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US005 844807A

Ulllted States Patent [19]

[11] Patent Number:

Anderson et al.

[45]

[54]

AUTOMATED SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR

Date of Patent:

5,540,545

OPTIMIZING AND PALLETIZING ARTICLES


[75]

5,844,807
Dec. 1, 1998

7/1996 Roberts et a1. .................... .. 414/792.6

FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS

Inventors: Wade A- Andersolh Madison; Shayne

3107495

2/1981

Germany ..................... .. B656 57/24

A. Roberts, Phillips; John J.


Kondratuk Kennam an of W1S~
_

Primary ExaminerReba I. Elmore

Assistant ExaminerSteven R. Garland

[73] Asslgnee' Marqulp Inc" Phllhps W15

Attorney, Agent, or FirmAndrus, Sceales, Starke &


SaWall

[21] Appl. No.: 556,207

[57]

ABSTRACT

[22]

Filed:

Nov. 9, 1995

[51]
[52]

6
Int. Cl. .................................................... .. G06F 17/00
U.S. C]. ................................ .. 364/478.05; 414/7926;

A method and apparatus is disclosed for optimizing an


arrangement of articles, Such as Stacks ofpaperboard Sheets,
into horizontal tiers, then stacking the horizontal tiers one on

414/7896; 414/7918; 414/902

top another to form a rectangular-shaped unit, Wherein the

[58]

Field of Search ....................... .. 364/47802, 478.05,

rectangular shaped unit has base dimensions substantially

364/478.06; 414/7926, 789.6, 789.9, 789.8,


789.5, 791.6, 791.8, 799, 786, 902, 794.7,

equal to a selected standard pallet-type. The system includes


a computer programmed to receive the base siZe of an

907

article, the total number of articles desired, and a selected


pallet type. The computer is connected to a palletiZer for
building the actual unit of articles consistent With an opti
miZed unit con?guration. The palletiZer has a tier forming

' '
1/1955 Bruce et al. ....................... .. 414/7889

station in Which tiers of articles are formed according to the


selected tier con?guration, and a transfer device for moving

198/412
414/62

the formed tiers into a stack forming station Wherein the tiers
are sequentially deposited. The system can add spacing
between selected articles in a tier, and stack the tiers such

[561

References Cited
U S PATENT DOCUMENTS
2,699,264
2,997,187

8/ 1961

472557074

3/1981 Meram et a1

473527616

10/1982

Burt -: --------- -

Bree? ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '

' ' ' ' " 414/31

4641271
5,050,090

2/1987 Komshl et a1 "


9/1991 Golub et a1.

" 364/47805
.. 364/478.05

5,139,388

8/1992

Martin ........ ..

that the s aces in ad'oinin tiers are not ali ned


p
1
g
g
'

414/799

5,372,472 12/1994 Winski et a1. ........................ .. 414/786

15 Claims, 19 Drawing Sheets

132 \

/134

-.

-|-|T
_|

TT-l-

l-

__

..

I-

_|

|-|-

l-l

Ill

|-|-| -

-I-ll-

-ll-l

136(3)

136(b)

136(8) -

136(b) '

188

136(a) -

[190

136(0)

136(a)

ADD TIE SHEET

REMOVE TIER

138'\

/
164

194
4

TIERS
/205

186 194 -V-| TOTAL ARTICLES 150

/ \
PRINT

196\
198
TOTAL ITEMS 11400

l>

OK

TOTAL HEIGHT 46.28

TOTAL WE|GHT|2021.84I

CANCEL

/
f

202

200

208

U.S. Patent

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r.

1
FIG.

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5,844,807

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12>
,4.:

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Sheet 11 0f 19

5,844,807

U.S. Patent

Dec. 1,1998

Sheet 12 0f 19

HG. 19((1)

140\
142%
l
l
I

|
l
l
|

5,844,807

ADD TIER

l
I
l

178A REMOVE TlER

136(a)

180

COPY TIER

144

EDIT TIER

136(b)

184 A

CANCEL

148 A

OK

150 A

CANCEL

U.S. Patent

Dec. 1,1998

Sheet 13 0f 19

5,844,807

OJ All
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218

U.S. Patent

Dec. 1, 1998

5,844,807

Sheet 14 0f 19

FIG. 22
228

230

\ ENTER ORDER
DATA

_,

COMPLETE

UNIT FORMED
7

232

\ SELECT PALLET
TYPE

234

248
D DISPLAY WHOLE
UNIT

I
GENERATE THE
POSSIBLE TIER
CONFIGURATIONS

236

238

DISPLAY AVAILABLE
TIER CONFIGURATIONS

\'\ ADD, REMOVE, COPY


AND /OR EDIT
TIERS SELECTED

I
\\

256
A

SELECT DESIRED

TIER CONFIGURATIONS

240

UNIT
OK To BUILD
?
254
Y

F;

\D

250

252

ADD A TIER TO
PALLET TO
FORM UNIT

244 DISPLAY
UNIT

258

SAvE ORDER
TO DISK /MEMORY

\~ BEGIN BUILDING
uNITS

U.S. Patent

Dec. 1,1998

Sheet 15 0f 19

5,844,807

/
FIG. 23(6)

234

START GENERATING THE


POSSIBLE TIER
CONFIGURATIONS

26o

262

\/\

INITIALIZE UNIT PARAMETERS


(IE. NUMBER OF TIERS GENERATED,
NUMBER OF ROWS TO ROTATE,
MAX. ROWS PER TIER)

264
\m

I
SET THE MAX. NUMBER
OF TIERS=
(PALLET WIDTH /ARTICLE WIDTH)+1

266

STAR?

INITIALIZE TIER PARAMETERS

GENERATING
A TIER

(IE. TOTAL WIDTH OF TIER,


NUMBER OF ROWS PER TIER)

268

START GENERATING
THE ROTATED ROWS
IN THE CURRENT TIER

INITIALIZE ROTATED ROW


COUNT PARAMETER

270

297W
GENERATE
ANOTHER
ROTATED ROW
?

296

U.S. Patent
297

E 2

Dec. 1,1998

FIG. 23(b)

BEGIN GENERATING

F 79 UNROTATED ROWS

DOES
ANOTHER
UNROTATED ROW
FIT

308

GENERATE
UNROTATED

Rows

310

314

\\

LABEL
ROW ,,
"
AS UNROTATED
I

\/\

INCREMENT ROW
COUNT PARAMETER

\l\

NUMBER OF ROWS
PER TIER INCREMENT

312

Sheet 16 0f 19

I
SEI' NUMBER OF ARTICLES IN
THIS ROW=(PALLEI' LENGTH-EDGE
GAP*2)/ ARTICLE WIDTH

5,844,807

U.S. Patent

Dec. 1,1998

Sheet 17 0f 19

5,844,807

FIG. 23(6)

31\6'\
318

SET TOTAL WIDTH=TOTAL


WIDTH +ART|CLE LENGTH

SET GAP S|ZE=(PALLET LENGTH-EDGE


GAP*2)(NUMBER OF ARTICLES IN
THIs ROW*ART|CLE WIDTH)

322

320
Y

N328

325
324
DONE WITH THIS ROW

PLACE THE GAP


BETWEEN FIRST AND SECOND
ARTICLES IN THIS ROW

U.S. Patent

Dec. 1,1998

272

Sheet 18 0f 19
B

5,844,807
C

274
DOES ANOTHER
ROTATED ROW
FIT

FIG. 23(d)

278

GENERATE

\\

ROTATED

,,

Rows

LABEL ROW AS ROTATED

28L INCREMENT ROW


COUNT PARAMETER
\A INCREMENT NUMBER OF

V\

ROWS PER TIER

I
284

SET NUMBER OF ARTICLES


IN THIS Row=

(PALLET LENGTH-EDGE
GAP*2)/ART|CLE LENGTH

286

\A SET TOTAL WIDTH=TOTAL

288

WIDTH+ARTICLE WIDTH

\\

SET GAP SIZE=(PALLET LENGTH-EDGE


GAP*2)(NUMBER OF ARTICLES IN THIS
ROW*ARTICLE LENGTH)
292

\\
IS GAP SIZE>O

DONE WITH THIS ROW


___J

PLACE THE GAP BETWEEN


FIRST AND SECOND
ARTICLES IN THIS ROW

U.S. Patent

Dec. 1,1998

Sheet 19 0f 19

5,844,807

FIG. 23(6)
D

330

\
306

_] QT
332
SET EDGE OFFSET FOR
\\
THIS TIER=

352
\A

(PALLET WIDTH
TOTAL WIDTH)/ 2

334

\/\ INCREMENT NUMBER OF


ROWS TO ROTATE
INCREMENT NUMBER OF
TIERS GENERATED
336 _

ARE THE

ARTICLES SQUARE
?

338

\\ SORT THE TIERS GENERATED


BY NUMBER OF ARTICLES
IN EACH TIER

348

\/\ RANK THE SORTED TIERS BY


MOST ARTICLES PER TIER

GENERATED
THE DESIRED MAXIMUM
NUMBER OF TIERS
?