US 3835897 A
This invention relates to apparatus for filling and labeling medicinal syringes. The apparatus includes a pump arrangement for filling individual syringes automatically and includes a mechanical adjustment for easily changing the amount of medicinal liquid fed to each syringe. The individual syringes are then labeled with appropriate indicia showing the contents. The labels are printed at the same time with the same apparatus to assure that the proper labels are applied to the proper syringes. The labels are fed into the path of the syringes and wrap around the syringe barrels with the free ends of the labels then pressed together behind the syringes.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
States Patent [1 1 Sept. 17, 1974 1 APPARATUS FOR FILLING AND LABELING CONTAINERS  Inventor: Larry C. Gess, 1255 Fir Dr., Mich.
22 Filed: Oct. 18,1971
21 Appl. No.: 190,210
 US. Cl 141/98, 53/139.3, 141/165, 141/170, 141/171  Int. Cl B65b 3/12, B65b 43/50, B650 3/14  Field of Search 141/18, 98, 165, 170, 171, 141/151; 53/1393  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,211,289 1/1917 Coates 53/167 1,697,448 1/1929 Andersson 141/98 1,769,941 7/1930 Miller 141/18 2,042,164 5/1936 Wild 53/1393 2,562,815 7/1951 Oscroft.... 1. 141/98 2,981,432 4/1961 Flood i 141/98 X 3,502,120 3/1970 Rydstrom 141/165 3,527,017 9/1970 Taylor 53/167 X 3,590,889 7/1971 Vannus 141/18 3,662,511 5/1972 Eliasberg 53/167 X 3,676,271 7/1972 Hake 53/1393 X Primary Examiner-Wayne A. Morse, Jr.
' Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Allen D. Gutchess, Jr.
[ 5 7 ABSTRACT This invention relates to apparatus for filling and labeling medicinal syringes. The apparatus includes a pump arrangement for filling individual syringes automatically and includes a mechanical adjustment for easily changing the amount of medicinal liquid fed to each syringe. The individual syringes are then labeled with appropriate indicia showing the contents. The labels are printed at the same time with the same apparatus to assure that the proper labels are applied to the proper syringes. The labels are fed into the path of the syringes and wrap around the syringe barrels with the free ends of the labels then pressed together behind the syringes.
12 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures amass?" PATENIEDSEPI mu -snw1or s" INVENTOR.
PATENIEBSEPI 1 m4 SHEEN!!! 5 Q Y K a! 1 INVENTOR. LARK? Q1593 FIG. 3
PAKNIEH SEPI mu SIEU' WF 5 ATTQRUEQ PAIENTED SE? 1 H914 SHE 5N 5 v INVENTOR.' LARRQ Q.GESS
APPARATUS FOR FILLING AND LABELING CONTAINERS This invention relates to apparatus for filling and labeling containers and specifically medicinal syringes.
Disposable syringes are more and more commonly used in hospitals, a principal advantage being the added assurance against infection. Commonly syringes are manually filled from a supply container having a rubber diaphragm through which the syringe needle is projected into the container. Such containers are relatively small, being capable of only supplying doses for eight or syringes. Otherwise, too many holes result in the diaphragm as the result of the needles, and the contents can be exposed to the air and contaminated. Additionally, the needles of the syringes have a greater chance of being contaminated by this supply technique. The relatively small supply containers are also uneconomical and present a handling and storage problem. Particularly in larger hospitals using large numbers of syringes daily, the manual filling of each represents many costly man-hours on the part of nurses or doctors who are already overworked.
The present invention provides a machine for filling a number of syringes automatically and for labeling them at the same time. This assures that the proper label is applied to the proper medicine to reduce the possiblity of errors. Further, a larger container of the medicine can be used, if desired, forv greater economy, as well as to reduce handling and storage problems. The syringes can be filled without the needles thereon with the needles being applied later, to further reduce the possibility of contamination.
The new machine is also compact, reliable, and can be used by an unskilled operator. It also employs relatively inexpensive and simplified mechanical components to reduce the overall cost and maintenance requirements.
The new machine has a four-station indexing wheel or turntable. The syringe is fed by hand or by suitable automatic supply means to a first station of the turntable with a narrow neck to receive the needle extending upwardly. The lower end of the syringe has a plunger previously inserted into the barrel thereof to seal that end of the syringe. The syringe is then moved to a second station at which a predetermined amount of medicinal liquid is supplied through the narrow neck of the syringe in a predetermined, changeable amount. The syringe intercepts a printed label at the third station which wraps around the syringe barrel and is adhered together at the back. The syringe is then automatically removed from the indexing wheel to a discharge trough at the fourth station. A removable cap can then be placed over the narrow neck of the syringe and the filled syringe stored until ready for use. At that time, the cap can be removed and a sterilized needle applied to the narrow neck, with a plunger rod inserted into the plunger located in the syringe barrel.
The labels preferably are of a pressure-sensitive type supplied in longitudinally spaced relationship on a tape. lndicia is printed on the labels when on the tape by printing apparatus located adjacent the third station. After printing, the tape and labels are separated, with the labels then moved into the path of the syringe barrels. Even with four stations, including the filling apparatus and the label printing and applying apparatus, the
entire machine is very compact, being less than about sixteen inches wide and twenty inches long.
It is, therefore, a principal object of the invention to provide a machine for automatically filling and labeling syringes.
Another object of the invention is to provide a machine for filling and labeling syringes which is compact in size, reliable, and low in cost.
A further object of the invention is to provide simplified means for applying printed labels to syringe barrels.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide a container-filling machine with accurate and easily adjustable means for changing the quantity of medicinal liquid supplied to the container.
Many other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof, reference being made to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an overall view in perspective from above of a machine for filling and labeling syringes according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged view in perspective of the labelapplying components of the machine of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged view in perspective, taken from the opposite direction, of indexing means for a turntable and of apparatus for filling syringes with predetermined, changeable amounts of medicinal liquid;
FIG. 4 is a view in perspective, with parts broken away and with parts in section, of drive means for certain components of the machine and particularly the filling apparatus; and
FIG. 5 is another view in perspective, with parts bro ken away and with parts in cross section, of drive means for operating certain other components of the machine.
Referring to the drawings, and particularly to FIG. 1, an overall syringe filling and labeling machine embodying the invention is indicated at 10 and includes a base 12 containing the drive system and controls for the ma chine. The overall machine is compact, being only about 16 inches wide and 20 inches long, so that space requirements are kept to a minimum. The machine is also relatively light in weight, less than about pounds, to provide portability so that the machine can be positioned in the most efiicient or needed location. However, the machine is commonly used in a sanitary hood which supplies filtered, germ-free air over the apparatus to prevent possible contamination by air-borne bacteria.
Syringes handled by the machine 10 are indicated at 14. These preferably are of the disposable type which can be readily commerically obtained in several different styles. As shown in FIG. 2, the cyringe 14 includes a main barrel 16 containing the usual graduations and an upper neck 18 over which can be fitted a suitable cap when the syringe is filled. The cap can subsequently be removed and a needle placed on the neck 18. At the lower end of the syringe 14 is an annular flange 20 for fingers, used in combination with the thumb on a plunger rod, to push the plunger rod into the syringe and move a plunger 22 through the barrel 16 toward the neck 18 to dispense the contents. The plunger 22 is placed in-the barrel 16 before the syringe 14 is placed in the machine. Commonly, the syringes 14 including the plungers 22 are purchased assembled and in a sterilized condition from the manufacturer.
The syringes 14 are moved from a suitable supply source sequentially to an indexing wheel or turntable 24. The turntable 24 includes an upper disc 26 and a spaced, lower disc 28 connected together by a central hub (not shown). Referring particularly to FIG. 2, the upper disc 26 includes a notch 30 which positions an upper portion of the syringe barrel 16. The lower disc 28 has a horizontally extending peripheral lip 32, above which is a thin metal plate 34 of smaller diameter, with a space indicated at 36 between the lower disc and the plate. A notch 38 is formed in the plate 34 to receive a lower portion of the barrel 16, the notches 30 and 38 being in alignment, there being four of each of the notches for the four stations of the turntable 24. A chamfer 40 is formed around the lower notch 38 at the bottom surface of the plate 34. The flange of the syringe 14 is inserted in the space 36 and is held between the disc 28 and the plate 34, the latter being somewhat resilient to firmly engage the flange.
The syringes 14 are loaded at a first station indicated at 42 and are then carried by the turntable to a second station indicated at 44 when the turntable is indexed in a clockwise direction through 90 increments or steps. At the second station 44, the syringes 14 receive a predetermined quantity of a medicinal liquid from filling apparatus indicated at 46. The syringes 14 are then transferred to a third station, indicated at 48, where labels 50 carrying appropriate indicia designating the medicine in the syringes are applied. The syringes then move to a fourth station 52 and are stripped from the turntable and specifically from the notches and 38 as they move beyond the station 52. This is accomplished by a side wall 54 of a discharge chute or trough indicated at 56, the side wall extending into the space between the discs 26 and 28 to engage and push outwardly that portion of the barrel 16 between the discs.
The turntable is driven through a central shaft 58 and an electromagnetic clutch C1 by means to be discussed subsequently. The table is precisely indexed to each of the four stations by means of four recesses 60 located on the lower surface of the lower disc 38 at the four notch positions of the turntable. A detent 62 (FIG. 3) extends upwardly through a platform 64 of the machine base 12 and has a downwardly extending rod 66 therebelow which is spring-loaded in the upward direction by a coil spring 68. The rod 66 extends into a solenoid 70 and is pulled downwardly when the solenoid is actuated. The solenoid 70 is supported by a mounting plate 72 extending from a depending wall 74 of the base 12.
When a new syringe is placed at the first station 42 of the turntable 24, and the turntable is to be indexed, a start switch, whether handor foot-operated, is closed. A timer is then actuated which actuates the solenoid 70 to move the detent 62 out of the recess 60 for a very short period of time. The clutch C1 is also energized, enabling the turntable to be indexed to the next station. When the detent is released, the spring 68 moves it up against the lower surface of the disc 28 again where it can enter the next one of the recesses 60 when the turntable completes its 90 movement to the next station. When the detent has so indexed, and the detent 62 has moved into the next recess 60, an arm 76 extending outwardly from a collar 78 of the rod 66 opcrates a limit switch designated LS1 which de-energizes the clutch C1 and stops the drive for the turntable.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, the filling apparatus 46 at the second station 44 includes a vertically reciprocable member 80 slidably mounted on two vertical posts or guides 82 and 84. The member 80 has ears 86 pivotally connected by a pin 88 to a crank arm 90 which is driven in a manner to be subsequently discussed. The arm moves the member 80 with a vertical reciprocating motion over a predetermined distance. The member 80 also includes an outwardly extending flange 92 supporting a supply needle or elongate hollow member 94 which extends downwardly and is in alignment with the neck 18 of the syringe 14 when at the second station 44.
The supply needle 94 is connected through a flexible supply tube 96 to a neck 98 of a pump cylinder 100. The cylinder 100 is held in a fixed position in a recess 102 of a stand 104 by means ofa clamping bar 106 held in clamping engagement through a pin 108 and a thumbscrew 110. A pump plunger 112 is located within the cylinder 100 and is connected to a plunger rod 114 extending downwardly to an end flange 116, which is held by means of clamping plates 118, screws 120, and springs 122 on a back-up plate 124. The plate 124, in turn, is affixed to the upper end of a gear rack 126 which is reciprocably guided in a groove or gib 128 in the side of the stand 104.
When the rack 126 is moved up a predetermined distance, it moves the plunger 112 accordingly and dispenses a predetermined quantity of medicinal liquid form the from 100 through the tube 96 and the needle 94 into the syringe 14. The cylinder 100 contains a relatively large amount of the medicinal liquid so that the plunger 112 can be moved upwardly incrementally a number of times to fill a corresponding number of the syringes 14 before the cylinder 100 is empty. When the cylinder is empty, it can be removed and replaced by a full one or it can be filled in place with the apparatus shown in FIG. 3. In this instance, when the cylinder 100 is empty, a three-way valve 130 is turned to enable the cylinder 100 to communicate with an upwardlyextending neck 132 of the valve 130 rather than with the line 96. The neck 132 is connected through a needle 134 with the interior of a medicinal supply container 136, the needle 134 projecting through a rubber diaphragm 138 on top of the container. When the rack 126 is then moved downwardly to retract the plunger 112, it draws a new supply of medicinal liquid from the container 136 into the cylinder 100 without removing the cylinder. The valve 130 can then be turned back to connect the cylinder with the line 96 and the operation can begin again. With the relatively small medicinal supply containers now commercially available, several may be needed to fill the cylinder 100. However, the machine according to the invention will make larger supply containers possible and practical since the diaphragm is pierced only once, by the needle 134, rather than by a multiplicity of syringe needles.
The plunger 112 is moved incrementally upwardly in the cylinder 100 through a unique, variable drive arrangement. Accordingly, the rack 126 projects through an opening 140 in the platform 64 of the base 12 and is backed up by a lower wall 142. A pinion 144 meshes with the rack 126 and is connected through a commercially-available one-way clutch 146 with a drive shaft 148. The clutch 146 is designed so that when the shaft 148 rotates in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 3, it accordingly rotates the pinion 144 which moves the rack 126 and the plunger 112 upwardly. When the shaft 148 is moved in a counterclockwise direction, however, the pinion 144 remains stationary. Rather than the clutch 146, the shaft 146 can be in two parts and connected by an electromagnetically-operated clutch which can be selectively operated.
A travel control arm 150 is affixed to the shaft 148 and moves in an arcuate manner as the shaft rotates in eithe direction. When the shaft 148 is driven, and the arm 150 is in the position shown in FIG. 3, the shaft rotates until the arm 150 moves downwardly to a position in which an end 152 engages a positive stop in the form of an adjusting block 154. The block 154, in turn, is connected through a slot 156 of a vertical bar 158 to an indicator block 160 by means of an adjusting thumbscrew 162. When the screw 162 is loosened, the indicator block 160 and the stop block 154 can be moved up and down to any predetermined position. The position is shown by a pointer 164 on the block 160 associated with indicia indicated at 166 located on a side wall 168 of the base 12. When the shaft 148 is disengaged from the drive, the arm 150 is then moved back to its original position by a spring 169 connected between the arm and the platform 64. The original position of the arm 150 is determined by a fixed stop 170 extending inwardly from the bar 158.
From the above, it will be seen that when the shaft 148 is driven in a clockwise direction, it similarly moves the plunger 112 and causes liquid to be dispensed from the cylinder 100 through the tube 96 to the syringe 14, until the arm 150 moves into contact with the stop block 154. When the drive for the shaft 148 is disengaged, the spring 169 returns the arm 150 to the upper position against the stop 170. During this counterclockwise movement of the arm 150, the shaft 148 is similarly rotated, but the pinion 144 remains stationary and so does the rack 126 and the plunger 112. Consequently, through each reciprocatory motion of the arm 150 and each incremental drive of the shaft 148, the plunger 112 moves upwardly a predetermined distance in the cylinder 100 and dispenses a predetermined amount of medicinal liquid to the syringe aligned with the needle 94. The dispensing of the liquid through the needle 94 only occurs when the needle is in the syringe and the member 80 is in the lower position.
When the cylinder 100 is empty and is to be refilled, the plunger rod 114 is retracted to its lowest position to draw a fresh supply of liquid into the cylinder. To accomplish this, the shaft 148 is moved inwardly toward the right, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, to move the pinion 144 out of engagement with the rack 126 so that the rack can be pushed downwardly. This can be accomplished by a suitable handle 171 of FIG. 4 which is pushed in by the operator. When the handle is released, a spring 172 of FIG. 3 moves the shaft 148 and the pinion 144 back to the original position with the pinion and the rack 126 again engaged.
The filling operation of the syringe begins when one of the syringes 14 moves into the filling position at the station 44. At that time, a feeler arm of a limit switch LS2 engages the syringe barrel l6 and closes the switch. The limit switch causes a pulse to be fed to a solenoid SOL.1 (FIG. 4) which retracts a dog 174 from an offset 176 in a control disc 178. The release of the dog 174 from the offset 176 causes a commercially available wrap spring clutch 180 to engage and connects a drive shaft 182 with a drive train, to be discussed subsequently. The shaft 182 is then driven through an angle of 180 until the dog 174, which was immediately released after being retracted, contacts another offset diametrically opposite the offset 176 in the control disc 178. This accordingly stops the shaft 182.
During this movement, the crank arm 90, connected to a cam 184 on the shaft 182, moves the reciprocable member downwardly to move the needle 94 into the syringe 14 at the station 44. In this position, a control arm 186 on the shaft 182 contacts a feeler arm of a limit switch LS3 which closes to energize an electromagnetic clutch C2 to engage the drive train with the shaft 148. At the same time, the limit switch LS3 energizes a timer which, when timed out, de-energizes the clutch C2. The time that the clutch is energized, however, is sufficient for the shaft 148 to be driven to the extent that the arm moves a distance sufficient for the end 152 to contact the stop block 154 where it remains until the timer times out and the clutch C2 is disengaged. At that time, the spring 169 returns the arm 150 and the shaft 148 to the original position, ready for the next reciprocatory filling motion.
When the timer which dis-engages the clutch C2 times out, it also pulses the solenoid SOL.1 again to temporarily retract the dog 174 and to enable the shaft 182 to again rotate and raise the supply needle 94 from the syringe 14 at the station 44. At this time, the control arm 186 contacts a fourth limit switch LS4 which readies the machine for another cycle. The turntable control is in series with the limit switch LS4 to prevent indexing unless the switch LS4 is closed. This prevents possible indexing when the supply needle 94 is in one of the syringes 14.
Referring now to the labeling operation, the labels 50 which are applied to the syringes 14 at the station 48 preferably are of the pressure-sensitive type and are supplied longitudinally on a tape 188, from which they can be readily peeled. The tape 188 is supplied from a reel 190 (FIG. 1) located on a hub 192 which is rotatably carried on a spindle 194 mounted on the platform 64. The tape 188 with the labels 50 thereon is pulled past a spring-loaded tension arm 196 which urges the tape and labels against a guide post 198, thereby maintaining a constant tension on the tape-beyond the post 198. From here, the tape and labels move past the printing apparatus 200, to be discussed subsequently, where suitable indica is applied to the labels 50 to indicate the nature of the medicinal liquid supplied to the syringes through the needle 94. The tape is then pulled past a directional roller 202 and then sharply around a separating bar 204 (FIG. 2) having a relatively sharp or abrupt edge 205 at a corner thereof. This edge causes the labels 50 to separate from the tape as the tape is pulled in a sharply divergent direction at an angle of substantially 90 to the labels. The tape is pulled around a post 206 by a driven, knurled roller 208 (FIG. 1) against which the tape is urged by a rubber pressure roller 210 having an adjustment 212.
The label 50 continues in a substantially straight direction from the separating bar 204 and is engaged by a pressure feed roller 214 (also FIG. 2) and a driven feed roller 216 having annular V-shaped ridges 217 thereon to prevent excessive contact with the adhesive side of the label 50. The pressure roller 214 is mounted on a movable arm 218 which is pivoted on the platform 64 and is urged toward the label 50 being fed by a spring 220. The arm 218 carries a supporting block 222 from a corner of which depends a knurled applicator roller 224, rotatably supported by a pin 226. The roller 224 is positioned at the same level as the labels 50 being fed between the rollers 214 and 216 and is on the printed side thereof. The roller 224 is also located partially in the path of the syringe 14 and presses the label 50 against the syringe barrel 16 as the syringe moves past the roller 224. The roller 224 yieldably moves in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 2, the spring-loaded end of the arm 218 swinging out under the path of the tape 188 and urged in a clockwise direction by the spring 220.
A second, knurled applicator roller 228 is located on the opposite side of the path of the syringe 14 and is also positioned at the level of the label 50 which is moved across the syringe path. The roller 228 is rotatably mounted by a pin or axle 230 between ears 232 and 234. The ears project from anoffset extension 236 which is integral with and extends from the side wall 54 of the discharge trough or chute 56, with the extension extending between the upper disc 26 and the plate 40 of the turntable 24. When the syringe 14 contacts that portion of the label 50 located between the applicator rollers 224 and 228, the rollers help press the label around the barrel 16 as the syringe moves between them.
As the syringe 14 moves between the stations 48 and 52, the label is partially affixed thereto with free ends thereof extending rearwardly, the label assuming a U- shape configuration, as viewed from above. Between the stations are two additional knurled applicator rollers 238 and 240 which are normally positioned in contact with one another at the center of the path of the syringe. The outer roller 238 is rotatably supported from an arm 242 by a pin or axle 244, with the arm 242 being pivotally mounted on a post 245 and urged toward the roller 240 by an outer spring 246.
The roller 240 is rotatably supported from an arm 248 by a pin or axle 249. The arm is pivoted by a pin 250 on the extension 236 and is urged toward the roller 238 by a spring 252. The rollers contact the syringe barrel 16 at the level of the label 50 and additionally help to press the label thereon, with the rollers then moving inwardly as the barrel 16 passes them to engage and press together the free ends of the label. This securely holds the label thereon enabling it to be read more easily than if it were wound completely around the barrel.
In the operation of the labeling mechanism, when the syringe 14 at the station 44 moves away from the feeler arm of the limit switch LS2, and the feeler arm resumes its outer position, it starts the feed for the tape drive roller 208 and the label drive roller 216. This is accomplished by energization of an electromagnetic clutch C3 (FIG. which causes rotation of a drive shaft 254 for the label drive roller 216 and, through spur gears 256 and 258, drives a drive shaft 260 for the tape drive roller 208. An electromagnetic brake B on the shaft 254 is simultaneously de-energized to enable rotation of the shaft. At the same time that the outer movement of the feeler arm of the limit switch LS2 energizes the clutch C3 and de-energizes the brake B, it also deenergizes the electromagnetic clutch Cl for the turntable shaft 58 temporarily. This causes the indexing of the turntable 24 to hesitate when one of the syringes 14 is between the stations 44 and 48 to assure that the label 50 fed between the rollers 214 and 216 has moved into the proper position in the path of the syringe 14 by the time the syringe reaches the'station 48. This hesitation is not necessary, of course, if the turntable indexing speed is sufficiently slow in relation to the lineal speed of the label 50. The drive rollers 208 and 216 continue to be driven until the trailing edge of the label 50 moves beyond the path of an electric eye established between sending and receiving units 262 and 264. These then de-energize the clutch C3 and again energize the brake B to assure precise stopping of the labels. The electric eye units 262 and 264 also energize the clutch Cl again to complete the indexing of the table 24. The trailing end of the label 50 is held between the rollers 214 and 216 until the syringe reaches the station 48. At this time, the syringe will have started to engage the applicator roller 224 to move the arm 218 and the roller 214 away from the roller 216 thereby releasing the label.
The printing apparatus 200 is similar to that disclosed in my copending application, Ser. No. 95,204, entitled Apparatus for Labeling Containers, and will not be discussed in detail here. Similar printing apparatus is also disclosed in my co-pending application, Ser. No. 25,925, entitled Apparatus for Filling, Closing, and Labeling Containers.
The apparatus 200 (FIG. 1) includes a pressure plate 266 in front of which the tape 188 and the labels 50 pass, with the labels facing outwardly. Printing type is set up in a type holder or chase (not shown) to provide the desired indicia for the labels, the holder being of any suitable type known in the printing art. The holder is clamped in a printing head 268 which is moved back and forth in a lineal path on a guide block 270 slidably supported on gibs or ways 272.
An inking plate 274 includes an inking pad on the lower face thereof to provide a fresh supply of ink for the type after each printing operation on one of the labels 50. The plate 274 is affixed to a shaft 276 which is supported by columns 278 and 280 with a pinion gear 282 affixed to the shaft 276 at one side of the plate 274. The gear 282 meshes with a gear rack 284 which is affixed to the head 268 and rotates the shaft 276 and the inking plate 274 when the head 268 and the rack 284 are reciprocated. When the printing head 268 is retracted, the inking pad of the plate 276 will be in contact with the type, and when the printing head 268 moves forward toward the pressure plate 266, the plate 274 is moved to an upper, out-of-the-way position.
The printing head 268 is driven through a link 286 connected to a crank arm 288 which is rotated by a shaft 290. Referring to FIG. 5, the shaft 290 is driven through a wrap spring clutch 292 which rotates the shaft through one revolution by means of a dog and a single offset of a control plate, the dog position being controlled by a solenoid SOL.2. This arrangement is not shown in detail in FIG. 5 since it operates the same as the components 174-180 of FIG. 4, except that in this instance, the shaft 190 drives through one full revolution. During this revolution, the printing head 268 moves to the forward position to print a label and then to the retracted position to be inked.
When the end of one of the labels 50 passes the sending and receiving units 262 and 264, the solenoid SOL.2 is also temporarily pulsed to retract the dog and enable the full revolution of the shaft 290 to occur. At this time, of course, the labels and the tape 188 are stationary.
The drive trains for the various components of the machine 10 will now be discussed. For the indexing, labeling, and printing components, a suitable motor 294 drives a shaft 296 which turns a drive sprocket 298 and, through a chain 300, turns a driven sprocket 302. The sprocket 302 is rotatably mounted on the shaft 254 where it is connected with an intermediate sprocket 304 which, through a chain 306, drives a driven sprocket 308. This rotates the shaft 58 to index the turntable 24 when the clutch C1 is energized, the sprocket 308 otherwise freely rotating on the shaft 58. The clutch C1 is held in a fixed position by a fork 310 engaging a pin 312.
The sprockets 302 and 304 also are effective to rotate the shaft 254 when the clutch C3 is energized, this clutch also being held stationary by a fork 314 engaging a pin 316 depending from the platform 64. When the shaft 254 is rotated, it also rotates the spur gear 256, which is affixed thereto, and the spur gear 258, causing both of the drive rollers 208 and 216 to rotate.
The drive shaft 296 for the motor 294 also has a second drive sprocket 318 which, through a chain 320, drives a driven sprocket 322. The sprocket 322 drives the shaft 290 when the dog for the wrap spring clutch 292 is retracted by the solenoid SOL.2, to cause the printing head to reciprocate through one complete cycle.
The drive train for the filling apparatus 46 will now be discussed. Referring to FIG. 4, a motor 324 has a drive shaft 326 which, through a drive sprocket 328, a chain 330, and a driven sprocket 332, rotates an intermediate shaft 334. This rotates an intermediate sprocket 336 which, through a chain 338, drives a sprocket 340 which drives the shaft 182 through each of its 180 movements when the dog 174 is released and the clutch 180 is engaged.
A drive sprocket 342 on the intermediate shaft 334, through a chain 344, drives a sprocket 346 located on a second intermediate shaft 348. A drive sprocket 350 affixed to the shaft 348 then drives, through a chain 352, a sprocket 354 which is rotatably mounted on the shaft 148. When the clutch C2 is engaged, the sprocket 354 drives the shaft 148 and the pinion 144 until the arm end 152 contacts the stop block 154. The clutch C2 then simply slips until it is de-energized.
Various modifications of the above described embodiment of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art and it is to be understood that such modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention, if they are within the spirit and the tenor of the accompanying claims.
1. Apparatus for filling and labeling syringes having narrow necks, said apparatus comprising a turntable having circumferentially spaced openings to hold the syringes with the narrow necks extending upwardly and to carry the syringes sequentially to additional stations from a first station at which the syringes are received, the additional stations including a station at which the syringes are filled with liquid and a station at which the syringes are labeled, means at the filling station comprising an elongate hollow member for supplying liquid through the narrow necks of the syringes, means for supplying predetermined quantities of liquid sequentially to the hollow member, said supplying means comprising a cylinder, a plunger in said cylinder, and means for incrementally advancing said plunger predetermined distances into said cylinder, and feed means at the labeling station for feeding labels to the labeling station.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1 characterized by means for moving said elongate hollow member axially toward and away from the narrow necks, and means responsive to the existence of oneof the syringes at the filling station to operate said moving means to move said member toward and into the neck of the syringe at the filling station.
3. Apparatus according to claim 2 characterized by sensing means for actuating said supplying means to supply one predetermined quantity to said hollow member when said hollow member is in the neck of the syringe to be filled.
4. Apparatus according to claim 1 characterized by said turntable comprising an upper disc, a lower disc having a planar upper surface facing toward said upper disc, said upper and lower discs having aligned notches therein to receive spaced portions of barrels of the syringes, and resilient means associated with said lower disc for engaging flanges of the syringes and urging them against said planar surface of said lower disc.
5. Apparatus according to claim 1 characterized by said advancing means comprises a gear rack connected to said plunger, a pinion gear meshing with said gear rack, and means for rotating said pinion gear through a predetermined angle toincrementally advance said plunger a predetermined distance in said container.
6. Apparatus according to claim 5 characterized by an arm rotatable with said pinion gear, and adjustable means for limiting the extent of angular movement of said arm to limit the rotatable movement of said pinion gear.
7. Apparatus according to claim 5 characterized by a drive shaft, and a one-way clutch mounting said pinion gear on said drive shaft to enable said pinion gear to rotate with said shaft in only one direction effective to move said plunger into the supply container.
8. Apparatus according to claim 7 characterized by drive means including an electromagnetic clutch for rotating said shaft, and means for energizing said electromagnetic clutch for a predetermined period of time when one of the medicinal containers is to be filled.
9. Apparatus for filling and labeling syringes having narrow necks, said apparatus comprising a turntable having circumferentially spaced openings to hold the syringes with the narrow necks extending upwardly and to carry the syringes sequentially to additional stations from a first station at which the syringes are received, the additional stations including a station at which the syringes are filled with liquid and a station at which the syringes are labeled, means at the filling station comprising an elongate, hollow member for supplying liquid through the narrow necks of the syringes, means for supplying predetermined quantities of liquid sequentially to the hollow member, said supplying means including a pump cylinder, a plunger in said pump cylinder, means for incrementally moving the plunger into the pump cylinder, a supply container, valve means enabling said pump cylinder to alternately communicate with said supply container and said elongate, hollow member, and feed means at the labeling station for feeding labels to the labeling station.
10. Apparatus according to claim 9 characterized by means for withdrawing said plunger from said pump cylinder when said pump cylinder is in communication with said supply container.
11. Apparatus according to claim 9 characterized by means for printing the labels prior to the labels being fed by said feed means to the labeling station with indicia indicating the nature of the liquid in said supply container.
12. Apparatus for filling and labeling syringes comprising a turntable having circumferentially spaced openings to receive and hold the syringes and to carry them sequentially through additional stations from a first station at which the syringes are received, the additional stations including a station at which the syringes are filled with liquid and a station at which labels are applied to the syringes, feed means for feeding labels having adhesive surfaces into a position for contact with the syringes at the labeling station, said feed means including a pair of feed rollers, at least one of which is driven, one of said feed rollers being movably mounted for movement toward and away from the other of said feed rollers, means engageable by a syringe for moving said one roller away'from the other when the syringe reaches the labeling station. means for directing the labels between said feed rollers, means for stopping rotation of said feed rollers while a portion of each label is at the labeling station and another portion is still engaged by said feed rollers, whereby the label is positioned by the feed rollers across the path established by the movement of the syringes from station to station with end portions of the labels extending outwardly beyond both sides of the path of the syringes, and means for imprinting indicia on the labels prior to feeding them into position for contact with the syringes.