US 3706395 A
A lower circular floor includes tablet storage tubes around the periphery adapted to register with a valve element for discharge through a discharge opening in a support base. The valve element may be selectively reciprocated by a cam operated power device to dispense the desired number of tablets from the desired storage container. A second floor is placed on the top of the first plurality of storage containers and includes radially disposed clips of storage containers adapted to successively move into registry with the associated storage containers therebelow. A spring means biases the upper storage containers into registry with the lower containers as empty containers are removed. The clip of storage containers may be replaced when empty. The clip includes a bottom wall and an opening normally yieldably closed by a slide door which is moved to an open position when the clip is placed in position on the top floor with one of the plurality of containers in the clip being in registry with the associated lower container.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Havener et al.
3,706,395 Dec. 19,1972
SELECTIVE DISPENSER WITH CLIP STORAGE FOR DISPENSING SMALL ARTICLES IN PRESET QUANTITIES  Inventors: John W. I-lavener, l 14 Jones St.; Franklin W. Reyner, .Ir., Rural Route 2, both of West Union, Iowa  Filed: Feb. 16, 1971  Appl. No.: 115,308
 U.S.Cl. ..221/1l9,22l/l76,3l2/97.1  Int. Cl ..B65'g 60/00  Field of Search ..3l2l42,45, 97.1, DIG 8, DIG 10;221/ll9-122,197,176,104
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,653,850 9/1953 Vollten ..22l/l21 996,501 6/1911 Mensing.. ......312/45 2,499,969 3/1950 Quintrell ....22l/l76 3,294,284 12/1966 Chambers... .221/298 X 860,598 7/1907 Farrell ..221/1l9 Primary,ExaminerRobert B. Reeves Assistant ExaminerThomas E. Kocovsky Att0rneyZarley, McKee & Thomte  ABSTRACT I A lower circular floor includes tablet storage tubes around the periphery adapted to register with a valve element for discharge through a discharge opening in a support base. The valve element may be selectively reciprocated by a cam operated power device to dispense the desired number of tablets from the desired storage container. A second floor is placed on the top of the first plurality of storage containers and includes radially disposed clips of storage containers adapted to successively move into registry with the associated storage containers the rebelow. A spring means biases the upper storage containers into registry with the lower containers as empty containers are removed. The clip of storage containers may be replaced when empty. The clip includes a bottom wall and an opening normally yieldably closed by a slide door which is moved to an open position when the clip is placed in position on the top floor with one of the plurality of containers in the clip being in registry with the associated lower container.
The counting of tablets when filling a prescription in a pharmacy is a time-consuming and laborious job. Also, errors can occur resulting in either two many or too few tablets being dispensed from the bulk containers into the customer container.
9 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures SELECTIVE DISPENSER wITII CLIP STORAGE FOR DISPENSING SM LL ARTICLES IN PR SET QUANTITIES The dispenser of this invention involves the storage of tablets in bulk in individual plastic tube-type containers stored together in a clip. The tubes are initially closed and can be opened for feeding the discharge container tubes in the dispenser machine. The series of storage containers in the clip are arranged along radial axes to maximize the utilization of storage space.
A support base includes a discharge opening closable by a powered valve element operated by an actuating means which may be reciprocated a predetermined number of times to give the desired number of tablets.
The entire dispenser assembly is rotatable for the powered actuating means to be aligned with the appropriate valve element and is locked in place by spring loaded detent means.
This invention consists in the construction, arrangements and combination of the various parts of the device, whereby the objects contemplated are attained as hereinafter more fully set forth, specifically pointed out in the claims, and illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of view thereof; dispenser assembly;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary exploded perspective view thereof;
FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view taken along line 3 3 in FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view of a clip containing a plurality of tablet storage tubes.
The dispenser assembly of this invention is referred to generally in FIG. 1 by reference numberal and includes a support stand 12 on which a lower plurality of tablet tubes 14 are supported and which in turn supports an upper plurality of table storage tubes 16 held in clip containers 18. a
The lower tube assembly 14 includes a circular floor 20 having peripherally spaced apart openings 22 which register with upstanding storage tubes 24. Below the circular floor 20 is a similarly shaped circular member 26 which includes radially disposed valve elements 28 having openings 30 normally registering with the openings 22 when the valve elements are in their extended position as seen in FIG. 3. When the valve element 28 is retracted against the action of a spring 32 the opening 30 moves into registry with an opening 34 in a circular support member 36 thereby discharging a tablet 38 from the dispenser 10.
A longitudinally inwardly tapering surface 37 on the valve element 28 engages the tablet 38A, as seen in FIG. 3, when the tablet 38 is being dispensed into the openings 34 and displaced the tablet 38A upwardly so that it may move into the opening 30 upon the valve element 28 being returned to its extended position of FIG. 3.
The support stand assembly 12 includes a downwardly facing channel plate 40 having an upstanding threaded rod 42 extending through an opening 44 in the center of the lowe storage tube assembly 4 to permit it to rotate for the appropriate valve element 28 to be in alignment with a powered actuating arm 46. A pair of spring loaded ball detents 50 are disposed on the opposite sides of the axial center post 42 and releaseably engage recesses 52 peripherally arranged in the bottom base member 35 such that alignment is maintained between the actuating member 46 and the outer end of the desired valve element 28. The upstanding actuating member 46'is carried on the outer end of a horizontally disposed member 54 coupled to a motor assembly 56 by a pair of. pivotally interconnected linkages 58. A dial control unit 60 is connected to the motor unit 56 by a rod 62 and may be set to give a predetermined number of reciprocations to the actuating member 46 to discharge the desired number of tablets 38 from the storage tubes 24. The motor 56 is carried on a stand frame 64 having four legs at each of its corners and the frame 64 includes L-shaped brackets 66 at each of the corners carrying rollers 68 for engagement with the bottom side of the base member 35, as seen in FIG. 1. The channel plate member 40 is bolted to the frame 64 over the motor 56, the linkages 58 and the member 54 connected to the actuating element 46. A cut-out notch 70 is formed in the member 54 such that tablets may be dropped through the aligned openings 22, 30 and 34;
. The upstanding storage tubes 24 are transparent to allow visual inspection of the contents and support at their upper ends an upper floor 72 having a circular configuration. The floor 72 includes an equal number of radially arranged elongated recesses 74 for receiving the storage clips 18. An opening 76 extends through the floor 72 in each of the recesses 74 into the storage tube 24 therebelow. A top wall 78 is held in spaced relationship above the floor member 72 by a plurality of peripherally disposed support rods 80 and a center axial rod 82. A plurality of radial notches 84 are formed in the top wall 78 to receive the clips 18.
Each of the clips 18 include a plurality of storage tubes 86 and are covered at the top by a cap 88. The bottom of the clip 18 is closed by awall 90 which extends to a movable slide door92 closing a discharge opening in communication with the opening 76 in the floor 72 and the outermost storage tube 86. An elongated leaf spring 94 is provided on the inner vertical wall of the clip to bias the tubes 86 outwardly for alignment with the opening in the clip and the opening 76 in the floor 72. An inspection window 96 is also provided in the side wall of the clip to allow the operator to determine at a glance the supply of tablets remaining in the clip.
The slide door 92 includes a laterally outwardly extending finger element 98 engageable by an upstanding pin 100 on the top side of the floor member 72 such that when the clip 18 is slid into the upper slot 84 and the lower recess 74 the opening in the bottom of the clip will automatically be placed in communication with the opening 76 in the floor 72. Until the slide door 92 is opened the tablets 38 are retained in the tubes and the clip. AS the tube 86 is emptied it may be removed from the clip 18 and the leaf spring 94 will automatically move the next full tube into communication with the associated tube 24 therebelow.
3 door 92 ismoved to its open position'pl'acin'g uie outermost tube 86 in communication with the lower associated tube 24, as seen in FIG. 3. The control dial 60 is then set for the predetermined number of tablets that are desired for a given prescription and thedispenser will then automatically dispense that number of tablets.
When it appears that the lower tube 24 is running low on tablets the empty outer tube 86 in the clip 18 is then removed and a full tube 86 will be moved into its position by the leaf spring 94. Upon all of'the tubes 86' being emptied in the clip 18 a new'group of full tubes may be substituted in their place or a new clip having full tubes may be used. It is noted that it is also contemplated that a control means will be provided for auto matically turning thedispenser'asse'mbly to' the desired position to dispense the desired'tablet in a pr'edeter mined quantity set on the control unit 60. Thus the pharmacist is free todo other things'when hewould normally be required to'manually count out tablets for filling a prescription. The pharmacist is also free of the time-consuming chore of bulk container retrieval and return to and from storage.
1. A dispenser comprising,
a support base having a plurality of discharge openings,
a closure means for selectively opening and closing each of said discharge openings,
a plurality of upstanding storage containers positioned on a floor around the periphery, said floor having openings therethrough in communication with each of said storage containers, said floor being disposed above said support base for each of said openings to register with said discharge openings upon said closure means being open,
an elevated floor over said plurality of upstanding storage containers and openings therethrough for communication with each of said storage containers, and
a second plurality of upstanding storage containers positioned on said elevated floor around the periphery in communication with said elevated floor openings and said first plurality of storage containers, and
each of said second plurality of upstanding storage containers being one of a plurality of storage containers positioned in radial rows adjacent each of said openings in said elevated floor whereby as one storage container is emptied and removed another storage container maybe moved into its place in communication with said associated openings in said elevated floor. -2. The structure of claim 1 wherein each of said second plurality of upstanding storage containers are detachably positioned on said elevated floor. 7
3; The structure of claim 1 wherein a clip is provided for inter-connecting said pluralityv of storage containers in each of said radial rows.
4. The structure of claim 3 wherein said clip is detachably positioned on said elevated floor and includes a spring means for biasing said storage containers towards the associated opening in said elevated floor, whereupon one of said containers is removed the next container in line is moved into registry with said opening in said elevated floor.
5. The structure of claim 4 wherein said clip includes a bottom wall'and an opening normally closed by a spring biased moveable slide door, cooperating means on said elevated floor for operatively engaging said slide door and moving it to an open position when said clipis positioned on said elevated floor with said clip opening in registry with said elevated floor'opening.
6. The structure of claim 1 wherein said first floor and support base are circular in shape and are rotatable about their center axisand said closure means is a valve element disposed between said support base and said first floor and includes an opening therethrough adapted to register with said opening in said first floor in said closed position and with said discharge opening in said support base in said open position.
7. The structure of claim 1 wherein a spring means operatively biases said valve element towards a closed position and a powered actuating means is adapted to operatively engage said valve elements to selectively reciprocate a predetermined number of times said valve elements between said open and closed positions.
8. The structure of claim 7 wherein said support base is positioned on a support platform including a plurality of rollers and said actuating means includes a member extending under said support base terminating in an upstanding element for selectively engaging each of said valve elements upon said first floor and support base being rotated to place a selected valve element in the path of reciprocal movement of said upstanding element. r
- 9. The structure of claim 8 wherein said first and second plurality of upstanding storage containers are formed from transparent material and a window is provided in said clip for visual inspection of the interior of said second plurality of storage containers.