Title:
Clamping assembly for change parts of a filler device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clamping assembly for clamping various change parts from a filler device. The clamping assembly includes a first member and a second member. The second member is pivotably connected to the first member. The second member includes a threadform positioned at the far end thereof. The adjustment member is capable of traversing along the threadform, to, in turn, clamp multiple change parts of a filler device together. Advantageously, the device permits rotation of the adjustment member, and, in turn, clamping of change parts, without the use of tools.



Inventors:
Resterhouse, Michael R. (Muskegon, MI, US)
Giangacomo, Nick (Twin Lake, MI, US)
Application Number:
10/914345
Publication Date:
02/09/2006
Filing Date:
08/09/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B1/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20140027014System for Reducing Foam at a TapJanuary, 2014Keeling
20160368634APPARATUS FOR AUTOMATICALLY FILLING PIPETTEDecember, 2016Lee et al.
20120138191System for delivering solid particulate matter for loadingJune, 2012Harris
20130112194PROCESS FOR PROVIDING A FILLED CANISTER FOR AN INHALERMay, 2013Berry et al.
20070000558SLUDGE REMOVAL SYSTEMJanuary, 2007Burris et al.
20050081950Flexible containment charging deviceApril, 2005Manlove
20070029009Container filling deviceFebruary, 2007Alves
20010022204Apparatus and method for filling dispensers with a premixed liquid chemicalSeptember, 2001Walter Jr. et al.
20040074558Automatic water shutoff systemApril, 2004Preisser et al.
20130014859Refuelling StandJanuary, 2013Friedlich
20080149219Dispenser of Cleaning SubstanceJune, 2008Gitelis et al.



Primary Examiner:
BRITTAIN, JAMES R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KING & PARTNERS, PLC (HOLLAND, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A clamping assembly for clamping a first component of a filler device to a second component of a filler device, the clamping assembly comprising: a first member, the first member having a slot positioned thereon and a channel intersecting therewith, the first member attached to a first component of a filler device; a second member comprising: a pivot member having a body with a first end and a second end, an outward protrusion being positioned proximate the first end of the body, the protrusion positionable within the slot of the first member, such that the first end of the body is capable of traversing along the channel of the first member, and a threadform positioned proximate the second end thereof; an adjustment member having a body and a manipulating member, the body includes a threadform positioned thereon which is capable of mating engagement with the threadform of the pivot member, the manipulating member facilitating manipulation of the adjustment member by a hand of a user; and an engagement member associated with the first component of the filler device, the engagement member having a slot extending therethough, the slot positionable so as to be capable of engaging the pivot member.

2. The clamping assembly of claim 1 wherein the channel is substantially perpendicular to the slot.

3. The clamping assembly of claim 2 wherein the outward protrusion extends on opposing sides of the pivot member, at the first end thereof.

4. The clamping assembly of claim 2 wherein the channel is configured so as to permit rotation of the pivot member through an angular displacement of less than 90°, wherein the outward protrusion forms the axis of rotation.

5. The clamping assembly of claim 1 wherein the first member includes an attachment assembly comprising: a plurality of openings; and a plurality of fasteners capable of extending through the openings and into the second component.

6. The clamping assembly of claim 1 wherein the second member further includes means for precluding detachment of the pivot member relative to the adjustment member.

7. The clamping assembly of claim 6.wherein the precluding means further comprises a stop positioned proximate the second end of the pivot member, to in turn, limit the outward rotation of the adjustment member beyond a predetermined point.

8. A component securing system for securing filler device components comprising: a first component of a filling device; a second component of a filling device, the second component of a filling device comprising a component capable of one of directing and manipulating containers filled by the filler device; an engagement member having a slot positioned therethrough, the engagement member being coupled to the second component of a filling device; a first member, the first member having a slot positioned thereon and a channel intersecting therewith, the first member attached to the first component of the filler device; a second member comprising: a pivot member having a body with a first end and a second end, an outward protrusion being positioned proximate the first end of the body, the protrusion positionable within the slot of the first member, such that the first end of the body is capable of traversing along the channel of the first member and selectively into the slot of the engagement member, and a threadform positioned proximate the second end thereof; and an adjustment member having a body and a manipulating member, the body includes a threadform positioned thereon which is capable of mating engagement with the threadform of the pivot member, the manipulating member facilitating manipulation of the adjustment member by a hand of a user into abutment with the engagement member.

9. The clamping assembly of claim 8.wherein the channel is substantially perpendicular to the slot.

10. The clamping assembly of claim 9 wherein the outward protrusion extends on opposing sides of the pivot member, at the first end thereof.

11. The clamping assembly of claim 9 wherein the channel is configured so as to permit rotation of the pivot member through an angular displacement of less than 90°, wherein the outward protrusion forms the axis of rotation.

12. The clamping assembly of claim 8 -wherein the first member includes an attachment assembly comprising: a plurality of openings; and a plurality of fasteners capable of extending through the openings and into the second component.

13. The clamping assembly of claim 8 wherein the second member further includes means for precluding detachment of the pivot member relative to the adjustment member.

14. The clamping assembly of claim 13 wherein the precluding means further comprises a stop positioned proximate the second end of the pivot member, to in turn, limit the outward rotation of the adjustment member beyond a predetermined point.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates in general to filler devices, and, in particular to a clamping assembly for use in association with filler devices, to, for example, facilitate the attachment and detachment of various change parts of filler devices (i.e., filler device components). It will be understood that a filler device may include components which perform a variety of processes, including, but not limited to rinsing, filling, capping, sealing and sorting of any one or more of caps, flexible containers and/or rigid containers. Such devices are commonly used in the food and beverage industry.

2. Background Art

Filler devices have been in use for many years. Such filler devices include multiple components which are configured to retain and direct the containers to be filled. Among other components, such components include rotary container grasping components and linear container guiding components coupled to other components of the filler device. Generally, it is desirable to couple such filler components in a manner such that they can be decoupled, removed and reinstalled with minimal effort.

For example, in certain instances, components are removed from the filler device for cleaning. Such cleaning has gained importance with the increasingly stringent controls relative to cleanliness and relative to the filling for an extended shelf life, especially with low acid fluids. Moreover, in certain circumstances, the same filler device can be used in association with containers of varying sizes. In either situation quick removal and replacement with minimal effort becomes important and desirable.

Certain fasteners have been developed to facilitate the quick removal and replacement of various filler components. Certain of such fasteners or coupling assemblies require the manufacture of multiple custom components which are quite costly to design and manufacture. Other fasteners require the use of several different special tools to couple and decouple the components. Still other designs, while actuatable by the hand of a user without special tools, generally do not have adequate positive engagement of components of a sufficient strength of retention. As such, even when fully assembled, the coupled components can move relative to each other. Lastly, certain fasteners comprise multiple components which must be removed. With such fasteners, the various components are often small and are easily dropped or lost within the filler device.

Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to prelude a coupling assembly which can be articulated without any one of conventional and/or special tools.

It is another object of the invention to provide a coupling assembly which is easily positionable in each of an engaged position and a disengaged position.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a coupling assembly which can be manufactured in a relatively cost effective manner.

It is another object of the invention to provide a coupling assembly which remains integral and which does not require the removal and disconnection of multiple components thereof.

These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent in light of the present specification, claims, and drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A clamping assembly for clamping a first component of a filler device to a second component of a filler device comprising a first member and a second member. The first member includes a slot positioned thereon and a channel intersecting therewith, the first member attached to the first component of the filler device. The second member includes a pivot member and an adjustment member. The pivot member includes a body with a first end and a second end. An outward protrusion is positioned proximate the first end of the body, the protrusion is positionable within the slot of the first member, such that the first end of the body is capable of traversing along the channel of the first member. A threadform is positioned proximate the second end thereof. The adjustment member includes a body and a manipulating member. The body includes a threadform positioned thereon which is capable of mating engagement with the threadform of the pivot member. The manipulating member facilitates manipulation of the adjustment member by a hand of a user.

In a preferred embodiment, the channel is substantially perpendicular to the slot. In another preferred embodiment, the outward protrusion extends on opposing sides of the pivot member, at the first end thereof. In one such embodiment, the channel is configured so as to permit rotation of the pivot member through an angular displacement of less than 90°, wherein the outward protrusion forms the axis of rotation.

In another preferred embodiment, the first member includes an attachment assembly comprising a plurality of openings; and a plurality of fasteners capable of extending through the openings and into the second component.

In a preferred embodiment, the second member further includes means for precluding detachment of the pivot member relative to the adjustment member. In one such embodiment, the precluding means further comprises a stop positioned proximate the second end of the pivot member, to in turn, limit the outward rotation of the adjustment member beyond a predetermined point.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described with reference to the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 of the drawings is a perspective view of the clamping assembly of the present invention;

FIG. 2 of the drawings is perspective view of the clamping assembly showing the first and second members in a separated configuration;

FIG. 3 of the drawings is a top plan view of the clamping assembly showing the first and second members in a separated configuration;

FIG. 4 of the drawings is a perspective view of the clamping assembly in operation thereof; and

FIG. 5 of the drawings is a schematic cross-sectional view of the clamping assembly of the present invention, showing, in particular, the second member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and described herein in detail specific embodiments with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the embodiments illustrated.

It will be understood that like or analogous elements and/or components, referred to herein, may be identified throughout the drawings by like reference characters. In addition, it will be understood that the drawings are merely schematic representations of the invention, and some of the components may have been distorted from actual scale for purposes of pictorial clarity.

Referring now to the drawings and in particular to FIG. 1 clamping assembly is referred to generally at 10. As is shown in more detail in FIG. 4, the clamping assembly is configured for attachment of removable and replaceable component 100 to a filler device component, such as component 110. The clamping assembly is particularly well suited for the attachment of container guiding or directing assemblies (both rotary and linear) to other filler subassemblies. Such components are generally removed and replaced for both cleaning and to allow for the retention and transfer of differently sized containers to increase the versatility of the filling equipment. Indeed, while reference is made to filler devices, it will be understood that regardless of any ordinary meaning, with respect to the present disclosure, filler device shall include components which perform a variety of processes, including, but not limited to rinsing, filling, capping, sealing and sorting of any one or more of caps, flexible containers and/or rigid containers.

In greater detail, clamping assembly 10 includes first member 12, second member 14 and engagement member 16 (FIG. 4). First member 12 is shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 as comprising body 20, slot 21, channel 22 and attachment assembly 24. Body 20 includes top wall 60, bottom wall 62, and intervening side walls 64, 66, 68 and 70 (FIG. 2). Slot 21 is positioned within opposing wall 70 of body 20 and extends at least partially across the length thereof. Channel 22 is positioned within body 20 such that it extends generally perpendicular to the slot, and through at least top wall 60, and preferably bottom wall 62. The attachment assembly is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 as comprising openings 26 and fasteners (not shown). Openings 26 extend through body 20. The fasteners extend through the openings 26 of body 20, and ultimately into component 110. Preferably, first member 12 comprises a plastic material, such an ABS plastic, or other material. In certain embodiments, the first component may be integral with the component 110.

Second member 14 is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 as comprising pivot member 30 and adjustment member 32. Pivot member 30 includes body 34 having first end 36 and second end 38. First end 36 includes outward protrusion 40 extending at an angle oblique to body 34 of pivot member 30. In the embodiment shown, outward protrusion 40 extends in opposing directions, in a generally perpendicular orientation. The outward protrusion is configured so as to be received within slot 21 of body 20 of the first member.

Second end 38 of pivot member 30 includes a plurality of threads 33 positioned thereon. The particular configuration of the threads (i.e., fine/coarse, etc.), can be varied without departing from the scope of the invention. The threads extend a certain distance from second end 38 toward first end 36. In the embodiment shown, the threads extend only partially between the first and second ends.

Adjustment member 32 is shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 as comprising body 50 and manipulating member 54. Manipulating member 54 is coupled to body 50. Body 50 includes a cavity having plurality of threads, extending therealong and an engagement surface 59 (FIG. 3). The threads of body 50 are configured to interface with the threads positioned on second end 38. The manipulating member 54 comprises a handle having a plurally of grasping regions 57. The grasping regions provide a moment arm to facilitate the rotation of the adjustment member relative to the pivot member (by the hands of a user), to in turn, clamp a component therebetween. Thus, it is preferable that no tools are required to tighten and loosen the various adjustment members, yet the adjustment members can be tightened such that the various components are properly retained.

In certain embodiments, the second member includes means for precluding detachment of the pivot member relative to the adjustment member. In one embodiment, the precluding means may comprise a variation in the threadform of the second end of pivot member, to, in turn, preclude the detachment of adjustment member 32. In another embodiment, a physical stop, such as stop 67 shown in FIG. 5, may be employed on the pivot member which limits the outward rotation of the adjustment member, and, in turn, a disconnection of same from the pivot member.

The engagement member 16 is shown in FIG. 4 as comprising plate member 70 having slot 72. The plate member 70 includes an upper surface 74 and a lower surface 76. The engagement member is attached to component 100. As will be explained, the engagement member 70 is mounted such that the pivot member can be positioned into slot 72 thereof and such that engagement surface 59 (FIG. 3) of the adjustment member can interface with upper surface 74 of plate member 70. The plate member may comprise a metal or alloy thereof, or a polymer material. In certain embodiments, the engagement member may be an integrated component of component 100.

In operation, the outward protrusion 40 of the second member is positioned into slot 21 of the first member such that it may be pivotable therein. Channel 22 is positioned such that pivot member 30 is permitted to pass from one end of the channel to the other end of the channel through pivoted movement thereof. Next, the first member of clamping assembly 10 is positioned and attached to component 110. Finally, removable component 100 is positioned in the proper orientation for attachment. Preferably, the outward protrusion comprises the axis of rotation of pivot member 30 and, the pivot member can pivot between a disengaged position and an engaged position. In a disengaged position, the outward protrusion 40 remains within slot 21 yet the pivot member is positioned away from slot 72 of engagement member on component 100 (FIG. 4).

In an engaged position, the pivot member is pivoted about the outward protrusion within slot 21 such that the pivot member is positioned into the slot 72 on engagement member 16, to overlie a portion of component 100. At such time, the manipulating member of the adjustment member can be rotated to advance the adjustment member along threads 42 of pivot member 30. The further rotation places engagement surface 59 into abutment with upper surface 74 of plate member 70, to in turn, clamp component 100 there between. Thus, the component 100 is clamped to component 110 and releaseably retained.

To disengage the components, the pivot member is returned to the disengaged configuration. In particular, the adjustment member is loosened disengaging engagement surface 59 from upper surface 74. Once loosened sufficiently, the pivot member is pivoted relative to the first member, about the axis of outward protrusion 40. Through such pivoting, the pivot member is removed from slot 72 on engagement member 16 associated with component 110. The configuration of channel 22 facilitates movement of the pivot member through a predetermined angular distance. For example, the channel 22 may be configured to permit a rotation of the pivot member a distance sufficient to remove the pivot member from the proximity of component 110, but substantially no further (i.e., to minimize the necessary amount of movement of the pivot member). In one embodiment, the channel is configured so as to permit pivoting of the pivot member through an angular distance less than 90°. Of course, other angular displacements are likewise contemplated. Once in the disengaged configuration, the component 100 can be removed.

The foregoing description merely explains and illustrates the invention and the invention is not limited thereto except insofar as the appended claims are so limited, as those skilled in the art who have the disclosure before them will be able to make modifications without departing from the scope of the invention.