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Publication numberUS3731715 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 8, 1973
Filing dateJul 19, 1971
Priority dateJul 19, 1971
Publication numberUS 3731715 A, US 3731715A, US-A-3731715, US3731715 A, US3731715A
InventorsGageant L, Greet W
Original AssigneeCampbell Soup Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Volumetric filling apparatus
US 3731715 A
Abstract
A multi-stage volumetric filler for a generally fluent food product including a rotary table which carries a series of piston-operated filling chambers. Separate components of a product to be dispensed into a container are fed upwardly from separate filling positions located beneath the rotary table. During rotary movement of the table, as a filling chamber passes over one filling position, the piston for that chamber is raised a predetermined amount allowing a predetermined quantity of one part of the product to be dispensed into the filling chamber. As the filling chamber passes over another filling position, the piston is raised further allowing the other part of the product into the filling chamber. Continued rotary movement of the table will cause the filled chamber to move to a discharge position over a container moving at the same speed as the table, at which time the piston is caused to move downwardly to discharge the product in the filling chamber into the container.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Unlted States Patent [1 1 [111 3,731,715

Gageant et al. [451 May 8, 1973 [54] VOLUMETRIC FILLING APPARATUS [75] Inventors: Louis M. Gageant; William L. Primary Bell Greet, both of Cherry Hill, NJ. Attorney-1 Togan' [73] Assignee: Campbell Soup Company, Camden, [57] ABSTRACT N.Y. A multi-stage volumetric filler for a generally fluent Filed: J y 1971 food product including a rotary table which carries a [21] Appl 164 009 series of piston-operated filling chambers. Separate components of a product to be dispensed into a con- Related U.S. Application Data tainer are fed upwardly from separate filling positions located beneath the rotary table. During rotary move- [63] 583321 2 of 829921 May I969 ment of the table, as a filling chamber passes over one filling position, the piston for that chamber is raised a predetermined amount allowing a predetermined [52] U.S. Cl. .11948711317312421516196312926434? q y of one p of the product to be dispensed [51] Int g 1/04 B65h 3/04 into the filling chamber. As the filling chamber passes [58] Fieid l 41/979 81 86 over another filling position, the piston is raised 141/100 6 further allowing the other part of the product into the 171' 222/108 3 685 filling chamber. Continued rotary movement of the 6 table will cause the filled chamber to move to a discharge position over a container moving at the same speed as the table, at which time the piston is [56] Reerences Cited caused to move downwardly to discharge the product UNITED STATES PATENTS in the filling chamber into the container.

2,249,791 7/1941 Simon et a1 ..222/345 X 10 Claims, 17 Drawing Figures Patented May 8, 1973 3,731,715

9 Sheets-Sheet 1 mvcwrons: LOUIS M. GAGEANT WI LLIAM E. GREET ATTYS:

9 Sheets-Sheet 2 Patented May 8, 1973 ATTYS.

Patented May 8, 1973 9 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTQRS: LOUIS M. GAG EANT WILLIAM E.GREET Patented May 8, 1973 9 Sheets-Sheet 4.

INVENTORS:

L U! M. GAGEANT BY WILLIAM E. GREET WW' ATTvS.

Patented May 8, 1973 9 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTORSI LOUIS M. GAGEANT WILLIAM E. GREET ATTYS.

Patented May 8, 1973 9 Sheets-Sheet 6 JNVENTORSI L UIS M. GA GEANT WILLIAM EGREET ATTYS.

Patented May 8, 1973 3,731,715

9 Sheets-Sheet mvsmons: LOUIS M. GAGEANT WILLIAM E. GREET ATTYE Patented May 8, 1973 9 Sheets-Sheet 8 S ,R T R 3 ONT Y A n n WM A L -HH' n b 1 m G w G MM A SI W LW Patented May 8, 1973 9 Sheets-Sheet 9 INVENTORSZ LOUIS M. GAGEANT 8 WILLIAM E. GREET ATTVS.

VOLUMETRIC FILLING APPARATUS This application is a continuation of our copending application Ser. No. 829,021, filed May 29, 1969, now abandoned.

This invention relates to new and useful improvements in volumetric fillers and more particularly to a multi-stage volumetric filler in which predetermined quantities of different components of a fluent or semifluent product are sequentially caused to enter a filling chamber and thereafter discharged into a container.

Volumetric fillers have been used in the food industry for many years. The standard bottom or top filler draws or receives a measured quantity of product from a supply hopper into each of a plurality of chambers and subsequently dispenses the individual quantity of product into one of a series of containers sequentially fed to the filler. As these fillers make a single draw or accept a single charge to fill each chamber, the proportion of the components, such as garnish, in each charge is not regulated by the filler and it takes the product as it is drawn from the bottom of the hopper. For this reason it was heretofore necessary that a food product composed of several components be continually agitated or stirred in the hopper before being taken by the filler so that the components and garnish would remain in suspension and be roughly distributed throughout the product in the hopper so that each container filled would hopefully receive its proportionate share of garnish. As the heavier ingredients in soups or stews such as diced meat, carrots and potatoes settle to the bottom of the hoppers, the fillers were filling some containers with less meat and garnishing than others resulting in an inconsistent and unsatisfactory product.

It is a further disadvantage of the volumetric filler now known in the industry that the shape and size of the conduits, ports and valves cause the product and, in particular, the garnish, to be shredded and degraded by pushing and pulling the product in alternate directions and at changing velocities around sharp corners and through various size orifices. Further, the bottom fill volumetric fillers frequently leaked product from between the stationary and moving plates which, not only detracted from the sanitary working conditions but, adversely affected the precise measurement of the components in the final dispensed product. The standard filler required several mechanical changes in the apparatus to adjust the quantity of product dispensed in each container and these adjustments were largely beyond the ability of the machine attendant thereby requiring the attention of an expert mechanic. Also such machines frequently require many hours to be disassembled for cleaning or replacement of parts.

Therefore, it is the primary object of this invention to provide a multi-stage, bottom feed, volumetric filler in which pre-determined quantities of different components of a single product are sequentially caused to be picked up and subsequently disposed together in containers.

It is another object of this invention to provide in the above apparatus means for maintaining and controlling a steady flow of product and avoiding agitation and changes in speed and direction of the product which break up the discrete particles and generally degrade the garnish. It is part of this objective that the machine of this invention effectively accommodates a broad range of product viscosity from heavy viscous material such as spaghetti to the more fluent materials such as soups and stews which may contain diced meat cubes over one inch in one dimension.

It is a further object of this invention to provide in the apparatus as described means for controllably pressing the stationary feed plate into contact against the bottom surface of the rotary chamber table with sufficient pressure to substantially alleviate leakage between the plates, the plate and table being specially supported to otherwise avoid misalignment of the two opposing flat surfaces.

It is a further object of this invention to provide an apparatus as described having simplified means for adjusting the proportion of the product components and regulating the total quantity of the product dispensed in cans so that such adjustments may be made by a relatively unskilled machine operator.

It is a further object of this invention to provide an apparatus as described providing easy and quick disassembly for cleaning and replacement of parts when a different product will be run.

In summary, the apparatus and method of this invention provides the advantages of a multi-stage, bottom volumetric filler in which various components of a total food product may be closely measured, drawn and dispensed to ensure the same proportion of ingredients in each container filled. Further, the apparatus protects the ingredients against deleterious working and eliminates leakage of the product. The apparatus is easily disassembled for cleaning and the quantity dispensed may be adjusted simply by unskilled personnel.

These and other objects of the present invention and the various features and details of the operation and construction thereof are hereinafter more fully set forth and described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a two-stage volumetric filler made in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the volumetric filler of FIG.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary front elevational view of the volumetric filler of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a transverse sectional view taken along line 44, FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along line 5--5, FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary plan view illustrating the means for adjusting the cam tracks which control the quantity of individual components filled by the volumetric filler;

FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of the cam track and adjusting means of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged transverse sectional view taken on line 88, FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged transverse sectional view taken on line 9-9, FIG. 6;

FIG. 10 is a rear view of the cam track element of FIG. 6;

FIG. 11 is a sectional view taken along line 1ll 1, FIG. 12 of a portion of the cam track illustrating the means for permitting adjustment of individual segments of the cam track;

FIG. 12 is a sectional view taken along line 12l2, FIG. 1 l;

FIG. 13 is a developed schematic view along the center line of the circle of individual cylinders forming the filling chambers of the volumetric filler illustrating one complete cycle of a filling operation;

FIG. 14 is an enlarged transverse sectional view taken along line 14-14, FIG. 4, illustrating the infeed of the containers to a position beneath the filling chambers to receive the product in the filling chambers;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view partially in section illustrating the operating piston for a filling chamber;

FIG. 16 is a plan view showing the arrangement of the drive mechanism for various components of the volumetric filler of the present invention; and

FIG. 17 is a side elevational view of the drive mechanism of FIG. 16.

Referring more specifically to the drawings, the volumetric filler of the present invention is illustrated as a two-stage volumetric filler adapted to dispense or feed two component portions of a generally fluent food product each containing discrete solid particles such as diced meat or vegetables in a gravy or sauce into a container.

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the volumetric filler includes a support frame F supporting a rotary table 20 which in turn carries a plurality of open cylinders 21 each having a central filling chamber 22. The components of the food product to be dispensed or deposited into containers C are contained in first and second supply hoppers 23 and 24, respectively, connected with the lower surface of the table 20, as more fully described hereinafter. The supply hoppers are rigidly supported by extensions of the frame F.

The containers C, in this instance empty cans, are supplied at the inlet side of the volumetric filler to the underside of the rotary table 20 from a conventional can conveyor 27 and feed screw 28 which serves to space the cans apart at predetermined intervals. After the cans are filled, they are carried away from the discharge side of the volumetric filler by a second conventional can conveyor 29.

The rotary table 20 is carried by the upper end of a rotatable support and drive shaft 31, as shown in FIG. 5, and the table is caused to rotate continuously at a uniform speed in the clockwise direction relative to FIGS. 2 and 4 through a filling zone and a discharge zone by drive means, more fully described hereinafter.

Positioned immediately beneath table 20 and mounted for vertical movement relative to the table is a segmental feed or shear plate 32 through which the food components fed to the filling chambers 22 pass. During normal operation, the feed plate 32, as shown in FIG. 3, is pressed upwardly and is held stationary against the lower surface of the rotary table 20 by three hydraulic cylinders 33 which in turn are supported from the frame F. Each of the piston rods 33a which extend vertically from the cylinders 33 are held under pressure of approximately 40 p.s.i., so that a total upwardly directed force of approximately 420 p.s.i., holds the plate and table together and prevents product from moving laterally and leaking from between the plates. The amount of pressure necessary to hold the plate and table together depends upon the general size of the machine and specifically the number of filling chambers and the viscosity and volume of the product being filled. The pressures stated have been found satisfactory for the filler described to prevent leakage of the product between the plate and the table and also to prevent air leaking between the plate and the table and entering the cylinder when the pistons 37 are raised in each cylinder 21. The feed plate 32 is lowered from the table 20 for cleaning of the two plates and cylinders 21 by reduction of hydraulic pressure in the cylinders 33 by control means well known in the art.

A pair of arcuately shaped feed openings 34, 35, as shown in FIG. 4, extend through the segmental feed plate 32 beneath a predetermined portion of the path of travel of the filling chambers 22 of the cylinders 21. The width of the openings 34, 35 is preferably as large as the diameter of the chambers 22 and the length of the openings preferably will be different so that one is substantially longer than the other as illustrated. The longer arcuate opening (at 34 in FIG. 4) is used to feed to the chambers the larger quantity component, such as the gravy and vegetables in a stew, and the smaller opening (at 35 in FIG. 4) feeds the smaller quantity product, such as the meat component in a stew. Enlarged opening 34 permits the first product to flow at a slower rate into the chambers 22 and prevents abrupt changes in velocity which are detrimental to the garnish, such as carrots and potatoes in a stew. By making the openings 34 and 35 as wide as the diameter of the chambers, the components flow directly upwardly into the chambers without pressing through a constriction or around a sharp corner as found in all bottom fillers now used in the industry. Of course, the shape of the openings may be varied from that shown and a third or more openings may be located in the plate, particularly when the plate has a large diameter.

Supply hoppers 23 and 24, supported by the frame F, are connected to the openings 34, 35 by a pair of generally U-shaped, wide diameter conduits 25, 26 as shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4. Flared portions 25a and 26a, terminating in flanges 25b and 26b bolted or otherwise secured to the segmental feed plate 32, are provided at the terminal ends of the conduits 25, 26, respectively, to provide connection from the conduits to the feed plate. The substantial U-shape of the conduits 25, 26 which in the filler disclosed have a diameter of 4 inches, contrasted against the width of the openings 34, 35 of about 2 inches, allow the product to flow smoothly from the hoppers at a slow rate without abrupt changes in direction and velocity through the conduits and then continuously upwardly into the chambers 22. As the chambers are fed from the bottom and have an opening diameter which is substantially equal to the width of the openings 34, 35, the product flows directly upward into the chambers and then, after partial rotation of the chambers, flows directly downward into the containers C without further recycling or other movements. The flared portions 25a and 26a further promote the smooth handling of the products by distributing the products over the entire surface of the arcuate openings 34, 35.

Supply conduits 25 and 26 are preferably provided with intermediate flexible rubber sections 250 and 260, respectively, therein as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, to prevent the weight or possible movement of the hoppers and product from warping the feed plate away from the table 20. Also, the flexible sections permit the feed plate 32 to be lowered for cleaning without requiring the supply conduits to be disconnected from their respective supply hopper or from the feed plate.

The cylinders 21 extend downwardly through openings 38 in the rotary table as shown in FIG. 5, and terminate adjacent the upper surface of the segmental feed plate 32. Integral flanges 39 may be provided on each cylinder 21 in engagement with the upper surface of the rotary table and suitable bolts or other means (not shown) may be provided to hold the cylinders in position on the table. Pistons 37 formed, for example as shown in FIG. 15, are provided within each cylinder 21 to control the quantity of the two products introduced sequentially into chambers 22.

During rotation of the table 20 as a cylinder 21 is brought to a position overlying the initial portion of the first feed opening 34 in the segmental feed plate 32, the piston of that cylinder is moved upwardly at a gradual uniform rate drawing or allowing the product to flow from the hopper 23 through the supply tube and upwardly through the opening 34 in the feed table into the filling chamber 22 of that cylinder. Gradual upward movement of the piston of that cylinder is continued until the cylinder approaches a position overlying the terminal end of the opening 34. Upon reaching this position, movement of the piston is discontinued and the piston remains in a fixed vertical position until the cylinder reaches a position overlying the initial end portion of the opening 35 in the segmental feed plate 32. At that time, the piston is again gradually drawn upwardly at a uniform rate drawing or allowing product to flow from the feed hopper 24, through the supply tube 26 and opening 35 in the feed plate, into the filling chamber. Upward movement of the piston is discontinued as the cylinder approaches the terminal end of the opening 35. It has been found that the condition of the food product is enhanced if a position gravity head is maintained by the product in the hoppers so that the product tends to flow upwardly into the chambers and follow the rising pistons without any substantial amount of suction being exerted on the product. Of course, the rate of flow of the product into the chambers will vary depending on its viscosity but the primary purpose of the cam track is to lift the weight of the pistons rather than sucking in the product. The rising pistons accurately measure the quantity of product taken at each feed opening.

Thus, during movement of a particular cylinder 21 from a position overlying the initial end of the opening 34 to a position overlying the terminal end of the opening 35, a first predetermined quantity of the product contained in the hopper 23 is drawn or allowed into the filling chamber of that cylinder and thereafter a second predetermined quantity of the product contained in the hopper 24 is drawn or allowed into the cylinder beneath the product from the hopper 23. It is at this point during the processing of the food product to be dispensed that these two components of the product are first brought into contact with one another.

In accordance with the present invention means are provided to control the proportion and quantity of the products drawn into the filling chamber 22 from the supply hoppers 23 and 24. This is accomplished in the illustrated embodiment of the present invention by providing an adjustable cam track 41 circumscribing the path of travel of the cylinders 21 as shown in FIGS. 6-13. Cam followers 42 carried by each piston 37 project radially outward beyond the walls of the cylinders 21 into engagement with the cam track as shown in FIG. 5. If desired, a longitudinal slot 43 may be provided in each cylinder through which a wear block 44 carried by the upper end of each piston extends. The wear block prevents rotary movement of the piston within the cylinder and guides the piston vertically with respect to the cylinders. The wear block in turn may support the cam followers 42 as shown in FIG. 15.

The cam track 41 is part of a unitary cam track assembly unit (FIGS. 6 to 12, inclusive) which may be readily removed from the volumetric filler to permit easy and thorough cleaning and sterilizing of the volumetric filler. The cam track assembly includes a circular support ring 45 mounted concentric with the rotary table 20 (FIG. 7). A pair of integral support lugs 46 and 47 project radially outward of the ring 45 at the righthand side of the ring as viewed in FIG. 2 and engage and are removably bolted to upwardly extending leg portions of the frame F, for example, as shown at 48 and 49, respectively. A support plate 51 formed integrally with the ring 45 extends laterally from the ring at the opposite side from the support lugs 46 and 47 and is removably bolted to upstanding leg portions of the frame F as indicated at 52 and 53. Thus, by remov' ing the four bolts 48, 49, 52, and 53, the entire cam track assembly unit may be lifted ofi the volumetric filler to facilitate repairs or to substitute a different assembly designed to fill different capacity containers.

The cam track 41 includes a plurality of segmental arcuate track sections 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, and 61 shown schematically in FIG. 13, all interconnected with one another as set forth below to permit adjustment of the sections of the track relative to one another. The track section 55 is the lowermost section of the cam track and is bolted or otherwise secured directly to the support ring as shown at 63 in FIG. 10. This track section 55 determines the lowermost rest position of the cam follower 42 prior to the piston and cylinder associated with that cam follower reaching a position overlying the initial end of the first arcuate feed opening 34.

Following in the direction of rotation of the rotary table 20 and in the direction of movement of the cam followers, the next track section 56, as shown in the developed schematic view of FIG. 13, extends angularly upward in the direction of the cylinder travel from the terminal end of the track section 55 to a position short of the terminal end of the arcuate feed opening 34. This track section 56 is connected to the track section 55 by means of a pin 64 carried by one end of the track section 56 and engaged in a longitudinally extending slot 65 in the terminal end of the track section 55. This pin and slot connection permits both angular and longitudinal movement of the track section 56 relative to the track section 55 upon adjustment of the cam track.

The next adjacent track section 57 extends in a horizontal direction parallel to the support ring 45 and determines the rest position of the cam followers 42 and pistons 37 after drawing the first portion of the product into the cylinders through the feed opening 34. This track section 57 is secured to and carried by a first cam track adjusting plate 66 which overlies and is adjustably supported by the support plate 51 as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. The track section 57 is pivotally connected to the terminal end of the angular track section 56 by means of a pin 67 to permit relative angular movement between the track section 56 and track section 57. The straight run of the track section 57 terminates at a position overlying the initial end of the second feed opening 35 at which point it is connected to the track section 58 which extends angularly upward and terminates short of the terminal end of the second feed opening 35. The track section 58 is interconnected with the terminal end of the track section 57 by means of a pin 68 carried by the track section 58 and engaged within a slot 69 extending longitudinally of the terminal end of the track section 57. This pin and slot connection is illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12 and permits both angular and longitudinal movement of the track section 58 relative to the track section 57 during adjustment of the cam track.

The next adjacent track section is section 59 which extends in horizontal direction parallel to the support ring 45 and determines the rest position of the cam followers and pistons after the second portion of the product is drawn into the cylinder through the second feed opening 35.

The cam track section 59 has a second cam track section adjusting plate 71 formed integrally therewith and overlying a portion of the first cam track section adjusting plate 66 and adjustably carried thereby. The cam track section 59 is pinned to the terminal end of the cam track section 58 as indicated at 72 to permit angular movement of the cam track section 58 relative to the cam track section 59.

Upon continued movement of a cam follower around the cam track, the cam follower engages the cam track sections 60 and 61 which are secured in spaced parallel relation to one another as shown in FIG. and which are adapted to receive between them the cam follower 42. The cam track sections 60 and 61 extend angularly downward in the direction of travel of the cam followers and cause the product in cylinders 21 to be discharged as the cam follower of the pistons associated with such cylinders pass along this section of the cam track. The cam track section 60 is pivotally connected at its leading end to the terminal end of the track section 59 by means of a pin as indicated at 74 and is interconnected with the leading end of the stationary cam track sections 55 by means of a pin 75 carried by the track section 60 and engaged within a slot 76 extending longitudinally of the leading end of the cam track section 55.

Separate adjusting means are provided to permit ad justment of the stroke of the piston when drawing a product through the first feed opening 34 into the cylinder and of the stroke of the piston when drawing a product through the second feed opening 35 into the cylinder to permit adjustment of both the proportion and total quantity of products drawn into the cylinders and later discharged into a container. Adjustment of the first suction stroke of the piston caused by the first upwardly inclined cam track section 56 is accomplished by adjusting the relative vertical position of the first cam track adjusting plate 66 relative to the support ring 45 as shown best in FIGS. 6 and 7. Vertical movement of the plate 66 is caused by simultaneously rotating a series of jack screws 78 rotatably supported by the support plate 51 and received within threaded nuts 79 secured to the first adjusting plate 66. Each jack screw 78 has a pinion 81 fixed to its lower portion which in turn is engaged by a worm gear 82 carried by a rotatable adjusting shaft 83. The adjusting shaft 83 in turn is mounted in suitable bearings 84 secured to the support plate 51. As the shaft is rotated by rotating the adjusting hand wheel 85, each of the jack screws 78 are simultaneously rotated causing vertical adjusting movement of the first adjusting plate 66, and thus, corresponding vertical movement of the position of the cam track section 57, shown also in FIG. 3.

The adjusting means for the second adjusting plate 71 is carried by the first adjusting plate 66 so that as a change is made in the initial stroke of the piston over the first feed opening 34, the second intake stroke of the piston is automatically changed in location of the extremes of the stroke but the net distance of the second piston stroke and, therefore, the quantity of product drawn, remains constant.

To vary the second intake stroke of the piston over the second feed opening 35, the second adjusting plate 71 (FIG. 7) is moved vertically relative to the first adjusting plate 66. This is accomplished by means of a pair of jack screws 86 rotatably carried by the first adjusting plate 66 and received within threaded nuts 87 carried by the second adjusting plate 71, as shown in FIG. 8. Each of the jack screws 86 has fixed thereto adjacent its lower end a pinion 88 which is engaged by rotatable worm gear 89 carried by an adjusting shaft 90 which in turn is mounted in suitable bearings 91 carried by the first cam track adjusting plate 66. Upon rotation of the adjusting shaft 90 by rotating the hand wheel 92, the jack screws 86 are caused to rotate simultaneously thereby changing the vertical position of the second adjusting plate 71 with respect to the first adjusting plate 66. Vertical movement of the second adjusting plate causes a corresponding change in vertical position of the horizontal track segment 59 thereby causing a change in the stroke of the piston when the piston passes over the feed opening 35. Thus, rotation of the hand wheel will cause a change in volume of the first portion of the product drawn into the cylinder and rotation of the hand wheel 92 will cause a change in the volume of the second portion of the product drawn into the cylinder. It is the particular advantage of the cam adjusting apparatus described that minor changes may be made in the total product quantity placed in the containers by small adjustments of only the lower plate assembly 66 without adjustment of the upper plate assembly 71.

It is important that the containers to be filled are brought into the volumetric filler in timed relation with the movement of the rotary table 20 and that a container C be directly beneath a cylinder during the entire downward or discharge stroke of a piston. In the illustrated embodiment of the present invention, the containers to be filled are shown as cans which are fed to the volumetric filler by the can conveyor 27. These cans are caused to be spaced apart by the can feed screw 28 and are delivered into pockets 93 of a continuously rotating can feed wheel 94. The cans are retained in the feed wheel pockets 93 during rotary movement of the can feed wheel 94 by an arcuate retaining wall 95, FIG. 4, and are supported within the pockets by support rods 96 extending beneath the path of travel of the cans.

The can feed wheel 94 feeds the cans to a position beneath the rotary table and the terminus of the segmental feed plate 32 as shown in FIG. 4, at which time the cans are engaged by outwardly projecting fingers 97 carried by a continuously driven feed chain 98 and removed from the pockets and caused to follow an arcuate path beneath and coaxial with the rotary table 20. During the time the cans are caused to follow the arcuate path beneath the rotary table 20, the cans continue to ride along the support rods 96 and are guided at the desired arcuate path by an inner retaining wall 101 formed as a continuation of the retaining wall 95 and an outer retaining wall 102. As the cans are moved by the feed chain 98 from a position beneath the segmental feed plate 32, the cans are elevated by an upwardly inclined portion 96a of the support rods 96 so that the open upper ends of the cans are moved to a position closely adjacent the lower surface of the rotary table 20, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 14.

As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 13, the segmental feed plate 32 terminates as indicated at 32a at a point just prior to the start of the downward or discharge stroke of the pistons 37. At the terminal end of the segmental feed plate the lower ends of the filling chambers 22 of the cylinders 21 are opened or exposed to the atmosphere and a can must, at this point, be beneath the lower end of the filling chamber and remain beneath the filling chamber during the entire discharge stroke of the pistons 37. Accordingly, the speed of the feed chain 98 and the positions of the projecting fingers 97 is correlated with the speed of rotation of the rotary table 20 and the position of the cylinders carried by the table so that the projecting fingers of the feed chain maintain a can in the exact desired position beneath each cylinder 21 as the cam follower 42 and cam track segments 60 and 61 cause the downward or discharge stroke of the pistons 37 A continuously rotating drive sprocket 103 in engagement with the feed chain 98 causes desired movement of the feed chain in the direction of rotation of the rotary table 20. The feed chain 98 passes over idler sprockets 104 and 105, FIG. 4, spaced inwardly of the rotary table from the path of travel of the cylinders so that the fingers 97 carried by the feed chain 98 will pass clear of the flared portions 25a and 26a of the feed tubes 25 and 26. The second idler sprocket 105 is positioned adjacent the point at which the fingers of the feed chain initially engage the cans by the pockets of the feed wheel 94. From the idler sprocket 105 to the drive sprocket 103 the position of the chain is guided by a stationary arcuate wear plate 106 positioned beneath and concentric with the rotary table 20 to maintain the fingers 97 in engagement with the cans as the cans are guided along their path of travel beneath their rotary table 20 by the retaining walls 101 and 102 and the support rods 96.

At the end of the discharge stroke of the pistons 37 the cans are engaged within pockets 107 of a continuously rotating can discharge wheel 108 which directs the can further along the support rods 96 in engagement with a retaining wall 109 formed as a continuation of the retaining wall 101 and onto the discharge conveyor 29 from which point the cans are conveyed or otherwise carried to some further processing equipment.

FIG. 13 is a developed schematic view along the center line of the path of travel of the cylinders 21 and shows the relationship of the cylinders and rotary table to the first and second feed openings 34 and 35 in the segmental feed plate 32. This figure also shows the relationship of the cam track 41 and track elements 55 to 61, inclusive, with respect to the feed openings 34 and 35 and with respect to the can movement during discharge of the product. As illustrated in FIG. 13, as a cylinder passes over the first feed opening 34, the piston associated with that cylinder is caused to raise drawing a predetermined quantity of the first product into the filling chamber 22. The piston of that cylinder then remains at rest until the cylinder passes the second feed opening 35 at which time the piston of that cylinder is caused to again be raised. drawing a predetermined quantity of the second product into the filling chamber. The piston again remains at rest until that cylinder is in a position over a can moving beneath the cylinder. The piston is then caused to start its discharge stroke and discharges all of the product within the cylinder into the can beneath that cylinder. The can is then removed and the cylinder is in a position to start another filling cycle.

It is important that the rotary table 20, the rotary can feed wheel 94, the feed chain 98 and the rotary can discharge wheel 108 operate together in a timed relationship. Accordingly, it is desirable that a single drive motor M drive all of these elements in a timed relationship. One form of the drive mechanism to accomplish this is illustrated in FIGS. 16 and 17 of the drawings. The drive motor M, through a gear reduction box 111, drives a continuous drive chain 112 which in turn drives the can feed wheel 94, the sprocket 103 for the feed chain and the can discharge wheel 108. The table support and drive shaft 31 is supported by and driven directly by the gear reduction box 111. As shown in FIGS. 16 and 17, the continuous drive chain 112 engages driven sprockets 113, 114 and 115 which in turn, through suitable gear boxes 116, 117 and 118, respectively, causes the desired rotary movement of the can feed wheel 94, feed chain drive sprocket 103 and can discharge wheel 108, respectively.

As a modification to the basic apparatus described, a drip collecting trough may be provided to collect drops of fluent product which cling to the bottom openings of the chambers 22 after the product has been discharged into the containers C. For this purpose, as shown in FIG. 13, the leading edge of the stationary base plate is provided with a transverse narrow lip 121 followed by a transverse trough 122 which precedes the edge of the base plate 32 pressed against the bottom surface of the rotary table 20. As the table rotates, the drops of product hanging from beneath the chambers 22 pass over the lip 121 but are scrapped off by the edge of the plate so that the product falls into trough 122 and is collected at the distal end for discarding or return to the supply hoppers.

In the description of the volumetric filler of this invention, only two supply hoppers have been shown for the purpose of containing two separate components of the product to be filled in containers. It is contemplated that three or more supply hoppers may be utilized with a separate supply tube and feed opening for each supply hopper and a separate intake stroke for the piston for each supply hopper. Additionally, while only a single embodiment of the present invention has been herein illustrated, it is not intended to limit the invention to such a disclosure but changes and modifications may be incorporated thereinv We claim:

1. In a volumetric filling apparatus for dispensing measured quantities of products into containers, said apparatus having a charging zone and a discharging zone, a table mounted for rotation about an upright axis for rotary movement in a direction from said charging zone to said discharging zone, said table having a plurality of peripheral ports spaced radially outward from said axis, a like plurality of hollow chambers formed by cylinders mounted on said table in registry with respective ports to provide fluid communication therewith, a piston mounted for reciprocation in each of said cylinders, and means to rotate said table on its axis, the improvement comprising: a plurality of product supply means to supply a plurality of products to said volumetric filling apparatus, said product supply means including a flat feed plate having a plurality of feed openings therein corresponding to said plurality of product supply means with said feed openings located contiguous to the bottom surface of said table and within said charging zone to register sequentially with each of said ports and cylinders upon rotation of said table, said feed plate positioned beneath said table in engagement with the bottom surface of said table; said product supply means further including a supply hopper associated with each feed opening to supply product to each said opening, and a separate supply conduit for each hopper leading from each hopper to its associated feed opening with one end of each conduit connected to the supply hopper and the other end of each conduit having an upwardly directed portion connected to its associated feed opening; cam means mounted separately from said table and adjacent the path of travel of said pistons to cause upward movement of said pistons relative to said cylinders in a plurality of steps with one upward step of movement of each piston occurring each time each piston moves over each of said plurality of feed openings to draw predetermined quantities of products into said cylinders through each of said plurality of feed openings, said cam means including a plurality of generally arcuate track sections pivotally connected to one another, at least one of said track sections overlying each feed opening and being inclined upwardly in the direction of rotation of said table over said feed opening, at least one additional track section extending from each upwardly inclined section in a horizontal direction in the direction of rotation of said table, a member connected with one of said horizontal track sections; adjusting means including first adjusting means interconnected with said member to adjust the vertical height of said one horizontal track section, and second adjusting means carried by said member and interconnected with another of said horizontal sections to adjust the vertical height of the other horizontal section relative to said one of said horizontal sections; and said cam means having a downwardly inclined portion at said discharging zone to discharge the products from said cylinders into containers at said discharging zone as said cylinders and containers advance through the discharging zone.

2. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said cam means comprises: 'a cam follower carried by each piston in a position extending radially of said axis of rotation of said table, cam track sections disposed above said table in a substantially continuous circuit around the axis of rotation of said table in engagement with each cam follower, said cam track having a lower run underlying the cam followers in the charging zone to displace the cam followers and the pistons upwardly in said charging zone, said cam track having an upper run overlying the cam followers in the discharging zone to displace the cam followers and the pistons downwardly in said discharging zone.

3. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 further including container drive means to advance the containers through the discharge zone at the same speed as that of the table, said means including a flexible chain and a plurality of radially extending fingers attached to the chain at spaced intervals, said fingers engaging one container, and a plurality of sprockets spaced apart but in the same horizontal plane to control path of travel of the chain so that the fingers travel beneath the parts of the table through the discharge zone but follow a path radially inwardly of the table through the charging zone.

4. Apparatus in accordance with claim 3 including common drive means to cause rotation of said table at a predetermined rate of rotation and to drive said container drive means at a speed in predetermined timed relation with the rate of rotation of said table.

5. In volumetric filling apparatus for dispensing measured quantities of product into containers, said apparatus having a charging zone in which product is caused to enter the filling apparatus and a discharging zone in which product is discharged from the filling apparatus into the containers, a table mounted for rotation about an upright axis for rotary movement in a direction from said charging zone to said discharging zone, said table having a plurality of peripheral ports spaced radially outward from said axis, a like plurality of hollow chambers formed by cylinders mounted on said table in registry with respective ports to provide fluid communication therewith, a piston mounted for reciprocation in each of said cylinders, and means to rotate said table on its axis, the improvement comprising: a feed plate underlying the table at the charging zone, feed plate support means underlying the feed plate and in engagement with the feed plate, said feed plate support means in engagement with said feed plate at a plurality of spaced locations, means at each of said locations resiliently urging said feed plate into engagement with the underside of said table, said feed plate support means movable between upper and lower limit positions and operable in the upper limit position thereof to hold the feed plate against the underside of the table to prevent leakage of product and air between the table and the feed plate and in the lower limit position thereof to withdraw the feed plate from engagement with the underside of the table, means defining an opening extending through the feed plate to register sequentially with each of said ports and said cylinders upon rotation of said table, a supply hopper mounted separately from said feed plate to contain the product to be dispensed, a conduit leading from the hopper to the opening in said feed plate, container drive means underlying said table at said discharging zone and operable to receive containers at the beginning of said discharging zone relative to the direction of rotation of said table and move said containers in an arcuate path beneath the discharging zone of said table in axial alignment with the ports in said table, and piston actuating means to cause said pistons to move upwardly within said charging zone to draw product into said cylinders and cause said pistons to move downwardly during passage through said discharging zone to discharge product from said cylinders to said containers.

6. Apparatus in accordance with claim in which the feed plate support means includes a separate air cylinder at each of said locations to resiliently urge the feed plate in engagement with the underside of said table and cause movement of said feed plate between said upper and said lower limit positions.

7. Apparatus in accordance with claim 5 including a plurality of openings in said feed plate adapted to register sequentially with each of said ports and said cylinders upon rotation of said table, a plurality of supply hoppers corresponding in number to the plurality of openings in said feed plate, a separate conduit leading from each supply hopper to its corresponding feed plate opening, said feed plate support means spaced relative to opposite side edges of said feed plate openings to maintain the feed plate in engagement with the table entirely about each of the openings, and at least a portion of each of said conduits being resilient to permit movement of said feed plate relative to each of said supply hoppers.

8. Apparatus in accordance with claim 5 in which the container drive means to advance the containers beneath the table through said discharging zone includes a flexible chain and a plurality of radially extending fingers attached to the chain at spaced intervals adapted to engage and move the containers in said arcuate path beneath the discharging zone of said table, and guide means for said chain to guide said chain in an arcuate path beneath the ports in said table in said discharging zone and to guide said chain in a path radially inward of said table ports, of said feed plate support means and of said conduit during passage beneath said charging zone.

9. Apparatus in accordance with claim 8 including container support and guide means to support the containers moving beneathsaid table and elevate said containers into close proximity with the underside of said table during passage of said containers through said discharging zone.

10. Apparatus in accordance with claim 7 in which the piston actuating means includes a cam track extending generally circumferentially about said table and positioned above said table, said cam track having a plurality of segments at said charging zone corresponding in number to the plurality of openings in said feed plate operable to draw said pistons upwardly in said cylinders one step each time said cylinders pass over an opening in said feed plate, and said cam track having a downwardly inclined segment at said discharging zone to force the pistons in said cylinders downwardly as said cylinders pass through said discharging zone, first adjusting means for the cam track to permit adjustment of the total upward and total downward stroke of the pistons within said cylinders to thereby control the volume of product drawn into said cylinders and discharged into said containers, and second adjusting means to permit independent adjustment of the plurality of cam track segments in said charging zone to thereby permit independent adjustment of the quantity of product drawn into the pistons from each of the plurality of said supply hoppers.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3991704 *Jul 18, 1974Nov 16, 1976Loctite CorporationCoating apparatus
US4290519 *Oct 27, 1978Sep 22, 1981Diamond International CorporationArticle support system
US4307761 *Aug 22, 1979Dec 29, 1981Diamond International CorporationArticle inflating system including an endless belt assembly
US4838326 *Oct 29, 1987Jun 13, 1989Campbell Soup CompanyLinear volumetric system with automatic latching means for clamping together adjacent filler cylinders
US5172835 *Jan 5, 1990Dec 22, 1992Unisabi, S.A.Device for dosing products in past form, in particular meat or other protein emulsions
US5549144 *Feb 7, 1995Aug 27, 1996Cloud CorporationCompression filler for aerateable powders
EP2384977A1 *May 3, 2011Nov 9, 2011Heinrich Frey Maschinenbau GmbHMethod and device for filling pastes
WO1999055583A1 *Apr 27, 1999Nov 4, 1999Andersson Sven ArneDual chamber product tank for dual stream filling system
Classifications
U.S. Classification141/107, 222/309, 198/459.2, 198/459.3, 141/146, 222/345
International ClassificationB65B3/00, B65B3/32
Cooperative ClassificationB65B3/326, B65B3/323
European ClassificationB65B3/32C, B65B3/32B