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Publication numberUS3698705 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 17, 1972
Filing dateMar 5, 1971
Priority dateMar 5, 1971
Publication numberUS 3698705 A, US 3698705A, US-A-3698705, US3698705 A, US3698705A
InventorsFunk Roger S, Funk Rudolph
Original AssigneeFunk & Co Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for folding flexible sheets
US 3698705 A
Abstract  available in
Images(7)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Funk et al.

[54] APPARATUS FOR FOLDING FLEXIBLE SHEETS [72] Inventors: Rudolph Funk, Jamison; Roger S.

Funk, Holicong, both of Pa.

[73] Assignee: R. Funk & Co., Inc., Doylestown,

[22] Filed: March 5, 1971 [21] Appl. No.: 121,568

Related US. Application Data [631 Continuation of Ser. No. 737,934, June 18,

I968, abandoned.

10/1965 Stoothoff ..270/68 A FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 692,867 8/1930 France ..270/68 A Primary Examiner- Lawrence Charles Attorney-Synnestvedt & Lechner 57 ABSTRACT Apparatus which handles flexible sheets, typically blue-prints or the like, for folding them, is adapted to handle sheets, not only of uniform size but also an intermix of sheets of differing sizes, and to fold them selectively, along one or more fold lines, each into a folded packet having perdetermined standardized [451 Oct. 17,1972

length and width dimensions; and the apparatus comprises high-speed normally continuously-operating sheet transport means with associated sheet-folding mechanism having a plurality of elements adapted to cooperate in the folding operation, at least some of the elements being selectively rendered operative according to sheet size whereby to fold the sheet on one or more lines of fold so related as to form the sheet into a folded packet of the predetermined standardized dimensions, regardless of the initial size of the sheet; there being a programming system for such selectively operative elements, controllable, in accordance with sheet size, to select simultaneously the required group of said elements, without retarding the sheet transport means or interfering with the normal flow of work through the apparatus. Above certain sheet sizes, the folding includes certain folds at right angles to one another. At least some of the elements to be selected for operation are automatically selected by means sensing certain sheet dimensions, but manual operation is also provided for, as to certain folding functions, by devices readily accessible to and quickly actuable by an operator, and typically the programming system includes an electrical mechanism governed at least in part by interlocking switches, or the like, disposed in a removable and replaceable console. Certain parts of the apparatus may function as transport means and/or as folding means. Regardless of the number, directi on and spacing of thefolds, and

whether or not the initial sheet configuration involves dimensions which are even multiples of the final folded packet dimensions, the packet has no external irregularities; and a certain corner of each sheet handled appears at a given external corner of the folded packet. After initial folding, the sheet, depending upon its original size, may be discharged into a receiver from a particular station, or it may be arrested at that station, without stopping the transport means, and then given one or more additional folds and transported from that station to a different receiver. Power means for the apparatus may normally operate continuously, but may be interrupted at will, and a jogging operation and/or a manual operation may be introduced.

21 Claims, 23 Drawing Figures PATENTEDUCT 17 m2 INVENTORJ RUDOLPH FUNK N Y ROGER S, F

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sum 3 or 7 INVENTORS h UNK 4ND ATTDRNEYS R GER (5- FUNK PATENTED UN 1 7 I972 3.6 9 8 7 O 5 SHEET u 0F 7 INVENTOR RUDOLPH F AND kosER S Fu/vK fik ATTORNE Y5 PATENTEUHCT 11 m2 SHEET 5 BF 7 RUDOLPH FUNK ,wo

ROGER 5. FUNK A 7'TORNE Y5 APPARATUS FOR FOLDING FLEXIBLE SHEETS This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 737,934, filed June 18, 1968, now abandoned.

This invention relates broadly to apparatus for folding flexible sheets into compact packets, and to apparatus for folding sheets of various sizes and/or proportions into packets of a given size and proportions, such apparatus being particularly useful for such folding of blueprints, and the like, of various lengths and/or widths.

The principal object of the invention is to improve sheet-folding apparatus, in one or more of the following respects: simplicity of construction and/or operation, speed of operation, reliability of operation, versatility in the folding of an intermix of sheets of varying sizes and/or proportions, virtual elimination of set-up time when changing sheet sizes, facility of control, ease of adjustment and of maintenance, and neatness and compactness of the apparatus whereby it may be housed in a protective and dirt-excluding cabinet so as to constitute a unitary machine, occupying a minimum of space. In all these respects the invention represents a substantial improvement over various known types of sheet-foldin g apparatus.

Some of the advantages of the present invention are akin to those partially obtained with apparatus such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,052,464 and 3,117,777, but the present invention involves substantial improvements thereover, especially as to speed, reliability, versatility and facility of operation.

In effecting the above-stated principal object of the invention, according to the presently preferred embodiment, we provide simple and effective selective control means of such character as to require a minimum of training of an operator to run the apparatus to fold any or all of an intermix of sheet sizes to a desired packet of standard length and width, and with corner blocks (in the case of prints) uniformly located on an outer corner face of the packet.

The invention further contemplates the folding of discrete flexible sheets, primarily by mechanism adapted to effect one or more initial transverse folds of the individual sheet (i.e., transverse the length thereof) and/or transverse folds at variable distances from a margin of the sheet, and secondarily (when required by sheet dimensions) by mechanism adapted to effect one or more cross-folds of the transversely-folded sheet (i.e. crosswise of the first folds), under automatic and/or manual regulation, according to sheet dimensions, and more particularly by means of stops, gates, guides, pivoted arms and other elements, actuated in whole or in part by solenoids or the like, under the control of electrical circuits selected and/or modified by automatic means such as intercept switches engageable by sheets of various dimensions and/or by manual means such as selector switches in a console which is positioned for ready actuation by an operator, and also for ready removal and replacement, for maintenance and repair.

Still further, the invention contemplates folded-sheet delivery or transport means incorporated in, or forming conveyors associated with, the folding mechanisms, which, in the case of the transverse-folding mechanism, delivers a folded sheet, via one station or location, directly to a packet-receiver, or alternatively to said station or location, whereat the cross-folding mechanism imposes a first cross-folding operation on the sheet, or, alternatively, a plurality of cross-folding operations are carried out, preferably one at the level of said station and another at a lower level, from either of which levels the folded sheet is automatically placed upon a conveyor which delivers the folded packet to a second packet-receiver; the first packet receiver being preferably at the back of the machine and the second at one end thereof; and the first conveyor being adapted to move a folded sheet horizontally, at right angles to the line of transverse fold, whereas the second conveyor is adapted to move a folded sheet at right angles to the first conveyor and to the line of cross-fold of the sheet.

Additionally, the invention contemplates accomodation and operation of this apparatus to folding of sheets having one or more dimensions other than exact multiples of standard folded-packet dimensions, in such manner that odd areas of a sheet, which are fractions of an area determined by said standard dimensions, are automatically folded into the packet, preferably into an inside position therein; and in this operation, as well as other of the operations of the apparatus, the invention contemplates the use of feed rolls and of creasing rolls (the latter also serving a feeding function), certain of which cooperate with pockets and/or gates or guides in effecting folds, especially buckle-folds, of a sheet, and others of which cooperate with pivoted arms carrying stops and/or guides and tucking blades in effecting folds, such as cross-folds of an already transverselyfolded sheet.

The invention also involves powered operation of the apparatus, generally continuously at one speed, but alternatively in an intermittent way, and, when needed, a manual operation.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, an electrical control system of simple design employing a minimum number of electrical components is provided whereby sheets of various sizes can be processed in random size order without the necessity of time consuming set-up operations and adjustments, and by the simplest selective actuation of a group of marked and illuminated push-buttons.

Other objects of the invention have to do with the simplicity and effectiveness of design of various operating components of the apparatus, and the reduction of maintenance time and costs to a minimum.

How the foregoing and other objects and advantages of the invention are attained will be clear from the following description, referring to the drawings which illustrate a preferred form of apparatus embodying the invention, in which drawings:

FIG. 1 is a general outside end elevational view of the apparatus, in the form of a unified, compact machine;

FIG. 2 is a general elevational view looking at the rear of the machine, i.e., as viewed from the right in FIG. 1;

FIGS. 3 and 3a are diagrammatic views, showing parts of the machine, and illustrating the sequence of operations in folding a sheet of small size;

FIG. 3b is an isometric view of the folded sheet resulting from the operations illustrated by FIGS. 3 and 3a;

FIGS. 4, 4a and 4b are diagrammatic views, showing parts of the machine, and illustrating the sequence of operations in folding a sheet of an intermediate size,

FIG. 40 is an isometric view of the folded sheet resulting from the operations illustrated by FIGS. 4, 4a and 4b;

FIGS. 5, 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, and 5e are diagrammatic views, showing parts of the machine, and illustrating the sequence of operations in folding a sheet of still larger size (FIG. 5e being on a scale twice that of the other Figures of this group);

FIG. 5 f is an isometric view of the folded sheet resulting from the operations illustrated by FIGS. 55e;

FIGS. 6 and 6a are diagrammatic views illustrating certain steps in the folding of sheets of other sizes;

FIG. 7 is a partial front elevational view of the apparatus;

FIG. 8 is an end elevational view of the apparatus as seen from the right of FIG. 7 with the end frame plate removed;

FIG. 9 is a plan view of FIG. 8 with certain parts omitted;

FIG. 10 is a rear elevational view with certain drive elements diagrammatically indicated; and

FIG. 11 is a schematic wiring diagram of the electrical selector and control system of the apparatus.

Before describing the apparatus in detail, we will refer to a typical field of use; and the general arrangement of the main components of the apparatus will be dealt with and various components will be designated by terms suitable for convenient use in this specification.

By way of example, but not limitation, the apparatus will be described for the folding of 11 X 17 inch, l7 X 22 inch, 22 X 34 inches and 34 X 44 inches sheets into folded packets of 8% X 11 inches size. For convenience of description the 1 l X l7 inches sheets will be referred to as of B-size, the 17 X 22 inches sheets as of C-size, the 22 X 34 inches sheets as of D-size, and the 34 X 44 inches sheets as of E-size. These sizes are types are typical of many shop or other working drawings, from which blueprints or other prints are made.

In connection with the folding of blueprints or the like, it is noted that it is customary to provide title blocks 15 at the lower right hand corner of the prints, and in the operation of the preferred apparatus embodying the present invention, the folding of the prints is accomplished in such a way that the title blocks in all sizes of prints will be on an outer face of the completed packet so that the print can be identified without having to unfold it.

The general arrangement of the apparatus is best seen in FIGS. 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10, and the physical relationship of some of the main components will now be generally described.

The apparatus includes a table 16 on which the sheet (such as a print) to be folded is placed, against a guide 16a. The table 16 is disposed at the front of the cabinet 18. A control console 19 is positioned at the right-hand end of the cabinet, near the front, where it is readily accessible to the operator, who is preferably stationed near the right front corner of the machine. At the front of the cabinet there is a lower pocket 20 for initiating a transverse buckle fold; an upper pocket 21, also for effecting a buckle fold; a pair of feed rolls 22, 22, located at the inlet throat 23 of the cabinet 18, (see FIG. 8); and a second pair of rolls, 24,24, termed creasing rolls. Actually, the upper feed roll 22 and the lower creasing roll 24 coact as creasing rolls when a buckle fold is initiated by the lower pocket 20, whereas both rolls 24- serve as creasing rolls when a buckle fold is initiated by the upper pocket 21. As best seen in FIGS. 1, 8 and 9, there is a horizontal conveyor 25 extending from the vicinity of the creasing rolls rearwardly to the back of the cabinet. A packet receiver or tray 26 is located at the back, in position to receive folded sheets from the conveyor 25.

Also within the cabinet, (as seen in FIGS. 5e, 8, 9 and 10), the machine is provided with first, second and third cross-folding units 27, 28 and 29, having associated pairs of creasing rolls 30, 31 and 32; a downwardly inclined discharge conveyor 33, associated with the cross-fold units; and an end packet receiver or tray 34 for receiving folded sheets or prints discharged by the discharge conveyor 33 (see also FIG. 4b).

Referring particularly to FIGS. 8, 9 and 10, it will be seen that the drive system of the apparatus includes a gear motor M and a transmission (in a right-angle gearbox 40) driven by the gear motor M through a drive belt 46 and pulleys 46a and 46b.

A train of gears 41 (FIG. 8) is driven from an output shaft 42 of the gear box 40, and has driving connection with the feed rolls 22, the creasing rolls 24, and the conveyor 25, the directions of rotation of these driven members being indicated by the arrows in FIG. 8. The creasing rolls 30,31 and 32 of the cross-folding units 27,28 and 29 are driven from a second output shaft 43 of the gear box 40 by a belt 44, cooperating with drive pulleys 44a, 44b and 440, and idlers 44d and 44c, and suitable gearing 45a, 45b, 450 (on the shafts of said rolls) and idler gear 45d. The discharge conveyor 33 is driven from motor M by the drive belt 46, pulley 46c and gearing 47, clearly shown in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10.

Considering first the folding of an I l X 17 inch or B- size sheet into an 8% X ll inches packet as shown in FIG. 3b, and with particular reference to FIGS. 1, 3, 3a, 3b, 7, 8 and 9, among the chief functioning components are the feed and creasing rolls 22, 24, the lower pocket 20, a solenoid-actuated gate 50 located between the upper rolls 22,24, the conveyor 25 and the rear packet tray 26. The gate 50, comprising sheet-guiding fingers 50a, positionable in grooves 22a in the upper feeding and creasing roll 22, may be lowered into such position by the gate solenoid GS (FIGS. 7 and 8) or may be raised by springs 50b to the position shown in F IGS'. 5a to 5d.

The lower pocket 20 comprises a pair of closely spaced plates 52,52 (FIG. 8) providing a sheet-receiving pocket. The effective depth of this pocket is adjustably determined by stops which may be set to project into the pocket through slots 20a FIGS. 7 and 10), as will now be described.

An upper horizontally pivoted stop bar 53 has a plurality of spaced-apart projecting stops 54; a second horizontally pivoted stop bar 55, positioned below the stop bar 53, has similar projecting stops 56; and third, normally-fixed, stop bar 57 has projecting stops 58. The bottom stop bar 57 may be adjusted vertically, as by fasteners in slotted openings 570. Similar vertical adjustment means (not shown) may be provided for the pivoted stop bars 53 and 55.

Continuing with the technique of folding a B-size sheet: The stop bar 53 is rocked to its stop position, as shown in FIGS. 1, 3a and 8, upon energization of a rotary spring-loaded solenoid BS so that the stops 54 project through slots 200 into the pocket 20 to lie in the path of an entering sheet to stop its downward movement at a pre-determined level. The feed rolls continue to feed the sheet, causing it to buckle between and be folded by the upper roll 22 and the lower roll 24, as indicated in FIG. 3a, (8% inches from the leading edge), and then to be fed under the lowered gate 50 to be pinched by and fed through both creasing rolls 24,24, and finally onto the driven conveyor 25 and past the retracted rear stop 51 for delivery into the rear packet tray 26. As seen in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 suitable hold down fingers 25a are provided to hold the sheet down on the horizontal conveyor 25 as it is fed thereto.

It will be observed from FIG. 30 that the stops 54 are so located vertically of the pocket as to cause the l l X 17 inches sheet to be folded in half in passing through the creasing rolls 22,24, (i.e. it is folded on a line midway of the ends of its 17 inch dimension), thus forming a once-transversely-folded packet BP as shown in FIG. 3b, which packet is l l X 8% inches in size, with the title block exposed on an outside panel thereof.

The gate 50, as above-mentioned, is actuated by a solenoid GS FIGS. 7 and 8) which, when energized, moves the spring-loaded gate down to the position shown in FIGS. 1 to 3a and 8, to prevent upward diversion of the buckled sheet, and to guide it directly to the pinch of the creasing rolls 24. (It will be noted that the pointed lower ends of the gate fingers 50a then extend down through slots in the flared lower edge 21b of the front plate of pocket 21, to keep the sheet from being diverted up into said pocket.) The solenoid-actuated stop 51 is retracted so as not to arrest the folded B-size sheet, as it travels on conveyor 25 to the tray 26 (FIG. 30).

As the description proceeds it will be apparent that since a number of different sized sheets are to be processed in the apparatus, in random size order, certain components which are active when one size of sheet is processed must be blanked out, so to speak, when a different size sheet is processed. How such control is accomplished in a simple and effective manner for a variety of sheet sizes, without the need of timeconsuming set-up operations and adjustments, will fully appear hereinafter in connection with the description of the electrical system.

Considering now the folding of a 17 X 22 inches or C-size sheet into an 8% X ll inches packet, and with particular reference to FIGS. 4, 4a, 4b, 4c, and 7-10, among the chief functioning components are the feed rolls 22, the lower pocket 2 (with stops 56 effective), the gate 50, the creasing roll pair 22,24, the conveyor 25, the rear stop 51, a cross-fold micro-switch CM, the cross-fold solenoid CFS, the first cross-fold unit 27, the inclined discharge conveyor 33 and the end packetreceiving tray 34.

The upper stops 54 of the lower pocket are retracted from the pocket upon de-energization of the solenoid BS, and the second stop bar 55 is rocked to its stop position as shown in FIG. 4a by energization of a rotary spring-loaded solenoid CS so that the stops 56 project through slots 20a into the pocket 20. The feed rolls 22 feed the sheet down into the pocket and when the sheet contacts the stops 56 it buckles into and through the crease roll pair 22,24, as indicated in FIG. 4a and is then fed under the guiding fingers of the gate 50 through the pinch creasing rolls 24 and then onto the conveyor 25. It will be observed from FIG. 4a that the stops 56 are so located vertically of the pocket 20 as to cause the 17 X 22 inch sheet to be folded in half in passing through the creasing rolls 22,24, (i.e. it is folded on a line midway of the ends of its 22 inch dimension), thus forming a once-folded sheet, having the folded dimensions 17 X 11 inches, as seen in FIG. 4a and at the right of FIG. 4.

The once-folded sheet travels along the conveyor 25 until its leading edge contacts the rear stop 51 (FIGS. 4, 4a, 9 and 10) which was raised into its stop position in the path of the advancing sheet by solenoid BR as shown in dotted lines at 51a in FIG. 10. The sheet also engages the cross-fold micro-switch CM (FIGS. 4, 4a and 9).

The sheet is next cross-folded by means of the first cross-fold unit 27, (FIGS. 4b, 8, 9 and 10) after which it is deposited in the receiving tray 34 by the discharge conveyor 33. The cross-fold unit 27 comprises a pivoted arm 60 carrying a creasing blade 61, and a pair of hold-down rolls 62,62, an actuating solenoid CFS controlled by micro-switch CM, and a pair of as sociated driven creasing rolls 30,30, arranged as shown in FIG. 10. The arm 27 is spring loaded by a spring 63 so that it is raised to its normal inoperative position when the solenoid CFS is de-energized. Upon energization of the solenoid CFS the hold-down rolls 62, with the cooperation of the blade 61, cause the sheet to be drawn into and be creased by the creasing rolls 30,30, to cross-fold the sheet and feed it downwardly, this cross-fold being on a line midway between the ends of its 17 inch dimension. In its downward feed the crossfolded sheet engages a guide plate 64 and is guided onto the sloping discharge conveyor 33 and discharged into the end receiving-tray 34 as a completely folded 8% X ll inch packet CP, having one transverse fold and one cross-fold as shown in FIG. 4c.

In connection with the cross-fold micro-switch CM it is noted that this switch is so located that it is by-passed by the B-size sheet as seen in FIG. 3.

Before considering the folding of a D-size sheet, or other intermediate sheets, we will now consider the folding of a 34 X 44 inch E-size sheet into an 8% X l 1 inch packet. With particular reference to FIGS. 5 to 5f, among the chief functioning components are the feed rolls 22, the lower pocket 20 with bottom stops 58, the upper pocket 21 with stops 71, the creasing rolls 22,24, and 24,24, the conveyor 25, the rear stop 51, the crossfold micro-switch CM, the cross-fold solenoid CFS, the second cross-fold unit 28, the cross-fold solenoid CFS", the third cross-fold unit 29, the discharge conveyor 33 and the end packet-receiving tray 34.

The upper and lower stops 54 and 56 are retracted from the lower pocket 20, and the feed rolls 22 initially feed the leading portion of the sheet downwardly into the pocket until the leading edge engages the lowermost stops 58 of the pocket, with the trailing portion of the sheet remaining on the table and with the sheet buckling as shown in FIG. a. For a 34 X 44 inch sheet the stops 58 are so located vertically of the pocket as to buckle-fold the sheet in half at 70 (i.e. on a line midway between the ends of its 44 inch dimension) this being the first transverse-fold of the sheet.

The gate 50 (as seen in FIGS. 5a to 5d) is retracted upwardly from the position of FIG. 3a so as to enable the once-folded sheet to feed upwardly into the upper pocket 21 until the first folded edge engages a series of upper stops 71. The stops 71, on bar 710, extend into pocket 21 through slots 21a, the vertical position being adjustable as shown at 7112 in FIGS. 7 and 10. This engagement of the sheet with stops 71 again buckles the sheet (i.e. on a line midway of the folded 22 inch dimension of the previously folded sheet) to form a secondor double-transverse fold, seen at 72 in FIG. 5b. As feed continues, the thus-folded sheet is fed through the creasing rolls 24 (FIG. 50) onto the conveyor 25. As shown in FIG. 5d, the sheet, now with the three transverse folds and now measuring ll X 34 inches, is fed by the conveyor 25 until its leading double-folded edge engages the upraised stop 51 and also the crossfolding micro-switch CM. Engagement of the microswitch CM energizes the cross-fold solenoid CFS' of the second cross-fold unit 28. The unit 28 is similar to the above-described first cross-fold unit 27 and includes a pivoted arm 60', a creasing blade 61', holddown rolls 62' and spring 63'.

The hold-down rolls 62' and cooperating blade 61' force the folded sheet into the creasing rolls 31,31, to cross-fold the previously-folded sheet in half, (Le. to a 17 X l 1 inch size) and feed it downwardly until its leading edge engages a bottom stop 73 of the upwardly disposed cross-fold unit 29, the partially-completed packet appearing in dot-and-dash lines at 74 in FIG. See.

The cross-fold unit 29 comprises a pivoted arm 75 having a smoothly curved upper blade or tucking portion 76, an actuation solenoid CFS", a micro-switch CM the bottom stop 73 and a pair of associated creasing rolls 32,32. A spring-loaded latch 77 (FIG. coupled to solenoid CFS" and cooperating with a pin 78 of the arm 75, is adapted to hold the arm 75 in its operative relation to the creasing rolls 32 (by action of the solenoid) but is readily releasable to allow the arm to swing away from the rolls to enable quick removal of a sheet in the event it should become jammed.

The downwardly-traversing fold 74' engages and actuates micro-switch CM, energizing the solenoid CFS" thus moving the arm 75, so that the cross-folded sheet is forced into the nip of the creasing rolls, 32,32, by the blade '76 of said arm 75, as diagrammatically indicated in dot-and-dash lines at 79 in FIG. 5e, and the sheet is thus cross-folded at its mid-line (i.e. to an 8% inch dimension) and then the creasing rolls 32,32, feed the double-cross-folded sheet underneath a guide plate 80 and onto the discharge conveyor 33 for delivery into the receiving tray 34 as a completely folded 8% X 11 inch packet EP having three transverse-folds, as shown in FIG. 5f.

Referring now to the folding of a 22 X 34 inch D-size sheet, and in fact any size sheet ranging from 22 X 34 inches D-size to 34 X 44 inches E-size, the transverse folds and cross-folds are accomplished in the same manner as described above in connection with a 34 X 44 inches E-size sheet, noting in particular the important feature that in making the last cross-fold the arm '75 of the cross-fold unit 29 is held in its cross-folding position shown in FIGS. 6 and 6a by means of a latching relay, later described, during the feed of the sheet into the creasing rolls 32,32, and is released upon unlatching of the relay when the next sheet is entered into the apparatus.

With intermediate sheet sizes, where the dimensions are not direct multiples of the ultimate packet measurements of 8% X ll inches, there will be odd-sized areas to be taken care of. Where this occurs in the cross-folding operation, it is typically cared for as in FIGS. 6 and 6a. As above-indicated, by holding the arm in (see FIG. 6), the odd area, or short portion 81 of the sheet, is smoothly led to the nip of the creasing rolls 32,32 by the smooth curved tucking portion 76 of the arm 75 and neatly tucked between the folds 82 and 83 as shown at 84 in FIG. 6a. This advantageous arrangement prevents damage or crumpling of the area 81 of the sheet.

The procedure in operating the apparatus and the electric circuits will now be described in connection with the schematic wiring diagram of FIG. 11, from which it will be observed that no special set-up operations or adjustments of the components are necessary as sheets of various sizes are introduced for folding in random-size order, thus ensuring speed of operation. It will be seen that the mere pressing of a pushbutton, designated to be for the size of sheet being processed, automatically sets a minimum number of solenoid-actuated stops in order to effect folding of the sheet into a folded packet of predetermined size.

The control console 19 comprises a control switch assembly having suitable known lock-out characteristics, selective push-buttons, signal lights, and plugin means a for plugging the console into a suitable terminal block 1110b whereby the entire switch assembly can be readily removed either for replacement or repair in the event of failure, thus greatly reducing maintenance time and costs. The switches are of a type known as bail lock-out switches, interlocked in such a way that with one push-button switch for each of several selective control circuits, only one of that group of buttons will remain down at one time, and if a different button of the group is depressed it releases the button (and switch) previously depressed. The sheet size selector-switch buttons may bear legends such as B, C and D; and in the present embodiment, the third might well carry the legend D-E since the same circuit may be employed for both D-size and E-size prints, as will later appear.

In starting the apparatus, the operator presses the on button S to start the motor M to drive the various rolls and conveyors described above in continuous drive. To stop the motor, off or stop button ST is pressed. For test observations, if desired, the Jog button I is pressed.

Instantaneous conditioning of the machine for folding a B-size sheet into a folded 8 /2 X ll inch packet is achieved by pressing push button BPB to close the circuit 101 controlled by the upper portion 102 of double switch 103, and thus to energize the rotary stop solenoid BS to move the stops 53 of lower pocket 20 into stop position and simultaneously energize the rear rotary stop solenoid BR to retract the stop 51 downwardly out of the path of the advancing sheet allowing it to be deposited into the rear packet 26. At the same time, the lower portion 104 of switch 103 closes the circuit 105 to energize the gate solenoid GS to lower gate 50, thus causing the sheet to by-pass the upper pocket 21 and directing it to the conveyor 25 as described hereinbefore.

The depressed push button BPB is illuminated by a lamp BL supplied with current by a low voltage transformer 106 in the closed circuit 107, 108, 109 of the locked-out push buttons CPB and DPB.

In this connection it is pointed out that only one of the three push buttons can be pressed at a time and that subsequent pushing of another push button releases the button initially pressed. Thus two push buttons cannot be down at the same time, and this enables use of the switches of idle push buttons to establish contact for the indicator light of the pressed push button as just described.

If, after folding one or more B-size sheets, a different size sheet is to be folded, for example a 17 X 22 inch C- size sheet, the corresponding push button CPB is pressed, which immediately releases the previously pressed push button BPB and opens the circuit 101 to de-energize stop-solenoids BS and BR (FIGS. 7 and 9) and also opens the circuit 107 of the indicator lamp BL of push button BPB. De-energization of the solenoid BS causes the stops 54 to retract out of the pocket 20 and de-energization of the solenoid BR causes rear stop 51 to move up into the path of sheets advanced by the conveyor 25.

Release of push button BPB also causes the lower section 104 of its switch 103 to close a circuit from the low voltage transformer 106 to the indicator lamp CL of the push button CPB to illuminate it.

Pressing of the push button CPB causes the upper section 110 of its switch 111 to close a circuit 112 and energize stop-solenoid CS to move the stops 56 of the lower pocket 20 into stop position and also causes the lower section 113 of switch 111 to close a circuit 114 to the gate-solenoid GS to again lower the gate 50.

When the sheet advanced by the conveyor 25 reaches the rear stop 51 the cross-fold micro-switch CM is closed, which closes a circuit 115 to energize the cross-fold solenoid CF S of the first cross-fold unit. It is noted that the closed contacts of the upper section 116 of the switch 117 of push button DPB are included in the circuit 1 15.

The pressing of push button CPB therefore effects the transverse folding and cross-folding of the C-size sheet as hereinbefore described.

If now a 34 X 44 inch E-size sheet is to be folded, push button DPB is pressed which immediately releases the previously pressed push button CPB and opens circuit 114 of the gate-solenoid GS and the C stop-solenoid CS (FIG. 7) causing the gate 50 to be spring raised to the position shown in FIG. a and causing the stops 56 of the lower pocket to be retracted out of the pocket. Pressing of the push-button DPB moves the lower section 118 of its switch 117 down to open the circuit 108 of the indicator lamps BL and CL andto close the circuit 109 of the D indicator lamp DL. The upper section 116 of the switch 117 opens the circuit 115 of the first cross-fold solenoid CFS, and, when the cross-fold micro-switch CM is closed by the advancing sheet, a circuit 119 of the cross-fold solenoid CFS' is closed to energize said solenoid and effect cross-folding of the sheet by the cross-fold unit 28 (FIGS. 5e and 10).

The leading edge of the cross-folded sheet closes the switch CM (FIGS. 8 and 10) of cross-fold unit 29 which energizes the latching coil 120 of the latching relay 121 to close the relay contacts to in turn energize the cross-fold solenoid CFS" of cross-fold unit 28. This effects a second (and final) double-crossfold of the sheet as hereinbefore described. The mechanical latch of the relay holds the relay contact closed and consequently keeps the solenoid CFS" energized until a succeeding sheet actuates the cross-fold micro-switch CM to pulse the unlatching coil 122 of the latching relay 121 to reset the circuit for another final crossfold.

The folding of sheets of any size from the 22 X 34 inch D-size to the 34 X 44 E-size is accomplished by pressing the push button DPB and the folds take place in the same manner as just described for the E-size sheet. However, since sheets of certain intermediate sizes have a short area 81, so to speak, when the sheet is advanced into the final fold unit 29 as seen in FIG. 6 provision is made, as explained hereinbefore, to smoothly tuck this end between the folds 82 and 83 as shown at 84 in FIG. 6a.

The apparatus includes a tubular static eliminator 125 located in the inlet throat 23 of the cabinet as shown in FIG. 8 and connected in the electrical circuit as shown in the wiring diagram of FIG. 11.

Each of the rotary solenoids BS, CS and BR has a known type of arc-suppressor across it as indicated at 126 in FIG. 11, to minimize the effect of the high reverse voltages generated by the collapsing magnetic field of the solenoids when de-energized. This protects the switching contacts of the control circuitry and substantially extends the life of the contacts.

By way of illustration and amplification, but not of limitation, we will now point out some further features and advantages of the invention.

The coordinated drive of the feed rolls and creasing rolls, conveyor 25 and conveyor 33, and the rapid and accurate selection and actuation of the several folding mechanisms, stops and associated parts, help to make possible a high-speed operation, when folding a given standard size of print, or when folding an intermix of standard sizes, or when folding prints of odd or n0nstandard sizes and shapes or a mixture of odd and standard sizes.

Considering simply the linear speed of the conveyor belts and the roll surfaces, it is quite practical to operate these continuously at a speed, for example, of feet per minute, which is approximately double the speed of some known folding machines heretofore in use. In this regard it may be noted that the rolls are desirably surfaced with rubber or Neoprene. The belts of the conveyors are typically of a woven endless fabric or tape having a good surface friction characteristic.

The selection of stops, gates and folding units, and thus of the number and location of fold lines (both as to transverse-folds and as to cross-folds), through the medium of quickly-identifiable push-buttons, spring returned solenoids, controls tripped by sheets of certain dimensions, and related elements, renders the operation of the machine quick, easy and reliable, and

simplifies the training of personnel to operate it. For Example, as an intermix of standard prints of B, C, D and E sizes (or any two or more of them) are received at the operators station, the operator, recognizing the size, simply presses the corresponding push-button, positions the print against the guide 16a with the corner block at the location shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, and slides the print endwise into the throat 23 (FIG. 8), whereupon the feed rolls 22 take over, and those mechanisms made effective by the circuits controlled by the selected push-button then operate upon the print to produce the uniformly-dimensioned packet and to deliver it, either to the rear receiver 26 (in case of a B-size print) or to the end receiver 34 (in case of larger prints).

When a print of an odd (non-standard) size comes along, if it is of a width (for example) between the 17 inch width of a C-size print and the 34 inch width of an E-size print, the operator presses the D-E push-button, and when the print reaches the cross-folding unit 29 (see FIGS. 6 and 6a) the odd area, over and above what would have been folded as a direct multiple of the final 8% inch dimension of the packet, will have been folded in, automatically, as shown for instance at 81 and 84 in those Figures. At 84, it is seen that the odd area is positioned at the interior of the packet.

Similarly, when an odd (non-standard) print comes along, having, for example, a lengthwise dimension intermediate the 17 inches length of a B-size print and the 22 inches length of a C-size print, the operator presses the C push-button, and in the transverse-folding unit 20,24, etc. (FIG. 4a) the odd area, not conforming with what would be folded as a direct multiple of the final l l dimension of the packet, will have been folded in, automatically, during the buckle-folding operation; and, when the cross-fold has taken place, the odd length area will be on the inside of the packet, just as in the case with the odd width area (84 in FIG. 6a).

In short, when a print is of dimensions between two standard-size sheets for which the machine has been set-up, the operator simply presses the push-button for the larger of those two standard sizes, and the apparatus automatically folds into the packet the sheet area which is in excess of the area of the smaller of said standard sizes.

The facility, speed and reliability of operation of this apparatus make it quite feasible to fold prints or other sheets at such rates per hour that the folded packets can be delivered in such quantities as: over l,200 per hour (if B-size prints); over 1,100 (C-size); over 900 (D-size); over 700 (E-size); over 800 (with a typical random intermix). The reliability, speed and output constitute substantial improvements over all prior print-folding machines of which we are aware. It should further be understood that similar results may be obtained by our machine when made or adjusted for other sheet sizes, for example: 12 X 18 inch, 18 X 24 inches, 24 X 36 inches, 36 X 48 inches, and odd intermediate sizes.

Turning again to the electrical system disclosed and claimed herein: typically, though not by way of limitation, the ll5-volt A.C. power (see FIG. 11) may be used for the motor M and for the linear solenoids, while the rectifier diagrammatically-shown may deliver a IOO-volt DC. output to the rotary solenoids, and the lights may be operated with S-volt A.C. from the transformer 106.

The lights are desirably so placed as to give interior illumination to the push-buttons, which may be translucent so that the legends thereon show up clearly. Only one (the depressed) button is illuminated at any one time. This tends to avoid errors in operating the machine.

The known interlocked switches may be of any suitable commercially-available type, having a selective operation such as is commonly employed today in various radio receivers, business machines, data processing equipment, etc., where each push-button operates a switch to select a given circuit and automatically releases the other switches. One example is the Honeywell known as the Kb Micro Switch.

Besides the normal control, adapted to effect continuous power-driven operation of the folding and conveying mechanism at high speed, the jog button permits intermittent operation (under power) in order to check out the machine, or to take out a partially-folded sheet if desired, or to clear a jam. In addition, the apparatus may be operated slowly, by hand, by applying a wrench to the squared socket 42' of shaft 42 of the gear-box (see FIG. 8), for instance to extract a crumpled sheet, if for any reason there should be a malfunction.

Various changes may be made within the scope of the invention herein disclosed and claimed. For example, but without limitation, differently located stop devices or stops additional to stops 54,56, 58 and 71, might be employed, by which additional fold patterns could be programmed.

With respect to various feed and creasing rolls, such as 22,24, 31 and 32, these are shown as separated (for clarity) in the diagrammatic portions of the views of FIGS. 1, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a to Se inclusive, 6 and 6a, but it will be understood that their actual relationships are as shown in FIGS. 7 to 10.

We claim:

1. Apparatus adapted to handle an intermix of flexible sheets of differing sizes and to fold them, selectively, along one or more fold lines, each into a folded packet having predetermined standardized length and width dimensions, comprising high-speed normally continuously-operating sheet transport means with associated sheet-folding mechanism, said mechanism having a plurality of elements adapted to co-operate in the sheet-folding operation, at least some of which elements may be selectively rendered operative according to sheet size whereby to fold the sheet on one or more lines of fold so related as to form said sheet into a folded packet of the aforesaid predetermined standardized length and width dimensions, regardless of the initial size of the sheet, and a programming system for said selectively operative elements, controllable, in accordance with sheet size, to select simultaneously the required group of said elements for operation, without retarding said sheet transport means or interfering with the normal flow of work through the apparatus.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein certain elements of the sheet-folding mechanism also constitute part of the sheet transport means.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein parts of the sheet transport means are adapted to act also in a sheet-folding capacity.

4. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the sheet transport means includes sheet-folding rollers.

5. Apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the transport means also includes constantly-moving conveyor means positioned and operating to receive a folded sheet and pass it to a selecting station.

6. Apparatus according to claim 5, wherein routing means are associated with the said conveyor means at said electing selecting and are adapted to route a sheet to a receiver or alternatively to arrest a sheet at said station for further folding and for routing to a different receiver, according to initial size of the sheet, without retardation of said conveyor means.

7. Apparatus according to claim 6, wherein certain elements of the sheet-folding mechanism are located at said station and are constructed and positioned to effect cross-folding of an arrested sheet.

8. Apparatus according to claim 7, wherein a second constantly-moving conveyor means is positioned to receive and transport the cross-folded sheet to another station.

9. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the sheet-folding mechanism includes elements constructed and operating to fold the sheet on transverse parallel lines of fold.

10. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the sheet-folding mechanism includes elements constructed and operating to fold the sheet selectively on one, or more, transverse lines of fold, depending upon sheet size, parallel to one edge of the sheet, and also includes elements constructed and operating to fold the sheet on one or more cross-fold lines, depending upon sheet size, at right angles to said transverse line or lines of fold.

11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the sheet-folding mechanism is adapted not only to fold a sheet having a dimension which is a multiple of one of said standardized dimensions into panels each having a dimension which substantially equals said one dimension, so as to fit a standardized packet dimension, but wherein said sheet-folding mechanism also incorporates means adapted, in the case of a sheet having a dimension greater than but differing from said multiple, to fold into the inside of the packet such remaining fragmentary portion of the sheet as is in excess of said multiple but of a dimension less than said one standardized dimension.

12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein said means includes a sheet guide having a curved surface configured and operative to tuck said fragmentary portion of the sheet between normal folds of the sheet.

13. Apparatus for folding an intermix of flexible sheets of various sizes by transverse-folds and crossfolds to form, in each instance, a folded packet of the same predetermined size, comprising sheet-folding components, and continuously-moving high-speed sheet-conveying means between said components, and an electrical selection system including a plurality of electrical circuits for setting the various folding components of the apparatus to accomplish the necessary folds for any size sheet within the capacity of the apparatus, and means for variously selecting different particular circuits to activate differing groups of the folding components necessary for the transverseand cross-folding of differing particular sizes of sheets to be fold d.

12. Apparatus according to claim 13, having a selector console controlling said circuits.

15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein said console comprises a plurality of manually-operated mutually inter-locked switches.

16. The apparatus of claim 15, having a receptacle into which said circuits extend and said selector console being adapted to be readily pulled out of said receptacle for replacement.

17. Apparatus adapted to handle an intermix of flexible sheets of different sizes and to fold them, selectively, along one or more fold lines, depending upon sheet size, and operative for successive transverse-folding and cross-folding, so that, by successive operations, sheets of differing sizes may each be folded to produce a folded packet having predetermined standardized length and width dimensions, said apparatus comprising high-speed normally continuously-operating sheet transport means with associated sheet-folding mechanism, said mechanism having a plurality of elements adapted to co-operate in a sheet-folding opera tion, at least some of which elements may be selectively rendered operative according to sheet size whereby to fold the sheet on one or more lines of fold related to the initial size of the sheet, and a programming system for said selectively operative elements, controllable, in ac cordance with sheet size, to select quickly and simultaneously a group of said elements for operation to produce one or more folds paralleling an edge of the sheet without retarding said sheet transport means.

18. Apparatus according to claim 17, wherein the sheet-folding mechanism includes elements constructed and operating to fold the sheet selectively on one or more transverse lines of fold, depending upon sheet size, parallel to one edge of the sheet, and also includes elements constructed and operating to fold the sheet on one or more cross-fold lines, depending upon sheet size, at right angles to said transverse line or lines of fold.

19. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the programming system comprises manually-actuable means quickly controllable by an operator to condition the system for effecting a selection of folding elements in accordance with a sheet dimension.

20. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the programming system comprises automatic sensing means operative in response to a sheet dimension.

21. The apparatus of claim 17, comprising power drive means therefor, a control for normally establishing continuing operation of said apparatus by said power drive means, a control for jogging said apparatus into an intermittent operation by said power drive means, and means for operating said apparatus slowly by hand.

UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION PATENT NO. 2 3,698,705 DATED October 17, 1972 Rudolph Funk, Jamison; Roger S. Funk, Holicong, INV ENTOR(S) both of Pa.

It is certified that error appears in the above-identified pate t and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

In column 3, line 42, are types" should be deleted Signed and Scaled this Eighteenth Day of October I977 [SEAL] Attest:

RUTH C. MASON LUTRELLE F. PARKER Attesting Officer Acting Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification493/19, 493/25, 493/420, 493/23
International ClassificationB65H45/14, B65H45/18, B65H45/12
Cooperative ClassificationB65H45/12, B65H45/18, B65H45/148, B65H45/144
European ClassificationB65H45/18, B65H45/12, B65H45/14D6, B65H45/14D2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 15, 1995ASAssignment
Owner name: PRINTFOLD COMPANY, INC., PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:R. FUNK & CO., INC.;REEL/FRAME:007476/0382
Effective date: 19950417
May 15, 1995AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: PRINTFOLD COMPANY, INC. 825 NORTH EASTON ROAD DOYL
Effective date: 19950417
Owner name: R. FUNK & CO., INC.