US 3630513 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent William W. Davidson, Jr. 26 Bogart Avenue, Port Washington, 1.1.,
 Inventors N.Y.; Alfred Anderson, Elmhurst; Eugene A. Anderson, Lombard, both of 111.
 Appl. No. 806,600
 Filed Mar. 12, 1969  Patented Dec. 28, 1971  Assignee said William W. Davidson, Jr., by said Alfred Anderson and Eugene A. Anderson  AUTOMATIC TIPPING MACHINE Primary ExaminerRobert W. Michell Assistant Examiner-l... R. Oremland Attorney-Mann, Brown, McWilliams & Bradway ABSTRACT: A sample, or printed form, applicator machine for affixing printed forms, or samples of a wide variety of products, to brochures, signatures, envelopes or other carrier sheets, wherein a carrier sheet feeder feeds individual carrier sheets in timed relationship onto a conveyor, which positions them and carries them through the machine. Above the carrier sheet conveyor is a sample (or printed form) feeding mechanism which feeds individual samples (or printed forms) to a sample conveyor in timed relationship to the feeding of carrier sheets, and including means whereby each sample (or printed form) is positioned in a predetermined manner with respect to the carrier sheet to which it is to be affixed; and then as the sample (or printed form) is carried toward the carrier sheet by a sample transfer mechanism, a glue-applying mechanism is actuated to apply a predetermined amount of glue to the underside of the sample (or printed form) at a predetermined position on the sample or to the top of the carrier sheet at a predetermined position on the carrier sheet. The sample transfer mechanism affixed the sample to the carrier sheet at a predetennined position on the carrier and the carrier then progresses onward to a delivery means, or alternatively through another apparatus such as a folder, and/or slitter, which performs additional operations upon the sample carrying carrier sheet. A number of interdependent detection systems are employed whereby the failure of any element of the machine to perform its intended function properly is detected and appropriately compensated for prior to subsequent operational steps; so that either samples or carrier sheets which are improperly fed, or for which no counterpart has been properly fed, are automatically removed from the machine in reusable form, without the application of glue, without stopping the operation of the machine, and in such a manner as to greatly reduce the likelihood of the apparatus jamming up or malfunctioning The operation of the apparatus is cyclic and is capable of automatically delivering carrier sheets with samples (or printed forms) affixed thereto, and thereafter folded one or more times if desired. at a rate of many thousands per hour.
PATENTEB UEC28 1971 SHEET UEUF 1O PATENIED DEB28 19?:
sum 07 UF 1 o PATENIEB UEC28 l97| SHEET OSUF 1O AUTOMATIC TIPPING MACHINE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The apparatus of this invention has to do with the placement and affixing of samples of a myriad of products, which may take such forms as packets containing samples of perfumes, cosmetics, food products, etc., strips of paper carrying sample fabric swatches adhered thereto, paper strips coated with microencapsulated fragrances, razor blades, sticks of gum, printed materials, etc., each of which is affixed to a carrier sheet. The term sample" as used herein is intended to refer to any article which is affixed to a carrier sheet. The carrier sheets may take the form of a brochure, a signature, a paper sheet, a cardboard sheet, an envelope, or any other type of carrier which may be used as, or as a part of, an advertising medium. The carrier sheet generally carries a printed message describing and promoting the product to which a sample is attached, and often a portion of the carrier sheet constitutes an order blank which may be used by a recipient to order an additional quantity of the product. In some cases a printed form, instead of an actual sample, is attached to a carrier sheet and may take the form of a coupon, a reply card, an order form, etc. Often the apparatus is directed to the affixing of samples or printed forms onto envelopes or the like which may be readily transmitted to perspective customers by mail or otherwise.
More specifically, the apparatus of this invention is directed to an automatic machine for affixing packets, containing samples of cosmetics, detergents, or other commodities which a manufacturer or a distributor wishes the purchasing public to try, to a mailer or to a remittance envelope furnished by a department store for the use of the customer and enclosed with his monthly bill. The apparatus achieves all of the foregoing with a minimum of human labor and with an efficiency and speed which has been heretofore unattainable.
Ordinarily, manufacturers and distributors of products rely extensively on printed advertising material to communicate with and advise the purchasing public of the attributes of a particular commodity. It has been found that providing a detachable order blank that is easy to fill out makes such printed advertising material more effective in producing sales. It has also been found that potential customers are more highly motivated to purchase when a trial sample of a new product, or a sample of an existing product with which they may be unfamiliar, is made available. A potential customer is more likely to purchase a new product, or a product with which he is not familiar, if he is able to try it first.
Test mailings have demonstrated that when descriptive promotional material, preferably with a detachable order form included, is put in the hands of prospective purchasers, with a sample of the product affixed thereto, the percentage of such prospective purchasers who actually buy the product is very greatly increased. In cases where it is impractical to affix an actual sample of a product, a coupon is often affixed instead offering a sample of the product-either free or at a reduced price.
High-speed automatic equipment is available for producing such printed promotional materials in large volume and at low cost, and for producing a wide range of product samples, either in packets, in individual small packages, in paperback swatches, etc. However, as far as is known, the prior art has not disclosed fully automated apparatus by means of which a wide variety of types and sizes of individual samples may be affixed to an equally wide variety of individual carriers, with the capability of predetermining the position of the sample on the carrier, and capable of thereafter making one or more folds in the carrier, or, alternately, of delivering the carrier unfolded with the sample affixed thereto.
For the most part, such operations have involved time consuming and costly manual labor. In other words, if one should desire individual samples attached to a mailing card or envelope, scores of women would manually affix the samples, at the desired place on the carrier, in a very time-consuming operation. Firstly, a sample would have to be manually picked up, glue applied to one side of the sample and the sample then affixed in the appropriate spot on the mailer. Once the samples were affixed, the carrier sheets, with the samples attached, did not lend themselves to stacking in, and being separated by, the feeder of a folding machine, so that if the carriers were then to be folded, this would also be done as a hand operation. In some cases the carrier sheets have first been folded automatically in a folding machine, and the women who affix the samples then unfold, or open, each sheet, affix the sample, and then refold the carrier sheetall as a manual operation. It can readily be seen that an advertising campaign or promotion involving literally millions of mailers would be totally out of the question under these circumstances because of the prohibitive amount of time required to complete the operation, as well as the high cost involved. The apparatus of the herein disclosed invention is intended to automatically produce mailers with samples affixed, and folded as required, at the rate of many thousands per hour. The savings in labor and overall costs are manifest. An even more important result is the ability to complete such operations within the time limits available to meet the mailer's deadline requirements.
It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide an apparatus for affixing samples to sample carriers.
It is a further object of this invention to provide an efficient high-production machine for applying samples to carriers automatically.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a fully automated apparatus for affixing samples of a wide variety of different materials to a wide variety of types of carriers, the resultant of which can thereby be prepared in the shortest possible time for mass distribution to the purchasing public and at a minimum of cost.
It is still another object of this invention to provide an apparatus for automatically feeding a carrier, such as an envelope or mailing piece, affixing a product sample or printed form to the carrier and thereafter folding the carrier once, or more than once, which may then be distributed through the United States mails or otherwise.
These and other further, important objectives of the invention will become more apparent when taken in conjunction with the following commentary and drawings wherein like numerals of reference indicate like elements throughout the several views and wherein:
FIG. I is a side view of the sample affixing machine of this invention in somewhat schematic form;
FIG. 2 is a more detailed view ofthe sample separating, conveying, transferring and applying means of the apparatus depicted in FIG. 1;
FIG. 2A is a view taken along the line 2A-2A of FIG. 2',
FIG. 2B is a diagrammatic side elevational view of alternate sample registration means;
FIG. 3 is a plan view along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2 showing the means for mounting the photocell and light for detecting the presence or absence of a sample on the sample transfer wheel;
FIG. 4 is a more detailed view ofthe sample transferring and applying members depicted in FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a plan view, partly in section, of the sample transferring and applying members depicted in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a plan view illustrating a portion of the shuttle and lifter mechanisms which may be utilized in feeding samples or carriers in the apparatus depicted in FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a partial side elevational view illustrating the lifter mechanism of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is a front elevational view showing additional detail of a shuttle and gate utilized in the feeding mechanism;
FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of the shuttle and gate depicted in FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 shows an elevational view of the means provided to load the sample magazine on the sample feeder;
FIG. 11 shows the means used to keep the leading edges of certain types of packets bent down to insure proper separation and feeding;
FIG. 12 is a plan view of another suction shuttle blade;
FIG. 13 is a side elevational view of the suction shuttle blade of FIG. 12 and also showing the mounting for the blade and a portion of the gate;
FIG. 14 is a front elevational view of the shuttle and gate depicted in FIGS. 12 and 13;
FIG. 15 is a schematic circuit diagram showing the electromechanical means used for sensing for and reacting to the presence or absence of a carrier sheet or a sample at the appropriate positions in the apparatus as depicted in FIGS. 1 and FIG. 16 is a schematic circuit diagram showing the electromechanical means used to detect when more than a single carrier sheet or sample has been fed, and to deflect such multiple items from the normal path followed by single items and into a reject hopper;
FIG. 17 is a generally schematic, plan illustration of the drive arrangement for the apparatus as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 18 is a diagrammatic side elevational view of an alternate main conveyor arrangement; and
FIG. 19 is a diagrammatic side elevational view of alternate platen means for supporting carrier sheets at the affixing point and also illustrates upper and lower squeeze belt means.
GENERAL Generally speaking, this invention is directed to an apparatus for applying and affixing an article or sample to a carrier sheet as a high speed, automatic operation. The apparatus includes a magazine containing a plurality of the carrier sheets; means for separating and feeding individual carrier sheets in timed, spaced relationship along a main conveyor surface; a magazine containing a plurality of the samples or articles which are to be affixed onto the carrier sheets; means for separating and feeding individual samples from the sample magazine in timed relationship; sample-conveying means, including timed means for bringing each such sample into register with a predetermined position on one of the carrier sheets; and including a sample transfer mechanism positioned between the sample conveyor and the main conveyor surface for applying and affixing the samples to the carrier sheets at a fixed, preselected position thereon.
The carrier sheet magazine and the sample magazine, together with the separating and feeding mechanisms for both carrier sheets and samples, are preferably both so constructed that both carriers and samples may be added to the respective magazines without stopping or interrupting the continuous operation of the machine.
Means are provided for applying an adhesive to each sample as it is transferred into position to be affixed to the carrier sheet that is to receive it. Means for conveying the combined carrier sheet and affixed sample to a delivery point, together with delivery means for receiving the combined units, completes the basic components of the apparatus. Means for folding the carrier sheets once or more than once after the samples have been affixed, may, if desired, be incorporated between the point where the sample is affixed and the delivery means.
In order to more fully understand and comprehend the herein disclosed invention, it will be necessary to consider in some detail each of the functions performed by the apparatus as a single entity. For instance, the separating and feeding of the carrier sheets, the conveying of the same on an endless conveyor, the separating and feeding of samples (or printed forms), etc., lend themselves to be broken down and analyzed for descriptive purposes so that this disclosure is more meaningful and understandable. The disclosures, therefore, will be made in this manner after the basic, overall description of the apparatus has been set forth which generally can be gleaned from FIG. I of the drawings.
OVERALL APPARATUS AND OPERATION Referring specifically to FIG. I, the automatic, sample-affixing machine 26 is shown as comprising a base or support structure 27 on which are mounted side frame members 28 through which shafts are journaled and other components secured. At the extreme right-hand of the apparatus, there is schematically shown a feeder 29 for carrier sheets which may be a modified version of a feeder such as disclosed in Anderson et al. US. Pat. Nos. 2,954,976 and 3,032,338. The specifics of this feeder, or other feeders for carrier sheets that may be utilized in conjunction with the automatic sample affixing apparatus 26, will be delved into in more detail hereafter.
The major components of the automatic sample-affixing apparatus 26 comprise a main, or carrier sheet, conveying sur' face 30 which, in this instance, is of dual configuration.
To insure that the carrier sheets (not shown) move through the machine in proper timed relationship and are positioned for the remainder of the operations to be performed. one or more lugged chains 32, carrying uniformly spaced lugs 33, are provided which are driven positively at a surface speed which is coordinated with the surface speed of other elements of the machine, as will be described. Belts or tapes 31, supported from below, are also utilized to transport the individual carrier sheets, fed thereon from the carrier feeder end of the machine 26, through the machine to the opposite or delivery end of the machine. This portion of the main conveyor comprises, in this instance, a plurality of tapes 31 moving at a surface speed which is faster than the surface speed of the lugged chains 32. Because the carrier sheets are fed onto the tapes 31, which are moving at a faster speed than the lugged chains 32, the leading edge of each carrier sheet will be carried into contact with one (or an aligned pair) of the lugs 33 and thereafter held in contact with the lug (or lugs) 33 and thereby positioned in proper relationship for further operations as it moves through the machine.
Skid rails 64 carrying diagonal and/or straight, free-turning rollers (not shown) rest on top of the carrier sheets above the conveyor tapes 31 and hold the carrier sheets in contact with the tapes 31 and with one of two side guides 98.
Superposed and supported by the side frame members 28, or on a separate supporting frame or stand of its own, is a hotmelt glue unit 34 of conventional construction, which, upon actuation, directs a stream of hot glue toward a target, which in this case is the sample to be affixed to the carrier sheets. The specifics of this component of the apparatus, as well as its mode of operation and how it is tied into the overall control system, will be gone into in further detail later on.
Mounted above the carrier conveying surface 30 of the au tomatic sample-affixing apparatus 26, is a sample transfer wheel 35 which is slideably mounted on, and rotates with, shaft 13 which is journaled in side frames 28. Wheel 35 is the rotating member of the sample transfer, applying and affixing device, and is a disc-shaped member having four suction heads 38 mounted apart at its periphery. The sample transfer wheel 35 rotates in the direction of the arrow and is adapted to apply vacuum to pick a sample from the registered position 153 on the sample conveyor 40, positioned above member 35, and to carry it by means of one of the suction heads 38, through a curvilinear path 151, during which time the hotmelt glue unit 34 is actuated to squirt a stream of hot glue on the underside, or outer exposed surface, of the sample 41. The sample transfer wheel 35 is driven in timed relationship with the lug-carrying chain (or chains) 32 and at a speed which causes the outer surface of a sample carried by one of the suction heads 38 to move at the same surface speed as the lugs 33 carried by the chain (or chains) 32. The sample transfer wheel 35 continues carrying the sample 41 to a position 154 directly above the carrier sheet conveyor 30 where it encounters a car rier sheet, such as an envelope, At the point 154, the under side of the carrier sheet is supported by a platen roller 112, which is laterally positioned between the tapes 31, and the chain or chains 32, and in line with the position on the carrier sheet to which the sample is to be affixed. The platen roller 112 is either free to rotate at the surface speed of the carrier sheet or is driven at the same surface speed as the carrier sheet. At this point 154 the sample 41 is pressed onto the surface of the carrier sheet by the suction head 38, carried by the sample transfer wheel 35, and the vacuum is simultaneously discontinued, thereby releasing the sample to the carrier sheet, which is supported from below by the platen roller 112. Because of the glue and/or other adhesive forces, the sample is secured to the carrier sheet which is being carried therealong on the carrier tapes 31, with its leading edge held in contact with the lug or lugs 33 on the chain or chains 32. The surface speed of the carrier sheet is thus identical to the surface speed of the bottom surface of the sample carried by the sample transfer wheel 35, at the time the transfer is being made.
Stripper fingers 226 on either side of the transfer wheel 35 insure that the sample 41 will not be carried beyond point 154 by the suction head 38.
If desired, the carrier sheet, with the sample affixed, may then be carried through pinch rollers, or upper and lower squeeze belts, and/or into either a delivery area or the bite of rollers of a modified conventional sheet folder.
Referring back to the carrier sheet feeder end of the machine, there is positioned above the carrier sheet conveyor a sensing means 42 to detect for the presence or absence of a carrier sheet or envelope. The distance, from the sensing means 42, to the point of tangency 154 between the carrier 5 sheet conveyor and the curvilinear path 151 described by the outer surface of a sample carried by one of the suction heads 38 on the sample transfer wheel 35, is equal to the circumferential distance traveled along path 151 by a sample 41, carried by one of the suction heads 38, from the point 153, where the sample is picked up from the sample conveyor, to this same point of tangency 154. A signal from sensing means 42 is fed through a circuit such as that shown and described in FIG. 15, and thereby controls the position of the sample reject fingers 46. Since the outer surface of a sample 41, carried by one of the suction heads 38 on the sample transfer wheel 35, travels at the same surface speed as a carrier sheet moving along the carrier sheet conveyor, with its leading edge held in contact with one, or a pair, of the lugs 33, the position of the sensing means 42 as described above, together with the position of the dwell in the timing cam 180 as shown and described in connection with FIG. 15, causes the sensing means 42 to detect for the presence or absence of a carrier sheet only at the time when the sample to be applied to that carrier sheet would be in position to be picked from the product conveyor 40 by one of the suction heads 38, of the sample transfer wheel 35. It should further be noted that at the time this sensing action takes place, the area of the carrier sheet to which the sample is to be affixed will be directly in line with the sensing means 42, if such a carrier sheet is present.
One form of the sample feeder component or assemblage 90 of the machine 26 comprises a reciprocating suction shuttle blade 67 utilizing suction to remove one sample at a time from the supply in the magazine 43. The sample is fed between parallel upper and lower conveyor belts 44 and 45 to a point where it is stopped by stop fingers 39 and positioned to be removed by one of the rotating suction heads 38, upon its rotation into contact with the waiting sample.
If a carrier sheet has been properly fed and is detected by the sensing means 42, the sample will be allowed to be carried by the suction head 38 all the way around path 151 to the position 154 where it is affixed to the carrier sheet; whereas if the sensing means 42 has detected that no carrier sheet is present, stripper fingers 46 will move down into the position shown in FIG. 2 and strip the sample from the suction head 38 and divert it to a cross conveyor 47 which spans the machine,
whereby it is carried to a catcher pan (not shown) at the side of the machine.
The sensing mechanism for actuating the hot-melt unit 34 is a photoelectric one designed to be actuated by the passage of a sample, carried by a suction head 38 on the sample transfer wheel 35, through a light beam which is located beyond the point at which a sample is removed from the suction head 38 by the stripper fingers 46 in the absence of a carrier sheet. It is apparent, therefore, that in the absence of a sample passing through the light beam, the hot-melt unit 34 will remain inactive and will not squirt glue, when a sample is not present, onto the suction head 38 as it passes the position of the light beam.
Moving further along the machine. after the position 154 is passed, at which a sample would normally be affixed to the carrier sheet, the carrier sheet continues to another sensing means 48 which senses for the presence or absence of a sample afiixed to the carrier sheet in the proper position. If a sample is not present in the proper position on the carrier sheet, a deflector gate 49 opens and diverts the carrier onto a reject conveyor 114 which conveys the carrier to a catcher pan or reject receptacle 50 positioned for that purpose.
Preferably, as the carrier sheet passes beyond the position 154 at which a sample is normally affixed to the carrier sheet, the carrier sheet and the afiixed sample pass between upper and lower squeeze tapes (not shown) which are positioned vertically above one another at the position across the carrier sheet at which the sample is affixed. These upper and lower squeeze tapes are supported from above and below throughout their length and are driven at the same surface speed as the lugs 33 carried by the chain 32. These upper and lower squeeze tapes perform the function of holding the sample in firm engagement with the carrier sheet as the carrier sheet is conveyed to the delivery end of the machine, and during which time interval the glue has time to set, so that the sample is firmly afiixed to the carrier sheet by the time the car rier reaches the delivery end of the machine. They perform the further function of holding the affixed sample firmly in position on the carrier sheet as it passes the detector 48, so that the action of the detector 48 in sensing for the presence or absence of a sample does not disturb the position of the sample on the carrier sheet, even though, at that point, the glue may not yet have set sufficiently to, of itself, hold the sample in position against the force of the detector 48. These upper and lower squeeze belts are adjustable with respect to their distance from one another so that they may be adjusted to exert just the proper squeezing pressure on any given combination of carrier sheet and sample thickness.
The position of the detector 48 is also adjustable along the length of the main conveyor, along mounting rails 227. its position is adjusted by first moving a carrier sheet into position, with its leading edge in contact with one of the lugs 33, to a point sufficiently ahead of the deflector gate 49 so that the deflector gate 49 will have ample time to open or close, in response to a signal from the detector 48, before the leading edge of the carrier sheet reaches the deflector gate 49, at the speed at which the machine is to be operated. The detector 48 is then moved into position so that it is above the position on the carrier sheet at which a sample is to be affixed and the detector 48 is then secured in this position. Both the upper and lower squeeze belts and the detector 48 are adjustable from side to side across the width of the carrier sheet and are normally positioned so that the upper and lower squeeze belts are in line with that position on the sample to which the glue has been applied, and the detector 48 is positioned alongside the upper squeeze belt (or between a pair of upper squeeze belts), in which position it acts to sense the presence or absence of a sample by contacting a portion of the sample which is not held between the upper and lower squeeze belts. The detector 48 is adjustable to detect various thicknesses and is set so that the presence of a carrier sheet with-a sample affixed thereto in the proper position, and at the proper time in the cycle of the machine, will actuate the detector to indicate the presence of a sample affixed to the carrier sheet, whereas a carrier sheet alone, without a sample affixed thereto (or the absence of both the carrier sheet and sample), will be detected as the absence of a sample. The detail of the circuitry by means of which the detector 48 controls the deflector gate 49 is illustrated and described hereafter in connection with FIG. 15.
It should be noted that in cases where the carrier sheet is to be folded once, or more than once, after the sample has been affixed thereto, the carrier sheet is delivered into the folding machine after it passes over the deflector gate 49. Since any carrier sheets which do not have samples affixed thereto are deflected by the deflector gate 49 into the reject hopper 50, only carrier sheets which do have samples affixed thereto in the proper position pass over the deflector gate 49 and into the folding machine. This insures that all carrier sheets emerging from the folding machine do, in fact, have samples affixed thereto, even though after the fold or folds have been made this fact may not be easily determined by visual inspection, and, further, it insures that all carrier sheets which do not have samples affixed thereto are deflected into the reject hopper 50 without being folded, and they can then be placed again in the carrier sheet feeder 29. Similarly, samples which have been ejected by the stripper fingers 46, onto the cross conveyor 47 and thereby into the catcher pan at the side of the machine, because of the absence of a carrier sheet to which to affix such samples, are similarly undamaged and may in turn be loaded again into the hopper 43 of the sample feeder 90.
The motor 51 and speed reducer 52 along with the connecting chains and timing belts, generally designated 53, indicate the manner in which the apparatus 26 and feeders 29 and 90 are powered. The vacuum pumps required for the various suction components of the apparatus are not shown, as well as various specific details of construction, since at this point it is intended to merely describe the overall operation of the machine utilizing the somewhat schematic drawing of FIG. 1. Having disclosed the overall, basic structure, the functioning of same and the objects to be pursued and attained, a more detailed discussion and description will be made hereinafter vis-a'vis various specific assemblages and components of parts for accomplishing each one of the series of functions necessary to obtain the desired results.
CARRIER SHEET FEEDER As indicated earlier, the feeder 29, which separates individual carrier sheets, (taking the form ofa brochure, a signature, an advertising folder, a sheet of paper or cardboard, or an envelope, etc.) from a stack of such carrier sheets and delivers or conveys such individual carrier sheets onto the main conveyor 30 of the automatic sample-affixing machine 26 may be any one of a number of automatic feeders well known in the art. Obviously the feeding of carrier sheets may be manual, but in order to achieve all of the objects of the invention, it is preferred to use an automatic feeder, which may be similar to that illustrated in Anderson et al. U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,032,338 and 2,954,976, modified to some degree as will be hereinafter discussed in reference to FIGS. 6 to 13 inclusive.
The basic structure of the automatic sample affixing machine 26 is modular, and different types of carrier feeders may be utilized depending upon the application for which the overall machine is to be utilized. When the machine is to be utilized primarily for affixing samples to carrier sheets which consist of individual, relatively thin sheets of paper, an automatic pile suction feeder similar to that illustrated in Davidson U.S. Pat. No. 1,963,694 may be utilized to advantage as a carrier sheet feeder, since a relatively large number of such individual carrier sheets may be loaded into such a feeder on a single loading, and it will thus be necessary to stop for reloading only at relatively infrequent intervals. On the other hand, if the carrier sheets are relatively thick, such as brochures, signatures, booklets, etc., or if they are materials such as flapextended envelopes which will not stack uniformly, so that, in either case, only a comparatively small number of carrier sheets may be loaded at one time, it is then desirable that the feeder used be of a type into which carrier sheets may be loaded continuously, as the machine runs, without having to stop to reload.
For present purposes, and referring to FIG. 1, carrier sheets are loaded continuously into hopper S8 of shuttle-type feeder 29 which obtains its drive:
a. Via a chain, not shown in FIG. 1, connecting sprockets on shaft 16 and on shaft 17;
b. From a crank arm, not shown in FIG. 1, at the end of shaft 11; and
c. From a chain 54 connecting one of several sprockets generally designated 55 on shaft 18 of speed reducer 52, to a sprocket 288 on shaft 22. Reciprocating vacuum shuttle blade 56 feeds carrier sheets, such as envelopes, individually to the bite of upper and lower pullout rollers 57, positioned to receive the leading edge of a carrier sheet advanced to them by the vacuum shuttle blade 56. A lifter mechanism 59 periodically lifts the stack of carrier sheets so as to facilitate individual feeding thereof. Details of the shuttle feeder and the modifications that may be made to facilitate trouble free individual feeding of carrier sheets of various types will become apparent in relation to the specific discussion of the somewhat similar feeding mechanisms depicted in FIGS. 2, 6, 7,8, 9,12,13 and 14.
THE CARRIER-SHEET-CONVEYING SYSTEM Still referring to FIG. 1, once the carrier sheet is fed to the bite of the carrier feeder pullout rollers 57, it is pulled from the bottom of the stack of carrier sheets by these rollers and delivered by them onto a plurality of spaced flexible tapes 31 spanning almost the entire length of the machine 26. The tapes 31 pass over a driven roller 60 at the carrier feeder end of the machine and an idler roller 62 near the delivery end of the machine. The tapes are kept taut by the action of a series of tape tightener rollers 99, which are idler rollers adjustably mounted so that they may be moved to increase or decrease the tension of the tapes. The top surface of the tapes 31 is supported from sagging, throughout their length, by supporting rails 61, one of which rails is located under the upper run of each of the tapes 31. The tapes are driven, by the driven roller 60, at a surface speed somewhat faster than the speed of the lugs 33 carried by the chains 32. One, or a pair, of chains 32 carrying spaced lugs 33 are positioned laterally across the machine between the flexible tapes 31. The top surface of the chains 32 lies below the plane of the top surface of the flexible tapes 31, but the lugs 33 carried by the chains 32 project upwardly, above the level of the top surface of the tapes 31.
The machine may be adjusted to handle carrier sheets of diflerent length, up to a maximum length which is somewhat less than half the circumference 151 of the sample transfer wheel 35 (measured at the outer surface of a sample 41 carried by one of the suction heads 38 on the transfer wheel 35).
When carrier sheets somewhat shorter than one quarter of the above-described circumference 151 of sample transfer wheel 35 are being handled, the lugs 33 are spaced apart from each other on chain 32 by a distance exactly equal to one quarter of the above-referenced circumference 151 of sample transfer wheel 35; and in this case both the carrier feeder 29 and the sample feeder are adjusted to feed four carrier sheets and four samples, respectively, for each complete revolution of sample transfer wheel 35. This is referred to as double-lugged" operation.
When the carrier sheets being handled are longer than approximately one quarter of the above-referenced circumference 151 of sample transfer wheel 35, the lugs 33 carried by the chains 32 are spaced apart by a distance exactly equal to one-half the above-referenced circumference 151 of sample transfer wheel 35. In this case, both the carrier feeder 29 and the sample feeder 90 are normally adjusted to feed two carrier sheets and two samples, respectively, for each complete revolution of the samples transfer wheel 35. This is referred to as single-lugged" operation.
The length of the lug-carrying chains 32 is an exact whole multiple of one-half the above-referenced circumference 151 of sample transfer wheel 35. Each of the lug carrying chains 32 is carried by a driving sprocket 63 on shaft 16 and a driven sprocket on shaft 21. And each chain is kept taut by the action of an idler tightener sprocket 106, whose position may be adjusted to control the tautness of the chains. Both shaft 16, on which the driving sprockets 63 for the lug-carrying chains 32 are mounted, and shaft 13 of sample transfer wheel 35 are driven by positive means, including chains and/or timing belts and sprockets and gears in such a manner that the surface speed of the sample transfer wheel at the abovereferenced circumference 151 is identical to the surface speed of the lugs 33 carried by the chains 32.
Each carrier sheet is fed onto the tapes 31 in timed relationship with the passage of the lugs 33, carried by the chains 32, in a manner so as to place it between adjacent, spaced lugs 33. To insure sufficient frictional driving contact between the carrier sheets and the tapes 31, a skid rail" 64 is mounted above each tape 31. Each of these skid rails 64 is supported at the end of the conveyor adjacent the carrier feeder pullout rolls 57 and lies in contact with one of the tapes 31 throughout its length, guided from above at various points throughout its length to insure its alignment with the tape 31 on which it rests. The skid rails" 64 are elongated springlike straps generally carrying a series of rollers (not shown) mounted therein throughout their length. In some cases, the axes of these rollers are at right angles to the length of the straps and the rollers simply lie on top of the tapes, or on the top surface of carrier sheets being conveyed by the tapes. The rollers idle and the weight of the tapes and the rollers acts to hold the carrier sheets in frictional contact with the top surface of the conveying tapes 31. At least one of the skid rails 64, which is mounted above the tape 31 which is adjacent one of the side guides 98, carries idler rollers which lie with their axes diagonal to the length of the skid rail, and inclined in a direction so that they will act to cause carrier sheets, on which they rest as the carrier sheets pass beneath them, to be urged to one side, in the direction of the adjacent side guide, thus causing the side edge of the carrier sheet to be first urged into contact with the adjacent side guide, and then held in sliding contact with the side guide throughout the passage of the carrier sheet along the conveyor. The rollers in the skid rails 64 are not illustrated inasmuch as they are well known in the art and are commercially available for the purposes just described.
After a carrier sheet is fed onto tapes 31, in a manner so as to place it between two adjacent spaced lugs or pairs of lugs 33 carried by the chains 32, and has passed under the leading portion of the skid rails 64, the higher surface speed of the conveyor tapes 31 will carry the leading edge of the carrier sheet into contact with the edge of the leading lug or pair of lugs of the two between which it has been placed, and the action of the diagonal rollers in one or more of the skid rails will cause a side edge of the carrier sheet to be brought into contact with the adjacent side guide 98. As the carrier sheet is conveyed on through the machine, it will thereafter have that side edge kept in sliding contact with the adjacent side guide by the continuing action of the diagonal rollers in one or more of the skid rails, and it will have its leading edge kept in contact with the lug or pair of lugs by the frictional drive of the conveyor tapes 31, which continue to move faster than the lugs 33 and thereby continually hold the leading edge of the carrier sheet snugly in contact with the lug or pair of lugs 33.
At times, irregularities in the carrier sheets themselves, or in the manner in which they are loaded into the magazine 58 of the carrier sheet feeder 29, may interfere with the feeding of individual carrier sheets in exact timed relationship with the lugs 33; so that in such cases such a carrier sheet, instead of being positioned between adjacent spaced lugs or pairs oflugs 33, may be delivered onto the conveyor in such a manner that either its trailing or leading edge lies on top a lug or pair of lugs. A carrier sheet that is delivered onto the conveyor with its trailing edge lying atop a lug or pair of lugs will be pulled forward by the combined action of the faster moving tapes 31 and the skid rails 64 and its trailing edge will thus be pulled off the following lug or pair of lugs, and its leading edge will be advanced into contact with the lug or pair of lugs ahead, as described above.
To provide for the case in which such a carrier sheet is delivered onto the conveyor 30 with its leading edge on top of a lug or pair of lugs, one or more fingers 65 are mounted above the conveyor 30, in a fixed position, extending downwardly below the level of the top of the lugs 33 but still above the path of a carrier sheet conveyed by the tapes 31 which has been properly spaced between two adjacent lugs or pairs of lugs, and which does not have its leading edge on top of a lug or pair of lugs. Such a properly placed carrier sheet will, therefore, pass along the conveyor below these fingers 65 and without being contacted or disturbed by them. However, an improperly placed carrier sheet, the leading edge of which lies on top ofa lug or pair of lugs, will contact these fingers 65, and be held back by them, until the lug or pair of lugs passes on ahead of the leading edge of the carrier sheet. As soon as the lug or pair of lugs have passed out from below the leading edge of the carrier sheet, the weight of the skid rails resting on top of the carrier sheet will immediately cause it to drop into position on the tapes 31, between the lug or pair of lugs on which its leading edge previously rested and the following lug or pair of lugs carried by the chains 32. The leading edge of the carrier sheet will thus drop free of the fingers 65 and the faster speed of the tapes 31 will thereupon act as described above to bring the leading edge of the carrier sheet into contact with the lug or pair of lugs ahead, and the sheet will proceed along the main conveyor 30 in proper fashion as previously described.
Other alternate means may be employed for conveying the carrier sheets through the machine along the main conveyor in registered and timed relationship with other elements of the machine.
For instance, the tapes 31 may be driven at a speed slower than the lug-carrying chain or chains 32 and in this instance a lug or pair oflugs 33 would catch up with the trailing edge ofa carrier sheet, delivered onto the conveyor 30 as previously described, and in this instance the carrier sheet would thereafter be pushed through the machine along the conveyor 30 by the action of the lug or pair of lugs 33 against its trailing edge.
Another and preferred alternate means of conveying carrier sheets through the machine on the main conveyor in timed relationship with other elements of the machine is to replace the tapes and lug-carrying chains described above with a series of cogged timing belts as illustrated diagrammatically in FIG. 18. Referring to FIG. 18, the cogs on the inner surface of timing belts 307 mesh with the teeth of timing belt sprockets 304 and 305 and are thus driven in timed relationship with the other elements of the machine. Timing belt sprocket 305 takes the place of both tape roller 60, and chain sprockets on shaft 21, of FIG. 1, and it is located in the position of tape roller 60 but driven as described for sprockets 100 on shaft 21. Timing belts sprocket 304 is the driving sprocket and it takes the place of both tape roller 62 and the chain sprockets 63, on shaft 16, of FIG. 1, and is located in the position of tape roller 62 but driven as described for sprockets 63 on shaft 16.
The timing belts 307 span the entire length of the main conveyor 30. The outer flat surface of these timing belts 307 acts as the conveying surface for the carrier sheets and moves at a surface speed identical with the surface speed of circumference 151 of sample transfer wheel 35. Timing belts 307 are kept taut by idler timing belt tightener sprockets 306 in a manner similar to that previously described with respect to the tapes and chains. Similarly, the upper run of these timing belts 307 is supported from below, to prevent them from sagging, by support rails 309, 310 and plate 311. At least some of the timing belts 307 carry rubber stops, or lugs, 308 vulcanized to their outer flat surface, and spaced apart exactly as described for the lugs 33 carried by the chains 32. Similarly, the length of the timing belts 307 is an exact multiple of one-half the above circumference 151 of the sample transfer wheel 35, A carrier sheet delivered onto the conveyor 30 between two adjacent lugs or pairs of lugs 308 is held back by a brush 322, or other slowdown device, which contacts the leading edge of a carrier sheet and holds it back until its trailing edge has been contacted by one of the lugs or pairs of lugs 308, which then push the sheet forward, and the sheet is thereafter conveyed on the upper flat surface of the timing belts 307, moving at the same speed as the belts themselves, and with its trailing edge in register-contact with the following lug or pair of lugs 308. One side of the sheet is brought into register with the adjacent fixed side guide by means of a series of light flexible flat springs, acting upon the opposite side of the carrier sheet and urging it into contact with the side guide. In addition, holddown straps or rails may be mounted above the sheets, between the timing belts 307 which carry lugs 308, above the timing belts 307 which do not carry lugs, to hold the sheet flat on the surface of the timing belts 307.
For each stream of carrier sheets there are at least two of the lugged timing belts 307 and between two of these lugged timing belts 307, and in line with the area of the carrier sheet to which a sample is to be affixed, there is another timing belt 313, as seen in FIG. 19. The outer surface of timing belt 313 is smooth and flat and there are no lugs attached thereto. Timing belt 313 also passes around and meshes with timing belt sprocket 304 and is driven thereby and it also encircles another timing belt sprocket 314 which is located between the timing belt sprocket 305 and the afiixing point 154. Timing belt 313 is kept taut by a tightener sprocket 315. Since the lugged and the unlugged timing belts 307 and the timing belt 313 without lugs are all driven by the same timing belt sprocket 304, their surface speed is identical. The upper run of timing belt 313 is supported from below by rails 309 and plate 311. Plate 311 extends across the width of the machine under the lugged and unlugged timing belts 307 and the smooth timing belt 313 and plate 311 is in turn supported on two eccentric shafts 312 by means of which it may be raised or lowered. Timing belt 313, which is under the area of the carrier sheet to which a sample is to be affixed, acts as a platen surface and supports the carrier sheet under the affixing point 154. Since the timing belt 313 is itself supported at this point on the plate 311 and the plate 311 may be adjusted up or down by means of the eccentric shafts 312 on which it is mounted, adjustments may thus be made to compensate for different thickness of carrier sheets at the affixing point 154.
As also seen in FIG. 19, there is another timing belt 320 positioned directly above belt 313 and which extends from just beyond the sample transfer wheel 35 to a position above timing sprocket 304. This upper timing belt 320 is supported on a driven timing belt sprocket 317 and an idler timing belt sprocket 316 and kept taut by two tightener sprockets 318 and 319. The lower run of timing belt sprocket 320 is supported from above by a backup rail 321, which may be adjusted vertically up and down to increase or decrease the spacing between the lower face of timing belt 320 and the upper face of timing belt 313. These two timing belts 313 and 320 thus form squeeze belts, from the position of sprocket 316 to the position of sprocket 317, and as a carrier sheet with a sample affixed thereto passes between these belts they act to squeeze the sample onto the carrier sheet and to hold it in intimate contact with the carrier sheet as the carrier and the affixed sample are conveyed to the delivery end of the machine. The timing belt 320 is driven so that its surface speed is identical to the surface speed of timing belt 313 and since the backup rail 321 can be adjusted vertically, the pressure with which the sample is squeezed against the carrier sheet may be adjusted and the sample is held securely in position while the glue has time to set.
The upper squeeze belt 320 may be a sihgle belt or two belts side by side and in either case the belt or belts 320 are located so that they are in position above the area of the bead or beads of glue by which the sample is adhered to the carrier sheet.
The detector 48, mounted as previously described, is so located from side to side that it will contact a portion of the sample as it passes the position of the detector 48. The detector may thus contact the center portion of the sample between two squeeze belts 320 or an edge of the sample which extends beyond the side of a squeeze belt 320. At the time that the sample affixed to the carrier passes the position of the detector 48 it is being held firmly in contact with the carrier sheet between the upper and lower squeeze belts 320 and 313 and this prevents the detector from moving the sample on the carrier sheet as the sample acts to lift the detector, even if the glue has not yet set firmly.
The detector 48 may be positioned at any point along the mounting bar 227 as is described in more detail elsewhere herein.
SAMPLE FEEDER Referring to FIG. 2 and FIG. 2A, the sample feeder assemblage or component, generally designated 90. of the automatic sample affixing machine is shown as having end frame members 119 mounted to angle support frames 66 which are in turn mounted on the main frames 28 of the automatic sample affixing machine 26 proper. This sample feeder component of the machine comprises two major portions: the first of which generally includes the sample magazine, generally designated 43, plus the reciprocating shuttle blade 67, which in combination with the gate 69 separates and feeds individual samples from the magazine 43 into the bite of upper and lower pullout rollers 70 in timed relationship with the other operating functions of the machine as a whole; and the second, comprising the sample conveyor, generally designated 40, including upper and lower sample conveyor tapes 44 and 45 respectively, which conveys the sample, registers it and presents it at the proper time and place to be picked up by one of the rotating suction heads 38 on the sample transfer wheel 35, in uniformly registered relationship to the rotating suction head 38.
The sample magazine 43 comprises a series of upstanding, preferably movable and adjustable, bars and angles 68 secured to supports which are in turn secured to the side frame members 119. The front magazine bar in the forward portion of the magazine 43, nearest the conveyor, also carries a vertically adjustable member, which acts as a gate, 69 to allow only a single sample to be passed between it and the reciprocating shuttle blade 67 to the bite of the pullout rollers 70. The reciprocating shuttle blade 67, having vacuum connection through hose 71, is caused to reciprocate in linear fashion by movement of shuttle slide rod 72, to which it is adjustably fastened, and which in turn is given a reciprocating motion by associated linkage 73 to which a rocking motion is imparted by a stud 275 mounted eccentrically in disc 274 at one end of shaft 12. The detail of the shuttle mechanism will be delved into in more detail later, but for present purposes, suffice it to say that the shuttle 67 in combination with the gate 69 nor mally accomplishes the separation and feeding of one sample at a time. In order to aid in the feeding ofindividual samples, a lifter mechanism 76 is provided which lifts the stack of samples in the magazine out of contact with the shuttle blade 67 on the return stroke of the shuttle blade 67. The operation of the lifter mechanism 76 and the function it performs in the separation of individual samples will also be described hereafter in greater detail. Vacuum is drawn in the face of the shuttle blade 67 which contacts the face of a sample, during the forward stroke of the shuttle blade, so that the bottom sample in the stack is held in contact with the shuttle blade 67 throughout its forward stroke, thereby drawing a single sample through the space between the gate 69 and the shuttle blade 67 and presenting the leading edge of the sample into the bite of the upper and lower pullout rollers 70. At this point the suction in the connector hose 71 is cutoff, thus releasing the sample from the surface of the shuttle blade 67 and the sample is pulled out, from the bottom of the pile of samples, by the action of the pullout rollers 70, which in turn deliver the sample onto the sample conveyor 40 between the lower conveyor tapes 45 and the upper conveyor tape 44. The return stroke of the shuttle then returns the shuttle blade 67 to its original position beneath the stack of samples in the magazine 43. At this point a vacuum is again drawn in the shuttle blade 67 through the hose connector 71 and the process is repeated. The actuation of the vacuum control for this separate vacuum system is accomplished by means of a solenoid-actuated valve in the hose connector line 71 which leads to a separate vacuum pump; the action of this valve is in turn controlled by a microswitch and a dual, or split, cam on a cam shaft which rotates in timed one-to-one relationship with the cycle of the shuttle in control box 273 (seen in FIG. 17). It is thus possible to accurately adjust and control the time at which a vacuum is first drawn in the suction shuttle blade 67, when it reaches the backward end of its stroke, and also to separately control and adjust the time at which the vacuum is broken to release the sample, at the time in the forward stroke of the shuttle blade 67 when the leading edge of the sample is seized by the pullout rollers 70.
SAMPLE CONVEYOR The conveyor portion 40 of the sample separating and feeding assemblage 90, onto which the sample is then delivered by the pullout rollers 70, comprises two pairs of supporting side frames, upper side frames 79 and lower side frames 148 respectively. The upper side frames 79, are secured to the upstanding portions 80 of the main frames 28 of the machine proper, at one end, and are supported at the other end by shaft 20 on which they are journaled and which is in turn joumaled in the main frames 1 19 of the sample feeder proper. The lower conveyor side frames, 148, are tied together by two cross members, round spreader bar 81 and square spreader bar 142, and in addition, lower frames 148 are journaled to pivot about shaft 20 adjustably with respect to the upper pair of conveyor frames, 79, by means of I-bolts 147, which are adjustably mounted to frames 79 and support the ends of shaft 81, adjacent the forward ends of the lower conveyor frames 148. The stems of these I-bolts 147 pass through blocks carried by the upper conveyor frames 79 and are adjustably secured with respect to these blocks by upper and lower lock nuts on each I-bolt 147. Each individual lower conveyor tape 45 encircles and is supported by, a driving tape roller 150 (which extends across the width of shaft 20) and an individual forward idler tape roller 126, which is only slightly wider than the individual tape 45. Each forward idler tape roller 126 is individually journaled at the forward end of a forwardly projecting cantilever support finger 143, each of which is adjustably mounted on the two cross members 81 and 142, and is held in position thereon by a clamp bolt 149 which clamps it against the cross member 142. The individual forward idler tape rollers 126 are therefore each held in cantilever fashion at the forward end of each individual cantilever support finger 143, so that one or more pairs of lower conveyor tapes 45 may be placed with one tape in each pair on opposite sides of sample transfer wheel 35 while still allowing the suction heads 38, carried by the sample transfer wheel 35, to pass between a pair of the lower conveyor tapes 45 without interference.
The upper surface of a sample, as it is carried on the tapes 45, passes along a plane tangent to the previously described circumference 151 ofsample transfer wheel 35, and the length of the cantilever support fingers 143 in such as to place the center of the forward idler tape rollers 126 on a radial line drawn from the center of the sample transfer wheel 35, perpendicular to this plane of tangency. Each one of a pair of these cantilever support fingers 143 carry, respectively, right and left hand angular side guide members 84 affixed to their upper surface and these angular side guide members extend approximately from driven roll 150 to idler rollers 126. The horizontal portions of these angular members act as supporting rails for the lower conveyor tapes 45, throughout most of their length, and the vertical sides of these angular members 84 act as right and left side guides, to accurately position each sample laterally as it is conveyed along the conveyor tapes 45. When the samples are relatively narrow a single pair of lower conveyor tapes 45, thus supported, will be used for each sample transfer wheel 35, as illustrated in FIG. 2A. In cases where the samples are relatively wide an additional pair of lower conveyor tapes 45 may be used, with one additional tape being placed on each side of the sample transfer wheel 35. In this case, the support fingers 143 which are closest to the sample transfer wheel 135 will have the angular side guide members 84 replaced with simple flat members, which will act only as supporting rails under that pair of lower conveyor tapes 45. A tape tightener bar 96 is provided to take up the slack in the lower conveyor tapes 45 and keep them taut; and tape guides 144 are positioned along this tape tightener bar 96 to guide each of the lower conveyor tapes 45 and hold it in position laterally. The side to side position of the lower conveyor tapes 45 may be adjusted by loosening the clamp bolts 149, which hold the individual cantilever support fingers 143 in position, and the fingers 143 may then be moved from side to side and refastened in the desired position. The tape guides 144 are movable from side to side along the tape tightener rod 96 and may be similarly adjustably positioned. The driven tape roller 150 extends across the entire width of the feeder and the tapes may therefore be moved to any position across the width of this roller.
The upper conveyor tapes 44 are carried by a driven roller 83, joumaled on a shaft 82 which in turn is adjustably supported from the main frames of the feeder 119 by means of a pair of adjustable arms, and a forward idler tape roller 146, joumaled on a shaft 123 at the forward end of upper conveyor frames 79. Tape rollers 83 and 146 both extend across the full width of the sample conveyor and are so positioned that the lower surface of the upper conveyor tapes 44 will lie approximately along a plane tangent to the previously described circumference 151 of sample transfer wheel 35. As will be seen in FIG. 2, the forward tape roller 146 is positioned well beyond the point of tangency between this plane and the previously described circumference 151 of sample transfer wheel 35. A tape tightener rod is provided for taking up the slack in the tapes and holding them taut, and tape guides 144, similar to those previously described, are used to adjustably position the tapes laterally across the width of the sample conveyor. Generally, a single upper conveyor tape 44 is used for each sample transfer wheel 35, with the tape positioned laterally to be directly above the suction heads 38 carried by the sample transfer wheel 35 and therefore between the inner pair of lower conveyor tapes, which are located as previously described on either side of the sample transfer wheel 35.
Shaft 20 is driven, in the direction shown, by means of a sprocket 256, affixed to one end of the shaft, which sprocket in turn is driven by a chain 257 from another sprocket 255 on the end of shaft 13 (as seen in FIG. 17). At one side of feeder 90, just inside feeder frame 119, there are sprockets on the shafts on the upper and lower pullout rollers 70. There are also sprockets on shaft 20 and on roller 83 in line therewith, and a single chain, 115, follows the path shown in FIG. 2 in mesh with these four sprockets, and is kept taut by a takeup sprocket 116 which is adjustably mounted on a takeup arm (not shown) attached to the adjacent feeder side frame 119. Since shaft 20 is driven as previously described, the sprocket on shaft 20 acts as a driving sprocket and drives the chain in the direction shown, and this chain 115 in turn drives the other four sprockets so that the pullout rollers 70 and the upper tape roller 83 are all driven in the directions shown. As previously indicated, roller 150 drives the lower sample conveyor tapes 45 and roller 83 drives the upper sample conveyor tapes 44.
SAMPLE PICKUP AND TRANSFER Stop fingers 39 are mounted on shaft 85 which is joumaled in conveyor side frames 79. Shaft 85 is so positioned that when the stop fingers 39 are in the down, or full line, position as shown in FIG. 2, they will stop a sample being carried by upper and lower conveyor tapes 44 and 45 with its leading edge somewhat beyond the point of tangency between the circumference 151, previously described, of sample transfer wheel 35, and the plane of the lower surface of the upper conveyor tapes 44. The split cams 74 on shaft 19 actuate linkage 145, which rocks shaft 85 so that stop fingers 39 are moved from the full-line position to the dotted line position shown, and returned to the full-line position, once for each revolution of shaft 19. Shaft 19 is in turn positively driven by sprockets and chains, as will be more fully described hereafter, so that it completes one revolution for each sample fed by the sample feeder 90. Since cams 74 are a pair of split cams they may be individually adjusted, one to control the time at which the stop fingers 39 move from the full-line position to the dotted line position, and the other to control the time at which the stop fingers 39 return from the dotted line position to the full-line position.
The sample separating and feeding device of the sample feeder 90, such as the shuttle arrangement previously described, is timed so that a sample will be delivered to the bite of the pullout roller 70 and in turn delivered by them onto the sample conveyor 40 between the lower conveyor tapes 45 and the upper conveyor tape 44, and conveyed by these tapes so that the leading edge of the sample comes in contact with, and is stopped by, the stop fingers 39 just after the stop fingers have returned to the full-line position. The stop fingers 39 may be adjustably positioned at any point across the width of the stop finger supporting shaft 85, and generally one or more pairs of the stop fingers are used for each sample transfer wheel 35, with the stop fingers of each pair being positioned on opposite sides of the upper conveyor tape 44, generally in line with the lower conveyor tapes 45, and out of the path followed by the suction heads 38 carried by the sample transfer wheel 35.
The timing is such that as a sample is stopped by the stop fingers 39 and held in position on the conveyor, one of the suction heads 38 carried by the sample transfer wheel 35 is approaching the point of tangency between the circumference 151 of the sample transfer wheel 35 and the plane of the lower surface of the upper conveyor tapes. At the time that the suction head 38 comes in line with this point of tangency, suction is drawn in the suction head, by means which will be described hereafter, so that the bottom surface of the sample is seized by the suction head. At this same instant the stop fingers 39 are rocked from the solid line position into the dotted line position so that the sample is free to be carried around the circumference 151 by the suction head 38.
As previously described, just at the time that the leading edge of a sample reaches the stop fingers 39, the carrier sheet detector 42 on the main conveyor detects for the presence or absence of a carrier sheet, and if a carrier sheet is detected to be present the sample reject stripper fingers 46 remain in their raised position, as shown in P16. 1, and the sample is carried around by the suction head 38 to the point where it is affixed to the carrier sheet. However, if the detector 42 detects that no carrier sheet is present, then the sample reject stripper fingers 46 are moved down into the reject position shown in FIG. 2, and as the suction head 38 passes this position it passes between a pair of the sample reject stripper fingers 46, but the sample carried by the suction head 38 is stripped therefrom by the stripper fingers 46 and delivered out onto the endless tape 87 of the cross-conveyor. The endless tape 87 of the crossconveyor extends across the width of the machine, over crossconveyor tape rollers 86 at either side of the machine, one of which is driven by a chain and sprocket drive 89 from a separate motor 88, so that samples thus stripped off onto the cross-conveyor are delivered into a reject hopper (not shown) at the side of the machine.
Since each sample is turned over as it is carried, by one of the suction heads 38 on the sample transfer wheel 35, from the point where it is picked up from the sample conveyor 40 to the point where it is affixed to a carrier sheet, it therefore follows that the samples must be loaded into the magazine 43 of the sample feeder 90 with their face" down and their bottom" surface on top. The bottom" surface of the samples refers to that surface of the sample which will be adhered to a carrier sheet when the sample is affixed thereto and the "face" of a sample is that surface of the sample which will be on top, and which will be visible, after the sample has been affixed to a carrier sheet. A sample which has been separated and conveyed to the stop fingers 39, as previously described, will therefore be picked up by one of the suction heads 38 with its "face against the section head and its "bottom" surface will be the outer surface as it is carried by the section head 38 around the perimeter 151 of the sample transfer wheel 35. The radial distance from the bottom surface of a sample (which is uppermost as the sample lies, face" down in the pickup position on the conveyor 40 with its leading edge in contact with the stop fingers 39) to the center of the sample transfer wheel 35, along a radial line perpendicular to the surface of the sample, is equal to the radius of circle 151, which is the circumferential path traveled by the point where this line meets the bottom," or outer, surface of the sample as the sample is carried around by the suction head 38. The point of tangency between this circle 151 and the bottom surface of the upper conveyor belts 44, will be referred to as the pickup point, 153.
The point of tangency between this circle, 151, and the top surface of a carrier sheet being carried along the main conveyor 30, will be referred to as the affixing point, 154.
The bottom surface of the upper sample conveyor tapes 44 is maintained in a fixed plane spaced from the center of sample transfer wheel 35 by the radius of circle 151. Variations in thickness ofdifferent carrier sheets are accommodated by vertical adjustment of the platen roller 112, which supports the area of the carrier sheet to which a sample is to be affixed, from below, at the affixing point 154, so that the upper surface of the carrier sheet at this point lies in a plane tangent to circle 15] and also spaced from the center of sample transfer wheel 35 by the radius of circle 151. The sample is thus pressed onto the carrier sheet with just the proper pressure between the suction head 38 from above and the supporting platen roller 112 from below.
ln order to accomplish this, the bottom" surface of the sample (which is uppermost) must always lie in the same plane as the bottom surface of the upper sample conveyor tape 44, when the sample is in the pickup position with its leading edge in contact with the stop fingers 39, regardless of the thickness of the particular samples being handled. Since it is a feature of the machine that it is capable of affixing samples of a wide range ofmaterials, which vary widely in size and thickness, the following devices are supplied to accommodate a wide range of sample thicknesses: the upper surface of the lower sample conveyor tapes 45, supported as previously described, may be raised or lowered to accommodate samples of varying thickness. By loosening the upper and lower lock nuts that hold I-bolts 147 in position, the entire lower sample conveyor, including frames 148, may be pivoted about the center of shaft 20, and then locked into position by retightening the upper and lower lock nuts on l-bolts 147, with the lower conveyor frames 148 in the proper position so that a sample of any thickness, within the thickness range for which the particular machine is designed, may be held snugly between the upper conveyor tape 44 and the lower conveyor tapes 45, at the pickup position 153, with its bottom," or uppermost, surface in the fixed plane of the bottom surface of upper sample conveyor tape 44.
At the point where the sample enters onto the sample conveyor, between rollers 150 and 83, the thickness of the sample is accommodated by adjustably swinging the mounting for shaft 82, which carries the upper driven conveyor tape roller 83, as previously described.
The radial distance from the face" of a sample in the pickup position 153, to the center of the sample transfer wheel 35 will therefore vary, depending upon the thickness of the samples being affixed. In order to accomplish the proper pickup of the sample by one of the suction heads 38, it is important that the surface of the suction head 38 just contact the face ofthe sample as the suction head comes in line with the pickup point 153. In order to accomplish this, the suction heads 38 are mounted on the sample transfer wheel 35 by means of a threaded stem 91, by means of which the outer curved surface of the suction head 38 may be positioned adjustably at varying distances from the center of the sample transfer wheel 35. When each suction head 38 has been thus properly adjusted to just contact the face" of a sample in the pickup position 153 each suction head is then locked in this position by tightening the lock nut 155 on the threaded stem 91. The outer (or bottom) surface of the sample will then remain in the path of circle 151 as the sample is carried around the afiixing position 154.
TWO-STREAM OPERATION The description thus far has dealt with the case in which a single stream of carrier sheets is fed by the carrier sheet feeder 29, and a single stream of samples is fed by the sample feeder 90, and affixed thereto. The machine is designed, however, so that two or more streams of samples may be fed by the sample feeder 90 and affixed to a single stream of carrier sheets fed by the carrier sheet feeder 29, and alternatively more than a single stream of carrier sheets may be fed by the carrier sheet feeder 29 and in turn one stream of samples, or more than one stream of samples, may be fed for each stream of carrier sheets. For each additional stream of carrier sheets to be fed by the carrier sheet feeder 29, additional magazines, separating means, pullout rollers and conveying means, all as previously described, are provided across the width of the machine in side by side relationship; and similarly, for each additional stream of samples to be fed by the sample feeder 90, additional magazines, separator mechanism, pullout rollers, conveying means, stop fingers and sample transfer wheels are pro vided in side by side relationship across the width of the machine. FIG. 2A illustrates a cross section, taken along line 2A-2A of FIG. 2, of the sample conveyor means 40 and the cooperating sample transfer wheels 35, for two streams of samples, which may then be aflixed either to a single stream of carrier sheets or to two streams of carrier sheets.
When only a single stream of carrier sheets is being handled with a single stream of sample being affixed thereto, the operation of the detector 42 to detect for the presence or absence of a carrier sheet is as previously described, and no detector is required to determine whether a sample is present or not at the pickup position 153, since in the absence of such a sample no purpose would be served in having the sample reject fingers 46 move into the down, or reject, position. However, whenever more than a single stream of samples is being affixed, either to a single stream of carriers or to more than a single stream of carriers, then a carrier sheet detector 42 is positioned in each stream of carrier sheets, along the main conveyor 30, and, in addition, a sample detector 75 is positioned as shown in FIG. 2, in each stream of samples to sense for the presence or absence of a sample at the pickup point 153 at exactly the same time that the detector or detectors 42 are sensing for the presence or absence of a carrier sheet or sheets on the main conveyor 30. In this case the circuits from these detectors are wired, in a manner which will be illustrated and described in connection with FIG. 15, so that if a carrier sheet is not present in each stream of carrier sheets being fed and if a sample is not present in each stream of samples being fed, then the absence of any carrier or any sample will cause the solenoid 36 to be actuated, and this in turn, through linkage 37, will cause the sample reject stripping fingers 46 to be moved into the down, or reject, position, and in this position any samples which are present in any stream, and are picked up by the appropriate suction head 38, will be stripped therefrom by the reject fingers 46 and delivered out onto the cross-conveyor tape 87, by means of which they will be delivered across the machine into the reject hopper (not shown) at the side of the machine.
18 ALTERNATE SAMPLE-REGISTERING MEANS Instead of the stop fingers 39 and associated linkage 145, and actuating cams 74, an alternate means, shown diagrammatically in FIG. 28, may be used for bringing the samples to the pickup position 153 in register with the suction heads 38. In this case, a timing belt 295 is substituted for the upper conveyor tape 44, with timing belt sprockets 296, 297 and 298 replacing the tape driving roller 83, the idling tape roller 146 and the tape tightener rod respectively. The length of this timing belt is an exact multiple of one-quarter of the circumference of circle 151, and the outer flat surface of this timing belt carries rubber lugs 299 vulcanized thereto, and projecting from the outer flat surface thereof, and spaced apart by a distance exactly equal to one-quarter of the circumference of circle 151. This timing belt is driven at a speed such that its outer flat surface, and the lugs 299 carried thereon, move at exactly the same surface speed as the surface speed of circle 151. Lower conveyor tapes 45 are driven at a somewhat slower speed. The separating mechanism of the sample feeder 90 is timed so that a sample is delivered into the bite of the upper and lower pullout rolls 70 and by them onto the sample conveyor 40 so that the sample is delivered between lower tapes 45 and the flat surface of timing belt 295 and positioned between two of the lugs 299, projecting downwardly from the flat surface of the timing belt 295. The faster speed of the timing belt 295 causes the following lug 299 to catch up with the trailing edge of the sample and thereafter to push against the trailing edge of the sample and move it at the speed of the lugs 299. The lugs 299 are so positioned and driven with respect to the suction heads 38 on the sample transfer wheel 35 that when the sample reaches the pickup position 153 it is in register with one of the suction heads 38, and traveling at the same speed as the suction head. At this point, as described before, suction would be drawn in the suction head 38 whereby the sample would be seized by the suction head and thereafter carried with it through the curvilinear path of circle 151.
Alternatively, a similar result could be achieved by driving the lower conveyor tapes at a speed in excess of the speed of the lugs 299 carried by the timing belt 295, in which case the sample would be carried ahead at a faster rate than the speed of the lugs until the leading edge of the sample contacted the lug ahead, and the sample would thereafter be conveyed at the speed of the lug until it reached the pickup point 153 in register with one of the suction heads 38, at which time the sample would be seized by the suction being drawn at that instant in the suction head 38, which would thereafter carry it around the curvilinear path of circle 151.
TRANSFER WHEEL AND ROTATING SUCTION HEADS Referring specifically to FIGS. 2, 2A, 3, 4 and 5, the sample transfer wheel (or wheels) comprises a disc-shaped member 35, supported on and turning with shaft 13 which is journaled in the main frames 28, and having four suction heads 38, spaced 90 apart, secured thereto at its periphery. Desirably, suction heads 38 are threadably secured on disc-shaped member 35 by threaded nipple connection 91 so as to allow for adjustability of the suction heads 38 with respect to the surface of the face" of a sample to be picked up at the pickup point 153. One of rotating disc member 35 is held against a flat stationary member 92 which has a partially disc-shaped portion which surrounds shaft 13 and is journaled on a rotating hub 300 projecting from the rotating disc-shaped member 35. Member 92 also includes a rectangular-shaped portion which projects towards the delivery end of the machine 26 and terminates in upper and lower arms which project above and below, and are supported by, a stationary sleeve 94 which surrounds shaft 14. The abutting surfaces of rotating disc 35 and the adjacent stationary member 92 are flat and are lapped together to provide close, uniform contact between these two surfaces. Preferably rotating disc 35 is made out of steel and adjacent stationary member 92 is made out of case iron, or the two are made out of other dissimilar metals to provide a good