US 3405977 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 15, 1968 c, ALBRlGH-r 3,405,977
ALL-FLUID UNIT RECORD ACCELERATOR Filed Aug. 4. 1966 S Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR CHARLES BARTON ALBRIGHT AGENT United States Patent 3,405,977 ALL-FLUID UNIT RECORD ACCELERATOR Charles Barton Albright, N orristown, Pa., assignor to Sperry Rand Corporation, New York, N.Y., a corporation of Delaware Filed Aug. 4, 1966, Ser. No. 570,312 7 Claims. (Cl. 302-29) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This device provides a four sided passageway for an all fluid item transport mechanism. In the bottom side of the passageway there is provided a plurality of apertures connected to a plenum into which air under pressure is applied. The air passes through the plurality of apertures in the lower side of the passageway thereby providing a plurality of air jets upon which an item being passed therethrough is cushioned. On the top side of the passageway there is provided a second plurality of apertures which are angularly disposed to the top wall and which are further connected to a plenum which also has air under pressure applied thereto. The air from the second plenum passes through the angularly disposed apertures to provide angularly disposed jets of air which propel items therealong. On each side of the passageway there are found further apertures, the apertures on the third side being connected to a third plenum and the apertures on the fourth side being connected to a fourth plenum. A vacuum or partial vacuum is created in the last two mentioned plenums which causes the air being transmitted into the passageway to be exhausted through the apertures on the sides of the passageway. Accordingly, each of the angularly formed jets incrementally propels an item passing along the passageway for a short distance before it gives over control to the next located set of angularly disposed jets.
This invention relates to fluid unit record handling apparatus, but more particularly to pneumatic unit record accelerators wherein the unit records may be accelerated from zero to some predetermined velocity without physical contact with the apparatus.
While the invention is useful in a wide variety of applications, it is particularly adapted for use in all-fluid document handling system wherein individual unit records are successively separated from a stack of documents and then brought up to the desired speed by the accelerator of the present invention. Subsequently they are aligned and passed through a unit record reading station from which they are forwarded to any one of several stacking stations.
In the present invention, individual unit records will be accelerated to a predetermined linear velocity by means of a series of successive fluid jets while the documents are supported on an air cushion and surrounded by an envelope of air.
This invention is not to be confused with prior art devices wherein a moving stream of air is used to move documents or other devices, as its design and operation is entirely difierent.
In accordance with the above and first briefly described, the invention comprises an open-ended slot-like conveyor chute formed by top, bottom and opposed side walls. Fluid means is provided to feed unit records successively into one open end of the chute. Other fluid means provides a continuous air cushion along one side of the unit record to support them as they are moved through the chute by a series of fluid jets on the other side. The invention is characterized by the individuality of the jets and their successive accelerating effects upon the unit records as they move from one jet to another through the chute.
The invention is featured among other things by: (1) its soft acceleration of the unit records. (No hardware is required to move the unit records through the chute and the unit records do not contact any hardware during their movement); (2) creased, notched, torn or otherwise mutilated unit records easly pass through the chute without further damage to themselves or jamming of the accelerator; (3) the build up of static electricity is drastically reduced since no mechanical handling (with the attendant friction) and no rapid making and braking of physical contact are involved; and (4) its flexibility in controlling the speed of the unit records.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a somewhat diagrammatic view, with parts broken away, of an all-fluid unit record handling system incorporating a unit record accelerator in accordance with the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a sectional view taken along the line 22 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a sectional view taken along the line 33 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a sectional view, partially broken away, taken along the line 4-4 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 5 is a diagrammatic perspective view of the accelerator showing its connections to a source of fluid pressure;
FIGURE 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 66 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary plan view of the unit record receiving end of the accelerator showing a unit record separator and feeding device;
FIGURE 8 is a sectional view taken along the line 8-8 of FIGURE 7;
FIGURE 9 is a sectional view similar to FIGURE 3 but showing a modified form of the invention; and
FIGURE 10 is a diagrammatic view of a fluid control circuit for the modification illustrated in FIGURE 9.
First with reference to FIGURE 1, it is seen that the accelerator 10, in accordance with this preferred embodiment of the present invention, forms a part of an allfluid unit record handling system indicated generally by the numeral 12. In the system a cartridge or magazine 14 is provided for holding a supply of unit records 15 to be handled. The unit records are fed upwardly through the magazine to the separating and feeding device 16 on a pusher plate 17 at the end of a screw 18 driven at a constant speed by the drive means indicated at 20.
As the individual unit records reach the separating and feeding device 16 they are separated from the stack one at a time and moved into the accelerator 10, as more fully described hereinbelow, and accelerated to the desired handling speed. From the accelerator they are successively moved through a unit record aligning and reading apparatus 22, a turn-around 24, a decelerator 26, and into a document stacking magazine 28 where they are re-stacked in the same serial order in which they were fed from the magazine 14 but in reverse position, that is, from bottom to top. It will be understood that the magazines are reversible. If the same documents have to be re-handled, the magazine 28 is turned over and placed in the position of magazine 14.
If desired, and by means of control apparatus not shown in the present application, the unit records may by-pass magazine 28 and pass through the channel 30 into another turn-around device 32, decelerator 34 and into magazine 36. The documents are received in the magazines 28 and 36 on a plate 17, now located near the top of each magazine. As the documents are received in the magazines, the plates are lowered by the screws 38 driven by their associated devices 40.
The total system, as described above, and its individual components will form the subject matter of other applications to be filed with to the present application which is directed only to the accelerator per se.
Turning now to FIGURES 2'through 6 it is seen that the accelerator comprises an elongated chamber 42 through which the unit record chute 44 extends from end to end with an inlet opening 46 at one end and an outlet opening 48 at the other. The chute is formed by a top plate 50 and a bottom plate 52 separated from each other by side walls 54. The chute is supported within the housing 42 on interior walls 56 cooperating with the exterior walls of the chamber to form top and bottom pressure plenum chambers 58 and 60, respectively, and opposing left and right side suction manifolds 62 and 64, respectively. As seen more clearly in FIGS. 2 and 5, the upper pressure plenum 58 is connected by the tube 66 and in open communication therethrough with the exhaust port 68 of a blower 70. The bottom pressure plenum 60 is similarly connected by the pipe or tube 72 to the exhaust port 74 of a blower 76 thereby to maintain the plenurns under desired pressure, as brought out more clearly hereinafter.
The suction manifolds 62 and 64 are connected by pipes or tubes 78 to the suction plenum 89 on the intake sides of both blowers 70 and 76, thus to maintain the suction manifolds at the proper low pressure.
For reasons to be explained more fully hereinafter, the suction manifolds 62 and 64 are divided by walls 82 adjacent the inlet opening 46 of the chute to form separate suction manifolds 62a and 64:; which are connected by pipes 84 to the suction manifold 80 of the blowers, but permitting, through valving, a much greater suction in the two small plenums.
In particular accordance with this invention, the top wall 50 of the chute 44 is provided with a plurality of unidirectional holes 86 extending therethrough preferably at an angle of degrees in the forward direction, that is, from the inlet side toward the outlet side of the chute. In this form of the invention, there are three rows of the holes 86 in which the holes are arranged in staggered relationship throughout the length of the channel.
The bottom plate 44 is also provided with a plurality of unidirectional holes 88 extending vertically through the plate from the pressure plenum 60 to the chute. As seen in FIGURE 4, there are seven rows of these holes extending throughout the length of the conveyor and in which the holes are evenly spaced from each other in both directions.
The opposite side walls 54 of the chute are provided with unidirectional holes 90 extending angularly therethrough in a rearward direction, preferably at approximately degrees from the inner surface of the side walls.
It will be noted in FIGURE 3 that the holes 86:: through the top wall in the area between the small suction manifolds 62a and 64a at the inlet end of the chute are of larger diameter than those between the manifolds 62 and 64 for the purpose to be described later.
The documents may be fed into the inlet opening by any suitable document feeding device, however, it is preferred to use the one illustrated in FIGURES 7 and 8, which forms the subject matter of applicants copending application Ser. No. 570,299, filed Aug. 4, 1966 and entitled, Sheet Separator.
As seen here, the magazine 14 is positioned at a slight angle relative to the chute with its upper edge slightly below the inlet opening of the chute whereby individual documents may be separated from the stack and fed into the chute. Separation is attained by the separator head 92 which comprises the thick pressure plate 94 and the tube 96 for connecting the head to a suitable source of fiuid pressure, not shown. Wrapped around three sides of the pressure plate at the top of the magazine is a hollow U-shaped collar 98 having inwardly facing slotted openings 100 around its inner face. A tube 102 connects chamber 103 in the collar to a suitable source of fluid pressure, not shown.
In its operation, with the blowers 70 and 76 operated by suitable motor means, not shown, air under pressure is supplied to pressure plenums 58 and 60, and negative or suction pressure, is applied to suction manifolds 62, 62a, 64 and 64a. By way of example, and to effect movement of the documents through the chute at a speed of approximately 165 inches per second, the pressure in pres sure plenum 58 will be equal to three and a half inches static pressure water column (SPWC), pressure in plenum 60 will be one half inch SPWC, while the negative pressures in suction manifolds 62 and 64 would be approximately -2 inches SPWC, and in manifolds 62a and 64a it would be 8 inches SPWC. By changing these pressure values the speed of the document may readily be changed, as desired. For example, to move the document 700 to 900 inches per second, the relative pressures might be 14 inches SPWC for plenum 58, and 1 inch SPWC for plenum 60, while manifolds 62 and 64 would be 8 inches SPWC.
The capacity of the fluid supply, of course, will be more than adequate for the purpose of providing the proper pressures throughout the system. Butterfly valves 103, are provided in the tubes to regulate the pressures in the various areas of the accelerator.
With these pressure differentials, and as seen in FIG- URE 6, high speed jets of air will pass through the jet openings 86 in top plate 60 in a forward direction, that is, the direction of desired movement for the document. Air at lower pressure will flow upwardly through the openings 88 in the lower plate 44 to merge with the stronger upper jets.
Turning now to FIGURE 4, it will be seen that the unit record propelling jets from the upper jet openings flow only a short distance in the forward direction and then are drawn outwardly under the influence of the negative pressure in manifolds 62 and 64 through the rearwardly angled openings in side walls 54. The arrangement of propelling jets in the upper plate is such that each jet will move the document only a short distance where it will come under the influence of the succeeding jet or jets thus to propel the document in the forward direction through the chute. This is also illustrated in FIGURE 6 which shows a unit record 104 in the chute. As indicated by the arrows, the upper jets are exerting force in the forward direction while the lower jets provide an air cushion upon which the document rides surrounded by air on all sides.
To facilitate feeding of the document from the separator head 94 to the inlet opening of the accelerator the small suction manifolds 62a and 64a and the larger jet holes 86a adjacent the inlet opening 46 provide a lower pressure area at the inlet opening to induce a flow of ambient air into the opening which, in cooperation with gravitydue to the angular position of the separator head, as shown more clearly in FIGURE 8-draws the document from the separator head into the inlet opening where the power jets take over to accelerate the document to the desired speed.
It will be understood, of course, that the arrangement of power jets in the top plate of the conveyor channel may be modified to suit the acceleration needs of any specific system. Such a modification has, by way of example, been shown in FIGURE 9. Here we see that only two rows of jets 86 are provided throughout the accelerator which otherwise may be the same as described above.
In addition to the two rows of accelerating jets, rearwardly angled jets 106 may be provided adjacent the outlet end 48 of the accelerator. These jets are controlled on or off in conjunction with the adjacent advancing jets by suitable means, such as fluid devices, thereby to slow up, or even stop the unit record if necessary.
A fluid control circuit for the reverse jets 106 and the adjacent forward jets 86 is shown in FIGURE 10. It
comprises a fluid OR gate 108 having outlet passages 110 and 112, and fluid jet ports 114, 116 and 118 connected to suitable sources of fluid under pressure as indicated at 120, 122, and 124. Under certain circumstances a NOR gate or turbulence amplifier may be used instead of the OR gate. Outlet passage 112 is split into two outlets 112 and 112A by a divider 126. Normally, in its operation, fluid flow from port 116 will be directed into passages 112by a fluid pulse from port 114and forward jets 86 by conduits 128 and 130. When the document 104 is to be slowed down, a fluid 'pulse from jet 118 will move the fluid jet from port 116 to passage 110, and reverse jet 106 through conduit 132. Control of the jet pulses from ports 114 and 118 may be by suitable well known means, indicated diagrammatically at 134. Retention of fluid flow in passages 110 or 112 and 112A is in accordance with well known principles in this art, and need not be described here.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. A fluid unit record accelerator comprising:
(A) means forming a slot-like fluid transport chute having closely spaced top and bottom walls, opposing side walls, and document feeding and ejection openings at opposite ends thereof;
(B) said bottom wall being perforate;
(C) said top wall having a plurality of air jets therethrough arranged along its length and angled in a forward direction toward the ejection opening;
(D) said side walls having exhaust ports arranged along their lengths and adjacent said jets;
(E) means connecting said air jets to a source of fluid pressure whereby high speed jet streams of air are projected into said transport chute in a forward direction;
(F) means exposing the underside of said bottom wall to air under pressure whereby air passes through the perforations therein to the interior of said chute; and
(G) means connecting said side wall exhaust ports to negative pressure whereby pressurized air entering the chute through the top and bottom walls is exhausted from said chute, and unit records fed into the feeding end of said chute are accelerated by said air jets through the chute on a cushion of air formed by the air flowing into the chute through the bottom wall.
2. A unit record accelerator according to claim 1 wherein:
(A) the side wall ports and the air jets are so related that air from the jets travels only a short distance forwardly when exhausted through those side wall exhaust ports adjacent said jets, thus to produce a series of jet streams throughout said chute acting successively upon a unit record thus to accelerate it through the chute.
3. A unit record accelerator according to claim 2 wherein:
(A) the means connecting the jets in said top walls to a source of air pressure comprises a first plenum chamber one wall of which is formed by the chute top wall;
(B) the means exposing the underside of said bottom wall to air under pressure comprises a second plenum chamber one wall of which is formed by said bottom wall;
(C) said side walls exhaust ports are in open communication with exhaust manifold chambers; and further comprises (D) means to produce the necessary pressures in said plenum and manifold chambers.
4. A fluid unit record accelerator according to claim 3 and further comprising:
(A) means at the inlet end of said chute to produce a strong suction force in that end thus to facilitate entry of the unit records into said chute.
5. An accelerator according to claim 3 wherein said means to produce a strong suction force at the inlet end of said chute comprises:
(A) third and fourth plenum chambers over said top and bottom walls and jets and perforations therein respectively at said inlet end of said chute;
(B) additional manifold chambers over the exhaust ports in the side walls at the inlet end of said chute; and
(C) means to produce higher suction in said third and fourth plenum chambers than in said first and second plenum chambers, and lower suction in said additional manifold chambers than in the other manifolds.
6. An accelerator according to claim 1 and further comprising:
(A) means to decrease the velocity of the unit record as it passes through the chute.
7. An accelerator according to claim 6 wherein said means to decrease the unit record velocity, comprises:
(A) a plurality of jets extending through the top wall adjacent the outlet opening and in the rearward direction; and
(B) means selectively to connect said rearwardly directed jets to a source of fluid pressure, and to cut off the air supply to adjacent forwardly projecting jets.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,805,898 9/1957 Willis 302-29 2,848,820 8/1958 Wallin 302-29 3,231,165 1/1966 Wallin 30229 RICHARD E. AEGERTER, Primary Examiner.