US 3631979 A
An automatic classifying apparatus for segregating unsatisfactory prints from satisfactory prints subsequent to severing of a strip which consists of randomly distributed satisfactory and unsatisfactory prints. Each unsatisfactory print is identified by a graphite line or another suitable mark which is detected by a scanning unit and serves to initiate the generation of a signal transmitted to a motor for a pivotable platform which directs satisfactory prints into a first tray and defective prints into a second tray. The trays are located downstream of the station where the strip is severed during intervals between stepwise advances by the length of a print.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
ilnite States Patent  Inventors Gerhard Frankiewicz  APPARATUS FOR CLASSIFY IN G PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS OR THE LIKE 7 Claims, 2 Drawing Figs.
[5 2] US. Cl 209/74  Int. Cl B07c 5/00  Field of Search 209/74, 88;
Primary Examiner-Allen N. Knowles Assistant ExaminerGene A. Church Att0rneyMichael S. Striker ABSTRACT: An automatic classifying apparatus for segregating unsatisfactory prints from satisfactory prints subsequent to severing of a strip which consists of randomly distributed satisfactory and unsatisfactory prints. Each unsatisfactory print is identified by a graphite line or another suitable mark which is detected by a scanning unit and serves to initiate the generation of a signal transmitted to a motor for a pivotable platform which directs satisfactory prints into a first tray and defective prints into a second tray. The trays are located downstream of the station where the strip is severed during intervals between stepwise advances by the length of a print.
SHEET 1 OF 2 PATENTED JAN 4 i972 INVENTOR. GERHARD- FRANKIEWICZ FRANZ WIESBECK PATENTEU JAN 4 i972 SHEET 2 BF 2 ll. III I Ill] 0 3 3 l m h 9 8 b H U k h 4 a w M BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to apparatus for classifying photographic prints or like reproductions according to quality. More particularly, the invention relates to improvements in automatic apparatus for segregating satisfactory or unsatisfactory reproductions from a succession of randomly distributed satisfactory and unsatisfactory reproductions.
It is known to convey a strip of satisfactory and unsatisfactory photographic prints past a control stand where a punching apparatus provides each unsatisfactory print with one or more holes to thus indicate that the perforated print is not acceptable for delivery or mailing to the customer. The strip is thereupon severed and the perforated prints are segregated from satisfactory prints to be replaced with new ones which are produced in a separate operation. All such steps are performed by hand.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the invention is to provide a classifying apparatus wherein all unsatisfactory reproductions appearing on a strip in random distribution with satisfactory reproductions are segregated and stacked or otherwise accumulated in a fully automatic way.
Another object of the invention is to provide an apparatus wherein satisfactory photographic prints are segregated from unsatisfactory prints with substantial savings in time and man hours.
A further object of the invention is to provide an apparatus wherein satisfactory prints are not only segregated from unsatisfactory prints but the two sets of prints are neatly stacked or otherwise arrayed to facilitate further processing.
The apparatus of the present invention is utilized for classifying photographic prints or like reproductions wherein first reproductions exhibiting first characteristics are in random distribution and form a succession of reproductions with second reproductions exhibiting different second characteristics, and wherein the second reproductions are provided with detectable identifying indicia. The apparatus comprises transporting means arranged to transport successions of randomly distributed first and second reproductions along a predetermined path, severing means arranged to subdivide each succession into discrete parts each encompassing one of the reproductions, scanning means adjacent to the path and arranged to produce signals in response to detection of such indicia, and a sorting device arranged to segregate the second reproductions from the first reproductions in response to the respective signals.
The scanning device preferably comprises a guide which is adjacent to the discharge end of the path and is movable in response to the signals from a first position in which it directs the first reproductions to a first collecting station to a second position on which it directs the second reproductions to a second collecting station.
The novel features which are considered as characteristic of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The improved classifying apparatus itself, however, both as to its construction and its mode of operation, together with additional features and advantages thereof, will be best understood upon perusal of the following detailed description of certain specific embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of certain components of a classifying apparatus which embodies the invention; and
FIG. 2 is a smaller scale diagrammatic plan view of the entire classifying apparatus.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS drawing illustrates a classifying apparatus for reproductions in the form of photographic prints 3, 3A which form a succession or strip 103 stored on a supply reel 7 which mounted on a hollow rectangular base or support 1. The prints 3 are satisfactory prints and the prints 3A are defective, i.e.. their characteristics are different from those of the prints 3. Each defective print 3A is provided with a readily detectable identifying indicium or mark 3b which is applied thereto in the customary way. Furthennore, each print (i.e., each print 3 and each print 3A) is provided with a second identifying mark 3d which is scanned by a scanning device or detector 11 controlling the operation of a motor 12 (e.g., an electromagnet) which can actuate a severing device or cutter 2 serving to subdivide the strip 103 into discrete prints 3 and 3A. A transporting device including an upper roller 8 located above the path of travel of the strip 103 and a lower roller (not shown) disposed below such path is operated intermittently by a motor 9 so as to advance the strip 103 stepwise, always by the length of a print.
The marks 3d may constitute graphite lines scanned by an element of the device 11 which can determine the conductivity of the passing material. Such marks are preferably applied to the rear sides of the prints 3 and 3A. The motor 9 arrests the rollers 8 whenever the scanning device 11 detects a mark r 3d and the motor 12 for the cutter 2 then receives a signal which is used to initiate severing of the arrested strip 103. The cutter comprises a movable upper knife located above the path of strip 103 and a fixed counterknife mounted in the base below the strip. The freshly severed print 3 or 3A then extends well beyond a shoulder la of the base I provided at the discharge end of the path for the strip 103.
The classifying apparatus further comprises a sorting device including a pivotable guide or platform 4 located at the discharge end of the aforementioned path and tumable about a horizontal axis which is parallel to the direction of transport of prints 3, 3A along the upper side of the base 1. The platform 4 is located below the level of the plane of the strip 103 on the base 1 and includes two parallel edge portions 4a, 4b one of which is closely adjacent to the upper side of the base 1 in each of the two angular positions of the platform 4. The means for pivoting the platform between such end positions through an acute angle alpha, preferably an angle of between 60 and 70 and most preferably an angle of 65; includes a rotary electromagnet 14 which is electrically connected with a second scanning device 13 having a mechanical, pneumatic, conductivity detecting or photoelectric scanning element which detects the presence of marks 3b and causes the electromagnet 14 to change the position of the platform 4. The purpose of the platform 4 is to direct satisfactory prints 3 to a first collecting station which accommodates a first receptacle or tray 6 and to direct defective or unsatisfactory prints 3A to a second collecting station which accommodates a second receptacle or tray 5. The two trays are preferably immediately adjacent to each other and their dimensions are selected in such a way that the prints 3 and 3A are neatly stacked therein, with the image-bearing surfaces facing in the same direction. In each of its two end positions, the platform 4 is oriented in such a way that its upper surface makes an angle of about 35 with the horizontal plane of the path for the strip 103 along the upper side of the base 1. AS shown in FIG. I, the width of the trays 5 and 6 is selected in such a way that each print 3 or 3A is caused to move all the way to the outer longitudinal sidewall of the respective tray. Such positioning of the trays renders it possible to use a given tray for stacking of smaller or larger prints.
The marks 3b are applied to defective prints 3A while the strip 103 is guided past an examining station, not shown. If the marks 3b are in the form of graphite lines, they can be detected by a scanning device which can discriminate between the conductivity of the strip material and that of the graphite lines. If the marks 3b are in the form of notches, holes or the like, they can be detected by a mechanical, photoelectric or pneumatic scanning element. The signals produced by the scanning device 13 are delayed to insure that the platform 4 is pivoted at an optimum time for directing the respective unsatisfactory print 3A into the tray 5.
The motor 9 receives signals from a control circuit 10 which is responsive to signals from the scanning device 11 and which also serves to control the operation of the motor 12 for the movable component of the cutter 2. The line 10a represents an operative connection between the control circuit 10 and the motor 14 for the platform 4. This connection insures that the electromagnet of the motor 14 remains energized for a certain interval of time following severing of an unsatisfactory print 3A, i.e., an interval which is long enough to ensure that the unsatisfactory print 3A slides along the top surface of the platform and into the tray 5. The motor 14 comprises one or more springs which permanently bias the platform 4 to one of its end positions, preferably to that position in which the platform directs satisfactory prints 3 into the tray 6.
An important advantage of the improved apparatus is that the segregation of defective prints 3A from satisfactory prints 3 takes place in a fully automatic way. Also, the trays 5, 6 insure proper stacking of the respective prints. Theprints 3A which accumulate in the tray are thereupon replaced with freshly produced prints of acceptable quality.
Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, be applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features which fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic and specific aspects of our contribution to the art and, therefore, such adaptations should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the claims.
What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims.
1. Apparatus for classifying photographic prints or analogous reproductions wherein first reproductions exhibiting first characteristics as to quality are in random distribution and form a succession of reproductions with second reproductions exhibiting different second characteristics as to quality and wherein the second reproductions are provided with detectable identifying indicia, comprising transporting means arranged to transport successions of randomly distributed first and second reproductions along a predetermined path located in a substantially horizontal plane and having a discharge end; severing means arranged to subdivide each succession into discrete parts each of which encompasses one of the reproductions; scanning means adjacent to said path and arranged to produce signals in response to detection of said indicia; and a sorting device arranged to segregate said second reproductions from said first reproductions in response to said signals, said sorting device comprising a guide which is adjacent to the discharge end of said path and is movable in response to said signals from a first position in which it directs said first reproductions to a first collecting station to a second position in which it directs said second reproductions to a second collecting station, said guide being disposed at a level below said plane and including a platform which is pivotable between said first and second positions about a substantially horizontal axis which is at least substantially parallel to the direction of transport of reproductions along said path, said platform including two elongated edge portions substantially parallel with and flanking said axis, one of said edge portions being closely adjacent to said plane in one position and the other edge portion being closely adjacent to said plane in the other position of said platform.
2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein each of said successions of reproductions forms a strip of exposed photographic prints and wherein said transporting means is arranged to transport the strips stepwise, always by the length of a rim.
3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said sorting device further comprises means for biasing said guide to one of said positions.
4. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said platform is pivotable between said first and second positions through an acute angle.
5. Apparatus as defined in claim 4, wherein between 60 and 70.
6. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, further comprising first and second receptacles respectively disposed at said first and second collecting stations and respectively arranged to receive and to stack said first and second reproductions.
7. Apparatus as defined in claim 6, wherein said receptacles are immediately adjacent to each other.
said angle is