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Publication numberUS3640367 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 8, 1972
Filing dateFeb 19, 1970
Priority dateFeb 19, 1970
Publication numberUS 3640367 A, US 3640367A, US-A-3640367, US3640367 A, US3640367A
InventorsPhilippe J Noetinger
Original AssigneeAutomatisme Cie Gle
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic sorting device
US 3640367 A
Abstract
A device for automatically sorting objects, making possible the connection of one input station to one of 2n output stations, including n-1 superimposed coaxial truncated cones each capable of movement about the axis thereof between first and second specific positions, and one input station equipped with a shutter having two positions. Provided on each truncated cone are troughs or channels delimited by triangular wedges. For a given position of the shutter and each of the truncated cones, there exists one, and only one, track leading from the input station to a selected one of the output stations; thus, the output station is determined on the basis of binary information regulating the positioning of the respective cones and the shutter.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Seams t [15] wow? Noetinger 1 Feb. 8, 1972 [54] A1LJTMATIC SOTENG DEVIQE [56] References Cited D P [72] Inventor: Philippe J. Noetinger, Chilly-Mazann, UNITE STATES ATENTS France 3,107,768 10/1963 Aben ..193/39 3,294,210 12/1966 Aiken... ..193/31 [73] Assignee: Compagnie Generale DAutomatisme,

Paris France Primary Examiner-Richard A. Schaeher [22] Filed: Feb. 19, 1970 Attorney-Craig, Antonelll & Hill [21] Appl. No.: 12,580 [57] ABSTRACT Related s Application m A device for automatically sorting objects, making possible the connection of one mput station to one of 2" output sta- Continuation-1WD?! 0f 707,691, tions, including n1 superimposed coaxial truncated cones 1968, abandoned. each capable of movement about the axis thereof between first and second specific positions, and one input station [30] Foreign Application Priority Data equipped with a shutter having two positions. Provided on each truncated cone are troughs or channels delimited by tri- Feb. 19, 1969 France ..6904194 angular wedges For agiven posit-on ofthe shutter and each of the truncated cones, there exists one, and only one, track lead- [52] 111.5. Cl. ..193/31, 193/39, 209/74 ing from the input station to a l t d one of the output sta- [51] K1111. CL... ..B65g 11/20 tions; thus, the output Station is determined on thc basis r [58] Fleld 0! Search ..193/31, 39; 198/31; 209/74 my information regulating the positioning f the respective cones and the shutter.

15 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures l 1 l 1 ll PATENTEU FEB 81972 3640,36? SHEET 1 OF 3 INVENTOR PHILIPPE NOETI NGER BY Craig, Antoneui 1 Hill ATTORNEYS mimanrm we 3.640.367

SHEET 2 BF 3 FIG.2

INVENTOR PHIUPPE N'OETINGER BY Craig, Hntonelll q [Ii/L ATTORNEYS PATENTEU FEB amz smataurs 1 37 I'I 3s 39 INVERTER.

INVENTOR PHILIPPE NOETING-ER BY Craig, Anlbnelu q-Hi AT TO R N EVS AUTOMATIC SORTING DEVICE This application is a continuation-in-part of my earlier application, Ser. No. 707,691, filed Feb. 23, 1968, and now abandoned.

The present invention relates to a device for sorting objects or articles automatically.

For the purpose of sorting objects, it is known in the art to use devices based on the principle of binary coding and made in n stages composed of conveyors and switches having two positions and connecting the output of each conveyor of one stage with the input of two conveyors of the next-following stage. This makes it possible to obtain, from one input station, 2" output stations each of which may be characterized by a binary number with n digits. The major drawback of such devices consists in the very significant space required therefor as the number of output stations becomes large. One known solution for avoiding this drawback consists in distributing these groups or units of conveyors and switches onto or within a cone, as disclosed in my copending application Ser. No. 707,691, filed Feb. 23, i968.

The present invention is concerned with and directed to a conical device designed for the autoinatic sorting of objects and characterized by virtue of the fact that it comprises for a number of 2" output stations: n-l superimposed coaxial truncated cones which are movable with respect to each other and adapted to occupy, in the position of rest one of two different positions, at the surface or at the inside of which there are arranged troughs or channels within which the objects in question circulate, for example due to or by reason of gravity, from one end, called the input, to the other end, called the output, these troughs or channels having a configuration such that the output of one channel can correspond to the input of either one or the other of two channels of the truncated cone immediately below, and in a number equal to 2" with p=l for the upper truncated cone, p=2 for the following cone, and pnl for the lowest truncated cone; a fixed input station equipped with a movable member such as a shutter having two positions and being placed above the entire group of truncated cones; a fixed output stage comprising 2 bins or conveyors placed below the entire group or unit of truncated cones; means for carrying out the'displacement and positioning of each of these truncated cones; and means for posting the destination of each object or article acting on the displacing and positioning means.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the truncated cones have lower bases which have double the diameter of that of the upper bases, each diameter of an upper base being equal to the diameter of the lower base of the preceding cone, the heights of the truncated cones being equal; and the entire group or unit of superimposed truncated cones having the form of configuration of a truncated cone whose generatrix is an exponential to the base 2.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the troughs or channels in question are limited by triangular wedges, being equal in number per truncated cone to the number of troughs or channels, i.e., 2", and defined by the position of the three vertices thereof: the first of the vertices of the wedges in question dividing the upper circumference of the truncated cone being considered into 2" equal portions; the second and third vertices of each wedge on the lower circumference of the truncated cone considered being spaced by 3/2+2 of this circumference, and each lower base of one wedge being spaced from the next-following one by l/2"+2 of this circumference, with the exception of the upper truncated cone whose inputs occupy two diametrically opposed quarters of the upper circumference, and for the lower truncated cone whose output width or distance between the bases of two successive wedges is the same as that of these bases, or l/2" of the circumference. It is advantageous to place the second and third vertices of each wedge symmetrically with respect to the axial plane extending through the first vertex thereof.

It is possible to advantageously reduce by half the lower diameter, and possibly, if desired, the height of the lower truncated cone so as to reduce the overall dimensions of the group or unit without lowering the capacity thereof from the point of view of the bulk or size limit of the articles or objects carried thereby.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the

' aforementioned means for establishing the displacement and positioning of each of the truncated cones comprise a motor capable of rotation in either direction on the shaft on which there is placed a pinion driving this truncated cone by means of a toothed rim made integral therewith. This motor has two positions of rest which are well defined and correspond, with due consideration of the pinion gear ratio, to two desired posi tions of the truncated cone. These means are controlled on the basis of binary data of the aforementioned posting means, which have neither been illustrated nor described because they are of a completely conventional type.

According to a modified embodiment of the present invention, the motors in question are replaced by either hydraulic or pneumatic actuators actuating a group of drive elements each including a rack and pinion, the latter pinion being mounted on the same shaft as the aforementioned pinion driving the toothed rim of a truncated cone.

According to another modified embodiment of the present invention, each of the aforementioned hydraulic actuators is replaced by two electromagnets having opposite directions of actuation.

Further details and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following description of various embodiments thereof, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein FIG. 1 illustrates the sorting device proposed by the present invention, in a front view thereof and in the direction of the arrow f in FIG. 2;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the sorting device according to the present invention with the upper portion, the so-called input, being removed;

FIG. 3 illustrates the sorting device according to the present invention in an axial cross-sectional view thereof and renders evident the drive members which provide for maneuvering the truncated cones, and

FIG. 4 illustrates groups or units of a hydraulic actuator including a rack-and-pinion arrangement which may be substituted for the motors of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 illustrates a magnetic actuator including electromagnetics.

The sorting device shown in FIG. 1 makes it possible to dis tribute articles or objects between one input station I and a selected one of 32 output stations 6, which may be provided as bins, troughs, or conveyors. The general term or expression for the number of output stations is 2"; thus, for 32 such stations, n is equal to 5. Thus, n-l, or four, truncated cones are needed which are designated 2, 3, 4i and 5.

The bases of each of these truncated cones are dimensional such that each lower base on a given cone has double the diameter of that of the upper base of that cone, and the two bases (upper and lower) of a cone have the same dimensions as the bases which they contact on adjacent truncated cones. If the heights are equal, which is of interest, the entire group or unit of truncated cones forms one truncated cone whose generatrix is an exponential to the base 2. If necessary, and in order to facilitate the reduction to practice of the present invention, the truncated cones may have rectilinear generatrices.

The troughs or channels, such as It) and 11, for circulating objects are delimited by the surfaces of the wedges l6 and 17, represented as shaded pieces in FIGS. 1 and 2. Disposed at the inside of the stationary input station I is a movable shutter 9 which is adapted to assume one of two positions, i.e., either A or B (shown in dotted lines). The truncated cone 2 has two troughs or channels and turns in the amount of a quarter of a revolution; the truncated cone 3 has four troughs or channels and turns by an eighth of a revolution; the truncated cone 4 has eight troughs or channels and turns by a sixteenth of a revolution; and the truncated cone 5 has 16 troughs or channels and turns by a thirty-second of a revolution.

Accordingly, and by virtue of the form or configuration of the wedges which have been defined above, there corresponds to any combination of positions of the truncated cones and of the shutter 9 one track or path, and one only, extending from the input station 1 to one output station, such as station 6, and this track or path is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and identified by the line 15.

The distribution of the different wedges over the surface of each truncated cone is illustrated in FIG. 2.

The cone 2 has two troughs or channels whose inputs form diametrically opposite quarters of the circumference 21 and the outputs of which form diametrically opposite eights of the circumference 22.

The cone 3 has four troughs or channels each occupying a quarter of the input circumference 22 and a sixteenth of the output circumference 23, each output being separated by the base of a large wedge of three-sixteenths of the circumference 23.

The cone 4 has eight troughs or channels each occupying one-eighth of the input circumference 23 and one thirtysecond of the output circumference 24, each output being separated by the base of a large wedge of three thirty-seconds of the circumference 24.

The cone 5 has 16 troughs at the input circumference 24, each occupying one thirty-second of the output circumference 25; each output being separated by the base of a large wedge ofone thirty-second ofthe circumference 25.

The output stations are either bins, troughs or channels, or conveyors being distributed about the circumference 25; there are 32 of them each being opposite either a trough of the truncated cone 5 or a base ofa wedge of the same truncated cone.

If R is the radius of the circumference 21, the circumferences 22,23, 24 and 25 will, respectively, have as radii 2R, 4R, 8R, and 16R, and the widths of the inputs and of the out puts of each trough have the values indicated below:

input output cone 2 1rR/2 1rRI2 cone 3 wk 1rR/Z cone 4 rrR nR/Z cone 5 rrR 11R This table makes it possible to realize that, accordingly, the first input and all of the outputs, except the last one which is largest, have the same width, which is very advantageous since they are thus adapted to correspond to a limit dimension of the objects which is optimal.

It may also be noted that the circumference 25 may be reduced at will up to a dimension close to that of the circumfcrcnce 24, thus essentially reducing the overall dimensions of the group or unit, the width of the outputs remaining always greater than 1rR/2, which is the limit dimension of the objects in question.

Each truncated cone may occupy two positions by virtue of the means for rotation thereof which will be described hereinbelow. If one position is characterized by and the other position by l the group of positions of all of the truncated cones will be characterized by a binary number of as many digits as there are truncated cones. But an object to be sorted passes first by the shutter having two positions, and its destination will thus be characterized by a binary number ofn digits if there are nl truncated cones, which gives 2" possible destinations. In the example shown, where there are one shutter and four truncated cones, each destination is represented by a binary number having five digits, for example Ol lOl, which means that the shutter 9 is in the 0" position, the cone 2 is in the l position; cone 3 is in the l position, cone 4 is in the 0 position, and cone is in the l "position.

The 0" and l positions of each cone may be defined, for example, in the following manner. Position 0 exists if the upper vertex of one wedge on a cone coincides with a lower left vertex of one wedge of the cone disposed immediately or directly thereabove.

Position 1 exists if the upper vertex of one wedge on a cone coincides with a lower right vertex of one wedge of the cone disposed immediately thereabove. This is the case in the unit or group shown in F108. 1 and 2. The path or track 15 is characterized therefore by the binary number 00000, since the position of the shutter is called 0."

The positioning of each of the truncated cones is obtained, for example, with the aid of a motor and a set of drive elements consisting ofa pinion and a geared or toothed rim, such as shown in FIG. 3. A motor such as 41, which is of the conventional stepby-step type or the like, allows two directions of travel and two well defined positions of stopping. It drives a pinion such as 43 by means ofa shaft 42. This pinion 43 drives a geared or toothed rim 34 which is placed inside the truncated cone 4 being considered.

The angle of rotation of each motor is such that the cone 2 turns by one-fourth of a revolution; cone 3 by one-eighth ofa revolution; cone 4 by one-sixteenth ofa revolution, and cone 5 by one thirty-second of a revolution, Since, however, the pinions such as 43 are all identical and since the toothed or geared rims 32, 33, 34 and 35 have diameters which are respectively double that of the preceding one, the angle of rotation is the same for all of the motors, which represents a simplification for the practical operation of the device according to the present invention.

The shutter 9 which is hingedly disposed around an axis 39 is actuated by either one or the other of the electromagnets 37 and 38.

A different embodiment of these driving means is illustrated in FIG. 4. A shaft 42 is provided as an integral part of or in connection with a pinion 51 at one end thereof, the pinion 43 being provided in each case at the other end of the shaft 42 for driving the toothed or geared rim 34. The pinion 51 is driven by a rack bar 52 which is integral with or connected to the piston of a double-acting hydraulic actuator 54.

Just as the angle of rotation of the motors was the same for all cones in the embodiment of FIG. 3, the displacement of the rack bars such as 52 is the same for all cones in this embodiment, and the groups of drive elements consisting of the hydraulic actuator and rack bar are therefore advantageously identical.

A still further embodiment is shown on FIG. 5. The bar is actuated by means of an electrical source feeding, through an inverter, two electrical windings cooperating with a magnetic portion of the bar. This solution renders it possible to use an electrical source of information or data instead of a hydraulic or pneumatic one, which may be advantageous.

A posting or control means of any conventional type is provided to actuate the electrical motors or hydraulic/pneumatic actuators thereby positioning the respective truncated cones in accordance with a binary sequence, as described above. For example, such control system may include a plurality of flipflops equal in number to the number of truncated cones. The outputs of these flipflops will then reflect the binary value 0 or 1 representing the required position of the cone with which it is associated. The 0 and l outputs of each flip-flop could then be applied in control of respective gates through which opposite polarity voltages may be selectively gated to drive an associated electric motor or hydraulic servo system in one or the other direction to position the cone. Of course, a completely hydraulic control system of conventional type or other known control system may also be provided.

Although the present invention has been described with reference to but a single embodiment, it is to be understood that the scope of the invention is not limited to the specific details thereof, but is susceptible of numerous changes and modifications as would be apparent to one with normal skill in the pertinent technology.

What 1 claim is:

1. A device for the automatic distribution of objects from an input station to a selected one of a number of 2" output stations comprising:

n-l superimposed coaxial truncated cones movable with respect to each other about the common axis and each being capable of occupying in the position of rest first and second respective positions, each truncated cone being provided with troughs within which said objects pass from one end thereof called an input to the other end thereof called an output, said troughs being positioned on each cone such that the output of each trough may be positioned in registration with the input of one or the other of two troughs of the truncated cone being disposed directly below, there being 2 troughs on each cone with p=l for the upper truncated cone, and p=n-l for the lower truncated cone,

a fixed input station equipped with a movable member having two positions and being placed above the superimposed truncated cones,

a fixed output stage comprising 2" output stations and placed below the superimposed truncated cones,

positioning means for effecting displacement and positioning of each of said truncated cones in said first or second position, and

control means for actuating said positioning means in accordance with a binary designation.

2. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to claim 1, wherein the diameter of the upper base of each truncated cone is equal to the diameter of the lower base of the truncated cone positioned immediately thereabove.

3. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to claim 2, wherein each truncated cone has a lower base with double the diameter of that of the upper base thereof,

4. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to claim 3, wherein the heights of said truncated cones are equal, the superimposed truncated cones in combination providing a surface having the form of a truncated cone whose generatrix is an exponential to the base 2,

5. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to claim 3, wherein the generatrices of each of said truncated cones are rectilinear.

6. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to claim ll, wherein said troughs are formed by wedge-shaped relief portions being equal in number, per truncated cone, to the number 2" of the troughs and defined as to position by the position of the three vertices thereof: the first vertex of each relief portion subdividing the upper circumference of the truncated cone being considered into 2 equal portions, the second and third vertices of each relief portion being, on the lower circumference of the truncated cone being considered, spaced by 3/(2"+2) of this circumference and each lower base of one relief portion being distant from the next following one by l /(2"+2) of this circumference 7. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to claim 1, wherein said positioning means for effecting displacement and positioning of each of said truncated cones comprises for each cone a motor capable of rotation in either direction, each said truncated cone being provided with a toothed rim integral therewith, and a pinion in engagement with said toothed rim and driven by said motor, said motor having two well-defined positions of rest which correspond to said first and second positions of the truncated cone.

8. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to claim il, wherein each said truncated cone is provided with a toothed rim, said positioning means including a pinion and shaft engaging said toothed rim for driving said cone in rotation about the axis thereof.

9. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to claim 8, wherein said positioning means for effecting displacement and positioning of each of said truncated cones comprises for each cone-actuating means including a piston and cylinder and a rack and pinion, the pinion being mounted on the same shaft as said pinion driving the toothed rim of the truncated cone being considered.

110. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to one of claims 8, wherein said positioning means for effectmg displacement and posmonmg of each of said truncated cones comprises for each cone actuating means including a rack and pinion, and a pair of electromagnets providing translation of said rack in opposite directions, said pinion being mounted on the same shaft as said pinion driving the toothed rim of the truncated cone being considered.

111. A device for the automatic distribution of objects from an input station to a selected one of a plurality of output stations comprising:

at least two superimposed coaxial truncated cones movable with respect to each other about the common axis and at least one being capable of occupying in the position of rest first and second respective positions, each truncated cone being provided with troughs within which said objects pass from an input end thereof to an output end thereof, said troughs being positioned on each cone such that the output end of each trough may be positioned in registration with the input end of one or the other of two troughs of the truncated cone being disposed directly below, there being two troughs on the upper truncated cone, and four troughs on the lower truncated cone,

positioning means for effecting rotation of said at least one truncated cone to said first or second position, and

control means for actuating said positioning means in accordance with applied data.

12. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to claim 11, wherein the diameter of the upper base of the lower truncated cone is equal to the diameter of the lower base of the upper truncated cone.

113. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to claim l2, wherein each truncated cone has a lower base with double the diameter of that of the upper base thereof.

14. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to claim 13, wherein the heights of said truncated cones are equal, the superimposed truncated cones in combination providing a surface having the form of a truncated cone whose generatrix is an exponential to the base 2.

15. A device for automatic distribution of objects according to claim 13, wherein the generatrices of each of said truncated cones are rectilinear.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3107768 *Jun 6, 1960Oct 22, 1963Jan EveleensInstallation for sorting workpieces according to operations to be performed thereon
US3294210 *Feb 18, 1965Dec 27, 1966Howard Aiken IndSorting assembly
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3916922 *Jun 14, 1974Nov 4, 1975Prumm Georg JElectronic coin tester
US4503961 *Dec 8, 1982Mar 12, 1985Mars IncorporatedCoin handling device
Classifications
U.S. Classification193/31.00R, 209/606, 193/39
International ClassificationB65G47/48
Cooperative ClassificationB65G47/648, B65G11/063
European ClassificationB65G11/06A, B65G47/64B2