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Publication numberUS3520404 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 14, 1970
Filing dateJul 13, 1967
Priority dateJul 13, 1967
Also published asDE1774549A1, DE1774549B2
Publication numberUS 3520404 A, US 3520404A, US-A-3520404, US3520404 A, US3520404A
InventorsPine Robert M
Original AssigneePine Robert M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for indicating a change within a grouping
US 3520404 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 14, 1970 R. M. PINE 3,520,404

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INDIGATING A CHANGE WITHIN A GROUPING Filed July 13, 1967 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 ARRANGE ADDRESSES SELECT AN ADDRESS POSITION A PORTION OF THE ADDRESS SENSE THE RECOGNIZED DIFFERENCE IN POSITION PLACE THE ADDRESSES ON MAILING PIECES CONVEY THE MAILING PIECE TO A DEVICE INVENTOR. ROBERT M. PINE ATTORNEYS Jiy M, II. M. nus; 3,520,404

mm ID m'm'ws FOB IIDIGATIIG A CHANGE IITHIN A GROUPING ma July as. an 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 COUNTER COUNTER DEL AY COUNTER DELAY COUNTER DELAY CDU NTER INVENTOR. nonemiM. PINE July 14, 1970 R. M. PINE A A 3,520,404

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INDICATING A CHANGE WITHIN A GROUPING Filed July 13, 1967 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR. .8?

ROBERT M. PINE BY J AT RNE'YS United States Patent METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INDICATING A CHANGE WITHIN A GROUPING Robert M. Pine, 9401 Home Ave., Des Plaines, Ill. 60016 Filed July 13, 1967, Ser. No. 653,143 Int. Cl. B07c 1/02 US. Cl. 209-72 14 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Apparatus for controlling the operation of an auto- :matic addressing machine and for indicating a change within a grouping to actuate a device which, for example, can sort mailing pieces addressed thereby. The address information applied to the mailing pieces are printed by computer techniques or typed, the position of the ZIP CODE or other portion of the address being altered with respect to the remainer of the address in order to selectively control the operation of the address ing machine and the device. Photoelectric means are employed for generating electrical signals which, when compared with timing signals, indicate the relative position of the ZIP CODE. A logic circuit responsive to these signals operates in combination with timed delay units to monitor the movement of the mailing pieces and to produce signals which control the operation of the addressing and device at appropriate times.

Method for indicating a change of ZIP CODE within a grouping on mail pieces by arranging the addresses by groups, selecting either the first or last address in each group, positioning a portion of the so-selected address so that such position can be recognized and sensing the recognized difference in position.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a method and machine for addressing fiat mailing pieces and, more particularly, to a method and apparatus for separating a sequence of mailing pieces according to their destinations.

In order to rapidly and efficiently address large numbers of mailing pieces (such as magazines, direct mail advertising leaflets, newspapers, and the like), automatic addressing machines have been developed. An example of such an addressing machine may be found in the disclosure of U8. Pat. 3,204,553 which issued Sept. 7, 1965 to Harry V. Kirk.

In one particularly effective addressing machine arrangement, the addresses are first imprinted by computer techniques on label sheets, however, the address could be typed on the label sheets. The machine then cuts these label sheets into individual labels and automatically places each of these labels or the image thereof on a mailing piece.

For the convenience of distribution and to comply with postal regulations, it is often necessary for the mailer to separate mailing pieces thus addressed by states or post ofiice locations, placing each separate group in a separate mailing sack. As disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,458,383 by Robert DuFour and Harry V. Kirk, this sorting operation may also be automated. At the output of many labeling machines, the mailing pieces may be shingled 3,520,404 Patented July 14, 1970 ice on a conveyor in a normally aligned formation. During the addressing operation, marks may be placed on the labels of selected mailing pieces. By sensing these marks, the selected pieces may be offset with respect to the normal shingled alignment on the conveyor. If the first or last mailing piece of a sequence going to a given town or state is offset, the operator may easily separate the shingled pieces into individual bundles or groups without having to actually read the addresses.

While the mailing piece separator disclosed in the aforementioned application by Kirk and DuFour has proven to be highly efficient and dependable, it is not without disadvantages. The addition of indicating marks to the selected labels detracts from the appearance of the label and, in some instances, may conflict with bulk mailing postal regulations. Moreover, the mechanical apparatus disclosed in the Kirk and DuFour applications is both complicated and expensive.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is accordingly an object of the present invention to automatically separate mailing pieces into groups without applying any marks specifically for separating purposes to the address label or to the mailing piece.

Another object of this invention is to improve present methods for indicating changes within groupings of mailing pieces.

A further object of this invention is to simplify and reduce the expense of automatic mailing piece separating arrangements.

In a principal aspect, the present invention takes the form of an arrangement which may be used in conjunction with automatic addressing machines for automatically separating a sequence of mailing pieces into groups according to their destinations or the like. In accordance with a principal feature of the invention, the address information is arranged in groups, the address information is placed on each of the mailing pieces in accordance with a selected one of a plurality of possible formats. Photoelectric means may then be employed for scanning at least a portion of the address information on each piece either before or after the address is placed thereon to develop an electrical signal indicative of the format selected for that piece. Means responsive to the electrical signal thus developed may then be employed for indicating the change in group to a device, for example, for separating the sequence of mailing pieces as desired.

Advantageously, format changes may take the form of a variation in placement of the addressing information on the label or piece. Preferably, the position of the ZIP CODE with respect to the remainder of the address information is varied (within limits) to identify particular mailing pieces. However, the position of any other portion of the address could be varied or the position of the entire address could be varied. A photoelectric device arranged to scan, for example, the line upon which the ZIP CODE is placed may be employed to identify the format (ZIP CODE location) used. Means responsive to the signal from the photoelectric device may then be used to discriminate between the various possible ZIP CODE placements and to signal selected operations for the sorting apparatus.

3 BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention may be better understood by considering the following detailed description. In the course of this description, reference will frequently be made to the attached drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing schematically the method in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of an arrangement for separating mailing pieces which embodies the principles of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a portion of the arrangement shown in FIG. 1 taken along the line 33 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a partial perspective view of the photoelectric sensor used in the apparatus shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of a pulse generating wheel employed in the apparatus of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 6 depicts a series of waveforms which illustrate the operation of the arrangement shown in FIG. 2.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The method of the present invention is shown in block form in FIG. 1. The addresses within a grouping are arranged in groups according to ZIP CODE or other desired groups. This may be done manually, i.e., arrange the labels by hand or by computer, i.e., a computer can be programmed to process this information in a conventional data processing system.

An address which indicates a change in group is then selected. This could be the first or last address within a group. This step also may be done by hand or by computer as indicated above.

At least a portion of the so selected address or the entire so selected address is then positioned so that the portion so positioned can be recognized as dilferent from that of the addresses that have not been so positioned. This may be done manually by a typewriter or may again be done by computer.

The addreses are then placed on the mailing pieces by apparatus as disclosed below.

The dilference in position of the selected address is then sensed by suitable apparatus and circuiting to a device such as a mailing piece separator as disclosed below. The sensing of the difference in position can be done either before or after the addresses are placed on the mailing pieces.

The mailing pieces are then conveyed to the mailing piece separator where the mailing piece with the so selected address can be separated.

In FIG. 2, a series of mailing pieces being addressed and sorted by the apparatus are designated by reference numerals 11 through 14. The mailing piece 11 as. shown is about to receive an addressing label indicated at 16 which is carried upon a labeling drum 20. As the drum 20 rotates, it presses label 16 against envelope 11 which is backed up by a pressure roller 21.

The mailing pieces 12, 13 and 14 have previously received such labels. The labels themselves are supplied from a label strip supply roll 22. The labels on this roll have already been arranged in groups, an address selected from each group indicating a change therein and a portion of the so selected address positioned appropriately as discussed below. The labels could be arranged on computer printout or in a column. In the embodiment shown the label strip 23 which is drawn from the roll 22 by means of a cutting knife roll 25 and its associated drive capstan 26 comprises a series of successive labels separated by imaginary parting lines.

Prior to passing through the knife roll 25 and drive capstan 26, the labeling strip 23 passes between an optical light beam source 30 and a photoelectric detector 31. As will be discussed in detail below, the signals developed by the photoelectric sensor 31 controls the apparatus for separating the mailing pieces which are shingled upon the output belt conveyer system indicated generally at 35.

Operating power for the labeling and conveyer apparatus may be obtained from any suitable drive source, such as the electric motor indicated schematically at 40. As indicated by the dashed line 41, the motor 40 drives a conveyer belt drum 42 in a clockwise direction, carrying the upper half of belt 43 from left to right in order to convey the labeled mailing pieces from the labeling drum 20 to the output conveyer indicated generally 35. The belt 43 can have timing cogs thereon to properly position the mailing pieces.

The output conveyer 35 includes a drive axle 45 which is driven directly by the motor 40 as indicated by the dashed line 46. Three conveyer belt drums 51, 52 and 53 are keyed to axle 45 for rotation therewith and carry output conveyer belts 56, 57, and 58. The belts 56 through 58 overlay and are vertically supported by a platform 61. In FIG. 2, the mailing piece 14 is shown positioned upon the belts 56 through 58.

The conveyer belt 43 moves at a sufficient speed to throw the mailing pieces across the belts 56 through 58 to a positive stop normally provided by the downwardly extending gate 59 which is manipulated by a solenoid 60. When the solenoid 60 is energized (in a manner to be discussed below), gate 59 is lifted and the mailing pieces continue further across the output conveyer 35 to the fixed stop provided by the upwardly depending flange 63. This is commonly referred to as a right angle configuration, however a left angle could be used. With modification the entire system could operate in line also.

Thus, as more clearly illustrated in FIG. 3, of the drawings, selected mailing pieces may be offset with respect to the remainder of the pieces shingled upon the belts 56 through 58. As shown in FIG. 3, the mailing piece indicated at 69 is offset with respect to the remainder of the mailing pieces. This olfset condition was accomplished by temporarily lifting the solenoid operated gate 59 as the mailing piece 69 was thrown from the belt 43 across the output conveyer belts 56 through 58.

The energization of solenoid 60 is controlled in response to electrical signals received from the photoelectric sensor 31. The signals from sensor 31 are compared with timing signals generated by a rotating code wheel pulse generator indicated generally at 70. Signals from the sensor 31 as well as signals from the code wheel pulse generator arrangement 70 are supplied to a logic circuit (indicated generally within the dashed-line rectangle) which provide appropriately timed pulses for energizing solenoid 60 through the logic circuit output conductor 74.

As most clearly seen in FIG. 4 of the drawings, the optical light beam source 30in combination with the photoelectric sensor 31 scans a single line of address information on each label in the labeling strip 23. In the embodiment of the invention which will be described in detail hereinbelow, the bottom or ZIP CODE line is selected for scanning and particular labels are identified by the horizontal position of the ZIP CODE with respect to the remaining portion of the address information.

As contemplated by this embodiment of the invention, the addresses on the label strip 23 may be printed by known computer techniques. The computer imprinting arrangement may be programmed to position the ZIP CODE relative to the remainder of the address information in accordance with a set of programming rules, a typical set of which is outlined below for purposes of illustration. These rules may be better understood by referring to the addresses printed on label strip 23 as illustrated at the top of FIG. 6. (Because the strip 23 is shown upside down, the address information appears backward and in phantom.)

(1) All addresses are to end on line 4. Therefore, all four line addresses begin on line 1, all three line addresses begin on line 2, etc. The fifth line is normally empty--but may contain a ZIP CODE under certain conditions.

(2) Except when those conditions indicated below exist, the five digit ZIP CODE appears on line 4 and is positioned not less than two spaces nor more than six spaces after the city-state line ends (address A is an example of this normal condition):

Condition No. 1: When the city-state line is too long to permit placement of the ZIP CODE at the end thereof, the ZIP CODE will be placed on line and begin even with the address lines above. (Address B is an example of this overflow condition.)

Condition No. 2: All abels having the same ZIP CODE occur in sequence and the ZIP CODE on the first label in such a sequence is placed on line 5 but shifted two spaces to the left. (Address C is an example of this ZIP CODE change condition.)

Condition No. 3: When it is desired to program a machine stop or other machine function a selected label may include a ZIP CODE on line 5 shifted four (but could be any figure) spaces to the left. (Address D illustrates such a machine stop condition.)

There may be any number of coded positions each one indicated by a different amount of shifting, each one triggering a different output function.

In order for the labels to be properly applied to each mailing piece in the embodiment shown, the lettering on each label is on the underside of the label strip 23 as it is pulled from the roll 22. One other addressing machines the lettering may be on the topside of the roll. This does not affect the principle of operation of the system but only affects where the scanner is physically positioned to scan the addresses. The labels are slightly translucent so that light from the optical beam source 30 shines through the label to the photoelectric sensor 31. The light beam source 30 is positioned such that the beam scans the fifth address line along a path indicated generally at 77 in FIGS. 4 and 6.

Whenever ZIP CODE numerals are present in the beam path between source 30 and detector 31, the light is somewhat obscured, reducing the magnitude of the electrical signal delivered by the sensor 31. This effect is illustrated by the waveform shown at E on FIG. 6. (This waveform appears on the conductor indicated by the letter E in FIG. 2.) It should be noted at the onset that the photoelectric arrangement 31 employed need not be capable of distinguishing between different numerals in the ZIP CODE-so long as it can detect the presence or absence of a numeral. Thus, it should be understood that the signal generated at the output of detector 31 is indicative of the presence or absence of the ZIP CODE numeral at a particular location but does not identify the particular numerals.

The position of the ZIP CODE on each label is determined by comparing the time at which the sensor 31 develops a signal (indicative of the presence of an alphanumeric character) with an electrical timing signal developed by the rotating wheel pulse generator 70. The generator 70 includes a windowed code wheel 71 which is driven at a constant speed in a clockwise direction by the motor 40. Code wheel 71, an enlarged view of which appears in FIG. 5, normally completes one revolution for each mailing piece handled by the apparatus. (As will be discussed later, when smaller mailing pieces are processed, means are employed for handling these at twice the normal rate.) As shown most clearly in FIG. 5, forty equally spaced windows are distributed about the outer periphery of the wheel 71, one of these windows being indicated at 72. Radially inward from the outer row of windows 72, two arcuate rows of six windows each are positioned at 73 and 74, the windows 73 having nearly twice the radial length of the windows 74. Still closer to the center of the wheel 71, two windows 75 and 76 are positioned adjacent the arcuate rows 72 and 73 respectively.

As seen in FIG. 2, a photoelectric device indicated generally at 80 is positioned adjacent rotating wheel 70 and includes three photoelectric detectors 81, 82 and 83. The detector 81 is positioned to receive light pulses passing through the outer row of windows 72. Similarly, detector 82 receives light passing through the two arcuate rows of windows 73 and 74 while the third detector 83 receives light shining through the two individual windows 75 and 76.

The photodetector 81 accordingly provides a continuous series of equally spaced optical pulses (40 pulses for each rotation of the wheel 71). The photodetector 82 delivers two bursts of pulses for each rotation of the wheel 71, there being six pulses in each burst. The photodetector 83 delivers a pair of pulses each of which appears shortly after the conclusion of the pulse burst delivered by photodetector 82.

The waveform from the scanning photodetector 31 is applied to the input of a slicer in the logic circuit 72. The input waveform E applied to slicer 90 is illustrated in FIG. 6 at E. The slicer 90 compares the input waveform E with a predetermined threshold voltage (indicated by the horizontal dashed line 91 in FIG. 6) and generates an output waveform F in the form of a negative going output pulse which exists whenever the input voltage waveform E falls below the slicer threshold value. The waveform F of FIG. 6 appears at the output of slicer 90 on conductor F in FIG. 2.

The output of slicer 90 is connected to one input of an AND gate 92, the other input of which receives the pulse burst waveform G from the sensor 82. The wheel 71 is arranged on its axis so that the sensor 82 begins to deliver a series of six discrete pulses as shown in FIG. 6 at G starting at a point corresponding to 13 ,6 inch character spaces before the trailing edge of the label. Sensor 31 indicates the passage of a ZIP CODE on the fifth line of the address which is positioned in line with the remainder of the address information. Should the detected ZIP CODE have been shifted with respect to the remainder of the address information to indicate a ZIP CODE change or machine stop condition, pulses in waveform G exist simultaneously with the pulses from the output of the slicer 90 (waveform P) such that a selected number of pulses are gated through the AND gate 92. The resulting waveform at the output of AND gate 92 is illustrated by the waveform H shown in FIG. 6. Any pulses which do appear at the output of AND gate 92 are applied to the input of a six-stage shift register 95.

Shift register 95 takes the form well known in the art wherein the first input pulse is temporarily stored in the left-hand stage but advances to the right by one stage whenever the second pulse is received, and so on. Thus, if four pulses are applied to the input of the register 95, these pulses are stored in the first four stages from the left such that the first four output conductors (including the second and fourth output conductors 97 and 98 respectively) are energized. Any pulse count received by the register 95 is retained until the register is reset by the energization of the reset input indicated at 99, in the manner to be discussed below.

Output conductor 97 from the second stage of the shift register 95 is connected to the input of an INHIBIT gate 100. The control input of gate 100 is connected to conductor 98, the output from the fourth stage of shift register 95. Output conductor 101 from gate 100 is accordingly energized whenever conductor 97 is energized except when conductor 98 is also energized. Thus, conductor 101 is energized whenever either two or three pulses have been shifted into the shift register 95 from AND gate 92.

Conductor 98 is also connected to the input of a second INHIBIT gate 102, the control input of which is connected via conductor 103 to the output from the last stage of the shift register 95. Conductor 105, the output from gate 102, is accordingly energized whenever four or five pulses have been shifted into the register 95.

The energization of conductor 101 indicates a ZIP CODE change" condition while the energization of conductor 105 indicates a machine stop or other machine function condition. These conductors are energized immediately after the label indicating the particular condition has passed between the scanning light source 30 and the photodetector 31. Actual changes in machine operation must, however, be delayed until the particular mailing piece involved has reached the desired point in the machine. Accordingly, means are employed for delaying the change in machine operation due to a ZIP CODE change condition until the mailing piece sensed has been almost completely processed by the labeling apparatus and is about to be placed on output conveyor 35.

As may be seen in FIG. 2, four different labels, each of which may contain different instructions to the machine, are being processed in sequence, one after the other. The label indicated at 108 in FIG. 2 is just passing between the light source 30 and detector 31, label 16 is on the labeling drum 20, and labels have already been applied to the mailing pieces 12 and 13. It is accordingly necessary to provide four different time delay devices to remember the instructions on each label being processed. To serve this need, distribution switch 110 controlled by the pulses developed by photodetector 83 sequentially connects the output 101 to four separate delay counters 111, 112, 113 and 114 of similar design.

Pulses for actuating one of the delay counters 111 to 114 are gated from the output of AND gate 100 at the appropriate time by means of the combination of a flipflop 115 and an AND gate 116. The set input of flipfiop 115 receives pulses from the photodetector 83 while the reset input of flip-flop 115 is connected through delay unit 117 to the photodetector 83. Thus, flip-flop 115 and shift register 95 are reset at the same time.

By way of example, assume that the address on label 108 (shown in FIG. 2 passing between light source 30 and detector 31) has imprinted thereon an address of the type indicated by address C in FIG. 6. The ZIP CODE in this address is offset two spaces to indicate a ZIP CODE change condition and causes two pulses to be gated into the shift register 95 as indicated by the two pulses in waveform H of FIG. 6 below address C. This energizes output conductor 101. The pulse generated by photodetector 83 (waveform I) has set flip-flop 115 to connect the conductor 101 to the input to switch 110. This pulse also advances distribution switch 110 such that the output of AND gate 116 (asshown in waveform O in FIG. 6) is connected via conductor 118 to the delay counter 111.

Conductor 118 is connected to the flip-flop 119 in delay counter 111. Conductor 118 and hence the set input of flip-flop 119 remain energized until the flip-flop 15 and the shift register 95 are reset. This occurs when the pulse from photodetector 83 in generator 70 (the same pulse which advanced distribution switch 110 and set flipfiop 115) passes through delay unit 117. The delayed waveform at the output of delay unit 117 is illustrated as waveform I in FIG. 6.

As soon as flip-flop 119 has been set, one input of a counter 120 is energized. A second input to counter 120 is connected to the photodetector 81 of generator 70 and accordingly receives forty pulses for each rotation of the wheel 71 as shown in FIG. at K. Since these pulses are produced by the rotation of wheel 71, their repetition rate is directly proportional to the operating speed of the machine. Counter 120 is adapted to count these pulses until a predetermined count is reached at which time its output 121 is energized as shown in FIG. 5 at L. Output 121 is connected through an isolation diode 125 and the conductor 74 to the solenoid 60.

Thus, as the label 108 in FIG. 2 passes through the photoelectric sensing arrangement comprising light source 30 and detector 31, the counter 120 begins counting and will complete its count just as the mailing piece to which label 108 is applied is about to be thrown onto the output conveyor unit 35. At this time, the counter completes its count and causes the gate 59 to be lifted such that the mailing piece to which label 108 has been applied will be offset with respect to the other shingled mailing pieces on the output conveyor 35.

Gate 59 remains in its lifted position until counter 120 is reset. For this purpose, the energization of output 121 is delayed by a delay unit 129 and the delayed signal is applied to reset both counter 120 and flip-flop 119. When counter 120 is reset, output 121 is de-energized and the gate 59 is permitted to return to its original position.

The other delay counters 112, 113 and 114 are also connected to the distribution switch 110 and are similar in construction and operation to the counter 111 described in detail above.

The operation of the apparatus when a machine stop condition is detected may be explained as follows: a machine address format of the type illustrated by address D in FIG. 6 introduces four (but could 'be any number) pulses into the shift register 95. This causes conductor 105 to be energized with a pulse as shown in waveform P in FIG. 6 and sets the flip-flop 140. The counter then begins counting pulses from photodetector 81 until a predetermined count is reached as shown in FIG. 6 at m at which time conductor is energized. Conductor 150 is connected to the input of a solenoid operated clutch which couples the drive motor 40 and all moving parts of the labeling apparatus except the conveyer drive hub 42 and the output conveyor 35. Energization of conductor 150 thus stops the machine labeling operations until counter 145 and flip-flop 140 are reset by pressing reset button 160. This machine stop condition sensing arrangement is particularly useful when it is desired to temporarily stop the machine to change the type of mailing pieces being addressed.

The pulse generator 70 may be readily adapted to operate in conjunction with smaller mailing pieces which may be processed at twice the normal rate. In this instance, the distance between mailing piece centers is set at one-half the usual length. As can be seen in FIG. 5 of the drawings, the windowed code wheel 71 is provided with two diametrically opposed sets of windows 73 and 74. The photodetector 82 is normally set relative to the wheels 71 such that it scans the disc along a path indicated at 161 in FIG. 5. In this case, only the radially longer windows 73 appear at the detector 82 as the wheel 71 rotates. Similarly, the detector 83 scans along path 162 which intersects only the longer window 75. In order for the detectors 82 and 83 to generate pulses on two occasions during each revolution of the code wheel 71, it is merely necessary to move the detector 82 and 83 upward such that they instead scan the paths 164 and 165 respectively. This permits two sets of timing pulses to be generated during each revolution and allows smaller mailing pieces to be handled at twice the normal rate.

As it will be apparent to those skilled in the art, many other machine functions besides the ZIP CODE change and machine stop functions may be controlled in a similar manner to that discussed in detail above.

While the invention has been described with reference to the structure disclosed herein, it is not confined to the details set forth, and this application is intended to cover such modifications or changes as may come within the purposes of the improvements or the scope of the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A method for indicating changes in grouping of mailing pieces whereby to actuate a device to perform an act on certain ones of the mailing pieces to distinguish the mailing piece groupings from one another including the steps of arranging addresses to be placed on the mailing pieces according to groups,

selecting addresses which indicate a change in group, offsetting at least a portion of the selected addresses appropriately with respect to a given reference position so that such, selected addresses can be recognized,

conveying the mailing pieces to the point of actuation of the device, and

actuating the device in response to said selected addresses whereby mailing pieces bearing said selected addresses are acted upon to distinguish the mailing piece groupings with which each of said selected addresses are associated from other mailing piece groupings.

2. A method for indicating a change within a grouping of mailing pieces including the steps of:

arranging addresses to be placed on the mailing pieces in groups, selecting an address which indicates a change in group, offsetting at least a portion of one line of the selected address from the other lines of said selected address to permit said selected addresses to be recognized as different from the addresses that have not been so selected, sensing the recognized difference in position of the address and visibly indicating the change in mailing piece grouping following sensing of said recognized difference in address position.

3. A method for indicating changes in grouping of mailing pieces whereby to actuate a device to perform an act on certain ones of the mailing pieces to distinguish the mailing piece groupings from one another including the steps of:

arranging addresses to be placed on the mailing pieces in groups serially,

selecting addresses at the beginning or end of each positioning at least a portion of one line of the selected address appropriately with respect to a given reference position associated with each address so that such selected address can be recognized,

placing the addresses on the mailing pieces,

conveying the mailing pieces to the point of actuation of the device, and

actuating said device in response to said selected addresses whereby the mailing pieces bearing said selected addresses are acted upon to distinguish the mailing piece grouping with which each of said selected addresses are associated from other mailing piece groupings.

4. A method for indicating changes in ZIP CODE of addressed mailing pieces with a device adapted when actuated to perform an act on selected ones of said addressed mailing pieces to thereby distinguish groups of mailing pieces having a common ZIP CODE number from mailing pieces with different ZIP CODE numbers, including the steps of:

arranging addresses to be placed on the mailing pieces in groups according to ZIP CODE, selecting addresses which indicate changes in ZIP CODE,

positioning at least a portion of the selected addresses appropriately so that such addresses can be recognized as different from addresses that have not been so selected,

placing the addresses on the mailing pieces,

conveying the mailing pieces to the point of actuation of the device, and

actuating said device in response to said selected addresses whereby to distinguish groups of mailing pieces having a common ZIP CODE number from mailing pieces with different ZIP CODE numbers.

5. A method for indicating a change in grouping of mailing pieces whereby to actuate a device to separate se lected mailing pieces from the remaining ones of said mailing pieces, the steps including arranging addresses to be placed on the mailing pieces in groups,

selecting addresses which indicate changes in mailing piece groups,

positioning at least a portion of the selected addresses appropriately so that such position can be recognized as different from the position of remaining addresses that have not been so selected,

placing the addresses on the mailing pieces,

conveying the mailing pieces to the mailing piece separating device, and

actuating said mailing piece separating device in response to the different position of said selected address portion whereby to separate the selected mailing piece from the remaining mailing pieces.

6. In an apparatus for processing a sequence of mailing pieces the combination of:

a source of individual address informations for said mailing pieces, said address informations being adapted to include control information comprising a change in address format distinguishable from the address formats of other address informations,

photoelectric means for scanning at least a portion of each address information for said mailing pieces in said sequence to develop a corresponding sequence of electrical signals respectively indicative of the address information formats for said pieces,

a signal discriminator for detecting the presence of a signal indicative of said change in address format, and

means responsive to said signal discriminator for controlling the operation of said apparatus in response to changes in said address formats.

7. The apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein said change in address format comprises displacement of a selected portion of said address information from the normal location for said address information.

8. The apparatus as set forth in claim 7 wherein said photoelectric means is adapted to scan said selected portion of said address informations.

9. The apparatus as set forth in claim 8 wherein said signal discriminator includes a source of clocking pulses and means for comparing the time position of each of said signals with one of said pulses to provide an indication of the location of said selected portion of said address information.

10. The apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein said apparatus includes means for separating said mailing pieces into groups, said signal discriminator responsive means being adapted to actuate said mailing piece separating means in response to a predetermined change in said address information formats.

11. The apparatus as set forth in claim 6 including means adapted when actuated to stop at least a portion of said apparatus, said signal discriminator responsive means being adapted to actuate said stop means in response to a predetermined change in said address information formats.

12. In combination with apparatus for automatically addressing a sequence of mailing pieces, an arrangement for automatically separating said pieces according to groups, comprising, in combination,

means for placing address information on each of said mailing pieces, said address informations being adapted to incorporate different address formats distinguishable from one another,

photoelectric means for scanning at least a portion of said address information to produce an electrical output signal in response to different address information formats,

electrical timing means for producing a delayed control signal at a predetermined time after the occurence of said output signal, and

means associated with said addressing apparatus and operable in response to said delayed signal to separate selected mailing pieces from the remainder of said mailing pieces whereby to distinguish between different groups of said mailing pieces.

13. An arrangement as set forth in claim 12 wherein said address information formats are formed by off-setting a selected portion of said address information at predetermined locations with respect to the remainder of said address information and wherein said photoelectric means is positioned to scan said selected portion.

14. An arrangement as set forth in claim 12 wherein said timing means comprises means for generating pulses at a rate directly related to the operating speed of said addressing apparatus, means responsive to said first signal for initiating a count of said pulses, and means for generating said delayed signal when said count reaches a predetermined value.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,609,928 9/1952 Doust 20972 3,283,163 11/1966 Folmar 27157 X RICHARD A. SCHACHER, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3645391 *Dec 21, 1970Feb 29, 1972Tokyo Shibaura Electric CoArticle-classifying apparatus
US3731916 *Jun 1, 1971May 8, 1973De La Rue InstrDiscriminating apparatus for moving translucent sheets
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Classifications
U.S. Classification209/3.3, 250/555, 209/563, 209/584
International ClassificationB07C3/10, B65G47/46, B07C3/14, B65H29/60, B07C3/00
Cooperative ClassificationB07C3/00
European ClassificationB07C3/00