US 3665981 A
A loading device for receiving, engaging and holding a cartridge container of liquid replenisher or the like. An L-shaped tilt member is pivotably mounted above a space at a receiving cradle adapted for receipt of said cartridge. One leg of said member carries transverse thereto a tubular coupling means for engaging said cartridge and its liquid contents. The said member is spring-biased about its pivot so that in the absence of a cartridge said one leg and the coupling means are swung clear of said space, with the second leg protruding into the space. A cartridge inserted into said space displaces said second leg toward a vertical position, thereby rotating the first leg toward the said space and bringing the coupling member into engagement with the cartridge.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
REPLENISHER LOADING DEVICE 1 May 30, 1972 Primary Examiner--Houston S. Bell, Jr.
 Inventor: Allen R. Trebbien, Rocky Point, NY. Atwmey Kevin McMahon  Assignee: lng. C. Olivetti & C., S.p.A., lvrea, Italy  ABSTRACT Filed: Jall- 30, 19.70 A loading device for receiving, engaging and holding a car-  APP] NO; 7,278 tridge container of liquid replenisher or the like. An L-shaped tilt member 15 pivotably mounted above a space at a receiving cradle adapted for receipt of said cartridge. One leg of said  US. Cl i ..l41/329, ZZZ/83.5 member arri tra sverse thereto a tubular coupling means  Ill. Cl. 1/04, for ngaging aid cartridge and its contents The aid  Fleld of Search 141/19, 329, 330, 382, 31 1; member is springbiased about its pivot 50 that in the absence 222/80 380 of a cartridge said one leg and the coupling means are swung clear of said space, with the second leg protruding into the  References Cited space. A cartridge inserted into said space displaces said UNITED STATES PATENTS second leg toward a vertical position, thereby rotating the first leg toward the said space and bringing the coupling member into engagement the cartridge 3,385,329 5/1968 Kewermeier 141/329 5 Claim, 1 Drawing Figure l3 Q. c
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L I 28 I 4 L-J Patented May 30, 1972 INVENTQR ALLEN R- TRE BIEN ATTORNEY REPLENISI-IER LOADING DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to fluid handling systems 5 and apparatus, and more specifically relates to means facilitating insertion and interchanging of liquid-containing cartridges in machinery such as office copiers.
2. Description of Prior Art I In high volume reprographic machines of the type utilizing electrostatic imaging and liquid development of the thereby formed latent image, it is usual practice to incorporate into the machine means to periodically replenish the liquid developer. In particular a sub-system is normally present in such machines which periodically compensates for toner particles removed from the developer solution as a result of image development, by adding to the developer circulation quantities of a replenisher" solution rich in toner particles.
The replenisher solutions used for the above-mentioned purposes are usually held in a rather limited capacity container and as the supply of replenisher is exhausted it must be replaced either by refilling the container thereof or by providing a new container altogether. Because of the great convenience in so proceding it has in fact become increasingly common to adopt the latter rather than the former approach, and disposable cartridge containers formed of plastics or the like are now widely used in the industry to facilitate providing of new volumes of replenisher to the utilizing machine.
In accordance with the foregoing, loading mechanisms have been developed in the copier industry which are intended for use with replenisher cartridges or the like, and which in particular are intended to facilitate interchanging of such cartridges. A device well-adapted for this purpose is shown, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,45 6,845, which patent is assigned to the assignee of the instant application. The device shown therein includes a vertically movable platform adapted for holding a replenisher cartridge. A new cartridge positioned on the platform is coupled to the. developer flow system by manually raising the platform until a seal on the top of the cartridge contacts the sharpened end of a fixed tubular member. Upon continued elevation of the platform the member punctures said seal and enters the contained liquid. The platform is then locked in its raised position. While loading devices of this type do indeed permit rapid and clean changing of replenisher cartridges, it is found in practice that the motions required by an individual to accomplish the operations set forth are somewhat difficult, and unnatural, particularly with respect to applying a smooth force as the tubular member enters the cartridge seal. The mechanism itself is furthermore unduly complicated and requires the presence and activation of various locking elements for holding the platform at its upper position on the vertical shaft which guides its movement.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the foregoing, it may be regarded as an object of the present invention, to provide a mechanism for loading liquid replenisher cartridges or the like, which is extremely simple in design and correspondingly dependable in operation.
It is a further object of the invention, to provide apparatus for loading liquid replenisher cartridges or the like, which may be used by an operator in a simple, direct manner,-and which requires of the operator but a minimum number of manual operations.
It is another object of the invention, to provide apparatus for loading liquid replenisher cartridges or the like into reprographic machines, which enables mere insertion and removal of the cartridges to efiect coupling and uncoupling of the cartridge contents to and from the liquid handling system of the machine.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Now in accordance with the present invention, the foregoing objects, and others as will become apparent in the course of the ensuing specification, are achieved by means of a loading device utilizing and L-shaped tilt member pivotably mounted above a receiving cradle adapted for receipt of said cartridge, on an axis passing through the vertex of said L, and close to one end of said cradle. The cartridge when positioned in the cradle defines by its volume a cartridge space. One leg of said tilt member carries transverse thereto a tubular coupling means including an end portion adapted to engage said cartridge and its liquid contents. The said member is spring-biased about its pivot so that in the absence of a cartridge said one leg is swung away from said cartridge space and said coupling means is clear of said space. A cartridge inserted into said space displaces said second leg toward a vertical position, thereby rotating the first leg toward the said space and bringing the coupling member into engagement with the cartridge. In a preferred embodiment the end portion of said member is pointed in form, whereby it may readily puncture a contacted seal on the top of said cartridge, permitting said member to enter said cartridge and seat in said liquid.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING The invention is diagramatically illustrated, by way of example, in the appended drawing in which:
The FIGURE depicts an elevational, partially broken away view, of apparatus in accordance with the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT:
In the FIGURE an elevational view (partially broken away) is shown, of a loading device in accordance with the invention. The loading device, generally designated at 3, is seen to consist basically of a receiving cradle 2 and a pivotable mounted L-shaped tilt member 4. The cradle 2 is secured to a fame S by bolts or other means not explicitely shown in the diagram. In accordance with the preferred environment for the invention, fram 5 is part of an electrostatic copier machine or the like; however it will be evident from the ensuing remarks that the loading device may find use in numerous other environments.
The cradle 2 is adapted for receipt therein of a cartridge 7 which rests therein, as in nesting grooves or the like provided in the cradle bed. When a cartridge 7 is thus positioned in cradle 2 i.e. as shown in the FIGURE the space thereby occupied will be referred to hereinafter as the cartridge space," designated at numeral 6 in the FIGURE. In the copier environment illustrated, cartridge 7 is a container for liquid replenisher, and is typically formed of a disposable" plastic material such as polyethylene. The cartridge 7 is intended to be used until its contents is exhausted, upon which a new cartridge is inserted into the machine and the exhausted one discarded. The cartridge used with the invention will typically include a coupling port 28 covered with a puncturable seal 29 such as a thin metallic foil.
Tilt member 4, a u'nitized L-shaped structure, includes a first leg 4a carrying transverse thereto a tubular coupling means 11, and a second leg 4b which will usually be shorter than leg 4a. Member 4 is pivotable mounted about an axis 9 which passes approximately through the vertex of the L," support for such axis being provided by the side section 8 of cradle 2 and a similar side section on the side of the cradle opposite to that depicted. Axis 9 is accordingly parallel to the bottom of space 6 and somewhat beyond one end thereof, whereby when tilt member 4 is in the position shown the face 12 of the then vertical leg 4b approximately abounds cartridge space 6.
The tubular coupling means 11 rigidly carried by leg 4a is typically a piece of stainless steel tubing or the like which at end portion 12 thereof is formed to a pointed shape, whereby said portion may under slight pressure puncture seal 9 permitting means 11 to then enter the interior of cartridge 7 and seat in the liquid replenisher contained therein. The opposite end of means 11 is adjoined to a piece of flexible tubing 13 e.g. of plastic or the like, which tubing leads to a utilization point for the liquid contents of the cartridge. in the present environment where cartridge 7 contains the indicated replenisher, tubing 13 leads to solenoid valve 14, which in turn couples via connector 15 to a T-element 16. The latter seen in the broken-away portion of the Figure connects line 17 from the toner tank to line 18 which in turn leads to a pump and thence to the machine processing unit, i.e. to the development portion of the machine. In accordance with the are, valve 14 is periodically actuated as by a cam system geared to quantity of paper feed in the machine to inject into T- element 16 quantities of replenisher solution which enters the flow pattern through lines 17 and 18.
in accordance with the present invention the tilt member 4 is biased by a spring 20 which may be of helical form or of other construction known in the art. Spring 20 is secured between a point 21 on frame and an off-axis point 22 on member 4, and is under such tension that force equilibrium in the pivotable member 4 is, in the absence of a cartridge, achieved when member 4 is rotated through an angle A to the position shown by the shadow lines. Spring tension and points of spring attachment are such that angle A will always be less than 90 and preferable will be less than 45.
With the aid of the foregoing the operation of the present device may now be readily understood. Assuming initially that a cartridge is not present in apparatus 3, biasing spring 20 maintains tilt member 4 at the position indicated by the shadow lines. In this position it is seen that leg 4a is rotated well away from space 6, and more specifically that means 11 does not penetrate any portion of such space. Furthermore, under such conditions, leg 4b does at least partially reside in such space. As a cartridge 7 is inserted into cradle 2 by guiding the cartridge over edge 24 and toward leg 4b, the end 25 of the cartridge contacts leg 4b and begins to displace the latter toward its solid lined position. The contact between leg 4b and end 25 is at the convex face 26 of leg 4b, which face tends to prevent the cartridge from riding up as it advances into the cradle. As, in consequence member 4 rotates, tubular means 11 is driven against seal 29 and finally penetrates the latter, seating in the liquid of cartridge 7 as the latter is brought into a nesting position in cradle 2.
Withdrawal of cartridge 7 from cradle 2 effects a direct inversion of the operations specified above, the spring biasing means acting in this instance to swing leg 4a and coupling means 11 completely clear of space 6, whereby such cartridge removal is most expeditiously and simple carried out.
While the present invention has been set forth in terms of specific embodiments thereof, it will be evident in view of the present disclosure that numerous variations upon the invention are now enabled, which variations in propriety are yet within the true scope of the present teaching. Accordingly the invention is to be broadly construed and limited only by the scope and spirit of the claims now appended hereto.
What is claimed is:
l. A loading device for receiving and engaging a container having a scalable orifice positioned at a predetermined location on one surface thereof comprising:
a. cradle means for receiving said container, said container when positioned in said cradle means defining a container space therein;
b. an L-shaped member pivotally mounted at the vertex thereof with the inside of said L facing said cradle means;
c. means for resiliently biasing said L-shaped member to a first position with one leg of said member protruding into said container space, said one leg of said L-shaped member making sliding contact with said container as said container is inserted into and removed from said cradle means, the insertion of a container into said cradle means with said orifice containing surface facing toward said second leg of said member operating to cam said one leg of said L-shaped member against bias out of said container space and rotate the other leg toward said container, and
d. a tubular coupling member transversely mounted on said other leg of said L-shaped member for being carried by said other leg into coupling engagement with said container at said orifice when said container is inserted into said cradle means.
2. The loading device of claim 1 wherein said one leg of said L-shaped member includes an arcuate portion for making sliding contact with said container during the insertion and removal thereof.
3. The loading device of claim 1 wherein said scalable orifice is covered by a diaphragm and said tubular coupling member includes a sharpened end for puncturing said diaphragm during the insertion of said container into said cradle means.
4. Apparatus of claim 3 further including flexible tubing element connecting said tubular coupling member to a utilization point.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said resilient bias means includes a spring connected to said L-shaped member at a point off axis for biasing said L-shaped member to a position in which said tubular coupling member is out of said container space.