(19)
(11)EP 1 947 613 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
14.08.2019 Bulletin 2019/33

(21)Application number: 08152912.5

(22)Date of filing:  24.01.2006
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G07F 7/06  (2006.01)
G01N 21/88  (2006.01)
G06F 7/00  (2006.01)
B07C 5/34  (2006.01)

(54)

Rotary conveyor for returnable items

Drehförderband für Pfandgegenstände

Convoyeur rotatif pour éléments consignés


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC NL PL PT RO SE SI SK TR
Designated Extension States:
AL BA HR MK YU

(30)Priority: 25.01.2005 NO 20050401
25.01.2005 NO 20050402
25.01.2005 NO 20050403
25.01.2005 NO 20050404
25.01.2005 NO 20050405
25.01.2005 NO 20050406
25.01.2005 NO 20050407

(43)Date of publication of application:
23.07.2008 Bulletin 2008/30

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
06701103.1 / 1842169

(73)Proprietor: Tomra Systems ASA
1385 Asker (NO)

(72)Inventors:
  • Saether, Geir
    1370 Asker (NO)
  • Sivertsen, Ronald
    1392 Vettre (NO)
  • Lunde, Tom
    1365 Blommenholm (NO)

(74)Representative: AWA Sweden AB 
P.O. Box 11394
404 28 Göteborg
404 28 Göteborg (SE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A-02/12096
DE-A1- 10 348 009
US-A- 4 412 608
WO-A-99/30292
GB-A- 791 049
US-A- 4 469 212
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The present invention is related in general to apparatus for handling items or objects, e.g. for receiving, sorting and storing returnable items or objects, such as empty beverage containers like bottles, cans or the like. The invention is particularly useful in connection with reverse vending machines, although certain aspects of the present invention may also find other fields of use. In particular, the present invention relates to a conveyor means for a facility for receiving returnable items, in particular containers such as bottles, cans and the like of plastic, glass or metal.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0002] In a decade or so, environmental and economical concerns have spurred significant developments in the field of facilities for collecting cans, bottles, jars and other containers, preferably for recovering the material for recycling purposes. These days, fully automatic systems are available that are capable of receiving and storing many different types of used containers, or even parts of used containers.

    [0003] Arrangements for handling recyclable items like returnable empty beverage containers are inter alia known from the European publications EP 0 384 885 (SIG Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft), EP 1311448, and the International Patent Application publication WO02/12096 (EP 1313656) (TOMRA SYSTEMS ASA) and EP 14677328 (TOMRA SYSTEMS ASA).

    [0004] Till now, available fully automated systems, so-called reverse vending machines (RVMs) and back-room systems, that are capable of receiving and storing used containers have been quite complex and expensive. They have, therefore, mostly been found in larger stores, shopping centers or supermarkets, or in special facilities put up for collecting recyclable items or objects.

    [0005] Accordingly, for the customer who has recyclable items or objects in smaller quantities, and who may not have at disposal a proper vehicle to facilitate easy transportation of recyclable material to a larger store, shopping center or supermarket that may be located at a distance from the person's home, it is often easier to throw the recyclable items out with the garbage.

    [0006] The currently available reverse vending machines normally deliver the received objects to a back-room receiving facility or a downstairs facility. The total installation is expensive, requires substantial space, is often complex to install and service, and has operational drawbacks, in particular from a cleaning point of view. Frequent cleaning of soiled operational parts, suitably with water or special cleaning agent, is very important to secure failsafe operation. Returnable beverage containers frequently contain beverage leftovers, which often happen to come into contact with operational parts, thus making such parts sticky and causing operational failure if not properly cleaned. Cleaning is more than often a messy operation, and care has to be made not to harm electrical components.

    [0007] Most RVMs need to have the ability to inspect identifying features on the object, such as e.g. a bar code. If such features are not immediately seen by a dedicated detector, the object will need to be rotated to find if such features are indeed present. An object rotating mechanism is expensive and requires substantial space in the longitudinal or depth direction of the RVM. Further, if such RVMs are also to provide object sorting, an additional sorter has to be provided, adding further to the cost of the installation, and the dimension of the RVM as regards depth dimension is in some cases prohibitive when both a rotator and a sorter are to be included. Also, most owners of stores, shopping centers or supermarkets are concerned over RVMs requiring substantial and expensive space for collecting the containers received by the RVM, such space frequently being occupied by container collection tables.

    [0008] WO0212096 discloses a device for controlling the conveying direction of liquid containers in the form of empty beverage packaging, for example, cans or bottles of any cross-section, where the conveying direction is either through a portion of the device, or sideways away from the conveying path where the containers are supported in a horizontal position, comprising a drum that is rotatably arranged above the conveying path and with its axis of rotation in the direction of the conveying path, wherein the drum has at least one container-adapted chamber, through-going in the direction of the axis of rotation, and with its mouth at the periphery of the drum, at least one container guide plate extending sideways and upwards from the conveying path along a portion of the circumference of the drum, and a container ejector mechanism arranged in connection with said chamber, where the mechanism is so adapted that on mechanical operation it will empty the chamber when the chamber opening has moved passed an upper edge of the container guide plate, and thus with force will thrust a container lying in the chamber out of the chamber.

    [0009] DE10348009 is related to a recycling automat, which employs an outer stationary drum and an inner rotating drum, which are mounted on the same axle. The outer drum serves as a receiver for the recycled goods and in combination with the inner drum rotates the inserted cans or bottles to ensure and aid the correct identification for the registration and the sorting of the goods. Furthermore, the inner drum conveys the returned empties to either the eject opening in case of a false empty or to the opening to press the empty good. The pressing of the empty recycle goods occurs automatically if detected as a plastic bottle or aluminium can by the sensors. The sorting is achieved by means of opening or closing flaps, which are built into the conveyor channel. After pressing the recycled goods fall into the corresponding container for cans, glass or plastic bottles.

    OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION



    [0010] The present invention therefore has as a principal object to meet a long felt need to provide an improved automated facility for collecting returnable objects or items, such as recyclable items of plastic, metal or glass, and for overcoming the well-known mentioned drawbacks, thus yielding a low cost facility which exhibits optimal use of limited space, in particular floor space, that may be available almost everywhere, enabling their placement even in smaller stores, convenience stores, local gas stations and public areas. Thereby, such facilities may be more conveniently available to customers. These features and other features to appear through reading of the specification are some of the objectives of the present invention.

    SUMMARY OF INVENTION



    [0011] The invention is defined by the independent claims.

    [0012] Embodiments are given by the dependent claims.

    [0013] The present disclosure also describes an alternative to the drum type conveyor means in the form of a conveyor means having a movable plunger in a stationary elongate housing part.

    [0014] The conveyor means as defined are particularly suitable for feeding returnable objects or items, particularly returnable containers like bottles, cans and the like, preferably made from plastic, glass or metallic material to a vertically or upwardly oriented storage for storing returnable objects or items in a substantially upwards filling direction.

    [0015] More specifically, the conveyor means is adapted to handle, sort and convey returnable items or objects, and for feeding such items or objects into the substantially vertically or upwardly oriented storage space, without employing a vertical conveyor for filling the storage space.

    [0016] In addition to the features of the invention as defined in claims, the present disclosure is also concerned with the inherent problems in a reverse vending machine of disconnecting operational units for cleaning purposes, services etc., and there is accordingly described a novel drive device in a reverse vending machine to forcibly drive at least one handling unit suited to handle empty packaging in the form of empty beverage containers.

    [0017] It is well known in the art that equipment used for handling empty beverage containers in a reverse vending machine (RVM) is frequently soiled by beverage leftovers coming from the interior of such containers, and causing malfunction of the equipment or drive motor overload if not properly washed and cleaned at regular intervals, in many cases with a necessity for cleaning once every day.

    [0018] Such equipment is conventionally made with drive motors firmly attached to the equipment either on the outside or internally, and with sophisticated or expensive plug /socket connection to power supply in the reverse vending machine.

    [0019] When cleaning such equipment, often with hot water and/or pressurized water or other cleaning agent, motors and connectors may be damaged or get moist through intrusion of water, with the inherent risk of malfunction through leakage currents or even short-circuit. Therefore, expensive and sophisticated technical solutions have to be designed to avoid such damages or other operational problems or hazards. Such solutions may therefore include special purpose motors, plug and socket units, wiring etc.

    [0020] The present invention therefore intends to overcome the present every-day problem linked with the operation of reverse vending machines which are in need of frequent cleaning to remove spillage of beverage leftovers which are more than often with a very high sugar content, resulting in sticky functional components and adherence between components, causing unnecessary wear and tear on functional components and drive units, causing reduced life of many components, as well as substantial risk of malfunction.

    [0021] Preferred embodiments of the drive device appear from the detailed description.

    [0022] In the following, the conveyor means of present invention, as well aspects related to a drive device, will be explained by way of examples and by reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein the same reference numerals indicate the same elements, although as regards some elements, different reference numerals have been used for elements having same properties of functioning and for practical reasons.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0023] In the drawings:

    fig. 1 shows in a perspective view, an exemplary mode of a reverse vending machine with object storage chamber; object supporting, rotating, sorting and conveyor means; camera-aided detector device; supplementary item/ object collector means; token dispenser; token reader; safety apparatus; and drive means,

    fig. 2 is a partial sectional view of a drum type conveyor for a storage facility, being positioned in a first rotational position,

    fig. 3 is a perspective view of the drum type conveyor shown in fig. 2,

    fig. 4 is a partial sectional view of an embodiment of a drum type conveyor for incorporation in a storage facility, the drum being in a second rotational position with a piston like plunger element in a retracted position,

    fig. 5 is a perspective view of the conveyor of fig. 4,

    fig. 6 is a partial sectional view of an embodiment of a drum type conveyor for incorporation in the storage facility, the drum being rotated in a first direction from the second position to assume a third rotational position in which with the piston-like plunger element is in an advanced position,

    fig. 7 is a perspective view of the positional state of the drum type conveyor of fig.6,

    fig. 8 is a partial sectional view of an embodiment of a drum type conveyor for incorporation in a storage facility, with the drum rotated in a direction opposite to that starting at figs.4, 5 and ending at figs. 6, 7, i.e. a rotation in clockwise direction - as viewed on fig. 8 - from the second position to the first position to assume a further rotational position with the piston-like plunger in an advanced, downwardly facing position,

    fig. 9 is a perspective view of positional state of the drum type conveyor of figure 8, as seen partly from below,

    fig. 10 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a drum type conveyor for incorporation in a storage facility, having a roller and a load cell applied to the roller,

    fig. 11 is an illustration of a drum type conveyor embodiment positioned in a cabinet with a bearing for the roller and load cell on a movable arm,

    fig. 12 shows the bearing and load cell arrangement of figure 11 with the movable arm positioned for bearing and load cell engagement with a roller,

    fig. 13 is a principle sketch to illustrate drive means for rotatably driving a drum in said object supporting, rotating, sorting and conveyor means,

    fig. 14 shows in a perspective view a reverse vending machine with object storage chamber; object supporting, rotating, sorting and conveyor means; item collector means; token dispenser; token reader; and drive means,

    fig. 15 is a principle drawing showing a possible layout of a storage facility having multiple storage chambers, a conveying and sorting means, and means for reading information from, or detecting the type of, returnable item or object being positioned in an input receiving area.


    SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION


    RVM overview



    [0024] Fig. 1 illustrates in an exemplary embodiment a reverse vending machine (RVM) 1 embodying main inventive aspects of the present invention, .i.e. object storage chamber 2; object supporting, rotating, sorting and conveyor unit 3; camera-aided detector device 4; supplementary item/ object collector means 5; token dispenser 6; token reader 7, safety apparatus 8, and drive means 9; 9'. The unit 3 (later denoted as 200) could have to have its longitudinal axis 3' horizontal or forming an angle α with the horizontal, yielding angle β in the range ± 0° - 30°. In the more detailed disclosure to follow, the operational means 2 - 9 just mentioned will for practical reasons be denoted by other reference numerals. Direction is also made to fig. 14 showing the figure of fig. 1, however with more reference numerals inserted to identify location of some of the various operational means which are extensively disclosed in the disclosure to follow in connection with figs. 2 - 13.

    Rotary Drum Type Conveyor Means



    [0025] Reference is made to fig. 2, to explain the drum type conveyor of the present invention. The drum type conveyor includes a drum shaped element that is rotary about a central, longitudinal axis of rotation 221. A substantially rectangular and elongate recess-like space or cavity, being open at the peripheral area of the drum, is provided in the drum, for holding an elongate movable element which can be retracted and advanced, the movable element having an outer surface that in the advanced position preferably becomes substantially aligned with an outer surface of the drum. In the accompanying drawings, the movable element is denoted by the numeral 223, and the space or cavity in the drum is denoted by reference numeral 222. The rotational capability of the drum 220 is obtainedthrough use of bearings positioned in a region at each end of the drum, and positioned on the axis of rotation 221. A part of the structure, such as a cabinet, can be adapted to hold the bearings in place, thereby allowing the drum to rotate with its outer surface 228 in proximity to the input receiving area 210 which is made to coincide with an inlet opening 425 (see fig. 14) in the cabinet 250 (see fig. 11), 428 (see fig. 14). As an alternative, as shown in fig. 3 and in other drawing figures, the drum 220 may be positioned in a frame 240 to form a conveyor assembly for easy conveyor assembly removal for convenient conveyor cleaning, test, maintenance and replacement.

    [0026] To ensure proper alignment and good fixation of the conveyor unit when located in a storage facility according to the invention, the frame 240 is suitably adapted to match a receiving frame 251 (fig. 11) that preferably is part of a cabinet 250 (fig. 11), 428 (fig. 14), and which facilitates any of the possible layouts of a storage facility, as exemplified by several of the previous figures.

    [0027] Preferably, as shown in figs. 3, 7 or 9, the moveable element 223 is driven by way of a moveable element drive means comprising a tappet or a roller 232, being attached to the moveable element 223, that follows a track 231 located proximal to an end of the drum and being stationary in respect of the drum. By providing a tappet or roller 232 on each side of the moveable element, made to engage with respective stationary tracks 231 located proximal to respective ends of the drum, a balanced driving force can be applied to the moveable element by the rotation of the drum. Thus, only the drum will require a drive for the assembly to operate as described here, as the moveable element will be driven by the movement of the drum relative to the stationary track. The shape of the track, i.e. the distance of the track from the axis of rotation of the drum, controls the position of the tappet or roller 232, and, hence, the position of the moveable element, in a radial direction with respect to the drum center axis. The track is a single, continuous track 231 followed by the tappet or roller means 232.

    [0028] In fig. 2, the drum 220 is shown in a first rotational position with the movable element in an advanced position and pointing downwards, and with a returnable object/ item 10 entered into the input receiving space or area 210 to be placed on an upward facing region of the outer circumferential surface 228 of the drum 220. In a preferable embodiment, the drum type conveyor includes an elongate roller 243, or other means to allow rotation of the item while keeping the item in the input receiving area, to facilitate a rotation of a returnable object/ item 10 resting on the drum surface 228 as the drum 220 is put into rotation about its axis of rotation 221. In particular, when the returnable item is provided with a readable code for identification of the item or for providing specific information about the container, rotation of the object/ item 10 will often be required to position the part of the object/ item 10 carrying the code such that it becomes readable, for example by use of a reader or recognizing device 20 located to observe the input receiving area. The drum type conveyor has also a guide 241, e.g. a curved plate member, that extends from the area 210 to the output 224, as will be further explained in connection with fig. 8. Further guides 241, e.g. as also shown on fig. 8, could extend from the area 210 down to the output 226'.

    [0029] Fig. 3 depicts in a perspective view the drum 220 in the first rotational position as shown in fig. 2 and with the returnable item 10 resting on an upwardly facing part of the drum circumference. In the embodiment of fig. 3, the conveyor is provided with a roller driving 244 means for driving the roller 243 in conjunction with driving of the drum, such that the surface velocity of the roller 243 is in a range of a velocity of a rolling surface 228 of the drum when rotated. Preferably, the roller driving means 244 comprises a gear drive arrangement that mechanically provides a rotation of the roller 243 by the rotation of the drum 220. Movement in an axial direction of a returnable object/ item 10 being positioned in the input receiving area and resting on the drum 220 and roller 243 is in part restricted by end walls 229 associated with and located at each end of the drum 220, and in part by elements 242 that constitute the frame 240. Depending on the design of the means for driving the movable piston-like element 221 between its retracted position and its advanced position, the conveyor shown in fig. 3 can be provided with a single output 224, corresponding to only one particular angular drum rotary position, or with a second output at a different angular rotary position of the drum.

    [0030] In fig. 4, the drum 220 is shown in a second rotational position with the space or cavity opening in the drum facing the input receiving area, and with the movable element 223 moved to the retracted position. This has thereby allowed the returnable object/ item 10, shown in fig. 2 as resting on the circumferential drum surface 228, to fall into the recess-like space or cavity 222, as the drum is rotated to arrive at the second position after rotation from the first position, and be contained by the drum 220. The same situation is also shown in the perspective view of fig. 5, which shows parts of interior side walls of the space 222 and the drum end walls 229, which contribute to restrict a movement of the returnable object/ item 10 such that it may not go beyond the space provided by the cavity 222.

    [0031] In fig. 6, a partial sectional view of the drum type conveyor shows the drum in a third angular position, where the movable element has been moved in a first and counter- clockwise direction from the retracted position shown in figs. 4 and 5 to an advanced position to drive the returnable item to the first output 224, preferably for the purpose of driving the object/ item 10 towards the in-feed opening of a storage chamber 110. If driven in a second and clockwise direction to a second output, which is either output 226 or output 226', but not both, in-feed to a respective storage chamber 112 or 114 could be envisaged. The drum type conveyor is provided with said guide 241 to restrict the item 10 to its location in the cavity 222 while the drum is being rotated from the second position with the space 222 facing the input receiving area 210 to the third angular position where the opening of the cavity 222 is facing the first output 224. The same situation is also shown in perspective view fig. 7, with the opening of the cavity 222 aligned with the first output 224 and with the movable element 223 in an advanced position.

    [0032] In fig. 8, a partial cross sectional view of the drum type conveyor shows the situation based on the situation shown in fig. 4, now with the drum rotated in a second and opposite rotational direction (clockwise direction in the example), whereby the returnable object/ item 10 that was received in the space or cavity 222 when the drum was in its second rotational position has been carried by the drum through a rotation of the drum through approximately 180° so that the drum assumes its first position as shown on figs. 2 and 3. The object/ item is driven out from the space 222 by the movable element 223 moving from a retracted position to an advanced position, but also by the effect of gravity. A guide 241 is provided to restrict the movement of the object/ item 10 when held in the space 222 while the drum is being rotated from the second rotational position with the space facing the input receiving area 210 to the first rotational position with the opening of the space 222 and the curved face 223' of the element 223 being in register with the output 226'. The situation of fig. 8 is also shown in the perspective view from below of fig. 9, with the item 10 exiting from the conveyor at the alternative output 226'.

    [0033] For conveying an item 10 that has entered the recess-like space or cavity to one out of two possible outputs in a specific embodiment of the combined drum conveyor and sorter, different directions of rotation can be used. For example, in the embodiments shown in figs. 2- 9 of the accompanying drawings, the drum would be rotated in a first direction (e.g. counter-clockwise, as shown) to deliver the item at the first output 224, while a rotation in a second direction (e.g. clockwise, as shown) would be applied to the drum for delivering the item 10 at a second output 226 or 226'.

    [0034] Thus, in the present context, there are in effect four main rotary positions of the drum 220:
    1. a) the first rotary position with the recess 222 and the element 223 facing downwards;
    2. b) the second rotary position with the recess 222 and the element 223 facing upwards, thus facing the input receiving area,
    3. c) the third rotary position with the recess 222 and the element 223 facing the first output
      224, and
    4. d) the fourth rotary position with the recess 222 and the element 223 facing the second output 226 or facing the alternative second output 226'. If facing output 226', the
      fourth rotary position will in effect be the same as the first rotary position.


    [0035] Now, with reference to figs. 10, 11 and 12, a load cell arrangement for determining a mass of a returnable item positioned on the drum type conveyor of the invention will be explained. When positioned to rest on the drum 220 or when rotating the drum 220 to spin the item 10, the item 10 will also in part be resting on or rotating with the roller 243, if such roller 243 is provided. Reference is also made to fig. 2 to see how the object/ item 10 will be resting against the roller 243. For making a decision as to whether or not to accept the object/ item 10 for storage in the facility according to the invention or to determine an appropriate storage chamber in an embodiment having multiple storage chambers, the mass of the object/ item 10 should be determined. To facilitate a mass determination, the roller 243 is provided with at least one bearing 245 support the roller shaft 247 at one end of the roller, which bearing 245 is connected to and supported by a load cell 246. In the exemplary embodiment shown in fig. 10, the load cell 246 is attached to a frame 240 for the conveyor, while a further bearing 248 is provided at an opposite end of the roller.

    [0036] A second and alternative embodiment of a load cell arrangement of fig. 10 for determining a mass of a returnable object/ item 10 resting on the roller 243 is depicted on fig. 11. The arrangement includes a bearing 252 to be applied to one end of the roller shaft 247 when the conveyor is positioned in a cabinet 250. In this particular embodiment, the shaft 247 is partly free to move about in a plane perpendicular, suitably vertically, relative to the roller's 243 axis of rotation, and with the bearing 252 applied to the end part of the shaft 247 of the roller 243 after positioning the drum type conveyor in the cabinet 250. 251 denotes an electrical connection to the load cell 253. Thus, in fig. 11, the removable bearing 252 and its associated load cell 253 is shown in a detached position, while, in fig. 12, the cabinet arm 250' holding the bearing 252 has been relocated to a position where the bearing 252 engages the bearing receiving end of the roller shaft 247 to provide a bearing with a load cell 253 referenced to the cabinet 250 or to the frame 240. The embodiments of fig. 10 - 12 are particularly advantageous to avoid as far as possible the risk that remaining liquid contents in returnable objects/ items 10 that are positioned on top of the conveyor typically can be spilled, as such spillage will likely require more frequent removal of the conveyor assembly from the cabinet than normally for cleaning away spilling of such unwanted liquid. Also, the use of the load cell prevents an RVM user from being successful with a swindle attempt by entering a full, unopened beverage container into the receiving area and place on top of the drum. The detection system 20 will - as to be explained later - according to predetermined data determine that a specific observed and recognized item should have a specific weight or weight range. If the item is a full beverage can or bottle, the RVM will determine that there is a potential swindle situation and may trigger an alarm. Furthermore, in the embodiment shown, the drive means for operating the conveyor is separable from the drum type conveyor itself (as will be explained later), such that, by removing the conveyor from the storage facility assembly, the load cell will remain at the facility (i.e. located on the cabinet arm 250') and thus be protected from being subject to possibly harmful cleaning agents and water that typically would be used for cleaning the conveyor. If the load cell is located on the frame 240 of the conveyor, as depicted on fig. 10, special measures must be taken to ensure that the load cell is not damaged in any washing or cleaning operation of the conveyor 200. Thus the embodiment of figs. 11 and 12 would be the preferred embodiment.

    Electro-mechanical Drive Device



    [0037] Figs. 13 and 14 show that the unit 200 is powered by a motor 404 via a gear 500 which engages a gear 501 on the unit 200 to turn the drum 220 and in so doing also moving the element 223. The roller 243 is forcibly moveable through interaction between a small gear 502 and the substantially larger gear 501. Motor 404 is fixedly attached to the framework 503 of the RVM via brackets 504, whereas the unit can be pulled out entirely from the RVM cabinet 428 (see reference 250 on figs. 11 and 12) for cleaning, as indicated by arrow 505, and be pushed into the cabinet again after cleaning for gear engagement between gears 500 and 501. No electrical parts are present on the unit 200, just mechanical parts which stand wet cleaning, and even high pressure wet cleaning without any problem.

    [0038] Thus, it is clearly seen that the advantages offered by the present invention reside in that the unit 200 is connected via a mechanically separable power transfer coupling formed by gears 500 and 501, the gear 500 being operated by the motor 404 which is stationary fixed in the cabinet 428. Thus the electrically powered drive 404, 500 is located separable from the unit 200 and its gears 501, 502.

    Upwardly Oriented Storage



    [0039] Fig. 15 illustrates a further exemplary embodiment layout of the present invention that utilizes a highly compact drum based conveyor (as shown in Figs. 2-9) with as many as three different storage chambers, denoted by 110, 112 and 114, for storing different types of returnable items 10. The conveyor 200 is adapted to receive items 10 in an input receiving area 210, and to move and output the item, based on certain criteria and a decision made by a controller that operates a drum drive unit, at either a first output 224 for driving the item into a storage space 110, or to a second output, which is either the second output 226 for driving a received item 10 into the related storage chamber 112, or the second output 226' for, in this particular embodiment, allowing also gravity to assist in moving the item 10 from the conveyor to the related storage space 114. The storage space 114 is particularly useful for items to which a relatively high driving force should not be applied, such as for example fragile glass items or heavy items, such as bottles that carry significant amounts of liquid contents, or for other reasons are found unsuitable for being driven into one of the upright storage spaces 110 or 112 for elevated storing above the level of the input receiving area.

    [0040] Although three storage chambers 110, 112 and 114 are shown on fig. 15, in a practical embodiment with a rotary conveyor and sorter as depicted, only two storage chambers will be used e.g. 110, 112; 110, 114; or 112, 114 with the related outputs 224, 226; 224, 226'; or 226; 226'.

    [0041] In the layout of fig. 15, the storage chamber 110 is provided with an overflow opening that provides communication to a supplementary storage chamber 161. The facility layout shown provides a highly compact design, augmented by the use of the compact drum type conveyor means. For a person who is to deposit a returnable object/ item at the facility, there is conveniently an input receiving area 210 located as shown in the lower half of the facility. The facility includes a returnable object/ item recognition unit 20, which can include, or be connected with a controller for controlling the operation of the conveyor 200. The recognition unit 20 can be of an optical or acoustic type, or employ other or supplementary technology, such as magnetic, mechanical or electrical sensing to determine the type of returnable object/ item 10 that has been placed in the input receiving area 210, or to read information or identifying features (e.g. bar-code) carried by, or located on, the item 10. In particular, with regard to the storage chambers 110; 112, by employing a movable side wall 130; 132 or a removable storage chamber 114, the storage chamber 114 can be extended to fill the unused space shown to appear below the first storage chamber 110. To facilitate easier filling of the upright oriented storage chambers 110 and 112, a deflector 180 can also be included.

    [0042] Modification of the various elements, means and devices related to the numerous aspects of the present invention would be conceivable within the scope of the invention as defined in the attached claims.


    Claims

    1. Conveyor means for a facility for receiving returnable items, in particular containers such as bottles, cans and the like of plastic, glass or metal,
    characterised in that the conveyor means comprises:

    - a drum (220) adapted for coupling to a drum drive, said drum being rotary about a central longitudinal axis (221) and having in an axial direction an elongate and radially extending recess (222) adapted to receive a returnable item,

    - an movable, elongate element (223) provided in said recess (222), which element (223) is adapted to be movable in a piston like way in a radial direction relative to said drum between a retracted position and an advanced position, wherein an outer surface of said element has the same or substantially the same radius of curvature as an outer surface of the drum such that when in said advanced position, said outer surface has the same or substantially the same center of curvature as an outer surface of the drum and becomes substantially aligned with said outer surface of the drum,

    - an element drive (230) adapted to provide a movement of said element between said retracted position in a second rotary position of said drum and in an advanced position in first or third rotary positions of said drum,

    - an allocated input area (210) for receiving returnable items to be placed on an upper circumferential part of the drum when the drum is in said first rotary position, which input area is located on an upper circumferential part of said drum, the element drive being adapted to position the element in the retracted position when the drum is positioned in the second rotary position with the recess in the drum facing upwards towards the input area, and

    - a first output (224), proximal to an outer surface level (228) of said drum, and covering an angular interval for the drum rotation that includes the third rotary position, and

    wherein the conveyor means (200) is adapted

    a) to establish an open fall path extending from the allocated input area (210) to a bottom of the recess (222) provided by the elongate element (223) in the retracted position when the drum is in the second rotary position with the recess facing upwards towards the input area to allow a returnable item having been deposited in the input area to fall freely into and be received in the recess, and

    b) to rotate the drum, upon establishment of the open fall path, from the second rotary position to the third rotary position and move the element to the advanced position to forceably drive a returnable item received in the recess out of the recess and to the first output.


     
    2. Conveyor means according to claim 1, wherein the drum at least adjacent to the recess is provided with a recess limiting means (229) being adapted to prevent any axial movement of the object/ item deposited in the recess beyond the lengthwise extension of the drum.
     
    3. Conveyor means according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the conveyor means further comprises a guide means (241) adapted to secure a returnable item deposited in the recess as the drum is positioned in a rotary position between the second rotary position and the first output or a second output.
     
    4. Conveyor means according to claim 3, wherein the guide means is provided by a curved plate adapted to a curved outer contour (228) of the drum, and which plate substantially covers the recess opening as the drum is positioned between the second rotary position and said first output or said second output.
     
    5. Conveyor means according to claim 3, wherein said second output is at a fourth rotary position or at the first rotary position.
     
    6. Conveyor means according to any one of claims 1 - 5, wherein an outer surface of the element (223) in the advanced position, in particular when a drum is placed in a rotary position with the recess opening facing an output, is substantially flush with or outside a circumferential outer contour (228) of the drum.
     
    7. Conveyor means according to any one of claims 1 - 6, further comprising a rotatable leading roller (243) arranged above or adjacent to the drum, such that the rotational roller, by rotation of the drum, contributes to a rotation of a returnable item having a substantially circular cross section when the returnable item via the input area has been placed on a recess free, upwardly facing part of the drum circumferential surface.
     
    8. Conveyor means according to claim 7, further comprising a leading roller drive (224) for driving the rotatable leading roller.
     
    9. Conveyor means according to claim 8, wherein the leading roller drive effects drive of the leading roller in a directional rotation that corresponds to the direction or rotation of the drum and with a peripheral velocity that substantially corresponds to a peripheral velocity of the drum.
     
    10. Conveyor means according to any one of claims 7 - 9, wherein a bearing point (254) of the leading roller is provided with a weighing cell (246) for determining a mass of a returnable item.
     
    11. Conveyor means according to claim 10, wherein the conveyor means comprises a frame (140) carrying the drum supported for its rotation, and wherein the weighing cell (246) is connected to the frame.
     
    12. Conveyor means according to any one of claims 7 - 9, wherein the conveyor means comprises a frame (240) carrying the drum supported for its rotation, which frame is adapted for mounting in a support structure (250), and wherein the leading roller is adapted with a first bearing point (24 7) and second bearing point (246), said second bearing point being carried by the frame (240) and said first bearing point (24 7) being carried by a bearing arrangement (252) connected to a cabinet (250) for supporting the conveyor means.
     
    13. Conveyor means according to claim 12, wherein the bearing arrangement is connected to the cabinet by way of weighing cell (253) for determining a mass of a returnable item.
     
    14. Conveyor means according to any one of claims 1 - 13, wherein the element drive is adapted to move the element to an advanced position by placement of the drum in a fourth rotational position or the first rotational position with the recess opening thus facing a second output (226; 226'), whereby a returnable item received in the recess when the drum is in the second rotational position with the element in the retracted position will be forced out of the recess and towards the second output by placement of the drum in the fourth position or the first position, respectively.
     
    15. Conveyor means according to any one of claims 1 - 14, further comprising a facility (20) for non-contact identification of a returnable item that has been positioned on an outer surface of the drum or on the element when the element is in the advanced position.
     
    16. Conveyor means according to claim 15, wherein the facility (20) for non-contact identification is adapted to employ an energy wave transmitted from the facility, and the drum is provided with a directional reflector for reflecting the transmitted energy wave substantially back towards the facility.
     
    17. Conveyor means according to any one of claims 1 - 16, further comprising a return flow blocker (170) arranged proximal to at least one of said first and second outputs and being adapted to provide a return movement of a returnable item that has been forced towards a respective one of said first and second outputs.
     
    18. Conveyor means according to claim 2, wherein the recess limiting means is provided by drum end walls (229).
     
    19. Conveyor means according to any one of claims 1- 18, further comprising a compactor arranged proximal to an output.
     
    20. Conveyor means according to claim 19, wherein the compactor is in the form of set of spike-provided chains in a wedge like arrangement and being adapted to gradually flatten and puncture a returnable item.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Fördermittel für eine Einrichtung zum Aufnehmen von Pfandgegenständen, insbesondere Behältern, wie Flaschen, Dosen und dergleichen aus Kunststoff, Glas oder Metall,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Fördermittel umfasst:

    - eine Trommel (220), die ausgebildet ist zur Kopplung an einen Trommelantrieb, wobei die Trommel um eine Mittellängsachse (221) drehbar ist und in axialer Richtung eine längliche und sich radial erstreckende Aussparung (222) aufweist, die zur Aufnahme eines Pfandgegenstands ausgebildet ist,

    - ein bewegliches längliches Element (223), das in der Aussparung (222) bereitgestellt ist, wobei das Element (223) kolbenartig in radialer Richtung relativ zu der Trommel zwischen einer eingezogenen Position und einer vorgeschobenen Position bewegbar ist, wobei eine Außenfläche des Elements den gleichen oder im Wesentlichen den gleichen Krümmungsradius aufweist wie eine Außenfläche der Trommel, derart dass die Außenfläche in der vorgeschobenen Position das gleiche oder im Wesentlichen das gleiche Krümmungszentrum wie eine Außenfläche der Trommel aufweist und im Wesentlichen mit der Außenfläche der Trommel ausgerichtet ist,

    - einen Elementantrieb (230), der dazu ausgebildet ist, eine Bewegung des Elements zwischen der eingezogenen Position in eine zweite Drehposition der Trommel und in eine vorgeschobene Position in erste oder dritte Drehpositionen der Trommel bereitzustellen,

    - einen zugeordneten Eingabebereich (210) zum Aufnehmen von Pfandgegenständen, die an einem oberen Umfangsteil der Trommel platziert werden sollen, wenn sich die Trommel in der ersten Drehposition befindet, wobei der Eingabebereich an einem oberen Umfangsteil der Trommel angeordnet ist, wobei der Elementantrieb ausgebildet ist, das Element in der eingezogenen Position zu positionieren, wenn sich die Trommel in der zweiten Drehposition befindet, wobei die Aussparung in der Trommel nach oben in Richtung des Eingabebereichs gerichtet ist, und

    - einen ersten Ausgang (224), der sich proximal zu einer Außenfläche (228) der Trommel befindet und einen Winkelintervall für die Trommeldrehung abdeckt, die die dritte Drehposition aufweist, und

    wobei das Fördermittel (200) ausgebildet ist, um

    a) einen offenen Fallweg herzustellen, der sich vom zugeordneten Eingabebereich (210) zu einem Boden der Aussparung (222) erstreckt, der durch das längliche Element (223) in der eingezogenen Position bereitgestellt wird, wenn sich die Trommel in der zweiten Drehposition befindet, wobei die Aussparung nach oben in Richtung des Eingabebereichs gerichtet ist, damit ein im Eingabebereich abgelegter Pfandgegenstand frei in die Aussparung fallen und in dieser aufgenommen werden kann, und

    b) die Trommel zu drehen, nachdem der offene Fallweg von der zweiten Drehposition in die dritte Drehposition gebracht wurde, und das Element in die vorgeschobene Position zu bewegen, um einen in der Aussparung aufgenommenen Pfandgegenstand aus der Aussparung heraus zum ersten Ausgang zu befördern.


     
    2. Fördermittel nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Trommel mindestens benachbart zur Aussparung mit einem Aussparungsbegrenzungsmittel (229) bereitgestellt ist, das ausgebildet ist, um jegliche axiale Bewegung des in der Aussparung abgelegten Objekts/Gegenstands über die Längserstreckung der Trommel hinaus zu verhindern.
     
    3. Fördermittel nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei das Fördermittel ferner ein Führungsmittel (241) umfasst, das einen sich in der Aussparung befindlichen Pfandgegenstand sichern kann, wenn sich die Trommel in einer Drehposition zwischen der zweiten Drehposition und dem ersten Ausgang oder einem zweiten Ausgang befindet.
     
    4. Fördermittel nach Anspruch 3, wobei das Führungsmittel durch eine gekrümmte Platte gebildet wird, die an eine gekrümmte Außenkontur (228) der Trommel angepasst ist, und wobei die Platte die Aussparungsöffnung im Wesentlichen bedeckt, wenn die Trommel zwischen der zweiten Drehposition und dem ersten Ausgang oder dem zweiten Ausgang positioniert ist.
     
    5. Fördermittel nach Anspruch 3, wobei der zweite Ausgang an einer vierten Drehposition oder an der ersten Drehposition ist.
     
    6. Fördermittel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 - 5, wobei eine Außenfläche des Elements (223) in der vorgeschobenen Position, insbesondere wenn eine Trommel in einer Drehposition angeordnet ist, wobei die Aussparungsöffnung einem Ausgang zugewandt ist, im Wesentlichen bündig mit oder außerhalb einer Umfangsaußenkontur (228) der Trommel ist.
     
    7. Fördermittel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 - 6, ferner umfassend eine drehbare Führungsrolle (243), die oberhalb oder benachbart zur Trommel derart angeordnet ist, dass die Drehrolle durch Drehung der Trommel zu einer Drehung eines Pfandgegenstands mit einem im Wesentlichen kreisförmigen Querschnitt beiträgt, wenn der Pfandgegenstand über den Eingabebereich auf einen aussparungsfreien, nach oben weisenden Teil der Trommelumfangsfläche platziert wurde.
     
    8. Fördermittel nach Anspruch 7, ferner umfassend einen Führungsrollenantrieb (224) zum Antreiben der drehbaren Führungsrolle.
     
    9. Fördermittel nach Anspruch 8, wobei der Führungsrollenantrieb den Antrieb der Führungsrolle in einer Richtungsdrehung bewirkt, die der Richtung oder Drehung der Trommel entspricht und mit einer Umfangsgeschwindigkeit, die im Wesentlichen einer Umfangsgeschwindigkeit der Trommel entspricht.
     
    10. Fördermittel nach einem der Ansprüche 7 - 9, wobei eine Lagerstelle (254) der Führungsrolle mit einer Wiegezelle (246) zum Bestimmen einer Masse eines Pfandgegenstands bereitgestellt ist.
     
    11. Fördermittel nach Anspruch 10, wobei das Fördermittel einen Rahmen (140) umfasst, der die zur Drehung gelagerte Trommel trägt, und wobei die Wiegezelle (246) mit dem Rahmen verbunden ist.
     
    12. Fördermittel nach einem der Ansprüche 7 - 9, wobei das Fördermittel einen Rahmen (240) umfasst, der die zur Drehung gelagerte Trommel trägt, wobei der Rahmen zur Montage in einer Tragstruktur (250) ausgebildet ist und wobei die Führungsrolle mit einer ersten Lagerstelle (247) und einer zweiten Lagerstelle (246) ausgebildet ist, wobei die zweite Lagerstelle von dem Rahmen (240) getragen wird und die erste Lagerstelle (247) von einer Lageranordnung (252) getragen wird, die mit einem Schrank (250) zum Tragen des Fördermittels verbunden ist.
     
    13. Fördermittel nach Anspruch 12, wobei die Lageranordnung über eine Wiegezelle (253) mit dem Schrank verbunden ist, um eine Masse eines Pfandgegenstands zu bestimmen.
     
    14. Fördermittel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 - 13, wobei der Elementantrieb ausgebildet ist, um das Element in eine vorgeschobene Position zu bewegen, indem die Trommel in eine vierte Drehposition oder in die erste Drehposition gebracht wird, wobei die Aussparungsöffnung somit einem zweiten Ausgang (226; 226') zugewandt ist, wobei ein in der Aussparung aufgenommener Pfandgegenstand, wenn sich die Trommel in der zweiten Drehposition mit dem Element in der eingezogenen Position befindet, aus der Aussparung und in Richtung des zweiten Ausgangs durch Platzieren der Trommel in die vierte Position oder die erste Position gedrückt wird.
     
    15. Fördermittel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 - 14, ferner umfassend eine Einrichtung (20) zur berührungslosen Identifizierung eines Pfandgegenstands, der auf einer Außenfläche der Trommel oder auf dem Element positioniert wurde, wenn das Element in der vorgeschobenen Position ist.
     
    16. Fördermittel nach Anspruch 15, wobei die Einrichtung (20) zur berührungslosen Identifikation ausgebildet ist, um eine von der Einrichtung übertragene Energiewelle zu verwenden, und die Trommel mit einem Richtungsreflektor versehen ist, um die übertragene Energiewelle im Wesentlichen zurück zur Einrichtung zu reflektieren.
     
    17. Fördermittel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 - 16, ferner umfassend einen Rückflussblockierer (170), der proximal zu mindestens einem der ersten und zweiten Ausgänge angeordnet ist und ausgebildet ist, um eine Rückbewegung eines Pfandgegenstands bereitzustellen, der zu einem jeweiligen der ersten und zweiten Ausgänge gedrückt wurde.
     
    18. Fördermittel nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Aussparungsbegrenzungsmittel durch Trommelendwände (229) bereitgestellt ist.
     
    19. Fördermittel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 - 18, ferner umfassend einen Kompaktor, der proximal zu einem Ausgang angeordnet ist.
     
    20. Fördermittel nach Anspruch 19, wobei der Kompaktor in Form eines Satzes von Ketten mit Spikes in einer keilartigen Anordnung vorliegt und dazu ausgebildet ist, einen Pfandgegenstand allmählich flach zu machen und zu durchstechen.
     


    Revendications

    1. Dispositif de transport pour une installation destinée à recevoir des articles consignés, en particulier des récipients consignés tels que des bouteilles, des canettes et similaires en plastique, en verre ou en métal,
    caractérisé en ce que le dispositif de transport comprend :

    - un tambour (220) adapté pour être accouplé à un entraînement de tambour, ledit tambour étant rotatif autour d'un axe longitudinal central (221) et présentant une cavité (222) s'étendant radialement et allongée dans une direction axiale, adaptée pour recevoir un article consigné,

    - un élément déplaçable allongé (223) disposé dans ladite cavité (222), ledit élément (223) étant adapté pour être déplacé à la façon d'un piston dans une direction radiale par rapport audit tambour, entre une position rétractée et une position avancée, une surface extérieure dudit élément présentant le même ou quasiment le même rayon de courbure qu'une surface extérieure du tambour, de telle façon que dans ladite position avancée, ladite surface extérieure présente le même ou quasiment le même rayon de courbure qu'une surface extérieure du tambour et s'aligne substantiellement avec ladite surface extérieure du tambour,

    - un entraînement d'élément (230) adapté pour générer un déplacement dudit élément entre ladite position rétractée dans une deuxième position de rotation dudit tambour et une position avancée dans des première ou troisième positions de rotation dudit tambour,

    - une zone d'entrée dédiée (210) destinée à recevoir des articles consignés à placer sur une partie circonférentielle supérieure du tambour lorsque le tambour est dans ladite première position de rotation, ladite zone d'entrée étant située sur une partie circonférentielle supérieure dudit tambour, l'entraînement d'élément étant adapté pour positionner l'élément dans la position rétractée lorsque le tambour est positionné dans la deuxième position de rotation avec la cavité dans le tambour tournée vers le haut vers la zone d'entrée, et

    - une première sortie (224), située à proximité d'un niveau de surface extérieure (228) dudit tambour, et recouvrant un intervalle angulaire pour la rotation du tambour, lequel inclut la troisième position de rotation, et

    dans lequel le dispositif de transport (200) est adapté pour :

    a) établir un trajet de chute ouvert s'étendant à partir de la zone d'entrée dédiée (210) jusqu'à un fond de la cavité (222) fournie par l'élément allongé (223) dans la position rétractée lorsque le tambour est dans la deuxième position de rotation, avec la cavité tournée vers le haut vers la zone d'entrée pour permettre à un article consigné déposé dans la zone d'entrée de tomber librement dans la cavité et d'être reçu dans celle-ci, et

    b) faire tourner le tambour, lors de l'établissement du trajet de chute ouvert, à partir de la deuxième position de rotation vers la troisième position de rotation, et déplacer l'élément vers la position avancée pour entraîner par la force un article consigné reçu dans la cavité hors de la cavité et vers la première sortie.


     
    2. Dispositif de transport selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le tambour au moins adjacent à la cavité est doté d'un moyen de délimitation de cavité (229) adapté pour empêcher tout déplacement axial de l'objet/article déposé dans la cavité au-delà de l'extension longitudinale du tambour.
     
    3. Dispositif de transport selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel le dispositif de transport comprend en outre un moyen de guidage (241) adapté pour fixer un article consigné déposé dans la cavité tandis que le tambour est positionné dans une position de rotation entre la deuxième position de rotation et la première sortie ou une deuxième sortie.
     
    4. Dispositif de transport selon la revendication 3, dans lequel le moyen de guidage est assuré par une plaque courbe adaptée à un contour extérieur courbe (228) du tambour, et ladite plaque couvrant ladite ouverture de cavité tandis que le tambour est positionné entre la deuxième position de rotation et ladite première sortie ou ladite deuxième sortie.
     
    5. Dispositif de transport selon la revendication 3, dans lequel ladite deuxième sortie est dans une quatrième position de rotation ou dans une cinquième position de rotation.
     
    6. Dispositif de transport selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 - 5, dans lequel une surface extérieure de l'élément (223) dans la position avancée, en particulier lorsqu'un tambour est placé dans une position de rotation avec l'ouverture de cavité tournée vers une sortie, est substantiellement en affleurement avec extérieure à un contour extérieur circonférentiel (228) du tambour.
     
    7. Dispositif de transport selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 - 6, comprenant en outre un rouleau avant rotatif (243) disposé au-dessus ou à côté du tambour, de telle façon que le rouleau rotatif, par la rotation du tambour, contribue à une rotation d'un article consigné présentant une section transversale substantiellement circulaire lorsque l'article consigné passant par la zone d'entrée a été placé sur une partie de la surface circonférentielle du tambour tournée vers le haut, exempte de cavité.
     
    8. Dispositif de transport selon la revendication 7, comprenant en outre un entraînement de rouleau avant (224) destiné à entraîner le rouleau avant rotatif.
     
    9. Dispositif de transport selon la revendication 8, dans lequel l'entraînement de rouleau avant assure l'entraînement du rouleau avant dans une direction de rotation correspondant à la direction ou à la rotation du tambour et avec une vitesse périphérique correspondant substantiellement à une vitesse périphérique du tambour.
     
    10. Dispositif de transport selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7 - 9, dans lequel un point d'appui (254) du rouleau avant est doté d'une cellule de pesage (246) pour déterminer une masse d'un article consigné.
     
    11. Dispositif de transport selon la revendication 10, dans lequel le dispositif de transport comprend un cadre (140) portant le tambour supporté pour sa rotation, et dans lequel la cellule de pesage (246) est reliée au cadre.
     
    12. Dispositif de transport selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7 - 9, dans lequel le dispositif de transport comprend un cadre (240) portant le tambour supporté pour sa rotation, ledit cadre étant adapté pour un montage dans une structure de support (250), et dans lequel le rouleau avant est adapté avec un premier point d'appui (247) et un deuxième point d'appui (246), ledit deuxième point d'appui étant porté par le cadre (240) et ledit premier point d'appui (247) étant porté par un système de palier (252) relié à un coffret (250) pour le support du dispositif de transport.
     
    13. Dispositif de transport selon la revendication 12, dans lequel le système de palier est relié au coffret à l'aide de la cellule de pesage (253) pour la détermination d'une masse d'un article consigné.
     
    14. Dispositif de transport selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 - 13, dans lequel l'entraînement d'élément est adapté pour déplacer l'élément vers une position avancée en plaçant le tambour dans une quatrième position de rotation ou dans la première position de rotation, avec l'ouverture de cavité ainsi tournée vers une deuxième sortie (226 ; 226'), moyennant quoi un article consigné reçu dans la cavité lorsque le tambour est dans la deuxième position de rotation avec l'élément dans la position rétractée sera poussé hors de la cavité et vers la deuxième sortie en plaçant le tambour dans la quatrième position ou dans la première position, respectivement.
     
    15. Dispositif de transport selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 - 14, comprenant en outre une installation (20) pour une identification sans contact d'un article consigné positionné sur une surface extérieure du tambour ou sur l'élément lorsque l'élément est dans la position avancée.
     
    16. Dispositif de transport selon la revendication 15, dans lequel l'installation (20) pour une identification sans contact est adaptée pour utiliser une onde d'énergie transmise à partir de l'installation, et le tambour est doté d'un réflecteur directionnel destiné à réfléchir l'onde d'énergie transmise de manière à renvoyer celle-ci substantiellement vers l'installation.
     
    17. Dispositif de transport selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 - 16, comprenant en outre un moyen de blocage de reflux (170) disposé à proximité de l'une au moins parmi lesdites première et deuxième sorties, et adapté pour assurer un déplacement de retour d'un article consigné forcé vers l'une respective parmi lesdites première et deuxième sorties.
     
    18. Dispositif de transport selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le moyen de délimitation de cavité est fourni par des parois d'extrémité de tambour (229).
     
    19. Dispositif de transport selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 - 18, comprenant en outre un compacteur disposé à proximité d'une sortie.
     
    20. Dispositif de transport selon la revendication 19, dans lequel le compacteur se présente sous la forme d'un ensemble de chaînes pourvues de crampons dans un système du genre cunéiforme, tout en étant adapté pour aplanir progressivement et perforer un article consigné.
     




    Drawing
















































    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description