US20060242930A1 - Pharmaceutical bulk-up system - Google Patents

Pharmaceutical bulk-up system Download PDF

Info

Publication number
US20060242930A1
US20060242930A1 US11/396,292 US39629206A US2006242930A1 US 20060242930 A1 US20060242930 A1 US 20060242930A1 US 39629206 A US39629206 A US 39629206A US 2006242930 A1 US2006242930 A1 US 2006242930A1
Authority
US
United States
Prior art keywords
bottle
apparatus
cutting blade
contents
cross section
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US11/396,292
Inventor
Timothy Chambers
Timothy McFadden
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
R/X AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS Inc
Original Assignee
R/X AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US66771105P priority Critical
Application filed by R/X AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS Inc filed Critical R/X AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS Inc
Priority to US11/396,292 priority patent/US20060242930A1/en
Assigned to R/X AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS, INC. reassignment R/X AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: MCFADDEN, TIMOTHY S., CHAMBERS, TIMOTHY E.
Publication of US20060242930A1 publication Critical patent/US20060242930A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

Links

Images

Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B69/00Unpacking of articles or materials, not otherwise provided for
    • B65B69/0033Unpacking of articles or materials, not otherwise provided for by cutting

Abstract

Disclosed is a method and system for providing a rapid, semiautomatic or fully automatic prescription drug bulk-up apparatus that is compatible with process protocols used in mail order pharmacies, high volume drug repackaging facilities and drug distribution centers. The unique gripping mechanism gives the system the capability to open a wide range of bottle sizes, shapes and thickness.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is based upon and claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application No. 60/667,711, entitled “Pharmaceutical Bulk-Up System”, filed Apr. 1, 2005, the entire disclosure of which is hereby specifically incorporated by reference for all that it discloses and teaches.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to methods and systems for accessing and removing the contents of containers and more specifically for access and removal of pharmaceuticals from plastic pharmaceutical bottles for subsequent repackaging.
  • 2. Description of the Background
  • Pharmaceutical capsules and tablets are typically packaged by the manufacturer in bottle form and in standardized quantities. Physicians typically will prescribe these medications in numbers that differ from the standard quantity, and thus, necessitate unpacking, bulking and repackaging of the contents within the bottles.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention overcomes the disadvantages and limitations of the prior art by providing a method and apparatus for rapid and efficient content removal of capsule and tablet medications from a wide variety of standardized pharmaceutical or other plastic bottles.
  • The present invention may therefore comprise an apparatus for producing an opening in a closed plastic container bottle in order to remove at least a portion of the contents of the bottle comprising: a gripping apparatus for securely holding the bottle, the gripping apparatus comprising two lateral clamps, each lateral clamp comprising a plurality of clamp jaws arranged in a substantially parallel orientation and perpendicular to a vertical axis; a cutting assembly that passes a cutting blade through an entire cross section of the bottle thereby severing the bottle along the cross section to provide access to the contents of the bottle.
  • The present invention may also comprise a method of producing an opening in a closed plastic container bottle in order to remove at least a portion of the contents of the bottle comprising: gripping and securely holding the bottle with two lateral clamps comprising a plurality of clamp jaws arranged in a substantially parallel orientation and perpendicular to a vertical access; producing an opening in the bottle by severing the bottle along a cross section of the bottle by passing a cutting blade through the entire cross section; and, removing the contents of the bottle through the opening.
  • The present invention may also comprise an apparatus for severing a cross section of a closed plastic container bottle in order to remove at least a portion of the contents of the bottle comprising: a cutting blade comprising: two sharp leading edges that form a point; two leading surfaces that transition the thickness of the cutting blade from a nominal blade thickness to a leading edge thickness at a cut angle; a cutting force that drives the cutting blade into a sidewall of the bottle to create a discontinuity with the point; the leading surfaces that propagate the discontinuity through the cross section to sever the bottle.
  • The present invention may also comprise a method of severing a cross section of a closed plastic container bottle in order to remove at least a portion of the contents of the bottle comprising: forming a discontinuity in a sidewall of the bottle by forcibly penetrating the sidewall with a point of a cutting blade formed by. the intersection of two sharp leading edges; and, propagating the discontinuity in two directions through the cross section to sever the bottle with each sharp leading edge.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • In the drawings,
  • FIG. 1 is an illustration of a gripping mechanism for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system.
  • FIG. 2 is an illustration of a pneumatically driven jaw clamp assembly used in a pharmaceutical bulk-up system.
  • FIG. 3 is an illustration of a rack-and-pinion drive mechanism for a jaw clamp assembly of a pharmaceutical bulk-up system.
  • FIG. 4 is an illustration of a rotary dial assembly for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system.
  • FIG. 5 is an illustration of a rotary dial assembly with a rotary indexer for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system.
  • FIG. 6 is an illustration of a cutting mechanism for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system.
  • FIG. 7 is an illustration of the underside of a cutting mechanism for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system.
  • FIG. 8 is an illustration of a rotary dial assembly and cutting mechanism for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system.
  • FIG. 9 is an illustration of a gripping and cutting mechanism for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system.
  • FIG. 10 is an illustration of a cutting blade for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • While this invention is susceptible to embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will be described herein in detail specific embodiments thereof with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not to be limited to the specific embodiments described.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a gripping mechanism for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system. A jaw clamp assembly 100 is comprised of a left lateral clamp 108 and a laterally opposed right lateral clamp 110. Each of these lateral clamps 108 and 110 comprise a plurality of clamp jaws 102 arranged in a parallel orientation and perpendicular to a vertical access. Each clamp jaw 102 on the left lateral clamp 108 is fixed on the left most side to a left jaw restraint 104 and maintains an approximate “V” shape that faces inward. The clamp jaws 102 are fixed to the left jaw restraint 104 and spaced at a distance that is at least equal to their thickness. The right lateral clamp 110 is similarly arranged in a mirrored fashion such that the clamp jaws 102 are affixed to a right jaw restraint 106 with the “V” shape facing inward and towards the left lateral clamp 108. The clamp jaws 102 of the right lateral clamp 110 are offset in a vertical orientation with respect to the clamp jaws 102 in the left lateral clamp 108 by at least one thickness of the clamp jaw 102. This offset allows the clamp jaws 102 of the left and right lateral clamps 108 and 110 to engage and overlap (intertwine) when the lateral clamps are traversed towards one another.
  • The particular geometry that is accomplished by the overlapping “V” shaped jaws allows a wide variety of pharmaceutical bottles to be gripped by the jaw clamp assembly 100. The “V” shape of the clamp jaws 102 may also contain a flat portion at the apex of the “V” allowing further versatility. In this manner, both cylindrical as well as rectangular objects and bottles can be readily and securely gripped by the jaw clamp assembly. A mounting plate 112 is secured in a horizontal orientation behind the clamp jaws and covers the mechanisms which are used to operate and engage the lateral clamps.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of a pneumatically driven jaw clamp assembly used in a pharmaceutical bulk-up system. As shown in FIG. 1, a plurality of jaw clamps 102 are fixed to a right jaw restraint 106 within the jaw clamps assembly. The left and right lateral clamps 108 and 110 of FIG. 1 are each attached to a left gripper arm 118 and to a right gripper arm 120 which are actuated towards one another by pneumatic cylinders. A front clamp actuator cylinder 114 and a rear clamp actuator cylinder 116 are horizontally mounted in a diametrically opposed fashion to the underside of the mounting plate 112 such that the draw of each cylinder ram is towards the centerline of the gripper mechanism. Thus, a draw stroke of each actuator cylinder 114 and 116 displace the gripper arms 118 and 120 and their associated jaw restraint 106 and 108 respectively, and closes the two pluralities of clamp jaws 102.
  • The relative motions of the lateral clamps 108 and 110 are regulated and coordinated with one another by a rack-and-pinion gear mechanism that is also mounted on the underside of mounting plate 112 and connected to the left gripper arm 118 on one side, and to the right gripper arm 120 on the other side. Within this mechanism, a pinion gear 122 is centrally mounted between the diametrically opposed actuator cylinders 114 and 116. A front rack gear race 124 regulates the lateral movement of the left gripper arm 118, and similarly, a rear rack gear race 126 regulates the lateral movement of the right gripper arm 120. Typically, the jaw clamps of the aforementioned embodiment will contain a mechanism, such as a spring (not shown), to enable the gripping jaws to remain closed when power or air pressure to the system is lost. This allows the jaw clamp assembly to maintain a secure grip on an object when the system is powered down or momentarily paused during its course of operation.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of a rack-and-pinion drive mechanism for a jaw clamp assembly of a pharmaceutical bulk-up system. In this illustration, the rack-and-pinion gear mechanism that is shown and described in FIG. 2 is further illustrated. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the pinion gear 122 is centrally mounted along the center line of the gripping mechanism, with the front rack gear race 124 regulating the lateral movement of the left gripper arm 118, and the rear rack gear race 126 regulating the lateral movement of the right gripper arm 120. The front rack gear race 124 is held in position with a front race bearing 128 and similarly, the rear rack gear race 126 is held in position with a rear race bearing 130. Each of the race bearings 128 and 130 is mounted on the underside of the mounting plate 112. In this embodiment, the lateral clamps that form a gripping mechanism produce a smooth and fluid motion that engages an item to be gripped in a consistent and precise manner.
  • FIG. 4 is an illustration of a rotary dial assembly 400 for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system. In this embodiment, a four station rotary assembly system is used to grip a pharmaceutical bottle, remove the bottom portion of the bottle, empty the contents of the bottle into a bulk hopper and separate the remaining bottle components. In order to accomplish this operation, the rotary dial assembly 400 contains a generic station I 132 containing a jaw clamp assembly 100 affixed to one quadrant of a rotary table 140. Station I 132 is termed “generic” due to the fact that a variety of operations may be accomplished within this station. Typically, at station I 132 a pharmaceutical bottle is loaded by a robotic arm, human operator or other type of automated feed system. In this loading process, air pressure is applied to the clamp actuator cylinders 114 and 116 and the jaw clamp assembly 100 is opened, thus permitting insertion of a pharmaceutical bottle within the grips. Once the pharmaceutical bottle is inserted the jaw clamp assembly 100 closes. The bottle is centered within the grips at a specified height, and at a predetermined clamp pressure. The pharmaceutical bottle may be loaded into the jaw clamp assembly 100 in either an upright or inverted orientation. If the bottle is loaded in an upright orientation, the clamp assembly will rotate 180° to invert and present the bottle to the next station in a bottom up orientation. This also serves to allow gravity to assist in drawing the bottle contents away from the cutting area and allows the contents to remain within the open bottle structure, until such time that offloading is performed. At cut station II 134, the bottom portion of the gripped pharmaceutical bottle is removed with a cutting mechanism and separated from the upper portion of the bottle. At generic station III 136, the open-ended pharmaceutical bottle may be handled in a variety of different ways. In one embodiment, the open-ended bottle may be offloaded directly by a robotic arm, operator or other type of automated offloading system. In another embodiment, the open-ended pharmaceutical bottle may be rotated by a degree that is sufficient to dump the loose contents of the bottle into a bulk hopper or other discharge chute. Typically, the bulk hopper or discharge chute will contain a means for examination/detection and or removal of impurities, contamination or damaged pills and capsules within the bulked pharmaceuticals. In a further embodiment, generic station III 136 may release the open-ended pharmaceutical bottle and its contents into a hopper or offload system where the pharmaceutical contents may be mechanically sorted immediately or at a later time. In still a further embodiment, the open-ended pharmaceutical bottle may remain within the gripper mechanism and proceed to either generic station IV 138 and rotated further back to generic station I 132 for manual or automated processing or offloading.
  • The minimum and maximum separation of each jaw clamp assembly 100 can be adjusted by setting the two corresponding gripper width adjustments 144 to match to a variety of particular pharmaceutical bottle sizes and shapes. This feature allows an operator to easily configure the pharmaceutical bulk-up system from one bottle to the next, with minimum effort and downtime, and without removing the jaw clamp assemblies 100 from the rotary dial assembly 400. A particle isolation tray 142 covers the center portion of the rotary table 140 and keeps the inner workings of the rotary dial assembly 400 free from contamination and assists in making the machine easy to clean.
  • Generic station IV 138 may take on a variety of uses depending on the particular needs of the user and on the configuration of generic station III 136. Typically, station IV 138 can be used to offload pharmaceutical bottles either before or after the contents have been removed. This offload may be performed by a robotic arm, operator or other type of automated offloading system.
  • FIG. 5 is an illustration of a rotary dial assembly 500 with a rotary indexer 146 for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system. As shown in FIG. 5, the rotary table 140 is allowed to rotate and transfer pharmaceutical bottles from one station to the next, thus permitting successive operations to be performed on the bottles. This rotation is facilitated by a rotary indexer 146 that allows the speed and positioning of the rotary table 140 to be finely tuned and customized to the specific needs of the pharmaceutical bulk-up system acting on a particular bottle size and configuration. In a four station rotary dial assembly, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the rotary table 140 mounts directly to the rotary indexer 146. The rotary indexer indexes the rotary table 140 in a 90° rotation providing a transfer motion for each gripper that is mounted to the rotary table 140 thereby moving individual gripper assemblies through the process sequence. Whereas the foregoing embodiments have depicted a four station rotary system, it is within the scope of the present disclosure to include systems with as few as a single station performing the operations, or station numbers much greater than the four stations disclosed above.
  • FIG. 6 is an illustration of a cutting mechanism 600 for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system. The embodiment shown in FIG. 6 depicts a cutting blade 160 that is used to pierce the sidewall of a pharmaceutical bottle facilitating a transverse cut that severs the lower portion the bottle from the upper portion. A blade actuator frame 166 is positioned at cut station II 134 and provides a mechanism for mounting a linear blade actuator 148. The linear blade actuator 148 comprises an actuator guide support 152 that mounts to a horizontal surface of the blade actuator frame 166 and provides a mounting point for a pneumatic blade actuator cylinder 150. The blade actuator cylinder 150 contains an actuator ram 154 that interfaces with and provides linear motion to pull plate 158. Pull plate 158 is also rigidly connected to a pair of actuator guides 156 that interface with and insert into actuator guide support 152 providing a controlled and precise linear movement of the pull plate 158. The pull plate 158 also connects to air ejector plate 162 that provides an interface and mount for the cutting blade 160. The cutting blade 160 is mounted in an orientation such that the direction of the piercing blade is parallel to the actuator ram 154 of the blade actuator cylinder 150. The blade direction is reversed such that the cutting motion is produced when the actuator ram 154 is drawn into the blade actuator cylinder 150. Thus, the piercing and cutting force of the cutting assembly is realized with the pull stroke of the blade actuator cylinder 150 producing a more repeatable and precise cut. As the cutting blade 160 is drawn by the blade actuator cylinder 150 and comes in contact with the pharmaceutical bottle, the cutting blade 160 is positioned relative to the jaw clamp assembly 100 and the point of the blade pierces the sidewall of the bottle and a perpendicular cut is transmitted through the bottle wall and severs the lower portion the of the bottle. As the blade actuator cylinder 150 reaches its minimum stroke, the severed lower portion of the bottle is in a position on the top surface of the cutting blade 160. Air ejector plate 162 contains an air inlet port 164 where compressed air is supplied and transmitted through the air ejector plate 162 to remove the severed lower portion of the bottle from the cutting the area. An additional hopper or waste chute can be placed so that the severed pharmaceutical bottle pieces can be removed from the cutting area in a clean and efficient manner.
  • FIG. 7 is an illustration of the underside of a cutting mechanism 600 for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system. As shown in FIG. 7, the embodiment of FIG. 6 is depicted with the cutting blade 160 that is used to pierce the sidewall of a pharmaceutical bottle, propagate a transverse cut, and sever the lower portion of the bottle from the upper portion. The blade actuator frame 166 is shown from below and provides a mechanism for mounting a pancake cylinder 168. This short stroke, pneumatically activated cylinder is positioned to engage a contact disk 170 with the bottom surface of the bottle when the bottle is placed within the gripper jaws. After a pharmaceutical bottle is loaded into the gripper jaws, at station I 132 for example, the rotary table 140 shuttles (indexes) to cut station II 134 where the pharmaceutical bottle is located under the contact disk 170 within the cutting mechanism. The pharmaceutical bottle would typically be loaded at station I 132 at a height which is slightly higher than would be optimal for cutting. The pancake cylinder 168 would extend from its position above the pharmaceutical bottle placing the contact disk 170 in communication with the bottom surface of the bottle. As the ram of the pancake cylinder 168 fully extends to a predetermined stroke limit (set by an operator for a specific bottle geometry), the cylinder pushes the bottle downward to a degree sufficient to align the cutting blade 160 at the proper cutting height for that specific bottle. Once the bottle is properly positioned, a stroke of the blade actuator cylinder 150 drives the cutting blade 160 into the sidewall of the bottle at a precise height in reference to the bottom surface of the bottle, thus facilitating an accurate precise cut. In a typical cutting operation, the pancake cylinder extends down when the cutting takes place and retracts when complete. The contact disk 170 serves to hold the bottom of the bottle in position and prevent the material that has been cut away from deforming or deflecting during the cutting stroke.
  • FIG. 8 is an illustration of a rotary dial assembly and cutting mechanism 600 for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system. As shown in FIG. 8, the cutting mechanism is depicted in typical orientation with respect to the rotary dial assembly. The cutting mechanism 600 is placed in a manner such that it allows full rotation of the rotary table 140 and jaw clamp assemblies 100 under the cutting blade 160 when the actuator ram 154 is in an extended position. The cutting mechanism 600 is also placed to center the pharmaceutical bottle with the cutting blade 160 and each gripper.
  • FIG. 9 is an illustration of a gripping and cutting mechanism for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system. A side view of the cutting mechanism 600 in the jaw clamp assembly 100 exemplifies a typical orientation between the cutting blade 160, the jaw clamp assembly 100, and the contact disk 170. The jaw clamp assembly 100 is positioned to center and/or position the bottle directly below the pancake cylinder 168 and contact disk 170. The cutting blade 160 is positioned at a height between the contact disk 170 and the jaw clamp assembly 100.
  • FIG. 10 is an illustration of a cutting blade 160 for a pharmaceutical bulk-up system. In the embodiment shown, the cutting blade 160 is a single bevel (V-style) blade with a multiple angle tip that provides the ability to cut a plastic bottle quickly and with minimal distortion to the base of the bottle during the cut. The blade geometry allows for fast cutting of a wide variety bottle sizes and is designed to cut while minimizing particle generation from the bottle material that could end up in the pharmaceuticals. The cutting blade 160 is preferably hardened steel (i.e., M2 Tool Steel), with an FDA-approved titanium aluminum nitride coating.
  • The cutting operation is a cyclical sequence of steps that begins with presenting the bottle within the gripper to the cut station II 134. At this point the pancake cylinder 168 is extended down to qualify the bottle within the gripper to a nominal preset height. This function is completed to eliminate operator set-up error and protect the contents of the bottle as much as possible. The pancake cylinder 168 places the contact disk 170 in contact or directly above the bottom surface of the bottle and when the cutting blade 160 is actuated. As the blade extends through the bottle, the severed part is compressed between the top surface of the blade and the contact disk 170. This results in the bottle bottom being sandwiched or held thereby facilitating a complete cut. Without this compression, one side of the bottle would tend to cut before the other, allowing the bottom to flip, and resulting in an incomplete or rough cut.
  • The cutting blade 160 comprises a sharply pointed blade angle 172 to facilitate penetration of the bottle material and incorporates a single beveled “V” shaped edge that is sharpened to form a leading edge 176 with additional cutting capability. The leading edge 176 of the cutting blade 160, transitions to the surface of the cutting blade 160 at a cut angle 174 forming a leading surface 178. Once the initial material separation occurs with the initial penetration the bottle material, the leading edge 176 perpetuates the separation by cutting the perimeter of the bottle. As the cutting blade 160 moves through the bottle, the leading surface 178, which is disposed at a cutting angle 174, forces the severed material upward allowing the bottom of the bottle to be peeled up into the contact disk 170 as it is cut off. This upward force that is provided by the leading surface 178 greatly reduces the amount of cutting force needed to sever the material at leading edge 176 and thereby facilitating a clean, smooth cut while extending the life of the cutting blade 160. The point of the cutting blade 160 is designed to act as a blunt force penetrating device with minimal bending and breaking capability. The blade angle 172 and the cutting angle 174 have been specifically optimized to perform this operation in an optimal manner with maximum tool life and minimal cutting force.
  • The bottle is therefore severed by a penetration of the blade point and propagated circumferentially in both directions from the penetration point by the leading edge 176 around the perimeter of the bottle. The perimeter cut is initiated from the outside-in on the first half of the bottle, and transitions to cutting from the inside-out on the second half of the bottle. Additionally, the blade continually covers the pills as it removes the bottom of the bottle thereby protecting the bottle contents from potential debris as the cutting and air-jet and/or ejection takes place.
  • As the blade actuator cylinder 150 reaches full inward stroke, all cutting is complete and the pancake cylinder 168 retracts back to the up position. As the pancake cylinder 168 retracts, the compression on the severed material sandwiched between the contact disk 170 and the cutting blade 160 is relieved in preparation for the ejection. Compressed air is fed to the severed part through the air ejector plate 162 and the cut material is disposed to a discard chute or a collection hopper. After the air ejects the severed bottom of the bottle, the blade retracts, exposing the product in preparation to repeat the cycle on the next bottle.
  • The disclosed systems, therefore provide a rapid, semiautomatic or fully automatic prescription drug bulk-up apparatus that is compatible with process protocols used in mail order pharmacies, high volume drug repackaging facilities and drug distribution centers. The unique gripping mechanism gives the system the capability to open a wide range of bottle sizes, shapes (round, square, oval, rectangular, etc. . . . ) and thickness. The cutting blade design and implementation keeps plastic particulates to a minimum level while providing a quick, clean cut, with long blade life and durability.
  • The foregoing description of the invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed, and other modifications and variations may be possible in light of the above teachings. The embodiment was chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the appended claims be construed to include other alternative embodiments of the invention except insofar as limited by the prior art.

Claims (31)

1. An apparatus for producing an opening in a closed plastic container bottle to allow removal of at least a portion of the contents of said bottle comprising:
a gripping apparatus for securely holding said bottle, said gripping apparatus comprising two lateral clamps, each said lateral clamp comprising a plurality of clamp jaws arranged in a substantially parallel orientation and perpendicular to a vertical axis; and,
a cutting assembly that passes a cutting blade through an entire cross section of said bottle thereby severing said bottle along said cross section and provide access to said contents of said bottle.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said severing said bottle is performed on a bottom portion of said bottle.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said bottle is positioned at a specific height with respect to said cutting blade with an alignment cylinder.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein relative motion of said lateral clamps is controlled by a rack-and-pinion gear.
5. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein said rack-and-pinion gear is mounted between diametrically opposed pneumatic actuator cylinders and a rack gear race controls movement of said gripping apparatus.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said clamp jaws are held in a normally closed position when said apparatus is not powered.
7. The apparatus of claim 1 that is a rotary assembly containing at least two stations for said removal of at least a portion of the contents of said bottle.
8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said bottle is severed without rotation of said bottle or said cutting blade.
9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said bottle is severed by a penetration of a point of said cutting blade and a discontinuity is propagated circumferentially in both directions from said penetration point around a perimeter of said bottle.
10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said cutting blade covers said contents of said bottle as it divides said bottle along said cross section, thereby protecting said contents of said bottle.
11. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said clamp jaws comprise a V shape to accommodate said container bottles of various cross sectional geometries.
12. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said gripping apparatus can rotate about a substantially perpendicular axis to said bottle to position said bottle in any rotational orientation.
13. A method of producing an opening in a closed plastic container bottle to allow removal of at least a portion of the contents of said bottle comprising:
gripping and securely holding said bottle with two lateral clamps comprising a plurality of clamp jaws arranged in a substantially parallel orientation and perpendicular to a vertical access;
producing an opening in said bottle by severing said bottle along a cross section of said bottle by passing a cutting blade through the entire said cross section; and, removing said contents of said bottle through said opening.
14. The method of claim 13 further comprising said process of:
severing said bottle on a bottom portion of said bottle.
15. The method of claim 13 further comprising said process of:
positioning said bottle at a specific height with respect to said cutting blade with an alignment cylinder.
16. The method of claim 13 further comprising said process of:
controlling relative motion of said lateral clamps with a rack-and-pinion gear.
17. The method of claim 13 further comprising said process of:
severing said bottle without rotation of said bottle or said cutting blade.
18. The method of claim 13 further comprising said process of:
severing said bottle by penetrating a point of said cutting blade and propagating a discontinuity circumferentially in both directions from said penetration point around a perimeter of said bottle.
19. The method of claim 13 further comprising said process of:
protecting said contents of said bottle by covering said contents of said bottle with said cutting blade as said cutting blade divides said bottle along said cross section.
20. The method of claim 13 further comprising said process of:
accommodating said container bottles of various cross sectional geometries with said clamp jaws that comprise a V shape.
21. The method of claim 13 further comprising said process of:
rotating said gripping apparatus about a substantially perpendicular axis to said bottle to position said bottle to facilitate loading or offloading operations.
22. The method of claim 13 further comprising said process of:
rotating said bottle gripped in said clamp jaws from a loading station to a cutting station prior to said removal of said contents of said bottle.
23. An apparatus for severing a cross section of a closed plastic container bottle to allow removal of at least a portion of the contents of said bottle comprising:
a cutting blade comprising:
two sharp leading edges that form a point;
two leading surfaces that transition the thickness of said cutting blade from a nominal blade thickness to a leading edge thickness at a cut angle; and,
a cutting force that drives said cutting blade into a sidewall of said bottle to create a discontinuity with said point, said leading surfaces that propagate said discontinuity through said cross section to sever said bottle.
24. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein said severing said bottle is performed on a bottom portion of said bottle.
25. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein said bottle is severed without rotation of said bottle or said cutting blade.
26. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein said discontinuity is propagated circumferentially in both directions from said penetration point around a perimeter of said bottle.
27. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein said severing said cross section is initiated from outside-in on a first half of said bottle and transitions to cutting from inside-out on a second half of said bottle.
28. A method of severing a cross section of a closed plastic container bottle to allow removal of at least a portion of the contents of said bottle comprising:
forming a discontinuity in a sidewall of said bottle by forcibly penetrating said sidewall with a point of a cutting blade formed by the intersection of two sharp leading edges; and,
propagating said discontinuity in two directions through said cross section to sever said bottle with each said sharp leading edge.
29. The method of claim 28 further comprising the process of:
severing said bottle on a bottom portion of said bottle.
30. The method of claim 28 further comprising the process of:
severing said bottle without rotation of said bottle or said cutting blade.
31. An apparatus for producing an opening in a closed plastic container bottle that allows removal of at least a portion of the contents of said bottle comprising:
gripping means for securely holding said bottle, said gripping means comprising two lateral clamp means, each said lateral clamp means comprising a plurality of clamp jaws arranged in a substantially parallel orientation and perpendicular to a vertical axis; and,
a cutting means that passes a cutting blade through an entire cross section of said bottle to sever said bottle along said cross section and provide access to said contents of said bottle.
US11/396,292 2005-04-01 2006-03-31 Pharmaceutical bulk-up system Abandoned US20060242930A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US66771105P true 2005-04-01 2005-04-01
US11/396,292 US20060242930A1 (en) 2005-04-01 2006-03-31 Pharmaceutical bulk-up system

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11/396,292 US20060242930A1 (en) 2005-04-01 2006-03-31 Pharmaceutical bulk-up system

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
US20060242930A1 true US20060242930A1 (en) 2006-11-02

Family

ID=37233084

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US11/396,292 Abandoned US20060242930A1 (en) 2005-04-01 2006-03-31 Pharmaceutical bulk-up system

Country Status (1)

Country Link
US (1) US20060242930A1 (en)

Citations (10)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4597314A (en) * 1982-10-28 1986-07-01 Kirin Beer Kabushiki Kaisha Bottle opening machine
US4635509A (en) * 1981-12-28 1987-01-13 Kirin Beer Kabushiki Kaisha Bottle opening machine
US5201788A (en) * 1991-02-26 1993-04-13 Stork Dardaine Industries S.A. Method of and device for cutting off the upper part of a closed container of plastics or other material
US5582332A (en) * 1994-05-06 1996-12-10 Umformtechnik Hausach Gmbh Device for emptying bulk material containers
US5996441A (en) * 1998-07-09 1999-12-07 Bateman; Merlin L. Adjustable electric bottle opener
US6142039A (en) * 1999-08-12 2000-11-07 Herring, Sr.; Ralph E. Bottle cap remover
US20030101964A1 (en) * 2001-11-30 2003-06-05 Rodier William J. Method and system of fuel injector operation
US6651531B1 (en) * 2002-06-11 2003-11-25 Verdell Thornton Automated pill bottle opener
US6715266B2 (en) * 2001-12-04 2004-04-06 Altman Browning And Company Bottle unpack/repack apparatus and methods
US20040065053A1 (en) * 2002-08-07 2004-04-08 Medco Health Solutions, Inc. Automated prescription filling system/method with automated labeling and packaging system/method and automated order consolidation system/method

Patent Citations (12)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4635509A (en) * 1981-12-28 1987-01-13 Kirin Beer Kabushiki Kaisha Bottle opening machine
US4597314A (en) * 1982-10-28 1986-07-01 Kirin Beer Kabushiki Kaisha Bottle opening machine
US4732057A (en) * 1982-10-28 1988-03-22 Kirin Beer Kabushiki Kaisha Bottle opening machine
US5201788A (en) * 1991-02-26 1993-04-13 Stork Dardaine Industries S.A. Method of and device for cutting off the upper part of a closed container of plastics or other material
US5582332A (en) * 1994-05-06 1996-12-10 Umformtechnik Hausach Gmbh Device for emptying bulk material containers
US5996441A (en) * 1998-07-09 1999-12-07 Bateman; Merlin L. Adjustable electric bottle opener
US6142039A (en) * 1999-08-12 2000-11-07 Herring, Sr.; Ralph E. Bottle cap remover
US20030101964A1 (en) * 2001-11-30 2003-06-05 Rodier William J. Method and system of fuel injector operation
US6715266B2 (en) * 2001-12-04 2004-04-06 Altman Browning And Company Bottle unpack/repack apparatus and methods
US6651531B1 (en) * 2002-06-11 2003-11-25 Verdell Thornton Automated pill bottle opener
US20040065053A1 (en) * 2002-08-07 2004-04-08 Medco Health Solutions, Inc. Automated prescription filling system/method with automated labeling and packaging system/method and automated order consolidation system/method
US20040123567A1 (en) * 2002-08-07 2004-07-01 Medco Health Solutions, Inc. Automated container bulking system and method optionally integrated with automated dispensing system and/or automated labeling and packaging system

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
EP1020382B1 (en) Automated apparatus for preparing contact lenses for inspection and packaging
US8220657B2 (en) Unit for filling containers with products in particular pharmaceutical products
CA2386969C (en) Vial docking station for sliding reconstitution with diluent container
US2567223A (en) Blank separating and feeding device
EP1187765B1 (en) Feeder for a tube-filling machine
EP1324922B1 (en) Apparatus and method for packaging products
US4219986A (en) Capping apparatus
US4975015A (en) Blister package opening method and apparatus
AU670366B2 (en) Packaging
US3888067A (en) Banding machine
RU2009102660A (en) Apparatus and method for sorting small items
US4834643A (en) Blow molded bottle extraction, trimming and discharge apparatus
US4901504A (en) Filling and casing system
US5275523A (en) Apparatus for removing cigarettes from a package that encloses the same
EP0257734B1 (en) Feeder mechanism
US6035610A (en) Method and apparatus for separating and inserting items packaged in a bandolier
US5202135A (en) Bottle flash trimming apparatus
JP2001513476A (en) Method and apparatus for transferring objects
US5472115A (en) Blisterpack opening tool
GB1456630A (en) Apparatus for opening and emptying envelopes
CN102059541A (en) Automatic plug-in mounting equipment for assembling metal sheets and coils
US5970834A (en) Depalletizer and hopper feeder
US5036569A (en) Filter/funnel assembly machine
CN101687559B (en) Device and method for removing a sterile object from a sterile packaging
JP3844546B2 (en) Automated apparatus and method for consolidation of the packaging product

Legal Events

Date Code Title Description
AS Assignment

Owner name: R/X AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS, INC., COLORADO

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CHAMBERS, TIMOTHY E.;MCFADDEN, TIMOTHY S.;REEL/FRAME:017856/0752;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060512 TO 20060609

STCB Information on status: application discontinuation

Free format text: ABANDONED -- FAILURE TO RESPOND TO AN OFFICE ACTION