US 3648740 A
A vacuum operated device for withdrawing air from a package, lifting the package and positioning the package for closing. The device includes a reduced number of parts and has two main assemblies connected by a quick clamp. The parts may be disassembled and assembled by hand without the use of tools for cleaning. One of the assemblies includes an axial suction tube and an axial slide handle which projects below and extend into a first vacuum chamber. The other assembly includes a piston and a cylinder, an extension on the suction tube extends into the cylinder of this other assembly through the valve opening between the first vacuum chamber and the other assembly. The axial suction tube being mounted enabling its natural or free alignment during operation.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Pruitt 1 Mar. 14, 1972 Assignee:
US. Cl ..l4l/3, 53/9, 53/22 B, 53/112 B,l41/46, 141/65 Int. Cl 8651) 31/04 Field ofSearch ..53/9, 12, 22 R, 22 B, 112 R, 53/112 B; 141/1, 8, 46, 64-66 References Cited UNlTED STATES PATENTS Reisinger Kraft et al. Dunn, Jr 141/65 III/II).
Primary Examiner-Edward J. Earls Attorney-John J. Toney, William D. Lee, Jr. and Edward J. Hanson, Jr.
[5 7] ABSTRACT A vacuum operated device for withdrawing air from a package, lifting the package and positioning the package for closing. The device includes a reduced number of parts and has two main assemblies connected by a quick clamp. The parts may be disassembled and assembled by hand without the use of tools for cleaning. One of the assemblies includes an axial suction tube and an axial slide handle which projects below and extend into a first vacuum chamber. The other assembly includes a piston and a cylinder, an extension on the suction tube extends into the cylinder of this other assembly through the valve opening between the first vacuum chamber and the other assembly. The axial suction tube being mounted enabling its natural or free alignment during operation.
1111 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures Z\ A Q I ,1 26 I. l- 1'. i 1 i" g m PATENIEDMAR 14 I972 SHEET INVENTOR LARRY J. PRU ITT ATTORNEY Irl/Ii PAIENTEUMAR 14 I972 3 648 740 sum 2 UF 2 INVENTOR LARRY J. PRUITT ATTORNEY VACUUMHZIING APPARATUS This application is in a general manner related to U.S. application Ser. No. 844,887, inventor William H. Dunn, filed July 25, 1969, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,580,300, assigned to the same assignee as this application.
This invention relates to an improved vacuum operated device particularly adapted for removing air from a package.
It is known practice for processors of turkeys, chickens, and poultry products to individually vacuum pack each bird in a collapsible air tight bag which may be made of any suitable thermoplastic such as biaxially oriented irradiated polyethylene. For simplicity, the invention will be described with reference to the packaging of poultry or the like; however, the invention is broadly applicable to the removal of air from any collapsible material in which a product may be placed.
A process has heretofore been proposed wherein a nozzle (in communication with a means for creating a vacuum) is inserted into thepackage to be vacuumized. After a sufficient period of time to effectively remove the air from the package, the neck of the package is twisted so as to prevent entrance of air into the evacuated package and the twisted neck is then sealed by means such as clipping or heat sealing. In one packaging method the bird is first placed in each bag in a substantially vertical position and disposed immediately below a fixed vertical nozzle. While the operator holds the bag mouth over the nozzle, the air is exhausted within the interior of the bag.
In U.S. Pat. No. 3,312,256, issued to D. J. Reisinger and assigned to the same assignee as this application, an improved mechanism is provided so that it is unnecessary for the operator to lift the bird and the bag off the table during the package closing procedure. The patentillustrates a vacuum actuated lifting mechanism supported above a packing table and carrying an associated vacuum nozzle assembly. The arrangement is such that when a vacuum condition is established within the mechanism, the latter will operateto raise the nozzle, and consequently the bird and bag, upwardly a sufficient distance above the table to permit the operator to twist the bag after a vacuum has been obtained in the bag. The bag, is then removed from the nozzle and sealed. After the package has been vacuumized and sealed, it is subjected to a heat shrinking operation so that the bag shrinks to form a skin tight package about the bird.
It is an object of this invention to provide a new and improved vacuum operated apparatus.
Yet another object ofthe invention is to provide such an improved apparatus having a naturally aligning axial suction tube.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a new and improved vacuum operated apparatus of simplified construction having an extraordinary long useful life without a requirement for the replacement of major parts.
In carrying out one aspect of my invention in one preferred form thereof, 1 have provided an improved vacuumizing apparatus having a first vacuum chamber adapted to be connected to a source of vacuum and a second vacuum chamber containing mechanism adapted to lift the first vacuum chamber. A conduit with a vacuum nozzle at its outer end ex tends into the first vacuum chamber. The conduit has a port opening into the first vacuum chamber and connecting the chamber with the nozzle. A slide is slidably mounted on the conduit and substantially closes the port in its rest position. A valve opening connects the first vacuum chamber to the second vacuum chamber and a valve closure member for closing the valve opening is connected to the conduit. In fact the most preferred valve closure member is an O-ring surrounding an extension on the conduit and engaged against the main portion of the conduit which is larger than the extension. When the slide isfirst actuated it opens the port in the conduit to the first vacuum chamber. A releasable engaging means then engages the slide with the conduit and the conduit is moved by the slide to open the valve closure member from the valve opening. The extension on the conduit extends through the valve opening into the second vacuum chamber adjacent to a piston therein. As the first vacuum chamber is lifted by the action of the cylindrical portion of the second vacuum chamber rising on the piston, the conduit extension is brought into engagement with the piston holding the conduit and thus the O- ring mounted thereon in a position maintaining the valve open. The release of the slide closes a valve to the ports and the conduit which valve is on the vacuum side of the valve opening to the second vacuum chamber thus substantially shutting off the vacuum to both the vacuum lifting mechanism and the conduit to the vacuum nozzle at the same time.
By another aspect of my invention, in one preferred form thereof, my apparatus includes a seat adjacent to the valve opening between the first and second vacuum chambers. This seat is in the second vacuum chamber. A biasingmeans is engaged on the seat and connected to the extension of the conduit and constitutes the only means securing the conduit in position, leaving the conduit with limited free alignment movement relative to the remainder of the vacuum apparatus. In the most preferred form the biasing means is a helical spring surrounding the conduits extension and held in position by a washer at its end opposite the seat. The washer is held in position by a hitch-pin connected to the extension which connects the biasing assembly in position and in active engagement with the conduits extension.
The subject matter which I regard as my invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of this specification. My invention, however, both as to organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may be best understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is an elevational view showing my vacuumizing apparatus with the lifting mechanism having lifted the package off the table with the bag neck of the package twisted and in phantom lines the device is shown pivoted to position the twisted neck of the bag in the throat of a clipper;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged partial vertical section of the nozzle assembly and lifting mechanism;
FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the vacuumizing apparatus of FIG. 2 with phantom lines depicting the order of assembly;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view in vertical section similar to FIG. 2 of a portion of the device of FIG. 2 showing the parts in vacuumizing and lifting position;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view of a variation of the device of FIG. 2 in similar view.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIG. 11 the apparatus 10 of my invention is shown schematically in operation. The apparatus 10 is shown mounted on a support assembly 12, which assembly is mounted on a packing table 14. The apparatus 10 is shown with a package 16 lifted off of the surface of the packing table 14 The package shown includes a bag 18 which contains a poultry product 20 such as a chicken or turkey. The bag has a neck area 22 above the portion of the bag containing the poultry product. The device 10 is shown in phantom lines pivoted to place the neck 22 of the bag in the throat of a clipper 24 where the bag may be sealed after vacuumization has been completed. This will be explained more fully subsequently.
Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2 the parts of my device 10 will be detailed. There are two basic subassemblies, the vacuum nozzle assembly 26 and the vacuum lift mechanism 28. These two subassemblies are joined together by a quick clamp 30.
The vacuum nozzle assembly 26 includes an axial cylindrical conduit 34. The conduit 34 has two basic sections, a cylindrical suction tube section 36 and a cylindrical solid extension 38 of smaller circumference than the suction tube section, centered with respect to the suction tube section and projecting above the suction tube section. A seal or O-ring seat is formed by the offset of the extension inwardly from the outer edges of the suction tube section. The cylindrical suction tube section 36 of the conduit 34 has a nozzle portion 42 with a reduced snout 44 at its lower end. A threaded portion 46 is formed above the reduced snout 44 for securing the nozzle or nozzle end 48 to the nozzle portion 42 of the conduit 34. A split ring seat 50 is formed on the outer surface of the suction tube section 36 and spaced above the nozzle region and its reduced snout. An inner portion of the suction tube section 36 extends into the vacuum chamber and contains a slot port 52. The port or opening 52 opens through the side of the suction tube 36 above the split ring seat and below the extension 38.
The vacuum nozzle assembly 26 also includes three seals or O-rings 54, S6 and 58; a support disc or bridge 60 forming a seat and having a hole or bore 62 therethrough and two seal or O-ring seats 64 and 66 formed on the lower face thereof; a helical spring 68; a spring retaining member or washer 70 having-a bore 72 therein and a hitch-pin 74 receiving opening or fastener 76 opens into the extension 38 and is spaced from the extensions joinder with the suction tube section 36. The inner portion of the vacuum conduit 34, the extension 38, passes through the hole 62 and is mounted by the spring 68, washer 70 and hitch-pin 74 which form an alignment adjusting and biasing mounting means. This mounting means may be seen in FIG. 2 to be on the side of the seat 60 opposite the nozzle portion of the conduit and is connected to the inner portion of the conduit securing the'conduit in position so that it has limited free movement. A split ring 77 is provided for receipt in split ring seat 50.
The vacuum nozzle assembly 26 also includes an axial slide tube 78. The slide tube has a first bore 80 sized to receive the suction tube section axially therein for slidable movement thereon. A hand grip 82 is formed around the lower end of the slide and has an enlarged bore at least a portion-of which is larger than the bore of the slide. An internal shoulder 86 is formed in the slide 78 by the offset of the enlarged bore from the first bore. An undercut slot 88 is formed at the upper end of the slide 78. A small vent opening 90 is formed through the slide 78. The small vent opening 90 is formed in the first section of the undercut slot 88.
In addition, the vacuum nozzle assembly includes a first tubular cylinder 92 which substantially defines the outer extent of the first vacuum chamber and is adapted to be connected to a source of vacuum. The cylinder 92 has a spring retaining seat 94 on its inside at the lower end thereof and a vacuum inlet 96 opening there into and connected to a vacuum source (not shown). A bore 98 enters the lower end of the first cylinder and a seal or O-ring seat 100 is formed in the bore. An enlarged flange 102 is formed at the top of the tubular cylinder 92 and opens outwardly therefrom.
The assembly 26 also includes a seal or O-ring 104, a helical spring 106 and a locking sleeve 108. The locking sleeve 108 has a spring retaining seat 110 formed on its outer surface and a lug 112 projecting into its bore 114, which bore is sized to be received on the slide tube 78. The lug 112 is sized to be received in the undercut slot 88.
Turning now to a detailed description of the parts of the vacuum lift mechanism 28, and continuing to look at FIGS. 2 and 3, it may be seen that the vacuum lift mechanism includes a second tubular cylinder 116 which has reduced flange area 118 at the bottom thereof and three small lugs 119, 120 and 121 at the upper end thereof. The lugs 119, 120 and 121 are held in position by roll pins 122,123 and 124. The vacuum lift mechanism also includes a piston 126, a cylinder closure cap 127 and a universal joint mounting means 128. The cylinder closure cap includes three side slip slots 130, 132 and 134 for mating with lugs 120, 122 and 124. The cap also includes a throat 136 which has upper and lower snap ring seats 138 (only one of which isshown) therein. A ball bushing 142 is adapted to'be'received in the throat 136 and snap rings 144 and 146 areiadapted for receipt within the snap ring seats to secure the ball bushing in position in the throat 136. A thumb screw hole 148 is adapted for receipt ofa thumb screw 150.
The piston 126 includes a piston cup 152 and washers 154 and 156, a nut 158 a rubber bumper 160 and a piston shaft 162. The piston shaft 162 is cylindrical and has two reduced threaded ends 164 and 166. The threaded end 166 is adapted to be received by the nut 158. The offset 168 formed by the reduction end 166 forms a shaft seat 168. The mounting means 128 includes a rubber bumper 170 and a washer 172.
A continuously open relief vent opening 173 is provided through the bottom wall of the cylinder 116. The operating relationship between the vent 173 and the vacuum chamber cylinder 116 has been found to be within the variables of about to 28 inches of Hg with a vent hole area of 00069-00094 square inch to an effective piston face area or a cylinder cross section area of 9.6211 square inches. Of course, the area of the piston face could be changed or any other parameter could be changed so long as the operable ratios are maintained. It may be seen that in the apparatus 7 shown it is not the piston itself that moves but the piston means, cylinder 116, that actually moves. The piston is mounted exteriorly of the second vacuum chamber and in effect the second vacuum chamber moves overthe piston when the valve closure member is opened from the valve opening.
As has been previously pointed out the total number of parts is minimized in this invention and the device can be assembled by hand without the aid of tools. This is particularly important. from the standpoint of cleaning, sanitation and maintenance of the device 10 in the plant. It may be seen that the vacuum lift mechanism which in substance forms the second vacuum chamber includes only fourteen parts not counting the three small roll pins 122, 123 and 124. The vacuum nozzle assembly 26 contains only 13 parts counting the split ring 77 as only one part and the slide 78 and its handle 82 as only one part. The slide and its handle may or may not be formed as a single machined piece. This also does not count the lug 112 but does count the nozzle 48. This gives a total of only 27 parts. In general only the vacuum nozzle assembly needs to be broken down for continuous day to day cleaning and sanitation required on such a device during its use with food stuffs.
In certain preferred embodiments of my invention the split ring 77 is attached to the outer surface of the suction tube section 36 in the seat 55 by welding or brazing. This in effect reduces the number of parts in the vacuum nozzle assembly to 12. In another preferred embodiment the suction tube section 36 is simply made with an enlargement constituting a member having the split rings function. I
The assembly of the parts will now be briefly described with particular attention to a procedure for use in the plant or packing house for cleaning, sanitation and maintenance. To assemble the vacuum nozzle assembly 26 into a unit it is usually preferable to first place the O-ring 54 over the extension 38 and down onto the O-ring seat 40. Then the split ring 77 is placed on seat 50 and held in position while the conduit 34 is inserted axially through the slide 78 mounting the slide slidably on the suction tube section. Next, O-ring 104 is placed into the O-ring seat in the cylinder 92. Then the slide 78 and conduit 34 are inserted axially through the bore into first cylinder 92 from below leaving a portion of the suction tube section 36 and the slide 78 projecting therebelow. The slide forms a leak free sliding seal with the O-ring 104. The hand grip is positioned below the cylinder. The split ring 77 forms a projecting section on the outer surface of the suction tube section projecting beyond the suction tube outer circumference.
The helical spring 106 is then dropped down into the bore of the cylinder 92 and the sleeve 108 is slipped down over the upper end of the slide 78 and the lug 112 is engaged in the undercut slot 88 and pressed down and allowed to rise up in the slot to hold the spring and the parts in position. The sleeve 108 forms a projecting section on the slide extending beyond the slides outer surface and positioned inside the first tubular cylinder and this projecting section has the spring retaining seat on it. Next the O-ring 56 is placed onto the O-ring seat 64 and O-ring 58 is placed in the O-ring seat 66. Then, in order, the disc 60, helical spring 68 and washer 70 are positioned on and surrounding the extension 38 and the hitch-pin 74 is inserted into the hitch-pin opening or fastener 76 above the washer to secure the parts in position, The washer 711 acts as the spring retaining member and is connected to the extension 38 by the hitch-pin 74. To secure the hitch-pin it is necessary to push the parts against the bias of the spring 68.
To assemble the lift portion 28 of the apparatus the snap ring 144 is slipped into throat 136 of the cap 127 and into the lower seat 138. The ball bushing 142 is then slipped into the throat and down against the snap ring 144. Next snap ring 146 is inserted through the throat 136 and positioned in the upper seat 138 locking in the ball bushing 142. The piston is then assembled on the piston shaft 162 with the bumper 168 being positioned against the shafts cylinder just above the shaft seat 168. The piston cup 152 is positioned over washer 154 and the assembled washer 154 and piston cup 152 are positioned on seat 168 and the securing washer 156 is positioned on the shaft below the cup 152 and the nut 158 is secured on the threads 166 to secure the parts in position. The shaft may then be inserted upwardly through throat 136 of the cap 127 or it could alternatively have been inserted downwardly through the throat before assembly of the piston parts.
The upper bumper 170 and the washer 172 are then posi tioned over the threaded portion 164 of the shaft 162 and seated on the seat 174. The universaljoint 128 is screwed onto the threaded portion 164 and the piston 126 is inserted into the cylinder 116. The cap 127 is engaged on the upper end of the cylinder 116 and secured in position by engaging lugs 119, 120 and 121 with respective ones of the side slip slots 1311, 132 and 134. Thumb screw 150 is tightened to prevent the slots from being moved out of secure engagement on the lugs.
The two subassemblies 126 and 128 now being complete, are aligned and the quick clamp means 30 secures or connects them together by engaging over reduced flange area 118 at the bottom ofthe cylinder 116 and the enlarged flange area 102 at the top of the cylinder 92 and being closed to clamp the members securely together. It may be seen that the support bridge member 60 includes a disc region engaged in the enlarged flange 102 and that this region is clamped in the enlarged flange 102 by the reduced flange area 118 at the bottom of the cylinder 116. In order to perform this operation it is necessary to press the member 60 downwardly with the end of the reduced flange area 118 against the bias of spring 106 while engaging the quick clamp 16.
Several different phases of cleaning may be carried out depending upon the extent of cleaning required at various times and depending upon the operating conditions. It is contemplated that the nozzle tip need be screwed on only hand tight and therefore it can be removed by gripping securely with the fingers and rotating it to unscrew the tip for cleaning. The tip can be reinstalled in the same manner by gripping it with the fingers and screwing it back into position. in the usual packing house procedure, when poultry is being packaged, it is the practice to disassemble the entire nozzle vacuum portion of the apparatus at the end of each day's packaging, infrequently more often as required by governing regulations. To do this, ordinarily, it is only necessary to remove the quick clamp and then disassemble the vacuum nozzle assembly portion 27. The hitch-pin 74 is removed from the hitch-pin receiving opening 76 and the washer 71) and helical spring 68 and supporting disc 68 are removed from the extension 38. The locking sleeve 1118 is then depressed and twisted manually to remove the lug 112 from the slot 88 in the slide 78. The axial conduit 34 and slide tube 78 are then removed and separated. The split ring 77 is of course released from its seat 50 once it clears the enlarged bore 84 which holds it in position. The locking sleeve and the helical spring 186 can then be lifted out of the interior of the first tubular cylinder 92. It may be seen that this disassembly is entirely a hand operation, no tools being necessary. The nozzle tip 48 would also be removed for cleaning either before or after the just described procedure. Ordinarily it would not be necessary to remove the O-rings 37, 54, 56 and 58 from their seats, but only to scrub past them with a cleaning solution and brush. However, the O-rings can easily be removed when desired.
Ordinarily, contaminates would not rise up into the lift portion 28 of the device 10 since they are drawn through conduit 97 by the vacuum. If it is desired to clean this cylinder 116 this may easily be done by removing the lift cylinder 116 from cap 127. First, thumb screw 150 is loosened and then the cap 127 is removed by twisting it to separate lugs 119, 120 and 121 from the locking slots 138. Then the lift cylinder 116 is slipped down off of piston 126. It can be appreciated that unless the piston cup 152 has worn, it would be very unlikely that any contaminates would be above the piston cup and thus the piston 126 and the cylinder 116 could be scrubed and then the assembly reassemblied in clean condition. It should be noted that no tools have been necessary for any of this operation.
When it is necessary to replaced to piston cup. at the most. only a simple wrench is required to unscrew nut 158. Of course, the various rings and parts can be easily replaced when required in the same manner as the cleaning is carried out.
While my invention is not limited to the use of specific materials in its construction 1 have found the following materials to be optimum, particularly when the device is to be used in its preferred application, to package poultry, My bumper washers are made of rubber, preferably neoprene. All the 0- rings and the piston cup are of food approved nitrile rubber. All other parts are made of stainless steel type 303 or 304 except for the lift cylinder 116 and cap 127 which are made of 6061 T 6 Aluminum and aluminum alloy 356 respectively.
Turning now to a more detailed description of the operation of my device 10 after the device has been mounted on stand 12 and starting from the rest position, the slide 78 is held in raised position with the spring 68 holding the conduit 34 in raised position. The weight of the device 111 will have placed the piston 126 at the upper end of cylinder 116 pulling the cylinder down over the piston. The operator takes a bag containing a product, such as is shown in FIG. 1, places the bag on the table 14 and pulls the bags open mouth up around and over the handle 82 after inserting the nozzle tip 48 into the bird s cavity by manipulating the bird to a position standing on end. All of this is done in one quick motion during which time there is no vacuum on the nozzle tip 48. The operator will then pull down on the handle 82 while gripping the bag's mouth and neck tightly gathered about the handle 82 with one hand. As the handle 82 is pulled down the upper end of the slide 78 moves from engagement with the O-ring 56 admitting air to the ports 52 which open or communicate the interior of the vacuum chamber with the interior of the conduit. This connects the vacuum at the vacuum tube 96 through the interior circumference of the lower cylinder member 92 with the bore through the suction tube 36 and the nozzle 48 which opens to the inside of the bird through ports 49. The vacuum draws air out of the birds body cavity which is open to the inside of the bag, and out of the bag itself, up through the open connected vacuum channel. This collapses the bag tightly about the bird. As the slide 78 is pulled down further shoulder 86 engages against the split ring 77 and thereby pulls the conduit 34 downwardly moving the O-ring 54 from its engagement with lower section of the disc 60 opening the valve opening through bore 72 connecting the first vacuum chamber within the first cylinder 92 with the second vacuum chamber in the cylinder 116. This causes the cylinder 116 to rise up on the piston 126 lifting the bird and bag upwardly. The operator maintains down pressure on the slide 78 and vacuum continues to be effectively applied within the package while the apparatus is being lifted.
The cylinder 116 moves upwardly carrying the conduit with it until the extension 38 which extends through the valve opening into the cylindrical portion of the second vacuum chamber adjacent to the piston engages the extension 38 with the terminal end 166 of the piston 126 when the cylindrical portion has moved fully to the vacuum lift position. The terminal end 166 of the piston shaft 162v and the extension are aligned for neck engagement. As may be seen in FIG. 4 this holds the conduit in a position maintaining the valve closure member 54 open from the valve opening 62. This assures that even should the operator's downward pull relax slightly the valve seat at the bottom of the disc support member 60 will not be engaged by the closure member 54 causing the vacuum lift mechanism 28 to fall prematurely.
At this time the operator usually allows the bag to drop slightly by slipping under this hand and twist the bag until a twisted portion of the bags neck has dropped sufficiently below the nozzle's tip to allow sufficient space between the tip of the nozzle and the product for a clip to be applied securely to maintain the vacuum within the bag. The device is pivoted on the universal joint 128 to position'the twisted neck 22 of the bag into the throat of the clipper 24. A clip is applied sealing the bag and usually the bags neck is severed above the clip. The severed bag is generally allowed to fall a few inches to a moving conveyor (not shown) positioned below the clippers throat 24. The conveyor transfers the bagged product to the next operation, for example to a shrink tunnel (not shown). The remaining bag portion is removed from the device 10 by the operator releasing his grip on the handle 82 and discarded and then the apparatus is allowed to return to its original starting position for the beginning of a new cycle of operation.
The device 10 returns to its original position after the operator releases the handle 82. The spring 106 raises the locking sleeve 108 and the connected slide 78 back up through the cylinder 92. This brings the upper end of the slide, which forms a second valve closure member carried by the slide, into engagement with its counterpart which we may term the valve seat, O-ring 56. This substantially shuts off the vacuum to the valve opening 62 and the opening port 52 into the conduit 34. The weight of the apparatus returns the cylinder 116, which is vented through vent 173, to its down position. Spring 68 raises the conduit 34 back to its initial raised position.
The projection of the reduced snout 44below the ports 49 of the nozzle tip 48 assures that the air entering the nozzle tip 48 will sweep the bottom of the sump 51 as it passes into the device 10. This provides direct turbulent air impinged on any materials in the sump, with some air turbulence, as well as a venturi effect.
It should be observed that there are no seals between the conduit 34 and the slide 78 where they are slidably engaged. It will, therefore, be understood that this region between the slide and the conduit is exposed to the enclosed vacuum channel during the vacuumizing operation. This results in some fluid materials collecting in this region during prolonged use of the apparatus. Some of the vacuum may even be drawn from the bags neck area up between the slide and conduit because the upper ends of these two members are open to the first vacuum chamber when the slide 78 is pulled down. The bag is held on the handle 82 above the opening into the bore 84 and this allows a direct suction from the bag up in between the slide and the conduit. To prevent any possibility of drip back from this region a small vacuum is continuously introduced into this region through the continuously open vent 90 opening through the slide 78. This vent also may be seen to continuously communicate with the port opening 52 into the suction tube section 36 providing a continuous small vacuum to the suction tube section to further insure against drip back.
Another feature of this invention is its easy modification to either a shortened vacuum nozzle device with a shortened operating stroke as shown in FIG. or a non-lift device which may be easily understood from the phantom lined extension on the sleeve 108A viewing FIG. 5. The parts of the device A are the same as those of the device 10 with the exception of the parts lettered with an A" suffix. Thus the conduit 34A has a shortened suction tube section 36A which may be used in packaging packages where it is not desired to have a substantial penetration into the package area itself. The more significant modification is the shortening of the stroke of the handle 82 -before the seat 86 engages with the split ring 77. This shortening of the stroke is permissible because when it is not necessary to evacuate an area that is hard to thoroughly vacuum such as the interior of a bird, a much shorten operating cycle is possible. This reduces the time for initial evacuation from about 5 seconds to about 3 seconds. The split ring 77 may be seen to have been moved up on the suction tube section 36A by the movement of the split ring seat upwardly on the suction tube section. By lengthening the locking sleeve 108A it may be seen that the stroke for opening the valve opening into the second vacuum chamber to bring about lifting is maintained at about the same length. It may be easily understood that if the locking sleeve 108A is further lengthened, as shown in phantom line in FIG. 5, there will be no allowance for a movement of the second valving means to open the valve into the second vacuum chamber thereby eliminating the lift capability of the device 10A. The purpose of providing this last modification capability is to enable the conversion of a packing line from packing large poultry products such as turkeys to packaging small cornish hens or the like with only minor changes in the device 10. Such small items are generally light weight and do not require a lifting characteristic in the device. Usually such items are manually lifted off of the table to secure the bags neck about the handle 82. It may be pointed out that an adapter could also be maintenance to lengthen the nozzle for insertion into the cornish hens body cavity or the rear end of the nozzle 48 could be lengthened to extend the nozzle 48.
The important part of this modification capability is that it may be carried out by exchanging only two parts of the device, the locking sleeve and the conduit. The assembly and disassembly of the device to make these changes is exactly the same as previously described and the maintenace would also be the same.
While in accordance with the patent statutes, I have described what at present is considered to be the preferred embodiment of my invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that numerous changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the invention and it is therefore aimed in the appended claims to cover all such equivalent variations as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
l. A vacuumizing apparatus comprising a first vacuum chamber adapted to be connected to a source of vacuum, a conduit extending into said first vacuum chamber, a port opening into said conduit from said first vacuum chamber, a slide slidably mounted on said conduit, said slide substantially closing said port, a second vacuum chamber, a valve opening connecting said first vacuum chamber to said second vacuum chamber, a valve closure member for closing said valve opening connected to said conduit, a releasable engaging means for engaging said slide with said conduit for movement of said conduit by said slide to open said valve closure member from said valve opening, said slide being movable on said conduit to open said port and to engage said engaging means.
2. The vacuumizing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said second vacuum chamber has a cylindrical portion, a piston in said cylindrical portion, said piston mounted exteriorly of said second vacuum chamber whereby said second vacuum chamber moves over said piston when said valve closure member is opened from said valve opening, an extension on said conduit extending through said valve opening into said cylindrical portion of said second vacuum chamber adjacent to said piston, said conduit being carried by said cylindrical portion of said second vacuum chamber and said conduit extension being engaged by said piston when said cylindrical portion has moved fully to the vacuum position holding said conduit in a position maintaining said, valve closure member away from said valve opening. "a;
3. The vacuum apparatus of claim 2 wherein said apparatus includes a seat adjacent to said valve opening said in said second vacuum chamber a biasing means engaged on said seat and connected to said extension and constituting the only means securing said conduit in position whereby said conduit has limited free alignment movement relative to the remainder of said vacuum apparatus.
4 A vacuumizing apparatus comprising a first vacuum chamber, said first vacuum chamber including a first tubular cylinder, a spring retaining seat on the inside of said first cylinder at its lower end, a bore entering the lower end of said first vacuum chamber cylinder and a first seal seat in said bore; a first seal on said first seal seat; a conduit extending axially through said first cylinder, said conduit including a cylindrical suction tube section and a closed cylindrical solid extension of smaller circumference than said suction tube section centered with respect thereto and projecting thereabove; a second seal seat formed by the offset of said extension inwardly from the outer edges of said suction tube section; a second seal on said second seal seat; said suction tube section projecting below said first cylinder and including a nozzle re gion at its lower end, a projecting section on the outer surface of said suction tube section spaced above said nozzle region and projecting beyond the outer circumference of said cylindrical suction tube section and a port opening through the side of said suction tube section above said projecting section and below said extension; a slide slidably mounted on said suction tube section and having a first bore sized to receive said suction tube section axially therein for slidable movement thereon, said slide extending through said first vacuum chamber bore into and extending below said first cylinder and forming with the first seal a leak free sliding seal; a hand grip formed around the lower end of said slide and positioned below said first cylinder, said hand grip having an enlarged bore at least a portion of which is larger than the bore of said slide, said enlarged bore encompassing said projecting section of said suction tube section; an internal shoulder formed by the offset of the enlarged bore from the first bore, said shoulder engageable with said projecting section of said suction tube section; a slide projecting section extending beyond the outer surface of said slide inside said first tubular cylinder; a spring retaining seat on said slide projecting section; a helical spring, said spring compressively engaged between said spring retaining seat on the inside of said first cylinder and said spring retaining seat on said slide; a support bridge, said sup port bridge positioned at the upper end of said first vacuum chamber, a support bore through said support bridge, said extension of said conduit passing through said support bore and said first seal engageable with aid support bridge; a third seal seat formed on the lower face of said support bridge; a third seal on said third seal seat; a helical spring surrounding said extension of said conduit above said support bridge; a spring retaining member connected to said extension above said helical spring; said second vacuum .chamber including a second tubular cylinder and a piston; and means connecting said first cylinder and said second cylinder together.
5. The vacuumizing apparatus of claim 4 wherein said means connecting said first cylinder and said second cylinder together include an enlarged flange at the top of said first cylinder, a reduced flange area at the bottom of said second cylinder, a quick clamp, said quick clamp engaged on said enlarged flange at the top of said first cylinder and said reduced flange area at the bottom of said second cylinder and clamping them together; said piston includes a piston shaft; a terminal end on said piston shaft exposed below said piston and aligned for engagement with said extension of said axial suction tube, the extension of said axial suction tube projecting into the cylindrical second cylinder a sufficient distance to be engaged by said terminal end on said piston shaft; and said support bridge including a disc region engaged in said enlarged flange at the top of said first cylinder and clamped therein by its enllll gagement by said reduced flange area at the bottom of said second cylinder.
6. The vacuumizing apparatus of claim 4 wherein said first, second and third seals are O-rings.
7. A vacuumizing apparatus comprising a vacuum nozzle assembly which includes a vacuum chamber adapted to be c0nnected to a source of vacuum, a conduit having a nozzle por tron and an inner portion extending into said vacuum chamber, said vacuum conduit having an opening therein communicable with said vacuum chamber, a seat with a hole therethrough in said vacuumizing apparatus, the inner portion of said vacuum conduit passing through said hole, an alignment adjusting means on the side of said seat opposite and nozzle portion of said conduit connecting the inner portion of said conduit to said vacuum chamber for limited free movement, said alignment adjusting means constituting the only means securing said conduit in position.
8. The vacuumizing apparatus of claim 7 wherein said apparatus includes a vacuum operated lift mechanism connected to the vacuum nozzle assembly for lifting said assembly, the lift mechanism including a second vacuum chamber, a slide member slidably mounted on said conduit, said slide substantially closing said opening into said vacuum conduit, a valve opening connecting said first vacuum chamber to said second vacuum chamber, a valve closure means carried by said conduit for closing said valve opening, an engaging means for engaging said slide with said conduit for movement of said conduit by said slide to remove said valve closure means from said valve opening, said slide member being movable on said conduit to open said opening into said vacuum conduit and to engage said engaging means.
9. The vacuumizing the apparatus of claim 8 wherein said second vacuum chamber includes a cylindrical portion and a piston in said cylindrical portion, said piston mounted exteriorly of said second vacuum chamber whereby said second vacuum chamber moves over said piston when said closure member is opened from said valve opening; wherein said conduit includes an extension said extension extending through said valve opening into said cylindrical portion of said second vacuum chamber adjacent to said piston, said conduit carried by said cylindrical portion of said second vacuum chamber and engaging said extension of said conduit with said piston when said cylindrical portion has moved fully to the vacuum lift position holding said conduit in a position maintaining said valve closure member opened from said valve opening, and wherein a valve seat surrounds said valve opening, a second valve closure member is carried by said slide and closes with said valve seat at least substantially shutting off the vacuum to said valve opening and said opening into said conduit.
10. A method for vacuumizing the lifting a bag with an apparatus having a vacuum nozzle at its lower end, a first inlet means opening a vacuum channel through the nozzle, a vacuum operated piston lift mechanism, a second inlet means opening to said piston lift mechanism, a member connected to the first vacuum inlet means and engageable by the piston to maintain the first inlet means open comprising pulling down on said lower end and opening said first vacuum inlet means, opening said second vacuum inlet means, engaging said piston with said member and maintaining said. first inlet open, closing said second vacuum inlet, moving the piston out of engagement with said member and allowing said first inlet to close.
11. The method of claim 10 wherein the bag is initially secured to the lower end of said apparatus and encloses said nozzle and after opening the second valve and before closing the second valve the neck of the bag is sealed.
TUNHIED STATES PATENT ewict @ERHMQAEE @lt Q QRMEQMQW Patent No 3 43 74 Dated March 14 1972 Inventor(s) Larry J, Pruitt It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Assignee: W. Ra Grace & Cow, Duncan, South Carolina Signed and sealed this 31st day of October 1972..
EDWARD MQFLETGHEB JRm ROBERT (.ErOTTSGHALK Attesting Officer Commissionerof Patents FORM PC4050 USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 a US, GDVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 959 O 3$5'334