US 3693673 A
Means for quickly delivering predetermined quantities of semiliquid or flowable materials into a large number of similar containers. Particularly advantageous for use in schools, hospitals, cafeterias and the like, especially when numerous meals are to be served in a short time. May be employed in the packing industry as well. Serves to obviate the tedious and time-consuming manual operations of filling conventional paper cups and similar containers one at a time.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Oates [451 Sept. 26, 1972 4] DELIVERY OF FLOWABLE MATERIALS INTO CONTAINERS  Inventor: John E. Oates, 6329 Alamo Avenue,
Clayton, Mo. 63105  Filed: Dec. 18, 1970  Appl. No.: 99,545
 US. Cl ..l4l/237, 141/376  Int. Cl. ..B65b 1/04, B65b 3/04  Field of Search ..l4l/l25, 237, 238248  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,176,613 10/1939 Raygaard ...l4l/237 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 261,899 12/1926 Great Britain ..l4l/237 Primary Examiner-Houston S. Bell, Jr. Attorney-George J. Mager [5 7] ABSTRACT Means for quickly delivering predetermined quantities of semiliquid or flowable materials into a large number of similar containers. Particularly advantageous for use in schools, hospitals, cafeterias and the like, especially when numerous meals are to be served in a short time. May be employed in the packing industry as well. Serves to obviate the tedious and time-consuming manual operations of filling conventional paper cups and similar containers one at a time.
3 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures DELIVERY OF FLOWABLE MATERIALS INTO CONTAINERS FIELD OF THE INVENTION formed therein a plurality of filler openings, sized in acl cordance with the open upper ends of the containers. Each of the openings is surrounded by a depending funnel-shaped or inwardly tapered flange adapted to extend into the open upper end of a container, whereby when the scraper blade is manually drawn across said bottom wall, similar portions of the batch therein are fed into each of the containers.
Preferably, the delivery openings are formed in equally spaced longitudinal and transverse rows, and the containers below would be positioned in approximate alignment therewith. At one end, the bottom wall of the tray terminates in a downwardly inclined slideway or chute that serves to deliver excess materials to a therebelow pan or other container, for reentry into the tray. Waste of materials is thus obviated. Preferably fabricated of stainless steel, the tray and blade may be cleansed quickly after use.
Although primarily advantageous for controlling portions of flowable foods such as salads, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, creamed corn or spinach, puddings and so on, the invention may obviously also be employed for apportioning cake and muffin batters, cream pie fillings and the like.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Currently, at many schools, government-sponsored luncheons are being served to the children. Usually, the meals include one or two items of flowable foods to be served in containers that are placed on each plate, as is understood. Particularly when a great number of children are to be served, the spoon-filling of such containers, one at a time, is a tedious procedure. By employment of the simple means provided by the present invention, a plurality of (for example 18) containers, may each be charged with an approximately identical portion of food in a relatively few seconds.
The invention is illustrated on a sheet of drawings that accompanies this specification. Objects and advantages not specifically noted above, will be apparent or pointed out in the detailed description that will follow with reference to said drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a typical tray and scraper blade assembly for attaining the objectives of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view partly in section, of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a front elevation of said assembly;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary transverse section taken on the line 4-4 of FIG. 2, this view additionally illustrating the tray in use;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary longitudinal section taken on the line 5-5 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is an end elevational view of the scraper blade per se;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary sectional view illustrating a modification;
FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of a modified tray;
FIG. 9 is a reduced top plan view of a conventional shallow open carton charged with a plurality of empty containers;
FIG. 10 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of FIG. 9;
FIG. 11 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view il 0 lustrating use of the FIG. 8 tray; and
FIG. 12 is a view similar to FIG. 4, illustrating the adjustability of the invention and the reason for the modification shown in FIG. 7.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The typical tray and cooperative scraper blade assembly of the invention is generally designated 16, and includes a rectangular tray 18 and a manually operable scraper blade 20. The tray 16 is comprised of a bottom wall 22, opposed side walls 24, and a front end wall 26. These walls terminate at the top in a laterally projecting peripheral flange portion 28. The bottom wall 22 merges into and terminatesin a downwardly inclined chute or slideway portion 30, best seen in FIG. 5.
Formed in the tray bottom wall is a plurality of delivery openings 32, each opening merging into a shallow funnel-shaped surrounding flange 34 that depends below said wall. The openings 32 are formed in equally spaced longitudinal and transverse rows as shown.
Leg assemblies 36 are provided adjacent the four corner portions of the tray 18, whereby said tray may be horizontally positioned at various heights above a supporting surface such as the table top T fragmentari- 1y shown in FIGS. 4 and 12.
Each of the assemblies 36 includes a support bar 38 rigidly attached to the tray 18, and a leg bar 40 that terminates in an outwardly extending foot segment 42. These bars are adjustable relatively to one another by any suitable means, such as a threaded stud 44 secured adjacent the lower end of the bar 38, an elongated slot 46 in the leg bar 40 through which the stud extends, and a thumbnut 48.
The blade assembly 20 comprises a rectangular scraper portion 50 that is surmounted by a round rod portion 52. The width of the blade portion is somewhat less than the distance between the inner surfaces of the side walls 24, and as best seen in FIG. 5, the height thereof approximates the distance between the opposed top. surfaces of the tray flange portion 28 and the upper surface of the bottom wall 22. The bar is at least coextensive with the side walls 24, and preferably as shownin FIGS. 1 and 3, extends beyond the flange portion 28, whereby when the scraper is in use, its end portions 54 ride along the opposed top surfaces of said flange portion.
A modified form of funnel-shaped flange 56 surrounding a bottom wall opening 32 is illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 12. In this construction, the flange 56 terminates in an outwardly extending annular flange portion 58 for a purpose to be described below.
The tray 18 shown in FIGS. 8 and 11 is similar to that shown in FIG. 1 to 5, but is not equipped with the adjustable leg assemblies 36 for reasons to be explained hereinafter.
In FIGS. 9 and 10, a typical master tray or carton 60 is shown to include a bottom wall 62, opposed side 3 walls 64, and opposed end walls 66. Cartons of this character are commercially available in large quantities, are usually of cardboard or plastic and in accordance with prescribed specifications, as is understood.
Thus in the instant case, the cartons 60 would be dimensioned to rather snugly surround and support a plurality of conventional cups or containers C, arranged in a pattern corresponding to that of the delivery openings 32 of a certain tray 18,-as should be clearly understood from an inspection of the drawings.
PERTINENT OBSERVATIONS It is to be understood that no claim is made to the cartons 60 nor to the containers C. Such containers are conventional and may be purchased in various prescribed dimensions on the market. The cartons may likewise be made according ,to specification and purchased in ordered quantities, the container-supporting area of them being dimensioned so as-to hold the containers in an appropriate pattern governed by the delivery openings in the tray. The leg assemblies 36 detailed in FIGS. 4 and 12, may be adjusted to accommodate containers of different heights.
The opposed side portions of the flange 28 serve as slideways for the end portions 54 of the rod 52, so that in manipulations of the blade assembly 20 from left to' right (as viewed in the drawings), the bottom edge of the scraper blade 50 rides along the top surface of the tray bottom wall 22. Thus, an approximately identical quantity of material will be delivered via each opening 32 to the therebelow container C. Furthermore, the flange 28 provides handle means for raising the tray following completion of a filling operation, and for lowering it into position over another carton 60 of empty containers C.
One of the features of the invention of course, is the fact that, for example in school luncheon programs, a multiplicity of containers C may be quickly processed in advance of meal-serving time. The flange extension 58 shown in FIGS. 7 and 12 is designed primarily for filling containers that are to have lids applied thereto. As should be apparent, each extension 58'serves to prov ide sufficient unfilled space for entry of the depressed central portion of a conventional lid.
Although it is believed that the manner of using the invention shouldbe apparent from the foregoing description and an inspection of the drawings, a further brief explanation is given.
Obviously, the batch of flowable material to be apportioned would be deposited into the forward or left hand end area of the tray 18, with the blade assembly 20 in the dotted line position suggested in FIG. 11. Thereupon the assembly 20 would be manipulated to the right, as indicated by the broken line arrow, until the blade had passed over all of the delivery openings 32 and onto theupper end of the slideway 30. Surplus or excess material would gravitate or be scraped into a dition becomes evident.
With respect to the FIGS. 4 and 12 disposition of the tray in use, it will of course be obvious that eachof the four leg assemblies 36 wouldbe adjusted in identical fashion. I
With respect to the FIG. 8 disposition of the tray 18 in use, said tray would simply be supported on the upper edge or rim of the carton 60.
In view of the foregoing description and the drawings, it is believed that a comprehensive presentation of the invention and its features has been given without further elaboration. It should of course be understood that the illustrated structural details may be modified somewhat without departing from the main concepts of the present invention.
What is claimed is: I
1. In combination with a therebelow positioned carton supporting therein a plurality of similar containers, means for delivering a determined portion of flowable material into each of .the containers, said means comprising:
a tray supported above said containers, said tray including a bottom wall, opposed side walls and an end wall;
a plurality of material delivery openings formed in the bottom wall, each opening being in vertical alignment with one of the therebelow containers and merging into a shallow funnel-shaped surrounding flange that depends below said bottom wall;
a downwardly inclined slideway integral'therewith formed on the bottom wall at the end thereof opposite said end wall of the tray;
means whereby the disposition of said tray may be varied in accordance with the height of the therebelow containers;
a peripheral flange portion integral therewith projecting laterally from the top of said side walls and said end wall;
and a manually operable blade assembly for propelling a batch of flowable material across the delivery openings from said end wall of the tray to the slideway thereof, said assembly comprising a scraper blade surmounted by a round rod, the opposite ends of said rod being adapted to ride along the top surfaces of the opposed side wall portions of said peripheral flange.
2. The combination recited in claim 1, and an outwardly extending annular flange portion forming the terminal end of each funnel-shaped flange.
3. The combination-recited in claim 1, wherein the means whereby the disposition of the tray may be varied in accordance with the height of the therebelow containers comprise four similar adjustable leg assemblies, one assembly being provided adjacent each of the four comer portion of said tray.