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Publication numberUS3480162 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 25, 1969
Filing dateFeb 27, 1967
Priority dateFeb 27, 1967
Publication numberUS 3480162 A, US 3480162A, US-A-3480162, US3480162 A, US3480162A
InventorsSaul Sanford
Original AssigneeTriax Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Print-out device for warehousing system
US 3480162 A
Abstract  available in
Images(6)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

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United States Patent US. Cl. 214-164 23 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The print-out device comprises impulse actuated counting and printing modules coupled into the control circuit of an automatic warehousing system, for automatically printing onto a tape, or card or other record, the location at which a load has been deposited in the storage frame of the system. The warehousing system is of the type wherein a mobile load carrier is movable horizontally and vertically with respect to the storage frame, and with the control circuit of the system including horizontal and vertical counting sensors which furnish the impulse signals for actuation of the counting and printing modules. Such print-out device produces a visual record at the time of depositing of the load, of where the load has been deposited in the storage frame, so that such load may be subsequently accurately and conveniently retrieved therefrom. An address-type printout system is also disclosed which is adapted to be automatically programmed for printing onto a tape, card or other record, upon programming of the warehousing system proper to deposit a load therein, and which printing occurs when the load carrier deposits the load in the storage frame of the system.

This invention relates in general to automatic warehousing systems for storing and unstoring loads, by transferring them between a movable load carrier and a storage frame comprising columns of stacked storage means or bins, and more particularly relates to an automatic printout device for automatically visually printing on a tape, or card, such as an IBM card, or other record, where a load has been deposited in the storage frame by the load carrier.

In automatic warehousing systems wherein a mobile load carrier deposits and retrieves loads from a multi-bin arrangement of storage frame, recording of the location of the individual loads in the storage frame so that they can be subsequently retrieved from the storage frame, has usually been done manually by the warehousing operator. Such manual recording results many times in errors and loss of ready determination where a particular load is stored in the storage frame. In a warehousing system of any substantial size, the locating of a misplaced or improperly recorded load may be extremely difficult and time-consuming.

In the copending US. patent application Ser. No. 418,048 filed Dec. 14, 1964 in the name of Sanford Saul and entitled Electrical Control Circuit for an Automatic Warehousing System (now US. Patent 3,402,835) there is disclosed an automatic warehousing system and control circuitry therefor of the general type with which the present arrangement is adapted for use. Such system of the aforesaid copending patent application comprises a mobile load carrier, including a horizontally movable conveyor frame which travels alongside a multi-bin storage frame and provides vertical track means for an elevator capable of delivering loads to different levels in the storage frame. The elevator in turn carries a laterally extensible extractor for inserting loads into the storage bins and retrieving loads therefrom. The control circuitry for such warehousing system includes both horizontal and 3,480,162 Patented Nov. 25, 1969 vertical counting sensors for sensing and controlling the movement of the load carrier to the selected storage bins.

The present invention provides a printing or recording device adapted for use for instance in a warehousing system of the latter mentioned type, and which will automatically record where in the storage frame a particular load has been deposited, so that in subsequent retrieval operations the load can be conveniently and accurately located in its storage bin, and returned from the storage frame by the load carrier.

Accordingly, an object of the invention is to provide a warehousing system incorporating therein a novel recording mechanism for accurately and automatically indicating where in the storage frame of the system that loads have been deposited therein.

Another object of the invention is to provide an automatic warehousing system which includes a storage frame, and a powered load carrier movable in a travel zone alongside of the storage frame for inserting loads into and removing loads from the storage frame, and wherein the storage frame comprises columns of stacked storage means, such as storage bins, with there being control means for the load carrier for automatically controlling the movement of the load carrier to a selected bin for depositing a load therein and with such control means including pulse generating sensor means, and with there being provided an automatic printing or recording device actuated by the pulse generating means of the control means, for automatically recording on a tape, card or other record the location in the storage frame that a particular load is deposited.

A further object of the invention is to provide an automatic print-out device including solenoid actuated count and print modules equipped with impulse actuated printing wheel means on which numbers are disposed, for printing on a card or other record such numbers, and with such count and print module being resettable, and which module is adapted to be pulsed by a signal from sensor means disposed in the control circuit of the Warehousing system, with such sensor means being operable to provide a signal each time a load carrier of the warehousing system moves past a storage means in the storage frame, both horizontally and vertically, with such signal being operable to cause actuation of the count and print module so as to advance the printing wheel thereof one or more positions for one or a predetermined number of impulses, and including means for causing actuation of a printing solenoid for causing printing of positioned indicia on the printing wheels onto a record such as an IBM card or the like, thus positively recording where in the storage frame the load has been deposited, for ease in accurately retrieving such loads subsequently from the storage frame.

A further object of the invention is to provide an automatic warehousing system which includes a multiple bin storage frame, and a powered load carrier movable in a travel zone along-side of the storage frame for inserting loads into and removing loads from the storage frarne, and with there being manually operated programming means for programming the load carrier for movement in the travel zone to a selected one of said storage bins for depositing a load therein, and with there being provided an automatic printing or recording device which is programmed for printing or recording by the programming of the load carrier for the depositing of a load in the selected storage bin, and which printing or recording mechanism is actuated to print or record the storage bin location previously programmed therein, upon depositing of the load by the load carrier in said selected storage bin.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a diagrammatic perspective view of a storage frame installation of an automatic warehousing system embodying the recording or print-out mechanism of the invention;

FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary schematic illustration of a portion of the control circuit of the automatic warehousing system, which is adapted to control the movement of the load carrier for depositing a load into and/ or removing a load from the storage frame, and which is generally identical to FIGURE 9B of the circuitry of the aforementioned patent application Ser. No. 418,048 but which illustrates in the phantom lines enclosure thereof circuitry for preventing actuation of the load carrier in its work operation of depositing a load in the storage frame, if no card or recording record means is inserted into the print-out device;

FIGURE 2A is a fragmentary schematic ilustration of another portion of the control circuitry of the automatic warehousing system, which is adapted to control the movement of the load carrier for depositing a load into and/or removing a load from the storage frame, and which is generally identical to FIGURE 9E of aforementioned Ser. No. 418,048;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged, generally diagrammatic, side elevational view of one of the counting and printing modules utilized in the print-out mechanism for printing the location of a deposited load in the storage frame;

FIGURE 4 is an end elevational view of the FIGURE 4 module, and illustrating the printing numerals on the printing wheel of the module;

FIGURE 5 is a simplified schematic illustration of circuitry for controlling actuation of the modules of the print-out device, and with such modules being diagrammatically indicated by means of the phantom lines. In the embodiment illustrated there is a pair of the counting and printing modules associated with each of the horizontal and vertical counting operations, and a single counting and printing module associated with the storage bank recording portion;

FIGURE 6 is a simplified schematic illustration of the circuitry of a count-print module and with the FIGURE 6 ilustration showing two count-print modules connected in cascade to provide for serial counting, and with such modules being resettable. Each of the modules is designated by one of the phantom rectangles, and with the printing wheels on each counting and printing module containing numerals O to 9 so that in the embodiment ilustrated each module is a decade.

FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary diagrammatic illustration of the mounting of the print-out mechanism to the control console of the load carrier, for convenient insertion of a record member, such as a card, into the printing mechanism for automatically recording the location in the storage frame where a load has been deposited by the load carrier.

FIGURE 8 is a schematic illustration of another embodiment of print-out device, and one which is of the address-type system wherein the printing or recording mechanism is automatically programmed for printing on a record sheet, the storage bin location that is designated by the warehouse operator during programming of the load carrier for depositing a load in said storage bin location.

FIGURE 9 is a diagrammatic, fragmentary illustration of the push-button control panel for the load carrier for programming the load carrier in its work cycle of depositing a load in a selected bin in the storage frame, and illustrating the printing mechanism of FIGURE 8 mounted adjacent the control panel for printing on the record sheet where in the storage frame a load is deposited by the load carrier, with the printing mechanism being automatically programmed for recording the selected bin location upon programming of the load carrier by actuation of the push-buttons on the control panel.

Referring now again to the drawings, the exemplary warehousing system as illustrated in FIGURE 1 comprises a skeletal storage frame or load support means 14 constructed of elongated structural members of any suitable cross-section or shape. In the embodiment illustrated the storage frame has parallel storage bank sections, or in other words left and right-hand storage bank sections 16 and 18, defining therebetween a travel zone or aisle 19 so as to permit a motorized carrier, indicated generally at 20, to be moved along the aisle or travel zone 19 and to deposit and/or retrieve a load or article from the storage bins 21 formed by each of the storage bank sections 16 and 18.

As more particularly disclosed in the aforementioned copending patent application, each storage bank may be constructed of a plurality of vertically extending posts 22 spaced apart :by a plurality of generally horizontally extending load supporting members 22a defining the plurality of the aforementioned storage bins. Stringers 23 may be provided tying the storage banks together into a generally rigid structure.

The aisle sides of the storage banks 16 and 18 may be provided with a pair of generally horizontally extending rails 24 defining tracks, providing for supporting the load carrier 20 as it is moved therealong within the aisle or travel zone 19, with such tracks preferably extending outwardly of the storage banks for positioning the load carrier in front of the storage banks at a pick-up and discharge station or stations 26, from which position the load carrier conventionally starts its movement into the aisle to deposit or pick up loads in the storage bank sections. Referensce may be had to the copending US. patent application Ser. No. 484,845 filed Sept. 3, 1965 and now US. Patent No. 3,371,804, in the name of Anthony R. Chasar, and entitled Automatic Warehousing Sys tem, for a detailed disclosure of a suitable construction of pick-up and discharge station.

The load carrier 20- may comprise upright mast structure formed with a pair of generally vertically extending track members 27 with the mast structure being secured to an intermediate carriage frame 28. Carriage frame 28 may bridge the distance across the aisle 19 and may have wheels 30 disposed in rolling engagement in the tracks 24, and supporting the load carrier on the tracks for horizontal movement. Such horizontally movable structure of the load carrier will be hereinafter referred to as conveyor mechanism or means.

The upper and lower ends of the conveyor mechanism may be provided with frames 31, 31:: respectively with generally horizontally rotatable rollers or pulleys thereon, adapted for engagement with complementary rails 33 mounted on the aisle side of each storage bank, thereby guiding the upper and lower ends of the load carrier as it is moved along the aisle, and providing in conjunction with the carriage frame 28 and associated tracks 24, stabilizing engagement between the load carrier and the storage frame.

The load carrier 20 may also include a vertically movable elevator 35 adapted for movement along the vertical tracks 27 of the mast structure of the conveyor means, to substantially the full height of the storage frame. The elevator 35 may mount a load supporting platform or extractor 36 which preferably provides an extensible table, with such table being extendible in either of the opposed directions transverse to the direction of movement of the load carrier in the travel zone 19, so as to locate the extractor within either of the storage banks 16 or 18, effective to place the extensible table in position to deposit and/ or remove a load from a selected one of the storage bins. Suitable power means, such as electric motors, may be provided and operatively coupled to each of the conveyor means, the elevator and the extractor, for actuating each of the latter. Reference may be had to the aforementioned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 418,048 for a detailed disclosure of such power means and their connections to the respective portion of the load carrier.

When depositing a load in one of the storage bins of the storage frame, the elevator 35 and associated extractor 36 is adapted to be located opposite the selected storage bin opening, such that as the load is moved into the selected storage bin by extending the extractor, the upper surface of the extractor portion supporting the load is slightly above the load supporting rail members 22a mounted on the sides of and defining the bottom extremity of the selected 'bin. When the load is completely within the confines of the bin the elevator may be lowered slightly to deposit the load onto the supporting members and to permit retraction of the extractor back to its normal centered relationship with respect to the elevator.

The programmed operation of the load handling cycle for the load carrier may be controlled by an electrical control circuit as disclosed in the aforementioned copending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 418,048, and as modified as hereinafter set forth in the instant application, and more particularly modified with the interlock circuitry disclosed in FIGURE 2 generally within the phantomed-line rectangle, for convenience in locating such revision.

As shown in FIGURE 1, the load carrier may include a control console 38 which is adapted to mount a plurality of control means, adapted for actuation by the warehousing operator, to program the movement of the load carrier from the pick-up and discharge station to the selected load handling position or positions in the storage frame, and return back to the pick-up and discharge station, and as is described in the aforementioned copending patent application Ser. No. 418,048.

The printing or recording mechanism 40 (FIG. 7) with which the present invention is especially concerned, may be mounted on the console 38 and with the housing of such printing mechanism having a slot or opening 40a therein adjacent supporting platform 40!), adapted to receive a record means such as for instance a conventional IBM card or the like, for recording for record purposes the position in the storage frame where a load is deposited by the load carrier. Referring now again to FIGURE 2 where there is shown the aforementioned interlock circuitry coupled into the control circuitry of application Ser. No. 418,048, when the load carrier has been programmed to take a load at the pick-up and discharge station 26 and deposit it in a selected bin in the storage frame, unless a record or card has been properly inserted into the slot 40a of the printing mechanism, the load carrier will be inoperative. In other words, the load carrier is rendered inoperative when it is programmed to initially deposit a load in the storage frame, unless a card has been inserted into the printing mechanism. Insertion of a card into the printing mechanism 40 causes closure of a normally open trigger switch S40 (FIG. 2) so that the normally open contact 2CRL coupled to switch S40 will be in circuit with the cycle start button 52 (FIG. 2, line 10).

In order to program the load carrier for movement from the pick-up and discharge station 26, to deposit a load into the selected storage bin of the selected storage bank, the operator may actuate the selected controls as set forth in 'aforemented copending application 418,048, and that will not be duplicated here. One of these controls as set forth in the latter mentioned application is a discharge switch 160 (line 59 of FIGURE 2A) which is effective to energize the coils of latching relays 2CRL and ZCRLA (line 51 of FIGURE 2A). Energization of latter mentioned relay 2CRL will open normally closed contacts 2CRL of the interlock circuit of the printing mechanism (FIG. 2) and close the normally open contacts 2CRL (line 5 of FIG. 2) to thus place aforementioned switch S40 in circuit with start button 52. It will be seen that if the load carrier is programmed to first pick up a load in the storage frame, by actuation of pickup switch in line 61 of FIG. 2A, then relay 2CRL is not energized and normally closed contacts 2CRL in the interlock circuit remain closed and in circuit with cycle start button 52, and normally open contacts 2CRL in the interlock circuit (FIG. 2) remain open.

After the operator has inserted a card or other indicia record means in the printing mechanism slot, and has closed the discharge switch to energize the coils of latching relays 2CRL and ZCRLA, the operator then pushes the cycle start switch 52 (line 10 of FIGURE 2) whereby the coils of relays 4CR, 2TR, SCR, SCRA, 1M Forward and 1M Fast, 2M Up and 2M Fast are each energized. The load carrier is thus energized as described in application Ser. No. 418,048, and the conveyor mechanism of the load carrier is moved into the aisle opposite a selected bin in which the load is to be deposited while simultaneously or sequentially, the elevator 35 is moved to the level of the selected bin. When the elevator is in position opposite the selected bin and in position whereby the elevator supports the load slightly above the supporting surfaces of the spaced supports 22a of the selected bin, the extensnible extractor 36 is projected into the bin preparatory to depositing the load therein. Switch 58 (lines 20 and 21 of FIG. 2) determines which of the banks 16 or 18 that the load is to be deposited in by the load carrier, either L for the left-hand bank (i.e. 16) or R for the right-hand bank (i.e. 18), and as described in Ser. No. 418,048.

When the extractor 36 is fully extended into the bin, the limit switch 12LSL or 12LSR is actuated (depending on the direction of extension of the extractor) thus opening its respective contact (lines 49 and 50, FIGURE 2A) and closing its contact-(lines 53 and 54, FIGURE 2A). Closure of switch contact 12LSR or 12LSL (lines 53 and 54 of FIG. 2A) causes energization of relays 9CR and 9CRA (line 54). Energization of relays 9CR and 9CRA de-energizes relays 4CR and 2TR (lines 10 and 16, FIGURE 2) and energizes relays 2M Down and 2M Slow (FIGURE 2) effective to lower the elevator 35 with the extractor 36 extended. Upon energization of relay 9CR, the printing mechanism is automatically activated to print the location of the deposited load on the card or record in slot 40a, and as will be hereinafter described.

Referring now to FIGURE 5 which diagrammatically illustrates the printing mechanism 40 control circuitry, energization as aforedescribed of relay 2CRL closes the normally open relay contacts 2CRL in line conductor 170, and energization of relay 9CR as above described, closes the normally open contacts 9CR in line conductor 172. Normally closed contacts CRPD in line 172 remain closed, since as aforedescribed, the load carrier has been programmed to deposit a load and not to pick up a load. Line conductors 170, 174 of the FIG. 5 circuitry may be connected to a suit-able power supply of conventional type.

As described in the aforementioned U.S. patent application 418,048, relay 6CR is actuated by a selected one of the proximity switches 2LS (A to D) as the conveyor mechanism of the load carrier moves horizontally through the aisle to the programmed storage bin, with the selected proximity switch sensing the presence of each vertical post in the selected storage bank (i.e. 16 or 18) and being actuated thereby. This horizontal counting pulsation of the coil of relay 6CR causes pulsating actuation of normally open contact 6CR in the control circuitry of the counting and printing mechanism shown in FIGURE 5, thereby providing a horizontal location signal to counting and printing modules 176 (FIGS. 3-6) in the circuit of the printing mechanism. Likewise, the limit switch 7LS carried on the elevator 35 and operated in the embodiment illustrated by cams 178 (FIG. 1) disposed on the mast structure 27 in positioned relation to the level of the bins, is pulsed each time the elevator is raised to another bin level. This provides a vertical location count sensor for the load carrier, and thus the normally open contacts 7LS in FIGURE 5 are pulsed as the elevator moves to the selected bin load in the storage frame, thus providing a signal for the printing mechanism for counting the level of movement of the load carrier.

The coupling and printing modules 176 are commercially obtainable components, and for instance a suitable module is one with ten positions or digits thereon, manufactured by the Presin Company Incorporated, Bridgeport, Conn. Basically the counting and printing module illustrated is actuated by a solenoid which when energized attracts an armature which drives an escarpment against a star. The star is integral with and may be partially recessed into one side of the printing wheel 176a (FIGS. 3 and 4) of the module. Single digit advances occur in successive steps as the respective count module is repeatedly pulsed due to the signal received from either the horizontal count sensor 6CR or the vertical count sensor 7LS.

On the other side of the printing wheel, which itself may be interchangeable so that the module can be used for either reacting or printing, are recessed cams that actuate two control switches. One of the switches (e.g. FC1 or FC2, FIG. 6) opens at zero and more accurately at the start position, and the other switch (e.g. F01 or F02) closes momentarily between the highest number on the wheel and zero, with the second switch being a transfer switch for serial counting, or, in other words, when one or more other modules are connected in cascade with the first module.

For instance if two counting and printing modules 176 are connected as shown in FIG. 6, one module will count units and the other will count tens assuming that the digits on the printing wheels are set up for the base ten, so that upon actuation of the second switch (i.e. F01) of the first module, this provides a pulse of sufficient duration to advance the printing wheel of the tens module one turn for each ten counts of the units module. If three modules are connected in cascade, then the printing wheel of the third module is advanced by the second switch (i.e. F02) of the tens module so that the printing wheel on such third or ls module will be advanced one turn for every ten turns of the tens module, and so on for any number of modules connected in cascade.

In the embodiment illustrated two of the counting and printing modules are coupled in series, with the first module being adapted to count units, and the second module being adapted to count tens. In the embodiment illustrated, such counting and printing mechanism modules are resettable, the latter being adapted to be accomplished by either a push button or half-wave rectified 60 cycle current, or an oscillator. The diodes CR2 and CR3 in each of the modules, permits mixing of the input signals and a common simultaneous reset line without adverse interaction. When it is desired to reset the modules to zero, depressing of reset switch S1 temporarily disables the function of each transfer switch F01, F02 and at the same time the reset buss is grounded, causing current to flow in all of the coils F1 and F2 of the counting and printing modules. During such resetting as each printing wheel is progressively rotated toward zero by repeated actuation of the reset switch $1 the individual, normally closed contacts FCl, and FC2, will open when the zero position from that coil is reached. Accordingly, coil current can no longer flow and further reset impulses will fail to move the particular printing wheel. Thus a maximum of nine such impulses will reset all of the modules to zero. The input signal or pulse at A (FIG- URES 5 and 6) from the respective counting sensor of the load carrier 20, and through the diode CR2 of the respective module, causes energization of the solenoid driving the escarpment against the star, as aforedescribed and thus advancing the printing wheel of the respective module with each impulse. When the units module has been advanced up to nine, the next impulse which advances the wheel so as to change the number nine to zero causes momentary closure of the associated transfer switch F01, thus providing a conduction :path for the succeeding module coil, and causing one positional movement of the printing wheel of the adjacent tens module for each ten positions of the printing wheel of the units module. Closure of the transfer switches is temporary and exists only for the time that the wheel is in motion between the number 9 and 0. However, this duration of closure is adequate to provide the energy to the module solenoid necessary to advance the printing wheel thereof. Diode CR1 in series with resistor R across each of the moduler coils F1 or F2, provides arc suppression to protect the transfer contacts.

The printing module for designating the storage bank on the record card, either right or left, may be a single module coupled in circuit as shown in FIG. 5, with a manually operated switch which upon actuation couples the bank module into circuit with ground. It will be seen that if the bank module is not coupled into circuit by closure of switch 180, the printing wheel of the bank module will not be actuated or moved. In other words, in the embodiment illustrated actuation or indexing of the printing wheel and subsequent printing on the record card will signify that the load has been deposited in the right storage bank 18. Non-actuation of the printing wheel of the bank module by non-closure of switch 180 will signify upon printing on the record card that the load has been deposited in the left storage bank 16.

It will be seen therefore that as the horizontal location count sensor 6CR sends its pulsating location signals to the units module of the bay module assembly the latter will count the horizontal movement of the conveyor mechanism of the load carrier by corresponding movement of the printing wheel of the units module. If the selected bin is such that the bay number is above ten, then the transfer switch F01 in the module is temporarily closed to actuate the coil F2 of the adjacent bay tens module, thereby causing movement of the printing wheel thereof one digit turn to indicate that the units module has counted ten bay locations, and so on. It will be seen therefore that the counting and printing modules of the bay module assembly, coupled in cascaded relationships will accurately position the printing wheels thereof to indicate just where the load carrier has moved horizontally to deposit the load in the selected storage bin.

The same situation holds true for the level module assembly in that the pulsating signal coming from the vertical count sensor 7LS will send its signal into the input A of the level units module, thereby causing movement of its printing wheel as the elevator rises past the bin levels. If the elevator rises past, for instance, ten bin levels, then the transfer switch F01 of the level units module is temporarily actuated to cause energization of the coil F2 of the level tens module in the level module assembly to rotaate its printing wheel one digit turn, to indicate that the level units module has counted ten bin levels. Therefore, when the elevator arrives at its selected bin level position as programmed, the printing wheels on the level modules will indicate the exact level position of such selected bin. Therefore, when the extractor 36 moves outwardly from the elevator 35 to its fully extended position and actuation of relay 9CR occurs as aforedescribed, contacts 9CR in line 172FIG. 5 close and the print-out power means or solenoid 182 of the printing mechanism 40 is energized, thereby causing printing of the numbers to which the printing wheels have been turned in the bay and level module assemblies, and in the bank module, on the card or other record receiving means that has been inserted into the printing mechanism. Accordingly, the location of the load as it is deposited in the storage frame is automatically recorded. As aforediscussed, if the load is deposited in the right-hand storage bank, then the warehousing operator has actuated the bank selection switch 180 and the printing wheel of the bank module will be in circuit, for actuation upon closure of contacts 2CRL in line 170. After printing, the printing Wheels of the modules are reset to start position by actuation of reset switch S1.

After depositing of the load, the extractor 36 on the load carrier then automatically returns to its centered position with respect to the elevator, and the load carrier either then returns to the pick-up and discharge station for receiving another load or moves to another bin in the storage frame for carrying out of the second command, if the load carrier has been programmed for a second command operation before returning to the pick-up and discharge station, and as described in application Ser. No. 418,048. The card or other record receiving means with the location of the load printed thereon, can then be filed or otherwise processed to have a permanent, recorded record of where such load has been deposited in the storage frame for subsequent use by the warehousing operator in retrieving such load. While only one printing device has been shown, several printers could be wired so that the same location could be printed on different cards or other documents at the same time.

Referring now to FIGURES 8 and 9, there is illustrated another embodiment of print-out device, and one which is of the type which will be referred to as an address type system.This type system of print-out device embodies an arrangement wherein the recording or printing mechanism is automatically programmed for printing on a record such as a card, tape or sheet, the selected storage bin location upon programming of the load carrier by the warehousing operator for depositing a load in the selected bin in the storage frame. When the load carrier deposits the load in the selected storage bin of the selected storage bank, the recording or printing mechanism is automatically actuated to print location indicia on a record, indicating Where in the storage frame the load has been deposited. It will be seen therefore that in this embodiment it is not the movement of the load carrier that programs the printing or recording mechanism, as it was in the first embodiment, but it is the actuaton of the programming controls or selectors for the load carrier by the warehousing operator that programs the printing mechanism and places it in ready condition for printing the location of the selected storage bin on the record sheet, upon delivery of the load by the load carrier to said selected bin.

FIGURE 8 illustrates schematically a printing device 186, and associated controls means, for programming of the printer. Printer 186 is a commercially available type of printer which is adapted for rugged industrial use. The circuitry and actual printing means for such printing mechanism may be of the general type aforediscussed in connection with the first embodiment of the invention including printing wheels forming printing modules with one module being adapted to record and print units and another module being adapted to record and print tens. A suitable commercial form of printer is one known as a Toledo Remoprint Printer, manufactured by the Toledo Scale Corporation of Toledo, Ohio.

From FIGURE 8 it will be seen that there are four groups (i.e. 188, 190, 192 and 194) of push button switch contacts for controlling the programming of the printer, with each of the switch groups in the embodiment illustrated comprising ten push button switch contacts numbered through 9. Control group 188 of the contacts is adapted for programming the printing modules of printer 186 for printing storage bin level units, while control group 190 of the contacts is adapted to program the printer for printing storage bin level tens, to thus designate the level of the selected storage bin in the storage frame for which the load carrier has been programmed.

Control groups 192 and 194 of the switch contacts are for respectively programming the printer for printing storage bin bay units and storage bin bay tens, generally similar to control groups 188 and 190, with such bay control groups thus being adapted to program the printer mechanism for printing the horizontal location of the selected storage bin in the storage frame, to which the load carrier has been programmed for movement. Line conductors 195, 195a may connect the printer 186 to a conventional volt 60 cycle power supply.

Control group 198 of switch contacts (FIGURE 8) programs the printer for designating which storage bay bank (either 16 the left-hand bank or 18 the right-hand bank) that the load carrier has been programmed for depositing a load. Switch contact 198R programs the printer for printing upon the record means, such as the record sheet 200 (FIGURE 9) the right-hand storage bank 18 while switch contact 198L programs the printer for printing on the record the left-hand storage bank 16, as being the deposit location for the load as programmed by the warehousing operator on the control panel or console.

Normally open contacts 2CRL' and 9CR' control the print-out solenoid of the printer mechanism 186, so that printing of the location of the selected storage bin by the printing modules on the record sheet, does not occur until the extractor has extended into the selected storage bin for depositing a load therein. Normally closed contact 3CR' is open when the load carrier is at the pick-up and discharge station, to thus prevent the printing modules from printing on the record sheet when the load carrier is disposed opposite the pick-up and discharge station 26 irrespective of any movements of the extractor at such location.

Referring now particularly to FIGURE 9, there is illustrated diagrammatically, a push button control panel or console 202 for the load carrier, for programming the load carrier in its work cycle of depositing a load in a selected bin in the storage frame. As can be seen, there is provided a group 148 of manually operable push button switches, including a column of units switches and a column of tens switches, and which are adapted for actuation by the warehousing operator, to program the load carrier for horizontal movement to a selected storage bay in which is located the selected storage bin chosen for the deposit of a load therein. Each of the push button switches or selectors in the units and tens columns of group 148 may be provided with a corresponding one of the switch contacts of control groups 192 and 194 (FIGURE 8) for the printer mechanism 186. It will be seen that group 148 of the push button switches on the control panel 202 are adapted for programming the load carrier for horizontal movement to a selected bay for the deposit of a load therein, while push button control group 150 on the control panel is adapted for programming the load carrier to the selected vertical position or level in the storage frame, for the selected storage bin, with such vertical control selectors 150 comprising a column of units switches and a column of tens switches. Each of said units and tens switches may have a correspondingly numbered switch contact in control groups 188 and 190 of the printer mechanism 186 circuit. Reference may be had to the aforementioned US. patent application 418,048 for a detailed showing of the circuitry of switch groups 148 and 150, with switch groups 149 and 151 (FIGURE 9) controlling the operating cycle of the load carrier in the second command circuit thereof and as disclosed in application 418,048.

Accordingly, depression or actuation of a selected push button of group 148 on the control console to designate the horizontal or bay position of the selected storage bin, and the depression or actuation of the selected push button or group 150 on the control panel, to designate the selected vertical or level position of the selected bin, will automatically actuate corresponding switch contacts in groups 192, 194, 188 and 190 of the printer mechanism 186 circuitry, to thus cause programming of the printing modules in the printing mechanism for printing on a strip of paper or card or some other record means the programmed location in the storage frame of the load to be deposited.

As for example, if the warehouse operator would push buttons 206 and 207 (FIGURE 9) of respectively the units and tens columns of vertical control group 150 and say for instance buttons 208 and 210 of respectively the units and tens columns of horizontal control group 148, then it will be understood that the load carrier has been programmed to cause the conveyor mechanism 28 of the load carrier to move horizontally to bay 11 and to cause the elevator 35 to move vertically sequentially or simultaneously during movement of the conveyor mechanism, to bin level 5. Intersection of bin level with bin bay 11 of course defines the selected storage bin for deposit of the load. Programming of the control buttons or selectors 206, 207, 208 and 210 as aforediscussed will cause actuation of the correspondingly numbered contact-s 206, 207', 208' and 210 in the level and bay switch control groups of the print-out mechanism, and thus will program the print-out mechanism for recording where in the storage frame the load is deposited, upon extension of the extractor to deposit the load therein.

When the elevator 35 is in position opposite the selected bin, and in position whereby the elevator supports the load slightly above the supporting surfaces of spaced supports 22a of the selected bin, the extensible extractor 36 is projected into the bin preparatory to depositing the load therein. As aforediscussed, switch 58 (lines and 21 of FIGURE 2) determines which of the banks 16 or 18 that the load is to be deposited in by the load carrier either L for the left-hand bank (i.e. 16) or R for the right-hand bank (i.e. 18), and as described in Ser. No. 418,048. Depression of either switch R or L (FIGURE 9) in the control panel likewise causes closure of the respective switch 198R or 198L in the print-out mechanism circuit, thereby programming the print-out mechanism to designate which bank the load is deposited in when the print-out mechanism prints.

When the extractor 36 is fully extended into the programmed bin, energization of relays 9CR, 9CRA occurs and the elevator is lowered with the extractor 36 extended. Upon energization of relay 9CR the contact QCR in the print-out circuit is closed (normally open contact ZCRL' having been closed in the same manner as aforediscussed in connection with the first described embodiment) therefore activating the printing relay in the printout mechanism, to cause printing of the location of the deposited load on the sheet or record 200 of the printing mechanism 186.

From the foregoing description and accompanying drawings, it will be seen that the invention provides a novel recording mechanism for use in a warehousing system, for automatically recording where in the system a load has been deposited by the load carrier mechanism, and a printing mechanism which is extremely flexible so that the mechanism can be utilized with substantially any size of storage facilities, for accurately recording the location of loads stored in the system.

The terms and expressions which have been used are used as terms of description, and not of limitation, and there is no intention in the use of such terms and expressions of excluding any equivalents of any of the features shown or described, or portions thereof, and it is recognized that various modifications are possible within the scope of the terms and expressions used to describe the invention.

I claim:

1. In a warehousing system comprising a plurality of horizontally and vertically oriented storage means having open load receiving ends with there being a travel zone alongside of said storage means, a powered load carrier movable in said travel zone for depositing loads into and removing loads from said storage means, said load carrier comprising generally horizontally movable conveyor means movable lengthwise of said travel zone, elevator means movable generally vertically on said conveyor means, and extensible extractor means on said elevator means, said extractor means being adapted for movement generally transverse of said travel zone into and out of said storage means for either depositing a load into or removing a load from selected of said storage means, control means for said load carrier including programming means for selecting to which of said storage means said load carrier will move in a load handling cycle, recording means mounted on said carrier for indicating where a load is deposited in said storage means by said load carrier, said recording means comprising printing means and said control means including means coacting with said extractor means and said recording means for automatically actuating said recording means to record the location of deposit in said storage means of the load being handled by said extractor means upon predetermined transverse movement of said extractor means in its operation of depositing the associated load in the selected one of said storage means.

2. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said recording means includes counting and printing means, said counting and printing means being operable to print indicia on a record means, said indicia being adapted to indicate the location in said storage means where a load has been deposited by said extractor means.

3. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said recording means comprises a digital printing device.

4. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said control means includes location determining means operatively coupled to said recording means and being operable to automatically actuate said recording means upon predetermined movement of said load carrier in said travel zone to deposit a load in said storage means, said location determining means including counting sensor means, means for actuating said sensor means during movement of said load carrier in said travel zone, said sensor means upon actuation thereof being adapted to produce a signal operable to actuate said recording means to condition the latter for subsequently recording the location in the storage means where the load being handled by said load carrier is deposited during occurrence of the latter.

5. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said control means includes location determining means operatively coupled to said recording means and being operable to automatically actuate said recording means upon predetermined movement of said load carrier in said travel zone to deposit a load in said storage means, said location determining means including counting sensor means mounted on said elevator means, said conveyor means of said load carrier including means for actuating said sensor means during movement of said elevator means with respect to said conveyor means in said travel zone, said sensor means upon actuation thereof being adapted to produce a signal operable to actuate said recording means to condition the latter for subsequently recording the location in the storage means where the load being handled by said load carrier is deposited.

6. A system in accordance with claim 4 wherein said storage means comprises a framework including generally vertical posts disposed in general alignment along said travel zone, said framework defining storage bins adapted for receiving loads therein, said posts providing said means for actuating certain of said sensor means.

7. A system in accordance with claim 5 wherein said conveyor means of said load carrier comprises generally vertical extending mast structure, and vertically spaced cam means on said mast structure providing said means for actuating said sensor means.

8. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said recording means includes a bay section comprising at least one bay counting and printing module and a level section comprising at least one level counting and printing module, said modules each including rotatable printing wheels and signal responsive means adapted for causing predetermined rotary movement of the respective printing wheels, said control means including location determining means operably coupled to said sections for providing signals for actuating said modules to thus cause movement of the printing Wheels of said modules to positions corresponding to the movement of said load carrier in said travel zone, and means in said recording means for actuating the printing operation of said printing wheels upon predetermined movement of said extractor means for depositing of a load in said storage means.

9. A system in accordance with claim 8 wherein a plurality of said counting and printing modules are provided in cascade for each of said bay and level sections, one module of each section being a units module, While another of the modules in each section is a tens module, d

and transfer means for transferring a signal from the units module to the tens module for indicating bays and levels greater than ten.

10. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said recording means comprises a printing mechanism adapted to receive a record means such as a card therein, means in said mechanism adapted for actuation by said record means for placing the load carrier in operable condition.

11. A system in accordance with claim 2 wherein said control means includes electrical power means for actuating said load carrier, and circuit means connected to said power means, said programming means including selector means in said circuit means for programming said load carrier for movement from a pick-up and discharge station into said travel zone to deposit a load at a selected location in said storage means, and means in said circuit means adapted for actuation by said record means to place said power means in circuit for energization of said power means, when said load carrier has been programmed to transmit a load from said pick-up and discharge station to a selected location in said storage means.

12. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said storage means includes laterally spaced storage banks defining said travel zone therebetween, said recording means including means for indicating in which of said banks the load is deposited by said load carrier.

13. A system in accordance with claim 8 including reset means for moving the printing wheels on said modules back to starting position.

14. A system in accordance with claim 12 wherein said recording means includes a counting and printing module operative for indicating the bank in which said load is deposited by said load carrier.

15. A system in accordance with claim 11 wherein said control means includes means for sensing the movement of said load carrier along said storage means so that the position of said load carrier with respect to said storage means is determined, said sensing means being operable to actuate said recording means and cause recording of the selected storage location on said record means upon depositing of a load by said load carrier in said selected storage location.

16. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said recording means includes counting and printing means operable to print indicia, and including means for receiving record means, said record means being adapted to receive the indicia thereon upon actuation of said counting and printing means by said predetermined movement of said extractor means.

17. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said programming means includes selector controls for programming said load carrier for movement thereof to a predetermined location in said travel zone as represented by said selected one of said storage means, and said recording means includes selector controls actuated by the first mentioned selector controls for programming said recording means for recording said location as dictated by said first mentioned selector controls upon said predetermined transverse movement of said extractor means.

18. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said programming means comprises manually operated selectors for programming said load carrier for movement thereof to a predetermined location in said travel zone for depositing a load in said storage means, and said recording means including control means actuated by said selectors for programming said recording means for recording said location as dictated by said selectors upon depositing of a load in said storage means by said extractor means of said load carrier.

19. A system in accordance with claim 17 wherein said first and second mentioned selector controls each includes a series of unit selectors and a series of tens selectors, with each selector of said first mentioned selector controls being operably coupled to the corresponding selector of said second mentioned selector controls for programming of said recording means simultaneously with the programming of said load carrier.

20. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said recording means and said programming means are mounted on said load carrier for movement therewith in said travel zone.

21. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said programming means includes means for programming said load carrier to move sequentially to a plurality of load handling positions in said load handling cycle.

22. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said extractor means in its operation of depositing a load, enters the selected storage means to its full laterally extensible position, and in high condition and then is lowered to deposit the load, said means coacting with said extractor means and said recording means including sensor means adapted for automatic actuation when said extractor means arrives at said full laterally extensible position, and electro-responsive means coupled to said sensor means and actuated upon actuation of said sensor means to cause said automatic actuation of said recording means to record on a record member said location of deposit of the load.

23. A system in accordance with claim 22 wherein said sensor means comprises limit switch means, and said electro-responsive means includes means coupled in circuit with the print-out power means of said recording means.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,140,009 7/ 1964 Wallace 214-16.4 X 3,139,994 7/1964 Chasar. 3,148,785 9/ 1964 Fauconnier.

FOREIGN PATENTS 717,018 10/ 1954 Great Britain.

GERALD M. FORLENZA, Primary Examiner RAYMOND B. JOHNSON, Assistant Examiner

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3622020 *Feb 18, 1969Nov 23, 1971Sarvary Gabor JMechanized palletized storage systems
US3827365 *Apr 26, 1972Aug 6, 1974Mills Const SaAutomatic type of load-carrying trolley and its applications to storage installation on one or more levels
US4074120 *Mar 2, 1976Feb 14, 1978Kenway IncorporatedAutomated materials storage system and method
US4312623 *Mar 15, 1979Jan 26, 1982Eaton-Kenway, Inc.High through-put materials handling system and method
US5407316 *Jun 16, 1993Apr 18, 1995Coatta; Bernard J.Rapid, compact, high density storage of cargo containers
Classifications
U.S. Classification414/273, 414/282
International ClassificationB65G1/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65G1/0421
European ClassificationB65G1/04B4