US 3625265 A
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United States Patent  Inventor Warren E. Gilson 4801 Shebaygan Ave., Madison, Wis. 53703 [2|] AppLNo. 1,191
 Filed Jan. 7, 1970  Patented Dec. 7, 1971  FRACTION COLLECTOR 11 Claims, 7 Drawing Figs.  U.S.Cl 141/284, 23/259  1nt.Cl G01n 1/18  Field of Search 23/253 R,
 References Cited UNlTED STATES PATENTS 3,l68,124 2/1965 Lenkey l4l/l30X 3,265,100 8/[966 Holm et al. l4l/284 3,450,173 6/l969 Maizel, Jr. l41/l30 Primary Examiner- Edward J. Earls Attorney-Mason, Kolehmainen, Rathburn & Wyss &
ABSTRACT: A fraction collector includes structure pivotally mounted for tilting movement about a generally horizontal axis in order to move a filling head in one direction over an array of containers. Movement is imparted to the filling head in accordance with the movement ofa drive member. and the drive member is confined to a predetermined pattern of movement by means of a maze structure through which the drive member is moved.
FRACTION COLLECTOR The present invention relates to improvements in fraction collectors.
Fraction collectors of the prior art commonly include structure for supporting a two-dimensional array of containers, together with a filling head for discharging material sequentially into the containers. If a generally rectangular array of containers having rows and columns is used, it is desirable to produce relative movementbetween the filling head and the container array in such a manner that the filling head moves in increments up and down adjacent rows of containers. Arrangements used in the past for bringing about this type of relative movement have often been exceedingly bulky, complex, expensive and otherwise unsatisfactory.
Among the important objects of the present invention are to provide an improved fraction collector of simplified construction; to provide a fraction collector including novel and improved means for movably mounting the filling head for movement relative to an array of containers; to provide a fraction collector including improved structure for constraining the filling head to movement through a desired pattern; and to provide a compact and conveniently used fraction collector which is both reliable and rugged.
In brief, a fraction collector embodying the present invention may comprise a fixed support including a table for holding a generally rectangular array of containers having a plurality of rows and columns. A filling head is movably mounted above the containers for discharging material sequentially into the containers of the array.
In accordance with an important aspect of the present invention, movement of the filling head relative to the container array is achieved in a novel, simple and effective manner. The filling head is mounted on a frame, and the frame is mounted in turn on the fixed support for pivotal or tilting movement about a generally horizontal axis. Consequently, pivotal movement of the frame results in movement of the filling head relative to the container array in one dimension.
Another important aspect of the invention resides in the provision of novel structure for constraining the filling head to movement through a desired pattern. Movement is imparted to the filling head by a driving connection with a drive member. The drive member is engageable with and is guided through a predetermined pattern by means of a maze defining a pathway corresponding to the desired pattern. Drive means are provided for moving the drive member in increments through the pattern thereby sequentially to move the filling head into alignment with sequential containers of the array.
The invention together with the above and other objects and advantages may be best understood from consideration of one embodiment of the invention illustrated in the accompanying drawings wherein:
F lG. l is a perspective front view of a fraction collector constructed in accordance with the present invention;
F IG. 2 is a perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with the array of containers removed and with some of the structure broken away more clearly to reveal internal elements;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary view of a portion of the fraction collector;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view similar to FIG. 3 illustrating elements in a different position;
F IG. 5 is a rear elevational view of the fraction collector;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 5; and
HO. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of FIG. 5.
Having reference now to the drawings, there is illustrated a fraction collector designated as a whole by the reference numeral l0 and constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention. In general, the fraction collector 10 includes a fixed supporting structure 12 including a table 14 upon which may be arranged a generally rectangular array of containers 16. A filling head generally designated as 18 is moved with respect to the array of containers 16 sequentially into position over each of the containers in order that material may be discharged into the containers in a predetermined order.
in accordance with an important feature of the present invention, one direction or dimension of movement of the filling head relative to the containers is achieved by supporting the filling head 18 on a frame designated as a whole by the reference numeral 20, which frame 20 is mounted for pivotal or tilting movement relative to the fixed supporting structure 12. Another important aspect of the present invention resides in the use of a maze generally designated by the reference numeral 22 for constraining the movement of a drive member generally designated as 24 to a predetermined pattern. As appears in more detail hereinafter, the drive member 24 is drivingly interrelated with the filling head 18 in order to produce a corresponding movement of the filling head 18 in a predetermined pattern over the array of containers l6.
Proceeding now to a more detailed description of the fraction collector 10, the fixed supporting structure 12 includes a baseplate 26 and four upwardly extending corner posts 28, 30, 32 and 34 serving to support the table 14 spaced above and generally parallel to the baseplate 26. If desired, sidewalls (not shown) may enclose the space beneath the table 14. The rear comer posts 32 and 34 extend somewhat above the surface of the table l4 and support a fixed rear rail 36 extending substantially the length of the table 12. The front corner posts 28 and 30 each pivotally support a crank structure 38 carrying a movable front rail 40. The rail 40 is biased inwardly or rearwardly by means of a pair of springs 42 connected to a pair of crank-operating arms 44.
In order to position an array of containers upon the table 14, the movable front rail 40 is pulled forward against the force of the springs 42 and the array of containers is placed upon the table 14. A suitable box structure 46 (FIGS. 1 and 5) may be utilized for holding the bases of the containers 16 in position. When released, the rail 40 is urged by the springs 42 against the midportions of the container 16 to hold the array firmly between the rails 36 and 40.
In the illustrated arrangement, the array of containers [6 comprises a generally rectangular array of containers having five transverse rows of containers each including l6 individual containers. However, it should be understood that the principles of the invention may be applied to other types and sizes of arrays.
As indicated above, an important feature of the present invention resides in the use of the pivotally mounted frame 20 for permitting movement of the filling head 18 in one direction or dimension relative to the container array. The frame 20 includes a pair of generally parallel legs 48 the lowermost ends of which are pivotally mounted on sideplates 50 of the fixed supporting structure 12 by means of short pins or shafts 52. The uppermost ends of the legs 48 are spanned by a pair of upper slide bars 54 upon which the filling head 18 is supported. The filling head 18 and the frame 20 are tiltable or pivotable about the generally horizontal axis defined by the axes of the pins or shafts 52, thereby in an exceedingly simple and straightforward manner to permit movement of the filling head 18 back and forth over the array .of containers 16 in a direction generally transverse to the rows of containers.
During a fraction collection operation carried out with the fraction collector 10, the filling head 18 is moved back and forth in a direction generally transverse to the direction of rows of containers 16. In order to produce this motion, there is provided a drive system designated as a whole by the reference numeral 56 (FIGS. 2, 3, and 4). Drive system 56 serves to pivot the frame 20 through angular increments in a predetermined sequence.
More specifically, the frame 20 is biased by suitable structure illustrated as a pair of springs 58 in a generally forward direction. One of the legs 48 supports an arm 60 carrying a cam follower roller 62 engageable with the edge of a cam 64. The cam 64 is designed to position the upper slide bars 54 and thus the filling head 18 sequentially over each of the container rows.
Rotation is imparted to the cam 64 by means of a drive motor 66 mounted on the baseplate 26 below a drive plate 68. A drive shaft 70 of the motor 66 extends upwardly through the plate 68 and carries the cam 64.
Also carried by the motor drive shaft 70 immediately beneath the cam 64 is a switch-operating cam 72 having a series of switch-operating projections adapted to be engaged by the operator portion of a switch assembly 74 mounted on the plate 68. The projections of the cam 72 are interrelated with the various portions or lobes of the cam 64 to the end that the switch 74 is operated whenever the filling head 18 reaches a position wherein it is aligned with one of the rows of containers [6.
In accordance with another important feature of the present invention, the maze 22 is utilized to constrain the drive member 24 to movement along a predetermined path or pattern, thereby to constrain movement of the filling head 18 to a pattern wherein it registers sequentially with each of the containers 16 of the rectangular array. Referring more specifically now to FIGS. 6 and 5, the underside of the table 14 carries a series of channel-shaped members 76, the downwardly projecting flanges of which form the walls of the maze 22.
Drive member 24 comprised a lower slide member slidable generally in the direction of container rows on a pair of lower slide bars 78 extending between the legs 48 of the pivotable or tiltable frame 20. The lower slider 24 includes a hole slidably receiving one of the bars 78, together with a pair of arms straddling the other slide bar 78 in order to maintain the slider in a horizontal position. Extending upwardly from the lower slider or drive member 24 is a pin 80 projecting above the lowermost edges of the walls of the maze 22 (FIG.
Due to the engagement of the pin 80 of the lower slide member 24 with the maze 22, it is not possible for the lower slide member or drive member 24 to move in the direction of container rows except when the pin 80 clears one of the walls of the maze 22. Consequently, movement of the lower slide member is restricted or confined to a back and forth, or zigzag, boustrophedon pattern corresponding generally to the pattern of containers 16 in the container arrays supported above the table 14.
In order to move the lower slide member 24 in the direction of container rows, there is provided a drive arrangement generally designated as 82. A shaft 84 is journaled for rotation in the baseplate 26 and in the drive plate 68, and supports a drive gear 86 above the plate 68 drivingly engaged by means ofa drive pinion 88 carried on the motor shaft 70. As a result, when the drive motor 66 is energized to rotate the cam 64, the shaft 84 is also rotated. Connected to the lower slide member or drive member 24 is a drive chain 90 supported by idler pulleys 92, 94, 96 and 98 carried by the legs 48 of the frame above the baseplate 26. The drive chair 90 is wrapped around a grooved drive drum 100.
Referring more specifically to HO. 7, the drum 100 is slidably and rotatably positioned around the shaft 84 to the end that rotation of the shaft relative to the drive drum 100 is possible. A spring 102 is held in compression between a collar 104 fixed on the drive shaft 84 and a washer 108 is sandwiched between the lower surface of the drum and a suitable journal or bearing 110.
Each time that the drive motor 66 is operated, the shaft 84 rotates, and due to the friction created by force of the spring 102 the drum 100 also tends to rotate. Rotation of the drum 100 causes movement of the drive chain 90 thereby resulting in movement of the lower slide member or drive member 24 in the direction of container rows. However, when the pin 80 of the lower slide member 24 is engaged with a wall of the maze 22, such movement in the direction of container rows is prevented. in this instance, the drive drum 100 is held stationary against the frictional force caused by the spring 102 during rotation of the shaft 84.
In order to impart motion to the filling head 18 in accordance with motion of the drive member 24, the filling head 18 and member 24 are interconnected by a second drive chain 112 entrained on a series of idler pulleys H4, H6, 118, and supported on the legs 48 of frame 20. The filling head 18 is supported on an upper slide member 122 which may be similar to the lower slide member 24 and which includes a hole slidably engaged with one of the upper slide bars 54 and a pair of arms slidably straddling the other slide bar 54.
Since both the upper slide bars 54 supporting the filling head 18 and the lower slide bars 78 supporting the drive member 24 are mounted on the tiltable or pivotally mounted frame 20, when the frame 20 moves back and forth due to engagement of the cam follower 62 with the cam 64, both the filling head 18 and the drive member 24 also move back and forth. Since the filling head 18 and drive member 24 are interconnected by means of the drive chair 112, when the drive member 24 moves in one direction in the direction of container rows, the filling head 18 moves a corresponding distance in the opposite direction in the direction of container rows.
Any suitable control circuit may be used for operating the illustrated fraction collector 10 to carry out a container-filling operation. Such a circuit, for example, may control the admission of material to the filling head 18 through a flexible supply tube 124 in timed relation with the operation of the drive motor 66 and with operation of the switch 74. In a typical operation, the filling head 18 is moved over one of the containers 16 and stopped, at which time a predetermined amount of material is discharged into the container, as measured by a timer, a drop-counting or a volume-measuring operation. This sequence is then repeated until all of the containers have been filled.
Considering now the operation of the fraction collector 10 of the present invention, in carrying out a fraction-collecting operation the array of containers 16 into which material is to be discharged is mounted upon the table 14. The filling head 18 is then positioned over the first container to be filled, which in the illustrated arrangement is the container in the right rear corner as viewed in HO. 1. ln this starting position, the filling head 18 is located directly over the first container 16 and the cam 64 is located so that a cam lobe identified by the reference character A (FIGS. 3 and 4) is engaged by the cam follower roller 62.
After the container-filling operation is carried out by suitable control means, the drive motor 66 is operated by means of the control circuit to rotate the cam 64 in the direction indicated by the arrows in FIGS. 3 and 4. After a predetermined amount of rotation, the cam follower roller 62 engages the next adjacent cam lobe identified by the reference character B, at which time the switch-operating cam 72 serves to operate the switch assembly 74. At this point, the drive motor 66 is deenergized and the tilting or pivotally mounted frame 20 due to the springs 58 is moved one step in the direction generally transverse to container rows to bring the filling head 16 over the next row and over the next adjacent second container 16. In the illustrated arrangement this is the container at the right end in the second row from the rear, as viewed in FIG. 1.
When the second container 16 is filled, the motor 66 is again energized and again deenergized when the roller 62 is engaged with the cam lobe marked C in FIGS. 3 and 4, at which time the filling head 18 is located over the third row and over the third container 16 in the sequence to be filled. The next operation of the motor brings the roller 62 into engagement with the cam lobe marked D, and after filling of the corresponding container the motor is once more energized to bring the roller 62 into engagement with the lobe marked E. In this position, the filling head is over the fifth container to be filled, which is the container located in the right front corner as viewed in FIG. 1.
During the above-described sequence of operations, the frame 20 is tilted in increments from a position in which the filling head 18 is over the rear row of containers as viewed in HO. 1 to a position in which the filling head 18 is over the front row of containers as viewed in FIG. 1. During the sequence of steplike or incremental movements. each time the motor 16 is operated the shaft 84 is rotated. However, due to engagement of the drive member 24 and specifically of the pin 80 with a wall of the maze 22, the upper slide member 122 and filling head 18 cannot move in the direction of container rows.
Upon completion of the discharge of material into the fifth container, the drive motor 66 is once again energized by a control circuit or the like. As a result, the roller 64 traverses the cam lobe marked F in FIGS. 3 and 4, this lobe being the lobe representing the minimum radial distance from the motor shaft 70. As the roller 62 traverses the lobe F, the pin 80 clears the end of the wall of the maze 22, and the drive member or lower slider 24 is freed for movement in the direction of container rows. As a result, the frictional force applied to the drive drum 100 by the spring 102 causes movement of the lower slide member or drive member 24 by means of the drive chain 90. As best appears in FIG. 6, the walls of the maze 22 are staggered or ofiset so that this longitudinal movement is halted when the pin 80 reaches the wall portion of the next adjacent channel member 76. At this point, the filling head 18 is moved one step to the left as viewed in FIG. 1 in line with the second column of containers to be filled.
Continuing movement of the cam 64 results in movement of the next cam lobe G into engagement with the roller 62. Lobe G forces the frame to tilt against the force of the springs 58 so that the filling head 18 is moved over the sixth container to be filled. The alternate filling and steplike movement operation continues, sequentially bringing additional lobes G, H, I, .l
and K under the roller 62 thereby to position the filling head 18 over the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th containers to be filled.
After filling of the 10th container corresponding to lobe K, further rotation of the cam 64 moves the final lobe L under the roller 62. The lobe L represents the maximum radial distance of the cam surface from the motor shaft 70 and results in movement of the frame 20 rearwardly to such an extend that the pin 80 clears the flange or wall of the second channel member 76 of the maze 22. As a result, the lower slide member or drive member 24 is free to be moved longitudinally into engagement with the next wall of the maze 22. Further rotational movement returns the cam lobe A once again beneath the follower 62 and the filling head is positioned over the eleventh container to be filled.
The alternate filling and stepping operation continues substantially in the manner described above in order to move the drive member 24 through the entire maze 22, and to sequentially move the filling head 18 in increments over the entire container array. After filling of the last container, which position is illustrated in FIG. 4, suitable means may be used for bringing the operation to a halt, preferably with the filling head 18 over a suitable drain receptacle or the like and with lobe A engaged with the roller 62. After the array of containers 16 has been removed and replaced with a new array of containers 16, it is possible manually to move the filling head 18 once again into the starting position simply by pivoting the frame 20 against the forces of the springs 58 rearwardly until the pin 80 is entirely clear of the maze 22. At this point, the upper slide member 122 can be manually slid in the direction of container rows along the upper slide bars 54 until the filling head 18 is aligned with the first container to be filled. The frictional interconnection of the drum 100 with the shaft 584 permits the corresponding movement of the lower slide member or drive member 24, the drive chair I12 and the drum 100.
While the present invention has been described in connection with a particular embodiment thereof, various other modifications and embodiments may be devised by those skilled in the art. The present invention is not limited to details of the described embodiment except insofar as set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. A fraction collector for use with a plurality of containers arranged in several generally parallel rows, and comprising a support, said containers being positioned on said support, frame means mounted on said support for pivotal movement around a generally horizontal axis, said frame means including a mounting means extending generally parallel to and substantially throughout the length of the container rows, a filling means for discharging material into said containers, said filling head being slidably mounted on said mounting means of said frame means for movement generally in the direction of container rows, and driving means including first drive means for pivoting said frame to move said filling head from row to row, and second drive means for sliding said filling head along said frame in the direction of container rows.
2. The fraction collector of claim 1, means for permitting the operation of said second drive means only in response to a complete movement by said first drive means of the filling head across all of the container rows.
3. The fraction collector of claim 2, said operation-permitting means comprising a drive member mounted on said frame for movement in two dimensions relative to said support, means drivingly interrelating said drive member and said filling head for corresponding movements, and a maze structure restricting movement of said drive member to a predetermined pattern.
4. A fraction collector including a two-dimensional array of containers to be filled, a table providing a fixed support for said containers, a filling head mounted for movement above the array of containers, a drive member mounted for movement in two dimensions and drivingly interrelated to said filling head, a frame mounted for movement with respect to said table and supporting both said drive member and said filling head, a maze receiving said drive member and limiting movement of the drive member to a predetermined pattern, and drive means for moving the drive member in increments through said pattern, said maze being supported on the underside of said table, and said filling head and said drive member being movable in planes disposed respectively above and below said table.
5. The fraction collector of claim 4, said frame being mounted on said table for pivoting movement about a generally horizontal axis, and said filling head and said drive member being mounted for sliding movement on said frame.
6. A fraction collector comprising a support including a table for supporting an array of containers, a frame mounted for tilting movement about a generally horizontal axis beneath the table and including a slide member extending across and above the table surface, a filling head mounted on said slide member for sliding movement in a direction generally transverse to the tilt axis of the frame, and drive means for incrementally tilting said frame and sliding said filling head sequentially to align the filling head over each of said containers.
7. The fraction collector of claim 6, said drive means including first means for tilting the frame comprising a cam, means biasing the frame into contact with the cam, and means for rotating the cam.
8. The fraction collector of claim 7, said drive means including second means for sliding the filling head comprising a lower slide member supported by the frame beneath the table, a drive member slidably mounted on said lower slide member, means supported by the frame for drivingly interconnecting the drive member and the filling head, and means for sliding the drive member along the lower slide member.
9. The fraction collector of claim 8, further comprising a maze structure mounted on the underside of said table and engaged by said drive member to constrain movement of said filling head to a predetermined pattern.
10. A fraction collector for use with an array of containers having rows and comprising a support having a surface for fixedly supporting said containers, a filling head disposed above said surface, first filling head support means for slidably moving said filling head generally in the direction of container rows, and second filling head support means for pivotally moving said filling head generally in the direction transverse to container rows.
11. The fraction collector of claim 10, further comprising driving means for moving said filling head in increments over each of the plurality of containers.