US 3416679 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 17, 1968 A. R. STOBB SIGNATURE FEEDER Filed Jan. 16, 1967 INVENTOR' ANTON R. $7088 United States Patent O 3,416,679 SIGNATURE FEEDER Anton R. Stobb, Pittstown, NJ., assignor to Stobb, Inc., Mountainside, N.J., a corporation of New Jersey Filed Jan. 16, 1967, Ser. No. 609,610 9 Claims. (Cl. 214-85) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A signature feeder is provided with a conveyor which engages and moves a stack of signatures into position for a gripper to take the signatures separately from the stack and to place them on a collector chain or the like. Automatically operated switches are provided for both moving the stack upwardly to feed it to the gripper, and for removing a support plate at the base of the stack. The operator need not manually attend to these functions. The relationship between the length of the conveyor and the length of the stack of signatures is such that when a first stack is partially exhausted, a next stack can be placed onto the lower end of the conveyor. The conveyor operates at speeds and is controlled so that the second stack will then be moved into end contact with the support plate of the first stack, and the entire feed of the signatures of the two stacks to the gripper is continuous and automated.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention pertains to signature feeders.
Commercially acceptable signature feeders consist of providing uprightly disposed signature hoppers wherein relatively small sizes of stacks of signatures are manually positioned by an attendant. Feeder means are then provided for removing the signatures from the bottom of the stack and placing them separately onto a collectorconveyor or the like. Since these signatures are removed from the bottom of the stack, rather than the top, only a small stack can be placed into the hopper at one time. Further, this prior art and commercial apparatus requires the attention of one person to obtain the stack and remove the usual strapping or binding, and additional attendants are required for placing the portions of the one large stack into the hopper in quantities or sizes which can be handled by the gripper which removes the signatures from the stack.
The present invention permits the positioning of the full stack into the hopper, and the stack is then automatically fed in timed relationship with the gripper means, and all can be accomplished with the attention of only one operator who simply removes the strapping from the stack which is then placed onto the conveyor which automatically moves the stack up to the gripper means. The feed of the signatures to the gripper is continuous and uninterrupted, since stack after stack can be placed onto the conveyor and handled so that it is in effect one continuous and endless stack of signatures. There is no gap or interruption of the feed of the signatures to the gripper even though a plurality of stacks are being handled by the apparatus. Further, there is no manual lifting of any of the stacks or portions thereof, since the single operator need only push the entire stack onto the conveyor.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the signature feeder of this invention.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a portion of FIG. 1, looking down from the top, and with parts broken away.
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the support means for the stack of signatures.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT A hopper 10 is comprised of a floor 11, a top rail 12 and connecting ribs 13. The hopper 10 thus forms a trough, with the upper side open so that a stack of signatures 14 can be tipped from the upright or vertical position on the right hand end of FIG. 1 and to the left and into the hopper 10. A portion designated 16 of a previous stack of signatures is shown in the upper end of the hopper 10 and is supported on the bottom plate 17. Thus it will be apparent that one operator can remove the binding or straps 18, encircling the stack 14, and he can remove the end boards 19 and 21, after the bound stack 14 has been placed on the base plate 22. He will then simply move the stack 14 along the rollers 23 and push the stack into the hopper 10.
A conveyor, generally designated 24 is movably arranged in the hopper 10, and has one section 26, and another section 27. The sections 26 and 27 each have a set of two projections 28, which are stack engagers, and they abut the sides of the support plate 17 to cause the latter to move upwardly in the hopper 10 in accordance with the movement of the conveyor 24.
FIG. 2 shows that both conveyor sections 26 and 27 exist on both sides of the hopper 10, and therefore on both sides of the stack 14 when the latter has been tipped into the hopper 10, as it is shown in FIG. 2. Thus the conveyor 24 can move continuously in the lifting of the stacks of signatures, and it will not interfere with any operation or apparatus along the path of the stacks such as the stack 14 and the stack 16.
A motor 33 is shown in driving relation with gear mechanism 34 which drives the shaft 29, all in a conventional manner. Similarly, an electric motor 36 engages gear mechanism 37 to drive a shaft 38 which rotatably freely supports pulleys 39 carrying the conveyor section 27. The upper end of the conveyor section 27 is shown supported on pulleys 41 rotatably keyed onto a shaft 42, suitably afiixed with the hopper 10, as in the case of the other shafts described. The extents of the conveyor section 27 along the inside of the hopper 10 move upwardly in the hopper to advance the stacks upwardly, as desired. A pulley 29a and a pulley 42a are keyed to the shafts 29 and 42, respectively, and a drive belt 40 extends between to drive the conveyor section 27 by the motor 33. Likewise, conveyor section 26 is driven by motor 36 since a pulley 38a and a pulley 31a are drivingly keyed to shafts 38 and 31, respectively, with a drive belt 45 extending between these two pulleys. Thus, pulleys 50 are rotatably keyed onto shaft 31, and pulleys 55 are rotatably free on shaft 42.
Moving the stack 14 onto the conveyor 24 can cause the support plate 22 to engage a fixed stop 43, and the plate 22 will remain in that position until it is engaged by the first pair of engagers 28 on, for example, the conveyor section 27. The operator can then push an electric switch button 44, and, through electrical power and connections, such as the diagrammatically shown connection 46, the motor 33 will be operated to operate the conveyor 27 and rapidly lift the stack 14 upwardly in the hopper 10. If it is the first and only st-ack then placed into the hopper 10, the motor 33 will operate at a high speed until the top edge of the stack, such as the top edge designated 47 on the stack 16, contacts a sensor or finger 48. This sensor includes a rod 49 which extends to a switch 51 which in turn is connected electrically through a wire 52 to the control box 53. The sensor 48 then causes the motor 33 to operate at a slow speed, which speed is synchronized and timed with the operation of the gripper means, hereinafter described. The conveyor 26 also has fast and slow speeds which are utilized under the conditions shown in FIG. 1, that is, when the first stack 16 is partially exhausted and it is desired to place another full stack, such as the stack 14, into the hopper 10. At that time, the stack 14 may be tipped into the hopper, but its upper end will not be in contact with the lower end of the stack 16. Thus, fast operation of the conveyor section 26 will raise the stack 14 into end abutment with the previous stack 16. Then the stacks will feed upwardly together under the automatically controlled speed of the conveyor 24. The operator may control the fast speed of the conveyor 26 by means of the push-button 54, subject to the automatic cut-out of the fast speed through the described sensor 48. Also, there may be conventional electrical means (not shown) connected between the motors 33 and 36 and a hereinafter described means for removing the plates 17 and 22. Such electrical means will alternately permit fast and slow operation of the motors 33 and 36. The operator can control the action of the conveyor sections 26 and 27 and their driving motors 33 and 36 through its push-buttons 44 and 54, and holding the button will give the fast lift desired. Release of the buttons 44 and 54 will cause the sections 26 and 27 to be operated at the slow feeding speed.
A conventional type of signature gripper 57 is suitably pivotally mounted for movement toward the top of the stack 46 and away from the stack to deposit the signatures on a collecting conveyor 58 or the like. A single signature S is indicated to be suspended along a path which the signatures might follow in moving from the stack to the conveyor 58. An arrangement such as that shown and described is conventional, and it need not be further described to one skilled in the art.
A vacuum-type suction cup 59 is operable at the top of the stack 16 to move the signatures separately off the top of the stack 16 and into the clutches of the gripper 57 for the action just described. Of course the movement of the stack 16 upwardly is related to the speed of the gripper 57 so that the entire stack 16 can be adequately deposited on the conveyor 58, as desired.
When the plate 17, and of course also the plate 22, reaches the upper end of the hopper 10, then an arm 61 is pivoted about a shaft 62 to engage the plate 17 and move it away from the stack 16 and onto a support 63, as is shown with a plate 64. A power cylinder 66 is shown pivotally connected at 65 to the arm 61 for pivoting the arm between the lower position shown and the raised position to where the plates are deposited on the support 63.
The sensor, in the form of a switch of the limit type and designated 67 is disposed adjacent the upper end of the hopper to be actuated by the contact of the plate 17. The sensor 67 is then diagrammatically shown to be connected to a pump 68 through a connecting line 69, and
the pump 68 could be connected through a hose 71 to the' power cylinder 66 for the extension of the cylinder and pivotal movement of the arm 61, as mentioned. FIG. 3 thus shows the plate 17 to include a cross bar 72 which secures the two sides of the plate 17 spaced apart so that the arm 61 can adequately engage the plate 17 to lift it up to the support 63. This of course is all automatic, and the operator then is only required to take the plate 64 off the support 63 and position it below the next stack, as is shown with respect to the plate 22 in FIG. 1.
A shoe 73 is affixed in a position on the hopper to abut the upper side 47 of the stack 16 and thereby align the stack and control it as it advances upwardly. The shoe 73 does not interfere with the movement of the plate 17, nor with the arm 61, and such clearance may be in any wellknown arrangement. Also, the support 63 is indicated to be pivotal about a pin 74, and the support may pivot upwardly or clockwise from the position shown, for passage of the plate bar 72 thereabove, but it may not pivot counter-clockwise from the position shown, so it holds the plate 64 in the position shown after automatically receiving the Plate.
While a specific embodiment of this invention has been shown and described, it should be obvious that certain changes could be made in the embodiment and the invention should therefore be determined only by the scope of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. In a sheet feeder including a mechanically powered conveyor for supporting a stack of sheets in an upright direction which presents an upper sheet across the top of said stack, gripper means for individually removing said sheets from the top of said stack when said conveyor positions said stack at an elevation which presents the upper sheet to said gripper means, conveyor drive means drivingly connected to said conveyor for power elevating the same, the improvement comprising said conveyor including two sets of co-extensive belts separately and independently mounted for relative movement therebetween and including sheet stack engagers for independently elevating respective stacks of sheets supported by said engagers, said conveyor drive means including a separate drive connection to each of said two sets of belts, said conveyor drive means including separate operating controls and being operable for different stack elevating speeds and being adapted to operate each of said two sets of belts at both fast and slow speeds relative to each other for positioning a lower stack on one of said two sets of belts in contact with the base of an upper stack on the other of said two sets of belts.
2. The subject matter of claim 1, wherein said conveyor is at an oblique angle with respect to the vertical, and a hopper is parallel to and adjacent said conveyor to support said sheets, said hopper being open on the upper side thereof for facilitating receiving an upstanding stack of sheets tipped into said hopper and into a stacksupported position on said engagers on said conveyor.
3. The subject matter of claim 2, wherein said hopper includes a floor for supporting said stacks, and said two sets of belts are spaced apart and have said engagers on said belts on each side of each of said sets of said belts for sliding of said stacks upwardly on said floor, and said stack engagers including a support removably disposed below said stack for supporting the same on said conveyor.
4. The subject matter of claim 3, including automatically operative means for engaging said support and removing it from said stack, and a support sensor operatively connected to said automatically operative means for activating the latter when said support reaches a selected height.
5. The subject matter of claim 1,including an automatically operative sheet sensor connected with said operating controls for each of said two sets of belts for sensing the presence of said upper sheet in the upper stack and at a level of elevation and to interrupt powering said two sets of belts at said fast speed.
6. The subject matter of claim 5, wherein said sheet sensor is disposed adjacent said gripper means at the upper end of said upper stack for detecting the presence of said sheets at a level of elevation relative to said gripper means.
7. The subject matter of claim 1, wherein said operating controls for said two sets of belts include manually operative controls for operating both said sets of belts at said fast speed.
8. The subject matter of claim 7, including an automatically operative sheet sensor for detecting the elevation of said upper one of said sheets in said upper stack, and a cutout control connected with said sensor and said operating controls for each of said two sets of belts to interrupt driving said two sets of belts at said fast speed by use of said manually operative controls.
9. The subject matter of claim 1, wherein said engagers include a support removably disposed below said stack for supporting said stack, and including automatically operative means for engaging said support and removing 5 6 it from said stack, and a support sensor operatively con- FOREIGN PATENTS nected to said automatically operative means for acti- 478 823 11/1951 Canada vating the latter when said support reaches a selected helght- GERALD M. FORLENZA, Primary Examiner.
References med 5 GEORGE F ABRAHAM A 'r tE r. UNITED STATES PATENTS m xa'mne 2,589,428 3/1952 Pearce 27130X US. Cl. X.R.
3,123,355 3/1964 Lessig 271-30X 193164