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Publication numberUS3536925 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 27, 1970
Filing dateJun 2, 1967
Priority dateJun 2, 1967
Publication numberUS 3536925 A, US 3536925A, US-A-3536925, US3536925 A, US3536925A
InventorsSchmidt Richard
Original AssigneeProctor Paint & Varnish Co Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus and method for filling a container with liquid
US 3536925 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 27, 1970 V sc 3,536,925

APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR FILLING A CONTAINER WITH LIQUID Filed June 2, 1967 I 5 Sheets-Sheet l T1211. 42 I 62 4Q;

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APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR FILLING A CONTAINER WITH LIQUID Filed June 2, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR; Ha /2 0 Scan 0r A p/vcys Oct. 27, 1970 R. SCHMIDT 3,536,925

APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR FILLING A CONTAINER WITH LIQUID Filed June 2, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR.- flay/9'90 Soy W07 BY Oct. 27, 1970 R. SCHMIDT 3,536,925

APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR FILLING A CONTAINER WITH LIQUID Filed June 2, 1967 5 Sheets-Sht: 4.

INVENTOR.

Oct. 27, 1970 SCHMIDT 3,536,925

APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR FILLING A CONTAINER WITH LIQUID Filed June 2, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 kg J INVENTOR. flab [4&0 55/01/07- AZp/vm United States Patent 3,536,925 APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR FILLING A CONTAINER WITH LIQUID Richard Schmidt, Crestwood, N.Y., assignor to Proctor Paint and Varnish Co. Inc., Yonkers, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed June 2, 1967, Ser. No. 643,220 Int. Cl. B6711 5/372; GOlh 21/26 US. Cl. 250-218 19 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The disclosure of the invention relates to a method and apparatus for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle.

In accordance with the invention, radiant energy is directed toward the interior of the receptacle which is to receive the material. When the material is delivered to the receptacle, the radiant energy is reflected from the surface of the material. Means are provided which respond to at least a portion of the radiant energy reflected from the surface of the material within the receptacle when the material is at the predetermined level within the receptacle in order to sense the presence of a predetermined level. Means are also provided for terminating the delivery of the material to the receptacle in response to the sensing of the presence of the predetermined level.

In the preferred embodiment set forth herein, the invention is used to control the uniform filling of cans with liquid by directing light toward the rising surface of the liquid. The light is reflected from the surface of the liquid. When the surface of the liquid has reached a predetermined level, the response of a photoelectric cell to the light reflected from the surface of the liquid in the receptacle causes the flow of liquid to be terminated.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The field of the invention is the control of the flow of a liquid into a receptacle or container in order to establish a predetermined level and thereby a predetermined volume of liquid in the container. More particularly, the field of the invention is the uniform filling of cans with a liquid such as paint.

Of the various prior art methods of filling containers with a predetermined quantity of liquid, two methods are most commonly used. One method is to measure the liquid in a separate step by means of a chamber which can hold the desired quantity of liquid. This premeasured quantity of liquid is then transferred by a second step to the container. This method requires two steps, necessitates the use of additional equipment, can readily result in wasted liquid, long cleanup, complicates maintenance due to the measuring chamber, and requires an extensive cleaning procedure after operation or whenever there is a change in the material being measured.

Another method of the prior art is to weight the container and the liquid as the container is being filled. When a total weight of the desired quantity of liquid plus the weight of the empty container is reached, the total weight indicates that the container is filled. In this method slight inaccuracies in the weighing equipment can cause large errors in the quantity being measured. Weighing also becomes a diflicult method when relatively small quantities are to be measured.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of the present invention to provide an accurate measurement of the quantity of liquid in a con- Patented Oct. 27, 1970 tainer by sensing the level of the surface of the liquid in the container.

It is a further object of the present invention to incorporate the accurate measurement of the quantity of liquid in a container into a control system for a device for automatically filling containers to a predetermined level.

In accordance with the invention radiant energy is refiected from the surface of the liquid as the liquid is delivered into the container. At the desired level of liquid in the container, the reflected radiant energy senses the level and causes the filling operation to terminate.

Further in accordance with the invention, the sensing by reflected radiant energy of the filling of one container causes the next container to be advanced for filling.

In summary, radiant energy is directed toward the surface of liquid being delivered to a container. As the container is filled, the surface of the liquid reflects the radiated energy. As the surface of the liquid rises to a predetermined level within the container, the reflected radiant energy is sensed and the sensing means terminates the filling cycle. In this way a predetermined level and thereby a predetermined quantity of liquid is established in the container.

In the preferred embodiment set forth herein, the invention is used to control paint flow into containers. The radiant energy source selected is a light source located either directly above the container or connected to an optical fiber Whose other end is located above the container. As the paint fills the container the light is reflected from the rising surface of the paint. At the predetermined level the light reflected from the surface and transmitted by another optical fiber to a photoelectric cell is sufficient to activate the cell and thereby control the termination of the filling cycle. By the proper positioningof this latter optical fiber, the light intensity transmitted to the photoelectric cell is suflicient to activate the photoelectric cell when the paint reaches the predetermined level within the container.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The above-mentioned objects and features of the invention will become more apparent by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the system of the invention for advancing and filling containers with a predetermined level of liquid;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. -1;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view showing optical fibers extending to adjacent the interior of a container for transmitting light toward the surface of material within the container and for receiving reflected light from the surface;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view related to that of FIG. 3 and showing the transmitted and reflected light at the predetermined level of the liquid surface within the container;

FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view of the ball valve for delivering the liquid with the ball valve shown in its open or flow position;

FIG. 6 is a vertical section view of the ball valve in its closed or cutofl? position;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary perspective view of an additional embodiment of optical fibers for directing light toward the surface of material and for transmitting light reflected from the surface when the container is partially filled;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary persepective view of the embodiment of FIG. 7 and showing light being reflected from the surface of the liquid when the predetermined level is reached;

FIG. 9 is a horizontal section view of the optical fiber shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary perspective view showing light being directed toward the surface of the liquid and past a mask surrounding the aperture of an optical fiber, the mask forming a relatively diffused shadow on the liquid surface;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary prespective view related to that of FIG. 10 and showing the intense shadow formed on the liquid surface by the mask;

FIG. 12 is a wiring diagram of the apparatus of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The preferred embodiment of the present invention is in an automatic system for filling paint cans. While the following description is directed to this, it is to be understood that it is merely for illustration and is not intended to preclude the use of the invention in any other device.

Briefly, the preferred embodiment acts as follows: A pusher is advanced by an actuator to move a can along a channel and under the paint filling device. Thereupon optical fibers for directing light toward the surface and for transmitting light reflected from the surface at the predetermined level are lowered to a position adjacent to the interior of the container. The flow of paint into the container is then initiated. When the paint surface has reached a predetermined level within the interior of the container, the path of the light reflected from the surface is in substantial alignment with the optical fiber for transmitting reflected light. The reflected light transmitted by the optical fiber activates a photoelectric cell. The activation of the photoelectric cell causes the paint flow to be shut off and the optical fibers to be elevated from the immediate proximity of the container. The pusher is then again advanced to push the filled can along the channel and out from under the device and at the same time to move an empty can to the filling station. The device can then be recycled and the filling process repeated.

The system for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle in accordance with the invention is shown in FIG. 1. In the embodiment of FIG. 1 the apparatus is adapted to fill receptacles or containers such as paint cans with material such as paint. The cans are advanced to filling station 21 by means of pusher 22 connected to piston rod 23 of actuator 24. Can 20 is advanced by pusher 22 between guide rails 25 of the filling station. When the can is positioned at the filling station it engages arm 26 of switch 27 and causes the switch to close.

As shown in FIG. 2, cans 20 travel along platform 28 which is supported by one or more of screws 29. By adjustment of screw 29 the vertical position of platform 28 can be determined. In turn the level at which cans 20 travel is established with respect to the remainder of the filling apparatus of the invention.

The paint to be delivered to the can is supplied by line 30 connected to inlet 31 of valve 32 which can be a ball valve (FIG. 1). As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, valve 32 contains ball 33 having passage 33a. By means of shaft 33b connected to the ball and arm 34 connected to the shaft, the ball can be rotated between open and closed positions. In FIG. 5, the passage of the ball is shown in alignment with discharge opening 35 of the valve while FIG. 6 the ball is shown in the closed position. In order to prevent the dripping of liquid from the valve when the ball is moved to the closed position, the axial length of the discharge opening beyond the lower portion of the ball is maintained at a minimum dimension. As a result the annular surface of the discharge opening has a minimum area which can be coated with paint. In this way a dribble of the valve after closing is completely eliminated.

The ball valve is operated by link 36 which is connected to coupling 37 (FIG. 1). The coupling is attached to piston rod 38 of actuator 39. Thus upon reciprocating the piston rod, ball 33 can be rotated by the motion transmitted to it through arm 34.

The system for establishing a predetermined level of material or paint in the receptacle or can 20 includes means for directing radiant energy toward the interior of the can such as optical fiber 40 having end portion 40a exposed to the interior of the can. The opposite end portion of optical fiber 40 is exposed to a source of radiant energy such as a lamp (not shown). Adjacent to end portion 40w of optical fiber 40 there is disposed end portion 41a of additional optical fiber 41. Both of the end portions are supported by bracket 42 which is mounted upon coupling 37. Optical fiber 41 is connected to a photoelectric device such as photocell 43.

Since the optical fibers are mounted with respect to coupling 37, the end portions of the optical fibers are moved in a vertical direction whenever actuator 39 is operated to open or close ball valve 32. Thus when ball valve 32 is opened, the ends of the fiber optics are lowered to adjacent the opening of can 20 as shown in FIG. 3. Since the ends are positioned closely adjacent to one another, the ends can be lowered into the opening of the can.

With the fiber optics extending into the can the liquid such as paint 44 is delivered to the can from ball valve 32 (FIG. 3). The light directed from fiber optic 40 is a substantially concentrated beam which strikes the surface of the rising levei of paint and is reflected toward the inner surface of the can. As shown in FIG. 4, when the surface of paint 44 has reached the predetermined level to which the container is to be filled, the beam of light from optical fiber 40, upon being reflected from the surface of the paint, enters into the end portion 41a of optical fiber 41.

In this way it can be seen that the vertical position of the ends of the optical fibers with respect to the predetermined level of the paint, the angle between the optical fibers and the spacing between the end portions of the optical fibers determine the exact level of the surface of the paint at which the reflected light can enter optical fiber 41. Thus it is possible by the positioning of the optical fibers with respect to the surface of the paint to determine in a precise manner the level of paint which causes the reflected light to enter optical fiber 41. At all other levels of the surface of the paint, the reflected beam of light substantially passes away from optical fiber 41.

At the predetermined level of the surface of the paint Within the container 29, the light reflected into optical fiber 41 activates photocell 43 which in turn terminates the filling cycle of valve 32. Thus by means of actuator 39 the ball valve is closed and at the same time the end portions of the optical fibers are elevated free of the opening in the can. At this point pusher 22 can be operated against an incoming empty can disposed adjacent to the filled can at the filling station so that the filled can is advanced beyond the filling apparatus and the empty can is positioned in the filling station.

The ball valve and the optical fiber are supported with respect to platform 28 by frame 54 mounted on standard 55. When the size of the can is changed, corresponding changes can be made in the rest position of the optical fibers and valve 32 by adjusting the relative position of platform 28 by screw 29. As a result, a large range of different sizes of containers can be accurately filled.

The wiring diagram of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is shown in FIG. 12. At the beginning of the cycle of operation of the apparatus, an empty can is disposed at the filling station under ball valve 32 and the next empty can to be filled is adjacent to the can at the filling station. The can at the filling station engages and closes switch 27 by contacting switch arm 26. The moment switch 27 is closed and switch 54 is closed by the operator, the following condition exists:

(a) Photocell 43 is energized because it is not receiving light since lamp 45 is extinguished;

(b) Relay 47 is energized by photocell 43.

(0) Relay 48 is inactive (neutral-pusher circuit closed) by the energizing of relay 47 When switch 46 is closed by the operator, pusher circuit 51 is completed through electric air control valve 24a and piston rod 23 extends from cylinder 24. As piston rod 23 extends, it pushes the second empty can under ball valve 32 which in turn pushes the first can from under ball valve 32. As the first empty can is pushed from under ball valve 32, the can releases arm 26 and causes switch 27 to open. Opening switch 27 deactivates time delay relay 59 and causes the relay to recycle. When switch 27 is again closed by the second empty can intersecting arm 26, switch 27 starts the time delay at contact 59a. Since time delay relay contact 59a is normally closed, the operation of the delay opens the feeder circuit to relay 47 for the duration of the delay.

When the second can is under ball valve 32 and engages switch arm 26, thereby closing switch 27, contact 59a is opened and thereby breaks the feeder circuit to relay 47. At the moment contact 59a on time delay relay 59 opens, the following conditions exist:

(a) Photocell 43 is energized because it is not receiving light since lamp 45 is extinguished;

(b) Relay 47 is de-energized by the open circuit through time delay relay 59;

(c) Relay 48 is energized (filler-circuit closed) by the de-energizing of 47.

The opening and closing of the above relays at this point completes the filler circuit to lamp 45 at contact 48a. Lamp 45 is lighted and de-activates photocell 52 which in turn activates relay 53 thereby completing the circuit to electric-air control valve 56. Piston rod 38 is driven down and opens ball valve 32 to start the flow of paint into can 20. At this time, pusher piston rod 23 withdraws pusher 22 toward cylinder 24. An empty can is then placed adjacent to the can being filled.

When time delay relay 59 once more closes the feeder circuit at contact 59a to relay 47 the following conditions exist:

(a) Photocell 43 is energized even though light is transmitted through optical fiber 40, since the optical fiber is not transmitting reflected light to photocell 43 (b) Relay 47 is energized by photocell 43;

(c) Time delay relay 60 (normally closed) is energized by the closing of circuit at 47a on relay 47 Relay 60 then starts the timing operation and opens the circuit to lamp 45 if can is not filled by the time lamp 45 is turned oif by the normal filling method. If bulb 45 goes out by this method, photocell 52 is activated, thereby opening the filling circuit at relay 53. The filling head is retracted and the machine shuts down. Thus there is provided a safety device so that if any malfunction occurs in the circuit, an excessive quantity of paint will not be delivered to can 20.

(d) Relay 48 is inactive (neutral-filler circuit closed) in response to the energizing of 47.

When the level of paint delivered to can 20 reaches the predetermined level, light from lamp 45 which is transmitted through optical fiber is reflected from the surface of the liquid into optical fiber 41, thereby deactivating photocell 43 momentarily. At this moment the following condition exists:

(a) Photocell 43 is de-activated.

(b) Relay 47 is de-activated by electric eye 43.

(c) Relay 48 is activated by the de-activating of relay 47 (pusher circuits closed).

Because of the break in the filler circuit at 48a on relay 48, lamp is turned off. Photocell 52 is activated and opens the filler circuit not only at 48a but at 53a as well. This double opening of the filler circuit de-energizes the electric air control valve 56 causing piston rod 38 to be withdrawn upwardly and thereby shutting off the flow of paint through ball valve 32. As valve 32 shuts off the How of paint, piston rod 23 extends with respect to cylinder 24 since the pusher circuit is completed and activates electric air control valve 24a. The extending piston rod serves to advance the next empty can under ball valve 32.

As piston rod 38 withdraws upwardly, optical fibers 40' and 41 are withdrawn from the filled can of paint (lamp 45 is extinguished). The following conditions then exist:

(a) Photocell 43 (not receiving light through optical fiber 41) is energized;

(b) Relay 47 is energized by photocell 43;

(c) Relay 48 is inactive (neutraLpusher circuit closed) in response to the energizing of 47 While piston rod 23 pushes an empty can under ball valve 32 the previously filled can which is advanced by the empty can releases arm 26 of switch 27, thereby momentarily opening switch 27. Opening switch 27 deactivates time delay relay 59 and causes it to recycle so that when switch 27 is closed again by the advancing empty can, switch 27 will start the time delay at 59a once more. Since time delay relay 59 is a normal-closed switch, the operation of the time delay relay opens the feeder circuit to relay 47 for the duration of the delay. At this point ball valve 32 is opened and delivers paint into empty can 20. Another empty can is placed adjacent to the can being filled and the cycle of operation begins again. It should be noted that relay 48 is a ratchet impulse relay which alternates the opening and closing of filler circuit 50 and pusher circuit 51. Thus when the filler circuit is opened the pusher circuit is closed and vice versa. It should also be noted that due to the ratchet action of relay 48, activated) and two diiferent closed conditions (relay activated). For example, if circuit 50 is in a neutral condition the relay is not active and circuit 50 is complete. An electric impulse to relay 48 at 480 will throw the contacts of relay 48 to a closed position thereby breaking circuit 50 and contacting circuit 51. When the electric impulse is terminated again to relay 48 at 48c, circuit 51 will be in a neutral position and circuit 51 is still closed. Activating relay at 48c again moves the contacts to a closed position, thereby breaking circuit 51 and contacting circuit 50. When relay 48 is again deactivated, circuit 50 goes into a neutral condition with circuit 50 still closed.

If the source of light, lamp 45 should fail, an overfilling condition could occur since the rising level of paint could not be sensed by reflected light. By means of relay 53 in the filling circuit of the apparatus, the apparatus will be shut down by the opening of the contacts of relay 53 in response to the failure of photocell 52 to receive light from lamp 45.

Upon failure to provide an empty container adjacent to the container being filled, the operation of the apparatus terminates upon the filling of the container at the filling station.

As shown in FIG. 7, optical fiber 60 directs light from its end portion 60a toward the surface of paint 44 in can 20. The light reflected from the surface enters end portion 61a of optical fiber 61 which leads to a photocell device (not shown). End portions 60a .and 61a which have been lowered into the opening of can 20 as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 are intermeshed with respect to each other, so that at their termination as shown in FIG. 9, the filaments making up each of optical fibers 60 and 61 are dispersed evenly throughout the cross section. The nature of the optical fibers prevents light from being transmitted from the lengths of the optical fibers of one end portion to the other in the manner of cross-talk.

As shown in FIG. 8, when the surface of paint 44 has reached a predetermined level within can 20, the pattern 63 of light projected onto the surface of the paint of FIG. 7 is reduced to a small but intense pattern 64, shown in FIG. 8. As a result, the increased intensity of the light pattern on the surface of the paint in FIG. 8 is sufficient to actuate the photocell (not shown) connected to optical fiber 61. Thus it can be seen that the arrangement of FIGS. 7 and 8 for sensing the presence of the surface of the paint at the predetermined level within the can is determined by the intensity of the reflected light as opposed to the orientation of the beam of the reflected light in the manner shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, optical fiber 65 which has been lowered into the opening of can transmits light reflected from the surface of paint 44 to a photocell (not shown). Adjacent to and surrounding the end portion 651: of the optical fiber is disposed mask 66 which can be in the form of a substantially flat disk.

In the embodiment of FIGS. 10 and 11, at least a portion of the interior of the can is illuminated by the radiant energy from a source such as a light source 67. The source is positioned in a manner which causes part of the light directed from it to intersect mask 66. Due to the presence of mask 66, a diffused shadow 68 is formed upon the surface of the paint when the paint is at the level shown in FIG. 10. The presence of the shadow reduces the amount of light reflected into optical fiber 65.

As the level of paint continues to rise and approach the predetermined level in the container, shadow 68 moves closer to end portion 65a of the optical fiber and at the same time becomes denser. This change causes a steady reduction of the light being reflected to the optical fiber. When the paint is at the predetermined level within the container, mask 66 is closely spaced with respect to the surface of the paint so that the optical fiber 65 is exposed substantially, only to the shadow. As a result, the light reflected to optical fiber 65 is greatly reduced if not practically terminated. The reduction or the loss of light transmitted by optical fiber 65 results in the actuation of the photocell connected to the optical fiber. In this way the reduction or absence of the intensity of light as opposed to an increasing intensity of light serves to sense the presence of the surface of the paint at the predetermined level in the container.

The above described arrangement is illustrative of the principles of the invention. Other embodiments may be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

What is claimed:

1. A system for establishing a predetermined level of liquid paint material in a receptacle comprising:

(a) means for delivering liquid paint material to the interior of the receptacle;

(b) means for directing a high intensity narrow beam of radiant energy toward the interior of the receptacle;

(c) means adapted to be exposed to the interior of the receptacle and responsive to at least a portion of the changing radiant energy of said radiant energy directing means reflected from the surface of liquid paint material which is moving upwardly with respect to the height of the receptacle when the surface of the material is moved to substantially the predetermined level within the receptacle for sensing the arrival of the surface of the material at the predetermined level within the receptacle; and

((1) means connected to said delivery means and responsive to said sensing means for abruptly terminating the delivery of liquid paint material to the receptacle in response to the sensing by said sensing means in order to establish the predetermined level of material in the receptacle.

2. A system for establishing a predetermined level of liquid paint material in a receptacle in accordance with claim 1 in which said means for directing a high intensity narrow beam of radiant energy toward the interior of the receptacle comprises a source of light.

3. A system for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle comprising:

(a) means for delivering material to the interior of the receptacle.

(b) means for directing radiant energy toward the interior of the receptacle;

(c) a member having an aperture for receiving radiant energy reflected from the surface of the material;

(d) a mask member disposed adjacent said aperture of said receiving member and adapted to intercept a portion of the radiant energy from said radiant energy directing means before the portion of the radiant energy can be reflected from the surface of the material, the interception of the portion of the radiant energy forming a shadow in the pattern of the radiant energy directed by said radiant energy directing means onto the surface of the material within the receptacle, the size and the density of the shadow changing with changes in level of the surface of the material within the receptacle,

(e) means connected to said member having an aperture and responsive to the reduction of the radiant energy reflected from the surface of the material accompanying a predetermined condition of the shadow for sensing the presence of the surface of the material at the predetermined level Within the receptacle; and

(f) means connected to said delivering means and responsive to said sensing means for terminating the delivery of the material to the receptacle in response to the sensing by said sensing means, whereby a predetermined condition of the changed shadow when the level of the surface of the material Within the receptacle is at the predetermined level is adapted to activate the response of said sensing means.

4. A system for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle in accordance with claim 3:

(a) in which said member having an aperture for receiving radiant energy reflected from the surface of the material comprises optical fiber means; and

(b) in which said mask member comprises a disc extending about said optical fiber means adjacent an end portion thereof, whereby said disc intercepts a portion of the radiant energy and forms a shadow upon the surface of the material to which the radiant energy is directed.

5. A system for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle comprising:

(a) means for delivering material to the interior of the receptacle;

(b) means for directing radiant energy toward the interior of the receptacle;

(c) means adapted to be exposed to the interior of the receptacle and responsive to at least a portion of the radiant energy of said radiant energy directing means reflected from the surface of the material within the receptacle for sensing the presence of the surface of the material at the predetermined level within the receptacle, said means exposed to the interior of the receptacle comprising:

(i) a member having an aperture for receiving radiant energy reflected from the surface of the material and (ii) a mask member disposed adjacent said aperture and adapted to intercept a portion of the radiant energy from said radiant energy directing means before the portion reaches the surface of the material, the interception forming a shadow in the pattern of the radiant energy directed onto the surface of the material within the receptacle, the size and the density of the shadow changing with changes in level of the surface of the material Within the receptacle, whereby a predetermined condition of the changed shadow is adapted to activate the response of said sensing means when the level of the surface of the material within the receptacle is at the predetermined level; and (d) means connected to said delivering means and responsive to said sensing means for terminating the delivery of the material to the receptacle in response to the sensing by said sensing means. 6. A system for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle in accordance with claim material in a receptacle comprising:

(a) means for delivering material to the interior of the receptacle;

(b) means for directing radiant energy toward the interior of the receptacle;

(c) means adapted to be exposed to the interior of the receptacle and responsive to at least a portion Of the radiant energy of said radiant energy directing means reflected from the surface of the material within the receptacle for sensing the presence of the surface of the material at the predetermined level within the receptacle;

(d) means connected to said delivering means and responsive to said sensing means for terminating the delivery of the material to the receptacle in response to the sensing by said sensing means; and

(e) means for advancing and retracting said means for directing radiant energy and at least a portion of said means for sensing the presence of the surface of the material with respect to an operative position adjacent to the interior of the receptacle, said advancing and retracting means being coupled to said means connected to said delivering means and responsive to said sensing means for terminating the delivery of the material to the receptacle in response to the sensing by said sensing means, the connecting of said advancing and retracting means to said terminating means activating said advancing and retracting means in response to the operation of said terminating means, whereby said radiant energy directing means and said portion of said sensing means can be advanced to an operative position adjacent the opening of said receptacle and retracted from said operative position after the sensing of the presence of the surface of the material at the predetermined level Within the receptacle.

8. A system for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle comprising:

(a) means for delivering material to the interior of the receptacle;

(b) means for directing a high intensity narrow beam of light toward the interior of the receptacle, said means for directing a high intensity narrow beam of light toward the interior of the receptacle including means having an end portion thereof for forming a high intensity zone of light on the surface of the material;

(0) means adapted to be exposed to the interior of the receptacle and responsive to at least a portion of the changing light of said light directing means reflected from the surface of the material moving upwardly with respect to the height of the receptacle when the surface of the material is moved to substantially the predetermined level within the receptacle for sensing the arrival of the surface of the material at the predetermined level within the receptacle, said sensing means including:

(i) means having a first end portion exposed to the interior of the receptacle and a second end portion disposed at a distance therefrom for transmitting the light reflected from the surface of the material from said first end portion to said second end portion, said transmitting means having an end portion thereof for receiving light reflected from the high intensity zone of light on the surface of the material within the receptacle when the surface of the material is at the predetermined level within the receptacle, said end portion of said additional means being adapted to be exposed to the interior of the receptacle, and

(ii) a photoelectric device disposed adjacent said second end portion of said light transmitting means and being responsive to the light transmitted therethrough; and

(d) means connected to said delivering means and responsive to said sensing means for abruptly terminating the delivery of the material to the receptacle in response to the sensing by said sensing means in order to establish the predetermined level of material in the receptacle.

9. A system for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle comprising:

(a) means for delivering material to the interior of the receptacle;

(b) means for directing a high intensity narrow beam of radiant energy toward the interior of the receptacle, said radiant energy directing means including a source of light;

(c) means adapted to be exposed to the interior of the receptacle and responsive to at least a portion of the changing light of said radiant energy directing means reflected from the surface of the material which is moving upwardly with respect to the height of the receptacle when the surface of the material is moved to substantially the predetermined level within the receptacle for sensing the arrival of the surface of the material at the predetermined level within the receptacle, said sensing means including:

(i) means having a first end portion exposed to the interior of the receptacle and a second end portion disposed at a distance therefrom for transmitting the light reflected from the surface of the material from said first end portion to said second end portion; and

(ii) a photoelectric device disposed adjacent said said second end portion of said light transmitting means and being responsive to the light transmitted therethrough; and

((1) means connected to said delivering means and responsive to said sensing means for abruptly terminating the delivery of the material to the receptacle in response to the sensing by said sensing means in order to establish the predetermined level of material in the receptacle.

10. A system for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle comprising:

(a) means for delivering material to the interior of the receptacle;

(b) means for directing radiant energy toward the interior of the receptacle, said radiant energy directing means including a source of light and optical fiber means having an end portion thereof for directing light, said end portion being adapted to be exposed to the interior of the receptacle;

(c) means adapted to be exposed to the interior of the receptacle and responsive to at least a portion of the changing light of said radiant energy directing means reflected from the surface of the material moving with respect to the height of the receptacle when the surface of the material is moved to substantially the predetermined level within the receptacle for sensmeans including additional optical fiber means' having an end portion thereof for receiving light reflected from the surface of the material within the receptacle when the surface of the material is at the predetermined level within the receptacle, said end portion of said additional optical fiber means being adapted to be exposed to the interior of the receptacle, and

(ii) a photoelectric device which is disposed adjacent said light transmitting means and which is responsive to the light transmitted therethrough;

and 52 i (d) means connected to said delivering means and responsive to said sensing means for terminating the delivery of the material'to the receptacle in response to the'sensing by said sensing means.

11. A system for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle irrzaccordance with claim 10 in which said end portion of said optical fiber means and said end portion of said additional optical fiber means are disposed adjacent to one another.

12. A system for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle in accordance with claim 11 in which the end portion of said optical fiber means and the end portion of said additional optical fiber means are substantially contiguous with one another.

13. "A system for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle in accordance with claim 10 in which said optical fiber means is disposed at a predetermined angle with respect to the surface of the material within the receptacle when the surface of the material is at the predetermined level within the receptacle and in which said'additional optical fiber means is disposed at another predetermined angle with respect to the surface of the material within the receptacle when the surface of' the material is at the predetermined level within the receptacle, the additional predeterminedangle of said additional op- I tical fiber means enabling the light from said optical fiber and reflected from the surface of the material to be transniitted by said additional optical fiber means only when the surface of the material in the receptacle is at the predetermined level. i j 14. A system for establishing a predetermined level of material' in a receptacle comprising:

(a) means for delivering material to the interior of the receptacle; 7 (b) 'ineans for directing radiant energy toward the interior of the receptacle;

() means adapted to be exposed to the interior of the receptacle and responsive to at least a portion of the changing radiant energy of said radiant energy directing means reflected from the surface of the material moving with respect to the height of the receptacle when the surface of the fnaterial is moved to substantially the predetermined level within the receptacle for sensing the arrival of the surface of the j material at the predetermined level within the receptacle; (d) means connected to said delivering means and responsive to said sensing means for terminating the delivery of the material to the receptacle in response to the sensing by said sensing means; and (e) means for advancing and retracting said means for directing radiant energy and at ieast a portion of said means for sensing the arrival of the surface of the material with respect to an operative position of said advancing and retracting means adjacent to the interior of the receptacle for each cycle of operation of said system, whereby said radiant energy directing 2 means and said portion of said sensing means can be advanced to an operative position adjacent the opening of said receptacle and retracted from said operative position after the sensing of thearrival of the surface of the material at the predetermined level within the receptacle. 1

15. A system for establishing 'a predetermined level of material in a receptacle comprising:

(a) means for delivering material to the interior of the receptacle;

(b) means for directing radiant energy toward the interior of the receptacle; W i

(c) means adapted to be exposed to the interior of the receptacle and responsive to at least a portion of the changing radiant energy of said radiant energy directing means reflected from the surface of the material moving with respect to the height of the receptacle when the surface of the material is moved to suhstantially the predetermined level Within the receptacle for sensing the arrival of the surface of the material at the predetermined level within the receptacle; 7 i

(d) means connected to said delivering means and responsive to said sensing means for terminating the delivery of the material to the receptacie in response to the sensing by said sensing'means; and

(e) means for activating said means for terminating the delivery of the material jzo the receptacle in response to the operation of said means for delivering material to the interior of the receptacle fora predetermined period ot time which is greater than the period oftime necessary to delivermaterial in an amount to bring the surface of the material in the receptacle to the predetermined level within the receptacle, whereby the delivery of the material to the receptacle is safeguard against an overfilling condition.

16. A method for establishing a predetermined level of liquid paint material in a receptacle comprising the steps of: a

(a) delivering liquid paint material to the interior of the receptacle;

' ('b) directing a high intensity narrow beam of radiant energy toward the interior of the receptacle;

: (c) sensing the arrival of the liquid paint materiai at the predetermined level within the receptacle in response to atleast a portion of the changing radiant energy of the radiant energy directed toward the interior of the receptacle which is reflected from the surface of the liquid paint material which is moving upwardly with respect to the height of the receptacle where the surface of the material is moved to substantially the predetermined level within the receptacle; and V e (d); abruptly terminating the delivery of the liquid paint material to the receptacle in response to the sensing of the arrival of the liquid paint material at the predetermined level in order to establish the predetermined level of liquid paint material in the receptacle.

17. A method for establishing a predetermined level of material in a receptacle comprisingthe steps of:

(a) delivering material to the interior of the receptacle;

(b) directing light toward the interior of the receptacle by directing light through' optical fiber means which has an end portion extended into and exposed to the interior of the receptacle; L (c) sensing the arrival of the material at the predeter mined level within the receptacle in response to at least a portion of thechanging light of the light directed toward the interior of the receptacle which is reflected from the surface of the material moving with respect to the height of the receptacle when the surface of the material is moved to substantially the predetermined level within the receptacle, said step of sensing including transmitting the light reflected from the surface of the material by means of an additional optical fiber means having an end portion thereof for receiving light reflected from the surface of the material within the receptacle when the surface of the material is at the predetermined level within the receptacle, the end portion of the additional optical mined level within the receptacle in response to at least a portion of the changing light of the light directed toward the interior of the receptacle which is reflected from the surface of the material moving least a portion of the changing radiant energy of the radiant energy directed toward the interior of the receptacle which is reflected from the surface of the material moving with respect to the height of the receptacle when the surface of the material is fiber means being extended into and exposed to the moved to substantially the predetermined level withinterior of the receptacle; and in the receptacle, said step of sensing including, (d) terminating the delivery of the material to the (i) providing a member having an aperture for receptacle in response to the sensing of the arrival of receiving radiant energy reflected from the surthe material at the predetermined level. face of the material, and 18. A method for establishing a predetermined level of (ii) intercepting a portion of the radiant energy material in a receptacle comprising the steps of: being directed toward the surface of the material (a) delivering material to the interior of the receptacle; before the portion of the radiant energy can be (b) directing light toward the interior of the receptacle reflected from the surface of the material, the by directing light from a source extended into the 15 interception of the portion of the radiant energy interior of the receptacle at a predetermined angle forming a shadow in the pattern of the radiant to the surface of the material in the receptacle, the energy on the surface of the material within the predetermined angle being measured when the surreceptacle, the size and the density of the shadow face of the material is at the predetermined level; changing with changes in level of the surface (c) sensing the arrival of the material at the predeterof the material within the receptacle whereby a predetermined condition of the changed shadow senses the presence of the level of the surface of the material within the receptacle at the predetermined level; and

(d) terminating the delivery of the material to the receptacle in response to the sensing of the arrival of the material at the predetermined level.

with respect to the height of the receptacle when the surface of the material is moved to substantially the predetermined level within the receptacle, the step of sensing including receiving light within the interior of the receptacle which has been directed toward the surface of the material and reflected therefrom at another predetermined angle when the surface of the References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS material1 is at the predetermined level within the g zi g "5 55955 receptac e; and (d) terminating the delivery of the material to the f igg receptacle in response to the sensing of the arrival 3225963 12/1965 Man X of the material at the predetermined level. 3267287 8/1966 B g e 250 222 19. A method for establishing a predetermined level 3404282 10/1968 W 1k 250 222 of material in a receptacle comprising the steps of: a er (a) delivering material to the interior of the receptacle; WALTER STOLWEIN Primary Examiner (b) directing radiant energy toward the interior of 40 the receptacle; Us. CL

(c) sensing the arrival of the material at the predeter- 222-; 250-222 mined level within the receptacle in response to at P0405) UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No- 3 .536.Q26 Dated oet ober 27; 197p Inventor(s) Richard Schmidt It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 1, line 59, "weight should be weigh Column 2, line 69, 'persepective" should be perspective insert the relay has two Column 6, line 31, after "#8 i conditions (relay de different "neutral SIGNED SEALED FEB 9 I 1 FEB. 9,1971

Hu -F commissioner 0 Pain Amazing O

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3642036 *Apr 30, 1970Feb 15, 1972Eugene RunesAutomatic fueling system for automobiles
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Classifications
U.S. Classification250/564, 141/198, 250/577, 222/65, 250/222.1, 141/1
International ClassificationB67C3/00, B67C3/30, B65B3/00, B65B3/26
Cooperative ClassificationB67C3/30, B65B3/26
European ClassificationB67C3/30, B65B3/26