US 3015926 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
M. GALAMBOS Jan. 9, 1962 APPARATUS FOR SELECTIVELY OPENING AND CLOSING ENVELOPE FLAPS Filed May 23, 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 In 1 a H l 3 2 q 1 ol 64 nlW. W 3 i 5 5 II N 5 ll 6 12 v 5 5 U 2 I Z 1% 5 :6 6 G O 3 1 B I 6 3 3 p m m m M191 Gil/9MB ATIQRNEZS M. GALAMBOS Jan. 9, 1962 APPARATUS FOR SELECTIVELY OPENING AND CLOSING ENVELOPE FLAPS Filed May 23, 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 I INVENTOR. MAX GHAi/VHOS u fa ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,015,926 APPARATUS FOR SELECTIV ELY OPENING AND CLOSING ENVELOPE FLAPS Max Galambos, 4095 Kendall, Wheatridge, Colo. Filed May 23, 1960, Ser. No. 30,871 Claims. (Cl. 53-384) This invention relates to apparatus for selectively opening and closing envelope flaps.
With apparatus according to this invention, it is possible to prepare envelopes as received from a manufacturer, i.e., with flaps in a fiat and closed position, for stuffing without the normal manual opening of the flaps before the stuffing operation may be commenced. Also, by substitution of interchangeable parts, the same basic apparatus may be employed to close and seal the flaps subsequent to the stufiing operation.
In actual tests by a large corporation in connection with stufiing paychecks, apparatus according to this invention proved a considerable advance over the previous methods and apparatus and resulted in substantial savings in manpower. For instance, only eighteen to twenty minutes were required to open five thousand envelope flaps as compared to ten to fifteen hours by previous methods.
Briefly, novel apparatus according to my invention may be comprised, essentially, of a power driven endless belt supported on a frame between suitable feed and, if desired, discharge, hoppers positioned adjacent respective opposite ends of the conveyor to feed closed and receive open envelopes during an opening operation and to feed open and receive closed sealed envelopes during a closing operation. The frame carries suitable/support structure intermediate the ends of the frame for selectively holding novel interchangeable apparatus for guiding envelope flaps in either opening or closing operations. These interchangeable parts are simple in construction, easily and inexpensively manufactured, and in association with the frame and mounting support structure are easily operated by other than skilled personnel. Suitable rolls, plates, and other guiding devices are incorporated in the foregoing in a novel interaction of parts of accomplish the functions of the apparatus in a manner described in detail hereafter. Further, the foregoing by novel adjusting means allows operation on a plurality of different sizes of envelopes and envelope flaps.
Therefore, it is among the objects and advantages of this invention to provide simple, inexpensive and easily operated apparatus for opening and closing envelopes; which apparatus is adjustable to varying sizes of envelopes; which considerably decreases the time necessary for opening envelope flaps as compared to previous methods; and which is usable with envelopes as received from the envelope manufacturer.
Further specific objects are to provide a simple apparatus which has no moving parts, which, in association with suitable support structure, may be used by inexperienced operators to open unsealed envelopes.
Further objects and advantages will become obvious to those skilled n the art from a study of the following description with reference to the hereafter appended drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a schematic top plan view of apparatus according to this invention, during a closing and sealing operation;
FIG. 2 is a schematic top plan View of apparatus according to this invention, during an opening operation;
FIG. 3 is an isometric view of a portion of the apparatus of FIG. 2 in enlarged detail;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged isometric detail of a portion of the apparatus of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is another enlarged isometric detail of the 5 velope flap opening operation;
apparatus of FIG. 2 in relation to the apparatus of FIG. 4 immediately preceding a flap opening;
FIGS. 6 and 7 are enlarged isometric details of the apparatus of FIG. 5 during subsequent steps in the enand FIG. 8 is a fragmentary enlarged detail of a portion of the apparatus of FIG. 3.
Before describing the drawings in detail, I wish it understood that the exemplary apparatus shown in the drawings and described in detail hereafter is only one manner of practicing my invention and I do not desire to be limited thereby, but rather by the scope of the hereafter appended claims.
Referring first to FIG. 3, the apparatus which supports the envelope opening and closing apparatus, respectively, is carried on a frame generally indicated by reference character 10. At one end of the frame 10 is a suitable hopper (see FIGS. 1 and 2) from which envelopes are fed in the opening and sealing operation, respectively. Adjacent the same end of the frame is a suitable power source 12 for furnishing drive to an endless belt conveyor '13 as described hereafter. The upper' surface of the belt conveyor 13 has knobs or projections generally indicated by reference character 14 which furnish additional frictional engagement with envelopes passing through the device as will become apparent. Intermediate a receiving hopper 11 or 1112 and the power source 12 is a supporting structure 15 upon which the interchangeable closing and sealing, and opening apparatus, respectively, are mounted.
The power take-off 20 of the power source 12 engages a first roller 21 for driving the belt. Other bottom rollers 22, 22a and 24 are frictionally engaged and driven by the belt 13 and additionally serve the function of supporting the belt. Bottom roller 24 and top roller 23 are positioned to firmly apply pressure to the belt to hold the envelopes 25 subsequent and previous to the opening or closing operations, respectively. A generally spherical guiding roller 30 is mounted on suitable supporting structure generally indicated by reference character 31 for firmly holding the envelopes 25 in place before passage under and in association with the flap opening device, generally indicated by reference character 32 and better shown in FIG. 4. Mounted to one side of the spherical roller 30 extending from supporting structure 31 is a longitudinally extending guiding strip 33 which assures a firm frictional engagement between the envelopes 25 and the belt 13. The opening device 32 is adjustably mounted on the plate 35 by means of thumb screws 36 or the like in association with the slots 37. The plate 35 is mounted on the frame carried supporting structure 15 by means of ears 38 integral with the support 15 passing through the slots 39 in the plate 35.
Referring for the moment to FIG. 8, there is shown a side view of the apparatus above described, showing the manner of mounting the plate 35 on the supporting portion 15. There is a downwardly extending portion 40 arranged at an angle to the undersurface of the plate 35 adapted to be borne against by the adjusting screw 41 whereby various planar positions of the opening member 32 may be accomplished. Also passing through member 15 is a clutch 34 for relieving tension on the belt 13.
Referring now to FIG. 1 wherein there is a schematic view of the apparatus as it would be assembled in the closing and sealing operation, the closing and sealing portion is generally indicated by reference character 50 and is comprised of a chamber 51 for carrying water or the like for the purpose of moistening flaps 25a. The water container is carried on a plate member 52 which has longitudinal slots 53 therein for mounting on the plate 35 carried on the supporting structure 15 in a manner similar V ation with the aforedescribed rollers.
' envelopes 25 are positioned in the hopper 60 and fed to the mounting of opening member 32. Extending at substantially right angles to the water container 51 the plate 52 carries two spaced guiding plates 54 adjacent, but spaced from, a moistening means 55. The foregoing is adjustable with relation to the envelopes passing through the apparatus by adjusting means 56. In operation, a plurality of open envelopes 25 in a hopper 60 pass under the supporting structure 31 beneath the roller 30 in frictional engagement with the moving belt 13. Adjacent one side of the belt is an upright camming plate 61'which raises the envelope flaps 25a toa' substantially 90 angle with relation to the body of the envelope which is firmly held on the belt 13 by the strip 33. As the envelopes with upright flaps approach therclosing and sealing device 50, they come in association with a helical wire loop 62 which has an extending portion 63. The extending portion earns the envelope flap down under the portion 63 of the helical coil 62 whereafter it is guided beneath the portion 65 of the plate 52, above the moistening means 55 between the guiding plates 54 which hold the envelope fiap in close association with the moistening means 55. After the passage of the envelopes through the foregoing, the extending portion 67 of the plate 52 firmly holds the moistened flap portion 25a in association with the body of the envelope 25 until it passes in association with the roller 23,'thereby accomplishing the closing and sealing of the envelope flap. Thereafter, the envelopes pass into such as hopper 11 for suitable disposi-' tion.
Referring now to 'FIG. 2, there is the same supporting structure as generally indicated in FIGS. 1 and 3 as assembled for the flap opening operation. As before, the belt 13 is driven by a suitable power source 12 in associ- A stack of closed beneath the structure 31 under the guiding roller 30 and under the strip 33 into association with the opening device 32.
Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown the opening apparatus 32, which is preferably an integrally formed device comprised'essentially of a fin plate portion 70 interconnected to an upwardly and outward-1y smoothly curved flange portion 71 by a curved knife edge portion 72. There is an outward extension of the upwardly and outwardly smoothly curved flange portion 71 generally indicated by reference character 73, which forms a generally arcuate downwardly directed extension of the flange 71.
When the opening apparatus 32 is assembled on the structure as hereinbefore described, it operates to Open the envelopes in'a manner better understood from a study of FIGS. 5, 6 and 7. The envelopes are fed from the hopper 60 along the belt 13 through the apparatus described with reference to FIGS. 2 and 3 under the strip 33. As the envelope 25 approaches the opening apparatus 32, the leading edge of the flap 25a comes in association with the curved knife edge portion 72. 'Further movement of the envelope, as shown in FIG. 6, causes the flap to rise upwardly along the underside of the curved flange portion 71 while the envelope body 25 is maintained firmly against the belt by the fin plate portion 70 and the strip 33. Further movement along the belt causes the envelope flap 25a to come in association with the arcuately depending portion 73, thus giving a reverse curving twistto the envelope flap. Subsequent to the passage through the opening apparatus 32, the roller 23 in association with the roller 22 passes the open envelopes to such as receiving hopper 11a.
7 Therefore, in operation a quantity of envelopes as received from a manufacturer with the flap closed and unsealed are placed in a suitable container such as hopper V 60. The power source 12 is started, causing a frictional engagement between the power take-off member 20 and the first roller element 21. The foregoing causes a revolution of the belt 13 which in association with the feeding apparatus, consisting of the structure 31 and feeding roller 30, passes the envelopes to the opening apparatus 32. As the envelopes progress along the belt toward the opening apparatus, the leading edge of the flap comes in association with the curved knife edge portion 72, cansing an upwardly and outwardly directed twisting movement to the envelope flap. 'Further progression of the envelope along the belt beneath'tthe structure 32 causes the leading edge of the flap to pass over the knife edge 72 and under flange 71 and the depending arcuate portion 73 to cause a reverse twisting to be imparted to the envelope flap, thereby breaking the tendency of the flap to return to a closed position after the opened envelopes pass from the conveyor belt. During the reverse twisting movement of the fiap, the fin plate portion 79 and the strip 33 firmly hold the envelope body in close frictional engagement with the moving belt 13.
One of the desirable features of this apparatus is that it is easily adjusted to open varying sizes of envelopes. This adjustment is accomplished by loosening the thumb screws 36 and moving the opening apparatus 32 through the length of the slots 37 at varying positions across the belt 13, depending on the width of the envelope to be opened. The opening device 32 is preferably held in relation to the surface of the moving belt in operating position by the weight of the device itself.
After the foregoing described opening operation has been accomplished, the envelopes may be suitably stuffed by automatic apparatus which is not shown. Thereafter, the stuffed envelopes are returned to the feeding hopper 60 for passage through the sealing apparatus. The same basic structure is used for the closing and sealing operation as was used for the opening operation. The only change required is a loosening of the screws 36 and the removal of the opening apparatus 32 from the supporting structure 15 and plate 35. The sealing apparatus is then placed in position on top of the plate 35 and suitably adjusted and held in position by means of the slots 37 and the screws 36. After the foregoing is assembled, the envelopes are fed through the apparatus as was described with reference to FIG. 1 that is, the envelopes after having been placed in the feeding hopper 60 are caused to pass under the feeding roller 30 adjacent the upright member 61 whereby a substantially upright configuration is imparted to the flap 25a with respect to the envelope 25. 7 7
After the upright configuration has been accomplished, the extending portion of the coil member 62 causes a downwardly directed motion to be imparted to the flap over the portion 63 of the coil while the body of the envelope passes thereunder in close association with the moving belt 13. The flaps are then guided between the guide plates 54 over the moistening means and sealed in position by the portion 67 of the plate 52. Thereafter, the envelopes are guided beneath the roller 23 into the collection hopper 11 in a sealed and closed configuration.
By the foregoing apparatus, I have invented a machine for selectively opening and closing an envelope which is inclusive of a frame and including a series of rollers mounted above an envelope conveyor which is arranged to pass envelopes on the conveyor beneath suitable guiding rollers through an openingoperation and a subsequent closing and sealing operation.
Therefore, having described my invention, what I desire to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the following claims.
1. In machines for selectively opening or closing envelopes inclusive of a frame and including a series of rollers mounted above an envelope conveyor to pass envelopes on the conveyor below the rollers on the belt from a hopper at one end to another hopper at the other end, the improvement comprising an opening element mounted on said frame adjacent said conveyor and having a planar fin plate portion extending over and adjacent the belt, the fin plate portion being juxtaposed to an upwardly and outwardly smoothly curved flange portion which is connected to said fin plate portion by a curved knife-edge portion mounted to pass between an envelope body and an envelope flap whereby the envelope body passes under the fin plate on the belt and the flap is moved upwardly and over the knife edge under the curved flange.
2. A machine for opening an unsealed envelope flap comprising a main frame having envelope hopper means at one end and an envelope receiver at the opposite end, conveyor means mounted on the frame for passing envelopes from said hopper to said receiver, said hopper means being arranged for singly passing envelopes to said conveyor means, envelope opening means mounted on said frame and juxtaposed above said conveyor means, said opening means including a fin plate portion mounted across said conveyor means substantially parallel to conveyed envelopes and a smoothly curved flange portion extending upwardly and outwardly from said fin plate, there being a knife edge portion in the forward edge of said flange portion in position to pass between the flap and body of a carried envelope whereby as the envelope passes under said fin plate the flap is moved upwardly and over the knife edge under said flange portion to an envelope open position.
3. A machine for selectively opening an unsealed envelope flap, inclusive of a frame and including a series of rollers mounted above an envelope conveyor which is adapted to pass envelopes below the rollers from a hopper at one end to receiving means at the other end, the feed hopper and conveyor arranged to snugly pass closed envelopes beneath the rollers to a plate mounted adjacent the conveyor, the plate arranged for holding an opening element above said conveyor, the opening element being comprised of a fin plate portion juxtaposed to an upwardly and outwardly smoothly curved flange portion and connected thereto by a curved knife-edge portion which is adapted to pass between an envelope body carried by the conveyor and its envelope flap whereby as an envelope passes under the fin plate the flap thereof is moved upwardly and over the knife edge portion under the curved flange portion.
4. A machine for opening an unsealed envelope flap, said machine including a main frame having first means mounted thereon, envelope opening means mounted on said first means, second means carried by said frame adjacent said first means for conveying an envelope from an envelope hopper at one end to receiving means at the other end, said hopper being arranged to singly feed closed envelopes to the second means for delivery to the opening means, said envelope opening means being mounted adjacent said second means and including a fin plate portion juxtaposed to an upwardly and outwardly smoothly curved flange portion and connected thereto by a curved knife edge portion, which knife edge portion is adapted to pass between an envelope body being passed by said second means and the flap of said envelope whereby the envelope passes under the fin plate portion and the flap is moved upwardly and over the knife edge portion under the curved flange portion.
5. Means to manipulate an envelope flap from a closed, unsealed position to an open position including a frame, first means carried by said frame adapted to pass closed envelopes from feeding means to flap manipulating means, both of which latter means are mounted on said frame, the flap manipulating means being mounted adjacent the first means and being comprised of a fin plate portion juxtaposed to upwardly and outwardly smoothly curved flange portion, the fin plate portion being connected to the flange portion by a curved knife edge portion which is adapted to pass between an envelope body and the flap thereof when carried past said manipulating means by said first means whereby the envelope body passes under the fin plate portion and the flap is moved upwardly and over the knife edge portion under the curved flange portion.
References Qited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,122,519 Lovercheck Dec. 29, 1914 1,172,824 Newman Feb. 22, 1916 1,960,959 Sague May 29, 1934 2,325,455 Williams July 27, 1943