US 3226109 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
28, 1965 s. H. A. THOMPSON ETAL 3,226,109
DOCUMENT PROCESSING MACHINES Filed Oct. 8, 1962 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIGJ.
I/WEM rel-LS STAMhE 7 HowfiRD hDCOCK TRoMPSoM GEORGE :mMEs Samuel. mover B Mm* QM 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 1965 s. H. A. THOMPSON ETAL DOCUMENT PROCESSING MACHINES Filed 001". 8, 1962 Dec. 28, 1965 Filed Oct. 8, 1962 s. H. A. THOMPSON ETAL 3,226,109
DOCUMENT PROCESSING MACHINES 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 lI'WE Tr-RS STANLEY Hal/JAM) AQCOCK THoMPSoN GEORGE JAMES AMUEL mou-LT 8% I mo a United States Patent Ofiice 3,226,169 Patented Dec. 28, 1965 3,226,109 DGCUMENT PROCESSING MACHINES Stanley Howard Adcock Thompson, Stoke Bishop, Bristol, and George James Samuel Mouit, Staple Hill, Bristol, England, assignors to Parnall 8: Sons Limited, Birmingham, England, a British company Filed Oct. 8, 1962, Ser. No. 228,942 Claims priority, application Great Britain, Oct. 17, 1961, 37,102/ 61 14 Claims. (Cl. 271-34) This invention relates to document processing machines, for example for coding, reading and/or sorting documents for statistical, accounting, or processing control purposes, and has for its primary object improved means for feeding the documents into the machine without need for interruption in the flow of documents through the machine.
The invention consists of a document processing machine comprising means for abstracting documents edgewise one at a time in sequence from a stack of documents, at least one magazine adapted to hold a stacked batch of documents, and conveyor means for transporting the magazine past said abstracting means so that the forward face of the leading document in the magazine is presented to the abstracting means so that the document is fed edgewise from the magazine, a pair of opposite sides of the magazine being shaped so that they are able to move past said abstracting means as it is emptied of documents without interruption in the operation of the machine. Preferably said conveyor means comprises at least one continuously driven endless belt wherein the friction between the belt and the base of the magazine determines a substantially constant applied pressure between the leading document and the abstracting means. Alternatively the magazine may be fed by gravity down an inclined track towards the abstracting means. Preferably the abstracting means comprises one or more ported belts co-acting with a vacuum supply so that the belt or belts have running contact with the leading document in the magazine and act to abstract the leading document from the magazine as the leading document is sucked against a port or ports having vacuum applied thereto.
One example of the practical application of the invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a part sectional side elevation of the document feeding section of a document processing machine according to the invention;
FIGURE 2 is a plan on the line A-A of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is an elevation on the line BB of FIG- URE l; and
FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of one of the magazines shown in FIGURE 1.
In the illustrated embodiment of the invention the machine comprises a pair of conveyor belts 5 mounted in parallel side-by-side relationship with their upper horizontal runs extending beneath and adjacent to an abstracting device 6 and continuously driven at a constant speed. The abstracting device comprises a pair of endless feed belts 7 mounted side-by-side each having a triangulated path including a vertically upward run normal to the upper run of the conveyor belts 5. In accordance with known techniques the feed belts are ported (8) at intervals longer than the length of the documents to be processed and in their said vertical runs are traversed over a shoe 9 connected to a vacuum pump (not shown) so that when a document bears against the feed belts 7 as a port or ports in the belts are presented between the shoe 9 and the document the document is sucked onto the belts 7 and is thereby transported on the belts 7 to further transporting means whereby the document is conveyed through the remainder of the machine.
Preferably the abstracting device 6 also incorporates in proximity to the vertical run of the feeding belts 7, 10, means such as a counter rotating vacuum capstan known per se, for arresting or rejecting second and further documents that may be fed in company with the first document thereby to ensure a single document feed.
The documents are delivered along the conveyor belts 5 to the abstracting device 6 in magazines 11 which each hold a batch of documents 12 stacked with the planes of the documents normal to the run of the conveyor belts and parallel to that containing the vertical runs of the feed belts 7 so that the documents are each presented edgewise towards their direction of feed when gripped by the feed belts. Preferably the magazines 11 are of open-topped box-like formation but essentially their leading and trailing vertical sides 13 are cut-away to permit the magazines to move on the conveyor past the abstracting device 6 as they are emptied of documents whilst still lending sufficient support to the documents to maintain these in substantially vertical planes. Conveniently guide rails 14 may be incorporated in the machines on each side of the conveyor belts 5 so as to align accurately the magazines as they are transported past the abstracting device 6.
In order to preserve the vertical disposition of the leading document in each magazine as it is presented to the feed belts 7 the abstracting device 6 incorporates a dependent finger 15 disposed between and co-planar with the front faces of the pair of feed belts 7 in their vertical runs. Advantageously the finger 15 may be joggled adjacent its lower extremity to relieve slightly the pressure of the finger on the upper region of the leading document relative to that on the lower region.
It is found in practice that the reliability in operation of feeding devices of the kind described is dependent on a substantially constant pressure between the leading document of the stack and the feed belts 7. This can be achieved in the present apparatus by driving the conveyor belts 5 at a speed slightly in excess of the rate of emptying of the magazines and designing the friction between the conveyor belts 5 and the bases of magazines 11 to furnish the required pressure which will be limited by the slip between the magazines and the belts when the train of magazines 11 are arrested at the feeding device.
In order to improve the constancy of pressure between the leading document of the stack and the feeding belts, a pressure sensitive device may be fitted to the central finger 15. In its simplest form this consists of an onoff micro-switch 16 which is fixed behind a pivotally mounted finger 15 so that when the pressure of the documents on the finger and feed belts 7 exceeds a value predetermined by a spring 17 between the finger and the body of the switch 16, the finger moves rearwardly to actuate the switch 16 and break the electrical circuit to the drive motor of the conveyor. A second switch (not shown) could be incorporated so that if still more pressure is applied by the documents, the conveyor belt drive is reversed until the correct pressure is achieved. This would eliminate problems that might arise due to the input operator putting excessive pressure on the magazines when loading the machine. More complex methods could also be applied, for example, by using a variable speed and reversible motor on the conveyor drive and controlling this by a full servo-mechanism.
In order to adapt a standard size of magazine to hold stacks of documents of different lengths removable floors may be inserted in the magazines as shown in chain dotted lines at 18 in FIGURE 3. Conveniently all sizes of floor have a central well 19 to accept the passage therethrough of the finger 15 without need to change the size of the latter.
By appropriately extending the length of the conveyor belts 5 before the abstracting device 6 any number of magazines 11 may be accommodated on the conveyor and transported past the abstracting device with the trailing side of one magazine in contact with the leading side of the next following magazine so that there need be no interruption in the delivery of documents through the machine as the feed moves from one magazine to the next. The use of magazines also has the advantage that the documents may be stored therein before and after processing.
1. A document processing machine comprising conveyor belt means having a generally horizontal run, an open-sided magazine on and carried by said conveyor run and adapted to hold a series of vertically disposed and horizontally stacked documents, said magazine having aligned front and rear wall apertures extending from said open side, and document abstracting means disposed in the path of movement of said magazine apertures so that as the magazine is moved in one direction by the conveyor means the leading stacked document is engaged by the abstracting means and is thereby fed out of the magazme.
2. A document processing machine according to claim 1 wherein said magazine is open at its top side and said apertures are cut-outs in its front and rear walls.
3. A document processing machine according to claim 1, comprising a finger positioned in the path of movement of said magazine to engage and support the leading document of a stack whilst the leading document engages the abstracting means.
4. A document processing machine according to claim 1, wherein said abstracting means comprises endless feed belt means having a run capable of engaging the leading document in the magazine.
5. A document processing machine according to claim 4, wherein said feed belt means is ported for co-acting with a vacuum shoe to periodically suck the leading document onto the belt means whereby the document is abstracted from the stack on the belt means.
6. A document processing machine according to claim 4 wherein a movable pressure finger is disposed to engage and support the leading document in said magazine and two feed belts are disposed one on each side of the finger having runs engageable with the leading document in said magazine and with the finger extending substantially in the plane of the runs of the feed belts engaged by the leading document.
7. A document processing machine according to claim 1, wherein the magazine is frictionally associated with the conveyor means and the movement of the conveyor means is the source of pressure of the leading documents on the abstracting means.
8. A document processing machine according to claim 3, comprising control means actuated by movement of the finger to govern the speed of the conveyor means and so control the pressure of the leading document on the abstracting means.
9. A document processing machine according to claim 8, comprising an electric control switch actuated by said finger in response to document pressure.
it A document processing machine according to claim 1, wherein said conveyor means comprises a continuously movable endless conveyor belt having a substantially horizontal run for carrying the magazine.
11. A document processing machine according to claim 10, wherein the horizontal run of said conveyor means has a length capable of supportng at one time a series of magazines before the abstracting means.
12. A document processing machine according to claim 11, comprising fixed guide rails on opposite side of the magazine on the conveyor belt run for aligning the magazines in relation to the abstracting means.
13. A document processing machine comprising conveyor belt means having a generally horizontal run, an open-topped magazine disposed on and carried by said conveyor run and adapted to hold a series of vertically disposed horizontally stacked documents, said magazine having aligned front and rear wall apertures, and document abstracting means comprising feed belt means having a generally vertical run extending down to a level below the tops of said apertures in the path of movement of the conveyed magazine so that as the magazine is moved in one direction by the conveyor means the upper portion of the leading stacked document therein is engaged by said feed belt run and fed out of the magazine by said feed belt means.
14. In the document processing means defined in claim 13, a pressure finger movably mounted to extend into the path of said leading document in the magazine, and means actuated by said finger for controlling operation of said conveyor belt means.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,112,816 10/1914 Manchester. 2,138,306 11/1938 Patrick. 2,324,930 7/1943 Joa 27162 X 2,936,087 5/ 1960 Glazer 2l43 10 3,045,846 7/1962 Clark 2143l0 M. HENSON WOOD, JR., Primary Examiner.
ROBERT A. LEIGHEY, ROBERT E. REEVES,