US 3556283 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventors Clinton F. Brundage Mahwah, N.J.; Dominick V. Mammolito, Staten Island, N.Y.  Appl. No. 762,108  Filed Sept. 24, 1968  Patented Jan. 19, 1971  Assignee North American Rockwell Corporation Pittsburg, Pa. 2* rv efiee of De w r  BOOK FORMING APPARATUS AND METHOD 17 Claims, 18 Drawing Figs. 52] vs. C! 198/34, 198/76, 198/l66,198/167, 198/218  lnt.Cl ..,....B65g 47/31, 365g 37/00  Field ofSearch 198/34, 76, 166, 167, 218
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,279,573 4/1942 Lang 198/34 2,341,705 2/1944 Fedorchaketal 3,155,221 11/1964 Griner ABSTRACT: Apparatus and method for handling a succession of bodies of books preparatory to applying backs and covers thereto. The apparatus includes a first conveyor for carrying a succession of books in end to end upright relationship to an escapement mechanism positioned between the first conveyor and a second conveyor aligned therewith. At spaced time in tervals, the escapement mechanism delivers sets each containing a plurality of books (two books in the illustrative apparatus) to the second conveyor where the books of the delivered set are stopped in spaced relationship by stop means on the second conveyor, Mounted on a slide or carriage reci-procable parallel to the second conveyor are book gripping or clamping means which clamp the books after they are stopped on the second conveyor. After the books in the thus delivered set thereof have been clamped, they are then carried forward by the slide in accurately spaced relationship for presentation to subsequent book processing apparatus.
PATENTEU JAN 1 9 I971 sum 2 OF 9,
INVENTORS CLINTON F. BRUNDACE y DOMINICK V. MAMMOLITO PATENTED JAN 1 9 I97! SHEET 3 0F 9 INVENTORS LINTON F. BRUNDAGE DOMINICK v. MAMMOLITO EMM/[J ATTOR EYS pmmmmm n 3556283 SHEET 8 OF 9 F1 @114; v I6 INVENTORS CLINTON F. BRUNDAGE DOMINICK V. MAMMOLITO ATTO NEYS PMENYEB ma 1 9 m1 SHEET 9 BF 9 INVENTORS CLINTON F. BRUNDAGE BY DOMINICK V. MAMMOLITO J wwwt ATTORN ZS :Jnu an:
BOOK FORMENG APPARATUS AND ll/ilEllllllGlD! This invention relates to an apparatus for and a method of handling a plurality of articles such as books being formed, and particularly relates to apparatus whereby a plurality of such articles are fed forwardly in accurately spaced relationship. The apparatus of the invention is useful in the bookforming art in thus feeding a plurality of bodies of books to subsequent apparatus such as that applying the backs and covers to the books. it is important, from considerations of 1 economy, that such feeding of the bodies of the books be carried out at high speed, and it is particularly important that the book bodies as thus fed be accurately spaced in the relation ship which they will have in passing through the subsequent book-forming and processing units.
The apparatus of the present invention provides novel high speed mechanism for feeding forwardly from a line of endaligned articles a plurality of articles in each cycle of a pickup station while accurately spacing the successive articles thus picked up.
A further object of the invention lies in the provision of a book pickup station which markedly increases the rate at which books in accurately longitudinally spaced relationship are delivered to subsequent booleforming apparatus.
Another object of the invention lies in the provision of book pickup apparatus of the type indicated which is readily capable of adjustment to handle books lying within an appreciable range of book heights and widths.
Still another object of the invention lies in the provision of a multiple book pickup station which is readily controlled and the feeding means for which is automatically stopped upon the failure to deliver books thereto in accordance with its requirements.
A still further object of the invention lies in the provision of a novel method of feeding end-aligned articles in multiple and accurately spacing the plurality of thus fed articles from each other.
The above and further objects and novel features of the in vention will more fully appear from the following description when the same is read in connection with the accompanying drawings. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration only, and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention.
in the drawings, wherein like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views:
H6. )1 is a view partially in vertical longitudinal section and partially in side elevation of a book pickup station in accordance with the invention, there being shown the delivery end of a first, slow speed conveyor associated with such station;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view in side elevation of the book clamp-operating mechanism in the upper portion of the book pickup station of HG. i, the parts of the book clamping mechanism at such station being shown in their clamp-closed or operative position, and the reciprocable slides which carry the clamping mechanism being shown as having traveled fully forwardly in their operative stroke;
MG. 3 is a view similar to H6, 2 but with the operating mechanism for the book clamping mechanism having been operated to open the clamps;
FllG. l is a fragmentary view in plan of the reciprocable clamp-carrying slides at the beginning of their forward, operative stroke, the clamping mechanism being shown closed to engage the books which have been forwarded thereto;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view in plan showing a part of the mechanism of F llG. d but with the clamps unclamped as when the slides begin their return, inoperative stroke;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary view in plan of the book stops on the conveyor at the pickup station, the stops being shown in their extended, operative position;
FIG. 7 is a view similar to FlG. at: but with the stops retracted into their inoperative position;
H6. 8 is a fragmentary view in transverse section through the crank forming a part of the operating means for one of the book stops, the section being taken along the broken section line 8-8 of HG. s;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary view in vertical section through the apparatus at the pickup station, the section being taken along the line 9-9 of HG. l, the view showing the means for adjusting the two book stops both longitudinally with respect to each other and longitudinally as a unit;
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary view in side elevation of the composite cam for reciprocating the slides, and the means for driving such cam;
FlG. lll is a fragmentary view in plan of the cam of FIG. 10, the view showing the mechanism for operating the gates of the composite cam;
FIG. 12 is a fragmentary view in vertical section taken along the line lit-J12 of FlG. llllll;
FlG. R3 is a view in vertical axial section through a guide roller for the main slides of the pickup station, the section being taken along the line 13-13 of FIG. 4;
HO. lid is a view in transverse vertical section through the delivery end of the first, slower speed conveyor of the apparatus, the section being taken along the broken line M H of FIG. ll;
FIG. H5 is a fragmentary plan of the apparatus at the book in-feed escapement, the view being taken from the line 115415 of FIG. 14;
FIG. it is a view in transverse vertical section through the book entering end of the book pickup station, the section being taken along the broken section line lib-l6 of FlG. l;
FIG. 17 is a schematic, simplified wiring diagram showing the manner in which parts of the book pickup station and the book feeding means therefor are driven and controlled; and
FIG. 18 is a somewhat schematic view in perspective of the mechanism for driving the various units associated with and forming a part of the illustrative book pickup station of the invention.
GENERAL DESCRlPTlON OF THE APPARATUS The apparatus shown in FlG. 1 includes a first, slow speed conveyor lb wherein a plurality of book bodies Ill (FIG. 4) are forwarded to the right in end-to-end relationship with their backs disposed upwardly, The book bodies llll are supported at conveyor illll upon a conveyor belt 112, the belt 112. being driven in its lower, retum run by a drive pulley driven at a first, slower speed by suitable driving mechanism connected to a drive motor for the apparatus. The book bodies ll, which are deposited in end-to-end alignment on conveyor lid, are forwarded by the conveyor belt 112 to an infeed escapement 15 which is positioned between the delivery end of the conveyor 10 and the entrance end of a book pickup or register station 16. The escapernent i5 includes two pairs of opposed escapement wheels 17 mounted to rotate about vertical axes, such wheels being driven by the driving means for the apparatus (FIG. lb) through the medium of an electromagnetically operated clutch-brake 2b and a speed reducing gearing mechanism 21. As will be more fully apparent hereinafter, the clutch of the clutch-brake 26B is engaged when a photoelectric cell 25 provided with an opposed light source as detects the presence of a book body l l in position to abut the escapement wheels 17. As will be more fully apparent hereinafter, the escapement wheels i? normally rotate at all times, once the apparatus has been placed in operation, unless there is no book on conveyor MB in position to be forwarded by wheels 17 at the proper time to fill a pocket" on a reciprocating carriage in a station to which is supplied with book bodies by conveyor lift and escapement wheels 117. The presence or absence of a book in such position on conveyor l0 is detected by a photoelectric cell 25 provided with an opposed light source as. The wheels ll? forward book bodies ill in sets of two to a book pickup station id, in which the two books of the set are accurately spaced or registered, and from which the sets of book bodies are fed forwardly.
If a book body 11 is not in position at the proper time to be forwarded to station 16 by the escapement wheels 17, the wheels 17 are stopped by deenergizing the clutch of clutch brake 20 and energizing the brake thereof, thereby quickly to bring such wheels to a stop. The horizontal spacing of one set of wheels 17 from the other is such that when the wheels are at rest they function to stop forward travel of book bodies on conveyor 10. The wheels 17 remain at rest until a book body 11 is in advance of such wheels in position to be fed by them at the proper time for feeding a book to fill a pocket on the reciprocating carriage.
The book pickup station 16 is provided with a second conveyor 29 having a belt 30 which is aligned with the belt 12 of the first conveyor, conveyor belt 30 being driven at an appreciably higher speed than the conveyor belt 12, and at a speed which is substantially equal to the speed at which the escapement wheels 17 forward book bodies thereto. The two book bodies 11 forwarded to the conveyor 29 by the escapement wheels 17 rest upon the belt 30 and travel therewith until the respective book bodies are arrested by a rear book stop 109 and a forward book stop 110. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 6, the stops 109 and 110 are mounted upon a subframe which mounts the belt 30. The stops when extended into their operative positions closely overlie the upper, operative run of the belt 30 and when retracted lie at one side of belt 30. Stops 109 and 110 are simultaneously moved into their operative, extended position shown in FIG. 6 by air cylinders under the control of a timing mechanism (FIG. 17) driven by the driving means for the apparatus so that the stops 109, 110 become operative after the first one of the two book bodies 11 forwarded by the escapement wheels 17 has passed the rear stop 109.
The driving means for the apparatus also drives a crank (FIGS. 10 and 11), the crank 35 cooperating with a reciprocable composite cam 36 which is connected to driving linkage interposed between the cam and the two reciprocable slides 39, the respective slides being disposed on opposite sides of the belt 30 of the second conveyor and together forming a divided platen.
Each of such slides 39 carries its respective clamp 40, such clamps being open to receive book bodies forwarded thereto by the escapement wheels 17 when the slides 39 are in the rear (left) position thereof shown in FIG. 1, and being opened when the slides are at the right, as shown in FIG. 3, preparatory to the return travel of the slides toward the left. The clamps 40 are closed by means generally designated 41 at the rear (left) end of the station 16 and are opened by means 42 at the forward or right end of the station. Means 41 and 42, which are interconnected as most clearly shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, are operated by a cam 44 (FIG. 16) which is driven by the driving means for the apparatus, through the medium of a linkage interposed between the cam 44 and the clamp operating means 41, 42.
The belts 12 and 30 of the first and second conveyors, respectively, are simultaneously adjustable vertically so as to accommodate book bodies of different heights. Thus the belts of the conveyors 10 and 29 are mounted upon two connected subframes, such two subframes being adjustable vertically and in the same amount so that the belts 12 and 30 remain in alignment. The slides 39 of the book pickup station 16 are mounted upon respective further subframes which are adjusted toward and away from each other so that the pickup station may accommodate books having different thicknesses. The book stops 109 and 110 are adjustable longitudinally toward and away from each other, as well as being adjustable as a whole longitudinally of the book pickup station, so that the apparatus may handle book bodies having dimensions (their actual heights) longitudinally of the pickup station which vary over an appreciable range.
SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION OF THE APPARATUS The First Conveyor As shown in FIG. 1, the first, slow speed conveyor 10 has the belt 12 thereof disposed horizontal with the forward end running over an idle pulley 58. Pulley'58 and a similar pulley at the rear end of conveyor 10 (not shown) are rotatably mounted upon a subframe 54 which is adjustable vertically by means to be described. Conveyor 10 is provided with an upper, longitudinally disposed guide 55 presenting a trough therebetween, as shown in FIG. 14, and a lower guide 56 vertically aligned therewith. The lower ends of each of said guides lie parallel and spaced from each other centrally of the belt 12 so as to receive and guide books 11 therebetween. The belt 12 is driven by a pulley 57 which is journaled upon a lower fixed frame 59, pulley 57 forming a salient run in the belt 12 which runs thereunder. A belt tightener pulley 60 mounted upon a lever 63 biased by means not shown maintains the belt 12 tight at all times while permitting the vertical adjustment of its upper run as required by books of varying'dimensions. The shaft 61 which mounts the pulley 57 is driven from the main shaft of the apparatus by means of a suitable gear box and a chain 78 therefrom entrained over a sprocket 81 drivingly connected to the shaft 61 as shown in FIG. 14.
The In-Feed Escapement Two vertically spaced escapement wheels 17 are affixed to each of two vertical shafts 64 mounted on opposite sides of the center line of the conveyor 10. Shafts 64 are journaled at their upper ends in bearings 65 and at their lower ends in bearings 66. The bearings 65 and 66 are mounted in the outer ends of pairs of upper and lower lever arms, one such pair being shown at 67 and 68, respectively. Each pair of upper and lower arms are parts of a generally U-shaped frame mounted on a vertical shaft for pivotal adjustment of the shafts 64 toward and away from each other (FIG. 15), in a manner to be more fully described hereinafter, by an adjusting means generally designated 69 manipulated by a hand wheel 298.
The shafts 64 are normally continuously driven, the wheels 17 mounted thereon then functioning as means for quickly feeding two books in sequence to the book pickup station 16. The wheels 17 stop only when a book body is not present in position to be fed thereby when the reciprocable book forwarding means of station 16 is in position to receive the book body Shafts 64 are driven from the main shaft of the apparatus through an electromagnetic clutch-brake unit 20 (FIG. 14), the output of the clutchbrake being connected through a timing belt 72 to a speed reducing gear unit 21. From unit 21 the drive goes to two angle gear units 75 in series, the output shafts of units 75 being connected to the bottom ends of the shafts 64 through the medium of first lower universal joints 76, angle shafts 77, and second, upper universal joints 79.
THE BOOK REGISTER SECTION 16 The second Conveyor 29 The second conveyor 29 of the book register or pickup section 16 has a subframe generally designated 82 which is aligned with and connected to the subframe 54 of the first conveyor, the two subframes being simultaneously adjusted vertically in a manner to be described. The belt 30 of the conveyor 29 is entrained at its rear (left) end (FIG. 1) over a roll 84 journaled on frame 82 and at its forward end over a roll 85 also journaled on such frame. The belt 30 of the second conveyor is driven by being run downwardly and partially around a driven pulley 86 which is journaled on a fixed lower frame 89 of the apparatus. The belt 30 is maintained tight over the range of vertical adjustment of the second conveyor by a belt tightener 87 which is similar to the belt tightener 60, 63 of the first conveyor.
Pulley 86 is connected to a shaft 90 which, as shown in FIG. 16, includes two longitudinally spaced universal joints with an angle shaft therebetween. The portion of the shaft 90 laterally outwardly of the frame is mounted at a fixed position vertically and is driven by a sprocket 91 affixed thereto and a chain 92 which extends from a sprocket driven by the main driven shaft 18 of the apparatus. Such main driven shaft is driven by a variable speed prime mover 19 such as a US. Varispeed Motor. A second sprocket 94, which is mounted upon the shaft 90 inwardly of the sprocket 91, has the chain 78 which drives the first conveyor entrained thereover. Chain 92 is driven by a sprocket 95 on the output shaft of a gear speed reducer 96 which is driven from the main shaft 18 by a Timing belt 97 (FIG. 18). The clutchbrake 20 is driven by a high speed shaft 98 connected to unit 96, as shown.
The Vertical Adjustment Of The First and Second Conveyors The subframes 54 and 82 of the first and second conveyors, respectively, are connected at their confronting ends for joint vertical adjustment. The forward end of the frame 82 isalso connected to the subframe of a subsequent conveyor (not here shown) serving subsequent units of the book forming apparatus. All of such subframes are simultaneously adjusted vertically by means of a number of vertical rack gears 99 which are mounted in vertical guide structures 100 spaced longitudinally of the apparatus and affixed to the fixed frame of the apparatus. The guides 100 are enlarged at zones 101 thereof adjacent their lower ends, the enlargement enclosing pinions 102 which are journaled in the guides and are in mesh with the respective vertical rack gears. A longitudinal shaft 104 connects all of pinions 102, shaft 104 being driven for adjusting each of the racks vertically in the same amount by means of a worm 106 journaled on the fixed frame of the apparatus and meshing with a worm gear 105 keyed to the shaft 104, as shown in FIG. 1.
The Book Register Stops The book escapement wheels 17 when started by the closing of the clutch portion of the clutchbrake 20 impels a book from the leading end of the stack thereof on the conveyor 10 into the book register section 16. The wheels 17 convey such books at a speed which is generally the same as that of the belt 30 of conveyor 29, the speed of the belt 30 substantially exceeding that of the belt 12 of the first conveyor. The book register section 16 is provided with a rear stop generally designated 109 and a forward stop generally designated 110, the stops being disposed above the belt 30 and spaced longitudinally thereof as shown in FIGS. 1, 6, and 7. Stops 109 and 110 are operated so that they are extended into their operative position after the first book of the set of two has passed the rear. stop 109. In the described embodiment the rear and forward stops are simultaneously extended and retracted.
Since the stops 109 and 110 are substantially similar in construction and manner of operation, only the rear stop 109 need be specifically described. Parts of the forward stop 110 which are the same as those of the rear stop 109 are designated by the same reference characters with added primes.
The rear stop 109 is actuated by a double acting air cylinder 111, the rear end of such cylinder being pivotally connected at 112 to a slide 113 upon which the stop is mounted. Slide 1 13 is mounted upon subframe 82 for longitudinal adjustment therealong. The air cylinder 111 is provided with conduits 114 and 115 at its opposite ends whereby thepiston thereof is impelled in opposite directions by admitting air under pressure to the respective conduit. The piston rod 117 of the air motor 1 11 is provided with a clevis 116 which 'is connected by a pivot pin 118 to the end ofone arm of a first-class level 119 which is pivotally mounted on a vertical pivot pin 120 affixed to the slide 113. The other arm of the lever 119 has a gear sector 121 affixed thereto, such gear sector meshing with a pinion 122 affixed to a vertical shaft 124 journaled in the slide 113. The
shaft 124 extends vertically of the slide 113, the shaft having the hub portion 126 of a crank affixed to its upper end above the slide. A crank pin 127 disposed eccentrically of shaft 124 is pivotally connected to the rear end of a link 129 which extends forwardly to be connected to the stop member proper 130. Member 130 is in the form of a second-class lever, being mounted for pivotal movement in a horizontal plane upon a pivot pin 131 affixed to the slide 113. The forward end of the link 129 is pivotally connected to the stop member 130 by a pivot pin 132. It will be apparent from the above that when the piston rod 117 of air motor 111 is extended, the lever 119, 121 is rotated clockwise so as to rotate the pinion 122 counterclockwise and to extend the link 129 to the right, thereby to retract the stop member 130 to its inoperative position. When, however, the piston rod 117 is retracted toward the position of FIG. 6, the lever 119, 121 rotates counterclockwise, and the pinion 122 rotates clockwise so that the link 129 is retracted to the left, thereby causing the stop member 130 to be disposed in its operative position, that is, transversely to the length of the conveyor 29.
As shown in FIG. 9, the slide 113 has an outer vertical plate portion 134 which overlies a vertical part 135 of the frame member 82. A longitudinally extending bar 136 is secured to the upper edge portion of member 135 and serves to space vertically spaced upper and lower bars 137 and 139, which are secured to member 135, from such bar 136. The lower surface of bar 137 is provided with a rack gear 140 extending therealong. Secured to the plate 134 of slide 113 are two vertically spaced longitudinally extending bars 141 and 142 having broad rabbets on their lower and upper surfaces, respectively, such rabbets forming guideways receiving the upper and lower surfaces of the fixed bars 137, 139. The slide 113 is thus accurately guided for movement longitudinally of the frame 82 of the second conveyor. The width of the rabbet in bar 142 is such that when it is tightened toward plate 134 it clamps slide 113 against longitudinal movement.
I The slide 113 and its companion slide 113' are mounted for separate adjustment longitudinally of the frame 82 by similar means. Such adjusting means for slide 113 includes a stub shaft 144 accurately journaled in a bore 145 in the plate member 134 of slide 113, the shaft 144 having a pinion 146 pinned thereto. The shaft 144 may be turned by applying a wrench or handle to the outer hexagonal head 147 thereon after the bolt 149 which secures the bar 142 to the member 134 has been loosened. Following such longitudinal adjustment of the slide 113 the bar 142 may be tightened against the bar 139 by turning the screw 149 by its hexagonal head 150. The two carriages 113, 113 are secured together by a link 151 secured to the forward end of the slide 113 and a link 152 which is secured to the rear end of the slide 1 13'. The forward and rear ends of links 151 and 152, respectively, are longitudinally slotted to receive a bolt 154 therethrough. Such belt 154 is loosened prior to the individual adjustment of either of slides 113 and 113'. After such slides have been adjusted to have the desired spacing therebetween, the bolt 154 is tightened. Thereafter the slides 113 and 113' as a whole may be adjusted by loosening the clamping bolts 149, 149, by turning their respective adjusting shafts 144, 144', and thereafter clamping the slides in place.
The Clamp-Bearing Slides 39 As shown in FIGS. 1 and 16, the slides 39, which are disposed at equal distances on opposite sides of the longitudinal center line of the conveyor belt 30, are supported on longitudinal bars 157 which, in turn, are supported upon subframe members 159. Subframe members 159 are disposed upon fixed frame members 160 having horizontal transverse guideways 161 upon which members 159 are adjustably mounted. Members 159, 157, and slides 39 are adjusted toward and away from each other in equal amounts by a screw 162 having reversely threaded portions engaging nuts (not specifically shown) on the subframes 159. Two such supports 159, 157 for each of slides 39 are shown, one at each end of each slide 39 of the book pickup station 16. The screws 162 at the respective supports are turned in equal amounts in the same direction by a shaft 164 which extends longitudinally of the pickup section 16 and is connected to the screws through bevel gear sets 165. The shaft 164 may extend forwardly to further book processing units (not shown) of the apparatus so that all the units of the apparatus, that is, unit 16 and subsequent units have their book engaging members adjusted laterally at the same time. The subframes 159 are provided with vertical longitudinally extending members 169 to the inner faces of which are secured sheet metal book guiding elements 166 which are in the form of inverted broad Us, the laterally inner depending legs 167 of which are spaced apart to engage the vertically intermediate portions of the books 11 as shown in FIG. 16.
The slides 39 are supported by and guided upon the members 157 through the medium of a plurality of opposite longitudinally spaced pairs of similar guide rolls 170 which are specifically shown in FIG. 13. Each of rolls 170 has its periphery in the form of a broad V; the peripheral surfaces of rolls 170 are engaged with a longitudinally extending groove 172 in bar 157, such groove in section being complementary to the section of the peripheral portion of the rolls. Each of rolls 170 is mounted upon a vertical stub shaft having a main circular cylindrical portion 174 which is accurately received within a bore 175 in the slide 39. The lower portion 177 of the shaft, which is also of circular cylindrical section, is disposed eccentric to the portion 174 thereof so that the turning of the shaft adjusts the rolls 170 toward and away from the members 157. A spacer sleeve 176 mounted upon the lower end of portion 174 of the shaft accurately maintains the roll 170 at the proper height to mate with grooves 172. The roll 170 is retained upon portion 177 of its shaft by a locking nut 179. The shaft as a whole is maintained in the desired adjusted angular position by a nut 180 acting through a lock washer 181 upon the slide 39.
The Drive for Slides 39 The above-mentioned crank 35 which drives the composite cam 36 is mounted upon a horizontal shaft 184 which is driven from the main shaft of the apparatus in timed relationship with other elements of the apparatus as shown in FIG. 18. Crank 35 has two independently rotatable cam follower rolls 185, 185' of the same diameter joumaled upon its outer end, as shown in FIG. 12. The shaft 184 is mounted between two frame members 187 which are disposed transversely of the apparatus, there being bearings (one shown at 186) mounting the shaft upon the frame of the apparatus.
The cam 36 is reciprocated longitudinally of the frame of the apparatus by the driven crank arm 35 and the cam follower rolls 185, 185' as the roll 185 selectively cooperates with the opposed surfaces of the fixed cam 218, 223, and the roll 185 selectively cooperates with the cam gates 219, 220. Lower and upper fixed frame parts 194 and 195, respectively, and a side frame part (not shown) support and guide the cam as it reciprocates; thus the frame 196 of the cam is provided with a lower guide roll 199 which is guidingly received within a groove 197 in the lower frame part 194, and an upper guide roll 201 on the frame 196 of the cam is similarly received within a longitudinal groove 200 in the upper fixed frame part 195. Rolls 199 and 201 taken with their grooves 197 and 200 guide the cam 36 in a vertical longitudinal plane.
A rigid connecting rod 202 has its forward end bolted to the frame 196 of the cam 36; the rear end of the rod 202 is pivotally connected at 208 to a crank 204 which is mounted on suitable bearings upon a fixed cross-shaft 205. As the crank 204 oscillates, the rear end of connecting rod 202 rises and falls, thus causing the frame 196 of the cam 36 to oscillate in its vertical plane. In order to permit such oscillation of the cam while retaining it under vertical control, the frame 196 thereof is provided with a roll 193 (FIG. joumaled on a horizontal axis, the roll 193 being guidingly receiving in a straight horizontal groove (not shown) in the fixed frame part.
A thick walled sleeve 206 (FIG. 16) which is telescoped about the shaft 205 and is mounted on suitable bearings on such shaft extends across the section 16 of the apparatus. Secured by bolts 209 to the opposite ends of the sleeve 206 are two similar parallel crank arms 207 which reciprocate the respective slides 39 as a unit, one of such arms 207 being disposed immediately adjacent the radially outer portion of crank 204. The crank 204 is drivingly connected to the integrally connected assembly of the sleeve 206 and the two crank arms 207 by a shear pin 210 which extends through a radially outer portion of the crank 204 and the crank arm 207 which is adjacent thereto.
The outer ends of the cranks 207 are connected by pivot stub shafts 212 to the rear ends of generally horizontally disposed links 211 which are located laterally outwardly of the respective slides 39, the forward ends of the links being pivotally connected to the slides 39 adjacent the forward ends thereof by pivot stub shafts 214. It will be apparent from the above that the slides 39 are reciprocated horizontally as a unit by the crank 35 and the cam 36 acting through the members 202, 204, 207, and 211.
In order to cushion such driving mechanism and the slides 39 at the ends of their reciprocating travel, at least one of the cranks 207, shown at the right in FIG. 16, is provided with'a stop wheel 215 rotatably mounted thereon adjacent the outer end of such crank 207, such stop wheel engaging spring biased bumpers 216 and 217 adjacent the rear and forward ends, respectively, of the section 16 of the apparatus. Engagement of the wheel 215 with the respective bumpers absorbs a large part of the energy of the slides in their driving mechanism as they approach each terminus of their travel, thereby minimizing the wear and strain upon the cam 36, the cam follower rolls 185, the crank 35, and their driving mechanism.
The cam 36, which is particularly shown in FIGS. 10, 11, and 12, has a rear (left, FIG. 10) cam portion 218 fixedly secured to the frame 196 of the cam and a forward (right) fixed cam portion 223 likewise secured to the frame 196. The confronting inner faces of cam portions 218 and 223 are mirror images of each other, each having a vertically intermediate low zone and upper and lower vertical straight high zones. The low zones 232 and 235 of cam portions 218 and 223, respectively, are in the form of parts of circles each having a radius equal to the effective radial length of the crank 35 and the cam follower rolls 185, 185' mounted thereon. The upper and lower high zones of cam portion 218 are designated 231, and the upper and lower high zones of cam portion 223 are designated 234. The distance between the confronting upper and lower high zones of cam portions 218 and 223 slightly exceeds the diameter of the cam follower roll 185 so that such roll may be received therebetween when the crank 35 is disposed in either of its upper or lower positions, shown in phantom lines in FIG. 10.
As the cam approaches, lies within, and leaves such lowermost and uppermost positions, the crank 35 causes the cam 36 'to reciprocate; when the cam follower roll 185 confronts the low zone 232 of the fixed cam portion 218, the slides 39 are in their reannost position, whereas when the roll 185 confronts the low zone 235 of the forward cam portion 223 the slides 39 are in their forwardmost tenninal position. The circular formation of the low zones 232 and 235 of the cam permit the slides 39 to have substantial dwells at both the forward and rearward ends of its travel, since the cam 36 does not move while the roll 185 is traversing the arcuate zones 232 and 235 thereof.
In order to cause the cam follower roll 185 to follow the surfaces of the fixed cam portions 218 and 223, there are provided rear and forward cam gates" 219 and 220, respectively, which selectively cooperate with the roll 185'. Such gates are pivotally mounted and moved so that the rear gate 219 becomes operative at substantially the midpoint of the forward, operative stroke of the cam 36 and the slides 39; the forward gate 220 becomes operative at substantially the midpoint of the rearward, inoperative stroke of such cam and slides or carriage. The gates 219 and 220 are mounted for oscillation upon vertical shafts 221 and 222, respectively, such shafts being journaled in the frame 196 of the cam. The rear gate 219 extends forwardly from its shaft 221, whereas the forward gate 220 extends rearwardly from its shaft 222.
The rear gate 219 has a vertically central arcuate high zone 231 and upper and lower straight vertical low zones 232. The forward cam gate 220 has a central vertical intermediate high zone 234' and upper and lower straight vertical low zones 235'. The high and low zones of the gates 219, 220 are of such configuration that the cam follower rolls 185, 185' are accurately guidingly received between the cam surface of whichever gate is disposed in operative position and the cam surface of the opposite fixed cam portion. During the rearward, inoperative stroke of the slides 39, the forward gate 220 lies in the operative position shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, while the rear gate 219 is disposed in its laterally outwardly, inoperative position. During the forward, operative stroke of the slides 39 the rear gate 219 is swung inwardly to its operative position, whereas the forward gate 220 is swung outwardly into its inoperative position.
The rear gate 219 is under the control of a rear guide roll 224 mounted on a rearwardly directed arm 226 affixed to gate 219, roll 224 being guidingly received in a stepped groove 225 in the fixed lower frame member 194. The forward gate 220 is under the control of a forward guide roll 227 mounted on a rearwardly directed arm 230 affixed to such gate, roll 227 being guidingly receiving in a stepped groove 229 in frame member 194. The rolls 224 and 227 are free to tip in vertical longitudinal planes of their respective grooves 225 and 229 with the frame 196 of cam 36 as the connecting rod 202 and cam 36 rock upon oscillation of the crank 204. The grooves 225 and 229 are of similar construction and are similarly located laterally of the apparatus, such grooves being displaced longitudinally from each other as shown in FIG. 11. Each of grooves 225, 229 has a rear and a forward longitudinally extending portion, such forward and rear portions being laterally offset from each other and connected by an intermediate portion which is inclined in a forward and laterally outward direction.
Because the arm 226 and the cam portion of the gate 219 extend in opposite directions from the shaft 221, whereas the arm 230 of the gate 220 extends from its shaft 222 in generally the same direction as the cam portion of such gate, the gates 219, 220 oscillate in opposite directions as the cam 36 reciprocates in the intermediate portions of its opposite strokes. As the cam 36 travels to the right from the position thereof shown in FIG. 11, in the intermediate portion of such travel the gate 219 swings counterclockwise toward its operative position, whereas the gate 220 simultaneously swings counterclockwise toward its inoperative position. Upon the reverse travel of the cam 36, the gate 220 swings clockwise in the intermediate portion of the travel of the cam and the gate 219 swings clockwise to restore the gates to the positions thereof shown in FIGS. 1 1 and 18.
The Clamps 40 i The clamps 40 and the operating mechanism therefor are more particularly shown in FIGS. 2-5, inclusive, and 16. Two sets of clamps 40 are provided upon the slides 39, each set having two similar clamps which engage a book as shown in FIG. 4. The clamps have cross slides 236 which are guided at the forward and rear ends of each set of clamps by guide members 237 affixed to slides 39, and are guided between the slides of each set of clamps by a member 239. The laterally inner end of each slide 236 is provided with a clamp or gripper pad 240 which is secured to and guided upon its respective slide by shouldered machine screws 241 (FIG. 5). In the construction in horizontal alignment. The pads are pressed outwardly from the slides 236 into gripping engagement with the books or book bodies by two longitudinally spaced coil compression springs 242 disposed in confronting blind bores in the slide and gripper pad between the two screws 241 and in longitudinal alignment therewith. The screws 241, which are somewhat loosely received in bores in the gripper pads, permit the gripper pads to align themselves as they engage a book.
The Clamp Operating Mechanism All of the slides 236, and thus the gripper pads 240 mounted thereon, are simultaneously laterally inwardly advanced to engage a book after two books have been delivered to the second conveyor 29 and have been stopped by the book stops 109 and 1 10. The slides 236 are retracted to release the books after the main slides 39 have reached the forward terminus of their shown, two such screws 24] are provided, the screws being travel. In FIG. 4 the clamps 40 are shown grippingly engaging two books 11, whereas in FIG. 5 the clamps of the single set of clamps there illustrated are shown as having been retracted to their inoperative or open position. In order to open and close the clamps there is provided in each of the two slides 39 a clamp-operating slide 244 which is carried by the respective slide 39 and is reciprocable longitudinally with respect thereto. As shown, the clamp-operating slide 244 is disposed within a central longitudinally extending groove 243 in the upper face of the slide 39. The slide 244 carries an upwardly extending pin 245 for each of the clamps 40, the upper ends of the pins extending into generally longitudinally extending cam slots 246 in the slides 236. The cam slots 246 have longitudinally extending portions at each end thereof connected by an inclined portion, the portion of the cam slot at the rear end thereof lying laterally inwardly of that at the forward end of the cam slot. The cam slots 246 in the slides 39 on the opposite sides of the vertical central longitudinal plane of conveyor 29 are mirror images of each other. It will thus be seen that when each clamp operating slide 244 is thrust forwardly of its slide 39, as shown in FIG. 4, opposed clamps 40 are moved laterally inwardly to grip books, whereas when the slide 244 is moved rearwardly with respect to its slide 39 the clamps are opened to release the books.
The two slides 244 are simultaneously moved in the same direction and through equal distances with respect to their respective slides 39 by mechanism shown in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4. A block 247 which is somewhat narrower than the slide 244 is secured centrally thereof adjacent each end of each of the slides 244. The block 247 has a longitudinally extending rack gear 249 on its upper surface. Two opposed upright frame 259 are provided at the rightand left-hand ends of the unit 16, respectively, so as to open the clamps 40 when the slides 39 have reached the terminus of their operative stroke and to close the clamps after the slides 39 have reached the terminus of their return, inoperative stroke.
Such clamp opening and closing means, 42, 41, respectively, are mounted upon a first vertical frame member 260, mounted at the right-hand end of the unit 16 above the slides 39, and a similar vertical frame member 260' mounted at the left-hand end of the unit 16 above the slides 39. Since means 42 and 41 are similar, only the means 42 at the right need be described in detail; parts of the means 41 bear similar reference characters with an added prime. 3
The vertical frame 260 has a guideway 261 thereon upon which a vertical slide 262 is mounted. The lower portion 264 of the slide 262 has a vertical platelike member with a rearwardly open pocket 265 therein, such pocket being part circular at its root with flaring entrance walls, the pocket being of such size as accurately to receive the rollers 256, as shown in FIG. 2, Secured to a rock shaft 266 journaled on the frame of section 16 is a pinion 267 which meshes with a vertical rack gear 269 on the slide 262. The shaft 266 of means 42 and the shaft 266 of means 41 are connected for rotation in the same amount and direction through the medium of parallel crank arms 270, 270' connected thereto, the outer ends of such crank arms being connected by a cross link 271. It will thus be seen that as the crank arms 270, 270' rotate clockwise (FIGS. 2 and 3) the slide 262 descends whereas the slide 262 rises through an equal distance. The two slides 262, 262' move in the reverse directions upon the turning of the crank arms 270, 270' counterclockwise.
Crank arms 270, 270 are rotated in opposite directions in timed relationship with the reciprocation of the slides 39 by means shown most clearly in FIGS. 1, 4, and 16. A lever 272 (FIGS. 1 and 16) affixed to the shaft 266 has the upper end of a driving link 274 pivotally connected to its outer end. The lower end of the link 274 is pivotally connected to the outer end of a first, upper crank arm 275 of a two-armed crank having its root portion mounted for rotation upon a short horizontal longitudinally extending shaft 276. A second, lower arm 277 of such two-armed crank is oscillated by the box cam 44 in the following manner: The cam 44 is fixedly mounted upon a driven horizontal shaft 279 which is driven by the main drive shaft 18 through a speed reducing gear box 310, a slow speed shaft 311, and a three-way drive gear box 312, as shown in FIG. 18. The cam 44 has a cam groove 280 in the end surface thereof facing the reader in FIG. 16. The groove 280 receives a cam follower roll 281 on the end of one arm 285 of a bell crank 282 mounted for oscillation about the axis of a horizontal shaft 284. The other arm 286 of the bell crank has its outer end connected to the outer end of the crank 277 by a link 287.
The configuration of the cam groove 280 and the geometry of the linkage 282, 287, 277, 275, 274, and 272 are such that the member 264 of means 42 is disposed in the elevated position thereof shown in FIG. 2 when the slides 39 reach their forward terminus with the lever arm 255 and the rollers 256 in their elevated position, so that the rollers 256 are received in the pocket 265. Immediately thereafter the member 264, with the rollers 256 in its pocket 265, is lowered into the position thereof shown in FIG. 3 by the cam 44 and its driving linkage, and the member 264 is elevated by cross link 271 and crank arms 270, 270'. The turning of the lever 251 clockwise, as we have seen, opens the clamps on the slides 39, permitting the books formerly gripped thereby to be transferred in their spaced relationship to further book gripping and transferring mechanism, not shown herein. The slides 39 then move rearwardly to the left with their clamps open, at the terminus of their rearward travel the roller 259 entering the pocket 265' on member 264' of means 41. Shortly thereafter, and after two books 11 have been transferred to the conveyor 29 and have engaged their respective stops 109, 110, the cam 44 lowers the member 264', thereby to close the clamps 40, following which the slides 39 begin their forward, operative stroke.
The Adjustment of the Escapement Wheels The escapement wheels 17, as above briefly described, are adjusted by means 69 toward and away from each other so as to accommodate books of different thicknesses. Each set of upper and lower levers 67, 68 has rearwardly extending arms between which the shaft 64 is joumaled; such arms form a part of a broad U-shaped frame which is pivoted upon a vertical shaft 289. The upper arm of the right-hand lever 67 (FIG. is designated 290 and the similar arm of the left-hand lever 67 is designated 290'. A second, shorter arm 291 disposed op positely from lever arm 290 extends forwardly of each of the pivot shafts 289. An angularly disposed cross link 292 extends from a pivot pin 294 at the end of the lever arm 291 (FIG. 15) to a pivot pin 295 affixed to the lever arm 290', pin 295 having its axis spaced rearwardly from the axis of the left-hand shaft 289 a distance which is equal to the spacing between the axis of the pivot pin 294 and the axis of the right-hand shaft 289. Swinging of either of the sets of levers 67, 68 about their respective mounting shafts 289 causes the other set of levers to move in the opposite direction through an equal distance.
A rod 296 having a threaded outer end is threadedly received in a bore in a fixed frame member 297 at the infeed escapement mechanism. The outer, right end of the rod 296 is disposed in alignment with and abuts a short vertical pin 299 affixed to the right lever arm 290. Turning of the rod 296 by its hand wheel 298 in opposite directions thus causes the opposite escapement wheels 17 to be adjusted toward and away from each other; positions of maximum separation of the wheels 17 are shown in phantom lines in FIG. 15. The lever arms 290, 290' are constantly urged toward each other by an air cylinder 300 which has one end pivoted to the lever arm 290' at 302 and the end of its piston rod 304 pivoted to the lever arm 290 at 305. The air cylinder 300 is supplied with air under pressure through a conduit 301 so that the piston (not shown) on the piston rod 304 is constantly urged to the left (FIG. 15).
The rod 296 is adjusted by hand wheel 298 so that the confronting edges of the escapement wheels 17 are somewhat closer together than the thickness of a book 11, as shown in full lines in FIG. 15, and so that such wheels 17, when held from rotation, stop the forward travel of the book or books on the first conveyor 10. When the wheels 17 are driven in the book forwarding direction, however, they climb the forward edges of the book which they engage and are thrust apart against the opposition of the air cylinder 300. After the passage of such book, the air cylinder returns the wheels 17 toward each other, to the position determined by the stop means 296, 299, where when nonrotating the wheels again function to stop the forward travel of the next book on conveyor 10.
FIG. 17 is a somewhat schematic wiring diagram of the means controlling the escapement wheels 17 and stops 109, of the book pickup station. In such figure, the movable contactors of the various relays are shown in the positions they assume when the photoelectric cell 25 is energized by light from light source 26, in other words, when there is no book on conveyor 10 in position to be fed forwardly by escapement wheels 17. In the illustrative embodiment, the control circuit is powered by a ll5-volt AC power source having main wires or bus bars L and L The photoelectric cell 25 and the light source 26 at the escapement are energized from the current source L,, L; in the manner schematically shown. Also powered by the source L,- 2 is a rectifier 314 which supplies 24 volts DC to portions of the control circuit through wires 315 and 316. A first reed relay 27 has the coil thereof disposed across the 24 volt wires 315 and 316 in series with the normally open contacts 317 of a relay 319 which is selectively energized by the photoelectric cell 25, the parts being so constructed and arranged that contacts 317 are closed when a book on conveyor 10 cuts off the light from the light source 26 to the photoelectric cell 25, such contacts 317 being opened to deenergize relay 27 when the photoelectric cell 25 receives light from the light source. Thus when there is a book at the forward end of the stack on the first conveyor 10, and the other parts of the apparatus are operating, relay 27 is energized.
Relay 27 is provided with three sets of contacts 320, 321, and 322, the two sets of contacts 320 and 321 being open when relay 27 is deenergized and the set of contacts 322 being closed under such conditions. Contacts 320 are disposed in series with the contacts 324 of a cam switch 22 operated by a timing cam 23 and the coil of a second reed relay 28 across the 24-volts DC lines 315, 316. Cam switch 22, and a second cam switch 33, to be described, are parts of cam switch unit 325 (FIG. 18); the cams of such switches are affixed to a shaft 326 which is driven in synchronism with the main shaft 18 of the apparatus by a shaft 327 from gear box 312 and a chain 329 entrained over sprockets on shafts 326, 327, as shown. The cam switch 22 determines the proper time at which the first of a pair of books is forwarded by the escapement wheels 17, assuming that contacts 320 have been closed by the deenergization of the photoelectric cell 25.
Connected in parallel with the contacts 324 of cam switch 22 is a set of contacts 330 which are operated by a cam 34 of a second synchronously driven cam switch 33. The contacts 330, which close somewhat later than the contacts 324, determine the proper time for the delivery of a second book of a pair of books, again assuming that the photoelectric cell 25 has been then deenergized by the presence of a second book in proper position immediately in advance of the escapement wheels 17. The contacts 320 of relay 27 are connected in series with the parallel connected contacts 324 and 330 of switches 22 and 33, respectively, and in series with the coil of relay 28. Contacts 321 of relay 27 are connected in series with the contacts 331 of relay 28; contacts 321 and 331 and the coil of relay 28 form a holding circuit for relay 28.
The clutchbrake 20 which may be, for example, one made by the Warner Electric Co., is one having a main relay coil 332 which when energized engages the clutch and disengages the brake and when deenergized disengages the clutch and engages the brake. The respective clutch and brake coils 334 and 335 of the clutchbrake 20 are energized from the main US v. supply wires L, and 1., through a full wave rectifying bridge 336 as shown which supplies wires 337 and 339 with 90 v. DC. Connected in series across wires 337 and 339 are the main relay coil 332 of the clutchbrake and shunt connected contacts 322 and 340 of the relays 27 and 28, respectively; as shown, contacts 322 are closed when relay 27 is deenergized whereas contacts 340 are open when relay 28 is deenergized. A first set of contacts 341 of the relay 332, the winding of a potentiometer 342, and a second set of contacts 344 of the relay 332 are connected across the wires 337 and 339. The clutch winding 334 is connected between supply wire 337 and the center tap of potentiometer 342. When the relay 332 is deenergized, contacts 341 and 344 are open; when the relay 332 is energized, contacts 341 and 344 are closed so as to energize the clutch winding 334 with DC voltage determined by the setting of the potentiometer 342. Also connected across the wires 337 and 339 are contacts 345 and 346 of the relay 332, such contacts being disposed in series with the winding of a second potentiometer 347 which determines the voltage which is applied to the winding 335 of the brake. When relay 332 is deenergized, contacts 345 and 346 are closed to energize the brake, and when relay 332 is energized, contacts 345 and 346 are opened, thereby releasing the brake. The clutchbrake 20 is capable of extremely fast action so that the escapement wheels 17 are quickly brought to a halt so as to serve as a stop for books on the conveyor 10 if a book is not present on conveyor 10 in advance of the wheels 17 at the time of closing of the contacts of either of switches 22 and 33.
Connected across the ll-volt AC lines L, and L are two further subcircuits, the first of which has contacts 349 of a cam switch 350 in series with the coil 351 of a solenoid operated valve (not shown) for operating the air cylinder 11 l of the book stop 110 and the second of which contains contacts 352 of a cam switch 354 which are connected in series with the solenoid 355 of a solenoid operated valve (not shown) for controlling the air cylinder 111 of the book stop 109. Cam switches 350 and 354 are parts of the cam operated switch unit 325 shown generally in FIG. 18; the cams which control switches 350 and 354 are so constructed and arranged that the contacts of such switches are normally open, and are closed only when the book stops 109 and 110 are to be erected. Contacts 349 close a sufiicient time before the closing of contacts 352 to permit the first book in the pair being delivered to the book pickup station to clear the then retracted stop 109. immediately thereafter contacts 352 close to erect the stop to intercept the second book of the pair being delivered to the pickup station 16.
When the circuit of FIG. 17 is energized, if no book is present on conveyor 10 immediately in advance of the escapement wheels 17 the clutch of the clutchbrake 20 is engaged and the escapement wheels 17 rotate. Books are now placed on the conveyor 10 either in spaced or in end-to-end engagement. When the first of the books on conveyor 10 darkens the photocell 25, the relay 319 is energized, thereby closing contacts 317. This energizes relay 27 and opens its contacts 322 thereby to deenergize the relay 332 to disengage the clutch and engage the brake of the clutchbrake 20 to stop the wheels 17 unless the timing cam switch contacts 324 are closed. The closing of contacts 324 indicates that the reciprocating carriage made up of the slides 39 of the station 16 is in condition to receive the first book from the conveyor 10. When the contacts 324 are closed, they energize relay 28, thereby closing its contacts 340 to complete the circuit to the relay 332 to engage the clutch and disengage the brake of the clutch-brake 20. The energization of relay 28 closes contacts 331 which, in series with contacts 321, complete the holding circuit for relay 28. Cam switch contacts 324 now open, but relays 27 and 28 remain energized as long as the first book is passing the photocell 25.
After the first book has passed the photocell, the relays 319 and 27 are deenergized; contacts 322 close to keep the relay 332 energized, thereby keeping the clutch coil 324 energized and the wheels 17 rotating. Meanwhile book 02 on conveyor 10 is approaching the wheels 17. When book 02 reaches the wheels 17 and cuts off the light beam to the photocell 25, the relay 319 is again energized, relay 27 is energized, and contacts 322 are opened. This deenergizes relay 332 to disengage the clutch and engage the brake of the clutch-brake 20 to stop the wheels 17 unless the timing cam switch contacts 330 are closed, indicating that the apparatus is in condition to receive book 02. The contacts 330 when closed energize relay 28 to close contacts 340 which completes the circuit to the relay 332 to engage the clutch. Further operations in this portion of the cycle are the same as those in the feeding of the first book of a set.
if the apparatus should fail to fill a pocket on the reciprocable carriage of station 16, it remains running, that is,. the wheels 17 continue to rotate. Apparatus (not shown) detects the absence of a book in one or more of the pockets on the reciprocating carriage and alerts subsequent book handling and/or processing units to omit the processing of one or more books at the pocket or pockets from which books are missing. The only time that the escapement wheels 17 stop is when the photocell 25 is not darkened when one or the other of the cam switches 22 and 33 is closed. The clutch of the clutchbrake 20 is then deenergized and the brake of such unit energized to stop wheels 17, as above described.
Although only one embodiment of the invention has been illustrated in the accompanying drawings and described in the foregoing specification, it is to be especially understood that various changes, such as in the relative dimensions of the parts, materials used, and the like, as well as the suggested manner of use of the apparatus of the invention, may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the 'invention, as will now be apparent to those skilled in the art.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property, or privilege, is-claimed are defined as follows:
1. Apparatus for handling articles, comprising a first means to support a series of aligned articles, a second article supporting means to receive articles from the first article supporting means, means cyclically to forward sets of articles each including a plurality of articles disposed in sequence from the first supporting means to the second supporting means so that the forwarded articles of each set are spaced longitudinally on the second supporting means, a plurality of selectively operated retractable stops disposed in longitudinally spaced relationship along the second supporting means, means to advance the stops into operative, article stopping position so that each stop engages and stops a respective article of a set in spaced, registered position after such article has passed all of the stops except its respective stop and' any disposed downstream from the latter and then to retract the stops, means for laterally gripping the thus spaced and stopped articles, and means to forward said gripping means with the thus spaced articles after retraction of the stops.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the first article supporting means comprises conveyor means to urge the articles thereon forwardly.
3. Apparatus according to claim 1, comprising a selectively driven conveyor disposed between the first and second article supporting means, and means selectively to drive the conveyor, said conveyor when stopped constituting a means to stop the feeding forwardly of articles on the first supporting means and when driven constituting the meansto forward articles from the first supporting means to the second supporting means.
4. Apparatus for handling articles, comprising a first means to support a series of aligned articles, a second article supporting means to receive articles from the first article supporting means, means cyclically to forward sets of articles each including a plurality of articles disposed in sequence from the first supporting means to the second supporting means so that the forwarded articles of each set are spaced longitudinally on the second supporting means, a plurality of selectively operated retractable stops disposed in longitudinally spaced relationship along the second supporting means, means to advance the stops into operative, article stopping position so that each stop engages and stops a respective article of a set in spaced, registered position after such article has passed all of the stops except its respective stop and those disposed subsequent to it and then to retract the stops, and means to forward the thus spaced articles after retraction of the stops, said last-named forwarding means comprising a carriage movable parallel to the second supporting means, means at longitudinally spaced stations on the carriage to engage and hold the respective spaced articles of a set, means to actuate the lastnamed means to engage the spaced articles after the articles have been stopped on the second supporting means, and means to move the carriage forwardly after retraction of the stops to carry with it the articles engages by the article holding means thereon.
5. Apparatus according to claim 4, comprising a selectively driven conveyor disposed between the first and second article supporting means, means selectively to drive the conveyor, said conveyor when stopped constituting a means to stop the feeding forwardly of articles on the first supporting means, said conveyor when driven constituting the means to forward articles from the first supporting means to the second supporting means.
6. Apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the conveyor comprises a pair of opposed selectively driven wheels disposed to engage opposite sides of the forward article on the first supporting means and yieldable means constantly urging the wheels toward each other toward terminal positions wherein they are spaced apart a distance less than the thickness of the article, the parts being so constructed and arranged that when the wheels are stopped they stop forward travel of the aligned articles on the first supporting means and when the wheels are driven they forward articles to the second supporting means.
7. Apparatus according to claim 6, comprising adjustable abutment means for holding the wheels in said terminal positions against the opposition of the yieldable means.
8. Apparatus according to claim 5, comprising means for detecting the presence of an article on the first article supporting means in position to be engaged and fed forward by the conveyor, means driven in synchronism with the carriage to detect when the holding means on the carriage is in position to receive an article from the conveyor, and means responsive to said two detecting means to stop the conveyor when there is an article on the first supporting means in position to be fed forwardly by the conveyor and said holding means is not in position to receive the article.
9. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the first supporting means comprises a first conveyor means, and the second supporting means comprises a second conveyor means aligned with the first conveyor means.
10. Apparatus according to claim 9, wherein the first and second conveyor means are constantly driven, and the second conveyor means is driven at a speed which markedly exceeds that of the first conveyor.
11. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the means for gripping articles and then forwarding them in their spaced, gripped relationship comprises a longitudinally extending main slide on each side of the second supporting means, means for reciprocating the main slides as a unit, opposed transversely reciprocable article gripping pads on the slides, means for opening the gripping pads before the articles are forwarded to the second supporting means, and means for closing the gripping pads to grip the forwarded articles before the stops are retracted.
12. Apparatus according to claim 11 wherein the means for gripping articles comprises opposed cross slides on the main slides supporting the gripping pads, a further longitudinally reciprocable slide on each main slide, and cooperating cam and cam follower means on the cross slides and the respective further slides for selectively thrusting the cross slides toward and away from each other to close and open the gripping pads upon reciprocable movements of the further slides longitudinally of the main slides.
13. Apparatus according to claim 12 comprising means to thrust the further slides in a direction to open the gripping pads at the end of the forwarding stroke of the main slides, and means to thrust the further slides in the opposite direction to close said gripping pads when the main slides are at the end of the rearward stroke thereof.
14. A method of handling articles, comprising feeding forward a plurality of articles in a line at a first, slower speed, accelerating successive leading articles in the line to a second, higher speed and forwarding them to a conveyor driven at substantially said second speed so that the articles in a set of thus forwarded articles are spaced longitudinally on the conveyor, and stopping the articles of the set in a desired longitudinally spaced relationship along the conveyor.
15. A method according to claim 14, comprising gripping a set of articles on the conveyor after they have been stopped in said desired longitudinally spaced relationship, and thereafter forwarding the set of articles in their spaced, gripped relationship.
16. A method according to claim 15, wherein the set of articles is forwarded by means having longitudinally spaced article gripping stations thereon, and comprising stopping the feeding of articles to the conveyor when the article forwarding means is not in position to receive the same.
17. A method according to claim 16, comprising detecting a first condition wherein a station on the article forwarding means is not in position to receive an article from the article accelerating means, and detecting a second condition wherein an article is in position to be accelerated and fed to occupy a station on the article forwarding means, and wherein the feeding of articles by the accelerating means is stopped upon the coincidence of the first and second conditions.