US 3767185 A
A feeder plate declines to the pick-off station and supports a pack of cards disposed vertically on edge thereon with the upper edge portion of the front card resting against a stop plate extending transversely of the feeder plate. A plurality of separator needles are angularly disposed at the lower edge of the feeder plate in the general transverse vertical plane of the stop plate, each needle extending normal to the feeder plate and being fixed in a rack movable perpendicularly of the feeder plate for adjustment as to height to accommodate cards of different texture and stiffness. Each rack is driven by suitable gearing from a corresponding transverse shaft carried beneath the feeder plate and which is rotationally held in adjusted position by a set screw or other means at the outer edge of the plate.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Newsome CARD FEEDER  Inventor: John R. Newsome, Milwaukee, Wis.
 Assignee: W. A. Krueger Co., Brookfield, Wis.
 Filed: May 28, 1971 211 Appl. No.: 148,034
Primary Examiner-Edward A. Sroka Attorney-Andrus, Sceales, Starke & Sawall 57 I ABSTRACT A feeder plate declines to the pick-off station and supports a pack of cards disposed vertically on edge thereon with the upper edge portion of the front card resting against a stop plate extending transversely of the feeder plate. A plurality of separator needles are angularly disposed at the lower edge of the feeder plate in the general transverse vertical plane of the stop plate, each needle extending normal to the feeder plate and being fixed in a rack movable perpendicularly of the feeder plate for adjustment as to height to accommodate cards of different texture and stiffness. Each rack is driven by suitable gearing from a corresponding transverse shaft carried beneath the feeder plate and which is rotationally held in adjusted position by a set screw or other means at the outer edge of the plate.
The gripping and transfer drums have a smooth 80 durometer polyurethane tread. The pull-out wheels are entirely separately mounted and driven, and spring pressed toward corresponding drums. The main drive shaft is made in sections rigidly coupled together to permit removal without dismantling the end housing.
A counter force cam is provided on the main drive shaft to counteract the load forces on the drive cams.
6 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures 1 g Q; Q0 fl g or Patented Oct. 23, 173 3,7fi7fl85 3 Sheets-Sheet l O 0 O O INVENTOR. JOHN R NEWSOME Attorneys Patented Oct. 23, 1973 3 Sheets-Shoat INVENTOR. JOHN R. NEWSOME Attorneys Patentd 0 a 23, 1973 3 Sheets-Shut 5 E w m5 w VE S m MW w R m m A Z CARD FEEDER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a card feeder for card folding machines and the like.
Card feeders for this purpose have generally employed fixed separator needles at the pick-off station and there has been no provision for accommodating cards of different thicknesses and texture, nor for preventing tearing by a needle in the event a needle registers with a series of perforations in a card. Where wide cards are to be folded the side edges of the pack sometimes have difficulty in separating as a card is stripped therefrom.
Furthermore, the segmented pull-out wheels and main drive drum rollers and also the transfer rollers have been constructed of metal that rapidly collects paper dust thereonand have to be removed frequently for cleaning.
The main drive drum rollers have been mounted on a one-piece drive shaft driven by gears in the end transmission housing and removalof the rollers has always required dismantling and removal of the housing, which was time consuming and greatly extended the costly shut down time.
Furthermore, the segmented pull-out wheels which were spring pressed against the main drive rollers have always been driven from one side with universal joints in the shaft between the transmission housing and the first wheel and a universal joint in the shaft betweenthe two wheels. The latter universal joint has frequently failed with the result that one of the wheels did not properly align with the corresponding main drive roller. Again maintenance became very costly.
Another item of maintenance cost arose from the wear on the bearings supporting the main drive shaft which carried the main drive rollers and the cams for actuating the vacuum cups and also the folding knife.
Adding all of the problems involved with the most modern card folding machines, the percentage of shut down time for maintenance hardly made the machine economical to employ as against hand folding operations. I
The several problems outlined above have been solved by the present invention as hereinafter described, the several changes in the machine cooperating in providinga machine of minimum maintenance requirements.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to the present invention the separator needles are disposed in separate readily adjustable mountings at the lower edge of the feed plate and are removable therewith to provide access to the working parts of the folder. Means are provided for adjusting the needles from the side edge of the plate and additional adjustable separator needles are provided at the that the central section carrying the main drive drum rollers and folder blade cam may be readily removed without dismantling either end support for the shaft.
The segmented pull-out wheels have been completely separated eliminting the intermediate universal joint, and are now driven separately from separate shafts reaching to the opposite corresponding end housings of the machine, each shaft having spaced universal joints therein to enable the wheels to accommodate cards of different thickness and to be independently springpressed against the corresponding main drive drums.
The wear on the main drive shaft bearings has been largely eliminated by providing a spring loaded cam on the end of the shaft and counteracting the load on the main drive shaft at all positions of the cams thereon.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a schematic vertical longitudinal section through the feeder with parts broken away and sectioned, and also showing parts of the folder mechanism;
FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the lower end portion of the feeder plate;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged lower end detail section of the central portion of the feeder plate taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a transverse vertical section taken axially of the transfer shaft on line 55 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged detail section of the folding mechanism taken on line 6-6 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 7 is an enlarged schematic end view showing the counter-cam construction for the main drive shaft.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The card feeder and folder mechanism illustrated in the drawings comprises in general two upright side housings l and 2 secured in spaced relation by two lower transverse rods 3 and 4 and two upper transverse rods 5 and 6, all suitably supported above a folded card conveyor 7 which continuously moves beneath the same in the direction of the arrows in FIG. 1;
The end housings 1 and 2 constitute gear housings and provide suitable bearings supporting the several shafts of the mechanism.
A pack or stack 8 of cards to be folded is disposed with the cards resting vertically on edge on a declining feeder plate 9 from which they are picked off one by one successively by vacuum cups 10 which withdraw each successive card 15 to a position where its lower edge is received in a recess 11 in each of two pull-out wheels 12 which thereupon pinch the edge of the card against two correspondinglarger diameter drums l3 fixed on the rotating main drive shaft 14.
Each card 15 stripped from stack 8 feeds between pullout wheels 12 and the corresponding rotating drums 13 to a counter rotating transfer drum 16 against which the card is pressed by a series of suitably spring pressed rollers 17 which discharge the card in a forward direction upon the folder knife 18 above and generally parallel to conveyor 7.
As a card 15 comes to rest on knife 18 the latter lifts momentarily into an anvil groove 19 formed by aseries of segments 20 on a forwardly traveling chain 21 to fold the card and kick it forwardly off from the end of the knife where the card falls down upon conveyor 7 and is transported by it to a subsequent operative station in the line.
The feeder plate 9 is removably supported in a declining position on two transverse bars 22 and 23 extending from the rear housing 2.
A series of small gear boxes 24 are secured to the underside of plate 9 at its lower edge. Each gear box 24 carries a rack 25 disposed normal to the plate 9 and in which a separator abutment needle 26 is secured.
The needles 26 are all disposed in a common transverse vertical plane at the lower edge of plate 9 and provide the stripping zone wherein the cards 15 are stripped over the needles by the vacuum cups 10. As each card is drawn over the needles it tends to flick and separate from the next succeeding card in stack 8 which is held back by the needle 5.
The stripping zone additionally has a transverse fixed abutment plate 27 spaced vertically above the needles 26, and against which the upper edge portion of the stack presses so that the advance card 15 is positioned vertically between plate 27 and the needles 26 for engagement by the vacuum cups 10, and has to flex as it is dragged over the needles by the vacuum cups. The plate 27 is conveniently removably clamped to upper cross rod 5.
The needles 26 may be separately adjusted in height by adjusting the racks 25. This is accomplished by a shaft 28 in each of the gear boxes 24 with a spur gear 29 thereon meshing with the corresponding rack 25.
The opposite end of shaft 28 carries a beveled gear 30 which is driven by a beveled gear 31 on the inner end of a transverse shaft 32 that extends to the front edge of plate 9 and is journalled in a block 33 secured to the underside of the plate as well as in the corresponding gear box 24.
Each shaft 32 is secured in needle adjusted position by a set screw 34 in block 33.
The height of needle adjustment in any given instance will depend upon the thickness, stiffness and material of the cards 15. In the event a needle is found to register with a line of perforations in the cards that particular needle may be fully retracted to avoid tearing of the cards.
The lateral positioning of the stack 8 of cards on feeder plate 9 is determined by two angle side bars 35 secured to the top of the plate and adjustable laterally thereof with a vertical flange 36 on each to confine the side edges of stacks of various widths.
A bracket 37 at the lower end of each side bar 35 carries a needle 38 in the plane of needles 26, the body of which needle 38 is threaded into the bracket to provide for vertical adjustment for the same.
Additionally, a bracket 39 is secured to the flange 36 at its lower end, and carries a horizontal needle 40 in the vertical plane of the base of needles 26 and 38 and of plate 27, the body of which needle 40 is threaded into the bracket to provide for adjustment of the needle with respect to the corresponding edge of stack 8.
The needles 38 and 40 aid in positioning of the stack and in separation of the advance card 15 from stack 8 at the outer corners of the cards.
In order to assure proper gripping of the successive cards 15 between pull-out wheels 12 and drums 13 and the proper subsequent transfer of the cards between transfer drums 16 and rollers 17 onto knife 18, it has been found that the several wheels, drums and rollers must be kept free of paper dust at all times. Heretofore, when these were contructed of cast iron or other ferrous metal it has been necessary to remove them for frequent cleaning.
it has been discovered by the present applicant that by surfacing the outer circumference of each of the drums 13 and 16, and rollers 17 with a substantially hard 80 durometer polyurethane smooth tread 41 the tendency for paper dust to collect thereon is substantially avoided. This has substantially eliminated the costly shut down time arising from the problem of dirt on the gripping and transfer surfaces and has permitted the use of light weight aluminum drums.
The pull-out wheels 12 are independently spring pressed against the corresponding drums 13 to accommodate different thicknesses of cards. For this purpose each wheel 12 has its shaft 42 journalled in one end of a pivotal arm 43 which is yieldably biased toward the corresponding drum 13 by a spring 44 from a cross rod 45 extending between housings 1 and 2.
The wheels 12 are independently driven by separate corresponding shafts 46 journalled in the corresponding housings 1 and 2 and connected to the respective shaft 42 by an intermediate shaft 47 with a universal joint 48 between shaft 42 and shaft 47 and a universal joint 49 between shaft 46 and shaft 47 to accommodate the yielding movement of wheels 12 relative to drums 13.
The mounting of pull-out wheels 12, as described provides a substantial improvement over the prior mounting for these wheels and eliminates the problem of maintenance with respect to the former universal joint between the wheels.
The folder knife 18 is carried by a pair of generally parallel arms 50 with a cam follower 51 actuating the same from a rotary cam 52 on main drive shaft 14 between the drums 13. A suitable spring 53 biases the cam follower 51 against cam 52.
The main drive shaft 14 is constructed of three sections rigidly secured together end to end by couplings 54 which can be released for separate removal of the central section of shaft 14 with the drums l3 and cam 52 thereon without disturbing the end sections of the shaft or the housings 1 and 2.
The vacuum cups 10 are carried by separate arms 55 secured to a cross bar 56 between two pivotal arms 57 mounted adjacent the corresponding housings l and 2 on separate stub shafts 58.
Each pivotal arm 57 carries a cam follower 59 which rides on a corresponding cam 60 on the adjacent end section of main drive shaft 14. Each cam 60 has a substantial depression 61 in one side thereof to provide a rapid movement of the vacuum cups 10 toward and away from stack 8 for stripping a card therefrom. At other times during rotation of shaft 14 the cams 60 hold the vacuum cups 10 retracted and out of the way of the card being pulled out and transferred.
The vibrations and stresses developed by the rapid action of cams 60 have heretofore made it difficult to maintain the bearings and drive for main drive shaft 14.
The present invention has overcome this problem by employing a counter force mechanism on the outer end of shaft 14 and which substantially counteracts the forces encountered in actuating the cups 10.
For this purpose the counter force mechanism comprises a cam 62 secured upon the end of shaft 14 and a cam follower 63 mounted on a pivotal arm 64 with a spring 65 biasing or loading the arm in a direction to press follower 63 against cam 62 at all times.
The follower 63 is diametrically opposite cam follower 59, and cam 62 is of a contour to effectively transmit a force to shaft 14 from cam follower 63 and its spring 65 which at each moment in the rotation of shaft 14 substantially counteracts the force of the load from cam follower 59 and its spring 66 through cam 60 upon shaft 14.
This counter force mechanism substantially frees shaft 14 of uneven load conditions and undue vibration which would otherwise damage the machine.
The several improvements described above greatly reduce the maintenance problems encountered in opcrating card folders and provide a more accurate and consistent folding of cards having a substantial variance in characteristics.
The several improvements may apply to various card and paper feeding and transferring machines.
Various modes of carrying out the invention are contemplated as being within the scope of the following claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which is regarded as the invention.
1. A card feeder and transfer mechanism having means to receive a stack of cards vertically on edge, means to strip successive cards from the end of the stack and means to transfer the cards one by one from said stripping means; in which said stack receiving means comprises a feeder plate disposed in a declining position toward a stripping station and adapted to support the stack of cards with the lower end card positioned for stripping from the stack, fixed abutment means adapted to engage the upper portion of said lower end card and retain the card in vertical position for engagement by said stripping means, a plurality of laterally spaced upstanding separator needles carried by said feeder plate with their bases in a vertical plane coincident with said abutment means and with the needles disposed substantially normal to the plane of said feeder plate and at an incline away from the stack of cards, and means to independently adjust the height of each said needle.
2. The construction of claim 1 in which each needle is carried by a rack disposed to move in a direction normal to said plate to raise and lower the needle, and gear means are provided beneath the plate for adjusting the position of each rack separately from one side edge of the plate.
3. The construction of claim 2 and means to secure each such gear means in any selected adjustment of the same.
4. The construction of claim 1 and a pair of adjustably spaced upstanding side flanges on said feeder plate to provide a channel for holding the stack of cards in feeding the same to the stripper means, and an adjustable separator needle carried by said side flanges for controlling the side edges of the card as it is stripped from the stack.
5. A card feeder and transfer mechanism having means to receive a stack of cards vertically on edge, means to strip successive cards from the end of the stack and means to transfer the cards one by one from said stripping means; in which said stripping means comprises a plurality of vacuum cups mounted for controlled reciprocation toward and away from the lower portion of the end card of the stack, means to retain the upper portion of said end card in the stack as the lower portion of the card is stripped from the stack by said vacuum cups, a pair of laterally spaced pull-out wheels having a recess in each for receiving the lower edge of a card as it is stripped from the stack by said vacuum cups, and a pair of rotary drums registering with said pull-out wheels, said pull-out wheels being adapted to deliver the lower edge of a card to the space between the wheels and said drums where it is gripped and the card is pulled away from the stack, said drums having a tread of substantially hard polyurethane material to prevent accumulation of foreign material thereon.
6. A card feeder and transfer mechanism having means to receive a stack of cards vertically on edge, means to strip successive cards from the end of the stack and means to transfer the cards one by one from said stripping means; in which said stripping means comprises a plurality of vacuum cups mounted for controlled reciprocation toward and away from the lower portion of the end card of the stack, a pair of laterally spaced pull-out wheels having a recess in each for receiving the lower edge of a card as it is stripped from the stack by said vacuum cups, a pair of rotary drums disposed in registry with said pull-out wheels to cooperate therewith in gripping the lower edge of the card and pulling the same from the stack, separate pivotal arms supporting said pull-out wheels for independent move ment in a direction toward and away from the corresponding drum, spring means biasing each said pull-out wheel toward its corresponding drum, and separate means for driving each said pull-out wheel.