US 3404713 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 8, 1968 D. ELFORD 3,404,713
I CONTAINER FILLING APPARATUS Filed June 24, 1965 6 Sheets-Sheet 2 E 2 -4 INVENTOR DAVID ELFORD Mg/WW.
ATTORNEY Oct. 8, 1968 D. ELFORD CONTAINER FILLING APPARATUS 6 Sheets-Sheet 5 v Filed June 24, 1965 i zx a :Q wag:
INVENTOR DAVID ELFORD BY Mad"? ATTORNEY CONTAINER FILLINGAPPARATUS Filed June 24, 1965 6 Sheets-Sheet 4*.
INVENTOR E 4, DAVID ELFORD ATTORNEY 1968 D. ELFORD CONTAINER FILLING APPARATUS 6 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed June 24, 1965 lNVENTOR DAVID ELFORD BY )qttm /W-/.
ATTORNEY Oct. 8, 1968 D. ELFORD CONTAINER FILLING APPARATUS 6 Sheets-Sheet 6 Filed June 24, 1965 INVENTOR 7 DAVID ELFURD ATTORNEY United States Patent "ice 3,404,713 CONTAINER FILLING APPARATUS David Elford, The Patch, Victoria, Australia, assignor to F.M.C. (Australia) Limited, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Filed June 24, 1965, Ser. No. 466,722 18 Claims. (Cl. 141-67) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Containers are filled with liquid precisely and rapidly by raising measuring pots from a bowl of liquid into sealing engagement with air bells mounted above the pots. Air introduced to the bells ejects liquid trapped in the pots, through tubes leading from the pots into the containers, via filler nozzles on the tubes. The air flows continuously into the bells.
i This invention relates to apparatus for filling containers and refers more particularly to apparatus for filling liquids into containers having very small openings such as filling intravenous infusion fluids into plastic ampoules.
These containers for solutions for intravenous infusion hold approximately one quarter litre, one half litre, or one litre of various solutions for intravenous infusion. In use, the ampoules are inverted and suspended from a base hook whereby the solution is permitted to flow freely from said ampoules. Standardization of such tubes in the medical field has necessitated a particular size of filling neck or tube on an ampoule, which neck serves the dual purpose of both filling the ampoule with a solution and subsequently discharging the solution by inverting the ampoule after connecting a delivery tube to the filling neck.
The small bore of these filling necks which, in the case of ampoules for intravenous infusion fluids, is brought about by the above dual use of the neck or for hygenic or other reasons, makes filling of the container at speed diflicult. To overcome the time lag brought about by the high resistance in a small bore entry nozzle necessary for injecting solutions into such containers, it is desirable to force the solutions into the containers by means of a positive head of pressure, either from a gravity tank, a displacement piston or the like.
In the case of corrosive solutions having a limited range of desirable materials, which may be in contact with the solutions, or in the case of infusion solutions which may be tainted with trace quantities of undesirable materials, it is most necessary to limit the number of materials which the solutions may contact. It is also necessary to have these contact materials, which are components of the apparatus, built in such a manner as to be readily removable for cleaning. In the case of infusion fluids, the contact parts must be effectively flushed clean with pyrogen-free water before using the equipment. This is generally carried out in a highly filtered particle-free atmosphere and the equipment is desirably contained inside an enclosure or cabinet fed with such air, filtered to the desired specifications.
A further requirement of such equipment is that it should fill each container with a relatively accurate measure of fluid and that it should be adjustable to permit filling of containers of various sizes.
Now it is an object of the present invention to provide a filling apparatus which embodies these desirable features and in accordance with the invention there is provided a container filling apparatus comprising a filler bowl, means for delivering solution to said filler bowl; one or a plurality of measuring pots in said bowl, a tube 3,404,713 Patented Oct. 8, 1968 connected to the base of the or each pot, the or each said tube passing upwardly over the edge of said bowl, thence downwardly to a level below the bottom of said bowl, the or each tube having a filler nozzle connected to or associated with its lower end; a bell associated with the or each of said measuring pots, the or, each said bell being adapted to seal against the top of the or each said pot, and means for delivering air to the or each said bell whereby when the or each said bell seals against its associated measuring pot the solution contained within the pot is delivered by the tube to the filler nozzle.
More particularly, each of the said bells comprises a displacement plug which is adjustable to permit any desired volume of solution to be delivered from each pot.
The invention will be more fully described with reference to the accompanying drawings illustrating a preferred form of the invention wherein:
FIGURE 1 is an elevational view, partly in section of an ampoule filling apparatus,
FIGURE 2 is an elevational view of mechanism for delivering ampoules to the apparatus of FIGURE 1,
FIGURE 3 is a cross-sectional elevational view taken along line 3-3 of FIGURE 1,
FIGURE 4 is a cross-sectional elevational view taken along line 4-4 of FIGURE 2,
FIGURE 5 is a sectional plan view taken along line 5-5 of FIGURE 1, and
FIGURE 6 is a sectional plan view taken along line 66 of FIGURE 2.
An ampoule filling apparatus in accordance with the illustrated preferred form of the invention has a main support comprising four rectangularly spaced vertical pillars or columns 10 of stainless steel. These columns 10 are mounted within a sterilized cabinet or the like (not shown) and are arranged to support several frames as will be hereinafter described.
A filler bowl 11 which is an open-topped container preferably lined with vitreous enamel, glass or the like, is supported by hook-like members 12, the upper ends of which are attached to horizontal beams 13 carried between the columns 10 and supported thereby.
The hook members 12 engage the rolled upper edge 14 of the bowl 11 which is suspended therefrom. Each hooklike member 12 comprises a convexly curved plate 15 associated therewith, said plate providing a guide support for delivery tubes 16 and preventing kinking or other deformation of the tube as it passes from the bowl 11.
Also associated with the hook-like members 12 are a series of tube pinching members 17. Each member 17 is a substantially V-shaped lever pivoted about its centre by attachment to a horizontal shaft 18 extending length wise of the apparatus. The pinching members 17 are arranged, one in association with each delivery tube 16 as will be more fully described hereinafter. Each member 17 carries on its lower end an inverted T-shaped member 19, the cross member 20 of which serves to clamp the tube 16 against the plate 15, thus preventing flow of liquid through the tube 16.
The filler bowl 11 is continuously fed with solution from a supply tank (not shown), The filler bowl 11 has an overflow outlet 21 which is so arranged that the bowl will be full of solution at all times with but minor variations in level as solution is fed to containers being filled; The solution is fed to the bowl 11 at a rate greater than it can be consumed for the purpose of filling containers and the excess solution is returned to the supply tank via the overflow 21.
Although it is not absolutely necessary to maintain the level of solution in the bowl in this manner, the advantage is that no float valve or other level control device is necessary, and by being able to recycle the solution continuously it may readily be held at a prescribed temperature with out the use of a further heating or cooling device in the filling equipment.
The bowl 11 is a simple basin which is readily manufactured and coated if desired and it may be readily removed from the hook-like members 12 for cleaning.
Suspended from an overhead framework 32 which is vertically adjustable on the columns are a plurality of measuring pots 23 which may be of the same volumetric content as the ampoules to be filled or of greater volumetric content. The pots 23, and in the example referred to in this description there are eight arranged in two rows of four each, are submerged in the solution in the bowl 11. Where the pots 23 are of larger volumetric content than the ampoules to be filled, displacement plugs 24 are employed to ensure delivery of the exact amount of solution from each pot. These pots 23 are thus not necessarily critical in their dimensions and they may either be made from a suitable base material for Contact with the solutions or they may alternatively be vitreous enamelled or glass lined or otherwise suitably treated.
These pots 23 are preferably substantially cylindrical containers open at their upper ends and provided with inverted conical bases so as to provide a lowest central, or drain, point.
The tube 16 is attached to the drain opening 25 of each pot 23 through the medium of a glass valve housing 26 sealed in the drain opening 25 by a gasket of suitable plastic material or rubber. The valve 27 is a simple float valve which seals the entry of the tube 16 in the housing 26 when the pot 23 is emptied.
The valve 27 at the bottom of each pot 23 is provided with means for attaching the flexible filler tube 16 of a suitable inert material such as Tygon. The tubes 16 extend from the base of each pot 23 upwards and over the curved plate 15 so that their highest point is of necessity above the level of the solution in the bowl 11 and syphoning cannot commence of its own accord.
After passing over the edge of the bowl, the tubes 16 are carried on downwardly below the level of the bottom of the bowl to connect with filler nozzles 33 which are inserted accurately in the filling tube or neck of the containers to be filled.
The filler nozzles 33, which are of known type, are passed through holes in a spring-loaded platform 34 carried by the columns 10 beneath the bowl. The platform is spring-loaded so as to be held down against stops 35 and the loading is such as to prevent movement of the platform during accurate positioning of the container necks within the nozzles 33. However, should a container neck be malformed or inaccurately positioned, movement of the containers to the filling position causes the platform to be raised against the action of the spring or springs 36 and a micro-switch 37 is operated through linkage 38 and raising of the containers is stopped, as also is a potraising frame 32, and thus solution is prevented from being delivered to the containers.
The pots 23 are supported in the bowl 11 by means of short cylindrical carriers 28. The carriers 28 are preferably moulded from suitable plastic material and comprise upstanding female threaded sockets 29 which receive male threaded shafts 30 for adjustment of the heights of the pots 23 in the bowl and for raising and lowering the pots 23 for filling the ampoules. The shafts 30 pass through brackets 31 on a pot-lifting frame 32.
Above each of the measuring pots 23 and aligned therewith is a bell 39 which is fixed to the overhead frame 13 secured to the columns 10. Each bell 39 is substantially of hollow cylindrical form closed at the upper end 40 and open at the lower end 41. The lower end 41 of the bell 39 or the upper lip of the pot 23 is provided with a sealing gasket 42 of suitable base material. The lower end 41 of the bell 39 is of such diameter as to coincide with the diameter of the top of the co-operating measuring pot 23 whereby when said pot and hell are brought into contact by the raising of the pot, the top edge of the pot seals against the lower edge of the bell with the gasket 42, providing a fluid-tight seal between said bell and pot.
Air is fed continuously into each bell 39 through an opening 43 in the top of said bell at a restricted flow rate so that when the pot is sealed against the bell the air pressure will stabilize at a preset figure to maintain an overriding pressure on the solution consistent with the head pressure desired to achieve the required filling rate.
An adjustable displacement plug 24 is preferably, but not necessarily, fitted inside each bell 39 to displace a quantity of the solution from its respective pot 23 prior to the transfer of the solution from the pots to the ampoules. In this manner it is unnecessary to substitute pots of different capacity for filling ampoules of different capacity.
The displacement plugs 24 are piston-type members arranged centrally within each bell 39 (see FIG. 3). The displacement plug comprises a vertical shaft 44 aflixed to the top of said plug 24. A guide bush 45 for the shaft 44 is fitted in an opening in the top of the bell 39 and is clamped tightly thereon by a knurled and threaded member 46. The upper end of the shaft 44 of the plug 24 is threaded into a sleeve member 47 which is clamped to a vertically adjustable frame 48 by a knurled lock nut 49. The plugs 24 are adjustable vertically within the bell 39 to vary the amount of solution to be displaced from the pot 23 prior to the sealing of said pot and bell. The adjustment of the displacement plug is accomplished by mounting the frame 48 on the pillars 10 so as to be slidable vertically thereon. The frame 48 is provided on each side of the apparatus with a bracket 50 which is welded or otherwise suitably affixed to the upper surface of the frame 48. Attached to the brackets 50 and extending laterally from the apparatus are threaded bearing blocks 51. Arranged directly beneath the brackets 50 are similar brackets 52 afiixed to the beams 13. Extending laterally from brackets 52 are plain bearing blocks 53. A threaded shaft 54 is carried by the plain bearing blocks 53 With the upper portion of said shaft threaded into the threaded bearing block 51. The top end of each shaft 54 carries a sprocket wheel 55 and a chain 56 passes around said sprocket wheels. The lower end of one of said shafts 54 is provided with an operating wheel 57 to permit the shaft 54 keyed or similarly affixed thereto to be turned. Turning of the operating wheels 57 and associated shaft 54 causes the other shaft 54 to be turned an identical amount through the chain 56.
Turning of the shafts 54 result in lowering or raising of the frame 48 and thus cause the displacement plugs 24 to be adjusted vertically within the bells 39. In FIG- URE 3, the broken outline shows frame 48 in substantially its lowermost position which means that the displacement plug displaces a substantial amount of solution prior to the sealing of the bell and pot. The plug would be adjusted to this position only when a small amount of solution is to be delivered to an ampoule.
Also extending between each pair of brackets 50 and 52 is a threaded shaft 58. The shafts 58 are provided with lock-nuts 59 and 60 for locking the frame 48 in position after it has been adjusted by the shafts 54.
Fine or minor adjustments of the plugs 24 may be effected by means of the knurled members 47.
When the plug 24 is in its fully retracted or uppermost position the pot 23 is permitted to deliver its full capacity to the ampoule. If only half the contents of the pot are to be delivered, the plug is lowered within the bell 39 so that when the pot and hell are brought together in sealing engagement, the plug enters the solution in the pot 23 and causes half of it to be displaced. Numerous adjustments may be made to the plug to dispense any desired volume of solution from the pot.
In order to fill the ampoules 61, it is necessary for the ampoules 61 to be brought into contact with the filler nozzles 33 and the pots 23 into contact with the bells 39. This is accomplished by causing the pot-carrying framework 32 to be raised on the columns to thereby bring the pots 23 intosealing contact with the bells 39 and similarly a cradle 62 arranged beneath the ampoules 61 is also caused to be raised on the columns a corresponding distance. The raising is accomplished by means of a piston 64 and cylinder 63 arranged substantially centrally within the base of the apparatus. The piston 64 is connected to the cradle which is guided in its vertical movement by the columns, and the pot-carrying framework 32 is connected by rods 65 or the liketo said cradle 62 whereby when the cradle is raised by the piston and cylinder, the pot-carrying framework is raised a corresponding distance, bringing the tops of the pots 23 into sealing engagement with the bells 39. v
The containers are introduced to the apparatus by means of a conveyor 66 which passes laterally between the columns 10 and between the sides of the lifting cradle 62. The lifting cradle is of H-design to permit the con veyor 66 to pass through. The conveyor 66 is Preferably of cross-dolly type and is adapted to support a carriage 67. The carriage 67 is carried by a pair of vertical posts 68 which are fixed to the conveyor 66 at specified distances.
An ampoule receptacle 69 of moulded plastics material is so designed and constructed to provide cylindrical receptacles for eight ampoules and to retain them in such relation as to deliver the filler neck of each ampoule to its associated filler nozzle 33.
The receptacle 69 is a dual receptacle such that when mounted on the carriage. 67 in one position the upper portion 70 of the receptacle 69 provides accommodation for eight one-litre ampoules, and when inverted the portion 71 of the receptacle provides accommodation for eight half-litre ampoules. The design of the receptacle is such that the filler necks of the oneor half-litre ampoules are the same distance beneath the nozzles 33. The receptacle comprises a pair of sleeves or guides 72 which slide vertically on the posts 68 and which prevent horizontal movement of the receptacle as it is raised or lowered. (See FIG. 4.) p
The side walls, of the receptacle 69 are engaged by guide or locatingrollers 73 which ensure that the receptacle enters the apparatus in correct alignment. The rollers 73, of which there are twopairs, are rotatably mounted on brackets 74 secured to or integral with stripper sup ports 75 which are vertical posts or the like attached to the lifting cradle 62.
The strippers 76 are a pair of fiat horizontal plates extending at least the full lentgh of the receptacle 69 and which are fixed to a stripper support 75 at each side of the apparatus. The inner longitudinal edge 77 of each stripper plate is adapted to engage against portion of the top of the ampoules 61 associated with each said stripper plate 76 if the ampoules 61 fail to return to their lowered position on the carriage 67 after filling. The inner edge portion 77 of each stripper plate may be recessed or otherwise shaped to engage against'the top of the ampoules 61 without risk of damage.
The conveyor 66 is adjusted to move at intervals such as will enable the ampoules.61 in the receptacle 69 on the carriage 67 to be properly positioned beneath their respective filling nozzles 33..
The cradle 62 is provided on its upper surface with pads 79 which providea scaling for the receptacle 69. The receptacle 69 is formed with corner blocks 80 and 81 moulded integrally therewith. When presenting onelitr e ampoules for filling, the receptacle 69 is supported on the pads 79 by the blocks 80 and when presenting half-litre ampoules for filling, the blocks 81 rest on the pads 79.
The pinching members,17. which, as hereinbefore described are associated one with each delivery tube 16, are fixed to the. horizontal shafts 18 whereby rotation of the shaft 18 causes all four pinching members 17 affixed thereto to move;in unison. A tension spring 82 is attached to the pinching members 17 at each side and at each end of the apparatus, i.e., to four members 17,
. each spring 82 being pivotally attached to the arms 83 of the members 17 whilst the lower ends of the springs 82 are anchored to a fixed portion of the frame of the apparatus. The springs 82 are provided to exert such force on the pinching members 17 as to prevent flow of solution through the tubes 16 when filling is not taking place. t In order to release the pinching members 17 topermit the flow of solution when filling is taking place, the rods 65 which raise and lower the pot-lifting frame 32 are provided with lugs 85 which abut against the outer end of the arms 83 of the four end pinching members 17 when the pots 23 are raised for sealing against the bells 39. The continued upward movement of the rods 65 causes the lugs 85 to pivot the members 17 about the shaft 18, thereby raising the cross clam-p members 20 from the tube 16.
Each bell 39ris provided in the top thereof with an air inlet 86 in the form of a threaded hollow plug 87. Air under controlled perssure is fed from a common source to the bells 39 through these inlets 86. The air flow is continuous but is only effective in delivering solution from the pots 23 when the pots 23 and bells 39 are in sealing engagement.
The micro-switches 37, of which there are four, one at each top corner of the apparatus, are actuated by rod 38 and linkage 90 when the spring-loaded nozzle retaining plate 34 is raised from the stops 35. The lower ends of the rods 38 are attached to the corners of the plate 34. Thus, when any corner of the plate is raised by the non-entry of an ampoule neck into the nozzles 33, the rod 38 is raised thereby tripping the micro-switch and causing the cylinder 63 to lower the cradle 62 and pot frame 32. The tension springs 36 serve to normally retain the plate 34 on the stops 35.
All components of the apparatus are readily removable for cleaning purposes.
Operation of the apparatus is as follows:
Solution is fed continuously to the bowl 11 from a supply tank and the excess solution is recycled, such as by pumping, for further use. This means that the bowl 11 is full at all times except for slight variation during filling of the ampoules 61.
When a filling operation is to be performed, an ampoule receptacle 69 is placed on the carriage 67 of the conveyor 66 by sliding the sleeves 72 of the receptacle downwardly over the posts 68. The placement of the receptacle is determined by whether one or half-litre ampoules are to be filled. The conveyor 66 delivers the ampoule receptacle to the filling station beneath the nozzles 33 and in order to ensure the central positioning of the recpetacle, the guide rollers 73 engage the sides of the receptacle.
At this stage it will be seen that all is in readiness for the filling operation in that the ampoules are beneath the nozzles 33; solution is being fed continuously to the bowl 11 which is full; the pots 23 are submerged in the bowl and thus they also are full; air is being fed continuously to the bells 39 but as they are open at this stage, the air is permitted to escape freely; the valve 27 is sealing the drains of the pots 23 and the pinch.- ing clamp 20 is preventing solution from dripping from the nozzles 33.
In order to effect filling of the ampoules, all that is now necessary is to bring the ampoules into contact with the filling nozzles 33 and to bring the pots 23 and bells 39 into sealing engagement with each other. This is effected by actuation of the lifting cylinder 63 at the base of the apparatus which causes the receptacle lifting cradle 62 to rise so that the pads 79 engage the underneath blocks 80 on the receptacle and thereby slide the receptacle vertically upwardly on the conveyor posts 68. This upward movement causes the necks of the ampoules 61 to enter the filler nozzles 33 for receiving the solution.
By reason of the connection between the carriage lifting cradle 62 and the pot-carrying frame 32, through the four rods 65, the lifting of the cradle 62 results in the pot-carrying frame 32 being raised a corresponding distance. Lifting of the pot-carrying frame results in the pots 23 being raised from the bowl 11 and brought into sealing engagement with their respective bells 39.
The raising of the pot-lifting framework rods 65 also causes the lugs 85 on the tops of said rods to abut against the arms 83 of the pinching members, thereby releasing their clamping effect on the tubes 16 to permit flow of solution to the nozzles 33 when the valves 27 in the drain openings of the pots 23 are opened.
Because of the continuous feeding of air to the bells 39, the sealing thereof with the pots 23 means that there is no escape for the air and thus the air forces the solution downwardly in the pots, thereby forcing the valves 27 to open and allowing the solution to escape through the opening in the bottom of the pots and through the connecting tubes 16 to the nozzles 33. The nozzles 33 being in filling engagement with the necks of the ampoules allow the solution to be forced therethrough into the 'ampoules 61.
When all the solution has been delivered from the pots 23, a timing mechanism (not shown) causes the cylinder 63 to lower the pot-carrying frame 32 and cradle 62. This causes the pots 23 to be returned to their submerged position in the bowl, the receptacle 69 and ampoules 61 to be returned to the conveyor carriage 67. The lowering of the rods 65 causes the tension springs 82 to return the pinching members 17 to their clamping position on the tubes 16.
If any ampoule remains jammed in its respective filling nozzle, the lowering of the cradle brings the striper plate 76 into contact with the top of the ampoule and wipes or strips it from the nozzle 33.
The conveyor 66 is actuated to remove the filled ampoules and simultaneously position a new group for the next filling operation.
If one or more ampoules 61 is malformed at its neck portion in such manner that it could not be properly positioned in the filler nozzle 33, the raising of the lifting cradle 62 and ampoules 61 would cause the malformed neck to push against the filler nozzle 33 rather than enter same and thereby raise the spring-loaded plate 88 on which the nozzles are mounted and trip the micro-switch 37. Operations of the micro-switch 37 causes the lifting cylinder 63 to be reversed immediately to lower the cradle 62 to its original position. Thus, unless and until all ampoules 61 are properly positioned in the filling nozzles 33, filling cannot commence.
When the bells 39 are employed without the use of the displacement plugs 24, it is necessary that the pots 23 should be accurately manufactured and marked, as the entire contents of the pots are delivered to the containers when the pots are sealed against the bells. However, when the displacement plugs are used, the accurate manufacture is not quite so important, as the plugs can be adjusted infinitely to cope with manufacturing inaccuracies.
When the displacement plugs 24 are set to the proper position, depending upon the volumetric capacity of the pots 23 and the amount to be delivered therefrom, the raising of the pots 23 into sealing engagement with the bells 39 causes the displacement plugs 24 to enter the solution in the pots and displace a volume equivalent to the amount of immersed plug. Thus, by alternation of the positioning of the displacement plugs 24, any desired proportion of solution may be delivered from the pots.
1. Container filling apparatus of the type comprising a filler bowl, means for maintaining solution in said filler bowl at a predetermined level, a measuring pot in said bowl, a container filler tube connected to the pot and having a filler nozzle associated with its lower end, a support for containers to be filled from said nozzle, and means for raising said measuring pot from the liquid in said bowl for trapping a predetermined volume in the pot; the improvement wherein an air bell is mounted above said measuring pot, means are provided for sealing the top of the pot with said bell, and means are provided for delivering air to the bell for ejecting liquid from'the pot when the pot seals against the bell, so that the solution trapped within the pot is delivered to the filler nozzle.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said container support is connected to said measuring pot raising means for raising a container simultaneously with said measuring pot to connect the container to said filler nozzle.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said means for delivering air to the bell delivers air continuously,'but the measuring pot is not emptied until it seals with its bell.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said bowl has an overflow outlet leading to a supply tank, said solution level being maintained in said bowl by providing means for delivering solution to the bowl at a rate greater than that at which it is withdrawn during filling of the containers, any excess solution returning to said supply tank via said overflow outlet.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said bowl is lined with vitreous material, and wherein said bowl is supported in the apparatus by a plurality of hook-like members, the upper ends of which are attached to beam members carried in the upper portion of the apparatus.
6. Container filling apparatus comprising an opentopped filler bowl, a liquid supply source means for delivering solution from said supply source to said bowl at a rate greater than that at which it can be consumed for the purpose of filling containers; a plurality of measuring pots in said bowl, overflow means in said bowl for returning excess solution to the source of supply, said overflow means being such as to cause the depth of solution in said bowl to be sufficient to enable said measuring pots to be fully submerged in the solution between filling operation, a drain opening formed at the bottom of each pot, a filler tube connected to each drain opening and passing upwardly over the rim of said bowl thence downwardly to a level below the bottom of said bowl, each tube having a filler nozzle at its lower end, each nozzle being afiixed to plate means mounted beneath said bowl; a bell associated with each measuring pot and supported in the apparatus directly above each pot, means for raising said pots from their submerged position in the bowl into fluid-tight engagement with their associated bells, each bell having an air inlet; means for delivering air to said bells continuously for emptying the measuring pots when they are raised into fluid-tight engagement with their associated bells, thereby forcing solution out of said pots and through the filler tubes to said nozzles, and a support for containers to be filled disposed beneath said filler nozzles.
7. The container filling apparatus of claim 6, wherein a float valve is situated in the drain opening of each pot to prevent leakage of solution therefrom between filling operations.
8. The container filling apparatus of claim 7, wherein the bowl is supported by hook-like members affixed to beam members carried by the apparatus above said bowl, andwherein convexly curved plates are associated with the hook-like members and situated adjacent each side rim of the bowl whereby each filler tube is supported and guided by said plates so that said tubes are not kinked or deformed in their passage from the bowl to the filler nozzles.
9. The container filling apparatus of claim 8, characterized by tube pinching members associated with each filler tube, means for causing said pinching members clamping the tubes against the convex guide plates to prevent solution dripping from the nozzles between filling operations, and means for releasing said pinching members during filling of the containers.
10. The container filling apparatus of claim 6, wherein the measuring pots are of greater volumetric content than the containers to be filled, and wherein each bell includes a displacement plug which displaces a predetermined amount of solution #from each measuring pot prior to said pot and bell forming a fluid-tight seal.
11. The container filling apparatus of claim 10, wherein each displacement plug is suspended by a vertical shaft slidable through the top of said bell and connected to a frame vertically adjustable in the apparatus, and means for raising and lowering said frame for causing all of said displacement plugs to be adjusted an identical amount in said bells.
12. The container filling apparatus of claim 6, wherein said measuring pots are supported in the bowl by carrier means, said carrier means having upstanding posts mounted in a pot-carrying frame, and wherein means are provided for mounting said upstanding posts for vertical adjustment in said pot carrying frame.
13. The container filling appartaus of claim 6, wherein means are provided for raising said container support to connect containers with said filler nozzles simultaneously with the raising of said pots into fluid-tight engagement with their associated bells.
14. The container filling apparatus of claim 13, wherein filler tu-be shut oif members are provided, and operators for said tube shut off members are associated with said pot raising means for opening said tubes when said pots are raised.
15. The container filling apparatus of claim 13, wherein said nozzle plate means is resiliently mounted in the apparatus, and a nozzle plate sensor is connected to said plate means for detecting displacement of the plate means due to misalignment of containers with their nozzles.
16. The container filling apparatus of claim 6, wherein said support for the containers includes a conveyor and separate receptacles for groups of containers, and means for raising said receptacles from the conveyor to connect containers on the receptacles with said nozzles.
17. The container filling apparatus of claim 16, wherein container stripper plates are mounted on said container receptacle raising means for freeing containers that are stuck in their nozzles upon lowering of said receptacle raising means.
18. The container filling apparatus of claim 16, wherein said container receptacles have container pockets on opposite sides thereof for containers of different size, said receptacles being reversibly mounted. on said receptacle raising means.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,904,221 9/1959 Carter 141-147 X 2,944,573 7/1960 Weideman et al. 141-238 X 3,221,933 12/1965 Small et al. 222373 X LAVERNE D. GEIGER, Primary Examiner.
E. J. EARLS, Assistant Examiner.