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Publication numberUS3712484 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 23, 1973
Filing dateAug 25, 1971
Priority dateAug 25, 1971
Publication numberUS 3712484 A, US 3712484A, US-A-3712484, US3712484 A, US3712484A
InventorsWahlbeg E
Original AssigneeWahlbeg E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Package handling system and sorting apparatus
US 3712484 A
Abstract
A package handling system comprising means for identifying each package, indiscriminate loading of packages into the transporting vehicle, indiscriminate unloading of packages from the transporting vehicle, and segregation into identifying categories in response to monitoring circuitry.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Field ol Search ..2l4/l l R mted States Patent 1 1 3,712,484

Wahlbeg Jan. 23, 1973 [54] PACKAGE HANDLING SYSTEM AND [56] References Cited SORTING APPARATUS UNITED STATES PATENTS [76] m g gg z gg f Swen 3,561,623 2/1971 McCaul ..214 11 R [22] Filed: Aug. 25, 1971 Primary Examiner-Gerald M. Forlenza [21] AppL N0: 174 654 Assistant Examiner-R. B. Johnson y, Means. .V.V-V-..... U. -w Alt0rney-Arnold B. Christen et al.

Related US. Application Data [57] ABSTRACT [63] Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 829,936, June 3,

l969,abandoned. A package handling system comprising means for W n V V 7 V 7 identifying each package, indiscriminate loading of I packages into the transporting vehicle, indiscriminate [if] :LSIII. ..2l4/l:;g5, unloading of p g from the transporting vehicle, E 5 g and segregation into identifying categories in response to monitoring circuitry.

12 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJAM 2 3 I975 SHEET 1 [IF 7' INVENTOR. Z;

PATENTEDM 23 I975 SHEET 3 OF 7 INVENTOR @M PATENTED JAN 2 3 I973 SHEET 6 [IF 7 a 5g m4 M 0/ l/ERTOR (ONT/PMS COM PARTMENT My K50 [66X9 INVENTOR.

L m wcm m PATENTEDJAH 23 1975 SHEET '7 0F 7 Pc /3 w g l O PACKAGE HANDLING SYSTEM AND SORTING APPARATUS This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 829,936, filed June 3, 1969, now abandoned which is incorporated herein by reference.

This invention relates to package handling systems, methods, means and devices such as forbaggage and other items.

.The general practice in handling baggage in the airlines industry is substantially by manual means with the aidof tractor-drawn baggage carts for moving baggage to and from the plane and motorized conveyors for use between the baggage carts and the baggage racks or rotary tables. Congestion at the baggage racks and rotary tables is usually severe. There is little or no effort made to segregate the baggage into groups representative of the passengers for each location to facilitate retrieval. It is not unusual that a passenger-s first bag will be retrieved early in the unloading procedure while his other bag will be found towards the end of the unloading procedure. This necessitates his remaining in and intensifying the crowded condition at the retrieval area. While these are only some of the problems encountered by the airlines with their present fleet of planes, these problems alone will become incompatible with optimum airline service as the much larger planes are pressed into service. 1

At the present time, no system has been known to have been devised which overcomes these growing problems of the airlines.Those that have been devised are complex and tremendously space-consumingand time-consuming concepts in which passengers are required to utilize special devices to retrieve their luggage. None of the systems would reduce the manpower requirements or the number of times the baggage is handled.

The present invention provides a concept which will eliminate or greatly reducev the problems and inconveniences with which the present method of handling baggage belabors the airline industry. Such a concept lets the passenger deposit his baggage at the check-in center and receive his baggagereceipt. The baggage is then given an identification mark'which, for the purpose of this specification will be considered as the'first stantially completely automatic handling of baggage from the check-in counter or baggage depository to the plane and from the plane to the baggage retrieval area withoutany passenger participation or use of passenger operated devices or objects.

Another object of this invention is to provide a baggage servicing system which will service a plurality of incoming and outgoing planes.

Since it is difficult and time-consuming to segregate the baggage for loading onto the plane and since it is even more difficult to assure the continuation in the segregated state when loading and packing the plane, it is an object of this invention to provide a baggage handling system designed for indiscriminate loading and unloading of baggage in the and final segregation of the baggage into cagetories in retrieval compartments.

Another object of this invention is to provide a system of baggage handling which will also handle cargo either in combination with the baggage or separately.

Another object of the invention is to provide a baggage handling system which will require a minimum of space and personnel for operation.

Another object of this invention is to provide a baggage handling system which will reduce congestion at the baggage claiming area.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art after reading the following specification in connection with the annexed drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of a portion of apackage handling system of this invention with parts broken away;

FIG. 2A is a schematic plan view of the upper level of the package handling system of this invention illustrating the system for delivering packages fromthe passengets or check-in counter to the transportation vehicle,

or to holding conveyors prior to loading on the vehicle,

letter of his lastname. The baggage is placed on a con.- 7

veyor which serves the many departing gates at the terminal. A push button station is provided with a button foreach gate. The button for the gate fromwhich the plane will depart is pushed. The baggage is automatically guided to the correct flight gate where it may be loaded immediately or stored withother baggage, if the flight is not ready for loading.

When the plane lands,the baggage is unloaded onto a conveyor at the incoming gate. An operator at a control station beside the conveyor determines what the identification letter of the baggage is. From amongst the buttons on thecontrol station, he actuates the one which has the identification letter of the baggage. The baggage is then automatically conveyed to the compartment in the baggage retrieval area which represents the aforementioned identification letter. The passenger proceeds from the plane to the baggage compartment which represents the first letter of his last name and retrieves his baggage.

illustrating the driving devices, conveyors, monitoring devices, gates, ejection means and other parts and their physical inter-relationship with each other;

FIG. 213' is a section on line 28-213 of FIG. 2A;

FIG. 2C is a schematic plan view of the lower level of the package handling system of this invention illustrating the system for delivering packages from the transportation vehicle to a designated location for-pick-up by the passengersillustrating the driving devices, conveyors, monitoring devices, gates, ejection means and other parts and their physical inter-relationshipwith each other;

FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 are. schematic circuit diagrams for the control, monitoring and drive devices for the package handling system illustrated in the above-mentioned FlGS.;

- FIG. 6 is a plan viewof'control station l64jfor the lower level of the package handling system described herein;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of control station 219 for the upper level of thepackage handling system described herein,

FIG. 8 is'a section across the system of FIG. 1 looking from the right, with parts broken away, illustrating the compartment conveyors 107, pusher plate and its actuatingcylinder CY8, conveyors 104 and 101,

gate 117 and its actuating cylinder CY17 on the lower level, and, on the upper level, conveyor 201, its hinged portion 252, and its actuating cylinder CY50, storage conveyor 208, branch conveyor 204, stop gates 230, 231 and 232 and their respective cylinders CY43, CY44 and CY45 and storage gate 223;

FIG. 9 is a side view of a portion of a package pickup compartment illustrating the relationship of the retractable rollers to the short conveyors.

In the FIGS., similar reference characters represent similar parts and functions, e.g., CL represents an electrically operated clutch; CY represents a spring-biased air cylinder having a solenoid operated valve as might be supplied by Mead Fluid Dynamics Division of Stanray Corp. and others; LS is a mechanically operated limit switch; and PC represents an article detection device such as a photoelectric detecting system made by Photocell Co., New York; Photomation Inc. Mountainview, Calif. and others. In addition, in the schematic circuit diagrams of FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, M represents a standard three phase motor; P, -l l represents a pair of normally open contacts; P,=H= represents a pair of normally closed contacts; K represents a latching relay; SS represents a stepping switch; PSS represents interrupter contacts; PC,.- represents normally open contacts of a photoelectric detection device; PC, represents normally closed contacts of a photoelectric detection device; T represents a timer; PT represents normally open timer contacts which, after its timer has run for its predetermined time, closes momentarily and then resets to open condition again.

Air lines to the air cylinders, couplings, mountings, structural supports and other mechanical equipment which, together with the assembly thereof, are well known to those skilled in the art, are not shown for purposes of clarity.

Referring to FIG. 1, the baggage handling system is shown with two loading gates 161 and 160, an upper level of conveyors and equipment, and a lower level of conveyors and equipment. The system may comprise as many loading gates as is desired. One storage area is completely shown for the upper level servicing gate 161 and another storage area is partially shown for servicing gate 160. Additional storage areas for servicing additional gates are substantial duplicates of that shown for gate 161. The lower level is shown as having two conveyors 104, 105 of a multisectional conveyor system and several compartments of many, each of which is designed to utilize a letter from the alphabet as identification.

The upper level, as best seen in FIGS. 2A and 28, consists of first conveyor 216; a plurality of second conveyors including branch conveyors 204-206, storage conveyors 207-215 and outfeed conveyors 201-203 with respective hinged portions 252, 254 and 256; diverter gates 220, 242, and 243, stop gates 230-236 and 238-240 and storage diverter gates 221-229. Outfeed conveyor 201 has a hinged portion 252 which is shown in FIG. 1 in the up position in the first storage area. The second storage area as shown in FIG. 1 is substantially a duplicate of the first and has the hinged portion 254 of the outfeed conveyor 202 in the down position as it would be when baggage is being loaded onto the plane.

The lower level, as best seen in FIG. 2C, consists of infeed conveyors 101, 102 and 103 coming from loading gates 161, 160 and 163, respectively. Control stations 164, 165 and 166 are associated with the respective conveyors 101, 102 and 103. At the other end of the conveyors 101, 102 and 103 are reversible multisectional conveyors 104, and 106 (other sections not shown) along one side of which are compartment conveyors 107-112 together with pusher plates 140-145 associated with the respective compartment conveyors for positioning the baggage on such compartment conveyors. On the other side of conveyors 104, 105 and 106 are located pusher cylinders CYl through CY6 which cooperate respectively with compartment conveyors 107-112 to push baggage from the conveyor 104, 105 or 106 onto the compartment conveyor. Diverter gates 117, 116 and are mounted respectively above the ends of conveyors 101, 102 and 103 adjacent conveyors 104, 105 and 106. Baggage 159 is shown in FIG. 1 as being transferred from conveyor 101 to conveyor 104 by means of diverter gate 117 and baggage is also shown on conveyor 104 and in compartment 108.

Referring to FIGS. 2A and 2B, driving power for the upper section is provided by a motor M2 (not shown) through a main shaft (also not shown) to the auxiliary shafts 245-250. Auxiliary shafts 246-250 are directly connected to conveyors 204, 205, 206, 217 and 218, and 216, respectively. Auxiliary shaft 245 is connected through clutch CL21 to conveyor 201; through clutch CL22 to conveyor 207; through clutch CL23 to conveyor 208; and through clutch CL24 to conveyor 209. Auxiliary shaft 246 is connected through clutch CL31 to conveyor 202; through clutch CL25 to conveyor 210; through clutch CL26 to conveyor 211', through clutch CL27 to conveyor 212. Auxiliary shaft 247 is connected through clutch CL32 to conveyor 203; through clutch CL28 to conveyor 213; through clutch CI..29 to conveyor 214; and through clutch CL30 to conveyor 215. A control station 219 is located in the check-in area end of conveyor 216. Diverter gates 220, 242 and 243 are actuated by cylinders CY21 through CY23, respectively, and are shown located along conveyor 216 together with monitoring devices PC32, PC31 and PC30, respectively. Diverter gates 223, 222, and 221 are shown along storage feed conveyor 204 and are actuated by cylinders CY40 through CY42, respectively. Monitoring means in the form of photoelectric cells PC21 and PC23 are associated with conveyor 207 PC22 and PC34 are associated with conveyor 208. PC23 and PC35 are associated with conveyor 209. PC24 and PC36 are associated with conveyor 210. PC25 and PC37 are associated with conveyor 211. PC26 and PC38 are associated with conveyor 212. PC40 and PC39 are associated with conveyor 213. PC42 and PC41 are associated with conveyor 214. PC44 and PC43 are associated with conveyor 215. Photoelectric cells PC33 through PC39, PC41 and PC43 are each provided with one set of normally closed contacts and one set of normally open contacts connected as shown in FIG. 4. Each other photoelectric cell has one set of normally open contacts. There is a stop gate 230 operated by cylinder CY43 associated with conveyor 207; a stop gate 231 operated by cylinder CY44 associated with conveyor 208; a stop gate 232 operated by cylinder CY45 associated with conveyor 209; a stop gate 233 operated by cylinder CY46 associated with conveyor 216; a stop gate 234 operated by cylinder CY36 associated with conveyor 210; a stop gate 235 operated by cylinder CY37 associated with conveyor 211; a stop gate 236 operated by cylinder CY38 associated with conveyor 212; a stop gate 238 operated by cylinder CY28 associated with conveyor 213; a stop gate 239 operated by cylinder CY29 associated with conveyor 214; and a stop gate 240 operated by cylinder CY30 associated with conveyor 215. These stop gates operate vertically. The output ends of conveyors 207, 208 and 209 feed onto outfeed conveyors 201. The output ends of conveyors 210, 211 and 212 feed onto outfeed conveyor 202. The output ends of conveyors 213, 214 and 215 feed onto outfeed conveyor 203. Limit switches L820 through L828 are, respectively, actuated by the lowermost stroke of cylinders CY43, CY44, CY45, CY36, CY37, CY38, CY28, CY29 and CY30, and, respectively, energize clutches CL22 through CL30.

Referring to FIG. 2C driving power for the lower section is provided by a motor M1 (not shown) through shafts 118-132 and clutches CLl through CL18 to the conveyors 101-112. Control stations 164, 165 and 166 are located on the outer end of conveyors 101, 102 and 103, respectively, adjacent loading gates 161, 160 and 163. The clutches, gates and monitoring devices are controlled by the circuitry of FIGS. 3 and 4. Divider gate 117 is operated by cylinder CY17 and cooperates with conveyor 101. Diverter gate 116 is operated by cylinder CY18 and cooperates with conveyor 102. Diverter gate 115 is operated by cylinder CY19 and cooperates with conveyor 103. Monitoring device PCl is associated with gate 117 and conveyor 101. Monitoring device PC8 is associated with gate 116 and conveyor 102. Monitoring device PC9 is associated with gate 115 and conveyor 103. Pushe'rcylinders CYl and CY2 are associated with conveyor 104; pusher cylinders CY3 and CY4 are associated with conveyor 105; and pusher cylinders CY5 andCY6 are associated with conveyor 106. Limit switches LS17 and LS2 through LS6 are associated with strokes of cylinders CYl through CY6, respectively. Pusher cylinders CY8 through CY13 having pusher plates 140-145, respectively, are associated with compartments 107-112, respectively. Article presence devices (monitoring devices) PC through PC15, are respectively associated with compartment conveyors 107-112. It will be noted that conveyors 101-106 have drive means at both ends which are controlled by clutches responsive to the system circuitry of FIGS. 3 and 4 and the separate control boxes 164, 165 and 166 to move said conveyors in either direction.

Referring to FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, there is shown the circuitry for controlling and operating the various conveyors, gating, diverters, motors, clutches, air cylinders, monitors, and other equipment associated with the handling system.

In FIG. 3 is shown that portion of the circuit of the lower level of the system which comprises the control stations 164, 165 and 166 and their connections to the infeed conveyor memory and its control of the main gating in response to the monitoring devices; the control stations connections and control of the compartments memories and their controls of the compartment diverters, stackers and conveyor drives in response to the monitoring devices.

In FIG. 4 is shown that additional portion of the circuit of the lower level of the system which comprises the continuation of the compartment memory of FIG. 3 together with the memories control of the compartment diverters responsive to the monitoring devices of the main conveyor. In addition, there is shown that portion of the upper level circuitry which comprises the main control station 219 and its connections to memory controls and the motor drive. In addition, there is shown the control and monitoring circuitry for the conveyors of the various storage areas of which each is associated with one of the loading gates 161, and 159.

In FIG. 5 is shown that portion of the circuit of the upper level of the system which comprises that portion of the lower level stations controls 164, and 166 and their connections to the outfeed from the storage conveyors to the loading gates 161, 160 and 159 including the circuitry for the sequenced emptying of the storage conveyors onto the outfeed conveyor. Also included is the circuitry for monitoring the flow on the main conveyor 216 and for the control of said main conveyor whereby, together with the main conveyor memories controlled by the main control station 219, the main conveyor gates 220, 242 and 243 are controlled.

In FIG. 6 is shown a station control 164 which would be located at the loading gate 161 of the terminal in proximity to the infeed end of the lower level conveyor 101. There is a key operated main control switch which has three positions. One position (numbered 1) is for operation of the lower level section of the handling system. The middle one is the off position. The third position (numbered 2) is for operation of the unloading of the storage conveyors of the upper level of the handling system. There are indicating lights and 290 operative on the respective operating positions of the key operated switch. Several buttons, corresponding to the segregation information on the baggage are located below the key operated switch, are employed to insert the baggage identification information into the memory of the system. I

In FIG. 7 is shown the main control station 219 which would be located in the vicinity of the check-in area of the terminal. There is a main control switch with its accompanying indicator light 290 to show whether the upper level (numbered 2) is in operation and the'several buttons used in combination with the baggage designation to direct the baggage to the proper flight gate.

In FIG. 8 are shown the relationships of the various mechanical parts of the system. The lower level is comprised of an infeed conveyor 101 cooperating with a main conveyor 104 having a number of compartments such as 107 of which a section shows the double conveyor system and pusher 140 used for control of the baggage entering it from the main conveyor 104. Above the lower level is shown the upper level consisting of various sections cut to show first of all starting from the left hand side the outfeed conveyor 201 which links up to the hingedconveyor section 252 and the loading gate 161, then the stop gate 232 used to hold back the baggage in the storage area, then the storage conveyor 208, and finally the conveyor 204 which receives the baggage from the main conveyor 216 and brings it to the storage conveyors.

Referring to FIG. 9, there is shown a view of the compartment baggage transfer mechanism for compartment 107 taken in section to show the two portions of conveyors 107 and 107a between which one arm of the pusher plate 140 operates. The other arm of the pusher plate 140 operates between the conveyor 107a and the main conveyor 104. Also shown is a roller 198 several of which are positioned between the several conveyor belts 1070 in the compartment 107. One end nearest the main conveyor 104 has its top surface located just below the surface of the compartment conveyor 1070 while the other end of the roller furthest from the main conveyor 104 has the top surface located somewhat above the surface of the compartment conveyor 107a. The roller 198 is mounted on a hinged support 199 which is hinged at one end in a heightwise fixed position to fixed support 197. The other end of hinged support 199 is attached to, and is retractable by means of, afixed cylinder CY14. By this arrangement rollers 198 is retractable to a position somewhat below the uppermost position of the compartment conveyor 107a to facilitate movement of baggage on conveyors 107a onto conveyor 107. In their raised position rollers 198 facilitate movement of baggage across conveyors 107a when pushed by pusher plate 140.

In the circuitry of the baggage handling system there are memories provided for each gate operation and each diverter operation monitoring devices provided for each conveyor on which a gate or a diverter is located and such limit switches and other monitoring devices as are needed to control such devices as solenoid operated valves which control aircylinders, clutches which control the operation of conveyors etc.

LOWER LEVEL MOTOR AND CLUTCH CONTROLS The circuitry shown in FIG. 3 permits operation from one of the three stations 164, 165 and 166 at a time and prevents operation of the other as shown by the sequence of actions described in Table 1 in conjunction with the upper half of the left column of circuitry shown in FIG. 3.

Thus, for a stepper such as $81 having a bank of ten contacts, there would be connected the coils b of 10 latching relays K161-K170 which operate to close normally open contacts P161-P170, respectively. The other end of the coils (b) are connected to the appropriate side of the line. The arm of this contact bank is connected to one side of a parallel group of push button switches 164a-164f located on control station 164 and the other side of this parallel group is connected to the appropriate side of the line. Thus, when any one of the buttons l64a-164f is pushed, the latch relay coil (b) to which the arm of SS1 is connected at that particular moment is energized and latched into hold position. As the same button is pushed, a circuit is closed in the SS1 stepping circuit coil causing the stepper coil to momentarily energize to step the switch arm to the next contact. The same procedure is repeated to energize the next latch relay coil each time a button switch l64a-164f is closed. This procedure continues to be repeated as long as a button is pushed which has a switch contact in the SS1 contact circuit.

However, a condition may exist where there is no corresponding switch contact in the stepping switch contact circuit as would be the case of that of SS8 when button 1650 on control station 165 is pushed. In such case, there would be no energizing of the latch relay coil (b) to which the arm SS1 is connected at the particular moment that button 1650 is pushed. However, the stepping switch SSA would still advance one step. Thus, there would be a condition under which the baggage would be routed in a manner other than provided by the case where the latch relay (b) has been latched and it is seen that the baggage can be diverted two ways depending upon the condition of the latch relay (b).

Stepper relay SS 1a has two sets of contacts. One set of contacts has each of its contacts connected to the second unlatching coil (a) of the latch relay KIM-K170 whose first (latching) coil (b) is connected to a corresponding contact on stepping switch SS1. The opposite ends of the unlatching coils (a) of the latch relays are connected to the same side of the line as those of latching coils (a). Each contact of the second set of contacts of stepper SS 1a is connected to one side of one of a series of normally open contacts P16l-P170 which are actuated by latch relays Kl6l-Kl70 connected to the corresponding contact of stepper SS1.

Which And which opens closes And to provide Which Enernormally To prevent normally To actuate power to when gizes closed operation open To energize conveyors pushbuttons pushed Closing of switch relay contracts at stations contacts clutches, CL (respectively) and stepper steps 164 K1 P1 165,166 P1 2,7,13,18 I0l,104,105,106 164a-l', SS1 SS1 165 K). P2 164,166 P2 13,18,17,6 106,I06,104,102 165a-I, SS8 5588- SS8 166 K3 P3 164,165 P3 18,17,128 106,104,103,105 Iona-f, SS9 389s. SS9

LOWER LEVEL MEMORY ASSEMBLIES The description of one memory assembly. and its operation is typical of all the memories used in this embodiment of the invention. Each memory assembly, as shown, consists of two stepping switches, for instance, SS1 and SSla found in FIG. 3 columns 1 and 2. SS1 has a bank of contacts to each of which there is connected one end of a latching coil (b) of a two coil latch relay.

tioned side of the line to provide hold-in for the K9 relay. One side of a second normally open contact P9 controlled by relay K9 is connected to the contact arm of the, first set ofcontacts (herein called the first contact arm) of $810. The other side is connected to the line. A photoelectric cell PCl is used to sense the passage of a bag or package on the conveyor 101. it pulses the stepper SSla once for each bag or package. As a result of the pulsing the contact arms of both sets of contacts of the stepper SSla are moved from one contact to another. Under the existing conditions previously outlined in the operation of SS1 in which the first step of SS1 energized latching coil (b) of relay K161 to close contacts P161, the first step of SS1a places the second contact arm of SSla on the contact connected to the latch relay contact P161 which had been closed as a result of the previous pushing of button 164a at the control station 164. This results in the energizing of the relay K9 causing P9 in its own circuit to close and hold K9 energized and causing the second contacts P9 of K9 to close in the first contact arm circuit of $8111. This causes the unlatching coil (a) of latch relay to beenergized and unlatchthe corresponding latch relay coil (b) in the contact circuit of SS1 and open the corresponding contact P161-P170. The closing of P9 energizes cylinder CY17 which shifts gate 117 to direct the bag or package onto conveyor 104. The next stepping of SSla causes K9 to be de-energized due tothe momentary opening'of the 881s interrupter contact PSSla. if 30 merit of the gate 117 in FIGS. land 2 to direct the bag or package onto conveyor 104. it is readily seen that the energizing of the latch relay coil (a) automatically resets the relay for reuse in its sequence of operations.

Stepping switches S820, 883a, 884a, 885a, SS6a and S874 utilize timers T4, T5, T6, T7,'T8 and T9 which operate to close contacts PT4, PTS, PT6, PT7, PTB and PT9 after the timer has been energized and has run its coursefor a predetermined time, for example, 0.1 to 0.2 seconds. When closed, said contacts energize coil a tounlatch the corresponding relay to open the circuit to relays K20, K21, K22, K23, K24 and K25. Said contacts are closed only momentarily for a sufficient time to bring about the above-described operation after which they are reset to open position. The timers also automatically reset themselves at the conclusion of the above-described operation. If desired the limit switches L817, LS3, etc. can be used to de-energize the relays K20, K21, etc. respectively, thus eliminating the need for timers T4, T5, etc. respectively.

Each of the memories in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 operate in a similar manner to perform the operation at the point they are programmed from the information set into the memory from the stations and the monitoring devices recall of the information. Tables 2 and 3 summarize the action sequences for the lower circuitry shown in FIG. 3 aswell as the middle and right columns of circuitry shown in FIG. 3 and the entire left and middle columns and part'ot the-upper right columns of circuitry shown the latch relay assoc ated with any oneot' the SS1 conn FIG. 4.

\ TABLEZ Elmer izes coil b (tow ich said stepper arm To latch that When actihappens to be relay an voted by a Steps once connected at close the Which bag, steps Stepper for each Also, each that moment) of corresponding looks once both arm of pushing 01 pushing 01 a relay oi the contact oi the PC across stepper arms stepper pushbutton pushbutton group group device conveyor of S81 ..164e-1 Iota-1 Kiel-170 P161-170 P01 101 881a 16411-1 164a 1 S82 166a 165a K101-110 P101-110 P02 104 882a 166a ,166a 1640- 1641: SS3 165a,b 166i) K111-120 P111-120 P03 104 S832:

166a,b 166b 164c-1 1640 SS4 16512-1 165c KIM-130 P121-130 P04 105 SS4a 166 166c lead-t 164d SS5 1650-! 165d K131-140 I P131440 P05 105 88511 164e,1 104a SS6 165e,! 165a KIM-160 PHI-160 PCS 106 SSfia 166e,1 166e 1641 1641 e SS7 1651 1651 KIM-100 P151460 PC7 106 S872;

1661 1661 SS8 ltlfia-i 1660-1 K171-180 P171-180 -PC8 102 S888 889 16611-1 1660-1 K181-190 P181490 P09 103 SS9a tacts has not been latched, the. operationof SSla will not cause K910 be energized for that contact of S811:

and SS] and P9 will .notbevclosed. The K9relay contacts P9'are used also to. caus'elupon closing) the sole.- noid valve of an air cylinderCY17 to beenergized and air pressure exerted. lnthe cylinder to force the move- 1 if said stepper arms mentioned in column 8 of Table 55 2 are thereby connected to contacts which have previously been closed and to coil of a relay that has previously been latched by the operationdescribed in columns 4 and of Table 2, then the action sequence e srib si s l 'ltakesv eea.

TABLE 3 ll 10 ll 12 13 14 16 16 17 18 I Which lo ener- To push when acio actuate To close gizc To To enerbag tivated To move relay contacts cylinder To actuate To divert bag onto actuate gize towards energizes conveyor K0 P0 CY17 Gate 117 Conveycr104 P20 CYl 0Y1 pusher..- Compart. 107.. LS17 0Y8 PO10 0L3 107 K21" P21 0Y2 0Y2 pusher... Compart. 108 LS2 0Y9 PO11 GL4 108 K22" P22 QY's 0Y3 pusher... Compart. 109 LS3 CY10 PO12 GL5 109 108.. P23 (1Y4 0Y4 pusher... Compart. 110 LS4 CY11 PO13 CL10 110 K24.. P24 0Y6 CYB pusher... Camper-L111... LS5 CY12 PO14 CL15 111 K26.. P25 0Y6 0Y6 pusher..- Compart. 112 LS6 OY13 PO15 CL16 112 K10 P10 CYiS Gate 116 Conveyor 104 or 105 K11 P11 CY10 Gate 116 Conveyor 105 or 106 UPPER LEVEL STORAGE GATING AND.

CONTROL Referring to FIGS. 2A and 2B in conjunction with the middle portion of the right column of circuitry shown in FIG. 4, the sequencing of the storage conveyors to accept packages and store them until time for loading is accomplished by means of two monitoring devices on each storage conveyor. The first monitoring device is located at the infeed end of the storage conveyor and the other one is located near the outfeed end of the conveyor.

The monitoring device used in this embodiment of the invention is a photoelectric cell which either has light reflected to it by the package or has the light interrupted by the passage of the package. The photo-cell (PCZl, PC22, PC23, PC24 etc.) at the infeed end has a contact which is normally open while the photo-cell (PC33, PC34, PC35, PC36 etc.) on the outfeed end operates one normally closed contact and one normally open contact. Using the light interrupted unit for this discussion, the interruption of the light by the passage of a package on the first conveyor 207 causes the normally open contact PC21 to close which energizes the clutch CL22. This causes the conveyor 207 to run. The conveyor 207 will run until either the package has passed the photo-cell PC21 to restore the contacts to the normally open position or the lead package on conveyor 207 has interrupted the light to the photo-cell PC33 at the outfeed end of the conveyor thereby closing its normally open contacts and opening its normally closed contacts as an indication that the conveyor is full. Under the condition of the first conveyor 207 being full, the second conveyor gate 222 is operated by the closing of the normally open contact of the photocell PC33 of the first conveyor 207 and energizing the solenoid valve on the cylinder CY41 which controls normally open contacts controlled by the photo-cell PC22 at the infeed end of the second conveyor 208 and the normally closed contacts controlled by the photocell PC34 at the outfeed end of the second conveyor 208.

Similarly, the third conveyor 209 is dependent for its operation on the above-mentioned conditions of the photo-cell operated contacts plus the closing of the normally open.contacts controlled by the photo-cell PO34 at the outfeed end of the second conveyor 208 and the closing of the normally open contacts controlled by the photo-cell PC23 at the infeed end of the third conveyor 209 and the normally closed contacts controlled by the photo-cell PC35 located at the output end of the third conveyor.

UPPER LEVEL MOTOR CONTROLS As shown in the lower part of the right column of circuitry of FIG. 4, the upper level motor M2 is energized or de-energized by a set of contacts P which is controlled by relay K50, which, in turn, is controlled by any one station switches 164X, 165K, 166X and 219. Station switches 164X, 165X and 166X control the unloading of the storage conveyors servicing gates 161, 160 and 159, respectively. Switch 219 controls the upper level memory. assemblies which comprise stepping switches S840, S841, SS42,'SS40a, 8541a and 8842a used for loading the storage conveyors.

UPPER LEVEL MEMORY ASSEMBLIES The upper level memory assembly stepping switches are similar to the stepping switches described hereinbefore. Tables 4 and 5 summarize the action sequences for the upper level loading procedure, referring to the top of the right column of circuitry shown in FIG. 3 and in the middle and right columns of circuitry shown in that gate. The operation of the second conveyor 208 is FIG. 5.

TABLE 4 A Energlzes coil b (to which'said Which stepper arm To latch that looks When aehappens to be relay and across tivated by :1 Steps once connected at close the conveyor bag, steps Stepper for each Also, each that moment) corresponding 216 just once both arm oi pushing oi pushing oi of a relay of contact of the I PC before stepper stepper pushbutton pushbutton the group group device gate arms of S840 219s-e 219a K41-50 P41-50 30 243 SS40a S841 219 219b K51-60 Pol-60 31 242 8541a 219c 219c K6140 P6i-70 32 220 8542a the same as for the first conveyor 207. The second conveyor 208 is dependent on the closing of the normally open contacts controlled by the photo-cell PC22 of the first conveyor and the closing of the normally open contacts controlled by the photo-cell PC33 at the outfeed end of the first conveyor 207 together with the i TABLE 5 I 10 ll 12 13 14 15 16 17 And which To energize Which after a after said coil a and v predetermined predetermined unlatch the W hlch To divert And to time opens To de- And time closes corresponding '1 o energize closes beg onto energize normally closed energize open normally open relay of the cylinder gate conveyor timer contacts cylinder gate contacts l lgroup Q 243 206 T20 PT20 C Y23 243 PT20 1 0 Y2 .142 205 T21 PT21 CY22 242 PT21 K C YZl 220 20; T22 PI22 C Y21 220 PT22 K61-70 and to open the corresponding contacts. The timers also automatically reset themselves at the conclusion of the abovetdescribed operation. I

UPPER LEVEL UNLOADING GATE AND CLUTCH CONTROLS 21, 31 and 32 are summarized in Table 6.

When the conveyor mentioned in column of Table 6 has emptied, the action sequence continues as set forth in Table 7. It is to be noted that CYX which appears in FIG. 5 and Table 7 designates the option of additional storage conveyors and associated components for each of the gates 159 and 160 in which CYX designates the cylinder similar to CY36, CY37, CY38 etc. which controls a vertically operated gate similar to gates 234, 235, 236 etc. at the delivery end of a conveyor similar to conveyors 210, 211 and 212.The cylinders CYX as shown in FIG. 5 may be omitted.

OPERATION The operation of the handling system involving the transportation of baggage and cargo from the terminal to the plane or other transportation means may be followed by observing the drawings, especially FIGS. 2-5 as the procedure is related.

Packages to be loaded onto a plane are checked in at the check-in counter where they are weighed and the overweight charges are assessed to the passenger. At the same time, a letter representing the first letter of the passengers last name is attached to the package together with any baggage receipt which might be used in the airlines baggage handling procedure. The letter serves to identify and route the packageupon unloading from the plane at its 'destination as described hereinafter.

'Steppe'rs SS40, S541 and S842 are stepped once for each operation of corresponding buttons on station 219. That is, SS40 is stepped once for each operation of buttons 2190, 21% and 219c. 8841 will be operated once for buttons 21% and 21% and S842 will be operated only when button 2190 is operated. in addition to the above, the latch relay connected to the contact of SS bank of the associated buttons is energized and latched, i.e., for button 219a one latch relay of the group K41-K50 is latched, for button 21% one of the latch relays K51-K60 is latched, and for button 219:: one of the latch relays K61-K70 is latched. The latching taking place at the contact on which the arm of the stepper SS40, S841 or 8842 comes to rest when the button has'been pushed.

When the procedures at the check-in counter have been completed, the package is placed on the conveyor 217 or 218 which serve conveyor 216. The button on station 219 which represents the gate and flight number to which the package is to go is pushed. Should the gate to which the package is to go be the one served by conveyor 201, the button pushed would be that represented by 219a. Pushing button 2190 steps SS40,

To To actu- Moving energize To start towards gate switch clutch conveyor conveyor 230 Moving Also, To lower To con- Also, Moving Also, Energizes To start towards energizes conveyor neet with energizes To start towards energizes lower atelirnit clutch conveyor station cylinder portion conveyor clutch conveyor station cylinder Closing of switch 101 161 CY43 L320 102 CY36 L823 103 159 CY28 238 L826 252 101 GL1 254 102 GL5 256 103 CL11 201 161 CY50 202 160 C Y51 203 159 C Y52 TABLE 7 Allowing its normally And when elosedeontacts To Toaetuate Moving emptied detocloso and To lower limit Toenergize To start towards energizes energize lower gate switch clutch conveyor conveyor photocell cylinder gate 232 L822 CL24 236 GL2? Allowing its Allowing its normally normally closed contacts And when closed contacts to close and To To actuate Moving emptied deto close and energize lower limit To energize To start toward energizes energize cylinder gate switch clutch conveyor photo-cell cylinder CL23 CY45 De-energizes photocell conveyor 201 PO35 202 P038 201 PC34 202 PO37 235 L524 239 LS27 S841 and S842 once and causes a corresponding one of the series of latching relays of the group K61-K70 in the S842 circuit to be energized and latched and closes the corresponding contacts of the group P61-P70. Since there is no contact 2190 in the S840 and S841 circuits, none of the latching relays in these circuits will be energized. As the package passes along the conveyor 216, photo-cells PC30, PC31 and PC32 are actuated causing their corresponding steppers SS40a, 8841a and SS42a to step once. Since only the SS42 circuitry has a relay latched to close its contacts in the S5420 circuit, only the 8842:: circuit will match and cause cylinder CY21 to be energized. The energization of cylinder CY21 causes gate 220 to close and divert the package from conveyor 216 to conveyor 204. Timer T22 is also energized to open its contacts PT22 after a predetermined period of time has run to open the CY21 circuit and open gate 220.

Conveyor 204 will direct the package to which ever one of the three gates 221, 222, or 223 is in position to first divert the package. Gates 221, 222 and 223 serve to divert the package onto corresponding storage conveyor 209, 208 and 207 when they are actuated by the corresponding cylinders CY42, CY41 and CY40 as they respond to the circuitry. If none of the conveyors are full, gates 221 and 222 will be open and gate 223 will be closed and the package will be diverted onto conveyor 207. As the package is diverted onto conveyor 207 by gate 223, it passes.photo-cell PC21, the contacts of which close which energizes clutch CL22 to actuate the conveyor 207 until it has moved the package past the photo-cell PC21 at which time the clutch CL22 will be de-energized and conveyor 207 will stop. Should the conveyor 207 become full, the last package will not completely clear the photocell PC21. This causes switching of the circuitry to the clutch circuitry of CL23 in the manner described hereinbefore. When the conveyor 207 is full, photo-cell PC33 will be blocked to open its normally closed contacts causing clutch CL22 to be de-energized and conveyor 207 to stop. Also, the normally open contacts of PC33 are closed to cause the circuit to clutch CL23 to be energized except for the normally open contacts of PC22. The closing of the normally open contacts of PC33 also actuates cylinder 41 to close gate 222. As the package is diverted onto conveyor 208 by gate 222, it interrupts photo-cell PC22 to close its contacts to energize clutch CL23. This procedure is repeated until conveyor 208 becomes full and succeeding packages are diverted to conveyor 209 by gate 221 which is actuated by cylinder CY42 which is energized by the closing of the normally open contacts of PC34 by the lead package on conveyor 208. Once on conveyor 209, the package interrupts PC23 to actuate clutch 24 using closed PC21, closed PC22, normally closed PC35, closed normally open contacts of PC34 and closed PC23. Should the plane be loading and conveyors 208, 209 empty and conveyor 207 either empty or only partially filled, the packages would proceed out of conveyor 207 onto conveyor 201 and thence to the plane on conveyor 101.

In order that the package be routed onto conveyor 201, the loading button 164X on station 164 must be actuated. The pushing of button 164X causes cylinder CY50 to lower the portion 252 of conveyor 201 into cooperative position with conveyor 101, clutch CL21 toenergize, CY43 to lower stop gate 230, clutch CL1 to energize motor M1 to operate conveyors 201 and 101 to move them in an outward manner toward station 161. The actuation of cylinder CY43 actuates limit switch L820 to energize clutch CL22 causing conveyor 207 to route the packages onto conveyor 201 and onto conveyor 101. Similarly, conveyors 208 and 209 route any packages thereon to conveyor 201. This would involve limit switches LS21, LS22 and cylinders CY44 and CY45. When conveyor 208 is empty, the normally closed contacts of photo-cell PC33 close thus actuating cylinder CY44 to lower gate 231. When conveyor 208 is empty, the normally closed contacts of photo-cell PC34 close thus actuating cylinder 45 to lower gate 232. Thus, the conveyors 207, 208 and 209 are emptied in a systematic manner onto conveyor 201. In the same manner, packages can be routed to other gate conveyors such as 202, 203 as monitored by the circuits and controlled by control stations 219 and 164, 165 and 166, respectively.

In the package unloading system of this embodiment as shown in the drawings the various mechanical and electrical components are associated as shown in Tables l-3.

Control station buttons a-f for each station 164, 165

and 166 are associated with steppers SS2-SS7 and are connected to the respective stepping arms as follows:

a-SS2, b-SS3, c-SS4, d-SSS, e-SS6,

fSS7 (see FIG. 4, lower left and middle column).

For example, for each station, button (a) is connectable through the stepper arm of SS2 to coil (b) of a latch relay of the group K101-K110 to close the corresponding contacts of the group P101-P110; button (b) is connectable through the stepper arm of SS3 to coil (b) of a latch relay of the group XIII-K to close the corresponding contacts of the group P111-Pl20; and so on. In addition, control station 164 is associated with and each of its buttons controls the stepping of SS1; Station 165 is associated with and each of its buttons controls the stepping of SS8; and Station 166 is associated with and each of its buttons controls the stepping of SS9 (see FIG. 3, lower left column). Steppers SS1, SS8, SS9 are stepped once for each operation of the buttons a-f of the corresponding station 164, 165, 166, respectively.

In respect to station 164 only steppers SS2-SS7 are stepped once for each operation of a station button beginning with and following its corresponding letter association. For example, SS2 will step once for every button of the station, i.e., a-f; SS3 will step once for every button of the station except (a); SS4 will step once for every button of the station except (a) and (b); SSS will step once for every button of the station except (a) (b) and (c), etc. (see FIG. 3, lower right column and FIG. 4 upper left column).

For station 165, SS2 will step once for button (a) only; SS3 will step once for each button (a) and (b) only; SS4 will step once for each button except (i a) and (b); SSS will step once for each button except (a), (b) and (c); SS6 will step for each button (e) and (f); and SS7 will step for button f only. For station 166, SS2 steps for button (a) only; SS3 steps for buttons (a) and (b) only; SS4 steps for buttons (a), (b) and (c) only; SS5 steps for buttons (a), (b), (c) and (d) only; SS6 steps for buttons (e) and (f) only and SS7 steps for button (f) only.

ing in a direction to take packages properly from the conveyor input towards. the compartments. Packages having the letter B would be presumed to be destined forcompartment 107 and having button designated as 164a on he control station. Pushing button 164a causes stepper SS1 to advance once and to energize and latch the latch relay K161 thereby closing contacts P161. The stepper arm of stepper SS2 also advances once through the pushing of button 164a which also closes the circuit to and latches latch relay K101 in SS2 circuit and closes contact P101 in the SS2a circuit. Stepper SS2 serves as a memory for the compartment representing the letter B or as illustrated, compartment 107. Stepper SS1 serves as a memory for gate 117.

The package continues on conveyor 101 past photoc'ell PCl which isactivat'ed and causes 8810 to be energized and to step once. Since P161 was closed previously by the pushing of button 164a, the relay K9 is energized to actuate gate cylinder CY17 to actuate gate 117. Gate 117 diverts the package onto conveyor 104.The package continues on conveyor 104 to photocell PC2 which, when activated by the package, causes CY8 to actuate and push the package away enough in compartment 107 to allow space for the next package to be deposited by pusher cylinder CYl in the compart- -rnent. When enough packages have been pushed away 'by CY8 to interrupt and actuate PC10 and with limit switch LS in closed-condition, clutch CL3 is energized to cause conveyors of compartment 107 to bring the packages forward far enough to allow CY8 to push further packages in the space left by previous packages. At the same time cylinder CY14 is energized to retract hinged rollers 198 and permit easier forward movement of the packages. A timer T4 is energized at the same time K20 is energized and, after a predetermined time, actuates .its contacts PT4 to close same and thereby'energize coil a of relay K101 which unlatches relay K101 which opens P101 thus opening the circuit to relay K20 causing the opening of contact P20 and de-energi zation and retraction of cylinder CYl. Thus, the package has been deposited in position in the compartment 107 where the passenger can pick it up. Gate 117 can be used to divert articles, such as skis, pet boxes, etc. to the left for special handling.

A package having a letter which would correspond to compartment 110 coming after the previous package, would require the operator. to push say button 164d. This wouldstep SS1 once, ultimately resulting in operation of gate 117 as described above. SS2 also would be stepped once but relays K101-K110 would not be operated because there is no 164d contact in the stepper ann circuit of SS2. SS3 would be stepped once but relays K111-K120 would not be energized because there is no 164d in that circuit. SS4 would be stepped once but K121-K130 would not be energized since there is no contact 164d in its circuit. SS5 would he stepped once and one of relays K131-K140 would be energized to close corresponding contacts P131-P140. SS6 and SS7 would not he stepped and their relays would not be energized.

Thus, as the package goes onto conveyor 104, it passes photo-cells PC2, PCS, and PC4 (see FIG. 2C) causing each of steppers 882a, 883a, 884a to step once but does not cause the actuation of CYl, CY2, CY3 associated with them. When the package passes photocell PC5, SS5a is stepped once and K23 is energized causing contacts P23 to close and CY4 to actuate and push package into compartment 110.

When a package is placed on conveyor 102, the operator at station 165 will turn that station on. This starts motor M1, energizes clutches CL6, CL17, CL13 and CL18 (see FIG. 3, upper left column) to run conveyors 102, 104, 105, and 106. Conveyor 104 will run towards the left and conveyors 105 and 106 will run towards the right. Conveyor 102 will run towards the conveyors'104 and 105. The operator at station 165 will ascertain the letter identification of each package and push the proper button for that letter as the package passes the station. For compartment 108 that button would be 165b.

Pushing button 165b energizes and steps SS8 one step but does not energize a latch relay in relay series K171-K180 (this avoids shift of gate 116 and allows package to enter onto conveyor 104; steps SS3 one step and energizes a latching relay in relay series Klll-K120 closing the corresponding contacts of series P11 1-Pl20. As the package passesphoto-cell PCS, SS8ais stepped once to find open contacts in the series P171-P180.This does not cause relay K10 to energize and does not actuate gate cylinder CY 18 and the package is diverted onto conveyor 104 from conveyor 102. The package actuates photo-cell PCS which steps 88311 to find closed contacts of the series Pl 1 1-P120 to energize relay K21which closes contacts P21 and actuates cylinder CY2 to push the package into compartment. 108. The remaining procedure is as discussed above for handling the package in thecompartment.

Should the package have had a letter corresponding to that of compartment 109 or higher letter, the same procedure would be'followed as above by pushing button c or higher. In such a case the stepper SS8a is stepped once and, since buttons 165a and higher are in the stepper arm circuit, a relay in the series Kl7l-180 is energized and latched and the corresponding contacts P171-18 0 are closed. Thus, when the package I passes PCS, SS9a is stepped to find the closed contacts on conveyor 101, SS2 would be stepped once for 1640 and the latch relay of group KIM-K110 connected to the contact on which the SS2 switch arm came to rest would be latched and thus close the corresponding contact of group Pl01-P110 in the SS2a circuitry. This would indicate in the system memory that the package was to be placed in compartment 107. No other stepper SS3-SS7 would be stepped or actuated for that push' button. SS2, SS3 and SS4 each would be stepped once for pushing button 1640. However, only a latch relay of stepper SS4 would be latched and in the same manner as for SS2 above. In the same manner S82 and SS3 would be stepped once for pushing button 164b. However, only the latch relay of SS3 would be latched and in the same manner as for SS2 above. Then, SS2 would be stepped once for the second pushing of 164a with the resultant latching of a relay of the SS2 circuit.

Thus, in the sequence of operations begun by the pushing of buttons on station 164 as outlined before, SS2 has been stepped four times with its latch relay corresponding to arm position being latched on the first and fourth step; SS3 has been stepped twice with its latch relay corresponding to the arm position being latched only on the last step; SS4 has been stepped only once and its latch relay corresponding to the arm position being latched. This indicates that the first package and the fourth package are to be removed from the first conveyor 104 at the 107 compartment; the second package is to be removed after passing by compartments 107 and 108 for depositing in compartment 109; and the third package is to be passed by compartment 107 for depositing in compartment 108.

To obtain this result, it is assumed that there are no other packages ahead of the ones we have entered into the programming and that, therefore, at the beginning of our insertion of information at station 164, SS2 and 88211 were in mechanical alignment, as were SS3 and SS3a, S84 and $8411, SS5 and SSSa, SS6 and 886a, and SS7 and SS7a. When 16411 was pushed SS2 went ahead of SS2a one step; when 164a was pushed SS2 became two steps ahead of S820, SS3 and SS4 each went one step ahead of 883a and SS4a, respectively; when 1641; was pushed, SS2 became three steps ahead of S820 and SS3 became two steps ahead of $830; when 164a was pushed, SS2 became four steps ahead of SS2a.

The first package passes through PCI and steps SS 1a once and since it was latched the latch relay energizes cylinder CY 17 to divert package onto conveyor 104 by means of gate 117. It then passes PC2 monitor which steps SS2a once to reduce the difference between its position and that of SS2 of three steps. Since the first step of SS2 has a relay latched in its circuit, SS2a will complete the circuit to relay K20 by way of the latched relay contact and corresponding bank contact of 882m. This closes contacts P20 which energizes cylinder CY and causes the package to be diverted to compartment 107 by the action of cylinder CYl. The second package passes through monitor PCI and passes onto conveyor 104 as above. Passing monitor PC2 causes SS2a to step once thus reducing the difference of its position with SS2 to two steps. Since there is no latched relay latched in this step of the S82 circuit, the package passes on to monitor PC3 which causes SS3a to step and reduce the difference between it to one step with SS3. Since there was no latched relay in this step, the package is passed on to monitor PC4 which causes SS4 to step once and catch up with SS4 in position. However, there is latched relay in this circuit which causes K22 to be energized through the closed contacts of the latched relay to close contacts P22. This causes cylinder CY3 to be energized to push the package from the conveyor into compartment 109. The third package moves past PCl onto conveyor 104 as described above. It passes monitor PC2 which causes 8820 to step once thus recucing the difference between it and SS2 to one step in position. There is no latched relay in this step of the SS2 circuit. The package moves to the monitor PC3 which causes 883:: to step once thus reducing the difference in position of it to SS3 to zero. This step of SS3 has a latched relay which causes K21 to be energized to close contacts P21 and activate cylinder CY2 to push the package from the conveyor 104 into compartment 108. The next package passes PCI and onto conveyor 104 as described above. it then passes monitor PC2 which causes SS2 to step once thus reducing the difference between it and SS2 to zero. There is a latched relay in this step which causes K20 to be energized to close contacts P20 to energize cylinder CYl and remove the package from the conveyor 104 into compartment 107. Thus each of the packages have been placed into its assigned compartment as required in this example. Any number of packages in various orders may be directed to the required compartments.

Thus, as exemplified above, the number of packages which are destined for more remote positions must pass nearer points as indicated by the counting action of the circuitry before the nearer one is removed. It is done by means of the sequence of inserted information at the station 164, or 166. If there are three packages wherein the first is to be removed at a closer station, the second at a further station and the third at a closer station, the first will be removed at the closer station as the circuit recognizes by the sequence of the stepper switch operations that the closer station sequence has made stepper circuit ready on the first position. When the stepper has recognized the signal from the detector on the conveyor that the package has arrived, its circuit will actuate the diverter, to cause the baggage to go into the proper compartment. At the same time, the stepper is stepped to the next position. The second baggage then arrives at the same station and the stepper circuit recognizes it as the next baggage in the sequence. However, the circuitry has not been made ready for this baggage at that compartment so that the diverter does not actuate but the stepper is stepped one step in recognition of the passage of the baggage. Consequently, it passes by and on to the compartment that has been made ready in its sequential count. The next bag is recognized by the stepper circuitry which has been made ready and the circuitry causes diverter to actuate and divert the baggage into the proper compartment since it was destined thereto by the incoming sequence signalling. The stepper is again stepped once and the next baggage is recognized and the determination is made as to whether it should be diverted or allowed to proceed. Each compartment is provided with one of these circuits which is used to count the bags that arrive by the respective detectors and which have made-ready circuits for determining which bag in the counting sequence is to be diverted at that compartment.

Also, in the present invention the baggage is place on a conveyor and is sent to the proper conveyors for the flight position by signals generated at a station which actuates stations along the conveyors to divert the baggage at their proper places by counting the pieces of baggage. Further the baggage diverted to a particular area serving a particular flight is stored on conveyors in a sequential manner. When one conveyor is full as indicated by the scanning method provided the baggage is diverted to the next conveyor until it too is full. These conveyors are then sequentially operated when desired to pass the baggage onto the outgoing conveyor for loading onto the plane. When the plane is unloaded at the destination, the code assigned to the baggage is observed. This code was assigned at the ticketcount'er and carried through to the owner at the receiving end. The proper code is entered into the control system whereby the'baggage is directed to the compartment corresponding to the code and owner. The handling of baggage or packages on conveyors from the instant of deposit through transport and ultimately to the owner at the destination in accordance with signals generated according to transportation media and continuous representations representative of the owner or designee at the destination without signal emitting devices or signal decoding devices being attached to the baggage or the passage of the baggage through such signal decoding devices is unique and obviously highly advantageous.

Thus, it is clear that each package of any number of packages may be processed throughany one of a number of conveyors to any one .of a number of compartments by means of a series of individually reversible conveyors, gates and auxiliary equipment each responsive to the associated circuitry and the control stations associated with the primary conveyors onto which the packages are placed.

Further, it is evident that a package may be processed from the passengers placement onto the con veyor till he picks it up at his destination with a minimum of handling and personnel.

Still further, it is evident that any number of packages destined for various destinations and received from various destinations and from any number of people can be handled simultaneously and provide for segregated retrieval at the destination by the passengers.

It further provides a means whereby other cargo can be handled at the same time as baggage and packages normally attached to passengers requirements to provide for a maximum utilization of cargo space.

From the foregoing it will now be seen that a new and novel apparatus for handling baggage, packages and cargo has herein been provided which accomplishes all the objects of the inventionand others, including many advantages of practical utility and commercial importance.

Having disclosed a form in which the invention may be practiced, it will be apparent to those skilled in theart that modifications, improvements, substitution of and disposition of the, parts may be made which would be .withinth'e scope of the annexed claims.

What is claimed is: i

1. An object handling system comprising a plurality of first conveyors in endto end mating relationship and a plurality of second conveyors for receiving objects from units of transportation and delivering them-to the said first conveyor,

each of said secondconveyors having a delivery end cooperating with the mating portions of said first conveyors,

first signal means adjacent each of said plurality of second conveyors for receiving object identifications and providing a first signal representative thereof,

second signal means adjacent the delivery end of said second conveyors responsive to the presence of an object at said delivery end to provide a second signal representative thereof;

drive means for said first conveyorand plurality of second conveyors,

first diverter means adjacent the delivery end of each of said second conveyors for diverting objects onto either of the two mating first conveyors with which each said second conveyor cooperates in response to said first signal and said second signal,

a plurality of third signal means located at different locations adjacent said first conveyors, said locations corresponding to said object identifications, each said third signal means being responsive to the presence of an object on said first conveyor adjacent said location to provide a third signal representative thereof,

a plurality of second diverter means each located at a said different location adjacent said first conveyors for diverting objects from said first conveyors at said respective location in response to a said first signal corresponding to said location and said third signal corresponding to said location to segregate a plurality of said objects in said locations according to said object identifications.

2. The invention as claimed in claim 1 wherein said drive means for said first conveyor includes clutches responsive to said first signal.

3. The invention as claimed in claim 1 wherein said means for receiving package identification includes a control station located at each of said plurality of second conveyors, said control station having a plurality of push button switches whereby individual first signals are provided as representative of said package identification.

4. The invention as claimed in claim 1 wherein third conveyor means are provided at each said location for shifting objects deposited at said location to provide room for additional incoming objects.

5. The invention as claimed in claim 1 wherein each said diverter means includes matching means for receiving a said first signal which correspond with the object-identification corresponding to the location of said diverter means with said third signal corresponding to said location to provide actuation of mechanical means for diverting said object from said first conveyor.

6. An object handling system as claimed in claim 1 wherein said system includes a third conveyor having an input end onto which objects are loaded,

a plurality of fourth conveyors adapted to receive objects from said third conveyors, at different points corresponding to different units of transportation along said third conveyor,

at least one outfced conveyor adapted to receive objects from said fourth conveyors and deliver them to units of transportation,

a fourth signal means between said input end of said third conveyor and said fourth conveyors for receiving unit of transportation identifications and providing a fourth signal representative thereof,

a plurality of fifth signal means each located at a said point responsive to the presence of an object at said point to provide a signal representative thereof,

a plurality of third diverter means at said different points adjacent said third conveyor for diverting objects from said third conveyor at said respective different point in response to said fourth signal corresponding to said point and said third signal corresponding to said point to segregate a plurality of said objects in said fourth conveyors according to the unit of transportation designated for each said object.

7. The invention as claimed in claim 6 wherein the direction of movement of said second conveyors is reversible and said outfeed conveyors cooperate with said second conveyors to deliver objects thereto.

8. The invention as claimed in claim 6 wherein said plurality of fourth conveyors includes at least one branch conveyor cooperating with said third conveyor to receive objects therefrom at said respective different points,

a plurality of storage conveyors each having a receiving end cooperating with said branch conveyor for receiving objects therefrom at spaced positions along said branch conveyor and a delivery end cooperating with said outfeed conveyor for delivering objects thereto,

a plurality of fourth diverter means at said spaced positions for diverting objects from said branch conveyor to one of said storage conveyors, and

a plurality of gates at the delivery end of said storage conveyors to-hold objects on said conveyors, said gates being retractible to allow said objects to be delivered onto said outfeed conveyors.

9. The invention as claimed in claim 8 wherein said plurality of fourth diverter means includes a plurality of sixth signal means each responsive to the presence of an object at the receiving end of said storage conveyors to provide a signal representative thereof,

individual drive means for each said storage conveyors, each said drive means being responsive to signals from said sixth signal means associated with it,

a plurality of seventh signal means each responsive to the presence of an object at the delivery end of said storage conveyors when said conveyor is full to provide a signal representative thereof, the diverter means associated with an empty storage conveyor next closest to said third conveyor from a full storage conveyor being activated by said seventh signal of said full storage conveyor to 1 providing an output signal representative thereof;

a plurality of storage conveyance means cooperating with said infeed first conveyance means, each of said plurality of storage means comprising a plurality of branch conveyance means cooperating with said infeed first conveyance means, a plurality of storage conveyance means cooperating to receive the output of said branch conveyance means, and an outfeed conveyance means cooperating with the output of said plurality of storage conveyance means to deliver said output to said unit of transportation;

a signal storage means including means for receiving and sequentially storing the output signals from said receiving means and providing output signals representative of the identity of the unit of transportation associated with said object;

means responsive to the passage of said object on said infeed first conveyance means and to the output signals from said signal storage means located along' said infeed first conveyance means and cooperating with said storage means for diverting said object into said storage means by means of said branch conveyance means in response to the output signals representative of the unit of transportation associated with said object;

means located along'said branch conveyance means and cooperating with said storage conveyance means and responsive to the passage of said object on said branch conveyance means and to the output of said signal storage means for diverting said object from said branch conveyance means onto said storage conveyance means; and

drive means for controlling the sequential flow of obje cts from said storage conveyance means onto said outfeed conveyance means, said plurality of storage conveyance means and said outfeed conveyance means including said drive means being responsive to a signal generating means associated with said outfeed conveyance means.

11. An object handling system comprising in combination a receiver identification means for attachment to an object requiring the use of a unit of transportation;

a plurality of receiver means for receiving from units of transportation objects having receiver identification means attached thereto and each said receiver means including means for receiving an input representative of said receiver identification means and providing an output signal representative thereof;

first conveyance means and a plurality of storage means each representative of a receiver identification means and located along said first conveyance means for receiving said objects from said first conveyance means according to the receiver identifications thereof;

plurality of second conveyance means each of which cooperates one said receiver means and said first conveyance means in response to the output signal of said receiving means;

drive means responsive to the output of said receiving means for driving said first conveyance means and said plurality of second conveyance means;

a signal storage means including means for sequentially receiving and storing outputs from said receiving means and providing outputs representa-

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3561623 *Jan 7, 1969Feb 9, 1971Webb Co Jervis BArticle-handling system for baggage or other cargo
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3830409 *Nov 28, 1972Aug 20, 1974Handling Systems IncControlling the supply of articles
US20100153144 *Dec 9, 2009Jun 17, 2010Continental Airlines, Inc.Automated Check-in for Reserved Service
Classifications
U.S. Classification198/349.9, 198/367
International ClassificationB65G47/50
Cooperative ClassificationB65G47/50
European ClassificationB65G47/50