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Publication numberUS2971646 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 14, 1961
Filing dateAug 17, 1959
Priority dateAug 17, 1959
Publication numberUS 2971646 A, US 2971646A, US-A-2971646, US2971646 A, US2971646A
InventorsCoffey Henry F
Original AssigneeLilly Co Eli
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article inspection and sorting apparatus
US 2971646 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 14, 1961 COFFEY 2,971,646

ARTICLE INSPECTION AND SORTING APPARATUS Filed Aug. 17, 1959 INVENTOR. HENRY F. COFFEY ATTORNEYS United States Patent" f ARTICLE INSPECTION AND SORTING APPARATUS Henry F. Coffey, Indianapolis, Ind., assignor to Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Ind., a corporation of In- Filed Aug. 17, 1959, Ser. No. 834,225

8 Claims. (Cl. 209-111 This invention relates generally to an apparatus for controlling actuation of an AC. magnetic induction type of electric motor and more particularly to an apparatus embodying as a component thereof such a motor and which apparatus rapidly and seriatim inspects, selects and rejects from a group of similarly labeled, like containers those containers having no labels or labels which are positioned too high, too low, or which are askew.

As is well known, it is particularly important and necessary in mass production packaging of drug products, for example, to be certain that their containers such as boxes, bottles, or vials each hear an identifying label and that the label be applied to the containers in a uniform position. In the pharmaceutical industry it is mandatory that no container be passed for shipment without hearing a label and that the labels be uniformly and properly positioned upon their respective containers.

' It is an object of the present invention, therefore, to provide a label detection and sorting apparatus for rapidly sensing the presence or absence of a label, its position upon its container with respect to a predetermined standard, and the sorting and rejection of improperly or nonlabeled containers from properly labeled containers on a high-speed, mass production basis.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent as the description proceeds in conjunction With the accompanying drawings, and will be more particularly pointed out in the claims which follow.

In the drawings:

Fig. 1 shows a typical example of articles which may be inspected and sorted by the use of my improved apparatus,

Fig. 2 is a side elevation of the apparatus, certain parts being broken away for clearness,

Fig. 3 is a fragmental to plan view thereof, certain of the parts also being broken away for clearness, and

Fig. 4 is a schematic layout of the apparatus together with wiring diagram therefor.

-While the invention may be used for quality-control inspection and sorting of labeled objects as is disclosed herein'for exemplification purposes only, it will be readily recognized that it has many applications for use in controlling a function-performing operation of an AC. magnetic induction motor wherever there exists upon or in connection with an article or object adjoining, contrasting, light-reflective surface areas such as, for instance, the contrast in light-reflective qualities that are present between an area of the container per se and an ad oining area of the label or of an area of indicia on said label and an adjacent background area thereof. a

T Referring to Fig. l and reading from left to right, A shows an ampoule or vial having a label 11 correctly positioned on said vial, B represents a vial upon which label 11 is too high, C indicates a vial whereon the label is too low, and D shows an unlabeled vial. In the type of sorting which will hereinafter be described. only vials having labels positioned as shown in A will be accepted 2,971,646 Patented Feb. 14, 1961 and retained, and vials having labels positioned as in B and C or no label as in D will be rejected.

The articles or vials 10, following the labeling operation at the labeling machine (not shown), are deposited in successive pockets 12 provided in an endless conveyor 13 only the upper stretch of which is shown in the drawings. Preferably conveyer 13 is disposed at a slight angle from the vertical as clearly shown in Fig. 2 to slightly tilt vials 10 within the pockets and the depth of pockets 12 are preferably substantially only about one-half the diameter of the vials so that the forward edge 14 of the base of the pocket acts as a fulcrum edge for rocking the vials out of the pocket in the event a vial is to be rejected. Conveyer 13 is arranged to transport the articles continuously in a horizontal, linear path in the direction of arrow 15 (Fig. 3) past the inspection device indicated generally at 16.

Inspection device 16 comprises a housing 17, a portion of the bottom of which is formed by an inverted C-shaped bracket 18 having depending legs 19 and 20. The horizontally disposed flat of bracket 18 has passing downwardly therethrough a stub shaft 21 connected at its upper end to a gear 22 provided in an AC. magnetic induction type of electric motor 23 mounted on the upper surface of the horizontal flat of bracket 18. The lower end of stub shaft 21 has aflixed thereto a reject lever 24 having an angularly disposed, forwardly projecting arm 25 extending into the path of travel of the necks or tops I of vials 10. A coil spring 26 maintains lever 24 and its arm 25 against a depending, limiting stop pin 27 secured in the horizontal strap of bracket 18. An adjustable screw 28 threaded in leg 20 of bracket 18 may be adjusted to limit the degree of swinging movement which may be imparted to lever 24 and arm 25 upon operation of motor 23 as hereinafter to be described. Gear 22 meshes with a gear 29 fixed upon the lower end of a drive shaft 30 of motor 23.

Motor 23, as shown in Fig. 4, is provided with two separate magnetic field coils 31 and 32, coil 31 being termed herein for convenience as an operating coil and coil 32 being referred to as a control coil. The leads 33 from operating coil 31 are connected across a source of AC. current of predetermined voltage and cycle frequency as for example AC, 60 cycles. The leads 34 from control coil 32 are connected to a pair of terminals of a double-pole, double-throw or reversing switch 35. A pair of leads 36 connects switch 35 to the output side of an amplifier 37, the purpose of which hereinafter appears.

The label sensing and inspection portion of the apparatus is contained within housing 17 (Fig. 2) and includes a lamp 38 which for convenience may be connected across the same source of AC. current as operating field coil 31. The light beam from lamp 38 is focused through a suitable lens 39 and spaced slit element 40 upon a light-weight mirror 41 afiixed on the outer free end of a vibrating reed 42 of an electrical A.C. operated, vibrator. or chopper 43 which is connected by leads 44 across the same source of AC. current to which the field operating coil 31 of motor 23 is connected. Mirror 41 is arranged to cast or project a vibrating light beam reflected therefrom through an aperture 45 provided in leg 19 of bracket; 18, in such manner that the vibrating light beam scans a portion of a vial 10 which constitutes a surface-area having one degree of light-reflective qualities and an;

adjoining marginal area of label 11 which constitutes a surface area having a contrasting or different degree of light-reflective qualities. It will be understood that if indicia imprinted on a label 11 and a portion of artad:

joining, contrasting background surface area of label 11. In other words, the vibrating light beam functions to sense a differential in light-reflecting contrast existing between two' adjoining surface areas,i.e;, either a portion of vial per se with respect toan' adjoining portionof the label or a portion of the label bearing a mark or indicia with respect to an immediately adjoining portion thereof bearing no mark or indicia. The light rays striking the lesser light-reflective surface area are reflected downwardly therefrom as indicated by arrows 46 in Fig. 2 whereas the light rays reflected from the greater light-reflccting surface area ,(the label) diffuse laterally as indicated by the arrows 47 and are projected upon a photoelectric or lightsensitive cell 48.

Referring to Fig. 4,-light-'sensitive cell 48 is connected across a source of DC. current 49 in series with a load resistor 50, thence through a capacitor 51, to the primary of a DC. to A.C. conversion transformer 52. The secondary of transformer 52 is connected to the input of amplifier 37. The circuitry just described is enclosed by dot and dash lines designated at 53 in Fig. 4 and shall be referred to as a conversion network. The capacitor 51 and resistor 50 of network 53 operate to electrically block passage of any signal output from transformer 52 except when the vibrating light beam projected from mirror 41 is scanning adjoining, contrasting light-reflective surface areas of a correctly positioned label as shown in A in Fig. 1. In other Words, whenever the vibrating light beam projected from mirror 41 scans a vial wherein the label 11 is too high (B, Fig. 1), or too low (C, Fig. l), or there is no label (D, Fig. 1), no current shall flow to control coil 32 of motor 23.

Upon a correctly positioned label being sensed by the vibrating light beam, motor 23 is energized, driving its shaft 30, say in a counterclockwise direction and, through gears 29 and 22, rotates stub shaft 21 to move lever 24 and its reject arm 25 from the position shown in full lines in Fig. 3 to the position shown in dotted lines therein, out of the path of travel of vials 10 permitting the properly labeled vial to pass and be advanced by conveyer 13. Upon de-energization of motor 23 immediately following passage of the accepted vial'spring 26 urges reject arm 25 back into intercepting relation with the next vial 10 and if, upon sensing by the light beam projected from mirror 41, said next vial should reveal an incorrectly positioned or no label, reject arm 25 remains in its effective or reject position to rock that vial 10 about fulcrum edge 14 and discharge it from conveyer 13 and so on.

If the light beam reflected from mirror 41 is positioned to scan adjoining, contrasting light-reflective surface areas wherein the greater light-reflecting surface area is above a lesser light-reflective surface area (the direct opposite to the situation just described), operation of motor 23 would then drive shaft 30 in a clockwise direction unless reversing switch 35 was moved from the full line position shown in Fig. 4 to the position shown in dotted lines therein. In this manner drive shaft 30 may be driven in its correct operating direction to move reject arm 25 in the proper direction irrespective of the sequence of scan, i. e., whether the lesser light-reflective surface area is above and scanned first and the greater light-reflective surface area is below it and scanned later or vice versa. From the foregoing it will be understood that the apparatus described could be usefu-l in the cotnrol of any function-performing operation of an A.C. magnetic induction type of motor in any instance where there exists a differential contrast between two adjacent light-reflective surface areas adapted to be scanned by the vibrating light beam projected from mirror 41.

While the apparatus herein shown and described is admi ably adapted to fulfill the objects primarily stated, it

is to be understood that it is not intended to confine the invention to the one form of embodiment herein dis closed for i-t-is susceptible of embodiment in various forms netic induction, operation-performing motor by sensing adjoining, contrasting, light-reflective surface areas; said apparatus comprising said motor having two field coils physically and phase separated by ninety degrees; an A.C. source; one of said field coils being connected to said A.C. source; a light beam; means for vibrating said light beam to scan at least adjoining portions of said contrasting, light-reflective surface areas; said vibrating means being connected to said A.C. source; a light-sensitive cell positioned to receive rays of light reflected from said scanned, adjoining portions of said contrasting, lightreflective surface areas; a DC. source for operating said cell; a DC. to A.C. conversion network connected with said D.C. source and said cell for passing only varying D.C.; an amplifier connected at its input to said conversion network and at its output to the other of said field coils whereby said other field coil is energized only when said light beam senses contrast between the adjoining, light-reflective surface areas scanned by said beam.

2. Apparatus for controlling actuation of an A.C. magnetic induction, operation-performing motor by sensing adjoining, contrasting, light-reflective surface areas; said apparatus comprising said motor having two field coils physically and phase separated by ninety degrees; an A.C. source; one of said field coils being connected to said A.C. source; a light beam; means for vibrating said light beam to scan at least adjoining portions of said contrasting, light-reflective surface areas; said vibrating means being connected to said A.C. source; a light-sensitive cell positioned to receive rays of light reflected from said scanned, adjoining portions of said contrasting, light-reflective surface areas; a DC. source for operating said cell; a DC. to A.C. conversion network connected with said D.C. source and said cell for passing only varying DC; the output of said D.C. conversion network being connected to said other field coil whereby the latter is energized only when contrast exists between the portions of light-reflective surface areas scanned by said vibrating light beam.

3. Apparatus for controlling actuation of an A.C. magnetic induction motor by sensing the presence and position of at least a portion of one light-reflective surface area with respect to at least a portion of an adjoining, contrasting, light-reflective surface area, such as of a label with respect to its container or a portion of indicia on a label with respect to a portion of its adjoining background; said apparatus comprising a motorhaving an operating coil and a control coil; an A.C. source; said operating coil being'connected to said A.C. source; a light beam; means for vibrating said light beam to traverse the line of demarcation between and scan at least portions of said adjoining, contrasting, light-reflective surface areas; said vibrating means being connected to said A.C. source; a DC. source and circuit for passing only varying DC; a photoelectric cell connected in said D.C. circuit and positioned to receive the light rays reflected from said adjoining, contrasting, light-reflective surface areas; the output of said D.C. circuit being connected to said control coil of said motor.

4. In an magnetic induction motor controlling apparatus comprising said motor having an operating field coil and a control field coil; a source of A.C. connected to said operating field coil, vibrating light beam means adapted to scan at least portions of adjoining, contrasting, light-reflective surface areas; said vibrating light beam means being connected to said A.C. source; a photoelectric cell positioned to receive light reflected from said scanned surface areas; a DC. source; a DC to A.C. conversion network adapted to pass only varying D .C. therethrou'gh; said network .being interconnected w th said photoelectric cell and said D.C. source; and said control field coil of said motor being connected to the output of said conversion network whereby said m0- tor is actuated only when light-reflective contrast exists between said areas scanned by said light beam.

5. An apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said adjoining, light-reflective surface areas to be scanned by said light beam are a continuous series of similarly labeled, like containers and the scan of said beam includes a portion of the labels and an adjoining portion of the containers; conveyer means for transporting said labeled containers seriatim past said light beam for inspection thereby; container rejecting means associated with said conveyer effective in one position to reject a container from said conveyer and in another position to permit passage of a container, said container reject means being connected to said motor and operable thereby into said article-passing position only upon actuation of said motor.

6. An apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said adjoining, light-reflective surface areas to be scanned by said light beam are a continuous series of similarly labeled, like containers and the scan of said beam includes a portion of indicia on the labels and an adjoining portion of the containers; conveyer means for transporting said labeled containers seriatim past said light beam for inspection thereby, container rejecting means associated with said conveyer effective in one position to reject the container from said conveyer and in another position to permit passage of a container, said container reject means being connected to said motor and operable to its article-passing position only upon actuation of said motor.

7. An apparatus for sorting a series of similarly labeled, like containers for absence or presence and position of labels upon said containers; said apparatus comprising a conveyer for transporting said labeled containers seriatim in a path past an inspection station; a reject lever associated with said conveyer and normally effective in one position to engage and remove contain ers from said conveyer and movable into another position for permitting passage of said containers; an A.C. source; vibrating light beam means at said inspection station positioned to scan a portion of each of said containers and an adjoining portion of each of their respective labels as said containers move past said light beam;

said light beam means being connected to said A.C. source; a D.C. source; a photoelectric cell positioned at said inspection station to receive light reflected from the scanned portions of said labels and containers; a D.C. to A.C. conversion network; said cell and said network being interconnected to said D.C. source; an A.C. magnetic induction motor having an operating coil and a control coil; said operating coil being connected to said A.C. source and said control coil being connected to the output of said D.C. to A.C. conversion network; and said motor having its rotor connected in operative association with said reject lever to move said lever from its container reject position to its container pass position only when said control coil is energized.

8. An apparatus for sorting a series of similarly labeled, like containers for absence or presence and position of labels upon said containers; said apparatus comprising a conveyer for transporting said labeled containers seriatim in a path past an inspection station; a reject lever associated with said conveyer and normally effective in one position to engage and remove containers from said conveyer and movable into another position for permitting passage of said containers; an A.C. source; vibrating light beam means at said inspection station positioned to scan a portion of indicia on said labels and an adjoining background portion of said labels as said containers move past said light beam; said light beam means being connected to said A.C. source; a D.C. source; a photoelectric cell positioned at said inspection station to receive light reflected from the scanned portions of said labels and containers; a D.C. to A.C. conversion network; said cell and said network being interconnected to said D.C. source; an A.C. magnetic induction motor having an operating coil and a control coil; said operating coil being connected to said A.C. source and said control coil being connected to the output of said D.C. to A.C. conversion network; and said motor having its rotor connected in operative association with said reject lever to move said lever from its container reject position to said container pass position only when said control coil is energized.

No references cited.

Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1 *None
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3203547 *Apr 3, 1962Aug 31, 1965Illumitronic Systems CorpLabel inspection machine
US3207307 *Apr 20, 1962Sep 21, 1965Barber Colman CoBobbin sorting mechanism
US3235739 *Dec 19, 1962Feb 15, 1966Owens Illinois Glass CoMethod and apparatus for inspecting cylindrical objects by photosensitive means
US3409129 *Jan 15, 1968Nov 5, 1968Upjohn CoLabel scanning device and process
US4630736 *Jun 15, 1984Dec 23, 1986Sortex LimitedSorting machine utilizing an improved light detection system
US5570632 *Mar 23, 1995Nov 5, 1996The West Company, IncorporatedApparatus and method for applying and verifying marks on the periphery of generally cylindrically-shaped objects
Classifications
U.S. Classification209/528, 318/739, 209/587, 318/480, 209/585, 209/657
International ClassificationB07C5/34
Cooperative ClassificationB07C5/3412
European ClassificationB07C5/34B