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Publication numberUS3791293 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 12, 1974
Filing dateMar 18, 1971
Priority dateMar 18, 1971
Also published asCA955793A1
Publication numberUS 3791293 A, US 3791293A, US-A-3791293, US3791293 A, US3791293A
InventorsRastorguyeff A, Uthenwoldt F
Original AssigneePitney Bowes Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Printing selectively on letters or on tape with flat bed printing means
US 3791293 A
Abstract
A machine for printing selectively on letters or on lengths of tape of the pressure sensitive adhesive type is provided by combining with a postage meter having flat bed printing means, tape supply and control means and a tape carrier which is projectible into the throat of the postage meter to the printing station therein, and means responsive to the position of the tape carrier to condition the machine for ejecting printed letters or for advancing the printed end of a tape strip a predetermined distance to a position where it can be torn off, including means for taking up slack in the tape when the carrier is retracted in shifting from tape mode to letter mode operation.
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United States Patent [191 Rastorguyeff et a1.

[ Feb. 12, 1974 2,377,522 6/1945 Ryan et al 101/235 2,639,665 5/1953 Lambert.... 101/235 3,576,163 4/1971 Lawson lOl/233 Primary 'Examiner-Clyde I. Coughenour Attorney, Agent, or Firm-William D. Soltow, Jr.; Albert'W. Scribner; MartinD. Wittstein ABSTRACT A machine for printing selectively on letters or on lengths of tape of the pressure sensitive adhesive type is provided by combining with a postage meter having flat bed printing means, tape supply and control means and a tape carrier which is projectible into the throat of the postage meter to the printing station therein, and means responsive to the position of the tape carrier to condition the machine for ejecting printed letters or for advancing the printed end of a tape strip a predetermined distance to a position where it can be torn off, including means for taking up slack in the tape when the carrier is retracted in shifting from tape mode to letter mode operation.

18 Claims, 18 Drawing Figures snm a nr 7 PATENTEU FEB 1 2 I974 INVENTORS W I r ANDREW w. RASTORGUYEFF FREDERlQK W. UTHENWOLDT Til a? l w PATENTEU 1 5974 3.791 ,293

SHEET 8 OF 7 INVENTORS ANDREW W. RASTORGUYEFF FREDEMCK W. UTHENWOLDT PATENTEU FEB12|974 3,791,293

sum 7 or 7 INVENTORS A REW w. RASTORGUYEFF FREDERICK w. UTHENWOLDT RTIWRNE'Y PRINTING SELECTIVELY ON LETTERS OR ON TAPE WITH FLAT BED PRINTING MEANS FIELD OF THE INVENTION Heretofore no flat bed printing machine of the postage meter type has been available to print selectively on letters or on tape. Flat bed printing machines for printing only on separate work pieces such as letters are known, and in co-pending application Ser. No. 806,099 filed Mar. 1, 1969, now US. Pat. No. 3,576,163 issued Apr. 27, 1971, means are provided for speedily ejecting documents such as letters from a postage meter of the flat bed printing type. In copending application Ser. No. 66,350, filed Aug. 24, 1970, now US. Pat. No. 3,712,527, a machine of the flat bed printing type is provided for printing selectively on one, or on more than one unit length of the print receiving tape strip which is initially the top ply of a two ply composite strip, and thereafter advancing the tape a distance equal to one or more units of the printed strip in accordance with the number of units printed upon, to project the printed on end portion of the top tape strip perforation provided for this purpose for use as a label and to advance the under ply to a take-up reel. Travel of the tape strip which initially is the under ply of said two ply strip is employed to rotate a star wheel by which the extent of advance of the tape is controlled by pre-set means. The star wheel has peripheral projections that are engaged in holes along a margin of said under ply, and a predetermined number of circularly disposed projecting contact pins, the spacing between the pins being determinative of the length of a tape advance. By the present invention a single machine is provided for printing selectively either on letters and the like or on the top ply of tape of the kind described in said co-pending application Ser. No. 66,350, and the length of each tape advance is subject to control by a star wheel as in said copending application.

The word letter" is used herein broadly to include individual pieces such as sheets. The term print receiving tape is used broadly to mean a stripof record material. The term printing is used broadly to mean the recording of data or indicia.

SUMMARY OF THE DESCRIPTION The described embodiment of the invention incorporates a letter printing postage meter of known kind and adds to it a tape carrier which can be projected into the throat of the postage meter for tape mode operation of the machine, or retracted from the meter throat for letter mode operation. The tape carrier supports and carries with it, an intermediate portion of a tape strip which extends from a supply roll to, over and around the end of the tape carrier and over and around guide means and past a star wheel to a take-up reel which is driven by means controlled by the position of the tape carrier, and the end portion of a print receiving tape strip which is superimposed upon the first mentioned tape strip and travels with it from the supply roll to the end of the carrier.

When the tape carrier is projected into the throat of the postage meter, means in the base section are actuated for locking the postage meter to the base to prevent damage to the tape carrier due to lifting of the postage meter from the base, and other means are actuof the upper ply of the tape to a position in which it can be conveniently severed. When the tape carrier is withdrawnfrom the postage meter throat the meter locking clutch operating and ramp bar lifting actions are reversed, and means are actuated for taking up the resulting slack in both the composite tape and in the portion of the second tape strip between the forward end of the carrier and the take-up reel.

When a printing operation is performed on the print receiving tape strip, by means within the postage meter, linkage and a series of interacting members including a segmental cam, a star wheel latch, and a latch release member, are actuated to control an electric circuit and cause the composite tape to be advanced a predetermined distance and simultaneously release a tape brake and hold it released until the tape has travelled the predetermined distance. Other means actuated by movement of the tape carrier and its support means release the tape brake whenever the carrier is shifted, so that tape can be drawn from the supply roll when the carrier is being projected into the throat of the meter, or rewound on the outside of the tape roll holder to take up slack in the composite tape occuring between the tape supply holder and the carrier when the carrier is retracted from the meter throat.

Slack in the protective tape strip occuring between the forward end of the carrier and the take-up reel is taken up in a loop formed by a gravity controlled member which rides on the said tape strip.

A manually operable horizontally movable cam is provided by means of which, acting with cam follower means and coacting members and linkage, the tape drive means may be deactuated preparatory to'threading tape into the machine; the star wheel may be freed to rotate; and the tape brake held in released position so that the tape may be freely drawn from the supply roll.

An object of the invention is to provide a single machine of the postage meter flat bed printing type capable of printing alternatively on separate pieces such as letters, sheets and the like, or on successive end portions of an intermittently advanced tape strip.

The invention will be best understood by reading the following description in connection with the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevation of an embodiment of the invention comprising three sections including, a postage meter section, positioned above a base section, and a tape handling section, with the front cover of the machine removed and some parts omitted for clarity, partly cut away and with some parts in cross section;

FIG. 2 is a detail view of a portion of FIG. 1 showing a tape supply roll mounted within a holder which is rotatable to take up slack in a length of tape led through a slot in the peripheral wall of the holder and lightly tensioned against the outer surface of said holder wall;

FIG. 3 is a front elevation showing a supporting wall, partly cut away, within the tape handling section with some means mounted on both sides of the wall for simultaneously actuating and controlling tape advancing and stopping means and tape brake actuating and deactuating means;

from said slide above the carrier;

FIG. 5 is a front elevation of the tape carrier and carriage and of the slide which is movable vertically on the carriage when the tape carrier is fully withdrawn from the throat of the postage meter;

FIG. 6 is an elevation of the structure shown in FIG. 5, partly in section, showing the carriage operating handle and how it swings an elongated u-member to actuate a switch and cause the tape brake to be released while the carriage and tape carrier are being shifted;

FIG. 7 is a cross section taken on the line 77 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a cross section taken on the line 8-8 of FIG. 5;

FIGS. 9 and 10 are enlarged detail views of swinging cam mechanism, triggered by a pin on the carriage as it is raised and falls for each tape printing operation, for simultaneously actuating the tape drive and tape brake release means;

FIG. 11 is a plan view taken on the line 11-11 of FIG. 12 showning an angle cam member and cam follower means, and an operating handle for manually moving the cam in preparing for threading tape into the machine by inhibiting the switch controlled tape drive while freeing the star wheel and releasing the tape brake;

'FIG. 12 is a front elevation partly in section showing the star wheel, the switch which controls the tape drive and tape brake release means, the segmental cam mounted on the star wheel shaft by which the switch is controlled, and the angle cam, and cam follower and other means for actuating the swinging cam to open and deactuate the switch and free the star wheel and release the tape brake, including the lower end of a tape brake control link the full length of which is shown in FIG. 3; and also showing means for controlling and taking up slack in the protective tape strip between the carrier and the take-up reel, and tape slack control arm lock means controlled by the angle cam;

FIG. 13 is a wiring diagram;

FIG. 14 shows the position of the tape when threaded through the machine with the tape carrier extended for tape mode operation of the machine;

FIG. 15 is a view similar to FIG. 14 but showing the position of the tape when the tape carrier is retracted for letter mode operation;

FIG. 16 is a front elevation of the letter eject and tape mode clutch drive train;

FIG. 17 is a plan view of the drive means for letter mode and tape mode operation; and

FIG. 18 shows a length of composite tape T disposed as it is on the track, with print receiving strip t-l divided into units of equal length by transverse lines of perforation, and with the laterally extending margin of protective strip t-2 provided with slots which are aligned with the lines of perforation, and with strip t-2 doubled back as strip 1-] is separated from it and ex-' tends forwardly.

DESCRIPTION The illustrated embodiment of the invention com prises three sections, indicated generally by the numerals 10, 12 and 14. Section 10 is a postage meter of known kind for printing a postage stamp impression with or without other indicia in the upper right hand corner of letters and the like. Section 12 contains tape handling means including a tape carrier projectible into the throat T of the postage meter comprising section 10. Section 14 laterally adjoins section 12 and provides a base on which section 10 is placed. It contains drive means, for actuating letter eject mechanism when the machine is in letter operating mode, and for driving a tape strip take-up roll when the machine is in tape operating mode. It also contains means connected with means in section 12 and responsive to the position of the tape carrier, as will be explained, for shifting the drive means between letter and tape operating modes.

Tape from a supply roll R mounted on the hub h of a tape supply roll holder I-I rotatably mounted on arm 442 extending up from the left end of section 12 is led through a slot s in the rim of the holder and under the tensioning end of a spring clamp S which extends over the slot, and through guideway g to the tape carrier which is spaced from the forward end of the guideway. The tape used in this machine is a composite tape of the kind described in said co-pending patent application Ser. No. 66,350 and referred to above and in its composite form as shown in FIG. 18 is identified herein as t. The print receiving top ply tape strip, which is separated from the under ply, protective strip adjacent the forward end of the tape carrier, is identified as t-l, and the protective strip which extends all the way from the tape supply roll to the take-up reel and not only carries strip 1-1 with it to the point of separation but also has holes 319 in its margin which engage peripheral projections on the star wheel and causes the star wheel to rotate when it is advanced by being wound up on the take-up reel, is identified as t-2.

Since a postage meter of this kind comprising section 10 is well known and contains its own motor and actuating mechanism mention is made herein only of its following structural features which enable sections 12 and 14 to co-act with section 10.

The meter is mounted on the portion of the base section 14 adjoining section 12 and is locked in position by a sliding plate 17 which engages locating pins 16 on the bottom of the meter. A slot 18 is provided in the bottom plate of the meter and for tape mode operation a finger 20 pivotally mounted in base section 14 is swung up into the slot, by means to be described, and prevents movement of the sliding plate 17 out of engagement with the locating pins 16 thereby preventing the meter from being removed from the base section when the tape carrier is located in the throat T of the meter.

A sensing probe 22 pivoted at 24 within the meter is biased by a spring 26, see FIG. 4, to project into the throat T of the postage meter and, when moved inwardly by a letter or by the tape carrier, conditions the postage meter to perform a printing operation when the meter starting button 28 is depressed.

Flush with the deck 11 and within the throat T is a platen 30 which is raised each time starting switch control button 28 is depressed and lifts any work piece positioned within the throat and abutting the probe, into contact with flat bed printing means (not shown) disposed above the throat.

In the bottom of the postage meter is an opening 32 and vertically aligned with it within the meter is a pin 34 (FIG. 1) which each time after the meter starting button 28 has been depressed, and near the end of the resulting printing operation, is reciprocated through a short stroke downward by means within the meter, not shown. In the known machine for exclusively printing on letters and the like each downward movement of pin 34 is employed to strike the upturned end of a pivoted eject clutch control arm and release the clutch long enough to permit eject mechanism to eject the letter which has just been printed on. In the machine described herein control arm 36, similar to the control arm referred to above but having a shorter tumed-upeject drive clutch 80 is engaged, and itis to pulley 98 on stub shaft 99 when the clutch 96 is engaged.

The letter eject drive clutch 80 is controlled by arm 36 referred to above. As seen in FIG. 1, arm 36 is pivotally mounted intermediate its ends on the support wall W at 37. Its down turned end 39 is adapted to enter and engage in a recess 81 in clutch member 80a and is biend, 38, is employed for intermittently actuating the letter eject means during letter mode operation. In this machine the pin 34 does not strike the upturned end 38 of control arm 36 during tape mode operation but only when a flag member 42 is interposed between pin 34 and the upturned end 38 of arm 36, which occurs only during letter mode operation as will be explained.

Within the meter above its throat T a pressure roller assembly is indicated in FIG. 1 by numeral 48. When operating in letter mode, each time a letter is printed the pressure roller assembly is lowered on it, by means described in said co-pending U. S. Pat. application Ser.

No. 806,099 and not shown herein, to co-act with the drive rollers 50 and 52, located below deck 11 and accessible through deck openings to the lower surface of the letter, in ejecting the letter from the meter.

' In the machine disclosed in said co-pending U. S. application Ser. No. 806,099, as soon as a letter was ejected from within the meter it was engaged between opposed pairs of rollers to be conveyed a further distance away from the postage meter. As shown herein, however, an endless belt 54, extending around driven pulley 56 and idler pulley 58, is provided within the base section in position to receive letters as they are ejected from the postage meter, and a pressure plate 60 with an upturned front end is provided spaced just above, and in parallel relation to, the top flight of the endless belt. The drive rollers 50 and 52 and the driven pulley 56 are all driven from gear 64 on stub shaft 63 when the letter eject drive clutch 80 is engaged, the drive being from motor M (FIG. 17) and clutch shaft 62, clutch 80 and stub shaft 63 to gear 64 and through large gear 66 to gears 68 and 70 on the drive roller shafts, and through gears 72, 74 and 76 to gear 78 on the driven pulley shaft, as shown in FIG. 16. The provision of the pressure plate cooperating with the endless belt has the advantage of providing more space on the ejection end of the postage meter into which the printed end of a tape strip tl may be projected when operating in tape mode, and gives the operator more room to grasp the end of the tape strip and tear it off along one of the lines of perforations, not shown, by which the tape strip may be divided into units of equal length. Into the space thus provided the bent over ramp defining end 84 of a pivoted ramp bar 82 is projected, by means to be described, for operating in tape mode. The ramp provides an upwardly sloping surface which serves to deflect upwardly the printed leading end of v projected tape strip t-1.

As seen in FIG. 17, a gear 87 on clutch shaft 62 meshes with a gear 88 on a shaft 94 which may be connected through clutch 96 with a pulley 98, mounted on stub shaft 99, connected by belt 100 with a pulley 102 (FIG. I) mounted on the shaft 101 of a tape take-up reel 104, located in section 12, to which the. leading end of tape strip [-2 is connected in any suitable way. The drive from motor M is to gear 64 when the letter ased to do so by spring b, and while so engaged the clutch 80 is disengaged. When the down stroke of pin 34 is communicated to the upturned end 38 of arm 36 through the interposed flag 42 the down turned end 39 of arm 36 is lifted from the recess 81 and the clutch 80 engages for one revolution during which the letter eject means is driven. Projecting from the lower edge of control arm 36 is a projection 40 which, when arm 36 is holding the letter eject drive clutch disengaged, holds switch SW-2 in its down position as seen in FIG. 13, and when arm 36 allows the clutch to engage it also allows the switch to move to its up position as seen in FIG. 13. v

As seen in FIG. 1, the flag 42 which is mounted for limited vertical movement with pin 34, extends up from one end of a horizontal arm which is pivotally mounted between its ends on the bracket 112 supported on wall W. The other end of arm 110 is connected to wall W by spring 114 which tends to swing the arm to interpose the flag between the pin 34 and the upturned end 38 of control arm 36 but is held from doing so during tape operating mode by the horizontally reciprocal control bar 116 to be described.

As seen in FIG. 3, the tape take-up reel drive is controlled by a pawl 120 which is engageable with the ratchet wheel 112 and when so engaged holds clutch 96 disengaged. At its lower end pawl 120 is pivoted on pin 124 extending from the wall W. Intermediate its ends the pawl is connected to the right hand end of link 126 by a pin and slot connection 128 which allows the pawl a limited rotary movement for moving in and out between the teeth on the circular ratchet. The other end of link 126 is connected to a reel take-up brake spring 130 which extends from the link 126 partly around the reel to an adjustable anchoring member 132. Link 126 is biased toward reel braking and pawl engaging position by spring 134 and it is moved in the opposite direction for tape mode when an abutment 138 on member 136 is swung against a pin 140 which projects laterally from link 126. Member 136 is pivotally mounted on wall W at 142 and pivotally connected at 144 to the lower end of a'link 146 the upper end of which is pivotally connectedto the core 148 of solenoid S-l comprised in the control circuit shown in FIG. 13.

As seen in FIG. 1, the meter locking finger 20 referred to above is pivotally mounted intermediate its ends on pivot extending from wall W. The lower end of the locking finger 20 is pivotally connected at 162 to one end of horizontally extending link 164, the forward (right hand) end of which is pivotally connected at 165 to another link 166, the forward end of which is also pivotally connected at 86 to the lower end of ramp bar 82 which intermediate its ends is pivoted on pin 168 projecting from wall W. Below pivot 160 locking finger 20 is pivotally connected at 170 to a link 172 extending horizontally to the left and pivotally connected at 174 to the downwardly extending forward (right hand) end of operating bar 116 which extends into section 14 from section 12. The lower edge of bar 116 is stepped near its forward end forming a shoulder 177, which when the machine is in letter mode, presses against the arm of switch SW-1 holding the switch arm in its upper position as seen in FIG. 13. The position of SW-l conditions the electrical control circuit for letter mode or tape mode operation.

In section 12 of the machine a carriage 178 by which the tape carrier 180 is supported and may be moved between extended operative and retracted inoperative positions, according to whether tape or letter mode operation is desired, is slidably mounted on a horizontal rod 182 which extends between the end walls of the section, and the lower end of the carriage is positioned and guided by the horizontal rod 184, the lower end of the carriage having the downwardly extending spaced arms 186 and 187 which straddle the rod 184. On the lower end of the carriage is the forwardly projecting pin 188 which engages in a long slot 189 extending longitudinally of the bar 116 a distance slightly less than the length of travel of the carriage. Beyond the ends of slot 189 are short slots 190 and 192 into which extend pins 194 and 196 respectively, from wall W. As the carriage and tape carrier are moved between extended and retracted positions pin 188 reaches an end of slot 189 and moves the bar with the carriage during the remaining movement of the carriage which is a distance equal to the length of slots 190 and 192.

As best seen in FIGS. 7 and 8, the carriage comprises a relatively thin body portion 198 extending between upper cross heads 200 and 202 and the lower cross heads 204 and 206. Between the upper and lower cross heads and in front of the body portion and adjacent its lateral edges, are the horizontally spaced, vertical slide rods 208 and 210, and mounted between them for vertical movement is a slide 212. At the lateral edges of the slide are the pair of arms 214 which embrace and slide on slide rod 208 and the pairs of arms 216 which engage and slide on slide rod 210. The carriage body 198 defines a vertical slot 199 in which travel rollers 213 carried by the slide.

Projecting forwardly from slide 212 is a bracket 218 on which the tape carrier 180 is mounted in spaced parallel relation to the slide. As best seen in FIG. 4 the tape carrier 180 comprises a lower member 220 and an upper member 222 superimposed on the lower memher, and biased by spring 224 to slide forward on the lower member a short distance limited by te pin and slot connection 226 between the two members. If this occurs, due to exhaustion of the tape supply or a break in tape strip -2, a space 228 is opened between the laterally projecting head portions 230 and 232 of the two carrier members and the forward end of sensing probe 22, referred to above, which is biased to swing into the throat T of the meter, swings into the space 228 and deconditions the meter. The upper member 222 is normally held back in operation by the pressure exerted on its front end by the tape strip [-2 which is doubled back under the forward end of the tape carrier in its travel between the tape carrier and the take-up reel (see FIG. 14 and Also projecting forwardly from slide 212, above bracket 218 is a bracket 234 which supports a tape hold down means 235 which serves to prevent movement of the tape strip t to the left as seen in FIG. 14; which movement would cause the tape strip to return to the supply roll such as might otherwise occur for example, during threading of the tape strip t into the machine. Additionally, the tape hold down means 235 serves to draw the necessary length of tape strip from the supply roll as the tape carrier is moved into the throat T of the meter in the change over from letter to tape mode operation. Bracket 234 comprises two arms between which a three sided support member 236 is mounted on cross pin 237. The hold down 235 is a ushaped member which is pivotally mounted on pivot 238 extending between the parallel arms of said support member, for swinging movement longitudinally of the carrier. A spring 239 extends from the arms of the hold down 235 around pivot 238 and over cross pin 237 and urges the hold down to assume a vertical position.

As seen in FIG. 5,-vertical movement of the slide 212 on the slide rods 208 and 210 is controlled by the bell crank 240 which is pivoted on the carrier at 242. The arm 244 of the bell crank projects upwardly and to the left of the carrier, and the arm 246 extends under a stud 248, which projects rearwardly from the slide 212 into the vertical slot 250 in the carriage and holds the slide from moving down because it is urged upwardly by spring 252 extending between arm 246 and the body of the carriage above it.

When the carriage 178 is moved to the left far enough to withdraw the carrier 180 entirely from the throat of the postage meter the contact roller 254 at the upper end of the arm 244 of the bell crank will strike the left hand end wall of section 12 causing the bell crank to swing in clockwise direction, moving arm 246 down and allowing the slide to move down on the slide rods 208 and 210 due to gravity, and lowering the tape carrier 180 to a position below the level of the deck 11 of the postage meter where it is out of the way during letter mode operation.

The carriage assembly 178 is controlled an moved back and forth by the operating arm 260 pivotally mounted on cross rod 262 extending between the upper cross heads 200 and 202 of the carriage. A coil spring 264 extending around rod 262 urges the arm upwardly to the position shown in full lines in FIG. 6. Arm 260 extends beyond the pivot rod and divides into an upper arm 266 which rests on a cross rod 270 which extends between the ends of section 12, and a lower arm 268 which has a reverse bend so that it extends under the cross rod 268 and under an elongatedbail-shaped member 272 which is mounted for swinging movement around cross rod 268. When arm 260 is depressed into position shown in broken lines it will be seen by reference to FIG. 3 that the elongated member 272 will be swung up into contact with the arm of microswitch SW-3 and move it to its lower position (FIG. 13) and actuate solenoid S-2 to release tape brake 274 while the tape carrier assembly is being shifted and disables the tape drive circuit.

Adjacent its respective ends the cross rod 270 is reduced in diameter at 276 and 278 providing seats into one or the other of which the arm 266 falls when the carriage reaches the limits of its travel and the operating arm 260 is released, thus locking the carriage, slide and tape carrier assembly until operating arm 260 is depressed.

Positioned on the support wall W above the pin 256 which projects from the carriage slide through slot 250 in the carriage, is a triggering member 280 which is pivoted at its lower end, by pivot 282, to the lower end of a member 284 which at its upper end is mounted on a shaft 286 which extends through the support wall and is connected to the upper end of a short link 288, the lower end of which is connected by pivot 290 to the upper end of a long downwardly inclined link 292, the full length of which is shown in FIG. 3. Member 280 has in it an arcuate slot 294 into which a pin 296 extends from member 284 and this pin and slot connection allows member 280 to be swung on its pivot 282 relative to the member 284 a distance controlled by the length of slot 294. A spring 298, extending between the upturned flange 300 on member 280 and the upturned flange 302 on member 284, urges the members to a position in which pin 296 is at the upper end of slot 294. Member 280 has a lower upwardly curving edge 304 which meets at a point with an upper downwardly inclined edge 306. When the platen 30 of the postage meter rises and lifts a tape carrier 180 disposed in throat T, the carriage slide 212 is of course also lifted and its rearwardly projecting camming pin 256, which extends rearwardly through slot 250 in the carriage, strikes the edge 304 and swings member 280 clockwise, see FIG. 9, allowing the pin to move to a position above the downwardly inclined edge 306. As soon as the printing operation has been performed the platen 30 immediately falls carrying with it the tape carrier 180 and the carriage slide 212, and the pressure of pin 256 on the edge 306 causes members 280 and 284 to swing counter-clockwise as shown in FIG. 10, thereby swinging link 288 to raise link 292.

As seen in FIG. 12, the lower end of link 292 is connected by pivot 307 to the upper end of a member 308 the lower end of which is connected, by a shaft 309 extending forwardly through the supporting wall W, to the cam latch release member 310 forming part of an assembly for controlling the tape drive, both when the machine is operating in tape mode and when the tape is being threaded into the machine, and comprising a shaft 312 on which a star wheel 314 is mounted to rotate freely, a segmental cam 316 which is mounted on shaft 312 and can swing back and forth, and the cam latch 332.

Star wheel 314 has around its periphery the projections 318, FIG. 1, adapted to engage holes 319 provided along one margin of the tape strip t-2 (FIG. 18) and has projecting from its rear face a preselected number of pins 320, FIG. 12, the spacing between said pins determining the extent of each tape advance. The star wheel or drum 314 is described in detail in said copending application Ser. No. 66,350 and since per se it is not part of this invention it is not described herein except to point out that when the tape strip t-2 is advanced star wheel 314 is rotated due to the engagement of its peripheral projections 318 in the said tape holes 319; and the number of pins 320 projecting from the rear face of the star wheel may be controlled, by means not shown. When four pins 320 are projected the distance between successive projected pins corresponds with a unit length of the tape strip t-l, which desirably is the distance between transverse perforations (321) in the tape strip. When only two pins 320 are projected the distance between them corresponds with the length of two tape units. Therefore only two diametrically opposed pins 320 are employed when it is desired to print switch SW-4, is biased by spring 326 to swing in a clockwise direction, away from the switch arm. Spring 326 extends between a lug 328 on the cam and a pin 330 on wall W. A star wheel latching member 332 is pivotally mounted on cam 316 by pivot 334 adjacent the curved periphery of the cam. Member 332 is somewhat v-shaped with its upper and lower portions angled inwardly over the cam from the pivot mounting. At its upper end is the outturned flange 336 and at its lower end is the outturned flange 338. A spring 340, extending between the upper end of member 332 and the cam, urges the latch member 332 to swing in a counterclockwise direction and interpose its flange 336 in the rotary path of the star wheel pins 320.

The cam latch release member 310, referred to above, comprises two arms 342 and 344. When the release member 310 is swung clockwise by the upward movement of link 292, arm 342 strikes the abutment flange 338 at the lower end of latch 332 and swings the latch clockwise thus withdrawing the upper abutment flange 336 from the rotary path of the pins 320 and allowing the star wheel 314 to rotate in response to movement of the tape t-2 a distance equal to the spacing between pins 320. The second arm 344 of latch release member 310 is employed when threading tape into the machine.

The machine is prepared for threading tape into it by moving a right angle cam member 350, disposed within section 12 below the star wheel 314 (FIG. 1), which is slidably mounted on a horizontal support 354 by pins 356 which extend down from the horizontal cam portion 351 into slots 358 in the support, the length of the slots 358 determining the extent of movement of the cam (FIG. 11). The vertically extending portion 352 of the cam is shaped on its upper surface to provide a cam surface on which rides a cam follower 359 mounted on the face of a member 360 which is pivotally mounted on a pivot 361 supported on wall W. At its upper end member 360 carries a pin 363 disposed so that when the member is swung clockwise due to movement of the cam surface under cam follower 359, the pin strikes against the lower edge of the segmental cam 316 and swings the cam against the arm of SW-4 and deactuates the tape drive. g I

The angle cam 350 is manually reciprocated by a crank arm 364 pivoted for horizontal swinging movement on support 354 by pin 366. A spring 368 connected between an upward extending lug 379 on the base 14 and a pin 370 extending downward from arm 364 through a slot 381 in support 354 is positioned so as to provide an overcenter toggle type arrangement to effectively detent the crank arm 364 either in a position as shown in FIG. 1 1 or in a second position after clockwise rotation of crank arm 364 about pivot pin 366. The forward end of the arm extends into a cut out 372 along the front end of the horizontal leg 351 of cam 350, and as arm 364 is swung its projecting stud 374 contacts one or the other of the side edges of the cut out and moves cam 350 horizontally. The outer end of arm 364 is inclined upwardly providing a handle.

When arm 364 is swung out, clockwise, cam 350 is moved to the right and the inclined right hand end 378 of the vertical leg of the cam moves under the lower pin 380 on member 382 which is mounted on shaft 384, and swings the member 382 counter-clockwise causing its upper pin 386 to strike against arm 344 of latch release member 310 and swing it clockwise causing its arm 342 to contact and swing the latch 332 clockwise and thus moving its flange 336 out of the line of travel of the star wheel pins 320, leaving the star wheel free to rotate.

Shaft 384, which supports member 382, extends through the wall W and supports there a member 388. When member 382 is moved counterclockwise member 388 is also rotated counter-clockwise, against the force of spring 390, and this action pulls downwardly on a link 392 the lower end of which is pivotally connected at 394 to the lower end of said spring biased member 388. The upper end of the link 392 (see FIG. 3) is pivotally connected by pivot 395 to an arm 396 intermediate the ends of the arm. The right hand end of the arm is mounted on pivot 398, and adjacent the left hand end of the arm are two pins 400 and 402, spaced apart vertically on opposite sides of the tail portion 404 of tape brake member 274 which is mounted so that its forward end 406 can be swung into or away from contact with the portion of tape strip t within the guide throat g. Within the guide throat is a pin 407 against which the brake presses the tape when in tape stopping position.

It will be noted that the left hand end of arm 396 is also connected to the core 408 of a solenoid 5-2 by which the arm may be moved up or down to control the position of the brake member by electrical means through the switch member SW-3 and the bail-shaped swinging member-272 as will be explained.

When the angle cam 350 is moved to the right the pin 420 projecting from its vertical portion 352 moves under the lower end of arm 422 which is pivoted at 424 thus causing the hook 426 at the upper end of said arm to be swung down over the abutment 428 projecting up from the tape slack control arm 430 which is mounted for rotation on the star wheel shaft and at its outer end carries the tape slack control roller 432, thus locking the arm 430 in its lower position until the cam 350 is moved to the left, as at the end of an operation of threading tape into the machine, when the locking arm swings back by gravity to the position shown in FIG. 12.

FIG. 14 shows how tape is disposed in the machine when the tape carrier is in extended position, and FIG. 15 shows in solid lines how tape is disposed in the machine when the carrier is fully retracted into section 12, and also indicates by the changes in position of the tape, the tape supply roll holder H, and the pivoted tape positioning arm, from the position shown in FIG. 14, how the slack occuring both in the tape above the carrier and in the tape below the carrier is taken up.

The slack occuring in the tape above the carrier is taken up by winding it up on the outer surface of the rim of the tape supply roll holder I-I. As best seen in FIG. 2 one end of a coil spring 440 is attached to the support arm 442 and its outer end is attached to one end of a flexible connector 446 which extends around the hub of the holder H and at its other end is attached to a projection 444 on the rear of the holder. The projection has an arcuate surface around which the flexible connector extends. Spring 440 exerts a constant torque on the holder H which is overcome by the pull of the tape when it is taut and extended as shown in FIG. 14. When the pull on the tape is relieved by the retraction of the tape carrier 180 the holder H is rotated by spring 440 a sufficient distance, indicated by the arrows and letter A, in FIG. 15, to wind around its rim a length of tape equal to the distance between the extended and retracted positions of the tape carrier, indicated by the arrows and letter A in FIG. 15.

The print receiving tape strip t-l is projected beyond the right hand end of the postage meter and then torn off and the lower tape strip t-2 is led back under the tape carrier to and around a guide roller 450 which is positioned adjacent the left hand end of the machine. A second guide roller 452 is positioned above and in advance of the star wheel 314, and a third guide roller 454 is positioned below the star wheel 314, and intermediate the star wheel and the take-up reel 104. Mounted for rotation on the shaft 312 of the star wheel 314 is the tape slack control arm 430, referred to above, which at its outer end carries the roller 432 which rests on the tape strip -2 between the guide rollers 450 and 452. When the tape carrier is moved from projected operative position to its retracted position within section 14 of the machine, roller 432 and its arm 430 swing down and carry the tape strip down, forming a downwardly extending loop L in the tape strip t-2, as indicated in FIGS. 1 and 15, thus taking up the slack in tape strip t-2 below the tape carrier.

In the electric circuit shown in FIG. 13 there are three two-position switches SW1, SW-2 and SW-3 and a one-position (open or closed) switch SW-4, the motor M, and two solenoids, S-1 and S-2. Whether the circuit is conditioned for letter mode or tape mode operation is determined by the position of switch SW-l which is controlled by the position of the ramp actuator bar 176 which has the switch arm contacting shoulder 177 and moves in response to shifting of the tape carrier.

When the carrier 180 is in its retracted position the arm of switch SW-l will be in its upper (letter mode) position, as seen in FIG. 13, and motor M will be actuated, through leads a and b, and will drive the letter eject means when switch SW-2 is in its upper position due to the control arm 36 being lifted from it when a down movement of meter pin 34 is transmitted to the upturned end ofthe arm through the interposed flag 42 thus causing the letter eject drive clutch to be engaged for one cycle, allowing a letter to be ejected.

When the carrier is in its extended position, the arms of switches SW-l and SW-2 will be in their lower (tape mode) positions as seen in FIG. 13, and solenoids S-1 and S-2 and motor M will be energized through leads 0, dand e when switch SW-4 is actuated (closed), if the arm of switch SW-3 is in its upper position. The arm of switch SW-3 is in its down position only when the carrier is being shifted, its arm being moved by the bail-shaped member 272 which is swung up when the carriage operating arm 260 is depressed.

When solenoid S1 is energized it causes the tape feed clutch to be engaged, and when solenoid 8-2 is energized it causes the tape brake to be moved to released position.

Switch SW-4 is actuated when the segmental cam 316 on the star wheel shaft 312 is swung away from the switch arm in response to triggering of member 280 by the pin 256 during the rising and falling movement of the tape carrier and carriage slide immediately following a printed operation. Switch SW-l is deactuated (opened) when the said segmental cam 316 is swung against its arm after the tape has been advanced and has turned the star wheel the predetermined distance, thus de-energizing solenoids S-1 and 8-2 and motor M.

rier the operating arm 260 is depressed to lift its rearwardly extending arm 266 from the seat 276 or 278 and may then be employed to move the carriage assembly,

including the carriage slide and the tape carrier, horizontally. In retracted position the pivoted bell crank 240 has been swung clockwise by contact with the left hand end wall of section 12 and has released the slide 212 which has moved down its slideway and positioned the tape carrier 180 below the level of the deck 11 of section 10. When the assembly is moved from retracted position the bell crank 240 will swing back and allow slide 212 to rise to position the carrier above the level of deck 11 in position to be projected into the throat T of the postage meter.

If the tape carrier is fully retracted from the throat T of the postage meter 10, as shown in broken lines in FIG. 1, the machine is in letter mode, and switch SW-l will be in its upper position, as shown in FIG. 13, thus conditioning the electric circuit for letter mode operation, and the motor M will be actuated through switch SW-2 each time pin 34 in the meter causes the letter clutch control pawl 36 to free clutch 80, and will drive the letter eject mechanism. Since the other operations performed during letter mode are performed in a postage meter of known kind it is not necessary to further describe the letter mode operation.

When the tape carrier is fully projected into the throat T of the postage meter, as shown in full lines in FIG. 1, the step abutment 177 on the ramp actuator bar 176 will have moved away from the switch SW-l allowing it to move to its lower position, as seen in FIG. 13, thus conditioning the electrical circuit for tape mode operation, and switch SW-2 will be in its lower position and will complete the circuit to motor M for tape operation.

When the platen 30 of the postage meter rises and falls carrying with it the tape carrier 180 and the carriage slide 212 and the triggering member 280 thereon, switch SW4 will be closed, by movement of the segmental cam 316 actuated by movement of link 292 and of the cam latch 332 and cam latch release member 310, switch SW-3 will be in its up position (FIG. 13), and solenoids S-1 and S-2 will be actuated thus releasing the tape brake 274, loosening the take-up reel brake spring 130, and retracting pawl 120 from ratchet wheel 122, allowing clutch 96 to be engaged to transmit the drive from motor M to the take-up reel 104, thus advancing the tape and rotating the star wheel 314 the preset distance. After rotating the preset distance one of the star wheel pins 320 will strike the abutment flange 336 on cam latch 332 and lift cam 316 to deactuate switch SW-4 and both solenoids 5-1 and S2, thus moving tape brake 274 against the tape t, tightening the tape reel brake spring 130, and causing pawl 120 to reengage the ratchet wheel 122 and disengaging clutch 96.

Each time the tape is advanced a distance in accordance with the number of units of tape strip t-1 which have been printed on, the end of the tape strip t-l will be projected from the meter section of the machine, as

6 indicated in FISG. 1 and 14, and severed by the operator, and the next printing operation on the one or more tape units which will then form the free end of the tape will be initiated when the button 28 of the postage meter is again depressed causing the meter platen to rise and fall thereby again triggering member 280 and the linkage which causes the star wheel cam to again close switch SW-4.

When the tape carrier is moved back out of the throat of the postage meter slack in the portion of the composite tape between the supply roll and the tape carrier, is immediately taken up by rotation of the tape supply holder H due to the pull exerted by the constant torque spring 440 and the fact that the counteracting tension on the tape has been relieved, and the spring clip S presses the tape against the rim of the holder H. Slack in the tape strip t-2, beneath the tape carrier is taken up by falling of arm 430 and its roller 432 which rests on the tape strip, and in falling forms a downwardly extending loop in the tape strip thereby restoring and maintaining the tape strip in taut condition.

When the machine is to be threaded with tape the operator grasps the handle 378 of arm 364 and pulls it out clockwise to move the angle cam 350 to the right and lock switch SW-4 in open, deactuated position, to prevent inadvertent actuation of the tape drive, and the tape brake 274 and the star wheel 314 are mechanically released as has been described to allow the tape to be drawn from its supply roll to its take-up reel 104 and permit the star wheel to rotate as the tape is advanced.

What is claimed is: l. A machine for printing either on individual pieces, such as letters, sheets and the like, or on the leading end of a tape strip of record material, which comprises:

a printing station disposed within the machine; printing means disposed within the machine in predetermined position relative to the printing station;

means to sense when either a letter or the leading end of a strip of record material is positioned at the printing station and to trigger the printing means to print on the said letter or the said end of a strip of record material;

means actuated by the printing means for ejecting a I letter from the machine after it has been positioned at the printing station and printed on;

a carrier for a portion of a length of a tape strip;

means for moving the carrier linearly and horizontally between letter mode position remote from the printing station and a tape mode position in which it presents at the printing station the leading end of a tape strip of record material supported on the carrier;

means for advancing the tape strip over the carrier a predetermined amount to position the printed on end portion of the tape strip to be detached from the remainder of the tape strip;

drive means;

means responsive to the said respective movements of the carrier to connect the drive means to the letter eject means or to the strip advancing means; and

means responsive to and actuated in sequence with a printing operation on a letter or on a tape strip for actuating the drive means.

2. The machine claimed in claim 1 in which the means actuated in sequence with a printing operation for actuating the drive means includes a reciprocable first member, the drive means includes a letter eject drive clutch and a control arm therefor, a second member interposable between said first member and the control arm, and means for interposing the second member between the first member and the control arm to communicate movement from the first member to the control arm and close the clutch for the letter mode operation.

3. The machine claimed in claim 1 in which the means responsive to a printing operation for actuating the drive means includes a reciprocable first member, the drive means includes a letter eject drive clutch and a control arm therefor, a second member interposable between said first member and the control arm, and means for interposing the second member between the first member and the control arm to communicate movement from the first member to the control arm and close the clutch for the letter mode operation, and means responsive to the position of the tape carrier for preventing the second member from being interposed between the first member and the control arm during tape mode operation.

4. The machine claimed in claim 1 in which the drive means includes a tape drive clutch and means responsive to the position of the tape carrier for controlling the tape drive clutch.

5. The machine claimed in claim 1 which incorporates a printing device removably mounted on a base, and means responsive to movement of the tape carrier to lock the said printing device on the base when the tape carrier is positioned to present a tape strip thereon at the printing station of the said device.

6. The means claimed in claim 1 including a carriage on which the tape carrier is mounted, and support means on which the carriage is movable to transport the tape carrier between a position remote from the printing station and a position in which the carrier presents the leading end of said record material at said station.

7. A machine for recording data either on letters or on tape which comprises:

a surface on which either a letter or a portion of a length of tape may be positioned at a recording station preparatory to a recording operation;

means for performing a recording operation disposed in relation to a letter or a portion of a length of tape disposed atsaid station;

means for actuating the recording means to perform a recording operation on either a letter or a portion of a length of tape positioned at the recording station;

a tape carrier on which a portion of a length of tape may be placed and over which the tape may be advanced;

means for moving the carrier linearly and horizontally between a position in which it presents a portion of a length of tape thereon at said station and a position in which it and the tape thereon are remote from said station;

letter eject means and means for operating it conditioned by movement of the carrier to its said remote position and the performance of a recording operation on a letter positioned at the recording station;

tape advancing means operative to advance a length of tape when the carrier is at its position for presenting a portion of a length of tape at said station and a recording operation has been performed thereon; drive means; and means responsive to the position of the tape carrier 5 for connecting drive means to the letter eject means or to the tape advancing means.

8. The machine claimed in claim 7 in which the carrier is mounted on a carriage and means are provided on which the carrier may be moved toward and away from the recording station, to project the carrier over said surface to its position for presenting a portion of a length of tape at said station, and to withdraw the carrier from said surface to its said remote position.

9. The machine claimed in claim 7 in which the carrier is mounted on a carriage and means are provided on which the carriage may be moved toward and away from the recording station to project the carrier over said surface to its position for presenting a portion of a length of tape at said station, and to withdraw the carrier from said surface to its said remote position, the carriage comprising a vertical slideway and a slide thereon to which the carrier is attached, means for controlling the position of the slide on said slideway, and other means coactive with the position controlling means to cause the slide to move down its slideway when the carrier is withdrawn to its remote position, and cause the tape carrier to be lowered to a position below said surface.

10. The machine claimed in claim 7 in which the carrier is mounted on a carriage and means are provided on which the carriage may be moved toward and away from the recording station, to project the carrier over said surface to its position for presenting a portion of a length of tape at said station, and to withdraw the carrier from said surface to its said remote position, the carriage comprising a latching member, and means for engaging the latch when the carrier is in either one of its said two positions.

11. The machine claimed in claim 7 in which the carrier is mounted on a carriage and means are provided on which the carriage may be moved toward and away from the recording station to project the carrier over said surface to its position for presenting a portion of a length of tape at said station, and to withdraw the carrier from said surface to its said remote position, the carriage comprising an arm to facilitate lifting the assembly comprising the carriage, slide and tape carrier and moving it between its said two positions, said arm being mounted on the carriage for movement between a latching position and an operating position, and means adapted to coact with the arm when it is in its latching position to engage the carriage when it is at either limit of its carrier positioning travel. 7

12. In the machine claimed in claim 7 in which means are provided for lifting a letter or a tape portion supported on the carrier from the said surface for a recording operation to be performed and the tape drive means comprises an electric control circuit including an onoff switch, means comprising a plurality of members including a triggering means for closing said switch, and means movable up and down with the carrier for triggering said triggering means.

13. A machine for printing on either individual pieces, such as letters, sheets and the like, or on the leading end of a tape strip of record material: comprising a frame;

a printing machine carried by said frame and having a relatively narrow slot type throat that effectively defines a printing station;

guide means on said frame defining a substantially flat straight feed path that is co-extensive with the plane of said slot type throat of said printing machine;

a flat elongated tape carrier;

. mounting means for supporting said tape carrier in cantilever fashion on said frame for endwise planar movement along said flat straight feed path into and out of a first position wherein the cantilevered portion thereof is disposed within said narrow slot type throat of said printing machine;

said mounting means allowing movementof said tape carrier to a rectracted position wherein said cantilevered portion of said carrier is disposed out of said feed path; means for feeding individual pieces along said flat feed path and through said slot type throat when said tape carrier is in said retracted position; and means for feeding tape strip record material along said flat tape carrier when the latter is in said first position wherein said cantilevered portion of said carrier is disposed within said slot type throat of said printing machine. 14. Apparatus as defined by claim 3 wherein said mounting means is arranged to allow said tape carrier to move in a direction that is substantially normal to 18 said plane of said slot type throat during the terminal portion of said movement of said carrier to its said retracted position.

15. Apparatus as defined by claim 14 wherein said mounting means includes acam means for moving said tape carrier in said normal direction in response to said terminal portion of said carrier movement.

16. Apparatus as defined by claim 13 wherein said tape strip of record material comprises two layers of material, vone print receiving layer and one backing layer, and wherein said means for feeding tape strip record material includes a means for taking up said backing layer after the latter has moved around the free end of said flat cantilevered portion of said tape carrier when the latter is operatively disposed in its said first position.

17. Apparatus as defined by claim 13: additionally comprising means for positioning said feeding means for said individual pieces so as to prevent insertion of individal pieces into the said slot type throat of said printing machine when said flat tape carrier is in its said first position.

18. Apparatus as defined by claim 17 wherein said means for positioning said feeding means is operated in response to the said terminal portion of said carrier movement for permitting insertion of said individual pieces into said slot like throat of said printing machine.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification101/234, 101/292, 101/92
International ClassificationG07B17/00
Cooperative ClassificationG07B2017/0062, G07B2017/0025, G07B17/00508
European ClassificationG07B17/00F2