US 3087725 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 30, 1963 J. K. DUNCAN DOCUMENT DELIVERY APPARATUS April 30, 1963 Filed Sept. 15, 1960 J. K. DUNCAN 3,087,725
DOCUMENT DELIVERY APPARATUS 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 CA-rTomosyw United States Patent O 3,087,725 DQCUMENT DELIVERY APPARATUS James K. Duncan, Park Ridge, Ill., assignor to Cummins- Chicago Corp., Chicago, Ill., a corporation of Illinois Filed Sept. 15, 1960, Ser. No. 56,240
3 Claims. (Cl. 271-71) The present invention relates to -business machines which handle flexible paper documents such as checks, payment coupons, money orders and punched cards. Examples of familiar business machines of this type are sorters, collaters, readers, and others through which documents are fed successively, ending up in one or more delivery receivers or hoppers. In particular, the invention pertains to the document delivery mechanisms or apparatus employed in such machines.
It is the general aim of the invention to provide improved and simplified document delivery apparatus which uniformly stacks documents having different lengths, i.e., dimensions which vary greatly in the direction of document travel.
A concurrent object of the invention is to insure that documents are stacked or collected in the order they are received by the delivery apparatus, and even though such documents have any length between two widely separated maximum and minimum values.
Another object of the invention is to increase the useful length of a delivery receptacle or tray by deflecting or tucking in the trailing ends of relatively long documents.
Other objects and advantages will ,become apparent as the following description proceeds, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE l is a side elevation, partly in section, of document delivery apparatus embodying the features of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is similar to FIG. 1, but shows the apparatus after it has received and stacked a plurality of documents; and
FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 are stop-motion views illusrating the tucking action by which the trailing edge of a document is deflected into the receiver.
While the invention has been shown `and will be described in some detail with reference to a particular tembodirnent thereof, there is no intention that it thus be llirnited to such detail.
On the contrary, it is intended vhere to cover all modifications, alternatives, and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as deiined by the appended claims.
Referring now to FIG. 1, the delivery apparatus is intended to receive and stack a plurality of eXi-ble paper documents, such as checks or the like, which are passed successively thereto. Merely -by Way of example, the delivery apparatus here sho-wn and claimed may be used to collect documents after they have been passed through a sorter, collater, or similar machine. It will suflice to understand that the present apparatus includes guide means such as spaced guide plates 10, 11 defining a channel 12 into which documents are successively fed by cooperating parts of a machine which vare not illustrated. The documents are moved lengthwise through the channel 12 until their leading edges are presented to and engaged between upper and lower feed rollers 14, 15 which are driven (by means not shown) for counter-rotation in the directions indicated by arrows.
The two feed rollers 14, 15 have running, peripheral engagement, or at least they are so closely spaced that documents will be slightly compressed therebetween and transported from left to right as viewed in FIG. 1. The point, or more properly the line, of tangency between the two feed rollers lies in a plane 16 which is inclined 3,087,725 Patented Apr. 30, 1963 ICC downwardly to the right. The particular angle or attitude of this plane is not critical and it may in some cases be horizontal. Preferably, one or both of the feed rollers 14, 15 is made of a resilient, rubber-like material to facilitate the entry and transport of the successive documents.
As the documents emerge successively from the feed rollers they are moved to right and downwardly until they come to rest in a receiver or receptacle, which is here shown as a tray 18 formed by platform portion 18a having an end flange 18h. The flange serves as means for engaging and stopping the leading edges of documents passed successively into the tray.
To assure that all of the documents are stacked with their leading edges alined, a stacking roller 20 is disposed downstream from the feed rollers 14, 15 and is rotatably driven (by means not shown) in the same direction (counterclockwise) as the upper roller 14. When the tray 18 contains no documents, `the periphery of the stacking roller has light rubbing contact therewith, so that it will engage :a document 17 coming from the feed rollers and urge that document toward the right until its leading edge abuts the stop flange 18b. Thereafter, the stacking roller 20 continues to have light rubbing contact with the document, and is ready lto receive and stack the next document fed through from the rollers 14, 15. Preferably the surface of the stacking roller 20 is made relatively smooth so that it does not drag with appreciable friction against the platform 18a or the documents thereon. For this purpose, the stacking roller 20 may be made of hard rubber or metal.
Buckling of documents under the frictional force of the stacking roller is prevented by a retainer plate 21 which is `disposed to the right of and just above the lower edge of that roller. Any tendency of documents to buckle upwardly in the region between the stop ange 18b and the stacking roller 20 is inhibited by the plate 21, since it closely overlies the documents at this region. Moreover, in order to make it possible to stack a relatively great number of documents on the tray 18, the latter is mounted by means which yieldably urge it .toward the stacking roller, and which let it retreat as the thickness of the document stack increases. While such mounting means may take any of a variety of forms, they are here shown as legs 22 extending from the lower side of the tray 18 and formed with slots 24 receiving stationary mounting pins 25. Soft, resilient compression springs 26 engage ,the tray 18 'to bias the latter toward the stacking roller 20. As the document stack increases in thickness, the tray shifts downwardly while being guided by the pins 25 (compare FIGS. l and 2). Different successive documents coming from the feed rollers 14, 15 are thus a1- ways delivered to a plane 28 which -is at the lower edge of the roller 20 and defined either by the platform 18a or Ithe uppermost document in a stack supported by that platform.
Some documents such as punched cards may be relatively stiff. They may tend to remain in the plane of tangency 116 as they leave the feed rollers 14, 15. To make certain that the leading edges of such documents are moved into engagement with the lower portion of the stack roller 20, a detlector here shown as la curved plate 30 is disposed on the output side of the feed rollers 14, 15 and shaped to intercept the leading edges of stiff documents, and thereafter to guide them downwardly so that they are caught between :the lower edge of the stacking rollers 20 and the documents on the top of the stacking held in the tray.
On the other hand, many commercial documents which are -to be accommodated in business machines may be fairly limp or flexible, and they will tend to sag or droop as they leave the feed rollers 14, 15. As illustrated in o FIG. 2, a document 32 which Iis passing through the feed rollers will curve downwardly and its leading edge 32a will contact the stacking plane 28, i.e., the platform 18a or the uppermost document therein, at a distance Dd from the feed rollers 14, 15. Further movement imparted to this document will shift its leading edge intoy engagement with the `underside of the stacking roller 20, so that the latter moves the document fully into the tray with its leading edge 32a against the stop flange 13b. The droop distance Dd shown in FIG. 2 is the shortest distance through which the leading edges of the most flexible documents to be accommodated will travel from the bite of the rollers 14, before intersecting the stacking plane 28 and contacting the top-most document in the stack.
As shown in FIG. 2, the present apparatus is intended to accept and reliably stack documents of various lengths, i.e., documents ranging from minimum length L1 to a maximum length L2. Yet it is extremely important to make certain that successive documents are stacked one on top of the other in the order that they are received through the guide channel 12. Two things are done to accomplish this. First, the stacking roller is spaced upstream from the stop 18b by a distance D2 which is less than the minimum length L1, so that the trailing end of a short document 34 is disposed upstream, i.e., to the left, of the stacking roller 20 `after such document has its leading edge 34a engaged against the stop flange 18b. Secondly, the feed rollers y14, 15 are spaced upstream from the stop 18h by a distance D so that leading edges of the most flexible documents will always drop onto the upper surface of a previously stacked short document 34. That is, the distance D is made sufficiently short that the droop distance Dd exceeds `the difference between the distance D and the minimum length L1. This may be expressed: Dd D-L1. Thus, the leading edge of any document, such as that shown at 32, coming from the feed rollers 14, 15 always engages on the upper surface of a previously stacked document, even if the latter is of minimum length L1. Thereafter, the leading edge of the document 32 being received is therefore shifted beneath and into engagement with the stacking roller 20 so that it is affirmatively urged against a stop flange 18b; it cannot work its way under the previously stacked document 34 and -thereby fail to engage the roller 20 so that it remains to the left of that roller and fouls the following document. Finally, the distance D1 between the feed rollers 14, 15 and the stacking roller 20 is chosen such that even documents of minimum length L1 will have their leading edges engaged with the stacking roller 20 before their trailing edges are discharged from the bite of the rollers 14, 15. Since this imposes `an upper limit on the distance D1, it correspondingly limits the distance D.
The foregoing dimensional relationships serve an irnportant function. That is, they assure that the shortest documents to be accommodated are always stacked one on top of another, and they avoid the possibility that the leading edge of an incoming document might -slip beneath the trailing edge of one or more documents previously lodged in the tray 18. Nevertheless, the foregoing dimensional relationships impose a severe limitation on the distance D between the stop flange 18b and the feed rollers 14, 15. With this distance D limited, the maximum length of documents to be received would ordinarily have to be somewhat less than the `distance D in order that such maximum length documents would fall into the tray without jamming or fouling.
In accordance with the present invention, however, provision is made to extend the useful length of the tray 18, and to accommodate documents which have a maximum length L2 Iwhich is not only considerably greater than the minimum length L1, but at least as great or greater than the distance D. For this purpose, means are employed to catch the trailing ends of the longer documents and flip or tuck them downwardly beneath the lower feed roll 15. As here shown, such means take the form of a plurality or axially extending, circumferentially spaced, radial ridges or projections provided on the surface of the lower feed roller 15. These ridges or teeth 36 are preferably relatively great in radial height, and of substantially square or rectangular cross-section. However, the precise shape of the teeth 36 is unimportant so `long as they engage the trailing ends of documents, as described below.
The operation of the delivery apparatus in receiving and stacking successive documents may be best explained with reference to the stop-motion views in FIGS. 3-5. First of all, it will be understood from the -foregoing description that any document passed lengthwise through the guide channel 12 will be caught between the feed rollers 14, 15 and advanced toward the stacking roll 2f). If the document -is relatively stiff, it will be deflected downwardly to engage with the stacking roller 20 by the curved plate 30. If the document is relatively limp, it will droop downwardly so that its leading edge intersects the stacking plane 28 at a point displaced at least the distance Dd from the rollers 14, 15, and will thereafter be advanced into the bite of the stacking roller 20. All of the documents will be shifted to the right by the frictional engagement of the rotating roller 20v until their leading edges lare stopped and alined against the stop flange 18h. As successive documents are received, they are thus stacked one on top of the other, the receiving tray 18 moving downwardly against the bias of the springs 26 as the thickness of the stack increases.
Assuming now that a relatively long document 38 of maximum length L2 has been partially passed through the feed rollers 14, 15 to a position at which its leading edge 38a is engaged with the stop 18h, its trailing edge 38b will at this instant (FIG. 3) be engaged or caught against the side surface of one tooth 36a on the lower feed roller 15. Were the teeth 36 not formed on the roller 15, this long document 38 would simply remain in the position shown in FIG. 3, and succeeding documents would pile up on and jam or foul that document.
However, as the feed roller 15 rotates so that the tooth 36a moves lfrom the position shown in FIG. 3 to that shown in FIG. 4, the trailing portion of the document 38 is flexed to assume a curved configuration, with the trailing edge 3817 remaining in contact With the side surface of the tooth 36a. Then, as the feed roller 15 rotates further so that the particular tooth 36a reaches the position shown in FIG. 5, the document 38 is flexed to a configuration at which the resilient stress urges the trailing edge 38b downwardly and in the same direction as the tooth 36a is moving. Thus, just after the instant that the parts are positioned as shown in FIG. 5, the document 38 snaps downwardly and to the left so that it lies flat in the tray 18 with its trailing edge 38b disposed somewhat beneath the rollers 14, 15.
The maximum length L1 of documents `successfully received and stacked is limited only to lengths such that the trailing edge of each document clears or slightly passes the point of tangency of the rollers 14, 15 when its leading edge is abutted against the stop 18b, as illustrated by the document 38 in FIG. 3. This assures that the trailing edge 38b drops slightly beneath the plane of tangency 16 so that it will be caught against the side of one of the teeth 36 on the rotating roller 15. 4Because the document 38 is curved or angled somewhat in the position illustrated by FIG. 3, its length L1 may be greater than the distance D. If the roller 15 were not lprovided with the teeth 36, and instead had a relatively smooth surface, the maximum length `documents would have to be somewhat shorter, so that their trailing edges would clear the right edge of the roller 15 and fall freely onto the tray 18. The tucking action of the teeth 36 thus permits the maximum documents length L1 to be greater, by an amount approximately equal to the radius of the roller 15, than would otherwise be possible.
It will thus be seen that the longest docu-ments having a 4relatively great length L1, which exceeds the distance D between the stop 18b and the feed rollers 14, 15, fed to the present delivery apparatus are deformed to a curved configuration by the teeth 36 on the feed roller 15 so that they are deected and tucked beneath the feed rollers .and into a proper, flat position in the tray 18. There is no fouling or jamming of successive documents of various lengths between relatively widely separated values L1 and L2. The radial teeth on the feed roller 15 thus serve a very important function because they permit -a -single `delivery apparatus to successively accommodate documents having different lengths, and despite the fact the distance D is limited in order to accommodate and properly stack shortest -documents one on top of the other. Yet the toothed or ridged configuration of the lower feed roller 15 does not interfere with or detract from its transporting or feeding function. By the present construction, therefore, document delivery apparatus is made to accommodate documents which are longer by slightly more than the radius of the roller 15) than could otherwise be handled if the lfeed roller 15 were not provided with the tucking teeth or ridges 36. This attribute is extremely important and advantageous in many business machines requiring delivery of business documents having a wide range of lengths.
1. In delivery appanatus for receiving flexible paper documents of various lengths between a minimum length L1 and a maximum length L2, the combination comprising upper and lower counter-rotating feed rollers having running surface contact in a plane of tangency, a tray disposed beneath said plane of tangency to receive documents passed through said feed rollers, means for engaging and stopping the leading edges of documents passed through said feed rollers, a rotating stack-ing roller frictionally engaged with the upper most document in the tray and urging it against said stopping means, the distance D1 between said feed rollers and said stacking roller being sufficiently short that a document of minimum length L1 has its leading edge engaged with fthe stacking roller before its trailing edge leaves said feed mollets, the d-istance DZ between said stopping means and said stacking roller being less than said minimum length L1, the disn tance D between said stopping means and said feed rollers .L being less than the maximum document length L2 and 4lgreater than the minimum document length L1, the droop @distance Dd from said feed rollers being greater than (D1-L1) so that documents vare received -successively on top of one Ianother in said tray, and means forming toothlike ridges on the surface of said lower feed roller to catch and tuck the trailing edges of documents greater in length than the distance D into said tray.
2. In delivery apparatus for successively receiving paper documents of various lengths between a minimum length L1 and a maximum length L2, the combination comprising upper and lower counter-rotating feed rollers having running engagement in a plane of tangency, a tray disposed beneath -both said lower roller and said plane of tangency to receive documents transported through said feed rollers, a stop at the end of said tray to limit travel of the leading edges of documents, a rotating stacking roller frictionally engaged with the uppermost document in the tray and urging it against said stop, the distance D2 between said stop and stacking roller being less than said minimum length L1, the distance D1 between said feed rollers and said stacking roller being sufficiently short that a document of minimum length L1 has its leading edge engaged with the stacking noller before its trailing edge leaves said feed rollers, and means for laying documents of length L2 into said tray where L2 is greater than (Dl--l-DZ), said last means comprising a plurality of axially extending, circumferentially spaced teeth on the surface of said lower feed roll to engage, deflect and tuck the trailing ends of maximum length documents after their leading edges engage said stop.
3. In delivery apparatus for receiving successively fed `flexible paper documents of various lengths between a minimum length L1 and a maximum length L2, the combination comprising upper and lower counter-rotating feed rollers having runnin-g peripheral engagement in a plane of tangency, at least lone of said rollers being of a yieldable, rubber-like material, means for guiding documents .successively between said feed rollers for transport therethrough, a tray disposed beneath both said lower roller and said plane of tangency to receive documents from said feed rollers, a stop at -the end tof :said tray to limit travel of the leading edges Iof documents, a stacking roller rotating in the same direction as said upper roller and frictionally engaged with the surface of said tray at a point intermediate said feed rollers and said stop, means mounting said tray for yielding movement away from said stacking roller so that as documents are received t-he tray shifts and the stacking roller has frictional rubbing contact with the uppermost document, the distance D2 between :said stop and said stacking roller being less than the minimum length L1, the distance D between said stop and said feed rollers being less than the length L2 in order that the droop distance D'd from said feed rollers exceeds D-Ll, and means defining a plurality of circumferentially spaced, radial projections on the surface of said lower feed roller, said projections serving to catch the trailing edges of documents of length greater than D and to deflect such trailing edges beneath said lower roller and onto said tray.
References Cited in the lile of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,434,014 La Bombard et al. Oct. 3l, 1922 v 2,694,570 De Lano Nov. 16, 1954 2,753,185 Johnson July 3, 1956