FI86487C - Unmanned sales desk system - Google Patents

Unmanned sales desk system Download PDF


Publication number
FI86487C FI906202A FI906202A FI86487C FI 86487 C FI86487 C FI 86487C FI 906202 A FI906202 A FI 906202A FI 906202 A FI906202 A FI 906202A FI 86487 C FI86487 C FI 86487C
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Finnish (fi)
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FI906202A0 (en
FI906202A (en
FI86487B (en
Tero Purosto
Mika Mannerjoki
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Tero Purosto
Mika Mannerjoki
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Priority to FI906202 priority Critical
Priority to FI906202A priority patent/FI86487C/en
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Application granted granted Critical
Publication of FI86487B publication Critical patent/FI86487B/en
Publication of FI906202A publication Critical patent/FI906202A/en
Publication of FI86487C publication Critical patent/FI86487C/en



    • A47F9/00Shop, bar, bank or like counters
    • A47F9/02Paying counters
    • A47F9/04Check-out counters, e.g. for self-service stores
    • A47F9/046Arrangement of recording means in or on check-out counters
    • A47F9/047Arrangement of recording means in or on check-out counters for recording self-service articles without cashier or assistant
    • A47F9/048Arrangement of recording means in or on check-out counters for recording self-service articles without cashier or assistant automatically
    • G07F7/00Mechanisms actuated by objects other than coins to free or to actuate vending, hiring, coin or paper currency dispensing or refunding apparatus
    • G07F7/005Details or accessories
    • G07G1/00Cash registers
    • G07G1/0036Checkout procedures
    • G07G1/0045Checkout procedures with a code reader for reading of an identifying code of the article to be registered, e.g. barcode reader or radio-frequency identity [RFID] reader
    • G07G1/0054Checkout procedures with a code reader for reading of an identifying code of the article to be registered, e.g. barcode reader or radio-frequency identity [RFID] reader with control of supplementary check-parameters, e.g. weight or number of articles




The invention relates to an unmanned sales desk system, the system comprising a sales desk with actuators, a background system with at least product information, and a cash register program which transmits information from the sales desk actuators to the background system.


It is already known e.g. a sales desk system disclosed in Patent Application No. GB 2161631. In this solution, one sales person manages the funding from customers who themselves enter the identification of the products they have purchased using a sales desk into 15 store cash registers. When all the products have been acceptably presented on the sales table, the customer can move forward and receive a receipt on the basis of which the sales person invoices the customer. The problem with the prior art solution is that there is still a need for a financing sales person and his workspace. This workspace is out of the rest of the store. In addition, product identification files must be updated separately whenever new products are sold or changes are made to old product information. The update is an error-prone step because it may not be performed or the data may be entered incorrectly on the machine. A further drawback is that this system cannot be flexibly added directly to existing countertop systems, but completely replaces the existing system. As a result, the system is expensive and rigid. Another major drawback is that file-30 updates do not take place through the back-end system, so each vending table must have its own, separate product and product identification information until the information is manually or otherwise separately transferred to other machines. It follows that machines practically always have slightly different information from each other and that self-learning of the system is impossible.

The object of the present invention is to obviate the above-mentioned drawbacks and to provide a reliable, inexpensive and self-updating 2 86487 unmanned sales desk system. The invention is characterized by what is stated in the claims below. The solution according to the invention has the advantage of reducing the need for sales staff and easy connection to existing sales desk systems. The interface is used to connect the product identification program in its own field of activity to a software-ready cash register terminal program. It is possible to standardize the interface so that the product identification program can be connected very flexibly to different cash register programs, the connection information always being compatible, 10 whereby the cash register program knows what information comes from the identification program and vice versa. When an interface is a variable, variable address, or memory location agreed upon by different vendors, the result is the cheapest and most usable interface possible. In addition, the system has the advantage of self-learning, so that new product identification data or changes to old data do not necessarily have to be updated separately on the machine, but the system learns the new data itself.

The invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which Figure 1 shows a sales table according to the invention as a whole in perspective view, Figure 2 shows a system according to the invention as main blocks and actuators connected to the system; Fig. 4 shows a block diagram of the functions of the sales table scan block, Fig. 5 shows a block diagram of the functions of the sales table learning block, Fig. 6 shows a block diagram of the functions of the sales table EAN code block, and Fig. 7 shows a block diagram of the handling of error functions

Figure 1 shows a sales table 1 according to the invention. Depending on the need, the store has one or more sales desks, which are located, for example, in parallel so that there is a Passage out of the store space between them. The access route is closed by the customer gate, which is opened after an approved purchase transaction. Each sales desk is connected to the mains and also with an intermediate cable to the central computer of the store, where the back-up system 5 is run. Electrical network and mainframe computer connections are conventional technology and are not shown in the drawings. At the front of the sales desk is a scanner 2, which is responsible for identifying all products marked with a barcode. The customer scans the purchased products himself. After scanning, the customer lowers 10 products onto a belt conveyor 3 with a scale for weighing the products. The scale is under the belt conveyor and does not appear in the drawings. Likewise, the drive of the belt conveyor does not appear in the drawings because it is located inside the sales table. In the direction of travel of the belt conveyor, the middle stages 15 of the belt conveyor have a light curtain 4 for identifying the shape of the products. The height of the light curtain extends from the level of the surface of the belt high enough for even the highest everyday products to be identified. There is also a display 5 at the beginning of the sales desk, where the customer can get instructions, as well as a bank card reader and a PIN keypad 20 6, which allows the customer to pay for their purchases. As an extension of the belt conveyor 3, the sales table has a trough belt conveyor 7 which transports the approved product to the tray 11 indicated by the distributor 8 at the end of the sales table. The drive of the trough belt conveyor 7 · .: and the turning device of the distributor 8 are inside the sales table and do not appear in the 25 drawings. The protective walls 9 are located on each side of the sales table at the side edge of the long belt conveyor 7, preventing the products from falling off the sales table. At the same time, the protective walls prevent the customer from throwing the product past the light curtain into the tray 11. At the very end of the sales desk, there is still a packaging level 10 30 to make it easier to pack the products in a bag. In addition, inside the sales desk is a computer with all the necessary interface cards and running a product identification program 13 which allows the use of an unoccupied sales desk. The operating devices and the computer 16 in the sales table are protected inside the sales table 35, the body of which is covered with side walls 12.

Fig. 2 shows a simplified system according to an embodiment of the invention, showing the main blocks of the product identification program 13 described as a function block and the connection of the sales table actuators to the product identification program and to the sales desk computer. In Fig. 2, the dashed line denoted by reference numeral 1 schematically depicts the sales table, and the dashed line denoted by reference numeral 5 schematically depicts a microcomputer physically on the sales desk running a program jointly formed by the product identification program 13 and the cash register program 15. The product identification program 13 and the cash register program 15 are connected to work together by means of the interface 14. Interface 14 is 10 as if a mailbox in which one program block stores information for the other to read. For each type of data, a separate interface has been agreed between the program providers, so the program that writes and reads automatically knows what information can be found at which connection point and what needs to be written there. The 15 types of data mentioned above are e.g. scan start permission, payment card code query, EAN information, acceptance information, key information, and file updates. In practice, interface 14 is a commonly agreed set of variables, variable addresses, or memory locations directly in computer memory.


The card reader and PIN keypad 6 are connected to the keypad connector on the computer. With this actuator, only input data is provided to the cash register program, which is indicated in Fig. 2 by an arrow from the actuator block to the cash register program block 15. The bar code-25 din reader or scanner 2 is connected to the COM2 port of the computer, the horizontal COM3 port and the back-end system 17 running on the central computer of the store are connected to the COM1 port of the sales computer. The modem used for service information and advertisements is connected to port C0M4 on the sales desk computer, respectively. The bar code reader and the scales only provide input data to the production program 13, while there may be two-way traffic between the background system and the cash register program 15. Similarly, there is a two-way communication connection between the modem and the product identification program. All of the above COM ports are 35 standardized serial ports and are connected to the computer's serial communication bus.

The receipt printer is connected to a parallel interface, which can be, for example, a Centronics interface, and the client display 5 is connected to a VGA interface. All other actuators are connected to the sales desk computer by means of a separate I / O card with pins reserved for input data for light pattern 4-operated pattern recognition, an on-screen keyboard and various sensor data. These sensor data include e.g. information indicating the emptiness of the right and left troughs, information indicating the end limit of the belt conveyor 3 and information indicating the left and right limits of the divider 8. The same I / O board also has pins 10 for the output data needed by the control electronics to control the locking of the belt conveyor 3, the long belt conveyor 7, the divider 8 of the divider and the customer port. The customer port, which is responsible for releasing the customer from behind the sales table once the products have been approved and paid for, is not shown in the drawings. The data transfer 18 between the different sales desks, i.e. mainly the updates of the product and product identification information, is arranged in the example to pass through the background system 17. The mass memory of the background system contains product information, some of which, such as EAN code, price and product name, is transmitted via the cash register program 15 to a product file in the mass memory of the product identification program 13, where the product identification program collects through the back-end system to other sales desks. This has the advantage 25 that the learning event does not have to be repeated separately at each sales table.

Figure 3 shows a functional block diagram for reading a bank card. For the sake of clarity, the text on the customer screen is presented in 30 separate blocks within quotation marks. When a customer comes to the sales desk, he or she begins the product identification and payment process by first communicating with the customer terminal. Initially, a card is read, in which case the customer terminal asks the customer to insert a bank card or the like into the card reader. The card, depending on the devices, is either inserted or swept past the read head of the device. The corresponding text is displayed on the customer screen. The program then asks for a passcode and compares if the passcode is correct. If the passcode was not correct, 6 86487 the program will report it on the customer screen and ask you to enter the passcode again. When the PIN is correct, the program will go ahead and ask for a payment method. There are practically three different payment methods: debit card, credit card, or a combination of these.

5 After the customer has entered the chosen payment method on the keypad, the program will contact the back-end system and check the block list there to see if the customer's card and payment method are acceptable. If the payment method or card was not acceptable, a message will appear on the customer screen and a prompt to remove 10 cards if the card is still in the reader. At the same time, the operation returns to the beginning, and asks for a new card. If, on the other hand, the payment method was acceptable, the customer screen will ask you to remove the card from the reader, if the card is still in the reader and the program gives permission to start the purchase transaction. The program then checks 15 whether one of the trays 11 at the end of the sales table is empty. When either of the trays is empty, the sales counter can start, the divider 8 is turned to the correct position and an instructional text appears on the customer display, for example: "START SCAN".

Then, the operation step according to Fig. 4 is moved.


Figure 4 shows a sales block scanning block, i.e. a bar code reading block. The basic function of this step is to wait for the scan. At this stage, it is important to be able to verify that the customer is not moving any product directly past the scan, scale, or light curtain. In addition, it is checked that the belt conveyor 3 does not have too many products at the same time and that the scanning of a new product can only take place after the previous one has been weighed on the scale. First, it checks to see if the customer has scanned the product. If no scan has taken place, the weight is read from the balance and then checked for a change in the light curtain. If no change has taken place, check whether there is a change in the weight of the balance. If this change has not taken place either, it is checked whether the wait flag has been set. The wait flag for hah-35 montage with a light curtain must be set because scanning and weighing take place very quickly, but the product goes much slower through the light curtain. Setting a wait flag allows the system to realize that the measurement is in the middle of a light curtain 7 86487, and the system does not give false information or go into error mode. With the light curtain in progress, the lowest or other photocell connection is still broken. If the wait flag was not set, it returns to the initial state, ie to wait for the scan.


If, on the other hand, the customer has scanned the product, a notification of the scan via the serial port will be sent to the product identification program. In this case, the EAN code of the product is read into the register E, which contains the serial number of the scanned product. In addition, the value of register E is incremented by one to find out how many products have been scanned and how many products are coming to the scale. The product that first came on the scale must also leave the scale first, otherwise an error has occurred. Next, check if the EAN code is in the product file. This function corresponds to the 15 code query function shown in Figure 2. If the EAN code has not been entered into the store's back-end system, the cash register terminal program cannot use that EAN code, and the check results in an error message, i.e. the ERROR function with block diagram in Figure 7. When the ERROR function is switched on, an error is reported to the customer display. 5, cancel the belt conveyor 3 completely to the top. A notification or alarm is then issued to the back office of the store to clear the error, i.e. to add the missing EAN code to the back system. For each product, the following information is entered in the product file: EAN code, 25 product name and price. In addition, product identification information, ie weight, height, etc., is automatically added to the product file via the learning file. The product file is actually located in the mass memory of each computer on the sales desk, i.e. on the hard disk. After the alarm, the addition of a new product 30 can be made, for example, by a person supervising the trade from the on-screen keyboard. When the addition is made, the scan block is returned to the function from which the ERROR mode was entered. If and when the EAN code is in the product file, the balance and the light curtain will be followed again. For example, the customer may try to throw the product through the light curtain so that it does not go on the scale. Assume that the product is normally placed on a belt conveyor 3 where it is immediately weighed. There has not been a change in the light curtain at this time, so the next check 8 8 6 '1 o 7 is whether there has been a change in the weight of the scale. Since the product is on a belt conveyor 3, there has been a change in the weight of the scale, and a new check is made to determine whether the product has already left the scale. If the equation scale (mit) = 5 scale (ed) scale (1) holds, the product (1) has already left the scale. In the equation, the scale (s) is the value of the scale at the time of measurement, the scale (ed) is the previous value of the scale and the scale (1) is the weight of the first product in the queue, ie the product (l) to be the first to leave the scale. . After this, the horizontal rack-10 blades are reduced by one, the value of the horizontal (ed) is set to horizontal imit), i.e. the horizontal is set to product. It is then checked for the light curtain whether the waiting flag is set, i.e. whether the lowest photocell is lit. In this case, the product (1) has not yet normally passed through the light curtain, so the correct result of check-15 must be "no", otherwise it is an error situation. If the equation scales (mit) = scales (ed) scales (1) does not materialize in the above check, it must be checked whether the EAN code is read in register E. If the EAN code is not read in register E in this situation, it means that a scan has not yet taken place 20, but there has nevertheless been a change in the balance. This results in an error situation and a transition to ERROR mode. Similarly, if the equation horizontal (mit) = horizontal (ed) -balanced (1) does not materialize in the above check situation, but the latter check indicates that the EAN code has been read in register 25 E, the teaching mode shown in Fig. 5 is entered in step A. In this mode, error detection, which is a prerequisite for the information learned to be correct.

In this case, it is first examined whether the weight of the scanned product is correct. 30 If the weight is correct, proceed to the light curtain function block WTLK shown in Figure 4. In the light curtain function block, first set the scale (n) = scale (mit) scale (ed), where n is the serial number of the product to be weighed, which allows continuous weighing. the weight of each individual product below 35, even if the scale is constantly being removed, there are and will be products on it. The value of the horizontal register is then increased by one and the balance is reset, i.e. set to horizontal (ed) = horizontal (mit), after which it is returned to the scan function block to check whether

9 86'ioV

a change in the curtain of light.

If the weight of the product scanned in the learning block shown in Fig. 5 was not correct, it is necessary to check whether the number of samples 5 is full. The number of samples is a pre-selected number, which guarantees the good learning result with the necessary certainty. For example, the number of samples can have values of 0-9. If the number of samples was not full, the weight is accepted and the product identification information is stored in the learning file, and the light is transferred back to the light curtain function block WTLK, after which the scan function block is returned to normal. Similarly, if a similar product has gone through the scale so many times that the number of samples is full at this point in the learning block, an error situation will result because there is now something wrong with the printing. After all, these 15 stages of learning would not have been needed anymore. A typical such defect may be, for example, that a liter milk can has leaked so much that the weight no longer remains within the tolerance range. In this situation, the system helps the customer to get a valid and correct weight product.


Next, we look at the learning block and the passage of the product through the light curtain. In the block diagram of Fig. 5, point B is made. This situation is encountered from the scanning block when a change has taken place in the light curtain and the lowest photocell is extinguished. In this case, the setting of the waiting flag is first removed, the light curtain is read in the register m, where m denotes the serial number of the product to be measured and the height register is added by one. First, it is checked whether the height x, y or z is equal to the height of the product (1). Product (1) again describes the first product in the queue. If the above condition is met, a check is made to see if the number of samples is full. If this is the case, the height register is reduced by one and the EAN function block shown in Fig. 6 is moved. If the above-mentioned height condition is not fulfilled, it is also checked whether the number of samples is full. Normally, with these 35 checks, the number of samples is not full, resulting in one unit being added to the sample counter in the product file and the process proceeding to a new number of samples to be checked. The sample counter is not added until the product has passed through the 10 8 6 · 1 G 7 balance and the light curtain. If the number of samples is still not full, the product identification data is stored in the learning file, the height register is reduced by one and the EAN function block is entered. If, on the other hand, the number of samples is full 5 in this check, the averages of that section of the learning file are calculated, the product identification data is stored in the product file, the learning data is deleted, the product identification data is transferred to other sales desks, the height register is reduced by one and the EAN is blocked. The transfer of the learned product identification information 10 to other sales desks is shown in Fig. 2 under File Updates, which function transfers the information to be updated between the cash register program 15 and the product identification program 13. The data to be transferred to the other sales desks is first transmitted via the cash register program 15 to the back-end system 17 and 15 via the back-end data transmission connection 18 to the other self-service sales desks. If, on the other hand, the above-mentioned altitude condition is not met, but the number of samples is full, this is an error situation, because the system should have already known all the correct altitudes. In this case, one possible error-20 lumbar is that the customer has not scanned the product, but has slid it along the belt conveyor 3 through the light curtain. As a result, it has not been possible to read the EAN code for the product at all and the product identification program responds to this as if the number of samples were full. Likewise, there may be something wrong with the product's height information. As a result of the fulfillment of this condition, the error operation state shown in Fig. 7 is entered, from which it is returned to the scanning block according to the previous description. In the learning phase of weight data and character data, that data is stored in the auxiliary memory until a preset number of samples is reached. After this, the averages of that data are stored in non-volatile memory as a product file, as described above.

Once the product has passed through the light curtain, the product is considered approved and the learning block is normally moved to the EAN function block shown in Figure 6. The initially approved EAN code is transferred to the cash register terminal program. The corresponding function is shown in Figure 2 as an accepted code. The tension belt conveyor 7 is then run for some agreed time to get the products to the correct trough 11 8 6 S υ 7, the EAN register is reduced by one and it is checked whether the product from the light curtain was still the last product. If it was not the last product, return to the scan block, if it was the last product, open the gate for the customer, stop the Belt Conveyors after a suitable delay and end the purchase in question. In addition, the receipt printer is instructed to write a receipt to the customer. This function is fulfilled in the key data section of Figure 2, along which route the termination information is also transferred to the cash register terminal program. In addition to the manual end information, other information and messages, such as a request for help, if a function does not play properly, may be key information provided from the on-screen keyboard. In this case, the customer receives help from the store's supervisory staff.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the invention is not limited to the example set forth above, but may vary within the scope of the claims set forth below. Thus, for example, the interface 14 jointly agreed upon by the suppliers of the product identification program 13 and the cash register terminal program 15 may also be a completely 20 normal mechanical interface with pins or interface surfaces for each data type separately. In this case, each program 13,14 runs separately and possibly even on different computers or processors.

Claims (6)

  1. An unmanned sales desk system, comprising a sales desk (1) with peripherals, a background system 5 (17), which at least contains product data, and a cash register program (15), which transmits data from the sales desk's peripherals to the background system, characterized in that: 10. the system hears a function block (13) with an interface (14) that is compatible with the data transmitted by the terminal terminal program frame (15), - the data transfer between the functional block and the terminal terminal program t has been arranged so that it takes place via the functional terminal. In the function block, product data is collected in connection with the product identification and they are automatically supplemented for each product until the system has learned to recognize for each product typical product identification data. 20
  2. Sales desk system according to claim 1, characterized in that the function block (13) which is installed. . are placed in each sales table (1), placed in the personal computer (16) on each sales table so that the function block -25 (13) is an extension of the already existing cash system.
  3. Sales desk system according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the interface (14) of the function block (13) installed in each sales table (1) of the cash register program (15) has a jointly agreed ____ variable, address or memory location for the variable, where the data that the function block collects and transmits is stored and from which the cash terminal program reads the relevant data and then processes it. "35
  4. 4. A method which applies a system for executing a purchase transaction on an unmanned sales desk according to claim 1, characterized in that the method comprises the following phases - reading of credit cards and acceptance / rejection of payment cards. cards and payment method for the sales desk system 5. After approval, the sales table starts, the distributor (8) turns and the scanning begins - control of scanning, weighing of products and gestalt identification of products - after weighing and gestalt identification the data obtained by scanning with the data is compared. contained in the product database - learning and storage of the product identification data obtained through the comparison, if the system does not have sufficient product data 15. approval that the product has been purchased - transfer of the product to the haulage (11) for removal, printing of receipt, opening of customer port and stop of sales table.
FI906202A 1990-12-17 1990-12-17 Unmanned sales desk system FI86487C (en)

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Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
FI906202 1990-12-17
FI906202A FI86487C (en) 1990-12-17 1990-12-17 Unmanned sales desk system

Applications Claiming Priority (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
FI906202A FI86487C (en) 1990-12-17 1990-12-17 Unmanned sales desk system
EP19910121582 EP0491348A3 (en) 1990-12-17 1991-12-17

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FI906202A0 FI906202A0 (en) 1990-12-17
FI86487B FI86487B (en) 1992-05-15
FI906202A FI906202A (en) 1992-05-15
FI86487C true FI86487C (en) 1992-08-25



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EP0491348A3 (en) 1994-02-16
FI86487B (en) 1992-05-15
FI906202A (en) 1992-05-15
FI906202D0 (en)
FI906202A0 (en) 1990-12-17
EP0491348A2 (en) 1992-06-24

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