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Publication numberUS3172434 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 9, 1965
Filing dateAug 8, 1961
Priority dateAug 8, 1961
Publication numberUS 3172434 A, US 3172434A, US-A-3172434, US3172434 A, US3172434A
InventorsBoucher Richard C
Original AssigneeBoucher Richard C
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for filling containers
US 3172434 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 9, 1965 R. C. BOUCHER APPARATUS FOR FILLING CONTAINERS Filed Aug. 8, 1961 19: k 4 we 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR RICHARD O. BOUOHER ATTORNEY March 9, 1965 R. c. BOUCHE R 3 APPARATUS FOR FILLING CONTAINERS Filed Aug 8, 1961 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR RICHARD C. BOUOHER ATTORNEY March 9, 1965 R. c. BOUCHER 3,172,434

APPARATUS FOR FILLING CONTAINERS File d Aug. 8, 1961 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 ill] IIIIIIIIIIII.

87- 1 -g 121 v 143 21 22 \g'g mm 139 226 A 22 "1157/11! II 227 102 103 84 141 144 F'IE IE- INVENTOR RICHARD C. BOUOHER ATTORNEY March 9, 1965 R. c. BOUCHER 3,172,434

APPARATUS FOR FILLING CONTAINERS Filed Aug. 8, 1961 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR RICHARD C. BOUOHER ATTORNEY United States Patent 3 172 434 APPARATUS FoRrnfiLING CQNTAINERS Richard C. Boucher, PD. Box 109, Bryan, Uhio Filed Aug. 8, 1961, Ser. No. 130,033 10 Claims. (Cl. 141-59) The present invention pertains to container filling machines and more particularly relates to an apparatus for controlling the flow of liquid through a filling valve and into containers, and for assuring a positive release of the filled containers from the filling valve.

In certain well known filling machines, no provision is made for accurately controlling the amount of liquid filled into the containers. Accordingly, the containers are purposely overfilled so that all containers filled by the machine will satisfy minimum weight requirements. It is obvious that this overfilling is undesirable to the canner since the cost of the wasted material becomes excessive when a large number of containers are handled by the filling machines.

It is, therefore, one object of the present invention to provide improved apparatus for accurately controlling the amount of liquid being filled into a container.

Another object is to provide an apparatus for simultaneously controlling a plurality of filling valves to accurately control the volume of material filled into a container.

Another object is to provide an apparatus for simultaneously raising or lowering a plurality of filling valves each of which has a liquid-displacement member disposed within the container being filled, so that each member will displace the same desired amount of liquid from the container.

Another object is to provide an improved valve head arranged to accurately control the flow of fluids into and out of a container.

Another object is to provide a container clamping device for positively gripping the container after it is filled and removing the same from sealed engagement with the associated filling valve.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following de scription and the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a more or less diagrammatic vertical central section of a portion of the container filling machine, said section being taken along lines 11 of FIG. 2 and showing only two of the filling valves and their associated parts, certain parts of the machine being shown in phantom.

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic horizontal section taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1, certain parts being broken away.

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic horizontal section taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 1 and showing the valve adjustment mechanism for simultaneously raising or lowering portions of the several filling valves.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged central vertical section of one of the filling valves taken in part along lines 4-4 of FIG. 2, and showing certain adjustment and support parts out of position to clearly illustrate the adjustable feature of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged section taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged section taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 2 and showing means for manually actuating the valve adjustment mechanism.

FIG. 7 is a vertical section illustrating a modification wherein the valve adjusting mechanism is power driven.

FIG. 8 is an enlarged side elevation of the improved valve head used in the filling machine of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 9, l0, l1 and 12 are sections taken along lines 9-9 of FIG. 8 and showing the valve head in four progressive operating positions.

3,172,434 Patented Mar. 9, 1965 ice FIG. 13 is an enlarged side elevation looking in the direction of arrows 1313 of FIG. 2, showing a can clamping device.

Since many parts of the filling machine 20 (FIGS. 1, 2 and 3) are identical to those of the filling machine disclosed in my copending application Ser. No. 18,737, filed March 30, 1960, now U.S. Patent No. 3,105,525, only those parts which are associated with the improvements of the present invention will be described in detail. Reference may be had to said application for a complete description of the parts that are described only generally hereinafter.

The filling machine 20 includes a continuously driven turret 21 which receives containers C individually from a star wheel feed device F (FIGS. 2 and 3) at a feed station A, and advances the containers in a substantially circular path to a discharge station B at which point the containers are removed from the machine by a discharge device D. The turret 21 carries a plurality of equallyspaced vertically reciprocable container supports 22 (FIG. 1), each of which is disposed directly below a filling valve 23. As will be explained more fully hereinafter, the valves and the container supports are mounted on the turret for movement in circular paths, each valve being at all times directly above its associated container support. When each container support is at its lower position, it receives a container and, as the turret 21 rotates, the support raises the container upwardly into sealed engagement with the filling valve 23 positioned thereabove, as seen in FIG. 4.

During rotation of the turret 21, a flow control member 26 of each filling valve, hereinafter referred to as the valve head, is intermittently rotated so as to connect the interior of each container C, in turn, to a source of vacuum, then simultaneously to the source of vacuum and to a source of pressurized liquid that is to be filled into the container and finally to the liquid through the restricted passage for directing a final, topping-off charge to the container. After the filling is completed, the valve head 26 of each valve is moved to a position stopping the flow of liquid and each container is clamped to its container support 22 by a container clamping device 27 (FIG. 2) as the container approaches the discharge station B. While the clamping device 27 engages each container C, the associated container support 22 and container clamped thereto, is moved downwardly, thereby positively withdrawing the container from its associated filling valve 23 and presenting the container at station B for discharge from the filling machine 20.

More particularly, the filling machine 20 (FIG. 1) comprises a rigid base 31 having a centrally disposed tubular hub 32 formed integrally with a transverse wall 33. A vertically extending turret shaft 34 is fixed in the hub 32 by a pin 36 and projects upwardly from the hub 32. The turret 21 comprises a lower container supporting assembly 37 and an upper valve supporting assembly 33. The container supporting assembly 37 comprises a one-piece circular support member 39 having an internal ring gear 40 and a plurality of vertically bored, evenly spaced hubs 41 formed integrally therewith. The assembly 37, and a flanged externally threaded sleeve 42 bolted to the center of the assembly, are supported by a thrust bearing 43 and are journalled for rotation on the shaft 34. The flanged, externally threaded sleeve 42 cooperates with a disc 44 bolted to the upper end of the shaft 34 to prevent axial movement of the turret 21.

The turret 21 is driven by means of a continuously driven drive shaft 45 which is connected in driving engagement with a vertical shaft 45a by bevel gears 45]). A pinion 45c keyed to the shaft 45a engages and drives the ring gear 40.

Each hub 41 of the circular support member 39 slidsupports 22. Each container support includes an inverted cup 47 that is connected by a pin 48 to the upper end of the shaft 46 and serves as a deflector to prevent liquids or dirt from entering the space between the shaft 46 and its bored hub 41. A plate 49 of one of the container support units 22 is connected to the cup 47 by screws 51 (FIG. 4), and a container holder 52 and a spacer 53 are rigidly connected to the support plate 49 by a cap screw 54. The container holder 52 includes two verticallyspaced plates 56 and 57 having generally semicircular container-receiving recesses therein which conform closely to the shape of the body of the container. It will be noted that the lower rim of the container is disposed beneath and is closely adjacent to the lower plate 57. If the container sticks to the filling valve 23 when the container support 22. is moved downwardly, the plate 57 will engage the lower rim of the container and will positively withdraw the container from the filling valve 23, if the container is firmly held against the container holder 52.

Each container support unit 22 :is held from rotation relative to its hub 41 by a vertical rod'58 which is screwed into the circular turret member 39 and is received in slots 59 and 61 formed in the support plate 49 and in the associated container holder 52-, respectively.

In order to vertically reciprocate each container support 22, a roller 62 (FIG. 1) is fitted in a slot in the lower end 4611 of the associated shaft 46 and is journalled,

on a pin 63'which is secured in the shaft 46 and has an enlarged head 64 directed inwardly toward the turret shaft 34. The roller 62 engages the upper surface of an annular cam 65 which is bolted to the upper wall' 33 of the base 31. The upper surface of the cam 65'has an upwardly inclined portion 65a leading to a raised portion 65b which holds the containers in engagement with their associated filling valves 23. Cam 65 also is provided with a lower portion 650 (shown in phantom lines in FIG. 1 because it is ahead of the plane of the section) which permits the container support 22 to be lowered so as to receive containers at station A and discharge the containers at station B.

A second cam 68 is provided to positively pull each container support down after the container has been filled.

This second cam may take the form of part of a ring secured to the inner surface of the cam 65 by bolts 6?.

inclined portion 68a adapted to contact the top ofeach pin head 64 as it passes therebelow to assist in returning the container supports 22 to their lower positions.

' The valve supporting assembly 38 of the turret rotates with and is secured to the container supporting assembly 37 by a flanged split clamp 76 (FIG. 1). The split clamp 76 is internally threaded and is secured to the externally threaded sleeve 42 by bolts 77. It will be recognized that the split clamp 76 may be adjusted vertically and then clampedin desired position so as to adapt the machine 20 for handling containers of dilferent heights.

The assembly 38 (FIGS. 1 and 3) comprises a circular plate 78 and a flanged tubular liquid supply reservoir 79 which are rigidly secured to the flanged split clamp 76 by bolts 81 and dowels 82. A plurality of vertical pedestals 83 are rigidly'secured, as by welding, to the plate 78 adjacent the periphery thereof and have a ring 84 bolted to their upper ends. A valve adjustment ring 86 (FIGS. 1 and 4) is positioned between the plate 78 and the ring 84' and is provided with a plurality of openings 56a within which the pedestals 83 are positioned. As will be explained presently, the valve adjusting ring 86 is vertically adjustable relative to the circular plate 78 and care ties portion of each of the filling valves 23 so that when the ring 86 is adjusted vertically all of the valves are also adjusted vertically.

As best shown in FIG. 4, each filling valve 23 comprises a valve guide member 87 which has a tubular portion 87a extending through a hole in the circular plate 78 and an upper wall 87b which is bolted to the under surface of plate 78.. A seal ring 88 is fitted in a groove in the bore of the tubular portion 87a, and an apertured resilient container gasket 89 is secured, as bycementing, to a depending skint 870 of the valve guide 87. It will be understood that during the filling operation, the upper open end of the container will be urged upwardly by the associated container support 2.2.into sealed engagement with the gasket 89. The skirt 87c formed integrally with the valve guide 87 projects downwardly be low the gasket 89 and serves to deflect inwardly any fluid which might leak over the upperedge ofv a container as a result of a dent, or the like, in the upperedge thereof.

A two-piece valve 'body 92 is made upof a frustoconical portion 23 and a cylindrical'portion 94 which are connected by bolts 95 to the valve adjusting ring 86. The cylindrical portion 94 of the valve body 92 is slidably received in and extends through the valve guide 87. A liquid passage 96 (FIG. 4) and a vacuum passage 97 (FIG. 1) are formed in the adjusting ring 86 and in the two portions of the valve body 92 by a plurality of C0111- municating openings in these members. The passages 96 .and 97 aredisplaced 90 degrees from each other around the axis of the cylindricalportion 94, and extend vertically, downward along the entire length of thecylindrical portion 94. j

The flow of fluid through the passages 96 and 97 is controlled by the valve head 26(FIG. 4) which is connected by a pin 162 to a vertically extending valve shaft 103. The shaft 103 extends through aligned openings in the valve 'body 92, in the valve adjusting ring 86 and in the mounting ring 84. A flanged bushing 104 in the ring 34, and a sleeve bushing 166 and seal 107 in the cylindrical. portion 94 of the valve body 92,'mount the shaft for rotation and prevent leakage of fluid upwardly along the shaft1tl3. I e

A spring 108, positioned around the shaft 103 and .disposed between the valve adjusting ring 86 and a thrust bearing 109, holds the upper surface of the valvehead 26 firmly againstthe lower surface of the valve body 92. A set collar 110 is secured to the shaft 163. by a set screw 111 and prevents axial movement of the thrust bearing 109 relative to the shaft 103. A star wheel 112 is rigidly secured to the upper end of the shaft 163 by a pin 113. The star wheel 112 has four equally spacedfingers 114, 115, 116 and 117 (FIG. 2). The finger 114 is spaced above the three fingers 115,116 and 117 which lie in a common plane. As the turret 21rotates, the fingers engage certain structure, soon to be described, causing the 'valve head 26 to rotate'relative to the loWerends of the vacuum conduit 97 and the liquid supply conduit 96 thereby controlling the flow of fluid into or out of the container.

As shown in FIG. 4, the valve head 26-and a part of the cylindrical portion 94 of the valve body 92 project into the container. It will be readily understood that the headspace in the filled container, or the weight of the material in the filled container, can be controlled by raising or lowering the valve adjusting ring 86 to withdraw part of the liquid-displacing structure of the valve or to project more of the valve into the container.

In order to raise or'lower the valve adjusting ring 86, and thereby raise or lower all the valve heads simultaneously, a valve adjusting mechanism 120 is provided. The valve: adjusting mechanism 126 comprises a plurality of evenly spaced adjustment bolts 121 (FIGS. 3 and 4), each of whichextends freelythrough a hole in the circular plate 78 and is rigidlysecured to the valve adjusting ring 86 by locknuts 1221(FIGQ4). An internally threaded sprocket 123 is threaded on each bolt'121 and is held from vertical movement relative to the circular plate 78 by a horizontal leg'126 of ahold down bracket 127 (FIG. 6). Each bolt 121 extends through an opening in the horizontal leg 126 of bracket 127 which is rigidly secured to the circular plate 78 by a cap screw 128. A plurality of evenly spaced idler sprockets 129 (FIGS. 3 and are each journalled on a shouldered cap screw 131 which is screwed into a threaded hole 132 in the plate 78. As seen in FIG. 3, an endless chain 133 is trained around all of the sprockets 123 and all of the idler sprockets 129.

A manually operable crank 136 (FIG. 6) is provided for actuating the valve adjusting mechanism 120. The crank 136 is connected by a pin 137 to the upper end of a shaft 138. The shaft 138 is journalled in a bushing 139 pressed into a bracket 140 bolted to the ring 84, and in a bushing 141 pressed into the plate 78. The shaft 138 also extends through a slot 142 formed in the valve adjustment ring 86, and the shaft 138 is held from axial movement by collars 143 and 144 which engage the bushings 139 and 141, respectively. As shown in FIG. 6, one of the sprockets 123 has a gear 145 formed integrally thereon, which gear meshes with a pinion 146 which is connected to the shaft 138 by a pin 147. It will be evident that manual turning of the crank 136 in one direc tion will cause rotation of all the sprockets 123 in the same direction thereby raising all of the valve heads 26 and bodies 92 simultaneously. Rotation of the crank 136 in the opposite direction will cause the valve heads 26 to be lowered.

If desirable, a reversible control motor 148 (FIG. 7) may be used as an alternate drive mechanism for actuating the valve adjusting mechanism 120. The motor 148 includes a base 149 which may be secured to the ring 34 by bolts 150. The motor 148 is used in place of the crank 136, and has a drive shaft 151 which is coupled to the shaft 138 by any suitable means (not shown). It will be recognized that the motor 148 may be controlled by an automatic weighing device (not shown) located near the discharge station B of the filling machine 29 so as to check the weight of each discharged container and maintain an accurate filled weight at all times by adjusting the position of the valve head to compensate for overweight or underweight.

The aforementioned liquid supply reservoir '79 (FIG. 1) is of cylindrical construction having a cyiindrical wall 156, a floor 157, an external flange 158, and an apertured top wall 159 rigidly secured to the cylindrical wall 156. An externally threaded bushing 161, which is secured to the top wall 159 by cap screws 162, rotatably receives a liquid supply spout 163 that has an external flange 164 adjacent its upper end. A nut 166 is screwed on the upper end of the bushing 161 and overlies the flange 164 to prevent axial movement of the spout 163 relative to the reservoir 79. It will be understood that the spout 163 is stationary and that the reservoir rotates relative thereto. A liquid tight seal is maintained between the bushing 161 and the spout 163 by an O ring seal 167.

Liquid is supplied to the spout 163 under a pressure of approximately twelve pounds per square inch to insure an efficient and rapid discharge of liquid into the containers. A plurality of radially extending liquid lines 168 communicate with the reservoir 79 at its lower end, and each line 168 is connected to the liquid passage 96 (FIG. 4) of one of the filling valves 23.

In order to connect the filling valves 23 to a source of vacuum, an annular distributing member 171 (FIG. 1) is secured to the external flange 158 and is provided with a plurality of independent L-shaped ports 172. Each port 172 is connected by a conduit 173 to the vacuum passage 97 (FIG. 3) in one of the associated filling valves 23.

A stationary annular vacuum manifold 174 (FIGS. 1 and 2) is positioned around the liquid supply reservoir 79 in abutting engagement with the upper surface of the distributing member 171. Two spaced arcuate recesses Fit 177 and 178 are formed in the vacuum manifold 174 and each recess communicates with several of the L-shaped ports 172 (FIG. 1) of the rotating distributing member 171. The recesses 177 and 178 extend through arcuate ranges which correspond to two angular increments of movement of the turret during which vacuum is applied to containers. A source of vacuum is connected to the arcuate recesses 1'77 and 178 by vacuum lines 179 and 181, respectively. 0 ring seals 182 and 183 are fitted in grooves which surround the arcuate recesses 177 and 178, respectively, to provide a fluid tight seal between the distributing member 171 and the recesses.

In order to hold the vacuum manifold 174 in fixed posi tion, four upstanding posts 186, 187, 188 and 189 (FIG. 2) are rigidly secured to the base 31 (FIG. 1) and are provided with threads at their upper ends. An upper sleeve 191 and a lower sleeve 192 are secured on each post by lock nuts 193. A radially inward extending arm 194 is welded at its outer end to each upper sleeve 191 and, at its inner end, to a ring 196 which surrounds the liquid reservoir 79. The ring 196 is apertured at several places to slidably receive a plurality of shouldered bolts 197 (FIGS. 1 and 2) which have their lower ends threaded into the upper surface of the vacuum manifold 174. A spring 198 surrounds each bolt 197 and is disposed between the ring 196 and the manifold 174. In this way, the manifold 174 is held from rotation and is resiliently urged downwardly against the distributing member 171.

The mechanism for engaging the fingers of the star wheels 112 to cause periodic rotation of the valve head 26 is best shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. A ring 203 is welded to the lower sleeves 192 of posts 186189 and is positioned in the same horizontal plane as the ring 84. The first valve actuating mechanism is a no-can no-fill device 204 associated with that particular valve. The no-can no-fill device is supported from the ring 203 by spaced downwardly directing straps 296, one of which has an outwardly projecting stop 207 formed integrally therewith. A hub 2138 is welded to a U-shaped lever 211 and is journalled on a pivot pin 212 supported by the straps 206. A container engaging shoe 213 is welded to the lower end of the U-shaped lever 211 and serves to position a roller 214 journalled on the upper end of the U- shaped lever 211 in the path of movement of the upper finger 114 of each of the several star wheels 112, when a container is in position to be filled. If a container is not positioned under one of the filling valves 23 as the valve moves past the no-can no-fill device 204, the weight of the device will cause the U-shaped lever 211 to pivot and the roller 214 to move out of the path of movement of the upper finger 114 associated with that particular valve 23. A stop pin 216 is secured to the hub 208 and engages the stop 207 to limit the amount of counterclockwise pivotal movement of the U-shaped lever 211.

Three brackets 217, 218 and 219 are bolted to the ring 203 at spaced intervals therearound and carry rollers 221,

- 222, and 223, respectively, which are in the horizontal plane of the fingers 115, 116 and 117 and will be contacted by the fingers. The arrangement is such that, if a container is fed to the turret, the roller 214 of the no-can no-fill mechanism will engage the finger 114 and rotate the valve degrees. Then the rollers 221, 222 and 223 will successively contact fingers 115, 116 and 117 respectively, to continue rotation of the valve. However, if a container is not present under one of the filling valves 23 and the associated star wheel 112 is not contacted and rotated 90 degrees by the no-can no-fill device 204, the lower fingers 115, 116 and 117 will not be moved into position to be contacted by any of the rollers and, accordingly, that particular filling valve will be inactive for one complete revolution of the turret 21.

As mentioned previously, it is desirable to rapidly fill the containers and also to direct enough liquid into the containers so that an exact, filled container weight can be achieved, or so that the head space in all filled containers will be the same. The accuracy of the weight or description of one as it moves through its progressive operative positions as illustrated in FIGS. 9, 10, 11 and 12 will sufiice for all.

Each valve head 26 is in the form of a stepped generally circular plate and has an upper sealing portion 226 i of sufiicient diameter to, at times, close the liquid passage 96 and vacuum passage 97 in the valve body 92. The upper sealing portion 226 is formed integrally with a lower base portion 227 of slightly larger diameter, and the upper surface-of portion 225 is preferably treated or covered with a friction reducing material, such as Teflon. This treated upper surface of the sealing portion 226 reduces friction and affords a good contact area, thereby substantially preventing leakage of vacuum or liquid from the valve. A substantially V-shaped main discharge opening 228 is formed completely through both the upper sealing portion 226 and the base portion 227, and this opening may be selectively registered with either the liquid passage 96, thereby completely opening this passageto permit the liquid to be discharged. vertically into the container, or. with the. vacuum passage 97 to fully open the same. A radially extending slot 229 in the portion 226 is disposed 90 degrees from the main. discharge opening 228 and may be selectively registered with the liquid passage 96 or with the vacuum passage 97 to provide a restricted discharge opening for these passages.

When a container support 22 receives a container and the turret 21 advances the properly positioned container in a clockwise direction, FIG. 2, the valve head 26 is 'in the position shown in FIG. 9 wherein both the liquid. passage 96 and the vacuum passage 97 are closed. During the initial part of the turret rotation, the upper star wheel finger 114 contacts the roller 214 and rotates the valve head 90 degrees to the position shown in FIG. where the main discharge opening 228 registers with and completely opens the vacuum passage 97. The vacuum passage 97 remains fully open while the turret moves through an arcuate range which extends from the roller 214 (FIG. 2) to the roller 221 and, during this interval, the container C is being evacuated. When roller 221 engages the star-wheel finger 115,. the valve head 26 is rotated another 90 degrees to the position shown in FIG. 11. When the valve head 26 is in the FIG. 11 position, the main discharge opening 228 registers with the liquid passage 96 to fully open the same, and the radial slot 229 registers with the vacuum passage 97 to partially open this passage. As the filling valve 23 moves through this arcuate filling range which extends between the rollers 221 and 222, the container is rapidly filled with liquid and the air in the partially evacuated con-' a small quantity of liquid into the container to completely fill the container. The valve head 26 remains in the FIG. 12 position through an arcuate topping oft range which extends from the roller 222 to the roller 223, which roller 223 is eifective to return the valve head 26 to its starting position of FIG. 9 wherein both passages are closed.

In order to aid the discharge of the filled container from its container support 22, the container clamping device 27 (FIGS. 2 and 13) is employed. This device 27 is effective to urge the container firmly against the plates 56 and 57 of the container holder 52 so that any tendency for the container to stick to the gasket 89 of the filling valve 23 willibe overcome by the engagement of the lower plate 57 with the lower. rim of the container upon downward movement of the container support 22.

The clamping device 27 is located at the discharge station E and comprises a rigid horizontal support brackct 233 which is welded to the post 187. A pair of spaced upstanding. rods 23 iand 236 are welded to the bracket 233 and have horizontally bored hubs 237 welded to their upper ends. An arcuate container engagingiguide 238 having a reversely curved leading end 239 is. welded to threaded studs 242 which are slidably received in the hubs 237. Nuts 243 are screwed onthe outer ends of the studs 242 to limit the inward movement of the container engaging guide 238. Springs 244 are disposed between the hubs 237 and the guide 238 on the studs 242 to urge the guide 238 inwardlyagainst the container which is, in turn, urged against the container holder 52 to thereby position the lower container rimunder the plate 57 of the holder 52..

In the operation of the filling machine 26 (FIG. 2) of the present invention, the progress of one container through the machine will be described. The container is introduced to the turret 21 from the feed device F onto one of the container supports 22 at the feed station A. The turret 23. is continuously rotated in a clockwise direction (FIG. 2) and the container is received on the container support 22 (FIG; 1) =when its roller is riding along the lower surface 6500f the. cam 65; The roller 62 then rides up the inclined cam portion 65a onto the raised cam portion 65b forcing .the u er edge of the filling valve 23.

As the turret 21 continues toadvance in a. clockwise direction (1 16. 2), the star wheel finger 114 contacts the roller 214 of the no-can no-fill device and rotates the valve head 26 to the position shown in FIG. 10 opening the vacuum passage 97 thereby evacuating the container. Further rotation of the turret 21"(FIG. 2) causes the star wheel finger 115 to contact the roller 221 and rotate the valve head to the :FIG; 11. position wherein the containeris filled with liquid from the passage 96 and wherein air is Withdrawn from the container through the radial slot 229. The star wheel finger 116 then contacts the roller 222 causing the valve head 26 to assume the position shown in FIG. 12 wherein a small amount of liquid, if required, is directed into the containerthrough the restricted passage provided by the radial slot 229 to completely fill or .top the, container. The starwheel finger 117 then contacts the roller 223 to return the valve head 26 to the starting position shownin FlG. 9.

In order to vary the head space in the container or to accurately control the weight of the filled container, the valve adjusting mechanism 120 (FIG. '1) is provided and is operated either by the crank 13% or by the reversible motor 14811 16. 7). The crank 136 or motor 148 effects movement of the chain, l3-3and all the sprockets 123 in a direction which will simultaneously raiseor lower all of the valve heads 26 and valve bodies 92. 7 Movement of the valve head 26doWnwardly intothe container effects a displacement of more of the liquid from the container and reduces the weighto f thefilled container, while upward movement of the-valve head 26 will result in a displacement of less liquid and will, accordingly, increase anism 120 operates independently of the valve head 26,

' and that the motor 148 may be operated in response to a signal from a check weigher (not shown) located at the discharge end of the machine to automatically control the weight of the containers.

After the containers have been filled and approach'the discharge station B, they engage the curved leading edge 239 of the container engaging guide 238, causing the guide to move a short distance outwardly to compress springs 144. Thereafter, the springs function to urge the containers against the plates 56 and 57 (FIG. 4) of the container holder 52. The lower rim of the container is thus held in position to be engaged by the lower plate 57 and be forcibly pulled downwardly thereby in the event the upper rim of the container sticks to the gasket 89.

From the foregoing description, it is apparent that the filling machine of the present invention includes improved apparatus for accurately controlling the amount of liquid being filled into a plurality of containers. The amount of product which is filled into the containers is controlled by the valve adjusting mechanism which simultaneously raises or lowers portions of the filling valves that are disposed within the confines of the container to increase or reduce the amount of space in the containers which can be filled with liquid and/or a solid product. The machine also includes an improved valve head and associated parts which assures that this available space is completely filled with a liquid or semi-liquid product. Also included in the apparatus of the present invention is the container clamping device which assures the removal of the containers from their associated gaskets 89 in the event the upper edge of the container sticks to the gasket.

While one embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described, it will be understood that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the appended claims.

The invention having thus been described, what is believed to be new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is:

1. In a filling machine the combination of a stationary valve guide, a gasket mounted in said valve guide, a container support disposed below said guide and adapted to receive an open top container having an upper edge, means for moving said container support vertically to move the upper edge of the container into sealed engagement with said gasket, a valve body slidably mounted for vertical movement in said valve guide and having a portion disposed within the confines of the container on said support, means defining a vacuum passage extending through said valve body and connected to a source of vacuum, means providing a liquid passage extending through said valve body and connected to a supply of liquid, a valve head connected to said valve body for vertical movement therewith and having a main discharge opening and a restricted discharge opening, and means operable to move said valve head relative to said valve body for registering said main opening with said vacuum passage to partially evacuate air from the container, and for subsequently registering said main discharge opening with said liquid passage and simultaneously registered said restricted discharge opening with said vacuum passage for filling the unoccupied space in the container with liquid while evacuating the remaining air from the container.

2. In a filling machine, the combination of a container gasket housing, a gasket in said housing, a container support disposed below said housing and adapted to receive an open top container having an upper edge, means for moving said container support vertically to move said upper edge into sealed engagement with said gasket, a valve body mounted in said housing and having a lower portion disposed within the confines of the container, means defining a vacuum passage extending through said body and connected to a source of vacuum, means defining a liquid passage extending through said body and connected to a supply of liquid, a valve head mounted adjacent the lower end of said valve body for movement relative to said passages and having a main discharge opening and a restricted discharge opening, and means operable to move said valve head relative to said passages in said valve body for successively registering said main opening with said vacuum passage to partially evacuate air from the container, then simultaneously registering the main discharge opening with said liquid passage and registering said restricted discharge opening with said vacuum passage for filling the unoccupied space in the container with liquid while evacuating air from the container, and finally registering said restricted discharge opening with said liquid passage to assure the complete filling of the unoccupied space in the container with liquid.

3. In a filling machine, a turret, a plate mounted on said turret and having a plurality of spaced apertures, means for preventing vertical movement of said plate relative to said turret, a plurality of filling valve guide members secured to said plate, an annular sealing gasket in each guide member, means on said turret for supporting a plurality of open top containers with the upper edge of each container in sealed engagement against one of said gaskets, a valve adjusting ring disposed above said plate, a plurality of valve bodies secured to said adjusting ring, each valve body being slidably received in one of said valve guides and having a lower end portion projecting into the associated container sealed thereby, the amount of headspace in the filled container being dependent upon the distance said lower end portion projects into the container during filling, a plurality of threaded bolts secured to said ring and projecting through the apertures in said plate, a sprocket threaded on each of said bolts, means secured to said plate for holding each of said sprockets from axial movement on the associated bolt relative to said plate, a chain trained around each or" said sprockets, and drive means for selectively moving said chain in either direction to simultaneously move all of said bolts relative to said plate for vertically adjusting all of the valve bodies to vary the distance the lower end of each valve body projects into the associated container.

4. In a filling machine, the combination of a continuous 1y driven turret, a stationary structure supporting said turret for rotation, a valve guide mounted in fixed position on said turret, a filling valve mounted on said turret and including a valve body mounted for vertical movement in .to said body for vertically adjusting the same relative to said valve guide for varying the headspace in the container, a star wheel secured to the upper end of said shaft, and means on said support structure for engaging said star wheel to intermittently rotate said star wheel and said valve head through one complete revolution in four angular increments for each revolution of said turret to selectively register said discharge openings with said passages.

5. In a filling machine the combination of, a continuously driven turret, a stationary support structure supporting said turret for rotation, a valve guide mounted on said turret, a cylindrical valve body mounted for vertical movement in said guide, said body having a vacuum passage and a liquid passage spaced from each other about the axis of said cylindrical body, means for supporting an open end container with its open end in sealing engagement with said valve guide and with a lower end portion of said valve body disposed within a container on said supporting means, a shaft coaxial with said valve body and extending through and journalled in said Valve body, a valve head secured to said shaft below the lower end of said valve body and having a main discharge opening and a restricted discharge opening spaced 90 from each other about the axis of said shaft, means including said Iii shaft connecting said body and said head for conjoint vertical movement relative to said valve guide, means connected to said body for vertically adjusting said body and said head for varying the headspace in the container, a star wheel secured to the upper end of said shaft, and

means on said support structure for engaging said star rival at the first valve position effecting the registration of said main discharge opening with said vacuum passage, arrival at the second valve position effecting the registration of said main discharge opening with said liquid passage and said restricted discharge opening with said vacuum passage; arrival at the third valve position effecting the registration of said restricted discharge opening with said liquid passage, and arrival at the fourth valve position effecting the closing of both passages.

6. In a filling machine, a filling valve for filling an open top container comprising a housing, a gasket mounted in said housing and arranged to receive the upper edge of the container in sealed engagement, a valve body slidable in said housing and having a lower end portion projecting into the container, a shaft journalled for rotation in saidvalve body, said valve body having a liquid passage and a vacuum passage spaced 90 from each other about the axis of said shaft and opening through the lower end of said valve body, a disc valve head secured to said shaft and disposed against the lower surface of said valve body, resilient means connected to said shaft for urging said valve head against said lower end of said valve body, means for raising and lowering said valve body and valve head conjointly for changing the volume of unoccupied t space in the container, said valve head having a main discharge opening cut completely through said head and a radially extending restricted discharge opening cut. in the upper surface of said head, both of said openings being arranged to be selectively registered with the liquid" and vacuum passages in said valve body, and means for selectively registering said openings with said passages to eifect the complete filling of the unoccupied space in the container.

7. In a filling machine, a base structure including a turret, a plurality of filling valves, filling valve guide I means carried by said turret, said valves being slidably "mounted in said guide means, an annular sealing gasket on said guide means at each valve, means on said turret for supporting a plurality of open top containers with their upper edges in sealed engagement with said gaskets,

and'adjusting means radially outside the confines of said gaskets and connected between said valve guide means and said valves for vertically adjusting all of the valves simultaneously relative to said gaskets, for equally varying the head space in all of the containers when the lower ends of the valves are within the containers,

8. In a filling machine, a base structureiincluding a turret, a plurality of filling valves, a filling valve guide member carried by said turret, a valve mounting member connected to said valves with said valves being slidably mounted in said guide member, an annular sealing gasket on said guide member at each valve, means on said turret for supporting a plurality of open top containers with their upper edges in sealed engagement with saidgaske'ts, and adjusting means radially outside the confines of said gaskets and connected between said valve guide member and said valve mounting member for vertically'adjusting all of the valves simultaneously relative to said guide member for equally varying'the head space all of thecontainers when the lower ends of the valves are within the containers, said adjusting means comprising a plurality of bolt andnut element assemblies,'one of said elements of each assembly beingfixed to one of said members, the otherelem'ent'of each assembly rotatably engaging the other member and being formed with sprocket teeth, and a chain trained aroundthesprocket teeth of said other elements. i

9. A container, fillingmachinelcomprising a base structure, a container support on said base structure, means mounting'said container support for vertical movement relative to said base-structure, container sealing andvalve guide means disposed on said base structure above said container support for sealing the upper edge .of'thc container upon upward movement of said container support, a container fillingvalve, means for mounting said filling valve in said valve guide means for vertical reciprocation, said valve projecting into the upperend of the container when said container supportis raised, said valve mounting means and said valve guide means having spaced, opposed portions that project'laterally past the container, and adjusting means. for varying the depth of penetration of said valve into the container, said adjusting-means comprising cooperable, relatively movable elements connected between the opposed portions of said valve mounting means and'said valve guide means.

10. The container filling machine of c'laim 9, wherein said adjusting means comprises a bolt and nut element assembly, one of said elements being fixed to one of said portions, the other element rotatably engaging the other of said portions, and means for rotating said other element.

References (Zited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3245436 *Nov 13, 1963Apr 12, 1966Aluminum Co Of AmericaGripper stirrup for a can filling machine
US3315713 *Oct 26, 1964Apr 25, 1967Colgate Palmolive CoContainer filling method and apparatus
US4053003 *Apr 11, 1975Oct 11, 1977The Coca-Cola CompanyMachine for filling containers
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US7603829Mar 31, 2005Oct 20, 2009I.M.A. Industria Macchine AutomaticheMethod and apparatus for sterilizing containers of plastic material and for filling them with liquid substances
US8151831 *Feb 12, 2007Apr 10, 2012Azionaria Costruzioni Macchine Automatiche A.C.M.A. S.P.A.Carousel for processing containers filled with liquid or powder products
US20100224283 *Feb 12, 2007Sep 9, 2010Azionaria Costruzioni Macchine Automatiche A.C.M.A. S.P.A.Carousel for Processing Containers Filled With Liquid or Powder Products
CN100428962CMar 31, 2005Oct 29, 2008I.M.A.工业机械自动装置股份公司Method and apparatus for sterilizing containers of plastic material and for filling them with liquid substances
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Classifications
U.S. Classification141/59, 141/245, 141/181, 137/625.46, 141/281, 141/147, 141/150, 141/172, 141/140
International ClassificationB67C3/16, B67C3/02, B65B39/14, B65B39/00
Cooperative ClassificationB67C3/16, B65B39/145
European ClassificationB65B39/14B, B67C3/16