US 3579944 A
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United States Patent 7 21 Appl. No. 221 Filed  Patented  Assignee  APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR BANDING GROUPS OF ENVELOPES 7 Claims, 23 Drawing Figs.
 U.S. Cl 53/3, 53/ 198  Int. Cl B65b 27/08 1365b 57/14, B65h 33/08  Field ofSearch 53/3, 198,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,829,570 4/1958 Pearce 93/93.2 2,917,884 12/1959 Winkler et a1. 53/198 2,443,952 6/1948 Gilbert 53/234 2,985,991 5/1961 l-labgood..... 53/198 3,030,750 4/1962 Lowe et a1. 53/198(X) 3,416,286 12/1968 Ciccone 53/198(X) Assistant ExaminerNeil Abrams Att0rneyMcCormick, Paulding and Huber ABSTRACT: In an apparatus and method for banding envelopes, envelopes first advance in succession from an envelope making machine toward a banding station by moving perpendicular to their faces while supported on their edges in face to back relation. Immediately prior to reaching the banding station the forwardmost group is segregated from the advancing succession by a laterally movable pusher which shifts the group endwise to the banding station where it is temporarily supported between spaced side fingers. At the banding station is an opening in the floor plate which extends across the width of the envelope group and which is straddled by the length of the group. A sliding plate covers the opening during the movement of the envelope group to the banding station. After the envelope group is properly positioned at the banding station the sliding plate is withdrawn and a band placed across the top of the group is pressed by two vertically moving blades down both sides of the group. The band is of such a length and so positioned that the portion thereof extending along one side of the envelope group terminates at approximately the bottom edge of the group and so that the portion thereof extending along the other side of the group extends below the bottom edge of the group and through the floor plate opening. The sliding plate is. thereafter returned to closing relation with the opening and as it is so moved its forward edge carries the protruding portion of the band along the bottom of the group. Other means thereafter fold the remaining free end portion of the band upwardly into sealing engagement with the opposite end portion and the group is then pushed from the banding station by the next following group.
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PATENTEU MAYZS I971 sum 0a or m APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR BANDIING GROUPS OF ENVELOPES CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS BACKGROUND OF INVENTION This invention relates to an apparatus for and method of banding envelopes in groups after leaving the delivery end of an envelope making machine.
This invention is especially applicable in the handling of socalled fat or puff folded envelopes, in which the folds or edges of the envelopes are not sharply defined, but are smoothly rounded, holding the front and rear panels in spaced-apart relation. These "fat" folded envelopes have received fairly widespread acceptance, and today many of the higher quality greeting card envelopes, dry-sealing envelopes, and the like are fat folded to improve their appearance.
The most common means for making the well-known fat folded envelopes is by a machine having the general characteristics disclosed in Winkler & Dunnebier US. Pat. No. 2,019,946 in which the completed envelopes are delivered to a table at the end of the machine, and advanced in a succession in which the envelopes are supported on their edges in face to back relation with envelopes adjacent thereto. These envelopes are constantly being accumulated on a table at the upstream end next to the delivery section of the envelope making machine. It is necessary to maintain the succession of envelopes in a state of light compression for a period of time to permit drying of the seam adhesive. If the compression is relieved, the envelopes fail to properly connect at the seams. On the other hand, the succession must not be subjected to heavy compression because then the fat-folded envelopes would be crushed and desired "puffy effect would be lost. It is therefore most important in the handling of such envelopes that the pressure exerted on the envelopes in the succession be controlled to the extent that the pressure be high enough to per mit proper connection along the seams of the envelops. Because of this inherent problem in handling these fat-folded envelopes, envelopes delivered from the envelope making machine have been largely handled by hand in the past. It has not been uncommon to find several people working at the discharge end of these envelope making machines. It is obvious that such hand labor is much too costly for an efficient operation. Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide for the handling of envelopes from the point where they are ejected from the envelope making machine until they are banded, in a manner such that a generally constant pressure is exerted on the envelopes during this time. The term generally constant pressure" is not intended to mean that the pressure is free from variation, but rather that the variation in pressure is small enough so as not to cause the harmful effects mentioned hereinbefore.
The invention also provides novel means and methods of segregating counted groups from the succession and transferring them into a packaging station while holding a generally constant pressure thereon, and primarily involves a novel means and method of applying a band around the groups while holding the generally constant pressure on the group.
Although the invention is specifically applicable in handling the fat-folded envelopes, it is not limited thereto, as other types of envelopes and similar flat, flexible articles may also be effectively handled using the machine and method according to this invention. Also, this invention may be readily adapted to various types of delivery from the envelope making machine, and is readily adjustable for work on a wide range of sizes of envelopes.
The feature which sets apparatus embodying this invention apart from envelope handling apparatus of this nature developed heretofore is its ability to handle wide ranges of sizes of envelopes and wide ranges of counts per group on many different types of envelope manufacturing machinery, while maintaining a generally moderate and constant pressure on the envelopes, so that they will neither be crushed by too much pressure, nor allowed to fall apart before the seam adhesive sets.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a plan view of an envelope handling apparatus embodying this invention.
FIG. 2 is a partial lower plan view taken substantially along line 22 of FIG. 4, showing parts of the apparatus which are hidden in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a side elevation view of the envelope handling apparatus according to this invention.
FIG. 4 is an end elevation view of the apparatus.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged plan view of portions of the group transfer assembly.
FIG. 6 is an elevation view of the parts shown in FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is an enlarged, partial elevation view taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 8 is an enlarged partial elevation view taken along line 8-8 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 9 is an enlarged, partial elevation view taken along line 9-9 of FIG. I.
FIG. 10 is an enlarged, partial elevation view taken along line 10-10 ofFlG. l. a
FIG. 11 is an enlarged, partial elevation view taken along 11-11 ofFlG. 1.
FIG. 12 is an elevation view taken along line 12-12 of fig. 1 showing the adhesive applying mechanism.
FIG. 13 is an enlarged, partial elevation view taken along line 13-13 of FIG. 1, showing the lead envelope position determining assembly.
FIG. 14 is an enlarged end elevation view of the banding station of FIG. 1.
FIGS. 15 through 22 inclusive are progressive sequence diagrammatic views showing the operation of the machine.-
FIG. 23 is a diagram illustrating the wiring and piping of the machine.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings, a preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated in which the envelope handling apparatus is fully automatic, and-is adapted to receive envelopes from the delivery end of an envelope making machine. The envelopes E are delivered successively by a mechanism of the envelope making machine (not shown) onto a main horizontal supporting plate F, such that each envelope E comes to rest on its edge in vertical position on plate F. Continuous accumulation of the envelopes on plate F near the delivery mechanism of the envelope making machine causes the succession to advance towards the envelope handling apparatus, i.e., downstream. Space on the plate F between the envelope making machine and the handling machine for a plurality of envelopes to accumulate is purposely allowed to provide for the efficient operation of the handling machine. Even though the succession is continuously flowing, that is, the freshly made envelopes are constantly being entered at the upstream end of the succession and groups of envelopes are periodically being removed at the downstream end by the envelope handling machine, the envelopes in the succession are maintained in a generally uniform state of moderate compression by a yieldable backstop P which advances as envelopes are accumulated at the upstream end of the succession while still maintaining back pressure on the succession of envelopes.
It will be observed from the drawings that the succession of envelopes is composed of a plurality of adjacent groups G. The adjacent groups are defined by laterally offset "count" envelopes E which form the last, or rearmost envelope of each successive Group G. Each envelope E is automatically counted as it leaves the envelope making machine and upon delivery of a predetermined number, a count envelope E is laterally offset to designate a group of a certain number of envelopes. This type of delivery and offsetting of count envelopes is well known in this an, and it has been the practice for many years to so-designate the successive groups of predetermined numbers for convenience in handing the groups of envelopes by hand.
According to this invention, the offset envelopes E are detected and the groups defined thereby are automatically removed from the succession and transferred to a station where the group isbanded, or packaged in another manner, while maintaining a substantially constant and moderate pressure on the envelopes during the complete operation. As each forwardmost group G is removed from the succession, the backstop P finds the next leading envelope E of the succession, and allows it to advance under a predetermined back pressure in a path perpendicular to the planes of the envelopes as freshly made envelopes accumulate at the envelope making machine end of the succession. When the forwardmost group G has advanced to a position for transfer to the banding station, the offset envelope E of that group is detected by a suction device integral with a transfer member generally denoted by H. Upon so detecting the offset envelope E, the suction continues to act on and hold envelope E, and at the same time triggers a sequence of operations which automatically transfers the leading group G through a chute section C along a path at substantially right angles to the original path of the envelopes in the succession, into a banding station B where a precut and pregummed band is wrapped around the group. The banding station B is provided with members for holding the envelopes in the group to be banded upright on edge while a band, which had been previously placed in a horizontal position above the banding station, is first entrained downwardly along the vertical sides or heights of a group, then across the bottom thickness of the group, and finally connected at its ends at a lower side edge of the group. The suction on the offset envelope E by this time has released and the transfer member H has returned to its original position to wait for the next group G to be transferred. During the cycle of the transfer mechanism H, the next leading envelope in the succession is held back from further advancement and the yieldable backstop P moves forward to apply moderate back pressure to this next forwardmost envelope in the succession. The banding station B is cleared of the banded group by the succeeding group G which, during entry into the banding station B, positively pushes it through the other end.
LEAD ENVELOPE POSITION DETERMINING MEANS As the succession of envelopes advances on plate F between the side rails 30 and 32, the yieldable backstop P normally determines the position of the leading envelope in the succession by applying back pressure thereon. Side rails 32 are mounted to plate F by means of adjustable bracket 33. The backstop P includes a bar or plate 34 which normally assumes a position of rest at its extreme upstream position. As successive envelopes accumulate in the succession, the forwardmost envelope bears against the plate 34 which is yieldable under pressure in the direction of advancement of the succession.
As best shown in FIG. 13, the plate 34 is positioned crosswise in relation to the path of the succession of envelopes, and generally parallel to the planes of the envelopes. A vertical element 36 may be fixed to the side of plate 34 to aid in keeping the envelopes in line during advancement. Plate 34 is movable in the direction of the arrow, by means of its mounting to bearing 38 which is slidable on shaft 40. The bracket 42 which connects plate 34 to bearing 38 is angularly adjustable relative to the centerline of bearing 38, so that regardless of the angle of inclination of the shaft 40 to the horizontal plate F, the plate 34 may be adjusted to be perpendicular thereto.
The backstop assembly P is supported from the top rail 44 by upright member 46. The bracket 48 which carries the rod 40 is adjustable vertically in slot 50 of upright member 46, and is also adjustable angularly to vary the inclination of shaft 40. The amount of back pressure created by the plate 34 acting on the leading envelope E can be varied by changing the angle of inclination of shaft 40, because it is the gravitational force acting on the sliding assembly which produces back pressure on the succession of envelopes. The extreme positions of bearing 38 along shaft 40 are determined by the position of collar 52 at the upstream end, and by bracket 48 at the downstream end. Shaft 54 is generally parallel to shaft 40 and extends through an opening 56 in plate 34, thereby preventing excess rotation of plate 34 about shaft 40. The amount of movement of plate 34 should be at least as great as the thickness of the groups G being banded. It may readily be seen that as the succession forces the plate 34 back to its downstream-most position, removal of the group G immediately upstream from plate 34 allows the plate 34 to move to its upstream-most position to again apply pressure to the envelope succession.
GROUP DETECTING AND TRANSFERRING MEANS The means for detecting the presence of a group G of envelopes which has advanced to a position ready to be moved to the banding station B, and the means for so-transferring this group to the banding station B are so closely related physically that they will be described together. The detecting and transferring mechanism is indicated generally at H and includes a reciprocative bar 66 having a side closely disposed to the vertical sides of the envelopes E ahead of the offset count envelope E the side of the succession opposite the banding sta tion B. The bar 66 extends between the horizontal top backing rail 44 and bottom backing rail 68, the space between the rails being useful as an opening to allow reciprocation of bar 66 in a horizontal plane across the path of the succession of envelopes. The end of bar 66 lying upstream in relation to the succession is located generally opposite the upstream side of the transfer chute C and banding station B, while the body of the bar 66 lies opposite the chute C and handing station on the opposite side of the succession.
Means for imparting horizontal reciprocating movement to bar 66 is provided by double-acting air cylinder 68 fixed to plate F. Bar 66 is carried by block 70, and block 70 in turn is fixed to piston rod 72 of the air cylinder 68. As the bar 66 is moved horizontally toward the banding station B the side thereof intercepts the edges of all the envelopes in group G, except for the offset envelope E. As bar 66 continues its movement, it pushes against the edges of the envelopes in its path, moving them through chute C and into banding station B. The stroke of the piston rod 72 is such as to correctly position the group of envelopes in banding station B. Upon completion of the transfer stroke, the air cylinder 68 retracts piston rod 72 to return bar 66 to its original position. Automatic means for actuating the air cylinder on each stroke will be explained hereinafter.
Means for transferring the offset envelopes E along with the group to which they belong is actually incorporated into the group detecting means. The successive forwardmost groups G will be transferred to the banding station B periodically as successive forwardmost envelopes of the succession advance a distance about equal to the thickness of a group. To detect the presence of the successive groups when they have advanced to a position ready for transfer to the banding station, the bar 66 is provided with a vacuum port 74 at its upstream end. Leading to the vacuum port 74 is opening 76 extending through bar 66. Vacuum line 78, connected to a vacuum source (not shown) is also connected to vacuum line 80 which leads to opening 76, by slide valve 82, which is also mounted to piston rod 72 for reciprocation therewith. Slide valve 82 is controlled by md 84, and is open when rod 84 is forced in one position by bracket 86, or closed if the rod 84 is forced in another position by contacting bracket 8%.
When the piston rod 72 is in its retracted position as shown in FIG. I, air is being drawn through port 74. As an offset en-' velope E comes into contact with the vacuum port 74, the offset portion of envelope E is drawn into grasping contact with the end of bar 66, cutting off the vacuum line's opening to the atmosphere, and creating a vacuum in the vacuum lines. This vacuum is transmitted to a pressure switch 89 (shown only in the diagram of FIG. 23) by means of line 90 extending from the valve 32. The pressure switch, sensing the drop in pressure, triggers the group transferring and banding operations, one of the first of which is to cause air cylinder 68 to move the bar 66 towards the banding station. It will be noted that in the meantime, offset envelope E continues to be held to the end of bar 66 by the vacuum therein, and hence the offset envelope E will be moved along with the rest of the group when the bar 66 moves toward the banding station B. It will also be observed that when the slide valve reaches it s position near the banding station, rod 84 will close valve B2 releasing the hold on envelope E by opening the vacuum line to the atmosphere when it meets block 83.
The bar 66 has rigidly fixed thereon a second bar 92 extending at substantially right angles thereto and away from the succession of envelopes. During the transferring stroke of bar 66, the bar 92 is carried into the path of the advancing succession to prevent further forward movement thereof during reciprocation of bar 66. This is to prevent the succession from advancing into the return path of bar 66. While the next forwardmost envelope is under the influence of the yieldable backstop P, the back pressure caused thereby is not sufficient to prevent advancement of the succession. Obviously if envelopes were in the return path of bar 66, the next group to be banded would be disrupted. Once the bar 66 is returned to its original position, the leading envelope of the succession is then entirely under the influence of the yieldable backstop P, and the succession is again allowed to slowly advance. Reciprocation of bar 66 is relatively fast compared with the rate of accumulation of the envelopes in the succession; hence, no appreciable increase in back pressure is caused by the stopped forward movement of the succession during this time.
During the return stroke of the detecting and transferring assembly, bar 92 may have a slight tendency to misplace some of the forwardmost envelopes in the succession. To prevent any possibility of this happening, a spring-loaded element 94 is provided beside the succession. The element 94 is fixed to the end of rod 96 which is slidably mounted in bracket 98 fixed to plate F. Normally, spring 100 urges the rod to a position adjacent the edge of the succession, by bearing against collar 102. However, arm 104- is fixed to rod 96, and screw 106 which is carried thereby rests against bar 66, so that when the bar 66 is in its normal position shown in FIG. 1, the rod 96 is held in retracted position against the force of spring 100. When bar 92 moves toward the banding station, the element 94 is allowed to assume its position adjacent the edges of the envelopes in the succession. On the return stroke, element 94 remains in that position until the bar 66 contacts the screw 106 and resets the element 94 to the position shown in FIG. I.
TRANSFER CI-IUTE AND BANDING STATION The transfer chute and banding station are probably best illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. Here, it can be seen that the groups of envelopes are removed from the forwardmost end of the succession, and are pushed through the chute section C on their way to the banding station B. The bottom of the chute C is formed by the horizontal plate F, and one side is formed by continuation of the backing rails 44 and 68. The other side of the chute is formed by guide member I16, which is attached to plate F as illustrated.
The backing rails and 68 are adjustable in a direction perpendicular to the planes of the envelopes in the succession by means of their mounting to plate F by the adjustable sliding bracket 1 Id. Bracket I18 may slide in this direction, between the guide bars 120 and I22 when screw 124 is loosened. The
bottom backing rail 68 is fixed to bracket I18, and the top backing rail 44 is connected to bottom backing rail 68 at post 126. Post 126 contains a vertically adjustable member 128 to which the top backing rail 44 is fixed, and may be adjusted vertically by means of knob 130. The above-mentioned adjustments of the backing rails 44 and 68 provide convenient means for adapting the machine to different sizes of envelopes, as well as different sizes of groups to be banded.
At the forwardmost end of the guide rail 32 near the entrance to the transfer chute C, there is supported a piece of resilient material 132, such as rubber, extending generally parallel to the side edges of the envelopes in the succession. The material 132 is longitudinally adjustable at its mountings 134 and 136, and serves the purpose of providing resistance during transfer of a group, to any envelope upstream of the group being transferred, thereby keeping the forward end of the succession in alignment during transfer of a group.
The transfer chute C leads directly into the banding station B, where the group of envelopes to be banded is brought to rest at the end of the transfer stroke of bar 66. The group of envelopes is supported in the banding station B on the bottom by the horizontal plate F, and by an elongated sliding plate 138 contained in opening 140 of plate F and supported by the ledges 142 and 144 so that the top of the sliding plate 138 and the top of the plate F are flush. The width of the sliding plate 138 and the opening 140 in plate F are so related that the bottom of the banding station B is substantially continuous and smooth when sliding plate 138 is in a closed position.
The means for supporting the sides of the group of envelopes in the banding station include the thin prongs or blades I46 and 148 on one side and and 152 on the other. Blades 146 and 148 are mounted to rail 116, the top blade 146 being vertically adjustable for different sizes of envelopes, and the blades 150 and 152 are mounted to the backing rails 44 and 68 respectively. By adjusting the rails 44 and 68 as hereinbefore mentioned, blades 150 and 152 will be automatically adjusted therewith. The blades 146, 148, 150 and 152 are mounted to their respective supporting members so that the passageway between the chute C and banding station B is substantially continuous.
Sliding plate 138, which in conjunction with the plate F supports a group of envelopes in the banding station B, is normally in a closed position, that is, forming a continuous bottom in the banding station B. However, to aid in folding a band around the group, plate 138 is reciprocable in the opening 140, and in the closed position, the folding edge 154 of plate 138 is positioned just below the blade I48.
Lateral movement of bar 66 in transferring the groups of envelopes to the banding station B is effective to substantially center the groups lengthwise over the sliding plate 138. After a group has come to rest in the banding station E, the plate 138 may be withdrawn without affecting support of the group because the ends of the group will be supported by the plate F along the sides of the opening 140, i.e., the group will be straddling the opening 140.
BAND FEEDING AND GUMMING As a group of envelopes is transferred to the banding station B, the band 164 to be wrapped around that group is fed into horizontal position above the banding station B, the longer dimension of the band being crosswise of the top blades 146 and 150. Several spaced horizontal supporting members 166 are located above the banding station B, and on both sides thereof to provide horizontal support for the bands and band stops I68 are also provided to ensure that the bands 164 will be positioned squarely above the banding station E. Fingers 16? are also provided to aid in guiding a band into position.
The bands 164 are positioned in the hopper 170 so that when they are fed directly onto the supporting members 166, they will be in the longitudinal position of extending beyond one side of the banding station an amount substantially equal to the height of the group of envelopes as they stand upright,
and on the other side, extending beyond the banding station by an amount slightly greater than the combined height and width, or thickness of the group. The term slightly greater is intended to mean an amount sufficient to overlap the other end of the band to form a seam.
One desirable way of feeding the bands 164 into position on supporting members 166 is illustrated in the drawings. A supply of bands 164 are placed on edge in an inclined hopper, generally denoted by 170, in a slightly fanned-out relationship, so as to feed downwardly as the lower bands are removed from the hopper 170. The hopper 170 includes upright sideplates 172 and 174 for keeping the bands 164 in lateral alignment. At the lower end of the hopper 170, above the bands therein, there are provided feed wheels 176 and 178 mounted on shaft 180 which is rotatably mounted in the side frame members 182 and 184. Just below each of the feed wheels 176 and 178, there are provided pieces of frictional material 186 and 188, such as rubber, mounted in the supports 190 and 192. When the feed wheels 176 and 178 are rotated clockwise, as viewed in FIG. 11, the pads of frictional material 194 and 196 carried thereby contact the lower band 164 in the hopper 170, and carry the leading edge thereof past the ends of the pieces 186 and 188, which are in touching relation with the feed wheels 176 and 178 respectively, into the nips which feed wheels 176 and 178 form with the lower feed rolls 198 and 200 respectively. The lower feed roll 198 is rotatably mounted in the arms 202 and 204, and lower feed roll 200 is mounted in arms 206 and 208. Gears 210 and 212, fixed to shaft 180, mesh with gears 214 and 216 respectively, to rotate the lower feed rolls 198 and 200 at the same time, and with substantially the same speed and direction as the feed wheels 176 and 178. Once a band 164 is caught in the nip of the feed rolls and wheels, it is fed onto the horizontal supporting members 166, and the lead ing edge of the band 164 comes to rest against the stops 168. In this manner, the band 164 is conveniently brought into correct position for folding around the group, by feeding broadwise onto the supporting members 166, and correct register or alignment for folding is easily attained. Travel distance of the band 164 from the hopper 170 to position on the supporting members 166 is very short. The band is therefore given very little chance to be wind deflected out of orientation. Since the band 164 begins its movement correctly oriented, and any possible deflections are minor, the stops 168 ensure that the band will come to rest in correct register or orientation to be folded around the group. Means for adjusting the longitudinal position of the pieces 186 and 188, thereby varying the distance between the end of the pieces and lower feed rolls 198 200 are provided by the adjusting thumbscrews 218 and 220 respectively. Also, means for adjusting the pressure of the pieces 186 and 188 against the feed rolls 176 and 178 are provided by the adjusting knobs 222 and 224.
Single revolution drive means are provided to the feed wheels 176 and 178, and feed rolls 198 and 200 by double acting air cylinder 226, which is fixed to side frame member 182 by means of bracket 227. Carried by the piston rod 228 thereof is a rack 230 which meshes with pinion 232, which is fixed to shaft 234 as best shown in FIG. 7. Gear 236 is also fixed to the shaft 234, and meshes with gear 238 which rotates freely about shaft 180 on hub 240. Hub 240 also carries a pawl 242, which is adapted to rotate in axial alignment, and cooperate with the ratchet 244. A single stroke of the rack 230 is sufficient to rotate pawl 242 a full revolution. During the power stroke of the piston rod to which rack 230 is mounted, the pawl 242 and ratchet 244 are engaged, so that the feed wheels 176 and 178, and hence feed rolls 198 and 200, rotate in a direction to feed a band out of the hopper 170, i.e., a stroke of rack 230 rotates feed wheels 176 and 178 one revolution clockwise, and feed rolls 198 and 200 counterclockwise, as viewed in FIG. 11. A block 246, fixed to shaft 180 is provided for contacting pin 248 to prevent overrun of the shaft 180.
The entire band supply, feeding, and supporting structure is held above the plate F by two upright posts. The upper post elements 250 and 252 are slidably engaged with the lower post members 254 and 256, respectively, and are vertically adjustable thereon by means of crank 258 which is linked to both posts by means of belt 260. The supporting channel member 262 is horizontally held above plate F by means of its mounting to the upper post members 250 and 252. The side-supporting members 182 and 184 are mounted to plates 264 and 266 respectively, which are slidably mounted to the top of the channel member 262 for horizontal movement with respect thereto in a direction perpendicular to the length of channel member 262.
For different widths of bands, it may be necessary to change the position of the entire band feeding and supporting assembly, as well as the position of the band stops 168. This adjustment can be made bysliding the plates 264 and 266, and the assembly carried thereby, horizontally in the direction perpendicular to the length of the channel member 262. For example, for relatively wide bands, the band feed wheels and rolls may need to be a greater distance away from the band stops than for relatively narrow bands. Means for so moving plates 264 and 266 are provided, but to avoid undue complexity of the drawings, the mechanism for moving plate 266 is illustrated, while the mechanism for moving plate 264 is omitted, it being understood, however, that similar mechanisms may be used for moving both plates, and as a practical matter, the plates move in unison, as the respective motion imparting mechanisms are connected by means of chain 288. For moving plate 266, threaded block 282 is provided just under the channel member 262 which communicatesdirectly with the plate 266 by means of studs extending through openings in the channel member 262. Threaded shaft 286, rotatably mounted in the flanges of the channel member 262, cooperates with the threaded block 282 to move the block 282 crosswise of the channel member 262 as the shaft is turned by hand wheel 290, thereby changing the position of the hopper assembly and band feeding wheels and rolls. The band supports 166 are mounted directly to bar 292 extending between the block 282 and the block on the opposite side (not shown). The band stops 168 are slidable in the longitudinal direction with respect to the supports 166, and are fixed to the ends of the rods 294 which extend through openings in the bar 292. Each of the rods 294 are connected to a lever 296 which is keyed to shaft 298, by means of a link 300. Shaft 298 is supported from channel member 262 by means of brackets 302. A lever 304, keyed to shaft 298, communicates with the slidable plate 264 by means of pin 306. As the plate 264 aids in moving the band hopper and feed mechanism horizontally one way, then, the shaft 298 will rotate in a direction to move the band stops 168 in the other direction, by means of the linkage between plate 264 and the stops 168. The distance between the feed assembly and the band stops 168 therefore increases, or decreases, as the handwheel 290 is turned.
If the adhesive or gum for connecting the ends of the bands together has not already been applied to the bands, it is necessary to provide a mechanism for depositing an area of adhesive, gum, or the like to the ends of the bands as they are fed out of the hopper 170. Bands having areas of dry self-sealing adhesive, that is, adhesive that sticks to itself but not paper, may be used in handing the groups of envelopes, in which case all the necessary adhesive would be applied to the bands before they are put in the hopper. Such a band, having an area of self-sealing adhesive applied to it at both ends, on opposite sides so as to contact when the band ends are overlapped, may conveniently be used provided the adhesive areas do not extend to the edges of the band and cause sticking of the bands in the hopper. Such a band is shown in Semonsen, U.S. Pat. No. 2,096,352. However, it may be preferred to use a wet type of adhesive, and mechanism for applying this type of adhesive is illustrated in the drawings. An adhesive vessel 3% is located above the position of the lower band 164 in the hopper, and is mounted to an arm 316. The arm 316 is fixed to shaft 317, which is mounted above channel member 262 by brackets 3M3 and 320, for pivoting along a horizontal axis. The vessel 314 is provided with'a tube 322 extending downwardly from its lower end. At the lower end of the tube, a small elongated opening 324 permits an area of adhesive to be deposited on a band when the opening 324 contacts a band. Due to the small size of the opening 324 and the viscosity of the adhesive, adhesive will not drip through the opening 324 when the vessel 314 is raised so that the opening 324 is unblocked.
The weight of the vessel 314 and arm 316 is normally supported by the tube 322 resting on the bands. It is duringthis time that the adhesive is deposited on the top band in the hopper 170. However, when the band feeding mechanism begins to operate to feed the top band into position on the supports 166, i.e., the feed wheels 176 and 178 begin to rotate, the cam 326, fixed to shaft 180, acts against cam follower 328 on arm 316 to raise the vessel 314, permitting the band on which adhesive has been deposited, to be freely removed from the hopper 170 by the feeding mechanism.
MEANS FOR FOLDING THE BAND DOWN THE SIDES OF THE GROUP With the group of envelopes to be banded resting in the banding station 13, and the band 164 to be wrapped around the group now resting in place above the banding station B, the first band folding operation is ready to be performed. The first folds of the band164 are made down across the sides or heights of the group by the vertical folding blades 338 and 340, which are mounted to the horizontal crossbar 342. Crossbar 342 is fixed to the end of the vertical rod 344, which is operated by the piston rod 346 of air cylinder 348 by means of crossbar 350. Air cylinder 348 is fixed to the top of the channel member 262. Strokes of the piston rod 346 therefore operate to move the blades 338 and 340 up or down along the outer sides of the blades 146, 148, 150, and 152.
The folding blades 338 and 340 are positioned on the crossbar 342 such that the inside faces thereof are substantially parallel to and spaced a slight distance from the sides of the group of envelopes held in the banding station B. Because the sides of the banding station E formed by the blades 150 and 152 may be adjusted tdincrease or decrease the size thereof, the folding blade 338 must also be adjustable, and means for adjusting blade 338 with respect to blades 150 and 152 are provided by the adjusting screw 352.
The folding blades 338 and before folding a band, are retracted to their upper position, i.e., above the level of a band being held on the horizontal supporting members 166. This allows a band to be fed between the bottom of the folding blades 338 and 341) and the supporting members 166. When the folding blades 338 and 340 are lowered, they act to fold the band 164 down the sides of the group being held in the banding station B. The lower position of the folding blades 338 and 340 is such that the bottoms thereof partially cover the lower blades 148 and 152.
The crossbar 350 is fixed to the end of piston rod 346, and guided during its movement between the upright bars 354 and 356. The rod 344 is slidable through a bore in crossbar 350. The lower position of the folding blades 338 and 340 is determined by the block 35 8, which is fixed to the end of rod 344, contacting the set screw 360. On the down stroke, the block 350 acts against spring 362 to push the folding blades 338 and 340 down until block 358 contacts the top of setscrew 360. On the upstroke, block 350 pushes upward on the block 358. The rod 344 is also guided in its travel by the block 364 sliding along the upright rods 366 and 368.
MEANS FOR FOLDING THE BAND ACROSS THE BOTTOM OF THE GROUP The means for folding the free end of the band 164 across the bottom of the group in the banding station comprises the reciprocative sliding .plate 138 which has been described hereinbefore as partially forming the bottom in the banding station E. The sliding plate 138 is mounted in the elongated opening 140 of the plate F, extending across the thickness of a group of envelopes in the banding station B.
Reciprocation of the sliding plate 138 is provided by air cylinder 378 is placed at right angles to the direction of movement of the sliding plate 138. Piston rod 380 of air cylinder 378 carries thereon a rack 382 which mates with pinion 384 of gear box 386. The output pinion 387 of gear box 386 mates with the rack 388 attached to sliding plate 138. Reciprocation of the piston rod 380 causes sliding plate 138 to reciprocate.
The normal position of the sliding plate 138 is such that a portion thereof extends under the banding station B forming a continuous bottom therein in conjunction with plate F. The folding edge 154 of sliding plate 138 in its normal position lies crosswise of the banding station and just under, the blade 148.
After a group of envelopes has been moved to the banding station B to be handed, the sliding plate 138 is withdrawn, to the left as viewed in FIG. 2, so that the band 164 may be folded down the sides of the group. The longer end of the band 164 will fall down into the opening created by the withdrawn sliding plate 138. The sliding plate 138 is then returned to its normal position, and in doing so, folding edge 154 carries the free portion of the band across the bottom of the group.
MEANS FOR CONNECTING THE ENDS OF THE BAND To fold the free end of the band upward into overlying position with the gummed end of the band, to thereby connect the ends of the bands, suitable mechanism is provided as shown in FIG. 2 and 4. A clamping bar 398 is mounted on arms'400 and 402 and adapted to pivot, about shaft 404, from a point below the position of the free end of the band after it has been folded across the bottom of the group, into firm contact with the gummed end of the band. The bar 398 presses the ends of the band together against the blade 148. The shaft 404, about which the arms 400 and 402 pivot, is carried at the end of horizontally reciprocating shaft 406. Horizontal reciprocating movement is imparted to shaft 406 by means of air cylinder 408. Piston rod 410 of air cylinder 408 is connect to shaft 406 by means of bracket 412.
The bar 398 is shown in clamping position in FIG. 4 and in retracted, or lower position in FIG. 2.
The arms 400 and 402 an the clamping bar 398 are balanced so that when piston rod 410 is retracted to draw the assembly to the right as viewed in FIG. 2, the weight thereof will cause the clamping bar to pivot downward, through the opening 140 in plate F, or counterclockwise as viewed in FIG. 4. However, when the assembly is moved to the left, the screws 414 and 416 which are adjustable in the arms 400 and 402, contact the crossbar 418. After contact is made by the screws 414 and 416 with the crossbar 418, further movement to the left will cause the arms to pivot clockwise about the shaft to move upward into contact with the free end of the band 164 to fold it around the corner of the group of envelopes into firm engagement with the gummed end of the band 164 and against blade 148.
CLEARING THE PACKAGING STATION FOR THE NEXT CYCLE Once the b8nd has been formed around girth of the group, that is, across the top thickness, down across the sides or widths of the group, across the bottom thickness, and the ends of the b8nds are connected, the group is ready to be removed from the banding station B, to make room for the succeeding group. At this time, the side folding blades 338 and 340 are retracted upwardly away from the group, and the clamping bar 398 has now swung downwardly away from the clamping' position holding the ends of the band together. Sliding plate 138, however, remains in position under the group. Notice from FIG. 14 that the blades 146, 148, 150, and 152 are so adjusted as to apply some pressure on the sides of the group at locations along the sides and spaced from the longitudinal edges thereof. The group is somewhat compressed where acted upon by the blades 146, 148, and 152, resulting in slight outward bulges at the corners of the group as well as the midportions thereof between the blades. The blades146, 148, 150, and 152 are preferably of highly finished material, having a low coefficient of friction. The band 164 around the girth of the group is resting, to a relatively large extent, on parts of the group itself, and possibly somewhat against the sides of the blades. It is important that the band 164 rests firmly against portions of the envelopes in the group. When the succeeding group is transferred into the banding station B, the group already in the banding station will be displaced thereby, by the force of the incoming group. The band around the group in the banding station, frictionally engaged therewith will cling to this group and move in unison with it until the group is completely out from under the influence of the blades 146, 148, I50 and 152. Each so displaced group may then be picked up by a conveyor, by hand, or by other means and carried away.
OPERATION The envelope handling machine according to this invention is conveniently operated by a system of air cylinders, as shown in the drawings, although it would appear possible to use other means for operating the machine.
Referring especially to the diagram shown in FIG. 23 and the sequence views shown in FIGS. through 22, (although the actual position of the air cylinders, switches, etc., are also shown in other drawings), there are five double-acting air cylinders which operate this machine. The air cylinders are each connected to a compressed air line 426, and operation of the individual cylinders is controlled by solenoid valves 428, 430, 432, 434 and 436 on cylinders 68, 226, 348, 378 and 408 respectively. The solenoid valves act to direct air from the line 426 into an end of the air cylinder (the internal piping and other components of the air cylinders being standard commercial equipment and not illustrated in the drawings), to move the'piston either to one side or the other, to extend or retract the piston rods. The solenoid valves of the cylinders are wired to a source of electrical current, and leads thereto are provided with switches for controlling operation of the solenoids. The switches are conveniently located on the machine so that when an ofiset envelope is detected by the vacuum port 74, a chain of operations will be performed which will completely band a group of envelopes in the novel manner according to this invention.
Just prior to the envelope handling machine going through a cycle, the envelope handling machine is in position as follows, as shown in FIG. 15:
a. Group transfer cylinder 68-piston rod 72 is retracted, closing switch 438. However, pressure switch 89, in the same line as switch 438 is still open, and will only closeto complete the circuit, when the vacuum port 74 is closed. Piston rod 72 is now holding the group transfer apparatus 14 in position alongside the edges of the envelopes in the succession, ready to remove the leading group G from the succession and transfer it to the banding station B.
b. Band feed cylinder 226-Piston rod 228 is retracted, ready to move the rack 230 carried thereby in such a manner as to turn the band feeding wheels and rolls to feed a band onto the supports 166.
c. Side folder cylinder 348--Piston rod 346 is retracted holding the side folding blades 338 and 340 down around the sides of the group in the banding station B.
d. Clamping cylinder 408-Piston rod 410 is extended, holding clamping bar 398 closed, thereby holding the ends of the band 164 around a group already in the banding station B.
e. Bottom folding cylinder 378Piston rod 380 is extended, holding the sliding plate 138 in place under the group of previously banded envelopes.
At this time, just prior to going into a cycle, vacuum is being drawn through port 74. Connected to the vacuum line 80 leading to port 74 is the line 90 leading to pressure switch 89. When the vacuum port 74 is closed by an offset envelope E, thereby closing the vacuum system from the atmosphere, the immediate drop in pressure in the vacuum lines closes pressure switch 89, to complete the circuits to solenoids 428, 430, 432 and 436. Note that the switch 438 in the same line as pressure switch 89 is already closed by the tripping bracket 442 on piston rod 72. Therefore, upon the closing of port 74 and the resulting closing pressure switch 89, the following operations are performed simultaneously, as shown in FIG. 16:
a. The group transfer piston rod 72 starts forward to transfer the leading group of envelopes in the succession to the banding station B.
b, The band feed piston rod 228 retracts to being feeding a band 164 onto the supports 166 above the group to be banded. There is a slight delay in feeding the band after the band feed wheels begin to rotate, due to the location of the pads 194 and 196 on feed wheels 176 and 178. This delay allows the side folding blades 338 and 340 to retract to their upper positions out of the way of the band being fed.
c. The side folder piston rod 346 extends to raise the side folding blades 338 and 340 to a position entirely above the group in the banding station B. The timing of this operation is such that the side folding blades 338 and 340 will be entirely out of the way before the band is fed into position on the supports 166.
d. The clamping bar piston rod 410 retracts to release the clamp 398 from holding the ends of the band of the previously packaged group together to thereby free the band, allowing this previously packaged group to be pushed out of the banding station B by the group being transferred into it.
The positions of the various parts of the machine after the above movements is illustrated in FIG. 17. However, when the group transfer piston rod 72 reaches the end of its stroke, placing the group to be banded in banding station B, the tripping bracket 442 closes switch 444 to complete circuits to solenoids 428, 430 and 434. Switch 446 is also closed on the retracting stroke of rod 228 by the tripping bracket 448 to complete a circuit to solenoid 432. Upon the closing of switch 444, the following operations are simultaneously performed as shown in FIG. 18:
a. The group transfer piston rod 72 starts to retract to its original position of placing the group transfer assembly alongside the succession of envelopes and waits for the next approaching offset envelope to close vacuum port 74 again.
. Band feed piston rod 228 extends to be ready for feeding the next band (not shown in FIG. 18.)
Bottom folder piston rod 380 retracts to move the sliding plate 138 out from under the group now in the banding station B, preparing for the band 164 to be folded down across the sides of the group, and receive the long end of the band 164 into the opening formed by the retracted sliding plate 138.
Upon the closing of switch 446 by bracket 448 on rod 228 at the end of its stroke, a circuit is completed to solenoid 432 to retract the side folder piston rod 346, thereby lowering the side folding blades 338 and 340 and folding the hand down the sides of the group as shown in FIG. 19. Side folder piston rod 346, in retracting, brings the tripping bracket 450 attached thereto into contact with switch 452 to thereby close switch 452 to complete a circuit to solenoid 434. This causes piston rod 380 to extend to close the sliding plate 138 (bring it back to its position under banding station B), thereby folding the end of the band 164 hanging in opening 140 across the bottom of the group, as shown in FIG. 20. The band 164 is then completely encircling the group, but the free end thereof is not clamped to the adhesive coated area of the other end. The machine at this stage is illustrated schematically in FIG. 21.
Just before the bottom folder piston rod 380 reaches the end of its stroke, i.e., extended position, the tripping bracket 454 closes switch 456 in passing, completing a circuit to solenoid 436, to thereby extend piston rod 410, closing the clam 398 to fold the free end, or tip, of band 164 against the adhesive coated area as shown in FIG. 22. The clamp 398 holds the ends of the band together until a new cycle of the machine begins. At this point the envelope handling machine is back in its original position, waiting for the next offset envelope to be detected to begin a new cycle. Switches 446, 452 and 456 are momentary contact switches and are only closed during passing of the respective tripping brackets in the directions indicated in the diagram in FIG. 23.
it will be understood that various changes in the details, materials, steps and arrangements of parts, which have been herein described and illustrated in order to explain the nature of the invention, may be made by those skilled in the art within the principal and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims.
I. In an envelope banding machine in which groups of envelopes are successively transferred to a banding station where a band is applied around the girth of a so-segregated group, the improvement which comprises a. A support plate at said banding station having an elongated opening therein, said opening being of width less than the length of a group of envelopes to be banded and of width greater than a band to be applied around the group, said opening being substantially longer than the thickness of a group to be banded,
. means at said banding station for supporting the group upright in a position such that the length of the group extends across the width of said opening,
0. means for placing a pregummed band across the top thickness of the group in said banding station such that one end thereof extends beyond one side of the group by an amount substantially equal to the height of the group and the other end extends beyond the other side by an amount slightly greater than the combined width and thickness of the group,
d. means for entraining said band around the substantially vertical sides of the group,
a reciprocable element slidably longitudinally in the opening of said support plate for folding the longer end of said band across the bottom thickness of said group,
f. means for cycling said reciprocal element in timed relation to the entrance of a group of envelopes into the banding station, and to the entraining of the band around the widths of the group to be banded, such that said element in its first position supports a group of envelopes during their entrance into the banding station, is withdrawn when said group has come to rest in the banding station, and plunges back to its first position to fold the longer end of the band around the groups bottom thickness, and
g. means to overlap and join the ends of the band.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1 in which the means for entraining the band around the substantially vertical sides of the group includes a vertically reciprocal member having a pair of parallel blades spaced apart a distance slightly greater than the thickness of a group to be banded, said blades being movable between a position remote from said banding station, into engagement with the band at each edge of the thickness of the group, and finally down the vertical sides of the group, to thereby entrain said band around all but the bottom thickness of the group.
3. In an envelope banding machine in which groups of envelopes are successively segregated from an extended succession thereof and transferred to a banding station where a band is applied around the girth of a so-segregated group, the improvement which comprises a. means at said banding station acting on the external faces of the outer envelopes in the group for supporting the group upright on the edges of the individual envelopes and also tending to slightly compress the group, said means including a pair of blades lying in parallel planes at each side of the group in the banding station, each of said two blades at each side of the group including an upper blade spaced slightly below the adjacent top comer of the group and a lower blade spaced above the adjacent bottom corner of the group so that a band after being wrapped around said group and said blades engages the corners of said group,
b. means for placing a pregummed band across the top thickness of the group such that one end thereof extends beyond one side of the group by an amount substantially equal to the height of the group, and the other end extends beyond the other side by an amount slightly greater than the combined height and thickness of the group, the gummed portion of the band being located at the end of the shorter overhanging portion and facing away from the group,
c. means for entraining the ends of the band down the substantially vertical sides of the group,
d. means for carrying the longer end of the band completely across the bottom thickness of the group, and
e. means for thereafter moving that portion of said longer end of said band which extends beyond said bottom thickness of said group upwardly along said one side of said group into overlapping relation with the shorter end of said band and to thereby join said ends to one another by said gummed portion.
4. The method of banding envelopes which comprises the steps of a. advancing envelopes, supported on their edges in face to back relation, in a succession in which certain spacedapart envelopes are laterally offset to designate the rearmost envelopes of groups destined to be banded.
b. detecting and grasping the foremost offset envelope in said succession,
c. pushing the leading group of envelopes laterally away from said succession into a banding station by transferring motion thereto through the grasp on said foremost offset envelope, and pushing on the lateral edges of the envelopes forward of said foremost offset envelope, and
d. wrapping a band around the group.
5. The method of banding envelopes as set forth in claim 4 which includes the additional step of restraining further forward movement of the succession of envelopes while the forward group is being transferred to the b8nding station.
6. The method of banding envelopes which comprises the steps of a. advancing envelopes, supported on their edges in face to back relation, in a succession in which certain spacedapart envelopes are laterally offset to designate the rearmost envelopes of groups destined to be banded,
b. detecting and grasping the foremost offset envelope in said succession,
c. pushing the leading group of envelopes laterally away from said succession into a banding station by transferring motion thereto through the grasp on said foremost offset envelope,
d. temporarily holding said group of envelopes at the said banding station,
. placing a gummed band substantially narrower than the length of each group across the top thickness of the group temporarily held in said banding station such that one end thereof extends beyond one side of the group by an amount substantially equal to the height of the group, and the other end extends beyond the other side by an amount slightly greater than the combined height and thickness of the group, entraining said band downwardly along the heights of said group of envelopes temporarily held at said banding station,
. folding the longer end of the band across the bottom thickness of temporarily held group, and
h. thereafter moving the loose end of the band upwardly along the adjacent side of said temporarily held group to overlap the ends of said band and join them to one 32,3 3 UNTTED STATES PATENT OFFICE m T T CERTIFICATE OF (IORREC l lOR Patent No. 3 579, 944 Dated May 25, 1971 Inventor) Vincent E. Heywood, Donald H. Bushey, William A.
It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
q Col. 1, line 7, "now for U.S. Pat. No. 3,399,788 APPARATUS FOR AND should read --now U.S. Pat. No. 3,399,788
for APPARATUS FOR AND--.
Col. 1, line 57, following "term" dele1:e["-]; line 58, insert before "generally constant".
Col. 4, line 31, following "13' insert ---on--.
Col. 5, line 17, "it s" should read --its--.
Col. 7, line 50, "198 200" should read --198 and Col. 9, line 55, bef0re"guided" insert --is--; line 62, "setscrew" should read -set screw--.
Col. 10, line 2, following "378" insert --mounted to the plate F. To conserve space, the air cylinder 378--.
Col. 10, line 36, "connect" should read --connected--; line 40, "an" should read --and--.
Col. 10, lines 58 and 61, "b8nd" should read -band-- --bands-;-, respectively.
Col. 12, line 10, "being" should read -begin--; line 73, "clam" should read --clamp-.
Col. 14, line 39, "bSnding" should read --banding-.
Sic ned and sealed this 21st day of September 1971.
EDWARD am, JR, ROBERT GOTTSCHALK AttQS-Qing Qfiicer Acting Commissioner of Patents