|Publication number||US3855749 A|
|Publication date||Dec 24, 1974|
|Filing date||Oct 17, 1972|
|Priority date||Oct 17, 1972|
|Publication number||US 3855749 A, US 3855749A, US-A-3855749, US3855749 A, US3855749A|
|Original Assignee||Cozzoli Machine|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (9), Referenced by (8), Classifications (10)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
lltte l aes 1 1 1 1 1111 3,855,749 cicltle, .111. Dec. 24, 1974  STOPPER INSERTING MACHINE 3,111,798 11/1963 Weller 53/306 1 1 Inventor John McM-ckle, Plscataway, 31333133 411323 31352511,? 23/311; I 3,453,804 7/1969 Taylor et a1. 53/319 x  Assigneez Cozzoli Ivlachine p y 3,538,678 11/1970 Lefort 53/319 plainfield, Nu]. 3,626,658 12/1971 Jones 53/307 X  Filed: 1972 Primary ExaminerTravis S. McGehee  Appl. No.2 298,330 Assistant Examiner-Horace M. Culver  us. Cl 53/306, 53/319, 198/220 A ABSTRACT  Int. Cl B65b 7/28, B671) 1/04 Apparatus for inserting stoppfirs into thg mouths  Fleld of Search 53/3191 bottles and vials. The apparatus includes means for 53/3041 3061 advancing a bottle in an upright position in a longitu- 325; 198/220 220 BA; 221/156-162 dinal direction. Means is provided for moving a bottle stopper in registry with the mouth of the upright ad-  References C'ted vancing bottle and in convergence therewith so that UNITED STATES PATENTS said bottle stopper is gradually inserted into the bottle 1,153,174 9 1915 Calleson 53/311 mouthl,363,824 12/1920 Tait 53/328 X 2,826,885 3/1958 Henderson et al 53/306 7 Clam, 7 Drawmg Flglres STOPPER INSERTING MAcmNE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention Machine for automatically inserting bottle stoppers into the mouths of bottles and vials.
2. Description of the Prior Art In storing materials such as medicines, etc. in bottles, it is necessary, after the bottle has been filled with the selected material, to seal the mouth of the bottle with a bottle stopper or stopper plug (hereinafter bottle stopper) in order to prevent any loss of the material therefrom and to prevent contamination. Many machines have been made for the express purpose of forcing a bottle stopper into the mouth of a bottle. As an example, attention is drawn to US. Pat. Nos. 3,282,026 and 3,453,804.
With many of the prior art bottle stopper inserting machines there were drawbacks such as the machine being extremely complicated, expensive to operate and having low production rates.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION 1. Purposes of the Invention It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved machine for automatically inserting bottle stoppers into the mouths of bottles.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide an improved machine for automatically inserting bottle stoppers into the mouths of bottles with the machine having high production capabilities.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an improved machine for inserting bottle stoppers into the mouths of bottles with the machine being reliable in operation.
Another object of the present invention is to provide means for enabling bottle stoppers to be fed from a conventional vibratory bowl feeder to a machine for inserting bottle stoppers into the mouths of bottles.
Other objects of the invention will be pointed out hereinafter.
2. Brief Description of the Invention According to the first embodiment of the present invention, the foregoing as well as other objects are achieved by feeding bottle stoppers onto a rail structure. A driving sprocket wheel is provided as is an idler wheel. A flexible endless belt is driven by the driving sprocket wheel and is trained about the idler wheel. The flexible belt includes aligned stripper and centering pucks spaced along the length thereof. Adjacent each stripper and centering puck is a vacuum port. The center of rotation of the driving sprocket wheel is slightly lower than that of the idler wheel. The bottom reach of the belt travels with a slight downward inclination towards the driving sprocket wheel. Thus the stoppers are aligned and uniformly spaced apart and travel in a downwardly sloping path.
A vacuum manifold block is provided which includes an elongated slot on its bottom face. The vacuum manifold block is positioned so that a segment of the bottom reach of the belt is in contact with the bottom face of the manifold. The manifold block has a slight incline matching that of the bottom reach of the belt and is parallel to a plane passing through the center of rotation of the driving sprocket wheel and the idler wheel.
The rail structure includes parallel rails that extend for a portion of the length of the manifold block below said block and are inclined, having the same inclination as the manifold block and bottom reach of the belt.
A bottle feeding means is provided for feeding bottles, (the term bottles includes vials) beneath the rail structure and beneath the manifold block. The bottles are fed in an upright position, being arranged in a line and uniformly spaced apart. The bottle spacing and rate of travel are synchronized with those of the stoppers so that each stopper is initially above its paired bottle and is gradually first lowered and then forced into the bottle mouth inasmuch as the paths of travel of the stoppers and bottles gradually converge.
In use, the bottle stoppers are fed to the rail structure with the neck of the stoppers extending through the gap between the rails and the rims of the stoppers resting on the rails. A puck abuts a bottle stopper rim and moves the same along the rail structure. While this is occurring, a bottle is advanced in registry with the bottle stopper and below said stopper. The puck brings the bottle stopper under the manifold block and a vacuum is applied to the bottle stopper through the manifold block elongated slot and a vacuum port. Due to the inclination of the manifold block, rails, and belt toward the horizontally moving bottles, as the bottle and bottle stopper advance the stopper is progressively forced into the mouth of the bottle. The rails extend for only a small portion of the length of the elongated slot with the vacuum from the manifold block preventing a bottle stopper from falling as it is advanced by a puck past the rail structure. Each bottle stopper is progressively forced into the mouth of its paired bottle as the stopper and bottle are advanced until the stopper neck is fully or partially inserted in the bottle mouth.
In a second embodiment of the present invention the use of vacuum is eliminated and the rail structure extends a sufficient distance such that at the termination thereof each bottle stopper is partially inserted into the mouth of a bottle and no further support for said stopper is required. Past the rail structure, the incline of the belt progressively forces the moving stopper into the mouth of its paired bottle until there is sufficient insertion of the stopper neck.
The invention accordingly consists in the features of construction, combination of elements and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the devices hereinafter described and of which the scope of application will be indicated in the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings wherein like parts in the different figures are represented by the same reference numerals:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a machine for automatically feeding bottle stoppers into the mouths of bottles according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a front view taken substantially along the line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken substantially along the line 33 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken substantially along the line 44 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the transfer mechanism for enabling bottle stoppers to be fed from a conventional vibratory bowl feeder to the automatic bottle stopper inserting machine of the present invention;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view illustrating how a bottle stopper is progressively inserted into the mouth of a bottle according to the present invention; and
FIG. 7 is a front plan view illustrating a modified form of a machine for automatically inserting bottle stoppers into the mouths of bottles according to the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS In the drawings an automatic machine 10 for inserting bottle stoppers into the mouths of bottles is disclosed. The machine includes a stationary housing 12, a portion of which is illustrated in the drawings. Secured to housing 12 is a conventional electric motor 14 with a built-in gear reduction having a drive shaft 16 which extends through a portion of said housing and rotates a driving sprocket wheel 18. Driving sprocket wheel 18 is a conventional sprocket wheel and includes parallel sets of transversely registered sprocket teeth 19 adjacent the opposite edges thereof.
Rotatable about driven sprocket wheel 18 and driven thereby is an endless flexible belt 20 which includes sprocket holes 22 that mesh with the sprocket teeth on sprocket wheel 18. In addition, the outer surface of belt 20 includes uniformly spaced apart stripper and centering pucks 24 (hereinafter pucks). Pucks 24, as can be seen in FIG. 1, are aligned in a direction parallel to the length of the belt and are symmetrically positioned with respect to the opposed longitudinal edges of belt 20. Each puck includes V-shaped bottle stopper abutting surfaces 24a. It is noted that the V-shaped surfaces face in a counter clockwise direction for the orientation of the machine shown in the FIGS.
Located adjacent each of pucks 24 is a vacuum port 26 with each port extending completely through belt 20. The ports are aligned lengthwise of belt 20. Each port 26 is symmetrically positioned with respect to the V-shaped surfaces of the adjacent puck and is spaced a short distance forwardly from the apex of its V- shaped surfaces. It is to be noted that the distance between each vacuum port and the apex of the V-shaped surfaces of the mated puck is chosen so that when a portion of a bottle stopper rim abuts said V-shaped surfaces the center of the stopper covers the port. The belt is imperforate except for the holes 22 and ports 26.
An idler wheel 28 is provided with belt 20 trained about said wheel. Idler wheel 28 has the same diameter as sprocket wheel 18. A shaft 30 secured to idler wheel 28 is journalled in housing 12. A very important feature of the present invention is that the bottom reach of belt 20 is downwardly inclined in the direction of travel of the belt so that the start of the reach at idler wheel 28 is elevated with respect to the termination of the reach at the sprocket wheel 18. To this end the center line of shaft 30 is elevated with respect to the center line of shaft 16. While the amount of elevation can be varied, excellent results have been obtained if the included angle defined between a horizontal plane passing through the center line of shaft 30 and a plane passing through the center lines of shafts l6 and 30 is 2 for a horizontal distance of 15 inches between vertical planes passing through the center lines of shafts l6 and 30. It is, of course, to be appreciated that the foregoing dimensions are set forth solely for illustrative purposes as a preferred mode of operation.
Secured to housing 12 is a manifold block 32 which extends between the bottom portions of wheels 18 and 28. Manifold block 32 includes a bottom surface 32a having an elongated slot 32b which is wider than the diameter of ports 26 (see FIG. 4). Slot 32b is in communication with a subatmospheric vacuum manifold 34 at subatmospheric pressure. Said means includes a vacuum pump P connected to the manifold by a conduit 35. Manifold block 32 forms the same angle with the horizontal as does a plane passing through the center line of shafts l6 and 30 and is positioned so that the bottom reach of belt 20 rides on the bottom face thereof. Slot 32b does not extend for the full length of manifold block 32. It extends from a location adjacent its left end to a location spaced from its right end by approximately one-fourth the length of the block. Block 32 backs up the bottom reach of belt 20 to hold the same fixed against an upwardly acting force on said reach.
While any feeding device may be provided for feeding bottle stoppers, neck down, rim up, to machine 10 of the present invention, it is noted that excellent results can be obtained with the use of a vibratory bowl feeder 36. One such vibratory bowl feeder is made by Service Engineering Inc. and is identified as Model No. 4876. As is conventional, vibratory bowl feeder 36 includes an outfeed track 38 having a T-shaped passageway through which the bottle stoppers, neck down, advance. The delivery end of the track is roughly parallel to the direction of travel of belt 20. Means is included to transfer bottle stoppers from track 38 to machine 10. Preferably, said means is so constructed that the vibratory movement of track 38 is largely isolated from machine 10 so as not to interfere with operation of the machine. The path of travel of the bottle stoppers to the machine desirably is such that it includes a turn so that the stoppers are introduced to the machine from a side of the latter. The transfer means is designed to encourage traverse of this turn by the stoppers and for this purpose the turn is vibratorily oscillated, acquiring such sense of oscillations from the essentially longitudinal oscillation of the track while isolating the turn from the machine.
Said transfer means includes a transfer member 40 having a curved bottle stopper feeding track 42 which consists of parallel rails 44 and 46 secured to the bottom of a rail support block 41 that has a slot 43 on its bottom surface. The gap between the rails is slightly larger than the necks of the bottle stoppers, but smaller than the diameter of the bottle stopper rims. The slot on the bottom of rail block 41 is for enabling the rims of the bottle stoppers to pass therethrough. The rails and slot extend between the opposed ends of the transfer member.
Transfer member 40 is arcuate, extending through a circular arc of about 90, with the location of its geometric center hereinafter specified. The inlet end 48 (see FIG. 3) of transfer member 40 is spaced from the discharge end of the track of vibratory bowl feeder 36 by a small gap, e.g., 0.030 inch. The portion of the transfer member adjacent vibratory bowl feeder 36 is slightly larger in cross-section than the rest of the member. The track of the vibratory bowl feeder and the track of transfer member 40 are in alignment at the inlet end so that bottle stoppers can pass from the vibratory bowl feeder to the transfer member. Track 38 experiences a vibration that is approximately fifteen degrees to the length of the track.
A drive pin 50 is connected to the upper surface of the track section 38 of vibratory bowl feeder 36 and a driven pin 52 is connected to a transfer collar 54 which is integral with a transfer link 56. Transfer link 56 includes a horizontal segment 56a and an inclined segment 56b which extends to collar 54. Transfer collar 54 overlays the upper surface, sides and a portion of the opposed bottom edges of the segment of transfer member 40 adjacent the vibratory bowl feeder. The collar is held fast to transfer member 40 by set screws 55.
A connector link 58 interconnects pins 50 and 52 and is pivotally attached at its ends to each. The uppermost portions of the pins are threaded to receive takeup nuts for effecting the foregoing attachment. Said link enables track 38 to vibratorily drive inlet end 48 of transfer member 40.
Transfer link 56 extends through a portion of housing 12 and includes a hemispherical seat 56c at its free end. Received in hemispherical seat 56c is a hemisphere 60 which forms a ball joint with said seat. A shaft 62 extends through a central opening 56d at the free end of transfer link 56, through hemispherical seat 560, through hemisphere 60, through a rubber washer 64 to a flange 62a which holds said rubber washer in tight contact with the bottom flat of hemisphere 60. The geometric center of arcuate transfer member 40 is coincidental with shaft 62. Thereby transfer member 40 is restrained for oscillatory vibration, the pivotal mounting of link 58 enabling transfer member to oscillate while track 38 translates linearly.
The top portion of shaft 62 is threaded. A rigid plate 66 fixed to housing 12 (FIG. 3) surrounds the upper portion of shaft 62 with said shaft being rotatable and axially movable relative to the rigid plate. A compression spring 68 surrounds shaft 62 with the upper portion of said compression spring in contact with a spring stop 70 surrounding said shaft, said spring stop being in contact with the undersurface of link 66. Compression spring 68 at its bottom end abuts the upper surface of a spring stop 72 that surrounds shaft 62 above transfer link 56. A washer 74 surrounds shaft 62 and is in contact with the upper surface of rigid plate 66 and fixed thereto. An adjustable nut 76 is in threaded engagement with the threads at the top portion of shaft 62. The aforesaid support for transfer member 40 serves two functions, the first being to isolate the machine M) from the vibratory member 40 and the second to bring the path of travel of the bottle stoppers through 90 so as to enable the stoppers to be fed to the machine transversely, while moving the stoppers through their curved path by rapid oscillatory advance and a slower return of member 40.
A rail structure 80 at the stopper infeed of the machine includes parallel rail sections 82 and 84 secured to housing 12. A slot 86 exists between rail sections 84 and 82 and is for part of its length parallel to belt 20. Rail sections 82 and 84 are configured so slot 86 includes a short section 86a which is perpendicular to the portion of said slot parallel to belt 20. The infeed end of section 86a is adjacent the discharge end of transfer member 40. As can be seen in FIG. 2, rail sections 82 and 84 are at the same inclination as manifold block 32 and the bottom reach of belt 20, being so positioned that the portion of slot 86 parallel to belt is beneath a portion of slot 32b. The rails extend for approximately one-fourth the length of slot 32b. The right angle section 86a of slot 86 is to the left of manifold block 32 with the leftmost portion of slot 32b located approximately intermediate the portion of slot 86 parallel to belt 20.
A bottle feeder 90 is provided and consists of a conventional horizontal screw feeder 92 driven from motor 14 by a kinematic train T. Screw feeder 92 feeds bottles in an upright position beneath belt 20 and the distance between the bottles fed by screw feeder 92 corresponds to the horizontal distance between pucks 24 on the lower reach of belt 20. The train T advances each bottle in vertical alignment with a stopper above it. Such bottle being referred to herein as a paired bottle. The horizontal speeds and mutual spacings of the stoppers and paired bottles are the same.
In using the embodiment of the invention just described, bottle stoppers are fed, neck down, along the track of the vibratory bowl feeder. Link 58 vibratorily oscillates transfer member 40 in unison with linear vibration of track 38 of the vibratory bowl feeder. The ball joint and spring 68 isolate transfer member 40 from machine 10 and impart the desired oscillatory vibration to member 40. Bottle stoppers are transferred from the track of the vibratory bowl feeder onto rails 44, 46 of transfer member 40 with the stopper rims in slot 43 and resting on rails 44 and 46. The vibratory bowl feeder transfers the bottle stoppers across the gap between the feeder and the transfer member on to the transfer member tracks.
The oscillatory vibratory motion experienced by the transfer member advances the bottle stoppers through the transfer member and transfers bottle stoppers from the discharge end of the transfer member adjacent the rail structure to portion 86a of slot 86 and to the intersection of said portion and the segment of said slot parallel to belt 20. The transfer member is spaced a short distance from the portion of slot 86a furthest from the segment of slot 86 parallel to belt 20 so when the transfer member is vibrated it does not abut the rails, but there is always a small gap therebetween. The stopper rims in all segments of slot 86 ride on the rail sections with the necks extending through the slot between the rail sections. The V-shaped surfaces of a puck abut the rim of a bottle stopper which is riding on the rail sections 82 and 84 after the same has abutted the right angle section of rail section 84. The vacuum port associated with the puck is covered by the bottle stopper rim. The puck advances the bottle stopper which is resting on rail sections 82 and 84 towards sprocket wheel 18. A bottle is advanced in registry with the bottle stopper towards sprocket wheel 18 by screw feeder 92.
After the bottle stopper has advanced to the leftmost portion of slot.32b a vacuum is applied through the vacuum port associated with the puck to hold the bottle stopper against the belt. The continued movement of the bottle stopper to the right and the downward inclination of manifold block 32, belt 20 and rail sections 84 and 82 progressively forces the neck of the bottle stopper into the paired bottle beneath said bottle stopper which is moving in registry therewith so that a flying application of the stopper is achieved. After the bottle stopper is moved beyond rail structure 80, the rails no longer support the bottle stopper and instead the vacuum supports the bottle stopper. The continued movement of the bottle stoppers to the right and in a downward direction progressively forces the bottle stoppers into the bottles so that by the time the bottle stoppers pass the right end of slot 32b a vacuum is no longer required to hold the bottle stoppers to prevent them from falling and freely moving about. When a bottle stopper reaches the right end of manifold block 32, it is completely or partially inserted into the bottle (FIG. 6) and bottle feeder 90 transfers the bottles having the bottle stoppers inserted therein from the sprocket wheel mechanism. It will be understood that the bottles have been filled previously by a conventional bottle filling machine.
If desired, belt can be made out of flexible stainless steel to ensure that the chances of contamination of the contents of the bottle are minimized.
The embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 7 is identical to that shown on FIGS. 1-6 except as hereinafter described. Block 100 is inclined in the same manner that block 32 was inclined and is identical to block 32 except that block 100 does not include a bottom slot or a vacuum manifold. Block 100 is secured to housing 12 and includes an underside 100b against which belt 20 is guided. In this embodiment belt 20 does not include vacuum ports. Rail sections 82 and 84 are extended to the approximate mid section of block 100 and otherwise are as heretofore described.
In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 7 the bottle stoppers are advanced along the portion of slot 86 parallel to belt 20 by pucks 24 and as the rails and block 100 are inclined the stoppers are progressively forced into the bottles. By the time the stoppers reach the termination of the rails they are sufficiently inserted into the mouths of the bottles so that they no longer need to be secured to prevent them from freely moving about. The continued convergence of the bottle stoppers towards the bottles as the bottle stoppers and bottles move to the right ensures that by the time the stoppers reach sprocket wheel 18 the bottle stopper necks are fully or sufficiently inserted into the bottles. It should be noted that while no bottle conveyor mechanism is illustrated in FIG. 7 the conveyor mechanism described heretofore can be used.
It thus will be seen that there are provided bottle stopper inserting machines which achieve the various objects of the invention and which are well adapted to meet the conditions of practical use.
As various possible embodiments might be made of the above invention, and as various changes might be made in the embodiments above set forth, it is to be understood that all matter herein described or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Having thus described the invention there is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent:
1. A machine for flying insertion of bottle stoppers into the mouths of bottles comprising means for moving bottles in a longitudinal direction in an upright position, a conveyor means, said conveyor means including means for moving bottle stoppers in a direction having a substantial component parallel to the longitudinal direction and in convergence with bottles moved by said bottle moving means, a rail structure, said rail structure including a gap through which the necks of bottle stoppers are adapted to extend when bottle stopper rims rest on the rail structure, said rail structure converging towards said bottle moving means in a direction having a substantial component parallel to the longitudinal direction and said conveyor means including means for moving bottle stoppers along said rail structure in the longitudinal direction, said means for moving bottle stoppers along said rail structure including an endless belt, said endless belt having means thereon for moving bottle stoppers along said rail structure, said means on said endless belt for moving bottle stoppers along said rail structure including elements thereon for abutting bottle stoppers on the rail structure and moving the same, a vacuum port located adjacent each bottle stopper mover element and extending completely through said endless belt, a manifold block located above said endless belt and having the same inclination as said rail structure, said manifold block having a bottom surface, an elongated slot extending along said manifold block bottom surface, means for communicating said elongated slot to a subatmospheric pressure and the bottom reach of said endless belt riding along the bottom surface of said manifold block.
2. A machine for flying insertion of bottle stoppers into the mouths of bottles comprising means for moving bottles in a longitudinal direction in an upright position, a rail structure in convergence towards the direction of movement of said bottles, said rail structure including a central opening through which the necks of bottle stoppers are adapted to extend with the rims of the bottle stoppers rested on the rail structure, an endless belt located above the rims of the bottle stoppers and parallel to said rail structure, said endless belt including a plurality of bottle stopper moving means, a port passing through said endless belt adjacent each bottle stopper moving means and means communicat ing each port to a subatmospheric source of pressure for at least a portion of the movement of said each port.
3. A machine according to claim 2 wherein a first sprocket wheel is provided for driving said endless belt, a second sprocket wheel spaced from said first sprocket wheel and driven thereby with said endless belt being trained about said first and second wheels, said first and second wheels being arranged so that the bottom reach of said endless belt is parallel to the rail structure and spaced thereabove.
4. A machine according to claim 3 wherein each bottle stopper moving means includes a member having a V shaped opening so that the opening can abut a bottle stopper.
5. A machine according to claim 2 wherein said endless belt is made from a flexible stainless steel whereby the chances of contamination of the contents of the bottle are minimized.
6. A system for transferring bottle stoppers from a vibratory bowl feeder to a bottle stopper inserting machine comprising a vibratory bowl feeder. having a discharge end through which bottle stoppers are discharged, a bottle stopper inserting machine for inserting bottle stoppers into the mouths of bottles and having a bottle stopper feeding end for receiving bottle stoppers which are to be inserted into the mouths of bottles, a bottle stopper transfer member having a feeding end positioned adjacent said discharge end of said vibratory bowl feeder but spaced therefrom, said transfer member having a discharge end positioned adjacent the feeding end of said bottle stopper inserting machine but spaced therefrom, bottle stopper vibratory feeding means extending from said feeding end to said discharge end of said transfer member, means linking said feeder includes having a link secured to said vibratory bow] feeder and said transfer member, said link maintaining the discharge end of said vibratory bowl feeder and the feeding end of said transfer member spaced from each other.
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|U.S. Classification||53/306, 198/609, 53/319|
|International Classification||B67B1/04, B67B1/00, B65B7/28|
|Cooperative Classification||B67B1/04, B65B7/2807|
|European Classification||B67B1/04, B65B7/28B|