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Publication numberUS2929500 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 22, 1960
Filing dateApr 29, 1957
Priority dateApr 29, 1957
Publication numberUS 2929500 A, US 2929500A, US-A-2929500, US2929500 A, US2929500A
InventorsWilmer H Warner
Original AssigneeFrutchey Bean Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for sorting articles
US 2929500 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 22, 1960 w, WARNER 2,929,500

APPARATUS FOR SORTING ARTICLES Filed April 29, 1957 3 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR. WILMER H. WARNER ATTORNEYS March 22, 1960 W. H. WARN ER APPARATUS FOR SORTING ARTICLES Filed April 29, 1957 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. 9

FIG. 3

INVENTOR. WILMER H. WARNER ATTORNEYS March 22, 1960 w. WARNER 2,929,500

APPARATUS FOR SORTING ARTICLES Filed April 29, 1957 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTOR. WILMER H. WARNER ATTORNEYS APPARATUS FDR SDRTING ARTICLES Wilmer H. Warner, Saginaw, Mich, assignor to Frutchey Bean Company, Saginaw, MiclL, a corporation of Michigan Application April 29, 1957, Serial No. 655,607

9 Claims. (Cl. 209-111) This invention relates to apparatus for sorting articles and more particularly to apparatus for sorting articles in accordance with the color or light reflective properties of the articles.

Apparatus of the general class to which the invention pertains have been proposed heretofore and have been generally well received by industry. Most, if not all, machines for sorting articles according to their color make use of air devices controlled by light sensitive mechanisms to sort culls from acceptable articles. Some of the air devices used heretofore are suction devices, whereas others utilize an air jet in the separation of culls from good quality products. In either event, the overwhelming majority of the air devices in use heretofore in color classification of articles have depended for their proper operation upon valves and valve mechanisms to control the action of the air devices. For mechanical sorting apparatus to be successful, it must operate at extremely high speed which requires the air controlling ,valves also to operate at extremely high speeds. Since the valves must operate at high speeds, they must be precision formed and light in weight, the latter requirement usually being manifested in a valve of extremely small size. The expense of manufacturing such valves is high and the high cost of manufacture is compounded by the necessity of replacement of such valves which is frequent inasmuch as they necessarily are of relatively delicate nature.

An object of this invention is to provide sorting apparatus for sorting articles in accordance with their light reflective properties and in which air is used to segragate good quality articles from culls, the apparatus being operable without dependence on valves and valve structures for controlling the fiow of air.

Another object of the invention is to provide air operated sorting apparatus triggered in accordance with the light reflective properties of the articles to be classified and having control means for the air operated devices formed of inexpensive material.

Still another object of the invention is to provide sorting apparatus of the kind referred to wherein the controlling means for the air operated devices are readily accessible for adjustment, replacement, and/or repair without necessitating dismantling of many other partsof the apparatus.

.Other objects and advantages of the invention will be pointed out specifically or will become apparent from the following description of the invention when it is considered in conjunction with the appended claims and the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure l is a fragmentary view, partlyv in side elevation and partly in section, of sorting apparatus constructed insaccordancewith the invention, certain parts being broken away for purposes of clarification;

Figure 2 is a fragmentary top plan view, partly in section, of a portion of the apparatus shown in Figure 1;

,nited tates Patent "ice Figure 3 is an enlarged, fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 3-3 of Figure 2;

Figure 4 is a side elevational view of the parts shown in Figure 3;

Figure 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary top plan view of a modified part of the apparatus;

Figure 6 is a view similar to Figure 5, but showing another modified form;

Figure 7 is a view similar to Figure 3, but showing still another modification;

Figure 8 is a view similar to Figure 6, but showing a modified form of the invention; and

Figure 9 is a schematic diagram of certain electrical parts incorporated in the apparatus.

Apparatus constructed in accordance with the invention includes a main frame 1 composed of vertical front and rear members 2 connected one to another by horizontal frame members 3 and having a plurality of generally horizontal stringers 4 on which other parts of the apparatus may be mounted. The frame 1 is so constructed that, in actual practice, it will support a large number of sorting units in side by side and vertical relation, but for purposes of illustration only one unit will be shown and described.

Sorting apparatus embodying the invention is designated generally by the reference character 5 and includes a tray 6 connected to a vibrating body 7 supported on springs 8 which, in turn, are supported on a bracket 9 which is secured to one or more of the stringers 4 in any suitable manner. The tray 6 is located beneath the discharge spout 10 of a hopper (not shown) containing articles A such as beans, rice, peas, seeds, or the like, which are to be sorted by the apparatus 5. The articles A are discharged into the tray 6 which is oscillated by the vibrating body '7 so as to move the articles in the direction of the arrow a in Figure 1 to a discharge opening or tube 11 at one end of the tray 6. A hose 12 has one of its ends connected to the tube 11 and its other end connected to a tube 13 leading into a receptacle 14 which is mounted on a stringer 4 by means of a bracket 15 and screws 16, the arrangement being such that articles A discharged from the tray 6 are conducted by gravity to the receptacle 14.

The receptacle 14 has no bottom, but instead, the side walls 17 converge to a point where their spacing corresponds substantially to the width of an endless belt 18 which is trained around spaced pulleys 19 mounted on shafts 20 journalled in bearing supports 21 having flanges 22 secured to the stringers 4 by suitable means such as screws 23. One of the shafts 20 is connected by a coupling member 24 (Figure 2) to the armature shaft 25 'of an electric motor 26, the arrangement being such that the pulleys 19 and the belt are driven in the direction of the arrows b in Figure 1 so that the upper run of the belt 18 delivers articles A from the receptacle 17 along a generally horizontal path passing through an inspection zone 27 and leading to a collector housing 28, the latter serving as means for conducting articles discharged from the end of the upper run of the belt 18 to a suitable conveyor (not shown). H

The inspection zone in the illustrative embodiment of the invention is constituted by an exciter lamp 34 adjustably secured by means such as a bracket 35 on a support 36 and located in a position to illuminate each of the articles A presented to the inspection zone. As each ar- 3 ticle is illuminated, it will reflect light in accordance with its coloring. Adjustably mounted on the support 36 by l meansrsuch as a bracket 37 is a light sensitive device such light reflective characteristics, sojit is'important that all ofthe articles on the delivery bel't'IS-be locatedsas' uni; 'formly as possible to the lamp 3.4 and the cell 38, This objective is achieved" by formingthe. upper surface 01 the delivery belt. 18 with a concave groove as is indicated best in'Fig'ures 3 and7 at '39 and-by the provision of guide, rails 40-located one on either side of the belt 18 s and having inwardlyturned. projectionsrat spacedintervalswhich extend towards the belt and function tocenter the articles A on the belt with their longitudinal axes parallel to the run of the belt. The'guide rails 49 may be supported'by a Suitable number of brackets 42 secured to the rails til-by screws '43 and to the stringers 4 by screws 44. l i

The invention includesm'eans operable according to the reflectivity of an'article for diverting a selected article A from the path it'otherwise would follow'.- in'Eigures 2 through 4 and 9 thefdiver tin'g means is indicated by the reference character 45. and includes an air or other suitable fluid medium conduit member 46 having a hose 47 connecting one end of the conduit 46 to a source of pressure fluid such as a conventional air compresser (not shown); The discharge end 46a of the member 46 is located adjacent to the path followed by the articles A onthe-belt 18 so as to'be capable of directing fluid in a direction to intersect the path of the articles A, the force of the-pressure fluid being sufficiently great to unseat an article from the belt. The conduit member 46 may be simply a tube of conventional construction, preferably formed of. light weight material.- Neither the member 46 nor the hose 47need include any 'valvesstructure" therein, but'ea'chpreferably permits pressure fluid from the'source to flow continuously therethrough. his not practical to permit a stream of pressure fluid to' blow'continuously across the path of the articles A inasmuch as this would result" in unseating allof the articles. Accordingly, apparatus constructed in accordance with the invention ineludes-control means designated generally by the reference character 48 operated inaccordance with the degree of light reflected from an illuminated article to the photocell 38 for selectively enabling'and disabling'the'flow of fluidjthrough the conduit member 46 to divertan article from-the path of the belt; 7

Referring principally to Figure 9, the control means'48 includes an electromagnet 49 connected to the photoelectr-ic cell 38 through an amplifier 50. The anode 51 of the photoelectric cell is connected by a wire 52 to the positive terminal of a B battery 53, the other terminal of the battery being connected by a wire 52a to'an independently heated cathode 54 of 7a triode tube 55. The plate 56 of the tube is connected by a wire 58 to one terminal of the electromagnet 49. The cathode'59 of the photo-cell is connected by a wire 60 to one end of a resistor 61. The other endof the resistor 61 is connected by a wire 62 to the negative pole ofa Cf battery'63, the positivepole of the battery being connected by a-wire 64 to the wiresza; From the wire 52connected to the positive pole of the battery 53, leads'a wire 66 which is connected to the other terminal of the electromagnet 49. The grid 67 of the tube is connected by a wire 68 to a point on the wire 60 intermediate the cathode 59 of the photoelectric cell and theres'istor 61.

The arrangement of the amplifier parts is such that 'wheninsufficient light .iswrefiected into the photo-cell 38 to es'tablish ascurrent therethrough, the battery 63 biases the-grid 67 so. as-to prevent current from flowing through the'tub'e 55 and thus deenergizes the electromagnet 49;v

Whemsuflicientlight is reflected into'the photoelectriccell 4, 38 to permit current to flow therethrough, however, the grid bias will be changed so as to permitcurrent to flow through the tube 55 and thereby energize the electromagnet 49 and cause its pole piece 69 to. exert an attractive force on the conduit member 46. The amplifier may include conventional means (not shown) for conditioning the energization-of the electromagnet in accordance with any number of variations of the strength of the signal emitted by the photocell 38. l

In the embodiment of the invention shown in Figures 2, 3, 4, and9,ithe electromagnet 49 is mounted on a bracket 70 which may be bolted or otherwise secured as at 71 to a mounting plate 72, the latter being secured to a stringer 45y means such as screws 73'. The bracket 70 includes a part 74 which projects'beyondthe pole piece 69 and provides a support on which the conduit member 46 may be pivoted as at 75 for swinging movements of the discharge end 46affrom side to side in asubstantially horizontal plane. To assure good magnetic attractiveness between the armature'69fand theconduit member 46, the

latter may have'a magnetic plate 76 soldered or otherwise secured thereto.

In order to prevent the unseating of articles from the shown in Figures 2, 3, and 4' the'shieldt77 comprises an I integral extension 78 of one of the guardrails 40, the extension having a'slit or opening '79'therein which will be in alignment with the discharge end 46a of theconduit' when the latter is'att'racted by the pole piece 69. The attracted position of the conduit 46 is disclosed in tan lines" in Figures'2 and 4. To move the discharge end46zof the conduit behind the shield when the pole piece 69 releases the conduit, there is" provided a spring 80 having one of its ends'anchored toa' post 81 on the arm 74 and its other end connected either to the plate 76'or the conduit 46, the arrangement being such that the spring urges the conduit46 to the position shown in dotted lines in Figures 2 and 4; i

'In the operation of the apparatus thus *far described, articles to be sorted, e'.g. white beans, will be fed from the hopper spout 10 to the belt 18 for presentation in" rapid succession to the inspection zone 27. Beans are classified according to their color; good quality beans being substantially uniformly white, whereas culls are dark. In the drawings, culls are blackened. As each bean reaches the inspection station'27, it will be illumi nated by the eXciter lamp 34 and the light reflected by the illuminated bean will be received by the photoelectric" cell 38. If the reflected light is sufficient to cause the cell' 38 to generate a" signal of predetermined strength, the signal will be transmitted via the'amplifier to the electromagnet and the conduit member 46 will be attracted by. the pole piece 69 of the electromagnet 49 so as to'move the discharge end 46a of the conduit 'into register with the slot 79; whereby the stream of air flowing through the conduit 46' will impinge againstthe bean and'unseat itfromthe .belt 18. The unseated bean will 'be received in a receptacle 82 having a discharge spou't'83' opening" into a hopper 84 through which good quality beans may passto a conveyor (not shown). When the bean isremoved from the inspection zone, the'emissio'n of 'a'signal by the cellwill cease and the spring 80will return the conduit 46 to its ineflective position and hold it there firm-- electro' ly until the conduit again is attracted by the magnet.

When a cull bean is .presented to the inspection zone 27, the amount of. light reflected by it wilLbe less: than photoelectric cell138 andthesignal, ifany, emitted there-1- by will be of .insuflicient strength .for the. pole piece 69 to attract the conduit. As a result, the discharge openings 46a of the conduit 46 will remain shielded byflthex' shield 77 so as to divert the air stream from the bean path and enable the cull bean to proceed to the end of the belt run for discharge in the manner previously described.

It is preferred that the good quality articles be removed from the belt by means other than their arriving at the end of the belt run. The advantage of this operation is that it prevents culls being added to previously sorted good quality articles in the event of electrical failure of any of the inspection apparatus. The operation and structure described thus far is only one way in which the preferred result may be obtained; there are several other ways for obtaining the same result.

In the modified embodiment of the apparatus disclosed in Figure 5, the conduit 46 is pivotally mounted as at 75 for swinging movements under the influence of the electromagnet 49 and the spring 80, all as has been described in connection with Figures 2-4. In the construction shown in Figure 5, however, the guide rail 40 terminates short of the full line position of the conduit 46. In this embodiment, a shield 77a is provided by a plate 85 located in a position to form, in effect, an extension of the guard rail 40 and substantially in the plane of the latter. The plate is supported by an arm 86 which is secured to the electromagnet supporting bracket 70 by suitable means such as screws 87. The plate 85 has an opening 88 therein which will be in register with the discharge end 46a of the conduit 46 when the latter is attracted by the pole piece 69 of the electromagnet. The operation of the construction shown in Figure 5 is similar to that previously described.

The embodiment of the invention shown in Figure 6 is generally similar to that disclosed in Figure 5, but differs from the latter in that the conduit member 46 is held in fixed relation by a supporting arm 89 which may be secured to the frame 1 in any suitable manner, whereas the supporting arm 86a for the shield 77b is pivoted on the pivot 75a on the bracket 70 so as to be swingable under the influence of the pole piece 69 and the spring 80 from a position in which the opening 88a in the shield plate 85a is out of register with the discharge end 46a of the conduit to permit a cull to pass the inspection zone, to the position shown in full lines in Figure 6 in which the opening 88a is in register with the stream of air issuing from the conduit 46. In the Figure 6 construction the spring 80 is connected to the shield supporting arm 86a which may be provided with a mag netic plate 76a similar to the plate 76. Although in this instance it is the shield 77b which is the member movable in accordance with the strength of the signal emitted by the photoelectric cell 38, the operation of the'apparatus is substantially the same as that which previously has been described in connection with Figures 2-5. In the Figure 6 construction, however, it is possible to make the shield 77b somewhat lighter in weight than the conduit 46, thereby promoting more rapid operation of the apparatus.

In Figure 7 there is disclosed an embodiment of the invention in which the electromagnet 49 is supported with its pole piece 69 upright and in which the fluid conduit member 46 is pivoted on the bracket 70 as at 75a for swinging movements in a vertical plane. In the full line showing, the pole piece 69 holds the member 46 attracted so that the stream of air issuing from the conduit 46 intersects the path of articles A on the belt 18 to unseat them. However, when a cull passes the inspection zone, the electromagnet 49 will not be energized and the conduit 46 will remain in the position shown in chain lines, in which position the air stream will diverge with respect to the path of the articles. In this embodiment of the invention, the guard rail 40 may terminate short of the position of the member 46, as shown, and if desired, any of the shields referred to heretofore may be used.

The embodiment shown in Figure 8 of the drawing is similar to that shown in Figures 2-4, the principal difference being that'the conduit 46 normally is held attracted by the pole piece 69 so that the stream of presreflected from an object is insuflicient to cause a suf-.

iiciently strong signal to be emitted by the photoelectric cell 38 to maintain the electromagnet energized. The

apparatus may be caused to function in this manner in a number of ways, one of which is to utilize a belt 18a having its upper surface made of a material which is of about the same reflectivity as good quality objects to be inspected. In this construction the conduit 46 will be held in the full line position shown in Figure 8 until such time as a discolored object arrives at the inspectlon zone I and interrupts or decreases the strength of the signal emitted by photoelectric cell 38. In this event, the pole piece 69 will release the conduit 46 and the latter will be moved to its shielded position by the spring 80. Any of the shields disclosed heretofore may be used in the Figure 8 embodiment. The use of a whiteor light colored belt is made feasible with apparatus constructed in accordance with the invention inasmuch as the constant flow of air or pressure fluid across the surface of the belt 18 will keep the latter clean.

In each of the disclosed embodiments of the invention no obstruction to the passage of pressure fluid from the source through the discharge end of the conduit is oifered.

Even so, the amount of fluid required for operation of the apparatus is substantially no more than that required in devices utilizing valves to control the flow of fluid inasmuch as the latter devices usually include safety valves operable to permit pressure fluid in the system to exhaust to atmosphere, thereby preventing excessive pressures from building up in the system.

The disclosed embodiments are representative of the presently preferred forms of the invention, but are intended to be illustrative rather than definitive thereof. The invention is defined in the claims.

I claim:

1. Apparatus for scanning articles according to their color comprising means for delivering articles to an inspection zone along a path leading from a supply of articles to collector means for inspected articles; means at said zone for scanning each article and operable to emit a signal of a strength according to the color of a scanned article; a fluid conduit member having a discharge opening adjacent to said path and through which a stream of pressure fluid flows continuously with sutficient force to divert a selected article from said path; means connecting said conduit member to a source of pressure fluid; means mounting said conduit member for movements to and from a position in which said stream of fluid intersects said path; means operated by a signalmeans connected to said conduit member for movi ng the,

latter from said position and holding it out of said position when the strength of said signal is less than said predetermined strength.

2. Apparatus for scanning articles according to their color comprising means for delivering articles to an inspection zone along a path leading from a supply of articles to collector means for inspected articles; means at said zone for scanning each article and operable to emit a signal of a strength according to the color of a scanned article; a fluid conduit member having a discharge opening adjacent to said path and through which a stream of pressure fluid flows continuously with suflicient force to divert a selected article from said path; means connecting said conduit member to a source of pressure fluid; a shield member interposed between said path and the discharge opening of said conduit member, said shield member having an opening therein through whiehlthe streanroffluid may pass; means mounting one of saidnremb'ers" for movement relativeto the other; means operated by a signal of' predetermintad strength emitted bysaidiscanning means for movingthe movable one of said members toa position in which'the discharge openingiof: said conduit member. is aligned with the opening in'said shield member; and means connected 'to said movable one of said members for moving the latter to another position in which said dischargeopening and saidopening imsaid shield" member are out of alignment when the strength of'said signal is less" than said predeterminedfstrength; thereby disabling the stream offluid fromZdiverti-ng 'an article from said path, the means con- 7 necte'cfi tosaid movable-i oneof said members being capable i of: holding; the: latter: in i said} anotherposition. and

preventing its rebounding. V

3;; Apparatus asiset forthin claim 2 wherein said'conduit-membenisithe movable one of'said members. 7

4'. Apparatus asset forth in claimsz wherein said shield memben'is'the movableonef of said members; 7

5'. Apparatus for scanningarticles according to their 7 color comprising means. for delivering articles to an inspectionzonealong a path leading from a supply of articles to collector means forins'pected articles; means at said zone for scanning each article and operable to emit a signal of a strength according to the color of a scanned article; a a hollow fiuid conduit member providing an unobstructed fluid passageway having a discharge opening adjacent to said path and throngh'whicha stream to divertia' selected'article from said path; means connecting' saidconduit member'to a source of pressure fluid; guide means forguiding articles along said path, said guide means includinga Wall interposed-between the discharge end' of said conduit member and said path for shielding articles onsaid delivering means from said stream of pressure fiuid;said' wall having an opening therein through which said stream may flow; means mounting said conduit member for movement'relative to said wall to and away from a position permitting said stream of pressure fluid to flow through said opening and impinge against articles on said deliveringmeaihsgand means operated by. a signal of predetermined strength emitted by said scanning means for moving said conduit member to said'positionh V 6. Apparatus as set forth iniclaim 5 including means connected"- to: said conduit member for moving the latter away frorn'tsaid position when the strength of said signal isless: than: said predeterminedstrength and yieldably holding the latter away from saidposition.

7; Apparatus for scanning articles according to their color comprisingmeans for delivering articles man in spection Zone along a path leading from a supply of articles to-collec'tor'means'for inspected article's; means at sa id zone for scanning each article and operableto emit a signal of a strength according to the color of a scanned article; a-hol-lovv fluid conduit member providing unobstructed fluid passageway having, a discharge opening adjacent to'said path andthrough which a stream of'pressure fluid flows jcontinuously with sufiicient force to divert a selected article from said path; means connecting said conduit member to a source of pressure fluid; means mountingsaidcohduit member in" a location to directv pressure fluid issuing therefrom towards said path; a shield member; means mounting said shield member for movement from a first position in which pressure fluid issuing from said conduit member impinges on said shield member and is diverted from said path, to a second position in which pressure fluid issuing from said conduit member passes 'saidshield member and intersects said path; means operated by a signal ofpredeterminedstrength emitted by said scanning means for moving said: shield member from said first position to said second position and means connected to said shield membet for moving the latterfrom said second position to said first position and holding it there when the strength of said signalis lessthan said predetermined strength.

8; Apparatus as set forth in claim 7 wherein said means connected to said shield member for moving the latter from said second position to said first position comprises a spring. 7

9. Apparatus for scanning articles according to their color comprisingmeans for delivering articles to an inspection zone along a path leading from a supply of articles to collector means for inspected articles; means at said zone for scanning each article and'operable to emit a signal of a strength according to the color of a scanned'a'rticle; a-hollow fiuid' conduit member providingan unobstructed fluid passageway having a discharge opening adjacent to said path andthrough which astream of pressure fluid flows continuously with sufficient force to divert a selected article from said path; means connecting said conduitm'ember to a source of pressure fluid; a shield member adjacent to the discharge opening of said conduit member andbeing capable of blocking said stream from said path; means mounting one of said members in a stationary position; means mounting the other of saidmembers for movements from said position in which-said'shieldmember blocks the stream from said path, to another position in which said streamintersects said path, and return; means operated by a signal of predetermined strength emitted by said scanning means for moving the movable one of said membersfrom one of its positions to the other; and means connected tothe movable one of said'members for returning the latter to its original'position and holding it therewhen the strength of said'signal is-less than said predetermined strength.

References Cited inthe file of this patent UNITEDSTATES PATENTS Bick e Aug." 8, 1933

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1921863 *Jun 25, 1929Aug 8, 1933Everett H BickleySorting machine
US2793746 *Apr 2, 1953May 28, 1957Owens Illinois Glass CoMethod and apparatus for inspecting caps
AU104256B * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3097743 *Jan 19, 1961Jul 16, 1963Parke Davis & CoInspection method and machine
US3750881 *Sep 30, 1971Aug 7, 1973Aerotherm CorpColor sorter
US4276983 *Oct 23, 1978Jul 7, 1981Bickley Manufacturing CompanySorting apparatus
US4784275 *Sep 15, 1986Nov 15, 1988Vanzetti Systems Inc.Verification systems for small objects
US6224359Jan 13, 1999May 1, 2001Michael Mirko DomazetApparatus for forming adobe blocks
US20060102528 *Aug 8, 2003May 18, 2006Antoine BourelyAutomatic analysis or inspection system for object travelling on a support
WO2004016362A1 *Aug 8, 2003Feb 26, 2004Pellenc Selective Technologie (Sa)Automatic analysis or inspection system for object travelling on a support
Classifications
U.S. Classification209/581, 209/644, 209/914, 209/920, 209/587
International ClassificationB07C5/342
Cooperative ClassificationY10S209/92, Y10S209/914, B07C5/3425
European ClassificationB07C5/342D