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Publication numberUS3420518 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 7, 1969
Filing dateDec 23, 1965
Priority dateDec 23, 1965
Publication numberUS 3420518 A, US 3420518A, US-A-3420518, US3420518 A, US3420518A
InventorsEveland Baisel L, Hart Joseph C, Masterson Earl E
Original AssigneeHoneywell Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Transport arrangement
US 3420518 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 7, 1969 EVELAND ET AL 3,420,518

TRANSPORT ARRANGEMENT Sheet Filed Dec. 25, 1965 INVENI'O/PS BAISEL L. EVELAND JOSEPH C. HART EARL E. MASTERSON -sT-I ATTORNEY Jan. 7, 1969 EVELAND' ET AL 3,420,518

TRANSPORT ARRANGEMENT Tiled Dec. 23, 1965 Sheet 2 of 4 uvvavroe; BAISEL L. EVELAND JOSEPH C. HART EARL E. MASTERSON Jan. '7, 1969 B. EVELAND ET AL 3,420,518

TRANSPORT ARRANGEMENT Filed Dec. 23. 1965 Sheet 3 of 4 INVfNTORS BAISEL L. EVELAND JOSEPH C. HART EARL E. MASTERSON ATTORNEY 1969 B. L. EVELAND ET AL 3,420,518

' TRANSPORT ARRANGEMENT ilecl Dec. 23, 1965 Sheet 4 of 4 FIG. 6

INVENTORS BAISEL L. EVELAND JOSEPH C. HART EARL E. MASTERSON MM MW ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,420,518 TRANSPORT ARRANGEMENT Baisel L. Eveland, Medfield, Joseph C. Hart, Quincy, and

Earl E. Masterson, Newtonville, Mass., assignors t0 Honeywell Inc., Minneapolis, Minn., a corporation of Delaware Filed Dec. 23, 1965, Ser. No. 515,995

US. Cl. 271-68 Int. Cl. B65h 29/68 11 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The present invention relates to an improved stacking arrangement for variously dimensioned unit records; and more particularly, to such arrangements which are characterized by transport segments and stop means, the effective length and location of which are selectably adjustable to accommodate such records.

Unit record documents are commonly used in the business world and elsewhere; for instance, commonly providing input/output to computers when made in the form of punched cards or the like. Unit records have been in use since long prior to the introduction of automatic record processing apparatus, such as card sorters and the like, and thus have evolved into a rather bewildering array of sizes, weights, etc. This variety has heretofore limited the versatility of many business machines rather severely. For instance, a utility company may commonly use such disparately-dimensioned documents as large, heavy, punched cards plus thin diminutive magnetic-ink encoded checks or flimsy tissued bill receipts; and will commonly find that their punched-card processing machines (e.g. sorters) are unable to also handle the smaller, light-stock records. The present invention provides part of the answer to this problem in versatility by prescribing record stacking means which is most conveniently adjusted to accommodate unit records of widely varying size and weight.

Moreover, the invention solves this problem in a manner which is uniquely convenient, yet simple, requiring a minimum of special parts. For instance, the invention provides an adjustable-length stacking transport which can be simply manipulated to change its effective length along a sort pocket without changing the overall configuration or size of the assembly. Further, the invention provides such compatibility with varying record sizes while still assuring positive advancement of the thinnest, light documents as well as the thickest ones. That is, the invention provides a traction means adapted to translate records of widely varying stiffness and yet advance them positively and uniformly for stacking. For example, one embodiment handles record stock as light as 20 pound check paper and as heavy as 100 pound tab-card stock.

The invention further provides improved card transport adjuncts in association with this versatile transport. More particularly, it provides a novel document deceleration means which cooperates with the transport and with flex- 3,420,518 Patented Jan. 7,1969

"ice

ible stop means to adjustably decelerate documents without trapping them. The invention also provides a common frame for mounting the transport length-adjusting means, the deceleration means and the stop means in'common for convenient cooperative manipulation. Further, the invention provides a novel forked diverter-fiexure and cooperating pocket guide to guide documents into engagement with the aforementioned transport and associated stacking means.

Thus, it is an object of the present invention to alleviate the above-mentioned problems and to provide the abovementioned features of novelty and advantage.

The above novel features and advantages are provided by a novel document stacking assembly which comprises a transport means, the effective length of which is selectably variable conveniently to accommodate various document configurations by minor adjustments, the transport means being mounted in common, mutually-adjustable relation with a novel adjustable document deceleration means which can selectably vary the amount of deceleration and an associated document fiexure-stop means. Additionally, a document diverter means and associated guide means are provided at the input of this stacking assembly.

These and other novel features of the invention and further objects and advantages, will become apparent from the following detailed specifications with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals denote like parts. In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a schematic plan view of two pockets of a multi-pocket document sorting arrangement adapted to selectably accommodate a wide variety of document sizes according to the invention;

FIGURE 2 is a schematic front perspective of one of the pocket transports indicated in FIGURE 1, with some parts eliminated for clarity;

FIGURE 3 is a view similar to FIGURE 2 with all parts eliminated except the length-adjust assembly for the transport;

FIGURE 4 is a front elevation of the adjustable length document pusher indicated for use with each of the sorting pockets in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 5 is a top perspective view of one of the diverter and associated guide means provided for each of the pockets in FIGURE 1; and

FIGURE 6 is a schematic fragmentary plan view of a modification of the arrangement indicated in FIGURE 3, some elements being exploded away for clarity.

PRIMARY TRANSPORT FIGURE 1 shows a record handling means including a primary double transport belt BL and a pair of diverter means D-1, D2 selectably positionable interceptingly therebetween for diverting documents transported along belt BL into an associated sort pocket (I, II respectively), each pocket including similar transport assemblies (ST-I, ST-II) according to the invention. It will be understood that these elements are not drawn to scale and that, for clarity, some parts are emphasized and other parts deemphasized, modified or eliminated consonant with conveying the principles of the invention to those skilled in the art. It will be understood that, in the operation of the illustrated arrangement, documents will normally be transported, successively, at high speeds along direction M by the primary transport means, comprising belt BL and cooperating rolls AR-l, AR-2, etc., until it is diverted. As shown in FIGURE 5 primary belt BL preferably comprises a pair of endless segments BL, BL", driven continuously such as by roll BR. Solenoid actuator means (84, 8-2) may be provided to selectively pull an associated diverter means (D-l, D-2 respectively) into position, i.e. the tip (e.g. 1D) pulled between segments BL, BL" and being arranged to be self-returning therefrom. Thus, solenoid 8-1 is indicated as having been energized on to pull diverter D1 into primary transport belt BL to divert the next oncoming document into sort pocket 1. Conversely, solenoid -2 is shown in a de-energized (off) condition allowing associated diverter D2 to maintain its rest (non-diverting) condition and not divert an oncoming document into its associated sort pocket II. The transport assemblies and associated components in pockets I and II will be understood as being similar and functionally equivalent, but modified slightly in structure. The function of the elements in sort pockets I and II will now be briefly indicated; and thereafter the structure of particular novel parts will be described, where this is necessary for full understanding by those skilled in the art.

Therefore, in sort pocket I, flexible diverter Dl (shown in FIGURE 5 in more detail) will be understood as preferably comprising a solenoid-actuable flexure blade having a resilient pointed head ID, a bifurcated body portion comprising one or more arcuate sectors 5D etc., and split therefrom, an elongate intermediate spine segment 3D, plus an enlarged tail portion 7D, extending coplanar from spine 3D and anchored to a rigid base member BB-l. When the diverter (e.g. D-2) is in rest condition, it will be understood that sections 3D and 7D form a flat, rectilinear guide plate which cooperates with primary transport segments BL, BL", being located therebetween for advancing documents in prescribed alignment. To assist in maintaining diverter D-1 this rest condition a return spring SP-l (SP-2 for D-2) is anchored in the mid-section of spine 3D (indicated in FIGURE 5) and extends through the interior of a diverter guide block B-l (B2 for D-2), being anchored in diverter-returning condition by an appropriate anchor B-1 (B'-2 for D-2). Thus, it will be evident that the operation of solenoids S1, S-2 must be such as to overcome the return action of springs SP-l, SP-2, respectively, to hold the diverter blade heads 1D etc. between belts BL, BL long enough to divert the appropriate document into the associated sort pocket; the springs SP-1, SP-2 thereafter quickly returning the associated diverter into non-diverting condition to allow following documents to pass. It will be seen that, according to the invention, the forking of the diverter blade, of itself, provides arcuate guides (e.g. 5D, etc.) into the sort pockets, thus advantageously forming a simple, yet effective, one-piece, two-way diverter blade. It is preferred that the guide surface 1-B of diverter block B is located to engage segments 5D etc. biasingly, also being formed to extend the surface of segments 5D etc. somewhat asymptotically into associated pockets.

STACKING Indicative of the desired stacking operation, it will be seen that a document proceeding along primary transport BL may be diverted by solenoid-attracted diverter blade D-l to be thrust by primary roll AR, pinching it against transport belts BL, BL, along the diverting side of blade 1D and thence along the curved surfaces of blade sectors 5D etc. and beyond, along block surface 1B. Primary roll AR is disposed to drive documents on farther so that even the shortest expected documents will be engaged, for pocketing, by the stacking belts (e.g. BL-l, BL-l and idler roll 11) to be advanced thereby into the sort pocket (e.g. I). Rolls AR, 11 etc. will be understood as being spaced from associated belts a prescribed clearance (e.g. corresponding to expected document widths. Further advance of the document will engage it either against the prior record in that sort pocket (such as card CD) or against the surface of associated pusher P-l (if the document is the first one into that pocket). As will be particularized below, the effective lengths of the stacking according to the invention, to accommodate documents of various lengths. Belts BL-l, BL-l comprise two continuous resilient endless belts driven along a prescribed path between driving stack rolls 1, 9 and 7, being diverted for tensioning and friction by idler roll 3, for clearance by idler roll 5 and for length-adjust by movable belt directing means, namely adjusting idler rolls 21, 23. Idler roll 3 acts to engage the belt positively against driving roll 1, while associated idler roll 5 diverts the belt to clear adjusting assembly SB-l in its forward most (short-card) position. Idler 11 engages documents guidingly against belts BL. A pair of guide rails may be provided as indicated at G-l comprising rails 5-G, 7G (FIGURE 2) to maintain records aligned during stacking. Equivalent means may be provided for this, such as an edge of a cover plate TP placed over the stacking unit (ST-II) as indicated in phantom for pocket II.

Each pocketing or stacking unit (ST-J, ST-II) comprises stacking belt means (BL-1, BL-1 and BL-2, BL-2) and associated driving/directing rolls, together with length-adjust means (SB-I, SB-2) for changing the effective (stacking-stopping) length of the unit, according to the invention, to accommodate different document lengths. Another feature of the invention is that novel deceleration means 25 is also provided in each adjust unit to decelerate incoming records and disengage them from the thrust of the stacking belts as well as to direct them into proper, safe, engagement with a related stop flexure means (e.g. blade 27). As indicated for instance for pocket I, a further feature of the invention is that a frame F is provided for mounting, in conjointly-translatable relation, the length-adjust idler rolls 21, 23 together with the deceleration means 25 and associated flexure stop 27 comprising, together, an adjust assembly SB-l (SB-2 for pocket II) which is selectably movable relative the associated stacking means ST-I (ST-II). Assembly SB-l thus may be selectively translated along frame F to shorten or lengthen the effective size of the sort pocket I, that is, to adjust the distance between axes VE, VI to correspond to the length of the expected documents (to be handled). A clamping means, such as knob K, may be provided to selectively afiix assembly SB-l on frame F. According to this feature, assembly SB functions as a position-adjustable (card-length-adjustable) pulley/stop assembly mounting the pulley means (e.g. web-roller pairs 21/23, 21A/23A) and resilient stop means (i.e. fiexure blade 27) to be conjunctively translatable along the length of card travel. A biased document pusher means P-l is provided, somewhat conventionally, but also including an adjustable extension mean PE-l adapted to be translated to engage flexure stop 27. As is indicated in more detail in FIGURE 4, (for pocket I) each pusher (P-l) essentially comprises a pusher blade 31 from which the extension PE slidably projects and a biasing arm PA attached to blade 31 via a bracket. Arm PA is driven by known resilient bias means (not shown) and extends through a slot 10 in the deck 10 of the sorting pockets. This resilient extension PE thus comprises another feature of the invention which, in cooperation with the aforementioned feature of the adjustable (length-positionable) pulley/stop combination SB, allows given sort pocket elements (such as in pockets P-1, P-2) to efficiently and reliably handle the injection of documents at exceptionally high speeds, while yet being adjustable to accommodate documents of different lengths. Further, this adjustability is provided according to features which are simple to operate and convenient to manufacture. It will be quite apparent to those skilled in the art (e.g. from consideration of FIGURE 4), that extensible portion PE of pusher plate 31 (which is indicated as simply friction-slidable, via the indicated finger-hole, to close the distance between fixed plate 31 and stop 27 and thereby push-guide long cards along their entire length) comprises a construction that is quite simple to implement. For instance, according to the embodiment indicated in FIGURE 4, fixed-width plate 31 may effectively comprise simply of a pair of superposed plates with a channel portion adapted to receive, and frictionally engage, rectangular extension plate PE, plate PE being quite simple and inexpensive to provide (e.g. stamped from plastic) yet operating satisfactorily. Of course, workers in the art will contemplate other equivalent extensible pusher means for providing this function by means having the same general characteristics of simplicity, low cost, etc. For instance, in certain instances it may be desirable to add clamp means between extension PE and plate 31 to better resist accidental translation therebetween (although this has not been found particularly necessary in using the foregoing embodiment). Although it has not been found necessary in this embodiment, in certain cases one might also wish to effect the positioning of extension PE conjointly with the translation of pulley-stop mounting SB. For instance, one might provide a projecting hook means for the top of spring 27 to slidingly engage an accommodating retainer means on extension PE (such as a notch along the top of PE, close to its free end and slidingly engaged with an L-shaped foot projecting out from the top of spring 27-these functioning to retain PE at a particular point along its sliding axis and yet allow the free movement thereof orthogonally, i.e. as pusher P moves toward and away from belts BL).

The above functional description of the elements in sort pocket I will be recognized as equally applicable to sort pocket II with the following minor differences (shown as different only to illustrate modifications). In pocket II, as indicated, guide means G-1 has been replaced by using the surface of a cover plate TP-2 (TP-l for pocket Isee also FIGURE 5), two edges of which may conveniently serve the function of a guide rail. It is preferred to provide such a cover plate to secure the moving parts of the stacker from intruding objects, improve safety and provide a convenient working table as well. Each cover plate (e.g. TP-l indicated in FIGURE 5) includes a slot 5-1 which will be understood as providing a passageway for shaft of an associated positioning knob K, when the length-adjust assembly SP-l, is to be translated (along axis U). Diverter means D-2 for pocket II, as mentioned, illustrates the non-diverting, or rest, condition of the diverter and is also illustrative of the translation mode of the length adjust assemblies. Thus, length-adjust assembly SB-2 will be recognized as identical to companion assembly SB1, but shown translated to a different location to define a shorter pocket for shorter sized documents, decreasing the distance between axes VE, VI; pusher extension PE-2 having been commensurately repositioned also. It will be appreciated that, in any case, the length of the sort pocket (between axes VI and VE) will be such as to locate the trailing edges of documents of the given size in the pocket so as to fall between prescribed forward and rear limits, as represented by arrows T and TT, respectively. That is, unless the trailing edge extends at least as far forward as limit T, then documents will not be stacked in the proper chronological order since a stacked document will not divert the leading edge of a following incoming document along the stacking belt BL-l. If this edge extends too far, however, i.e. beyond rear limit TT, it, of course, will interfere with the action of idler roll 11 and not be stacked in properly.

It will be appreciated that length-adjust means SB perform the advantageous function of selectively limiting the effective length of stacking belts BL along the sort pockets so as to be long enough to extend substantially fully along the document length, thus drawing documents rather than pushing them, etc.; something especially useful for thin, flimsy sheet stock which may otherwise be bent. Adjust means SB is also advantageous in terminating the adjustable length of these stacking belts somewhat ahead of document-stop 27 for clean, stopping disengagement therewith and for avoiding continuing excess thrust on stationary, stacked documents which can crumple them etc.

It will also be understood that the illustrated arrangement according to the invention can very conveniently accommodate a length gauge, imprinted along the slot (S) in the cover plate (TP) for reference in adjusting the position of the stacking assemblies (SB) for given card sizes.

The construction, according to the invention, of these length-adjustable stacking assemblies (SB) will now be further particularized, being shown in FIGURE 3 alone and in FIGURE 2 as part of an associated stacking assembly ST-I. Assembly ST-I is shown as including a pair of continuously moving transport belts BL-l, BL-l' and their associated rolls and guide rail means G-l. It will be understood that a single wide stacking belt might be substituted for belts BL-l, BL-l' along with associated roll surfaces so as to, in any event, frictionally engage an appreciable central portion of the documents for translation thereof. Similarly, while deceleration means 25 is shown as comprising three deceleration plates 25A, 25B, 25C, it will be understood that this number may vary, perhaps to change the deceleration surface area and thus modify stopping forces. Guide arrangement G-1 comprises a pair of support cloumns 1-G, 3-6 and a pair of guide rails 5G, 7-G extending in coplanar relation therebetween along a prescribed path for maintaining incoming (pocketed) documents in a prescribed upstanding plane.

The adjust assembly SB-l for pocket I (pocket 11 similar) is mounted upon a frame comprising a block 24 attached via bracketto a yoke Y to be hung slidably on rail FF of frame F FIGURE 6 shows an equivalent mounting. Deceleration means 25 comprises an L-shaped three-fingered unit, having coplanar segments 25A, 25B, 25C fastened, such as by screws or the like, to a mating L-shaped support 26 which, in turn, is arranged to slid ingly attach to rail FF such as by attachment through yoke Y, or the like. Block 24 may be welded or otherwise joined to plate 26, being adapted to journal roller pairs 21, 23, 21A, 23A in prescribed belt-diverting relation. Plate 26 may be eliminated in certain cases, such as shown in the alternative adjust embodiment SB-l in FIGURE 6, block 240 being there otherwise coupled to frame track FF such as through attachment to a bracket 220 and an associated hanger yoke Y. A rigidifying plate 29 is welded or otherwise attached to the free end block 24 with flexible stop blade 27 being also attached thereto to project a prescribed space toward pusher P. A feature of the invention is that pairs of adjust rolls, 21-21A and 2343A, are arranged to selectively determine the effective length of belts BL along the associated sort pocket, by translation of mounting block 24 along rail FF Idler rolls 23, 23A are offset to divert belts BL away from the documents, as well as to firmly engage the belt against associated rollers 21, 21A and also against adjacent driving roller means 7. Flexure blade 27 may comprise any flexible material, such as stamped polypropylene or the like and is arranged to provide a flexible closure between the end of deceleration means 25 and pusher extension PE. It will be recognized that the flexibility of blade 27 serves both to complete the document deceleration process efficiently, without harming the documents, as well as to muflle the stacking noise associated with document impact.

According to another feature of the invention, deceleration means 25 (plates 25A, 25B, 25C thereof) act to smoothly divert documents from the guiding surfaces along the sort pocket, such as the guiding plane along guide G-l, gradually diverting them a few degrees therefrom (e.g. from about 6 degrees to about 12 degrees from the plane of guide rails 5G, 7G. The type and degree of this diverting orientation of the decelerator means may be made adjustable, as indicated in FIGURE 6 for the 7 alternate decelerator embodiment 250 of alternate adjust means SB-l.

Most elements of alternate adjust means SB-l in FIG- URE 6 are the same as for SB-l described above, block 240 journally mounting adjust rolls 23, 21 etc., carrying diverter plate 250 plus fiexure stop 27 and associated plate 290. Block 240 being removably attached to bracket 220 which in turn attaches to yoke hanger Y' hung on slide rail FF being adjustably located thereon by knob K. However, the arrangement is simplified and moreover is adapted to permit adjustment of the modified diverter means 250 to change the angle of document diversion (angle bb), i.e. the angular diversion of the deceleration surface (extending along axis DF) away from the transport plane, which extends along axis BB, the orientation of the stacking belt plane. Thus, diverter/decelerator 250 compriss a decelerating-surface portion 253 extending intermediate a terminal leg portion 252, orthogonal to face 253, and a tip portion 25.1 bent oblique thereto. Decelerator 250 is arranged to be detachably mounted on block 240 in adjustable orientation thereto, end sections 252 and 251 being movably secured against block sides 241 and 242 respectively, as indicated in phantom, with diverter face 253 diverging from front block edge 244. Edge 244 is aligned along axis BB, parallel to the transport plane and to the direction of stacking adjustment (along rail FF). Face 253 thus defines a deceleration surface which is arranged along a deceleration axis DF so as to diverge from transport direction BB by a prescribed divergence angle bb which is selectably variable.

Diversion angle bb can be adjusted to change the deceleration rate (e.g. according to changes in document speed, weight, etc.) and is adjusted preferably from about 6 to 12 (norm of 9") by screws 8-3, 8-3 extending to engage block 240 through bores in plates 290 and 27 and through oversized bores (or a slot) in diverter leg 252, oversized to accommodate this 6l2 reorientation of face 253 relative axis BB. Block 240 is streamlined along edge 241 thereof, being beveled at about 45 (from axis BB) to assure unimpeded passage of stacked documents along the transport plane. Diverter top 251 is similarly bent to conform to edge 241 and is removably attached thereto, e.g. via machine screw S1. In practice, diverter 250 is very simple to orient (angle bb thereof) being screwed at tip 251 into block 240 and, after loosely attaching rear adjusting screws 8-3, 8-3, pushing leg 252 along block edge 242, between slot-defined limits so as to move face 253 obliquely toward or away from block 240 a prescribed amount. For instance, angle bb may conveniently be set using a protractor. Tightening screws 8-3, 8-3 locks diverter 250 along a selected angle bb, which is thereafter easily modified in like manner.

Surprisingly, a number of advantages are derived from this simple deceleration structure. Firstly, it provides a gradual tapered document braking surface, while also simultaneously disengaging documents smoothly from translating engagement with belts BL etc. so that belts BL still maintain them stacked though engaging them insufficiently to further thrust them against stop 27. It will be recognized that such a gradual deceleration of incoming stacked documents, just prior to seating them against flexure stop 27, reduces document deterioration and also greatly reduces the ambient noise of the machine, something much desired but difficult to provide in document handling apparatus. Additionally, this deceleration means providing the advantage of preventing initial-pocketed documents from being trapped in the sort pocket or escaping therefrom. Those skilled in the art will realize that if deceleration means 25 were eliminated, a card (e.g. CD) would be propelled relatively rectilinearly against stop 27 and be continually thrust thereagainst, resulting in the abrasion of, and at times the buckling of initially stacked cards, such as indicated schematically by CD in sort pocket II (FIGURE 1). Obviously, such a buckling will prevent reliable sorting operations in that the order of incoming cards would, at times and unpredictably, be reversed, thus introducing errors in document sequence. In addition, this novel deceleration means is advantageously mounted with a length-adjust means for the stacking means to be conjunctively translated therewith to accommodate different length documents according to the invention.

Of course workers in the art will visualize various modifications of the above embodiments constituting, in appropriate instances, equivalent forms of one or more of the claimed features. For instance, where the illustrated embodiments indicate an arrangement for injecting diverted cards into sort pockets in left-to-right mode; this can be otherwise effected, for instance, in a rightto-lef mode in certain cases; where a pair of drive webs is indicated together with their associated pulleys one may use more or less webs (e.g. only a single web or similar drive means in certain instances; where a pusher is shown as including an extensible plate portion, slidably cantilevered out from a fixed-width plate, other means may evidently be provided in certain cases for effectively extending the pushing width to accommodate documents of various lengths; and, in certain instances, elements may be eliminated, such as the indicated guide rails or the deceleration plate (e.g. simply using a resilient, stop-like" flexure 27 or equivalent resilient, impact-damping means).

While in accordance with the provisions of the patent law, the above illustrates and describes a form of the invention, and its mode of operation, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes may be made in the apparatus described without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims and that in some cases, certain features of the invention may be used to advantage or modified without corresponding changes in other features, while certain features may be substituted for or eliminated as appreciated by those skilled in the art.

Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:

=1. In apparatus for handling unit records of varying lengths, said apparatus being adapted to ordinarily transport said records along a prescribed primary path and including a plurality of sort pockets together with associated diversion means located adjacent said primary path to controllably select one of said records and redirect them along a sort path toward said associated pocket, the combination therewith of a plurality of improved sorting transport means associated with each of said pockets, each transport means comprising:

stacking means arranged to receive said records from said associated diversion means and translate them along said sort path, said stacking means including a pair of continuously moving belts arranged on associated roll means, said belts being engaged by prescribed adjusting roll means adapted to be selectively translated relative to said pockets to adjust the effective stacking length of said belts therealong in accordance with the length of said records;

and record deceleration means mounted to be conjunctively translatable with said adjusting roll means, said deceleration means including plate means adapted to tilt arriving records divertingly away from said transport means a prescribed amount, said deceleration means further including flexible stop means mounted for joint translation with said plate means; each of said pockets comprising record-pusher means, said pusher means including extendible record retaining means adapted to be disposed cooperatively with said stop means.

2. The combination as recited in claim 1 wherein said plate means is arranged to be selectively variable in angular relation with said transport means to selectively control the manner whereby said records are decelerated.

.3. The combination as recited in claim 2 wherein said plate means is disposed to diverge from the plane of said stacking means at a prescribed angle so as to smoothly divert said records from accelerating engagement therewith, said angle being within a few degrees of nine degrees divergence.

4. The combination as recited in claim 1 wherein each of said pockets includes cover means arranged over said stacking means including said roll means associated with said belts and adapted to indicate prescribed positions for said adjusting roll means, said cover means including an edge portion conformed along said sort path and adapted to guide incoming records therealong.

5. The combination as recited in claim 4 wherein said diversion means comprises a solenoid-actuated bifurcated blade, a primary portion of which is arranged to guide said records along said primary path when said blade is in a first condition, and a secondary, forked portion of which is arranged to guide said records along said sort path when said blade is actuated into a second condition.

6. In a record stacking arrangement including stacking transport means arranged along a prescribed transport path to urge records successively into a stacking pocket, the combination therewith of improved deceleration means comprising:

record stop means disposed adjacent said pocket to lodge records aligningly therein,

deceleration surface means disposed adjacent a prescribed portion of said transport path to intercept records thereat and oriented to diverge therefrom a prescribed amount, said surface means extending to said stop means for decelerating records in a prescribed manner before engagement therewith, said record stop means and deceleration surface means being jointly positionable along said transport path to accommodate records of different lengths;

said combination further comprising pusher means for resiliently urging records stacked in said pocket in the direction of said deceleration surface means, said pusher means presenting a flat guiding surface to said records and including extension plate means adapted to extend at least portion of said guiding surface along said path to effectively close the gap distance to said stop means independently of the selected position of the latter.

7. The combination as recited in claim 6 wherein said surface means comprises at least one plate mounted to be adjustably oriented with respect to said path between acute angular limits of divergence according to the desired deceleration forces.

8. In a document stacker for accommodating documents of a prescribed variable length in an adjustablelength hopper and including document injection means adapted to inject documents at high speed from a prescribed injection zone, on edge, across a prescribed base and along a prescribed inject-direction; a pusher member adapted to guide and retain injected documents in said hopper, being resiliently biased somewhat orthogonal to said inject direction and including a fiat push-surface for urging injected documents somewhat orthogonal thereto in a prescribed push-direction; and web transport means including at least one driving web means and a set of associated drive pulleys mounted so as to entrain said web means and drive it along a prescribed web path, said path including a prescribed driving segment at least a portion of which follows a prescribed stacking direction substantially orthogonal to said push direction to establish a prescribed stacking plane therealong, this plane terminating at a prescribed variable end-point, the combination therewith comprising:

adjustably-positionable pulley means mounted to entrainingly engage said web and to be translatable so as to change the effective driving length of said segment and redirect said belt path to establish a new end-point corresponding to a selected card-length; resilient stop means mounted in fixed relation with said stacking-plane end point and said pulley means to be conjunctively translated therewith, being disposed along the direction of said segment and beyond said end-point so as to intersect said plane segment for stop-damping engagement with said injected documents, at a prescribed stop plane corresponding to said selected card-length, the width of said stop means along said push direction corresponding to a prescribed stack-width; and pusher extension means mounted on said pusher means to extend said pusher surface thereof to effectively extend it substantially to said stop means, said extension means thus providing a flat extensible pushing surface of variable-length between said pusher means and said stop means, while being movable along said push-direction as said stack is enlarged.

9. The combination as recited in claim 8 wherein said extension means comprises a fiat plate mounted on said pusher means to be slidingly cantilevered out variable distances therefrom.

10. The combination as recited in claim 9 wherein said pusher means com-prises a flat plate including guide means for frictionally receiving said extension plate.

11. In a card stacking arrangement for receiving cards injected, edgewise, into a hopper at high speeds, the combination comprising stacking transport means including movable drive means for controlling the effective lengt of the card-driving segment of said transport means along a prescribed inject-path of variable length; resilient, movable stop means disposed beyond said path so as to deceleratingly intercept cards injected and driven by said transport segment, said stop means being mounted to be moved in prescribed fixed relation with said drive means and said path; and pusher means arranged to present a flat guiding surface to resiliently urge injected cards, and card-stacks, into fiat engagement against said driving segment, said pusher means including extension plate means arranged thereon to extend at least a portion of said guiding surface along said path to effectively close the gap distance from said stop means whatever the selected, lengthaccommodating position of the latter.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,281,147 10/1966 Misbin 271-87 3,321,202 5/1967 Martin 27168 FOREIGN PATENTS 893,743 4/ 1962. Great Britain.

RIOHARD E. AEGERTER, Primary Examiner.

US. Cl. X.R.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3281147 *Feb 4, 1965Oct 25, 1966Rca CorpAdjustable size document stacker
US3321202 *May 3, 1965May 23, 1967Merrill D MartinAutomatic sheet stackers
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4927031 *May 10, 1989May 22, 1990Amper, S.A.Document sorter for reader/printer equipment
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Classifications
U.S. Classification271/182, 271/223
International ClassificationG06K13/02, G06K13/12
Cooperative ClassificationG06K13/12
European ClassificationG06K13/12