US 3820498 A
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United States Patent [191 Bosshard June 28, 1974 1 IDENTIFICATION MEMBER  Inventor: Otto Bosshard, Gruet, Wetzikon,
Switzerland  Assignee: Zellwe'ger Ltd., Uster, Switzerland  Filed: July 1, 1971  Appl. No.: 158,707
 US. Cl 116/114 R, 186/1 A, 198/38, 235/61.12 R, 340/1463 K  Int. Cl. G01d 21/00  Field of Search 116/114 R; 198/38; 226/33; 186/1, l A; 33/107 R, 111; 240/1 EL UX;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,473,939 11/1923 Russell 350/286 X 2,089,209 8/1937 Keuffel et a1. 33/111 X 2,182,027 12/1939 Little i i 33/107 R 2,279,288 4/1942 Orbeck 240/1 EL UX 2,365,735 12/1944 Ware 33/107 R 2,400,447 5/1946 Wells et a1 226/33 2,564,642 8/1951 Edwards 186/1 A 2,673,399 3/1954 Raeder 33/107 R 3,157,270 11/1964 Prucha et a1 198/38 3,275,123 9/1966 Prosser et a1. 198/38 3,396,482 8/1968 Pradenas 40/22 3,443,072 5/1969 Mori 350/102 X 3,502,851 3/1970 Kakimoto et a1. i. 340/1463 K X Primary ExaminerLouis J. Capozi Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Kenyon & Kenyon Reilly Carr & Chapin  ABSTRACT The identification member is an elongated member of triangular cross section incorporating a code sign for detection by automatic article-detecting equipment. The identification member is placed between groups of articles so as to order the detecting equipment to begin itemising or to stop itemising. The identification members serve to mark the beginning and end of a given group of articles.
1 Claim, 2 Drawing Figures IDENTIFICATION MEMBER This invention relates to an identification member.
In shops, especially self-service shops, the articles selected for purchase by the customers are sometimes fed to a conveying means or placed in order on a conveyor belt as a cash section or clearing section. Hereinafter, all the goods selected for purchase by a customer will be collectively referred to as a group of articles. It has been proposed that, in order to avoid errors in identification and computation as a result of indefiniteness in the separation of the individual groups of articles of different customers, a bar, for example, is placed between the individual groups so that the cashier has a clear indication as to where a given group of articles begins and ends.
A similar problem prevails where stores are arranged to function with automatic clearing systems, i.e., in stores where there are no cashiers. The conventional method of having the customer depress a totaliser key after he has placed his group of articles on the conveyor is not altogether satisfactory because identification of his group of articles should only be completed some considerable time afterwards, i.e., when the last article in his group of articles has passed through the automatic identification system. This time lag between depression of the totaliser key and the effective passage of the articles is not precisely defined with the result that errors are possible in the precise identification of the individual groups of articles.
An object of the present invention is to obviate this disadvantage. The invention provides an identification member which is distinguished by the fact that it carries a sign designed to be recognized by a monitoring unit. The identification member can be used for marking the beginning and/or end of a group of articles which is delivered to a conveyor.
An embodiment of the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 illustrates an identification member according to the invention; and
FIG. 2 illustrates an end view of a modified transparent identification member according to the invention.
Referring to FIG. 1, such illustrates an identification member 1 of one-piece which can, for example, be made of wood or a transparent material and which is in the form of a three-sided elongated prism. The identification member which is handled manually has a code sign 2 on three of its boundary surfaces. The code sign 2 can be of the kind commonly used, for example for identifying goods to enable them to be automatically collected and, such as an optically readable sign. The identification member 1 is delivered to a conveyor at the beginning and/or end of each group of articles in such a way that it separates the two groups of articles of two consecutive customers. The identification member then passes to an atuoamtic article-detecting arrangement which is linked to the conveyor. An automatic article-detecting arrangement of this kind incorporates a monitoring unit, for example an optical scanning unit, by which identification marks on the individual articles denoting for example their serial number, their price or other properties characteristic of them are read off. A sign 2 can be, for example, a known code sign in the form of an arrangement of concentric circles or arcs. The sign 2 on the identification member 1, can give an order to the automatic article detecting arrangement to begin itemising all the articles of a given group of articles and/or to stop itemising all the articles of a given group of articles. The beginning and end of a given group of articles as regards its itemisation is reliably marked in this way.
The shape of the identification member is variable within wide limits, although elongated, prismatic shapes are particularly suitable.
It is of particular advantage slightly to recess the signs 2 in relation to the center of the identification member 1, in order in this way to protect, them against damage and soiling. It is also of advantage to provide the signs 2 with a transparent cover, for example in the form of a small glass plate.
Referring to FIG. 2, in another advantageous embodiment, the identification member 1 is of a transparent material such as, for example a transparent plastics material, in which case the identification mark or code sign 2 is advantageously applied just below the surface of the identification member 1.
What we claim is:
1. An elongated one-piece three-sided prism identification member of transparent material for marking one of the beginning or end of a group of articles on a conveyor including a plurality of boundary surfaces and an optically readable code sign arranged inside said member for viewing through each of said boundary surfaces, said code sign being adapted to be read by a monitoring unlt.