US 3627304 A
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Unite States  Inventors  Appl. No.  Filed  Patented  Assignee [541 APPARATUS FOR HANDLING CONTINUOUS WITHIN 01 MATERIAL 7 Clalma, 5 Drawing Figs.
 11.5. C1 270/61 11, 270/79  ..B65h 45/101  270/61 F, 52.5, 79; 226/1 1 1, 195
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,865,639 12/1958 Gillette et al. 270/61 X 3,079,142 2/1963 Pine et a1 270/525 3,115,314 12/1963 Manleyetal. .t 226/195X 3,119,537 1/1964 Smits 226/111 3,237,830 3/1966 Oswald et a1. 226/111 X 3,442,503 5/1969 Call 270/61 FOREIGN PATENTS 706,289 3/1965 Canada 270/525 Primary Examiner-Robert W. Michell Assistant Examiner-L. R. Oremland mmmeyx- Robert W. Hampton and R. Lewis Gable ABSTRACT: Apparatus is described for handling strips of material that have been folded in opposite directions so as to be easily stacked, e.g. computer readout. The apparatus for handling may be used illustratively with such photographic apparatus as a microfilmer and in particular, to aid the restacking ofthe folded continuous document after it has been photographed. In particular, the apparatus for handling, stretches the folds of the continuous document over a hump or raised portion and further directs the continuous document along a confined path which is abruptly offset to thereby provide a curvature in a continuous document and to eliminate wrinkles in the folds.
PATENTED DESI 4197i SHKET 1 OF 2 TERRENICE L. REEDER ALBERT C. WIEGERT INVENTORS fiMQM v ATTORNEYS PATENTEDUEMIQYI 3162730 saw a or 2 TERRENCE L. REEDER ALBERT C" WIEGERT V INVENTORS ATTORNEYS APPARATUS F OR HANDLING CONTINUOUS STRIPS OF MATERIAL BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to apparatus for handling folded, continuous documents, and more particularly to such apparatus for facilitating the stacking of continuous documents.
2. Description of the Prior Art Photographic apparatus, typically known as microfilmers, have been developed to record on strips of photographic film images derived from a continuous document such as a computer readout. More particularly, the continuous document may be folded in opposite directions at regular intervals to be capable of being stacked in a pile. The leading edge of the continuous document may be fed into the photographic apparatus and through an exposure station whereat document images are focused onto the strip of photographic film. The continuous document is withdrawn from the exposure station and is restacked as the continuous document falls into an output station.
As the document is being photographed, the continuous document is elongated and stretched thereby tending to unbend or flatten the folds in the document. When a document such as paper is folded, the paper will be permanently deformed or creased and will retain a memory of the fold even when the document is extended or unfolded. Typically, the folds are placed at regular intervals in the document so that the document may fall into a stack. More particularly, the folds cause the document to assume a shape similar to that of an accordion pleat so that as the document falls it will naturally restack itself.
However, to the extent that the folded document loses its memory of its folds, the document will not tend to stack correctly. More particularly, a portion of the document may not fold correctly with the result that the remaining portion of the document cannot be stacked correctly. The operator of the photographic apparatus will then have to shut down the machine to refold that portion of the document that failed to restack properly before he may resume operation of the photographic apparatus. To facilitate the document restacking, there has been suggested the use of a guide arm disposed in the path of the continuous document to assure that the fold or crease snaps back into form after the document has been extended or stretched.
A further difficulty in restacking the continuous, folded document occurs when wrinkles appear in the document. Such wrinkles may serve to reenforce the continuous document along its length or direction of travel, thereby preventing the document from bending at its folds. In addition, the document, because of its overall flexibility, may bend in a direction opposite to that of the fold thereby preventing the document from restacking correctly.
Therefore, it is an object of this invention to strengthen the fold memory of the document to thereby facilitate the restacking of the continuous document.
It is a further object of this invention to assist the restacking of a continuous folded document by smoothing out wrinkles in a continuous document and also by imparting a slight curvature to remove wrinkles from the document.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with these and other objects, this invention provides apparatus for handling elongated or continuous documents and more particularly, apparatus for restacking such documents. The apparatus in accordance with the teachings of this invention includes a raised portion extending transverse to the direction in which the continuous document is directed and a pair of drive means such as driven rollers disposed on either side of the raised surface to effect a stretching of the continuous document over the raised surface to thereby reinforce the fold in the continuous document. In addition, the apparatus for handling includes a confined passageway whose width is selected in accordance with the thickness of the document and having an offset therein to provide a curvature in the document to thereby eliminate wrinkles in the document and to aid the restacking of the document. Further, the exit of the confined passage is disposed above an output station a distance dependent upon the spacing between the folds in the documents to prevent the documents from bending in the wrong direction as the documents fall into the output station.
The invention and its objects and advantages, will become more apparent in the detailed description of the preferred embodiment presented below.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention presented below, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. I is a perspective view of the photographic apparatus such as a microfilmer including an apparatus for handling a continuous document in accordance with the teachings of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectioned, side view of the photographic apparatus as shown in FIG. ll;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged, sectioned view, taken from FIG. 2, of the offset provided in the return path of the document onto the receiving shelf;
FIG. d is a side view of the photographic apparatus showing a motor and a system of pulleys and belts for driving the rollers shown in FIGS. l and 2; and
FIG. 5 is an enlarged, sectioned view of the clutch assembly shown in FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Because photographic apparatus such as microfilmers are well known, the present description will be directed in particular to elements forming part of or cooperating more directly with the present invention; elements not specifically shown or described herein being understood to be selectable from those known in the art.
Referring now to the drawings and in particular to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a photographic copying apparatus 10 including an input or supply tray 16 for receiving a continuous document 13 which is disposed in a fanfolded stack H2. The continuous document 113 is folded at regular intervals so that the document 13 may be disposed as an accordion pleat in the fanfolded stack 12. More particularly, the continuous document has a series of upfolds 114a and a series of downfolds Mb interdisposed between the upturned folds Ma. It is noted that the upfolds lla are in an opposite sense to the downfolds 14b so that the document may be folded as shown in FIG. I. Illustratively, the continuous document 113 could take the form of a computer readout which is to be recorded on microfilm within the photographic copying apparatus 10.
The leading edge of the continuous document 13 is directed over an entrance flange 20 and along an input or guide shelf ill to be received between infeed rollers 21 and 22. The infeed roller 211 is fixedly mounted upon shaft 23 which is rotatably driven, as will be explained in detail later. The infeed roller 22 is rotatably mounted upon a shaft so as to extend through an opening 19 within a guide plate 25 to abut the periphery of the driven infeed roller 2i. As shown in FIG. 1, the driven infeed roller 21 is rotated in a clockwise direction to thereby direct the continuous document 13 between the guide plate 25 and the guide shelf 18. As more clearly shown in FIG. 2, the continuous document 13 is directed about the infeed roller 21 into a passageway between the guide plate 25 and a backup plate 26, and through an exposure station formed by a glass flat 24 and an opening within the backup plate 26. As is well known in the art, the information or image carried by the continuous document 13 may be continuously photographed and illuminated through the glass flat 24. As the continuous document l3 emerges from the exposure station, the document 113 is engaged and fed by a pair of main rollers 28 and 30. The main roller 28 is fixedly secured to a drive shaft 29 which is rotated in a counterclockwise direction as shown in FIG. 2 to direct the continuous document 13 downward and about a raised portion or hump 32 in the path along which the document 13 is directed. Document 13 is further directed downward between a rear fall plate 36 and a front fall plate 34 to be engaged between supplement rollers 38 and 40. The supplement roller 38 is fixedly mounted upon a drive shaft 46 which is rotated in a counterclockwise direction as seen in FIG. 2. A stripper plate 48 is mounted below the front fall plate 34 and presents a curved portion 50 to guide the continuous document 13 between the supplement rollers 38 and 40. The supplement roller 40 is rotatably mounted upon a shaft 42; a suitable mechanism such as a solenoid 43 is provided for moving the shaft 42 and thus the roller 40 from a first position where the roller 40 is disposed through an opening 44 to abut the roller 38, to a second position, shown in dotted lines in FIG. 2 so that the continuous document 13 may be withdrawn from between the rollers 38 and 40 if necessary. As shown in FIG. 2, the stripper plate 48 has an opening 49 therein through which the supplement roller 38 extends to abut the supplement roller 40 when the roller 40 is disposed in its first position.
Further, the stripper plate 48 has a guiding portion 51 which acts in junction with a lower fall plate 60 to provide a confined passageway through which the continuous document 13 is fed before it falls into the inclined, receiving shell 62. The stripper plate 48 also includes a slanted portion 52 which coincides with a slanted portion 53 of the lower fall plate 60 to provide an offset of a distance A as shown in FIG. 3. Thus, the continuous document 13 will be directed under the influence of the rollers 38 and 40 between the rear fall plate 36 and the curved portion 50 through a transition passageway formed between the slanted portions 52 and 53 and then along a passageway formed by the lower fall plate 60 and the guiding portion 51. The abrupt offset as thus described facilitates the refolding of the document 13. The amount of offset is selectively controlled by a first spacing shim 54, disposed between the rear fall plate 36 and the lower fall plate 60. As shown in FIG. 3, the width of the passageway between the stripper plate 48 and the lower fall plate 60 is selectively controlled by a second spacing shim 56 whose thickness is dependent upon the thickness of the continuous document 13 to be directed therebetween. A screw 58 is disposed through the stripper plate 48, and the lower fall plate 60 to be threadably received in the rear fall plate 36. It is noted that the shims 54 and 56 and the screw 58 are offset from the passageway through which the continuous document 13 is directed.
As the continuous document 13 leaves an exit 59 from the passageway between the stripper plate 48 and the lower fall plate 60, the continuous document 13 falls into a stack 63 upon a curved receiving shelf 62. The memory of the folds 14a and 14b of the continuous document 13, which helps the continuous document 13 to restack, holds the successive portions or sheets of the continuous document 13 slightly apart at the folds 14a and 14b with the result that the stack 13 of documents is thicker at the folder edges than it is at the center. A depression is created at the center of the stack as the stack grows higher. This condition can cause poor document stacking because the stack 63 may tend to pull away from the lower fall plate 60 as it becomes higher, leaving a gap that the falling continuous document 13 must bridge as it restacks. The depression of the stack 63 may also cause an incline at the rear of the stack 63 such that the document 13 continues to slide down as it falls into the stack 63 and such that the document 13 may have difficulty climbing the incline or raised portion at the front of the stack 63, which conditions may impair document stacking. As shown in FIG. 2, the curvature of the receiving shelf 62 has a height equal to the maximum depression of a normally stacked document. Thus, as the continuous document 13 continues to stack upon the shelf 62, the depth of the stack 63 increases so that the stack 63 is always pressed firmly against the lower fall plate 60 and the top surface of the stack 63 becomes flatter. A stop 64, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is mounted at the front of the shelf 62 so as to contain the document as it refolds. It is also noted that the receiving shelf 62 may be also adjustably disposed along a plurality of guide tracks 66 to accommodate variously folded document 13.
With regard to FIG. 4, there is shown a motor 86 and a suitable drive system associated therewith for rotating the rollers 21, 28 and 38. More specifically, the motor 86 drives a pulley 88, which is in turn connected by a drive belt 87 to a first pulley 89. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the pulley 89 is fixedly secured to the drive shaft 29 which in turn rotates the main rollers 28. Further, a second pulley 90 is fixedly secured to the shaft 29; a drive belt 9] serves to transmit the rotational motion imparted to the pulley 90 to the pulley 68, which as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4 serves to rotate the supplement roller 38. A pulley 96 is disposed against the belt 91 to place the belt 91 under tension. A third pulley (not shown) is fixedly connected to the drive shaft 29; a belt 93 transmits rotation torque from this pulley to a pulley 94, which is fixedly secured to the drive shaft 23. By controlling the relative sizes of the third pulley, (not shown), the pulley 94, and the sizes of the rollers 21 and 28, the linear velocity of the periphery of the roller 28 and thus the speed with which the continuous document 13 is driven is regulated to be slightly greater than the linear velocity of the surface of the roller 21. As a result, tension is placed upon the continuous document 13 to thereby stretch and flatten the document 13 along the path between the rollers 21 and 22, and the rollers 28 and 30. Similarly, the relative diameters of the pulleys 68, 88, 89 and 90 and the rollers 28 and 38 are selected so that the linear speed of the surface of the roller 38 is slightly in excess of the linear speed imparted to the surface of the roller 28. As a result, the continuous document 13 is placed under tension and is stretched between the rollers 28 and 30, and the rollers 38 and 40 over the raised portion or hump 32.
As mentioned above, the peripheral speed of the roller 38 is determined to be slightly in excess of the linear speed of the surface of roller 28. The surface of the roller 38 may be made of a suitable high-friction material such as rubber which if driven faster than the speed of the continuous document 13 may slip with respect to the document 13 thereby tending to build up a static charge upon the continuous document 13. Such a static charge may have a tendency to prevent the continuous document 13 from stacking correctly upon the receiving table 62. In order to reduce substantially the slippage between the continuous document 13 and the roller 38, a clutch assembly is inserted between the pulley 68 and the drive shaft 46 to which the roller 38 is fixedly secured. As shown in FIG. 5, the pulley 68 has a plurality of fingers 70 which engage a pair of clutch plates 72. The torque imposed upon the clutch 72 is transmitted to the drive shaft 46 through a plurality of friction pads 74. The friction pads 74 are enclosed between a pair of annular plates 76 that are keyed to a hub 82 that is integral with the drive shaft 46. The degree of transmission of torque by the friction pads 74 to the shaft 46 is controlled by a nut 80 threadably received upon the hub 82 and adjustable so as to tighten against a spring 78 disposed about the hub 82. By adjusting the nut 80 to exert varying forces upon the friction pads 74, the clutch can be adjusted to slip over a range of different torques. Thus, with this clutch arrangement the degree of slippage between the roller 38 and the continuous document 13 may be controlled to prevent displacement of the document 13 and also to control the tension placed on the continuous document 13 as a function of the document 13 itself by the rollers 28, 30, 38 and 40 as it passes over the hump 38. As shown in FIG. 5, the drive shaft 46 may be mounted on a pair of bearings 84 associated with the housing of the photographic apparatus 10.
The invention as described herein is designed to facilitate the restacking of the continuous document 13 upon the receiving shelf 63 as the document falls from the exit 59. Primarily, the document 13 refolds into the stack 63 upon the receiving shelf 052 due to its natural tendency, i.e. fold memory, to fold in the same way it was folded in the stack 12 upon the input tray lib. Any force which weakens or opposes this fold memory of the continuous document 113 may thus impair the restacking of the document 13. As shown in FIG. 2, as the document 13 is forced around the entrance flange 20, the infeed roller 21, and between the plates and 2b, the down folds ll4b are flexed in a sense opposite to their natural crease. Thus, in order to restore the memory fold, the continuous document 113 is stretched over the raised portion or hump 32 to flex the fold 11412 to restore the memory folds to their naturally folded state or direction. As explained above, the supplement rollers 33 serves to place a tension upon the continuous document 13 thereby stretching it over the hump 32 to further restore the natural crease to the down fold Mb.
The restacking of the continuous document 13 has been further improved by the inclusion of an offset in the path along which the document 113 is driven as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. As explained above, the continuous document 113 is driven downward by the rollers 3b and 4W) along a path in which an abrupt offset is inserted. As explained above, the offset is formed between the lower fall plate 60 and the stripper plate 48. It has been found that paper that is wrinkled or warped is difficult to restack because any wrinkles that extend through one of the folds Ma or Mb tend to stiffen the fold and prevent l it from bending. By forcing the continuous document 13 through the confined passageway of the offset as formed by the surfaces of the plates 60 and did, the document 13 is forced to bend slightly at the folds 14a and Mb. This slight bend or bias in the down fold Mb allows the document to be folded easily as it is restacked on the receiving shelf 62. With regard to FIG. 3, the degree of offset A and also the thickness of the passageway indicated by the letter B may be adjusted by selecting shims 54 and 5b of appropriate thickness respectively to achieve an optimum bend or bias for the particular document. In addition, the confining of the document between the guiding portion Eli and the plate 60 guides the leading edge of the document 13 and prevents any bending or flapping of the document 113. in addition, the spacing from the exit 59 from the confined passageway to the bottom of the receiving table 62 (which spacing is marked by the letter C) is controlled so that only a single down fold Mb is disposed between the exit 59 and the receiving shelf 62 at any one time. In addition, the distance between the point of abutment of the rollers 38 and 40 and the offset formed between the plates 43 and oil is set so that the document ll3 will not buckle as it is forced through the offset. Moreover, as shown in H6. 2 the weight of the remainder of the document 113 above the upfold Ma (located between the exit 59 and the receiving shelf 62) tends to collapse such upfold in accordance with its natural crease. Thus, there is no need to flex the upfolds Ma at raised portion or hump 32 in the manner previously described for the downfolds ldb.
The invention has been described in detail with particular reference to a preferred embodiment thereof, but it will be understood that variations and modifications can be effected within the spirit and scope of the invention.
1. Apparatus for handling a continuous document having a width and having at least first and second folds therein disposed along the width, the first fold being of a first sense, the second fold being of a second sense opposite to the first sense, said apparatus for handling including:
a. means for directing the continuous document under tension along a path from a first point to a second point so that the continuous document is stretched therebetween; and
b. means, defining a surface disposed in said path between said first and second points to abut the continuous document, for reinforcing the second fold in the second sense upon stretching of the continuous document between said first and second oints.
2. Apparatus for andling as claimed in claim ll, wherein said surface is elongated to extend across the width of the continuous document and is shaped to substantially conform with the second fold in the second sense.
3. Apparatus for handling a continuous document having a width, the continuous document having first and second sets of folds consecutively interposed between each other, said first and second sets of folds being disposed along the width of the continuous document at regular intervals from each other, the first set of folds being creased in a first direction, the second set of folds being creased in a second direction opposite to the first direction, said apparatus including:
a. an input station for receiving the continuous document in a folded stacked configuration;
b. an output station for receiving the continuous document from said input station, said output station being spaced from said input station and having means for supporting the continuous document when so received in a folded stacked configuration;
. means for directing the continuous document from said input station along a path to said output station, said directing means having first and second feed roller means spaced apart along said path for feeding the continuous document under tension from said first feed roller means to said second feed roller means;
d. means, defining a surface disposed in said path between said first and second feed roller means to abut the continuous document, for respectively reinforcing the folds of the second set in the second direction upon feeding of the continuous document under tension by said first and second feed roller means;
c. said surface being shaped to respectively conform with the folds of the second set in the second direction.
43. Apparatus for handling as claimed in claim 3, wherein said document supporting means of said output station includes a surface of a selected curvature to assure that the continuous document restaclts evenly upon said station.
5. Apparatus for handling as claimed in claim 3, wherein said first and second feed roller means respectively includes first and second rollers and drive means coupled to said first and second rollers in a manner to impart a first linear velocity to the periphery of said first roller and a second linear velocity to the periphery of said second roller, said second linear velocity being greater than said first linear velocity to thereby place the continuous document in tension between said first and second rollers.
b. Apparatus for handling as claimed in claim 5, wherein said drive means includes motor means and adjustable clutch means intercoupled between said motor means and said first roller, said clutch means being selectively adjustable to provide variable torque transmission between said motor means and said first roller to thereby adjust the tension placed upon the continuous document.
7. Apparatus for handling as claimed in claim 3, wherein there is included guide means for defining a restricted passage between first and second surfaces, said first and second surfaces being spaced a given distance apart dependent upon the thickness of the continuous document, said guide means disposed along said path between said second feed roller means and said output station, said restricted passageway having an abrupt directional offset therein for imparting a curva ture to the continuous document in the second direction thereby removing deformations from the continuous docu ment and facilitating the stacking of the continuous document in a folded configuration upon said output station.
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