are positioned open ends down, and are struck hammer like blows or impacts. Preferably this is accomplished by positioning the container, open end down, on a support; and oscillating the support vertically. During vertical movement of the support, the latter is momentarily or temporarily separated vertically from the container, or the container is separated from the support, after which the support and the container re-engage each other, so that the container strikes or is struck by the support with a jarring or hammer like blow. Preferably the container is also subjected to jarring or hammer like blows in directions other than vertical, eg in horizontal or substantally horizontal directions at various angles. The jarring, hammer like blows have been found effectively to loosen or dislodge and remove particles adhering to the container inner surfaces. Preferably, the jarring of the containers is accompanied or followed by purging with a stream of purified fluid, e.g. air.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved apparatus for cleaning containers. Various forms of apparatus may be used for practicing the method outlined above, but in the preferred form a bottle or container support provided with a plurality of bottle seats is oscillated, as by tipping back and forth about a horizontal axis, so as alternately to raise and lower the seats and preferably also to tip the containers back and forth. A nozzle is positioned adjacent to the support for directing a jet of purging fluid upwardly into the containers.

Another object of the invention is to provide an apparatus of the kind referred to including mechanism for moving the container support relatively to the jet nozzle, generally transversely to the direction of the jet, so that the purging fluid will first enter the container at one side and flow upwardly, then across the container, and downwardly and out of the other side; and thereafter will enter the container at its other side and flow upwardly, then across, and downwardly and out at its one side.

A further object of the invention is to provide an improved apparatus for purifying purging fluid, such as air, for use in cleaning containers.

Other objects will become apparent from a reading of the following description, the appended claims, and the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a top plan view of apparatus embodying the invention, some parts being broken away and others shown in horizontal section, and certain piping or conduit connections being omitted for clearer disclosure of the illustrative mechanism;

FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary top view partly in plan and partly in horizontal section illustrating a frame construction and mechanism for oscillating a container support;

FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary vertical section illustrating mechanism for rotating and oscillating the container support in elevation;

FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary elevation on an enlarged scale showing a container guiding and aligning means and means for adjustably mounting a jet nozzle;

FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary top plan view of the construction shown in FIGURE 4;

FIGURE 6 is an exploded perspective view of a container guiding and aligning construction including an adjustable mounting therefor;

FIGURE 7 is a detailed vertical section on the line 77 of FIGURE 3 illustrating an oscillatory shaft mounting on an enlarged scale;

FIGURE 8 is a detailed elevational view on an enlarged scale of a movable mounting for belt tensioning pulleys, a frame part being shown in section; and

FIGURE 9 is a flow sheet diagrammatically depicting apparatus for purifying container purging fluid.

In accordance with the invention considered in its general nature, containers are supported open ends down, are subjected to sharp or somewhat hammer like blows, and are purged by a current such as a jet of purified fluid, for example, air. The jarring or hammer blow impacting of the containers and the flowing of purging fluid within the containers cooperate to dislodge and remove lint and other foreign or solid particles. Broadly considered, the illustrative form of apparatus includes a frame F on which a support S for containers C is mounted in such relation to a jet nozzle N that the containers, after having been jarred or subjected to hammer like blows, are moved into registration with the nozzle N so as to be purged of particles'dislodged or loosened by the hammer like blows. Preferably, the purging fluid, such as air, is subjected to purifying treatment before being delivered to the nozzle N, and the jarring of the containers is continued after the fluid purging operation.

In the form shown for illustration, the frame F is constituted generally by legs land longitudinal and transverse marginal members 2 and 3, all of which may be formed of angle-iron section. The frame includes other parts to be referred to later for supporting elements of the operating mechanism, and a top T.

The container support S is constituted by a spoked wheel 4 on which a circular table '5 is removably mounted by fasteners 5 as shown in FIGURE 3. The table 5 is provided with a plurality of circumferentially spaced openings 6 extending vertically through the table, container receiving seats 7 of rubber or similar material being inserted into the openings 6 or fastened around the openings 6. The table '5 may be formed of plywood or other suitable light material, and, being detachable from wheel 4, may be replaced by a table of different size or one with a different arrangement in the dimensions, spacing and pattern design of openings 6 according to the operation to be performed, such as a change in the size, design and capacity of the container C to be cleaned. The entire support structure S, including the wheel 4 and table 5, is

r p 3 carried on a shaft 8 which is mounted on the frame with its axis extending vertically but so as to be oscillatable about a horizontal axis transverse to the vertical shaft axis.

A suitable form of shaft mounting is best illustrated in FIGURES 3 and 7 which show two frame cross members 9 -serving to support two spaced pillow blocks 10 recessed at 11 to receive roller bearing assemblies 12 in which are mounted stub pintles 13 extending horizontally from a vertical axis shaft bearing 14. Caps 15 secured to the pillow blocks 10 by screws 15 hold the anti-friction assembly bearings 12 in place. Another practicable method of shaft mounting would be to use, in place of the stub pintles 13, a single pin which would pass horizontally through a hole bored through shaft 8 and held in place by a dowel or set screws.

The shaft 8 is not rotatable in the bearing 14 but is oscillatable about the axis of the stub pintles 13. A collar or flange 16 on the shaft 8 rests upon the top of the bearing 14 for holding the shaft against downward movement. The support assembly S is mounted for rotation on the upper end of the shaft 8 through the medium of an anti-friction bearing assembly 17 interposed between the top of the collar or flange 16 and the bottom of the hub 4 of the spoked wheel 4, a further anti-friction bearing assembly 18, washer 19 and nut 20 being mounted on the shaft 8 above the wheel hub 4 for preventing the support S from moving upward. The nut 20 may be of the self-locking type .or any supplemental locking means such as a set screw may be employed for preventing unscrewing of the nut.

Mechanism for rotating the container supporting table 5 continuously includes an electric motor 21 supported on a base plate 22 carried by longitudinal frame members 23. The motor pulley 24 drives a belt 25 and in turn a pulley 26 on the input side of a variable speed transmission mechanism 27 of any known or suitable type carried by a base 28 supported on the frame members 23. The output pulley 29 of the variable speed transmission 27 drives a belt 30 which is trained around a pulley 3 1 on a shaft 32 rotatable in bearings 33 supported on the frame members 23.

The shaft 32 is equipped with a further pulley 34 which drives a belt 35 trained around the input shaft pulley -36 of a geared speed reducing unit 37 mounted on a base 38 carried by the frame members 23. The output shafts of the speed reducer 37 is equipped with a three-step pulley 39 for selective speed driving of a belt 40, the two stretches of which are trained over a pair of belt tensioning and direction changing pulleys 41, the bight of the belt 40 engaging a pulley 42 secured to the hub 4 of the spoked wheel 4.

In operation, the drive from the prime mover or motor 21 is transmitted through the belt 25, the variable speed transmission 27, the belt 30, the shaft 32, the belt 35, the speed reducing unit 37 and the belt 40 to the container'support S for rotating the latter relatively slowly so as to bring containers C positioned on the seats successively over the jet nozzle N. The speed of rotation may, for example, be about'one revolution per minute and may be varied or adjusted to suit the particular operation being performed by changing the setting of the variable speed transmission 27 or shifting the belt 40 to a different step of the pulley 39, or by making both adjustments.

As previously stated, the shaft 8 is oscillatable about the axis of the stub pintles '13. Since the pulley 42 on the wheel hub 4 is spaced from the transverse pintle axis axially of the shaft 8, oscillation of the shaft causes the pulley 42 itself to oscillate substantially horizontally. This tends alternately to slacken and tighten the belt 40 extending between the pulley 42 and the stepped pulley 39. In order to avoid stretching or even breaking the belt 40 and so as to maintain the belt under substantially constant tension despite oscillation of the pulley 42,"

the belt tensioning pulleys 41 are mounted to oscillate in phase with oscillation of the shaft 8 and pulley 42. With particular reference to FIGURES 1, 3 and 8, the tensioning pulleys 41 are mounted on a supporting device, generally designated43, which is carried on a track provided by a bar 44 adjustably bolted at 44 to the frame cross member 9. The device 43 acts as a crosshead, and comprises two vertical plates or standards 45 on which the pulleys 41 are respectively journalled, and a base 46. The bottom face of the base 46 is formed with four hemispherical recesses, each of which receives an antifriction ball 47, the four balls rollingly engaging the track plate 44. The crosshead base 46 is constrained against lateral movement with respect to the track 44 by four bolts 48 positioned at opposite corners of the base and equipped with nuts 49 for mounting spacing and guiding sleeves 59 engageable with the edges of the track 44. The crosshead mounting thus constituted enables the pulley supporting device 43 in its entirety to oscillate along the track 44 without being displaceable laterally from the track.

Mechanism for biassing the crosshead 43 and pulleys 41 to hold the latter in belt tensioning contact with the belt 40 includes a spring 51 interposed between a stud 52 fixed to the outer end of the track 44 and an eye-bolt 53 extending through an angle piece 54 carried :by the bolts 48 at the end of the cross head base 46 closest to the shaft 8. The spring 51 is tensioned adjustably by a nut 55. The force of the spring tends to move the pulley mounting device 43 toward the right as viewed in FIGURES l, 3 and 8 so as to urge the pulleys 41 into tensioning contact with the belt 40. However, the spring 51 may yield so as to permit the pulleys 41 to move toward the left and thus avoid undue stressing of the belt 40.

Mechanism for oscillating the shaft 8 and container support S is also driven by the motor 21 through the belt 25, variable speed transmission 27, belt 30 and shaft 32. The shaft 32 is provided with a disc 56 to which a crank disc 57 is adjust-ably secured by bolts 58. The crank disc 57 carries a crank pin 59 connected to a pitman 60 to a wrist pin bearing 61 carried by a sleeve 62 secured to the lower end of the shaft 8. Rotation of the shaft 32 and hence the crank pin 59 will oscillate the lower end of the shaft -8 about the axis of the stub pintles 1'3 and consequently oscillate the circle of seats 7 in the container supporting table 5 vertically. It should be noted that the drive train between the motor 21 and the crank pin 59 does not include speed reducing drive provided by the belt 35, the pulleys 34 and 36 and the speed reducer 37 which is included in the drive to the support rotating pulley 42. Consequently, the frequency of oscillation of the shaft 8 is much greater than the speed of rotation of the container supponting table 5 with the result that during a single revolution of the table, the seats 7 on the table will be oscillated vertically through a multiplicity of cycles. The frequency of oscillation of the table seats '7 may nevertheless be varied by selective setting of the variable speed transmission 27, and the amplitude of oscillation may be varied by shifting the crank disc 57 to different degrees of eccentricity with respect to the disc 56 on the shaft 32.

It is desirable to align the containers C accurately in the seats 7 and in the path of the purging fluid jet as the containers are moved over the nozzle N. This may.

best be achieved by providing an adjustable container guiding and aligning device above the table and an adjustable mounting for the nozzle N below the table. In the form shown, the mountings for the container guiding and aligning device and for the nozzle are both carried by a supporting column 63 shown in FIGURE 4 as being connected to the frame F by a bracket 64. Upper and lower arms 65 and 66 are clamped to the column 63 by screws 65* and 66 The outer ends of the arms 65 and 66 are provided with screws 65* and 66 for clamping a standard 67 in vertical position. A guide supporting arm 68 is clamped to the upper end of the standard 67 by screws 53 and is formed at its outer end to receive and clamp a cylindrical block 69 formed with a flange 69 which overlies the outer end of the arm 68 and insures against total downward displacement of the block 69. The block 69 is threaded at 69 to receive a screw 79 extending through a washer 71 and a clamping disc 72 positioned above apair of guide finger mounting locks 73, the arrangement being such that tightening of the screw 79 in the block 69 will cause the disc 72 to hold the blocks 73 in adjusted positions.

Extending through bores in the blocks 73 are guide fingers 74 held in adjusted positions relative to the blocks by set screws 75 to extend tangentially to the circle of openings 6 and seats 7. The fingers 74 are resilient, being made, for example, of wire and are return bent at their outer ends and flared outwardly away from each other at 74- so as to define a gap or slot 74 adapted to receive containers C as they approach a position above the nozzle N. Any containers which may have been tipped radially with respect to the table 5, although still remaining on the seats 7, will be guided and aligned in substantially vertical position by their contact with the fingers 74. The slot or gap 74 is desirably located just in advance of the nozzle N with respect to the direction of rotation of the table 5. The fingers 74 may be adjusted to achieve this relative positioning of the slot by loosening the set screws 75 and sliding the fingers within the blocks 73. The fingers may be adjusted further by loosening the screw 79 and shifting the blocks 73- relatively to the cylindrical mounting block 69. Substantial vertical adjustment of the fingers 74 for adapting the apparatus for cleaning containers of different sizes may be effected by loosening the clamping screws 65* and 66 and moving the standard 67, the arm 68 and the block 69 upwardly or downwardly with respect to the frame F, followed by re-tightening of the clamping screws.

The means for adjustably mounting the nozzle N includes an arm 76 clamped by screws 76 to the column 63 between the previously mentioned arms 65 and 66. The outer end of the arm 76 clamps in vertical position a cylindrical member 77, the upper end of which receives for horizontal adjustment a rod 78 on which is mounted a block 79 through which the shank or stem 80 of the nozzle N extends. This mounting of the nozzle N provides for several adjustments including a vertical adjustment effected by positioning the arm 76 at selected heights on the column 63, adjustment about the vertical axis of the cylindrical member 77, horizontal adjustments by swinging the arm 76 on the column 63 and by rotating the cylindrical member 77, a horizontal adjustment by sliding the rod 78 with respect to the cylinder member 77, and rocking of the block 79 about a horizontal axis for tipping the nozzle N. It thus is possible very accurately to locate the nozzle N with respect to the table openings 6 and the surrounding seats 7 and to adapt the purging fluid apparatus for use in connection with tables of different sizes.

Although the guide fingers 74 align the containers C as they approach the nozzle N, this alignment is principally if not entirely, effective only to correct misalignment of the containers radially with respect to the table. In order that the containers may be maintained in substantially vertical position, circumferentially of the table, additional structure is provided for loosely engaging portions of the containers not engageable by the fingers 74. As shown in FIGURES l, 4 and 5, four vertically extending studs 81 are mounted on a table at the four corners of an imaginary rectangle within which each table opening 6 and seat 7 are centered. The studs 81 extend upwardly into the opposite ends of flexible tubes 82 of polyethylene or like material, which are crossed over one another to provide a resilient centering guide for the containers C. The tubes 82 are smooth and flexible and are so positioned with respect to each other and the seats 7 as to maintain the containers C in substantially vertical and correctly aligned positions but not so as to grip the containers and prevent them from moving quite freely vertically with respect to the table 5.

In operation, considered very briefly, when the table loaded with containers is rotated and simultaneously oscillated, the containers are moved clockwise, as viewed in FIGURES 1 and 5, toward the nozzle N and during this movement the oscillation of the table, and hence the raising and lowering of the seats 7, causes the latter and the containers periodically to separate vertically from each other with resultant periodic re-engagernent of the containers and seats with hammer like impacts or blows. The relative movements of the containers and the support are not purely vertical, the containers being additionally subjected to hammer like impacts more or less horizontally against the container positioning tubes 82 which, though sufliciently resilient to avoid breaking the containers, have enough rigidity to jar the containers when impacting them sharply. The effect is to dislodge or loosen particles adhering to the insides of the container. The jet of purging fluid from the nozzle N and further jarring of the containers after they have been moved past the nozzle, complete the removal of foreign particles.

Ordinarily, the containers are substantially sterile when placed onto the table seats 7 and, of course, they should not be contaminated by the purging fluid. Accordingly, equipment is provided for purifying the air or other purging fluid delivered to the jet nozzle N. As diagrammatically shown in FIGURE 9, purging air is delivered from a drier 83 through a conduit 84 to a sealed box or enclosure 85 so as to flow around an electrical germicidal lamp of any suitable kind. Air which has passed through the enclosure 85 and around the lamp 86 flows through a conduit 87', filter 88 and conduit 89 to an air compressor 90 which delivers through a conduit 91 to a tank or receiver 92. The receiver 92 delivers air through a conduit 93 to the interior of a tube 94 of quartz glass or other suitable clear transparent glass or other material mounted within the enclosure 85 and providing a defined passage adjacent to and in the zone of germicidal effect of the lamp 86 so that the air will be subjected again to purifying action. The purified air leaving the tube 94 passes through a conduit 95 and a second filter 96 to the jet nozzle N. In this way the purging fluid is very efliciently conditioned for purging particles from the containers without recontaminating the latter.

The air treatment enclosure 85, the filters 88 and 96, the air compressor 90, the receiver 92, and parts of certain of the conduits shown in FIGURE 9, are also shown in constructional views in FIGURES 1, 2 and 3. However, in order not to obscure the showing of mechanism in the constructional views, considerable portions of the various conduits have been omitted from these views and shown only in FIGURE 9.

Operation Although phases of operation of the apparatus have been explained in connection with the foregoing description of the construction, a resume of a typical operation in practicing the method of the invention may be of general assistance in understanding the invention. A supply of containers may be supported upon a loading stand 97 carried by a bracket 98 on the frame F about midway of the length of the frame and in advance of the jet nozzle N. While the operation is essentially the same, irrespective of the kinds of containers treated, some set-up or initial adjustments may advantageously be made for treating containers of different kinds and sizes. The operating example to be described briefly is applicable to the removal of lint and other particles from necked glass bottles of three-ounce capacity, and

- generally elliptical cross section, width2 thicknessl% height to fill point-4% overaall height- 5 and finish of spout or neck threaded for a 22 mm. screw cap.

The speed of rotation of the container supporting the table 5 is adjusted to approximately 1 rpm. and the frequency of oscillation of the table 5 adjusted to approximately 320 cycles per minute by selectively setting the variable speed transmission unit 27 and entraining the belt 46 around the intermediate diameter step of the three-step pulley '39. The amplitude of oscillation of the table 5 is set at about /2" (at the circle of the openings 6 and seats 7) by adjusting the position of the crank disc 57 with respect to the disc 56 on the shaft 32.

The position of the nozzle N is adjusted by its mountings shown in FIGURE 4 so as to dispose the nozzle orifice radially with respect to the table about midway between the radially outermost and innermost parts of the seats 7 and the height of the nozzle is set as determined by experience and approximately as shown in FIGURE 4. The container guiding fingers 74 are adjusted by the mounting shown in'FIGURE 6 so that the gap or slot 74' will just accommodate properly aligned containers and will move into alignment any containers approaching the gap when not in substantially vertical position.

As the table 5 rotates clockwise, as viewed in'FlG URE 1, an operator manually removes containers from the loading stand 97 and places them open ends down with their necks extending into the seats 7. As the table 5 rotates and advances the loaded containers toward the nozzle N, the table oscillates vertically in decreasing amplitude, raising and lowering the seats 7. As each seat 7 moves vertically in one direction and then stops and reverses, the support and container separate vertically, leaving the associated container moving freely or floating in air, in a manner of speaking. Subsequently, the containers strike or are struck by the seats with generally vertical hammer like blows, loosening or dislodging particles adhering to the insides of the containers. Due to the constant tilting of the support, the containers are also impacted generally horizontally from different angles by the positioning elements 82. As the containers, already subjected to repeated hammer like blows, move over and past the nozzle N, the jet of purging fiuid first passes upwardly along the leading side of the container and then reverses to flow downwardly along the trailing side of the container. As the container moves on over the jet, the flow is reversed, passing upwardly along the trailing side of the container and then downwardly over the leading side of the container. The horizontal jarring of the containers continues during their passage over the jet. The containers are carried on around fromfthe jet to the opposite side of the frame, in transit being repeatedly subjected to hammer like blows, both horizontal and vertical. On arrival-at the other sideofthe frame, the containers may be removed by another operator and loaded onto a filling machine or conveyor leading to such a machine.

Optimum cleaning results may be obtained by first subjecting the containers to relatively light generally vertical hammer like blows with accompanying generally horizontal jarring, then purging them with fluid from the nozzle N while they are being tilted back and forth without be ing jarred vertically to any great extent but while being jarred horizontally, and then subjecting them to more intense vertical hammer like blows or jarring. The relative positioning of the loading stand 97, the jet nozzle N and the axis of the pintles 13 provides for this preferred operation. During movement from the loading station, adjacent the stand 97, to the purging station at the nozzle N, the containers are approaching the horizontal axis of tilting of the table 5 and consequently are subjected to relatively small and progressively decreasing amplitudes of vertical movement approaching zero, and the vertical hammer blows imparted to the containers become less and less as the containers approach the axis of tilting of the table, while the direction of horizontal jarring changes constantly. The nozzle is located at or immediately adjacent to a position so related to the table tilting axis that the movement of each bottle when over the nozzle N is substantially only a tilting back and forth and horizontal jarring without substantial up and down movement. As each container is moved on beyond the jet purging station, and away from the table tilting axis, it partakes of increasing up and down movement, and is therefore subjected to repeated vertical hammer blows of increasing intensity, reaching a maximum when each bottle has moved through an arc of approximately degrees (clockwise) from the purging station. From this point the table continues to revolve clockwise with the up and down movement becoming less and less, due to shortening the radius from the horizontal axis and consequently the length of the up and down stroke, until the containers reach the axis of the horizontal pintles 13 opposite the air jet nozzle. It is in approximately this position that the bottles are taken off and loaded onto the platform of the filling machine. Thus the bottles are subjected to slight vertical hammer blows, and then are subjected to the jet of air, which is followed, as the table revolves, by gradually subjecting them to increasingly violent up and down motion of the table top, the maximum being reached when they arrive at the point of the longest up and down movement at a 90 degree angle from the horizontal axis. The generally horizontal jarring continues throughout the travel of the containers from the loading position to the unloading position, the angle of generally horizontal impact varying progressively. Hence, the containers are tapped or impacted horizontally in different directions as well as vertically so that, regardless of where a particle may adhere to the inside of a container, at least some of the tapping or impacting will be in the direction most conducive to dislodgment.

The apparatus disclosed embodies the invention in a preferred form, capable of practicing the invention in an eflicient way, but the disclosure is intended to be illustrative and not definitive, the invention being defined in the claims.

I claim:

1. In a method of removing lint and other particles from open end containers, positioning a container to rest open end down and loosely on a support; and moving the support vertically in one direction and then stopping the movement Or the support in said one direction sufiiciently rapidly to effect firstly a vertical relative separation of the container and the support and secondly a vertical relative re-engaging movement of the container and support, the container and the support striking each other to impart a hammer like blow to the open end of the container.

2. In a method of removing lint and other particles from open end containers, positioning a container to rest open end down and loosely on a support; moving the support vertically in one direction and then stopping the movement of the support in said one direction sufiiciently rapidly to effect firstly a vertical relative separation of the container and the support and secondly a vertical relative re-engaging movement of the container and support, the container and the support striking each other to impart a hammer like blow to the open end of the container; and injecting a stream of purging fluid upwardly into the open end of the container.

3. In a method of removing lint and other particles from open end containers, positioning a container to rest open end down and loosely on a support; moving the support vertically in one direction and then stopping the movement of the support in said one direction sufiiciently rapidly to effect firstly a vertical relative separation of the container and the support and secondly a vertical relative re-engaging movement of the container and support, the container and the support striking each other to impart a hammer like blow to the open end of the container;

injecting a jet of purging fluid upwardly into the open end of the container; and effecting substantially horizontal movement of the container relative to said jet to cause the jet fluid first to flow upwardly within the container adjacent one side thereof and to return downwardly within the container adjacent the opposite side thereof, and then to flow upwardly within the container adjacent said opposite side thereof and to return downwardly within the container adjacent said one side thereof.

4. In a method of removing lint and other particles from open end containers, positioning a container to rest open end down and loosely on a support; moving the support vertically in one direction and then stopping the movement of the support in said one direction sufficiently rapidly to effect firstly a vertical relative separation of the container and the support and secondly a vertical relative re-engaging movement of the container and support, the container and the support striking each other to impart a hammer like blow to the open end of the container; purifying purging fluid by flowing it adjacent to an electrical germicidal lamp; and injecting a stream of the purified purging fluid upwardly into the open end of the container.

5. In a method of removing lint and other particles from open end containers, positioning a container to rest open end down and' loosely on a support; moving the support vertically in one direction and then stopping the movement of the support in said one direction sufliciently rapidly to effect firstly a vertical relative separation of the container and the support and secondly a vertical relative ire-engaging movement of the container and support, the container and the support striking each other to impart a hammer like blow to the open end of the container; and striking the container horizontally.

6. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers; a substantially horizontal support having a seat for supporting a container to rest open end down and loosely; means mounting said support to move and thereby move said seat vertically; and means for moving said support and said seat vertically in one direction and then stopping the movement of said seat in said one direction sufliciently rapidly to effect firstly a vertical relative separation of said seat and said container and secondly a vertical relative re-engaging movement of said seat and said container, whereby said seat and said container will strike each other to impart a hammer like blow to the open end of the container.

7. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers; a substantially horizontal support having a seat for supporting a container to rest open end down and loosely; means mounting said support to move and thereby move said seat vertically; means for moving said support and said seat vertically in one direction and then stopping the movement of said seat in said one direction suflioiently rapidly to effect firstly a vertical relative separation of said seat and said container and secondly a vertical relative re-engaging movement of said seat and said container, whereby said seat and said container will strike each other to impart a hammer like blow to the open end of the container; and means for injecting a stream of purging fluid upwardly into the open end of the container.

8. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers; a substantially horizontal support having a seat for supporting a container to rest open end down and loosely; means mounting said support to move and thereby move said seat vertically; means for moving said support and said seat vertically in one direction and then stopping the movement of said seat in said one direction sufliciently rapidly to effect firstly a vertical relative separation of said seat and said container and secondly a vertical relative reengaging movement of said seat and said container, whereby said seat and said container will strike each other to impart a hammer like blow to the open end of the container; means for injecting a stream of purging fluid upwardly into the open end of the container; and means for effecting substantially horizontal relative movement of said seat and said injecting means.

9. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers; a substantially horizontal support having a seat for supporting a container to rest open end down and loosely; means mounting said support to move and thereby move said seat vertically; means for moving said support and said seat vertically in one direction and then stopping the movement of said seat in said one direction sufiiciently rapidly to effect firstly a vertical relative separation of said seat and said container and secondly a vertical relative re-engaging movement of said seat and said container, whereby said seat and said container will strike each other to impart a hammer like blow to the open end of the container; a purging fluid purifying device comprising an electrical germicidal lamp,

and means for causing purging fluid to flow adjacent to said lamp; a jet nozzle mounted to discharge upwardly into the container on said seat; and means for conducting purging fluid from said fluid purifying device to said jet nozzle.

10. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers, a substantially horizontal table having a plurality of circumferentially spaced vertically extending openings respectively surrounded by seats for supporting containers to rest open ends down and loosely; means mounting said table to rotate about a generally vertical axis and to oscillate said seats vertically; and means for rotating said table and for oscillating said seats vertically with the frequency of oscillation such that said seats and the respectively associated containers are relatively separated vertically and then re-engage each other vertically, whereby said seats and said containers strike each other to impart hammer like blows to the open ends of the containers.

11. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers, a substantially horizontal table having a plurality of circumferentially spaced vertically extending openings respectively surrounded by seats for supporting containers to rest open ends down and loosely; means mounting said table to rotate about a generally vertical axis and to oscillate said seats vertically; means for rotating said table and for oscillating said seats vertically with the frequency of oscillation such that said seats and the respectively associated containers are relatively separated vertically and then reengage each other vertically, whereby said seats and said containers strike each other to impart hammer like blows to the open ends of the containers; and a nozzle mounted under said table for directing a jet of purging fluid upwardly through said openings and into the containers as the openings and containers pass successively over the nozzle in consequence of rotation of said table.

12. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers, a substantially vertical shaft; means mounting said shaft to oscillate about an axis transverse to the shaft axis; a substantially horizontal table mounted on said shaft and having a plurality of circumferentially spaced vertically extending openings respectively surrounded by seats for respectively supporting containers to rest open ends down and loosely; means for rotating said table; and means for oscillating said shaft about said transverse axis whereby oscillatably to tip said table and raise and lower said seats, said last-named means oscillating said shaft at such rapidity as to cause said seats and the respectively associated containers to be relatively separated vertically and then to re-engage each other and thus to impart hammer like blows to the open ends of the containers.

13. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers, a substantially vertical shaft; means mounting said shaft to oscillate about an axis transverse to the shaft axis; a substantially horizontal 1 1 s t table mounted on said shaft and having a plurality of circumferentially spaced vertically extending openings respectively surrounded by seats for respectively supporting containers to rest open ends down and loosely; means for rotating said table; means for oscillating said shaft about said transverse axis whereby oscillatably to tip said table and raise and lower said seats, said last-named means oscillating said shaft at such rapidity as to cause said seats and the respectively associated containers to be relatively separated vertically and then to re-engage each other and thus to impart hammer like blows to the open ends of the containers; and a nozzle mounted under saidtable for directing a jet of purging fluid upwardly through said openings and into the containers as the openings and containers pass successively over the nozzle in consequence of table rotation.

14. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers, a frame; a bearing; means mounting said bearing on said frame with the bearing axis generally vertical but for rocking of said bearing and its axis about a horizontal axis; a generally vertical shaft supported intermediate its ends in said bearing; a substantially horizontal table mounted on said shaft above said bearing and having a plurality of circumferentially spaced seats for respectively supporting containers to rest open ends down and loosely; a crank; a pitman connecting said crank to said shafit below said bearing; means for rotating said crank and, through said pitman, oscillating said shaft about said horizontal axis whereby oscillatably to tip said table and raise and lower said seats and thereby to eifect relative vertical separation of said seats and said containers and relative vertical re-engagement of said seats with said containers with consequent imparting of hammer like blows on said containers; and means for rotating said table about said bearing axis.

15. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers, a frame; a bearing; means mounting said bearing on said frame with the bearing axis generally vertical but for rocking of said bearing and its axis about a horizontal axis; a generally vertical shaft supported intermediate its ends in said bearing; a substantially horizontal table mounted on said shaft above said bearing and having a plurality of circumferentially spaced seats for respectively supporting containers to rest open ends down and loosely; means for oscillating said shaft about said horizontal axis whereby oscillatably to tip said table and raise and lower said seats and thereby to effect relative vertical separation of said seats and said containers and relative vertical re-engagement of said seats with said containers with consequent imparting of hammer like blows on said containers; a driven pulley connected to said table and spaced from said bearing; a driving pulley rotatable about a horizontal axis spaced from said driven pulley; a belt trained aroundsaid driven and driving pulleys; a pair of belt tensioning pulleys respectively engaging the two stretches of the belt extending between said driven and driving pulleys; a device supporting said belt tensioning pulleys for rotation; means mounting said device for oscillation in phase with the oscillation of said shaft; and means biassing said device in a direction to hold said belt tensicning pulleys in belt tensioning contact with the respectively associated belt stretches.

16. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers, a frame; a bearing; means mounting said bearing on said frame with the bearing axis generally vertical but for rocking of said bearing and its axis about a horizontal axis; a generally vertical shaft supported intermediate its ends in said bearing; a substantially horizontal table mounted on said shaft above said bearing and having a plurality of circumferentially spaced seats for respectively supporting containers to rest open ends down and loosely; means for oscillating said shaft about said horizontal axis whereby oscillatably to tip said table and raise and lower said seats and thereby to efiect relative vertical separation of said seats and said containers and relative vertical re-engagement of said seats with said containers with consequent imparting of hammer like blows on said containers; a driven pulley connected to said table and spaced from said bearing; a driving pulley rotatable about a horizontal axis spaced from said driven pulley; a belt trained around said driven and driving pulleys; a pair of belt tensioning pulleys respectively engaging the two stretches of the belt extend ing between said driven and driving pulleys; means including a crosshead supporting said belt tensioning pulley for rotation; a track fixed with respect to said frame and extending generally in the direction of oscillation of said shaft; means including anti-friction bearings mounting said crosshead for oscillation along said track; and a spring urging said crosshead to move on said track in a direction to hold said belt tensioning pulleys in belt tensioning contact with the respectively associated belt stretches.

17. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers, a generally horizontal support having a series of vertical openings surrounded by seats for respectively carrying containers to rest open ends down and loosely; a container holding device associated with each opening and seat, each of said devices comprising four studs extending upwardly from said support at the four corners of a rectangle within which the associated opening and seat are substantially centered, and two flexible tubes the opposite ends of each of which are mounted on two diagonally opposite ones of the four studs included between two adjacent seats, the intermediate portions of said tubes being bowed and crossing each other to provide horizontally yieldable container hold-ing means; means for oscillating said support to raise and lower said seats; a jet nozzle below said support; and means for efiecting relative horizontal movement of said support and said nozzle whereby to bring said openings successively into registration with said nozzle for ejection through said openings into said containers.

18. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers, a substantially horizontal rotatable table having a plurality of circumferentially spaced vertical openings respectively surrounded by seats for receiving containers loosely and open ends down; a nozzle mounted under said table for directing a jet of purging fluid upwardly through said openings and seats and into the respectively associated containers successively as said table rotates; and stationary container guiding and aligning means mounted above said table and with respect to which said table moves while rotating, said aligning means comprising two parts spaced horizontally from each other radially of the axis of rotation of said table and providing a gap through which the containers pass as they approach a position above said nozzle, both the entrance to and the exit from said gap being substantially vertically aligned with said openings, and said aligning means being engageable with said containers while passing through said gap for correcting any radial misalignment of the containers with the associated seats and openings before the containers arrive at said position.

19. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers, a substantially horizontal rotatable table having a plurality of circttrnferentially spaced vertical openings respectively surrounded by seats for receiving containers loosely and open ends down; a nozzle mounted under said table for directing a jet of purging fluid upwardly through said openings and seats and into the respectively associated containers successively as said table rotates; a pair of resilient container guiding and aligning fingers having outwardly flared ends; and means adjustably mounting said fingers above said table to extend generally tangentially to said plurality of openings with the finger flared ends spaced from each other radially of the axis of rotation of said table to define a container receiving and guiding slot located in advance of said nozzle with respect to the direction of rotation of said 13 table, both the entrance to and the exit from said slot being substantially vertically aligned with said openings.

20. In a method of removing lint and other particles from open end containers, positioning a container to rest open end down and loosely on a support; moving the support upwardly and downwardly with relatively small movements of decreasing amplitude approaching zero up and down movement but sufliciently rapidly to effect relative vertical separation of said container and said support and relative vertical re-engagement of said container and said support, whereby the container open end and the support strike each other with relatively light hammer like blows; injecting a stream of purging fluid upwardly into the open end of the container when the up and down movement thereof is zero or a minimum; tilting the container about a substantially horizontal axis while injecting said stream of purging fluid; and thereafter moving said support upwardly and downwardly with relatively large and increasing amplitude of movements but sulficiently rapidly to efiect relative vertical separation of said container and said support and relative vertical re-engagement of said container and said support, whereby the container open end and the support strike each other with increasingly relatively heavy hammer like blows.

21. In apparatus for removing lint and other particles from open end containers, a substantially vertical shaft; means mounting said shaft to oscillate about an axis transverse to the shaft axis; a substantially horizontal table mounted on said shaft and having a plurality of circumnferentially spaced vertically extending openings respectively surrounded by seats for respectively supporting containers to rest open ends down and loosely; means for rotating said table; means for oscillating said shaft about said transverse axis whereby oscillatably to tip said table and raise and lower said seats, said last-named means oscillating said shaft at such rapidity as to eifect relative vertical separation of said containers and said seats and relative vertical re-engagement of said containers and said seats with consequent imparting of hammer like blows on said containers; and a nozzle mounted under said table adjacent said transverse axis for directing a jet of purging fluid upwardly through said openings and into the containers as the openings and containers pass successively over the nozzle and across said transverse axis in consequence of table rotation.

22. In a method of removing lint and other particles from open end containers, positioning a container to rest loosely and open end down on a support; oscillating the support to cause it to strike the container repeatedly in diflerent directions; and injecting a stream of purging fluid upwardly into the open end of the container.

23. In a method of removing lint and other particles from open end containers, positioning a container to rest loosely and open end down on a support; oscillating the support to cause it to strike the container repeatedly vertically and horizontally in different directions; and injecting a stream of purging fluid upwardly into the open end of the container.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 322,644 Robinson July 21, 1885 646,604 Nordberg Apr. 3, 1900 831,261 Bowman Sept. 18, 1906 1,640,643 Brusson Aug. 30, 1927 2,119,596 Mintert et al June 7, 1938 2,191,513 Bigelow Feb. 27, 1940 2,194,607 McDevitt Mar. 26-, 1940 2,196,027 Risser Apr. 2, 1940 2,333,713 Eiben Nov. 9, 1943 2,347,057 Lakso Apr. 18, 1944 2,523,373 Jennings et al Sept. 26, 1950 2,533,690 Raider Dec. 12, 1950 2,915,773 Whelan Dec. 8, 1959 FOREIGN PATENTS 216,508 Germany Nov. 19, 1909'

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Referenced by
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US4099674 *May 26, 1977Jul 11, 1978Abbott LaboratoriesNozzle member for a container washing apparatus
US5573599 *May 12, 1995Nov 12, 1996Uitz; Mark O.Method of cleaning a reusable collapsible container
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Classifications
U.S. Classification134/8, 15/94, 134/37, 134/25.4, 15/304, 134/16
International ClassificationB65B55/24, B65B55/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65B55/24
European ClassificationB65B55/24