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Publication numberUS3776546 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 4, 1973
Filing dateOct 17, 1972
Priority dateOct 17, 1972
Also published asCA977712A, CA977712A1, DE2345804A1
Publication numberUS 3776546 A, US 3776546A, US-A-3776546, US3776546 A, US3776546A
InventorsCarlstedt P, Erickson A
Original AssigneeCx Processing Laboratories
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Selective article director multiposition gate
US 3776546 A
An article directing gate selectively routes advancing articles such as photoprints into any of three offbear paths in accordance with simultaneous energization of different combinations of two of four electromagnet relays with the other two remaining deenergized. The relay armatures act on the pivoted gate through a walking beam and gate crank arm.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Unite States atent [1 1 [111 Erickson et a1. Dec. 4, 1973 [54] SELECTIVE ARTICLE DIRECTOR 3,356,362 12/1967 Mestre 271/64 X MULTIPOSITION GATE 3,556,518 1/1971 Brockmueller 3,352,554 11/1967 Menzi et a1 271/64 MA Inventors: Arlen J. Erickson; Paul A. Carlstedt,

both of Seattle, Wash.

CX Processing Laboratories, llnc., Seattle, Wash.

Filed: Oct. 17, 1972 Appl. No.1 298,351


US. Cl. 271/64 Int. Cl B65h 29/58 Field of Search 271/64, 64 MA; 209/74 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 10/1966 Schulze 209/74 R Primary ExaminerA1len N. Knowles Att0rneyChristensen et a1.

[57] ABSTRACT An article directing gate selectively routes advancing articles such as photoprints into any of three offbear paths in accordance with simultaneous energization of different combinations of two of four electromagnet relays with the other two remaining deenergized. The relay armatures act on the pivoted gate through a walking beam and gate crank arm.

5 (Ilaims, 5 Drawing Figures SELECTIVE ARTICLE DIRECTOR MULTIPOSITION GATE BACKGROUND This invention relates to a new and improved gating mechanism for the selective routing of conveyed articles, such as photoprints or negatives in an automatic packaging or processing machine, such as wherein the prints are to be directed to any one of three points of disposal. In the case of a commercial photoprint packaging machine, for example, the prints are individually premarked according to whether they are to be accepted, remade or rejected and are to be directed accordingly by sensing the markings and directing their route of conveyance to any of three appropriate receiving points. The invention is herein illustratively described by reference to the preferred embodiment thereof; however it will be recognized that certain modifications thereof with respect to details may be made without departing from its essential features.

A broad object of this invention is to provide a positive and quick-acting director gate mechanism having at least three settings of the gate. A related object is to devise such a gate mechanism of low cost which can be manufactured using readily available electromagnet relay actuators.

A further object hereof is to devise a selective director gate mechanism the actuators of which are energized electrically and thereby easily controlled by electrical signals so as to facilitate automated or semiautomated control of the gate.

A specific object is to provide an improved director gate for use in a photoprint sorting and packaging machine or the like. In general terms the invention provides a high-speed multiposition sorting gate by which photoprints or similar articles moving rapidly in succession along a conveyor path may be directed individually into any one of three offbear paths without interruption or slowing of the movement. In this regard it will be appreciated that in such machines and similar applications the prints or other articles are moving so fast that selective operation of the gate constitutes essentially a flicking motion, so rapidly must it change positions at times between articles in order to intercept and deflect the path of each. Yet operation of the gate must be positive and consistently reliable in order to perform its sorting function adequately.

Accordingly the invention features a plate-like gate member pivoted intermediate its ends on a transverse shaft by which it is tilted variably into any of three positions by a crank arm operated through controlled shifting of a walking beam. For such purpose, that is in order to achieve three-way positioning of the gate, the ends of the walking beam are independently movable to either of two opposite positions, this being carried out by means of electromagnet relays which are energized in selected combinations.

These and other features, objects and advantages of the invention will become more fully evident from the following description by reference to the accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 are side views of the gate mechanism and associated conveyor parts in each of the gates three respective operating positions.

FIG. 4 is a partial sectional end view taken on line 4-4 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a schematic circuit diagram showing a means to control relay energization.

In application Ser. No. 133,885 filed Apr. 14, l97l by Leonard I-I. Tall, Paul A. Carlstedt and Arlen J. Erickson there is disclosed a photoprint packing machine having a director gate toward improvement of which the present invention is directed. The disclosure of that case illustrates a primary application for the present invention.

Referring to the drawings, articles A, such as photo prints, are infed on supporting belt conveyor 108 and at a point therealong by the cooperating conveyor 1 12. Thereupon the moving articles encounter the article directing gate which is in the form of a wedgeshaped plate member having a leading edge 120a. The plate-like member tapers to its leading edge 120a and is pivotally mounted on shaft 120b transversely oriented to the direction of movement of articles A. The axis of pivot is in the plane of the plate-like member and is situated generally intermediate its leading and lagging edges. A notch 120g formed in and along the upper lagging end of the plate-like member 120 allows clearance for driven conveyor roller 114 with the gate in its remake (i.e. most counterclockwise rotated) position shown in FIG. 2. This represents its position wherein the photoprints or other conveyed articles are directed by the gate into the nip between conveyor belt 112 and roller 114. In this setting of the gates, its leading edge is depressed interceptingly beneath the line of infeed of the moving articles A emerging from conveyor 108 so as to deflect the articles upwardly and over the surface of the platelike member.

In its other two positions shifted clockwise by different amounts from the position shown in FIG. 2 the leading edge of the gate is elevated interceptingly above the line of infeed of the moving articles A so as to deflect the articles downwardly and along the bottom surface of the plate-like member. Thus in FIG. 1, representing the accept position of the gate, the moving articles are deflected by a small angle downwardly and into the nip of offbear belt conveyors 116 and 1 18. A larger downward (i.e. clockwise) deflection angle is assumed by the gate for its reject position shown in FIG. 3 wherein the articles are diverted downwardly beneath conveyors 116 and 118 by impingement of the articles on the underside of the sloping deflector plate 110.

In each instance selective interceptive deflection and direction of the advancing articles by the leading edge of platelike member 120 depends upon the mechanisms capability of elevating and depressing the members leading edge to respective positions above and below the article path in conjunction with appropriate angular positioning of the member so that its guiding top or bottom surface directs the article thereafter into the correct new direction. The gate guides the article for a sufficient distance of travel to assure positive guidance and/or conveyance thereafter by other means such as the offbear conveyors 116, 118 or 112, 114. Flexibility of the articles (such as photoprints) and their length sufficient for them to reach and be engaged by the offbear conveyors 114, 112 or 116, 118 before leaving the grip and feeding effect of conveyors 108, 112. assures positive transfer of the articles to and beyond the intervening space occupied by the nonfeeding gate 120. If a relatively longer gate is used it may in certain instances be appropriate for the gate to incorporate its own article engaging and feeding means that exert an advancing force on the articles assuring their traverse of the gate.

Pivot shaft 120b, non-rotationally fixed to the platelike gate member 120, passes rotatably through journal apertures in frame plate 162 at each end of the gate. At one end, that is adjacent one of the side plates 162, shaft 120b rigidly mounts a crank arm 1200 projecting generally upward from shaft 12027. A transversely projecting actuator shaft 120d on the outer end of crank arm 1200 projects therefrom parallel to journal shaft 120b. Actuator shaft 120d is rotatively socketed in a walking beam 12C at a location intermediate the ends of the latter. The upper and lower ends of the walking beam are carried by upper and lower shuttles 121 and 123. To this end the shuttles comprise cylindrical sockets 121a and 123a in which the ball-shaped upper and lower ends of the walking beam are slidably and pivotally received. Shuttle 121 interjoins the aligned and opposed armatures 125a and 127a of electromagnet relays 125 and 127. Similarly shuttle 123 interjoins the aligned and opposed armatures 129a and 131a of relays 129 and 131 extending parallel to relays 127 and 125; also generally parallel to the infeed direction of articles A. Thus energization of the coil of relay 125 with relay 127 deenergized draws the shuttle 121 toward relay 125, and with it in the upper end of walking beam 120a. Conversely energization of relay 127 with relay 125 deenergized draws the shuttle oppositely. Relays 129 and 131 work similarly on the shuttle 123 and thereby the lower end of the walking beam.

Now it may be seen that simultaneous energization of relays 125 and 131 with their counterparts 127 and 129 deenergized shifts both ends of the walking beam in the same direction as in FIG. 2 and thereby rocks the gate 120 into its counterclockwisemost or remake position. Likewise, and conversely, simultaneous energization of relays 127 and 129 with their counterparts 125 and 131 deenergized as in FIG. 3 shifts both ends of the walking beam in the same direction and thereby positions the gate 120 in its opposite extreme or reject position. The intermediate or accept setting of the gate is accomplished by energization of relays 125 and 129 with relays 127 and 131 deenergized. This latter setting could be achieved also by the alternative of energizing relays 127 and 131 with relays 125 and 129 deenergized.

In any event a reliable and positive, quick-acting three-position gate operator is provided economically with readily available commercial relays andsimple mechanical connector elements. There is no need to rely upon return springs, drive motors nor other complex and expensive mechanism. Furthermore the system of controls for the relays being essentially a simple selective electrical switching circuit which is shown symbolically in FIG. 5 requires only four switches. These may be electro-mechanical switches, solid-state switching devices or other electronic current gating means, so may easily be programmed or controlled by electrical sensing or selector devices of any suitable type, as in the aforementioned copending application disclosure of a means for controlling the acceptance, rejection or remake selection of photoprints or negatives to be packaged for making up a customer delivery order.

These and other aspects of the invention will be appreciated as ancillary to its central concept and not limiting thereon.

What is claimed is:

1. A gate mechanism for directing articles advancing to and beyond said mechanism comprising a gate member, means movably supporting said member to permit the same to be shifted into any of three different article directing positions, means to actuate said member be tween such positions comprising a walking beam having electromagnet relays operatively connected to the respective ends of the walking beam, connector means operatively connecting the walking beam intermediate its ends to the gate, and means for selectively energizing the relays.

2. The gate mechanism defined in claim 1, wherein the relays comprise two pairs of relays, the members of each of said pairs being positioned in mutual alignment and having oppositely acting armatures, the armatures of one of said relay pairs being commonly connected to one end of the walking beam and the armatures of the other of said relay pairs being commonly connected to the opposite end of said walking beam.

3. The gate mechanism defined in claim 2, wherein the connector means comprises a crank arm connected to the gate member for tilting the same and connected to the walking beam for rocking the crank arm by shifting of the walking beam in accordance with selective energization of the relays.

4. In a photoprint and similar article conveyor system comprising infeed conveyor means for the articles, three offbear receiving means for the articles generally aligned with said infeed conveyor means and branching in relatively different directions therefrom, and article directing gate means including a member pivotally mounted in general alignment with said infeed conveyor means ahead of said offbear receiving means and movable angularly into any of three positions to direct the articles selectively to any of said offbear receiving means, said gate means including a plurality of electromagnet relays operatively connected to the gate member and arranged by selective energization of selected combinations of said relays to move the gate member selectively from any of such three positions to either of the other positions.

5. The apparatus defined in claim 4 wherein there are four such relays arranged in mutually aligned pairs spaced apart in parallel relationship and with the members of one pair having armatures interconnected by a walking beam with the armatures of the members of the other pair, said walking beam being operatively connected intermediate its ends to the gate member for actuating the same between positions.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3278021 *May 18, 1964Oct 11, 1966Addressograph MultigraphDocument sorting apparatus having over center gate means
US3352554 *Jul 5, 1966Nov 14, 1967Ciba LtdDevice for separating two superimposed moving sheets
US3356362 *Oct 20, 1965Dec 5, 1967Luis MestreSheet sorter having pivoted ramp
US3556518 *Aug 9, 1968Jan 19, 1971Windmoeller & HoelscherApparatus for shifting a deflector in a machine for processing paper or plastics material sheeting, preferably a tube-making machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4518161 *Dec 27, 1982May 21, 1985Tokyo Shibaura Denki Kabushiki KaishaSheet sorting apparatus
US8002118 *Aug 18, 2008Aug 23, 2011Burroughs Payment Systems, Inc.Pocket selector gate with self locking geometry
US20100038848 *Feb 18, 2010Unisys Corp.Pocket selector gate with self locking geometry
U.S. Classification271/303
International ClassificationG03D15/00, B07C3/06, B65H29/60, B07C3/02, G03D13/00, B65G47/68
Cooperative ClassificationB07C3/065, G03D15/00, G03D13/003
European ClassificationG03D15/00, B07C3/06B, G03D13/00F
Legal Events
Nov 13, 1990ASAssignment
Effective date: 19901029
Nov 13, 1990AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Effective date: 19901029
Jun 16, 1988ASAssignment
Effective date: 19870611
Jun 16, 1988AS03Merger
Effective date: 19870611