US 3684081 A
A sheet transfer device for use between the units of a continuous, automatic processing line for making cardboard containers has a continuous apertured conveyor belt moved in a loop by means of an attached chain which engages a driven sprocket. A vacuum chamber having a foraminous top is arranged under a horizontal run of the belt to secure sheets to the belt when the sheets overlie the apertures in the belt while the belt travels over the vacuum chamber. The entire device with its accessories is mounted on a common frame for convenient removal when the processing units require servicing.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Paten Matsuo SHEET TRANSFER DEVICE  Inventor: Masaharu Matsuo, l7-3,3-chome,
Higashikomagata, Sumida-ku, Tokyo, Japan  Filed: Sept. 14, 1970  Appl. No.: 71,862
 US. Cl ..l98/l84  Int. Cl ..B65g 15/00  Field of Search...l98/l29, 180, 184; 271/26 ES,
 References Cited .UNITED STATES PATENTS r 6/1971 Foster, Jr ..27l/74 X 2/1929 Stokes ..27 U74 1 1/1944 Stokes 198/184 X 12/ l 966 McLaughlin 198/ l 84 15] 3,684,081 Aug. 15, 1972 3,052,339 9/1962 Carter ..l98/l29 X Primary Examiner-Richard E. Aegerter Assistant Examiner-Hadd S. Lane Attorney-Kelman and Berman 1 1 ABSTRACT V A sheet transfer device for use between the units of a continuous, automatic processing line for making horizontal run of the belt to secure sheets to the belt when the sheets overlie the apertures in the belt while the belt travels over the vacuum chamber. The entire device with its accessories is mounted on a common frame for convenient removal when the processing units require servicing.
7 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures PATENTED 15 1973 3,684,081
sum 2 or 3 INVENTOR 'aku Ma Suo SHEET TRANSFER DEVICE This invention relates to sheet transfer equipment, and particularly to apparatus for transferring sheets of cardboard and the like while the sheets are secured by vacuum to a conveyor.
Cardboard boxes are made from flat sheet stock on automatic equipment which prints the sheets in several colors in successively arranged presses, cuts blanks from the printed sheets and scores the blanks along crease lines, and ultimately makes boxes from the blanks. The several printing presses and other machines required for making the finished boxed from flat, usually rectangular blanks are arranged in a line, and the partly processed material is transferred between the machines by devices which heretofore usually consisted of roller conveyors. When a great variety of sheets has to be handled, roller conveyors are inconvenient. For very wide sheets, the necessary long rollers must be made of relatively large diameter, and such a conveyor is limited to handling sheets of sufficient length to bridge the space between at least three rollers. The known roller conveyors also crowd the processing machinery and interfere with access, the conveyors themselves being usually too heavy for convenient removal.
An object of the invention is the provision of transfer devices which are capable of handling sheets of a wide variety of sizes, and are readily adapted to the handling of sheets having exceptionally great dimensions. Yet another object is the provision of transfer devices which are light in weight and can be installed between units of processing machinery in a simple manner so that they can be removed easily when access to the machines is required.
With these objects and others in view, the invention provides a transfer device in which an endless conveyor belt is guided in a closed loop by pulleys rotatably mounted on a support, the loop including a horizontally extending belt run. A drive for moving the belt in the loop is mounted on the support which also carries a vacuum chamber mounted adjacent the afore-mentioned belt run and having a foraminous top which movably engages the belt. Openings which extend through the belt communicate with the vacuum chamber through the foraminous top of the chamber when the belt engages the chamber top. Air is withdrawn from the chamber during operation by a vacuum pump mounted on the common frame.
Other features, additional objects, and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will readily be appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description of preferred embodiments when considered in connection with the appended drawing in which:
FIG. 1 shows an automatic cardboard container making plant equipped with the sheet transfer devices of the invention in fragmentary side elevation;
FIG. 2 shows one of the transfer devices of FIG. 1 on a larger scale;
FIG. 3 shows the device of FIG. 2 in top plan view, portions of a conveyor belt being broken away to reveal other features;
FIG. 4 illustrates the device of FIG. 3 partly in section on the line A-A, and partly in a section corresponding to that on the line B--B.
FIG. 5 shows the device of FIG. 3 in section on the line C-C and on a further enlarged scale;
FIG. 6A illustrates the conveyor belt of the device of FIG. 3 in enlarged bottom view;
FIG. 6B shows a modification of the belt of FIG. 6A;
FIG. 7 shows the belt of FIG. 3 inside elevational section through an imperforate portion thereof;
FIG. 8A shows a perforated portion of the belt of FIG. 6A in further enlarged side-elevational section; and
FIG. 88 illustrates the belt of FIG. 6B in a view corresponding to that of FIG. 8A.
Referring now to the drawing in detail, and initially to FIG. 1, there is shown only as much ofa continuous, automatic plant for making cardboard containers as is necessary for an understanding of this invention. The illustrated portion includes a sheet feeding mechanism A, two rotary presses B and C, and a blank cutter and scoring machine D, only the housing and rotary sheetengaging elements of these machines being indicated in chain dotted lines. This invention is concerned more specifically with the devices installed between the several machines for transferring sheets between them.
The several identical transfer devices have each a horizontal, supporting frame 7 whose ends are attached to two of the illustrated machines respectively. An endless conveyor belt 18 is trained over the frame 7 and moves in a horizontal run from one machine to the other. A suction pump 5 installed under the horizontal belt run produces a partial vacuum for holding transferred sheets to the belt 18.
One of the transfer devices is shown in more detail in FIGS. 2 to 5. The frame 7 consists mainly of two longitudinal channel members whose ends carry forked brackets 8,8. The free ends of the brackets engage the machine housings in the installed condition of the devices illustrated in FIG. 1. An. elongated box 3 is suspended between the longitudinal frame members. Its narrow rectangular top is divided by a longitudinal channel 2 which leaves open longitudinal slots 1,1 and is flush with the rim of the box. The bottom of the box slops toward the longitudinal center and an opening 4. The suction intake 6 of the centrifugal pump 5 driven by a close-coupled electric motor is coaxially sealed to the opening 4, the pump and motor having been omitted from FIGS. 3 to 5 together with other elements of the transfer device located below the box 3.
Shafts 11,11 are mounted transversely of the channels 7 in the brackets 8,8 respectively and carry sprockets 9,9 and belt pulleys 10,10. An approximately U-shaped bracket 12 is suspended from the ends of the frame 7. Its lowermost portion carries a belt pulley 14 on a vertically adjustable mount 13. The belt 18 moves in a closed loop over the belt pulleys 1l,ll',l4 and may be tensioned by shifting the pulley 14. A link chain 17 is fastened to the side of the belt which is on the inside of the loop, and travels over the sprockets 9,9 and a corresponding idler, not seen, coaxial with the pulley 14. The shaft 11' extends axially away from the frame 7 toward a non-illustrated coupling on an electric drive motor, and is fixedly connected to the associated sprocket 9'.
The belt 18 is provided with longitudinally spaced shallow recesses 15 in its top face transversely on either side of the centrally mounted chain 17 as is best seen in FIG. 6A, and has respective groups of perforations 16 inthe bottom of the recesses, whereby the length of the perforations is smaller than the thickness of the belt 18. As is shown in FIG. 8A, a recess 15, when covered by a paper or cardboard sheet 19, forms a chamber accessible only through the perforations which are closely spaced in intersection rows and columns.
The chain 17 is guided in the channel 2 so that the lower orifices of the perforations 16 travel over the slots 1,1 in the box 3 in the horizontal run of the belt 18, and the recesses are partly evacuated. The sheet 19 is held by the vacuum to the belt for movement with the same over the top surface of the box 3. At the end of the slots 1,1, air is admitted to the perforations, and the sheet 19 is released for entry into the next machine of the container making plant.
The recesses 15 are preferred in conveyor belts intended to carry relatively heavy sheets because of the large effective area of the evacuated recesses. For lighter sheets, the recesses may be dispensed with and spaced groups of perforations 16 provided in rows on either side of the link chain 17 in the belt 16, as is shown in FIGS. 6B and 8B. The length L of each perforated area is smaller than the corresponding dimension of the sheet 19 in FIGS. 8A and 88. If sheets very short in the direction of belt travel are to be transferred by the same belts, some of the perforations 16 in each group may be closed by means of adhesive tape or the like.
The vacuum required for holding the sheets 19 to the belt 18 need not be high. It is therefore permissible for a reasonably small amount of air to enter the box 3 through an opening between the box 3 and the belt 18. In an actual embodiment of the invention which has been operated sucessfully in cooperation with commercial container machinery, each transfer device was equipped with an ordinary centrifugal blower deliveringl.5 cubic meter of air per minute and developing a static pressure of 220 mm Hg when driven by a 2,750 rpm. motor.
The transfer devices are installed by securing the brackets 8,8 on transverse horizontal frame or housing elements of the connected machines by means of bolts or clamps. This permits each device to be moved transversely as maybe needed for handling sheet runs of different width. Two transfer devices of the invention may also be mounted side by side on their brackets 8,8 between the same two machines for handling sheets of unusual width. If access to the machines is needed for changing printing rollers or cutting and scoring rollers, the brackets 8,8 are quickly released, and the transfer devices removed to leave the space about the machines unencumbered. When the work on the machine is completed the transfer devices are quickly returned to the operative condition since each device is an integral unit requiring only a cable connection to an electric outlet.
The chain 17 has been found necessary for driving the belt 18 when the transfer mechanism is used between machinery handling corrugated cardboard and like relatively heavy material. A belt drive by means of frictionally engaged, driven pulleys is not practical where the movement of the belt 18 is impeded by friction against the top of the box or vacuum chamber 3. The top is smooth and tends to form a sufficient seal with the belt to have the belt pressed against the box by atmospheric pressure.
It should be understood, of course, that the foregoing disclosure relates only to a preferred embodiment of the invention, and that it is intended to cover all changes and modifications of the example of the invention herein chosen for the purpose of the disclosure which do not constitute departures from the spirit and scope of the invention set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A transfer device for sheet material comprising, in combination:
a. an endless, elongated conveyor belt;
b. a support;
c. pulley means rotatably mounted on said support and guiding said belt in a closed loop, said loop including a horizontally extending run;
(1. drive means on said support for moving said belt in said loop;
e. a vacuum chamber mounted on said support adjacent said run and having a foraminous top engaging the moving belt,
1. said belt being formed with groups of openings, said groups being spaced in a row in the direction of belt movement,
2. said openings extending through said belt and communicating with said vacuum chamber through the foraminous top of the chamber when moving in said run,
3. each opening being spaced from respective other openings in the same group in said direction and transversely of said direction,
. the spacing of said groups in said direction being substantially greater than the spacing of each opening from said other openings; and
f. evacuating means on said support for withdrawing air from said chamber.
2. A device as set forth in claim 1, wherein said drive means include a chain extending longitudinally of said belt and fastened to the same for joint movement, sprocket means rotatably mounted on said support and engaging said chain, and rotating means for rotating said sprocket means.
3. A device as set forth in claim 2, wherein said belt is formed with additional groups of openings spaced in a row in the direction of belt movement, respective groups of said rows being aligned transversely of said direction, and said chain being interposed between said rows.
4. A device as set forth in claim 1, wherein said top of said chamber is formed with a slot elongated in the direction of belt movement.
5. A device as set forth in claim 4 wherein said belt has two opposite faces, one of said faces engaging said top during said movement of the belt, said drive means including a chain extending longitudinally of said belt and fastened to said one face, said top being formed with a guide channel receiving said chain during movement of the belt, and sprocket means drivingly engaging said chain.
6. A device as set forth in claim 1, wherein said belt has two opposite faces, one of said faces engaging said top during movement of the belt, the other face being formed with a plurality of shallow recesses spaced in the direction of belt movement, the openings of each group extending between said one face and a respective one of said recesses.
7. A device as set forth in claim 1, wherein the openings of each group are arranged in a plurality of rows and in a plurality of columns intersecting said rows. v
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFIQE CERTIFIQATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 568140-81 Dated August Q 5, 97 I 1nv ntor s MASAHARU munsuo I, It 'is. certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent,are hereby corrected as shown below:
In the title page, afterline '2l 7 insert [5Q] Foreign Application Priority Data May 26, 1970 Japan Sho 45 M55 Signed and sealed this lsi; dayof May 1973.
EDWARD M. FLETCHER, JR. ROBERT GOTTSCHALK Atteeting Officer Commissioner of Patents mum PO-OSO (10-09) USCOMWDC rme a u a. mwnmm-m flimfi mmwam mum-s m. up