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Publication numberUS3510122 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 5, 1970
Filing dateMar 26, 1968
Priority dateMar 26, 1968
Also published asDE1915034A1
Publication numberUS 3510122 A, US 3510122A, US-A-3510122, US3510122 A, US3510122A
InventorsGavaghan Thomas J
Original AssigneePitney Bowes Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sheet folding machine
US 3510122 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

May 5, 1970 1'. J. GAVAGHAN SHEET FOLDING MACHINE 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 26, 1968 INVENTOR. T60/na J 6am Mula@ HUM May 5, 1970 T. J. GAVAGHAN 3,510,122

SHEET FOLDING MACHINE Filed March 26, 1968 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 'A I INVENTOR W70/Was" (7a Vqg/mf? www wm May 5, 1970 T. J. GAVAGHAN SHEET FOLDING MACHINE 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed March 26, 1968 H Y waa, E mm/.mm mv. m w/WUT J. M MW 0 Y WB May 5, 1970 T. J. GAVAGHAN 3,510,122

SHEET FOLDING MAHINE Filed March 26, 1968 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 May 5, 1970 T. J. GAVAGHAN 3,510,122

SHEET FOLDING MACHINE Filed March 26, 1968 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 United States Patent O 3,510,122 SHEET FOLDING MACHINE Thomas J. Gavaghan, Norwalk, Conn., assignor t-o Pithey-Bowes, Inc., Stamford, Conn., a corporation of Delaware Filed Mar. 26, 1l968` Ser. No. 716,044

Int. Cl. B65h 45/14 U.S. Cl. 270-68 10 Claims ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE A folding machine in which all of the working components for storing, feeding, folding and discharging sheets of paper are located on one side of an interface of the folding machine to permit the folding machine to be operatively joined to other paper handling machines. A paper supply tray and a pair of buckle chutes are removably mounted so that a feeding and folding roller assembly located adjacent the interface can be readily completely exposed and made accessible to an operator of the folding machine.

Background of the invention This invention relates generally to sheet folding machines and more particularly to a novel arrangement and construction of the major operating components of such machines.

Sheet folding machines of the general type to which the present invention relates have long been known in the art and have enjoyed great commercial success. A wide variety of such machines have been developed for performing numerous different types of folding operations on various sized sheets of paper. In addition, other working operations, such as perforating, scoring or slitting, can be performed on the sheets as they pass through or are discharged from the folding machine.

These machines, while generally satisfactory for performing their intended functions and doing so while operating as an individual piece of apparatus, suffer two signiiicant drawbacks, and a number of operational disadvantages result either directly or indirectly therefrom. The first of these is that presently known folding machines are arranged and constructed in such a Way that it is either impossible or at least diliicult to the point of being commercially impracticable to operatively join these machines in modular fashion to other paper handling machines in order to effect a multi-handling process.

For example, envelope stuffing or inserting machines have been developed which can automatically insert a folded sheet into an envelope as each is successively fed from a supply thereof to an inserting station, after which the stuffed envelope is discharged to a stacking receiver for further manual handling or fed to further automatic equipment which can close and seal the envelope. Also, specialized feeders are known which can place inserts such as a postcard, small notice, return envelope, punch card and the like, between the folds of a sheet of paper after the latter has been folded, whereby the package of folded sheet and inserts is stuffed into an envelope by the envelope stuliing machine.

In situations such as the above, it is necessary in utilizing presently known folding machines to manually take a stack of folded sheets and place it in the feed tray of the subsequent sheet handling machine with the sheets being in a particular orientation suitable for the mechanism of the subsequent machine. Since these feed trays generally have a very limited capacity in proportion to the volume of sheets to be handled by any typical operation which warrants the availability and use of such sophisticated automatic equipment, an operator must be 3,510,122 Patented May 5, 1970 ICC constantly in attendance merely to keep feed trays loaded to present interruption in the smooth operation of the overall paper handling process.

The second major drawback referred to above is that the construction of prior art folding machines has generally rendered the problem of removing jammed sheets inconvenient, and in many instances extremely difficult. In high speed folding machines, because of the inherent difficulties in feeding sheets of paper at high speed, it is necessary to maintain very close spacing between such working components as paper guides, feed rollers and buckle chute openings. In order to assure maintaining such close spacing and hence proper guiding surfaces for the lead edge and folded lead edge of sheets being fed, the buckle chutes of prior art machines are customarily either rigidly mounted in the folding machine frame or are mounted in such a manner that removal thereof requires a substantial amount of disassembly of the machine. This is also generally true in regard to the paper supply tray. It therefore becomes extremely diflicult to clear jammed sheets of paper either from the buckle chutes or from the roller assembly because the buckle chutes are generally open only at the infeed end adjacent the rollers, and the latter are not readily accessible unless the buckle chutes and the paper supply tray are removed from the folding machine.

Brief description of the invention The present invention is directed toward a folding machine of novel arrangement and construction which obviates or substantially eliminates the disadvantages of prior art folding machines.

In its broader aspects the present invention comprises a folding machine having a generally rectangular upstanding frame for supporting all of the working components of the machine and which is partially enclosed by a housing. A generally vertically oriented feeding and folding roller assembly is supported adjacent to a forward end of the frame, and a paper supply means is removably mounted in an upper portion of the frame and extends from adjacent the roller assembly toward an opposite rear end of the frame. At least one buckle chute is also removably mounted in the frame beneath the paper supply means and in operative association with the roller assembly to cause sheets being fed by one portion of the roller assembly to buckle and be folded by another portion of the roller assembly. Suitable drive means are provided for driving the feeding and folding .roller assembly in a direction so as to feed a sheet from the paper supply means, buckle and fold the sheet of paper and subsequently discharge it from the forward end of the machine frame.

By this construction a folding machine is provided in which the forward end of the frame defines an interface beyond which no Working components of the machine project so that the folding machine can be operatively joined to another paper handling machine, for example, an envelope stuffing machine. In this respect the folding machine is modular and readily becomes a component of an automatic paper handling process in which the folding is merely the first operation performed on the paper.

In some of the more limited aspects of the present invention, there are two buckle chutes so that a sheet of paper can be folded in two places, each buckle chute being substantially planar, and both buckle chutes are mounted in the frame in vertically spaced apart parallel relationship beneath the paper supply means. Each buckle chute has an adjustable paper engaging stop member disposed therein and an open end located in closely spaced relation to the roller assembly so that sheets of paper are fed into the buckle chutes, buckled and immediately folded.

The roller assembly is generally vertically oriented along the forward end of the folding machine frame with the nips of coacting feed rollers being located as close as possible to the front end vertical spacing between the paper supply means and the buckle chutes. Other factors enter into the determination of the diameters of the several rollers in order to obtain proper feeding of the paper into and through the nips of cooperating folding rollers, but generally the vertical orientation of the forward ends ofthe paper supply means and the buckle chutes is proportional to that of the Several nips of the cooperating pairs of rollers.

The paper supply means and the buckle chutes are removably mounted in the machine frame by means which permits normal removal of these components without the necessity for disassembly or removal of any other parts. The paper supply means and buckle chutes are supported by a plurality of pins and tabs which engage with properly positioned slots on the removable components, the buckle chutes being held in operating position by spring latches.

The construction and arrangement is such that if sheets of paper become jammed in the machine, the paper supply means and the buckle chutes can be easily removed from the rearward end of the frame, thereby completely exposing both the front and rear sides of the feeding and folding roller assembly. It is thus possible to clear jams from the machine in a mattery of a very few minutes by an inexperienced operator and without the necessity for any tools or any disassembly of the folding machine.

A movable guide assembly is also provided as part of the feeding and folding roller assembly so that sheets fed forwardly from the paper supply means will be guided rearwardly toward the first buckle chute located under the paper supply means. This guide is movable away from the roller which it partially surrounds to provide unrestricted access thereto. The guide assembly includes an anti-skew roller which is movable with the guide assembly so that any sheets which might become jammed in this portion of the roller assembly can be easily removed.

Having briefly described the general nature of the present invention, it is a principal object thereto to provide a folding machine having a novel structure arrangement ment which offers advantages not heretofore known in folding machines.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a folding machine which is readily adaptable to use either by itself or as a modular component of a paper handling process.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a folding machine which has all of its working components mounted on one side of an end face of the machine so that the end face forms an interface between the folding machine and another paper handling machine when the two machines are operatively joined together.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a folding machine in which all parts of the feeding, buckling and folding components are readily accessible for clearing jammed sheets of paper.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a folding machine in which certain operating components are readily removable without any disassembly of the folding machine in order to render other non-removable components accessible for clearing jammed sheets of paper.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a folding machine which is economical to manufacture, highly reliable in operation and requires little or no maintenance.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be more readily appreciated from an understanding of the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevation with one frame plate removed to reveal internal detail of the folding machine of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary View similar to FIG. 1 but drawn to an enlarged scale showing the details of the feeding and folding roller assembly;

FIG. 3 is a front view taken on the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on the line 4 4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a plan view of the upper lbuckle chute shown in FIG. l;

FIG. 6 is a side view of the buckle chute shown in FIG. 5;

FIGS. 7 and 8 are enlarged sectional views taken on the lines 7-7 and 8 8 respectively of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary plan view drawn to an enlarged scale showing the manner of mounting the upper buckle chute;

FIG. 10 is a plan view of the lower buckle chute shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. l1 is a side view of the buckle chute shown in FIG. 10;

FIGS. l2 and 13 are enlarged sectional views taken on the lines 12-12 and 13-13 respectively of FIG. l; and

FIG. 14 is a fragmentary plan view drawn to an enlarged scale showing the manner of mounting the lower buckle chute.

Detailed description of the invention Referring now to the drawings and particularly to FIGS. l through 4 thereof, the folding machine 10 cornprises an upstanding generally rectangular frame formed by a pair of spaced parallel side plates 12 and 14 having front, rear, top and bottom edges 16, 18, 20 and 22 respectively. The side frame plates 12 and 14 support therebetween the working components of the folding machine as hereinafter described.

A generally vertically oriented feeding and folding roller assembly indicated by the numeral 24 is supported adjacent the forward end 16 of the frame and is disposed principally in an upper portion of the frame. A paper supply means generally indicated by the numeral 26 is removably mounted in an upper portion of the frame in position to have a discharge end of the paper supply means located adjacent the upper end of the roller assembly 24 and extending upwardly and toward and beyond the rearward end 18 of the frame.

At least one and preferably a pair of buckle chutes generally indicated by the numerals 28 and 30 are removably supported by the side frame plates 12 and 14 beneath the paper supply means 24, the buckle chutes being supported in operative association with the roller assembly 24 to cause sheets fed into the buckle chutes to buckle adjacent the inlet end of the buckle chutes for subsequent folding by the roller assembly in a manner more particularly described below.

A drive motor 32 is located in a lower portion of the frame for driving the several rollers of the roller assembly 24 through any suitable system of drive connections, such as belts and pulleys and/or gears, which forms no part of the present invention and therefore is neither shown in the drawings nor described in detail, such driving connections being well known to those skilled in the art. The motor 32 also drives a power stacker attachment 34 in a manner described below,

The feeding and folding roller assembly 24 includes a sheet separator assembly 36 which comprises a feed roller 38 mounted on a shaft 40 which is rotatably supported by bushings 42 mounted in the side plates 12 and 14. The shaft 40 is driven by the motor 32 in a counterclockwise direction, and the roller 38, which is relatively narrow as best seen in FIG. 3, is connected to the shaft 40, by any suitable one-way (not shown) so that the roller 38 can override the shaft 40 for a purpose to be made clear hereinafter. A stationary separator element 44 is mounted on a U-shaped bracket 46 the upper leg of which is connected to a at guide plate 48 supported by the side plates 12 and 14, the two legs of the bracket 46 terminating rearwardly in spaced apart relationship,

with the upper leg having a screw 50 non-rotatably mounted thereon which carries a hand nut 52 threaded thereon. The nut 52 bears against the underside of the lower leg of the bracket 46 wherein rotation of the nut 52 moves the separator element 44 toward and away from the feed roller 38 in order to obtain the proper spacing therebetween for successive seriation feeding of sheets by the roller 38.

A stack of sheets is held in feeding position by the paper supply means or tray 26 which comprises a flat plate 54 having depending flanges 56 extending along the side edges of the plate 54. A pair of side guides 58 are laterally adjustably mounted on a shaft 60 by means of tabs 62 projecting downwardly from the side guides 58 which ride in a suitable slot formed in the plate 54, the shaft 60 being supported by the side flanges 56. Each side guide 58 terminates forwardly of the plate 54 in a projecting surface portion 64 adapted to rest on the upper surface of the guide plate 48 when the paper supply tray 26 is in normal operating position in the folding machine. The forwardly projecting surface portions extend beyond the nip of the feed rollers 38 and the separator element 44 so that the lead edges'of a stack of sheets will always be adjacent the feeding roller 38.

The paper supply tray is held in the slanted position shown in FIG. 1 by means of a slot 66 formed in the front edge of each side flange 56 which engages with a pin 68 carried by each side plate 12 and 14, and another slot 70 located about midway along each side ange 56 which engages with another pin 72 carried by each side plate. It will be observed that the slots 66 open forwardly while the slots 70 open downwardly. By this arrangement it will be apparent that the paper supply tray 26 is readily removable from the folding machine frame by lifting the rearward end of the tray 26 until the slots 70 clear the pins 72 and withdrawing the tray rearwardly. The tray is readily reinstalled by inserting the forward end of the tray into the machine with the forwardly projecting surfaces 64 of the side guides riding on the upper surface of the guide plate 48 until the slots 66 engaged with the pins 68, then lowering the rearward end of the paper tray 26 to reengage the slots 70` with the pins 72.

The feeding and folding roller assembly 24 further includes a plurality of coacting feeding and folding rollers comprising a first roller 74 carried by a shaft 76 rotatably supported in bushings 78 mounted in the side plates 12 and 14. The shaft 76 is driven by the motor 32 through a suitable driving connection in a counter-clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. l. A second roller 80 of smaller diameter than the roller 74 is located over and in contact with the roller 74 and is carried by a shaft 82 rotatably supported by bushings 84 mounted in the side plates 12 and 14. A third roller 86 of the same diameter as the roller 80 is located under and in contact with the roller 74 and is carried by a shaft 88 rotatably supported by bushings 90 mounted in the side plates 12 and 14. A fourth roller 92 of the same diameter as the rollers 80 and 86 is located rearwardly of and in contact with the roller 74 and is carried by a shaft 94 rotatably supported by bushings 96 mounted in the side plates 12 and 14. As best seen in FIG. 2, the pairs of bushings 84, 90 and 96 for the shafts 82, 88 and 94 respectively are mounted in slots 98 formed in the side plates 12 and 14 and are spring urged toward the shaft 76 in a manner well known in the art so as to maintain yieldable driving contact between the roller 74 and each of the rollers 80, 86 and 92. As mentioned above, the roller 74 is driven by the motor 32, while the rollers 80', 86 and 92 are driven by peripheral frictional contact with the roller 74.

In order to guide sheets of paper from the paper supply tray 26 to the nip of the rollers 74 and 80, that is, to afford a turn around passageway around the roller 80 so as to reverse the direction of feeding of sheets which are fed forwardly from the paper supply tray, a guide assembly 100 is provided at least a portion of which is functionally a part of the feeding and folding assembly 24.

As best seen in FIG. 2, the guide assembly comprises a plate 102 `which extends between the side plates 12 and 14 and has an integrally formed ear 104 at both ends, the ears 104 being rotatably mounted on the shaft 40 adjacent the side plates 12 and 14. The plate 102 has a shaped upper portion 106 which terminates at the upper edge 20 of the side plates 12 and 14, this upper portion cooperating with a housing panel 108 in a manner more fully explained below. A vertical planar mid-portion 110 is provided with an aperture 112 through which the feed roller 38 projects. The plate 102 also includes a lower forwardly projecting portion 114 which terminates in an arcuate portion 116 which partially surrounds the periphery of the roller 80 and defines with the peripheral surface thereof a turn around passage way 118 which directs the leading edge of a sheet of paper into the nip of the rollers 74 and 80.

The guide assembly 100 is movable `from its operative position as shown in full lines in FIG. 2 to an inoperative shown in dotted lines in FIG. 2 in which the arcuate portion 116 of the plate 102 is disposed away from the roller 80 thereby fully exposing the latter and making the entire roller portion of the assembly 24 accessible for removal of jammed sheets of paper. As mentioned above, the ears 104 of the plateI 102 are rotatably mounted on the shaft 40 to provide for this movement of the plate 102. In order to maintain the plate 102 in its operative position an L-shaped bracket 120 is secured to each end of the iutermediate portion 110 of the plate 102, each bracket supporting a locking device -which comprises a U-shaped por- -tion 122 formed integrally with the L of the bracket 120, the U-shaped portion 122 supporting a pin 124 having an elongated head 126 on the inner end thereof. The pin is slidably mounted in holes in the legs of the U-shaped portion 122 and a spring 128 pressing on an abutment washer 130 mounted on the pin 124 normally urges the pin to a position where it is disposed in an aperture formed in the side plate 12. When in this position the plate 102 is located in its normal operating position. In order to free the plate 102 for movement to its inoperative or open position, a pin release tab 132 is provided having an aperture 134 which surrounds the pin 124 between the inner leg of the U-shaped portion 122 and the enlarged head 126 of the pin 124. As shown in FIG. 4, movement of the tab 132 to the dotted line position withdraws the pin 124 from the aperture in the side plate 12 to allow the plate 102 to pivot about the shaft 40.

In order to insure that the leading edge of a sheet being fed from the paper supply tray 26 to the nip of the rollers 74 and 80 is properly aligned with the nip of the rollers, an anti-skew roller is provided which coacts with the roller 80 so that the sheets are being positively fed through the turn around passageway 118 by the rollers 80 and 140 rather than being merely pushed by the feed roller 38 between it and the next sheet in the stack. The roller 140 is carried by a shaft 142 rotatably supportd by bushings 144 which are mounted in a U-shaped extension 146 of each bracket 120. The roller 140 is urged into contact with the roller 80 by a spring 148 connected at one end thereof to the Ushaped portion 146 and at the other end to a turned out lug 150 of the pin release tab 132 which projects through an opening 152 in the inner leg of the U-shaped portion 122 of the bracket 120. The lower portion 114 of the plate 102 is provided with an elongate slot 154 through which the roller 140 extends in order to yieldably contact the roller 80 when the guide assembly 100 is in its normal operating position.

From the above construction, it will be apparent that when the plate 102 is moved to its open position shown in dotted lines in FIG. 2, the anti-skew roller 140 is carried therewith so as not to interfere with the accessibility of the roller 80 for clearing of jams or for other service purposes.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 5 through 9, the upper buckle chute 28 is seen to comprise a pair of flat parallel plate members 160 and 162 having a plurality of elongate slots 164 formed therein, the. plates being riveted together substantially at the four corners but spaced apart by depressions 166 formed in the plate 162. The plate 162 has a downwardly curved front end portion 168 to facilitate proper buckling of a sheet as more fully expjlained below. The plate 160 has a downwardly projecting rear end portion 170 which deflects the leading edge of a sheet away from the buckle chute 28 in the event that it is desired not to use the opper buckle chute 28 for folding. For this purpose the buckle chute can be reversibly mounted in the folding machine in a manner more fully explained below.

An adjustable paper stop is provided which comprises elongate parallel upper and lower bars 172 and 174 which are secured together by means of screws 176 fixed to the lower bar 172 on which are threadedly mounted tightening knobs 178. The upper bar is provided with a plurality of depending fingers 180 which project through the slots 164 in each plate which are engaged by the lead edge of a sheet of paper to stop movement thereof in the buckle chute. The fingers 180 can be positioned at any location along the slots 164 by lo-osening the knobs 178 and sliding the bars 172 and 174 forwardly or rearwardly along the buckle chute.

As best seen in FIGS. 5, l6 and 9 the lower plate is provided with a pair of depending tabs 182 located adjacent the side edge and in spaced relationship to the front edge of the -buckle chute, and a similar pair of tabs 184 located adjacent the side edges and in spaced relationship to the rear end of the buckle chute. The Iupper plate 160 is provided with a pair of slots 186 located directly over the tabs 182 so that the rear edge of each slot 186 is vertically aligned `with the front face of the corresponding tab 182. A similar pair of slots 188 is similarly located with respect to the tabs 184 when the buckle chute is reversed front to rear. A pair of elongate notches 189 are formed in the side edge of the plate 160 substantially midway between the front and rear edge.

Referring to FIGS. l, 7 and 9, each side frame plate 12 and 14 is provided with a forwardly disposed tab 190 and a rearwardly disposed tab 192, these tabs projecting inwardly of the side plates and located at a height relative to the side plates 12 and 14 so as to support the buckle chute 28 in a substantially horizontal position with its inlet end adjacent the nip of the rollers 74 and 80. As best seen in FIG. 7, each tab 190 is shaped to have a horizontal shoulder portion 194. As best seen in FIG. 8, the rear tabs 192 are also provided with a horizontal shoulder portion 196. Referring back to FIG. l, a leaf spring retainer 198 is mounted on each side plate 12 and 14 to yieldably engage the side edges of the buckle chute 28 to hold the latter in place.

From the foregoing it will be apparent that the buckle chute is readily removable from the folding machine without the need for any disasse-mbly thereof or the use of any tools. To insert the buckle chute 28 into the folding machine, the buckle chute is held at an elevated angle and moved forwardly until the tabs 182 on the lower plate 162 engage the tabs 190 on the side plates 12 and 14. The buckle chute is then lowered to a horizontal position so that the lower surface of the plate 160 rests on the shoulders 194 and 196 of the tabs 190 and 192, with the upper portion of the tabs 190 extending through the slots 186, and the upper portion of the tabs 192 extending through the notches 189 adjacent the rear end thereof. In lowering the buckle chute to the horizontal position, the side edges thereof compress the leaf spring retainers 189 and snap -over a high center thereof so that the spring retainers 189 effectively hold the buckle chute from accidental dislodgement from its operating position. To remove the buckle chute 28, it is necessary -merely to lift the rear end of the buckle chute against the force of the spring retainers 189 to disengage the slots 186 from the tabs 190 and withdraw the buckle chute from the rear end Iof the folding machine.

If it is desired to reverse the position of the buckle chute 28 in the folding machine so that the guide surface is adjacent the roller assembly, the above procedure is followed except that the rear tabs 184 on the buckle chute will abut the tabs on the side plates 12 and 14.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 10 through 14, the lower Ibuckle chute 30 is similar in construction and function to the buckle chute 28, themain distinctions being in the shape of the guide surfaces. Thus, the buckle chute 30 is also formed of a pair of planar parallel plates 200 and 202 each provided with aligned slots 204 and having an adjustable paper stop mechanism 206 disposed thereon which is substantially identical to the paper stop mechanism of the buckle chute 28, and therefore need not be further described. The plates 200 and 202 have upwardly curved guiding surfaces 208 and 210 respectively for guiding the lead edge of sheets of paper into the buckle chute and for assuring proper buckling of the sheet for subsequent folding. The plate 202 has an upwardly directed generally V-shaped guide portion 212 at the rear end thereof for guiding sheets of paper through the roller assembly 24 without entering the buckle chute when the buckle chute is mounted in the folding machine in a front to rear reversed position.

As best seen in FIGS. 10, 1l and 14, the lower plate 202 is provided with a pair of depending tabs 214 located adjacent the side edges and in spaced relationship to the front edge of the buckle chute, and a similar pair of tabs 216 located adjacent to the side edges and in spaced relationship to the rear edge of the buckle chute. The lower plate 202 is also provided with a pair of enlarged slots 218 located adjacent to the tafbs 214, and a similar pair of enlarged slots 220 located adjacent to the tabs 216. Another pair of narrow slots 222 is located in rearwardly spaced relationship to the tabs 214, and a similar pair of narrow slots 224 is located in forwardly spaced relationship to the tabs 216.

Referring to FIGS. l, 12 and 14, each side frame plate 12 and 14 is provided with a forwardly disposed tab 226 and a rearwardly disposed ta'b 228, the tabs 226 and 228 being identical in shape and function to the tabs 190 and 192 respectively associated with the upper buckle chute 28. These tabs are located at a height relative to the side plates 12 and 14 so as to support the buckle chute 30 in a substantially horizontal position and in vertically spaced parallel relationship to the upper buckle chute 28 and with its inlet and adjacent the nip of the rollers 74 and 86. Each of the tabs 226 and 228 has a shoulder portion 230 `adapted to support the undersurface of the lower plate 202 of the buckle chute 30, as distinguished from the tabs 190 and 192 supporting the upper plate 160 of the upper buckle chute 28. Another leaf spring retainer 232 similar to the retainer 189 is mounted on each side plate 12 and 14 to yieldafbly engage the side edges of the buckle chute 30 to hold the latter in place against accidental dislodgement from its normal position.

From the foregoing it will be seen that the buckle chute 30 is also readily removable from the folding machine in substantially the same manner as that described above for the upper buckle chute 28, the only difference being that all abutment and engagement between the lower buckle chute 30 and the side plates 12 and 14 is effected with the lower plate 202. Thus, when the tabs 214 of the buckle chute plate 202 engage the tabs 226 on the plates 12 and 14, the upper portion of the tabs 226 extend through the enlarged slots 218, and the rear tabs 228` on the side plates 12 and 14 extend through the narrow slots 224 on the buckle chute plate 202. If the buckle chute 30 is reversed in the folding machine, the opposite corresponding tab and slot engagement is effected.

Referring back to FIG. 2, the front face of the folding machine is defined by the cover panel 108 which is pivotally connected as at 234 to the side fra-me plates 12 and 14 whereby the panel 108 is movable from the closed position shown in solid lines to an open position shown in dotted lines. In this latter position the entire forward side of the feeding and folding roller assembly is exposed and accessible for servicing or removal of jammed sheets, particularly when the guide assembly 100 has been raised to its open position as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 2. The panel 108 is provided with an elongated notch 236 located in horizontal alignment with the nip of the rollers 74 and 86 through which folded sheets are discharged from the folding machine.

If it is desired to use the folding machine by itself, the power stacker attachment 34 is mounted on the machine to receive the folded sheets. The attachment comprises a at plate 240 having depending side anges 242 and a roller 244 rotatably mounted on the plate 240 at each end (the roller not being shown at the outer end). A clamp portion 246 is arranged to clamp over the L- shaped bar 248 secured to the side frame plates 12 and 14. A gear 250 is mounted on a shaft 252 underlying the bar 248 and connected to the drive motor 32 in a suitable manner. Another gear (not shown) is mounted coaxially with the roller 244 to rotate the latter, and `the roller 244 driving one or more belts 254 on which the folded sheets fall when they are discharged from the folding machine. The stacker is removable from the folding machine by merely disengaging the clamp portion 246 from the bar 248 and withdrawing the stacker forwardly, thereby leaving the front face of the machine unobstructed for joining the folding machine in modular fashion to another paper handling machine.

The operation of the machine described above is as follows: With all of the parts positioned as shown in FIG. 1, a stack. of sheets to be folded is placed in the paper supply tray 26 with the lead edge thereof in staggered relationship with the top sheet foremost. With the motor 32 running and all rollers rotating, the roller 38, rotating at a relatively slow speed, feeds the top sheet until the lead edge thereof is picked up in the nip of the rollers 80 and 140 which are rotating at a much faster speed than that of the roller 38. The sheet is then fed by these rollers, the roller 38 overriding its drive until the trailing edge of the first sheet passes the roller 38, and the sheet is guided around the passageway 118 and into the nip of the roller 74 and 80, after which the sheet enters the buckle chute 28. When the lead edge of the sheet abuts the stop fingers 180, the sheet buckles in the area of the curved guide portion 168 of the buckle chute 28 and thereby forms a curve in the sheet which is immediately picked up by the rollers 74 and 92 which fold the sheet to form a new lead edge. This folded lead edge is then guided into the lower buckle chute 30 an fed therein until thefolded lead edge abuts the stop fingers of the stop mechanism 206 in the buckle chute 30. The sheet then buckles again in the area of the guide surface 210 to form another curve which is immediately picked up in the nip of the rollers 74 and 86 which fold the sheet a second time and discharge the fully folded sheet through the notch 326 in the panel 108. The folded sheet then either falls onto the power stacker 34 or is directed into the receiving mechanism of another machine with which the folding machine is associated for further processing such, for example, as inserting the folded sheet into an envelope or collating it with other material.

It will now be understood that the folding machine of the present invention possesses the distinct advantages over prior art folding machines in that all of the working components of the machine can be rendered completely accessible without the necessity for 4disassemblin-g any parts of the machine which are not readily removable. In addition the machine is so arranged and constructed that all operating components are located on one side of a face of the machine so as to make it possi-ble for the folding machine to be operatively joined to other paper handling machines to effect a continuous process, as well as also making it possible to remove components and render other components accessible while the folding machine is so associated.

It will therefore be apparent that there is provided a folding machine which achieves the foregoing objects and avoids the disadvantages of prior art folding machines. It is to be understood that the invention is not limitedto the embodiment described above and shown in the accompanying drawings which is merely illustrative of the principles of the invention and is the best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the invention, and is susceptable to change in form, size, detail and arrangement of parts, the invention being intended to cover all such variations, modifications and equivalents thereof as may be deemed to be within the scope of the claims appended hereto.

I claim:

. 1. A sheet folding machine having a plurality of operating components comprising:

(A) means defining an upstanding generally rectangular frame having forward and rearward ends, said forward end defining an interface of said folding machine from which all operating components of said folding machine project toward said rearward end,

(B) a generally vertically oriented feeding and folding roller assembly supported by said frame adjacent the forward end thereof,

(C) paper supply means mounted in an upper portion of said frame in position to have a discharge end thereof disposed adjacent said roller assembly so as to discharge sheets to said roller assembly and extending generally rearwardly of said frame from said roller assembly,

(D) at least one buckle chute mounted in said frame beneath said paper supply means in position to have the open end thereof disposed adjacent said roller assembly and extending therefrom toward the rearward end of said frame and operatively associated with said roller assembly to cause sheets of paper being fed by one portion of said roller assembly to buckle and be folded by another portion of said roller assembly, and

(E) means for driving said roller assembly to feed sheets of paper from said paper supply means, buckle and fold said sheets and discharge the folded sheets from the forward end of said frame.

2. A sheet folding machine according to claim 1 wherein said roller assembly comprises:

(A) separator means located uppermost of said roller assembly and adjacent said discharge end of said paper supply means and operatively associated with said paper supply means to feed sheets of paper seriatim therefrom, and

(B) a plurality of coacting feeding and folding rollers disposed generally beneath said separator means for folding sheets of paper into said buckle chute and folding said sheets in the buckled area thereof.

3. A sheet folding machine according to claim 2 wherein said roller assembly further includes an arcuate turn around guide disposed adjacent said forward end of said frame and partially surrounding a forward peripheral portion of the uppermost of said plurality of coacting rollers for directing sheets of paper fed by said separator means from said paper supply means rearwardly into the nip of a first pair of said coacting rollers.

4. A folding machine according to claim 2 wherein said roller assembly further includes:

(A) a guide structure disposed upwardly of said roller assembly and forwardly of said separator means, said guide structure including an arcuate turn around guide portion partially surrounding a forward peripheral portion of the uppermost of said plurality of coacting rollers for directing sheets of paper fed by said separator means from said paper supply means rearwardly into the nip of a first pair of said coacting rollers, and

(B) means pivotally mounting said guide structure in said frame for movement between an operative position in which said arcuate guide portion surrounds said uppermost roller and an open position in which said arcuate guide portion is spaced away from said uppermost roller.

5. A folding machine according to claim 4 wherein said guide structure further includes a roller, and means on said guide structure for rotatably supporting said roller intermediate said separating means and said arcuate guide portion and in axially coeXtensive peripheral Contact with said uppermost roller whereby sheets of paper are positively fed around said uppermost roller and said roller mounted on said guide structure is moved away from said uppermost roller where said guide structure is moved to said open position.

6. A sheet folding machine having a plurality of operating components comprising:

(A) means defining an upstanding generally rectangular frame having forward and rearward ends, said forward end defining an interface of said folding machine from which all operating components of said folding machine project toward said rearward end,

(B) a generally vertically oriented feeding and folding roller assembly supported by said frame adjacent the front end thereof,

(C) an elongate paper supply tray supported by said frame in position to have a discharge end thereof disposed adjacent said roller assembly and to extend therefrom toward the rearward end of said frame,

(D) at least one buckle chute supported by said frame beneath said paper supply tray in position to have the open end thereof disposed adjacent said roller assembly and to extend therefrom toward the rearward end of said frame,

(E) means mounting said paper supply tray and said buckle chute in said frame for manual removal therefrom rearwardly of said frame, and

(F) means for driving said roller assembly to feed sheets of paper from said paper supply tray, buckle and fold said sheets and discharge the folded sheets from the forward end of said frame.

7. A sheet folding machine according to claim 6 wherein said means mounting said paper supply tray in said frame comprising:

(A) first means disposed adjacent the discharge end of said tray defining a pair of forwardly facing slots and second means disposed rearwardly of said first Y means defining a pair of downwardly facing slots,

(B) and a plurality of pins mounted on said frame in position to engage with said slots on said paper supply tray when the latter is in said frame, whereby said paper supply tray is removable from said frame by raising the rearward end of said tray and withdrawing said tray rearwardly of said frame.

8. A sheet folding machine according to claim 6 wherein said means mounting said buckle chute in said frame comprises:

(A) a plurality of inwardly projecting tabs formed on said frame, at least a pair of said tabs being located adjacent said feeding and folding roller assembly and at least a pair of said tabs being located adjacent the rearward end of said frame, said tabs having an upwardly facing shoulder portion, and

(B) a pair of downwardly projecting tabs formed on said buckle chute adjacent the front end thereof, said tabs on said buckle chute being adapted to engage the tabs on said frame adjacent to arrest forward movement thereof and said upwardly facing shoulder l on said tabs being adapted to support said buckle chute in the arrested position thereof.

9. A sheet folding machine according to claim 8 further including means formed on said buckle chute for engaging at least one of said pairs of tabs on said frame for preventing rearward movement of said buckle chute when said buckle chute is resting on said shoulders of said inwardly projecting tabs.

10. A sheet folding machine according to claim 9 further including yieldable means resiliently holding said buckle chute in position on said shoulders of said inwardly projecting tabs,

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,143,714 1/1939 Rosebush 270-68 2,521,951 9/1950 Schubert 271-51 X 2,766,569 10/1956 Strother et al. 53-188 FOREIGN PATENTS 538,767 11/1931 Germany.

EUGENE R. CAPOZIO, Primary Examiner P. V. WILLIAMS, Assistant Examiner

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4032133 *Sep 11, 1975Jun 28, 1977Steffens Charles JRoller positioning method and apparatus for buckle-type paper folding machine
US4701233 *Jan 16, 1986Oct 20, 1987Pitney Bowes Inc.Method for folding and sealing sheets
US4816108 *Jul 8, 1987Mar 28, 1989Pitney Bowes Inc.Device for folding and sealing sheets
US4834695 *Oct 17, 1986May 30, 1989Baumfolder CorporationAutomatic fold-pan assembly
US4944131 *Apr 7, 1989Jul 31, 1990Pitney Bowes Inc.Paper folding apparatus
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US5192389 *Oct 18, 1991Mar 9, 1993Pitney Bowes Inc.Apparatus for preparing a self-mailer having printer, folder, and transport means
US5196083 *Mar 12, 1990Mar 23, 1993Pitney Bowes Inc.System and method for producing items in selected configurations
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Classifications
U.S. Classification493/421
International ClassificationB65H45/12, B65H45/14
Cooperative ClassificationB65H45/14
European ClassificationB65H45/14