US 3662904 A
A unit for counting tablets or other like elements which is in the form of an open box having an intermediate withdrawable floor on which is supported a plate having a predetermined number of holes for accommodating tablets and the back of the box being open at the bottom so that when the holes in the plate are filled with tablets and the withdrawable floor is pulled out the predetermined number of tablets fall to the bottom of the box and can be removed out of the back.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Tune  3,662,904 51 May 16, 1972  COUNTING DEVICE Vincent John Tune, 1 Buxton Close, Maid-  Inventor:
stone, England  Filed: Sept. 3, 1970  Appl. No.: 69,418
52 us. Cl. ..2 14/1c, 133/8 R  Int. Cl. ..G07d 9/06  Field ofSearch ..214/1, 1 C; 133/8, 8 A-8 E  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 19,326 9/1908 Great Britain ..2l4/l C Primary Examiner-Gerald M. Forlenza Assistant Examiner-Frank E. Werner Attorney-Holman & Stem ABSTRACT A unit for counting tablets or other like elements which is in the form of an open box having an intermediate withdrawable floor on which is supported a plate having a predetermined number of holes for accommodating tablets and the back of the box being open at the bottom so that when the holes in the plate are filled with tablets and the withdrawable floor is pulled out the predetermined number of tablets fall to the bottom of the box and can be removed out of the back.
4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures COUNTING DEVICE This invention relates to an article counting device and relates especially but not exclusively to a device for counting medicinal tablets and/or capsules for use by pharmacists and hospital staff (hereinafter and in the claims simply called a counting device).
It is well known that pharmacists for example find the counting of medicinal tablets and/or capsules to fulfil medical prescriptions a time-consuming and labourious task which cannot generally be left to junior or inexperienced staff without supervision by the pharmacist since such tablets and/or capsules are often dangerous and/or extremely expens1ve.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a device especially but not exclusively for counting such tablets and/or capsules which is simple to use and which reduces substantially the time taken to count such tablets or capsules.
According to the present invention there is provided an article counting device, especially for counting medicinal tablets and/or capsules, comprising an open-topped container subdivided into upper and lower compartments by a withdrawable imperforate platform on which rests a counting plate traversed by a known number of holes, each of a size to accommodate an article, the compartments being in communication to permit excess articles to be delivered from the upper compartment to the lower compartment when the holes are filled, and the lower compartment being formed with an egress opening for the excess articles and also for the counted articles on withdrawal of the platform.
An embodiment of the present invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of an article counting device in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal sectional view on the line ll-ll of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a front view of the device; and,
FIG. 4 is a rear view of the device.
The counting device comprises an open-topped box-like receptacle having at its rear end 11 an upper transverse wall 12 so that the rear end 11 of the receptacle 10 is open adjacent and at the bottom of the receptacle 10 as indicated at 13. The front end 14 of the receptacle 10 has an upper transverse wall 15 and a lower transverse wall 16 separated by a transverse slot 17 extending across the width of the receptacle [0. Therefore there is an upper transverse wall 12 at the rear end 11 and upper and lower transverse walls 15 and 16 at the front end 14 of the receptacle 10. I
Each internal surface of each side wall 18 of the receptacle 10 has a guideway or runway 19, which may simply be an inwardly directed longitudinal ledge or preferably a longitudinal groove as shown, spaced above the bottom of the receptacle 20.
The receptacle side walls 18 extend a substantial height above the guideways or runways 19.
Each longitudinal grooved guideway 19 may, for example, be formed by securing or forming integral with upper and lower sections of each side wall internal secondary side walls spaced apart vertically to form the grooved guideway, small triangular shaped (in plan view) comer pieces 33 being located in the grooved guideways and secured therein and to the rear and upper transverse wall. These comer pieces 33 serve, in effect, as supports as hereinafter described.
A withdrawable imperforate platform 21 having at the front end an integral neck 22 interposed between the platform 21 and an integral handle 23 is slidable in the grooved guideways or runways l9 and separates the receptacle into an upper chamber 24 and a lower chamber 25. The handle 23 is resiliently engaged by a clip 26 on the upper front wall 15 to prevent it simply sliding out of the receptacle 10. The neck 22 of the platform 21 provides side gaps 27 to allow communication between the upper and lower receptacle chambers 24 and 25.
The rear end of the platform 21, which is suitably shaped, makes contact with the rear end upper wall 12, and the triangular comer pieces 33, and is formed at least adjacent its rear comers with downwardly sloping surfaces as indicated at 28 to facilitate passage of tablets and/or capsules from the upper chamber 24 to the lower chamber 25 as hereinafter described.
A multiplicity of perforated plates 29 (only one shown) are provided with the device, each for insertion in the upper chamber 24 above the platform 21 and comer pieces 33 and are removably held in position by the receptacle side walls 18 and the rear and front upper transverse walls 12 and 15. Each perforated plate 29 is the same shape as the platform 21 save that it is not provided with a handle but does have a front integral neck 30 to provide the side gaps 31 between the upper and lower chambers 24 and 25. The plates 29 may be of different depths or thickness and on one surface may be provided with longitudinal side strips so that they can be reversed to accommodate different thicknesses of tablets and/or capsules. Such side strips are not necessary with very thick plates. Each perforated plate 29 is formed with rows of holes 32, alternate rows of which may or may not be staggered as desired, and each row containing a predetermined number of holes, say five, so that each plate may have 25, 50, 75 or holes arranged in rows. The rows are numbered down the sides say for example in fives. The neck 30 of each perforated plate 29 preferably has thereon a suitable indication of the size of tablet and/or capsule with which it may be employed to count.
The holes of different perforated plates are sized to accommodate differently sized medicinal tablets and/or capsules.
It is unlikely that the tablets and capsules would be counted simultaneously unless they happen to be the same medicine, drug, chemical or the like in different forms.
It is conceivable also that each hole 32 may be of a size to accommodate more than one tablet and/or capsules although here again this is considered unlikely.
in a preferred example, five perforated plates are provided with each device, one for hard gelatine tablets which are almost cylindrical up to, say about three-fourths of an inch long, and four for tablets, pills, soft gelatine capsules up to, say onehalf of an inch in diameter. These five perforated plates will deal with most medicinal tablets and/or capsules in common use.
The perforated plate with the smallest sized holes has 10 non-staggered rows, each of 10 holes, while each of the other 4 perforated plates have ten staggered rows, each of five holes.
in use, the pharmacist selects the appropriate perforated plate 29 and locates it in position over the withdrawable platform 21 so that it lies flat. He then pours in the tablets and/or capsules at the rear end of the upper chamber 24 and rocks or shakes the counting device from side to side and tilts the rear end 11 upwards to cause the tablets and/or capsules to fill the holes 32 in the perforated plate 29. He does this until all the holes 32 are filled, if desired, by adding further tablets and/or capsules if desired. Excess tablets and/or capsules are drained through the front side gaps 27 (31) into the lower chamber 25. These excess tablets and/or capsules can be removed from the bottom chamber 25 through the lower open rear end 13 and returned into a stock container or containers. By controllable withdrawal of the platform 21 by the pharmacist or his assistant a required number of tablets and/or capsules falls into the now empty lower chamber 25. It will be manifest that withdrawing the platfonn 21 causes one row of tablets and/or capsules to fall into the lower chamber 25 at a time. The counted tablets and/or capsules are now introduced into a suitable dispensing container.
It is to be noted that the rear comers of the plate 29 are supported by the corner pieces 33 as the platform 21 is withdrawn.
If not all the tablets and/or capsules in the holes 32 are required, then it will be manifest that the platform 21 is withdrawn until the desired number are in the lower chamber 25 and transferred to the dispensing container, and then the platform 21 is further withdrawn until the remaining tablets and/or capsules are in the lower chamber 25 and this remainder is returned to the stock container or containers.
If other than an exact number of rows of tablets and/or capsules is required then it will be necessary to either add or subtract not more than 5 tablets and/or capsules in the case of the X 10 perforated plate for not more than 2 tablets and/or capsules in the case 10 X 5 perforated plates. If the nearest number of rows above that required is chosen then it is possible to retain the required deduction in the lower chamber 25 when tipping the tablets and/or capsules into the dispensing container. If more tablets and/or capsules need to be added then this can be done prior to returning the excess tablets and/or capsules to the stock container or containers.
The stock containers can be marked suitably to correspond with the markings or indications on the perforated plates.
The device is of rectangular configuration in plan view and is preferably formed of a synthetic plastics material which may, if desired, be transparent or translucent.
The device may be employed for counting articles other than medicinal tablets and/or capsules.
1. An article counting device, especially for counting medicinal tablets and/or capsules, comprising an open-topped container subdivided into upper and lower compartments by a withdrawable imperforate platform on which rests a counting plate transversed by a known number of holes, each of said holes being of a size to accommodate an article, the compartments being in communication to permit excess articles to be delivered from the upper compartment to the lower compartment when the holes are filled, and the lower compartment being formed with an egress opening for the excess articles and also for the counted articles on withdrawal of the platform.
2. A counting device as claimed in claim 1, in which there is a plurality of interchangeable plates having different numbers of and different sizes of holes.
3. A counting device as claimed in claim 1, in which the platform and the plate is cut away to allow the communication between upper and lower chambers.
4. A counting device as claimed in claim 1, in which the upper chamber is surrounded back and front and at the sides by a wall, while the lower chamber is closed at the front and sides but open at the back.