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Патент USA US3091334

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May 28, 1963
3,091,324
R. G. BROWN ETAL
PACKAGE SORTER
Filed April 26, 1961
5 Sheets-Sheet 1
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May 28, 1963
3,091,324
R. 6. BROWN ETAL
PACKAGE SORTER
Filed April 26, 1961
3 Sheets-Sheet 2
INVENTOR 5
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ATTORNEYS
May 28, 1963
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R. G. BROWN ETAL
3,091,324
PACKAGE SORTER
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Filed April 26, 1961
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Patented May 28, 1963.
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tem in many ways, one being to have the package-support
tilt (with the movable code device tilting therewith) to
3,091,324
unload the package.
PACKAGE SGR'I‘ER
Robert G. Brown, Clarksviile, and Harold J. Rosenberg,
Silver Spring, Md.’ assignors to Rabinow Engineering
Co., Inc” Takoma Park, Md.
Filed Apr. 26, 1961, Ser. No. 105,644
14 Claims. ((31. lite-Jed)
Another object of the invention is to provide a code
system which may be used as a remote memory to con
trol one or more machines, e.g. sorters, or which may
be used as an integral part of the machine which it con
trols.
Other objects and features of importance will be ap
This invention relates to improvements in code devices
10 parent in ‘following the description of the illustrated em
and sorting equipment controlled thereby. '
bodiment and features of our invention.
The J. Rabinow et al. US Patent No. 2,901,089 dis
FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a mov
closes a mechanical code system having a stationary code
able code device illustrating a feature of the invention.
means composed of code bars, and a movable code as
FIGURE 2 is a diagrammatic view showing one of the
sembly which cooperates therewith. The movable code
assembly has a shaft provided with a number of wheels 15 code elements about to be adjusted to a predetermined
position by a Wheel resetter.
which ride on the code bars. When the particular setting
FIGURE 2a is a diagrammatic perspective view similar
of the wheels on the shaft matches the arrangement of
to FIGURE 2 but showing the code element in the process
code bars, the codes coincide allowing the wheels and
of being adjusted.
their shaft to lower a slight amount. The amount of
FIGURE 2b is a diagrammatic perspective View show
lowering is sui?cient to cause an output to be generated, 20
ing the adjustment of the code element completed.
for instance, the opening of a door as shown in the
‘FIGURE 3 is a sectional view of the device in FIG
Rabinow patent.
URE 1.
The code wheels in the Rabinow patent are adjustable
FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary, diagrammatic side eleva
longitudinally of their supporting shaft. Two positions
tional view of a sorter using the code device of FIG
are normally employed, these representating binary “1”
URE 1.
and binary “0” positions. Our invention uses code ele
FIGURE 5 is a vertical sectional view of a sorting ma
ments, for instance, wheels, and they are adjustable to
chine like that of FIGURE 4.
selected positions, for instance, such positions as to rep
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged sectional view taken on the
resent binary “l” and binary “0.” However, instead of
adjustably sliding the wheels on a single shaft, we have 30 line 6-6 of FIGURE 4 and showing one way of retain
ing the movable code device engaged with the stationary
These
code device.
spindles are rotatable 180° to displace the code wheels
FIGURE 7 is an enlarged sectional view taken on the
from one side of the spindle axis to the other, thereby
line 7-7 of FIGURE 4 and showing the code element
establishing the binary “l” and binary “0” positions.
An advantage of our arrangement is that of simpli?ca 35 setter, this view also including a fragmentary, schematic
wiring diagram showing the means for operating selected
tion of some of the equipment used for setting and re
code element setters.
setting the code wheels. For example, we require only
FIGURE 8 is a fragmentary elevational view showing
two stationary pins which cooperate with a T-shaped dog
provided independent spindles for each wheel.
another use of our movable coded device.
on each spindle to reset a code wheel to a predetermined
starting position. Moreover, a pair of pins capable of 40 FIGURE 9 is a fragmentary side elevational view of
the code assembly in FIGURE 8.
being projected into the path of travel of the spindle-sup
ported dogs are all that are required to set the wheel to
FIGURE 10 is a diagrammatic view showing our
a coded position. The wheel setting and resetting sim—
memory device used remotely to control one or more
pli?cation represents a distinct improvement over corre
machines.
FIGURES 1 and 3 show movable code device 10 which
cooperates with a stationary code device, for instance the
tracks shown in FIGURES 4 and 6, the bars shown in
FIGURES 8 and 9 or other equivalent devices. Code
sponding equipment that is required for setting and reset 45
ting a group of wheels which are axially adjustable on a
single shaft.
Our movable code device may be used to traverse hori
zontal code bars as shown in the I. Rabinow et al. patent.
In addition, we have found it practical to assign an addi
tional function to our movable code device. It may be
held captive in the code bars by constructing the code bars
device 10 is constructed as an elongate member 11 sup
porting any practical number of spindles, for instance
spindles 12, 14, Y16 and 18. Member 11 is preferably
‘ hollow, e.g. of box-beam construction, although this is
not a necessary con?guration. Spindles 12—18 have their
longitudinal axes perpendicular to the longitudinal axis
the codes of the wheels and tracks (established by open
ings in the tracks) match. Thus, our movable code de 55 of member 11, and they are capable of ‘being rotationally
adjusted to selected positions.
vice may be directly connected With the article support
as tracks in which the code wheels are held captive until
' Each spindle, for instance, spindles 12, 14, 16 and 18
of a sorter, and the movable code device made to separate
(FIGURES 2-2b)' have code elements 20, 22, 24 and 26
from the stationary code means when the codes match.
respectively at one end. It is preferred that the code ele
A package sorter with the movable code device secured to
ments
be wheels. A typical code element 20 is mounted
the sorting pocket, table, etc., is an example of one type
by an offset device, for instance, a lateral shaft 28 se
of sorting equipment which may advantageously use a
cured to spindle 12 so that the plane of the wheel is
code system as a part of the sorting machine.
laterally spaced from the axis of the spindle. Spindle 12
Accordingly, another object of the invention is to pro
extends through a pair of aligned openings in opposing
vide a sorter which is particularly useful in sorting pack 65 walls of member 11, and there are means, for instance,
ages of different size and shape, and which relies on a
thrust collars 3d secured to spindle 30 for preventing the
package-escort code device normally constrained by a
stationary code device, and separable from the stationary
spindle from separating from member 11 but allowing it
to rotate.
code device upon coincidence of the codes. Upon sepa
A detent 32 on each spindle requires that the spindles
ration of the movable code device from the stationary 70 be turned 90° for each step of rotational operation. The
code device, the package (or the like) carried by the
illustrated detent 32 is given by way of example only,
article support may be discharged from the conveyor sys
it being understood that any conventional detent may
3,091,324
3
4
be substituted for illusrated detent. Detent 32 has resili
ent strips 33 and 34 and ?exible metal bearing plates
articles A of varying size and shape. It is composed of a
main frame 70 whose lower part 71 (FIGURE 5) in
35 and 36 in the cavity of member 11, which are common
to all of the spindles. Detent cams 38 are secured to
directly supports a conveyor chain 72, or it may rest on
a surface ‘of the frame. The chain is driven by one or
the individual spindles. The operation of the illustrated
more drive sprockets 73 having a power input device 74
detent is as follows: As the typical spindle 12 turns
connected thereto. A number of carriages 76 are
about its longitudinal axis, the cam 38 bears against
attached to the conveyor chain '72. Each carriage has
strips 35 and 36 and compresses the strips 33 and 34.
a base physically secured to the chain 72 and a spindle 78
As the spindle continues to be rotated the diagonal dimen
hingedly supporting a tray 80 for articles A. Movable
sion of the cam is passed, and the compressive-force 10 code device 10 is ?xed for hinged movement with the
tray, and its normal operating position is at a slight
energy stored in the strips 33 and 34, snaps the cam to
its next position.
angle to a vertical plane (FIGURE 5).
Stationary code device 68 consists of a plurality of
As previously discussed, one of the features of the
movable code device is the simplicity (of the means
parallel tracks, for instance tracks 81, 82 and ‘83 having
required to reset all of the code devices to a predeter 15 groups of code openings 87, 88, 89 in their front walls.
mined initial position. For the purposes of explanation
Each track is hollow and has a slot 84 in its front face.
assume that this position is that ‘of spindle 14 and code
The spindles extend through the slots 84, and the code
wheels, e.g. wheel 20 in FIGURE 6, ride on the inner sur
element 22 (FIGURE 1). Further assume that the
movable code device approaches a resetting station in
face of the front walls of the tracks. This arrangement
a machine with the code element turned 180°, as shown
of wheels in the tracks holds the code device 10 connected
to the code device 68. When the codes match Le. a
in FIGURE 2. It is assumed, for the purpose of explana
given setting of spindles and wheels and openings 87, 88,
tion, that some code Wheels, e.g. 20 and 24 are in the “set”
position, and code wheel 22 is in the “reset” position.
89 (FIGURE 4) in the front walls of the tracks coincide,
The resetting mechanism is composed of two spaced pins
the code device 10 is free to separate from code device
68 as shown in dotted lines in FIGURE 5. Since the tray
42 and 44 (or other abutments) which cooperate with
a T-shaped dog 46 secured to the outer end of spindle
80 tilts with the code device 10, the article A will slide
therefrom.
12 (FIGURE 2). Pins 42 and 44 are located in the path
After separation of the code device '10 from code
of travel on one leg, e.g. leg 47, of the dog. As the
device 68, the tray and device 10 remain tilted (as shown
spindle moves in the direction of the arrow, leg 47 strikes
pin 42 causing the spindle 12 to be turned 90° (as shown in
in FIGURE 5) until a re-entrance station is approached.
Such a station is shown at the left of FIGURE 4 and
FIGURE 2a. Then leg 48 will become located between
consists of entrances 90, 91 and 92 in the tracks having
pins 42 and 44. Continued movement of the spindle 12
tapered throats to more easily receive the shanks of the
in the direction of the arrow (by physical displacement
spindles into the trackage of the code device 68. The
of the entire code device 10‘) will cause leg 48 to strike
pin 44 and turn the spindle 12 about its axis another 90°. 35 lifting of the code device from the dotted line position of
FIGURE 5 to the full line position of the same ?gure
Thus, spindle 12 will become adjusted to a position or
may be achieved in any way, and ‘we have chosen to show
orientation similar to that of spindle 14 (FIGURE 1).
a stationary cam 93 which causes the code device 10 to
If the code wheel is already in the “reset” position when
swing up to enter the wheels into the track system.
it approaches pins 42 and 44, the dog 46 will simply
by-pass the pins (FIGURE 2b).
It is customary in most code systems to reset all code
Shortly after the re-entry of the code device 10, the
code wheels are reset to a known condition by engaging
the pairs of pins 42, 44 as shown in FIGURE 2. The
pins are secured to a hanger 75 (FIGURE 4) on frame
70 adjacent to the code device 68 and in the path of
resetting thereof. FIGURE 7 shows one of numerous 45 travel of the legs of the dogs 46. As the code device 10
progresses further along code device 68, the selected
ways to set a code for the movable code device 10.
spindles and their code elements are adjusted (FIGURE
There are two spaced pins 52 and 54 attached to a rocker
7) to set up a given code. The means for achieving this
56. The rocker is mounted pivotally on a support 58
and is operated by a solenoid 60. Consequently, the pins
(FIGURE 7) have been described, and the location is
52 and 54 may be retracted from the path of travel of one 50 shown in FIGURE 4. It is pointed out that the code
setting circuit 62 may be operated by any suitable device,
of the dogs 46 or project it into the path of travel there
e.g. manually, by a memory, a computer, etc.
of depending on Whether or not a given code element is
FIGURES 8 and 9 show that our movable code device
to be adjusted to the “set” position (FIGURE 212) from
10 may be used in connection with various types of sta
the “reset” position (FIGURE 2). We have shown a
simple circuit 62 composed of a source 63 of potential, 55 tionary code devices. Thus, stationary code device 6811
is made of bars similar to the corresponding stationary
and individual switches 64, 65, etc., to energize selected
bars disclosed in the J. Rabinow et al. patent. Movable
solenoids 60, only one of which is shown. Of course,
code device 10a is attached to a conveyor (not shown)
there will be a separate set of pins 52, 54, rocker 56 and
or the like, and is moved therewith. In this application of
solenoid 60 for each code wheel and spindle.
The preceding description relates to the movable code 60 our code device, the matching of the codes will enable
code device ‘10a to drop a short distance. Just as in
device 10, the wheel setting mechanism (FIGURE 7)
the J. Rabinow et al. patent, this movement is, or pro
and the wheel resetter (FIGURE 2). These may be
vides, a mechanical output signal signifying coincidence
used with a variety of stationary code devices and in
of the codes. FIGURE 9 shows that for a horizontally
many machines. One of the features of the movable
code device .10 is that it may become physically separated 65 moving code device 10a the spindle and wheel setting
pins 52a and 54a will be positioned for movement in a
from the stationary code device, for instance to unload an
vertical plane and the same holds true for the resetting
article in an article sorter conveyor system. On the
pins (not shown).
other hand, the movable code device (FIGURES 8 and
elements to a known position prior to adjusting the code
elements to a predetermined code. The setting of the
code elements is achieved practically as simply as the
FIGURE 10 shows a typical use of our invention as a
9) may follow a ?xed or stationary code device in a
manner similar to that described in the I. Rabinow et al. 70 remote memory device 90 to control one or more ma
chines 92. For remote use we have a separate frame
patent.
We have illustrated an article sorting machine 66 em
94 supporting an endless conveyor 96 with which arms
ploying movable code device 10 on what we believe to
such as 18 or 10a are connected. These operate in con
be a unique stationary code device 68 (FIGURES 4 and
junction with stationary code means (not shown) similar
5). The sorter 66 is well-suited for packages and other 75 to 68 or 68a connected with frame 94. The movement
3,091,324
5
of conveyor 96 is synchronized with machine 92, e.g.
by a mechanical drive 98 connecting the conveyor shaft
96a with a suitable rotating part of machine 92.
We have previously indicated that the control signals
generated by the matching of the movable and stationary
code means, may be mechanical as shown in the Rabinow
et al. patent, or electrical. For the electrical alternative,
it is only necessary to have the code-match motion of
the movable code means operate circuit controlling
switches (not shown herein) as in the Rabinow Patent
6
code means including a movable member, a plurality of
spindles rotatively connected with said member. code
elements contacting said ?rst code means during at least
a portion of the movement of said member, said code ele
ments connected to said spindles to one side of the spindle
axes, so that when said spindles are rotated 180" the code
elements are displaced from one side of the spindle axes
to the other.
10. The code device of claim 9 and means connected
10 to each spindle for setting said code elements to a pre
determined position by rotation of only those spindles re
No. 3,070,213. The circuits are schematically repre
sented as line 100 operatively connecting remote memory
device 90 with machine 92 and line 102 available for
quired to be rotated to set said elements to said position.
11. In a code device for a conveyor system, a member,
and means mounting said member for movement in a
controlling other machines (not shown).
We have illustrated and described various combina 15 constrained path, at least one spindle, means rotatively
connecting said spindle to said member for rotational
and sub-combinations of our invention. All
adjustment to stepped positions about an axis of rotation,
changes, modi?cations and alterations which fall Within
detent means engaging said spindle to releasably retain
the scope of the following claims may be resorted to.
said spindle in each rotational stepped position, a code
We claim:
tions
1. A code device for an article conveyor system, said 20 element, means connecting said code element to said
spindle and retaining said code element in a plane which
is substantially parallel to and laterally spaced from said
axis so that rotational adjustments of said spindle place
plurality of code elements contacting said ?rst code
said code element in different code positions always to
means, means rotatably connecting said code elements to
said member for adjustment to selected code positions, 25 the side of said spindle and corresponding to the stepped
device comprising a ?rst code means, a second code
means, said second code means including a member, a
positions of said spindle, and a code means interrogated
said connecting means for one of said code elements in
cluding a spindle, and means mounting said one element
by said code element of said spindle by contact with the
same as said member is moved in said constrained path.
12. The code device of claim 11 and means to rotate
to one side of said spindle so that said element assumes
different positions when said spindle is rotated to different
positions.
30 said spindle to said stepped positions, the last-mentioned
2-. The code device of claim 1 wherein said code ele
ments are wheels.
means including a dog attached to said spindle and having
a plurality of legs adapted to rotate said spindle when
engaging abutments in the path of movement thereof as
said member is moved in its constrained path.
3. The code device of claim 2 wherein said ?rst code
means include elongate members engaged by said wheels
13. In a conveyor system, a code device having a mem
and having openings through which the wheels are 35
ber,
means to move said member in a constrained path,
adapted to move when the code setting of the wheels
a ?xed code means having code surfaces adjacent to said
matches the pattern of openings.
4. The device of claim 3 and detent means to establish
member during at least a portion of the movement of
5. The device of claim 1 wherein said ?rst code means
include tracks set at an angle to a vertical reference plane,
mounting said spindles on said member for rotational
said member, a plurality of code elements arranged to
de?nite positions for said spindle and consequently its
40 interrogate said ?xed code means by contacting said
wheel when said spindle is adjusted.
said elements being longitudinally movable with respect
to said tracks and held captive therein, and said tracks
having code openings to enable said elements to escape 45
from said tracks when the coded positions of said ele
rnents match said openings.
6. A movable code device adapted to cooperate with
another code device, said movable code device including 50
a member, a plurality of spindles rotatively adjustably
code surfaces, a spindle for each code element, means
adjustment, means connecting a said code element to
axes of said spindles, and means to rotationally adjust se
each spindle to the side of each spindle so that the code
element is offset from the axis of rotational adjustment
of said spindle, code setting means including a dog at
tached to each spindle, abutment means adjacent to said
member and movable into the path of travel of said dog
as said member is moved in said constrained path thereby
setting the code of one code element by the rotation of
its spindle due to the engagement and movement of said
dog, said setting of said code resulting from the trans
position of said element to a new offset position with the
ment about axes substantially normal to said member so
as said member moves past said code resetting means.
secured to said member, offset code elements secured to
said spindles, said code elements being offset from the
lected spindles to correspondingly adjust the position of 55 rotation of its spindle.
14. The subject matter of claim 13 wherein said dog
selected code elements, thereby establishing a code.
is provided with a plurality of legs which project out
7. A code device comprising a ?rst code means in
wardly of the aXis of rotation of the spindle to which it
cluding a plurality of stationary rails provided with code
is attached, and code resetting means including abutment
openings, a member, means to move said member longi
means in the path of travel of said leg-s to reset said
tudinally of said rails, a plurality of wheels, means pivot
spindle and its code element to a predetermined position
ally connecting said wheels to said member for adjust
that said wheels are adjustable to selected code positions,
means to establish said positions, and said member being
movable in a direction transversely of said rails when 65
said code wheels and the openings of said ?rst code means
match.
8. An article conveyor system including the code de
vice of claim 7 and an article support movable with said
member in both of said directions.
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
UNITED STATES PATENTS
3,901,089
Rabinow et al. _______ .._ Aug. 25, 1959
2,967,603
Kloss _______________ __ Jan. 10, 1961
2,980,235
Mittag et ‘a1. _________ __ Apr. 18, 1961
9. In a code device having a ?rst code means, a sec
ond code means movable relative to said ?rst means to
738,074
Great Britain _________ __ Oct. 5, 1955
seek a match for said second code means, said second
125,186
Russia ______________ __ Apr. 13, 1959
FOREIGN PATENTS
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