US 3651503 A
A system for processing merchandizing tags cut from stock having a magnetizable portion and a portion for receiving visible printed information. The stock is carried through a magnetic recording station and a printing station where indicia are respectively magnetically and visually recorded on the stock on each of the portions corresponding to tags which are cut from the stock at the last station. A reader is also provided which reads the magnetic indicia on a tag by being actuated when the tag is properly positioned to move a magnetic reader over the magnetic indicia on the tag.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Kono [4 1 Mar. 21 1972 [541 SYSTEM FOR PROCESSING 3,112,697 12/1963 Pittman et al ..101/292 MERCHANDIZING TAGS HAVING 3,120,178 2/1964 Lamers PRINTED AND MAGNETIC 3,343,482 9/1967 Scott et a1 101/90 INFORMATION THEREON Primary Examiner-Terrell W. Fears  Inventor: Barry W. Kono, Lido Beach, L. 1., NY. Assistant Examiner-Vincent P. Canney  Assignee: TIg-A-Tron, Inc., New York, N.Y. Attorney 412mb? & Lazar 221 Filed: July 22, 1969 s71 ABSTRACT [211 Appl. No.: 843,454 A system for processing merchandizing tags cut from stock having a magnetizable portion and a portion for receiving visible printed information. The stock is carried through a mag-  ..340/17 1 1g;/gg netic recording station and a priming station where indicia are f i respectivelymagnetically and visually recorded on the stock I 1 e o 40/174 on each of the portions corresponding to tags which are cut from the stock at the last station. A reader is also provided  References Chad which reads the magnetic indicia on a tag by being actuated when the tag is properly positioned to move a magnetic reader UNlTED STATES PATENTS over the magnetic indicia on the tag.
2,889,769 6/1959 Goodbar et al. ..101/66 5 Claims, 14 Drawing Figures PATENTEBHAR 21 I972 SHEET 1 [IF 6 F I I INVENTOR.
HARRY Ml. KONO PATENTEDMARZI I972 3,651,503
' sum 2 OF 6 INVENTOR. F l 3 HARRY W- KONO MA@,WI I
A 770RA/EY PATENTEUMARZI 1972 3,651 ,503
SHEET 3 [IF 6 INVENTOR. HARRY W- KONO Wz a ATTORNEYS PATENTEDMARZI I972 3 6 51 5'03 sum 5 UP 6 I 1 W .x
IN VENTOR. HARRY W- KONO SYSTEM FOR PROCESSING MERCHANDIZING TAGS HAVING PRINTED AND MAGNETIC INFORMATION THEREON CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS This application is related to copending application Ser. No. 757,819, filed Sept. 6, 1968 by Harry W. Kono on a Machine For Laminating Magnetic Strip on Tag or Label Stock, now abandoned, and continued in application Ser. No. 154,640 filed June 18, 1971.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l. Field of the Invention This invention relates to systems and related machines for preparing merchandizing tags having both magnetic and printed information thereof.
2. Description of the Prior Art Merchandizing tags heretofore have been prepared with written information representative of merchandizing data together with coded information in the form of punched holes representative of a selected code of information useful for accounting purposes. Such systems have been found to be costly and time consuming in processing. Furthermore, the delays that occur between the time the tag is initiated for processing until the final information has been accumulated is so great as to make the continued use of such systems prohibitive in the light of modern day computer and data processing.
Attempts have been made to replace the punch-hole type of codes with magnetically recorded information, but such attempts have been failing in one or more respects. For example the magnetic vehicles were such as to distort the magnetically stored information to thereby render the total information useless.
The present invention overcomes the shortcomings of the previous systems or processing techniques for merchandizing tags.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION magnetic recording of indicia on the magnetizable surface of the web is made corresponding to digital information fed into the system by manually operated thumb-wheel switches. At the second station, a visual printing is made on the web of certain information corresponding, in part, to the information recorded magnetically. At the last stage, the individual tags or labels, re cut off the advancing end of the web and conveyed to a common hopper.
A reader is provided to respond to the insertion of a tag into a slot. The magnetic indicia is then read and transmitted to a storage tape. Many such transactions are thus repeated with similar tags of the same or similar information. Periodically the information from the storage tape is retransmitted to a data processing center for sorting, classifying and tabulating the information for inventory and accounting purposes.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Referring now to the drawing which shall be described in detail in the description to follow:
FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of the equipment of the system in console form;
FIG. 1A is a plan view of a tag processed according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary and enlarged view of the magnetic recording and reading station of the printing console;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary and enlarged view of the tape-feed and pinch-roller assembly of the printing console, partially in section;
FIG. 4 is an elevation view as seen from the right side of the assembly shown in FIG. 3, partially in section, to show otherwise hidden parts;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary view in perspective of the pinch-roller assembly;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged view of the drive mechanism for advancing the web and for cutting tags from the end of the web as seen from the rear of the console;
FIG. 7 is a view of the mechanism as seen along the viewing line 7-7 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8A is a front elevation view in partial section but with the cover removed showing the pin mechanism for moving the tags during the printing phase of the operation;
FIG. 8B is a similar view of the mechanism of FIG. 8A showing the parts in a different position;
FIG. 9 is a plan view of the tag reader of the system with the cover removed;
FIG. 10 is a sectional view of the reader of FIG. 9 as seen along the viewing line 10-10;
FIG. 11 is a sectional view of a portion of the reader as seen along the viewing line 1l-11 ofFIG. 9; and
FIG. 12 is a sectional view of a portion of the reader as seen along the viewing line 12-12 of FIG. 9.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawing, like reference numerals used throughout the several views of one embodiment of the invention will refer to identical parts.
FIG. 1 shows in a front elevation view several consoles in which the equipment of an entire system embodying the invention is housed. It will be understood, however, that these consoles in actual use will usually be located at different locations, indeed, at locations separated by hundreds of miles as will be better understood from the description of the system and the components thereof which shall follow.
Console 10 is the printer console housing the apparatus for processing the stock of tags in web form. The web is provided on a reel 36 and is processed to be provided with magnetic and mits the information to storage equipment such as tape deck console 12. Console 12 houses the tape deck for storing the information derived from the individual tags during the transaction by the merchandizer to the retailer. The tag reader 14 in actual practice is located near the cash register of the merchandizer. A console 16 houses data processing equipment and collects the information from any one of a plurality of tape deck console stations 12. The console 16 is located at central processing center or central office for general accounting purposes.
FIG. 1A illustrates a merchandizing tag 18 which is processed by the printer console 10, and is verified, as will be better understood hereinafter from the description that follows, by the tag reader 14.
The tag is preferable of the form prepared in accordance with a machine described in the copending application referred to above, viz, Ser. No. 757,819, filed Sept. 6, 1968 and entitled Machine for Laminating Magnetic Strip on Tag or Label Stock.
The tag 18 is provided with a hole 20 disposed along one edge thereof and is provided with a magnetic surface 22 for receiving and storing in magnetic form information representative of merchandizing data.
Preprinted information, such as the retailer's packaging program, the corporate image, identification or trademark may be provided on the tag, while information such as the contents, etc., indicated at 30, the size (28) indicated at 32 and the price (24) indicated at 34, are printed on the surface of the tag by the machine to be described.
Referring to FIG. 1, the printer console is provided with a supply reel 36 carrying a web 38 of a continuous tape about 3- /4 inches wide which corresponds to the height of the tag 18 shown in FIG. 1A. The web of tape 38 is provided with a series of spaced holes 20, each hole being located along the center line of each tag that will be formed by the machine. The web includes the preprinted information just described.
In general, the web is processed through several stages comprising initially the magnetic writing and reading stage 40, the pinch roller stage 42, the intermittent movement (printing stage) 44, and, finally, the cutting stage 46.
Numerical data is fed into the machine by operation of the thumb-wheel switches mounted on panel 48. The numerical (digital) information is converted at stage 40 to magnetic signals which are appropriately gated to impart a magnetic signal which is stored on the magnetic portion 22 of the web 38.
I The supply reel 36 rotates in the direction indicated by the arrow shown thereon as it feeds the web 38 over rollers through the recording stage 40, advanced by the pinch roller 42 over a guide roller 124 and formed into a slack loop 50,
over idler roller 126 onto the flat portion of the printing stage 44 for printing of visual data on the web corresponding, in part, to the information applied to the thumb-wheel switches. The web 38 isadvanced by an intermittent movement at the printing stage 44 in synchronism with the operation of the printing head of the printing assembly 52. As the web is advanced to the cutting stage 46 knife blade 54 is automatically operated to sever from the end of the web a tag 18'to be dropped down the chute 56 to an appropriate container, not
' A garment tag 18 is attached to a garment for display for retailing by the merchandizer. When the garment is brought to a clerk the tag 18 is either removed from the garment and inserted into the opening 58 of the tag reader 14 shown in FIG.
' l. The tag reader 14 responds automatically to the insertion of selected or desired category or classification.
Referring now to FIGS. 2, 3 et seq., there is shown in greater detail the components of the various stages.
The writing" and reading stage 40 of the console 40 is shown in FIG. 2. The web 38 from supply reel 36 is guided over a drag roller 58 and guided between a rubber pressure roller 61 carried on a shaft 62 and journaled in pinch bracket 64 which may be lifted from pressure contact by a handle 66. The web 38 is then guided over an arcuate bottom plate 68. The plate 68 is developed along the arc of about or about one-third of a radian about a center having a radius of about one foot. A mating arcuate top plate 70 is spaced above the bottom plate with sufficient clearance for the web to pass therethrough.
A magnetic write head 72 and a magnetic read head 74 are positioned in close magnetic relationship with the magnetic tape portion 22 of the web. Both of these magnetic devices are of conventional design. The write head 72 is responsive to stored signals representative of each of the 26 individual digital (numerical) data corresponding respectively to, the selected position of the thumb-wheel switch on the panel 48.
The width of the garment tag 18 is selected to carry the magnetic impulses on the tape 22 in any of the known arrays of, for example, a binary digital code using five bits of magnetic information for each digit l-2-4-8 code for the numerical head 74 to verify the logic of the binary information in the manner known in the art.
A bracket 76 with an adjustment coil spring 78 is secured by screws 80 to provide the support for the reading and writing heads. The tension adjustment effects a suitable pressure on the bracket and thereby provides for a spacing adjustment.
A photoelectric light source 82 is suitably mounted as indicated to develop a light beam in line with the aperture 20 of the web 38 for detection by a photoelectric cell, on the opposite side of the web, not shown, to provide a gate or start signal for the magnetic recording circuits. I
The web 38 is then passed over roller (preferably nonrotating) 84 into the pinch roller stage 42 shown in detail in FIGS. 3 and 4. The pinch roller comprises a rubber cylindrical roller 86 mounted on shaft 88, which is journaled in theflanges 90 of I the energy for electric motor or by microswitch 102 for I energizing the motor 100. Attached to the bracket 92 by a screw 106 is a plate 104 resiliently spaced therefrom by a coil spring 108. The plate 104 is connected to a rigid post 1 10 by a plurality of tension springs 1 12. A shaft 1 14 is journaled in the fixed channels 94 and extends through the console to the rear portion thereof to a continuously rotating flywheel 116.
The motor 100 is mounted to the pinch-roller assembly through a gear box 118, the shaft output of which is connected to a cam 122. The cam 122 is in sliding contact with a plate 104 and as the cam rotates it drives the plate 104 downwardly carrying therewith the pinch roller 86 against the tension of springs 112.
The pinch roller 86 is pressed against the web 38 pinching it against the surface of the shaft 112. This action causes an impulse force of large momentum to cause the web 38 to be driven in the direction of the arrows during the period of contact between the pinch roller 86 and the shaft 1 14. This period is determined by the shape of the cam as well as the spacing between the trip switch 96 and the microswitch 98. These elements are appropriately designed to effect the desired duration of time for driving the web 38. This, of course, as will be understood from the description which shall follow, is synchronized and coordinated with the other operations that are being performed on the web;
FIG. 5 is an isometric view of the elements of the pinch roller mechanism 41 that cooperate to effect the impulse motion of the web 38 just described.
The web 38 is then passed over a nonrotating cylinder 124 and is formed into a takeup loop 50 and then passed over cylinder 126 as seen in FIG. 1. The web is then guided through the printing stage 44, shown generally in FIG. 1. A sectional view of the pin mechanism is shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B, a plan view of the actuating mechanism is shown in FIG. 7, a rear elevation of the mechanism of FIG. 7 being shown in FIG. 6.
A push pin holder 128 is attached to a block 130 and carries a pair of pins 132 spaced by at least one garment tag 18. The pins 32 are positioned for engagement with the tag aperture 20 and to slide within a slot in the surface 134 over which the web 38 passes. The block 130 is connected to a sliding cam 136 which in turn is reciprocated and guided by pins 137 in the slots of flat spring 139.
A disc 138 driven by the motor 166 through bevel gear 158 is pivotally connected to connecting rod-140 which in turn is connected to a bearing block 141 and is pivoted about pivot 144. A spring 146 mounted on shaft 148 maintains the slide mover 141 in tension as the crank 138 drives the slide mover 142 in reciprocating motion.
Diagonal slots 137a formed in the cam 136 guide the cam 136 and therefore the pins 132 in a vertical sliding displacement as the cam 136 is moved transversely.
As the pins 132 are pushed upwardly to engage the aperture of the web 38, the bearing block is then driven in a direction to the left of FIG. 8A to carry the web 38 in that direction. The printer 52 is then caused to impart a print of data, such as indicated by 32, 34 and 30 (FIG. 1A) on the web 38. The pins 132 are then withdrawn downwardly as shown in FIG. 83 by the intermittent feed action.
The push pin holder 128 is then reciprocated to the right carrying the pins 132 in the lowered position back to the position shown in FIG. 8A ready for raising the pins into engagement with the next apertures 20. This motion, it will be understood, is intermittent and is synchronized with the action of the pinch roller 42 and the operation of the magnetic read and write heads 72 and 74. The pins thus are reciprocated horizontally and vertically in a cradle system to sequentially and intermittently advance the web 36 for printing under the head 52.
Coordinated with this intermittent cradle movement a knife 46 is provided to sever from the end of the web 38 a tab 18. The tab is guided through a chute 56 into a receptacle, not shown. The knife 46 is attached to knife holder 150, 152 driven by an eccentric lever coupled to the drive shaft 162. Carried on crank 154 mounted on a rear shaft 156 which in turn is driven through a bevel gear 158 carried on a mount block 160 and then in turn attached to a shaft 162. A gear 164 is connected to a gear train, not shown, for actuating the printer 52. The shaft is then connected through a gear 165 to the main motor 166. The bevel 158 is journaled through a mounting block 170 for rotating a shaft 172 and the eccentric disc 138 which in turn actuates the pin-feed mechanism intermittently as above described with respect to FIGS. 8A and 8B.
Thus at each of the stations a separate but coordinated function is performed on an intermittent movei'nent basis, the period of which is set to allow for the complete cycle of printing the visual data on the tag and for reading and writing information on the magnetic portion 42.
The number of thumb-wheel switches mounted on panel 48 is in accordance with thedesired data. The data is applied to the magnetic portion 22 of the tag 18. The visual information represents, for example, the style, size, color, manufacturer, price, store number, and various other additional information that a retail store or a chain of stores may consider necessary.
In a preferred form of the system in accordance with applicants invention, 26 individual digits are used, eight of which are duplicates with respect to the price and size. Thus, as shown in FIG. 1 on the thumb-wheel panel 48 a four-digit unit 172, a second four-digit unit 174, a five-digit unit 176 and a three-digit unit 178 are shown. A two-digit unit 180 is used for identifying the color of a garment. A duplicate of units 176 and 178 for visual printing by unit 52 (top of FIG. 1) are shown as 184 and 182. A three-digit unit 182 is shown as well as a five-digit 184. The switch units 172 may represent a number representing a particular store, 174, the manufacturer's identifying number, 180, the color of the garment, 172a, the type of garment (blouse, dress, slacks, etc.), 174a, the style of the garment, such as plain, flared, bell-bottom, etc.
For the usual operation an operator will adjust the thumbwheels 172-184 by moving the switch positions in the usual known manner. The switches are arranged to produce an electrical signal corresponding to a desired binary code. The necessary signal voltages are conducted from the thumbwheel switch to the transducer equipment for generating a magnetic pulse corresponding to the binary signal. The magnetic pulse is developed at the magnetic write head 72 to effeet a suitable magnetic polarity and strength to be recorded on the surface of the web in suitable physical location thereon as well known in the art.
A jogger button 190 is provided to energize the system for operation only as long as the button is depressed. Thus the web can be advanced intermittently and the various stations adjusted accordingly. Thus, if the printing head 52 were in a down position at the end of the previous operation, it is desirable to raise it so that it will not be damaged during a reset of the print wheels by resetting the thumb-wheels.
I have discovered that the recordation of the magnetic signal on the web surface 22 is rendered accurate and substantially permanent by carrying the web 38 in a non-flat, that is, an arcuate path under tension beneath the magnetic heads 72. The parity-reading function by the head 74, also arranged in the arcuate path of the web, performs an accurate and reliable check by such an arrangement.
As a preferred form the web is produced by laminating the magnetic material onto a tag or stock material also in an arcuate path so that the magnetic material is bonded to the surface of the tag under tension thereby providing a homogeneous and flat surface without crinkling, bubbling or other such distortion.
A machine and the process or making such a tag is disclosed in my copending application referred to above.
The printer 52 is provided for each run of tags with visually printed information indicated in FIG. 1A. Some of the data thereon may be also digitally coded and recorded in magnetic form.
The tags are collected from the chute 56 and then shipped to the user who will then attach the tag to the particular garment for which the data is related.
At the retail store the tag will be carried by the purchaser to the point of payment. In order to accurately and quickly be apprised of the sales transaction a console reader 14 is provided.
Referring now to FIGS. 9, l0, l1, and 12, there is shown a tag reader arranged to read the data on the magnetic portion 22 ofthe tag 18.
A motor, not shown, drives a belt 200 about a pulley 202 connected to a shaft 204. The shaft 204 is journaled in plate 206 and extends into a shaft 208 of small diameter. A rubber roller 210 mounted by screw 212 to a plate 214 is positioned to pinch between it and the shaft 208 a tape strap 216 which carries a reading head 218 adapted for slidable motion over the magnetic portion 22 of the tag 18 to scan the magnetic information stored therein. The reading head 218 is attached to and under a trapazoidal plate 220 by screws 222. The plate 220 is carried by guide rods 224- for lateral motion thereon. The coil springs 226 attached to the plate 220 serve to provide a cushion of the plate 220 from theleft position to which it is driven by the tape 216 to the starting position at the right as shown in FIG. 9.
A track guide 230 guides the tape strap 216 in the arcuate path defined by the shape thereof to engage the switch 231. Switch 231 deenergizes solenoid 234 to release the tape strap 216 allowing it to be returned to the starting position by spring 240, carrying with it the reading head 218. Spring 235 returns the rubber roller 210 to its spaced position away from the shaft 208 when the solenoid 234 is deenergized.
The solenoid is closed upon a tag 18 being inserted into the slot 58. The tag 18, it is noted, must be properly inserted so that the magnetic surface is facing the magnetic head. An asymmetrically located hole may be included on the tag 18 to be the means to verify the proper orientation of the tag by photocell means. Other techniques can also be used such as a notch or the like which is sensed by a microswitch.
The tag 18 is inserted in a slot 58 at the inner end ofwhich is situated a switch 244 responsive to the position of the tag thereon. The switch energizes the solenoid 234 to actuate the pinch rollers to come into contact and pull the belt attached to the magnetic head across the tag.
The flywheel in pinching contact with the rubber roller 210 causes the strap 216 to be pulled to the left carrying with it the plate 220 and the reading head 218. The magneticinformation on the tag 22 is detected by the reading head 218 and carried to transducing equipment for recordation at a remote location.
The tape strap 216 is driven into the belt guide 230 causing it to fit and strike the switch 231 which in turn actuates the solenoid separating the rubber roller from the shaft 208 thereby releasing the tape strap 216 allowing it to be withdrawn under tension by spring 240.
Each time a tag is inserted into the reader 14 into the slot 58 the cycle is repeated.
A switch 250 is used to energize the electrical energy required for the motor and the solenoid.
The output of the reading head 218, as indicated above, is conveyed immediately to a tape deck console 12 for recording the magnetic information from each tag 18 onto the tapes 60.
At any desired period the information from the tape deck may be scanned or transmitted to a remote location, such as a Dataphone console 16 in the same store or at some other selected location. The information is then collated, collected and tabulated by known processing techniques. The information is thus available at very rapid pace and gives a thoroughly accurate and complete record of each and all transactions relating to the retailers operation. Each tag, of course, which is read by the reader 14, may be or may not be the same as any other tag. The reader 14 reads the magnetic information, that is on the magnetic portion 22.
It should be understood, of course, that the console prints both for visual and magnetic data a plurality of identical tags. Anytime during the operation the machine is stopped and the data in the thumb-wheel switches is changed as desired, such changes are coordinated with the requirement of a printing head templet in the printing head 52, which prints additional information such as contents, manufacturing number, indicia of the seasons such as Christmas, etc.
It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications of the apparatus may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. Thus the invention may be utilized by the use of precut tags of suitable dimensions corresponding to that shown in FIG. 1A. With such an arrangement the tags would be translated or moved in a horizontal manner whereby the pinch roller mechanism, the reel 36, will not be necessary. Nevertheless at the magnetic recording stage the tag would preferably be processed in an arcuate or curved path inorder to effect accurate magnetic recordation and reading thereof.
1. A systemfor processing merchandising tags cut from stock, said stock having a magnetizable surface portion and a plurality of apertures evenly spaced along the web a distance corresponding to at least an integral multiple of the width of a tag, comprising means for recording magnetic indicia on the magnetic surface portion of the stock, means for printing visual indicia on other portions of said stock, means for cutting from said stock tags each of which carry a discrete set of visual and magnetic indicia, said magnetic indicia being magnetically recorded on said stock in response to a signal corresponding to the aperture on said stock, said stock being guided along an arcuate path whereby said stock is taut beneath said magnetic recording means, and means for maintaining said stock continuously taut comprising a pinch roller mechanism, said pinch roller mechanism being energized by a start-switch and being deenergized by a stop-switch arranged to advance said stock to a position under said recording means corresponding to the desired recording location.
2. A system according to claim 1, further comprising a reader of the magnetic indicia on one of said tags, said reader including means to receive said tag, means responsive to the presence of said tag by the actuation of a switch when said tag is placed in. a predetermined position in said receiving means to move a magnetic reader over the magnetic indicia on said tag, means for transducing the magnetic indicia into signals representative of said indicia, and means for storing said signals, said magnetic reader moving means including a spring-loaded carrier of said reader arranged to be drawn over said tag while sensing the magnetic state of said tag, and plac ing a spring under tension, and means for returning said carrier to its starting position by the action of said spring returning to its normal position. D
3. A system according to claim 1 wherein said magnetic indicia corresponds to digital information manually selected on thumb-wheel switches.
4. A system according to claim 1 wherein said printing means includes a printing head having print wheels operatively rotatable in response to digital information manually selected on thumb-wheel switches.
5. A system according to claim 4 including means for intermittently advancing said stock in cooperative relation with said printing head and means responsive to said intermittent advancing means for energizing said printing head to print indicia on said stock while said stock is stationary.