Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3837139 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 24, 1974
Filing dateJul 5, 1973
Priority dateJul 5, 1973
Publication numberUS 3837139 A, US 3837139A, US-A-3837139, US3837139 A, US3837139A
InventorsRosenberg H
Original AssigneeRosenberg H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for handling and counting pills and the like
US 3837139 A
Abstract
To improve the reliability and speed of handling and counting pills, such as for filling prescriptions, an apparatus is provided in which a rotatable turn-table member and coaxial rotatable inner member centrally located of the turn-table and having an upper surface coplanar therewith serve to rotate and agitate the pills into a single file formation whereupon the pills are passed outwardly through a discharge passage equipped with a photo-electric sensor for developing an exact count of the number of pills discharged. Overlying the horizontal surface of the inner member and the coplanar surface of the turn-table member is a barrier which circumscribes an interior pill receiving region or area of the rotating surfaces into which unprocessed or uncounted pills are dumped. The outer rotating surface of the turn-table member causes the pills to be rotated toward an inlet of a discharge passage which interrupts the circumferential barrier substantially tangent to the perimeter of the inner member surface. Adjacent the entry point to the discharge passage the pills assume a single file formation by virtue of the rotating coplanar surface of the inner member, which rotates at a higher speed than the turn-table member, so as to automatically remove excess pills at the discharge entry and return them to the outer and slower rotating surface. The discharge passage itself extends in a continuous uniform curvilinear path tending in the direction of rotation of the turn-table to the outer perimeter thereof where the pills are discharged into a container. The photo-electric sensor for counting is mounted adjacent the outlet point of the discharge passage. To provide reliable and high speed counting, the curvilinear discharge passage causes a continuously increasing separation of adjacent pills as they progress outwardly from the center of the table toward the outer perimeter where the greatest separation is achieved as the pills pass by the photoelectric sensor. One of the walls forming the inlet to the discharge passage is provided with an upper surface which slopes downwardly away from the inlet opening to define a prow-like projection which causes bunched pills or capsules to ride up such surface and fall to one side thereof so as to either enter the discharge passage or return to the rotating surface of the inner member, thereby breaking up any log jamming which may occur at the inlet. An adjustable pill "decapper" and guide finger member is provided adjacent the entry point of the discharge passage to knock-off or dislodge occasionally stacked pills, especially in the case of tablets, and to guide or force a portion of an on-rushing jam of tablets outwardly away from the discharge inlet and onto the inner rotating member so as to again eliminate congestion at the inlet.
Images(2)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 Roseberg Sept. 24, 1974 APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND COUNTING PILLS AND THE LIKE [76] Inventor: Harry G. Roseberg, 201 1 S. Bedford St., Los Angeles, Calif. 90034 [22] Filed: July 5, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 376,708

[52] US. Cl. 53/59 R, 53/78, 133/8 R, 221/7 [51] Int. Cl B65b 57/20 [58] Field of Search 53/59 R, 78; 133/8 R, 8 C, 133/3 A, 3 G; 198/40; 221/7 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,594,337 4/1952 Noe 53/59 R 3,253,604 5/1966 Read 133/8 R Primary ExaminerTravis S. McGehee Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Miketta, Glenny, Poms & Smith [57] ABSTRACT To improve the reliability and speed of handling and counting pills, such as for filling prescriptions, an apparatus is provided in which a rotatable tum-table member and coaxial rotatable inner member centrally located of the turn-table and having an upper surface coplanar therewith serve to rotate and agitate the pills into a single file formation whereupon the pills are passed outwardly through a discharge passage equipped with a photo-electric sensor for developing an exact count of the number of pills discharged. Overlying the horizontal surface of the inner member and the coplanar surface of the turn-table member is a barrier which circumscribes an interior pill receiving region or area of the rotating surfaces into which unprocessed or uncounted pills are dumped. The outer rotating surface of the turn-table member causes the pills to be rotated toward an inlet of a discharge passage which interrupts the circumferential barrier substantially tangent to the perimeter of the inner member surface. Adjacent the entry point to the discharge passage the pills assume a single file formation by virtue of the rotating coplanar surface of the inner member, which rotates at a higher speed than the turntable member, so as to automatically remove excess pills at the discharge entry and return them to the outer and slower rotating surface. The discharge passage itself extends in a continuous uniform curvilinear path tending in the direction of rotation of the turntable to the outer perimeter thereof where the pills are discharged into a container. The photo-electric sensor for counting is mounted adjacent the outlet point of the discharge passage. To provide reliable and high speed counting, the curvilinear discharge passage causes a continuously increasing separation of adjacent pills as they progress outwardly from the center of the table toward the outer perimeter where the greatest separation is achieved as the pills pass by the photoelectric sensor. One of the walls forming the inlet to the discharge passage is provided with an upper surface which slopes downwardly away from the inlet opening to define a prow-like projection which causes bunched pills or capsules to ride up such surface and fall to one side thereof so as to either enter the discharge passage or return to the rotating surface of the inner member, thereby breaking up any log jamming which may occur at the inlet. An adjustable pill decapper and guide finger member is provided adjacent the entry point of the discharge passage to knock-off or dislodge occasionally stacked pills, especially in the case of tablets, and to guide or force a portion of an on-rushing jam of tablets outwardly away from the discharge inlet and onto the inner rotating member so as to again eliminate congestion at the inlet.

13 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND COUNTING PILLS AND THE LIKE BACKGROUND In general the present invention relates to article handling and counting apparatus and more particularly to apparatus for handling and counting pills, such as medicine tablets and capsules, or any other pill-shaped or pill-like objects.

Such an apparatus is particularly useful by pharmacists in drug stores and nurses or doctors in hospitals for filling large numbers of prescriptions and for handling, sorting and counting pill medication. Although apparatus for this purpose have previously been proposed, for example as set forth in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,523,5l7; 3,376,970; and 3,290,488, machines constructed in accordance with these prior teachings have not provided the degree of reliability, speed of handling and counting accuracy that is essential in the filling of medication prescriptions.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to improve the state of the art of pill handling, sorting and counting devices by providing a machine with increased reliability, speed of counting and handling, and count accuracy.

Another object of the present invention is to provide such an apparatus capable of handling tablets and capsules with equal efficiency and reliability.

To improve the reliability and speed of handling and counting pills, such as for filling prescriptions, an apparatus is provided in which a rotatable turn-table member and coaxial rotatable inner member centrally located of the turn-table and having an upper surface coplanar therewith serve to rotate and agitate the pills into a single file formation whereupon the pills are passed outwardly through a discharge passage equipped with a photo-electric sensor for developing an exact count of the number of pills discharged. Overlying the horizontal surface of the inner member and the outer coplanar surface of the turn-table member is a barrier which circumscribes a interior pill receiving region or area of the rotating surfaces into which unprocessed or uncounted pills are dumped. The outer rotating surface of the turn-table member causes the pills to be rotated toward an inlet of a discharge passage which interrupts the circumferential barrier substantially tangent to the perimeter of the inner member. Adjacent the entry point to the discharge passage the pills assume a single file formation by virtue of the rotating coplanar surface of the inner member, which rotates at a higher speed than the turn-table member so as to automatically remove excess pills at the discharge entry and return them to the outer rotating surface. The discharge passage itself extends in a continuous uniform curvilinear path tending in the direction of rotation of the turntable to the outer perimeter thereof where the pills are discharged into a bottle or other container. The photo-electric sensor for counting is mounted adjacent the outlet point of the discharge pas-- sage. To provide reliable and high speed counting, the curvilinear discharge passage causes a continuously increasing separation of adjacent pills as they progress outwardly from the center of the table toward the outer perimeter where the greatest separation is achieved as the pills pass by the photoelectric sensor. One of the walls forming the inlet to the discharge passage is provided with an upper surface portion which slopes downwardly away from the inlet opening to define a prowlike projection which causes bunched pills or capsules to either enter the discharge passage or return to the rotating surface of the inner member, thereby breaking up any log jamming which may occur at the inlet. An adjustable pill decapper and guide finger member is provided adjacent the entry point of the discharge passage to knock-off or dislodge occasionally stacked pills, especially in the case of tablets, and to guide or force a portion of an on-rushing bunch of tablets outwardly away from the discharge inlet and onto the inner rotating member so as to again eliminate some congestion at the inlet.

These and further features, objects and advantages of the apparatus constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention will become apparem to those skilled in the art from a consideration of the following detailed description of an exemplary embodiment thereof.

BRIEF REFERENCE TO THE DRAWINGS Reference will be made to the appended sheets of drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the principal parts of the handling and counting apparatus constructed and assembled in accordance with the disclosed preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the pill handlingand counting apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an assembly view, partly in section, of the apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 is a detailed view of the motor and gear drive means utilized in the apparatus of FIGS. 1 through 3.

FIG. 5 is a detailed view of the pill delivery station for the apparatus of FIG. 1 showing the solenoid operated pill deflector for selectively discharging counted pills into one or the other of two pill receiving containers.

FIG. 6 is another detailed view showing an adjustable pill decapper and guide finger utilized in the apparatus in FIG. 1 for facilitating the handling and counting operation.

FIG. 7 is still another detailed view, similar to the top plan view of FIG. 2, and diagramatically illustrating the continuous, uniform increase of pill separation as each of the pills progress through the discharge passage to the outlet thereof.

FIG. 8 is a generalized block diagram view of the photoelectric sensor, electronic counter for registering and counting the number of pills processed, and the electromechanical means for operating the pill deflector at the pill discharge outlet.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the present invention provides an apparatus 10 for handling and count ing batches of unprocessed pills 11 and for deliverying the counted pills to a delivery station 12. Bottles or other containers 12 and 13 are detachably mounted at the delivery station 12 for receiving the counted pills for storage or transporting. As more fully described herein, means are provided for electronically registering and visually displaying the precise counts of pills delivered to the containers l3 and 14.

While reference is made to the processing of pills 11, the present apparatus advantageously handles and counts pills in the shape of tablets and in the configuration of plastic capsules. ln fact, any pill-shaped or pilllike object may be counted by the present invention.

Apparatus 10 is extremely useful to facilitate the bandling and counting of large batches of pills, such as required in the daily operation of a pharmacist or druggist. Hundreds of prescriptions are filled each day by a pharmacist, and the time required to manually process each order is very time consuming. Furthermore, with manual counting, there is the reoccurring problem of an inaccurate count, which in some instances can be injurious to the patient whose prescription is being filled. Perhaps even more important than the possible inaccuracy of a manual count is the fact that the time required to perform the manual processing of pills takes away time better spent by the pharmacist in making the proper selection of medications from storage and in managing the inventory.

There are other applications in which apparatus 10 is useful. For example, hospitals and other medical institutions where a large number of prescriptions or medications are handled can advantageously utilize such a machine. Thus, in general, the pill handling and counting apparatus of the present invention may be used to advantage in any situation requiring the handling, sorting and counting of pill medications and the like. For example, apparatus 10 as more fully described herein may be employed to deliver a predetermined or I preset number of pills to one or both of containers l3 and 14. For this purpose, an electronic counter may be set with the desired count and the machine operated to deliver the preset number of pills first to a container 13. Upon filling container 13 with the desired number of pills, an electro-mechanical pill deflector may be operated to deliver the same number of pills to the alternate container 14. This handling operation may be utilized to successively fill any number of containers at delivery station 12 by alternately substituting an empty container each time one of containers 13 and 14 is filled.

Another mode of operation of apparatus 10 may provide for counting out a predetermined or preset number of pills and delivering them to one of containers 13 or 14 and thereafter dumping the remainder of the tablets or capsules to the alternate container. Still another use is for counting a batch of pills of unknown number. This latter mode might be used for example to take an inventory of pills in storage.

Thus, machines of this type have proven utility. However, in effecting the actual counting operation, technical problems have developed in previously proposed machines which have prevented reliable and high speed counting, two important characteristics of such a machine. For example, one general approach to the counting of pills has been to provide for guiding an uncounted batch of tablets into a single file formation whereupon each tablet is detected by a sensor and registered on an electronic counter. Difficulties have been encountered however, in that there has been a tendency in previous machines for the unprocessed batch of pills to log-jam in the region where the pills are guided into single file formation. Another shortcoming has been the inability of a particular machine to process both tablets and capsules with equal facility.

The presently disclosed embodiment of the invention has solved these problems by the following construction. First, to guide an unprocessed batch of pills into single file formation, there is provided coaxially mounted rotatable members defining an inner high speed rotating surface 16 of apparatus 10 and an outer low speed rotating surface 17 which is coplanar with the inner surface 16. Both surfaces 16 and 17 are of generally circular configuration and are mounted generally in a horizontal plane. For example apparatus 10 may be provided with a base 20, partially shown in F IG. 1, for mounting on a counter topor the like to dispose the rotating surfaces 16 and 17 in the horizontal plane.

More particularly, the outer rotating surface 17 rotating at a relatively slow rate is defined by an upper annular surface portion of a turn-table member 18 mounted for rotation on base 20. Member 18 is driven by a motor and gear means disclosed more fully herein for the relative slow speed rotation about a centrally located vertical axis 19.

The inner and relatively high speed rotating surface 16 is provided by an inner member 21 mounted coaxially with turn-table member 18 about central axis 19 and rotatably driven by herein described motor and drive means. As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, member 21 is mounted within a circular recess 22 formed in the upper face of turn-table member 18 so as to dispose upper surface l6 of member 21 substantially flush and and thus coplanar with the outer rotating surface 17. By virtue of this construction, pills placed on these rotating surfaces will during processing cross over the interface between the outer perimeter 23 of surface 16 and the inner perimeter 24 of surface 17.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, the drive means for rotating members 18 and 21 may be provided by a centrally located motor 26 having a shaft 27 formed with a keyed portion 28 adjacent the upper end thereof. Portion 28 co-operates with a set screw tightened collar 29 fixedly attached to the upper surface 16 of member 21 for direct rotational drive thereof by motor 26. Turn-table member 18 on the other hand is freely rotatably mounted about shaft 27 of motor 26 and is driven by a free-wheeling gear 31 also free to rotate about shaft 27 of motor 26 and connected to and for driving member 18, such as by the here illustrated connecting pin 32 extending between member 18 and gear 31 at a point off-set from axis 19. In driving relation to gear 31 is a drive gear 33 mounted on the drive shaft of a second motor 34 which is radially off-set from the central axis 19 as illustrated.

Outer surface 17 is rotated at a speed which is slow enough to carry pills 11 in frictional engagement therewith and fast enough to afford an advantageously high counting speed. For'example, turn-table 18 may be rotated at approximately 20 to 25 revolutions per minute. Inner surface 16 is rotated at a substantially higher rate so as to provide a different rotational mode relative to surface 17 and to centrifugally force any pills which are urged on to this inner surface radially outwardly so as to return them to the outer and slower and rotating surface 17. Although there is a slight operational advantage in rotating inner member 21 in a direction counter to that of turn-table member 18, in general the inner surface 16 may be rotated either in the same or opposite direction assurface 17. in the presently disclosed embodiment, inner member 21 is counter rotated relative to turn-table member 18. The rotational speed of inner surface 16 may be for example 8 to 10 times that of the outer rotating surface 17. For example, motor 26 may provide for driving inner member 16 at approximately 180 to 240 revolutions per minute.

The coplanar rotating surfaces 16 and 17 provide a means for agitating'pills 11 and in combination with other components of apparatus 10 for guiding the tablets or capsules into a single file formation. To aid the rotating surfaces of the apparatus in this objective, means are provided for receiving and entrapping a batch of pills 11 placed on the upper rotating surfaces 16 and 17. Such means include an outer barrier 36 here provided by upright walls 37, 38 and 39 mounted in non-rotating disposition above or in sliding contact with rotating surfaces 16 and 17 so as to circumscribe an interior area 41 thereof. This area 41 in conjunction with barrier 36 of walls 37, 38 and 39 provides the means for receiving and entrapping a batch of uncounted pills 11 on the rotating surfaces 16 and 17. A batch of pills 11 so placed within area 41 willbe continuously rotated and agitated within barrier 36 until dis charged therefrom for counting.

To provide means for discharging pills 11 from the entrapped area 41, an elongated discharge passage 42 is provided by a pair of spaced parallel upright walls one of which is formed in this instance by barrier wall 38 while the other is defined by a wall 43 here joined as an integral extension of barrier wall 39. This passage 42 has an inlet 44 interrupting the barrier 36 at a location adjacent to the outer perimeter of inner member 21 as illustrated, with inlet 44 disposed in receiving relationship to a single file formation region 46 defined by wall 39, and portions of rotating surfaces 16 and 17 adjacent inlet 44. As described herein, the pills 11 are guided into a single file formation within region 46 and in this condition are passed into the inlet 44 of discharge passage 42 where in a manner unique to the present invention the pills are urged into a state of continuously increasing separation for counting by a sensor positioned adjacent an outlet 47 of the discharge passageway.

To define region 46, barrier 36 is for the most part radially outwardly displaced from the perimeter of surface 16 of the inner member and extends or spirals radially inwardly in the direction of rotation of outer annular surface 17 to a point ofjunction 48 with the radially outermost wall 43 of discharge passage 42. The decreasing radial separation of barrier 36, particularly adjacent wall 39 defines a portion of surface 17 in which wall 39 is converging toward perimeter 23 of member 21 leading into inlet 44 of the discharge passage. The defined area on surface 17 is wide enough to allow only a single file formation of pills 11 as they approach the entrance to the discharge passage, with any excess or surplus pills being forced onto the counter rotating surface 16 of the inner member. Thus the single file forming region 46 is defined by this construction. Pills which are destined to enter the inlet 44 flow in a direction indicated by arrow 49 whereas the excess pills are caused to flow as indicated by arrows 51 onto surface 16 and with the higher rotating speed thereof forced radially outwardly back on to the slower rotating surface 17 for return to the single file forming area.

To provide for adjusting apparatus 10 to accommodate different size tablets and capsules, walls 39 and 43 are adjustable radially outwardly and inwardly by a LII rack and pinion gear-assembly 52. To facilitate this adjustment, barrier wall 39 and the radially outer wall 43 of discharge passage 42 are formed so as to integral in this embodiment and mounted as an integral unit for generally radial movement in response to linear reciprocation of rack member 53 to adjustably increase or decrease the width of inlet 44 and of discharge passage 42 defined between the inner surfaces of walls 43 and 38.

More particularly, walls 37 and 38 of barrier 36 are fixedly attached to a lower surface of a flat round panel 54 mounted in elevated over-lying and plane parallel relationship to the rotating surfaces 16 and 17 as best illustrated in FIG. 1. A plurality of rim supporting stand-off brackets 56 are here utilized to removably support panel 54, wherein brackets 56 may be swung outwardly about pivotal joints 57 affixed to base 20 so as to release the rim 58 of panel 54 for removal from the apparatus.

Panel 54 may be of a transparent material such as plastic and may be provided with access openings 61 and 62 for dumping or depositing the unprocessed pills onto surfaces 16 and 17 and for affording access to ad justable components of the apparatus. Rim 58 of panel 54 may be provided with semicircular indentations or notches into which brackets 54 may be seated to position and hold panel 54 and the components mounted thereto in place. Furthermore, the elevation of panel 54 may be adjustable by providing each of brackets 56 with a spool portion co-operatively threaded to a pivotally mounted stud 60.

Thus, walls 38 and 37 affixed to the underneath surface of panel 54 depend downwardly therefrom in a substantially vertical plane so that the lower edges of these walls are in close proximity if not in sliding contact with surfaces 16 and 17 so as to prevent the escape of tablets or capsules from the bounded area 41. The remaining wall portions of barrier 36, namely wall 39, is as indicated above integral with wall 43 of the discharge passage and jointly movable therewith by a rack and pinion assembly 52 for adjusting the discharge passage to the size of the pill to be processed. In particular, assembly 52 includes a guide bracket 66 having a slider 67 mounted for longitudinal reciprocation within an elongated slot 68 formed in panel 54 and overlying rack member 53. This secures rack member 53 for longitudinal movement only, with an end 69 of this member attached to walls 39 and 43 adjacent the junction 48 therebetween for joint movement of these walls upon linear displacement of the rack member 53. To selectively effect the displacement and positioning of walls 39 and 43, a pinion gear 71 is provided cooperating with rack member 53 as illustrated and manually engagable knob 72 serves to selectively rotate the pinion gear. Gear 71 and knob 72 are journaled for rotation in panel 54 about an axis transverse thereto with gear 71 and rack member 53 mounted beneath the horizontal plane of panel 54 and with knob 72 above the panel for manual access.

In adjusting apparatus 10 for the paticular size of tablet or capsule to be counted, assembly 52 is employed to position wall 43 so as to'essentially close off inlet 44, that is reduce the width of the inlet to be less than the width of the pills 11. In this condition, the rotating surfaces 16 and 17 will continuously circulate and agitate any pills dumped into the entrapment area through access opening 61.

Now, wall 43 and wall 39 are displaced radially outwardly by rotating knob 72 such that the width of opening or inlet 44 increases to receive pills 11. For tablets, the width of inlet 44 and of discharge passage 42 will be slightly larger than the diameter of the pills. For capsules, the width of the inlet and passage will be slightly larger than the outside diameter of the cylindrical portion of the capsule, such that the capsules will pass through the discharge passage in end to end relationship.

- Discharge passage 42 which is here defined by the interior confronting surfaces of walls 43 and 38 is so shaped that the pills, whether capsules or tablets, are swept from the inlet 44 to outlet 47 under a substantially constant state of acceleration. This operational characteristic provides for a continuously increasing separation between the single file pills as they pass toward the outlet 47 of the discharge passage where in this embodiment a photo-electric sensor provides for registering a pill count upon each interruption of the light beam. Since the photo-electric sensor depends on some spacing between the pills in order to register the proper count, it will be apparent that the reliability of the apparatus depends upon the effectiveness of the pill separation of the sensing location. By shaping discharge passage 42 as in the present invention such that there is a continuously increasing pill separation, the reliable operation desired is readily attained.

This operation characteristic is best illustrated in the diagram shown in FIG. 7, wherein discharged passage 42 is shown in to extend from the inlet 44 in a continuous uniform curve tending in the direction of rotation of the outer annular surface 17 and terminating at the outlet 47 adjacent the outer rim or perimeter 76 of surface 17. This configuration causes pills 11 which tend to be forced in the direction of rotation of surface 17 by the contact friction therewith to undergo a continuously increasing speed change as the angle between the curvature of passage 42 and the direction of rotation of surface 17 decreases This is dramatically illustrated by comparing the angular relationships a a (1 in FIG. 7 between passage 42 and the rotating tangents of surface 17. As observed therein, the angle between a and a is decreasing and there is a consequent continuous acceleration or increase in speed of pills I! from approximately the mid-point of passage 42 to the outlet 47. In this particular embodiment the curvature of passage 42 is such that there is a slight increase in the angle that the passage makes with the rotating tangent of surface 17 adjacent inlet 44, exemplified by the increase in anglefrom a; to a which causes a slight slowing down of the pills after they enter inlet 44. Thus approximately at the region of angle a, there is a slight bunching of the tablets. However, thereafter the continuous acceleration and continuous increasing separation of the pills ensues to provide the desired separation at the outlet 47 for photo-electric sensing.

By virtue of this construction and operation the increasing speed or stated differently the differential acceleration of the tablets depending upon their progress through the discharge passage 43 results in aproper spread at the sensing point which in turn provides for increased reliability and increased operating speeds. Furthermore, this constant or continual spreading of the pill separation prevents one tablet from catching up with another due for example to frictional differences between tablet and the rotating surface 17 caused by any trademarks, cuts, slots or identations on the pills. It is observed, that in an abrupt type of acceleration of pills 11, such catching up will occur every so often and result in an erroneous counting by the photoelectric sensor. On the other hand, in the present machine if any two pills are to bunch up during progress through passage 42 they will thereafter be separated by the continuous accelerating effect described above.

With further reference to the construction of inlet 44 of passage 42, the presently described embodiment of the invention has a further feature in the provision of a prow" means disposed as an end or extension of the inward wall 38 of passageway 42 at inlet 44 to cause the pills to either enter the passageway or return to the inner counter rotating surface 16 for further rotational agitation. More particularly, the prow means may be provided by a tapered or sloping end projection 77 of radially inward wall 38 extending substantially tangentially to the perimeter of inner rotating surface 16 as best shown in FIG. 2. This end projection 77 is provided with an upper surface 78 which slopes downwardly and away from inlet 44 toward the plane of surfaces 16 and 17 forming a pointed tip which lies substantially at or in sliding contact with the junction between surfaces 16 and 17, or substantially at the outer perimeter 23 of surface 16 and inner perimeter 24 of surface 17.

In operation, pill 11 may occasionally tend to jam up in the formation area 46 as inlet 44 is approached. As this jam-up starts to enter inlet 44, the excess tablets not forming part of the orderly single file formation are caused to climb up the upper sloping surface 78 of projection 77. In this condition the pill is momentarily suspended on the upper surface 78 of the prow-like projection and must fall to either side thereof. If it falls into the entrance or inlet 44 it is carried away through the discharge passage 42 for counting. If on the other hand, it falls to the other side the pill will land either on a portion of surface 17 or on the inner rotating surface 16 and be carried away as indicated by an arrow 79. In either event, the jam-up is effectively dispersed without causing a disruption of the machine operation or causing a miscount of the processed pills.

Another means for dispersing occasional jam-ups at the single file formation area 46 is the provision of a de-capper" means for kicking back a portion of an on-rushing mass of tablets, allowing only some of the tablets to approach the inlet 44 for single file counting. In particular, the de-capper means is illustrated herein as a member 81 rotatably mounted on an upper portion of wall 39 and having a lower curved finger portion 82 for positioning in the single file formation area 46. Primarily, the de-capper means provided by member 81 is used for processing tablets and is swung out of the way for handling capsules. For this latter purpose, the upper portion of member 81 is pivoted at 83 and a biasing spring 84 serves to hold the member in the out-of-the-way position when so disposed.

With a large quantity of tablets dumped onto the rotating surfaces of apparatus 10, there is a rush of tablets toward the inlet.44. By disposing member 81 with the curved finger portion 82 projecting into the path of the on-rushing tablets, a portion of these tablets are forced back on to the rotating surface 16 of inner member 21. Particularly, tablets which are riding piggy-back" are knocked off and forced onto the inner rotating surface. In this manner, member 81 provides the de-capper means by being rotated so as to dispose a lower edge or surface of curved finger 82 at a position slightly elevated from surface 17 so as to allow one thickness of tablets to pass under the finger while decapitating or knocking off any piggy-backed tablets.

Further still, this lower surface 86 of curved finger portion 82 may be sloped upwardly and outwardly with respect to the confronting surface 17 and wall 39 so as to define a gradient to the decapping function so that the thicker tablets must pass under the curved finger portion 82 at a greater distance from wall 39 than thinner tablets. Thus, for example, a thinner tablet will slide under curved finger portion 82 at a point closer to the movabel or adjustable wall 39 than a thicker tablet. At the same setting of wall 39, a thin tablet may slide under curved finger portion 82 while a thicker tablet will be forced onto the inner counter rotating surface 16 and eventually returned to the outer rotating surface 17. In such case to accommodate the thicker tablets, the adjustable wall 39 can be further radially outwardly displaced or opened so that the thicker tablet will slide under the curved finger portion 82 and any piggyback" tablets will be accordingly dc-capped. Also, another operational adjustment may provide for rotating member 81 slightly toward the out of the way position so as to increase the height or level of surface 86 and allow the thicker tablets to pass thereunder. These operational characteristics are illustrated in FIG. 6.

Another aid to the movement of pills 11 while entrapped within area 41 is the provision in the presently disclosed embodiment of auxiliary baffle walls 91 and 92. These walls, like walls 37 and 38 are fixedly mounted to the lower surface of panel 54 and thus depend downwardly therefrom in a vertical plane with a lower edge either proximate to in sliding contact with the rotating surface 16 and 17. Auxiliary baffle wall 91 may be provided as in this case to enhance the circulation of pills 11 on surfaces 16 and 17 as indicated by flow arrows 93 and 94. Similarly, baffle wall 92 serves to keep the pills I] in a radially inward path as indicated by flow arrow 96. These baffle walls are not essential to the successful operation of the present embodiment and may be removed if desired. For example, wall 91 must be removed in the event inner rotating surface 16 is caused to rotate in the same direction, although at a higher rate, as outer rotating surface 17. In such case, wall 91 unless removed or repositioned would cause the pills to be entrapped on the incurved portion thereof.

A sensor means is provided as above indicated for counting the tablets or capsules or other pill like objects as they pass through discharge exit 47 of passage 42. Preferably, the means employed is a photo-electric sensor means of the type in which a projected light beam is interrupted each time a pill is discharged from exit 47. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 1, the photoelectric means may be provided by a light source 97' and photoelectric sensor 98, such as a photo-cell, mounted respectively above and below discharge passage 42 at exit 47 as shown in FlG. 5. Source 79 and sensor 98 may be mounted within a housing 99 as indicated.

With reference to FIG. 8, each time a tablet or capsule passes through exit 47, a beam of light from source 97 is interrupted which causes an .electrical signal change in the output of sensor 98. This change in the electrical condition of photo-sensor or photo-cell 98 is registered by a counter 99 for providing a count of the number of pills traversing the discharge passage. As previously indicated above, it is essential for this counting operation that a sufficient space exist between each pill as it passes through the outlet to cause the light source 97 to re-energize sensor 98 so that there is a positive, abrupt change in the photo-sensor or photocell output for each processed pill.

in the presently disclosed embodiment, a solenoid operated deflector means may be provided at delivery station 12 for selectively deflecting counted pills into one of two containers 13 and 14. This means is here illustrated by a rotatable deflecting member 101 which is selectively displaced between first and second pivotal positions indicated by the solid and dotted line representations in FIG. 5 to deflect pills 11 into a selected one of the containers. With reference to FIG. 5, the solid line position of member 101 causes pills 11 to pass from exit 47 and be deflected into container 13, while the dotted line position causes the pills to be directed into container 14.

Furthermore and in accordance with known pill handling systems, the counter 99 which is responsive to the photo-cell or sensor 98 may be connected to operate a solenoid 102 for automatically controlling the position of member 101. Such an arrangement provides the above described operating modes of apparatus 10. For example, any number of containers like containers 13 and 14 may be filled with a preset pill count by disposing counter 99 and solenoid 101 in a mode in which the deflector member 101 is displaced from one position to the other each time the preset count is registered by counter 99. Similarly, the operating mode by which a preselected number of pills is deposited into one of containers 13 or 14 and the residue dumped into the remaining container is provided by setting counter 99 in a condition by which the deflector member 101 isv switched from its initial position to the opposite position upon attaining the predetermined count where it remains for the duration of the counting procedure.

To facilitate the handling of containers l3 and 14, spring clips 103 may be provided at delivery station 12 for detachably holding containers l3 and 14 in place for filling. Additionally or in the alternative, delivery station 12 may be provided with a horizontally disposed platform or surface 104 supported from body 20 upon which the containers 13 and 14 may rest and in this manner held in place for the pill counting operation.

To provide further guiding of the exiting pills, a bifurcated funnel 106 is disposed with an opening 107 in receiving relationship with exit 47 of the discharge passage and is formed and dimensioned so as to accommodate the swinging deflector member 101 as illustrated. The lower end of funnel 106 is bifurcated to form two outlets 108 and 109 each positioned to feed the respective containers 13 and 14, with the pivotal axis of deflector member 101 positioned substantially at the point of bifurcation of the funnel.

While only a limited number of embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed herein, it will be readily apparent to persons skilled in the art that numerous changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the foregoing disclosure and description thereof are for illustrative purposes only and do not in any way limit the invention which is defined only by the following claims.

I claim:

1. An apparatus for handling and counting pills such as tablets, capsules and other pill-like objects, comprising:

coaxially mounted rotatable members defining inner and outer horizontal coplanar upper surfaces of substantially circular shape;

drive means for rotating said members in different relative modes to provide a means for agitating pills placed on said coplanar upper surfaces;

pill receiving and entrapping means including an outer circumferential barrier mounted in nonrotating disposition adjacent the upper surfaces of said rotating members to circumscribe an interior area thereof into which uncounted pills may be placed and thus entrapped while being agitated by said rotating surfaces;

pill discharge means including spaced parallel walls partially over-lying and adjacent to said outer rotating surface and defining therewith an elongated discharge passage having a pill inlet interrupting said wall barrier adjacent the perimeter of said inner rotating surface for receiving pills in single file from said interior area, said discharge passage extending from said inlet in a continuous uniform curve tending in the direction of rotation of said outer surface to an outlet disposed adjacent the perimeter of said outer rotating surface such that the single file pills entering said discharge passage at said inlet are subjected to differential acceleration and separation with increasing outward radial position;

pill collecting means disposed in pill receiving relation to said outlet of said discharge passage; and pill counting means including sensor means mounted adjacent said discharge passage.

2. in the apparatus set forth in claim 1, said drive means rotating said inner surface member at a rate substantially greater than that of said outer surface member to provide said different relative modes of rotation.

3. ln the apparatus set forth in claim 2, said drive means being further defined by said rate at which said inner surface member is rotated is selected to centrifugally, outwardly force any pills placed on said inner rotating surface toward and onto said outer rotating surface.

4, in the apparatus set-forth in claim 1, said drive means rotating said inner surface member at a rate substantially greater than that of said outer surface member and in a direction opposite thereto to provide said different relative modes of rotation.

5. in the apparatus of claim I, said inlet of said discharge passage means being defined on one side by a junction of said barrier and a radially outward one of said vertical walls forming said discharge passage and on the other side by a prow means extending away from said inlet of said discharge passage substantially tangentially to the perimeterof said inner rotating surface so as to force pills to either enter said inlet of said discharge means or return to the interior area bounded by said barrier.

6. In the apparatus of claim 1, said outer barrier including a vertical wall substantially encircling said inner rotating surface and being spaced therefrom to a radially outermost disposition remote from said inlet of said discharge passage means and extending radially inwardly therefrom in the direction of rotation of said outer rotating surface to a junction with a radially outward one of said parallel walls forming said discharge passage.

7. In the apparatus set forth in claim 6, said vertical wall forming said barrier being further defined by said junction thereof with said radially outward wall of said discharge passage being radially outwardly spaced from the outer perimeter of said inner rotating surface to define a single file formation area on said outer rotating surface adjacent the perimeter of the inner rotating su rface in which pills are assembled into single file for entering said discharge passage inlet.

8. The apparatus of claim 6, further comprising;

prow means provided at said inlet and extending from a radially inward wall of said discharge passage substantially tangentially with the perimeter of said inner rotating surface to cause pills to either enter said inlet in single file or return to the interior area circumscribed by said barrier.

9. The apparatus as defined in claim 8, said prow means being further defined as comprising an end extension of the radially inward wall of said discharge passage and having an upper surface sloping downwardly and away from said inlet, whereby excess or surplus pills in ajam of pills approaching said inlet ride up said upper sloping surface and fall to either side thereof.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 further comprising;

de-capper means disposed within said circumscribed interior area adjacent said inlet of said discharge passage for providing an adjustable height limit for pills approaching said inlet, whereby stacked pills are blocked from entering the discharge passage means.

11. The apparatus of claim 1, said pill collecting means including spring clips disposed beneath said outlet of said discharge passage for detachably receiving and holding pill containers in pill receiving relation therewith.

12. In an apparatus for handling and counting pills such as tablets, capsules and other pill-like objects, in which such apparatus is of the type including means for arranging an uncounted batch of pills into single file formation and moving such formation past a pill sensor means, the improvement characterized by;

coaxially mounted rotatable members defining inner and outer horizontal coplanar upper surfaces of substantially circular shape; and

drive means for rotating said outer surface member at a relatively slow rate and for rotating said inner surface member at a substantially faster rate such that any pills located on said inner rotating surface are centrifugally forced radially outwardly onto the slower rotating coplanar outer surface to provide a means for agitating and rotationally circulating pills placed in batches on said rotating surfaces.

13. In an apparatus for handling and counting pills such as tablets, capsules and other pill-like objects, in which such apparatus is of the type including means for arranging an uncounted batch of pills into single file formation and moving such formation past a pill sensor means, the improvement characterized by;

coaxially mounted rotatable members defining inner and outer horizontal coplanar upper surfaces of substantially circular shape;

drive means for rotating said outer surface member at a relatively slow rate and for rotating said inner surface member at a substantially faster rate such that any pills located on said inner rotating surface are centrifugally forced radially outwardly onto the slower rotating coplanar outer surface to provide a means for agitating and rotationally circulating pills placed in batches on said rotating surfaces; and

pill discharge means including spaced parallel vertical walls adjacent said outer rotating surface and defining therewith an elongated discharge passage having a pill inlet disposed tangentially to the outer perimeter of said inner rotating surface to receive for reliable counting thereof.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2594337 *Jul 19, 1947Apr 29, 1952Kidde Mfg Co IncCounting machine
US3253604 *Aug 26, 1964May 31, 1966Read Wilbur FCoin packaging apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3978641 *Jun 24, 1975Sep 7, 1976Dower, Inc.Machine for supplying articles to open top containers
US3997063 *Mar 21, 1974Dec 14, 1976Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.Apparatus for high-speed accurate counting and handling of discrete objects such as tablets
US4013192 *Feb 18, 1976Mar 22, 1977Itl Industries, Inc.Pill counter
US4018358 *Sep 18, 1975Apr 19, 1977Pharmaceutical Innovators, Ltd.Cassette pill storing, dispensing and counting machine
US4066173 *Nov 17, 1975Jan 3, 1978Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.Apparatus for high-speed accurate counting and handling of discrete objects such as tablets
US4067449 *Oct 16, 1975Jan 10, 1978Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.Apparatus for high-speed accurate counting and handling of discrete objects such as tablets
US4180153 *Apr 27, 1978Dec 25, 1979Sigma Systems, Inc.High speed batch counting apparatus
US4396828 *Sep 26, 1980Aug 2, 1983Programs & Analysis, Inc.Pill counter
US4444212 *Nov 18, 1980Apr 24, 1984Ristvedt-Johnson, Inc.Coin handling machine
US4475564 *Jan 4, 1982Oct 9, 1984International Game TechnologyCoin handling apparatus
US4531531 *Jun 13, 1983Jul 30, 1985Ristvedt-Johnson, Inc.Coin handling machine
US4543969 *May 6, 1983Oct 1, 1985Cummins-Allison CorporationCoin sorter apparatus and method utilizing coin thickness as a discriminating parameter
US4549561 *Dec 31, 1984Oct 29, 1985Ristvedt-Johnson, Inc.Coin handling machine
US4564036 *Sep 15, 1983Jan 14, 1986Ristvedt-Johnson, Inc.Coin sorting system with controllable stop
US4570655 *Sep 28, 1983Feb 18, 1986Raterman Donald EApparatus and method for terminating coin sorting
US4838406 *Aug 16, 1988Jun 13, 1989Coin Acceptors, Inc.Coin diverting assembly
US4869392 *May 16, 1986Sep 26, 1989Moulding Jr Thomas SMedication dispenser and method of dispensing medication
US4869394 *Jan 20, 1988Sep 26, 1989Hurst Kerney JArticle counting device
US4966570 *Jul 30, 1987Oct 30, 1990Ristvedt Victor GCoin sorting apparatus for sorting coins of selected denominations
US4971221 *Nov 23, 1988Nov 20, 1990Aprex CorporationDrug dispenser having means for detecting dispensing events
US4982412 *Mar 13, 1989Jan 1, 1991Moore Push-Pin CompanyApparatus and method for counting a plurality of similar articles
US5101359 *Jan 19, 1990Mar 31, 1992Moore Push-Pin CompanySystem for automatic discharge of articles
US5104353 *Dec 18, 1989Apr 14, 1992Ristvdet-Johnson, Inc.Coin sorting apparatus with rotating disc
US5194037 *Sep 21, 1988Mar 16, 1993Cummins-Allison Corp.Disc-type coin sorting mechanism for sorting coins by radial locations of the inner edges of the coins
US5208762 *Dec 6, 1990May 4, 1993Baxter International Inc.Automated prescription vial filling system
US5337919 *Feb 11, 1993Aug 16, 1994Dispensing Technologies, Inc.Automatic dispensing system for prescriptions and the like
US5348061 *Dec 1, 1992Sep 20, 1994Baxter International Inc.Tablet accumulator for an automated prescription vial filling system
US5369940 *Jan 27, 1993Dec 6, 1994Pfizer IncAutomatic filling system
US5382191 *Mar 26, 1993Jan 17, 1995Cummins-Allison Corp.Coin queuing device and power rail sorter
US5425669 *Jan 7, 1994Jun 20, 1995Cummins-Allison Corp.Coin queuing and sorting arrangement
US5489237 *Jan 23, 1995Feb 6, 1996Cummins-Allison Corp.Coin queuing and sorting arrangement
US5657236 *Aug 14, 1995Aug 12, 1997Profile Systems, LlcMedication dispensing and timing system utilizing patient communicator with internal clock
US5703786 *Aug 14, 1995Dec 30, 1997Profile Systems, LlcMedication dispensing and timing system utilizing time reference message
US5850344 *Aug 14, 1995Dec 15, 1998Profile Systems, LlcMedication dispensing and timing system
US5938072 *Sep 16, 1997Aug 17, 1999Magner CorporationRolled coin dispenser
US6006946 *Dec 5, 1997Dec 28, 1999Automated Prescriptions System, Inc.Pill dispensing system
US6036812 *Dec 8, 1997Mar 14, 2000Automated Prescription Systems, Inc.Pill dispensing system
US6176392Dec 4, 1998Jan 23, 2001Mckesson Automated Prescription Systems, Inc.Pill dispensing system
US6208911 *Dec 23, 1997Mar 27, 2001Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.Solid drug filling apparatus
US6377648 *Mar 22, 2001Apr 23, 2002Carolyn Seals CulbertPill counter and method of counting pills
US6435779Oct 4, 1999Aug 20, 2002Bright Solutions, Inc.Method and apparatus for introducing a tablet into a climate control system
US6505460Apr 10, 2002Jan 14, 2003Aylward Enterprises, Inc.Positive count rotary slat packaging apparatus and related methods
US6631799May 16, 2001Oct 14, 2003Moore Push-Pin CompanyVibratory feeding system
US6681149Sep 3, 2002Jan 20, 2004Mckesson Automation Systems Inc.Pill dispensing system
US6681550Aug 13, 2002Jan 27, 2004Aylward Enterprises, Inc.Apparatus and methods for filling containers with pills
US6755730 *Mar 11, 2002Jun 29, 2004Cummins-Allison Corp.Disc-type coin processing device having improved coin discrimination system
US6775589Sep 4, 2003Aug 10, 2004Automated Prescriptions System, Inc.Pill dispensing system
US6799413Nov 20, 2003Oct 5, 2004Aylward Enterprises, Inc.Apparatus and methods for filling containers with pills
US6910601Jul 8, 2003Jun 28, 2005Scriptpro LlcCollating unit for use with a control center cooperating with an automatic prescription or pharmaceutical dispensing system
US6971541May 13, 2003Dec 6, 2005Parata Systems, Inc.System and method for dispensing prescriptions
US6971544Dec 21, 2004Dec 6, 2005Parata Systems, Inc.System and method for dispensing prescriptions
US6974049Dec 21, 2004Dec 13, 2005Parata Systems, Inc.System and method for dispensing prescriptions
US6974050Dec 21, 2004Dec 13, 2005Parata Systems, Inc.System and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7016766Jun 14, 2004Mar 21, 2006Mckesson Automated Prescription Systems, Inc.Pill dispensing system
US7048183Jun 16, 2004May 23, 2006Scriptpro LlcRFID rag and method of user verification
US7100796Mar 2, 2004Sep 5, 2006Scriptpro LlcApparatus for dispensing vials
US7107741 *Jul 10, 2003Sep 19, 2006Marchesini Group S.P.A.Method and apparatus for selecting and feeding articles
US7118006Dec 21, 2004Oct 10, 2006Parata Systems, Inc.System and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7121427Jul 22, 2004Oct 17, 2006Scriptpro LlcFork based transport storage system for pharmaceutical unit of use dispenser
US7139639Jul 29, 2003Nov 21, 2006Mckesson Automation Systems Inc.Article dispensing and counting method and device
US7175381Nov 23, 2004Feb 13, 2007Scriptpro LlcRobotic arm for use with pharmaceutical unit of use transport and storage system
US7188720 *Apr 30, 2004Mar 13, 2007Cummins-Allison Corp.Disc-type coin processing device having improved coin discrimination system
US7230519Jun 16, 2004Jun 12, 2007Scriptpro LlcRFID tag and method of user verification
US7275353Dec 21, 2004Oct 2, 2007Parata Systems, Inc.System and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7289879Mar 20, 2006Oct 30, 2007Parata Systems, LlcPill dispensing system
US7303094Apr 25, 2003Dec 4, 2007Kevin HutchinsonVacuum pill dispensing cassette and counting machine
US7344049Apr 21, 2005Mar 18, 2008Parata Systems, L.L.C.Devices useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7412302Apr 8, 2005Aug 12, 2008Jm Smith CorporationPharmaceutical singulation counting and dispensing system
US7461759Aug 3, 2005Dec 9, 2008Scriptpro LlcFork based transport storage system for pharmaceutical unit of use dispenser
US7506780Sep 26, 2007Mar 24, 2009Mckesson Automation Systems Inc.Vacuum pill dispensing cassette and counting machine
US7555362May 25, 2006Jun 30, 2009Parata Systems, LlcArticle dispensing and counting method and device
US7565782May 23, 2008Jul 28, 2009Parata Systems, LlcSystem and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7565784May 23, 2008Jul 28, 2009Parata Systems, LlcApparatus for dispensing prescriptions
US7565785Sep 30, 2008Jul 28, 2009Parata Systems, LlcDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7571023 *Apr 12, 2007Aug 4, 2009Jm Smith CorporationPharmaceutical singulation counting and dispensing system
US7581373Sep 30, 2008Sep 1, 2009Parata Systems, LlcDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7596932Feb 28, 2007Oct 6, 2009Parata Systems, LlcDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7703637Nov 6, 2007Apr 27, 2010Parata Systems, L.L.C.Devices useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7735301Sep 30, 2008Jun 15, 2010Parata Systems, LlcDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7743943Nov 6, 2007Jun 29, 2010Parata Systems, LlcDevices useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7753229Sep 26, 2007Jul 13, 2010Mckesson Automation Systems Inc.Vacuum pill dispensing cassette and counting machine
US7770358Jan 15, 2008Aug 10, 2010Parata Systems, LlcDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7789267Sep 26, 2007Sep 7, 2010Mckesson Automation Systems, Inc.Vacuum pill dispensing cassette and counting machine
US7831334Apr 26, 2007Nov 9, 2010Mckesson Automation Systems Inc.Method of transporting vials and cassettes in an automated prescription filling apparatus
US7832591Aug 7, 2007Nov 16, 2010Parata Systems, LlcMethods and apparatus for dispensing solid pharmaceutical articles
US7837061May 18, 2007Nov 23, 2010Parata Systems, LlcMethods and apparatus for dispensing solid pharmaceutical articles
US7866506Nov 6, 2007Jan 11, 2011Parata Systems, LlcDevices useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7870973Apr 17, 2008Jan 18, 2011Parata Systems, LlcMethods and apparatus for dispensing solid articles
US7905372Nov 6, 2007Mar 15, 2011Parata Systems, Inc.Devices useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7949427Mar 20, 2008May 24, 2011Parata Systems, LlcMethods and apparatus for dispensing solid articles
US7980419 *Mar 30, 2007Jul 19, 2011Parata Systems, L.L.C.Device for dispensing caps useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US7988404Dec 21, 2004Aug 2, 2011Parata Systems, LlcSystem and method for dispensing prescriptions
US8054086Jun 25, 2009Nov 8, 2011Parata Systems, LlcApparatus for dispensing and detecting solid pharmaceutical articles and related methods of operation
US8056760Apr 23, 2007Nov 15, 2011Parata Systems, LlcCap dispensing devices useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US8141330May 20, 2005Mar 27, 2012KNAPP Logistics Automation, Inc.Systems and methods of automated tablet dispensing, prescription filling, and packaging
US8244401Apr 13, 2011Aug 14, 2012Parata Systems, LlcMethods and apparatus for dispensing solid articles
US8261936Nov 14, 2006Sep 11, 2012Parata Systems, LlcDevice for dispensing vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US8393455 *Mar 10, 2004Mar 12, 2013Cummins-Allison Corp.Coin processing device having a moveable coin receptacle station
US8413410Apr 30, 2010Apr 9, 2013Parata Systems, LlcDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US8424274Nov 7, 2008Apr 23, 2013Aylward Enterprises, LlcPackaging apparatus for handling pills and associated method
US8444130 *Mar 26, 2010May 21, 2013Parata Systems, LlcDevices for capping vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US8467899Nov 16, 2011Jun 18, 2013Parata Systems, LlcApparatus for dispensing solid pharmaceutical articles
US8601776Feb 17, 2012Dec 10, 2013Knapp Logistics & Automation, Inc.Systems and methods of automated dispensing, prescription filling, and packaging
US8616409Jan 16, 2008Dec 31, 2013Parata Systems, LlcDevices for dispensing objects useful in system and method for dispensing
US8651320Sep 14, 2011Feb 18, 2014Parata Systems, LlcDevice for dispensing vials useful in system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US8774962Dec 21, 2004Jul 8, 2014Parata Systems, LlcSystem and method for dispensing prescriptions
US8794483 *Oct 6, 2011Aug 5, 2014Czarnek & Orkin Laboratories, Inc.Pill dispensing method and apparatus
US8798788Jan 10, 2012Aug 5, 2014Parata Systems, LlcSystem and method for dispensing prescriptions
US8813997May 20, 2013Aug 26, 2014Parata Systems, LlcApparatus for dispensing solid pharmaceutical articles
US8827113May 28, 2009Sep 9, 2014Parata Systems, LlcMethods and apparatus for dispensing solid articles
US8869861Jul 23, 2009Oct 28, 2014Parata Systems, LlcDevice and method for labeling vials useful in system for dispensing prescriptions
US8896322Sep 23, 2011Nov 25, 2014Parata Systems, LlcApparatus for dispensing and detecting solid pharmaceutical articles and related methods of operation
US8985389 *Apr 14, 2013Mar 24, 2015Yuyama Mfg. Co., Ltd.Medicine feeding device and a medicine counting device using the medicine feeding device
US9037285Apr 26, 2007May 19, 2015Mckesson Automation Systems, Inc.Automated apparatus and method for filling vials
US9038816 *Dec 2, 2011May 26, 2015Yuyama Mfg. Co., Ltd.Medicine feeding device, and medicine counting device
US20040073454 *Oct 10, 2002Apr 15, 2004John UrquhartSystem and method of portal-mediated, website-based analysis of medication dosing
US20040128955 *Nov 20, 2003Jul 8, 2004Aylward Enterprises, Inc.Apparatus and methods for filling containers with pills
US20040200691 *Apr 30, 2004Oct 14, 2004Geib Joseph J.Disc-type coin processing device having improved coin discrimination system
US20040249498 *Jun 14, 2004Dec 9, 2004William Jeffrey P.Pill dispensing system
US20040256197 *Mar 10, 2004Dec 23, 2004Blake John R.Coin processing device having a moveable coin receptacle station
US20050098569 *Dec 21, 2004May 12, 2005Williams Jeffrey P.System and method for dispensing prescriptions
US20050098570 *Dec 21, 2004May 12, 2005Williams Jeffrey P.System and method for dispensing prescriptions
US20050098571 *Dec 21, 2004May 12, 2005Williams Jeffrey P.System and method for dispensing prescriptions
US20050098572 *Dec 21, 2004May 12, 2005Williams Jeffrey P.system and method for dispensing prescriptions
US20050098573 *Dec 21, 2004May 12, 2005Williams Jeffrey P.System and method for dispensing prescriptions
US20050102163 *Oct 20, 2004May 12, 2005Coughlin Michael E.Method and system for delivering prescriptions to remote locations for patient retrieval
US20050113968 *Dec 21, 2004May 26, 2005Williams Jeffrey P.System and method for dispensing prescriptions
US20110233840 *Sep 29, 2011John Richard SinkDevices for Capping Vials Useful in System and Method for Dispensing Prescriptions
US20120085775 *Apr 12, 2012Czarnek & Orkin Laboratories, Inc.Pill Dispensing Method and Apparatus
US20130256097 *Dec 2, 2011Oct 3, 2013Yuyama Mfg. Co., Ltd.Medicine feeding device, and medicine counting device
US20130334245 *Apr 14, 2013Dec 19, 2013Yuyama Mfg. Co., Ltd.Medicine feeding device and a medicine counting device using the medicine feeding device
USB453238 *Mar 21, 1974Mar 2, 1976 Title not available
USRE37829 *Jan 15, 1999Sep 3, 2002Automed Technologies, Inc.Automated prescription vial filling system
EP1015351A1 *May 22, 1998Jul 5, 2000Scriptpro, L.L.C.Medicament dispensing cell
WO1990005684A1 *Oct 27, 1989May 31, 1990Aprex CorpDrug dispenser having means for detecting dispensing events
WO1994012393A1 *Nov 3, 1993Jun 9, 1994Baxter IntTablet accumulator for automated vial filling system
WO1999029467A2 *Dec 7, 1998Jun 17, 1999Mckesson Automated PrescriptioPill dispensing system
WO2004052271A1 *Dec 8, 2003Jun 24, 2004Script Innovations IncUniversal pill counting device
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/501, 53/544, 221/7, 453/32
International ClassificationB65B57/20, B65B57/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65B57/20
European ClassificationB65B57/20
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 26, 1986AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: ROSEBERG, ROSLYN, EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF HARRY
Owner name: RX COUNT CORPORATION, 13717 ALMA AVENUE, GARDENA,
Effective date: 19841127
Mar 26, 1986ASAssignment
Owner name: RX COUNT CORPORATION, 13717 ALMA AVENUE, GARDENA,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:ROSEBERG, ROSLYN, EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF HARRY G. ROSEBERG, DEC D;REEL/FRAME:004526/0662
Effective date: 19841127