US 3435835 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 1, 1969 N. HOBBS 73,435,335
CAP WASHING MACHINE Filed May 10, 1967 INVENTOR N0 MW BY :7
ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,435,835 CAP WASHING MACHINE Norman L. Hobbs, Rosernont, Pa., assignor to American Home Products Corporation, New York, N.Y., a corporation of Delaware Filed May 10, 1967, Ser. No. 637,472 Int. Cl. B081) 3/08, 3/10 US. Cl. 134-108 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention is concerned with an apparatus for cleaning and drying caps, such that, these caps may be employed in the bottling of pharmaceutically elegant liquid medicinals without the introduction thereto of an extraneous particultae matter from said caps.
Background of the invention Summary of invention This invention relates to a non-aqueous cap cleaning and drying machine. More particularly the present invention relates to an apparatus for the removal of particulate matter from caps employed in the bottling of elegant liquid pharmaceutical preparations, such as eye drops, injectable liquid preparations (parenteral solutions), intravenous solutions, etc.
Heretofore it has been known that caps e.g. metal, rubber or plastic caps could be mechanically washed with water to remove particulate matter, such as, loose metal chips, mold release agents, dirt, dust and lint. In most cases, no filter is employed to clean the air or water employed, therefore, the caps become only as clean as the factory air. In cases where a cap is lined, it is usually so lined with pulp paper having a plastic facing material. This is a very dusty operation creating large volumes of lint which settle on the caps. Unfortunately, these lined caps cannot be again cleaned with water without destroying the liner and resulting in possible yeast and mold contamination.
It is the general object of the present invention to avoid and overcome the foregoing by the use of the hereinafter described cap dry cleaning apparatus.
Another object of the present invention is to prepare these caps for use in the bottling of elegant, lint-free, liquid pharmaceutical preparations. In particular, these caps are useful for the packaging of liquid eye preparations.
The aforesaid objects of the present invention, and other objects which will become apparent as the description proceeds, are achieved by providing a cleaning apparatus consisting of a scalable stationary chamber containing a precipitating device attached thereto and a rotatable drum therein which has circumferenti'ally attached to the wall thereof perforated baskets for holding the caps to be cleaned, piping which is attached to the lower portion of the chamber leading to a filter-ing device and return piping to the upper portion of the chamber, other piping to introduce a volatile, organic solvent into the chamber to commence the cleaning process and drain piping for the removal thereof when the cleaning is complete.
For a better understanding of the present invention ref- Patented Apr. 1, 1969 erence should be had to the accompanying drawing, wherein like numerals of reference indicate similar parts. In FIGURE 1 a chamber in which the caps are cleaned is illustrated at 2, it being understood that the chamber is of standard construction except for various inlet and outlet connections and also that it is suitably re-enforced and seamed so as to withstand both internal and external pressure. Chamber 2 is provided with a scalable access door 4 for inserting and removing the perforated baskets. Within chamber 2 there is a drum 6, also having an access door (not shown), conventionally supported on a stub shaft (not shown) and rotatably mounted on gas-tight bearings (not shown) on the side of chamber 2. The shaft is rotatably driven by a motor or other suitable power source.
Drum 6 is provided with a plurality of holding devices on which there may be afiixed the perforated baskets 8, containing the caps to be cleaned.
When the cleaning process is commenced the baskets 8 containing the caps are affixed to the drum 6, preferably the caps are tightly packed in these baskets 8 to prevent their tumbling in the basket during the cleaning operation which could result in the breakage or chipping of some caps. When the baskets 8 are properly alfixed to drum 6, the access door 4 is sealed, enough volatile, organic, cleaning solvent is pumped through line 10 and manually controlled valve 34 to the interior of chamber 2, so that, when the drum is rotated at least one basket 8 will be completely immersed therein.
From the lower portion of chamber 2 below the solvent line as defined above, there is shown a pipe 12 having a manually controlled drain valve 14. When the volatile, organic, cleaning solvent is introduced or removed from the chamber, drain valve 14 is closed, but when the cleaning process is in operation it is opened so as to permit the circulation of the solvent in chamber 2 by pump 16 through pipe 12, the filter 18 and return pipe 20 which is attached to the upper portion of chamber 2, and has a manually controlled valve 22 which is also open when the cleaning process is in operation. The pump 16 is vented by vent pipe 24 to the top of the drum 6 to prevent the loss of the volatilized solvent to the atmosphere.
Attached to the lower portion of the chamber 2 is an ultrasonic vibrator 26 which is operated when the cleaning process is in progress to facilitate the precipitation and removal of particulate matter, said particulate matter than becomes suspended in the solvent. This ultrasonic cleaning and precipitation coupled with the above described filtration proceduer operates to maintain the cleaning solvent free of particualte matter thereby preventing its redeposition on the cleaned caps.
From the bottom of chamber 2 there is shown a drain pipe 28 having a manually controlled drain valve in poximate connection with the chamber. During the cleaning operation drain valve 30 is closed, but when the cleaning is finished it is opened so as to permit passage of solvent in chamber 2 through drain pipe 28 and check valve 32 to a tank 36 which is large enough to accommodate all the solvent placed in chamber 2. Check valve 32 is so situated between the bottom of chamber 2 and tank 36 to prevent the return of liquid solvent or solvent vapors to the chamber 2.
In the operation of this portion of the system, after the volatile solvent is in tank 36, valves 30 and 34 are closed and tank 36 is heated by a heat source 50 which is suflicient to volatilize the solvent, the vapor is conducted to a condensing system hereinafter described, thereby again reduced to the liquid phase and then stored in reservoir 48 for re-use by introduction into chamber 2 through line 10.
Leading from the upper portion of chamber 2 is a vapor line 38 intended primarily for vapors and including a pump 40 driven by a suitable source of power (not shown) so as to pump vapors from the chamber 2, through the vacuum pipe line 38, check valve 42, condenser 44 which is maintained at a reduced temperature by an adjavent refrigerating mechanism 46 and then collected in reservoir 48. In the description of this operation of this portion of the apparatus it is assumed that the cleaning process has been completed. Manual drain valve 30 is opened and the cleaning solvent will freely pass through check valve 32 into tank 36. Thereafter, While valves 14, 22, 30 and 34 are manually closed, pump 40 is operated to draw all possible solvent through vacuum pipe line 38 from chamber 2. When pump 40 is operated, the pressure within chamber 2 is reduced greatly below that existing during the cleaning of the caps. Thus, a volatile cleaning solvent will readily vaporize because of the reduced pressure. The amount of vacuum necessary to remove all of the solvent depends upon the particular solvent used and also on the temperature of the chamber 2. For this purpose heat source 50 which is attached to either chamber 2 as depicted in FIGURE 1 or drum 6 (not shown) is utilized during the solvent removing aspect of the process.
After all of the solvent has been removed from chamber 2, manually operated valve 52 which has been closed throughout the entire process is now opened to allow prefilter air (filtering device not shown) to enter chamber 2. Thereafter, access door 4 may be opened and the cleaned caps removed.
While any number of volatile solvents may be utilized in this process, the following are suitable: butane, propane, pentane, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, Freon 11, Freon l2 and trichlorethylene. It is understood that pump 16, heating sources 50 and 52, filter 18, precipitator 26 and refigerating system 46 are conventional and that the block illustrations thereof will suffice to denote them.
'While the processing system detached above constitutes one embodiment of the invention, it is understood that various modifications and substitutions may be made without departing from the scope of the following claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A sealed cap cleaning apparatus comprising a sealable, stationary chamber; a precipitating means attached to said chamber; a rotatable drum contained within said chamber; a plurality of perforated baskets removably attached to the wall of said drum; a means for rotating said dr-um; a filtering means; a first conduit means connecting the lower portion of said chamber to the inlet of said filtering means; a second conduit means connecting the outlet of said filtering means to the upper portion of said chamber; and a third conduit means venting said pump to the upper portion of said chamber.
2. In a combination as described in claim 1, means for heating said chamber.
3. In a combination as described in claim 1, means for heating said drum.
4. In a combination as described in claim 1, means for heating said chamber; means for introducing a solvent into said chamber and drain means for draining said solvent from said chamber.
5. In a combination as described in claim 1, means for heating said drum; means for introducing a solvent into said chamber and drain means for draining said solvent from said chamber.
6. A sealed cap cleaning apparatus comprising a sealable, stationary chamber; an ultrasonic precipitating means and a heating means attached to said chamber; a rotatable drum contained within said chamber; a plurality of perforated baskets circumferentially attached to the inner wall of said drum; a means for rotating said drum; a filtering means; a first conduit means connecting the lower portion of said chamber to the inlet of said filtering means; a second conduit means connecting the outlet of said filtering means to the upper portion of said chamber; and a third conduit means venting said pump to the upper portion of said chamber.
7. In a combination as described in claim 6, means for introducing a solvent into said chamber and drain means for draining said solvent from said chamber.
8. A sealed cap cleaning apparatus comprising a scalable, stationary chamber; an ultrasonic precipitating means and a heating means attached to said chamber; a rotatable drum contained within said chamber; a plurality of perforated baskets circumferentially attached to the inner wall of said drum; a means for rotating said drum; a filtering means; a first conduit means connecting the lower portion of said chamber to the inlet of said filtering means; a manually operable shut-off valve in said first conduit means; a second conduit means connecting the outlet of said filtering means to the upper portion of said chamber; and a third conduit means venting said pump to the upper portion of said chamber.
9. In a combination as described in claim 8, means for introducing a cleaning solvent into said chamber and drain means for draining said solvent from said chamber.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 566,47l 8/1896 Richards l34159 2,352,356 6/1944 Albertson 134-111 2,989,965 6/1961 Rod 134-1l1 XR FOREIGN PATENTS 1,144,528 10/1957 France.
ROBERT L. BLEUTGE, Primary Examiner.
US. or. X.R. 68l8;1341, 111,159