US 3161292 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1964 c. J. VAN DALEN 3,
DEVICE FOR ELEVATING AND SORTING FLEXIBLE SHEETS Filed June 27. 1961 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 fii/s f i I IN VEN TOR.
E J VAN DALEN.
Dec. 15, 1964 c. J. VAN DALEN 3,161,292
DEVICE FOR ELEVATING AND SORTING FLEXIBLE SHEETS Filed June 27. 1961 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. C. J. VAN DALEN Dec. 15, 1964 c. J. VAN DALEN 3,161,292
DEVICE FOR ELEVATING AND SORTING FLEXIBLE SHEETS Filed June 27. 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet s DISCHAKGE RECEPTACLE READING DEVICE CONTROLLER STARTING PILE FAULT RFCEPTACLE fin IN VEN TOR:
L1,]. VAN DALEN.
United States Patent 3,161,292 DEVICE FUR ELEVATHNG AND SQRTHJG FLEXIBLE SHEETS Christiaan Johannes Van Dalen, Leidschendam, Netherlands, assignor to de Staat der Nederianden, ten deze Vertegenwoordigd door de Directeur-Generaal tier Posteriien, Telegrafie en Teletoriie, The Hague, Netherlands Filed June 27, 1961, Ser. No. 120,tl62 Claims priority, application Netherlands June 28, 1960 18 Claims. (Cl. 269-722) This invention relates to a device for sorting cards, forms, etc. particularly limp forms, such as transfer forms, according to group characteristics.
In this device use is made of elevators that can elevate forms from a constant feeding level to a variable higher level formed by the top of a pile, as well as of mechanisms for taking away separate forms out of a formed pile, use being made of a counter-rotation roller according to applicants copending US. patent application Serial No. 84,268, filed January 23, 1961.
According to the present invention, a conveyor belt running under the pile of forms to be handled may move each form past a counter-rotation roller to a fixed feeding point lying under the pile, where horizontal conveyor belts ensure the gripping and the transport of the forms from the feeding-point to an elevator comprising a set of vertical conveyor belts. One of these elevating belts reaches from the level of said feeding-point to the top of the full pile to be formed, and the other, a grip-belt, reaches said lowest point to an intermediate point lying below said top level. Cooperating with this shorter vertical gripping belt there is a second gripping belt provided on the same side of the longer vertical belt as the shorter gripping belt, but mounted with its supporting rollers on a slide. This slide reaches in its lowest position from a point above said feeding-point to the level of the pile freshly begun; and in its highest position from a point between said feeding-point and said intermediate point to the highest level of the pile. Further a horizontal guide is connected to the vertical slide for guiding the forms from the highest point of this vertically slidable gripping belt to the top of the pile on which the forms are laid down, so that counter-pressure exercised on this horizontal guide is passed to the slide to which it is connected, causing this slide and guide assembly to be gradually pushed upwards from its lowest to the highest position as the pile on which the forms are laid grows.
The sorting device of this invention contains a number of these elevating units lying one behind the other, each beyond an electromagnetically controlled turn-cit point in a horizontal feeding-belt moving past all the fixed feeding-points of these units, so that each elevating unit forms a pile with a group characteristic. Further a charging receptacle may be provided in which a pile of forms can be placed from outside and from which forms are guided separately past a reading-device for determining these group characteristics, which reading device is located above the feeding belt. This reading device past which the delivered forms are guided controls the switching of the forms having a figure of a correspondingly higher order to group piles of correspondingly higher order. The sorting device may have an automatic drive for the delivering belts and for the appertaining counter-rotation rollers for returning forms by a return belt for reading figures of the next higher order, which drive is controlled by means for empty-state signalling of the charging receptacle and successively thereafter of the empty-states of the group receptacles of higher order. This empty-state signalling means may comprise a fall-in flap which is put down on every fresh 3,l6l,22 Patented Dec. 15, 1964 pile laid-in, and which goes down along with the pile going down due to the removal of forms from the bottom until after the removal of the last form, a control or signalling contact is closed. Also a discharging receptacle may be provided from which the sorted pile can be collected, which sorted pile consists of group piles of forms arranged according to their group characteristics, which group piles may be successively returned to the discharging receptacle by the return belt.
The above mentioned and other features and objects of this invention and the manner of attaining them will become more apparent and the invention itself will be understood best by reference to the following description of an embodiment of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a schematic side view of an elevator unit for thin forms according to one embodiment of this invention, with the highest position of its parts being shown in dotted line;
FIG. la is a view similar to FIG. 1 but including some forms already piled-up by the elevator, and one form being piled on the top of said pile; and
FIG. 2 is a schematic side elevation of a sorting device for thin forms or a collator in which use is made of a plurality of elevator units according to FIG. 1 including a fall-in flap control device.
The elevator unit of FIG. 1 receives the limp forms one by one from a source to its feeding point 24, which source may be from a conveyor 44 which takes the forms one at a time from the bottom of a pile 45 past a counter rotation roller 46. From point 24 the forms are fed between a horizontal upper belt 3 running over rollers on spindles 8 and it and a single counter pressure belt 2, which co-operates in its horizontal part with belt 3, and, after having made the upward bend over rollers on spindles 8 and 12, in its vertical part running up to the highest delivery point where there is located a return guiding roller on spindle 13, with two vertical pres sure belts 4 and 5. Belt 4 runs between a roller on spindle 8 and a roller on spindle 9, which spindles 3 and 9 lie fixed in a frame F. The other vertical pressure belt 5 runs over rollers on spindles 6 and 7 mounted at a fixed distance from each other in a slide S guided in slots 25 and 26, respectively, in the frame F, forming a whole with a horizontal arm 14: carrying a horizontal belt 16 and further a slanting plate 15 under which forms, such as b (in FIG. in), shot out at the top of belt 5 are guided out over the plate 28 or onto the top of the already piled up forms a (see FIG. 1a) and down under the faster moving form-pulling belt 16. The arm 14 with its appendages moves upwards with every form shot out (the highest position of parts l e-1S of slide 8 being indicated by is shown in dotted lines), because such a form is laid down on the pile which will be formed on the horizontally fixed plate 28 and against vertical fixed stop plate 22. The arm 14 with its spindle 6, 7, 1'7, 13, guide belt 16, and guide plate 15 may be counter-balanced by a counter weight G (see FIG. la), if necessary, so that the forms wont have too much weight to lift and the belt 16 can pull them easier over the other piled-up forms a on the stack, because of the greater coefficient of friction of the belt 16 than that of the surfaces of the forms I). At the end of plate 28 there may be a counter-rotation roller 21. This roller 21 normally stands still, as well as rollers 29 and 39 which bears the delivering belt 27 for removing the pile from this plate 28. However, when belt 27 is in operation this counter rotating roller 21 prevents more than one form being removed from the pile at a time as described in said above mentioned copending application Serial No. 84,268. Thus, the pile of forms can only be removed from plate 28 when belt 27 is driven (see below).
In FIG. 1 the spindles 6 and 7 are in their lowest position, corresponding to a beginning pile onplate 28. When this pile is completed, spindles 6 and 7 rise to their dotted line positions, taking along the cross-hatched belt 5., The described elevator works between a fixed feeding-point 24 and the variable top level of a pile on plate 28, from which the forms can be removed again at the fixed level 23 by the belt 27. V
The sorting device or machine schematically shown in FIG. 2 comprises ten elevator units through 9' according to FIG.1, plus two elevator units It? and 13' having no outlet, one unit 11' having no inlet, and areading device controller 12' with a photocell F. The designation of the forms is perforated in or printed upon the forms in such a way that the designation can be detected by the photocell or photocell combination F. In these units i through i schematically represent feeding devices like belt 16 in FIG. 1. a through a schemati cally represent removing devices like conveyor belt 27. 0 through 0 are receptacles with piles of forms, and s through s are change-over contacts, which move down when the fall-in flaps f through 9 indicate that the receptacles are empty of the previous pile therein. These fall-in flaps f through h then move out of the pile and await positioning on top of the next pile when the previous digit pile has been emptied, as will be described later. W through W are turn-off points such as at 24 in FIG. 1 and formed by conveyors 2 and 3 in FIG. 1, and include electromagnetic track or path switches controlled by corresponding electrical conductors W from reading device controller 12'.
The sorting process takes place as follows: A pile of forms to be sorted is placed in the receptacle 0 of unit 11" due to which switch s moves upwards as shown completing the circuit for the removing device a which starts. The forms removed pass along the heavy and arrowed line or path P, past the reading device P, which passes via. the controller 12' the units digit read to control the switch at one of the turn-01f points W through W a corresponding time distance from the device F along the form gripping constant speed belts of conveyor moving along the heavy and arrowed line path P. 7 Thus the forms numbered 1 are directed to elevator unit 1' and so on. The unit 11' being empty then the contents of elevator units 0 through 9 are directed sequentially to the discharge receptacle elevator 13'. The drawing shows that the moment when receptacle 0 is empty, the fall-in flap f makes a contact to energize relay r to move the switch s down to its other contacts, informing the reading unit or controller 12.of this empty state. In consequence of this the photocell F is switched to the tens digit and at the same time a positive potential is applied to the change-over spring of switch s due to which the removing device a starts and its fall-in flap f moves up and in over the pile then resting in 0 (supposing unit 0 has previously received some forms). These removed forms from pile 0 are then read by photocell F in their tens digit and accordingly returned to the corresponding group pile now on topof the fallin flaps f through f As soon as receptacle this empty,
its fall-in flap f makes a contact to energize its relay my to move switch s down to its other contact/and to apply positive potential to the switch s starting removing device 11; so that receptacle 0 is emptied next and so forth. This process goes on until receptacle 0 is empty too,
downward movement of switch s will not only switch in the removing device, but it will also cause turn-off point W to operate, due to which all the forms land in the correct sequence in discharged receptacle'o after which its switch .9 moves down too, informing con- 7 Forms that the photocell F cannot read properly are led by unit 12 to the fault receptacle 0 It is clear that as soon as receptacle 0 has been emptied again after a pile or group was laid in and the distribution process has begun, a fresh pile or group can already be placed in it. As soon as the first pile or group has been classified and stored in receptacle 0 (i.e. after the last release of switch s the sorting of the second group can proceed without interruption, etc.
While I have illustrated and described what I regard to be the preferred embodiment of my invention, nevertheless it will be understood that such is merely exemplary and that numerous. modifications and rearrangements may be made therein without departing from the essence of the invention, I claim:
1. A flexible sheet elevating device comprising:
(a) two vertical cooperating sheet gripping conveyor belts of different heights for successively elevating said sheets between them,
(12) means to feed successively said sheets between said two belts at their lower ends,
(c) a platform for said sheets located a fixed distance corresponding to the heightof the shorter one of said belts above said feeding means,
(d)' a slide mounted for movement parallel to the movement of said sheets by said two: belts,
(e) a third sheet-gripping conveyor belt mounted on said slide and in sheet gripping engagement against the longer of said two belts together with the shorter of said two belts, and a (f) means on said slide initially resting on said platform for discharging sheets from the upper end of said third belt onto said platform successively on top of each other to form a pile of said sheets on said platform, whereby said slide raises with said pile as said pile grows higher.
2. A device according to claim 1 wherein said feeding rbheians includes a pair of cooperating horizontal conveyor e ts. I
p 3. A device according to claim 1 wherein said platform includes a stop for at least one edge of said sheets discharged thereon.
4. A device according to claim 1 wherein said discharging means onsaid slide includes a horizontal conveying belt having a speed greater than said third conveyor belt and a guide deflector for said sheet from the upper end of said third belt for guiding said sheets toward said horizontal belt.
5. A device according to claim 1 including means mounted on saidplatform for removing said sheets one at a time from the bottom of said pile.
6. A device according to claim 5 wherein said removing means includes a horizontal conveyor-belt under, said platform and a counter rotation roller above said belt adjacent said pile for preventing the removal ofsmore than one sheet at a time from the bottom of said pile.
7. A sorting device for sheets having a plurality of elevating devices according to claim 1 and a plurality of detectable group designations thereon, comprising:
(a) a charging receptacle for a pile of sheets to be sorted,
(b) a plurality of group receptacles forpiles of sheets corresponding to each different group designation on said sheets,
(c) means at each receptacle for removing one sheet at a' time from the bottom of the pile in that receptacle, I
(d) one of said elevating devices at each group receptacle for piling sheets successively one on top of the other in that receptacle,
(e) means for feeding sheets to each said piling means,
(7) circuit conveyor belt means passing each said removing means and each said feeding means,
(g) sheet switching means along said belt means at each said feeding means, and
(h) means along said belt means before said feeding means and after said removing means for reading said designations on said sheets and controlling said switching means in accordance therewith.
8. A sorting device according to claim 7 wherein each said removing means includes a horizontal conveyor under its corresponding receptacle and a counter rotation roller adjacent thereto for insuring the removal of one sheet at a time from that receptacle.
9. A sorting device for sheets having a plurality of detectable group designations thereon comprising:
(a) a charging receptacle for a pile of sheets to be stored,
(b) a plurality of group receptacles for piles of sheets corresponding to each different group designation on said sheets,
() a discharge receptacle for the sorted pile of sheets,
(d) means at said charging receptacle and each group receptacle for removing one sheet at a time from the bottom of the pile in that receptacle,
(e) means at said discharge receptacle and each group receptacle for piling sheets successively one on top of the other in that receptacle,
( means for feeding sheets to each said piling means,
(g) circuit conveyor belt means passing each said removing means and each said feeding means,
(h) sheet switching means along said belt means at each said feeding means,
(i) means along said belt means before said feeding means and after said removing means for reading said designations on said sheets and controlling said switching means in accordance therewith,
(j) means at said charging receptacle for detecting when said charging receptacle is empty of sheets, and
(k) means controlled by said empty detecting means for transferring the piles of sheets in said group receptacles successively to said discharging receptacle.
10. A sorting device according to claim 9 including a fault receptacle along said belt means after said reading means, said fault receptacle including a sheet piling means, and means in said reading means for directing faulty read sheets to said fault receptacle.
11. A sorting device for sheets having a plurality of detectable group designations thereon in each of a plurality of different orders, comprising:
(a) a charging receptacle for a pile of sheets to be sorted,
(b) a plurality of group receptacles for piles of sheets corresponding to each different group designation,
(0) means at each receptacle for removing one sheet at a time from the bottom of the pile in that receptacle,
(d) means at each group receptacle for piling sheets successively one on top of the other in that receptacle,
(e) means for feeding sheets to each said piling means,
( circuit conveyor belt means passing each said removing means and each said feeding means,
(g) sheet switching means along said belt means at each said feeding means,
(12) means along said belt means before said feeding means and after said removing means for reading said designation on said sheets and controlling said switching means in accodance therewith,
(i) means at each said receptacle for detecting when that receptacle is empty of sheets, and
(j) means controlled by said detecting means for controlling said reading means to set said reading means to the group designation of the next higher order and successively operating said removing means to successively pass each said group corresponding pile past the just set reading means.
12. A sorting device according to claim 11 including a discharge receptacle for sorted piles of sheets, said discharge receptacle including a piling means, and means controlled by said empty detecting means for transferring the piles of sheets in said group receptacles to said discharge receptacle after all of said orders have been read on each of said sheets.
13. A device for piling limp forms supplied at a point, characterized by:
(1) horizontal conveyor belts for gripping and transporting between them the forms from a feeding point lying under the piles to an elevator;
(2) said elevator comprising a set of vertical conveyor belts which take over the forms between (a) one of the belts reaching from the level of said feeding point to the top of the full piles to be formed, and
(b) a first grip belt reaching from said lowest point to an intermediate point lying below said top belt, and
(c) a second grip belt provided at the same side of said one belt as said first grip belt and mounted on a slide;
(3) said slide in its lowest position reaching from a point above the feeding point to a level of the pile freshly begun, and in its highest position reaching from a point between said feeding point and said intermediate point to the highest level of the pile to be formed, and
(a) guide means on said slide for guiding the forms from the highest point of said grip belts to the top of the pile and so laying them down that counter pressure they exercise on said guide means is passed to said slide causing the latter to be gradually pushed upwardly by one form after another from the lowest to the highest position, as the pile grows.
14. A device according to claim 13 including:
(4) means for removing the limp forms from the bottom of the pile in the direction of an outlet, including a counter rotation roller for checking the movement of the forms being removed.
15. A sorting device characterized by a number of piling devices according to claim 14, the feeding points of which lie one behind the other, said sorting device comprising:
(1) a feeding belt having a corresponding number of electromagnetically controlled turn-off switches, one being located before each one of said feeding points;
(2) a reading device along said feeding belt for reading said forms and controlling said turn-off switches to form separate piles in said piling devices corresponding to separate predetermined group characteristics;
(3) a charging receptacle, along said feeding belt before said reading device, in which a pile of forms can be placed from outside and from which forms are guided separately past said reading device for reading their group characteristics; and
(4) a discharge receptacle along said feeding belt from which a sorted pile can be collected, said sorted pile consisting of group piles of forms arranged according to their group characteristics.
16. A sorting device according to claim 15 including:
(5) separate means for removing said forms successively from each of said group piles, comprising:
(a) a form removing belt,
(b) a counter rotation roller,
(6) means for signalling the empty state of said charging receptacle, and successively of the group receptacles for said group piles of higher order, and
(7) means for switching said reading device each time said charging receptacle and said group receptacles are empty to a figure of a correspondingly higher order, each time said charging receptacle and all said group receptacles are emptied, as a result of which the group piles are finally guided to said discharging receptacle. r
17. A sorting device according to, claim 16 including:
(8) a fault receptacle along said feeding belt, and i a (9) control means in said reading device for directing faulty forms to said fault receptacle.
18. A sorting device according to claim 16 wherein said empty state signalling means comprises:
(a) a fall-in flap which lays on top of every fresh pile V placed in the receptacle, and which follows along with the lowering top of a pile as forms are removed therefrom by said removing means, and
a a (b) a contact meansoperated by said flap when said last form is removed from said pile.
References Cited in' the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,402,787" Norris Jan. 10, 1922 2,081,280 Pearl May 25,1937 2,737,390 Morgan Mar. 6, 1956 2,795,328 Tyler June '11, 1957 2,845,267 Persson July 29, 1958 FOREIGN PATENTS 86,769 Norway ....1 Jan. 9', 1956 1,063,528 Germany Au 13, 1959