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Title:
AN INTELLIGENT FEEDING ASSEMBLY FOR FEEDING HARD SHELLED OBJECTS BY SINGULATION AND A METHOD THEREOF
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/162882
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention discloses an intelligent feeding assembly for feeding hard shelled objects having different external characteristics, by singulation when said feeding assembly is installed in a grading machine and also discloses a method for feeding hard shelled objects having different external characteristics, by singulation. The assembly comprises of a main frame; a hopper; multi-channeled set of multiple U-shaped vibratory conveyors; a vibrator assembly; multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws or multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws; vertical strips for separating one channel from another channel; multiple motor feed controllers; multiple feeding sensors; multiple supporting strips for supporting multiple sensors; a collection unit for collecting dust particles or any other foreign particles; a master controller for controlling feeding to achieve accurate feed rate; a rotating drum comprising multiple number of pockets linearly placed throughout its surface on which a set of supporting flaps is placed.

Inventors:
ANUP, VIJAPUR (Paraswadi, 2nd Stage5th Cross, Keshwapur,Hubli 3, Karnataka, 58002, IN)
SASISEKAR, KRISH (#27 2nd Main, Priyadarshini Colony Gokul Road,Hubli 0, Karnataka, 58003, IN)
Application Number:
IN2016/000090
Publication Date:
October 13, 2016
Filing Date:
April 07, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NANOPIX ISS (P) LTD. (3rd Floor, Akshay PlazaDeshpande Foundation Building, Behind Bharat,Petrol Pump, Akshay Colony, Vidyanaga, Hubli - 1 Karnataka, 58003, IN)
International Classes:
B07C5/00; B07B13/00; B07B13/14; B07B13/16; B65G33/02; B65G33/26
Foreign References:
US4933074A1990-06-12
US20030201237A12003-10-30
US20080290198A12008-11-27
US20040016765A12004-01-29
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
INTELLEXEMPIRE IP SERVICES LLP (E-68 Opposite NCL Open Theatre,NCL Colony, Pashan,Pun, 8 Maharashtra, 41100, IN)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. An intelligent feeding assembly for feeding hard shelled objects having different external characteristics, by singulation when said feeding assembly is installed in a grading machine, wherein said feeding assembly comprises of:

a main frame;

at least one hopper mounted on said main frame for receiving hard shelled objects having different external characteristics;

a multi-channeled set of multiple 'U' -shaped vibratory conveyors, which are connected downstream of said hopper for receiving said objects which fall from said hopper, wherein said objects move further by linearly agitating at a suitable speed, wherein each channel comprises of single 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyor;

at least one vibrator assembly which is connected to said set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors and said set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors are vibrated by said vibrator assembly to linearly agitate said objects and to control the speed of conveying of said objects thereon;

multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws or multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, wherein one single helical screw forms single channel of said set of multiple helical screws, whereas single pair of reverse rolling helical screws forms single channel of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, said set of multiple helical screws or said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws is mounted on said main frame and is connected downstream of said set of multiple 'U'- shaped vibratory conveyors for receiving said objects which are conveyed from said set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors in a systematic way by aligning each 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyor to agitate said objects on either respective each channel of said set of multiple helical screws or respective each channel of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, and wherein one vertical strip is mounted in between every two channels of said set of multiple helical screws or in between every two channels of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, and said vertical strip is meant for separating said every two channels thereof; and further each channel of said set of multiple helical screws rotating in a single direction and comprises of multiple pitches thereon or each channel of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws comprises of multiple sections, wherein a pair of reverse rolling helical screws which rotate upwards/inwards so as to match their respective pitches to form multiple sections, wherein each said pitch of each channel of said set of multiple helical screws or each said section of each channel of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws accommodate one, two, more than two or none said object while conveying said objects, further wherein below said set of multiple helical screws or below said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, at least one collection unit is placed for collecting dust particles or any other foreign particles falling there through;

multiple feeding sensors are mounted on each supporting strip and there are multiple supporting strips with multiple feeding sensors, wherein said multiple supporting strips are connected to said main frame and said multiple feeding sensors are located in each channel of said set of multiple helical screws or each channel of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, to sense the number and accurate position of said objects in each pitch of each channel of said set of multiple helical screws, or in each section of each channel of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, so as to sense the feed rate and the feed efficiency of feeding of said objects and to send real time signals continuously about the same in real time further for maintaining said feed rate in said each pitch or said each section thereof;

at least one master controller which is coupled with said multiple feeding sensors for receiving said real time signals continuously from said multiple feeding sensors of said each channel of said set of multiple helical screws, or in each section of said each channel of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws for maintaining said feed rate in said each pitch or said each section of said each channel respectively, wherein said master controller knows the exact position of each sensor with respect to said each pitch of said each channel or said each section of said each channel, whereby said master controller decides intelligently the feed rate of said each pitch of said each channel or said each section of said each channel, and further sends real time signals continuously for controlling the rotation speed of said each channel;

multiple motor feed controllers which are coupled to said master controller and to said multiple feeding sensors through said master controller for receiving said real time signals continuously from said master controller about controlling the rotation speed of said each channel of said set of multiple helical screws, or said each channel of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, and wherein a separate motor feed controller is provided for controlling either decreasing or increasing the rotation speed of said each channel of said set of multiple helical screws, or said each channel of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws as per the requirement of respective said each channel for pre-determined period, to maintain accurate feed rate in said each pitch of said each channel or said each section of said each channel, to provide a maintained queue of said objects which are conveyed further in said each channel and said objects stand in said maintained queue for singularly picking said objects; and

a rotating drum which has pick and place characteristics; and said rotating drum comprises of multiple number of pockets linearly placed throughout its surface for singularly picking said objects in multiple pockets from said maintained queue of said each channel of said set of multiple helical screws, or said each channel of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws so that each pocket of said rotating drum picks single object due to synchronous rotation of said rotating drum with the rotation of said each channel of said set of multiple helical screws, or said each channel of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws to fill all pockets of said rotating drum with said objects; further half portion of said rotating drum from picking point of said objects till placing point of said objects is covered with a set of supporting flaps comprising of multiple springs for accommodating objects having different sizes to prevent the fall of said objects from said pockets while carrying said objects in between said picking point and said placing point of said objects, where said objects are placed in multiple cups of the tray of a conveying unit or any other form of conveying unit of any grading machine.

2. The intelligent feeding assembly of claim 1 , wherein said helical screws are either taper shafted helical screws or straight shafted helical screws, and said helical screws are placed laterally with each other.

3. The intelligent feeding assembly of claim 1 , wherein said pockets of said rotating drum is optionally having vacuum zone to pick and hold said objects having different sizes to prevent the fall of said objects from said pockets while carrying from said picking point to said placing point of said objects.

4. The intelligent feeding assembly of claim 1 , wherein said set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors, said set of multiple helical screws or said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, said multiple feeding sensors, said multiple motor feed controllers, said rotating drum and said master controller operatively associate with each other to provide said singulation of said objects due to which all said pockets of said rotating drum are filled and further due to synchronization of rotation of said set of multiple helical screws or said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws with rotation of said rotating drum said objects are singularly picked by said rotating drum and further due to synchronization of rotation of said rotating drum with said conveying unit, said singularly picked objects are placed synchronously into said multiple cups of the tray of said conveying unit or any other form of conveying unit of the grading machine.

5. A method for feeding hard shelled objects having different external characteristics, by singulation, wherein the method comprising the steps of:

-subjecting hard shelled objects having different external characteristics to a hopper through which objects fall on multi-channeled set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors, where the objects are vibrated linearly with controlled speed of objects on it by vibratory assembly;

-conveying of said objects from said set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors to multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws or multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, where each channel of helical screw is a single helical screw which has multiple pitches on it, and each channel of reverse rolling helical screws has multiple sections formed by matching respective pitches of reverse rolling helical screws of each pair, each of reverse rolling helical screws, where a conveying of one, two, more than two or zero) said objects are conveyed in each pitch or in each section, further wherein dust particles or any other foreign particles are passed through said set of multiple helical screws or said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws while feeding said objects singularly thereon and are collected on collection plate placed below said set of multiple helical screws or said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws;

-sensing of the position and number of objects in said each pitch or said each section of said each channel respectively by multiple feeding sensors, to know the feed rate and the feed efficiency of feeding of objects therein;

-sending signals continuously in real time about the same to a master controller by said multiple feeding sensors about the position and number of objects including one, two or more than two or none of objects in said each pitch or said each section of said each channel respectively;

-receiving said signals in real time from said multiple feeding sensors by said master controller to know the exact position and number of objects in said each pitch or said each section of said each channel respectively, and accordingly said master controller decides the feed rate of said each pitch or said each section of said each channel respectively according to the need of respective channel;

-sending signals in real time by said master controller to the respective motor feed controller of said each channel respectively to control the rotation speed of said each channel to provide the ideal condition wherein said each pitch or said each section of said each channel has a single object in it and all objects in said each channel maintain a queue by singulating objects by increasing or decreasing the rotation speed of said each channel for predetermined time to provide an ideal condition and to maintain said queue by singulating objects in said each channel until they are singularly picked further;

-conveying of said objects further from said set of multiple helical screws or said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws towards a rotating drum synchronously with said rotating drum for accurate singularized feeding to said rotating drum, wherein said rotating drum has pick and place characteristics, and said rotating drum comprises of multiple number of pockets linearly placed throughout its surface to pick multiple objects in multiple pockets from said maintained queue in said each channel in such a way that each pocket of said rotating drum picks single object; and

-placing of said singularly picked objects continuously into multiple cups of the tray of the conveying unit of any grading machine which is installed with the intelligent feeding assembly, wherein due to presence of at least one set of supporting flaps having multiple springs on half portion of said rotating drum, each singularly picked object are held in respective pocket firmly by adjusting respective spring to accommodate size variations of said objects and to avoid dropping of an object while carrying said objects from picking point to placing point of said object.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein said pockets of said rotating drum is optionally having vacuum zone to pick and hold said objects having different sizes to prevent fall of said objects from said pockets while carrying said objects from picking point to said placing point of said objects.

Description:
AN INTELLIGENT FEEDING ASSEMBLY FOR FEEDING HARD SHELLED OBJECTS BY SINGULATION AND A METHOD THEREOF

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally, to feeding assemblies and methods of feeding objects, and more particularly, relates to an intelligent feeding assembly for feeding hard shelled objects by singulation and a method for feeding hard shelled objects by singulation.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Most of the existing grading machines need multi passes to get good grades, moreover the accuracy level of grading machine is not optimum due to lack of efficient feeding assemblies based on different external characteristics of object to be fed in the grading machine since feeding objects in any grading machine systematically is of prime importance for effective grading. There are different requirements of feeding of different objects based on their external characteristics like size, shape surface characteristics, etc. especially, when the object to be fed is hard surfaced, there is different feeding requirement of such hard shelled objects like hard shelled nuts, including but not limited to raw cashew nut, areca nut etc. For example: for grading of hard shelled nuts, various mechanized grading machines and respective methods of grading hard shelled nuts have been introduced in the prior art. Example: areca nut, but most of the existing mechanized grading machines are complex in arrangement, limited only for grading objects by size irrespective of considering different surface characteristics of different objects while feeding such objects in such grading machine is inefficient due to lack of efficient feeding assembly. [0003] Few patent documents describe grading of agricultural products as described herein after. Patent Document 1 (CN 103752528) titled "Nuts sorter" discloses nut sorting machine, mainly for hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and other nuts. The machine includes the feeding mechanism includes the chute, the discharge chute provided at the end of the sorting groove, sorting the discharge end of the slot corresponding to the conveying track. The disclosed machine is only limited for sorting few nuts, thereby limited in scope, and further the machine lacks accuracy in effective feeding due to lack of any effective feeding control mechanism. Patent Document 2 (340/CHE/2012) titled "Small size irregular object grading machine" and Patent Document 3 (WIPO Pub. No. WO 2015128872) titled "Improved machine for grading small size irregular objects and a process thereof which solves many problems related to grading of commercially valuable agricultural products but the disadvantage of the machine is that the rotating drum of the grading machine has suction drum to pick objects from reverse roller pairs assembly, but this suction drum is not efficient to pick the hard surface objects like hard-nuts including, but not limited to raw cashew nut, areca nut etc. due to their different surface properties and also this rotating drum of the grading machine require more power consumption to pick the hard shelled nuts, thereby making the grading machine less power efficient.

[0004] In view of foregoing disadvantages, there is a strong need for the development of some unique feeding assembly and related method for continuous, systematic and efficient feeding of hard shelled objects of different external characteristics especially size, shape and surface characteristics in the grading machine to increase efficiency of wide range of grading machines for grading 'n' number of grades in a single pass due to which overall performance of grading machine can be improved significantly. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The present invention has been devised in the light of above mentioned existing circumstances of disadvantages of existing feeding assemblies for use in any grading machine and related methods to overcome existing said disadvantages by providing an intelligent feeding assembly for feeding hard shelled objects having different external characteristics by singulation when said feeding assembly installed in the grading machine and a method for feeding hard shelled objects having different external characteristics by singulation to elevate the level of grading significantly by the existing grading machines having basic requirements of synchronized conveying unit with rotating drum of the intelligent feeding assembly. Accordingly few objects of the present invention are listed below:

• The main object of the present invention is to provide a simple, accurate and an intelligent feeding assembly for feeding hard shelled objects having different external characteristics by singulation, said assembly comprising of a set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors, wherein objects from the hopper moves to a set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors which gently pushes objects towards a set of multiple helical screws or set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, to singulate and further said set push objects systematically in a queue towards the rotating drum to pick systematically and singularly.

• It is another object of the present invention to provide an intelligent feeding assembly for feeding objects comprising of either a set of multiple helical screws or a set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, which is a set of single helical screws or a set of pairs of oppositely rotating helical screws respectively along with multiple feeding sensors which continuously sense the position and number of objects in each pitch or each section of each respective channel, thereby enabling the master controller to achieve accurate feed rate of objects at its regular speed through corresponding motor feed controller by significantly increasing or decreasing the speed of motor according to the number of objects.

• It is still another object of the present invention to provide a method for feeding objects by singulation, wherein the singulation of objects is carried out in a single pass, and similarly, the method for feeding objects is not a batch process of feeding, but it is a continuous feeding method, thereby carrying out feeding operation very rapidly, time efficiently at low cost level and in a simpler manner by feeding 'n' number of objects at a time unlike batch method for feeding.

• It is a further object of the present invention to provide an intelligent feeding assembly for feeding objects comprising of a specialized rotating drum, wherein objects can be picked singularly by the rotating drum from either multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws or multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws such that all the pockets of the rotating drum are filled with single object in single pocket and said objects are placed into the cups of the tray of the moving conveying unit in the same manner synchronously.

• It is another object of the present invention to provide an intelligent feeding assembly for feeding objects by singulation, where the assembly is capable of feeding systematically not only naturally occurring objects or non-agricultural objects, but also synthetically manufactured objects having similar dimensions as that of naturally occurring objects. • It is still another object of the present invention to provide an intelligent feeding assembly for feeding objects by singulating objects in a single pass in time-efficient and in reliable manner.

• It is still another objective of the present invention to provide an intelligent feeding assembly comprising a specialized rotating drum having multiple pockets linearly placed throughout its surface which rotates synchronously with the rotation of either set of multiple helical screws or set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screw to pick singularly objects from the queue maintained on each channel there from and synchronously places objects into the cups of the tray of the conveying unit of respective grading machine, thereby increasing the feeding efficiency of objects.

• It is a further object of the present invention to provide a method for feeding objects by singulation in a simple and accurate manner, where the method singulates objects in a single pass by using specialized intelligent feeding assembly comprises of multi- channeled set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors, multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws or multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, multiple feeding sensors, multiple motor feed controllers, and the master controller, wherein all these elements work collaboratively to singulate objects effectively by maintaining them in a queue on respective channel.

• It is another objective of the present invention to provide an intelligent feeding assembly comprising of a specialized rotating drum having multiple pockets linearly placed throughout its surface and a set of supporting flaps is placed on the rotating drum from the picking point of objects till placing point of objects to prevent drop of objects held on the half portion of the rotating drum while carrying from picking point till placing point, due to special arrangement of the rotating drum, any hard surfaced or hard shelled object can be fed systematically, automatically and intelligently by singulating each said object for effective feeding.

• It is still another objective of the present invention to provide an intelligent feeding assembly comprising of a specialized rotating drum which is operated with significantly reduced power consumption compared to vacuum pump of existing rotating drums which requires high power to pick and place objects.

® It is a further objective of the present invention to provide an intelligent feeding assembly comprising of a separate collection unit for collecting dust particles or any other foreign particles falling through either set of multiple helical screws or set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] The objects, features and advantages of the invention will best be understood from the following description of various embodiments thereof, selected for purposes of illustration, and shown in the accompanying figures.

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating the arrangement of non-limiting elements of an intelligent feeding assembly according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged schematic diagram illustrating different elements of an intelligent feeding assembly of FIG. 1 for effective singulation of hard shelled objects, where FIG. 2 shows enlarged view of multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws along with other elements according to one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of a single helical screw which is shown as a helical screw channel out of multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged schematic diagram illustrating different elements of an intelligent feeding assembly for effective singulation of hard shelled objects, where FIG. 4 shows enlarged view of multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws along with other elements according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of a single pair of reverse rolling helical screws which is single channel out of multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged top schematic view of FIG. 1 depicting the enlarged view of a multi- channeled set of multiple helical screws in combination with multiple feeding sensors and pockets of the rotating drum to depict the regulated feeding of the intelligent feeding assembly according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a schematic flowchart illustrating different working conditions for proper coordination among multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws or multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, multiple feeding sensors, multiple motor feed controllers and a master controller according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a schematic exemplary diagram illustrating an exemplary arrangement of non- limiting elements of a standard grading machine for grading multiple objects in a single pass when the grading machine is installed with an intelligent feeding assembly for feeding hard shelled objects by singulation according to one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 9 is a block diagram illustrating different non-limiting steps involved in a method for feeding hard shelled objects by singulation according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention will now be described in brief with reference to the accompanying drawings. Now, refer in more detail to the exemplary drawings for the purposes of illustrating non-limiting embodiments of the present invention.

• As used herein, the term Object' shall refer to any object naturally occurring or synthetically manufactured object of different sizes. The term Object' can be any regular, irregular, even, uneven, homogeneous, non-homogeneous material which includes naturally occurring product including but not limited to any agricultural product which refer specifically to hard shell nuts including but not limited to raw cashew nut, chestnut, areca nut, pistachio, pecan, betel nut, pine nuts, hazelnuts or any other nuts or big sized fruits like coconut. The term Object' also includes synthetically manufactured material including but not limited to plastic pellets, artificial stones, precious gems etc. The term 'object' and the term 'hard shelled object' are same and used interchangeably for the purposes of the present invention.

• As used herein, the term 'homogeneous' shall refer to any one type of object like only almonds to be graded or only cashews to be graded or only artificial stones to be graded.

• As used herein the term 'non-homogeneous' shall refer to mixture of different types of objects like a mixture of cashews and almonds or a mixture of plastic pellets and any one, two or more type of objects, wherein the term 'non-homogeneous' shall refer to any possible combination or variations of mixture of objects.

• As used herein, the term 'external characteristics' refers to any extrinsic characteristics related to hard-shelled object which may include but not limited to size, shape, surface properties, defects, mechanical injuries, or any other possible characteristics.

• As used herein, the term 'master controller' shall refer to a programmable controlling means which stores pre-determined data related to different external characteristics of different objects and functions intelligently by remembering the location of any object located in the feeding assembly and by controlling accurate feeding of each object in the feeding assembly on the basis of pre-determined data. The stored predetermined data is utilized by the master controller to decide the pre-determined time for each object to reach to the last pitch of respective channel of either set of multiple helical screws or multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screw.

• As used herein, the term 'picking point' of object shall refer to a queue of each channel of screw and the term 'placing point' of object shall refer to multiple cups of the tray of the conveying unit of any grading machine and the half portion of rotating drum is covered with supporting flap, and this half portion is the portion in between 'picking point' and 'placing point' of objects.

• As used herein, the term 'helical screw' refers to 'taper shafted helical screw' or 'straight shafted helical screw', and the term 'taper shafted helical screw' refers to a helical screw with decreasing diameter from one end towards other end, whereas the term 'straight shafted helical screw' refers to helical screws with fixed/constant diameter throughout length and a single helical screw rotates in a single direction and makes single channel, where said single helical screw can be 'taper shafted helical screw' or 'straight shafted helical screw', and when at least two reverse rolling helical screws make single channel, these two reverse rolling helical screws rotate in opposite direction with each other thrusting outwards, where said two reverse rolling helical screws can be 'taper shafted helical screws' or 'straight shafted helical screws'.

• As used herein, the term 'accurate feed rate' refers to single object in each pitch or each section of each channel of said set of multiple helical screws, or each channel of said set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws respectively.

[0008] According to one embodiment of the present invention, referring to FIG. 1, which is a schematic diagram illustrating the arrangement of non-limiting elements of an intelligent feeding assembly. The intelligent feeding assembly comprises of the non-limiting elements of a main frame (400); a hopper (401); multi-channeled set of multiple U-shaped vibratory conveyors (402); a vibrator assembly (403); multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws (404) or multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws (In FIG. 1, multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws is shown and not multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws); vertical strips (405) for separating one channel of helical screw from another channel of helical screw; multiple motor feed controllers (406); multiple feeding sensors (407); multiple supporting strips (408) for supporting multiple sensors; a collection unit (409) for collecting dust particles or any other foreign particles; a master controller for controlling feeding in feeding assembly; a rotating drum (410) comprising multiple number of pockets (41 1) linearly placed throughout its surface on which a set of supporting flaps (412) is placed. Hard shelled objects having different external characteristics are fed into the hopper (401 ) which is mounted on the main frame (400). Downstream of the main hopper (401), the set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors are mounted on the main frame (400). Objects fall from hopper (401 ) on the multi-channeled set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors of the intelligent feeding assembly by linearly agitating at a suitable speed. In the feeding assembly, each 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyor makes one channel and collectively multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors make multi-channels of set of 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors, therefore, the set of 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors is multi-channeled. The multi-channeled set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors (402) connected to the vibratory assembly (403) and are vibrated by the vibrator assembly (403) for controlling the speed of conveying of objects on the set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors (402).

[0009] On the main frame (401), each helical screw makes one channel and thus, multiple helical screws are multi-channeled, thereby making them the multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws. Multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws (404) is connected downstream of the multi-channeled set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors (402) in such a way that each channel of 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyor aligns with corresponding each channel of helical screw. The objects are carried in a systematic way from the set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors (402) to corresponding set of multiple helical screws (404). Each channel of helical screw (404) is partitioned from other using vertical strip (405) to keep flow of bouncing objects conveying from the set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors (402) in separate channels by preventing movement of conveying objects from one channel of helical screw into another channel of helical screw (When the feeding assembly comprises multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, each channel of reverse rolling helical screws is partitioned from other channel using vertical strip, wherein in between two vertical strips, there is an arrangement of single pair of reverse rolling helical screws). Each channel of helical screw (404) comprises of multiple pitches on it. The objects are conveyed through these multiple pitches of each channel of helical screw (404) in a queue. All helical screws (404) of the set of multiple helical screws rotate in a single direction which helps objects to maintain queue in each pitch of each channel of helical screw (404).

[0010] There are multiple feeding sensors (407) for each channel of helical screw

(404). These multiple feeding sensors (407) sense the position and number of objects in each pitch of each channel of helical screws (404), so as to sense the feed rate and the feed efficiency of feeding of objects in each channel of helical screws (404). Multiple feeding sensors (407) continuously signals about the same to the master controller in real time. Therefore, the master controller knows the position and number of objects in each pitch of each channel of helical screws (404), wherein sometimes, there can be one object in each pitch which is the ideal condition where there is no need to regulate flow of object on respective channel of helical screw, but sometimes there can be two or more than two or none object is present in respective channel, which requires the master controller to control the feed rate of respective channel by signaling further to the motor feed controller (406) of respective channel of helical screws (404) to control the rotation speed of each channel of helical screw (404). For controlling the rotation speed of each channel of helical screws (404), there is a separate motor feed controller. After receiving signals from the master controller, each motor feed controller controls the rotation speed of each channel of helical screws (404) for maintaining the feed rate in each pitch of each channel of helical screws so that each pitch of each channel of helical screws (404) will have single object in it which is termed as 'accurate feed rate' and all objects in each channel of helical screws (404) will maintain a queue. [001 1] Each channel of helical screws (404) is rotated at high speed with the key prominence on singulation that prevent the bulk flow of the objects in each channel of helical screws (404) to maintain hard shell objects in queue. Further objects from multi- channeled set of multiple helical screws (404) which are arranged in the queue are conveyed towards the rotating drum (410). The rotating drum (410) has pick and place characteristics due to which the rotating drum (410) picks objects from the queue maintained in each channel of helical screws (404). The rotating drum (410) is specialized having multiple pockets (41 1) linearly placed throughout its surface. The rotating drum (41 1) rotates simultaneously with the rotation of multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws (404) to pick singularly the objects from the queue maintained on each channel of helical screws (404). Multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws (404) maintain the queue of objects until they are singularly picked by the pockets (41 1) of the rotating drum (410) as the queue is also maintained continuously due to rotation of all helical screws (404) in a single direction until they are singularly picked by the rotating drum (410). This unique arrangement of multi-channeled set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors (402), multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws (404) and multiple feeding sensors (407) make the singulation of objects due to which all the pockets (41 1) of the rotating drum are filled with objects which are placed further into the cups of the tray of the conveying unit or any other form of the conveying unit of any grading machine or packaging machine which is installed with the intelligent feeding assembly, where picking of said objects by said rotating drum (410) is synchronous with placing of said objects into the cups of the tray of the conveying unit which is made up of multiple trays, wherein each tray is an assembly of multiple cups. There is one set of supporting flaps (412) which is installed on the half portion of the rotating drum (410) covering the picking point of objects till placing point of objects and the set of supporting flaps (412) comprises of multiple springs. While picking and placing of objects by the rotating drum (410), objects do not drop while conveying due to holding of each object in respective pocket by at least one spring to accommodate hard- shelled objects of different sizes to prevent the fall of objects in between picking and placing points while picking and placing of the objects by the rotating drum (410) from multi- channeled set of multiple helical screws (404) into the cups of the tray of the conveying unit of any grading machine which is installed with the intelligent feeding assembly. There is a separate collection unit (409) placed below the multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws (404) for collecting dust particles or any other foreign particles.

[0012] The number of channels of the set of multiple helical screws (404) can be increased in order to increase the throughput of the feeding assembly. Likewise, the number of 'U' -shaped vibratory conveyors (402), the number of pockets (41 1) on the rotating drum (410) and number of cups in a tray can also be increased with respect to increasing number of channels of set of multiple helical screws or set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws (404) and according of variation in sizes of objects all elements of the intelligent feeding assembly can be increased proportionately.

[0013] The disclosed intelligent feeding assembly is simple, portable, and easy to be installed in any grading machine which has minimum requirement of conveying unit which is made up of trays and each tray comprising multiple cups or in any other form of conveying unit which can accommodate picked objects singularly and separately. [0014] According to one embodiment of the present invention, referring to FIG. 2 which is an enlarged schematic diagram illustrating in great detail different elements of an intelligent feeding assembly of FIG. 1. FIG. 2 shows enlarged view of multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws along with other elements. Multi-channeled set of multiple 'U'- shaped vibratory conveyors (402) are connected to the multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws (404). The hard shelled objects fall onto multi-channeled set of multiple 'U'- shaped vibratory conveyors (402) with a controlled speed which is controlled by the vibratory assembly. There are multiple motor feed controllers (406) for controlling the rotation speed of different channels of helical screws (404). The multiple helical screws (404) are placed laterally with each other and they are equally spaced apart. Each helical screws (404) is either taper shafted helical screw or straight shafted helical screw. There is perfect coordination among different elements of the intelligent feeding assembly viz. multi- channeled set of multiple helical screws (404), multiple motor feed controllers (406), multiple feeding sensors (407), and the master controller for effective singulation of objects. Singulation of the object is required for effective feeding of single object into each pocket of the rotating drum.

[0015] According to one embodiment of the present invention, referring to FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of the helical screw which is shown as a single helical screw channel out of multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws (404) of FIG. 2. One helical screw acts as one channel of helical screw and though the helical screw shown is a straight shafted helical screw, there can be either taper shafted helical screws or straight shafted helical screws. Different elements of helical screw comprises of a straight shaft (415), at least one helical screw (416) and multiple pitches (417) of helical screw. Each channel of helical screw is used to carry objects from one corresponding 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyor to the rotating drum. All helical screws (404) of the set of multiple helical screws rotate in a single direction which helps objects to maintain queue in each pitch (417) of each channel of helical screw (404).

[0016] According to one embodiment of the present invention, referring to FIG. 4, it is an enlarged schematic diagram illustrating different elements of an intelligent feeding assembly for effective singulation of hard shelled objects, where FIG. 4 shows enlarged view of multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws along with other elements according to one embodiment of the present invention. Here, hard shelled objects fall from hopper onto the multi-channeled set of multiple U-shaped vibratory conveyors (402) in bulk with a controlled speed which is controlled by the vibratory assembly. These multi-channeled set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors (402) are connected to the multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws (404). Each 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyor (402) agitate the objects on a single channel made of a pair of reverse rolling helical screws. Two helical screws in a pair rotate in opposite direction in such a way that they rotate thrusting outwardly to maintain the queue. For multiple channels, multiple such pairs of reverse rolling helical screws are used. The reverse rolling helical screws in a pair are rotated in such a way that their respective pitches are matched with each another. Therefore, each pair of reverse rolling helical screws (404) has multiple sections on which objects are accommodated. There are multiple feeding sensors (407) on each pair of reverse rolling helical screws (404) to sense the number and position of each object in each section of each channel so that the position and number of object is detected. Each section made up of two helical screws may accommodate one, two, more than two or none objects. The speed of rotation of each pair of reverse rolling helical screws (404) is controlled as per the requirement by the separate motor feed controller through the master controller by significantly increasing or decreasing the rotation speed of both reverse rolling helical screws (404) of the pair synchronously with each other. Therefore, the accurate feed rate is achieved by each pair of reverse rolling helical screws (404) by singulating objects on each channel of reverse rolling helical screws (404). There is perfect coordination among different elements of the intelligent feeding assembly viz. multi- channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws (404), multiple motor feed controllers (406), multiple feeding sensors (407), and the master controller for effective singulation of objects. Further, objects from each channel of reverse rolling helical screws (404) are picked singularly by the rotating drum in such a manner that each pocket of rotating drum picks single object. Singulation of objects from multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws (404) is required for effective feeding of single object into each pocket of the rotating drum.

[0017] According to one embodiment of the present invention, referring to FIG. 5, it is an enlarged view of a single pair of reverse rolling helical screws which is single channel out of multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws shown in FIG. 4. Each channel is made of a pair of reverse rolling helical screws (404). The pair of reverse rolling helical screws in FIG. 5 is straight shafted reverse rolling helical screw, but each pair can also be made of taper shafted reverse rolling helical screw and all pairs of reverse rolling helical screws are placed parallel with each other. Its different elements comprises of a straight shaft (415), a pair of reverse rolling helical screw (416) and multiple sections (417) wherein each section is made up of matching of respective pitches of two reverse rolling helical screws which forms a single pair and each such section carry objects from corresponding 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyor to the rotating drum. Two reverse rolling helical screws of each pair rotate thrusting outward to each other to form a single channel for maintaining the queue in each channel of reverse rolling helical screws.

[0018] According to one embodiment of the present invention, referring to FIG. 6 which is an enlarged top schematic view of FIG. 1 depicting the enlarged view of a multi- channeled set of multiple helical screws (404) in combination with multiple feeding sensors (407) and pockets (411) of the rotating drum (410) to depict the regulated feeding of the intelligent feeding assembly. (In FIG. 6, only multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws is shown and multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws is not shown). The multi-channeled set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors gently pushes objects towards the multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws (404) through pitches of respective each channel of helical screws which singulates and pushes objects to the pockets (411) of synchronously rotating drum (408). The rotating drum (410) has pick and place characteristics due to which the rotating drum (410) picks objects from the queue maintained in each channel of helical screws (404). The rotating drum (410) is made up of multiple cavities in multiple rows all over the surface (along the circumference) of the rotating drum (410). These cavities form pockets (41 1) on the rotating drum (410). The rotating drum (410) is specialized having multiple pockets (41 1) linearly placed throughout its surface and it rotates synchronously with the rotation of multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws (404) to pick singularly the objects from the queue maintained in each channel of helical screws (404). [0019] Due to the unique coordination between different elements of the intelligent feeding assembly, there is effective singulation of objects to fill all the pockets (41 1) of the rotating drum (410) and the rotating drum (410) picks objects and place them into the cups of the tray of the conveying unit or the conveying unit in the grading machine which is installed with the disclosed intelligent feeding assembly. The picking and placing of objects is managed synchronously to get accurate feeding results which is effective while performing any grading operation. The pockets (411) are shown as Pl,P2...Pn ('η' is a natural positive integer) on the rotating drum (410). The number of pockets (411) on a rotary drum (410) can be increased further Pl,P2...Pn, if the number of channels of multiple helical screws (404) is increased from 1,2...n ('n' is a natural positive integer). Objects are picked by the rotating drum (410) and simultaneously placed/dropped into multiple cups of multiple trays. Half portion of the rotating drum is covered with supporting flap comprising of multiple springs to accommodate hard-shelled objects of different sizes to prevent the fall of objects from picking point till the placing point. Objects are placed from the pockets (411) of the rotating drum (410) when the supporting flap on the rotating drum (410) opens. When objects to be fed are of irregular shape, the pockets (41 1) of the rotating drum (410) are provided with vacuum zone to facilitate easy picking and holding of such objects by the pockets (41 1) to prevent falling of objects from pockets (41 1) while carrying objects from picking point to placing point of said objects. The vacuum zone of the pockets (411) is essentially significant when the objects to be picked are of irregular shaped. The intelligent feeding assembly shows the synchronization between rotating drum (410) and the moving conveying unit for effective placing of picked objects. [0020] According to one embodiment of the present invention, referring to FIG. 7, which is a schematic flowchart illustrating different working conditions for proper coordination among multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws, multiple feeding sensors, multiple motor feed controllers, and a master controller. The flowchart shows the different working conditions for proper coordination between multiple feeding sensors, master controller, multiple motor feed controllers and multi-channeled set of multiple helical screw channels. The different pitches of different channels of helical screw may contain zero, one, two or more than two hard shelled objects, so these objects need to be singularized for effective pick and place mechanism. Multiple feeding sensors are arranged on each channel of helical screw, and these multiple feeding sensors are coupled to the master controller to know the exact position of each sensor with respect to each pitch of each helical screw channel. The multiple feeding sensors sense the number of objects and their accurate position in each pitch of said each channel. Initially each motor feed controller starts rotating respective channel of helical screw (501). Initially each motor feed controller maintain the ideal/constant speed of rotation of each channel of helical screw (502) when there is one object in last pitch of each channel of helical screw.

[0021] When the number of objects in the last pitch of any of the channel is two or more than two (503), the respective feeding sensor senses it and gives the signal to master controller. The master controller then signals to the respective motor feed controller to decrease its rotation speed (which leads to decrease the rotation speed of respective helical screw/channel) significantly for pre-determined time (504), so that these two or more than two objects of the last pitch of respective channel are picked separately by different pockets of rotating drum maintaining the ideal time gap between each object to be picked separately by the rotating drum, so that the respective feed controller maintains its ideal speed (a) and maintains accurate feed rate.

[0022] Similarly, when there is no object in the last pitch of any of the channel helical screw (506), the respective feeding sensor senses it and gives the signal to the master controller. The master controller sends signals to the respective motor feed controller to increase its rotation speed (which leads to increase the rotation speed of respective helical screw/channel) significantly for pre-determined time (507) and due to such significant increase in rotation speed of respective motor feed controller, the gap of pitch containing zero objects will be nullified showing ideal pick-up of objects at its regular speed, so that the respecti ve feed controller maintains its ideal speed (a) and maintains accurate feed rate.

[0023] The pre-determined time for above different conditions will be different depending on the number of objects in any pitch or last pitch of respective channel of helical screw. The ultimate aim is to decrease or increase the rotation speed of any of the channels of helical screw to make available singularized objects to be picked by singularly by multiple pockets of the rotating drum. This unique coordination between the different elements of the intelligent feeding assembly makes it more efficient.

The flowchart shown in FIG. 7 for working of intelligent feeding assembly is same when multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws is part of the feeding assembly with the formation of section instead of multi-channeled set of multiple helical screw channels, the formation of pitch in each respective channel.

[0024] According to one embodiment of the present invention, referring to FIG. 8, which is a schematic exemplary diagram illustrating an exemplary arrangement of non- limiting elements of a standard grading machine for grading multiple objects in a single pass which is installed with an intelligent feeding assembly for feeding objects by singulation. The exemplary grading machine may comprises of; an intelligent feeding assembly (305) comprises of: a main frame (301), a hopper (303), multi-channeled set of multiple U-shaped vibratory conveyors, multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws or multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws, multiple feeding sensors and multiple motor feed controllers, vibratory assembly (not shown in FIG. 8), a rotating drum (307) and a master controller for controlling feeding in feeding assembly; a conveying unit (309); an advanced optics unit (313) comprises of multiple programmable cameras (C l,C2...Cn); an image processing unit for processing captured data (not shown in FIG. 6); a master controller (315) for controlling grading operation in the grading machine; an ejection unit (317); and multiple collection units (319). Hard shelled objects having different external characteristics are fed into the hopper (303) which is mounted on the main frame (301). Downstream of the main hopper (303), the set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors are mounted on the main frame (301). Objects fall from hopper (303) on the set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors of the intelligent feeding assembly (305) by linearly agitating at a suitable speed. The multi-channeled set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors is vibrated by the vibratory assembly to control the speed of objects on the set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors. On the main frame (301) further, downstream of the multi-channeled set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors, multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws are connected, to which objects are carried in a systematic way. Multiple feeding sensors are located inside the feeding assembly (305) to sense the number of objects in each pitch of each channel of helical screws, which ultimately sense the flow of objects/the feed rate and the efficiency of feeding on said each channel of multiple helical screws and signal the same continuously in real time to the master controller as these multiple motor feed controllers are linked to the master controller (315). The master controller (315) in turn receives said signals from multiple feeding sensors and further signal to the motor feed controller of said each channel of helical screws to control the rotation speed of said each channel of helical screws. There is a separate motor feed controller for said each channel of helical screws. The motor feed controllers regulates the flow of objects in said each pitch of said each channel of helical screws which is meant for optimal feeding of the objects and is coupled with multiple feeding sensors of the feeding assembly (305). Said each channel is rotated at high speed with the key prominence on singulation that prevent the bulk flow of the objects on said channels by maintaining objects in a queue.

[0025] Further objects from set of multiple helical screws, are conveyed towards the rotating drum (307) where the rotating drum picks objects from the queue maintained on the set of multiple helical screws and the queue is maintained due to rotation of all helical screws in a single direction until they are singularly picked by the rotating drum. The rotating drum (307) is specialized having multiple pockets linearly placed throughout its surface which is also rotated synchronously with the rotation of a set of multiple helical screws, so that the rotating drum can singularly pick the objects from the queue maintained on multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws. The pockets of the rotating drum (307) is optionally having vacuum zone to pick and hold objects especially irregular objects having different sizes to prevent fall of said objects from these pockets while carrying the objects from the picking point to the placing point of the objects. Further, the rotating drum (307) picks objects and places them on the conveying unit (309), which is in motion. [0026] The objects are conveyed to the conveying unit (309), which is made up of multiple trays, wherein each tray is an assembly of multiple cups or the conveying unit (309) is structurally may be different. From rotating drum (309), objects are placed in multiple cups (Tl ,T2...Tn) of the tray and each cup contains a single object. Each single object on the conveying unit is analyzed by the advanced optics unit (313) comprising of multiple programmable cameras (Cl,C2...Cn) and the captured image data of each object is processed by the image processing unit (not shown in FIG. 8); for processing captured data. The objects are analyzed on the basis of external and/or internal characteristics to decide the grade of each object. The signals related to grades of each object are sent to the master controller (315), based on these signals related to the grade, the master controller (315) decides final grade of the objects. The master controller (315) intelligently remembers the position of the individual object placed in each cup (Tl,T2...Tn) of each tray of the conveying unit (309) and decides the location of falling of object in particular collection unit of particular grade. The master controller (315) signals the ejection unit (317) when the each object of each cup of each tray reaches the accurate position on the conveying unit (309). The ejection unit (317) receives signals from the master controller (315) to eject the object from each tray of conveying unit into respective collection units (319) so as to collect 'n' number of grades in a single pass, thereby grading multiple objects in multiple grades in a single pass.

[0027] Though the exemplary grading machine is described in FIG. 8 by considering multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws, the grading machine also works effectively with multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws when instal led in it. [0028] According to another embodiment of the present invention, referring to FIG.

9 which is a block diagram illustrating different non-limiting steps involved in a method for feeding hard shelled objects having different external characteristics, by singulation. The hard shelled objects having different external characteristics are subjected to a hopper through which objects fall on multi-channeled set of multiple 'U'-shaped vibratory conveyors (602), where the objects are vibrated linearly with controlled speed of objects on it by vibratory assembly (601). The objects are conveyed from said set of multiple 'U'- shaped vibratory conveyors to multi-channeled set of multiple helical screws (603) or multi- channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws (603), where each channel of helical screw (603) or each channel of reverse rolling helical screws (603) has multiple pitches on it or multiple sections on it respectively, and a single object ideally is conveyed in each pitch or each section under ideal conditions, therefore objects are conveyed in a queue in each channel of helical screw (603) or each channel of reverse rolling helical screws

(603) . The position and number of object in said each pitch or said each section of said each channel respectively is sensed by multiple feeding sensors, to know the feed rate and the feed efficiency of feeding of objects therein and due to coupling of multiple feeding sensors

(604) with the master controller (605), multiple feeding sensors continuously signals about the same to the master controller (605) in real time. After knowing the position and number which can be one, two or more than two or none of objects in said each pitch or said each section, the master controller (605) according to the need of control over feed rate of said each channel respectively, decides the feed rate of each pitch or said each section of said each channel respectively. The master controller signals further to the respective motor feed controller of said each channel respectively to control the rotation speed of said each channel to provide the ideal condition wherein said each pitch or said each section of said each channel has a single object in it and all objects in said each channel will maintain a queue by singulating objects by increasing or decreasing the rotation speed of said each channel for pre-determined time. Said each channel is rotated at high speed with the key prominence on singulation that prevent the bulk flow of the objects in said each channel to maintain hard shell objects in queue. Further objects are conveyed from said multi- channeled set of multiple helical screws (603) or said multi-channeled set of multiple pairs of reverse rolling helical screws (603) towards the rotating drum (607), where the rotating drum (607) is rotated synchronously with the rotation of said each channel of helical screws (603) or said each channel of reverse rolling helical screws (603) for accurate singularized feeding to the rotating drum (607).

[0029] The rotating drum (607) has pick and place characteristics due to which the rotating drum (607) picks objects from the queue maintained in said each channel, in such a way that each pocket of the rotating drum (607) picks single object due to synchronous rotation of the rotating drum (607) with the rotation of said each and all the pockets of the rotating drum (607) are filled. Further such singularly picked objects are placed into the cups of the tray of the conveying unit of any grading machine which is installed with the intelligent feeding assembly. Due to presence of at least one set of supporting flaps comprising of multiple springs and the set of supporting flap holds each object in the respective pocket by adjusting respective spring of the supporting flap according to variations in size of objects to be held, to accommodate hard-shelled objects of different sizes, so that objects do not drop while conveying in between pick and place points by the rotating drum (607) from said each channel of helical screws (603) or from said each channel of reverse rolling helical screws (603) into the cups of the tray of the conveying unit of any grading machine for further grading operation. While feeding object singularly on said each channel of helical screws (603) or said each channel of reverse rolling helical screws (603), dust particles or any other foreign particles are collected which pass there through.

[0030] The foregoing description of embodiments of the present invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the present invention to the precise form disclosed, and modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teachings or may be acquired from practice of the present invention. The embodiments were chosen and described to explain the principles of the present invention and its practical application to enable one skilled in the art to utilize the present invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.