US 3185851 A
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May 25, 1965 A. DEMILIO PHOTOCELL CONTROLLED ANTI-EJECTION CIRCUIT FOR AN ARTICLE HANDLING APPARATUS Filed June 29, 1962 HOV. AC 0 HOV. DC
. ARMANI) D'EMIUO AGENT United States Patent 3,185,851 PHOTGCELL CQNTRQLLED ANTl-EJECTION CIRCUIT FQR AN ARTICLE HANDLKNG APPARATUS Armand DEmiiio, Holmes, Pa, assignor to Brewer Pharmacal Engineering Corporation, Upper Darby, Pa, a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed June 29, 1962, Ser. No. 206,471 Claims. (Cl. 250-423) The invention hereinafter described and claimed relates to electrical control circuits. More specifically however, it has to do with electrical control circuits having electrical anti-jam means for use with chutes of article storage and issuing apparatus wherein the chute is adapted to receive articles at one point and deliver them to another, and as a result thereof to actuate associated apparatus.
While of broader applicability the invention is particularly adapted for use in the control of apparatus such as shown and described in the co-pending application entitled Inventory Control System and Apparatus Serial No. 162,630, filed December 12, 1961, in the names of Frederic T. C. Brewer, Jt illiam A. White and Walter E. Colburn, and the invention shown and described in the co-pending application entitled Article Delivery Chute Serial No. 188,679, filed April 19, 1962 in the name of Gerard A. Nash, and both assigned to the assignee of the present invention.
The apparatus of the Brewer et al. application is cyclically operable, after a plurality of pro-operative conditions have been satisfied, to issue or deliver a pre-selected of a plurality of different articles from a locked storage area in a cabinet through a chute (as more specifically disclosed in the Naab application) to a point of access from the exterior thereof. Passage of the article through the chute interrupts a sensing circuit thus to initiate operation of a recording device to make a record of the article delivery.
Unfortunately, however, chutes of this type are subject to stuffing. That is, blocking of the chute with a foreign object, such as wedded paper or cloth, inserted in the chute above the sensing means before initiating a cycle of operation thus to prevent the record being made upon issuance of an article which would be stopped by the stufing material before passing through the sensing means, then, after the cycle is completed, removing the stuffing and appropriating-or stealing-the article.
It is the primary object of the present invention to provide electrical control circuitry for article handling apparatus having as a feature thereof means to overcome the above-mentioned stu'fi'ing problem in chutes.
More specifically, it is an object of the invention to provide improved electrical circuitry capable of sensing the jamming of a chute to prevent passage therethrough of articles, and thereby, in response to such condition, prevent operation of associated article issuing apparatus.
In accordance with the above objects and first briefly described the invention comprises electrical circuitry for effecting operation of article handling apparatus having a plurality of pro-operative conditions which must be met before effecting delivery of an article into a chute through which the article passes to a point of access. The article delivery chute has separated article receiving and delivery openings whereby an article entering the receiving opening will pass through the chute to the delivery opening. Between the openings, the chute is provided with circuit means for sensing the passage of the article through the chute and responsive thereto to effect actuation of associated apparatus, such as a recorder. Between the receiving opening of the chute and the sensing means, antija-m circuit means is provided to detect stuffing of the 3,l35,85l Fatented May 25, 1965 chute, and in the presence thereof to prevent actuation of the issuing apparatus and thereby foil illicit operation of the apparatus.
Other objects and features of the invention will become apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiment of the invention when taken with the accompanying schematic drawing.
The single figure of the accompanying drawing is a schematic of the preferred embodiment of the invention.
While obviously of broader applicability, the invention is shown, by way of example, as it would be incorporated in the chute It) of an article issuing apparatus, such as disclosed in the above mentioned co-pending applications, to which reference may be had, if desired, for structural details unimportant to an understanding of the present invention. Briefly, however, and as shown fragmentarily on the accompanying schematic, the apparatus comprises a cabinet (not shown) for housing in a locked compartment, a plurality of articles 12, such as drug packages, in separate bins 1 4, such as shown and described in the co-pending application of Richard I. Kester, entitled Article Storing and Issuing Apparatus, Serial No. 187,- 636, filed April 16, 1962, now abandoned, and assigned to the assignee of the present invention. The bins have an ejection mechanism 15 operated by a solenoid 18.
To obtain issuance of a particular article in the mechanism of the Brewer et al. application, certain preliminary conditions must be met before the solenoid 18 can be activated. First, a door 2d must be opened, simultaneously therewith closing switch 21 and exposing to the operator a drug selection console 22 (shown at bottom of drawing) removably housing a plurality of key plates 24 (only two of which are shown) in slots 24A, each plate having indicia identifying the articles stored in a particular bin. As described in the aforesaid Brewer et al. application a bin is selected for activation by Withdrawal of its corresponding identification key plate 24 from its slot thus closing its associated switch 25. Means 26 forming the subject matter of the co-pending application entitled Electrical Circuit, Serial No. 189,637, filed April 23, 1962, in the names of Richard E. Wiley and assigned to the assignee of the present invention, prevents operation of the apparatus if more than one plate 24 is removed from the console.
As seen along the central right hand edge of the schematic, the plate 24, along with a customer identifying key plate 27 and an operator-identifying key plate 28, is inserted in the shuttle 30 of a charge recorder 3-1 to close associated normally open switches 3-2, 34 and 36. If the charge recorder contains a suflicient quantity of record tape 4%, shown just above the shuttle, another normally open switch 42 is closed. If the article sensing and the anti-jam portion of the circuits, now to be described, are energized, as described later, switches 44 and 46 also will be closed, thus to complete the bin actuating circuit means, generally identified by the numeral 47except for closure of start switch 4 8. Closure of the start switch, which is located on the console 22, now will actuate the selected bin 14 to issue or project an article or package 12 into the article receiving opening 50 of the chute 10.
The circuit 47 can be traced from the v. AC.
source at the upper left of the schematic, through door switch 21, tape switch 52, shuttle switches 36, 34 and 32, anti-jam switch '44, detector or article sensing switch 46, start switch 48, error circuit 26, and article plate switch 25 to the bin actuating solenoid coil 18.
The chute is provided with article sensing means comprising an electro-optical circuit means 52 for sensing or detecting the passage of an article therethrough, and coincidental therewith initiating operation of the charge recorder 31 to make a record of the transaction, all as more fully described in the above mentioned co-pending application of Brewer et al. The sensing circuit means comprises a radiant energy exciter or lamp 54, and optical mean (not shown) for directing a beam of light 58 from lamp 54 back and forth across the chute to a photooptical device, such as photo-resistor 56, preferably in parallel paths vertically displaced in equal increments less than the minimum major dimension of any package issued from the bins, thus to assure detection of an article passing through the chute. The optical means provided for this purpose may be a series of lens and prisms, such as shown and described in the above identified Naab application. Further details of the sensing circuit means for controlling operation of the article issuing bin mechanism and the recorder in a system such as disclosed in the Brewer et al. application, are described below.
As mentioned before, chutes of this kind are subject to stutfing, that is, some object, such as a Wad of paper or cloth, may be inserted through the access opening 69 and upwardly through the chute past the beam 58 and into the area 62, thus to intercept a package prior to its passing through the beam 58 and hold it in this area until a cycle of the machine is completed, after which the stufiing is removed and the package appropriated without a record of the transaction being made by the recorder 32.
In particular accordance with an important feature of the present invention the means to prevent such stuffing comprises a source of radiant energy, preferably such as light bulbs 64 and 66, and means, such as lens 68, arranged to project their beams in paths 70 and 72 across the chute to' associated ray sensitive devices, such as photo-resistors 74 and 76.
The photo-resistors are connected in series to the base of a PNP amplifying type of transistor78, the emitter and collector electrodes 80 and 82 which are connetced to a minus voltage 84, of approximately 25 v. in this embodiment, through a resistor 86 having a value of 3.3K ohms, and a relay 88. The relay is operatively connected to the normally open switch 44 in the bin circuit 47-or other associated apparatus to be controlled. A resistor 90 of 30K ohms has one end connected to the line between the photo-resistor 76 and the base of transistor 78, and its other end to +110 V. DC.
Lamps 54, 64 and 66 from which light normally impinges upon photo-resistors 56, 74 and 76, respectively, are energized by means of a 6 v. secondary circuit 92 which receives its energy through a transformer T from a 110 V. AC. line. If desired, a voltage dropping resistor of ohms may be provided in the sub-circuit to extend the life of lamps 64 and 66. While circuit 92 may be closed in other suitable ways, in the present case closure is effected by means of a normally open switch 94, actuation of which is by a relay 96 which gets its energy from the 110 V. AC. supply upon closing of door switch 21.
In operation under normal conditionsthat is, with no foreign object in the chute to prevent an ejected article from passing completely through the chute to the article delivery opening .60-light from lamps 64 and 66 impinges upon photo-resistors 74 and 76 dropping their combined resistance to a maximum of 100K ohms, and the current through the photo-resistors to the low impedence side of the transistor is 0.5 ma. However, the 30K ohm resistor 90 will bleed off, or subtract 0.33 ma. leaving only 0.17 ma. to reach the transistor. This latter current (0.17 ma.) multiplied by the amplification factor of the transistor (-a minimum of 40) gives a current of 6.8 ma.
which is sufficient to energize relay 88 to close switch 44. Now, if light from either or both of the lamps 64 and 66 is prevented from impinging upon its companion photo-resistor for a sufficient length of time, such as by jamming of the chute, their total series resistance becomes greater than 500K ohms and the current through them, by reason of the current through resistor 90 and the leakage current through the transistor, becomes less than 0.1 ma. The base of the transistor thus becomes more positive cutting off the current to relay 8 8 which drops out, opening switch 44 to cut the power in circuit 47 and thu prevent operation of the bins, or other associated apparatus.
The article sensing portion of the circuit comprises the photo-resistor 56 in series circuit with a PNP amplifying type transistor 98 and a sensitive, fast acting relay 100, with a base resistor 102 of 30K ohms value from at +65 v. supply, and a second relay104 controlled by relay 100 through a normally open switch 106 from a V. DC. supply. Switch 46 in circuit 47 is operatively connected to relay 1.04 and, as mentioned above, cooperates with other switches to control operation of the associated equipment.
In operation, light from lamp 54 traverses the chute back and forth 'to impinge upon photo-resistor 56 causing its resistance to drop to a maximum of 62K ohms. This tries to drive 900 a. through the base of transistor 98. However, the resistor 102 bleeds it of 330 ,aa. leaving only 570 ,ua. which turns the transistor off. The beta times 570 ,ua. results in a minimum of two milliamps through relay 160 to energize it and thus energize relay 104 by closing switch 106.
If light beam 58 is broken, as by an article passing through the chute, the photo-resistor 56 momentarily is darkened and its resistance rises to 400K ohms. This permits ,wa. to balance the 330 a. from the 30K ohm resistor 102, back biasing the transistor 98 causing the relay 100 to become de-energized opening switch 106 to de-energize relay 104 thus to close switch 77 in line 110 to the recorder, and open switch 46 in circuit 47 to prevent further operation of the bins until completion of the recorder cycle. Line 110 is connected to the 110 V. AC. source by connection (not shown) of its terminal X with circuit 47 at its terminal X shown just to the right of door switch 21. Other means, not important here, are used to hold the circuit closed for one cycle of operation of the recorder and then shut it off. Reference may be had to the above-identified co-pending application of Brewer et -al. for such details. Relay 88 in the anti-jam circuit is slow acting, therefore an article pass ing through the beams 70 and 72 will have no effect on normal operation of the apparatus.
Having now described the preferred form of the invention it is clear that it provides a control circuit for article delivering apparatus having the attributes and fea tures set forth at the beginning of this specification.
What is claimed is:
1. In electrically. operative article ejecting and handling apparatus operable to eject an article into and to pass it through a chute from one point to another:
(A) an electrical control circuit for connecting said apparatus to a source of electricity;
(B) a first sensing means positioned between said points in the chute to sense an article as it passes along its path of movement through the chute and responsive thereto to actuate associated apparatus; and
(C) a second sensing means positioned between said one point and said first sensing means to sense material placed in the path of movement of said article to prevent the article from passing through said first sensing means during a cycle of operation, and up erable in the presence of such material in the path of movement to render the article handl ng apparatus inoperable until the material is removed;
(D) said second sensing means having means to delay its operation for a period of time normally to permit the said article to pass thereby without rendering said apparatus inoperable.
2. An electrical control circuit for article ejecting and handling apparatus cyclically operable to eject an article into a chute through which it passes by force of gravity from one portion to another, comprising:
(A) means for connecting said article ejecting apparatus to a source of electricity comprising,
('1) an electrical conductor, and (2) a plurality of first switches series connected (3) a normally open start switch for effecting final closure of said circuit to actuate said article ejecting means to introduce an article into said chute,
in said conductor; 5 B) circuit means, for connecting the recorder to a (B) first article sensing means positioned at a point source of electricity and having between said chute portions and normally opera- (1) a normally open second switch, tive 'to close one of said first switches to prepare (C) first sensing means comprising; said circuit for operating said article ejecting appa- (1) a first radiant energy source, ratus, and responsive to the sensing of an article (2) la first radiant energy sensing device, passing through the chute to eflect actuation of an (3) means for directing a radiant energy beam associated device; and from said first source to impinge upon said (C) second sensing means between said one chute first sensing device to produce an elect-ricaloutportion and said first sensing means normally closput therefrom, and ing a second of said first switches to render said (4) means responsive to said output to effect clocontrol circuit operable, but effective in the pressure of one of said first switches, and responence of material placed in the chute to prevent the sive to interruption of said radiant energy beam article from passing through said first sensing means by an article passing through the chute to open after being ejected into said chute, thus to open said one of said first switches to inactivate said second switch to render the said ejecting appasaid article ejecting apparatus, and to close said tratus inoperable until the material is removed; normally open second switch in said recorder (*D) said second sensing means having means to delay circuit thus to actuate said recorder; and
its operation for a period of time long enough nor- (D) second sensing means in said chute between said mally to permit the said article to pass thereby one portion and said first sensing means comprising, without rendering said apparatus inoperable. (1) ond rad ant energy source, 3. An electrical circuit according to claim 2 wherein (2) a second radiant energy sensing device, and said second sensing means comprises: (3) means for directing a second radiant energy (A) at least one radiant energy source, beam from said source to impinge upon said (B) a radiant energy sensing device, second sensing device to produce an electrical (C) means for directing a beam of radiant energy output therefrom, and
across said chute from said source to said sensing (4) m ans responsive to said output to close andevice to produce an electrical output from the latter, th r of aid first switches and responsive to and the blocking of said second radiant energy ibearn (D) means responsive to the said electrical output in y jamming m'atefial in Said Qhute to p Said one mode of operation to close said second of said first Switch and 111115 Pfevfili p Said first switches in said circuit to render said article ejecting apparatus operable, and in another mode anticle ejecting apparatus until said material is removed.
of operation to open said second switch in response to the blocking of said beam firom said sensing device thus to render said article ejecting apparatus inoperable.
4. An electrical circuit according to claim -2 wherein 6. An electrical control circuit for article ejecting and handling apparatus cyclically operable to eject an article into and through a chute from one portion to another and to make a record thereof by a recorder, comprising:
(A) means for connecting said ejecting apparatus to said second sensing means comprises:
(A) a plurality of radiant energy sources;
a source of electricity, comprising, (1) an electrical conductor,
(B) means for energizing said sources; (2) a plurality of first switches in series in said (C) a plurality of radiant energy sensing devices; fionduct'or OPE-Table Closfid Condition P (D) means f r directing be of di energy fulfillment of certain pee-operative conditions,
across said chute from ones of said sources to cora d responding ones of said sensing devices .to produce a normally p Switch for eifwiing an electrical output from said sensing devices; and 59 fill-Z11 dvsure of sa d c rcuit to actuate said ar- (E) means connecting said sensing devices in series tide electing mgalls 0 intmduce an art e into circuit with, said chute,
(1) amplifying means, and (B) circuit means for connecting said recorder to a (2) relay means operable in response to said mm electricity and having electrical output to close said second of said Ya n rmally open second switch; first switches thus to render said control cirfirst rticl Sens ng means comprising; cuit operable, and to open said second switch amp, to render said control circuit inoperable if one a p i sistor, or more of said nadiant energy beams is blocked means for directing a ght beam from said or otherwise prevented from impingement upon p to impinge uP011 said PhO'EO-IeSI'StOI its corresponding sensing device for a predeter- ProdllCe Wwk fileClTiCal Output CUT-rent theremined period of time. from, 5. An electrical control circuit for ejecting and :arti- (4) means having a current amplifier and a relay, cle handling apparatus cyclically operable to eject an and responsive to said output current to close .article into and through .a chute trom one portion to one of said first switches, and responsive to another and to make a record thereof by recorder means, interruption of said beam by an article passi ing; ing through said chute to open said one of (A) means for connecting said article ejecting appasaid first switches, and to close said normally ratus to a source of electricity, comprising, open second switch insaid circuit means for (1) an electrical conductor,
(2) a plurality of first switches in series in said conductor operable to closed condition upon fulfillment of certain preoperative conditions, andconnecting said recorder to a source of electnicity thus to actuate said recorder to make a record of the article; and
(D) second sensing means in said chute between said one portion and said first sensing means comprising,
(1) a plurality of lamps,
(2) a plurality of photo-res stors, and
(3) means. for directing a light beam from each of said lamps upon a cor-responding of said photo-resistors thus to produce a weak electrical output therefrom, and
(4) means having a current amplifier .and a relay and responsive to said output current to close another of said first switches, and responsive to blocking of said beam by jamming mate-rial in said chute to open one of said first switches thus to prevent operation of said article ejecting apparatus until such material is removed.
7. A circuit according to claim 5 and further including:
(A) a further first switch in the circuit between said source of electricity and all the other of sa d first switches; and
( B) means-for closing said further first switch whereby said radiant energy eXciter-s are energized.
8. Apparatus according to claim 7 wherein: the print elements in said recorder comprise removable charge plates having indicia thereon, and further including:
(A) more of said series connected first switches each adapted for closure by one of a plurality of said printing plates when the plates are in printing posi- 25 tion in the recorder.
10 said housing at one time, and
( B) means responsive to such condition to render the ejecting apparatus inoperative.
References Cited by the Examiner 15 UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,875,839 9/32 Alexander et al 250223 X 1,938,104 12/33 Jennings 250-223 X 2,171,362 8/39 Gulliks en '250-223 20 2,809,297 10/57 Hartwig et a1 250223 X 2,916,633 12/59 Stone 'et al. 250223 2,994,784 8/61 White et a1; 250-223 3,011,101 11/61 Boyce 250223 X RALPH G. NILSON, Primary" Examiner.
ARCHIE 1R. 'BOROHELT, Examiner.