US 3718217 A
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Feb. 27, 1973 A. R. STOBB ET AL 3,718,217
APPARATUS FOR FEEDING SIGNATURES Filed Aug. 22, 1969 INVENTORS A/VTON R. 57088 RUDOLPH C. 57083 ATTORNEV United States Patent O US. Cl. 214-8.5 A 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Method and apparatus for feeding signatures which are folded and disposed in a stack. The folded edges cause the stack to be longer along the folded edge, and there is a problem of handling the stack with the protruding folded edges. The method and apparatus utilize friction means, such as brushes or tapes of friction material, either of which is disposed along the bed supporting the stack, and the folds are supported on the friction means to retard movement of the folds as the stack is moved along the bed. The friction means may be either stationary or it may be moving at a lesser speed than the speed of the stack which is subjected to a conveyor, or the friction means may be moving in the direction opposite to that of the conveyor, all for retarding the movement of the folded edges and thereby square up the stack. Also, gripper means are employed for singly removing the signatures from the stack.
This invention pertain to a method and apparatus for feeding signatures. More particularly, the invention relates to controlling a stack of signatures supported in an upright direction and movable along a bed to a gripper where the signatures are singly removed from the stack.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is common and well-known practice to dispose a stack of signatures in an upright direction and on a supporting bed for movement along the bed and for ultimate removal of the signatures from the stack. Thus a conveyor engages the stack and slides it along the bed, and gripper means are employed for the purpose of singly removing the signatures from the stack and as the stack is slid toward the gripper means. This general arrangement is shown in US. Pat. 3,416,679 which shows an inclined bed for supporting a stack of signatures, and a conveyor moves the signatures upwardly along the bed, and gripper means are located at the upper end of the stack for singly removing the signatures from the stack. In this general arrangement, the signatures are disposed with their folded edges at the bottom edge of the stack and on the supporting bed. Because of the folds, the stack is naturally longer at the bottom or folded edge, and this presents a problem of keeping the stack squared or aligned. When the stack is not squared at its upper signature, then the gripper cannot properly pick up the upper signature and move it off the stack, as desired.
The present invention provides a method and an apparatus which overcomes the problem of maintaining the stack squared or aligned, so that the signature at the upper end of the stack is disposed in a plane and therefore the gripper can properly pick up the signatures one-by-one, as desired. To accomplished this, friction means are provided along the supporting bed so that the stack can be moved upwardly on the friction means, and the folds in the signatures are in contact with the friction means and are thereby retarded in upward movement. In this manner, and by these means, the stack is presented in a squared or planar condition to the gripper, so that only a single signature can be picked up with each action of the gripper,
but there will always be one signature picked up, all as desired.
Accordingly, it is a general object of this invention to overcome the aforementioned problem, and to do so with a commercially feasible and economical method and apparatus for feeding signatures, and to do so in a reliable and efiicient manner. Further, these objects and advantages are accomplished with a method and apparatus which do not impair the desirable safe handling or speed of handling the signatures.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a method and apparatus for feeding signatures from a stack and with provisions for assuring that only one signature at a time will be removed from the stack. -In accomplishing this object, it must be understood that frequently two signatures tend to be removed from a stack when subjected to gripper means, such as a sucker type of gripper. The undesirable removal of two signatures at one time is commonly caused by static electricity between the signatures, and sometimes heavy ink coverage on printed signatures will cause two signatures to stick together and tend to be removed together from the stack.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of one embodiment of this invention.
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of another embodiment of this invention.
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of still another embodiment of this invention.
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a fragment of a portion of FIG. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS AND METHOD An upright stack of signatures 10 is disposed on a bed 11 and is moved therealong by a conveyor 12. The stack 10 is moved to gripper apparatus 13 which individually and singly remove the individual signatures 14 from the stack 10.
In detail, the stack 10 consists of the individual signatures 14 with each having a folded edge 16 extending along the lower edge of the stack 10. It will be seen that the bed 11 is shown inclined upwardly, and it consists of a rigid portion 17 and a brush having a plurality of bristles 18 which are friction means and which extend upwardly on the bed 11 to engage the signature folds 16. At this point it will therefore be understood that when the stack 10 is moved in the direction of the arrow A, the bristles 18 retard the movement of the signature folds 16, and the stack therefore becomes squared away so that its leading surface designated 19 is along a plane and the folds 16 do not cause the lower edge of the stack 10 to protrude upwardly toward the gripper 13, as they would otherwise do except for the friction means 18.
The entire bed 11 could consist of the brush with the bristles 18, but, as shown, the bed 11 also has a surface 21 which extends along the plane of the upper ends of the bristles 18 so that only a portion of the folds 16 might be subjected to the flexible bristles 18 which may be of a wire or nylon material. That is, FIG. 4 shows the bed surface 21 and the bristles 18 disposed along only a fraction of the bed surface 21. In either arrangement, that is with or without the planar 'bed surface 21, the signature folds 16 are subjected to the bristles 18 to retard the movement of the folds 16 relative to the remainder of the signtaures 14, under the influence-of the conveyor 12.
Conveyor 12 is shown to have belts 22 supported on pulleys 23 which are held by a shaft '24. A support member 26 is attached to the belts 22, and of course along the inside extent of the belts 22 relative to the stack 10, :so
the support 26 is moved by the belts 22, and the stack is thereby moved by the force applied through the support 26, in the usual arrangement, such as that shown in Pat. No. 3,416,679.
Conveyor drive means 27 is shown to include a pulley 28 on shaft 24 and a belt 29 and pulley 3'1 and shaft 32 are all connected with a drive motor 33 which powers the conveyor 12, in any conventional manner.
The gripper means 13 is shown to be a vacuum or sucker type, and it has a lift cup 34 which engages the upper one of the signatures 14, and the cup 34 is supported on a retractable arm 36. Thus, when the arm 36 and the cup 34 are retracted from the position shown, the upper signature 14 will be removed from the stack 10, as desired. The gripper means 13 includes a control or support member 37 which is of a conventional nature.
To insure that only a single signature 14 Will be removed at one time from the stack 10, bristles 38 are disposed in the path of movement of the signature folded edge 16. Thus the bristles 38 are taller than the bristles 18, and the signature folded edge 16 will engage the bristles 38 to prevent the removal of two signatures at one time, and the second signature tending to be removed will engage the bristles 38 and be flipped back onto the stack 10, as desired. As previously mentioned, static electricity or heavy ink coverage on the signatures 14 commonly cause them to adhere to each other, so the bristles 38 provide a means for separating the signatures so that they can be desirably removed from the stack and only one at a time.
In an arrangement described in connection with FIG. 3, the friction means on the bed 11 may be different means other than the bristles 18, that is, the friction means may be a friction tape or velvet strip, either of which would engage the folded edges 16, as described in connection with the tips of the bristles 18, and also as described relative to FIG. 3.
In either arrangement, the bed 11 has a supporting floor, such as the piece 17, as it has friction means, such as the bristles 18 or the tapes mentioned, extending thefull length of bed 11.
FIG. 2 shows the stack 10 subjected to the force of conveyor 12, and subjected to the sucker 34, just as in FIG. 1. However, the embodiment in FIG. 2 shows that the stack support or bed is movable in the direction of the arrow B, and this direction is shown to be opposite from that of the movement of the stack in the direction of the arrow A. To accomplish this, the support bed is shown to be a conveyor belt 39 having a brush or bristles 41 afiixed thereto and extending from the belt 39. Also, a floor or support piece 42 is afiixed to the belt 39 and may be flexible for moving along with the belt 39, just as the bristles 41 move therewith. Thus, the signature folds 16 are subjected to the friction means 41 which is shown movable in the direction opposite to the direction of the movement of the stack 10. The belt 39 may be supported on a drum or pulley 42 which is driven by a motor '43 through a shaft 44. In this manner the speed of the motor 43 and thus the speed of the belt 39 may be controlled for controlling the shape of the stack 10 and thereby further assure that the stack presents its planar surface 19 to the sucker 34, as desired. Also, the belt 39, and therefore the friction means of the bristles 41, could be moved in the direction A of the movement of the stack 10, but the speed of movement of the belt 39 could be less than the speed of movement of the stack 10, and the speeds would moving in the direction of the arrow A under the influence I of the conveyor belts'22, and the movement is to the gripper or sucker 34, all as in FIG. 1. However, in FIG. 3, the support bed is a conveyor belt .46 which is supported on a pulley 47 to have the belt move in the direction of the arrow C. The belt 46 could of course also move in the same direction as the arrow A, but the movement would be less than the speed of movement in the direction of arrow A, all for retarding the movement of the folds 16 relative to the remainder of the stack 10, as mentioned and as desired. The belt 46 has friction means 48 aflixed thereto for movement along with the belt 46 and for engagement with the signature folds 16 to retard the movement of the folds 16, as mentioned. Such friction means 48 may be the friction tapes, velvet strips, or other flexible material having a high co-efficient of friction characteristic, much beyond that of an ordinary piece of wood, finished or unfinished, or beyond that of a piece of metal, with either the wood or metal being currently used. for supporting a stack in its movement to the gripper means 13. Now it Will also be understood that the bristles 18 of FIG. 1 can be replaced by the friction means 48 of FIG. 3, and-of course the upper surface 49 of the friction means 48 would be on the plane of the folds 16 in the stack 10, to present the retarding or friction means to the folded edges 16. Also, in FIG. 3, there is no other floor or support shown, other than the friction means 48 which would be the sole support for the engagement of the signature folds 16, but theconveyor 46 and the friction piece 48 could both be supported on a stationary bed 49 over which the conveyor 46 would slide in the desired plane.
In all embodiments shown, the bed 11 is at an inclined angle, and it presents the upwardly faced portion, which is either the friction means 18, 41, or 48 alone or which is the intervening support piece 17 or 42. Also, in all embodirnents, the effect is that the folds 16 are compressed when the stack 10 is moved along the supporting bed. The method steps have been clearly enumerated in the fore going description, including the portions where the description relates to the apparatus.
What is claimed is:
1. In a signature feeder for folded signatures uprightly disposed in a stack with the folds thereof at the bottom edge along the stack, bed means extending along a plane for upwardly supporting said stack on said folds, conveyor means for engaging said stack and sliding said stack along said bed means, gripper means for singly removing said signatures from said stack at the end of said stack in the direction of the sliding movement of said stack, the improvement comprising friction means overlying said upwardly faced portion of said bed means and extending upwardly into contact with all said folds disposed through the entire said end'of said stack adjacent said gripper means and along a plane extending above and parallel to the plane of said bed means and in the direction of sliding movement of said signatures for retarding the sliding movement of said folds of said signatures along said bed means relative to the movement of the remainder of said signatures.
2. The subject matter of claim 1, wherein said friction means is a plurality of flexible bristles extending upwardly to said plane and intov contact with said folds.
3. The subject matter of claim 1, wherein said friction means is a tape of friction material aflixed to said upwardly faced portion and is disposed to be in contact with said folds.
4. The subject matter of claim 1, wherein said planes are disposed at an upwardly inclined angle for disposing said stack at said angle, and said gripper means is disposed adjacent the upper end of said stack for removing said signatures from the stack upper end.
5. The subject matter of claim 1, including movable support means connected with said friction means for 'movably supporting said friction means for movement in the direction of said planes and relative to the movement of said conveyor means effective on said stack.
6. The subject matter of claim 5, including drive means connected to said movable support means for moving said friction means in the direction opposite to said movement of said conveyor for compressing said signature folds.
7. The subject matter of claim 5, including a conveyor belt connected with said friction means for movement relative to the movement of said conveyor means efiective on said stack.
8. The subject matter of claim 1, including additional friction means disposed adjacent said gripper means and on a level above said plane of the first said friction means 10 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 8/ 1952 Wockenfuss 27162 B X 9/1956 Basham 27l28 X 6 3,416,679 12/1968 Stobb 214--8.5 A 3,493,127 2/1970 Heaney 214-85 D 3,527,367 9/ 1970 Bivans 2148.5 D 3,598,400 8/1971 Nelson 271-62 B FOREIGN PATENTS 1,208,478 9/1959 France 2l48.5 A
GERALD M. FORLENZA, Primary Examiner G. F. ABRAHAM, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.
15 214-85 D; 271-30 A, 62 B