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Publication numberUS3904516 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 9, 1975
Filing dateDec 13, 1973
Priority dateDec 13, 1973
Publication numberUS 3904516 A, US 3904516A, US-A-3904516, US3904516 A, US3904516A
InventorsChiba Kazuo, Osanai Takenori
Original AssigneeTokyo Shibaura Electric Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for classifying sheet-like written material
US 3904516 A
Abstract
An apparatus for classifying sheet-like written material by transporting a series of sheet-like written pieces one by one of a passageway and collecting them in those of the pockets provided therein which correspond to the classification codes indicated on the surface of sheet-like written pieces characterized in that the apparatus comprises a device for supplying data designating the pockets in which particular sheet-like written pieces are to be collected; a device for furnishing data on the current position of the written pieces traveling on the passageway; a memory device consisting of a plurality of sections to be stored with data designating the pockets associated with the written pieces transported on the passageway and data on the current position of said written pieces, a device for replacing first or already stored data on the current position of the written pieces by second or fresh data on their subsequent positions being obtained by further transit; and a device for comparing the stored pocket-designating data with fresh data on the subsequent position of the written pieces and, when a prescribed coincidence is detected to exist between both data, collecting particular written pieces in properly designated pockets.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Chiba et a1.

[ 1 Sept.9, 1975 APPARATUS FOR CLASSIFYING SHEET-LIKE WRITTEN MATERIAL [75] Inventors: Kazuo Chiba, Tokyo; Takenori Osanai, Yokohama, both of Japan [73] Assignee: Tokyo Shibaura Electric Co., Ltd., Kawasaki, Japan [22] Filed: Dec. 13, 1973 [2]] Appl. No.: 424,285

Primary ExaminerAllen N. Knowles Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Oblon, Fisher, Spivak, McClelland & Maier [57] ABSTRACT An apparatus for classifying sheet-like written material by transporting a series of sheet-like written pieces one by one of a passageway and collecting them in those of the pockets provided therein which correspond to the classification codes indicated on the surface of sheet-like written pieces characterized in that the apparatus comprises a device for supplying data designating the pockets in which particular sheet-like written pieces are to be collected; a device for furnishing data on the current position of the written pieces traveling on the passageway; a memory device consisting of a plurality of sections to be stored with data designating the pockets associated with the written pieces transported on the passageway and data on the current position of said written pieces, a device for replacing first or already stored data on the current position of the written pieces by second or fresh data on their subsequent positions being obtained by further transit; and a device for comparing the stored pocketdesignating data with fresh data on the subsequent position of the written pieces and, when a prescribed coincidence is detected to exist between both data, collecting particular written pieces in properly designated pockets.

5 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTED SE? 9 i975 SHEET 1 BF 3 PATENTEB SEP 9 I975 3 9 04.516

SHEET 2 [IF 3 BIT ORDER OI 2 34 5 6 7 8 9IOIII2I3I4I5I6I7I8I92O F|G 2A IOOOIOOIIOOIIIIOOOOIO POCKET CURRENT BUSY I I DESIGNATING 1 POSITION I I I CODE I CODE I FIG 2B IOOOIOOIIOOIIIIOOOOII FIG ZC IOOOIOOIIOOOOOIOOOIIO FIG, 2D ooooooooooooooooooooo DETECTION SIGNAL PAIENIEUSEP 91915 CLEAR SIGNAL sum 3 0F 3 FIG-.4

STORING DEVICE IMFORMATION READ- OUT CONVERTER CODE 4 POCKET DESIGNATING CODE GATE POSITION DECISION CIRCUIT REGISTER SCANNING CIRCUIT CODE COM PARATOR CURRENT CODE CONVERTER DECODER,

GATE

DRIVING CIRCUIT POSITION DETECTOR DETECTOR SCANNING SOLAR CELL CIRCUIT APPARATUS FOR CLASSIFYING SHEET-LIKE WRITTEN MATERIAL This invention relates to an apparatus for classifying sheet-like written material which is capable of automatically collecting, for example, mail matter such as post cards or enveloped writing in the designated pockets corresponding to the classification codes indicated on the surface of said written pieces.

It is strongly demanded quickly to classify sheet-like documents, for example, not only mail matter such as post cards and enveloped writing, but also cards, bills, notes and any other forms of writing used in or handled by financial corporations including banks, securities companies, insurance companies, etc. Automatic classification of all the above-mentioned types of writing (for convenience of description, represented by cards, though not limited thereto) has hitherto been carried out by the following two processes.

The first process consists in providing card-collecting pockets along a card passageway, fitting a device for reading out card classification data to the inlet of each pocket, determining whether or not given cards should be classified in specified pockets from the classification data already read out, collecting only those cards in said specified pockets whose classification codes coincide with those previously allotted to the pockets, forwarding other cards to the succeeding pockets, again reading out the classification data of the cards at said pockets, carrying out the above-mentioned determination and collecting those of the remaining cards in said pockets whose classification codes agree with those assigned to said pockets. The above-mentioned first pro cess using as many readout devices as pockets requires said readout devices to be of such very simple construction as can only read out codes punched in cards, and has been found unadapted for high speed classification of cards,

The second process comprises reading out classification codes indicated on the surface of cards before they are delivered to a passageway and converting the classification codes thus read out into logical code signals for designating the pockets in which the cards should be collected. After stored in a shift register, the logical code signals are shifted in succession as the cards are carried along. When the cards are brought to a prescribed point, the shifted codes are examined by a decoding network. Particular cards are collected in the pockets whose magnetic gates are opened by an output signal from the decoding network. The abovementioned second process has to use a large number of shift registers when the pockets increase in number. Where, therefore, it is necessary to provide extremely numerous pockets as in the case of a post card classification system, the second process will require a tremendous number of shift registers and consequently be of complicated construction and become bulky. Moreover, flip-flop circuits constituting shift registers are only used in very low frequency.

It is accordingly the object of this invention to pro vide an apparatus of simple construction capable of This invention relates to an apparatus for classifying sheet-like written material by transporting aseries of written pieces one by one on a passageway, providing a plurality of pockets in the passageway, and collecting the particular pieces of said written material in the designated pockets corresponding to the classification codes indicated on the surface of the sheet-like written pieces, which comprises means for supplying data designating the pocket in which a paticular sheet-like written piece traveling on the passageway is to be collected; means for supplying a current position of a sheet-like written piece which means includes a plurality of detectors including those corresponding to each of the pockets and disposed along the passageway of the traveling written piece and supplies data on its current position; a memory device consisting of at least as many storing sections as written pieces jointly traveling on the pas sageway at a given time, said sections being stored with data designating the pockets associated with the traveling written pieces and also with data on their current position during transit; means for replacing first current position data of a written piece already stored in a storing section by second or fresh current position data on the subsequent position which it takes in further transit; and means for comparing the stored pocket designating data with the second current position data and, when a prescribed coincidence is detected to exist between both data, receiving said written piece in a properly designated pocket.

According to this invention, the current position of any ofa plurality of cards jointly traveling on a passageway at a given time is stored in one of a small number of sections constituting a memory device. When a given traveling card is received in the designated pocket, then data stored in the respective subsections of the memory section regarding the received card is cleared and the memory section is used for the classification of any of the succeeding cards. Therefore, one section of the memory device is used very frequently. The number of the memory sections is defined simply by the number of cards which a classification machine is originally designed to transport jointly on the passageway at a given time. Accordingly, the memory sections do not have to be increased at all, even when a larger number of pockets are provided on the passageway. As compared, therefore, with the prior art classification machine in which the increased number of pockets necessarily leads to that of shift registers, the sheet-like written materialclassifying apparatus of this invention can be made of far simpler construction. Namely, when applied in the classification of for example, post cards, the present apparatus displays a prominent effect.

With the apparatus of this invention, read out data on the classification codes indicated on the surface of post cards can be used intact as pocket-designating data or in the form converted into proper logical code signals for designation of particular pockets. Similarly, detection signals generated by the respective detectors may be directly used as those indicating the various current positions of post cards traveling on the passageway. Or said detection signals may be used for the same purpose after converted into proper logical code signals.

This invention can be more fully understood from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 schematically illustrates the arrangement of the sheet-like written material-classifying apparatus of this invention;

FIGS. 2A2D indicate one storing section included in a memory device used in the classification apparatus of the invention, showing the sequence in which the section is first stored with pocket-designating data and data on the current position of a sheet-like written piece and then these data are cleared;

FIG. 3 presents the arrangement of a detector used in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 4 is a block electric circuit diagram of the apparatus of the invention.

Throughout FIGS. 1 to 4, referential numeral 1 denotes a card feeder where a plurality of post cards bearing classification codes (each consisting of several digits in this embodiment) are superposed in a horizontal direction. The classification data indicated on the foremost card is statically read out by a readout device 2 consisting of, for example, an optical readout device. Data 3 on the classification code thus read out is supplied to a code converter 4, where the classification code appearing on said foremost card is converted into a logical code signal 5 designating the pocket in which said post card is to be received. The foremost card whose classification code has thus. been read out is separated from the remaining post cards in the card feeder 1 by a mechanical device (not shown), and conducted to a main passageway 6. The aforesaid readout operation need not be limited to a statical type.

Connected to the points P5, P7, P9 and P on the main passageway 6 are branch passageways, D, C, B and A respectively. Arranged along the branch passageways A, B, C and D are groups Al B1 C1 and D1 of card classifying pockets. The respective pockets are provided with gates GAl GBl GCl and GDl for admitting or rejecting post cards brought to said pockets. Also provided at the junctions of the main passageway 6 and the branch passageways, D, C and B are similar gates G1, G2 and G3. All these gates are operated under control by an output signal delivered from a magnetic gate-driving circuit 7 (FIG. 4). The terminal ends of the branch passageways A, B, C and D are fitted with reject pockets AR, BR, CR and DR respectively. These reject pockets are intended finally to gather the cards which were not received in any of the collection pockets provided on the branch passageways due to improper classification. According to this embodiment, 50 collection pockets are provided for each of the four branch passageways, totally 200 collection pockets. Current position detectors 8 (FIG. 3) are installed at the points P1 to P10 on the main passageway 6 and the points P11, P12, P13 on the branch passageway A, points P21, P22, P23 on the branch passageway B, points P31, P32, P33

. on the branch passageway C and points P41, P42,

7 P43 on the branch passageway D. The detectors 8 each having a circuit arrangement as shown in FIG. 3 generate a detection signal 9 when traveling cards pass through them.

There will now be described by reference to FIG. 3 the operation of the detector. An output signal from a solar cell 11 illuminated by light 10 is amplified by an amplifier 12 which is so designed as to generate an output signal when the light 10 is shut off. An output signal from the amplifier 12 sets a flip-flop circuit 13. When one input terminal of an AND circuit 14 is supplied with an output signal from the flip-flop circuit 13, and the other input terminal of said AND circuit 14 is supplied with a scanning pulse from a solar cell scanning circuit 15 (FIG. 3), then the detector 8 generates a detection signal 9 indicating the passage of a card therethrough. The detection signal 9 resets the fiip-fiop circuit 13 to render the detector 8 ready for the detection of a succeeding card. In this embodiment, the cyclic time of the above-mentioned scanning is set at 32 microseconds.

FIG. 2 indicates one storing section (register) for storing a code denoting the destination to which a card is to be finally conducted, namely, a pocket-designating logical code signal and a logical signal showing the cur-' rent position of the card during transit. The register is designed to store one word consisting of twenty-one bits bearing the Zero to the twentieth orders. The zero order bit represents a busy signal indicating whether or not the register is used to bandle a traveling card. Said zero order bit is stored with a 1 code when the register is used and with a 0 code when the register is not used. The bits of the first to the fourth orders denote the branch passagewaydesignating section of the pocketdesignating logical code signal. Namely, said branch passageway-designating code signal section distinguishes the branch passageway which contains the pocket designated for the traveling card. The first to the fourth bits, as counted from the left, represent the branch passageways A, B, C and D respectively. According to FIG. 2, the code 1 of the fourth bit shows that the branch passageway D is designated for the card and that the card is to be received in, for example, the designated pocket D5 of said branch passageway D. The binary codes given opposite to the fifth to the tenth bits indicate the sequential order of a solar cell 11 corresponding to the designated pocket D5 in which the card is to be classified. The fifth bit denotes the MSD (most significant digit) and the tenth bit the LSD (least significant digit). The codes l given opposite to the eleventh to fourteenth bits collectively show the current position of the traveling card before it is brought into the specified branch passageway D. The reason is that before the card whose current position is stored in the memory section of FIG. 2A enters the specified branch passageway D, all the detectors through which the card passes in succession before entering the designated branch passageway are on the main passageway 6 and may each be considered as common to the branch passageways A, B, C and D, and consequently all the eleventh to the fourteenth bits indicate the code 1. The binary codes given opposite to the fifteenth to the twentieth bits show the current position of the card after conducted to a specified branch passageway, for example D, namely, the sequential order of the solar cell 1 1.

There will now be described by reference to FIGS. l to 4 the operation of the apparatus of this invention for classifying sheet-like written material. Let it be assumed that a card having its classification code 3 read out by the readout device 2 of FIG. 1 is classified in the pocket D5 corresponding to the detector P46 (FIG. 1) on the branch passageway D. Data on the classification code 3 is supplied to the code converter 4 to be converted into a logical code signal 5 designating the pocket D5 in which the card is to be received. Said logi cal code signal 5 is stored in one memory section of FIG. 2, namely, in the bits 1 to 10 of FIG. 2A by a circuit 18 for writing logical code signals denoting the current position of cards and designating the pockets in which they are to be collected. In the case of write-in, a vacant register whose zero order bit indicates a code because it is not used with any of the cards traveling on the passageway is detected from among a plurality of registers by the scanning of a register-scanning circuit 19 (FIG. 4). The above-mentioned logical code signal 5 is stored in this vacant register whose zero order bit now indicates a 1 code showing that the register is put into operation. Binary codes [0001] appear in the first to the fourth bits, indicating that the detector P46 corresponding to the designated pocket D5 to which the card should be destined for classification lies on the specified branch passageway D. Binary codes [O01 I00] are written in the fifth to the tenth bits to show the sequential order of the detector P46 as counted from the initial detector P1. Four 1 codes are stored in the eleventh to the fourteenth bits, showing that the card is currently positioned at the detector P1, which is also common to the branch passageways A, B, C and D. Binary codes [000010] are recorded in the fifteenth to the twentieth bits, indicating that the detector through which the card passes next time is P2 and also the sequential order of said detector P2 as counted from the initial detector P1.

An output detection signal 9 from the detector 8 is conducted, as shown in FIG. 4, to a code converter 20, where the detection signal 9 is converted into a logical code signal 21 denoting the current position of a card passing through the detector 8. The logical code signal 21 is supplied to a code comparator 22 and a circuit 18 for writing logical code signal denoting the current position of a card and designating a pocket associated therewith. The code comparator 22 compares the pocket-designating logical code signal 5 stored in one memory register and the logical code signal 21 showing the current position of the card. Where coincidence is detected to exist between both logical code signals, then a coincidence signal 24 is supplied to a gate position decision circuit 23. in the case of noncoincidence, a noncoincidence signal 25 is conducted to a storing device 17 to replace a code signal showing the first current position of the card already stored in the register by another logical code signal denoting the fresh or subsequent position of the card. The gate position decision circuit 23 determines the gate which is to be opened upon receipt of a coincidence signal 24. An

output signal from the position decision circuit 23 is transmitted to the storing device 17 and also to a magnetic gate driving circuit 7 through a decoder 27,

thereby controlling the operation of the gate designated by the abovementioned decision. When a card is received in the designated pocket, the gate driving circuit 7 generates a clear signal to clear all data stored in the register in connection with said card.

There will now be described the manner in which data stored in the register of FIG. 2A is cleared for replacement by fresh data as the result of further transit of the card. When the card whose collection pocket is designated by a logical code signal corresponding to the detector P passes through the detectors P1 and P2, then scanning by the registerscanning circuit 19 se-, lects the register stored with the binary codes [1 1 1 100010] denoting the first current position of the card (hereinafter, the logical code signal denoting the first current position of the card which is already stored in the register is referred to as a first current position logical code signal and a fresh logical code signal being stored next time in the register to indicate the succeeding position of the card is referred to as a second current position logical code signal.) The code comparator 22 examines whether coincidence takes place between the pocket-designating logical code signal 5 stored in the first to the tenth bits of the register and the logical code signal denoting the second current position of the card to be stored in the eleventh to the twentieth bits. Since logical code signals do not coincide with each other in this embodiment, the logical code signal of FIG. 2A denoting the first current position of the card is replaced by the logical code signal of FIG. 2B showing the second current position of the card. (It will be noted that first current position logical code signal means the code signal already stored in a register while second current position logical code signal means the code signal to be freshly stored in place of the first current position logical code signal.) The above-mentioned comparison and, if required, replacement of data stored in the register are repeated throughout the travel of a card on the passageway. When the card passes through the detector P5, then the comparator 22 supplies to the gate position decision circuit 23 a signal denoting coincidence between the logical code signal stored in the fourth bit of FIG. 2B to show the branch passageway D and the logical code signal to be recorded in the fourteenth bit to indicate the same branch passageway D. At this time the gate position decision circuit 23 decides a particular magnetic gate G1 to be opened. An output decision signal from the decision circuit 23 is supplied to the decoder 27 and gate-driving circuit 7 to open the gate GI, thereby conducting the card to the branch passageway D. The output decision signal from the decision circuit 23 is also transmitted to the storing device 17 to replace the first current position logical code signal constituted by the codes stored in the eleventh to the twentieth bits of FIG. 28 by the logical code signal to show the position of the detector P41, namely, the position of the second current position of the card.

When the card passes through the detector P46, the code comparator 22 detects coincidence between the pocket-designating logical code signal stored in the register and the second current position logical code signal. The coincidence signal 24 is supplied to the gate driving circuit through the gate position decision circuit 23 and decoder 27 to actuate the gate GDS, thereby guiding the card into the designated pocket D5. At this time, the gate-driving circuit 7 delivers a clear signal to the storing device 17 to clear all the data stored in the register in connection with the card, thus bringing the register to a condition shown in FIG. 2D. The register maintains this condition, until another card whose classification code has been read out by the readout device 2 passes through the detector Pl. When the register thus cleared is found vacant as the result of scanning by the register-scanning circuit 19, then said vacant register is freshly stored with data on another traveling card. According to the classifying apparatus of this invention, therefore, the registers have only to be provided in a number equal to or slightly larger than a maximum number of cards jointly traveling on the passageway at a given time. This embodiment uses 32 registers which are scanned at a cyclic time of 1 microsecond. As mentioned above, when coincidence is established between a logical code signal stored in the register to designate the pocket to which a given card is to be destined for classification and a logical code signal denoting the current position of the card detected by a detector, then a logical code signal showing the position of another detector through which the card passes next time is recorded in the register as a logical code signal denoting the second current position of the card. However, it is not always necessary to attain coincidence between the pocket designating logical code signal and the logical code signal showing the current position of a traveling card. if, however, both code signals are designed to maintain a prescribed relationship therebetween, then the object of this invention will be attained all the same. Further, the gates used in the present apparatus need not be limited to a magnetic type.

What we claim is;

1. An apparatus for classifying sheet-like written ma terial by transporting a series of sheet-like written pieces one by one on a passageway and collecting them in pockets provided therein which correspond respectively to a classification code indicated on the surface of a sheet-like written piece, characterized in that the apparatus comprises means for supplying data designating the pocket in which a particular sheet-like writ ten piece traveling on the passageway is to be collected; means for supplying a current position of a sheet-like written piece which means includes a plurality of detectors each corresponding to each of the pockets and disposed along the passageway of the traveling written piece and supplies data on its current position; a memory device consisting of at least as many storing sections as written pieces jointly travelling on the passageway at a given time, each section being stored with data designating a pocket associated with a travelling written piece and also with data on its current position during transit; means for replacing first current position data of the written piece already stored in one storing section by second or fresh current position data on the subsequent position which it takes in further transit,

to claim '1 wherein the means for supplying pocket designating data includes a unit for reading out the classification data indicated on the surface of a written piece and a first code converter for converting the readout classification code into a logical code signal designating a prescribed pocket.

3. A written material-classifying the apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the means for supplying data on the current position of a traveling written piece includes a detector for generating a detection signal when the written piece shuts off a light path of the detector and a second code converter for converting the detection signal into a logical code signal denoting the position of the detector.

4. A written material-classifying apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the sections of the memory device are each stored with pocket-designating data and a busy signal indicating whether or not the section is actually used with a traveling written piece and, after the written piece is received in the designated pocket, hav ing the already stored data cleared ready to be supplied with fresh data on another traveling piece.

5. A written material-classifying apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the written material passageway consists of a main course and a plurality of branch courses each having a plurality of pockets arranged therein, and the pocket-designating data and data on the current position of a traveling written piece respectively include data on the specified one of said branch

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Classifications
U.S. Classification209/566, 209/583, 340/675
International ClassificationB07C3/00, B07C3/02, B07C3/06
Cooperative ClassificationB07C3/06, B07C3/006
European ClassificationB07C3/06, B07C3/00C3