US 3376856 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
H. D. CRIPPEN April 9, 1968 AUTOMAT I C STOCK FEEDER 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Aug. 22, 1967 AL FIIILTILIIL 'INVENTOR. flz/sm/v 0; Ja 0v W,% W%% A ORNEYS H. D. CRIPPEN April 9, 1968 AUTOMAT I C S TOOK FEEDER 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Aug. 22, 1967 INVENTOR; Q J'Z/PPZ/V' 76 ,17: ATT NEYS April 9, 1968 H. D. CRIF'PEN 3,376,856
AUTOMATIC STOCK FEEDER Filed Aug. 22, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENT OR ATTORNEYS HusToN D. CRIPPEN April 1968 H. D. CRIPPEN 3,3 76,856
AUTOMATIC STOCK FEEDER Filed Aug. 22, 1967 s Sheets-Sheet 5 -"HIIH :5 l3
T W I I25 'y |o| INVENTOR ATTORNEY 5 United States Patent 3,376,856 AUTOMATIC STOCK FEEDER Huston D. Crippen, Coleswood, Esmont, Va. 22937 Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 546,929, May 2, 1966. This application Aug. 22, 1967, Ser. No. 662,490
12 Claims. (Cl. 119-52) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An automatic dispenser for delivering measured quantities of feed to a position for access by animals such as livestock, pets, and the like at regular intervals. The dispenser includes an upper storage compartment, a feed measuring hopper, and an electrically operated valve for initially blocking flow of feed from the hopper while permitting flow of feed thereinto from the storage compartment so that the hopper becomes filled with a measurcd quantity of feed, and for thereafter blocking flow of feed from the compartment while permitting delivery of the measured quantity of feed from the hopper to a feed trough or the like.
The compartment is provided with a number of strategically located bafiles or walls to prevent bridging of feed material within the compartment by regulating the flow and disposition of material therein. Also, the compartment is provided with a hinged wall to facilitate loading of the same with bags of feed.
This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending application Ser. No. 546,929, filed May 2, 1966, and now abandoned, entiled Automatic Stock Feeder.
This invention relates generally to the field of dispensers for animal feed and particularly to such dispensers for automatically delivering measured quantities of feed at regularly timed intervals.
The primary object of the instant invention is to provide an improved animal feed dispenser wherein actual delivery of measured quantities of feed at timed intervals is insured. In this connection it is an important aim of the invention to provide such a dispenser wherein is provided means to prevent clogging or bridging of material internally of the dispenser whereby delivery of material will be sure to occur each time the dispenser is actuated. Thus, the animal will be adequately fed even though no human attention is directed thereto for extended periods of time.
It is a very important object of the present invention to provide such a feed dispenser wherein is included means for conveniently loading the same with large quantities of feed materials. In this respect, it is to be noted that such dispensers generally are adapted for gravitational flow of feed and therefore the feed supply must be stored at an elevated position. The present invention provides a convenient and novel mechanism for loading feed into the dispenser at an elevated position without removing the feed from the bag and yet after the bag has been opened.
Yet another very important object of the invention is the provision of a feed dispenser of the type described wherein the same is readily and conveniently adjustable to alter the quantity of the measured amount intermittently delivered thereby.
In the drawings,
FIGURE 1 is a side elevation view partly in section of an improved automatic stock feeder device embodying the concepts and principles of the instant invention;
FIG. 2 is a rear elevation thereof;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
3,376,856 Patented Apr. 9, 1968 FIG. 4 is an enlarged rear view of the device, shown partly in cross-section for illustrating the lowermost position of the feed control valves;
FIG. 5 is a crosssectional view taken substantially along line 55 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional View taken substantially along line 66 of FIG. 4;
FIGS. 7, 8, and 9 are detail views illustrating the various positions of the feed control valves;
FIG. is a cross-sectional, side elevational view of an alternative automatic stock feeder device;
FIG. 11 is a fragmentary View similar to FIG. 10 but illustrating the feed control valve in its alternative position;
FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 1212 of FIG. 10; and
FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 13-13 of FIG. 10.
An automatic stock feeder device for sequentially dispensing measured quantities of particulate feed material is illustrated in FIGS. 1-9 of the drawings and comprises a housing 1 which is attached to the rear of a stall wall 2 and has a downwardly extending feed chute 3 extending from its lower front end through the stall wall 2 and into a feed box 4 in said stall.
A feed storage bin 5 may be provided with a funnel outlet 6 which extends through the top of housing 1 and terminates adjacent the upper portion of a compartment 7 formed between the partition 8 and the rear wall 9 of housing 1.
Wall structure in the nature of a pair of oppositely disposed, oifset, slanting bafile guides 10 and 11 extends crosswise in compartment 7 to direct particulate feed material to a frusto-conical wall 12 disposed in the lower portion of the compartment 7 and terminating in a discharge opening 13. A plastic packing collar 14 having a serrated inner edge 15 is secured in opening 13 to assist in the feeding of feed material through outlet 13 when a control valve 16 for the device is actuated.
A material measuring and dispensing hopper 17 is positioned below opening 13 and comprises a frusto-conical wall which is adjustably supported in the lower portion of housing 1 by pins 18 which are selectively placed in a number of rows of openings 19 extending through the side walls of housing 1 for varying the capacity of hopper 17.
A door 20 may be pivotally attached as by hinge 22, to the rear of housing 1 to provide access to and adjustment of the control valves 16 and 23.
The material dispensing outlet presented by hopper 17 is controlled by the loosely slidable valve 23 which is located in vertical alignment with and below valve 16 to operate in conjunction therewith.
Valves 16 and 23 are automatically operated by a reversible electric motor 24 secured to the top of housing 1 and provided with a sprocket 25 over which a length of chain 26 is placed, one end of chain '26 being attached to a cable 27 which extends about a pulley 28 and is then secured to a hook 29 at the top of housing 1. The opposite end of'chain 26 is attached to a cable 30 which extends through battle guides 10 and 11 in compartment 7 to a spring take-up or tensioning device 31, the latter being connected to a cable 32 which extends about pulleys 33 and 34 and is then secured to a turnbuckle 35 attached to the bottom of housing 1. A valve rod 36 is connected between the vertically aligned pulleys 28 and 34. Valve I16 is adjustably mounted on rod 36 by means of a pair of wing lock nuts 37 and 38. Valve 23 is loosely and slidably mounted on the lower end of rod 36 to close the outlet of hopper 17 by gravity. An adjustable stop 39 on rod 36 is disposed for engaging and lifting valve 23 when motor 24 operates to raise rod 36.
A series of spaced agitator elements 40 may be disposed on cable 30 in the lower end of compartment 7 to assist in the preventing of bridging of the feed pellets in said hopper.
Motor 24 is connected to a power source 41 through a main off-on control switch 42 and a timer mechanism 43 which is operable to control the operation of motor 24.
The operation of valves 16 and 23 is best shown in FIGS. 4, 7, 8 and 9. In FIG. 4, valve 16 is open and valve 23 is closed. As the motor 24 operates to raise rod 36, valve 16 closes while valve 23 opens to discharge the desired amount of feed material through chute 3 and into feed box 4. At the end of the upward movement of rod 36, motor 24 will be reversed by mechanism 43 to lower rod 36 to first close valve 23 and then open valve 16 to refill hopper 17 from compartment 7 as shown in FIG. 4 of the drawings.
An alternative device for sequentially dispensing measured quantities of particulate feed materials or the like is illustrated in FIG. 10-13 and is broadly designated by the numeral 100. Device 100 comprises a housing 101 defining a material receiving and storage compartment 102 and a material measuring and dispensing hopper 103.
Wall structure 104 within compartment 102 is disposed to present an upper chamber 105, a lower chamber 106 and a material passageway 107 intercommunicating chambers 105 and 106. Structure 104 also presents a pair of angularly disposed surfaces 108 at the lower extremity of chamber 105. Surfaces 108 are planar and converge as they approach passageway 107 to define a neck 109 which intercommunicates chamber 105 and passageway 107, the latter including a ramp 110 disposed for conveying particulate feed material 111, laterally through compartment 102 from neck 109 to a frusto-pyramidal wall 112 at the lower extremity of chamber 106.
It is to be particularly noted that surfaces 108 are located in perpendicular intersecting planes which are disposed at an angle of approximately 45 relative to the vertical.
A discharge opening 113 extending through wall 112 normally intercommunicates chamber 106 and hopper 103, the latter having a frusto-pyramidal bottom wall 114 which is provided with a material dispensing outlet 115. Hopper 103 is directly beneath opening 113 and the latter is in vertical alignment with outlet 115. A chute I116 is positioned beneath outlet 115 for conveying material to a point of use.
A reciprocable valve means in the nature of a plug 117 is disposed within hopper 103 in alignment with outlet 115 and opening 113. Plug 117 is mounted on the upper end of a valve rod 118 which is connected to an electrically actuated solenoid 119 or the like. Solenoid 119 is connected to a source of electrical power (-not shown) and is operable to reciprocate rod 118 and plug L17 between the position illustrated in FIG. l where outlet 115 is blocked and opening 113 is cleared, and the position illustrated in FIG. 11 where outlet 115 is cleared and opening 113 is blocked.
Solenoid 119 is preferably of the quick acting type to preclude any undesirable leakage of feed material as plug 117 is shifted from one position to another.
A pivot means in the nature of a hinge 120 is provided for mounting one side wall 121 of housing 101 for swinging toward and away from chamber 105 of compartment 102 about the horizontal axis of hinge 120 to provide access to chamber 105. A leg 122 is swingably attached to wall 121 for supporting the same when wall 121 is in its opened condition (FIG. 13), Wall 121 is provided with a bag support structure or wall 123 located in spaced relationship from the normally lower extremity 123 of wall 121. Thus, when wall 121 is in its opened condition, a bag 125 of feed material (shown in dashed lines in FIG. 13 and in solid lines in FIG. may be placed thereon with its opened end 126 disposed generally upwardly. As long 4 as wall 121 is in its opened condition, bag 125 is supported by wall 123.
It is to be noted that wall structure 104 is attached to wall 121 and is swingable therewith. Thus, as wall 121 is swung about the axis of hinge 120 toward its closed position, bag 125 will become supported by wall structure 104. Hence, loading of chamber of compartment 102 is facilitated. That is to say, the heavy bags of feed such as the bag 125 may be conveniently and easily mounted on wall 121 which then serves as an elevator for lifting bag 121 into chamber 105.
Manifestly, when solenoid 119 is actuated to position plug 117 in the position thereof illustrated in FIG. 10, hopper 103 will be filled with feed material gravitating through opening 113 from chamber 106. As feed material gravitates from chamber 106, additional feed material will gravitate from chamber 105, through neck 109 and along ramp to maintain the quantity of feed material on wall 112 relatively constant. The novel construction of wall structure 104 and the dispositions of passageway 107 and of surfaces 108 effectively preclude bridging of feed material within chamber 102. The angular disposition of surfaces 108 prevent bridging across neck 109 to permit a controlled flow of material to traverse passageway 107 along ramp 110. Furthermore, the laterally extending ramp 110 is disposed to prevent a buildup of material on wall 112. That is to say, as a mound of material develops at the lower extremity of ramp 110, fiow through neck 109 will be stopped before a sufiicient quantity of material builds up on wall 112 to cause bridging across opening 113.
Viewing FIG. 10 it can be seen that when valve 117 is in its at rest or loaded position, hopper 103 becomes filled with feed material. This material in hopper 103 assumes the shape of a cone which extends upwardly through opening 113 and into chamber 106. Furthermore, the feed stacks up along wall 112 beneath the lower edge 127 of a wall 128 and thence upwardly along ramp 110 so that the flow of feed through neck 109 is automatically discontinued when the gap 129 between edge 127 and ramp 110 is filled with material. Also, the quantity of feed material on wall 112 in chamber 106 is controlled in this manner to prevent an excessive buildup of material overlying opening 113 to preclude bridging of material across opening 113 when the latter is opened.
When solenoid 119 is actuated to position plug 117 in its feeding" position as illustrated in FIG. 11, the material in hopper 103 will be free to gravitate through outlet and onto chute 116 for delivery to a point of use. It is to be noted that because opening 113 is closed, only one measured amount of feed from hopper 103 will be delivered each time valve plug 117 is reciprocated. Thus, solenoid 119 may be coupled to an electric timer or the like (not shown) and reciprocated automatically at predetermined times. It is to be noted that when valve 117 is in its feeding position with orifice 115 opened and with opening 113 blocked, the automatic cut off of material at neck 109 by the accumulation of feed on wall 112 and at gap 129 occurs in the same manner as described above to prevent overfilling of chamber 106 with feed material.
The valves 16 and 23 of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-9 may be substituted for the valve means 117 of the embodiment of FIGS. 10-13 and vice-versa. Also, the means (pins 18 and openings 19) for adjustment of the capacity of hopper 17 may be utilized for adjusting the capacity of hopper 103. An appropriately sized valve such as the valve 117 is utilized if the capacity of hopper 103 is adjusted. Furthermore a wall such as wall 121 could be provided for housing 1 to facilitate loading feed material thereinto. Additionally, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art to which this invention pertains, that the solenoid 113 of the embodiment of FIGS. 10l3 is functionally equivalent to the motor 24 of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-9 and its associated cables, chains, sprockets, and pulleys.
By utilizing the present invention, livestock can be fed accurately and at predetermined intervals with an absolute minimum of human attention. Thus, a livestock owner or the like is free to turn his attention to other activities and may even be gone for extended periods of time while being assured that his livestock are properly fed.
1. In a device for sequentially dispensing measured quantities of particulate material,
a material receiving and storage compartment including wall structure presenting upper and lower chambers and a material passageway intercommunicating said chambers, there being a discharge opening in the lower chamber positioned for gravitational flow of material from the compartment therethrough;
a material measuring and dispensing hopper disposed beneath said opening for receiving material gravitating therefrom, said hopper having a material dispensing outlet positioned for gravitational flow of material from the hopper therethrough;
valve mechanism operable alternately for blocking flow of material through said outlet while permitting flow of material through said opening whereby to fill said hopper with material from said compartment, and for blocking flow of material through said opening while permitting flow of material through said outlet whereby to dispense a measured quantity of material from said hopper; and
means in said compartment positioned between said chambers and adjacent said passageway for contacting and controlling material traversing said passageway to prevent bridging of said material in the compartment during filling of said hopper whereby to insure filling of said hopper with a full measure of material prior to dispensing of the same.
2. The invention of claim 1 wherein said upper chamber is configured to receive said material while the latter is contained in a bag, said opening being positioned for receiving material gravitating from said bag.
3. The invention of claim 2 wherein said upper chamber includes a side wall provided with pivot means at the lower extremity thereof mounting the same for swinging toward and away from the compartment about a horizontal axis to provide access to said compartment, there being support structure on the side wall disposed for receiving an opened bag of material with the opened end up and for maintaining said bag on Said side wall as the latter is swung toward the compartment to close the latter and dispose said opened end downwardly.
4. The invention of claim 1 wherein said lower chamber includes a lower wall having said opening extending therethrough, said means in said compartment comprising a substantially vertical wall spaced from said passageway and presenting a gap between the vertical wall and the passageway adjacent said lower wall for precluding buildup of excess material on said lower wall.
5. The invention of claim 4 wherein said hopper has a bottom wall having said outlet extending therethrough, said bottom wall being selectively vertically shiftable relative to said lower wall of the lower chamber to thereby vary the capacity of the hopper.
6. The invention of claim 4 wherein said opening and said outlet are vertically aligned, said valve mechanism including valve means reciprocable vertically between a first position blocking said outlet while clearing said opening and a second position blocking said opening while clearing said outlet.
7. The invention of claim 6 wherein said valve mechanism includes a reversible electric motor coupled to said valve means for reciprocating the latter.
8. The invention of claim 6 wherein said valve mechanism includes a solenoid coupled to said valve means for reciprocating the latter.
9. The invention of claim 4 wherein said wall structure includes a pair of angularly disposed surfaces adjacent said passageway at the lower extremity of said upper chamber said surfaces converging downwardly as said passageway is approached and presenting a neck intercommunicating said upper chamber with said passageway.
10. The invention of claim 9 wherein said surfaces are planar.
11. The invention of claim 10 wherein said surfaces are located in perpendicular, intersecting planes.
12. The invention of claim 1 wherein said means in said compartment comprises a reciprocable agitator element.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 534,082 2/1895 Reeder 222-439 742,969 11/1903 Clapp 119-51.11 X 983,919 2/1911 McGuigan 119-51.11 3,072,302 l/ 1963 Giovannoni et al. 222-504 X 3,101,159 8/1963 Fletcher 222- 3,128,915 4/ 1964 Matter 222453 X 3,200,997 8/ 1965 Creswick 222-504 X 3,204,832 9/1965 Barber 222-196 ALDRICH F. MEDBERY, Primary Examiner.