US 3198515 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 3, 1965 R. c. PITNEY AERODYNAMIC DOCUMENT HANDLING APPARATUS Filed April 5, 1963 INVENTOR.
ROBERT C. PITNEY azzar% MM.
HT'TOE'NE Y United States Patent 3,198,515 AERODYNAMIC DOCUMENT HANDLING APPARATUS Robert C. Pitney, Saw Miil Road, Stamford, Conn. Filed Apr. 5, 1963, Ser. No. 270,839 3 Claims. (Cl. 271-26) This invention relates to a novel document separating and feeding device. More particularly the invention relates to an improved document manipulating means for aerodynamically separating and feeding documents one at a time from a document stack.
In the many recently proposed aerodynamic document handling systems having no moving parts the proper performing of the document separating and feeding functions has presented considerable difiiculty. Prior apparatus used to produce these functions have included one or more baffle plates that are associated with an arcuate portion of the document guide track. In the operation of such arrangements some sort of arresting and/or direction reversal of the document movementis involved and this tends to increase the amount of document manipulation required to produce the separating and feeding functions. Also while the prior types of arrangements operate satisfactorily in certain systems they tend to become cumbersome in those applications where higher cyclic feed rates are required.
The primary object of the instant invention is to provide an improved aerodynamic document separating and feeding means having no moving mechanical parts.
Another object of the instant invention is to provide a novel aerodynamic document separating and feeding device wherein air jet means are used to restrain the feeding movement of documents other than a desired document.
Another object of the invention is to provide an improved document separating and feeding means whereby two aerodynamic document propelling means are arranged in opposed relation so as to apply to any two or more documents therebetween driving forces that are respectively disposed in opposite directions.
Another object of the invention is to provide an improved aerodynamically operated document separating and feeding device wherein a continuously operating reverse air jet means serves to rufile the leading documents in a stack and to restrain the same from movement out of a stacked condition, and wherein an intermittently operated air jet means when actuated is capable v of transporting the leading document away from the document stack; said continuously operating air jet means serving to restrain a transport movement of all of said documents excepting said leading document during the intermittent operation of said air jet means.
Other objects of the invention will become apparent as the disclosure progresses.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of one embodiment of the instant invention.
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along section line 2-2 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic sketch illustrating the operational nature of the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2.
FIG. 4 is a sectional View taken along section line 4-4 of FIG. 2.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2 there is shown a base plate 10 on which is mounted as by means of brackets 11 and 12 and screws 13 a straight length of document guide track 14. Coupled to the guide track are two groups of spaced air conduit lines which serve to establish a series of document propelling air jets along the longitudinal document guide surface of the track 14. The first group of lines 15 are connected through a suitable valve 16 to a Patented Aug. 3, 1965 "ice common air pressure source S1 while the second group of lines 17 are connected to a common continuous air pressure source S2. Any suitable control means may be used to operate the valve 16 in the timed manner described below. The particular manner in which air lines 15 and 17 are coupled to the document guide surface of the track 14 will be discussed below. Sufiice it to note here that air from said lines is directed along track 14 as indicated by arrow 18, FIG. 1, and such will propel a document along said track. This general aerodynamic technique for transporting a sheet along a guide surface is discussed in U.S. Patents 545,013; 2,981,411 and 2,953,- 711 and in British Patent 820,036. A generally ,U-shaped stack container or frame 20 is mounted, as .by brackets 21, 22 and screws 23, on the base 10 and is disposed in a position facing the upstream end of track 14. The upstream end 20a of container 20 abuts the adjacent face portion of the track while the other end 20b of the container is spaced a short distance 24 from the adjacent face of the track. The container end 20b is provided with a vertically shortened and bent 01f length of track 25 which is disposed susbtantially parallel to the adjacent opposed portion of track 14and which is provided with airlines 26 that are connected to a common continuous air pressure source S3,,the connections of air lines 26 to the associated track being similar to those for air lines 15 and 17. From FIG. 2 it may be seen that the air lines 26 are distributed along the top portion of the short track 25 while the air lines 15 are distributed along track 14 at different levels. If desired all the lines 15 may be disposed at the same vertical height above base 10. A weight 30 may be provided inside the document container 20 so as to retain a stack of documents 31 in an upright condition facing the adjacent portion of track 14. v
The manner in which the various air lines 15, 17and 26 are coupled to their respectively associated guide surfaces is illustrated in FIG. 4. Here for example the flexible line or hose 15 is connected to a tubular fitting 32 that is welded or otherwise secured to the rear side of the track 14. The bore 33 in the tubular fitting corrimunicates with an inclined bore 34 formed through the wall of said track; the bore 34 being adapted to direct air from line 15 along the guide surface 35 of track 14 in a direction illustrated by arrow 36. In accordance with Bernoullis principle of fluid flow this film of air moving along the guide surface 35 will be capable of holding a document on said surface and frictionally propelling the same along said surface. 4 l
' In the operation of the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2 a stack of documents 31 is first placed in the container in the region between the Weight 30 and the adjacent face of the track 14. The air supply source S3 being continuously effective affords a constant flow of air to the left, as seen in FIG. 1, along the short track 25 so as to not only ruffle the leading documents of the stack but also to continually bias said documents towards the left end 20a of the stack container 20. i The air supply'source S2 also being continuously effective affords a constant air flow to the right, as seen in FIG. 1, along just the downstream portion of track 14. The valve 16 is normally in its oil condition so that normally no air flow occurs in lines 15. When it is desired to separate the leading document from the stack and feed the same along thetrack 14 the valve 16 is momentarily turned to its .on condition so as to afford an air flow to the right, as seen in FIG. 1, along the upstream portion of track 14. This air flow, which is effectively stronger than the reverse air flow along track 25, will cause the leading document in the stack to be aerodynamically drawn toward the adjacent surface of track 14 and then propelled to the right, as seen in FIG. I
a mal off condition at a time no later than the instant when the trailing edge of said leading document passes the track air port associated with the first air line 150. At this time the leading end of the document will have passed the port associated with the first air line 17a and in that air flow is continuous through all the lines 17 the document will continue its downstream transport movement after the valve 16 is turned to an off condition- In most cases only the leading document in the stack is transported along the track 14 for each cyclic operation of valve 16; however once in a while two documents will move together in the feed direction, i.e. a second document that is at least partially superimposed with respect .to the leading document will tend to be frictionally transported away from the stack with said leading document. When this situation occurs the second or superimposed document which is aerodynamically isolated from lines by the leading document will be immediately driven in an opposite direction back into a stacked condition by the reverse aerodynamic drive action of the adjacent air flow through lines 26 and along track 25. The diagrammatic sketch of FIG. 3 illustrates this aerodynamic document separating action. Here the forward propulsive aerodynamic forces exerted on the leading document 40 by the pulsed air fiow through lines 15 are indicated by arrows P while the aerodynamic braking or reverse driving forces exerted on a superimposed document 41 which is frictionally moving with the leading document 40 are indicated by arrows R. This combination of document driving and braking forces will cause the leading document 40 to be transported to the right as indicated by arrow 42 and the superimposed document 41 to be braked and if necessary to be transported to the left as indicated by arrow 43. The leading document is thus separated and fed from the document stack to that downstream portion of track 14 that is serviced by the continuously efiective air lines 17 and any superimposed documents tend to be simultaneously driven to and held in a position against the left end a of the stack container as indicated by dotted lines 44 of FIG. 3. In the normal case where just a single document, is being separated and fed the reverse aerodynamic forces R although acting directly on the adjacent face of the single document 40 will not prevent the forward feeding movement of the latter in that as noted above the overall effective document driving action of forces P is greater than that of the reverse forces R.
As will be apparent the instant device is capable of efficiently serially separating documents from a stack and successively feeding the same along track 14. Because no moving parts are involved the instant apparatus is relatively inexpensive to fabricate and maintain. One prototype of the above described device has been successfully tested at a operational piece rate of 300-400 documents per minute.
Since many changes could be made in the embodiment of the invention as particularly described and shown herein without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that this embodiment be considered as exemplary and that the invention not be limited except as warranted by the following claims.
What is claimed is:
1. An aerodynamically operated document separating and feeding device: comprising document retaining means for retaining a stack of documents;
a document guide track extending away from said retaining means and having a document guide surface formed thereon;
air jet means for aerodynamically feeding the leading document in said stack along said guide surface;
a second document guide track extending away from said document retaining means and having formed thereon a second document guide surface which faces a portion of the first mentioned guide surface; and
air jet means connected to said second document guide track and operatively arranged at an acute angle relative to said second guide surface to direct at least one jet of air along said second document guide surface in a direction opposite to the document feed direction whereby any additional document that is travelling with a lead document may be aerodynamically braked and reversely driven with respect to the associated lead document.
2. An aerodynamically operating document separating and feeding device: comprising a first elongated document guide track having a document guide surface formed thereon;
first conduit means for directing a flow of air along said first guide track surface;
valve means operatively disposed in said conduit means;
container means for retaining a plurality of stacked documents in opposed relation with respect to an initial end portion of said first guide track surface;
a second relatively short document guide track disposed adjacent the document exit end of said container means and having a document guide surface formed thereon that faces an adjacent opposed portion of said guide track surface; and
second conduit means for directing a flow of air along said second guide track surface, said first and second conduit means being arranged so that the direction of air flow along saidfirstguide track surface is opposite to that of the air flow along'said second guide track surface, whereby for each cycle of operation of the device just the leading document in said container means is separated and fed along said first guide track surface under the action of the said air fiow along said first guide track surface and whereby any additional document tending to so move with said leading document is driven in a reverse direction back into said container means under the action of said air flow along said second guide track surface.
3. Apparatus as defined by claim 2 wherein the vertical dimension of said second guide track is effectively less than that for the adjacent portion of said first guide track, and wherein the effective longitudinal force exerted on a document by the air fiow along said first guide track surface is greater than that effectively exerted by the air fiow along said second guide track surface.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,595,478 8/26 Minton.
2,023,531 12/ 3 5 Kleinschmit.
2,184,229 12/39 Spiess 27127 3,048,392 8/62 Spiess 271-27 3,079,147 2/63 Childs 27l26 3,103,850 9/63 Khoury et al. 271-74 3,126,200 3/64 Rehm 27126 3,136,539 6/64 Lyman 27174 X ROBERT B. REEVES, Acting Primary Examiner.
ERNEST A. FALLER, JR., SAMUEL F. COLEMAN,