PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP0528807 29.02.1996
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0528807
Titel MÜNZENSORTIERVORRICHTUNG MIT AUTOMATISCHER TASCHENWECHSEL- ODER STOPVORRICHTUNG
Anmelder Cummins-Allison Corp., Mount Prospect, Ill., US
Erfinder RASMUSSEN, James, M., Chicago, IL 60630, US;
MAZUR, Richard, A., Naperville, IL 60540, US;
RUDISILL, Stephen, G., Kildeer, IL 60047, US
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 69116555
Vertragsstaaten DE, FR, GB, IT, NL, SE
Sprache des Dokument En
EP-Anmeldetag 01.03.1991
EP-Aktenzeichen 919066415
WO-Anmeldetag 01.03.1991
PCT-Aktenzeichen US9101436
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 9118371
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 28.11.1991
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 03.03.1993
EP date of grant 17.01.1996
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 29.02.1996
IPC-Hauptklasse G07D 3/16
IPC-Nebenklasse G07D 3/12   

Beschreibung[en]
Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to coin sorting and counting methods and, more particularly, to coin sorting and counting methods of the type which use a resilient disc rotating beneath a stationary sorting head for sorting coins of mixed denominations.

EP-A-0314463 discloses a coin sorter in which coins of different denominations are counted after being discharged from the sorter. When a preselected number of coins have been counted, the brake mechanism is activated to stop the rotating disk.

US-A-4681128 discloses a coin sorter, in which the sorting and counting is effected by pins.

The present invention concerns a method of counting and sorting coins of mixed denominations in a disc-type coin sorter having a rotatable disc with a resilient surface for receiving said coins and imparting rotational movement to said coins, and a stationary sorting head having a contoured surface spaced slightly away from and generally parallel to said resilient surface of said rotatable disc , whereby said disc is rotated beneath said sorting head while feeding coins between said disk and sorting head, said method characterized by the following steps:

  • Counting each coin denomination separately at a counting station along the lower surface of said sorting head;
  • Sorting the counted coins at sorting stations spaced circumferentially from said counting station;
  • Discharging the sorted coins at different exit stations around the periphery of said sorting head ; and
  • Monitoring the angular movement of said disc after a prescribed number of coins has been counted, to determine when the last coin in said count has been moved to a predetermined location spaced circumferentially from said counting station in the direction of a coin movement.

Brief Description Of The Drawings

  • FIG. 1 is perspective view of a coin counting and sorting system for carrying out the method of the present invention, with portions thereof broken away to show the internal structure;
  • FIG. 2 is an enlarged horizontal section taken generally along the line 2-2 in FIG. 1 to show the configuration of the underside of the sorting head or guide plate;
  • FIG. 3 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 3-3 in FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 4 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 4-4 in FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 5 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 5-5 in FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 6 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 6-6 in FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 7 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 7-7 in FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 8 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 8-8 in FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 9 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 9-9 in FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 10 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 10-10 in FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 11 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 11-11 in FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 12 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 12-12 in FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 13 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 13-13 in FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 14 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 14-14 in FIG. 2, and illustrating a coin in the exit channel with the movable element in that channel in its retracted position;
  • FIG. 15 is the same section shown in FIG. 14 with the movable element in its advanced position;
  • FIG. 16 is an enlarged perspective view of a preferred drive system for the rotatable disc in the system of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a portion of the coin sorter of FIG. 1, showing two of the six coin discharge and bagging stations and certain of the components included in those stations;
  • FIG. 18 is an enlarged section taken generally along line 18-18 in FIG. 17 and showing additional details of one of the coin discharge and bagging station;
  • FIG. 19 is a block diagram of a microprocessor-based control system for use in the coin counting and sorting system of FIGS. 1-18;
  • FIGS. 20A and 20B, combined, form a flow chart of a portion of a program for controlling the operation of the microprocessor included in the control system of FIG. 19;

Turning now to the drawings and referring first to FIG. 1, a hopper 10 receives coins of mixed denominations and feeds them through central openings in an annular sorting head or guide plate 12. As the coins pass through these openings, they are deposited on the top surface of a rotatable disc 13. This disc 13 is mounted for rotation on a stub shaft (not shown) and driven by an electric motor 14. The disc 13 comprises a resilient pad 16, preferably made of a resilient rubber or polymeric material, bonded to the top surface of a solid metal disc 17.

As the disc 13 is rotated, the coins deposited on the top surface thereof tend to slide outwardly over the surface of the pad due to centrifugal force. As the coins move outwardly, those coins which are lying flat on the pad enter the gap between the pad surface and the guide plate 12 because the underside of the inner periphery of this plate is spaced above the pad 16 by a distance which is about the same as the thickness of the thickest coin.

As can be seen most clearly in FIG. 2, the outwardly moving coins initially enter an annular recess 20 formed in the underside of the guide plate 12 and extending around a major portion of the inner periphery of the annular guide plate. The outer wall 21 of the recess 20 extends downwardly to the lowermost surface 22 of the guide plate (see FIG. 3), which is spaced from the top surface of the pad 16 by a distance which is slightly less, e.g., 0,245 mm (0.010 inch), than the thickness of the thinnest coins. Consequently, the initial radial movement of the coins is terminated when they engage the wall 21 of the recess 20, though the coins continue to move circumferentially along the wall 21 by the rotational movement of the pad 16. Overlapping coins which only partially enter the recess 20 are stripped apart by a notch 20a formed in the top surface of the recess 20 along its inner edge (see FIG. 4).

The only portion of the central opening of the guide plate 12 which does not open directly into the recess 20 is that sector of the periphery which is occupied by a land 23 whose lower surface is at the same elevation as the lowermost surface 22 of the guide plate. The upstream end of the land 23 forms a ramp 23a (FIG. 5), which prevents certain coins stacked on top of each other from reaching the ramp 24.

As coins within the recess 20 approach the land 23, those coins move outwardly around the land 23 and engage a ramp 24 leading into a recess 25 which is an outward extension of the inner peripheral recess 20. The recess 25 is preferably just slightly wider than the diameter of the coin denomination having the greatest diameter. The top surface of the major portion of the recess 25 is spaced away from the top of the pad 16 by a distance that is less than the thickness of the thinnest coin so that the coins are gripped between the guide plate 12 and the resilient pad 16 as they are rotated through the recess 25. Thus, coins which move into the recess 25 are all rotated into engagement with the outwardly spiralling inner wall 26, and then continue to move outwardly through the recess 25 with the inner edges of all the coins riding along the spiral wall 26.

As can be seen in FIGS. 6-8, a narrow band 25a of the top surface of the recess 25 adjacent its inner wall 26 is spaced away from the pad 16 by approximately the thickness of the thinnest coin. This ensures that coins of all denominations (but only the upper coin in a stacked or shingled pair) are securely engaged by the wall 26 as it spirals outwardly. The rest of the top surface of the recess 25 tapers downwardly from the band 25a to the outer edge of the recess 25. This taper causes the coins to be tilted slightly as they move through the recess 25, as can be seen in FIGS. 6-8, thereby further ensuring continuous engagement of the coins with the outwardly spiraling wall 26.

Rotation of the pad 16 continues to move the coins along the wall 26 until those coins engage a ramp 27 sloping downwardly from the recess 25 to a region 22a of the lowermost surface 22 of the guide plate 12 (see FIG. 9). Because the surface 22 is located even closer to the pad 16 than the recess, the effect of the ramp 27 is to further depress the coins into the resilient pad 16 as the coins are advanced along the ramp by the rotating disc. This causes the coins to be even more firmly gripped between the guide plate surface region 22a and the resilient pad 16, thereby securely holding the coins in a fixed radial position as they continue to be rotated along the underside of the guide plate by the rotating disc.

As the coins emerge from the ramp 27, the coins enter a referencing and counting recess 30 which still presses all coin denominations firmly against the resilient pad 16. The outer edge of this recess 30 forms an inwardly spiralling wall 31 which engages and precisely positions the outer edges of the coins before the coins reach the exit channels which serve as means for discriminating among coins of different denominations according to their different diameters.

The inwardly spiralling wall 31 reduces the spacing between successive coins, but only to a minor extent so that successive coins remain spaced apart. The inward spiral closes any spaces between the wall 31 and the outer edges of the coins so that the outer edges of all the coins are eventually located at a common radial position, against the wall 31, regardless of where the outer edges of those coins were located when they initially entered the recess 30.

At the downstream end of the referencing recess 30, a ramp 32 (FIG. 13) slopes downwardly from the top surface of the referencing recess 30 to region 22b of the lowermost surface 22 of the guide plate. Thus, at the downstream end of the ramp 32 the coins are gripped between the guide plate 12 and the resilient pad 16 with the maximum compressive force. This ensures that the coins are held securely in the radial position initially determined by the wall 31 of the referencing recess 30.

Beyond the referencing recess 30, the guide plate 12 forms a series of exit channels 40, 41, 42, 43, 44 and 45 which function as selecting means to discharge coins of different denominations at different circumferential locations around the periphery of the guide plate. Thus, the channels 40-45 are spaced circumferentially around the outer periphery of the plate 12, with the innermost edges of successive pairs of channels located progressively farther away from the common radial location of the outer edges of all coins for receiving and ejecting coins in order of increasing diameter. In the particular embodiment illustrated, the six channels 40-45 are positioned and dimensioned to eject only dimes (channels 40 and 41), nickels (channels 42 and 43) and quarters (channel 44 and 45). The innermost edges of the exit channels 40-45 are positioned so that the inner edge of a coin of only one particular denomination can enter each channel; the coins of all other denominations reaching a given exit channel extend inwardly beyond the innermost edge of that particular channel so that those coins cannot enter the channel and, therefore, continue on to the next exit channel.

The cross-sectional profile of the exit channels 40-45 is shown most clearly in FIG. 14, which is a section through the dime channel 40. Of course, the cross-sectional configurations of all the exit channels are similar; they vary only in their widths and their circumferential and radial positions. The width of the deepest portion of each exit channel is smaller than the diameter of the coin to be received and ejected by that particular exit channel, and the stepped surface of the guide plate adjacent the radially outer edge of each exit channel presses the outer portions of the coins received by that channel into the resilient pad so that the inner edges of those coins are tilted upwardly into the channel (see FIG. 14). The exit channels extend outwardly to the periphery of the guide plate so that the inner edges of the channels guide the tilted coins outwardly and eventually eject those coins from between the guide plate 12 and the resilient pad 16.

As coins are discharged from the six exit channels 40-45, the coins are guided down toward six corresponding bag stations BS by six arcuate guide channels 50, as shown in FIGS. 17 and 18. Only two of the six bag stations BS are illustrated in FIG. 17, and one of the stations is illustrated in FIG. 18.

As the coins leave the lower ends of the guide channels 50, they enter corresponding cylindrical guide tubes 51 which are part of the bag stations BS. The lower ends of these tubes 51 flare outwardly to accommodate conventional clamping-ring arrangements for mounting coin bags B directly beneath the tubes 51 to receive coins therefrom.

As can be seen in FIG. 18, each clamping-ring arrangement includes a support bracket 71 below which the corresponding coin guide tube 51 is supported in such a way that the inlet to the guide tube is aligned with the outlet of the corresponding guide channel. A clamping ring 72 having a diameter which is slightly larger than the diameter of the upper portions of the guide tubes 51 is slidably disposed on each guide tube. This permits a coin bag B to be releasably fastened to the guide tube 51 by positioning the mouth of the bag over the flared end of the tube and then sliding the clamping ring down until it fits tightly around the bag on the flared portion of the tube, as illustrated in FIG. 18. Releasing the coin bag merely requires the clamping ring to be pushed upwardly onto the cylindrical section of the guide tube. The clamping ring is preferably made of steel, and a plurality of magnets 73 are disposed on the underside of the support bracket 71 to hold the ring 72 in its released position while a full coin bag is being replaced with an empty bag.

Each clamping-ring arrangement is also provided with a bag interlock switch for indicating the presence or absence of a coin bag at each bag station. In the illustrative embodiment, a magnetic reed switch 74 of the "normally-closed" type is disposed beneath the bracket 71 of each clamping-ring arrangement. The switch 74 is adapted to be activated when the corresponding clamping ring 72 contacts the magnets 73 and thereby conducts the magnetic field generated by the magnets 73 into the vicinity of the switch 74. This normally occurs when a previously clamped full coin bag is released and has not yet been replaced with an empty coin bag. A similar mechanism is provided for each of the other bag stations BS.

As described above, two different exit channels are provided for each coin denomination. Consequently, each coin denomination can be discharged at either of two different locations around the periphery of the guide plate 12, i.e., at the outer ends of the channels 40 and 41 for the dimes, at the outer ends of the channels 43 and 44 for the nickels, and at the outer ends of the channels 45 and 46 for the quarters. In order to select one of the two exit channels available for each denomination, a controllably actuatable shunting device is associated with the first of each of the three pairs of similar exit channels 40-41, 42-43 and 44-45. When one of these shunting devices is actuated, it shunts coins of the corresponding denomination from the first to the second of the two exit channels provided for that particular denomination.

Turning first to the pair of exit channels 40 and 41 provided for the dimes, a vertically movable bridge 80 is positioned adjacent the inner edge of the first channel 40, at the entry end of that channel. This bridge 80 is normally held in its raised, retracted position by means of a spring 81 (FIG. 14), as will be described in more detail below. When the bridge 80 is in this raised position, the bottom of the bridge is flush with the top wall of the channel 40, as shown in FIG. 14, so that dimes D enter the channel 40 and are discharged through that channel in the normal manner.

When it is desired to shunt dimes past the first exit channel 40 to the second exit channel 41, a solenoid SD (FIGS. 14, 15 and 19) is energized to overcome the force of the spring 81 and lower the bridge 80 to its advanced position. In this lowered position, shown in FIG. 15, the bottom of the bridge 80 is flush with the lowermost surface 22b of the guide plate 12, which has the effect of preventing dimes D from entering the exit channel 40. Consequently, the quarters are rotated past the exit channel 40 by the rotating disc, sliding across the bridge 80, and enter the second exit channel 41.

To ensure that precisely the desired number of dimes are discharged through the exit channel 40, the bridge 80 must be interposed between the last dime for any prescribed batch and the next successive dime (which is normally the first dime for the next batch). To facilitate such interposition of the bridge 80 between two successive dimes, the dimension of the bridge 80 in the direction of coin movement is relatively short, and the bridge is located along the edges of the coins, where the space between successive coins is at a maximum. The fact that the exit channel 40 is narrower than the coins also helps ensure that the outer edge of a coin will not enter the exit channel while the bridge is being moved from its retracted position to its advanced position. In fact, with the illustrative design, the bridge 80 can be advanced after a dime has already partially entered the exit channel 40, overlapping all or part of the bridge, and the bridge will still shunt that dime to the next exit channel 41.

Vertically movable bridges 90 and 100 (FIG. 2) located in the first exit channels 42 and 44 for the nickels and quarters, respectively, operate in the same manner as the bridge 80. Thus, the nickel bridge 90 is located along the inner edge of the first nickel exit channel 42, at the entry end of that exit channel. The bridge 90 is normally held in its raised, retracted position by means of a spring. In this raised position the bottom of the bridge 90 is flush with the top wall of the exit channel 42, so that nickels enter the channel 42 and are discharged through that channel. When it is desired to divert nickels to the second exit channel 43, a solenoid SN (FIG. 19) is energized to overcome the force of the spring and lower the bridge 90 to its advanced position, where the bottom of the bridge 60 is flush with the lowermost surface 22b of the guide plate 12. When the bridge 90 is in this advanced position, the bridge prevents any coins from entering the first exit channel 42. Consequently, the nickels slide across the bridge 90, continue on to the second exit channel 43 and are discharged therethrough. The quarter bridge 100 (FIG. 2) and its solenoid SQ (FIG. 19) operate in exactly the same manner. The edges of all the bridges 80, 90 and 100 are preferably chamfered to prevent coins from catching on these edges.

The details of the actuating mechanism for the bridge 80 are illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 15. The bridges 90 and 100 have similar actuating mechanisms, and thus only the mechanism for the bridge 80 will be described. The bridge 80 is mounted on the lower end of a plunger 110 which slides vertically through a guide bushing 111 threaded into a hole bored into the guide plate 12. The bushing 111 is held in place by a locking nut 112. A smaller hole 113 is formed in the lower portion of the plate 12 adjacent the lower end of the bushing 111, to provide access for the bridge 80 into the exit channel 40. The bridge 80 is normally held in its retracted position by the coil spring 81 compressed between the locking nut 112 and a head 114 on the upper end of the plunger 110. The upward force of the spring 81 holds the bridge 80 against the lower end of the bushing 111.

To advance the plunger 110 to its lowered position within the exit channel 40 (FIG. 15), the solenoid coil is energized to push the plunger 110 downwardly with a force sufficient to overcome the upward force of the spring 81. The plunger is held in this advanced position as long as the solenoid coil remains energized, and is returned to its normally raised position by the spring 81 as soon as the solenoid is de-energized.

Solenoids SN and SQ control the bridges 90 and 100 in the same manner described above in connection with the bridge 80 and the solenoid SD.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, each coin denomination is separately counted at a counting station along the lower surface of the guide plate, before the coins are sorted. The counted coins are then sorted at sorting stations spaced circumferentially from the counting station in the direction of coin movement. By counting the various coin denominations prior to sorting, the present invention provides ample time for actuation of a movable control member for affecting the movement of one or more coin denominations at some point between the counting station and the coin-discharge locations. Movement of any given coin from its counting sensor to the point where its movement is affected by the control member can be monitored with a high degree of precision. Thus, movement of the control member can be timed to affect the coin movement, downstream of the counting sensors, to ensure that no coins following the last coin within any desired batch (defined by a prescribed count) are discharged at a selected bag station. Even the response time of the movable control member can be taken into account so that the control member actually moves to affect the coin movement at precisely the desired instant.

In the particular embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 2-15, the control members comprise the shunting bridges 80, 90 and 100, and the coins are counted as they move through the referencing recess 30. As the coins move along the wall 31 of the recess, the outer edges of all coin denominations are at the same radial position at any given angular location along the edge. Consequently, the inner edges of coins of different denominations are offset from each other at any given angular location, due to the different diameters of the coins (see FIG. 2). These offset inner edges of the coins are used to separately count each coin before it leaves the referencing recess 30.

As can be seen in FIGS.2 and 10-12, three coin sensors S&sub1;, S&sub2; and S&sub3; in the form of insulated electrical contact pins are mounted in the upper surface of the recess 30. The outermost sensor S&sub1; is positioned so that it is contacted by all three coin denominations, the middle sensor S&sub2; is positioned so that it is contacted only by the nickels and quarters, and the innermost sensor S&sub3; is positioned so that it is contacted only by the quarters. An electrical voltage is applied to each sensor so that when a coin contacts the pin and bridges across its insulation, the voltage source is connected to ground via the coin and the metal head surrounding the insulated sensor. The grounding of the sensor during the time interval when it is contacted by the coin generates an electrical pulse which is detected by a counting system connected to the sensor. The pulses produced by coins contacting the three sensors S&sub1;, S&sub2; and S&sub3; will be referred to herein as pulses P&sub1;, P&sub2; and P&sub3;, respectively, and the accumulated counts of those pulses in the counting system will be referred to as counts C&sub1;, C&sub2; and C&sub3;, respectively.

As a coin traverses one of the sensors, intermittent contact can occur between the coin and the sensor because of the contour of the coin surface. Consequently, the output signal from the sensor can consist of a series of short pulses rather than a single wide pulse, which is a common problem referred to as "contact bounce." This problem can be overcome by simply detecting the first pulse and then ignoring subsequent pulses during the time interval required for one coin to cross the sensor. Thus, only one pulse is detected for each coin that contacts the sensor.

The outer sensor S&sub1; contacts all three coin denominations, so the actual dime count CD is determined by subtracting C&sub2; (the combined quarter and nickel count) from C&sub1; (the combined count of quarters, nickels and dimes). The middle sensor S&sub2;, contacts both the quarters and the nickels, so the actual nickel count CN is determined by subtracting C&sub3; (the quarter count) from C&sub2; (the combined quarter and nickel count). Because the innermost sensor S&sub3; contacts only quarters, the count C&sub3; is the actual quarter count CQ.

Another counting technique uses the combination of (1) the presence of a pulse P&sub1; from the sensor S&sub1; and (2) the absence of a pulse P&sub2; from the sensor S&sub2; to detect the presence of a dime. A nickel is detected by the combination of (1) the presence of a pulse P&sub2; from the sensor S&sub2; and (2) the absence of a pulse P&sub3; from sensor S&sub3;, and a quarter is detected by the presence of a pulse P&sub3; from the sensor S&sub3;. The presence or absence of the respective pulses can be detected by a simple logic routine which can be executed by either hardware or software.

To permit the simultaneous counting of prescribed batches of coins of each denomination using the first counting technique described above, i.e., the subtraction algorithm, counts C&sub2; and C&sub3; must be simultaneously accumulated over two different time periods. For example, count C&sub3; is the actual quarter count CQ, which normally has its own operator-selected limit CQMAX. While the quarter count CQ (= C&sub3;) is accumulating toward its own limit CQMAX, however, the nickel count CN (= C&sub2; - C&sub3;) might reach its limit CNMAX and be reset to zero to start the counting of another batch of nickels. For accurate computation of CN following its reset to zero, the count C&sub3; must also be reset at the same time. The count C&sub3;, however, is still needed for the ongoing count of quarters; thus the pulses P&sub3; are supplied to a second counter C'&sub3; which counts the same pulses P&sub3; that are counted by the first counter C&sub3; but is reset each time the counter C&sub2; is reset. Thus, the two counters C&sub3; and C'&sub3; count the same pulses P&sub3;, but can be reset to zero at different times.

The same problem addressed above also exists when the count C&sub1; is reset to zero, which occurs each time the dime count CD reaches its limit CMAX. That is, the count C&sub2; is needed to compute both the dime count CD and the nickel count CN, which are usually reset at different times. Thus, the pulses P&sub2; are supplied to two different counters C&sub2; ad C'&sub2;. The first counter C&sub2; is reset to zero only when the nickel count CN reaches its CNMAX, and the second counter is reset to zero each time C&sub1; is reset to zero when CD reaches its limit CDMAX.

Whenever one of the counts CD, CN or CQ reaches its limit, a control signal is generated to initiate a bag-switching or bag-stop function.

For the bag-switching function, the control signal is used to actuate the movable shunt within the first of the two exit channels provided for the appropriate coin denomination. This enables the coin sorter to operate continuously (assuming that each full coin bag is replaced with an empty bag before the second bag for that same denomination is filled) because there is no need to stop the sorter either to remove full bags or to remove excess coins from the bags.

For a bag-stop function, the control signal preferably stops the drive for the rotating disc and at the same time actuates a brake for the disc. The disc drive can be stopped either by de-energizing the drive motor or by actuating a clutch which de-couples the drive motor from the disc. An alternative bag-stop system uses a movable diverter within a coin-recycling slot located between the counting sensors and the exit channels. Such a recycling diverter is described, for example, in U.S. Patent No. 4,564,036 issued January 14, 1986, for "Coin Sorting System With Controllable Stop."

Referring now to FIG. 19, there is shown an upper level block diagram of an illustrative microprocessor-based control system 200 for controlling the operation of a coin sorter incorporating the counting and sorting system of this invention. The control system 200 includes a central processor unit (CPU) 201 for monitoring and regulating the various parameters involved in the coin sorting/counting and bag-stopping and switching operations. The CPU 201 accepts signals from (1) the bag-interlock switches 74 which provide indications of the positions of the bagclamping rings 72 which are used to secure coin bags B to the six coin guide tubes 51, to indicate whether or not a bag is available to receive each coin denomination, (2) the three coin sensors S&sub1;-S&sub3;, (3) an encoder sensor E&sub5; and (4) three coin-tracking counters CTCD, CTCN and CTCQ. The CPU 201 produces output signals to control the three shunt solenoids SD, SN and SQ, the main drive motor M&sub1;, an auxiliary drive motor M&sub2;, a brake B and the three coin-tracking counters.

A drive system for the rotating disc, for use in conjunction with the control system of FIG. 19, is illustrated in FIG. 16. The disc is normally driven by a main a-c. drive motor M&sub1; which is coupled directly to the coin-carrying disc 13 through a speed reducer 210. To stop the disc 13, a brake B is actuated at the same time the main motor M&sub1; is de-energized. To permit precise monitoring of the angular movement of the disc 13, the outer peripheral surface of the disc carries an encoder in the form of a large number of uniformly spaced indicia 211 (either optical or magnetic) which can be sensed by an encoder sensor 212. In the particular example illustrated, the disc has 720 indicia 211 so that the sensor 212 produces an output pulse for every 0.5° of movement of the disc 13.

The pulses from the encoder sensor 212 are supplied to the three coin-tracking down counters CTDD, CTCN and CTCQ for separately monitoring the movement of each of the three coin denominations between fixed points on the sorting head. The outputs of these three counters CTCD, CTCN and CTCQ can then be used to separately control the actuation of the bag-switching bridges 80, 90 and 100 and/or the drive system. For example, when the last dime in a prescribed batch has been detected by the sensors S&sub1;-S&sub3;, the dimetracking counter CTCD is preset to count the movement of a predetermined number of the indicia 211 on the disc periphery past the encoder sensor 212. This is a way of measuring the movement of the last dime through an angular displacement that brings that last dime to a position where the bag-switching bridge 80 should be actuated to interpose the bridge between the last dime and the next successive dime.

In the sorting head of FIG. 2, a dime must traverse an angle of 20° to move from the position where it has just cleared the last counting sensor S&sub1; to the position where it has just cleared the bag-switching bridge 80. At a disc speed of 250 rpm, the disc turns -- and the coin moves -- at a rate of 1.5° per millisecond. A typical response time for the solenoid that moves the bridge 80 is 6 milliseconds (4 degrees of disc movement), so the control signal to actuate the solenoid should be transmitted when the last dime is 4 degrees from its bridge-clearing position. In the case where the encoder has 720 indicia around the circumference of the disc, the encoder sensor produces a pulse for ever 0.5° of disc movement. Thus the coin-tracking counter CTCD for the dime is preset to 32 when the last dime is sensed, so that the counter CTCD counts down to zero, and generates the required control signal, when the dime has advanced 16° beyond the last sensor S&sub1;. This ensures that the bridge 80 will be moved just after it has been cleared by the last dime, so that the bridge 80 will be interposed between that last dime and the next successive dime.

In order to expand the time interval available for any of the bag-switching bridges to be interposed between the last coin in a prescribed batch and the next successive coin of that same denomination, control means may be provided for reducing the speed of the rotating disc 13 as the last coin in a prescribed batch is approaching the bridge. Reducing the speed of the rotating disc in this brief time interval has little effect on the overall throughput of the system, and yet it significantly increases the time interval available between the instant when the trailing edge of the last coin clears the bridge and the instant when the leading edge of the next successive coin reaches the bridge. Consequently, the timing of the interposing movement of the bridge relative to the coin flow past the bridge becomes less critical and, therefore, it becomes easier to implement and more reliable in operation.

Reducing the speed of the rotating disc is preferably accomplished by reducing the speed of the motor which drives the disc. Alternatively, this speed reduction can be achieved by actuation of a brake for the rotating disc, or by a combination of brake actuation and speed reduction of the drive motor.

One example of a drive system for controllably reducing the speed of the disc 13 is illustrated in FIG. 16. This system includes an auxiliary d-c. motor M&sub2; connected to the drive shaft of the main drive motor M&sub1; through a timing belt 213 and an overrun clutch 214. The speed of the auxiliary motor M&sub2; is controlled by a drive control circuit 215 through a current sensor 216 which continuously monitors the armature current supplied to the auxiliary motor M&sub2;. When the main drive motor M&sub1; is de-energized, the auxiliary d-c. motor M&sub2; can be quickly accelerated to its normal speed while the main motor M&sub1; is decelerating. The output shaft of the auxiliary motor turns a gear which is connected to a larger gear through the timing belt 213, thereby forming a speed reducer for the output of the auxiliary motor M&sub2;. The overrun clutch 214 is engaged only when the auxiliary motor M&sub2; is energized, and serves to prevent the rotational speed of the disc 13 from decreasing below a predetermined level while the disc is being driven by the auxiliary motor.

Returning to FIG. 19, when the prescribed number of coins of a prescribed denomination has been counted for a given coin batch, the controller 201 produces control signals which energize the brake B and the auxiliary motor M&sub2; and de-energize the main motor M&sub1;. The auxiliary motor M&sub2; rapidly accelerates to its normal speed, while the main motor M&sub1; decelerates. When the speed of the main motor is reduced to the speed of the overrun clutch 214 driven by the auxiliary motor, the brake overrides the output of the auxiliary motor, thereby causing the armature current of the auxiliary motor to increase rapidly. When this armature current exceeds a preset level, it initiates de-actuation of the brake, which is then disengaged after a short time delay. After the brake is disengaged, the armature current of the auxiliary motor drops rapidly to a normal level needed to sustain the normal speed of the auxiliary motor. The disc then continues to be driven by the auxiliary motor alone, at a reduced rotational speed, until the encoder sensor 212 indicates that the last coin in the batch has passed the position where that coin has cleared the bag-switching bridge in the first exit slot for that particular denomination. At this point the main drive rotor is re-energized, and the auxiliary motor is de-energized.

Referring now to FIG. 20, there is shown a flow chart 220 illustrating the sequence of operations involved in utilizing the bag-switching system of the illustrative sorter of FIG. 1 in conjunction with the microprocessor-based system discussed above with respect to FIG. 19.

The subroutine illustrated in FIG. 20 is executed multiple times in every millisecond. Any given coin moves past the coin sensors at a rate of about 1.5° per millisecond. Thus, several milliseconds are required for each coin to traverse the sensors, and so the subroutine of FIG. 20 is executed several times during the sensor-traversing movement of each coin.

The first six steps 300-305 in the subroutine of FIG. 20 determine whether the interrupt controller has received any pulses from the three sensors S&sub1;-S&sub3;. If the answer is affirmative for any of the three sensors, the corresponding count C&sub1;, C&sub2;, C'&sub2;, C&sub3; and C'&sub3; is incremented by one. Then at step 306 the actual dime count CD is computed by subtracting count C'&sub2; from C&sub1;. The resulting value CD is then compared with the current selected limit value CDMAX at step 307 to determine whether the selected number of dimes has passed the sensors. If the answer is negative, the subroutine advances to step 308 where the actual nickel count CN is computed by subtracting count C'&sub3; from C&sub2;. The resulting value CN is then compared with the selected nickel limit value CNMAX at step 309 to determine whether the selected number of nickels has passed the sensors. A negative answer at step 309 advances the program to step 310 where the quarter count CQ (=C&sub3;) is compared with CDMAX to determine whether the selected number of quarters has been counted.

When one of the actual counts CD, CN or CQ reaches the corresponding limit CDMAX, CNMAX or CQMAC, an affirmative answer is produced at step 311, 312 or 313.

An affirmative answer at step 311 indicates that the selected number of dimes has been counted, and thus the bridge 80 in the first exit slot 40 for the dime must be actuated so that it diverts all dimes following the last dime in the completed batch. To determine when the last dime has reached the predetermined position where it is desired to transmit the control signal that initiates actuation of the solenoid SD, step 311 presets the coin-tracking counter CTCD to a value PD. The counter CTCD then counts down from PD in response to successive pulses from the encoder sensor ES as the last dime is moved from the last sensor S&sub3; toward the bridge 80. To control the speed of the dime so that it is moving at a known constant speed during the time interval when the solenoid SD is being actuated, step 314 turns off the main drive motor M1 and turns on the auxiliary d-c. drive motor M2 and the brake B. This initiates the sequence of operations described above, in which the brake B is engaged while the main drive motor M1 is decelerating and then disengaged while the auxiliary motor M2 drives the disc 13 so that the last dime is moving at a controlled constant speed as it approaches and passes the bridge 80.

To determine whether the solenoid SD must be energized or de-energized, step 315 of the subroutine determines whether the solenoid SD is already energized. An affirmative response at step 315 indicates that it is bag B that contains the preset number of coins, and thus the system proceeds to step 316 to determine whether bag A is available. If the answer is negative, indicating that bag A is not available, then there is no bag available for receiving dimes and the sorter must be stopped. Accordingly, the system proceeds to step 317 where the auxiliary motor M2 is turned off and the brake B is turned on to stop the disc 13 after the last dime is discharged into bag B. The sorter cannot be re-started again until the bag-interlock switches for the dime bags indicate that the full bag has been removed and replaced with an empty bag.

An affirmative answer at step 316 indicates that bag A is available, and thus the system proceeds to step 318 to determine whether the coin-tracking counter CTCD has reached zero, i.e., whether the OVFLD signal is on. The system reiterates this query until OVFLD is on, and then advances to step 319 to generate a control signal to de-energize the solenoid SD so that the bridge 80 is moved to its retracted (upper) position. This causes all the dimes for the next coin batch to enter the first exit channel 40 so that they are discharged into bag A.

A negative answer at step 315 indicates the full bag is bag A rather than bag B, and thus the system proceeds to step 320 to determine whether bag B is available. If the answer is negative, it means that neither bag A nor bag B is available to receive the dimes, and thus the sorter is stopped by advancing to step 317. An affirmative answer at step 320 indicates that bag B is, in fact, available, and thus the system proceeds to step 321 to determine when the solenoid SD is to be energized, in the same manner described above for step 318. Energizing the solenoid SD causes the bridge 80 to be advanced to its lower position so that all the dimes for the next batch are shunted past the first exit channel 40 to the second exit channel 41. The control signal for energizing the solenoid is generated at step 321 when step 320 detects that OVFLD is on.

Each time the solenoid SD is either energized at step 322 or de-energized at step 319, the subroutine resets the counters C&sub1; and C'&sub2; at step 323, and turns off the auxiliary motor M2 and the brake B and turns on the main drive motor M1 at step 324. This initializes the dime-counting portion of the system to begin the counting of a new batch of dimes.


Anspruch[de]
  1. Verfahren zum Zählen und Sortieren von Münzen verschiedener Wertigkeit oder Sorten in einem Münzsortierer vom Scheibentyp mit einer drehbaren Scheibe (13; 16; 17), welche eine elastische Oberfläche zur Aufnahme der Münzen und zum Übertragen einer Drehbewegung auf die Münzen aufweist, und mit einem stationären Sortierkopf (12), welcher eine profilierte Fläche etwas beabstandet und im allgemeinen parallel zur elastischen Oberfläche der drehbaren Scheibe (13; 16, 17) aufweist, wobei die Scheibe unterhalb des Sortierkopfes (12) während des Zuführens von Münzen zwischen Scheibe und Sortierkopf rotiert, wobei das Verfahren durch die folgenden Schritte gekennzeichnet ist:
    • i) Zählen einer jeden Münzensorte getrennt an einer Zählstation (30; S1, S2, S3) entlang einer Unterseite des Sortierkopfes (12);
    • ii) Sortieren der gezählten Münzen an Sortierstationen (80, 90, 100), welche in Umfangsrichtung beabstandet zu der Zählstation (30, S1, S2, S3) angeordnet sind;
    • iii) Austragen der sortierten Münzen an unterschiedlichen Abgabestationen (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45) entlang des Umfangs des Sortierkopfes (12);
    • iv) Überwachen der Drehbewegung der Scheibe nach Abzählen einer vorgeschriebenen Anzahl von Münzen zur Bestimmung, wann die letzte Münze bei dieser Zählung von der Zählstation (30, S1, S2, S3) zu einer in Umfangsrichtung beabstandenten, vorbestimmten Position in Richtung einer Münzbewegung bewegt wurde.
  2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet,

    daß die Sortierstationen (80, 90, 100) von der Zählstation (30, S1, S2, S3) in Münzbewegungsrichtung beabstandet sind.
  3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1 oder 2,

    gekennzeichnet durch

    den zusätzlichen Schritt des Unterbrechens des Austragens der Münzen einer vorbestimmten Sorte bei der Abgabestation (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45), an welcher die vorbestimmte Anzahl von Münzen ausgetragen wurde, wenn die Überwachung der Drehbewegung der Scheibe anzeigt, daß die letzte Münze abgegeben wurde.
  4. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1 oder 2,

    gekennzeichnet durch

    den zusätzlichen Schritt der Änderung des Weges der gezählten Münzen bei einer Wegänderungsstation (80, 90, 100), welche in Münzbewegungsrichtung beabstandet zur Zählstation angeordnet ist, so daß das Austragen der Münzen an einer vorbestimmten Abgabestation (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45) nach Austragen der vorgeschriebenen Anzahl von Münzen bei dieser Ausgabestation unterbrochen wird.
  5. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1 oder 2,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet,

    daß die Münzen entlang der Zählstation (30; S1, S2, S3) mit einer Kante aller Münzen entlang eines gemeinsamen Weges bewegt werden, so daß die gegenüberliegenden Kanten der Münzen unterschiedlicher Sorten versetzt zueinander sind, wobei ein Signal erzeugt wird, das jeder Münze entspricht, die an jedem einer Vielzahl von Abtastelementen (S1, S2, S3) vorbeigeführt wurde, welche zwischen den gegenüberliegenden Kanten eines jedes aufeinanderfolgenden Paares von Münzen mit zunehmendem Durchmesser angeordnet sind, und anschließend Weiterverarbeiten der Signale zur Bestimmung der Anzahl von Münzen eines jeden unterschiedlichen Durchmessers, die an den Abtastelementen vorbeigeführt wurden.
  6. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1 oder 2,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet,

    daß der Sortierkopf (12) die Münzen in die elastische Oberfläche der drehbaren Scheibe (13; 16, 17) drückt, während die Münzen entlang der Zählstation (30, S1, S2, S3) bewegt werden, so daß die elastische Oberfläche die Münzen in festen Eingriff mit der Zählstation bringt.
  7. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1 oder 2,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet,

    daß die Zählungen wenigstens von bestimmten Münzensorten über verschiedene Zeiträume gleichzeitig summiert werden, so daß die aufsummierten Zählungen in diesen unterschiedlichen Zeiträumen zur Bestimmung der Zählungen unterschiedlicher Münzsorten in den unterschiedlichen Zeitperioden verwendet werden können.
  8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1 oder 2,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet,

    daß die Drehbewegung der Scheibe (13; 16, 17) bei Austragen der letzten der vorgeschriebenen Anzahl von Münzen angehalten wird.
  9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1 oder 2,

    gekennzeichnet durch

    den weiteren Schritt der Reduzierung der Geschwindigkeit der Scheibe (13; 16, 17) vor Austragen der letzten Münze von vorgeschriebener Anzahl.
Anspruch[en]
  1. A method of counting and sorting coins of mixed denominations in a disc-type coin sorter having a rotatable disc (13; 16, 17) with a resilient surface for receiving said coins and imparting rotational movement to said coins, and a stationary sorting head (12) having a contoured surface spaced slightly away from and generally parallel to said resilient surface of said rotatable disc (13; 16, 17), whereby said disc is rotated beneath said sorting head (12) while feeding coins between said disk and sorting head, said method characterized by the following steps:
    • i) Counting each coin denomination separately at a counting station (30; S1, S2, S3) along the lower surface of said sorting head (12);
    • ii) Sorting the counted coins at sorting stations (80, 90, 100) spaced circumferentially from said counting station (30, S1, S2, S3);
    • iii) Discharging the sorted coins at different exit stations (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45) around the periphery of said sorting head (12); and
    • iv) Monitoring the angular movement of said disc after a prescribed number of coins has been counted, to determine when the last coin in said count has been moved to a predetermined location spaced circumferentially from said counting station (30; S1, S2, S3) in the direction of a coin movement.
  2. The method according to claim 1, characterized in that the sorting station (80, 90, 100) are spaced from said counting station (30, S1, S2, S3) in the direction of coin movement.
  3. The method of claim 1 or 2 which includes the step of interrupting the discharge of coins of a prescribed denomination at the exit station (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45) where said prescribed number of coins are discharged when said monitoring of the angular movement of said disc indicates that said last coin has been exited.
  4. The method of claim 1 or 2 which includes the step of altering the path of the counted coins at a path-altering station (80, 90, 100) spaced from said counting station in the direction of coin movement, so that the discharge of coins at a given exit station (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45) is interrupted after the discharge of said prescribed number of coins at said exit station.
  5. The method of claim 1 or 2 wherein said coins are moved along said counting station (30; 51, 52, 53) with one edge of all coins following a common path so that the opposed edges of coins of different denominations are offset from each other, producing a signal representing each coin that passes each of a plurality of sensing elements (51, 52, 53) located between said opposed edges of each successive pair of coins of progressively different diameters, and processing said signals to determine the number of coins of each different diameter that pass said sensing elements.
  6. The method of claim 1 or 2 wherein said sorting head (12) presses said coins into said resilient surface of the rotatable disc (13; 16, 17) while said coins are moved along said counting station (30; 51, 52, 53) so that said resilient surface urges the coins into firm engagement with said counting station.
  7. The method of claim 1 or 2 wherein the counts of at least certain coin denominations are simultaneously accumulated over different time periods so that the counts accumulated in said different time periods can be used to determine the counts of different coin denominations in said different time periods.
  8. The method of claim 1 or 2 wherein the angular movement of said disc (13; 16, 17) is stopped when the last of said prescribed number of coins is discharged.
  9. The method of claim 1 or 2 which includes the step of reducing the speed of said disc (13; 16, 17) prior to the discharge of the last coin in said prescribed number.
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Un procédé de comptage et de triage de pièces de monnaie de sortes diverses, dans un trieur à pièces de monnaie de genre à disque, ayant un disque tournant (13; 16, 17) ayant une surface élastique destinée à recevoir lesdites pièces de monnaie et à conférer un mouvement de rotation auxdites pièces, et une tête de triage (12) stationnaire ayant une surface profilée espacée légèrement de ladite surface élastique dudit disque tournant (13; 16, 17) et parallèle à elle, de manière que ledit disque tournant soit entraîné en rotation sous ladite tête de triage (12) tout en fournissant les pièces de monnaie entre ledit disque et la tête de triage, ledit procédé étant caractérisé par les étapes ci-après :
    • i) comptage de chaque sorte de pièces de monnaie séparément sur un poste de comptage (30; S1, S2, S3) sur la surface inférieure de ladite tête de triage (12);
    • ii) triage desdites pièces de monnaie comptées sur les postes de triage (80, 90, 100), espacés circonférentiellement dudit poste de comptage (30, S1, S2, S3);
    • iii) évacuation des pièces de monnaie triées en différents postes de sortie (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45) autour de la périphérie de ladite tête de triage (12); et
    • iv) surveillance du déplacement angulaire dudit disque après qu'un nombre prédéterminé de pièces de monnaie a été compté, afin de déterminer quand la dernière pièce de monnaie dans le comptage a été déplacée en un emplacement prédéterminé, espacé circonférentiellement dudit poste de comptage (30; S1, S2, S3) dans une direction de déplacement des pièces.
  2. Le procédé selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que les postes de triage (80, 90, 100) sont espacés dudit poste de comptage (30, S1, S2, S3), dans la direction de déplacement des pièces.
  3. Le procédé selon la revendication 1 ou 2, comprenant l'étape consistant à interrompre l'évacuation des pièces de monnaie d'une sorte prédéterminée sur le poste de sortie (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45), lorsque ledit nombre déterminé de pièces de monnaie est évacué, lorsque ladite surveillance du déplacement angulaire dudit disque indique que ladite dernière pièce de monnaie est sortie.
  4. Le procédé selon la revendication 1 ou 2, comprenant l'étape consistant à modifier le chemin des pièces de monnaie comptées sur un poste de modification de trajectoire (80, 90, 100) espacé dudit poste de comptage, dans la direction du déplacement de pièces de monnaie, de manière que l'évacuation des pièces en un poste de sortie (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45) donné soit interrompue après l'évacuation dudit nombre prédéterminé de pièces de monnaie audit poste de sortie.
  5. Le procédé selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel lesdites pièces de monnaie sont déplacées sur ledit poste de comptage (30; S1, S2, S3), un bord de toutes les pièces de monnaie suivant un chemin commun, de manière que les bords opposés des pièces de monnaie de différentes sortes soient décalés les uns des autres, produisant un signal représentatif de chaque pièce de monnaie passant devant chacun d'une pluralité d'éléments de détection (S, S2, S3) placés entre lesdits bords opposés de chaque paire successive de pièces de monnaie ayant des diamètres différents et en progression, et traitement desdits signaux afin de déterminer le nombre de pièces de monnaie de chaque diamètre différent passant devant lesdits éléments de détection.
  6. Le procédé selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel ladite tête de triage (12) presse lesdites pièces de monnaie dans ladite surface élastique du disque tournant (13; 16, 17) pendant que lesdites pièces sont déplacées sur ledit poste de comptage (30; S1, S2, S3), de manière que ladite surface élastique presse les pièces de monnaie en contact ferme avec ledit poste de comptage.
  7. Le procédé selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel les comptages d'au moins certaines sortes de pièces font l'objet d'une accumulation simultanée pendant différentes périodes de temps, de manière que les comptages accumulés lors des différentes périodes de temps puissent être utilisés pour déterminer le comptage des différentes sortes de pièces dans lesdites différentes périodes de temps.
  8. Le procédé selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel le déplacement angulaire dudit disque (13; 16, 17) est stoppé lorsque la dernière pièce de monnaie parmi le nombre prédéterminé a été évacuée.
  9. Le procédé selon la revendication 1 ou 2, comprenant l'étape de réduction de la vitesse dudit disque (13; 16, 17) avant l'évacuation de la dernière pièce de monnaie du nombre prédéterminé.






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G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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