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Publication numberUS3822024 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 2, 1974
Filing dateNov 7, 1972
Priority dateNov 7, 1972
Also published asDE2355633A1
Publication numberUS 3822024 A, US 3822024A, US-A-3822024, US3822024 A, US3822024A
InventorsD Endter, E Miller, C Shute
Original AssigneeEastman Kodak Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Card loading mechanism for a photographic copying machine
US 3822024 A
Abstract
A light tight cartridge containing aperture cards having unexposed microfilm inserts mounted therein is inserted into a card loading mechanism of a photographic camera. Upon actuation of the camera, the loading mechanism removes a cover from the cartridge by engaging the cover and pulling the cartridge away from the cover. The cover is then pivoted away from a vertical path of movement for the cartridge and the cartridge is raised along such path until checked by a stop plate. An opening in the stop plate allows a separable bottom of the cartridge and a card stack supported on such bottom to continue to be raised until the topmost card of the stack trips a card sensing switch. Card buckling fingers engage the topmost card and buckle it outwardly. A platen having suction cups then engages and removes the topmost card from the stack. Other such platens successively remove other topmost cards. The card sensing switch senses when the topmost card is too low for pickup by a platen and activates the elevator mechanism to raise the cartridge bottom and card stack to the proper position. To remove a partially or completely depleted cartridge, the elevator mechanism is lowered to reengage the cartridge bottom and body. The cover is then pivoted over the cartridge and the elevator mechanism raised to reseal the cover on the cartridge body. The elevator mechanism is then lowered to a discharge position for removal by the operator.
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Endter'et al. 1

' United States'Patent 1191 111 3,822,024 1451 July 2,1974

[ CARD OA ING MECHANISM non A PHOTOGRAPHIC COPYING MACHINE lnventors: Dale S. Endter; Edwin E. Miller; f Charles F. Shute, all of Rochester,

N.Y. I

Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, NY.

Filed: NOV. 7, 1972 Appl. No.: 304,446

[73] Assignee:

US. Cl. 2l4/8.5 D, 214/304, 221/226, 271/11, 271/20 Int. Cl. B65g 59/04 Field of Search 214/304, 309, 8.5 D, 8.5 A,

2l4/l CM; 271/1], 20, 90; 221/226 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 9/1928 we, 95/14 4/l962 Sano 271/19, 4/1963 Schouten 214/1 CM Primary Examiner-Robert J. Spar Assistant Examiner-George F. Abraham Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Roger A. Fields 5 7 1 ABSTRACT A light tight cartridge containing aperture cards hav ing unexposed microfilm inserts mounted therein is inserted into a card loading mechanism of a photographic camera. Upon actuation of the camera, the loading mechanism removes a cover from the car- 1 tridge by engaging the cover and pulling the cartridge away from the cover. The cover is then pivoted away from a vertical path of movement for the cartridge and the cartridge is raised along such path until checked by a stop plate. An opening in the stop plate allows a separable bottom of the cartridge and a card stack supported on such bottom to continue to be raised until the topmost card of the stack trips a card sensing switch. Card buckling fingers engage the topmost card and buckle it outwardly. A platen having suction cups then engages and removes the topmost card from the stack. Other such. platens successively remove other topmost cards. The card sensing switch senses when the topmost card is too low for pickup by a platen and activates the elevator mechanism to raise the cartridge bottom and card stack to the proper position. To remove a partially or completely depleted cartridge, the elevator mechanism is lowered to reengage the cartridge bottom and body. The cover is then pivoted over the cartridge and the elevator mechanism raised to reseal the cover on the cartridge body. The elevator mechanism is then lowered to a discharge position for removal by the operator.

5 Claim, 13 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUL 2 1974 sum 01 or n PATENTEDJUL' 2:914

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PATENIEBM 215114, 3322.92

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PATENTEDJUL 2mm 3 3 sum 10 or 11 .1 i j cAitoLoAbiNo BACKGROUND OFyTI-IE INVENTION 1. Fieldof the Invention t r The invention relates to record card handling mechanisms and, more particularly, to mechanisms for opening a light-tight cartridge, for individually dispensing cards therefrom and forreclosing the cartridge in a light-tight condition. I i r a 2. Description of the Prior Art Photographic apparatus has been developed to expose and develop individual microfilm frames mounted in apertures of record ortabulating cards. In U.S. Pat. No. 3,233,532 issued on Feb. 8, 1966, to A. W. Kutchera, a camera-processor is disclosedwherein aperture cards carrying unexposed photographic film sections are supplied in a suitable light-tight carton for insertion into a storage magazine. Upon actuation of the cameraprocessor, the cards are individually fedlfrorn the magazine to a masking and conveying table. Thefilm section of the card is clamped on the table so as to mask the remaining portions of the card from the processing fluids thus preventing any damage to the card frame.

A card container suitable 'for usein the Kutchera I camera-processor is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,249,033 issued May 3, 1966, to S. Cobb, Jr. et al. The

desirous to withdraw a tainer for storage in a proper environment.

partially depleted I card con- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is, therefore, an object of the invention to provide for use'with camera-processor apparatus of the type utilizing aperture cards, an improved mechanism for facilitating supply and removalof the aperture card's.

.Another object of the invention is to provide im-' proved apparatus-for opening a light-tight cartridge.

.Yet another object of the invention is to provide improved apparatus for individually dispensing aperture cards from a cartridge. g Still another object of the invention is to provide 'improved apparatus for reclosing a cartridge in a lighttight condition, I Another object of the invention is to provide. container handling apparatus which is thoroughly efficient and reliable in operation and economical to manufacture.

These and other objects are accomplishedin accordance'with the present invention by providing a car- I tridge loading mechanism adapted to receive a lighttight cartridge containing a supply of unexposed microfilm aperture cards. Thecartridge loading mechanism removes the cover of the cartridge and brings-the cards When commanded by thev camera-processor control logic, the cartridge loading mechanism has the capability to reclose a partially or completely depleted cartridge' in a light-tight condition and position it for re- Cobb, et al., containerincludes a tubular sleeve, a card a supporting member with light pads and an enclosing cover. In use the cover is removed from the sleeve and the free ends of the cards are positioned within the rear, open end of the'storage magazine and then the entire insert is telescoped-over the storage magazine forcing the cards forwardly into'the magazine. During the forward insert movement, the light pads become progressively compressed and displaced from theirposition engaging the cards to a position engaging the walls of thestorage' magazine. 'The insertedcards are then singly fed out of thestorage mechanism and into the camera-processor by a roller which moves into and out of engaging relation with the card stack.

Aperture cards also can be prepared from strips of microfilm sufficiently long to contain a plurality of individual frames. Initially, the microfilm strip is comlowermost card of the pletely exposed and developed. The microfilm strip is then cut into individual frames and mounted in aperture cards.

In order to achieve the maximum benefit from an automatic camera-processor operation, the card. con

not be withdrawn'without exposing to light, and thus destroying, any unprocessed cards. Withdrawalof a partially emptied card container is advantageous in those situations where it is desired to'processan aperture card of different sizeor type. And shouldthecamera-processor beshut down for an extended time, as for example over the weekend or for repairs, it may'also be moval by the operator. A In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the cartridge loading mechanismaccepts a three part opaque plastic cartridge. When the cartridge is inserted into the camera-processor, all three parts are engaged with portions of the loading mechanism. When the operator actuates the camera-processor a reversible elevator drive of the mechanism pulls the cartridge body down from that portion of the mechanism which is engaging the cartridge cover thereby separating the cover from the body. The cover engaging mechanism is then rotated about a vertical shaftto clear the cover away from the cartridge body. The opened cartridge body is then elevated. until it is stopped by a fixed stop plate. A separate cartridge bottom is freed from sealing engagement with the cartridge body by continued elevation of the mechanism through an opening in the bottom of the body, and the cartridge bottom supporting the aperture card stack continues to elevate through an aligned opening in the stop plate until the topmost card of the'stack contacts the blade of a card sensing switch which stops the elevator drive. When the cameraprocessor control logic commands the feeding of a card from the card stack, a vacuum platen is indexed to a position overlying the card stack and then lowered into contact with the topmost card. The downward travel of When the platen elevates, the topmost card is removed from the cardstack and snaps free from thefingers and the blade of the card sensing switch.,0ther platens then,

successively remove other topmost cards as commanded by the camera-processor control logic. The

card sensing switch is adapted to sense when the topmost card is too low for pickup by a platen and to activate the elevator drive to incrementally raise the cartridge bottom and card stack. In order to remove a partially or completely depleted cartridge, the operator actuates a switch on the camera-processor control panel. The control logic lowers the elevator drive to reseal the cartridge bottom in the cartridge body. The cover engaging mechanism then returns the cartridge cover to a position overlying the cartridge body, and the eleva tion drive is raised to reseal the cartridge cover to the body. The control logic then lowers the entire cartridge until it is free of loads supplied by the mechanism so that the operator can reach in and remove the closed cartridge.

The invention and its objects and advantages will become more apparent from the detailed description of the preferred embodiment which follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention presented below, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, wherein corresponding parts are identified by like numerals, and in which:

FIG. I is a perspective view of a camera processor and card identification printer in which the present in vention finds utility;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view ofa cartridge adapted for use with the present invention and showing a portion of a mechanism for removing a cover of the cartridge;

FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 are respectively an exploded perspective view, a longitudinal cross section view and a transverse cross section view illustrating the manner in which the cartridge is sealed in a light-tight condition;

FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of processing apparatus comprising part of the camera-processor and with parts of the cartridge loading mechanism embodying the invention being omitted for clarity;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of the cartridge loading mechanism without a cartridge inserted therein;

FIG. 8 is a sectional view illustrating the cartridge as initially received into the loading mechanism;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 8 showing the cartridge cover removed and the aperture cards elevated to a position where they can be conveniently removed from the stack;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentray sectional view similar to FIG. 9 and showing the mechanism for buckling the topmost card of the stack for pick-up by a vacuum cup;

FIG. 11 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 8 illustrating reassembly of the cartridge bottom to the body;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary sectional view similar to FIG. 9 but illustrating reassembly of the cartridge cover to the cartridge body; and

FIG. 13 is a schematic diagram illustrating an exemplary circuit for controlling apparatus according to the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT To aid the understanding of the present invention, it may be best to first briefly describe the operation of a camera-processor and card identification printer in which the invention may be used. It is to be understood,

however, that the apparatus of the present invention could be used with equal facility and advantage in other card handling systems and, therefore, that the following description of apparatus related to but not forming part of the invention is provided for illustrative purposes only.

Referring now to the drawings, and in particular to FIGS. 1 and 6, there is shown a camera-processor 20 and an identification printer 22 which cooperatively process an aperture card 24 shown best in FIG. 3. The aperture card 24 comprises a microfilm section or insert 26 mounted in an aperture 27 of a thin card or paper board frame 28. Aperture cards of this type are well known and may be manufactured in the manner disclosed in commonly assigned US. Pat. No. 3,668,980 entitled Method and Apparatus For Manufacturing Aperture Cards, issued June 13, 1972 in the name of Frederick F. Tone. Further description of the aperture card 24 is not believed required for an understanding of its function in the card loading mechanism of this invention.

To process the aperture card 24, the operator takes the material to be copied onto the microfilm insert 26, such as an X-ray photograph, radiograph or the like (not shown) from an input tray 30 and places it into a slidable holder 32. The operator then takes a card (not shown) punched with patient information relating to the selected radiograph or the like from a receptacle 30 and inserts it into reading station slot 36 on theidentification printer 22. Thereading station (not shown) reads the punched information on the card, stores the information in a memory unit (not shown) and provides a visual alpha-numeric display thereof on a display panel 34. The operator then verifies that the visually readable information recorded on the radiograph or the like correlates with the information visually displayed on the display panel 34. If there is a mistake in the punched card information or additional information is to be added, the correction or addition, as the case may be, is made by the operator on a keyboard 40. When the verification is completed, the operator pushes the holder 32 into the exposure area 42 of the camera-processor 20 and actuates processor and identification printer 22 by depressing a switch on a control panel 44.

As shown in FIG. 6, the camera-processor 20 includes a turret 46 which is adapted to receive an aperture card 24 in each of its six identical platens or card holders 48 distributed angularly at 60 intervals about the center of the turret. The cards 24 are carried on the holders 48 in the position illustrated by one or more vacuum cups 50 on each holder. Cups 50 are coupled to a vacuum supply 51 (FIG. 13) in any suitable manner, such as by the means disclosed in copending commonly assigned US. Pat. Application Ser. No. 302,432, entitled Alignment Station For Aperture Card Photographic Copying Machine, filed Oct. 31, I972 in the names of Dale S. Endter et al. The turret 46 is mounted on one end of a rotatable shaft 52 which projects downwardly through a platform 54 comprising a portion of a pedestal 56 (not shown in its entirety). The opposite end of the shaft 52 is coupled underneath the pedestal 56 to suitable drive means 57 (see FIG. 13). The drive means 57 drives or indexes the shaft 52 in both a vertiea] or up-and-down direction and angularly in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 6. The turret 46 also includes six stop pins 74 disposed approxithe cameramately midway between adjacent card holders 48 and extending outwardly in a radial direction so as to successively engage a latching device .76 when the turret is rotated in its up position from one of six work stations 58, 60, 62, 64, 66 and 68, respectively, to the next work station. When this happens the turret 46 is latched in the desired angular position so that each of the card holders 48 is accurately aligned above one of the work stations 58-68. The turret 46 is then lowered so that the platens 48 and any cards 24 supported by the platens are brought into registry with each of the work stations by the engagement of downwardly depending pins 70 on the holders 48 in corresponding apertures or holes 72 in the upper surfaces of the work stations 58-68. For a more detailed description of the latching structure reference is made to copending commonly assigned US. Pat. application Ser. No. 285,4l2, entitled Turntable Stopping Apparatus, filed Aug. 31, 1972 in the name of Stuart G. MacDonald.

The machine logic permits the turret 46 to be drivenengages the latching device 76, and then relowered only upon completion of operations at all work stations.

The operation of each of the six work stations 58-68 will now be described generally. At the card loading station 58, which forms the subject matter of the present invention, a light-tight cartridge 78 shown in FIGS. 2-5 is automatically opened and the cards 24 individually removed therefrom by the card holders 48 in the manner to be described in more detail later. The card is brought to the registration or alignment station 60 where the card 24 is precisely oriented into a position in which the microfilm insert 26 will be in perfect registry with an optical mask 80 at the exposure station 62.

This can be accomplished by' temporarily releasing the vacuum applied to the vacuum cup 50 at this station to allow the card 24 to drop between two pairs of movable tabs 82 which then properly align such card in each of two directions, and then reapplying the vacuum to cup 50. The card is then indexed to the exposure station 62, where the microfilm insert 26 is exposed to light projected through or'from an object or scene such as an X-ray photograph or radiograph through optical mask 80. Next the card is delivered to the first processing station 64 where the emulsion side of exposed microfilm insert 26 is positioned on a processing block 84 and developed for a predetermined time period by pumping a photographic developer through slots 85 between the processing block 84 and the microfilm insert 26. Film development is then stopped by pumping a photographic stop solution through the slots 85 between the processing block 84 and the microfilm insert 26. At the second processing station 66, the microfilm insert 26 is positioned on a second processing block 86 identical to the first processing block 84 and the microfilm insert is fixed and washed by successively pumping, for predetermined time periods, (a) photographic fixing solution, and (b) water through slots 87. Finally,the card is advanced to the drying station 68 where themicrofilm insert 26 is dried by blowing heated air thereon.

Then the card 24 is released from the holder and fed into a printer module (not shown) via a card exit shute mechanism 88.

As a card 24 progresses through the work stations 5868 of the camera-processor 20, the patient infomiation obtained fromthe punched card and relating to the partially shown 6 radiograph copied onto the microfilm insert 26 of aperture card ,24 simultaneously progresses through six storage bins of the memory unit. When the aperture card 24 is fed out of the drying station 68, the patient information is fed out of the memory unit and into the printer module where it is printed in alpha-numeric form onto the paper portion 28 of the card 24. The card 24 is then discharged into the outlet box 90.

Taming now to a more specific description of this invention and the cooperation with related apparatus, a door 94in the front panel of the camera-processor 20 can be opened to provide access to a cartridgereceiving compartment or chamber designated 77 in FIGS. 7-12. The compartment 77 is adapted to receive an opaque, box-like plastic cartridge 78 that is loaded with a stack of unexposed aperture cards 24. As best shown in FIGS. 25, cartridge 78 comprises a generally rectangular body 104, a cover 98 and a bottom 112. The three parts are held in assembled relation by cooperating seals which also keep the cartridge light-tight. More specifically, channel-defining sealing'lips 95 and 96 on the cover and bottom, respectively, are adapted to receiving sealing flanges 97 and 101, respectively, on the cartridge body. Flanges 97 and 10! extend around the periphery of openings at the top and bottom of the cartridge body. Flanges 97 and 101 preferably comprise continuous beads as best shown in FIG. 3 and are dimensioned with respect to sealing lips 95 and 96 so that the cover and bottom can be snapped onto or removed from the cartridge body. This relationship helps hold the cover and bottom securely in place and avoids inadvertent separation of the cartridge parts during storage and shipment. This structure also permits the cartridge parts to be separated and reassembled by the mechanism of the present invention as described later.

The cover 98 of the cartridge includes an outwardly projecting circumferential flange 93. Body 104 has spaced longitudinally extending flanges 102 on its lower surface. These flanges are continuous around the left end of the cartridge (as viewed in FIGS. 2-4) and define part of an oval-shaped wall defining the opening in the bottom ofthe cartridge. A pair of spaced longitudinally extending flanges 110 on the lower surface of the cartridge bottom are positioned between flanges 102 and are generally parallel thereto. As will be best observed from FIG. 5, flanges 102 include downwardly projecting portions which terminate in inwardly projecting lip portions 102a while flanges 110 extend downwardly and terminate in outwardly inclined end portions 110a. The lower edge of cartridge body 104 is substantially coplanar with the lower ends of flanges 102 and 110 of the cartridge bottom except at the end of the cartridge shown at the right in FIGS. 2-4. The right end of the cartridge is cut away to a level substantially coplanar with the top of flanges 110, thereby providing an opening designated 104a. This description of the cartridge 78 is sufficient for an understanding of the cooperation between the cartridge and the card loading mechanism of the present invention. For more detailed information regarding the cartridge reference is made to commonly assigned copending US. Pat. application Ser. No. 304,448, entitled'Cartridge, filed on Nov. 7, 1972, in the name of Walter B. Dunning et al.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 7-l3, channel-shaped slots 99 are provided along the inner edges of a plurality of cover retainers that depend in two spaced rows from a plate 109. The slots 99 of the retainers each open inwardly and are spaced from the opposite retainer by a distance which permits the flange 93 on cartridge cover 98 to be slid endwise between the rows of retainers and into the slots so that the lower edge of the flange 93 can rest on and be supported by the retainers 100. For reasons to be explained in more detail hereinafter, the slots in the left row of retainers 100 (as viewed in FIGS. 8-12) increase in size from the front retainer to the rear retainer while the slots in the right row of retainers increase in size from the rear retainer to the front retainer. This is illustrated in FIG. 2 for the right row of retainers comprising retainers 100a, 1001), and 100C having slots 99a, 99b and 990, respectively, which increase in size from the rear slot 99a to the front 'slot 990.

A pair of spaced guide rails 106 are provided on a support member 111 comprising part of an elevator assembly generally designated 108. Rails 106 have channel-shaped slots which receive the flange portions 102a of the cartridge bottom as the cartridge is inserted into the cartridge compartment. Flanges 102 are properly aligned with the slots in the rails when the flange 93 on the cover is in alignment with slots 99 when the elevator assembly is positioned as shown in FIG. 8. Similarly the flanges 110 on the bottom of the cartridge are re ceived in complimentarily shaped elongate grooves or slots 114 in a clamping mechanism generally designated 116. Due to the outwardly projecting portions 110a of flanges 110, and the correspondingly tapered surfaces of the clamping mechanism 116, the bottom 112 of the cartridge can be lowered in response to corresponding movement of the clamping mechanism. Similarly, the upper end of the clamping mechanism abuts the lower surface of cartridge bottom 112 so that the bottom of the cartridge can be separated from sealing flange 101 when the cartridge body is held stationary and the clamping mechanism is elevated, thereby raising the bottom through the cartridge body. In this regard, it should be noted that guide rails 106 are fixedly mounted on support member 111 and the rails cooperate with the flange portions 102a on the cartridge body to prevent upward movement of the body away from the rails when the cartridge bottom is raised. Thus each part of the cartridge is engaged by part of the mechanism at the card loading station.

As previously noted, the end of the cartridge body shown at the right at FIGS. 2-4 has an opening 104a whereas the remainder of the cartridge body projects downwardly to a level approximately coplanar with flanges 102 and 110 when the cartridge is fully assembled. Also the top of the clamping mechanism 116, when in the cartridge loading position (FIG. 8) is located above the lower edge of the body 104 of a loaded cartridge and below the top' of opening 104a. Thus the cartridge can be loaded into the cartridge compartment only when opening 104a in the right end of the cartridge faces into the cartridge compartment and is followed by the left end of the cartridge. This assures proper orientation of the aperture cards so that the film sections or inserts 26 therein will be properly brought into alignment with a camera mask 80 (FIG. 6) and the film processing portions of stations 62-66.

As the cartridge reaches it fully inserted position in the machine, the leading or right end wall of the cartridge engages and closes a microswitch 118 which serves to sense the presence of a cartridge. This switch completes a circuit in the camera-processor control logic 103 (FIG. 13) to permit the cartridge opening and card loading cycle to be initiated. An interlock switch 91 also needs to be closed, such switch being closed when the door 94 in the front panel of the cameraprocessor has been closed, thereby preventing inadvertent exposure of the microfilm inserts 26 to room light when the cards are separated from the cartridge in the manner to be explained later.

After the cartridge 78 has been properly inserted in the card loading station 58, and the door 94 closed, the operator actuates a load switch on the control panel 44 to start a gear reducer motor (FIGS. 7 and 8). Motor 120 drives a sprocket 122 which, by way of roller chain 124 drives a second sprocket 126. The sprocket 126 is fastened to a drive bushing 128 in which a bearing 130 has been pressed. A recirculating ball-nut 132 fastened to the drive bushing 128 causes a ball-screw 134 to lower. The upward vertical thrust load on the ball-nut 132 is carried by an upper ball thrust bearing 175 which is supported by a flange of bushing 144. The fixed upper support bushing 144 is fastened to an upper plate 146 which in turn is supported by the main support plate 142. Bearing 130 runs on the outside diameter of support bushing 144. Another bushing 148 is free to slide through the inside diameter of the support bushing 144. The inside diameter of bushing 148 serves as an upper guide for the outside diameter of the ball-screw 134. Mounted to the upper flange 149 of bushing 148 is the support member 111 of elevator assembly 108. The support member 11] is held up against the clamping mechanism 116 by four compression springs 150 which are positioned over guide pins 152 and latched to the clamping mechanism 116 by a set of four latches 178.

As the ball-screw I34 and clamping mechanism 1 16 lower from the cartridge-loading position A shown in solid lines in FIG. 8 to a cover-removal position 8 shown in phantom lines, the cartridge body 104 and bottom 112 are also lowered by virtue of their engagement with the guide rails 106 of the support member 111 and the grooves 114 of the clamping mechanism 116, respectively. Since the cartridge cover 98 is engaged by the cover retainers 100, the cartridge body 104 will be removed from the seal lips 95 of the cover 98. As noted earlier, the slots 99 in the cover retainers 100 vary in size. As a result, the cartridge cover 98 is separated from the cartridge body 104 with a peeling action beginning at the front retainer in the left row, continuing to the rear retainer in the left row, then to the rear retainer in the right row, and finally to the front retainer in the right row. The downward drive of the ball-screw 134 is stopped when a switch 154 to motor 120 is opened by an actuator 156 carried by the elevator assembly. A second gear reducer motor 158 (FIG. 7) is then started by the control logic 103, and a vertical shaft 160 is caused to rotate in a clockwise direction (as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8) in bearings 162 by gears 164 and 166. By means of a compliant drive mechanism 168, a cover retainer bracket supporting a plate 109 rotates with the vertical shaft 160 until a cam 172 contacts a switch 174 and turns off motor 158. Since the cover retainers 100 are fixedly attached to plate 109, the cartridge cover 98 rotates with plate 109 and the cover container bracket 170 and is thus swung away from over the opened cartridge 78.

The control logic 103 then starts gear motor 120 in the appropriate direction to elevate the ball-screw 134 and thus raise the opened cartridge 78 and cards 24. Thedownward vertical thrust load on the ball-nut 132 is carried by a lower ball thrust bearing 136 to the lower support bushing 138. Bearing 138 is pressed into a lower support plate 140 which is fastened to a main support plate 142 and serves as a lower guide for the outside diameter of the ball-screw 134. Since the support member 111 is spring loaded against the clamping mechanism 116 by the compression springs 150, the cartridge 78 elevates from the cover-removal position B (shown in phantom in FIG. 9) to a card-feeding or removal position C (shown in solid lines in FIG. 9) at which position the cartridge body 104 engages a stop plate 176. In order to elevate the cartridge bottom and the cards thereon, the clamping mechanism 116 must be released from support member 111. This is accomplished by tripping latches 178. The latches 178 are tripped by a pairof cams 180 on plate 146 which engage outwardly projecting lower end portions of the latches, thereby to release the clamping mechanism 116 from the support member 111. Thus, as the gear motor 120 continues to drive the ball-screw 134 upwardly, the clamping mechanism 116 in turn pushes the cartridge bottom 112 upwardly, thereby separating the sealing lips 96 on the cartridge bottom 112 from flange 101 on cartridge body 104. The cards 24 are raised through a hole 182 in stop plate 176 until the topmost card of the card stack contacts the blade 183 of a card sensing switch 184 (see FIG. 7). As the card stack is raised through hole 182, the cards are maintained in alignment by alignment fingers 181 on plate 176. When the topmost card of the card sensing card stack contacts blade 183 to open switch 184 the gear motor 120 is stopped, thereby completing the loading cycle.

As shown in FIG. 6, turret 46 carries a plurality of actuator pins 185 which are arranged in pairs with each pair straddling a work holder 48. During a normal indexing cycle, turret 46 is raised, rotated 60, and then lowered. As it is lowered, the pair of actuator pins 185 at the card loading station contact rocker brackets 186 (FIGS. 9-11) at opposite sides of the card loading station 58. The downward vertical motion of actuator pins 185 rotates the rocker brackets 186 about their respective pivot pins 188. Drive pins 190 on bracket 186 are thus moved inwardly, thereby effecting inward motion of pusher brackets 192 that are mounted on pins 190. Feed fingers 194 which are fastened to their pusher brackets. engage the top card 24 of the stack andare held down against the stack of aperture cards 24 by tension springs 196. The feed fingers have a small step 198 in their lower surface. The step can be about 0.007 inch, for example. As the'feed fingers 194 are moved inwardly by the pusher brackets 192, these steps 198 engage opposed parallel edges of the topmost card 24 and buckle the center of the card upwardly as shown in FIG. 10. Brackets 192 and fingers 196 at opposite sides of the cards move toward each other in substan tially straight-line movement due to the force exerted on the brackets by springs 196.

When the card is flexed it contacts the vacuum cup 50 at station 58. On the next command by the control logic 103, the cup grips the flexed card 24 atthe card loading station 58. The vacuum cup, when subsequently raised by the turret, will pick up only the top card because of the aforementioned buckling action which separates the center of the top card from the rest of thecard stack. As the turret 46 moves up, the top card snaps free from the feed fingers 194 and from the blade 183 of the card sensing switch 184 and is carried by the turret to the registration station 60. Also, so the turret 46 moves up, the actuator pins 185 lift free from the rocker brackets 186. The tension springs 196 retract the pusher brackets 192 and move the feed fingers 194 outwardly in readiness for engaging the edge of the next card in the card stack.

After the turret 46 has taken about 10 cards from the cartridge 78, the card sensing switch 184 closes, thereby sensing that the card stack is too low for pick up by card holder 48. Switch 184 energizes the gear motor 120 to elevate-the stack of cards until the switch 184 is again opened to stop the gear motor 120. This periodic cycling of the gear motor 120 continues until the last card is used. A notch 200 (see FIG. 3) in the cartridge bottom 112 then allows the blade 183 of the card sensing switch 184 to pass through the cartridge bottom and the gear motor 120 will continue to elevate the ball-screw 134 until a switch 202 (FIG. 13) is contacted by a plate 204 fastened to the end of the ballscrew 134. Actuation of the switch 202 stops the gear motor 120 and signals the operator by means of a light (not shown) on control panel 44 that the cameraprocessor 20 is out of cards 24.

In order to remove a partially or completely depleted cartridge 78, the operator actuates an unload switch 107 on the camera-processor control panel 44. The control logic 103 starts motor 120 to lower the ballscrew 123, the clamping mechanism 116 and the cartridge bottom 112 from the feeding position C shown in 9 and 11 to the position B. During such lowering movement, the seal lips 96 of the cartridge bottom 112 contact the seal flange 101 of the cartridge body 104. The clamping mechanism 116 grips the flanges of the bottom 112 and forces the body 104 and support member 111 down against the four compression springs which help snap the seal lips 96 and flange 101 together. The downward drive is stopped when the switch 154 is operated by actuated 156 thus stopping gear motor 120. The control logic 103 then starts gear motor 158 and rotates the vertical shaft 160, cover retainer bracket and the cartridge cover 98 counterclockwise as shown in FIG. 7 until an adjustable stop screw (not shown) contacts stop block 208. As the gear motor 158 continues to drive, the compliant drive mechanisms 168 builds up increased force against the stop block 208 until a cam 210 contacts a switch 212 and turns off the gear motor 158. The control logic 103 then turns on the gear motor 120 to elevate the cartridge body 104 and bottom 112 from position B be- 7 contacts switches 218. Thus turns off the gear motor downward direction back towardsinsert positionA. As elevator assembly 108 lowers the cartridge 78, an antuator (not shown) contacts a switch 220 (FIGS. 8 and 13) and stops the motor 120 with the cartridge at its originally inserted position. The cartridge 78 is now free of loads applied by the loading station 58. When the door 94 in the front panel of the camera processor 20 is opened, the operator can reach in and remove the closed cartridge 78.

From the foregoing, the advantages of the present invention are readily apparent: A card loading mechanism for a photographic camera has been provided which receives a light-tight cartridge, opens the cartridge, accurately and reliably dispenses cards therefrom and then recloses the cartridge in a light-tight condition for removal by the operator.

The invention has been described in detail with reference to a preferred embodiment thereof, but it will be understood that variations and modifications can be affected within the spirit and scope of the invention.

We claim:

l. A mechanism adapted for use with a cartridge containing a stack of aperture cards having unexposed film sections mounted therein, the cartridge having a body, a cover and a bottom, the cover and bottom being separable from the body and the bottom being movable upwardly through the body when separated from the body, the cartridge bottom and cartridge cover having lips which engage lower and upper flanges, respectively, on the cartridge body to provide light-tight seals, the mechanism comprising:

a. means defining a cartridge receiving chamber;

b. means for separately engaging the cartridge cover, the cartridge body and the cartridge bottom of a cartridge in said chamber;

c. a stop member positioned relative to said chamber to limit movement ofthe cartridge body relative to said chamber;

d. elevator means connected to said cartridge bottom engaging means for raising and lowering said bottom engaging means;

e. card feeding means for individually dispensing aperture cards from the card stack; and

f. control means for sequentially 1) moving said elevator means in a first direction to separate the car tridge bottom and cartridge body from the cartridge cover, (2) then moving said cartridge cover engaging means and the cartridge cover to a storage position spaced from the cartridge body, (3) then moving said elevator means in a second direction opposite to said first direction to first move the cartridge body into engagement with said stop member and then to separate the cartridge bottom from the cartridge body and to move the cartridge bottom and aperture cards in the cartridge to a feeding position wherein cards can be removed from the stack, (4) again moving said elevator means in said first direction to reseal the lips of the cartridge bottom onto the lower flange of the cartridge body, (5) then moving said cartridge cover engaging means and the cartridge cover to a position overlying the cartridge body, and (6) moving said elevator means in said second direction to reseal the lips of the cartridge cover on the upper flange of the cartridge body. 2. The invention defined in claim 1 further comprising latch means mounted on said elevator means, said latch means being (1) moved to a first position to latch said body engaging means to said elevator means in response to movement of said elevator means in said first direction and (2) moved to a second position to unlatch said body engaging means from said elevator means in response to movement of said elevator means in said second direction.

3. The invention defined in claim 1 wherein said control means includes:

a. a first reversible motor coupled to said elevator means; and

b. a second reversible motor coupled to said cartridge cover engaging means.

4. Apparatus for picking up one or more of a stack of aperture cards having film inserts mounted therein, the aperture cards being contained in a cartridge of the type having a body and a separable cover, said cartridge loading mechanism comprising:

a. means for receiving a cartridge;

b. means movably mounted with respect to said cartridge receiving means for engaging and separating a cartridge cover from a cartridge body of a cartridge located in said receiving means;

0. vacuum operated card holding means operable to pick up a card, said holding means being indexable to a position overlying the cartridge body and subsequently movable towards and away from the card stack;

d. a plurality of fingers movable toward the card stack for buckling a card, said fingers when moved toward the stack being effective to engage the topmost card of the stack along opposed edges thereof thereby to buckle the center of such card outwardly, said fingers being moved in response to said holding means moving toward the card stack; and

e. control means for l) rotating said holding means to a position overlying the card stack, (2) then moving said holding means toward the card stack so that said holding means can pick up the topmost card of the stack, and (3) then moving said holding means away from the card stack.

5. The invention defined in claim 4 further comprisa. means for elevating the card stack along a path to bring the topmost card out of the cartridge; and b. means for (1) sensing the arrival of the topmost card of the stack at a position along said path wherein the topmost card is engageable by said fingers and (2) providing to said control means a signal indicative thereof, said control means deactivating said elevating means in response to said sigh 3 mg UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 2 Dated July 2, 1974 Inventor-(s) Endte f et a1 It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 1, Line 33, "3,249,033" should be ---3,249,003---.

Column 2, Line 47, "separate" should be ---separable---.

Columh 10, Line 6, so" should be ---as--'--.

Column 10, Line 33, 123 should be --134--.

Column 10, Line 43, actuated should be ---actuator---.

Signed and sealed this 8th day of October 1974.

(SEAL) Attest: MCCOY M. GIBSON JR. 0. MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents

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Classifications
U.S. Classification414/796.6, 414/796.7, 271/20, 414/797, 271/11, 414/411, 221/226
International ClassificationG03B17/50, G03B21/64
Cooperative ClassificationG03B17/50, G03B21/64
European ClassificationG03B21/64, G03B17/50