US 3774902 A
A sheet distributing mechanism is provided which has pivotally mounted catch trays defining therebetween sheet receiving pockets. Gating means are provided to divert sheets from a conveyer into the pockets. Actuating means are operably associated with the gating means to pivot one of the catch trays defining the aligned pocket to an open position thereby increasing the opening size of the pocket receiving the sheets.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
D United States Patent 1 1111 3,774,902
Schulze Nov. 27, 1973  SHEET SEPARATOR WITH INCREASED 3,460,824 8/1969 Bahr et al. 270/58 POCKET OPENING 2,484,996 10/1949 Hatch 21 l 150 3,096,089 7/1963 Swenker et al. 271/64  Inventor: Erwin F. C. Schulze, Novelty, Ohio  Assignee: Addressograph-Multigraph Primary ExaminerRobert W. Michell Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio Assistant Examiner-L. R. Oremland  Filed Aug 25 1971 Attorney-Russell L. Root et al.
 Appl. No.: 174,752
 ABSTRACT 52 US. Cl 270/58, 211/150 211/184 A Sheet distributing mechanism is Provided which has 220/22 271/64 pivotally mounted catch trays defining therebetween 51 Int. Cl B65 h 39/06 Sheet receiving Pockets- Gating means are Pmvided 58 Field of Search 271/64' 270/58 dive" Sheets from into the pockets- 211/150 220722 ating, means are operably associated with the gating means to pivot one of the catch trays defining the  References Cited aligned pocket to an open position thereby increasing UNITED STATES PATENTS the opening size of the pocket receiving the sheets.
3,586,311 6/1971 Schulze 270/58 4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures SHEET SEPARATOR WITH INCREASED POCKET OPENING BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to sheet distributing and collating machines, i.e., machines for use in distributing a group of sheets from a source into individual multiple groups for subsequent distribution, binding, stapling or other operations. I
Basically, such sheet distributing mechanisms provide a series of pockets, and sheets are deflected into selected pockets by conveying the sheets and selectively gating or diverting them to their required pockets, either by moving the pockets with respect to the conveyor, or by diverting the sheets from the conveyor at different locations with the pockets remaining stationary. Generally speaking it is usually more desirable from a cost and engineering standpoint to provide stationary pockets with selective diverting from the conveyor. In such a case it is desirable to provide as many pockets in a given length as possible to reduce the size and cost of such a system.
The thickness of the pockets, while being a function of the number of sheets that the pocket is to hold, nevertheless requires a substantially wider entrance to receive the sheets than the total thickness of the stack of sheets in the pockets. This is to allow the proper entry of the sheets into the pockets without binding or misdirection'into an adjacent pocket. This in the past has necessitated designing the pocket thickness to this wider entrance requirement, thus reducing the number of pockets available per unit length.
SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION According to the present invention a sheet distributing machine is provided having a conveyor which has gating means to selectively divert the sheets at selected locations. Pockets are defined at each of these locations by a plurality of catch trays. The catch trays are constructed and cooperate with the gating means so that they will be moved to open the mouth of the pockets for receiving the sheet during the diverting operation for the sheets for that pocket.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a side elevational view, partially in section, and somewhat schematic, showing a sheet distributing device according to this invention;
FIG. 2 is a detailed perspective view of a portion of the conveyor showing the sheet diverter and actuating arms for widening the mouth of the pocket;
F IG. 3 is a side elevational detailed view of the device of the present invention opening the mouth of the pocket at a sheet diverting location; and
FIG. 4 is an enlarged detailed view of the operation of the actuating arm against the catch trays upon movement in opposite directions.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawing, the sheet distributing device of the present invention includes a main frame designated generally as which has mounted thereon a sheet conveyor designated generally as 12. The conveyor 12 includes a delivery section 14 and a generally vertically extending distribution section 16. The distribution section 16 includes a plurality of spaced conveyor belts 18 which are driven by a conveyor motor While any one of several different types of conveyor systems can be used in both the delivery section and the distribution section, the present invention utilizes a vacuum type system to maintain the sheets on the conveyor belts 18 as they are being transported. This system includes a face plate 22 having openings 24 formed therein. The face plate is formed as a part of an enclosure designated generally as 26 to which a vacuum is applied. The vacuum applied to the enclosure 26 will cause a sheet to adhere to the face plate 22 while it is being transported downwardly on a vertical path by the movement of the conveyor belts 18.
A gating or deflector system is provided which will deflect the conveyed sheets from the conveyor at preselected desired locations. This gating or deflector system takes the form of a deflector bar 28 having a curved deflector surface 30 formed thereon positioned to engage and deflect a sheet from the conveyor belts 18 when the sheets engage the deflector surface 30.
The deflector bar 28 is mounted on a pair of positioning belts 32 located on opposite sides of the conveyor belts 18. The positioning belts 32 are operable by a stepping motor 34 which in turn will move the belts up or down according to a pre-set program which is derived from any conventional programming device designated by the rectangular box 36. The positioning belts 32 together with the stepping motor 34 and programming device 36 will move the: deflector bar 28 incrementally to pre-selected desired locations along the distribution section 16 of the conveyer 12. This will allow selective distribution of the sheets from the conveyer into the various pockets provided by the bin structure designated generally as 37.
The bin structure 37 includes a plurality of vertically aligned catch trays 38. Sheet receiving pockets designated by the reference character 40 are defined between each pair of adjacent trays v38.
Each of the catch trays 38 is provided with a mounting rod 42 at the rear end thereof which rods 42 are pivotally mounted on the main frame 10. This allows each of the catch trays 38 to pivot about the rod for limited pivotal movement. The catch trays 38 are maintained in a normal position by means of shelves 43 on whichthe foreward ends. of the trays 38 rest. This defines a series of sheet receiving pockets 40 of equal thickness with equal forward openings or receiving mouths thereof.
According to conventional prior art practice the distribution to such pockets would normally be by delivering sheets to the distribution section 16 of the conveyor and incrementally moving or stepping the sheet deflection bar 28 either upwardly or dlownwardly in steps moving it selectively from one pocket location to the next to divert the pre-selected number of sheets to each pocket. This stepping in prior art devices could be either from top to bottom or bottom to top and then return for the next program.
According to the present invention the sheet stepping is from bottom to top, and at each; location the device of the present invention will cause the catch tray defining the top of each pocket to be pivoted upwardly thereby increasing the opening thereto while the sheets are being deflected therein. To this end a pair of actuating arms 44 are provided each of which is secured to a flange 46 mounted on the positioning belts 32 and located just above the deflector bar 28. The actuating arms 44 are mounted on pivot pins 48 and are free to pivot in a clockwise direction as shown in phantom outline in FIG. 4 but are prevented from pivoting in a counterclockwise direction by abuttment surface 50 butting against the belt 32. The actuating arms 44 are each provided with actuating surfaces 52 disposed to coact with the catch trays 38 to pivot the proper catch tray thereby widening the entrance to the sheet receiving pocket 40 into which the sheets are being deflected.
The device operates in the following manner:
The program device 36 is set to cause the deflector bar 28 to initiate its program at the lower end thereof and step incrementally upwardly to each selected pocket where the desired number of sheets is deflected, and thereafter again step incrementally upwardly until the program is finished, whereupon the deflector bar is returned to the bottom again to start the same or a new program.
When the deflector bar is moved to its first diverting position such as shown in FIG. 1 the actuating surfaces 52 of the actuating arms 44 will engage the lower side of one of the catch trays 38 and will cause the catch tray to pivot upwardly about its pivot rod 42. This is shown in detail in FIG. 3. In this position the entrance to the pocket 40 defined by the pivoted catch tray and the cone immediately below it is substantially widened to receive the deflected sheet. The device remains in this position until the desired number of sheets has been delivered to this particular pocket whereupon the program device 36 will cause the stepping motor to move the deflector bar 28 upwardly to the next position.
Movement of the deflector bar by positioning belts 32, will also cause the actuating arms 44 to move upwardly which will cause the actuating surfaces 52 to disengage the bottom of the catch tray 38 and move and engage the next higher catch tray 38 pivoting it to the open position. Sheets are then diverted into that tray by deflector surface 30.
This action continues incrementally until the final pocket has been filled. At this point the deflector bar 28 is moved by the stepping motor 34 through the positioning belts 32 to its lower position to start the next program. This downward movement of the positioning belts 32 will also cause a downward movement of the acutating arms 44.
During the downward movement of the arms 44 the pivotal mounting allows the arms to pivot in a clockwise direction and override each of the trays. Thus during downward movement the actuating arms 44 will override the trays while during upward movement they will engage and raise each tray as they move into contact therewith. This description has been of a vertical pocket array, because this is believed to be the preferred embodiment, but the invention has been applied to a device of substantially the same structure in horizontal position.
Thus according to the present invention the opening to each pocket can be increased merely as needed during the delivery of sheets thereto thereby allowing a more compact structure for receiving sheets.
What is claimed is:
l. A sheet distributing device comprising conveyor means disposed to convey sheets on a 'path of travel, gating means operatively associated with said conveyor means to selectively divert the conveyed sheets at a plurality of locations on said path of travel, bin means including a plurality of catch trays defining a plurality of sheet receiving pockets each having an entrance opening oriented toward said conveyor means in alignment with said selected sheet diverting locations defined by said gating means, and actuating means associated with said catch trays and said gating means to selectively move one of said catch trays relative to an adjacent tray to increase the size of the entrance opening of the pocket aligned with the sheet diverting location defined by said gating means; said actuating means including means pivotally mounting said catch trays for movement between an open position and a normal'position, and means responsive to the position of said gating means to pivot one of the catch trays defining the pocket aligned therewith to its open position.
2. A sheet distributing conveyer comprising conveyor means disposed to convey sheets on a path of travel, gating means operatively associated with said conveyer means to selectively divert the conveyed sheets at a plurality of locations on said path of travel, bin means including a plurality of catch trays defining a plurality of sheet receiving pockets each having an entrance opening oriented toward said conveyer means in alignment with said selected sheet diverting locations defined by said gating means, and actuating means operably associated with said catch trays and said gating means to selectively move one of said catch trays relative to an adjacent tray to increase the size of the entrance opening of the pocket aligned with the sheet diverting location defined by said gating means, said actuating means including means pivotally mounting said catch trays for movement between an open position and a normal position, and means responsive to the position of said gating means to pivot one of the catch trays defining the pocket aligned therewith to its open position, and wherein said means responsive to the position of the gating means includes actuating arm means movable to the location of said gating means and positioned to engage and pivot said one catch tray to its open position upon engagement therewith.
3. The invention as defined in claim 2 further characterized by means mounting said actuating arm means for pivotal'movement in one direction and preventing movement in the opposite direction, whereby movement of said actuating arm means in one direction will cause the actuating arm to open the catch tray upon engagement therewith and movement of the actuating arm means in the opposite direction will cause the actuating arm means to pivot to override the catch tray upon engagement therewith.
4. A sheet distributing device comprising conveyer means disposed to convey sheets on a path of travel, gating means operatively associated with said conveyer means to selectively divert the conveyed sheets at a plurality of locations on said path of travel, bin means including a plurality of catch trays defining a plurality of sheet receiving pockets each having an entrance opening oriented toward said conveyer means in alignment with said selected sheet diverting locations defined by said gating means, means for pivotally mounting each of said catch trays for pivotal movement about a pivot axis at one end thereof from a normal position to a bin open position, means for engaging the opposite end of each said catch tray to support said opposite end while said tray is in its normal position, actuating means 3,774,902 6 operatively associated with said gating means and said tion, said actuating means including tray engaging surcatch trays for engaging a selected one of said trays at a location adjacent said opposite end and pivotally displacing said tray about said axis so that said catch tray m Its Open posmon' is pivoted from its normal position to its bin open posi- 5 face means for engaging and supporting said tray while Notice of Adverse Decision in Interference In Interference No. 98,859, involving Patent No. 3,774,902, E. F. C. Schulze, SHEET SEPARATOR WITH INCREASED POCKET OPENING, final judgment adverse to the patentee was rendered J uly 27, 197 7 as to claim 1.
0 7ml Gazett Febmary 14, 1978.]