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Publication numberUS3797536 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 19, 1974
Filing dateSep 2, 1971
Priority dateSep 2, 1971
Publication numberUS 3797536 A, US 3797536A, US-A-3797536, US3797536 A, US3797536A
InventorsKing D, Mccarthy R, Pinto P
Original AssigneeLeslie Salt Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
High-speed liquid dispenser
US 3797536 A
Abstract
A high-speed device for dispensing a volumetrically measured liquid charge into each of a series of containers. A continuous chain moves a series of dispensing units around a closed path that overlies a container conveyor line. Each unit measures its charge and spills any excess back to the supply. Each conveyed container is aligned with one dispensing unit and moves with it in alignment along a straight path; the container actuates an outlet from the unit through which the liquid is dispensed into the container.
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United States Patent [191 Pinto et a1.

[ HIGH-SPEED LIQUID DISPENSER [75] Inventors: Peter J. Pinto, Union City; Donald M. King, Alameda; Roy B. McCarthy, San Leandro, all of Calif.

[73] Assignee: Leslie Salt Co., San Francisco, Calif. 22 Filedi Sept. 2, 1971 21 App]. No.: 177,366

[52] US. Cl ..141/134,141/157, 141/283, 14-1/345, 141/352, 141/392 [51] Int. Cl. B67c 3/20, B67d 5/02, B65b 3/06,

. B65b 3/32 [58] Field of Search... 141/13l,134,156,157, 141/283, 344, 345, 351, 352, 392

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,517,708 6/1970 Eisenberg 141/131 X 3.002.540 10/1961 Monroe 141/157 X 2,631,768 3/1953 Martin 141/134 2,934,101 4/1960 Guckel 141/134 X James 141/344 X [451 Mar. 19, 1974 2,299,572 10/1942 Estenes 141/351 X 3.1 16,765 l/1964 Guckel 141/134 3,336,956 8/1967 Thorn 141/134 X 2,922,444 1/1960 Minard 141/157 X 3.289.712 12/1966 Smith 141/352 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLlCATIONS 1,174,195 7/1964 Germany 141/131 Primary Examiner-Wayne A. Morse, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Owen, Wickersham &

Erickson 5 7 ABSTRACT A high-speed device for dispensing a volumetrically measured liquid charge into-each of a series of containers. A continuous chain moves a series of dispensing units around a closed path that overlies a container conveyor line. Each unit measures its charge and spills any excess back to the supply. Each conveyed container is aligned with one dispensing unit and moves with it in alignment along a straight path; the container actuates an outlet from the unit through which the liquid is dispensed into the container.

12 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures Pmmmumam 3797536 INVENTORS PETER J. NTO DDNALD M. KING ROY B. MCCARTHY OMMMEMW ATTORNEYS FIG] PMENTED MAR 19 974 SHEET 2 BF 4 Pmmzoumswu 33191536 O (Y) INVENTQRS E m PETER J. PINTO DONALD M. KING BYROY B MCCARTHY 0W, wwmxw ATTORNEYS PAIENTEUHAR 1 9 m4 3; 797.536

sum & [1F 4 INVE TORS PETER J. PINT DONALD M. KING BYROY B MCCARTHY 01/1/ ICUJM- ATTORNEYS HIGH-SPEED LIQUID DISPENSER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a high-speed device for dispensing a measured amount of liquid into containers such as cans or jars.

Canning operations have been getting faster and faster, and as the speed has increased, some of the steps involved in the canning operation have been unable to cope with those increasing speeds. 'For example, it is often desirable to dispense measured volumes of liquid into containers. The liquid may be a salt solution used in order to provide a standard amount of salt for the food, or it may be a charge of some other liquid, whether a flavoring ingredient or a main ingredient. In any event, there have been difficulties in getting the desired charge into the containers rapidly enough while maintaining accuracy. Devices are known which do a satisfactory job up to about 200 to 250 containers per minute, but once the speed exceeds about 250 containers per minute, these prior-art devices are not satisfactory; and above about 300 containers per minute, none of the known devices appears to be entirely operative.

The present invention is able to di spense'at relatively slow speeds, but is also able to operate accurately well above 300 containers per minute, even as high as 900 containers per minute. Thus, it is able to handle not only the current highspeed container lines where troubles have already been developed with prior-art liquid dispensers, but also is able to operate at speeds to which operators have not yet dared to move their container lines, though they would if other things were equal, and they probably will in the future with the aid of the present invention. The present invention goes a long way towards enabling much more rapid operation than is possible today.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention employs a continuous track carrying a large number of dispensing assemblies. During one part of their continuous cycle, each dispensing assembly is filled with a desired volume of liquid, and then during a straight-path part of its movement, it is aligned with a container, and the container actuates a device for opening a valve and causing the desired volume of liquid to flow rapidly into the container from the dispensing assembly. Positive synchronization between the container and the dispensing assembly is obtained over the straight path, so that the two are moving together while the liquid is coming out of the metering chamber and so that there is an adequate amount of opening through the dispensing assembly to dispense the entire charge of liquid during that path. The invention dispenses the liquid into the container in accurate amounts, since the container is not only synchronized for movement with the dispenser, but is also centered relative to the outlet from the dispensing assembly.

The dispensing assemblies themselves are novel. They comprise hopper-shaped units having a main cylindrical portion and a funnel-like bottom opening, which is normally closed by a plug. Inside each dispensing assembly along its center line is a bellows overflow unit. This unit is adjusted to set a desired height outside the bellows unit in the main dispensing portion for measuring the charge of liquid, andthen all liquid which exceeds the volume of that charge overflows into the bellows unit. The bellows unit is open at the bottom, so that even when the measuring part of the unit is held closed by the plug, liquid ,can flow straight through the bellows unit. The bellows thus measures the liquid charge to be dispensed, leaving only a predetermined volume in the metering chamber.

The dispensing assembly is given its charge from a device whichpurposely overfills it, and the excess liquid is returned to the storage tank for later use. Thus, the invention assures a sufficient charge in the dispensing unit and also guarantees that the desired volume will not be exceeded. There is a time lag between the time the unit is filled and the time it engages the synchronizing machinery for the container, so that there is no further dripping by the time the unit reaches the container, and the measured amount is the entire amount dispensed.

All this will become clearer from consideration of the preferred embodiment described below in connection with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an apparatusembodying the invention, with the top cover removed except for a small portion thereof.

FIG. 2 is a view in side elevation of the device of FIG. ll with some portions broken away and shown in sec.- tion.

FIG. 3 is a view in end elevation looking from the right-hand end of FIG. 1, with portions broken away and shown in section, in order to show parts normally behind other parts.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view in elevation and in section taken along the line 4-4 in FIG. 1 showing the measuring device with its plug in closed position.

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 but with the cam mechanism and valve shown in the position in which the liquid charge flows" from the dispensing assembly into the container.

FIG. 6 is a view in section taken along the line 6-6 in FIG. 5, showing the opening through which the liq'- uid flows.

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary view in side elevation of the trip lever being engaged by the tripping cam.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERREDEMBODIMENT A liquid dispensing device 10 embodying the invention is shown in FIGS. l3 mounted alongside a conveyor 11 on which move a series on containers 12 such as cans. The conveyor 11 has a straight path, at least when it passes along beside the device 10 of this invention, and moves quite rapidly, e.g., more than 300 containers per minute. As shown in FIG. 1, the containers 12 enter at the right and move to the left, but'the device can be adjusted to move in the opposite direction. During their movement through this liquid dispensing devicelfl, the containers 12 are to be provided with a volumetrically measured charge of liquid 13.

The liquid dispensing device 10 includes a storage tank l5which has a wall 14 and which is kept filled to a desired height with the liquid 13 by a suitable supply device, including an inlet opening 16 and a tube 17 leading from a larger supply of liquid (not shown) to the inlet 16. The inlet 16 extends through the bottom 18 of the tank and a ball-type float valve 19 maintains the liquid level at a constant height. The device 10 itself is enclosed in a housing 20 so that there is no way for stray material to enter, all the material entering it being that coming in through the inlet tube 17; otherwise the device is completely enclosed in the housing 20, which has a top portion 21 and side walls 22.

At the bottom, the tank 15 is provided with an outlet 23 leading by a conduit 24 to a pump 25, and from the pump 25 through a tube 26 to a dispenser-filling tube 27. This tube 27 extends along a curved beginning portion 28, a straight main portion 29, and a curved end portion 30, and lies entirely to one side of the actual filling or dispensing side of the apparatus, in what may be called the charging portion of the device 10. The tube 27 has a closed end 31 and has a series of openings 32 through which the liquid flows down into the various metering chambers.

Beneath the tube 27 passes a moving circuit of metering assemblies or units 33, the metering units 33 being provided in large number, each unit 33 being secured to a continuous chain 34 by a suitable bracket 35. The chain 34 may be driven by a large sprocket wheel 36 at one end of the device, and its path may be controlled by an idler sprocket wheel 37 at the other end. The chain 34 is moved during operation at a rate determined by the containers 12 passing along beside the apparatus, the chain 34 being coupled to a continuous helix or screw 38 which engages the containers 12. Thus, on the dispensing side of the apparatus 10, each container 12, when it engages the helix 38, is synchronized with and is centered directly under one of the dispensing assemblies 33.

Each metering assembly 33 comprises a hopper-like container 40 having an upper cylindrical portion 41, a lower frustoconical portion 42, and an opening 43 at the bottom. Each of the metering assemblies 33 is suspended by suitable bracket means 35 to the chain 34 and is provided with an upper cross member 44 having a clearance drilled opening 45 therethrough. Below this drilled member 45 and centered with respect to the containers 12, is a bellows member 46 having a threaded member 47 across its open upper end. A threaded rod 48 extends down into the bellows member 46 and has a slotted upper end 49 so that it'can be adjusted to collapse or extend the bellows 46, according to which direction the threaded rod 48 is turned, to push the bellows member 46 further down or higher up.

This bellows member 46 comprises an overflow device, being always open both at its upper end and its lower end, and liquid that flows into the bellows 46 will not be charged into a container 12. Therefore, the height of the bellows member 46 determines the height at which the liquid 13 will be in the annular space or metering chamber 50 surrounding the bellows 46 at a time that the liquid 13 is charged to the container 12. The flow from the charging tube 27 and from its openings 32 is such as to be certain to over-fill eachof these metering chambers 50, so that there will be in each metering chamber 50 exactly the volume of liquid 13 desired, as determined by the height of the upper end of the bellows member 46 above the bottom of the hopper portion 42. Beyond the last opening 32 in the pipe 27 and the zone of contact with the container 12 is sufficient distance to assure any excess liquid 13 will have flowed out through the bottom of the bellows member 46 before the unit 33 arrives over a container 12. The excess liquid falls back into the tank 15; at the bottom of the bellows 46 is an anchor spider 53, which is open for the flow of the overflow liquid therethrough.

A plug member 52 is normally seated against the portion 42 and keeps the measured liquid charge 13 within the metering chamber 50. This plug 52 is operated by a cam 54 which is mounted on a shaft 55 and extends through the dispensing unit 33 transversely across it to a trip lever 56. The trip lever 56 in turn is engaged by tripping cam 57 on the end of a horizontal arm 58. The arm 58 is mounted rigidly to the upper end of a vertical shaft 60 and a compression spring 61 held by a pin 62 tends to urge the arm 58 against a stop 63. When the arm 58 abuts the stop 63, the tripping cam 57 cannot engage the trip levers 56, and this is the no-container, no-fill position. However, a container feeler 64 is secured to the lower end of the shaft 60, and when a container 12 on the conveyor 11 enters the path where it is about to be engaged by the worm 38, it engages the feeler 64 and swings it in toward the axis of the worm 38, rotating the shaft 60 and thereby swinging in the arm 58 which liesdirectly above the container feeler 64. Then the trip lever 56 of the dispenser 33 for that container engages the tripping cam 57, rotating the shaft 55 to force the cam 54 to raise the anchor spider 53 and the plug 52, so that the measured volume of liquid inside the metering chamber 50 flows out into the container 12.

To make sure that the cam 54 will be lowered and the plug 52 close before the metering chamber 50 is again recharged, a reset lever 66 engages the trip lever 56 at the end of the dispensing or filling path.

Thus, in operation, the dispensing tank 15 is kept at a desired level by inflow through the inlet conduit 17 and inlet opening 16, and the liquid 13 from the dispensing tank 15 is pumped by the pump 25 up to the dispensing pipe 27 which sends it in to the metering units 33 as they pass beneath the pipe 27 during somewhat more than half of their path, including most of the curved portions 28 and 29 of both ends and all of the straight portion 30 on one side. The liquid 13 goes into each dispensing unit 33, and overfills each metering chamber 50, with the excess liquid going out through the bellows unit 46, the height of the bellows unit 46 determining the amount that will be retained in each metering chamber 50. When the flow stops due to the dispensing unit 33 passing beyond the last opening 32 in the pipe 27, any remaining excess liquid continues to flow out through the lower end of the bellows 46 and then shortly thereafter'the engagement of the trip lever 56 by the tripping cam 57 trips the cam 54 and opens the plug 52 at the bottom of the metering chamber 50 to enable the liquid 13 to pass into the container 12 while the container 12 and unit 33 move together along a straight path. When the container 12 parts company with the unit 33 the stationary reset member 66 mounted ahead of the pipe 27 engages the trip lever 56, the dispensing unit 33 goes back to be refilled, and

moves the cam 54 back into the position closing the plug 52.

To those skilled in the art to which this invention relates, many changes in construction and widely differing embodiments and applications of the invention will suggest themselves without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The disclosures and the description herein are purely illustrative and are not intended to be in any sense limiting.

We claim: l. A high-speed device for dispensing a measured amount of liquid into each of a series of containers, including in combination: l

a series of dispensing units, each having means for measuring a predetermined charge of said liquid, closure means for retaining said measured amount, and discharge means for opening said closure means, each said unit having a metering chamber, a spill chamber wherein said metering chamber determining an overflow line at its upper end and receiving excess liquid, said spill chamber being open at its lower end, said closure means comprising an annular plug around the lower end of said spill chamber and seated against the lower end of said body,

means for moving said series of units around a closed circuit having a straight portion,

container conveying means having a straight path below said straight portion,

means for filling each said unit with liquid when the unit is moving on its circuit and is away from said straight path,

aligning means for aligning each container moving on said conveyor means beneath said closure means of one said unit and for retaining said container and unit in alignment along substantially the full length of said straight path, and

actuating means engaged by a said container as it becomes aligned with a said unit for actuating said discharge means, so that the measured amount of liquid in said unit is dispensed into said container,

said discharge means including cam means movedby said actuating means for raising said closure means off its seat. 2. The device of claim 1 having means for adjusting the height of the upper end of said spill chamber.

3. A high-speed device for dispensing a measured volume of liquid into each of a series of containers, including in combination:

a series of movable dispensing units, each said unit having means for measuring a predetermined volume of said liquid, closure means at a lower end for retaining said measured volume, overflow means for spilling excess said liquid, and discharge means for opening said closure means,

means for moving said series of dispensing units continuously around a closed circuit having a straight portion,

container conveying means having a straight path below said straight portion, and beneath the circuit of dispensing units,

supply means for said liquid,

distributing means for said liquid connected to said supply means for overfilling each said unit with liquid when the unit is moving on its circuit and is away from said straight path,

recovery means for returning excess liquid spilled from said units to said supply means,

aligning means for aligning each container moving on said conveyor means beneath said closure means of one said unit and for retaining said container and unit in alignment .while they move together along substantially the full length of said straight path, and actuating means at the beginning of said straight path engaged by a said container as it is getting aligned with a said unit, for actuating said discharge means, thereby opening said outlet means so that the measured amount of liquid in said unit is dispensed into said container. 4. A high-speed device for dispensing a measured volume of liquid into each of a series of containers, including in combination:

a series of movable dispensing units, each said unit having means for measuring a predetermined volume of said liquid, closure means for retaining said measured volume, over flow means for spilling excess said liquid, and discharge means for opening said closure means, each said unit having a hopper-like body, a bellows adjustably mounted in said body to determine an overflow line at its upper end and to receive excess liquid, said bellows being open at its lower end, said closure means comprising an annular plug around the lower end of said bellows and seared against the lower end of said body, means for moving said series of dispensing units around a closed circuit having a straight portion,

container conveying means having a straight path below said straight portion, and beneath the circuit of dispensing units,

supply means for said liquid,

distributing means for said liquid connected to said supply means for overfilling each said unit with liquid when the unit is moving on its circuit and is away from said straight path,

recovery means for returning excess liquid spilled from said units to said supply means,

aligning means for aligning each container moving on said conveying meansbeneath said closure means of one said unit and for retaining said container and unit in alignment along substantially the full length of said straight path, and

actuating means at the beginning of said straightpath engaged by a said container as it is getting aligned with a said unit, for actuatingsaid discharge means, said discharge means comprising cam means moved by said actuating means for raising said closure means off its seat, thereby opening said outlet means so that the measured amount of liquid in said unit is dispensed into said container.

5. The device of claim 4 wherein said bellows has a first spider across its upper end, a second spider across said body above said first spider, and a threaded rod freely rotatable in said second spider and having a keyed upper end, said rod being threaded to and extending through said first spider for adjusting the height of the upper end of said bellows.

6. The device of claim 5 wherein said threaded rod extends down into engagement with said cam means.

7. The device of claim 3 wherein said supply means comprises a tank, a tube above said tank and overlying said units over a portion of their path, said tube having a series of openings therethrough, and pump means for moving liquid from said tank to said tube.

8. A high-speed device for dispensing a measured amount of liquid into each of a series of containers, including in combination:

a continuous chain,

means for moving said chain around a closed circuit having a straight portion,

container conveying means having a straight path below said straight portion, a series of dispensing units secured to said chain and moving with it and overlying said straight path, each said unit having means for measuring a predetermined amount of said liquid, closure means for retaining said measured amount, discharge means for opening said closure means, and overflow means for spilling excess said liquid,

each said unit having a hopper-like body, a bellows adjustably mounted in said body to determine an overflow line at its upper end and to receive excess liquid, said bellows being open at its lower end, said closure means comprising an annular plug around the lower end of said bellows and seated against the lower end of said body,

supply means for said liquid,

distributing means for said liquid connected to said supply means for overfilling each said unit with liquid when the unit is moving on its circuit and is away from said straight path,

recovery means for returning excess liquid spilled from said units to said supply means,

aligning means for aligning each container moving on said conveying means beneath said closure means of one said unit and for retaining said container and unit in alignment along substantially the full length of said straight path, and

actuating means beside said straight path engaged by a said aligned container for actuating said discharge means to open said outlet means so that the measured amount of liquid in said unit is dispensed into said container, said discharge means comprising cam means moved by said actuating means for raising said closure means off its seat.

9. The device of claim 8 wherein said cam means is mounted on a shaft having a trip lever thereon, said actuating means comprising a vertical shaft having a lower arm for engagement by a said container, and an upper arm swinging therewith and having means thereon for tripping said trip lever.

10. The device of claim 9 having reset means for resetting said trip lever and closing said closure means, located at the opposite end of said straight portions from said actuating means.

11. The device of claim 8 wherein said bellows has a first spider across its upper end, a second spider across said body above said first spider, and a rod having a keyed upper end freely rotatable in said second spider and threaded to and extending through said first spider for adjusting the height of the upper end of said bellows.

12. The device of claim 1 1 wherein said threaded rod extends down into engagement with said cam means.

Patent 3 797 535 immmrfiL.

Inventor(s) It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 3, line 56, "a" at the end of the line should read --the--.

Column 3, line 66, "to assure any" should read --to assure that any--.

Column 5, line 13, "wherein said metering chamber" should read --within said metering chamber--.

Column 5, line 27, "conveyor means" should read --conveying means--.

Column 5, line 65, "conveyor means" should read --conveying means--.

Signed and sealed this 13th day of August -1974.

(SEAL) Attest:

McCOY M. GIBSON, JR. C. MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents FORM PC4050 uscoMM-Dc 60376-P69 .5. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 1 I969 366"334.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5494085 *Feb 16, 1995Feb 27, 1996Zink; Arden K.Container filling apparatus
US5829493 *Sep 6, 1996Nov 3, 1998Campbell Soup CompanyApparatus for filling containers with a liquid
EP1710158A1 *Apr 5, 2006Oct 11, 2006S.F. Vision GmbHMethod and device for handling containers
Classifications
U.S. Classification141/134, 141/392, 141/283, 141/157, 141/345, 141/352
International ClassificationB65B3/30, B65B3/00, B67C3/02, B67C3/20
Cooperative ClassificationB65B3/305, B67C3/204
European ClassificationB65B3/30B, B67C3/20D