Operator Selects Destination Of Item Patents (Class 209/942)
  • Patent number: 8759694
    Abstract: An apparatus for handling portions of products, in particular food products, having a product conveyor which conveys the portions after one another to at least one main conveyor track along a direction of conveying and having at least one sensor for recognizing portions of incorrect weight. A correction track is provided which has a first conveying section and a second conveying section. The first conveying section serves to branch off portions of incorrect weight from the main conveying track and to convey them to a weight correction station. The second conveying section serves to supply weight-corrected portions back to the main conveying track. The first conveying track and the second conveying track are separated from one another in the region of the weight correction station by an interruption of the correction track which prevents a transfer of portions of incorrect weight from the first conveying section to the second conveying section.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 2, 2011
    Date of Patent: June 24, 2014
    Assignee: Weber Maschinenbau GmbH Breidenbach
    Inventor: Günther Weber
  • Patent number: 8522979
    Abstract: Reprocessable medical devices that have been disposed of in a sharps container are recovered, disinfected or sterilized, sorted, and packed for reprocessing in a generally continuous process. In one embodiment, either a sharps container or at least a portion of its contents is successively and controllably conveyed, either manually or automatically, through a plurality of processing stations that are configured to perform different operations. The operations performed by the processing stations can include, for example, detecting and identifying contents, cleaning and disinfecting, opening the sharps containers, separating and sorting their contents, and disposal of contents that are non-reprocessable. Reprocessable medical devices can be sorted by type as they move along on a conveyor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 2011
    Date of Patent: September 3, 2013
    Assignee: Stericycle, Inc.
    Inventors: Gregg D. Bennett, Michael S. Kovacs
  • Patent number: 8167137
    Abstract: An apparatus is provided for transporting textile items into sorting bins with reduced energy consumption and improved load measuring accuracy and which provides textile item counting and sorting for a commercial laundry using vacuum air systems to move textiles into sorting bins and using a variable frequency drive to increase on/off response time of vacuum in the system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 8, 2010
    Date of Patent: May 1, 2012
    Assignee: Colmac Indutries, Inc.
    Inventors: Brant R. Osiensky, David Rinella, Gerald W. Pelissier, Scott McMillan
  • Patent number: 7984809
    Abstract: Various embodiments of a system and method for directing indicator-based sortation of shipments are described. In various embodiments, a control system may be configured to utilize indicators to direct the sortation of items in a materials handling facility, such as an order fulfillment center tasked with fulfilling customer orders for one or more items. For a given unsorted item, the control system may cause an indicator to indicate to which of multiple sorting slots the given item is to be placed, thereby sorting the item to its respective shipment assigned to the sorting slot. In various embodiments, the shipment sorting units may be serviced from a rebin side as well as a pack side. The control system may be configured to prioritize the processing of such shipments by utilizing indicators associated with respective shipment sorting slots on the pack side to indicate a priority for processing a given shipment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 26, 2011
    Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Patrick W. Ramey, Eugene M. Gard, Eric Young
  • Patent number: 7984810
    Abstract: A recovery device and method of use to ensure that any reusable medical device that has been disposed of in a sharps container is recovered, cleaned, sterilized, and repackaged for reuse. In one embodiment, a sharps container and sorting surface are manipulated to rotate together and independently, so that the contents of the sharps container are emptied onto the sorting surface, enabling an operator to manually, safely, efficiently, and timely retrieve reusable medical devices from the sorting surface and place these medical devices into a receptacle bin. The non-reusable contents are subsequently dumped into a waste bin, whose contents will subsequently be incinerated or otherwise destroyed. The operator of the recovery device is protected by a shield and an exhaust system that minimize the operator's exposure to airborne biohazardous toxins and enable the sorting to be done without injury to the operator from sharp medical devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 26, 2011
    Assignee: ClearMedical, Inc.
    Inventor: Gregg D. Bennett
  • Patent number: 7762401
    Abstract: A template according to the invention is configured for manual testing of a mail piece to determine if the dimensions and stiffness of the mail piece are acceptable for passage through an associated automated mail sorting machine. The template includes a frame having a pair of spaced, curved walls defining a curved test slot. The curved slot has an open end through which a mail piece can be inserted and a removal opening for removing the mail piece from the slot. The removal opening in a preferred embodiment comprises a lengthwise slot in one of the curved walls through which the mail piece can be manually held and pushed back out of the open end of the template. The template may include a bracket for mounting the template on a secure surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 15, 2006
    Date of Patent: July 27, 2010
    Assignee: Siemens Industry, Inc.
    Inventor: Bryan J. Stone
  • Patent number: 7007807
    Abstract: An apparatus and a method for sorting workpieces (204) includes multiple conveyors (201, 202), a scanner (208), an offloading device (216), a workpiece processor (218), and a computer (210). The computer has instructions for carrying out a method for sorting that includes obtaining the physical parameters of the workpiece by scanning the workpiece, obtaining an updated distribution of a physical parameter of a population of workpieces, obtaining an updated loading on each conveyor, obtaining the workpiece processor's capacity, obtaining a processing parameter indicating the required amount of workpiece processing to be performed, and obtaining each conveyor's speed. This information is used to place the workpiece on a conveyor in a manner that is calculated to utilize the optimum amount of workpiece processor capacity, while at the same time maintaining an even belt loading.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 29, 2003
    Date of Patent: March 7, 2006
    Assignee: FMC Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Richard Daniel Stockard
  • Patent number: 6812426
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for automatic spacing and diverting of packages on a conveyor system ensures an adequate gap between packages deposited onto a loading conveyor for subsequent inspection. A speed ratio between the loading conveyor and an inspection conveyor, a package detector disposed between the loading conveyor and the inspection conveyor, an interruption device controlling the loading conveyor and a controller to permit a signal from the package detector to command the interrupting device to temporarily halt the loading conveyor are used to ensure proper spacing between packages passed to a scanner. The apparatus may also include a package diverter for diverting a package to another area for further inspection.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 11, 2001
    Date of Patent: November 2, 2004
    Assignee: Rapiscan Security Products
    Inventors: Andreas F. Kotowski, Douglas Roy Gillard-Hickman
  • Patent number: 6715614
    Abstract: A mail case system includes facilitates sequence-sorting various types of mail together into individual bags that each represent unique delivery points. The mail case uses multi-bag inserts so that the bags for several stops can be set up quickly for sorting. At the end of the sorting operation, the entire insert may be pulled down from the case as a single unit to maintain the established delivery point sequence. This eliminates the carrier's need to find separation points or to combine selections from multiple sequenced stacks of mail during the delivery operation. This results in a dramatic improvement in delivery efficiency.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 26, 2001
    Date of Patent: April 6, 2004
    Assignee: Siemens Dematic Postal Automation, L.P.
    Inventors: James M. Pippin, Gerald A. Isaacs, Floyd W. Worth, II
  • Patent number: 6607081
    Abstract: An automated banking machine can identify and store documents such as currency bills received by a user. The machine can then selectively recover documents from storage and dispense them to other users. Identification devices can identify the type and character of a document, and distinguish genuine documents, such as genuine currency bills, from unidentifiable or suspect documents. Each received document can be judged as either acceptable or unacceptable. Output related to the judging can be presented to the user prior to a document leaving the machine. Subsequently, responsive to receiving user authorization to deposit the acceptable documents, the acceptable documents can be stored in the machine and the unacceptable documents returned to the user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 23, 2001
    Date of Patent: August 19, 2003
    Assignee: Diebold, Incorporated
    Inventors: H. Thomas Graef, William D. Beskitt, Damon J. Blackford, Dale Blackson, Robert Bowser, Keith A. Drescher, Jeffrey Eastman, Matthew Force, Sean Haney, Michael Harty, Dale Horan, Andrew Junkins, Edward L. Laskowski, Ashok Modi, Mark Owens, Mike Ryan, Bill Schadt, David Schultz, Mike Theriault, Mark D. Smith
  • Patent number: 6581782
    Abstract: A system and method for assisting an operator in sorting mail includes a wireless headset equipped with a microphone, and a workstation that includes a processing unit, voice-recognition and voice-synthesis circuitry, and a database. In operation, addressee information spoken into the microphone is transmitted to the workstation where it is used to search the database. Destination information from a matching database record is then output to the operator on one or more of a display terminal, headset speakers, and heads-up display fixed to the headset. The convenience and enhanced capability provided by this system streamlines operator productivity and sorting volume.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 13, 2001
    Date of Patent: June 24, 2003
    Assignee: Sort-It Incorporated
    Inventor: Lance Patrick Reed
  • Publication number: 20030075488
    Abstract: A method and apparatus is provided for sorting semiconductor devices for processing where the semiconductor devices have been singulated from a strip containing a plurality of semiconductor devices and where an electronic strip map has been created corresponding to the strip of semiconductor devices and the electronic strip map contains address and quality information related to each individual singulated semiconductor device. The method includes the steps of moving a pickup device to a location adjacent the singulated semiconductor devices and selectively picking up a first plurality of singulated semiconductor devices based on the electronic strip map information related to the singulated semiconductor devices and moving the semiconductor devices that have been picked up to a predetermined location based on the electronic strip map information related to the specific semiconductor devices that have been picked up and unloading the first plurality of semiconductor devices at the predetermined location.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 2, 2002
    Publication date: April 24, 2003
    Applicant: Micro Component Technology, Inc.
    Inventors: Tim Olson, Lisa Foltz
  • Patent number: 6499604
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a compound induction system for feeding articles to a material handling system. This induction system includes an input station with a reversing buffer belt. Articles placed on this belt will be fed to one of at least two downstream feeding sections. From these feeding sections, the articles will be transported to a material handling system such as a tilt tray sorter. The present invention can avoid the need, as well as its associated additional product damage and higher labor costs, for presorting of articles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 5, 2000
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2002
    Assignee: Crisplant Inc.
    Inventor: James E. Kitson
  • Publication number: 20020134711
    Abstract: A direction indicator placed on one site of a sorting block indicates, for a given good, the direction towards a nominated slot through which the good is to be placed in the block. This arrangement makes it possible for the hauler to immediately put a good into a nominated slot without looking around at sorting blocks at large, which will lead to the improvement of work efficiency. Moreover, because this will moderate the burden imposed on the hauler, the number of wrongly hauled goods would be greatly reduced.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 14, 2002
    Publication date: September 26, 2002
    Applicant: AT&C Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Chiyuki Takizawa
  • Publication number: 20020130066
    Abstract: A medicine feeder apparatus comprising a plurality of cassettes each of which contains a different kind of medicine and a base portion on which the plurality of cassettes are mounted and which discharges the medicine in accordance with the prescription. the apparatus comprises an identification which is provided on each cassette, the identification showing information on the medicine contained in the cassette; a reader which is provided on the base portion, the reader reading the identification of the cassette during the cassette is mounted on the base portion; and a rock which is provided on the base portion, the rock preventing the cassette from being mounted. If the information of the medicine read from the identification by the reader does not coincide with a previously stored information, the rock is operated, while if coincide, the rock is released.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 5, 2002
    Publication date: September 19, 2002
    Inventors: Shoji Yuyama, Yasuhiro Shigeyama, Ayumu Saito, Akitomi Kohama, Masahiko Kasuya, Masaki Tujita
  • Publication number: 20020130065
    Abstract: A method and system for the efficient bulk package delivery for recipients. Items ordered by different customers from different retailers, suppliers or manufacturers can be organized by common item identifiers and shipped in bulk from retailers or manufacturers, to an origination regional distribution center. The items can be sorted at the origination regional distribution center in bulk based on the location of destination regional distribution centers that can serve destination centralized pickup locations chosen by the customers placing the orders for those items. Ordered items can be sorted by recipient and the destination centralized pickup location specified in the customer's order and packed into recipient-specific packages at the destination regional distribution center.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 16, 2001
    Publication date: September 19, 2002
    Inventor: Gregg Bloom
  • Publication number: 20020079255
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a folder device and method of use in conjunction with a sorting device. The sorting device for use with the folder device may assume a variety of configurations. The present invention provides a folder device for receiving items for use with a sorting device. In one embodiment a first side of the folder is configured in relation to the leading edge of its associated partition element so that at least a portion of the first side does not extend vertically past the leading edge. The present invention further provides a method of creating a delivery point package. The delivery point package may facilitate the delivery of mail items by providing a discrete package by capturing items between the folder sides.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 5, 2001
    Publication date: June 27, 2002
    Inventor: Lance E. Anderson
  • Patent number: 6386372
    Abstract: Wooden pallets are recycled by carrying out a first separation in a reception region (10) between pallets easily reparable and those which are not, in directing the separated items to conveyors: one conveyor (11) which brings them to a disassembly station (20), and a second conveyor which brings them toward a repair station (30). The layers of the pallets are separated from each other by sawing in the disassembly station, so that all the constituent elements of the pallet are separated from each other. Sorting and recalibration of the elements thus separated is carried out in separating, sawing and planing stations (21, 22). The elements thus sorted and recalibrated are stored in a storage station (40) which extends along the installation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 28, 2000
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2002
    Inventors: Alain Bouchain, Véronique Alliot
  • Publication number: 20020036160
    Abstract: A system and method for assisting an operator in sorting mail includes a wireless headset equipped with a microphone, and a workstation that includes a processing unit, voice-recognition and voice-synthesis circuitry, and a database. In operation, addressee information spoken into the microphone is transmitted to the workstation where it is used to search the database. Destination information from a matching database record is then output to the operator on one or more of a display terminal, headset speakers, and heads-up display fixed to the headset. The convenience and enhanced capability provided by this system streamlines operator productivity and sorting volume.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 13, 2001
    Publication date: March 28, 2002
    Inventor: Lance P. Reed
  • Patent number: 6196393
    Abstract: A stand-alone method and system is provided for processing the contents of a plurality of envelopes, and includes at least an opening device, an image acquisition device and a control device. The opening device opens the envelopes on at least one side forming opened envelopes, thereby exposing the contents thereof for extraction. The image acquisition device is in operable communication with the opening device and is used to acquire an image of the contents and store that image in digital form in a file. Finally, the control device is operably connected to at least the opening device and image acquisition device, whereby when the image of the contents are acquired from one envelope, a next envelope is opened and a new file is created.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2001
    Assignee: Inscerco Mfg., Inc.
    Inventors: Robert R. Kruk, Jr., Bruce T. Macauley
  • Patent number: 6149017
    Abstract: A station for sorting solid waste is provided with at least one transportation belt located outside of a waste loading and unloading zone and situated in a room of a superstructure mounted on a platform, an impervious housing inside the superstructure with at least one pair of openings and a control window, a pair of sleeves ending in gloves which seal the openings of the impervious housing and fit the arms and hands of a person doing the waste sorting, and dumping points inside the impervious housing which are allocated to one sorting person and are arranged on both sides of the transportation belt.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2000
    Inventor: Robert-Marco Manka
  • Patent number: 6124560
    Abstract: A method and apparatus are disclosed for classifying materials utilizing a computerized touch sensitive screen or other computerized pointing device for operator identification and electronic marking of spatial coordinates of materials to be extracted. An operator positioned at a computerized touch sensitive screen views electronic images of the mixture of materials to be sorted as they are conveyed past a sensor array which transmits sequences of images of the mixture either directly or through a computer to the touch sensitive display screen. The operator manually "touches" objects displayed on the screen to be extracted from the mixture thereby registering the spatial coordinates of the objects within the computer. The computer then tracks the registered objects as they are conveyed and directs automated devices including mechanical means such as air jets, robotic arms, or other mechanical diverters to extract the registered objects.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 12, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 26, 2000
    Assignee: National Recovery Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Charles E. Roos, Edward J. Sommer, Robert H. Parrish, James R. Russell
  • Patent number: 6079939
    Abstract: Apparatus for handling pallets for inspection and sorting includes an in-feed conveyor mechanism for conveying in index fashion a stack of pallets positioned on edges toward the discharge end of the conveyor whereby the pallets will drop off the discharge end one at a time. A catch plate is provided to catch a pallet as it falls off the end of the in-feed conveyor and permit it to tilt about its lower edge onto an off-bearing conveyor. A retractable cushion arm is provided on the off-bearing conveyor to interrupt the motion of the tilting pallet and lower it gently onto the second conveyor. The exposure of a pallet face at the time it is at the end of the in-feed conveyor permits visual examination of such face, the opposite face being exposed for examination when the pallet tilts onto the off-bearing conveyor. The apparatus enhances the rapidity with which pallets can be handled and reduces necessity for manual handling of pallets.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 6, 1999
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2000
    Assignee: Smetco, Inc.
    Inventor: John Stephen Smets
  • Patent number: 5977501
    Abstract: A sortation and sequencing system for sorting a plurality of different items into discrete orders and putting the items into a predetermined sequence within each discrete order or group of orders. The system includes an induction station for accepting items in random succession, and a sensor at the induction station for sensing an identifying characteristic unique to each item and for generating tracking signals uniquely corresponding to the items for tracking the items through the system. A controller receives the tracking signals and generates sort command and sequence command signals which are in part responsive to the tracking signals. A sorter receives the items from the induction station and directs individual items to selected ones of a plurality of sort locations, each sort location corresponding to an individual order or group of orders, in response to sort command signals from the controller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 1996
    Date of Patent: November 2, 1999
    Assignee: SI Handling Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: James Werkheiser, Phillip N. Ross, David A. Clark, Robert Porter
  • Patent number: 5957307
    Abstract: A letter coding station for a mail sorting system. In order to ensure good ergonomics when coding letters at a coding location, letters which are to be separated and coded are brought in stacks, via a first conveying section, to the operator. The operator can thereafter feed letters individually, in the conveying direction, to a further conveying section. The first conveying section aligns the letter stacks by a lectern-like arrangement such that the top side of the letter stacks which are to be separated is aligned approximately perpendicularly with respect to the viewing direction of the operator, while the operator is oriented obliquely to the a table of the coding station. This arrangement allows for a comfortable position of both arms, and allows the operator a good view of the letters being coded.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 11, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 28, 1999
    Assignee: Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventor: Volkmar Schulz
  • Patent number: 5894939
    Abstract: A method to sort plastic articles, such as bottles, for recycling utilizes a first sensing area where the bottle is irradiated with circularly polarized light. The circularly polarized light changes polarization on passing through the bottle. The changed circularly polarized light is then detected by personnel wearing glasses having filters oriented to block circularly polarized light of a first handedness and produce light characteristic of the composition of the bottle. The bottle is then sorted for recycling by the personnel based upon the composition of the bottle. The method of the invention may be used as described above or in conjunction with a UV light source to identify bottles made from polyethelene napthalene.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 9, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 20, 1999
    Assignee: Frankel Industries, Inc.
    Inventor: Henry Frankel
  • Patent number: 5842693
    Abstract: In a method for the automated processing of bulk mail, envelopes are transferred to a receiving apparatus in bulk fashion (from incoming mail trays or the like) for the extraction of documents contained by the envelopes, and the extracted documents are delivered to a remittance processing device, preferably both automatically and without the need for human intervention. Subsequent processing of the extracted documents within the remittance processing device then proceeds in usual fashion, completing the acquisition of information which is necessary to ready such documents for deposit into the banking system. Also disclosed are various presorting functions so that only envelopes containing documents of a specified type will be fully processed, other sorting functions such as the identification of specific types of documents (invoices or checks) for separate processing, and the use of a single extraction device to deliver extracted documents to either one, or a series of remittance processing devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 13, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 1, 1998
    Assignee: Opex Corporation
    Inventors: Albert F. Stevens, Mark A. Stevens, Robert R. Dewitt, William R. Lile, Michael E. York, Jeffrey L. Chodack, Roy E. Patterson
  • Patent number: 5810173
    Abstract: A system for processing documents is provided for use in remittance processing of bulk mail. An extraction unit opens envelopes and extracts the envelope contents, typically in the form of a pair of documents such as an invoice stub and an accompanying check. The extraction unit discards the opened envelopes and feeds the pair of documents in parallel disposition to a document sorting apparatus. The paired, parallel documents are conveyed through a document shifter in the form of nip rollers wherein one document of each pair is at least partially shifted relative to the other document of the pair to expose at least a portion of the covered document to an operator. The documents are then conveyed to a viewing area where the operator visually inspects each pair of documents and manually designates a selected path of movement using a manual input device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 7, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 22, 1998
    Assignee: Opex Corporation
    Inventors: Albert F.. Stevens, Robert R. Dewitt, James G. Robertson, Jeffrey L. Chodack, Ilya Chachkes, Marjory A. McCahill, George L. Hayduchok
  • Patent number: 5794789
    Abstract: Inter-related devices and methods to increase sort productivity, provide for the ready integration of shipment data into a central computer system, permit centralized management and control over multiple autonomous sort operations, and integrate materials handling of the sorted shipments into the sort process. The devices and methods provide the foundation for an integrated shipment and information processing system without the complexity of automated equipment or the limitations of manual operations. The semi-automated integrated sort system has an array of chutes that flow shipments into containers or bins. The entrance to each chute is blocked by a computer-controlled gate. Detectors are placed in the chutes to detect shipments and monitor container/bin status. The chute gates, sensors, and other sort-related apparatus are connected to a computer. Automated or semi-automated data entry equipment connected to the computer provides the necessary data input.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 18, 1998
    Inventors: William H. Payson, John B. Payson
  • Patent number: 5667079
    Abstract: An automated multi-grade wastepaper recycle center and sorting system is provided. The center is a multi-acre fenced-in complex having security that allows for recycling trucks to deliver multiple grades of wastepaper for separating and sorting to one location prior to pulp processing and deinking type processes. Collection tracks leave their loads in one of four drop pits where different conveyor systems start the sorting process. A novel swivel conveyor system can remove papers from the drop pit for temporary storage on various locations on a primary segregation floor where plied papers can later be recycled into main pit area when needed. Alternatively, loads from the drop pits can be conveyed to the main pit area directly and then presorted onto different conveyor systems. One conveyor can then send wastepaper through a star-wheel sorter system that can separate desired grades of paper.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 24, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 16, 1997
    Inventor: Kenneth W. Jongebloed
  • Patent number: 5645172
    Abstract: A system uses a single chute in a multi-story building to collect into separate large receptacles different categories of wastes already separated by the tenant for recycling. A turntable carries a large receptacle for each category of waste. Controls on each floor enables a tenant to operate the turntable to position a selected receptacle beneath the turntable to receive a particular category of waste. A microprocessor controller and interlocks on the access doors prevent conflicts between floors. A reciprocating ram automatically compacts the waste in the receptacle after a predetermined number of deposits into the receptacle. The compaction operation is delayed by preset time intervals to avoid conflicts with tenant use. One of those time intervals is proportional to the floor elevation to give waste a time to fall though the chute. The compression apparatus may be arranged to apply different compressive forces to different types of waste and to signal when a container is full.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 8, 1997
    Inventor: Mark D. Shantzis
  • Patent number: 5620102
    Abstract: A method and apparatus are provided for directing a parcel to a correct station from a conveyer. A parcel guide is actuated to move transversely across the conveyer adjacent the correct station.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 22, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 15, 1997
    Inventor: Walter F. Finch, Jr.
  • Patent number: 5568871
    Abstract: A modular chute assembly section has a tubular shape with an axial bore. When joined together, one atop the other, a multistory gravity conveyor chute is formed for deposit of waste through an access door at any floor that will fall to a basement receiver. In the basement, a receptacle mover has a number of different receptacles thereon, one for each type of separated waste. Controls at each access door enable the waste depositor to selectively move a waste receptacle beneath the chute to correspond to the type of waste being deposited. Controls for locking the access door, selecting a particular waste receptacle, sensing when the door is closed, and signalling apparatus for informing a depositor of system operating conditions are enclosed in a housing attached to the section adjacent the access door.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 16, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 29, 1996
    Inventor: Mark D. Shantzis
  • Patent number: 5558232
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for sorting documents is provided. A document transport on the apparatus conveys documents along a selected path of movement from an input bin to a series of output bins. An optical scanner, such as a video camera, is positioned along the selected path to capture images of the documents. The captured images are displayed on a display monitor to permit an operator to inspect portions of the documents for a desired characteristic. The operator activates a push button on a selector switch depending on the presence of the desired characteristic. Bins are provided for stacking and separating documents having the desired characteristic from those documents lacking the desired characteristic. Gates are provided for directing the documents to the appropriate output bin.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 5, 1994
    Date of Patent: September 24, 1996
    Assignee: Opex Corporation
    Inventors: Albert F. Stevens, Jeffrey L. Chodack, Russell M. Lange, Robert R. Dewitt, John D. Coleman, Peter W. Bressler, Keith W. Forsyth
  • Patent number: 5551576
    Abstract: A system to separate and store trash which has been segregated into various categories for use in a multi-floor building. The system has a vertical waste chute with at least one access door to the chute located at each floor of the building. The chute has an upper and lower portion and two paths therethrough. The first path permits vertical disposal of the trash and the second path is angled to the first to permit designated trash to follow a different pathway for disposal. The system further includes a diverter located adjacent the lower portion of the chute for diverting the path of the trash placed into the chute from a first location containing a plurality of trash receptacles located on a platform to a second location having at least one trash receptacle, such as a trash compactor. The system also includes a receptacle mover to move a selected trash receptacle beneath the chute to receive a particular category of trash deposited into the chute.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 10, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 3, 1996
    Inventor: Michael Importico
  • Patent number: 5509538
    Abstract: A system and method for paperless, self-contained partial case picking of goods in a distribution center for cartons or containers subsequently shipped to a customer store. A set of cartons or containers is moved along a pick face in a series of move cycles. Operator display units provided at the pick face prompt workers to distribute goods from batches on the pick face to the cartons. The operator display units define contiguous put zones for each worker and assign each worker to particular batches of goods for each move cycle. The operator display units can include key entry means for the workers to signal the end of pick cycles, and in one embodiment to adjust pick quantities and distributions in real time according to changing circumstances. The put and pick zone assignments are reconfigured for each move cycle depending on factors such as worker ability and the picking difficulty of the batches assigned.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 3, 1993
    Date of Patent: April 23, 1996
    Assignee: Amphion Inc.
    Inventors: Jeffrey D. Spindler, Kenneth E. Burkhalter, Jr., Alfred W. Iversen
  • Patent number: 5499719
    Abstract: A stand-alone takeaway and correction conveyor system for a food loaf slicer or other food product machine that produces groups of food products that must be held to close tolerance as to weight or some other readily measurable characteristic includes two conveyors, one for reject groups and one for acceptable groups. The two conveyors are mounted on one base, in spaced parallel relation to each other, with the reject conveyor above the accept conveyor. Both conveyors are driven, at related speeds, from one drive; the drive is mounted in the base and is energized and controlled, as to speed, from the food product machine. The conveyor for acceptable groups has a pivotal outboard section to allow for service of packaging equipment without moving the system. Both conveyors have eccentric mounts to compensate for large elevation differences in packaging equipment. A correction tray is used for correction of reject groups of food products.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 13, 1995
    Date of Patent: March 19, 1996
    Assignee: Formax, Inc.
    Inventors: Scott A. Lindee, David M. Hansen
  • Patent number: 5495950
    Abstract: A sorting device has a base with an upper horizontal support surface having an outer mounting edge to which a tray is hingedly connected. The tray has a bottom wall providing a sorting surface and sidewalls around the periphery of the bottom wall. The sidewalls have converging portions that converge toward a discharge end to define a discharge opening. The hinge is attached to the bottom of the tray at a location spaced inwardly from the discharge end to permit the tray to be pivoted between a sorting position, in which its bottom wall rests on the support surface, and a discharge position, in which the discharge end is tilted downwardly relative to the mounting edge to allow discharge of articles from the sorting surface, through the discharge opening, and into a container placed adjacent to the base. The base may have a box-like configuration and provide storage space for containers. In such case, the tray preferably covers the open top of the base.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 1994
    Date of Patent: March 5, 1996
    Inventor: Roger D. Jellum
  • Patent number: 5472097
    Abstract: A document or package sorting workstation (10), ergonomically designed to maximize manual or machine-assisted sorting efficiencies and throughput, while minimizing or eliminating opportunities for losses or mis-sorts and improved methods for sorting documents and packages. The workstation (10) is made of an upper workstation (32) which is an inclined chute (14) with dividers (12) placed parallel to flow of documents or packages, and front stop (29); a lower workstation (28) having a support frame and receptacle for bag holder (24); a bag holder (24) having supporting frames and a glider (22); an accessory holder (30); and a loading shelf (16).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 1, 1993
    Date of Patent: December 5, 1995
    Inventor: John Villachica
  • Patent number: 5419439
    Abstract: Apparatus and method for performing multiple level sortation operations upon a number of randomly ordered garments. The garments are identified by unique identification data, which can be scanned and entered into a computer. The computer remembers the order in which garment identification data has been. The garments are then transferred in their entered order to a first sortation assembly in which a rotating wheel assembly accepts and selectively releases garments during indexed rotation of the wheel at one of a number of stop points. Each stop point has associated with it a receiving rail, where each rail represents a different group within a first sortation level. The computer recognizes which receiving rail is the correct rail for each garment according to the first sortation criteria and signals the release of the garment at the correct stop point. The garments collected on each receiving rail comprise a group of first sorted garments according to the first sortation criteria.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 1992
    Date of Patent: May 30, 1995
    Inventor: Thomas R. Branch
  • Patent number: 5377907
    Abstract: An assembly is provided for housing multiple waste receptacles. The assembly includes a generally hollow enclosure that has a floor portion, a pair of spaced apart side portions attached to and extending upwardly from the floor portion, a rearward portion interconnecting the side portions and an opening into the interior of the enclosure, which opening extends between the floor portion and an upper edge region of the rearward portion and further extends between the side portions. A door is hingedly connected to at least one of the upper edge region of the rearward portion and side portions. The door is selectively raised to expose the opening, whereby waste receptacles may be introduced into and removed from the enclosure, and lowered to generally close the opening. The door has a plurality of drop holes in communication with corresponding waste receptacles in the enclosure for receiving waste therethrough and directing the waste to the corresponding waste receptacles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 24, 1992
    Date of Patent: January 3, 1995
    Inventor: Paul P. Guard
  • Patent number: 5316152
    Abstract: A high rise recycling system for a multi-story building comprises a vertical chute extending from the bottom to top floor, discharge openings on each floor, a rotatable chute at the lower end to discharge garbage into a compactor and to discharge recyclable glass, paper, aluminum and plastic into a selective discharge assembly which selectively discharges each of the separate items into respective containers for such separate items. A control circuit having control switches on each floor controls operation of the selective discharge assembly. A power circuit drives a conveyor belt which carries the recyclable items through the selective discharge assembly to their respective discharge outlets for deposit into their respective containers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 6, 1992
    Date of Patent: May 31, 1994
    Inventor: James A. Ross
  • Patent number: 5271507
    Abstract: A waste disposal system wherein a control panel inside a building activates a series of spring loaded diverters which cooperate with a duct leading to a series of bins. Operator means is electrically connected to the control panel. When a user depresses a preselected contact means on the control panel, the diverter connected to it changes its position so as to allow access to a corresponding bin. The user can access different bins for separately storing cans, bottles, paper products, general trash and the like. The present system allows easy access to various bins, and encourages recycling by each householder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 16, 1992
    Date of Patent: December 21, 1993
    Inventor: Edward P. Evans, Jr.
  • Patent number: 5263591
    Abstract: A controllable refuse recycling system includes a conveyor for conveying refuse. The refuse is carried past a plurality of operating personnel who extract recyclable materials from the refuse, and deposit the extracted materials into separate deposit chutes. At least one deposit chute is situated directly in front of each operator so that the deposit chute is located on the conveyor itself, or on the other side of the conveyor from the operator. The system is also controllable, and includes a control deck for monitoring and controlling the operation of the system. In one embodiment, the operation of the refuse recycling system is modified depending upon the species of refuse which is introduced into the system, so that the system operates in a first mode when commercial refuse is received, and in a second mode when residential refuse is received.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 1991
    Date of Patent: November 23, 1993
    Assignee: Taormina Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: William C. Taormina, Vincent C. Taormina
  • Patent number: 5249690
    Abstract: An apparatus and method of selectively sorting commingled recyclable waste materials wherein the waste materials are continuously fed to a primary conveyor unit having a primary sorting conveyor and a primary return conveyor. A plurality of sorting stations having a plurality of sorting chutes are positioned along the primary sorting conveyor so that designated waste materials are selectively removed and deposited into the respective designated chutes, whereby the selective waste materials are transferred to a secondary conveyor unit, as well as to designated containers, hoppers or bins that are operably connected to a respective sorting station. The secondary conveyor unit includes a secondary sorting conveyor and a secondary return conveyor and at least one secondary sorting station, whereby designated waste materials from the secondary sorting conveyor are removed and transported to more specific designated containers, hoppers or bins.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 15, 1991
    Date of Patent: October 5, 1993
    Inventor: Gill R. Patterson
  • Patent number: 5228577
    Abstract: An apparatus for separating selected categories of solid waste (trash) within a home or building and containing outside of the home or building the various recyclable and non-recyclable solid waste which accumulates within the home or building. The apparatus comprises a main chamber having a sloped floor and two or more aligned bins, two wing-shaped chambers, each wing-shaped chamber having a bin, pivoted doors leading into each aligned bin, a swinging gate leading into each bin within the wing-shaped chambers, and mechanism to be actuated by the homeowner/tenant for opening and/or closing each door and gate depending upon the category of recyclable or non-recyclable solid waste being deposited within the apparatus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 17, 1992
    Date of Patent: July 20, 1993
    Inventor: Terry D. Wilson
  • Patent number: 5221010
    Abstract: In a preferred embodiment, a plurality of conduits extending from a kitchen area to bins in a level beneath the kitchen. In one embodiment, the upper ends of the conduits are concealed behind a vertical panel hinged at the lower edge to an "island" cabinet and forming a surface of the cabinet. The upper ends of the conduits are accessed by rotating the panel outwardly from the cabinet to expose the ends.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 1991
    Date of Patent: June 22, 1993
    Inventor: James S. Bianco
  • Patent number: 5192261
    Abstract: There is disclosed a sheet stacker, for use in combination with a copying machine, a printer or the like, capable of ensuring satisfactory sheet stacking regardless whether the sheet is folded or not. The apparatus controls the stacking operation in different modes in accordance with whether the sheets to be stacked are folded or not.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 12, 1991
    Date of Patent: March 9, 1993
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Takeshi Honjo, Koichi Murakami
  • Patent number: 5141110
    Abstract: A method of sorting a mixed group of plastic articles, such as PET and PVC containers, involves individually subjecting each article to a beam of electromagnetic radiation, and detecting a change in the intensity of the beam. The measured intensity varies in a manner indicative of the crystallinity of the plastic from which the article is made, and hence identifies the type of plastic the article is made of. Each article is then sent to one of a plurality of destinations, such as recycling collection bins, according to the type of plastic. The method is particularly useful in separating PET and PVC used in containers, since these plastics are very difficult to sort by conventional methods.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 9, 1990
    Date of Patent: August 25, 1992
    Assignee: Hoover Universal, Inc.
    Inventors: Glenn M. Trischan, Louis Cartz
  • Patent number: RE40394
    Abstract: A method and apparatus are disclosed for classifying materials utilizing a computerized touch sensitive screen or other computerized pointing device for operator identification and electronic marking of spatial coordinates of materials to be extracted. An operator positioned at a computerized touch sensitive screen views electronic images of the mixture of materials to be sorted as they are conveyed past a sensor array which transmits sequences of images of the mixture either directly or through a computer to the touch sensitive display screen. The operator manually “touches” objects displayed on the screen to be extracted from the mixture thereby registering the spatial coordinates of the objects within the computer. The computer then tracks the registered objects as they are conveyed and directs automated devices including mechanical means such as air jets, robotic arms, or other mechanical diverters to extract the registered objects.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 24, 2008
    Assignee: National Recovery Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Charles E. Roos, Edward J. Sommer, Jr., Robert H. Parrish, James R. Russell