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Publication numberUS3688873 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 5, 1972
Filing dateDec 28, 1970
Priority dateDec 29, 1969
Also published asDE1965332A1, DE1965332B2, DE1965332C3
Publication numberUS 3688873 A, US 3688873A, US-A-3688873, US3688873 A, US3688873A
InventorsPotrafke Werner
Original AssigneePotrafke Werner
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Device for self-service stores
US 3688873 A
Abstract
An apparatus for self-serving stores, for use in connection with shopping baskets and shopping carts, in which at the upper end of an inclined surface in front of the central withdrawal compartment there is provided an endless conveyor belt extending over the entire width of said central compartment while conveying means extending transverse to the longitudinal axis of the apparatus is adapted to be folded upwardly or to be turned.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Potrafke [54] DEVICE FOR SELF-SERVICE STORES [72] Inventor: Werner Potratke, Hufeisenstr. 6,

432 Hattingen, Germany [22] Filed: Dec. 28, 1970 211 App]. No.: 101,527

[30] Foreign Application Priority Data Dec. 29, 1969 Germany ..P 19 65 332.8

[52] US. Cl. ..l86/l A [51] Int. Cl. ..E04h 3/04 [58] Field of Search.....l86/l A, 1 AC; 198/165, 188

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,076,528 2/1963 Potrafke ..l86/l A [451 Sept. 5, 1972 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,058,734 2/1967 Great Britain 1 86/1 A Primary Examiner-Harvey C. Homsby Attorney-Walter Becker ABSTRACT An apparatus for self-serving stores, for use in connection with shopping baskets and shopping carts, in which at the upper end of an inclined surface in front of the central withdrawal compartment there is provided an endless conveyor belt extending over the entire width of said central compartment while conveying means extending transverse to the longitudinal axis of the apparatus is adapted to be folded upwardly or to be turned.

4 Claims, 9 Figures PATENTED SEP 5 I973 SHEET 1 [IF 3 FIG-I FIG-2 INVENTOR WERNER POTRAFKE PKTENTEBSEP m: 3588.873 sumaur'a FIG-8 mm g 4+ 39 I I-VENTOR WERNER POTRAFKE DEVICE FOR SELF-SERVICE STORES The present invention concerns a device for self-service stores for use in connection with shopping baskets or shopping carts, which device comprises primarily a 'cash register stand, a deposit station for the filled shopping baskets or a check-out plate for an intermediate depositing of the goods when shopping carts are employed, and furthermore comprises primarily three withdrawal compartments for the withdrawal of the checked-out goods.

Cash register tables and devices of the above mentioned type are known in various forms. These devices are normally equipped with two or more withdrawal compartments. Experience and tests have shown that a cash register stand with three withdrawal compartments is more economical than a cash register stand with two withdrawal compartments. For a fast servicing of the customers during rush hours, especially over the week end, cash register tables with three withdrawal compartments are a must. It is the tendency in self-service stores to reduce the number of cash register stands or tables and to increase the economy of each individual cash register stand or table.

A modern cash register table is expected to have as large withdrawal compartments as possible so that an individual withdrawal compartment will be able to accommodate a considerably greater assortment of goods bought over the week end. An increase in surface of the withdrawal compartments, however, is counter to the requirement to reduce the space of a cash register table to a minimum in order to save floor space. To meet the above mentioned requirements which are directly counter to each other, represents a rather difficult and important problem. With heretofore known customary cash register tables comprising three withdrawal compartments, the above mentioned requirements are hardly met or are met only insufficiently.

In addition to considering the above outlined requirements, a cash register table also has to take into consideration the physical stress to which the cashier is subjected. Also in this respectmany of the heretofore known cash register tables are insufficient. In spite of the employment of mechanical conveying means, such as conveyor belts, with various cash register tables, relatively long conveying paths are necessary which have to be bridged by the manual action of the cashier.

According to a previous suggestion for a device to be used in self-service stores, the distance between the withdrawal of the goods by the cashier during the check-out operation and the three withdrawal compartments has been reduced to a minimum by a novel way of dividing the respectively available surface. When shopping baskets are employed, the withdrawal of the goods is effected at theplace where the shopping baskets are deposited whereas, when employing shopping carts, the withdrawal place is formed by a check-out plate at the end of the conveyor belt and in this instance is located directly in front of the inclined surface leading into the withdrawal compartments and, more specifically, is located in the center of the device, i. e. in front of the central withdrawal compartments.

It is an object of the present invention with a device of the above mentioned type to improve the transfer of the checked-out goods to the individual withdrawal compartments.

It is another object of this invention so to improve the transfer of the checked-out goods to the withdrawal compartments that the work of the cashier is simplified and that also the construction and the costs of the device are simplified and reduced while simultaneously the withdrawal compartments are increased as to their capacity while the total surface of the device is not increased.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will appear more clearly from the following specification in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 diagrammatically illustrates a top view of a device according to the invention for use in connection with shopping carts, said device including a conveyor, belt in the form of a metal or link conveyor belt.

FIG. 2 is a section taken along the line [I II of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 diagrammatically illustrates a top view of a device according to the invention for use in connection with shipping baskets, said device likewise comprising a metal or link conveyor belt.

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic end view of the withdrawal compartments of a device according to the invention with two conveyor belts adapted to be folded upwardly.

FIG. 5 is a view similar to that of FIG. 4 with the lefthand conveyor belt folded downwardly into its working position.

FIG. 6 is a section taken along the line VI-VI of H0. 5.

FIG. 7 represents a diagrammatic partial view of a conveyor belt adaptedto be folded upwardly, in which the pivot axis is located below the inclined surface.

FIG. 8 is a diagrammatic top view of that portion of the device which comprises the withdrawal compartments and comprises a rotatably mounted conveyor belt.

FIG. 9 is an illustration similar to "that of FIG. 8 in which the conveyor belt has been turned into its rest position.

The device according to the present invention is characterized primarily in that at the upper end of the inclined surface in front of the central withdrawal compartment there is provided a conveyor belt which extends over the width of the central withdrawal compartment and is in the form of an endless metal band or a link band with conveying means which extend transverse to the longitudinal axis of the device and is adapted to be folded upwardly or to be turned. When loading the central withdrawal compartment, the conveyor belt is at a standstill and in folded-up position serves as slide or chute.

According to a further development of the invention, at that side of the conveyor belt which faces the withdrawal compartments, there may be provided a foldable strip adapted to be folded into the 'plane of the belt. Such strip is particularly advantageous when the conveyor belt in its folded-up position occupies a horizontal position.

According to still a further development of the invention, the conveyor belt forms together with the drive motor a unit which is foldable as a unit.

The control of the drive motor may, according to the present invention, be so designed that when folding the conveyor belt downwardly, the circuit for the drive motor is interrupted by a limit switch. The limit switch may be effective in the lower position as well as in the upper position. This design is structurally particularly simple because only a single conveyor belt is necessary the foldable mounting of which will cause no manufacturing difficulties whatsoever. If for serving the costomers, only two withdrawal compartments are necessary, the conveyor belt remains in its upwardly folded position and is shifted by the cashier only in conformity with the respective desired conveying direction.

Instead of a conveyor belt which, when the drive motor is at a standstill, forms the sliding surface or chute for loading the central withdrawal compartment, there may also be employed a design according to which one or two conveyor belts in the form of a web belt may be employed merely for loading the central withdrawal compartments, whereas when loading the central withdrawal compartment, the belt or hands are folded upwardly or toward the side so that the goods will over the inclined surface pass into the central withdrawal compartment.

An embodiment intended for this way of operation is according to the invention characterized primarily in that at the start of the inclined surface at least one endless conveyor belt, the length of which corresponds to the width of a withdrawal compartment, and which has a strip on that side which faces the withdrawal compartments, is foldably arranged in such a way that the endless conveyor belt is adapted to be folded from a position substantially parallel to the inclined surface' and located along an extension of the check-out plate into a position substantially perpendicular to the inclined surface so that the conveyor belt will be located approximately along an extension of the two partitions between the withdrawal compartments.

Instead of a single conveyor belt reversible as to its conveying direction, also two upwardly foldable conveyor belts with fixed conveying direction may be provided, the arrangement being such that each of the two conveyor belts will, when in folded-up condition, be located along an extension of a partition.

In order to secure the conveyor belts in their upwardly folded position against any u nintentional downward folding, counter weights or springs may be connected to the conveyor belts which load themselves during a tilting movement from the rest position to the working position.

According to a further development of the invention, that side of the conveyor belt which faces away from the withdrawal compartments may be provided with a running-up plate which bridges the gap between the end of the check-out plate and the conveyor belt.

For purposes of reducing the height of the upwardly folded conveyor belt, the pivot axis of the conveyor belt may, according to the invention, be located either between the reversing rollers of the belt or below the inclined surface.

According to still another embodiment of the invention, only a single conveyor belt is provided which is reversible as to its conveying direction and the length of which corresponds about to the width of the central withdrawal compartment. This single conveyor belt is rotatably journalled at the start of the inclined surface in such a way that it is turnable by 90 from a position transverse to and in front of the central withdrawal compartment and parallel to the plane of the inclined surface into a position representing approximately a central extension of one of the two partitions. With this embodiment, the axis of rotation of the conveyor belt is located outside the reversing rollers.

All of the various above outlined embodiments of a device for self-service stores have the advantage that for conveying the checked-out goods to the individual withdrawal compartments, only a very short transporting length is necessary for loading all three compartments while the transporting length is approximately the same for each of the three compartments. This transporting length or path will, with a design employing shopping carts, correspond to the displacement of the goods from the check-out plate to the conveyor belt located therebehind or to the inclined surface, and with a device for use in connection with shopping baskets, correspond to the distance between the depositing station for the baskets and the conveyor belt adjacent thereto or the inclined surface. The cashier will thus be considerably relieved as to physical work. In addition thereto, the transporting or conveying of the goods to the withdrawal compartments offers a reduction in the space required for the distribution of the goods and thus offers the possibility of increasing the volume of the withdrawal compartments by extending the partitions while the base surface of the device is retained.

Referring now to the drawings in detail, the device shown therein has a rectangular basic contour and comprises primarily a cash register stand 1, a space 2 for the cashier 3, a conveyor belt 4 with adjacent check-out plate 5, a place 6 for a helper 7, and adjacent an inclined surface 8 three withdrawal compartments 9, 10 and 11 located adjacent to each other. In front of the withdrawal compartments there is provided a board 12 for depositing a shopping bag. The withdrawal compartments are separated from each other by partitions 13, 14.

At the start of the inclined surface 8 and in a corresponding cutout there is located an endless conveyor belt 15 in the form of a metal or link band which is arranged in front of the central withdrawal compartment 10. This conveyor belt 15 is foldable upwardly from its position in the plane of the inclined surface 8'about a shaft 16 into a horizontal or slightly lifted position as shown in FIG. 2. On the bottom side of the conveyor belt 15 there is provided a protective sheet 17 which, when occupying its upwardly folded position, will cover the cutout in the inclined surface. The protective sheet 17 extends also along the narrow sides of the conveyor belt. The non-illustrated drive motor is together with the conveyor belt expediently connected so as to form a unit so that the conveyor belt and the motor are foldable upwardly together or as a unit.

For turning the drive motor on and off, a limit switch may be provided which may be actuated either when the conveyor belt has reached its lower or upper position. The reversing of the direction of rotation of the motor is effected by a manually or foot operable reversing contact. For additionally guiding the goods, one or both of the longitudinal sides of the conveyor belt may be equipped with strips. The strip located on that side which faces toward the withdrawal compartments may be so designed that in folded-down position of the conveyor belt it is adapted to be shifted inwardly or to be pushed inwardly.

The operation of this device is as follows: When loading the two outer withdrawal compartments 9 and 10, the conveyor belt will, as evident from FIG. 2, occupy the upwardly folded position. The goods to be checked-out pass via conveyor belt 4 to the check-out plate 5 from where they are passed by the cashier simultaneously with the check-out operation at the cash register stand to the conveyor belt 15. Depending on the direction of conveyance of the conveyor belt, the goods pass into one or the other withdrawal compartment.

When it is desired to load the central withdrawal compartment 10, the conveyor belt 15 is folded downwardly while at the same time the circuit for the drive motor is interrupted. The goods are now able, over the surface of the metal or link belt serving as slide or chute, to slide into the central withdrawal compartment l0.

The embodiment of FIG. 3 differs from the embodiments of FIGS. 1 and 2 merely with regard to that part which is located in front of the inclined surface and which instead of a conveyor belt comprises a depositing station for the shopping baskets 18. This part likewise comprises a cashiers stand 19, a seat for the cashier 21 and a space 20 for a helper 23.

According to the embodiment of FIGS. 4 to 7, two vertically upwardly foldable conveyor belts 25, 26 are provided, said conveyor belts being foldable upwardly relative to the inclined surface 24. The drive 27, 28 is located below the inclined surface 24. On that side which faces the withdrawal compartments, there is each provided a strip 29, 30 which is located on the conveyor belt.

Furthermore, a counter weight 31, 32 is connected to each conveyor belt which counter weight serves for stabilizing the upwardly folded position.

For purposes of bridging the distance between the check-out plate 33 and the conveyor belt 25, there is provided a running-up plate 34 as shown in FIG. 6. This plate is fixedly connected to the conveyor belt.

According to the embodiment of FIGS. 4 to 6, the pivot axis 35, 36 of the conveyor belt is located above the inclined surface. It coincides with the axis of rotation of one of the two reversing rollers so that the drive does not have to be moved when folding the conveyor belt upwardly or downwardly.

The pivot axis may, as indicated in FIG. 7, also be located between the two reversing rollers at 37. In such an instance, in the upwardly folded position, the height of the conveyor belt is reduced relative to the inclined surface 24. However, if desired, the pivot axis may also be located at 38 outside the conveyor belt.

The operation of this embodiment is as follows: When loading the central withdrawal compartment, both conveyor belts and 26 are folded upwardly as shown in FIG. 4. If, however, one of the two outer withdrawal compartments is to be loaded, one or the other conveyor belt is to be folded downwardly. The respective upwardly folded conveyor belt serves as extension of the partition and prevents the goods from moving into the non-intended withdrawal compartment.

According to the embodiment of FIGS. 8 and 9, the conveyor belt is rotatable about an axis 40 in the plane parallel to the inclined surface. For purposes of laterally guiding the goods, this embodiment comprises a strip 41 which is located on that longitudinal side of the conveyor belt which faces the withdrawal compartments. Instead of a single rotatable conveyor belt, also two conveyor belts may be provided each of which in such an instance circulated in one direction but opposite to the direction of movement of the other conveyor belt.

The operation of the device of this embodiment corresponds substantially to the operation of the device of the first embodiment with the only difference that for loading the central withdrawal compartment, the conveyor belt has to be turned into the position shown in FIG. 9.

It is, of course, to be understood that the present invention is, by no means, limited to the particular embodiments shown in the drawings but also comprises any modifications within the scope of the appended claims.

What I claim is:

1. An apparatus for self-service stores for use in connection with shopping baskets and shopping carts, which includes: a cash register stand, a cashiers'stand adjacent said cash register stand, a deposit station in manual reach from said chashiers stand for depositing goods selected by a customer for purchase and to be checked out by a cashier on said cashier's stand, a central withdrawal compartment and two additional withdrawal compartments respectively arranged on opposite sides of said central withdrawal compartment and separated from the latter by partitions for respectively and selectively receiving the checked-out goods, means particularly including inclined surface means interposed between said deposit station and said withdrawal compartments while extending over the width of said withdrawal compartments, and conveyor means pivotally arranged before and at the upperend of said inclined surface means for conveying goods in a direction transverse to the longitudinal extension of said withdrawal compartments and selectively toeither one of said two additional withdrawal compartments, said pivotally arranged conveyor means being pivotable from a plane forming an extension of said inclined surface to a substantially horizontal working position.

2. An apparatus for self-service stores for use in connection with shopping baskets and shopping carts, which includes: a cash register stand, a cashiers stand adjacent said cash register stand, a deposit station in manual reach from said cashiers stand for depositing good selected by a customer for purchase and to be checked out by a cashier on said cashiers stand, a central withdrawal compartment and two additional withdrawal compartments respectively arranged on opposite sides of said central withdrawal compartment and separated from the latter by partitions for respectively and selectively receiving the checked-out goods, means particularly including inclined surface means interposed between said deposit station and said withdrawal compartments while extending over the width of said withdrawal compartments, and conveyor means pivotally arranged before and at the upper end of said inclined surface means for conveying goods in a direction transverse to the longitudinal extension of said withdrawal compartments and selectively to either one of said two additional withdrawal compartments, said conveyor means including a conveyor belt, and comprising a border strip located on that side of said conveyor which faces the withdrawal compartments, said border strip being pivotable selectively into the plane of said conveyor belt.

3. An apparatus according to claim 1, which includes l

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3076528 *Apr 11, 1960Feb 5, 1963Werner PotrafkeCashier's station for self-service stores
GB1058734A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4265336 *Aug 6, 1979May 5, 1981Almor CorporationConvertible single-double belt check-out counter
US5424534 *Aug 2, 1993Jun 13, 1995Rodlin Instruments, Inc.Retail checkstand device with removable controller
US5494136 *Jun 5, 1995Feb 27, 1996Humble; David R.Integrated automated retail checkout terminal
US5706912 *Aug 15, 1995Jan 13, 1998Load King Manufacturing Co., Inc.Checkstand counter with dual accumulation zones
US5992570 *Sep 9, 1997Nov 30, 1999Ncr CorporationSelf-service checkout apparatus
US6213395Nov 2, 1999Apr 10, 2001Ncr CorporationApparatus and method for operating a checkout system having a scanner which is rotatable between an assisted scanner position and a self-service scanner position
US6286758Feb 17, 1999Sep 11, 2001Ncr CorporationReconfigurable checkout system
US6296184Nov 2, 1999Oct 2, 2001Ncr CorporationApparatus and method for operating a checkout system having a security scale for providing security during an assisted checkout transaction
US6296185Nov 2, 1999Oct 2, 2001Ncr CorporationApparatus and method for operating a checkout system having a display monitor which displays both transaction information and customer-specific messages during a checkout transaction
US6343739Nov 2, 1999Feb 5, 2002Ncr CorporationApparatus and method for operating a checkout system having a video camera for enhancing security during operation thereof
US6354497Nov 2, 1999Mar 12, 2002Ncr CorporationApparatus and method for operating a checkout system having a number of interface terminals associated therewith
US6390363Nov 2, 1999May 21, 2002Ncr CorporationApparatus and method for operating convertible checkout system which has a customer side and a personnel side
US6394345Jan 22, 2001May 28, 2002Ncr CorporationCheckout terminal and associated method having movable scanner
US6409081Nov 2, 1999Jun 25, 2002Ncr CorporationApparatus and method for operating a checkout system having an item set-aside shelf which is movable between a number of shelf positions
US6427914Nov 2, 1999Aug 6, 2002Ncr CorporationApparatus and method for operating a checkout system having a number of port expander devices associated therewith
US6427915 *Nov 2, 1999Aug 6, 2002Ncr CorporationMethod of operating checkout system having modular construction
US6502749Nov 2, 1999Jan 7, 2003Ncr CorporationApparatus and method for operating a checkout system having an RF transmitter for communicating to a number of wireless personal pagers
US6530520Nov 2, 1999Mar 11, 2003Ncr CorporationApparatus and method for operating a checkout system having an RF transmitter for communicating to a receiver associated with an intercom system
US6540137Nov 2, 1999Apr 1, 2003Ncr CorporationApparatus and method for operating a checkout system which has a number of payment devices for tendering payment during an assisted checkout transaction
US6588549Jul 6, 2001Jul 8, 2003Ncr CorporationCheckout system convertible between assisted and non-assisted configurations
US7114611 *Oct 13, 2004Oct 3, 2006International Business Machines CorporationMethods and apparatus for improved self-checkout system
US7272570Jul 15, 2002Sep 18, 2007Ncr CorporationSystem and methods for integrating a self-checkout system into an existing store system
USRE40576Jun 12, 2002Nov 18, 2008Ncr CorporationPoint-of-sale system including isolation layer between client and server software
USRE41093Oct 19, 2001Feb 2, 2010Ncr CorporationMethod of monitoring item shuffling in a post-scan area of a self-service checkout terminal
USRE41717Sep 18, 2003Sep 21, 2010Ncr CorporationApparatus and method for operating a checkout system having a display monitor which displays both transaction information and customer-specific messages during a checkout transaction
Classifications
U.S. Classification186/68, 186/59
International ClassificationE04H3/04, E04H3/02, A47F9/00, A47F9/04, A47F10/00, A47F10/02
Cooperative ClassificationA47F9/04
European ClassificationA47F9/04