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Publication numberUS3692988 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 19, 1972
Filing dateJan 18, 1971
Priority dateJan 18, 1971
Publication numberUS 3692988 A, US 3692988A, US-A-3692988, US3692988 A, US3692988A
InventorsDlugos Daniel F, Freeman Gerald C, Piotroski Peter N
Original AssigneePitney Bowes Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Parcel postage metering system
US 3692988 A
Abstract
A parcel postage metering system comprises a scale for providing a parcel weight reading which is used in conjunction with the parcel destination (postal zone) to enter a postage memory and obtain the appropriate postage. The thus obtained postage controls apparatus for setting a postage meter to issue a stamp imprinted with the appropriate parcel postage. A zip code to zone conversion memory is incorporated to provide the appropriate zone entry into the postage rate memory, given the zip code of the parcel destination.
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United States Patent Dlugos et a1.

[451 Sept. 19, 1972 [54] PARCEL POSTAGE METERING SYSTEM [72] Inventors: Daniel F. Dlugos, Huntington; Gerald C. Freeman, Norwalk; Peter N. Piotroski, Stamford, all of Conn.

[73] Assignee: Pitney-Bowes Inc., Stamford, Conn. [22] Filed: Jan. 18, 1971 [21] App]. No.: 107,223

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,594,735 7/1971 Furlong et al ..340/173 LM 3,315,067 4/1967 Bell et a1 ..235/l5l.33 3,167,740 1/1965 King et al. ..235/177 3,057,547 10/1962 Adler et a1. ..235/151.33 X

Primary ExaminerEugene G. Botz Assistant ExaminerEdward J. Wise Attorney-William D. Soltow, Jr., Albert W. Scribner, Martin D. Wittstein and Louis A. Tirelli [5 7] ABSTRACT A parcel postage metering system comprises a scale for providing a parcel weight reading which is used in conjunction with the parcel destination (postal zone) to enter a postage memory and obtain the appropriate postage. The thus obtained postage controls apparatus for setting a postage meter to issue a stamp imprinted with the appropriate parcel postage. A zip code to zone conversion memory is incorporated to provide the appropriate zone entry into the postage rate memory, given the zip code of the parcel destination.

3,290,491 12/1966 Wahlberg ..235/l51.33X 23 Claims, 20 Drawing Figures A 5 5 ZK'VZ M2: A0 L W i PATENTEDSEP 19 1912 SHEEI 01 HF 14 INVENTORS DANIEL F. DLUGOS GERALD c. FREEMAN PETER N. momosm BY wax M ATTORNEY PATENTED E 19 I972 3,692,988 sum 05 HF 14 FIG. 5

FIG. 20

PATENTED EP 19 I972 3.692.988 sum 07 0F 14 FIGS DOSTAGE MEMORY 52 APP {sop ups APP {SOP UPS 20m: 3 ZONE $2 LOCAL UPS BOOK RATE FIG.9

ZIP-ZONE MEMORY 90 PATENTED 19 3 692.988

SHEET 11 [1F 14 COMP 4 FIG. I3

/s OVERSIZE O A A 0/ LOGIC I00 8 I06 (.7 25 S LATCH 48! /F sL ,4 4:12 l I 5 o RESET 480 4 R0 8 MIN LBi '20 I \IOB r C u NTER 6b REG 156(7100) ROY ENT m POSTAGE DIGIT SELECTION APPARATUS 30 184 5?: COM P -L CLUTCH j 532 A A 550' REG |54(/|o) j 5. .9 1 POSTAGE rzscmsz EXEC m METER r y 58 3 57 575 COMP '5 CLUTCH I A A g5 J Y 0 554a REG l50( T H 57 577 comp EX CLUTCH PATENTED SEP 19 I972 SHEET 120F 14 mom \1 own hmm

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llllll m Illllllll PATENTED 19 I972 3.692.988

SHEET 13 0F 14 FIG.I5

flag 1 PARCEL POSTAGE METERING SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION There have been a number of proposals for parcel postage systems to be used in the processing of parcels for mailing or shipping. A comprehensive or universal system must be sufi'iciently flexible to handle a number of variables which are involved in mailing or shipping parcels. The weight of each parcel must be determined with reasonable accuracy and speed. The distances between the original and the various parcel destinations must be determined in order to identify the appropriate postal zone for each parcel. Then, the postage applicable to each parcel must be determined on the basis of its weight and destination or postal zone. Having determined the applicable postage, a postage meter or the like is ten set up and controlled to issue a stamp imprinted with that postage; the stamp being adhered to the parcel.

There are other factors or variables which a truly universal system should be equipped to handle. For example, the United States Post Office ofiers various classes of parcel post service, such as surface parcel post and air parcel post, each with different postage rate schedules based according to weight and postal zone. Also, there is United Parcel Service which ofiers parcel shipping services. It would thus be desirable to have a system which can be selectively controlled to compute postage or shipping charges for each of these different services.

In addition. there are factors such as insurance, special handling, special delivery, etc., which are often times desired and preferably should be capable of system implementation. Also, the special situation involving the computation of postage or shipping charges for oversize parcels should be considered in the design of a universally flexible parcel postage system.

When dealing with United Parcel Service, there are special shipping situations which require an additional charge, such as when shipping from west to east. Moreover, United Parcel Service (UPS) does not have authorized land routes between a number of geographical locations and must resort to so-called drop shipping, which presents a special shipping charge situation. In some areas UPS has different rate schedules for intrastate and interstate shipments. All of these various situations should be accounted for.

Heretofore, some of the proposed parcel postage computing systems have been essentially special purpose and thus inflexible machines adapted to handle only a single class of postage service. Attempts to provide general purpose machines have resulted in extreme complexity; such systems being unwieldy from both the operator standpoint and the servicing standpoint.

From a practical standpoint, such systems cannot operate without human intervention. At the very least, an operator must be on hand to determine the postal zone of each parcel destination. This determination must then be introduced into the system as an operator input. Other operator inputs manifesting selections of service, class of service, insurance, etc., are called for if the system is to be applicable to diverse mailings. An oversize parcel situation must also be entered into the system by the operator if the correct postage is to be computed. Thus, operational simplicity is a most important consideration in the design of a truly flexible parcel postage system if the use of highly skilled and thus highly paid operating personnel is to be avoided.

It is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide an improved system for automatically determining parcel postage or shipping charges for various selected types and classes of postal services.

An additional object is to provide a system of the above character which is capable of rapidly processing a large number of parcels pursuant to automatically determining the postage of each and controlling a postage meter accordingly.

Still another object is to provide a system of the above character which is selectively controllable to accommodate special situations requiring additional postage or shipping charges, such as oversize parcels, insurance, special handling, etc.

An additional object is to provide a system of the above character which is adapted to automatically determine the postal zone from the zip code of the parcel destination address.

Another object is to provide apparatus for mechanically positioning the postage digit selectors of a postage meter in accordance with the postage determined by the system.

A further object is to provide a system of the above character which is reliable, accurate, and readily operated by relatively unskilled personnel.

Other objects of the invention will in part be obvious and in part appear hereinafter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a system for weighing a parcel to be mailed or shipped and automatically determining the postage or shipping charges therefor. Having done this, the system automatically controls a printing device, such as a postage meter, to issue a stamp imprinted with the appropriate postage or shipping charge to be applied to the parcel. The consecutively executed functions of weighing, postage determination, and stamp issuance are performed rapidly, accurately and reliably without operator intervention except to identify the parcel destination and for special circumstances.

More specifically, the present invention provides a scale for weighing successive parcels. The weight of each parcel is translated into encoded weight data, which is stored in a register. The operator enters the geographical zone to which the parcel is destined, i.e., the mailing or shipping distance. This zone entry and the stored weight data are used to enter a postage memory which stores the postage or shipping charges for the various combinations of parcel weight and mailing distance (zone). The appropriate postage is read from the postage memory and stored in a register where it is used to condition a postage meter or the equivalent to print out the appropriate postage, typically on a stamp to be adhered to the parcel.

In many instances, the operator is not given the parcel destination zone but rather the postal zip code of the parcel destination address. As an important feature of the invention, the system includes a zip-to-zone memory which is adapted to convert a zip code entry by the operator to the appropriate zone for entry into the postage memory.

The system of the present invention is also adapted to compute the proper postage or shipping charge applicable to oversize parcels. When the operator determines that a parcel is oversized, he initiates an oversize designation input which automatically conditions the system to determine if the oversize parcel weight is less or greater than an established minimum weight and determine the postage accordingly.

The system includes apparatus for interfacing the postage register, which is the system output register, with a conventional postage meter. Separate position encoders translate the digit positions of the various postage digit selector arms of the postage meter into coded digits which are compared with the corresponding postage digits stored in the postage register, as read from the postage memory. The postage digit selector arms are separately driven through their various digit positions, and as each assumes the digit positions corresponding to the associated digits in the postage register, they are decoupled from their respective drives. When all have been positioned to set up a digit by digit comparison with the postage held in the postage register, the postage meter is triggered to issue a postage imprinted stamp.

The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combinations of elements, and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the constructions hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a parcel postage metering system constructed in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is an overall functional block diagram of the parcel postage metering system of FIG. 1;

F IG. 3 is a detailed logic block diagram of the sequencer of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a detailed logic block diagram of the input/output register of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 1 to show the scale and encoder of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a detailed logic block diagram of the up/down counter of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a timing diagram illustrating the operation of the up/down counter of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a portion of a pounds to postage conversion table as stored in the postage memory of FIG. 2;

FIG. 9 is a plan view of a portion of a zip code to postal zone conversion table as stored in the zip-zone memory of FIG. 2;

FIG. 10 is a logic block diagram of the address counter and comparator of FIG. 2;

FIG. 11 is a detailed block diagram of the serial to parallel converter of FIG. 2;

FIG. 12 is a detailed logic block diagram of the postage ready logic of FIG. 2;

FIG. 13 is a detailed logic block diagram of the oversize logic of FIG. 2;

FIG. 14 is a sectional view taken along line 14-14 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 15 is a sectional view taken along line 15-15 of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a side elevational view of one end portion of one of the links interconnecting the postage digit selection apparatus of FIG. 14 and the postage meter of FIG. 1;

FIG. 17 is a sectional view taken along line 17-17 of FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is a detailed logic block diagram of the postage data handling portion of the postage digit selection apparatus;

FIG. 19 is a overall functional block diagram of an alternative embodiment of the console portion of the postage metering system of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 20 is a plan view of a portion of a pounds to postage conversion table as stored in the postage memory of FIG. 19.

Like reference notations refer to corresponding parts throughout several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to the drawings, and first to FIG. 1, the parcel postage system of the present invention includes a console, generally indicated at 10, which contains, among other things, electronic circuitry for processing weight and postage data. Parcel weight data is obtained from a scale, generally indicated at 12, incorporated in console 10, while postage data is primarily obtained from a memory drum, generally indicated at 14 and also accommodated within the console. As will be seen, memory drum 14 has two separate memory banks; one storing a postage rate schedule and the other storing a zip code to postal zone conversion table. The data stored on memory drum 14 is optically encoded as opaque and transparent binary bits which are sensed by optical readout stations. As seen in FIG. 1, a light emitter l6 shines light through the postage rate memory bank peripheral portion of the memory drum 14 to a receiver 18, consisting of an array of suitable photosensors such as phototransistors. Similarly, the zip to zone memory bank peripheral portion of the memory drum is read out using a light emitter 20 and a receiver 22. Memory drum 14 is rotated by a motor 24 and an interconnecting belt drive 25.

It will readily occur to those in the art that other forms of data memories may be employed in the system of the present invention. For example, the postage and zone data may be optically encoded on one or more transparent discs. Moreover, suitable data memories may be provided in the form of magnetically encoded discs and drums, or even magnetic core matrices, although it is preferred to use a cyclical memory wherein the data is revolved passed readout stations, thus simplifying accessing from a component standpoint.

The console 10 also includes a control panel, generally indicated at 26 in FIG. 1, which contains a plurality of mode keys selectively depressed by an operator to initiate various system operating modes to be described. The control panel also includes numerical entry keys accommodating the manual input of data pursuant to the invention. Space is also provided in the control panel 26 to accommodate a display panel 26b where data is displayed; such data being system derived postage and weight data, as well as data entered from the control panel 26.

The console is electrically linked to electromechanical postage selection apparatus, generally indicated at 30. The selection apparatus, as will be seen, is mechanically linked to a postage meter 32 of known construction, such as a Pitney-Bowes 5300 Series Postage Meter. Parcel postage data derived at the console on the basis of the parcel weight is fed to the selection apparatus 30, which operates to mechanically position the various postage digit selector arms, jointly indicated at 33 in FIG. 1, by way of interconnecting links, jointly indicated at 34, so as to set up the postage meter 32 for the proper postage. The postage meter is then signaled to issue a stamp printed with the value of the postage received from console 10.

At this point, it should be pointed out that the system of the present invention is applicable to United States Post Office parcel post service and United Parcel Service (UPS). As is well known, a parcel can be sent either by parcel post (PP) or UPS. Thus, when reference is made to determining the applicable postage, this is intended to mean either the postage charged by the Post Ofiice or the shipping charges applicable to the parcel if sent by UPS. Each service has its own rate schedule determined on the basis of the parcel weight, and, generally speaking, the distance the parcel is to be sent, and, in fact, the present invention contemplates storing both rate schedules on memory drum 14.

In practice, parcels would be separated into groups depending upon whether they are to be sent by PP or UPS. One group of parcels, for example, those to be sent by Parcel Post would be successively weighed on a scale 12 to obtain the parcel postage stamps from postage meter 32; the postage values being automatically deducted from a prepaid postage amount entered by postal officials. The parcel postage meter 32 would then be removed; the cover 31 being opened and the links 34 readily disconnected from the postage digit selector arms 33. A UPS meter is substituted, and the console 10 is conditioned to determine the shipping charges for the parcels to be sent by UPS.

Alternatively, separate selection apparatus 30 and mechanically interlinked meters 32 can be provided for each service. They would be separately electrically linked to the console and would be individually selected from the control panel 26 by the operator according to which service is to be employed, either PP or UPS, for each parcel being weighed on scale 12.

Overall System Block Diagram The basic operation of the system of FIG. 1 will be more readily understood from the system block diagram seen in FIG. 2. With the exception the postage meter 32 and the electromechanical selection apparatus 30, all of the components seen in FIG. 8 are functionally and physically located within console 10. When a parcel is placed on scale 12, its mechanical response is coupled to a scale encoder 36 adapted to convert the parcel weight into a proportional number of pulses which are accumulated in a counter 40. As will be seen, counter 40 is an up/down pulse counter, enabling it to accurately follow the scale response as it oscillates about and ultimately settles down to a final weight reading.

The operator, upon reading the parcel address destination, determines the appropriate postal zone on the basis of the distance between his geographical location and the parcel destination. The operator enters the postal zone by depression of the appropriate key of a numerical entry keyboard 26a included in control panel 26 (FIG. 1). This zone entry is supplied by connection 42 and a multiplexer or switch 44 to a zone register 46. Prior to the entry of a zone from numerical entry keyboard 26a, the operator presses a mode key Z included in a mode key group 54, which has as one of its functions the conditioning of multiplexer 44 to route the keyboard zone entry through to zone register 46. The zone digit entry held in zone register 46 conditions a zone selector 50 to effect appropriate zone entry into the postage memory 52 which, as previously noted, comprises one of the memory banks carried by memory drum 14 (FIG. 1 In physical terms, zone entry into the postage memory 52 is effective by selecting one of a plurality of phototransistors, or the equivalent, included in the receiver array 18 generally illustrated in FIG. 1. As will be subsequently described, the postage memory 52 includes a series of side by side zone channels in which postage data is serially recorded by parcel weight. Thus, the zone selector 50 effects selection of the appropriate phototransistor of the receiver array 18 which is aligned with the channel of the postage memory 52 assigned to the particular zone entered into the zone register 46 from the keyboard 26a.

The next operator function, and in most situations the only remaining operator function required for each parcel, is to depress a postage request key PR included in mode key group 54 in control panel 26. This generates an input over lead 55 to a sequencer 56 which operates to organize the system operating functions pursuant to determining the applicable parcel postage.

Since the appropriate zone has already been entered into zone register 46, thereby accessing postage memory 52 for all postage data, regardless of parcel weight, for that particular zone, the sequencer 56 generates a signal RD LBS over lead 57 to an input/output register 58. This signal conditions register 58 for acceptance of the appropriate postage data read from the postage memory 52 over connection 59 to a serial to parallel converter 60 and thence over connection 61 and multiplexer 62 to the input/output register. As will be described, the postage data is stored and read out from postage memory in serial binary coded decimal, while the input/output register 58 is designed to accept the postage data in serial digit, parallel bit fashion. Thus, the serial to parallel converter 60 is necessary to accept the digit bits serially from postage memory 52 and successively pass the bits of each postage digit in parallel to the input/output register 58. The memory 52 also includes a postage clock bit channel which is read out to provide postage clock pulses POST CLK over lead 63 to converter 60 for synchronizing the serial to parallel conversion.

Having accessed the postage memory 52 for the appropriate zone, it now remains to further access the postage memory for the appropriate parcel weight, held in up/down counter 40, in order to obtain the applicable postage for entry into input/output register 58. To this end, the postage memory is provided with a pound clock pulse channel in which are recorded a series of pound clock bits located in predetermined relation to the stored postage data. These pound clock pulses LB CLK, read out during each revolution of the drum memory 14 (FIG. 1), are applied over lead 64 to an address counter 66. The pound clock pulse count accumulating in address counter 66 is continuously compared in a comparator 68 with the parcel weight stored in the up/down counter 40 supplied over connection 69. When a comparison is reached between the pulse counts in address counter 66 and up/down counter 40, comparator 68 generates a compare signal COMP over lead 70 to the sequencer 56. Due to the arrangement of the postage data in postage memory 52, the generation of compare signal COMP signals that the postage data applicable to the parcel weight registered in the up/down counter 40 is about to be read out to the serial to parallel converter 60. The sequencer circuit 56, in response to the compare signal COMP generates a read postage command signal RD POST over lead 72 to the serial to parallel converter 60. This signal conditions the converter 60 to perform the serial to parallel bit conversion on a digit by digit basis for the next four postage digits read from the postage memory 52. The four bits of each postage digit are assembled and then transferred in parallel, digit by digit, to the input/output register 58. Each postage digit is shifted into the input/output register in response to an enter postage signal ENT POST generated over lead 74.

When the last of the four postage digits, in the illustrated embodiment of the invention, has been assembled in parallel bit fashion and shifted into the input/output register 58, the serial to parallel converter 60 generates a postage entered signal POST ENT over line 78 to a postage ready logic circuit 80. Prior to receipt of this signal the postage ready logic circuit 80 provides a postage not ready signal POST R D Y over lead 82 to the sequencer 56 effective to enable the various sequence control functions of the sequencer. When the postage not ready signal POST m goes false in response to receipt of the postage entered signal POST ENT, signifying that the postage has been fully entered into the input/output register 58, the sequencer 56 is effectively disabled.

Assuming that no additional postage over and above the postage value held in the input/output register is applicable to the particular parcel on scale 12, the postage ready circuit 80 generates a ready enter signal RDY ENT which is supplied over lead 84 to the electromechanical postage selection apparatus 30. This apparatus then looks at the postage digits registered in the input/output register 58 communicated over connection 85 and operates to mechanically position the postage digit selector arms 33 of postage meter 32 accordingly via the interconnecting links, diagrammatically indicated at 34 in FIG. 2. After all the postage levers have been approximately positioned by the selection apparatus 30, an execute signal EXEC issues over lead 87, signaling the postage meter to execute a print cycle and issue an appropriately imprinted postage stamp which may then be applied to the parcel. After the postage meter 32 has issued the stamp, it issues a cycle complete signal which is fed back over lead 89 to the console for the purpose of resetting the console components preparatory for the next parcel.

In some of the cases, it is contemplated that the operator will not be supplied with the postal zone or the parcel destination, but will be able to readily obtain the zip code of the parcel destination typically recorded on the parcel address. In these cases, the operator enters the first three digits of the zip code into the input/output register 58 via numerical keyboard 26a and multiplexer 62. It is only when key 2 is depressed preparatory to a direct zone entry, that the keyboard is connected by multiplexer 44 to the zone register 46.

With the entry of a zip code into the input/output register and the depression of the postage request key PR, the sequencer 56 initiates a zone search through a zip to zone memory 90, included as the other memory bank carried by memory drum 14 (FIG. 1). As will be seen, the zip-zone memory 90 includes a zip clock bit channel, with each zip clock bit storage position aligned with a binary coded decimal zone storage position. As will become apparent, the zip-zone memory is specially encoded on the basis of the geographical location of each particular system installation, since the applicable postal zone in each case is determined by the distance to the parcel destination. These zip clock bits are read as zip clock pulses ZIP CLK from the zip-zone memory 90 during each memory drum revolution and are fed over lead 92 to sequencer 56 during a zone search. These zip clock pulses are gated through as add clock pulses ADD CLK over lead 93 to the input/output register 58.

As will be seen, the input/output register is adapted not only as a binary coded decimal (BCD) digit shift register, but also as a BCD counter. Thus, each zip clock pulse ZIP CLK gated through as an add clock pulse ADD CLK to the input/output register increments the zip code number registered therein by one. The input/output register is incremented until it overflows, i.e., goes from 999 to 000. When overflow occurs, the input/output register 58 generates a read store zone signal RD STR ZONE on output lead 95 to zone register 46. The zone register responds by accepting and holding the zone number coincidentally read from the zip-zone memory 90 and supplied over connection 97 and multiplexer 44.

From this general description, it is seen that by serially arranging the zone data in the zip-zone memory 90 in accordance with the distance between the various zip code designated geographical locations and the system installation location, where the zone data is located in the memory by counting up to the compliment of the zip code held in the input/output register, the appropriate zone can be entered into the zone register 46 from the zip-zone memory 90, thereby effecting a zip to zone conversion.

The read store zone signal RD STR ZONE on output lead 95 is also supplied to the sequencer 56 to indicate that the appropriate zone has been located and entered into the zone register 46 and that a search of the postage memory 52 for the applicable postage may now be performed in the manner previously generally described.

Occasionally, the system of the present invention may be called upon to determine the postage applicable to an oversize package. Under both the PP and UPS rate schedules, the postage applicable to an oversized package is determined as follows. If the oversize package is less than an established minimum weight, 25 pounds for UPS and 10 pounds for PP, the applicable postage is determined on the basis of the established minimum weight. However, if the oversize parcel weights more than the established minimum weight, the applicable postage is determined by its actual weight.

Still referring to FIG. 2, when the operator determines that a parcelplaced on scale 12 is oversized, an oversize key /8 is depressed, conditioning an oversize logic circuit 100 over lead 102. During the searching of the postage memory 52 for the applicable postage, the accumulating count of the pound clock pulses LB CLK read from the postage memory 52 into the address counter 66 is applied over connection 104 to the oversize logic circuit 100, as well as the comparator 68. The oversize logic circuit also receives the compare output COMP from comparator 68. As will be seen, the count content of the address counter 66 is continuously decoded to detect when it is incremented to the established minimum pound value. Until this minimum pound value is reached in the search of the postage memory 52, the oversize logic circuit 100 supplies a signal O78 over lead 106 to the sequencer 56, in effect telling the sequencer to disregard the compare signal COMP issuing from the comparator 68 over lead 70, which would occur if the oversized package weighs less than the established minimum. In this case, when the address counter increments to the established minimum weight value, the oversize logic circuit 100 supplies a read minimum pounds signal RD MIN LBS over lead 108 to the sequencer 56, which responds by issuing the read postage signal RD POST over lead 72 to the serial to parallel converter 60. The postage applicable to the established minimum weight is thus entered into the input/output register.

On the other hand, if the established minimum weight value is achieved in the address counter 66 before a compare signal COMP issues from comparator 68, the oversize logic circuit 100 is converted to its inoperative state as though it had not been conditioned in the first instance by oversize key 0/8. The disabling effect of the signal O7S is removed, and the sequencer awaits the receipt of the compare signal COMP from comparator 68 pursuant to retrieval from the postage memory 52 of the postage value based on the actual weight of the oversized parcel.

In certain situations dealing with the UPS system, a nominal additional postage charge is required in shipping parcels between certain locations. These special situations can be conveniently handled in accordance with the present invention by providing recorded flag bits in the zip-zone memory 90 which are read out as flag pulses into the postage ready logic 80 over lead 109 under the control of the read store zone signal RD STR ZONE at the same time that the zone is read into the zone register 46. After the postage applicable to the parcel weight has been located in the postage memory 52 and entered into the input/output register 58, the postage ready logic 80 determines whether it received on or more flag pulses over lead 109 from the zip-zone memory 90 at the time the proper zone was located and entered into the zone register 46. If flag pulses had been received, the postage ready logic circuit 80 is conditioned to accept over connection 1 11 from the zip-zone memory 90 uniquely coded bits in effect designating the amount of additional postage to be added to the postage already registed in the input/output register 58. The postage ready logic circuit generates an add clock gate pulse ADD CLK GATE over lead 112 to the sequencer 56 effective to gate through to the input/output register a predetermined number of zip clock pulses ZIP CLK as add clock pulses ADD CLK to the input/output register 58. The input/output register is thus incremented accordingly so as to register the original postage plus the additional postage.

The various entries into the input/output register 58, such as zip code numbers and postage are displayed at the display panel 26b. In addition, a key in group 54 may be depressed to condition the display panel to display the parcel weight in the up/down counter 40 communicated over connection 1 13.

Sequencer The sequencer 56 of FIG. 2, as seen in detail in FIG. 3, operates to initate various system operating modes and insures that the various operating steps involved in each mode are performed in the appropriate sequence. Specifically, the sequencer 56 is conditioned by various mode keys of the group 54 to initiate a particular operating mode. As seen in FIG. 3, the postage request key PR, postage display/only key D/O, additional postage key and the zone entry key 2, upon depression, provide separate inputs directly to the sequencer 56. The oversize key 0/8 of the group 54, as seen in FIG. 2, applies its input to the oversize logic which, in turn, provides signal (to the sequencer. The mode of function keys PR, D/O, and Z, upon depression are effective to set respective flip-flops PREF, D/OF F, $F F and ZFF. These flip-flops serve as latches for their respective keys, and thus a key need only be momentarily depressed to register the fact that a particular operating mode has been called for. These flip-flops are set by depressions of their respective keys and are reset by the cycle complete signal 0 issued by the postage meter 32.

Depression of the postage request key PR initiates the system operation culminating in the issuance of a postage imprinted stamp by postage meter 32 applicable to the parcel placed on scale 12. Postage display only key D/O initiates essentially the same operation as the postage request key PR, except that the applicable postage is merely displayed at the display panel 115 (FIG. 2). Thus, the postage display only function is largely a test function performed to check the operating accuracy of the system The additional postage key S is employed in the situation where additional postage, over the above the postage applicable to the parcel weight, is to be applied to a parcel. Thus, key S is depressed prior to the entry of numerical postage data from keyboard 26a into the input/output register 58 to cover the cost of, for example, insurance, special handling, etc. Upon depression of postage request key PR, the postage selection apparatus 30 is immediately actuated by the signal RDY ENT to set up the postage meter 32 to the addition postage value in register 58 and issue an additional postage imprinted stamp.

The zone entry key Z is depressed preparatory to the entry of the zone of the parcel destination directly from the keyboard 26a into the zone register 46 (FIG. 2). As will be seen, the system is normally conditioned to accept the parcel destination keyboard entry into the input/output register in the form of a zip code number. The system then proceeds to search the zip-zone

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Referenced by
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US3757917 *Dec 30, 1971Sep 11, 1973Design And Dev IncLogic system for a postal facility
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Classifications
U.S. Classification705/407, 177/25.15
International ClassificationG07B17/00, G01G19/40, G01G19/414, G01G19/00, B07C1/00
Cooperative ClassificationG01G19/005, G01G19/4148, G07B17/00661, G07B2017/00701, B07C1/00
European ClassificationG07B17/00F3, B07C1/00, G01G19/00A2, G01G19/414P