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Publication numberUS1440204 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 26, 1922
Filing dateOct 3, 1921
Priority dateOct 3, 1921
Publication numberUS 1440204 A, US 1440204A, US-A-1440204, US1440204 A, US1440204A
InventorsAlschuler Alfred S
Original AssigneeR H Alschuler
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of distributing and sorting merchandise
US 1440204 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)



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: ceptacles has a double significance.




Application filed Qctober 3, 1921. Serial 1%. 505,008.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that l, ALFRED S. ALSGHUL- ER, a citizen of the United States, and resident of Chicago, in the county of Cook and State of Illinois, have invented a certain new and useful Improvement in Methods of Distributing and Sorting Merchandise, of which the following is a full, clear, concise, and exact description, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, forming a part of this specification.

My invention relates to a method of distributing and sorting merchandise, and contemplates the provision of a method or system that will fulfill the requirements of mail order houses.

A very large percentage of the orders received by the ordinary mail order. house consist of a plurality of items or group of items, furnished from as many vdifferent stock rooms. Before shipment of any order can be made, the various items constituting the order must be assembled at a definite point for checking and preparation for shipment. It is customary and desirable to have each order scheduled for assembly and packing at a definite time. Adherence to a time schedule in the preparationof orders for shipment is greatly facilitated when the method of my invention is employed.

A salient feature of my invention is section and time sorting etliected at points in proximity to suitable receptacles in which complete orders are assembled and checked prior to preparation for shipment. This section and time sorting is eliected by a single volitional act with respect to each item. and is preferably facilitated by using bin units or sorting stations of a type presently to be described. The assembly reieptacles are arranged in sections. there being a plurality of such sections located adjacent to each sorting station. The employee or employees. in charge 01" each sorting station. by one handling of each item, delivers each of the items which go into the station into one of a plurality of receptacles forming part of the sorting station. Delivery of any item into any one of these relt determines the section of assembly receptacles in which the item is to be assembled with other items of the same order, andlikewise determines the time at which said item is to be assembled with-other items of the same order. I believe it is broadly new with me to devise a method wherein the several items of each order, by a single act with respect to each item, are sorted, at points proved method Will appear as this specification progresses.

In the accompanying drawings Figure 1 is a more or less diagrammatic plan view of an assembly room equipped with certain apparatus which is preferably employed in carrying my method. into effect;

Figure 2 is a vertical section taken on line 2-2 of Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a vertical section taken on line 33 of Figure 1;

Figure 4: illustrates the nature of the indicia which is carried by each package constituting an item to be handled in accordance with my improved method;

Figure 5 is a' longitudinal vertical sectional view of a modified style of sorting station, and

Figure 6 is a plan view of same.

ll shall first refer to Figure 1. An equipment suitable for my purpose preferably comprises devices such as belt conveyors, chutes, trucks, or the like, For conveying" articles of merchandise from the stock rooms to a point where such articles may be readily delivered to beltconveyors, or the like, which lead to the stations where time and section sorting is accomplished in the manner presently to be explained. Diagrammatically illustrated belt conveyors Hi -l0 are representative of means for carrying articles of merchandise from the stock rooms (not shown) to a platform or balcony 11. In some installations, I find it convenient to locate the platform or balcony llil a substantial distance above the level of the sorting room floor, as illustrated.

At a, b, 0 and d, T have illustrated belt conve ors which serve to carry merchandisc fiioin balcony 11 to the sorting stations A. B. C and D, there being one of said conveyors assigned to deliver merchandise to each sorting station. The conveyors a, b, c and d, are preferably so disposed at the balcony 11 that employees receiving.

packages discharged by conveyors 10-10 may easily toss any package upon any proper one of the conveyors 01:, b, 0 and d. In the present showing, said conveyors are disposed in su erposed relation.

Each sortlng station comprises a set of bins with the aidoi't which, by one handling of each item, all items delivered to the station may be sorted with respect to a section of assembly receptacles in which said items are to be assembled into complete orders or consignments, and with respect to the'time periods in which they are to be thus assemled. The sorting stations herein illustrated comprise four sections each, each section consisting of three superposed bins. Each station comprises a platform 12, a table or bench 13, andsteps let, which atlord access to the platform. Chutes 15 receive merchandise from the conveyors a, Z), c and 02', and discharge same upon the tables or benches 13. Each vertical tier of the bins at each station constitutes a bin section. These sections or tiers of bins are numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4, in Figure 1. The several bins of each section are readily accessible to the employee, or employees, located at the table 13. The bins preferably slope downwardly awe from the table 13, the outer ends of the hins being readily accessible to the employees whose duty it is to take parcels out of the bins and to deliver said parcels to the assembly baskets presently tobe described. With respect to the employees last mentioned, ll will state that there is preferably one of said employees assigned to each bin section. Said last mentioned employees work out of the bins in accordance with a definite time schedule. Thus, we will say that each employee works out of the top bin of a certain section during the first twenty minutes of each hour that the method is in operation, that during the second twenty minutes such employee works out of the middle bin oi the same section, and during the third twenty minutes such employee works out of the lower bin of that section. This plan is important because it makes it possible to make use or the hereinafter described assembly baskets once every twenty minutes.

Located adjacent .to each sorting station are racks 1016, which support a plurality of assembly baskets 1.7- 1"T(. These baskets bear individual numbers not shown) which are visible to persons working between the.

bin sections and the racks 16-16. For

every bin section in the system, there is a corresponding assembly basket section, which is in charge of the employee who 'works' out of that particular bin section.

Thus, the employee who works out of bin section 1 of station A is in charge of basket section A1. Employees working out of other sections of the same station, or of other stations, are in charge of similar basket sections. In every case, the basket sections are located adjacent to the bin sections from which said basket sections are to receive packages.

I now call attention to the tables 18 which are preferably arranged-in rows alongside the assembly basket racks 16 on the sides thereof away from the sorting stations. These tables are provided for the use of packers who take complete orders or consignments from the assembly baskets, pack or wrap said orders or consignments, as may be required, and deliver the packages or boxes in which same are contained to conveyors 19-19, vvhich,. either directly or through the agency of auxiliary conveyors or chutes, deliver said packages or boxes to a shipping room (not shown).

Every order received by the mail order establishment is delivered to a scheduling department. The scheduling department transmits a suitable memorandum to each of the departments or stock rooms from which the several items of the order are to be secured, all memoranda pertaining to a certain order bearing certain similar markings or indicia which are utilized in the process of tting all of the items of the order assem 1 led in the same basket, checked, and in the hands of the packers at a definite time, or rather at some time within a definite time period, say, for instance, within a time period of twenty minutes.

Let us refer to Figure 4, wherein T have illustrated one of the memoranda hereinbefore mentioned. At the top of this memorandum are a plurality of rectangles. in the first rectangle appears the letter B, which indicates that the particular order under consideration is to reach the packers through sorting station B. In the second rectangle appears the numeral 4 which indicates I middle bin of section l of station E, by the employee, or employees. in charge of station B. in the last rectangle appear the numerenace als 310, which indicate that for the purpose of assembly and checking the item bearing the memorandum is to be assigned to basket 310, being one of the baskets of assembly basket section 18 When a memorandum of the kind exemplified in Figure t is received in any stock room, the item of merchandise called for by such memorandum is taken out of stock, and placed in a carton, envelope or the like, to which the memorandum is attached. It is the duty of some employee in the stock room to see that the particular item under consideration reaches balcony 11 at any time within the hour immediately preceding the time noted in the third rectangle at the top of the memorandum. After arriving at the balcony, the item is icked up and delivered to the conveyor leading to the station noted in the first rectangle of the memorandum. In the case of an item bearing the particular memorandum shownin Figure t, it would be delivered from the balcony to conveyor 6, and be carried by such conveyor to sorting station B. An employee Working at station B would, by a glance at the number in the second rectangle of the memorandum, determine that such item should be assigned to section 4, and by noting the last two numerals in the third rectangle would determine that the item belongs in the middle bin of section t. Such employee would therefore place the item in the middle bin of bin section l of sorting station B. lit will be understood, of course, that all items belonging to the same order will bear the same indicia, and will behandled in the manner described; hence, all items belonging in the same order with the particular item hereinbefore mentioned will-reach the middle bin of bin section 42 of station E sometime within an hour preceding 10:20 oclock.

At 10 :20 oclock the employee working out of bin section 4: of station B (being also the employee in charge of assembly basket section B begins to take packages or items out of the middle bin of section 4, and to distribute them to the baskets designated by the numbers appearing in the last rectangles of the memoranda appearing upon such items. As agiven basket number is assigned to Tout one order for every twenty minutes of working time, each basket, before the expiration of the twenty minute period, should receive all of the items pertaining to but one order. As soon as all of the items out of the middle bin of bin section l of station 13 have been distributed, the employee who has done the distributing proceeds to check the orders in the assembly baskets to see that all are complete. As each order is checked, the basket containing same is moved partially through the basket rack to indicate to the packers that the order is complete, and ready to be packed for delivery to the shipping room,

The packers, of course, take each order as the same is checked, and prepare same for shipmerit, delivering the properly packed merchandise to the shipping room, through the agency of conveyors 19-49, or otherwise.

At 10 :40 oclock, the employee working out of bin section ll of station E ceases to work out of the middle bin of such section and begins to work out of the bottom bin. At 11:00 oclock such employee Works out of the top bin and at 11:20 again works out of the middle bin.

For purposes of illustration, 1 have explained how my method contemplates handling the several items of an order, which is to be assembled and checked in basket 310 of assembly'basket section B sometime in the twenty-minute period following 10 :20 oclock Hence, my explanation of the working of the method has been confined somewhat tostation B and the basket section B". However, it will bev understood that the duties of. all employees in charge of sorting stations are identical, and that the duties of all employees in charge or assembly basket sections are identical.

Briefly stated, the items of merchandise handled in accordance with my method are delivered to a sorting station contiguous to the final assembly bins, and from which sorting station, such bins are immediately and directly accessible, and at which sorting station each item is, by a single operation by an employee there located, distributed on the basis of two classifications, the first classification having regard for the section containing the bin or basket wherein the said item is to go for the purpose of final assembly and checking, and the second classification having regard for the time when such assembly and checking is to be effected.

ll appreciate that the apparatus employed in carrying my method into etlect may be varied within wide limits, for instance, the sorting station instead of consisting of fined bins might consist of movable baskets. Such a modified arrangement is illustrated in Figures 5 and 6. in these figures, reference numerals 20 indicates a framework which provides a plurality of platforms 2l--21 and roller tracks 2222, there being one roller track associated with each platform. The platforms may be arranged in tour vertical tiers of three each. The platforms are adapted to support baskets sacs. Each vertical tier of baskets may be regarded as constituting a sorting station section, and as serving a-purpose corresponding to that of the tired bin sections of the stations illustrated in Figures 1, 2 and 3. At the beginning of each predetermined time period, the baskets out of which the employees in charge of the assembly basket sections are to work during that period are pushed oil of their lit respective supporting platforms and are per-\ mitted to roll down tracks 22 to positions where they are accessible to the employees in charge of the assembly basket sections. If any basket becomes full before the begin-. ning ofthe period in which items are to be taken out of that basket, it is simply pushed off of its supporting platform onto the roller track associated with that platform, and is replaced by an empty basket which in'turn is moved onto the roller track when filled, or at the commencement of the time period during which the items contained in the basket are to be distributed to the assembly baskets.

The assembly baskets 17-17 of Figures 1 to 3 and the racks whereon said assembly baskets are mounted, may, of. course, be replaced by fixed or movable bins of any suitable type.

Having thus described my improved method, what I claim as new and desire to secure by States is:

1. The herein described method which consists in distributing the several items ofa multiplicity of orders to a plurality of sorting stations'and, at the sorting stations, by one handling of each item, sorting said items into major groups, each of which is located adjacent to a section of assembly receptacles assigned to said major group, and simultaneously, by the one handling before mentioned, sorting the various items of each. major group into minor groups which are to be transferred to the assembly receptacles Letters Patent of the United during different periods of time, and successively sorting the minor groups of each major group into separate orders by transferring the several items of each m1nor group into the assembly receptacles, the

items of different orders being placed in different assembly receptacles.

2. The herein described method which consists in distributing the several items of a multiplicity of orders to a plurality of sorting stations and, at the sorting stations by once handlin each item, sorting said items into a plurality of groups each including a plurality ofsub-groups of items which are tobe assembled into complete orders during ing stations and then, at each sorting station, by once handling each item, sorting the items in accordance with a fixed classification and a changing classification, the. fixed classification being into groups which are sub-divided in accordance with the changin classification, the changing classification eing in accordance with the time intervals in which the various items of the--35 orders are to be assembled for packing."

6. The herein described method of handling a multiplicity of items constituting a p plurality of orders which consists, by once handling each item, of sorting said items into a plurality of groups each including a plurality of sub-groups of items constituting orders which are to be assembled within one'of a plurality of successive and equal intervals of time. i 95 7. The herein described method whichconsists in delivering'a plurality of items of. merchandise to a sorting station which is contiguous to each of a plurality of sections of final assembly baskets which are immediately and directly accessible from said sorting station, and, by a single operation by an individual located at the sorting'station, distributing each item on the. basis of two classifications, the first classification havingregard to the section containing the basket wherein the said item is to go for the purpose offinal assembly and checking, and the second classification having regard for the time when such assembly. and checking is to be efi'ected.

'8. The herein described method which consists in delivering items of merchandise to a sorting station contiguous to final assembly receptacles, and from which sorting i station such final assembly receptacles are directly accessible, and sorting each item, at the sorting station, by a single operation of an individual located, at the sorting station, first, with respect to a section of finalassembly receptacles containing the receptacle wherein said item is to go or the purpose of assembly and-checking, and, second, with respect to the time when such assembly and checking'is to be eliected.

9. The herein described method which consists in distributing the several items of a multiplicity of orders to a plurality of'sorting stations, each of which is located contiguous to a plurality of sections of final as- 'Leeeeme sembly receptacles which are assigned to such stetlon, and, at the sortmg stamens, by 2r single eperatlon with respect 0 each ltem,

sorting each item, first, with regard to the seeti on of final assembly receptacles contemln the receptacle Whereln said New 1s to go -or the purpose er assembly and cheekr mg, and, secondl, with regard to the time when such assembly and ehecking'is to be eflected.

In Witness whereof, I hereunto subscribe my name this 29th day of September, 1921. ALFRED S. ALSCHULER.


131mm J. Bormeeors, C. (Dram.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2757810 *Oct 9, 1952Aug 7, 1956Aukens Adrian EHolder emptying device
US2801748 *Mar 31, 1952Aug 6, 1957Oelkers Heinrich JohannMethod of distributing laundry for processing
US2812079 *Jun 16, 1952Nov 5, 1957CarnineSorting machine
US2850139 *Nov 29, 1954Sep 2, 1958Mechanical Handling Sys IncConveyor system
US2972423 *Apr 15, 1957Feb 21, 1961Washington Iron WorksArt of feeding mats to a hot-press
US2984353 *Apr 21, 1958May 16, 1961Jay Slifer WilliamSystem for sorting and grading bags
US3027023 *Jul 10, 1958Mar 27, 1962Fmc CorpWarehousing apparatus
US3049246 *Feb 4, 1957Aug 14, 1962Mechanical Handling Sys IncSorting system for post offices and the like
US3167138 *Apr 12, 1962Jan 26, 1965Humphries Slabbert Henri IgnatMethod for the grading of bananas
US3202230 *Mar 12, 1963Aug 24, 1965GlaverbelMethod of and balance for the periodically repeated weighing of a predetermined quantity of material
US4037725 *Jan 19, 1976Jul 26, 1977Roberts Harold GLaundry sorting machine
US5472097 *Oct 1, 1993Dec 5, 1995Villachica; JohnDocument sorting workstation and method
U.S. Classification414/807, 198/348, 414/787, 209/703
International ClassificationB65G1/137
Cooperative ClassificationB65G1/1378
European ClassificationB65G1/137D6