US 3451189 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 24, 1969 E. R. TAGGART 3,451,139
DESICCATOR APPARATUS INCLUDING IMPROVED VACUUM BOTTLE CAPPING ARRANGEMENT Sheet Filed April 14, 1967 R 2 NH 6 V6 ME 0 m P M E O 2 B I ArmPA/Es June 24, 1969 E. R, TAGGART 3,451,189 DESICCATOR APPARATUS INCLUDING IMPROVED VACUUM BOTTLE CAPPING ARRANGEMENT Filed April 14, 1967 Sheet of 3 .my. 1 ff dr xMm June 24, 1969 TAGGART 3,451,189
, I DESICCATOR APPARATUS INCLUDING IMPROVED VACUUM BOTTLE CAPPING ARRANGEMENT Filed April 14, 1967 Sheet of 3 AWE/Wok 1/5P57TR 77266027 United States Patent US. Cl. 53-112 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates generally to an apparatus for preserving a substance for future use, using a lyophilization process commonly called freeze-drying, and particularly to the mechanical arrangement within a chamber for expeditiously capping vacuum bottles resting on plates in the chamber.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION Reference is made to my copending application, Ser. No. 511,706 filed Dec. 6, 1965, entitled, Process and Apparatus for Preserving Biological and Like Preparations.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The field of this art includes all types of apparatus for capping vacuum bottles.
Several mechanical arrangements are in use within the chamber of a cabinet for capping vacuum bottles 'while a vacuum is present in the chamber. One arrangement involves a plurality of vertically spaced, stationary plates, each with a vertically movable plate spaced there- 'below for holding a plurality of bottles to be capped thereon, and wherein all movable plates are moved upwardly until the vacuum bottle caps are seated, then downwardly to their original position. The disadvantage of this arrangement is lack of use of the stationary plates.
Other arrangements, such as that shown in US. Patent No. 2,792,678 issued May 21, 1957, and shown in my copending application specified hereinbeforeprovide for a sandwiching of all, or substantially all, plates upwardly toward the top wall surface of the vacuum cabinet. Although this arrangement is believed better than the first mentioned, using substantially all plate surfaces either carrying bottles or capping same, the disadvantage here is a seemingly unnecessarily long stroke of the motion transmitting means, normally a hydraulic ram.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of this invention to provide an apparatus capable of dehydrating a substance by freeze-drying, and within which are a plurality of shelves for holding a plurality of loosely capped bottles within which the substance is placed, wherein further alternating shelves are movable relative to alternately fixed shelves for effecting an automatic, final capping of the bottles.
Yet another object of this invention is the provision of an apparatus as defined herinbefore, and wherein the shelves have a three fold function: first, they support the desiccant holding bottles within a vacuum chamber; secondly, they act to compress the bottle caps to a fully closed position; and thirdly, they function to maintain the temperature within the vacuum chamber at predetermined levels.
It is still another object of this invention to provide an apparatus capable of dehydrating a substance by freezedrying, within which are a plurality of shelves so arranged that the minimum amount of shelves mobility is required to effectively cap the bottles.
3,451,189 Patented June 24, 1969 Another object of this invention is to provide an apparatus and method capable of attaining the above designated objectives which are simple, economical, and effective.
These objects, and other features and advantages of this invention will become readily apparent upon reference to the following description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the desiccator apparatus of this invention shown in assembled relation with other components necessary for its operation;
FIG. 2 is a view as seen along the lines 22 of FIG. 1 directly in front of the apparatus, with the front door thereof removed, and with other parts thereof broken away for clarity of illustration;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view as taken along the lines 33 in FIG. 2 and showing the shelf plates at rest;
FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3, and showing the movable shelf plates in their raised condition;
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4, and showing the movable shelves in their lowered condition;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary, perspective view of the shelf plates together with the support structure therefor, with one plate broken away to show the interior; and
FIG. 7 is a horizontal sectional view as taken along the line 7-7 in FIG. 3.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, the desiccator of this invention is indicated generally at 10, and is fluidly connected by appropriate conduits and valving to a condenser unit 11, a vacuum pump unit 12, and a fluid refrigerant and heating unit 13. Normally, the hinged door 14 of the desiccator 10, accompanied for appearance by a base panel 16 is all that is exposed to the user, the remainder of the apparatus and units being available on the other side of a wall 17.
The desiccator 10 comprises a housing 18 (FIG. 2) of conventional box construction mounted on support legs 19. The hinged door 14 is provided with one or more viewing windows 21, and has hand wheel devices 22 for clamping the door 14 closed so as to provide a fluid tight seal for the vacuum chamber 23 (FIG. 3) formed Within the housing 18.
Arranged in vertically spaced and stacked relation within the chamber 23 (FIG. 3) are a plurality, three in this instance, of fiat, right angular shelf plates 26-, 27, and 28. These are so named due to their dual function as shelves for supporting conventional vacuum bottle units 31 thereon, and as freeze-type plates for carrying a heat transmitting fluid therethrough, the purpose of which will be described hereinafter.
The base shelf plate 26 (FIGS. 2 and 3) is secured 'by a collar 32 to the upper end of a piston 33 reciprocally mounted in a fluid cylinder device 34. Addtionally, the plate 26 is interconnected to the upper plate 28 by means described hereinafter. Controls (not shown) are provided for the operation of the desiccator for moving the base plates 26 and 28 vertically reciprocally from their inoperative neutral position (FIG. 3) to a raised, operative position of FIG. 4, and to a lowered operative position of FIG. 5.
Movement of the base shelf-plate 26 and the upper plate 28 is guided by a quartet of upright posts 36, 37, 38, and 39 (FIG. 6) arranged in a rectangular formation within the housing 18. The guide posts are identical, but each front and rear pair of posts are turned toward each other, as best indicated in FIG. 6. All four posts are 3 secured by angle-irons 35 (FIG. 2) to the bottom 40 and top 41 of the housing 18.
As best viewed in FIG. 6, each guide post 36-39 is vertically disposed, perfectly straight and flat when viewed from the side (FIGS. 3 and 4), and has an outer vertical straight edge 42. The inner edge 43 has a plurality of cut-outs 44, 45, and 46 formed therein of equal depth but with the two outer grooves 44 and 46 of equal length, and considerably larger than the intermediate groove 45. It will be noted that the surfaces of all inner edge portions of the guide posts are vertical, extending parallel to the straight surface of the outer edge 42 opposite thereof.
The middle cut-out 45 forms a support for a stationary shelf plate 25 and holds it securely therein. Cut-outs 44 and 46 guide the movable shelf-plates 26 and 28 horizontally while limiting their movement vertically by means of shoulders 44a, 44b and 46a, 46b (FIG. 6) at their upper and lower ends.
A quartet of vertical support posts 47, 48, 49, and 50 for shelf plate 26 are attached at their bases to the base shelf plate 26 and are arranged in a rectangular formation as best illustrated in FIG. 6. Each post 47-50- is identical, having formed on their inner edges a trio of vertically spaced grooves 51, 52 and 53. The upper and lower grooves 51 and 53 are arranged to receive the upper and lower movable shelves 26 and '28, with the center groove 52 adapted to have an edge of the stationary shelf 27 placed adjacent thereto. The support posts 47-50 are attached to the movable shelves by means of bolts 55 inserted through the posts at the cut-outs 51 and 52 and into the side edges 57 of the shelves. The posts 47-50 are each parallel and adjacent to one of the guide posts 36-39. As best illustrated in FIG. 7, each support post is disposed closely adjacent a guide post.
An L-shaped plate 58 is attached to each stationary post 36-39 by means of a plurality of bolts 59 in such a manner that the wide flat area 62 (FIG. 7) of the plate extends beyond the guide posts 36-39 to embrace the outer surface of the support posts 47-50. This positions the plates 58 between the posts and the inner side walls of the cabinet 18.
As all plates 26-28 are identical as to their interior construction, only one will be described, with all reference numerals pertinent as to the other plates. Referring to FIG. 6, it is seen that shelf-plate 28 has a grid formation passage 63 formed therein, connected at one end by a fitting -64 to a flexible conduit 65 fluidly connected to an upright tube 66 (see FIG. 3) mounted in the chamber 23. Another fitting 67 connects the other end of the passage 63 to a flexible conduit 68 fluidly connected to another upright tube 69 mounted in the chamber 23 on the side of the shelf-plate 28 opposite the tube 66 (see FIG. 2).
As best illustrated in FIG. 2, both tubes 66 and 69 are mounted on opposite sides of all the shelf plates, being fluidly connected by pairs of flexible conduits '65 and 68 to shelf-plate 28, conduits 70, 71 to shelf-plate 26, and rigid conduits 70, 72, 73 to shelf-plate 27. Tube 66 is connected at its lower end to pipe 76, and tube 69 is connected at its lower end to pipe 77, with both pipes 76 and 77 running to the unit 13 (FIG. 1).
In operation of the desiccator apparatus -with the movable shelf-plates 26 and 28 in their neutral, inoperative positions of FIG. 3, a plurality of bottles 31 (FIG. 2) are inserted into the cabinet 18 and placed on top of each of the shelf-plates 26 and 28. The bottles 31 are shown placed in one or more trays 78 (FIG. 2), however this is discretionary. With the door 14 in a closed position and having a fluid-tight relationship with the cabinet 18 by means of the wheels 22, the vacuum pump unit 12 is operated to effect a vacuum within the chamber 23.
It should be noted, that prior to the introduction of a vacuum into the chamber 23, the bottles 31 are but partially stoppered in that their caps 79, of a conventional vacuum construction, are loosely placed within the open necks of the bottles 31. Thus, upon the placement of a negative pressure within the chamber 23, such negative pressure or vacuum is also introduced into the interior of the bottles 31. Within the bottles 31, a biological and/or pharmaceutical preparation has been placed, it being of course the object of the invention to dehydrate the preparation to a predetermined percentage of moisture content, then effect a closing or capping the bottles 31 such as to preserve the condition within the bottles.
With the attaining of a vacuum within the chamber 23, a refrigerated fluid, such as glycol, is circulated from the unit 13 through, for example, the pipe 76, tube 66, and the respective conduits connected thereto to the shelf-plate passages 63. The flow continues through the opposite conduits, tube 69, and pipe 77 to the unit 13. This transmission of the liquid refrigerant effects a lowering of the temperature of the shelf-plates and thus of the interior of the chamber 23 itself to a predetermined reading. By this process, sublimation of the moisture within the chamber '23 occurs.
After a predetermined period of time, the refrigerated glycol is removed from the shelf-plate passages 63 and heated at the unit 13, whereupon it is again re-transmitted through the pipe 76 and conduits to the shelf-plate passages 63, returning via the opposite plurality of conduits and pipe 77, effecting thereby a constant flow of heated fluid through the shelf-plates. This results in a heating of said shelf-plates and of the interior of the chamber 23 to a predetermined temperature. Subsequently, when the moisture content within the chamber 23 has been reduced to a predetermined amount, such as 2% moisture content, the heating fluid is removed from the shelf-plate passages 63.
At this point, the piston and cylinder arrangement 34 is operated, to effect an upward movement of the base shelf-plate 26 and the movable plate 28 interconnected therewith from their neutral positions. The distance between the base shelf-plate 26 and the stationary shelfplate 27 and the movable shelf-plate 28 and the top 41 of the cabinet 18 are equal. As to the bottle caps 79 on the bottles 31 of the movable shelf-plate 26, 28 engage the flat undersurface 81 (FIG. 4) of the stationary plate 27 and the top 41 of the cabinet 18, the upward pressure upon the movable shelves 26, 28 is such that it effects a complete closing of the caps 79 into 'the bottles 31. At this point the plates 26 and 28 are in their uppermost positions.
As the piston 33 thus reaches its upper limit, it begins a descending movement so as to engage the undersurface 82 of the movable shelf 28 with the caps 79 of the bottles 31 resting on the stationary plate 27. As this descending movement continues to its limit (FIG. 5), the pressure exerted downward by the undersurface 82 of movable shelf 28, completely closes the caps 79 on the stationary shelf 27. Thus it may be seen as the piston 33 reaches its predetermined upward limit, all bottles 31 on the movable shelves 26-28 are simultaneously sealed (FIG. 4). Likewise, at the downward limit of the piston, all bottles 31 resting on the stationary shelf 27 are simultaneously closed (FIG. 5).
When all the bottles 31 have been capped as hereinbefore described, the piston and shelves are returned to a resting position (FIG. 3) with the shelves 26 and 28 in their neutral positions. Upon the withdrawal of the vacuum from the chamber 23, the door 14 is opened to permit removal from the desiccator housing 18 of the bottles 31.
Although a preferred embodiment and a modification thereof have been described and disclosed hereinbefore, it is to be remembered that various alterations and changes can be made thereto without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
I claim: 1. In a desiccator apparatus including a cabinet having a hermetically sealable chamber with a top wall, means in fluid communication with the chamber for creating a vacuum therein, means in fluid communication with the chamber for condensing vapors therein, and vertically movable means disposed within the chamber, an improved vacuum bottle capping arrangement comprising:
at least three horizontally disposed plates mounted in the chamber, and vertically spaced apart to receive open-top bottles placed on their upper surfaces, the bottles having vacuum caps loosely inserted therein;
two of said plates, between which the third plate is disposed, connected to the vertically movable means for vertical, reciprocal movement relative to said third plate.
2. The improved vacuum bottle capping arrangement of claim 1, and wherein said two vertically movable plates are interconnected, with but one vertically movable plate connected to the vertically movable means.
3. The improved vacuum bottle capping arrangement of claim 2, and wherein said third plate is stationarily mounted in the chamber.
4. The improved vacuum bottle capping arrangement of claim 3, and wherein said interconnected movable plates are movable by operation of the vertically movable means to a raised position wherein the bottles on said equal to the distance between every other plate top surface and the next surface thereabove.
7. The improved vacuum bottle capping arrangement of claim 6, and wherein the top wall has a portion thereof with a flat surface, and all of said plates have upper and lower portions thereof with flat surfaces, and further wherein all said flat surfaces are parallel to each other.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 5/1957 Baldwin et a1. 53l0l 2/1962 Strong et a1. 53-106 TRAVIS S. MCGEHEE, Primary Examiner.
US. 01. X.R. 34 -92; 53-402