US 3161003 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 15, 1964 J. J. GRlNTZ GROCERY BAG LOADER 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 2, 1962 INVENTORZ JOSEPH JOHN GRI ATTYS.
Dec. 15, 1964 J. J. GRINTZ 3,161,003
GROCERY BAG LOADER Filed Oct. 2, 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORZ JOSEPH JOHN GRIN Z ATTYS.
Dec, 15, 1964 ,1. J. GRINTZ 3,161,003
GROCERY BAG LOADER Filed Oct. 2, 1962 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 FIG 7 44 A FIG.8;
INVENTOR: JOSEPH JOHN GR INTZ 56 BY W 1 W ATTYS.
Eddlfih? 'Patented Dec. 15, 1964 3,161,003 GRQCERY BAG LQADER .loseph John Grintz, 1701 Bristol Road, Qhurchville, Pa. Filed Get. 2, 1%2, Ser. No. 227,902 Claims. (Cl. 53-4355) The present invention relates broadly to bagging and unloading devices, and more specifically to' grocery bagging and unloading devices adapted for use in connection with checkout counters for supermarkets and the like.
Prior to this invention various types of bagging and unloading devices have been designed for placing purchases in a container and thereafter discharging the purchases into a paper bag or the like which the customer takes home. Such devices have not been entirely satisfactory from the standpoint of operation, initial cost and maintenance, as well as human engineering features with regard to the checker or cashier in the typical supermarket.
It is an object of. the present invention to provide a bagging and unloading device which is simple in nature and which is susceptible of a high degree of efliciency in operation.
Another object of the present invention is to provide,
vin such a bagging and unloading device, a container of simple and sturdy construction which facilitates the packing therein of purchased articles and which thereafter may easily be moved into the desired unloading position by the operator.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a grocery bagging and unloading device constructed so .as to facilitate easy placement of a bag over the grocery loading container, and allow for easy placement of the filled bag into a grocery cart with a minimum of handling by the checkout operator. 1
Another object of the present invention isto provide a loading container which allows the checker to top off the grovery bag with purchases which may project above the top of the bag. 7 v V An additional object of the present invention is to provide a bagging and unloading device which may be used with the purchase conveyors presently in operation at most checkout counters.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide in such a bagging and unloading device, driving means to raise and lower the container to'facilitate placement of a filled grocery bag into a grocery cart.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide in such a bagging and unloading device novel support means for the container, so that the container may move both horizontally and vertically.
Other objects and a fuller understanding of the invention may be had by referring to the following description and claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a portion of a checkout counter with a grocery bagging and unloading device in place and showing the normal position of the checker;
FIG. 2 is a side view of the grocery bagging and unloading device shown in FIG. 1, illustrating in full lines the normal position for grocery loading, and in broken lines a portion of the device in its extended position, and also showing a typical grocery bag in broken lines over the loading container;
FIG. 3 shows the device illustrated FIG. 2, in the extended and unloading position placing a loaded grocery bag into a typical shopping cart;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, longitudinal, sectional view showing a portion of the loading container illustrated in FIG. 3, and the loading container support means;
FIG. 5 is a rear view of the loading container and the 7 associated support means illustrated in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a transverse fragmentary section view taken on line 6-6 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary view of the loading container illustrating the means of securing the loading container to the support means;
FIG. 8 is a section view taken on line 8-8 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary enlarged view taken on line 9-9 of FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a slide view of the loading container on its associated, support means, illustrating a safety feature .of the bagging and unloading device;
FIG. 11 is a schematic diagram of the hydraulic por-v in the absence of a bagging and unloading device such as disclosed herein, is used for packaging of the articles by either the checker or another person delegated to such an assignment. After the grocery bags areloaded, they I are transferred to a grocery cart standing in an aisle 9 on the customer side of the counter 10.
Referring now to the drawings, the illustrated embodiment of the present invention comprises a loading container in the form of a two sided open tray 14 mounted on tray support means 24 having a tray support assembly 25 and a shaft pivot block 40 inter-connected by a pivot means 4- l(see FIG. 4). A vertical cylindrical shaft St'l extends, at its upper 'end, into the shaft pivot block 40 and at its lower end passes through a shaft support member 51 into the drive means housing 60 supported on a base 13.
In operation, purchases reaching the end of the conveyor belt 11 are placed by the checker on the tray 14 of the bagging and unloading device. When the tray is loaded with groceries, a paper bag 23 is placed over one end of the tray 14 (see FIG. 2). A drive means located in the drive means housing on is then actuated by the checker to cause the shaft 59 to move vertically upward. As is illustrated in FIG. 1 in broken lines, the tray 14 and tray support means 24 are rotated laterally about the shaft 50 and thenas illustrated in FIG. 3, the tray'ldis r-eleased'to unload the groceries and the paper bag 23 into a grocery cart standing in the aisle 9. A
The tray 14 is adapted to receive an empty grocery bag thereon, To this end, in the illustrated embodiment, the tray is formed of one piece of sheet metal providing two identical and parallel vertical side walls extending longitudinally along the entire length of the tray while leaving the two ends of the tray open. As is illustrated in FIG. 2, the length of the tray 14 and the height of the vertical side walls 15 are such as to allow a large paper bag of the'type commonly used in grocery stores to slip over the longitudinally extended end 16. As may be swing in a clockwise direction about tray pivot 17 which are mounted in the support assembly 25 and attached to the tray sides 15. The bottom of the tray support assembly 25 is a flat, horizontally mounted, plate 26 to which are welded two identical L-shaped angles 27 to form sides 28 for the tray support assembly. As the angles and associated components of the tray support assembly 25 are identical, left and right, the following discussion of that portion of the tray support assembly should be considered equally applicable to both anges 27.
In order that the longitudinally extended end 16 of the tray 14 does not descend overly fast when pivoted about the tray pivot 17 in a downward direction, as is illustrated in FIG. 3, a small amount of spring bias is provided at the tray pivots. The spring bias applied is insufficient to swing the tray 14 back into a horizontal position, but is adequate to provide a shock absorbing elfect at the tray pivot 17 by preventing the tray from violently swinging about the pivots, when the tray is loaded. The vertical supporting sides 28 which are outward of, and extend parallel to the tray side walls 15 (see FIGS. 7-9) have suitable apertures 29 for the tray pivots 17 which extend a short distance through the apertures 29. As illustrated in FIG. 7, tray studs 18 are fastened to the tray side walls 15 to the left of the tray pivots 17. The supporting sides 28 are notched at 30 to allow for proper seating of the tray studs 18 in the notches 30. Also, located to the left of the notch 30 on the sides 27 of the angles, and approximately in longitudinal alignment with the tray pivot apertures 29, are small anchor studs 31. Attached to the anchor studs 31 and extending approximately longitudinally therefrom around the tray pivot 17, and extending therefrom and finally terminating around the tray studs 18, is a piece 4 of fiat spring steel 19 which is utilized as a tray shockabsorbing spring. Thus the tray shock-absorbing spring 19 is coupled to the tray 14 and tray support assembly 25 in such a manner as to effectively shock absorb the trays downward swing when loaded with groceries.
Over the tray shock-absorbing spring 19 is a Spring cover 20. The spring cover 20 is secured to the L-shaped angle 27 by suitable means, in the present instance fasteners 21. To allow passage of the tray studs 18 and the tray shock-absorbing spring 19, when the longitudinally extended end 16 of the tray 14 is pivoted about the tray pivot 17 in a downward direction as is illustrated in FIG. 9, the upper horizontally disposed surface of the spring cover 20 is slotted.
In order that the tray 14 will not swing freely about the tray pivot 17 when groceries are placed on the longitudinally extended end 16 of the tray 14, tray release means 34 is provided to hold the tray 14 in a substantially horizontal position for example by a lip 36 on the tray release 34 which extends over the afterbottom edge 22 of the tray. The tray release 34 is connected to tray release brackets 33a and 33b which are respectively connected by pivot studs 35a and 35b to a pair of tray support ears 32a and 320.
To insure the return of the tray release 34 to its normal or tray securing position, spring bias is provided on the tray release. To this end a tray release return plate 37 is mounted on the tray release brackets 33b by a small bolt 370 (see FIGS. and 6) and pivot stud 35b. Outward of the tray release return plate 37 is a springsteel compression type return spring 3% which is so placed that when the tray release 34 is swung counter clockwise about the pivot studs 35a and 3517, the return spring 38 is placed in compression and tends to return to its normal or non-compressed position upon release of the tray release 34.
In order to allow the lip 36 of the tray release 34 to extend over the afterbottom edge 22 of the tray 14, the tray must firmly seat on the plate 26. To insure the proper seating of the tray against the plate 26, a horseshoe-type magnet 45 is attached to the bottom of the plate. The magnet 45 is of sufiicient magnetic strength to draw the afterbottom edge 22 of tray 14 down to the plate 26 and allow a firm engagement between the tray and the plate. Of course if the tray were constructed of non-ferrous metal such as aluminum the magnet would not pull the tray into firm engagement. In such case a piece of ferrous metal would be secured to the tray in the area of magnetic attraction, thereby effecting the trays movement into position.
The connection between the tray support assembly 25 and the shaft pivot block 40 is such to allow the tray support assembly 25 to swing in a vertical direction about the pivot means 41 as is indicated in FIG. 10. To that end, and as is illustrated in FIG. 5, three support ears 32a, 32b, and 32c are welded to the bottom of the plate 2d of the tray support assembly 25. The tray support ears 32av and 321) are horizontally separated a sulficient distance to receive the shaft pivot block 40 therebetween. The pivot means 41 is disposed horizontally through the tray support ear 32a, the shaft pivot block 40, and the tray support ear 32b and there terminates.
The present invention also provides, as part of the tray support means 24, means whereby the tray 14 may be rotated in the horizontal direction and at the same time allow the greatest possible portion of the tray to be displaced over a shopping cart in order that it may be more easily unloaded. To this end the shaft pivot block 40, which in the present embodiment is a ribbed casting, is provided with an offset integrally cast end support 42 for housing the extended vertical end of the shaft 59. As is indicated in FIG. 4, the end support 42 has been bored so as to accept the upper end of the shaft 50, which is reduced in diameter, and to allow for placement of needle bearings 43 along the inner periphery of the support 42 surrounding the reduced portion of the shaft 50. This of course allows for horizontal rotation of the tray and tray support assembly. Further, offsetting the end support 43 from the center line of the bagging and loading device lets a greater portion of the tray 14 to be laterally disposed over the aisle 9 for subsequent unloading of groceries into a shopping cart 8, as shown in FIG. 3.
In the present embodiment of the invention, an electro-hydraulic drive means is provided to move the shaft 50 vertically up and down. FIGS. 11 and 12 illustrate the electro-hydraulic drive means, the hydraulic and electric circuits of which are illustrated separately for clarity of operation.
The electro-hydraulic drive means includes a hydraulic ram 85 within the housing 60 to displace the shaft 50, and operates as follows: When the double-poled singlethrow A.C. line switch (see FIG. 12) is closed, an A.C. potential is impressed across the contacts of a single-pole double-throw foot switch 81 and the parallel motor circuit of a hydraulic pump 82. When the foot switch 81 is depressed into position 81b the circuit comprising a solenoid 87 and the parallel coil of a relay 97 is completed. Energizing the relay 97 causes the relay contacts 98 to close thus completing the parallel motor circuit of the hydraulic pump 82 thereby energizing the pump. Further, energizing the solenoid 87 causes a four-way reversing valve 84, in the hydraulic circuit shown in FIGURE 11, to move to the right thereby allowing hydraulic fluid to flow from the pump 82 through the hydraulic line 100, the four-way valve 84, and then through the hydraulic line 102 into the bottom of the hydraulic ram chamber displacing the shaft 50 vertically upward. The return of hydraulic fluid is through hydraulic line 101 which includes a one-way flow-regulating valve 95, through the four-Way reversing valve 84 and into hydraulic line 103 and there returned to a sump 86.
The foot switch 81 is spring loaded so that when the operator removes his foot from the foot switch, it returns to the up position 81a and energizes the circuits for the down stroke of the shaft 50. With the foot switch in the up position 810:, solenoid 83 and a parallel time delay relay 93 are energized. Energizing the coil of the time delay relay 93 closes the contacts 94, thereby energizing the parallel hydraulic pump sump as, thereby preventing pump burnup.
circuit. Energizing solenoid 83 causes a four-way reversing valve 84 to move to the left allowing hydraulic fluid to flow through hydraulic line ltltl, the four-way reversing valve 8d,the one-way flow regulating valve 95 in the line 1m into the top of the hydraulic ram chamber 85 thereby displacing the shaft 50 downward. The hydraulic fluid returns to the pump 82 by flowing through hydraulic line 102, the four-way valve 84, the sump return line 193 and then into the hydraulic sump 86.
The flow regulating valve 95 may be manually adjusted to control the speed of the shaft 5h as its moves in the downward direction, the valve permitting uncontrolled upward movement of the shaft. In the present embodiment the upward flow of hydraulic fluid through the valve 95 has been set so that the shaft 59 moves from the full up stroke position to the down stroke position in seven seconds. The time delay relay 93 is also manuall variable such that the relay contacts 94 can be made to open after any desired energized time and thereby shutoff the pump 82. In the present embodiment the time delay relay 93 has been set to open the contacts 94 nine seconds after energizing so that two seconds after the shaft 50 is all the way down, the pump 82 is I shutoff.
in the operator of the bagging and unloading device desires, the shaft 50 may be stopped at any height in its upward or downward travel by merely'placing the foot switch 81 in the mid-position 810 between the up and down positions. Placing the foot switch 81 in the mid-position 81c de-energizes both solenoids 83 and 87, and depending upon whether the shaft 5% is being driven vertically upward or downward opens the relay contacts 94 or 93 by de-energizing the relay coils 93 or 97 respectively. This allows the four-way reversing valve 84 to return to the normal position blocking off lines 1M and 162 and maintaining hydraulic pressurefin the ram chamber 85 keeping the shaft St) at the desired height. a i
To prevent pump overheating'and eventual burnup, a check valve 99 is placed on the discharge side of the pump in the hydraulic line 104% If the operator of the bagging and unloading device fails to remove his foot' from the foot switch 551 and keeps it in position 81b after the shaft Etlhas been displaced to its furthermost vertical upward position, pressure will build up in hydraulic lines 1%, 102, and the base of the hydraulic ram chamber 85. To prevent an overpressure and eventual pump damage, when the pressure in the chamber 85 on the bottom of the shaft 50 reaches a predetermined level, the backpressure created on the seat of the check valve 99 causes the check valve to open and allows hydraulic fluid between the pump 82 and the In a like manner, when the hydraulic fluid is to the top of the ram chamber 85 through hydraulic line 191, to prevent excessive hydraulic fluid backprcssure from building up on the pump discharge, again check valve 99 will unseat and hydraulic flow will be from the pump 82 through the line 10b, the check valve 99 and into the sump 86.
The operation of the bagging and loading device is best illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3. In FIG. 1, the position of the grocery bag loader is just behind the checkout counter lid with the longitudinally extended end 16 of the loading container or tray 14 projecting over the loading area 12. As merchandise moves into the checkout loading area 12 by means of the conveyor belt 11, the checker, whose position is just behind the counter lltl as indicated at C in FIG. 1, places the merchandise onto the tray 14. When the tray is filled with merchandise, a
grocery bag 23 is inserted over the tray 14 as is illustrated in FIG. 2, and the'AuC. line switch 39 is placed in the on position by the checker. The checker then moves foot switch 31 into the down position 8111 thereby actuating the drive'means to move the shaft 50 vertically upward. When the tray 14 reaches a suitable height, that is sufficiently high to clear the edge of a shopping cart, the checker rotates the tray and tray support means 24 laterally about the shaft 5% to position the tray above the shopping cart 8. The checker then moves the tray release 34- downwardly about the pivot studs 35a and 35b and because of the weight of groceries in the tray, the tray swings vertically downward about its tray pivots 15 and gently places the bag and its contents into the grocery shopping cart 3. To prevent any sudden jarring of the contents of the'bag as it hits the bottom of the shopping cart, the checker may place one hand on the bottom of the bag to guide it into the shopping cart. The checker then raises the trayvclear of the bag and into the horizontal position where .the magnet serves to seat the tray in firm engagement with the plate 26 of the tray support assembly 25, the tray release 34 having been operated to cause the lip 36 to again seat over the afterbottom edge 22 of the tray 14 thus securing the tray. The checker then rotates the tray 14 about the shaft to again position the tray over the loading area 12 of the counter 16. The foot switch 81 is released and because it is spring loaded moves into position 81a and now the shaft St) is driven down until once again the tray 14 rests over the offset area 12 of the checkout counter 16. The time delay relay 93 then automatically de-energizes thereby opening the contacts 94 and shutting off the hydraulic pump 82.
As study of the present invention indicates, the checker must be careful concerning his placement of the articles in the tray 14. Presently in supermarkets, the checker places fragile items at the top of the grocery bag and those items least likely to be damaged at the bottom of thebag. With the present bagging and unloading device it is a simple matter for the checker to become accustomed to placing such articles as meats and heavy canned goods at the outer end of the tray 14, and less durable items such as eggs, fruits, and the like closer to the tray support means 24. This would automatically place the heavier and more sturdy items at the bottom of the grocery bag upon loading in much the same manner that presently is utilized at grocery checkout counters. Further, since the tray'is open ended, the checker may easily top off the grocery bag with additional purchases which may project from the top of the bag.
The present invention also provides a measure of safety in that as the shaft 59 is driven down by the drive means 65, if an article happens to be under the tray 14, for example on the checkout counter 1t), and the tray strikes the object, both the tray support assembly 25 and the tray 14 will pivot upwardly about the pivot 41, thus preventing damage to both the object under the tray 14 and bagging and unloading device.
Thus the present'invention provides a bagging and unloading device which is simplein nature and which is susceptible of being used with the present checkout counters, while also reducing the work load ofthe checker.
Although the invention has been described with a certain degree of particularly, it is understood that the present disclosure has been made only by way of example and that numerous changes in the details of construction and the combination and arrangement of parts may be made without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as hereinafter claimed.
1. A bagging and unloading device comprising a tray suitable for receiving merchandise therein, a tray support meanscomprising a tray support assembly, a trayrelease means, and a tray pivot block, a controllable means connected to said tray pivot block and operable to raise and lower the tray support means to a desired position, pivot means inter-connecting said tray support assembly and tray, said tray release means mounted on said tray sup port assembly to releasably secure the tray at one end to selectively maintain the tray in a substantially horizontal position while loading and actuable to allow the tray to swing vertically downward about said pivot means on said tray support assembly, and means inter-connecting said tray support assembly and said tray pivot block operable to allow said tray support assembly to swing vertically upward as desired.
2. A bagging and unloading device according to claim 1 wherein said tnay support assembly comprises an upstanding side wall, and a plate connected to said upstanding side wall, said upstanding side wall being outward of said tray through which passes said pivot means interconnecting said tray support assembly and tray.
3. A bagging and unloading device according to claim 2 including a shock absorber cooperating between said tray and said upstanding side wall whereby the swing of the tray in the vertical down direction about the pivot means inter-connecting said tray and tray support means is shock absorbed.
4. A bagging and unloading device according to claim 3 wherein said tray has at least one substantially vertical side wall, and a bottom plate approximately perpendicular to said substantially vertical side wall and connected thereto.
5. A bagging and unloading device according to claim 1 including a journalled means in said tray pivot block operable to enable lateral rotation about said controllable means.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 708,218 9/02 French 53--261 X 2,757,500 8/56 Heinl et al. 53-255 2,902,811 9/59 Joyce 53-390 2,966,770 1/61 Lewis 53-390 FRANK E. BAILEY, Primary Examiner.
TRAVIS S. MCGEHEE, Examiner.