Video Scanning Patents (Class 209/939)
  • Patent number: 9027759
    Abstract: A sorting apparatus is described, and which includes a conveyor which transports a produce stream for inspection. A product separation surface is mounted near the distal end of the conveyor, and the produce stream passes over the product separation surface, and is slowed to a speed such that the produce stream falls substantially immediately vertically downwardly. An inspection zone is located downstream relative to the product separation surface. An imaging device is provided, and which images the produce stream passing through the inspection zone; an illumination device is provided for illuminating the produce stream passing through the inspection zone, and an ejector assembly is located downstream of the inspection zone and which removes unwanted solid material in the produce stream having undesirable characteristics.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 22, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 12, 2015
    Assignee: Key Technology, Inc.
    Inventors: Peter T. Jones, Brandon T. Hall, David W. Hufford, Timothy L. Justice, Tracy L. McGowen, Gerald R. Richert, Roydan T. Tomlinson, Jean-Francois Pellet
  • Patent number: 9000319
    Abstract: A method of and apparatus for sorting foreign matter from a flow, the method comprising the steps of: identifying objects within a flow; for each identified object, determining reflectance intensities at at least two different wavelengths or ranges of wavelengths; and for each identified object, comparing the reflectance intensities at the at least two different wavelengths or ranges of wavelengths to a reference intensity profile, wherein the identified object is characterized as foreign matter when the reflectance intensities at the at least two different wavelengths or ranges of wavelengths fall within a predetermined region of the reference intensity profile.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 21, 2009
    Date of Patent: April 7, 2015
    Assignee: Buhler Sortex Ltd
    Inventor: Benedict Deefholts
  • Patent number: 8809718
    Abstract: A wire sorting system identifies and sorts wire from mixed electronic waste solely by the shape of the wire. A digital image of a stream of articles is created, and the image data may be processed using a Gabor filter technique to identify elongated narrow objects such as wire.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 19, 2014
    Assignee: MSS, Inc.
    Inventors: Arthur G. Doak, Mitchell Gregg Roe
  • Patent number: 8330067
    Abstract: The apparatus, which serves for the optical inspection of workpieces, comprises a transport device driven by a drive unit, which transport device is supplied with workpieces delivered by a loading device, which workpieces are transported by the transport device to at least one inspection position, where an optical inspection is performed, and further to at least one discharge position, where the inspected workpieces are selectively extractable by a discharge device. According to the invention, a plurality of transparent receiving bodies are firmly mounted or rotatably supported on the transport device, each of the receiving bodies comprising a recess, into which the workpieces can be inserted individually or in groups, and wherein an inspection radiation can be guided through each receiving body in order to image the held workpieces.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 27, 2010
    Date of Patent: December 11, 2012
    Assignee: Sontec AG
    Inventors: Karl Zurkirchen, Christoph Stohler, Nicolai Ruedi, Othmar Amrein
  • Patent number: 8283589
    Abstract: A sorting apparatus is described and which includes an inspection station; a multiplicity of electromagnetic radiation emitters and detectors; an optical filter which is positioned in front of the electromagnetic radiation detectors, and which passes electromagnetic radiation having a given polarization; an ejector assembly positioned downstream from the inspection station for removing defective objects of interest which are identified; and a computer/controller for selectively energizing the electromagnetic radiation emitter, and detector, and rendering the ejector assembly operational to remove defective objects of interest, from a stream of objects of interest which have passed through an inspection station.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2010
    Date of Patent: October 9, 2012
    Assignee: Key Technology, Inc.
    Inventors: Carlo Janssens, Geert Milis, Johan Calcoen
  • Patent number: 8083066
    Abstract: This invention has as its object an automatic process and machine for inspecting and sorting non-metallic objects.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 28, 2006
    Date of Patent: December 27, 2011
    Assignee: Pellenc Selective Technologies
    Inventor: Antoine Bourely
  • Patent number: 7588151
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for processing seed or seed samples includes an autonomous sorter which sorts seed by pre-programmed criteria. Optional features can include a counter to autonomously ensure the correct number of seeds to a seed package, a cleaning device, a sheller, and a label applicator. A conveyance path, controlled automatically, can move the seed to appropriate and desired stations during the processing while maintaining the sample segregating from other samples. Validation of the sample can be pre-required and information about the sample can be derived and stored for further use.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 24, 2007
    Date of Patent: September 15, 2009
    Assignee: Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
    Inventors: James L. Hunter, Andrew S. Nickerson, Lyndon J. Schroeder, Ronald D. Rushing, C. Fred Hood
  • Patent number: 7364043
    Abstract: A high-speed fastener inspection system is provided to perform 100 percent inspection of various geometry features and to sort a large number of fasteners at high speed. The inspection system includes a rotary table having an outer periphery, an inner periphery, and a plurality of radial slots extending from the outer periphery to the inner periphery. When a fastener is be placed in a radial slot with the head of the fastener facing upward and the shank extending into the slot, the side view of each fastener is unobstructed. A loading mechanism, an anti-jam mechanism, and a sorting mechanism are arranged along the outer periphery of the rotary table. At least one vision inspection camera is provided for capturing the image of each fastener after each fastener is placed in a radial slot. An image analyzer is operatively connected to the vision inspection camera for analyzing the captured image and to determine whether the fastener is defective.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 29, 2008
    Assignee: Zen Voce Manufacturing Pte Ltd
    Inventors: Hock Seh Ong, Ta Seng Jeffrey Mah
  • Patent number: 7290665
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for processing seed or seed samples includes an autonomous sorter which sorts seed by pre-programmed criteria. Optional features can include a counter to autonomously ensure the correct number of seeds to a seed package, a cleaning device, a sheller, and a label applicator. A conveyance path, controlled automatically, can move the seed to appropriate and desired stations during the processing while maintaining the sample segregating from other samples. Validation of the sample can be pre-required and information about the sample can be derived and stored for further use.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 2003
    Date of Patent: November 6, 2007
    Assignee: Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
    Inventors: James L. Hunter, Andrew S. Nickerson, Lyndon J. Schroeder, Ronald D. Rushing, C. Fred Hood
  • Patent number: 7284666
    Abstract: A device for use with conveyor means and a detector station, said conveyor means for moving empty beverage containers, suitably bottles of different shapes and sizes, past the detector station, and said detector station for providing characteristic data about the containers, and means which based on such data are capable of determining how the containers are to be handled subsequent to detection.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 25, 2004
    Date of Patent: October 23, 2007
    Assignee: Tomra Systems ASA
    Inventors: Per Kåre Tvinnereim, Tom Steidel, Geir Hanevold
  • Patent number: 7161108
    Abstract: Systems and methods for sorting, scanning and routing imaged documents are described. In one configuration, incoming mixed white mail is sorted and coded, then extracted and scanned using the code to separate items. The separate imaged documents are then routed using the code. In another configuration, the documents are automatically extracted from the envelopes. In yet another configuration, the intended recipient is sent an identifier used to reference the code and retrieve the imaged document.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 11, 2003
    Date of Patent: January 9, 2007
    Assignee: Pitney Bowes Inc.
    Inventors: John D. O'Connell, Peter N. Baker
  • Patent number: 7145093
    Abstract: The invention provides a method of processing an image containing written information include the steps of (a) scanning a surface of an object to obtain an image of the surface represented by first image data, (b) creating second image data from the first image data, the second image data having a lower data density than the first image data, (c) analyzing the second image data with first image analysis logic to decode the written information, and (d) if the written information cannot be decoded to a desired extent from the second image data, analyzing the first image data with second image analysis logic different from the first image analysis logic to decode the written information. Steps (a) and (b) preferably use a single scanning device to create the high data density image (e.g., color or grayscale) from which the lower data density image (e.g., binary or black and white) can then be created. The resulting two-stage image analysis provides a significant improvement in OCR results.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 2003
    Date of Patent: December 5, 2006
    Assignee: Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc.
    Inventors: John J. Mampe, Shahrom Kiani
  • Patent number: 6888082
    Abstract: A method of analysing products arranges above a conveyer line three successive analysing stations having, in the first station, two cameras arranged in such a way that their optical axes form a V centred on the products and has a vertex angle in the range between 90° and 130°, and in the other two stations, a camera arranged plumb with the conveyer line. Moreover, the products are driven in rotation during their transport along the analysing stations, in such a way that the cameras each take a number of photographs of complementary faces of the surface of the products, and there are selected from among the photographs taken, by a comparison between the calculated theoretical diameter of a product and a predetermined average diameter, the photographs to be retained so as to obtain a complete analysis of the total surface of the product.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 2000
    Date of Patent: May 3, 2005
    Assignee: Materiel pour l'Arboriculture Fruitier
    Inventor: Philippe Blanc
  • Patent number: 6878895
    Abstract: A reticle sorter and a semiconductor fabrication facility employing one or more reticle sorters is provided. The reticle sorter(s) generally lies between a reticle storage system and a group of one or more photolithography exposure tools (e.g., steppers) and is configured for sorting reticles in one or more cassettes. The use of the reticle sorter provides sorting functionality apart from the reticle storage system and typically closer to the group of photolithography steppers with which it is associated. This can, for example, significantly increase the throughput of semiconductor wafers through the associated photolithography exposure tools as well as in the semiconductor fabrication plant as a whole.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 1999
    Date of Patent: April 12, 2005
    Assignee: Advance Micro Devices, Inc.
    Inventors: Patrick J. Ryan, Michael R. Conboy, Stephen P. Hovestol
  • Patent number: 6791050
    Abstract: An embodiment of the present invention comprises a mailpiece sorting apparatus video coding station, inserter system, return mail workstation and a web server for interconnecting several components of the system. The system provides a closed loop solution for reducing return to sender mailpieces generated by a company that is sorting incoming mailpieces using an automated system. This invention overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art providing updated data to inserting systems producing such mailpieces. This helps to solve data quality problems at their source and reduce processing costs by reducing the number of return to sender mailpieces.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 14, 2004
    Assignee: Pitney Bowes Inc
    Inventors: Edward P. Daniels, Jr., Robert K. Gottlieb, Joseph D. Mallozzi
  • Patent number: 6734383
    Abstract: A method for sorting products including the steps of conveying the products in a product stream, scanning the products in the product stream casting light onto the products on the basis that certain products will emit light, observing emitted light from the products, making a selection of certain products from the product stream as a function of the observed light, and separating certain products from the product stream as a function of the selection. A device is provided that is arranged to sort the products according to the method of the invention and includes a light device that is arranged to cast light onto products and an observation device that is arranged to observe light emitted from the products. A selection device is also provided that is arranged to make a selection of whether to separate certain products from the product stream observed by the observation device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 11, 2004
    Assignee: Barco Elbicon, naamloze vennootschap
    Inventors: Johan Calcoen, Jan Cuypers, Nathalie Debaes, Carlo Janssens
  • Patent number: 6706989
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for processing seed or seed samples includes an autonomous sorter which sorts seed by pre-programmed criteria. Optional features can include a counter to autonomously ensure the correct number of seeds to a seed package, a cleaning device, a sheller, and a label applicator. A conveyance path, controlled automatically, can move the seed to appropriate and desired stations during the processing while maintaining the sample segregating from other samples. Validation of the sample can be pre-required and information about the sample can be derived and stored for further use.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 2, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 16, 2004
    Assignee: Pioneer Hi-bred International, Inc.
    Inventors: James L. Hunter, Andrew S. Nickerson, Lyndon J. Schroeder, Ronald D. Rushing, C. Fred Hood
  • Patent number: 6653588
    Abstract: An auto reject unit includes a turntable rotatable about an upright axis and held stationary in operation along the upright axis. Driven rollers are mounted upon the turntable for selectively driving an article across the turntable in a direction. A motor is disposed to rotate the turntable about the upright axis in response to a command. The rotation adjusts the direction that an article disposed on the turntable will travel off of the turntable.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 25, 2003
    Assignee: Rapiscan Security Products Limited
    Inventor: Douglas Roy Gillard-Hickman
  • Patent number: 6639167
    Abstract: The invention relates to an arrangement for sorting pellets (2), that includes a transportation device (3) for feeding the pellet (2), a first container (8) for faultless pellets (2a) fed over the end portion of the transportation device (3), a second container (13) for defective pellets (2b), a detector (9) for detecting defective pellets (2b) and a sorting device (11) for feeding any defective pellets (2b) detected to the second container (13). The invention is characterised in that the transportation device (3) is arranged with an angle of inclination (&agr;) relative to the horizontal plane which is selected within a predetermined interval corresponding to a predetermined, limited scattering of the trajectory of the faultless pellets (2a) fed over the end portion of the transportation device (3). The invention also relates to a method for such a sorting. Thanks to the invention, an improved sorting with an even and controlled flow of pellet and a high capacity is provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 13, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 28, 2003
    Assignee: Svante Bjork AB
    Inventor: Svante Björk
  • Publication number: 20030098409
    Abstract: Systems and techniques for detecting the presence of foreign material in food utilizing optical backlighting and/or ultrasonic inspection are presented. In optical backlighting, a substantially monochromatic light source optically backlights a food stream with source light having a wavelength between about 500 and 600 nm. An image of the food stream is captured and the presence of foreign material is determined when a portion of the detected image exceeds a predetermined threshold. The technique is especially suitable for the detection of bone in chicken meat, and the light source can be a planar array of green LEDs. In ultrasonic inspection, a process stream is interrogated with pulses of ultrasound and the presence of foreign material is determined based on the detected off-angle ultrasound scattering response.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 27, 2002
    Publication date: May 29, 2003
    Inventors: Leonard J. Bond, Aaron A. Diaz, Richard A. Pappas, Timothy Stewart, Albert Mendoza
  • Publication number: 20030038064
    Abstract: The invention relates to a device and a method for blowing out metal fractions from a stream of bulk material that is conveyed by bulk material means. The device comprises blow-out nozzles which are located on a drop section, and which are arranged along a width-wise extension of the stream of bulk material, for blowing against individual particles of bulk material in order to modify the trajectory in such a way as to produce a second sub-stream that branches off. The blow-out nozzles can be controlled according to the sensor coil scanning results relating to the bulk material particles. A plurality of sensor coils is provided underneath an essentially horizontal section of the stream of bulk material in the form of an LC oscillating circuit. Said sensor coils are provided for detecting the eddy currents that are induced. Optoelectronic means are also provided for determining the blow-out position and for determining the location of each of the particles of bulk material.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 23, 2002
    Publication date: February 27, 2003
    Inventors: Hartmut Harbeck, Gunther Petzold, Gerd Reischmann
  • Patent number: 6488155
    Abstract: A multi-spectral imager and the applications of same for the marking and coding of, for example, textiles, linens, garments, documents and packages for high-speed machine identification and sortation. Specific uses include garment and textile rental operations, laundry operations, and the postal and mail sortation of documents and packages. Methods and apparatus are provided to identify items via information encoded within an applied mark, as well as a novel mark reading/decoding scheme. A method is disclosed for printing fluorescent marks on an item, such as a heat-sealable label, to generate a unique identification number or indicia, as well as a reader system for reading applied marks.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 2000
    Date of Patent: December 3, 2002
    Assignee: Spectra Systems Corporation
    Inventors: Nabil M. Lawandy, John A. Moon
  • Publication number: 20020153292
    Abstract: A method is proposed for selecting, counting, and validating articles, in particular pharmaceuticals, which method is based on considering the articles, moved in a continuous flow, as non-integral until the integrity characteristics are detected by detecting means. The detection operates deflecting means for deviating the integral articles to pre-selected containers.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 15, 2002
    Publication date: October 24, 2002
    Inventor: Giuseppe Monti
  • Publication number: 20020134707
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for processing mail is provided. The mail is serially fed from a stack of mail into a system transport. The system transport conveys the mail to an imaging station, which scans the mail to obtain image data corresponding to at least a portion of each piece. From the imaging station, the mail is conveyed to a buffer, which selectively maintains the mail while the address printed on the mail is determined. After the address for a piece of mail is determined, the piece is conveyed out of the buffer to a printer, which prints a POSTNET barcode onto the piece. The POSTNET barcode corresponds to the address that was determined for the piece. Optionally, the apparatus may include a labeler for applying a blank label onto the mail, and the POSTNET barcode can then be printed onto the label after it is applied to the mail. After the POSTNET barcode is printed on a piece, it is conveyed past a verifier, which scans the printed POSTNET barcode to ensure that the barcode was printed properly.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 20, 2002
    Publication date: September 26, 2002
    Inventors: Robert R. DeWitt, George L. Hayduchok
  • Publication number: 20020130067
    Abstract: A foreign substance eliminating apparatus transfers raw material by passing the raw material between an upstream conveyor (6) and a downstream conveyor (8), and detects a foreign substance on the upstream transfer conveyor with a foreign substance detector (9). An eliminating airflow (R) is ejected from a row of air nozzles (13) when the detected foreign substance falls down, and deflects the falling direction of the foreign substance. At this point, a small foreign substance (BS) is blown off by the eliminating airflow, and sent to the foreign substancereceiving box (16). On the other hand, a large foreign substance (BL) goes across the eliminating airflow, and falls down onto the bar screen conveyor (20). The bar screen conveyor captures the large foreign substance, and removes it outside of the conveyor.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 1, 2002
    Publication date: September 19, 2002
    Inventors: Yoshio Takai, Shigeru Watanabe, Hironori Watanabe, Katsuhiko Kan, Shinichi Kudo
  • Patent number: 6403908
    Abstract: An automated method and apparatus for sequencing and/or inspecting decks of playing cards is presented. The method and apparatus utilizes pattern recognition technology or other image comparison technology to compare one or more images of a card with memory containing known good images of a complete deck of playing cards to identify each card as it passes through the apparatus. Once the card is identified, it is temporarily stored in a location corresponding to or identified according to its position in a properly sequenced deck of playing cards. Once a full set of cards has been stored, the cards are released in proper sequence to a completed deck hopper. The method and apparatus also includes an operator interface capable of displaying a magnified version of potential defects or problem areas contained on a card which may then be viewed by the operator on a monitor or screen and either accepted or rejected via operator input.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2000
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2002
    Inventors: Bob Stardust, Richard L. Maggio
  • Publication number: 20020008056
    Abstract: A reciprocating axis of the ejector is born in a non-sliding state by permanent magnets on the reciprocating axis and permanent magnets surrounding the reciprocating axis. The reciprocating axis linearly projects out and retracts by the reciprocating components which cause the reciprocating axis to reciprocate by the driving signals from the driver circuit. A slanted surface is provided at the foremost end of the reciprocating axis. When the granular objects to be ejected flow-in continuously, the projecting-out action takes place correspondingly with the leading granular object to be ejected and, after the following granular object(s) to be ejected has been ejected, the retracting action takes place.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 14, 2001
    Publication date: January 24, 2002
    Inventors: Satoru Satake, Toshiko Satake, Takeshi Fukumori
  • Publication number: 20010054576
    Abstract: An automated method and apparatus for sequencing and/or inspecting decks of playing cards is presented. The method and apparatus utilizes pattern recognition technology or other image comparison technology to compare one or more images of a card with memory containing known good images of a complete deck of playing cards to identify each card as it passes through the apparatus. Once the card is identified, it is temporarily stored in a location corresponding to or identified according to its position in a properly sequenced deck of playing cards. Once a full set of cards has been stored, the cards are released in proper sequence to a completed deck hopper. The method and apparatus also includes an operator interface capable of displaying a magnified version of potential defects or problem areas contained on a card which may then be viewed by the operator on a monitor or screen and either accepted or rejected via operator input.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 22, 2000
    Publication date: December 27, 2001
    Inventors: Bob Stardust, Richard L. Maggio
  • Patent number: 6265683
    Abstract: A device for the optoelectronic classification of semiconductor materials, which has an identifying device 6 that forwards the morphology of the product 1 to be classified to an evaluating device 7 which evaluates the data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 1, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 24, 2001
    Assignee: Wacker-Chemie GmbH
    Inventors: Dirk Flottmann, Karl Hesse, Matthäus Schantz
  • Patent number: 6108030
    Abstract: Disclosed is an appearance inspecting device for a solid formulation, including a supply section for continuously supplying solid formulations such as capsules; an inspecting drum for holding on its outer peripheral portion the solid formulations supplied from the supply section, carrying the solid formulations in such a manner as to allow the solid formulations to be intermittently revolved, and allowing the solid formulations to be rotated on their axes at a specific carrying position; an image pickup device for photographing surfaces of the solid formulations being thus rotated on their axes; a quality determining section for processing images of the solid formulations thus picked up from the image pickup device and determining whether the solid formulations are nondefective or defective; and a classifying section for classifying the solid formulations into defective and nondefective solid formulations on the result determined by the quality determining section and recovering the defective and nondefective
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 17, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 22, 2000
    Assignee: Japan Elanco Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Taizo Yamamoto, Motohiro Yagyu
  • Patent number: 6103985
    Abstract: This invention is a sheet processing array having an imaging station, an in-site, an exit-site and a transport array connecting all of them. The transport array is adapted to advance sheets from the in-site, past the imaging station for imaging the first face of the sheet and to advance it to a reversing transport section. This section has a series of rollers arrayed in a loop which continually rotate in one direction and are adapted to provide non-stop forward movement that turns the sheet over and returns it to present its opposite face to the imaging station for imaging. The sheet is then advanced to the exit-site.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 10, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 15, 2000
    Assignee: Unisys Corporation
    Inventors: Ronald G. Shell, William F. Battle, David J. Concannon
  • Patent number: 6075882
    Abstract: An inspection station irradiates a moving cigarette with a one or more strobed arrays of infrared LEDs. The infrared radiation which passes through the cigarette is received by a video camera, which forms a digital image of the cigarette. A computer then detects the edges of the digital image of the cigarette and determines therefrom the length of the filter, hollow acetate tube, void chamber, tobacco plug, as well as the overall length of the cigarette. The computer then compares these measurements with expected standard values of these sections, and outputs the comparison results to the user using various display formats. According to exemplary aspects, the present invention delivers the cigarettes one at a time to the video camera using a parts handling system. The parts handling system comprises a infeed bin for storing a batch of cigarettes, and for dispensing a cigarette to a carriage positioned beneath the infeed bin.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 18, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2000
    Assignee: Philip Morris Incorporated
    Inventors: Michael J. Mullins, Barry S. Smith, Michael R. Pudas
  • Patent number: 6059121
    Abstract: A staking press equipped with a component parts selecting apparatus. The staking press is equipped with a component parts supplying unit (17) that has a plurality of component parts storage sections (19, 23) each for storing a plurality of the same component parts. The component parts selecting apparatus includes a device (11) for picking up an image of a mark (m) provided on a surface of a workpiece (W), a parts identifying device (13) for identifying a component part to be installed on the workpiece on the basis of image data from the picking up device (11), a controller (15) for identifying the component parts storage section (19,23) that stores the component parts to be installed in a workpiece on the basis of data from the parts identifying device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 5, 1996
    Date of Patent: May 9, 2000
    Assignee: Amada MFG America Inc.
    Inventor: Shunzo Hirose
  • Patent number: 6043445
    Abstract: An apparatus for sorting fragments of titanium-based sponge on the basis of color is disclosed. The apparatus captures at least one color image of each fragment, inserts relevant color values from the image into an automated color-sorting system to determine the color of the fragment, and segregates the fragments according to color or range-of-color, by way of a physical segregation apparatus controlled by the color sorting system. The color sorting systems usually involve the conversion of color images from the fragments into color signals, which are in turn transformed into color values. The color images are usually represented by a pattern of pixels. The color values are automatically compared to values, which are part of a look-up table based on data sets, which embrace acceptable or rejectable color values. Comparison of color values determined for the fragments with those in the look-up table results in the acceptance or rejection of each fragment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 28, 2000
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Michael Francis Xavier Gigliotti, Jr., Mark Gilbert Benz, Russell Scott Miller
  • Patent number: 6012588
    Abstract: A device for a reverse vending apparatus which has a conveyor (102, 201) for moving containers of different shapes and sizes, e.g., cans or bottles of glass or plastic, past a detector station (100) in order to produce characteristic data about the containers (B). Such data determines how the containers shall be handled thereafter, e.g., sorted out, compacted, further treated or recycled. At the downstream end of the conveyor (201) there is located a bottle raiser (301) for putting transported bottles (B) which arrive bottom (B2) first into a standing position, and wherein the bottle raiser comprises a, preferably curved, guide duct or shaft (302) which guides the bottle in standing position down towards a shock-absorbing rest (303). The device also comprises a bottle stabilizer (304-307, 309-310) which on the basis of said data is held with the aid of a motor (305) in a first position (FIG.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 11, 2000
    Assignee: Tomra Systems ASA
    Inventors: Tom Steidel, Geir Hanevold, Per K.ang.re Tvinnereim
  • Patent number: 6005211
    Abstract: An efficient package sorting system in which a stationary matrix of multi-directional conveyor cells sorts packages to a plurality of destination locations. In a preferred embodiment, the matrix delivers sorted packages to a plurality of lift assemblies that further transfer the packages to receiving conveyors or chutes on different levels. According to another preferred aspect of the system, a selectively elevating stop bar is provided to control side transfer between conveyor cells. A controller is operative to plan a path for each of the objects from the input cell to a destination location, to monitor availability of successive conveyor cells along the path, and to cause an object to be moved to the next conveyor cell along its path only when the next conveyor cell is available. The system may include a plurality of sensors positioned to sense the passage of objects from one conveyor cell to another, the sensors being connected to the controller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 2, 1996
    Date of Patent: December 21, 1999
    Assignee: United Parcel Service of America, Inc.
    Inventors: Pao-Ter Huang, Chunsheng Cai, Jaroslay Janik, John Lecko
  • Patent number: 5998754
    Abstract: A feed device for a unit for sorting elongate items, particularly vegetables such as carrots, includes a slanted conveyor (23) with a plurality of freely rotatable transverse rollers (24) driven by two endless chains. The conveyor includes three longitudinal sections, i.e. a lower section (23a) having a device (30) for rotating the rollers (24) in the same direction as the forward direction of the conveyor (23), an intermediate section (23b) where the rollers (24) are freely rotatable, and an upper section (23c) having an element (33) for rotating the rollers (24) in the opposite direction to the forward direction of the conveyor. A unit for sorting elongate items is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 7, 1999
    Assignee: Materiel Pour L'Arboriculture Fruitiere
    Inventor: Jacques Pervieux
  • Patent number: 5995646
    Abstract: A work transportation line includes a work handling apparatus which has an operation that is automatically changed in response to alteration of a work type, from one type to another, so as to be suitable for a work type to which a subject work is altered. An indication of a work type alteration is provided as a result of a comparison between specified attributes of a subject work, which are extracted from a two-valued image of the subject work, and predetermined reference attributes for various work types.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 16, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 30, 1999
    Assignee: Mazda Motor Corporation
    Inventors: Yasuaki Yonezawa, Hiroo Arataki
  • Patent number: 5973286
    Abstract: A grain sorting method and a device is provided which serves to continuously and quickly detect the appearance quality of the grains. The grain sorting device includes a feeding mechanism and a scattering mechanism where the grains are separately scattered over the surface of a conveying belt. The conveying belt serves to transfer the grains to a photographing section where they are photographed and inspected by an electric coupling device. Various parameters of the grains are calculated and the inspected results are compared with data stored in a computer. The grains are then sorted into different classifications and respectively collected by a discharging device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 26, 1999
    Assignee: Council of Agriculture Executive Yuan
    Inventor: Ye-Nu Wan
  • Patent number: 5957306
    Abstract: An air decelerator for an inspection and sorting system employing pneumatic ejectors, comprising an air plenum adapted to generally cause a stream of air to flow in a direction opposing acceptable articles moving in a trajectory, and thereby decelerate the velocity of the articles to reduce the impact of the articles when they come into contact with the receiving surface to minimize damage to the articles caused by the impact.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 18, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 28, 1999
    Assignee: SRC Vision, Inc.
    Inventor: Philip L. Hoffman
  • Patent number: 5924575
    Abstract: A method for sorting fragments of titanium-based sponge on the basis of color is disclosed. The method involves the steps of capturing at least one color image of each fragment, inserting relevant color values from the image into an automated color-sorting system to determine the color of the fragment, and segregating the fragments according to color or range-of-color, by way of a physical segregation apparatus controlled by the color sorting system. A related apparatus for sorting moving fragments of titanium-based sponge on the basis of color is also described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 15, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 20, 1999
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Michael Francis Xavier Gigliotti, Jr., Mark Gilbert Benz, Russell Scott Miller
  • Patent number: 5893451
    Abstract: A catenary conveyor belt support is provided in a conveyor system for automated bulk processing equipment. The conveyor belt launches bulk articles along a trajectory from one end to a processing station. The upper surface of the conveyor belt at one end thereof is angled with respect to a horizontal plane and determines the launch angle of the trajectory along which the articles travel. The support holds constant the catenary shape of the belt and, thus, the launch angle of the trajectory regardless of the load thereon.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 19, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 13, 1999
    Assignee: SRC Vision, Inc.
    Inventor: James Ewan
  • Patent number: 5862919
    Abstract: The sorting system provides a high degree of sorting accuracy even in high throughput sorting applications such as high speed wood chip sorting. In one embodiment, a sorting apparatus (10) includes a shaker (12) for distributing stock material, a spectrographic analyzer (14) for identifying unacceptable material in a product stream, an ejector (16) for diverting unacceptable material from the product stream, a three-zone sorting receptacle (18) and a recirculating system (20) for returning a selected portion of the sorter output for an additional pass by the analyzer (14) and ejector (16). The three-zone sorting receptacle (18) divides the product stream into an accept portion, a rejection portion, and an ambiguous portion including both acceptable product and unacceptable material. The ambiguous portion is re-sorted for improved accuracy at high throughput levels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 10, 1996
    Date of Patent: January 26, 1999
    Assignee: SRC Vision, Inc.
    Inventor: Neal P. Eason
  • Patent number: 5847382
    Abstract: A device for detecting bone fragments in deboned poultry carried on a conveyor belt of flexible clear plastic material. Fluorescent lights are positioned under the conveyor. A second conveyor positioned above the first conveyor is made up of a linked series of rigid clear plastic slats which bear down on the deboned poultry passing over the light table in order to reduce the thickness to allow the light to show through and reveal bone fragments. A video camera positioned inside the conveyor and looking down on the flattened poultry parts is used to identify bone fragments. In another embodiment, the inspection may done by operators. In either embodiment filters, desirably rose colored, are used to enhance the visibility of the bone fragments. Computer image recognition may additionally be used to identify and reject parts with bone fragments.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 22, 1996
    Date of Patent: December 8, 1998
    Assignee: Jay Koch
    Inventors: Jay Koch, Amos G. Fowler
  • Patent number: 5813542
    Abstract: A method of classifying objects comprises the steps of sensing a multiple color image of at least a portion of the object and producing color signals indicative of a plurality of colors in response to sensing the multiple color image. The color signals are transformed to a hue signal and a saturation signal, and the object is classified in response to the hue signal and the saturation signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 5, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 29, 1998
    Assignee: Allen Machinery, Inc.
    Inventor: Avi P. Cohn
  • Patent number: 5772040
    Abstract: Workpieces in which, for example, wire bonding has been performed are inspected to determine if they are defective or not by an inspection device. Workpieces which have been found to be defective are conveyed to one workpiece magazine and workpieces which have been found to be defect-free are conveyed to another workpiece magazine, thus defective and non-defective workpieces are separated immediately after inspection.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 1995
    Date of Patent: June 30, 1998
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Shinkawa
    Inventors: Hiromi Tomiyama, Yoshiyuki Ogata, Satoshi Enokido, Takeyuki Nakagawa
  • Patent number: 5753866
    Abstract: A combinational weigher measures articles with a plurality of measuring devices and selects a combination of the articles with a total weight within an allowable range. The weigher has a device for supplying the articles, cameras for taking pictures of at least either this article supplying device or the articles thereon, an image processing device for determining the condition of the article supply on the basis of image signals from the cameras, a predicting device for predicting the change in the amount of the supplied articles on the basis at least of the condition thus determined, and a control device for changing the operating conditions of the supplying device on the basis of this prediction so as to control changes in the supply rates of articles to the measuring devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 1996
    Date of Patent: May 19, 1998
    Assignee: Ishida Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Tetsuo Ikeda, Yukio Wakasa, Tohru Morichi
  • Patent number: 5746323
    Abstract: A conveying system for tablet inspection is provided. The conveying system includes a hopper assembly for feeding tablets to a conveyor at a controlled rate. The conveyor includes a pair of conveyor belts surrounding a plenum that communicates with a vacuum pump. The conveyor belts are parallel to one another and are spaced a distance for efficiently supporting a tablet thereon. An uprighter is disposed between the hopper assembly and the conveyor to rotate the tablets into an upright condition supported on an edge. The tablets are stably held in the upright position by the vacuum pump and are moved rapidly in their upright condition by the rotatably driven conveyor belts. The upright orientation of the tablets permits the opposed sides of each tablet to be electro-optically inspected for defects without repositioning the tablets and without changing the direction of movement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 11, 1995
    Date of Patent: May 5, 1998
    Assignee: M.W. Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Peter J. Dragotta
  • Patent number: 5735402
    Abstract: A selection machine and process for fine particulate material such as, for example, semolina wheat or other food or industrial products in powdery or granular form, where the particulate material is distributed on a continuous mobile support, is transported from the support to a scanning station for the identification in the particulate material, of undesirable parts thereof, and their position on the support, and, subsequently, to a sorting station having a photoconducting element that can be moved in synchronism with the support and on which photoconducting element is formed a latent image of electrostatic charges, corresponding to the position of the undesirable parts, which electrostatic charges separate the undesirable parts from the desired particulate material by electrostatic attraction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 7, 1998
    Assignee: Protec S.r.l.
    Inventors: Raffaele Pezzoli, Claudio Quarantelli
  • Patent number: 5733592
    Abstract: For cleaning foodstuffs in the form of a bulk material, such as cereal grains, rice grains, soybeans, sunflower seeds, coffee beans, and the like, there is provided an optical sorting device (24, 24a, 24a') subsequent to a precleaning system (6), which enables sorting on the basis of color and/or size and/or shape. Each particle of the bulk material is allocated to a particle class determined by parameters and conveyed on a supporting surface transporting the bulk material to a reception area (43, 44, 45) for the respective particle class. To clean the bulk material, impurities and bad particles are sorted out of the product, with the product being partitioned into classes, if required.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 24, 1996
    Date of Patent: March 31, 1998
    Assignee: Buhler AG
    Inventors: Arthur Wettstein, Gilbert Moret