(19)
(11)EP 3 572 372 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
27.11.2019 Bulletin 2019/48

(21)Application number: 19175331.8

(22)Date of filing:  20.05.2019
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B67C 3/28(2006.01)
B67C 3/20(2006.01)
B65B 39/00(2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 21.05.2018 IT 201800005562

(71)Applicant: OCME S.r.l.
43122 Parma (PR) (IT)

(72)Inventors:
  • MARTINI, Umberto
    43126 PARMA (IT)
  • CAVALCA, Matteo
    43037 LESIGNANO DE' BAGNI (PR) (IT)
  • BOSELLI, Massimo
    43125 PARMA (IT)

(74)Representative: Branca, Emanuela et al
Barzanò & Zanardo Milano S.p.A. Via Borgonuovo, 10
20121 Milano
20121 Milano (IT)

  


(54)FILLING NOZZLE FOR FILLING MACHINES, IN PARTICULAR FILLING PONDERAL MACHINES, OF CONTAINERS SUCH AS DRUMS, BOTTLES, CANS AND/OR SIMILAR


(57) The present invention concerns a filling nozzle (1) for filling machines, in particular weight-grading machines, for containers such as drums, bottles, cans and/or the like, comprising: a hollow body (2) defining an inner channel (3) for the transit of a fluid (4), the hollow body (2) being provided with at least one supply duct (6) of the fluid (4) and a dispensing opening (7) of the fluid (4) coming from the supply duct (6); a valve member (8) operatively associated with the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2), being switchable between a first condition, wherein it sealingly obstructs the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2) to prevent the fluid (4) outflow through the latter and a second condition, wherein it disengages the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2) to allow the fluid (4) outflow from the latter. The nozzle (1) further comprises a piston (9) operatively engaged in the inner channel (3) defined by the hollow body (2). The piston (9) is controllable as for movement and/or switching for isolating the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2) with respect to the supply duct (6) of the fluid (4) and for determining the controlled outflow, from the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2), of the fluid (4) present between the latter and the piston (9).




Description


[0001] The present invention relates to a filling nozzle for filling machines, in particular weight-grading machines, for containers such as drums, bottles, cans and/or the like.

[0002] The object of the present invention can be used in particular in the sector of packaging drums, bottles, cans and/or the like, with liquids of different kinds. As it is known, the filling of the aforesaid containers is generally performed by means of filling machines and/or similar filling devices.

[0003] In some types of filling machines suitable devices are provided for detecting and verifying the filling status of the containers.

[0004] Generally, such detection devices provide the aid of scales and/or flow measurers that instantaneously detect the quantity of liquid entering into the respective container being filled.

[0005] Based on the increased weight value or on the amount of dispensed liquid, it is possible to reduce the flow rate of liquid at the outlet. Once the predetermined weight value and/or predetermined volume value corresponding to the filling status of the container has been reached, the dispensing is definitively interrupted to allow the removal of the filled container and the positioning of a new empty container to be filled.

[0006] The dispensing of the liquid is made possible by a filling valve that is connected to an appropriate supply pipe. The filling valve is controlled by a central control unit of the filling machine that manages the advance time of the closing of the latter during the final filling step.

[0007] In order to obtain the correct weight value and/or dispensed volume value, the advance time is established on the basis of the data detected in the previous filling.

[0008] Naturally, such detection and dispensing system works correctly as long as the flow rate conditions of the filling liquid during each filling cycle do not vary. If the distance variations between the dispensing nozzles and the pump of the filling liquid supply source are considered, and the fact that the same pump simultaneously supplies various dispensing nozzles, each one provided with its own dispensing nozzle, the combinations of these factors lead to a series of perturbations that interfere, during the filling step, with the normal filling liquid supply process to the dispensing nozzles.

[0009] When this happens, the filling nozzles receive the filling liquid in different conditions from the previous filling, thus not succeeding in guaranteeing the same desired weight and/or volume value.

[0010] It is also to be noted that at the end of filling, each valve associated with the respective filling nozzle totally and quickly closes the respective pipe generating upstream thereof the undesired phenomenon of water hammer that causes a significant increase in pressure along the pipe with the risk of producing various kinds of damage to the whole filling liquid supply system.

[0011] The main aim of the present invention is to propose a filling nozzle for filling machines, in particular weight-grading machines, for containers such as drums, bottles, cans and/or the like, able to solve the problems encountered in the prior art.

[0012] An aim of the present invention is to ensure that the filling conditions are repeated during each filling cycle.

[0013] A further aim of the present invention is to eliminate and/or drastically reduce water hammer due to the quick closure of the valves of the dispensing nozzles.

[0014] The aims specified above and others more are substantially achieved by a filling nozzle for filling machines, in particular weight-grading machines, for containers such as drums, bottles, cans and/or the like, according to what is described and claimed below. The description will be made hereinbelow with reference to the accompanying drawings, provided for indicative purposes only and therefore not limiting, wherein:

[0015] Figures 1 to 6 are schematic sectional representations of a filling nozzle for filling machines, in particular weight-grading machines, for containers such as drums, bottles, cans and/or the like, according to a first embodiment of the present invention and according to respective filling steps of a container;

[0016] Figures 7 to 10 are schematic sectional representations of a filling nozzle for filling machines, in particular weight-grading machines, for containers such as drums, bottles, cans and/or the like, according to a second embodiment of the present invention and according to respective filling steps of a container;

[0017] Figures 11 to 14 are schematic representations of a filling nozzle for filling machines, in particular weight-grading machines, for containers such as drums, bottles, cans and/or the like, according to a third embodiment of the present invention and according to respective filling steps of a container.

[0018] With reference to the appended figures, number 1 indicates overall a filling nozzle for filling machines, in particular weight-grading machines, for containers such as drums, bottles, cans and/or the like, according to the present invention.

[0019] As can be seen in Figures 1 to 6, the filling nozzle 1 comprises a hollow body 2 defining an inner channel 3 for the transit of a fluid 4 intended to fill at least one container 5, such as a drum, a bottle, a can and/or a similar container.

[0020] The hollow body 2 is provided with at least one supply duct 6 of the fluid 4 connectable to a respective supply source of the fluid 4 (not illustrated in the appended figures being known).

[0021] The hollow body 2 further provides at least one dispensing opening 7 of the fluid 4 arranged substantially on the opposite side with respect to the supply duct 6.

[0022] Still with reference to figures 1 to 6, the filling nozzle 1 comprises at least one valve member 8 operatively associated with the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2.

[0023] The valve member 8 is switchable between a first condition (Figures 1, 5 and 6), wherein it sealingly obstructs the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 to prevent the fluid 4 outflow through the latter and a second condition (Figures 2 to 4), wherein it disengages the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 to allow the fluid 4 outflow from the latter. Advantageously, the filling nozzle 1 comprises at least a piston 9 operatively engaged in the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2.

[0024] The piston 9 is controllable as for movement and/or switching for isolating the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 with respect to the supply duct 6 of the fluid 4 and for determining the controlled outflow, from the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2, of the fluid 4 present between the latter and the piston 9.

[0025] In even more detail, the piston 9 is movable between a first position (Figures 1 to 3 and 6), wherein the supply duct 6 of the hollow body 2 is in fluid communication with the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 through the inner channel 3 of the latter and a second position (Figures 4 and 5), wherein the piston 9 is interposed between the supply duct 6 and the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2. Advantageously, the piston 9 comprises and/or defines at least one transit channel 10 at which a valve 11 is operatively arranged. The valve 11 is switchable between a first condition (Figures 1 to 4) wherein it closes the transit channel 10 of the piston 9 and a second condition (Figures 5 and 6), wherein it opens the transit channel 10 of the piston 9 in order to allow the transit of the fluid 4 through the latter and, therefore, to allow the displacement of the piston 9 into the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 when the valve member 8 is in the first condition.

[0026] As can be seen in Figures 1 to 6, the piston 9 is engaged with an end 12 of a stem 13 of an actuator 14, preferably of the electric type, having a cylinder aligned with the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 of the filling nozzle 1.

[0027] According to the embodiment illustrated in Figures 1 to 6, when an empty container 5 is at a respective filling nozzle 1 (Figure 1), the valve member 8 of the latter is in the first condition so as to keep the respective dispensing opening 7 closed, whereas the respective piston 9 is arranged in the first position, i.e. above the related supply duct 6 of the fluid 4.

[0028] In this situation, the fluid 4 that comes from the supply duct 6 fills the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 of the filling nozzle 1 (Figure 1). Subsequently, the valve member 8 is switched from the first condition to the second condition (Figure 2) to open the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 of the respective dispensing nozzle 1.

[0029] The switching of the valve member 8 from the first to the second condition determines the lifting of the latter into the hollow body 2, as well as its consequent disengagement from the respective dispensing opening 7 that opens.

[0030] The fluid 4 contained in the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 of the filling nozzle 1 starts to flow through the dispensing opening 7 to drop into the respective container 5 that starts to be filled.

[0031] The filling of the container 5 proceeds (Figure 3) according to the same method until appropriate detection devices 18, such as a scale, a flow detector and/or a similar detection unit of the filling of the container 5, appropriately associated with the filling nozzle 1 and/or the container 5, do not detect the reaching of a predetermined filling weight/volume indicative of the start of a final filling step that must be performed in a controlled way.

[0032] Once the aforementioned predetermined filling weight/volume indicative of the start of the final filling step has been reached, the piston 9 with the transit channel 10 closed by the valve 11 switched in the first condition, is activated to move by the actuator 14 from the first to the second position. The piston 9 is then displaced along the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 towards the dispensing opening 7 of the latter passing in front of the supply duct 6 of the fluid 4. During the displacement of the piston 9 from the first to the second position, the latter gradually reduces the section of the supply duct 6 of the fluid 4 reducing the flow rate thereof.

[0033] The stroke of the piston 9 towards the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 then determines the temporary closure of the supply duct 6 of the fluid 4, as well as its subsequent hermetic isolation with respect to the dispensing opening 7.

[0034] In other words, when the piston 9 with the valve 11 in the first condition is interposed between the supply duct 6 and the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 (Figure 4) it hermetically divides the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 defining a first chamber 3a in fluid communication with the supply duct 6 of the fluid 4 and a second chamber 2b in fluid communication with the dispensing opening 7.

[0035] In this situation, the first chamber 2a is filled by the fluid 4 coming from the supply duct 6 of the hollow body 2 and the second chamber 2b is filled with the fluid 4 that was already contained in the inner channel 3 before the displacement of the piston 9 from the first to the second position.

[0036] At this point it is possible, through the movement of the piston 9 towards the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2, to actuate the controlled dispensing of the fluid contained in the second chamber 2b of the hollow body 2 so as to manage the final filling step of the container 5.

[0037] The controlled dispensing of the fluid 4 through the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 is advantageously manageable by controlling the electric actuator so that the stem 13 thereof advances towards the dispensing opening 7 itself according to a speed that can be modulated and/or modified according to requirements.

[0038] Once the container 5 is filled (Figure 5), the movement of the piston 9 towards the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 is interrupted and the valve member 8 is switched from the second to the first condition to obstruct such dispensing opening 7.

[0039] At this point, the valve 11 is switched from the first to the second condition for opening the transit channel 10 of the piston 9 so as to allow the latter to move into the hollow body 2 without the resistance of the fluid 4 contained therein that can flow through the transit channel 10.

[0040] The piston 9 is displaced from the second to the first position hence it is moved away from the dispensing opening 9 of the hollow body 2 positioning itself above the supply duct 6 of the latter.

[0041] The valve 11 is switched from the second to the first condition so as to close the transit channel 10 of the piston 9 and thus create a hermetic engagement thereof with the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 for a new filling cycle of an empty container 5.

[0042] According to the embodiment illustrated in Figures 1 to 6, the present invention also concerns a method for filling containers 5 using the filling nozzle 1 described above.

[0043] First of all, the aforesaid filling nozzle 1 is arranged so that the valve member 8 is switched in the first condition to keep the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 closed and the piston 9 is arranged in the first position with the respective valve 11 switched in the first condition to keep the transit channel 10 of the respective piston 9 closed.

[0044] The method comprises a step of supplying the fluid 4 to the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 so as to fill the latter.

[0045] Subsequently, the method comprises a step of switching the valve member 8 from the first to the second condition to open the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 and determine the start of filling the empty container 5 arranged in correspondence with the dispensing opening 7 itself.

[0046] The method comprises a step of detecting the filling status of the container 5, e.g. through detecting the weight of the latter or the amount of fluid dispensed, or again through any other system that can indicate the volume of fluid 4 poured into the container 5 during filling.

[0047] The step of detecting the filling status is continuously repeated until a predetermined weight/volume quantity is detected, indicative of the start of a final filling step that must be performed in a controlled way at a lower filling speed than the usual filling speed.

[0048] Once the aforementioned weight/volume indicative of the start of the final filling step has been detected, the method comprises a step of moving the piston 9 from the first position to the second position. Such movement step causes a displacement of the piston 9 towards the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2. Once the supply duct 6 of the hollow body 2 has been passed, the piston 9 hermetically isolates the dispensing opening 7 with respect to the supply duct 6 for managing in a controlled way the dispensing of the fluid present between the dispensing opening 7 and the piston 9.

[0049] The method comprises a further step of moving the piston 9 towards the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 that is modulated and managed as a function of the type of dispensing of the fluid 4 that is to be performed. Such further movement step determines a thrust of the fluid 4 present between the opening 7 of the hollow body 2 and the piston 9 and the consequent ejection of such fluid 4 that pours into the container 5 being filled according to the final filling step. Once the desired filling volume has been reached, which can be detected by continuing to monitor the filling status of the container 5, the method comprises a step of switching the valve member 8 from the second condition to the first condition for closing the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2. Simultaneously or subsequently to the switching of the valve member 8 from the second to the first condition, the method comprises a step of switching the valve 11 from the first to the second condition for opening the transit channel 10 of the respective piston 9, as well as a step of moving the latter from the second to the first position.

[0050] The piston 9 moves away from the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2 allowing the fluid 4 contained in the latter to be drawn through the transit channel 10. Once the piston 9 reaches the first position, the method comprises a step of switching the valve 11 from the second to the first condition to close the transit channel 10 of the piston 9 and determine a hermetic engagement of the latter to the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 to allow the performance of a new filling cycle of an empty container 5.

[0051] According to the embodiment illustrated in Figures 7 to 10, the dispensing nozzle is very similar to the dispensing nozzle 1 illustrated in Figures 1 to 6.

[0052] In this case, the valve 11 comprises at least one cap member 15 engaged with an end 16 of a shaft 17 slidably engaged, preferably coaxially, with the stem 13 of the actuator 14.

[0053] In detail, the cap member 15 is positioned in abutment against the piston 9 (Figures 7 to 9) for closing the transit channel 10 of the latter when the valve 11 is in the first condition and is spaced from the piston 9 (Figure 10) leaving the transit channel 10 of the latter open when the valve 11 is in the second condition.

[0054] Also the overall operation of the filling nozzle 1 according to Figures 7 to 10 is very similar to the operation of the filling nozzle 1 of the embodiment illustrated in Figures 1 to 6.

[0055] With reference instead to the operation of the valve 11, the switching thereof requires the displacement of the shaft 16 along the stem 13 until the closing cap 15 disengages the piston 9 opening the respective transit channel 10 of the latter. Also the switching of the valve 11 from the second condition to the first one requires the activation in movement of the shaft 16 which determines the resting of the closing cap 15 against the piston 9 for closing the transit channel 10 of the latter.

[0056] In this case, the filling method provides the switching step of the valve 11 from the first to the second condition being performed by moving the closing cap 15 away from the piston 9, whereas the switching step of the valve 11 from the second to the first condition is performed by resting the closing cap 15 against the piston 9.

[0057] According to the embodiment illustrated in Figures 11 to 14, the filling nozzle 1 also comprises a hollow body 2 defining an inner channel 3 for the transit of a fluid 4 intended to fill at least one container 5.

[0058] The hollow body 2 is provided with at least one supply duct 6 of the fluid 4 connectable to a respective supply source of such fluid 4 and at least one dispensing opening 7 (not visible in Figures 11 to 14), as it is substantially identical to the dispensing opening of the embodiments illustrated in Figures 1 to 10.

[0059] Still with reference to Figures 11 to 14, the filling nozzle 1 comprises at least one valve member 8 operatively associated with the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2.

[0060] The valve member 8 is switchable between a first condition (Figure 14), wherein it sealingly obstructs the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2 to prevent the fluid 4 outflow through the latter and a second condition (Figures 11 to 13), wherein it disengages the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2 to allow the fluid 4 outflow from the latter.

[0061] Advantageously, the filling nozzle 1 further comprises a piston 9 operatively engaged in the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2. The piston 9 is controllable as for movement and/or switching for isolating the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2 with respect to the supply duct 6 of the fluid 4 and for determining the controlled outflow, from the dispensing opening 7 of the hollow body 2, of the fluid 4 present between the latter and the piston 9.

[0062] According to the embodiment illustrated in Figures 11 to 14, the piston 9 is operatively interposed between the supply duct 6 and the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2.

[0063] In detail, the piston 9 comprises at least one annular element 18 slidably engaged (by friction) with the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2. The annular element 18 delimits a passage opening 18a, preferably central, for the transit of the fluid 4 between the supply duct 6 and the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2, which has a cross-section lower than the inner channel 3 cross-section of the hollow body 2.

[0064] The piston 9 further comprises at least a coupling body 19 movable along the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 between a disengagement position (Figures 11 and 14), wherein it is spaced from the annular member 18 such that the fluid 4 from the supply duct 6 of the hollow body 2 is free to transit through the passage opening 18a towards the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2 and an intercept position (Figures 13 and 13) wherein it engages the annular member 18 and closes the passage opening 18a of the latter sealingly dividing the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 in one first chamber 2a in fluid communication with the supply duct 6 and in one second chamber 2b in fluid communication with the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2.

[0065] In even more detail, the coupling body 19 is engaged with an end 12 of a stem 13 of an optionally electric actuator 14, and is arranged to push the annular member 18 along the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 towards the dispensing opening of the latter for determining the controlled ejection of the fluid 4 present in the second chamber 2b.

[0066] Advantageously, the coupling body 19 is further provided with a hooking portion 20 engageable with the annular member 18 at an opposite side with respect to the coupling body 19 itself.

[0067] The hooking portion 20 of the coupling body 19 is structurally configured in such a way as not to obstruct the passage opening 18a of the annular element 18 when it engages the latter (Figure 14) allowing the passage of fluid 4 between the first and the second chamber 2a, 2b.

[0068] The hooking portion 20 of the coupling body 19 is arranged to push the annular member 18 along the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 away from the dispensing opening of the latter when the coupling body 19 translates towards the supply duct 6 of the fluid 4.

[0069] As can be seen in Figures 11 to 14, the coupling body 19 and the hooking portion 20 of the latter are connected through an intermediate connecting member 21 which extends longitudinally through the passage opening 18a of the annular member 18 according to an amount which is greater than the axial extension of the latter.

[0070] As can be seen in Figures 11 to 14, the hooking portion 20 of the coupling body 19 is disengaged from the annular member 18 (Figures 12 and 13) when the coupling body 19 is engaged with the latter and is engaged with the annular member 18 (Figures 11 and 14) when the coupling body 19 is disengaged from the latter. According to the embodiment illustrated in Figures 11 to 14, when an empty container 5 is at a respective filling nozzle 1 (Figure 11), the valve member 8 of the latter is in the first condition so as to keep the respective dispensing opening closed.

[0071] In this situation, the piston 9 is interposed between the supply duct 6 and the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2 with the coupling body 19 arranged in the disengaged position, i.e. distanced from the annular member 18 thus the passage opening 18a of the latter is in fluid communication with the supply duct 6 of the hollow body 2.

[0072] When the coupling body 19 of the piston 9 is in the disengaged position, the hooking portion 20 of the coupling body 19 engages the annular element 18 still allowing the transit of fluid 4 through the passage opening 18a of the annular element 18.

[0073] Therefore, the fluid 4 coming from the supply duct 6 of the hollow body 2 fills the inner channel 3 of the latter.

[0074] Subsequently, the valve member 8 is switched from the first condition to the second condition to open the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2 of the respective dispensing nozzle 1.

[0075] The switching of the valve member 8 from the first to the second condition determines the lifting of the latter into the hollow body 2, as well as its consequent disengagement from the respective dispensing opening that opens.

[0076] The fluid 4 contained in the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 of the filling nozzle 1 starts to flow through the dispensing opening to drop into the respective container 5 that starts to be filled.

[0077] The filling of the container 5 proceeds (Figure 3) according to the same method until appropriate detection devices, such as scales, a flow detector and/or a similar detection unit of the filling of the container 5, appropriately associated with the filling nozzle 1 and/or the container 5, detect the reaching of a predetermined filling volume indicative of the start of a final filling step that must be performed in a controlled way.

[0078] Once the aforesaid predetermined filling volume indicative of the start of a final filling step has been reached, the coupling body 19 of the piston 9 is activated in movement from the disengaged position (Figures 11 and 14) to the intercept position (Figures 12 and 14) so as to rest against the annular element 18 and obstruct the passage opening 18a of the latter.

[0079] In this way the piston 9 hermetically separates the dispensing opening with respect to the supply duct 6 of the hollow body 2 to allow the controlled dispensing of the fluid 4 present between the piston 9 and the dispensing opening so as to modulate and manage the final filling step of the respective container 5.

[0080] Once the passage opening 18a of the annular element 18 has been obstructed, the coupling body 19 is translated along the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 towards the dispensing opening so as to push the annular element towards the latter and determine the outflow of the fluid 4 present in the second chamber 2b for finishing the filling of the respective container 5. Once the container 5 has been filled, the valve member 8 is switched from the second to the first condition for closing the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2.

[0081] Simultaneously or subsequently to the switching of the valve member 8, the coupling body 19 of the piston 9 is activated in movement to be displaced from the intercept position to the disengaged position (Figure 14) and open the passage opening 18a of the annular member 18 and allow fluid communication between the first and the second chamber 2a, 2b.

[0082] In such situation, the hooking portion 20 of the coupling body 19 engages the annular member 18 on the opposite side with respect thereto.

[0083] At this point the coupling body 19 is activated in movement along the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 away from the dispensing opening and towards the supply duct 6. The hooking portion 20 of the coupling body 19 draws, by pushing, the annular member 18 towards the supply duct 6 without meeting any resistance by the fluid 4 present inside the hollow body 2 that can be drawn through the passage opening 18a of the annular element 18.

[0084] Once the piston 9 is in proximity to the supply duct 6 of the hollow body 2 it is possible to repeat the filling cycle of a new empty container 5.

[0085] According to the embodiment illustrated in Figures 11 to 14, the present invention also concerns a method for filling containers 5 using the related filling nozzle 1.

[0086] Above all, such filling nozzle 1 is arranged so that the valve member 8 is switched in a first condition to keep the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2 closed and the piston 9 is interposed between the latter and the supply duct 6, in proximity thereto, with the coupling body 19 arranged in the disengaged position therefore the passage opening 18a of the annular member 18 is open.

[0087] The method comprises a step of supplying the fluid 4 to the inner channel 3 of the hollow body 2 so as to fill, preferably completely, the latter.

[0088] Subsequently, the method comprises a step of switching the valve member 8 from the first condition to the second condition to open the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2 and determine the start of filling the empty container 5 arranged at the dispensing opening itself.

[0089] The method further comprises a step of detecting the filling status of the container 5, e.g. through detecting the weight of the latter or the amount of fluid 4 dispensed, or again through any other system that can indicate the volume of the fluid 4 poured into the container 5 during filling.

[0090] The step of detecting the filling status is continuously repeated until a predetermined volume quantity is detected, indicative of the start of a final filling step that must be performed in a controlled way and at a lower filling speed than the usual one.

[0091] Once the aforesaid volume indicative of the start of a final filling step has been detected, the method comprises a movement step of the coupling body 19 of the piston 9 from the disengaged position (Figures 11 and 14) to the intercept position (Figures 12 and 13) at which the coupling body 19 engages the annular element 18 obstructing the passage opening 18a of the latter.

[0092] This movement step determines the hermetic isolation of the dispensing opening of the supply duct 6 of the hollow body 2 to manage in a controlled way the dispensing of the fluid 4 present between the dispensing opening and the piston 9.

[0093] The method comprises a further step of moving the coupling body 19 of the piston 9 towards the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2 that is modulated and managed as a function of the type of dispensing of the fluid 4 that is to be performed. Such further movement step determines the thrust of the annular member 18 towards the dispensing opening, and a thrust of the fluid 4 present between the opening of the hollow body 2 and the piston 9 and the consequent ejection of such fluid 4 that is poured into the container 5 according to the final filling step.

[0094] Once the desired filling volume has been reached, which can again be detected by monitoring the filling status of the container 5, the method comprises a step of switching the valve member 8 from the second condition to the first condition for closing the dispensing opening of the hollow body 2.

[0095] Simultaneously or subsequently to the switching of the valve member 8 from the second to the first condition, the method comprises a step of moving the coupling body 19 of the piston 9 from the intercept position to the disengaged position to open the passage opening 18a of the annular member and place the first and the second chamber 2a, 2b in fluid communication.

[0096] The movement of the coupling body 19 of the piston 9 from the intercept position to the disengaged position also determines the engagement of the hooking portion 20 thereof to the annular member 18.

[0097] This is followed by a further movement step of the coupling body 19 of the piston 9 away from the dispensing opening that determines the drawing and thrust of the annular member 18 towards the supply duct 6 of the hollow body 2 that terminates when the piston 9 is in proximity to the latter.

[0098] In such position of the piston 9, the nozzle 1 is ready to perform a new filling cycle of an empty container 5. The filling nozzle 1 according to the present invention solves the problems encountered in the prior art and has various advantages.

[0099] Above all, the aforesaid filling nozzle allows, through its respective piston, the controlled management of the final filling step of the containers.

[0100] In particular it is possible to modulate the displacement of the piston towards the dispensing opening to determine the quantity and speed of the fluid dispensed.

[0101] This is very important as it allows the final filling step to be managed in a different way according to the type of fluid dispensed, allowing the dispensing nozzle to also adapt to particularly dense fluids or to fluids that tend to form foam.

[0102] It should also be considered that in this way it is possible to prevent undesired water hammer that can damage the components of the nozzles like some components of the filling machines.


Claims

1. A filling nozzle (1) for filling machines, in particular weight-grading machines, for containers such as drums, bottles, cans and/or the like, comprising:

a hollow body (2) defining an inner channel (3) for the transit of a fluid (4), the hollow body (2) being provided with at least one supply duct (6) of the fluid (4) connectable to a respective supply source of the fluid (4) and at least one dispensing opening (7) of the fluid (4) coming from the supply duct (6);

at least one valve member (8) operatively associated with the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2), the valve member (8) being switchable between a first condition, wherein it sealingly obstructs the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2) to prevent the fluid (4) outflow through the latter and a second condition, wherein it disengages the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2) to allow the fluid (4) outflow from the latter;

characterized in that it further comprises at least a piston (9) operatively engaged in the inner channel (3) defined by the hollow body (2), the piston (9) being controllable as for movement and/or switching for isolating the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2) with respect to the supply duct (6) of the fluid (4) and for determining the controlled outflow, from the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2), of the fluid (4) present between the latter and the piston (9).


 
2. The filling nozzle (1) according to claim 1, wherein the piston (9) is movable between a first position, wherein the supply duct (6) of the hollow body (2) is in fluid communication with the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2) through the inner channel (3) of the latter and a second position, wherein the piston (9) is interposed between the supply duct (6) and the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2).
 
3. The filling nozzle (1) according to claims 1 and 2, wherein the piston (9) comprises:

at least a transit channel (10) for the passage of the fluid (4);

at least a valve (11) operatively associated with the transit channel (10), the valve (11) being switchable between a first condition wherein it closes the transit channel (10) of the piston (9) and a second condition, wherein it opens the transit channel (10) of the piston (9) allowing the transit of the fluid (4) through the latter.


 
4. The filling nozzle (1) according to claim 2 or 3, wherein the piston (9) is engaged with an end (12) of a stem (13) of an optionally electric actuator (14), the valve (11) comprising at least a cap member (15) engaged with an end (16) of a shaft (17) slidably engaged, preferably coaxially, with the stem (13) of the actuator (14).
 
5. The filling nozzle (1) according to claim 4, wherein the cap member (15) is positioned in abutment against the piston (9) for closing the transit channel (10) of the latter when the valve (11) is in the first condition and is spaced from the piston (9) leaving the transit channel (10) of the latter open when the valve (11) is in the second condition.
 
6. The filling nozzle (1) according to claim 1, wherein the piston (9) is operatively interposed between the supply duct (3) and the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2).
 
7. The filling nozzle (1) according to claims 1 and 2, wherein the piston (9) comprises:

at least one annular element (18) slidably engaged with the inner channel (3) of the hollow body (2), the annular element (18) delimiting a passage opening (18a), preferably central, for the transit of the fluid (4) between the supply duct (6) and the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2), the passage opening (18a) of the annular element (18) having a cross-section lower than the inner channel (3) cross-section of the hollow body (2);

at least a coupling body (19) movable along the inner channel (3) of the hollow body (2) between a disengagement position, wherein it is spaced from the annular member (18) such that the fluid (4) from the supply duct (6) is free to transit through the passage opening (18a) towards the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2) and an intercept position wherein it engages the annular member (18) and closes the passage opening (18a) of the latter sealingly dividing the inner channel (3) of the hollow body (2) into a first chamber (2a) in fluid communication with the supply duct (6) and a second chamber in fluid communication with the dispensing opening (7) of the hollow body (2).


 
8. The filling nozzle (1) according to claim 7, wherein the coupling body (19) is engaged with an end (12) of a stem (13) of an optionally electric actuator (14), and is arranged to push the annular member (18) along the inner channel (3) of the hollow body (2) towards the dispensing opening (7) of the latter for determining the controlled ejection of the fluid (4) present in the second chamber (2b).
 
9. The filling nozzle (1) according to claim 7 or 8, wherein the coupling body (19) is further provided with a hooking portion (20) engageable with the annular member (18) at an opposite side with respect to the coupling body (19), the hooking portion (20) of the coupling body (19) being structurally configured in such a way as not to obstruct the passage opening (18a) of the annular element (18) when it engages the latter allowing the passage of fluid (4) between the first and the second chamber (2a, 2b), the hooking portion (20) of the coupling body (19) is arranged to push the annular member (18) along the inner channel (3) of the hollow body (2) away from the dispensing opening (7) of the latter when the coupling body (19) moves towards the supply duct (6) of the fluid (4).
 
10. The filling nozzle (1) according to claim 9, wherein the coupling body (19) and the hooking portion (20) of the latter are connected through an intermediate connecting member (21) which extends longitudinally through the passage opening (18a) of the annular member (18) according to an amount which is greater than the axial extension of the latter, the hooking portion (20) of the coupling body (19) being disengaged from the annular member (18) when the coupling body (19) is engaged with the latter and being engaged with the annular member (18) when the coupling body (19) is disengaged from the latter.
 




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Search report