US 3363550 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 16, 1968 H. A. KRUGER SELECTIVE ROTARY EPICYCLIC LABEL PRINTER 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Aug. 14, 1964 Q @E s ,7 \RHMWMMM I...
INVENTOR HERBERT A.KRUGER ATTORNEY Jan. 16, 1968 H. A. KRUGER 3,363,550
SELECTIVE ROTARY EPICYCLIC LABEL PRINTER Filed Aug. 14, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. HER BERT KKRUGE R ATTORNEY Jan. 16, 1968 H. A. KRUGER SELECTIVE ROTARY EPICYCLIC LABEL PRINTER 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Aug. 14, 1964 INVENTORQ HERBERT A.KRUGER ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,363,550 SELECTIVE ROTARY EPICYCLIC LABEL PRINTER Herbert A. Kruger, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada, assrgnor to Kimball Systems Ltd. Filed Aug. 14, 1964, Ser. No. 389,587 18 Claims. (Cl. 10192) The present invention relates to printing machines.
More particularly, it has to do with label imprinters, although the various principles and features of the invention are applicable also to other types of prrntrng machines.
Conventional prior art imprinters operate with an 1mpact action wherein the printing device strikes the label head-on and is thereby abruptly decelerated. This is inherently a noisy action. Further, it is inherently a slow action as is any reciprocatory operation, because of the times required for acceleration and deceleration of the printing device. Also, if the imprinter is hand operated, it is fatiguing to the operator, since the impact shock of the printing device suddenly striking the label is transmitted through the operating handle to the operators hand.
The present imprinter avoids these disadvantages by printing with a rolling printing action rather than an impact action. This results in a device which is quieter, faster, less subject to wear, and less fatiguing to operate manuall The preferred embodiment of the invention herein disclosed comprises a printing machine which includes a rotary unit on which are mounted one or more printing devices. Rigid with each printing device is a pinion gear meshing with a stationary gear to form an epicyclic gear train which will control the printing device to roll along a path substantially tangential to the label to be imprinted, and to print thereon with a rolling action. The machine includes means for causing cyclic feeding of the labels in time with the printing action. The rotation of the rotary unit actuates and controls 'the label feeding operation. If plural printing devices are employed, they are so phased that each will print on a different line of the label as it rolls thereon. To accommodate difierent thicknesses of label stock, there is provision for varying the radial position of the bed on which the labels are supported at the printing station, relative to the rolling path of the printing devices.
It is therefore a major object of the present invention to provide a novel label imprinter or the like which prints with a rolling epicyclic action.
Further objects of the invention are the provision of a label imprinter which is quieter, faster, more durable, and less fatiguing to operate than prior art devices.
Another object is provision of a rolling action epicyclic label imprinter including plural printing devices each of which prints on a different line of the label.
Another object of the invention is the provision in a rolling action label imprinter for readily adjusting the position of the label bed relative to the printing path.
The above adn other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a prefer-red embodiment of the imprinting machine of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view thereof;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken on line IIIIII of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a perspective detail view of a portion of the label feeding mechanism;
. is such that the printing line FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective detail view of the means for mounting each pinion gear; and
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary detail view of a modified form of label supporting plate which includes an elastomeric insert at the printing station.
Referring now to the drawing, the label imprinter of the present invention comprises a base plate 1 along whose rear edge portion is rigidly secured an upstanding plate 2. The reduced rearmost portion of a main shaft 3 (FIG. 3) is supported in a central hub-like portion 2a of plate 2 and is frictionally held against rotation by means of a screw 4 acting against washer 5 which serves to draw step 3a of the shaft tightly against the adjacent forward face of hub portion 2a.
Supported on and for rotation about shaft 3 is a rotary unit 6. Its main element is an arbor 7 comprising -a sleeve portion 7a having at its rear end with an integral circular disc portion 7b. A spider 8 having a number of arms, four in the present embodiment 8a-8a', is rigidly secured to the forward end of sleeve 7a by screws 11. Shafts 12, 13, 14 are respectively journalled for rotation in the outer end portion of each of arms 8a, 8b, and 8c and corresponding aligned bosses provided in disc 7b.
A printing device 16 is rigidly mounted on each of shafts 12, 13, 14, in a manner which will be described shortly. In the present embodiment, the printing device comprises a conventional manually settable rubber band type of printer in which each of the rubber bands 16a, which carries the printing type faces, is movable by a setting wheel 16b for selection of the desired type faces 16c for printing.
A pinion gear 17 rigidly mounted on the rear end of each of shafts 12, 13, 14 is in meshed running relationship with the inwardly extending teeth of a ring gear 18 formed integrally with upstanding rear plate 2. It will be seen therefore that as arbor 7 is rotated about shaft 3 as an axis, the epicyclic gear train comprising pinions 17 and ring gear 18 will cause shafts 12, 13, 14, and the printing devices 16 respectively carried thereby, to rotate about the axes defined by shafts 12, 13, 14, as well as rotate about the single axis defined by main shaft 3. The parameters of the system are so selected that as each printing device 16 sweeps past the machines printing station P, the outwardly facing or printing line of type 160 of that device will print on a label L, or any other desired record medium, at the printing station with a substantially pure rolling printing movement, rather than by impacting or striking the label as prior art imprinters do.
Furthermore, the phase angles of the three respective printing devices 16 are such that they each will print on a different, longitudinallyspaced line of the label in one cycle of rotation of rotary unit 6. For example, one of the printing devices 16 can be used to print the desired price information, another to print a merchandise identification number, and a third to print a store identification number.
It will be understood that in order to be able to effect the three separate lines of printing, the rolling locus or path of movement of the printing devices 16 must intersect the plane of the label by a small amount sufiicient to insure that the two printing devices which are to print the two outside lines of printing will make adequate rolling printing contact with the label to make the desired printing impression. However, this does not present any problem in View of the elastic compressibility of the rubber or other elastomeric material of which the printing bands 16a are made.
To cause each of the printing devices 16 to print on its respective intended separate line on the label L at the printing station P, the angular position of each device 16 relative to the shaft (12, 13, or 14) on which it is mounted of that device will make its rolling printing pass across the label on its intended printing line on the label, which line will be longitudinally spaced from the lines of contact between the label and the other two printing devices. As shown in FIG. 1, this is achieved in the present embodiment by providing an angular spacing of slightly less than 90, e.g., 85, between the shaft 13 of the middle printing device and the shafts 12, 14 of the two respective outer printing devices.
Referring to the three imprinted labels shown in the right-hand portion of FIG. 4, as shown each such label has received three lines of printing, each line having been printed by a different one of the three printing devices 16, as described above.
Each pinion 17 is secured to its related shaft 12, 13, or 14 as follows. The pinion is mounted on the rearmost, stepped-down portion of the shaft. A small locking plate 20 (FIGS, 3, is provided with a forwardly sloping tongue 20a which extends through one of three slots 21 of the pinion into a shallow axial slot 22 of the shaft. Retaining screw 23 extending through plate 2!} and threaded into the shaft completes the assembly.
Each printing device 16 is detachably and adjustably mounted on its shaft (12, 13, 14) as follows. The central portion of each shaft comprises a rectangular ringlike structure 24 one side of which is provided with opposed longitudinally spaced yokes 25, 26. Laterally extending half-round pins 27 of printing device 16 are disposed and secured between the yoke arms by set screws 28 and 29. Screws 28 (FIG. 3) extend transversely through the ring structure 24 and the base of each yoke to engage pins 27, whereas screws 29 of FIG. 2 extend obliquely inwardly through one arm of each yoke to engage the pins. This arrangement permits selective manipulation of each associated pair of set screws 28, 29 for fine adjustment of the angular and radial position of each printing device 16 relative to its supporting shaft.
The aforedescribed printing mechanism is driven manually by a handle 30 mounted at the outer end of spider arm 8d. Handle 30 is loosely rotatably mounted on a stub shaft 31 extending outwardly from the spider arm. A sleeve 32 is mounted on respective opposed facing bosses of the spider arm and circular plate 711, and is pinned to said bosses. The pinning at the forward end of sleeve 32 also extends through shaft 31 to secure the latter against rotation. T o operate the printing mechanism, the operator merely grasps handle 30 and rotates the entire rotary unit 6-including, among other things, shafts 12, 13, 14; the printing devices 16 supported thereon; pinions 17 secured to the shafts and meshed with stationary ring gear 18-clockwise about main shaft 3. Accordingly, pinions 17 will roll around ring gear 18, causing shafts 12, 13, 14 and printing devices 16 carried thereon to ro tate. As each printing device sweeps past the stationary label L at the printing station P, it will make a rolling printing impression thereon as described before.
In each cycle of rotation of the rotary printing unit 6, the selected printing line of type 16c of each printing device 16 will roll against a suitably positioned absorbent inking pad 33 (FIG. 1) impregnated with ink. The inner face of the pad is concave as shown, to provide a greater length of contact with the line of type 16c rolling thereon than would be the case if the pad were flat. Pad 33 is slidably received endwise in a mounting block 34 which is secured by screws 35 to an arm 36 extending forwardly from rear plate 2. To facilitate inking the pad, block 34 is provided with inking holes 37 (FIG, 1) which extend to the base of the pad held in the block.
The roll 40 of label material to be imprinted is loosely supported on a triangular rod 41 secured to rear plate 2. As seen in FIG. 4, the label strip material comprises the gummed labels L removably mounted on a continuous backing strip 42. To accommodate different widths of label material, circular plates 43, 44 between which the roll 40 is held, are each provided with a radially inwardly extending slot 45 whose side walls extend through slots 46 milled in supporting rod 41. The spacing between plates 43, 44 can be changed by merely lifting the plates off the rod and replacing them in another set of the slots 46.
From the roll 40, the label strip passes around a guide arm which comprises a coil spring 47 secured to rear plate 2. From there, the label strip continues to the right (FIG. 1) toward a reciprocatory label feeding finger 49 and thence to the printing station P. On each forward (righthand) operating stroke of the finger, its forward end will drop into a slot 50 provided in the backing strip 42 between each adjacent pair of labels and feed the label strip toward the right to position a blank label at the printing station. The label feeding finger 49 is mounted at the lower end of a lever 51 pivoted at 52 on rear plate 2. A tension spring 53 acting on the upper end of lever 51 biases the latter clockwise, so that a follower wheel 54 on the lever is at all times maintained in contact with a circular feed control cam 55. Cam 55 is integral with disc 7b of arbor 7, but eccentric relative thereto; and as the arbor rotates, will cause lever 51 to oscillate and thereby reciprocate the feed finger 49. Cam 55 is so arranged angularly relative to the main supporting shaft 3 that the feed finger 50 will impart feeding movement to the label strip during the approximately idle 180 of rotation of rotary unit 6 which is available after the printing device 16 of shaft 14 has printed and before the printing device of shaft 12 has rolled to printing position. It will be recalled that rotary unit 6 is rotated clockwise as viewed in FIG. 1.
The feeding tension imparted to the label strip by finger 49 will cause the loosely supported label strip roll 40 to unwind. If for any reason the roll becomes blocked against the necessary unwinding movement, the coil spring arm 47 will flex so that the label strip will not break.
Feed finger 49 is mounted at the outer free end of a forward extension 56 of lever 51. The finger comprises a strip bent intermediate its ends to provide portions 49a and 4% at to one another. Rear portion 49b is received in a vertical open-ended slot 57 of extension 56. Feed finger 49 is frictionally and removably held in slot 57 as follows. Small plates 60 and 61 are respectively rigidly and loosely mounted on the finger. Compression spring 62 acting between loose plate 61 and another loose plate 63 urges plate 61 toward plate 60 to yieldably clamp plates 60 and 61 against the respective opposite sides of extension 56. Spring 62 also serves to bias the forward, feeding end of finger 50 downward into engagement with the label strip.
After the label strip passes around the coil spring arm 47, it moves along a horizontal guide bed 64a provided by the outer, upper face of a channel member 64 secured on base plate 1. The label strip is blocked against sideward lateral movement in either direction respectively by a rear ledge 64b of channel 64, and the upstanding arm 65a of a right angle plate 65. The latter is adjustably secured to base plate 1 by screws 66 extending through slots 65b of plate 65. To accommodate label strips of the different widths, screws 66 are loosened and then retightened after plate 65 has been shifted to the desired fore-aft position. A resilient tongue 67 secured to plate 65 yieldably holds the label strip down against the bed surface 64a just ahead of the printing station P.
The bed 64a may be rigid, including the portion thereof at the printing station P. As mentioned earlier, the elastomeric printing bands 16a have the necessary yieldability to permit the slight overlap of their rolling path locus with the plane of the label positioned at the printing station to receive printing. The surface of the bed at the printing station can either be fiat or, if desired, slightly concave. The latter will reduce the amount of above-mentioned overlap needed.
If one or more of the printing devices 16 is of the type that has rigid type faces, e.g., a chase, the desired yieldability for printing can be provided by including a resilient rubber or other elastomeric insert 70 in the bed 64a at the printing station, such insert can either have a flat surface or a concave surface (FIG. 6) for the reason mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
Label stock of diiferent thicknesses may be used with the present machine. In order to accommodate such different thicknesses, provision is made for adjusting the radial position of the printing bed surface 64a at the printing station, relative to the circular epicyclic rolling path of the printing devices 16, so that the latter will exert the desired rolling imprinting pressure on the labels. In the present machine, this adjustment is made by varying the height of the printing bed 64a, as follows. Adjacent its left-hand end, the printing bed channel 64 is resiliently secured to base plate 1 as follows. As best seen in FIG. 1, frusto-conical resilient washers 71 are clamped between the underside of the base plate and the enlarged head 72a of a pin 72 which extends through the base plate and into whose upper end is threaded a screw 73. The conical head of screw 73 is seated in a correspondingly shaped recess of channel 64. At the printing station, a stud 74 (FIG. 3) is threaded through base plate 1 and abuts ribs 75 formed on the inside of channel 64. A knurled wheel 76 fast on the lower end of threaded stud 74 extends forwardly of base plate 1 a slight distance sufiicient to permit the operator to rotate the wheel. This will cause stud 74 acting on ribs 75 to move the channel bed plate 64 vertically for the aforedescribed fine adjustment of the printing pressure to be exerted by the printing devices 16 on the labels. The resilient washers 71 will be compressed when the bed plate is raised. When stud 74 is lowered to bring the bed plate down, the compressed washers will urge the bed plate down as permitted by the descending movement of the stud. A click spring 76 cooperable with recesses in the periphery of knurled wheel 75 releasably detents the wheel in its various positions.
Various modifications, deletions, and additions can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Just by way of example, the machine can be powered by an electric motor in any suitable fashion. Any desired number of printing devices 16, one or more, can be used. The printing devices can be of various types, e.g., the rubber band device disclosed herein, a chase as previously mentioned, or others. A cut-off knife can be mounted at the right hand end of the base plate 1 to sever the individual labels after they have been printed. This knife can be controlled from cam 55 or other suitable means, to operate at the appropriate time. g
It is therefore intended that the foregoing detailed disclosure of a preferred embodiment of the invention be illustrative only, and not limitative of the following claims.
1. A printing machine comprising:
cyclically operated printing means for printing on record means at a printing station; epicyclic control means for controlling said printing means to roll along a path substantially tangent to said record means at said printing station and print thereon with a rolling action; in combination with feed means having a cycle of operation coextensive with the cycle of said printing means and operable to feed said record means to said printing station in time only with a non-printing portion of the operation of said printing means; and
a unitary drive for effecting a cycle of operation of said feed means in common with a cyclic operation of said printing means.
2. A printing machine according to claim 1, wherein said machine includes stationary suporting structure; and
a rotary unit rotatably supported on said supporting structure,
said printing means being mounted on said unit.
3. A printing machine according to claim 2 including:
feed control means for controlling operation of said feed means.
4. A printing machine according to claim 3:
said feed control means including means rotatable with said rotary unit.
5. A printing machine according to claim 4:
said rotatable means comprising cam means.
6. A printing machine according to claim 5:
said cam means being secured to said rotary unit.
7. A printing machine according to claim 6:
i said cam means being integral with said rotary unit.
8. A printing machine according to claim 7:
said feed control means further comprising a follower riding on the surface of said cam means.
9. A printing machine according to claim 8:
said feed means comprising a reciprocatory finger;
said follower and cam means cooperating to reciprocate said finger in response to rotation of said rotatable unit.
10. A printing machine according to claim 9: said printing station including a surface for supporting said record means to receive printing impressions from said printing means; and means for adjusting the position of said supporting surface radially relative to the rolling path of said printing means. 11. A printing machine according to claim 10 including: means for releasably securing said supporting surface in its various adjusted positions. 12. A printing machine according to claim 10: said adjusting means including a manually engageable operating member. 13:. A printing machine according to claim 2: said printing means comprising a plurality of printing devices angularly spaced on said rotary unit to roll sequentially on different lines of said record means at said printing station and print on said lines. 14. A printing machine according to claim 13, wherein: said machine operates cyclically, the plurality of print- 1ng devices operating to print on said record means during one portion of a cycle of operation of the machine; and wherein said machine includes feed control means for controlling said feed means to feed said record means during another portion of said cycle. 15. A printing machine comprising a rotatable support: a plurality of rotatable printing devices spaced arcuately thereon for operation along a common path in manner for printing on a different line of a record means at a printing station without advancing said record means; control means for controlling each of said printing devices to roll along said path substantially tangent to said record means at said printing station and respectlvely print on said different lines of said record means with a rolling action; said control means comprising in C'PICYCIIC gear train including a stationary gear having internal teeth and a plurality of pinion gears engaging therewith arranged to roll around within said stationary gear; and drive means for Operating said printing devices. 16. A printing machine according to claim 15 including:
a rotary unit on which printing devices are mounted; said drive means comprising actuating means for ro tating said rotary unit. 17. A printing machine according to claim 16: said actuating means comprising a manually operable handle secured to said rotary unit. 18. A printing machine according to claim 15: said printing station including means providing a concave surface for supporting said record means to receive printing impressions from 'said printing devices.
(References on following page) 7 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS I 7/1844 Hoe 10127O 7/1901 Leavy et a1 101-92 10/1921 Manshel 101-69 4/1922 Kellogg 1014-297 X 9/1927 Reis 101-212 X 5/1936 Cheshire 101270 9/ 1943 Fu11er et a1. 10196 WILLIAM 8 Van Tuyl 101-1 10 X Lembo 101212 X Johnston 101-93 Christofi et a1. 10193 Schlegel et a1. 101228 X Coulter 101216 Howard 101-93 B. PENN, Primary Examiner.