US 9,809,330 B2
Container filling apparatus and method
Daniel Jonathan Seeman, Charlotte, NC (US); Dewey Privette, Charlotte, NC (US); and Donna Elizabeth Seeman, Charlotte, NC (US)
Assigned to EINSTEIN NOODLES, LLC, Charleston, SC (US)
Filed by EINSTEIN NOODLES, LLC, Charleston, SC (US)
Filed on Mar. 23, 2015, as Appl. No. 14/665,181.
Application 14/665,181 is a continuation of application No. 14/192,303, filed on Feb. 27, 2014, granted, now 8,985,164, issued on Mar. 24, 2015.
Application 14/192,303 is a continuation of application No. 13/408,443, filed on Feb. 29, 2012, granted, now 8,701,721, issued on Apr. 22, 2014.
Prior Publication US 2016/0023786 A1, Jan. 28, 2016
This patent is subject to a terminal disclaimer.
Int. Cl. B65B 3/26 (2006.01); B65B 3/30 (2006.01); B65B 39/12 (2006.01); B65B 57/14 (2006.01); B65B 1/36 (2006.01)
CPC B65B 3/30 (2013.01) [B65B 1/36 (2013.01); B65B 39/12 (2013.01); B65B 57/145 (2013.01)] 27 Claims
OG exemplary drawing
 
1. An apparatus for filling a container with a flowable product from a product supply, the apparatus comprising:
a filling station that receives the flowable product from the product supply, the filling station including (i) a fill valve, (ii) a nozzle connected to a downstream end of the fill valve and configured to direct the flowable product into the container, and (iii) a capacitive sensor configured so that during a filling operation the capacitive sensor is operable (A) to sense, through the container, when the flowable product reaches a predetermined fill level within the container, and (B) to generate a signal in response to the sensing of the flowable product reaching the predetermined fill level within the container, the capacitive sensor being positioned entirely outside the container and at least a portion of the capacitive sensor being positioned below a mouth of the container being filled during the filling operation, wherein the capacitive sensor is positioned remotely from the flowable product and does not physically contact the container during the filling operation, and wherein the positioning of the capacitive sensor is adjustable so that different predetermined fill levels within a container can be selected by adjusting the positioning of the capacitive sensor; and
a controller operably coupled to the capacitive sensor, the controller being configured to close the fill valve in response to receiving the generated signal from the capacitive sensor to stop flow of the flowable product into the container.