US 3580566 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Inventor Jacques Vasse L'I'Iay les Roses, France Appl. No. 815,846 Filed Apr. 14, 1969 Patented May 25, 1971 Assignee Societe Industriell Bull-General Electric,
(Societe-Anonyme) Paris, France Priority Apr. 23, 1968 France 149,082
ASYNCIIRONOUSLY CONTROLLED ARRANGEMENT FOR FEEDING RECORD CARDS 4 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl 271/41, 271/10 lnt.Cl B65h 1/06 Field of Search 271/36, 39, 57, 41, 10
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,393,907 7/1968 Cain 27 l/39 3,411,768 11/1968 Gatti 271/39 Primary Examiner-Richard E. Aegerter Attorney-Baldwin, Wight, Diller and Brown ABSTRACT: A card-feeding arrangement comprising a friction roller controlled by an electromagnet for advancing a card through a throat as far as driving rollers and a detector. A pulse generator receives a control pulse for feeding a card, transmits in response a first pulse to the electromagnet through a first switch and thereafter a signalling pulse through a second switch; the arrival of a card in the detector transmits a pulse which opens the switches and hence deenergizes the electromagnet and prevents the transmission of the signalling pulse.
PATENTEU NAYZSIBH W a of 4 3,580,566
ASYNCHRONOUSLY CONTROLLED ARRANGEMENT FOR FEEDING RECORD CARDS The invention relates to an asynchronously controlled arrangement for feeding record cards which is more particularly adapted to be able to feed, in a high-speed informationprocessing machine, both record cards whose state conforms to well-defined standards and cards which have been more or less bent, deformed or creased by various causes. In an ar rangement according to the invention, it is no longer necessary for the cards to be carefully shuffled and aligned in a loading ramp, since they are subsequently automatically realigned in the feed mechanism.
While cards in a normal state can pass without difficulty through a correctly adjusted feed mechanism comprising a throat, it would be difficult for cards which have been creased or folded to pass through the same mechanism owing to the fact that the longitudinal rigidity of these cards is appreciably reduced owing to such deformation.
These disadvantages have been partly remedied by means of feed mechanisms comprising pneumatic devices adapted to effect the separation and conveyance of the cards, but the operation of such devices is generally somewhat irregular for the handling of cards having more or less extensive perforated parts. The present invention relates to an arrangement which obviates these disadvantages and by means of which it is possible to feed at high speed and with remarkable operating reliability cards which are in a normal state and cards which have been deformed, bent or creased, within much wider limits than those hitherto acceptable in feed mechanisms of this kind. The invention also has for its object to render possible a loading of the cards into the magazine without the cards having to be carefully shuffled and aligned therein, a relatively considerable disalignment of contiguous cards in the card stack, in either direction, being tolerated, and the cards being automatically realigned in a passage in which their direction is changed, when they leave the feed mechanism.
A card-feeding arrangement according to the invention comprises a card magazine with guide means for a stack of cards which are disposed on edge on their longer side, in the magazine, and which are to be extracted one-by-one from the magazine, a fixed bearing plate arranged to retain the stack of cards which is constantly urged against the said fixed plate, a card-extracting mechanism disposed at the level of the fixed plate and comprising a friction roller mounted on a shaft continuously rotating in a movable support disposed behind an aperture in the fixed plate, the movable support for the friction roller being fast with the movable armature of an actuating electromagnet and so arranged that, when the said electromagnet is energized, the friction roller comes into contact with the first card of the stack and drives the card by friction through a throat situated below it, as far as continuously rotating driving rollers which are disposed immediately below the throat and a detector disposed immediately below the point of engagement of the extracted card, between the. said driving rollers, which detector is connected to an electric monitoring circuit arranged to interrupt the energization of the extracting electromagnet in order to returnthe friction roller into an inoperative position as soon as the lower edge of a card is engaged between the said driving rollers.
In an arrangement according to the invention, the cards are subjected in the card magazine to a maximum pressure, albeit moderate, at the level of the throat in order to urge a card in the extracting position against the periphery of a fixed roller which accompanies it in its movement through the said throat. A lighter pressure is exerted on that part of the cards which is situated between the throat and the friction roller which pushes them through the throat proper. This pressure is nevertheless sufficient to ensure that the rigidity of the cards in this part is sufficient to force them to pass one-by-one through the throat. On the other hand, particular means are provided to minimize the pressure exerted on the other parts of the cards in the extraction position, in order to minimize the friction exerted on the whole surface of the said cards during their extraction from the magazine.
Further features and advantages of the invention will be more readily apparent from the following description, given by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a transverse section through a card-feeding mechanism designed in accordance with the invention, along the line 1-1 of FIG. 3,
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a part of the mechanism along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1,
FIG. 3 shows a part of the mechanism along the line 3-3 of FIG. 1,
FIG. 4 is a simplified diagram of relay circuits for the control and monitoring of the operation of a feed mechanism,
FIG. 5 is a diagram of the electric control and monitoring pulses which are transmitted in the course of the successive card-feeding cycles into the circuits of the diagram of FIG. 4, and
FIG. 6 is a diagram illustrating the principle of the control and monitoring connections in a feed arrangement according to the invention.
In a card-feeding magazine, diagrammatically illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3 with its card-extracting mechanism, the cards of a card stack 1, of which only the contours are shown in the magazine in dash-dotted lines, rest on edge along a longer side in a loading chute which comprises a first plate 2 inclined at about 10 in relation to the horizontal towards the card-extracting mechanism, which plate is prolonged by a second plate 3, called the throat plate, which is inclined at about 50 in relation to the horizontal. The said plate 3 extends close up to a bearing plate 4 which is fixed and against which the cards of the stack are pushed by a presser which comprises a carriage 5 having a certain amount of inertia, which is movable by gravity along a guide path and which is provided with flexible blades 6A-6B (FIGS. 1 and 2) which bear on the cards of the stack. The card-extracting mechanism comprises two friction rollers 7A and 7B which are mounted on a shaft 8. The said shaft 8 supports in addition a pulley 9 and is adapted to turn in a movable support 10, which is arranged to pivot about a shaft 11 and is fast with the movable armature 12 of an electromagnet 13, which is fixed. The friction rollers 7A-7B are arranged to turn behind apertures 14A-14B respectively (FIG. 3) in the bearing plate 4. When the electromagnet 13 is not energized, the support 10 of the friction rollers is maintained by a spring 15 and a fixed abutment 16, in a retracted position such that the friction rollers cannot touch the first card of the card stack in the magazine. When the electromagnet 13 is energized, the movable armature 12 is attracted and the friction rollers are brought into contact with the first card of the stack so as to drive it by friction, to advance it in the direction of the arrow Fl (FIGS. 1 and 3) and to cause it to pass through two throats defined respectively by driving rollers 17A--l7B and a portion of the lower edge of the throat plate 3, which is fixed, at a predetermined distance from the latter rollers, in order to allow only one card to pass at a time between the plate and the said rollers 17A17B. The lower edge ofa card pushed by the friction rollers 7A--7B through the throats is brought into engagement between the rollers 17A- 17B and driving counterrollers I8Al8B, which are pressed against the rollers 17A17B (which rotate continuously) in order to extract the card completely from the magazine. The rollers 17A17B are continuously rotated by means of a driving shaft 29 through a belt 20 engaging with pulleys 21 and 22 (FIGS. 1 and 3), which drive the shaft 11, which is mechanically coupled to the shaft 8 through a belt 23 in engagement with the pulley 9 keyed on the shaft 8, and a pulley 24 keyed on the shaft 11. This transmission is adapted to impart to the friction rollers 7A7B and to the rollers 17A-l7B a peripheral velocity which is sufficient to drive the cards, as they leave the magazine, at a linear velocity of about 3 meters per second.
It will be noted that in the arrangement illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3 the rollers 17A-17B perform, on the one hand, the function of throat rollers in cooperation with the lower edge of the plate 3 and on the other hand of card-driving rollers in cooperation with the presser rollers l8All8B. This arrangement has made it possible to minimize the path along which a card extracted from the magazine is pushed by the friction rollers and to increase to a maximum the path along which this card is drawn, having regard to the low transverse rigidity of cards which may have been folded or creased. Immediately below the pointof engagement of the cards between the rollers l7A-l7B and the presser rollers ll8A-l8B is disposed a detecting lever 25 which is adapted to close an electric contact 26 as soon as a card is engaged between the said rollers. The closing of this contact has the effect of interrupting the energization of the electromagnet 13 by means of a relay circuit, which will hereinafter be described, in order to disengage the friction rollers 7A7B from the cards of the stack. Consequently, a card which is being extracted is only drawn by the rollers 17Al7B and 18A-18B, as stated above, in order to avoid any possibility of the rollers 7A7B driving a succeeding card before the preceding card has completely left the magazine, which would have the effect of producing a stoppage. Disposed below the card-extracting rollers is a deflector 27 adapted to direct each card leaving the magazine towards a receiving passage 30 comprising a front wall 31 and a rear wall 32. The cards arriving in the passage are framed between a damped abutment 35 and a retaining shoulder 37. The damped abutment 35 is formed of a strip of foam plastics coated with a thin layer of metal 36. The wall 31 of the passage is formed with an aperture 38 in which there is partly engaged a third friction roller 39 which is fast with a vertical shaft maintained in continuous rotation in a fixed support 40, through a transmission system 41 connected to a driving mechanism (not shown). The wall 32 which is situated opposite the wall 31 is also formed with an aperture 42 which is so positioned as to allow the passage of a presser shoe 43 mechanically connected to the movable armature 44 of an electromagnet 45 and arranged to apply a card present in the passage 30 against the friction roller 39 in order to drive the said card by friction in the direction of the arrow F2 (FIG. 3), perpendicularly to the direction of the arrow Fl, when the said electromagnet 45 is energized.
The bearing plate 4 against which the cards in the magazine are pushed by the blades 6A-6B of the presser comprises a lower portion @A which is substantially perpendicular to the stack of cards and which extends over a height substantially less than one-half of the width of the cards in the vertical direction. The plate 4 also comprises an upper portion 48 which forms a prolongation of the part 4lA, but which is inclined in relation to the latter at about 5 in the direction of travel of the card stack in the magazine. The apertures 14A and 148 with which the plate 4 is formed to permit the passage of the friction rollers 7A and 78 extend on either side of the intersection of the parts 4A and 4B of the plate, which are connected by a rounded portion. The flexible blades 6A and 6B which are fast with the presser 5 are arranged to bear only on the lower part of a card which is situated opposite the friction rollers and the rollers 17A and 1713. In this way, the upper part of a card in the magazine is relatively free, i.e. this part of the card is not substantially pressed against the part 4H3 of the bearing plate or, at least, is pressed against it to a minimum extent, in order not to exert any harmful braking action on a card which is extracted from the magazine. With the same object in view, the bearing plate 4 shown in FIG. 2 is disposed midway along the length of the cards and extends over a length which is scarcely greater than one-half of this length, so that the extremities of the cards are not pressed against one another.
The cards which rest in the magazine on the throat plate 3, which is considerably inclined towards the rollers of the throats, contribute by their own weight to exerting on the lower part of the card which is in the extraction position a pressure which contributes to firmly applying the lower edge of the said card against the lower part of the bearing plate t and against the rollers of the throats, but the width of the most inclined portion of the plate 3 is limited to a particular value in the direction of advance of the stack of cards, so as not to transmit to the surface of a card being extracted a braking action of which the extent would increase as a function of the volume of the stack of cards situated on the loading chute. In the course of their travel along the loading chute, the cards resting on the plate 2 of the chute and passing over the throat plate 3, which is inclined to a much greater extent, are offset from one another in the stack and this greatly facilitates their separation when they are extracted from the magazine.
The contact 26 which is actuated by the feeler lever 25, and the windings of the electromagnets l3 and 45 are connected in the diagram of FIG. 4 to electric relay circuits adapted to control and monitor the feed of the cards. In this diagram, five electric relays R50, R51, R52, RH and R12 control respectively make-and-break contacts 50, 51, 52, II and 12. In addition, two capacitors C1 and C2 and a control switch [C are provided. For the operation of the circuit diagram of FIG. 4, reference will be made to the diagram of FIG. 5.
A control pulse El (FIG. 5) for controlling the extraction of a card is applied to the terminal E from the instant it) by temporary closing of the switch IC. This pulse, which is of about 10 milliseconds, has a sufficient duration to ensure energization of the relays R50, R52 for charging the capacitor C1, which is of such value as to maintain these relays in the energized condition after opening of IC. This has the effect of applying to the terminal $11 by closing of the contact 50 a pulse S11 (FIG. 5) which extends from the instant :1 to the instant t3, and of which the fixed duration is at least twice as great as the period from :1 to :2 which is normally necessary to enable the lower edge of a card extracted from the magazine, by energization of the electromagnet 13 by the pulse 511 transmitted through the normally closed contact II, to reach the detector and to close the contact 26. The relay R52 which is energized throughout the duration of the pulse Slll reverses its contact 52, so that the capacitor C2 is charged. As soon as the electromagnet 13 is energized, the friction rollers 7A and 7B are advanced against the first card of the card stack and this card is advanced by friction through the throats. If this card is advanced normally, passes the throats and reaches the detector, the contact 26 is closed at the instant :2 as indicated in the foregoing and a pulse CPI (FIG. 5) applied to the terminal CP (FIG. 4) energizes the relays RIB and RI2, which open their contact I1 and I2 from the instant :2 to the instant t6, i.e. during the passage of the extracted card through the detector. The opening of the contact I1 interrupts at the instant :2 the pulse $11 by which the electromagnets I3 and 45 were energized. At the instant t3 when the pulse Sill ceases, as a result of the end of the discharge of the capacitor C1, the relays R50 and R52 are no longer energized and the contacts 50 and 52 are returned into their normal position. The capacitor C2 is then discharged into the relay R51, which closes its contact Sll with a slight delay and sets up at the terminal S2 a signalling pulse S21 which lasts from the instant Ml to the instant t5. Normally this pulse is not transmitted to the signalling device SIG, since the contact 12 has been opened by energization of the relay RI2 by the pulse CPI.
In fact, it happens that cards are not well registered in the stack (case of cards CTI and CT2 upwardly offset in FIG. I) or that the starting of a card to be extracted is retarded owing to a particular surface state which results in the friction rollers slipping on a card. In this case, the arrival of the card in the detector is delayed and the closing of the contact 16 will not take place, for example, until the instant t2". Consequently, the whole pulse CP]! is delayed, but a delay within the limits indicated in the following has no consequence and everything happens as previously indicated. It is clear that if a card previously extracted from the magazine is already in the passage 30 at the time when a pulse Ell for effecting the extraction of a card is applied to the terminal E, the pulse Sllll which follows and which is simultaneously applied to the electromagnets l3 and 45 causes energization of the electromagnet 15 and the ejection of the card which is in the passage 30 to a succeeding card-conveying track.
In the case of defective operation of the extraction of a card, for example in the case of stoppage of a card in the throats or if the card magazine is empty, if an extraction control pulse E2 is transmitted, for example, I milliseconds after a pulse El (FIG. this pulse will in fact be followed by a pulse $12 at the terminal S1, but will not be succeeded by closing of the contact 26, and no pulse will be set up at the terminal CP. The pulse S12 energizes the electromagnets 13 and 45, and should the card magazine be empty the energization of the electromagnet 13 would have no effect, while the energization of the electromagnet 45 would result in ejection of a last index card which might be waiting in the passage 30. Since the contact 26 of the detector remains open in the absence of a card, the relays R11 and R12 are not energized and leave their contacts I1 and I2 closed. Consequently a pulse S22 is set up at the terminal S2 at the instant t4 of the feed cycle. This pulse will be transmitted to the signalling device SIG through the closed contact 12 in order to signal an incident or to stop the feed mechanism, but the last card of an index system will nevertheless be sent to the succeeding card-conveying track.
The extreme case where the lower edge of a card only reaches the detector well after the instant :4 may also be considered. It is obvious that under such conditions the monitoring pulse at the terminal CP is delayed to the same extent and the signalling pulse applied to the terminal S2 from the instant 14 will be transmitted at least partly to the device SIG. The embodiment described in the foregoing relates to a preferred form of application of the invention in which the cards are extracted from the card magazine in the direction of their breadth, i.e. in the direction of the columns of the perforations in the case of record cards of standard type. It is in this direction that those card portions which remain between con tiguous perforations in one card have minimum fragility and are least likely to be damaged. In addition, the remarkably regular operation of the described devices has made it possible to employ two throats for improving the alignment of the cards as they leave the magazine without increasing the danger of card stoppage in either one of the throats. In the described example, there have been shown control and monitoring devices formed of relay circuits. It will readily be appreciated that in the present state of the art it would equally well be possible to employ switching means comprising transistors or valves, etc., or even to construct these control and monitoring devices of the feed mechanism with pneumatic, hydraulic or other means without departing from the invention. There is therefore illustrated in FIG. 6 a very simplified and generalized diagram of the control and monitoring devices. In this figure, the terminals E, S1 and S2 and CP correspond to those of the diagram of FIG. 4, and to the diagram of FIG. 5. In the diagram of FIG. 6, a pulse generator G is adapted to receive at one input E control pulses for the extraction of cards and for supplying at an output S1, in response to each control pulse, a first pulse $11 which is transmitted through a first normally closed switching device I1 to devices 13 and 45 adapted to actuate respectively the friction rollers of an extraction mechanism and the presser shoe of a cardejecting mechanism.
As previously indicated, the pulse S11 has a predetermined fixed duration which is very much longer than the time necessary for the lower edge of a card normally extracted from the card magazine to reach the detector CP. The latter is adapted to supply a pulse CPl during the passage of a card through the said detector. Immediately after the end of a first pulse S11 which is set up at the first output S1 in response to a card-extraction control pulse, there is set up at a second output $2 a pulse S21 of predetermined duration, which can be transmitted to a signalling device SIG through a second normally closed switch I2. As previously indicated, the pulse CPI supplied by the detector CP during the passage of a card opens the switches 11 and [2, it being understood that the opening of the switch 11 interrupts the frictional action of the friction rollers on cards in the stack, while opening of the switch I2 prevents the transmission of the signalling pulse 521 to the device SIG as long as the operation remains normal.
It IS ObVlOUS that the arrangements described may be equally well employed for a card-feeding device of simplified construction which comprises only one throat employed in cooperation with one or two friction rollers to ensure the passage of the cards through the throat as far as the driving rollers.
1. In a card-feeding magazine, an asynchronously controlled arrangement for the extraction of cards one-by-one from the said magazine, the said arrangement comprising in combination guide means for a stack of cards resting on edge on one longer side, a substantially vertical fixed bearing plate against one face of which the card stack is constantly pushed, a cardextracting mechanism disposed level with the fixed plate and comprising a driving device with a friction roller mounted on a shaft continuously rotating in a movable support disposed towards the other face of and opposite an aperture in the said fixed plate and normally maintained in an inoperative position, the movable support of the friction roller being fast with the movable armature of an actuating electromagnet and so arranged that when the said electromagnet is energized the friction roller is brought into an operative position in which it is in contact with the first card of the stack so as to carry the latter along by friction through a throat situated below said stack, as far as a pair of continuously rotating driving rollers disposed immediately below the said throat, and a card engageable detector which is disposed immediately below the point of engagement of an extracted card, between the said driving rollers, the said detector being connected to an electric monitoring circuit adapted to interrupt the energization of the said electromagnet in order to return the said friction roller into the inoperative position as soon as the lower edge of a card is engaged between the said driving rollers.
2. An arrangement according to claim 1, characterized in that it comprises in addition a first and a second normally closed switching device and an electric pulse generator which receives at one input an extraction control pulse and is adapted to supply in consequence a first actuating pulse which is transmitted by the said first switch to the winding of the actuating electromagnet of the said friction roller, this pulse lasting at least until the lower edge of an extracted card reaches the said detector, the generator supplying in addition at a second output and after the said first pulse a second pulse which can be transmitted by the said second switch to an incident-signalling device, the said detector being adapted to bring about the opening of the said first and second switches when it detects the lower edge of a card.
3. An arrangement according to claim 1, characterized in that the said fixed bearing plate against which the card stack is constantly urged comprises a lower plane portion substantially perpendicular to the stack of cards and extending over a height substantially less than one-half of the width of the said cards in the direction of the height, a second portion following the first portion and situated above it being inclined at an angle of about 5 from said first portion in the direction of travel of the card stack, the opening in the said fixed plate for the passage of a friction roller extending on either side of the intersection of the two planes forming the said bearing plate, which is disposed midway along the length of the cards and extends over about one-half of this length.
4. An arrangement according to claim 3, characterized in that the said mechanism for the extraction of cards from the magazine comprises two friction rollers mounted on a common shaft, actuated at the same time and spaced apart by about one-third of the length of the cards.