US 3852770 A
A marking assembly for printing selected information on a tape web and having a rotatably driven drum with an outer surface contacting one side of the tape web. The drum drives the web and marking means are disposed at the drum outer surface to produce a plurality of repetitive coded legends on the web. In a preferred embodiment the marking means includes a circular printer composed of an array of concentric electrodes formed in the drum outer surface, which electrodes are selectively energized to coact with an electrically conductive toner powder roller on the other side of the web to form toner images of the coded legends on the web through an electrographic process.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
State S Patent 1 l 1Q Jones et Dec. 3, 11974 41 CODED LEGEND MARKING ASSEMBLY HAVING TRANSMIT AND RECEIVE PRINTING CIRCUITRY  Inventors: Derrick A. Jones; Michael G.
Golden, both of St. Paul, Minn.
 Filed: May 21,1973
 App]. N0.: 362,094
3,714,665 1/1973 Mutschler 346/74 ES Primary Examiner Bernard Konick Assistant Examiner.lay P. Lucas Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Alexander, Sell, Stcldt & DeLaHunt [5 7] ABSTRACT A marking assembly for printing selected information on a tape web and having a rotatably driven drum with an outer surface contacting one side of the tape web. The drum drives the web and marking means are disposed at the drum outer surface to produce a plurality of repetitive coded legends on the web. In a preferred embodiment the marking means includes a circular printer composed of an array of concentric electrodes formed in the drum outer surface, which electrodes are selectively energized to coact with an electrically conductive toner powder roller on the other side of the web to form toner'images of the coded legends on the web through an electrographic process.
11 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures PATENTELUEB 3l974 852,770
SHEET 2 BF 5 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates in general to an assembly for forming varied digitally coded information legends on a substrate, and more particularly resides in the electrographic marking of a plurality of such legends on a specified length of tape web.
2. Description of the Prior Art Various types of marking assemblies are known in I the art for forming indicia on a substrate. For example, in Aviation Week & Space TechnolOgy, Feb. 26, 1973, at 27, an assembly is described that marks a square label with a coded legend formed by a number of concentric rings and also marks alphameric informathe baggage moving along a routing and sorting conveyor. In response to the particular legend on the luggage, the laser reader directs a digital controller to sort the baggage and route it to its proper destination. Each strip label is attached around the handle of a piece of luggage in caseit is necessary to determine the baggage sorting information for the piece of luggage without the aid of the automatic laser reader.
Several deficiencies are obviously inherent with the coded labels produced by this type of a marking system for baggage sorting. Firstly, it is undesirable to adhere any type of label with baggage sorting information on a piece of luggage for the reason that the adhered label may be entirely or partially left on the luggage after the flight for which it was used is completed, and will cause confusion when the luggage is taken on other flights. Secondly, since the label is adhered to only one side of the luggage, care must be taken to insure that the side with the label faces the laser reader as the luggage passes along the conveyor.
The present invention provides a marking assembly that forms part of a baggage sorting system and is adapted to semi-automatically produce a coded label that overcomes'the deficiencies of the above described assembly and may be advantageously used in various types of systems wherein it is desired that an object be designated with coded legends that identify or indicate specific information about the object.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a marking assembly for forming digitally coded legends on a dielectric tape web. The assembly includes a rotatable drum and a marking means that is disposed at the outer cylindrical surface of the drum. The tape web isadvanced around the drum and is marked with coded legends when the marking means isenergized by actuating electronic circuitry of the assembly.
Included in the actuating electronic circuitry is a coded legend print circuit that has a transmit circuit portion nonrotatably mounted on the assembly and a receive circuit portion that rotates with the drum. The transmit and receive portions are physically separated, but legend printing data is passed therebetween by the use of a light linking means composed of a light emitting diode in the transmit portion and a photo detector in the receive portion.
In a preferred'embodiment the marking means includes a circular printer composed of an array of individually energizable concentric electrodes formed in the outer cylindrical surface of the rotatable drum to contact one side of the tape web. A developing means is positioned on the other side of the tape web and includes a toner powder roller and an electrically conductive toner powder magnetically adhered thereto to form a path of electrical conduction between the developing means and the web. Marking of the web commences when there is a sufficient voltage potential be tween the developing means and the individual concentric electrodes so that when a portion of the web is in contact with the electrodes a force pattern of intelligence corresponding to the particular electrode pattern desired is generated on toner powder that is in contact with said tape web, which force patternselectively overcomes the magnetic adherence of the powder to the powder roller to enable toner powder deposition on the web corresponding to the force pattern. By thus energizing various of the individual concentric electrodes in a predetermined manner with predetermined voltage I potentials, intelligence is placed on the tape web in the form of circular coded legends.
A capstan is spring biased tightly against the drum and the tape web is threaded between the capstan and drum to-be, advanced upon drum rotation. As a result there is no slippage between the drum and web so that wear on the concentric electrodes is minimized and the coded legends marked on the web are distinct to insure the accuracy of reading-the legends by an automatic reading device. Moreover, the concentric electrodes remain in registration with the formed legends on the tape web until such time that the legends are fused on the web by a heat fusing means.
A number of circular printers are formed in the drum exterior surface, each having an arrayof concentric electrodes to facilitate the marking of a plurality of relatively closely spaced coded legends on a specified length of tape web. The length of the web may be varied in correspondence to the size of the object around which the web will be wrapped so that the web may be disposed around the object and adhered to itself. Accordingly, none of the web adheres to the object and may easily be removed therefrom when desired.
-Wrapping of the digital code marked web around an object insures that'at least one coded legend will be located on the bottom and two adjacent sides of the object in order that an automatic reading device will sense the information of at least one of the coded legends whether the object is positioned right side up or lying on one of its sides.
An alphameric marking means is also included in the assembly for forming alphameric information on the web together with the coded legends. Thus, the information on the web can visually be read without the aid of a laser reader should the need arise.
The foregoing and other advantages of the present invention will appear from the following description. In the description reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof, and in which there is shown by way of'illustration, and not of limitation, a specific form in which the invention may be embodied. Such embodiment does not represent the full scope of the invention, but rather the invention may be emof the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is .a front view of a preferred embodiment of the tape, marking. assembly of the present invention with a tape web threaded therethrough;
FIG. 2 is a sideview of the assembly of FIG. 1 with an upper portion broken away;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of a tape web interposed between a powder roller and a printhead forming a portion of the assembly'of FIG; 1;'
FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view taken through the plane 4-4 of FIG. 1 and showing a circular printer of the assembly of FIG. 1',
FIG. 5 is a simplified block'diagram of the electronic circuitry controlling the printing. operations of the assembly of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a block diagram of a first circuit of the circuitry of FIG. 5 enclosed by broken lines and together with certain associated circuit components;
' FIG. 7 is a graph indicating the sequence of the operating functions of'the assembly of FIG. 1;
FIG. 8 is a block diagram of a second'circuit of the circuitry of FIG. 5 enclosed by broken lines and together with a keybank associated therewith; 1
FIG. 9 is a block diagram of a transmit portion of a third circuit of the circuitry of FIG. 5.enc losed by broken lines and together with certain associated circuit components;
- FIG. 10 is a block diagram of a receive portion of the DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS shown) and is threaded over the guide roller 7, between the print head 8 and the first powder roller 9, around the drum 2 where it is interposed between the second powder roller 10 and the drum 2 and also between the capstan 12 and the drum 2, and then to an output of the assembly 1 (not shown). The capstan 12 is spring biased tightly against the drum 2 so that rotation of the drum 2 serves to advance the tape web 16 through the assembly 1 in such fashion that there is no slippage between the web 16 and the peripheral surface of the drum 2. Each of the powder rollers 9 and 10 is rotatably driven by a motor (not shown).
The assembly 1 is adapted to mark a specified length of the web 16 with baggage sorting information in two forms as the web 16 is advanced through the assembly 1. The baggage sorting information may consist of the name of an airline, a flight number and a destination for a particular piece of luggage. In a first marking operation, a first marking means formed of the alphameric print head 8, the first powder roller 9, and its associated toner powder electrographically marks alphameric data on a specified length of the web 16 as indicated in .FIG. 3. The print head 8 includes seven print electrodes 17 positioned in a line traversing the web 16. The seven electrodes 17 are employed to operatively define a 5 X 71character forming matrix. At the initiation of the alphameric print operation, the electrodes 17 represent a'first column of the matrix, but as the tape web 16 advances by the electrodes 17, appropriate character generating signals are supplied thereto at correct intervals so .that during one entire character generating sequence the electrodes 17 consecutively serve as each of the five columns of the matrix.
The first powder roller 9 together with a toner powder reservoir 18 and associated toner powder of the type described in US. Pat. No. 3,639,245, assigned to the assignee of the present invention and incorporated herein by reference, comprise a first developing means.
Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a front view, and FIG.2 shows a side view of a digital coding tape marking assembly 1 representing a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The assembly 1 provides for the semi-automatic marking of information in the form of alphameric print and coded legends on dielectric tape webs'of specified lengths and may be employed for a wide variety of uses wherein it is desired to indicate particular information on an object by means of a removableband having a plurality of similar coded legends that are automatically readable by a electronic reading, device. The assembly 1 is particularly well suited for use in a baggage sorting system and its function is described with respect to such a system. However, the invention is not restricted to such use.
Theassembly 1 has a rotatably mounted cylindrical drum 2 that is fixed on the front end of a hollow shaft 3 journaled in a mounting frame 4. The drum 2 is belt driven by a motor 5. Disposed on the front face of the mounting frame 4 about the periphery of the drum 2 are a guide roller 7, an alphameric print head 8, first and second powder rollers 9 and 10 respectively, a heat lamp 11 that serves as a heat bonding means, and a capstan 12. A tape web 16, approximately 0.002 inches thick, is fed to the assembly 1 from a supply roll (not Magnets (not shown) are disposed in the roller 9 to attract the toner powder from the reservoir 18 and magnetically adhere it to the roller exterior cylindrical surface. The roller 9 is spring biased to a position close by the exterior cylindrical surface of the drum 2 to define a narrow gap between the roller 9 and the tape web 16. The powder on the roller 9 fills this gap to serve as an electrically conductive path between the roller 9 and the web 16. When the roller 9 is biased at a relatively high positive potential (approximately 750 volts has been found to be adequate for producing the desired results) and the electrodes 17 are grounded, a current flows to build up an electric force in opposition to the magnetic attraction of the powder roller magnets for the toner powder. This electric force causes toner particles to be attracted towards the web 16 to form an alphameric legend by an electrographic printing operation disclosed in copending application Ser. No. 353,l39 filed Apr. 30, 1973, assigned to the assignee of the present invention and incorporated herein by reference. Also, as a result of this electric force, negative electric charges are injected in the web to aid in retaining the toner particles on the web as it moves from the region of the electrodes 17. Due to the negative charges injected into theweb 16, the toner powder remains adhered thereto for a sufficient length of time for the marked web to be passed under the heat lamp 11 that'fuses that toner powder to the web 16. To obtain satisfactory marking of the web 16, there should be no other grounded electrically conductive material so close to the web 16 that it will also inject a negative marking charge in the web] During the alphameric printing, the. second powder roller is translated by a solenoid frorn=a normal spring biased position close by the drum 2 and the web 16 to an inoperative position away from theweb 16. In this way, the'roller 10 does not smear, smudge or rub off the electrically adhered alphameric information on the web 16. Shortly after the alphameric print operation is completed, the roller 10 is released by the solenoid 20 and swings back to'its normal operative position to serve as a second developing means together with a powder reservoir 21 and associated toner powder. Marking of coded legends on. the web i6 is then begun by four circular printers 22, one of which is shown only in FIG. 4, formed in the exterior cylindrical surface of the drum 2. Each circular printer 22 has 24 concentric electrodes 23 that are spaced from one another by nonconducting areas 24, and the circular printers 22 are preferably spaced apart at intervals of 90 around the drum exterior surface. i Twenty of the electrodes23 of the circular printers 22 are selectively energized by electronic actuation circuitry of the assembly lfand coact with the second powder roller 10 and toner powder from the powder reservoir 21 to form a second marking means. that prints coded legends representing digital information of the tape web 1 6. This printingis accomplished'bythe same elect'rographic marking processdescribed for the alphameric printing exceptthat the powder roller 10 may be biased with a lower positivevoltage (approximately 300 volts) since it is not necessary for theelectrodes 23' to inject an electrostatic charge in the web 16 because the electrodes 23 are maintained in registration with the printed legends until after the toner powder forming the legends is passed under the heat lamp the assembly 1 first marks a specified length of the web 16 with an alphameric legend and then with a plurality of the coded legends immediately following'the alphameric information. At the completion of the marking, the drum 2 advances the specified length of marked web 16 under the heat lamp 11 'to permanently fuse the toner powder forming both the alphameric legend and the coded legends to the web 16, and the length of web 116 is then advanced to the output of the assembly 1. The specified length of the web 16 that'is marked may be varied by adjusting certain of the electricalcircuitry 0f the assembly L'The particular length of each segment of marked web 16 is chosen so thatthe marked length of web can be wrapped around thepiece of luggage that its marked information pertains to, with the ends of the web length adhered together to hold the web on the luggage without actuallyadhering the web to the luggage.
The electronic 'actuating'circuitry for controlling the marking operationsdescribed in the foregoing ispositioned on various portions of the assembly 1. Referring again to FIG. 2, the electronic'fcircuitry employed for the alphameric printing is locatedon a circuit board 26 attached to the back side of the assembly 1. Since there is no relative motion between the board 26 and the alphameric print head 8, conventional electricaliconductors may be used to electrically connect between the board 26 and print head 8.
Certain of the electronic circuitry for the circular printers 22 is also located on the board 26, but the relative motion between the printers 22 and the board 26 prevents the use of conventional electrical connections made therebetween. Therefore, a portion of the electrical components for energizing the printers 22 are disposed on a circular circuit board 27 mounted on the rearward end of the hollow, rotatable shaft 3. Accordingly, there is no relative motion between the board 27 and the printer 22 and wire conductors run from the board 27 through thehollow interior of the shaft 3 to the ring 23. The remaining portion of the circuitry for energizing the printers 22 is disposed on the board 26 and the two portions include transmit and receive components for forming a data link therebetween.
J uxtaposed with the rear face of the board 27 is a disk 28 on which a number of circular slip rings (not shown) are positioned to contact electrical brushes 29. The slip rings and brushes serve only as conductors for furnishing supply voltages to the rotating electronic components on the circuit board 27. The voltage provided by the slip rings is heavily filtered to minimize noise; thus, the slip rings are not used to pass data from the board 26 to the board 27 because such filtering does not permit high speed data transfer.
The electronic circuitry for controlling the marking operationsof the invention is shown in .a simplified block-diagram in FIG. 5 The circuitry consists of three circuits; an alphameric print circuit 31, a coded legend print circuit 32 and a system controller circuit 33. A keyboard 34 serves as the mode for an operator to input baggage sorting information into these three circuits. The keyboard 34 has a first keybank 35 electrically connected with the alphameric print circuit 31, and a keybank 36 that connects with the coded legend print cicrcuit 32.
The keybank 35 is basically a conventional type writer keybank and the printout on the web 16 by the alphameric branch will be the same as that typed in by the operator. The keybank 36, on the other hand, consists of only ten number keys, and the operator input into the coded legend print circuit 32 must therefore be in a coded form. The number says of the keybank 36 are used to code the airline, flight number and destination information into the branch 32 by using various combinations of numbers to represent such information.
The use of two keybanks is not essential to the present invention and instead an encoder could be utilized with the conventional keybank 35 to convert the information typed in on this keybank into the coded form required by the coded legend print circuit 32. It is also the keybank 36 ,nor a separate encoder for the coded legend print-circuit 32 would be required.
Except for their inputs from the keyboard 34, the alphameric print circuit 31 and legend coding print circuit 32 are entirely independent of one another, but are both controlled by the-system controller circuit 33 to perform their printing operations. The controller circuit-33. is actuated byioperatio n of 'akeyboard print 1 System Controller Branch The system .controller circuit 33 is shown in a detailed block diagramin'FIG. 6 andincludes a drum position sensor 41, a pulse shaper 42, two decade counters 43 and 44,and a plurality of function actuators 45-51 for actuating the various motors and system functions of the alphameric print circuit 31 and the coded legend print circuit 32. The controller circuit 33 is initially energized by actuation of the print button 37, which produces rotation of the drum 2.as will hereinafter be described. The drum position sensor 4lis an optical scanner that is keyed with the drum 2 in conventional' fashion to sense each quarter'revolution of the drum'2 and emit a pulse in response thereto to the pulse shaper 42, formed of a Schmidt trigger. The pulse shaper 42 serves .to shape the pulses from the sensor 41 and feeds themto the decade counters 43' and 44.
The counters43and 44 have 'a decoded digital output and are connected with the function actuators 45-5l, which are each composed of a pair of input AND gates (not shown), an RS flip flop (not shown) and an electronic switch (not shown) that closes and opens when the RS flip flop triggers on and off or vice versa. The actuatorsg45, 46, 48, and 51 are each triggered onand off in response to various predetermined counts from the counters 43 and 44; for exam-. ple, the function actuator 45 is shown connected with the particular outputs of thecounters 43 and 44 to trigger on at a one count and triggeroff at a 16 count. Accordingly, the'pulses that are produced in response to rotation of the drum 2 act as clocking pulses for controlling the sequence of the printing operation of the present invention. Simply by varying the count on which the actuators will trigger on and off, the controller circuit 33 is programable to provide various marked lengths of the web 16', in correspondence to the size of a-piece of luggage around which a marked web length will be wrapped. A typical operational sequence of the function actuators 4S51 is shown in the graph of FIG. 7 and this sequence will be explained more fully below after all of the system functions controlled by the actuators 45-51 are discussed.
Thefunction actuator 49 controls the operation of the motor 5 for driving the drum 2 and is set to trigger .on upon receipt of a pulse inresp'onse' to actuation of the print button 37, and the counters 43and 44' are activated by the function actuator 49 when it'triggers on function decoder 59, a keyboard address binary counter 60, a digital comparator 61, a character address binary counter 62, a column address binary conter 63, a high frequency sync clock 64 and the seven alphameric print electrodes 17. When the operator types in baggage sorting data'on the keybank 35, the data is first received by the ASCII converter 55 that changes the character input of the keybank 35 into a 6-bit binary word output. Connected in parallel to the output of the converter 55 are the character storage 56 and the function decoder 59, which is used solely to identify a clear function and a carriage return output from the converter 55.
The character storage 56 is a conventional random access read/write memory and has a 16 character (96- bit) storage capacity since it is desired that the alphameric information printed on each specified length of the web consists of atleast 15 characters. The character generator 57, in response to the datein the storage 56, generates character forming signals that are delivered to the electrode driver 58 on seven output lines. The driver 58 is formed of seven normally nonconducting transistor stages (not shown) that are each connected between one of the output lines from the generator 57 and one of the seven alphameric print electrodes 17. Since there are only seven electrodes 17, and
i these electrodes define only one column of a 5 X 7 "character forming matrix, fivesets of character generating signals must be sequentially furnished on each output line by the character generator 57in order that the one column of seven electrodes consecutively serves as each of the five character producing columns of a 5 X 7 character forming matrix. I
Normally each of the electrodes 17 are biased with a voltage of approximately 250 volts. However, such biasing voltages are affected by the character forming signals from the generator 57. When a print signal is received by each of the transistor stages of the electrode driver 58 the stages are saturated. The print electrodes 17 are each connected to one of the transistor stages of the driver 58 in such fashion that they are each substantially electrically grounded when their associated transistor stage is saturated. Thus, depending on whether or not a particular transistor stage of the driver 58 receives a marking signal, the electrode 17 associated with that stage will either be at a 250 volt potential or be grounded. To mark the web 16 the electrodes 17 must be grounded, but grounding by itself does not produce marking of the web 16 unless the powder roller 9 is biased at a high voltage. This biasing occurs to commence marking of the web 16 upon the activation of the function actuator 50 of the system controller circuit 33 in correspondence to rotation of the drum 2.
The clock 64 serves both fortiming of the character generator 57 and the addressing of the 6-bit binary words into the character storage 56 in the following to commence the printing sequence. Conclusionof the printing sequence occurs when the actuator 49 receives an eighteen count from the counters 43 and 44, at
which time the actuator 49 triggers off and thereby clears and deenergizes the counters 43 and 44.
Alphameric mm Circuit j The alphameric print circuit 31, a s shown in FIG. 8,
' includes an ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) converter 55, a character storage manner. The column address counter 63 receives clocking pulses from the clock 64, counting up to six and then recycling and beginning a new count of six. As each clock pulse is counted, the counter 63 feeds a binary output signal representing the count to the character generator 57. The first five binary counts of the counter63 are recognized by the generator 57 as printi ing signals and the generator 57 indexes with each of these counts to provide the five sets of character generating signals required for the electrodes 17 to print an entire character. Every sixth count from the counter 63 As each pulse is received by the counter 62 it furnishes a binary count to the character storage 56, which indexes one address of the character storage for each count. Accordingly, during the character generating sequence for one of the alphameric characters the generator 57 reads only the data stored in one address of the storage 56. After indexing through all 16 addresses of the storage 56 the counter 62 resets and begins a new count.
The binary count of the character address counter 62 is also fed to one input of the digital comparator 61 which is a conventional binary variety. A second input of the comparator 61 receives a count of strobe pulses from the keyboard address counter 60. One such strobe pulse is received each time a character is typed on the keybank 35 so-that the comparator knows how many characters have been fed into the character storage 56. Each strobe pulse is conducted to the keyboard address counter 60 and the character count of the counter 60 is, in tum,fed to the second input of the comparator 61. The count rate of the character address counter 62, which counts every sixth pulse from the high frequency clock 64, is much faster than the count rate furnished to the comparator 61 by the counter 60 which counts the manual typing of each character. Therefore, the counter 62 indexes no less than once through all 16 addresses of the storage 56 for each count of the counter 60. This means that at certain instances of time the count at both inputs of the comparator 61 will be the same. Normally the character storage 56 is ordered by a signal from the comparator 61 to'read only, but when the'counts on both inputsof the comparator '61 are equal, the comparator feeds a write pulse to the charac terstorage 56 and thereupon the last'typed character is stored into the character storage 56. In this way, each character typed into the alphameric print circuit is placed in consecutive order in'the sixteen address loca-' tions of the storage 56.
Once placed in the character storage 56, the information will remain therein unless a clear signal is received, or new information is typed into storage. Clear signals do not enter the character storage 56 but are instead recognized by the function decoder 59 that serves merely as an eight input AND gate for responding solely to a clear signal. When the decoder 59 receives a clear signal, a write pulse is fed to the character storage 56, which is indexed througheach of its address locations by the comparator 61 to 'clear the same.
Coded Legend Print Circuit The electronic circuitry for the coded legend print circuit 32 is composed of a transmit circuit portion (FIG. 9 disposed on the nonrotating circuit board 26 of the assembly 1, and a receive circuit portion (FIG. that is mounted on the rotating board 27 and is physically separated from the transmit portion. As
shown in FIG. 9, the transmit circuit portion includes printers 22, each comprising an array of electrodes 23 (FIG. 4).
Transmit Circuit Portion Referring now to the transmit portion of the circuit 32, as shown in FIG. 9, baggage sorting information from the keybank 36 in the form of number codes is fed into the binary converter 70, which transforms each character of input information into a 4-bit binary output signal. From the binary converter 70, the information in binary form is relayed to the character storage 71 comprising five parallel, 4-bit latch buffer memory units that are gated by strobe pulses from the keybank 36. Each time a key of the keybank 36 is struck, a strobe pulse is fed from the keybank 36 to the'character counter 75, which is a conventional binary counter for providing a decoded digital output signal that gates the character storage 71. Each strobe pulse is thus counted by the counter 75, and each 4-bit latch of the storage 71 is connected to one of the decoded digital outputs of the counter and is actuated thereby to store the 4-bit binary word present at the input at the time of strobe. The 4-bit latch units areconnected to the counter outputs in such fashionthat the 4-bit latch units correspondingto the address locations 1 through 5 of the character storage 71 will be connected respectively v to the outputs 1 through 5 of the character counter 75.
Connected to the output of the character storage 71 arethe multiplexer 72, and the visual readout circuit 78, formed of the seven segment decoder 79 and the visual display 80. The visual readout circuit 78 displays the data thathas beed fed into the character storage 71 so that the operator can verify that information has been correctly placed in storage.
Twenty parallel leads electrically connect the character storage 71 with themultiplexer 72, which serves as an electronic digital switch having an output normally connected with the first address location of the character storage 71. When the print button 37 is actuated the multiplexer 72 begins converting the parallel information in the character storage 71 to serial form to be passed on to the modulator 73 as directed by clocking pulse from the clock 76. The clock pulses are gated through the modulator 73, as hereinafter described, to the address control counter 77. As the counter 77 counts theclock pulses, it delivers an output that consecutively indexes each one of the twenty multiplexer inputs from the character storage 71 with the multiplexer output. In this way the parallel form of the data in the character storage 71 is converted into serial form at the output of the multiplexer 72.
Each serial bit from the multiplexer 72 is fed to the modulator 73, and in response thereto the modulator 73 produces a positive 4 millisecond pulse for each 0 received and a positive 12 millisecond logic pulse for each 1 received. In addition to modulating the output from the multiplexer 72 in this fashion, the modulator 73 also provides a 250 millisecond pulse at the beginning of each print sequence to serve as a clear signal for the receive portion of the circuit 32. The modulator output pulses are furnished to the LED 74 at the output sponse to the pulses from the modulator 73.
As shown in FIG. 11, the circuit of the modulator 73 includes a 250 millisecond delay circuit 90, an input NAND gate 91, a pair of parallel one shot multivibrators 92 and 93'for funishing 4 and 12 millisecond pulses respectively, and a number of output NAND gates 94, 95, 96 and 97. The NAND gate 91 is normally held disabled by a steady state signal from the address control counter 77 on line 98 and by a signal from the sync clock 76 so that no clock pulses are passed through the NAND gate 91-to the multivibrators 92 and 93, which are triggered on only when they do receive clocking pulses from the clock 76. At such time as no clock pulses are furnished to the multivibrators 92 and 93, there is no modulator output.
The modulator 73 is made operative by the input of a reset signal to the address control counter 77 when the print button 37 is actuated. Resetting of the counter 77 removes the disabling signal it feeds on line 98 to the NAND gate 91. Actuation of the print button 37 also energizes the 250 millisecond delay circuit 90 that thereafter furnishes a 250 millisecond pulse to both the LED 74 and the NAND gate 91. The 250 millisecond pulse from the delay circuit 90 seves the dual purpose of maintaining the NAND gate9l' is a disabled condition although the disabling signal on line 98 from the counter 77 is removed and also actuating the LED 74 to provide a 250 millisecond clear signal light pulse. At the end of the 250 millisecond pulse from the delay circuit 90, the NAND gate 91 is enabled'and pulses from v the clock 76 are conducted therethrough to the multi vibrators 92 and 93, and the address control counter 77 at the rate of 60 hertz (every l6.7 milliseconds).
Eachclocking pulse from the clock 76 serves the dual function of indexing the multiplexer 72, aspreviously described, and of triggering the multivibrators 92 and 93 to respectively'provide 4 and l2 millisecond pulses that serve as modulating signals. In this way, every 16.7 milliseconds the multiplexer 72 passes data from a particular address of the character storage 71 to the NAND gates 94 and 95, and concurrently the multivibrators 92 and 93 are triggered to deliver 4 millisecnd and 12 millisecond pulses to the NAND gates 95 and 96 respectively. As a result, the output signal from the NAND gate 97 consists of l6.7 millisecond pulse periods which include modulated, positive 4 millisecond or 12 millisecond pulses depending on whether a 1 or a 0 logic pulse is received by the NAND gates 94 and 95 from the multiplexer 72. These pulses are delivered to the LED 74 for transmission to the receive portion of the coded legend print circuit 32.
Receive Circuit Portion Positioned in the rotating hollow shaft 3 is the photo detector 82 for sensing the modulated positive light pulses from the LED 74 of the transmit circuit portion of the coded legend print circuit 32. Thus, the LED 74 and the detector 82 serves as a light linking means for conveying modulated data between the fixed transmit portion and the rotating receive portion of the circuit 32. The detector 82 is aphotoelectric sensing device that emits negative voltage pulses to a pulse shaper 83 that are equal in duration to the 4, l2 and 250 millisecond light pulses received. The pulse shaper 83 is a Schmidt trigger circuit which is connected to provide pulses to each of the shift register reset circuit 85, the pulse generator 86, and the shift register 84.
The shift register reset circuit is adapted to re spond to a 250 millisecond negative clearing pulse from the pulse shaper 83 at the beginning of each print sequence by providing the shift register 84 with a pulse to reset the register flip flops. The register reset circuit 85 includes an RC network (not shown) that is permitted to charge only when a negative pulse is received. Thus, during the 250 mullisecond clear pulse from the pulse shaper 83 the RC network charges up to a substantial voltage which biases a programable uni junction transistor (not'shown) into a conducting state to provide the shift register reset pulse.
At the end of the 250 millisecond clear pulse, the modulated 4 and 12 millisecond data pulses are received by the photo detector 82 at the rate of one pulse every 16.7 milliseconds. This pulse rate is too rapid to actuate the shift register reset circuit 85, which is thus unaffected by the data pulses. However, the pulse generator 86, which consists of a one shot multivibrator, is triggered by the. leading edge of each data pulse to produce an 8 millisecond negative pulse output. The output signal from the generator 86 thus has a positive going edge at the 8 millisecond point of each data pulse period and is fed to the shift register 84 to provide demodulating gating pulses for entering data into the shift register 84.
Data is loaded into the shift register 84 only on the positive going edge of the generator output pulses. Consequently, the information of each pulse period is entered into the register 84 at the 8 millisecond point of each period, or halfway between the end of a 4 millisecond 0 pulse and the end of a 12 millisecond 1 pulse to reduce the possibility of error in entering the data in theregister 84. The transfer of data from the transmit circuit portion to the receive circuit portion and into the shift register 84 occurs in a fraction of microseconds and the shift register 84 is loaded with 20 bits of data representing baggage sorting information before the coded legend print portion of the print sequence is begun. As the data is being entered into the register 84, the electrode driver 87, which is similar to the electrode driver 58, serves to electrically ground certain of the electrodes 23 in response to such data while the remaining electrodes are maintained at a positive potential of approximately 250 volts. Subsequently, the system controller circuit 33 enables high voltage (300 volts) to be furnished to the powder roller 10, and coded legends are then marked on the web 16 in correspondence to the electrodes 23 that are grounded for the duration of that particular coded legend print sequence.
Operation Referring now to H6. 7, the operating sequence of the function actuators 45-51 for controlling the assembly l in marking the alphameric and coded legend information on a specified length of the web 16 will now be described. First, by use of the keybanks 35 and 36, an operator types the desired baggage sorting information pertaining to a particular piece of luggage into the character storages 56 and 71 of the alphameric print circuit 31 and the coded legend print circuit 32 respectively,'and then actuates the print button 37. Thereupon, an actuating pulse 99 is delivered to the function actuators 47 and 49 to therebystart the motors for providing the rotationofthe drum 2 and the powder rollers 9 and 10, and also activate the counters 43 and-44. Subsequently, the remaining functions of the assembly 1 are timed corresponding to counts from the counters 43 and 44 in response to rotation of the drum 2. Each sum count corresponds to 2.5 inches of tape web length. The functions controlled by the actuators 45-47 and 49-51 are normally not operative and, therefore, they are turned on and turned off by the actuators 45-47 and 495l. The solenoid 20 that is controlled by actuator 48, on the other hand, is normally actuated. Accordingly, when the assembly 1 is first turned on the solenoid 20 pulls the powder roller 10 away from the drum 2. The actuator 48 is triggered on to deenergize the solenoid 20 for an appropriate period of time during the codedlegend print sequence.
After the first count fromthe counter 43, the'function actuators 45 and 46 are energized to, in turn, re-
spectively-energize the heat lamp 11 and the modulator 73 of the transmit portion of the coded legend print circuit 32. When the modulator 73 is energized, the baggage sorting data in the character storage 71 is transmitted to the shift register 84 of the coded legend print circuit receive portion. At the fourth count of the counter 43 the function actuator 50 is triggered on and thereby provides high voltage to the powder roller 9 to begin the alphameric printing operation. The .alphameric printing is completed at the end i of the sixth count fromthe counter 43.'Thereafter at the eighth counter count, the function actuator 48 deenergizes the solenoid 20 to permit the powder roller to swing into an operative position for marking, and the coded legend print operation is begun. Coded legend printing extends for a duration of six counts, at the endof which the solenoid is again energized moving the powder roller 10 out of its operative position. Upon the completion of the coded legend printing, the drum 2 makes three-fourths of. a rotation to advance the specified length of the web 16 to the output of the assembly 1. The length of web 16 is then cut from the remainder of the web and snugly wrapped around a'piece of luggage 100 as shown in FIG. 12.
Thus, there has herein been described a marking assembly for forming both coded legends and alphameric printing on a specified length of tape web. The marking of the web is performed rapidly and with a minimum of wear on the marking means described. Upon completion of the marking operation the length of marked tape web may be readily fastened to an object by wrapends together.
What I claim is:
l. A marking assembly for automatically marking on a dielectrictape web various patterns, each forming a particular coded legend, which assembly comprises:
ping the webv around the object and adhering the web duces on said web a pattern from particular ones of said controlled electrodes to form a particular coded legend on the web to impart information about an object upon which the web is to be affixed at the conclusion of the marking operation, which circuitry includes a circuit branch having a transmit circuit portion that is nonrotatably disposed on said assembly and a receive circuit portion that is physically separated from said transmit portion and is positioned to rotate in correspondence with said I oping means and said drum, and the developing means has an electrically conductive toner powder contacting a second side of said web, which toner powder is electrically affixed to portions of said web to form a coded legend when a voltage potential exists between the electrodes and the developing means.
3. A marking assembly as recited in claim 2 wherein said developing means includes a powder roller on which said toner powder is magnetically adhered to close the space between said developing means and said web and the voltage potential between said electrodes and said developing means produces an electric force that is sufficient to overcome the magnetic adherence of said toner powder to said powder roller.
4. A marking assembly as recited in claim 1 wherein said transmit and receive portions of said circuit branch are electrically connected by a light linking means.
5. A marking assembly as recited in claim 4 wherein said transmitportion includes a light emitting diode that produces light .pulses representing legend coding data, and said receive portion has a photo detector for sensing said pulses, which light emitting diode and photo detector form said light linking means.
6. A marking assembly as recited in claim 1 wherein said assembly further includes an alphameric marking means past which the tape web is advanced prior to contacting said drum.
7. A marking assembly as recited in claim 6 wherein said alphameric marking means comprises:
a print head that includes a plurality of printing electrodes contacting one side of said web;
an electrically conductive alphameric developing means spacedapart from said print head so that said web is interposed between said developing means and said print head, and the alphameric developing means has an electrically conductive toner powder contacting the opposite side of said web, which toner powder is electrically affixed in alphameric form to portions of said web when a sufficient voltage potential exists between certain of said printing electrodes of said print head and said web to produce an electric force.
8. A marking assembly as recited in claim 7 wherein said print head includes seven printing electrodes that form one column of a character generating matrix and character generating signals are fed to said column of electrodes as said tape web is advanced past said column of electrodes such that said column consecutively serves as each of the five columns of a X 7 character forming matrix.
9. A digital coding, information tape marking assembly for automatically marking on a dielectric tape web various patterns, each forming a particular coded legend, which assembly comprises:
a rotatably driven cylindrical drum around which said tape web is advanced upon rotation of said drum;
a capstan member biased tightly against said web on said drum to prevent slippage between said web and said drum;-
coded legend, electrographic marking means disposed at the outer cylindrical surface of said drum for producing said coded legends on said tape web, said marking means including an array of individually controlled arcuate electrodes supported on said drum; and Y actuating circuitry for selectively energizing said marking means such that said marking means produces on said web a pattern from particular ones of said plurality of arcuate electrodes to form a particular coded legend on the web to impart information about an object upon which the tape web is to be affixed at the conclusion of the marking operation, which circuitry includes a circuit branch having a transmit circuit portion that is nonrotatably disposed on said assembly and a receive circuit portion that is physically separated from said transmit portion and is positioned to rotate in correspondence with said drum whereby said circuit portions communicate with each other to provide legend printing data to said controlled electrodes.
10. A process for marking information on a dielectric tape web, which process comprises the steps of:
l. positioning said tape web interposed between an array of individually controlled electrodes supported on a rotatably driven drum to contact one side of said web and a developing means that includes an electrically conductive toner powder, a portion of which contacts the opposite side of said web;
2. providing actuating circuitry that includes a transmit portion that is fixed in place with respect to said drum and a receive portion that is physically separated from said transmit portion and rotates in correspondence with said drum;
3. supplying legend printing data to said controlled electrodes by communicating between said transmit and receive portions to develop a voltage potential between selected ones of said electrodes and said developing means, which voltage potential generates a force pattern of intelligence on the toner powder contacting said web to enable a toner powder deposition on the web corresponding to the force pattern; and
4. moving said web in direct correspondence with movement of said electrodes to maintain said selected ones of said controlled electrodes in registration with the toner powder deposition.
11. A process for marking information as recited in claim 10 wherein'subsequent to the toner powder dev UNITED Sums PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION reg 5 ,77 mt December 3, 197 4 g fl Derrick A. Jones 'and Michael G. Golden It is certified that error eppeere 1n the above-identified patent and the: said Letters Patent are hereby corrected ee ehovn below: j
Column 6, line 38, change "cici'cuit" to --circuitline 15, change 'says" to --keys-.
Column 10, line 38,- change "heed" to -been--.
Column 12, line ll, change "mullisecond" to --millisecond--.-
Column 13, line 7, change "sum" to -s uch-- line 59, change "slipage" to "slippage- Signed and sealed this 4th day of vFebruary 1975.
McCOY M. GIBSON JR. e c. MARSHALL DANN. Attesting Officer Comieeioner of Patents