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Publication numberUS3323645 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 6, 1967
Filing dateJul 28, 1965
Priority dateJul 29, 1964
Publication numberUS 3323645 A, US 3323645A, US-A-3323645, US3323645 A, US3323645A
InventorsHori Eiichi, Hashimoto Seiya, Saito Takashi
Original AssigneeHitachi Ltd, Keihin Hitachi Engineering Kab
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Device for sorting cards and like sheet articles
US 3323645 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 19 67 EHCHI HORI ETAL 3,

DEVICE FOR SORTING CARDS AND LIKE SHEET ARTICLES Filed July 28, 1965 WWW 2a 2 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTORS Eup i How i Sm a, HUM/n0 0 BY T2 6245" 5&140


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United States Patent 3,323,645 DEVICE FOR SORTlN G CARDS AND LIKE SHEET ARTIQILES Eiichi Hori, Seiya Hashimoto, and Takashi Saito, all of Tokyo-to, .lapan, assignors to Kabushiki Kaisha Hitachi Seisalrusllo, and Keihin Hitachi Engineering Kabushiki Kaisha, both of Tokyo-to, Japan, both joint-stock companies of Japan Filed .luly 28, 1965, Ser. No. 475,547 Claims priority, application Japan, July 29, 1964, 39/ 13,123 2 Claims. (Cl. 209-74) This invention relates to apparatuses for processing sheet articles such as cards by the use of air streams and more particularly to a new sheet sorting device therefor.

Heretofore, in a mechanism which separates a large number of cards, conveys these cards sheet by sheet, and further sorts and stacks them, mechanical means depending on gears, cams, etc., have been used, but the use of such means frequently causes some cards to be damaged during the processing, whereby processing of even other intact cards becomes diliicult. Such mechanical means have had other disadvantages such as high mechanical noise.

As improved means, card processing apparatuses in which air streams are utilized have been proposed. With respect to separating and selection means and conveying means for these apparatuses, detailed disclosure is set forth in US. patent application Ser. Number 221,576 now Patent Number 3,219,340, relating to an apparatus for separating and conveying cards or the like by means of an air stream.

It is a general object of the present invention to develop, further, card processing apparatus utilizing air streams.

More specifically, an object of the invention is to pro vide a card processing device wherein, by detecting cards of certain characteristics at specific sensing points and utilizing blasts of air in card sorting and stacking means, the disadvantages accompanying known card processing apparatuses are eliminated.

Another object is to provide a card processing device of the above stated character which is of relatively simple construction and is readily fabricated.

The foregoing objects have been achieved by the present invention which, briefly stated, resides in a card processing device comprising, in combination: means to detect, at specific sensing points, certain cards to be classified or sorted out from a procession of cards which are being conveyed by in a specific path, means to cause the cards so detected to be directed in required directions by means of air blasts ejected in response to detection of said cards, and means to guide and cause the cards so directed to travel and be piled in respective stacks at specific places by means of air streams.

The nature, principle, and details of the invention will be more clearly apparent from the following detailed description with respect to a preferred embodiment of the invention, when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings showing the essential construction of the device embodying the invention, in which drawings like parts are designate by like reference numerals and characters, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, side elevational view, partly in section and with parts cut away, showing a section of the device;

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional elevational view of the de- VlCe;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view, with parts cut away, of the device;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary plan view showing cards with punched holes traveling in procession in the device, prior to the sorting operation;

Patented June 6, 1967 FIGS. 5(a) through 5 (d), inclusive are fragmentary sectional views of an essential section of the device indicating the sorting operation according to the invention;

FIG. 6 is a schematic plan view, showing the composition and arrangement of the detection sections in the device; and

FIG. 7 is a fragmental sectional view showing the essential parts of an example of an optical system suitable for each of the detection sections shown in FIG. 6.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, which particularly indicate the constructional principle of the device according to the invention, the principal parts of the device from the top are positive air pressure boxes 4, card chutes and sorting devices, stackers, and a frame. The positive air pressure boxes 4 are formed by a cover plate 1 and a flat nozzle plate 3, and positive pressure air is introduced thereinto by a duct 5 from a suitable pressurized air source (not shown).

The nozzle plate 3 is provided with suitably spaced blast air nozzles 2 inclined in the direction in which cards are being conveyed below this plate 3, the pressurized air in the box 4 being ejected diagonally downward by these nozzles 2. A card passageway is formed immediately below the nozzle plate 3 for air conveyance of cards, which are wafted by the relatively low pressure created thereabove by the action of the air jets ejected from the nozzles 2 and are thereby caused to float and move, being confined and guided laterally by side plates. 6 and 7. Suitable openings 6a and 7a are provided at the lower parts of the side plates 6 and 7 for effective conveyance of the cards.

The nozzle plate 3 is provided at each station for sorting out of cards with at least one nozzle 8 with an axis perpendicular to the nozzle plate surface, these nozzles 8 being provided in addition to and separately from the inclined nozzles 2 for card conveyance. A card receptacle or stacker is provided at each sorting out station to correspond to each nozzle 8 or group of nozzles 8. While, in the example illustrated, a group consisting of two sorting out nozzles 8 is used at each station, the selection of number of nozzles in each group is generally determined by the width of the cards and the configuration of the end of a branch air chamber 17 of the box 4 to be described hereinafter. The sorting out nozzles 8 are normally closed by electromagnetic valves 10.

Each card stacker has side walls 32 and is provided with a branch air chamber 17 for sorting out, a stacking plate 18 for accumulating cards which have been sorted out, a mounting flange fitting 19 and a vertically movable rod 25 for supporting the plate 18, and guide device 22 slidably holding the rod 25 and fixed to a base plate 24 of the apparatus frame. The rod 25 is provided with a compression spring 21 disposed thereabout between the fitting 19 and the guide device 22 and adjusting nuts 23 at its lower end, the spring 21 being designed to exert a force counter-balancing the weight of the mechanism and accumulated card stack 33 to maintain the gap between the upper surface of the stack 33 and lower surface of the branch chamber 17 always at a specific value.

The lower wall of each branch air chamber 17 is provided with air ejection nozzle 11 through 15, inclusive, with ejection angles relative to the lower wall surface which progressively increase, starting with an acute angle in the case of nozzle 11 and approaching a right angle in the case of nozzle 15. The lower wall surface of the chamber 17 is so designed as to be capable of changing within the stacker the direction of travel of the cards.

Along the card passageway below the nozzle plate. .3, there are suitably positioned detection devices for sorting out of the cards. Each of these detection devices comprises, for example, as shown in FIG. 7, a photoelectric element 34 fixedly mounted on the end of support arm 36 at a position immediately above the nozzle plate 3, a light source 39, a lens system 40, and a mirror 41, these parts in combination constituting a sensing device capable of reading a sorting signal entered beforehand on a card 73. The resulting output of the sensing device is electrically transmitted to the electromagnetic actuator of the corresponding ejection valve for sorting, whereupon the valve is operated in response to the detected sorting signal.

Next, the operational principle of the present invention will be described with respect to an embodiment thereof as shown schematically in FIG. 6, which is a view of the card conveyance path from the card stacking section and indicates the operation whereby a card reaches a detection station to cause the corresponding sorting ejection valve 8 to operate and is thereby caused to change its path direction toward a branched stacking station.

When the leading edge of a card 29 advancing in the direction of arrow 42 interrupts one of the incident light beams of a photosensing element unit Ztl-A of one unit, if there is a punched signal hole in the card at the position of another photosensing element 34-A an output such as to cause a valve 8A to open during a specific time period will be produced from an electrical circuit 35-A by the combination of the electrical outputs produced by the photosensing element Ztl-A of one unit and the photosensing element 34-A for punched hole detection. Consequently, an air jet stream is imparted vertically downward with respect to the forward surface of the card from the vertical ejection nozle 8-A, whereby, as indicated in FIG. (b), the card is bent so that its leading edge part changes direction, the card thereby being directed toward the stacker. The operation of the ejection valve is so preset that the period during which the valve is open is terminated upon completion of the passage of the card.

Since signals in the form of punched holes in the card are ordinarily positioned over the entire surface of a card of the instant type, if the punched holes are signal holes based on a specific rule or code, it will be necessary that the above described sorting operation be accomplished irrespective of the part of the card surface on which these punched holes are positioned. For this purpose, one expedient which may be thought of is that of arranging longitudinally and laterally a large number of detection elements.

According to the instant embodiment of the invention, however there are provided, in addition to photosensing elements for detecting the leading edges of cards, a group of hole detecting photosensing elements disposed at suitable space intervals along the card advance direction and at positions which mutually differ in the lateral direction perpendicular to the card advance direction, and by causing this group of hole detecting elements to shift simultaneously by a distance corresponding to one hole at a time either in the card advance direction or in the reverse direction, sorting detection is accomplished by the use of a small number of detection elements.

That is FIG. 6 shows a mechanism for accomplishing the above stated object. For the purpose of clarifying the above description, the signal positions on the card surface are represented by X in the card advance direction and by Y in the lateral direction perpendicular thereto. In this mechanism, the positions in the X direction of photosensing elements for detecting the leading edge of the cards are at preset distances from the sorting nozzles 8.

Then, the photosensing elements 34 are mounted on respective arms 36 so that each element confronts one of the expected punched holes of different positions in the Y direction, but with respect to the X direction, all of the arms 36 (A, B, C, are so adapted that, they are fixed to an interconnecting shift bar 43, the distances in the X direction between the photosensing elements 2% (A, B, C, and the corresponding photosensing elements 34 (A, B, C, are maintained constant.

Accordingly, by using a suitable intermittent feed mechanism (not shown) to apply, through a pinion 38 engaged with a rack of the shaft bar 43, a feed movement such as to cause the photosensing elements 34 to shift intermittently by a distance corresponding to one punched hole at a time, the photosensing elements 34 for all sorting stations can be simultaneously shifted through the same distance in the X direction.

In the sorting mechanism according to the present in vention, by providing stackers of the same number as that expected of the punched holes in the Y direction, and through the use of signals at the same distance from the leading edges of the cards as determined by operation of the pinion 38, cards having said signals at the same positions in the Y direction can be respectively stacked in their respective stacks.

Next, the actions of the air jet streams constituting the principal feature of the sorting operation according to the invention will be considered. It is known that, in general in the case where an air stream is ejected from an ejection orifice against a disk in the proximity of the orifice, a suction effect on the disk is caused by the air jet stream and that this etfect is greatly influenced by the diameter of the orifice, air jet fiowrate, and the area of the disk spread across the orifice.

This suction effect due to an air jet stream is utilized in the conveying of the cards in the instant embodiment of the invention, and the principle of this effect is applied also to the action of causing a card to drop when an air jet is produced by the nozzles for sorting in the present invention. Moreover, since the aforementioned conditions produced by the suction effect due to the inclined nozzles are partially changed by the vertical nozzles for sorting, the resulting action is not merely that of blowing down a card but is a combination of this action with the suction effect due to the inclined nozzles whereby the card flow direction can be smoothly changed.

Each card 29 which has been solted as described above is stacked in the following manner.

Referring to FIG. 5(a), when a card 28 which does not have a pertinent punched hole a signal for sorting into the stacker is passing the sorting section, the valve 10 is closed. Consequently, the cord 28 passes on through the space between the end wall 44 of the sorting air chamber 17 and the nozzle plate 3.

Referring to FIG. 5(1)), there is shown the state wherein the valve 10 is opened by its respective detection mechanism, and the leading edge of the card 29 has changed its direction toward the stacker. The action on the card 29 is a blowing down of the entire card due to the sorting air jet, but a part thereof which is constantly subjected to suction remains.

Referring to FIG. 5(0), the valve 10 is closed by the time the trailing edge of the sorted card 29 passes the point below the valve 10, and the card 29, separating away from the suction effect of the nozzle plate 3, not only is conveyed by the already operating suction effect due the nozzles in the wall of the air chamber 17 for sorting but is also changed in directional angle as it is conveyed in conformance with the predesigned curvature of said wall.

Referring to FIG. 5(d), when the leading edge of the card 29 contacts the far wall 32 of the stacking chamber, the card begins to drop rapidly, beginning with its trailing edge, onto the stacking plate 18, whereby the succeeding card 30 slips smoothly onto the already stacked card 29.

The cards successively conveyed and sorted in the above described manner are stacked in respective stacker chambers, whereby stacks of cards, each as designated by reference numeral 33 in FIG. 1, is accumulated as the operation proceeds. Therefore, in the mechanisms for card sorting and stacking according to the present invention, the forces applied to the cards are imparted by the action of air streams, and almost no mechanical devices are necessary. Accordingly, the movements of the cards do not involve any severe conditions, and there is little possibility of card damage or defective operation or failure due to the driving parts which, heretofore, presented a problem.

Furthermore, the card sorting device of the invention is of relatively simple construction and is readily fabricated. Therefore, the present invention affords a highly effective improvement in the performance of card processing equipment.

It should be understood, of course, that the foregoing disclosure relates to only a preferred embodiment of the invention and that it is intended to cover all changes and modifications of the examples of the invention herein chosen for the purposes of the disclosure, which do not constitute departures from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.

What we claim is:

1. A card sorting device comprising, in combination, a horizontal wall surface facing downwardly along which a plurality of cards in procession are conveyed by air in a specific path, means to detect at specific points in said path cards to be sorted from said cards in procession and produce corresponding detection signals, valve operated nozzles disposed in said path to eject air jet streams, means operating in response to said detection signals to cause said nozzles to eject air jet streams thereby to cause only said cards so detected to be sorted out away from said path in required directions, and means to cause said cards so sorted to be stacked by means of curved guide walls and air streams ejected from said walls.

2. A device for selectively sorting cards of certain species from a procession of cards being conveyed along a downwardly facing horizontal surface in a specific path, comprising at least one sorting station for sorting out said cards of at least one species having a detectable characteristic distinguishing said species, said at least one sorting station comprising, in combination, means to detect at a specfic point in said path cards bearing said characteristic of said species and produce a detection signal for each card so detected, a valve operated nozzle disposed in said path to eject an air jet stream, means operating in response to said detection signal to cause said nozzle to eject an air stream thereby to cause only said card so detected to be sorted out away from said path in a required direction, and means to cause said card and succeeding cards of said species so sorted out to be stacked by means of a curved guide wall and air streams ejected from said wall.

References Qited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,022,891 2/1962 Efram et al 209111.7 3,169,639 2/1965 Bauer et al. 209-74 3,219,340 11/1965 Hori et al 27126 X 3,236,517 2/1966 Lyman 271-11 X 3,241,668 3/1966 Schonfeld et a1 209-1l0 3,241,669 3/1966 SchOnfeld et a1 209- M. HENSON, JR., Primary Examiner.

I. N. ERLICH, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3022891 *Nov 18, 1957Feb 27, 1962Rudolph H EframCard sorting system
US3169639 *Aug 19, 1963Feb 16, 1965Sperry Rand CorpFluid sorter
US3219340 *Sep 5, 1962Nov 23, 1965Hitachi LtdApparatus for separating and conveying cards or the like by means of an air stream
US3236517 *Mar 23, 1965Feb 22, 1966Lyman BrooksSheet handling apparatus
US3241668 *Oct 4, 1963Mar 22, 1966Sperry Rand CorpFluid identification and sorting device
US3241669 *Aug 17, 1964Mar 22, 1966Sperry Rand CorpFluid sorter
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3971554 *Jan 9, 1975Jul 27, 1976Xerox CorporationSheet stacker
US4062536 *Sep 16, 1976Dec 13, 1977Ncr CorporationDocument air valve
US4405126 *Jan 26, 1981Sep 20, 1983Beloit CorporationAir reject gate
EP0057156A1 *Jan 15, 1982Aug 4, 1982Beloit CorporationAir reject gate
U.S. Classification209/583, 209/906, 271/177, 209/585, 209/644
International ClassificationG06K13/04
Cooperative ClassificationY10S209/906, G06K13/04
European ClassificationG06K13/04