US 3670612 A
Cards are formed by intermittently die cutting both ends simultaneously from a web of polyester material, providing cards of a width equal to that of the web. This "cookie-cutter" approach leaves a small scrap strip between cards, but assures that the cards will be of consistently accurate length with precisely positioned corner cuts or rounded corners being formed at the same time as the transverse end cut. During the punching stroke, the uncoated side of the web is attracted by vacuum to the punch just before it enters the die; and two U-shaped movable guides that laterally support the web are spread apart to release the card as it is cut from the web; whereupon air under pressure is supplied to the punch to divert the scrap strip into a receptacle and release the card onto a conveyor for stacking.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Johnson et a].
[451 June 20, 1972  CARD CUTTING APPARATUS  Inventors: Robert L. Johnson; David W. Leach, both of Trenton, NJ.
211 Appl. No.: 40,976
 (1.8. CI ..83/99,' 83/155, 83/167, 83/276, 83/373, 83/402, 83/436, 83/444, 83/447, 83/451, 83/925 R 2,126,478 8/1938 Landrock et al ..83/373 2,218,541 10/1940 Kronquest "83/100 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,120,879 12/1961 Germany ..83/373 Primary Examiner-Frank T. Yost Attorney-Hanifin and Jancin and Henry E. Otto, Jr.
57 ABSTRACT Cards are formed by intermittently die cutting both ends simultaneously from a web of polyester material, providing cards of a width equal to that of the web. This c00kie-cutter" approach leaves a small scrap strip between cards, but assures that the cards will be of consistently accurate length with precisely positioned comer cuts or rounded corners being formed at the same time as the transverse end cut. During the punching stroke, the uncoated side of the web is attracted by vacuum to the punch just before it enters the die; and two U- shaped movable guides that laterally support the web are spread apart to release the card as it is cut from the web; whereupon air under pressure is supplied to the punch to divert the scrap strip into a receptacle and release the card onto a conveyor for stacking.
7 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJIMO m2 SHEET 20F 3 FIG. 2 3
CARD CUTTING APPARATUS This invention relates to apparatus for cutting cards of precise configuration from a web having a readily damaged magnetic or other coating. It relates, more particularly, to such apparatus which is intermittently operable to cut leading and trailing edges of desired configuration simultaneously from a web to provide cards of accurately controlled length and a width corresponding to that of the preselected web.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is common practice to cut tabulating cards from a web with a succession of rolls. For example, U. 8. Pat. No. 3,261,522 discloses a score roll that first provides oppositely arranged curved cuts extending inwardly from each lateral edge of the web; then a cut-off roll makes one transverse cut to sever the card from the web, the card thus severed having rounded comers at its trailing edge while two forwardly extending projections remain on the web which are removed by a corner cut roll that provides either rounded comers at the leading edge or one rounded corner and one slash cut. U. S. Pat. No. 3,283,635 discloses a feed roll which cuts out oppositely arranged V-like notches extending inwardly from each lateral edge of the web to provide what will become the trailing edge of one card and leading edge of the succeeding card after a cut-ofi' roll severs the web across the center line of the notches; and a corner slash cut is later provided, if desired, by a corner cut roll. On the other hand, U. S. Pat. No. 3,433,l07 discloses a cut-off roll which makes one transverse cut completely across the web, thus simultaneously performing the functions of the score and cut-off rolls disclosed in U. S. Pat. No. 3,261,522; but it requires a corner cut roll to remove the forwardly extending projections.
While these arrangements have proved satisfactory for cutting tabulating cards from paperstock, they are unsuitable for making cards out from a magnetically coated polyester web. This is because polyester material is hard to cut, leading to misregistration between successive cuts and inability to produce cards consistently within close tolerances; and the magnetically coated recording surface can easily become scratched or damaged with the arrangements employed in the above-cited prior art. There is a need for apparatus that will enable polyester cards with a magnetically coated recording surface or other readily damaged surface to be cut from a web to accurate length and with closely defined consistent end configurations.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Toward this end, and according to the invention, a web is advanced intermittently to a punch station by a rubber coated roll spring-biased into contact with a steel roll to provide a resilient nip, with the coated surface of the web contacting the steel roll. The web then advances first through the respective nips of two laterally spaced sets of longitudinally spaced juxtaposed steel balls loosely retained in guide plates; then through oppositely arranged channels provided by fixed guides that support the web along its opposite lateral edges; and finally through similar longitudinal channels provided in oppositely arranged movable guides disposed between a movable punch and stationary die at the punch station.
During the initial phase of the punching stroke upon advancement of the leading portion of the web into the punch station, the downward movement of the punch mechanically spreads the movable guides, preferably sequentially, as vacuum applied via ports through the punch face attracts the web and holds it registered while a card is being cut in a cookie-cutter fashion from the web by simultaneously cutting both the leading and trailing edges of the card. Then compressed air, instead of vacuum, is supplied to the ports, preferably sequentially, to blow a small scrap strip laterally into a receptacle and blow the card down onto a conveyor preferably with the leading edge tilted down. The conveyor advances the card into a stacker.
Other objects and advantages will become more apparent from the following more detailed description of the invention and from the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view, partly in section and partly schematic, of a card-cutting apparatus embodying the invention, showing the punch in raised position ready to initiate a punching operation;
FIG. 1A is a fragmentary enlarged view of a portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;
FIGS. 2A, B, and C are end views, to enlarged scale, taken along the line 22 of FIG. 1, and showing the sequential positions of the punch and movable guides during a punching operation;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the punch; and
FIG. 4 is a timing diagram showing the sequence of operations during a punching cycle.
DESCRIPTlON The card-cutting apparatus embodying the invention is provided for cutting cards of consistently constant dimension from a web 10 comprising a substrate of polyester material or the like which is difficult to cut accurately and which has a coating, of such as magnetic oxide material, that is easily scratched or otherwise rendered unserviceable. As illustrated in FIG. 1, such a web is unwound from supply roll 11 and pulled over idler rolls 12,13,14 by pull rolls 15,16 which push the web between ball-carrying guide plates 17,18. The web then successively advances through oppositely arranged channels provided in fixed guide members 19a,19b and in movable guide members 20a,20b. These channeled members 19,20 support the web along its opposite lateral edges to a very slight degree, such as about 0.04 inch, to provide minimal rubbing contact with the coated surface of the web. The fixed guide members 19a,l9b are adjacent the input end of a punch station, designated generally 21; whereas the members 200,201) are disposed adjacent the entire front and rear sides of the punch station.
The punch station 21 comprises a vertically reciprocable punch 22 that moves down between longitudinally spaced die blocks 23a,23b to shear the web simultaneously along two longitudinally spaced edges to cut the leading and trailing edges concurrently to provide an accurately dimensioned card 24. Successive cards, as they are cut, are suitably conveyed, as by a conveyor belt 25, to a stacker 26. As cards are delivered to stacker 26, a platform 27 descends against resistance of a bias spring 28 to maintain the level of the card stack substantially constant.
Conventional means are provided for supporting the supply roll 11 and assuring that substantially constant tension will be maintained on the web 10 as it is unwound by pull rolls 15,16. Briefly, this means comprises a braking unit (not shown) connected to supply roll spindle 30 and controlled by a lever arm 31 that carries idler roll 13. Normally, lever arm 31 assumes a neutral or mid position, in which it is shown in solid lines, and in which it exerts a slight preselected drag on the spindle corresponding to a desired degree of web tension. If tension should increase above this desired degree, the web will pull ann 31 upward relaxing the brake; whereas if tension decreases below the desired degree, bias spring 32 will pull the arm downward for further applying the brake to increase web tension.
Pull rolls 15,16 are both driven intermittently at preselected constant intervals by suitable means including an electrom agnetic clutch 50 to advance a desired length of web material into the punch station 2] at the end of each return stroke of the punch 22. Upper roll 15 has a rubber covering 33 and is loaded by a spring 34 against the steel lower surface of roll 16 to insure accurate feeding of the web. Idler roll 14 has flanges 14a spaced apart slightly more than the width of the web to provide a guide channel; and the roll has adjustable screwthreaded engagement along the idler shaft 14b to permit the roll to be positioned laterally and locked by lock nuts (not shown) as necessary to compensate for any sideways curvature of the web.
As best shown in FIG. 1A, lower guide plate 18 loosely retains three laterally spaced rows of longitudinally spaced stainless steel balls which roll on a polished stainless steel plate 36. Upper guide plate 17 loosely retains one row of stainless steel balls 38 of slightly larger diameter than balls 35; and each ball 38 has its center vertically aligned with a corresponding ball 35 in the center row of plate 18. The balls 35,38 are caged loosely enough so that they can contact each other if and when no web material intervenes; and when the web is interposed between the balls, the upper balls 38 will rest on the web, exerting a downward force thereon corresponding merely to their own weight. These loosely retained stainless steel balls 35,38 enable the web to move freely, without damage to its coated surface, from the pull rolls 15,16 into the facing guide channels in the fixed guide members 190,191) and thence into the similar channels in movable guide members 20a,20b; the guide members assure that the increment of web advanced to the punch station 21 will be meticu lously positioned for accurate punching.
A plurality of ports 40 open through the lower face of punch 22. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and ZA-C and 3, these ports are arranged in three transversely spaced rows, each comprising seven longitudinally spaced ports interconnected by longitudinal channels 41 in the upper face of the punch which also provides a transverse channel 42 interconnecting the respective channels 41. Air under pressure or vacuum is alternately supplied to channels 41,42 and hence ports 40 via a supply port 43 provided in a suitable punch guide 44 (only partly shown in FIGS. 1 and 3) that constrains the punch to assure controlled vertical movement. Vertical movement of guide 44 and hence punch 22 is efi'ected by a follower pin 45 that rides in a cam slot 46a in a rotatable cam 46. Cam 46 is mounted on a shaft 47 that is rotated 360 by an electromagnetic clutch 59 when a microswitch 48 is closed by the leading edge of the web It] at the end ofa web feed cycle.
OPERATION Assume initially that the punch guide 44 and hence punch 22 have just attained their uppermost position, in which they are shown in FIG. 1. Guide 44 will close microswitch 49 to activate clutch 50 which through any suitable means, such as a shaft 51, gears 52,53 and a shaft 54 drives both pull rolls 15,16. These rolls 15,16 will be rotated a precise degree sufiicient to advance the web 10 through guide members 19,20 and cause the leading edge of the web to project slightly beyond members 20 and activate microswitch 48.
At this instant, all components will be in the respective positions in which they are shown in FIG. 1; the web feed cycle (see FIG. 4) will have just been completed; and the punch cycle will have been initiated, in the following manner, by the closure of switch 48.
Closure of switch 48 energizes winding 55 of a three-position solenoid 56 to cause the latter to connect port 43 to a vacuum source 57 via a suitable conduit, such as 58. The suction thus applied via ports 40 (see FIG. 2A) to the web 10 will attract its uncoated surface to the lower face of the punch 22, while the web is still supported by guides 190,19b.
Meanwhile, closure of switch 48 also energizes electromagnetic clutch 59 which through suitable means, such as shaft 47, rotates cam 46 one complete revolution. As cam 46 rotates, it acts through follower 45 to move the punch 22 downward. Screw-threaded into the punch 22 and previously adjusted are two pairs of adjusting screws 60 (only one pair shown in FIG. 2A) which move down with the punch and bear on corresponding blocks 61 that are constrained to move vertically by guide studs 62 screw-threaded into cam blocks 63. A spring 64, assisted by a spring 64a, seats against each block 61 to bias a respective one of the guide members 204,20b toward the corresponding side edges of the web 10 to a degree permitted by a respective roller follower 65. Each follower 65 is supported on a bifurcated element 66 having a shank axially slidable in a bore through a flange in block 61 and screwthreaded into a respective guide member. Hence, as the punch 22 and blocks 61 move vertically downward, followers 65 will roll down along respective cam surfaces 630,63b, causing guide members 204,201: to be pulled away from the web against resistance of respective springs 64,640. The cam surfaces 63a,63b preferably differ slightly so that, as shown in FIGS. 2B and 4, guide member 20b will disengage from the web slightly after guide member 20a. This assures that the vacuum applied via ports 40 will have adequate time to capture the web.
Within the web now held firmly against the punch and accurately positioned with respect to the die blocks 23a,23b, the movable guide members 200,20b will have been spread apart and out of the way of the descending punch, as the punch with web attached enters the die blocks. Each die block 23a,23b preferably has a slight apex (not shown) toward its center so that the web 10 will be penetrated at its transverse center and then progressively out toward the sides with a shearing action, thereby desirably reducing the requisite cutting force and eliminating side forces.
Thus the leading and trailing edges of a card 24 are cut simultaneously from the web, assuring it will be of precise length and configuration. The punch and die blocks preferably provide a card with straight edges but beveled or rounded corners.
As the punch approaches its lowermost position (see F IG. 4), a microswitch (not shown) is closed to cause winding 55 of solenoid 56 to become deenergized and energize a winding 70 to successively disconnect the supply port 43 from vacuum source 57 and connect it to a source 71 of compressed air; whereupon the cut card 24 will not be blown off the punch as shown in FIG. 2C. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, the supply port 43 is positioned so that the compressed air will be effective in those ports 40 near the leading edge of the cut card 24 somewhat sooner than in those toward the trailing edge of the card to deflect the leading edge of the card down first as shown by a broken line in FIG. 1. Ramp 72 in cooperation with side guides (not shown) direct the card 24 onto belt 25 which conveys the cards to stacker 26v Meanwhile, the piece of scrap 73 generated by the punching stroke and corresponding to the slight amount of web which had extended forwardly of the punch will be blown down a chute 74 into a scrap box 75 by some of the air supplied to ports 40.
As the punch starts up, another microswitch (not shown) is closed to deenergize both windings 55 and 70 and thus cause solenoid 56 to cut off supply of both pressure and vacuum fluid to port 43 (see FIG. 4).
It will thus be seen that the apparatus embodying the invention desirably comprises a punch to which the uncoated side of the web material is adhered by vacuum so the coated side remains untouched by the punch and die blocks. Movable guide members 2011,2022 assure reliable feeding of the web and the shallow channels in these members assure against damage to the coated side of the web. Steel rollers contact the coated side of the web to prevent damage, and the use of the rubber pull roll 15 in conjunction with steel pull roll 16 assures that no foreign matter can be forced into the coated side of the web. A card of precise dimension is cut in one stroke, cookiecutter fashion, with a minimum of scrap.
It will be apparent that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit, scope and teaching of the present invention. Accordingly, the apparatus herein disclosed is to be considered merely as illustrative, and the scope of the invention is to be limited only as specified in the claims:
1. Apparatus for cutting cards from a web, comprising, in combination,
punch means and a die means disposed at a punch station,
means for advancing the free end of the web to the punch station,
oppositely arranged guide members at the station for supporting the web adjacent its lateral edges during operation of the advancing means,
means for moving the punch means relative to the die means to punch out a card from the web by making continuous transverse cookie-cutter-like cuts along at least two oppositely arranged edges simultaneously upon completion of the operation of the advancing means,
means responsive to the movement of said punch means during a punching stroke to spread said guide members out of the way of the punch means,
said punch means having a plurality of ports opening through its punching face,
means for supplying suction to the ports during the initial phase of the punching stroke to adhere the web to the punch means just before it pushes the web through the die means and to hold the web in position as the guide members are spread, and
means forming part of said movement responsive means to spread one of the movable guides from one side of the web after the other movable guide to allow the suction applied through said ports adequate time to capture and register the web.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1, including means to supply fluid under pressure to said ports sequentially in the final phase of a punching stroke to blow the cut card off the punch means one edge first.
3. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the web is coated on one side, as with a magnetic recording surface,
the guide members provide facing channels that overlap the lateral edges of the web a very slight distance to minimize damage to the coating, and
the opposite side of the web is attracted to and registers against the punch means during the initial phase of the punching stroke.
4. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the continuous transverse cuts are along what will define the leading and trailing edges of the card, and
a scrap strip is provided between the leading edge of the web and the leading edge of the card as cut, and including a receptacle adjacent one edge of the die means for receiving the scrap strip, and
means operative during the final phase of the punching stroke for blowing the scrap strip into the receptacle and diverting it away from the card.
5. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the continuous transverse cuts are along what will define the leading and trailing edges of the card, and
a scrap strip is provided between the leading edge of the web and the leading edge of the card as cut, and including a receptacle adjacent one edge of the die means for receiving the scrap strip,
a conveyor below the die means for receiving the card when cut, and
means operative during the final phase of the punching stroke for blowing the scrap strip into the receptacle and diverting it away from the card and blowing the card toward the conveyor, and
the lateral edges of the card being defined by the preselected width of the web.
6. Apparatus according to claim 1, including fixed guide members just upstream of the punch station for supporting the web upon spreading of the movable guide members during a punching stroke.
7, Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein one side of the web is coated with a medium that is readily damaged, and
said advancing means comprises a rubber-coated roll spring loaded against a steel roll to provide a resilient yieldable nip through which the web is advanced without damage to the coating at least one of said rolls being driven, and a pair of paralle plates interposed in the web path between said rolls and the punch station and vertically spaced apart a distance greater than the web thickness,
each of said plates loosely retaining at least one longitudinally extending row of spaced stainless steel balls,
the balls having their center lines aligned, the row of balls in the uppermost plate resting by their own weight on the uncoated side of the web.