US 3561756 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 2,731,27l 1/1956 Brown Primary ExaminerRichard E. Aegerter Assistant Examiner-Joseph Wegbreit AttorneyDrummond, Cahill & Phillips ABSTRACT: Apparatus including a feed bin attached to a frame for supporting cards in parallel planes slightly inclined from vertical. A picker knife extends into the feed bin and periodically elevates the first card in the bin into a feed position. A feed plate mounted for rotation in a plane substantially parallel to the plane of the card in feed position is provided with a plurality of card-engaging protrusions which contact the edge of the card in the feed position and move the card in its plane past read heads. The picker knife elevates the card in synchronism with the rotation of the feed plate through the utilization of camming pins secured to the feed plate which contact the bottom of the picker knife to cause the latter to extend into the feed bin.
PATENTED FEB 3197i sum 1 BF 4 INVENTOR.
DAVID L. BARNETT v ATTORNEYS- PATENTEU FEB 9 I971 SHEET 2 OF 4 INVENTOR. DAVID L. BARNETT ATTORNEYS PATENTED FEB 9 I971 SHEET .3 OF 4 INVENTOR.
DAVID L. BARNETT D By ATTORNEYS mvrzmom DAVID 1.. BARNETT 4 m .4 r' L m A s 4 m 9 m. N E 1 1 m l .E T Ir A DI ATTORNEYS CARD HANDLING SYSTEM The present invention pertains to card handling systems, and more specifically, to apparatus for receiving a stack of cards in a feed bin and removing one card at a time therefrom for subsequent passage through a reading system; the cards are then restacked in their original order. With the advent of data processing system utilization, the necessity for communicating and storing information for use in the processing system has become important. Particularly in such applications wherein the information is stored on machine readable cards, such as punch cards, the requirement for reliability has resulted in numerous card handling system designs. Prior art card handling systems have usually been complex mechanisms with enumerable moving and interrelated parts for delivering a single card from a stack of cards to a reading system and subsequently to restack the cards. Various systems, such as vacuum, flat belts, rollers, chains, etc., have all been incorporated to achieve reliability in the simple mechanical func* tion of unstacking, reading and restacking. The complexity of prior art card handling systems has resulted in intricate mechanical designs occupying substantial bulk; further, the complexities of the designs have resulted in shortcomings in terms of reliability and extremely complicated diagnostic and repair techniques. The utilization of cards gives rise to the accumulation of dimensional tolerances, such that the locations of the holes in the card must fall within certain dimensional limitations for proper reading. During the punch operation, it is characteristic to reference the trailing edge of the card; in prior art card handling systems, the leading edge of the card is utilized as the reference edge, thus giving rise to the accumulation of the tolerance inherent in the punch operation and the dimensional tolerance of the card itself.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a card handling system that is extremely reliable while nevertheless being compact.
It is also an object of the present invention to provide a card handling system with an absolute minimum of moving parts.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a card handling system utilizing only a single rotating shaft to unstack, transport through a read system, and restack cards.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a card handling system wherein the timing of the system is referenced to the trailing edge of the card being transported.
These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art as the description thereof proceeds.
Briefly, in accordance with the embodiment chosen for illustration, a frame is utilized to support a feed bin having a card-supporting surface for supporting cards in parallel planes, the planes being inclined slightly from vertical. The lead card of the stack is thus in contact with a feed face; a picker knife extends into the feed bin and elevates the first card of the stack into a feed position. The card is wedged in the same position by the picker knife which subsequently returns to its original position. A feed plate is mounted on a rotating shaft for rotation in a plane parallel to the plane of the card in the feed position. A plurality of card-engaging protrusions are provided on the feed plate to engage the edge of cards in the feed position. When a protrusion engages a card in the feed position, the card is forced to slide along a guide in the plane of the card past read heads. The card, having passed the read head, is free to fall into an output hopper. Synchronism between the picker knife and the card-engaging protrusions is provided by a plurality of camming pins attached for rotation with the feed plate to engage the picker knife and force it into the feed bin.
.The present invention may more readily be described by reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. I is a perspective view of a card reader incorporating the card handling system of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a rear elevational view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 2 taken along line FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 2 taken along line 4-4.
FIG. 5 is an exploded view of a portion of the apparatus of FIGv 3 useful in describing the interrelationship of the elements of the present invention.
FIG. 6 is a side elevational view, partly in section and enlarged, ofa portion of FIG. 3 useful in describing the sequence of operation of the system of the present invention.
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of FIG. 2 taken along line 7-7.
Referring now to FIGS. I and 2, the card handling system of the present invention is incorporated in a card reader I0. The size of the card reader may be determined by comparison to the electric plug I1 and it may be seen that the card handling system of the present invention is sufficiently compact to permit enclosing a complete card reader in a relatively small desk top unit. The card reader may be provided with a plurality of pushbutton control switches 12 for initiating and controlling the operation thereof. A feed bin 13 is mounted on the inclined front face 14 of the card reader and is of sufficient width to accommodate a stack of punch cards arranged in planes parallel to the front face 14 and with the longer sides thereof in contact with the feed bin 13. The feed bin is provided with a curb 15 for reasons to be described later, which is positioned in the feed bin I3 and abuts the feed face 16 of the card reader. The feed face 16is positioned inwardly of the front face 14 (as may more readily be a seen in FIG. 3). In the embodiment chosen for illustration, the front face 14, as well as the feed face 16, is inclined from vertical at an angle of approximately 25. The angle of inclination is not critical, but should be sufficient to permit the cards to follow the feed bin I3 toward the feed face 16 but should not be so steeply inclined as to impose too much weight on the first card of the stack. With appropriate modifications, it has been found that this angle can be varied from approximately l0 to a maximum of 45. Obviously, other devices may be utilized to achieve the feed bin force necessary to feed the cards. For example, a dead weight system or a spring-biasing system may be usedv The feed face 16 is provided with arcuate slot 18. A picker knife 20, shown in its rest position in FIG. 1, is aligned with the curb l5 and does not extend into that area of the feed bin 13 containing cards, as will be described more fully hereinafter. A card gripper 21 is positioned immediately above the feed bin 13 and extends from the feed face 16 outwardly past the front face 14. The card gripper prevents double feeding and will separate two cards that otherwise stack together. as will be described more fully hereinafter.
The card reader is also provided with an output hopper 30 having a rear wall 31. It may be noted that none of the sides 32, 33, 34, and 35 of the hopper 30 are parallel. The irregular configuration of the output hopper permits easy stacking of the cards as they exit from the read station of the card reader. The card reader is also provided with a power supply 40, together with electronic components 41 and removable printed wiring boards 42. The electrical components form no part of the present invention, and it is therefore unnecessary to describe them in detail. The pushbutton switches I2 are connected by suitable electrical conductors 45 to the remaining electrical equipment. Reading of the punch cards is achieved in a conventional manner through the utilization of electro-optical techniques wherein a lamp 46 is used for edgelighting a Lucite plate 47, thereby illuminating a column of hole positions in a card. Suitable photosensors (schematically shown in FIG. 4 at 50) detect the presence or absence of holes in the hole positions and provide electrical output signals to the electronic controls via printed wiring board 48.
Referring now to the remaining FIGS. a support member 52 is secured to the front face 14, the latter acting as a support frame for the frame member 52 and the feed bin 13. An electric motor 53 is attached to the frame member 52 and drives an output shaft 54 on which is mounted a feed plate 55. The feed plate includes card-engaging protrusions such as drive buttons 56, 57, and 58. The feed plate 55 rotates in a plane parallel to the feed face I6 and the drive buttons extending from the feed face 55, and extend into the arcuate slot I8. Thus, as the feed plate 55 rotates, the drive buttons will enter the slot 18 and will describe an are as they travel across the feed face 16.
The picker knife 20 includes a picking edge 60 which remains out of the feed bin 13 while the knife remains in the position shown in the drawings. The picker knife is held in the position shown by a pair of flat springs 61 and 62, one end of which are secured to the feed bin 13 and the other end of which are secured to the picker knife 20. A cam follower 65 is attached to the bottom of the picker knife 20 to provide a contact surface to engage camming pins 66, 67, 68, and 69 mounted on the feed plate 55. Thus, as the feed plate 55 rotates, the camming pins engage the cam follower 69 to force the picker knife upwardly into the feed bin.
When the drive buttons contact an edge of a card; the card is forced in its plane past read heads 50 and is guided by a channel 75. As the card follows the channel 75, the card is held from falling away from the read heads 50 by the feed face 16; however, the feed face terminates at the read station. Further, the channel 75 widens as the channel passes over the top of the output hopper. Thus, as the cards are forced completely past the read heads, support for the upper portion of the card terminates and the card is free to fall into the output hopper since it is inclines at an angle equal to the angle of inclination of the feed face 16. The cards are therefore stacked in the same sequence as they were when placed in the feed bin.
The operation of the card handling system of the present invention may now be described. Initially, a stack of cards, such as shown at 80 in FIG. 6, is placed in the feed bin 13. In most instances, a weighted card follower (not shown) may be placed in the input bin immediately following the the stack to insure that the first card in the stack is properly bearing against the feed face. The first card 82 in the stack is thus forced against the feed face 16 along the top portion of the card, but is prevented from lying flat against the feed face by the curb 15. As the feed plate 55 rotates, a camming pin, such as camming pin 68, engages the cam follower 65, forcing the picking edge 60 of the picker knife 20 upwardly into the feed bin. The picking edge 60 engages the lower edge of the first card 82, thus raising the card and forcing the upper edge into the card gripper 21. The card gripper includes a gripper support 85 for adjustably holding a gripper blade 86 to thereby form a gap 87 into which the top edge of a card may be wedged. Since the rear surface 88 of the support 85 is tapered, the top edge of a card may be pushed upwardly along the feed face 14 and will be jammed or wedged into the gap 87. It may also be noted that the gap 87 is angled with respect to the surface of the feed face 16, such that the card will slightly be bent to force the card flat against the feed face 16 when the card has been elevated into engagement with the gripping gap 87 and above the curb 15. The resulting position is a feed position and is illustrated in FIG. 6 by showing the card 82 in the position 820. The gap 87 is adjusted to permit the wedging" of only a single card. In the event two cards adhere to each other and attempt to feed simultaneously, they will be separated by the gripper since the gripper blade will engage the top edge of the second card while permitting the top edge of the first card to enter the gap 87. The feed plate 55 continues to rotate, causing drive button 58 to enter the arcuate slot 18 and come into engagement with the edge of the card 82. it may be noted that the drive buttons extend through the arcuate slot 18, but only engage the first card in the stack since only the latter has been elevated to the feed position and the space 90 separates the card in the feed position and the next card in the stack.
The card is thus forced by the drive button to slide along the channel 75 past the read heads 50. The card is held in the plane of the feed face 16 by its contact therewith; as soon as the card passes the read heads, the feed face ends. The card at this point in time is parallel to the feed face 16 (and is thus inclined from vertical) and is supported only by the channel 75. The card thus pivots away from the plane of the feed face as indicated by the arrow 91 in FIG. 7.
Timing for the reading function is conveniently provided by the timing disc mounted for rotation with the feed plate 55 and provided with a plurality of slots 101 about the circumference thereof. A photoelectric read head 102 is secured to the support member 52 and is thus utilized to derive electrical pulses for suitably timing the reading operation. Since the card being driven through the read head is not moving at a linear velocity (the drive buttons are following a circular path), the slots 101 in the timing disc 100 may appropriately be spaced to compensate for the nonlinearity.
The card handling system therefore uses a single rotating shaft for driving a timing disc and a feed plate secured thereto. The only moving parts of the entire system are therefore driven directly by the single rotating shaft, resulting in an extremely simple but rugged and reliable card handling system. The present invention has been described in terms of a specific embodiment and a great variety of modifications and variations will occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
1. In a card handling system having a bin to receive a stack of cards to be fed one at a time from said stack, the improvement comprising: a feed plate mounted for rotation in a plane substantially parallel to the plane of the first card in said stack of cards; a card-engaging protrusion secured to said feed plate extending from said feed plate into the plane of said card to engage an edge of said card and drive the card in its plane.
2. The combination set forth in claim 1, wherein said feed bin is inclined from vertical and abuts a feed face having an arcuate slot therein to permit said protrusion to pass therethrough as said feed plate rotates.
3. The b combination set forth in claim 1, including a picker knife having an operating position and a rest position, posi tioned for extension into said bin when in said operating position, said picker knife contacting and elevating said first card to a feed position when in said operating position.
4. The combination set forth in claim 3, including means responsive to the rotation of said feed plate for moving said picker knife from said rest position to said operating position.
5. In a card handling system, the improvement comprising: a frame; a feed bin secured to said frame for supporting cards in parallel planes; a picker knife, having an operating position and a rest position, positioned for extension into said bin when in said operating position, said picker knife contacting and elevating a card to a feed position when in said operating position; a cam follower secured to said picker knife; a rotating shaft supported on said frame; a feed plate mounted on said shaft for rotation in a plane substantially parallel to the plane of a card in said feed position; a card-engaging protrusion secured to said feed plate; said feed plate positioned to permit said protrusion to engage an edge of a card in said feed position and to drive said card in its plane as said feed plate rotates; a cam mounted for rotation with said shaft and positioned to engage said cam follower to force said picker knife to change said positions.
6. The combination set forth in claim 5, wherein said feed bin supports said cards in parallel planes inclines from 10 to 45 from vertical.
7. The combination set forth in claim 5, wherein said picker knife is spring-loaded to said rest position and is forced to said operating position by contact between said cam and cam follower.
8. The combination set forth in claim 5, wherein said cam comprises a plurality of camming pins secured to said feed plate.
9. The combination set forth in claim 5, including a feed face extending upwardly from said feed bin and having an arcuate slot therein, said feed face positioned to permit said card-engaging protrusion to extend therethrough as the latter rotates with said feed plate.
10. The combination set forth in claim 9, including a curb extending the width of said feed bin and positioned adjacent said feed face to maintain separation between a card in said feed position and the remaining cards in a stack of cards.