US 3853314 A
Collating apparatus for use in association with duplicating machines for taking sheets from a duplicating machine and selectively distributing the sheets into a plurality of receiving trays, and wherein the collating apparatus is generally vertically disposed and equipped with receiving mechanism adjustable vertically for ready adaptation to varying discharge heights of duplicators' feeding sheets to the receiving mechanism and having sheet handling and delivering mechanism including a conveyor belt having a generally horizontal reach component and a vertical reach component, and a second belt having a vertical reach component overlapping the vertical reach component of the first belt to convey sheets therebetween, with the second belt having an angularly extending reach component and having supporting pulleys for the belts with at least one pulley carrying the lower end of the vertical component of the second belt and being adjustable vertically with the receiving mechanism.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Anderson [451 Dec. 10, 1974 COLLATING MACHINE  Inventor: Eugene A. Anderson, 414 W. Taylor Rd., Lombard, [IL
 Filed: Nov. 13,1972
 Appl. No.: 305,662
 US. Cl. 271/173, 270/58  Int. Cl B65h 29/60  Field of Search 270/58; 271/64, 173; 209/74  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,273,882 9/1966 Pearson 270/58 3,414,254 12/1968 Snellman et al. 270/58 3,638,937 2/1972 Schulz 270/58 3,652,079 3/1972 Snellman et al. 270/58 Primary Examiner-Robert W. Michel] Assistant Examine'r-A. Heinz Attorney, Agent, or Firm--Mann, Brown, McWilliams & Bradway 1 ABSTRACT Collating apparatus for use in association with duplicating machines for taking sheets from a duplicating machine and selectively distributing the sheets into a plurality of receiving trays, and wherein the collating apparatus is generally vertically disposed and equipped with receiving mechanism adjustable vertically for ready adaptation to varying discharge heights of duplicators feeding sheets to the receiving mechanism and having sheet handling and delivering mechanism including a conveyor belt having a generally horizontal reach component and a vertical reach component, and a second belt having a vertical reach component overlapping the vertical reach component of the first belt to convey sheets therebetween, with the second belt having an angularly extending reach component and having supporting pulleys for the belts with at least one pulley carrying the lower end of the vertical component of the second belt and being adjustable vertically with the receiving mechanism.
12 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PAIENTEUBEBWW 3.853.314
SHEET 10? 2 COLLATING' MACHINE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Collating machines of this type are used in combination with duplicating machines and customarily include a number of sheet-receiving trays or bins arranged either in a horizontal or a vertical row. The horizontally arranged machines suffer the disadvantage of requiring considerably more floor space than do the vertically arranged machines. The height of the sheet delivery mechanism in duplicating machines and the delivery mechanism itself varies considerably from one make of duplicating machine to another. I-Ieretofore, it has generally been customary to custom-make a collating machine for use with a particular make of duplicating machine. Consequently, the collating machines so made are not readily adaptable from one duplicating machine to another because of these differences in the height of the delivery mechanisms.
The present invention is directed to new and useful improvements in vertical collating machines in which sheets from a duplicating mechanism are fed to the machine and then selectively delivered to vertically stacked receiving trays or bins.
With the foregoing in mind, the major purposes of the present invention are to arrange a collating machine with a sheet-receiving mechanism that is easily and readily adjustable to different heights of use, which provide simple and positive mechanism for conveying sheets from the sheet-receiving mechanism through the machine and to various trays or bins in the machine, and to provide a vertically arranged collating machine with improved sheet conveyor mechanism.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS These and other objects will become more apparent in the course of the ensuing specification and claims, when taken with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a general perspective view illustrating a vertically arranged collating machine embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic sectional view of the collator showing the sheet transfer belts utilized in the machine of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a detail perspective view illustrating adjustment facilities for a belt roller in the machine of FIGS.
1 and 2; and V FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic view of sheet transfer rollers at the bottom of the machine illustrated in FIG. 1.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The collating apparatus of this invention includes a plurality of sheet-receiving trays or bins arranged in vertically stacked relationship. Receiving and distributing mechanism operatively associated with the stacked trays take the sheets discharged horizontally from a related duplicator machine and convey the sheets horizontally from the duplicator and then vertically for distribution into the various sorting trays. The receiving and distributing mechanism includes conveyor belt assemblies and supporting pulleys. One belt assembly includes a vertical reach component disposed adjacent to the stacked receiving trays and an angularly extending or generally horizontal reach component adapted to function as the receiving mechanism for the sheets discharged horizontally from a duplicator machine. A second belt assembly includes a vertical reach component disposed in parallel relation to the vertical reach component of the first belt assembly and in opposed or overlapping relation thereto in order to grip the sheets therebetween and convey the sheets vertically. The second belt assembly also includes an angularly extending or generally horizontal reach component adjacent to and extending over the upper end of the first belt assembly.
The belt assemblies are operatively mounted by means of supporting pulleys and at least one supporting pulley carrying the lower end of the vertical reach component of the second belt assembly is located adjacent to the juncture of the vertical reach component and the horizontal reach component of the first belt assembly. This one supporting pulley is carried by support means which is adjustable vertically on the collating machine structure, and a supporting pulley carrying the remote end of the horizontal reach component of the second belt assembly is adjustable horizontally in compensation for the vertical adjustment of the belt assembly at its lower end. The receiving mechanism thus may be adjusted vertically to match the sheet-discharging height of any duplicator machine without disturbing the operability of the collating machine.
The upper horizontal reach component of the second belt assembly may be utilized in combination with an optional conveyor belt to convey sheets through the first vertically arranged tray assembly to a second vertical sorting tray assembly, where this type of operation may be desired, and in which event a gate is provided at the juncture of the vertical reach component of the belt assemblies and the horizontal upper reach component of the second belt assembly so that the sheets may be diverted through the first tray assembly to the second tray assembly for distribution therein or directed downwardly into the first tray assembly and distributed therein as desired. 1
Gate means are provided at each bin entrance in both vertical tray assemblies to control the distribution of sheets into the various trays, but the first belt assembly at the bottom end thereof is disposed in relation to guide rollers so that the need for a control gate at the lowermost bin or tray is eliminated. The belt at this point is arranged to move at an angle to deflect sheets arriving at the lowermost tray directly into the tray without the need for a control gate.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As best shown in FIG. 1, the collator arrangement includes a vertical housing structure or cabinet 10 containing a plurality of vertically spaced or stacked sorting trays or bins 11 which are sloped downwardly toward the rear wall 12 of the housing. The bins 11 are open at the forward side, as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 4. The collator assemblies may be disposed in tandem, as indicated in FIG. 2, where a more or less fragmentary portion of a second housing structure is shown at 13. The collator assembly 10 has an opening 14 in its back side facing the collator assembly 13. This opening is near the top areas of the collators and is for a purpose hereinafter to appear. The sheet-distributing apparatus in the second collator assembly 13 functions generally.
similarly to the distributing apparatus of the collator 10 so that it will only be necessary to describe the arrangement and operation of the distributing apparatus in the first collator for a full understanding of the invention.
- A pair of upright frame members 15 is disposed at the front of the collator at respectively opposite sides of the cabinet, and top side frame members 16 extend rearwardly from these vertical framing elements to provide a rigid supporting structure for the operating elements of the sheet-distributing apparatus to be described hereinafter. A base structure 17 forms the bottom of the collator cabinet and provides support for driving motor 18 and electronic control 19. Motor 18 provides a direct drive for conveying belt pulleys as hereinafter described.
A horizontally disposed receiving tray 20 is mounted at the front of the collator cabinet 10 and is adapted to be adjustable vertically for disposition of the tray at any of various heights for operative cooperation with sheetdischarge apparatus of any duplicating machine with which it may be associated, whereby the tray may be placed in proper position to receive sheets discharged from any such duplicator. The tray 20 is mounted in a pair of vertically sliding blocks 21, each of which is slidably mounted on one of the vertical frame members by means of a vertical guide groove 22 embracing the flange 23 of the respective frame members, whereby the blocks and the tray carried thereby are free to slide vertically on the flanges of the frame member to any adjusted position desired, as dictated by the height of the discharge apparatus of the associated duplicator. The sliding blocks 21 may be fixedly secured in any selected position of adjustment by means of suitable fastenings, such as set screws or the like.
The receiving tray includes means for conveying sheets discharged from a duplicator into the collator for distribution into the bins 11. The conveying apparatus includes a plurality of belts 25, disposed in spaced parallel relation, which are continuous, or endless, and run on a series of rollers which guide the belts from the receiving point into the collator, upwardly to near the top of the cabinet, then downwardly past the several distribution bins 11 all the way to the lowermost bin, and then upwardly again to the receiving tray and outwardly to the receiving point for recirculation. The tray 20 is provided with belt-guiding rollers mounted at three locations, all movable with the tray as it is moved upwardly or downwardly for vertical adjustment according to the height of the discharge apparatus of the associated duplicator. Guide roller 29 is disposed adjacent the outer end of the tray at the receiving point. Guide rollers 30 and 31 extend between and are rotatably mounted in the vertically sliding blocks 2]. Roller 30 is of substantially larger diameter than the rollers 29 and 31, inasmuch as the sheets being conveyed by the belts must make this turn to be conveyed upwardly into the collator, and excessive or sharp bending of the sheets is thereby avoided.
The conveying belts 25 are travelling in the directions indicated by the arrows so that the belts move inwardly from the roller 29, around the guide roller 30, then upwardly and around a second relatively larger guide roller 32, and then downwardly through a series of rollers 33 and 34 disposed respectively upon opposite sides of the belts, as best shown in FIG. 2. The spacing of the guide rollers 33 and 34 is such as to exert a slight pressure on opposite sides of the belts which causes the belts to follow a moderately sinuous path downwardly between these rollers. The pressure thus exerted on the sheets facilitates conveying the sheets to the several bins 11. This vertical reach component of the belts 25 extends from the guide roller 32 at the upper end, through the guide rollers 33 and 34 to a pair of guide rollers 35 and 36 at the bottom end. The roller 36 is offset inwardly relative to the roller 35 so that the belts 25 are disposed at an angle inwardly and downwardly whereby to discharge sheets into the lowermost bin 11 without the necessity for any further gate dis charge device.
The belts 25 after passing around roller 36 then travel outwardly and around a guide roller 37 to again move upwardly and around the guide roller 31 to reenter the receiving tray area, and thence in an outward direction to pass around the outermost guide roller 29 for recirculation. Thus, it will be seen that the conveyor belts are continuous around all of the guide rollers and follow a continuous path from the receiving tray 20, through the collator, and back to the receiving tray. The horizontally operating portions of the belts 25 in the receiving tray form another component of reach of such belts extending angularly with respect to the vertical component of the belts positioned in front of the re ceiving bins 11. This angularly extending component is disposed substantially entirely within the area of the receiving tray 20. It should be noted that the length of the belts 25 does not change as the receiving tray 20 is adjusted up or down, but remains the same in any position of the tray and throughout the full range of vertical movement of the tray during adjustment.
A second sheet transfer belt system includes a plurality of belts 40 disposed in opposed or overlapping relation to portions of the first belt system 25. The belts 40 pass around large guide roller 30, travelling in the directions of the arrows, to pass upwardly in parallel relation to the belts 25, and thence make a ninety degree turn around the large pulley 32 to travel generally horizontally into the upper area of the collator cabinet 10. The belts pass around guide roller 41 at the inner extremity of this angularly extending component of reach of this belt system and then return to the frontal area of the collator cabinet where they pass around a guide roller 42, and thence are recirculated around the large roller 30. Thus, it will be seen that the belts 40 of this second system also are continuous, or endless, and follow a continuous path as defined by the guide rollers 30, 32, 41 and 42. The portions of the belts 40, in opposed relation to the belts 25 at the front area of the collator, comprise a vertical component of reach of the second belt system extending parallel to the vertical component of the first belt system, and being in opposed or overlapping relation to each other are adapted to grip the sheets therebetween and convey them upwardly into the collator.
The guide roller 41 at the inner extremity of the angularly extending reach component of the belts 40 is adjustable in a horizontal direction to compensate for the vertical adjustment of this belt system at the front of the collator cabinet when the receiving tray 20 is adjusted either upwardly or downwardly. The belt system 25 accommodates the vertical adjustment of the receiving tray, since the belts merely pass around the rollers 29, 30 and 31 without requiring any lengthening or shortening of the belts, but the second belt system 40 is mounted on the large guide roller 30 which moves with the receiving tray, while the rollers 32, 41 and 42, with which these belts are also associated, are mounted in the collator cabinet. Thus, the guide roller 41 is rotatably supported in a pair of sliding blocks 43 which are adjustable horizontally between the full line and dotted line positions indicated in FIG. 2. The sliding blocks are each provided with a guide groove 44, as best shown in FIG. 3, which enables the blocks to be supported on a horizontal rail 45 mounted on the inner side wall of the respective side frame members 16 adjacent the top of the cabinet 10. Thus, the guide blocks and the roller 41 may be readily adjusted to any position within the range indicated by the two extreme positions illustrated. The adjustment of the slide blocks 43 is secured by cap screws 46. A parallel belt system 40a consisting of a plurality of belts disposed between the belts 40 and running continuously around the pulleys 42 and 51 provide means for positively conveying sheets across the upper reach of the cabinet 10. This is important when the blocks 43 are adjusted to a position short of the full line position thereof shown in FIG. 2. The belts 40a serve the purpose of operating in conjuction with an underlying belt system 47, hereinafter described, to convey the sheets across the cabinet to the opening 14 and thus into a second collator cabinet 13 when this type of operation is used.
A belt system 47, consisting of plural spaced endless belts running on guide rollers 48 and 49 is disposed immediately beneath the angularly extending reach component of the belt systems 40 and 40a and is adapted to cooperate with the belts 40 and 40a of this component to convey the sheets horizontally across the collator cabinet 10 and through the opening 14 in the rear wall into the second collator apparatus 13 when it is desired to distribute the sheets in this manner. Where the belts 47 adjoin the angularly extending reach component of the belts 40 and the belts 40a, they are disposed in opposed or overlapping relation to the belts 40 and 40a and run paraellel therewith in the same direction of travel, as indicated by the arrows. Thus, the two belt systems grip the sheets therebetween and carry them through the first collator cabinet. The second collator cabinet, of course, is equipped with bins and conveyor belt systems functioning similarly to the conveyor belt systems and distributing system of the first cabinet. A guide roller 51 beyond the roller 41 is disposed in position over the remote end of the belt system 47 to guide the belts 40a at this point and direct the sheets passing from between the belts 40, 40a and 47 in such manner that they continue to be guided through the rear wall opening 14 by the belt systems.
All of the belt systems 25, 40, 40a and 47 are driven from the motor 18 by means of a continuous, or endless. drive belt 50 which travels in the direction of the arrows, as indicated in FIG. 2. The drive belt 50 runs from a motor pulley 52 to an idler pulley 53, thence around the pulley 37 and upwardly to anidler 54. The belt passes around the idler 54, and thence around the inner side of roller pulley 42 to an idler pulley 55 which represents the uppermost extent of this vertical reach of the drive belt. The belt then starts its generally downward travel around the roller pulley 49, over a roller pulley 56, and then following a sinous path downwardly through the roller pulleys 33 and 34 to the roller pulleys 35 and 36, and thence back to the motor pulley 52 for the continuous recirculation. It should be noted that the rollers 37, 42, 49, 56, 33, 34, 35 and 36 serve the dual function of engaging both of the conveyor belt systems as well as the driving belt. These rollers are each provided with belt-engaging portions of different diameters. The conveyor belt systems are in operative engagement with the relatively smaller diameter portions and the belt 50 is in driving engagement with the portions of larger diameter. By following the path of travel of the drive belt in relation to the various rollers, as shown in FIG. 2, it will be seen that the belt drivingly engages the several roller pulleys in a manner to rotate all of the rollers to move the various belts in the directions of travel indicated by arrows, and that all of the rollers are driven either directly by the drive belt or indirectly through the conveyor or transfer belts.
In the use of this collator arrangement, the sheets to be collated and distributed are received from a duplicator machine onto the running belts 25 in the receiving tray 20 and conveyed into the collating machine. A hold-down device 59, as shown in FIG. 1, is disposed to overlie that portion of the receiving tray belt system where the sheets enter into the systems of rollers to avoid the possibility of accidents and to guide the sheets into the entrance between the belt systems 25 and 40. The sheets entering the conveyor belt system pass around the large roller 30 and enter between the belts 25 and 40 and are gripped thereby and conveyed upwardly to the large roller 32. The sheets pass around the roller 32 and then either pass through the collator 10 into the collator 13, or they are conveyed downwardly for distribution into the bins 11. If the gate is open, the sheets are directed downwardly and follow the belt system 25 through the rollers 33 and 34 and are deflected into the various bins by suitable gate mechanism, which is indicated in FIG. 2 by the devices 65. These gate devices may comprise the gate mechanism of the prior Anderson et al. U.S. Pat. No. 3,371,926 of Mar. 5, 1968, and may utilize the control mechanism of U.S. Pat. No. 3,690,643 of Sept. 12, 1972, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.
If the gate 60 is in the closed or down position when the sheets pass over the guide roller 32, the sheets will travel directly across the collator 10, gripped between the belts 40 and 47, and be discharged under the roller 51 through the cabinet opening 14 into the collator 13 for distribution there by means of suitable conveyor mechanism similar to that in collator 10.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that a vertical collator has been provided, incorporating a novel beltdistributing system for the collated sheets and wherein provision is made for adjustment according to various heights of associated duplicator machines and incorporating compensating adjustments in the belt system for the vertical adjustments.
l. A vertical collating machine of the type in whic a plurality of sheet receiving bins are arranged in vertically stacked relation including a support structure for the vertically stacked bins and conveying mechanism for delivering sheets to said bins, said conveying mechanism including a first sheet delivery endless belt having a vertical reach component positioned adjacent the entry end of each bin, said belt traveling vertically through said collating machine adjacent to the entrances to said vertically stacked bins, said belt including a horizontal reach component extending generally outwardly away from said bins and with respect to said mechanism including a second sheet transfer endless belt having a vertical reach component extending upwardly from adjacent said juncture in parallel relation to said second vertical reach component of said first belt and in overlapping relation to said first belt to a point adjacent the upper end of said collating machine so as to grip sheets between the first and second belts, said second belt including a component of reach extending generally horizontally with respect to said vertical component of said second belt over said stacked bins, support pulleys for said belts, at least one of said pulleys carrying said vertical component of said second belt being located adjacent said juncture, and support means carrying said one pulley and supporting said horizontal reach component of said first belt, said support means being vertically adjustable on said support structure for the vertically stacked bins whereby to adjust said one pulley and said belts vertically, said horizontal reach component of said first belt forming an entranceway adjacent said juncture to receive sheets and defining an infeeding station for delivering sheets to the gripping action of said overlapping belt portions and to gate devices for delivery to said bins, said gate devices transferring'said sheets from the conveyor to the bins.
2.'A vertical collating machine as set forth in claim 1 wherein said generally horizontally extending reach component of said second belt at its remote end is supportingly carried by a pulley and said pulley is movably mounted on said support structure for the bins for adjustment in a generally horizontal direction.
3. A vertical collating machine as set forth in claim 2 wherein a generally horizontally extending belt mounted on rollers is disposed in opposed parallel relation to said generally horizontally extending reach component over said stacked bins to grip said sheets therebetween and convey the sheets through said collating machine.
4. A vertical collating machine as set forth in claim 3 wherein gate means are provided to direct said sheets to said vertical reach component of the first sheet delivery belt for distribution of the sheets in said bins of the vertical collating machine or direct the sheets between 'said generally horizontally extending belt mounted on rollers and said generally horizontally extending reach component to convey the sheets through said vertical collating machine.
5. A vertical collating machine as set forth in claim 1 wherein said first sheet delivery belt and said second sheet transfer belt each comprises a plurality of spaced apart side-by-side belts in parallel relation.
6. A vertical collating machine as set forth in claim 1 wherein said vertically adjustable support means comprises a sliding block having a vertical guide slot therein, said guide slot being mounted for vertical sliding movement on said support structure for said stacked bins.
7. A vertical collating machine as set forth in claim 6 wherein said sliding block comprises an opposed pair of blocks in spaced relation and said one pulley carrying the lower end of the vertical component of said second belt is rotatively mounted between said spaced blocks.
8. A vertical collating machine as set forth in claim 1 wherein guide rollers are provided for said vertical reach component of said first sheet delivery belt, said guide rollers being disposed in vertically spaced rela tion upon opposite sides of said belt and positioned relative to said belt to define the path of travel of the belt.
9. A vertical collating machine as set forth in claim 8 which includes a drive belt for said guide rollers and drive rollers having their axes coincident with the axes of the guide rollers to define a sinuous path of travel for the drive belt.
10. A vertical collating machine as set forth in claim 8 wherein said path of travel of said belt as defined by said guide rollers is moderately sinuous.
11. A vertical collating machine as set forth in claim 1 wherein a bottom guide roller for the vertical reach component of the first sheet delivery belt is offset inwardly relative to the belt toward said bins, said belt being disposed at an angle adjacent to the lowermost bin thereby to deflect sheets into said lowermost bin.
12. A vertical collating machine as set forth in claim 1 wherein said one pulley carried by said vertically ad. justable support means provides direction-changing guide means for both said first and second belts.