Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3648742 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 14, 1972
Filing dateOct 17, 1969
Priority dateOct 21, 1968
Also published asDE1952418A1, DE1952418B2
Publication numberUS 3648742 A, US 3648742A, US-A-3648742, US3648742 A, US3648742A
InventorsBeech Frank
Original AssigneeGkn Sankey Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for washing and filling containers for liquids
US 3648742 A
Abstract
A combined washing and filling machine for beer kegs has a conveyor for conveying a succession of kegs past spaced washing and racking stations. A retractable stop is provided at each station to hold a keg in position at the station and a reject control device may prevent the stop at racking station acting as a stop when a keg is found to be unsuitable for filling. Detectors are provided on the downstream side of each station to detect a keg leaving each station.
Images(2)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Unit

States Pate 1;

eeeh

[ Main 1A, 1972 APPARATUS FOR WASITTNG AND lFllLlLTNG CONTAINERS FUR lLTQTJlllDS inventor: lFrank lBeech, Bilston, England Assignee: GKN Sankey Limited, Bilston, England Filed: Oct. 17, 1969 Appl. N0.: 867,261

lForeign Application Priority Data Oct. 21, 1968 Great Britain ..49,889/68 US. Cl. ..141l/92, 134/57 R, 134/62, 134/7l,14l/160,14l/168, 141/180 llnt. Cl "B676 3/32, B67c l/OO lField otSearch ..l34/57, 62, 63,71; 141/83, 141/85, 89, 91,92,156,157, 159,160, 168,172,

[56] Reterences Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,237,661 3/1966 Rosen ..l41/180 3,277,929 10/1966 Cook 3,454,018 7/1969 Ruddick 134/57 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 905,126 9/1962 Great Britain "141/181 Primary Examiner-Edward J. Earls Att0rneyWats0n, Cole, Grindle &Watson [5 7] ABSTRACT A combined washing and filling machine for beer kegs has a conveyor for conveying a succession of kegs past spaced washing and racking stations. A retractable stop is provided at each station to hold a keg in position at the station and a reject control device may prevent the stop at racking station acting as a stop when a keg is found to be unsuitable for filling. Detectors are provided on the downstream side of each station to detect a keg leaving each station.

14 Claims, 4 Drawing; lFigures APPARATUS FOR WASHlNG AND FTILLKNG CONTA1NERS FOlR LIIQIUHDS The invention relates to a combined washing and racking machine for containers for liquids, such as beer kegs.

The invention provides a combined washing and racking machine for containers for liquids, such as beer kegs, which machine comprises conveying means for conveying a succession of containers along a path through the machine, washing means at a washing station, racking means at a racking station spaced along said path from the washing station, a first retractable stop member which may be projected to locate a container in position at the washing station and retracted to allow the container to leave the washing station, a second retractable stop member which may be projected to locate a container in position at the racking station and retracted to allow the container to leave the racking station and reject control means operable when a container is unsuitable for filling to prevent the second stop member stopping the container at the racking station.

Preferably a first detecting device is provided on the downstream side of the racking station to detect the emergence of a container from the racking station. Preferably the first detecting device is arranged to control the said second retractable stop so that when a container is detected by the first detecting device the second stop is projected to stop and locate a subsequent container at the racking station. Preferably said reject control means is arranged to render the first detecting device inoperative when the control means is operated to reject a container as unsuitable for filling.

Preferably a second detecting device is positioned between the washing and racking stations on the upstream side of the racking station to detect the movement of a container towards the racking station. Preferably the second detecting device is located further from the first retractable stop than the first detecting device is from the second retractable stop and the second detecting device is arranged to render the first detecting device operative again when the second detecting device detects a container.

Preferably a third retractable stop is provided on the up stream side of the washing station to prevent containers entering the washing station while one container is already at the washing station.

Preferably the first and second detecting devices each comprise a micro-pilot valve.

Preferably the said reject control means is operable to release a container from the washing station when it is found that the container is unsuitable for filling.

A specific embodiment of the invention will now be described by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a combined washing and racking machine for beer kegs;

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic sectional side view of the machine; and

FIG. 3 shows diagrammatically a plan view of the conveyor path, and

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of the control circuit for the machine.

in this example, the machine consists ofa lower unit 11 and an upper unit 12. The lower unit 11 includes a self supporting framework adapted to stand on the floor. A chain conveyor 13, comprising two spaced chains 13a and 13b running over rollers, 14, 15, 16 and 17 fixed to the framework and driven by an electric motor (not shown), is adapted to convey a succession of beer kegs on a straight path along the top of the lower unit 11. The upper unit 12 is mounted on the lower framework 11, and forms a bridge extending above and across the conveyor path. The upper unit has two sidewalls 18 and 19 which are supported on the lower unit and are spaced apart to form a tunnel 20 through which the beer kegs may be conveyed on the conveyor 13.

In use, beer kegs are passed on to the conveyor 13 in the inverted position at the left hand side of FIG. 2 and pass through the tunnel 20 from left to right as shown by the arrow 10 in H0. 3. The kegs first pass to a washing station at position 21 and then to a racking station 22 where the kegs are filled. The filled containers leave the machine at the right hand end of the conveyor 13. A washing head 23 is mounted on the lower unit 11 and is movable pneumatically to rise and engage the outlet of each inverted keg when it arrives at the washing station.

Each keg may have two concentric apertures controlled by a valve unit, the central aperture being connected to a down pipe in the container, such as that shown in our British Pat. No. 958,1 1 l.

The washing head 23 has two similar concentric passages adapted to connect with the two concentric passages in the keg outlet. On entering the washing station the keg strikes a locating stop A so that the keg is located centrally over the washing head 23 which is then cause-d to rise and clamp the keg between the washing head and a pneumatically operated head stop (not shown) mounted in the roof of the tunnel 20. When the keg hits the stop A, slight movement of the stop A is used to cause upward movement of a plate stop B forward of the washing station 21 to prevent the next keg entering the station 21 while washing is in progress. The condition of the seal of the washing head 23 on to the neck of the keg and the condition of the valve unit in the keg outlet are then tested. if satisfactory, a probe in the washing head 23 rises to open the valve unit in the keg, and the keg is ready for the washing cycle. Immediately the washing cycle commences, the locating stop A is retracted below the level of conveyor 13. The washing cycle consists of the following operations carried out in succession:

Check seal of washing head of neck and check valved outlet in neck.

Open valved outlet in neck.

Cold water rinse.

Steam ejection of cold water.

Detergent wash.

Steam ejection of detergent.

Hot water rinse.

Sterilize.

All the operations except sterilizing are time controlled and sterilizing is controlled by steaming until a required temperature is reached and then steaming at that temperature for a controlled time. Alternative control by time only or temperature only is available by selection of switching in a control box 24 mounted in the upper unit 12.

Just prior to completion of the washing cycle rotatable turnover arms 25 mounted on opposite sides of the washing station 21 on the sides 18 and 19 of the upper unit, are moved inwardly to grip the keg. The axis of rotation of the arms is arranged at a suitable height above the conveyor path so that the keg is gripped just below its center of gravity. When the washing cycle is completed, the washing head 23 and head stop are retracted pneumatically away from the keg and the keg is turned over to the upright position ready to proceed to the racking station 22.

As is shown diagrammatically in FIG. 2, a pair of parallel arms 25 are provided on each side of the conveyor path. The two arms of each pair are straight and spaced apart so as to abut different parts of the containers periphery. The two arms of each pair are mounted on a common rotary shaft mounted in the sidewalls 18 and 19 of the upper unit 12.

The turnover arms 25 are mounted on the same center line as the washing head 23 and are pneumatically operated by a piston and cylinder device (not shown) to assist the turnover of the keg due to its own weight. Each of the turnover arms 25 has a lifting pad of heat resistant rubber for gripping the sides of the keg. The movement of the washing head 23 and the probe within the washing head are operated separately by pneumatic pistons. All pneumatic equipment and pressure switches for controlling the washing operation and movement of the turnover arms 25 are mounted on a common tray 26 above the washing station in the upper unit 12. A heat sensing device 60 is fitted at the washing station. This device senses the temperature of the container during the first steam ejection operation. Failure to achieve a set temperature in a set time causes the washing cycle to be stopped. The faulty container is removable from the washing head 23 by operating a manual reject button in the control box 24 on the upper unit 12. A flashing indicator light is provided on the control box to indicate a faulty keg. The inlet supply to the washing head 23 is controlled by five valves 61 of a diaphragm and poppet type which are pneumatically operated. The five valves are mounted in a common block located on a tray 27 below the pneumatics tray 26. Hot water, cold water and steam are exhausted to waste. Override buttons for manual operations are mounted on the pneumatics tray 26. The head stop is pneumatically operated and incorporates a quick change positioning device for resetting to suit different sizes of beer keg.

When the washed keg leaves the washing station 21 it proceeds to the racking station 22. At a point forward of the racking station 22 the keg operates a micro pilot valve D which retracts the stop 8 and raises the stop A at the washing station so that the next keg may now move into and be stopped at the washing station 21.

As the keg enters the racking station 22 it strikes an upstanding location stop E which is normally raised and is located to position the keg exactly under a racking head 28. The racking head is generally similar to the washing head 23 except that is mounted above the keg so as to fill the keg in the upright position. A lifting table (not shown), somewhat similar to the head stop at the washing station, is located below the conveyor 13 underneath the racking head 28 and rises pneumatically to lift the keg off the conveyor chain and the racking head 28 descends to form a seal on the keg neck. The seal between the racking head 28 and the keg neck is checked be fore the valve outlet of the keg is opened. 1f satisfactory, a probe in the racking head 28 descends to open the outlet in the keg and the keg is ready for the filling cycle.

When the lifting table rises, a peg stop C is raised which prevents a washed keg from leaving the washing station 21 until the keg being currently racked is clear of the racking station 22. As the racking test commences, stop E is lowered. When the racking cycle is completed, the lifting table drops and the racking head 28 is raised. The full keg then leaves the racking station 22 and strikes a micro pilot valve F downstream of the racking station 22 which raises the stop E ready for the next keg entering the racking station 22. Lowering of the lifting table also lowers peg stop C allowing the washed keg to proceed for racking.

The sequence for operations at the racking station is as follows:

Check seal of head 28 on to neck and location of keg.

Open valve outlet in keg.

Steam to sterilize the head 28 and valve unit in keg outlet and complete keg sterilization where necessary. Carbon dioxide purge and pressurize (and water cool externally if desired).

Fill.

Save beer in the pipelines leading to the racking head.

The steaming, carbon dioxide and beer save operations are controlled by time only. Filling is controlled by metering the amount of beer through a metering system or by completely filling the container and using a pressure switch to detect pressure of liquid in an overflow pipe.

The micro-pilot valve F, which includes a flexible projecting probe F, provides a first detecting device downstream of the racking station and the micro-pilot valve D, which also includes a flexible projecting probe D, provides a second detecting device between the washing and racking stations. The micro-pilot valve F is controlled by the above-mentioned manual reject button in the control box 24 which is operated when a container fails the test at the washing station and is to be rejected without filling. In this case, operation of the reject button causes the washing head 23 and head stop to retract and releases the faulty container ready for passage to the racking station as soon as the peg stop C is retracted. The reject button also renders the micro-pilot valve F inoperative so that the stop E is not raised by passage of the last good container past the valve F. In this way, the faulty container passes straight through the racking station without stopping and is discharged. The micro-pilot valve D is positioned further from the retractable stops A and C than the valve F is from the stop E. In this way, the last good container filled passes the valve F before the faulty container reaches the valve D. The valve D is arranged to reset the valve F by passage of the faulty container past the valve D so that when the faulty container passes the valve F, the stop E is caused to rise to stop the next container after the faulty one, unless of course the reject button has again been operated. The racking head than becomes operative again to fill the containers which are not rejected at the washing station.

The washing unit and racking unit are generally similar to prior art washing apparatuses and automatic racking machines. In this case however where the washing and racking are combined in one machine, the time taken at this washing station 21 and racking station 22 must be balanced so as to maintain uniform flow of kegs through the machine. For this reason, the sterilization of the interior of the keg is carried out at the washing station 21 and need not necessarily be done at the racking station.

All pneumatic equipment and pressure switches for controlling the racking operation are mounted on a tray 29 above the racking station similar to the pneumatics tray 26 above the washing station. lnlet and exhaust valves 30 for controlling the racking operation are similar to the valves used for the washing operation and are similarly mounted in two common blocks on a tray 32 below the pneumatics tray 29. The meter 31 for measuring the amount of beer fed into each keg is also mounted on the tray 32.

A temperature recorder and controller 34 is fitted and is located below the control box 24. Override buttons for manual operation of the racking operation are fitted on the pneumatics tray 29. Blow off valves of the pneumatically operated type are fitted to the steam, gas and beer exhaust lines. A flashing indicator light to indicate carbon dioxide failure is fitted on the control box 24.

As shown in FIG. 2, the machine is for filling containerswith the neck uppermost. However, the racking unit may be adjusted so as to enable containers to be filled in the inverted position. The racking head 28 and lifting table may each be removed from their mountings and the racking head 28 remounted in place of the lifting table below the conveyor 13.

A further head stop similar to that used above the washing station 21 can then be fitted to the mounting previously used to fix the racking head 28 above the conveyor 13. In this case, the racking head in the lower position and head stop in the upper position are moved pneumatically similar to the washing head and head stop at the washing station.

The control box 24 is fitted on the forward end of the machine facing an operator position and contains all the electric controls for both the racking and washing units. The control box 24 comprises a box made from aluminum sheet having a removable front panel. Visibly mounted behind this panel are clock timers and all the necessary relays mounted in two banks on either side of the timers. The timers and relays together with all other electrical equipment are mounted on one hinged plate capable of dropping forward to give ease of access to wiring and connections for servicing and maintenance. Switches in the box 24 allow the washing and racking operations to be operated independently when necessary.

In order to provide convenient access for servicing and maintenance, a service gantry 35 is provided. This consists of an elevated platform 36 forming a bridge across the conveyor path above the line of kegs passing through the machine. The trays 26, 27, 29 and 32 are all conveniently accessible to an operator on the platform 36.

In the particular machine shown the length of the lower unit 11 is approximately 9 feet. The machine may wash and fill 9. 10 or 1 1 gallon kegs. The speed of the conveyor 13 is 30 feet per minute. The time taken for the washing cycle of a 9 gallon container may be about 2 minutes. The racking time would be the same.

The invention is not restricted to the details of the foregoing example.

Iclaim:

1. A combined washing and racking machine for containers for liquids, such as beer kegs, which machine comprises conveying means for conveying a succession of containers along a path through the machine, washing means at a washing station, racking means at a racking station spaced along said path from the washing station, first stop means including a first retractable stop member which may be projected to locate a container in position at the washing station and retracted to allow the container to leave the washing station, a second retractable stop member which may be projected to locate a container in position at the racking station and retracted to allow the container to leave the racking station, a first detect ing device disposed on the downstream side of the racking station to detect the emergence of a container from the racking station, said first detecting device being operably connected to said second retractable stop and operable to cause the second stop to be projected in response to detection of a container by the first detecting device whereby to stop and locate a subsequent container at the racking station, and reject control means operable when a container is unsuitable for filling to prevent the second stop member stopping the container at the racking station.

2. A combined washing and racking machine as claimed in claim I in which said reject control means is operably connected to the first detecting device to render the latter inoperative to project said second stop when the control means is operated to reject a container as unsuitable for filling.

3. A combined washing and racking machine as claimed in claim 2 wherein is provided a second detecting device positioned between the washing and racking stations on the upstream side of the racking station to detect the movement of a container toward the racking station.

4. A combined washing and racking machine as claimed in claim 3 in which the second detecting device is located further from the first retractable stop than the first detecting device is from the second retractable stop, said second detecting device being operably connected to the first detecting device to render the latter operative when the second detecting device detects a container.

5. A combined washing and racking machine as claimed in claim 4 in which a third retractable stop is provided on the upstream side of the washing station to prevent containers entering the washing station while one container is already at the washing station.

6. A combined washing and racking machine as claimed in claim 1 in which the said reject control means is operably connected to said first stop means and is operable to actuate the latter to release a container from the washing station when it is found that the container is unsuitable for filling.

7. A combined washing and racking machine for containers for liquids, such as beer kegs, which machine comprises conveying means for conveying a succession of containers along a path through the machine, washing means at a washing station to wash a container, racking means at a racking station spaced along said path from the washing station to rack a container, first stop means including a first retractable stop member which may be projected to locate a container in position at the washing station and retracted to allow the container to leave the washing station, a second retractable stop member which may be projected to locate a container in position at the racking station and retracted to allow the container to leave the racking station, test means to test whether a container is suitable for filling, and reject control means operable when a container is unsuitable for filling to prevent the second stop member stopping the container at the racking station.

8. A combined washing and racking machine as claimed in claim 7 wherein is included pneumatic means coupled with said stop members for pro ecting and retracting the latter pneumatically,

9. A combined washing and racking machine as claimed in claim 8 wherein is included a first detecting device comprising a valve disposed on the downstream side of the racking station for actuation by a container emerging from the racking station, said valve being operably connected to the second retractable stop and operable to cause the latter to be projected in response to a container emerging from the racking station whereby to stop and locate a subsequent container at the racking station.

10. A combined washing and racking machine as claimed in claim 9 in which said reject control means comprises a manually operable reject button which, when pressed, renders the first detecting device inoperative.

Jill. A combined washing and racking machine as claimed in claim 10 wherein is included a second detecting device comprising a second valve positioned between the washing and racking stations on the upstream side of the racking station to detect the movement of a container toward the racking station, the second detecting device being located further from the first retractable stop than the first detecting device is from the second retractable stop, said second detecting device being operably connected to said first detecting device such that upon actuation of the second valve by movement of a container therepast, said first detecting device is rendered operative.

l2. A combined washing and racking machine as claimed in claim 11 in which a third retractable stop is provided on the upstream side of the washing station to prevent containers entering the washing station while one container is already at the washing station.

13. A combined washing and racking machine as claimed in claim 7 wherein said washing means is operable for passing steam into the container for sterilizing the latter, said test means comprising a heat sensing device disposed at the washing station to sense the temperature oil a container at the washing station, failure of the heat sensing device to indicate a set temperature in a set time after commencement of the sterilizing step indicating that the sterilizing step has failed and the container is therefore unsuitable for filling.

14. A combined washing and racking machine as claimed in claim 7 in which the test means is disposed at the washing station, said reject control means being operable to halt washing of a container at the washing station and to actuate said first stop means to release the container from the washing station.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3237661 *Dec 24, 1963Mar 1, 1966Sidney RosenContainer filling system
US3277929 *Jul 26, 1963Oct 11, 1966Universal Equip CoMachine for washing and filling a container
US3454018 *Oct 16, 1967Jul 8, 1969Burnett & Rolfe LtdApparatus for processing beer kegs or like containers
GB905126A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3791425 *Mar 23, 1972Feb 12, 1974Gkn Sankey LtdWashing and filling machines
US4119108 *Oct 17, 1977Oct 10, 1978Cera International LimitedAutomatic washing apparatus
US5634501 *Jan 15, 1993Jun 3, 1997A. G. (Patents) LimitedDisinfection of containers
US5649575 *Mar 16, 1995Jul 22, 1997Gea Till Gmbh & Co.Keg filling process and apparatus
US5662226 *Mar 16, 1995Sep 2, 1997Gea Till Gmbh & Co.Kegging facility control process and apparatus
US7431141Jun 20, 2007Oct 7, 2008American Sterilizer CompanyBasket positioning system for multi-chamber washer
EP0672615A1 *Mar 2, 1995Sep 20, 1995GEA Till GmbH & Co.A method and plant for controlling containers in cleaning and/or filling installations
EP2032480A2 *Jun 22, 2007Mar 11, 2009American Sterilizer CompanyBasket positioning system for multi-chamber washer
WO1993013880A1 *Jan 15, 1993Jul 22, 1993Ag Patents LtdDisinfection of containers
Classifications
U.S. Classification141/92, 141/82, 141/180, 134/57.00R, 134/62, 134/71, 141/168, 141/160
International ClassificationB08B9/08, B67C3/00, B67C7/00, B67C3/32
Cooperative ClassificationB67C7/0006, B08B9/0804, B67C3/32
European ClassificationB67C7/00B, B08B9/08D, B67C3/32