US 3252702 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
y 24, 1966 s. R. HALBERT 3,252,702
CARD PICKER MECHANISM Filed Oct. 15, 1963 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR $|LA$ R. HALBERT ATTORNEYS May 24, 1966 s. R. HALBERT 3,252,702
CARD PICKER MECHANISM Filed Oct. 15, 1963 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR SmAs R. HALBEBT ATTORNEYS May 1966 s. R. HALBERT 3,252,702
CARD PICKER MECHANI SM Filed Oct. 15, 1963 3 Sheets$heet 5 INVENTOR LAs R. HALBEK T BY w 2f ATTORNEL5 United States Patent 3,252,702 CARD PICKER MECHANISM Silas R. Halbert, Palm Bay, Fla., assiguor to Soroban Engineering, Inc., Melbourne, Fla., a corporation of Florida Filed Oct. 15, 1963, Ser. No. 316,410 8 Claims. (Cl. 27132) The present invention relates to picker mechanisms for punched cards and similar sheet-like material, and more particularly to a picker mechanism for cards and sheet-like material operable at a high rate of speed to provide for rapid delivery of a card or the like from the apparatus.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a picker mechanism for cards or other sheet-like material which operates at a high rate of speed and which is capable of delivering a card to a prescribed location through a relatively large frictional resistance on the card.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a high-speed picker mechanism for punched cards and other sheet-like material in which a differential pressure is developed across the card to maintain the card in contact with a base plate of the apparatus, and in which drive belts are selectively extended above the upper surface of the base plate and into the driving engagement with a card whenever a card is to be delivered from the mechanism.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a high-speed picker mechanism for punched cards and like sheet material, which mechanism is simple in construction, is light weight, and is relatively cheap to manufacture.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a picker mechanism for punched cards and like sheet material, wherein drive belts are selectively extended above the surface of a card stack support or base plate in order to eject the lowermost card from the mechanism, and wherein a differential in pressure is maintained across the lowermost card so as to maintain intimate contact between this card and the drive belts when they are extended into driving position.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a high-speed picker mechanism for punched cards and like sheet material in which the picker mechanism may be located in a vacuum chamber for establishing a differential in pressure across the lowermost card in a card stack and in which a plurality of constantly driven belts located in the vacuum chamber are selectively extended above the plane of the stack base plate into driving engagement with the undersurface of the lowermost card.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a high-speed picker mechanism for punched cards and like sheet material in which the lowermost card is held against a stack support plate by a vacuum developed under the plate and in which extensive and costly vacuum manifolding is eliminated by enclosing all of the picker mechanisms located under the base plate in a vacuum chamber.
The above and still further objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description of one specific embodiment thereof, especially when taken I 3,252,202 Patented May 24, 1966 in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a front view of the picker mechanism of the present invention located in a specific card feeding, punching and stacking mechanism with which it may be employed;
FIGURE 2 is a perspective view partially in section of the picker mechanism of the present invention;
FIGURE 3 is a perspective view partially in section of the top and side of the card drive mechanism; and
FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of the bottom and side of the card drive mechanism of the present invention.
Referring now specifically to FIGURE 1 of the accompanying drawings, there is illustrated a complete arrangement for picking a card from a supply bin, feeding it to a high speed card punch, intermittently transporting the card through the punch to present successive portions of the card to the punch mechanism during each punching cycle and, when all areas of the card have been presented to the punch, ejecting the card from the punch and delivering it to a card stacker bin. In operation, the bottom-most card in a stack of cards in the card supply bin, generally designated by the reference numeral l, is withdrawn from the stack by means of a selectively actuatable picker mechanism 2, and presented to a high-speed card punch, generally designated by the reference numeral 3. Disposed above the punch 3 is a feed mechanism, generally designated by the reference numeral 4, employed to selectively and intermittently advance the card through the punch mechanism so that, during each cycle of operation of the punch 13, a different region of the card is presented .to the punch pins of the punch for perforation thereby. The nature of the intermittent card feed mechanism 4, imposes certain requirements on the interrelationship between the various other elements of the system. As more fully described in co-pending US. patent application Serial No. 316,305, filed on October 15, 1963, in the names of John H. MacNeill and James E, Bellinger, In, for High Speed Card Feed Mechanism, during each feed operation, a card is clamped to two feed arms arranged at each edge of the card, and the arms are swungthrough a 10 degree angle, thereby causing the card to curve in the region of the feed arms. The feed arms therefore change the plane of movement of the card. In order for the card to come out of the punch and feed mechanisms 3 and 4, respectively, in a generally horizontal plane, the card is initially turned through a 10 degree angle upon delivery from the picker mechanism 2 to the card punch 3. The card punch provides an upper guide surface 6, which lies at a 10 degree downward angle relative to an upper surface 7 of the base plate of the picked mechanism. Consequently, the card is turned through a 10 degree angle at this point.
As previously indicated, the entire mechanism is required to operate at high speeds and this requirement imposes certain design limits on the various mechanisms. More particularly, the card feed mechanism 4, having relatively little time available between each transport operation, must completely release the card during each punch cycle so that the feed mechanism may be returned to its initial position, clamp the card in this location, and then transport the card by swinging its arms through the described 10 degree are. Since the card is released by the feed mechanism 4 during the punch cycle, provision must be made for retaining the card in that position to which it has been moved during the previous feed cycle. This is accomplished by providing a plurality of leaf spring fingers, only one of which is illustrated in FIGURE 1, and this being designated by the reference number 8. The card, upon being ejected from the picker mechanism 2, passes between the upper guide surface 6 of the punch and the spring fingers 8. The spring fingers 8 maintain a one-half pound friction force on the card and therefore, the picker mechanism 2 must be such as to be able to deliver a card from the card supply bin 1 through a one-half pound load at a relatively high speed. In the specific environment in which the apparatus is illustrated, the card must be delivered to the punch in no more than 18 milliseconds through the one-half pound load exerted thereon by the spring fingers 8.
The punch 3 is provided with a quick-eject mechanism, generally designated by the reference number 9 which, when it is desired to extract a card from the punch mechanism 3, is actuated and withdraws the card to the left, as viewed in FIGURE 1, at a very rapid rate. The card passes through a series of rollers and guide members, generally designated by the reference numeral 11, and through a stacker mechanism, generally designated by the reference numeral 12, to a card stacker bin generally designated by the reference numeral 13.
The entire mechanism is designed to handle four hundred cards per minute, about 80 percent of this time being employed to process the card through the punch 3 and feed mechanism 4 when all columns of the card are to receive information. The remaining 20 percent of the interval is required for card feed from the picker mechanism and card extraction and stacking.
The arrangement illustrated in FIGURE 1, considering the apparatus as lying in the plane of the page of FIGURE 1, is inclined at about degrees with the horizontal about the lower edge of the page. However, for ease of description, in the subsequent figures, the apparatus is considered to be arranged vertically.
Referring now specifically to FIGURE 2 of the accompanying drawings, a stack of cards to be fed to the punch is arranged in the card supply bin 1 with the bottom-most card resting on a stack base plate 16. A card follower 17, which is basically a fiat plate, rests on the top of the stack of cards maintaining a slight downward pressure thereon. The card follower 17 carries a ball bushing 18, slideable along a cylindrical post 19, in order to guide the follower. The other end; that is, the left end, of the card follower 17 as viewed in FIGURE 2 is supported by a roller 21 which rolls on the upper edge of a track 22 having a surface parallel with the axis of the post 19.
Referring now specifically to FIGURES 2, 3 and 4 of the accompanying drawings, the picker mechanism comprises four drive belts 23, 24, 26 and 27. Each of the belts is an endless belt which passes over a power pulley at one end thereof, and over an idler roller at the other end. More specifically, the belt 23 passes over a power pulley 28 secured to a constantly rotating drive shaft 29. The other end of the belt 23 passes over an idler pulley 31 on a shaft 39. The shaft 29 is provided with further drive pulleys 32, 33 and 34. The belts 24, 26 and 27 pass over the drive pulleys 32, 33 and 34, respectively. Idler pulleys 36, 37 and 38 are provided on shaft 39 for the belts 24, 26 and 27, respectively.
The shafts 29 and 39 are supported between parallel bar-like frame members 41 and 42. The frame members 41 and 42 are interconnected by means of a frame member 43 formed integrally with the frame members 41 and 42 and extending therebetween. The frame member 43 extends between the two pulley structures and the belts pass over the frame member 43 as illustrated in FIGURE 3 and then pass under the frame member 43, as illustrated in FIGURE 4.
Referring again to FIGURE 2 of the accompanying drawings, the stack base plate 16 is provided with slots 44, 46, 47 and 48 in which the belts 23 and 24, 26 and 27, respectively are located. Under normal or nondriving conditions, the upper surfaces of these belts are disposed below the upper surface of the plate 16. Thus, the belts are normally maintained out of engagement with the bottom surface of the lowermost card in the stack; that is, the card which is in contact with the base plate 16. The base plate 16 is provided with a plurality of vacuum slots 49, 52, 53, etc. which extend parallel to the belts 23, 24, 26 and 27 and are located intermediate the ends of the slots 44, 46, 47 and 48. More specifically, slot 49 extends parallel to the channel slot 44 of the plate 16 and is disposed between the slot 44 and a back wall 51 of the apparatus. A further vacuurn slot 52 is disposed parallel to and between the slots 44 and 46 and further vacuum slot 53 is disposed between the slots 46 and 47. A further vacuum slot, which is not seen in FIGURE 2 since this portion of the plate 16 is cut away, extends between the channels 47 and 48 and a still further slot which also cannot be seen is aligned with the slots 49, 52 and 53 and is arranged between the belt slot 48 and a front wall 54 of the apparatus which is perpendicular to the plate 16 and in contact with the front edge thereof. Further vacuum slots such as slots 56 are arranged at the left end, as viewed in FIGURE 2 of the drawings, of the plate 16 immediately under a conventional knife-edge gate 57.
The stack base plate 16 forms the upper cover of a vacuum chamber, generally designated by the reference numeral 58, which is defined by the back wall 51, the front wall 54, a left end wall 59, a right end wall, which cannot be seen, and a bottom wall 61. This entire region is connected to a vacuum pump through a suitable opening (not illustrated) formed in the back wall 51 to maintain the vacuum chamber 58 partially evacuated. The main support member for the picker mechanism, this member comprising the end frame members 41 and 42, and the cross frame member 43, is secured to the back wall 51 by suitable means such as by bolting through the back wall into bolt receiving apertures 62 illustrated in FIGURE 4. The vacuum formed in the chamber 58, in which all the picker mechanism is located, causes air to be drawn through the air slots such as slots 49, 52 and 53 so as to hold the lowermost card of the stack tightly against the stack base plate 16.
In order to minimize frictional engagement between the bottom card in the stack and the cards above it, air is forced into the stack to partially raise it and provide a layer of air between the cards. This air is derived from an air pump (not illustrated) and supplied through a small manifold 60 to the back of the plate 51. The riffiing air is introduced into the stack through a series of vertical slots 63 formed in the plate 51 and exhausts through a further series of slots 64 formed in the plate 54. The slots 63 and 64 extend along the entire region of the belts 23, 24, 26 and 27 and rearwardly thereof toward the right so that air is passed through the stack over substantially the entire length of the cards. This feature maintains the stack above the bottom-most card loose, thereby reducing the tendency of any but the lowermost card to be extracted by the mechanism.
As previously indicated, the belts 23, 24, 26 and 27 normally lie below the upper surface of the stack base plate 16 so as to be maintained out of engagement with the lowermost card. However, when it is wished to extract the card from the stack, the belts are pushed upwardly as viewed in FIGURE 2 so that they extend a short distance above the upper surface of plate 16, engage the card, and move it rapidly to the left as viewed in FIG. 2.
The mechanism for raising the belts into engagement with the card includes a drive belt shoe 66. The shoe 66 is a generally rectangular member disposed between the frame cross member 43 and the top segment of the four drive belts. The shoe 66 is therefore disposed under the stack base plate 16. The shoe has four generally rectangular upstanding members, designated by reference numerals 67, 68, 69 and 71, each of these members being seated in a different one of the slots 44, 46, 47 and 48, respectively, formed in the base plate 16. The members 67, 68, 69 and 71 are normally positioned so as to be out of contact with the under surface of their respective belt segments and the belts are out of engagement with the bottom surface of the lowermost card in this stack. The drive belt shoe 66 is carried on the upper end of four studs 72, 73, 74 and 76. Studs 72, 73 and 74 are illustrated in FIGURE 4 and studs 72 and 76 are illustrated in FIGURE 2 and the stud 72 is also illustrated in FIGURE 3. The cross member 43 of the base structure is apertured at four locations with each of the apertures being fitted with a resilient shock mount, such as the mounts 77 and 78, illustrated in FIGURE 2. An upper end portion of each of the studs just below the point of attachment to the cross member 43 is secured to the interior of a different one of the shock mounts which permit translatory motion of the studs along their axis but essentially prevent transverse motion thereof.
The lower end of each of the studs 72, 73, 74 and 76, reference now being made to FIGURE 4, is carried at each of the different corners of a spider 79 having downwardly extending ears 81 and 82. An arm 83 has one end, the left end as viewed in FIGURE 2, positioned between the two ears 81 and 82 and is pivotally secured thereto by means of a pivot pin 84. The other end of the arm 33 is secured to a shaft 86 adapted to be rotated clockwise as viewed in FIGURE 2 by means of a torque motor, which is not illustrated, and which is connected directly to the shaft 86.
It will be noted that the right forward edge, as viewed in FIGURE 3, of the drive belts shoe 66 is inwardly tapered as designated by the reference numeral 87 and that the wall 42 in this region is also cut back and beveled as indicated by the reference numeral 88. The reason for this is to provide adequate air passage between these two members so as to permit suitable coupling for the forwardmost slot in the plate 16 to the vacuum chamber. The other side; that is, the back or left side as viewed in FIGURE 3 of the shoe 66 and the corresponding wall 44 are also beveled for this same purpose.
In operation, the bottom card is held tightly against the upper surface of the base plate 16 by means of the vacuum developed in the chamber 58 and applied to the under side of the card via the various slots, such as the slots 49, 52 and 53. The belts 23, 24, 26 and 27 are constantly driven as the result of constant rotation applied to the drive shaft 29.
When it is desired to pick the lowermost card from the stack and deliver it to the punch and feed mechanisms 3 and 4 as illustrated in FIGURE 1, the torque motor is energized and produces clockwise rotation of the shaft 86 as Viewed in FIGURE 2. The spider 79 is translated upwardly and raises the studs 72, 73, 74 and 76 thereby raising the drive belt shoe 66. The upwardly extending projections 67, 68, 69 and 71 of the shoe 66 engage the under surfaces of their respective belts and push the belts above the bottom surface of the stack base plate 16. The belts drive the lowermost card toward the left as viewed in FIGURE 2 and under the gate 57 which is spaced above the base plate 16 a distance only sufficient to permit a single card to pass thereunder. The slots 56 in the base plate 16 which are located directly under the gate 57 apply a vacuum to the under surface of the card in this region and maintain the lowermost card in intimate contact with the surface of the plate 16, thereby preventing curling of the card which might result in its destruction due to impact with the gate 57.
The torque motor which drives the shaft 86 is maintained energized until a signal is received from the card feed mechanism that the card has been delivered to its initial location. At this time, the torque motor is energized in the opposite direction and the drive belt shoe 66 is pulled downwardly under a force provided by the torque motor and aided by the shock mounts, such as 77 and 78, and the resilient force of the extended belts. The belts are thus rapidly retracted below the surface of the plate 16 and feed is discontinued. The apparatus for generating the signal indicating proper delivery of the card is described in detail in the aforesaid co-pending patent application Serial No. 316,305, filed on October 15, 1963, and now Patent No. 3,231,263.
As previously indicated, it is an object of the present invention to deliver a card from the apparatus in approximately a maximum of 18 milliseconds. Actually, the apparatus illustrated delivers the card in several milliseconds less than the required maximum time. When the apparatus is maintained at the 15 degree angle, relative to the horizontal, the vacuum formed in the chamber 58 may be eliminated and the chamber 58 opened to the atmosphere. Under this circumstance,, air under pressure is forced through the slots 63 and 64 as by blowers located adjacent one or both of the sidewalls 51 and 54. Since the chamber 58 is open to the atmosphere and since atmospheric pressure is less than the pressure of the forced air supplied, a downward force is developed on the top of the bottom-most card and maintains this card in intimate contact with the stack base plate 16. The forced air supplied also provides for rifliing the stack so that the weight of the stack is not pressing on the bottommost card. When the angle in which the apparatus is lying with respect to the horizontal is increased considerably, the vacuum is essential to operation within the specified time period. In any event, whether a vacuum is drawn into the chamber 58 or forced air is supplied through the slots 63 and 64, the chamber 58 must be maintained at a lesser pressure than that which exists in the region immediately above the base or lower-most card. Depending upon the angle in which the apparatus is situated, this differential in pressure must be greater or lesser and, where it must be quite large, a vacuum is employed.
While I have described and illustrated one specific embodiment of my invention, it will be clear that variations of the details of construction which are specifically illustrated and described may be resorted to without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
What I claim is:
1. A picker mechanism for cards or similar sheet-like material comprising a plate for supporting a stack of cards, said plate having apertures formed therein, card drive means located in at least some of said apertures and normally disposed below the surface of said plate on which said stack is resting, means for developing a differential in pressure across the lowermost card of said stack and said plate so as to hold said lowermost card against said surface of said plate, and means for selectively moving said card drive means into engagement with said lowermost card.
2. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said means for developing a differential in pressure includes means for establishing a partial vacuum on the side of said plate remote from said stack.
3. The combination according to claim 2 further comprising means for admitting air to the sides of said stack to riflie said cards.
4. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said means for developing a differential in pressure includes means for flowing air against the sides of said stack of cards.
5. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said card drive means includes a plurality of constantly driven, endless belts.
6. The combination according to claim 5 wherein said means for selectively moving said card drive means includes means for selectively pressing against said belts to extend them into engagement with said lowermost card.
7. The combination according to claim 6 wherein said means for establishing a differential in pressure includes a chamber bounded by and located on the side of said plate remote from said stack, said endless belts and said means for selectively pressing against said belts being located at least partially in said chamber.
a card gate, and means for maintaining said differential in pressure across said card in the region of said gate.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,093,654 9/1937 Bellamy 27l35 3,159,396 12/1964 Barber 27l34 ROBERT B. REEVES, Primary Examiner.
8. The combination according to claim 1 comprising 10 M. HENSON WOOD, JR., Examiner.