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Publication numberUS3543813 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 1, 1970
Filing dateApr 1, 1968
Priority dateApr 1, 1968
Publication numberUS 3543813 A, US 3543813A, US-A-3543813, US3543813 A, US3543813A
InventorsCreed Sherman H
Original AssigneeFmc Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container filling machine
US 3543813 A
Abstract  available in
Images(7)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent lnventor Appl. No. Filed Patented Assignee Sherman I-I. Creed San Jose, California CONTAINER FILLING MACHINE 9 Claims, 14 Drawing Figs.

Assislan! Examiner-Edward .l. Earls Attorneys-F. W. Anderson and C. E. Tripp 7/1943 Meyer et a1... 2,546,418 3/1951 Ardron et a1...

3/1960 La Pier et a1 .1

FOREIGN PATENTS 783,921 10/1957 Great Britain 364,455 10/1962 Switzerland Primary ExaminerLaverne D. Geiger ABSTRACT: A can-filling machine has a turret with'a series U.S. C1 .1. 141/148,

141/172. l4l/372; 198/212 of filling heads and vertical rollers to guide the cans up and Int. Cl Bb 43/60; down relative to the heads. Feed and discharge conveyors are 43/60, 865g 29/02 tangent to the turret with the discharge conveyor above the Field ofSearch 141/147, feeder conveyor, and a generally helical ramp extends 148, 150, 172, 275, 370, 372; 198/22, 228, 209, between the conveyors. A spring gate assembly is employed at 212 the feed conveyor for seating cans between the rollers.

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149 2.6 as o ice 19 Q J 16 1 as L a L 2.7.?- i-u' :54 21 ue- 222. \56 no- 224 234 60 g I/ 25a 1 252- 14 i A Patented Dec. 1, 1970 3,543,813

Sheet 2 of7 INVENTOR. SHERMAN H. OREED BYJQM ATTORNEYS Patented Dec. 1, 1970 3,543,313

Sheet 3 of 7 FIE- El I NVENTOR. SH ERMAN H. GREED BYJWW ATTORNEYS Patented Dec. 1, 1970 Sheet i of? JWW ATTORNEYS Patented Dec. 1, 1970 3,543,813

Sheet 5 of? T I G '7 INVENTOR.

SHERMAN H. OREED AT TORNE YS Patented Dec. 1,1970 1 3,543,813

Sheet 6' of? F'IB EI I N VIJINTOR. SHERMAN H. CREED ATTORNEYS Patented Dec. 1, 1970 Sheet 1 of? TII3 1E]En I NVEN TOR.

H. OREED SHERMAN j -Mumv ATTORNEYS BACKGROUND-OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to fluent material handling and more particularly to machines for filling open end containers, with liquid such as syrup, and known as syruping machines.

2. Description of Prior Art Although prior syrupers such as those shown in U.S. Pats. to Dickerson No. 1,365,773 and La Pier et al. No. 2,928,438 employ ramps for moving the cans vertically relative to the rotary filling heads, the entry and exit conveyors are coplanar, requiring abrupt turns at the infeed and outfeed stations, with star wheels or the like at these turns. Also, the star wheels reduce the percentage of each turret rotation available for the actual syruping operation.

Prael U.S. Pat No. 1,523,607 requires individual, camraised can platforms, and abrupt turns at the infeed and outfeed are also required.

' In Luther U.S. Pat. No. 3,185,187, the filling valves are cammed up and down while the cans are moved around a basically planar platform. Thus abrupt infeed and outfeed turns are also required. In practice, the use of star wheels at the infeed and outfeed turns has also required a synchronizing worm at the infeed star wheel, such as the worm l l 1 shown in FIG. l of Luther.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, a can-supporting track or ramp extends substantially entirely around the filling head turret in a generally helical configuration and beneath the orbital path followed by thefilling heads. Cooperating vertical guide members in the form of rods span each filling head. These rods turn with the filling heads and thus advance the cans along the ramp about the syruper, while the ramp raises the cans into and lowers the cans out of filling relation with the filling heads. The rods also guide the cans vertically as they are raised and lowered by the ramp, but exert no lifting action on the cans. The cans are restrained in an orbital path by fixed outside guides. Such construction enables the conveyors to connect tangentially and directly to the turret and hence eliminates the need for star wheels and infeed synchronizing worms, etc. Even though these turning and synchronizing devices are eliminated, no jams or can damage by the handling mechanism is encountered. A simple spring gate assembly replaces prior infeed star wheels and synchronizers. The discharge conveyor is higher than the feeder conveyor to enable cans to enter the syruper on the feed conveyor below the discharge conveyor, although both conveyors are tangent to the turret substantially at the same point in its orbital path.

This construction has the further advantage of making substantially the entire circumference of the syruper available for raising and lowering the cans relative to the filling heads as well as for performing the actual filling operation. It materially simplifies the construction of the syruper. Additionally, the fact that the feed and discharge conveyors are arranged in a straight line, in tangent relation to'the orbital path of the filling heads, eliminates abrupt changes in the direction of the cans entering and leaving the syruper. This reduces the floorspace required for installation of the machine and its conveyors.

The manner in which these and other features of the present invention can be obtained in practice will be apparent from the following detailed description of the preferredembodiment ofthe invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective of a syruping machine embodying the invention.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged plan of the machine.

FIG. 3 is a vertical section taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2 at a somewhat reduced scale. i

FIG. 4 is a horizontal section taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 3, with parts broken away. i

FIG. 4A is an enlarged detail of FIG. 4. 5 I FIG. 5 is a fragmentary diagrammatic perspective of th machine.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged detail of one of the can-advancing and guiding rollers.

FIG. 7 is an enlarged perspective detail wherein being raised to one ofthe filling heads.

FIG. 8 is an enlarged fragmentary elevation, showing the gate for releasing the cans from the feed conveyor.

FIG. 9 is a horizontal section taken on line 9-9 of FIG. 8. FIGS. 10-10C are operational diagrams at the feeder gate.

a can is DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings, the machine 20 (FIGS:.II,,5), while capable of filling open top cans with various liquids, is? particularly useful in filling cans with syrup, which cans have. been previously supplied with pieces of fruit or vegetablesj for;

example, cling peach halves. Such syrupers are frequently employed in a can-filling line in canneries. between the fruitfilling machine and a can-capping machine, neither ofwhich is shown. In any case, a feeder conveyor 22 leads into the syruper 20, and a discharge conveyor 24 leads from the syruper.

The syruper 20 (FIGS. 1-4) includes a frame 25 having legs 28, 30 and 32 (FIG. 4) connected at their upper ends to a ring 34 (FIGS. 1,2 and 3) and to cross braces 36 and 38 (FIG. 3).

The details of the filling system are not critical to the present invention and only those necessary to an understanding of the invention will be described. Reference is made to the U.S. Fat. to Ardron et al. No. 2,546,418, incorporated herein by reference, for a filler construction suitable for use in the present invention.

A rotary turret 40 mounts a series of the can-filling heads 42 each of which includes rotary valves operated by star wheels 44 and fixed earns 46 (FIGS. 2 and 3). The filling heads are mounted on a syrup bowl 48 for rotation by means of a spindle 50, which also serves as a drain tube, the spindle being mounted in bearings 52, 54 supportedby the frame.

A trap tank and its turret 56 of conventional design are suspended by an arm 58 on the frame. The vacuum spindle 60 of the tank trap is flanged at 62 (FIG. 3) to form a vacuum chamber 64 with the bowl base 66. The lower end of the spindle 60' is formed with a vacuum manifold 68 and is removably mounted at 70 in sealing relation with the drain tube spindle 50. Valved vacuum ports 72 and filling ports 73 connect the vacuum chamber 64 and the syrup bowl 48 to the various filling heads 42, as explained in the aforesaid Ardron patent.

A large gear 74 (FIG. 3), secured to the lower end of the spindle S0, drives the turret in a clockwise direction as indicated by the arrows in FIGS. 2, 4, Sand 9 as will be later described in greater detail.

In the form shown, 18 uniformly spaced liquid filling heads 42 are provided, each of which has a valve body 78 and a valve rotor 80, operated by its star wheel 44 (FIG. 4). The valve bodies are fixed to a cylindrical wall 82 (FIG. 3) of the bowl 48 and project therefrom in a horizontal plane. The axes of the valve rotors are indicated at 83 in FIGS. 3, 4, 5, and 7 and these axes follow a circular path 84, hereinafter referred to as the pitch circle of the filling heads.

During a filling cycle, open top cans are brought up against gaskets and around displacer pads 92 on the sealing heads (FIG. 7) by the generally helical ramp structure of the present invention. As the turret rotates, the star wheels 44 turn the valve rotors 80. This cyclically connects the cans to the vacuum chamber 64 through ports 72 and to the syrup bowl 48 through ports 74 (FIG. 3), to respectively vacuumize and to fill the cans with liquid. As mentioned, the manner in which the filling heads 42 operate to vacuumize and fill the cans is not critical to the present invention, and reference is made to the Ardron et al. U.S. Pat. 2,546,418 which fully discloses the inner construction and operation of a similar filling head.

In the present invention, various can guides are supported by a scalloped ring 100 (FIGS. 3, 4 and 5) bolted to the underside of the valve bodies 78 by capscrews 102. The ring 100 has radial fingers 104 that straddle the filling heads 42, and mount the upper ends of vertically extending rollers 108, which roilers are more than twice as long as the height of the cans C to accommodate vertical motion of the cans during their passage through the syruper.

With reference to FIG. 6, each roller 108 is formed as a sleeve 110 having a cylindrical shoulder 112 for locating the lower bead or chime of the cans. The sleeve 110 rotates on a I shaft 114 extending between one of the fingers 104 on the scalloped ring 100 and a lowerring 116, to which the shaft is secui'e'cl :by a capscrew 118. The rollers 108 associated with each zfilling head 42 provide pockets 120 FIGS. 4 and 4A in :whicha can is seated for guided vertical movement during f 'rotation of the turret. The radius of the circular array of rollers cylindrical studs I28 (FIGS. 4, 4A, 5 and 7), each of which is located on a radial line intersecting the axis 83 of the associated valve rotor 80 and projects downward from the ring.

The outer surfacesof the studs 128 are tangent to the mouth of the cans C at the filling heads 42. The lower ends of the studs128 are tapered at 132 (FIG. 7), so that if the mouth ofa can being guided upward by cooperating rollers 108 toward a filling head is distorted toward stud 128, the rim of the can will be engaged by the tapered stud and cammed into a more circular configu'ration. I

A cylindrical stud 134 is projected down from each finger 104 on the upper ring (FIGS. 4A and The studs 134 are outside of the pitch circle 84 followed by the cans as they are advanced by the turret 40. As shown in FIG. 4A the studs 134 normallyengage only the trailing sides of the cans in order to facilitate can release after filling. The lower ends of the studs 134 are tapered at 136 (FIGS. 3 and 7) to center the cans with the valves as the cans approach the filling heads.

Thus the rollers 108 and the studs 128 and 136 cooperate in assuring that the mouths of the cans will be substantially circular and substantially coaxial with the axes 83 so as to encircle the displacer pads 92 (FIG. 7) that project downward from each valve body 78.

The feed conveyor 22 is of the cable type and terminates at an idler sheave 140 (FIGS. 3, 5, 8 and 9) rotatable on a stub shaft 142 rojecting from a bracket 143 on the cross brace 36 (FIG. 3). An endless cable 144, for advancing cans C along the conveyor 22 toward the syruper 20, is trained about the sheave I40 and extends horizontally along a straight path from the fruit filler (not shown). F

The upper run 146 of the cable 144 (FIG. 9) is tangent at 147 to the pitch circle 84 of the filling heads 42. Also, the upper run 146 of the cable 144 is above the ring 116 which supports the lower ends of the rollers 108 (FIG. 8), so that the chimes at the bottoms of the cans will engage the cylindrical shouiders 112 at the lower ends of the rollers 108' (FIGS. 6 and 8). As seen in FIG. 9, the point 148 at which the conveyor cable 144 becomes tangent with the sheave 140 is located downstream from the point 147 at which the axis of the cable 144 becomes tangent with the filling head pitch circle 84, by a beneath the upper run 146 and is fixed to the cross brace 36 (FIG. 9). The inner can guides 149 terminate adjacent the rollers 108, and the outer can guides 150 terminate at a spring gate assembly 160, forming part of the present invention.

During a cycle, the cans; are verticaliy positioned by a generally helical cam track or ramp (FIGS. 1, 3, 4 and 5). The ramp 170 receives the cans entering the syruper 20 from the feeder conveyor 22, raises the cans against the filling heads 42 and lowers the cans from the heads, in addition to elevating the cans from the level of the feeder conveyor 22 to that of the discharge conveyor 24. This takes place as the cans are orbitally advanced and vertically guided by the rollers 108 during rotation of the turret 40. The operation and jam-free nature of the ramp and roller-advancing structure permitsthe ramp portion 170 to have an incline as great as 45. when the ramp is formed of smooth metal.

The ramp 170 is mounted on the frame 25 by brackets 17-2 (FIGS. 1, 3 and 4), with its can-supporting surface 171 substantially coincident with the pitch circle 84 of the filling heads 42.

The receiving end portion 174 of the ramp'170 is spaced about one-eighth inch below'the top of the upper run 146 of the cable 144 (FIG. 8). The free end of the ramp is beveled at of the ramp lifts the cans from one conveyor level to the other while seating the cans on the filler gaskets 90. The upper horizontal portion extends through 173 and holds cans against the can-sealing gaskets 90 of the filling heads. Beyond the upper horizontal portion 180 (FIGS. 5 and 8), the ramp 170 descends at 182 throughout approximately 26 to the I discharge end 184, which lowers the can about 2 inches from the filling heads 42 under force of gravity. Upon reaching the discharge end 184 (FIGS. 1,4, 5 and 8), cans leaving the ramp 170 are advanced onto the discharge conveyor 24, for removal from the syruper 20.

Although the ramp l70'is not a true helix, it can be con-' sidered to be of generally helicalconstruction for raising the cans from the feed to the discharge conveyor, upon which is superposed a raising and lowering of the'cans relative to the filler heads 42.

The ramp 170 extends throughout 345 about the turret 40 from the can-receiving end 174 to the discharge end 184.

Thus, in the syruper illustrated, although the ramp 170 has an inside diameter of 23.25 inches giving a circumferential extent of about 73 inches, the circumferential gap between theopposite ends of the ramp is little more than 3 inches, thereby making approximately theentire circumference of the syruper 20 available for raising the cans into filling relation with the filling heads, the syruping operation which occupies almost half a turn, and lowering the cans from the filling heads, all while raising the cans from one conveyor to another.

The can-retaining rail 124 (FIGS. 3, 4, ,5, 8 and 9) has one end 186 located adjacent the can-receiving end 174 of the ramp 170 and extends substantially about the entire turret. This rail is supported by the ramp support brackets 172 (FIG. 4), and extends along the outer side of the discharge conveyor 24 beyond the discharge end of the ramp.

The discharge conveyor 24 extends horizontally along a straight line path in alinement with, but at a higher level than the feeder conveyor 22 and is tangent to the pitch circle 84 of the filling heads 42. The discharge conveyor 24 includes a flat endless belt 196 trained about an idler pulley I98, adjacent the discharge end 184 of the ramp 170, and about a drive pul- Iey 200 (FIGS. 1 and 4). The drive pulley 200 is secured to a drive shaft 202 (FIG. 4), which is driven in a mannerto be described presently.

In accordance with the present invention, no synchronizing worm and star wheel unit is required to introduce cans into the syruper pockets, rather the simple spring gate assembly 160 suffices.

The gate assembly 160 (FIGS. 5, 8 and 9) includes a coiled steel spring 222 stretched between the leg 154 of the rail bracket 156 and a spring post 224 on the end of the ramp guide rail 124 (FIG. 8). The spring 222 is above and parallel to the upper run 146 of the feeder cable 144 (FIG. 8). The spring 222 angles inwardly from the outer conveyor guide rails I50 toward the circular array of rollers 108 and into the path of the cans advanced by the feeder conveyor 22. Cans delivered in random order by the feeder conveyor 22 slide along the spring and are resiliently urged into the pockets 120 between cooperating rollers 108.

The gate assembly 160 also includes a friction band 226 for counterrotating cans which do not immediately find pockets. The band is made of elastic material such as rubber, stretched between the feeder conveyor bracket leg I54 and the end 186 of the guide rail 124, with its ends attached by bolt-mounted clips 228. As seen in FIGS. Sand 9, the friction band 226 is above and parallel to the spring 222. As seen inFIG. 9, the friction band 226 is normally spaced outwardly from the inner surfaceof the spring 222 by nearly the entire diameter of the spring. The friction band material is selected to provide a higher coefficient of friction with a can than does the spring 222, the rubber and steel materials mentioned above providing these properties.

FIGS. -10A show cans C approaching the syruper gate assembly 160 in spaced relation. The geometry of the assembly is such that the leading can 01 will seat between rollers 108 with little or no deflection of the coil spring 222, and with no deflection of the friction band 226. In FIG. 10, the can C-I rolls back into the pocket 120a without interference, and is held in that pocket without substantial deflection of the spring 222, as seen in FIG. 10A.

FIGS. 10B and 10C show a closed file of cans fed into the syruper. In FIG. 10 the second can 02 is forced out over the roller 10% and against the leading can C1 by the incoming file of cans. The coil spring 222 has been deflected until the can C-2 engages the friction band 226, which has also been deflected by can C-2. A friction force is now engendered between the can C-2 and the friction band. Since the can is being translated by the conveyor cable 144, the friction force rotates can C-2 counterclockwise. Also, due to the acute angle between the gate assembly and the path ofthe cans, a resilient wedging action is provided which urges the cans rearwardly and inwardly. These actions roll the can 02 back around roller 108b and seats it between two rollers, the can 02 then advances normally as seen in FIG. 10C. FIG. 10C also shows how the aforesaid friction band action continues at the next can G3, etc., so long as a file of cans is being urged into the gate assembly 160. The file of approaching cans can be held up during this action because the feeder conveyor cable 144 provides only a friction feed.

Vertically spaced leaf springs 232 and'234 form flared continuations of the ramp guide rail 124. These springs are secured at their downstream ends (FIGS. 8 and 9) to a plate 236 that is recessed into the inner face of the rail 130, with the inner faces of the springs flush with the inner face of the rail. The leaf springs 232 and 234 are convex and straddle the coiled spring 222 and the resilient band 226. The leaf springs 232 and 234 have a higher spring rate than do the coil spring 222 and the friction band 226 acting together. Cans not properly seated between the rollers 108 by the coil spring and friction band are fully seated by the leaf springs as the cans are advanced toward the rail 124 by the turret. However, when the cans are fully seated between rollers, the leaf springs 232 and 234 merely guide the advancing cans up to the rail 124, with little or no deflection 'of these springs.

In order to drive the feeder conveyor 22, a large diameter sprocket 244 (FIG. 3) is pinned to the sheave I40 and both sheave and sprocket turn on thestub shaft 142. The sheave sprocket 244 is driven by a roller chain 246 anda, sprocket 248 on the drive shaft 250 of a right-angle drive 252. In order to drive the turret 40, a right-angle shaft 254 of the right-angle drive 252 drives a pinion 256 (FIGS. I and 3) meshed with the large gear 74 on the spindle 50 of the turret. The gearing is such that the linear speed of the cable 144 of the feeder conveyor 22 is substantially twice that of the rollers 108 on the v turret.

The discharge conveyor 24 is driven by a sprocketv 258 (FIGS. 1 and 3), fixed to the drive shaft 250 ofthe rightangle drive 252. The sprocket 258 drives a roller chain 260 and a sprocket 262 fixed on the drive pulley shaft 202 of the discharge conveyor 24, to drive the conveyor pulley-200. This drive advances the belt 196 of the discharge conveyor at a' linear speed greater than that of the turret rollers 108. thus removing filled cans from the end 184 of the ramp 170 at a rate fast enough to gap the cans on the discharge conveyor.

SUMMARY or OPERATION The operation of the filling machine will now be reviewed briefly. Cans which have been filled with material such as cling peach halves, are frictionally advanced by the feeder conveyorcable 144 in random order and at about twice the rate at which the rollers 108 are advanced by the turret 40. The axis of the cans being advanced by the cable 144 of the conveyor 22 follow a path that is tangent to the pitch circle 84 of the filling heads 42 when the leading can being advanced by the conveyor 22 reaches the gate 160 (FIG. 9) it is guided and urged by the coil spring 222 into pockets between rollers 108 on the turret, aided by the friction band as required. and as shown in FIGS. 10B and IOC.

When the leading can abuts a roller 108, the chime at the bottom of the can engages the shoulder 112 at the bottom of I the roller and usually the flared top edge of the open can engages the roller sleeve 110. The difference in the diameter between the shoulder 112 and the smaller diameter upper portion of the sleeve 110 compensates for the difference in diameter between that of the chime and that of the flared top edge of the can. Consequently, both thetop and bottom edges of the can will engage the roller at substantially the same time. This protects the easily bent top edges ofthe cans from deformation upon their initial engagement with the rollers 108.

After the can is seated in the pocket between rollers by the action of the gate assembly 160, the can is retained in the pocket between cooperating rollers 108 by the coil spring 222 as the can is advanced toward and onto the-horizontal end portion 174 of the ramp 170. At almost the same time, the can passes by the leaf springs 232 and 234 which, although they are resilient, are normally not substantially deflected, and simply insure that the can will be brought up to the can-retaining rail 130 which retains the can in the roller pocket for the remainder of its travel with the syruper turret.

The gate 160 also functions to seat succeeding cans in the pockets of the turret 40 and release such cans for removal from the conveyor 22 by the pockets of the syruper. The gate makes it possible to feed the cans into the syruper tangentially to the circular advance of the cans therein without changing their direction of movement as they pass from the feed conveyor and into the syruper, and without the use of star wheels and attendant synchronizing worms.

The rollers 108 advance the cans that are seated in the pockets along a short horizontal section of the ramp I70 and the cans are than slid upward along the rollers 108 by the ascending portion 178 of the ramp, until they reach the filling heads 42.

If the upper rim of any can has been deformed previously, the rim may strike the displacer pad 92 (FIG. 7) during final lifting ofthe can into fillingrelation with the filling head, and a fluidtight seal may not be established with the can-sealing gasket 90. Additionally, if the cling peach halves in the cans project above the upper rim of the can, the peach halves may contact the displacer pad 92 and tilt the can out of alinement to some extent, or they may spring the otherwise circular mouth of the can out of round, Under any of these condition, the upper rim of the can will be eammed into circular configuration by one or both of the bevels 132, 136 of the studs 128. 134. This assures that the upper rim of the cans will be substantially circular and properly seated on the filling heads 42 as the cans approach the horizontal portion 180 of the ramp. Their upper rims will not be forced against the displacer pads 92 as the cans move to seal with the filling head sealing gaskets As the cans advance along the horizontal ramp portion 180 and are sealed to the filling heads, the various steps of vacuumizing and filling the cans with syrup are performed in a manner similar to that described in the before-mentioned Ardron et al. patent. Upon reaching the end of the horizontal ramp portion 180, the advancing cans pass onto the descending portion 182 of the ramp 170. This allows the fully syruped cans to move down from the filling heads while being guided vertically by the rollers 108. When the syruped cans reach the discharge conveyor 24,,they are carried out of the syruper 20 by the discharge conveyor 24 along a path that is tangent to the pitch circle 84 and is above but alined with the path of the feeder conveyor 22. The discharge conveyor is more than one can height above the feed conveyor 22, which enables cans to be fed into the syruper 20 beneath the discharge conveyor, even though these conveyors overlap.

The fact that the ramp 170 encompasses substantially the entire turret 40 provides ample cycle time for raising and lowering the cans relative to the filling heads 42, as well as almost 180 of turret rotation within which to perform the various steps of the actual can-filling portion of the cycle. In addition, the generally helical ramp and the tangential feeder and discharge conveyor construction makes it possible to feed and to discharge the cans from the syruper .without abruptly changing their direction of movement. Also, a simple spring gate replaces prior star wheel and synchronizing worm designs at the infeed station.

1n the illustrated embodiment, the diameters of the rollers I 108 and of the studs 128, 134 and the height of the ramp 170 in relation to the filling heads 42, particularly adapts the syruper for filling cans of the 303 by 406 size. It is to be understood, however, that by substituting larger diameter rollers 108 and larger diameter studs 128 and 134, smaller cans can be filled. Also, by changing the height of the ramp with respect to the filling heads 42, the syruper 20 can be adapted to handle cans of different lengths.

it is to be understood that although the feed conveyor 22 has been disclosed herein as having a cable by which the cans are advanced-to the syruper, other conveyors which do not positively move the cans may be employed.

Freely rotatable cylindrical rollers 108 have been employed in the syruper 20 to define the lateral limits of the can advancing pockets and to provide rotatable vertical surfaces for guiding the cans into the out of filling relation with the filling heads. This feature is of importance in the self-singulating spring gate construction, as shown in FIGS. B and 10C, in that it facilitates backsliding of the cans during the time when a closed file of cans is entering the roller pockets. With other gate feeds, nonrotatable guide rods of circular or noncircular cross section may be substituted for the rollers 108, but with attendant loss in universality of the machine.

Although the best mode contemplated for carrying out the present invention has been shown and described herein, it will be apparent that modification and variation may be made therein without departing fromwhat is regarded to be the subject matter of the invention, as set forth in the appended claims.

I claim: I

l. A filling machine for open-top containers such as cans comprising a rotary turret mounting a'plurality of equally spaced coplanar filling heads, the improvement wherein said turret has a plurality of vertical can guides cooperating to form can-advancing pockets, said guides being over twice the height of the cans and having convex'outer surfaces, a

generally helical ramp encompassing said turret for slidably supporting the bottom of cans advanced by said turret, said ramp having an ascending portion for raising the cans by more than their height and into filling relation with said filling heads, said ramp continuing with a horizontal portion for holding the cans against the filling heads, followed by a canlowering portion for leading the cans to a discharge conveyor,

generally helical guide rail means surrounding said ramp, a

feeder conveyor leading tangentially into the lower end of said ramp with longitudinal axis of said feeder conveyor intersecting .the circular path of motion of cans around said ramp, guide rail means at the outside of said feederconveyor and stopping short of the canreceiving end of said ramp guide rail 'means, an outwardly defiectable gate member extending substantially between the ends of said guide rail means for resiliently deflecting and accommodating radial outward camming of entering cans by the convex outer surfaces of said vertical can guides and a discharge conveyor leading tangentially away from the upper end of said ramp.

2. The filling machine ofclaim 1, wherein said gate member comprises a normally straight coil spring that engages the outer sides of entering cans.

3. The filling machine of claim 2, wherein said coil spring is backed up after deflection by a friction band for counterrotating cans which do not immediately find pockets between said vertical can guides.

4. The filling machine of claim 1, wherein said vertical can guides are rollers.

5. The filling machine of claim 4, wherein said rollers have enlarged lower ends for engaging the chimes of the cans.

6. The filling machine of claim 1, wherein said ramp encompasses about one full turn with its horizontal filling portion occupying about one-half turn.

7. The filling machine of claim 1, wherein there is a relative- 1y short horizontal ramp portion between the can entrance end of the ramp and its ascending portion.

said studs each being cylindrical with tapered ends for guiding cans to the filling heads.

9. A filling machine for open-top containers such as cans comprising a rotary turret mounting a plurality of equally spaced coplanar filling heads, the improvements wherein said turret has a plurality of guide support means circumferentially spaced by a distance exceeding the can diameter, vertical can guides on said support means cooperating to form can-ad vancing pockets, said guides being over twice the height of the cans and having generally cylindrical can guiding surfaces, a generally helical ramp encompassing said turret for slidably supporting the bottom of'cans advanced by said turret, said ramp having an ascending portion for slidably supporting the leading edges of the can bottoms and raising the cans by more than their height into filling relation with said filling heads, followed by a can-lowering portion for leading the cans to a discharge conveyor; generally helical guide rail means surrounding said ramp, a feeder conveyor leading tangentially into the lower end of said ramp, guide rail means at the outside of said feeder conveyor and stopping short of thecan-receiving end of said ramp guide rail means, an outwardly deflectable gate member between the ends of said guide rail means for resiliently deflecting and accommodating radial outward camming of entering cans by the cylindrical surfaces of said vertical can guides and a discharge conveyor leading tangentially away from the upper end of said ramp.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5007466 *Jul 19, 1989Apr 16, 1991Osgood Industries, Inc.Method and apparatus for filling ice cream containers
US5787687 *Oct 22, 1997Aug 4, 1998Mueller; Martin J.Method of filling containers with food product
US5921293 *Aug 27, 1995Jul 13, 1999Sig Combibloc GmbhDevice and process for filling containers with a liquid
US20110072984 *Sep 30, 2009Mar 31, 2011Chen Cheng-FengAutomatic bean curd maker
Classifications
U.S. Classification141/148, 141/372, 198/434, 141/172
International ClassificationB67C7/00
Cooperative ClassificationB67C2007/006, B67C7/0046
European ClassificationB67C7/00B8B