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Publication numberUS3414254 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 3, 1968
Filing dateJan 17, 1966
Priority dateJan 17, 1966
Publication numberUS 3414254 A, US 3414254A, US-A-3414254, US3414254 A, US3414254A
InventorsKeeler Jack D, Snellman Donald L
Original AssigneeNorfin
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sheet collating device
US 3414254 A
Images(5)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 3, 1968 D, SNELLMAN ET AL 3,414,254

SHEET COLLATING DEVICE Filed Jan. 17, 1966 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 DONALD L. SNELLMAN INVENTORS JACK D. KEELER ATTORNEYS Dec. 3, 1968 0. L. SNELLMAN ET 3,414,254

SHEET COLLATING DEVICE Filed Jan. 17, 1966 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIG 3 DONALD L. SNELLMAN JACK D. KEEL ER INVENTORS ATTORNE YS Dec. 3, 1968 SNEYLLMAN ET AL 3,414,254

SHEET COLLATING DEVICE 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Jan. 17, 1966 N A M n ML SE i .E Q LK 1 ma O D u a INVENTORS ATTORNEYS Dec. 3, 1968 D $NE1 LMAN ET AL SHEET COLLATING DEVICE 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Jan. 17, 1966 DR IVE MOTOR R-GO-l STOP s-l R-M l a R-l6-2 R-le-l IPROOF SOLENOID CLUTCH 92 BRAKE DONALD L.SNELLMAN JACK D. KEELER INVENTORS FIG ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,414,254 SHEET COLLATIN G DEVICE Donald L. Snellman and Jack D. Keeler, Seattle, Wash., assignors to Norfin, Inc., Seattle, Wash., a corporation of Washington Filed Jan. 17, 1966, Ser. No. 521,077 28 Claims. (Cl. 270-58) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A sheet collator distributor for receiving sheets on one side thereof and distributing the sheets on the other side at preselected vertical positions for reception by a column of bins. A continuous tape conveyor includes an upwardly inclined section for receiving the sheets and a substantially vertical section for conveying the sheets downwardly. A deflector mechanism is mounted for vertical travel up and down the vertical section of the conveyor with its position being controlled by an electrical control system so as to cycle through a set of preselected vertical positions. The signal for activating the deflector is actuated by the passage of a sheet from the conveyor over the deflector and into a bin. Non-moving extensible tape members are connected so as to move with the deflector assembly and overlie the conveyor tape so as to hold the moving sheet against the vertical tapes during the downward course. The upwardly inclined infeed piece section of the conveyor is provided with diverging conveyor tapes in order to laterally tension the movable sheets and individually mounted freely rotatable ball members are used to hold the incoming sheets against the diverging tapes.

Background of the invention The present invention relates generally to collators of the type which accept sheets from a printer, processing machine, feeder, or by hand, one sheet at a time or as signatures, in multiples of the desired book or other document, and sort the sheets into multiple copies of the document in individual cubicles or receiver trays ready for binding or other handling.

The invention aims to provide an improved collator device of the character described which is considerably more compact and simplified in structure and yet capable of handling a wide range of sizes and types of sheets quickly and accurately with a minimum amount of manual attention.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved collator device of the character described which is mobile, easily adjustable and requires a minimum of setup time and skill to prepare for a sorting run with provision for a fast recycle time between sorting runs.

A further object is to provide an improved collator device which employs a single deflector member for rapidly guiding the sheets in succession to a predetermined group of receiver trays or sorting stations with provision for automatic control means for initially indexing the deflector member and for recycling the deflector member upon completion of a sorting cycle or run.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide an improved collator device of the character described wherein the complete sorting cycle and recycle may be automatically controlled with provision for selective manual control of the various individual functions.

Other objects and advantages will appear and be understood from the following description and claims, the invention consisting in the novel construction and in the adaptation and combination of parts hereinafter described and claimed.

"ice

In the accompanying drawings:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear elevational view of the device;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 4-4 of :FIG. 2;

FIG. 4-A is a schematic illustration of an alternate form of spring load winding means for sheet positioning tapes;

FIG. 5 is an elevational detail taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional detail taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional detail taken along lines 7-7 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 8-8 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the collator device with certain elements removed for ease of illustration;

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional detail taken along lines 10-10 of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional detail taken along lines 11-11 of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 12 is a schematic illustration of the electrical control system for the invention.

Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference numerals indicate identical parts in the various views, in general the collator of the present invention comprises a distributor 10 which separates and delivers sheets of paper or other suitable material to an upright receiver 11 located at the rear of the distributor and having one or more vertical columns of shelves or bins 12 for storage of the collated sheets delivered thereto in proper order by the distributor. Although the exact details of the receiver form no part of the present invention, in general, the shelves are arranged to be fed from the front by the distributor and manually emptied from the rear when the book or other document is complete. The various sheets to be collated are fed in reverse order by a printer or duplicator (not shown), one sheet at a time, into the conveyor portion of the distributor 10 which includes a pair of laterally spaced endless conveyor tapes 13-13. The sheets are received by the infeed portion 14 of the conveyor and are moved in an upwardly inclined course and then downwardly along the vertical portion 15 of the conveyor which faces a selected column of receiver shelves. During their downward course on the vertical portion of the conveyor, the sheets are deflected by the distributor mechanism onto the respective shelves of the receiver by means of an indexing deflector assembly 16, shown most clearly in FIGS. 2 and 3, which includes the deflector plate 17. The indexing deflector assembly includes a vertical slide assembly and means to progressively index the slide assembly and deflector plate so as to deliver moving sheets sequentially to the receiver tray. At the completion of a chosen group of indexed positions, the deflector assembly is recycled so as to start at an initial indexed position by a control circuit to be described and the deflector assembly is progressively moved through the chosen group of indexed positions responsive to the passage of each deflected sheet through a vertical light beam in the control circuit.

Continuing to a detailed description of the parts of the device, and referring particularly to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, a base frame 18' is provided which may be rectangular or any other shape in plan view andwhich may include an extended portion 19 for supporting the receiver 11. The base frame also includes a flat mounting surface 20 with downwardly extending skirts or the like 21 with the base frame being supported by means of conventional support wheels 22. The wheels 22 may be either fixedly mounted to the base frame as illustrated or may be castered or otherwise pivoted as desired.

Although the basic frame structure of the device may be altered or modified without departing from the intended scope of the invention, the present frame structure illustrated includes the upright panel member 23 located at the front portion of the device as viewed in FIG. 1. The panel 23 is mounted on the base frame 18 and serves primarily to support the lower end of the feed table of the inclined infeed portion 14 of the conveyor. Laterally spaced sheet metal housing or enclosure members 24-24 are fixed to and extend upwardly from the base frame and are connected across the top by a transverse housing structure 26 about the distributor portion of the device. Additional side panels 2727 are located inboard of the housing members 24 and may be secured thereto as well as to the base frame 18 by welding or any other suitable means as desired. The side panels 27 serve to mount certain of the support members, drive shafts, and stub axles as will be presently explained. In addition, the side panels 27 may be structurally connected by the cross shafts 28 and 29 in order to provide additional strength and rigidity to the housing and support structure.

The basic frame structure for the inclined feed portion 14 of the conveyor includes an inclined infeed table 31 having downwardly bent side edges 32 which may be connected at the upper end of the table to the panel members 27 and at the bottom end of the table to the triangular plates 33. The plates 33 may be fixed along their bottom edges to the upright panel 23. The upper end of the infeed table 31 is formed with a rectangular cut-out 34 as seen most clearly in FIG. 9 and a stiffener member 36, which may be in the form of a channel iron or the like is fixed to the bottom side of the central portion of the table. The stiffener 36 extends upwardly through the cut-out portion 34 and mounts a plurality of centrally located guide plates 37 shown in detail in FIG. 11 which are fixed to the stiffener 36 by bolts or the like and are spaced by the spacer members 38. As shown in FIG. 11, the guide plates 37 may be identical in structure having a rounded surface 39 over which the sheets are guided as will be presently understood and include a radially located slot 41 to accommodate a drive shaft for the conveyor belts to be described.

The support structure for the conveyor tapes 13-13 as well as the indexing deflector assembly 16 comprises two rear vertical rails 42 and the vertical posts 43 spaced forwardly thereof. The adjacent rail and post on each side of the device are fixedly connected together at their bottom ends by plates 44 and at their upper ends by horizontal arms 46. In addition, two horizontal support arms 47 are respectively fixed to the mid portion of each post 43 and extend to a position adjacent the lower end of the feed table 31 as shown in FIG. 1. The horizontal arms 46 are connected by transversely extending shaft 48 and the plates 44 are connected by transversely extending shaft 49. The opposite ends of each of these shafts are mounted in suitable bearings in the respective side panels 27 such that the rails 42 and posts 43, as well as the horizontal arms 47, are thereby supported. It will also be noted that the shafts 48 and 49 are provided with oppositely directed screw threads on either side of the center which engage threaded collars 51 in the plates 44 and threaded collars 52 in the horizontal arms 46. In a similar manner, cross shaft 53 is provided with oppositely directed threads on its opposite sides and engages suitable threaded collars 54 carried by brackets 56 fixed to the horizontal arms 47. The ends of shaft 53 are mounted for rotation in the triangular plates 33. With this arrangement the transverse spacing between the rails 42, posts 43 and arms 47 may be adjusted at the various locations by rotating the shafts 48, 49 and 53. The width of the sheets of paper being handled will determine the desired spacing between the rails 42 with sufficient clearance in the order of Ms being provided to prevent binding.

Mounted on the top of the infeed table 31 are identical lateral guide structures 57 each of which includes a top flange 58, a vertical side panel 59 and a bottom flange 61 which is inwardly directed and rests on top of the infeed table 31. The upper ends of the guide structures 57 are fixedly attached to the horizontal arms 46 as shown in FIG. 1 and the bottom ends thereof are fixed to the upright brackets 62 which are, in turn, fixed to the respective horizontal support arms 47. With this arrangement, it will be seen that the guide structures 57 are adjusted for transverse spacing along with the rails 42, posts 43 and arms 47. It is also to be noted that in practice it is desirable to have the guide structures converge slightly from bottom to top in the order of /2".

Each of the guide structures 57 is provided with a ball rack 63 which is fixed to the vertical side panel 59 of each guide structure and which may comprise a solid metal bar spaced a sufficient distance above the horizontal bottom flange 61 to allow ample clearance for the passage of a sheet of paper and a conveyor tape 13 as illustrated in FIG. 10. The under side of the lower end portion of each ball rack 63 may be inclined as at 64 to insure against interference with the leading edge of a sheet as it moves up the inclined conveyor. The ball racks have openings 66 for mounting the floating ball members 67 which ride on top of the moving conveyor tapes 13. The ball members 67 are mounted between transverse spring members 68 each of which is freely rotatably mounted on two inwardly extending pegs or shafts 69 which extend into the ends of the springs only a short distance thus allowing the springs to flex at their midportion and to rotate with the ball members 61. The flexing of the spring members at their midportions under the influence of the balls 67 provides a guiding action for the balls so as to substantially confine the rotation of the balls about a transverse horizontal axis when the conveyor tapes are moving so as to aid in the straight line movement of the sheets as they pass between the balls and the conveyor tapes as illustrated in FIG. 10.

In addition to the structure described, the ball racks 63 are provided with a T-shape leaf spring hold down member 71 :as illustrated in FIG. 9 which contacts the top surface of a sheet as it passes over the guides 37.

Turning now to the details of the conveyor system, the tapes 13 are driven by means of the drive motor 72 mounted on the base frame 18 which drives the drive shaft 73 by means of the drive pulley 74, the V-belt 76 and the driven pulley 77 fixed to the drive shaft 73. The drive shaft 73 may be mounted between the side panels 27 by means of the bearings 78 as illustrated in FIG. 3. In addition to the drive shaft 73, the belt 76 also drives a second drive shaft 79 by means of the drive pulley 80 for a purpose presently to be described. The shaft 73 is provided with drive pulleys 81 about which the tapes 13 pass and from which the tapes are driven. As illustrated most clearly in FIG. 1, the belts 13 pass upwardly from the pulleys 81 about idler rollers 82 carried by suitable stub axles on the vertical posts 43. The tapes then pass forwardly about the idler rollers 83 carried by the brackets 62 and upwardly along the inclined feed table on the surface of the flanges 61 of the guide structures 57. At the top of the inclined infeed table the tapes 13 pass over relatively large diameter guide rollers 84 rotatably mounted on the collars 52 and thence downwardly and rearwardly about the sets of rollers 86 and 87 carried on stub axles fixed to the rails 42 and posts 43 respectively. From the guide rollers 87, the tapes pass about adjustable tensioning rollers 88 mounted on the posts 43. The tensioning rollers 88 may be mounted on adjustably positioned stub shafts connected to the posts 42 by slotted mountings or by any other suitable means for adjusting their position to obtain the proper amount of tensioning on the tapes. The tapes 13-13 may be run parallel to each other on their upward travel along the infeed table 31 or may be so guided as to diverge slightly in the up- Ward direction in order to laterally tension the moving sheet. The tapes may be tracked by the rollers 83 and 84 to diverge approximately /a for this purpose. Likewise on the downward course between the rollers 84 and 86 the tapes may be made to diverge in the order of /8" to keep the Sheet flat.

As aforementioned, the belt 76- also drives a pulley 80 for rotating the drive shaft 79. As seen most clearly in FIGS. 2 and 3 a take-off shaft 89 is mounted coaxially with the shaft 79 and is selectively driven by the shaft 79 through a clutch mechanism 91 and a brake unit 92. The clutch and brake units, as well as the shaft 79 may be mounted on the bracket 93 connected to the side panel 27 by a connecting brace 94 as shown in FIG. 3. The operation of the brake and clutch units will be described presently in connection with the control circuit shown in FIG. 12. The shaft 89 is provided with a drive pulley 96 for driving a belt 97 trained about the pulley 98 fixed to the shaft 99. The ends of the shaft 99 are journal mounted in the side plates 27 in a well known manner and the opposite ends of the shaft 99 inboard of the plates 27 are provided with sprockets 101 for driving the chains 102. The chains 102 pass about sprockets 103 on stub axles 104 carried by the side plates 27. The stub :axles 104 have sprockets on the inboard ends thereof which drive the vertical chains 106. The chains 106 pass about suitable sprockets on the inboard end of the stub axles 107 and shaft 108, as seen in FIG. 3, rotatably mounted by the side plates 27 and in vertical alignment with the stub axles 104. Thus the continuous chains 106 may be driven selectively by clutching and de-clutching the shaft '89 to the shaft 79. The chains 106 serve to mount the transverse rod or bar 109 which has its ends fixed to corre sponding links on the chains so that movement of the chains causes the bar to move vertically upwardly on the rear flights of the chains and downwardly on the forward flights. The rod 109 serves to engage and move the indexing deflector assembly 16 through its vertical indexing positions as will now be described.

The indexing device or assembly comprises the right and left hand slide assemblies 111-111 which may be identical in structure and are mirror images of one another. The assemblies 111 slidably engage the vertical rails 42 and support the deflector plates 17 therebetween. Each slide assembly 111 has a vertical elongated body section 112 with a passage therethrough for reception of the rail 42 in sliding engagement as seen in FIG. 3. Each body portion 112 is in full face engagement with the front and lateral sides of a respective rail 42 and includes forwardly extending arms 113 which extend across both vertical flights of the chains 106. The arms 113 are spaced so as to provide a slot for reception of the bar 109 as seen most clearly in FIGS. 3 and 6. With this arrangement, the bar 109 reciprocates the slide assemblies vertically along the rails 42 as the chains 106- are rotated with the slot between the arms 113 accommodating the shifting horizontal position of the bar 109 as it follows the course of the chains.

The body portion 112 of each of the slide assemblies mounts a roller 114 on its inside surface over which a respective tape 13 is guided. The deflector plate 17 includes a curved lip 116 having a cutout portion 117 as seen in FIG. 3. For the passage of the light beam which comprises a part of the control circuit to be described. The plate 17 is mounted between the slide assemblies 111 by means of the forwardly extending flanges 118 thereof slidably carried on the rods 119 and 121' fixed to the inside surfaces of the slide assemblies. The rods 119 are each provided with springs 122 which serve to center the deflector plate.

The outside face of the body portion 112 is extended rearwardly to provide a mounting for the rollers 123 123 each of which includes a large diameter portion 124 and a reduced diameter portion 126. The larger portion 124 contacts the outside surface of the tapes 13 and the roller portion 126 contacts the rib 127 on the rail 42 to guide the reciprocation of the slide assemblies. As shown in FIG. 6, the rollers 114 and the roller portions 124 are disposed so :as to slightly deflect the vertical course of the belts 13 which moves therebetween. In addition, the body portion 112 of the slide assemblies includes inwardly extending integral bracket arms 128 the inner ends of which are connected to flexible tapes 129 which extend upwardly and are attached to spring loaded reel units 130 having spring winding means 131 such that the tapes 129 are pulled downwardly as the deflector assembly 16 is moved downwardly and are spring wound into the units 130 when the assembly moves upwardly. It will be noted that the tapes 129 are vertically aligned with the tapes 13 and are spaced in close face-to-face relationship therewith so as to retain a downwardly moving sheet positioned on the tapes 13. As the sheet encounters the deflector plate 17 it moves from beneath tapes 129 and under the roller portion 124 and is deflected by the lip portion 116 of the deflector plate toward the receiver bin aligned with the plate. The tapes 129 may be made of light gage spring steel or any other suitable material with the tapes and the winding unit 130 being similar to a carpenters tape.

FIG. 4-A is a schematic illustration of an alternate form of spring loaded tape winding apparatus wherein the tape 129a, corresponding to the tape 129, is Wound in a given direction on a first reel 130a and connected to the slide assembly 111. An additional tape 12% is wound in the opposite direction about a second reel 13% on the same shaft and connected to the slide assembly 111 by a tension spring 129a. With this arrangement, when the assembly 111 is moved downwardly so as to unreel the tape 129a the tape 12% will be correspondingly reeled in against the tension of the spring 1290. When the assembly 111 is again moved upwardly the spring 1290 will drive the reel 13% and consequently the reel 130a in the opposite direction to rewind the tape 129a. The reel 130a may be made with a larger diameter than the reel 130k such that the movement of the tape 12911 is substantially less than the movement of tape 129a.

As aforementioned, the indexing of the deflector assembly 16 from one receiver bin to the next is done in response to the passage of a sheet from the deflector assembly which breaks a light beam to produce a signal. For this purpose, a light source 132 is mounted on the base frame directly beneath the deflector assembly and aligned with the opening 117 in the deflector plate as illustrated in FIG. 3 so as to direct a beam of light upwardly to a photo cell unit 133 as shown in FIG. 4. Thus the sheet initially breaks the light beam as it moves onto the lip 116 of the deflector plate and the light beam remains broken until the sheet passes so as to produce the control signal for indexing the assembly 16. Breaking of the light beam serves to energize the clutch unit 91 and deenergize the brake 92 so that the chains 106 are put into motion and a cam 134, having diametrically opposed lobes 136 and 137 is mounted on the shaft 99 as illustrated in FIG. 5, to limit the movement of the deflector assembly a distance of one bin spacing by the operation of a switch 138. The switch 138 has an operating arm 139 which is contacted alternately by the lobes 136 and 137 of the cam. When one of the lobes of the cam operates the switch 138, the clutch 91 is deenergized so as to free the shaft 89 and the brake unit 92 is energized so as to halt movement of the chains 106 and position the deflector plate adjacent the next succeeding receiver bin.

When the deflector assembly has completed its run past a chosen group of receiver bins, the bar 109 will have reached its extent of upward movement and will contact the switch arm 141 of the switch 142 shown in FIG. 4 so as to signal the completion of the count. The switch 142 serves to energize the clutch 91 to engage the shaft 89 and releases the brake 92 so as to allow the bar 109 to be moved on its downward course uninterrupted by the action of the switch 138 and cam 134. This action, of course, will cause the deflector assembly 16 to be moved downwardly and then to be returned to its initial index position or starting point for another run.

The initial indexing of the deflector assembly is controlled by an index selector unit 143, mounted on one of the housing members 24 as shown in FIG. 2, which operates from the shaft 108 extending outwardly from the housing 24. The index selector comprises an inner shaft 144 having a selector knob 146 fixed thereto and an enlarged portion with a fixed switch operator 148 extending radially therefrom. A hollow shaft 149 is mounted on the shaft 144 with a friction disc 151 being located between the enlarged portion 147 and the hollow shaft 149 such that the shafts normally move together but may be rotated relative to one another against the friction of the disc 151. The shaft 149 is provided with gear teeth 152 which mesh with the worm 153 on the outer end of the shaft 108 as shown in FIG. 8. The switch operator 148 extends radially and serves to actuate the switch arm 154 of the switch 156 at one point in its path of rotation. The worm and gear are so constructed that one complete rotation of the chains 106 causes one complete rotation of the shaft 149. With this arrangement, the dial 146 may be used to position the switch operator 148 so as to actuate the switch 155 at any selected position of travel of the rod 109 carried by the chains 106. The signal produced by the switch 155 is used to deenergize the clutch 91 and energize the brake 92 at a seletced point of travel of the rod 109 to index the deflector assembly 16 at its initial starting point to thus being the indexing cycle of the deflector as will be explained in connection with the overall operation of the device.

In addition to the structure described, provision is made for additionally deflecting the sheets at the upper end of the inclined conveyor portion 14 for proofing purposes and for insuring that the light beam is not interrupted during the downward travel of the rod 109. The mechanism for accomplishing this function will be referred to as the proofer assembly which includes generally a proofer tray 155 mounted at the upper end of the distributor portion at the top of the infeed conveyor 14 and a plurality of deflector fingers 158 mounted between the pulleys 84 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 7. The fingers 158 are fixedly mounted on a rotatable cross shaft 159 and may be connected together by a sheet metal plate or the like 161. The shaft 159 may be mounted for rotation by the side plates 27 and is provided at one end thereof with a crank arm 162 which is biased in the clockwise direction by a spring 163 so as to hold the fingers 158 out of the path of the passing sheet. A solenoid actuator 164 is connected to the crank arm 162 by means of a second spring 166 so as to move the crank arm 162 in the counter clockwise direction to lower the fingers 158 upon energization of the solenoid. When the fingers 158 are in the actuated posi tion shown in dotted lines in FIG. 7, a sheet advanced by the tapes 13 follows upwardly over the surface of the fingers 158 and into the proof tray 155 instead of following the tapes downwardly to the deflector tray 17.

To complete the structure of the device, a control unit or console 167 is mounted beneath the infeed table and may be supported on the brackets 84 and 168 which are bolted or otherwise attached to the vertical plates 27 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3. The control panel 167 may be used to mount the control circuit and certain of the switches shown in the electrical schematic of FIG. 12. Having described the structural details of the device, the overall operation of the device in performing the collating function including one complete cycle will now be described referring to the electrical schematic of FIG. 12 as well as the structural details described.

Operation As aforementioned the collator of the present invention will be utilized in conjunction with some feeding device such as a press, copying machine or other printing apparatus and the collator will be readied for operation before the feed device is actuated so as to supply sheets to the collator. Referring to the electrical schematic of FIG. 12, the start button or switch 8-6, which is actually a double switch having a normally open contact S-6 and 2. normally closed contact S61, is depressed which energizes the power control relay R16, the light source 132, and the relay Rll through the photo cell 133 and the contacts R16-1 of the relay R16. Light from the light source 132 closes the light cell circuit in a well known manner and holds relay R11 energized. Closure of the contacts R11-1 of the relay R11 serves to energize the automatic shut-off relay R14. The relay R16 will hold through the normally closed stop switch S-1, and the closed contact R16-2 and R-14-1. When the start switch S-6 is released, the contact 5-6-1 of the switch again is closed to energize the drive motor relay R60 through the closed relay contacts R16-3. Closing of the relay R60 supplies power to the drive motor 72 through the contacts of the relay R60-J and R60-2 respectively. With the energization of the drive motor 72, the tapes 13 are driven continuously so as to receive sheets which are fed into the device at the lower end of the incline feed table 14. The entire device may be stopped at any time by pressing the stop switch S-l which drops out the relay R-16 and consequently the relays Rll, R14 and R60 as well as the light source 132.

Assuming that a previous count or distributing run has been completed, i.e., the prescribed number of sheets have been collated, the bar 109 carried by the chains 106 will have reached its uppermost position and contacted the switch arm 141 so as to close the count complete switch 142. Closing of switch 142 energizes the relay R-15 which seals itself in through one of its contacts R15-1 and the normally closed brake-set switch 155. Another one of the contacts R15-2 of the relay R-15 also closes to energize the relay R13. A normally open contact R-13-1 then closes to energize the clutch 91 and, at the same time, a normally closed contact R13-2 of the relay opens so as to deenergize the brake 92 so that the chain mounted bar 109 starts its uninterrupted downward return travel and, at the same time, it will be noted that the cam switch 138 is inelfective to control the brake or clutch since the relay R13 is energized through the contact R15-2 of the relay R15 which has locked itself through the contact R15-1 and the normally closed brake-set switch 155. The third contact, R15-3 of the relay R15 also closes so as to energize the relay R42. With the relay R42 energized, the normally closed contacts R42-1 open and the contact R-42-2 closes so as to energize the proof solenoid 164 which operates the deflector fingers 158 so as to guide any incoming sheet to the proof tray 157 during the downward travel of the chain mounted bar 109. Opening of the contact R42-1 insures that the brake will not be set by a sheet interrupting the light beam during downward travel of the bar.

As soon as the bar 109 starts its upward travel again it will advance to a position which corresponds to the setting of the dial 146 of the index selector at which position the brake-set switch will be contacted and opened by the operator 148 so as to drop out the relay R15 which also drops out the relay R13 by opening the contact R152. With the relay R13 deenergized, the contact R13-1 will again be open to deenergize the clutch 91 and to energize the brake 92 through the normally closed relay contact R13-2. The bar 109, and hence the deflector plate 17 of the deflector assembly, will stop at the proper receiver tray which corresponds to the setting of the index selector knob 146. The collator device is now ready for the reception of sheets from a feeder device.

It will be noted at this time that the relay R11 is energized by the energization of the photo cell 133 by means of the light beam from the light source 132 and hence the normally closed contact R11-2 is opened so that the relay R-12 is not energized. Likewise, the normally opened contact R-11-3 is now closed. Since the relay R-15 has been deenergized, the contacts R-15-3 are open and the relay R-42 is deenergized and hence the contacts R422 are open so as to deenergize the proof solenoid 164. When a sheet of paper enters the infeed conveyor section 14, the tapes 13 advance the sheet beneath the ball rack 63 and the sheet is held against the moving tapes by means of the balls 67 as the sheet progresses up the incline feed table. The sheets continue upwardly with the tapes and pass over the pulleys 84 and the paper guides 37 with the spring finger 71 serving to hold the sheets thereagainst. The deflector fingers 158 which are now in the full line position shown in FIG. 7 guides the sheet downwardly until it passes under the tapes 129. As the sheet continues downwardly, it is held against the tapes 13 by the tapes 129 and eventually passes beneath the rollers 124 and contacts the curved lip 116 of the deflector plate 17 which directs the sheet toward the proper receiving bin.

As the sheets pass onto the deflector plate 17, the light beam from the light source 132 is broken. Breaking of the light beam deenergizes the relay R-11 and it will remain deenergized as long as the beam is broken. The normally closed contact R11 thus closes so as to energize the relay R-12 which seals itself in through its contact R121. Since the relay R-12 is now energized, the contact R-12-2 is closed. When the paper passes out of the light beam, the relay R-11 will again be energized through the photo cell 33, the contact R112 will be opened, and the contact R-11-3 will be closed so as to energize the relay R13 Energization of the relay R13 will cause the brake 92 to be deenergized by opening the normally closed contact R434. The clutch 91 will be energized through the contact R13-1 as previously explained. During this time, the moving sheet has been guided into the proper receiver tray and after the paper passes, the deflector starts to move upwardly. As the deflector assembly is moved, however, the lobe 136 on the cam 134 shoWn in FIG. releases the switch arm 139 and the switch 138 moves to its second position shown in dotted lines in FIG. 12. Moving of the switch 138 to the second position drops out the relay R-12 and hence the contact R-12-2 is again opened. By this time, the second cam lobe 137 has repositioned the switch 138 to the full line position shown in the schematic and since R12-2 is opened, relay R13 is deenergized. With the relay R-13 denergized, the brake is again energized and the clutch deenergized as previously explained so that the deflector assembly stops at the next succeeding receiver tray. Thus the cycle repeats itself until the count has been completed. When the count is complete, the switch 142 is again closed so that the bar 109 makes its continuous downward return travel so as to bring the deflector assembly back to the position set by the index slector dial 146 where the switch 155 is opened to halt the movement of the deflector assembly at the desired position. The particular position set by the indexing selector dial 146, will of course, determine the point at which the deflector assembly indexes.

If for some reason during the operation of the device, it is desired to selectively advance the deflector assembly one position without the passage of a sheet, a selector switch 8-2 is manually depressed so that the contacts 8-2 are closed and the contacts S-21 are opened so as to energize the relay R-13 resulting in the movement of the deflector assembly one position at a time upwardly in the same manner as the action which results from the breaking of the light beam by a passing sheet as explained.

Provision is also made for recycling the deflector assembly at any desired time during the collating cycle so as to begin again at the first receiver tray. For this purpose, the recycle switch 8-28 may be manually closed so as to energize the relay R- in the same manner as described in relation to the closing of the count complete switch 142 with the same results following.

In order to provide for selective operation of the proof ing mechanism after the sheet deflector has been moved to its initial indexing position and before collating begins and without recycling the device, a proof switch S203 may be closed to energize the proof solenoid 164 by the relay R-42 independent of the relay R-15. As aforementioned, as long as the relay R-42 is energized, breaking of the light beam will be ineffective to cause move ment of the sheet deflector.

It is believed that the invention will have been clearly understood from the foregoing detailed description of the illustrated now-preferred embodiment. Minor changes in the details of construction will suggest themselves and may be resorted to without departing from the spirit of the invention. Accordingly it is intended that no limitations be implied and that the hereto annexed claims be given a scope fully commensurate with the broadest interpretation to which the employed language fairly admits.

Having thus described the invention what is new and desired to be covered by Letters Patent is:

1. In combination with a receiver having an upright column of spaced shelves; substantially vertically moving sheet conveyor means opposite said receiver for conveying sheets in a substantially vertical course, a movable sheet deflector assembly operatively associated with said conveyor means, means mounting said deflector assembly for movement along said conveyor, means for positioning said deflector assembly at predetermined positions along said conveyor for deflecting moving sheets therefrom into selected ones of said shelves, and sheet retaining means cooperating with said conveyor means for holding said moving sheet thereto for conveying to the position at which it is deflected.

2. The combination according to claim 1 wherein; said conveyor means moves in a downward course, and said means for positioning said deflector assembly includes means for indexing the deflector assembly between a predetermined series of positions to deflect sheets to different ones of said shelves.

3. The combination according to claim 2 wherein; said conveyor means includes laterally spaced conveyor tapes movable along said vertical downward course, said sheet retaining means comprising retractable tapes having the opposite ends thereof connected to the conveyor means and said deflector assembly respectively, means for retracting and extending said retractable tapes as the deflector assembly moves along the conveyor, said retractable tapes being in face-to-face proximity with the re spective conveyor tapes for holding said sheets against the conveyor tapes to be moved thereby to the position of the deflector assembly.

4. The combination according to claim 3 wherein said means for indexing said assembly includes a control system, said control system being sensitive to the passing of a sheet over said deflector assembly for moving said assembly to a successive indexed position after a sheet has been deflected into a given shelf.

5. The combination according to claim 4 wherein; said sheet conveyor includes an infeed portion for receiving sheets to be distributed, said means for holding a sheet against said tapes along the infeed portion comprises; a respective row of individually mounted balls bearing against each of said tapes on the infeed portion, each of said balls being free to rotate, and mounting means for confining the rotation of each ball about an axis generally transverse to the direction of travel of said tapes.

6. The combination according to claim 5 including a proof deflector mounted between the infeed portion and the downwardly moving portion of said conveyor tapes, said proof deflector having a plurality of deflector fingers located between said tapes, means to mount said fingers for movement between a first position in the path of a moving sheet to deflect the same from the downward course and a second position to guide said sheet from the infeed portion to the downward course, said fingers being normally held in the second position; said control system including first selectively actuated control means to move said deflector fingers to the first position, and second control means to move said fingers to the first position responsive to the completion of a predetermined set of index positions of said deflector assembly.

7. The combination according to claim 6 wherein said control system includes a count complete signal means for producing a signal upon completion of a predetermined set of index positions of said deflector assembly, means to return said deflector assembly to an initial index position, said means for returning the deflector assembly being operable in response to said count complete signal, and settable index selector means for controlling the initial index position of said assembly, said second control means being operable to move said deflector fingers to said second position responsive to the positioning of the deflector assembly at the initial index position.

8. The combination according to claim 1 wherein; said means for positioning said deflector assembly includes means for indexing the deflector assembly between a predetermined series of positions to deflect sheets to different ones of said shelves.

9. The combination according to claim 8 wherein; said means for indexing the deflector assembly includes a control system, said control system being sensitive to the passing of a sheet over the deflector assembly for moving said assembly to a successive indexed position after a sheet has been deflected into a given shelf.

10. The combination according to claim 9 wherein; said deflector assembly includes means for guiding sheets away from said conveyor tapes, vertically reciprocal slide members, mounting means to guide said slide members, said deflector assembly being located between said slide members, and said means for positioning said deflector assembly being operatively associated with said slide members to vertically reciprocate said deflector assembly.

11. The combination according to claim 3 wherein said means for retracting said retractable tapes comprises; spring winding means associated with one end of each tape.

12. The combination according to claim 3 wherein; said deflector assembly includes means for guiding sheets away from said conveyor tapes, vertically reciprocable slide members, mounting means to guide said slide members, said deflector assembly being located between said conveyor tapes and centered between said slide members, and said means for positioning said deflector assembly being operatively associated with said slide members to vertically reciprocate said deflector assembly.

13. The combination according to claim 12 wherein; each of said slide members includes a pair of vertically spaced arms providing an elongated slot therebetween, said arms extending substantially normal to the plane of movement of said conveyor tapes, said means for moving the deflector assembly comprising; a pair of endless chain members having reversely directed vertical courses, an operating member fixed to corresponding links on said chain members and extending therebetween in engagement with the slots between the arms of said slide members, whereby vertical movement only is transferred from said operating member to the slide members.

14. The device according to claim 13 wherein said means for retracting said retractable tapes comprises: spring winding means connected to the opposite ends of said retractable tapes to accommodate the vertical movement of said slide members, and spaced roller means carried by each slide member for engaging the opposite faces of said conveyor tapes to guide a sheet onto said deflector assembly.

15. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said conveyor includes laterally spaced conveyor tapes movable along said vertical course and said sheet retaining means is located along said vertical course for holding said sheets against the conveyor tapes to be moved thereby to the position of the deflector assembly.

16. The combination according to claim 15 including a control system for indexing said assembly, said control system being sensitive to the passing of a sheet over said deflector assembly for moving said assembly to a successive indexed position after a sheet has been deflected into a given shelf.

17. The combination according to claim 15 wherein said last mentioned means comprises; retractable tapes having the opposite end thereof fixed relative to the conveyor means and said deflector assembly respectively, and means for retracting said retractable tapes to accommodate reciprocation of said deflector assembly, said tapes being in face-to-face proximity with the respective conveyor tapes for holding said sheets against the conveyor tapes to be moved thereby to the position of the deflector assembly.

18. The combination according to claim 17 including spring winding means for retracting said retractable tapes to accommodate reciprocation of said deflector means.

19. The combination according to claim 18 including freely rotatable shaft means, means on said shaft for winding said retractable tapes in one direction, said spring means for retracting said retractable tapes comprising, at least one flexible elongated drive element wound about said rotatable shaft and tension spring means interconnecting said drive element and said deflector means, said drive element being wound about said shaft in the opposite direction from said retractable tapes, whereby movement of the deflector means so as to unwind the retractable tape serves to wind the drive element and tension said spring and return movement of the deflector means allows said drive element and said spring to rotate said shaft in a direction to retract the retractable tapes.

20. The combination according to claim 4 wherein said control system includes a light source, photo cell means sensitive to said light source for controlling the indexing of said assembly, said light source being so positioned as to direct a light beam on said cell, said light beam being interrupted by the passing of a sheet over the deflector assembly.

21. In combination with a receiver having an upright column of spaced shelves; substantially vertically moving sheet conveyor means opposite said receiver for conveying sheets in a substantially vertical course with the sheets being disposed in a substantially vertical plane, a movable sheet deflector assembly operatively associated with said conveyor means, means mounting said deflector assembly for movement along said conveyor, extensible sheet retaining means positioned so as to be in face-toface proximity with the moving sheet and to hold the same in contact with the conveyor means, said sheet rctaining means being connected to the deflector assembly at one end and having the other end fixed against longitudinal movement relative to the conveyor means, whereby the sheet retaining means is extended by movement of the deflector assembly away from the fixed end thereof so as to hold the moving sheet against the conveyor means until it reaches the position of the deflector assembly, means to retract said sheet retaining means when the deflector assembly moves toward the fixed end thereof, and means for positioning said deflector assembly at predetermined positions along said conveyor for deflecting moving sheets therefrom into selected ones of said shelves.

22. The combination according to claim 21 wherein; said conveyor means moves in a downward course, and said mean for positioning said deflector assembly includes means for indexing the deflector assembly between a predetermined series of positions to deflect sheets to different ones of said shelves.

23. The combination according to claim 21 wherein; said means for positioning said deflector assembly ineludes means for indexing the deflector assembly between a predetermined series of positions to deflect sheets to different ones of said shelves, said means for indexing the deflector assembly including a control system, said control system being sensitive to the passing of a sheet over the deflector assembly for moving said assembly to a successive indexed position after a sheet has been deflected into a given shelf.

24. The combination according to claim 23 wherein; said control system includes a count complete signal means for producing a signal upon completion of a predetermined set of index positions of said deflector assembly, means to return said deflector assembly to an initial index position, said means for returning the deflector assembly being operable in response to said count complete signal.

25. The combination according to claim 21 wherein; said sheet retaining means include flexible tape members for holding the moving sheeets in contact with the conveyor means, and said means for retracting the sheet retaining means comprises spring winding means connected to the longitudinally fixed end portion of the tape members.

26. In combination with a receiver having an upright column of spaced shelves; substantially vertically moving sheet conveyor means opposite said receiver for conveying sheets in a substantially vertical course with the sheets being disposed in a substantially vertical plane, a movable sheet deflector assembly operatively associated with said conveyor means, means mounting said deflector assembly for movement along said conveyor, sheet retaining means connected to said deflector assembly for holding the moving sheet against the conveyor means until it reaches the position of the deflector assembly, and means for positioning said deflector assembly at predetermined positions along said conveyor for deflecting moving sheets therefrom into selected ones of said shelves.

27. The combination according to claim 26 wherein; said deflector assembly includes means for guiding sheets away from said conveyor tapes, vertically reciprocal slide members, mounting means to guide said slide members, said deflector assembly being located between said slide members, and said means for positioning said deflector assembly being operatively associated with said slide members to vertically reciprocate said deflector assembly.

28. The combination according to claim 27 wherein; each of said slide members includes a pair of vertically spaced arms providing an elongated slot therebetween said arms extending substantially normal to the plane of movement of said conveyor means, the means for moving the deflector assembly comprising; a pair of endless chain members having reversely directed vertical courses, operating members fixed to corresponding links on said chain members and in engagement with the corresponding slots between the arms of the respective slide members, whereby vertical movement only is transferred from said operating members to the slide members.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,273,882 9/1966 Pearson 270-58 2,856,182 10/1958 Cantrell 271-64 X EUGENE R. CAPOZIO, Primary Examiner.

P. V. WILLIAMS. Assistant Examiner.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3516654 *Apr 18, 1968Jun 23, 1970Mestre LuisSheet sorter having automatic sheet feed control and restart
US3527406 *Aug 30, 1968Sep 8, 1970NorfinCard reader apparatus
US3561753 *Jul 29, 1968Feb 9, 1971NorfinSheet collating device
US3638937 *Oct 1, 1969Feb 1, 1972Minnesota Mining & MfgCollator
US3652079 *Aug 1, 1969Mar 28, 1972NorfinMovable infeed conveyor for sheet collator device
US3685819 *Mar 17, 1971Aug 22, 1972Addressograph MultigraphSheet distributing device
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US4273326 *Dec 14, 1978Jun 16, 1981Norfin, Inc.Collator
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US4558860 *May 29, 1984Dec 17, 1985Xerox CorporationSingle pivot bin sorter
US4836529 *Aug 28, 1987Jun 6, 1989Ikegami Tsushinki Co., Ltd.Sorting machine
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Classifications
U.S. Classification271/296
International ClassificationB65H39/11
Cooperative ClassificationB65H39/11, B65H2408/112
European ClassificationB65H39/11
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 11, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: PACCOM LEASING CORPORATION, 1221 SW YAMHILL, SUITE
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NORFIN INTERNATIONAL, INC.;REEL/FRAME:004862/0406
Effective date: 19880222
Owner name: PACCOM LEASING CORPORATION, A OREGON CORP., OREGON
Feb 9, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: NORFIN INTERNATIONAL, INC., 526 FIRST AVENUE, SOUT
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:SNELLMAN, DONALD L.;REEL/FRAME:004688/0034
Effective date: 19870114
Owner name: NORFIN INTERNATIONAL, INC.,WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SNELLMAN, DONALD L.;REEL/FRAME:004688/0034
Dec 6, 1983PSPatent suit(s) filed