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Combinational weighing machine

2015-01-17 13:59   Article Source:www.freepatentsonline.com   View Times:
Claims:
1. A combinational weighing machine comprising: a number of feeders (3) for supplying articles to be weighed to respective weigh hoppers (6) individually associated with the feeders (3); and feeder control means (10) for independently activating the feeders (3) according to weight values measured by weighing devices (7) individually associated with the weigh hoppers (6), the combinational weighing machine selecting a combination of articles from a suitable combination of the weight values obtained by the weighing devices (7), characterized in that the combinational weighing machine further comprises: detecting means (34) for detecting whether the amount of articles is above or below a preset normal-to-deficient threshold value at a position upstream of the feeders (3); and control means (30) for adjusting vibrations of the feeders (3) to preset modes when the amount detected by the detecting means (34) increases and changes from below to above a preset deficient-to-normal threshold value, and for continuing to control the vibrations of the feeders according to the weight values measured by the weighing devices (7).
 
2. A combinational weighing machine according to claim 1, wherein the preset modes depend on the modes of vibrations of the feeder when the amount detected by the detecting means (34) most recently decreased from above to below the normal-to-deficient threshold value.
 
3. A combinational weighing machine according to claim 2, wherein the preset modes are equal to the modes of vibrations of the feeder when the amount detected by the detecting means (34) most recently decreased from above to below the normal-to-deficient threshold value.
 
4. A combinational weighing machine comprising: a number of independently driven feeders (3) each adapted to be activated according to parameter values which have been set therefor and to thereby transport articles to be weighed on a dispersion feeder (2) to respective weigh hoppers (6); parameter value setting means (20) for calculating new parameter values for the independently driven feeders (3) according to previous parameter values which were previously set by the parameter value setting means (20) and weight values measured by weighing devices (7) individually associated with the weigh hoppers; the combinational weighing machine selecting a combination of articles from a suitable combination of weight values obtained by the weighing devices (7); characterized by memory means (22) for storing first parameter values calculated by the parameter value setting means (20) as of a time when the amount of the articles on the dispersion feeder (2) decreases and changes from above to below a first threshold value; and transfer means (37) for sending second parameter values dependent upon the first parameter values stored by the memory means (22) to the parameter value setting means (20) so as to serve as the previous parameter values when the amount of the articles on the dispersion feeder (2) increases and changes from below to above a second threshold value.
 
5. A combinational weighing machine according to claim 4, wherein the parameter value setting means (20) is adapted to continue calculating new parameter values and to thereby continue controlling supply rates of articles by the independently driven feeders (3) even after the amount of articles on the dispersion feeder (2) increases and becomes greater than the second threshold value.
 
6. A combinational weighing machine according to claim 4 or claim 5, wherein the parameter values determine vibration amplitudes and durations of vibrations of the radial feeders (3).
 
7. A combinational weighing machine according to any of claims 4 to 6, wherein said second parameter values are equal to said first parameter values previously stored by said memory means.
 
8. A combinational weighing machine according to any of claims 4 to 7 further comprising: a detector for outputting a total weight signal indicative of the weight of said articles on the dispersion feeder (2); a judging means (34) for receiving the total weight signal and determining whether the dispersion feeder (2) has thereon a normal amount or a deficient amount of the articles relative to the first threshold value; and switch means (33) controlled by the judging means (34) for allowing the second parameter values to be transferred to the parameter value setting means (20) for no more than a specified length of time immediately after the judging means determines that the amount of the articles on the dispersion feeder (2) changes from a deficient level to a normal level relative to the second threshold value.
 
Description:
   This invention relates to a combinational weighing machine for using many units of weighing apparatus to weigh articles such as candies, fruits and vegetables and to select a combination of weighed articles by using their measured weight values such that their total weight will satisfy a certain preset condition.
 
   As disclosed, for example, in Japanese Patent Publication Tokkai 83-30725, combinational weighing machines are used for providing a target weight of articles such as candies, fruits and vegetables having individually different weights. As shown in Fig. 4, which illustrates such a combinational weighing machine, articles M to be weighed (hereinafter referred to simply as the articles) are transported by a conveyer 1 and supplied by way of a dispersion feeder 2 to a plural n-number of independently driven article-conducting feeders 3l - 3n which can be vibrated individually and at different intensities and from these independently driven feeders 3l - 3n to weigh hoppers 61 - 6n which individually correspond thereto.
 
   There is a combination control means (not shown) for combining the measured weight values from these n weigh hoppers 61 - 6n and thereby selecting a combination of the weigh hoppers (or articles therein) satisfying a certain preset condition. The condition may require that the total weight of the selected combination be either the closest to or equal to a target weight value. The condition may further require that the total weight be greater than the target value. The articles M thus selected are collectively discharged through a discharge chute 9.
 
In order to carry out such a combination-selection process accurately and efficiently, it is important to keep delivering the articles M at a steady and even rate such that the amounts delivered to the weigh hoppers 61 - 6n are always very close to a specified value (that is, the quotient obtained by dividing the target weight value by the number of hoppers which are intended to be combined and selected). In order to accomplish this, values of parameters which characterize the mode of vibratory motion of these feeders 3l - 3n (such as the amplitude and time duration of the vibrations) are controlled. In what follows, the values of these parameters for their individual vibratory motions will be referred to simply as the parameter values.
 
   There is provided, for each of these independently driven article-conducting feeders 3l - 3n, a parameter setting means for setting new parameter values on the basis of the parameter values previously set (hereinafter referred to as the previous parameter values) and the amount of the articles which were actually supplied to it when these previous parameter values were controlling its vibratory motion. The feeders 3l - 3n are operated according to the newly set parameter values such that amounts of the articles M nearly equal to the specified value would be delivered to the weigh hoppers 61 - 6n.
 
   Amounts of articles that are supplied from the feeders 3l - 3n vary significantly, however, depending not only upon the parameter values but also upon the quantity of the articles M (or their layer thickness) on the dispersion feeder 2. The articles M may be supplied to the dispersion feeder 2 by means of a cross feeder or a conveyer, but their rate of supply is not always stable or uniform. In other words, there may be situations, due to fluctuations in the supply rate of the articles M from the cross feeder or the conveyer, where not enough articles M are present on the dispersion feeder 2.
 
   If such a deficiency condition continues to exist, the amounts of the articles M supplied to the individual weigh hoppers 61 - 6n become smaller than the aforementioned specified value, and since the parameter values are calculated on the basis of the amounts of the articles which are actually supplied, this means that the parameter values which are newly calculated will gradually grow larger. Eventually, the parameter values may become abnormally large such that, even after the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 returns to a normal level, abnormally large amounts of the articles M continue to be supplied for more than a few cycles from article-conducting feeders 3l - 3n to the weigh hoppers 61 - 6n because of the abnormally large parameter values.
 
   As a result, some of the weigh hoppers 61 - 6n may become too heavily loaded to effectively participate in the selection of a combination. It goes without saying that such a situation adversely affects the efficiency of combinational weighing operation.
 
   In view of the problems of this nature, aforementioned Japanese Patent Publication Tokkai 83-30725 disclosed a method whereby the calculation of new parameter values is stopped if the deficiency condition (in which the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 is less than a certain threshold level) has lasted for a specified length of time t. The calculation of new parameter values is resumed only after the condition returns from deficiency to normal. If the control is thus effected, the parameter value change will become as shown schematically by the broken line in Fig. 3(b) corresponding to the change in the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 as shown in Fig. 3(a). The solid line in Fig. 3(b) shows how a parameter value may become abnormally large in a situation of supply deficiency if no such control is effected.
 
   According to this prior art technology, however, the supply of the articles M to the weigh hoppers 61 - 6n may become extremely small if the deficient condition of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 becomes more severe than anticipated. This is because the control of the parameter values is totally abandoned and hence the parameter values remain constant after the specified length of time t has elapsed in the aforementioned condition of supply deficiency. Desirable combinations of weight values cannot be obtained under such a circumstance.
 
   The present invention has been accomplished in view of the problematical situation described above. In other words, an object of the present invention is to prevent oversupply and undersupply of articles to the weigh hoppers of a combinational weighing machine to thereby prevent the occurrence of weigh hoppers which are not selected for many cycles of combinational calculations.
 
   In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a combinational weighing machine comprises a number of feeders for supplying articles to be weighed to respective weigh hoppers individually associated with the feeders; and feeder control means for independently activating the feeders according to weight values measured by weighing devices individually associated with the weigh hoppers, the combinational weighing machine selecting a combination of articles from a suitable combination of the weight values obtained by the weighing devices and is characterized in that the combinational weighing machine further comprises:detecting means for detecting whether the amount of articles is above or below a preset normal-to-deficient threshold value at a position upstream of the feeders; and control means for adjusting vibrations of the feeders to preset modes when the amount detected by the detecting means increases and changes from below to above a preset deficient-to-normal threshold value, and for continuing to control the vibrations of the feeders according to the weight values measured by the weighing devices.
 
   In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention, a combinational weighing machine comprises a number of independently driven feeders each adapted to be activated according to parameter values which have been set therefor and to thereby transport articles to be weighed on a dispersion feeder to respective weigh hoppers; parameter value setting means for calculating new parameter values for the independently driven feeders according to previous parameter values which were previously set by the parameter value setting means and weight values measured by weighing devices individually associated with the weigh hoppers;the combinational weighing machine selecting a combination of articles from a suitable combination of weight values obtained by the weighing devices characterized by memory means for storing first parameter values calculated by the parameter value setting means as of a time when the amount of the articles on the dispersion feeder decreases and changes from above to below a first threshold value; and transfer means for sending second parameter values dependent upon the first parameter values stored by the memory means to the parameter value setting means so as to serve as the previous parameter values when the amount of the articles on the dispersion feeder increases and changes from below to above a second threshold value.
 
   Thus, the parameter values when the amount of the articles on the dispersion feeder changes from a normal level to a deficient level are stored and a feedback control is carried out when the amount of the articles changes from a deficient level to a normal level on the basis of the aforementioned parameter values which have been stored. Accordingly, supplies to the weigh hoppers do not become excessively large even if the amount of the articles on the dispersion feeder returns to a normal level suddenly. Since a feedback control is effected also when the amount of the articles on the dispersion feeder is deficient, furthermore, undersupplies to the weigh hoppers are also prevented.
 
   The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and form a part of this specification, illustrate an embodiment of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention. In the drawings:

 Fig. 1 is a schematic structural diagram of the control unit of a combinational weighing machine embodying the present invention;

 Fig. 2 is a schematic structural diagram of a combinational weighing machine which may incorporate the present invention;

Fig. 3(a) is a diagram of changes in the amount of articles on the dispersion feeder and Figs. 3(b)-3(d) are characteristic curves showing the changes in a parameter value; and

Fig. 4 is a conceptual diagram of the basic structure of a prior art combinational weighing machine.
 
   A combinational weighing machine embodying the present invention will be described next with reference to the figures.
 
   With reference first to Fig. 2 in which like components described above with reference to Fig. 4 are indicated by the same numerals, articles M to be weighed are dropped from a conveyer 1 to the center of a flat, conical dispersion feeder 2. Around the circular periphery of the dispersion feeder 2, there are disposed a plural n-number of so-called radial feeders 3l - 3n which are radially extending independently driven article-conducting means each adapted to vibrate according to parameter values which have been set, that is, with a specified amplitude for a specified length of time, thereby feeding the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 into n pool hoppers 41 - 4n each provided with a gate 5i. Below the pool hoppers 41 - 4n are correspondingly disposed as many weigh hoppers 61 - 6n, each provided with a weighing device 7i and a gate 8i.
 
   A large discharge chute 9 is provided below the gates 81 - 8n.
 
   With reference next to Fig. 1, each of the aforementioned weighing devices 71 - 7n may comprise, for example, a load cell adapted to measure the weight of the articles M inside the associated weigh hopper 6i and to output a weight signal wi indicative of the weight value obtained thereby to a combination control means 10 and parameter setting means 20i. Throughout herein, subscript i is to be.interpreted as a dummy parameter, indicating that there are a plurality of elements or signals represented by the symbol to which it is appended.
 
   The combination control means 10 is for making combinations of the measured values from the weighing devices 71 - 7n, that is, the weight values of the articles M in the weigh hoppers 61 - 6n, to thereby select a combination of the weigh hoppers 6i (or a combination of the articles M therein) which satisfies a preset condition. Examples of such preset conditions have been given above. The combination control means 10 includes a combination calculating means 11, a target weight setting means 12, a combination judging means 13 and a hopper control means 14. The combination calculating means 11 is adapted to calculate all combinations of m (
The combination judging means 13 is adapted to compare the combination weight signals wM with a target weight value received from the target weight setting means 12 and to thereby select a desired combination satisfying a preset condition, outputting a selection signal a indicative of the selected combination to the hopper control means 14 and feeder control means 301 - 30n, corresponding to the n radial feeders 31 - 3n.
 
   The hopper control means 14 serves to open the gates 8i of the m weigh hoppers 6i which have been selected. The articles M in these selected weigh hoppers 6i are thereby discharged therefrom and collected together by the discharge chute 9 to be supplied to a packaging machine 31. The hopper control means 14 is further adapted to open the gates 5i of the pool hoppers 4i corresponding to the weigh hoppers 6i which have become empty, thereby supplying the articles M from these pool hoppers 4i to the corresponding weigh hoppers 6i. The feeder control means 30i are adapted to activate those of the radial feeders 3i corresponding to the emptied ones of the pool hoppers 4i according to parameter values which have been set therefor, thereby delivering the articles M to these emptied pool hoppers 4i.
 
   Each of the parameter setting means 20i includes a parameter calculating means 21i and a (first) memory device 22i, and is adapted to set new parameter values for the corresponding radial feeder 3i. Each of these new parameter values is set, dependent on the value previously set and the weight value outputted from the corresponding weighing device 7i. The memory device 22i is adapted to store the parameter values previously calculated by the parameter calculating means 21i and received therefrom through a switch means 33i by parameter value signals pli.
 
   On the basis of the weight signal wi from the weighing device 7i, the parameter calculating means 21i determines whether the amount supplied to the corresponding weigh hopper 6i is greater than or smaller than a specified value. If the amount supplied to the weigh hopper 6i is found to be within a specified range including the specified value, the previous parameter values from the memory device 22i are directly outputted as parameter value signals pli. If it is found to be over this range, the previous parameter values retrieved from the memory device 22i are reduced by one unit and the reduced parameter values thus obtained are outputted as parameter value signals pli.
 
   If the amount supplied to the weigh hopper 6i is determined to be below this range, on the other hand, the parameter calculating means 21i increases the previous parameter values from the memory device 22i by one unit, outputting the increased parameter values thus obtained as parameter value signals pli. Although not shown in the figures, both the parameter calculating means 21i and the memory device 22i contain a part related to the amplitude of vibrations and another part related to the time duration of the vibrations.
 
   The dispersion feeder 2 is provided with a detector 32 comprising, for example, a load cell. This detector 32 is adapted to detect the weight of the dispersion feeder 2 and the articles M thereon and to output to a judging means 34 a total weight signal wa indicative of the total weight value measured thereby.
 
   The judging means 34 includes a map and is adapted to determine whether or not the weight of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 is greater than a specified threshold level, that is, whether or not this weight is within a normal range or deficient. The judging means 34 is also adapted to determine whether or not the weight of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 has changed from the normal range to the deficient range and, if such a change is detected, to output a pulse signal c to a switching circuit 35i to thereby close the switching circuit 35i for a short period of time.
 
   The judging means 34 is further adapted to determine whether or not the weight of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 has returned from a deficient level back to a normal level and, if such a return is detected, to output a switch signal d to a hold means 36 for holding this switch signal d for a fixed length of time t1 and to then continue to output it to the switch means 33i, causing the switch means 33i to change its connection from terminal f to terminal g.
 
   After the switching circuit 35i is closed, the parameter values calculated by the parameter calculating means 21i are transferred as parameter value signals pli by a (first) transfer means 37i to be stored in another (second) memory device 38i . In other words, the second memory device 38i is for storing the parameter values as of the time when the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 changes from a normal level to a deficient level. The value of the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 at the boundary between the normal level and the deficient level will be hereinafter referred to as the normal-to-deficient threshold level.
 
   When the switch means 33i is switched so as to make the connection to the terminal g, the parameter values stored in the second memory device 38i are transferred by another (second) transfer means 39i and come to be stored in the first memory device 22i. In other words, the second transfer means 39i serves, when the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 returns from a deficient level back into a normal level, to output as previous parameter values the parameter values then stored in the second memory device 38i into the first memory device 22i of the parameter setting means 20i. The value of the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 at the boundary between the deficient level and the normal level, as it changes from the former to the latter, will be hereinafter referred to as the deficient-to-normal threshold level.
 
   As will be explained below, the normal-to-deficient threshold level and the deficient-to-normal threshold level need not be the same. In other words, the boundary between what may be called a normal level and what may be called a deficient level is not definitely definable. The user is allowed to empirically determine and set these threshold levels.
 
   Next, the operation of the combinational weighing machine as a whole will be explained. Let us first consider a normal situation where the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 is within a normal range.
 
   The articles M are delivered onto the dispersion feeder 2 from the conveyer 1, passed through the radial feeders 3i, the pool hoppers 4i, the weigh hoppers 6i and the discharge chute 9, and packaged together by the packaging machine 31. During this process, the combination control means 10 selects a combination of m weigh hoppers 6i satisfying a preset condition. In the next cycle of the operation, the combination control means 10 selects another combination from the remaining weigh hoppers 6i and carries out a combinational discharge similarly. In the meantime, the hopper control means 14 opens the gates 5i of the pool hoppers 4i corresponding to the already discharged weigh hoppers 6i to thereby cause the articles M to be delivered from these pool hoppers 4i to the empty weight hoppers 6i.
 
   The radial feeders 3i corresponding to the discharged pool hoppers 4i are activated such that the articles M are supplied into those emptied pool hoppers 4i.
 
   The parameter values at this moment are calculated by the parameter calculating means 21i on the basis of previously used parameter values now stored in the first memory device 22i and the measured weight value from the weighing device 7i. The calculated parameter values are outputted not only as new parameter values to the feeder control means 30i but also to the first memory device 22i. These operations, inclusive of the calculation of parameter values, are continued not only under a normal condition but also under a deficient condition, respectively indicated by A and B in Fig. 3(a). As the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 decreases and increases as shown in Fig. 3(a), a corresponding parameter value will change as shown by the solid line in Fig. 3(b).
 
   For simplicity of illustration, the normal-to-deficient and deficient-to-normal threshold levels are set equal in Fig. 3.
 
   When the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 changes from a normal level to a deficient level (that is, when it crosses the normal-to-deficient threshold level from above at Point D in Fig. 3), this change is detected by the judging means 34, the switching circuits 35i are closed, and the second transfer means 39i transfers the current parameter values P to the second memory device 38i to be stored therein.
 
   If the deficient condition B of Fig. 3(a) ceases to exist and the system returns to another normal condition C (that is, when the deficient-to-normal threshold level is crossed from below at Point E), this transition is detected by the judging means 34, and a switch signal d is outputted to the switch means 33i through the hold means 36 for a fixed length of time t1, causing the switch means 33i to connect to terminal g. As a result, the aforementioned parameter values P stored in the second memory device 38i are transferred by the second transfer means 39i to the first memory 22i to be stored therein. Thereafter, the parameter calculating means 21i calculates new parameter values P+ DELTA P on the basis of the (previous) parameter values P and the weight signal wi from the weighing device 7i.
 
   These newly calculated parameter values P+ DELTA P are not transferred to the first memory device 22i because the switch means 33i is then connected to terminal g. Thus, the constant parameter values P are outputted from the first memory device 22i as shown in Fig. 3(b), and the constant new parameter values P+ DELTA P are outputted to the feeder control means 30i.
 
   After this fixed length of time t1 has elapsed, the switch means 33i switches its connection to terminal f, and the control returns to the normal mode as described above. The parameter values are thereby reduced as shown in Fig. 3(b) as the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 increases, as shown in Fig. 3(a).
 
   With combinational weighing machines thus structured, the parameter values are controlled as shown in Fig. 3(b) even under a deficient condition B. Thus, the rates of supply to the weigh hoppers 6i are prevented from becoming excessively small even under a deficient condition. In other words, situations of undersupply with respect to the target weight value can be prevented from occurring.
 
   Since the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 are transported to the weigh hoppers 6i sequentially through the radial feeders 3i and the pool hoppers 4i, changes in the parameter values are somewhat delayed from those in the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2. Thus, although the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2 can be increased rapidly through the conveyer 1 to overcome a deficient condition, the parameter values may not respond quickly thereto or necessarily become smaller correspondingly. Thus, if the system is controlled according to the prior art technology and in the same way as in Conditions A and B even after Point E of Fig. 3(a) is passed, the amounts of the articles M supplied to the weigh hoppers 6i may become abnormally large.
 
   According to the present invention, by contrast, the parameter values P at the moment of transition from normal to deficient conditions are used as the new parameter values when the system returns to a normal condition from a deficient condition. Thus, the rates of supply to the weigh hoppers 6i are prevented from becoming excessively large.
 
   If the system returns to a normal control immediately after it returns to a normal condition from a deficient condition, the parameter values may increase as shown by the broken line in Fig. 3(b), bringing about a similarly undesirable result. According to the embodiment of the present invention described above, the parameter values are maintained unchanged (at P in the memory devices and P+ DELTA P at the feeder control means) for a fixed length of time t1 after the system returns to a normal condition, and hence the supply to the weigh hoppers 6i does not become abnormally large.
 
   The invention has been described above by way of a single embodiment, but this example is intended to be illustrative and not to limit the scope of the invention. Many modifications and variations are possible within the scope of this invention. For example, although the parameter values are maintained unchanged at P (or at P+ DELTA P) for a fixed length of time t1 immediately after the system returns to a normal condition according to the embodiment of the invention described above, the invention does not require the parameter values to necessarily remain unchanged. The system may be returned to a normal feedback control immediately after it returns to the normal condition C on the basis of the parameter values P as shown in Fig. 3(c).
 
   Although the parameter values are held constant according to the embodiment of the invention described above by using the hold means 36 to prevent the newly calculated parameter values from becoming transferred to and stored in the first memory device 22i, the parameter values may be held constant while allowing the parameter values P in the second memory device 38i to be continuously sent to the feeder control means 30i for the fixed length of time t1. Moreover, although a single hold means 36 was provided according to the embodiment described above and illustrated in Fig. 1, n hold means may be provided individually to the n radial feeders 3i and weighing devices 7i. If each weighing device 7i is provided with a separate hold means (not illustrated), the holding time t1 can be individually controlled.
 
   For example, the hold condition may be maintained only for those weighing devices 7i measuring small weight values and released for those measuring normal or large weight values. In other words, the holding time t1 is preset if there is only one hold means 36 as shown in Fig. 1, but it will be variable if a plurality of hold means are used as explained above, depending on measured weight values.
 
   Although the parameter values P at the transition point D of Fig. 3(b) are used as the "previous parameter values" P according to the embodiment of the invention described above when the system returns to the normal condition C at Point E, neither is this intended to limit the scope of the invention. Depending on the type of combinational weighing machine or the factory where it is installed, different parameter values P2 which may be larger or smaller than the parameter values P at the transition point D may be used as the "previous parameter values" when the system returns from a deficient condition B to a normal condition C, as illustrated in Fig. 3(d).
 
   Although only one threshold level was used in Fig. 3 for the amount of the articles M on the dispersion feeder 2, somewhat different normal-to-deficient and deficient-to-normal threshold values may be used for defining transition points D and E respectively, as explained above.
 
   Although the invention was described above with reference to a combinational weighing machine with pool hoppers 4i, these pool hoppers 4i are not necessary for the application of the present invention. It also goes without saying that conveyers and other kinds of transporting means can be used in place of the radial feeders 3i. In fact, the present invention is equally applicable to the type of combinational weighing machines with trough-like, elongated, independently driven feeders disposed not radially but parallel to each other, although the radial feeders 3i of Fig. 2 are circularly disposed and radially oriented with the dispersion feeder 2 at the center.
 
   According to the present invention, as described above, the parameter values as of the time of a transition when the amount of the articles to be weighed on the dispersion feeder changes from a normal level to a deficient condition is stored and thereafter outputted as the previous parameter values when the amount of the articles on the dispersion feeder returns from a deficient condition to a normal condition, thereby carrying out a feedback control on the basis of the stored parameter values. As a result, the articles are prevented from being supplied to the dispersion feeder at an excessively large rate when the their amount on the dispersion feeder returns to a normal level from being deficient.
 
   Since the parameter setting means of the present invention carries out a feedback control also when the amount of the articles on the dispersion feeder is in a deficient condition, the rate of supply of the articles to the weigh hoppers is prevented from becoming excessively small. In summary, since oversupply and undersupply to the weigh hoppers can be prevented according to the present invention, occurrence of weigh hoppers which cannot effectively-participate in the selection of a combination can be prevented. In other words, the present invention serves to improve the efficiency of a combinational weighing machine.


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