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Publication numberUS3645303 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 29, 1972
Filing dateSep 8, 1970
Priority dateSep 8, 1970
Publication numberUS 3645303 A, US 3645303A, US-A-3645303, US3645303 A, US3645303A
InventorsCarter Sidney T
Original AssigneeAto Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Filling apparatus
US 3645303 A
Abstract
In a filling machine comprising a plurality of filling head assemblies movable along a predetermined path, each filling head assembly including a telescopically associated nozzle and sealing member adapted to be moved downwardly in unison toward a bottle supported therebelow to introduce the nozzle into the bottle and apply the seal to the top of the bottle, cam means for controlling the movement of the nozzle and sealing member to cause the nozzle of each assembly to be lowered into the bottle to an initial position such as to effect rapid filling without foaming up to the neck and then while raising the nozzle from such position to effect withdrawal from the neck but before breaking the seal effecting final filling to a predetermined final level without overfill, thereby to provide for a maximum rate of filling per filling head and means for adjusting the cam means during the operation of the machine by means of which the initial filling and final filling positions of the nozzles may be altered during operation to adjust the level of the final fill without altering the capacity of the machine for filling.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Carter 51 Feb. 29, 1972 [54} FILLING APPARATUS [72] Inventor: Sidney T. Carter, Schrewsbury, Mass. [73] Assignee: A-T-O Inc, Cleveland, Ohio [22] Filed: Sept. 8, 1970 211 Appl. No.: 70,125

[52] U.S. Cl. ..14l/7, 141/59 [51] Int. Cl. ...B65b 1/04, B65b 3/04 [58] Field 01 Search ..l4l/l,4-8,37-64, 141/128, 144-152, 165, 177, 181, 182, 295, 263, 264, 266, 275,276, 278, 288, 312, 372, 374, 376,

Primary Examiner1-louston S. Bell, Jr. Attomey-Roberts, Cushman & Grover [57] ABSTRACT In a filling machine comprising a plurality of filling head as semblies movable along a predetermined path, each filling head assembly including a telescopically associated nozzle and sealing member adapted to be moved downwardly in unison toward a bottle supported therebelow to introduce the nozzle into the bottle and apply the seal to the top of the bottle, cam means for controlling the movement of the nozzle and sealing member to cause the nozzle of each assembly to be lowered into the bottle to an initial position such as to effect rapid filling without foaming up to the neck and then while raising the nozzle from such position to effect withdrawal from the neck but before breaking the seal effecting final filling to a predetermined final level without overfill, thereby to provide for a maximum rate of filling per filling head and means for adjusting the cam means during the operation of the machine by means of which the initial filling and final filling positions of the nozzles may be altered during operation to adjust the level of the final fill without altering the capacity of the machine for filling.

69 Claims, 37 Drawing Figures PATENTEUFEB29IB72 sum 020F 14 PATENTEUFEB 29 I972 SHEET UUUF 14 PATENTEDFEB 29 I972 SHEET USUF 14 PAIENTEflFEsze I972 SHEET USUF 14 PAIENTEOFB29 m2 SHEET USUF 14 PATENTEUFEB29 I972 SHEET IUUF 14 PATENTEDFEB 29 I972 SHEET 120F 14 PATENTEDFEB 2 9 I972 SHEET l'HJF 14 FILLING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In a filling machine operating on the vacuum principle the tip of the nozzle must be within the container (bottle) and the container must be sealed airtight before filling begins.

Usually the sealing means would comprise a mass of soft resilient material which must be kept under heavy pressure to prevent entry of ambient air during the actual filling operation. The seal must continue to be effective even though the position of the nozzle tip within the the bottle may change during filling, and the seal must remain operative until filling is complete.

In a high-speed rotary machine the bottle travels along a circular are while filling takes place,-the segment of the circular arc which must be reserved for the reception of the bottle and its discharge, when filled, must be made as short as possible in order to reserve sufficient of the path for the actual filling operation. Thus the time taken for introducing the bottle; inserting the filling tube; establishing the vacuum, and the reverse operation of withdrawing the nozzle; removing the seal and discharging the bottle must necessarily be very short. Thus the designer of a machine of this type is confronted with several serious problems; for example, a minor problem is that of applying the requisite pressure to the sealing element in the very short period of time available, without an attendant shock such as to endanger breaking of the bottle. This, among other problems, has been solved satisfactorily according to the present invention by causing the seal first to come into contact with the bottle by the action of gravity rather than by the application of mechanical force, and then to apply force to the resilient seal to assure leaktight contact. Other problems have been solved by arranging the seal to slide, airtight relative to the nozzle.

The basic advantage of the sliding seal is that it allows the filled height to be changed while the machine is in motion. Particular advantages of the sliding seal are that the base of the bottle may be used as the reference level from which the filled level is measured, thus providing for uniform filling even though bottles vary in height. By the use of appropriate means such, for example, as hereinafter described, the tip of the filling tube may be located, when filling starts, at a relatively low position in the bottle, thus to facilitate fast filling, and it may remain at that position in the bottle for a period of approximately three-fourths of the filling cycle and then be raised to a final filled height at which the filling operation is completed,all without raising the sliding seal from the bottle or breaking the vacuum. The present invention provides simple mechanism (in several embodiments) whereby most of the problems to be met by the designer have been solved.

Among the several embodiments of the invention is one above referred to wherein the actual delivery of fluid from the nozzle is governed by a sleeve valve slidable relatively to the nozzle and which prevents discharge of liquid from the nozzle until the nozzle tip is within the bottle, but opens automatically as the tip enters the bottle.

SUMMARY The filling head of the present invention is designed for use in a bottle-filling machine of the type wherein liquid is aspirated into the bottle in response to the establishment of subatmospheric pressure in the bottle and wherein a bottle to be filled travels along a predetermined path and remains at the same level while being filled and then continues along the same path to a discharge position. A plurality of such heads are supported for rotation in unison with a support on which empty bottles are continuously loaded for filling and from which filled bottles are removed following filling and in accordance with this invention each filling head assembly includes a telescopically associated nozzle and sealing member adapted to be moved downwardly in unison toward bottles supported therebelow to introduce the nozzles into the bottles and apply the seals to the top of the bottles. During such rotational movement of the heads and bottles, cams provided for this purpose are arranged to control the movement of the nozzles and sealing members to cause the nozzle of each assembly to be lowered to a predetermined initial position such as to effect rapid filling without foaming up to the neck and then while raising the nozzle from said initial position to effect withdrawal from the neck but before breaking the seal effecting final filling to a predetermined final filling level without overfill thereby to provide for a maximum rate of filling per filling head. Manually operable means is provided for raising and lowering the cams during operation of the machine by means of which the initial filling and final filling positions of the nozzles may be altered during operation to adjust the level of final filling without altering the capacity of the machine. Each filling head comprises an elongate vertical nozzle which is rigidly attached to a vertically movable assembly being raised to inoperative position by a cam but moving down to dispose the nozzle tip in filling position solely by the action of gravity. The elongate vertical nozzle has therein passages for air and liquid respectively, said passages leading to orifices at or adjacent to the tip of the nozzle. A sealing assembly, coaxial with the nozzle, is slidable relatively to the nozzle but in airtight relation to the noule, said sealing device being provided with a sealing member which, by contact with the top of the bottle, prevents leakage of air into the bottle. The sealing assembly, when the filling head is in inoperative position, is spaced from the tip of the nozzle a distance which is desirably somewhat less than the distance between the top of the bottle and the inlet port of the vacuum passage of the nozzle during the filling operation.

The nozzle assembly and sealing member move downwardly concomitantly from the inoperative position until the sealing member is stopped by contact with the bottle top and subjected to pressure. The nozzle assembly continues to move down and moves the nozzle through the sealing member to enter the bottle, whereupon fill starts. The nozzle tip continues to move downwardly until it arrives at the initial filling position where it remains until the level of the liquid reaches the inlet of the vacuum passage in the nozzle. The nozzle tip then rises to a predetermined final position and dwells while the liquid rises into the neck of the bottle. When the liquid reaches the aforesaid predetermined final position of the nozzle, the nozzle rises, whereupon the sealing member is removed from the bottle and returned to its initial position relatively to the nozzle tip.

In one embodiment the sealing member is subject to pressure by cam means and in another embodiment pressure is applied to the sealing member through the instrumentality of a device which frictionally grips the stem of the nozzle assembly.

In another embodiment the nozzle is provided with a sleeve valve, movable lengthwise of the nozzle tube, whereby the actual delivery of fluid from the nonle is governed, without reference to the valve which controls the supply of fluid to the nozzle. A sleeve valve such as that just referred to is advantageous, as compared with other types of valve, in that neither the valve itself not the means for actuating the valve uses any substantial part of the space reserved for the reception of the nozzle.

Desirable embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example on the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front elevation illustrating one embodiment of the improved filling head, partly in section, shown in the inoperative position but axially aligned with a bottle in readiness to be filled;

FIG. 2 is an elevation in a plane at right angles to that of FIG. 1, showing the parts in the same position relative to the bottle to be filled;

FIGS. 3 and 4 are views similar to FIG. 2, showing successive positions of the filling head relative to the bottle, FIG. 3 showing the centering member about to engage the top of the bottle, the tip of the filling nozzle about to enter the neck and the sealing member still elevated; and FIG. 4 showing the centering member engaged with the bottle, the filling nozzle located in the neck at the point most desirable to prevent foaming and the sealing member engaged with the top of the bottle;

FIG. 5 is a section through the filling nozzle assembly illustrating one desirable form of the filling tube;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary diametrical section of the lower part of the filling nozzle assembly with the filling tube removed;

FIG. 7 is a diametrical section at the tip of the filling nozzle tube;

FIG. 8 is a section taken on line 88 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 9 is a bottom view of the filling nozzle tube of FIG. 5, showing the vacuum and liquid ports;

FIG. 10 is an elevation of the support on which the filling head is mounted;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary plan view showing the support of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a diametrical section, to larger scale, partly in elevation, showing a sealing assembly separated from the filling head assembly;

FIG. 13 is a bottom view of the sealing assembly of FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 is a plan view of the top of the sealing assembly of FIG. 8;

FIG. 15 is a plan view of a modification of the sealing as sembly of FIG. 12 provided with an upper clamping member;

FIG. 16 is a side elevation of the assembly shown in FIG. 15, as seen in the direction of the lines 16-16;

FIG. 17 is a diametrical section, to larger scale, partly in elevation, illustrating a bottle-centering assembly;

FIG. 18 is a fragmentary bottom view of the centering assembly of FIG. 17;

FIG. 19 is a plan view of the top of the centering assembly of FIG. 17;

FIG. 20 is a view of a modified form of filling head assembly with the filling nozzle and sealing member in inoperative position;

FIG. 21 is a view similar to FIG. 20 wherein the sealing member is engaged with the top of the bottle and the filling nozzle is lowered into the bottle;

FIG. 22 is an elevation, partly in vertical section, illustrating a filling head in which the sealing assembly is controlled by a fixed cam and the filling nozzle includes a sleeve valve;

FIG. 23 is a view similar to FIG. 22, showing the tip of the filling nozzle located within the neck of the bottle and the sleeve valve retracted to expose the delivery ports at the tip of the nozzle;

FIG. 24 is a view similar to FIG. 20, showing the sleeve valve embodied in a filling head of the kind in which the sealing assembly is actuated by frictional engagement with the filling nozzle assembly;

FIG. 25 is a view similar to FIG. 24, but showing the tip of the nozzle within the neck of the bottle and the sleeve valve retracted so that the delivery ports at the end of the nozzle are open;

FIG. 26 is a diametrical section of the sleeve valve assembly for controlling the discharge of fluid from the filling nozzle as embodied in a filling head of the kind in which the sealing assembly is controlled by a cam;

FIG. 27 is a plan view at the top of the assembly shown in FIG. 26;

FIG. 28 is a bottom view of the assembly shown in FIG. 26;

FIG. 29 is a view generally similar to FIG. 26, but illustrating a sleeve valve assembly designed for use in a filling head of the kind in which the sealing assembly is actuated by friction means;

FIG. 30 is a plan view of the top of the assembly shown in FIG. 29;

FIG. 31 is a vertical section showing a modified'form of filling nozzle assembly;

FIG. 32 is a fragmentary section, to much larger scale, at the lower part of the nozzle shown in FIG. 31;

FIG. 33 is a fragmentary elevation illustrating, partly in section, the frame of the filling machine by meansof which the filling head assemblies and bottles are supported in relation to each other;

FIG. 34 is a plan view, to much smaller scale, from the top of the apparatus showing the path of movement of the filling head assemblies and bottles during the filling operation and the means for delivering empty bottles to the apparatus for filling and removing filled bottles therefrom;

FIG. 35 is a diagrammatic developed elevation showing a filling head assembly in relation to a bottle asit moves circula.rIy through a filling cycle;

FIG. 36 is a similar diagrammatic developed elevation in which the sealing assembly is actuated by a cam and in which a sleeve valve is provided; and

FIG. 37 is a diagrammatic developed elevation showing a filling head assembly of the type in which the sealing assembly is actuated by friction and which also includes a bottle-centering assembly and sleeve valve for controlling fluid delivery.

The machine herein illustrated is designed to fill a succession of containers delivered thereto by a conveyor and after filling to be removed therefrom by another conveyor. The number of filling heads will be determined by the size of the machine and/or the need for a particular installation and each filling head, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, comprises a filling noz zle assembly 10 by means of which a liquid is delivered to and injected into a bottle or other container, a sealing assembly 12 arranged to seal the open top of the bottle during the injection and optionally a centering assembly 14 operable to center the tops of the bottles with respect to the filling nozzle assembly and sealing assembly. The aforesaid assemblies 10, 12 and 14 are mounted on a vertically disposed hanger 16 for vertical movement from an elevated position above the top of a container, as herein illustrated a bottle 18, to a depressed position as illustrated in FIG. 4, in operative relation to the top of the bottle.

Each filling nozzle assembly (FIG. 5) .comprises an elongate externally smooth, cylindrical filling tube 20 having fixed to its lower end a delivery cap 22 (FIG. 7) provided with small, downwardly divergent ports 2424 and a central port 26. The divergent ports 24--24 at the tip of the filling tube nonnally allow fluid to flow in response to pressure on the liquid or a vacuum in the bottle but are so small that when there is no pressure differential between the interior and exterior of the bottle, surface tension prevents flow. Within the filling tube 20 there is arranged an interior tube 28 of smaller diameter, providing an axial vacuum passage 30 communicating, at its lower end, with the central port 26, and which provides means by which air may be withdrawn from the bottle being filledthe annular space 32 between the filling tube 20 and the interior tube 28 providing a flow channel through which liquid may reach the ports 24-24 to discharge and divert the jet into the bottle.

If desired, the interior tube 28 may be eccentric to the filling tube 20 and the central port 26 may then be placed in the side wall of the filling tube 20 and slightly spaced from the extreme end thereof as will be described hereinafter.

The upper portion of the filling tube 20 is fitted, leaktight into a rigid sleeve member 34 whose upper portion is secured, leaktight, within a chamber 36 (FIG. 5) in the body portion 38 of the nozzle assembly 10, comprising an elongate cylindrical stem 42 coaxial with the filling tube 20. The body portion 38 (FIG. 6) is provided with a passage 44, opening into the upper par off the chamber 36, to which there is connected the end portion of a rigid tube 46. A flexible tube 46' connected to the tube 46 provides for delivery of liquid from a supply (not shown) through the tub 46 i0 the chamber 36 and from thence into the passage 32 into the filling tube.

The chamber 36 in the body portion 38 (FIG. 6) has an upward extension 48 of smaller diameter in which the upper end of the interior tube 28 fits leaktight and with which there communicates the passage 50 which receives the end of a rigid tube 52 to which there is connected a flexible tube 52' which, in turn, provides a connection to an air pump or to a chamber (not shown) in which subatmospheric pressure is maintained.

Air from within the bottle being filled may be withdrawn through the central port 26 at the lower end of the interior tube and upwardly through the passage 30 into the tube 52.

The body portion 38 of the nozzle assembly is provided with a radial socket 54 which receives a stub shaft 56 on which there freely turns a cam follower roll 58 which is engageable with a normally stationary cam M (FIGS. 2, 3 and 4) so contoured as to raise the nozzle assembly at certain times during the travel of the bottle and at other times to permit the nozzle assembly to descend by gravity until the tip portion of the filling tube is down in the bottle at a predetermined filling position.

As shown, the body portion 38 is integral with the stem 42, preferably joining the latter, as shown in FIG. 5, so as to provide a concave fillet 60. At its upper end the stem 42 has a collar 62 fixed thereto by a thumbscrew or setscrew 63, the collar being engageable, at times, with a limiting stop to terminate downward movement of the filling tube thereby determining the filling position of the nozzle tip. By adjustment of the collar on the stem a limiting position of the nozzle tip may be altered to adjust the filling position for best operation depending upon the geometry of the bottle being filled and the foam ing characteristics of the liquid.

The nozzle assembly 10 is supported on the hanger 16 by a horizontally disposed bracket plate 64 bolted to the top of the hanger and spaced parallel guides 66-66 (FIG. 11) bolted to the face of the hanger. The bracket plate 64 contains a vertical opening 68 for slidably receiving the stem 42 and the guides 6666, as shown in FIG. 11, contain vertically disposed, spaced parallel grooves 69-69 for slidably receiving oppositely disposed lugs 7070 on the body portion 38. The hanger 16 contains a vertically elongate slot 72 through which the flexible tubes 46 and 52 are adapted to extend and to be free to move vertically with the nozzle assembly.

The sealing assembly 12 is supported in concentric relation to the filling tube 20 and comprises, as shown in FIGS. 12, 13 and 14, top and bottom members 74 and 76, respectively, which are rigidly united and held in spaced relation by parallel rods 78. The upper ends of the rods 78 are secured in diametrically opposite screw-threaded bores in the member 74 and their shouldered lowered ends are screw-threaded and secured by nuts 80 in diametrically opposite hole in the member 76. The member 74 (FIG. 12) has a bore 82 for the reception of the stem 42 of the nozzle assembly and the member 76 has a bore 84 having a circumferential groove 86 (FIG. 12) which receives an O-ring 88 operative to make a leaktight sliding contact with the filling tube 20. The member 76 has an integral, downwardly directed nipple 90 coaxial with the bore 84 to which the upper portion of a sealing member 92 is permanently secured. The sealing member 92 is a thick, softly resilient sleeve, for example, of rubber, having a bore through which the filling tube 20 passes and is frictionally engaged. The lower edge of the sealing member when pressed into contact with the bottle top is effective to prevent leakage of air into the bottle.

The upper member 74 of the sealing assembly is provided with lugs 94-94 (FIG. 14) which slide in the grooves 69-69 of the guides 66-66 shown in FIG. 11. The upper member 74 of the sealing assembly has a radial stub shaft 96 on which there is freely tumable a cam follower roll 98 adapted by engagement with the stationary cam M1 to, at times, hold the sealing assembly in tight engagement with the top of the bottle.

Optionally, as heretofore related, a container-centering assembly 14 may be employed (FIGS. 17, 18 and 19) comprising an upper member 100 and a lower member 102, these parts being rigidly connected in spaced parallel relation by parallel rods 104 whose lower ends are fixed in sockets in the part 102 and whose upper, shouldered ends pass through diametrically opposed holes in the member 100 and are held secured therein by nuts 106. The member 100 has a central bore 108 of a diameter such as to receive the stem 42 of the nozzle assembly with a sliding fit-this bore 108 flaring downwardly in diameter as shown at 110 to accommodate the fillet 60 (FIG. 5) at the junction of the stem 42 with the body portion 38"of the nozzle assembly. The lower member 102 contains a central opening 112 which is of a diameter less than that of the top of the bottleneck but flares downwardly at 114 to provide a beveled edge for engagement with the edge of the bottle top thereby to assist in centering the bottle accurately with reference to the nozzle.

Since the bore 108 in the member receives the stem portion 42 of the nozzle assembly with a sliding fit but is not large enough to receive the body portion 38, the contact of the fillet 60 of the nozzle assembly with the surface of the member 100 serves to lift the centering assembly 14 when the nozzle assembly is moved upwardly from operative position thus freeing the bottle from the centering assembly. On the other hand, the centering assembly is permitted to move downwardly freely into a position to contact the top of the bottle as the nozzle tipis lowered toward the bottle.

When the nozzle assembly is in the inoperative elevated position relative to the bottle, as shown in FIG. 2, the centering member 102 is at an elevation above the level of the bottle top such as to permit a bottle to be moved laterally into axial alignment with the filling tube preparatory to the filling operation. At this time, also, the sealing assembly is elevated and, in particular, the sealing sleeve 92 is spaced above the tip of the nozzle tube.

As pointed out above, the centering assembly 14 is a desirable element; however, it is now necessary to the operation which would not be impaired if the assembly was omitted.

Assuming that the bottle and the filling tube are coaxial and in readiness for the beginning of the filling operation, as shown in FIG. 2, downward movement of the nozzle assembly permits the sealing assembly 12 and the centering assembly 14 to begin to move downwardly by gravity, the sealing member 92 due to its frictional engagement with the filling tube 20 being held up in its inoperative position. Since the member 102 of the centering assembly is lowest it will precede the sealing assembly and filling tube and the beveled surface 114 of the member 102 will accurately center the top of the bottle relative to the filling tube. The tip of the filling tube will enter the bottle neck but the sealing member 92 will be stopped by contact with the bottle top. The filling tube will continue to move down as permitted by the shape of the cam M so that the tip of the filling tube will enter the neck of the bottle (FIG. 4), leaving the sealing member 92 in contact with the top edge of the bottle neck. The tip of the filling tube continues to move downwardly relative to the sealing member 92 until stopped by engagement of the collar 62 with the bracket plate 64the tip of the filling tube now being at a predetermined filling position which may be such that the liquid discharged from the nozzle and which is directed diagonally outwardly by the ports 24-24 contacts the inner surface of the bottle in a direction such as to minimize foaming. During this latter downward motion of the filling tube the sealing member 92 is substantially compressed by engagement of the follower 98 with the cam M1 thus forming a firm leaktight seal wit the top of the bottle.

Assuming that the tube 52 above described has been connected to a source of low pressure, air will have been entering the central port 26 at the tip of the filling tube but without substantial effect until the sealing member 92 has finnly contacted the top of the bottle whereupon evacuation of the'bottle commences with the result that the liquid is aspirated from the supply through the tube 46 and flows through the annular space 32 in the filling tube for discharge through the ports 2424.

If it be assumed that, in accordance with customary practice in the vacuum filling of bottles, the liquid is supplied through the tube 46 to a container from which air is being withdrawn, the filling operation will continue until the liquid rises to the tip of the filling tube 20, whereupon liquid will commence to be withdrawn from the bottle through the passage 30 substantially as fist as it enters the bottle thus maintaining a constant level in the bottle.

The contour of the cam M is such that when the filling operation is nearly complete it raises the nozzle assembly to a position corresponding to the desired filling height of the liquid in the bottle and eventually withdraws the nozzle from the bottle. Until this latter time the sealing member 92 will have been kept in contact with the bottle by the engagement of the cam Ml with the cam roll 98. When the bottle is finally filled the filling tube continues its upward motion while the cam roll 98, which controls the sealing assembly, is released from the cam M1 and the sealing assembly, due to its frictional engagement with the filling tube, will now move upwardly concomitantly with the upward movement of the nozzle assembly until the upper member 74 of the sealing assembly comes into contact with the bracket plate 64. The cam M continues the upward movement of the nozzle assembly thereby restoring the sealing assembly to its original position relative to the tip of the filling tube so that the assemblies are in readiness for the start of the next filling cycle. An important advantage of this type of arrangement as above pointed out, is the ability to adjust he final filling height without disturbing the sealing member 92 on the bottle while the apparatus is in operation. This is accomplished by adjusting the heightwise position of the cam M.

In the arrangement as thus described it is necessary to provide two cams M, M1 in performing the cycles related above. In a similar but modified form of the above apparatus, as shown in FIGS. 20 and 21, a single cam M2 and a weight 116 are employed.

In this arrangement the collar 62 at the upper end of the stem 42 of the noule assembly constitutes a support for the weight which has a central aperture 118 which receives the upward extension of the stem 42 and a chamber 117 in its lower face for reception of the collar 62. In these views the bottle-centering assembly is omitted for simplicity in description but such a centering assembly, as that previously described may be provided when desired.

In this embodiment the sealing assembly 12 is substantially like that previously described and illustrated in FIGS. 12, 13 and 14, differing therefrom in that the upper member 120 (FIGS. 15 and 16) has a central bore 122 for reception of the stem 42 of the nozzle assembly and is radially split to form two separate jaws 124 and 126 which may be drawn together by a screw 128 so as to frictionally clamp the member 120 to the stem 42 of the nozzle assembly with a friction force sufficient to cause the sealing assembly to move with the stem 42, except for the provision of means whereby, at times, it may be constrained to slip relatively to the stem. A sleeve 123 may be provided to afford greater frictional contact with the stem 42.

Referring again to FIGS. 20 and 21, it may be assumed that the nozzle assembly is in the inoperative position as shown in FIG. 20, the weight 1 16 resting on the collar 62 at the top of the stem 42 and being located at a substantial distance above the bracket member 64. In this position the tip of the filling tube 20 is directly above the bottle top and in readiness to be moved downwardly into the neck of the bottle while the lower edge of the sealing member 92 is spaced a substantial distance above the central port 26 of the vacuum passage 30 of the filling tube. The roll 58 which is carried by the body portion 38 of the nozzle assembly engages the cam M2 as above described and because of its contour allows the nozzle assembly to drop downwardly (FIG. 21) to introduce thefilling tube into the neck of the bottle.

The clamping engagement of the upper member 120 of the sealing assembly by frictional engagement with the stem 42 moves downwardly together with the nozzle assembly until the downward movement of the sealing assembly is arrested by contact with the top of the bottle where it is held in leaktight engagement. Contact of the collar 62 with the bracket plate 64 limits downward movement of the filling tube thus determining the initial position of the tip of the filling tube for the filling operation. As related heretofore, the initial position of the tip of the filling tube may be adjusted by adjustment of the collar 62 on the stem'42. As the nozzle assembly nears the discharge position, when the liquid reaches the central port 26 at the lower end of the vacuum passage 30 there results an idle circulation of the liquid from the supply tank to the bottle and back again. The contour of the cam M2 is such that as the nozzle assembly is raised to the level at which the liquid is to be filled, the weight 116 is lifted from the bracket plate 64 while keeping the sealing member 92 compressed. The cam M2 is adjustable heightwise to enable adjusting the level of cutoff and hence the final. fill level. When the filling is complete the nozzle begins to rise and the member 120, because of its frictional engagement with the stem 42 lifts the sealing member 92 from the bottle until the sealing assembly engages the bracket member 64. The sealing member remains operative during the initial upward movement until the pressure is completely removed. Upward motion of the nozzle assembly continues, the stem 42 sliding relative to the sealing assembly until the nozzle tip is restored to its initial position with the nozzle assembly and sealing assembly in the relative positions shown in FIG. 20. In this arrangement the sealing member 92 is held in sealing contact with the top of the bottle by the gripping action of the member 120 so that only one cam is required.

FIGS. 22 to 32, inclusive, relate to an embodiment of the invention wherein the nozzle assembly 10 is provided with an automatic valve which, at times, closes the ports at the tip of the filling tube.

In FIG. 22 there is illustrated a filling head which is generally similar to that of FIGS. 1 and 2 and wherein like numerals designate corresponding parts'but wherein the nonle assembly comprises a filling tube 200 having ports 22a and 240 at its lower end and a sleeve valve such as shown in FIGS. 31 and 32. This sleeve valve is operative to control the delivery of fluid from the port 24a at the lower end of the filling tube and is disposed exteriorly of the filling tube 200 in telescoping relation thereto. The sleeve valve 130 (FIG. 26) comprises an assembly embodying an upper member 132 and a lower member 134 which are rigidly united in spaced relation by rods 136. The upper member 132 has a central opening 138 of a diameter such as to receive the stem 42 of the nozzle assembly with a free sliding fit, while the lower member 134 has a central bore 140 provided with a groove 142 for reception of an O-n'ng 144. The upper end of the valve sleeve 130 is fixed in the bore 140 of the lower member 134. This sleeve is of an internal diameter such as to have a sliding fit on the filling tube 20a. When the valve sleeve 130 is in the position shown in FIG. 22, it completely closes the ports 22a and 24a at the lower end of the filling tube through which liquid is normally discharged and air evacuated from the container. At this position the nozzle assembly is fully retracted, the roller 58 resting on the upper surface of the cam M2; The sealing assembly if also fully retracted with the upper member 74 in contact with the undersurface of the bracket plate 64. In this position the valve sleeve is held closed by its own weight and by frictional engagement of its lower end with the O-ring 228 (FIGS. 31 and 32). This prevents escape of liquid from the supply through the filling tube.

As shown in FIGS. 23 and 36, the nozzle assembly has been permitted to move down by the cam M2 so that the tip of the filling tube is within the bottle. After the tip of the filling tube enters the bottle the sealing member 92 is stopped by the bottle top and the valve sleeve 130 moves down through the seal with the filling tube until the lower member 134 contacts the member 76, arresting the valve sleeve, whereupon the filling tube 2011 continues downward due to its own weight and the shape of the cam M2, exposing the ports 22a and 24a until 62 contacts 64 limiting the downward movement of the filling tube 20a to the initial filling position.

As the nozzles as shown in FIG. 36 progress through the cycle and arrive at position IV, the cam follower 146- contacts cam M4 to raise the complete nozzle assembly up to the final fill height. This is accomplished due to the fact that the lower part 134 of the valve sleeve contacts the body portion 38 of the nozzle assembly. The ports 22a and 24a will remain open and the sealing member 92 confined by cam M3 will remain in contact with the bottle top to allow filling at the final fill height.

At position V cam follower 58 attached to nozzle body 38 contacts cam M2 and cam follower 146 attached to sleeve valve 130 is released by cam M4 and restrained from upward movement by resilient cam M5. As cam follower 58 moves upward due to cam M2 contour, the ports 22a and 24a are closed and flow of liquid is stopped. Since, at this point, sealing member 92 has also been released by cam M3, the complete nozzle assembly will travel upward to the inoperative position. The collar 62 is adjustable to determine the lower limit for best filling and the cams M2 and M4 are adjustable to determine the level of cutoff and hence the fill height.

FIGS. 24 and 25 show a filling head generally similar to that of FIGS. 20 and 21 in which the sealing assembly is actuated by friction means rather than by a cam but includes a sleeve valve 130 operative, at times, to close the delivery ports at the tip of the nozzle. In FIGS. 24 and 25 parts corresponding to those shown in FIGS. 20 and 21 bear the same reference characters. The sleeve valve 130 comprises an assembly (FIG. 29) embodying an upper member 150 and a lower member 152-these members being held in spaced relation by rods 154. The valve sleeve 130 is secured at its upper end in a central bore 156 in the lower member 152-this bore having an interior circumferential groove 158 for an O-ring 160. The valve sleeve 130 is of a diameter to receive the filling tube 20a with a leaktight sliding fit. The upper member 150 has a stub shaft 162 (FIG. 30) on which is mounted a cam follower roll 164.

The upper member 150 also contains a central bore 166 in which is fitted the lower end of a tubular actuating stem 168 which is of an internal diameter to receive the stem 42 of the nozzle assembly with a sliding fit. In this embodiment the upper member 120 of the sealing assembly comprises a clamp as illustrated in FIG. which embraces the actuating stem 168 of the valve assembly.

As in the arrangement of FIGS. and 21, the upper end of the stem 42 of the nozzle assembly is provided with a weight 116. FIG. 24 shows the parts in their inoperative position with the tip of the filling tube 20a spaced above the top of the bottie; with the sealing member 92 above the tip of the nozzle; and with the valve sleeve 130 extending downwardly so as to close the ports 22a and 24a at the nozzle tip. At this time the roller 58 rests on the cam M6 and holds the parts in their inoperative positionthe weight 116 being held elevated above the bracket plate 64 and the cam follower roll 164 of the sleeve valve assembly being held out of contact with its cam M6 by the frictional engagement of its lower end with the O- ring 228 (FIGS. 31 and 32). This prevents escape of liquid from the supply through the filling tube. When the cam follower roll 58 descends from the cam M6 the complete nozzle assembly drops down. The sealing member 92 is stopped by engagement with the top of the bottle; however, the sleeve valve 130 will slide through the sealing member and continue downward with the filling tube until the lower member 152 of the sleeve valve contacts 76 where the sleeve valve 130 will be arrested but the nozzle assembly will continue downward to expose the ports 22a and 24a. The added weight 116 mounted on 42 is sufiicient to compress the sealing member due to the contact of the lower part of nozzle body 38 with 152 and 152 with 76.

The parts remain in this relative position with the ports 22a and 24a open while the liquid in the bottle rises. As filling nears completion the cam M8, which is adjustable heightwise, raises the sleeve valve 130 which due to 152 being in contact with the lower portion of the nozzle body 38 also raises the nozzle tip keeping the ports 22a and 24a open to the predetermined final fill height where it dwells. At this position the cam follower roll 164 of the sleeve valve assembly contacts a cam M7 which temporarily prevents the sleeve valve assembly from rising thus maintaining the sealing member 92 in contact with the bottle top. Following filling the cam follower roll 58 raises the filling tube, closing the ports 22a and 244, up out of the bottle while the member 120, gripping the stem 168, lifts the sealing member 92 from the bottle and as the cam follower roll 164 has now moved out of engagement with the cam M7, the valve sleeve is carried upwardly until the member 120 of the sealing assembly engages the bracket plate 64 thus restoring the parts to the inoperative position. Heightwise adjustment of the cam M8 controls the level of cutofi and hence the fill height.

In the preferred form of the invention a plurality of filling heads are supported by their hanger plates 16 peripherally of a turret (FIG. 33) for rotation about a vertical axis within a frame 172 comprising a bottom plate 174 and a top plate 126 held in spaced parallel relation by vertical, peripherally spaced posts 178. The lower ends of the posts 178 extend through the bottom plate and provide legs which support the structure from the floor. A bottle support 180 is also mounted on the frame for rotation about a vertical axis coinciding with the axis of rotation of the turret 170 and is guided during such rotation by a plurality of peripherally spaced rollers 182 which are supported in engagement with the peripheral edge of the support by brackets 184 fastened to the post. The several cams referred to above, to wit, cams M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M6, M7 and M8 are adjustably mounted on the posts 178 by means of thumb screws or set screws 179 as illustrated in FIG. 23. By the simple expedient of loosening the thumb screw, the brackets 177, to which the cams are secured, may be pushed upwardly or downwardly on the posts. If desired, split brackets may be employed provided with a thumb screw or set screw for binding them on the posts.

Bottles are moved into the bottle support 174 for filling and off of the bottle support following filling by conventional feeding and discharge means as shown in FIG. 34, comprising a screw 186 and a star wheel 188 for moving the bottles in proper spacing onto the support, and a star wheel 190 and screw 192 for moving the bottles off of the support.

For clarity in understanding the successive operations the machine is shown diagrammatically (FIG. 35) developed in a flat plane showing a single filling head 10 and a series of stations 1 to V1, inclusive, as it moves from the bottle-receiving position to the bottle-discharge position. At station I the filling tube is at its most elevated position and within the centering member 102 (FIGS. 1 and 2). The bottle 18 is shown positioned in axial alignment with the filling tube 20, with its top spaced below the centering member 102, the bottle resting upon the rotating support 180. The cam follower roll 58 of the nozzle assembly is resting on the upper edge 194 of the stationary cam M and the collar 62 secured to the upper end of the stem 42 is located at a substantial distance above the upper surface of the bracket plate 64. As the filling head travels to the left, the cam follower 58 moving along the upper edge 194 of the cam M arrives at the position shown at station II with no change in the relative position of the parts. The cam follower 98, which is mounted on the upper member 74 of the sealing assembly is carried along with the filling head at its elevated position due to frictional engagement of the sealing member 92 with the filling tube 20, until the filling head arrives at station III. In passing from station II to station III, the nozzle assembly moves downwardly, as permitted by the slope 196 of the cam M, permitting the centering member 102 to move down by its own weight into contact with the bottle top and projecting the tip of the filling tube downwardly into the bottle until at station IV further downward movement of the filling tube is prevented by engagement of the collar 62 with the fixed bracket plate 64. Also, as the filling assembly moves from station III to station IV, the cam follower roll 98 runs under the fixed cam M1 and pushes the sealing member 92 down into leaktight contact with the top of the bottle. As the filling head continues to move along the circular path of rotation of the turret it will approach station V, shown at the right side of FIG. 35, nearing the completion of the cycle with the parts of the filling head in the same relative position as shown

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2725170 *Mar 10, 1953Nov 29, 1955Crown Cork & Seal CoFilling apparatus
US3500880 *Oct 24, 1966Mar 17, 1970Automatic Sprinkler CorpContainer filling apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7621300 *Mar 25, 2002Nov 24, 2009Glaxo Group LimitedMetering method for particulate material
Classifications
U.S. Classification141/7, 141/59
International ClassificationB67C3/26, B67C3/02, B67C3/16
Cooperative ClassificationB67C3/16, B67C3/2614
European ClassificationB67C3/16, B67C3/26C
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 25, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: FIGGIE INTERNATIONAL INC.
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:FIGGIE INTERNATIONAL INC., (MERGED INTO) FIGGIE INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS INC. (CHANGED TO);REEL/FRAME:004767/0822
Effective date: 19870323
Jun 30, 1981ASAssignment
Owner name: FIGGIE INTERNATIONAL INC.
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:A-T-O INC.;REEL/FRAME:003866/0442
Effective date: 19810623