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Publication numberUS3063596 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 13, 1962
Filing dateNov 24, 1959
Priority dateDec 5, 1958
Publication numberUS 3063596 A, US 3063596A, US-A-3063596, US3063596 A, US3063596A
InventorsGerard D Autheville Claude Ala, Jean Lafon Guy
Original AssigneeGerard D Autheville Claude Ala, Jean Lafon Guy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article-counting machines
US 3063596 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 13, 196 c. A. e. DAUTHEVILLE ETAL 3,063,596

ARTICLE-COUNTING MACHINES Filed Nov. 24, 1959 l2 INDICATlNG MEANS COUNTER United States Patent Oflice 3,063,596 Patented Nov. 13, 1962 3,063,596 ARTICLE-COUNTING MACHINES Claude Alain Gerard dAutheville, Paris, France (Corbon, ()rne, France), and Guy Jean Lafon, 44 Rue Mahieu, Saint-Maur, France Filed Nov. 24, 1959, Ser. No. 855,097 Claims priority, application France Dec. 5, 1958 5 Claims. (Cl. 2217) The invention relates to improvements in machines intended for counting a number of small unitary articles, such as bolts, screws and other variously shaped elements which can be introduced in lump condition into an input of the machine and which elements will be distributed into batches of a predetermined number of articles.

Machines of this type are known and are provided with recesses, impressions, driving projections and the like. The latter machines operate satisfactorily when the counting is performed at a low rate. However, when a higher rate is desired, e.g. more than twenty units per second, the machines presently used do not lead to satisfactory results, because they jam readily.

Jamming of the machines is ascribable to the fact that two or more articles become wedged together in the feed channels or in the input end of the machine, instead of forming a uniform line. This stops the feeding of the counting system and, consequently, the operation of the counting machine.

The invention has for its object an improved machine which eliminates in a substantially complete manner any wedging or jamming produced by the interengagement of the articles.

The machine according to our invention may operate at a theoretically unlimited speed, the only practical limits being provided by the size and the rotary speed of the article-carrier plate to be described hereinafter.

According to one of the main features of the invention, the machine includes a circular plate adapted for rotating at a high speed round a vertical or slightly oblique axis, said plate serving to provide the following functions:

It provides alignment of the articles to be counted along its periphery under the action of centrifugal forces.

It constrains the articles lying side by side on the edge of the plate to disengage from one another and to form a single alignment, as provided by the friction exerted on the articles by a wall peripherally enclosing the plate.

It gives the articles suflicient kinetic energy to enable them to pass along an'outlet path leading to the counting system.

Particular means are provided in accordance with the invention and in combination with the rotary plate, so as to eliminate wedging. These latter means may comprise a vertical cylindrical wall surrounding the plate and having an upper edge which is at the same level as the maximum elevation of the plate and a frusto conical annulus surrounding the wall and adapted for rotation about a vertical axis, the annulus-having a generating line which lies in the plane of the plate to permit transfer of articles from the plate to the annulus under the action of centrifugal force. Furthermore, the annulus is adapted for having a greater speed of rotation than that of the plate. Additionally provided is means defining a stationary conduit aligned with the .annulus and extending therefrom to permit discharge of articles from the annulus under the inertia of the articles.

Thus, it is possible, to slow down or even stop the ream of articles while the carrier plate continues rotating. This shows a number of advantages from the standpoint of the control of the machine.

According to a further feature of our invention, it is preferable to resort, as well known per se, to cooperating rollers to increase the spacing of the particles to be counted. The articles to be counted pass between said rollers before progressing inside a channel located at the output of the machine, so as to separate the articles from one another with a view to allowing their counting through photo-electric means. It should be noted however that the presence of such rollers is only optional.

The machine is also advantageously provided with an electronic counter for counting the number of breaks in the current, produced by the passage of the articles to be counted in registry with a photo-cell. Furthermore and in conformity with yet another feature of the invention, a deflecting device actuated by the electronic meter directs alternatingly the articles after they have passed in front of the photo-cell into either of two tracks so as to separate batches and to include in each batch a predetermined number of articles. Thus, the deflecting device may be positioned in one direction to deflect articles into one track until a predetermined quantity has been obtained and thereafter the deflecting device is moved into another position to cause the articles to be deflected into another track.

There will now be described in detail various embodiments of the invention, reference being made to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a portion of the machine diagrammatically illustrating the operation thereof.

FIG. 2 shows in elevation .a sectional view of an embodiment according to the invention in which auxiliary members adapted to prevent wedging of the articles are shown.

The machine includes chiefly a plate 1 (FIG. 1) adapting for rotating about a vertical or substantially vertical axis 2. Said rotary plate is planar and rotates inside a stationary cylindrical Wall 3 constituted by .a sheet extending around the periphery of the plate and in close proximity therewith.

It will be readily ascertained that the articles to be counted are laid on the plate 1 and are projected centrifugally towards the vertical wall 3 while moving in the same direction as the plate 1.

The articles may, for instance, be placed in a lump on the plate in the area 4, preferably by a vibrating apparatus (not shown). The articles progress centrifugally towards and along the Wall 3 up to the point 5 where they engage a channel or trough 6 secured to the frame of the machine. Under the action of the kinetic energy transmitted to them by the rotary plate the articles continue moving in the channel or trough. Adjacent the end of the channel are situated two superposed rollers 9', the rotary axes of which are parallel.

The rollers 9 are spaced with reference to each other by an amount such that the gap between them is exactly equal to the thickness of one of the articles to be counted. The rollers rotate in opposite directions. The edges of the rollers are preferably provided with a coat of plastic material so as to eliminate damage to the articles passing theret-hrough.

The peripheral speed of said rollers is much higher than the average speed of progression of the articles in the channel 6 so that said articles when engaged'by said rollers are thrust rapidly therefrom at a high speed. The articles are thus spaced apart from each other. As the articles pass through the area 11, they interrupt a photo electrical circuit constituted by bulb 12 and photo-cell 13 to actuate a counter 14 provided with indicating means 8. The articles are finally directed into either of two output channels 16 and 17, according to the position of a deflecting blade 15 in front of said output channels. The deflecting blade 15 may pivot around a vertical spindle 18, so as to assume selectively the positions drawn in solid and in dotted lines. For the solid line position, the channel 16 is fed with the articles which have been counted, whereas, for. the dotted line position, it is the channel 17 which receives the articles.

As disclosed hereinabove, the presence of the two rollers 9 is optional since these rollers are not essential where the articles to be. counted are comparatively heavy and, consequently, have retained sufficient kinetic energy to remain spaced apart from each other when they enter area 11.

The blade 15 keyed to the spindle 13 is controlled by a relay 1? controlled by the counter 14 in a manner such that, each time a predetermined number of articles has been counted by the cell 13, the deflecting blade is switched out of one. of its positions into the other, which allows separating the counted articles into batches containing the predetermined number of articles.

There will now'bedescribed with further detail specific means provided according to the invention for preventing any wedging of the articles against one another. Investigations have led to the determination that the wedgings at the input of the trough or channel 6 were produced when two articles simultaneously entered the input of the channel and, as a consequence of their overlapping, they were jammed between the lateral or vertical walls of the channel and formed a sort of bridge preventing entry of any further articles.

To prevent such a jamming of the articles there is shown in FIG; 2, a rotary plate 2% the axis 21 of which is slightly inclined to the vertical. The rotary plate 24) is surrounded by a vertical wall 25 adapted for rotation about a vertical axis coaxial with the rotary axis of a rotary annulus 22, 23 cooperating. with the rotary plate 20.

As illustrated, said rotary plate 20 is slightly sloping, its rotary axis forming with a vertical line an angle of a fewdegrees; it is surrounded by an annulus 22 rigid with a tube 23 in turn supported: by a member 24 rigid with the vertical spindle 27, so that the said annulus 22 revolves round a vertical axis.

The surface of the annulus 22 is of frusto conical shape the generating lines of which define, with a horizontal plane, an angle equal to that formed by the axis 21 of the plate 20 with a vertical line. The vertical adjustment of the parts is such that, the generating line of the annulus 22. is coplanar, with the, plate 20 (as seen at the left side of FIG. 2).

The annulus 22 is surrounded by a stationary wall 28 extending along the outer periphery of the annulus and serving the same function as the wall 3 in PEG. 1.

Furthermore, the plate 20 is surrounded peripherally inside the annulus 22, by a vertical wall 25 somewhat similar to the wall 3', with the difference that the wall 25 is not stationary, but is keyed to a vertical spindle 26 coaxial with the spindle 27'. The spindles 21, 26 and 27 are caused to rotate through any suitable means, in a manner suchthat the peripheral speed V2 of the vertical wall 25 is larger than the peripheral speed V1 of the plate 20 and the peripheral speed V3 of the inner edge of the annulus22 is larger than the peripheral speed V2 of the wall 25.

The slope given to the spindle 21 is such that the vertical distance between the inner edge of the annulus 22 and the lowermost point of the periphery of the rotary plate 20 is slightly larger than the height of any of the articles to be counted.

It is readily apparent that the articles dropped onto the slightly sloping plate 29 are projected centrifugally along the periphery of the latter and when they reach the highest section of the plate, they are urged centrifugally onto the annulus 22 registering with them at such a point, said annulus revolving at an angular speed which is substantially higher than that of the plate 2%.

The wall 25 rotating at a speed larger than that of the edge of the plate 2i cooperates with the latter to set the articles uniformly in a line along the periphery of the plate, under the action of the friction exerted by said wall on the outer edges of the articles carried by the plate.

The annulus has a breadth which is such that only one article may be carried thereon in the radial direction.

If an article becomes wedged between two other articles on the annulus, at the moment of the passage of the articles from the plate onto the annulus, said article would of necessity drop all the annulus and back onto the plate 20 under the action of gravity and by reason of the increasing difierence in level between the plate and the annulus as the plate and annulus countinue revolving, this dropping off being provided largely before reaching the input into a feeding channel or trough such as that shown at 6 in FIG. 1.

Through a suitable selection of the values of the speeds V1, V2, V3, it is possible to make the articles progress through the feeding channel, while remaining spaced from one another by amounts of any desired value.

Obviously, many details may be modified in the embodiment described, without unduly widening thereby the scope of the invention as defined in the accompanying claims.

What we claim is:

l. A machine 'for counting articles of determinable size, the machine being provided with counting means, said machine comprising: a circular plate adapted for receiving said articles, said plate being adapted for rotation about an axis which is vertically inclined, at cylin drical wall vertically disposed and surrounding said plate, said cylindrical wall having upper and lower edges, said plate having a maximum elevation substantially at the same level as the upper edge of the cylindrical wall, an upwardly divergent frusto conical annulus surrounding the wall and adapted for rotation about a vertical axis, said annulus being positioned relative to said plate such that said annulus has a generating line which lies in the plane of the plate whereby the articles are transferred from the plate to the annulus under the action of centrifugal force, said annulus being adapted for having a greater speed of rotation than that of the circular plate and means and partially surrounding said annulus and defining a stationary conduit aligned with said annulus and extending therefrom to said counting means and permitting discharge of the articles from the annulus to the counting means solely under their own inertia;

2. A machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein said plate is inclined to provide a difference in elevation between the upper and lower portions thereof which is greater than the height of the articles to be counted.

3'. A machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein said cylindrical wall surrounding said plate is proximate therewith to prevent said articles from entering between said wall and said plate.

4. A machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein said annulus has a Width which is substantially equal to the height of said article whereby only one of said articles can be supported along the width of the annulus.

5. Apparatus for conveying articles of determinable height to means for counting said articles, said apparatus comprising a plate adapted for rotation about an axis which is vertically inclined, said plate being adapted for being charged with said articles, a vertical cylindrical wall having upper and lower edges and adapted to rotate about a vertical axis so that said plate has maximum elevation at the same level as the upper edge of the vertical wall, a frusto-conical annulus external of said cylindrical wall and surrounding the same, said annulus being divergent outwardly and having a generating line which lies in the plane of said plate so that said annulus can receive articles from said plate by centrifugal force, said annulus being adapted for 5 6 rotation about a vertical axis at a speed exceeding that References Cited in the file of this patent of said plate and means partially surrounding said an- UNITED STATES PATENTS nulus and defining a passageway extending between said annulus and said means for counting to permit discharge 2,632,588 Hoar Mar. 24, 1953 of the articles under their own inertia from said annulus 5 2,763,108 Garrett Sept. 18, 1956 to the means for counting said articles.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2632588 *Jan 30, 1952Mar 24, 1953Jr John HoarCounting and packaging apparatus
US2763108 *Apr 9, 1952Sep 18, 1956Garrett Burton RCounting and packaging machines
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3537091 *Oct 5, 1967Oct 27, 1970Case Co J ISeed monitoring system
US3669260 *Apr 19, 1971Jun 13, 1972Hoppmann CorpMethod of sorting particulate articles
US3756371 *Apr 7, 1972Sep 4, 1973Standard Oil CoApparatus for counting and separating nested articles of manufacture
US3912120 *Aug 26, 1974Oct 14, 1975Hoppmann CorpCentrifugal method of sorting and orienting particulate articles
US4211248 *Jun 24, 1975Jul 8, 1980Guy LafonDispensing machine, in particular for coins
US4821920 *Aug 28, 1987Apr 18, 1989Hoppmann CorporationMethod and apparatus for loading articles onto feeder by elevating ramp segments
US4828100 *Mar 5, 1986May 9, 1989Hoppmann CorporationRotating ring orienting feeder
US4848559 *Jul 14, 1988Jul 18, 1989Hoppmann CorporationMethod or apparatus for elevating articles in a feeder
US5110008 *Sep 29, 1989May 5, 1992Moulding Jr Thomas SDispenser adapted to isolate the dispensed objects by compression between two moveable structures
US5344043 *May 10, 1993Sep 6, 1994Thomas S. MouldingDispenser especially adapted for dispensing medication units
DE3310535A1 *Mar 21, 1983Oct 4, 1984Horst Dipl Ing HilgenboeckerDevice for delivering a sequence of similarly oriented articles
DE3402139A1 *Jan 23, 1984Jul 26, 1984Fmc CorpDrehzufuehrer fuer teile
DE4015103C2 *May 11, 1990Nov 6, 2003Gd SpaVorrichtung zum Ausrichten von losen Gegenständen und zum Zuführen derselben zu einer Fabrikationsmaschine, insbesondere zu einer Wickelmaschine
U.S. Classification221/7, 221/182, 221/222
International ClassificationG06M7/00, G06M7/04
Cooperative ClassificationG06M7/04
European ClassificationG06M7/04