Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3641930 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 15, 1972
Filing dateMar 27, 1969
Priority dateMar 27, 1969
Publication numberUS 3641930 A, US 3641930A, US-A-3641930, US3641930 A, US3641930A
InventorsRiddington Fred W
Original AssigneeSunkist Growers Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for printing indicia on fruit
US 3641930 A
Abstract
As the fruit travels in parallel rows on a conveyor, corresponding rows of travelling printing dies imprint the fruit, the rows of dies being inked by corresponding rotary inking drums. Each inking drum has a ribbon wound on two reels inside the drum with each reel alternately functioning as a takeup reel and as a supply reel.
Images(8)
Previous page
Next page
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Riddington Feb. 15, 1972 [54] APPARATUS FOR PRINTING INDICIA 1,284,031 11/1918 Ahlbul'g ..101/37 X 0N FRUIT 1,715,893 6/1929 Bertinetti et al. .101/336 X 1,950,725 3/1934 Garbell ..l97/l6l [72] Inventor: Fred W. R1dd1ngton, Ontario, Calif. 2 3 79 943 Kennedy et ""101 /336 73 1 5 G J Lo An R 2,645,870 7/1953 Smith et al. ..101/4o x 1 S 2,953,937 9/1960 Johnson, Jr. et al. ..101/336 [22] Filed: Mar. 27, 1969 3,387,557 6/1968 Decker et a1. 101/35 PP 811,181 3,418,926 12/1968 Hakogr ..101/35 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS [52] U.S.C1 ..l0l/35,101/336,197/161 404 5 1934 Great i i 101/33 [51] Int. Cl. ....B4lf 17/34,B41j 33/512 [58] Field of Search 101/35-37, 336, primary Examiner wi1|iam 3 Penn 101/4, 9, 11, 44, 197/151, 153, 160465 Assistant ExaminerClifi'ord D. Crowder Attorney-Paul A. Weilein [56] References Cited STRA T UNITED STATES PATENTS [57] AB C As the fruit travels in parallel rows on a conveyor, correspond- 3,299,804 1/1967 861111616! ..101/35 g rows of travelling p i g i imprint h fruit, h rows 494977 4/1893 cowanw' "197/161 of dies being inked by corresponding rotary inking drums. 746376 12/1903 Prescott" "101/40 Each inking drum has a ribbon wound on two reels inside the 941,130 11/1909 Crook "197/ 161 drum with each reel alternately functioning as a takeup reel 981,808 1/1911 Steele. ..197/151 andasasupply reel. 1,006,814 10/1911 White. 101/44 UX 1,283,579 11/1918 Smith ..101/37X 21 Claims, 20 Drawing Figures APPARATUS FOR PRINTING INDICIA ON FRUIT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to an apparatus of the character disclosed in the Johnson et al. US Pat. No. 3,277,815, which disclosure is hereby incorporated into the present disclosure by reference. The Johnson apparatus conveys the fruit in parallel longitudinal rows with the fruit travelling through an orienting zone before reaching a printing zone. In the orienting zone each fruit is turned to a desirable orientation at which the longitudinal axis of the fruit is horizontal and perpendicular to the direction of travel of the conveyor. In the printing zone, each fruit to be imprinted is briefly supported by a platen and the printing is carried out by rolling contact with the fruit on the part of a die on the periphery of a rotary printing drum. The printing drum rotates in contact with an upper inking drum that carries a suitable inking ribbon.

One object of the invention is to avoid rolling contact of the fruit by a printing die by causing the movement of the printing die to be strictly radial of the fruit.

Another object of the present invention is to provide such an apparatus in which the printing dies automatically accommodate different sizes of fruit with the same predetermined printing pressure on each fruit and another object is to prolong the periods of time in which the dies are in printing contact with the fruit.

Still another object of the invention is to provide an inking drum for cooperation with a continuous series of printing dies wherein an inking ribbon is wound on two reels inside the drum with each of the two reels alternately functioning as a takeup reel and a supply reel.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION As the oriented fruit travels in parallel longitudinal rows on a fruit conveyor, a continuous series of printing elements travel in a closed path above each row of fruit, the closed path having a lower linear run that is parallel with the direction of fruit travel. For this purpose, transverse carriages travel around the closed path with elongated printing means slidingly mounted in the carriages to gravitate into printing contact with the fruit. The distance that each printing means gravitationally slides downwardly to contact a fruit depends on the diameter of the fruit and in each instance the printing pressure is the weight of the printing means.

As each elongated slidable printing means enters the lower linear run of the closed path, means to limit the downward movement of the printing means progressively shifts to permit the printing means to progressively descend. Consequently a printing means remains in contact with a relatively large fruit longer than it remains in contact with a relatively small fruit, but the printing pressure is the same in both instances since it is determined solely by the weight of the printing means.

To carry out this concept of gradually lowering a printing means into contact with a travelling fruit, each of the transverse carriages comprises two transverse carriage frames with the elongated printing means slidingly mounted in one frame and with the spacing of the two frames relative to each other determining the freedom for gravitational movement of the printing means into contact with the travelling fruit. To control the spacing between the two frames and thus control the gravitation of the printing means, the two frames are guided respectively by two closed-loop conveyor tracks. As the traveling printing elements on a carriage enter the lower linear run immediately above the travelling fruit, the two frames of the carriage are at maximum spacing to limit the gravitational movement of the printing mean towards the travelling fruit. 'The spacing between the two frames then progressively decreases to progressively lower the printing means and then the spacing between the two frames progressively expands to progressively elevate the printing means.

Each printing means of each travelling row of printing means that cooperates with a corresponding longitudinal row of travelling fruit makes contact with an inking ribbon on a corresponding overhead inking drum. The inking ribbon is wound on two reels insidethe inking drum 1 each of the two reels functioning alternately as a takeup reel and a supply reel with the functions automatically reversed as the two opposite ends of the travelling ribbon are approached. For this purpose, two actuators for the two reels respectively are alternately made effective by control means that responds to change in the relative amounts of the inking ribbon that are wound on the two reels respectively.

In the presently preferred embodiment of the invention, each actuator is intermittently driven by increments by a corresponding bellcrank, one arm of which extends outwardly from the rotary inking drum for intermittent actuating impact against cooperative fixed means adjacent the drum. Each driving bellcrank" is spring biased against a corresponding stop means on the drum and is swung away from the stop means by the intermittent impacts. Thus, each driving bell crank oscillates intermittently with the magnitude of the oscillation determined by the adjustment of the cooperative stop means. A one-way clutch connects each oscillating driving bellcrank to the corresponding actuator for intermittent rotation of the actuator in one rotary direction.

Each of the two actuators is made effective to drive the corresponding reel by a corresponding clutch or equivalent means that functions to releasably connect the actuator to the reel. In this instance the equivalent of a clutch comprises a gear unitary with the reel, a second adjacent coaxial actuating gear, and a third gear that is movable from a retracted idle position into an effective position in mesh with both of the two gears hereby to operatively interconnect the two gears. Since the third gear functions as a clutch it may be aptly termed a clutch gear.

For alternating the functions of the two reels, two means are provided to sense the amount of inking ribbon that is wound on the two reels respectively and the two clutch gears are mounted on opposite arms of a control rocker that responds to the sensing means, one clutch gear being effective at one limit position of the control rocker and the other clutch gear being effective at the other limit portion.

A feature of the invention is that each of the two sensing means varies the position of the corresponding stop means for the corresponding actuating bellcrank to progressively reduce the increments of rotation of whichever reel is functioning as a takeup reel. The progressive reduction in the increment compensates for the fact that increase in diameter of the wound ribbon on the'takeup reel increases the increment of travel of the inking ribbon caused by a given increment of rotation of the reel. Thus, compensating for the changing diameter of wound ribbon makes the incremental advance of the ribbon substantially constant.

Two pawls function alternately to latch the control rocker at its two opposite limit positions respectively. As the inking ribbon approaches each of its two opposite limits of travel, the sensing means that cooperates with the currently functioning pickup reel progressively builds up spring pressure against the control rocker and then the sensing means releases the currently effective latching paw to release the control rocker from its limit position. The accumulated spring pressure rocks the control rocker to its opposite limit position where it is automatically latched by the other paw, with consequent reversing of the functions of the two reels.

The various features and advantages of the invention may be understood from the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings which are to be regarded as merely illustrative:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the presently preferred embodiment of the apparatus;

FIG. 1-A is a fragmentary sectional view taken along the line lAl-A of FIG. 1; FIG. 2 is a fragmentary elevational view showing some of the overhead inking drums that ink corresponding rows of travelling printing dies;

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal vertical section along the line 33 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 4 is a transverse vertical section taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary section as seen along the line 5-5 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary vertical section taken along the line 66 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary section along'the line 77 of FIG. 4 showing how an elongated printing die is slidingly mounted in a corresponding transverse carriage;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary elevational view showing portions of the two track means for the carriages that carry the slidable printing dies;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged sectional view of a printing drum as seen along the line 9-9 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 10 s an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a printing drum taken as indicated by the line I0-10 of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken as indicated by the angular line 1 1-11 of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view as seen along the line 12-12 of FIG. 9 showing the construction of a control rocker and associated mechanism for periodically reversing the functions of the two inking ribbon reels;

FIG. 13 is an enlarged fragmentary section along the line 13- 13 of FIG. 9 showing a portion of the control rocker together with associated components;

FIG. 14 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 9 showing how the two halves of a printing drum may be swung apart for access to the interior of the drum FIG. 15 is a view similar to FIG. 4 illustrating a modification of the invention which relates to the printing elements and the carriages on which the printing elements are slidingly mounted;

FIG. 16 is a fragmentary section along the line I6I6 of FIG. I5 showing how the elongated printing elements are slidingly mounted on the carriage;

FIG. 17 is a fragmentary section along the line 17I7 of FIG. 15 showing how an elongated printing element gravitates into contact with the travelling fruit;

FIG. 18 is a fragmentary section along the line 18-18 of FIG. 15 showing the construction of detent means for a rotary head of a printing element; and

FIG. 19 is a section along the line 19l9 of FIG. 15 showing the construction of a control mechanism for adjusting the rotary printing elements while the apparatus is in operation.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION General Arrangement The apparatus comprises essentially: a fruit conveyor, generally designated 20, having a inclined orienting zone equipped with side rails 22 and further having a marking or printing zone inside an upright rectangular frame 24; a marking or printing mechanism, generally designated 25, equipped with printing elements or dies 26 mounted on shanks 27; and finally a plurality of coaxial inking drums 88 on a transverse shaft 30 to ink the printing elements. The fruit conveyor has a drive sprocket 32 on a drive shaft 33; the parking mechanism has a drive sprocket 34 on a drive shaft 35; and a drive sprocket 36 for the inking drums 28 is mounted on the shaft 30. A motor 38 drives a sprocket 40 by means of gearing in a gearbox 42 and the sprocket 40 actuates a continuous sprocket chain 44 that engages the three drive sprockets 32, 34, and 36, the sprocket chain additionally engaging an idler sprocket 45 that may be adjusted in a well-known manner to tighten the sprocket chain.

The fruit conveyor 20 is of the general character shown and described in the above-mentioned Johnson patent. The fruit conveyor has two endless sprocket chains 46 on its opposite sides which pass around corresponding drive sprockets 48 (FIG. 3) on the drive shaft 33 at the discharge end of the conveyor and pass around corresponding sprockets 50 (FIG. 1) on a cross shaft 52 at the feed end of the conveyor. The two opposite ends of the shaft 52 are journaled in corresponding bearing blocks 54 which are slidable in frames 55 to permit the two sprocket chains to be tightened by adjustment screws 56.

As shown in cross section in FIGS. 3 and 4, the travelling bed of the fruit conveyor is formed by a series of closely spaced transverse hollow shafts 558, the opposite ends of which are supported by the two sprocket chains 46 respectively. In the construction shown each hollow shaft 58 is rotatably mounted on two opposite end axles 60 by suitable bearings (not shown) inside the hollow shaft, each axle being carried by the corresponding sprocket chain 46. The two axles 60 extend beyond the corresponding sprocket chains to carry corresponding guide rollers 62, the guide rollers cooperating with upper and lower channel-shaped guide tracks 64.

Each of the hollow shafts 58 carries a series of rubber sleeves having circumferential ridges 66, the sleeves being aligned in rows longitudinally of the conveyor. Pairs of the sleeves 65 on the successive hollow shafts 58 cooperate to form four-point supports for the individual fruit and the hollow shafts 58 are caused to rotate in the orienting zone of the conveyor to orient the fruit correctly for the printing zone of the conveyor. If the fruit is elongated, for example, if lemons are being marked, the fruit is oriented with its longitudinal axis horizontal and perpendicular to the direction of travel of the conveyor.

To cause the hollow shafts 58 to rotate for this purpose, the opposite side rails 22 in the orienting zone of the conveyor carry corresponding longitudinal friction bars 68, as shown in FIG. I-A, to contact the upper sides of the travelling hollow shafts. In the construction shown, each of the side bars 22 is in the room of an angle iron mounted on the corresponding track 64 and a channel iron is mounted on the angle iron for the purpose of supporting the corresponding friction bar 68. Each friction bar 68 has two upright pins 72 that are slidingly mounted in bores in the channel iron 70 and each of the pins is surrounded by a corresponding coil spring 74 that presses downwardly against a collar 75 on the pin to urge the friction bar downwardly against the peripheries of the travelling hollow shafts 5. Preferably each of the friction bars 68 is provided with a facing 76 of suitable material that has a high coefficient of friction with respect to the surfaces of the hollow shafts.

As the longitudinal rows of downwardly extending printing dies 26 travel, forward in synchronism with the fruit, the dies descend to contact the successive fruit in each row. As the rows of printing dies 26 return on the upper runs of their closed paths, they make contact with the corresponding overhead inking drums 28.

The Printing Mechanism Referring first to FIGS. 1 and 3, the printing mechanism 25 includes two parallel continuous sprocket chains 78 which form closed loops at opposite sides of the mechanism, each chain engaging a corresponding drive sprocket 80 on the previously mentioned drive shaft 35 and engaging a second idler sprocket 82 on a second shaft 84. Thus, each chain has a lower linear run just above the travelling fruit and an upper return run where the printing dies 26 make contact with the corresponding inking drums 28. As shown in FIG. 4, the drive shaft 35 is joumaled at its opposite ends in bearings 85 that are mounted on opposite side plates 86 of the apparatus frame and the second shaft 84 is mounted in the same manner.

As shown in FIG. 3, each of the two side plates 86 provides a continuous inner track 88 in the form of continuous groove that conforms to the closed loops of the two continuous sprocket chains 78. In the same manner, the two side plates 86 form continuous outer tracks 90 in the form of continuous grooves, the outer tracks surrounding the inner tacks 88.

As shown in FIG. 8, each of the two side plates 86 may have a separate overlapping adjustable end section 92 which is retained by suitable screws 94 that extend through corresponding horizontal slots 95 of the end section. Whenever desired, the screws 94 may be loosened to permit adjustment of the end sections 92 of the side plates to vary the dimension of the closed loops that are formed by the inner and outer tracks 88 and 90.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, each printing die 26 is pivotally mounted on the corresponding shank 27 by a pair of studs 98 to permit the printing die to accommodate itself to the peripheral surfaces of the successive fruit. The shanks 27 of the printing dies are of square cross section as may be seen in FIG. 5 but may be rectangular, if desired, and are slidingly mounted in a series of transverse carriages 100, the opposite ends of which are mounted on the two sprocket chains 78 respectively.

In the construction shown, each of the carriages 100 is made in two sections which comprise what may be termed a main frame 102 and an auxiliary frame 104. As shown in FIG. 6, each of the two ends of each of the main frames 102 is formed by a pair of parallel plates 105, the two plates being interconnected by two coextensive bars 106 and 108. Each of the bars 108 carries a pair of spaced guide rollers 110 which ride in the corresponding inner track 88. The pair of plates 105 at one end of each main frame are connected to the pair of plates 105 at the opposite end of the frame by a pair of channel-shaped bars 112, the two bars being spaced from the plates 105 by spacer blocks 114.

The two ends of each auxiliary frame 104 are formed by thick plates 115 respectively that extend between the corresponding end plates 105 of the main frame 102 and are slidable relative o the corresponding main frame 102. In the construction shown at least one of the thick end plates 115 of each auxiliary frame 104 carries a transverse pin 116 which extends into a corresponding guide slot 118 in the corresponding plates 105 of the main frame 102. The thick plate 115 at one end of the auxiliary frame 104 is connected to the thick plate 115 at the other end by a pair of parallel thin plates 120, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, the parallel thin plates being attached by screws 122 to blocks 124 that are welded to the inner edges of the thick plates. Each of the opposite ends of each of the auxiliary frames 104 carries a single-guide roller 125 which rides in the previously mentioned outer track 90.

The shanks 27 that carry the printing die 26 are slidingly mounted in the carriages 100, there being as many of the printing dies and corresponding shanks on each carriage as there are longitudinal rows of travelling fruit on the fruit conveyor 20. In the construction shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, each of the shakes 27 is slidingly mounted in a corresponding guide channel 126 and each of the guide channels is formed by a pair of channel-shaped guide members 127 that are secured between the two bars 120 of the auxiliary frame 104 by suitable screws 128. One end of each of the shanks 27 is provided with a transverse pin 132 and the guide members 127 of the auxiliary frame 104 serve as stops for the transverse pins. The other end of each of the shanks is provided with a similar cross pin 334 and the two parallel bars 112 of the main frame 102 serve as stops for the cross pins 134.

Since the auxiliary frame 104 of each carriage serves as a stop for the inner transverse pin 132 of the shank 27 of each printing element 26 and the main frame 102 serves as a stop for the outer transverse pin 134 of each shank, the freedom for a printing element to move outwardly from the main frame 102 is determined by the position of the auxiliary frame 104 relative to the main frame. Thus, to increase the range of freedom for outward movement of the printing elements relative to a carriage, the auxiliary frame 104 of the carriage must shift outwardly relative to the main frame 102 of the carriage.

Since the main frames 102 of the carriages are controlled by the inner continuous track 88 and the auxiliary frames 104 of the carriages are controlled by the outer continuous track 90, he range of outward movement of the printing elements may be increased along the lower linear run of the carriage path of offsetting the outer track 90 outwardly from the inner track 88. For this purpose, as shown in FIG. 3, the outer track has an outward or downward offset in its lower run, the offset having a first leg 135 which is inclined downwardly to move the auxiliary frames 104 downwardly and a second return leg 136 for return upward movement of the auxiliary frames. Thus, the two closed-loop tracks 88 and 90 are at uniform spacing except for the offset in the lower run of the outer track.

Operation of the Printing Mechanism Referring to the upper portion of FIG. 3, when the carriages traverse the upper return run of the carriage track 88, each of the printing elements 26 is suspended from the carriage by contact of the outer stop pin 134 of the shanks 27 of the printing element with the two parallel bars 112 of the main frame 102. In this manner the printing elements 26 are moved horizontally past the undersides of the corresponding rotating inking drums 28 for inking of the printing elements by the corresponding inking ribbons.

When a carriage 100 enters the lower linear run of the carriage track 88 as shown in the lower portion of FIG. 3, the auxiliary frame 104 of each carriage is above the carriage instead of below the carriage and, therefore, the auxiliary frame cooperates with the manner stop pins 132 of the printing elements to limit the gravitational downward movement of the printing elements. Until each carriage reaches the downward offset in the outer track 90, the printing elements on the car riage are held in upwardly retracted positions.

When a carriage reaches the first leg of the downward offset of the outer track 90, the auxiliary frame 104 of the carriage progressively shifts downwardly for progressive increase in the freedom or downward gravitational movement of the printing element 2 on the carriage. Then, when the carriage reaches the second leg 136 of the offset, the auxiliary carriage 104 of the carriage is returned upward to its normal position relative to the main frame 102 of the carriage.

By virtue of the described arrangement, when a shank 27 carrying a printing element 26 reaches the first leg 135 of the offset in the track 90, the shank descends to lower the corresponding printing element onto a corresponding fruit on the conveyor and if the fruit is relatively large the auxiliary frame 102 continues to descend while the downward movement of the printing element is interrupted by the fruit. Subsequently, the auxiliary frame 104 returns upwardly and if the fruit that is being imprinted is of relatively large diameter, the auxiliary frame initially travels upwardly without engaging the stop pin 132 of the shank, but subsequently engages the stop pin 132 of the printing element to retract the printing element from the travelling fruit.

It is apparent that the extent of downward movement of printing element towards the travelling fruit depends upon the diameter of the fruit, greater downward travel being necessary to contact relatively small fruit. It is also apparent that the duration of the contact of a printing element with the surface of a fruit is also determined by the size of the fruit, the duration of the printing contact being relatively long for a fruit that is of relatively large diameter. It is important to note, however, that since the pressure of a printing element against the fruit is determined solely by the combined weight of the printing element and the shank 27 on which it is mounted, the printing pressure is the same for all sizes of fruit.

A feature of the invention is that the movement of a printing element into and out of contact with fruit is along a path that is strictly radial of the fruit with the printing die and the fruit travelling synchronously as long as the printing contact lasts. Thus, there is no tendency for a printing element to blur the imprint on the fruit. In contrast, a printing element that travels in a circular orbit tangentially of the fruit does not exert uniform pressure on the fruit.

From the foregoing description of the printing mechanism it may be understood that the pin 13 on each shank 27 of a printing element and the auxiliary frame of the corresponding carriage constitute cooperative means on the printing element an carriage respectively to limit movement of the printing element outwardly of the closed path of the carriage and that the cooperative means are effective to increase the freedom for outward movement of the printing element in the course of the traverse by the carriage of the lower run of the closed path.

Construction of the Inking Drums The number of inking drums 28 on the shaft 30 corresponds to the number of rows of printing elements 26 of the printing mechanism 25 which, in turn, corresponds to the number of longitudinal rows of fruit carried by the conveyor 20.

Each of the inking drums 28, which may be aptly termed a rotary support, has a backwall 138, a cylindrical wall 140, and a removable cover 142. As shown in FIG. 14, each inking drum 28 is made in two sections that meet along a diametrical line and the two sections are interconnected by a hinge 144 so that the two sections may be swung apart for removal of the drum from the shaft 30 and for access to the interior of the drum. Normally, the two sections of the inking drum are locked together by a screw 145 which is accessible through a small opening 146 in the cylindrical wall of the drum.

As shown in cross section in FIG. 12, the outer surface of the cylindrical wall 140 of each inking drum is cut away to form a guide channel 148 for an inking ribbon 150 and, as indicated in FIG. 9, this channel is covered by two arcuate peripheral plates 152 on the two sections respectively of the inking drum. The arcuate peripheral plates 152 are provided with spaced windows 154 for exposing the printing ribbon to the printing elements 26 of the printing mechanism.

The opposite ends of the inking ribbon 150 are wound on two reels 155 and 156, each of which serves alternately as a supply reel and as a takeup reel, the two reels being mounted respectively on the two halves of the backwall 138 of the inking drum. Referring to FIG. 9, if for example the reel 155 is functioning as the supply reel, the inking ribbon supplied by the reel passes over a guide surface provided by the hub of a bellcrank 158 and then passes around a rounded edge 160 of the cylindrical wall 140 of the drum. The inking ribbon then enters the previously mentioned guide channel 148 to pass around the circumference of the inking drum to a second rounded edge 162 of the cylindrical wall, the inking ribbon finally passing over a guide surface that is provided by a second bellcrank 164 that is associated with the second reel 156.

Referring to FIG. 10, the reel 16 is fixedly mounted on a hub 165 of a corresponding thin gear 166 that lies against one sidewall of the reel. In the construction shown, a tongue 168 of the reel that is formed by lancing the sheet metal of he reel extends into a corresponding recess of the gear hub 165 to key the reel to the gear hub 165.

The gear hub 165 is rotatably mounted on a stub shaft 170 that is joumaled in the backwall 138 of the inking drum and that fixedly carries a corresponding bellcrank 172. The bell crank 172 has A FIRST ACTUATING arm 174 (FIGS. 9 and 12) on the outer side of the backwall 138 of the drum and has a second arm 175 on the inner side of the backwall.

As will be explained, the bellcrank 172 oscillates the stub shaft 170 and thus actuates one-way clutch 176 on the stub shaft to cause intermittent rotation of a second thin actuating gear 178 that is fixedly mounted on the one-way clutch. The actuating thin gear 178 is adjacent to and coextensive with the first-mentioned thin gear 166 and has the same number of teeth. A coil spring 180 inside the gear hub 165 acts between the gear hub and a collar 182 that backs against a snap ring 184, the coil spring being thus effective to urge the stub shaft 170 to the left as viewed in FIG. 10, thereby to urge the second thin gear 178 into frictional contact with the first thin gear 166.

If the reel 155 is to function as a takeup reel, the reel is operatively connected to the corresponding thin actuating gear 178 in a suitable manner to be intermittently rotated by the actuating gear. On the other hand, if the reel is to serve as a supply reel, it is disconnected from the actuating gear 178 but is maintained in frictional contact with the actuating gear to provide frictional resistance to unwinding rotation of the reel. It is to be noted that when the reel functions as a supply reel in this manner, the associated actuating gear 178 with which it is frictionally related is intermittently rotated oppositely from the direction of unwinding rotation of the reel.

As shown in FIG. 10, the bellcrank 164 that is associated with the reel 156 has a sensing arm 185 that carries a roller 186 in contact with the inking ribbon that is wound on the reel and the bellcrank has a stop arm 200 that cooperates with a stop pin 202 on the second arm 175 of the previously mentioned bellcrank 172. A suitable spring 204 connected to the stop arm 200 of the bellcrank 164 urges the bellcrank counterclockwise to maintain the roller 186 in contact with the wound inking ribbon on reel 156 and a similar spring 205 connected to the second arm 175 of the bellcrank 172 urges the bellcrank 172 clockwise to urge a stop pin 202 on the second arm towards the stop arm 200 of the bellcrank 164.

Associated with the other reel is structure similar to the described structure that is associated with the reel 156. Thus, the reel 155 is mounted on the hub of a second thin gear 166 (FIG. 12) continuous to a second thin gear 178, The reel 155 is mounted on a second stub shaft that carries a second one-way clutch 176 to actuate a second thin actuating gear 178.

A bellcrank 206 fixedly mounted on the second stub shaft 170 has the same function as the bellcrank 172, the bellcrank 206 having a first actuating arm 208 and a second arm 210. The previously mentioned bellcrank 158 that is associated with the reel 155 has a sensing arm 212 that carries a roller 214 in contact with the inking ribbon that is wound on the reel 155 and has a second stop arm 215 to cooperate with a stop pin 216 on the second arm 210 of the bellcrank 206. A suitable spring 218 acting on the stop arm 215 urges the bellcrank 158 clockwise to maintain the roller 214 against the wound inking ribbon in the reel 155 and a similar spring 220 acting on the second arm 210 of the bellcrank 206 urges the bellcrank 206 clockwise to urge the stop pin 216 thereon towards the stop arm 215 of the bellcrank 158. Oscillation of the bellcrank 206 intermittently rotate the second thin gear 178 by means of the second one-way clutch 176.

Associated with each of the rotary inking drums 28 is a corresponding fixed means which lies in the path of the actuating arms 174 and 208 of the two bellcranks 172 and 206 to make impact therewith to cause the actuating arms of the bellcranks to swing rearwardly with respect to the direction of rotation of the rotary inking drum. For this purpose, as shown in FIG. 2, a fixed frame member 222 extends across the row of inking drums 28 and carries a series of fixed means in the form of fingers 224 to cooperate with the inking drums respectively. Preferably, each fixed finger 224 is equipped with a suitable roller for contact with the actuating arms of the two bellcranks. After each impact the bellcranks 172 and 206 are returned to their normal positions by the corresponding springs 205 and 220 so that each of the bellcranks oscillates once on each rotation of the inking drum.

Since the spring-actuated return movement of the bellcrank 172 associated with reel 156 is determined by the angular position of the stop arm 200 of the bellcrank 164 and the return movement of the bellcrank 206 associated with reel 155 is determined by the angular position of the stop arm 215 of the bellcrank 158, it is apparent that in each case the magnitude of the return movement of the bellcrank is determined by the quantity of inking ribbon that is wound on the corresponding reel. Thus, when either one of the two reels is functioning as a takeup reel the increments of intermittent winding rotation of the reel transmitted by the corresponding one-way clutch 176 progressively decrease as the diameter of the wound inking ribbon increases, the decrease in the incre ments of rotation of the reel compensating for the larger diameter of the wound inking ribbon on the reel.

Associated with the reel 155 is a gear 225 (FIGS. 9 and 10) which may be termed a clutch gear since it serve the purpose of releasably connecting the reel 155 to the corresponding intermittently rotated actuating gear 178. In like manner, a clutch gear 226 is associated with the second reel 156 for the same purpose. Each of the two clutch gears 225 and 226 is of sufficient thickness to mesh simultaneously with the thin gears 166 and 178 that are associated with the corresponding reel and it is apparent that when the clutch gear meshes with the two thin gears it effectively interconnects the two in gears for simultaneous rotation. Thus, moving a clutch gear 225 and 226 into mesh with the corresponding thin gears 166 and 178 causes the corresponding reel 155 or 156 to function as a takeup reel and, on the other hand, retracting a clutch gear 225 or 226 out of mesh with the two corresponding thin gears 166 and 178 disconnects the corresponding reel from the corresponding thin gear 178 to permit the reel to function as a supply reel.

The two clutch gears 225 and 226 move into the effective positions alternately, it being contemplated that when a predetermined maximum quantity of inking ribbon is wound onto a reel while the reel is acting as a takeup reel, the clutch gear corresponding to that reel will be moved out of its effective position and the clutch gear associated with the other reel will be moved into it effective position. Any suitable control means may be provided to shift the two clutch gears 225 and 226 oppositely for the purpose of reversing the direction of travel of the inking ribbon whenever a predetermined maximum quantity of inking ribbon is wound onto whichever reel is functioning as the takeup reel In the construction shown in FIGS. 9-12, the control means for reversing the travel of the inking ribbon comprises a rocker, generally designated 228, that carries the two clutch gears 225 and 226. The rocker 228 comprises a disc 230 which is journaled on a spindle 232, the two clutch gears 225 and 226 being mounted on the opposite ends of a bar 234 that is fixedly mounted on the disc by suitable screws 235. As best shown in FIG. 13, the spindle 232 may be carried by mounting block 236 that is attached to the backwall 138 of the inking drum by suitable screws 238.

The disc 230 of the rocker 228 has a left notch 240 for engagement by a left pawl 242 on a pivot 244 and the disc has a right notch 245 for cooperation with a right pawl 24 on a pivot 248, both pawls being spring 11 biased towards the disc. As viewed in FIG. 9, the upper portion of the disc 230 carries a transverse block or cleat 250, the opposite ends of which seat corresponding coil springs 252 and 254. Rotatably mounted on the outer end of the spindle 232 is a left arm 25 that seats the second end of the coil spring 252 and a similar right arm 256 that seats the second end of the coil spring 254. Counterclockwise rotation of the left arm 255 by the left spring 252 is limited by a pin 257 on the disc 230 and clockwise rotation of the right arm 256 by the right spring 254 is limited by a similar pin 258. The left arm 255 carries an adjustable screw 259 in the path of rotation of the sensing arm 212 of the bellcrank 158 that is associated with the left reel 155 and in like manner the right arm 256 carries an adjustable screw 260 that extends into the path of rotation of the sensing arm 185 of the bellcrank 164 that is associated with the second reel 156.

In FIG 9 the clutch gear 226 is in its effective position in mesh with the right thin gears 166 and 178 for intermittent rotation of the right reel 156 to cause the right reel to function as a takeup reel and therefore the diameter of the body of inking ribbon that is wound onto the right reel progressively increases to cause corresponding progressive clockwise rotation of the right bellcrank 164. At this time the clutch gear 225 is reacted to its ineffective position to permit the left reel 155 to serve as a supply reel, the supply reel being frictionally retarded in the manner heretofore explained to keep the inking ribbon under light tension.

As the diameter of the body of inking ribbon hat is wound on the right reel 156 increases, the changing angle of the stop arm 200 of the bellcrank 164 progressively decreases the increments of intermittent rotation of the reel to compensate for the increasing diameter of the wound body of inking ribbon. When the body of wound inking ribbon on the reel 156 approaches a relatively large diameter, the sensing arm 185 of the bellcrank 164 moves against the right screw 260 to progressively lift the right arm 25 and thereby progressively compress the right coil spring 254. In this manner the rocker 228 is urged counterclockwise but is prevented from rotating counterclockwise by the engagement of the right pawl 246 with the right notch 245 of the disc.

When the predetermined maximum quantity of inking ribbon is wound on the reel 156, a pin 262 carried by the right arm 256 contact the right pawl 246 and cams the right pawl out of engagement with the notch 245. With the right coil spring 254 more highly stressed in compression than the left coil spring 252, the release of the disc by the right pawl 246 causes the disc to rotate counterclockwise and thus permit the left pawl 242 to snap into engagement with the left notch 240. In this manner, the rocker 228 is rotated counterclockwise from a position at which the right clutch gear 226 is effective to a position at which the left clutch gear 225 is effective. Consequently, the functions of the two reels are reversed, the reel 156 changing from a takeup reel to a supply reel and the reel 155 changing from a supply reel to a takeup reel. Subsequently when the predetennined quantity of inking ribbon is wound on the left reel 155, a pin 263 carried by the left arm 255 cams the left pawl 242 out of engagement with the left notch 240.

From the foregoing description of the mechanism of an inking drum, it is apparent that the actuator for the right reel 156 includes the right bellcrank 172 and the corresponding oneway clutch 176 and that the means to releasably connect this right actuator to the right reel includes the right clutch gear 226. In like manner, the actuator for the left reel 155 includes the left bellcrank 206 together with the corresponding oneway clutch 176 and the means to releasably connect this left actuator to the left reel 155 includes the left clutch gear 225. It is further apparent that each of the two actuators or actuating means is driven by a bellcrank which is periodically oscillated by fixed means in the path of orbital movement of an actuating arm of the bellcrank.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the peripheral rate of rotation of the inking drums 28 is the same as the speed of return travel of the printing elements on the carriages and the rotation of the inking drums is synchronized with the printing elements to cause the inking windows of the drum to register with the successive printing elements. The inking ribbon in each drum advances by one increment on each rotation of the inking drum an the inking ribbon in each drum periodically reverses its direction of travel past the inking windows.

Modification of the Printing Mechanism Shown in FIGS. 15-19 The structure of the modified printing mechanism shown in FIGS. 15-19 is largely similar to the structure of the first described printing mechanism as indicated by the cause of corresponding numerals to indicate corresponding parts.

Each carriage 100a comprises a main frame 102a and an auxiliary frame 104a. In general, the main frame 102a is of the same construction as the previously described main frame 102 but differs in that it includes guide channels 126a for the shanks 27a of the printing elements, each guide channel being formed by a pair of guide members 127a. Each of the auxiliary frames 1040 has the usual two opposite end plates a which are slidingly confined by the main frame 102a and the two end plates are interconnected by a pair of narrow channel members 164 which also are equipped with guide channels 126a for the shanks 27a, each guide channel being formed by a pair of confronting guide members 127a. Thus, the carriages 100a differ from the previously described carriages 100 in providing two aligned guide channels 126a for each of the shanks 27a.

The structure of the printing mechanism shown in FIGS. 15-19 also differ from the previously described printing mechanism in that it incorporates provisions for changing the printing elements to change the indicia on the travelling fruit without the necessity of stopping the apparatus for the purpose of making such a change. To this end each shank 27a is provided with a pair of bracket arms 265 to carry a rotatable die head 266, the die head being mounted on a short shaft 268 that is journaled in the two bracket arms. The rotatable die head 266 is shown as being divided into four quadrants with four different printing dies 270 in the four quadrants, although it will be understood that the head divisions may be increased or decreased to accommodate a greater or lesser number of dies.

It is contemplated that suitable detent means will yieldingly maintain each rotatable printing head 266 at whichever of its four operating positions it may be placed. For this purpose, the arrangement may be used that is shown in FIG. 18 wherein a detent ball 272 mounted in a bore in one of the bracket arms 265 is urged by a coil spring 274 to cooperate selectively with four detent recesses 275 in the shaft 268.

For the purpose of rotating all of the die heads 266 by 90 in unison whenever desired, each of the shafts 268 is provided with a star wheel 276 of the special shape shown in FIG. 19 to cooperate with a corresponding roller 278 on a corresponding finger 280. All of the fingers 280 are mounted on a transverse rod 282 the opposite ends of which are joumaled in bearings 284 on the apparatus frame. Associated with at least one of the two bearings 284 is a suitable torque spring 285 that acts between the rod 282 and the bearing to bias the rod to a rotary position at which each of the fingers 280 is elevated to an ineffective position that is indicated in dotted lines in FIG. 19. At least one end of the cross rod 282 is provided with a radial handle 286 by means of which the cross rod may be manually rotated to swing each of the fingers 280 downwardly to an effective position shown in full lines in FIG. 19.

When the operator decides to change the indicia that is printed on the travelling fruit, the operator manipulates the handle 286 to swing all of the fingers 280 downwardly to their effective positions with the consequence that as each rotatable printing head 266 travels past the corresponding finger 280, the roller 278 on the finger encounters the star wheel 276 of the rotatable heads, thereby causing 90 of rotation on the part of each rotatable head. When all of the rotatable heads have been rotated 90, the operator releases the radial handle 286 to permit the fingers 280 to return to their normal positions.

For clarity, the present invention has been described for the printing of fruit, however, it will be appreciated that in its broad concept other objects than fruit may be imprinted. The invention is not therefore to be limited in its use to fruit.

My description in specific detail of the selected embodiment of the invention together with the modified structure will suggest various changes, substitutions, and other departures from my disclosure.

l claim: 1. Means to imprint successive objects in a row that moves longitudinally along a linear path of travel, comprising:

conveyor means synchronized with the travel of the objects along said linear path and moving along a closed path with a portion of one side of the closed path extending linearly in the direction of the linear path near the linear path and parallel thereto, the opposite side of the closed path being the return side; and a series of printing elements carried by the conveyor means and movable relative to said conveyor in directions outwardly and inwardly of the closed path in a plane including said linear path of travel as said printing elements move along said portion of one side of the closed path,

said printing elements being responsive to travel along the closed path to move in a direction outwardly of the closed path and normally of said objects, into contact with the travelling objects and back out of contact therewith as the printing elements traverse said portion of said one side of the closed path whereby the printing elements are in fixed positions relative to the objects as long as they are in contact with the objects,

said printing elements being biased in a direction inwardly of said return side of the closed path;

stop means carried by the conveyor means and travelling therewith to limit the movement of the printing elements in a direction inwardly of said return side of the closed path at a retracted position of the printing elements whereby the printing elements are in their retracted positions along the return side of the closed path;

and inking means positioned to contact the printing elements at their retracted positions on the return side of the closed path.

2. A combination as set forth in claim 1 in which said one side of the closed path is above the path of travei of the objects whereby the printing elements are gravitationally biased downwardly towards said objects from said one side of the closed path. I

3. Means to imprint successive objects of a row of objects with the row moving longitudinally along a path of travel, comprising:

continuously moving conveyor means synchronized with the travel of the objects and moving along a closed path with one side of the closed path near said path of travel of the objects, the opposite side of the closed path being the return side;

a series of successive carriages on said conveyor means spaced apart in accord with the spacing of the objects in the row;

a corresponding series of elongated printing means mounted on the respective carriages with freedom for longitudinal movement relative to said carriages in directions inwardly and outwardly of the closed path,

said printing means being biased in a direction outwardly of said one side of the closed path for contact with the successive objects;

stop means on the respective carriages separate from the printing means and movable relative to the carriages, said stop means being engageable by the printing means to limit movement of the printing means in a direction outwardly of said one side of the closed path; and

fixed means adjacent the closed path to move the stop means relative to the carriages in a direction outwardly of the closed path in response to the travel of the carriages when the carriages are on said one side of the closed path thereby to permit the printing means to move outward to contact the successive objects.

4. A combination as set forth in claim 3 in which said adjacent means is a second continuous track means.

5, Means to imprint successive objects in a row that moves longitudinally along a linear path of travel, comprising:

conveyor means synchronized with the travel of the objects along said linear path and moving along a closed path with a portion of one side of the closed path extending linearly in the direction of the linear path near the linear path and parallel thereto, the opposite side of the closed path being the return side; and

a series of printing elements carried by the conveyor means and movable relative to said conveyor in directions outwardly and inwardly of the closed path in a plane including said linear path of travel as said printing elements move along said portion of one side of the closed path,

said printing elements being responsive to travel along the closed path to move in a direction outwardly of the closed path and normally of said objects, into contact with the travelling objects and back out of contact therewith as the printing elements traverse said portion of said one side of the closed path whereby the printing elements are in fixed positions relative to the objects as long as they are in contact with the objects;

changeable printing dies included in the structure of each of said printing elements; and

means adjacent said closed path movable from a retracted position to an extended position in the path along which the printing elements are carried by the conveyor means, said adjacent means at its extended position being effective to change the printing on the printing elements in response to contact of the successive printing elements with the extended adjacent means as the printing elements pass the extended adjacent means whereby the printing dies maybe changed while said conveyor means is operating.

6. Means to imprint successive objects of a row of objects with the row moving longitudinally along a path of travel, comprising:

a series of carriages, each having a main frame and an auxiliary frame;

conveyor means including a first continuous track means to move said main frames along a closed path, one side of the closed path being adjacent said path of travel,

the auxiliary frame of each carriage being confined by the corresponding main frame with freedom to move relative to the main frame in directions inwardly and outwardly of said closed path,

printing means carried by said carriages and biased in a direction therefrom outwardly of the closed path to print the objects when the carriages traverse said one side of the closed path,

stop means on each printing means cooperative with the corresponding auxiliary frame to limit the movement of the printing means outwardly of the closed path in accord with the position of the auxiliary frame relative to the corresponding main frame; and

a second closed track means to guide the auxiliary frames to control the positions of the auxiliary frames relative to the main frames and to shift the auxiliary frames relative to the main frames to increase the freedom of the printing means to move outwardly of the closed track when the carriages traverse said one side of the closed path.

7. A combination as set forth in claim 6 in which at least one of said main frame and said auxiliary frame of each carriage provides a plurality of guide channels in which corresponding printing means are slidingly mounted.

8. A combination as set forth in claim 7 in which the main frame and the auxiliary frame of each carriage are both provided with guide channels, the guide channels of the two frames being in alignment;

and in which each printing means is slidingly mounted in two aligned guide channels of the two frames respectively. 9. Means to imprint successive spaced objects in a row with the rows moving longitudinally along a linear path of travel, comprising:

first track means above said linear path and forming a closed conveyor loop, said conveyor loop having one side spaced from the linear path and substantially parallel thereto, the other side of the loop being a return side;

continuous conveyor means synchronized with the travel of the objects and guided by said first track means along said closed loop;

a continuous series of first frames on said conveyor means spaced apart in accord with the spacing of the objects;

a second track means forming a second closed conveyor loop, one of said conveyor loops surrounding the other;

a continuous series of second frames paired with the first frames;

a plurality of elongated printing means;

said second frames having guide channels in which said printing means are slidingly mounted for longitudinal movement in directions outwardly and inwardly of the closed loop whereby the printing elements are gravitationally biased towards the objects when the frames are on the linear side of the closed loop,

said second frames being movable relative to the first frames longitudinally of the printing elements;

means on said printing elements cooperative with the second frames to limit gravitational extension of the printing elements toward the objects on said linear path of travel;

means cooperative with said second track means to space said second frames relative to the first frames to restrict the range of movement of the printing elements outwardly of the closed loop as the printing elements approach said one side of the closed loop of the first track means and to progressively shift the second frames relative to the first frames to progressively increase said range as the first frames move along said one side of the loop thereby progressively lowering the printing elements into contact with the corresponding travelling objects.

10. A combination as set forth in claim 9 in which said second:

track means has a downwardly ofiset portion to cause said second frames to progressively lower as the first frames traverse said one side of the first-mentioned loop thereby to progressively extend the freedom for downward movement of the printing elements towards the corresponding travelling objects.

11. A combination as set forth in claim 9 in which one of said frames is slidingly mounted in the other frame.

12. Means to ink the successive printing dies of a continuous series of printing dies that travel along a closed path in synchronism with the travel of a succession of objects to print indicia on the objects, comprising:

a rotary support adjacent said closed path;

an inking ribbon to ink said inking dies in succession;

two reels on said rotary support with opposite end portions of the ribbons wound on the respective reels;

two actuators for the two reels respectively;

two corresponding connecting means each operable to releasably connect the corresponding reel to the corresponding actuator;

control means on said rotary support operable in opposite respects to operate said two connecting means alternately to cause each of the two reels to function alternately as a takeup reel and a supply reel; means to sense change in the relative quantities of the ribbon that are wound on the two reels respectively; and

means responsive to said sensing means to operate said control means to reverse the functions of the two reels whenever the ribbon reaches a predetermined limit of travel from reel to reel,

each of said connecting means including:

a first gear operatively connected to the corresponding reel;

a second actuating gear adjacent to and coaxial with the first gear; and

a clutch gear movable between a retracted idle position and an effective position in mesh with both the first gear and the second gear thereby to operatively interconnect the first and second gears.

13. A combination as set forth in claim 12 in which said control means includes a rocker pivoted to rock between two limit positions;

and in which the two clutch gears are rotatably mounted on said rocker on opposite sides of the center of rotation thereof for the clutch gears to be moved to their effective positions alternately by oscillation of the rocker.

14. Means to ink the successive printing dies of a continuous series of printing dies that travel along a closed path in synchronism with the travel of a succession of object to print indicia on the objects, comprising:

a rotary support adjacent said closed path;

an inking ribbon to ink said printing dies in succession;

two reels on said rotary support with opposite end portions of the ribbons wound on the respective reels;

two actuators for the two reels respectively;

two corresponding connecting means each operable to releasably connect the corresponding reel to the corresponding actuator;

control means on said rotary support operable in opposite respects to operate said two connecting means alternately to cause each of the two reels to function alternately as a takeup reel and a supply reel;

means to sense change in the relative quantities of the rib bon that are wound on the two reels respectively; and

means responsive to said sensing means to operate said control means to reverse the functions of the two reels whenever the ribbon reaches a predetermined limit of travel from reel to reel,

each of said two actuators including:

a member on the rotary support movable in an orbit by the rotary support, said member projecting from the rotary support;

fixed means adjacent the rotary support in the orbital path of said member for impact with the member to move the member in one direction relative to the rotary support from an extended position to a retracted position,

said member being biased to return to its extended position whereby the member reciprocates between its two positions in response to rotation of the rotary support; and

a one-way clutch operatively connecting said member to the corresponding reel for intermittent operation thereof.

15. A combination as set forth in claim 14 which includes two stop means cooperative with the two biased members of said two actuators respectively to stop the members at their extended positions;

and which includes means to shift said two stop means respectively to vary the return movement of the corresponding biased members thereby to vary the magnitude of intermittent rotation imparted to whichever reel is functioning as the takeup reel,

said shifting means being responsive to said sensing means to progressively reduce the magnitude of intermittent movement to compensate for increasing diameter of the wound ribbon on whichever reel functions as the takeup reel.

16. A combination as set forth in claim 15 in which said sensing means comprises two movable sensing means biassed to extend against the peripheries of the ribbon windings on the two reels respectively and to retract progressively with progressive increase in diameter of the ribbon windings;

and in which said two stop means are operatively connected to the two sensing means respectively to shift in response to retraction thereof.

17 A combination as set forth in claim 16 which includes two biased bellcranks cooperative with the two reels respectively, one arm of each bellcrank being the sensing means to cooperate with the corresponding reel, the other arm of each bellcrank being the stop means cooperative with the corresponding biased member.

18. Means to ink the successive printing dies of a continuous series of printing dies that travel along a closed path in synchronism with the travel of a succession of objects to print indicia on the objects, comprising:

a rotary support adjacent the return side of the conveyor loop;

an inking ribbon carried by the rotary support and exposed at a periphery of the rotary support to contact the successive printing elements;

two reels mounted on the rotary support with the opposite ends of the inking ribbon wound thereon;

two actuators cooperative with the two reels respectively to actuate the two reels in response to rotation of the rotary support;

19. A combination as set forth in claim 18 in which said means to bias the rocker includes:

two arms corresponding to the two reels respectively, said arms being pivoted on the same axis as the rocker and extending in opposite directions therefrom;

two springs corresponding to the two arms and acting between the two arms respectively and the rocker to bias the rocker in opposite directions whereby the rocker seeks a position at which the two springs are in balance; and

two movable sensing means biased to extend against the peripheries of the ribbon windings on the two reels respectively and to retract progressively with progressive increase in diameter of the ribbon windings,

each of said two sensing means being positioned to swing the corresponding arm of the two arms against the corresponding spring in response to buildup of the wound ribbon on a corresponding reel.

20. A combination as set forth in claim 19 which includes two means operable by the two arms respectively, each of said two means being operative to release the corresponding pawl in response to buildup of the wound ribbon on the corresponding reel.

21. A combination as set forth in claim 18 in which each of said two actuators is effective to rotate the corresponding reel intermittently by increments;

and in which means progressively reduces the increments of rotation of each reel in response to progressive buildup of wound ribbon thereon when the reel is functioning as a takeup reel.

Patent No. 3,6u1j93o' I Dated February 15, 1972 Inventor(s) Fred W, Riddington It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 2, line 2, "drum 1" should read --drum,--; line 30, "herehy should read --thereby--,- line HO, "portion" should read --position--; line 57', "paw" should read --pawl--; line 60, I "paw," should read --pawl-.-, Column 3, .line 60, "88" should read "28- line 62, "parking" should read --marki ng--. Column t, line 11, "558 should read --58--; line 36, "room" should read --form--;. line Mi, -"5" should read --58,--; line 71, "tacks" shouldread --tracks-. Column 5,, line &8, "shakes" should read "shanksline 56, "33 should read -l3 l--; line 71, 'he" should read --the--. Column 6, line 23, "manner" should read "inner"; line 32, "2" should read --26--; line 7O, "13" should read --l32--; line 72, "an" should read '--and--. Column 7, line ML, 1 6" Should read 1 6 line +7, "he" should read --the--.

Column 8, line 35, in" should read'--on--,' line 5M, "and" should read --or--. Column 9, line 7, "in" should read --thin--; line 16, "the" should read --their--; line 22, "it" should read --its--; line HO, "2M" should read -2 l6--; line il, "spring ll biased" should read --spring-biased--; line 5, "25" should read --255--; line 6M, "reacted" should read --retracted-; line 68, "hat" should read --that--. Column 10, line 3, 25" should read --256--; line M6, "an" should read --and--; line 52, "cause" should read --use--; line 63, "16M" should read--26 l--. Column 12, last line, after "printing" first occurrence, insert --dies--. Column l t, line 12, delete the colon Column 16, after line 15, insert as follows:

--a rocker having one limit position to connect one of said actuators to the corresponding reel to cause the corresponding reel to function as a take-up reel, the rocker having an opposite limit position to connect the other actuator to the other reel to cause the other reel to function as a take-up reel;

two pawls to releasably retain the rocker at its opposite limit positions in turn;

(cont'd. pg. 2)

ORM PO-1050(10-69) USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 f U.S, GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 1 I969 0-356-334 means to apply progressively increasing spring force to the rocker to bias the rocker out of each limit position towards the other limit position in response to build-up of the ribbon winding on whichever reel is functioning as a take-up reel; and

means to release whichever pawl is holding the rocker in a limit position, said releasing means being responsive to a predetermined build-up of the ribbon winding on whichever reel is functioning as the take-up reel,

whereby when the ribbon builds up to a predetermined extent on the reel that is functioning as a take-up reel, the rocker rocks to its alternate limit position to cause the other reel to function as the take-up reel.--

Signed and sealed this 11th day of July 1972 (SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD I LFLETCHER, JR. ROBERT GOTTSCHALK Commissioner of Patents Attesting Officer

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US494977 *Apr 4, 1893 Type-writing machine
US746376 *Aug 8, 1903Dec 8, 1903American Cigar CompanyMarking-machine.
US941130 *Mar 12, 1908Nov 23, 1909Charles M CrookRibbon-feed mechanism.
US981808 *Dec 5, 1908Jan 17, 1911Monarch Typewriter CoType-writing machine.
US1006814 *Feb 26, 1906Oct 24, 1911 Can-stamping machine.
US1283579 *Dec 20, 1915Nov 5, 1918Electric Fruit Marking CoFruit-marking apparatus.
US1284031 *Nov 8, 1916Nov 5, 1918Electric Fruit Marking CoFruit-marking machine.
US1715893 *Apr 9, 1927Jun 4, 1929Gattino EdgardoDuplicating apparatus
US1950725 *Jan 10, 1928Mar 13, 1934Victor Adding Machine CoRibbon feed and reverse mechanism
US2335679 *Jan 30, 1942Nov 30, 1943American Machinery CorpRibbon mechanism for stamping machines
US2645870 *Nov 20, 1950Jul 21, 1953Lee Tex Rubber Products Corp OApparatus for automatically transferring indicia from one surface to another
US2953987 *Sep 15, 1958Sep 27, 1960Sunkist Growers IncRotary inking ribbon tube
US3299804 *May 13, 1964Jan 24, 1967Unimark CorpArticle handling and electrostatic imprinting apparatus and method
US3387557 *Nov 18, 1966Jun 11, 1968Owens Illinois IncElectrostatic printing apparatus of the offset type
US3418926 *Mar 15, 1966Dec 31, 1968Tomi Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaApparatus for printing on curved surface body
GB404658A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3765326 *Apr 3, 1972Oct 16, 1973Filper CorpMethod and apparatus for printing on empty bags
US3877367 *May 11, 1973Apr 15, 1975Norwood Machinery & EquipmentDevice for printing boxes moving on a conveyor
US4048913 *Sep 6, 1974Sep 20, 1977Adolph Gottscho, Inc.Apparatus for repetitive imprinting at uniform increments on a continuously moving web
US4099459 *Nov 5, 1976Jul 11, 1978Pfleger Frederick WInertia printing member
US4308793 *Dec 5, 1979Jan 5, 1982Estel Hoesch Werke AktiengesellschaftApparatus for stamping indicia on workpieces moving in a path
US4723485 *Dec 21, 1985Feb 9, 1988Tampoflex GmbhProcess and apparatus for high-speed tampon printing
US5020430 *May 2, 1989Jun 4, 1991Harco Graphic Products, Inc.Screen printing
US5207153 *Nov 27, 1991May 4, 1993Harry ThomasonApparatus for applying printed matter to objects
US6565173Sep 19, 2000May 20, 2003Hewlett-Packard CompanyThermal inkjet printer apparatus and method
US6584894Mar 6, 2000Jul 1, 2003Nibco, Inc.Method and apparatus for marking items of varied shapes
US8528717 *Aug 26, 2008Sep 10, 2013Mimaki Engineering Co., Ltd.Printing apparatus
US20090060696 *Aug 26, 2008Mar 5, 2009Mimaki Engineering Co., Ltd.Printing apparatus
WO2013000043A1 *May 16, 2012Jan 3, 2013Volder Laurent DePad printing system and method therefor
Classifications
U.S. Classification101/35, 400/219.3, 101/336
International ClassificationB41K3/50, B41F17/34, B41F17/00, B41K3/00, B41K3/02
Cooperative ClassificationB41F17/34
European ClassificationB41F17/34