US 3695279 A
A series of coins, of randomly different denominations, is advanced along a path in controlled spaced relation and speed. As each coin passes a first position it generates a count signal that is stored long enough for the coin to reach or pass a second position. Coins of a selected denomination are deflected from the path between the first and second positions. Any coin reaching the second position generates a control signal which erases the stored count signal generated by it. Each count signal not erased by a control signal is applied to a counter to thus totalize the number of coins of said selected denomination deflected from said path, without counting coins not deflected.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Black et al.
 HIGH SPEED COIN COUNTING AND SORTING  Inventors: Thomas J. Black, Reston; Carl B.
Sawyer, Springfield, both of Va.
 Assignee: Werner F. Westermann, Falls Church, Va.
 Filed: June 14, 1971  Appl. No.: 152,692
[ 51 Oct. 3, 1972 Primary Examiner-Stanley H. Tollber Attorney-Bacon & Thomas v 57 ABSTRACT A series of coins, of randomly different denominations, is advanced along a path in controlled spaced relation and speed. As each coin passes a first position it generates a count signal that is stored long enough for the coin to reach or pass a second position. Coins of a selected denomination are deflected from the path between the first and second positions. Any coin reaching the second position generates a control signal which erases the stored count signal generated by it. Each count signal not erased by a control signal is applied to a counter to thus totalize the number of coins of said' selected denomination deflected from said path, without counting coins not deflected.
5 Claims, 4 Drawing Ifi'gures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Existing counting machines generally .employ mechanical, electro-mechanical and/or electronic counting systems in which the coins are counted after they have been physically separated and sorted into their respective I denominations. On high speed machines, a problem arises in that the coinsafter sorting are generally in uncontrolled motion, i.e., falling freely down a coin tube or slot. Consequently, at the point of detection, the coin may be oriented in various directions, its speed may vary over a wide range, and particularly at high sorting rates, there is a danger of simultaneous arrival of two or more coins at the detector, thereby raising the possibility of a miscount. While this problem can be alleviated by positioning the detector close to the point of sorting (e. g., directly below the diverter on a coin-rail sorting system, for example), geometric limitations inevitably occur. Attempts were made to avoid this problem by utilizing electromechanical detectors located on the individual coin diverters. These detectors are, however, subject to problems of dirty electrical contacts and mechanical fatigue SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The foregoing; problems have been solved by the present invention by maintaining a row of coins in random denominational arrangement under positive control while moving them along a path at a precisely controlled high speed. Coins of different denomination are counted and deflected from the path at respectively different stations and accumulated in a suitable receiver. The counting features constituting the present invention reside in detecting'every coin approaching any deflection station and generating a count signal at that point, which signal is stored for a period of time at least equal to the time it takes for any coin to move along the path from a first detecting station to a second detecting station. Means between the two detecting stations are arranged to deflect all coins of the selected denomination, from the path, to an accumulator. Before the signal storage time has elapsed, the could would have passed the second detector but since it has been deflected, no signal is produced at the second detector and the stored count signal is directed to a totalizing counter. Any coin generating a count signal and which coin is not deflected at that station passes the second detector and generates a control signal effective to erase the stored count signal and no count is registered on the counter. Thus, only coins of the selected denomination which are actually deflected from the path and accumulated are counted.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a schematic side view of one sorting station in a machine embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a transverse sectional view taken on the offset line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a horizontal sectional view taken on the line 303 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 4 is a box diagram of the electrical features of the counting arrangement.
2 DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The present invention comprises a portion of a unitary machine having means for taking coins from a randomly arranged bulk supply thereof and directing them onto a rail 2 having a ledge 4 thereon for guiding the coins along the path defined by the rail. An endless chain 6 is provided with uniformly spaced lugs 8 movable along slot 9 in rail 2 and in front of each of which a coin is located. The chain operates at relatively high speed to move the coins along the rail 2, from left to right as seen in FIG. 1, in uniformly spaced relation, although in random denominational arrangement. The means for delivering coins to the rail 2 are fully described in copending application, Ser. No. l55,983, filed on June 23,1971.
FIG. 1 shows a single station for counting and sorting coins of only a selected denomination, for example, 50- cent coins. It is to be understood that similar stations are arranged along the rail 2, downstream from the one illustrated, for counting and sorting coins of respectively different denominations.
At the illustrated station a first photoelectric sensor 10 is positioned in spaced relation, along rail 2, to a second photoelectric sensor 12. Any coin passing either sensor will interrupt a light beam and thus initiate production of a signal, to be described. Between the sensors 10 and 12 there is a movable deflector 14 arranged to engage the upper edge of a coin of the selected size, tilt the same outwardly as shown in dotted line in FIG. 2 sufficiently so that it falls o-f the rail 2 into an accumulating receiver 16. All smaller coins pass freely under the deflector 14. A coin passing the sensor 10 initiates generation of a count signal in the counting apparatus 18, to be more fully described later, for a period of time long enough to enable that coin to reach and pass the sensor 12. If the coin that generated the signal is a 50-cent piece, it will be deflected by deflector 14 and will never reach the sensor 12. The absence of a coin passing the sensor 12 within the predetermined time results in the stored signal being directed to a counter which totalizes the number of coins so counted and deflected. When the total number of coins accumulated by the receiver 16 reaches a preselected number, the counter actuates a solenoid 20 to lift deflector 14 and permit further coins of that denomination to move on past the sensor 12. Any coin passing the sensor 12 within the storage time of the generated count signal generates a control signal to erase the stored count signal and thus no additional coins are counted by the counter 18. All coins of the selected denomination passing the sensor 12 after deflector 14 has been lifted are deflected by a second deflector 22 into a second receiver 24 and are directed to an endless belt 26 which returns them to the supply for recycling. Actuation of the solenoid 20 in the manner described illuminates a signal light 28 but the movement of coins along the rail is not stopped and continues so that counting and sorting at other stations may proceed without interruption. The signal light 28 alerts an operator who may then. remove the bag or other container 30 from the receiver 16 and replace it with an empty container and then actuate a reset button 32 to restore the deflector 14 to its lower position and initiate the counting and sorting of a new series of coins of that denomination. The portions of the apparatus just described are more fully shown and described in copending application, Ser. No. 152,693, filed on June 14, 1971.
The present invention is directed principally to the counting apparatus itself, including the sensors and 12, and the components within the counting device 18. Please refer to FIG. 4 wherein the photoelectric sensors 10 and 12 are identified by those reference numerals. Interruption of the light beam of primary sensor 10 mg gers a monostable multivibrator 34. The internal circuitry of multivibrator 34 holds the same in its unstable state for a predetermined length of time, sufficient for a coin to pass both sensors 10 and 12. The pulse generated by 34 upon reaching its unstable condition disables an AND gate 36 and, through a delay device 38 and an OR gate 40, then removes a holding voltage normally applied to bistable multivibrator 42 (flipflop). The multivibrator 42 may assume either a ZERO state or a ONE state. In the absence of a trigger pulse from 34, the latter holds 42 in its ZERO state by applying a suitable dc voltage thereto at C. The output of multivibrator 34 also functions through delay device 44 to trigger the flip-flop from its ZERO state to its ONE state. A count is thus temporarily stored in flip-flop 42 but cannot reach totalizing counter 46 since the AND gate 36 has been disabled. These conditions are maintained for a period of time sufficient for the coin which passed sensor 10 to have reached sensor 12. If, how ever, the coin was of the selected denomination and was deflected by deflector 14 to the accumulator, it obviously will not have reached sensor 12 within the predetermined time period. At the end of the predetermined period the multivibrator 34 returns to its stable condition, which immediately enables the AND gate 36 whereupon the stored count signal in flip-flop 42 is fed to the counter .46 to add a further coin count thereto. After a short delay occasioned by the delay device 38, the pulse which enabled AND gate 36 triggers the flip flop 42 back to its ZERO state. All this occurs before the next following coin reaches sensor 10. For this reason the spacing between lugs 8 is substantially greater than the spacing between sensors 10 and 12.
If, however, the coin that passed the sensor 10 was not a SO-cent piece or if, for the described reasons, it was not deflected, it will reach the sensor 12 before multivibrator 34 returns to its stable state and while a count signal is still present in flip-flop 42. The coin then passes sensor 12 and triggers a monostable multivibrator 48, the output of which is directed through OR gate 40 to return flip-flop 42 to its ZERO state, thus erasing the signal stored therein before AND gate 36 is ena bled. As is apparent this erasure occurs before multivibrator 34 returns to its stable state and while AND gate is still disabled. Thus, when multivibrator 34 does return to its stable state and enables AND gate 36, there is no stored signal in flip-flop 42 and no count is registered in counter 46.
It is apparent that the spacing between the lugs 86m chain 6 and the speed of operation of thatchairi must" Obviously, the last station along rail 2 needs only the first detector and every signal generated by it may be counted without storage since all coins reaching the last station are of the same size and same denominatron.
While a single specific embodiment of the invention has been shown and described herein, the same is merely illustrative of the principles involved and other embodiments may be resorted to within the scope of the appended claims.
1. In a coin counting and sorting apparatus;
means for advancing coins, in random denominational arrangement, along a predetermined path and in spaced relation;
a first detector adjacent said path, responsive to passage of a coin therepast for generating a count signal;
means for storing said count signal for a predetermined period of time;
a counter arranged to receive signals from said storing means near the end of said predetermined period of time and responsive to each signal received to register a coin count;
a second detector adjacent said path, downstream from said first detector, responsive to passage of a coin therepast for generating a control signal and applying said control signal to said storing means to erase a count signal stored therein; and
means between said detectors for deflecting coins of predetermined denomination from said path whereby only coins of said predetermined denomination passing said first detector and then deflected from said path are counted by said counter.
2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said means for advancing said coins along said path are arranged to move a coin past both said first and second detectors within said predetermined time period.
3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said first detector comprises a monostable multivibrator and a photoelectric coin sensor for triggering said multivibrator to its unstable state, said multivibrator being arranged to stay in its unstable state for said predetermined period of time; and
means including delay means responsive to return of said multivibrator to its stable state to erase said count signal from said storing means.
4. Apparatus as defined in claim 3 wherein said storing means comprises a bistable multivibrator;
count signal gate means between said storing means and said counter, said gate means being responsive to said monostable multivibrator to be disabled when said monostable multivibrator is in its unstable state and enabled when said monostable vibrator is in its stable state.
5. The method of counting and sorting coins moving along a predetermined path in spaced relation and in random denominational arrangement, comprising the steps off moving said coins along said path at a speed to pass first and second spaced positions in a predetermined period of time;
generating a count signal in response to a coin passing said first position and storing said signal for at least said predetermined period of time;
deflecting coins of only a predetermined denomination from said path before they reach said second position;
causing said stored signal to actuate a counting register in the absence of a coin at said second position before the end of said predetermined