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Publication numberUS3256674 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 21, 1966
Filing dateJul 16, 1962
Priority dateJul 16, 1962
Publication numberUS 3256674 A, US 3256674A, US-A-3256674, US3256674 A, US3256674A
InventorsRutherford Russell G
Original AssigneeGordon P St Clair
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Machine for assembling medicament applicator swabs
US 3256674 A
Abstract  available in
Images(8)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 21, 1966 R. G. RUTHERFORD 3,256,674

MACHINE FOR ASSEMBLING MEDICAMENT APPLICATOR SWABS Filed July 16, 1962 8 Sheets-Sheet 1 In M735 R SSELL 6. RUTHERFORD June 21, 1966 Filed July 16, 1962 R. G. RUTHERFORD MACHINE FOR ASSEMBLING MEDICAMENT APPLICATOR SWABS 8 Sheets-Sheet 2 June 21, 1966 R. G. RUTHERFORD MACHINE FOR ASSEMBLING MEDICAMENT APPLICATOR SWABS 8 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed July 16, 1962 inn/W15 R SSELL 6. RUTHERFORD June 1966 R. G. RUTHERFORD 3,256,674

MACHINE FOR ASSEMBLING MEDICAMENT APPLICATOR SWABS Filed July 16, 1962 s Sheets-Sheet 4 onmmnmm June 1966 R. G. RUTHERFORD 3,

MACHINE FOR ASSEMBLING MEDICAMENT APFLICATOR SWABS Filed July 16, 1962 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 Q Li? Ivan/an Wm Ru55ElL 6. RUTHE'R FoR D June 21, 1966 R. G. RUTHERFORD 3, ,6

MACHINE FOR ASSEMBLING MEDICAMENT APPLICATOR SWABS Filed July 16, 1962 8 Sheets-Sheet 6 5/ I'n/ve/nm RUjSELL R THERFORD June 1966 R. G. RUTHERFORD 3,256,674

MACHINE FOR ASSEMBLING MEDICAMENT APPLICATOR SWABS Filed July 16, 1962 8 Sheets-Sheet 7 June 21, 1966 R. G. RUTHERFORD 3,256,674

MACHINE FOR ASSEMBLING MEDICAMENT APPLICATOR SWABS Filed July 16, 1962 8 Sheets-Sheet 8 loo RUjSEL 6 RUTHERFORD United States Patent 3,256,674 MACHINE FOR ASSEMBLING MEDHCAMENT APPLICATSR SWABS Russell G. Rutherford, Rockford, lllL, assignor to Gordon P. St. Clair, Rockford, Ill. Filed July 16, 1962, Ser. No. 210,158 35 Claims. (Cl. 53-482) This invention relates to a new and improved machine for assembling medicament applicator swabs.

The medicament applicator swab with which the machine of my invention is concerned is of the same general type as that first disclosed in Davies Patent No. 1,822,566, in which a readily frangible vial or ampoule containing the liquid medication is enclosed within an easily crushable paper tube closed at one end and having a swab or wick closing the other end and projecting therefrom, both to retain any fragments of the crushed ampoule and apply the medication released when the ampoule is crushed, a paper cap having a telescoping fit on the tubular container serving to protect the wick against contamination up to the time the applicator is to be used. In the present medicament applicator swab, the wick, which is of cylindrical form and cut from a cord of such material to the required length for insertion of one end to a predetermined depth in the tube and projection of the other end from the tube to a predetermined length, is secured in place in the tube by a suitable adhesive, the most practical solution to the problem of how to supply the adhesive I have found being to line the tube with acetate material, and then, after the insertion of the wick to drip enough acetone solvent on these wicks to cause the same to become cemented by the acetate in the tubes. However, if the tubes are molded of plastic material, which is a likely change from the paper construction, then the wicks might be either heat sealed in place by infra red heating or by a similar dripping of a liquid solvent onto the wicks, using whatever highly volatile solvent for the plastic employed is as satisfactory as acetone is for the acetate.

Heretofore, these four-part medication applicator swabs consisting of ampoule, tubular container, applicator wick and cap were assembled by hand, and that was necessarily slow and tedious work and quite expensive, necessitating a much higher price for the article than was considered warranted. In accordance with my invention:

(1) The tubes are fed to a conveyor from a hopper in a line by automatic feed means, the hopper being designed so as to insure the tubes being fed downwardly into a tubular chute leading to the conveyor open end up to receive the ampoules;

(2) The ampoules are similarly fed from a hopper by automatic feed means through another tubular chute leading to the conveyor, so that one ampoule is deposited in each tube;

(3) Cylindrical wicks of absorbent material are cut from a cord of the material to the required length and pressed down into the open upper ends of the tubes, leaving a predetermined length of wick projecting from each tube for application of the medication;

(4) Acetone is dripped onto the wicks as the swabs thus assembled with the wicks projecting upwardly therefrom are fed beneath on the conveyor, the acetone serving as a solvent for the acetate lining in the tubes to cement the wicks in place;

(5) Caps are fed from a hopper closed end down by automatic feed means, the caps being inverted thereafter to get the open end down to permit application over the tubes, and, finally;

(6) The caps are pressed down over the wick end of the tubes to complete the assembling operation, the

completely assembled swabs being thereafter dropped from the end of the machine into a suitable container.

The conveyor for the tubes is in the form of a horizontal trough, into one end of which the vertically disposed tubes are fed forward from one end of a large coarsely threaded screw that is horizontally disposed and gives the column of tubes the necessary forward thrust in the conveyor by screw action in the rotation of the screw, and inasmuch as the operation of this screw is accurately correlated with the operation of another coarsely threaded screw that turns at the same speed as the first mentioned one and serves to feed caps forwardly under a similar thrust into one end of a helical passage for their inversion, it follows that the feeding of caps will be in proper relation to the feeding of the tubes to which the caps are to be applied.

The vials or ampoules are fed in end to end relation by gravity through a tube into the upper end of a vertical chute where there are two horizontally disposed pins reciprocab'le in vertically spaced and properly timed relation by means of a pair of oscillating arms that are operated by rotary cam means turning in timed relationship to the first mentioned tube feeding screw, whereby to insure dropping only one ampoule or vial into each tube.

The cutting operation on the wicks and the pressing of these wicks into the open ends of the tubes are correlated properly with all the other assembling operations by a mechanism in an intermediate location in the machine driven in timed relationship to the rest of the machine, and likewise the capping mechanism at the discharge end of the machine is also operated in timed relationship with the rest of the machine.

Various safety devices are provided, as follows:

(1) An automatic shut-off switch at the feed-in end of the machine has a feeler that rides against the side of the tubes as they move past on the feed screw, and, in the event a tube is missing for any reason, the machine is stopped automatically.

(2) In the wick assembling station, a feeler rides on top of the plungers that are used to press the Wicks into the open ends of the tubes when the plungers return to retracted position under spring pressure, and if one of these plungers sticks and fails to return to its normal retracted position, the feeler dropping below its normal level operates another shut-off switch to shut off the machine automatically.

(3) At the capping station, in the event a cap reaches this station in inverted position, open end up, the plunger that normally presses the cap down onto the tube will engage in the open end of the cap instead, and a feeler engaging the cap operates another shut-off switch to shut off the machine automatically.

(4) A valve is provided in the line leading to the drip nozzle where .the liquid solvent is delivered in drops by gravity onto the wicks, and this valve is connected with a solenoid that is electrically energized only so long as the machine is in operation, whereby to hold the valve open but allow it to be closed automatically to shut off .the flow of the solvent immediately in the event of operation of one of the shut-oif switches causing stoppage of the machine, and

(5) A hinged gate is provided at a bend in the conveyor trough forming one side Wall of the trough at that point, this gate being held closed by means of a detent that will release automatically in the event of a build.-up in lateral pressure of the tubes against the gate due to something going wrong in the machine, there are too many tubes in the trough between the wick applying station and the capping station, the gate in that event opening to relieve the pressure before it builds up to the point of breaking ampoules.

The invention is illustrated in .the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective of a medication applicator swab, showing the four components in somewhat disassembled relation, with a portion of the tube broken away to permit showing the medication containing vial or ampoule there- 1n;

FIG. 2 is a perspective corresponding to a portion of FIG. 1 showing a plastic tube as a modified or alternative construction;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of a machine made in accordance with my invention, especially designed for assembling these swabs;

FIG. 4 is a related drive diagram showing all of the drive components in plan view;

FIGS. 5 and 6 are perspective views, FIG. 5 showing the feed-in end and the wick cutting and applying mechanism in the middle of the machine, while FIG. 6 shows the capping end of the machine;

FIG. 7 is a view partly in horizontal section and partly in plan showing the feed-in end of the machine;

FIGS. 8 and 9 are a plan view of FIG. 7 and an end view, respectively, showing the synchronized pair of camoperated rockers operating plungers controlling the dropping of vials or ampoules, one by one into the tubes;

FIGS. 10 and 11 are a fragmentary plan view and fragmentary vertical sectional view, respectively, of the discharge portion of the improved vibrator type hopper for feeding the tubes always closed end down into the tubular chute leading to the feed screw shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 12 is a view partly in front elevation and partly in vertical section of the wick cutting and inserting mechanism, the right-hand portion of this view showing how a container with the vial therein is raised to receive the wick which is pressed into the mouth of the tube by a plunger; 1

FIG. 13 is a horizontal sectional view on line 1313 in FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 is a horizontal sectional detail on the line 14-14 of FIG. 12;

FIG. 15 is a perspective detail showing the pivoted spring-pressed wick holding fingers;

FIGS. 16 and 17 are views related to FIG. 12 showing the ratchet drive for operation of the wick feed roller, FIG. 16 showing the wick cutting blades, and FIG. 17 showing one of these blades in cutting position under the wick feed tube;

FIG. 18 is a view related to FIG. 16 showing the wick depressing plunger at the end of its down-stroke, locating the wick preparatory to its insertion in the mouth of .the tube;

FIG. 19 is a view, partly in vertical section and partly in side elevation, of the cap feed mechanism which utilizes a feed screw similar to that shown for the tube feed in FIG. 7, the caps, like the tubes, being fed closed end down, although the caps, after being so fed, require inversion before application, open end down, to the tubes after the wicks have been assembled therein;

FIG. 20 is a plan view of FIG. 19, showing the two synchronized cam-operated rockers, similar to those of FIG. 8, that are used for operating plungers in timed relation to one another to insure the dropping of only one cap at a time into the feed screw, and

FIG. 21 is a view on the line 2121 of FIG. 19 showing the correlation of the caps to the tubes to which they are to be applied.

The same reference numerals are applied to corresponding parts throughout the views.

Referring first to FIG. 1, the four components for the medication applicator swab are the paper tube or bottom 25, the easily frangible glass vial or ampoule 26 containing the liquid medication the liquid level of which is indicated at 27, the cylindrical wick 28 insertable in the mouth of the tube 25 and adapted to be cemented in place by means of the acetate lining indicated at 29 inside the tube when rendered tacky by application of a liquid solvent, such as acetone, to the wick 28, and a paper cap 30 made to fit snugly over the wick end of the tube. No novelty is claimed in the swab broadly, it being old in Davies Patent 1,822,566 to provide such a combination, broadly speaking, in which the vial 26 is adapted to be broken by finger pressure on the side walls of the tube 25 to release the liquid 27 to saturate the wick 28 for application to a wound or other part requiring it, all glass fragments meanwhile being retained in the tube by the wick so that there is no danger whatsoever from that source. There is novelty in the provision of the adhesive lining 29 that is rendered sticky by wetting through the wick 28, utilizing for this wetting a solvent that is quickdrying so that there is no interference on this account with the capping soon thereafter, and no danger of wicks being pushed out by pressure of the vial when the assem-' bled swabs are dropped from the machine immediately after capping.

In lieu of a paper tube 25, the container can be made of molded plastic material, as indicated at 31 in FIG. 2. This construction eliminates the necessity for coating the inside of the container with an adhesive inasmuch as the plastic material is thermoplastic and adapted to serve as the adhesive for heat-sealing of the wick 28 in the mouth end of the .tube 31. Another advantage with that form is that clear, or at least transparent, plastic material can -be used, thereby enabling in the packing of swabs in packages to single out any swab that might by chance go through the machine without a vial 26 therein, even though the mathematical probability of that occurring is rather small.

Referring to FIGS. 3-9 and 19-21, for a general understanding of the machine, there are three vibration type automatic feed hoppers in this machine numbered 32, 33 and 34. The principle of operation of these hoppers is old and well known, but, as will soon appear, I have added a new feature at the discharge point in hoppers 33 and 34 to insure the feeding closed end down of the tubes 25 and caps 30. The tubes or bottoms 25 (or 31) are fed from hopper 33 through a tubular chute 35 by gravity, closed end down, to the intake end of the housing 36 to receive the vials or ampoules 26 that are fed from the hopper 32 through another tubular chute 37 by gravity to the discharge end of the housing 36. The caps 30 are fed, closed end down, from the hopper 34 through another tubular chute 38, by gravity, to the intake end of a housing 39 and, after discharge from this housing and inversion in a connecting housing 40, are applied to the tubes 25 (or 31), afterthe-wicks 28, which are cut and inserted in the mechanism 41 at an intermediate station in the machine, have been cemented in place by the moistening of the wicks 28 by solvent supplied from a tank 42 through a gravity feed tube 43 and shut-ofl? valve 44 to render tacky the adhesive lining 29 provided in the tubes 25. When thermoplastic tubes 31 are used, a heat-sealing mechanism 45 is utilized, the tubes 31 with vials 26 and wicks 28 therein being fed along the alternate conveyor trough, indicated at 46, instead of through the conveyor trough 47 that extends on a line beneath the shut-off valve 44. The valve 44 is set to deliver the solvent in drops by gravity directly onto the wicks 28 in just sufiicient amount to insure good cementing thereof, the solvent being quickdrying so that by the time the caps are applied in the capping mechanism 48, the wicks will have dried sufficiently to eliminate any likelihood of a wick being displaced from the mouth of the tube by pressure from the vial behind it in the dropping of the completely assembled swabs from the conveyor trough 49 at the discharge end of the machine.

Referring now to FIGS. 10 and 11, showing portions of one of the vibrating parts feeders 33, it will be understood that up to the drop-off end portion 50 of the circular feed track that extends in one helix in a counter-clockwise direction around the side wall 51 from the bottom 52 of the hopper upwardly to the drop-off point, the three hoppers 32, 33 and 34 are alike, generally speaking, the vibration of the hopper causing the elongated cylindrical pieces to travel or creep along the track in end-to-end relationship upwardly in a counter-clockwise direction from the bottom to the drop-off point 58. In the case of the vials 26, it is immaterial which end is up or down when the vials enter the upper end of the tube 37, so in the hopper 32 the feed track has only the funnel 53 beneath the discharge end portion 56 thereof. However, in the case of the tubes or bottoms (or 31) and in the case of the caps 30, it is important in both cases to have the piece dropped closed end down into the tube or tube 38, so both of these hoppers 33 and 34 are provided with a radial balancing ledge 54 inside the wall 51 on the opposite side of the funnel 53 from the discharge end portion of the feed track, so that any tubes 25 or caps 30 fed upwardly along the feed track, open end forward, as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 10, will first ride over the ledge 54 and then drop down into the funnel 53 closed end down. On the other hand, any tubes 25 or caps 30 fed upwardly along the feed track, closed end forward, will drop off the end portion 50 of the track directly into the funnel 53 closed end down, as illustrated in FIG. 11, by reason of that end being heavier than the open end. A curved baflle 55 guides the open ends of the tubes 25 or caps 39 inwardly away from the side wall of the hopper 33 or 34- as the piece feeds forwardly over the ledge 54, thereby causing the heavier closed end of the tube or cap to be directed outwardly toward the tube 35 or 38, as the case may be, as it drops into the funnel 53 leading to the tube.

Referring now to FIGS. 7 to 9, the tubes or bottoms 25 delivered closed end down from tubular chute 35 by gravity to the intake end of the housing 36, are engaged one after another in one of the end threads of a coarsely threaded screw 56 driven continuously in a counter-clockwise direction by a belt-driven pulley 57 from another belt-driven pulley 58, which in turn is driven by belt and pulley means from a small drive pulley 59, driven through suitable reduction gearing by an electric motor 60, furnishing all of the power necessary for the operation of this machine, as seen in FIG. 4, the intermediate pulley 58 transmitting drive in the opposite direction through another belt connection to another pulley 61 to drive a secondary drive shaft 62, furnishing drive to the cap feed mechanism, as shown in FIG. 6. Shaft 62 is above the table 63 but the main drive shaft 64 driven with pulley 58 by motor is disposed below the table and, as seen in FIG. 4, transmits drive to the wick cutting and inserting mechanism 41 and, through an extension 64, also transmits drive to the capping mechanism 48. The screw 56 engages ten tubes 25 at a time, in parallel spaced vertical relationship, as seen in FIG. 7, and feeds them forward into the conveyor trough 65, pushing forward a long line of these tubes to the point, intermediate the ends of the machine, where the tubes are picked off one by one from the trough by the specially formed teeth 66 of a ratchet wheel 67 and moved through approximately 180 in a circular path for the wick inserting operation, the tubes 25 with the wicks 28 inserted being thereafter picked oif the wheel 67 by a finger 68 that extends into the annular groove 69 provided in the ratchet wheel 67, as seen in FIG. 6, and guides the tubes 25 into a conveyor trough 70, like the trough but extending from of the ten being normally fed forward at a time, this switch 71 will break the circuit for motor 60 and stop the machine. The operator, upon such a stoppage, can quickly enough determine the cause and correct it, and the machine can then resume its normal operation. If the switch 71 stops the machine because of a clogged condition at the intake end of the tubular chute 35, that difiiculty is easily corrected. Usually, however, the switch 71 will be operated only in the event of the hopper 33 becoming empty and requiring the adding of tubes 25.

The vials 26, as seen in FIGS. 79, are delivered one by one to the tubes 25 at the front end of screw 56, two cams 74 and 75 turning with pulley 57 operating a pair of rocker arms 76 and 77, respectively, in timed relationship to one another to reciprocate a pair of vertically spaced plungers 78 in timed relationship to one another in the vertical passage 79, so that the upper plunger supports the column of vials 26, that are disposed in end to end relationship in the tubular chute 37, While the other plunger therebelow is releasing the vial previously dropped into place thereabove, and then, while the lower plunger 78 is held in, the upper plunger is withdrawn momentarily and returned quickly under action of a tension spring 80 so as to be certain that only one vial 26 will be dropped at a time into the machine.

Referring next to FIGS. 35 and 12-18, the cord or rope 81 that I have found most suitable for use in cutting the wicks 28 is a cotton product similar to what is used in the dental profession for absorbent wad purposes in the mouth, the cord being wound on a reel 82 mounted on a suitably elevated support over the table 63 so that it can be fed vertically downwardly through a vertical passage 83 in a guide 86. A finely toothed wheel 84 meshes with the cord and is disposed in a vertical plane, radially with respect to the passage 83, and projects into one side thereof through an arcuate slot 85 cut in one side of the guide 86, the wheel 84 being turned a little at a time to feed the cord 81 downwardly intermittently, each step of the feed being enough to project the desired length of cord for one wick below the lower end of passage 83 for cutoff. The cutting off is done by either one of two blades 87 that extend outwardly in a horizontal plane from the diametrically opposite sides of a rotating wheel 88, the angle of each of the blades 87 being rearwardly from a radial line, as seen in FIGS. 3 and 5, thereby causing a skiving cut that I have found especially good and reliable for the clean cutting of this cotton cord. A sprocket 89 transmits drive to the blade carrying wheel 88 and is driven by chain drive from a vertical shaft 90, having a driving connection, as indicated at 91, with the drive shaft 64 below the table 63, so as to rotate the blades 87 in a predetermined timed relationship to the intermittent turning of the cord feeding Wheel 84. Another vertical shaft 92 has a chain drive connection with shaft below the table, as seen in FIG. 4, whereby to drive sprocket 93 above the table in a predetermined relationship to the intermittent turning of the cord feeding wheel 84, sprocket 93 driving an endless chain 94 on which vertical spring-returned plungers 95 are provided at opposite ends of each link of the chain to press the wicks 28 into the tubes-25 as the pointed upper ends of the plungers 95 ride under the ar-cuate cam 96 forcing the plungers downward-1y against the action of their return springs, the entry of the Wicks in the tubes occurring while the tubes 25 disposed in registering relationship to and beneath the plungers in ratchet wheel 67 are elevated, as seen in FIG. 12 and are sliding along the raised horizontal middle portion 97 of a track 98 that extends in an are around the ratchet wheel 67, the raised middle portion 97 being of approximately the same length measured circumferentially of the ratchet wheel 67 as the arcuate cam 96. In that way, the wicks 28, which when first out are disposed in an upper hole 99 in a horizontally split rim 108 turning with the ratchet wheel 67 in concentric relation thereto but are soon thereafter pushed down into a registering lower hole 101 by means of a plunger 102, are situated'so that it requires only a short stroke of the plunger 95 to transfer these wicks from the lower holes 101 into the open upper ends of the tubes 25, the plungers 95 being operated against the resistance of their springs by. the cam 96 in about 90 travel with the ratchet wheel 67 from a fully retracted position to operative position extending down through holes 99 and 101 to press the wicks into the tubes to a predetermined depth, the plungers 95 being thereafter returned under pressure of their springs to retracted position immediately after leaving cam 96. If a plunger 95 gets stuck and fails to return to fully retracted position, that is immediately indicated by automatic stopping of the machine. A shutoff switch 103 is normally held closed by means of a rocker arm 104, one end of which rides on the upper end of one after the other of the plungers 95, thereby serving to hold the other end down in closed circuit position, so that if a plunger 95 promptly after leaving. cam 96 fails to return to its proper elevation under spring action, that will be indicated by the opening of the circuit for the motor 60 at switch 103 and the operator will have to rectify the difficulty before the machine can resume operation. Plunger 102 is connected to reciprocate with a plunger 105, as seen in FIG. 16, so as to be given one reciprocation for each of a series of spaced vertical pins 106 on ratchet wheel 67 as the pin passes under plunger 105 in the turning of the ratchet Wheel, the plunger 105 being forced upwardly by pin 106 against the resistance of a coiled compression spring 107 and the latter serving to return plunger 105 and move plunger 102 on its downstroke a distance limited partially by stop 108 on the supporting frame 109, plunger 105 being of such a diameter in relation to the spacing of the pins 106, as seen in FIG. 18, that its conically pointed lower end is disposed astride two neighboring pins at the lower limit of its travel, a rubber bumper R also striking the stop 108 to cushion and silence the operation. The reciprocation of plunger 105 is utilized also to transmit intermittent rotation to the wick feed-wheel 84, there being a drive pawl 1'10 engaging ratchet wheel 111, which through a belt and pulley connection, indicated at 112, transmits intermittent rotation to the wheel 84 more or less positively upon each up stroke of plunger 105, while another pawl 1413, which the ratchet wheel 111 overruns in its feed operation, serves to hold said wheel against return movement at the end of each feed operation.

Referring to FIGS. 12, 13 and 15, the upper holes 99 in the split rim 100 are elongated, as best seen in FIGS. 13 and 15, so as to compensate for the slight difference in timing between the turning of the ratchet wheel 67 and the cutting and depositing of the wicks 28, each wick being deposited first at the front end of slot 99, remote from hole 101 and behind pivoted spring restrained levers 114, as seen in FIG. 13, and being moved to the rear in register with and over hole 101 against the resistance of its spring by abutment with a fixed finger 115 as the ratchet wheel 67 turns in a clockwise direction relative to said finger, the levers 114 riding off the end of the finger 115 as they deflect the finger slight and are moved past it, and finger 115 being in the form of a leaf spring and adapted to give enough to permit such operation.

As seen in FIG. 17, there are seven wicks 28 freshly cut from the cord 8-1 at any given time, as illustrated in FIG. 17, six of these being housed in a column in a tube 116, and the lowermost one being expelled into slot 99 when the cord 81 is fed downwardly so that its lower extremity is in the upper end of tube 116 a length equivalent to one wick, whereupon the blade 87 severs this wick from the lower end of the cord while this lower end portion of the cord is supported partly by the bore 83 and partly by the upper end of tube 116, the knives 87 working in the small clearance 117 therebetween.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 5, there is at the junction of conveyor troughs 47 and 70 a rubber roller 118 driven by a reversed belt and pulley connection 119 from shaft 92, whereby to help feed the tubes 25 forward in trough 47 at the bend formed by the junction of troughs 47 and 70, as seen in'FIG. 3. The roller 118 is on the inner side of the bend, and a door 120 defines the outer wall of the trough 47 at the bend, as shown in FIG. 5, and this door is pivoted at one end, as indicated at 121, on a vertical axis and held closed by means of yieldably mounted roller 122 at the other end, so that, in the event of a jam-up ahead in trough 47, by reason of one too many tubes 25 being disposed in the trough, the door 120 will spring open and several .tubes 25 will drop out onto the table 63 to relieve the pressure and avoid possible cracking or breaking of any of the vials 26. The rubber roller 118 transmits forward thrust to the tubes 25 by frictional contact with the tubes through a slot in the inner side wall of thetrough at the junction of troughs 47 and 70.

Referring now to FIGS. 3, 4 and 6, an electrical solenoid 123 is connected in series in the circuit of motor 60 so that it is normally energized so long as the motor 60 is running, whereby to keep the handle 124 of the springclosed valve 44 raised in open position whereby to discharge solvent onto the wicks 28 through a downspout 125 extending downwardly from the valve 44, as shown in FIG. 6. However, when the motor circuit is broken, as by means of switch 71, or switch 103, the solenoid 123 is deenergized and valve 44 is automatically closed, stopping the discharge of the solvent until the difiiculty that caused the stoppage of the motor has been remedied.

Referring again to FIGS. 3, 4 and 6, in the event heatsealing is utilized for sealing the wicks 28 in thermoplastic tubes 31, in which event the tubes 31 are conveyed through the generally U-shaped path indicated in dotted lines at 46 in FIGS. 3 and 6 through an auxiliary trough for passage through the heat-seal unit 45, an electric motor 126 controlled by a separate switch 127 is thrown into operation to turn the heat on in unit 45 and transmit drive through a reduction gear box and other intermediate drive means to a pair of endless feed belts 128 that form one side of the trough 46 in unit 45 while the other side 129 that is electrically heated has the tubes rolled by belts 128 along the full length thereof for the heat-sealing operation.

Referring now to FIGS. 3, 4, 6 and 19-21, the caps 30 fed from hopper 34 through the tubular chute 38, closed end down, rely for their exit from trough 34 with closed end down upon the same means utilized in trough 33 for insuring the feeding of the tubes 25 that same way, as shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. However, despite these precautions, if a cap 30 is delivered open end down through tube 38 into the upper end of the passage 130 and comes into the capping mechanism open end up, the capping plunger 131 that would otherwise have applied the cap 30 onto the tube 25 will be pressed into the open upper end of the cap, as indicated in dotted lines at X in FIG. 6, and operate a shut-off switch 132 connected in series with the motor 60 to stop the machine, the switch 132 having a finger 133 projecting into the annular groove 134 provided in the ratchet wheel 135. Switch 132 remains closed only 'so long as the finger 133 disposed in groove 134 does not strike such an obstruction. The cap 30 indicated at X frictionally resists return movement of the plunger 131 engaged therein and prevents the normal return of the plunger and that is why the finger 133 is certain of striking this jammed cap. The operator noting the difficulty can, of course, quickly remove the offending cap and apply a cap to the tube 25 in trough 49 that accordingly remained uncapped, and the machine can then resume its operation. Ratchet wheel 135 is driven by a vertical shaft 136 to which drive is transmitted below the table 63 from the main drive shaft 64, as shown in FIG. 4, to insure operation of the capping mechanism 48 in timed relationship with the cap feed and the rest of the machine.

Referring to FIGS. 19 and 20, there are two pins 137 and 138 disposed horizontally in vertically spaced relation in passage 131) and operated by dogs 139 that are in turn operated by a rotary cam 140 turning with the shaft 62 mentioned previously, whereby to have one of the pins 137 and 138 moved in when the other is out, and vice versa, and accordingly drop the caps 30 one at a time to the starting position at the inner end of a coarsely threaded feed screw 141 operating in the housing 39 and turning with the cam 140. This screw 141 operates in the same fashion as the screw 56 previously described to handle eight caps 34) at a time, feeding them forwardly into a conveyor trough 142. The trough 142 connects with one end of a helical trough 143 provided in the connecting housing 40, whereby to have the caps 30 inverted and deliver the same open end down from the far end of housing 40 to be fed through a short channel-shaped conveyor trough 144 into the upper set of teeth of the ratchet wheel 135 directly over the tubes onto which these caps are to be applied, the tubes 25 (with vials 26 and wicks 28 assembled therein) being fed into the lower set of teeth of the ratchet wheel 135 from the trough 47 a short distance behind the point where the caps are entered, as is clearly shown in FIG. 21. 4

Referring now to FIG. 19, to reduce likelihood in the feeding of caps 30 from the hopper 34 of a jamming of the closed lower end of one cap in the open upper end of the next cap below, I provide an air nozzle 145 at the lower end of the tube 38 to which compressed air is delivered through a tube 146 from a suitable source for discharge downwardly into the upper end of the passage 130. That serves two purposes:

(a) The cap 30 in place over pin 137 more or less closes the upper end of passage 130 so that a slight build up in pressure occurs at the upper end of this cap, tending to force the closed end of the next cap 36 upwardly and insure its remaining dislodged, at least, and

(b) When pin 137 is withdrawn, the cap resting thereon tends to drop by gravity into place over pin 138, but,

due to the air jet from nozzle 145 delivered into the open upper end of the cap 30, the cap is thereby impelled downwardly, and there is therefore no danger of any time lag in the dropping of the one cap out of the way before the next cap above drops into its place over pin 137.

Referring to FIGS. 3, 6, 19 and 21, the application of the caps 31 onto the tubes 25 involves merely the depres- 'sion of the plungers 131 against the action of their return springs by means of an inclined circular cam disk 147, the plungers 131 being guided in and turning with a disk 148 disposed above and in concentric relation to and turning with the ratchet Wheel 135, and the plungers 131 being disposed in register with the teeth of the ratchet wheel 135, The ratchet wheel 135 is preferably, though not necessarily, adjustably clutched to the shaft 136 by means of a manually operable cam 149, which in the vertical position shown in FIG. 6 firmly clutches the ratchet wheel 135 and disk 148 to the shaft 136 to turn therewith, but, in the event it is desired to make a slight angular adjustment of this assembly in relation to its driver 136 to improve the timing and insure smoother operation of the machine for less rejects in the final inspection of the assembled swabs, it is possible to accomplish such an adjustment at this point.

An electrically operated counter is shown at 150 in FIG. 6 to register the number of swabs assembled in the machine and discharged through the trough 49. A make and break switch 151 shown in FIG. 4 has a finger 152 which by engagement with one after another of the tubes 25 as they go through the capping mechanism 49 closes the circuit through the counter 151] and thereby registers the number of swabs assembled quite accurately.

Separate manually operated switches are indicated at 153, 154 and 155 to control the motors operating the vibrating means for hoppers 32, 33 and 34, respectively, it being clear that whenever the motor 60 is stopped and 111 the operation of the machine is interrupted briefly for any one of the reasons previously indicated, there is no need for interrupting the vibration of the hoppers 32-34, because their continued operation is not in any way objectionable.

For manual control of motor 61 there is a switch box 156 having a start button 157, a stop button 158, and a reset button 159, the latter normally remaining depressed, as shown, but popping out to the dotted line position indicated in FIG. 4 when the motor at) is overloaded for any reason and stops without such stoppage being caused by the opening of the motor circuit at 71, 163 or 132. Operation of an overload relay in box 156 being indicated by pop-out button 159, the operator is immediately informed thereby and no time need be wasted checking these other switches, and as soon as the cause of the overload is corrected, the machine can be thrown back into operation simply by depressing the reset button 159.

It is believed the foregoing description conveys a good understanding of the objects and advantages of my invention. The appended claims have been drawn to cover all legitimate modifications and adaptations.

I claim:

1. In a machine for assembling medicament applicators each consisting of a tubular body closed at one end, a frangible vial therein of generally cylindrical form containing a liquid medication, and a swab entered in the open end of the body and adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising a first hopper containing said tubular bodies, a conveyor trough, a tubular chute, feed means feeding said bodies closed end down downwardly by gravity from said hopper in end to end relationship through said chute to said trough, means advancing said bodies in a row in said trough in side to side vertical 1'elationship,'a second hopper containing said vials, a second tubular chute, feed means operated in timed relation to the last named means feeding said vials downwardly by gravity from said second hopper in end to end relationship through said second chute to said trough so that one vial is dropped into the open end of each body in succession, and swab feeding and applying means operated in timed relationship to the advancement of the bodies in said trough, whereby one swab is entered in the open end of each body in succession.

2. A machine as set forth in claim 1 wherein there is an adhesive coating on one of the contacting surfaces of the swab and tubular body, the machine including means for wetting the swab with a liquid solvent whereby to cause the swabs to adhere to the tubular bodies.

3. A machine as set forth in claim 1 wherein the tubular bodies are of a thermoplastic material adapted to be rendered tacky by heating, the machine including means for applying heat to said tubular bodies to cause adhesion of the swabs to said bodies.

4. A machine as set forth in claim 1. wherein each medicament applicator includes a tubular cap closed at one end and fitting over the tubular body in telescoping relationship thereto enclosing the swab, the machine including cap feeding and applying means operated in timed relationship to the other means recited.

5. In a machine for assembling medicament applicators, each consisting of a tubular body of easily crushable paper closed at one end, a frangible vial therein of elongated generally cylindrical form containing a liquid medication and nearly filling said tubular body, and a swab entered in the open end of the body to retain the vial while projecting from said tubular body so as to be adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising means for feeding said bodies laterally in upright position to travel horizontally through the machine open end up, means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding said vials endwise in a substantially vertical direction downwardly and inserting the same into the open ends of said bodies, one vial per body, and means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding said swabs in a sub stantially vertical direction downwardly into the open ends of said bodies after the vials, one swab per body.

6. In a machine for assembling medicament applicators, each consisting of a tubular body closed at one end, a frangible vial therein of generally cylindrical form containing a liquid medication, and a swab entered in the Open end of the body and adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising means for feeding said bodies laterally in upright position to travel horizontally through the machine open end up, means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding vials endwise in a substantially vertical direction downwardly and inserting the same into the open ends of said bodies, one vial per body, and means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding swabs in a substantially vertical direction downwardly into the open ends of said bodies after the vials, one swab per body, the swab inserting elements being cam operated on their working stroke and spring returned to retracted position,

. and means responsive to failure of any one of said swab inserting elements to return to fully retracted position to stop said machine.

7. In a machine for assembling medicament applicators, each consisting of a tubular body closed at one end, a frangible vial therein of generally cylindrical form containing a liquid medication, and a swab entered in the open end of the body and adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising means for feeding said bodies laterally in upright position to travel horizontally through the machine open end up, means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding vials endwise in a substantially vertical direction downwardly and inserting the same into the open ends of said bodies, one vial per body, and means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding swabs in a substantially vertical direction downwardly into the open ends of said bodies after the vials, one swab per body, there being an adhesive coating on one of the contacting surfaces of the swab and tubular body, and the machine including means for wetting the swab with a liquid solvent whereby to cause the swabs to adhere to the tubular bodies.

8. A machine as set forth in claim 7 including a shut-off valve controlling the flow of liquid solvent, and means for automatically operating said valve to closed position in response to stoppage of the machine.

9. In a machine for assembling medicament applicators, each consisting of a tubular body closed at one end, a frangible vial therein of generally cylindrical form containing a liquid medication, and a swab entered in the open end of the body and adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising means for feeding said bodies laterally in upright position to travel horizontally through the machine open end up, means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding vials endwise ina substantially vertical direction downwardly and inserting the same into the open ends of said bodies, one vial per body, and means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding swabs in a substantially vertical direction downwardly into the open ends of said bodies after the vials, one swab per body, the tubular bodies being of a thermoplastic material adapted to be rendered tacky by heating, and the machine including means for applying heat to said tubular bodies to cause adhesion of the swabs to said bodies.

10. In a machine for assembling medicament applicators, each consisting of atubular body closed at one end, a frangible vial therein of generally cylindrical form containing a liquid medication, and a swab entered in the open end of the body and adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising means for feeding said bodies laterally in upright position to travel horizontally through the machine open end up, means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding vials endwise in a substantially vertical direction downwardly and inserting the same into the open ends of said bodies, one vial per body, and means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding swabs in a substantially vertical direction downwardly into the open ends of said bodies after the vials, one swab per body, each medicament applicator including a tubular cap closed at one end and fitting over the tubular body in telescoping relationship thereto enclosing the swab, and the machine including cap feeding and applying means operated in timed relationship to the other means recited.

11. A machine as set forth in claim 10 including means for automatically causing stoppage of the machine operable by a cap when disposed open end up and left stuck on the cap applying means in the working stroke thereof instead of being disposed open end down and applied to a tubular body.

12. In a machine for assembling medicament applicators, each consisting of a tubular body of easily crushable paper closed at one end, a frangible vial therein of elongated generally cylindrical form containing a liquid medication and nearly filling said tubular body, and a swab entered in the open end of the body to retain the vial while projecting from said tubular body so as to be adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising a substantially horizontal conveyor trough, means for feeding said tubular bodies in upright position open end up, one by one, laterally into one end of said trough so as to move a series of said bodies forwardly in the machine in close abutment with one another, means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding said vials endwise substantially vertically downwardly into the open ends of said bodies, one vial per body, a sprocket turning on a vertical axis relative to the other end of said trough and driven in timed relation to the two last mentioned means to convey said bodies containing said vials in a circular path, a rotary carrier for said swabs disposed in concentric relationship to said sprocket having openings provided therein for reception of the swabs in register with and above the tubular bodies disposed in the teeth of the sprocket, means for feeding swabs into said openings in succession, means above the carrier turning with the sprocket and carrier and carrying plungers operable downwardly through said openings to insert the swabs in the open ends of said bodies in succession, and means for reciprocating said plungers.

13. A machine as set forth in claim 12 wherein the swab feeding means includes a cutting means operable on a vertical axis to cut one swab at a time from a vertically disposed cord of swab material, there being a vertical guide for the cord above the cutting means and a vertical guide for swabs below said cutter in register with the first guide, and intermittently operable feed means operated in timed relation to the sprocket and rotary carrier to feed the cord downwardly one swab length per operation from the first guide into the second guide preliminary to the cutting of each swab, whereby in the cutting of each swab the lowermost swab in the last mentioned guide is delivered to the rotary carrier.

14. In a machine for assembling medicament applicators, each consisting of a tubular body closed at one end, a frangible vial therein of generally cylindrical form containing a liquid medication, and a swab entered in the open end of the body and adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising a substantially horizontal 13 conveyor trough, means for feeding said tubular bodies in upright position open end up, one by one, laterally into one end of said trough so as to move a series of said bodies forwardly in the machine in close abutment with one another, means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding said vials endwise substantially vertically downwardly into the open ends of said bodies, one vial per body, a sprocket turning on a vertical axis relative to the other end of said trough and driven in timed relation to the two last mentioned means to convey said bodies containing said vials in a circular path, a rotary carrier for said swabs disposed in concentric relationship to said sprocket having openings provided therein for reception of the swabs in register with and above the tubular bodies disposed in the teeth of the sprocket, means for feeding swabs into said openings in succession, means above the carrier turning with the sprocket and carrier and carrying plungers operable downwardly through said openings to insert the swabs in the open ends of said bodies in succession, and means for reciprocating said plungers, the swab feeding means including a cutting means operable on a vertical axis to cut one swab at a time from a vertically disposed cord of swab material, there being a vertical guide for the cord above the cutting means and a vertical guide for swabs below said cutter in register with the first guide, and intermittently operable feed means operated in timed relation to the sprocket and rotary carrier to feed the cord downwardly one swab length per operation from the first guide into the second guide preliminary to the cutting of each swab, whereby in the cutting of each swab the lowermost swab in the last mentioned guide is delivered to the rotary carrier, the rotary carrier including an upper section having slots provided therein circumferentially thereof, each registering at one end with a swab receiving opening in the carrier, the swab being delivered into said slots preliminary to their entry in said openings during rotation of the carrier, locating fingers oscillatable relative to said slots on said upper section of said carrier, means for oscillating said fingers to locate the swabs in the slots in register with the openings, and plunger means operated in timed relationship to the turning of said carrier to transfer the swabs from the slots into the openings.

15'. In a machine for assembling medicament applicators, each consisting of a tubular body closed at one end, a frangible vial therein of generally cylindrical form containing a liquid medication, and a swab entered in the open end of the body and adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising a substantially horizontal conveyor trough, means for feeding said tubular bodies in upright position open end up, one by one, laterally into one end of said trough so as to move a series of said bodies forwardly in the machine in close abutment with one another, means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding said vials endwise substantially vertically downwardly into the open ends of said bodies, one vial per body, a sprocket turning on a vertical axis relative to the other end of said trough and driven in timed relation to the two last mentioned means to convey said bodies containing said vials in a circular path, a rotary carrier for said swabs disposed in concentric relationship to said sprocket having openings provided therein for reception of the swabs in register with and above the tubular bodies disposed in the teeth of the sprocket, means for feeding swabs into said openings in succession, means above the carrier turning with the sprocket and carrier and carrying plungers operable downwardly through said openings to insert the swabsin the open ends of said bodies in succession, and means for reciprocating said plungers, and another substantially horizontal conveyor trough into one end of whichusaid tubular bodies containing vials and swabs are fed laterally one by one from the sprocket for further travel through the machine in upright position containing a liquid medication, and a swab entered in the open end of the body and adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising a substantially horizontal conveyor trough, means for feeding said tubular bodies in upright position open end up, one by one, laterally into one end of said trough so as to move a series of said bodies forwardly in the machine in close abutment with one another, means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding said vials endwise substantially vertically downwardly into the open ends of said bodies, one vial per body, a sprocket turning on a vertical axis relative to the other end of said trough and driven in timed relation to the two last mentioned means to convey said bodies containing said vials in a circular path, a rotary carrier for said swabs disposed in concentric relationship to said sprocket having openings provided therein for reception of the swabs in register with and above the tubular bodies disposed in the teeth of the sprocket, means for feeding swabs into said openings in succession, means above the carrier turning with the sprocket and carrier and carrying plungers operable downwardly through said openings to insert the swabs in the open ends of said bodies in succession, and means for reciprocating said plungers, and

another substantially horizontal conveyor trough into one end of which said tubular bodies containing vials and swabs are fed laterally one by one from the sprocket for further travel through the machine in upright position and close abutment with one another, and said machine including cap feeding and applying means at the other end of said last mentioned trough.

17. A machine as set forth in claim 16 wherein one of said conveyor troughs includes an angular portion, the machine including at the apex of the angle on the outer side a pressure relief member forming one side wall section of the channel, and yieldable means holding said member in place.

18. In a machine for assembling medicament applicators, each consisting of a tubular body closed at one end, a frangible vial therein of generally cylindrical form containing a liquid medication, and a swab entered in the open end of the body and adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising a substantially horizontal conveyor trough, means for feeding said tubular bodies in upright position open end up, one by one,,laterally into one end of said trough so as to move a series of said bodies forwardly in the machine in close abutment with one another, means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding said vials endwise substantially vertically downwardly into the open ends of said bodies, one vial per body, a sprocket turning on a vertical axis relative to the other end of said trough and driven in timed relation to the two last mentioned means to convey said bodies containing said vials in a circular path, a rotary carrier for said swabs disposed in concentric relationship to said sprocket having openings provided therein for reception of the swabs in register with and above the tubular bodies disposed in the teeth of the sprocket, means for feeding swabs into said openings in succession, means above the carrier turning with the sprocket and carrier and carrying plungers operable downwardly through said openings to insert the swabs in the open ends of said bodies in succession, and means for reciprocating said plungers, and

another substantially horizontal conveyor trough into one end of which said tubular bodies containing vials and swabs are fed laterally one by one from the sprocket for further travel through the machine in upright position and close abutment with one another, and said machine including another sprocket turning on a vertical axis relative to the other end of the last mentioned trough to convey said tubular bodies containing vials and swabs in a circular path for capping, and means for feeding and applying caps to said tubular bodies.

19. In a machine for assembling medicament applicators, each consisting of a tubular body closed at one end, a frangible vial therein of generally cylindrical form containing a liquid medication, and a swab entered in the open end of the body and adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising a substantially horizontal conveyor trough, means for feeding said tubular bodies in upright position open end up, one by one, laterally into one end of said trough so as to move a series of said bodies forwardly in the machine in close abutment with one another, means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding said vials endwise substantially vertically downwardly into the open ends of said bodies, one vial per body, a sprocket turning on a vertical axis relative to the other end of said trough and driven in timed relation to the two last mentioned means to convey said bodies containing said vials in a circular path, a rotary carrier for said swabs disposed in concentric relationship to said sprocket having openings provided therein for reception of the swabs in register with and above the tubular bodies disposed in the teeth of the sprocket, means for feeding swabs into said openings in succession, means above the carrier turning with the sprocket and carrier and carrying plungers operable downwardly through said openings to insert the swabs in the open ends of said bodies in succession, and means for reciprocating said plungers, and another substantially horizontal conveyor trough into one end of which said tubular bodies containing vials and swabs are fed laterally one by one from the sprocket for further travel through the machine in upright position and close abutment with one another, and said machine including another sprocket turning on a vertical axis relative to the other end of the last mentioned trough to convey said tubular bodies containing vials and swabs in a circular path for capping, another sprocket above and turning in concentric relation to the last named sprocket, a substantially horizontal conveyor trough in elevated relation to the last mentioned conveyor trough and having its outlet end disposed adjacent the last mentioned sprocket to feed caps laterally thereto in upright position, one cap per tooth, in registration with and above the tubular bodies disposed in the teeth of the lower sprocket, means for feeding caps one by one into the other end of said trough in vertical position and close abutment with one another, open end down, and cap applying means reciprocable relative to said last mentioned sprockets.

20. In a machine for assembling medicament applicators, each consisting of a tubular body closed at one end, a frangible vial therein of generally cylindrical form containing a liquid medication, and a swab entered in the open end of the body and adapted to apply the liquid medication upon breakage of the vial inside said body, the machine comprising a substantially horizontal conveyor trough, means for feeding said tubular bodies in upright position open end up, one by one, laterally into one end of said trough so as to move a series of said bodies forwardly in the machine in close abutment with one another, means operated in timed relationship to the last mentioned means for feeding said vials endwise substantially vertically downwardly into the open ends of said bodies, one vial per body, a sprocket turning on a vertical axis relative to the other end of said trough and driven in timed relation to the two last mentioned means to convey said bodies containing said vials in a circular path, a rotary carrier for said swabs disposed in concentric relationship to said sprocket having openings provided therein for reception of the swabs in register with and above the tubular bodies disposed in the teeth of the sprocket, means for feeding swabs into said openings in succession, means above the carrier turning with the sprocket and carrier and carrying plungers operable downwardly through said openings to insert the swabs in the open ends of said bodies in succession, and means for reciprocating said plungers, and another substantially horizontal conveyor trough into one end of which said tubular bodies containing vials and swabs are fed one by one laterally from said sprocket for further travel through the machine in upright position and close abutment with one another, the tubular bodies being of a thermoplastic material adapted to be rendered tacky by heating so enable making the swabs adhere to the tubular bodies by application of heat, the machine including means for applying heat to said tubular bodies in their travel through said last mentioned conveyor trough for that purpose.

21. A machine as set forth in claim 20 including another substantially horizontal conveyor trough for discharge of completely assembled applicators from the machine, said trough having its intake end disposed adjacent the lower end of the last mentioned sprockets to receive the assembled applicators therefrom after capping.

22. In a machine of the class described, in combination, a substantially horizontal conveyor trough in which hollow cylindrical articles all of like diameter may be guided for movement laterally in upright position in close abutment with one another, these hollow cylindrical articles being adapted to receive other articles of smaller diameter therein, an elongated substantially horizontal housing, one side wall of which is coextensive with one side of said trough, a large diameter, coarsely threaded, elongated screw rotatable in said housing on a substantially horizontal axis in spaced parallel relationship to the aforesaid wall, the threads of said screw being so spaced in relation to the diameter of said hollow cylindrical articles for closely confining and positioning the same in closely spaced upright parallel relation in said housing while permitting dropping of said cylindrical articles into place in upright position between the screw and said wall for forward feed movement with the threads of said screw into said trough in the turning of said screw, a vertical chute and guide vertically aligned with one portion of said screw thread for delivering the hollow cylindrical articles down into place between the screw and said wall for forward feed movement into said trough in the turning of said screw, another vertical chute and guide vertically aligned with another portion of said screw thread in forwardly spaced relation to the first mentioned portion for delivering the other articles of smaller diameter down into the hollow cylindrical articles before they move into the trough, and means for driving said screw.

23. A machine as set forth in claim 22 wherein said wall has an opening provided therein, the machine including a feeler extending through said opening to detect by slidable engagement on the sides of the hollow cylindrical articles the absence of one or more of said articles, said feeler being movable inwardly farther in that event, and a switch operable by said feeler to shut off the machine in such event.

24. In a machine of the class described, in combination, a substantially horizontal conveyor trough in which cylindrical articles may be guided for movement laterally in upright position in close abutment with one another, an elongated substantially horizontal housing, one side of which is coextensive with one side of said trough, a large diameter, coarsely threaded, elongated screw rotatable in said housing on a substantially horizontal axis in spaced Parallel relationship to the aforesaid wall, whereby to permit dropping of said cylindrical articles into place between the screw and said wall for forward feed movement with the threads of said screw into said trough in the turning of said screw, and means for driving said screw, the cylindrical articles being hollow and adapted to receive other articles of smaller diameter therein, the machine including a vertical chute and guide communicating with the housing adjacent the inner end of the trough for delivering these last named articles vertically downwardly into the first mentioned articles, a pair of horizontally reciprocable stops in vertically spaced parallel relation in said guide, the upper one of which supports a column of the smaller diamter articles when said stop is disposed in operative position, and the lower one of which supports at least one of said articles when disposed in operative position, and means for reciprocating said stops in a predetermined timed relationship to one another so as to drop at least one of said last named articles into said housing and into one of the other articles in each operation.

25. In a machine of the class described, in combination, a sprocket turning on a vertical axis to convey hollow cylindrical articles in upright position in a circular path, one article per tooth on the sprocket, a rotary carrier for other articles of smaller diameter to be entered in the first mentioned articles, said carrier being disposed in concentric relationship to said sprocket and having openings provided therein for reception of the last mentioned articles in register with and above the first mentioned articles disposed in the teeth of the sprocket, means for feeding the second mentioned articles into said openings in succession, means above the carrier turning with the sprocket and carrier and carrying plungers all coaxially aligned with the hollow cylindrical articles first mentioned and operable downwardly through said openings to insert the second mentioned articles into the first mentioned articles in succession, and means for reciprocating said plungers, comprising a single stationary cam disposed over said plungers and sprockets and inclined relative thereto and having all of the plungers operable at their upper ends by engagement with the under side of said ca-rn, said plungers being all spring-pressed upwardly toward engagement with said cam.

26. A machine as set forth in claim 25 including a circular track for the bottoms of the hollow cylindrical articles to slide on in their movement in the circular path, that portion of said track where the second articles are inserted being raised for elevation of the hollow cylindrical articles and shortening of the distance to said articles during the insertion of the second mentioned articles.

27. In a machine of the class described, in combination, a sprocket turning on a vertical axis to convey hollow cylindrical articles in upright position in a circular path, one article per tooth on the sprocket, a rotary carrier for other articles of smaller diameter to be entered in the first mentioned articles, said carrier being disposed in concentric relationship to said sprocket and having openings provided therein for reception of the last mentioned articles in register with and above the first mentioned articles disposed in the teeth of the sprocket, means for feeding the second mentioned articles into said openings in succession, means above the carrier turning with the sprocket and carrier and carrying plungers operable downwardly through said openings to insert the second mentioned articles into the first mentioned articles in succession, and means for reciprocating said plungers, the second mentioned articles being of a' kind cut as a length from an elongated member, the feeding means including a cutting means operable on a vertical axis to cut one article of a predetermined length at a time from the vertically disposed elongated member, there being a vertical guide for said member above the cutter and a vertical guide for the articles below said cutter in register with the first guide, and intermittently operable feed means operated in timed relation to the sprocket and rotary car- I carrier.

28.- A machine as set forth in claim 27 wherein the rotary carrier includes an upper section having slots provided therein circumferentially thereof, each registering at one end with an article receiving opening in the carrier, the articles being delivered into said slots preliminary to their entry in said openings during rotation of the carrier, locating fingers oscillatable relative to said slots on said upper section of said carrier, means for oscillating said fingers to locate the articles in the slots in register with the openings, and plunger means operated in timed relationship to the turning of said carrier to transfer the articles from the slots into the openings.

29. In a machine of the class described, in combination, a sprocket turning on a vertical axis to convey hollow cylindrical articles in upright position in a circular path, one article per tooth on the sprocket, a rotary carrier for other articles of smaller diameter to be entered in the first mentioned articles, said carrier being disposed in concentric relationship to said sprocket and having openings provided therein for reception of the last mentioned articles in register with and above the first mentioned articles disposed in the teeth of the sprocket, means for feeding the second mentioned articles into said openings in succession, means above the carrier turning with the sprocket and carrier and carrying plungers operable downwardly through said openings to insert the second mentioned articles into the first mentioned articles in succession, and means for reciprocating said plungers, the plungers being spring returned upwardly to a normal retracted position and cam operated downwardly on their working stroke, the machine including means responsive to failure of any one of said plungers to return to fully retracted position to stopjsaid machine.

30. In a machine of the class described, in combination, a sprocket turning on a substantially vertical axis, means for feeding cylindrical articles laterally to said sprocket to be conveyed in a circular path, one article per tooth of said sprocket, for application of a cap to each article in a telescoping relationship thereto, another sprocket above and turning in concentric relationship with said first mentioned sprocket, means for feeding hollow cylindrical caps open end down to said last mentioned sprocket to be conveyed in a circular path on the same radius as the aforesaid articles and in register with said articles, and cap applying means above the last mentioned sprocket reciprocable relative thereto, said last mentioned means comprising a rotary member carrying plungers vertically disposed in circumferentially spaced relation in register with the caps in the last mentioned sprocket, spring means normally returning said plungers upwardly to retracted position, and a single stationary circular cam disposed over said plungers concentric with the sprocket and inclined relative thereto and having all of the plungers operable at their upper ends by engagement with the under side of said cam.

31. In a machine of the class described, in combination, a sprocket turning on a substantially vertical axis, means for feeding cylindrical articles laterally to said sprocket to be conveyed in a circular path, one article per tooth of said sprocket, for application of a cap to each article in a telescoping relationship thereto, another sprocket above and turning in concentric relationship with said first mentioned sprocket, means for feeding hollow cylindrical caps open end down to said last mentioned sprocket to be conveyed in a circular path on the same radius as the aforesaid articles and in register with said articles, and cap applying means above the last mentioned sprocket reciprocable relative thereto, the last mentioned means comprising a rotary member carrying plungers vertically disposed in circumferentially spaced relation in register with the caps in the last mentioned sprocket, spring means normally returning said plungers upwardly to retracted position, cam means for operating said plungers downwardly on their working stroke, and means for automatically causing stoppage of the machine operable by a cap when inserted open end up in the last mentioned sprocket and left stuck on a cap applying plunger in the working stroke thereof instead of being applied to one of said articles first mentioned.

32. In combination, a circular hopper having a substantially horizontal bottom wall and a substantially circular vertical side wall with a generally helical track extending radially inwardly from the latter for conveying articles of elongated hollow cylindrical form from the bottom of said hopper in a circular path upwardly to a drop-off point on the upper end of said helical track by virtue of vibration transmitted to said hopper on a small amplitude and with substantially uniform periodicity, the

hopper having a discharge opening in the bottom below said drop-off point, a tubular chute extending downwardly from said hopper at said opening to receive the articles after they drop off said track at the drop-off point, the articles being of small diameter in relation to the width of said track and in relation to the length of the articles and being closed at one end, each article being heavier at its closed end than at the open end, whereby when an article arriving at the drop-off point closed end foremost will drop off closed end down, and a balancing ledge in said hopper in circumferentially spaced relation to the drop-off end of said track and at substantially the same elevation, said ledge being arranged to have the open end of an article extend over it when arriving foremost at the drop-off point, said ledge being spaced circumferentially from the drop-off end of said track less than the length of the article, whereby when the closed end of the article moves past the drop-off end of the track the article will drop into said chute open end up.

33. A structure as set forth in claim 32 including a baffie extending circumferentially relative to said hopper and inwardly over said balancing ledge at an acute angle relative to said side wall, whereby to guide the open end of an article inwardly and away from the side wall to insure disposition of the other or closed end of the article 'directly over the discharge opening at the instant of the closed end of the article passing the drop-off point.

34. In a capping mechanism, a vibrating hopper for feeding hollow cylindrical caps closed at one end, a tubular chute extending downwardly from a discharge opening provided in said hopper to convey the caps in end to end relationship downwardly from the hopper, means in the hopper utilizing the difference in weight at the closed guide in vertically spaced relation, the upper one of which end of the caps to insure drop ing of the caps closed end down into said tubular chute, a conveyor at the lower end of said tubular chute for conveying the caps laterally in upright position side by side toward a capper, and a helical guide communicating with said conveyor through which the caps are conveyed in side by side relationship and inverted to a vertical position open end down for delivery to the capper.

35. In a capping mechanism, a vibrating hopper for feeding hollow cylindrical caps closed at one end, a tubular chute extending downwardly from a discharge opening provided in said hopper to convey the caps in end to end relationship downwardly from the hopper, means in the hopper utilizing the difference in weight at the closed end of the caps to insure dropping of the caps closed end down into said tubular chute, a conveyor at the lower end of said tubular chute for conveying the caps laterally in upright position side by side toward a capper, a vertical tubular guide between the conveyor and the lower end of said tubular chute, two horizontally reciprocable stops in said supports a stack of caps in the tubular chute and the lower one momentarily supporting a single cap after release from the stack by the upper stop and before dropping the same to the conveyor, means for operating said stops in timed relationship to one another, the caps fitting relatively closely in the upper end of said guide but relatively loosely in the lower end of said chute, and means for delivering a jet of compressed air just above the lowermost cap in the stack, whereby to expel the lowermost cap from the stack upon release by the stop therebeneath and also urge the rest of the stack upwardly away from the lowermost cap before the lowermost cap is released so as to prevent jamming of the closed end of one cap in the open end of a cap therebeneath while in stacked relation.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 590,502 9/ 1897 Starkenstein 53-281 1,016,611 2/1912 Chilton 53-278 1,822,566 9/1931 Davies 128-269 2,642,065 6/1953 Negri 128-269 2,698,707 1/1955 Hompe et a1 53-115 2,827,928 3/1958 Guckel 141-141 X 2,860,464 11/1958 Barthelemy 53-115 3,165,868 1/1965 MacDonald et a1 53-35 TRAVIS s. MCGEHEE, Primary Examiner.

JORDAN FRANKLIN, B. STICKNEY, C. F. ROSEN- BAUM, A. FOURNIER, Examiners.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3450129 *Jul 6, 1966Jun 17, 1969Medical Supply CoSwabbing unit
US4920727 *Dec 27, 1988May 1, 1990Huhtamaki OyCassette system and apparatus for manufacturing an active agent liberating capsule for subcutaneous use
US6769232 *Jun 11, 2003Aug 3, 2004Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc.Method for retaining cotton in bottles
US9085378 *May 18, 2004Jul 21, 2015Unidose Systems, Inc.Tube filling process for liquid filled cotton swabs
US20030205031 *Jun 11, 2003Nov 6, 2003Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc.Method for retaining cotton in bottles
US20050257498 *May 18, 2004Nov 24, 2005Garry TsaurTube filling process for liquid filled cotton swabs
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/282, 53/276, 53/115, 53/521, 53/522, 604/1
International ClassificationA61F13/40, A61F13/38, A61F13/20
Cooperative ClassificationA61M35/006, A61F13/2082, A61F13/38
European ClassificationA61F13/38, A61F13/20M, A61M35/00B2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 25, 1980ASAssignment
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MARION HEALTH AND SAFETY, INC.;REEL/FRAME:003792/0595
Effective date: 19800630
Owner name: MARION LABORATORIES, INC., DELAWARE