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Publication numberUS3481446 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 2, 1969
Filing dateOct 10, 1967
Priority dateOct 11, 1966
Also published asDE1524550A1, DE1524550B2
Publication numberUS 3481446 A, US 3481446A, US-A-3481446, US3481446 A, US3481446A
InventorsBurkhardt Gisbert, Deibler Anton
Original AssigneeTelefunken Patent
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ribbon feeding arrangement for n-digit code imprints
US 3481446 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 2. 1969 e. BURKHARDT ETAL 3,481,446

RIBBON FEEDING ARRANGEMENT FOR N-DIGIT CODE IMPRINTS 4 Sheets-Sheet l I'rn'Im Filed Oct. 10, 1967 Fig. 2

H H H H H H Inventors: fiisbel-Iz Bw-khardfi nIzon BY Deiblev- 1969 G. BURKHARDT ETAL 46 RIBBON FEEDING ARRANGEMENT FOR N-DIGIT CODE IMPRINTS 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Oct. 10, 1967 g@%@@%@%%%% 25 @5355 GE mm EU 5 m U IEQEEEQQQEQQEQEQ 5% Q5 5% a; GE SE S m G i g mz mm am ESQ @5525 GE E: GE 5 Q Lm mfim s m SEQ SEQ GEE ES EE ES 5 a P EEEEQEQEEEQQE m5 5% GEE g E SE E E Q m B H a. H I I 1 {m 1 I i I 1 U? m hi i I 15% ill 1 HH I I r M H H I LT I I I I HEEQQQEQQEQQE mal I I I I MW HIHMMi l ];mMHMMMUEEEEEE:

l a HUN HHMHHHHHUEEEEEEQ I QWIMHHMHH MMMMHHMHN MMMHMIECEEEEE N m y E a 5 H H Dec. 2, 1969 G. BURKHARDT ETAL 3,481,446

RIBBON FEEDING ARRANGEMENT FOR N-DIGIT CODE IMPRINTS Filed Oct. 10, 1967 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 Fig.5

Inventors:

GisbeH: Bur-khou-cl. AnLon Deiloley- Dec. 2, 1969 G. BURKHARDT ETAL RIBBON FEEDING ARRANGEMENT FOR N-DIGIT CODE IMPRINTS Filed Oct. 10, 1967 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 FIG7 INVENTORS: G isbelz Burkhar-dfi Anion Deiloler.

BY KW 48%;

United States Patent US. Cl. 197-151 3 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A printing arrangement for n-digit (n-column) code imprints with uniform spacing between the code elements and using an inked ribbon (transfer ribbon) which is advanced in steps of equal size after each printing operation in the direction of the printed line by one step so that for the next printing operation all types will be opposite an unused portion of the ribbon.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to printing mechanisms and, more particularly, to such devices for n-digit, or n-column code imprints with uniform spacing between the code elements and using an inked ribbon which, after each printing operation, is advanced by one step in the direction of the line to be printed to a point where all printing types face an unused part of the ribbon for the subsequent printing operation.

Such printing mechanisms are particularly needed for the application of coded routing information onto shipments which are to be sorted by machine, particularly mail shipments. For this purpose ribbons are used which are heat-printing foils whose color is completely transferred to the surface to be printed when pressed thereon.

FIGURE 1 shows the lower right-hand corner of a mail shipment 1 which is provided with a code imprint serving as a routing indicator, for example, for automatic mail sorting mechanisms. The twenty possible positions 2 of the code elements 2 are arranged in five lines and in four columns. Each one of the columns I, II, III and IV represents the numbers 0 to 9 according to a 2-out-of-5 code so that a four-digit number is represented by the code imprint. Accordingly, the printing mechanism is provided with five printing types in each one of the four columns of which only two are used for printing at any one time.

Based on the requirement that during each printing process it must be assured that all printing types face an unused portion of the ribbon, the ribbon could be advanced after each printing operation by one step, the length s of which corresponds vapproximately to the width of the code field. FIGURE 2 refers to this procedure and shows a ribbon 3 which has been advanced by such a step and the impressions of two code imprints. In the interest of a more legible representation of the essential elements, all possible positions 2 of the code elements (2') are drawn here, as well as in FIGURES 3 and 4, without particularly emphasizing the two code elements 2' of each column which were actually printed.

To assure that, in spite of certain inaccuracies in the ribbon transport, a printing type cannot even partially fall onto a used portion of the ribbon, a minimum distance a must be provided on the ribbon between two adjacent spots to be printed. When the width of the code elements 2' is d, the number of digits in a printed line is n and the spacing between two adjacent code elements, center to center, is t, a procedure according to FIGURE 2 would result in the value for the length of a transporting step s For reasons of comparison, the following values derived from actual use are assumed:

Spacing between two adjacent code elements i=8 mm. Number of positions (columns) in the printing mechanism n=4. Width of a code element d=0.5 mm. Distance between two adjacent used portions on the ribbon a. Minimum distance a =0.l mm.

Employing Equation 1, the following step length results:

The disadvantage of a ribbon transport according to FIGURE 2 therefore lies in the great amount of ribbon used for each imprint, i.e., 24.6 mm.

A further disadvantage results from the amount of time required for the transport of the ribbon, i.e., at a ribbon speed of e.g., 5 cm./sec., approximately 0.49 sec. With a desired printing sequence of 5000 imprints per hour, corresponding to a cycle time of 0.72 sec. per imprint, the ribbon transport alone would require 68% of the cycle time whereas only 32% (0.23 sec.) would be available for the printing process itselfpositioning of the ship ment against the support, printing and removal of the support.

The amount of ribbon consumed can be considerably reduced when, according to an already known procedure, the ribbon is advanced each time, as shown in FIGURE 3, in small steps which are adjusted to the width d of one code element:

In FIGURE 3 the longitudinal scale is considerably extended when compared with FIGURE 2. For the same reasons, only the positions 2 of the thirteen first imprints of the five printing types of the first column I are completely shown whereas only a few of the remaining positions are shown within the individual line tracks 4. The Roman numerals indicate the respective column of the printing mechanism, and the Arabic numerals the number of printing operations. 11 thus indicates the first printing of the first digit, I-I3 the third printing of the second digit, IV13 the thirteen printing of the fourth digit. This information is entered only in the fifth line, i.e., in the lowermost one of the five tracks 4, but pertains each time to all imprints in the corresponding column. When after a number of small steps a printing type could come opposite a used portion of the ribbon, a larger step is made of length .9 as in the procedure according to FIGURE 2, to again correspond to the width of the code field:

With the above-mentioned exemplary values, the following number z of imprints to be accommodated with the space It results:

and thus the maximum number of 2:13 imprints. Therefore,

Considering that for z imprints z1 small steps s and one large step s are required, the following results for the consumption of ribbon per printing operation:

f=[(Z 2+ 3] Z and using Equations 20 and 3a with the numerical Example 5 f=4-0.616=2.46 mm.

The consumption of ribbon therefore, in comparison with the step sequence according to FIGURE 2 is only Since, howover, the amount of time required for the larger step s 0.49 sec. as above-must be programmed into every printing cycle, here too only 32% of the cycle time is available for the printing process itself.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION With this in mind, it is the object of the present invention to avoid these disadvantages of the prior art.

Another object is to provide a printing arrangement for the above-mentioned purposes with which not only the smallest possible ribbon consumption is realized but wherein the time to be programmed into the printing cycle for the ribbon transportat uniform ribbon speedis considerably reduced.

These objects and others ancillary thereto are accomplished in accordance with preferred embodiments of the present invention wherein the ribbon transporting device is arranged so that the ribbon is always moved in equally sized steps of a length of wherein the number z of the ribbon imprints to be made within the space t and the number n of the columns must not have any common divisor and wherein Z mln) BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING 4 for the movement of the ribbon at a scale which is, extended in length when compared with FIGURE 2.

FIGURE 4 is a diagrammatic view of a ribbon with imprints corresponding to the printing mechanism according to the present invention and using the same scale as FIGURE 3.

FIGURE 5 is a diagrammatic view of a code imprint on a mail shipment including an identifying mark according to a further embodiment of the present invention.

FIGURE 6 is a diagrammatic view of a printing device according to the present invention.

FIGURE 7 is a diagrammatic front view of the printing types used in the printing device of FIGURE 6.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIGURE 4 clearly illustrates the interrneshing of consecutive imprints of the different columns. This figure corresponds to FIGURE 3 with respect to the longitudinal and latitudinal scale. The meaning of the Roman and Arabic numerals is also identical. Within a length of ribbon of 4! all imprints are illustrated which occur during the process of the first 13 printing operations. For reasons of clarity, the imprints of the first column (I1, I2, etc) are numbered only in the first line (first track 4), the imprints of the second column only in the second line, etc. In the right-hand portion of the fifth line the imprints which fall within one space 1 are consecutively numbered without regard to the sequence of their formation.

In the procedure according to the present invention, the maximum number z of the ribbon imprints to be accommodated within the space t can therefore also be selected according to the equation 2;. l' mln) as long as the resulting maximum whole number meets the requirement that it has no common divisor with the number n of columns. Using the same numerical values as above x =12 results. Since this number has no common divisor with n=4, z=13 can be selected. Thus it results that s =n t/z=-4.8/13=2.46 mm. and

a=t/zd=8/130.5=0.116 m.

The consumption of ribbon 1 per printing operation in the printing mechanism according to the present invention is f= 4 1n a numerical example:

f=2.46 mm.

and is therefore the same as in the procedure discussed in connection with FIGURE 3. Of course these considerations relate to the continuous operation of the printing device whereas FIG. 4 relates to the position of imprints during the initial phase of operation, that is during the first 13 steps of movement of the ribbon.

The time to be programmed into each printing cycle for ribbon transport, however, has been considerably reduced since only steps of 2.46 mm. in length are being made. At the same ribbon speed as in the previous examples this time is only approximately 0.0 5 sec. Therefore, only 7% of the desired cycle time of 0.72 see. are required for the ribbon transport.

In the coding positions of the automatic mail distributors each shipment is imprinted with an identifying mark in addition to the code, whch mark indicates at which coding machine the shipment was being processed. It consists of a number or a letter. With the aid of this mark it is possible, for example, when coding errors are discovered in the distributor, to identify the coding position where the error originated and then, with the aid of the work schedule, the operator.

Presently, this mark is applied by a separate identifier which is attached to the code printer. Printing is accomplished by an ordinary typewriter ribbon. Operator-identifying marks for outgoing and incoming mail are distinguishedby black and red printing.

This identifier is relatively complicated (switching from red to black, reversal of movement of the ribbon, operation of the stamp, etc.) and it is susceptible to malfunction.

In a further embodiment of the printing mechanism according to the present invention a printing stamp is provided, which serves to imprint one or a plurality of identifying marks associated with the printing mechanism, and which is operated in synchronism with the code imprint and which uses the same ribbon at a point not covered by any track serving for the printing of the code elements.

This would not be possible with a ribbon transport according to the procedure of FIGURE 3 since the small steps s of the ribbon are only approximately 0.6 mm. long. This is not enough to provide an unused portion of the ribbon for the appropriate stamps which are to imprint the position identifying mark.

However in the printing mechanism according to the present invention, each step .9 is a multiple of s; with otherwise identical conditions, e.g., with a length, of 2.5 mm. This provides enough space to print the identifying marks from an unused portion of the ribbon at each printing operation. It must be taken into consideration that the filling effect being evident from the right side of FIGURE 4 is true of the code elements only and not of the identifying marks, since at each step of the ribbon there are printed four columns of code elements and only one column of identifying marks.

The differentiation between incoming and outgoing mail in an automatic mail distributor results without further measures by the use of different colored ribbons for the code imprint (e.g., fluorescent or phosphorescent ribbons Th e printing of the position or operator identifying marks could occur in a marginal zone outside the tracks 4 utilized for the code imprint. The ribbon would then, however, have to be widened by about 2.5 to 3 mm. In a multiple-line arrangement of code elements 2', it is more advantageous to arrange the imprint of the associated identifying mark, as shown in the illustrated examples, between the tracks which serve to print the code elements.

This possibility is illustrated with an example in FIG- URE 5, which otherwise corresponds to FIGURE 1. The position or operator identifying mark here consists of the four numbers 0-1-1-3, which are printed between the tracks 4 for the code elements 2. The identifying mark is disposed on the left of the code field since the shipment 1 moves into the scanning device with its right edge ahead. The code field has then already been read and the code stored when the identifying mark reaches the reading column. Thus, erroneous readings of an identifying mark by the reading head for the code elements, which may occur when shipments come in too high, can no longer interfere with the code.

There are other possibilities to utilize the ribbon area (intermediate zones) between the tracks 4 for the printing of a position or operator identifying mark. Thus, for example, for the first coding positions the numbers 0 9 can be printed in the upper intermediate zone, for the coding positions 10 19 the numbers 0 9 can be printed in the second intermediate zone, etc. Up to forty coding positions can be marked with numbers and up to 104 coding positions can be identified with combinations of letters.

An example of a code printing device suitable to operate according to the invention is shown in FIGURE 6. The proper printing mechanism is diagrammatically represented by a box 10. According to FIGURE 7 the printing mechanism is provided with five printing types 11 in each one of four columns and with four printing types 12 for the identifying marks in another column.

The printing mechanism 10 is so constructed that upon each printing step all printing types 12, and in every one of the four columns two printing types 11, corresponding to appropriate control signals fed into the printing mechanism 10, are pushed forward against the ribbon 3. Behind ribbon 3, resting on a support block 13, is a letter 14. Transporting means which bring the letters 14 into printing position and carry them away subsequently are not shown here.

The ribbon 3 runs from a delivery bobbin 15 over two idle rollers 16 and 17 to a winding bobbin 18. In FIGURE 6 bobbins 15 and 18, including the respective ribbon coils, are partially cut away in order to show further elements which are arranged underneath and are described subsequently.

By means of a bevel-gear drive 19, 20 and a slipping clutch 21, winding bobbin 18 is connected to a continuously running winding motor 22. Clutch 21 is adjusted so as to exert onto ribbon 3, in the direction of arrow 23, a continuous pull of predetermined amount.

Delivery bobbin 15 is connected to a brake wheel 24 onto which a brake shoe 25 is pressed by a tension spring 26. The braking force acting on the ribbon 3 is adjusted to be essentially smaller than the pulling force from bobbin 18.

Between idle roller 17 and winding bobbin 18 the ribbon 3 is led, by means of two guide rollers 27 and 28, around a drive wheel 29 which is connected, by means of a common axle 30, to a step wheel 31. Step wheel 31 is part of a stepping mechanism comprising a forked check lever 32 and a stepping magnet 33.

Check lever 32 is pivoted on an axle 34 and is swingable between two stops 35 and 36. It is cooperating with step wheel 31 by means of two check pins 32' and 32". In rest position check lever 32 is held at stop 35 by means of a tension spring 37.

Every time the stepping magnet 33 is energized by a stepping pulse, check lever 32 is swung momentarily against stop 36 and back to stop 35. By this motion step wheel 31 is stepped forward in the direction of arrow 38 by the amount of one tooth.

The number of teeth on step wheel 31 and the diameter of drive wheel 29 are chosen so as to move the ribbon 3, at every stepping pulse, by a length of s =n-t/z as defined above.

We claim:

1. In a code printing device for simultaneous n-digit code imprints with uniform spacing between the code elements and using a ribbon which is advanced after each printing operation in the direction of the printed line by one step so that for the next subsequent printing operation all types will be opposite an unused portion of the ribbon, the improvement comprising ribbon transporting means for always advancing a ribbon by equal steps having a length of s=n-t/z where t is the distance between code elements center to center, z is the number of ribbon imprints disposed within distance I, z and n do not have a common divisor, and wherein mim where d is the width of one codeelement, and

a is the minimum spacing between two adjacent ribbon imprints.

7 8 2. Printing device as defined in claim 1 wherein the References Cited improvement further comprises a printing stamp, which UNITED STATES PATENTS serves to imprint at least one identifying mark associated with the code imprint and which uses the same ribbon at a point not covered by the track serving for the printing of a line of code elements. 5 3304859 2/1967 Schenk- 3. Printing device as defined in claim 2 wherein the 10/1967 Gofi et code elements are arranged in more than one line and ERNEST WRIGHT, JR, Primary Examiner the printing stamp associated with the printing device is arranged to print between the tracks serving for the 1 US printing of lines of code elements. 101-402, 336; 197--82 2,734,614 2/1956 Page. 3,171,530 3/1965 ODaniel et al.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2734614 *Jun 18, 1952Feb 14, 1956 Proportional ribbon feed mechanism
US3171530 *Jun 26, 1962Mar 2, 1965IbmRibbon feed mechanism
US3304859 *Apr 6, 1964Feb 21, 1967Monroe Calculating MachineRibbon-displacing device for the printing mechanism of calculating machines and the like
US3346090 *Feb 11, 1966Oct 10, 1967IbmRibbon feed mechanism
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3578136 *Sep 11, 1969May 11, 1971American Cyanamid CoTypewriter printing means for symbols in coded inks
US3707910 *Jun 30, 1970Jan 2, 1973NcrOptical bar code serial printer
US3712210 *Jun 30, 1970Jan 23, 1973NcrColor bar printer
US3762530 *Aug 6, 1971Oct 2, 1973Ncr CoPrinting ribbon indexing system
US3837462 *Nov 22, 1972Sep 24, 1974NcrPrinting ribbon indexing system
US3858705 *Nov 3, 1972Jan 7, 1975Burroughs CorpColor coded digit identifying value ribbon for document fraud prevention
US3998313 *Nov 22, 1974Dec 21, 1976Docutel CorporationPaper web and ink ribbon feed control for character printer
US4717272 *Jan 27, 1987Jan 5, 1988Smith Corona CorporationRibbon feed mechanism
Classifications
U.S. Classification400/232, 101/336, 400/225, 400/235, 400/234, 101/102
International ClassificationG06K1/00, B07C3/18, G06K1/12, B07C3/00
Cooperative ClassificationG06K1/121, B07C3/18
European ClassificationG06K1/12B, B07C3/18