US20070277477A1 - Method and device for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine - Google Patents

Method and device for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070277477A1
US20070277477A1 US11/685,661 US68566107A US2007277477A1 US 20070277477 A1 US20070277477 A1 US 20070277477A1 US 68566107 A US68566107 A US 68566107A US 2007277477 A1 US2007277477 A1 US 2007277477A1
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Prior art keywords
data
tablet
medicine
cassette
position
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Abandoned
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US11/685,661
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Jun Ho Kim
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JVM Co Ltd
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Jun Ho Kim
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Priority to KR1020060050361A priority Critical patent/KR100744427B1/en
Priority to KR10-2006-0050361 priority
Application filed by Jun Ho Kim filed Critical Jun Ho Kim
Publication of US20070277477A1 publication Critical patent/US20070277477A1/en
Assigned to JVM CO., LTD. reassignment JVM CO., LTD. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: KIM, JUN HO
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B5/00Packaging individual articles in containers or receptacles, e.g. bags, sacks, boxes, cartons, cans, jars
    • B65B5/10Filling containers or receptacles progressively or in stages by introducing successive articles, or layers of articles
    • B65B5/101Filling containers or receptacles progressively or in stages by introducing successive articles, or layers of articles by gravity
    • B65B5/103Filling containers or receptacles progressively or in stages by introducing successive articles, or layers of articles by gravity for packaging pills or tablets
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B57/00Automatic control, checking, warning, or safety devices

Abstract

A device and method are used for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine, which includes a plurality of tablet cassettes that contain medicine, and a plurality of cartridges, each of which is installed in a predetermined position in the automatic tablet packing machine and is adapted to receive the tablet cassette. The device includes a non-contact tag that is attached to a predetermined location of the tablet cassette and a position scan board. The non-contact tag contains medicine data and cassette data. The cartridge reads data from the non-contact tag in a non-contact way, combines the cassette data and the medicine data with a unique number for the cartridge and outputs the combined data as medicine position data. The position scan board retrieves the medicine position data from the cartridge, stores and updates the data, and outputs the data.

Description

    CLAIMING FOREIGN PRIORITY
  • The applicant claims and requests a foreign priority, through the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, based on patent applications filed in the Republic of Korea (South Korea) with the filing date of Jun. 5, 2006 with the patent application number 10-2006-0050361 by the applicant, the contents of which are incorporated by reference into this disclosure as if fully set forth herein.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to method and device for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine. More particularly, the present invention relates to method and device for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine in a non-contact way with an RF tag attached on a tablet cassette.
  • A human being is constantly threatened by various diseases during his or her lifetime, and sometimes suffers such disease. There have been ongoing efforts to treat diseases and many medicines have been developed.
  • Even though there are cases in which a disease can be cured with a single medicine, plural diseases outbreak in a human body and show complex symptoms. Therefore, mixtures of plural medicines are prescribed to treat such multiple symptoms. Medicines are manufactured in tablets or powdered medicine, and packed by one dose according to prescription.
  • Generally, in order to pack medicines, a sheet for heat bonding is folded to be overlapped, and the folded sheet is heat bonded per constant pitch to form a plurality of pockets, and medicines are poured into the pocket and the opening is sealed, thereby forming a pack for the medicine per dose.
  • Manually performing such packing operation requires a lot of manpower and time. Automatic medicine-packing apparatus was developed to solve such problem.
  • Generally, an automatic medicine-packing apparatus stores medicines classified in a plurality of cassettes, and discharges tablets according to a prescription and packs the tablets per dose. The cassettes are housed into a plurality of cartridges. Each cassette is separately controlled to discharge a tablet that it contains. The discharged tablet falls through passages provided in the cartridges. The tablets are collected into a hopper and then the collected tablets are discharged downward from the hopper and sealed with a sealing device and sealing envelopes.
  • FIG. 1 schematically shows a general automatic tablet packing machine. The automatic tablet packing machine 1 includes a plurality of cassettes 10, cassette receivers 20, a feed tray 2 that is provided in a lower portion of the machine, and a hopper 3, a printing unit 4 and a heater 5 that are provided below the feed tray 2. The automatic tablet packing machine 1 makes the cassette 10 discharge tablets on the feed tray 2 according to the prescription, and the feed tray 2 makes the tablets fall into the hopper 3 per dose. The tablets that have fallen into the hopper 3 are received in a packing envelope on which data are printed by the printing unit 4, and the packing envelope is sealed by the heater 5. In this way tablets per dose are packed continuously.
  • The automatic tablet packing machine 1 checks whether the cassette 10 is received on the cassette receiver 20 with contact of them, and retrieves data from the memory [EEPROM] of the cassette to identify contents of the cassette 10. The cassette 10 includes an injection-molded structure for holding the memory and a terminal. The cassette receiver 20 includes a socket to receive the terminal. The machine checks whether the terminal contacts the socket. Whenever tablets are supplemented into the cassette, the terminal is disengaged from the socket and then engages with the socket again resulting in wear of the socket and the terminal. The wear causes insufficient contact of the socket and terminal, and results in failure of recognition of the cassette even though the cassette is received in the cassette receiver.
  • In the prior art, a unique number (ID) was given to the cassette for identifying cassette data but such ID was not given to the cartridge for identifying cartridge data, thereby not allowing automatic recognition of location of a particular medicine.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention contrives to solve the disadvantages of the prior art.
  • An objective of the invention is to provide method and device for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine in a non-contact way.
  • Another objective of the invention is to provide method and device for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine that can reduce manufacturing cost and time.
  • Still another objective of the invention is to provide method and device for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine that can store more data, improve recognition stability and security, and increase in recognition speed and distance.
  • In order to achieve the above objective, the present invention provides a device for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine. The automatic tablet packing machine comprises a plurality of tablet cassettes that are adapted to contain medicine, and a plurality of cartridges, each of which is installed in a predetermined position in the automatic tablet packing machine and is adapted to receive the tablet cassette. The identifying device comprises a non-contact tag that is attached to a predetermined location of the tablet cassette and a position scan board.
  • The non-contact tag contains medicine data and cassette data. The cartridge reads data from the non-contact tag in a non-contact way, combines the cassette data and the medicine data with a unique number for the cartridge and outputs the combined data as medicine position data. The position scan board retrieves the medicine position data from the cartridge, stores and updates the data, and outputs the data.
  • Preferably, the non-contact tag comprises an RF tag, and the predetermined location of the tablet cassette is a bottom of the tablet cassette.
  • The identifying device further comprises a terminal that transmits a compounding command to the cartridge, and transmits the medicine position data, which is output from the position scan board, to outside.
  • The identifying device further comprises a reader that reads medicine data for medicine that is supplemented to the tablet cassette, and a server that obtains and stores data for the cassettes and cartridges of the automatic tablet packing machines by communication with the terminal, recognizes position data for tablets using the above data, and recognizes data for tablets that have been supplemented to the tablet cassettes via the reader.
  • The identifying device further comprises a compounding controller that controls the tablet cassette to discharge a tablet to a feed tray when a compounding command is received from outside and a position checker that decides whether the tablet cassette is installed by checking whether the data contained in the non-contact tag is read, and transmits the data and a unique number for the cartridge to outside when it receives a request for position data from outside.
  • The position checker comprises an RF reader that reads data from the RF tag, a memory that records a unique number of the cartridge, a position check processor that decides whether the tablet cassette is installed by connecting to the RF reader, recognizes medicine data and cassette data of the installed tablet cassette, and outputs the recognized medicine data and cassette data, and cartridge data obtained from the memory when there is a position data request from outside, and a transceiver that transmits the above data to the position scan board.
  • The position scan board is adapted to scan all of the cartridges of the automatic tablet packing machine with predetermined interval and to obtain data for the tablet cassettes that are installed on the cartridges.
  • The invention further provides a method for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine. The method comprises steps of receiving a compounding command by a terminal, controlling the tablet cassette to discharge tablet via a compounding controller, obtaining with predetermined interval data for the tablet cassette and the cartridge on which the tablet cassette is installed, and updating the data by a position scan board, transmitting the data to a terminal when a position request is received from the terminal, recognizing position data of medicine from the data for the tablet cassette and the cartridge by the terminal.
  • The method further comprises step of transmitting the position data of medicine to a server, recognizing and storing the position data of medicine by the server, and when medicine supplement data is transmitted from a reader, storing and recognizing the medicine supplement data.
  • The predetermined interval is 1 second in the step of obtaining data. Only updated data is transmitted to the terminal in the step of transmitting the updated data.
  • Medicine data for the tablet cassette and a reference amount of medicine supplementation are compared, and a control command for medicine supplementation is sent to the terminal when the amount of medicine in the tablet cassette is less than the reference amount.
  • The advantages of the present invention are: (1) it is possible to automatically identify a tablet cassette without contact; (2) manufacturing cost and time are reduced since elements for identifying in conventional way (EEPROM and injection molded structure) are not needed; and (3) larger amount of data can be stored, recognition rate and security are improved, and recognition speed and distance are increased.
  • Although the present invention is briefly summarized, the fuller understanding of the invention can be obtained by the following drawings, detailed description and appended claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
  • FIG. 1 is an elevation view of an automatic medicine packing machine;
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing a device for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine; and
  • FIG. 3 is a flow diagram showing a method for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • FIG. 2 schematically shows an identifying device for identifying a tablet cassette according to the present invention. An RF tag 110, on which medicine data and cassette data are recorded, is attached on a predetermined position on a tablet cassette 100. While the tag 110 can be attached on any part of the tablet cassette 100, the tag 110 is preferably attached on a bottom of tablet cassette. A unique number (dynamic address) is assigned for every tablet cassette. A user installs and uninstalls the tablet cassette 100 to a cartridge 200.
  • The cartridge 200 includes a compounding controller 220 that controls the tablet cassette to discharge a tablet to a feed tray when a compounding command is received from outside, and a position checker 210 that decides whether the tablet cassette 100 is installed by checking whether the data contained in the RF tag 110 that is attached on the tablet cassette 100 is read, and transmits the data read from the RF tag and a unique number for the cartridge to outside when it receives a request for position data from outside.
  • An automatic tablet packing machine includes a plurality of the cartridges 200-1˜200-N that have the above elements.
  • The compounding controller 220 includes a synchronous motor 221 that drives the tablet cassette 100 to discharge a tablet, a tablet sensor 222 that used infrared ray to sense the tablet discharged, a compounding processor 223 that controls tablet discharge according to compounding command signal that is given from outside, and a transceiver 224 that communicates compounding command data with RS-485 method.
  • The position checker 210 includes an RF reader 211 that reads data from the RF tag 110 without contacting the RF tag; a serial EEPROM 212 that records the number (static address) of the corresponding cartridge; a position check processor 213 that decides whether the tablet cassette 100 is installed by connecting to the RF reader 211, recognizes medicine data and cassette data of the installed tablet cassette 100, and outputs the recognized medicine data and cassette data, and cartridge data obtained from the serial EEPROM 212 when there is a position data request from outside; and a transceiver 214 that transmits the above data to a position scan board 300 with RS-485 method. The RF reader 211 can read and write data on the RF tag 110.
  • The position scan board 300 obtains data for the tablet cassette 100 that is installed on the cartridge 200 by RS-485 communication with the position checker 210 of the cartridge, stores and renews the data, and outputs changed data. A plurality of cartridges are provided in one automatic medicine packing machine. The position scan board 300 communicates with the plurality of cartridges with predetermined interval, and obtains the cassette data and the cartridge data (unique cartridge number).
  • An industrial terminal 400 transmits compounding command to the compounding controller 220, and transmits the cassette data that is transmitted from the position scan board 300 to outside. A reader 600 reads medicine data for medicine that is supplemented to the tablet cassette 100, and has similar construction with the RF reader 211.
  • A server 500 obtains and stores data for the cassettes and cartridges of each of the automatic tablet packing machines by communication with the terminal 400, recognizes position data for tablets using the above data, and recognizes data for tablets that have been supplemented to the tablet cassettes via the reader 600.
  • The tablet cassette identifying device of the present invention having the above construction reads the cassette data (dynamic address, unique cassette number) stored in the RF tag 110, and the medicine data for the corresponding cassette (for example, number and name of the tablets contained in the tablet cassette), with the RF reader 211 reading the RF tag (in a sticker shape) 110, when a user installs a tablet cassette 100 onto a particular cartridge 200. A user stores medicine data on the RF tag 110 when the medicine is supplemented.
  • The medicine and cassette data obtained in this way are transmitted to the position check processor 213. The position check processor 213 transmits the cassette data for the tablet cassette installed, the medicine data, and the unique cartridge number (the static address) of the cartridge to the position scan board 300 via the transceiver 214.
  • The position scan board 300 stores and manages the cassette data, medicine data and cartridge data, and transmits changed data only to the terminal 400 when there is a change in the data that is different from the stored data. The terminal 400 initially receive the data regarding whether the tablet cassette is installed, the installed tablet cassette, the medicine and the cartridge, from the position scan board 300 and stored them.
  • The position scan board 300 scans all of the cartridges 200-1˜200-N, which has the same construction with the cartridge 200 illustrated in FIG. 2, on a predetermined interval (for example, every 1 second), updates the data for the tablet cassettes installed on the cartridges, and transmits only changed data to the terminal 400 when there is a change in the data.
  • Under the state that the terminal 400 has the cassette data for the cartridges as explained above, when a compounding command is given from outside (a keyboard or other external device), the terminal 400 transfers the compounding command to the compounding controller 220.
  • The compounding processor 223 of the compounding controller 220 recognizes the compounding command via the transceiver 224, and checks the cartridge data (static address and cartridge number) stored in the serial EEPROM 212. If the data are correct, the compounding processor 223 controls to drive the motor 221 and to discharge the tablet contained in the tablet cassette 100. Whether the table was discharged from the tablet cassette 100 is sensed by the tablet sensor 222 and the sensed result is transferred to the compounding processor 223. If it was decided that the tablet was discharged from the tablet cassette 100 correctly, the compounding processor 223 stops driving the motor 221 and transmits the result to the terminal 400.
  • The server 500 requests the terminal 400 the tablet cassette, cartridge and medicine data. The terminal 400 send the data stored in an internal memory of the terminal to the server 500 in response of the request. The server 500 stores the data, and can recognize precise position information of the tablets. When tablets are supplemented to a particular tablet cassette, the user should record the supplementation to the RF tag of the corresponding tablet cassette, and the reader 600 reads the data recorded on the RF tag 110 and sends the data to the server 500.
  • The server 500 stores the cassette data and the medicine data for the tablet cassette, which are transmitted from the reader 600; can perceive the cassette data and the medicine data for each cartridge that are transmitted from the terminal 400; and can recognize remaining amount in a particular tablet cassette. When a reference amount for medicine supplementation is given, the medicine supplementation timing may be estimated by comparing the remaining amount of the tablet and the reference amount.
  • When medicine supplementation is required, data for medicine supplementation for a particular tablet cassette is given to the terminal 400, and a video and/or audio alarm is operated to inform a user. The user can easily recognize medicine supplement timing without individual checking of tablet cassettes.
  • The present invention assigns a unique number to each tablet cassette and to each cartridge, and checks whether the tablet cassette is installed on the cartridge in a non-contact way, and can easily retrieve data for the tablet cassette and medicine thereby facilitating the server to recognize medicine positions for each packing machine.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, a compounding command is given from outside in step S101. The terminal 100 receives the compounding command and stores it in step S102. The tablet cassette 100 is controlled to discharge tablet via the compounding controller 220 in step S103. The compounding controller 220 controls the discharge of the tablet into onto the feed tray 2 in step S104.
  • In step S201, the position checker 210 reads the cassette data and medicine data of the tablet cassette installed. In step S202, the cassette data and medicine data thus read and the cartridge data are transmitted to the position scan board 300. In step S203, the position scan board 300 scans and obtains with predetermined interval (for example, 1 second) the cassette data and cartridge data, and updates them.
  • In step S204, position request is received from the terminal 400. In step S205, the updated data is transmitted to the terminal 400. The position scan board 300 transmits the updated data to the terminal 400 only when there has been a change in the data for the cassette that is installed on the corresponding cartridge. In step S206, the terminal 400 stores the changed data (the cartridge data, the cassette data, the medicine data) in an internal memory. In step S207, the medicine position data (the cartridge data, the cassette data, and the medicine data) are transmitted to the server 500.
  • In step S301, the server 500 recognizes and stores the medicine position data. In step S302, medicine supplement data is transmitted from the reader 600. In step S303, the medicine supplement data is stored and recognized. In this way, the server 500 precisely recognizes which cassette is installed on a particular cartridge and how much medicine is contained in the cassette for multiple automatic tablet packing machines.
  • While the invention has been shown and described with reference to different embodiments thereof, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that variations in form, detail, compositions and operation may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the accompanying claims.

Claims (13)

1. A device for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine, wherein the automatic tablet packing machine comprises a plurality of tablet cassettes that are adapted to contain medicine, and a plurality of cartridges, each of which is installed in a predetermined position in the automatic tablet packing machine and is adapted to receive the tablet cassette, the device comprises:
a) a non-contact tag that is attached to a predetermined location of the tablet cassette; and
b) a position scan board;
wherein the non-contact tag contains medicine data and cassette data, wherein the cartridge reads data from the non-contact tag in a non-contact way, combines the cassette data and the medicine data with a unique number for the cartridge and outputs the combined data as medicine position data, wherein the position scan board retrieves the medicine position data from the cartridge, stores and updates the data, and outputs the data.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein the non-contact tag comprises an RF tag.
3. The device of claim 2, wherein the predetermined location of the tablet cassette is a bottom of the tablet cassette.
4. The device of claim 3, further comprising a terminal that transmits a compounding command to the cartridge, and transmits the medicine position data, which is output from the position scan board, to outside.
5. The device of claim 4, further comprising a reader that reads medicine data for medicine that is supplemented to the tablet cassette, and a server that obtains and stores data for the cassettes and cartridges of the automatic tablet packing machines by communication with the terminal, recognizes position data for tablets using the above data, and recognizes data for tablets that have been supplemented to the tablet cassettes via the reader.
6. The device of claim 4, further comprising:
a) a compounding controller that controls the tablet cassette to discharge a tablet to a feed tray when a compounding command is received from outside; and
b) a position checker that decides whether the tablet cassette is installed by checking whether the data contained in the non-contact tag is read, and transmits the data and a unique number for the cartridge to outside when it receives a request for position data from outside.
7. The device of claim 4, wherein the position checker comprises:
a) an RF reader that reads data from the RF tag;
b) a memory that records a unique number of the cartridge;
c) a position check processor that decides whether the tablet cassette is installed by connecting to the RF reader, recognizes medicine data and cassette data of the installed tablet cassette, and outputs the recognized medicine data and cassette data, and cartridge data obtained from the memory when there is a position data request from outside; and
d) a transceiver that transmits the above data to the position scan board.
8. The device of claim 4, the position scan board is adapted to scan all of the cartridges of the automatic tablet packing machine with predetermined interval and to obtain data for the tablet cassettes that are installed on the cartridges.
9. A method for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine, wherein the automatic tablet packing machine a plurality of tablet cassettes that are adapted to contain medicine, and a plurality of cartridges, each of which is installed in a predetermined position in the automatic tablet packing machine and is adapted to receive the tablet cassette, the method comprising steps of:
a) receiving a compounding command by a terminal;
b) controlling the tablet cassette to discharge tablet via a compounding controller;
c) obtaining with predetermined interval data for the tablet cassette and the cartridge on which the tablet cassette is installed, and updating the data by a position scan board;
d) transmitting the data to a terminal when a position request is received from the terminal; and
e) recognizing position data of medicine from the data for the tablet cassette and the cartridge by the terminal.
10. The method of claim 9, further comprising step of transmitting the position data of medicine to a server.
11. The method of claim 10, further comprising steps of:
a) recognizing and storing the position data of medicine by the server; and
b) when medicine supplement data is transmitted from a reader, storing and recognizing the medicine supplement data.
12. The method of claim 9, wherein the predetermined interval is 1 second in the step of obtaining data, wherein only updated data is transmitted to the terminal in the step of transmitting the updated data.
13. The method of claim 9, wherein medicine data for the tablet cassette and a reference amount of medicine supplementation are compared, and a control command for medicine supplementation is sent to the terminal when the amount of medicine in the tablet cassette is less than the reference amount.
US11/685,661 2006-06-05 2007-03-13 Method and device for identifying a tablet cassette in an automatic tablet packing machine Abandoned US20070277477A1 (en)

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KR1020060050361A KR100744427B1 (en) 2006-06-05 2006-06-05 Apparatus for identifying cassette using auto wrapping pill and method thereof
KR10-2006-0050361 2006-06-05

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