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Publication numberUS3871425 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 18, 1975
Filing dateOct 10, 1973
Priority dateOct 10, 1973
Publication numberUS 3871425 A, US 3871425A, US-A-3871425, US3871425 A, US3871425A
InventorsFee David C, Hammernik William F
Original AssigneeFederal Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Bottling method and apparatus
US 3871425 A
Abstract
A filling system for light weight semi-rigid bottles made of resiliently deformable material. The rising bottle empties and closes the bellows-type sealing rubber, and continues to rise and opens the filling valve. After the bottle is filled, the descending bottle closes the valve, and as the bottle continues to descend, the bellows-type sealing rubber expands to create a vacuum. A controlled amount of fluid is sucked up from the top of the bottle while the flexible side walls move inward, thus assuring an accurate uniform height of fill. As a substitute for the bellows-type sealing rubber an expandable and contractable cylinder unit may surround the supply passage.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 1 Fee et al.

[11.1 3,871,425 51 Mar. 18, 1975 BOTTLING METHOD AND APPARATUS I [75] Inventors: David C. Fee, Elm Groove; William F. Hammernik, Milwaukee, both of Wis.

[73] Assignee: Federal Mfg. Co., Milwaukee, Wis.

[22] Filed: Oct. 10, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 405,095

[52] US. Cl 141/5, 141/117, l4l/293, 141/295, 141/351 [51] Int. Cl. B65b 3/04 [58] Field of Search 141/1, 4-7, 141/59, 114,116, 117, 291-300, 392

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 862,867 8/1907 Eggleston 141/392 2,324,793 7/1943 Minard 141/300 3,416,577 12/1968 Franz 141/295 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,066,118 l/l954 France 141/117 Primary ExaminerHouston Bell, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firm.lames E, Nilles [57] ABSTRACT A filling system for light weight semi-rigid bottles made of resiliently deformable material. The rising bottle empties and closes the bellows-type sealing rubber, and continues to rise and opens the filling valve. After the bottle is filled, the descending bottle closes the valve, and as the bottle continues to descend, the bellows-type sealing rubber expands to create a vacuum. A controlled amount of fluid is sucked up from,

the top of the bottle while the flexible side walls move inward, thus assuring an accurate uniform height of till. As a substitute for the bellows-type sealing rubber an expandable and contractable cylinder unit may surround the supply passage.

18 Claims, 34 Drawing Figures PATENTEB MAR I 8 I975 SHEET 8 0f 9 1 BOTTLING METHOD AND APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to apparatus for filling liquids. It is concerned more particularly with the filling of liquids to a precise fill height in semi-rigid plastic bottles.

In automatic bottle filling, it is customary to use a turret type machine in which a series of bottles are filled with liquid from a supply bowl while the bowl and bottles rotate about a vertical axis. In such a machine the bottle filling cycle is started by lifting an empty bottle from a position below a filling valve into an elevated position in which the filling valve has entered into the mouth of the bottle to a certain depth. While the neck of the bottle telescopes over the filling valve, a supply passage of the valve opens automatically and after the bottle has arrived in the raised position the supply passage is kept open for a length of time to permit fluid to accumulate in the bottle. A vent passage of the valve provides for the escape of air from the bottle as the liquid level rises in the bottle. The flow of liquid into the bottle is stopped by lowering the bottle from its raised position and thereby closing the supply passage. In some filling systems the fluid in the vent tube is retained by automatically closing the vent passage at its lower end. In other filling systems as disclosed for instance in US. Pat. No. 2,518,349, issued Aug. 8, 1950 to J. B. McCabe, the fluid in the vent tube is held in pipette by closing the upper end of the vent passage. In other filling systems the fluid in the vent tube moves upward to a low pressure area above the liquid in the supply tank at the time the filled bottle separates from the valve and exposes the lower opening of the vent passage to the atmosphere.

Rigid containers, such as glass bottles which do not expand under the hydrostatic head of the liquid therein and in the supply bowl, can be satisfactorily filled with conventional turret type filling machines. Semi-rigid containers which are made of resiliently deformable material, such as plastic bottles, can also be filled satisfactorily in like manner if the design and strength of side walls is such that the hydrostatic head causes only minimal expansion of the container. However, it is the semi-rigid bottle which distends to a greater degree that presents a problem.

If the supply and vent passages were closed while the bottle is in distended condition, and the bottle were then withdrawn from the filling valve, the resulting relief of pressure on the liquid in the bottle would cause the bottle to contract somewhat and some of the liquid therein would be spilled over the edge of its mouth.

Such spilling of liquid from the bottle is, of course, objectionable and various attempts have heretofore been made to avoid it. According to one suggestion which has heretofore been made to prevent the spilling of liquid from a plastic bottle due to its contraction after removal from the filling valve, steps are to be taken as follows. Liquid is allowed to flow from the supply bowl to an antechamber until the antechamber is filled; thereafter a connection is established between the antechamber and the bottle; a vent stack is opened to the top of the bottle; the antechamber is opened to the bowl for gravity refilling thereof as the contents of the antechamber drain into the bottle; the bottle is allowed to fill completely as the fluid level rises in the vent stack; the vent and the communication between the bowl and the antechamber are substantially closed to establish a substantially closed system in which the antechamber and the bottle form communicating parts; the volume of the antechamber is expanded while the antechamber and the bottle are in communication as parts of the substantially closed system and as a result of the expansion of the antechamber the volume of fluid between said parts is shifted to cause the bottle to assume a normal or near normal configuration; the communication between the bottle and the antechamher is then substantially interrupted and the mechanical connection between the bottle and the antechamber is separated.

The principal object of the present invention is to provide an improved bottling method and apparatus which avoids spilling of liquids from a plastic bottle due to its contraction after removal from the filling valve, the improved method and apparatus being greatly simplified as compared with the mentioned prior art procedure which involves the use of an antechamber and shifting of liquid between parts of a substantially closed system. The simplicity of this filling valve is especially important in meeting the high sanitary requirements forthe filling of milk and also pharmeceutical liquids.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION With the foregoing objects in mind the invention contemplates the following steps. Placing the empty bottle into communication with separate supply, vent and suction passages; feeding liquid into the bottle through the supply passage while maintaining the vent and suction passages separately in communicationwith the bottle; closing the supply and vent passages after liquid has passed through the filled bottle into the vent pas sage; temporarily applying suction to the suction passage while the supply and vent passages are closed until part of the bottle content has been withdrawn through the suction passage; and removing the bottle from the closed supply and vent passages.

By performing these process steps according to the invention, a certain amount of liquid is withdrawn from the completely filled bottle after the supply and vent passages have been closed and while the trapped fluid in the bottle is still under the pressure which has been built up therein by the hydrostatic head of the liquid in the supply bowl and in the supply and vent passages. The withdrawn liquid is excess liquid whose removal from the bottle room into which liquid in the bottle may expand during contraction of the bottle. The amount of withdrawn excess liquid may readily be proportioned so that the bottle in its normally filled condition contains a precise, predetermined amount of liquid for marketing.

The equipment for performing the improved process steps is relatively simple and readily lends itself to the frequent cleaning which is required when potable liquids are being handled.

The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the invention will become more fully apparent as this specification proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a vertical section of a bottle filling valve embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a section on line 22 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a section on line 33 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of part of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 5-10 are views similar to FIG. 1 at a reduced scale, showing various phase of the operating cycle of the FIG. 1 valve in connection with a plastic bottle;

FIG. 11 is a vertical section of a first modification of the FIG. 1 valve embodying the invention;

FIGS. 12-17 are views similar to FIG. 11, at a reduced scale, showing various phases of the operating cycle of the FIG. 11 valve in connection with a plastic bottle;

FIG. 18 is a vertical section of a second modification of the FIG. 1 valve embodying the invention;

FIGS. 19-24 are views to FIG. 18 at a reduced scale, showing various phases of the operating cycle of the FIG. 18 valve in connection with a plastic bottle;

FIG. 25 is a vertical section of a third modification of the FIG. 1 valve embodying the invention;

FIG. 26 is an enlarged view of part of FIG. 25;

FIG. 27 is a section on line 27-27 of FIG. 25;

FIGS. 28-33 are views similar to FIG. 25 at a reduced scale, showing various phases of the operating cycle of the FIG. 25 valve in connection with a plastic bottle; and

FIG. 34 is a view similar to FIG. 25 and shows a modifieation of the FIG. 25 valve.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION The reference character 1 in FIG. 1 designates part of the liquid supply bowl of a turret type bottling machine. A bottle filling valve generally designated by the reference character 2 is connected in depending position to the bowl 1 and comprises the following principal parts; namely, a tubular spout element 3, a tubular vent element 4, an axially back and forth shiftable sleeve element 6, and a bellows element 7 which forms an annular axially expandable and contractable suction chamber around the lower attenuated end of the sleeve 6. The spout 3 is rigidly secured to the supply bowl 1,

, and the vent tube 4 is suspended in a vertically fixed position on the spout 3 by means of a supporting spider 8. The vent tube 4 extends axially through the spout 3 and terminates at its lower end in a circular head 9. The upper part of the vent tube 4 extends within the supply bowl 1 to a height above the level of the fluid stored therein, in conformity with conventional practice. The interior of the vent tube 4 provides a vent passage 5 (FIG. 2) which is open on top and terminates at its lower end in a radial aperture 12 as shown in FIG. 3. The sleeve 6 is telescopically fitted into the spout 3 and provided with an O-ring 13 which seals the sleeve at its periphery against the interior of the spout 3. The radial space between the vent tube 4 and spout 3, and between the vent tube 4 and the sleeve 6 provides a supply passage 14 through which fluid may flow from the supply bowl 1 to the lower end of the sleeve 6. As shown in FIG. 2, the vent tube 4 is stabilized within the sleeve 6 and for that purpose is provided with an arcuate peripheral surface and with a rib 16 which bears against the cylindrical inner surface of the sleeve 6.

The lower attenuated end 10 of the sleeve 6 telescopically engages the head 9 of the vent tube 4. An O-ring 17 within a groove 11 of the head 9 forms a valve seat which in the condition of the valve as shown in FIG. 1 is engaged by the circular lower edge of the attenuated sleeve end 10. A coil spring 18 surrounding the spout 3 reacts between the latter and the sleeve 6 so as to urge the circular edge of the sleeve end 10 into sealing engagement with the O-ring 17 and thereby closes the supply passage 14. A deflector plate 19 is seated on a flange portion of the sleeve 6 below the coil spring 18.

The bellows element 7 is made of rubber or rubberlike material and is shown in FIG. 1 in its axially expanded condition. At its upper end, the bellows 7 is sealingly secured to an annular shoulder of the sleeve 6 above the attenuated end wall 10 thereof and at its lower end the bellows 7 is provided with a metal ring 21 which surrounds the sleeve end 10, but whose inside diameter (FIG. 4) is somewhat larger than the outside diameter of the sleeve end 10. The annular space 20 between the metal ring 21 and the sleeve end 10 forms a suction passage in communication with the interior of the bellows 7. In the condition of the valve as shown in FIG. 1, the axial expanding force of the bellows 7 urges the lower edge of the metal ring 21 into sealing engagement with the O-ring 17.

The metal ring 21 forms an axially reciprocable annular valve element which defines the suction passage 20 exteriorly of the sleeve 6 and which is moved into and out of sealing engagement with the valve seat 17 on the element 4: as will be explained later.

FIG. 5 illustrates the condition of the FIG. 1 valve at the beginning of a filling cycle. A bottle B of resiliently deformable material such asan ordinary plastic milk bottle has been raised to a position in which the mouth of the bottle just touches the lower end of the axially expanded bellows 7 on a circular surface surrounding the suction passage 20. This establishes communication of the suction passage 20 with the bottle. However, the supply passage 14 and the vent passage 5 are closed by engagement of the sleeve end 10 with the O-ring l7.

Fluid from the bowl -1 fills the supply passage 14, and the lower end of the vent passage 5 is sealed by engagement of the sleeve end 10 with the O-ring 17 under the pressure of the coil spring 18.

In FIG. 6, the bottle B is shown raised a distance from its FIG. 5 position which causes full axial contraction of the bellows 7. In this condition of the bellows 7 the valve ring 21 bears against a shoulder of the sleeve 6 while the spring 18 keeps the sleeve end 10 in sealing engagement with the O ring l7. Contraction of the bellows 7 forces air or liquid if present from the interior of the bellows into the bottle through the suction passage 20.

In FIG. 7, the bottle B is shown raised a distance from its FIG. 6 position which causes the sleeve 6 to be lifted in opposition to the pressure of the coil spring 18. The upward movement of the bottle is transmitted to the sleeve 6 through the lower end of the contracted bellows 7. Lifting of the sleeve 6 to the FIG. 7 position places the supply passage 14 and the vent passage 5 in communication with the bottle B. Fluid from the supply bowl 1 will now flow into the bottle while air therein is expelled through the vent passage 5. Any liquid which might have stood in the vent passage 5 before the sleeve 6 is lifted from the FIG. 6 to the FIG. 7 position will drain into the bottle as soon as the lower sleeve end 10 is unseated from the O-ring 17. Continued fluid flow from the bowl 1 through the supply passage 14 fills the bottle and thereafter enters into the vent passage 5 before the fluid flow is stopped by lowering of the bottle to the position in which it is shown in FIG. 8.

When the bottle is full and liquid stands in the supply and vent passages the hydrostatic head of the body of liquid in the bottle, in the supply and vent passages, and

in the supply bowl causes the bottle to distend. In the case of an ordinary plastic milk bottle the volume increase due to such distention will be substantial, and the amount of liquid held by the distended bottle will be appreciably larger than the amount of liquid which the bottle would normally be able to hold, that is, when it is distended only by the hydrostatic head of the liquid therein without the hydrostatic head of the supply passage and bowl.

In the FIG. 8 condition of the valve, the supply passage 14 and the vent passage 5 are closed due to lowering of the bottle from its FIG. 7 position, and the suc tion passage 20 of the contracted bellows 7.is in communication with the bottle. The liquid in the bottle is under the pressure which has been built up by the hydrostatic head of the liquid in the supply and vent passages and the bowl, and the bottle is therefore in an ap .preciably distended condition.

In FIG. 9, the bottle is shown lowered a distance from its FIG. 8 position, which causes the bellows 7 to expand and apply suction to the fluid in the bottle through the suction passage 20. Since the supply passage 14 and the vent passage 5 are closed by sealing engagement of the sleeve end 10 with the O-ring 17, the suction produced by expansion of the bellows 7 will draw an appreciable amount of the pressurized liquid from the bottle into the bellows 7 through the suction passage 20. Upon arrival of the bottle from the FIG. 8 position in the FIG. 9 position, the bellow 7 has not yet fully expanded but the interior of the bellows still communicates with the bottle through the suction passage 20. Due to the withdrawal of liquid from the bottle into the bellows while the supply passage 14 and vent passage 5 are closed the distending fluid pressure within the bottle will be diminished. In that condition the bottle will still be under some residual fluid pressure in excess of that which is produced by the hydrostatic head of the normal fluid content of the bottle, that is the hydrostatic head of the fluid to be held by the bottle for marketing.

The residual FIG. 9 fluid pressure within the bottle is dissipated by lowering of the bottle from the FIG. 9 position to the FIG. 10 position. Such lowering of the bottle first causes closure of the suction passage by seating of the valve ring 21 on the O-ring 17, and then separation of the mouth of the bottle from the bellows 7. When the valve ring 21 becomes seated on the O- ring 17, the head 9 of the vent tube 4 still projects into the depressurized fluid in the neck of the bottle. As lowering of the bottle continues the head 9 pulls out of the bottle and the depressurized fluid drops to a level somewhat below the edge of the top opening of the bottle, as indicated by the line 24 in FIG. 10. The liquid withdrawn into the bellows is excess liquid, that is, liquid in excess of that which is to be held by the bottle for marketing. During the filling of the next bottle the excess liquid will be forced through the suction passage 20 from the bellows into the new bottle while the new bottle is lifted from the FIG. 5 to the FIG. 6 position. Filling of the new bottle will be completed as before during the FIGS. 7 to 10 phases of the filling cycle.

The FIG. 11 modification is generally similar to and involves the same operating principle as the FIG. 1 em bodiment of the invention. Like the FIG. 1 valve,'the FIG. 11 valve incorporates a spout tube 3, a vent tube 4, an axially back and forth shiftable sleeve 25 surrounding the vent tube 4, and a bellows 7 surrounding the attenuated lower end 10 of sleeve 25. In lieu of the coil spring 18 of the FIG. 1 valve, the FIG.'11 valve is provided with a second bellows 26 which is sealingly secured at its upper end to the lower end of the spout 3 and at its lower end to a portion of the sleeve 25 above the bellows 7. The sleeve 25 has an upper flange 27 which limits upward movement of the sleeve by engagement of the flange with the lower end of the spout 3. The radial space between the vent tube 4 and the spout 3 andbetween the vent tube 4 and the sleeve 25 in conjunction with the interior of the bellows 26, de-

fines a fluid supply passage and the interior of the vent tube 4 defines a vent passage 5, the same as the vent passage 5 in FIG. 1. The FIG. 11 valve of the invention has'a suction passage 20 between a valve ring 21 and the tubular sleeve end 10. O-ring 17 on-the head 9 of the vent tube 4 is sealingly engagable by the lower edge of the sleeve end 10 and the valve ring 21.

The operating phases of the FIG. 11 valve which are illustrated by FIGS. 12 to 17 correspond to the operating phases of the FIG. 1 valve which have been explained hereinbefore with reference to FIGS. 5 to 10 and therefore are believed to require no further de tailed explanation.

The FIG. 18 modification of the valve is generally similar to the FIG. 1 embodiment of the invention in that it comprises a tubular spout element 3, a vent tube 4, an axially shiftable sleeve 28 having an attenuated lower end 10, and a contractable and expandable suc tion chamber 29 surrounding the sleeve end 10. As in FIG. 1, the radial space between the vent tube 4 and the spout 3 and between the vent tube 4 and the sleeve 28 provides a fluid supply passage and the interior of the vent tube 4 provides a vent passage.

The contractable and expandable suction chamber of the FIG. 18 valve comprises a-rigid cup member 31 secured to the sleeve 28 and surrounding the tube end 10 in radially spaced relation thereto. Slideably fitted into the FIG. 1 valve. The FIG. 18 valve incorporates a valve seat formed by an Oring 17 like the O-ring 17 of FIG. 1 which is sealingly engageable by the circular edge of the tube end 10 and the circular edge of the central aperture of the piston 32. The underside of the piston 32 is circularly recessed and is provided with a soft rubber sealing ring 34 for cooperative engagement with the mouth of a bottle to be filled. A coil spring 36 within the suction chamber 29 biases the piston 32 into sealing engagement with the O-ring 17.

The operating phases of the FIG. 18 valve which are illustrated by FIGS. 19 to 24 correspond to the operating phases of the FIG. 1 valve illustrated by FIGS. 5 to In the FIG. 19 condition of the valve, the mouth of the bottle B engages the sealing ring 34 to place the suction passage 20 into communication with the interior of the bottle B. In the FIG. 20 condition of the valve, the suction chamber is contracted and air or liquid, if present, are forced from the suction chamber 29 into the bottle B through the suction passage 20.

In the FIG. 21 condition of the valve, the supply passage 14 and vent passage have'been opened by upward movement of the bottle B from its FIG. 20 position. Lifting movement of the bottle B from its FIG. 20 to its FIG. 21 position is transmitted to the sleeve 28 by the piston 32 which is bottomed in thesuction cup 31 against the pressure of the coil spring 36. Upward movement of the sleeve 28 in opposition to the pressure of the coil spring 18 opens the fluid supply and vent passages 14 and 5, respectively. In the FIG. 22 condition of the valve, the bottle B is lowered to bring the lower sleeve end into sealing engagement with the O-ring 17 and thereby close the supply passage 14 and the vent passage 5 by the pressure of the spring 18. In the FIG. 23 condition of the valve, the suction chamber is expanded and excess liquid is withdrawn from the bottle B through the suction passage in the same manner which has been explained hereinbefore with reference to FIG. 9. FIG. 24 shows the final phase of the operation cycle of the FIG. 18 valve which corresponds to the final phase of the operating cycle of the FIG. 1 valve which has been explained hereinbefore with reference to FIG. 10.

The FIG. 25 embodiment of the invention is generally similar to the FIG. 18 embodiment of the invention but simplified in that only one coil spring 37 is used to perform the functions of the coil springs 18 and 36 in the FIG. 18 valve. In the FIG. 25 valve, the contractable and expandable suction chamber is formed by a cup member 38 which is solidly connected to the lower end of the reciprocable sleeve 39 surrounding the vent tube 4. The suction cup 38 telescopically engages the spout barrel 41 to which it is sealed by an O-ring 42. The bottom of the suction cup 38 has a circular series of apertures 43 which terminate above the O-ring 17 to provide a suction passage 20' (FIG. 26) corresponding to the suction passage 20 in FIG. 1. The coil spring 37 reacts between a flange of the spout barrel 41 and a flange on the cup 38 so as to force the circular edge of the sleeve 39 into sealing engagement with the O-ring 17 and at the same time, seal the vent passage 20' by engagement of the bottom of the suction cup-with the O-ring 17. Like the FIG. 18 valve, the FIG. 25 valve has a soft rubber ring 34 for sealing engagement with the mouth of a bottle to be filled.

The operating phases of the FIG. 25 valve which are illustrated by FIGS. 28 to 33 correspond to the operating phases of the FIG. 18 valve which have been explained hereinbefore with reference to FIGS. 19 to 24.

The FIG. 34 embodiment of the invention differs from the FIG. 25 embodiment in that the suction passage 20 is arranged to remain open throughout the entire operating cycle of the valve. To that end the head 9 and the attenuated sleeve end 10 of the FIG. 34 valve are made longer than the head 9 and sleeve end 10 of the FIG. 25 valve so that in the valve closing position in which the sleeve 39 is shown in FIG. 34, the O- ring 17 is contacted only by the edge of the sleeve end 10. When the sleeve 39 and cup 38 are lifted, fluid if present in the suction cup will flow through the passage 20 into the bottle, and when the bottle is lowered fluid will be drawn through the passage 20 into the cup 38. The fluid drawn into the cup will be retained therein by pipette like action when the filled bottle is withdrawn from the valve.

Extending the head of the vent tube and the length of the attenuated sleeve'end as shown in FIG. 34 also has the advantage that free fluid flow from the valve is less apt to be impeded when the bottle to'be filled ha a short neck of relatively small diameter.

The vent tube 4 in each of the herein disclosed embodiments of the invention extends axially through the tubular spout element 3 and is spaced inwardly therefrom so as to divide the interior of the spout element into separate fluid and vent passages 14 and 5, respectively. The spider 8 provides means securing the spout and vent elements against axial displacement relative to each other. In each of the disclosed embodiments of the invention valve means are provided by a seat, represented by the O-ring 17, on thevent tube and by a sleeve element, represented by the sleeve 14, which is shiftable axially relative to the spout and'vent elements in cooperable relation to the fluid and vent passages so as to open both of said passages by axial shifting of the sleeve element out of engagement with the valve seat and so as to close said passages by axial shifting of the sleeve element into engagement with the valve seat.

In the FIG. 1 and FIG. 11 embodiments of the invention annular axially expandable and contractable wall means are afforded by the bellows 7. In the FIG. 18 embodiment of the invention such wall means are afforded by the cup 31 and piston 32, and in the FIGS. 25 and 34 embodiments of the invention such wall means are afforded by the cup 38 and the spout barrel 41.

We claim:

1. The method of filling a resiliently deformable bottle with liquid which comprises:

a. placing the empty bottle into communication with separate supply, vent and suction passages;

b. feeding liquid into the bottle through said supply passage while maintaining said vent and suction passages separately in communication with said bottle;

c. closing said supply and vent passages after liquid has passed through the filled bottle into said vent passage;

(1. temporarily applying suction to said suction passage while said supply and vent passages are closed, until part of the bottle content has been withdrawn through said suction passage; and

e. removing the bottle from the closed supply, vent and suction passages.

2. The method set forth in claim 1 and further comprising the step of closing said suction passage after part of the bottle content has been withdrawn therethrough.

3. The method set forth in claim 1, wherein the empty bottle is first brought into communication with said suction passage and thereafter into communication with said supply and vent passages.

4. The method set forth in claim 3, wherein said supply and vent passages are simultaneously brought into communication with the empty bottle.

5. The method set forth in claim 1, wherein the empty bottle is first brought into communication with said suction passage and then with said supply and vent passages, and wherein said supply and vent passages are closed before said suction passage is closed.

6. The method set forth in claim 1, wherein said supply and vent passages are brought simultaneously into communication with the empty bottle, and wherein said supply and vent passages are simultaneously closed before said suction passage is closed.

7. The method of successively filling bottles with liquid which comprises:

a. placing a first empty bottle into communication with separate supply, vent and suction passages;

b. feeding liquid into said first bottle through said supply passage while maintaining said vent and suction passage separately in communication with said first bottle;

c. closing said supply and vent passages after liquid has passed through the filled first bottle into said vent passage;

d. temporarily applying suction to said suction passage while said supply and vent passages are closed, until part of the content of said first bottle has been withdrawn through said suction passage;

e. removing the first bottle from said suction and closed supply and vent passages;

f. placing a second empty bottle into communication with said supply, vent and suction passages;

g. feeding said withdrawn part of the contents of said first bottle through said suction passage and also fluid through said supply passage into said second bottle;

h. closing said supply and vent passages after liquid has passed through the filled second bottle into said vent passage; and

i. removing the second bottle from said suction and closed supply and vent passages.

8. A bottle filling valve comprising a tubular spout element, a tubular vent element extending axially through and spaced inwardly from said spout element so as to divide the interior of said spout element into separate fluid and vent passages; means securing said spout and vent elements against axial displacement relative to each other, valve means including a seat on said vent element and a sleeve element shiftable axially relative to said spout and vent elements in cooperable relation to said fluid and vent passages so as to open both of said passages by axial shifting of said sleeve element out of engagement with said valve seat and so as to close said passages by axial shifting of said sleeve element into engagement with said valve seat; and annular axially expandable and contractable wall means operatively associated with said sleeve element so as to provide a suction chamber around the latter and a suction passage in communication with said suction chamber at the radially outer side of said sleeve element.

9. A bottle filling valve as set forth in claim 8 and further comprising resilient pressure means biasing said sleeve element axially upon said valve seat so as to close said fluid and vent passages; an annular valve element connected with said wall means and biased by axial expansion of the latter upon said valve seat so as to close said suction passage; and abutment means on said sleeve element engageable by said annular valve element upon axial contraction of said wall means so as to move said sleeve element in opposition to said resilient pressure means away from said valve seat.

10. A bottle filling valve as set forth in claim 9 wherein said valve seat comprises an O-ring sealingly engageable by said sleeve element and by said annular valve element.

11. A bottle filling valve as set forth in claim 9 wherein said resilient pressure means comprise a coil spring reacting axially between said spout and sleeve elements.

12. A bottle filling valve as set forth in claim 8 wherein said axially expandable and contractable wall means comprise a bellows member sealingly connected at one of its axially opposite ends with said sleeve element and having an annular portion at the other of its axially opposite ends in surrounding, radially spaced relation to said sleeve element so as to define a suction passage between said sleeve element and said other end of said bellows member in communication with the interior of the latter.

13. A bottle filling valve comprising a tubular spout element, a tubular vent element extending axially through and spaced inwardly from said spout element so as to divide the interior of said spout element into separate fluid and vent passages; means securing said spout and vent elements against axial displacement relative to each other; valve means including a seat on said vent element and a sleeve element shiftable axially relative to said spout and vent elements in cooperable relation to said fluid and vent passages so as to open both of said passages by axial shifting of said sleeve element out of engagement with said valve seat and so as to close said passages by axial shifting of said sleeve element into engagement with said valve seat; a first bellows member surrounding said sleeve element and sealingly connected at one of its axially opposite ends to said sleeve element, an annular valve element secured to the other end of said first bellows member in surrounding, radially spaced relation to said sleeve element so as to define a suction passage between said valve element and said sleeve element in communication with the interior of said first bellows member; said valve element being movable into and out of sealing engagement with said valve seat on said vent element by axial expansion and contraction, respectively, of said first bellows member; and a second bellows member coaxial with said first bellows member sealingly connected at its axially opposite ends to said spout and sleeve elements, respectively.

14. A bottle filling valve comprising a tubular spout element, a tubular vent element extending axially through and spaced inwardly from said spout element so as to divide the interior of said spout element into separate fluid and vent passages; means securing said spout and vent elements against axial displacement relative to each other; valve means including a seat on said vent element and a sleeve element shiftable axially relative to said spout and vent elements in cooperable relation to said fluid and vent passages so as to open both of said passages by axial shifting of said sleeve element out of engagement with said valve seat and so as to close said passages by axial shifting of said sleeve element into engagement with said valve seat; a cup member connected with said sleeve element and a reciprocable piston within said cup member in cooperable relation thereto and to said sleeve member so as to form an annular axially expandable and contractable suction chamber around said sleeve member, said piston having an axial aperture coaxial with and spaced radially from said sleeve member so as to provide a suction passage in communication with said suction chamber exteriorly of said sleeve element; and resilient pressure means biasing said sleeve element into sealing engagement with said valve seat.

15. A bottle filling valve as set forth in claim 14 wherein said resilient pressure means comprise a coil spring reacting axially between said spout and sleeve elements; and wherein another coil spring is operatively interposed between said cup member and piston so as tourge the latter into sealing engagement with said valve seat.

16. A bottle filling valve comprising a tubular spout element, a tubular vent element extending axially through and spaced inwardly from said spout element so as to divide the interior of said spout element into a separate fluid and vent passages; means securing said spout and vent elements against axial displacement relative to each other; valve means including a seat on said vent element and a sleeve element shiftable axially relative to said spout and vent elements in cooperable relation to said fluid and vent passages so as to open both of said passages by axial shifting of said sleeve element out of engagement with said valve seat and so as to close said passages by axial shifting of said sleeve element into engagement with said valve seat; a cup member connected with said sleeve element and cooperable in axially slidableengagement with said spout element so as to form an annular axially expandable and contractable suction chamber around said sleeve element, the bottom wall of said cup member being axially apertured to provide a suction passage in communication with said suction chamber; and resilient pressure means biasing said sleeve element into sealing engagement with said valve seat.

17. A bottle filling valve as set forth in claim 16 wherein said axially apertured bottom wall and said valve seat are cooperable with each other to close and open said suction passages upon axial back and forth movements, respectively, of. said sleeve element relative to said vent element.

18. A bottle filling valve as set forth in claim 16 wherein said resilient pressure means comprise a coil spring reacting axially between said spout element and said cup member.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification141/5, 141/295, 141/117, 141/293, 141/351
International ClassificationB67C3/02, B67C3/26
Cooperative ClassificationB67C3/26
European ClassificationB67C3/26