US 3240489 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 15, 1966 w. J. PINCKNEY ETAL 3,240,489
DOCUMENT ADVANCING APPARATUS Filed Sept. 27, 1963 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORS WARREN J? P A/CK V Y ROBERT E. SCHMEcK A? ALTO/V b. ECKERTJi: M%M% March 1966 w. J. PINCKNEY ETAL 3,240,489
DOCUMENT ADVANCING APPARATUS Filed Sept. 27, 1.963 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS WARREN I PlNcHA/EY RoBERT E. SCI/MECK ALTON B. EC/fERTJr.
March 1966 w. J. PINCKNEY ETAL 3,240,489
DOCUMENT ADVANCING APPARATUS Filed Sept. 27, 1963 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 52 I D mm 66 J INVENTORS WARREN J. P/NC/f/Vz- ROBERT E. SCHMECK ALTON 6 ECKERT J'r.
United States Patent 3,240,489 DOCUMENT ADVANCING APPARATUS Warren J. Pinckney, Ridgefield, Robert E. Schnleck, Riverside, and Alton B. Eckert, Jr., Norwalk, Conn, assignors to Pitney-Bowes, Inc Stamford, Comp, a
corporation of Delaware Filed Sept. 27, 1963, Ser- No. 312,tl86 Claims. (Cl. 271-62) tion and feed plane whereat each successive document is individually separated from the pack and fed along a predetermined feed path. When such separating and feeding operations occur at high speed it is imperative that a close control over the pack force be maintained; the pack force being the normal force existing between the leading document and the next document in the pack. Here, for any given set of operating conditions the pack force value must always be kept within a relatively narrow predetermined range. Furthermore the pack force should not vary significantly when additional documents are being added to the document stack.
One object of the instant invention is to provide an improved document pack advancing control means wherein the pack force may be held at a substantially constant level.
Another object of the invention is to provide a pack advancing control arrangement which can maintain a substantially constant pack force value that is independent of the local position of the leading document in the pack.
A further object of the invention is to provide a novel document advancing means whereby the pack force may be held at a substantially uniform predetermined value and whereby additional documents may be added to the document pack without disturbing the said pack force conditions adjacent the separation and feed plane.
Other objects of the invention will become apparent as the disclosure progresses.
FIG. 1 is a plan view of one embodiment of the instant invention.
, FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1, this figure being taken in partial section along section line 2-2 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along section line 3-3 of FIG. 1.
, FIGS. 4 and 5 are partial horizontal and vertical sectional views respectively of the air conduit means associated with the instant apparatus.
FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic sketch illustrating an exemplary control circuitry for a power drive means for the instant apparatus.
A description of the structural features of the invention will be presented first after which a discussion of the functional characteristics thereof will be made.
Referring particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2 there is shown a horizontally disposed document pack supporting plate or deck 10 having a pair of arms 11 and 12 that are pivotally supported on a shaft 13 that is fixedly mounted by any suitable means on the machine frame 14. The free end of deck 10 is supported by resilient pads 15 and 16 that are secured to the machine frame, the deck being adapted to be vertically vibrated by any suitable vibrator means such as a pneumatic or electrical unit 17 illus- 3,240,489 Patented Mar. 15, 1966 trated in FIG. 1. An upstanding front fence plate 20 is fixed to the forward end of the deck 10, the inner flat surface of said plate effectively defining a separation and feed plane. A carrier rod 21 is fixedly mounted on the machine frame 14 by means of blocks 22 and 23 and slidably supports a vertical pack advancing plate 24 which extends laterally across the upper surface of the deck 10 and which is adapted to advance a stack of documents over the deck surface and toward the front fence plate 20. The plate 24 is yieldably actuated by any suitable means such as by a cable with a weight or by an elongated coil spring 25.
The deck 10 is formed with a rectangular aperture 30 through which extends an upper segmental portion of a spiral member 31 having a shaft or hub portion 32 that is rotatably mounted on means carried by the deck 10. The spiral member 31 is formed with several convolutions 33 of a wide helical flange having a helically tapered upper, FIG. 1, or rearward end. The pitch of the helical convolutions preferably increases in size from the rear toward the front end of said spiral member with the pitch of the final or foremost convolution reduced to approximately that of the initial or rearmost convolution. The axis of shaft 32 is canted at a slight angle A, FIG. 1, so that the segmental portions of the spiral convolutions 33 disposed above the upper feed deck surface are most nearly parallel to the plane of the documents in the pack being advanced. Thus as the spiral member rotates the successive helical convolutions thereof intercept and mutually isolate successive pack sections at the leading end of the document pack and serially advance the same toward the said front fence plate 20. The means for rotatably supporting the shaft 32. includes a downwardly extending support plate 34 secured to the lower side of the feed deck 10. A gear 35, FIG. 2, fixed to shaft 32 meshes with a gear 36 that is rotatably mounted on a stub shaft 37 attached to said support plate 34. A gear 46* meshing with said gear 36 is fixed to the end of a motor shaft 41 that extends through a suitable aperture in the support plate; the shaft 41 being a part of a motor 42 that is mounted on said support plate 34.
Yieldable means are provided for applying a force against the lead end of the document pack and in opposition to the pack advancing movement produced by the spiral member 31. The fence plate 20 is formed with an aperture 50, FIG. 2, through which may extend the free end of a pivoted arm assembly 51. The arm assembly comprises a pair of parallel arms 52 and 53 that are rotatably mounted at their inner ends on a shaft 54 that is in turn rotatably mounted in a depending tubular sleeve 55, FIG. 2, fixed to the machine frame. The arms 52 and 53 are mutually interconnected by spacer shafts 56 and 57, these spacer shafts each having a set of axially spaced belt tightening idler rolls 60 rotatably mounted thereon. Rotatably mounted in the outer ends of arms 52 is a shaft 61 to which is fixed a pair of axially spaced belt pulleys 62 and 63, while rotatably fixed to the arm assembly pivot shaft 54 is a pair of corresponding axially spaced belt pulleys 64 and 65. One belt 66 is entrained over pulleys 64, 62 and the associated idler pulleys 6t), and a second belt 67 is entrained over the pulleys 65, 63 and the associated idler pulleys 60. The pivot shaft 54 is adapted to be continuously rotatably driven by any suitable means such as a pulley 70 and a motor driven belt 71. The arm assembly 51 is pivotally biased in a counterclockwise direction, FIG. 1, by means of a weight 72 which is operatively connected to the arm assembly by means of a flexible cable 73 that passes over a pulley 74 rotatably supported on the feed deck 10 as is best illustrated in FIG. 3. In this way the free end of the arm assembly 51 may be yieldably biased into engagement with the leading document of the pack by means of a substantially constant force determined by the mass of the weight 72, and this constant force will be independent of the pivotal position of the arm assembly.
As will be apparent when the shaft 54 is rotatably driven the pulley-belt arrangement 6267 just described will be operated so that those portions of the smooth outer surfaces of the belts 66 and 67 passing around the outer end of the pivot arm assembly canfrictionally engage and longitudinally displace the successive leading documents in the document pack to a ready position located a short distance downstream along a feed path 68, FIG. 1. Simultaneously the pivotable arm assembly 51 as a whole can yieldably move under the substantially constant biasing force of weight 72 so as to accommodate local variations in the position of the lead end of the document pack.
Means are provided for sensing the position of the arm assembly 51 so as to control the pack advancing rotation of the spiral member 31; such means including a finger 80 which is fixed to the arm 53 and which is adapted to control and/or operate any suitable electrical switching device such as a conventional photocell unit 81. The instant switching device or photocell unit electrically controls the energization of the motor 42 in any conventional manner such as that illustrated by the block diagram in FIG. 6. The motor 42 is preferably a stepping motor having a quick response to both energization and de-energization. As will be apparent variations in the pivotal position of the arm assembly 51 will, through the photocell connections, control the operation of the motor 42 so as to thereby keep the spiral member intermittently rotating so as to advance documents toward the front fence plate 20 at a rate corresponding to the rate at which the lead documents in the pack are successively separated and transported away along feed path 68.
Pneumatic means are provided for drawing the lead document into frictional engagement with the operative portion of the feed belts 66 and 67, such means including a tubular sleeve 100, FIGS. 4 and 5, that is secured to and between the outer portions of the arms 52 and 53. The sleeve 100 is plugged at either end and has a plurality of air inlet conduits 101 connected thereto as well as a vacuum supply line 102, the outer ends of the conduits 101 being suitably bevelled and disposed adjacent the document engaging portion of the arm assembly 51' as illustrated in FIG. 4. As will be apparent when a subatmospheric pressure exists in line 102 air will be drawn in through said ends of the conduits 101 whereby the local reduced air pressure thus produced will assist in holding the leading document of the pack in frictional driving engagement with driving belts 66, 67.
It will be understood that the above described apparatus is used in conjunction with a suitable cooperating document transport means, a portion of which is generally illustrated at 105 of FIG. 1. This transport means includes the usual devices for retarding or restraining the separated documents at a ready position until feeding thereof is desired, and for then picking up the retarded document at said ready position and rapidly transporting the same downstream along said feed path. Suitable switching means may be provided for turning the machine off when there are no documents present on the feed deck. These devices may he conventional in nature and need not be discussed further here.
In the operation of the instant apparatus a pack of documents is placed on the feed deck while the spring driven plate 24 is held in a withdrawn position toward the rear of the deck. Thereafter the plate 24 is released and thus permitted to yieldably advance the pack toward 'front fence plate 20. As the leading end of the pack engages the rotating spiral member 31 the upper segmental portions of the helical convolutions 33 of said member will intercept successive sect-ions 110a, 110b, etc, FIG. -1, of the pack and will thereafter retain said pack sections in mutually isolated condition while progressively advancing the same toward the separation and feed plane at the front fence plate 20. This pack advancing movement causes the leading pack section 110a first to engage the free end of the arm assembly "51 and then to displace said arm assembly in a clockwise direction, as seen in FIG. 1, against the action of the Weight 72. Thus although the position of the leading document in the pack section 110a, and also the pivotal position of the arm assembly vary, the force exerted by said arm assembly against the pack section 110a is substantially constant whereby the packforce, i.e. the normal force tending to press the leading document against the next document, remains uniform. The arm assembly is pivotally displaced by the advancing movement of pack section 110a until the finger operates the photocell unit so as to de-energize the motor 42 whereupon the pack advancing movement stops. During the said clockwise displacement of the arm assembly the leading document will be frictionally driven by belts 66 and 67 a short distance along the feed path 68 to a ready position wherein the leading end of the document will be located and held at a point 112, FIG. 1, just before the bite of the take away belt and pulley portion of said transport system 105. In this ready position the driving action of belts 66, 67 is still applied to the leading document but such does not quite overcome the temporary retarding action of the transport device and the document will remain in this ready position until the transport device is conditioned so as to overcome the retarding act-ion and rapidly move the said document downstream along path 68. When this occurs the pack section a is diminished by one document and the next document is moved to and held in said ready position by the belts 66, 67 until is is similarly transported downstream along path 68. As the pack section 110a is thus being deleted one document at a time the reducing thickness of the pack section 110a will permit a gradual counterclockwise pivotal movement of the arm assembly 51 until finally the finger 80 permits the photocell to re-energize motor 42 so as to advance the pack and pack sections toward the front fence plate 20. This advancing movement will continue until the photocell operation again cuts off the operation of the motor 42 as above described. In this Way the documents are advanced toward the separation and feed plane at a replenishing rate corresponding to the rate at which the documents are removed and fed along the feed path 68, the pack force all the while remaining substantially unchanged. This uniform pack force is a prime factor in the obtaining of a reliable document separating action at high operational speeds, for example at piece rates in excess of 20 documents per second.
When the entire pack 110 has been deleted to the point Where additional documents need to be added to an intermediate or a rear portion of the pack in order to provide continuous operation of the machine the operator simply rearwardly displaces the spring actuated rear plate 24 and, while manually steadying the documents already on the feed deck, places a second pack of documents on the deck and then releases the spring biased plate 24 so that all the documents are again yieldably urged toward the front fence plate 20. It will be noted that any increase or decrease in the advancing force experienced by the pack during this pack replenishing operation is not transmitted to the documents located near the separation and feed plane because, as noted above, the helical convolutions 33 of the spiral member serve to mutually isolate the separated forward pack sections 110a, 11%, etc. from the remaining rearward portion of the document pack. Thus the pack force does not fluctuate in spite of the occurrence of large changes in the pack advancing forces originating at the trailing end of the pack during document reloading operations.
As Will be appreciated the instant arrangement makes it possible to maintain substantially constant pack force conditions during the operation of a document handling machine, the pack force being independent of certain operations that necessarily occur at the leading and trailing ends of the document pack.
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. Apparatus for controllably advancing a pack of documents toward a separation and feed plane: comprising a frame;
a feed deck mounted on said frame and adapted to receive, support and guide a pack of documents;
a first document advancing means engaging the trailing end of said pack;
a first drive means for actuating said first document advancing means so as to advance said stack toward said separation and feed plane;
a second document advancing means operatively disposed between said first document advancing means and said separation plane and adapted to isolate particularized sections of the document stack and advance said sections toward said separation plane;
a second drive means for actuating said second document advancing means;
means for applying a substantially constant force to the lead end of the document pack; and
sensing means operated by variations in the position of the leading end of said document pack for controlling the operation of said second drive means.
2. Apparatus as defined by claim 1 wherein said second document advancing means includes a rotatably supported spiral member which is formed with a helical flange, an upper segment of said flange extending above the upper surface of said deck, and wherein said second drive means includes a motor that is adapated to rotatably actuate said spiral member.
3. Apparatus as defined by claim 1: additionally comprising means for vibrating said feed deck.
4. Apparatus as defined by claim 1 wherein said sensing means includes an electrical switching device and wherein said means for applying a substantially constant force to the lead end of the document pack includes a gravity actuated linkage.
5. Apparatus as defined by claim 1 wherein said first drive means includes a yieldably actuating means.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,791,569 2/1931 Novick 27187 2,631,851 3/1953 Jones.
2,843,378 7/ 1958 Faeber 271-87 2,956,801 10/ 1960 Coakley 271-28 X 2,992,820 7/ 1961 Tarbuck 271-3O 3,035,834 5/ 1962 Bottrell 271-62 X 3,079,151 2/1963 Maidment 271-87 X M. HENSON WooD, JR., Primary Examiner.
ROBERT B. REEVES, Examiner.