US 3502321 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 24, 1970v M WHORTER 3,
SHEET DELIVERY AND COLLATING MACHINE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 \Nb mw H m 9 1 9 l 3 n H J d e 1 1 F ATTORN EYS March 24, 1970 H. M WHORTER 3,502,321
SHEET DELIVERY AND COLLATING MACHINE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed June 19, 1967 United States Patent US. Cl. 270-58 15 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The machine of this invention includes a conveyor for delivering a series of sheets in uniformly overlapped condition, a collator continuously rotatable about a fixed horizontal axis at a delivery end of the conveyor and having a plurality of peripheral sheet collecting pockets successively movable into and out of registry with oncoming sheets for collecting complements of a predetermined number of sheets, and a sheet separating and shifting member positioned between and rotatable in timed relation to the conveyor and the collator for deflecting a last sheet of a complement of sheets to ensure its entry into a receding pocket while permitting the next sheet of a following complement to freely enter an adjacent advancing pocket of the collator.
This invention generally relates to the sheet handling art and particularly concerns a delivery and collating machine usable with paper handling equipment.
A primary object of this invention is to provide an improved sheet delivery and collating machine capable of reliable, precision performance at extremely high speeds and which is free of adjustment requirements during a production operation.
Another object of this invention is to provide such a machine of significantly simplified construction incorporating a minimum number of parts particularly suited for use with printing presses and the like for effecting efiicient continuous sheet handling.
A further object of this invention is to provide such a machine capable of handling sheets of varying size over a wide range of operating speeds as encountered, e.g., in the automatic manufacture of books, in the production of sheets in specified quantities such as reams, and the manufacture of pads of paper.
A still further object of this invention is to provide an improved sheet delivery and collating machine of rugged compact construction particularly suited for continuous production operation and having minimal maintenance requirements while virtually eliminating the need for complex mechanisms normally associated with equipment of this type for effecting abrupt changes in speeds and directions of the operating parts.
Other objects will be in part obvious and in part pointed out more in detail hereinafter.
The invention accordingly consists in the features of construction, combination of elements and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the construction hereafter set forth and the scope of the application which will be indicated in the appended claims.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatical side elevational view of part of a sheet delivery and collator machine embodying this invention;
FIG. 2 is a continuation of the view of FIG. 1 showing a collator incorporated in this invention; and
FIG. 3 is a section view, partly broken away, on a reduced scale taken generally along line 33 of FIG. 2.
Referring now in detail to the drawings wherein a typical machine utilizing a preferred embodiment of this invention is illustrated, individual webs or ribbons 10 of sheet material, such as paper, are shown being fed in stacked formation through driven feed rolls 12 and along a generally horizontal path to a stationary bed knife 14 which cooperates with a rotary multi-knife cutter 16 to cut the ribbons 10 into stacks 18 of desired length. Feed rolls 12 and rotary cutter 16 are driven in synchronism under the power of an electrical motor 19 with a gear box 17 shown as being provided in the driving connection between the motor 19 and the feed rolls 12 for setting relative peripheral speeds between the feed rolls 12 and the rotary cutter 16 to provide a preselected length of cut sheets.
While the apparatus of this invention may be used with a variety of equipment such as sheeters and similar apparatus for producing specified quantities of cut blank sheets, e.g., it will be assumed for purposes of describing this invention that the ribbons 10 are being discharged from a printing press after having been printed in a repeat pattern, and are suitably presented in strips of equal Width in an ordered arrangement to the feed rolls 12 for automatic manufacture of books wherein the lengths of cut stacks 18 correspond to selected page length as determined by the repeat printing pattern.
As each stack 18 of sheets is cut, it is separated from the ribbons 10 (passing through feed rolls 12) by opposed sets of high speed belts 20 and 21 driven by rollers 22 and 23 shown in the drawings as being suitably connected to the motor 19 so that the belts 20, 21 travel at a surface speed approximately ten percent greater than the peripheral speed of the feed rolls 12 to produce a gap between the trailing end of each cut stack 18 and the leading edges of the following ribbons 10. Rollers 24 establish a nip on the leading end of the stacks 18 and are settable horizontally to equal the preselected length of the cut stacks 18.
From the high speed belt section, the cut stacks or packets 18 of paper sheets are fed onto low speed belts 28. The latter are positioned parallel to but somewhat lower than high speed belts 20 and are shown supported on rollers such as at 29 suitably connected to drive the low speed belts 28 at 51 percent of the peripheral speed of feed rolls 12 so that the packets 18 smoothly and uniformly overlap before entering a nip assembly 32 provided in the low speed belt section. The nip assembly 32 is settable horizontally within the low speed belt section to ensure that the trailing end of each packet is past roller 22 at the downstream end of the high speed belt section upon the leading end of each packet 18 entering the nip assembly 32.
Braking of the overlaped stacked sheets is effected by the nip assembly 32 which includes a back-up roller 34 for properly positioning the low speed belts 28 relative to a cooperating upper roller 36 which is grooved to provide clearance between the upper high speed belts 21 and the packets 18 which then pass through a horizontally settable belt nip assembly 38 at a downstream end of the low speed belt section. Upper rollers 36 and 39 of the nip assemblies 32 and 38 are each shown suitably connected to be driven at a peripheral speed of 51 percent of that of the feed rolls 12 so as to be in synchronism with the low speed belts 28.
The speed of the overlapped packets 18 of paper sheets is further reduced by a metering nip assembly 40 downstream from the low speed belts 28. The metering nip assembly 40 comprises a rubber idler roll 42 which forms a nip with a driven metering roll 44 for applying a tangential driving force to the overlapped packets 18 to further control their advance.
For ensuring delivery of books, e.g., of a specified length determined in accordance with a given number of cuts required to be made by the rotary cutter 1.6 for each book, a gear box 45 is shown connecting a motor output shaft 46, which will be understood to make one revolution per cut, to a drive shaft 47 for driving the latter at a rate of one revolution per book. By providing properly selected change gears 48, the metering roll 44 is connected to the drive shaft 47 to rotate at a predetermined peripheral speed relative to that of the rotary cutter 16 whereby the overlapped packets 18 pass through the metering nip assembly 40 and are effectively reduced in length to a known length per book.
For collecting complements of overlapped packets of stacked sheets emanating from the metering nip assembly 40, wherein each complement will be assumed to form a completed book for purposes of describing this invention, a collator 50 is shown downstream of the metering nip assembly 40 and having open peripheral sheet collecting pockets 52 successively movable in unison into and out of register with the continuous stream of oncoming sheets. In the specific illustrated embodiment, the pockets 52 are defined by equiangularly spaced forks 54 shown fixed to extend radially outwardly from a pair of spaced collating wheels 56 (FIG. 3) with the forks 54 of each wheel 56 being aligned for common actuation but laterally spaced to form a gap 57 between the forks 54. The collator S is shown connected to the drive shaft 47 for rotation in a counterclockwise direction about a fixed horizontal axis at a predetermined constant speed such that a fresh pocket 52 will be advanced to confront and receive the oncoming sheets following the delivery of each completed book from the metering assembly 40. So that the packets will be neatly stacked in alignment, flat abutment surfaces 58 are formed on the periphery of collating wheels 56 between adjacent forks 54 with the abutment surfaces 58 extending at right angles to a leading fork of each adjacent pair.
To ensure facile high speed collation in a continuous production operation, sheet delivery to the collator 50 is effected at an approximately constant level as each pocket 52 is successively rotated in descending relation to the sheet flow path with a tangential velocity component of the forks 54 being substantially normal to the line of approach of the sheets. Throughout registry of each pocket 52 with the oncoming overlapped packets 18 fed from the metering assembly 40, each fork 54 will be seen to be in an upwardly tilted attitude with respect to the metering assembly 40, and a tapered end surface 59 is provided on each fork 54 to assist in separating the oncoming packets into different books.
Dependable separation of the overlapped packets 18 into separate complements for collection is imperative for reliable operation, and for this reason a sheet separating and shifting member, or cam separator, 60 is provided between the metering nip assembly 40 and the collator '50 for effecting precision separation of the sheet complements for entry into individual pockets 52 at a poduction rate in the order of three times that normally associated with conventional machines.
More specifically, the cam separator 60 is positioned in thesheet flow path within the gap 57 (FIG. 3) in operative intersection with the forks 54 of the spaced collating wheels 56 and is supported for rotation about a horizontally disposed axis positioned parallel to but somewhat below that of the metering roll 44. A contoured cam surface portion 61 is formed on the cam separator 60 in continuation with a radial cam surface portion 62 and a leading cam nose portion 64 projecting outwardly at a maximum radial distance from its axis. The separator 60 is shown connected to the gear box 48 to be driven at a 1:1 speed ratio with the metering roll 44, and the active cam surface (excluding radial portion 62) is designed with a perimetric length equal to the perimeter of the metering roll 44.
Extremely accurate separation Of the packets 18 into different complements or books is ensured by the leading cam nose portion 64 which acts to depress the leading end of the last packet 18 of each of the sheet complements to guide them into their respective pocket 52 under a descending fork upon which the next following complement of sheets is to be deposited. By reason of the design and positioning of the separator 60 and its aforementioned common driving arrangement with the metering roll 44, a preselected number of complete revolutions of the separator and metering roll will correspond to a completed book and during its delivery the collator will simultaneously rotate to advance one pocket, and the radial portion 62 of the separator will always be in synchronization with leading edges of the first packet 18 of a new book while the leading nose portion 64 will always engage the preceding sheets which form the last sheets of a previous book.
Assuming that the packet 18a represents the first sheets of a new book being fed to the collator 50, the separator 60 moves through a starting angular position wherein its leading nose portion 64 is generally tangent to the lower tapered surface 59 of fork 54a and the radial portion 62 is then synchronized with the leading edge of the packet 18a with the cam surface portion 61 positioned above the top surface of the fork 54a as shown in the drawing. Thus, in the starting angular position of the separator 60, it will be seen that the leading edge 65 of packet 18a is free to move above fork 54a to be the bottom packet of a new book while the leading edge 67 of the preceding packet is deflected below fork 54a for entry into its receding pocket by engagement of the leading cam nose portion 64.
In a typical application of the machine of this invention, 10 to 78 cuts by the rotary cutter 16 have been found to provide an adequate over-all range of cuts required to make up a single book, and by simply selecting proper gear ratios of the change gears 48, the metering roll 44 and the separator 60, each having a circumference of, say, 15 inches, can be operated to turn, e.g., 2, 4 or 8 complete revolutions per book during an angular displacement of the collator 50 advancing one pocket, thus ensuring that only 30', 60 or inches of overlapped packets corresponding to a single book will pass through the metering nip assembly 40 and into an individual sheet collecting pocket 52 of the collator 50. Assuming that stacked sheets cut by the rotary cutter 16 are selectively varied from 6 to 10 inches in length, a book consisting of ten 6 inch lengths of stacked sheets will be reduced in length from 60 to 30 inches at the lowest extreme of the range of cuts, and at the highest extreme a book consisting of seventy-eight 10 inch lengths will be reduced in length from 780 to 120 inches. The overlapping section of the conveyor between the high and low speed belt sections reduces the original sheet lengths by one half, and the metering nip assembly 40 reduces this half-length to the next lower length of 30, 60 or 120 inches to provide a completed complement of packets corresponding to a single book.
To ensure trouble-free operation without malfunction even at extremely high operating speeds, the radial portion 62 of the separator 60- is of a sufficient length to prevent leading edges of a packet being split between or impaled upon a fork, but the length of radial portion 62 must be less than the chordal distance of fork travel per each revolution of the separator 60 to ensure against a leading edge such as 67 of a last packet of a book improperly entering between cam surface 61 and the upper surface of fork 54a. The machine elements may be driven so that the separator 60' makes any integral number of revolutions per book (or index of pocket), provided that the number of revolutions per book does not exceed the ratio obtained by dividing the chordal distance between fork tips by the length of radial portion 62. Such provi sion ensures that the revolutions of separator 60 in excess of one will have no meaningful effect upon contacting those packets intermediate the first and last packets of a book.
Thus, the overlapped packets corresponding to each book are continuously and smoothly fed from one pocket into the next, without any break in sheet feeding, by operation of the separator 60 which positively engages the last packet 18 of each book to change its orientation relative to the metering nip assembly 40 while maintaining the attitude of the last packet and the attitude of a first packet of the next following book in entering relation to their respective pockets.
Moreover, high speed operation is readily attained without danger of jamming while yet completely eliminating any need for complex mechanisms normally associated with apparatus of this type dependent upon abrupt changes in the directions and speeds of operating parts for separating sheets into counted complements. By this invention, all machine elements have simple rotary motion and are gear driven to achieve precise registration ensuring dependable operation at significantly increased production rates. It will also be seen that the upper surface of the piled packets within each pocket 52 is maintained at an approximately constant level by reason of the continuous rotary movement of the collator 50, thereby automatically accommodating increased thicknesses of the delivered stacks.
Completed books or complements such as at 68 are then transferred to a delivery station by an endless belt 70 which coacts with the collator 50 to successively remove the completed books 68. The belt 70 has an upper horizontal run 72 positioned in the gap 57 between the collating wheels 56 and is supported by rollers (only one shown at 73) suitably connected to the drive shaft 47 for driving the belt 70 in properly timed relation to the continuously moving collator 50. As each fork 54 descends toward the belt 70, the former leading edges of the stacked packets of each completed book 68 will engage the abutment surfaces 58 between adjacent forks so as to be disposed perpendicular to the upper run 72 of the belt 70 upon moving into parallel relation therewith to be engaged sequentially by a plurality of spaced L-shaped plates 74 carried by the belt 70 and removed in neatly stacked arrangements to the next delivery station, e.g., to be provided with covers and bound into books. Opposite side edges of the completed books are desirably maintained against sagging by a pair of belts 76, 78 synchronized with and positioned on opposite sides of belt 70.
The above described machine is of compact, rugged construction and can readily handle sheets of varying size over a wide range of operating speeds wherein paper ribbons or webs are being delivered at linear speeds from about to over 1,000 feet per minute. Even in the upper speed range, the machine of this invention is capable of smoothly and automatically handling sheet delivery and collating in a continuous production operation with minimal wear, vibration and malfunctions.
As will be apparent to persons skilled in the art, various modifications and adaptations of the structure above described will become readily apparent without departure from the spirit and scope of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the appended claims.
1. In a sheet handling machine, a conveyor operable for transporting a continuous stream of overlapped sheets along a path, a continuously movable collator disposed downstream of the conveyor and including a series of pockets each having an entrance opening toward the conveyor, the pockets being successively movable in unison past the conveyor for respectively collecting sheet complements of a predetermined number, means controlling advance of the sheets in a predetermined attitude relative to the collator, and a sheet separating and shifting member mounted for movement between the-conveyor and the collator for positively engaging a last sheet of each complement for changing its orientation relative to the conveyor while maintaining the attitude of said last sheet and the attitude of a first sheet of the following complement in entering relation to their respective pockets of the continuously movable collator.
2. The machine of claim 1 wherein said means includes a metering nip assembly positioned in the path of the overlapped sheets upstream of the sheet separating and shifting member and having a metering roll engageable with the approaching sheets, the metering roll being driven in timed relation to the movement of the sheet collecting pockets to continuously deliver thereto complements of a predetermined number of sheets with each of the complements being individually deposited in one of the pockets.
3. In a sheet handling machine, a conveyor operable for transporting a continuous stream of sheets along a path, the conveyor including a high speed belt section, a low speed belt section downstream of the high speed belt section, and an overlapping section between the high speed and low speed belt sections for effecting delivery of the sheets in overlapping condition, a continuously movable collator disposed downstream of the conveyor and including a series of pockets each having an entrance opening toward the conveyor, the pockets being successively movable in unison past the conveyor for respectively collecting sheet complements of a predetermined number, a sheet separating and shifting member mounted for movement between the conveyor and the collator for positively engaging a last sheet of each complement for changing its orientation relative to the conveyor while maintaining the attitude of said last sheet and the attitude of a first sheet of the following complement in entering relation to their respective pockets of the continuously movable collator, and a metering nip assembly between the low speed belt section and the sheet separating and shifting member and coacting therewith for ensuring delivery of a preselected number of sheets in each of the sheet complements to their respective pockets of the collator.
4. The machine of claim 1 wherein the sheet collecting pockets of the collator successively descend in one angular direction about a fixed horizontal axis past a delivery end of the conveyor in timed relation therewith, and wherein the sheet separating and shifting member is continuously rotatable about a fixed horizontal axis in synchronism with the conveyor for positively deflecting a last sheet of each of the sheet complements to ensure its entry into its respective sheet collecting pocket while permitting undefiected movement of a first sheet of the next sheet complement into a following adjacent pocket of the collator.
5. The machine of claim 2 wherein the sheet separating and shifting member comprises a rotary cam rotatable about a fixed axis in spaced parallel relation to the metering roll and having a contoured cam surface portion formed in continuation with a radial cam surface portion and a leading cam nose portion, the cam being driven in synchronism with the metering roll such that the cam nose portion acts to deflect a leading edge of a last sheet of each of the sheet complements into its respective sheet collecting pocket while the leading edge of a first sheet of the following complement is free to enter the next following pocket of the collator.
6. The machine of claim 3 wherein the low speed and high speed belt sections are operable at preselected relative surface speeds to effect uniform half length overlapping of the sheets in-the low speed belt section.
7. The machine of claim 5 wherein the collator comprises a carrier having a plurality of forks defining the sheet collecting pockets, the forks being mounted in equally spaced relation on the carrier for angular movement past the rotary cam about a fixed axis parallel to that of the last mentioned element, and wherein the 'adial cam surface portion is of a preselected length ess than the angular displacement of fork travel per :ach revolution of the rotary cam.
8. The machine of claim wherein the sheet collectng pockets of the continuously movable collator are lefined by a plurality of angularly spaced forks, and vherein the cam is supported for rotation in noninter- Yering operative intersection with the forks of the colator, the cam being continuously rotated in timed rela- :ion to the collator from a starting angular position, wherein the leading cam nose portion is adjacent and generally tangent to one of the forks, such that each of :he following forks is successively moved past the leadlng cam nose portion as the cam is moved through its starting angular position.
9. The machine of claim 5 wherein the cam has an active cam surface with a perimetric length equal to the perimeter of the metering roll, and wherein a common :lrive is provided for driving the metering roll and the :am at a predetermined angular velocity such that a preselected number of complete revolutions of the metering roll and cam ensures delivery of separate sheet complements of a known count to the collator.
10. In a sheet handling machine, a collator continuously movable in One direction about a fixed horizontal axis disposed in confronting transverse relation to a line of approach of a continuous stream of oncoming overlapped sheets, the collator having a plurality of open peripheral sheet collecting pockets successively and continuously movable into and out of register with oncoming sheets for collecting predetermined counted and separated complements of sheets and moving the same along a common path, and sheet separating means upstream of the collator for separating a last sheet of each complement and a first sheet of a following complement for collating said two sheets in separate sheet collecting pockets.
11. The machine of claim wherein a plurality of forks are attached to the collator to extend outwardly in equiangularly spaced relation and defining the sheet collecting pockets, and wherein a flat abutment extends between each pair of adjacent forks in perpendicular relation to a leading fork thereof and against which abutment the sheets are stopped relative to the forks to assist in aligning the sheets in neatly stacked condition.
12. The machine of claim 10 wherein delivery of the sheet complements into their respective sheet collecting pockets is effected at an approximately constant level relative to the axis of the collator.
13. The machine of claim 10 further including a metering nip assembly positioned upstream of the collator and having a metering roll engageable with the approaching sheets, the metering roll being driven in timed relation to the movement of the sheet collecting pockets past the line of approach of oncoming sheets to continuously deliver complements of a predetermined number of sheets into the sheet collecting pockets with each of the complements being individually received in one of the same.
14. The machine of claim 11 wherein each of the forks is disposed in an upwardly tilted attitude with respect to the oncoming sheets throughout registry therewith of their respective sheet collecting pockets, the forks being continuously movable with a tangential velocity component substantially normal to the line of approach of the sheets in descending relation thereto.
15. The machine of claim 14 further including an endless conveyor having an upper run positioned in noninterfering operative intersection with the forks of the collator and continuously traveling outwardly therefrom in timed relation thereto for removing each of the sheet complements from the individual forks as they successively descend through a position parallel to the upper run of the endless conveyor.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,876,000 3/1959 Mestre 27l64 2,922,640 1/1960 Fornell et a1. 270-58 2,936,167 5/1960 Davidson 27058 2,940,750 6/1960 Mestre 27058 3,026,107 3/1962 Stroud 27058 3,420,516 1/1969 Guggisberg 270 EUGENE R. CAPOZIO, Primary Examiner P. V. WILLIAMS, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 27l64, 71