US 3697680 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Primary Examiner-Gerald M. Forlenza Assistant Examiner-R-. Johnson Att0rneyFlehr, Hohbach, Test, Albritton & Herbert STORAGE UNIT l2 Anstin [451 Oct. 10,1972
 STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL SYSTEM 72 Inventor: Wayne D. Anstin, Cup'ertino, Calif.  RA [.73] Assignee: ,varian Adco, Palo Alto Calif. Documents or information in the form of microfilm or other permanentform'are mounted on rectangular  Filed: Feb. 2, 1970 frames or carriers which are edge coded by notching. v A plurality of carriers are stored in one-or more elon-  ApplT 7884 gated storage bins with the bins arranged side-by-side. An electromechanical carriage is adapted to move to a  US. Cl. ..178/6.8, 340/ 174.1 C, 178/D1G. I, selected bin and then to move over the selected bin to 214/ 16,4 A store or retrieve carriers. During retrieval, the coded  Int. Cl ..B65g 1/06 edges are scanned and an velectrical control starts a  Field of Search ..214/16.4 A, 16.4 R; 178/6, retrieval cycle to retrieve the carrier having h 17 3 desired document. The carrier is transported to a disv playlocation where the document or information is  References Cited read and made available for use as a display, hard 1 copy, orlvideo signalLThe electrical control includes a UNITED STATES PATENTS 7 memorywhich remembers the bin location of each carrier whereby the bin containing the desired carrier 5% E2 2? is selected and scanned to locate the desired carrier.
In refiling, the bin from which the carriers were removed is selected and the carriers are filed sequentially in open locations.
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SHEET 8 UF 9 A73 EXECUTE L ?J J O 4 CARRIAGE I66 SWITCH GATE STOP RUN MOTOR (43) RESET V START CARRIAGE I69 474A RE ET I74 I I J A SOLENOID(53 INPUT I71 I 5 PROGRAMMER W \/|EW AREA CONSOI E L UFTERS I7 I9I a STOPS I6 44 67/ I III II2 l|3 II4 BIN LOCATION MEMORY 9 H6,l|7,ll8,ll9
SWITCH BIN J ON CARRIAGE START COINCIDENCE 135 POSITION SWITCH- I F STOP RuN START BIN SCAN vIEw AREA QOMPLETE SWITCH ,CONTROL I75 S I SEARCH 8 I78 REFII E RESET/CLEAR 1 4 HEAD MOTOR I68 57 I I J CHIP 4 4 REVERSE MEMORY I 58 COINCIDENCE (I88 f GATE ON CHIP CODE 4 READ j OFF E g- (I79 START SIDE ON f MARK OFF E FORWARD COUNTER HEAD ON MOTOR 'QEE Isz OFF REVERSE 4 POSITION SWITCH- L.
I \82 ON I86 74 B EJECT START IOFF RUN 7 EJECT POSITION SWITCH. MOTOR 4 R V RSE EJECT BOTTOM POSITION SWITCH I84 97 .WAYNE DANSTIN INVENTOR.
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|I6,Il7,H8,H9' 1 vIEw AREA I r fil gg CONTROL CONSOLE I72 I [75 & STOPS 44 1 ON: BIN BIN e SEARCH LOCATION COINCIDENCE STOP RUN B AND REFILE START j J-- MOTOR CARRIAGE START A W I P R VERSE P POSITION SWITCH l80 I88 3 07 BELT BIN SCAN T MOTOR f A ON- l I COINCIDENCE J F L FORWARD READER GATE SUBCARRIAGE v MOTOR E EFQK JL OFF RE\2ERSE L READ STOP SIDE I I86 DROP L78 STAR-L B 7 CAM C u I TIME s l' A VIBZ ,DELAY I53 POSITION g SWITCH CHIP Z TIME DELAY f EJECTOR INJECT TIM DELAY SOLENOID WAYNE D. ANSTIN INVENTOR. F/ G. /8
did Alia ATTORNEYS STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to a document and information storage and retrieval system and more particularly to an automated system for filing, storing, retrieving, displaying, copying, refiling and updating documents and information carried on carriers as, for example, in the form of microfilm.
Document and information storage systems using coded cards or carriers are known in the art. The cards or carriers are coded, stored and retrieved in a variety of ways. In general, a face coding is employed whereby the face or a portion of the face of each card or carrier must be scanned in order to select the desired carrier. To conserve storage space, the cards or carriers are packed in such a manner that they are touching one another; This requires that they must either be separated in order to scan the coded face and separated to allow the selected carriers to be removed. Other systems utilize roll microfilm and strip microfilm which is fed past a reader or copier. Still other storage systems utilize video tape.
The major difficulty with prior art systems is the lack of ability to, upon command, automatically, rapidly and accurately find, retrieve and display or copy any desired stored documents and to update and store documents in the system no matter how large the size of the file.
OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of the present invention to provide an 2' head where it is transported along the bin and re-inserted into the first open filing space.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a storage and retrieval system in accordance with the invention including a storage unit, operators console and copy and display apparatus.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a storage unit showing the storage bins, carriage, reading station, and camera an carrier transport belts.
FIG. 3 is a front elevational view taken generally alongthe line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
improved document and information storage and retrieval system.
It is another object of the invention to provide a document storage and retrieval system which, upon command, automatically, rapidly and accurately finds documents stored in bins, retrieves the documents, displays or copies the documents and then stores the documents in their respective bin.
It is another object of the invention to provide a document storage and retrieval system in which the documents can be easily up-dated.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved search and refile head for adocument storage and retrieval system.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide an improved document carrier.
The foregoing and other objects of the invention are achieved by a system which includes a plurality of elongated storage bins disposed side-by-side and each including means for receiving and holding a plurality of coded document carriers in spaced face-to-face parallel relationship. A carriage is adapted to move to and then along a selected bin. The carriage includes a storage and retrieval head which includes means for reading the code on the carriers, transmitting a signal to the electrical control circuit which serves to stop the carriage when a selected carrier is found. The search and refile head then moves within the carriage to register with and then release the selected carrier. A transport means accepts the retrieved carrier and transports it to a display station where the document carried by the carrier is read, copied or displayed. Upon completion of the reading, display and/or copy operation, the carrier is returned to the storage and retrieval FIG. 4 is asectional view taken generally along the I line 4-4 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 is a partial rear: elevational view taken generally along the line 55 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 6 is a side elevationalview taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 7 is a sectional view ofv the carriage taken generally along the line 7 -7 of FIG. 2. 1
FIG. 8 is an enlarged perspective broken view of a storage bin.
FIG 8A is an enlarged view of the portion 8A-8A of FIG. 8. i v
FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken along the line 9-9 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 10 is a plan view of the carriage and storage and retrieval head.
FIG. 11 is an enlarged plan view of the storage and retrieval head shown in outline in FIG. 10.
FIG. 12 is a view, partly in section, of the carrier retrieval or eject mechanism.
FIG. 13 is a side elevational view showing the carrier retrieval and refile mechanism. i
FIG. 14 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 14-14 of FIG. 2 showing storage bins arranged side-by-side.
FIGS. 15A 15F. and FIGS. 16A 16E show the progressive positions of the refile mechanism during a refile operation.
FIG. 17 is a schematic block diagram of the search and read controls. I 7
FIG. 18 is a schematic block diagram of the refile controls.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The system of the present invention includes a multilevel storage cabinet 11 having a plurality of storage levels 12, each of which contains a storage unit of the type shown in FIG. 2. Each level 12 includes a plurality of side-by-side elongated bins which hold edge-notched film carriers. Each level includes. scanning, retrieval, transportation, display and refiling system for selectively filing and retrieving carriers carrying documentary or other information.
An electrical control console 13 is associated with the storage cabinet and levels for indexing appropriate cabinet level and bins within each storage level. The
electrical control apparatus includes a memory for remembering the bin location of each carrier. In addition, there is provided an apparatus 14 which serves to provide hard copy, transmit video information or otherwise display the document or information on the selected carrier.
In operation, when a particular document of information is desired, its normal decimal, numerical or alpha-numerical code is entered in the keyboard 16- of bin within the' level where the carrier containing the information is 'stored. Thereafter, the carriage moves over and searches through the selected bin to retrieve oreject the desired carrier andpresent it for reading. It v canbeviewed at 17-or printed in'hard copy at 14.
Each storage level, FIGS. 2 through 11, is self-contained. The level includes a suitable'support frame 21 including cross members 22. (FIGS. 2, 14) which receive and support the sub-assemblies and elongated storage bins 23 which are arranged in side-by-side relationship. The storage bins serve to receive and retain carriers 24; FIGS. 8 and 8A. The carriers include a rectangular frame 26 having a window or opening 27. The frame serves to hold microfilm 28 or other document or information storage member. The rectangular carrier-includes edge-notching or coding 29. The edge coding may comprise a binary, decimal binary, octal or other suitable machine-readable code which will allow the system to search for, to locate and select carriers containing the desired document or information.
The carriers 24 are inserted into opposed cooperating grooves 31 formed in the side walls of the storage bins. In general, the storage bins are in the form of a tray with open 'top and bottom. The rectangular carriers are held vertically in the bins in the spaced grooves 31.,The edge-notched code in each of the carriers is presented at the top of the bin where it can be easily read. If required, it is possible also to apply a code to the other edge of the carrier where it is exposed at the bottom of the bin. The carriers are suitably retained in the storage bins. For example, a resilient member 32 can be placed along the bottom edge of one side of the bin to close the end of the grooves whereby to prevent'the carrier from slipping through the bin under its own weight but which yields to allow the cartim to pass when the carrier is being ejected or retrieved.
One of thesides of the storage bin includes marks 33 which are employed in connection with the search and refile head for accurately positioning the head over the correct carrier during a retrieval or refile operation, whereby the correct carrier is retrieved or refiled.
A carriage 34 is mounted for movement. in the X direction to cooperate with a selected bin 23. The search and refile head 36 moves over the selected bin in the Y-direction to select a particularcarrier or carriers as will be presently described.
The carriage 34 includes spaced support bearings 37 which ride on spaced shafts 38 (supported on the frame 21 to allow the carriage to movein the X-direction. The search and refile head 36 is carried on bearings 39 which support-the head on spaced shafts 41 supported by the movable carriage for movement in the Y- direction. The carrier is moved by a belt, chain or cable 42 driven by a motor 43 mounted on the frame 21. The carriage is secured to the belt 42'so that it moves with the'belt along the shafts 38 when the belt is driven by switches are actuated by'a cam (not shown) mounted on the carriage. There isone switch 44 associated with each bin and is adapted, when actuated, to send a signal to the electrical controls. When the carriage is'over the desired bin, it actuates the corresponding switch and v the control turns off power to the motor 43 to stop the carriage.
Means are provided for accurately positioning'the move in the X-direction. When the carriage is stopped,
the pin fits into a tapered hole 54 on plate 55 carried by the frame and thereby moves and positions the cari riage. a
The search and refile head motor 57 (FIGS. 2, 5). The motor is energized after the pin 46 has been seated to locate the carriage in the X- direction. The search and refile' head .is suitably attached to the belt and is moved in the Y-direction as the belt rotates.
The search and refilehead is shown in more detail in FIGS. 10, ll, 12 and 13. The mechanism includes a code orcard-re'ading assembly 58 mounted on the front end of the search and refile head. The sensing assembly '58 comprises a plurality of parallel light sources 59 disposed to project light'6l at an angle-towards the top edge of the carriers. A phototransducer 62 is positioned'to receive light reflected from the top edge of the carriers. The light source 59 and phototransducer 62 are arranged in'such a manner so as to lie exactly opposite to each other and are equal in number to the selected code." Preferably, the light sources 59 project a collimated light beam which is adapted to shine directly on the top edge of the filmcarriers 24. The light is reflected off of the top edge of the film carriers and is sensed by the phototr'ansducers. One or more of the collimated light beams will pass through the notched portion and not be sensed. Thus, an identifying binary code can be provided by appropriately notching the edges. When the code reference number of the desired document is entered by the system operator into the control, this number is translated to the corresponding carrier code and applied to a comparator, whereby when the selected carrier code is generated by the phototransducer, a command signal is generated which stops the Y-drive motor 57. Simultaneously, a'dynamic braking assembly 63 mounted on the side of the car riage engages the shaft 41 and locks the carriage against further movement. Thus, the carriage is positioned along the bin.
The carriage includes means for advancing the- 36 is moved along spaced I shafts 41 by meansof a drive belt 56 driven from a 76. The lead screw is provided with a nut 77 connected to one of the bearings 72 to move the head 36 in the Y- direction in response to energization of the motor '74. Thus, after the carriage 34 is locked in place on the rods 41, the sub-carriage 71 moves responsive to rotation of the lead screw 76.
When the sensing assembly 58 senses the desired carrier, the carriage is, locked in place along the bin. Simultaneously, the motor 74 is energized to bring into alignment the carrier ejector blade 70 (FIG. 12). As previously described, each of the bins carries reference marks 33 along one top edge. A sensor 78 comprising a light source 79 and phototransducer 81 is mounted on the side of the head to scan the reference marks and generate signals each time a mark is scanned. There is a fixed physical distance between the centerline of the blade and reference. mark sensor. Thus, when the desired carrier is sensed and the carriage stops, the
storage bin slot reference mark sensor is turned on along with the motor 74 thereby moving the search and refile head forward. The storage bin slots are a fixed distance apart from the centerline of one slot to the centerline of the next; the reference marks are a corresponding precise distance apart equal to the centerline spacing of the bin slots. The distance between the ejector blade and the carrier sensor is fixed. Thus, after a carrier is sensed by the scanner 58, the search and refile head is moved ahead a given number of reference marks. For the sake of example, assume that the distance equals eight reference marks. The, the refile head carriage moves forward until eight reference marks after the desired carrier is sensed and the carriage stopped, at which time the motor 74 is turned 011'. The ejector blade 70 is located accurately over the selected carrier.
After the carrier is ejected as will be presently described, the motor 74 is reversed to return the head to its original position. Its normal or. return position is determined by engagement of the microswitch 82 which turns off the motor 74 and resets the control circuit.
The ejector blade 70 is driven by a pair of parallel screws 83 which threadably receive members 84 attached to the blade 70. The screws are rotated by means of a motor 86 which drives shaft 87 and lead screw 83. Gear means 88 drive shaft 89 which engages gear 91 to drive the other lead screw 83. The lead screws 83 also act as guides for the ejector blade to ensure that it is properly aligned as it enters the bin to eject the carrier from its associated grooves.
Spaced brackets 92 are attached to control shaft 93. When the ejector blade has reached its forward position and has ejected the film carrier from the associated bin slot, the member 84 engages bracket 92 to move shaft 93 which rotates the lever arm 94 pivoted at 96 to actuate switches 97 and 98. Switch 97 is connected in circuit to reverse the ejector blade motor 86 Y and retract the blade. In its fully retracted position, the bracket 92 is engaged by member 84 to actuate switch 98 and turn off the motor 86.
The electrical signal generated by the closing of the switch 98 energizes the search and refile stepper motor 74 to retract the search and refile head 36. When the limit switch 82 is actuated, it generates a signal which stops the search and refile head. 'In addition, the signal turns on the code sensor 58 and starts the Y drive bin, it will actuate a limit switch 99 which will stop and reverse the motor 57 and signal completion of the search of that particular bin. The search drive motor and refile head'assembly is returned to its start position where it actuates a switch which is located at the retracted position of the assembly (not shown in the drawings) to stop the motor 57. Actuation of the switch turns off the Y-direction drive motor 57; it releases the fine alignment positioning pin 46 and again energizes the X-direction drive motor 43 to return the carriage to its starting position when it is ready to receive the next command, signal ,to re-position the carriage for searching another or the same bin.v I v Means are providedfor moving the carriers 24 which are ejected from the bins to an area 101 (FIG. 2) where the document or information contained on the carriers 24 can be viewed or read. In the embodiment of the invention shown, the transport means comprises a conveyor belt system.
A conveyor belt 102 is located below each of thebins and moves in the direction indicated by the arrows 103. The conveyor belt is supported on spaced rollers suitably mounted to the frame 21. The plurality of conveyor belts 102 may be driven by a single motor (not shown). Alternately, there may be provided a single conveyor belt 102 which travels in the X-direction with the carriage so that it underlies the selected bin. Thus, when a carrier is ejected, it falls downwardly onto the fast moving belt 102 and is delivered to the far end of the machine. The carrier then falls onto a belt 104 which moves the carrier toward the reading area 101. The carrier is then moved onto belt 105 which brings the carrier upwardly and deposits the same onto conveying means 106 which may, for example, comprise spaced O-ring belts .107 which are adapted to receive the carrier frame and move the carrier to the display or read position.
The spaced O-ring belt 107 allow light from a light source 108 (FIG. 9) to travel upwardly through the document in the carrier to illuminate the document for viewing by the television camera. As the retrieved carrier 24 moves up along the belt 105, it activates a sensing means (not shown).'The signal generated by the sensing means actuates a solenoid (not shown) that is attached to the ann 109 at each ofthe viewing stations. The downward action of the corresponding arm moves the film carrier lifters 111, 112, 113, 114 (FIG. 4) down below the level of the O-ring belt 107 and moves the view area stops 116, 117, 118, 119 away from the belt 107 leaving the first stop 116 in position. Movement of the stops 117, 118, 119 allows passage of the first film carriers into the first view area 121. A sensor (not shown) is located at each view area. Thus, when the carrier is in the view area 121, the sensor is activated and it releases the solenoid associated with the next stop 117 which brings the stop into position and simultaneously lifts the lifter 114. This procedure is repeated until carriers are positioned in the view areas 122, 123, 124. Thus, by selectively operating the stops responsive to passage and positioning of film carriers,
four or more film carriers may be positioned for view-- ing and lifted above the belt 107. I The viewing or reading means may comprise a video camera which is mounted for movementto selectively view each of-the areas and generate an electrical signal which is transmitted to the display station 13 and copying station 14. The reading means may also include film copier, hard copier, optical viewer, flying spot scanner along the bins. A storage bin slot sensor (not shown) ineluding alight source and phototransducer move with the carriage as itmoves along the bins and generates a sensor signal when an open bin slot is located which stops the carriage so that the search and refile head assembly is directly over the open storage" bin slot.
At the same time, the solenoid 151' which rotates the upper cranks 48 is energized to rotate shafts 147 and release the next carrier, FIGS. 15C, 16C. 1 I
As the arms 146,152 are returned to their normal position and the lower carrier is released and falls onto v an erector plate 153, FIGS. 15C, 16C, at the same time means are provided for actuating the stop and lift sole-V noids to release the carriers. The carriers then drop onto O-ring belt 107 and are moved and delivered to the belt 136 which brings the carriers upwardly and delivers them to the feed belt 137 associated with the search and refile head 36.
As the first film carrier 24 moves onto the belt 137, a sensing assembly 138. which may comprise a light source and phototransducers senses the film carrier and generates a signal which is transmittedto the control circuit. The solenoid 139 is energized and it rotates a pair of arms 141 mounted on the sides of the receiving station 142 into place, FIGS. 15A, 16A. Normally, the arms 141 are in the position flush against the side wall of the receiving station. When the arms are rotated into position, they receive the film carriers 24 as they are moved into the receiving station 142 by the belt 137 through the opening in the back wall of the station.
' When all of the film carriers 24 are in the station 142,
the solenoid 139- is deenergized and the arms 141 are rotated flush with the side walls of the receiving station 142. This allows the stacked carriers 24 to drop down into the station where the carriers are received and' held by spacedarms. 146 which extend inwardly into the station,-FIGS. 15B, 168. The arms 146 are mounted on shafts 147 which are connected at their upper ends to cranks 148. The cranks are interconnected by linkage 149 and rotated by solenoid 151.
Each of the shafts carries second arms 152 disposed at 90 with respect to the arms 146 and below the same a distance corresponding to the thickness of a carrier.
Thus, rotation of the shafts 147 by cranks 148 moves the arms 146 away from the lower carrier and the arms 152 into place to receive the carrier above the first carrier stacked in the receiving station. When the arms are rotated to the retracted position, the bottom carrier is released by the arms 146 and the stack is held by the rotary erector solenoid i154 isenergized and it rotates the arm 152. The solenoid 154 rotates the erector plate to a vertical position, FIGS. 15D, 161). After vthe erector plate has been fully erected, solenoid 156 is energized and serves to rotate the arms 157 which drive the injector blade 153 to engage the top of the carrier and urge the same downwardly into the open slot in the storage bin, FIGS. 15E, 16E. The injector is then retracted.
At this point the storage bin slot sensor senses a filled slot and generates a signal which is transmitted to the control circuit. This signal releases the dynamic brake and the motor 57 moves the carriage along the bin looking for the next available open bin slot in which to store the next film carrier. When an open bin slot is found, the head assembly stops and the next carrier is placed into the storage bin.
When all the film carriers have been refiled, the motor 57 is reversed and the carriage is returned to its starting position.
As described above, the various mechanical operations are initiated and controlled by sensors and switches on-the apparatus and associated memory and control circuits. FIG. 17 is a schematic block diagram of the search and read control,and FIG. 18 shows the refile control. I
. Control console 13 and keyboard 16 are shownzon the left side of FIG. 17. A request forone ormore documents, consisting of one or more carriers, is .in-
itiated by actuating the reset button .166 which generates a signal to reset the logic in the bin memory 167 and chip memory 168. The bin memoryiincludes a suitable electronic memory which can be in the form of a logic circuit or core memory which remembers the particular storage bin in which each of the various carriers is located. The bin memory also includes logic circuits and registers for remembering the carriers which i 168. The bin memory 167 provides aready signal to the gate 171 when it has found the bin address and the address to the bin coincidence gate 172. After all requests have been entered, the execute button 173 is depressed and provides a signal to the gate 171. When the gate 171 receives signals from the bin memory 167,.the chip memory 168 and the execute signal, it provides an on signal to the run logic circuit 174. This starts the carriage motor 43 to move the carriage in the X-direction along the bins. As soon as the carriage moves, it turns on the bin start position switch whereby the circuit 174 continues to apply power to the carriage motor 43 so that it continues to move along the bins and sequentially actuates the bin location switches 44 each having a characteristic signal. When the signal generated as a result of depression of a switch coincides with the signal'from the bin memory 167, a stop signal is applied to the run logic circuit 174 to tum'ofi the motor 43 and stop the carriage and to deenergize the position solenoid 53 to accurately locate the carriage with respect to the selected bin. The coincidence signal is also applied from bin coincidence to the logic circuit 175 which starts the search and refile head motor 57 to move the search and refile head assembly 36 along the length of the bins. The chip memory 168 applies a signal to coincidence gate 176 which identifies the first requested carrier. As the search and refile head moves along the bin, the code reader 58 applies signals corresponding to the code on each of the carriers which it reads as the head moves along the bin to the coincidence gate l76. When the chip code read by the reader 58 corresponds to the chip memory signal, the coincidence gate 176 generates an output signal which is applied to the logic 175 to stop the search and refile head motor 57, to the view area control circuit 178 which controls the view area lifters and stops, to the belt motor 179 to start the belt and to the motor control 181 which turns on the head motor 74. The signal from the coincidence gate 176 also enables the mark counter 182 which receives the signals from the mark reader 78.' When a predetermined count is reached, it generates an off signal which is applied to motor control 181 to stop the head motor 74. This accurately locates the ejector blade 70, as previously described, and resets the side mark counter 182. The output of the counter 182 is also applied to control circuit 183 which starts the eject motor 86 to move the ejector blade downwardly and eject the selected carrier. As soon as the blade reaches its extreme position, it activates the switch 97 which applies a signal to the reverse control 184 to reverse the eject motor which then travels back until the switch 98 is activated, at which time the motor 86 is turned off. This signal is also applied to the motor control 186 which reverses the direction of the head motor 74 and returns the head back to its starting position, at which point it actuates switch 82 which turns ofi the head motor 74.
Actuation of the switch 82 also serves to apply a signal to the control circuit 175 which starts the search and refile head motor 57. The sequence of operations just described is repeated until all the carriers in the particular bin have been ejected.
When the search and refile head reaches the end of its travel, it strikes the bin scan complete switch 187 which serves to reset the chip memory, apply a signal to the search and refile head reverse control circuit 188 to reverse the head motor and retract the head along the bin to its starting position where the carriage start switch 180 is actuated to enable the carriage to move to the next bin.
Additionally, the signal enables the view control 178 -llLf riage is brought back to its original start position by the reverse circuit 191 and the'conveyor belt motors are turned off. The view area control 178: receives the signal and controls the video camera for sequential positioning toread the carriers at each of the'positions 121, 122, 123 and 124. Controls (not shown) are also included in the console whereby the operator can selectively position the camera to read any one of the desired carriers.
When the operator has completed retrieving the desired information, the operator commands a refile sequence. The -refile sequence is commenced by depressing the refile button 19l-which sends a control signal to the view area control 178, FIG. 18. The view area' control starts the motor which drives the O-ring belts 107,- the belt 136 and the collector belt 142. A signal is also applied-to the gate 192. The view area control 178 serves to sequentially lower the lifters 114, 113, 112, 111 and to sequentially withdraw the stops 116, 117, 118 and 119 to thereby sequentially'present the carriers to the O-ring belt 107 where they move onto the belts 136 and 137. When all of the chips have been collected in the collector mechanism 142, which occurs a predetermined time after the start of the sequence, a signal is applied by the delay circuit 193 to the bin memory 167. The bin memory applies a signal to the gate 192 which controls the circuit 173 to start the carriage motor 57. The bin memory 167, sends a bin address signal to the bin coincidence gate 172which is adapted to receive signals from the switches 44 and when the switch corresponding to the bin from which the carriers were received is activated, provides an output signal which stops the carriage motor 57 and actuates the position solenoid 53. Simultaneously, it applies a signal to the control circuit to start the search and refile motor 57. This moves the head along the bin until the first empty position is located by the empty'bin reader 195. When the empty bin reader finds an empty slot, it generates a signal which is applied to the coincidence gate 196. The output from gate 196 is applied to the circuit 175 to stop the motor-57 and to turn on the head motor 74. As the head motor drives the search and refile head forward, the side marks are read by the reader 78 andapplied to the side, mark counter which, after counting a predetermined number of marks, activates the circuit 181 to stop the head so that the carrier insert mechanism overlies the empty slot. At the same time, the counter is reset. The arms 146, 152
are rotated to drop one of the carriers into the chip erect mechanism 153 and after a short time delay, introduced by the circuit 197, the chip is erected. After another time delay introduced by the delay 198, the insert solenoid 156 is turned on to thereby insert the carrier into the open slot. After anotherpredetermined time delay introduced by-the time delay 199, the head motor reverse circuit l86is triggered to turn on the motor 74 and withdraw the head until the head start position switch 82 is actuated to stop the headmotor 74. Simultaneously, the circuit 175 is controlled to start the carriage so that it continues to move forward along the bin until the next empty slot is located where the sequence of operation just described is continued. When the bin scan complete switch 187 is reached by the carriage, the reverse circuit 188 is activated .to return the carriage to the start position.
Itis, of course, apparent that sensors canbe substituted for the various time delay circuits 197, 198 and 199 whereby these time delay circuits sense the dropping of the carrier, erection of the erect mechanism and insertion of the carrier.
It is appropriate at this time to explain the reason for the side mark reader and 'counter. It is contemplated thatthe apparatus will move relatively fast and thus when thechip code reader or empty bin slot reader locates a desired carrier or an empty bin slot, the carriage motor will be turned off; however, due to inertia, it may move some slight amount whereby the ejector or inserter blade would not be accurately located. Thus, the apparatus includes marks on the sides of the'bins and a reader which. serves to accurately count the marks and to advance the head so that it will be exactly positioned over the desired slot in the bin.
It is to be'observedthat the present system provides for storage of carriers in selected bins and memories to remember the particular bin location of each of the carriers. However, the location of the carriers within the bins is not in the present embodiment stored in memory. The apparatus relies rather upon scanning each carrier-in a bin to locate the selected carriers in the bin.
1'. A system of the character described for storing and retrieving carriers including at least one storage bin having means for receiving and holding a plurality of carriers in spaced relationship, a carriage adapted to be associated with said bin and including a portion adapted to move along said bin, ejector meanson said carriage portion for ejecting selected carriers from said bin, means for selectively stopping said carriage portion along said bin whereby to position said ejector over aselected carrier so that it can be ejected from the bin, a viewing area for viewing said'carriers, and means carriage portion for receiving carriers from said viewing area, means for transporting carriers from said I viewing area to said receiving means, means for selec-. tively stopping said carriage in cooperative relationship with open bin positions, and means on said receiving means for inserting a carrier into said open bin position.
i 3. A system of the character described for storing and retrieving carriers including at least one storage bin having means for receiving and holding a plurality of carriers in spaced relationship, said carriers including an identifying code, a carriage adapted to be associated with said bin and including a portion moving along said bin, a head mounted on said carriage portion for movement therewith, said head including sensing means for sensing the identifying code, ejector means for ejecting 5. A system as in claim 3 wherein said head is movable with respect to the carriage portion whereby after said carriage portion has been stopped the head can be accurately positioned along the bin.
6. A system as in claim 3 wherein said bin includes a plurality of locating marks accurately located with respect to said carrier positions, said head includes means for viewing the locating marks on said bins and means are responsive to stoppage of said carriage portion for moving said head along said bin whereby said viewing means viewssaid marks and generates a signal,
and means responsive to a predetermined mark count for stopping said head to thereby accurately locate the ejector over the selected carrier;
7. A system as in claim 6 including means responsive to movement of the ejector for returning the ejectorlto its starting position. .1 g
8. A system as in claim 7 including means for retuming the head to its starting position following ejection of a selected carrier. I v
,9. A system as in claim 8 including means responsive to return of the head to the starting positionfor starting movement of the carriage portion along said bin. I
10. A system as in claim 9 including means disposed at the end of said bin for sensing the movement of said carriage to the end of said bin, and means responsive to stopping and locating said carriage in cooperative relationship with a selected bin, said carriage including a portion adapted to move along said bin, ejector means on said carriage portion for ejecting selected carriers from said bin, means for selectively stopping said car'- riage portion along said bin whereby to position said ejector over a selected carrier so that it can be ejected from the bin, a viewing area for viewing said carriers, and means for receiving rejected carriers and transporting same to the viewing area..
12. A system as in claim 11 including means on said carriage portion forreceiving carriers from said viewing area, means for transporting carriers from said viewing area to said receiving means, means for selectively stopping said carriage in cooperative relationship with open bin positions,an d means on said receiving means for inserting a carrier into said open bin posi tion. 1
13. A system of the character described for storing and retrieving carriers including a plurality of elongated storage bins located side-by-side and each having means for receiving and holding a plurality of carriers in spaced relationship mounted on-said frame, said carriers including an identifying code, a carriage mounted on said frame for movement across said bins, means for stopping and locating said carriage in cooperative relationship with a selected bin, said carriage including a portion adapted to move along said bin, a head mounted on. said carriage portion for movement therewith, said head including sensing means for sensing the identifying code, ejector means for ejecting selected carriers, means responsive to sensing of the identifying code of a selected carrier for stopping said carriage to position said ejector means over the selected carrier to eject the carrier from the bin.
14. A system as in claim 13 wherein said identifying code comprises notches formed along at least one edge of said carrier, and said sensing means comprises a light adapted to project light towards said slots and a phototransducer spaced from said light source and adapted to receive light reflected from the edge of said carrier.
15. A system as in claim 13 wherein said head is movable with respect to the carriage portion whereby after said carriage portion has stopped the head can be accurately positioned along said bin.
16. A system as in claim 13 wherein each of said bins includes a plurality of locating marks accurately located with respect to said carrier positions, said head includes means for viewing the location marks on said bins, means responsive to stoppage of said carrier portion for moving said head along said bin whereby the viewing means views said marks and generates a signal for each mark, and means responsive to a predetermined mark count for stopping said head to thereby accurately locate the ejector over the selected carrier.
17. A system as in claim 16 including means responsive to movement of the ejector for returning same to its starting position.
18. A system as in claim 17 including means for returning the head to its starting position, following ejection of a selected carrier. i j a 19. A system as in claim 18 including meansresponsive to return of the head to the starting position for starting movement'of the carriage portion along said bin. I
20. A system as in claim 19 including means disposed at the end of each of 'said bins for sensing the movement of said carriage to the end of the selected bin, and means responsive to said sensing means for returning the carriage portion to its starting position.
21. A system as in claim 11 wherein said means for transporting said carriers to said viewing .area comv prises a conveyor belt disposed to move beneath said selected bin to transport the carriers to one end of said frame, and conveyor belt means for receiving said carrier and transporting same to the viewing area.
riers sequentially to said means for inserting carriers into the open slots.