Title:
Installation for the high-speed packaging of a liquid product
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to an installation for the high-speed packaging of a viscous or pasty liquid product, which may be loaded or not. The inventive installation is of the type that comprises a tank (4), the lower part of which is fitted with a check valve-type delivery means (6), through which flow doses of the product (P) obtained under the force of a pig (5) that can move vertically along a stroke path, or a series of stroke paths, of a given length by means of control elements. The pig (5) comprises a valve which, in coordination with the movement of the pig (5), can open and close in order for the tank (4) to be filled through said pig (5). The valve comprises an opening (50) which is disposed in the pig (5) and a check valve (51) that can be used to close tile opening (50) from underneath when maneuvered by means of a jack, the rod (52) of which passes through the pig (5) axially.



Inventors:
Petit, Alain (Cravanche, FR)
Application Number:
10/468030
Publication Date:
08/12/2004
Filing Date:
12/19/2003
Assignee:
PETIT ALAIN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B3/28; B65B3/32; (IPC1-7): B65B1/30
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DEVORE, PETER T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Egbert Law Offices, PLLC (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. Installation for high-speed packaging of a viscous or pasty liquid product, which may be loaded or not, of the type comprising a tank (4) provided, in its lower portion, with a check valve-type delivery means (6) provided with a drip-preventing device (7) capable of letting through doses of said product (P) obtained under the force of a pig (5) capable of moving vertically along a stroke path, or a series of stroke paths, of a given length through control means, said pig (5) comprising a valve or the like which, in coordination with the movement of said pig (5), is capable of opening and closing in order for the tank (4) to be filled through said pig (5), characterized in that said valve comprises an opening (50) provided for in said pig (5), and a check valve (51 capable of closing said opening (50) from underneath when maneuvered by means of ajack the rod (52) of which passes through said pig (5) axially.

2. Installation according to claim 1, characterized in that the check valve (51) has an annular shape.

3. Installation according to claim 2, characterized in that the check valve (51) has a profile capable of favoring the flowing of the product (P) both in one direction and in the other direction, depending on the displacement of said check valve (51) to open or to close.

4. Installation according to claim 3, characterized in that the check valve (51) has a cross-section having, on the side towards the pig (5), a rounded profile (55) and, on the other side, an angular profile (56).

5. Installation according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the pig (5) has a concave lower face (57).

6. Installation according to claim 5, characterized in that the lower face (57) of the pig (5) has an inclined wall (59) extending between the opening (50) and the peripheral scraping lip (58).

7. Installation according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the drip-preventing device (7) is removable and is comprised of the juxtaposition, face-to-face, of plates (71) maintained by a flange means and having, each, on at least one of their two faces (72, 74), parallel striations (73) or the like, so that said faces (72, 74), whether striated or not, co-operate in order to form parallel channels (75) through which the product (P) to be measured can pass.

8. Installation according to claim 5, characterized in that the striations (73) have a V-shaped cross-section.

9. Installation according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the means for controlling the length of the stroke path of the pig (5) are associated with means (31) for weighing the containers (C) during their filling, in order to allow a comparison and an eventual adjustment of the characteristics of said stroke path.

10. Installation according to claim 7, characterized in that the weighing means is integrated into a supply path on which the containers move stepwise at the same rhythm as the production of the product doses.

Description:

RELATED U.S. APPLICATIONS

[0001] Not applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO MICROFICHE APPENDIX

[0003] Not applicable.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The present invention relates to an installation for high-speed packaging of a viscous or pasty liquid product, which may be loaded or not, into containers that may be of different sizes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0005] There essentially exists only one kind of installation that allows high-speed packaging of viscous or pasty liquid products, which may be loaded or not, such as e.g. paints or the like. Such an installation includes, in association with a transfer path on which the containers move stepwise, measuring means capable of successively delivering a predetermined quantity of product into each of said containers.

[0006] The measuring means comprises a hopper into which the liquid product to be packed is poured and which communicates with a chamber having, at the bottom a funnel and in which acts a piston with a horizontal axis. It also includes a valve device allowing to close the funnel and open the hopper, and vice-versa, in association with the reciprocating motion of the piston, so as to perform the following successive operations: opening of the hopper and closing of the funnel, drawing-back of the piston in order to draw into the chamber the product proceeding from the hopper, then closing of the hopper and opening of the funnel, while the piston moves forward and pushes the product that leaves said chamber through the funnel.

[0007] Adjusting the quantity of product is performed volumetrically, by changing the stroke path of the piston, by means of movable stops the positioning of which is achieved through screw systems.

[0008] Such an installation has many drawbacks, namely in that its design is very complex, which is essentially due to its basic design being relatively old and in that the improvements it has undergone have not changed said basic design.

[0009] Furthermore, this installation has the further drawback of being of a large size, namely in that it requires much floor space, which is prejudicial, knowing that such an installation is associated with other ones upstream and downstream, such as e.g. all installation for closing the containers and an installation for labeling the same.

[0010] From FR 2,684,087 are also known a process and an installation for the formulation and packaging of a liquid products that implement a packaging machine comprising a pig capable of being lowered in a controlled way into a removable tank the bottom of which is provided with funnel means that can be closed. Measuring is also performed volumetrically, by measuring the stroke path of the piston.

[0011] This packaging machine has a simpler design than the previously mentioned ones, it is however limited to small series depending on the capacity of the tank.

[0012] Furthermore, most machines of this kind must include, at the basis of the tank, a check valve provided with a drip-preventing device that often acts by capillary action and therefore comprises a plate of a determined thickness drilled with a plurality of parallel channels with a small cross-section through which the product to be measured passes. Such a drip-preventing device is fully satisfactory from the viewpoint of its operation, but is uneasy to be cleaned, namely as regards the channels, which is a drawback when one has to pass over from one product to another, which is often the case.

[0013] When changing the product, it is of course possible to replace a drip-preventing device by another one, in order to proceed to its cleaning, however, depending on the product, the cleaning can require much time and requires, in the case of a succession of small series, the availability of a large number of drip-preventing devices.

[0014] Furthermore, from U.S. Pat. No. 5,524,683 is known a container-filling device, such as a pump, including a chamber in which a piston provided with a valve can move, while the outlet of said chamber is closed by means of a second valve. Through alternately opening and closing the valves, combined with the displacement of the piston, is achieved, by filling, then emptying the chamber, the forming of doses. Such a device is however not very accurate, namely because of the valves being used, that is why its use is limited to fluid and preferably pasty products and it cannot be used with liquid products.

[0015] From U.S. Pat. No. 4,767,031 is also known a measuring device for measuring fluid or pasty masses and for filling containers with same. It includes a cylindrical chamber in which a measuring piston can move through a hollow piston rod in which can move a slide valve including namely a pushing rod intercalated between two closing pads.

[0016] The measuring device of this document is, irrespective of the embodiment considered, designed to deliver one dose at each return stroke path of the pig, since the displacement of the latter is coordinated with the displacement of the slide valve, which also ensures the closing of the cylindrical chamber upon delivery of the dose. Accordingly, this device is not designed to also be capable of delivering doses by means of a succession of stroke paths, as such is the case for the machine of the above-mentioned document FR 2,684,087.

[0017] Furthermore, the value of the dose depends not only on the size characteristics of the cylindrical chamber, but also on those of the slide valve, so that the range of variation of the dose is narrow.

[0018] In addition, the slide valve has a relative tightness, so that the device is not designed for liquid products, but only for fluid and pasty products.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0019] The present invention is aimed at coping with the various above-mentioned drawbacks by providing an installation for high-speed packaging for viscous or pasty products, but also for liquid products, which may be loaded or not, into containers that may eventually be successively of different capacities, and the maintenance of which is in addition easy.

[0020] The installation for high-speed packaging of a viscous or pasty liquid product, which may be loaded or not, according to the invention is of the type that comprises a tank provided, in its lower portion, with a check valve-type delivery means provided with a drip-preventing device capable of letting through doses of said product obtained under the force of a pig capable of moving vertically along a stroke path, or a series of stroke paths, of a given length through control means, said pig comprises a valve or the like which, in coordination with the movement of said pig, is capable of opening and closing in order for the tank to be filled through said pig, and it is characterized in that said valve comprises an opening which is provided for in said pig, and a check valve capable of closing said opening from underneath when maneuvered by means of ajack the rod of which passes through said pig axially.

[0021] When the pig raises, the check valve opens, in order to allow filling the tank, then closes before the downward movement starts.

[0022] According to an additional feature of the inventive installation, the check valve has an annular shape.

[0023] Therefore, the opening provided for in the pig has of course also an annular shape. This shape is preferred over a classical round shape, in order to allow the tank to be filled more accurately.

[0024] With a disc-shaped check valve, one indeed observes during the closing of said check valve, depending on the measuring, rhythm and the nature of the amount of measured product, the forming by capillary action of an air pocket under the latter, so that the tank is not completely filled. The annular shape of the check valve allows the product to pass through and thus avoids the forming of an air pocket.

[0025] According to another additional feature of the inventive installation, the check valve has a profile capable of favoring the flowing of the product both in one direction and in the other direction, depending on the displacement of said check valve to open or to close.

[0026] According to a particular embodiment of the inventive installation, the check valve has a cross-section having, on the side towards the pig, a rounded profile and, on the other side, an angular profile.

[0027] According to an additional feature of the inventive installation, the pig has a concave lower face.

[0028] The concavity of this lower face avoids forming an air pocket under the pig, at the outside of the check valve.

[0029] According to a particular embodiment, the lower face of the pig has an inclined wall extending between the opening and the peripheral scraping lip.

[0030] According to another additional feature of the inventive installation, the drip-preventing device is removable and is comprised of the juxtaposition, face-to-face, of plates maintained by means of a flange and having, each, on at least one of their two faces, parallel striations or the like, so that said faces, whether striated or not, cooperate in order to form parallel channels through which the product to be measured can pass.

[0031] Advantageously, when the drip-preventing device has to be cleaned, it is easy to be dismantled, for the plates to be de-assembled and to be plunged into an appropriate product, and eventually to be brushed.

[0032] According to another additional feature of the inventive installation, tile striations have a V-shaped cross-section.

[0033] According to another additional feature of the inventive installation, tile means for controlling the length of the stroke path of the pig are associated with means for weighing the containers during their filling, in order to allow a comparison and all eventual adjustment of the characteristics of said stroke path.

[0034] According to another additional feature of the inventive installation, the weighing means is integrated into a supply path on which the containers move stepwise at the same rhythm as the production of the product doses.

[0035] The weighing means are not used permanently, since that would result in slowing down the rhythm, because of the time necessary for stabilizing the weighing. They are used at the beginning of the filling operation, in order to check whether the quantity of product delivered corresponds to what has been calculated theoretically, so as to be able to proceed to an adjustment of the stroke path of the pig. Furthermore, the weighing means can enable checking during the packing operation and can, if applicable, enable correcting the displacement parameters for the pig e.g. further to a diminution of its tightness due to its wear.

[0036] The advantages and features of the installation according to the invention will become clear when reading the following description, with reference to the attached drawing, which represents a non-restrictive embodiment of same.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0037] In the attached drawing:

[0038] FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 are schematic views of an installation for high-speed packaging of a liquid product, during successive steps of its use.

[0039] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a particular embodiment of a part of the same installation.

[0040] FIG. 5 is an axial half cross-sectional view of a variant of the same embodiment.

[0041] FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of another part of the same installation.

[0042] FIG. 7 is a partial plan view, at larger scale, of a portion of the same part.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0043] When referring to these FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, one can see an installation 1 for high-speed conditioning of a viscous or pasty liquid product P, which may be loaded or not, into containers C.

[0044] The installation 1 includes a device 2 for measuring and filling the containers C as well as a device 3 for supplying the containers C stepwise under the device 2.

[0045] The device 3 for supplying the containers C includes a transfer belt 30 associated, on a vertical line with respect to the device 2 for measuring and filling, weighing means 31.

[0046] The device 2 for measuring and filling essentially includes a tubular tank 4 the bottom 40 of which is provided with delivery means 41 provided, in a way known per se and not shown, with a drip-preventing system with a check valve.

[0047] The tank 4 is topped with a chamber 42 with a diameter larger than the one of the tank 4 and into which ends a pipe 43 for supplying product P.

[0048] One can also see that the tank 4 is associated with a pig 5 capable of moving vertically, with a view top push back the product P in the tank 4 towards the delivery means 41. Measuring occurs volumetrically, the quantity of product depending on the stroke path of the pig 5 in the tank 4.

[0049] The displacement of the pig 5 occurs by means of a jack system, not shown, actuated by means of numerical axis controls that enable highly accurate quick, unlimited and repeated positionings of the pig 5.

[0050] One can also see in these figures that the pig 5 includes an opening 50 as well as a check valve 51 capable of opening or closing this opening 50.

[0051] In this embodiment, the opening 50 and the check valve 51 are coaxial to the pig 5, the check valve 51 being borne by a rod 52 that passes axially through the rod 53 bearing the pig 5, the displacement of the rod 52 being ensured by means of a jack, not shown.

[0052] When referring more particularly to FIG. 1, one can see that, in a first step, the tank 4 and the chamber 42 are fully filled with product P, the chamber 42 being of course provided with means, not shown, capable of allowing the air trapped in it to escape.

[0053] As can be seen in FIG. 2, by lowering the pig 5 according to a predetermined accurate stroke path in the tank 4 is obtained a dose of product P that passes through the delivery means 41, then falls into a container C.

[0054] It should be noted that during the lowering of the pig 5 the chamber 42 is supplied by the pipe 43 and, hence, remains filled with product P.

[0055] When referring now to FIG. 3, one can see that the opening 50 of the pig 5, which is of course closed by the check valve 51 during the lowering of the pig 5, is open during the raising of the latter, so that the product P passes through the pig 5 and fills the tank 4.

[0056] Advantageously, because of the design of the device 2 for measuring and filling according to the invention, the tank 4 is completely airless, so that the volumetric measuring occurs with high precision, in contrast to the presently known installations.

[0057] The containers C move stepwise on the supply means 3, at the rhythm of production of the doses of product P, which can, depending of course on the volume of each of them, successively be made in a reciprocating motion of the pig or in a series of several stroke paths during the pushing of the pig 5, each delivering a dose, followed by a raising to fill the tank 4.

[0058] The weighing means 31 allows, at the beginning of the packaging process, to check whether the quantity of product P delivered by the means for delivering into the containers C correspond to the theoretically calculated quantity; in the event of any difference, the stroke path of the pig is adjusted.

[0059] The weighing means 31 is also used sporadically, in order to comply with the standards.

[0060] Furthermore, in operation, namely during a large series, the pig can wear out and thus be less tight, so that the quantity of product delivered is lower than what it should be. In such a case, checking the quantity of product delivered per dose, through the weighing means, can allow to adjust the stroke path of the pig 5.

[0061] When referring now to FIG. 4, one can see a particular embodiment of the pig 5, in which the opening 50 and the check valve 51 have an annular shape.

[0062] Thus, the check valve 51 has a central recess 54 authorizing the flowing of the product P when closing the check valve 51, so as to avoid forming an air pocket under the check valve 51 in the event the latter has the shape of a disc.

[0063] Furthermore, one can observe the particular profile of the check valve 51, i.e. it has, in cross-section, an upper edge 55 with a rounded shape aimed at entering into contact with the pig 5 and a lower edge 56 forming an angle, so as to improve the flowing of the product P and not to include any horizontal flat surface likely to favor the forming of an air pocket.

[0064] On the other hand, in FIG. 5 one can see, in a variant, that the pig 5 has, in its lower portion, a concave profile aimed at avoiding the forming of an air pocket. Thus, its lower face 57 has, between the opening 50 and the peripheral scraping lip 48, an inclined wall 59.

[0065] When referring now to FIG. 6, one can see a check valve 6 aimed at being provided for on the deliver means 41 of the tank 4, not shown, and provided with a drip-preventing device 7.

[0066] This drip-preventing device 7 comprises a framework 70 that can be made integral, in a reversible way, with the check valve 6, through a flange system of a known type, including a groove 60 into which engages, with one edge, the drip-preventing device 7, while the opposite edge is locked by a movable element, not shown, of an eccentric type.

[0067] The framework 70 is in the form of a frame that maintains a horizontal pile of plates 71, that can also be seen in FIG. 7, these plates 71 including, each, on one face 72 parallel striations 73 aimed, in association with the opposite face 74 of the adjacent plate 71, at creating parallel channels 75 arranged in the vertical direction.

[0068] Advantageously, the striations 73 have a V-shaped profile, so that the channels 75 have a triangular cross-section, knowing that a polygonal shape increases the retaining by capillary effect.

[0069] The plates 71 can be maintained juxtaposed by various means, they can e.g. include elements that allow a transversal sliding in the frame 70.

[0070] Advantageously, the cleaning of the drip-preventing device 7 occurs easily, the plates 71 being separated from the frame 70 and washed individually, before being re-assembled.

[0071] One should note that it is possible to assemble the plates 71 against face 72, so as to place the striations 73 in front of each other, two by two, to thereby create wider channels 75, in this case with a square cross-section.

[0072] One should also note that it is possible for both faces of the plates 71 to be striated, so as to multiply the number of channels.





 
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