Title:
CENTRIFUGAL COIN SORTER
United States Patent 3795252


Abstract:
A whirling horizontal disc receives bulk coins of random denomination, near its center, and centrifugal force causes the coins to slide outwardly on the disc. A stationary shear ring lets only a single layer of coins move under it into the entrance ends of radial channels on the disc where they are arrested against an annular barrier shoulder. A single stationary cam adjacent the shoulder lifts an edge of only one coin in each channel entrance to clear the shoulder and permits only one coin to enter each channel by centrifugal force at each revolution of the disc. The channels define outwardly tapered coin paths so that the coins will be stopped at radial positions determined by their diameter or denomination and they are then discharged at a fixed station where coins of the same denomination are counted and accumulated in a receiver until a predetermined number have been accumulated. A gate then deflects coins of that denomination to a second receiver and the counting process is repeated. Means are provided for preventing centrifugal and other forces acting on the coins at said shoulder to cause them to pile up upon each other.



Inventors:
BLACK T
Application Number:
05/307808
Publication Date:
03/05/1974
Filing Date:
11/20/1972
Assignee:
WESTERMANN W,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
453/32
International Classes:
G07D3/02; (IPC1-7): G07D3/06
Field of Search:
133/3,3A 209
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
2109658Coin sorting machine1938-03-01Zierick
1979659Coin sorting machine1934-11-06Zierick



Primary Examiner:
Tollberg, Stanley H.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bacon & Thomas
Claims:
I claim

1. A centrifugal coin sorting machine comprising:

2. A machine as defined in claim 1 wherein said directing means comprises a generally circular hopper having a discharge opening substantially concentric to said axis and a generally conical deflector mounted centrally on said disc with its apex directly upwardly into said discharge opening.

3. A centrifugal coin sorting machine comprising:

4. A centrifugal coin sorting machine comprising:

5. A machine as defined in claim 4 wherein said transfer means comprises barrier means having an annular inwardly facing shoulder extending upwardly above the upper surface of the central portion of said disc, defining the boundary between said outer annular potion and said central portion of said disc, whereby said barrier means arrests outward movement of coins on said central portion of said disc; and at least one stationary cam adjacent said barrier means, on the inner side thereof, and arranged to engage and lift the outer edge of a coin bearing against said shoulder, as said disc rotates, to an elevation above said shoulder so that centrifugal force causes said coin to move over said barrier to said outer annular portion of said disc and thus transfer coins at said cam to said outer annular portion in single coin sequence.

6. A machine as defined in claim 5 including means for selectively moving said cam out of the path of coins on said disc to thereby prevent transfer of coins to said outer annular portion of said disc.

7. A machine as defined in claim 5 including upwardly yieldable means on said disc, closely above the upper surfaces of coins engaging said barrier means to prevent centrifugal force from causing coins adjacent said barrier means to rise and rest one upon another at said barrier means.

8. A machine as defined in claim 7 wherein said yieldable means comprise freely movable elongated weighted bodies extending generally tangentially of said axis, guide means on said disc guiding said bodies for generally vertical movement, and means limiting downward movement of said bodies to positions spaced upwardly from said disc.

9. A machine as defined in claim 5 wherein said channels are formed in the bottom face of said outer annular portion of said disc and extend over said barrier means to said central portion of said disc, the portions of said channels inwardly of said barrier means being of a width to permit only a single coin therein, of any denomination, to engage said shoulder of said barrier means.

10. A machine as defined in claim 4 wherein said outer annular portion of said disc is an annular member arranged with its lower surface abutting the upper surface of the outer edge portion of said central portion and secured thereto, said channels opening downwardly through said lower surface;

11. A centrifugal coin sorting machine comprising:

12. A machine as defined in claim 11 wherein said deflector fingers each include guide means for directing said deflected coins along a predetermined discharge path, in predetermined orientation, to an accumulating receiver; and counting means for counting coins moving along said predetermined path.

13. A machine as defined in claim 12 including a second accumulating receiver adjacent each of said first-named receivers, and movable gate means on said base structure adjacent said predetermined path, said gate means being movable between a first position wherein discharged coins move therepast to said first-named receiver, and a second position wherein discharged coins are further deflected to said second receiver.

14. A machine as defined in claim 13 including means responsive to achievement of a predetermined count by said counting means for moving said gate means from one of said positions to the other.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention is in the field of coin sorting machines and relates particularly to a high speed coin sorter utilizing centrifugal force to move the coins.

Coin sorters employing revolving discs having radial coin paths thereon have been proposed, wherein the radial coin paths taper from one end to the other and coins placed in the channels reach a position corresponding to their diameter or denomination at a specific radial position. However, such prior devices employed tilted discs where the coins were moved along their paths by gravity and were thus limited to relatively low speeds of operation. There have also been proposed machines wherein coins were caused to move outwardly on a disc by centrifugal force but such prior proposals were subject to malfunctioning by "piling up" of coins and were further limited in their speed of operation to relatively low speeds.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention employs a disc spinning at relatively high speeds and on which coins are deposited near the center thereof to be thrown out in all directions. Means ensure that the coins assume a single layer and they are projected outwardly against an annular shoulder where they are arrested temporarily. A multiplicity of outwardly tapered channels are formed in the disc and a single stationary cam is positioned adjacent the shoulder to engage the outer edge of a coin restrained by the shoulder, at the entrance of the successive channels, as the disc and coins rotate past the cam. The cam lifts the outer edge of the coin to the top of the shoulder and centrifugal force throws it over the shoulder and out into the channel which defines a tapered path for the coin so that the coin is stopped at a radial position depending on its denomination. The channel portion of the disc rotates over a stationary table having openings therein at the different radial positions corresponding to various coin denominations. Fingers in the openings deflect the coins at that radius downwardly to discharge where counting means count the coins of that denomination which are then accumulated in a receiver. When a predetermined number of coins have been accumulated in the receiver, a deflecting gate operates to deflect further coins of that denomination into a second receiver for the accumulation of a second number of coins, thus providing time to replace the receiver in which the first group were accumulated and thus permit continuous operation of the device. The machine includes means responsive to the speed of rotation of the disc to disable the cam referred to so that no coins are permitted past the annular shoulder when the disc is rotating at low speed, as when starting or stopping.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary elevational view of the coin sorting machine of the present invention with certain parts shown in section;

FIG. 2 is a horizontal sectional view taken on the line 2--2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical sectional view, taken on the line 3--3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary horizontal sectional view taken on the line 4--4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical sectional view, taken on the line 5--5 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view, taken on the line 6--6 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary horizontal sectional view, taken on the line 7--7 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a further enlarged fragmentary vertical sectional view, taken on the line 8--8 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 9 is a horizontal sectional view taken on the line 9--9 of FIG. 8; and

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken on the line 10--10 FIG. 8.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring first to FIGS. 1, 3 and 8, a hollow base pedestal 2 has a generally horizontal stationary table 4 mounted thereon. A central boss 6 on table 4 houses anti-friction bearings in which a short shaft 8 is journalled. A motor 10 mounted within the pedestal 2 drives through suitable gearing to an output pulley (not shown) which drives a belt 12 trained about pulley 14 fixed to the lower end of shaft 8. A thrust bearing 15 is mounted between pulley 14 and boss 6. The shaft 8 extends upwardly above the table 4 and has fixed thereto a disc member 16 comprising the central portion of a rotary disc structure. Also fixed to the shaft 8 and disc portion 16 is an upwardly pointed central cone structure 18. Suitable anti-friction bearings 20 support the outer portion of disc member 16 for rotation about the central portion of table 4.

A cover member 22 of the annular shape shown is provided with an outer peripheral flange 24 by which the cover member is positioned with respect to the outer periphery of the table 4 and extends inwardly thereover to a central, downwardly tapered hopper portion 26. Pins 25 (FIG. 8) hold the cover 22 in position on the table 4. The hopper portion 26 terminates at a central discharge opening 28 concentric to the shaft 8 and is removably keyed to a downwardly extending ring 30 by pins (not shown) and thus restrains said ring 30 from rotary motion. The ring 30 is supported by the rotating disc assembly via an anti-friction bearing 34 which is secured to said ring by a clamping ring 32 bolted to it. At its lower end the ring 30 supports an annular ring 36 serving as a shear ring spaced upwardly from the upper surface of disc member 16. The spacing between the ring 36 and the disc 16 is such that the thickest coin to be sorted may pass freely under the ring and such that only one of the thinnest coins to be sorted can pass thereunder. Thus, coins may pass under ring 36 in only a single layer of coins.

An outer disc member 38 is of annular construction and is held, by bolts 40, in fixed relation to a cover ring 42 and a hub member 44 and by bolts 45 to the upper surface of central disc portion 16. The hub member 44 engages the outer race of bearing 34 carried by rings 30 and 32.

The disc member 38 thus becomes a unitary part of the rotating disc assembly with disc member 16. Member 38 is provided in its under surface with a multiplicity of generally radially extending channels 46 extending from the inner periphery of the disc member 38 to a position spaced inwardly from the outer periphery of that disc member, all as clearly shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. By way of illustration, twenty-four such channels are shown. The disc member 38 is further provided with a circumferential groove 48, the "bottom" of which is spaced from the upper surfaces of the channels 46 and in which an annular barrier ring 50 is positioned and secured to the disc member 38 by bolts 52. As shown, the table member 4 is provided with a depressed central portion 54 into which the barrier ring 50 extends, the outer portion 56 of table 4 being at a higher elevation than the portion 52. While the barrier ring 50 is shown and described as being fixed to disc member 38 to rotate therewith it will be obvious that it could be fixed to table 4 and be nonrotatable. It is to be noted that the barrier ring 50 is spaced radially outwardly from the outer peripheral edge of the central disc portion 16 to define a slot 58 therebetween. The channels 46 open downwardly through the bottom face of the disc portion 38 and an annular fixed table member 60 is carried by the table portion 56 with its upper surface in position to substantially close the downwardly open channels 46.

Each of the channels 46 defines at its inner end an entrance chamber portion 62 inwardly of the shoulder defined by barrier ring 50, which shoulder extends upwardly above the upper surface of disc member 16. Outwardly of the barrier ring 50 the channels 46 are provided, as shown, with one straight side and a plurality of pins 64 therein. The pins 64 are so spaced from the straight side of the channels 46 that the innermost pin will engage and arrest the largest coin 66, while the next size coin 68 moves therepast but is arrested by the next innermost pin 64. Obviously, the smaller the coin, the farther outwardly it will move in a channel 46 before being arrested by a pin 64 at a radial position corresponding to the denomination of that coin. The employment of a straight side in the channels and the pins 64 is merely illustrative of a presently preferred embodiment. Clearly, the side of the channels opposite the straight side could be of stepped formation, both sides could be straight and taper together, or other suitable means could be provided to arrest the coins of each denomination at a particular radial position.

A stationary cam member 70 is pivotally mounted on the base structure, as at 72 (see FIG. 6) and extends upwardly in the channel 58 previously described between barrier ring 50 and the outer edge of central disc portion 16. FIG. 6 shows the normal operating position of the cam 70 wherein a high point 74 extends upwardly slightly above the upper surface of barrier ring 50. The cam 70 is normally held in the upper position shown in FIG. 6, for example, by a rotary eccentric cam element 75 carried by a rotary solenoid 76. When the solenoid 76 is actuated, the cam 75 is rotated to a position where cam 70 is dropped to the dotted line position shown, thus lowering its high point 74 to a level no higher than the upper surface of disc member 16. The purpose for this structure will be described in greater detail later.

As best seen in FIG. 1, the table 4 and the annular table portion 60 are provided with a plurality of elongated openings 78 therethrough at radial positions corresponding to the different radial positions at which coins of different denominations are arrested, each opening being circumferentially spaced from the others. Thus, when the disc 38 rotates with coins arrested in the channels thereof, each coin will, as the disc assembly revolves, pass over that opening 78 at its particular radial position. However, since the disc will be rotating at high speed, centrifugal force will normally hold the coins against their arresting means so that they may not drop quickly through the openings 78 by gravity alone. To ensure discharge of each coin from its channel 46, the table 4 is provided with deflector means to be described.

As best seen in FIGS. 3, 4, 5 and 7, flanged fittings 80 border each of the elongated openings 78 to define a downwardly extending chute member. Within each chute member is mounted a deflecting finger 82 extending upwardly above the surface of table member 60 and into a corresponding annular groove 84 in the annular outer disc member 38 so that the disc may rotate with the deflecting finger 82 extending upwardly above the surface of table member 60 to an upper level slightly above the top surfaces of channels 46. It is to be understood that each deflector finger 82 is provided with a relatively sharp forward end and downwardly sloping cam surface 86 (see FIG. 5), and is in position to engage approximately the center of the leading edge of a coin arrested by a pin 64. Thus, as the disc member 38 rotates in the direction of the arrow 88 of FIG. 5 any coin at the radial position shown will be engaged by the finger and forcibly deflected downwardly. The finger 82 is part of a plate 90 to which two spaced plates 92 are fixedly mounted in laterally spaced relation at the outer faces of spacer members 93. The plates 92 are provided with curved forward edges 94, as best shown in FIG. 5, and serve to maintain a coin 96 in the oriented position shown in FIG. 5, as it is deflected downwardly by the edges 94. A suitable light source 98 is mounted in a block 100 within one end of the flanged fitting 80 and directs a beam of light toward the assembly shown in FIG. 7 where it will be interrupted each time a coin 96 is deflected downwardly along the edges 94. A photocell 102 is carried by the structure of FIG. 7 in position to receive the light beam from light source 98. A counter device 104, which may be of any suitable or known construction, is actuated by the photocell 102 each time the light beam from light source 98 is interrupted to register a count in the counter device.

Secured to the flanged fitting 80 is a generally Y-shaped fitting 106 having a pair of tubular discharge portions 108 and 110 spaced apart from each other but closely adjacent each other. As shown, the shape of the parts is such that a coin 96 guided downwardly by the edges 94 will drop through element 110 into a suitable bag or other receiver 112, releasably mounted on the tubular member 110. It is normally desired to count a predetermined number of coins of any particular denomination and accumulate that number as a separate group of coins. The counter 104 may be set in any known manner so that upon accumulation of the desired "full count" therein current is sent thereby, through conductors 114, to a solenoid 116, the armature 118 of which is connected to a gate 120 pivotally mounted at 122. A spring 124 normally urges the gate 120 and solenoid armature 118 to the full line position shown in FIG. 5. However, when a receiver 112 has received a predetermined number of coins, the solenoid 116 is energized to swing gate 120 to the dotted line position in which it deflects all subsequent coins laterally into the tubular member 108 to be deposited in a second bag or receiver 126. The solenoid 116 is maintained in that condition of energization until the desired number of coins have been accumulated in receiver 126, at which time the current to solenoid 116 is shut off and spring 124 returns the parts to the full line position to start accumulating another group of coins in the receiver attached to the tubular member 110. Thus, when the desired number of coins has been deposited in one receiver, the machine automatically stops delivering coins to that receiver and deflects them toward a second receiver and thus an operator is given an opportunity to remove the first receiver or bag 112 and replace it with an empty receiver during the interval of time that coins are being collected in the second receiver.

It is contemplated that suitable controls, not shown, be provided for starting and stopping the apparatus, for indicating the accumulated desired number of coins in each of the receivers and for indicating any malfunction of the apparatus. Such devices and counters of the type referred to are known in the art and may be provided by those skilled in the art without further description.

In operation, the device may be provided with any suitable means for feeding loose coins of random denomination into the hopper portion 26. Those coins then fall upon the cone 18 and the upper surface of the central disc portion 16 and are deflected by cone 18 in all radially outward directions. With the disc 16 rotating at high speed those coins are thrown outwardly along the surface of disc 16 and are forced to a single layer of coins by shear ring 36 and outwardly until they are arrested by the barrier ring 50. Before the coins reach the barrier ring 50, however, they must enter the entrance ends of channels 46, as shown at 62 in FIG. 9. The width of the entrance portion 62 is such that each will loosely receive a coin of the largest denomination but cannot receive two coins of the smallest denomination in side-by-side relation. For example, two coins of the smalleet denomination are shown in dotted line in FIG. 9 and it is evident that only one of them can abut the shoulder defined by barrier ring 50, and the edge of only that one coin will pass over the upper edge of cam 70. Due to the high centrifugal forces developed, coinS radially inwardly of those bearing against the barrier ring 50 may exert sufficient pressure to cause coins in the entrance portion 62 to "pile up", that is, to slip over each other with one upon another particularly if the edges of the coins are worn or somewhat rounded. To prevent such occurrence the disc portion 38 is provided with a plurality of elongated metal rods 130, each guided by suitable channels 132 in the disc member 38 for free vertical movement under the influence of gravity. The channels 132, however, do not extend through the bottom of the disc member 38 and the rods 130 are normally held spaced above the top surface of disc member 16 a distance generally the same as the distance between ring 36 and disc 16, so that single coins may pass freely beneath them. Thus, the weight of the rods 130, there being one extending across each entrance portion 62, prevents the buckling of the layer of coins under the influence of centrifugal force or other disturbing forces exerted by the coins behind those at the barrier 50.

As also shown in FIG. 9, the entrance ends of channels 46 are somewhat spaced apart and an inner edge surface 134 (of disc member 38) is Presented to the outwardly flowing coins. In some instances, a coin such as that shown at 136 in FIG. 9 may rest against the surface 134 and, thus obstruct other coins from entering either adjacent channels or otherwise disrupt the free flow of coins, including the possibility that it may remain there and not be counted. To remedy any possible interruption of coin flow due to described circumstances, the shear ring 36 is provided with one or more openings 138 (see FIGS. 1 and 8) in each of which a ball 140 is positioned and urged downwardly by a leaf spring 142. Thus, the balls 140 tend to constantly agitate the coins radially inwardly from the barrier ring 50 to prevent any coin from becoming "stuck" on the surface 134.

It will be apparent that coins in the entrance portions 62 of the channels 46 will be arrested by the inner face or shoulder of barrier ring 50 until the outer edge of that coin reaches and rides up the sloping upper edge of cam 70. As it rides up that edge, it is tilted, as shown in dotted line in FIG. 8, until it outermost edge is above the upper edge of the barrier ring 50, the rods 130 being freely movable to permit such tilting and centrifugal force acting on such tilted coin as the same reaches the high point 74 of cam 70 will cause that coin to fly outwardly over the barrier ring 50 into a channel 46.

Since there is only a single cam 70 in the apparatus, it will be obvious that only one coin can be released from the central portion of the rotating disc into any one channel 46 at each revolution oF the disc. FIG. 1 shows the relative angular positions of cam 70 and discharge openings 78, and it is apparent that, as the high point of cam 70 releases a coin to the channel 46 outwardly thereof, that channel has passed all of the discharge openings 78. Thus, the coin can fly outwardly and reach its arrested position before it reaches the first discharge opening 78 for the largest denomination of coins.

Obviously, the rotary disc must be rotated at relatively high speed for the described apparatus to function properly. At low speeds the coins might not reach their denominational position in channels 46 before they reach the first of the discharge openings 78. For this purpose it is contemplated that the rotary solenoid 76 be responsive to the speed of rotation of the disc assembly and in such manner that the cam 70 iS in its upper position shown in FIG. 6 only when the disc assembly is rotated at a predetermined speed. Below that speed suitable control means (not shown) will actuate the rotary solenoid 76 to lower cam 70 to its lowermost position and no coins can then be released by cam 70 from the central portion 16 of the disc to the outer annular portion 38. It is also contemplated that manually operable means be provided for lowering cam 70 whenever an operator deems it advisable to stop the delivery of coins to the sorting channels.

It has been found that apparatus constructed in accordance with the foregoing description operates reliably at extremely high speeds not heretofore achieved by any previously known coin counting and sorting apparatus. For example, such a machine has been successfully operated at speeds over 150 r.p.m., sorting over 4,000 coins per minute. Much higher speeds are possible.

While a single specific embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, it is to be noted that other embodiments will become apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, the channels 46 could be arranged to open through the top surface of disc 38, rather than being open at the bottom, and deflector fingers similar to the fingers 82 could be arranged to deflect the coins upwardly to discharge. Again, for example, a second cam, second set of discharge holes, associated counting mechanisms and receivers could be provided to give twice the sorting capacity without increasing the speed of rotation of the disc.