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Publication numberUS3905594 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 16, 1975
Filing dateApr 16, 1973
Priority dateApr 16, 1973
Publication numberUS 3905594 A, US 3905594A, US-A-3905594, US3905594 A, US3905594A
InventorsDavis Ernest D
Original AssigneeNorfin
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Memory and visual indicator system for sorting device
US 3905594 A
Abstract
The randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine operates to sequentially fill a plurality of sheet receiving trays in a sorter assembly with a number of sheets programmed for selected trays. An address for each selected tray and the number of sheets for the tray are entered in random manner in a computer memory and the memory sequentially provides tray address and corresponding sheet information in order of tray arrangement. In the event of copy jamming or copy count error, the machine is precluded from automatically continuing subsequent programmed operation until correction is made.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States atet 1 1 1111 3,905,594

Davis Sept. 16, 1975 1 1 MEMORY AND VISUAL INDICATOR 3,709485 1/1973 Acquaviva 270/58 x SYSTEM FOR SORTING DEVICE Primary Examiner-Evon C. Blunk 75 Inventor: Ernest D. Davis Richmond Beach, 1 Wash Asslsmnt ExammerBruce H. Stoner, Jr.

' Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Dowrey & Cross [73] Assignee: Norfin, lnc., Seattle, Wash.

[22] Filed: Apr. 16, 1973 [57] ABSTRACT [21] Appl. No: 351,447 The randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine operates to sequentially fill a plurality of sheet receiving trays in a sorter assembly with a num- [52] US. Cl. 271/173 b f h t d f l t d t A d 1 B65 29/60 er s ee s programme or se ec e rays. n a 1 F f S h 6 270 8 dress for each selected tray and the number of sheets [581 Md 0 earc for the tray are entered in random manner in a com- 56 R f C d puter memory and the memory sequentially provides l e erences tray address and corresponding sheet information in UNITED STATES PATENTS order of tray arrangement. In the event of copy jam- 2,241,168 5/1941 Truitt et al 271/173 ming or copy count error, the machine is precluded 3.2 2/ 6 ns 35/2 X from automatically continuing subsequent pro- 3371936 3/1968 at 270/58 grammed operation until correction is made. $561,753 2/1971 Snellman .1 271/173 X 1690.643 9/1972 Anderson et a1. 271/173 7 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures svsTEM Dc Po wER wiser, ave/12D iiiw- OL AC/DC 22 B7 24 & ZGQSWITCHES 8 POWER +5230 vAc INPUT 7s INDICATORS CONTROL sAcToB1NC1R 92 CUITS i 1 r 34 i 74) I 36a. COLUMN H $332532 11% :os'zazfi 113%?1 r *1 sgiiii CONVERTER SLECTORI CONTROL I f c 104 FUNCTIONS a REGISTER T 66 LOGIC TO ALL am @7/ I 1 cxslsst 111m 64 4 MEMORY I s i 8 JAM J FEEDER ME|Vl O;Y 76 I I?FTE IT0R CONTROL 658 PR|NT I36 l2 2 T 70 WHEEL 36b LOGIC C i9 MEMORY ADDRESS 96 I03 COLUMN 2 CONVERTER AR|THMET| gg ggg co ugn & SELEC OR I (:0 0L I T 1 II II I LOGIC truucnous D COLUMN 72 so IREGISTERL IO3 QOLUMN 3 COLUMN F COLUMN K i 5 7 73 o CONTROL CONTROL 860 SHEETS DATA i l r LOGIC FUNCTIONS PROGRAM PROGRAM C NTER I OUTPUT SI RESET LSELECZOB LONDITIONERS Comm" 4 LocAL DISPLAY a LAMP COLUMN COLUMN DRIVERS CONTROL CONTROL LOGIC FUNCTIONS 1 SORTER f 7 7 i 12 I 1 1a 104 sec '82 DATA COUNTER & 86 FEEDER PRINT DRIVERS DECODER SENSORS WHEEL 4 SOLENO'DS DATA ENABLES DRIVE BRAKE] DISPLAY UNITS c 1 L (16 IDENTICAL CARDS) REMOTE vAC V DISPLAY INPUT FEEDER mama] sEP 1 6 ms 3 s05 594 FIGO 5A SHEETS DISPLAY STROBE ST'IROBE JAM INPUT SEARCH FEEDCOUNT ZERO PULSE SHT COUNT MEfi 'RY" 88AM RUN sw *i RUN sw "2 MOTORS ON HOPPER EMPTY RESET ADDRESS PRESET SW PATEP I FiQET l 6 97:": 3 905 594 SHEZTSUFS FIG, 5B

RUN! LD.

7 em I O I50 I CLOCK CLOCK FEED COMMAND E COMMAND SHEET COUNT ADDRESS COUNT EXECUTE RUNZLD. STORE "2 L0.

BUSY L.D.

MOTORS ON ESET BLANKING CONTROL RESET INDEX RESET PRESET MEMORY ERASE GATES MEMORY AND VISUAL INDICATOR SYSTEM FOR SORTING DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to sequential sheet sorting machines and more particularly to a randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine. Sheet sorting machines normally are adapted to receive sheets from a sheet feeding assembly and to subsequently convey sheets to a plurality of sheet receiving traysv Generally, sequential sheet sorting machines fill the receiving trays in sequence with a predetermined number of sheets desired for each tray.

In the past, attempts have been made to program sequential sorting machines so that during the programmed cycle of operation, designated receiving trays are provided with various desired numbers of copies. These prior programmed sorting machines have required an operator to first make a punch card, magnetic tape, paper tape, or the like which will operate a switch matrix to control the machine operation. Alternatively, it has been necessary to manually set various switches in a switch matrix to control sorting machine operation.

The numerous manual operations necessary to program and operate known sequential sorting machines have contributed to the likelihood of error in the programming of the machine and have also increased excessively the time required to accomplish each programmed run. Therefore, it is the primary object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine which may be quickly and accurately programmed to automatically accomplish a rapid sequential sorting operation.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel and improved randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine which includes an operator activated keyboard adapted to input both sheet receiving tray address information and information regarding the number of sheets to be directed to an addressed tray into a mini computer. The mini computer then programs the operation of the sheet sorting machine so that a sequential sheet sorting operation may be provided in response to random program inputs.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a novel and improved randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine having a mini computer to control machine operation which incorporates a dual memory unit. This memory unit includes a first memory section adapted to receive new program input information during the accomplishment of a previously programmed machine run under the control of a second memory section.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel and improved randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine which may be quickly and accurately programmed and which permits an inputed program to be easily altered prior to the initiation of a programmed run.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a novel and improved randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine which accomplishes a computer controller programmed run and which includes indicators for visually indicating the program as it is entered and the step by step accomplishment of the program during the programmed run.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel and improved randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine which operates effectively to sense both sheets exiting a sheet feeder and sheets entering sheet receiving trays in a sorter during a programmed operation so that a subsequent programmed operation will not be accomplished until the existing operation is accurately completed.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a novel and improved randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine having jam detection means operative to temporarily terminate the accomplishment of a programmed run if a sheet jam occurs at the entry to a sheet receiving tray until the sheet jam has been cleared.

These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent from a consideration of the following specification and claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic view illustrating a sorter column deflection mechanism for the randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the electrical control circuitry for the randomly programmed sequential sorting machine of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a circuit diagram of the arithmetic unit and column register of FIG. 3; and

FIGS. 5A and 5B taken together are a circuit diagram of the program clock and control logic section of FIG. 3.

Referring now to FIG. 1, the randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine of the present invention indicated generally at 10 consists basically of four sub-systems; namely a control console 12, a remote display 14, a sheet feeder l6, and a sorter 18. Manual control of the sheet sorting machine is accomplished by an operator positioned at the control console 12 through the use of an address keyboard 20, a sheets keyboard 22, a plurality of indicators 24 and six combined control switch indicators 26. The switch indicators 26 include first and second run switches, a power switch, a motors switch, a preset switch, and an override switch.

The remote display 14 is mounted upon the control console and forms a large portion of the control console panel. This remote display includes a total of 18 display units, 16 of which are identical display units and the remaining two display units including one data driver display unit and one counter and decoder display unit. The operation of these display units in conjunction with the control console will be subsequently described in detail in connection with the electrical control system for the randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine 10.

The sheet feeder 16 may be provided by any one of a number of known sheet feeding devices adapted to feed sheets from a storage hopper individually or as signatures (up to six stapled sheets). The sheet feeder includes an electrically operated clutch and brake assembly to initiate copy feed and two sensor assemblies to monitor copy feed. One such sensor assembly counts the sheets being fed and the second sensor assembly monitors the storage hopper to indicate when the hopper is empty. The sheet feeder also includes a marking assembly adapted to print a series of inked lines on the top sheet of each group of sheets to be directed to a specific receiving tray in the sorter 18. This marking assembly constitutes a binary printer which is solenoid operated to print an address for the sorter receiving tray.

The sorter 18 includes an infeed opening 28 positioned to receive sheets or signatures from the output of the sheet feeder 16. These sheets are conveyed upwardly from the infeed opening by a moving sheet conveyor 30 of any conventional known construction. For example, the sheet conveyor may include a moving tape or belt construction spaced beneath overlying sheet guides 32 so that sheet 34 will be conveyed thereby to the top of the sorter 18.

The sorter 18 includes a plurality of columns of vertically arranged sheet receiving trays: four of such columns designated 36a, 36b, 36c, and 36d, being illustrated in FIG. 1. Each column contains the mechanical drive linkages, motors, and associated control electronics to deliver paper sheets to one of a plurality of vertically arranged trays 38 provided in each column. The first columns, 36a, 36b, and 36c are identical with (for example) 50 trays in each, but the last column 36d contains double capacity trays. This last column also includes an overrun tray (not shown) where excess sheets are distributed.

The mechanical assembly for conveying the sheets to a selected column of the sorter 18 and subsequently directing sheets to a selected tray within such column may be provided by a number of known constructions previously employed for sheet sorters and collators having a plurality of vertically stacked trays. The assembly illustrated in FIG. 2 for sorter column 36a is included in each sorter column 36a-36d to provide a sheet distribution assembly 40 having a vertically travelling conveyor or belt 42 which moves in front of the trays 38. A solenoid operated deflector mechanism 44 which includes a plurality of pivotal sheet deflection fingers 46 is selectively operable to cause incoming sheets from the sheet conveyor to be deflected downwardly onto the vertical belt 42 when the deflection fingers are in the position illustrated in FIG. 2. Conversely, when the deflection fingers are in the position illustrated in dotted lines in FIG. 2, incoming sheets may pass over the top of the fingers and onto a conveyor 48 leading to the next column of the sorter. Since the sheet distribution assembly in each sorter column is identical to that illustrated in FIG. 2, the deflection fingers 46 for any column may be activated in a manner to be subsequently described to divert incoming sheets onto the vertically travelling belt 42 for that column.

The belt 42 may include vacuum means or other known means which operate to hold sheets against the vertically travelling surface thereof until such sheets contact a deflector assembly 50. This deflector assembly is adapted for vertical movement along the belt 42 in front of the trays 38 and includes a carriage unit 52 which is drive on a vertical track 54 by means of a chain drive 56. The carriage supports a curved deflection surface 58 which intersects the vertical plane of travel of a sheet on the belt 42 and serves to deflect the sheet into an adjacent sheet receiving tray. As previously indicated. various motor and gear arrangements for each sorter column are provided as indicated at 60 in FIG. 2. Further details for a sheet distribution assembly of the type illustrated at 40 in FIG. 2 may be found in US. Pat. No. 3,561,753 to Donald L. Snellman.

The sorter 18 also includes a local display panel 62 (FIG. 1) which is supported by column 36a.

A block diagram of the control circuitry for the randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine 10 of FIG. 1 is shown by FIG. 3. Programming of the sheet sorting machine is accomplished by means of the address keyboard 20 and the sheets keyboard 22 in combination with the remote display 14. The address keyboard contains an address key for each tray 38 in the sorter l8 and thus provides the machine operator with touch control of all possible addresses. Similarly, the sheets keyboard 22 provides the operator with touch control selection of any number of copies desired for a particular address; for example, up to nine copies for each address. Thus, the operator chooses the address of a desired tray on the address keyboard 20 and subsequently selects the number of sheets or signatures to be provided to this addressed tray on the sheets keyboard 22.

As the operator selects addresses and the number of copies for an address, the address data from the address keyboard 20 is directed to an address keyboard converter and register 64 which constitutes a binary to BCD conversion circuit. This conversion circuit receives binary data directly from the address keyboard in the form of eight binary weighted logic signals and subsequently converts these signals to BCD form for use by the remote display 14.

The remainder of the control console 12, with the exception of a section containing the indicators 24 and switch indicators 26, constitutes a mini computer which directs the operation of the randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine 10. This mini computer includes two separate memories 66 and 68 which receive data flow from the address keyboard 20 and the sheets keyboard 22. Converted data from the address keyboard converter and register 64 is directed to a memory address converter and selector 70 which converts the BCD addresses into binary data for use by the two memories. Additionally, the memory address converter and selector also converts into binary data BCD material received from a BCD program counter section 72 of the local display 62. This binary data is then selected and routed by the memory address converter and selector to one of the memories 66 or 68. At all times, one memory is in the storage mode while the remaining memory is in the data retrieve mode. This memory control is accomplished by the state of a storage command signal provided by a program clock and control logic section 74 over a control line 76 to the memories 66 and 68. Selection and routing by the memory address converter and selector 70 is achieved through the use of gating circuits responsive to the store command signal on the control line 76. Thus the converted BCD data from the address keyboard 20 is delivered to a first gating circuit within the memory address converter and selector while the converted data from the BCD program counter 72 is delivered to a second gating circuit. The inputs of these two gating circuits are cross-coupled so that memory addresses are switched back and forth each time the store signal on the control line 76 changes state. Thus, in one state. the memory 66 will receive the address from the address keyboard 20 while the memory 68 will receive the data from the BCD program counter 72. Conventional converter and gate combinations may be employed to form the memory address converter and selector.

The entry of sheet data from the sheets keyboard 22 into the memory 66 or 68 is controlled by a data input selector 78. This data input selector includes two cross coupled gates which operate in a manner identical to the gates contained in the memory address converter and selector 70. The gates receive a BCD input from the sheets keyboard and also from a sheets counter 80 in the local display counter 72. The gates operate in response to the signal on the control line 76 to route data to the memories 66 and 68 in a manner corresponding to the routing accomplished by the memory address converter and selector. Thus, the data input selector routes data from the sheets counter 80 to the memory adapted to receive data from the BCD program counter through the memory address converter and selector, while the sheets keyboard data is routed by the data input selector to the same memory which receives address keyboard data.

The memories 66 and 68 may consist of four integrated circuit memories each; all integrated circuit memories having four separate input and output lines and constituting 256 bit memories with full address decoding. The integrated circuit memories may be connected in a 256 word arrangement with four bit organization by having eight address lines common to the four devices. The eight address lines are presented with a binary number from Zero to 255 which corresponds to a given location in each of the four memory integrated circuits. For memory inputing, this address will come from the address keyboard 20, and the desired input data will be presented to the four input data lines addressed from the sheets keyboard 22. Thus the four bits of data in each memory location are used for storage of the BCD digit (0 through 9) corresponding to the program sheets required for a given tray location. To generate data output, a tray location number is again presented as a memory address, this time from the BCD program counter 72. The memory will now have on its output lines the data previously inputed from that same address.

Clearing of the memory is accomplished by counting from zero to 200 with a counter and employing the counter outputs as binary addresses to the memory while simultaneously writing in zero data with each different address.

The data from the address keyboard and the sheets keyboard 22 is also directed to the remote display 14, and in the remote display is fed to data drivers 82, which drive the paralleled inputs of the 16 identical display units 84 for the remote display unit. Address and sheets data is selectively displayed sequentially on one of the sixteen display units under the control of a counter and decoder 86 which operates to enable display units one at a time. The counter and decoder receives counts from the program clock and control logic unit each time this unit receives a strobe pulse on a line 87 from the sheets keyboard 22. Thus, when an operator completes the entry of a sheet number on the sheets keyboard 22, the strobe pulse on the line 87 results in one count being entered in the counter and decoder 86, and the counter and decoder will then enable the next display unit to receive and display both the address and sheets data.

Each time address and sheet information is entered into one of the memories 66 or 68, the entered data is displayed on one of the 16 displays 84. Various addresses and the corresponding sheet data therefor may be randomly entered, but the operation of the sorter 18 in locating and filling the addressed trays 38 will be sequential.

Data outputing from a programmed memory will be initiated when the machine operator depresses an associated run switch constituting one of the switch indicators 26. As previously noted, there are two run switch indicators, one for each of the memories. When the run switch associated with the programmed memory is pressed, a program clock in the program clock and control logic section 74 provides pulses along a program clock line 88 to the BCD program counter 72 which begins counting. This program counter output is displayed as an address by the local display panel 62 and is directed to the memory address converter and selector 70. Each such address directed from the BCD program counter to the programmed memory causes any data stored under that address to appear at the output of the memory and to be directed to a data output selector 90. The data output selector permits any sheet count data from the memory to be recorded on the sheet counter and also to be transmitted to the data input selector 68 and to an error detector 92.

The error detector consists of a logic circuit capable of detecting when the input sheet count information is other than zero. For example, this circuit might consist of a plurality of inverters connected with an AND gate to provide an output indication if a sheet count is indicated at the input thereto. When stored sheet count is sensed, the output signal from the AND gate is passed along clock control line 94 to terminate the clock signal from the program clock and control logic section 74. This stops the address count by the BCD program counter 72 at an address which corresponds to a tray 38 designated to receive the number of sheets which are now indicated by the sheets counter 80. The address is provided by the memory address converter and selector to an arithmetic unit 96 and a print wheel logic section 98, while the same address is provided by the BCD program counter 72 to a column register 100.

It is important to note that the BCD program counter 72 began counting at zero and counter through a number of addresses until a memory section was reached which contained a stored sheet count. Once this sheet count is employed to cause the sheet feeder 16 and sorter 18 to fill the addressed tray with the desired number of sheets, the program clock and control logic section 74 again begins to feed pulses to the BCD program counter 72 and the search of the programmed memory again begins until another memory section containing a sheet count is reached. Thus, it is apparent that although data was entered into the programmed memory randomly, such data is ready out sequentially by the order of trays in the sorter 18, beginning with the first tray in the first column and ending with the last tray in the last column. When the last tray address is searched in the memory, all circuits except the overrun control logic to be subsequently explained are reset.

The generation of select and search command signals which are used by the sorter 18 to determine which column sheet deflection fingers 46 will be activated and which deflector assembly 52 will be positioned are generated by the arithmetic unit 96 and column register 100 shown in greater detail in FTG. 4. Here, it will be noted that the column register is connected to a gate circuit 102 which includes two gates, the inputs of which are connected to two decades of the BCD program counter 72. These two decades (1, feed clock inputs to the column register 100 as clock pulses are provided by the program clock and control logic section to the BCD program counter. The gate 102 pro duces output pulses upon registration by the BCD program counter of the address for the last tray in each of the first three columns 36a, 36b, and 36c of the sorter 18. Thus, when the sorter includes four columns with fifty trays in each of the first three columns, the gate 102 will produce a pulse upon the registration of an address for trays 50, 100 and 150. This pulse causes a 1 signal to be shifted down the column register. In effect, what happens is that the Q output of the register is a l for memory addresses 0 through 49; Q is a l for memory addresses 60 through 99; Q is a 1 for memory addresses 100 to 149; and O1; is a 1 for memory addresses 150 through 199. These register outputs Q through Q, are routed through suitable column control logic sections 103 for the sorter 18 as select commands. The select commands control the operation of column control units 104, each of which contains a deflector control solenoid to operate the sheet deflection fingers 46 for a shorter column containing the trays bearing the address registeered by the BCD program counter 72. Thus, if a select command operates the deflector solenoid for the sorter column 3621, the deflection fingers for this column are positioned in the manner indicated in solid lines in FIG. 2 to divert sheets downwardly onto the vertical belt 42.

The deflector assembly 50 for a sorter column selected in response to the select command is positioned vertically in front of an addressed tray by search commands provided from the arithmetic unit 96. This is accomplished in response to the sheet count strobe pulse provided from the error detector 92 on the line 94, for this pulse is also inputed to set a search memory 106 (FIG. 4) in the arithmetic unit. The search memory now provides a search signal on a line 108 to the sorter 18, this search signal also operating to enable a search command gate 110. The search command gate when enabled, passes the select command for a sorter colurnn selected by the column register 100 to a drive mechanism in the selected column which will permit the drive mechanism to move the deflector assembly 50 for this column vertically in response to the search output signal on the line 108. For example, an index clutch solenoid arrangement might be energized by the search signals from the arithemtic unit to permit a drive motor to move the selected column deflector assembly carriage 52 downwardly along the vertical track 54 until the search signal is terminated.

The accurate positioning of a selected deflector assembly 50 in front of an addressed tray in the sorter 18 is accomplished by an index counter 112 and a subtractor 114. Returning to the point where the program clock in the program clock and control logic 74 was stopped by the sheet count strobe on the line 94, it will be recalled that the address registered by the BCD program counter 72 was provided by the memory address converter and selector 70 to the arithmetic unit 96. This address was then inverted by an inverter 116 to provide the complement thereof to the subtractor for further use.

It will be noted that the select command signals from the column register 100 are also connected to the input of the index counter 112. This permits the index counter to preregister a count corresponding to a selected column of the sorter 18. For example, with 50 trays in the first three columns, if column one is selected, no counts are strobed into the index counter 100. However, if column two is selected, 50 counts are preregistered in the index counter, if column three is selected, counts are registered in the index counter, and if column four is selected, 150 counts are preregistered in the index counter. This strobing to preregister a basic column count is accomplished by the column register through input gates 118, and the basic preregistered column count is completed by the time the search commands are provided by the line 108 and the search command gate 110.

As a selected deflector carriage 52 moves downwardly along the vertical track 54, (FIG. 2) index pulses are generated each time the carriage passes in front of a tray 38. These index pulses may be generated in any known manner, as for example by photocell circuits which sense each tray position, switches at each tray position, etc. These index pulses are fed by a line to the index counter 112, and operate to increase the basic column count preregistered by the index counter. The output from the index counter is fed to the subtractor where it is compared with the address previously registered, and when the registered address is reached, the subtractor output resets the search memory 106 thereby terminating the search signal on the line 108. This termination of the search signal causes the deflector assembly 50 to stop in position in front of the addressed tray.

The termination of the search signal causes the program clock in control logic section 74 to provide a feed command to the print wheel logic 98 and to a feeder control unit 122 in the sorter 18. The feeder control unit then activates a brake and clutch assembly 124 in the feeder 16 which causes feeder drive motors 126 to begin feeding sheets from the hopper of the sheet feeder to the in feed opening 28 of the sorter 18. As the sheets exit the sheet feeder, they are marked by a marking assembly 128 with the address of the sheet receiving tray programmed to receive the sheets. This marking of sheets is controlled by the print wheel logic 98 which has previously received the programmed address from the memory address converter and selector 70. The print wheel logic may consist of a number of transistor drivers which are selectively activated by the input binary address to drive corresponding solenoids in a marking assembly 128. The solenoids then drive print wheels into contact with the sheet exiting from the sheet feeder. Other suitable printing mechanisms responsive to a binary address may be employed in the sheet feeder.

As the sheet feeder delivers sheets to the sorter 18, a feed count is provided to a signal conditioner driver unit 130 by a feed sensor section 132 of the sheet feeder. This sheet count may be accomplished by known sheet counting means, as for example, a light emitting diode source optically coupled to a light sensor so that the light to the sensor is blocked by a sheet passing from the sheet feeder. The signal conditioner and driver serves to translate the voltage level of logic passing between the control console 12 and the sorter 18 and also contains the lamp drivers for the indicators 24 and switch indicators 26.

The feed sensor section 132 also includes a hopper empty detector which provides a signal to the program control and logic section 74 when no sheets remain in the hopper of the sheet feeder l6. This hopper empty detector may constitute a switch of known construction or a photo sensitive system which operates to change state when the last remaining sheet is fed from the hopper.

The sheet feed count passed from the feeder 16 to the signal conditioner and lamp driver section 13 is directed to the sheets counter 80 which counts down towards zero in response to each sheet count signal. Since the sheets counter begins counting from the desired sheet count previously registered therein, the addressed receiving tray in the sorter 18 should have received the programmed number of sheets when the sheets counter registers zero. At this point, the feed command to the feed control 122 will be terminated and no additional sheets will be provided to the sorter 18.

As sheets fed into the sorter 18 from the sheet feeder 16 travel down the vertical conveyor belt 42 of an addressed column and are diverted by the deflector assembly 50 into an addressed tray, a light beam to a photodetector 134 (FIG. 2) is interrupted and again reestablished as the copy sheet fully enters the tray. The light source for the photodetector may be mounted at the base of each column of the sorter to direct a light beam along the front edge of each of the trays to provide a signal each time a sheet is passed into a receiving tray through the light beam. These passed sheet signals are provided to a motor control and jam detector assembly 136 and are also passed through the signal conditioner and lamp driver 130 to the error detector 92. In the error detector 92, the passed sheet count is compared with the programmed sheet count from the sheets counter 80 to make sure the proper number of sheets have actually been received by the addressed tray 38. This comparison may be accomplished by a number of known units, and, for example, a comparison counter preset with the sheets count registered by the sheets counter 80 may be employed. When the sheets counter 80 provides the desired sheet count to the error detector 92, the complement of this desired sheet count may be strobed into the comparison counter. Then, when the passed sheets count is received by the error detector, this passed sheet count may be strobed in to zero the comparison counter. If the two counts agree, the output of the comparison counter will be all one state (i.e., one). This condition may then be checked by an AND gate whih also receives an input from the sheets counter 80 now indicating that the sheets counter is also zero. The sheets counter status is the result of sheets being counted at the feeder 16. An agreement of this count with the passed sheets count from the sorter 18 will provide an output from the error detector 92 which again triggers on the clock in the program clock and control logic unit 74 to permit the programmed memory to be cycled further until the next program entry is reached.

in the event a jamming of sheets occurs between the sheet feeder 16 and an addressed tray in the sorter 18, no signal will be provided by the error detector 92 to reinitiate a searching of the program memory prior to another sheet feed cycle. Manual intervention by the operator to clear the jammed condition is required before the operation of the machine can continue. Then the operator must activate the override switch which provides a reset signal to the program clock and control logic section 74.

Since the majority of sheet jamming occurs at the deflector assembly as paper enters an addressed tray, the motor control and jam detector 136 has been designed to terminate machine operation in response to such jams. This is accomplished by causing the passed paper signals to operate a timing circuit in the motor control and jam detector so that as long as evenly spaced passed copy signals are present, no output is provided by the timing circuit. For example. the timing circuit might consist of a unijunction transistor timing circuit including an RC network which is set to charge in response to the passed copy signals. If a copy sheet passes through the light beam directed to the photodetector 134, a passed copy pulse is provided which is not of sufficient duration to cause an output from the timing circuit in the motor control and jam detector. However, if a copy sheet stops to continuously interrupt the light beam to the photodetector 134, the timing circuit continues to charge to a firing point wherein an output pulse indicative of a jam condition is emitted from the motor control and jam detector. This jam output pulse is directed to the program clock and control logic section 74 to terminate the feed command signal for the sheet feeder 16 and to disable the conveyor motors in the sorter 18. Also, no passed copy signals are provided by the motor control and jam detector 136 until the machine is reactivated.

For machine reactivation after a copy jam indication from the motor control and jam detector, the operator must manually clear the jam and reinitiate the operation of the machine by depressing the motor switch in the switch indicators 26. This will start the conveyor motors and all sheets in transit before the jam occurred will now be fed into the addressed receiving tray.

At the end of the last memory output cycle when sheets have been fed to all addressed memory trays and the last memory location is reached, an overrun condition goes into effect wherein the remaining sheets in the hopper of the sheet feeder 16 are fed into the overrun tray in the sorter 18. Once the sensor in the hopper of the sheet feeder senses the feeding of the last sheet, a signal is sent to the program clock and control logic section 74 to cause the termination of the feed command required for operation of the sheet feeder.

The heart of the control console 12 is the program clock and control logic section 74 which is illustrated in greater detail in FIGS. 5A and 5B. This section may be best understood when considered in conjunction with the description of the overall operation of the randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine 10. To initiate operation of the machine, a power switch in the switch indicators 26 is depressed as well as the motor switch to provide power to the machine. Next a preset switch in the switch indicator is depressed to activate preset circuitry in the program clock and control logic section which includes a control reset section 138, a preset memory 140, a preset counter 142, and memory erase gates 144. Operation of the preset switch grounds the input of the preset memory which, in turn, causes the control reset section 138 to generate a control reset pulse to condition the logic in the remaining sections of the sheet sorting machine 10. This reset pulse also clocks a first flip flop 146a of the present counter 142, which includes two flip flops 146a and 146b. This enables one input of the memory erase gates 144 so that an output from the memory erase gates may be provided when a second input thereof, connected to a program clock 148 receives the program clock output. The program clock is activated by conditioning of the preset memory 140 upon operation of the preset switch, so that thememory erase gates 144 provide a pulse output when an input is received from the preset counter. The pulse output from the memory erase gates is fed as a continuous string of write pulses through read-write gates 150. Meanwhile, the output of the program clock 148 is providing a pulse signal on the line 88 to the BCD program counter 72 so that an address is counted by the BCD program counter. This produces a string of memory addresses to the memory 66, but since the input for this memory is disabled, no sheet count is entered. The result is a series of zeros written into all memory locations. This continues until all addresses are covered by the BCD program counter, thus zeroing or resetting the memory. When the final address is reached by the BCD program counter, a reset signal is generated by the counter and fed to an input 152 for the control reset section 138. The BCD program counter may consist of decade counters combined with a JK flip flop to make up a known BCD counter, the outputs of which are memory addresses. The reset signal is derived from the output of the counter at a point corresponding to a count indicative of the last memory address.

The reset signal at the input 152 causes the control reset section 138 to provide a second control reset pulse which clocks the second flip flop stage l46b of the preset counter 142. This enables a third input of the memory erase gates 144 to cause write pulses to be sent to the read-write gates 150 and then along a second line to the memory 68. This memory is cleared in the same manner previously described with respect to the memory 66.

The reset pulse occurring when the memory 68 is cleared causes the control reset section 138 to provide another control reset pulse to put both stages 146a and 14611 of the preset counter 142 in the same (1) state. This immediately resets both the preset memory 140 and the preset counter 142 to end the preset cycle. The memory erase gates 144 now insure that a proper data input of zero is provided to the memory 66 and 68 via store command gates 156.

When the operator depresses the reset switch on the control console, a recycle pulse is sent via an index reset line 158 to the column control logic 103 for each sorter column 36. If, upon the receipt of the recycle pulse, the deflector assembly 50 for each column is not at the uppermost home position, the column control logic causes the drive motors which move the carriage 52 along the vertical track 54 to be energized to drive the carriage until the home position is reached. When the carriage reaches the home position, a switch, photosensitive circuit, or similar sensing circuit is activated to indicate that the home position has been reached. It is this circuit, when deactivated, which indicates that the deflector assembly is not in the home position when the recycle pulse is received by the column control logic.

With preset operation complete, the sheet feeder 16 should now be loaded with the desired number of copies for sorting during the forthcoming programmed operation. Once this is accomplished, programming of the randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine may be initiated with the keyboards 20 and 22. If any part of the program is entered in error, it is not necessary to clear the entire program. All the operator need do is correct the program at the time the error is displayed on the remote display unit 14. An incorrect address may be cleared by selecting zero sheets for that address and then entering the correct address and the desired number of sheets therefor. If the sheet count for an address is incorrectly entered and this address is the last address selected, the sheet count may be corrected by simply entering the correct sheet count.

Correction of the program may also be made for both an erroneous address and sheet count even if the error was not noted at the time a display is provided by the remote display unit. Since only the last sheet count for an address is acted upon when the memory is outputed, a later noted erroneous sheet input may be corrected by later entering the same address and the desired sheet count again. If a later noted address error is to be corrected, the same address is again selected and entered with a zero sheet indication to clear that address, and then the correct address and sheet count are re-entered in the memory.

The inputing and outputing of the memories 66 and 68 is controlled by store and run logic consisting of run gates 160, a first run flip flop 162, a second run flip flop 164, and a store flip flop 166. The run gates receive an input from the first and second run switches of the switch indicators 26 and control the operation of the store and run flip flops in accordance with these inputs. The run gates are interlocked by cross coupling from the first and second run flip flops so that only one can be energized at a time. Also, before a memory output cycle can be initiated from these gates, the overrun cycle has to have been terminated and the motors in the sorter 18 must be on. The condition of the motors is sensed by noting the input from the motors switch on the line 168.

If the first run switch is activated, the run flip flops 162 and 164 are set so that the store flip flop 166 is in the proper state to allow outputing from the memory 66. The store flip flop also sets the state of control gates 170 which operate through the read-write gates to control memory inputing. Thus, when the store flip flop is set so that the outputing occurs from the memory 66, the control flip flops are set so that the read-write gates permit memory inputing on the memory 68. The reverse occurs when the second run switch is activated to achieve memory outputing from the memory 68. Thus, when a program is being run into the sorter 18 from one memory, the operator may be entering a new program into the remaining memory.

A feed memory 172 and an overrun memory 174 work together to control the operation of the sheet feeder 16. When the search memory 106 is reset to terminate the search signal on the line 108, this termination is sensed at the search input 176 of the feed mem ory 172 and the feed memory is turned on. This causes a feed command to be sent to start the sheet feeder 16 and enables the sheets counter 80 to count down as sheets exit the feeder. When the zero sheet count signal is provided by the sheets counter, this signal is directed to the feed memory 172 and turns off the feed memory. This cycle repeats until all programmed/entries in the memories are complete and the last memory address is reached. At the time the last memory address is reached, a reset address is provided at the control reset input 152 of the control reset section 138 as previously described, and the control reset section generates the control reset pulse which turns on both the feed memory and the overrun memory 174. This causes sheets to be fed until the sensor in the hopper of the sheet feeder 16 senses depletion of all sheets and provides a hopper empty signal on the input 178 to the overrun memory.

This causes the overrun memory to shut down the feed memory 172 and terminate sheet feeding.

During the programmed sheet sorting operation, the program clock 148 is controlled as previously described in response to verification between the desired sheet count and the actual passed copy count by a signal on a line 180.

When the program from one memory is complete and the operator is ready to initiate distribution of sheets in accordance with the second program, the second run switch is depressed to restart the program. If the first run switch is incorrectly depressed, all sheets in the feeder will be directed to the overrun tray.

It will be noted that the feed memory 172 includes a jam input 182 and a sheet count not zero input 184. A single on the input 182 from the motor control and jam detector 136 indicating a paper jam or a signal on the input 184 indicating a discrepancy between the desired sheet count and passed copy count will turn off the feed memory 172 causing deactivation of the sheet feeder 16.

it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the randomly programmed sequential sheet sorting machine of the present invention is adapted for effective and rapid operation to accurately provide various programmed numbers of sheets to a plurality of sheet receiving trays. Of particular importance is the fact that the machine is adapted for random programming but will sequentially address a multiplicity of trays in the sheet sorting section.

What is claimed is:

1. A randomly programmed sequential sorting machine for sequentially filling a plurality of sheet receiving trays with a number of sheets programmed for selccted trays, comprising sheet sorting means including a plurality of addressable sheet receiving trays, sheet conveying means for conveying sheets, and movable deflection means for deflecting sheets from said sheet conveying means into an addressed sheet receiving tray. sheet feeding means for feeding sheets from a supply to said sheet conveying means, programming means including first and second memory means operable in an input mode of operation to store sheet receiving tray address information and sheet count information indicative of the number of sheets to be directed to each tray, and in an output mode of operation to provide tray address and sheet count information for sequentially positioning said movable deflection means in accordance with stored'address information to deflect sheets from said sheet conveying means into addressed sheet receiving trays beginning with the lowest addressed tray and progressing sequentially to higher addressed trays while causing said sheet feeding means to supply the number of sheets to each addressed tray in accordance with the stored sheet count information for the corresponding address, one of said first and second memory means operating in its input mode of operation while simultaneously therewith the other of said first and second memory means is operating in its output mode of operation, inputing means for randomly inputing tray address and sheet count information into the one of said first and second memory means, and wherein said first and second memory means are further operable during their output modes of operation to output said stored sheet count information upon receipt by said first and second memory means of a corresponding tray address therefor, program counter means operative to present in sequence to said first and second memory means during their output modes of operation the address of each tray in said sheet sorting means to cause outputing from said first and second memory means of sheet count information stored for each stored tray address, and wherein said programming means further includes programmed clock and control logic means to provide input pulses to said program counter means, said program counter means operating in response to said input pulses to provide sequential tray addresses to the other of said first and second memory means operating in its output mode of operation, sheet count means connected to register a sheet count output from the other of said first and second memory means, and sheet count Zero detection means connected to said sheet count means to sense a sheet count registered thereby, said sheet count zero detection means operating upon sensing a sheet count to terminate the input pulses from said programmed clock and control logic means to said program counter means.

2. The randomly programmed sequential sorting machine of claim 1 wherein said programming means includes an arithmetic indexing means operable upon termination of the clock output from said program clock and control logic means by said sheet count zone detection means to register the address indicated by said programmed counter means and to cause said movable deflection means to move into position for deflecting sheets from said sheet conveying means into the addressed sheet receiving tray, said movable deflection means operating during movement past adjacent sheet receiving trays to provide an indication indicative of the addresses of such receiving trays to said arithmetic indexing means, said arithmetic indexing means operating to compare such address indications from said movable deflection means with the previously registered address from the program counter means and upon correspondence of the two addresses, operating to terminate movement of said movable deflection means.

3. The randomly programmed sequential sorting machine of claim 2 wherein said sheet feeding means is activated by said programming means upon correspondence in said arithmetic indexing means of said registered address and the address indication from said movable deflection means, said programming means including sheet sensing means to provide a sensed sheet count indicative of the number of sheets directed from said sheet feeding means to said sorting means and comparison means to receive and compare said sensed sheet count with the programmed sheet count outputed from said memory means. said comparison means operating upon correspondence of said sensed sheet count with said programmed sheet count to condition said program clock and control logic means to reinitiate an output to said program counter means.

4. The randomly programmed sequential sorting machine of claim 1 wherein said sheet sorting means includes at least two sorter columns, each of which inelude a plurality of vertically spaced sheet receiving trays and column deflector means associated with each of said two sorter columns, said sheet conveying means including substantially vertical moving column sheet conveyor means for each of said two sorter columns opposite said receiving trays for conveying sheets in a substantially vertical course and transfer sheet conveying means for receiving sheets directly from said sheet feeding means and conveying said sheets in substantially a horizontal course from the first to the last said vertical column sheet conveyor means, said programming means including column register means operative to receive and register the address provided by said program counter means when the clock pulses from said program clock and control logic means are terminated by said sheet count zero detection means, said column register means adapted upon receipt of said address to operate said column deflector means for the respective one of Said two sorter columns containing the addressed tray to cause said column deflector means to deflect sheets for said transfer conveyor means to the column conveyor means for the respective one of said two sorter columns.

5. A randomly programmed sequential sorting machine for sequentially filling a plurality of sheet receiving trays with a number of sheets programmed for selected trays comprising sheet sorting means including a plurality of addressable sheet receiving trays, sheet conveying means for conveying sheets, and movable deflection means for deflecting sheets from said sheet conveying means into an addressed sheet receiving tray, sheet feeding means for feeding sheets from a supply to said sheet conveying means, programming means adapted to store sheet receiving trays address information and sheet count information indicative of the number of sheets to be directed to each tray, and inputing means to randomly input said tray address and sheet count information for storage in said programming means during an input mode of operation thereof, said programming means operating during an output mode of operation to sequentially position said movable deflection means in accordance with stored address information to deflect sheets from said sheet conveying means into addressed sheet receiving trays beginning with the lowest address tray and progressing sequentially to higher address trays while causing said sheet feeding means to supply the number of sheets to each address tray in accordance with the stored sheet count information for the corresponding address, said programming means including memory means adapted to receive and store the tray address and sheet count information from said inputing means, said memory means being operable during an output mode of operation to output said stored sheet count information upon receipt by said memory means of a corresponding tray address therefor, and program counter means operative to present in sequence to said memory means the address of each tray in said sheet sorting means to cause outputing from said memory means of sheet count information stored for each tray address, and programmed clock and control logic means to provide input pulses to said program counter means, said program counter means operating in response to said input pulses to provide sequential tray addresses to said memory means, sheet count means connected to register a sheet count output from said memory means, and sheet count zero detection means connected to said sheet count means to sense a sheet count registered thereby, said sheet count zero means operating upon sensing a sheet count to terminate the input pulses from said programmed clock and control logic means to said program counter means.

6. The randomly programmed sequential sorting machine of claim 5 wherein said programming means further includes an arithmetic indexing means operable upon termination of the clock output from said programmed clock and control logic means by said sheet count zero detection means to register the address indicated by said program counter means and to cause said movable deflection means to move in position for deflecting sheets from said sheet conveying means into the addressed sheet receiving tray, said movable deflection means operating during movement past adjacent sheet receiving trays to provide an indication indicative of the addresses of such receiving trays to said arithmetic indexing means, said arithmetic indexing means operating to compare such address indications from said movable deflection means with the previously registered address from the program counter means and upon correspondence of the two addresses operating to terminate movement of said movable deflection means.

7. The randomly programmed sequential sorting machine of claim 6, wherein said sheet feeding means is activated by said programming means upon correspondence in said arithemtic indexing means of said registered address and the address indication from said movable deflection means, said programming means inclluding sheet sensing means to provide a sensed sheet count indicative of the number of sheets directed from said feeding means to said sorting means and comparison means to receive and compare said sensed sheet count with the programmed sheet count outputed from said memory means, said comparison means operating upon correspondence of said sensed sheet count with said programmed sheet count to condition said programmed clock and control logic means to reinitiate an output to said programmed counter means.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification271/290, 271/296
International ClassificationG06F7/22, B07C3/00
Cooperative ClassificationG06F7/22, B07C3/00
European ClassificationG06F7/22, B07C3/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 11, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: PACCOM LEASING CORPORATION, 1221 SW YAMHILL, SUITE
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NORFIN INTERNATIONAL, INC.;REEL/FRAME:004862/0406
Effective date: 19880222
Owner name: PACCOM LEASING CORPORATION, A OREGON CORP., OREGON
Feb 9, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: NORFIN INTERNATIONAL, INC., 526 FIRST AVENUE, SOUT
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:SNELLMAN, DONALD L.;REEL/FRAME:004688/0034
Effective date: 19870114
Owner name: NORFIN INTERNATIONAL, INC.,WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SNELLMAN, DONALD L.;REEL/FRAME:004688/0034