|Publication number||USRE40071 E1|
|Application number||US 10/447,746|
|Publication date||Feb 19, 2008|
|Filing date||May 28, 2003|
|Priority date||Jun 8, 1995|
|Also published as||US5834708, US6237852|
|Publication number||10447746, 447746, US RE40071 E1, US RE40071E1, US-E1-RE40071, USRE40071 E1, USRE40071E1|
|Inventors||Michael P. Svetal, Mohan LeeLaRama Bobba, Matt D. Schler, Gary J. Oldham|
|Original Assignee||Datalogic Scanning, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (25), Non-Patent Citations (16), Referenced by (21), Classifications (14), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a division continuation of Ser. No. 08/539,584 filed Oct. 5, 1995 noe now U.S. Pat. No. 5,834,208 5,834,708 which is a continuation-in-part claims the benefit of provisional application Ser. No. 60/000,052 filed Jun. 8, 1995 which is hereby incorporated by reference.
The field of the present invention relates to fixed optical reading systems, for example bar code scanning systems, which include multiple windows through which optical reading may be accomplished.
Fixed barcode scanners having multiple windows capable of reading objects in a variety of orientations have been on the market for some time. One such “multi-plane” scanner is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,475,207 entitled “Multiple Plane Scanning System for Data Reading Applications”, which is hereby incorporated by reference. These multi-plane or “multi-window” scanners are high performance scanners which use one or more scanned optical beams to generate multiple scan patterns. Mechanically, these scanners have one or more scan engines and multiple scan windows oriented in different planes from each other, instead of a single scan window as in single-plane scanners. One of the scan windows is usually oriented horizontally, defining a horizontal scan plane, while the other window or windows are oriented to have significant vertical components and define additional substantially vertical scan plane(s). The additional vertical scan plane(s) enable the scanner to successfully read a barcode from a larger fraction of the surface of the object for a given object orientation.
Horizontal window barcode scanning systems which also include a weigh scale apparatus have also been available for several years. One such “scanner scale” weighing apparatus is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,410,108, which is hereby incorporated by reference. The weighing apparatus may take the form of a load cell which bears a rigid framework referred to hereinafter as a “spider”. The spider supports a weigh platter onto which objects are placed to be weighed.
Alternatively, the apparatus may be a “spiderless” scale in which the weigh platter is sufficiently rigid in itself to obviate the need for a spider. The weigh platter may comprise a horizontal flat piece of rigid material such as metal or a combination of metal amd and plastic with an optically transparent portion corresponding to a horizontal scan window. The transparent portion allows transmission of optical beams out from a scan engine and transmission of optical barcode signals back into the scanner. The load cell, which is well-known in the art, usually comprises a machined piece of aluminum with one or more strain gauges attached thereto. When an object is placed on the weigh platter, the mechanical stress thus applied to the load cell generates electrical signals from the strain gauges, and these signals are in turn used to determine the weight of the object. When incorporated as part of an optical barcode scanning system, the load cell, spider, and weigh platter may preferably comprise a separate sub-assembly from the optical scanner.
In one device such as the 1994 version of the Spectra-Physics MAGELLAN™ scanner/scale, the load cell and spider are positioned below the scan engine, and vertical support members are connected to the spider, extend upward around the scanner, and are connected to the weigh platter, which is positioned over the scan engine.
Fixed optical barcode scanners with multiple scan planes have been combined with a weighing apparatus such as the Spectra-Physics MAGELLAN™ scanner/scale. The MAGELLAN™ scanner scale is a dual plane scanner having a vertical scan plane and a horizontal scan plane with a horizontal weigh platter.
Multiple plane scanners such as the MAGELLAN™ unit, however, may encounter several problems when a weigh scale is being incorporated. The addition of a second scan plane adds to the size of the scan unit. Since these systems are often used in locations where space is a significant limitation, such as a supermarket checkout stand, the addition of a second scan plane often comes at the expense of decreased area of the horizontal weigh platter. This decreases in area increases the likelihood that the vertical scan components, vertical scan window, and their associated housing will interfere mechanically with an object placed on the weigh platter to be weighed. Moreover, the limited size of the weigh platter may result in an object being weighed (depending upon its size) to extend past the edge of the platter onto the counter potentially resulting in an inaccurate weight measure.
In addition, horizontal single plane scanners with weigh platters typically have an air gap which completely surrounds the platter, allowing dust, dirt, and debris to fall around the scanner (but not on the horizontal scan window) so as not to interfere with scanner function. Moreover, the weigh platter may simple extend beyond the horizontal extent of the horizontal plane scanner.
In a dual plane scanner, since there can be no air gap or weigh platter extension on the side of the weigh platter adjacent the vertical scan window, debris may accumulate under the weigh platter which in turn may obstruct the horizontal scan window or may inhibit proper scale operation.
The present invention relates to optical reading systems, such as for example barcode scanning systems, which incorporate multiple plane scanning. In its preferred application, the invention relates to a multiple scan plane (two or more planes) scanning systems incorporating a multi-plane cover. A first preferred embodiment comprises a dual plane scanner and a load cell/weigh platter weighing apparatus, wherein the weigh platter itself is a dual plane object. The size and orientation of the planes of the weigh platter correspond to the size and orientation of the scan windows of the dual plane scanner, and each plane of the weigh platter has a transparent area, or “platter window”, corresponding to a respective scan windows of the scanner, thereby allowing transmission of scanned optical beams and optical barcode signals through each of the planes of the weigh platter.
The preferred embodiments will now be described with reference to the drawings.
The lateral side edges 16, 18 of the horizontal section 20 of the weigh platter 6 and the horizontal scan housing portion 24 form air gaps 26, 28 on the lateral side edges (the right and left sides as viewed in
One variation of this embodiment has a horizontal extension 40 of the weigh platter rigidly connected to the top edge 42 of the vertical platter section 38 of the weigh platter. This extension of the weigh platter 6 serves to further inhibit passage of debris between the vertical scanner window 10 and the vertical platter window 8 which would obstruct the vertical scanner window 10. The extension may be further extended downward behind the back surface 44 of the scanner housing portion 46 (see downward extension 43 in FIG. 5). The extended weigh platter may be fabricated in a single piece structure or assembled from multiple pieces provided it comprises a rigid overall structure with the sealed connection 35.
The horizontal platter window 12 is preferably constructed of a material which is shatter resistant and wear resistant such as sapphire, wear resistant coated glass (such as the wear-resistant glass with diamond-like coating described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,594,231), or tin-oxide since items being scanned are often dropped onto or dragged across the horizontal window 12. The vertical platter window 8 is generally subject to less impact and scratching action and likely would not require quite as an expensive material as the horizontal window, but should still preferably be constructed to have some scratch and impact resistance. Since the scanner housing windows 10, 14 are protected from impact by the weigh platter windows 8, 12, they need not be constructed from expensive scratch resistant material. Alternatively, though the scanner internals would be somewhat more exposed, the housing windows 10, 14 may comprise mere openings (i.e., no glass covers) since the platter windows 8, 12 alone may provide adequate protection for internal components.
Also depicted in
The two-plane weight platter embodiment solves two of the problems discussed in the background section. First, the vertical section 38 of the weigh platter 6 at the side adjacent the vertical scan window 10, being connected to and moving with the horizontal section 20, prevents debris from falling therebetween and under the weigh platter 6 on that side and obstructing the horizontal scan window. Second, the vertical section 38 of the weigh platter 6 prevents the object being weighed from coming into contact with the vertical scan window 10, so the vertical scan window 10 will not interfere with the weighing process.
The weigh platter preferably has bottom extensions which extend below the planar surface of the window 14 to prevent debris or liquids from contacting the window 14. Moreover, the side surfaces (i.e. both lateral sides and the side next to the checker) of the horizontal scan housing portion 24 are sloped to channel debris and liquids down and away from the window 14. The sides of the weigh platter 6 (such as the stiffening ribs 50) may extend downwardly to provide additional baffles in further inhibit debris or liquids from contacting the window 14. Alternatively, the downwardly extending sides may be disposed in a trough and be provided with additional spill control and air gap maintenance thereby as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,410,108, which is incorporated by reference.
The multiple plane weigh platter 6 also facilitates weighing of oversized objects. With existing weigh platters, if the length of an object to be weighed exceeds the length of the horizontal weigh platter, the object may come in contact with the housing or the counter resulting in inaccurate weight measurement.
To achieve potential reduction in size and material/manufacture cost, the load cell 4 may be incorporated directly into an upper section of the horizontal scanner housing portion 24, instead of comprising a separate subassembly. The weigh platter 6 is borne by the load cell 4 either directly or via a spider such as in alternate embodiments described below. In so called “spiderless” designs, the weigh platter itself is made sufficiently rigid to bear the object being weighed. By combining the weighing device and scanner in a single unit the overall size of the scanner/weighing device combination may be reduced compared to earlier devices at potentially reduced cost of material and/or manufacture.
The apparatus 1 of
Though a single load cell and pin mounting design may be preferred, the apparatus may be configured with multiple load cells.
Alternatively, a spider may be rigidly but removably connected to the load cell, which in turn hears the two-plane weigh platter.
Alternatively, the load cell upon which the spider is mounted may be placed next to or below the scanner housing portions and rigidly connected to the spider by suitable horizontal or vertical support members, respectively.
Spider designs may also incorporate multiple load cells. In the apparatus 401 of
In each of the above embodiments, the load cell may be located within the scanner envelop envelope (such as load cell 205 in
The disclosed embodiments of the multiple plane weigh platter may be combined with any suitable weighing device and with any multiple plane optical reading device without altering the concept of the present invention. Alternately, the platter may merely comprise a cover for a multi-plane scanner (i.e. a scanner having no scale). In the “no-scale” embodiment, the multi-plane cover would still provide spill and mechanical protection for the internal components, but may not require as stiff a construction as does the weigh platter scale version.
The embodiments disclosed may be modified in various ways without departing from the fundamental inventive concept presented hereinabove. Further modifications may include, but are not limited to: the number of scan planes and weigh platter planes; the method of manufacturing the weigh platter; the mechanical connection between the weigh platter and the weighing device; the particular nature of the weighing device; and the positioning of the weighing device (integral to the scanner or as a separate subassembly).
Though the multi-plane weigh platter has been shown and described with respect to a laser scanner such as the Spectra-Physics MAGELLAN™ scanner, it is intended that scanner upon which the weigh platter is constructed may comprise any sort of data reading device including scanning laser beam(s), CCD, video, LED, or the like.
Though the multi-plane weigh platter has been described as useful for multi-plane scanner, it may also be used in a single plane (either horizontal or vertical) that may have additional components. Envision for example a scanner/scale 1 of
Though the weigh platter has been described with respect to dual-plane scanners, additional scan planes can be accommodated. For example in
Thus, a multiple plane optical scanning system has been shown and described herein which incorporates a multiple plane spiderless weigh platter and an integrally mounted load cell. Though certain examples and advantages have been disclosed, further advantages and modifications may become obvious to one skilled in the art from the disclosures herein. The invention therefore is not to be limited except in the spirit of the claims that follow.
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|1||Brochure from NCR web page on the NCR Model 7870 Bi-Optic Scanner and Scanner/Scale (http://www.ncr.com/product/retail/products/catalog/7870.shtml (1997). See excerpts from the 1993 User's Guide above.|
|2||Brochure from NCR web page on the NCR Model 7875 Bi-Optic Aggressive Read Scanner/Scale (http://www.ncr.com/product/retail/products/catalog/7875.shtml (1997).|
|3||Civil Docket, NCR Corporation v. PSC, Inc. and PSC Scanning, Inc., Case No. 3:04cv0142 (S.D. Ohio (Dayton)), printed Jul. 8, 2004.|
|4||Civil Docket, PSC Scanning, Inc. v. NCR Corporation, Civil Action No. 04-6137-AA (D. Oregon (Eugene)), printed Jul. 8, 2004.|
|5||Complaint for Patent Infringement and Declaratory Judgment, NCR Corporation v. PSC, Inc. and PSC Scanning, Inc., Case No. 3:04cv0142 (S.D. Ohio, Dayton), filed Apr. 30, 2004.|
|6||Complaint for Patent Infringement, PSC Scanning, Inc. v. NCR Corporation, Civil Action No. 04-6137-AA (D. Oregon, Eugene), filed May 5, 2004.|
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|U.S. Classification||235/462.43, 235/462.14, 177/180, 177/238|
|International Classification||G01G19/414, G01G21/22, G01G21/28, G06K7/10|
|Cooperative Classification||G01G19/4144, G01G21/22, G01G21/28|
|European Classification||G01G19/414C, G01G21/22, G01G21/28|
|Apr 22, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: PSC SCANNING, INC., OREGON
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:SPECTRASCAN, INC.;REEL/FRAME:015236/0593
Effective date: 19960909
Owner name: SPECTRA-PHYSICS SCANNING SYSTEMS, INC., OREGON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SVETAL, MICHAEL P.;BOBBA, MOHAN LEELARAMA;SCHLER, MATT D.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:015236/0578
Effective date: 19951130
Owner name: SPECTRASCAN, INC., OREGON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SPECTRA-PHYSICS SCANNING SYSTEMS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:015236/0564
Effective date: 19960712
|Dec 21, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: DATALOGIC SCANNING, INC., OREGON
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:PSC SCANNING, INC.;REEL/FRAME:020279/0882
Effective date: 20070326
|Sep 30, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Dec 16, 2008||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Oct 1, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12