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Publication numberUS3807467 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 30, 1974
Filing dateFeb 11, 1972
Priority dateApr 8, 1970
Also published asCA940891A1, DE2117403A1
Publication numberUS 3807467 A, US 3807467A, US-A-3807467, US3807467 A, US3807467A
InventorsKoenig E, Tascher E
Original AssigneeSherwood Medical Ind Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Medicament filling unit
US 3807467 A
Abstract
A container, container cap, tubing and nozzle unit for filling a plurality of syringes, adapted for disposal after medicament in the container has been exhausted to minimize or eliminate contamination to an associated syringe filling machine, including a container filled with medicament having a seal over the open end of the container, a cap for the container having self-piercing connectors which are pushed through the container seal upon capping of the container, the cap being provided with a groove permitting simple releasable connection of the unit in the syringe filling machine, there being provided a first plastic tube connected to the cap and communicating with one of the connectors and having a free end that is releasably connected to an outlet fitting of a pump associated with the syringe filling machine, there also being provided a second tube connected to the container cap and communicating with the other connector for delivering medicament from the container to a filling station in the associated machine, with an integral nozzle provided on the end of the second tube so that the medicament does not come in contact with any portion of the filling machine.
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United States Patent 1191 Tascher et a1.

1451 Apr. 30, 1974 MEDICAMENT FILLING UNIT [75] lnventors: Edward R. Tascher, Manchester;

Elmer A. Koenig, Kirkwood, both of Mo.

[73] Assignee: SherwoodMedical Industries, Inc.,

St. Louis, Mo.

22 Filed: Feb. 11, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 225,647

Related US. Application Data [63] Continuation of Ser. No. 26,682, April 8, 1970,

141/329, 330, 382, 369, 375; 222/4, 80-82, 85, 86, 325, 399, 400.5, 400.7; 248/312; 53/282; 128/214, 214 E, 214 F, DIG. 12,

3,105,490 10/1963 Schoenfeld l28/D1G. 13 3,564,806 2/1971 Klettke 53/282 X 3,542,240 1l/1970 Solowey..... 128/214 R 3,587,313 6/1971 Smith 128/214 R Primary ExaminerHouston S. Bell, Jr. Assistant ExaminerCharles Gorenstein [57] ABSTRACT A container, container cap, tubing and nozzle unit for filling a plurality of syringes, adapted for disposal after medicament in the container has been exhausted to minimize or eliminate contamination to an associated syringe filling machine, including a container filled with medicament having a seal over the open end of the container, a cap for the container having selfpiercing connectors which are pushed through the container seal upon capping of the container, the cap being provided with a groove permitting simple releasable connection of the unit in the syringe filling machine, there being provided a first plastic tube connected to the cap and communicating with one of the 1316- 13 connectors and having a free end that is releasably a connected to an outlet fitting of a pump associated [56] References C'ted with the syringe filling machine, there also being pro- UNITED STATES PATENTS vided a second tube connected to the container cap 2,835,252 5/1958 Mauchel l28/D1G. 13 and m ni ing with the other connector for de- 3,557,520 l/l97l Morton, Jr. et al.... 53/282 X livering medicament from the container to a filling stal,512,()60 10/1924 Schmucker 14l/18 X tion in the associated machine, with an integral nozzle 917,914 Van lh eren provided on the end of the econd tubg so that the l medicament does not come in contact with any porunger 3,374,927 311968 Schmidt... 222/82 ofthe fiumg machme' 2,845,066 7/l958- Hoppe 128/218 G e 3 Claims, 16 Drawing Figures I40 68 25 I42 F, 60

[I7 I 2 I I74 I /76 I22 I28 //2 T L PATENTEUAP'RSO I914 3.80Tl46? SHEU 5 BF 7 llllllilmw Pmmeomao m4 330K467 SHEU 5 OF 7 MEDICAMENT FILLING UNIT This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 26,682 filed Apr. 8, 1970, now abandoned.

BACKGROUND OF THE PRESENT INVENTION Syringes have in the past been filled at hospitals by a variety of methods. One such method or procedure is employed in conjunction with a single medicament container from which a plurality of syringes are filled by a nurse or technician at the hospital. Frequently these containers are of the type having a rubber or other synthetic material seal cover permanently covering the open end thereof and through which the needle of the luer syringe is inserted.

Each syringe is filled by inserting the needle through the container seal and withdrawing the syringe plunger manually until the technician observes the desired medicament level in the syringe at which time withdrawal of the plunger is terminated, and the needle is withdrawn from the container seal. This operation is generally repeated by the technician with a plurality of syrin-.

ges until the medicament inthe container is exhausted and then the container is disposed of.

There are several disadvantages in this procedure. One is that it is extremely slow and requires a great deal of technician dexterity to achieve the proper level of filling in the syringe barrel. Another disadvantage, and perhaps a'more serious one, is that of contaminating the syringes through the repeated piercing of the same medicament container seal or through cross contamination by the technicians hands.

To obviate these problems a turret syringe filling machine has been devised which is usable at the hospital for filling syringes in an accurate, rapid and aseptic manner. This turret syringe filling machine is disclosed and claimed in the copending application of Edward R. Tascher et a1, Ser. No. 26,683, filed Apr. 8, 1970, enti tled Syringe Filling Apparatus", assigned to the assignee'of the present invention now abandoned. This machine includes a turret assembly that holds the syringes and indexes them from a first station where the syringe is filled to a scond station where the syringe plunger is inserted and a third station where the plunger is activated in a manner described more fully below. A pump is provided for delivering medicament from the prefilled medicament container to the turret filling station.

In delivering fluid from the medicament bottle to the syringes there exists the problem of contaminating the filling machine and more particularly the problem of contaminating the main filling pump, the'valving'for controlling medicament flow and the nozzle positioned at the filling station. That is, after each medicament container is exhausted and another container inserted with a different medicament, the pump tubing, valve and nozzle would, employing conventional dispensing techniques, contain the residue of medicament from the previous container which could cause contamination either as a result of the long exposure of the residue or because of a change in medicaments.

It is a primary object of the present invention to obviate the problems noted above to provide a comtamination-free filling system.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION.

In accordance with the present invention a disposable medicament container dispensing unit is provided that eliminates contamination of the syringe filling machine described. The medicament dispensing unit includes a container cap having self-piercing connectors that are adapted to pierce the seal on a medicament container as the cap is inserted over the top of the container. The cap has a recess around the periphery thereof that is insertable in spaced tracks in the filling machine frame in a manner to hold the medicament container in an inverted position.

Extending from the cap is a first flexible plastic tube communicating with one of the connectors; the other end of this tube being releasably connectable to a stationary pump outlet fitting on the machine frame. The pump pumps only air through this outlet fitting and thus the outlet fitting on the machine frame never comes in contact with any medicament.

Also extending from the dispensing unit cap is a second flexible plastic tube communicating with the other self-piercing connector. This defines the container outlet tube, and during loading of the dispensing unit, this outlet tube is threaded through a selectively occluding pinch valve which squeezes the exterior of the tube to initiate and terminate the dispensing function. In this manner the valve never comes in contact with any of the medicament so that it does not require sterilization after use.

On the end of this dispensing tube is an integral filler nozzle that is part of the disposable dispensing unit. This nozzle is held by a nozzle support which is part of the filling machine at the filling station. Medicament does not, however, contact the nozzle support.

'operateduntil the medicament in the container is exhausted. At that time the container and the entire dispensing unit including cap, tubing and nozzle are disposed of. When an additional syringe filling is required,

a new disposable dispensing unit is connected to a new container and the assembly inserted into the filling machine in the same manner.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a syringe filling machine with a disposable dispensing unit in operative position;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the syringe filling machine shown in FIG. 1 with the syringe elements and disposable dispensing unit removed;

FIG. 3 is a top elevation, with the cover removed, of

. the syringe filling machine shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a side elevation, partly in section, of the syringe filling machine;

FIG. 5 is a rear elevation of the filling machine, with the cover removed, with parts broken away for clarity;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary view of one of the upper turret support plunger holders;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary section of one of the upper turret support plunger holders;

FIG. 8 is a subassembly view of the plunger assembly camming station;

FIG. 9 is a subassembly illustration of the disposable dispensing unit in relation to a syringe barrel shown schematically at the filling station;

FIG. 10 is an enlarged fragmentary section of the disposable dispensing unit container cap;

FIG. 11 is a subassembly view of the disposable dispensing unit in a prepackaged condition;

FIG. 12 is a schematic view of a syringe at the filling station;

FIG. 13 is a schematic illustration of a syringe at the filling station showing the fluid level sensing photocell;

FIG. 14 is a schematic illustration of a syringe at the plunger insert station;

FIG. 15 is a schematic illustration of two syringes passing through the plunger camming station; and 7 FIG. 16 is a schematic diagram ofa solid state control circuit for the syringe filling machine.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings and more particularly FIGS. 1 to 5, an automatic syringe filling machine 10 is illustrated preferably adapted for use at a hospital. The filling machine 10 is seen to include, generally, an indexable turret assembly 12 for holding the syringe parts, a disposable dispensing unit 14 for delivering medicament to open syringe barrels at a syringe filling station, a plunger insert assembly 16 for releasing the syringe plungers from the turret assembly support therefor, and a camming assembly 20 at a cam station for the purpose of camming the syringe plunger assembly to a condition where a sealing piston associated with the syringe plunger is released within the syringe barrel.

To more clearly understand the construction and operation and advantages of the present device, it will be helpful to describe one type of syringe that the present device is particularly suitable for filling and assembling. Referring to FIG. 12, syringe 20 is seen to consist of a syringe barrel 22 with a needle assembly (not shown) inserted within a sheath assembly 24. The sheath assembly 24 is more fully described in the Robert Klohr et al application, Serial No. 26,681, filed April 8, 1970 now abandoned, entitled Rigid Container Assembly for Syringe, and assigned to the assignee of the present invention. It should be noted that the syringe 20 is placed in the sheath 24 prior to insertion in the turret assembly 12. The syringe 20 also includes a syringe plunger assembly 25 that includes an inner plunger 26 having a rubber piston 27 on the end thereof and a flange 28 at the upper end thereof. Surrounding the piston plunger 26 is a piston retainer sleeve 30 having a flange 31 at the upper end thereof.

In the position shown in FIG. 12 the sleeve 31 is in its active position surrounding and compressing the piston 27. Sleeve 30 has a clearance when inserted within the syringe barrel 22 so that it will slide into the barrel under the influence of gravity alone, assuming a vertical orientation of the syringe parts. As will appear hereinafter, after plunger 25 is inserted within a filled cylinder barrel 22, the sleeve 30 is raised releasing piston 27 and permitting the resilient piston to expand within the syringe barrel 22, sealing medicament therein. For a more detailed description of the construction syringe 20 reference should be made to the copending application of Robert Klohr et al, cited above.

Returning to a description of the filling mechanism in more detail, and particularly FIGS. 1 to 5, the filling machine 10 is seen to include a lower frame member 36 and an upper frame member 38 spaced apart by vertical struts 40 fastened to frame members 36 and 38 by fasteners 39 and 40', as shown in FIG. 5. Projecting upwardly from the upper frame member 38 is a vertical plate 42 separating the front and rear portions of the machine 10. Suitable cover members 45, 46 and 47 are provided for enclosing the frame members and the portions of the mechanism which do not have to be manipulated by the operator in normal use.

As shown clearly in FIG. 4, the turret assembly 12 includes a stationary annular post member 50 threadedly fastened on the left-hand forward side (as viewed in FIG. 1) of frame member 38 by fasteners 51. Slidable in the post 50 is a turret support sleeve 52 that is carried by frame members 53. Suitable means are provided for preventing the rotation of sleeve 52 in post 50. Frame member 53 is fixed by fasteners 54 to a parallel frame plate 55. The frame member 55 is in turn supported vertically by threaded member 58 threadedly received in a boss 59 carried by the plate 55.

Rotatably mounted in the sleeve 52 is turret drive shaft 61 supported for rotation in bearings 62 and 63. Shaft 61 has a projection 65 extending vertically from the level of bearing 62 which is keyed to a lower wheellike turret member 67. Fastened by suitable threaded fasteners to the lower turret member 67 is an upper turret member 68 which is annular in configuration.

Referring to FIG. 2, the lower turret member 67 has an upper annular portion 72 from which projects an annular plate 73 having a plurality of conical apertures 75 that are adapted to receive syringe barrel flange 77 as shown in FIG. 12. A radial slot 78 is provided associated with each of the conical recesses 75 to permit insertion of the cylinder barrel.

Suspended from support plate 73 is a similar annular support plate 79 having a plurality of stepped annular recesses 80 therein aligned with the conical recesses 75. The annular recesses 80 are sized to receive the enlarged portion of the sheath 24 shown in FIG. 12, and

radial slots 82 are provided associated with each of the recesses 80 to permit clearance for the lower portion of the sheath 24 during loading and unloading of the syringe in the turret. The lower support plate 79 is suspended by integral struts 83 shown clearly in FIGS. 2 and 4.

The upper turret support plate 68 has a plurality of stepped openings 85 therein (see FIG. 4) in annular array, and in alignment with and corresponding in number to the conical recesses 75 in plate 73 and the stepped recesses 80 in the lower plate 79. Seated within the stepped recesses 85, as best shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 are plunger holders 87, constructed of a resilient plastic material. The plunger holders 87 have an annular portion 88 seated within the stepped bore 85 and four arcuate, generally radially extending cradle fingers 90 which project approximately to the diameter of syringe plunger sleeve 30 as shown in FIG. 7. The plunger holders 87 hold plungers 25 by engaging the underside of the sleeve flanges 31. Fingers 90 have sufficient resiliency so that when the upper surface of the flange 31 is pushed downwardly by the plunger assembly, described in more detail below, the flange 31 will force the resilient fingers downwardly permitting the plunger 25 to be released from holder 87.

In the exemplary turret construction shown there are holders for the barrel and plunger assemblies of 12 syringes, although, as will appear clear to those skilled in this art, a greater or lesser number of plunger holding locations may be provided.

For the purpose of indexing the turret 12, a turret indexing motor 92 is provided shown clearly in FIG. 4. Motor 92 is carried by the underside and affixed to a gearbox 94 which is fastened to the underside of turret frame member 55. Gearbox 94 provides a suitable reduction in speed from the output shaft of motor 92. Gearbox 94 has an output shaft 96 which drives a cam wheel 98 of a Geneva assembly 100.

The Geneva assembly assures the proper indexing movement of the turret 12 under the essentially constant speed rotation of motor 92. It should be understood, however, that motor 92 is turned on and off, however, at the end of each indexing movement.

The Geneva movement includes cam member 98 having a plurality of pins 102 projecting upwardly therefrom which enter cam slots in a star wheel 103 affixed to the lower end of turret drive shaft 61. Star wheel 103 has the conventional shape in Geneva assemblies and includes a plurality of generally radial slots (not shown) into which the pins 102 enter and slide driving the wheel 103 andshaft 61 to succeeding index positions. A microswitch 105 is provided between frame members 55 and 53, as shown in FIG. 4, for sensing the position of the indexing motor cam 98 to control the indexing motor 92 as well as the plunger assembly as will appear more clearly in the hereinafter described control circuit.

A syringe barrel filling station is provided as shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4 and is seen to include a vertical support member112 fixed to the turret frame plate 53 as shown in FIG. 4 and extending through and slidable within a grommet 115 in the main upper frame member 38. Vertical support 112 extends approximately to support plate 73 and has connected thereto a generally, horizontally extending nozzle support member 117 as shown in FIGS. land 3.

The nozzle support member 117 releasably holds a nozzle as shown in FIG. 9 in a manner such that medicament issuing from the nozzle does not in any way contact the'nozzle support. I I

For the purpose of supplying medicament to the nozz le 120 and from the nozzle into an empty syringe at station 110, a pneumatic pump 119 is provided in the rear of machine 12 fixed to the upper main frame member 38 as shown in FIG. 3. Pump 119 is driven by a motor 120' and also carried by the frame 38. It should be understood that-pump 119 is an air pump and that no medicament is conveyed through the pump eliminating the possibility of pump contamination by medicament.

A pump inlet fitting 122 is fixed within vertical wall 42 and opens to the front of the machine permitting ambient air to be drawn into the pump 119. Interconnecting fitting 122 with pump fitting 123 is a flexible tube 124. Pump outlet fitting 126 is interconnected to a pump outlet fitting 128 also on the front panel 42 by tubing section 130. Fitting 128 may have a check valve associated therewith only permitting flow from the fitting 128. In this manner the inadvertent reversal of flow and drawing of medicament into' the pump through tube 130 may be prevented. A suitable air filter may be provided associated with inlet line 124 if desired.

The delivery of medicament from dispensing unit 14 to the filling station 110 is controlled by a pinch valve 140. This valve operates generally by occluding flexible dispensing tube 142 and in this manner is not contaminated by contact with'medicament. The pinch valve includes a stationary valve member 143 havinga rearwardly opening aperture 144 therein for receiving a reciprocable slide valve member 146. Valve member 143 also has a vertical opening 147 therethrough which receives the tube 142. For the purpose of holding the tube 142 in position within opening 147 a threaded member 150 is provided threaded into the closed end of valve member 143 and engageable with the forward side of tube 142. The slide member 146 is adapted to move forwardly and pinch the tubing 142 to a fully occluded position, preventing flow through the tube.

The pinch valve member 146 is biased to its occluding position by coil spring 152 and selectively withdrawn to a valve open position by a solenoid 153 (FIGS. 3 and 5) fixed to the vertical plate 42 by a horizontally extending bracket member 155. Thus when solenoid 153 is energized by the control circuit described below, the valve' member 146 will be withdrawn partially from the stationary valve member 143 permitting the dispensing tube 142 to open initiating medicament flow to the nozzle 120 filling the syringe barrel at station 110.

The disposable dispensing unit 14 is shown clearly in FIG. 9 and is seen to include a prefilled disposable medicament bottle which has at its open end as shown in FIG. 10 a seal 161 held in position by a retainer 162. The prefilled medicament bottle 160 is by itself a conventional container. After the supply of medicament in bottle 160 is exhausted the bottle is thrown away.

Included in the dispensing unit 14 is .a plastic container cap 16 having a counterbore therein slidable over the retainer 162 during capping of the bottle 160. Cap 164 has two angular connectors 167 and 168 molded integrally therewith. The connectors are metal tubes having projecting beveled ends 169 and 170, re spectively, which pierce the seal 161 as the cap 164 is placed on the'end of the container. While the cap 164 may be readily removed from the bottle 160, although they are generally thrown away together, the friction between connectors 167, 168 and the seal 161 normally retains the cap 164 and bottle 160 together as a unit.

The exterior of cap 164 has an annular recess 172 which is releasably but snuggly engaged by spaced tracks 174 and 176 formed integrally in the frame panel 42 as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 10. In this manner the cap 164 and bottle 160 may be readily inserted and held on panel 42, as well as easily removed therefrom after dispensing the medicament in the bottle 160.

The cap 164 has integral projections 178 and 179 surrounding the connector tubes 167 and 168, which serve as fittings for dispensing tube 142 and air pressure tube 181. The opposite end of tube 181 is releasably connected to the pump outlet fitting 128 on the front panel 42. As described above, the other tube extending from cap 164, i.e., dispensing tube 142, has a stepped nozzle 120 formed integrally on the end thereof.

As seen in FIG. 11, cap 164 and tubes 142 and 181 are, prior to use, prepackaged in a flexible plastic aseptic container 183. Thus the dispensing unit will remain in an aseptic condition until just prior to use when the container 183 is opened.

In readying the filling machine 10 for operation and with the use of each new medicament container 160, a container 183 is opened and a new dispensing unit withdrawn therefrom. Cap 164 is pushed over the end of the bottle 160 piercing seal 161 with the sharp connector ends 169 and 170. Tube 181 is then connected to the pump outlet fitting 128 and the dispensing tube 142 is threaded through opening 147 in pinch valve 140. Nozzle 120 is then inserted within the nozzle holder 117 and the dispensing unit is ready for operation. A suitable circuit is provided for energizing solenoid 153 at this time to permit the insertion of tubing 142, as will appear below in the description of the control circuit of FIG. 16.

When the power supply of the machine 10 is turned on by a button 183 on the front of the machine 10, pump motor 120' begins pumping air through passage 130, through tube 181 and into the container bottle through connector 168. This pressurizes the bottle tending to force medicament through outlet tube 142. At this time, however, valve 140 would be closed preventing the flow of medicament to the open syringe at the filling station 110. As each syringe moves into the loading station 110, the valve 140 is automatically opened for a time sufficient to fill the syringe barrel to a predetermined level and then the valve is closed preventing further flow.

After the medicament in bottle 160 is exhausted or if it is desired to change bottles to a different medicament, the tubing 142 is unthreaded from valve 140 and the tubing 181 is disconnected from pump outlet fitting 128. Bottle 160 and cap 164 are then removed from the tracks 174 and 176 and the entire unit may be thrown away. If the bottle 160 is not empty, cap 164 may be removed therefrom retaining bottle 160 for later use with a new dispensing unit 14, if desired.

For the purpose of controlling the level of medicament in the syringe barrel at the filling station 110 a photo-sensitive circuit is provided including a light 186 as shown in FIG. 13 and a photocell 188. The light 186 is mounted on the post 50, which is stationary, adjacent filling station 110 while the photocell 188 is positioned on the opposite side of the syringe barrel at the filling station. Such a location is shown schematically at 189 in FIG. 3 wherein the photocell receives a signal from light 186 through passage 190 in the frame 42. As will be described in more detail below, photocell 188 turns on whenever an unfilled syringe barrel 22 arrives at filling station 110, controlling the valve 140 to dispense medicament into the syringe barrel. When the level of medicament reaches the level of the window" of the photocell 188, the photocell turns off which effects the closure of valve 140 and the termination of the flow of medicament to the syringe barrel.

To vary the level of medicament within the syringe barrel 22, provision is made for vertically adjusting the entire turret l2. Toward this end and as shown clearly in FIG. 4, the threaded member 58 which vertically supports the turret assembly, has a worm gear 194 rotatably fixed to the lower end thereof slidably engaging a thrust washer 196 on the lower frame member 36. Member 58 has a lower projecting portion 198 which extends through frame 36 and is held in position by a retainer assembly 200. A suitable bearing may be provided in frame member 36 for supporting the lower end portion 198 of the threaded member 58. The rotation of worm gear 194 causes threaded member 58 to rotate vertically in boss 59 adjusting the enire turret assembly including frame members 53, 55, sleeve 52, lower support member 67, upper support member 68, and nozzle support 112.

To rotate the worm gear 194, a worm wheel 202 is provided mounted in bearing bosses 204 and 206 as shown in FIG. 5. Gear 202 is rotated by rod 210 which extends through a bearing boss 212 from the main machine housing, and carries a manual rotating knob 214 on the distal end thereof as shown in FIGS. 1 and 5.

By adjusting the height of the turret assembly 12, the vertical positioning of the syringe at the filling station may be adjusted with respect to the light 186 and photocell 188 both of which are stationary with respect to the frame and do not adjust vertically with the turret.

The plunger insert mechanism 16 operates at a station indicated generally at 216 in FIGS. 2 and 3. As will appear hereinafter, the turret 12 indexes in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 3 so that the plunger insert station 216 is the second operating station for each of the syringes. Upon arrival at the plunger insert station 216, a tool head 218, as shown in FIG. 4, is lowered engaging flange 31 on sleeve 30 of the syringe pushing the syringe plunger 25 from the holder 87. As the plunger piston 27 engages the syringe barrel 22, the tool head 218 continues its stroke and captivates the piston 27 as shown in FIG. 12.

As seen in FIG. 4, the plunger 16 includes an annular member having a plurality of fingers 220 on the lower end thereof. The fingers 220 are sufficiently long so that the tool head 218 can fit over the piston plunger flange 28 without engaging the same. Tool head 28 is reciprocated vertically by cam and follower assembly 222 driven by a plunger motor 223.

Tool head 218 is fastened to a horizontal bar 225 which is fixed to the upper end of a vertically reciprocable rod 226 slidable in a guide member 227 fixed to the upper surface of frame member 38. A guide rod 229 is provided on guide member 227 for the purpose of preventing any pivotal movement of the plunger 218 about rod 226. Rod 226 has a lower bifurcated end 230 which is pivotally connected to one end of a link 232 (shown in section FIG. 4), the other end of the link being pivoted on a stationary support member 235. Intermediate the ends of the link 232 and carried thereby is a cam follower 236 as shown in FIG. 5 slidable in a trackway 238 in a cylindrical cam 239. Cam 239 is supported on a shaft 240 and driven by motor 223 through a gearbox 242 fixed to the upper surface of frame member 38. The plunger cam 239 rotates a complete revolution for each reciprocation of plunger 218. The plunger motor is deenergized after each revolution of cam 239. Toward this end a microswitch 244 is provided to sense the retracted position of plunger 218.

The third and final station of the machine 10 is the camming station 20 at which the sleeve 30 of each syringe is raised with respect to the piston 27 releasing the plunger in the syringe barrel. It should be understood however that the cmming station 20 does not shift the piston 27 axially within the barrel 22, but merely raises the sleeve 30 to permit the rubber piston 27 to expand within the barrel sealing medicament therein as well as placing the plunger in an operative condition.

Toward this end, and as viewed in FIGS. 3, 4 and 8, an arcuate segmental support member 250 is provided at the camming station that extends above the lower support plate 73 but below the upper support plate 68. Support 250 carries an arcuate tapered camming channel 252 having a slot 253 in the lower channel portion that has a sufficient width to receive the sleeve 30 but is smaller than the diameter of the sleeve flange 31. Guides 255 and 256 fixed to the cam member 252 may extend toward station 216 as shown in FIG. 3 to guide the sleeve 30 into the camming channel 252. As seen in FIG. 15, the camming channel has an upper surface 254 and a lower surface 258 which converge toward the exist end 259 of the channel. The upper portion 254 of the channel serves to hold the piston plunger flange 28 while the lower portion 258 earns the sleeve flange 31 upwardly until flush with the plunger piston flange 28 as shown in the right-hand syringe in FIG. 15.

After the partially sheathed syringes leave the camming station 20, they may be removed by the techniclan.

While the operation of the filling machine 10 is believed apparent from the above description, the following description will be helpful to summarize the operation.

After the operator loads the medicament dispenser 14 in position and the power button 183 is depressed, the empty syringes are loaded into the turret approximately at location 270 shown in FIG. 1 by loading the sheathed barrels in lower support members 73 and 79 and the plunger assemblies in the upper turret plate 68. Button 278 is provided for actuating solenoid 153 independently of the automatic control to permit opening valve 140 for the purpose of inserting the tube 142 therein. The operator then depresses a manual index button 272 which indexes the turret 12 to the next station. With the turret indexed one increment, the operator then loads another barrel and plunger, and thereafter presses the manual index button 272 again indexing the turret one position. The operator continues loading syringes in the turret in this fashion and the only other operation required of the operator is the removal of the filled syringes from location 275, all of the remaining functions of the machine being performed entirely automatically. The operator continues the manual depression of button 272 after loading eachof the syringes until the first empty syringe arrives at the syringe loading station 117. The presence of a syringe barrel is sensed by a suitable switch, described in more detail below, at the filling station 110, and an indication that the syringe is unfilled is provided by photocell 188 causing energization of solenoid 153 opening valve 140 initiating the filling of the syringe at station 110. When the level of the medicament in the syringe at the filling station reaches the photocell sensing level shown in FIG. 13, the signal from photocell 188 ceases causing the control circuit to deenergize solenoid 153 closing valve 140 and terminating the flow of medicament to the syringe.

In respense to the completion of filling the first syringe, index motor 92 is energized rotating turret 12 to the next station placingthe first syringe at plunger station 216 and the second syringe at the filling station 110. In response to the completion of indexing the plunger motor 223 is energized driving the plunger 218 downwardly and releasing a plunger assembly 25 in the aligned syringe barrel 22. As the tool head 218 continues its downward stroke the piston 27 engages syringe barrel 22. The entrapped air builds up sufficient pressure to captivate the piston 27 which permits all but a small amount of residual air to escape.

Upon completion of rotation of the plunger cam 239, a switch, such as switch 244, in the control circuit is opened thereby which enables the circuit driving the turret index motor 92 so that upon receipt of a signal indicating that a cylinder barrel in station is filled, indexing will again occur.

The first syringe is then indexed into the camming station 20 whereat, after one indexing movement, it just begins to enter the cam channel 252. After two subsequent indexing movements as shown in FIG. 3, the first syringe will be completely through the cam member 252 wherein the plunger holding sleeve 30 is shifted upwardly releasing the piston within the cylinder barrel and completing the filling and plunger inserting operation of the machine. This sequence of operation occurs in step-by-step fashion completely automatically, requiring only that the operator load syringes at station 270 and unload syringes at station 275. Operation is discontinued by again pressing the power button 183 which terminates all functions of the filling device 10.

Referring to FIG. 16 an exemplary control circuit is illustrated for the present syringe filling machine 10. As

noted above, an operator interface with this circuitry is provided by the three push button switches 183, 272 and 278 on the front of the machine, or control panel. Button 183 is connected to a switch (not shown) which connects ac power to the motors 92, 223, and and dc supplies power for operation of the control circuitry shown. The valve open button 278 is connected to close switch 316 for energizing solenoid coil 300 of solenoid 153 which is in the emitter leg of transistor 302. This permits the initial insertion of tube 142 through the valve 140.

The base of transistor 302 is connected through relay contact 304 which is closed when power turns ON, to the collector of transistor 306, and the base of transistor 306 is connected to a double-pole, single-throw switch 308 through resistor 310. Switch 308 is located at the filling station 110 and is positioned so that contacts 312 are closed when a syringe barrel is in the filling station and contacts 311 are closed when no syringe barrel is in the station. Contact 311 of switch 308 is connected to positive dc voltage through resistor 314 and to ground through normally open solenoid control switch 316.

At the beginning of operation of te machine, switch 308 assumes contact position 311 and solenoid switch 316 is open thereby keeping transistor 306 conducting and transistor 302 non-conducting, precluding actuation of solenoid coil 300 and maintaining the solenoid valve in its closed position.

To effect the step-by-step manual indexing during the initial loading of themachine by depressing button 272, as described above, button 272 is connected to actuate the manual index switch 318. Switch 318 has one normally open contact 320 and one normally closed contact 322. The closing of contact 320 causes transistor 324 to turn ON which in turn causes a high voltage to be applied to input 326 of OR" gate 328. The output of OR gate 328 goes high causing transistor 330 to conduct supplying a high voltage to input 332 of AND" gate 338. The other inputs 334 and 336 of AND" gate 338 will normally be high at this stage of the sequence and thus the output of 338 will go high causing an output from OR" gate 340 turning transistor 342 ON lighting bulb 344. The light from bulb 344 activates photoresistor 346 which causes capacitor 348 to charge until neon bulb 350 fires causing triac 352 to cycle thereby activating the index motor 92, moving the turret to the next index position. Switch 384, which corresponds to switch 105 in FIG. 4, closes as soon as movement of the index cam 98 is initiated and thereafter switch 384 control index motor 92, the OR gate 340 providing only a triggering signal. After cam 98 indexes the turret one station, a suitable projection on the cam opens switch 384 terminating operation of the index motor 92 by turning off the transistor 342 and bulb 344.

When the first empty syringe is indexed over to the fill station 110, switch 308 senses the presence of a syringe barrel and closes contacts 312.

At the same time, the level photocell provides a signal to photo-resistor 362 indicating an unfilled syringe. This turns, or maintains, transistor 364 OFF which, in turn, causes an output from OR gate 328, turning transistor 358 OFF" which through diode 360, switch 308, transistor 306 and transistor 302 activates solenoid coil 300 opening valve 140. This initiates the filling operation.

When medicament in the syringe rises to the level of the photocell 188, photo-resistor 362 causes transistor 364 to turn ON" which causes a high voltage to appear at input 382 of OR gate 328. The output of OR gate 328 goes high turning transistor 358 ON, which through the solenoid control circuitry deactivates solenoid coil 300 closing the solenoid valve 140 as previously explained.

The same signal from the output of OR" gate 358 is applied to the base of transistor 330 and turns it ON. The output of transistor 330 is applied to input 332 of AND gate 338 turning gate 338 which turns OR gate 340 ON. When the output ofOR" gate 340 goes high, transistor 342 conducts and bulb 344 lights. The light from bulb 344 quits photo-resistor 346 and initiates the indexing motor 92 in the same manner as described above with respect to the manual index. Switch 384 holds the motor until the turret has made one indexing movement.

Upon completion of each indexing cycle, a syringe just filled is indexed to the plunger position 216. At this point the indexing motor cam 98 closes a microswitch 386, which may be adjacent switch 105, turning transistor 388 ON causing the output of OR gate 390 to go high, causing transistor 392 to conduct which turns transistor 394 ON. Bulb 396 in the emitter leg of transistor 394 then lights, activating photo-resistor 398 in the plunger motor circuitry, energizing the plunger motor 223 in the same manner that the indexing motor 92 is activated. Upon activation of plunger motor 223, the plunger motor cam 239 closes switch 244 keeping the plunger motor activated for a full cycle. At the end of the cycle the plunger motor cam reopens switch 244 and the plunger motor cycle is complete.

Upon completion of the plunger cycle, transistor 402 turns OFF, and a previously applied indexing inhibit signal from the output of transistor 402 to input 334 of AND gate 338 is removed, an indexing is enabled.

If the operator, for some reason, does not remove the completely filled syringes and a filled syringe is inadvertently indexed to the filling station 110, photocell 188 will turn OFF, providing a high output from OR gate 328, turning transistor 358 ON. This provides a high potential signal at the base of transistor 368 which, through switch 354 and the following inhibit circuitry, causes transistor 380 to conduct applying a low potential input at 336 of AND gate 338 precluding any subsequent indexing of the turret until an empty syringe is sensed at the filling station 110. It should be understood that switch 354 is located to sense the presence of a syringe barrel at station in the same manner as switch 308. Switch 354 is constructed so that contacts 356 are closed when the syringe is sensed at station 110 and contacts 357 are closed when no syringe is sensed at station 110.

A further feature in the control circuit, associated with the manual indexing function of manual index switch 320, is that upon closing of the manual index switch, a control is supplied to the anode of SCR 410 which drives the base of transistor 412 keeping the transistor 394 from conducting thereby precluding plunger operation.

We claim:

1. A syringe medicament filling system, comprising: frame means, pump means on said frame means having an inlet and an outlet fitting on said frame means, a filling station on said frame means having means or positioning a syringe to be filled, a disposable medicament container on said frame means having a connector cap thereon, and tubing means releasably connecting said container to the outlet fitting, said connector cap and frame means having interengaging means or releasably retaining the cap and container in position, said interengaging means including a pair of spaced guides on said frame means, and recess means on said cap sized to be snugly received by said frame guides.

2. A syringe medicament filling system as defined in claim 1, wherein said frame means in constructed to hold said container in an inverted position.

3. A medicament filling system for a syringe, comprising: frame means, pump means on said frame means having an outlet fitting on said frame means, a filling station on said frame means having means for positioning a syringe, nozzle support means at said filling station, a disposable dispensing unit including a container, cap means on said container, first tube means connected to said cap means and releasably connected to said pump means fitting, second tube means connected to said cap means and having a nozzle at one end, said nozzle being releasably held by said nozzle support means, and means on said frame means for releasably holding said container, whereby the container, cap means and tube means may be removed from the system as a unit, said cap means having a recess therein, said means on said frame means for releasably holding said container including spaced guide means on said frame means releasably engaged in said cap means recess.

Patent No. 3,807,467 Dated Apr-i] 0, 1974 Inventor(s) EImer A. Koem'g and Edward R. Tascher It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent I and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

IN THE SPECIFICATION:

Column 1, Hne 43, "sound" should read --second--.

Column 6, line 40,. "16" should read --164--.

CoIumn I0, Iine 55, "Le" should read --the--.

IN THE CLAIMS:

' CoIumn 12, line 33, "or" sh0u1d read --for--.

C01umn 12, line 38, "or" should read -for--.

Signed and sealed this 10th day of September 197E.

- (SEAL Attest:

McCOY M. GIBSON, JR. c. MARSHALL DANN Attest ing Officer I Commissioner of Patents "ORM PO-IOSO (IO-69) USCOMM-DC 6O316-P89 ",5. GOVERNMENT PRINTIIG OFFICE "I, O-ZNi-Jll

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Classifications
U.S. Classification141/375, 222/86, 141/18, 222/325, 53/319, 53/282, 141/329, 222/400.7, 141/382
International ClassificationA61J1/00, A61M5/178, B65B3/00, A61J1/20, A61J1/14
Cooperative ClassificationA61J2001/2082, B65B3/003, A61J2001/2013, A61M2207/00, A61M5/1782, A61J2001/2075, A61J1/2096
European ClassificationB65B3/00B, A61J1/20F, A61M5/178F
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 18, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: SHERWOOD MEDICAL COMPANY
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:SHERWOOD MEDICAL INDUSTRIES INC. (INTO);REEL/FRAME:004123/0634
Effective date: 19820412