US 3243181 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 29, 1966 B. LYMAN SHEET HANDLING DEVICE Filed Dec. 23, 1963 L gm QZZAY%M United States Patent 3,243,181 SHEET HANDLING DEVICE Brooks Lyman, Pound Ridge, N.Y., assignor to Pitney- Bowes, Inc., Stamford, Conn., a corporation of Delaware Filed Dec. 23, 1963, Ser. No. 332,479 4 Claims. (Cl. 271-64) This invention relates to a novel method and apparatus for controlling the movement of sheets that are being successively transported along predetermined feed paths. More particularly the invention relates to a novel method and apparatus for aerodynamically controlling the gating of a sheet along a selected one of a plurality of possible teed paths.
Many sheet handling devices are provided with gating means for controlling which one of several possible feed paths is to be taken by a sheet that is transported through the apparat s and in most cases these gating means include various mechanical elements such as paddles, baffles, guide fingers etc. which are selectively movable between two or more operative gating positions with respect to the sheet feed paths. With the introduction of sheet handling devices such as the aerodynamic type there has been considerable eflort devoted to devising a technique for producing a gating function by means of apparatus having no moving parts. Various proposals have been forwarded here but such for the most part have not resulted in a practical and reliable gating means, the principal difficulty here being the lack of suflicient and consistent control over the stability of all parts of the document as the latter moves through thegating arrangement.
One object of the instant invention is to provide a novel gating apparatus for sheet handling devices whereby the gating structure involves no moving mechanical parts.
Another object of the invention is to provide a novel aerodynamic operated means for directing a sheet along a selected one of a plurality of possible feed paths.
Another object of the invention is to provide a novel cross over method and apparatus for iaenodynamically propelling a sheet along either of two intersecting S-shaped feed paths.
A further object of the invention is to provide a novel method and apparatus for gating a moving sheet whereby the sheet is deflected first in one lateral direction and then in an opposite lateral direction.
Other objects of the invention will become apparent as the disclosure progresses.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of the instant transporting and gating apparatus.
FIG. 2 is a sectional elevational view taken along section line 22 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a partial sectional view taken along section line 33 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a partial sectional plan view illustrating a control signal conduit means.
FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of a portion of the sheet guide means of FIG. 1.
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view of the cross over portion of the Sheet guide means.
Referring first to FIGS. 1 and 2 there is shown a base 10 on which are mounted a plurality of vertically disposed cooperating lengths of sheet guide track that define the gating paths for the sheets to be transported. A first track length 11 includes a straight entry section 12, a slightly diverging section 13, a first concave sheet camming section 14, a cross over section 15, a second concave sheet camming section 16, and a straight exit section 17. The inner guide surface 20 of the track length 11 Patented Mar. 29, 1966 "ice is smooth and alfords a longitudinally extending aerodynamic sheet guide means. A second similar cooperating track length 21, is mounted on base 10 in opposed relation with respect to track length 11; track length 21 having a straight entry section 22, a slightly divergent section 23, a first concave sheet camming section 24, a cross over section 25, and a second concave sheet camming section 26. The inner guide surface 27 of track length 21 is smooth and also affords a longitudinally extending aerodynamic sheet guide means. As shown in FIG. 1 the track lengths 11 and 21 are contoured to substantially mirror profiles and are symmetrically disposed in laterally opposed relation throughout the extent of track length 21.
Operatively disposed in an intercepting position between downstream portions of the gating track lengths 11 and 21 is a generally V-shaped divider or guide member 30. FIGS. 1 and 5, having a first track length 31 disposed in substantially parallel cooperating relation with respect to said track section 17 and a second track length 32 disposed in extended cooperating relation with respect to the end of said track section 26. The nose portion 33 of the divider member 30 extends centrally into the space between said arcuate camming track se tions 16 and 26 whereby said divider member in cooperation with the track lengths 11 and 21 defines two mutually divergent paths along which successive sheets may selectively move as is respectively designated by arrows 34 and 35 of FIG. 1. The track lengths 11 and 21 and divider member 30 are fixedly secured to base 10 by any suitable means such as 'by brackets 36 which are welded or otherwise secured to the outer side of the various track lengths and which are fastened to the base by screws 37,
Disposed along the outer sides of .the various track lengths are a plurality of similar air conduit means 40-59 inclusive. Conduit means 40 is exemplary in construction and comprises an angularly disposed aperture 60, FIG. 3, which is formed through'the track section wall and which communicates with the bore of a tubular fitting 61 that is welded or otherwise secured to the outer side of the track length 11. Fitting 61 is coupled to a flexible hose 62 that communicates with a suitable air source not shown. As will be seen when air flow occurs through each of the various air conduit means 40-59 a sheet propelling layer of air, such as at 63, FIG. 3, will flow downstream over the adjacent guide surface areas of the track lengths. These various air streams are capable of propelling a sheet along the respectively associated portions of the track lengths in a manner known in the art.
Two special purpose air conduit means 64 and 65 FIG. 1, are respectively provided on the arcuate camming track sections 14 and 24. The arrangement shown in FIG. 4 is exemplary of the construction for each of said means 64, 65 and includes an aperture 66 formed through the wall of track length 11, which aperture communicates with the bore in a tubular fitting 67 that is welded or otherwise secured to the outer side of track length 11. The fitting 67 communicates with an air source, not shown, through a flexible hose 70. The axis of the aperture 66 and any air flow therethrough is directed substantially normal to the adjacent guide surfaces 71 of the track section. The purpose for this perpendicular type of orientation for conduit means 64 and 65 will be discussed below.
In the operation of the instant apparatus a sheet which is transported through the entry section of the gating system, as indicated by arrow 72 of FIG. 1, may be aerodynamically propelled and gated along a first feed path that is cumulatively defined by the successive operative guide surfaces of track sections 22, 23, 24, 25, 16 and 17. Movement of a sheet along this first feed path is designated by arrows 73 of FIG. 1, 74 of FIG. 6, and 75 and 34 of FIG. 1. The sheet may also be aerodynamically propelled and gated along a second or alternate feed path that is cumulatively defined by the successive operative guide surfaces of track sections 12, 13, 14, 15, 26 and 32. Movement of the sheet along this second feed path is designated by arrows 76 of FIG. 1, 77 of FIG. 6, and 80 and 35 of FIG. 1. Which of these two possible intersecting feed paths is taken by any given sheet depends upon which of the various air conduit means are then operating. For the purpose of controlling which gate path is followed by a sheet the various air conduit means are divided into two sets; one of said sets including conduit means 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 6 5, 45, 56, 57, 58 and 59 which are operatively associated with the track sections defining said second feed path, while the other of said sets includes conduit means 50, 1, 52, 5 3, 54, 64, 55, 46, 47, 48 and 49 which are operatively associated wit-h the track sections defining said first feed path. As successive sheets enter the gating system either one or the other of said sets of conduit means will be operated in order to selectively produce the desired gating movement of each of said successive sheets. The special air conduit means 64 affords an air stream or jet which insures that the leading edge of a sheet that is to be moved along said first feed path is laterally deflected and biased toward the opposed guide surfaces of track section 24- while the special air conduit means 65 affords an air stream or jet which insures that the leading edge of a sheet that is to be moved along said second feed path is laterally deflected and biased toward the opposed guide surfaces of track section 14. In this way the desired gated movements of each successive sheet may be reliably and efficiently controlled.
It will be noted that each sheet transported through the instant gating system will be laterally deflected first in one direction and then the other and will follow a generally S-shaped curve. Over the first loop of the S-shaped curve the sheet propelling air streams will operate on one side of a sheet while over the second loop of said S-shaped curve the sheet propelling air streams will operate on the other side of the sheet. Here Where a sheet is to be gated generally to the right the sheet is initially deflected to the left, and conversely where the sheet is to be gated generally left the sheet is initially deflected to the right. This S-type path configuration has been found to be advantageous in that it affords a relatively large angle A, FIG. 6, between the axis 81 of the cross-over region of the system and the path of movement of a sheet. This characteristic tends to minimize the vibrations and other unstable conditions in a sheet that is being aerodynamically propelled through the gating system. The relative large value of angle A also permits an accommodation of any lateral swinging motion of the trailing end of a document and thus minimizes any tendency for the said trailing end of the sheet to strike and/or to be impeded by the nose 33 of the track divider member 30.
Extensive tests have indicated that a sheet gating device of the type described here has an indefinite life and is capable of affording a very reliable gating action for sheets that are rapidly fed therethrough.
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. A gating apparatus for sheet handling devices: comprising a base;
a first guide means fixedly mounted on said base, said guide means having formed thereon guide surfaces 4 including longitudinally adjacent first and second concave sheet camrning surfaces;
at second guide means fixedly mounted on said base, said second guide means having formed thereon guide surfaces including longitudinally adjacent first and second concave sheet camrning surfaces;
said first and second guide means being mutually positioned so that said first concave camrning surfaces are disposed in opposed relation to one another and said second concave camrning surfaces are disposed in opposed relation to one another;
the first concave camrning surface of said first guide means and the second concave camrning surface of said second guide means cooperatively defining a first feed path, while the first concave camrning surface of said second guide means and the second concave camrning surface of said first guide means cooperatively define a second feed path, said camrning surfaces being mutually oriented so that said first and second feed paths intersect at a cross-over point, said feed paths each being laterally spaced from each other on both the upstream and downstream sides of said cross-over point; and
transport means for propelling a sheet along a selected one of said feed paths.
2. Apparatus as defined by claim 1; additionally comprising a V-type divider means having first and second guide surfaces formed thereon that respectively cooperate with said two second concave sheet camrning surfaces;
said transport means including a plurality of air jet means for aerodynamically propelling a sheet along a selected one of said feed paths.
3. Apparatus as defined by claim 1; additionally comprising air jet means for aerodynamically pushing a sheet toward either of said first concave sheet camrning surfaces.
4. A gating apparatus for sheet handling devices: comprising a base;
a plurality of guide members mounted on said base, an upstream portion of said guide members being arranged to define a common upstream sheet feed path;
said guide members respectively having elongated guide surfaces formed thereon which define first and second sheet feed paths which diverge from said common upstream feed path;
said guide surfaces being mutually arranged so that said divergent first and second feed paths are redirected so as to intersect at a cross-over point, said first and second feed paths being separated and laterally spaced apart on both the immediate upstream and downstream sides of said cross-over point; and
selectively operable pneumatic transport means for transporting a sheet along a selected one of said first and second sheet feed paths.
M. HENSON WOOD, JR., Primary Examiner. ROBERT B. REEVES, Examiner.
R. A, SCHACHER, Assistant Examiner.